The Importance of Sleep!!!

The Importance of Sleep!!!

Sleep is a necessity of life and critical in restoring our mind and body!

Sleep…for athletic performance:

As we train hard, we break down muscle tissue and weaken our bodies.  During sleep, the cardiovascular and muscular systems rebuild, resulting in a higher level of performance.

Sleep…for hormone production:

During deep sleep, the growth hormone, melatonin, is produced.  This hormone speeds the absorption of nutrients and amino acids into cells, aids the healing of tissues, inhibits tumors from growing, prevents viral infections, stimulates the immune system, increases antibodies in saliva and enhances the quality of sleep.

Sleep…for memory consolidation:

While your body is sleeping, your brain is busy processing your day, filing information, making connections between events, storing memories and connecting feelings.  Sleep is critical for your memory.

Sleep…for weight loss:

Good news!!!   Sleep also helps with weight loss by balancing the production of the hormones ghrelin and leptin that regulate appetite.

Sleep…for celluar repair:

Sleep heels by allowing your cells to produce more protein, allowing them to repair damage to your body caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and accumulated toxins as well as healing the body of colds and headaches.

Take the time to workout, and take the time to sleep.  It’s worth the effort, and best of all, it’s free!


Italian Pork Chops from Ellipse Fitness

Here is a tasty pork chop recipe with a little Italian flair!

8    Small/Lean Pork Chops

1    Clove Garlic, minced

2    Green Peppers, sliced into strips

1    Pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt & Pepper to taste

1     Can (16 oz.) tomatoes

1     Tsp. chopped dried parsley

1/2 Tsp. Oregano


Place pork chops on broiler pan (on a rack to drain all fat).  Broil both sides until browned and then set aside.  Spray large skillet with release agent and sauté garlic, green pepper, and mushrooms until browned.  Add drained pork chops, seasonings, tomatoes, and parsley to pan.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until chops are tender.


Serves:  4

Exchanges:  1 Vegetable, 4 Lean Protein

Metabolism – burn baby, burn!

Metabolism is the process in which our bodies convert food (fuel) into energy (glucose).  Every cell in our body needs energy to operate.  This includes cells of the heart, lungs, digestive organs, muscles, and brain.   The more work they do, the more energy they expend, and the faster our rate of metabolism.

Our resting metabolic rate, RMR (which is used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate, BMR), tells us how many calories we need to maintain our body at rest.

Our RMR accounts for 50 to 75 percent of our overall metabolism, and is mostly inherited.  Men burn calories faster due to more muscle tissue and therefore have a higher metabolism.  Adults experience a 5% decrease in metabolic rate each decade beginning at 40 years old, due to a decrease in muscle mass.

Metabolism can also drop with rapid weight loss.  The more weight we carry, the faster our metabolism because our body is working hard to sustain itself. When we cut calories by 20% or more, our metabolism will drop.  This is why it’s easier to lose weight at the start of a diet, and harder later on. When we lose significant amounts of body fat and muscle, our body needs fewer calories to sustain itself, which is why it’s so easy to regain weight after we’ve lost it.

So what’s the most effective way to increase the 25-50% of our metabolic rate that is within our control?

  1. Weight train 2-3 times per week.  Strength training boosts your metabolism in the long run because muscles burn more calories than fat.  A pound of muscle at rest burns about 40 to 50 calories a day, whereas a pound of fat burns only about two calories a day.  Therefore the more muscle you have, the faster you burn calories.
  2. Get cardio exercise 3 days per week.  Cardio training boosts your metabolism temporarily.  With any aerobic exercise, it’s important to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes.
  3. Eat a diet high in protein and fiber.  Protein and fiber take longer for your body to process than refined sugars and complex carbs.  This not only keeps you full longer, but also burns more calories in the longer digestion process.
  4. Drink water consistently throughout the day.  Drinking water helps your body flush out toxins and waste.  Studies also suggest that consistently drinking water can lead to a more active metabolism, regardless of dieting.

You are in control of 25-50% of your metabolic rate – take charge today!

The GAME of Fat Loss, Losers Win!

We’re hot and heavy into PACKER season, one of my favorite times of the year!  I love the excitement of a new season, the feeling of optimism as we embark on a chance for the Super Bowl ring and even the fresh start of the opportunity to make up for last year’s mistakes!

I have the rare opportunity to hold season tickets to the Packer’s home games.  I know—in Wisconsin, that’s a ticket to being part of the “in crowd” on Sunday—me and about 70,000 others, but I’ll admit, on game day, it’s a BIG deal!

After all the pomp and circumstance of game day one of my favorite things is to watch Mike McCarthy interact with the players on the side lines.  The practicing is over and Mike holds the reigns.  The players don’t question him or second guess the call.  By the time they get to game day, they’ve practiced and trained and run that drill about a thousand times. They’ve trained their bodies to REACT and ACT—they’re not guessing anymore and it shows.  Any thinking that needs to be done is done by the Packer’s coaching staff.  The team is trained to perform and execute.

This thought parallels our successful weight loss clients at Ellipse Fitness.  The clients with the most success, and I’ve personally worked with several, are the ones that stop questioning the process and trying to “beat” the system.  If you speak with a successful weight loss and fat loss client at Ellipse, 9 times out of 10 they kept a food journal.  They drank their water and had 35 meals a week, 32 of which were “spot on” their program.  They didn’t try to “create” a better way or attempt to cheat 10 times instead of 3 planned splurges.  They didn’t “keep track in their head”, because journaling seemed like a “waste of time”.  They TRUSTED that we’d helped their friends, family or fellow Ellipse members to lose weight and we could help them, too.

As a coach, we don’t hold anything back.  There’s no “special sauce” that we aren’t sharing.  They key is to CAPITALIZE on the knowledge we’re giving you and not attempt to recreate the wheel.

I recently had a client try the “shake for breakfast and lunch” phenomenon.  She was having decent success on the program, but a friend offered to help her get weight loss “faster” and she gave it a whirl.  It’s ok, and she lost some “weight”—however—the calorie reduction resulted in muscle loss and the extra weight she dropped too rapidly ended up being muscle.  We talked and she decided to follow the plan laid out for her.  Eating well balanced meals really did result in weight loss.  The muscle loss stopped and the FAT LOSS returned, which was her goal all along.

Life isn’t a perfect circle, it’s ok to try new things and even fail a few times, but remember that somewhere out there in all that information is a plan that works for you and chances are, it’s been tested and proven.  Trust the process and you’ll get your chance to experiment in maintenance, I promise!  In that phase, you’ll learn what your body will allow and what it will reject.  You’ll find your sweet spot and learn what it takes to keep the weight off.  Until then, find something and trust in it and rest confident in knowing you’re doing what’s best for YOU.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms from Ellipse Fitness

Serve this delicious recipe with a baked potato, wild rice, or whole wheat noodles to complete your meal!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms

3     Medium Chicken Breasts

1     Packet of Lipton Onion/Mushroom Soup Mix

1     Can of 98% Fat-free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/4 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream or Chobani Greek Yogurt

2     Cups Fresh Mushrooms

Directions:  Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Meanwhile stir together Onion/Mushroom Soup mix, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt), and mushrooms.  Pour this mixture over the chicken.  Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

Serves: 3

Exchanges:  2 Carbs, 5 Extra Lean Protein, 1 Fat