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  • Spouse and dependents (12-18 years old) – Up to 4 people
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20 Ways to Cut Thanksgiving Calories

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The holidays are coming and they’re typically full of rich and highly caloric foods that aren’t necessarily good for our health or our waist lines. The average American gains approximately one to two pounds during the holidays. These pounds typically aren’t shed and can add up over the years.

This holiday season, stop the cycle.

By making just a few minor adjustments, you can save yourself hundreds of calories. Use some of the tips below to reduce calories and fat while preserving the flavor of your meals.


1. Baked Goods Oils and butter in these recipes can be substituted with apple sauce, prune puree, or bananas.
2. Chocolate – Use fewer chocolate chips than a recipe calls for or substitute with cocoa powder.
3. Whole Milk, Whipping Cream – Lower fat milk or imitation whipped cream will reduce your calories greatly.
4. Butter – Use healthier fats like light cooking spray, canola oil, whipped butter, olive oil, peanut oil, or a trans-fat-free margarine.
5. Salad Dressing – Salads may seem super healthy, but just a tablespoon of some salad dressings can set you back 100 calories. Instead use reduced-calorie salad dressing, lemon juice, reduced-fat cottage cheese, or herb-flavored or wine vinegar.
6. Cheese – Instead of the usual cheese, try reduced fat cheese. I bet neither you nor your family will be able to tell the difference.
7. Sour Cream, Mayonnaise – Use a plain fat free Greek yogurt–it has the same texture and similar flavor to both sour cream and mayonnaise.
8. Gravy – Put your gravy into the refrigerator before serving. Once it gets cold the fat will collect at the top, skim it off, defrost, and serve.


9. What to Serve – Serve low calorie foods like Canadian bacon, roast beef, raw vegetables, light cheese, dip made with fat free yogurt, and/or homemade salsa.
10. Lean Your Meats – Make your meats lean by removing the skin and fat before eating.
11. A Full Plate – Fill up half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like salad, green beans, spinach, or broccoli.
12. Portion Control – If you have trouble with portion control, drink two large glasses of water right before you start your meal and continue to take sips between bites.


13. Low-Calorie Sweets – Make a lower-calorie dessert like Angel food cake topped with light whip cream and fruit.
14. Fruits – Poached or baked fruits with a light whipped topping also make great desserts.
15. Cakes and Pies – Gingerbread is a lower calorie alternative to the usual cakes and pies.


16. Add Water – Make spritzers with sparkling water or club soda and add some fruit for flavor.
17. Low Calorie Options – Choose light beer, wine, or drinks made with no calorie mixers.
18. Alternate – Alternate between alcoholic drink and water to stay hydrated and keep calories lower.
19. Infusion – Try an infused liquor to reduce alcohol intake and use of mixers.


20. Walk it Off Make activity a habit after your meals–whether it be a walk or an interactive game, get the whole family involved so that you can all burn a few extra calories and lead a longer, healthier life together.

Source: www.fitday.com

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Avoid Mindless Eating

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To lose weight, you need to get in tune with your eating behaviors. These three strategies will help bring them into focus.

1. Write Down What You Eat for 3 Days
The first step in reversing mindless eating is to put real effort into becoming aware of how you eat.

Tip: Jot It Down
Use a notebook specifically for the purpose of recording every bite of food and sip of drink for three days. Include time, portion sizes, location of meal or snack, reason for eating (hunger? stress?), and who was with you. Look for patterns and make changes where you see bad habits.

2. Study Your Eating Environment
Surroundings make a difference! Many of us eat in stressful or distracting areas, such as a work cubicle or the car while driving.

Tip: Find a Calm Spot
Make an effort to eat your meals and snacks in a relaxing place, such as a park bench or outside on your patio. At home, turn off the TV while you eat. These simple changes can make a difference in how satisfied you are once you are finished.

3. Monitor Boredom
Distinguishing true hunger from “head hunger” can be a challenge, especially when you have too much free time.

Tip: Find a New Hobby
Consider learning a new skill that engages your creativity and districts you from thinking about food. Knitting, gardening, scrapbooking, or putting together a puzzle can help extinguish food and eating “chatter” and help you get in touch with feelings of actual hunger versus perceived hunger.

Source: Diabetic Living Magazine – Fall 2012

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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Chopped Chicken Salad

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Some fast-food salads are calorie monsters, but this tasty, make-at-home version is light and healthy.

– 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
– 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tsp Dijon mustard
– 8 c spring mix with herbs (about 8 oz)
– 4 lg hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
– 1 small cucumber, sliced
– 1 1/2 cup chopped rotisserie chicken (about 8 oz)
– 1/3 cup chopped red onion

1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper in serving bowl.

2. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine.

3. Serve salad in bowls and enjoy!

Servings: 4
Nutrition (per serving): 276 calories, 24 g protein, 6 g carb, 2 g fiber, 16.5 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 333 mg sodium.

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5 Exercises For Spring

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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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Healthy New Year Resolutions

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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

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5 Mind Games You Need to Stop Playing

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Motivation is like cold hard cash: You can never have too much! And when you’re trying to lose weight (for the umpteenth time for many of us) you know that you need a wealth of motivational strategies you can count on. But, with so many motivational tips and tricks to sift through, why are we so often losing our motivation rather than reaping the rewards?
One reason is that some of the most popular motivation strategies people use are mind games—games that don’t really work for the long term. At first glance, they all seem helpful, but most are actually bound to fail. Instead of playing Russian roulette when you’re choosing a weight-loss strategy, read on to find out how you can beat the odds and pick a winner.
Mind Game #1:  Going for the Gold
You have your perfect weight and pants size in mind. With a big, bold goal to aspire to, you start biking to work, cooking lighter, packing your lunch, skipping that morning latte, and taking the stairs. Then, three busy, butt-busting weeks later…the scale hasn’t really budged and you’re trying on the same size in the dressing room. Deflated, you start snacking a bit here and slacking a bit there, and your dream of a whittled waistline slowly fades from view.

Motivation Makeover: Going for the gold is a great way to start your weight-loss plan; setting a long-term goal can help you to keep an eye on where you’re headed. But it’s also important to remember that your goal weight is far from the only benefit of incorporating healthy eating and exercise—and it could be a long ways off. Taking note of smaller, more subtle changes (more energy, better sleep, lower cholesterol, better mood, etc.) can help you stay motivated, even if the pounds aren’t coming off as quickly as you’d hoped. Setting some shorter-term goals (1 pound, 5 pounds)—especially ones that aren’t based on the scale (like getting to the gym 5 days a week) can also help you stay on track.

Mind Game #2:  Starting Out Super Strong
It’s Sunday evening and you realize that you spent the weekend indulging on brews, barbeques, and binges. A twinge of guilt has you psyched to start speeding down the road to wellness first thing Monday. So you restock your pantry with healthy eats, download a hardcore training app to your phone, and plan out the next month’s food and workouts. You figure that going full throttle is the way to reach your weight-loss goals as quickly as possible. And why not? You’re excited for it! But two weeks into your overhaul, your muscles are so sore you have trouble rolling out of bed, you’re sick of salads and you’re already thinking about throwing in the towel.

Motivation Makeover: Maintaining motivation is like running a marathon. Instead of starting at full speed and running out of steam, it is better to focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Set small, achievable goals so that you can build momentum and feel successful in the beginning, and pat yourself on the back when you conquer each one. No matter how long it takes to reach the finish line, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.

Mind Game #3:  Taking the Road Less Traveled
There will always be a new diet or exercise program that promise fast progress and fantastic results. Reading about the latest food fad or watching a perky personal trainer push sweat-drenched clients through an infomercial workout can definitely spark your motivation. Who wouldn’t want to try an effective 4-minute workout or slim down fast with a celebrity-backed diet supplement? Deep down, we all know the truth: People are getting paid for those advertisements and whatever motivation you’ve mustered up during the commercial break will fade fast if you don’t get those “as seen on TV” results that were so motivating to you. Trying every new fad that comes on the market may leave you broke and brokenhearted.

Motivation Makeover: If you want a plan that works long term, stick with the tried and true. Keep your eating close to the earth with whole fruits, veggies, grains and lean meats. Get up and moving with whatever activity suits your style and schedule. Remind yourself that following through with real nutrition and fitness habits is a process: It takes the proper planning and commitment that can’t be found in a book, a box or a bottle.

Mind Game #4:  Flying Under the Radar
You’re already feeling self-conscious about losing weight, so you certainly don’t want your friends and family making more of a fuss. Besides, you’re confident that you can do this all on your own! So what if your plan to be stealth has you skipping out on lunch with friends and sneaking veggies to parties in your purse? Going it alone may seem like a good idea, but it is actually counterproductive. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling lonely and left out, and that’s no way to maintain success in the long run.

Motivation Makeover: Call in the recruits! Whether it’s a neighbor down the street, a fellow play group parent or a Facebook friend, get someone to join you on your weight-loss journey. Studies in behavior science show that changes that you make in the public eye have a much better chance of sticking in the real world. Plus, sharing your weight-loss goals with friends opens you up for great personal payouts like counsel, camaraderie, and accountability from the people who know you best. SparkPeople Community, anyone?

