Online Fitness Coaching: Sugar is the New Fat

There has been a lot of buzz lately about added sugar. It seems to be replacing fat as the bad guy in your food. Why should you be concerned about this? Do you know what happens to your car when you put sugar water in your gas tank? It doesn’t work correctly. The same thing happens when you put too much added sugar into your body.

Your body needs specific nutrients to perform at peak levels. When you eat too much added sugar, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels. This is followed by a crash. When you have a crash your body is telling you, “I’m hungry!” You didn’t feed me the nutrients you need. The sugar is not cutting it!” Your body wants nutrients. If you continue to feed it junk it can’t use, it will signal you to feed it something else. The more junk you eat, the more food your body will want, trying to get the nutrients it craves. See the problem?

How much sugar is too much?

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day. That’s 100 calories or about 6 teaspoons. Men should have no more than 36 grams. That’s 150 calories or about 9 teaspoons. The good news is that the sugars found naturally in fruits and vegetables are good for you and part of a healthy diet. No need to limit those.

Since most Americans eat WAY to much added sugar, here are some tips for reducing the amount you consume:

  • Limit sugary drinks such as soda, tea and juice. Water is the best drink choice.
  • Cut back on sugary breakfast foods. Check the nutrition facts label and remember, if your cereal is changing the color of your milk, it’s probably loaded with sugar.
  • Check ingredients. If sugar or or sugar type ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, honey, etc.) are in the first five, avoid it or at least eat sparingly.

I just finished a 7 day “no added sugar” challenge I am doing with Slimkicker It’s almost impossible to limit your added sugar intake to 0. Sugar is added to everything in our society. I have been able to keep it to about 12/15 grams per day. I did not feel deprived and I loved the added benefit of not feeling hungry all the time. I did have to consciously make different food choices and it does take some effort. Happy to report that a nice flat stomach has made the effort worthwhile!

Here’s a sample of what I ate for one day to give you an idea of how YOU can cut back on the amount of added sugar YOU eat. Try it and let me know how it goes.

Breakfast: Shakeology 7 grams added sugar OR Whole grain sandwich thin with one teaspoon peanut butter 3 grams added sugar

Snack: Snack bag of grapes 0 grams added sugar

Lunch: Grilled pork loin, orange, 10 Tostitos corn chips 0 grams added sugar

Snack: 1/2 Pure Protein Bar 2 grams added sugar

Supper: Spinach dinner salad with grilled chicken strips, walnuts, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 2 grams of added sugar.

Water to drink for each meal and snack.

Total added sugar for the day: 11 to 15 grams

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: 5K Prep Two Weeks Out

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Hope this post finds you enjoying some great outdoor activities. This weekend starts the gardening season where I live. Saturday morning meant a trip to the greenhouse to pick out some new perennials and annuals.

Gardening is  great exercise! Bending, stretching, lifting, and walking. There is also something very satisfying about digging around in the dirt. Even though it took me all day (I had to dodge two thunderstorms) to get the flowers in, I got it done and they look great now.

This morning hubby and I went to early church so we could get a 5K walk in before it got too hot. We will be walking in the Train Wreck Trek 5K (I hate to run) on Saturday, June 9. We did the course we will be walking for the 5K. It’s flat and shady and will be good for the runners to PR. This will be my first one so it will be my base time. Today we walked about 17 minute miles at 3.5 MPH

Hubby on the Train Wreck Trek trail.

I’m looking forward to doing this 5K. I would never run one but I can hardly wait to walk it.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Himalayan Salt Caves


Have you ever heard of a Himalayan Salt Cave? This is the ultimate
stress relief. Our local Curves just added one. I have visited it twice and love, love, love it! For $15 you can have 45 minutes of great relaxation. While you are relaxing, you are breathing in 84 different minerals and trace elements. These promote health by helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Lots of different ailments can be positively affected. The salt cave can help allergies, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, skin ailments and more. I could feel and hear (weird) my sinuses opening up a few minutes after I went into the salt cave.

