October is often the spookiest time of year when it comes to watching what you eat. A year’s worth of work can quickly be reversed during an indulgent holiday season. But fear not! We’ve been scoping out some of the yummiest meal prep menu items to help you stay on track and resist even the scariest of candy cravings.
Why Should You Meal Prep?
First, let’s talk about what meal prep is and why you should consider using it as part of your workout routine. Meal prep is a popular way of eating that involves preparing batches of food ahead of time to be eaten during the week. There are entire communities dedicated to meal prepping (after all, food brings people together), and even greater numbers of recipes to boot. Why, you ask? Many reasons.
Perhaps the most popular reason for meal prep is that it saves a ton of time. Most avid meal preppers reset and prepare an entire week’s worth of meals in one day. This way, you don’t spend your evenings, lunch breaks, and busy mornings scrambling to prepare food or falling back on unhealthy alternatives like sugary cereals or fast food. Meal prepping means food is ready when you’re ready, which is the way it should be!
Another popular reason for meal prep is that it helps you save money. Preppers usually buy food in bulk, because they’re making a week or even a month’s worth of food at a time. Buying in greater quantities actually reduces the cost of each meal, assuming you’re not adding insanely pricey ingredients to your normal everyday menu. Additionally, meal prep keeps you from eating out as often because food is available and ready to eat.
Portion control is one of the biggest benefits of meal planning. These days, there are many helpful products on the market that aid in the process of portion control, from trendy mason jars to food containers designed to limit the amount of food you eat. The average American eats far more than they need to in a day, and if you struggle with binging on your favorite foods, portion control can be a real lifesaver.
Imagine a world where you came home at the end of the day and dinner was already cooked. That’s what meal prepping is like. If you love the idea of reducing stress and being more organized, what better place to start than with what you’re eating? Ditch the daily dish-cleaning ritual and relegate your oven use to one night a week and you’ve just taken an amazing step towards beating stress (and being healthier).
Reframes Your Relationship With Food
We’re not saying you have to break up with your favorite foods in order to be a great meal prepper, but as a species, humans tend to romanticize food at great length. We’ve all done it, and food marketing is designed to be as sexy and appealing as possible. Meal prepping helps you redefine your relationship with food and can help your brain realize that, ultimately, food is just fuel.
We’ve scoured the internet and want to share some of our favorite fall-themed recipes that are perfect for meal prepping applications. From sweet to savory, we’ve got a little something for everyone to try.
Overnight oats are an awesome, nutrition-packed breakfast or dessert that can be made in advance and keep you full where something like a breakfast bar fails. The best part about overnight oats is that they can be made however you like them and are a suitable meal prep option year-round. Top them with fresh, seasonal fruit, honey, your favorite nut butters, chocolate chips, and more for a totally customizable breakfast you won’t quickly tire of.
Our pick for the season? These delicious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats from InspiredByCharm.com. These tasty cups feature flax and chia seeds which are great for digestion, as well as fall spices and dried fruit. Substitute your favorite toppings and enjoy a taste of fall.
As a rule, soups are wonderful as a meal prep application. You can make a lot of soup at once, you can freeze it, and it’s easily portioned into cups, bags, jars, or just about any other container you can imagine. They also re-heat quickly, making soup an excellent, quick meal for lunch or dinner.
This delicious Creamy Pumpkin Soup courtesy of byanjushka.com is vegan friendly and topped with crunchy, crispy chickpeas, which pack a nice protein punch. Make this in bulk and get ready to get into that fall feeling.
Fresh Thai Spring Rolls
If you’ve never had a fresh spring roll before, you’re truly missing out. This simple, quick, tasty food is the perfect lunch on the go. Usually a combination of raw veggies and your choice of protein, these spring rolls are encased in a springy rice wrapper. Fresh spring rolls can keep for several days and you can stuff them with whatever your heart desires. Eat them cold with your favorite dipping sauce for the best experience.
This tasty-looking specimen is another vegan/vegetarian-friendly option. Connoisseurusveg.com has created a yummy curry tofu version of this Thai treat using tofu, curry, scallions, cilantro, and other seasonal ingredients. We’ll take a whole tray full, thanks!
