Monthly Archives: March 2014

How to Eat More and Weigh Less

Want to eat more and shed body fat?  Yes, it is possible to eat more food while simultaneously shedding pounds, and you can do it.  eat moreWeight loss boils down to taking in fewer calories than you burn, creating a calorie deficiency, but it doesn’t always mean tofu and hunger.  Changing the foods you eat can dramatically shape weight loss patterns and doing so is probably easier than you think.  The word diet is often associated with fads, such as Atkins or South Beach, and that’s unfortunate.  Including proper foods, meal planning and good choices are important elements of a good, healthy, lifelong diet, and there’s nothing faddish about that.  If you pick the right foods, you can easily eat more while you begin to weigh less.

Picking the right foods can be challenging, and choosing foods that are filling, without being high in calories is even harder.  Here are a few tips to help you leave the supermarket with a cart full of delicious, filling foods.  Select foods that are rich in fiber.  Dietary fiber will help you feel full, and keep everything in your gut moving.  Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber, but also high in water content, which can aid with hydration, digestion and satiety.  It’s easy to eat more fruits and vegetables by adding them to almost any meal, especially salads and eat moresandwiches.  Cut up carrots, apples or celery to dip in low-fat dressings or peanut butter and keep them in ready-to-go containers in the fridge for healthy, easy to eat snacks.

In addition to adding fruits and vegetables to your snack routine, try to replace corn chips or salty, fatty potato chips with air popped popcorn that’s just as tasty and will be more satisfying.  Switch out the rice in recipes for quinoa and trade iceberg lettuce for kale to increase fiber and eat more good for you foods that make you feel full.  The benefit of swapping out unhealthy, non-filling foods with those that make you feel stuffed is that sticking with a weight loss plan is much easier to do when you enjoy the things you eat, and even more so if they’re delicious and filling.

The extra bonus of switching to filling, good-for-you food while working to shed fat is that you’ll learn to like these foods best, and any worries about regaining the weight will slip away.

Are you looking for guidance on your weight loss journey?  We’re here to help!  Learn more by checking out our Nutrition page, send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

Roasted Pork Chops with Squash Salad

Team FitNice loves these Roasted Pork Chops with squash salad for lots of reasons.  Pork is a tasty, lean meat that’s easy to find and quick to cook in the oven or on the grill.  Perfect any time of year, this delicious dinner is great when it’s just not grilling weather.  Serving these Roasted Pork Chops with a side of squash and kale salad means its good for you and filling, no matter when or where you make it.

Roasted Pork Chops with Squash Salad

Basics
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: 2

Ingredients
4 Pork Chops
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Salt or sea salt (to taste)
3 Tablespoons Bayou Blast
1 cup sliced yellow squash
2 cups fresh or baby kale
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
2 cloves (1 teaspoon) minced, fresh garlic

Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to large skillet over medium high heat and season pork chops with salt, pepper and Bayou Blast to taste.
3.  Add pork chops to skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side.
4.  Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and garlic to second skillet and heat until soft.
5.  Place pork skillet in oven for 10 minutes, or until pork is cooked to 150 degrees.
6.  Add kale, water and vinaigrette to squash, toss and saute, stirring regularly, over high heat for 5 minutes or until water has evaporated.

roasted pork chops with squash saladGive these delicious Roasted Pork Chops with Squash Salad, or your own favorite sautéed vegetables, a try tonight for a quick, simple and good for you weeknight dinner that makes pretty good leftovers, too.

Want help with a meal plan?  Trying to lose weight or fuel for a big event?  Ask us!

Proper Long Race Recovery

Recovery, both physically and mentally, can be difficult, especially long race recovery.  After a good race, it might be hard to stop training because you long race recoverywant to push yourself to improve while you’re on an upswing.  If a race wasn’t so good, odds are you want to figure out what went wrong and work on not letting it happen again.  Unfortunately, the best possible thing you can do, regardless of a race’s outcome, is take the time necessary to recover from your efforts properly.

