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As the days grow shorter and colder, many people struggle with the winter blues. Even though autumn and winter are filled with beauty and inspiration, they also can be challenging – especially for those who thrive in the sunnier seasons. The seasons have a notable impact on most of us, even if we don’t always realize it. Each season has its highs and lows, and each one is filled with valuable life lessons, but some seasons can be more difficult than others. If you find your mental health suffers in autumn and winter, here are some tips you might try to help make these seasons more enjoyable.

1. Venture outdoors 

The lack of light and shorter days can make it tough to go outside, but if you’re feeling down, making the effort to spend time in the fresh air can really help. Even just a quick walk around the block can improve your mood.

2. Seek sunlight

Pull up the blinds! Open the curtains! The lack of sunlight is one of the reasons for feeling down during darker seasons, so the more sunshine you can allow into your home, the better. Going outside isn’t always an option, but take advantage of sunny days indoors by allowing the light in.

While I’ve personally never tried a light box, it’s on my wish list for this upcoming season because it seems like light boxes help a great deal for those with seasonal depression (or less serious cases of the winter blues). Apparently there are many different types (as well as something called a “dawn simulator” that’s used to wake you up in the morning) so be sure to do your research and figure out which one would be best for you. 

3. Make some art

I know art isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you’re feeling down, give it a try. It doesn’t have to be traditional art either – try writing, pottery, drawing, painting, or sewing. Anything creative that allows you to get in a flow for a bit can help improve your mental state.

4. Practice yoga

Though I’m not particularly good at yoga (I generally do it only once a week), making even a little bit of time practice always makes me feel better, especially on extra gloomy days. If yoga isn’t your thing, any type of movement or exercise will be beneficial. 

5. Make plans and stay connected

When I’m feeling down, the last thing I want to do is be around people. But I’ve discovered that it’s often what my mind needs when I’m feeling down. I don’t enjoy going out in the cold, but indoor activities can work, too (as long as you take proper precautions). If you can’t be physically with someone else, a quick phone call or video chat can also help when you’re battling the blues.

There are many options to explore if you’re struggling during the darker days, but hopefully some of these suggestions will help. If you find yourself suffering a great deal, it’s always good to seek out professional help (whether in the form of therapy or from your doctor). And if you’re struggling now, know that you’re not alone; it’s perfectly normal to experience down days during periods of change. Keep in mind that, even when it doesn’t seem like it, the difficult darkness will pass. Seasons always change, and the way you feel will change, too.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no surprise with the amount of stress present in so many lives. Persistent stress triggers the amount of cortisol released into our body. Cortisol is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, but chronic levels can take a toll on our health and well-being. There are many natural practical ways to lower cortisol and restore balance to our bodies for a more stabilized life!

Understanding Cortisol:

Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress signals in the brain. This hormone is known as the “flight-or-fight” hormone, which is involved in releasing energy stores, increasing heart rate and redirecting blood flow. If cortisol is constantly elevated, it can wreak havoc on the body.

What is the Impact of High Cortisol?

Over time, prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can lead to very serious health issues. Elevated levels have been linked to hypertension, which placed strain on the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It can also contribute to insulin resistance, which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes.

Cortisol helps us wake up in the morning, but chronic stress can disrupt this pattern. This can lead to irregular sleep schedules or problems falling asleep. By implementing strategies to lower cortisol levels, you can positively impact your physical and mental health.

Tip 1: Prioritizing Sleep

Quality sleep plays a significant role in cortisol regulation. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and limiting screen time can all improve sleep quality. Get into a pre-sleep relaxing routine such as taking a warm bath, listening to a meditation, or reading.

Tip 2: Stress Management Techniques

Activities such as meditation, stretching and deep breathing can alleviate stress and enhance a calm state. All of these practices signal to the body that it is ok to relax, which will reduce cortisol production.

Tip 3: Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity will naturally reduce cortisol levels. Exercise will decrease stress, but also enhance mood. The best way to maintain levels are to switch the type of exercises you do. Perhaps one or two days you can do barre or Pilates, while the other few days are cardio with weights. Keep in mind that doing a lot of H.I.I.T. may increase cortisol levels in our bodies.

