Thursday, April 18, 2013

Starting to Exercise can feel SCARY!

Hey all!  It's Erica again.  And I wanted to talk a little today about how it can be really scary to start exercising when you haven't done it in a while, or ever.  But it doesn't have to be scary, or even hard.  All you have to do is start.  It doesn't even matter what you do at first as long as you get your body moving.

I have been working out on and off myself for most of my life.  But recently I experienced this same fear when I wanted to start doing Power 90.  I don't even really know why this particular program made me so hesitant.  Maybe it was because it was made by a different trainer, but I've done other programs that are probably harder than this one.  I mean I started last year with Insanity and moved on to TurboFire from there.  But something about working out with Tony Horton really intimidated me.
So I kept putting it off for a week.  And then I finally said to myself "Enough!"  This past Monday I bit the bullet and started the program.  And you know what?  It wasn't so bad.  The best part is that, as with most programs, you can go at your own pace.  This is true even for those of you are thinking about just starting by walking.  Just go for ten minutes.  All that matters is that you START!
So why would I tell you about being nervous myself?  So that you know you are not alone.  Even those of us who exercise regularly can get that feeling from time to time.  And now that I have broken through that barrier, I've decided to go even further and start working on a C25K along side my program.  I haven't gone running for just about 17 years, but I think it's time to start getting back into it.  And all I needed to remind me was to get through the fear of this new program.

It's important to get out of your comfort zone if you want to make changes.  Because you can only grow by doing something different and new. 
So try it, and let me know how it goes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Do I Need to Count Calories if I'm Eating Clean?

Hi guys! Rachel here, and today I want to talk to you about eating clean.  This is a question I get quite often: do I need to count calories if I'm eating clean?

This is actually a complicated question because ultimately, it depends on how your diet is laid out.  Clean eating generally includes eating quite a few fruits and vegetables and many vegetables are actually negative calorie foods, which means that they cost more energy (calories) to break down and digest than our bodies absorb from eating them.  However, not everyone is able to stomach a lot of vegetables in their diet.  At least, not at first.

Ultimately, calories are calories and regardless of where they come from, we all use them the same - as energy.  If we eat too many calories for our activity level, then we will store the energy for later use, meaning we will store them as fat. 

However, clean foods get stored differently than processed foods.  We have two different types of fat in our bodies: brown fat and white fat.  White fat you can probably see if you have or have ever had a tummy.  White fat has no blood circulating through it which makes it difficult to burn, why it takes so much longer for your belly to shrink when you're losing weight than it does for your chest or arms to shrink.  Brown fat does have blood circulating and after your body has used up your glycogen (what our liver turns carbs into), your body will turn to brown fat as fuel.  Excess clean calories get stored as brown fat.

If you are new to eating clean, new to being able to recognize portion sizes or vegetables don't make up the bulk of your diet, then I absolutely recommend that you count your calories even if they come from clean whole food sources.  Does this mean you'll have to count calories and track forever? No! But we have to learn first to recognize how much we are eating and when we have truly eaten enough. 

Want some more information on how to eat clean? Check out my latest article on my new blog: What Does it Mean to Eat Clean?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Other" Proteins

Hey everyone!  It's Erica posting today.  I wanted to talk about all the ways you can make sure you get enough protein into your diet.
When most of us think about getting protein into our day, we immediately think of things like meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, and dairy products.  But there are so many other sources of protein out there that so many of us tend to ignore.
Did you know that you can actually get all your protein without even using any of the previously mentioned sources?  And that you should actually be trying to eat more of these other foods?   Well, now you'll know!  Ha ha!
You can actually get a lot of protein from vegetables, beans, nuts and even whole grains.

