Hot Summer, Cold Salads!

Hot Summer, Cold Salads!

Now don’t get us wrong, the grill has a special place in the Summertime rotation, but sometimes you are just too hot to stand over an open flame and what you really need is to cool down!

This week we have a bunch of excellent, COLD salad recipes for you so you can give a major boost to your nutrition this summer, cool down your body, and delight your taste buds!

Vegetable Bean Salad

Try this large batch veggie-loaded cold salad with a sweet, and optionally spicy kick!

Check it out: Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, corn, avocado, cilantro and beans get topped with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, raw honey, hot sauce/chilies (to taste), garlic, and salt/pepper. This was a huge family hit! (The proof is in the picture…) It goes great with almost any main protein meal since you now have your vegetable, carb, and fat taken care of!

TIP: Try using unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It is known to have many medicinal properties, including easing GI distress.

Get the full recipe here!

Zoodle Salad

Zucchini + tomatoes + basil + mozzarella balls topped with balsamic vinegar. So simple! Sooo good…Get the recipe here!

TIP: Balsamic vinegar is traditionally made in Italy from unfiltered, unfermented pressed grapes (not fermented alcohol like other vinegars) and aged like wine. The older the vinegar, the sweeter and more syrupy – not to mention more expensive. Beware: a lot of cheap balsamic vinegar is just an imitation, made by adding color to white wine. Look at the label for words like “grape must”, “aged grape must”, “Mosto d’Uva” or “DOC.”

Cold Shrimp Salad

Shrimp is a good source of protein and a nice change of pace. This recipe can be made even quicker with precooked shrimp, then simply toss with a healthy dressing and served over lettuce leaves or as a salad topper/dressing.

Shrimp with celery, red onion, and dill + dressing. We love simple – had you noticed?

The dressing is made with mayo (could also part plain Greek yogurt part Mayo), lemon, and dijon.

TIP: This recipe was tested using 1/4 c Greek yogurt + 1/4 c Mayo, however 1/8 c mayo would likely have been enough.

Click here for the recipe!

Greek Salad

Who doesn’t love the classic taste of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta? Today’s Greek Salad has a dressing that can be used for any lettuce salad: red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt/pepper.

TIP: Red wine vinegar, as the name suggests, is made from red wine that is allowed to ferment. It’s one of the more popular vinegars with its sharp taste, making it great for vinaigrettes, salad dressings, and marinades.

Unfamiliar with this classic recipe? Check it out here!

Quinoa Salad

A terrific way to use your garden surplus, create a satisfyingly filling dish, plus get a protein boost from the quinoa!

Quinoa + cucumbers + tomatoes + onion, avocado, feta, and parsley. This cold salad offers a light creamy feel yet light for summer. Serves well with chicken on the side or incorporated right in! Rave reviews from the kids and adults alike!

Get the recipe!

Bonus Tuna Salad

This is one refreshing take on the timeless classic. Red onions, dill pickles and hot sauce pack a serious punch of flavor that make this recipe particularly enjoyable. Try wrapping it up in some romaine lettuce!

Full recipe here!

Ditch the Desk for the Health of it!

Desk jobs can make it super difficult to feel active enough each day and still accomplish what you are supposed to at work. It not only affects our mobility and sanity, but has also been shown to increase our waistlines and risk of heart disease!

A recent study found that for each hour over 5 hours of sitting resulted in a waist size increase of 2 cm (that’s almost an inch per hour!) and .2% increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

This week we have strategies for staying more active at your desk job!
*All seriousness aside, look at that computer monitor! What year is it??

Move

“Sedentary” is considered under 5000 steps per day. The average American gets only 4800-5300/day! Of course, any movement is better than none, so let’s start there!
Park further away from the front door, use the further away bathroom, take the stairs! Waiting for a printer, your computer to reboot, or for software updates? Stand up and do some calf raises, a few squats – anything to move during your down time! Have a walking meeting, all the big execs are doing it…

Wear comfortable shoes each day so you don’t dread walking more often, and get creative! Who cares if they stare?

Eating/Drinking

Do your best to avoid eating at your desk! It’s easy to consume more food when you are focusing on anything other than your food, chewing, and how you feel. Eating and multi-tasking almost guarantees you will eat everything in front of you regardless of whether or not you are still hungry. Walk to the breakroom and be present!

