CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

What it’s like to be sober for 1 year

Flow Cycle instructor Catherine just celebrated her 1 year of sobriety and we wanted to share her experience to inspire others to live a healthier life.

What inspired you to give up alcohol?

To improve my overall health and mental well-being. I felt like drinking inhibited me from being active and fully present with life.

What was the your biggest challenge?

Feeling confident sharing my experience with others. It can be tough to go against what feels so engrained in our lives.

How did giving up alcohol impact your life?

I have new passions, deeper relationships and the inner strength to face the challenges life gives me now.

What advice would you give to others?

If you are thinking about making a big or small change in your life, know you have the tools to change within you. Take the first step – and ask for help along the way

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Why Heart Disease is the Biggest Threat to our Health

While COVID-19 dominates headlines, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for two times as many deaths annually as COVID-19. Consider that heart disease significantly increases risk of death from COVID-19, and it is clear that heart disease is by far the biggest threat to our health yet is largely unaddressed.

Heart disease is preventable and studies estimate that almost 80% of cases could be prevented by implementing a healthy lifestyle.  Regular exercise is the single best way to prevent heart disease and studies estimate it can reduce risk by up to 50%.

Regular exercise could save as many lives annually as deaths from COVID-19.  No masks , shutdowns or vaccines are needed.

February is National Heart Health Month and we ask you to consider:

  • Creating awareness of the risks of developing heart disease and how to prevent it
  • Making lifestyle changes to improve your own heart health
CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Conquering Strenuous Exercise in a Mask

As many fitness lovers have experienced during the pandemic, exercise in a mask is possible.  Enjoyable?  Not exactly, but it’s do-able and becomes more tolerable with every workout.

Yoga, Pilates, Barre and some Strength Training workouts seem to be the mask-wearer’s preference as for the most part, the participant’s heart rate stays within manageable ranges.  But what about more intense cardio?

As Flow Fitness’s Cycle Program Director, my biggest challenge has been convincing people that they’re going to be just fine participating in my classes while wearing a mask.

Earlier in the pandemic, not a lot was known about exercising in a mask.  However, as more studies were conducted, it has been concluded that even intense exercise in a mask is not dangerous as long as the participant listens to their body. The body’s Oxygen and CO2 levels in a mask are at similar levels to those working out without masks.

We know it is safe, but how can we make it FEEL better?

The short answer is repetition (i.e. building up a tolerance to it).  The more we practice something, the more it becomes routine.  I’ll also share some of my own personal tips and tricks from teaching and taking Cycle and H.I.I.T in a mask for a few months:

Bring more than one mask!

Bring even more than two if you tend to sweat a lot.  I wear a pre and post class mask that I do not wear during the actual workout.  That way when class is over, I can switch back to my dry mask and chat with members without feeling gross.  Those who bring multiple masks are less likely to rush off and can socialize with other members and the instructor when the hard work has concluded!  Some people even bring two masks for the workout and switch halfway through to a fresh mask.  I know this sounds like a lot of masks, but it can be a game changer in making the class more enjoyable!

Own a mask that is actually made for exercising.

Not all masks are created equal when it comes to strenuous workouts.  Many established fitness apparel brands have taken the time to design masks for people who want to enjoy workouts in a gym during Covid restrictions.  Take advantage!  You would not join a class without proper equipment.  The same goes for your mask.

Ease into it

When I’m participating in a high intensity class, I push hard but I know my limits.  If it becomes hard to breathe with your mask on, simply back off.  If you’re in Cycle class, turn the resistance down.  If you’re in Team Conditioning and doing a tough cardio finisher, pace yourself if needed.  With a mask on, I’m not always achieving the power levels that I would normally maintain in Cycle and I’m okay with that.  It is important to remember that while there are restrictions, we still have a safe place to move our bodies and become stronger.

It may not be for everyone.

There are other physical barriers that may prevent some people from tolerating intense exercise in a mask, such as asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions.  If you have any concerns regarding exercising in a mask, you should absolutely consult your doctor before participating in a high intensity class.

Pacing yourself, staying consistent, and having the right mask(s) will set you up for success in conquering tough workouts during Covid restrictions!  As always, Flow trainers and instructors will be there every step of the way to encourage you and support you.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish. Uncategorized

5 Behaviors That Support Weight Loss Goals

Being a personal trainer, I have seen clients try a variety of diets, such as keto, paleo and Mediterranean, with varied success. I can tell you with certainty that success had very little to do with what diet they were on. However, I have observed five common behaviors among those who were successful that can applied to any weight-loss regimen. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, here are five behaviors you should focus on:

Target consistency over perfection.

