Ellipse

Step Up Your Snack Game!

Healthy Eating can be quite a challenge. Nearly anyone who has tried to make positive changes to their diet can admit this. As you start to build new habits however, you might find that meals are more manageable, but what do you do when hunger strikes in between meals? For many of us, our workplace has a room similar to this one that begs to answer the question…

The word “Snack” is most often associated with something less healthy, or natural, than a small meal, but keep thinking about how you can form your days around small meals, whether that is 3 or 5 times a day. No matter what though, sometimes you need that fast snack. Here are some great options for you:

Be prepared!

Keep It Simple

Roll a piece of cheese or a pickle in some lunch meat to get a quick protein boost. Look for natural meats without added nitrates and a short ingredient list.

Chia Pudding

Whether for a breakfast or for a snack, chia pudding can fit the bill! Simply combine chia seeds with coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Get creative by adding protein powder, fresh fruit, cocoa powder…you name it!
Check out the recipe here!

Ellipse Breakfast Muffins

Need a quick breakfast that can be eaten as is or jazzed up? Check out our Classic Ellipse Breakfast Muffins with just oatmeal, egg beaters, applesauce, and baking soda.
Add-On’s: nut butter, yogurt, etc
Add-In’s: fresh or dried fruit
Add-With’s: cottage cheese and fruit!

Need Something Salty?

Try roasted chickpeas! Toss drained chickpeas with olive oil and salt/garlic salt and bake 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees until browned and crispy. Want a little kick? Add a dash of cayenne pepper!

Apples A New Way

Apple Snack

Have a sweet tooth that NEEDS to be tamed NOW? Try slicing an apple all the way across to get full flat circles slices. Spread nut butter on the slice and add toppings like chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut, or even a few dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

Make a "Small Meal"

“Crack Slaw” has a great combination of protein, vegetables, and seasonings! The recipe calls for Dole Coleslaw mix but consider using broccoli slaw for an extra vitamin boost! Find it here!

Sweet Craving?

Get your sweet fix by mixing peanut butter (or powdered peanut butter) with plain greek yogurt and maybe even a dash of sugar-free pudding mix to make a great fruit dip!

Multivitamins have NO effect on Heart Disease, Cancer or overall Mortality??

According to the medical journal “Annals of Internal Medicine”, there is no evidence that multivitamins have any effect on cognitive decline, heart disease, cancer, or overall mortality. Wait what??

However, adequate intake of vitamins/minerals from food and/or supplements IS necessary to prevent deficiency, promote optimal health, improve nutrient partitioning and promote fat loss and muscle gain.

Ditch The Multivitamin or Not??

Ideally, just supplement the specific nutrients you are deficient in. Avoid supratherapeutic doses of vitamins – doses greatly in excess of recommendations. And know what you are working with: low-fat diets for instance can inhibit adequate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Perhaps your diet just needs a little tweaking; all of your vitamin and mineral requirements CAN and arguable SHOULD BE met from actual food intake by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you struggle with medical ailments, check with your healthcare provider to see if specific vitamins or nutrients may need to be supplemented.

Taste The Rainbow!

…can we say that?

Vitamins are “any of a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.”

We have overwhelming access to a variety of fruits and vegetables all year round, and there truly is no reason outside of a medical complication or deficiency that one should require a daily multivitamin.

If you use a vitamin/mineral supplement, look for one providing nutrients derived from whole foods. Be sure this includes natural forms of vitamin E rather than the synthetic versions. Vitamin A should come from precursors like carotenoids and not preformed retinoids for instance. Labdoor.com is an independent company that creates a quality score for label accuracy, product purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy!

**Check with your healthcare provider as special populations often need special consideration with supplemental vitamins. Those on blood thinners need to take precaution before adding in supplemental vitamin K. Those on a plant based diet might benefit from supplementing with iodine, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Those suffering from malabsorption syndromes will need to adjust their micronutrient intake accordingly. Always check with your healthcare provider before supplementing your diet.**

Vitamin D: The not-really-a-vitamin Vitamin

“Vitamin D” is actually the one vitamin your body is capable of synthesizing on it’s own! All you need is sunlight. Because of this you may meet your requirements for this vitamin with no effort at all in the Summer, but come Winter you may be totally deficient! (Especially for those of us in the North experiencing extended periods of below freezing temperatures and reduced daylight hours).

