Thursday, December 29, 2011

Short on time, no equipment needed fat burning workout!

During the holidays it can get tough to get to the gym and squeeze in a workout. It can happen to even the most hardcore fitness enthusiast.
Here is a great no equipment, do anywhere workout that really gets your heart rate up and taxes your muscles!
Complete these exercises in a circuit fashion. After completing circuit rest 30 - 45 seconds and repeat. If you are a beginner complete 2 rounds. Intermediate or advanced complete 3- 5 rounds.
Here is the workout:
10 burpees
10 squat jumps
10 push ups
10 dips
10 high knees ea leg (total of 20)
10 plank jacks
10 jump lunges ea leg (total of 20)
*rest 30 - 45 secs
*repeat

Now you have no excuses not to workout today :o)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Low-fat Spice Cake with Maple Cream frosting

 
 
 
 
 
With the right ingredients, including applesauce, egg whites and Greek yogurt, you can create a low-fat dessert that still bakes into a moist and tender cake. Ground cinnamon satisfies your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar.
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
MAPLE CREAM:
  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, applesauce, oil, yogurt, vanilla and Sucanat; set aside. In a small bowl, toss pear with lemon juice; set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Stir egg mixture and pour into flour mixture, mixing until well combined. Fold in half of pear chunks. Scrape batter into cake pan and smooth top. Evenly scatter remaining pear chunks over top of batter.
  4. Prepare Maple Cream: Using a hand-held mixer, beat cream cheese until light and creamy. Add yogurt, maple syrup, stevia and cinnamon and beat until well combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.
  5. Bake cake on middle oven rack for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on wire rack. Let cool completely before serving. Slice and serve cake with 1 tbsp Maple Cream.
Nutrients per serving (3-inch slice topped with 1 tbsp maple cream): Calories: 200, Total Fat: 5.5 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 32 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 16 g, Protein: 6 g, Sodium: 194 mg, Cholesterol: 4 mg

Recipe from CleanEating.com

Yum!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No excuses, no equipment needed leg torcher!

I am so proud to announce my 11 yr old son  has been recruited to play for an Elite baseball team!
He is already athletic and conditioned. Ran his 4th 5k a week ago in 25mins and 30 secs!
Here is a workout we did together last night. May look easy on paper, however trust me it will have those legs burning and have you gasping for breath.

Complete in a circuit
(warm up for 5 mins before beginning workout)
25 Prisoner squats (hand behind your head)
15 jump squats
12 ea leg (one leg at a time) Lunges with a reach (touch the floor with your hands by your toes)
12 (total of 24) ea leg switch jumps (jumping lunges)

rest for 30 secs then repeat for a total of 3-5 rounds.

My son completed 4 rounds (in 25 mins, including warm up) he thought he was in tip top condition until he did this workout...lol. He is determined to get thru 5 rounds next time and so am I!

So no more excuses that you are not a member of a gym, or don't have time, you don't have space or any other excuse you can come up with.

Let's get and stay in shape together!

Good luck ;o)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do you know the difference between high and low intensity cardio? Are both beneficial?

What’s the difference between low intensity and high-intensity cardio, and does one have more benefit than the other?

December 12, 2011
 
So many clients asks, "What’s the difference between low intensity and high-intensity cardio, and does one have more benefit than the other"? In this week’s blog, I’d like to address both of these questions.
Low-intensity training is performing an activity at a comfortable pace and maintaining it throughout the duration of the session. The session is 45 minutes to 1 hour in duration, and at 40-60% of your maximum heart rate. Long aerobic workouts have been thought to be the best method to reduce fat because the utilization of fatty acid generally occurs after at least 30 minutes of exercise. One of major benefits of low-intensity training is the preservation of your joints. A couple others include:
> Strengthening your cardiovascular system—heart, blood vessels and lungs
> Good for blood pressure and cholesterol
This type of training is extremely beneficial for those who are less fit, have an inactive lifestyle, are overweight, or have a history or are at risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, high-intensity cardio is completed in shorter durations of 20-30 minutes at 75-90% of your maximum heart rate. Though it’s not an easy task the benefits are extreme. First of all, a high-intensity workout is much more efficient than low intensity because more calories are burned in a shorter amount of time not to mention long sustained cardio is sometimes boring for many people. Other benefits of high intensity include:
> More calories burned post exercise
> Improved athletic performance
> Endorphin release. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer and they also combat symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
Before doing a high-intensity workout, you must first find your max heart rate (MHR). You can easily do this by subtracting your age from 220. To begin your cycles, do a warm up for 3-5 minutes long, getting your heart rate to 65% of your max. When completed, increase your speed and run almost as fast as you can for 30 seconds. You are shooting for 75-90% of your max. After the 30 seconds, slow down to a walk. Walk at a comfortable speed for 90 seconds, or until you heart rate reaches 70%. This 70% is important in order for your body to recover. Repeat this scenario for 20-30 minutes.
It’s important to remember that high-intensity training is not for the beginner athlete, someone who is physically unfit or one with heart or other health issues. To perform a high-intensity cardio or training session you MUST be able to push your limits. If you are unable to reach a minimum of 75% of your max heart rate, you may not achieve the expected results, and working at a lower intensity may suit you better. However, do not be discouraged. After all, you may still burn fat and lose weight working at lower intensities, just be sure to dedicate a minimum of 45 minutes to the activity you choose.
Good luck and whatever method you practice, give it 100% and you will achieve your goals!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tips to get you on and stay on track!


Focus on progress, not perfection
If you had to skip a workout, that’s OK. Focus on getting back to your normal routine as quickly as you can, and make each workout as intense as you can. If you missed a few healthy meals, instead of using this as an excuse to slip back into your old eating habits, try new and different clean recipes. I love Clean Eating and cooking light magazines.
Problem solve
This is a good time to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t working with your nutrition and exercise plan. Have you had a challenge working out first thing in the morning? Schedule your workouts after work or at lunch instead. Has it been hard to do all your shopping on Sundays? Split your shopping into two shopping trips during the week instead. Coming up with new solutions to your challenges will increase your motivation to make the most of this life-changing experience.

Try it on
Do you have an item of clothing that was tight or that you were unable to fit into at the beginning of your Challenge? This is also a great measure of your progress. Try this item of clothing on periodically throughout your Challenge; you’ll probably see that it starts to fit better and better.

Change happens at your own pace
Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you are not making as many changes as you would have liked to at this point. Many past participants experienced their most drastic changes in the last three or four weeks of their Challenges. If they had gotten discouraged and quit earlier in their Challenges, they would have never gotten to that point. Small changes do lead to big results.

