"What is easy to do is also easy not to do." To do or not to do is the question? Every day I make the choice to press play and complete my workout. I feel full of energy and a sense of accomplishment when my workout is done for the day. I am excited to be on this journey of fitness and hope to bring you along with me. I look forward to seeing all of your fitness, wellness, and life dreams come true. Join me in the journey!
I have always had an interest in my fitness, and have been going to the gym for many years either to walk or to take a class. The gym that we were members at was about 35 minutes from home so we would only go 1-2 times per week. I knew I should be working out more consistently than that so I began using Beachbody products to have daily workouts. There were so many to choose from and something was always coming out that I enjoyed...10 Minute Trainer, Hip Hop Abs, Brazil Butt Lift, Body Beast, T25, to 21 Day Fix. Each program proved to be challenging for me and allowed me to see results. The key to getting results was ME! I knew that I had to be consistent every day. I was tired of having a muffin top from my three c-sections. My daughter used to ask me why my stomach looked "that way"... the roll at the top of my scar. "Silly girl, it is because of you!" Well, enough was enough, I decided that I was going to work hard to get rid of my tummy. My results are below so you can see that our programs work if you work them...
You can achieve your goals as well. If you are needing to lose weight or just want to tighten and tone, our programs will work for you. We have challenge groups in place to assist you with your fitness & wellness goals. If you are not sure what challenge groups are or how they work, that is ok. ...... Just go to https://www.facebook.com/kristicarringtonfitforlife or email me for more information at email@example.com. I am here to help you!
Friday, July 29, 2016
I’m battling a set of Gap Jumps on minute 36 of P90X‘s Plyo X, and I’m getting my butt handed to me. I’m breathing heavily, sweat is dripping onto the rug, and my wet-noodle legs might not allow me to clear the next invisible gap Tony Horton insists I leap over.
I want to quit and do something—anything—else instead of finish what is left of the workout. But I don’t. For some reason, it’s important that I prove to you, a stranger, that I’m no quitter!
Trouble is, that’s not entirely true. Although I stuck this one out, I bail on my workouts more often that I’d like to admit. I’m too tired. I’m too pressed for time. I’m already too ripped. Okay, that last one’s an overstatement, but you get the idea: I manufacture reasons as to why stopping makes more sense than continuing.
I’m not sure why I do that, or more importantly, how to reverse the process. Thankfully, sports psychologist Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, author of Sports Psychology Coaching for Your Performing Edge: Mental Training for Performance in Sports, Business, and Life, does. Dr. Dahlkoetter has worked with handfuls of top-level athletes—including five Olympic gold medal winners—as well as countless people who simply want to live healthily and look halfway decent naked. She also won the San Francisco Marathon in 1980. She knows a thing or two about how to make it through your toughest workouts.
1. Mentally Prepare
“People can fail from not being in touch with their bodies,” she says. Some Beachbody workouts will wipe you out. (There’s a reason the plyometric workout in P90X2 is called Plyocide and not Plyo-this-might-be-kinda-tough.) But understanding, embracing, and anticipating that you’ve signed up to tackle a crazy workout can help you size up the challenge and muster the fortitude required to overcome it.
2. Find a Workout Buddy
If during a grueling workout you find yourself taking a break from taking a break after you just got finished taking a break, consider recruiting someone to train with you. Researchers at Kansas State University found that people who train with a more skilled workout partner who doesn’t cheerlead you through the workouts worked out for longer periods of time. That’s because this competitive attitude supposedly makes you not want to feel like the “weak link” and encourages you to work harder.
3. Get into a Routine
Make your workout session as much of a priority as you would other important daily activities, like brushing your teeth, getting to work on time, or DVRing America’s Got Talent. “Build a routine so you’re doing [your workout] at the same time each day,” Dr. Dahlkoetter suggests. “If you don’t have a routine, the workout becomes a low priority that might get overlooked.”
4. Make Your Goals Specific
Instead of saying you want to “lose weight” or “look better,” come up with specific goals you want to accomplish, like “losing six pounds,” or “finally fitting into my wrestling singlet from college.” Those details will offer you something tangible to strive for. The S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted) goal technique has proven to be popular and effective for constructing a plan of attack, whether you’re tackling work projects or getting through a workout.
5. Use the 3 Ps
It sounds pretty hippie, but Dr. Dahlkoetter has “Three Ps”—Positive Images, Power Words, and Present Focus—that can actually help. Studies show that athletes who visualize themselves winning are more likely to succeed. Visualize the whole process, from going to bed at the right time to finishing your workout, and you’ll be more likely to get through it, improving your overall concentration in the process.
Then, create some “Power Words” to help you push through those super-tough moments. I’m usually spewing four-letter words after about 25 minutes of most of my workouts. Instead, try this exercise: On a piece of paper, write all of your excuses, self-doubts, and negative thoughts about the workout on the left side. Then, on the right side, write what the opposite of that would be. For example: If you write you’re “too tired” on the left side, write your “mind and body are stronger and healthier each day” on the right. When you’re lagging, tell yourself those things you’ve written on the right side of the paper.
And, finally, focus on the present. From worrying about work to your kids to whether the Inland Empire 66ers are going to cover the run line (I’m letting it ride on you, fellas!), we all have plenty of daily stresses to contend with. But your workout shouldn’t be one of them; in fact, it might be the only hour of the day you get to focus entirely on yourself. To do that and offer your best effort, you need to be present from beginning to end. That said, during your Wall Sits or another difficult move that doesn’t pose a high risk of injury, feel free to let your mind wander to your “happy place.”
