You Salty, huh?

saltyWe as humans are creatures of habit, we do what we’re used to and don’t even question it. This personally reigns true for me when I’m sitting at a dining table and sprinkle some table salt on my food when it doesn’t meet my flavor standards. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this additional ingredient puts a toll on my well-being.

I generally eat pretty clean, so I had to pause for a minute and question why my seemingly harmless avocado toast was making me feel so bloated and sluggish. My thought process was that I’m better off adding salt and pepper to my food rather than a hefty sauce, butter, cheese, or dressing. Which is true in most senses, but becoming too dependent on salt only causes sluggishness, bloating and cravings for fatty foods.

I realized that once I stopped adding salt to my food I felt comfortably full, extremely energized and not bloated. Once I noticed this difference it made it easy for me to decide to give up table salt for the year. I found myself broadening my horizon to the healthy alternatives to salt and realizing how little sodium we actually need in our diet.

According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended that we consume 1,500 mg of sodium a day -which is less than the amount of salt found in a teaspoon. Despite your current health status, this is an easy initiative to limit your risk factors to cardiovascular disease.

If your preferred salt intake is that of a deer’s attraction to a salt lick, this might be a troubling thought to you. However, it is easier than you think to flavor your food without salt, here’s how.

 

  • Lemon: What we tend to love about salt is it’s slight tang. What better way to make up for this with a squeeze of some fresh and tangy lemon juice?
  • Pepper: I have always added pepper to my food, personally if it’s not spicy or flavorful I’m pretty bored with that food. So I always make sure to add Cayenne pepper, or black pepper.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a great alternative to salt. Balsamic vinegar can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels according to livestrong.com. Plus, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to vinegar.
  • Garlic: Adding garlic to food is the perfect zest for you non pepper eaters. Not only does it give food a satisfying, hearty taste but it helps speed up your metabolism and is a good source of iron according to whfoods.org.

 

February is just around the corner, which is American Heart month. What better time than now to make this simple change that can greatly improve your cardiovascular health? Broaden your palate horizon, limit your salt intake and indulge in an energized and healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a good day to have a good one.”

-Alena Purpero

Fuel From Within

Fuel From Within MediaWe’ve all been there a time or two. Regretting that pizza or burger we ate just a little to close to the time we decided to hit the gym. Feeling sluggish and slow as we push ourselves through the remainder of our workout swearing we will never do it again. It’s not rocket science that greasy and high fat foods are frowned upon prior to a gym session, but what is exactly the best food to eat before a workout?

Similar to filling a car with gas, your body needs fuel to properly function. But, not just any fuel. The food you choose to put into your body pre-workout can determine the length, intensity and effectiveness of your next workout.  Before your next sweat session, consider these nutritional guidelines I have compiled from ACE certified fitness professionals.

 

All day long: Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to be drinking plenty of water but even more so when you will be working out. Exercising causes most people to sweat, a natural reaction of the body cooling itself. While sweating is a healthy part of any workout, it can also lead to dehydration from excessive fluid loss.  Be sure to help prepare your body ahead of time by sipping on water all day long, as well as during your workout.

 

Two to three Hours pre-workout: having a meal two to three hours prior to your workout is a good idea to help give your body the energy it needs to push through your entire session. It’s recommended that your meal consists of a mix of carbs, proteins and fats within the 300-400 calorie range. While pizza or a burger could easily fall into those guidelines, its important to remember this meal should consist of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean proteins. Some popular examples are a chicken breast with veggies, hummus and pretzels or a fruit and nut bar with yogurt. It’s recommended that you stay away from gassy foods such as beans and broccoli as they can cause some intestinal discomfort.

 

One to two hours pre-workout: As you get closer to your workout, carbs should become the focus of your snack with a small portion of protein. Carbohydrates help increase glucose availability near the end of the workout to keep you working longer. Snacks should stay around the 200-calorie mark and paired with protein will help you feel satisfied and fueled. Some snack examples are cereal with milk, trail mix and banana with nut butter.

 

15 to 30 minutes pre-workout: If you only have a short amount of time to grab some fuel pre-workout, it’s important to choose easy to digest carbs. Having a snack with about 25 grams of carbs will give you just the right amount of energy your body quickly needs. Examples include a handful of raisins, a few saltine crackers or a small serving of applesauce.

While all these nutritional tips from experts are helpful, it’s important to remember that they are simply guidelines. Everyone’s body is different and you have to do some experimenting to find what foods work best for you and your workout needs. Taking the time to fuel properly can be the difference between an average workout and a great workout. Let the food you choose to consume help fuel your body from the inside to create a killer workout your body will thank you for!

 

If you have a favorite pre-workout meal or snack, comment below to share with others!

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit.~

-Hannah Anderson

From Jessica to Daisy (Dukes of Hazzard Workout)

Pic for Blog- Dukes of Hazzard

The phrase ‘hard work pays off’ has to be one of the most spot on phrases when it comes to the fitness world. Working hard, eating right and getting enough sleep every day does the body wonders. Go ahead and listen to all of the success stories around the world, but the one that can truly put the phrase into perspective is Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard. Now we may not all have the motivation of your body being shown on 50-ft Cinema movie screens around the world, but it is a prime example of how with the correct mindset, anything is possible.

Jessica Simpson spent weeks and weeks in the gym working hard and eating right for the role. “When I found out I got the role, I went straight to the gym,” says Jessica. Jessica also had the luxury of a personal trainer working with her every single day. She went on a workout regimen from her trainer, Mike Alexander, which consisted of squats, running, and other weight-resistance exercises to overall lean Jessica out and tone her up. She worked out for nearly two hours every single day to get in the best shape of her adult life.