Here's a few that I know:
Food                                                     Protein (g)
banana                                                         1.2
corn on the cob                                           4.2
brown rice (1 cup cooked)                        4.8
frozen peas (1 cup)                                    9.0
lentils (1 cup cooked)                              16.0
tofu (1cup)                                                 18.0
frozen broccoli (1 cup)                               5.8
spinach (1 cup cooked)                            5.4

But for a more complete chart, I found this one at:
Tempeh1 cup 41 9.3
Seitan3 ounces 3122.1
Soybeans, cooked1 cup 299.6
Lentils, cooked1 cup 187.8
Black beans, cooked1 cup 156.7
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup 136.4
Veggie burger1 patty 1313.0
Chickpeas, cooked1 cup 124.2
Veggie baked beans1 cup 125.0
Pinto beans, cooked1 cup 125.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked1 cup 116.2
Tofu, firm4 ounces 1111.7
Lima beans, cooked1 cup 105.7
Quinoa, cooked1 cup 93.5
Tofu, regular4 ounces 910.6
Bagel1 med.
(3 oz)
Peas, cooked1 cup 96.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked1/2 cup 88.4
Peanut butter2 Tbsp 84.3
Veggie dog1 link 813.3
Spaghetti, cooked1 cup 83.7
Almonds1/4 cup 83.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain1 cup 77.0
Soy yogurt, plain6 ounces 64.0
Bulgur, cooked1 cup 63.7
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup 63.3
Whole wheat bread2 slices 53.9
Cashews1/4 cup 52.7
Almond butter2 Tbsp 52.4
Brown rice, cooked1 cup 52.1
Spinach, cooked1 cup 513.0
Broccoli, cooked1 cup 46.8
Potato1 med.
(6 oz)
So the next time you go to the store, stock up on some of these to make sure you are getting enough protein.  It's actually good for you to get it from different sources when you can.  And you just might get the benefit of giving your metabolism a little extra boost too!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shakeology Fudgy Oat Bars

Shakeology Frozen Fudgy Oat Bars

The classic flavors of chocolate and peanut butter meld together in this brownie-like treat.

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 bars
Serving Size: 1 bar
• 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
• 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
• ½ Cup Peanut Butter
• ½ Banana
• ½ Cup Oats

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Freeze for at least 90 minutes in an 8" x 8" pan.
4. Remove from freezer, cut into 4 squares.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 249
Fat: 10g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 13mg
Sodium: 76g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Fiber: 4g
Sugar Total: 6g
Protein: 16g

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Wonderful Effects of Green Tea!

Hey!!! J'Wana here, coming at you with some info on GREEN TEA!

For the past week or so, I have been sick:( Never Fun and Never Wanted.
Sore throat, chills, body aches, just everything. I am such a big baby when I am sick. I didn't want to eat or drink. It hurt too much. But I remembered whenever I would get sick, people would always suggest tea with lemon and honey. It would at least help with my sore throat, right? So I drag myself into my kitchen and whip out some green tea, with honey and lemon.   
I did start feeling better, thank goodness! But this got me thinking.....Green Tea is freakin AMAZING! Its so good for you and has a LOT of benefits! If you don't drink green tea, you should!!!

Benefits of Green Tea:
  1. Its full of antioxidants, which are known for their anti-aging properties among other things.
  2. Green tea can prevent and treat cancer!
  3. Stress Relieverrrrr!!!! Enough said there! Lol!
  4. Improves heart health and lowers high blood pressure.
  5. Green tea is anti-diabetic so it helps regulate blood sugar.
  6. It boosts immunity and fights off the cold and other viruses. It contains antigens that builds up your immune system.
  7. Green tea is also a FAT BURNER! and it also allows you to exercise longer by reducing carbohydrate utilization, or how the carbohydrates are being used.
And those are just some of the benefits!  Like I said earlier, if you don't drink green tea, you definitely should start!!

What's you favorite kind of tea? What type of At-Home remedies do you like to use when you are sick?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Staying on Track While on Vacation

Hey everyone! Rachel here! I'm a little behind schedule because I've been on vacation! The last 5 days were spent with my family in Disney World, thanks to Beachbody!  That's one of the benefits of being a Beachbody coach, by the way. Beachbody gives coaches an opportunity to win amazing trips!  Anyway, staying on track while being in Disney was very challenging but I managed and I wanted to share with you all how I pulled it off!

