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Keep Your Sugars Low and Your Proteins High

Weight loss goes a little like this: 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. You can exercise as hard as you want, but you cannot out work a poor diet! Taking time to put effort into what you are going to eat is essential to a healthy lifestyle. It’s worth it because when working to build muscle and burn fat, like we’re here to help you do at Ellipse Fitness, you’ll want to look for meals that are low in sugar and high in protein.

Start simple with something like baked chicken! An excellent source of protein and almost zero sugar. While baking your chicken, sauté vegetables on the stove top. The original recipe, curtesy of Olena of iFOODreal, calls for red peppers and mushrooms. This combination is super tasty, but you can play around with your veggies of choice!

Baked Chicken with Sautéed Veggies

Nutritional Information: 8 Servings Per Recipe

Amount Per Serving = 2 thighs w/juices:
Calories: 278.6
Total Fat: 13.1 g
Cholesterol: 148.5 mg
Sodium: 379.2 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 36.6 g

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken breasts or thighs, boneless & skinless
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10 brown mushrooms or 2 portobellos, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, chopped
    • Feel free to add vegetables of your choice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup hard cheese like mozzarella or marble, shredded (Gluten Free cheese is a great alternative)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken and if using breasts cut in half lengthwise. In a large baking dish, add chicken, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well to coat evenly and spread in a single layer. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. Chicken is cooked when pale and surrounded by clear juices.
  2. In the meanwhile, preheat in a large ceramic pan on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell peppers and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring.
  3. Remove chicken from the oven and turn broiler on High. Separate chicken a bit from each other and top each piece with vegetables (sprinkle around too) and top with cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot with rice, quinoa or veggies.

It’s low cal. It’s flavorful. It’s easy to make!

Enjoy!

Spreading Fitspiration

A heightened sense of community, sportsmanship, and inspiration is taking off throughout Ellipse locations! Striving to be the best part of your day – every day, we believe fitness should be fun! As a whole, we are dedicated to improving lives. Through challenge, reward, and education, we’re spreading the fitspiration in our studios and communities. We’re out to inspire…or rather, fitspire!

Challenge

Last Sunday, Ellipse Fitness Darboy’s Josh Mac took on the Spartan Race in Ohio to scout out the terrain. Darboy’s owner Jamie Harris and business partner Josh have big plans for their members and others in the area; And thus the TRIFECTA was born! This Fall, Darboy coaches, members, and seasonal participants will be working as a team to complete three races. The Warrior Princess Mud Run, the Battle Frog, and the Tough Mudder have been chosen for the TRIFECTA, as they make for a perfect progression of difficulty.

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By participating in the Spartan Race, Josh said he was able to identify what will need to be the focus of boot camp at Darboy this Summer. Boot camp begins July 11th and will be the training program for those interested in completing the TRIFECTA. “Working as a team to accomplish the TRIFECTA will be the ultimate sense of accomplishment,” says Josh.

 

Reward 

After reading Jon Gordon’s The Hard Hat, St. Louis studio owner Ann Morrow realized she’d seen characteristics of the protagonist in members at her own gym. In the book, the Hard Hat Award was given to the player who possessed all the qualities a good teammate should possess. Lisa Youngblood, having lost 20 pounds in about 12 weeks, is an absolute hard hat winner! “Not only is she determined to reach her goals, but she also encourages others around her verbally,” says Ann. She continues, “Due to injury, Lisa has had to modify some activity. Even so, she has never brought coaches any excuse or negativity. Rather, she asks what else she can do or what more can be done.”

Lisa’s spirit is inspiring in the gym and because of that, other’s knew the award was rightly earned. Her motivation is contagious and other members are working hard to be next Month’s Hard Hat winner. Congratulations Lisa! Your Ellipse Fitness family is very proud of you!

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Education

Heather Trevarthen, owner of the Allouez location, set out to inspire the young! She visited her daughter’s 3K class and together they all headed to the gym. To grab the children’s interest, she brought toys from the studio. The kids got to stretch the mini-bands, kick the focus pads, and push around weighted medicine balls. One student even announced that his mom hits up the treadmill! 😉

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In addition to having fun with the props from Ellipse, Heather had the kids stretching, planking, and doing downward dogs. They did bear crawls, frog hops, other animal flows, and ran through the ladders. Heather discussed with the children the importance of exercise. “To keep your heart healthy and your lungs strong. Our bodies were made to move!” Heather emphasized.

 

Greens in the Kitchen

Bright green ingredients in the kitchen are not only appealing to the eye but nutritious, indeed! Are we taking for granted the nutrient-rich, vitamin and mineral packed characteristics of greens in our diet? Going back to a few of the classics, let’s highlight the importance of these greens and how you can incorporate them into your daily diet.

Spinach

I’m not here to give you the extended version of scientific discoveries behind leafy greens. Rather, let’s just take advice from Popeye! Popeye was not only working on muscle mass, but he used spinach for anti-inflammatory, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular issues, and bone strength, at the same time. What a genius!

