Monthly Archives: December 2013

Get 2014 Resolution Ready

Does your 2014 Resolution involve fitness, wellness or other health related goal?  If so, one of the hardest challenges you’ll face the first few weeks of the new year will be sticking with it.  Any gym regular can tell you they dread the first few weeks of January.  Why?  The gym is packed with people they know won’t be around in February.  These newbies often have poor gym etiquette, do exercises incorrectly and prevent those who know what they want to do, and how to do it, from getting the workout they want.  Succeed with your 2014 Resolution and blend in with the members who aren’t getting their first month free by following these tips from Team FitNice.2014 resolution

Goals
Set reasonable goals you can work with.  “I want to lose weight” is very vague, while “I want to lose 20 pounds” is very well defined.  It’s hard to stay motivated when you continually miss your goal, don’t have a deadline or can’t measure progress.  It’s incredibly important to set small, incremental, step by step goals like “I want to lose 2 pounds per week” which are specific, measurable and time oriented.  Especially if you’re working towards a big weight loss or sport specific 2014 Resolution goal, consider getting help from a personal trainer or other fitness professional.  You can also learn more about setting achievable goals right here.

Exercise Choices
Choose exercises you are comfortable with and enjoy.  If you don’t like what you’re doing, there’s no way you’re going back for more.  Don’t be afraid to try different things, not 2014 resolutionevery mode of working out is right for everyone.  Lots of women aren’t looking forward to Olympic Lifting, and men typically aren’t heading to Zumba, but there are tons of activities out there.  Try Crossfit, spinning, kickboxing, yoga, pilates or boot camp.  What if you like more than one gym, studio or workout?  That’s great news.  You’ll meet tons of people, make new friends and never get bored.

Etiquette
The gym regulars can be sticklers.  New members can sometimes feel uncomfortable in a new environment and without a professional, like a personal trainer, by their side, can make a mess of their first few trips to a new gym.  Achieve your 2014 Resolution goal and be comfortable in the gym by remembering to share, or ‘work in’, on equipment, clean equipment off and put it back where it came from when you’re finished and refrain from grunting and groaning while working out.  One of the best ways to learn proper etiquette is to spend your first few trips to the gym with a personal trainer.  There is always someone working in the gym, and no matter what they’re doing, they’ll probably be willing to help, so don’t be afraid to ask.  And remember, everyone was new once.

Now you’re ready to go!  Set your 2014 Resolution Goal, try a few different fitness outlets and accomplish anything.

Want help reaching your 2014 Resolution Goal?  We’re glad to help!  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com

Nice Night Nachos

Nice Night Nachos are Team FitNice‘s favorite take on the classic bar snack and Mexican dish of chips and chilli.  With lean beef and organic chips, this healthy version of a greasy favorite helps keep it low(er) carb and low-fat.  Check out this recipe and layer your dinner tonight!

Nice Night Nachos

Basics
Servings: 8nice night nachos
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: 4

Ingredients
1 pound 93% lean ground beef
½ cup diced sweet green pepper
½ cup diced yellow onion
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
½ tsp salt
1 package low sodium taco seasoning
1 cup water
¼ cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheesenice night nachos
3 cups tortilla chips (we like these)

Instructions
1)  Thaw beef and set to side.
2)  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3)  Brown ground beef.
4)  Add olive oil, pepper and onion to pan and cook until soft.nice night nachos
5)  Drain grease from ground beef.
6)  Add water, taco seasoning, corn, peppers and onions to beef and bring to boil
7)  Remove from heat.
8)  Line large, oven safe bowl with chips and layer with meat and cheese for desired number of servings.
9)  Place bowl of chips, meat and cheese in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes to cool.
10)  Store excess meat mixture in fridge or freezer.WP_20131221_007There you have a great, low-fat fast and delicious dinner for the whole family.  To make them even better for you, decrease the amount of cheese called for in the recipe or substitute tortilla chips with kale chips.  Give Nice Night Nachos a try and see what a good night you have!

 

Going For A Winter Spin Class

When it’s cold, windy, snowy and altogether no fun to be outside, lots of people look for indoor workout alternatives.  For most runners and cyclists, a heavy weight lifting regimen isn’t an appropriate substitute for normal workouts and while an indoor pool is always a good workout, swimming in a community pool doesn’t appeal to everyone.  Regular stationary bikes are clunky and boring.  What’s a runner to do?  Try a spin class!  Indoor cycling is a wonderful workout that provides many of the same benefits a good run can.