Learn how to adapt
If situations are popping up every week that threaten to derail your program, it may be time to sit down and figure out how you can plan ahead so that you are better prepared.
Seek professional help
It never hurts to find a personal trainer and/or nutrition coach to help with motivation and tactics to keep you on track to reaching your goals!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clean Eating Pumpkin Protein bars

So last week was  a very crazy, hectic and stressful week for me. Enter the sugar cravings...ugh. I have to admit I gave in a couple times and then felt horrible afterwards. It happens...time to move on! This week I am ready. I just finished cooking all my foods for this week (turkey burgers, chicken breast, lemon pepper cod, batch of extra lean ground beef, protein pancakes,  sweet potatoes, green veggies....whew). To combat my sugar cravings healthfully and not risk eating crap I made these:

Jamie Eason's Pumpkin Protein Bars

Nutrition Facts:



Nutrition (without walnuts): 1 square = 47 calories, .7 g fat, 8 g carbs, 3.7 g protein
Nutrition (with walnuts): 1 square = 63 calories, 2.3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 4 g protein

Ingredients:



Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.
  1. Spray a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the final 3 ingredients (4, if adding walnuts), and mix until incorporated. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and bake for 30 min.
  4. Makes 24 squares.
The only changes I made were to eliminate the walnuts (my children don't like nuts..go figure?) and instead of the applesauce (didn't have any on hand) I used sugar free vanilla pudding. All I can say is these bars are super YUM and will satisfy almost any sugar craving you have!

Give 'em a try!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Clean Eating Fish and Chips

One of my favorite magazines to get great tasting and healthy recipes is Clean Eating Magazine.

So i was estatic to see a cleaned up version of a favorite dish of mine!

Fish and chips

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups multigrain loaf, cubed
  • 1 extra large sweet potato, peeled
  • 4 3- to 4-oz white fish filets (such as Alaskan pollock)
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning or paprika
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 2 egg whites

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake bread cubes on a baking sheet for 10 minutes or until toasted. Leave oven on and at the same temperature.
  2. Using a food processor fitted with a standard blade, grind break cubes into about 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, about 3 minutes.
  3. Using a mandoline, slice sweet potato into paper-thin slices. (If you don't have a mandoline, thinly slice with a knife.)
  4. Lay sweet potato slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for about 8 minutes. Then reduce oven to 250°F and continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisp. Makes about 4 cups chips.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  6. Sprinkle filets with seasoning, salt and pepper. Place egg whites and bread crumbs into 2 separate bowls. Dip filets into egg white, then roll in bread crumbs and place into shallow cooking pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Serve each filet with 1 cup chips.
Enjoy!!

Nutrients per serving (1 filet and 1 cup chips): Calories: 300, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 44 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 14 g, Sodium: 640 mg, Cholesterol: 80 mg

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Healthier Crock Pot Lasagna


Last week I went to a luncheon where they were serving lasagna, of course i piled my plate with salad and grilled chicken but just had to have a taste of the lasagna ;o) I haven't had it in ages. I only had 3 bites, it was enough to satisfy but got me thinking....my family would love some lasagna as would I (a girl can only eat so much chicken) how can i make it healthier and quick. Here's what I came out with! It was delicious and I can tell you my taste buds and my  family has thanked me....;o
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 ounces cottage cheese (I like 2%)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup lowfat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 ounces whole grain lasagna noodles, uncooked  
  • 16 ounces shredded lowfat mozzarella cheese

Directions:


  1. Brown  ground turkey, onion and garlic in frypan.
  2. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano.
  3. Cook long enough to get it warm.
  4. Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker.
  5. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with cheeses.
  6. Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strength Training: What Role Does Protein Timing Play in Muscle Growth?

Strength Training: What Role Does Protein Timing Play in Muscle Growth?

If you’re trying to increase your lean body mass, it’s important to get enough protein in your diet. The average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (.37 grams per pound) of body weight on a daily basis. Some experts believe that athletes and people who weight train even need more, somewhere in the range of 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Without adequate amounts of protein, you won’t be able to build lean body tissue. Then there’s the issue of timing. Eating protein at certain times may be more conducive to building muscle. When is it best to consume protein relative to your workout?

Protein Timing: How Important Is It?

Fitness trainers often tell their clients to eat small high-protein meals and snacks throughout the day. This is not only to reduce hunger, but because the body can only use so much protein at one time. This means you don’t want to consume it all in one or two meals. Spacing your protein requirements out throughout the day helps your body utilize it better, and it also helps to suppress your appetite.

How Should You Time Protein Intake Relative to Your Workout?

Do you eat a high-protein snack before your strength-training workout? If not, there are some good reasons to start. One study showed that consuming 6 grams of essential amino acids just before a strength-training workout boosted the amount of amino acids that were delivered to muscles. Exercise increases blood flow, which facilitates delivery of amino acids to muscle tissue.

Eating protein before a workout may be even more important than consuming it afterwards. In one study, older male weight lifters built greater muscle mass in their lower extremities when they took a protein supplement before they exercised than they did when they took it afterwards.

When you consume protein before a workout, amino acids are quickly made available for growth and repair of muscle fibers. Getting protein before a workout also induces an anabolic state that promotes muscle growth. Research even shows that eating protein before exercising reduces muscle soreness afterwards.

A Little Carbs With Your Protein?

If building lean body mass is your goal, combine protein with a small amount of carbohydrates before you head to the weight room. Carbohydrates boost insulin levels, which helps muscle cells more easily take up amino acids from a protein meal. This means the amino acids will be more rapidly delivered to muscles to take part in protein synthesis.

When it comes to protein timing, the other window period for boosting muscle growth is immediately after a strength-training workout. When you eat your post-workout snack, make it high in protein, and eat it as soon as possible after your workout is over. One study showed that consuming 10 grams of protein immediately after strength training boosted muscle mass more than waiting 2 hours.

The Bottom Line?

Timing your protein intake could help you increase your lean body mass. There’s a window period just before and after your workout when your muscles are most responsive to protein. If you want to build muscle, don’t strength-train in a fasted state. Eat a high-protein snack with a source of carbs just before and after exercising. It’ll ensure your muscles have the amino acids they need to build a more defined body.

~Cathe Friedrich

References:

Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2001. August 281(2)

Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2006 Ju; 97(5).

Muscle Science. “Protein Timing for Best Results”

Exercise Physiology. Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance. Seventh edition. 2009.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

what's cooking at the Knight's house...

Crockpot Sweet Potatoe Chilli

1 onion chopped
4 ckoves garlic, minced
2, 28 oz cans of chilli roasted tomatoes
4 cups diced sweet potatoes
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chilli powder (or can use a packet of chilli seasoning) i used both!
1/8 cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups water

Put everything in slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Low Carb Crab Cakes


Tried these and love 'em!!

