Diet & Nutrition Tips

DIET TALK: Do You Have Plan B?

Atkins Breakfast SandwichWhile I primarily eat whole food on the Atkins Diet, I am also enjoying their frozen dinners. Let’s be realistic. We can’t always do Plan A, and cook a fresh meal. Life gets hectic and we need to have a Plan B. Plan B for Atkins is pre-packaged meals – and it’s been a relief to have that option in a pinch.

The first Atkins meal I got to try was the breakfast sandwich. Since Atkins allows for more fat in their foods, a small breakfast sandwich stuck with me longer than low-fat, high-carb versions. I threw some hot sauce on this bad boy and it was quite tasty! (Marley wanted to taste it too! Lol)

Atkins Frozen Meals:

  • High quality proteins without fillers
  • Premium cuts of vegetables
  • Gravies and sauces made with real natural creams and butter
  • No added sugars or preservatives
  • 4-7g Net Carbs per meal
  • Fits all 4 phases of Atkins

Pre-Packaged Food: Good or Bad?

ATKINS FROZEN MEALSI have to laugh when people slam pre-packaged foods. While I absolutely agree that whole foods are ideal (and the healthiest option), ideal isn’t always realistic. Ironically, it’s often times the same people who want to argue about frozen food who never think twice about eating out – not realizing many restaurants relay on pre-packaged foods too. (Granted, I do know some of my fit-friends are totally and successfully dedicated to eating organic and completely healthy – and you are our idol. But, for the rest of us mere humans, we just do our best. ;)  )

Here’s my take on pre-packaged foods for the health-conscience:
They are convenient, and much better than other convenient options. So many people would be so much thinner and healthier if they chose frozen dinners over eating out. Some people complain they are too expensive, yet they’ll drop double the money on a biggie size meal. While it is an initial investment upfront, they can save you money in the long run.

summer saladHealthy intentions are wasted if it never turns into healthy actions. This requires honesty – to your self and to others. You can never succeed if you aren’t realistic about what you are willing to do, or not to do. People set their sites too high, with great intentions to cook healthy food. But, as life gets busy, they find themselves in a bind, sitting at a drive-through window with a car full of kids because they didn’t have time between school and soccer practice to actually cook a real meal. Meanwhile, their fresh veggies are rotting in the fridge because they haven’t had the time to cook. Good intentions? Yes. Bad actions? Yes. Easy and convenient trumps healthy yet once again. However, this wouldn’t happen if you had go-to meals on hand, or you had prepared your meals in advance.

Plan to Succeed

Plan A – You can’t cook healthy if you don’t shop healthy. Plan A begins with shopping smart. Atkins actually gives you a shopping list of foods you can buy to help you shop healthier when you sign up for their free online tools. They also offer recipes and meal plans to help you you’re your meals. http://community.atkins.com/Login.aspx

Plan A2 – The 2nd part of Plan A is you actually have to do something with the food you buy. My suggestion is to set aside time over the weekend to prepare food for the week. We grill out a bunch of chicken, cut up veggies to cook later and do any food prep on Sunday so we are ready to eat right on Monday.

Plan A3 – Yes, there is one more step to Plan A. You can’t eat healthy if you don’t shop healthy or cook healthy, but you also can’t eat healthy if it stays in the fridge. Be sure to have a good selection of Tupperware and Ziploc bags on hand so you can pack your food for lunch, or so you can grab a meal to go in a hurry. The more convenient you make your healthy selections, the more likely you are to eat what you prepared.

Atkins barsPlan B – Finally Plan B. Plan B stands for your “Back-up plan”. Think of frozen dinners as your plan B. Always choose healthy whole foods first, but have other options when Plan A isn’t doable. This may include some frozen dinners, bars, snacks, shakes and other convenient selections. Plan B is much better than Plan C – which is to “Cheat” on your diet! Say no to Plan C!

Plan D - What? A Plan D? Yes, it’s called “Do-Overs”. Seriously. So many people fail because they mess up once or twice and decide that diet didn’t work for them – when, if you were honest, YOU didn’t work for you. Eating healthy takes work. The diet doesn’t fail, WE fail. If you rely on a diet to do all the work for you, you will be disappointed. Diets are there to give you guidance, but you need to learn as you go so your diet can be a permanent life change.

