Archive for March, 2015

Summer Heat: Exercising Safely Outdoors

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

exercising-outdoors_0As you gear up for the coming summer months, you may start take into consideration the idea of exercising outdoors.  Outdoor workouts can be the perfect opportunity to refresh your mind, challenge your muscles in a new manner, and enjoy the warmer weather.

Plus, if you can spend some time outdoors for your summer workouts, this will enhance your motivation come the fall when it’s time to head back into the gym.

That said, there are some important things that you need to take into consideration when exercising safely outdoors.  If you don’t, you could be in for some problems ahead.

Let’s have a quick look at a few of the main points to remember so that you can stay safe at all times.

Hydrate Yourself Before, During, And After

7448_mangiare_allenamento_bigThe very first thing that you should be doing is making sure to stay very well hydrated.  If you aren’t hydrating well before the session and enter it already in a state of partial dehydration, you are definitely headed for trouble.

Always have at least 8 ounces of water about 30 minutes before you head off to work out and then another 8 ounces during the workout as well as after.

This will ensure dehydration doesn’t become a factor for you.

Wear Proper Breathable Clothing

cutest workout clothesSecond, make sure that you also wear some breathable clothing as well.  It’s important that you don’t let yourself overhead as that is what will trigger heat stroke and cause fatigue to rapidly set in.  You want clothing to wear clothing that is designed to wick sweat away from the body, rather than cotton-based clothing that tends to trap the heat next to you.

If you can, also wear a hat while exercising as well as this will help to keep the sun off your head, which can also help to keep your body temperature down.

Understand The Beginning Stages Of Heat Stroke

4207709075_5aace799acThe next important thing that you should be taking into account is what the initial signs of heat stroke are.  When you know what to watch for, then you can stay on the lookout should they begin to occur.

One of the first symptoms to take note of is a full-body fatigue sensation. If you feel fatigued everywhere and not just in a certain muscle group, there is a very good chance that this could be heat stroke at work.

Heat stroke tends to hit everywhere since it’s a central nervous system issue rather than just muscular, so this is why you’ll feel this way.

Second, you may also notice that you feel very light-headed and dizzy, so if both of these set in, that’s your signal to rest.

Stopping immediately at these initial stages will help to prevent it from becoming much more severe.

Exercise At Non-Peak Hours

photos.demandstudios.com-getty-article-56-50-86810353_XSFinally, the last thing that you can do to help avoid heat stroke is try and exercise at non-peak hours.  Rather than exercising mid-afternoon when the sun is the hottest, try and early morning or later night workout.

If you can exercise during these hours, the sun won’t be directly upon you so your chances of heat stroke are much lower.

Keeping these points in mind as you go through your workout program will help ensure you stay safe and that you enjoy each session that you do.

Summer drinks guide: Which Beverages Will Keep You lean?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Crazy-Cool-Summer-DrinksAs you gear up for the summer months, one thing that you definitely want to be taking into account is the beverages that you’re drinking throughout the day.  Make the wrong drink choices and you could easily end up taking in well over your target calorie intake for the day, packing on the excess weight rapidly.

That said, if you make the right choices, you can stay hydrated, stay refreshed, and possibly even do your body some good.

Let’s take a quick look at which drink options will be your best choice this coming summer.

Iced Green Teagreen-tea

If you’re craving an iced beverage, try iced green tea.  Rather than purchasing the commercial variety of it however, try brewing your own green tea and then placing it over ice instead.

Add some lemon juice for added flavor and this drink will actually help to speed up your metabolism while providing you with some strong antioxidant support.

Fruit Slushies

strawberry-limeade-slushieMany people are in the habit of purchasing soda based slushes, which come in very high in total sugar and calorie content.  Instead, opt for fruit slushes. Preparing these yourself will give you a beverage that’s high in fiber and lower in sugar as all you’ll be taking in is natural fruit sugar.

To create these, simply blend some frozen berries with some ice cubes and a bit of seltzer water if desired.  Continue blending until that slush consistency is reached and then serve immediately.  This is one drink that won’t stay good for long, so prepare it immediately before you are going to consume it.

