6 Steps To Prepare For The Supermarket

6 Steps To Prepare For The Supermarket

The new guidelines that have been established in the Rate Your Plate initiative through the Federal government gives us a better understanding of what our plates should look like next time we sit down and eat.  Supermarkets are the best places to get most of the foods that we need to live, but sometimes stepping into the store can create a lot of anxiety with all those fancy signs and, sometimes, dim lighting.  Supermarkets are designed to give the everyday shopper the greatest shopping experience ever.   Deals are found around every corner, and so are the common pitfalls that face every dieter or person looking to shed a few pounds.
Deceptive labeling techniques have made it hard for shoppers to really know the difference between healthy and unhealthy.   Most shoppers go into a store with no set agenda but what they think they want for food for the next week.   This can create a cart full of products that you do not need and that are more than likely not good for you.   If it is in your cart, then it is in your house.  If it is in your house, then it WILL be in your mouth.
Here are six ways to make your shopping experience better, and help you trim your waistline by watching what is going into your cart.

 

 Have a menu planned for the week

Having planned meals that you can cook and freeze ahead of time takes the pressure off of you by knowing exactly what you are going to have for meals throughout the week.  Buy extra ingredients for your favorite healthy meals and cook in bulk.  This way you can save those healthy meals for the next day’s leftovers.   Making a menu also enables you to shop for the ingredients that you need and leave those high-calorie snacks on the shelf where they belong.

Start smart: Create a list from your menu

Knowing what you are going to have for meals ahead of time makes the shopping experience easier.  Having your list, you are armed with the information you need to go through the store without falling into the pitfalls of high-calorie, nutrient-lacking foods.  Not only will this help you shop with ease knowing that you are putting only the necessities in your cart, but also it helps to cut down on your budget by buying ingredients in bulk, and not putting extra snacks or treats in your cart that sometimes come with an out-of-the-world price tag.

Shop around the perimeter and avoid the inner aisles of stores

Produce, bakery, seafood, meat, dairy, and the frozen section are usually areas that you find along the perimeter of the store.   Shopping around the perimeter of the store provides you with the opportunity to shop for fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat that are leaner and will provide you with the best selection of foods available.   You get to choose from the leaner cuts of meat to skim or lower fat milk that have fresh expiration dates on them.  This can help you plan meals better by choosing fresh chicken, meat, or fish, giving you more whole food options and sometimes better deals from the person behind the counter.

Learn to read labels

Learning to read the labels can be a far better use of your time then walking around aimlessly looking for healthy products.  Pay close attention to the serving size, amount of fats (in particular, saturated fats), and if there are trans fats on the label.  Also look for sodium content, fiber, sugars, and calories per serving.  The most important aspect of label reading is making sure that you look at the ingredients.  If you are looking for a whole wheat product, for example, the first ingredient should be stone ground or whole wheat flour.  If the first ingredient happens to be unbleached, enriched whole wheat flour, then the product has been stripped of the natural fiber that comes from whole wheat.  If whole wheat is found somewhere besides the first ingredient, then there is a lesser amount of that in the product.
Deceptive labeling is making headlines as manufacturers are allowed to put certain phrases on products if they meet certain guidelines set by the FDA.   Learning to read the labels will help you to fight back and be armed with the knowledge to pick healthy and nutritious foods.
Buy store brand and not name brand
Name brand products do only one thing to you: they kill your wallet.  Buying name brand products not only provide you with the same fresh, quality ingredients, but they are also just as nutritious as the name brand products at half the price.  Shop smarter by buying store name brands, and you will find that not only are you lighter around the waist, but also a little heavier in the wallet.
Shop at local Farmers’ Markets
The produce that you find in the stores is packed full of nutrients and sometimes something else: pesticides.  Pesticides are typically used to keep bugs and rodents away from the plants in order for us to enjoy them when they get to the supermarket.     On most weekends throughout the year, you can find Farmers’ markets someplace in your town.  This is where local farmers come and sell their goods.  The markets are usually packed with fresh produce, organic meat and fish packed full of Heart Healthy Omega’s and has not been treated with heavy pesticides so you can enjoy the nutrient-packed food right away.   Also, farmers that grow this great produce are willing to answer any questions you might have about pesticides, preparation, and other things you might find useful.  It might be more money, but rest assured you are buying products that are good for you without pesticides, and you are helping your local economy grow.
These steps will help make your shopping experience more enjoyable by eliminating the high pressure of walking around all the processed food found in the supermarket.By preparing a list and menu, you know what you need which allows you to get in and out of the store quickly, all while saving money.  Your waist and wallet will thank you.