Beachbody was awesome and flew out Shaun T from Insanity and Leandro from Brazil Butt Lift to work us all out first thing in the morning but because I am currently training for the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon, I had to pass on those workouts and instead, had to fit in runs.  Because I knew that the entire day each day was going to be dedicated to being with my family and walking the different parks, I set my alarm each day for 6:00 am so that way my workouts would be done and over with and I would have the whole day to spend with my family.  It was incredibly difficult, especially since there is a three hour time difference between Florida and Seattle.  So when my phone went off at 6:00 am telling me it was time to get off, I had to have that debate in my head for fifteen minutes.

"How will I feel if I don't get my run in?"
"How will I feel at the end of the week if I don't hit my mileage goal?"
"How will I be able to make up for the lost mileage?"

Those questions got me out of bed because I knew that if I didn't hit my goal, I'd feel disappointed, frustrated, ashamed, guilty, etc.  A whole lot of negative emotions that can trigger binge eating. No thanks!

The scenery definitely made getting a run in more palatable and I was able to feel good about myself the rest of the day.

In between run days, I lift weights because it gives my legs a break.  Since I wasn't able to pack my P90X DVD's or a weight set and I wasn't sure what options the hotel fitness room would provide, I packed a resistance band and the door attachment so I could fit in a full body resistance workout in the hotel room.  I wrote myself a list of exercises from P90X and ChaLean Extreme that I could do with just body weight or with the resistance band and I managed to get myself quite a calorie burn!

The rest of each day was spent walking at least six miles around each park.  I did what I could to make the healthiest meal choices possible but it's difficult since it's hard to know if what I was eating included true serving sizes or more and how much of each ingredient went into each meal... Plus I was on vacation so I wanted to be able to live a little and enjoy!  Making time to fit in a workout each morning gave me peace of mind so I could relax and enjoy myself a little bit food wise.  All I ended up gaining was some water weight from the extra sodium.  Restaurants pack a lot of salt into their food!

If you're traveling, make sure you pack some extra snacks with you. Protein bars, Lara Bars, almond packs, things like that are great quick bites for when you're feeling a little hungry between meals.  Investing in something like a pack of resistance bands can also be really helpful because you never know what your options will be in a hotel or if there will be enough machines available at the time you try to get a workout in.  And getting up early so that way you have the rest of your day to enjoy also makes a difference! I know, I know, on vacation you want to sleep in but life is short! Sometimes, making a few small sacrifices can be all you need to enjoy yourself while also maintaining a healthy body image!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sweet Potatoes~ Are you eating them?

Hi everyone, it's Pam again and I want to talk Sweet Potatoes!

As many of you who follow me, know that I have chosen to eat Vegan ( no animal products). This is a choice I have made for my reasons!  I eat clean, real foods without preservatives.

I have found many great vegan recipes from other blogs, books and restaurants and sometimes I just get creative and do my own.

I eat a lot of sweet potatoes these days as they are a staple in my pantry. They make a quick meal or snack by just baking them or microwaving them.

Here are a few benefits of sweet potatoes:

1.  They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies.  Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
2. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
3.  They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin Dplays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
4.  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
5.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

I love Mexican food and sweet potatoes so I got creative and came up with sweet potato tacos.  YUM!!
Here is the recipe:
2 large sweet potatoes cubed
1 head of cabbage ( i used half for 2 people) shredded or chopped
4 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of basil
Chopped cilantro
1/2 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 cans of black beans ( drained and rinsed)
Avocados sliced
corn tortillas

Toss potatoes with olive oil and season with cumin and chili powder. Roast at 400 until tender

Place shredded cabbage in bowl. Mix lime juice and basil in separate bowl and stir well. pour over cabbage and then add cilantro. Toss to mix and set in refrigerator. 

Meanwhile add olive oil to skillet and cook onion and garlic until tender and golden, Then add drained black beans and heat until warm.

I used these tortillas from Sprouts, but any corn tortilla would work ( just read your labels )
To assemble:
fill tortilla with bean mixture, then potatoes and then cabbage mix. Top with avocado slices and salsa and enjoy!

