Healthy Weight

The Home Workout Guide You Need!

More people than ever are working out at home whether via live-stream videos or Facetime, pre-recorded videos or just making things up as they go. But there are some things you’ll want to take into account to maximize your home workout efficacy – and safety!

1. Find Your Spot

Find a space with some room to move, good ventilation, and away from distractions. Are you watching a screen to follow along with your workout? Make sure you can see well enough by viewing on a computer screen, Smart TV, or other larger screened device. This is your time!

2. Find Your Time

Even during chaotic times, schedule your workout and don’t break your appointment! Let those around you know that you have an appointment you can’t miss whether in your home or otherwise. It is all too easy to skip a workout when you simply, “get around to it at some point”.

3. Be Prepared

You have your workout planned. Now make sure you are dressed and ready for your workout, have your water ready, and check-in. Check-in with your trainer, your friend, or whomever you are keeping accountability with. If you are self-motivated and can stay accountable with yourself, awesome, but many of us are not! Find your person! This is a really simple, REALLY effective tool.

4. Find Your Equipment

If you’ve always been a gym-person, you haven’t had to worry about at-home equipment. But what if you are temporarily at home or on the road?

Resistance bands and minibands are very cost effective. It is a great idea to have one for the “just in case” times. They can easily be tossed in luggage or in that drawer to not take up extra space.

– If you normally use some kind of assistance for your pushups, use a chair, a counter-top, a wall, or anything secure to elevate your pushup!

**Have Nothing? If you need some “make do” workout equipment, grab some of your reusable cotton tote bags or a duffel bag and fill your weight as needed. The bags can be held like a kettlebell for Turkish get ups, deadlifts, overhead presses, bicep curls, and so much more!
More ideas: canned foods, laundry detergent bottles, ½ and gallon milk jugs filled as needed can make great substitute weights. Get creative and/or ask for help! How to sub equipment, modify movements, etc. ask us!

5. Find Your Footwear

Although in many cases barefoot is the ideal way to train, if you have not worked out barefoot or in minimalist shoes previously, start slow! Use the same training shoes you have been and maybe try 10-minutes of your workout barefoot to see how you feel. This might be a great time to adjust to minimalist footwear, if it’s right for you.

Do YOU Drink Enough Water?

Sunday, March 22nd is World Water Day, which is a dedication to explaining how water and climate change are linked (worldwaterday.org). This week we’ll talk about water and how it’s important for our bodies and life. But first, we can’t consume water if we don’t have the resources!

Conserve!

Conserve water by taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, buy a high efficiency dishwasher and laundry machine, use a rain barrel to gather water for watering plants, and stop throwing pesticides on your yard that will ultimately end up in the ground water.

There are SO many reasons to consume water regularly, it affects your health, your skin, lowers your risk of many diseases, and can even help you lose weight!

Weight Loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that has ZERO calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, and no sugar. Drink plenty to keep your goals in check.

TIP:
Not sure how much water you drink each day? Keep a little log and keep it simple.

Better Performance

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Kickboxing and other forms of exercise can help make you WANT to drink water more.

TIP: Be sure to drink water a couple hours before your workout, so that it works through your system in time, and drink during and after exercise as well.

Healthy Skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

TIP: Carry a reusable bottle. Not only is it good for the environment. It’s good for you! When it’s empty, refill and keep drinking.

Reduced Risk of Diseases

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack.

TIP: Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don’t forget to drink water.

Celebrate Mardi Gras and Lent With These Recipes!

This week kicks off Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian Lenten season. Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday dating back thousands of years to pagan times. Around the world, Mardi Gras is also known as Carnival and is largely celebrated by Roman Catholic populations on the day before Lent begins. But let’s break it down…

Fat Tuesday

Today many celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday”. “Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.”
Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season which consists of the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Did you know the ashes used in the Christian celebration are palm leaves burned up from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration? For many, this is a day of an abstinence from all meat and foods made with meat, along with each Friday during lent.

Meatless Days

Wednesday started the Lenten season and so we’re talking fish and meatless meals! Many meals that are complete and tasty that don’t include meat! From a non-religious standpoint, many people choose to practice Meatless Mondays, or just choose one day a week to abstain from meat consumption for health or environmental reasons.

Fish Fry Alternative

Keep your fitness goals in check by skipping the fried fish and opting for the terms grilled, baked, poached, steamed or broiled when searching for recipes or eating out.

