If You Do One Thing This Week…Stretch!

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When was the last time you stretched? And no, holding on to a park tree attempting a quickie-quad stretch before your run doesn’t count. Seriously though, when was the last time you rewarded your body with a relaxing, stretch session in the evening? As a former athlete, I have experienced the amazing benefits stretching can have on the body, the obvious benefit being increased flexibility. But there’s more to stretching than being able to touch your toes.

RELAXATION

Stretching is incredibly relaxing, making it a perfect thing to do just before bedtime. If you find it hard to wind down after a busy day or you’re struggling to fall asleep, take a bubble bath to help relax your muscles and set aside 20 minutes for some gentle stretching before you turn the lights out.

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DIGESTION

Proper digestion is critical to staying healthy. Poor digestion can cause many aggravating problems. Stretching can be used as an effective, non-invasive way to get those intestinal muscles in gear and kickstart your digestion. By stretching out your stomach, you release any accumulated pressure. It also increases the blood flow to your digestive tract, making it more efficient.

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ANTI-AGING

Yes, you read that correctly. Stretching can give the appearance of looking younger. When stretching, a lubricant called synovial fluid is released from the joint cavity. This fluid cushions and reduces friction between your joints, which can help prevent the joint pain often associated with aging. Stretching can give you a spring in your step at any age.

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CIRCULATION

Bad circulation can leave you feeling tired and zapped of energy. Other common symptoms include headaches and “pins and needles” in your hands and feet. Stretching is a really simple way to improve blood circulation, which allows your blood to do its job: bringing nutrients to your muscles and flushing toxins from your body.

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REHABILITATION

Rehabilitation programs often include some form of stretching because it helps maintain muscle flexibility when recovering from an injury. It’s also used to prevent any shortening and tightening of muscles due to scar tissue. And because injuries can leave your body imbalanced, stretching is a great way to retrain your muscles back to their original symmetrical movement.

5 Easy Steps to Quick and Healthy Meal Prepping

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Many of our lifestyles are constantly go, go, go leaving little room for even moderately healthy food options. Convenience food makes it incredibly easy for you to skip the good stuff and onto the chips and cheese dips!

To eat healthy all it takes is just a little prepping (get it?) such as grocery shopping and meal planning then you’ll be on your way to healthy dishes for yourself and your family.

Let these helpful tips guide you to becoming a meal prepping machine!

Make a Menu
This is a great time to explore those easy-peasy recipes that are at our fingertips via the internet, subscriptions, or your very own cookbooks at home that are collecting dust. I know I get bored making the same old dish week after week so explore your options, and who knows, you may find a recipe that takes half the time but tastes twice as good. Win!

Grab the Necessities
After completing your due diligence to find those awesome new recipes, you will better understand what it entails to make those dishes and the accouterments needed as well. Go grab that fresh basil plant that’s needed for your healthy zucchini noodle pasta dish or the empty spices you’ve been putting off for ages. I highly recommend making a list and knocking it out all in one swift trip. Having a game plan for the week and getting the “tools” needed is key!

Keep the Momentum
Pick a day that works for your schedule to knock out the grocery trip, keep the movement going, and roll right into meal prepping once you get home. Start chopping, dicing, and slicing your items to prepare for the upcoming meals you have envisioned for the week. Wash your produce, separate your meats, and get it all good and organized before the fun part begins! Before I even leave home I get out my cast iron skillet, my crock pot, cutting board, knives, and anything else I deem necessary to make my masterpieces.

Invest in High Quality Tupperware
Tupperware is one of the easiest storage options for on-the-go meals and makes reheating for dinners or lunches a breeze. Glass tupperware not only makes our food last longer but keeps your items well maintained until you pull it out for those ready-to-go snacks or meals. An extra fun tip, I prepare salads up to a week early by using mason jars. Now I know that sounds crazy but its a great storage component and saves you tons of time in the kitchen by filling a few early in the week. Just be sure to put the dressing at the bottom, then greens, and then your toppings to it from getting soggy.