A Wandering Mind

I want to start out by saying that it’s been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog.  My intentions when I started this blog was to write fairly regularly, but for various reasons I just haven’t followed through.  I recently have had some idle time due to suffering an appendicitis and was laid up while recovering.  Down time for me is not a good thing my mind wanders and I start thinking about all kind of stupid things about life, what direction it’s heading in etc.  One thing I know about myself is typically I’m a man of action a doer so to speak, I’ve never been much of a talker.  I also consider myself a very health conscious individual.  I eat the right things and stay away from most of the bad habits.  I seemingly do all the right things to stay healthy and fit.

While I was in the hospital I felt so vulnerable and started feeling blue and a little sorry for myself.  I know, I know my feelings were not very rational, after all an appendicitis is very common and recovery from the surgery is fairly quick, but that’s how I felt.  During one of my progress checks with my surgeon, he senses my state of mind.  Tells me to get out of bed put a smile on my face and go for a walk.  He tells me how my situation could so much worse and that I was recovering more rapidly than he normally sees.  The reality of the situation is I was being a bit of a pansy ass, cry baby and his comments were exactly what I needed to hear.

The point to telling you all that is we need to be aware of our mindsets and recognize when our thoughts our headed in the wrong direction.  Our minds are so powerful, and if we let the wrong thoughts in our head it can be detrimental and keep us from the very things we want to accomplish.   A quote comes to mind here, “The mind is everything.  What you think you become.”  This is a quote from Buddha and I find it to be so true.  Fill your mind with trash and trash you will produce.  Fill you mind with positivity and good things will happen.  I try to live my life that way and it works for me.  It will work for you to!

It’s amazing what you are capable of when you just believe YOU CAN!  Thanks for reading.

The Incredible "Pushup" - A Must in all Your Workouts! | pushups

The Incredible “Pushup” – A Must in all Your Workouts!

Walk through any gym at anytime of the day and take notice of how many people you see doing a set of pushups.  I’m confident that you will be hard pressed to find a single person pumping out a set or two of push ups.  I often have wondered why people so often overlook this simple and effective exercise.  I think to myself, well maybe they do them at home.  I put that theory to the test and conducted an impromptu poll at my gym.  My suspicions were proven true, almost everyone I asked told me flat-out they don’t do them ever.  I had a couple of guys tell me push ups were  a waste of time, they don’t work.  Really?  Poor misguided slobs, but there’s so many people out there that don’t incorporate this into their routines.

pushups

Drop and Give me 20!

The Benefits!

Pushups are absolutely incredible for building muscular strength and improving your overall level of conditioning.  They can greatly improve your cardio vascular and muscular conditioning.  Do 20 pushups and see if you don’t feel your heart pumping at a moderate level of exertion, pumping blood into those muscles.  This helps cut body fat which can aid in getting yourself a more cut physique.  They can be an aid in getting those abs to start showing up, you know that’s what you want.
pushups

I can do it! 20 more!

 Anytime is a Good Time

The great thing about pushups is you can do them anywhere.  Drop and do 20 in a middle of a business meeting, see what kind of reaction you get, haha.  Seriously though you can always find the time to get some pushups in.  NO EXCUSES.  Just make sure your working on your nutrition as much as your working on your fitness.  Most of all, have some fun!!

PS :  Be looking for more on pushups.  I plan to do a complete series exclusively on the pushup!  Thanks for reading.

Do These 4 Basic Exercises For Fitness

Do These 4 Basic Exercises For Fitness

Do these four exercises for your everyday fitness.  We all should be implementing these exercises into our workout routines or as a starting point if you are just beginning a fitness regiment.  All of these exercises are compound that will work all of your major muscle groups and you don’t have to go to the gym to do them.  Do all of these exercises at least two or three times a week.

1.  Push ups

  • start yourself in the basic plank, hands a little wider than your shoulders and your palms flat on the ground
  • make sure you keep your back straight, keep your head and neck in alignment with your back
  • if you can’t perform a standard push up, try them on your knees or by placing your hands on a bench

2.  Pull-ups

  • stand under the bar with palms on the bar, a little wider than your shoulders.  Tighten your core.
  • pull yourself up so that your chin touches the bar.
  • slowly lower yourself and repeat
  • these are hard for a lot of people start by doing sets of 5, two or three sets, if you can’t do 5 don’t fret do what you can eventually you will be sets of 10 if you stick with it

3.  Squats

I personally love squats, just an all around great exercise, they will do wonders for your physique. 