Maintain or increase fitness.  Spin class often involves lots of variety in pace and spin classresistance, which is great for challenging your cardiovascular system.  Making your legs work harder to pedal against more resistance or increase tempo not only gets muscles burning, but raises your heart rate.  A higher heart rate, and the interval work that’s a big part of spin class, are fantastic ways to increase your lactic acid threshold.  Stronger legs and a higher lactic acid threshold mean longer runs with less fatigue, and that’s a great thing.

Avoid injury.  Spin class strengthens muscles required for running without the impact on hips, knees and ankles that running produces.  It’s possible to simulate a long run, tempo work and even hills on a stationary spin bike, which is especially handy during icy winter months.  Running hills can be incredibly dangerous in the ice and snow, and if you’re prepping for that BQ race, an injury isn’t on the menu.  Build quad strength without risking a fall by taking a spin class.

Cadence.  The more efficient you are at pedaling in a spin class, the more power you’ll put out and the faster you’ll go.  The same thing goes for runners.  The less time each foot spends in contact with the ground, the faster your body will travel.  One of the best ways to improve race times is to increase leg turnover rates, and if you get your legs used to spin classmoving fast on a bike, they’ll want to move fast on the ground, too.  An added bonus?  The less time your feet spend hitting the ground, the more likely you are to stay injury free.

Team FitNice loves Virginia Beach’s Tidal Wheel.  A heart pumping, full body spin class is sure to get you going and will complement your winter training plan perfectly.  Check out their class schedule and reserve a bike today!

Veggie Tuna Noodle Casserole

Veggie Tuna Noodle Casserole is a quick and easy weeknight meal that Team FitNice loves.  A healthy, low-fat dinner full of Omega-3 fatty acids, Veggie Tuna Noodle Casserole can be low carb, too, as long as you stick with veggie, gluten free or whole wheat pasta and go light on, or without, the bread crumbs.

Veggie Tuna Noodle Casseroleveggie tuna noodle casserole

Basics
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: 2

Ingredientsveggie tuna noodle casserole
10 ounces drained canned tuna in water
1 – 10.5 can low sodium Cream of Broccoli soup
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup low-fat shredded cheddar jack cheese
3 cups veggie pastaveggie tuna noodle casserole
1/2 tsp salt
Optional:
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted

Instructions
1)  Preheat oven to 400 degreesveggie tuna noodle casserole.
2)  Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil and add pasta.
3)  Mix tuna, milk, cheese and soup in large mixing bowl.  Season as desired.
4)  Mix bread crumbs with melted butter (optional).
4)  Drain pasta and return to pot.
5)  Add tuna mix to pasta and stir until well mixed.veggie tuna noodle casserole
6)  Place in oven 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling.
7)  Remove from oven and sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
8)  Bake 5 more minutes, until bread crumbs are golden brown (optional).

Let stand 5 minutes to cool before serving.veggie tuna noodle casseroleThis Omega-3 filled dinner is a great, quick and easy meal on a busy school night.  Veggie Tuna Noodle Casserole is perfect for lunch, too, and can be frozen in individually sized servings for easy transportation.  Put a pot full in the oven today and enjoy!

Exercise for the Ski Slopes

Are you hitting the slopes this winter?  Skiing is great exercise, but it can also be dangerous.  There are lots of ways to avoid a skiing accident, from wearing a helmet to not using trails you aren’t ready for, but the best way is to train your body specifically for the demands it will face on the mountain.  Skiing requires endurance, strength and balance, all of which can be improved with work in the gym.  The stronger and more stable you are on the slopes, the more likely you are to have fun and stay on your feet, and that’s the most important part.  Here are some great off-the-slopes exercises you can use to get ski season ready.ski slopes

Running.  Slopes are like hills, but big, overgrown ones.  Build endurance and train to tackle them by running up and down hills.  Running hills not only increases cardiovascular endurance, meaning you can stay out longer and feel better, but improves quadriceps strength.  Strong quadriceps help you crouch lower and stabilize your knees, making a run down the mountain less likely to result in a spill.

Strength training.  The stronger your muscles are, the easier it’s going to be to hold yourself up as you ski down the slopes all day long.  With skiing, it’s important to be mindful of muscle imbalances that can cause unnecessary fatigue and train all muscle groups.  Working in pairs such as quadriceps and hamstrings, abdominals and lower back, biceps and triceps will help prevent muscle imbalances that could be detrimental out on the snow.  Utilizing a wide variety of leg exercises is going to strengthen all parts of the leg muscles: inside, outside, front and back, providing the incredibly important knee joint with lots of support.  Try squats, deadlifts and lunges along with pull-ups and push-ups for a full body workout that will help keep muscle balanced.

