Monthly Archives: January 2014

Chicken With Tomato Sauce

Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Here’s one of Team FitNice‘s favorite pre-race meals, and it’s part of our pre-race nutrition plan before just about every event.  This delicious and filling plate is packed with carbs and good-for-you proteins while low on fat.  To make it even better, this Chicken with Tomato Sauce recipe also contains a few servings of veggies.  Use whole wheat pasta, low sodium and organic tomato sauce to make this dinner as healthy as possible.

*While we usually try to post low carb recipes for you, sometimes the extra energy they provide is something we all need, especially before a big, or long, race.  The two most important things to remember about carbs are to be careful how many, and when, we eat them and that they’re whole grains.*

Servings:  4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty: 2

2 cups boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
2 cups whole grain fettucine or linguine
2 cups low sodium, organic tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon seasoning, Italian or oregano

1.  Brown chicken in large skillet
2.  Bring water to boil and add pasta
3.  Once chicken is browned, add tomato sauce and basil, simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
4.  Drain pasta and flavor with butter
5.  Top pasta with chicken and sprinkle with desired seasonings.

chicken with tomato sauceEnjoy this wonderful race fueling dinner for any big event.  Season with your personal favorites, from basil to oregano and garlic and have a quick, tasty, race ready meal any night of the week.

Yes, Women Should Lift Heavy Weights

Women should lift heavy weights. 

It’s true.  Every woman can benefit from lifting women should liftweights.  Get together with a fitness professional to help ease gym anxieties and learn how to work with bars, plates and dumbbells so you can reap these five awesome benefits of lifting heavy weights.

1.  Build muscle faster.  Moving serious pounds builds muscle faster than using little weights, and that means more definition.  Doing 8-12 reps with a heavier weight will be more effective and time efficient than 50 reps of a very light weight.  The best part?  There’s no reason to be afraid you might ‘bulk up’ or ‘get big’.  Because women have low testosterone levels, their muscles aren’t programmed to get huge.  Unless you’re following a seriously tough Olympic strength training system and eating a very strict diet, ladies have nothing to worry about.

2.  Increase bone density and decrease risk of osteoporosis.  While any weight bearing activity can aid in maintaining bone strength and density, studies have shown women should lift weights to help prevent bone fractures and possibly even build new bone.  Strength training also improves balance and coordination which means you’re less likely to fall and get hurt.

women should lift3.  Burn more calories.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, but there’s more to it than simply having more of one than the other.  Women should lift heavy weights because it tears the working muscles down.  The body has to work for hours after you finish a workout to repair those muscles, making your muscles more defined and burning calories all day long.  The elliptical?  Not so much.

4.  Prevent injury.  Strengthening the muscles around joints gives those joints more support.  When they have support, joints are steadier and stronger, making them less likely to become hurt.  Strength training also moves joints through a full range of motion, keeping them lubricated and loose.  Cardio can’t always do that.

5.  Have more energy and reduce stress.  Working out is a great stress reliever, add in some weights you can move around and it’s an even better one.  Women will also get an energy boost after a workout, from the increased oxygen expenditure (EPOC) that’s part of your body’s post-session recovery.  A weight lifting session will also make you feel awesome about yourself, giving you confidence and something you can definitely be proud of.

There are five wonderful reasons women should lift heavy weights, but there are plenty more.  Find your motivation, get together with a fitness professional and start getting stronger today!

Want help starting or updating your weight lifting routine?  Ask us!

Lunch Munch Chicken Apple Wraps

Lunch Munch Chicken Apple Wraps are an easy, healthy lunch that’s low carb, low sugar and delicious!  Team FitNice likes the sweet and crunchy mixture this lunch provides, and loves that it’s way better for you than fast food.
Lunch Munch Chicken Apple Wraps
Servings:  4
Prep Time: 50 minutes if chicken is uncooked, 10 minutes if pre-cooked
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: 2
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make 2 cups sliced
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1-1/2 cups fuji apples, chopped
1/2 cup red, green or black grapes, chopped or sliced
1/2 cup tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup light mayonnaise or 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey
Lettuce to wrap as desired
*This recipe calls for uncooked chicken, if you’re preparing with already cooked chicken, skip to step 3*
1.  Place thawed chicken breasts and stock in medium pan and bring to boil.
2.  Lower chicken to simmer for 40 minutes or until cooked through, flipping occasionally.
3.  Chop apple and grapes then in large mixing bowl add to peanut butter, honey and mayo.  Stir.
4.  When chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and cool.
5.  Slice or chop chicken into desired size pieces and stir into mixing bowl.
6.  Place lettuce wrap on plate, top with Chicken Apple mix and roll.
lunch munch chicken apple wraps
Chicken Apple Wraps are one of our favorite light and yummy lunch recipes.  Kids and grownups alike love the sweetness of these good-for-you wraps, and we hope your family enjoys it!  Want more?  While lettuce may get soggy if stored too long, it’s easy to make the Chicken Apple Wraps mix and prepare your take-to-work lunch portions each morning.