Are you eating your sweet potatoes on a regular basis? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Have Support, Get Educated! You can do this!!

Hey Folks! Ashleigh here!! Today I want to talk about how important it is to have support when you are working out.

There are a lot of reasons why this is important. Working out should be a lifestyle change not just a temporary fix to your weight loss problems. So lets think about this.. How can you make a lifestyle change without your family being in it with you!? Your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife has to be a part of that lifestyle change with you.. And you should involve your children in the changes too! Encourage them to workout with you! And of course you shouldn't be cooking two meals (one for you and one for them).. Thats just silly!

No matter what you will need a support group.. Someone you can be completely open with about your journey.. Someone you can go to when you don't feel like working out that can help lift you up.. This is KEY to your success! If you feel alone and don't have anyone to turn to you are likely to give up and we definitely do not want that to happen!

This is something that I fell INLOVE with when I started Beachbody. I hadn't done any kind of working out since high school. And this was a BIG step for me.. So when I signed up I was given a coach.. Whom I never heard from lol! But then this amazing coach found me.. And has been such a huge part of my success.. She has always been there for me! And I have always had the support from my man.. He is always there to listen to me complain and has always been by my side. We have made the Nutritional changes in our lives as a whole family. Educate yourself, ask people questions, find the right things for you! 

Never underestimate how important it is to have SOME KIND of support for your journey.. There are many keys to your success and this is one of them!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy Snack Ideas

Roxie here with some cool awesome Healthy Snack Ideas!!  
Do you have your 3 square meals figured out, but are lost when it comes to snacking?  I'd love to share a few ideas with you to help get you started TODAY!  Plus a bonus recipe from Tony Horton (creator of P90X) himself!
  • Apple with String Cheese
  • Brown Rice Cake with Almond Butter and 1/2 Banana
  • Plain Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit
  • Orange with a handful of Raw Natural Almonds
  • Broccoli or Carrots with Hummus
  • Cottage Cheese and an Apple
  • 1 Slice of Whole Wheat Bread with Sliced Hard Boiled Egg and Mustard
  • Smoothie                                                                                                                                            
I've made it twice, but devoured it before I could get a picture!  OOPS!

Click the title above for recipe

Top reasons you should add Healthy Snacks to your diet - 
1.  Gives you extra energy
2.  Boosts metabolism all day long
3.  Curbs cravings
4.  Pre-workout fuel
5.  Post-workout nutrition

Now, go get your Healthy Snack on, you'll be so glad you did!!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cortisol - The Stress Hormone

Hey there!  It's me Erica again, and today I'm going to talk to you about CORTISOL.  Now some of you may be familiar with this and some of you may be thinking, "What the heck is that and why do I want to know about it?"  Well cortisol is one of the many hormones in your body that helps regulate your body's functions, and it can influence your weight.

Basically cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal cortex, and it is released in times of stress.  You could say that it is released as a result of your body's "Fight or Flight" response.  The problem is that your body does not distinguish between physical stress and emotional or mental stress.  What does this mean?  The release of cortisol gives you a quick burst of energy, heightened memory, and lowers your sensitivity to pain.  This would be great if you were being attacked and had to make quick decision and get away.  And it might even be good if you are at work and your boss just assigned you a new project and told you to have it planned by the end of the day.  You would have the energy and brain power to get a lot done.