If you follow your plan 80% of the time, you will get better, more sustainable results than if you try to be 100% compliant. But be mindful—even if you make good choices throughout the week, you can quickly waste all that effort with weekend splurges. In addition, binging can change your body’s metabolism, forcing it to store extra calories again. So strive to be compliant 80% of the each day rather than 80% of each week.

Find ways to reduce stress.

Life is stressful on your mind and body, and weight loss can add additional stress. You’re asking your body to work hard, and changing your diet takes effort. Stress can lead to poor nutrition choices and low energy. To reduce stress, plan both your workouts and meals for the week in advance. You should also create a list of stress-relieving activities and set aside at least 15 minutes a day to complete them.

Focus on diet first, then exercise.

Weight loss starts in the kitchen. While many would prefer to work out more rather than change the way they eat, you can’t outwork a bad diet. Exercise will help expedite weight loss, as it burns calories and raises your metabolism, but any successful weight loss program needs to focus on nutrition first.

Doing less is better.

Complex diets can be overwhelming and cause additional stress. Focus on a few behaviors that will create a significant impact, such as cutting out late-night snacking, sweets or drinking, and do those well. If you try to do too much, you will end up doing a lot of things sub-optimally. This is a surefire way to waste energy and create more stress. Identify what is truly important and focus your energy on those few behaviors.

Get help!

If you’re serious about losing weight, you need help. A dietitian or health coach can save you lots of time creating meal plans, and a personal trainer can provide you with the most effective workouts. Getting professional help not only gives you expertise, accountability and support, but they also relieve a lot of stress—all of which greatly increases your chance of success.

Weight loss is hard; you will have setbacks, and that’s ok – don’t expect perfection. By focusing on these five behaviors, weight loss can not only be achievable, but also sustainable in the long term. Take control of your health and your fitness and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn more about our “Healthy Lifestyles Program” that will help you create habits around nutrition, exercise and stress relief that will last a lifetime.

McDonalds Drink Size ComparisonCategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish. Uncategorized

What we can learn from the Japanese about health

Japan is widely considered one of the healthiest countries in the world, with one of the highest life expectancy rates (84 years, versus 78 in the U.S.). And while their older population should make them more vulnerable, Japan also has the fewest deaths, by far, due to Covid-19 when compared to other G7 countries: only 18 deaths per million (compared to over 1,000 per million in the U.S.).

While many experts believe cultural factors such as a homogenous society; no handshaking or hugs; and pre-existing use of masks have contributed to Japanese success against COVID-19, their population’s extraordinary health is also an important factor. As the Economist reports:

“Although the population of Japan is disproportionally elderly, and therefore potentially more vulnerable to Covid-19, it is also very healthy. Only 4.2% of Japanese adults are obese, a condition known to make the disease more lethal. That is the lowest rate in the OECD and one-tenth of America’s.”

Gyms aren’t as common in Japan as they are in the U.S., and the Japanese smoke and drink more than Americans. So how do they stay so healthy? I had the opportunity to live in Japan years ago, and can point to several cultural norms that we can learn from the Japanese to improve our health.

Focus on Health

In Japanese, the equivalent of “How are you?” is the phrase “Genki desuka?” This translates to “Are you healthy?” Imagine if you were asked about your health numerous times a day; wouldn’t that keep it top-of-mind?

For those of you old enough, you might remember the movie “Gung Ho” with Michael Keaton, where a U.S. car plant is acquired by a Japanese company. In the movie, the new Japanese owners unsuccessfully attempt to implement a morning exercise routine that they do in Japan. Japanese companies still value exercise and give their employees exercise breaks throughout the day.

Key Takeaway: Make health part of your daily discussion. Ask others about their health and what you can do to support them. And think about ways that you can implement healthy practices in your workplace or community.

Value Quality, Not Quantity

The Japanese are infamous for having high quality standards, and this includes their food. It’s virtually impossible to find low-quality food in Japan, even at McDonalds! The “bento” is a traditional Japanese meal that epitomizes the focus on quality over quantity. With high quality standards comes increased prices, as fresh fruit, vegetables and meats are notoriously expensive in Japan; however, high prices helps limit consumption and waste.

Key Takeaway: Resist the urge to “super-size” and focus on smaller quantities of higher-quality foods. Don’t be afraid to indulge in foods high in fat and protein, such as meats, cheese, nuts and avocados, which will help you feel “full” and avoid overeating.