Craving cheese, but don’t want to wreck your diet? Bursting with a rainbow of vegetables and oozing with melted cheese, this roasted veggie quesadilla is just the ticket.
Grilled Veggie Quesadilla
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 4 servings
½ medium red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and discarded, cut into four pieces
1 medium Portobello mushroom, cut into ½-inch slices
½ medium onion, cut into ½-inch slices
1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally into ¼-inch slices
1 medium summer squash, sliced diagonally into ¼-inch slices
2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
4 tsp. prepared pesto sauce
4 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)
4 Tbsp. soft goat cheese (2 oz.)
- Preheat grill or broiler to high.
- Brush bell pepper, mushroom, onion, zucchini, and summer squash with 1 tsp. oil.
- Grill or broil vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until tender. Set aside.
- Heat ½ tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Place two tortillas in skillet; cook, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Top each tortilla with 1 tsp. pesto sauce, 1 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese, 1 Tbsp. goat cheese, and ¼ of grilled vegetables.
- Fold tortilla in half; cook, for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and ingredients; cook in remaining ½ tsp. oil.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Is sweating a must when working out? What happens if I do a good lifting session but don’t sweat? Does it mean I didn’t exercise enough?—Monica Q.
The Short Answer
No, you don’t need to sweat to have a good workout. It can serve as one indicator of how intense your workout was, but there are better indicators including heart rate or perceived exertion (how hard it feels). In other words, if you bust your butt, it was probably a good workout, even if you’re dry as a bone afterwards.
Conversely, just because you’re sweating buckets doesn’t mean you had a great workout. It might just mean you were really hot. Again, it’s better to go by how hard you worked, not how wet your shirt is.
The Long Answer
You sweat to regulate body temperature. When you get too hot, your glands release a water-and-electrolyte solution across your skin’s surface. The result is that your skin cools, causing a chain reaction of temperature reduction that ultimately reduces your core temperature.
You have two kinds of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Apocrine glands are located in all the nooks and crannies like your armpits and groin. Better known as “flop sweat,” this kind of perspiration is emotionally activated, such as when you’re nervous, stressed, or turned on. In addition to water and minerals, the apocrine glands secrete a cocktail of proteins, fats, and steroids that is broken down by bacteria, creating an offensive odor.
The second kind of sweat gland is the eccrine. These are located all over your body and they’re the ones that do all the work when you exercise. You have between two and four million of them. The reason workout sweat smells so much better than first date sweat is that eccrine glands don’t secrete the bacteria-feeding cocktail, just water and minerals, primarily sodium with a little potassium, calcium, and magnesium (all electrolytes) with a tiny bit of trace minerals.
There are a few reasons you might not be sweating the way you think you should. First, two to four million is a wide range. You may just not have as many sweat glands as that Drippy McDrenchalot going all Niagara Falls on the stationary bike in your spin class. Genetics, fitness level, weight, and outside temperature also play a role. If the air is cool, it’s going to keep you cool to some degree, so you’ll sweat less. However, if it’s extremely hot, your sweat may evaporate as fast as you generate it, especially if you’re wearing moisture-wicking clothes. It’s common for cyclists, triathletes, or marathoners to finish events only to find their gear is completely dry, yet covered in salt—residue left from evaporated perspiration.
Your fitness level can also decrease or increase perspiration. On one hand, fit people have more efficient engines, so they start sweating earlier. It sounds contradictory, but the reason for this is that a properly cooled engine can work harder and longer, so it’s just a body’s way of prepping for what it’s good at.
However, especially in the case of many Beachbody® customers, significant weight loss often accompanies increased fitness. Overweight people tend to sweat more, because they have weight to support and more mass to cool down, therefore they work harder. So when you’re dropping some serious el-bees, even though your fitness is improving, you may sweat less because it’s easier for your body to do everything.
If you never sweat at all, there’s a slim chance you suffer from a condition called anhidrosis, but odds are you’d know it already and you’d experience other symptoms when you work out such as dizziness, flushing, nausea, or passing out. However, if you’re concerned, you should speak with your medical professional.
If you’re numbers-oriented, you might want to try a heart rate monitor (HRM) to determine if you’re pushing hard enough. Here’s a great article from Steve Edwards explaining how to do that. However, while I certainly use a HRM as a performance indicator for training, when it comes to getting a good ol’ fashion workout, I prefer to let perceived exertion be my guide. If it hurts, it’s happenin’. (Within safe limits, of course. I’m not advocating heart attacks here.)
If you’ve just started a program and you’re not sweating or feeling especially spent, it could be that you’re still mastering the moves. That’s okay. But if you’re a few weeks into it and you’re not feeling the burn, odds are that you’re not pushing hard enough whether you’re sweating or not.
If you’re not yet a kale lover, this is the recipe that will change your mind. And if you are, this hearty pasta dinner will rock your world. Cooking with aromatic vegetables and broth brings out the softer side of our favorite leafy green and makes a scrumptious sauce for this sausage and pasta dish.
Total Time: 35 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 25 min.
Yield: 4 servings
6 oz. dry whole wheat pasta
1 tsp. olive oil
½ medium yellow (or orange) bell pepper, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
8 oz. Italian-style turkey sausage, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
½ cup low-sodium, organic fat-free chicken broth
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese (to taste; optional)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Heat large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add oil, bell pepper, and onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add sausage and garlic, Season with salt and pepper if desired; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until sausage starts to brown.