  • stand with feet about hip distance apart
  • knees should stay over your ankles during the complete movement
  • bend your knees while moving your rear back like you were about to sit in a chair
  • you should form a 90 degree angle with your knee and lower leg.
  • if you’re not able to get to a 90 degree angle don’t worry just go as far as you can and go for improvement over time
  • try for 10 reps of three sets

Watch for signs of a compensation problem such as knees caving into each other or feet/toes pointed out.  That’s poor form and indicates some overactive muscles that need stretched.

4.  Lunges

  • Your working leg should be forward and back leg hip distance apart, in a split stance. 
  • bend your knees with the front knee over the ankle. 
  • the end of this movement is when the front and back leg make 90 degree angles
  • rise and repeat
  • do 10 reps 3 sets

All of these exercises can be performed right at home, you do not have to go to the gym to do any of them.  So there is really no excuse not to do them.  These exercises are a good baseline for any good workout routine.

Take the Challenge!

Are You up For a Challenge?

Thought this would be a good article to rerun for New Years. This is a safe and effective way to lose some weight and feel great!

I am always looking for something that will take me to another level in my quest to be the fittest I can be.  Over the years I’ve taken countless supplements that did little or nothing but drain my wallet.  Some work but for the most part the supplement industry is made up of really good marketing people with marginally or completely ineffective product.  A couple of months ago my sister told me about some products she was using from a company called AdvoCare.  She was taking a system called the 24-Day Challenge, which consists of a gentle cleanse phase for 10 days, followed by 14 days of cutting and toning.

on left is cleanse products, right is the 14 day cutting products

 

Seeing is Believing

  I was skeptical, so I waited to see what kind of results she achieved using the system.  I should say my sister is a triathlete who by anyone’s standards is very fit.  At the end of her challenge she had lost 4lbs and dropped a couple percentage points in her body fat.  That doesn’t sound like much but for someone of her physical conditions its significant.  I realized just how significant when I saw a picture of her and she was visibly leaner and more cut.  She looked great!  That evidence was convincing enough to me that I decided to take the challenge. 

My Personal Experience

I purchased the Challenge at the beginning of August.  My stats the day before starting were as follows:  5’11″, 180lbs.  Using a hand held body fat tester I came in at 15.3% which is in the healthy zone.  I went into the Challenge with thoughts that maybe I would lose a couple of pounds and maybe drop a point in my body fat.  I started the cleanse process not knowing what to expect, but found that it was very gentle.  When you hear the word “cleanse” it can be scary to some, but it was not a big deal.  I noticed a change the morning of day 4, I felt different, energized and a feeling of well being.  I weighed myself that day and found I had lost 5lbs.  I was not expecting that, I was pumped for sure as you can imagine.  The biggest impact for me was my energy level, I’m very active normally and consider myself energetic.  The nutrition provided in the Challenge just stepped that up, I had almost limitless energy.  I train for triathlons and was finding my training sessions more productive and frankly easier, so of course I stepped it up a notch.  At the end of my challenge my stats were as follows:  5’11″ no I didn’t get taller haha, 170lbs, and using the same fat tester I recorded 12.3% body fat.  Those results my friend are amazing!!  Needless to say I am a believer and I will be taking the Challenge on a regular rotation, it can be taken every 90 days.  The results have motivated to continue striving for “perfection” if that’s possible. 

The 24-Day Challenge is only one of the quality products that AdvoCare has in their lineup.  They have a wide array of products for anyone’s fitness and health goals.  Their products are backed by good science and by everyday people getting extraordinary results.  Are you looking for something to take you to the next level, maybe you just want to drop a few pounds a feel better.  Advocare has what you need.  If you would like more information please visit www.Advocare.com/11078474.  Any questions feel free to drop me a note at Noer30@yahoo.com.

Follow These Tips and Stay Healthy This Season!

7 Tips to STOP Getting Sick

 

stop getting sickUnderstand the REAL cause of sickness, and strengthen your immune system with these unique tips

by Mike Geary - Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-selling program:  The Truth about Six-Pack Abs

Note: The tips in this article can work anytime of the year to keep you healthy, strengthen your immune system, and prevent you from getting sick…not just in the winter months!

First of all, let us clear up a HUGE misconception about why more people get sick in the winter compared to warmer times of the year.  Let’s talk about cold temperatures first.  You should realize that there’s no such thing as ”catching a cold”.   I can’t believe how many people still have this huge misconception that cold temperatures can make you sick…

This is blatantly false… Cold temperatures do NOT make you sick!

In fact, did you know that there are multiple studies that actually show that exposure to cold increases your immunity?  It’s true!  One study I read recently even showed that cold therapy such as ice water baths or other cold water exposure (such as cold water swimming) stimulates an improvement in your immune system.

What about so-called “germs”?