Tip 4: Incorporating Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness techniques such as yoga can have a positive impact on cortisol levels. This encourages present moment practice, which will reduce the body’s stress. Another practice is mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on the breath and observing thoughts without judgement.

Tip 5: Nutrition Strategies

A balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to cortisol control. Focus on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins , and whole grains. Incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found In fish and chia seeds, an also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body reducing cortisol levels.

Cortisol management is a holistic endeavor that encompasses physical, mental and emotional health. By prioritizing sleep, stress management, nutrition and exercise, you will be so much better suited to handle cortisol levels and lead a much more balanced life.

Is it ok to have drinks in moderation and also be a fitness fan? Surprise…the answer is YES! Researchers have found a link between people with high fitness levels and those who enjoy a refreshing alcoholic beverage.

When choosing a low calorie alcoholic drink, skip those mixed with simple sugar. Aim for vodka seltzers and/or tequila and lime. If you are trying to lose weight, decreasing the amount of calories consumed from alcohol can be extremely effective. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation with a balanced diet.

So what are the 5 drinks with the least amount of calories? Here they are:

  1. Vodka Seltzer- This is a classic drink made by combining vodka with unflavored seltzer or club soda. There is only about 133 calories in a 7.5 oz serving! Need more flavor? Try garnishing with cucumber or mint OR add a little lemon/lime juice. Alternatively, a flavored seltzer and/or sparkling water may just do the trick!
  2. White Wine-White wine generally has less calories than red. Typically, it contains about 123 calories in a 5 oz serving. There are so many varieties to try including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, and riesling. Bored of plain wine? Add some fresh fruit or mix in some sparkling water/seltzer to make a spritzer.
  3. Tequila with Lime- This is one of the easiest cocktails to make and the lowest in calories! A shot of tequila with a lime wedge has only about 99 calories. Is drinking tequila straight not for you? Try mixing in some club soda or mint for a low-calorie cocktail.
  4. Dry martini-A classic dry martini consists of gin and vermouth and is usually topped with olives. There is typically 2.5 oz. of gin and 0.5 oz of vermouth. This packs a low 185 calories! Want to decrease the olive calories? Opt for some orange bitters or a lemon wedge.
  5. Paloma-A paloma is made with tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and club soda. Some recipes call for extra sugar, but you can decrease the sugar content by skipping this or using a natural sweetener instead. Here is one I LOVE with the link below :

There are multiple ways you can decrease the calorie content of your favorite alcoholic beverages. One way is to make your own drinks instead of using premade mixers, which tend to have high sugar and chemical contents. Instead of using sugar or syrup, opt for fresh herbs or the simple syrup pictured above. Try using more ice, sparkling water/seltzer and LESS soda or juice.

Regardless of whether you are trying to lose weight, alcohol should only be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy well-rounded diet.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we make a small commission if you purchase a product through these links. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps to support CGM Fitness. Thank you!

Feeling tired and sluggish in the middle of your workday? Do you find yourself struggling to stay focused after lunch? So many of us experience this mid-day slump on a day to day basis. The great news is there are many strategies we can use to overcome this slump and power through our workday. Let’s explore some of these strategies here!

Move Your Body

Sometimes your body just needs some mid-day movement! Going for a quick walk after lunch may just give you that boost of energy you need to stay strong! Not in a walking mood? Do 1/2 of a 25 min recording and finish the rest later! Or just do the warm-up section of it, and complete the rest of the exercises after work.

Practice Mindfulness

The mid-day slump is often caused by stress and anxiety. Practicing deep-breathing, meditation, and EFT tapping are all techniques to reduce stress and increase focus. Bring your attention to your breathing and let your thoughts come and go. You will probably feel MUCH more refreshed after a couple minutes of deep-breathing.