My absolute favorite things about the salt cave is the total relaxation you get for the 45 minutes you are there. When you enter you sit in a recliner under softly lit lanterns and twinkling lights that resemble stars. You take about eight to ten deep breaths to get the minerals flowing through your system. Relaxing music begins to play and in just a few minutes I am transported somewhere else…some people fall asleep, but I feel like I get into more of a meditative state and I love it. When the lights come up, I feel totally relaxed and refreshed. If you get a chance, find a salt cave near you and give it a try!
If you have had a salt cave experience, share it in the comments.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Level Up! With Slimkicker

We could all use a little motivation to stay on track when trying to eat healthy and exercise. For all you techies, a new website and iphone/ipad app is ready to help you stay on track. The folks at Slimkicker.com asked me to review their new website and app and let you know what I think.

Slimkicker is a website and app where you can keep track of your food intake and exercise calorie output.  Nothing new.  There are lots of websites and apps that do this.  The difference?  Slimkicker is designed to work like a video game. As you record what you eat and what your workout is each day, you earn points. The points move you to different “levels”.

Now I liked this idea because I have always been a health nut and always been pretty much the same weight. So the sights that emphasize weight loss just are not for me. This one intrigued me so I joined.

Features

Track Food: Record what you eat by searching for the food item and entering the food amount.  It will keep track of the  calories you have consumed and compare that to your preset calorie goal according to height, weight, exercise levels and amount of weight you want to lose or  gain.

 

Track exercise: You can record the calories you expend during exercise by entering the types and amounts of activities you take part in each day. There is a large data base of exercises you can search to record what you have done.

Challenges:  This is my favorite part.  There are a huge amount of challenges you can join that help you reach your health and fitness goals.  Get points for checking in each day the challenge progresses.  There are fitness and diet challenges as well as others.  I joined the “Beauty Sleep” challenge.  It’s a seven day challenge to help you get to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual.  So far it has helped me get in bed before 11 p.m. each nite this week. There are also some challenges you can join that offer a chance to win prizes (like $100 gift cards) to people who finish.

Social Sharing: You can friend other members within the group and comment on their status updates and check-ins.  You can really support each other during your fitness journey.  There are lots of groups you can join to connect with like minded people.  I joined a beta tester group to give suggestions to make the site even better.

Rewards:  You can select and share what reward you will give yourself when you level up.  When I reached level two I downloaded an MP3 from Florence and the Machine.  When I leveled up to #3 I treated myself to a movie night and we watched “The Help” at our house. Haven’t decided what to reward myself with for level 4.  Any suggestions??

Things I’m hoping to see at Slimkicker soon

  • A barcode scanner in the track foods area.  It makes recording your calories so much easier
  • I use DVD programs to exercise like P90X,  Zumba etc.  It would be nice if they were in the exercise area to choose from.
  • A way to connect with friends you make in Slimkicker via facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
  • An app for my Android phone please!

Take a look at Slimkicker at http://www.slimkicker.com or download the app if you have an Iphone/pad.  Then comment here on how you like it.

Online Fitness Coaching: A (Healthy) Trip to Pittsburgh

This past weekend we combined a trip to see our daughter in Pittsburgh with a trip to the Apple store in Shadyside to get an iPad 3 (yippee!) Since hubby and I are trying to keep it on the healthy side we combined (kind of) skinny dining out, exercise and walking. We didn’t leave until early Saturday morning so I got my ChaLean Extreme weightlifting in on Friday night.  I took my water bottle in the car and made sure I packed two Pure Protein bars to ward off those nasty Sheetz convenience store snacks.

We were at at my daughter Marla’s house in about three hours and from there we walked to the Apple store. It was close to her house in a funky little neighborhood filled with boutiques, shops and restaurants.  I sat in on an iPad basics workshop while hubby talked business with an Apple “genius”. If you have never shopped at an Apple store, it’s a pretty positive experience. Within about an hour we had purchased an iPad 3, had it all set up to use and knew the basics on how to operate it. (Stay tuned for reviews on health and fitness apps for you to try.)