So are there really more germs and cold & flu viruses floating around in the winter?  No, of course not!  In fact, some medical articles I’ve read have indicated that there might actually be a slightly larger amount of cold and flu viruses all around us in the summer due to more favorable conditions for their survival on surfaces.

So then why do more people get sick in the winter?  Well, I’ll give you a hint… it’s not the temperature, but rather the strength of the suns rays, and how this affects your health… In winter in the northern hemisphere (Canada, US, Europe, etc) sicknesses spike, but at the same time, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere (South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc), and while sicknesses are spiking in the northern hemisphere, sicknesses are at their lowest point in the southern hemisphere since it’s their summer.

And then when we’re in summer in the northern hemisphere and most sicknesses go away, it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, so colds, flu, and other sicknesses spike in the southern hemisphere.

So is it the warm temperatures that decreases sickness?  Nope… It’s actually all about the strength of the suns rays, and how much vitamin D your body produces due to the UV rays on your skin!

There are 2 theories that many people pass around as to why more colds, flu, and sickness occur in the winter depending on which part of the world you’re in…

Theory 1.  It may have to do with people generally spending more time indoors in the winter and thereby being exposed to more germs in enclosed buildings.  It’s a nice theory, but people are generally still in offices from 9-5 all week long whether it’s summer or winter.  As you’ll see, theory 2 is the REAL culprit!

Theory 2.   The reason people get sick more in the winter is mostly due to a drastic reduction in their body’s production of Vitamin D, which is directly responsible for how strong their immune system is. 

The suns rays are too weak in the winter generally (depending on the latitude that you live), and therefore, Vitamin D levels in the body drop significantly, which reduces immunity. Most people don’t realize how important sunlight and Vitamin D levels really are towards so many functions inside their body, including immune system and hormone production and balance.

Even for people that get outdoors in the winter often, if you live in the northern hemisphere to the North of an imaginary line from approximately Atlanta to Los Angeles, the suns rays are not strong enough in the winter months (approximately November through end of February) to stimulate any significant Vitamin D production inside your body.

This aspect of lack of Vitamin D production and lowered immune strength in the winter months is what is actually the REAL reason why more sickness goes around in the winter.  So you can silently chuckle to yourself the next time that someone tells you to “bundle up” so you don’t catch a cold.

So how can you boost your immune system so that your body fights off sickness before it takes hold of you?

So here is my little ritual that I have been using for a few years now and really seems to keep me from getting any colds, flu, or any sickness at all.

As a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately sick. I think it’s been 6 or 7 years since I’ve actually been sick.  How many times have you been sick in the last 7 years?

Every time I feel a cold or something starting to come on, I do this ritual, strengthen my immune system, and my body always fights off the cold or sickness before I actually get full-blown sick.
1. Focus on Vitamin D (but NOT in pill form or “fortified” foods)

This is probably THE most important of all of these tips! 

When it comes to Vitamin D, you need to be careful about artificial forms of vitamin D in many vitamin pills, as artificial vitamin forms are almost always either ineffective or possibly even detrimental compared to natural forms.

For this reason, you need to get your vitamin D naturally. The sun is the best source, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure. Here is a previous article I did on how to get sun exposure in a healthy way without damaging your skin

I know not everybody can take a tropical vacation every winter, but if you can, it’s best to try to take it right smack dab in the middle of the winter (when your vitamin D levels have dropped to their lowest)… getting even a few days of good sun closer to the equator in the middle of winter can really help increase your vitamin D and strengthen your immune system.

Remember that this does NOT mean getting burned in the sun… it means getting a moderate amount of sun on large portions of your body (not just your face) for approx 15-40 minutes per day WITHOUT sunscreen on (since sunscreen blocks the UV rays that directly stimulate the vitamin D increase in your body).   Also, as a warning about sunscreens, see this article here about why sunscreens can cause cancer and increase body fat.

Everybody is different based on their skin tone… very pale skin tones may only need 10 minutes or so in full sun in the middle of the day to get adequate vitamin D before any skin damage occurs, but darker skin tones may need a slightly longer time (sometimes 30-40 minutes) in the sun to produce adequate vitamin D.  To protect your skin, it’s essential to get enough sun without sunscreen on, but NOT get burned. 

In general, the UVB rays are only strongest from about 10 am to 3 pm to trigger Vitamin D production in your body (depending on time of year, latitude, and altitude).

With that said, I understand that a tropical vacation in the winter is not possible for everybody’s schedule based on either work or finances, so…

Since you may not be going on a tropical vacation this winter, how can you still keep Vitamin D levels from falling dangerously low in your body?

Well, the best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some mushrooms (some portobella mushrooms and maitake mushroom are fairly good sources of vitamin D).

