healthy recipes from Ellipse Fitness

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!

The Year of YES!

Maybe 2018 should be deemed The Year of YES!

I think we have all had those days …

  • I walked by the dog the other day thinking I should take her for a quick walk, but I kept going to the couch. Have you ever done this too? I wonder if my tail would wag as happily as my dogs’ at the invitation to go on a walk.
  • My kids wanted to go to the park, but I tried to talk them out of it. I don’t want to just sit there when I could be getting things done.  They talked me into it anyway.  They wanted me to play with them.  I was tired so I sat on the bench and waited mindlessly scrolling on my phone.
  • The kids are glued to their iPhone or iPad so often that I can hardly get their attention. Suddenly I have two notifications pop up on my phone and immediately log in to check.  I’ve read about having technology blackout times to refocus on important things in my life.
  • I have friends that are always inviting me to one run or another. Most recently it was a mud run.  I was afraid I would make a fool out of myself, having them wait for me or even hurting myself.
  • My significant other comes home and asks almost nightly if I want to go for a walk. I’ve turned them down citing a long day, rain, cold, smog…
  • I turned down my neighbors invite to come over to swim in their pool because I was worried that I would actually have to show up in a swimsuit.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m alone here.  All these scenarios can be and are often very real.  What if we said yes just a little more often?

Fitness isn’t some crazy lifestyle requiring hundreds of hours in a gym, extremes in food or special equipment that costs thousands of dollars.

Fitness is a hundred simple choices a day that we have to make anyway.  Walk the dog or kick back on the couch? Throw the ball around with the kids or scroll a small screen?

Eat an apple or eat a cookie? Drop into the gym a few times per weeks with a friend or make an excuse not to go?

The foundation of fitness can be easy. We simply do the stuff we have to do anyway everyday a little differently.  We have to eat, so let’s eat some good food instead of pulling through that drive-thru on the way home.

The kids will do what we do. If we move, they move. If we sit, they sit.  Let’s set the tone for an active life that will propel them into adulthood.

Simple walks a few times a week with our spouses can at least give us time to communicate uninterrupted or at its best assist us in earning a few more quality years together.

Fitness can be easy. Just move every day until you can’t.

And if you move every day you will most likely have many more days in your life to spend with your loved ones and to do that “when I retire”.

Let’s make 2018 the year of YES!  SURE!  I’M IN!

Christmas Workout

As we wrap up another year, we could not ask for a better group of people to call our Ellipse family/community.

Although Ellipse Fitness isn’t open today, that doesn’t mean you can not get a great workout in today (if you want!).

Below is our gift to you. A Christmas workout!

So, grab your mom, dad, sister, uncle, cousin, significant other, niece, nephew, and do this holiday workout together or stash it for a snowy day!

70 Speed Skaters

60 Jacks

50 Speed Squats

40 Pogo Jumps (think fast jump rope feet)

30 Lower Body Mountain Climbers

20 Pushups

10 Burpees

1 Turkish Getup

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays!

Set Yourself Up For Holiday Success!

Here at Ellipse Fitness Training Center we wish you and your families a very happy holiday! As this season comes to a close we have a few last minute tips, tricks and reminders to help you stay on track with your goals!

Maintain a regular schedule – Try to not to veer off your normal sleep, eat, and workout schedule during the busy holidays! Illness is opportunistic with large jumps in nutrition, sleep, and/or workout routines, so remain consistent to lessen your likelihood of getting sick. If you know you will be feasting at dinner, have a lighter balanced lunch like a salad with grilled chicken.
During busy times, try to schedule your days out ahead of time to maximize your time and keep those important appointments with yourself too!

Give to others – The holidays can be, for some, a stressful time. One thing that can put the holidays back in perspective is gratitude and giving to others. Let’s all find a way to help others this holiday season! There’s still time to ring bells for the Salvation Army, help out at a soup kitchen, cook a meal for a shut-in neighbor, shovel someone’s driveway after a snowstorm, and rekindle that feeling of doing something good. Remember all the blessings that are bestowed on our own lives.

Eat your meat (protein) – Our friends over at Examine.com concluded a recent analysis with this sentiment: “Since you’re going to splurge on food, focus your overeating on protein-rich foods. Not only does this have the greatest likelihood of minimizing fat gain during the overeating itself, but protein’s well-known satiating properties might help reduce overeating to begin with. As a bonus, if you are looking to manage blood sugar levels, eating protein before starchy carbohydrates has been shown to reduce post-meal blood glucose and insulin responses.“
Check out the full article here: https://examine.com/nutrition/meta-minimizing-fat-gain/

Seek out the better alternatives – Instead of the spinach and artichoke dip, think guacamole and salsa with vegetable crudites (remember? Bite size cut up veggies!). Instead of the pigs in a blanket, seek out the shrimp cocktail or meat kebabs. Bring your own healthier dessert! Here’s a super simple one:
Baked Apples
Core 2 honeycrisp apples and fill with stuffing (Mix 1 T walnuts, 1 T raisins, 1 T dried cranberries, ½ t cinnamon, ¼ t nutmeg).
Place apples in a loaf pan w/ ¼ c water on bottom and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until apples are tender!