Balance.  One of the best ways to improve balance is through core work, especially exercises like yoga and pilates.  Core strength is involved in everything we do.  It’s hard to have strong legs and arms if the muscles they partner with, those that hold us upright like abdominals, obliques and glutes, aren’t also strong.  Not so good balance can come from poor posture, a weak core or muscle imbalance, which makes a good dose of core strengthening exercises a few times a week a great way to improve and alleviate balance issues.  Exercises such as planks, sit-ups and superman will help get you there, and that means you’ll be better able to regain balance after a bump on the slopes.

Now you’re ready to head outside and have some fun on the slopes, so be sure check out these Virginia ski resorts and plan a trip today.  Team FitNice can’t wait to see you out there!

Simple Salmon, Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli

Salmon is a great protein for many reasons.  Home to omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a lean, low fat meat that is bursting with benefits.  The omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart health and can help lower bad cholesterol while the lean proteins are good for muscles and increasing metabolic rate.  You can learn more about the benefits of Omega-3s right here.  With its good for you content, salmon is one of Team FitNice’s favorite proteins, and here’s a simple salmon recipe that’s easy to put together and enjoy.

Simple Salmon with Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli

Basicssimple salmon
Servings: 2-4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
2-4 salmon steaks, thawed (We recommend fresh, but if it’s not available, frozen Alaskan Keta salmon is a good choice.  Try to stay away from simple salmonfarmed fish, you can learn more about what is and isn’t farmed here).
1 cup rinsed quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups broccoli florets

Instructions
1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)  Add quinoa to water in medium simple salmonsauce pan, bring to boil.
3)  Place broccoli in steamer and place over heat.
4)  Put salmon into oven (we like to put it on tin foil for easy clean up) for 16 to 20 minutes, until white fats are visible.
5)  Once quinoa has boiled, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes until water is absorbed.
6)  Steam broccoli to taste and remove from heat.  Drizzled with butter, if desired.

There it is!  A simple salmon recipes simple salmonthat’s good for you and full of healthy nutrients.  You can make it your own by topping it off with a dash of soy sauce or replacing the quinoa with another healthy carbohydrate choice like brown rice or amaranth.  Pick up some fresh fish today and give this good for you, delicious dinner a try!

simple salmon

6 Reasons You Need Personal Training

Personal training is one of the best choices you can make in a world where there are always new and exciting trends to help you reach your next fitness goal.  There are many benefits you can get exclusively from a personal trainer, and here are just a few of them:scale

Personal attention.  Not all plans work for all people.  Starting in a group can be intimidating if you have a big weight loss goal or are self concious about your abilities.  One on one personal training situations are private and provide a totally customized program to help you reach any goal you have, whether it’s weight loss, strength training or simply being able to move into a group program without the fear of being judged.

Accountability.  As long as you pay, your big box group instructor probably doesn’t care all that much if you show up because they have plenty of other people to teach in that same hour.  When you’ve invested in a personal training, the trainer has also made an investment in you.  You and your trainer are a team, and it’s hard to progress when only half of the team turns out to practice.  Having someone count on you is a great way to stay on track and maintain motivation.

Technique/form.  Group situations make it hard to keep a close eye on every participant.  Especially when you start to fatigue towards the end of a workout, your form can suffer and your risk for injury increases.  Personal training gives you a one on one situation where you can be sure a watchful eye is protecting your safety at all times.

personal trainingMax benefit, less time.  Sure, you can easily spend an hour a day working out, probably even longer, but with everything that goes on in life, there are plenty of other things you’d rather be doing.  A personal trainer designs a program for you that can include short workouts on busy days and ensure you get a good workout in regardless of your time constraints.

Flexibility.  What if your schedule doesn’t always match the gym’s?  One of the great things about personal training is the flexibility.  Trainers have schedules that work easily with yours, rather than making you squeeze the gym’s calendar into your day before or after work.  Let’s face it, there are lots of other things most of us would rather be doing and the simpler it is to put gym time into your day, the more likely you are to stick with it.personal training

Sport specific training.  If you’re working towards a sport related goal or trying to improve your performance, large group programs might be able to help you get stronger and faster, but they probably won’t help you develop the skills you need to excel in your desired discipline.  Becoming a top level athlete takes very specific training programs that are tailored exactly to an athlete’s needs, and personal training is the best way to get one.

