Author Archives: Sabrina

5 Exercises For Spring

  |  in Exercises, General, Sample Workouts, UncategorizedNo Comments

Spring is here and it is time for a tune-up by making sure your body is ready for a great workout that yields results. Here are 5 must-do exercises that really drive your body to increase metabolic rate and reduce body fat. Most of these exercises are done with a step, however you can do them without a step too!

1. Step-Ups: Use a step or platform that is about 4-6 inches high. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform at least 15 times. Repeat after walking around the platform in a complete circle.

2. Squats: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms to your side. Pretend there is a chair behind you and almost sit bringing your arms out in front keeping your back flat and abdominal muscles pulled in.

3. Push-ups: Begin on your knees or feet and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or platform. Inhale as you lower your body to the step and exhale as you push yourself up. Repeat for 15 repetitions.

4. Tricep Dips: Sit with your back to the step and place your hands behind you on the step. Lift and lower your body using your tricep muscles to do the work keeping your elbows in line with your wrists. Repeat 12 times.

5. Lunges: Stand with one foot on the step and place your other foot behind you so that your front knee is over your heel. Lower your body keeping your shoulders in line with your hips at least 12 times for each leg. Repeat on the other leg.

The key to getting results with this quick workout is doing all the moves back to back without any rest. It will spike your metabolism, burn fat and help you to continue to burn calories even hours after your workout. Aim for doing this workout at least twice a week. On the other days, go for a walk, take a yoga class or go for a bike ride. Light activity is a great way to incorporate some sort of exercise every single day.

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

Source: www.fitday.com

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Recipe Makeover: Chocolate Chip Cookies

  |  in Blog, General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments

I don’t know about you, but Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of my favorites. Nothing sounds better than warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. Thankfully, there are ways that we can make “healthier” versions of our favorite treats. Below is a recipe that I recently came across in a fitness magazine for Choclate Chip Cookies. I will be trying this recipe soon. If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Do you have any recipe makeovers? Please share.

With a gram of fiber and less than half the fat of most homemade varieties, these revamped cookies won’t take a bite out of your calorie budget.

Makes 60 cookies.
Prep time:
20 minutes (plus 1 hour chilling)
Cook time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-light olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a baking sheet; toast for 10 minutes. Remove and turn off oven.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together oil, butter, and sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla, beating until well combined. Fold in oats, flour mixture, and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Enjoy!

Nutrition score per serving (2 cookies): 108 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated), 15 carbs, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 1mg iron, 7mg calcium, 66mg sodium

Source: Shape Magazine – April 2012

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Weight Loss Plateaus: How to Get Over the Hump

  |  in Blog, Exercises, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

You’ve put in the hard work. You’ve overhauled your diet. You’ve put in countless hours at the gym, sticking to those grueling workouts time and time again. You’ve been rewarded with continuously dropping numbers on the scale. And then in happens: you hit a weight-loss plateau. Hitting a plateau can be more than just frustrating, it can be downright dispiriting. But it’s perfectly normal for your weight loss to gradually slow down and even come to a complete halt. Don’t let this discourage you to the point that you revert back to old habits.

Reasons for Weight-Loss Plateaus

The main reason people experience weight-loss plateaus is that their new, svelte bodies require fewer calories to maintain their weight when compared to their previous calorie needs at a heavier weight. When you initially reduce your calorie intake, through a reduced-calorie diet, exercise or both, you drop weight quickly.

Another reason people experience pleateaus is that they are losing muscle, which we know torches calories. This is especially true if they lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolism slows down. This translates to fewer calories burned performing the same activities you had at a heavier weight. With continued weight loss, you need to exercise more or consume less in order to continue to create a calorie deficit that will lead to further weight loss.

Tips for Overcoming Weight-Loss Roadblocks

- Step up the exercise. Even adding an extra 15 minutes to your exercise regimen can produce huge results. Consider adding an extra mile to your walk/jog or extending your warm-up routine and cool down routine.
 
