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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

 
— Amelia Earhart
 WELCOME
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a heptathlete mom, a mineral you might be lacking, and self-care for tired eyes. Read on... 

The heptathlon is considered the women’s ultimate all-round test of athleticism—it challenges athletes in seven track-and-field events. Jessica Ennis-Hill won Olympic glory in 2012 by earning a gold medal in this gruelling event for the UK. She’s a three-time world champion in the sport. In fact, Ennis-Hill won her second world heptathlon title in 2015—just thirteen months after giving birth to her first child.

Talking to UK magazine Absolutely Mama, Ennis-Hill gave this advice for fitness after pregnancy: “Do not feel under pressure to bounce back – I believe slow and steady is more important.  For the first 8 weeks after my pregnancies the most I did was pelvic floor work and rectus diastasis exercises – I followed a step by step programme to build up the right muscles in the right order and it has definitely worked. I have to admit I was impatient with my return from my first child but my physio was super strict and I now know she was right.”

Today, Ennis-Hill keeps up the track-and-field action as a sports commentator for the BBC.

Encouraging you to take it slow and steady if you’re recovering this week, Katherine & Linda
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 WORKOUT OF THE WEEK
Emily Thorne, Emkfit
We initially met Emily Thorne when she was a group fitness instructor at Elle Fitness, a boutique studio in Toronto. With the pandemic shutting down gyms, Emily left the city and moved back with her parents in Timmins, Ontario. Like many fitness pros, she pivoted to an online model, setting herself to the task of building up an audience for her Emkfit YouTube channel.

With a charming wit (she affectionately refers to her followers as “clowns” and sells t-shirts bearing her motto “Wrong and Strong”), Thorne never takes herself too seriously as she works to build up a community.

Try this: The star of Thorne’s videos is the music, and she picks fun genres that make her workouts fly by. These dance cardio workouts require no equipment. Check out this 28-minute Broadway HIIT Workout that sets explosive plyometric cardio moves to songs from Grease and Chicago. And, if you loved Troy, Gabriela, and Sharpay back in the day, you’ll want to try Thorne’s multi-episode High School Musical-themed HIIT workout series.
 NUTRITION
Is magnesium the next “hot” supplement?
It’s the eighth most common element in the earth’s crust, but unless you’re a chemist, you may have never considered how critical magnesium is to your body. Necessary for the functioning of hundreds of biochemical reactions, it’s a must for cellular and tissue integrity—every cell in your body needs magnesium to function.

The problem: because of decreases in the magnesium content of many of the foods we eat—from refined grains, to meat, to milk and cheese—we’re at risk for magnesium deficiency. That matters because dietary deficiency of this mineral raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, and plays a role in mood disorders such as anxiety.

Why do so many foods have less magnesium now than in previous generations? Scientists attribute the declining nutritional content of fruits and vegetables to agricultural practices to make vegetables grow bigger and faster, and resist pests. As a landmark study reported:  “Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” 

How can you naturally get more magnesium in your diet? Magnesium-rich foods include black beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, salmon, halibut, bananas, and spinach. You can also use a supplement— we like Trace Minerals Max-Hydrate Endurance Tablets.
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 WELLNESS
How to be kind to your eyes
Whether you wear glasses or have 20/20 vision, spending the day staring at screens can be exhausting for your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, screens won’t damage your eyesight, but they can cause strain. When staring at a screen, we blink less often, causing more fatigue.

So, try some self-care for your eyesight. To reduce eye strain when using a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as typical office light. Close drapes, shades or blinds, and use lower-intensity bulbs in your home office. Adjust the brightness of the display so it’s the same brightness of your surrounding workstation. 

Optometrists recommend adhering to the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and gaze at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.
  WHAT WE'RE READING
 
 Seaweed is a “health-boosting multitasker”—it contains vitamins, minerals, iodine, and prebiotic fiber; here’s a primer with ideas on adding seaweed to your diet (Dr. Frank Lipman)

 Quick, effective injury-preventing warm ups for squats, deadlifts, and bench press (Born Fitness)

 This Keto Chinese Lemon Chicken is a way-healthier version of the Chinese takeout classic—it uses coconut flour for a low-carb breading (Beauty and the Foodie)

 Lunges are the ultimate thigh-shaper; here’s how to do lunges with perfect form, plus variations to make this move tougher as you progress (SELF)

 Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are low in calories and an excellent source of protein. Check out these pulse recipes, including Moroccan Turkey Stew and Red Lentil Dip (Alive.com)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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