But what I do to make sure I’m at least getting a decent amount of the best absorbed vitamin D is to take a SMALL dose of cod liver oil daily in the deepest months of winter to make sure my vitamin D levels don’t fall too low.  Make sure to take only small doses of cod liver oil (enough for 50% to 100% DV of vitamin D), as large doses can give you an overdose of Vitamin A.   I take about half to 2/3rds of the recommended dose on the bottle.

I’m also a big fan of Prograde Nutrition’s natural VGF-25 multi-vitamin, which derives it’s vitamin D from natural fish liver oil instead of a synthetic form of vitamin D.  All of the other vitamins in VGF-25 (which stands for “25 veggies, greens, and fruits”) are naturally derived too instead of most multi-vitamins that you find at your corner store that are synthetic.

By the way, fortified milk has added synthetic vitamin D, so it is NOT a good source.  In fact, I don’t trust any “fortified” foods at all, including crappy breakfast cereals which claim to be good sources of vitamin D… not so!  Also make sure to read this article, which explains how our food supply has been modified in recent decades and now lacks the vitamin D that it used to contain.

2. Garlic to strengthen your immune system!

Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods!  Not only does high dose garlic go back thousands of years for treatment of sickness, but recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting your immune system.

What’s best though — “aged” garlic pills, whole garlic in foods, capsules, etc?  I can’t seem to find a consensus on this one, so what I simply try to do is use a variety of sources, including garlic powder on a lot of my foods, fresh chopped garlic in meals, and also a garlic capsule or two each day.

If I feel a possible cold or sickness coming on, I really start loading garlic into my foods heavily and I take a few extra garlic capsules that day too. 
3. Kombucha tea (and other probiotic drinks) strengthen your immune system

Kombucha tea is a fermented tea (naturally effervescent) that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering your levels of good organisms in your gut.

Remember that 70% of your immune system lies in your gut and the health of the friendly organisms in there to protect you against pathogens and sickness.

You can find bottles of Kombucha tea at health food stores such as Whole Foods.

When I feel any sickness coming on, I start loading up on Kombucha tea or another probiotic drink, drinking it throughout the day. It has a strong taste, so I mix it with my normal iced teas at 1/3 Kombucha and 2/3 regular iced tea.  I’ve started seeing other probiotic drinks on the market recently too, so just make sure to look for one that has very minimal sugar per serving (3-6 grams per 8 oz serving is acceptable, but much more than that is too sugary).
4. Green tea, Chamomile Tea, and other teas

There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help aid in strengthening the immune system.

Even if the effect is small, you can’t go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.

For that reason, I try to drink a couple cups of green tea with a small bit of raw honey early in the day, and then at night, I have a couple cups of chamomile tea.

This isn’t a bad idea even for a regular habit, but it’s even more important when you feel a sickness possibly coming on.  I also drink a lot of other teas too such as Rooibos tea, which is thought to be even higher in antioxidants than green tea.

 
5. Loading up on antioxidants

We already know how important antioxidants are to overall health as well as immune system support.

For this reason, I make sure to really load up on antioxidant-rich fruits, berries, teas, unsweetened cocoa (in smoothies, etc), and veggies to help prevent sickness.

I also make sure to take my daily Longevity Antioxidant blend from my friends at Prograde, which is a powerful synergistic antioxidant mixture of green tea, wolfberry, acai berry, Biovin grape, coffeeberry, and pomegranate.

I get that here:  Prograde Longevity Synergistic Antioxidant blend

6. Light exercise (yes – light exercise, not hard)

When you feel a sickness coming on, a super-high intensity workout is not a good idea, as hard training forces the body to do a lot of recovery, this at a time when your body needs all of it’s efforts on trying to fight off the oncoming sickness.

Although I usually recommend high intensity training, when sickness might be coming on, it’s just a good idea to get some light exercise instead.

Personally, I like to get outside for some fresh air and go for a hike or go snowshoeing in the winter. These aren’t very strenuous for me, so they won’t cause my body to be forced to do a lot of recovery… but just getting out in the fresh air and getting the circulation going I feel is good to help the body fight off the sickness.
7. Avoid ALL processed foods and sweetened soft drinks

If you’re serious about your health and getting lean for life, this should be an everyday rule for you anyway (except maybe for cheat meals)…

However, when you might have a sickness coming on, this is no time to bombard your body with processed foods, inflammatory omega-6 oils (soybean oil, corn oil, etc), fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, and chemical additives.

All of these force your body to do extra work to deal with all of this junk and the internal inflammation that they cause in your body.  And by the way, grain-based foods like bread, cereal, muffins, pasta, and bagels are a big culprit in causing internal inflammation and disrupting normal gut function, so avoid grains as much as possible.  In case you’re new to the science of Paleolithic nutrition, humans don’t actually need grains to survive…grains were never a part of the ancient human diet until agriculture came around just a few thousand years ago.