The Freezer is Your Friend
Don’t underestimate your freezer. If you tend to make extras often, I know I do, you can freeze mostly anything! Big on sauces, make half for your upcoming week and freeze the rest for another dish later down the meal prepping road. Feel like making extra soup? Throw any extra in the freezer but be sure to date and check on freezer life for your items. You would be surprised how just a little extra goes a long way!

So, there you have it. Five completely easy and helpful hints to get you started on your meal prepping destiny!

Going the extra mile now will save you not only money but inches on your waistline by making the effort to take care of your body.

Being in the kitchen is supposed to be fun and a great way to explore your taste buds. Doing this with a roommate or partner takes even more of the burden off and makes room for bonding and food creation.

I hope these tips help you in your path to health. Bon appétit!

4 Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer

Bad-Personal-TrainerIf you’re looking to get started on a health and fitness program, one thing that you should give some consideration to is hiring a personal trainer.

Many people are quick to jump to the conclusion that rather than hiring a trainer, they can just go about this journey on their own. They pick up a workout they’ve found in some magazine on or the Internet and immediately get started, hoping to achieve the body of their dreams.

As they go about this though, major problems start to occur.

Maybe they don’t see the progress they had hoped for or worse yet, they end up injured.

To help prevent these problems along with many others, hiring a personal trainer can be a very wise move. Let’s take a quick peek at the main reasons why you should consider hiring a personal trainer so that you can decide if it’s the right decision for you.

A Personal Trainer Will Make Your Workout More Interesting
The very first reason why you should seriously consider hiring a personal trainer is because they’ll go a long way towards making your workout more interesting. Since each time you work with them you’ll likely be doing a different workout entirely, this shakes things up and prevents you from hitting a progress plateau. More importantly it keeps you interested and makes sure that you keep coming back for more.

A Personal Trainer Will Teach You Advanced Strategies
Second, the next important reason to consider hiring a personal trainer is because they’ll teach you some advanced concepts that you might not have known before. Learning ways to accelerate your progress by taking things up a level will be imperative to success. If you aren’t adding more advanced concepts into your workout program over time, you’re going to eventually stop seeing gains in strength, endurance, and improvements in your tone and definition. Most people on their own don’t understand these advanced techniques, so a good trainer will help to introduce you to them.

A Personal Trainer Will Check Your Form
Moving right along, the third reason to hire a personal trainer is because they will also check your form and make sure it’s as it needs to be. If you aren’t using correct form as you go about your workout session, you won’t be seeing results from that exercise anyway as you may not be targeting the muscles correctly. A good personal trainer will ensure this isn’t the case for you.

A Personal Trainer Will Serve As Motivation
Finally, last but not least, a personal trainer will serve as a clear source of motivation. When they’re standing right next to you pushing you to complete that extra rep, this can really add up to improved progress. Those who aren’t pushing their body to the limit won’t see nearly the same degree of results. A personal trainer can really help to keep you motivated and working hard.

So there you have the main reasons why you should consider hiring a personal trainer. If you haven’t done so yet, it might just be the time to consider it.

Super Bowl Health Tips

dac11d9b-9686-4a7e-a1f7-0f9851bdc8b5Many people start the year off great and then the Super Bowl comes and then they fall completely off the wagon. Tacos, wings, chili, pizza, dips, chips and all that diet busting stuff looking you straight in the face saying “eat me”. There are a few ways to approach your Super Bowl party that I would like to share with you to help you be successful.

Try to make it a healthy Super Bowl party. If your party is at your house, learn all the simple, tasty ways to make your unhealthy favorites into great healthy dishes. I tell all of our clients to bring me their favorite family recipes and I will show them a way to tweak them into a healthy delicacy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human just like you. I like the worst of the worst, but I do a good balancing act. Unfortunately, many are too addicted to these foods and don’t know how to make the changes, nor love or know how to exercise like I do. I love to take my favorites like spicy chicken penne, and create a healthy version. You can do this with any recipe imaginable, you just have to learn. All the foods mentioned in the first paragraph have a clean version.

Bring a dish of your own that you know is healthy and focus on eating that along with the fruit and veggies. Nobody is going to say, “Stop eating your own dish, that’s rude.” No one pays attention to who brings what, unless you bring nothing. If you must drink, try Bud Select which only has 55 calories, Michelob Ultra, or MGD 64 calorie beer, and only have a couple. A straight shot of tequila can be one of the best ways to drink with the least damage to the mid-line. A straight form of booze such as vodka or whiskey on the rocks with a lemon slice is an option as well. Sip and savor and remember to not overdo because alcohol will definitely not show you results on the scale.

Have a small portioned plate at the beginning of the party. Grazing all game long will pile up the calories like the Panthers are going to pile up the score on the Broncos. Just kidding, I couldn’t care less if either one of these teams win. Someday, my dream will come true again and I will see the Packers win another Super Bowl.

Know yourself – If you’re kicking butt and don’t want to get off track watch from home and don’t go to the party. If you know you can’t handle the peer pressure or will cave to the temptation, stay home. It’s America and you can do what you want.

Here are some decent quick snacks for your party that won’t get you off track:

  • Baked scoops or organic corn chips with no salt added with:
    • Fresh salsa
    • Healthy guacamole
    • Hummus
    • Healthy bean dip
  • Rotisserie chicken and remove the skin and eat the white meat
  • Fresh olives with plain Triscuits
  • La Tortilla Factory tortillas with natural turkey, Laughing Cow light cheeses
  • Air popped popcorn with healthy oils – and MSG free seasoning
  • Coco or cinnamon coated almonds from Target – the little 100 cal packs
  • Light string cheeses
  • Healthy kebabs on the grill with any lean meat and veggies
  • Kashi pizza
  • Chicken sausage from Sam’s ClubTWITTER_panthers
  • Fresh fruit and veggies with hummus
  • Reduced fat cottage cheese
  • Nut thins
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with 100% whole wheat bread
  • Pork tenderloin, sirloin steak, salmon, or any lean meat on the grill
  • Healthy salad with “Just Add Lettuce” dressing
  • Pure Protein bars, Think Thin, or Detour Low Sugar protein bars
  • Frozen fruit smoothies with protein powder
  • Brown rice cakes with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit
  • If you have our program binder there are many other quick and easy recipes – email me for my party favorites.

Have a great time and keep your goals front and center and you will do fine.

 

Eat These Foods to Boost Your Immune System!

boost-immune-systemWith winter in full swing, we are now in the midst of this year’s cold and flu season. This could drastically increase your chance of becoming ill. Plan your meals to include these powerful immune system boosters to fend off bugs before anyone gets sick.

Tip: Look for color in the foods you choose. Colorful foods often give a clue that they contain these important antioxidants.

It is no surprise that the most commonly recognized source to boost your immune system and keep your skin healthy is vitamin C. Vitamin C tops the charts of foods that keep your immune system running healthy.. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Vitamin C can be found in almost all citrus fruits, but an unknown fact is that red bell peppers have twice as much fighting power, as well as being a rich source of beta-carotene. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are also good sources.

Broccoli is another super food that is loaded with vitamins and minerals ready to do battle against any germ or infection. Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. It’s loaded with vitamins A, C, and E as well as an abundant amount of antioxidants. However, it is important to remember that broccoli loses its fighting power the more you cook it.

Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world and modern science has shown that it helps lower cholesterol, prevent hardening of the arteries, and fight infections.

Vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C when it comes to preventing colds; however, it is equally important. Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it needs the presence of fat to be absorbed. Nuts, especially almonds, are packed with vitamin E and a half cup a day provides nearly 100% of the RDA.

Spinach is another super food that’s rich in vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and beta-carotene. Similar to broccoli, spinach is best if cooked as little as possible so that it’s nutrients can be retained.

Much like vitamin C, ginger can also help you prevent a cold before it even shows up. Ginger is used in many sweet desserts, but it can also be added to many different dishes.