5. Add broth and kale; cook, stirring occasionally, adding additional broth or water as needed, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until kale is soft.
6. Add pasta to sausage mixture.
7. Top with cheese if desired.
Container Equivalents: 2 Green, 1 Red, 1 1/2 Yellow
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The struggle is real y’all. Losing those stubborn 5–10 extra pounds, or pushing past a stagnant period to meet your long-term goal is hard work. Sometimes you may wonder if it’s even possible to lose more weight or get leaner.
It is! Here are some common reasons the scales don’t seem to budge, and some tried-and-true nutrition solutions.
It’s time to adjust the portions.
If you’ve lost a lot of weight already, and you would like to keep losing, you will have to adjust your portions so that you can lose more. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’ll keep getting the same results… and see the same number on the scale. Many people need to cut back and simplify. Sporting a smaller frame requires less energy (aka calories), thus adjusting portion sizes may be the ticket to help you tip the scales in your favor.
Some people need to eat more, while others will have to eat less to lose weight — if you’re confused about which one applies specifically to you, it might be a good idea to ask your doctor, or see a registered dietitian.
Measure your macros.
More often than not, you’re probably not eating enough of the two key nutrients that help keep weight off: fiber and protein. Up your protein intake, especially at breakfast and snacks (particularly a post-workout snack or supplement like Beachbody Performance Recover). These are fueling opportunities where protein is usually too low. Fiber helps to provide fullness and meal satisfaction, so aim to eat at least two cups of non-starchy veggies at each meal to get enough. Measure and keep track of your food (Beachbody’s Portion Fix containers can help you do this) to ensure you’re meeting your macro goals.
Evaluate your sweets, treats, and cheats.
When trying to trim down, we can fall into the temptation of eating clean during the week and letting loose on the weekend. This cycle can undo all of the clean eating you did during the week. It’s important to be honest with yourself about how often and how much you are “rewarding” yourself with food. Shift your focus to treating yourself to non-food rewards for the progress you’ve made. This simple shift will make it easier to stay balanced all week long and avoid binge eating.
Take your measurements.
The scale really isn’t the best way to measure progress. Weight is just a number, but body composition tells a better story. Maybe you’re not really stuck in a weight loss plateau, and in reality you’re building lean muscle mass and shredding fat? (This is especially common among athletes and people who work out.) Take your measurements and set body composition goals that are realistic for a better approach to weight loss.
Try to eat intuitively.
Maybe you’re a new mom, business owner, or have a stressful job, and you’re trying to trim down at the same time. It’s easy to be distracted trying to manage it all, and that stress can affect meal time.
Focus on your hunger and fullness, and don’t eat if you’re not hungry.
On a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being starving and 10 being stuffed, ask yourself before your meal how hungry you are. The closer you are to zero, the harder it will be to slow down and pay attention to satisfaction. Instead of polishing off all of the food on your plate, challenge yourself to stop when you’re at a 5–7 on the fullness scale. This is just one more “little secret” to successfully managing your weight and busting through that stubborn weight loss plateau.
Honey mustard dressing from the grocery store can contain lots of added sugars and are surprisingly high in calories. They don’t have to be. This delicious homemade dressing is tangy with just the right amount of sweetness. Not only does it taste better, it has only 102 calories per serving. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to bottled dressings.
Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 8 servings, 2 Tbsp. each
½ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. raw honey
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) (to taste; optional)
1. Combine yogurt, mustard, honey, and vinegar in a medium bowl; mix well.
2. Slowly add oil, whisking constantly until well blended; season with salt if desired.
Container Equivalents = 2 Tbsps = 1 Orange
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Put a Mexican twist on turkey leftovers with these crispy turkey tostadas. Leftover turkey breast totally transforms in this dish when it is mixed with tomatillo salsa, becoming a tasty lunch or dinner that’s high in protein. Top with shredded lettuce, onion and Monterey jack cheese, and dig in!
This recipe can also be used to make nachos. Just slice the tortillas into wedges before baking. Top crisped chips with turkey mixture, onions, and cheese and then bake until cheese melts. Top with lettuce and serve!
Total Time: 13 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 8 min.
Yield: 4 servings
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup tomatillo salsa
1½ cups shredded roasted turkey breast (approximately 7 oz.)
2 cups finely shredded leaf lettuce
¼ cup chopped onions
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
½ medium ripe avocado, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Lightly coat both sides of tortillas with spray. Place tortillas in single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.
3. While tortillas are baking, heat salsa in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add turkey; cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until turkey is evenly coated and heated through.
5. To serve, place a tortilla on each serving plate. Top evenly with lettuce, turkey mixture, onion, cheese, and avocado.
Container Equivalents: 1/2 Green, 1/2 Red, 1 Yellow, 1/2 Purple, 1 Blue
Saturday, July 23, 2016
You put in the hours, pumping iron, logging miles, sweating buckets, overhauling your diet, and (most important) staying consistent. And the results speak for themselves — every time you look in the mirror, a leaner, more athletic person stares back at you. You’ve even bought yourself a new wardrobe. So now what?
Some people will keep going, perhaps taking up triathlons, joining a hoops league, or training for the CrossFit Games. But others will want to take their foot off the gas and appreciate what they’ve accomplished. The key is not to leave it off for too long — 2 weeks of inactivity is all it takes to notice significant declines in strength and cardiovascular fitness, according to a recent study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. Indeed, the body is incredibly efficient at adapting to whatever demands (or lack thereof) are placed on it.