- Cut calories with small tweaks to your diet. Consider cutting a reasonable, small amount of calories from your daily intake. Cutting just 150-200 calories per day, the typical amount in a snack, can result in a couple pounds lost per month.

- Track your food intake and exercise. Make sure you’re not becoming more lax by increasing portions or slacking off at the gym.

- Switch up your exercise routine. Unfortunately, as you become more physically fit, your body becomes accustomed to the same old gym routine. Your body actually becomes more efficient at performing the same activities. Take up a completely new type of exercise to keep challenging your muscles. Add resistance training to your workout. Start lifting weights, that is. Weight-lifting adds calories-incinerating muscle to your downsized frame, which helps you burn more calories all day long, even while your body is at rest.

Try not to lose sight of what is important when it comes to weight loss: your health. Studies have shown that people whose motivating factor for weight loss is improved health, rather than achieving a certain body size or shape, have more success with losing weight and maintaining that weight loss over a long period of time.

To Happy, Healthy Living,
InCharge Fitness Team

Source: www.fitday.com

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Increase Your Metabolism: Naturally!

  |  in Blog, Exercises, General, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Yes, there are ways that you can increase your metabolism naturally! Start speeding up your metabolism through nutrition and fitness. Read below.

Metabolism-Boosting Foods
Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease, so it’s not a suprise that some foods naturally boost your metabolism. Try adding some of the following foods to your diet each day:

- green tea
- oatmeal
- grapefruit
- broccoli
- hot peppers
- low-fat dairy
- acai juice
- lean meats

Metabolism-Boosting Exercises
Burning calories means adding activity to our lifestyles, and exercise sessions are the real metabolism boosters. Try incorporating both cardio and strength exercises like:

- Cardiovascular: biking, brisk walking, elliptical trainers, climbing stairs, or aerobics class
- Muscle building: lifting weights, using resistance bands, push ups, squats, and chin-ups
- Circuit training: a combination of cardio exercise alternating with muscle-building exercises

Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow your metabolism–often without even knowing about it. Here are a few:

- Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
- Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
- Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
- Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains.

Source: www.fitday.com

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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No Bake Energy Bites

  |  in General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments

I just made this recipe a few weeks ago for our staff at MedSave and they were a big hit! These are a perfect snack if you are craving something sweet or looking for a quick snack to give you a boost of energy!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. (*I melted my chocolate and peanut butter together in the microwave so the balls would stick better.) Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Source: www.gimmesomeoven.com

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The Effects of Strength Training Exercise and Dieting

  |  in Blog, Exercises, GeneralNo Comments

Strength training exercise is important for everyone. It helps decrease your body fat while increasing your lean muscle mass. It also helps your body burn calories more efficiently. Strength training also keeps your bones strong, improves your flexibility and balance, and helps you sleep better and feel better about yourself. When combined with a healthy diet, strength training can help you lose weight and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and depression.

Types of Strength Training

There are several types of strength training to choose from. Weight training depends on gravity, and the use of dumbbells or training equipment to oppose muscle contraction. This type of training engages your muscles throughout their range of motion to focus on strength and size. Here are some of the other types of strength training and their benefits.

  • Circuit training combines strength exercises with endurance activity, so that you get strength, cardio and flexibility training from one workout.
  • Resistance training can be done in water, or with elastic bands, to improve your overall muscular strength.
  • Isometric training requires that you hold a weight or a position, without movement, for a period of time in order to improve muscular strength. Isometric training targets specific muscles and can strengthen joints.
  • Plyometric training uses shorts bursts of movement, such as hopping and jumping, to increase speed, strength and power. This type of training forms part of the programs used by athletes.
  • Core training strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and lower back and can help decreased lower back pain and spinal problems.

Strength Training And Dieting

Strength training can increase your metabolic rate to help you lose weight. But strength training itself requires a certain type of healthy diet. You should avoid sugars and fats, and include plenty of carbohydrates and protein in your diet to fully benefit from strength training exercise.

