Failure Is The Only Option


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Failure Is The Only Option

Failure.  This one little word generally has a negative connotation attached to it, yet in the world of exercise, strength training ‘to (muscle) failure’ is the goal.  Training to failure means the trainee loads the muscles through a pain free range of motion to the point of absolute muscular exhaustion, i.e., the inability to move the weight, even another inch, with safe and proper form.

In my day-to-day work as an exercise instructor at InForm Fitness in Manhattan, NY, it is not uncommon to hear a client say, “I don’t like to fail”.  The idea of exercising to muscular exhaustion (failure), for many, is discouraging and leaves them feeling quite negative.

It is important to reorient yourself from what you generally think of the word “failure” to mean and think of it as a pathway to success.  C.S. Lewis has said, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement”. While I am pretty sure he didn’t have strength training in mind, I think it applies beautifully.

The goal is to always try for one more repetition (with safe and proper form) even if you do not think you can. Should you complete that repetition you must try again, always working for even just one more inch. This tremendous effort sends the signal to your brain to make your existing muscle fibers stronger.  Unfortunately, should the trainee try to avoid muscle failure and therefore avoid the discomfort, they would never illicit the response they need  to achieve all the wonderful benefits of strength training.  Simply put,  failure is the only option.

So, remember, with this new paradigm, strength training to failure is not a sign of weakness. Quite the contrary, it is a sign of strength, and of more strength to come.


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“Muscle: The Fountain of Youth”


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Muscle: The Fountain of Youth

The true, universal value of exercise boils down to only one thing – your quality of life. Our functional ability and stamina depend on our physical strength – the more we have, the more we can do, and the better we will age (and the more fun we will have doing it). Put simply, use it or lose it.

As modern professionals, we do it all these days: career, family, interests, social networks, higher personal development, etc. But if meaningful exercise isn’t carved out, do know that your quality of life takes the hit. Whether that hit presents in your real-time, day-to-day living or in the ultimate cultivation of a possibly-avoidable, better managed, or even reversible genetic pre-dispositions. You will pay the opportunity cost somehow, at some time.

While we continue to be a visually oriented society, having long exercised predominately to “lose weight,” the presumption is often still that if we look good, we feel good, and as a corollary, are fit and healthy. That presumption is dead wrong, so even if just for a moment, ditch the notion of exercise having anything to do with what’s attractive, and focus on your health.

More skeletal muscle, in conjunction with a balanced diet will ensure that your insulin levels remain steady and suppressed. Alternatively, high insulin triggers your stress hormones, adrenaline, and epinephrine to activate a process to store large amounts of fat. Insulin blocks fat metabolism and directs sugar to be stored as fat, and the resulting body composition will put you at greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity and sarcopenia.

If you’re one of the millions of women suffering from osteoporosis (or at risk), building muscle directly increases bone density by putting increased stress on the bones, making them stronger, healthier, and less prone to fractures and breaks. Not only does increased bone density slow the devastating bone loss associated with getting older, it also helps to counteract any future loss by building additional bone matter. Your new muscle mass will also serve to protect your bones, guarding them against injury and cushioning the blow in case of a fall.

Aesthetically, well-developed back and shoulder muscles will improve posture, toned arm and leg muscles, calves too, improves appearance (and helps prevent the formation of varicose veins), pectoral muscles enhance the lift of the bust, etc. If you are after a younger looking, more vibrant feminine body, you want more muscle. And, added muscle improves our appearance with definition and helps to fight gravity, holding up our desirable body fat in the right places.

Building muscle is the best way to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing. Indeed, osteoporosis, diabetes, diminished cardiac function, weight gain, glucose insensitivity, joint pain, loss of balance and injury, can be traced back to perpetual muscle loss. Logically then, one of the best things you can do to protect your overall health is to build muscle. Remember that our skeletal muscles serve as the engine, chassis, and shock absorbers of our bodies.

Exercise can only do three things: stimulate our body’s growth hormone mechanism (build muscle), prevent the physical improvements we seek (overtraining), or produce injury (getting hurt). So how do we build muscle?

The simplicity of the InForm Fitness is genius – slow-motion strength training requires that our Clients perform weight-bearing exercise as intensely as they can, with as much control and focus as they can, both briefly and infrequently. In exchange for an albeit challenging and highly focused 20 minutes once or twice a week, you can avoid spending hours each week in the gym and instead enjoy your free time to live the life you want. Science based and evidence backed, this workout produces amazing results.

InForm Fitness is not an athletic gym, or the typical personal exercise Studio. All sessions are private, one-on-one with a Strength Training Instructor and scheduled by appointment only. InForm Fitness offers revolutionary program for people with demanding schedules, who want optimal results in minimum time.


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Caesar Salad Recipe


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Nicole’s Homemade Mayonnaise

Facing the ugly truth, I had to give up Hellman’s, being 92% soybean oil. But I loved the taste, texture, consistency, look, smell, and feel of Hellman’s, to say nothing of BLTs, and couldn’t find a substitute I liked. Once I did, I realize it’s not the bread but the Hellman’s that makes the BLT taste like it does, so I liberally now spread the mayo on two lettuce leaves, slice the tomatoes on, salt and pepper, and then layer on the bacon.

I did some experimenting and settled on the following recipe:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup light olive oil (Filippo Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil)

Put all the ingredients in the glass tumbler that comes with the immersion blender or a similar one (but not narrower). Put the dry ingredients (dry mustard and ground white pepper) in first and then the apple cider vinegar and stirred it just enough to make sure that the dry ingredients won’t clump together. Then drop in the whole egg; then pour in the oil.

Let sit for a minute or two while the oil rises to the top. Place the immersion blender in so that it sits firmly on the bottom of the glass container. Set it to the highest speed and turn on. Hold the glass with your other hand. Do NOT pull the blender up and down or out and around, just allow it to set at the bottom of the container. In a little less than a minute, the mixture will emulsify and look like mayo. Then gently move the blender up and down a few times to incorporate any remaining oil.

My experiments have revealed the following: Two eggs are one too many for one 1 cup of oil. You won’t get the proper thickness with two. Apple cider vinegar is better than lemon juice, in my opinion on taste. Dry mustard is better than Dijon, same, just tastes better to me. White pepper is better than. The real secret is the light olive oil; Bertolli and Filippo Berio work fine.

And, since, I have coming increasingly to prefer AVOCADO OIL and the kick lime juice instead of Vinegar.

My best Caesar Salad Dressing Ever

Blend:

  • 1 cup Nicole’s Homemade Mayo
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon Juice, or raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, or coconut vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 anchovy filets (if “yuck,” use 1 tablespoon Capers)
  • 4 garlic cloves (or 2, to taste)
  • ½ cup fresh grated high-quality parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup olive or avocado oil, to be drizzled into blender last slowly

Later, add another ½ cup fresh grated high-quality parmesan to 3 cleaned and slice organic Romaine hearts when tossing salad! You should have plenty of dressing left for a dip or another salad to serve 6!

EXTRAS:

  • 1 cup Marcona Almonds, Pine Nuts or Walnuts – adds protein, fat and fiber! Imported from Spain, Marcona are the “Queen of Almonds.”
  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Chicken, Salmon or Shrimp


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Carnitas Burrito Bowl


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Carnitas Burrito Bowl

 
I had Chipotle on Saturday and all i could taste was salt.  It’s still all I can taste.  So I’m cooking my own version of their burrito bowls for meal prep this week.

 

Ingredients:
4 lbs Pork Butt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 head cauliflower, riced
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 medium yellow onion
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons cilantro

 

Carnitas

Pork
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix spices in a bowl and stir until fully combined.  CAREFULLY carve pork but into 3 to 4 inch cubes.  Remove excess fat, but don’t cut away all of the fat, the fat will enhance flavor.  In a dutch oven over medium high heat, heat oil.  In batches, sear pork cubes about 2 to 3 minutes a side.  You don’t want to crowd the pot, or else the meat will steam instead of sear. Don’t rush this part, take your time and sear all sides of cubes.  Once all of the pork is cubed, add all pieces to the dutch oven and add about 1/2 cup of water.  Place dutch oven into oven and cook for 4 hours.
2) Fast forward 4 hours, remove pork from oven and pull apart with a fork.
For nutritional info, 1 serving is 4.5 oz of meat

 

Cauliflower rice
Add cauliflower, salt and pepper to taste, to pan with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.  Saute over medium high heat until tender.  Remove from heat and add lime juice and cilantro stirring throughout.

 

Fajita vegetables
Slice veggies long ways and saute over oil on medium high heat until tender
Serve veggies and carnitas over cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
Nutrition: Calories, 305; Fat, 14.5 grams; Protein, 36 grams, Carbohydrates, 13 grams

 

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Are you Clean about your KETO or just talking Dirty?


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Dirty vs Clean Keto

The Ketogenic Diet is a strategic macro-nutrient distribution of daily food intake designed to switch the body’s metabolic state from Glycolysis, whereby glucose from carbohydrate intake fuels the body’s energy needs, to Ketosis, whereby fat is burned for fuel in the absence of the carbohydrates. Once your body no longer relies on glucose as a primary energy source, your liver starts to convert fat into ketones to fuel both body and brain. The macro-nutrient distribution is roughly 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrates. Easier said than done and deceptively dangerous!

Keto approached in either one of two ways will produce aggressive fat loss yet yield drastically opposing impacts on body and brain. Knowing the difference is not as simple as differentiating between “clean” versus “dirty” approaches, but rather appreciating that the foods our macros come from matter! From the potentially lethal to life-changing health benefits, ketosis can serve up either.

“Dirty keto” evolved with our modern eating habits to indiscriminately favor convenient, cheap and processed fat, with blind regard for the source. Butter, bacon, and excessive amounts of oils are ketogenic, yes, but absolutely reckless. Indiscriminate sourcing also lacks micro-nutrients vital to overall health and is laden with highly processed foods – “hello” cravings, bloating, and feelings of withdrawal, a.k.a. “keto flu.”

“Clean” emphasizes quality, unprocessed, healthy fats, via cold-pressed oils. nuts and seeds. Your proteins are lean, wild, and pastured while carbohydrates must be restricted to the non-starchy, high-fiber variety and include a diverse range of colorful vegetables. Keto-adaptation is the goal and when you start to experience the physiological benefits of enhanced mental acuity, sustained energy, less discomfort, optimal recovery, feeling satiated not hungry, and less blood sugar volatility. When keto-adapted, blood markers improve, lowered triglycerides and higher HDLs is one example of improved insulin resistance. Include reduced inflammation and improved metabolic health, you have a real chance at living disease free!

Intermittent Fasting on Keto

Combining fasting with keto should be practiced for convenience, which facilitates sustainability and ultimately your results. While fat loss is usually both the most obvious and coveted result, fasting and keto will serve to accelerate all the other wonderful physiological benefits beyond the aesthetic.

It’s as simple as skipping breakfast, literally. Ask which fasting approach works for keto (rather than you) and here’s your answer: split each 24-hour period into an eating or fasting window. Start with a 16/8 split of 16 fasted hours to 8 eating hours. Strive to narrow down to a 14/10 split over time. If you have your first bite of food at 11am, your window is closed at 7pm, and nothing is consumed until 11am again the next day. Water, tea, and coffee being the only exceptions. The narrower the eating window, the more rapid the results, irrespective of the caloric intake consumed in aggregate.

Remaining in “clean” keto adaptation requires precision, both sourcing and allocating your macro-nutrients. Such precision requires effort and is significantly less taxing and more sustainable the less time it consumes. Once or twice a day is less consuming than an effort to be on point three to five times, over a fluid 12 to 16-hour period. Add life, with several moving parts and melodramas, and that’s a losing game! Intermittent fasting simply has proven critical to success on convenience alone.

 Final note – serious contraindications preclude many from safe keto. You must check with your Dr.


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The Gift of Magnesium


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Can we talk about magnesium for a minute?  Call me crazy, but I can get quite effusive when discussing this powerhouse macro mineral.  In the pantheon of essential minerals, magnesium, in my book, is nothing short of a superstar.  Of course, all the essential minerals are necessary for good health, and they all deserve their due, but hardworking magnesium is truly a miraculous substance — one that we would do well to focus on for the preservation of our own good health.

Every cell in our bodies needs magnesium to function.  It is essential for healthy bones, it helps with protein synthesis and energy creation, it regulates our metabolism, it supports DNA replication, and it modulates our nervous system and mood.  Magnesium is also responsible for keeping our cardiovascular system healthy, our blood sugar regulated, our immune system robust, and our muscles functioning properly.  All pretty impressive, right?  In fact, more than 300 biochemical reactions in the human body are powered by magnesium.  Yet, various studies have shown that anywhere from 50-80 percent of Americans may be magnesium deficient.

How Can This Be?

 Magnesium is everywhere.  It’s found in the earth, in the sea, in plants, and in animals.  It is the fourth most prevalent mineral in the human body, where it is stored in our bones and in the cells of our tissues and organs.  Fifty years ago, magnesium deficiency was a relatively rare phenomenon, most likely because people ate more whole, unrefined foods back then – especially leafy green vegetables — and were less susceptible to the effects of environmental toxins, chronic stress, and systemic inflammation than we are today.  Today’s widespread use of prescription medications and alcohol also contributes to magnesium depletion, as does a diet high in processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats.  Regular consumption of carbonated beverages and coffee also works against us in flushing magnesium out of our systems because of their diuretic properties.  In short, our modern lifestyle effectively sets us up for magnesium depletion.

How Do You Know If You’re Magnesium Deficient?

Are you feeling “wired and tired”?  Do you get muscle cramps or weakness, suffer from insomnia, have nervous tics, or experience an irregular heartbeat from time to time?  Do you get dizzy when you stand up too quickly, experience numbness or tingling in your hands, face, or feet, and/or do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks?  All of these may be signs of magnesium deficiency, as are high blood-sugar levels, weak bones, a poor complexion, and digestive disorders.

But take heart!  Magnesium deficiency can easily be resolved, given proper attention to getting a sufficient supply of magnesium-rich foods in our daily diet, as well as possibly adding in a high-quality magnesium supplement.  If you begin incorporating some of the following foods in your normal eating regimen, you should soon feel the amazing benefits of the “magnesium boost”:  more energy, a sense of calm, better quality sleep, and fewer aches, pains, and digestive upset.  In short, having sufficient magnesium on board brings your whole body into better balance and alignment.

Best Food Sources for Magnesium

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 400-420 mgs/day for men and 310-320 mgs/day for women, an amount that should be easily attainable.  The following foods all serve as excellent sources of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin Seeds (150 mg per oz.)
  • Leafy Green Vegetables (especially Spinach, Kale, and Chard) (156 mg per cup/cooked)
  • Cashews (82 mg per oz.)
  • Almonds (80 mg per oz.)
  • Walnuts (45 mg per oz.)
  • Dark Chocolate (70-85% Cocoa) (64 mg per oz.)
  • Black beans, Adzuki beans, and Kidney beans (avg. 120 mg per cup/cooked)
  • Whole grains (especially Quinoa) (avg. 118 mg per cup/cooked)
  • Split Peas (71 mg per cup/cooked)
  • Avocados (58 mg per avocado/medium)
  • Fish (especially Halibut, Mackerel, and Salmon) (avg. 53 mg per half fillet)
  • Tofu (53 mg per 3.5 oz. serving)
  • Flaxseeds (40 mg per tbsp.)
  • Bananas (32 mg per banana/medium)

So, take some time out from your daily grind to make self-care a priority – including getting adequate doses of magnesium! Have a cup of hot cocoa, munch on some almonds, and savor the moments.  Life IS better when we FEEL better, and magnesium provides us an excellent path for doing that.  Don’t ignore the gift of good health that magnesium offers us.  A little attention to dietary change can go a long way.  Here’s to your health!


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What’s changed since Power of 10?


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Adam’s Serendipitous Career in Exercise

“I’ve made the mistake of not thinking for myself in a way, just following a strict protocol. Now, I still believe in the principles of lifting weights slowly and safely and there has to be a certain level of intensity, but that’s where the rules end.” Adam Zickerman, owner of Inform Fitness and author of Power of 10, speaks to HITuni about his story and how his perspective on exercise has changed over the years.

Adam has been a successful gym owner since the late 1990’s. In fact, 2018 marks his 21st year in the business of teaching the principles of sound strength training, but how did it all begin for him?

He had always been athletic as a kid and teen playing baseball, swimming, cycling and even pushing himself through triathlons. It was this athletic nature that initially led him into the world of strength training, seeking improved performance in his sporting endeavors.

As a motivated young man, Adam stuck with his physical regime even after entering the working world. At this point, he was exercising 5 days a week and could often be heard espousing the benefits of exercise to his more sedentary work colleagues. It was whilst looking to motivate his boss into starting exercise that Adam had a wake-up call of sorts. Obviously not a man to mince his words, Adam’s boss retorted with words to the effect “For all the exercise you do, you look like shit and as far as I can see your workouts are doing you more harm than good!”      READ MORE

Read HitUni.com’s blog post in a series featuring outstanding individuals from the HIT community who we spent some time with on our trip to the US earlier this year. In this post, we feature Adam Zickerman, owner of Inform Fitness and author of Power of Ten 10.

 


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Turkey Tacos


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MEAL PREP: Turkey Tacos

 

Right now is a really amazing time to be low carb, gluten, and grain free.  There are numerous companies that make alternate versions of your favorite carbs, and these days you won’t lose all of your friends for replacing rice, mashed potatoes, and pizza crust with cauliflower (only most of your friends).  I’m not big on prepackaged foods, but there’s a brand, Siete, that makes tortillas out of almond flour.  I used these Siete wraps for meal prep this week to make tacos.  One drawback of Paleo is that you really never get to eat with your hands, and while a taco salad is delicious and good for you, it’s still a salad.  I love biting into a taco and having its contents spill out all over me as much as the next guy, and thanks to Siete and companies like them, now I can!

 

 Taco Ingredients

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground turkey

2 red bell peppers

1 medium onion

Spinach

Guacamole

Siete almond flour wraps

Taco seasoning (recipe to follow.  If you want to use premade taco season, look at the ingredients.  A lot of companies (looking at you McCormick and Old El Paso) sneak vegetable oil, soy, and corn or potato starch into their spice mixes.  A taco seasoning shouldn’t have any of that stuff) 

 

Taco Seasoning

2 Tbsp Chili powder

1/2 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 Tsp onion powder

1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 Tsp oregano

1 Tsp paprika

3 Tsp cumin

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

 

1) Dice red peppers and onions, saute over medium high heat until tender

2) Add turkey over veggies and saute until just browned

3) Sprinkle spice mix over meat and veggies

4) Pour about 3/4 of a cup  of water over entire mixture to help distribute spices.  Mix it all up and let the water cook off

5) If using Siete wraps, you should nuke them in the microwave for around 15 seconds, this will soften them up and stop them from cracking on you

6) Put about 1/3 cup of taco meat onto wrap, garnish with spinach, 1 tablespoon of guacamole, and hot sauce

 

Turkey Tacos 

Meat (1/3 cup): 118 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 15 grams protein, 2.5 grams carbs

Siete Wrap (1 wrap): 100 calories, 5.5 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 10 grams carbs

Guacamole (1 Tbsp): 23 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram carbs

 

Per taco: 241 calories, 9 grams fat, 18 grams protein, 13.5 grams carbs

 

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Put Your Oxygen Mask Back On!


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Put Your Oxygen Mask Back On!

“What About Me?” is my summertime inner-self mantra! But rather than speak for anyone else (although surely many empathize), I will reflect on my own experiences. Summer is coming to a close – that’s a Season, not a three-month vacation. I realize now, the grass always appears greener, irrespective of the Season. Schools get out, life appears easier, but before I know it, I am salivating as the count-down to Fall matriculation starts with visions of the heavens parting as the school doors open.

As a mom, the summer season whips off my oxygen mask. My life is nearly unmanageable when schools are in session, with every day feeling like a marathon. That being my status quo, add Summer and the dysfunction unfolds exponentially. Yikes! The real question is how I prioritize myself, and namely my health and fitness, when I am also responsible for the wellbeing of many others, who have the free time I don’t? How do I defend my time, which is so scarce, and when everybody wants it? My answer is STRATEGY. My strategy is the same as always – to get my own oxygen mask on, again, and this time firmer than ever.

Take Care of Yourself Before Assisting Others

As Summer has proved, if I am not taking care of myself, I am unable to be of optimal service to my family and community. Summer has taken its toll on my metabolic health, to say nothing of my sanity. As I never have time to waste on any inefficiencies (especially since so few are even within my control), I need serious bang for my buck. Essentially, I will no longer settle for a strategy that yields less than the highest return, for the lowest level of risk, with only the minimal investment of my own. If I were describing an investment portfolio, you’d all be grabbing your checkbooks. But I am talking about strength training!

Absent this fictional time to waste, my “exercise” must stimulate a positive physiological adaptation that serves to enhance my fitness, without undermining my health. The activity must be safe, efficient and produce measurable metabolic results. While running and aerobics are physical activities, I question the risk (wear, tear and injury) versus the reward (positive physiological adaptation). And, to be honest, even if I loved to run, I don’t have the darned time.

Muscular Strength is My Armor

I armor up for life with muscular strength for optimal movement, energy and protection from injury. My skeletal muscles serve as the engine, chassis, and shock absorbers for my body. I assert, for me, that building muscle is the exercise for this modern working parent! And, it’s the best way to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing, supercharge my metabolism and increase cardiovascular endurance.

Safe, efficient strength training is my oxygen mask. My metabolic health, functional ability and stamina ALL depend on my physical strength: the more muscular strength I have, the more I can do, and the better I will age (and the more fun I will have doing it).


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EXERCISE TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT


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Controlling Your Quality Of Life

The true, universal value of exercise boils down to only one thing – your quality of life. Despite tragedies out of our control, genetic dispositions both physical and metabolic, and our society’s shared struggle to prioritize exercise above the myriad seemingly more pressing responsibilities, heedlessly trust that deprioritizing concentrated physical exertion is tantamount to forfeiting the opportunity to live your longest and most enjoyable life possible. Our functional ability and stamina depend on our physical strength – the more we have, the more we can do, and the better we will age (and the more fun we will have doing it). Put simply, use it or lose it.

As modern professional women, we do it all these days: career, family, interests, social networks, higher personal development, etc. But if meaningful exercise isn’t carved out, do know that your quality of life takes the hit. Whether that hit presents in your real-time, day-to-day living or in the ultimate cultivation of a possibly-avoidable, better managed, or even reversible genetic pre-dispositions. You will pay the opportunity cost somehow, at some time.

While we continue to be a visually oriented society, having long exercised predominately to “lose weight,” the presumption is often still that if we look good, we feel good, and as a corollary, are fit and healthy. That presumption is dead wrong, so even if just for a moment, ditch the notion of exercise having anything to do what’s attractive, and focus on your health.

More skeletal muscle, in conjunction with a balanced diet will ensure that your insulin levels remain steady and suppressed. Alternatively, high insulin triggers your stress hormones, adrenaline, and epinephrine to activate a process to metabolize large amounts of fat. Your insulin will block fat metabolism and will instead direct that sugar to be stored as fat, and the resulting body composition will put you in metabolic danger of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and sarcopenia.

Helping Women Fight Osteoporosis 

Or, if you’re one of the millions of women suffering from osteoporosis (or at risk), building muscle directly increases bone density by putting increased stress on the bones, making them stronger, healthier, and less prone to fractures and breaks. Not only does increased bone density slow the devastating bone loss associated with getting older, it also helps to counteract any future loss by building additional bone matter. Your new muscle mass will also serve to protect your bones, guarding them against injury and cushioning the blow in case of a fall.

Aesthetically, well-developed back and shoulder muscles will improve posture, toned arm and leg muscles, calves too, improves appearance (and helps prevent the formation of varicose veins), pectoral muscles enhance the lift of the bust, etc. If you are after a younger looking, more vibrant feminine body, you want more muscle. And, added muscle improves our appearance with definition and helps to fight gravity, holding up our desirable body fat in the right places.

Fight Ageing With Muscle

Building muscle is the best way to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing, supercharge the metabolism and increase cardiovascular endurance. Indeed, osteoporosis, diabetes, impaired cardiac function, weight gain due to decreasing metabolism and loss of glucose sensitivity, joint pain, loss of balance and injury, etc., can all be traced back to the fact that we lose vital muscle as we age. Logically then, one of the best things you can do to enhance your overall health and fitness now is to build muscle, whilst arresting the natural course of muscle loss that occurs as we age. Remember that our skeletal muscles serve as the engine, chassis, and shock absorbers of our bodies.


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FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO BETTER HEALTH


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For many people, eating right and getting healthy seems like such an elusive task.  I’ve heard all the excuses:  it’s too difficult, nothing works for me, I don’t know which diet to follow… the list goes on.  But I’ll let you in on a little secret — getting healthy doesn’t have to be hard!  It simply requires a willingness to make some basic lifestyle changes that will set you up for success.

 

Here are my top five tips for getting, and staying, healthy:

 

  • Drink More Water. Yes, I know, this sounds too good to be true, but in fact, most of us are chronically dehydrated without even realizing it.  Drinking plenty of clean, preferably filtered, water daily is essential for the functioning of a healthy metabolism and the flushing of waste products and other toxins from our systems.  On average, our bodies are comprised of over 60 percent water.  We need to continually replace that water so we can effectively transport nutrients to our cells, regulate our body temperature, and keep our organs functioning properly.  Staying adequately hydrated also contributes to a feeling of fullness, which naturally results in us eating less.  How much water, you ask?  Recommendations vary, even among experts.  My customizable advice is to halve your body weight in pounds and drink that numerical result in ounces daily — no metric conversion needed.

 

  • Eliminate The Junk. When it comes to toxic substances in our food supply, one need look no further than the aisles of the supermarket.  All those colorful boxes and bags of pre-packaged foods and food-like products are among the most lethal substances out there for sabotaging our health.  Processed foods, sugary cereals, and snack foods are generally loaded with chemicals, preservatives, artificial dyes and flavorings, and refined carbohydrates devoid of nutritional value.  They also tend to be full of added sugar, sodium, and unhealthy saturated fats, all of which work to thwart our efforts at maintaining healthy weight and metabolic balance.  But forewarned is forearmed.  I’m here to tell you that probably the single most beneficial change you can make for your health is to “just say no” to processed food.

 

  • Eat More Vegetables. Yes, it’s true!  Adding a couple of vegetable servings to every meal is an incredibly powerful way to transform your health.  Just as most Americans are chronically dehydrated, so too are we undernourished.  But so many of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies need to be healthy are found right in our own back yards – or at least, at the local Farmer’s Market or produce section of our supermarkets.  Fruits and vegetables are among Nature’s most perfect foods, and our bodies are biologically programmed to thrive when we include a variety of colorful plant foods in our daily diet.  The phytonutrients they contain are essential for healthy immune function, blood sugar balance, heart and brain health, bone integrity, and warding off age-related degenerative diseases.  What’s more, when you fill up on veggies, you leave less room for the junk.  Please do yourself a favor and eat more vegetables.  Your body will thank you for it.

 

  • Build Strength. We all know that exercise is important, but with our busy lives, it’s not always easy to fit that in.  So, in the spirit of keeping things simple, my suggestion would be to focus on the most efficient way to achieve maximum benefit with minimal time investment:  strength training.  Believe it or not, just 20-30 minutes of slow motion, high intensity weight training once or twice a week is all you need to build lean muscle, which can reap tremendous benefits in terms of your metabolic health.  Not only does it rev your metabolism for more efficient calorie burning, but it also strengthens your bones, boosts your immunity, and elevates your mood.  Of course, adding a variety of other physical activities to your weekly lineup is helpful as well, to include some form of cardiovascular exercise as well as practices like yoga that improve balance and flexibility.  But if you must narrow it down to just one thing, I say go for the strength.

 

  • Sleep. If you’re looking to improve your overall health, one of the best things you can do is catch some zzzzz’s.  Sleep plays such a vital role in our physical health and wellbeing, yet more than one third of Americans is chronically sleep-deprived.  Sadly, in today’s fast-paced world, sleep has become a precious commodity.  It’s no wonder we’re seeing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease skyrocket, since sleep deficiency increases the risk of all these health problems, and more.  Studies have shown that people who sleep less also produce increased amounts of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin, meaning they usually end up eating more than they normally would during the day.  Making sleep a priority can truly be a game-changer then, for your health as well as your waistline.

 

If doing all these things at once seems daunting, try implementing just one change at a time and see how it goes.  Your body works hard for you every day.  Isn’t it time that you showed it some love?


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Stuffed Cabbage


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MEAL PREP: Stuffed Cabbage

My favorite cheat meal is a burrito. 90% of the time I follow the Paleo diet, and only eat meat, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds. I don’t eat grain, beans, or dairy, and a burrito is all of those things wrapped up in another thing that I don’t eat. So it’s a perfect meal for when I want to deviate from my diet. I only do that once, maybe twice a week, so I can’t meal prep a burrito. I got to thinking that maybe the beauty of a burrito, everything I don’t eat inside of something I also don’t eat, could be recreated by cooking the opposite, everything I do eat wrapped up in another thing I do eat. Enter stuffed cabbage. I used a mix of meat, vegetables, and eggs, and I wrapped it up in a steamed cabbage leaf. I’m a genius.

 

Cabbage-Ingredients

 

Ingredients:

1 large cabbage
1 lb 93% lean turkey
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium zucchini, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, riced
1 Egg
2 cups tomato sauce (read the ingredients to your tomato sauce, they often have high fructose corn syrup. Please don’t eat high fructose corn syrup)

1) Fill a large pot with about an inch of water.  Place the whole cabbage in water. Cover and steam over low heat for 25-30 minutes.  I’ve heard that if you freeze your cabbage, then let it thaw before steaming, it’s far easier to remove the leaves.  I didn’t do this because I’d just bought my cabbage and needed to start cooking right away before it got too late.  I will tell you that removing the leaves without freezing was challenging.  So if you’re thinking of making this, grab your cabbage a day or so early and freeze it, then remove it from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator the morning before you cook.  Either that, or struggle through the leaving process like I did, just don’t curse my name if the leaves keep ripping on you.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3) Saute the onion, zucchini, and cauliflower rice.  Let cool before handling.  Once cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add turkey and crack egg into mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Get your hands into it and really work the ingredients together.  Once fully mixed, wash your hands.
4) Carefully remove the cabbage from the steaming pot.  Don’t be like me, use a tool to remove it.  Tongs or a big spoon or something, the cabbage will be hot…..
5) Lay 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a dutch oven or large pot.
6) carefully peel the leaves off of the cabbage one by one.
7) place 1/4 cup of meat mixture in a leaf and roll the leaf, starting with the stem, while tucking the sides in so that each roll is completely contained.  Place the roll, seam down into the pot with the tomato sauce.  Continue until you run out of meat mixture.  Pour remaining cup of tomato sauce over the roll.
Cabbage-before     Cabbage-Roll
8) Cover pot and transfer into preheated oven for 1 hour.

 

Cabbage-Pot

Makes approximately 12 rolls.
Nutrition: 1 cabbage roll, 120 calories, 7 grams fat, 11 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates

 

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One Skillet Cashew Chicken Stir-fry


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MEAL PREP: One Skillet Cashew Chicken Stir-fry

Wedding gifts keep pouring in and I recently received a beautiful Le Crueset cast iron pan in sexy-red (image to follow). With proper maintenance, a good cast iron pan is indestructible! This thing is a work of art, and I was really excited to use it.  So I went looking for a healthy one pan recipe to break it in with.

 

I came across an interesting recipe for chicken stir-fry with a peanut sauce.  I don’t eat peanuts (they aren’t actually nuts, peanuts are legumes, and legumes are against Paleo.  The more you know!), so I got to wondering what would happen if I replaced the peanut butter with almond butter.  Swapping coconut aminos for the soy turned the sauce into a light, creamy, healthy, and Paleo alternative to conventional peanut sauce.  This recipe was fantastic and it’s going to make it into my regular rotation.  Thanks for the pan Steve and Esther, so generous of you.

 

 

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs chicken breast
2 cups broccoli florets (I used frozen.  You shouldn’t look down on frozen vegetables, they’re flash frozen at peak freshness, and are often more nutrition than fresh vegetables.  Plus, I didn’t feel like dicing broccoli myself.  Who has time for all that?)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/3 carrot, julienned
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 cup sugar snap peas

1) A cast iron pan is fantastic, but it needs to be ‘seasoned’ by rubbing oil into it periodically.  I used avocado oil, but they say any oil will work.  It’s imperative that you render the pan bone dry after use and NEVER use soap on a cast iron pan!  To clean it use a paste of salt and water then dry it thoroughly.  I towel dried mine then threw it on the stove with the flame at medium for a while to make sure it was dry.  With regular maintenance, these things will last forever!
2) Melt 2 tablespoons cooking fat in pan.  I use coconut oil as my cooking fat.
3) Throw all vegetables and cashews into the pan and stir.
4) Cube chicken, seasoning with salt and pepper, then add to pan.  Add sauce, mix it all up and stir regularly until the chicken is cooked through.  Approximately 10 minutes.

 

Almond butter sauce:

4 tablespoons coconut aminos
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon fresh
3 tablespoons water

Cast Iron Pan 
 
Makes 8 servings (I had it as 6 servings because i’m a growing boy)
8 servings; 363 calories, 15 grams fat, 47 grams protein, 12 grams carbs
6 servings; 484 calories, 20 grams fat, 63 grams protein, 16 grams carbs

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Beef and Chicken and Broccoli


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MEAL PREP: Beef and Chicken and Broccoli

I like Chinese food as much as everyone else does, but when you get Chinese takeout it’s full of crappy oils, crappy ingredients, and leaves you feeling just like it, crappy.  Luckily, you can quickly whip up these flavors at home by swapping out their crappy ingredients with quality ones you already have at home(or can easily pick up) For this week’s meal prep I made a healthy spin on Beef and Broccoli (and added chicken because I’m a grown up and can do what I want!) with cauliflower rice.  You can buy cauliflower pre-riced, which saves time and cleanup.

Feel free to reach out to me if there are other cultural dishes that you’d like tips on how to prepare in a healthier way.  Nutrition is my favorite thing to talk about.  I’m a lot of fun at parties………

Beef Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:

1 pound grass fed skirt steak, cubed
1 pound organic chicken breast, cubed
24 oz broccoli florets
2 10 oz bags cauliflower rice (or 2 heads of cauliflower)
1 small yellow onion
2/3 cup coconut aminos (coconut aminos are a flavor enhancer that is interchangeable with soy sauce)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cooking fat of choice (I use refined coconut oil.  Refined means they strip it of the coconut flavor)

 

1) add oil to large pot over medium high heat
2) add broccoli, spices, and coconut aminos.  Cook until broccoli softens, around 5 minutes.
3) add cubed chicken and steak.  Cook stirring regularly until chicken is cooked through
4) in a separate pan make cauliflower rice.  To make cauliflower rice you can either run it over a cheese grater, which is labor and time intensive (and leaves a huge mess).  Or you can run it through a food processor.  Just make sure to chop it in brief pulses, if you over process the cauliflower, you’ll get a couscous consistency, which isn’t what you want for this dish.  Dice onion and cook in oil until tender.  Add cauliflower rice and cook on medium high for 5 minutes until tender.
5) divide meat and broccoli over cauliflower rice

 

Beef-Chicken-Broccoli-2

Nutrition: makes 6 servings
Calories, 369, Fat 14 grams, Protein 44 grams, Carbohydrate 13 grams

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Slow Cooker Chicken Sweet Potato Chili


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MEAL PREP: Slow Cooker Chicken Sweet Potato Chili

I’m getting married in October, and I’ve slowly begun to receive wedding gifts, one gift I just got is a truly beautiful slow cooker (Thank you Stewart and Eileen).  With all this great stuff arriving at our place, I think I’m starting to understand why people get married.  That and love of course (heart you Georgia, you’re the best xoxo).

This new slow cooker makes my old slow cooker look like a piece of crap, so I’m giving it to my future sister-in-law, use it in good health.  I really wanted to break in the new machine, so I made a chicken chili.  It was easy, healthy, delicious, and made the entire floor of my building smell wonderful no doubt making my neighbors happy with me, hopefully making up for the sea bass fiasco…………. Anyway, I digress

Chicken-Chili-Ingredients

Ingredients:

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
3 medium sized sweet potatoes, skinned and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
4 oz can of green chilies
3 cloves garlic
2 cups of bone broth, I used beef Bad To The Bone Broth which is a high quality, small batch, broth made from only grass fed bones and sold exclusively at InForm Fitness (obligatory company plug)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. I like spicy, and between the green chilies, jalapeno, chili powder, and cayenne, this will be spicy. If you don’t like spicy be sure to seed and rib your jalapeno and skip the cayenne
1 tablespoon cilantro, diced
1 tablespoon ghee or grass fed butter
1/2 cup coconut cream
juice of 1/2 a lime

1) Lay chicken breasts in the slow cooker.  Cover them with every ingredient EXCEPT the ghee/butter, coconut cream, and lime juice.  Set slow cooker on HIGH for 3.5 hours, or LOW for 8 hours.

2) Watch TV, see a movie, go for a bike ride, take a nap, drive to Boston, do whatever you want to do for the next 3-8 hours.  That’s the beauty of slow cooker cooking.

3) After 3.5 (or 8 hours) move chicken and only chicken to a bowl.  Add the ghee/butter (this will thicken the sauce giving your pot a more chili and less soupy consistency) coconut cream (the solid white part of a chilled can of coconut milk), and lime.  Recover pot and set to HIGH for 20 minutes.

4) Pull the chicken breasts apart with two forks.

5) After the 20 minutes are up, return chicken to pot and stir so sauce is spread throughout.  Recover and cook on HIGH for 10 more minutes.

Chicken-slow-cooker

6) Garnish with avocado, jalapeno, and more cilantro.  If you’re among the 15% of the population with olfactory-receptor gene OR6A2, and cilantro tastes like soap to you, use parsley instead of cilantro for this and all recipes.  Also, I’m sorry, cilantro is delicious if you don’t have that gene 🙁

Chicken-Chili-Final

Nutrition: makes 6 servings
Without avocado; Calories 331; Fat, 12 grams; Protein, 37 grams, Carbohydrates, 18 grams
With 1/2 avocado garnish; Calories 492; Fat, 24 grams; Protein, 39 grams, Carbohydrates, 26 grams

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Women’s Health and Wellness Summit


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Wednesday, August 29, 2018  –  8am-5:30pm

Dulles Airport Marriott

The Women’s Health & Wellness Summit is coming to Loudoun County, Virginia on August 29, 2018. The Summit  is a one-day event bringing women together and providing them with tools and resources to help achieve better health through better living.

The Summit is a day dedicated to you. To nourish your mind, body and soul and to share awareness and exchange knowledge on Natural and Holistic Living, Mental Health and Well-being, Lifestyle and Fitness, Innovative health practices and Nutrition.  We are bringing together a dedicated community of women that are transforming and inspiring ethical and innovative health practices.

PURCHASE TICKETS

Our vision is to help women make better choices, every day.

Nicole Ann Gustavson

Nicole Ann Gustavson

InForm Fitness

Stop Wearing Your Wishbone Where Your Backbone Ought to Be

How do we define “physical fitness” and what is its relationship with our “lifestyle”? For this Breakout Session, we will be talking STRATEGY – how we as modern professional women prioritize our own fitness in the greatest juggling act of our lives, when we are also responsible for the wellbeing of others? How do you make time for you, when your time is so scarce, and everybody wants it?

Once we establish the goal of exercise, we can debate interactively what the most popular modalities are, whether they are efficient for the busy professional that’s already overbooked, and also how much is really needed. Moreover, what if any significant and long-lasting damage to the body are you signing up for, and how does that fit into your over-all long-term lifestyle plan.

My Presentation will offer a different perspective on exercise, one that must first satisfy three things:

  1. 1) Stimulate our body’s growth hormone mechanism (build muscle)
  2. 2) Prevent the physical improvements we seek (overtraining)
  3. 3) Produce injury (getting hurt)

And then, we have the million-dollar of why we should bother at all – to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing, supercharge the metabolism and increase cardiovascular endurance. That’s WHY we should be striving for physical fitness.

Our lifestyles are what we shape for ourselves. Our physical fitness determines whether we reach our potential quality of life. Shape your own lifestyle, or it’ll shape you.

 

Kristin Spak

Kristin Spak

PureHealth Coaching, LLC / InForm Fitness Leesburg

It’s All Connected: The Things That Nourish Us

This presentation takes a holistic view of health, focusing on the things that nourish us, both on and off the plate. Emphasis will be placed on primary vs. secondary foods, and how other forms of nourishment aside from food (such as our relationships, career, physical activity and spiritual fulfillment) are fundamental to our well-being. The importance of eating clean, whole foods will also be discussed. Attendees can expect to come away with the knowledge that being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated; that simple changes with regard to the way we live our lives can make all the difference when it comes to improving our health; and that the body has an amazing capacity to heal if given the appropriate nourishment.

All attendees will receive a handout summarizing the key presentation points and lifestyle tips. Attendees will also receive a gift certificate for a FREE Body Composition Analysis and Health Assessment at InForm Fitness Leesburg, using our state-of-the-art “InBody” machine. The InBody test records a baseline profile of body composition and metabolic health, as well as measuring hydration levels and water distribution at a cellular level.


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Blackened Chicken Thighs and Bacon Sweet Potato Hash


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MEAL PREP: Blackened Chicken Thighs and Bacon Sweet Potato Hash

On days when I don’t have food prepared for work I often go to Whole Foods and make lunches from their hot food and salad bar.  They’ve recently been stocking blackened chicken thighs.  I like blackening stuff because it healthily adds deep flavor.  The issue with Whole Foods hot food bar is that they have such a heavy hand with the canola oil that you can actually taste it.

If you’re going to be heavy handed with your cooking fat, it shouldn’t be a cheap, processed oil like canola, at the very least it should be a quality fat like a good olive oil, grass fed butter, coconut oil (I know there’s some controversy over coconut oil being healthy right now, I’m still in the ‘it’s good for you camp’), or bacon fat.  Because cooking with bacon fat makes me happy, and makes my apartment smell delicious, I meal prepped blackened chicken thighs and a bacon sweet potato hash.  It came out very nicely and my place smells fantastic!

Blackened Chicken Thighs

8 Chicken Thighs (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs so that I could rub the spice directly onto the meat, rather than into the skin)

Blackening Spice is a Cajun mixture of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, basil and oregano which is a quick and easy way to add a ton of flavor and kick to pretty much any dish.  I use it on chicken, steak, fish, I even sprinkle it on eggs.  So far the only thing I haven’t tried blackening is a protein shake.  I’m blackening my next protein shake!

    1. 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    1. 2) Spread chicken thighs out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper
    1. 3) Sprinkle generously with spice mix and rub into both sides of the chicken
    4) Cook chicken for 35 minutes

Bacon and Sweet Potato Hash

  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 12 oz Peter Luger’s Thick Cut Bacon (I used Peter Lugers because the thick cut dices better than a thin bacon, and also because I’m fancy)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
    1. 1) In a large skillet saute diced bacon over medium heat until crisp, approximately 7 minutes. Maybe wear an apron for this step.  I learned early on in my cooking self-education not to cook bacon shirtless…… Once crisp, remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set on a plate covered with paper towels and set aside.
    1. 2) Add diced sweet potatoes directly into rendered bacon fat and stir so they are coated.  Cover pan and let potatoes cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring a few times.  Remove potatoes into a large bowl.
    1. 3) Add diced peppers and onions to the skilled and saute until tender.
    4) Add peppers, onions, and bacon to the bowl with the potatoes and mix thoroughly.

More Blackened Chicken Thighs and Bacon Sweet Potato Hash

Nutrition: Makes 6 servings
Calories, 425; Fat, 23 grams; Protein, 41 grams; Carbohydrates, 12 grams
For a lower calorie option, this can be done just as easily with chicken breast

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“On the Banks” with Nicole Gustavson


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Can anyone tell their true, whole story in 500 words? Not me. But thanks to the River Creek Country Club’s “On the Banks” publication, I was afforded 500 words to share my passion for what I do professionally, the love I share with the people I work with and how unbelievably grateful I am for the life I lead….(still need more word count)! But, bottom line, I work just as hard as our Clients when in the InForm Studio – I put in my A-game for just 20 minutes once or twice a week. Unlike many though, I don’t enjoy it as much as some of them purport to. I simply love to hate it. Notwithstanding, will I ever stop? NO! Even absent the unparalleled time-efficiency and convenience of the 20-minutes, real results, and guarantees of safety – I am simply terrified to stop strength training, because I see firsthand what happens when you do!