So now that you’ve crossed the finish line, how can you keep from backpedaling and losing what you’ve built? Just follow these simple steps.
Cut Back Gradually
Smart training plans (like those available on Beachbody On Demand) can allow you to work out 5 or 6 days a week with no ill effects (read: overtraining). But once you reach your strength and endurance goals, you can reduce your workout frequency without losing your hard earned gains, according to a study at the University of Alabama. The researchers found that adults aged 20 to 35 who worked out just one day a week not only saw no loss of muscle, but actually continued to gain it (albeit at a greatly reduced rate). Our recommendation: Start by reducing your workout frequency by a third, then a half, and so on until you find the minimal effective dose that’s right for you.
Keep It Intense
Even a single set of a strength-training exercise can produce hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. So if your goal is to hold on to what you have, one or two sets per move per workout should do the trick. The key is to keep them challenging; you should always feel like you stopped two reps short of failure. Take a similar approach with cardio. In a recent study in the journalPhysiological Reports, a team of British researchers found that a single, intense, 20-minute interval workout every five days allowed participants to maintain levels of cardiovascular fitness built through much higher frequency training programs.
Dial In Your Diet
Here’s the one category where you might have to be more diligent than you were before you reached your goal. As you cut back on your workouts, you’re going to start burning fewer calories. To avoid the fate of the ex-athlete who balloons 50 pounds when he hangs up his cleats, tighten up your diet as you reduce your training time. “On the days you don’t work out, cut 300 to 500 calories from your diet,” says Dr. Jade Teta, founder of The Metabolic Effect, a fitness and nutrition coaching service focused on maximizing results with minimal effort. “Ideally, those calories should come from starchy carbs and sources of empty calories [i.e., junk food] rather than from protein or veggies,” says Teta.
These general guidelines are just that: General guidelines. Though lower frequency, more intense workouts seem to work for most people looking to maintain their fitness gains, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. “It’s going to be different for everyone,” says Teta. So be a detective: Monitor your strength, weight, definition, and overall sense of well-being as you tweak your exercise and eating habits, and be ready to adjust everything up or down accordingly.
This mashed potato and turkey shepherd’s pie is comfort food at it’s very best. Our recipe is lean and filled with veggies, so it will warm your belly without adding to your waistline.
This shepherd’s pie is a great way to use leftover turkey and mashed potatoes. You can also substitute rotisserie chicken. If you prefer to use ground turkey, just cook it before the first step and set aside, then proceed with the recipe as written.
Total Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hr.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup each
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2¼ cups chopped roasted turkey breast (approximately 11 oz.)
1 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
½ cup low-sodium organic vegetable (or beef) broth
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use
½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided use
½ cup frozen peas
12 oz. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
½ small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) milk, warm
1 Tbsp. organic grass-fed butter
1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and carrot; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
4. Add turkey and flour; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
5. Add broth, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper; bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
6. Add peas; mix well. Place turkey mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.
7. Preheat oven to 350° F.
8. Boil water in steamer or large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place potatoes in steamer basket; cook for 10 minutes.
9. Add cauliflower; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender. Remove from heat.
10. Mash potatoes, cauliflower, milk, butter, remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and remaining ¼ tsp. pepper in a medium bowl with a potato masher until smooth. (Add additional milk if mixture is too dry.)
11. Evenly top meat mixture with potato mixture.
12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.
13. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Mashed Potatoes – Substitute 2 to 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes for potato, cauliflower, milk, and butter mixture.
Sweet Potatoes – Substitute 1½ lbs. sweet potatoes for potatoes and cauliflower
Container Equivalents: 1 cup =1 Green, 1/2 Red, 1/2 Yellow, 1/2 tsp.
Friday, July 22, 2016
When you’re feeling overworked or overwhelmed, it’s easy to find an excuse to skip a workout…or two…or a whole week’s worth. But don’t let bad excuses get in the way of good intentions. Here’s how to keep them from derailing your fitness routine.
THE EXCUSE: “I’m too busy!”
Instead of letting your endless to-do list take priority over your health goals, treat exercise like any other important task. “It’s about prioritizing and planning ahead. Set a time and schedule it, as if it were a dental appointment,” says Jimi Varner, a trainer on MTV’s I Used to be Fat series. Of course, there will be days when you really are too swamped to squeeze in a full workout—but that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. Instead, try to carve out a few minutes to break a sweat. “If you have just 10 minutes, it’s still progress,” Varner says. “It doesn’t have to be an hour and a half, so knock it off.” Go outdoors and do a few sprints, or try a time-crunch-friendly program like FOCUS T25 orP90X3.
THE EXCUSE: “I’m beat.”
Whether you’re sore from yesterday’s workout or drained from a long week at work, don’t bail out just because you’re low on energy. Start slowly, and gauge how you’re feeling after the first few minutes. “It’s okay to exercise at a lower intensity for a shorter time. Start doing it, and really listen to your body to see if this is nurturing or punishing,” says Michelle Segar, PhD, Associate Director for University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center and a motivation and behavioral sustainability researcher. “This helps get people more in tune with their body and actually can improve their desire to move.” Promise yourself you’ll do the first five minutes of your workout—once you get going, chances are you’ll go ahead and push through.
THE EXCUSE: “I’m broke.”