Getting adequate vitamin D can improve mood AND provide long-term protection against cognitive decline and bone deterioration. Many studies show that deficiency in vitamin D is also associated with increased susceptibility to infection and immune dysfunction!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

What to Eat, When to Eat, and What it Means for Your Workouts

Thankfully, it seems the era of fad-diets, fat-free, no-carb or other diets that entirely slash a whole category of macronutrients is coming to a close! But with that said, it is still difficult to find reliable information on proper nutrition! Let’s take a look at how eating factors into the effectiveness of your workouts, and maybe we can make sense of some of this.

“What should I eat before/after my workout?”

For most of us who exercise for health and not training for a high-level competition, our meals will contain some combination of high quality protein, high quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and some fruit and vegetables 1-2 hours before and/or after your workout to get the maximal benefit. Whether it is “and” vs “or” will partly depend on the intensity/duration of your activity, daily caloric intake and what is on the menu for the rest of your day

Break it down for me: What’s important – and Why?

Protein can help maintain muscle size, reduce muscle damage, provide your bloodstream with amino acids when it needs them most, and helps you adapt to your exercise over the long term! But most people are at least somewhat aware of the importance of protein for strength training – what about carbohydrates?

Pre-Exercise carbs fuel your workout and help with recovery/muscle retention with even shorter, intense workouts. Post-exercise carbs however should come from whole foods like fruits and vegetables because these are better tolerated by the system than insulin-spiking refined carbohydrates and are just as good at restoring muscle glycogen over 24 hours.

Alright…but tell me more about “When”.

If you ate a normal-sized, balanced meal a couple of hours before training (or a smaller shake closer to training), then you have 1-2 hrs after training to eat your post-workout meal and still maximize the benefits of workout nutrition.

But if you are like many who work out early in the morning or directly after leaving work, and you ate only a small meal within the last 3-4 hours before your workout, or you are in a fasted state, then you should consume a meal within one hour after your workout to prevent a slowed recovery. A whole food meal pre/post workout provides many things including important phytonutrients that build muscle, supply energy, decrease inflammation, and boost recovery.

Ya know, it just isn’t the same for me!

You might be right! In the end, the total amount of protein and carbohydrate consumed over the course of the day is far more important to lean mass gain, fat loss, and performance improvements than any specific nutrient timing strategy. If you are a high-quality eater (you are only looking to tweak minor things) check out this infographic that further breaks down your meals by body type!

When in doubt, keep it simple and fill each nutrient slot:
Protein – Scrambled Eggs with veggies
Fat – 1 “thumb” of cheese
Carb – 1 slice of Ezekial toast or fruit

Now we’ve got some recipes to help make finding a well-balanced, complete meal a little easier for you!

Asian Scrambled Eggs:

Shake up your eggs with a few new elements like some incredibly healthy ginger root and nutritious snow peas!
Check the recipe here!

Classic Protein Pancakes:

Rolled oats, eggs, cottage cheese, fruit – these pancakes have everything you need to call them a complete meal!

Find this recipe and more on our previous blog post here!

PB & Chocolate Banana Shake:

1 scoop choc protein powder, 1 fistful of spinach, 1 banana, 1 “thumb” of peanut butter, and 8 oz choc unsweetened almond milk. Blend and enjoy!

Need even more ideas? How about Banana Cream Pie Oatmeal?? Peaches and Cream Omelet?? You can find those and MORE in Precision Nutrition’s Gourmet Recipes List!

Honey-Peanut Butter Protein Energy Bites

This recipe is extremely popular with our members and we thought you’d enjoy it too!

Honey-Peanut Butter Protein Energy Bites

2 c old fashioned oats
2 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 c honey
2TBS peanut butter

In medium bowl, toss together ingredients and stir well. Put bowl in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Roll into balls. Place 2-3 balls in sandwich baggies and store in fridge to use as a snack or to satisfy sweet tooth. They will last for 5 days.

130 calories, 3g fat, 10g carbs, 10g protein.

Fitness Tip: Preacher Curl with Isometric Wall Sit

Super charge your workout by combining an upper body preacher curl with a lower body isometric wall sit.

Begin by sitting against a wall with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your torso tilted forward at the hips. Then holding a dumbbell in each, extend the arms so that the elbows are touching the thighs just before the knees.
Now super charge your workout by alternating between a supine curl, a hammer curl and a pronated grip curl to cross train the heads of the bicep while working the low body simultaneously.

Fitness Tip: Dumbbell 2 Arm Skull Crusher

The triceps brachii is Latin for “three-headed arm muscle”. It’s an extensor muscle that joins together at the elbow and is an antagonist of the biceps and brachialis muscles. The triceps cover about 2/3rd of our arm and are primarily used for pushing.

One of our favorite strength exercises to isolate the triceps is the 2 arm Skull Crusher.

1. Lie prone (on your back) holding 2 dumbbells in a neutral grip with palms facing each other, above your chest.
2. Keeping the arms parallel, hinge at the elbows, as you lower the forearms and bring the dumbbells even with your ears. Then return to your starting position and repeat.

Fitness Tip: Triceps Kickback

The tricep kickback strengthens the triceps brachii, which is a three-headed arm muscle that joins together at the elbow. The triceps brachii is both an extensor and an antagonist of the biceps.

To strengthen the L. tricep, step forward with the R. foot and hinge forward slightly at the hips. Keep your back straight and weight supported either with forearm to thigh, or hand to thigh.

Begin with the dumbbell at the L. hip with the L. upper arm parallel to the floor. There should be a triangle of space created by the angle of the left elbow.

Next, extend the arm parallel to the floor, contracting the triceps, then return to your starting position.

To ensure you’re getting the most out of this move, avoid dropping your elbow or gaining momentum by swinging the dumbbell.

Fitness Tip: TRX Hip Dip and Oblique Twist

Planks are an awesome exercise for core, hip and shoulder strength and stability and a plank on the TRX will be even more challenging and effective for the core as it works to stabilize the body.

Begin by adjusting your TRX to mid calf length.

Then put your toes in the straps and roll sideways onto one forearm. Be sure to keep the elbow directly under the shoulder to protect the shoulder and the top foot should be in the forward position.

Begin the hip dip by dropping the hip to the floor and back up. Then thread the top arm under the body to twist the body and work the obliques. Alternate between the hip dip and the oblique twist for maximum core stability and strength.

Be sure to repeat an equal number of reps on the opposite side to keep the body balanced in both strength and stability.

 

Fitness Tip: Kettlebell Bottoms Up Reverse Lunge

Many sports such require overhead action such as throwing a ball, however many athletes struggle with the overhead postural stability that’s required to excel in their sport.

One of the most effective ways to train overhead postural stability is with an unstable overhead load such as the Kettlebell in the Bottoms Up Reverse Lunge.

1. Begin standing with feet hip width apart, holding the kettlebell by the horns in the bottoms up position.
2. Next straighten the elbows extending the arms overhead.
3. Once your arms and trunk are stabilized, alternate stepping back into a reverse lunge, pausing at the bottom before returning to your upright position.

To modify this move:
1. move to a stationary lunge
2. decrease the load

To intensify this move:
1. increase the pause time at the bottom of the lunge
2. simultaneously lunge while you overhead press the kettlebell
3. increase the load
4. move to a single arm position with the kettlebell

Fitness Tip: Plank Variations

Planks are a wonderful exercise for trunk, hip and shoulder stability and moving planks are far more effective and burn more calories than isometric planks. So once you’ve mastered the plank it’s time to start moving in that plank, to start challenging the core and to start burning more calories.

Plank with Walk In:

From the full plank position with hands under shoulders and back straight, walk into a tuck by taking small steps forward and keeping the knees close to the floor and hips down. Then take small steps backwards and return to starting position.

Plank with Walk Around:

From the full plank position, take small steps with both feet to one side then rotate hand and finish in a side plank. Next, walk feet back and around to the other side and rotate into a side plank.

If your wrists bother you in a full plank then drop down onto the forearm and walk forward and back or side to side on your forearms and toes. To modify the plank, drop to your knees but continue to shift your body weight from side to side.