Ad-veggie-venture! (Conquering Mysterious Produce)

Gardens are overflowing and the Farmer’s Markets are full of produce, ready to fill your vitamin and mineral needs! I’m sure we all snagged up the strawberries over the last couple of weeks. Maybe you got some early lettuce or beans…but what about all those mystery fruits and veggies?? We all see unknown produce and simply pass on by without giving it a second thought. The next time you see something unfamiliar, buy it! Make it a mission to learn 1 or 2 ways to use it. You will probably like it, AND you’ll have something new to incorporate into your regular meal/snack rotations to keep it from getting boring. As an added bonus, you will introduce your body to vitamins and minerals that you may not currently be getting! Let’s get started:

Yu Choy (yow – choy)

Go past any Asian stand at a farmer’s market and you’ll likely find Yu Choy. This Chinese green is most identifiable by their yellow flowers, which are edible! Yu Choy (or rapeseed) are primarily grown to produce canola oil, but also have a sweet taste that make it perfect to sautée, stir-fry or add to soups. Yu Choy’s flavor is a sort of cross between spinach and mustard greens. Grab a pound of Yu Choy, stir fry in some oil and garlic and then steam in ¼ cup of chicken broth for about 3-3.5 minutes until the stems are softened. Say Nǐ hǎo to something new!

Kohlrabi (cole – RAW – be)

In German “Kohl” means cabbage and “Rabi” means turnip; this green or purple bulb like vegetable is commonly eaten in German speaking areas and in Vietnam. However, it is slowly becoming more mainstream here in the U.S. The bulb can have the green skin cut off (knife or vegetable peeler) and the inside, sliced or cut into sticks and served alone or with a dip like hummus. It has a nice, crisp taste with a slight cabbage flavor. Some may be surprised to learn that the greens on the top of kohlrabi can be used like kale or collard greens. Look for smaller size bulbs to ensure they are not “woody” as often found in the larger grown vegetable. Use kohlrabi in other ways too, such as pureed in soups, roasted, or steamed. Any time you get a veggie where you can eat the root and the greens you’ve got a bargain!

Golden Beets

You might have noticed we’ve included a few root vegetables in this post, in large part because unless it is a carrot or potato most people tend to steer clear of this category. What a shame! Because the roots are generally the major source of absorption for vitamins and nutrients from the soil, these veggies (beets, rutabagas, ginger, etc) pack a big nutritional punch! Geosmin, a compound produced by microbes in the soil, is what gives beets their earthy taste and seem to polarize so many into beet lovers or beet haters, but even beet haters may be pleasantly surprised by the flavor of golden beets! These golden beauties have been described to taste like sweet corn when cooked, and are well-known for their high fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid. One bonus is they don’t “bleed red” and stain your clothes or teeth. Beets also have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, which is why they can be found in some desserts (like beet brownies!). Beets can be enjoyed roasted, poached, or boiled.

Jicama (HE – ka – ma)

Although you won’t find jicama grown locally as it needs 9 months frost free, you can generally find it in most supermarkets. It’s traditionally grown in Mexico and South America. Also known as a Mexican turnip, Jicama is in the legume family and the brown, bulbous root vegetable we are used to seeing is just that – a tuberous root at the bottom of a large vining plant. Jicama is most commonly enjoyed raw and tastes like a savory apple, a crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet snack. Just cut the skin off (it’s too thick for a vegetable peeler) and cut into sticks or slices. Other ways to enjoy jicama are stir-fry (like water chestnuts), julienned into spring rolls, and even diced into salsa or a coleslaw!

Fennel (FEN – null)

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet – closely related to parsley, carrots, and dill. It is fully edible, from its bulb to the leaves, and has high concentrations of phytonutrients which make it an antioxidant powerhouse. Fennel has been repeatedly studied for its ability to reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Many associate the taste to black licorice, however if black licorice isn’t your thing, when the bulb is chopped and sautéed (many like it sautéed with onion) or braised, that licorice-type taste almost fully dissolves into a complementary side dish primarily for fish or other seafood. The stalks can be used in soup and the leaves can be used as an herb. Search pinterest or google some recipes and give it a shot!

Venture into the Farmers’ Market or grocery store with a little extra confidence this week, and proudly request some new produce with the correct pronunciation and a sense of accomplishment! When it comes to diet, one particular principles with regards to exercise is extremely applicable: if you are bored, you won’t stick with it very long. Explore new fruits and veggies to boost your vitamins and minerals, make your meals more enjoyable, and wow your friends and family!