Hydrate and Optimize Digestion

Sometimes your body needs extra nutrients. Having a nutritious snack may just be what you need to give you the boost of energy to keep going strong. Instead of reaching for sugary snack or caffeine, opt for snacks high in fiber an protein. Nuts, seeds, veggies and hummus, apples and nut butter, are all great examples. These will provide sustained energy to help feel more alert.


Taking a few minutes to chat with a friend over the phone or a co-worker can definitely improve your mood and energy levels. Catch up with a family member and find out what is going on in their lives. Share a funny story with a co-worker to build better working relationships and lighten up your mood.

Prioritize Tasks

It is important to focus on the the most important and trying tasks when you have the most energy. Try to tackle the most difficult tasks at the start of the day and leave easier tasks towards day’s end. If after doing one of the tips above you feel you have more energy, try to add in some more challenging tasks! Continue on in this pattern until you can find your groove!

Our relationship to the world has been proven to impact wellness and wellbeing. Spending time outside has more benefits than just on our physical body. It can decrease stress, help with overall mental health, and maybe even strengthen our sense of connection to others.

Spending time outside has been shown to reduce stress, which in turn improves concentration. This will help with overall productivity during the day. Getting outside increases energy and vitality, and there are so many different ways of enjoying the time outdoors. Here are a few:

Sun Bathing:

Of course, don’t forget the SPF! If looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors, this is more your jam. Whether outside reading a book, at the beach, or poolside, enjoying the sun for 1-2 hours will increase vitamin D and overall mood. Need to be more active? Go for a swim OR enjoy reading with alternating bouts of walking in your backyard/around the block. Just because it is so important, I will say it again: DO NOT forget the SPF. Ideally, 50 SPF for your body and 70 for face!

Forest Bathing:

Forest bathing is taking the time out to immerse yourself in a forest environment. It has been shown to improve cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune system functions. It has also been shown to help with depression and anxiety. One study even showed that those who forest bathe, have been shown to have decreased cortisol levels.

There are also long-term benefits shown as well: decreased hypertension, improved resting heart rate, and increased quality of life.

Never fret if you do not live in the countryside. Time spent enjoying green spaces in a park or even short getaways can make the same impact. Even laying in the park and gazing up at the sky and trees have been shown to elevate mood, reduce blood pressure, and slow the respiratory rate.

Plant a Tree/ Grow a Plant:

Running not appealing to you? You can still find a connection to the outdoors! Whether growing vegetables, plants, trees, or flowers, growing something has been shown to increase overall wellbeing.

Tending a garden does not just foster more of a connection with nature, but can give a sense of achievement and appreciation of the beauty of the garden itself. Gardening has been shown to reduce depression and boost overall mental health.

No access to outdoor space? Grow something inside or get a window garden! This has been shown to boost overall satisfaction, improve creativity, and even help those with PTSD symptoms.


There are so many beautiful things our planet can bring into our lives. Get outside and take the time to experience them! Connecting to the natural world can give us the sense that we are part of the greater whole! This will elevate our mood, improve our outlook on life, and increase our overall wellbeing.

Our day-to-day lives combine multiple responsibilities such as careers, maintaining a household, and balancing relationships. In the midst of all of this, it is crucial we take care of our physical health. Building a strong core is not just for our physique, but can unlock multiple benefits that impact our overall wellness and physical fitness.

Defining The Core

Before going into the benefits of a strong core, what does it refer to? It’s definitely more than just abdominals. The core includes the muscles in your abdomen, back, hips and pelvis. Here are 4 benefits of keeping a strong and healthy core:

1. Improved Balance and Stability:

Do you find yourself feeling unsteady in your workouts? A strong core can improve your balance and stability! You will develop better body awareness and control by strengthening the muscles around your spine, hips, and pelvis. Not only will you get a confidence boost, but you will be able to perform exercises that require balance, such as agile movements or yoga poses.

2. Enhanced Workout Performance:

A strong core serves as the foundation for all physical activities. You will be able to generate increased power and more efficiently transfer energy throughout your body when your core muscles are engaged and stable. Whether running, dancing, weight training, or doing yoga, a solid core will provide a stable base. This will optimize your performance and reduce the risk of injury.