Mind Game #5:  Staring Down the Scale
There’s a scale in your bathroom and one next to your treadmill. You check in twice a day and diligently track your weight on a chart on the fridge. Still, even though you’re eating well and exercising, some days the numbers just don’t show it! Seeing real, objective results can be super motivating but being tethered to the scale often becomes a burden. Even though you know that body weight fluctuates throughout each day and hydration (or lack thereof) is usually responsible, unpredictable digits can be deceiving and downright disheartening. If you find yourself frowning at your feet during morning weigh-ins, then your scale is likely sapping your mojo.

Motivation Makeover: Stick that scale in the closet and find inspiration in other numbers (besides your weight). Track specific behaviors to gauge your progress; how many push-ups you can do in a minute, how many miles you walk or bike each week, how many flights of stairs you take each day at work. Keep tabs on a variety of positive results and you won’t be left wanting for fitness focus.

Making use of motivational mind games can really boost your fitness morale. But sometimes, techniques that seem perfectly logical can end up leading you astray. Mastering your own motivation doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. Bet on the time-tested strategies above to get your mind right and you’ll be sure to cash in on long-term wellness!


Article created on:  10/3/2011

–>– By Megan Coatley, Behavior Expert
Source: Spark People, www.sparkpeople.com

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Yummy Summer Salsa

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Roasted Tomato Salsa with Cilantro

If you cannot find these tiny heirloom yellow tomatoes, any grape or cherry tomatoes will do. The roasting coaxes fresh tomato salsa from bright and acidic into complex, subtle and sweet. If you don’t care for cilantro, try using basil instead, and serve this salsa as a bruschetta topping on toasted gluten-free bread rubbed with a clove of fresh garlic.


2 pints of yellow cherry or heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup corn kernels
2 teaspoons dried or fresh cilantro
Sea salt
Olive oil
White balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a roasting pan combine:
2 pints of yellow cherry or heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup corn kernels
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
Sea salt

Drizzle with
Olive oil
White balsamic vinegar

Toss to coat. Roast in a preheated oven until the tomatoes are soft and sweet, about 25 to 30 minutes. I stirred the mix halfway through roasting. Cool before storing. Store covered in the fridge. Just before serving allow the salsa to come to room temperature. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve with Brown Rice Tortilla Chips, corn chips, or triangles of toasted gluten-free garlic bread.

Total Servings: 6

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 265
Carbohydrates: 53.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fat:  5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Fiber:  15.5 g
Sodium:  377 mg
Protein:  11.7 g


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10 Jump Squats

20 Pushups

10 Sumo Jumps

20 Pushups


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Heat Illnesses

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While exercising this summer, it is very important to be aware of heat illnesses and what the symptoms are. Staying hydrated and wearing weather appropriate clothing will help decrease your risk of suffering from one of these illnesses.

Here are a few heat illnesses to watch for while exercising in the summer heat. Also, be aware if you travel somewhere and exercise. The climate differences can be severe, and if you are unacclimatized you may be more prone to these illnesses.

Heat Exhaustion:

  • Diagnosis – Inability to continue exercise in the heat. Body temperature approximately at 102 degrees F. Sweating is profuse. Mental function and thermoregulation are mildly impaired
  • Treatment – Rest and cooling increase venous blood flow to the heart. Replace fluids to body by hydrating with plenty of water.

Exertional Heatstroke:

  • Diagnosis – Thermoregulatory overload or failure. Body temperature approximately at 104 degrees F or higher. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, coma, convulsions, and impairment of mental function and temperature regulation. Sweating may or may not be present. Onset may be rapid in patients who have been exercising.
  • Treatment – This is a true medical emergency. Water immersion provides the fastest cooling rate, and also improves venous return to the heart.

Heat Cramps:

  • Diagnosis – Associated with whole body salt deficiency. Cramps occur in the abdominal and large muscles of the extremities.
  • Treatment – Drink 1/3 tsp. table salt in 1 L of water. If symptoms such as nausea and vomiting occur, consider seeking emergency care where they can use IV solutions.

Heat Syncope:

  • Diagnosis – Brief fainting spell without a significant increase in body temperature. Pale skin is obvious. Pulse and breathing rates are slow. Presyncope warning signals include weakness, vertigo, nausea, or tunnel vision.
  • Treatment – Lay the person in the shade and elevate feet above the level of the head. Replace fluid and salt losses. Avoid sudden or prolonged standing.

Armstrong LE. (2000). Performing in Extreme Environments.
Pages 39-40. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. ISBN: 0-88011-837-7

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