After our big purchase, we all headed for Mercurio’s, a cute little restaurant just around the corner. They serve salads, sandwiches and pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. I ordered a “fungi”. It had mushrooms, marinara, fresh mozzarella and a tasty thin crust. We treated ourselves to some gelato, a Mercurios special. It had half the butter fat of ice cream and was delicious.

Now it was time to check in to our hotel and hit the gym for a workout. The kids decided to hang out in the room and relax. Hubby brought a circuit workout from his trainer. I decided to take advantage of the really nice gym and did 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike. Now we were ready for our complimentary free drink!

Next we headed for an old school restaurant in Greentree Marla found on the Internet. It was decorated in warm wood and featured Italian food. I had pasta in vodka sauce (ok not real healthy but definitely delicious). After dinner we hung out together in our room. Since I rarely sit still at work or home, this was heavenly.

Sunday was brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my college roomie, Wanda. She and I both opted for the energy breakfast: egg whites, chicken breasts and mushrooms. Yum.  After some relaxing and lots of great conversation, it was time to head back home.  Hubby and I had a (mostly) healthy weekend, a great visit with our daughter and my roomie and a new tech toy to play with.  What could be better?

Online Fitness Coaching: Beginner’s Workout

Hey all! Just surfing around Pinterest today.  I’m home early from work prepping for a colonoscopy (yuck) and trying to take it easy.  Hey it’s all for healthier living, right?  Anyway..here’s a 30 day fitness plan for those of you who might be starting out from complete scratch.  Maybe you have not exercised for a long time and you need to start over.  It’s never a good idea to come out like a house on fire, overdo it and quit because you are too sore to walk for three days.  Print this out and put it on your fridge.  Follow it for 30 days and see how much better you feel.  While you’re at it, skip over to my “nutrition” tab and check out Shakeology.  They can both get you started on the right foot! Have a great weekend.

 

Online Fitness Coaching: My First Live Zumba Class

If you have not tried a Zumba class yet, it’s time to get your booty shakin’ to a live class near you. This is some of the most fun you can have while exercising.  I am fairly new to Zumba. I got the DVD “Exhilarate” this past Christmas and started doing a ChaLean Extreme/Zumba hybrid for my home workout.

The “Learn” DVD is like gold in my book because it teaches all the basic Latin dance steps in a very easy to follow format. After I had those mastered, I worked my way through the “Activate”, “Rush”, and “Exhilarate” DVDs. Each is a different length and intensity level. The music is great in all three and the instructors are easy to follow.

Armed with a free Zumba class I headed to Karina Nunez’s studio to “join the party”!  I pulled into the parking lot with my take-out from McDonald’s (really busy week, ok) I hoped none of the other class members saw me chowing down on snack wraps. I went in and introduced myself to Karina. I saw Steph, another mom I knew from our daughters’ preschool days. I started to feel more comfortable.  When the music started it was GREAT and loud which was super motivating for me. Karina was a really enthusiastic instructor. I am sure I never look that happy when I’m exercising even though I feel that way on the inside. I found I knew all the steps from the DVDs so I could just concentrate on having fun.

After class I got a chance to talk to Karina. She is originally from Venezuela and moved to our small PA town with her husband and daughters. At first Karina bought the “Exhilarate” DVDs and worked out with them. She loved the rhythm of the music and soon she wanted to become an instructor. She found a training about an hour from home and became certified. She started teaching classes at the YMCA and later switched to a studio that could hold more students.

“What I love best about teaching Zumba is that our class has become like a family. We come from all different ages and stages in our lives and we have formed a real bond,” Karina said. “That’s the kind of thing Zumba can do for people.”

Online Fitness Coaching: Get Your Zzzzz’s!

Happy Weekend!  On the exercise and  fitness front today, I took a three mile walk to get ready to walk a 5K.  It was another perfect day for a long walk.  Then I came home and did ChaLean Extreme.  I’m on the lean circuit now and that one is the most intense.  You get a weight and core workout at the same time.  It really has increased my metabolism. My weight is consistently 3 lbs. lighter since I increased my weights during this round. Woo hoo!