Pro-tip: Eat at local restaurants that use local ingredients, and avoid fast-food and chain restaurants.

Eat Fresh Foods

While you can find a variety of pre-packaged foods in Japan, the Japanese emphasize home-cooked meals and fresh foods. It was typical for me to eat a salad at breakfast. Below is a picture of a traditional Japanese breakfast which typically includes fish, rice, miso soup, eggs and vegetables. This looks a lot healthier than a stack of pancakes covered with syrup and a side of bacon, right?

Key Takeaway: Focus on whole foods. You should have a serving of fresh fruit and/or vegetables at each meal. Even if you don’t have time to cook, make sure you always have some fresh fruit and vegetables on hand to supplement.

Pro-tip: Become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member or get a weekly fruit and vegetable subscription to ensure you always have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.

Walk and Bike More

Walking, biking and public transportation are the main forms of transportation in Japan, and they have one of the best public transportation systems in the world. (It helps when owning a car, parking and taxis are incredibly expensive.) Even if you are taking public transportation in Japan, you typically have a decent walk to and from your destinations, along with any transfers.

Key Takeaway: Before calling Uber or driving, see if walking, biking or public transportation is a feasible option. Not only will it improve your health, but you’ll save some money and the environment.

Portion Control

The Japanese have a phrase “hara hachi bun me,” which translates to “eat to you are 80% full.” This term originated in Okinawa and has been credited with the extraordinary health of Okinawans. Portions in Japan are much smaller than in the U.S., and we Americans constantly felt “hungry” when eating out. Perhaps it was not that the portions were too small, but rather, that our portions are too big! High food prices in Japan also help them to limit portion sizes.

Key Takeaway: Eating until you are 80% full is a simple yet highly effective way to control calories and lose weight. No calorie-counting or dieting is needed. Try it for a week, and you’ll notice a huge difference in the amount you consume and how you feel.

Pro-tip: Try using smaller dishes, which will help you limit portion sizes. When eating out, considering sharing your food.
McDonalds Drink Comparison

In American, our health is deteriorating; we reached an all-time high in obesity rates in 2020 at over 42%. Not only does this make us more susceptible to illness, such as heart disease and COVID-19, but it also takes a significant toll on our economy, as healthcare costs continue to rise. To improve our health, we need cultural changes that emphasize regular exercise and healthy eating habits. This can only happen with support from the government, businesses and communities.

What changes can you make to create a healthier society?

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

If you believe in wearing masks, you should also exercise regularly

Regular exercise can boost your immune system

You’ve probably heard that exercise can boost your immune system, but maybe you’re wondering how significant this is, and how much exercise you need to reap the benefits. Studies have consistently shown that regular exercise can not only significantly reduce your risk of infection, but also the severity of symptoms if you are infected. Exercise is more important than ever as the coronavirus pandemic continues, and in this post, we’ll explain how exercise can help keep you healthy.

How Exercise Affects Your Immune System?

You first need to understand how exercise effects your immune system. While scientists have yet to identify the exact reason why, there are several theories about why exercise boosts immunity, which is likely a combination of several factors:

  • Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.
  • Exercise increases the amount of white blood cells and their circulation within your body, so they can find pathogens and wipe them out.
  • The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing and may help the body fight infection better (similar to what happens when you have a fever).
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones, which can compromise your immune system.
  • Exercise can improve sleep. Research has shown that sleep improves the efficiency of T-cells (a type of white blood cell) ,which help fight off pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
  • Regular exercise can reduce sources of inflammation in your body that impair your immune system.

How Much Does Exercise Matter?

A 2019 scientific review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk and reduce inflammation — but by how much?  Studies show the impact can be quite significant:

  • 2018 study of 1,413 people in China found that those who reported exercising at least three times a week reduced their likelihood of getting a cold by 26%.
  • Another 2018 study of 390 people found that those who were trained with an eight-week regimen of moderate exercise reduced their risk of acute respiratory illness by 14% and their number of sick days by 23%, compared with people who did not receive the exercise training.
  • A study published in 2011 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found those who did aerobic exercise five or more days of the week lowered the number of upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold) over a 12-week period by more than 40%.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fitness Routine

Now that you know how impactful exercise can be, here’s how to maximize the benefits:

Exercise regularly. Long runs on the weekends alone won’t cut it. The benefits of exercise on the immune system are temporary, so you need to do it often to see the gains.  You should emphasize frequency over intensity and duration, setting a goal of five or more times per week.