Instead, (especially when you might be getting sick) you need to give your body only wholesome unprocessed foods that are only 1 ingredient and that we were meant to digest most efficiently…fruits, berries, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, etc.

I also have a daily serving of immune system boosting Athletic Greens, which is surprisingly delicious, plus contains loads of probiotics and antioxidants, and other immune supporting superfoods.

These 7 tips will go a LONG way to helping to ward off that sickness that is trying to get a hold of you… Here’s to a healthy strong body!

Note: I’m not a doctor, and none of these tips are prescriptions for any individual person… they are simply the steps I’ve personally used over the years to successfully fight off sickness pretty much every single time.  Again, I haven’t been legitimately sick in at LEAST 6 or 7 years now that I use these steps!

Please feel free to share this page with your friends and family to keep them healthy and strong!

The Best Thigh Exercises for Sexy Thighs and a Firm Butt

The Best Thigh Exercises for Sexy Thighs and a Firm Butt

When it comes to the best thigh exercises, you see a lot of ads promoting all of these fancy so-called thigh-toning machines, and inner-thigh blasters, and thigh squeezers, and so on. Trust me when I say that you don’t need any of these silly “thigh-blasting” machines to tighten and tone-up your legs and butt for good.

As always, the best exercises for the thighs come in the form of free-weight or bodyweight exercises. You really need not look any further than various forms of exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, and deadlifts to get those sexy tight thighs that you desire. Also, there are dozens of variations of these basic exercises that you can choose from, so the truth is that you are really just wasting your time with all of these fancy thigh machines and inner-thigh gadgets.

Let me give you an example of one of the best thigh exercises you can do. I’m sure you’ve done some form of lunges before. There’s probably about a dozen different variations you can do and they all kick butt!

One of my favorite variations of lunges are walking lunges. Instead of standing in place and either lunging forward or lunging backward one step and coming back, with walking lunges you keep moving forward on each step for a certain distance and then turn around and come back. Challenge yourself for more distance each time or start carrying dumbbells to increase the resistance. Walking lunges done right are a real thigh-burning exercise!

A couple pointers to keep in mind when doing walking lunges:

1) Step far enough forward so that your front shin stays approximately vertical and your front thigh is about parallel to the ground at the bottom of the step

2) The leg that is trailing you should have a bend in the knee at the bottom but your knee should just come short of touching the ground. Do not touch the back knee to the ground during these exercises.

3) Pause for a split second at the top of each step before lunging forward again.

Alright, now that you have the basic walking lunge down, let me give you a couple ideas for variations that change the emphasis just a bit for working the inner thighs, outer thighs, and butt in a slightly different manner.

One variation is that you can step at an angle outward on each step forward. Another variation is that you can step at a slight angle inward on each step forward. This inward stepping walking lunge is fairly unique and sometimes called a cross-over lunge. It really stretches out the butt and hips.

So go ahead and give these lunge variations a try and you’ll be tightening up those thighs in no time flat. Just say no to the fancy machines and use these classic bodyweight exercises and some free weights and you’ll be much better off.

The Monkey's Along the Trail

Biking the Trail

I’m fortunate enough to live in west central Florida where sunshine is plentiful and ocean breezes are the norm.  The tropical rains come almost everyday to wash away the day before.  Funny as I sit here writing this post it started storming and raining, rest assured it won’t last very long and the sun will reappear.  I’ve been caught out on the trail on my bike a number of times when the rain came and I found it very refreshing.   The view along the trail is as beautiful as it is varied.  There are gulf views along a good chunk of the trail, those are nice.

The view from the trail.

 
 

 

This picture is representative of the gulf view I enjoy on my rides.  I find the scenery is so enjoyable that I lose track of how far I have went.  A 30 mile ride is common when there is sufficient time and why not the surroundings would keep anyone’s attention.

Breezy Palm Trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

One attraction in particular came as quite a surprise, and I couldn’t help but stop and observe.  There is a primate sanctuary along the

The Sanctuary

trail, these chimpanzees that would otherwise be euthanized are taken in and cared for by the volunteers at this facility.  The facility is kept open totally from donations and the volunteers.  I had the opportunity to talk to one of the volunteers who was out taking care of the chimps.  He talked about the chimps like they were his kids and it was obvious that he had a real love for animals.

 

 

 

 

Hanging Out

 

 I really enjoyed observing the chimps, I guess it because they act so much like us.  Their facial expressions and movements can be very comical.  This guy was putting on quite a show while I was there, he captured my attention with his acrobatics.  He knew I was taking pictures and was trying to make my visit worth while, haha. 