Water With Sliced FruitWatermelon Mojito Mixer

If you’re looking for something very basic, consider some water with sliced fruit.  Water is calorie free and the absolute best way to hydrate the body so a choice that you can’t go wrong with.  Since many people tire of the regular bland water taste, try adding a few pieces of sliced fruit to the water instead.

This will instantly increase the taste without adding any significant number of calories.

Home-Made Milk Shake

red-hot-cocoa-finalFinally, the last beverage that you may want to consider is a home-made milk shake. if you’re in the mood for something creamy, these will definitely do the trick and help to keep your hunger satisfied for hours after you consume it due to the higher protein content.

To prepare this shake, combine one scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder, one to two tablespoons of sugar-free pudding powder, one cup of skim milk, and 1-2 ice cubes.  Blend until a thick consistency is reached and then serve.

The pudding powder is the real secret in this recipe to add extra thickness to the shake, so make sure that you don’t leave it out.

So there you have the top beverages that you must consider on your diet plan.  If you are downing fruit juice, soda, alcoholic beverages, or commercial fruit smoothies, you will be packing on the weight in no time.  Go for these options instead. 

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Summer Treats That Save Your Diet

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

r-SUMMER-SNACKS-large570As you gear up for the warmer months, there’s no question that you’ll still suffer from cravings from time to time and want to tempt your taste buds with something sweet or decadent.  But, if you choose unwisely, these treats can really pack on the pounds.

Since the summer months are a time of less clothing and hours spent on the beach, chances are you won’t appreciate a 2-3 pound weight gain that comes along with these indulgences.

Fortunately, if you choose your treats wisely, they don’t have to spell fat gain.  Let’s look at some of the top summer treats to go for that will save your diet and cure your cravings fast.

Sugar-Free Jell-Osugar-free-jello

You simply can’t go wrong with sugar free Jell-O when you’re trying to satisfy your food cravings and keep your diet in check.  Sugar free Jell-O is almost calorie free and when topped with fruit or whipped topping, will definitely make for a special treat.

With a number of different flavors that you can choose from, you’ll be sure to find something that you enjoy.

Home Made Angel Food Cake

ghk-0405-strawberry-angel-food-layer-cake-fCRGQE-mdnAnother great dessert option this summer is some home-made angel food cake.  Angel food cake is lower in fat than many other cakes and has a much lighter and airy texture to it.

If you prepare it yourself, you can use lower fat methods of cooking it by replacing some of the oil with applesauce or the sugar with a substitute.

Whip up a low-fat cream cheese icing for it and you’ll have a refreshing dessert that will be a great crowd pleaser.

 

 

Fruit SmoothiesFruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies are the next option to consider. If you prepare these with some low-fat yogurt, frozen fruits, and skim milk, they’ll come in at under 200 calories per serving and will provide you with a great dose of protein and fiber.

Frozen fruit is the key to creating this dessert as it will give it that frothy texture that you’re looking for.

Jell-O Freezer Pops

-watermelon-freezer-popsFinally, the last summer dessert to consider preparing as you look to satisfy your sweet tooth are Jell-O freezer pops.  If you’re a big fan of fudge cycles, this will definitely strike your interest.

To prepare them, whip up some sugar-free chocolate pudding powder as you normally would but place them in freezer molds in the freezer to set.  In a few hours, you’ll have at frozen treat that’s lower in calories than the original, almost sugar free, and that also packs in some protein as well.

So as you gear up for the warmer months, keep these desserts in mind.  You definitely do not need to deprive yourself if you want to stick with your diet as long as you are sure to choose carefully. 

 

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Grilling Tips For Fat Loss: Do’s And Don’ts

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Grilling Tips For Fat Loss

Getting ready for the grilling season? Worked hard over the past winter months to achieve a body that you are extremely proud of?

If so, it’s going to be essential that you utilize smart grilling tips and techniques to ensure that you’re serving up only foods that are going to enhance your progress. When done properly, grilling is one of the best cooking methods that you can do due to the fact that the fat from many meats will drip right off during the cooking process.

The key is making sure that you choose the right foods to grill and go easy on the additional ingredients you’re adding while grilling.

Let’s have a quick peek at a few of the top grilling tips that you should know.

Pick Proper ProteinPick Proper Protein

The very first step to healthy grilling is to make sure that you select a good protein source to grill in the first place. If you’re grilling up beef burgers or fatty cuts of steak, you aren’t going to be creating the lean meal that you’re after.

Instead, opt for leaner sources of protein such as chicken, turkey breast, fish, or seafood. These will contain hardly any fat and will still provide you with all the protein you need to form that healthy diet plan.

Load Up On Vegetables

Vegetarian-Meals-ProteinNext, make sure that you aren’t overlooking vegetables either.  Vegetables are loaded with nutrients, low in calories, and tend to taste great on the grill.
Good vegetable options include zucchini, onions, peppers, and portabella mushrooms. Of course you don’t have to limit yourself to just these only, but do keep in mind that they tend to sit best on the grill.

Go With Sweet Potatoes30453_l

The next quick grilling tip to remember so that you can keep your healthy diet on track is that you should opt for sweet potatoes rather than regular. They’re higher in nutrients and will produce a lower rate of blood sugar spike, so will be better for controlling your level of hunger throughout the coming hours after the meal.

Sweet potatoes taste great on the grill, especially with a little fresh dill sprinkled on top of them.

Know Your Condiments And Sauces

condiments - assortedFinally, the last important thing that you must remember this grilling season is to really pay attention to the condiments and sauces you’ll be using.

This is where so many people go wrong because they choose great foods to grill, but by the time they add on their condiments or whatever else they happen to be using to flavor their food, their calorie intake is through the roof.

To avoid this, know your sauces well. Try using only marinades made without sugar or opt for just herbs and spices as well.

Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce is also a great option as these contain no calories. Just be sure to go with a lower sodium soy sauce to watch how much salt you take in.

So there you have the quick and easy grilling tips this summer to help you enjoy the season without throwing your diet off track. 

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Healthy Summer Desserts Worth Indulging In

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Healthy-easter-desserts_1As the summer season gets underway, one thing that you should be paying attention to is the dessert choices you’re making.  While we could tell you that you should forgo dessert altogether and not have anything that’s going to satisfy your cravings, most people wouldn’t be able to last through the entire summer months without at least a few indulgences.

That’s why a better game plan strategy is to simply indulge wisely. If you can choose desserts that are naturally lower in calories and high in nutrition, you will do your diet a favor rather than derail all progress.

Let’s have a quick look at a few healthy summer dessert ideas that you can eat without guilt.

Strawberry Ice Creamstrawberry-ice-cream

If you’re an ice cream fanatic, this dessert will fit the bill perfectly for you. Simply combine together one cup of frozen berries with half a cup of Greek yogurt. Add about an eighth of a cup of water, a bit of sweetener, 1-2 berries, along with a ¼ tsp. of Xanthan gum. That’s the special ingredient that’s really going to give it added thickness.

Blend all of this on high speed until desired consistency is reached and then serve immediately.

Angel Food Cake

angel-food-cake-strawberries-whipped-creamOn the other hand, if you’re someone who loves their cakes, opt for angel food cake whenever possible. This is the cake variety that is going to have the least calories and fat naturally, so is the smartest choice for those watching their body weight.

Serve it up with some light whipped cream and fresh berries rather than high calorie icing and you’ll be all set.

 

‘Cheesecake’lemon-raspberry-cheesecake-05

Cheesecake lovers don’t necessarily have to give up their beloved dessert as long as they are willing to give slightly on taste and get creative.

To create your very own ‘cheesecake’ dessert, combine together about an eighth cup of fat-free cream cheese with a half cup of Greek yogurt. Add some type of sweetener and if you can find it, fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake pudding powder mix. One tablespoon should be enough to get you the flavor that you’re going for.

Then place into a serving bowl, crumble a graham cracker square over top and then top with sliced strawberries or raspberries.  Serve immediately.

While it won’t be a true cheesecake, it’ll definitely still help calm those cravings.