Low Carb Broiled Crab Cakes



1 of 1 Photos RecipeGuru
Posted By: RecipeGuru
Posted In:  Low Carb Recipes
Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  6 minutes

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds crab meat, backfin, cartilage and shells removed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 egg

Directions

Combine all ingredients and shape into 6 patties. Broil 6 inches from heat source, 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings of 3 ounces each.

Per Serving: 178 Cal (33% from Fat, 62% from Protein, 5% from Carb); 27 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 2 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 77 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 540 mg Sodium; 124 mg Cholesterol

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to increase Afterburn

After-burn is the new buzz word in the fitness industry. Exercise after-burn is a term used to describe the phenomenon of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. It’s EPOC that keeps you burning extra fat long after you’ve slipped off your exercise shoes and settled down to more sedentary pursuits. The after-burn is your friend when it comes to burning calories and fat.
What is EPOC or Exercise After-Burn?

When you start out exercising, your body needs more energy in the form of ATP. Initially anaerobic energy production supplies ATP to the muscles. The phosphocreatine and glycolytic energy systems are the systems used for ATP until oxygen consumption can be ramped up and the aerobic system, which burns fat as fuel, can gear up.

Anaerobic systems operate in the absence of oxygen. In doing so, they create an oxygen deficit that has to be paid back after exercise with increased oxygen consumption and a bump-up in metabolism. Phosphocreatine stores that were used during exercise also have to be replaced, which puts additional demands on the body and increases the body’s metabolic rate even after the workout is finished. Exercise, especially intense exercise raises core body temperature and increases levels of hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, which contribute to the after-burn effect.

After a workout, the body has to work harder to restore muscle phosphocreatine levels muscles and oxygen to the muscles and blood that were depleted during the oxygen deficit. It also has to restore normal body temperature. If a workout was intense, lactic acid will have built up, and it will require more energy to convert it back into glucose by the liver. This increase in energy requirements gives your metabolism a boost after you stop your workout.

What Type of Exercise Gives You the Greatest Exercise After-Burn?

Two factors determine how large the after-burn is after exercise. One is exercise duration and the other is intensity. Of the two, intensity is the more important factor. EPOC is greatest during exercise sessions carried out at 75% of V02 max or greater. This isn’t surprising since exercise at higher intensity creates more of an oxygen deficit and causes build-up of lactic acid. It also raises core body temperature more.

Duration of exercise plays a role in the degree of after-burn after exercise too. As long as you’re working out at a moderate intensity or greater exercising longer at the same intensity will increase after-burn more. A 60-minute workout will give more of an EPOC than a 20-minute one when the intensities of the two workouts are equal. Research also shows that short bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of recovery, interval training style, boosts EPOC more than steady-state exercise at a moderate intensity.

What Effect Does Resistance Training Have on Exercise After-Burn?

Higher intensity weight training sessions using heavier weights causes more of an after-burn than less intense ones, and circuit resistance training boosts EPOC more than resting between sets. One more reason to lift heavier, and minimize the amount of rest between sets.

The Bottom Line?

If you want to increase exercise after-burn, ramp up the intensity, duration or both of your workouts. Of the two, increasing the intensity boosts after-burn more. If you can’t do high-intensity aerobics for prolonged periods, do interval training where you increase the intensity for short intervals and then recover. Short bouts of high-intensity exercise of ten minutes or less can boost your EPOC too. If you’re looking for a low impact high intensity workout make sure to order my new AfterBurn video which has been designed by me to increase your EPOC in the comfort of your own home without any high impact moves.

When you train with weights, challenge your muscles with heavier weights until you can barely eek out the last rep, or do circuit training to increase the after-burn. These are ways to boost the amount of fat you burn for hours or even days after a workout. Who doesn’t want that?

Cathe Friedrich

References:

Exercise Physiology. Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance. Seventh edition. 2009.

Idea Health and Fitness Association. “Exercise After-Burn: A Research Update”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Learn how to shed water naturally!

Natural Diuretics

Many people are turning to natural foods and herbs with diuretic properties instead of over-the-counter and/or prescription diuretic pills. Natural diuretics can aid in removal of excess fluids from the body and aid in treating sciatica, kidney stone, lymphatic swelling, PMS, liver disorders and high blood pressure. Moderation and caution should always be used for natural foods and herb diuretic. If taken indiscriminately, diuretics can lead to serious consequences such as dehydration and potassium deficiency.

Diuretics are prescribed for people suffering from-Edema-accumulation of fluids in the body tissues, high blood pressure and heart diseases. PMS symptoms such as bloating, women are often advised to take diuretics to rid the body of excess fluid retention and diuretics are taken to Lose Weight.

Foods that can cause water retention

Foods like salt and sugar may cause the body to retain considerable fluids that can lead to bloating and water retention. Also, inadequate protein in the diet can lead to fluid retention. When the body does not get enough amino acids or B-vitamins, it may accumulate excess fluids.

Natural diuretic

Natural diuretics are natural foods or herbs that will increase flow of urine and aid in the removal of fluids from the body. While using natural diuretics or synthetic to aid in removal of excess fluids from the body, it can also mean loss of very important vitamins and minerals too. It is essential that you supplement to prevent loss of vital electrolytes.

*Green tea is a natural diuretic food that has been in use for centuries in China.
* Cranberry juice can aid in removal of excess fluid retention.
*Apple cider vinegar exhibits natural diuretic properties and in addition maintains the potassium levels. It can be added to the salad dressing.
*Dandelion is often used as a natural diuretic.
*Nettle has natural diuretic properties that facilitate good cleansing.
*Dandelion leaf tea aids in detoxification and has a beneficial effect on those suffering from cystitis and urinary tract infections.
*Fennel has carminative and diuretic properties and is frequently used in seasoning food.

Diuretic food with high water content

watermelons and cucumbers help increase urination and flushing out of toxins. Cucumbers are rich in sulfur and silicon that stimulate the kidneys into better removal of uric acid. Watercress and artichokes are also natural diuretic foods.

*Asparagus contains asparigine - a chemical alkaloid that boosts kidney performance and improving waste removal from the body.

*Brussels Spouts help in stimulating the kidneys and pancreas. This helps in better cleansing of cells.

*Beets are natural diuretic foods that attack floating body fats and fatty deposits.

*Oats contain silica-a natural diuretic.

*Cabbage is known to aid breakage of fatty deposits, especially around the abdominal region.

