Strength for Runners

 

 As many of you know, I am a post collegiate distance runner and personal trainer. Also, NO my clients do not do what I do or do Run training(unless requested) if that is their focus.

But- for the purpose of this post, I would like to direct my focus to my specialty, my passion, rightfully so..my fellow running pals/teammates/ run nerds, what have you.

Following the recent trend in fitness that claims “Strong Not Skinny” is the way to grow..;) (Fit Pun there);  I would like to agree with that statement and encourage anyone reading this, especially RUNNERS to implement some kind of strength training into your weekly schedule.

I know that “lifting weights” has formerly been thought of as insignificant to distance run training in the past and many younger/less experienced runners tend to shy away from adding this tool to their training. Most runners actually don’t even think about it at all because they simply don’t want to take the time to do anything but run or they just don’t know a solid routine or how to properly do strength training.

To begin let’s just touch on some of the benefits of strength training in general(to even be considered a healthy, functioning individual:

  • To be considered healthy, American Heart Association recommends 2-3 days a week of strength training
  • No brainer– helps you accomplish daily tasks: like getting up off the toilet with ease or out of your office chair at work without issue, being able to lift normal objects by yourself, being able to perform all daily tasks by yourself and not being weak or having muscular atrophy because you neglect your muscles!!
  • Increases BONE DENSITY- our bones weaken and brittle as we age. It’s SO important to control this bone loss process and be STRONG at every age
  • It helps support muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments/all connective tissues that work together to give you daily strength and hold you together when you are tired in a run or workout.
  • Helps maintain weight/ or control weight loss/gain- strength training can add muscle weight depending on your training and diet but if you strength train as you age- you’ll be increasing your fat-free mass instead of storing FAT.
  • INJURY PREVENTION- While increasing bone density which helps prevent stress fractures and other common running injuries; being on a solid strength plan with your run plan will make your body overall stronger and more able to meet the increasing mileage demands or explosive workouts. Strong muscles in tact support sore bodies and hold you up as you fatigue late in a race or long run. Your muscle recruitment will work much more efficiently the fitter and stronger you become.
  • Improves blood flow throughout the body to the large muscle groups..like your quads, hammies, glutes..basically everything you need when running..cough* cough*
  • Improves resting heart rate, metabolism, manages stress level, creates “curves” hypertrophy, nice looking shape to the body instead of looking like a potato..-..-

Let’s back up, what is strength training?

Strength training is a number of different exercises imposed on the body that includes resistance training and places contractions on the muscles to build strength and shape to the muscles.

SO, Runners- I recommend that if you are NEW to strength training..start small. Do 2 days a week of strength training WITH your run training..this may mean you have a 2-a day every now and then(the weights part) unless you add it to a run double day; which I like to do sometimes. In that case- you have a 3- a day!! WOOOH baby!!

Start SLOWW! Meaning- Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday or any two day split a week you will do strength(45min to an hour I recommend). Sure you can get a 30 min full body workout in but I wouldn’t make it a habit if you want to improve..with water breaks, warm up, rest intervals it’s very hard and annoying to get a quality strength sesh in 30 minutes. Especially with all the distractions at the gym, unless you have your own set up at home, you can squeeze a quick HITT strength circuit in for sure!!

Newbies- Start with only a few exercises for the large muscle groups and keep it simple with something like- 3×10 of every exercise you do. Take only 45sec-1min rest between sets and try to be quick but efficient with the reps. Focus on form and ROM(range of motion), sloppy won’t help you and will result in injury or improper muscular development.

Once you are consistently implementing a good strength routine into your training, I would encourage you to do it 3 days a week- so M/W/F or T/TH/SAT or something. For runners- I would reccomend FULL BODY each day because we are not body builders building muscle shape or focusing on specific day splits for the body. Our strength training must compliment and assist our training that we do outside and ultimately make us stronger, faster, more efficient runners.