Chocolate Fudge

05287l1560Finally, if it’s chocolate you desire, this one is an easy fix. Get a package of sugar-free, fat free chocolate pudding powder and mix it with one cup of milk and one scoop of chocolate protein powder.  Since the recipe typically calls for two cups of milk and you’re using half that, you’ll get a much thicker consistency that’s more along the lines of fudge or icing.

Serve this up with a little low fat whipped topping if desired and your taste buds will definitely thank you.

Try these lighter varieties of dessert this summer and you can make sure that you are keeping your diet on track.

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Hydration Tips For The Warmer Months

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Woman-Drinking-WaterlIf you’re headed out to exercise in the heat of summer, there are some very critical things that you need to remember in order to ensure that you stay safe the entire time.

Far too many people make the mistake of not looking over their hydration and suffering the consequences because of it. While eating well around your workouts is definitely important and something that you cannot be overlooking, in addition to that, you also must make sure that you’re looking at the fluids you’re consuming as well.

Let’s go over a few of the top hydration tips that you must keep in mind as you go about the summer season.

Always Hydrate After SwimmingAlways Hydrate After Swimming

The first thing to note is that if you are going to be performing a number of swimming workouts, make sure that you are drinking well both during as well as after these are completed.

So many people neglect to do this because they don’t feel as though they’re sweating during the swimming sessions, therefore don’t see the need to hydrate.

This is not the case though as you definitely are sweating while you swim and are going to need to replace that fluid if you hope to feel well afterwards.

Dehydration will significantly impact your performance, so is not something that you can afford to short-change yourself on.

Drink Well Before Exercise

Drink Well Before ExerciseSecond, also be sure that you are drinking well before any regular gym exercise you do. One mistake that some people make is waiting until they are completely done the workout to hydrate.

If you start hydrating before you go to the gym so you’re going in well hydrated, you won’t have quite the risk of dehydration that you otherwise would.

In addition to that, by drinking well before exercise, you’ll boost your energy levels for that session coming up.

Just be sure that you’re drinking the fluid at least an hour before the workout is set to start so that you don’t end up suffering from severe cramps as you go about it.

Avoid High Sugar Containing BeveragesAvoid High Sugar Containing Beverages

Finally, the last important thing that you need to keep in mind when hydrating yourself this summer is that you should avoid high sugar containing beverages.

Some people turn to sports drinks to help out with hydration purposes thinking these are a good selection since they have the electrolytes that you’re losing.

And while it’s true, they do provide these, they also will immediately spike your blood sugar levels and could cause you to come crashing down.

This is definitely not going to be an enjoyable experience, so something that you must avoid at all costs.

Instead, hydrate with water whenever you can. If you are exercising for longer than an hour, than have a sports drink, but choose one that’s sugar free.

By keeping these hydration tips in mind and applying them to your workouts and lifestyle, you can ensure that this doesn’t become an issue for you. 

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Maintaining Your Fitness During The Busy Summer Season

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Fitness During The Busy Summer Season Excited about the summer months ahead but not quite sure when you’ll ever make it to the gym for a workout? If so, you need to figure out sneaky ways to maintain your fitness this summer so that you don’t waste all the hard work that you put in throughout the winter months.

With a few smart changes to your approach, you can easily still keep up your fitness level without fail and ensure that you don’t gain weight as you indulge in some of the seasonal foods that might come about at barbeques or get-togethers.

Let’s go over some of these strategies so that you can get started.

Shorten Your Workoutsshort-workout

The very first thing that you should be doing is looking to shorten your workout sessions. Rather than doing hours in the gym, choose a few key exercises that will work multiple muscle groups in the body and perform three to five each workout.

If you do this, you’ll have no problem staying on top of your strength levels and making sure come fall, you’re ready to pick right back up where you left off.

Choose Active Pursuits When Getting Together With Friends

Choose Active PursuitsThe second thing that you should be doing to keep up your fitness during the warmer months is to start choosing more active pursuits to do with friends.

For example, rather than getting together and sitting around drinking like so many people do, go for a game of golf instead.