*Carrots are a rich source of carotene that speeds the metabolic rate of the body and hastens removal of fat deposits and waste.

*Lettuce aids better metabolism and flushing of toxins.

*Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C that aids the metabolism and release of water from the kidney to flush out waste.

*Horseradish, raw onions and radish speed up your metabolism.

Remember, Moderation and Caution should always be used for any Diuretic. This information is for informational purpose only, and is not intended to replace the advice or care of your doctor.
~Victoria Abreo

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are you making these mistakes when you workout??

5 Gym Mistakes Everybody Makes (And How to Fix Them!)

If you can effortlessly stay in a plank position for four minutes, chances are you probably aren't doing it correctly (and aren't reaping the move's major core sculpting benefits).
Since you're already putting in the time and are working out, you might as well make sure you maximize your efforts! Shaina Manning, Equinox Group Fitness Instructor and NASM certified personal trainer shares the top mistakes she spots at the gym... and how to fix them!
GMmain.jpg
Mistake: Your hips sag during a plank
A plank (either on the elbows or hands), must always looks like a plank, not a hammock! Be careful not to drop your hips, because if the hips sag, the lower back starts to take over causing stress in the area Manning says.
Fix It: Effectiveness can only be maintained if the hips are in neutral, demonstrating that the deep abdominal muscles are doing the proper work. If you cannot maintain a straight line from shoulders to hips through the heels, drop to your knees. Work on holding 15-30 seconds and build up to one minute.

Mistake: You grip the handlebars on the elliptical
Don't rely on the support of the handles to brace your body weight. It makes it less effective because it reduces the work required of your legs, by decreasing the amount of weight you have to physically hold. Be careful not to shrug the shoulders up to the ears as it could irritate or strain the back, neck and shoulders.
Fix it: The handles (if stationary) should be held lightly, with palms facing down. You should be able to wiggle your fingers if you are holding on, and only relying on the support of the bars for balance. The handles, (if moving) are held with palms facing each other; create a pulling action with the arms. Using a lighter grip on the handle bars will force the abdominal to engage more in order to stabilize--whenever the body has to balance, core muscles are recruited! Mistake: You stretch before a workout
Save the stretching for when your body is nice and warm. Your muscles are like salt water taffy--if they are cold and you go to stretch them, they might (figuratively) snap! But if they are warm, they will stretch smoothly.
Fix It: Prepare the body for exercise by going through a slower warm up of walking or jogging slowly. End with static stretching, like you might do on a stretch mat or even with the assistance of stretch straps and foam rollers.

Mistake: You collapse to the floor when doing push-ups
When lowering to to floor, your body should resemble a stiff board, not a slithering snake. Women tend to make the same mistake in push-ups as they do in planks Manning says.
Fix it: Knees should be on the mat, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders (like a plank). Keeping abdominals engaged, lower the chest between the hands and push straight back up. Keep the head in line with the spine (look straight, not down), and the back of the neck long. Lower the body as one straight unit--don't let the hips collapse to the floor before the chest. Ready to up the intensity and sculpt a lean upper body?

Mistake: You watch TV while on the treadmill
When you're focusing on the TV, which is usually hung above your head at most gyms, your body's alignment is completely thrown off, Equinox trainer Matthew P. Pasqua, MA, CSCS says. (He also teaches a treadmill race training group fitness class.) Looking up can increase the pressure on the neck and upper back. It will lead to an unnatural tightness, and it can throw you off balance.
Fix It: Keep your focus on what's happening at the machine. Pick a treadmill that's in front of a mirror and concentrate on keeping your shoulders and hips squared, your face, shoulders and hands relaxed. To avoid bouncing like a gazelle, focus on shortening your stride and running at quicker cadences by have your foot strike under your center of gravity and by bending more at the knee by bringing your heel higher up at end of your stroke, Pasqua says. It is advised to run at 1% incline at all times to mimic flat outdoor running.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Healthly pizza? seriously?!!

If this doesn't tempt your tastebuds I don't know what will ;o)

Found this in Clean Eating Magazine. I haven't tried yet....however will very soon!

  • Sausage Pizza

  • Serves: 2
    Hands-on time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 40 minutes
    CATEGORY:
    Under 45 Minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 organic hot Italian chicken sausage
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • Handful button mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 cup egg whites (or 8 egg whites)
    • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
    • Garlic powder, sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 1-oz slice whole-wheat bread, crust removed and discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, optional
    • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    2. Remove casings from sausages and crumble filling into a large oven-safe nonstick pan on medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally. After about 5 to 7 minutes, when sausage is golden brown in color and almost cooked through, add bell pepper and mushrooms. Continue to sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
    3. Reduce heat as low as possible (or remove from stove if using a gas range). In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with mustard, garlic powder, salt and black pepper using a whisk or handheld mixer. (Don't overdo it and make a meringue; simply incorporate flavors with eggs and lighten them up a bit.)
    4. Distribute bread evenly over sausage-mushroom mixture, if desired. Then pour egg white mixture evenly over top. Increase heat to medium-low or medium (return pan to heat, if removed). Sprinkle cheese over top. Once egg whites start to set and turn opaque, transfer pan to oven.
    5. Bake until cheese browns and bubbles, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to slice and serve.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    8.5 weeks out!!!

    So, here I am preparing to step on the stage (YIKES) in 8.5 more weeks. Still have plently of work to do but excited that I am getting to do this with two of my friends Courtney L. and Kay P.!

    So, today i kicked up my cardio and completed the following workout on the Treadmill:

    0-5 mins warm up walking @3.5, incline 0
    5-15 mins walked @ speed 3.3 , 15% incline
    15-15:30 sprinted @ speed 8, incline 10%
    did this workout for 60 mins...

    whew I am beat however feeling more enegetic and excited for the changes to my body than ever!!

    Summer is here and I am still getting up at 5am due to having to get my workout in before the kids wake up and my work day gets started. Where there is a will there is way....remember reaching your goals isn't always going to be easy, however it is DOABLE!!

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Yummy breakfast option!

    Protein Waffles

    3 egg whites
    1/4 cup oat flour
    2 scoops vanilla whey
    1 tbsp apple sauce
    stevia (chocolate flavored stevia is super yummy) to taste
    ¼ tsp pumpkin spice
    ¼ tsp  cinnamon
    Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, spoon batter into preheated waffle iron with some non stick cooking spray. Try adding some fresh berries on top, delicious! Sugar free cool whip on top is also tasty!

    Enjoy!!

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    looking for a healthy great tasting snack? read on!

    When a craving hits for something sweet these always hit the spot!