While you won’t need to be in a caloric deficit forever, the principles of healthy eating should continue to be applied while in maintenance. Explore the Akins website, learn why their eating principles work and learn how you can apply them in your normal meal planning. The more you learn, the more you can change the way you eat forever – and that’s the difference between dieting and just eating healthier. Go the distance. Keep doing Do-Overs until you get it right. Eventually, healthy habits will stick!

Fight Cravings

self-controlAtkins offers some healthy alternatives to help fight cravings. I’ll brag on their tasty bars another day, but I have to admit I was very happy to have some Atkins chocolate covered almonds when I faced a sweet craving. I popped 3-4 in my mouth and it was exactly what I needed to end the fixation on chocolate I suddenly had. I’m afraid to think of what I would have done if all I had in the kitchen was ice cream!

Eat this, not that:

Salty Craving Fix

When I craved chips and popcorn, I cut thin slices of low-fat sharp cheddar cheese and sliced up a dill pickle to end my salty craving. Here are some more salty fixes.

  • Sliced Cucumbers with Red Wine Vinegar & Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Hummus with Celery & Carrots
  • 2 T Peanut Butter with Celery
  • ½ C Cottage Cheese and tomato on a bed of lettuce with a Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
  • Celery & Sliced Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced Tomato with Shredded Parmesan Cheese & Garlic (Roasted is even better!)
  • Sliced Lunch Meat with Laughing Cow Cheese, Sliced Egg White & Hot Sauce

Sweet Cravings

I don’t crave sweets often, but I am thankful for Greek yogurt when I do! Here are a few sweet treats to end s sweet tooth.

  • ½ C Cottage Cheese with Pineapple
  • 2 T Almond Butter with Celery or Apple
  • ½ C Greek Yogurt with Blueberries
  • Decaf coffee or tea
  • Protein Shake
  • Endulge Atkins Treats
  • Advantage Bars

Follow Atkins for More Tips & Recipes

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtkinsDiet
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/atkinsinsider
  • Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/atkinsinsider/
  • This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

FITNESS: You CAN Afford It!

money where your mouth isIn this economy, many people would say they couldn’t afford to get fit. However, it is likely they can afford more than they think. Most people simply spend too much money on things that make them fat, instead of things to get them fit.

As a result, you can easily nickel and dime yourself right out of a healthy lifestyle. For instance, many people don not think twice about going through a drive-through at lunch or buying a five-dollar latte for a caffeine boost. One modest dinner date would cover a gym membership for the month, offering endless fitness opportunities. Sadly, people keep putting their money where there mouth is – literally.

1 drink alcoholic drink per night can average $90.00 a month.

In my recent article on Answers.com, I show how some of our food and drink choices add up if you aren’t careful – and it’s AMAZING how even a cup of coffee a day can add up! CLICK HERE to read the whole article, 7 Ways to Afford a Healthy Lifestyle and see other ways to cut back and make more room for fit choices.

What have you given up to help you afford to get healthy and fit?

Atkins Meal Plan & Diet Tips

As you may have heard, or seen on some of my social media posts, I am in the first phase of the Atkins 40 Diet. What is Atkins 40? Basically, Atkins 40 the new Atkins that lets you have more (healthy) carbs, even from the start.

You may think of Adkins as the no-carb diet, but Atkins has changed over the years, and is also misunderstood (I admit I was one of those people). An all-too-common misconception is that this first phase of Atkins is the whole program, but the key to Atkins is finding the maximum number of grams of carbs, known as your personal “carb balance”, that you can consume while continuing to lose weight, keep your appetite under control, and stay alert and energized.

In this first phase, the Atkins 40 allows you to start the Atkins program with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which is a new entry point into the program. This means you can eat from all food groups from day one on the program, and still enjoy the weight loss success on a fat burning metabolism.

What are Net Carbs?

“When you follow the Atkins Nutrition Approach, you count Net Carbs, which means the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content. The Net Carb number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level.”