Turkey Meat Loaf Boxes
Meatloaf is one of those downhome comfort foods that we simply can’t say no to. The best part is that it’s easy to lighten up by choosing ground turkey as your protein. Meatloaf goes with so many different sides, is easy to reheat, and even easier to make.
Check out this great, simple recipe from BudgetBytes.com. We think it would be awesome with glazed carrots, steamed asparagus, or even roasted broccoli. Warm up a little bit of comfort any night of the week and keep your diet plan on track.
Apple Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is an incredible source of protein and fiber and is an incredibly versatile food when it comes to meal prep. It can be a side dish or a main dish, and takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it in. We’ve even seen it turned into mac and cheese!
This delicious, meal-prep-worthy Apple Quinoa Salad from Simple-Veganista includes crispy fall apples, grapes, maple syrup, and cinnamon, making it perfect for lunch or dinner. Almonds, in combination with dried fruits and other warm savory flavors like tahini, take this salad to the next level. Pre-mix the salad dressing or serve it on the side when you’re ready to eat!
Crockpot Beef Stew
Meal prep looks different for everyone. Some people love to prepare many small meals at once to eat throughout the week. Some people like making entire bags of food that are ready to cook at a moment’s notice. If you fall within the later category, then this recipe is perfect for you.
CookingClassy.com takes beef stew to a whole new level of simple by giving it the set-and-forget treatment in the crockpot. Prep all of your meat and veggies ahead of time, give your ingredients a little bit of toss in a pan to lock in all of that delicious flavor, then toss this into the crockpot and walk away! Seven to eight hours later you’ll have a hearty fall feast waiting for you, ready to serve a crowd.
ATC Fitness Can Help You Meal Plan
At ATC Fitness, we’ve watched countless people as they make their way towards their fitness goals. We’ve been there along the way and love to help people be successful. Ask any of our staff and they probably have a great recipe or two up their sleeves. If you’re ready to get started, join ATC fitness today and begin your journey!
Did you know that fitness and exercise are literally essential for every member of your family? From the kids to the older individuals in your pack, getting up and active is an important part of living a healthy, long life. If you’re considering getting the entire family involved at your favorite local gym, then we’ve got the best tips to keep everyone motivated and in shape!
Families That Play Together Stay Together
One of the best ways to get motivated at the gym is to do it with other people. Going together keeps you honest and provides a low-stress obligation that will ensure you make it to the locker room. Gym time can also be a great time to catch up and check in with different members of your family. Talk about how school is going while playing sports. Decompress from your workday with your significant other. Discuss how grandad’s day has been going and make plans for the weekend.
What Age Can Children Begin Attending The Gym?
Part of working out as a family involves including everyone. But you may be wondering at what age it’s safe to begin bringing your little one to the gym. The answer? It depends on the gym. Some facilities offer classes for young children to keep them engaged and moving at a level that’s reasonable for their age group. The majority of gyms will typically have a list of guidelines that let you know how old your child must be to attend. Some gyms may even have a supervised and unsupervised age requirement. Choose a gym that meets the needs of your family unit and get sweating together!
How Much Exercise Does My Family Need?
Did you know that the minimum of physical activity needed changes depending on your age? Children ages 6-17 need about an hour of physical activity every day to stay healthy. Adults from 18-64 should aim to achieve at least two and a half hours a week of moderate exercise. Ages 65 and above should also attempt to get those two and a half hours in a week, but if those goals can’t be met, then doing what their physicality allows is best.
Tips For Getting Everyone Active
Not everyone is going to have the same enthusiasm for visiting the gym, but here are some helpful tips when it comes to helping your family stay motivated.
Do It Together
As we mentioned earlier, playing together is a great way to stay active. This can be done in a variety of ways such as playing a sport, taking a class, or simply working out on the same circuit. Take turns encouraging each other as you strive to meet your fitness goals. Just remember that not everyone has the same goals. This tip is perfect for any age range. Take the extra time to help your kid learn how to perform a certain stretch or help your significant other get those last few reps in. You’ll both be happier (and healthier) for it!