SO, every day you’re in the gym..make it count. Put in the work. Take the time, do the little things, do dynamic flex stretches BEFORE(refer to my previous blog about dynamic vs static stretching if you want to learn more about that), foam roll soreness, stretch after, and do injury prevention drills when needed.

What are some helpful strength training exercises for Runners?(Why I am glad you asked!! I happen to know a quite knowledgeable runner/personal trainer who is oozing with helpful hints! and let’s be real- the only reason you’ve opened this mini novel):

Drum Roll Please…

Legs/Glutes/Hamstrings/Quads/Calves/Hips:

  • Deadlifts w/ barbell,Dumbell,kettle bell, or body bar
  • Lunges w/ DB or bar
  • Good mornings
  • SQUATS/ Squat Jumps
  • Lateral Leg Lifts
  • Bridges
  • Donkey kicks, fire hydrants, Prone straight leg raises
  • Calf pumps/ machine or standing
  • leg press, hamstring curl
  • balanced hip drop(off steps)
  • TRX!!!(I’ll get into this more in a future post about TRX strength training since I am now teaching this class as well!)

Shoulders/Chest/Arms/Back:

  • Standing or seated shoulder press w/ medball/kettle bell/ barbell/body bar/machine
  • Inverted Push ups/push up on bench/ bosu ball push ups/ One leg-push up
  • bicep curl w/ elastic band/body bar/DB, weight plate, body bar, small child..ect.
  • Overhead triceps extention w/ cable, DB, or Kickbacks
  • Lateral raise to deltoid raise w/ machine or DB
  • Fly/Reverse Fly w/ machines or DB
  • DIPS
  • PULL UPS
  • High pulls/raises w/ kettle bell, DB, Bar
  • Front raise & hold w/ DB
  • TRX!!!!!

CORE/Hips

  • I hate basic crunches. There I said it. Be creative and also protect your spine..
  • stability ball roll outs/jacknifes-single/double leg
  • bridges/hip ups -single leg/double
  • side lying hip ups
  • clams
  • external oblique rotation w/ med ball or resistance band
  • med ball throws
  • russian twist
  • PLANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • TRX!!!!
  • Leg lifts to in & outs
  • Scissors/ flutter kicks
  • suspended abs/leg lifts/scrunches on machine

These are only a few of the countless number and combinations of strength exercises aimed to strengthen and support your run training. If you’re unsure of what to do first follow this format:

  1. cardio warm up 5-10 min (elliptical/arc/bike)
  2. Dynamic flexibility stretches and needed drills before strength routine
  3. Strength routine-45min-hour(30min if presses for time). Depending on week(mileage, race week? tired body?) listen to your BODY.
  4. break it up into 3×12 or 3×10 for beginners.  I typically do 4×12 of whatever I am doing that day an sometimes switch up my routine to a HIIT circuit with minutes and 2-3 times through a strength circuit of 8-12 different exercises
  5. Focus on doing only a few exercises from each main muscle group: chest, shoulders, back, arms, legs, glutes, core and you’ll be fine.
  6. COOL DOWN. at least 5 minutes and then STRETCH and foam roll. This prevents blood pooling and helps speed up recovery and ease sore muscles. DO IT.

You can certainly split your strength plan into different muscle groups each day and focus on different days, styles, routines for whatever you want. Everyone is different and it may take playing with this a bit to find what works best for you. Also, race weeks and tapering I only do 1-2 days of strength work to ensure I am ready to roll on race day!! I also do core at least 4 days a week now aside from strength at the gym. This is just a basic outline of what your strength work should look similar to and help guide you on what exercises to focus on to improve yourself as a strong runner!

I hope this post has helped a little and I know I didn’t cover absolutely EVERYTHING. But if you are looking for a more in depth look at a runner’s strength plan or want to talk about the way I write and carry out my plans, email me or message me!!! 🙂 I always love giving tips and helping anyone with fitness however I can.