    Protein Peanut Butter Balls
    • 2 scoops of vanilla or chocolate whey protein (both are delicious however chocolate makes them tastes like a Reese’s cup)
    • 2 large tablespoons of natural peanut butter
    • one 1/2 tsp of honey
    Take a fork and beat it all together, roll them in balls and put in a container lined with wax paper. Refrigerate.

    Enjoy...seriously!!

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Enjoy your holiday BBQ with a healthier burger

    Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers

    1/4 cup chopped red onion
    1 tsp dried oregano ( or 2 tsp fresh)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
    1 pound ground turkey
    6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
    cooking spray
    1/4 cup grated English cucumber
    1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
    4 (1/4 inch thick slices tomato)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    4 big romaine lettuce leaves


    1. combine first 6 ingredients. divide mixture into four portions. indent center of each portion; place 1 1/2 tablespoons feta into each. fold turkey mixture around cheese; shape each portion into a 1/2- inch thick patty.
    2. heat grill pan over medium -high heat. coat pan with cooking spray. add patties; cook 5 mins on ea side.
    3. combine cucumber, yogurt and mint in a small bowl. arrange 1 turkey patty, 1 tomato slice, and 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture on top of a lettuce leaf (wrap leaf around burger).

    Pair with sauteed zucchini. heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups zucchini and 2 minced garlic cloves; saute 5 mins. add 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

    This is a meal that can be enjoyed by everyone!

    Happy Memorial Day from Team Knight Fitness!!

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    8 Fitness Secrets to Steal from the Boys

    Not that we’re envious (actually, yes, we are), but guys seem to have a much easier time getting fit than women. Sure, their bodies are different, but what if there's more to it? After looking at men's traditional workout habits versus women's, we found that they have a few tricks up their sleeves. For one thing, strength training burns way more calories than cardio alone, and post-workout protein shakes are more than just an excuse to drink a smoothie. But that's not all! Read on to find out how you can improve your own fitness routine by taking a few tips from the boys.

    1. They work multiple muscle groups at once.
    The more muscles you work at one time, the more calories you'll burn at one time—not only at the gym but during the days following, as your muscles rebuild, says Myatt Murphy, coauthor of The Body You Want in the Time You Have. Compounding exercises, like squats, dead lifts and bench presses, will give you the most bang for your buck, as they engage multiple muscles in your upper or lower body simultaneously. Revamp your routine by including exercises that work more than one muscle group or combine two moves (like doing biceps curls on a stability ball) in order to make the most of your time spent at the gym. Photo: Thinkstock

    2. They leave magazines out of it.

    Reading while on a cardio machine could not only stifle your workout by interfering with your form, but it might also shorten your workout as well. “Looking down can hinder the oxygen flow to your lungs,” says Murphy. “The less oxygen you breathe in, the quicker you’ll exhaust yourself." If you need a little more mental stimulation than you get from logging miles on the treadmill, Lou Schuler, coauthor of The New Rules of Lifting for Women, suggests doing calisthenic-style exercises, which mix short bursts of cardio with strength training. Photo: Shutterstock

    3. They get their sweat on.

    If there’s one place sweating is socially acceptable, it’s at the gym. Not only does getting a good sweat on mean your body is heating up and, consequently, expending energy (read: burning calories!), it also detoxifies your skin, says Monica Vazquez, personal trainer at New York Sports Clubs. So don't be afraid to break a sweat and push yourself as hard as you can to ensure you're burning the maximum amount of calories. Photo: Image Source / Getty Images

    4. They flex their muscles.

    “When you strength-train, you’re not building muscle—you’re breaking it down,” says Murphy. Contrary to popular belief, the building-back-up part happens over the next 48 hours, mostly while you sleep, he explains. Contracting (a.k.a. flexing) your muscles right after a weight-lifting set continues to break down the fibers, even if only slightly. And the more you break them down, the more they’ll build back up, Murphy says. “In other words, boosting your ego can boost your results!” Photo: Image Source / Getty Images

    5. They eat after they exercise.

    After you've depleted your energy, it's important to refuel, “especially after you exercise, when your body is desperate to replace the stored energy it just used and will pull it from wherever it can,” Murphy says. Ideally, you want the energy to come from your stored fat, but your body may also pull from the calorie-burning muscle. By eating a mix of protein and carbohydrates after you train (thus the protein shake!), you can prevent your body from turning on its muscle, since it looks to your stomach first for fuel. Photo: iStockphoto

    6. They hone in on a different set of numbers.
    Rather than fixating on how many calories they’ve burned or how much weight they've lost, men tend to focus on how much of a certain task they've accomplished—and how much more they should do next time they hit the gym. According to Schuler, steadily increasing speed (cardio) or weight (strength training) in increments contributes to improved strength and energy, and consequently, more muscle and better workouts in the future. Focus on improving your exercise stats (reps, workout time, weight lifted, etc.), rather than the number on the scale.                Photo: Thinkstock

    7. They focus on getting stronger—not thinner.

    If you’ve ever tried to compliment a man by telling him he looks slim only to have it backfire, then you know: Men tend to want to look “big,” which denotes strength, while women usually want to look slim, which suggests a low percentage of body fat. Why is the guys’ way more effective? Strength means more muscle; muscle not only burns calories, but shapes your whole body. “If you’re aiming to change the way you look, you must change the shape of your muscles,” says Vazquez. Photo: Thinkstock

    8. They log their workouts.

    Because of the nature of weight lifting (you should consistently increase the weight you lift) it makes sense that men record their workouts. Frankly, it’s hard to remember all those numbers! But there are other advantages to writing down workout stats that everyone could benefit from, explains Vazquez. “Not only does it keep you honest about how much you're really working out, but it makes your success tangible,” she says. Figure out a system that works for you, whether that means jotting things down in a small notebook or creating a cheat sheet on your mobile or portable audio device, so you can build upon your improvements each time you work out.

    This is a great article from Yahoohealth

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    10 habits that make you fat....

    *Great Article from Livestrong.com

    Replacing Unhealthy Habits With a Healthy Lifestyle
    If losing weight were easy, no one would be overweight. Unfortunately, the facts are indisputable: A chili-cheese omelet is more delicious than an egg-white omelet, French fries taste better than side salads and chicken is yummier when battered and fried.

    On the other hand, being a healthy weight feels better than being overweight. And a healthy weight is a lot easier to accomplish when the right choices become second nature. In other words, weight-loss goals are more achievable when healthy choices turn into healthy habits.
    Write down everything that goes in your mouth.
    Nicole Wynne, licensed dietitian and nutritional consultant

    Bad Habits 1-3

    1) Poor Preparation.