Or, for women, rather than sitting down for coffee or drinks on a patio, browse a farmers market.

Anything that gets you up and moving around will burn more calories so will be far more ideal in terms of weight control. While you may not boost your fitness level any further by strolling a farmers market, at least you’ll burn off a hundred or so calories.

Take Active Vacationscheap-family-vacation

Another great idea is to plan for an active vacation this year.  Rather than doing something like going to the beach where you’re just going to lie around, consider getting out and going for a hike, canoe, or mountain climb.

These will really help to create a great experience and will get you boosting your strength, cardiovascular capacity, and overall fitness level.

Active vacations are becoming more and more people and often you can find packages at resorts as well, so be sure to look into that if you would prefer a destination type of getaway.

Remember Small Bursts Add Up

Running-at-beach1Finally, remember that small bursts of activity definitely add up. You don’t have to go exercise for hours to derive benefit from activity.

Ten minutes here and there will still burn calories, improve your fitness level, and prevent you from being sedentary throughout the entire day – which is precisely what you need to avoid.

As often as you can, get up and move around. Simply being more consciously aware of this can really help.

So there you have the key points to remember about keeping your fitness level high this summer. Don’t overlook these points and you will be on to great results. 

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Summer Drinks – Try These Healthy Cool-You-Down Recipes

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Summer DrinksWith the summer season on the way right now, many of you may be looking forward to indulging in a number of summer beverages to help beat the heat.

But, in doing so, if you aren’t careful, you may start taking in far more calories, sugar, and non-nutritive calories than you desired.

The problem with many summer beverages is not only do they contain alcohol, but they also contain add sugary mixers, this really adds up and sends your blood glucose levels soaring.

The good news is that if you choose properly, you definitely can have some fancier summer beverages without derailing your diet.

Let’s give you a few ideas to get started.

Vodka And Sparking WaterVodka And Sparking Water

If it is an alcohol drink that you’re looking for, you want to choose the variation of alcohol that contains the lowest amount of calories possible. That just happens to be vodka.  But, rather than mixing it with soda and adding far too many grams of sugar and calories to the mix, try adding it with some sugar free sparkling water.

You can purchase this in many different flavors and it’ll really jazz up the drink quickly.

 

 

Fruit Slush

Strawberry-SlushyNext, another great option to try out is the fruit slush.  For this one, you’ll simply want to blend together from frozen fruit or fresh fruit along with ice cubes if using fresh fruit. Add in about a quarter cup of water, and some water to help thin it down. If needed, add some Splenda or a sweetener of choice to help increase the sweetness factor.

This is a low-calorie way to cool down quickly and will beat any commercial slush that you otherwise would have purchased.

 

Creamy Protein Packed Pina Colada

The third great summer drinks option is a creamy pina colada. This one is great for immediately after a Creamy Protein Packed Pina Coladaworkout because it’ll provide you with a good source of protein, some fast acting carbs, and not too much additional fat.

To prepare it, combine one scoop of banana flavored protein powder with a quarter cup of Greek yogurt along with half a cup of skim milk. Then add in ½ cup of canned or fresh pineapple and one to two tablespoons of dried unsweetened coconut.

Finally, for a thicker more slush-like consistency, add in one to two cubes of ice as well.

Put this all into a blender and blend until your desired consistency is reached.

So there you have some of the top options for summer drinks this season. One addition point that you must keep in mind is that you should avoid overdoing it on the diet soda side of things. Some people mistakenly believe that these will be a good option to have when really they aren’t.

If you want to keep your diet and health in check, they must be avoided as well. 

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Summer Sports That Burn Fat Fast

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Summer Sports That burn fat fastIf you’re antsy to get out of the gym this summer but definitely do not want to kiss your hard-earned results goodbye in terms of your body composition and muscularity, the great news is that by partaking in some of the seasonal sports, you can easily maintain your body and have some fun while you’re at it.

So many people come to believe that the only way to get in a workout has to be in the confines of the gym, but that just isn’t the case at all.

