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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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Healthy New Year Resolutions

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, UncategorizedNo Comments

 

1: Control Your Portions
Want to downsize your figure? Start downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating

2: Be Active
One habit naturally slim people share is their ability to stay in motion. Try to inject each day with more activity (adults should aim for 30 minutes daily). The opportunities are endless once you’ve developed the right mindset.

3. Slash Sodium Consumption
Studies show many Americans consume close to twice the recommended limit of sodium, which is a teaspoon (or 6 grams) daily. Besides contributing to water retention (think bloat!), sodium can raise blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management.

4: Increase Antioxidants
When your body breaks down food it produces molecules called free radicals. Cigarette smoke and radiation also produce free radicals. Over time, the damage from these substances can result in conditions like infection, cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. That’s where antioxidants step in. How the American Dietetic Association sums up their role: Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C (an antioxidant), it stays white.

You can defend your body the same way by including rich sources in your diet. Pomegranates, coffee, and even chocolate contain antioxidants.

5: Quit Smoking Already
For smokers, quitting may be the hardest resolution to stick with because it is so challenging. If you consider the benefits, and take advantage of today’s resources, this could be the year you successfully become a nonsmoker. The National Cancer Institute’s smokefree.gov website is a good resource to bookmark.

6: Floss Your Teeth
Like many people, you may not know that bacteria in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect oral health. You may also be surprised to learn that during routine exams, your dentist can spot indications of diabetes and heart disease. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth.

7: Wear Sunscreen… All Year
Sun exposure affects everyone. According to the National Cancer Institute most skin cancer develops after age 50, though sun damage starts at an early age. The sun’s rays are also behind brown spots, and can make wrinkles appear before their time. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, even in the winter, anywhere skin is laid bare to the elements.

8: Strength Train
In simply 10 minutes a day you could gain more energy, stronger bones, and a faster metabolism — and you don’t even need to lift dumbbells. The best exercises recommended by trainers are: squats, push-ups, lunges and the plank. Best part, you can do them anywhere! Adding these moves to your exercise program will help you burn more calories in less time.

9: Expect Good Things From Yourself
Having healthy expectations for yourself is important to both your physical and mental health. Obviously, that’s easier said than done. A mean-spirited inner-critic can ruin relationships, keep you from reaching personal goals, and cramp your ability to be an active participant in your life. For everyday ways to practice bringing acceptance into your realm, visit Oprah Winfrey’s self confidence page.

Source: Reader’s Digest
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/9-healthy-new-years-resolutions/

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Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

  |  in General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments

Ready in 15 minutes – Makes 1 serving

2 slices whole-grain bread
2 tbsp Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 slices (4 oz) turkey breast
Spinach leaves

1. Toast bread.
2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and cranberries. Spread yogurt onto 1 slice of bread.
3. Top with turkey, spinach and second slice of bread. Serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 315, Total Fats: 4 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 49 mg, Sodium: 566 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 43 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 20 g, Protein: 27 g, Iron: 4 mg

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15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

  |  in Blog, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. The craziness of holidays, getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you from exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?

Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Find a program that will suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any workout, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief– What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

Source: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/15-tips-to-restart-the-exercise-habit-and-how-to-keep-it.html

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