Plan A Routine
The best way to stick with anything is to make it part of your routine. Set the expectation with everyone, even younger children that you’ll be spending time at the gym getting active during the week. Many families choose to make this happen two to three times a week. Evenings are popular, but working out in the morning is a great way to get everyone’s blood pumping and focus up for the rest of the day! Choose what works best for your family.
This is something that even the most seasoned gym-goers can forget. Be supportive of one another! The chances of everyone in your family being at exactly the same fitness level is slim to none, but that’s okay. Exercise, health, and wellness are a journey that everyone makes differently, even if they’re making it with loved ones. Furthermore, everyone has a different reason for showing up and sweating. Some might be there for heart health, some for building muscle and losing weight, or some may just really enjoy being at the gym and moving their bodies. No matter what, make sure the experience is supportive and inclusive for everyone.
Celebrate Small Wins
This one goes hand in hand with being supportive. Make sure to take time to celebrate wins, no matter how big or small. Did your daughter make great time around the track? High fives all around! Did grandma make it to every yoga class this week? Awesome. Did you manage to squeeze out the last few minutes of your HIIT routine? Fantastic! Cheering each other on strengthens family bonds and encourages everyone to keep going.
Gifts Can Be Motivating
When everyone is heading to the gym regularly, it makes gift giving fun and working out more motivating. Fitness trackers, yoga mats, new sneakers, or even purchasing a class is an awesome way to encourage the entire family to keep up the good work. And let’s be honest, everyone likes getting a present now and again.
ATC Fitness Is A Gym For The Whole Family
Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, even on holidays, ATC Fitness is your family’s workout and fitness home. Children can begin attending the gym with adult supervision at age 12. We offer fitness levels for any ability range. To get your family on their feet and on the road to better bodies, sign up today!
Simmons Bank presents STEP UP FOR 9/11
Mid South Firefighters,
ATC Fitness invites you to climb 110 flights like they did 20 years ago on 9/11. Duplicate the 110 Twin Towers flights on a stair stepper at ATC Fitness Center.
Stop by any ATC Fitness location on September 11th to participate. Packs encouraged but not required.
Ways to Sign Up
There are a couple of different way to sign up. Sign up here to pick your time and solicit donations for the Firefighters:
- In person at the Burn Unit at Regional One.
- Sign up online
The 20th Anniversary is Truly a Time to Remember
Don’t miss your opportunity to pay tribute to those who sacrificed everything on September 11th. Friends and family are welcome to come watch as you do your part to honor these firefighters' sacrifice.
Gym Etiquette Basics
So you’ve joined a gym and are ready to get ripped. Awesome! We’re excited to have you. But before we get started, there are a couple of things we need to go over. Every gym has its own set of helpful guidelines to make sure that everyone has a positive, fulfilling experience. But there are also some unwritten rules that all gym regulars can agree are important to follow. Following these rules keeps the peace, takes others into consideration, and will let your fellow gym mates know that you know what’s up when it comes to gym etiquette.
Read The Rules
A good place to start when considering the rules at the gym is simply...to read them! As we mentioned, most gyms have their own rules posted up for all of their members to read. These rules are here for a reason and more often than not, that reason is safety. But sometimes there are just some basic kindnesses on that list that you might not consider if you hadn’t taken time to read. And if you’re not sure about a rule, ask a staff member. They’ll usually be more than happy to help you.
Don’t Hog Equipment
This rule might be the first thing on your gym’s actual rule list, but just in case it’s not: Don’t be an equipment hog. The gym is a communal space, so it’s important to remember that earliest of playground rules---Sharing is caring! Be mindful of how long you use any one piece of equipment, especially if there are a lot of people at the gym. This can include machines, weights, or even independent workout areas. Take into consideration that you’re fitting the gym into your own schedule. That most likely means that other people are just trying to get through their own workout and get on with their day.
If the gym is fairly unoccupied, you can take a little extra time, but on average we recommend not using the equipment any longer than around 15 or 20 minutes at a time. If you feel like you need more out of that machine, go back to it later after someone else has had a turn.
Put The Weights Back
Going to the gym and using the weights can be intimidating enough without that particular area being messy and confusing. When you use the weights, make sure that you put them back in their slots, in the right order. It’s always better to leave a place a little nicer than you found it, and the gym is no exception. Putting the weights back is also an important safety tip. Tripping on a free weight is a more common accident than you’d think.