She strayed away from carb-loaded foods like bread and her favorite sweet, banana pudding. Her trainer called the diet she went on a ‘don’t eat crap diet’ which pretty much was a lower carb, higher protein diet consisting of a lot of grilled chicken, fish and fresh, green vegetables. When Jessica cheated in her diet she found herself immediately resenting that she did and made herself work twice as hard the next day in the gym and added new exercises, extra sets, or extra running. “I watched my diet and was in the gym to walk proud,” she says. “My body is definitely an accomplishment.”

The trainer she had practically lived with her during the close to three months she trained for her part in the movie. He ate with her during ever meal she ate, told her what was okay to order, and told her what to stay away from. He also released the exercises on a website I found, including why he had her do each exercise.

Getting Simpson into Daisy Duke shape “was never about fat loss,” says her trainer Michael Alexander. “She never once stepped on a scale. It was about taking on a different shape.” Simpson would start her 2-hour sessions with a 5-minute jogging warm-up, then weight-resistance exercises and 30 minutes “booking it” on the treadmill, says Alexander. He describes key moves for her legs, rear and upper body:

• BODY-WEIGHT SQUATS: Stand with hands clasped in front of you. Do 25 reps for 2 or 3 sets. These will firm your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

• FORWARD LUNGES: Step forward and back, alternating feet, to tone your quads and glutes. Do 8 to 10 reps for 2 to 3 sets.

• REVERSE LUNGES: For a glutes and hamstrings workout, step back off a short box or step 14 times on each leg. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

• TRAVELING LUNGES: Walk across a room doing lunges with a straight back leg. (You should be leaning forward slightly so your head is in line with your back leg.) This works out every muscle from your waist down.

• PRONE-KNEELING LEG EXTENSION: Get on your hands and knees and have your spine straight, hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Bring one leg up, creating a straight line from head to toe (do not point toe). Alternate legs for 10 reps for 3 sets for a firm behind.

• BICEP CURLS FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Stand in a lunge position so that your back leg is on the ball of your foot. Holding dumbbells in each hand, do 18 bicep curls for 3 sets. This position also works out your abs.

• LATERAL RAISE FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Immediately after the bicep curls, switch legs in the lunge position and raise your arms straight out to either side while holding dumbbells. Do 18 reps for 3 sets. This tones your deltoids.

When people see movies like The Dukes of Hazzard, they see movie stars like Jessica Simpson and see how perfect she looks on and off screen during this time. It was literally her job to look as good as she possibly could for the time that she was recorded. She put in hours on top of hours with a personal trainer/nutritionist following her every move to make sure she was going to be able to look the way she wanted, and would punish herself for ever mistake she would make with eating or drinking. Once the movie was over, she took a break from working out too because of how hard she worked herself! Remember this when you try and compare yourself to someone like her or any movie star you see. You can always put in the work, but you just have to remember what they went through as well. Let them be your motivation and remember…

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Peanut Butter Lover

Pic for Blog-National Peanut Butter Lover's DaySunday is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, a day where all peanut butter lovers can get together and laud the magnificent substance, or just eat a peanut butter sandwich.  But since this holiday is quickly approaching, I decided to go over why everyone (who isn’t allergic to peanuts) should love peanut butter too and join in on the celebration. Peanut butter in moderation is a wonder source of many vitamins and health benefits. Let’s go over them.

Peanut Butter is an amazing source of Protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is approximately seven grams of protein. To stay on the healthy side with all of the others things you get from protein, you usually don’t want to intake over two tablespoons a day.

According to research done at Harvard Medical School there is heart health benefits that you receive from eating peanut butter. When you eat it in moderate amounts (two tablespoons or less a day) the amount of unsaturated fats that you get is amazing for you and is worth the lower amount of saturated fats that you get. You also have to be sure to eat higher quality peanut butter for it to be as healthy as possible (I’ll go over the better kinds of peanut butter later in this article).

The vitamins you receive from eating peanut butter can actually be an Energy Booster for your body. This is why peanut butter makes for a great condiment for breakfast food or for mid day snacks! I would try and stay away from it during the night, as it can be a factor in keeping you up at nights.

The fibers and proteins that peanut butter contains can actually help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and can help aid you in weight loss. Once again, eating massive amounts of peanut butter isn’t going to help you lose any weight, quite the contrary actually, but the two tablespoons a day can possibly be a factor of losing a few pounds!

Peanut butter has healthy fats. A lot of people worry about eating peanut butter because it is high in fats, but in reality the fats that peanut butter contains are actually healthy fats that you need for a complete daily diet. The unsaturated fats, which are the good fats, are much higher than the saturated fats, or bad fats, which makes it a good food to eat.

Buying the right, healthiest, peanut butter can be a task within its self. There are a couple things that you should be looking for when you purchase peanut butter.

All Natural peanut butter is the best for reducing your intake of most saturated (bad) fats and everything else that is bad in other peanut butter options. All natural peanut butter tends to be slightly more pricy so keep that in mind too, but if you’re sticking to your two tablespoons of peanut butter a day you shouldn’t worry too much about what kind you are getting.

The amount of Sugar is another factor that you have to look for.  The sugar is what makes the peanut butter have more of a sweet taste so keep that in mind when trying these kinds of peanut butter.

Let me know what types of peanut butter you like best and why.  If you didn’t eat peanut butter before, I hope you’ll give it a try after reading this article.  We’ll see you at the National Peanut Butter Lover’s day party on Sunday!

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess