Stress – the weight loss inhibitor

While some people tend to gain weight when under stress, others find it difficult to lose weight while involved in regular exercise. The cause of this weight gain or ability to lose weight is likely a mix of hormonal and psychological factors. The body's system of hormonal checks and balances may actually promote weight gain when you're stressed out. (more…)

Ready for the Holiday Season?

It's around this time each year that the all the goodies start to surface at home, in the office and just walking the mall. Temptation to eat those unhealthy foods is everywhere as it appears in the form of gift baskets showing up at the office and the samples at the store. Let's not forget about Thanksgiving feast where the food is plenty and eating yourself into a food coma is the norm. It's pretty common for most people to put on an extra 10 pounds during this time of year, but you can make the decision now to do your best to keep it under control. Here's a few suggestions that will help. (more…)

Proper warmups help to avoid injury

One of the most costly mistakes that I see in the gym week in and week out is that the majority of lifters fail to recognize the importance of a proper warmup. Some lifters perform a wimpy, worthless warmup that consists of 1 set of 20 reps using the weight of the bar, and others neglect the warmup process altogether. There are two main reasons why a proper warmup will serve you well both in the short and long term: 1) A proper warmup will increase your performance and the amount of reps throughout your actual workout. 2) A proper warmup will greatly decrease your chances of injury. The first component of a proper warmup consists of 5 minutes of light cardiovascular activity. You can choose any basic piece of cardio equipment to perform this such as a recumbent bike, rowing machine or treadmill. This basic cardio warmup will increase your body's core temperature, stimulate your heart and lungs and will also lubricate your joints by increasing the secretion of synovial fluid. As you perform this 5 minute cardio warmup, envision the workout that you will soon be performing. Focus on mentally preparing yourself for the battle that lies ahead and accept that you will soon be putting forth a maximal effort. It's crucial that you prepare both your mind and body for your workouts, since your mental attitude plays such a vital role in your success. Once your 5 minutes is up, you can move into the next and final component of the warmup process. In this section you will be performing dynamic stretching using the 7 basic movements of the body. - Push - Pull - Bend - Twist - Lunge - Squat - Gait Remember, this is merely a warmup that is designed to increase blood flow to the muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Once you've completed your warmups, you can move right into your actual workout. Do not underestimate the importance of this warmup process! It will go a long way in keeping you injury free and in preparing your body for those grueling workouts. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to perform and the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

3 “Clean” Side Dishes

Here are 3 of our favorite “clean” side dishes to pair with your favorite lean protein. Let us know what you think! Spicy Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into French fry-shaped pieces, thick or thin 2 tbsp olive oil Pinch salt Cayenne pepper (to taste) Crushed red pepper (to taste) Black pepper (to taste) Garlic powder (to taste) Onion powder (to taste) Directions: Preheat oven to 425 Spray 2 baking sheets with PAM cooking spray Toss ingredients together in a medium bowl Spread out on a baking sheet Bake until tender and golden (20-25 minutes) Makes 2 servings Kale Chips Ingredients: 1 bunch kale Sea salt (to taste) Paprika (to taste) Pepper (to taste) Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Wash and dry kale leaves well Tear the leaves off the stems in large pieces Place leaves on sprayed baking sheet Top with pinch of sea salt, paprika and pepper, all to taste Bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy Watch carefully as burned Kale is not good Mashed Cauliflower Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower 1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt Splash unsweetened almond milk 1 oz almond cheese (if desired) ¼ tsp pepper 1 tsp. Dried Chives Directions: Clean and stem cauliflower, then break it up into pieces (like you would for a veggie tray) Boil florets in a pot of water (do not over cook as you still want it to be a bit firm) Remove florets from pot and drain well Place cauliflower and remaining ingredients in blender or food processor Blend until texture is desired consistency Makes 4 servings

I just don’t have time to workout…

There are many excuses you can come up with, but here are some suggestions for workout times. Do it early in the morning My favorite time to work out is between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. Plus, I know that if I work out at this time, nothing will get in the way of the workout later in the day. It's a beautiful time of day, not too hot, and there's nothing like showering and going to work knowing that I've put in a great exercise (and it allows me to feel superior and look down my nose at those lazy bums I work with). Squeeze it in during lunch OK, you're not a morning person. You're busy. You don't have time to work out. Well, suck it up, buster, and sacrifice your lunch hour to the gods of fitness. Bring your workout clothes, do a quick workout, and be back at work ready to tackle the afternoon. First thing after work None of those options work for you? Not a problem, my friend. Make it a daily appointment to work out as soon as you get off work. This will also motivate you to finish your work on time so you can get out on time for your workout. It's great to stop somewhere to do your workout before you even get home, because once you get home you'll probably want to relax on the couch, fall asleep at the kitchen table, or rush to the computer.

Stop Making Excuses

1. “I’m too tired.” Prepare for your workouts by getting seven to eight hours of sleep the night before and properly fueling your body with lots of water (throughout the day, as well as during and after your training session) and clean eating. Make it easier on yourself by following your internal body clock. Do you get a burst of energy first thing in the morning? Schedule your workouts soon after waking up. Can’t drag yourself out from under those covers? Plan for an evening session instead. 2. “I don’t have enough time.” Schedule your workouts at the beginning of the week and follow through as if you were making a doctor’s appointment. Even if you can’t fit a full-body workout between grocery shopping and work, penciling in a couple of short, intense exercise sessions is better than nothing at all. Got 10 minutes before that meeting? That’s ample time to work on your new body. 3. “I’m too embarrassed to work out in front of others.” Build your confidence (and your muscles!) at home by incorporating DVD and online workouts like the ones here. Do your research in fitness magazines like Oxygen, and consider a couple of at-home personal training sessions to get you started with strength training. If that isn’t an option, try moves that use your own body weight for resistance. Once you’re ready to ramp up your program, sign up for a gym membership and feed off the company and support of other women who can relate. 4. “I get bored.” Keep things interesting by switching up your workout every few weeks. Change the order of the exercises, drop in a new move or try a new location or different time of day. If you still find yourself zoning out on the treadmill, pack your iPod with new, upbeat tunes or enlist a fitness buddy for a new approach. Keep yourself – and your body – guessing. 5. “I’m not seeing any changes in my body.” It might take several months for clearly visible results, so stick with your workouts. And remember that the number on the scale is not the only measure of progress. Has your waist measurement changed? Can you run longer without losing your breath? Has your blood pressure improved? Track your health, not just the scale, for a better indication of how you’re stacking up.