 

 

 

My main objective out on the trail is of course training, I have a triathlon coming up in a couple of weeks and the trail is a perfect place to make preparations.  I feel very fortunate to be able to train in this setting it makes it so much more enjoyable for me.  Where is your perfect place to train?  I encourage you to find it, and take the time to really let it soak in, appreciate it and see what it does for your training regiment.  I think you will find it has a positive impact on how you look at your training.  It really can take the work out of it.  Get out and enjoy your trail!

What They NEVER Told You About Eggs

What They NEVER Told You About Eggs

By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD
The Egg: this three letter word invokes almost as much fear into the hearts of Americans as our other favorite “deadly” three-letter word: F-A-T.

eggs

However, it’s finally time to crack the misconception that eggs are bad for our health, because they’re absolutely not.
It’s unfortunate, but many people still think that you cannot eat more than one egg per day, or even more than 3 eggs per week because if you do, you’ll develop high blood cholesterol levels and fatty arteries. But, this could not be farther from the truth.

So, why do we think this way?

In the 1960’s consumers were first “warned” about eggs as being a major player in the development of heart disease… without any conclusive evidence to back up this claim. News articles overwhelmingly focused on the egg- cholesterol – heart disease link when there was no real proof for this message.

Eggs were so demonized that egg substitute products became all the rage for cooking and baking, but they were no better, and sometimes far worse, than the whole egg itself.

Today, consumers need to understand that eggs are not evil, but in fact are healthy and important components of our diets.

eggs


High Protein Quality – Eggs

First and foremost, eggs an inexpensive source of high quality protein that almost everyone can enjoy in various ways – from scrambled eggs to deviled eggs to green eggs and ham, eggs are a versatile way to quickly and easily get more protein in your diet. And, they’re not just for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner too!

In terms of protein quality, most foods rich in protein are measured in terms of the availability of that protein to effectively promote growth (cell growth), and this term is known as biological value.

Based on the amino acids contained in an egg and its ability to stimulate growth, egg protein is only second to mother’s milk for human nutrition.

eggs
On a scale, with 100 representing top efficiency, these are the biological values of proteins in several foods:

Whole Egg 94
Milk 85
Fish 76
Beef 74
Soybeans 73
Beans, dry 58

Biological Value of Protein Foods

Nutrition Powerhouses- Eggs

Secondly, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition:

•    Eggs are among the few sources of naturally occurring vitamin D and K, which are known for cancer protection and longevity.

•    Eggs contain the highest source of dietary choline (125mg/egg), which is a nutrient necessary for proper nervous system development and structural integrity of cell membranes; particularly, choline is necessary for brain development in infants to impart lifelong enhancement of memory and attention.

•    They supply 6.3grams of high quality protein, 5 grams of fat primarily consisting of an even balance of saturates and monounsaturates, with less polyunsaturates, and barely no carbohydrates at all; they’re the perfect low carbohydrate food.

eggs
•    Some designer eggs contain up to 200 mg of DHA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid needed by all humans for normal development and functioning, and prevention of depression and memory loss.

•    The whole egg contains 166 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, two super antioxidants that contribute to eye health and prevent common causes of age-related blindness; research shows that the bioavailability of these nutrients from eggs is higher than other foods with higher contents.  

Eggs Do NOT Cause Heart Disease

In November 2010, a paper was published by Canadian medical researchers entitled, “Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: not for patients at risk of vascular disease”.

The authors stated that: “Patients at risk of cardiovascular disease should limit their intake of cholesterol. Stopping the consumption of egg yolks after a stroke or myocardial infarction would be like quitting smoking after a diagnosis of lung cancer: a necessary action, but late.”

However, prior to this paper, over the past 10 years, numerous studies, both clinical and observational, were published with the findings that there is no connection between egg consumption and heart disease risk, especially in healthy individuals.

For example, Dr Maria-Luz Fernandez and colleagues have been investigating egg nutritional health for more than a decade and have published findings such as:

•    “Revisiting Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations: Does the Evidence Support a Limit of 300 mg/d?”. Overall, no study has yet shown an association between egg intake and risk for heart disease and there is no compelling epidemiological or clinical trial results that show compelling evidence for limiting cholesterol intake to 300 mg/day or restricting egg consumption.

•    “Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Increases Plasma HDL Cholesterol in Overweight Men Consuming a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet”. Raising HDL cholesterol is often called impossible, but is necessary to protect against plaque build-up in your arteries (HDL carries it away). This study shows that it can be easily increased in overweight men (a population very susceptible to heart disease) by reducing carb intake and using eggs in the diet regularly.