We either use it, or we lose it…as we know all too well. And, if not the InForm way, I would never find the time otherwise. As I say again and again, our Protocol is not a big production, but it’s hard work! And just like brushing my teeth, I will do the InForm workout until the day I die, without looking for ways to keep it fresh, exciting, or any of that other nonsense. I save that effort for the fun stuff, outside the Studio! I strength train to stay strong, just as I brush my teeth to protect my overall health. Just the same, I show up to my InForm workout to get it done, protect my health and live life strong – physically, metabolically and mentally – so I can put my best foot forward into each and every day of my life. Without InForm, I don’t think I would be able to find the time to do that. Join the InForm Family – it’s about time!


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Get Stronger for Your Sport in Record Time



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In our latest Podcast, Adam Zickerman and Mike Rogers welcome Laura Crump Anderson, InForm’s Equestrian Fitness Specialist, to discuss the importance of being your strongest and fittest for your athletic sport. Whatever your sport may be, all athletes need to train smart if they want to stay in the game!

Specific to this Podcast, however, Laura’s shameless obsession is clear – the Equestrian Athlete. Laura unwaveringly asserts that your horse is not the only athlete and excellence takes two to Tango. If you are an Equestrian, your horse depends on you being in your best physical shape, period. Regretfully, many overlook this critical fact. If you consider yourself, and not just the horse, to be the competitive athletes you both truly are, the hard message is this: Equestrians need to build muscle to their optimal capacity! Most obviously, muscle protects the Rider’s body from the beating the sport takes on themselves, but equally because a stronger Rider serves the HORSE exponentially! Ironically, the Equestrian will fully appreciate the distinction – if not for yourself, strive to be your strongest if only for the horses you LOVE! Equestrians are so admirably dedicated to their horses, but often at the expense of themselves in a multitude of ways. Every Rider, from Coast to Coast, possesses a sincere love for their horses. In Virginia – give Laura 20 twenty minutes just once a week and she will give you AND your horse the essential competitive edge you seek, not to mention a better life with less injury.

No one serves the (human) athlete better than we do at InForm Fitness. Obsessions aside, whatever your athletic sport may be, InForm Fitness can custom design a program for anyone looking to take their athletic edge to the next level, whether that be from your sedentary desk job to being in the best shape of your life, OR for the elite athlete inside you screaming to get out!

Adam Zickerman – Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution: http://bit.ly/ThePowerofTen For a FREE 20-Minute strength training full-body workout and to find an Inform Fitness location nearest you, please visit: http://bit.ly/Podcast_FreeWorkout

Adam Zickerman – Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution: http://bit.ly/ThePowerofTen

For a FREE 20-Minute strength training full-body workout and to find an Inform Fitness location nearest you, please visit: http://bit.ly/Podcast_FreeWorkout

 

 

 

Season It Up!


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Ahh, Summer.  After such a long, cold winter, I’m sure that many of us are now happily enjoying warmer temperatures, longer days, flowers in bloom, and of course, seasonal produce.  For me, there is nothing quite like the taste of the season’s first tender asparagus and leafy greens, or the sweet berries, melons, and peaches that appear at the Farmer’s Market soon thereafter.  The flavors and freshness of the fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and in season are unlike anything else that we find in our supermarkets all year round.

When we eat with the seasons, we are making a choice that reaps multiple benefits:

First, to our Health:  Fruits and vegetables that are picked at the peak of freshness and are locally grown not only taste better, but they have higher nutritional value than produce that is shipped to us from across the country or from other parts of the world.  The concentration of antioxidants is higher, the vitamin and mineral content is more potent, and our bodies seem to assimilate them better.  Eating the variety of foods that are available each season also affords us the opportunity to diversify our diets and experiment with produce that we might not otherwise try.  And diversity in our diets adds significant health benefits.  According to Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, one study that looked at the health benefits accruing to women who routinely ate a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables from 18 different plant families showed that they had “significantly less damage to their genetic material than women who limited themselves to five plant families.” Variety, therefore, does more than just make food more interesting.  It actually protects our health.

Second, to the Local Farmer:  When you buy seasonal, locally grown foods, you are helping to support the regional farmers who depend on these crops for their livelihoods.  In so doing, you are helping to keep your farmers in business while boosting your local economy.  Locally grown foods also tend to be less expensive than the foods you purchase elsewhere, so they are often a more economical choice.  And if you choose to take the extra step and buy organic, you are helping to support that important agricultural sector as well.  It’s important to remember that as consumers, we have the power to “vote with our wallets” to support healthier farming trends.  Supporting the organic farming community is money well spent in terms of the quality and purity of the food available to us.  Last, but not least, I would argue that getting to know your local farmers helps better connect you with the food on your plates by recognizing who grew it for you and appreciating what they have provided.

Third, to the Environment:  There are many environmental benefits that come from eating seasonal and local.  Most obvious is that we reduce the number of miles that our food must travel before it reaches our plates, thereby reducing the fossil fuel expenditures and attendant greenhouse gas emissions involved in its transport.  But locally grown organic foods have other environmental benefits as well, most notably avoiding the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides that can leach into our soil and poison our ground water. Buying local also helps promote our soil sustainability, since farmers must regularly rotate their crops to improve soil fertility and crop yields, which naturally enriches the soil and amplifies the nutrient density of the foods that they grow.  And since most conventionally grown foods produced on industrial farms come from depleted soil, this is a huge plus, both for our health and for the planet.

So, what’s in season, and when?  Here is a general guide for the Mid-Atlantic:

Season It Up - 2

  • Winter: From December – February, look for apples, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chard, chicory, collard greens, herbs, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash.
  • Spring: From March – May, look for apples, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chard, cherries, collard greens, fennel, garlic, herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, nettles, onions, radishes, scallions, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and turnips.
  • Summer: From June – August, look for apples, arugula, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, cherries, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapes, herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, onions, peaches, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, scallions, shallots, spinach, strawberries, summer squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
  • Fall: From September – November, look for apples, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chicory, collard greens, cucumbers, escarole, fennel, grapes, green beans, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, nectarines, okra, onions, parsnips, peaches, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, scallions, shallots, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, winter squash, and zucchini.

Remember, it’s in season for a reason.  Here’s to your health!


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