You can calculate the approximate number of Net Carb grams of a low-carb product yourself by looking at the information provided on a food label:
Total Carbohydrates
– Dietary Fiber
– Sugar alcohol
= Net carbs

For example, I ate 2 cups of spring mix, 6oz of chicken, ½ an avocado and balsamic vinegar. My total carbs was 25.3gms of carbohydrates and my fiber was 8.8gms of fiber, totaling only 16.5gms of Net Carbs for that meal. By labeling carbs, and getting dieters to really look at fiber too, it teaches you the us the difference good carbs vs bad carbs.

More On Carbs:

Learn more about Net Carbs
Net Carbs vs Total Carbs.
Download the Atkins Carb Counter to help you track your carbs.

 

The Atkins 40 Diet

“Increasing health fat and protein means you stay fuller longer and you have more steady energy through out the day.”

On Atkins 40, I’m eating:

  • More vegetables than the USDA recommends
  • Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
  • Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
  • Dairy including whole Greek yogurt and cheeses
  • Variety of fruits and whole grains

With Atkins 40, I’m learning:

  • The difference between good carbs and bad carbs
  • How to eliminate added sugars
  • How to incorporate healthy fats
  • How easy it is to adapt to a low carb lifestyle
  • How to lose weight, feel great, while enjoying healthy delicious foods with a wide range of food choices.

The Diet: Pfiester Approved!! 

I honestly can say I have really enjoyed my meal plan. It isn’t much different than I have been eating, which is higher in protein and lower in carbs, with a good dose of healthy carbs. I only had to make a few minor adjustments.

1. I can eat BACON!! Yahoooo!! (granted, I can only have 2 pieces occasionally, this has been like striking gold for me!! YUM!). This was my breakfast yesterday – 2 eggs scrambled with bell pepper and 2 strips of bacon. What’s funny is I don’t even like eggs, but anything tastes amazing with Bacon! haha!

2. I am eating more meat. Instead of eating 3-4 ounces of chicken, I’m now eating 6 ounces!! This has definitely helped me stay fuller longer and is helping me get the protein I want with very little supplementing.

3. I am reducing my carbs a little. Since I already don’t eat a lot of carbs, this wasn’t a big shocker (even though I admit I was a little freaked out about having only 50gms of carbs a day!). Truthfully, I have been just fine without them. When I normally would want some popcorn, I cut a few slivers of some light sharp cheese and nibbled on that instead. It satisfied my salty craving and my growling tummy.

4. I am paying more attention to fiber. I have always known fiber is good, but I’ve never tracked it as much as now.

Healthy fats5. I am being more generous with fats. Normally, I would barely drizzle a teaspoon of oil on a salad (if I used any at all!), but now I fill up that entire tablespoon of olive oil! I used to only eat egg beaters, but now I’m eating one whole egg with 1 egg white (even though it says I can have 2 whole eggs – I’m working my way up to that. lol).

6. I am eating more simply. Now that I am following a diet plan, I am using fewer ingredients and making better choices than even before. Following the Atkins Diet is teaching me to be OK with simple meals. For instance, yesterday I ate the salad I mentioned above in the Net Carbs section. The salad was only 3 ingredients – chicken, greens and avocado. Before, I would feel like I needed a fruit or something else to “dress it up”. This time, I stuck with what Atkins said (like a good girl) and it was plenty yummy and completely filling.

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive list of all the foods you can eat in this 1st phase.

Week 1 – Getting Started

Atkins has free diet tools, including an online downloadable starter kit, mobile app, recipes, meal planners and trackers. Explore all the Atkins tools, tips & info at Atkins.com. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get more tips and news. Get recipes and other healthy ideas on their Pinterest.

Atkins

 

Week 1 Meal Plan:

Here is a sample of my first week’s diet plan.

2014 Atkins 40 week 1

 

Keep checking in for more tips and feedback on my Atkins diet experience!!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Healthy Sugar Substitute Makes Yummy Pre-Workout Recipe

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Canadian Maple Syrup.

maple syrupWhen you think of maple syrup, you probably think “PANCAKES”! A beautiful stack of buttermilk pancakes with warm golden brown maple syrup poured over melting butter, ready to be washed down with a glass of cold milk. At least that’s what I think of! However, there is a lot more to maple syrup than you think – and I think you’ll be very surprised to read what I have to share!