Until next time…Happy Harvesting!

Slooooowww Down

We’re a rushed, distracted, and “too-busy” society. Most people in North America eat fast. Really fast. We rarely take the time to savor our food… or sometimes even to chew it properly.

^^It’s gross isn’t it??^^

You almost can’t look away…don’t be like Homer!

Each time we consume food we are using all five of our senses. We taste and smell the food, hear the crunch, feel the texture, and see the food. Try sitting down to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions to truly enjoy all the five senses, and get more satisfaction out of eating! Taking time to prepare your food and make it look presentable will help you to enjoy it. Add fruits, veggies, and spices to add a colorful “pop” to your meals!

Did you know it takes a full 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your mind (and mouth for that matter) that you are satisfied? Try spending at least 20-30 minutes eating each meal, and see what a difference it can make! Slowing down is an effective – and maybe the easiest – way to reduce caloric intake at a meal.

Eating slowly offers many benefits:
• Better digestion
• Better hydration
• Easier weight loss or maintenance
• Greater satisfaction with our meals

Digestion is a process made up of many equally important steps that prepare the body to break down everything you put into it to use for energy. Smelling, tasting, chewing, moving the food around, chewing some more, swallowing, chemical and mechanical break down in the gut… When we eat and chew slowly, we allow our brain and body to properly digest the food. Food that is not properly chewed, or eaten too fast can lead to GI problems as well as indigestion. To practice chewing slower, choose high-fiber foods that take more time to chew such as fresh fruits and vegetables. The act of chewing even helps your brain to feel more full – this is why shakes and smoothies can leave you hungry even when they have the same calories as a meal!

Now, we all know that awful feeling of eating way too much and feeling like a balloon. Eating slowly helps us avoid this “inflated” feeling, and gives the brain time to process satisfaction. One research study out of the University of Rhode Island done on women who ate lunch quickly vs women who ate lunch slowly showed those who ate quickly consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes while the women who ate slowly consumed 579 in 29 minutes! That’s 67 calories less in 20 additional minutes – you can see how weight gain can happen if this is happening for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! For weight-loss or more consistent maintenance, try aiming to stop eating when you are only 80% full. Don’t continue eating until about 20 minutes have passed. Then if you are still hungry eat a little more, but if you are not – then don’t.

Here’s a simple strategy to slow down: Count how many bites you take in a minute. The next time you eat, try cutting that number in half. At a minimum, you will be more conscious of your speed.

Check out these other shocking study findings about just how much MORE food we consume when we eat quickly!

The Inside Scoop (Part II)

Welcome back to day-to-day life for those of you who’ve been traveling or “Up North” as they say here in Wisconsin! We hope you all had a great 4th of July, and we know many of you haven’t made as many workouts as is routine this week so you will definitely want to read on to see what you missed during this week’s educational series!

Every day our workouts are a little bit different here at Ellipse Fitness, and we wanted to be sure that all of our members have some understanding of what we are aiming for with our workout programming. Here is our day-by-day look for this week:

(Monday)
Metabolic Conditioning in the broadest sense is a work:rest ratio implemented to elicit a specific response from the body. Different work to rest ratios call upon different energy systems of the body and help us work towards different goals (i.e sports performance, reducing body fat, increasing endurance). The key to getting the most out of “Met Con” is to push as hard as you can through the work period – “GO, GO, GO!” This increases your EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) after your workout so you can continue to burn fat hours after your session is over!

(Tuesday)
Energy Systems: Ready? It’s about to get a little nerdy up in here…
Tuesday boxing combines cardio and strength. By combining both formats we can recruit all three energy systems (phosphagen, glycolytic and aerobic), boost metabolism, help prevent injury, and break the monotony of standard training protocol while still achieving significant results. The phosphagen system provides energy for all-out type exercises you can only do for 10 seconds or less, the glycolytic system is our intermediary system so to speak – for exercises lasting 30 seconds up to a few minutes minutes, and the aerobic system is utilized for those movements you can sustain longer.

(Wednesday)
HYPERTROPHY!! So much of what we design our workouts around revolves around muscle hypertrophy. In the simplest terms, this means “building muscle”. Hypertrophy includes both the ability to store more glycogen (stored glucose that is mobilized during the above-mentioned glycolytic cycle) and increase of myofibril size (the actual size and strength of the muscle fiber). We want to build more muscle for many reasons, not the least of which are an elevated metabolism and a less injury-prone body!