Be like Popeye:

  • Salads on salads on salads
  • Cook Spinach with Olive Oil, perfect side with Salmon or Grilled Chicken
  • Add 1 Cup into your blender each time you make a smoothie or protein shake
  • Bonus: Spinach Burgers! Author Michelle Keith of The Village Cook gives a great play by play on making great Spinach burgers here: http://thevillagecook.com/spinach-burgers/

The Buzz About Foam Rolling

Let’s dive deeper into the reasoning behind the encouragement to foam roll. Last week, we talked about different methods to combat soreness, which included foam rolling. This is probably not ground breaking news to you, but foam rolling is widely used in the fitness industry and has quite the benefactors we fitness trainers want for every exerciser out there.

When you receive a massage, how many of you think to yourselves, “I wish I could do this to myself”? Good news and money-saving news, the foam roller works in ways a deep tissue massage works.

Some benefits of foam rolling:

For starters, it breaks up scar tissue, or tissues that replace normal skin after an injury. This is one reason why last week’s blog post is so important, because if we don’t combat muscle soreness with proper pre and post-workout habits, then our muscles won’t rebuild themselves to the best of their abilities.

Foam rolling releases tension in the muscles. Taking that tension, or pressure, off the joints allows muscles to move more freely, giving the body a greater range in motion. In addition, by rolling out your muscles before exercise, you’ll get the blood flowing and circulation will kick in! So when it’s time to perform in the gym, you’re heated up and your body is ready for action!

The process of foam rolling also stimulates the lymphatic system. Foam rolling wakes things up and releases toxins, making room for better oxygen delivery into the body during a workout, which in turn improves circulation and recovery.

Is it making more sense why our coaches instruct you to come early for a session and stay after to roll out your muscles?  We really want our members to stay and utilize there time at Ellipse. Some of our locations sell foam rollers, and again, they are a great way to save a buck on a massage! It’s worth it and your muscles will thank you!

5 Strategies to Reduce Muscle Soreness

Exercise induces free radicals, boosts serotonin, and energizes. It aids us in burning fat and building muscle. If all goes as planned, we leave the gym feeling awake and accomplished! Exercise also causes our muscles to contract and our bodies to sweat, increasing our chances of muscle cramps, fatigue and dehydration. This is why it is equally important to not only exercise, but to take care of yourself before and after a workout. A large part of getting fit is dealing with muscle fatigue and soreness. Here are 5 Ellipse tips to help reduce muscle soreness and keep you heading back to us for more!

Foam Rolling

What an inexpensive deep tissue massage, am I right? At Ellipse Fitness we encourage members to foam roll for 5 – 15 minutes before and after each workout session. Foam rolling can inhibit overactive muscles by breaking up adhesions and loosening up muscle knots. Before a workout, foam rolling hydrates the tissue and gets blood flowing. After a workout, rolling over tight spots and trigger points can relax the muscle. By rolling them out, you help to clean up some of the lactic acid that builds up when you exercise.

Foam Rollers do not break the bank, but even so, a tennis ball will also do the trick. Heather Trevarthen, Owner and Trainer of the Allouez location, says they keep tennis balls at the studio and hand them out to members to use at home.  Heather says, “Tennis Balls help to grind into those hard to reach areas of the body, like the Piriformis.”

Stretching

Like foam rolling, stretching is a must do when it comes to combatting soreness. Intense training contracts muscles and shortens the fibers. By lengthening them before and after a workout, you’re increasing your mobility and recovery. A post-workout stretch series is excellent for bringing your heart rate back down. Use your breathe to guide you and stretch into each move.

Recovery Fuel(s)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. BCAAs preserve the bulk of muscle fibers through increased protein synthesis and reduction of muscle breakage. BCAAs can be added to your diet easily by adding a scoop into your water bottle before you workout. Sip during your workout and finish afterwards. Ask your Ellipse trainer to hook you up with some from the pro shop!

Eating Right

Getting those BCAAs is a big part of proper nutrition intake for a healthy post-workout recovery. However, you also need to actually eat. Though you might be trying to consume less during your fitness journey, it is what you eat and how you prepare it that matters. Make sure to be getting enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats in order to repair muscles.

Ultimately when we experience soreness, it is because of inflammation. After your post workout protein, add foods such as salmon, avocado, or flaxseed. These foods are rich in Omega-3s and have anti-inflammatory compounds; Properties that will help to dial back inflammation and soreness.

Movement

When your trainer tells you to cool down, we usually don’t listen because we have to run and pick up our kids or get to work. The cool down instructions are to encourage you to keep moving, even when you have finished your sweat session. The importance behind this is that circulation promotes healing.

Active recovery is something we talk about at Ellipse often. A low-intensity exercise that gets your blood flowing without taxing your muscles is what we consider active recovery, such as yoga or walking. Though you may be tempted to hit the couch after an evening workout, try to keep the movement going for a bit to avoid muscle cramps and enhanced soreness.

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 Shrimp and Avocado Summer Salad

Ingredients
 2 pounds boiled or steamed shrimp, peeled and deveined
 2 avocados, cut into large pieces
 2 tablespoons diced red onion

For the Dressing
 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
 ¼ cup red wine vinegar
 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation
1. Add shrimp, avocado, and onion to a large bowl.
2. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until well-combined.
3. Add dressing to shrimp avocado salad until it has the amount you desire. Serve additional dressing on the side.

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