Want to try something new? Try grilling your fish on different types of planks for a new flavor! https://www.allrecipes.com/article/plank-grilling/

Meatless Chili

Meatless doesn’t have to mean you are confined to fish, if you don’t want to. Quinoa, lentils and sweet potatoes offer great meat alternatives without sacrificing taste. It’s still cold outside, so warm up with a Quinoa Chili recipe that combines your basics of various beans plus corn and quinoa for a nutrient packed dish.

Tacos!

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Cream Chipotle Sauce combines roasted cauliflower with familiar taco seasonings and lentils for a nutrient and protein packed dish! Want to skip the tortilla? Serve warm over lettuce greens!
https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-lentil-tacos/

Different Fish

Try a simple Tuna Burger! Combine a can of drained tuna, 2 T chopped onions, 2 egg whites, ½ C panko and ½ t pepper. Form 2 patties and pan fry for about 4 minutes per side. Eat as is or serve on sprouted grain bun. Looking for something even lighter? Have you tried Smart Baking Company Smart Buns? Smart buns are gluten-free, 63 calories, high in fiber and have 10 grams of protein! Check them out here!

What a Decade of Studies Tells Us About Men’s and Women’s Nutrition

Our friends at Precision Nutrition have worked with over 100,000 clients in the past decade. Over the past year, they created a report on the top health nutritional challenges and how to work with them. Here are some things they found…

Women

70.2%
Said their top challenge was emotional/stress eating

52%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

18%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

60.2%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

Men

59.9%
Said their top challenge was eating too quickly

69%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

30%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

61.4%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

While there are some slight differences between men and women, it is clear they struggle over many of the same issues. Most people want to not just lose weight, but also be consistent and have changes that last. Let’s look at our challenges and figure out how to work toward our GOALS and snowball good habits.

What is ONE thing you can focus on improving NOW, in January. On trouble with “New Year’s Resolutions” is that you have too long to put it off! Set a GOAL of January 31 st to form it into a regular habit.

Need Some Help?

Here are some easy-to-handle goals to start with.

1. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning before you even eat breakfast.

2. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.

3. Get out of bed the FIRST time your alarm goes off.

4. Book your workouts at least 1 week prior and keep your appointment.

5. Eat an extra serving of vegetables every day.

6. Eat more whole foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein) to prevent hunger and reduce over-consumption. If you catch yourself mindlessly eating/snacking, get a change of scenery. Go for a walk, go fill your water, make a phone call, get outside, etc.

7. Cook More! Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or take forever. Learn to make 8-10 basic, yet tasty, healthy meals that you can rotate or rely on.

8. Focus on progress, not perfection. Coming late to a workout is better than not attending at all. Eating right 5 days a week is better than 3 days. We’re all human! If you fail, resolve yourself to try again!

9. Create a bedtime routine that will help you “zone out” and bring stress levels down before bedtime. Try to keep the same bedtime and wake times, even on the weekends, to help solidify your routine. This assists with the circadian rhythm and keep hormone levels balanced, which will ultimately assist with hunger and satiation cues.

6 Marvelous “Dishes to Pass” this Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a great time with family and traditions, but for many it brings some fear of falling off the fitness and nutrition wagon. Play it safe by bringing a healthy dish to pass that you know is okay to dig into!

Healthier Strawberry Cheesecake

Need to bring a dessert? Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy presentation.healthier strawberry cheesecake! Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy!

Spinach Dip

Going with Greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese over mayonnaise or sour cream adds even more protein punch PLUS nutrients from the spinach! Here’s the rundown: Toss cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, pressed/drained cooked spinach, water chestnuts, plain Greek yogurt, a package of dry veg soup mix, onions, and lemon. Chill for a few hours and serve with vegetables!

The full recipe can be found on the blog by searching Spinach Dip – or follow this link!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Add some nutrients to your dessert! Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit? And a nutrient packed one at that! Add some vitamin A and potassium to your next dessert to pass. Whisk 2 cups pumpkin puree, 2 cup milk (almond milk, etc), 1.5 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, and 1/4 t ginger. Add 1 package (5.1oz) sugar free vanilla pudding. Chill. Top with crumbled graham cracker crumbs and a few sprays of whipped cream to make it beautiful!

Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip

A twist on that classic 7-layer dip adds a healthy flare with plain Greek yogurt, hummus, veggies, and healthy fats!