Moderate exercise is best.  Most studies looked at aerobic activity, such as walking, running or cycling. There is less research on HIIT or strength training, but most experts believe they provide similar benefits.

Whatever you do, the key is to get your heart rate going, but to keep activity to a moderate level of intensity. If you’re doing a walk, make sure it is a brisk pace — but don’t push it too hard. In fact, experts warn against extremely strenuous exercise, such as training for a marathon or doing power lifting. Very intense and prolonged exercise can actually put more stress on your body, competing for resources and potentially compromising your immune system. This shouldn’t be a concern for the majority of exercisers, but just be mindful that higher intensities won’t necessarily provide additional benefits.

The Bottom Line: Exercise Works

Exercise should not be considered a replacement for masks, good hygiene or social distancing — but when used in conjunction, exercise can be an additional layer of defense against pathogens and infection. In addition, exercise provides other benefits, such as improved mental health and decreased stress levels, that can help during this strenuous time.

If you are new to exercise, we suggest starting at a level you are comfortable with doing but frequently, even if it means short walks. You should then start gradually increasing the intensity and duration until you reach a moderate level of intensity. If you need help creating a workout program, setting fitness goals or just need some accountability, our team of certified personal trainers are here to help. We offer trial training packages, both in-person and virtual. Visit us at

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Why habits (not goals) are the key to success

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” ―Stephen Covey

Habits account for roughly 45% of our daily activities — and success, or lack thereof, is a culmination of strong habits over time. There is no such thing as overnight success; professional athletes succeed not only because of superior athleticism and skill, but also from countless repetitions performed during practice. These repetitions become habit and allow them to perform at the highest level under immense pressure in a split second.

The good news is that you can start cultivating good habits now and succeed in creating better health, performance and happiness.

Why We Need Habits

Habits are essential to our survival and ability to function efficiently. Imagine if you had to stop and think about what you should do after you woke up every day or after you went to the bathroom; your brain would soon be overwhelmed. Habits emerge through “associative learning” — meaning they are triggered by anything in our internal or external environment that we associate with the habit. For example, the clock turning noon triggers many to be hungry for lunch.

Your brain is not capable of long-term behavioral change without creating habits; it would have to work too hard without them. That’s why you can force yourself to change behavior for a short period of time, but anything longer-term is much more challenging. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, you could come up with a new, custom meal plan every day — or you could create a habit of yogurt for breakfast, salads at lunch and a protein/vegetable combination at dinner. Which seems more sustainable?

Goals vs. Habits

Goals are aspirations you set for yourself, and can be small or big. Goals are a great way to prioritize behavior and measure success; however, they are not very effective at creating changes in behavior.

On the other hand, habits are the routines you develop through constant practice, and they happen subconsciously. Habits create the behaviors you need to achieve success.

Why Goals Aren’t Enough

While we initially set goals to achieve success, they don’t create the behaviors we need to get there. Here’s why goals will never be enough:

  • Goals are temporary. Setting goals can be helpful, but what happens next? As soon as you feel depleted or like you want to reward yourself, you may be tempted go back to your old ways.
  • Goals are all or nothing. If you fail to reach a goal, that can cause you to become demoralized and give up, reaping no benefits from your efforts.
  • Goals demand too much discipline. We are not robots; we get tired, we feel emotions and we become distracted. The primary reason most people fail to reach their goals is from a lack of self-discipline.
  • Goals limit you. Once you set a certain target, you focus on simply reaching it — without considering that you can surpass that target.
  • Goals can be unrealistic. People tend to aim so high that if they come up short, it could still be considered a success, but we seldom see it that way. Setting unrealistic expectations makes people feel like they are failing even when they’re getting ahead.

Why Habits Create Greater Success

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set goals – this is to say that habits are far better investments to focus on when shooting for success. Habits are the incremental steps to reach your goals, so it’s essential to develop the right habits. Here are the reasons why habits bring greater success:

  • Habits are forever. The behaviors you develop will stay with you for life. Not only will they help you reach your goals, but you will also improve the chances of sustaining your success.
  • Habits are easier to accomplish. Goals are long-term achievements; habits are behaviors you can begin and realize success with immediately.
  • Habits often exceed goals. Habits become part of your lifestyle. Once ingrained, they will help you continue to succeed even after achieving your goal.
  • Habits are sustainable. Even if you are not successful in reaching your goals initially, you can still improve your life by creating healthy habits — then continue to build upon them to set yourself up for success down the road.

