Plan to gain 5 lbs. over the Holiday? Here's a better idea. How about planning to lose a few? Here are some recipes to help you stay on track, and when combined with some energetic activities we recommend below, you can actually lose a few lbs. and get a head of your New Years resolutions. Because, after all, Fitness and Health are a lifestyle and you should steal every opportunity to make good changes all year round.
This yummy shake can help stave off those cravings for pumpkin spice pies and egg nog, which can add pounds in mere days, as I learned over the Thanksgiving break. Have it in the morning and keep a batch for when you get those cravings, you wont even feel like you're missing out, but you will feel a lot more energy.
I've had great luck just throwing all the ingredients in the blender and blending until smooth. If you have trouble with that you may want to blend periodically until all ingredients are added. And Voila! Yummy Christmas-y spiced drink. I use Muscle Milk for my protein powder this may lend itself to that holiday flavor, if your powder is not as creamy and sweet as vanilla Muscle Milk you may want to add a pinch of cloves and nutmeg if you have it and some more honey, but the strawberries really are enough sweet on their own.
For when you need chocolate! This little snack is so easy to make and if you have this prepared ahead of time when the Holiday festivities begin, you will have something to reach for when those chocolate cravings begin.
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup fresh dates (about 8 dates), pitted
2 tablespoons cacao (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
A dash of Sea Salt (optional)-I didn't use this and loved the taste.
Directions: Place almonds, cacao and shredded coconut into your blender or food processor, and blend on high until the consistency of flour. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender/processor and blend again until fully mixed. Dump into a bowl, and roll and pack into round, bite sized poppers. So yummy!
Now, these recipes can just help keep you away from all those sugary treats that are the culprit of so many pounds gained over Holiday break. But to keep on burning calories and trimming that waistline you need to keep active as well, which is something we all find so difficult with so much time to kill. Here are some activities below you can do to keep your calorie burning quota up.
Watch a funny movie-research shows that just 15 minutes of laughter can burn anywhere from 10-40 calories. Not to mention that it just puts you in a better mood. Take a walk about 30-60 minutes after you've eaten a meal and try to get out and do something fun, if it's hiking, playing games, or even taking the whole family to the gym for some racquet ball.
Now if you're traveling this can also have an impact or your ability to burn those calories. Do some exercises on the plane or in the car. Here are some exercises that our trainer recommends below.
In a seated position press your palms together at your chest and squeeze, feel your chest muscles flexing? This will also work your arms and your back muscles. Move on to your abs...sit straight and, making sure your back is flat against your chair, pull your stomach in as far as you can, drawing your belly button to the back of the chair and hold for 3-6 seconds, then release-repeat this until you can't. Still sitting, press your knees together and hold, this will work your thighs, again hold for 3-6 seconds and release. Repeat from the beginning and do this for 25-35 minutes. No matter how many of these you get in you will burn calories and that's better than no calories burned at all. In between traveling and stops try and squat a couple times before getting back onto the road or back in the skies. It's the little things that ad up, so enjoy your holiday, feel happy, and get out and have some fun!
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It's easy to throw in the towel when it comes to the Holiday season. Avoiding all those yummy pies and starchy foods seems just impossible, not to mention if your Holiday includes alcohol. These things definitely add up in calories and can suck the life out of your workouts. But don't get down about it, instead we're going to give you some tips to keep energy levels up so that you can get some calorie blasting pleasantries in as well, and by choosing the foods we give you to fill your plate and doing it just so, you can avoid as much as the empty calories as possible during the holidays.
You want to split your plate in threes first and foremost. And not in a perfect third either because there are some things that need more consideration than others. Start by splitting your plate perfectly down the middle, half of that plate should be filled with veggies of some kind-the greener the better. Look for salads, green beens, even some corn but share that half with something like broccoli if you can find it, carrots, cauliflower and the like. Now take the other half of the plate and split it in two, one half of that half is for your Protein-Turkey, Ham, whatever you opt for in the protein department for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you don't eat meat then you need to get it in the form of cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, or beans. The rest of your plate, feel free to have some carbs-that's roughly a dinner roll or a half a cup of stuffing, you need carbs for energy after all. If you plan on sitting around instead of playing tag football with the others then don't fill the carb portion of your plate as much.