I had a whirlwind Thursday and Friday.  Our family hosted a choir member from Hofstra University Thursday night.  My daughter, Katie is in the Choir at her high school and the Hofstra choir came and workshopped with them, did a concert that evening and left the next morning. I got up extra early to take Leah (who sang beautifully by the way) to catch her bus.  I worked all day, then changed clothes and drove an hour and a half to see “Menopause the Musical” with  some gal pals.  The show was an absolute hoot!  If you are female and over forty, you owe it to yourself to see this one.

I didn’t get home until 12:30 p.m. and had to wake my daughter at 3:30 a.m. (I know get the toothpicks for the eyelids) to go on a bus trip to NYC to see “Sister Act”.  Needless to say, I am feeling a little bit sleep deprived today.  Thought this would be a good time to share an infographic from frugaldad.com on the dangers of sleep deprivation.  Studies show if you average only 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night in a year, you will also average a 12 pound weight gain? YIKES  Another good reason to get your Zzzz’s

sleep

Source: http://frugaldad.com

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Tough Love

Happy Easter weekend everybody.  I hope you are having a great one.  I spent the weekend with family and friends.  Our grown-up kids had a great time in an extreme egg hunt at my parents house.

Hubby and I took a three mile walk after church this morning.  We are getting ready for a 5k walk coming up in June. The weather was perfect for a long walk; sunny but cool.

I tried a new recipe from Skinnytaste.com for our Easter dinner.  I made Skinny stuffed mushrooms.  I opted for feta cheese instead of bacon since two other dishes at our buffet style dinner were made with bacon.  They turned out delicious and at only 35 calories each, the guilt factor was pretty low.

This is what they looked like before I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes.  There weren’t any left when we came home from my mom’s.

Last week I went to a spaghetti dinner to support my sister’s relay for life team.  They were raffling off several prizes.  You bought raffle tickets and put them in bags for different prizes you wanted to win.  I won a free Zumba class.  The reason I won?  I put my ticket in the bag and there were only two other tickets in the Zumba bag.  The other prizes were things like whoopie pies, movie treat baskets and things for your home.

 

I’ve decided it’s time for a  little fitness coach tough love.  Why were the whoopie pies the popular raffle items and the exercise classes the unpopular ones?  Beacause most of us would rather choose the easy, no work, sugar treat that won’t give you any benefit in the long run than the prize that requires a little effort from the winner, but is a lot more beneficial in the long run.

Most of us say we want to get healthy by eating right and exercising, but when it comes time to do the work to get there we have a hundred excuses.  We spend lots of time talking ourselves out of exercising and eating healthy.  We spend even more time making excuses for overeating and sitting on our butts.  If you want to be healthy, if you want to get strong, if you want to look good, if you want to lower your cholesterol, if you want to get off the meds, if you want to take the stress off your joints, you have to do the work.

There is no magic pill, there is no operation or gadget that makes it easy.  You have to take the time and make the commitment.  You have to do the work.  And guess what?  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time.  If you decide to make the change to be healthy and see it through, you will feel so much better, both inside and out, but YOU have to do the work.  So if you are ready..what are you waiting for?  Get busy..no excuses..GO!

 

 

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Featured Blog

The featured blog for the first week in April is Carrots N Cake.  Tina writes this blog from her home in Boston, Massachussets.  She originally started it as a personal journal to keep her focused on healthy eating and exercise.  The blog caught on and has a large readership.  She also recently secured a book deal based on her blog.  What I like abou this one is the variety of fitness and food info. you can find on here.  It’s vast!

She’s got weekly meal plans, weekly workout plans, a half marathon training guide and treadmill workouts.  She has 30, count ’em, 30 different blog categories.  The cool thing about them is they are health and fitness based, but there’s more that gives you a peek into Tina’s very busy life.  You can check out “Boston” where you get a glimpse into the excitement of Boston Marathon day and what it’s like at “Local 149” a downtown eatery where Tina and her husband head for date night. Click on “Home” and you can follow along while Tina updates her home office.

This is a blog to go back to again and again, because you will always find something new to motivate you in your fitness journey.  Check out Carrots N Cake and tell me what you think.