Monday, May 11, 2015

FUEL YOUR WORKOUTS WITH THESE SUPERFOODS!


Oatmeal
Carbohydrates tend to get a bad rap because its converted to glucose, a form of sugar. But you do need glucose because that’s the form of fuel your muscles run on. For the best benefits, stick to slow-digesting carbohydrates such as oatmeal because it delivers a sustained blood sugar release that keeps you energized throughout your workout. Steel-cut oats are best because they digest more slowly that quick or instant oats.





Quinoa
This is one of my favourites. Quinoa is quite special because even though it's a grain, it does have high protein  content and high in heart-healthy fiber. Another important mineral found in quinoa is manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant which helps to protect your cells from free radicals.





Ginger
I  love ginger! Whenever I  make my green juices, I  always adds a piece of ginger. I  think it give them a  kick that I love. Growing up, I would drink ginger tea if I had a tummy ache but its also good for muscle pain after your workout.  It helps with stiffness and and swelling.





Almonds
Its funny, the harder you train, the more damaging the free radicals you produce. But almonds are an excellent source of anitoxidants such as flavanoids and vitamin E.





Chicken Breast
Lean chicken breast is high in protein and also carnitine. Carnitine plays an important role in fat metabolism so it's a great food to add when managing your weight.







Spinach
This is usually the base for all my green juices. Spinach is particularly high in iron which is so important in order for your red blood cells to absorb oxygen. It also contains lots of B vitamins which help to release energy from cells.  






Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are great because they are slow digesting carbohydrate which helps to stabilize blood sugars. They're also high in antioxidants.






Sunday, May 3, 2015

21 DAY FIX: THE 411



According to the website, Health Research Funding, 69% of fad diets fail to achieve desired results. So it’s no surprise that many are skeptical of any new plan that comes out on the market. When I heard about the 21 Day Fix Plan, I wasn’t too convinced. Most plans that achieve sustainable results usually take at least six weeks (following a diet that does not leave you dreaming of slice bread and pasta). So before you try the 21Day Fix, here's the 411, everything you need to know before you decide to invest your time and money.


The Workouts
The 21 Day Fix includes two (2) DVD that have three (3) workouts on each. Designed to achieve intense calorie burn, its a wonder each workout takes only thirty (30) minutes. Each workout targets a different area and increases in difficulty. For those who are not quite ready to go hard right away, there is a modifier of each exercise so this workout will appeal to persons of all fitness levels. Provided with the DVDs is the guide which has a workout schedule. You will have to work out once per day everyday for the first two weeks but then double up during the last week. Wait, when will I get time to recover? the line is set up in a way that provides recovery time.



The workouts consist of:

Total Body Cardio Fix: Raises your heart rate while boosting metabolism for long-lasting weight loss results.
Upper Fix: Works your back, shoulders, arms, chest and abs for a lean upper body.
Lower Fix: Works thighs, calves and butt for a toned and shapely lower body.
Pilates Fix: Consists of core strength moves to elongate and tone the torso while tightening your thighs, butt and hips.
Cardio Fix: insanity -type workout that kicks the first cardio workout into overdrive.
Yoga Fix: Boost flexibility and relaxes your muscles to keep them in perfect tone.


The Eating Plan
Unlike most diets, there really isn't a diet with this program. The 21 Day Fix focuses on portion control, so along with the DVDs comes a set of colour-coded containers and Shakeology Shaker Cup. This takes the guess work out of how much of each food group you can have. But before all that, you will need to determine how your calorie requirement which you can easily calculate for yourself (formula is included). It then tells you how many of each container you can have each day.




Green Container: Vegetables
Purple Container: Fruits
Red Container: Proteins
Yellow Container: Carbohydrates
Blue Container: Healthy fats & Cheeses
2 Orange Containers: Seeds and Dressings
Shakeology Cup

The good thing about the program is that its so simply.  Just fill up your containers and go. I love that it focuses on portion control because this is key for any plan to work.
You are allowed to drink almond milk, coconut milk, fruit juice and coconut water three times week but you will have to give up a a yellow container if you do. If you are feeling hungry, you can add another container of veggies.

The Verdict
This program is a win for me. The workouts are great for all fitness levels, a modifier for beginners or those with knee or back issues (me!) and the standard for those up for the challenge. I love that the workouts are only thirty (30) minutes so it can fit into anyone's schedule (come on, if you're serious, you can find 30 minutes).

Money-Back Guarantee
Beach Body promises that if you don't get the results you want, you can simply send the program back within 30 days of purchase and receive a full refund. This is evidence of how confident the company is that you will get the results you want. Plus, there is a great offer going on right now where you can get the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack which includes free access to Beach Body On Demand (you can sample hundred of Beach Body videos), 30-day supply of Shakeology (super-protein shake) and discount shipping.





Announcement!
So I have exciting news!!! I'll be starting a 21 Day Fix Challenge group on May 17th. For those of you who have been considering this program or want to go through a another round, I'll be starting a challenge group on May 17th where we can share our struggles and triumphs and keep each other accountable. For more information, you can email me here.   


I'd love to hear any questions you may have so please leave a comment below!






Sunday, April 5, 2015

HIGH PROTEIN SWEET POTATO CHOCOLATE CHIP RECIPE




So I believe I've said this many times before and I'm going to say it again: I'm a sugar habit . It kinda sucks especially when sugary snacks are so easily accessible: the vending machine at work or the coffee machine that is always in plenty supply of hot chocolate with a million artificial ingredients that would take me a minute to try to pronounce. So to  keep my insatiable sweet tooth in check, I vowed to always keep healthy sweet treats within arm's length.  The best line of defense is an offense, right?
So after browsing the internet in search for a, keyword EASY & SIMPLE , recipe, I found this one. This was one of the many Paleo dessert recipes I found. Now, let me make this clear: I do not follow a Paleo diet or any other specific diet for that matter because I find most follow similar guidelines. Not to mention, having certain foods that are completely off limits just makes me want them even more.  
Now back to the recipe, it seemed fairly easy to execute so I was excited to give it a go. I had most ingredients in my kitchen except for almond butter which I substituted with my trusty ol' crunchy peanut butter.  

After sampling the cookies, it was definitely not your regular chocolate chip cookies and why would it be? I could taste the sweet potato and peanut butter coming through but guess what? I LOOOVE sweet potato and peanut butter so win-win! So let me stop babbling and give you the deets to this recipe.

Ingredients
·         1 small sweet potato or yam
·         ½ cup smooth almond butter
·         1 egg, whisked
·         1 tablespoon honey
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 scoop (35 grams) Vanilla Protein Powder
·         ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
·         pinch of salt
·         ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
1.      Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke holes in a sweet potato with a knife then place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until sweet potato is completely soft. Then let cool. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
2.      Peel sweet potato away from skin and place in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until soft.
3.      Add almond butter, egg, honey and vanilla and mix well. Then add protein powder, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
4.      Fold in chocolate chips.
5.      Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop out batter and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The batter should make 12-13 cookies.
6.      Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. Do not overcook.


Enjoy!!!



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HOW I PREPPED FOR MY 5K RACE!



So I will be the first to tell you: I HATE running. I don't even think 'hate' is strong enough word for my abhorrence for running. But, surprise, surprise, it's another one of those things in life that is so hard to get a liking to, no matter how good you know it is for you. That's probably one of the few reasons I signed up to do a 5K race for the third time.` I still consider myself a beginner since I do it so infrequently but there are a few tricks that I've found that helps me to push through. So, if you have a 5K race coming up or just want to know how I prep for my race, keep scrolling!
      
Catch Some ZZZ's
Quality sleep is critical to doing well in your race. I try to get quality sleep at least two nights in a row. I also try to keep my schedule pretty clear so that I'm not mentally and physically drained.

Eat Some Food!
A misconception many have when prepping for a 5K race is that they need to carb-load. Let me clear this up: carb-loading is only necessary for races lasting 90-minutes or longer. What's the likelihood that's you're still running at 90 minutes? Very unlikely. So what do you eat to prep for your race? Make sure to eat breakfast consisting of complex carbs like oatmeal (my fave!) with some protein (surprise, hard-boiled egg). Lunch may include protein but not too much since it takes longer for digest and healthy carbs (you're not carb loading but you still don't want to deplete your muscles stores of glycogen). Having a light snack that digests easily such as a banana two hours before will also ensure you have enough energy to make it through the race.

Hydrate!
Here in Orlando, the humidity will knock you out faster than anything will so make sure you keep yourself hydrated. While water is great, sport drinks can help replenish electrolytes lost when the weather heats up.

Warm Up!
Just as you would warm up for an workout routine, you need to warm up before your race. That is if you want to spare yourself further discomfort from cramps. Come on, just getting through the race is harder enough. Try to get there early and start warming up at least 25 minutes before with stretches and a few 30 second sprints.

Have Fun!
If this is your first 5K, don't compare yourself too much to the other runners. Just have fun, don't forget to breathe and use this experience as the starting point to your journey.










Thursday, March 5, 2015

CLEAN EATING:LOW CARB "RICE" RECIPE



So I'm from the Caribbean and it goes without saying that we LOVE our starches.  From hearty yellow yams and dasheen to rice and peas! We love it heaped high and taking over most of the dinner plate. That's how we do! But if you're watching your weight,  that much carbohydrate is not going to get you anywhere.  So I was so excited when I came across this recipe on how to make low carb "rice".  Low carb rice recipe, you say? Yes, keep reading and give this recipe a try!


What You Need:
1 head cauliflower
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp ground unsweetened coconut flakes
Olive oil cooking spray
Salt to taste




 What to Do:
After soaking cauliflower head in warm water for a few minutes, remove leaves and chop cauliflower into smaller sections.

Break apart florets into smaller pieces before transferring to your food processor. Pulse cauliflower until it is grounded to size similar to couscous. You can eat this raw by adding it to a salad or even on its own as a side dish. If you prefer not, proceed to the next step.

Add cauliflower to a heated skillet with olive oil cooking spray, onions and garlic.



Next, add coconut flakes and combine all ingredients thoroughly.


Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Add salt to taste and serve.















Tuesday, February 24, 2015

KETTELBELLS VS DUMBBELLS: WHICH IS THE RIGHT HOME WORKOUT EQUIPMENT FOR YOU?




Trends come and go all the time and in the fitness industry, it's no different. One of the latest trends is the rising popularity of the kettlebell weight sets. Said to build strength, burn fat and improve cardiovascular fitness, have kettlebells come to dethrone traditional dumbbells as the strength training king?!

Well...it depends on what you're goal is. Let me explain.

If you're trying to build muscle and improve strength..

Your best bet will be sticking to traditional dumbbells and barbells if you're trying to improve muscle size and get stronger. Why? That's because kettlebells are pretty limited in terms of their size or weight. The biggest kettlebell goes up to roughly 105 pounds so if you're already lifting more than that, you'll need to find another piece of equipment to gain more strength. Another win for dumbbells is that you're able to adapt them to your needs. You can always add more weight to the bar unlike with a kettlebell (if you have a 10 pound kettlebell, you can't just slap on another 10 pounds).




Limitations in the weight available are not the only reason dumbbells may be a better choice. For instance, if you're doing a front squat with the heaviest kettlebell you can lift, it becomes less of exercise for legs and more about upper body strength. So if your aim for a particular exercise is to challenge your legs, after a certain point kettlebell weights just wouldn't be the best tool to use.

That isn't to say kettlebells are useless...

Because of the unique shape of the kettlebells (it's center of gravity changes during the exercise), its much like most other things we may lift on a day to day basis. In other words, it helps to build functional strength. Also, unlike dumbbells which target only a few muscle groups at a time, kettlebells activate more muscles per exercise leading to more fat burn and weight loss. With kettlebells, you'll also find improvement in your power endurance, or your muscles’ability to repeatedly perform fast, powerful movements during an extended period of time.






So there are benefits to both home workout equipment and there's no need to choose between the two. You can have the best of both worlds by incorporating both into your routine to achieve your best results.

Have you tried working out with kettlebells? Tell me how YOU think it measures up to dumbbells.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

YUMMY PREOTEIN PANCAKES WITH EASY GREEK YOGURT HONEY SAUCE




I love pancakes just as much as the next person. Who wouldn't want a batch of sweet, fluffy cakes first thing in the morning when your sugar levels are at a an all-time low? Me please! But, of course, store-bought easy-make mixes are usually filled with ingredients no one but a chemistry whiz would be able to pronounce.  So, to quench my yearnings for yucky and over processed junk, I'd been researching healthy pancake recipes. I've experimented with oatmeal, bananas, protein powders and other ingredients to find the perfect recipe. The caveat was I didn't want a complicated recipe. My approach to the kitchen is to get and get out as soon as possible. So, imagine my delight when I stumbled on a simple (3 ingredient!) recipe! These babies pictured above can be made using readily available items in most kitchen so if you live for quick and easy recipes (jet-setters and mommies), keep on reading!

3 Ingredients
1 VERY RIPE banana
2 whole eggs
1 tbsp chia seeds (ground flax seed can be used too)



Throw all three ingredient into your blender and whip until completely smooth.  Pour batter into a hot frying pan coated with cooking spray. You know what to do next. After one side is cooked, flip pancakes. cook until golden.






Greek Yogurt Honey Sauce
I used a 2:1 ratio for this sauce.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey

Whip these two in a mixing bowl using a fork. The mixture will become liquidy. Pour two or three spoonfuls of this sweet and yummy sauce, garnish with berries or other fruits of your choice and voilĂ !