    Boy Scouts and healthy eaters have the same motto: Be prepared. Having a refrigerator and pantry stocked with the right foods -- lean proteins, whole-grain carbohydrates, fruits, nonstarchy vegetables and healthy fats -- means you'll be prepared to eat what you should when you should. Similarly, entering a restaurant armed with a plan will keep you on the right track when dining out.

    Preparation also means knowing your cravings and having healthy alternatives on hand to curb them, says Molly Kimball, a nutrition writer and registered dietitian in New Orleans. If sweets are your weakness, for example, keep fresh fruits or single-serve, sugar-free pudding cups on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth without taking a huge caloric hit.

    2) Not Enough Water.

    Drinking the right amount of water promotes overall health, from skin, bones and joints to the digestive system, memory and brain function. But Kimball says proper hydration can also help when you're concerned about weight.

    "Fatigue is one of the first signs of mild dehydration," Kimball said. "A lot of people misinterpret that sluggish feeling as hunger, and they eat to boost energy."

    The impact of hydration on weight loss, however, goes beyond the prevention of misinterpreted body messages. A study published in the November 2008 issue of "Obesity" showed a definite association between increased water intake and increased weight loss. In another study, its results presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers from Virginia Tech confirmed that dieters who drink two 8-oz. glasses of water before their three daily meals lose about 5 lbs. more than dieters who do not drink pre-meal water.

    So how much water is the right amount? Kimball says the old "64 oz. a day" rule is too one-size-fits-all; different bodies need different amounts of water. She says a good guideline is to divide your weight in half and drink that number of ounces per day. So a 180-lb. person would shoot for 90 oz.

    3) Not Enough Protein.

    People who get too much of their daily caloric intake from carbs are going to have a hard time losing weight. Kimball recommends including a source of protein with every meal. The body uses twice as much energy processing protein as it does carbohydrates and fat, meaning when you eat protein, your body actually burns more calories digesting it.

    Low-fat meats such as skinless chicken, pork tenderloin, lean cuts of beef and ground turkey and seafood are excellent sources of protein. Kimball says you can also sneak protein into your meals in the form of eggs, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, Greek yogurt, or low-sugar protein bars and powders.

    Bad Habits 4-6

    4) Too Many Liquid Calories.

    Calories that enter your body in liquid form are inefficient calories. They count against your daily total, but they don't make you feel full. Kimball advises against drinking your calories.

    "No fruit juice, soft drinks or sports drinks," Kimball said.

    Instead, drink water, tea or coffee without sugar. If you must have sweetened drinks, Kimball has no problem with sugar-free soft drinks or low-calorie powdered flavored beverages.

    Liquid calories often come in the form of alcoholic beverages, and those should be limited, too. If you can't do without, Kimball recommends sticking with wine, light beer, or liquor with a noncaloric mixer like water, club soda or diet soda. Women should limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day, and men should stop at two.

    5) Not Enough Zs.

    You don't even need to be conscious to work on losing weight. Getting the right amount of sleep seems to be a major factor in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

    A study released in 2006 by researchers at Case Western Reserve University tracked the weight and sleeping habits of 68,000 women over 16 years. The women who reported sleeping five hours or less nightly weighed an average of 5.5 lbs. more than the women who slept seven hours or more at the start of the study.

    The reason is hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin. Separate studies conducted by the University of Chicago and Stanford University suggested that sleep deprivation causes a reduction in leptin levels, while also causing ghrelin levels to rise. High ghrelin stimulates the appetite, while low leptin makes you feel unsatisfied after eating, leaving you hungrier during your waking hours and, likely, heavier.

    6) Skipping Breakfast.

    It can be hard to make time for breakfast during the rush to get out the door in the morning, but if you're interested in losing weight or keeping it off, you should make the effort to fit it in. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, forcing it to begin burning calories.

    But many people simply don't have an appetite first thing in the morning. Kimball says that's fine -- just make sure you eat something within the first two hours of waking.

    She says the perfect breakfast combines complex carbohydrates with protein and a bit of healthy fat. Try two scrambled eggs with a slice of whole-grain toast, a cup of Greek yogurt with a handful of berries and chopped nuts stirred in, or a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries and a splash of skim milk with two slices of center-cut bacon on the side. If you're usually in a rush in the morning, stock up on low-sugar protein bars and have breakfast during your morning commute.

    Bad Habits 7-10

    7) Shopping the Center Aisles.

    A good basic rule to follow at the grocery store is to do most of your shopping near the four walls.

    "The perimeter of the grocery store is what you need to be eating," said Nicole Wynne, staff dietitian at Women & Men's Nutrition and Weight Control Centers of Louisiana. "It's where you usually find the fresh produce, the meats and the dairy. In the middle aisles, you find more of the processed foods you want to avoid."

    Wynne said there are a few exceptions, namely in the freezer section with its frozen vegetables and no-sugar-added frozen fruits and berries, which are nutritious additions to smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal.

    8) Poor Record Keeping.

    You want to lose weight, and you've been trying to maintain a healthy diet, but the pounds are not coming off. The problem may be that you're eating more than you think. A food diary can be an effective solution.

    "Write down everything that goes in your mouth," Wynne said.

    According to Wynne, the act of recording what you consume in a food diary is effective on multiple levels. First, you get the full picture of your daily caloric intake -- it's impossible to forget the handful of candy-coated chocolates you eat every time you pass your co-worker's candy jar if it's right there in black and white. Knowing you'll have to write it down might make you reconsider that late-night bowl of ice cream. Also, once you've kept your diary for a while, you'll probably begin to notice patterns -- like a caloric uptick every time you have dinner at your uncle's house -- enabling you to make adjustments for particular situations.

    How you record your daily food intake is a matter of preference. Some prefer an old-fashion pen and notepad, while others choose to use one of the many food diary applications available online, such as My Daily Plate at Livestrong.com.


    9) No Weights.

    You will not achieve your weight-loss goals easily through diet and cardio alone. A regimen that combines weight training and cardiovascular training optimizes the ability to shed pounds.

    Studies have demonstrated a significant relationship between resistance training and weight loss. While both weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise burn calories and boost the metabolism, cardio only raises the metabolism during the exercise and for a short time after. Weightlifting, however, increases metabolism during the exercise and for a long time after. This "afterburn" -- the continued burning of calories from lifting weights after the training session has ended -- can last for hours, even days.

    During the recuperation period, the muscle metabolism is still burning energy, and that's when it's time to perform cardiovascular activities. Combining low-repetition exercises (weightlifting) with high-repetition cardiovascular exercise will stress muscles in a complementary way to increase the total fat-burning effect.

    10) Throwing in the Towel.