3. Improved Posture:

Maintaining good posture is vital for physical health and confidence. Strong core muscles prevent slouching, support your spine, and promote natural alignment. When performing core exercises, you will naturally strengthen the muscles responsible for maintaining proper posture. This will lead to proper spinal alignment, decreased back pain, and a more confident appearance!

4. Injury Prevention:

An essential component of injury prevention is a strong core. By developing a stable core, you will minimize strain on your back. A strong core is similar to a shield which will reduce muscle imbalances, common injuries, and lower back pain.

Strengthening your core is NOT just about physical appearance. It is about improving stability, balance, performance, and overall fitness. Embrace core strength and you will feel an inner transformation that will not only help you during your workouts, but your everyday life!

Matcha green tea has been consumed since the 12th century in Japan! It is their most sacred tea and is also incredibly healthy. Matcha is rich in minerals, vitamins and properties to boost your health. Not only can you drink this powder, but you can also eat it. Here are some great ways to consume matcha:

  1. Add 1 Tbsp to your oatmeal or porridge.
  2. Add 1/2 Tbsp to your smoothie
  3. Add 1/2 Tbsp to your yogurt

Here are the top 4 reasons to drink/consume matcha everyday:

  1. Matcha is antioxidant rich– A high quality matcha ranks even higher in antioxidants than berries, green leafy vegetables, and nuts. The majority of these antioxidants are polyphenols, which are quite powerful. They help your body keep a strong immune system, keep a healthy circulatory system, and slow the process of aging.
  2. Matcha gives you sustained energy and focus- Matcha is rich in L-theanine, which is a compound that allows your body to release the matcha slowly throughout the day. This will give you sustained lasting energy for 6 hours daily, without getting jitters. L-theanine will also help calm your mind and promote focus.
  3. Matcha will detox and cleanse your body-Matcha is extremely rich in chlorophyll, which is also rich in antioxidants. This will protect your skin barrier against free radicals, but will also help your body flush out toxins. It also aids in digestion, which is a natural detox as well!
  4. Matcha can help you lose weight– Matcha has been shown to boost metabolism as well as help burn fat cells. Incorporating this into your daily diet can assist with weight loss as long as you are regularly exercising and eating well.

Here is a REEL I created on how to make a matcha lattè:

Here are some amazon links to get the matcha as well as the collagen powder (click on image for link):

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we make a small commission if you purchase a product through these links. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps to support CGM Fitness. Thank you!

When we work out, endorphins are released. These are feel-good hormones that help to ease stress and anxiety. Exercise will do wonders for self-esteem and confidence, which greatly impacts our mental health. Incorporating small amounts of exercise in our daily routine does not have to be difficult. Start by just talking a walk or doing a stretch! Over time, you can increase the intensity of the workouts and try new movement types. Get your body moving and experience both the physical and mental benefits!

  1. Try mindfulness exercises: Incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily workout. Focusing on breathing and/or gratitude can hep reduce stress and anxiety. Try a meditation on YouTube from
  2. Set achievable goals: Make sure you are setting realistic goals for yourself and celebrate all progress. Help boost your sense of accomplishment, which can positively impact your mental health!
  3. Use exercise as an stress-reliever: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and clear your head! Go running, try yoga/barre/Pilates when feeling overwhelmed and stressed!
  4. Take breaks when needed: Rest and recovery are equally important to exercise. Take breaks as needed and really listen to your body. Over-exercising will lead to burnout and negatively impact our mental state.
  5. Find a workout buddy: Having a workout buddy puts the fun back into exercise as well as providing support and motivation when you need it most!
  6. Mix it up: Variety in your exercise routines adds spice! Try new activities and even change up your workout location to keep it fresh!

By incorporating these tips, you can improve mental health, reduce stress/anxiety, and increase overall well-being. Get moving!!

We live in a culture that seems to glorify overworking and under-recovering. This is true whether you work in an office, hospital or are an athlete. Inadequate sleep has now been labeled a global public health epidemic. It is linked to serious conditions such as respiratory distress, increased infections, heart disease, diabetes, and even an increased risk of some cancers.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is defined as not achieving enough sleep to support normal physiologic functions. It is estimated between 50-70 million Americans are impacted by some degree of sleep deprivation.