Also, stay hydrated. Many times we are thirsty but mistake it for hunger. Like ice water? Lemon? Find the way that makes it as desirable as possible!

Switch the Style Up!

Consider a standing desk, stability ball in place of a chair, or even kneeling on a pad occasionally! If you work from home you can even move your desk to the floor allowing you tons of variations! (Check out this video)

Studies recommend 5 minutes of standing for every 30-minutes sitting. At the top of each hour commit to 10 squats, 10 lateral squats, 5 push ups, etc. Perform seated leg raises right at your desk. Set an alarm/reminder to do so. Also we were just kidding earlier, no one is staring…

Stretch

Typing, texting, etc can cause internal rotation of the shoulders (rounding forward) which can cause shoulder impingement and tightness. Google search “desk stretches” and you’ll find a boatload (like this).

Leave a tennis ball under your desk to roll your feet on. Consider keeping a resistance tube or mini-band at work and utilize the exercises you have learned when you know you can’t make it to the gym!

Put it all together!

Here’s more things you can do to help prevent or reverse “Desk Job Body”:

• Find out if your company has a wellness program.
• Get a fitness tracker and get an idea of how many steps you take each day.
• Strive to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water each day.
• Move at work.
• Stretch at your desk.
• Quite reading this post and move, move, move!

10*20*30 Workout

This workout is ideal for summer travels. Choose any single circuit and repeat AMRAP for an exhilarating vacation workout! 8 Min AMRAP Circuits.

10 Burpees
20 Body Weight Squats
30 Jacks
*repeat AMRAP for 8 minutes

10 Pull Ups or Pull Downs
20 TRX Triceps Extensions
30 Reverse Fly w/Tube
*repeat AMRAP for 8 minutes

10 Pushups or Plank w/Hip Tap
20 Bicep Curls
30 Sprinter Starts (no TRX)
*repeat AMRAP for 8 minutes

10/10 Split Squats or Plyo Lunges
20 Shoulder Press
30 In & Out Squats
*repeat AMRAP for 8 minutes

Don’t have access to any equipment? Try repeating the first section 5 rounds for time!

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Why on Earth Do We Keep Lifting These Heavy Things??

It is frequently thought, pondered, and questioned, but often this question is not directly asked. Recently a former member inquired:

Why does we push heavy lifting here at Ellipse Fitness?

We can start with the 7 basics that most fitness professionals, weight loss experts, and physical therapist agree with.

7 Basic Reasons to Strength training and Lift Heavy

1. Builds confidence.
2. Burns more fat.
3. Strengthen bones.
4. Builds and strengthens muscles.
5. Prevents injury.
6. Improves endurance.
7. Defines the shape of a human body.

Enough said. Let’s just lift heavy, right? If only it were that simple…

The 4 Problems with Heavy Lifting

1. The term heavy is subjective. For so many of us, our body weight is heavy enough until we can move through the entire range of motion for any prescribed movement pattern. (That is semi-fancy trainer talk for perform an exercise, like a squat, correctly and without a load)

2. Adding a load and knowing when to increase it is confusing. Start small and increase minimally overtime. Increasing weights 2.5% each week or two can deliver amazing results overtime. The key is consistency. One heavy session is more likely to cause soreness, pain or injury as opposed to a progressive training program. Earning each pound added to any movement is required. Try adding load in small increments over the course of 4 weeks.

3. Fear of bulking up is something women tend to worry about more often than men. Some trainers respond with a line about women not having enough testosterone to bulk up, but the problem with this statement is not that it is entirely untrue – which is is. The problem is that the statement doesn’t even address the concerns of the client! Some women do build muscle fast and feel like they are bulking up. Many factors can be considered in this situation. Consuming too many calories, lifting too heavy too soon, etc. Accepting myths about women that change your perception like the “long, lean Pilates look.” That’s not real! We can’t lengthen muscles! These muscles are as long as they are going to be for adults. What we can do is tone and strengthen and maybe most importantly improve your health and quality of life.

4. Lifting as heavy as possible is not recommended every day. Discuss with your trainer how often you should lift heavy, max out, or PR (Personal Record). Muscles need recovery time to avoid injury. Limited recovery time is one of the most prominent issues we see. We are impressed by those who want to give 110% all the time. Inspiring? Of course. Smart? Maybe not always. Proper nutrition, sleep, stretching and foam rolling, and rest is the realm in which our bodies get stronger. Think about it. Lifting heavy causes fatigue and muscle soreness. We cannot, and should not, lift as heavy as possible again until we are fully recovered.