First surprise: 80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada. If you want real maple syrup you need to make sure it is Canadian Maple syrup, which is unprocessed and 100% natural.

Second surprise: Did you know most leading pancake syrup brands do not even have maple syrup in their syrup? How crazy is THAT? They rely on high fructose corn syrup (which isn’t as healthy and has more calories than Canadian Maple Syrup). When I heard this, I had to go check it out for myself. (watch the video)

[youtube=http://youtu.be/4YIk6CjOdLI]

Third Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup has fewer calories than honey (and a LOT more flavor too!). This is funny to me because I prefer maple syrup over honey in many recipes (like oatmeal and mashed sweet potatoes), but figured it was higher in calories. Maybe it’s because it’s called “syrup” and I just think high calories when I think syrup. Ironically, I found I use less syrup than honey because it has more flavor!

Fourth Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup is high in anti-oxidants – and the darker the grade of syrup the higher in anti-oxidants it is. Check out the difference between Canadian Maple Syrup and other sweeteners.

Canadian Maple Syrup Versus Popular Sweeteners

maple syrup vs sweeteners

Pre-Workout Protein Rice Pudding

preworkout rice puddingI found this great pre-workout rice pudding, and I decided to tweak it to make it a little lower in calories and higher in protein. So, I put my thinking cap on and went mad-scientist in the kitchen. I replaced the flour with protein powder and the condensed milk with fat free milk. I reduced the amount of maple syrup (because I’m trying to make the yummy stuff last!!) and I topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and granola. Then I tested it out on my house guests. …and the verdict was “Wow! That is really good. Can I have a bowl?” So, I would say it was a success!!

Recipe
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup Canadian Maple Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

rice puddingCombine all the ingredients, minus the greek yogurt and protein powder, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, mix in the yogurt and protein powder, reducing heat while mixing. Remove from heat and let it stand to thicken. Serve cold or hot. Makes 4 servings. 314 calories per serving.

Optional toppings:
Cinnamon
Raisins
Nuts
Granola
Fruit

Cooking With Maple Syrup

Maple syrup sweetener

10 Tips to Kick the Never-Ending Diet

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton

When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.

10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:

  1. Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way.  If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
  2. Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
  3. Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
  4. Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
  5. Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
  6. What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”!  The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
  7. If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
  8. The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
  9. Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
  10. Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.

Q&A: Fat Burners, Diet Pills & Thermogenics

diet pills So many people don’t understand what Fat Burners really do. Are they diet pills? Do they work? How do they make you feel? Will it help you lose weight? How fast should you see results? When is it best to take them? These are many of the questions we get about Thermogenics (AKA Fat Burners).

First, watch this quick video, where Steve explains what thermogenics actually are – and what they do.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/KMTDHuw8XyI]

Now, to answer some of those questions.

Are they diet pills? 

diet pillsDiet pills do different things. Many prescription pills curb your appetitive. There is another prescription that blocks fat from being absorbed and stored. Old school prescription pills often contained amphetamines which now is typically prescribed as dextroamphetamine, or the inactive prodruglisdexamfetamine. Then you have the old school fat burners, which contained Ephedra, in combination with aspirin and caffeine. Since Ephedra is no longer legal in the United States, supplement companies have been working hard to come up with a safer way to burn fat. So, in my opinion, I would not classify a thermogenic as a diet pill. While the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat for example, does have an appetite suppressant in it, it’s main job its to increase your body temperature to burn more calories throughout the day.

Do they work?

Diet-weight-loss-Yes, but not if you are depending on a fat burner alone. Fat burners can give you the edge you need to be more apt to move, exercise and stay active. It will increase calorie burn, but you have to understand how easy it is to erase those calories with poor food choices. Let’s say, for example sake, you burn 200 extra calories a day when on a fat burner. You could erase those calories easily with a big gulp coke or an extra snack. For this reason, fat burners work best when you combine it with exercise and diet.

How do they make you feel?

crazyhairSome fat burners make you feel like you’ve had 10 cups of coffee. The old school fat burners that had ephedra in it really freaked people out. However, I think most fat burners today are more mild feeling in comparison to the Ephedra, caffeine and aspirin variations. People may complain about feeling anxious and jittery on some fat burners. Since I have heart palpitations, I have to watch out for fat burners that get my heart racing. ThermoHeat doesn’t make me feel that way at all. It makes me feel focused and more apt to stay moving, but I don’t feel like I’m on speed or anything. Basically, the answer to this question is “it depends”. Every fat burner is different.

weight lossWill it help you lose weight?

Yes. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. The key to success is to make the most of the fat-burning opportunity. Exercise when you are feeling energized and avoid replacing calories with poor food choices. However, if you aren’t going to track calories or even try to be in a caloric deficit, you probably will not get the results you want.

How fast should you see results?

How fast you get results depends on how dedicated you are to your weight loss goals. First, you need to know that you should feel results right away. You should feel more energized and more focused pretty quickly. This should help you WANT to workout and stay more active, which can often be an issue for many people. People lack the motivation or the energy to workout. BUT, if you don’t workout and you refuse to be more active, you aren’t going to get all the goody out of your fat burner. If you are taking ThermoHeat, you should also not feel as hungry, which can help with controlling your appetite. So, in many ways, you should be getting results almost immediately. However, if you are talking about seeing results on the scale, that’s a different story. The results you get are dependent on consistency and accuracy. Staying consistent with eating low-calorie foods and exercising will get you faster results. Accurately tracking calories burned and calories consumed will help you get the best results. But if you plan on just guessing your way through the day, I can only guess your results (and I would guess they won’t be what you want).

When is it best to take them?

White Competition Bikini Personally, I like taking Fat Burners to help give me an edge when I’m taking my training or dieting up a notch. I only take them for a season, and then I go off for a while. For example, I took ThermoHeat to help me prepare for my competition. It REALLY helped me get my 3 workouts in a day (2 cardios and 1 weight training workout) when I was extra low on calories. I honestly don’t think I would have had the oomph to do it without it. It’s also great for people who are starting a workout and diet plan. It can give people the mental and physical boost they need to get in a routine. It also will help increase energy when people would typically experience a loss of energy from just starting a diet and exercise program.

ThermoHeatBefore I close, let me be super clear. If you want to lose weight, the first thing you need to focus on is diet. You need to learn to track calories and stick to a caloric budget (I like using the LoseIt app for this). Second, you need to get in a good exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but a consistent workout routine you can stick to. Third, once you are willing to commit to eating right and exercising, THEN you can add supplements to the equation, like protein, creatine, fat burners, etc. Sadly, people often do the exact opposite, because making a protein shake or popping a pill is a lot easier than committing to a lifestyle change. You should never rely on supplements – they are only to SUPPLEMENT what you are missing and enhance what you are already doing. They are the icing on the low-cal cake! As long as you understand that, you are golden. Are they effective? Heck yeah, when they are used correctly! As long as you realize there is no protein shake or fat burner alone that will get you ripped like you see in the ads. Will they help? Absolutely! But, if you want results, you will be required to work for it. But I do promise you it will be SO worth it!!!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat.

Beware of These Weight Loss Stumbling Blocks

weight lossLosing weight can be very challenging, especially if you aren’t prepared for trials along the way. Since everyone experiences trials and failure on the road to success, the best way to conquer them is to be ready for them. Luckily, most people struggle with the same challenges. Here are 5 of the 10 common stumbling blocks I shared in an article for Answers.com. Click HERE to read all 10 at Answers.com.

1. Denial

You can’t fix a problem you haven’t admitted to. This is why admitting your problem is the first step in addiction groups. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can never overcome the problem you aren’t willing to admit you have.

2. Lack of support

If you had an alcohol problem, your loved ones wouldn’t keep alcohol around. However, people don’t think about having a weight problem as having a food problem. If you suffer from obesity, you likely have self-control issues with food and need more support. If you want success, share your concerns with your family and friends. Be honest with your loved ones about your weaknesses. Explain how much you need their support and protection against temptation. The more your family can understand your needs, the easier the process will be for you.

3. Laziness

With everyone’s crazy schedules, you shouldn’t be surprised when fatigue strikes. Instead, you should expect the temptation to skip your workout. As soon as that thought crosses your mind, remember how energized your body feels after a workout. The same way laziness breeds more laziness, staying moving helps you keep moving. The best way to get energized is to get moving.

4. Temptation

The easiest way to conquer temptation is to avoid it. It is difficult to eat junk food if there is no junk food around. Sadly, many people start a diet plan with all kinds of unhealthy foods still in the pantry. Even worse, many people continue restock the pantry with foods that aren’t on their diet. Even if your family is not overweight, junk food is unhealthy food and should be replaced with healthier options. Purge your kitchen of anything that would be a temptation for you. If it’s out of sight, it is easier for it to be out of mind.

5. Failure

People make mistakes. It’s easy to miscalculate calories, cheat on your diet and skip workouts from time to time. Regrettably, you can let one small slip keep you down if you aren’t careful. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself and plan your comeback. As the silent film actress, Mary Pickford, says “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Failure is almost inevitable, so expect to fail along the way. Your weight loss success will be determined on how fast you recover from each fall….READ MORE

7 Fit Tips for Optimal Recovery

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Built with Chocolate Milk.

apolo ohnoOn October 11th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN – and one of those athletes isn’t known for his endurance abilities. He’s actually known for his short-distance power and speed.

Gold Medalist Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno, is retraining his body for a totally different sport – to compete in the IRONMAN world championship with Team CHOCOLATE MILK. Apolo is in the best hands though, being coached by eight-time IRONMAN World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser and three-time IRONMAN World Champion Craig Alexander. One may think that training is the main focus this close to a race, but really training is useless without equal focus on recovery.

chocolate milkYou can see, in this video (below), recovery is the main topic this close to Kona. Ice baths, foam rollers and good communication with their trainer are essential for getting through this kind of training – and that applies to us too. We can’t expect to spend all our energy breaking down the muscle, burning tons of calories, pounding the pavement (and our joints) and expect our body to just take it, day in and day out. We HAVE to give our body what it needs to recover.

That’s why Chocolate Milk is so involved in this sport – because they are truly the perfect recovery drink. They believe in recovery and repair, and you should too.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/mOzk4xTBkZk]

7 Fit Tips for Optimal Recovery

30 minutes1. Refuel your body within 30-45 minutes after your workout. There is a short window to effectively refuel your body. Consuming the right post-workout fuel during this time can restore glycogen stores (which fuels your muscle for your next workout), as well as carries protein into the muscle for optimal repair and recovery.

2. Choose your post-workout fuel well. Post-recovery time is not the time for peanut butter in a shake or a fatty meal. It’s time for carbs and protein. That’s why chocolate milk is a good recovery drink. Believe it or not, it has the perfect carb-to-protein ratio for refueling exhausted muscle.

ice injury3. Reduce inflammation. Ice and anti-inflammatories are an important part of pain management and injury prevention. Reducing and preventing inflammation early is crucial to preventing bigger issues. Even if you have a small twinge, it’s always best to tackle it before it can end up being an full-blown injury. Injuries, muscle spasms and fatigued joints or muscles should be iced for 15-20 minutes at a time, letting the body completely warm back up between icing (an hour between icing is a safe bet). Ice as often as you can, not just when you are in the most pain.

sport4. Re-hydrate. With intense exercise, comes intense sweating. Your body needs fluids for all functions, including nutrition uptake and muscle repair. Drink at least 3 cups (24 ounces) of fluid per pound of water lost during exercise. If your urine is not clear or pale yellow, you need to drink more water.

eat healthy!5. Get Good Nutrition. It is super important for athletes to get the right food, vitamins and supplements. Each vitamin and mineral has a purpose – from strengthening your bones to protecting your body from toxins. In addition, healthy nutrition will help you keep your energy up and prevent you from getting sick. Moreover, you are only as good as your nutrition. If you want to perform well, you’ll need to eat well, as protein, fats and carbohydrates work together to restore glycogen, provide you with energy and repair valuable muscle.

6. Get Treatment as Needed. Massage, foam rolling, stretching, chiropractic care and medicinal care are all important modalities in athletic training. Knowing what your body needs may take some research, as well as some professional guidance – but I think you are worth it!

Rest7. Rest. Fitness and training can be addicting. It can also mess with your head in a big way if you let it. Your body can be screaming “STOP! I NEED REST!” but your mind says “I’m have to train. I’m not ready”. This is when you have to realize how important rest is. You have to protect your body and give it time to heal and recover. You can’t look at rest as being “off”. Rest is actually part of your training program. It’s a requirement for success.

-

Words of Wisdom from Apolo’s Trainer 

“…their future will depend on their choice at that moment.” 8X IRONMAN Champ.

Paula_Newby_Fraser-Meet Paula Newby-Fraser: 8X IRONMAN World Champion, the most decorated IRONMAN of all time, (Apolo’s coach). Here are a couple of questions I asked her – as both an athlete and a trainer.

Q – What’s been your lotto or mantra that’s kept you going?

A – You can’t live your life with plans and hopes and dreams but you live your life as it presents itself. I try not to complain about the situation but embrace what’s happening and life as a gift. I fully submerge myself in the experiences I get every day. I don’t live on hope. 

Q – What do you tell athletes who are on the verge of giving up to keep them going?

A – I simply tell them they have a choice on how to handle the moment. I encourage them to realize that they have a choice and their future will depend on their choice at that moment, so choose to adapt. You don’t have to give up. When you’re somewhere you can’t be, make the decision to get there mentally. Giving up is a necessity in dire circumstances. 

I love it! “Giving up is a necessity in DIRE circumstances. How often do we give up due to a little discomfort or inconvenience. We should act like a champ and do all we can to stay in the game, as our life depended on it. Wait! Our life DOES depend on it. Our body needs us to stick with fitness. It needs us to be relentless with our efforts to be the best version of ourself possible. Giving up should only happen when we have absolutely no other choice. Thank you Paula for such wise encouraging words!! Now, let’s go #BuildIt !! Go TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK!! GO APOLO OHNO!

LOVE THIS ARTICLE FROM IRONMAN: 6 Portable Protein Meals 

6 protein meals

5 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain Rebound

Few people can stay competition lean (or should). A little extra weight is healthy - but parameters must be set to avoid rebound.

Few people can stay competition lean (or should). A little extra weight is healthy – but parameters must be set to avoid rebound.

One of the things I hear a lot after someone has lost a lot of weight is that someone gained all their weight back. It’s a big fear for most people. They join a boot camp or do a competition and they reach all their goals, and a few months later they are right back to where they started – or worse.

While, in our gym, there are more people that keep it off than people who gain it back, it happens – and I sure didn’t want that to happen to me after my competition so I sat down with Steve and we made very specific rules. Here are the parameters I plan to put in my life to help me maintain my weight during our “off season”.

Whether you are in between trainers, boot camps or competitions, you can apply these same rules to your own life to make fitness a lifestyle instead of a phase, and make your new goal weight your new normal weight.

5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight

scale1. Decide on your new ideal weight. If you haven’t reached your goal yet, your ideal weight will be a lower weight. If you have reached your goal, your ideal maintenance weight should be your new weight (unless you’ve just competed and dehydrated – then your weight should probably be 5-7lbs heavier than your stage weight). This weight is what determines whether you should be dieting (eating fewer calories than you are burning) or maintaining (eating the same amount of calories than your burning).