Just remember about everything you put on your plate is most likely going to be over 100 calories, unless it's veggies. If you have seven different things on your plate or more, you're looking at 700-1000 calories + and that will have to be worked off with over an hour of Football in the backyard (Interval training), go for seconds or thirds, and most people can pack anywhere from 2,000-4,500 calories in a Thanksgiving dinner. And you wonder why all the pounds when it was just one day?
We know you plan of having pie, and we don't expect you to skip it. Try to wait a good half hour for your other food to digest and then go for a slice that has fewer calories. I've listed pies below in order of worst to best. No matter which pie you choose you can avoid that sugar rush and crash by adding some nuts to it, the nuts have free fatty acids which help keep blood sugar levels even and that means more prolonged energy.
Don't over eat if you can help it and limit your alcohol intake-sip it. Just try and remember that you can truly make this food any time of the year, you don't have to cram it all in one day. Trickle feed the body and spread out your snacking so that you don't stretch the stomach and overdo it. Get out and play some football, volleyball, Kickball, even watch a funny movie to burn some calories that way, and do some squats, or drop and do some push ups, crunches-whatever you prefer, in between meals.
Worst to Best Thanksgiving Pie and Desert List:
Add some nuts or any other kind of protein handy to even out blood sugars when eating your pie for longer lasting energy, drink plenty of water, and don't forget to get out and move!
Editor: Emma Daley
Everyone should have a go to salad, or a few that they love for when you are in a rush for something fast, and you want something yummy. The yummy part is important for me.
I threw this salad together one day when I was just in the above situation, and was so happy with the outcome it's at the top of my list.
The recipe is simple: Spinach leaves, craisins, and blue cheese with olive oil drizzled over top. So simple, it'll make you stop and think before rushing for fast food.
If you're not a fan of Spinach, the nice thing is that you really can swap this out for any other type of lettuce and it's delicious. I don't think too much about how much of each ingredient to add. This really is a low fat salad, it's vegetarian, not that it needs to be, you can add some chicken and it will be just as yummy. But the olive oil is an essential fatty acid and helps you stay fuller longer, it also doesn't interfere with the flavors of the blue cheese and cranberries. The blue cheese, while yummy, also helps give necessary protein and some fat for prolonged energy. The dried cranberries give great energy and are rich in antioxidants along with the Spinach. The best part about this salad is that it gives you great energy, doesn't make you feel too full or not full enough. I recommend making the salad as big as you need, and enjoy totally guilt free!
Editor: Emma Daley
We all know you're going to do it ... Steal your kids Halloween candy. Let us help you do it smarter!
Let's face it. We all know you're going to do it...steal your kids Halloween candy. Here's a way to do it better, well, or not at all.
Those candy corns and milk duds sure look tempting, and why not? Your kid is going to come home with plenty this Hallows Eve, so we're here to help you make the right choices when it comes to stealing candy from your baby.
Candy is high in sugar--ooh those empty calories. And the biggest problem with that is, you just keep on eatin' and your energy keeps on plummeting. That does no justice to your workout routine. But don't let the beginning of the Holiday melt down, as I call it, get the best of you. You know what I'm talking about, right? The beginning of the candy and oober yummy treats parade that last throughout the rest of the year that forces us into making those ridiculous New Years resolutions?
We know you have the best of intentions, but pillow cases full of candy, c'mon? Who can resist that? So we advise reaching for something nutty. No really, it may be chocolate-y, but if it has nuts in it, we're giving you a tiny pat on the back. Why, you ask? Nuts not only pack lots of free fatty acids, but those fatty acids do two very important things for your body. 1. they give your body good fats in exchange for bad fats, and that also means 2. More energy. Those healthy fats help to keep blood sugar levels even, and energy prolonged. Now, we're not saying down a whole 16 oz bag of M&M's. But if you did it might be a bit better than a equally large bag of skittles, or the like.