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s okay to combine strength training with calorie counting, as long as you don’t overdo your workouts. But plan to have a pre-workout snack of yogurt, fruit, low fat cheese or whole grain bread and nut butter. Drink 2 to 3 cups of water about 3 hours before your strength training workout, to ensure that your body is properly hydrated. Drink another cup of water about 10 minutes prior to your workout.

Strength Training Does More Than Help You Lose Weight

Research has shown that those who include strength training in their workouts burn about 200 calories more per workout than those who performed aerobic exercises alone. Strength training exercises such as bench press repetitions and squats not only build up your biceps and triceps but they increase your metabolic rate to help you burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. Strength training exercise also increases your energy level, so you’ll be better able to perform aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming and cycling.

Strength training doesn’t just help you lose weight; it increases balance and flexibility, reduces your risk of injury, helps you feel confident and increases your general sense of well-being.

Source: www.fitday.com

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Healthy Living 101: How to Read a Nutrition Label

  |  in Blog, General, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Too often, purchasing food can be confusing, especially with all of the persuasive marketing tactics used by food companies. Learning how to read, understand, and compare food labels can help you maintain, manage, control, and/or reduce health issues such as weight, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Use this guide to help you make more informed choices:

1. Serving Size and Number of Servings

The serving size is the most important part of the label. It will tell you what amount of the food will provide the nutrition found below it. If you eat more or less than the serving size, you will need to adjust the rest of the label accordingly. For example, a can of soup may have a serving size of one cup with a total of two servings (two cups). If you eat all of the soup, you will have to double everything on the label.

2. Percent Daily Value

You will notice that many of the items listed on the nutrition label will have a percent next to them. It is important to understand that this is based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. Since every body is different, it is not appropriate for everyone to eat 2,000 calories every day. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on various factors, including your gender, height, weight, age, and activity.

3. Calories

Calories are the amount of energy supplied by a food.

4. Calories from Fat

Less than 30% of your total calories should come from fat.

5. Total Fat

This is the total amount of fat found in the serving size. The total is broken down by the type of fat (saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated) found directly underneath this.

  • Saturated fat – Limit saturated fat to 10% of total daily calories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to chronic disease, specifically, coronary heart disease.”
  • Trans fat – Try to avoid trans fats at all costs. Trans fats can increase your “bad” cholesterol and reduce your “good” cholesterol. Food companies can list a food as “trans fat free” if it has 0.5 g or less per serving. In addition to looking on the label, also look at the list of ingredients. If it has “hydrogenated” oil in it, it contains trans fats.
  • Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats – The majority of your fat intake should come from these sources. Examples of good sources include: nuts, canola oil, olive oil, and avocado.

6. Cholesterol

Most people should limit their cholesterol to 300 mg a day or less. For people with high cholesterol, this number is reduced to 150 mg or less a day.

7. Sodium

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 1500 mg a day.

8. Total Carbohydrate

Similar to the total fat listed on the label, the breakdown of the total amount of carbohydrates is found directly below it (fiber and sugar).

  • Fiber - A food that has 5 g of fiber or more is a good source of fiber – aim to eat 25-35 g of fiber a day.
  • Sugar - The sugar listed can be both added and/or naturally occurring.

9. Protein

This is the amount of protein found in one serving.

10. Vitamins and Minerals

Food companies are required to list vitamin A and C content, but may voluntarily list others.

11. Footnote

Under the vitamins and minerals is a footnote that gives recommended levels of intakes based on 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets. If your calorie intake falls within this range, this may be a helpful tool.

To happy, healthy living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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Creamy Chicken Pasta Toss

  |  in Blog, General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments
Ingredients
Non-stick cooking spray
2 cloves of garlic
1 lb.boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups nonfat milk
1/4 cup philadelphia fat free cream cheese spread
3 cups rotini or fusilli pasta, uncooked
10 oz frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
 
Directions
Spray large nonstick skillet with non stick cooking spray . Add chicken on medium heat. Cook 7 min or until evenly browned, stirring occasionally.