A Habit-Based Approach to Health

A common health goal is to lose weight. Many start with a goal of “I will lose X pounds by this date,” and a typical strategy to reach that goal may involve a plan such as:

  • Going to the gym three times a week.
  • Eating less carbs.
  • Drinking less liquor.

Sound familiar? Conversely, you can create a habit-based approach to weight loss and focus your efforts on creating healthy, sustainable behaviors, such as:

  • Going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m.
  • Bringing a homemade lunch to work every day.

Once you’ve mastered those habits, you can build upon them by adding new habits, such as:

  • Going to your favorite fitness class every Saturday morning.
  • Switching from lattes to black coffee.

Which seems more achievable and sustainable in the long term: losing 10 pounds, or packing your lunch every day? A habit-based approach is not only more likely to help you achieve your goals, but to also sustain your success — because it becomes automatic and requires less mental effort.

Join Our Healthy Lifestyles Program

If you are tired of quick fixes and ready to create long-term success, Flow Fitness is now offering our Healthy Lifestyles Program. This program will teach and reinforce habits around nutrition and fitness that you will incorporate into your lifestyle over a 24-week period.

The Healthy Lifestyles Program uses simple, everyday concepts that increase the chance of success, and does not involve behaviors such as calorie counting, meal planning or specific fitness programs. This program is available on a one-on-one basis with a Flow coach or in a group setting. You can learn more here.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Is COVID-19 the Tipping Point for Healthier Living

The coronavirus crisis has become the “new normal,” and so far, local leaders are using the strategy of imposing social distancing restrictions to contain the spread until a cure can be found. But even in the best-case scenarios, developing a vaccine will take a long time — if it’s possible at all. And there’s no way to know how effective it would be. Given this, we need to prepare for an unpleasant potential outcome: the threat of COVID-19 might be something we’re living with for a long time.

While we can’t control our access to things like testing and vaccines, the good news is, we do have one incredible remedy within our power: our personal health. Here are the key takeaways of this post:

  • There is no guarantee that a vaccine for COVID-19 can be developed, and we should prepare to live with it for the long haul.
  • So far, the data shows that healthier people have largely avoided experiencing complications from COVID-19.
  • To date, many Americans have been resistant to living a healthier lifestyle. Will the threat of COVID-19 be the impetus for society to make this important change?

We’re still learning about COVID-19, but so far, one trend is clear: People with chronic health conditions and/or weaker immune systems are the most likely to experience coronavirus-related complications, while people with healthier lifestyles and without these conditions are the least likely.

In fact, research shows that 96% percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations had a pre-existing condition and the most common were high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes — and these conditions are typically caused by lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, poor diet, high stress levels, drinking alcohol and smoking. By comparison, among healthy people, even those who do contract the virus may never even know they had it; testing of the abnormally healthy population of sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt crew, for example, found that fully 60% of its 600 infected sailors were asymptomatic.

The bottom line? Your personal health is a key factor in your risk of complications from COVID-19.

Despite sheltering in place for weeks or months and widespread concerns about combating COVID-19, it seems most Americans aren’t willing to make the lifestyle changes needed to truly fight the virus. Many would rather take a pill, get a shot, go under the knife or remain on permanent lockdown than live a healthier lifestyle.

But the dangers of poor lifestyle choices go far beyond the coronavirus. Obesity and physical inactivity have proven to be two of the most dangerous conditions yet:

  • Despite, or maybe because of, our relatively high standard of living, America has the highest obesity rates of any country in the world: Over 40% of Americans are obese, a number that has actually increased 40% the past two decades.
  • A shocking 80% of Americans still don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, despite one in 10 deaths being linked to physical inactivity.

Relying on our bodies’ natural defenses is an effective way to prevent COVID-19 complications and many other health conditions. Living a healthier lifestyle will strengthen our immune systems and improve our chances of beating this terrible illness while we await a vaccine, if there is one. COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has cost trillions of dollars  and changed the way we live. Whether we can make a change for the better by choosing healthy living is the challenge our society must face.

Flow Fitness can help you create a custom exercise and nutrition program to help you reach your goals and provide the support you need.  All can be done virtually as well.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish.

We’re staying home, but are we staying healthy?

Key Points

  • Shelter in place orders have created the unintended consequence of people living unhealthier lives
  • An unhealthy lifestyle compromises your immune system and can lead to higher risk of catching COVID-19 or increasing the severity of its symptoms
  • Social distancing will likely end before a vaccine is available. Until then, your best protection to COVID-19 is to have a strong immune system through a healthy lifestyle

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, cities and states around the world have enacted “shelter in place” regulations, encouraging citizens to “stay home and stay healthy” to slow the spread of the virus. But while we’re doing a great job staying home — we aren’t doing a good job of staying healthy.

Recent studies since many states enacted shelter in place acts show:

Health is more than simply whether you have COVID-19. While local governments have restricted movement and forced fitness centers to close, they’ve classified alcohol as “essential,” loosened rules around its sale and encouraged us to eat takeout food to support our local businesses: a dangerous combination. It’s in our nature to turn to alcohol and comfort foods during times of stress, but this is the opposite of what we should be doing during a health pandemic.

Our leaders and the media have focused their attention on social distancing and sanitation as the best ways to mitigate the damage of the coronavirus, but they are missing a  key piece of the puzzle. To truly protect our bodies from COVID-19 and the severity of its infection, we need to strengthen our bodies’ natural defenses by focusing on comprehensive, personal health.

Here’s how we can do that:

Boost your immune system. Research shows you can strengthen your immune system through lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, managing stress and getting enough sleep. These steps can help prevent illness by strengthening your body’s ability to defend itself from disease-causing microorganisms.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity may be one of the most important predictors of severe coronavirus illness, especially among younger people, studies show.  In fact, the chance of hospitalization due to COVID-19 for those under age 60 doubles if you are obese; obesity may also increase the risk of dying from the virus.

Limit alcohol consumption. Many believe drinking alcohol can help kill the virus; this is false. The World Health Organization recently issued a warning that alcohol consumption can actually increase the risk of catching COVID-19, as well as the severity if you do get it.

Exercise regularly. Recent studies show  that not only can exercise strengthen your immune system, but regular exercise may also help prevent one of the major causes of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death: acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Until there is a vaccine, there will always be a risk of exposure to COVID-19, even with social distancing. By making these changes to our lifestyles and keeping our bodies as healthy as possible,  you will not only reduce the likelihood of catching COVID-19 and the severity of its impact but you will also help society by reducing the spread and the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19.

Our training staff at Flow Fitness can provide you the guidance and accountability you need to help you reach your goals of living a healthier life.  Email if you would like to speak to someone about how we can help you.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish.

You can and should eat carbs at night

There are several myths in the nutrition and fitness world surrounding carbohydrates (or “carbs”) and their effect on our health. Most people believe carbs are “the devil” — the reason they gain weight. One of the biggest myths we hear is that if you eat carbs at night, they will turn to fat.  There is nothing farther from the truth.

Carbs are an important macronutrient, required for your body to perform at its best. In fact, consuming carbs at night can actually reduce stress while helping you build muscle and burn fat. Don’t believe me? Then keep reading.

When we are stressed, our bodies produce a naturally occurring hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress as part of our body’s “fight or flight” response, and it can affect every cell in our body.

Cortisol activates our sympathetic nervous system (sending commands to our brains such as “Run, Lift, Fight, Act Now”). When we are unable to properly shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode (commands such as “Rest, Digest, Recovery”), we can become caught in a vicious cycle of stress overload.

We should manage our cortisol levels so they peak at the right times, which include when we wake up in the morning, during our workouts and when we need to be alert and focused. However, we don’t want to spike our cortisol levels at the wrong times, either (i.e., just before bed or when meditating or relaxing), as this will lead to a state of stress. Reducing cortisol production allows our bodies to calm down so we can rest and recover.

Carbs can help us control our stress levels by blunting our cortisol response. Consuming them in the evening allows our bodies to tap into that parasympathetic mode, so we can ease into a more restful state of mind and eventually into sleep.

But that’s not the only benefit. Your body undergoes most of its repair and recovery while you’re sleeping, utilizing both protein and carbs as energy sources to repair your muscles. By eating carbs at night, not only are you blocking cortisol production, but you’re also providing the necessary resources for your body to build muscle and burn fat.

Of course, don’t take this as a license to eat pizza before bed; you still need to eat healthy and ensure your calories are in check, maintaining a caloric deficit or at neutral if you want to lose weight. You should also focus on carbs that are unrefined carbs such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Your diet should be evaluated based on weekly nutritional behavior and objectively based measurements, not by a singular item or meal-timing strategy. But at least now you know the truth about carbs — so go ahead and have that slice of bread with dinner!

Need help creating a fitness and nutrition plan? Sign up for a personalized training session at Flow Fitness today.