In fact, by taking your workout outside of the gym and into a new environment, you may just take your progress up a notch.  The sports that we’re about to describe will all challenge your muscles in a brand new manner, evoking greater strength gains as well as helping to improve your balance and agility as well.

Plus, you’ll still burn plenty of calories, so they’ll assist with weight control over the summer months.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the top summer sports that you should be giving some consideration to.

Beach VolleyballBeach Volleyball

One of the most intense summer sports that you should be playing on a regular basis is beach volleyball. This sport is great because not only does it tend to be stop and go in nature similar to an interval cardio workout would be, but due to the instability the sandy surface provides, this will really go a long way towards strengthening the lower body muscles.

Beach volleyball also dramatically enhances your body-mind awareness and coordination, so will transfer over to other sports or activities that you happen to participate in as well.

Rollerblading

RollerbladingBalboaThe second activity that you’ll want to think about adding to your program is rollerblading. Rollerblading is a perfect lower body strengthener as it’s going to target your glutes, hamstrings, as well as quads.

If you add some hills to the trail that you’re on, you’ll also get in a very good cardiovascular workout as well, similar to that of what you’d get with high intensity training.

Rollerblading, when done intensely enough, is on par in terms of calorie burn with running, so it definitely earns top marks when it comes to your overall fat loss progress.

Rock Climbing

Finally, the last summer sport that you should consider investing some time into is rock climbing. Rock rock-climbing-mark-engelbrecht-4climbing will help to boost your upper body and core strength especially, so is a great way to balance out the other activities that you might be doing as you go about your workout week.

Rock climbing does take some practice to get used to and perform correctly, so consider investing in a few lessons first before you head out on your own. This will both ensure safety as well as make sure you’re targeting the right muscles.

There you have the top summer sports to think about getting involved in this summer. You don’t have to forgo your workouts if you don’t want to, but these are all excellent additions to any program that you’re doing. 

Summery Breakfasts That Start Your Day Right

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

baked_eggs_in_avocadoGetting your day off to a good start nutritionally speaking is one of the best things that you can do to promote better health overall. Not only does eating a good breakfast help to ensure that you keep your hunger under control more optimally, but it’s also going to help to make sure that your metabolism is kicks started from the moment that you very first wake up.

Sadly though, most people are making very incorrect food choices as they go about this morning meal that are only going to hold them back as they go about their fat loss journey.

Let’s take a quick look at a few great ideas for summery style breakfasts that won’t derail your diet and will ensure that you are eating well at all times.

Egg White Omelette With Seasonal Vegetablesegg white omelette

If you’re on a lower carb diet and want to liven up your morning, try an egg white omelette with some seasonal vegetables. Don’t be afraid to experiment here and use vegetables that are in season that you may not use at other times.

Bell peppers, avocados, corn (removed from the cob), and eggplant can all be used. It will be a change from the traditional omelette you might typically prepare with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes, but will definitely offer solid nutrition that will keep your hunger under control.

Berry Smoothie

Berry SmoothieAnother great way to start your day is with a berry smoothie.  This drink is going to ensure that you are getting in a good dose of antioxidants as the day progresses along and will also provide plenty of fiber to keep you satisfied until lunch.

To prepare this, combine half a cup of Greek yogurt with half a cup of milk. Then add in an assortment of your favorite frozen berries and a tablespoon of flaxseeds for healthy fats.

Blend up until your desired consistency is reached. Note that you can also add some ice cubes to this as well if you prefer.

 

 

Blueberry PancakesBlueberry Pancakes

Finally, the last good breakfast that you can use to get your day going is blueberry pancakes. These pancakes are loaded with fiber and blueberries are one of the best brain boosting fruits that you can consume.

They’re rich in antioxidants and will ensure that you have good focus and concentration.

To prepare blueberry pancakes, combine together oats, a few egg whites, some protein powder along with fresh blueberries.  Once the batter is formed, pour onto a skillet as you would a normal pancake and cook until edges are bubbling.

Flip over and cook on the other side until finished.

Get creative and come up with a few summery breakfast ideas of your own. Try and incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables of the season as you can for high nutrition and low calories. 

 

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