ADD 1.5 cups milk and cream cheese spread; mix well. Press 2 cloves of garlic into mix. Bring to boil. Stir in pasta; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low.

COOK 10 min. or until pasta is tender and chicken is cooked through. Add vegetables; cook 5 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with the cheese. Stir in half cup milk. Makes 6 servings (1 1/2 cups per serving).
*for extra fiber use a package of fiesta blend vegtables with beans in them.

Nutrition Info
  • Calories:200.2
  • Fat:1.0g
  • Carbohydrates:33.0g
  • Protein: 17.8g
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Close-Arm Wall Pushups

  |  in Blog, Exercises, General, Sample WorkoutsNo Comments

This is a great exercise to target your chest, shoulders and triceps. Wall pushups are also a good alternative for those who are unable to do regular pushups on the floor. This will help you build your arm strength!
 
Starting Position
Start facing wall, arms-length away, feet slightly apart, legs straight with weight on toes. Place hands on wall with pointer fingers and thumbs forming a triangle. Keep arms in line with shoulders/chest (not above or below this region).

Action
INHALE: Bend elbows about 90 degrees and lower body toward the wall without touching it.

EXHALE: Straighten arms and return to starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions
The further your feet are away from the wall, the more difficult this exercise will be. Also be sure not to lock knees or elbows.

Try doing 3 sets of 10 taking a break between each set.

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Put Yourself First

  |  in Blog, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

Reach Other Goals by Starting With Your Self

You’re a parent, school volunteer, Little League coach, and trusted assistant to your boss. You’ve been up since 6 a.m., made breakfast, packed lunches, cleaned the house, chauffeured the neighborhood kids, helped with homework, read bedtime stories, and finished extra work from the office. It’s 11:30pm. You’re exhausted. And, in about six-and-a-half hours you’ll begin the whole 24-hour cycle…again.

If you find yourself saying ‘Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off!’ you’re not alone. Most of us—especially women, but men too (hey, there are reasons that men die younger than women)—have at some time found ourselves at the bottom of the heap when it comes to taking care of our needs.

The problem with that is that if we don’t take care of ourselves, sooner or later we won’t be of much use to anyone else—or to ourselves. Just as the airline attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask in an emergency before helping a child with theirs, you must take care of your own basic needs before you can attend to the needs of others. What’s more, being busy is not necessarily the same as being productive with meaningful activity. (Do the workaholics you know really accomplish that much more in proportion to the time they invest?)

If “putting yourself first” (a common admonition) sounds too selfish or too hard, try something simpler: put yourself on an equal footing with those you love and tend to. Do you insist that they get enough sleep? Start making that a priority for yourself too. Do you give them time for fun and socializing with friends? Then you do the same! Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: human beings must meet their basic needs before they can move on to higher-level goals. Since most of us already know that we should take care of ourselves—but often have trouble figuring out how to doit, here are some guidelines for getting there:

  • Preserve your physical health with adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
  • Value your emotional health as much as the physical, with a support system of friends and a willingness to laugh—especially at yourself.
  • Schedule fun activities on a regular basis—it’s just as important to plan pleasure as it is to plan work.
  • Identify “busy behaviors” (or people) that drain your time and energy but aren’t really important, then dump ‘em, or at least minimize their hold on you.
  • Kill two birds with one stone, combining family time with exercise, for example, which benefits everyone involved.
  • Try to look at the problems in your life with new eyes to find solutions. If you’re a new mom, for instance, see if you can trade childcare with another new mom to get some time for yourself.
  • Learn to say “No!” Your “yes” is valuable and should not be automatic. Instead, reserve it for the things that are most important to you.
  • Don’t try to change every problem area in your life all at once. Start with one or two items, then expand as you get things under control.

Your life should be like a checking account, balancing out on a regular basis so that you always have assets to draw upon. By making even small deposits—taking care of yourself with a 10-minute walk or a nutritious meal—you’ll be amazed at the interest you’ll reap.

Source: Spark People

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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