When you’re on a tight budget, it can be hard to justify the cost of a monthly gym membership. But you don’t need Globo-Gym to get in shape. “Walking is among the best ways to move, and you can do it anywhere,” Segar says. And Varner suggests picking up furniture movers (usually under $10) and using them for lunges or mountain climbers. And,ahem, we can recommend a few DVD training programs that won’t break the bank.
THE EXCUSE: “The gym is intimidating.”
You might feel like everyone’s staring at you, but the truth is, they’re probably way too busy worrying about what they look like. So get out of hermit mode and go build a support system. “Everybody you see in these classes was once in your shoes,” Varner says. “They understand how you feel and the courage it takes to be there. And they will be more than happy to help and be supportive and friendly.”
THE EXCUSE: “I’m bored.”
If you do the same workout every…single…day, it’s easy to fall into a rut. But there’s no rule that you have to stick to a rigid, repetitive fitness regimen. “You can change up any part of your routine,” Segar says. Renew your enthusiasm by starting a new program, joining a new class, ditching the treadmill for a hiking trail, or making a friendly weight-loss wager with a friend.
THE EXCUSE: “I’m dieting instead.”
Just because you’re counting calories, it doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to chill on the couch. “Diet alone works well when weight loss is the goal, but adding exercise to the mix can enhance the results,” Varner says. “Exercise has countless other health benefits than just weight loss—you’ll look better, feel better, sleep better, have more energy, and be more productive at work and home.” And with all those benefits, why would you want to make excuses?
Meet your go-to recipe for roasted broccoli. It’s the perfect side dish any night of the week for meals as simple as grilled chicken breast and as delicious as this maple-glazed salmon. It’s versatile too. Add grilled tofu or tempeh for Meatless Monday, stir it into a quinoa salad, or serve it in a brown rice bowl with a poached or fried egg. It tastes even better as leftovers, and holds up well in the fridge for days, so use this recipe to take your next meal prep up a notch.
Total Time: 35 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 20 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about ¾ cup each
1 bunch broccoli (about 1½ lbs.)
2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
¼ cup raw peanuts
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 medium green onion, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
2. Separate broccoli florets from stems. Coarsely chop florets. Set aside. Peel stems and slice on a diagonal.
3. Combine broccoli stems and 1 tsp. oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Add chopped broccoli florets, peanuts, and remaining 1 tsp. oil to baking sheet; mix well. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until stems are tender crisp.
5. Place broccoli mixture in a medium bowl. Add vinegar and yeast; mix well.
6. Garnish with green onion; serve immediately.
Container Equivalents = 3/4 cup = 1 Green, 1/2 Blue, 1 tsp.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Working out in the summer heat can be a miserable, sweat-soaked endeavor. As much as you don’t want to slack off, let’s be real—when it’s a bazillion degrees with 8,000% humidity, just lying on your couch in your air-conditioned living room starts to look reeeeeally tempting. But with the proper preparation, you can keep your workout going strong throughout the dog days of summer. Here’s how to weatherproof your workout.
1. Get the Timing Right
Blazing sun isn’t going to do you any favors, so if you are going to exercise outside (or if you don’t have air-conditioning), schedule your workout for early morning or late evening. “It’s ideal to work out before or after the heat index rises,” says Elizabeth Kovar, an ACE Master Trainer and mind-body movement specialist. “If your schedule doesn’t allow you to work out during those hours, play it safe by working out indoors.”
2. Stay Hydrated
“Guidelines recommend consuming 17–20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, 7–10 ounces of fluid every ten minutes during exercise, and 16–24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost after exercise,” says Jessica Matthews, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. If you’re working out for an hour or more, you may also want to replace electrolytes with Results and Recovery Formula or coconut water.
3. Eat to Beat the Heat
Excuse all the rhyming, but it really is important to eat properly before a summer workout, since the wrong foods can boost your body temperature. “Avoid spicy foods, which stimulate heat production,” Kovar says. “Also, high-protein foods and anything greasy will be harder to digest, thus enhancing internal heat production.” Stick with easy-to-digest foods like fruit, eggs, or yogurt instead.
4. Dress the Part
This one’s really easy. “Lightweight, loose-fitting, minimal clothing can provide a greater skin surface area for heat dissipation,” Matthews says. Black may be slimming, but wear light colors to reflect the heat from the sun, and choose moisture-wicking fabrics to stay cool and dry.
5. Scale Back
On crazy-hot days, you may need to change your “go hard or go home” philosophy to “go easy or go inside.” If you’re acclimated to hot weather, then you may be able to tolerate a tough workout in extreme heat. But if you live in an area where three-digit temps make headlines, scale back when a heat wave hits. “Anything lower intensity or steady state is probably more achievable mentally or physically,” Kovar says. If you’re planning on doing high-intensity interval training, she adds, “Try to find a shaded area or take the training indoors.”
6. Heed the Warning Signs
Heat exhaustion isn’t a push-through-the-pain situation. Unchecked, it can lead to coma or death—so if you start to feel crampy, dizzy, or nauseous, stop immediately and start doing damage control. “Drink plenty of water and remove any unnecessary clothing,” Matthews says. “You can also mist your skin with water to bring your body temperature down.” If your skin is hot but not sweaty, or your pulse feels fast and weak, those are signs of heatstroke. “Call 911 and get cool any way that you can until help arrives,” Matthews says. Anytime the heat index is over 90 degrees, you’re at risk for heat exhaustion; over 105 degrees, it’s almost a given. So play it safe—if you know you can’t handle the heat, head indoors.