The main takeaway today is- balance, consistency, and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. And have FUNNNN<3

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Nutrition Update-My tips & nutrition norms

Many of my clients and friends lately, have been nudging me to post a new nutrition blog with some of my eating and healthy habits.

I know it’s been a minute from the last time I wrote to you all and I am sorry!! 😦

 Life has been a bit busy lately with work and my own training. I’m also about to make a huge life transition which I’ll be going public with very soon! All good things going on, I just haven’t had the time or energy to devote my thoughts to my writing.

That will change very soon as well. I feel better having an outlet to share my thoughts and tips here to help encourage anyone else who may benefit or feel uplifted.

SO-with all that said, I have a few nutrition and overall wellness tips that I do that I believe you can all benefit from if you try some.

Eating 

What I stay away from:

  • soda or carbonated drinksI don’t need to sit here and list all of the negative health benefits of drinking soda..including weight gain and not to mention it burns your throat!! I don’t consume this stuff.
  • sweet tea! I know this one is unheard of being from the south but it’s been months and months since I’ve had this in my diet. If you can’t cut it completely, plan it for your cheat day or work on subbing it with a healthy juice instead with natural sugars.
  • Fried foods– Okay, so I do love to indulge in some wings or fried chicken every now and then after a hard run or logging some long mileage at the end of a hard week. But this should definitely be a moderation food for SURE!!
  • Processed packaged/canned foods- Alright, do you actually think your body understands what your putting into it if you can’t even pronounce it..? I do not eat what I do not know. Meaning- if I can’t list the ingredients on my hands or read and understand what they are..I DON’T EAT IT. It’s not natural and not good for your body to try to break down all these foreign chemicals and harmful additives.
  • Adding salt/seasoning or excessive sauce/dressing to foods- I understand that seasoning meats and adding sauce to pasta and dressing to salad is normal ans tasty. However, again this needs to be done in MODERATION. What good is a salad if it’s covered in dressing and you can’t even see any green? When you go out to eat, many times the food is already over-seasoned and high in sodium. Don’t add more!
  • RED MEAT- This is one most people call me a weirdo for. I don’t eat beef or pork at all. I only eat-chicken,fish, and turkey. This is mainly a personal choice to opt for leaner meats and I also don’t like eating them at all. I think if you do eat red meat you need to really research the meat you are buying and know where it was raised and packaged ect. Know what is in the meat and eat it sparingly if you consume red meats.
  • SWEETSHaving dessert or treating yourself every now and then isn’t a sin but if you’re trying to trim down or work on your six-pack..ice cream and cookies every night won’t get you there. I’m just being real. I like to eat an oikos greek yogurt cup with a scoop of coconut peanut spread and my favorite fruits or granola whenever I get a craving. Find healthy alternatives and your body will adapt.

What I normally eat:

  • GREENS & Veggies– Try to eat something green with every meal, even if it’s blended into a smoothie so you can’t taste it. You should add a variety of mixed veggies into your diet each week too, don’t get bland and bored with your food. Mix it up.
  • FRUIT- NATURAL SWEETENER. I like buying fresh, organic fruits that are currently in season. Switch it up and try new fruits each week! These are perfect for snacking throughout the day and you should try to eat fruit with most meals.
  • Lean Meats/Protein– As stated, I only eat: chicken, fish(a lot of salmon), and turkey!! QUINOA is also a great protein/ plant based option for you vegans.
  • Almond milk- I drink this instead of dairy milk. I used to drink soy but always drink almond now. You can get it unsweetened or in different flavors.
  • Almond butter/nuts- I’m a big fan of the Justin’s Almond Butter. I normally buy the singles in Target to add to my 4-6 little meals/snack packs throughout the day. I also love Aldi for a canister of healthy mixed nuts.
  • Fruit pouches– There are many kinds out there. I only buy the organic ones with just fruit and natural additives, NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!! If you pick anything up in the store with this as an ingredient, put it down and run away.
  • Whole Grain bread/Whole Wheat bread- Typically these breads are higher in nutritional value. I stay away from exceptionally starchy or “white breads”.
  • COCONUT- Oil, Milk, Butter..basically everything coconut.
  • Matcha/Green Tea- Put it in smoothies, coffee(just ask the Greystone Starbucks about me!), Protein shakes, or just inhale it.
  • DRINKS- WATER, natural juices(OJ,Cherry,apple, cran..ect), Vitamin Water XXX Zero, Coconut water, smart water, non-dairy milk. OCCASIONAL- Craft beer, whisky(rarely), or weekly-biweekly(depending on training and race schedule) glass of RED WINE. anddd did I mention..WATER?! oh and COFFEEEEEEE.

