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

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

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.