•    ‘Pre-menopausal women, classified as hypo- or hyper-responders, do not alter their LDL/HDL ratio following a high dietary cholesterol challenge”. When 50 pre-menopausal women (another very susceptible heart disease population) were given either an egg a day plus cholesterol from other foods, or a cholesterol-free egg substitute for 30 days, did not experience the development of an ‘atherogenic lipoprotein profile” regardless if they were hyper or hypo-responders to dietary cholesterol.

Overall, dietary cholesterol from eggs does NOT cause heart disease, rather a lifestyle and a diet high in foods that elicit increased inflammation, hyperglycemia and oxidative stress induces increased atherosclerotic build-up and increased risk for heart attack or stroke (among other diseases).

eggs
As such, it is wise to follow a diet low in sugar, void of processed foods, artificial chemicals (flavors and colors), preservatives and pesticides and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and replace it with a whole foods, natural, plant-rich diet balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fat to minimize heart disease risk.

Avoiding eggs is not the answer – in fact, including eggs in your wholesome diet will actually benefit you more . Two eggs provide 13 grams of protein, ~10 grams of fat, and plenty of nutrients you barely find in any other foods. This will keep you satisfied, healthy and energized for hours after any meal and will help you choose other healthy foods at the right times.

However, If you choose not to live a healthy lifestyle with whole foods, adequate sleep, plenty of exercise and minimal toxins, and/or you already have heart disease, you may be advised to limit your intake of egg yolks because it may acerbate your current situation.

 

Top 5 Ways To Eating Right And Silencing Your Hunger

Top 5 Ways To Eating Right And Silencing Your Hunger

 

Follow these 5 tips to eating right and you will silence your hunger and have you losing fat.

1.  Drink at the right time:  

I am not talking about alcohol here.  When I say drink I mean water.  Drinking water at the right time is important because it can affect when you eat and how much you eat.  

When you consume food or fluids your stomach stretches.  When it stretches to a certain point your stomach sends a signal to your brain to stop eating or consuming food and fluids.  

An easy way to stretch your stomach without filling up on calories is by drinking water.  I recommend you drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal and also have a glass of water on hand during your meal to sip on while eating.  This simple tip will help control your appetite and keep you from over-eating.

2.  Eat fiber rich foods:

Many people know that fiber helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time, but most don’t know why.  It does this by drawing water into your stomach.  As it was stated in tip #1 the water helps to stretch your stomach and send a signal to your brain telling it you are full and to stop eating.  Fiber also helps to slow the absorption nutrients because it passes through your body undigested.  This allows you to feel fuller longer.  

3.  Eat healthy with plenty of protein:

Protein elevates a hormone called glucagon which helps to control your appetite and also keep your body from elevating insulin levels which promotes fat storage.  Beside triggering the hormone glucagon protein also activates other peptides that help to send signals to your brain telling it you are full.  

Of course protein also raises the thermic effect which means for every 100 calories of lean protein you eat your body burns about 30 calories to digest and absorb it.  Leaving you with a net caloric total of only 70 calories.  Try that with carbs or fat and you will end up with a net caloric total of 90-95 calories.  

4.  Play mind tricks with your belly:

Numerous studies have been conducted on portion sizes and what level of fullness  people have after eating.  What they have found is that the larger the bowl or plate the more we will eat yet feel the same level of fullness as someone who at less food with a smaller bowl or plate.  

Many of our dinner plates you buy at the store now are very large.  So are the bowls.  No wonder we are overweight as a society.  Look at the size of your bowls and plates and if they are large go buy a smaller set.  

The facts are there that if you eat on smaller plates and bowls your brain gets the satisfaction of fullness with less food.  For some you could reduce each meal by 200 some calories just by using a smaller plate or bowl.

5.  Don’t inhale your food:

Eating right also includes taking your time when eating.  It takes time for your body to recognize that it has food in the stomach and then send the signal to your brain.  Don’t eat so fast that your body doesn’t have time to process this.  

Put your utensils down on the table while chewing your food.  Don’t pick the utensils back up until you have swallowed the food in your mouth.  This little trick will slow down the rate at which you eat your meal.  Researchers have found that individuals can decrease their caloric intake per meal by hundreds of calories each time by slowing down and using techniques like this.  

A regular meal should take 20-30 minutes to eat so that your body has time to recognize how much food you have eaten.  What ever happened to asking your significant other “How was your day?” when you sit down to dinner? ;)

There are many more tips that you can follow, but if you follow these top 5 tips you will control your hunger and keep your calories in check.  Combine that with your exercise program and the body fat will start falling off.

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