At 5’9″, my ideal weight used to be 144 for me. If I started rising above 144 (my NO! STOP weight was 148), I would diet back down and get my weight back into control. Now, my new normal weight is 136. After the show I stayed in the high 130s and hit 140 and I immediately jumped right back on my diet until it went back down. Today, I weighed 135 today. I will continue to weigh in to keep me accountable.

goals2. Set a new goal. Whether this is a race, a bikini or bodybuilding competition, a weight loss contest, a cruise or a photo shoot, you must put some kind of goal into place. Goals give your training purpose, and make it easier to say no to high-calorie foods and the temptation to skip a workout. My goal is to come into January at a specific body fat percentage, muscle weight and fat weight. I want to know I am starting my diet ahead of where I started it last time. I also want my skin to stay tight and continue tightening up. I can’t do that if my weight fluctuates too much, so my goal is to avoid weight gain so I can improve my skin texture. Plus, I just feel a million times better in all my clothes!

running3. Make a recovery plan. What do you do if you bounce a check or max out a credit card? Do you keep spending what you can’t afford? No. You start making a plan to pay it off and get back in the black. The same goes for dieting. As soon as you go over budget, you have to start paying it off because you can’t afford to eat that much anymore. This is when you step up your cardio (work off your past debt) and reduce your caloric budget (learn to be more frugal with your calories). This is just checks and balances – but you have to make a plan ahead of time. As soon as you get back to your ideal weight, you can afford to have a cheat meal, you can afford to skip a workout. But, until then, you have to stay disciplined and get your body back in control.

chocolate syrup4. Cheats are treats. What I mean is, cheat meals should be a treat, not a habit. There are certain things Steve and I decided we would not buy and bring into our home. This forces us to go out and get it if we want it (which requires more planning and reduces the chance of impulse eating). For instance, we will not buy ice cream. If we want ice cream, we’ll make a date out of it – but I’m not going to have something that available to me. Same goes with chips and other high-calorie snack foods. As soon as I bring them into the house, they can work their way into our daily lives. Then it becomes a unhealthy eating habit. We will continue to have limits on how much we eat out and how much we “treat” ourself. And, we will continue to cook healthy, low-calorie meals and have low-calorie snacks at home.

Maintenance 5. You’re never “off”. One of the biggest mistakes people make is doing a boot camp or competition and then taking “off”. They work hard for 3 month and then they stop completely. You should never be “off” – you are either in weight loss mode or maintenance mode. While a competitor can gain a little weight in off season while they try to build muscle, the more fat they gain, the harder they have to work to get it off when they are in season. Why not try to keep your fat under control so you start your season ahead of where you started it last time.

Stop right now and make a plan of how you plan to control your weight over the holidays so you don’t start 2015 behind where you are right now. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Planning is key to success!

56 Calorie Calzone Quiche

Calzone Quiche you ask? Really? Yes! calzone quiche
That’s exactly what I was going for when I was trying to think up a new Bonnie creation today. It tasted just like a calzone without the bread!

In my recipe I use what I had on hand, including spinach, mini turkey pepperonis and onion. However, you could make it just like your favorite pizza or calzone by adding your favorite (but preferably low-calorie) toppings like mushrooms, green pepper or black olives. Be creative! Just be careful with how much you put in, since the juices can make the recipe watery when cooking down.

This is a great solution for a fast and healthy breakfast on the go. It also makes a really good snack and even a yummy dinner! 4 Calzone Quiches is only 225 delicious calories and 28 grams of protein!!
pepperoni minis

Ingredients

1 Cup Egg Beaters or Egg Whites
1 1/2 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 oz Mini Turkey Pepperonis
1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Large Tomato
2 T Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Season to taste with Red Pepper, Garlic and Salt

Topping
Your Favorite Tomato (spaghetti) Sauce (pre-made is fine)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together except the sauce and parmesan cheese, and pour in greased muffin pan (with Pam). Top with a PINCH of shredded cheese on each mini-quiche. Bake on 375 for 40-45 minutes (or until firm and slightly brown on top). Serve as is, for a standard spinach quiche taste OR turn it to a calzone applying the optional instructions below. Makes 15 medium cup-cake size muffins.

calzone quicheCALZONIFY IT: Warm up a small amount of spaghetti, marinara or pizza sauce and serve the quiche with a small dollop of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Nutrition:
56 Calories
7g Protein
3.4g Carbs
1.4g Fat

Add 8 Calories for the Calzone toppings: My sauce was only 3 calories per teaspoon and 5 calories for 1/2 a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.

Go to Top