    Cut yourself some slack. It's one of the most important things you can do when you're trying to lose weight. Missteps happen. You succumb to a craving and have an unhealthy lunch. Forgive yourself for it and get back to your plan right away.

    "If you blow a meal, it is not a free pass to blow the rest of the day," Wynne said.

    Those who give up for the rest of the day, week, month or year due to a momentary setback will never achieve lasting weight loss. Mistakes happen, and the weight-loss battle is won and lost by how you respond to those mistakes. The best way to do it, Wynne says, is to forgive yourself for the lapse in willpower and move on at once, immediately resuming your healthy lifestyle.

    Healthy Habits for a Healthy Life

    If you see yourself in any of these 10 habits that make you fat, the best time to start changing them is right now. For every bad habit, there's a good habit. And the only way to turn healthy choices into healthy habits is repetition. So start shedding your unhealthy habits, and you'll be shedding pounds soon enough.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Looking for a new way to make Salmon......

    Garlic Salmon over Spinach
     
    Ingredients
    Serves 4
    4 4-oz salmon filets
    2 Tbsps butter
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tsps lemon pepper seasoning
    6 oz fresh spinach
    Preparation
    1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    2. Stir in 4 cloves of minced garlic.
    3. Sprinkle salmon filets on both sides with lemon pepper seasoning.
    4. Place the salmon in the pan and cook on both sides, approximately 3 minutes per side, until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
    5. Meanwhile, steam fresh spinach for approximately 4 minutes or until tender.
    6. Toss spinach with remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic.
    7. Serve the salmon filets over the spinach.

    Brain-healthy foods in this recipe:
    Salmon is chock-full of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid with the most evidence for brain benefits. Almost any salmon is a good choice for the brain, not just because of high good-for-you DHA levels but also because of relatively low levels of bad-for-you mercury. Wild salmon is probably a better choice than farmed salmon, due to lower levels of PCBs. Spinach and garlic may add to the brain benefits of this recipe!

    Recipe by Kristen Doyle

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    My husband the competitor.....

    Meet a charter member of Team Knight....;o)

    I want to introduce everyone to the other part of Team Knight Fitness, Ernest,  my husband, and recently turned Men's Physique NPC competitor! This man is the love of my life, devoted  father to our 2 wonderful sons, my best friend and my biggest fan and cheerleader. He never let's me give into my fears and doubts and truly makes me a better person. This weekend I was so proud to be a witness to him achieving a goal of his and being able to be at his side cheering him on. I am so pleased to announce he took home the third place trophy at his very first competition!! We are a true team in every sense of the word, we never let each other down, we pick each other up when needed and always push each other to be our very best and he is definitely my favorite workout partner. I couldn't be where I am without him. I am so proud to be his wife and #1 fan for life....
                                                 

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Think drinking diet soda is better for you...???

    By Linda Carroll
    msnbc.com contributor msnbc.com contributor

    Just as you were starting to feel virtuous for having switched from sugary sodas to low- or no-calorie substitutes, a new study comes along suggesting that diet sodas might be bad for your head and your heart.
    The study, which followed more than 2,500 New Yorkers for nine or more years, found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events, including stroke and heart attack, than those who completely eschewed the diet drinks, according to researchers who presented their results today at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
    Still, the researchers aren’t ready to tell consumers to skip diet sodas. More studies need to be done before that happens, said the report’s lead author Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
    “I think diet soda drinkers need to stay tuned,” Gardener said. “I don’t think that anyone should be changing their behaviors based on one study. Hopefully this will motivate other researchers to do more studies.”
    That advice may not stop some from skipping their diet drinks. “This is pretty scary,” said Denise Gainey, a 49-year-old administrative assistant from Amelia, Va. Worried that she might have inherited a higher risk of heart disease, Gainey wants to be careful. “I guess I’ll just be drinking a lot more water,” she said.
    For the new study, researchers surveyed 2,564 north Manhattan residents about their eating behaviors, exercise habits, as well as cigarette and alcohol consumption. The study volunteers were also given physical check-ups that included blood pressure measurements and blood tests for cholesterol and other factors that might affect the risk for heart attack and stroke.
    The increased likelihood of vascular events remained even after Gardener and her colleagues accounted for risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Pointing the finger more squarely at diet drinks, the researchers found no increased risk among people who drank regular soda.
    Does this mean there’s something in diet sodas that hurts our blood vessels? Nobody knows the answer to that question, yet, Gardener said. There could be something else that people who drink diet sodas have in common, she explained.
    For example, it’s possible that people who drink diet sodasare replacing those saved sugar calories with other unhealthy choices, Gardener said.
    That explanation makes a lot of sense to Dr. Nehal N. Mehta, director of inflammatory risk cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Although the researchers know the total calories study volunteers were consuming, they weren’t able to account for unhealthy eating habits Mehta said.
    “Maybe along with the diet soda, people are grabbing a Big Mac and a large fries,” Mehta said. “Soda may not be the villain. It may be the other things people consume in association with diet soda. After all, what goes better with pizza or fries than a soda?”
    1. That said, it is always possible that there is something about diet soda that leads to vascular problems, Mehta said, adding that this is the second study to associate diet soda with health issues. An earlier study found that diet soda consumption was linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which is also a risk factor for heart problems and stroke.
    Caramel coloring linked to vascular issues Further, Mehta said, there are animal studies suggesting a link between vascular problems and caramel-containing products. Among other things, caramel is the ingredient that gives the dark color to sodas like Coke and Pepsi, he explained.
    Despite all of that, you probably don’t want to give up diet soda until — and if — larger studies confirm the results of this one, Mehta said.
    That is, unless you’re someone with a lot of risk factors for stroke or heart disease, said Dr. Tudor Jovin, an associate professor of neurology and medicine and director of the Stroke Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
    “People with a lot of risk factors for vascular disease, might want to reduce the amount of diet soda they consume,” Jovin said. “Those risk factors would include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, a family history of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and a history of cardiovascular events.”

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Spinach and Shrimp Salad....oh boy!

    Here is a great tasting and good for you salad I came across in Oxygen Magazine. You can't go wrong with this one!

    Spinach and Shrimp Salad
    (Makes 4 servings)

    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 lb pre-cooked shrimp
    1 tsp grated lemon zest
    1 tsp grated lime zest
    1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
    2 cups spinach
    2 cups romaine lettuce
    1 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
    1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
    1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 1" cubes
    8 tbsp low-fat honey mustard dressing

    1. Heat oil in a skillet and saute shrimp with lemon and lime zest
    2. In a bowl, mix together onion, spinach, lettuce and beans. Add orange, strawberries and avocado. toss to gently mix.
    3. stir in dressing
    4. Serve!