First, create your yogurt mixture: yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, in an 8×8 dish, layer hummus, yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives. Serve with whole grain pita chips, celery, or cut fresh veggies.

Get this classic Ellipse recipe here!

Healthier Brushetta

Try a healthier twist on bruschetta! Start by using toasted Ezekial Bread, cut in half, as your base.

Combine 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 T fresh chopped basil (or use fresh you may have frozen in cubes from the summer!), 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (tons of great ones at local olive oil shops!), and 1 clove minced garlic. Top your toast with the mixture and top with some mozzarella.

TIPS: Have extra time? Let your tomato mixture marinate in the fridge for a couple hours. Need more protein? Add cooked, cubed chicken, to your tomato mixture.

3-Layer Mexican Dip

Layer 1: Mashed black beans with seasoning and Greek yogurt
Layer 2: Avocado mixed with yogurt and seasoning
Layer 3: Round it out with salsa!

Protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs ready to serve with vegetables or chips. Find the full recipe on the blog by searching 3-Layer Mexican Dip – or follow this link!

Menopause: What Are You In For?

Menopause is one of the most common things members ask us about, so we decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to it! As a member once put it…”let’s talk about the miracle of menopause!” (she may have said it with a little sarcasm)

So, whether you’re already there, or just want to know what to expect – let’s look forward!

What Comes First?

Perimenopause is when menopause symptoms begin appearing but is not formally menopause (defined as not having a period for 12 months in a row) and generally happens in the 40s. Menopause can happen really any time between the 40s and 60s and begins at different times for different people.

What Can I Expect?

Menopause has a laundry list of potential symptoms: bladder control/infections, body composition changes, brain fog, change in breast health, changes in digestion, vertigo…and more.

Symptoms like these and hot flashes can lead to poor sleep, which compounds all sorts of issues. If you are not sleeping well, take your exercise intensity down until you are sleeping well so you can recover properly from your workouts. During menopause and in the ageing process, with a lack of sleep, the body likely doesn’t have enough growth hormone or testosterone available to grow muscle. The problem that happens is that until this age, many women find they know how much exercise and intensity their body needs without realizing their needs are changing as they age. Be open to trying new regimens!

Why Is Exercise Important?

As part of aging and post menopause, women are also more at risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis. Exercise, including strength training and high/low impact weight bearing exercises, can help ward off bone loss that happens and reduce the risk for fractures and breaks during a fall.

Aim for 30-minutes per day, 5 days per week, of moderate cardio, strength training, plus deep breathing/yoga exercises to reduce stress and other menopausal symptoms. Too much high intensity work could lead to an increase in cortisol and insulin disruption due to the hormonal changes during menopause. Consider taking a day off here and there (just adjust your calorie intake accordingly).

Flashback to about a month ago when we talked about the different types of strength training. Middle-aged women need a balance of hypertrophy, strength, and power training to offset the muscle loss and fat gain. Women generally gain around 1.5 pounds per year in their 50s and 60s from the disruption of leptin and ghrelin, our hunger hormones, thanks to a reduction in estrogen during menopause. You may need to cut around 200 calories per day to ward off fat gain because of the natural metabolic decline.

What About Diet?

A 2018 study indicated that menopausal women who ate more fruits and vegetables had less menopause symptoms (like hot flashes and night sweats) than those who ate a higher fat and higher sugar diet. The increased vitamins, nutrients, and fiber can aid in preventing the weight increase that is associated with menopause. Keep in mind that this is new territory, with a new hormonal environment. What once worked pre-menopause may not work for you anymore. Be open to guess and check strategies to see what the new normal is for your body, sleep, exercise, nutrition, and weight management.

In summary, help reduce the effects of aging and menopause with quality nutrition, exercise, balancing stress, being mindful of alcohol consumption, and getting enough sleep. Heading into menopause with a healthy body composition and healthy eating habits will help ease the inflammation and hormone imbalance that accompanies menopause, so it is not too early to start preparing for the future!

Think Sleep is Important? Think Again!

We all know sleep is important, but you may not know the half of it! Disordered sleep has an incredible negative impact on all sorts of facets of your health!

Why Is Sleep Important?

A good night’s sleep is essential for our overall well being. In fact, it’s as important as healthy nutrition and regular exercising.

However, our to-do list is becoming longer and longer each day, and sometimes 24 hours just isn’t enough to take care of all our responsibilities! Because of this, we sometimes neglect the importance of sleep, and the question is: how long our body can put up with this new and fast way of life?

Facts About Sleep You Didn’t Know

Did you know that between 50 and 70 million people in the United States have chronic sleep disorders and that the number hits more than 2 billion people worldwide? People suffer from a variety of sleep issues that are either connected to the lack of sleep or some health problems.

More than 35% of the people in the US get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, and about 45% of them reported that inadequate sleep affected their daytime activities.

1. You Can Gain Weight Because of the Poor Sleep

Poor sleep is strongly linked with gaining weight. Sleep deprivation causes changes in hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. In fact, sleep deprivation is one of the greatest risk factors for obesity.

Children who don’t get enough sleep at night are 89% more likely to be obese, and adults are 55% more likely. Furthermore, less sleep lowers your energy and motivation for exercising, which also leads to unwanted weight.

To stay fit and healthy, it’s crucial to get enough sleep at night (between 7 and 9 hours).

2. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

Sleep has a huge impact on brain functions. These include cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance.

A study conducted on medical interns showed that interns who had an extended schedule of more than 24 hours made 36% more serious medical errors than interns who had more time to sleep. Another study showed that sleep deprivation could have the same impact on the brain as alcohol intoxication.

On the other hand, enough good-quality sleep can improve problem-solving skills and memory performance in both children and adults.

3. Sleep Improves Your Immune System

Even a small loss of sleep could decrease the strength of our immune system. A two-week-long study showed that people who slept for less than seven hours per night were almost three times more likely to get a cold than people who got eight or more hours of sleep.

The study was done after 14 days when people were given nasal drops of a cold virus. If you often get colds and you’re tired of it, getting more than eight hours of sleep at night could be very helpful.

4. Sleep Has a Huge Effect on Emotions and Social Interactions

Less sleep decreases the motivation for social interactions. One study showed that people who didn’t get enough sleep were less able to recognize facial expressions, happiness, and anger in other people. Researchers believe that sleep deprivation affects our ability to recognize important social signs and process emotional information.

The Bottom Line

Getting enough sleep is very important. It’s not only important for our social interactions, but also for our health. Try getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night and see how your life gets better!

Want more? Check out this infographic here: Sleep Stats and Facts

5 Reasons to Get Fit THIS FALL!

Let’s be honest, there’s always a million and one reasons to get in shape, but this week we’ve got 5 major reasons to get fit THIS Fall!

1. Fighting the Winter Flu

Are you one to catch that winter cold? Is this then your excuse to not stay active when it gets cold? Exercising in cooler temperatures helps strengthen your immune system and decreases your chances of getting a cold during the wintertime. The cells in your immune system will love you for that and better fight off all bacteria!

2. Beauty of Autumn

Even though temperatures are dropping, it is also such a beautiful time of the year! Don’t waste these days sitting around and doing nothing. Enjoy that beautiful autumn weather by going for a walk or run. Maybe even take up snowshoeing or cross-country skiing!

3. Resist Fall Comfort Food

Turkey, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate…there are many unhealthy temptations during this time of year. However, if you stay active this season, your body will start to naturally crave healthier foods. Resist excuses. Resist temptations. Await results!

4. Make Use of an Empty Schedule

Did you have a busy summer and no time to work out? Then this is one less excuse you can use. Make the most of your time by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Invest time on your fitness now, and avoid Spring/Summer regret!

5. Get a Head Start on your New Year’s Resolutions

Studies show it takes about 4 weeks for the body to adapt to new lifestyle changes. If you start your workout routine now, you’ll not only be one step ahead of your New Year’s resolutions but also more likely to meet them.

Have a Fit Fall by building your immune system, health, and nutrition by being consistent in your workouts and sleep schedule, getting outdoors, using the extra “indoor” time to cook/prep, and ultimately setting yourself up for a strong start in the new year!

Let’s Get to Know Erythritol: A Low Calorie Sweetener

We’ve talked about sugar and artificial sweeteners. But you might wonder, where do sugar-alcohols like Erythritol (ur-i-thruh-taal) fit in? It does occur naturally in some foods, but most of what you see is manufactured by fermenting wheat or cornstarch. Erythritol often is found with other sugar substitutes like stevia. Other sugar alcohols include xylitol, glycerin, sorbitol, etc.

Zero Calorie?

Erythritol is pretty much zero calorie sweetener at .2 calories per gram (table sugar is 4 calories per gram). This is because your body can not break it down; it doesn’t get metabolized and is excreted through urine within 24 hours. This also makes it a good option for diabetics. Erythritol has been approved by the World Health Organization since 1999.

Even though it is called a “sugar alcohol” it generally comes in a powder or granular form, and as you can see above it can look very much like table sugar!

But Is It Any Good?

Erythritol has 60-80% the sweetness of table sugar. It comes as a powder or granular form. It does not have a bitter aftertaste like some sweeteners and people can generally tolerate erythritol better than other sugar alcohols. You’ll find erythritol in many sugar free foods and snacks like Crystal Light Pure, sugar free candy, protein bars, gum, sugar free fruit spreads, Smart Cakes and muffins, Vitamin Water Zero, etc. It is also found in the brand Truvia sweetener.

Even Dentists Like It!

Dentists like erythritol because not only does it not cause tooth decay like sugar, it helps prevent it and reduce the formation of plaque. Sugar, on the other hand, turns into acid in your mouth when combined with mouth bacteria.

Is It Natural?

As we said before Erythritol can be manufactured by fermenting wheat or cornstarch, but it can also be found naturally in carrots, cherries, mushrooms, and more. Japan has been using erythritol since the early 1990s as a natural sugar substitute. Still, in the end, erythritol might be a good sugar substitute for you, but whole foods should still be the bulk of your diet.

Possible Side Effects

Like most sugar alcohols when used in large amounts, erythritol can cause diarrhea, gas/bloating, and/or an upset stomach. If you choose to use erythritol, as with most things, do so in moderation. At the same time, most people can handle a gram for every kilo of body weight (or .45g per pound). That means at 150 pounds someone could presumably consume more than 13 teaspoons without ill effect. However, if you suffer from IBS, it’s probably better to stay away from sugar alcohols.

Hormones? Who Cares? They Only Control EVERYTHING About Your Body

The Endocrine System is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones to regulate our cells, tissues, and organs. This system therefore regulates our metabolism, sleep, mood, and so much more.!

For example, if you eat your favorite sugary dessert, your blood glucose increases, so your pancreas starts pumping out insulin to try to bring your body back to its happy place. If your blood sugar gets too low, other hormones will kick in to bring it back to homeostasis…the perfect balance.

The Pancreas

The Pancreas is the largest gland of the endocrine system. It produces insulin that helps you use energy from the food you eat by transporting it to the muscles and tissue that use glucose for energy.

Too much insulin in our blood reduces its ability to regulate our system, which can cause obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the reliance on insulin injections!

Adrenal Glands

An adrenal gland is located on the top of each kidney. It is responsible for releasing cortisol (and adrenaline) into our bloodstream, and it turns stored carbohydrates into energy.

Cortisol can help control blood pressure, blood sugar levels, metabolism, and help reduce inflammation. However, there is such thing as “Too Much of a Good Thing”. If you find when you are losing weight that you are losing muscle, try adding a small amount of carbohydrate before and/or during exercise. This will inhibit cortisol from being released and thus reduce the breakdown of muscle!

Thyroid Gland

When you start exercising, the thyroid gland (at the base of the neck) sends out hormones that regulate the body’s temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. It also regulates the alertness and focus that are needed to work at a high intensity.

The thyroid regulates how fast your body uses the calories from the food you eat…which is why you have likely heard of hypothyroidism (where it doesn’t produce enough of the hormone).

Pituitary Gland

The Pituitary gland is the “master gland”, at the base of the brain which regulates all the other glands we have talked about so far. When we exercise, the Pituitary gland releases a hormone to signal the body to increase bone, muscle and tissue production. Feed your gland…let’s work out!

You can learn even more in this great article by ACE Fitness!

Important: Hormone Disruptors

The endocrine system is very structured in its process, unless endocrine disruptors (i.e BPA, fire retardants, etc) are in play. They may cause a response to be too high, too low, or all together different than was intended and not in a good way. Hormone disruptors have been known to cause obesity, bring on early puberty, alter the function of sex hormones and mess with our immune systems. Sadly, they can be found in our food, water, pesticides, cosmetics, and so much more. Help your body get rid of these toxins through SWEAT!

Here’s a great article from Precision Nutrition – all about hormone disruptors!