(Thursday)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to offer greater benefits to your heart than moderate, steady-state workouts, and it is extremely effective for achieving fat loss, increasing endurance, decreasing blood glucose levels and promoting EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption). EPOC means your metabolism is elevated and you are burning calories/fat for hours following your workout. But there is a catch! During the peak times of the workout you have to push yourself to the limit to truly reap all the benefits of HIIT!

(Friday & Saturday)
Periodization may very well get its very own blog post dedicated to it in the future, because this here is a major piece of what separates a decent exercise routine from an exceptional one. We look at periodization on a day-to-day level, but also on a much broader scale with the understanding that many of our members are here for life! And while it is important to exercise throughout your life, if you just do the same movements the same way over and over and over and over and over…you get the idea…it will eventually lead to imbalance, chronic pain, boredom and most likely injury.

Periodization is a plan. Planned progressions to prevent plateaus. Planned management of fatigue to achieve continual muscular adaptations. Planned program design to avoid repetitive stress which can result in over-training and can set you back months or more.

Results at Ellipse Fitness come from our careful planning and management of your training program. To get the best results from your Ellipse program, arrive early to foam roll and warm up properly, understand the goal of the day’s workout, work to your full potential during the session, and then recover properly after you leave by eating well, getting enough sleep, and balancing stress. The program can’t work quite as well as it is designed if you don’t also do your part – and THAT is why we are stronger together, healthier together, and better together!

Deck of Cards Workout

Don’t let travel get in the way of your fitness goals!  Take this travel workout with you on business trips or getaways.  We suggest creating a personal policy of working out every 48 hours at a minimum.  Want to do more?  Build up slowly over time, but stay active on your recovery days. Be sure your and healthy enough for physical exercise and to check with your doctor as needed.

 

Deck of Cards Workout – Bodyweight

 

Equipment:  deck of cards, mini band (optional)

Warm-up:  foam rolling + dynamic warm-up (~ 10 minutes)

 

Perform each exercise or movement pattern below according to the number and suit indicated on the playing card (i.e. 4 of hearts= 4 Jumping jacks, 8 of diamonds=8 plank jacks).

 

Jacks=11, Queens=12, Kings=13, Aces=14, Jokers=15.

 

Hearts=Jumping Jack/Squats or Jack Squats!

Diamonds=Plank Jacks

Spades=Upper Cuts

Clubs=Bicycles

Jokers=Burpees

Aces=Hip Lifts

 

*use a mini band for all moves to intensify.  Ask your coach for more details

The Inside Scoop on Ellipse Workout Programming

A lot goes into our programming at Ellipse Fitness. This week we’ve brought you a sneak peek into the what some of the components are, and the how’s and why’s of what we do at Ellipse to get RESULTS from our members. Each paragraph corresponds to the respective workout of the day, in order throughout this week!

(Monday)
One important component we look at is Training Volume. # of sets X # of reps. More Volume = More Results/Muscle Growth. No matter the reps, the key here is to work up to – or close to – fatigue to continue to achieve results. However, ONLY doing high volume work can lead to burnout or injury which is why we do not perform high volume workouts exclusively.

(Tuesday)
Power is another factor we take into account when designing workouts. Remember our partner-resisted runs and broad jumps earlier this week? Power is a combination of strength and speed that reflects how quickly you can exert force to produce a desired movement. As we age, power diminishes even quicker than strength, so it’s important to make it a part of your fitness program. Power training increases reaction time (think catching yourself during a trip or fall). You can’t be powerful without speed, so if you are strong, work on your speed; if you are fast/reactive, work on the strength piece. It is important to train both aspects for overall health and quality of life.

(Wednesday)
How can you get better at a specific movement or activity? In short, work on the movement pattern! If you struggle stepping up on the boxes, to a specific height or with weight? Work on your split squat, increasing your range of motion first and then adding weight to the movement. If you can’t perform a solid chest press, a push-up will be a real challenge. Both movements require core stability in addition to chest, triceps, shoulders, and back strength, however a push-up forces the core stabilization and works on relative body-weight strength – making it a more difficult move. You may have heard us reference ways to practice push-ups without dropping down to the knees because this common regression takes most of the core work out of the movement, making it difficult to ever progress to a push-up from the full plank position. This principle is called Specificity.