Use The Sanitizer
At this point in human history, we should be very very familiar with sanitizer and its many important uses. However, sanitizer has been a staple at gyms for years. In fact, did you know that there was a study conducted that determined that roughly 63% of all gym equipment had the command cold virus present on it?
As a rule, the gym staff will make regular sweeps to sanitize the gym and its equipment, but they also rely on patrons being thoughtful and wiping down the equipment with complimentary paper towels and sanitizer stationed throughout the space. If you’ve been touching something, wipe it down. And these days, it’s probably not a bad idea to wipe it down prior to using it either (just to be safe).
Clean Up After Yourself
Not only should you be sanitizing the equipment you use, but you should also be mindful of leaving more than germs behind when you’re finished. If you’ve been using paper towels to wipe your hands or body (by the way, invest in a towel), or have been downing plastic water bottles, don’t leave those items behind when you’re finished. The gym usually has ample trash cans conveniently located throughout the workout area, so use them. And if by some chance you notice someone else’s trash, it never hurts to be the bigger person and help keep the gym tidy.
Don’t Record Video And Be Mindful Of Selfies
Taking before and after pictures or even keeping a vlog is a great way to stay accountable during your fitness journey. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone at the gym wants to be part of that particular story. With that in mind, just don’t take videos at the gym and be very respectful with your selfie game. We’re so serious about this rule that many gyms won’t even let you record inside to protect other gym-goers’ privacy. Snapping a picture is okay, but even if you’re just taking a picture of the gun show, it’s hard for others to determine if you’re taking a picture of them. If in doubt, just save the camera for the car after you’re finished.
Who doesn’t love music? Jamming out to your favorite tunes can be really motivating when you’re working out. However, not everyone shares this sentiment. If you plan on using your phone or some other device to listen to music, make sure you have a pair of earbuds or headphones to use. If you’re using headphones, keep them on your head while you’re working out, or turn the volume down to an acceptable level where only you can hear what you’re listening to. And don’t even think about bringing your own Bluetooth speaker. It’s annoying in public, and it’s annoying at the gym. So don’t do it!
Don’t Be A Screamer
If you’ve ever been to a gym for any extended period of time, you may have seen this person. He’s the guy standing in front of the mirror pumping iron and grunting or shouting furiously. Please, don’t be that guy. We’re not suggesting that you have to be absolutely silent while getting your reps in, but there’s genuinely no need to growl and roar while you’re getting your sweat on. And if you are, maybe reduce the weight a little. Your workout shouldn’t be causing you severe anguish.
The Locker Room Isn’t Your Personal Bathroom
There are many benefits to working out at home, but if you’re choosing to come to the gym to work on your fitness, remember that the gym isn’t your house. Some people forget that and can sometimes get a little too comfortable. There’s nothing more shocking than seeing a naked stranger in the locker room when you didn’t expect to see it. A little bit of skin is expected in a locker room, just don’t overdo it. Make sure that you have a towel on hand, just in case. Or err on the side of caution and keep everything contained to a stall.
The Gym Isn’t For Dating
This rule is very important. People who come to the gym do so to get their work out finished and to get on with the rest of their day, not to find a date. Don’t be that guy or girl who makes others uncomfortable by commenting on someone else’s looks or stalking them around the gym. It’s creepy, invasive, and just not a good look. Failing to follow this rule is likely to get you kicked out of your gym, but if that’s why you were there to begin with---you were there for the wrong reasons.
Wear Clean Gym Clothing
Last but not least, be thoughtful of others and wear clean gym clothes. This is particularly essential if you’re a heavy sweater. Just because you don’t mind the smell of your own body odor, it doesn’t mean everyone else will appreciate it. And the only thing worse than body funk is reheated body funk. Yuck.
Now You’re Ready For The Gym
Now that you’re in the know, you’re ready to hit the gym like a professional! ATC Fitness prides itself on being a clean, inviting gym for fitness enthusiasts of all experience levels. To learn more about our rules and what we have to offer, visit one of our convenient locations. Sign up today and get started.
Find Your Fitness
When you start your fitness journey, there are bound to be some ups and downs. Every person has their own ability level, which means that exercise isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” sort of activity. Some people love cardio, where others would rather work on strength training. And while swapping up your routine to incorporate different kinds of exercise is important, it doesn’t always mean you love doing the exercises involved. However, there are many ways to work in different kinds of exercise that don’t involve heading to the gym to break out a sweat.
Kinds of Exercise
There are four main categories of exercise, all targeting a different aspect of physical ability.
When we think of working out, endurance or aerobic exercise is one of the most popular options. Endurance is an important part of fitness because it targets and strengthens our heart, lungs, and circulatory system. By building endurance, you can work out longer without needing to rest. In fact, when you begin working out, endurance is a great place to start. Even taking a light walk can improve your endurance. So get up and get moving!
Strength is the other superstar of the exercise world. After all, everyone wants to be strong. Strength training is another important cornerstone of exercise. Aside from making you stronger overall, strength training protects bone health and builds muscle mass. Strength exercises are the masters of body contour and weight loss. You’ll want to emphasize this kind of routine if you want that six-pack you’ve been dreaming of.
By pursuing balance-related exercises, we learn how to move and control our bodies better. Balance training is important for several reasons. One, it strengthens those oh-so-important stabilizing muscles. Working on balance also protects our joints and helps to keep them strong and less break-prone. And finally, balance exercises can help us look inward and improve our self-awareness as well as internal focus.
It is in exercise as it is in life: Flexibility is key. Practicing flexibility is an often overlooked kind of training but it’s very critical. Flexibility, coupled with strength, means that you’ll be able to withstand different levels of physical activity. It aids in our posture, reduces pain, and improves overall strength. Flexibility can take some time to build up, but it’s really important that you stretch before and after a workout. It gives your muscles a chance to warm up and prepare, as well as let them cool down gradually, reducing that dreaded after-workout soreness.
Choosing An Exercise
When picking an exercise, think about the kinds of activities you enjoy. Many workout routines incorporate fun into the mix, which is always a bonus when it comes to getting your sweat on.
Walking, Running, or Jogging
Walking, running, and jogging is an easy choice for many people. After all, you don’t need any fancy equipment and the sidewalk is free. Even if you’re at the gym, the treadmill is a great way to get your body moving. This type of exercise is great for endurance. Walking (at various speeds) has been proven to improve your mood, build self-confidence, help relieve stress by way of burning off excess energy, and is a solid way to burn calories. If you love nature, then look for parks or nature trails you can work through. Take in the sights and sounds and get a little exercise in during the process.
Swimming is an awesome way to exercise. Because we use all of our muscles to move around in the water, swimming is one of the only forms of exercise that works out your entire body all at once. The best part is that swimming, by nature, has exceptionally low impact, making it easy on your muscles and joints. Swimming builds endurance while still being exceptionally relaxing. It burns calories at an alarming rate and is wonderful for strengthening your heart and lungs. Swimming is also ideal for people who have injuries or conditions that might prevent them from following a more traditional workout. Finally, if you’re looking for an exercise that doesn’t involve dripping sweat, this one’s for you.
If you’re interested in being outdoors, but don’t want to hoof it, biking is another great activity that will make you feel the burn. Biking or cycling are excellent for working out your thighs, calves, butt, and even your core. It’s also an excellent way to break into fitness, as it’s good for beginners. Furthermore, studies have linked biking to improved mental health and reduced stress levels. So the next time you want to change up your workout routine, grab your helmet and hop on your bike. Many cities even have trails dedicated to cyclists that make riding your bike safe and efficient.
Dancing is an awesome exercise because it’s inclusive and can be done in so many different ways. Sure, there are dance fitness classes, but all you need is a little music and you’re well on your way to getting a fun and rewarding workout in. Dancing is awesome for weight loss, building endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. It keeps your brain and your body engaged in a fun activity and can be as rigorous or as gentle as you want it to be. And like all of the suggestions in this list, dancing can be done solo or with other people.
Feel The Burn At ATC Fitness
Looking for more suggestions or a dedicated place to work out? ATC Fitness is a full-service gym, complete with state-of-the-art workout equipment, hydromassage, and more. To begin to journey towards wellness, join today and learn why so many people choose us!