Marietta and Emma are two best friends who share their fitness journey on their joint Instagram account @m.and.em.fit. They are both pre-med students (Queens and Western) and call London, Ontario their hometown! Our team has gathered some burning questions from our customers and staff to ask these two fitness enthusiasts!
1. How often do you have a cheat day?
Marietta: Never, or every single day, depends how you see it… hear me out. For some people, cheat days are a great tool to avoid feeling restricted while they are on track. This allows them to enjoy an “unhealthy” meal, guilt-free, and get right back to healthy eating after. For me personally, the cheat meal system doesn’t work. As an intuitive eater, I listen to my body in terms of what I want to eat instead of my mind. This means, I don’t plan my food in advance whatsoever. If I’ve really been craving something unhealthy for a while, I will eat it, whether I’ve already had a “cheat meal” that week or not. I don’t have unhealthy meals often, but don’t be fooled, I have a treat every single day!
2. How do you track your fitness goals?
Marietta: Photos, photos, photos. Photos are the best way to track your physical progress. Contrary to popular belief, the scale is extremely misleading when it comes to tracking a fitness journey. The scale fluctuates so easily for a number of reasons. Sodium, water, and hormones among many other factors commonly cause weight oscillation. This can be deceiving because it’s not an indication of fat or muscle gain/loss at all. Progress pictures are a wonderful way to be able to look back on your journey and see tangible changes that have nothing to do with your weight, a number that, really, means nothing. It is incredibly motivating to see how much you’ve changed, especially because change happens so slowly, you won’t realize how far you’ve come until you see old photos.
3. If you could go back in time to the start of your fitness journey, what 3 things would you tell yourself?
Marietta: First, I would remind myself that I am on my own grind. I spent the first couple years of my fitness journey obsessively comparing myself to other people and holding myself to impossible standards. I wasted so much time copying the journeys of others: eating what they did, lifting the way they did, counting calories like they did, and this ended up doing way more harm than good. It took me another couple years to break away from the toxic habits I had formed from listening to everyone except for myself when it came to how I should treat my body. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, you are allowed to find your own path. Your own path is just as valid. Second, I would tell myself to take 100 times the pictures I think I should, and from a million different angles. There is nothing conceded about wanting to be able to look back to see how strong you’ve truly gotten. Finally, I would tell myself that the hard parts are worth it: the parts where you feel like you’ve stopped making progress, all of your workouts feel hard, the last thing you want is to move your body. One day, you look back and realize you’re a new person. Lifting is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, and the self-love and confidence that comes from it outshines the obstacles every single time.
4. What are some easy ways to incorporate protein into your diets?
Emma: Protein can definitely be a difficult thing to add to your diet! What I would recommend is to try and find delicious ways to sneak it into your diet, instead of just having straight chicken breasts and protein shakes. Here are some ways I do this:
Add some egg whites to your scrambled eggs! You will barely taste it and egg whites have a much higher protein: calorie ratio than full eggs. I like to do 1 egg per half cup egg whites!
Add a scoop of protein powder to your oats! This makes your oats flavorful, creamy, and just delicious! And you get 25 extra grams of protein!
Eat plain Greek yogurt instead of flavored yogurts. Plain Greek yogurt is pretty much straight protein whereas flavored yogurts have a lot of sugar. I like to have plain Greek yogurt and add some stevia and fruit to make it sweeter without additional sugar!
And of course, when in doubt, grab a Zentein collagen protein bar and get 25g of protein right there!
5. Do you recommend any weight loss exercises that don’t involve equipment?
Emma: There really are no “weight loss exercises”. Weight loss is pretty much just about calories in vs calories out. No magic, just math! So any exercise will help you lose weight, as long as you are eating less calories than you are burning in a day. Some exercises will help you burn calories faster because they are higher intensity, but those same calories could be burned in a less intense way for a longer period of time. For example, sprinting intervals for 10 minutes could burn the same amount of calories as walking for 1 hour. It’s all personal preference! Do what you enjoy and is sustainable for you.
6. Should I do cardio if I want to build muscle?
Emma: Cardio is important for cardiovascular health, but it’s true that too much can hinder your ability to build muscle. This depends on the dose of cardio though. If you’re doing cardio more often than you are lifting weights, your ability to pack on muscle will be reduced. To build muscle you most likely want to be in a caloric surplus, where you’re eating more calories than you’re burning. Cardio burns a lot of calories so it can take you out of this surplus and hinder your ability to build muscle. You have to make sure that you’re eating enough to make up for what you’re burning. On another note, cardio makes it more difficult for your muscles to recover from training. If you do too much cardio, your muscles won’t be able to recover and you won’t be able to hit your lifting sessions. I would recommend doing around 20 minutes of cardio 2-3 times/week in a building phase. Always perform your cardio after your lift or on a different day, because it will fatigue your muscles if performed prior to strength training.
These girls are full of knowledge, passion, and motivation! If you want more fitness and diet information, at-home workout videos, or just general inspiration, go check out their Instagram account @m.and.em.fit!