However, if you are stressed all the time because your house is messy, and your kids are whining at you, and you have to get to work, and you need to be home between 2-5 to let in the cable guy, and you...well I think you get the picture.  Your body responds the same way to any kind of stress.  So cortisol is being released more often and reaching a sustained level in your system.  Why is this bad?  Because high and sustained levels of cortisol cause suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalance which can lead to diabetes, lowered bone density, lowered muscle tissue, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, can cause stomach ulcers and accelerated aging, and it can even lower serotonin levels.  But one of the problems you are probably most familiar with is that it causes an increase in abdominal fat.  And one of the biggest problems is that once you start in a cycle of stress, it can be hard to stop.  You get stressed, your blood sugar goes up with out having a physical outlet, then your blood sugar drops, and you start to feel hungry and crave what your body just lost - you got it, starchy and sugary foods.  And then the jump in sugary starchy foods stresses you body in a different way, causing the cycle to repeat itself.  And in the meantime, your body is storing all of those extra unneeded calories as fat in your belly.
 So what can you do to help reduce your stress and lower your cortisol levels.  You can cut down on some of the things that increase cortisol levels.  Caffeine, sleep deprivation, calorie restriction, overly intense or prolonged physical activity (otherwise known as "over training"), and alcohol can all increase cortisol in your system.  So cutting down on these can help.  But there are a lot of things you can actively do to help too.  Regular exercise, yoga, massage therapy, laughing more, listening to music, meditation, breathing exercises, SEX, and having a low glycemic diet can all help lower the amount of cortisol your body pumps out. 

My favorite way to lower mine is to snuggle with my kids and play with them.
What is your favorite way to relax?


Thursday, March 7, 2013

You Can Eat More When You're Balanced

Hey guys, Rachel here! Writing to you today about how you can eat more and lose weight.  Yep, you got that right. Eat more and lose weight.

Let's talk about hormones.  I know, I know, I am always talking about hormones but this is something I think that is not understood nearly enough in the weight loss world.  Our bodies use hormones as messengers.  Hormones tell us we're hungry or that we're full, that we're tired, that we're aroused, that we're happy or sad.  Hormones also tell our bodies to store food as fat or to use stored fat as energy.

Ever noticed that on some food wrappers, it says 'low glycemic index' on the label?  The glycemic index of a food basically determines the level of impact that food will have on your blood sugar levels and, more specifically, how much insulin (one of your hormones) your body will pump out in response.  If a food has a high glycemic index, a lot of insulin is going to be pumped out from your pancreas and that insulin is going to signal to your body to store that food as fat.  If a food has a low glycemic index, it's more likely that insulin will signal your body to store that food as glycogen (basically, muscle food).  And here's the kicker:  it doesn't matter how many calories that food consisted of.

The other thing about the glycemic index: high glycemic index foods trigger your hunger signalling hormone grehlin to kick into gear earlier than necessary.  Ever notice that when you eat a lot of pasta or simple carbs, you feel full but after a while, suddenly you're hungry again? That's because A. you've only eaten from the carb family and B. you've eaten a high glycemic food.  When a lot of insulin has to be pumped out to decide what to do with the food you've eaten, it triggers grehlin to pump out earlier than it needs to.  Does that mean that pasta or carbs in general are bad?  Not at all.

This is where the need for balance comes into play.  Your body wants all macronutrients to be represented in your meals.  Your macronutrients consist of fat, protein and carbs.  Fats will trigger your happy hormone, serotonin to pump out.  This hormone is also responsible for feeling 'satisfied' from your meals.  Protein will slow down your digestion so you feel physically fuller longer. Having all 3 macronutrients will help your hormones stay level so even though you may eat more in one single meal, you eat less throughout the day.  Better to eat 400 calories all in one meal than to eat 200 calories in one meal, 200 an hour later and 200 an hour after that, right?

Ultimately, our overall calorie number is important (and you can calculate what your daily calorie intake should be using this post) but even more important is keeping our hormones balanced. Need some ideas for some healthy, balanced snacks? Check out this list:

  • Kiwi slices dipped in Greek Yogurt
  • Apple slices and nut butter
  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Hard boiled egg with a piece of fruit
  • Protein shake with protein powder, berries and ground flax or chia seeds
  • Yogurt parfait: plain yogurt topped with honey, sliced almonds and berries
  • Home made trail mix (almonds, seeds, raisins, dried fruit - check ingredients to make sure no added sugar!)
  • Whole grain toast with nut butter 
  • Larabar
  • Shakeology!!!
  • Zucchini, celery, other sliced crunch veggies dipped in Trader Joe's yogurt based spinach dip (seriously off the hook!)
  • Tortilla chips and hummus

Monday, March 4, 2013

Making the Time to Work Out, Even on your Busiest Days

HELLO THERE!!! My name is J'Wana, here to talk to you today about making time to work out and get healthier, even on your busiest days! 