My Vice:

I guess if I could name the one bad thing in my diet right now would be my venti iced white mocha addiction. I get it many days throughout the week and it gets me through work and peps me up after an early morning run. I often get the matcha powder in it, which is healthy..yes. BUT-all of the sugar from the syrup in the drink I’m sure I could do without.

All of these nutrition tips are what I normally live by and do. I’m not saying these are what everyone should do but this works for me and my training. I do drink a ton of water, don’t eat/drink those listed items and I am disciplined because I know I perform better that way.

Over time, it really has become normal and just is a part of my lifestyle. Any change you make in your diet takes time. Habits form after about a month of repetition and commitment.

Even if you read this and pick maybe one or two helpful tips, try them for a few weeks and see how you feel!

I’m not perfect and sometimes life gets busy and I’m stressed at times too and don’t eat enough for the amount of training I do, and I don’t drink enough water. But I can absolutely tell in my energy level and performance when I do the little things and stay committed.

Age or activity level isn’t an excuse, neither is cost. Fruits and vegetables are so cheap, cheaper than buying food out at fast food places throughout the week!! YOU are in charge of you and your health. Excuses shouldn’t stop you from transforming or maintaining your body in the way that you want it. Just because it doesn’t happen over night doesn’t mean you give up.

We are given just one body in this life and it is a precious gift. Treat your body as the temple it is and fuel it carefully with love and goodness.

Stay in your lane!

Often times whenever I had track practice in high school or even college, someone would inevitably find themselves in the way on the track as a train of distance runners were blazing by in a workout.

Our coach, or the front runner would simply yell-“TRACK!!!” Or “LANE 1!!” And immediately, everyone knew to move out of lane one.

 

It’s important to stay focused on the lane you’re in so you don’t get knocked off balance or lose sight of your own goals.

If we get too distracted by what’s going on in the other lanes around us, we become distant and weary of our own goals; fixated by what’s around us and not helping ourselves move forward.

I’ve been getting a lot of comments recently about how “little” I am. When I tell some people that I’m a personal trainer they expect a “bigger” bulkier person I guess.

One lady even said,”well you’re a tiny little thing aren’t you?”, while I was going to meet one of my clients on the floor.

Well, I’m also a competitive distance runner and I run 70 or more miles a week. This week I’ll hit 90 miles as I’m inching up the volume and intensity focusing on the half marathon in my racing future. I do my own strength training that’s supportive to my running training cycle.
I’m here to tell you that your appearance doesn’t always define your strength and everyone is training for something different! So comparing yourself to others in the gym or sizing people up makes no sense and it’s insecure in my opinion.

Body builders do not look like distance runners and I do NOT look like a body builder because we each train differently and have different goals.
I do my own strength training 2-3 times a week in the gym but everything I do inside the gym is to respect and improve my running. That’s my training and my goal. You have to have tunnel vision in a sense to ignore other people’s comments or opinions of your training. You’re not training to appease anyone, you’re training to reach your own goals.
Of course my clients training is not at all what I do because they have their own goals and needs.

I just wanted to share that you can be “small” but still have incredibly strong and defined muscles that support whatever you’re training for. You can also be “bigger” than some people think is acceptable and still be beautiful and strong.