Here's my Halloween candy "Ok" list-I say ok, because it's better than the alternative list. But you may want to ask yourself first, if some peanut butter on rye might do the trick?...I didn't think so. Here's my list:
Put down that sugar Daddy!
Not the Sweet Tarts!
Milk Chocolate without Nuts, you're nuts to even think about it!
Don't over do it, you'll regret it in the morning, or maybe not until a week from now when you can't fit into your favorite skinny jeans any longer!
Peanut M&M's (Higher in Free Fatty Acids than skittles, Lower glycemic as well for better energy)
Hershey's with Almond
Pretty much any candy with nuts and you get extra points for Dark Chocolate which is also a free fatty acid.
(Very High in Free Fatty Acids, Low Glycemic for long lasting energy)
Peanut Butter on Rye
Nuts and dark chocolate chips
Cream Cheese on Cracker with a touch of Pepper Jelly (you can also substitute the cracker for celery).
Moderation is important in any event and if you must, then you must. Don't restrain yourself to the point of a binge, that will only make things worse. And keep moving! Don't eat your candy and then sit on the couch. If you can try to get out and do something with the family, or add some lunges on your way to the kitchen for a glass of milk. Muscle is your best friend when it comes to metabolism boosting and weight loss, so any chance you can get to put on a few lbs. of muscle you'll only be happier.
Below are some of our favorite exercises for doing so. Start with a 6-10 minute warm up and Dynamic Stretch, and repeat the exercises 3 times, finish with a 6-10 minute cool down and longer stretches to increase flexibility. You're gonna feel great! Or you can just sign up for one of our classes and burn some fat and build some muscle before the candy cravings even begin!
We’re often told, most of us since our high school P.E. class, that a 25 minute workout is all we need to burn fat, but don’t think that you can get away with a low level workout to accomplish such a task. If you’re going to target only the Adipose fat, which is that fat we all want to get rid of, you’re going to be using way more sources of energy than just the fat you’re looking to burn and it can leave you feeling depleted.
Adipose fat is the tissue below the skin around the internal organs, stored beneath the subcutaneous fat layer, which gives us energy-the same fat that makes us nice and cushy. The body stores adipose fat for survival and uses it when energy is needed. Excess adipose fat is that fat that most of us are trying our hardest to shed. We don’t need all that fat for healthy body function, and that’s where the measurements for obesity come in.
One of the most effective ways to lose that adipose fat, without out depleting energy as well, is to sustain a perceived effort level in your aerobic workout that is between 5-6, on a scale from 1-10. So if 10 is the hardest you can push yourself, and 1 is the lowest you can push yourself, find yourself somewhere in between. Keep this consistency for up to 1 hour 3-4 times weekly. Doing such a workout targets just adipose fat, but does not stress the body so much as to use up other energy resources, leaving you still feeling like you have fuel to accomplish all your daily tasks without interruption. You’re sure to notice results within the week-up to 2 lbs. every week, in fact. Don't forget one of the most important elements of your workout...the warm up and stretch!
In between these fat burning workouts, build up your muscles to help facilitate burning more body fat and keeping those pounds off.
Bear in mind, there is going to be a point where you will have to change what type of aerobic workout you’re doing to sustain weight loss-oh the plateau. That’s when the Circuit workout comes into play, and I’ll be sharing more on Circuits this week so check back.
Click here to find out other ways to shed more fat!
Fat! We are all afraid of it. We’ve been told to be, lead to believe that the low fat, no fat foods that have been placed before us are the answers to reaching those ultimate goals. They’re actually keeping you from them.
Our body’s work on sort of a barter system, it wants something in exchange for giving up those fats that keep us out of our favorite bathing suit, or football jersey. We need to give it something it can use better…that’s where healthy fats come in.