Program design plays a pivotal role in increasing muscle strength and endurance, changing the shape of our bodies, and fat loss. Ellipse Fitness provides many opportunities, on various days of the week, to lift heavy. When scheduling your sessions or selecting your weights on any given day, decide which day is best for you to lift heavy based on what physical activities you’ve planned for the rest of the week, whether you have time to eat a high quality meal near your workout, whether or not you expect to get a full night of sleep, etc. Discuss with your coach/trainer. Goal setting sessions are always available to our members.

Small group sessions allow our members to make strength training a priority. These sessions are available several days a week to ensure that we can get and stay strong. Custom programing is available for our members who have specific goals or limitations.

How heavy is heavy?

I don’t want to be a body builder. Do I really need to bench press my weight?

I don’t like Turkish Get Ups. Why do we do them?

I heard a loaded carry should be 75% of my body weight for 100 yards. Is this true?

We will find many landmarks for activities such as these. It is important to train the body to maintain strength. Once we stop challenging ourselves or even just visiting our perceived limitations, we begin to lose strength and definition. Our work capacity lowers. Our ability to get up and down off the floor weakens. We lose strength. We fall. We break bones. We gain fat. We lose confidence.

WHY should we lift heavy?

Because we can, and because it will ensure that we can into the future.

There’s No Way You Knew These Things About Berries!

Berry picking season is here! Whether you pick your own berries, get them through a CSA or local market consider adding them to your next meal plan! Berries are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and immune-boosting vitamin C. This week we are going to deliver the facts on nature’s candy, and spruce up some old Ellipse Classic Recipes!

Let’s start by adding any and all types of berries to our Ellipse Protein Pancakes recipe! Just a few ingredients and they pack a serious nutritional punch!

Strawberries

Strawberries taste best at room temperature, but they are also one of the most perishable! What a paradox…
As soon as you get your berries consume the ones with bruises, they are the ripest. Compost any that show signs of mold. Wash your berries only once you’re ready to eat them. If your berries were commercially produced and may have pesticides on them, soak in a container of water with 1 tsp of baking soda for about 15 minutes before using. Berries will stay best when stored in a single layer, so it might be worth taking them out of the container you generally find them in.

Fun Facts!
• Because of their natural level of nitrate, strawberries have been shown to increase endurance for a workout!
• Strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside! Although that fact means that by technicality strawberries aren’t even a fruit since fruits have their seeds on the inside, like blueberries. Strawberries are part of the rose family. Are you starting to feel like you don’t really know your fruits at all??

Try strawberries by making your own yummy Yogurt Bark!

Blueberries

Blueberries make a great frozen snack right out of the freezer! Freeze your berries by washing, patting dry, and freezing on a cookie sheet in a single layer before moving to a bag or container to freeze for up to a year.

Fun Facts!
• Blueberries can be used as a natural food dye. It’s thought that back in colonial times, colonists boiled blueberries with milk to create grey paint.
• Blueberries are only 1 of 3 fruits native to North America! (Cranberries, Blueberries and Concord Grapes)

Pair blueberries or other types of berries with nectarines and almonds in this delicious and healthy Couscous Fruit Salad!

Raspberries

Raspberries are known as an aggregate fruit, creating bead-like pockets called a drupelets from multiple ovaries (Yes, plants have ovaries). Based on how it grows, each drupelet could be considered a fruit on it its own! Unlike many fruits, unripe raspberries do not ripen after they have been picked. Once it’s picked, that’s that.

Fun Facts!
• One raspberry has approximately 100-120 druplets, meaning EACH raspberry has 100-120 seeds! Got a toothpick?
• Raspberries don’t just come in red, but can be purple, gold or black in colour! The gold ones are the sweetest variety, and very tasty.

Raspberries are a no-brainer addition to so many recipes, but start by mixing them into some Banana “Nice” Cream!

Blackberries

Blackberries, like raspberries, are an aggregate fruit. But unlike raspberries, they are produced from one ovary. With that difference, when you pick a blackberry the center stays intact, unlike a raspberry.

Fun Facts!
• Blackberries were used to treat gout by the ancient Greeks because of their anti-inflammatory properties!
• blackberries are known by a variety of names including brambleberries, dewberries, and thimbleberries.

Add blackberries in to our classic Ellipse Breakfast Muffins!