(Thursday)
Much like power, Mobility declines drastically as we age if we don’t continue to work through a full range of motion. Mobility training also promotes healthy joints and helps to prevent injury! Flexibility is only one component of mobility. Mobility is flexibility under tension – think flexibility that you can actually put into practice in your day-to-day life. Passive stretching to improve flexibility can last as little as a few minutes sometimes, while mobility exercises actually change the way your body is able to move. Walking like a monkey is a lot more than just a fun move to practice

(Friday)
Rest Based Training (RBT) is another really effective way to achieve strength gains and fitness results. The motto: Push until you can’t; rest until you can again. This training format prevents overexertion, allowing even high intensity workouts to be executed safely. Studies have shown that when individuals are given the opportunity to control their own work to rest ratios, people exercise at a higher intensity than predicted by the researchers. The rest is shown to make exercise psychologically easier, often providing a more enjoyable workout in addition to being safe and effective.

(Saturday)
If you’re one of our members you’ve probably been waiting to hear us talk about this next one: Kickboxing! In addition to being a really great cathartic experience that allows you to melt stress right out of your body, kickboxing complements our strength training perfectly by addressing some other key factors related to health and well-being. It sharpens the mind by improving neuromuscular connections, coordination and proprioception, it has been shown to slow the effects of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and it increases you aerobic capacity, abdominal and upper body strength!

Tune in next week for more!

Super Kale! To The Rescue!

Kale is a popular superfood – maybe the most popular one around – with its high fiber, iron, vitamin A & K, calcium and antioxidant content. Pound for pound (or gram for gram), kale has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk! Got Kale? It has become a pretty notorious scapegoat for social media mockery:

Haters gonna hate…

If you haven’t grown to love it yet, we’re here to give you a few innovative ideas to give it another try or to shake up your kale standards!

START SIMPLE: Add some kale to your smoothie for a quick nutritious boost! It’s flavor won’t overpower fruit-based smoothies, and it blends well for a leafy vegetable.

SUPER KALE DRESSING: A salad may truly only be as good as its dressing! The somewhat bitter flavor of kale can be curbed by purchasing young/earlier harvested kale from your local Farmers’ Market, OR consider complementing that bitter flavor with some sweet!

– 2 c of your favorite fruit (raspberries are a great choice)
– 2 Tbsp. Dijon or Tahini
– 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
– 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. of a fresh herb like thyme or rosemary.

SUPER KALE CHIPS: Cut the thick stems off your kale and tear into bits. Rinse, then run through a salad spinner to dry thoroughly. Rub olive oil and salt in, spreading the leaves over a cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minute at 350 degrees or until the edges are brown but not burnt. Get creative with different seasonings like Cajun or Chili Powder!

SUPER KALE PESTO: Mix up the flavor profile of your Pesto by swapping the basil out for kale!

– Pour 1 c of olive oil into a food processor
– Add 3 cloves of garlic
– Add 12 cups of chopped kale leaves until blended.
– Stir in 1 cup of pine nuts, 1 cup parmesan, and salt to taste.

**For added veggie goodness, serve over zucchini noodles!

SUPER KALE SOUP: Consider adding roughly chopped kale into soup for texture and flavor! Much like the use of endives in Italian Wedding Soup, Kale is a great complement in broth-based or even cream-based soups! Kale can be purchased in bulk, tossed in a freezer bag, and then simply crumbled into your bowl!

SUPER KALE TACOS: Few social media trends are more prolific than the mockery of healthy eating habits, but the insatiable craze over Tacos may have the upper hand! Hurdle your hesitation on this one and try out this delicious recipe below from Cookie and Kate!

and yes…I know tacos and burritos are not quite the same thing 😉

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/simple-kale-and-black-bean-burritos/

Be Smart this Summer!

The Summer brings many many things, but one thing that is in great supply is SUN!

Now, who doesn’t love the long summer sunshine hours? But it is important to note, that there are some precautions that should be taken with all that sun!

Sunscreen – It’s a hot topic (pun intended!). We need some vitamin D from the sun, but also shouldn’t wait to get burned either. Start with the basics of wearing clothing that shields you from the sun’s UV rays and reducing your burn risk. Seek out shade and plan outings in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at it’s peak. If you plan on soaking up the rays all day and using protection, make sure to investigate your sunscreen (for harsh chemicals, and get rid of those spray sunscreens!) or even consider making your own.
Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Sunglasses – Don’t forget to protect your eyes! Much like skin, lighter eye colors are more susceptible to damage from harmful UV rays! UV overexposure may lead to macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans) and some kinds of cataracts (a clouding of the eye lens). Make sure your sunglasses have 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses can help in very bright conditions to reduce eye strain.