Those low fat, no fat foods that you are reaching for, give your body only one thing- fat for storage. You see, our bodies constantly have survival on the agenda, and when all we give it to work with is fat, that’s what it’s going to use, storing away as much of it as possible. When we give it good, healthy fat’s however, we are giving it something more, we are offering it a trade up; we give it brain power, the ability to absorb nutrients, energy in general to build muscle, burn calories and so on.
Everything in the healthy fats our body can use, so in exchange, our bodies release the extra baggage, after all-it has all it needs for battle, who needs extra weight to lug them down, right?
So what are those healthy fat’s?
Using this rule in conjunction with an exercise plan and well-proportioned meals can result in a slimmer, healthier, much happier you.
So stay away from anything that is partially hydrogenated, or has saturated fats, add some nuts to your yogurt, top it with Guacamole, or replace a salad dressing with olive oil and enjoy!
We’ve heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” before, Right? We often use this famous phrase to gauge the effectiveness of our workouts, but it’s very possible that gauge you are trying so hard for, could hinder your ability to reach your fitness goals. My goal is to not have my clients experience pain post work out and it all comes down to proper stretching.
In lieu of the New Year and all those resolutions to lose weight and get fit, I thought I’d start the year off with a word on the importance of stretching and conditioning the body properly so as to avoid injury and time lost working towards those new goals.
I cannot stress the importance of warm-up stretching enough, some think that stretching alone is enough to get benefits, but it is the warm up which includes that dynamic stretching where the benefit is received. Start off with 6-12 minutes of cardio warm up at moderate intensity, it can be jump rope, a machine of your choice-whatever your preference is. Then do your dynamic stretching before you get into your workout. Dynamic stretching is short-burst stretching on each body part.
In most cases, after each exercise you perform for each body part throughout your workout you want to do a quick dynamic stretch for that body part. After your workout you’ll do a warm up/cool down stretch-I call it this because you are actually warming up the muscles again in order for you to stretch, and then cooling down, you doing this with either developmental stretching or PNF stretching, which I go more into detail here.
Stretching properly helps condition the muscles and joints, thus helping to prevent injuries and reduce recovery time. Stretching also increases the blood flow to your muscles, thus improving your circulation, improves range of motion helping with balance and coordination preventing falls, relieves stress held in the muscles also helping to reduce recovery time from a work out. Stretching increases endurance, metabolism, length in the muscles, power and elasticity of your muscles not to mention assist in achieving better coordination, muscle control and proper technique in sports, Enabling your body to perform more with less energy, oh and let’s not forget increases flexibility.
Try to enjoy it, and realize that the stretching is just as crucial to you as your work out, and will actually enhance your work out and keep you going to the gym on a more regular basis, helping you to reach major milestones that you didn't think were possible.
Dynamic stretching is short burst stretching that is often included during the warm-up or in preparation for a sports event. Doing these at the beginning of a workout, right after a 6-12 minute medium-level cardio warm up will help prevent muscle soreness and injury. Continue to do them between workouts of a certain muscle or group of muscles, to help prevent soreness, and allow yourself to train at 100 percent on every set of exercises.
Here are some examples:
Do these for 10-15 seconds after working out that muscle group and move on to your next exercise.
You enter the gym with hamstring pain, you start into a stretch and feel that your hamstring is beyond tight, and flexibility is minimal. This would be an opportune moment to get into PNF Stretching. PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching techniques involve a partner actively stretching the participant by some combination of altering contraction and relaxation of both agonist muscles-a muscle that causes motion, and antagonist muscles-a muscle that can move the joint opposite to the movement produced by the agonist.
If you do not have a partner, make use of Dyna Bands, a towel, a chair--anything close by that can help you get that stretch effectively. Some of the different PNF techniques used include slow reversal hold, contract-relax, and hold-relax. PNF stretching usually involves a 10 second push phase followed by a 10 second relaxation phase, typically repeated a few times. PNF stretching is capable of producing greater improvement in flexibility compared to other techniques. Its disadvantage is that it typically requires a partner. However, having a partner may have some motivational advantage for some individuals to consider.
Here are some examples: