HYDRATION BASICS: Are you drinking enough?

autri-taheri-water.jpg

We are made up of roughly 45-60 percent water and how much you need to drink each day depends on a number of factors such as:

  • age and gender
  • body type and composition
  • activity intensity and duration
  • sweat rate
  • stress
  • illness and inury
  • climate
  • supplements

So, whether you’re sitting at as desk all day, getting multiple workouts in, headed out for a hike, recovering from an injury, or relaxing in the sun on vacation, it’s always important to hydrate properly and recognize when you may or may not be getting enough in.

karim-ghantous-water.jpg

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO BE DRINKING?

A good general recommendation is about half your body weight in ounces.

That may sound like a lot if you're someone who currently only drinks a glass here and there, but as you start to become more aware, you'll be able to fine-tune how much you drink and when. Paying attention to your urine, your skin, how many glasses you're consuming each day, and the foods you're eating, will help you better understand your body and how it's responding.

And just in case you're thinking you need to go pound 12 glasses of water, your intake doesn’t come only from drinking water. It also makes up your coffee, tea, milk and nut milks, and certain solid foods such as watermelon, lettuces, cucumber, broccoli, etc. With thirst and awareness as a guide, we as humans are generally able to stay pretty well hydrated, but for those not particularly aware of the body's messaging, below are just a few reasons it's so important to drink up and tips for ensuring you're taking care of your body for the long haul.

WHY HYDRATION AND WATER IS IMPORTANT:

  • Water is the primary building block of cells
  • Regulates internal body temperature 
  • Metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates
  • It is the primary component of saliva and is used in digestion and swallowing
  • Lubricates joints and acts as a shock absorber
  • Insulates the brain, spinal cord, organs, and fetus
  • Flushes waste and toxins from the body
  • Carries oxygen and nutrients to cells
  • Promotes healthy weight management
  • Boosts the immune system

TIPS FOR STAYING HYDRATED

ALWAYS CARRY A WATER BOTTLE: Keep a water bottle in your bag, in your car and at the office. You can never be too prepared. Refilling your water bottle at the office also requires you to get up and walk around which helps prevent long periods of sitting when you get caught up in that pile of emails.

DRINK OFTEN: Keeping your water bottle handy helps with this, but you have to remind yourself to actually use it. Rather than chugging water infrequently whenever you remember, drink consistently throughout the day to continually hydrate.

DRINK WHEN YOU WAKE UP: After a long (or short) night's sleep, you'll want to rehydrate with a glass of water. My recommendation: drink 8 oz water with the juice of half a lemon to stimulate your liver and digestion, flush toxins and boost metabolism before anything else enters your body.

SET AN ALARM: If you tend to lose track of the last time you drank, set a timer or alert on your phone every 30 minutes as a reminder to take a sip.

REPLACE ELECTROLYTES: For workouts less than an hour, this usually isn't an issue, but if you sweat a lot or if you're doing a long workout, it's important to replenish your lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) as well as water. You can do this through food in your post workout meal and adding salt to foods (1/4 - 1/2 tsp), but the easiest way is to add an electrolyte sports drink to your water bottle during your longer workouts.

POST WORKOUT MEALS: Consume nutrient dense foods and drink water after exercise to assist in the re-hydrating process.

BE AWARE OF THIRST CUES ALWAYS.

HOW TO TEST YOUR HYDRATION

Dehydration can be detected primarily by paying attention to symptoms. And if you're thirsty, you're on your way to dehydration.

Another way to test is through skin elasticity. Pinch the back of your hand and lift the skin. If a fold of pinched skin returns to its original shape especially slow (called tenting), then you may be dehydrated. 

skin test.png
urine chart.jpg

And the best way in my opinion to check for hydration levels is to pay attention to your urine. If your urine is transparent, you may be drinking too much water. Pale straw to transparent yellow is observed as normal hydration levels. And if you are seeing dark yellow, you may be on your way to dehydration or already dehydrated and should drink water soon. Anything beyond that, schedule to see your doc. 

Early signs of dehydration:

  • thirst
  • dry mouth, eyes and nose
  • decrease in energy
  • fatigue and weakness
  • increased body temperature
  • muscle cramping
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dark urine with less volume (note that certain supplements and vitamins, such as B12, can cause urine to be bright yellow, which may not be indicative of dehydration)

Severe dehydration can also include:

  • muscle spasms
  • vomiting
  • dark urine
  • decrease in performance
  • vision problems
  • loss of consciousness
  • kidney and liver failure

The remedy for dehydration is simple: Drink water. It’s better to take frequent sips of water rather than chugging larger amounts infrequently. Adding in sport/energy drinks can help restore carbohydrates and electrolytes and pay attention to that pee!

Summer Post-Workout Recipe: Blackberry Basil Smoothie

blackberrybasilsmoothie

ACCORDING TO BARRE3: THIS IS THE OFFICIAL SMOOTHIE OF BARRE3 ANYWHERE 2018

Yeah! Thanks, Barre3! If you missed it in their instagram stories, I got you covered. Scroll below for the full recipe! But if you feel like witnessing my first ever Instagram Stories video, it's a hoot to watch me on camera (talk about vulnerable firsts) and you should go check it out. 

This recipe is THE PERFECT post workout smoothie, not to mention, super refreshing for those hot summer days and when you're short on time.

POST-WORKOUT/HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Protein (protein powder)
  • Fat (coconut and avocado)
  • Fiber (spinach and greens)
  • Electrolytes (coconut water)
  • Antioxidants (blackberries)
  • anti-inflammatory (basil and bee pollen)
  • Fights free radicals (basil and bee pollen)
  • Supports a healthy gut (basil and bee pollen)

BERRY BASIL SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 serving protein powder (we suggest collagen protein or your favorite plant-based protein)
  • 6-8 oz. coconut water
  • 1 cup frozen berries 
  • 1 handful spinach or your favorite leafy greens
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened shaved coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • ¼ – ½ avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. bee pollen (*optional)
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom (*optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, and whir away until smooth.
vitamix

Need a Tip for quick and Easy Smoothie Making?

Place all ingredients of your smoothies (except for the liquid) in a mason jar, ziploc, or airtight container and pop into the freezer. When ready for your perfect post-workout smoothie, open the freezer, toss the contents of the mason jar into the blender along with recommended liquid and blend.

smoothieprep
berrysmoothie

And if you still haven't downloaded the Super Shakes Guide, it's your easy guide to making a perfectly balanced smoothie every single time, no matter what ingredients you have on hand. Snag it here!

If you whip up this delicious smoothie, take a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #barre3anywhere and #rwfeats and let me know what you think!

THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

sunshine vitamin.jpg

Did you know that 40-60% of the US population is deficient in the beneficial (and crucial) vitamin D, otherwise known as “The Sunshine Vitamin”?

This is especially true for those living in a northern region and because it is extremely rare in foods, it's nearly impossible to get all of our needs from food alone.

What is it and why are we deficient?

Simply put, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure on the skin. However, in order for our bodies to convert the cholesterol in our skin to Vitamin D, we need UVB exposure, which is typically what we are trying to avoid when we lather ourselves up with sunscreen.

When we apply an SPF of 8+ or higher, the amount of Vitamin D that can be made by the body decreases by about 95%, which is great for skin cancer prevention, but not for your Vitamin D requirements – or your overall health and well being. If you think you’re getting your daily dose when sitting in a sunny window at work or driving down the highway, think again. Window glass blocks essentially all UVB rays preventing the skin’s absorption.

Do you have darker skin AND live in a northern region (think: north of an imaginary border from Northern California to Boston)? You have higher levels of melanin in your skin which makes your skin better at screening out most of the already limited sunlight you’re exposed to for those 4-6 months out of the year.

And if getting older wasn't enough already, as we age, our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D is reduced by 75%. 

If you're a plant-based eater, have malabsorption issues, or have Crohn’s or Celiac disease, you’re at higher risk for deficiency as well.

Pregnant or trying to conceive? It's highly recommended you take additional supplementation to support both you and your baby during this time. Most prenatal vitamins contain 400 IU and studies have shown taking an additional 4,000 IU daily had the greatest benefit for preventing pre-term labor and infections.

Low levels in the body are associated with:

  • Increased risk of cancers
  • Development of diabetes
  • Decreased immunity
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Neurological disorders
  • Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression

The take-away? We all need Vitamin D supplementation!

Food vs. Sun vs. Supplements

Vitamin D is extremely rare in foods and the likelihood that you’re getting in enough daily from food alone is pretty low. Some good sources include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, fish liver oils such as cod liver oil, mushrooms, whole raw milk products, and eggs so begin making an effort to eat more Vitamin D-rich foods.

Additionally, attempt to get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen), 2-3 times per week.

However, the easiest way to ensure adequate amounts in our system is through simple supplementation and it's one of top recommendations for everyone. 

How much do you need?

The official recommendation for supplementation is only 400 IU but this is purely to prevent deficiency, not for optimal health. The recommended intake to maintain OPTIMAL and HEALTHY levels in the body (which is what we strive for, right?) is approximately 4,000 IU (from sun, food, and supplementation). That's a big difference! And if you’ve been deficient recently and are trying to regulate your stores, you might require up to 5,000/day for 6-12 weeks afterwards.

My go to D supplement is Thorne liquid D. It has 1,000 IU in 2 drops so you can adjust for your own personal requirements. 

Example:

  • Pregnant or trying to conceive and taking a prenatal that has 400 IU, add an additional 6 drops (3,000 IU) of Liquid D
  • Northern regions and darker skin: Take 4,000-5000 IU in winter months and 2,000 IU in sunny months
  • Aging population 5,000 IU

*I recommend discussing your personal vitamin D status and supplementation needs with your physician, nutritionist, or dietitian before considering a vitamin D supplement. 

And in regards to sun exposure, I am not recommending you avoid sunscreen, but balance your exposure with/without protection so you absorb your D needs while still preventing your risk of developing skin cancer.

If you're unsure of your personal needs, feel free to reach out!

Happy sunning!

Perfect Your Kettlebell Swing

Can we talk about the simple, yet complicated, Kettlebell Swing? This is one of the most beneficial movements that translates into true, functional and applied strength...when done correctly.

kettlebellswing.jpg
kbs.jpg

The kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement that trains your ability to maintain control with varying speeds and creates a strong foundation for generating power. And that power translates into...everything....from carrying heavy groceries, executing a golf swing, playing with your kids, surfing, thrusting your heavy suitcase into the overhead compartment, you name it.

MUSCLES WORKED:

  • The entire posterior chain, but primarily,
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Core 

BENEFITS:

  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Improves athletic performance in ALL activities
  • Increases cardiovascular capacity
  • Creates a strong foundation for force production

EXECUTION: 

*Before attempting to Swing (hinging with power), you must first MASTER basic hip hinging (example: deadlift) 

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart
  2. Begin with KB on the floor about a foot in front of you, making a triangle with feet and KB
  3. Hinge down and back with hips and reach forward for KB handles (aka horns). Holding onto KB, pack shoulders down and back and engage/brace core.
  4. Quickly pull KB up and towards your hips/inner thighs so that forearms connect with upper inner thighs as if the bell were to tap your bottom (yes that high), while maintaining a neutral spine and engaged core
  5. Immediately, thrust hips forward explosively to create momentum of the KB, keeping shoulders packed and core engaged. KB "float" height is determined by how much power you exert from your hips (*note: if the KB goes above shoulder height, you have lost the engagement in your core and shoulder complex and are using your shoulders to lift)
  6. Using control, decelerate the KB back down between legs, hinging from the hips again, and immediately repeat, without pause.

CUES/REMINDERS:

  • Think "hinge, pop and float" rather than "squat and lift"
  • Hinge at the hips and get hips waaaay BACK
  • Use hip thrust to propel weight forward and up
  • Maintain neutral spine and braced core throughout movement
  • Keep shins vertical 
  • Keep chest open and shoulders back and packed
  • Forearms should touch inner thighs at bottom of swing
  • Drive hips forcefully, making KB "float" to shoulder height
  • Form an upright plank with your body at the top of the swing
  • This is an explosive lower body movement

AVOID/DON'T: (just drilling this in here...)

  • Don't Squat
  • Don't let KB go below knees at the bottom of movement, do not let weight pull you down
  • Don't round or arch back at any point
  • Don't raise KB above shoulder height by using shoulders (*it will feel heavy if you use arms and will feel light if you drive and exert power from your legs)

Note: It is extremely beneficial to learn this move IN PERSON, but if you don't have access to a professional, consider the above tips for perfecting your form.

*Start with a weight light enough/heavy enough that allows you to perform movement with proper form. What does that mean? Light enough that you are able to maintain proper form throughout execution, yet heavy enough that allows you to exert enough power and produce force. 

Smoked Trout, Arugula and Treviso Salad

 Image courtesy of www.ful-filled.com

If you haven't used treviso, raddichio or endive before, say hello to this family of bitter chicory greens. Distinctively complex with a slightly bitter and earthy flavor, they can be served raw or cooked, and have sturdy leaves that hold up to heat. Which reminds me of an incredible lunch we had in a small village on the border of Lazio and Tuscany on our Italy trip this past fall. Seared Steak with a delicately grilled balsamic raddichio and pecorino. Simple, yet so perfect.

This recipe is not that one, but was first inspired by this gorgeous photo and second by a dish we had last week at our favorite weeknight date spot in our neighborhood. Simple, yet perfect. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

SMOKED TROUT, ARUGULA AND TREVISO SALAD

SERVES: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 c wild arugula
  • 1 small head treviso, thinly sliced
  • 1 blood orange, *sectioned and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 fillets of smoked trout, roughly torn
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • pecorino, freshly shaved

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
  2. Place arugula, treviso, blood orange, trout and pistachios in a large bowl. Drizzle small amount of dressing (or your own desired amount) around edges of bowl to avoid pouring directly on the greens and gently toss. Season lightly with a pinch of maldon salt, fresh cracked pepper and shaved pecorino. 

*HOW TO SECTION AN ORANGE:

  1. Cut off the top and bottom so that the orange flesh is visible. 
  2. Now cut from top to bottom curving the knife to the shape of the orange. Repeat all the way around until all you have left is a bright orange, fleshy ball.
  3. Next, cut in between the white sections, placing your knife as close to the white membrane as possible, and slicing delicately to the core. If you follow the membrane, you’ll see that you’re cutting out wedges. Voila!

Photography by www.ful-filled.com  |  Recipe Development by Running With Forks