Stay hydrated! – Summer can be filled with a lot of parties and events. Keep in mind that alcoholic and caffeinated beverages pull water FROM the body and promote dehydration. Try consuming 6-12 ounces of fluid every 10-15 minutes that you are outside. If you plan to be active outdoors, try drinking 16-20 ounces of fluid 1-2 hours before your activity.

Get Quality Sleep – During the summer it can be a little more challenging to get a full nights shut eye when the early morning sunrise is calling your name, or the extended daylight keeps you awake later than usual. If you have trouble sleeping, try blinking quickly for one whole minute – tired eyes help you fall asleep! If you’re still having trouble, try stretching for 5 minutes; your muscles will relax and it will be easier to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Aloe Vera Ice Cubes – Forgot to heed the sunscreen warnings above? Rub some relief into your skin! Freeze aloe vera in an ice cube tray for quick grab and go relief!

Party Pepper Salad

This vegetarian salad takes about 15 minutes to prepare and an hour to chill.  It is a crowd pleaser that even makes kids happy!  This recipe was originally posted By Amy Roskelley on Super Healthy Kids, and we think adults will love it too!

The Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers, chopped ( a mix of orange, red, green, and yellow.
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt

The Instructions

  1. Combine all the vegetables in a very large bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing separately, and pour over vegetables.
  3. Allow dressing to marinate your vegetables in the fridge as long as you choose.
  4. Top with feta cheese

Photo & Recipe Cred: Super Healthy Kids

Mango Guacamole? Yes, please!

Grilling at the neighbors house?  Graduation party coming up? Need a show stopper for a 4th of July barbecue?  Make this mango guac.  Guaranteed to leave you with an empty dish and requests for the recipe.  Here’s what you need:

2 Fresh Mangos

3 Ripe Avocados

The Juice of 1 Lime

1 Seeded and Ribbed Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper

One Bunch of Fresh Chopped Cilantro (discard the stems of course)

Salt and Garlic to taste

Mix together. Serve chunky with chicken or corn chips. Enjoy!

Hack Your Summer with these Cool Tricks

Are you ready for fun in the sun??

But really, are you ready for all that comes along with that? The beautiful weather lures us out in the heat, but lurking everywhere all Summer long are cold, sugary temptations like ice-cream and popsicles! And spending all that extra time out in the sun is sure to affect your hydration – which as we’ve learned in the past has drastic implications for our health and fitness goals.

But fear not! We have some great tricks you can use this Summer to keep you cool, well hydrated and most importantly satisfied all Summer long without boosting your sugar intake.

Protein-Packed Coconut Popsicles

Few things are more satisfying than an ice cold popsicle on a hot, dry day! Boost your protein and energy with this delicious alternative to popsicles containing all kinds of additives, preservatives etc. It’s super simple!

– Blend 2 Scoops of Bio-Whey with 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
– Pour into popsicle molds and serve frozen

Frozen Grapes

Hands down one of the easiest ways to cool down with a delicious treat is to freeze your grapes! Wash beforehand and pat dry so they don’t all clump together. Put in the freezer and enjoy them straight out of the icebox! Or if you want a slushier texture let them thaw a couple of minutes before eating.

Protein Packed Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is another great way to keep cool, and you can boost the flavor and nutrition by mixing in a scoop of Bio-Whey and 1-2 tsp of water to thin a little. 37 grams of protein come packed into this combo!

Stay Well Hydrated

Like the glue that holds together all of your sound nutrition choices, hydration is essential for ensuring your body is working properly and handling the nutrients you are giving it in an effective way! If the taste of water just doesn’t do it for you, consider flavoring it with some citrus! And if carrying a lemon around with you is not really your thing…maybe try something like True Lemon. True Lemon contains no artificial sweeteners, real fruit flavor, and no preservatives; their new crystallized citrus comes in lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange flavor.

Tired of the ice melting in your water bottle within moments of stepping outside into the hot sun? Fill it half full and freeze your bottle over night lying on it’s side. That way when you fill it up the long, vertical ice cube will keep your water refreshingly cold much longer!

Now, no Summer post would be complete without a suggestion for the grill, so save time and flavor up that boring chicken! Before freezing your chicken, toss in your marinade! As the chicken thaws it will be soaking up the tasty flavors. Try lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger OR a lemon juiced w/ zest, garlic, olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper.
https://www.noshtastic.com/grilled-paleo-lemon-chicken-thyme/