Bring a dish to pass – Plan ahead! Ask if you can bring a dish to your next outing. Bring something that you know you can eat that is still a healthy option. Try some of these appetizers from previous blog posts:

Spinach dip made with cottage cheese and greek yogurt

Fresh Fruit dip made with applesauce and yogurt

Ellipse Classic cottage cheese ranch dip

Relax and recharge – As the hustle and bustle picks up in these last days before Christmas, give yourself permission to relax. Sit back with your kids, significant other, pets – whomever – and watch a movie, play a board game, or simply enjoy each other’s company. Give yourself permission to do something non-productive for a while to re-center and recharge. When you are feeling at your best you are at your best for those around you too. Thank you for taking time for yourself and recharging with Ellipse Fitness! Happy Holidays!

Ellipse Fitness Chocolate-Watermelon Wedges

Ingredients
8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
5 lbs seedless watermelon, cut into 1″ wedges

Directions
1. Place chocolate in heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir until melted.
2. Dip watermelon in chocolate and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired, and refrigerate.

Makes 25 wedges.
NUTRITION (per wedge) 77 cal, 1g protein, 12g carb, 1g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 3mg sodium

Quick and Easy Power Waffles

Ingredients:
1 frozen multigrain waffle, toasted
1 tablespoon raw almond butter
2 strawberries, sliced
1/2 small banana, sliced
2 teaspoons agave nectar

Preparation:
Spread waffle with almond butter. Top with strawberries and banana; drizzle with agave nectar.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 245; Fat 10.4g; Saturated fat per serving 1.1g; Monounsaturated fat per serving 5.8g; Polyunsaturated fat per serving 2.5g; Protein 7g; Carbohydrates 36g; Fiber per serving 4g; Cholesterol 3mg; Iron 4mg; Sodium 373mg; Calcium

Ellipse Fitness Greek 7 Layer Dip

Ingredients
 8 ounces hummus, store bought or homemade
 1 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
 1 clove garlic, finely minced
 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
 Juice of 1/2 lemon
 Pinch kosher salt
 Freshly ground black pepper
 2 tbsp red onion, minced
 1 cup English cucumber (about ½ large), ½-inch dice
 1 cup Roma tomato, seeded, ½-inch dice
 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced

Preparation
1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
2. In an 8”x8” or 7″ x 11″glass dish, layer the hummus, yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives. Serve with whole grain pita chips, celery, or cut fresh veggies

Nutritional Information
Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Calories: 93 • Fat: 5 • Carbs: 7 g • Fiber: 1.5 • Protein: 5 g • Sugar: 2 g • Sodium: 202 mg • Cholesterol: 6 mg

Ellipse Summer Ribbon Salad

Ingredients:
2 zucchini, trimmed
1/4 lb. All natural, thin, deli-sliced ham (no nitrates!)
1/4 cantaloupe, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried mint
1/8 tsp. each sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation:
1. Run a vegetable peeler lengthwise along the edge of each zucchini to make long ribbons. Stack ham slices and cut into approximately 1 x 5 inch strips.
2. In a medium bowl, combine zucchini, ham and cantaloupe. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, mint, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over zucchini mixture and toss gently to combine.

NUTRIENTS SERVING (1 cup)
Nutritional Information:
64 calories, 3g fat, 232mg sodium, 5g carbs, 1g fiber, 3.5g sugars, 5g protein, 11mg cholesterol

Ellipse Fitness Tomato and Feta Towers

Ingredients:
 1 ounce reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
 1 garlic clove, minced
 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
 1 large ripe tomato, ends trimmed and cut crosswise into 4 slices
 Freshly ground pepper

Instructions:
 Heat oven to 400 degrees.
 Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
 Combine feta, garlic, oregano, oil and zest in a small bowl.
 Place 2 tomato slices on the baking sheet. Top each slice with one-fourth of the feta mixture. Place a second tomato slice on top of each and cover with remaining feta mixture. Sprinkle with a little pepper.
 Bake until heated through and feta is lightly golden, 18—20 minutes. Serve hot

Makes 2 servings
Nutrition
Per serving: 70 calories; 4g fat (1.5g sat); 4g protein; 5g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 190mg sodium.

Ellipse Healthy Kale and Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:
 4 cups, shredded green cabbage, packed
 4 cups shredded purple cabbage, packed
 4 cups stemmed and shredded kale, packed
 3 cups grated carrots
Dressing
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp minced jalapeno
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Toppings
2 scallions, sliced (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts roughly chopped (optional)

Preparation:
1. Combine cabbages, kale and carrots in a large bowl.
2. Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl
3. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste.
4. Serve topped with scallions and peanuts, if using.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 10 servings. Each serving: 110 calories, 6g. fat (1g saturated), 5g protein, 12g carbs, 4g sugar, 3g fiber, 288mg sodium, 1mg cholesterol