We all live such hectic, chaotic lives and yet some of us struggle with finding the time for ourselves to work out. Work. School. Kids. Keeping up with the house. It never seems like there is enough time in the day. Then we ask ourselves how anyone else has the time? Well they make the time. I am a single mother that also works full time. Its not always easy, but I know that making excuses isn't going to change anything in my life. So I found a few ways to make sure I get my exercise in each day!

  1. Believe it or not, scheduling your workout will help out a lot-- If you go ahead and schedule your workouts for the week in your to-do lists and schedules, you will have already set that time aside for it each day and you will be less likely to skip it.
  2. Get your workout in before your brain can stop you!-- if you are anything like me, and aren't a morning person, this one can be a bit tough. Set your alarm earlier, and set it across the room. That way when that alarm buzzes, you HAVE TO get up and turn it off.  There. The hardest part of it all- the actual getting up- is over. Either already have your workout clothes ready, or you could even sleep in them lol.  Do you know how great it feels to already be done with your workout before most are even out of the bed?! No one is up to distract or interrupt you. It feels AWESOME! And you have also boosted your mood for the day! 
  3. Exercise as part of your nighttime routine-- If the morning workout is out of the question for you, then try it before bed. I know I tend to sleep better when I work out at night. I don't know if its just where I am able to clear my mind, or work out that extra stress but it still feels good. Everyone is in bed, once again, no distractions or interruptions. Try some Yoga.
  4. Nap Time/Lunch Time = Great Opportunity to workout-- If you have enough time during your lunch break like myself, or while the kids are napping, get your workout in at that time. Perfect way to de-stress midday! 
  5. Get the kids involved!- If you have kids, take them outside and go for a walk or a bike ride. If weather doesn't permit that, you can always have fun inside with Wii Fit and all the cool dancing games, have a friendly family competition and see who can hold a plank the longest,  a workout DVD for kids. As long as you are having fun and being active, that's all that matters. My little one loves to do planks and squats with me and she LOVES TURBO JAM!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fall In Love With Running

Hi everyone! My name is Pam and I want to talk "Running Love"

February is the month of " LOVE" and while it is coming to a close, there is still time to fall in love or rekindle your love of running.
With temperatures starting to show signs of warming and days are will soon be getting longer , it is the perfect time to get outside and run. Whether you are lacing up for the first time or are just getting back into it, start with some basics.


  1. Check your shoes: make sure they are in good condition and comfortable.(Running stores offer proper fitting and can guide you to the perfect shoe)
  2. Start Slow:  A C25K program (aka couch to 5k) is a great way to start, or refresh if has been awhile since you have hit the pavement.
  3. Develop a schedule:  Plan to run 3 times a week with a rest day in between. This will help prevent injuries.( do not run everyday)
  4. Stretch:  Always end each run with a good stretch.
  5. Hydration:  Drink water!  Whether it is cold or hot outside, it is very important to stay hydrated ( drink at least 64oz. of water daily)
Before you know it, you will have that feeling of "being in love". You will have more spring in your step, be happier, and have a glow in your cheeks. You will also be taking steps to to improved health.
Running is good for your heart!!


  • Aerobic exercise improves lung and heart function and allows the blood to flow more efficiently at carrying oxygen to your cells
  • Stimulates stronger bones ( as muscles get stronger, bones become stronger and denser )
  • Relieves stress ( promotes a sense of well being long after the run)
  • Weight loss ( more calories are burned through aerobic exercise)

I believe everyone has a "runner" deep within themselves. They just have to dig deep and unleash it. So get out there, find your run and fall in love!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's so important about Fruits and Veggies???

Hello There! I'm Ashleigh! Today I'd like to talk about how important Fruits and Veggies are to our nutrition!

Fruits and Veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals! How awesome is that! Eating your fruit and veggies can help fight against things like Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Type II Diabetes, and even Cancer!

So thats pretty awesome! What do they do for us for losing weight?? Well they are low on calories and high in fiber! Great for a snack! Besides the fact that they are packed full with vitamins and minerals which your body needs to run properly you can fill up easily on them without overdoing it calories wise!

This means that our plates should look a bit more like this:

Instead of like this: 

So what veggies are the best for you? And of course Raw (not really an option with Dried Beans) will get you the highest amount of these vitamins and minerals. 
1. Broccoli is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B6 and C. 
2. Peas are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins A, B6 and C. 
3. Dried Beans (Navy, Great Northern, Kidney) are high in iron, fiber, manganese, and phosphorous. 
4. Red Bell Peppers have potassium, riboflavin, and Vitamins A, B6 and C. (One cup = 317% of the daily recommended daily amount of Vit C!) 
5. Beets are awesome because you get two for one! You can eat the greens and the root!
    Roots are high in Iron, Potassium, and Vitamin C. 
    Greens are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. 
6. Avocado (Technically a fruit) is high is Fiber, Vitamin E and Folate. Also because they have a healthy fat these yummy things can help you lower your cholesterol! 

What about the Fruits?! 
1. Apples are high in Fiber and Antioxidants
2. Bananas are high in fiber, Vitamin B6, potassium and Folate
3. Cantaloupe are high in fiber, Vitamin A, Folate and Potassium
4. Cherries are high in fiber and antioxidants
5. Dried Figs are high in fiber, potassium, calcium and iron
6. Mangos are high in Fiber, and Vitamins A and E

So heres to eating our fruits and veggies!  What are your favorites??


Monday, February 25, 2013

Kale - A natural weight loss food

Hey everyone, Roxie comin' at ya with some Kale talk!  If you've never tried Kale, then I'm here to convince you that it's time!  Have you ever asked yourself "Should I eat Kale" or "Is Kale healthy"?  YES!  Kale is a healthy food and a great weight loss food as well!  
Here are some little known facts about Kale (source: Livestrong), then I'm gonna hit you with with the best dang recipe you'll ever try!!

Calories - One cup of cooked, chopped kale contains only 36 calories.
Benefits for weight loss - Kale is high in fiber, especially for a leafy green.  A cooked, 1-cup serving provides 10% of the recommended allowance.  Fiber helps fill you up and can keep digestion smooth, preventing bloating and water retention that can affect the numbers on the scale.

Now for that AMAZEBALLS recipe that I promised you......KAZAGNA!!!  Yes, the combining of Kale with Lasagna my friends!  Where did I first learn about Kazagna?Here at THIS blog!

Photos courtesy of ME!

2 lbs grass fed beef (may use other lean meats)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
16 oz 2% cottage cheese
2 cage free eggs
1 jar Bertolli Organic Traditional Tomato & Basil Sauce
1 bunch of kale
8 oz low fat sour cream
8 oz fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Brown meat, drain any juices
Add chopped veggies to the pan
Mix in all ingredients
Pull kale leaves off of stem and put in bottom of a 13x9 pan, pour all ingredients on top and add shredded cheese if you like
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why Whole Grains?

Hey everyone! It's me Erica writing to you today.  And why whole grains are so much better for you is something that I've wondered about myself.  So I did some research and put everything I learned all in one place for you to find.  :)

So we all know that eating whole grains is better for us than eating refined.  But why?  What is it about whole grains that makes them SO much better for us?  Let's look at the differences...
The whole grain is comprised of 3 parts.  The bran which is the fibrous outer layer, the endosperm which is the starchy part we usually eat, and the germ which is rich in vitamins and minerals.  Refined grains only use the endosperm.  When the germ and the bran are removed you get a lighter and fluffier flour.  But you lose a lot of the nutritional value.

Both forms are a great source of energy.  There are plenty of carbohydrates in both.  But when you have the whole grain there is added protein, fiber and a ton of micronutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and many B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and folic acid.

So eating whole grains is not just about putting back in the fiber.  All those other nutrients that are found in the germ are good for you and can help prevent a lot of medical issues as well.  Whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease because the soluble fiber helps to lower the level of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.  The nonsoluble fiber helps keep your whole digestive track cleaner, lowers constipation, and it may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.    Eating whole grains has been shown to lower insulin levels and also lowers the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. 

And if those aren't enough reasons to switch to whole grains, they can also help you lose weight!  Whole grains are higher in fiber which also makes them lower in calories for the same serving size.  More fiber will help you feel fuller for longer and it takes longer for your digestive track to digest.  And getting all those vitamins and micronutrients I mentioned earlier can help regulate your metabolism.  Why wouldn't you start using whole grains???

Here's a list of healthy grains to get you started:

Brown Rice
Wild Rice
Duram Wheat
Red or White Wheat

And one last piece of information before you go...When shopping for products made with whole grains, make sure you check the label.  If the product is truly whole grain, then the whole grains used in it should be the first ingredients listed.  If something else is listed first, then the product is not really a "whole grain product," it just has whole grains in it...and there is a difference!

Sources:  (great source for more info!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Skinny on Calories

Hey Kids! Rachel here and today, I want to talk to you about the real deal with calories.  We all know that weight loss or weight gain comes down to how many calories we eat and how many calories we burn.  You must burn more than you eat to lose weight, right?  But how many calories do you need to burn to lose weight? How many calories can you eat?

First thing is first: we need to come up with your basal metabolic rate.  What does this mean? Basically, your BMR is how many calories your body would burn if you were to do nothing but lie in bed all day.  Your body needs calories for your heart to pump and your blood to circulate, for your lungs to fill and empty, your GI tract to digest, your lymph to flow, your brain to work... twenty-four hours a day.  It is important that we never eat below our BMR also, or certain hormones can kick into play that can actually stall fat loss.

So, how do you calculate your BMR? Outside of a clinical laboratory, the easiest and most accurate way to do it yourself is to use something called the Harris Benedict formula.  

The Harris Benedict Formula:
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

Or, you can plug your digits into this calculator on this website here:

Now that we know what our BMR is, we need to take activity level into account.  Whether we're sitting on the couch all day and taking sporadic bathroom breaks or on our feet all day long, we must take our activities into account.  

Depending on your activity level (be honest), calculate your BMR by:

  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

There.  Now we have the number of calories that you would need to eat to maintain your weight.  But, we what if we want to lose weight?

Well, first let's remember that 1 lb, whether fat or muscle, is equal to 3,500 calories.  That means, to lose 1 lb a week, we would need to subtract 3,500 calories from your total calories that you consume for the week.  The easiest way to do this is to divide 7 (7 days of the week) into 3,500 and we get 500.  So we take your calorie total and subtract 500 to lose 1 lb a week.

Now why can't we lose more than that?  You can but we want the rest of the weight loss to be burned not starved.  That means, you need to bring it in your workouts to burn the second lb.

Here's the thing: your body does not want to let go of more than 1-2 lb of fat a week at the most.  The reason for this is your hormones.  We have hormones that tell us we're tired, that tell us we're happy, that tell our bodies to store food as fat, that tell our bodies that we're safe and that we're stressed.  When we have too much of a calorie deficit, those stress hormones fire (ever hear of cortisol?) and our brain decides that we're starving and our lives are in danger - we must hold on to our fat for survival.  Fat will keep you alive, but you don't need muscle if you're starving so your body would rather break down protein from your muscles back into amino acids to keep you alive than burn fat.  It is only when we are providing our bodies with enough fuel that our bodies decide that they can burn fat safely.  

To make sure you are eating within your ideal calorie range, it is important to log the calories you eat. It is too easy to lose track of what you eat if you aren't logging each meal.  Using a program like which also has a cell phone app for ease of use, can make doing this a lot easier.  This is a habit that is important to form and once you get into that habit of logging your calories, you won't even think about it anymore.  It takes about 3 weeks to make something into a habit and if you stick with a healthy diet and workout routine for 3 weeks consistently, you'll be well on your way to changing your body!