Did someone say peanut butter cups...and healthy ones...say what! Hand them over! Don't have Shakeology...No problem...Message me to find out how to get your hands on this 74 ingredient superfood dense nutrition that makes you feel energy and feel amazing!
Total Time: 36 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 1 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 cup each
¼ cup dark chocolate morsels
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
1 Tbsp. psyllium husk powder
½ cup pumpkin puree
6 tsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter, divided use
1. Prepare twelve mini muffin cups by lining with muffin papers.
2. Place morsels in microwave-safe container. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds; stir; microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until just melted. Do not overcook. Set aside.
3. Place Shakeology, psyllium husk, and pumpkin in a food processor. Pulse until it forms a dough.
4. Divide dough into 12 small balls; place each ball in a muffin cup. Press dough down into a flat disk with a depression in the middle. Place ½ tsp. peanut butter in each depression.
5. Drizzle melted morsels evenly over each peanut butter cup; spread to create a thin chocolate layer on top.
6. Freeze for 30 minutes, or until chocolate hardens.
Container Equivalents: 1 cup is 1 Yellow
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Mix a few ingredients in seconds then put them in the oven. When you’re ready for work, your breakfast is ready to eat. And it’s delicious. Add a chopped apple for even more flavor, and delicious bites of fruit (this will change the nutritional profile).
Total Time: 50 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Yield: Makes 8 servings, about ⅔ cup each
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with spray.
3. Combine oats, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine almond milk, extract, eggs, applesauce, and honey in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
5. Add oat mixture to milk mixture; mix well.
6. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top has browned.
Container Equivalents = 1 Serving is 2/3 cup = 2 Yellow
We’ve all had days when we feel like we can’t even find a moment to catch our breath, let alone squeeze in a workout or sit down for a meal. We bounce from appointments to meetings to errands with almost every minute scheduled down to the wire. Sure, those days can be exhilarating, but if you leave your house one minute late in the morning, your whole day is thrown off – and your kids really don’t want to be picked up late from school (again).
On days like those, making time for meal prep might be the very last thing on your mind. In fact, it might not appear on your to-do list at all. Who has time to worry about eating healthfully when you can barely find time to eat at all?
The answer: Everyone. If you can spare just 5 minutes, you have all the time you need to put together a nutritious, power-packed meal. Don’t believe us? Then take it from Autumn Calabrese. The creator of 21 Day Fix and The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is no stranger to an overloaded schedule. Between meetings at Beachbody HQ, on-camera workouts, and catching her son’s after-school activities, Autumn’s day is a sprint from start to finish. And to keep herself on top of her game, she has mastered the art of super-fast, super-healthy meal prep. If she can do it, so can you!
Check out the video below to see how Autumn prepares healthy food for a busy day in just 5 minutes!
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Just because you’re eating healthy, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything you love.
You can indulge in some treats to satisfy your cravings without sabotaging your diet. If consumed in moderation, these tasty foods and drinks can please your palate and provide some great health benefits at the same time.
Pay close attention to serving sizes and use portion control, and you can feel safe to occasionally indulge in these pleasures without feeling guilty.
Attention chocolate lovers: You don’t have to give up your favorite treat if you’re on a diet! Studies show that dark chocolate, which is 72 percent cocoa or higher, has numerous potential health benefits, not the least of which are reducing inflammation and blood pressure. The source of cocoa’s power: Polyphenols, particularly flavonols, which are phytonutrients that act like antioxidants, and which cocoa has in greater abundance than many “super fruits,” including blueberries and acai, according to a study in the Chemistry Central Journal.
Have you ever felt like chocolate can make a bad day better? You’re not just imagining it. Dark chocolate can raise serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve your mood. But don’t think you can swap out a bowl of blueberries for chocolate. Although dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate, just four squares can tally up to 11 grams of sugar. Even though it’s better for you than some other sweet treats, you shouldn’t get too carried away and devour an entire chocolate bar in one sitting.
For some people, a morning cup of coffee is an absolute must. And while that jolt of caffeine has some obvious benefits (i.e. it helps you wake up and actually stay awake), a cup o’ Joe doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a health elixir. But, it’s rich in antioxidants. In fact, many people get a huge portion of their antioxidants from coffee.
There have also been studies that examined coffee as a protective component against diseases like Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and liver cancer. The caffeine in coffee can also help enhance an athlete’s performance.
All that being said, this is in reference to plain, black coffee. It’s a whole different story when you start adding four pumps of syrup, six packs of sugar, and whipped cream on top. If you really can’t stand the taste of black coffee, try swapping your usual “splash” of half-and-half for non-fat milk, unsweetened almond milk, or coconut oil.
It’s pretty tempting to gravitate toward the beef jerky at the gas station when you’re making a road trip pit stop. Jerky is salty, chewy, and savory. It’s the total package! And while it’s not necessarily bad for you, there are some types that are better for you than others.
As with many foods, natural is better. Natural beef jerky can be a protein-packed snack that’s relatively low in calories. Some brands can give you between eight to 12 grams of protein per one-ounce serving in less than 100 calories. Even better is jerky that’s made from grass-fed beef, which contains omega-3s — the same healthy fats that are in avocados and fish. Go natural, avoid preservatives, and make sure to read the label.
Diet programs are often riddled with warnings against eating too many carbs, but you actually do need them, especially if you’re very active. Skip the white pastas and opt for whole-wheat, which is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber helps keep you feel full for longer. It also helps control blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and promote good digestion. As long as you avoid smothering your pasta in butter and salt, whole-wheat pasta can be a good substitute for white pasta when you’re craving comfort food.
PB&J sandwiches are a favorite for elementary school lunches, but they don’t have to be just for kids. Peanut butter is a perfectly healthy option for a snack or as part of a meal. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains seven to eight grams of protein and two grams of fiber. Both of those work together to help fill you up and feel more satisfied after you eat. Peanut butter also provides a good amount of vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fat.
So if you’re tired of the avocado toast trend, don’t feel guilty about going back to the basics and slathering some peanut butter onto your toast instead. Do pay attention to the type of peanut butter you buy, because some brands can run high in the sodium and sugar departments. If you want to play it safe, organic and natural brands are best.
Popcorn is the ultimate movie snack. Unfortunately, standard “movie popcorn” is mostly just processed chemicals doused in butter. But if you make popcorn from scratch by popping organic kernels and adding your own spices, you can still enjoy this crunchy snack without the guilt.
Popcorn is a whole grain and it’s a great source of fiber, which aids and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. So for your next movie night, avoid the oil and butter and try making some homemade popcorn — you might be surprised at how many tasty flavor combinations you can come up with!
Good salsa is essentially just a bunch of fruits and veggies thrown together with some seasonings. It’s easy to make your own, and you can customize it to include all of your favorite veggies. Tomatoes and onions are the base of most salsas, and they contain a ton of vitamin C while still being low in calories. Add in some peppers to get an extra boost of veggies. If you’re craving something sweet, a fruity mango salsa is a great alternative. If you want something spicy, jalapenos can do more than just turn up the heat. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers spicy, has been found to relieve indigestion and stomach pain. Try this recipe for roasted tomato salsa to get a jalapeno kick.
Do you enjoy exploring the world by car? It can become uncomfortable while traveling and cause back discomfort.
If you’re going a little stir crazy in the car or just starting to feel stiff on your road trip, pull over and do these 10 yoga poses. In 10 minutes or less, these yoga poses can give your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints the attention they need to help you feel less stiff. And that makes life behind the wheel a whole lot more pleasant.
10 Seated Yoga Poses For Your Next Long Road Trip
Spinal Twist (With car seat assistance)
The lower back is the loudest barker when you’re dog tired behind the wheel. Start by facing in your seat with your feet flat on the floor and hip distance apart. Twist your upper body so that you are looking out the back window, gripping your seat with both hands to assist in holding the pose and deepen the stretch. Take eight to 10 breaths. Repeat in the other direction.
Accomplished Pose or Lotus
When you sit too long in one position your hips and inner thighs can get sore. This pose can help ease the ache. It will be slightly more difficult if you have a small car or are blessed with beautiful, long legs (of which I am not, hence my name The Tini Yogini), but the gist is this: You sit in a lotus position on your car seat. Place the outside of your right foot on top of your left thigh, close to your groin. If that feels comfortable, carefully bring your left foot up and over your shin, placing it on your right thigh. Allow the backs of your hands to rest gently on your knees, thighs, or on your lap. Straighten your back and hold this pose for as long as you comfortably can (at least eight to 10 breaths). Switch leg positions, and repeat.
Seated Figure Four Pose
This pose is especially good for opening the inner groin, thighs, and hips. It also works wonders for sciatica sufferers. Start by facing forward in your seat with your feet flat on the floor and spread slightly wider than hip distance apart. Keeping your left foot flexed, pick it up and rest your left ankle on your right thigh. You can stay here if you feel a deep enough stretch, or you can thread your left hand between your legs and grab onto the back of your right thigh to go a bit deeper. Hold onto your left hand with your right hand to pull both legs toward your chest (you can place your right foot on the seat if you like). Hold for eight to 10 breaths. Switch sides, and repeat.
People often hold tension in their necks and shoulders, and even thinking about driving is enough to make it worse. To loosen up, simply roll your head from side-to-side several times. Start by sitting tall in your seat and tucking your chin toward your chest as you roll your shoulders back and down. Now roll your head to your right, moving your right ear toward your right shoulder. To intensify the stretch, place your right fingertips above your left ear and your left fingertips on your left shoulder, and pull very gently in opposite directions. Hold for eight to 10 breaths. Repeat on your other side.
Seated Forward Fold
Is your lower back still aching after performing the previous stretches? Try this one next. Place both feet flat on the floor so that they’re hip-width apart. If you have room, reach for the floor with your hands, keeping your back flat as you hinge forward. Drop your head at the end to stretch your neck. If you can’t fold all the way down, rest your arms and head on the dash. In addition to opening up your low back and neck, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for eight to 10 breaths (or even longer if you like).
Legs up on the Dashboard
Now it’s time to kick back. This pose will restore blood flow to your pelvic cavity and the lower back, and release swelling in your legs and feet caused by sitting for extended periods. You may need to push your seat back (and recline it a bit) for this stretch, especially if you have long legs. Place your feet on the dash with only a very slight bend in your knees, and lean back. That’s all there is to it. Hold for at least eight to 10 breaths, but for as long as you like.
Seated Head To Knee Forward Bend
You can transition into this pose right after you do “legs up on the dashboard” to stretch your hamstrings, inner thighs, hips, and spine. All you have to do is keep your right leg extended with your right foot on the dash, and pull your left leg in, resting your left foot on your right thigh. Keep your spine straight, and then fold over your right leg. Hold for eight to 10 breaths, and then switch sides.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch (With car seat assistance)
Odds are you sit in your car in much the same way you sit at your desk — hunched over. The result: Tight shoulders. Begin by sitting up straight with both feet flat on the floor. Lean forward slightly and grab the seat behind you, extending your arms as you continue to lean forward. In addition to your shoulders, you should feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for eight to 10 breaths.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
This stretch, which targets the posterior region of your shoulders, is a perfect one to do after the anterior shoulder stretch. Sit tall with both feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms straight out in front of your shoulders and interlace your fingers with your palms facing inward (you should feel a stretch in the tops of your wrists). Arch your back to create a C-shape with your torso, rounding your shoulder blades, and then drop your head to stretch the back of your neck. Hold for eight to 10 breaths.
Cow Face Arms
This stretch also targets your shoulders and arms, especially your triceps. Sit up straight in your seat with your feet flat on the floor. Raise your right elbow and drop your right hand behind you. Now reach your left hand behind you, reaching up to grip your right hand. If that’s too difficult (or uncomfortable), reach your left hand up to grip your right elbow, pressing down gently. Hold for eight to 10 breaths. Switch sides, and repeat.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Starting today, we’re giving Beachbody On Demand members exclusive access to experience Country Heat’s workout, Bring the Heat, before the Country Heat program even launches! In Bring the Heat, Autumn will take you through exhilarating moves set to up-tempo songs like “I Like It, I Love It” that’ll get your heart pumping fast.
Not only do you get to try the full Bring the Heat workout free, you get the chance to win $1,000 and the complete Country Heat Base Kit, just for sharing a video of yourself doing the workout and sharing it on social!
Here are the details on how to enter:
1) If you’re not already a member, sign up for a free 30-day trial of Beachbody On Demand*.
2) Complete the Bring the Heat workout. It will be the Challenge Du Jour workout on beachbodyondemand.com, available for 24 hours on July 18th.
3) Take a video of yourself doing the workout.
4) Upload your video to either Instagram or Twitter along with the hashtags #CountryHeat and #Contest (You must use both tags.)
Prizes: 5 randomly selected winners will receive $1,000 and the Country Heat Base Kit!
*If you are not an existing member and want to learn more about Beachbody On Demand,click here. Please note that you’ll have unlimited access to Beachbody® On Demand for thirty (30) days at no charge. After 30 days, you’ll automatically continue to receive all the benefits of your membership for only $2.99 a week, billed $38.87 quarterly in advance to the credit card you provide at signup. If you wish to cancel for any reason, just call Beachbody Customer Service at 1 (800) 470-7870 to cancel within thirty (30) days of signup and you will owe nothing, or cancel anytime thereafter to avoid future charges.
Serves: 16 servings, 1 ball each
1½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
1¼ cups dry old-fashioned rolled oats
⅓ cup all-natural smooth almond butter
4 Medjool dates, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped raw almonds
½ cup mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Combine Shakeology, oats, almond butter, and dates in food processor; pulse until dates are incorporated.
- Add almonds, banana, and extract; pulse until just blended.
- Roll into sixteen balls, about 1-inch in diameter each.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Looking for a fun way to get fit? There’s a new workout coming this summer that so totally fires up the fun — you’ll barely notice you’re getting a great total-body workout!
Get ready to turn up the heat and burn off the calories with Country Heat, the new country dance-inspired workout from Super Trainer and professionally trained dancer Autumn Calabrese.
Autumn took her lifelong passion for country music and brought it to the dance floor, collaborating with Beachbody to create a high-energy, low-impact dance workout that’s so easy to follow, anyone can do it. The best part is it’s 30 minutes of nonstop dancing to today’s hottest country hits, so you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat — and a smile — whether you’re a country music fan or not. The fun country flavor and the simplicity of the steps are a huge part of Country Heat’s appeal, although the workout itself will definitely give both pros and newbies alike a good sweat. And results.
Country Heat is the perfect workout for reshaping your body. The custom-designed moves coupled with consistent cardio help burn calories and kick your metabolism into high gear, so in 30 days you’ll see some real results — a more toned and tightened body everywhere from your booty to your legs, shoulders, and arms.
Autumn designed Country Heat to be easy to learn and follow — anyone can jump right in without missing a beat. Each routine is infused with energy, fun, and cardio-centric moves all set to catchy country tunes. So 30 days later, you just might be ready to get back in the saddle all over again.
The whole program, from the workouts to the music to the nutrition, is designed to be so simple that anyone can do it, and so much fun that everyone will want to.
For a high-energy, easy-to-follow workout that gets great results, check out Country Heat when it blows into town this summer. It’s going to be hot! Sign up to learn more here.
These stuffed mushrooms are 100 percent good-for-you. Each mushroom is filled with a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, onion, and creamy ricotta, and topped with a sprinkling of mozzarella that bakes to a beautiful golden brown. Garlic and crushed red pepper amp up the flavor. It’s hard to believe each one has only 25 calories.
Total Time: 47 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 32 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 2 mushrooms each
2 tsp. olive oil
24 large mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups raw baby spinach
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dash crushed red pepper
½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add mushroom stems, onion, and spinach; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes until tender.
4. Add garlic, red pepper, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper (if desired); cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
5. Add ricotta cheese; mix well.
6. Evenly fill mushrooms with spinach mixture.
7. Place mushrooms on a large baking sheet. Evenly top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
Container Equivalents: 2 Mushrooms = 1/2 Green 1/2 Blue