One of my friends- Nicole, recently started working out and training for gymnastics. She posted a lovely picture & message on her insta & facebook about her own body image and how proud of herself she was. I think we can all learn from her positive self talk and motivation!

 

It’s a very common misconception that anyone in a gym or personal trainer should look like they split their week into- “leg day”, “chest day” ect..well leg day is every day for me!!
I also want to encourage anyone reading this post to accept small victories. Whatever day your having in your fitness or training is a good day if you make even one step forward. I always tell my clients- where you’re at not isn’t where you’ll be. Stay committed and believe in yourself. I always make them give me one positive comment in place of a negative one.

It’s alright to feel impatient and discouraged at times but don’t let that be your focus. Use it to be better.

Focusing on the negative things or comparing yourself to another person makes no sense at all and doesn’t help you reach your goals.


A truly successful athlete doesn’t have time to criticize another athlete or obsess over another persons training or body image.
They focus on each day and making themselves better in whatever way they can that day.


Let’s all do that from now on, stay in your lane. And encourage one another instead of trolling on someone who you know nothing about or what they’re training for or going through.
Enjoy YOUR training and focus on YOU and respect everyone for where they’re at and their goals being different. There are all kinds of “strong” out there. Own yours & don’t get distracted.

Spring workout outside in 30-45 minutes! Easy, anywhere,anytime for your schedule

Spring is on the horizon finally and it’s time to get outside!! The days are going to get longer soon so it’s a great motivator to get some fresh air on your lunch break or after a long day to blow off some steam outdoors. 

 

         

 You can always start your day off on the right foot(pun intended) with a refreshing, FUN, and simple outdoor workout.

I’ve combined the “fartlek” running workout with a few easy to do-anywhere body weight exercises for you to try together. This workout can be done pretty much anywhere you want: from your neighborhood to a park or from the office on your lunch break. It will only take you a little over 30 minutes to 45 minutes to complete depending on your rest and how quickly you move through each exercise.

(I don’t have any pictures or videos unfortunately for you, but I will add those in this blog post later!)

For now here’s the run down of the workout:

5-4-3-2-1 ( You rill RUN/or WALK, 5 minutes, then STOP & do the given exercise, then RUN/ or WALK the next “4” minutes & STOP & do the next exercise & so on.)

Next: You will do 5-4-3-2-1 AGAIN with given exercises to complete between Run/Walking intervals.

Take 2-3  minutes REST between 5-4-3-2-1 “set” then start the last 5-4-3-2-1

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1

5- 30 seconds jumping jacks

4- 15 pushups

3- 10 lunges each leg

2- 10 standing lateral leg lifts each leg

1-(after last minute, at end of first 5-4-3-2-1 set) 30 crunches

REST: 2-3 MINUTES BETWEEN SETS

Start 5-4-3-2-1 Last set:

5- 20 jump squats

4- 12 lateral lunges each leg

3- 15 supermans/back hypers 

2- 20 tricep dips(use park bench or chair)

1- 20 mountain climbers

RECAP:

  • 2x 5-4-3-2-1 (30 minutes of Cardio-Run/Walk TOTAL) your choice
  • 2-3 minutes REST between EACH set of 5-4-3-2-1
  • 10 TOTAL body weight exercises you can do ANYWHERE

Have FUN with this workout & invite a friend to do it with you!!

Get outside & just go at your own pace! Decreasing rest will intensify the workout and you’ll get done faster…;)

Enjoy getting FIT this Spring & getting some sunshine!!

 

Simple, Healthy living tips & checklist for a busy week!


Staying on top of a healthy lifestyle between work, home life, and all of our other obligations throughout the week can be a real struggle! Many of us simply neglect taking time to devote to planning healthy eating, getting enough rest and taking a minute to set our priorities in order.


Fine tuning your eating and living a healthy lifestyle is important for all of us but even more so for athletes and active people.

I’ve found a few helpful tools this week I’d like to share. As a new personal trainer, this week was my first full week on the schedule at the YMCA where I currently work as a health coach and trainer. I’ve already learned a lot from my amazing supervisors and new family at my branch.

One resource I found, in the personal trainer office there’s a slew of handouts that contain information ranging from stress, eating tips, fitness suggestions and home workout tips.

This week, I’d like to share some for overall healthy lifestyle and healthy eating for those of us who struggle with maintaining a balanced plan for busy weeks we face.

It can feel like wave after wave crashing against you, week by week, and instantly you’ve lost track of your fitness regimen. Eating habits fall by the waste side and you’re so tired, you just go from one task to the next, forgetting about taking care of yourself first. I’ve been there too, trust me. But if we are to live a balanced life; an enjoyable and joyful life, we need to do better.

So, first I want you to look at these TWO survey checklist handouts & really be honest with where you know you’re at with overall lifestyle & eating(the second sheet!!) then keep reading for some great tips!:)


In this handout below I’d like to share a little refresher for all of us to do during the week: it’s called “portion-proof your environment” but really it’s just a few awesome tips to pack in your bag throughout the week to help you kick butt!!

 

I really love that these handouts focus on the SMART goal system. All goals are-

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timed

This next handout relates to the SMART goal focus too, not just eating habits and planning. It’s one of my favorite in this packet-“Boost your metabolism”

  


Okay, I know that’s a LOT of info! I’m here to help remember? 😉 I just share what I know and read, research & if I find it helpful..hey maybe they will too! Let me share.

Last tip I’ll post is one regarding a topic I’ve had a lot of questions on this week and really all the time. “Lauren, I want to eat healthy but I don’t have time and I don’t know what to eat!”

Well friend, https://www.choosemyplate.gov has all you need for a baseline of proper nutrition.

This is what your plate “should” look like now, not that old inaccurate pyramid from elementary school. 

Last picture I SWEAR!! Lol then I’ll let y’all get some sleep & rest! 🙂 I hope my tips have been helpful to you all at least a little. But I know you’re all smart and already know and do these! So please share, comment and let me know what you want to see posted for next weeks #FitnessFriday

Strength Training & Aging

Jonathan Goodman is a personal trainer I follow and subscribe to his fitness posts & website weekly theptdc.com. I always like to read his new tips & learn some of his theories as I am a new trainer still improving myself for my clients needs.

Many individuals 65 or older are becoming more active and engaging in strength training now more than ever!

This is so exciting to me as a trainer because it’s so important for us all to continue to maintain and adapt our training for our respective age. 

This article from Jonathan Goodman’s site is a perfect tool to use for clients 65 and older: https://www.theptdc.com/2017/01/how-to-assess-older-clients/

This post lists a few tests to perform for balance and flexibility; as well as the muscles that need the most attention in order for the aging clients to perform normal functional activities throughout their week.

According to this article, “people in their 80s have 40% less strength than people in their 20s”. That’s crazy to think about how our strength gradually declines so much after 50!! But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to aid this dilemna.

I’m elated to know that there are so many older adults improving their fitness and I see it every day at my gym as a trainer.

Targeting the main muscle groups like: glutes,legs, arms, shoulders, trunk and hips only makes sense to strengthen so that these clients can perform daily activities like-getting out of bed in the morning, walking up and down stairs and maintaining an upright posture so they won’t fall. 

Falling seems to be a huge risk for the elderly. The three “functional tests” for older clients tests the quality of movement and shows the risk that a client may have for falling or not having adequate strength.

  • Up and go test
  • Sit to stand test
  • Functional squat test 

 Risks that the aging population face can be stopped through strength training and properly informing clients on the changes that they’re facing. This article highlights each age category and the directions for the tests listed above.

I completely agree that strength training is even more important to older people to stop muscular atrophy and improve balance and coordination. 
I’ll definitely be incorporating some of these tests and tips for my older clients in the future. 

Sorry for not posting a “Fitness Friday” topic last week I was battling a sinus infection and didn’t have any creative juices available for you all. I’ll be posting more fitness tips of my own as well in the near future but I wanted to post this one too because I found it relevant for my learning and thought many of you may benefit reading this little snippet too!

Happy training and Fitness Friday fam!

Healthy & yummy alternatives to your late-night snack!

Many of us get a little sugar craving late at night before bed. It’s important to know what to reach for instead of high sugar foods with little nutritional value!

laurensiphonepics-024

If you are very active it’s pretty normal to get hungry all the time, especially at night.
Your metabolism is probably working on overdrive so it’s super important to fuel it right when you go for a little snack.

Some other reasons we get hungry at night may be:

  • dehydration!
  • Didn’t eat enough during the day
  • Low sugar levels
  • Lack of proteins
  • Bored, watching tv

 Don’t grab high fatty foods like- cakes,sugary desserts, high greasy containing foods, heavy meats or a lot of dairy and cheese options. They will keep you up and just add on calories while you sleep.

Here’s just a few things I recommend switching to instead of ice cream, cookies and other fatty/sugar-filled snacks at night:

1. Greek yogurt w/ fruit &/or granola

Sometimes at night, I go to the fridge and get a small bowl of Greek yogurt and put a few spoon fulls of some granola. Maybe a few pieces of fruit too. This is an extremely low calorie option and it’s sweet! High protein,night antioxidants, LOW FAT. Need I say more?

2. Frozen fruit bites w/ peanut butter

Again with the natural,low fat sweet option here. Fiber, good carbs, and sweet protein from the peanut butter instead of chocolate or ice creams.

3.Smoothie or smoothie bowls

These require a bit more effort but if you just can’t get away from craving something ice cold and sugary-blend up some of your favorite fruit, add some veggies in there too(you won’t even taste em!) & add peanut butter or a little cocoa powder.

4. Whole grain crackers w/ avocado 

Okay so, as long as you keep it under around 150-200 calories before bed you can really play with what you choose. Crackers are great if you want a little salt instead of sweet. They give you some whole grains & keep the calorie count low. Whatever you put on your cracker is up to you, you know what you like! Just don’t go crazy.

5. Dark chocolate 

Yes, chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually very good for you in small amounts. Having a few pieces before bed won’t break your diet if you have one and it’s a lot less sugar than normal chocolate.

6. Cereal 

Yup. Sometimes if I’m hungry again, my cereal can do no wrong. I love some honey, flaky clusters with berries. Whatever brand you like, get something similar to granola-it’s sweet and filling.

7. Half a bagel and almond milk 

I always buy the whole wheat bagels and sometimes I’ll put some of my fav coconut-peanut spread on it by earth-balance. And a cup of almond milk or soy milk before bed is just as sweet and fills me up just right.

8.Sweet potatoes

I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes. Chips,fries, plain..you name it I LOVE!! They’re healthy veggies and YUMMY!! Eat a little bit, that’s all you need and you’ll be just as obsessed as me.

So there’s really no set formula for you to completely fend off late night sugar cravings BUT if you stay within that reasonable calorie range and don’t binge, you’ll be good to go.you can always make a mini protein shake or a protein bar works too. Just remember to try to go for the most naturally sweet foods like- fruits, peanut or almond butters, whole wheat/whole grain foods, soy/almond milks, yogurts and if you eat cheese don’t eat a ton! Less is more here.

And sometimes your body may just need to hydrate! Drink a glass or two of water and see if that helps first. If you want-make a batch of detox water and gulp it down.

Balance is always key. Eating desert is okay and I’m not saying you can’t have the cheesecake or celebrate with a birthday cake or go out with friends for ice cream, but I am saying NOT every night.

Remember what you put in your body is fuel. If you constantly put bad fuel in your body you can’t expect yourself to perform at a great level or where you expect to.

Reward yourself but reward your body in the right way too for all of its’ hard work!