Adults generally need 7-9 hours per night, while older adults (65 and up) require slightly less at 7-8 hours per evening.

Metabolic Disturbance:

Cortisol is necessary for an emergency stress response. However, if elevated chronically, it will lead to muscle loss and fat storage. Sleep is also tied directly to the repair of skeletal muscle and in correcting hormone balance to support weight loss.

Cardiovascular and Immune Problems:

Sleep deprivation increases stress in the body and will activate the sympathetic nervous system. This will induce a widespread inflammatory response in the body, which can be linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased risk of heart attack.

It will also decrease the function of the immune system, which will increase risk for viral and bacterial infections.

Poor Athletic Performance:

The better you sleep, the better you perform. Sleep is necessary to repair skeletal muscle and connective tissue after working out. Additionally, some sports require more coordination, decision-making, and focus. Sleep deprivation can impair performance in all these domains.

Tips for Improving Sleep Quality/Quantity:

Set a regular and consistent bedtime ( even on weekends) to keep the body in its natural circadian rhythm. Caffeine has a half life of 5 hours, so try to avoid stimulants after 2/3 pm! Avoid using electronic devices in bed. Blue light from these devices can impair melatonin production, which is a hormone needed to maintain sleep. Keeping a cool and comfortable temperature in your bedroom, really at 65 degrees Fahrenheit! Avoid alcohol and carb- rich foods 2 hours before bedtime. Even though it seems like alcohol may help you fall asleep, it actually puts you in a light sleep and disrupts patterns. Carb-rich foods also contribute to blood sugar spikes.


There is a balance between work and recovery! This is true whether you are working out and seeking results or with life in general and seeking happiness. Sleep is just as important as good nutrition and movement for body composition, longevity, health and athletic performance!

Rest is an important part of recovery that focuses on improving sleep, reducing stress, and increasing physical relaxation. But how can rest help you achieve a muscle building goal?

A well-rounded training plan will allow you to see the fruits of your labor without burning out, or even worse, getting injured. If you have been consistently eating well and working out regularly, rest may just be what your body needs to see results!

Prevents Injury

There are so many ways of preventing injury in your fitness goals, and they key is REST! If you are too sore, your form can and will suffer. If your muscles are screaming at you, using them efficiently probably will not happen. It is also imperative to avoid overtraining. Symptoms of this include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, depression, and sore/stiff muscles. Overtraining can lead to overuse injuries as the body is not able to recuperate between fitness sessions.

If you are training back to back days, make sure you are alternating muscle groups/formats to allow 48 hours of rest between muscle groups.

Promotes Muscle Growth

A large portion of muscle regeneration happens during sleep. When lifting weights to fatigue, microscopic muscle tears can happen. When trying to build muscle mass, these tears essentially tell your body that the tissue needs to be stronger to sustain the force that caused the damage. While resting, fibroblasts repair the tears resulting in stronger muscles and more mass.

Boosts Recovery

Recovery is a psychological/physiological process where the body and brain both require rejuvenation to prepare for the next round of training. Proper rest allows the body to utilize nutrition and hydration from the refuel phase. When regenerating, movement is much easier to accomplish with good form when well-rested.

Encourages Better Sleep

Sleep is the biggest component of rest as it plays a huge role in cellular repair, regeneration, and hormone regulation. These are all critical when trying to build muscle.

Without adequate rest, training can lead to sleep issues. This created a vicious cycle of breakdown within the body as well as a compromised immune system. Improving stress management as well as making time for relaxation, will definitely lead to better sleep patterns/habits. Who wants to toss around in bed and wake up sore?


A muscle building strategy can’t be complete without a strategy for rest! Getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and finding ways to relax both mentally and physically are all important. Getting enough rest can help you promote muscle growth, get better sleep, avoid injury, and enhance total recovery. Consider adding rest to your routine to truly see and feel the fruits of your labor.

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