Think personal training is the key to reaching your next fitness goal?  Check out what FitNicePT can do for you right here and email us at Info@FitNicePT.com!

Stupendous Winter Beef Stew

Beef Stew is a classic one pot meal sure to help you shake off the outdoors and bring up the temperature of your insides after a day spent out in the cold, rain or snow.  A healthy and nutritious meal that both nourishes and warms the soul, Team FitNice’s Stupendous Beef Stew will delight any family’s table.  Made of low fat beef, low sodium broth and fresh vegetables, this is a good-for-you dish that will fill any stomach up.

Stupendous Beef Stew
Basics
Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3-3.5 hours
Difficulty: 3

Ingredients
2-2.5 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1″ cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup waterbeef stew
1 yellow onion, diced1 packet beef stew seasoning
3 russet potatoes, cubed
3 whole carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
3 cups low sodium beef broth
1/4 tbs salt
1/4 tbs pepper
Basil as desired
Thyme as desired

Instructions
1.  Sautee WP_20131204_001WP_20131204_002onion over olive oil in 4 quart baking dish
2.  Brown meat in onion
3.  Add water, stew mix, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, any other desired seasonings and beef broth to cover meat
4.  Simmer for 2.5 hours, peel and cut potatoes and carrots WP_20131204_006 WP_20131204_007
5.  At 2.5 hours add carrots and potatoes
6.  Simmer an additional hour until vegetables are cooked through and tender
7.  Let stand uncovered for five minutes before serving.

WP_20131204_008There you have it!  Our Stupendous Beef Stew recipe.  Make a small batch for dinner or a large quantity to freeze for future meals.  Throw in your own choice of flavors to make this recipe your own, or try mixing it up with each batch to find the perfect one for your family. No matter what, you’re sure to enjoy this cold weather classic!

What About Recovery?

After a tough workout, event, race or training cycle, nothing is more important than proper recovery.  Lots of time and effort is spent prepping an event and how you take care of your body after that event can dramatically change to way you feel over the following days.  Recovery is especially important during hard training, a race season or a series of event because proper recovery helps prevent injuries.

Recovery isn’t the same for every person, or every event.  The ultimate goals of proper recovery are to replenish what you’ve used during the activity, repair the muscles you’ve damaged and finally to rebuild them.   What to do for recovery and how long to spend doingrecovery it depends on what you’re recovering from.  A light dose of cardio is going to need a much less stringent recovery routine than racing a marathon, but both are putting strain on your body and require attention.  Not recovering properly, or enough, can lead to overuse injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, tennis (or golf) elbow and runner’s knee.  Keep in mind that if the injury ends with a –tendonitis (or just an –itis), it’s probably an overuse injury.  The best way to prevent overuse injuries is to give your body the things it needs to recover properly right after, a few hours after and for days after a workout.

Immediately after you exercise, your muscles hurt.  They’re tired and stiff, partly from lactic acid build up.  Stay moving after you’ve finished your workout to give that workout byproduct time to be removed from your body.  Stretching, foam rolling and walking are great ways to proper recoveryhelp your body along.  You can also use ice, ice baths, or cold water immersion right after a tough workout, game or race.  Cold therapy can reduce swelling and the breakdown of muscle tissue by constricting blood vessels and reducing metabolic activity, both of which help your body get back to normal.

After loosening your muscles, it’s time to replenish fluids, give muscles the protein they need to repair themselves and your body the complex carbohydrates it needs to fuel that muscle repair.  You’ve probably seen plenty of people finish their workout and pop open a sports drink or protein shake.  These pre-made drinks contain fluids, protein and carbs your body needs to recover and should happen within 30-60 minutes of wrapping up a session to be most effective.  The good news is you don’t need to spend tons of time and money finding one you like.  Water is the best way to refill your empty fluid tanks, while low-fat chocolate milk will not only give you fluid, but the protein and complex carbs your body wants.  High quality, low-fat proteins, like chicken and healthy complex carbs, such as sweet potato, are wonderful post workout choices.

You stretched, you drank, you ate and now it’s time to rest.  Your body uses the time between workouts to recover, and it’s important to take time off to let your muscles take care of themselves.  Whether you’re training for an Ironman or just getting back in the gym after a long hiatus, some the best rest you can get is sleep.  We’ve touted the many benefits of sleep before (right here) and its importance can’t be overstated when it comes to performing at your best.

For help with your recovery routine, email us!  Info@FitNicePT.com