Fitness Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is an ancient tradition hat has been practiced all over the world for thousands of years, and there’s a good reason why.  Practicing meditation brings with it numerous health benefits.  Especially for busy professionals, parents and students in today’s hectic world, mediation can be a much needed time of peace and quiet.  Taking time, whether an hour or only ten minutes, to center yourself and become genuinely aware of the world around you has a myriad of benefits.  Team FitNice loves to meditate, and here are a few of the wonderful reasons why.meditation

Relaxing is good for us.  Stress triggers a fight-flight response that causes increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and tightening muscles.  It also pushes things like digestion and immunity aside, but when we relax, our bodies can function without stress, allowing our immune and digestive systems to work properly.

Increased immunity.  People who lead very stressful lives, without regular sleep and proper diet, tend to be under the weather more often than those who participate in meditation consistently.  Moving away from a fight-flight response through meditation means increased blood and oxygen flow and a more powerful immune system.

Decreased depression and emotional balance.  A dose of meditation can go a long way towards relieving depression and creating a more emotionally balanced state.  Anxiety is decreased while focusing on meditation, unwinding the mind and aiding in stress management by providing time to think through problems.

Lower blood pressure.  A fight-flight response to stress leads to increased blood pressure through a raise in heart and respiratory rates.  When meditating, stress is removed, and benefits of meditationthe body can return to its normal, relaxed state which leads to lower respiratory and heart rates as well as a decrease in blood pressure.

Meditation can occur in any variety of settings, from a silent, dark room to simply sitting at your work desk, closing your eyes and concentrating on breathing for a minute.  Meditation is even possible while running.  By removing your musical device, letting your surroundings slip away and paying attention to nothing but your breath, your rhythm and your emotions, you’ll immediately find more mental clarity.

Want to start meditating?  Have questions?  Contact us!

Winter Salmon Salad

This week Team FitNice is bringing you a scrumptus Winter Salmon Salad that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, provides 4 servings of vegetables and plenty of fiber.  Salmon is a wonderful, heart healthy, calcium and iron rich fish that’s easy to digest and absorb.  Friendly to every stomach, we recommend being friendly to the environment, too, by being careful with your salmon selection and trying to choose fish that doesn’t come from a farming operation.

Winter Salmon Salad

Servings – 2-4
Prep Time – 5 minutes
Cook Time – 20 minutes
Difficulty – 2

2-4 wild Alaskan Keta salmon filets
5 ounces kale, arugula, iceberg or romaine lettuce
2 hard-boiled egg whites, sliced
10-12 sliced cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced yellow squash
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup light balsamic vinaigrette

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place salmon on foil lined baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes.
3.  Pour olive oil and squash in medium skillet and saute to taste.
4.  Place eggs in water and bring to boil, when boiling, lower to simmer for 10 minutes.
5.  Cool egg in ice, then peel and slice.
6.  Mix lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, egg whites and squash in large bowl.
7.  Plate salad mix and top with cooked salmon, salmon is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork and is a light pink color.
8.  Drizzle each plate with balsamic vinaigrette to taste.

winter salmon saladThere’s your recipe for a very good-for-you Winter Salmon Salad that will satisfy every palate in the house.  Easy to make, it’s simple to change dressings to suit taste, especially for kids, and don’t be afraid to try this delicious dinner as a lunch meal!


Tips for Cold Weather Running

It’s January, and as the days roll on, the cold stays put.  Most of the nation recently experienced the brutality of 2014’s Polar Vortex, and even though everyone got through it, it’s not going to be hot any time soon.  Dealing with cold weather workout conditions, and running in cold weather, is very different from training in hot weather, so here are six tips from Team FitNice to help you find success training in chilling temperatures.

Layers.  But not too many.  When you first hear it’s going to be 20 degrees, you want to grab every piece of clothing you own and put it on.  Resist the urge!  It’s better to have too little than too much, which will end up leading you to get too hot.  Running warms the body up, and does it quickly, so dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer than it really is to prevent overheating.  If you do decide to

Clothing choices.  Speaking of those layers, it’s important they’re made of the right stuff.  Wear things made out of technical fabrics that will wick sweat, and choose items with zippers at the neck and underarm for additional cooling when you’re ready.  Be sure to include gloves or mittens (usually warmer than gloves) and a hat or ear warmer.

cold weatherHydration still matters.  Even in cold weather, you can become dehydrated.  You might not be sweating as much as you do in June and July, but you’re still doing it.  Ice water likely won’t be your first choice when it’s below freezing, and that’s OK.  Be smart, especially if there’s clean snow on the ground, that’s all the water you need.

That burning?  It stops.  The pain in your lungs during the first few cold runs of the year will go away when your respiratory system adjusts.  Take it slow and know the reason you’re only getting half a breath in before there’s screaming in your chest isn’t because you’ve suddenly fallen out of shape.

Shoes.  Snow on the ground?  Sport runners with as little mesh as possible, or if you live in a very snowy locale, pick up a pair of waterproof shoes.  Make sure you have enough tread to deal with snow covered terrain or the possibility of icy patches.  Socks that wick sweat cold weatheraway are a must, and you can always consider wearing two pairs when it’s nasty, just be sure to loosen your laces.

Change ASAP.  Your core temperature drops as soon as you finish your run.  Take off sweaty clothes, head to toe (including sports bras and hats), as soon as you can to prevent a case of the chills.  Drink something warm, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate with your post race food.  Not wrapping up near home or a coffee shop?  Take a thermos to keep your beverage hot.

Want help handling the cold or shopping for cold weather gear?  We’re here!

Homemade Honey Sesame Chicken

Homemade Honey Sesame Chicken is a healthy alternative to high calorie, high salt content restaurant style Asian food from P.F. Chang’s or the local, MSG ridden, Chinese take-out.  It’s baked, rather than deep fried, which keep calories and fats low, and serving over snow peas instead of white or fried rice helps you stay away from starchy, not-so-good for you dinner dishes.  Easy to make at home, Team FitNice loves this simple, but delicious recipe and can’t wait for you to try it!

Honey Sesame Chickenhoney sesame chicken

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Difficulty: 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cubedhoney sesame chicken
1 cup cornstarch
3 eggs
Salt and pepper as desired
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oilhoney sesame chicken
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Additional sesame seeds for garnish as desired

1.  Preheat oven to 325, season cubed chicken with salt and pepper.
2.  Place cornstarch in bowl and gently beaten eggs in separate bowl.  Coat chicken in cornstarch then cover with egg batter.
3.  Brown battered chicken in canola oil over medium heat then place in greased 9×13 baking pan.
4.  In medium mixing bowl combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and cornstarch.
5.  Douse chicken with sauce and bake 45 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring frequently to cover chicken in sauce.
6.  Toss cooked chicken in medium sized mixing bowl with additional sesame seeds, if desired.
7.  Serve over edamame or snow peas.honey sesame chickenThat’s your recipe for Honey Sesame Chicken!  One of the best things about it is that you can easily substitute white vinegar or olive oil for rice wine vinegar and canola oil, making it accessible even to those who don’t have an exotic spice rack.  Remember to keep it healthy by accompanying with greens, like edamame or snow peas, rather than carb heavy rice.  Stir some up, serve and enjoy this evening.

Why Water Matters

Water makes up an average of 75% of the human body, is vital for life and often, most people don’t get enough of it.  Many Americans exist in a constant state of dehydration, which is not only unhealthy, but can be dangerous, especially when exercising.

waterAs lots of people begin their 2014 fitness journeys, whether they want to lose weight, run their first 5K or break a three hour marathon, it will be undeniable how important getting enough water is.  Yes, water, and no, you can’t just drink something.  It has to be good, old fashioned H2O or water based, such as a sports drink or milk, which is close to 87% water.  But water’s boring.  It might not be exciting, but with all kinds of flavor enhancers available, there’s no good reason not to have enough.  Here are some very good reasons why.

Proper hydration can help you feel full.  Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps fill up your stomach and means you’re less likely to overeat.

Water transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells that need them.  If water isn’t taking them there, they aren’t going.  Cells aren’t able to do their jobs without these things, which means a slower metabolism and potential weight gain.

Joints are like belt in a car, they can dry out.  Staying active and maintaining hydration levels lubricates joints and can help relieve joint pain and stiffness.

The same way water moves oxygen and nutrients through the body, it also flushes out impurities.  Clean, hydrated skin cells are plump, look younger and have better circulation than those that are thirsty.water

Dehydration, and cells that don’t have the water they need to transport vital nutrients, leads to a slow down of enzyme activity and in turn creates feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

Blood cells need water more than any other.  They are 92% water and dehydration causes blood to thicken, resist flow and ultimately increases blood pressure.

Increased blood pressure, slowed down enzyme activity and cells that aren’t being cleaned out will frequently lead to constipation and gas.  Along with removing impurities from your body, water also helps you stay regular.

One final advantage of drinking the recommended 6-8 8oz glasses of water a day?  Ice cold water has to be warmed by your body before it can be digested.  Heating cold water up is hard work and burns calories, which is great for aiding weight loss.

Have questions?  Send us an email using the form right here!