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Got excuses? Here are tips to eliminate the excuses and be on your way to better health!

    Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challenges

    Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. Get practical tips for overcoming common barriers.

    By Mayo Clinic staff

    Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. After all, there are plenty of potential hindrances — time, boredom, injuries, self-confidence. But these issues don't need to stand in your way. Consider practical strategies for overcoming common barriers to fitness.

    Barrier No. 1: I don't have enough time to exercise

    Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.
    • Squeeze in short walks throughout the day. If you don't have time for a full workout, don't sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise, such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day, offer benefits too.
    • Get up earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you've adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.
    • Drive less, walk more. Park in the back row of the parking lot or even a few blocks away and walk to your destination.
    • Revamp your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.

    Barrier No. 2: I think exercise is boring

    It's natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you're going it alone. But exercise doesn't have to be boring.
    • Choose activities you enjoy. You'll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
    • Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
    • Join forces. Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. You'll enjoy the camaraderie and the encouragement of the group.
    • Explore new options. Learn new skills while getting in a workout. Check out exercise classes or sports leagues at a recreation center or health club.

    Barrier No. 3: I'm self-conscious about how I look

    Don't get down on yourself! Remind yourself what a great favor you're doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout.
    • Avoid the crowd. If you're uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment.
    • Focus on the future. Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

    Barrier No. 4: I'm too tired to exercise after work

    No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you'll have no energy. It's a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
    • Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
    • Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
    • Be prepared. Put workout clothes on top of your dresser, socks and all. Keep a full water bottle in the fridge. Have an exercise video queued up and ready to go when you get home at night.
    • Hit the hay earlier. Running on empty is no way to face a full day. Go to bed earlier to make sure you're getting enough sleep.

    Barrier No. 5: I'm too lazy to exercise

    If the mere thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:
    • Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don't give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you'll no longer feel worn out.
    • Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
    • Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important appointment. Block off times for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their encouragement and support.
    • Barrier No. 6: I'm not athletic

      Natural athletic ability isn't a prerequisite to physical activity.
      • Keep it simple. Try something basic, such as a daily walk.
      • Start a team. Join up with friends who are in the same boat. And have fun while helping each other work out.
      • Forget the competition. Don't worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the fitness club. Simply focus on the positive changes you're making to your body and mind.

      Barrier No. 7: I've tried to exercise in the past and failed

      Don't throw in the towel. You can't see it when you lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, but that doesn't mean you aren't doing yourself a great favor. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
      • Pace yourself. Start small and build up to more-intense workouts later, when your body is ready.
      • Set realistic goals. Don't promise yourself you're going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
      • Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

      Barrier No. 8: I can't afford health club fees

      You don't need a membership at an elite gym to get a great workout. Consider common-sense alternatives.
      • Do strengthening exercises at home. Use inexpensive resistance bands — lengths of elastic tubing that come in varying strengths — in place of weights. Lift plastic milk jugs partially filled with water or sand. Do push-ups or squats using your body weight.
      • Watch an exercise video. Try videos on dance aerobics, cardio-kickboxing, yoga or tai chi. For variety, trade exercise videos with a friend.
      • Start a walking group. Round up friends, neighbors or co-workers for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood or near your workplace, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
      • Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. Better yet, make climbing stairs a workout in itself.
      • Try your community center. Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or community education group might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.

      Barrier No. 9: I'm afraid I'll hurt myself if I exercise

      If you're nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot.
      • Take it slow. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.
      • Try an exercise class for beginners. You'll learn the basics by starting from scratch.
      • Get professional help. Get a fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction. If you've had a previous injury, you may want to first see a sports medicine physician, who can evaluate you and recommend specific treatment, such as physical therapy.
      • (this is my addition) ~ Hire a personal trainer to help show you how to exercise properly and put together a sound fitness program customized to your fitness abilities.

      Barrier No. 10: My family doesn't support my efforts

      Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise — and then bring them along for the ride.
      • Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Splash with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.
      • Propose a new adventure. Instead of suggesting a workout at the gym, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle for the weekend.
      • Do double duty. Volunteer to drive your teens to the mall, and then walk laps inside while you wait for the shoppers. Try the same trick at your child's school during lessons, practices or rehearsals.
      If necessary, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones. If they don't share your fitness ambitions, ask them to at least respect your desire to get fit.
    Another barrier I hear alot are I have children. Here are my suggestions to help!
       1. Find a gym that has childcare options. most gyms nowadays have free childcare with your membership where your children are cared for while you exercise.
     2.  Get out and play with your children- do you remember the days of hide and seek? dodgeball? catch a boy kiss a boy (lol)? jumping rope? those games all involved physical activity and most of all were fun. Why not "exercise" and have fun with your children at the same time!
     3. Here is another opportunity to invest in home equipment. That way you can exercise in the safety of your home and babysitting is not necessary ;o)

    I tell all of my clients to try everything, keep doing the things you enjoy and ditch the things you don't!!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Low-carb protein banana nut bread....

    Here is a recipe I put together a few days ago for a low carb protein banana nut bread...that is so delicious i had to share!

    Ingredients
    1 2/3 cup almond flour
    1 scoop banana protein powder ( i used gaspari myofusion banana perfection)
    1 tsp baking baking soda
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1 cup ideal (zero calorie) brown sugar sweetener
    2 egg whites
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 tablespoon banana extract
    2 tablespoons plain, greek yogurt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2/3 cups chopped walnuts

    Instructions

    *preheat oven to 350 degrees. spray loaf pan with calorie free non-stick spray
    *In large bowl mix all ingredients together (put nuts in last)
    *Pour into pan and back 45 mins to 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan briefly, and then turn out onto cooling rack
    *Enjoy!! (to me tastes better warm..reheats nicely)

    If you try it let me know what you think!!

    Cleaner, less calorie treats such as this bread helps me to stay on track with my fat loss goals.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Another yummy dinner recipe!!

    This recipe comes courtesy Cooking light magazine. I love this magazine for their great tasting, easy to put together recipes!

    Orange Beef and Broccoli

    1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated broccoli florets
    1/3 cup fat- free, less sodium beef broth
    1/3 cup low-sugar orange marmalade
    2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 (1 pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut into thin slices
    cooking spray

    1. Microwave broccoli according to package directions
    2. While broccoli cooks, combine broth and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; set aside
    3. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. dredge steak in cornstarch
    4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; saute 5 mins or until browned on all sides. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 min or until thick. Stir in broccoli. Serve immediately

    **Can add brown rice if so desired

    Yield 4 servings

    This dish takes only minutes and the entire family will enjoy!