Training for a lengthy race, whether it’s a marathon, 50K or 100K takes a long time.   Programs can range from 16 to 30 weeks, and that puts of a lot of stress on your body.  Even with taper weeks just before your max effort race, your body rarely has an opportunity to fully recover from what you’re putting it through.  It’s important to realize that proper long race recovery should take at least two to three weeks and rushing back into training greatly increases the risk of injury.

There are lots of ways to kick off recovery after completing a long race, and it begins the minute you cross the Finish Line.  Keeping moving by walking long race recoverythrough the finishing chute and to the post race party, your hotel or car and immediately start hydrating, with water or a sports drink.  When you’re ready to eat, do so with easily digested carbs such as granola and bananas, just try get it within 30 minutes of your finish.  Next up is getting off your feet.  Change into dry, warm clothes, then put them up and rest an hour or two, foam roll, stretch and use an ice bath while enjoying your accomplishment.  Relaxing with your feet up will also give you time to treat any injuries, from muscle strains to blisters.

After resting for a few hours, and letting your muscles start their long race recovery, freshen up with a warmer- than-an-ice-bath shower, or another bath, then go get that healthy, carb rich meal your body’s ready for.  Your efforts on the course have long race recoverydepleted your glycogen stores, and refilling them is one of the best ways to help your muscles, cells and immune system repair themselves from the stress of a long, hard race.  If you want to celebrate, do so responsibly.  Alcohol can hinder the body’s ability to repair itself, and you’re likely to already be running, or walking, on fumes.  When you’ve finished celebrating, hit the hay.  You’re probably tired, anyway, and your body needs the rest.  It might be hard to fall asleep with soreness and an excited mind, but lots of fluids and a bed time snack can help.

The final, and toughest, part of long race recovery is rest.  You’ve done your best to help your body heal just after the race, but it definitely needs more time for a complete recovery.  Keep moving around the day after your event, but stay away from running.  Take two to three days off from any serious exercise and get a sports massage.  By four days after your race, you can try a little light jogging for two or three miles, but remember to take it slow.  Most of the soreness should be gone by the end of the week, so throw in some light cross training or a longer, but still easy, run.  Use the next week or two to continue taking it easy, fueling properly, staying hydrated, massaging and giving your muscles the best chance they have to heal quickly.

Never be afraid to take an extra day off, though you always want to keep from being stationary for long periods of time, be especially aware during long race recovery.  Worries about losing fitness are unfounded, and many elites are comfortable taking up to four weeks post-race to recover.

Want help with your recovery plan?  Need tips for training?  Ask us!

Steamy Beef Stir Fry For All

This Steamy Beef Stir Fry is a Team FitNice favorite for it’s simplicity, good-for-you ingredients and easy clean up.  Full of vegetables, this is a great week night meal for families on the go, especially when they’re in the mood for Asian inspired cuisine.  Better than restaurant made stir fry, this heart healthy Steamy Beef Stir Fry recipe is MSG free and low on sodium.

Steamy Beef Stir Fry

Basics
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: 2

Ingredients
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
4 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cups brown rice, cooked
sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions
1.  Whisk teriyaki and sesame oil in large bowl.  Add steak, let marinade for 20 minutes in refrigerator.
2.  Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over high heat, add beef, setting left over marinade aside, and stir fry for 3 minutes.
3.  Remove beef and set to side.
4.  Add left over olive oil, saute onions, garlic and ginger until onion edges are browned.
5.  Add vegetables and stir fry for 3 minutes.
6.  Return beef to wok and add remaining marinade, stir fry for an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
7.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over hot rice.

steamy beef stir fryHealthy and filling, Steamy Beef Stir Fry makes busy nights a little less stressful at meal time.  To make this an even quicker dinner, try adding the marinade to the wok when browning the beef, rather than letting it set in the fridge.  Warm your stove top tonight with this quick and easy one wok meal that makes great leftovers.

Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

Intermittent fasting is a form of diet control that involves exactly what it claims and is slowly gaining popularity.  You fast, and you do it intermittently.  A hunger strike it’s not, so you won’t find yourself starving, but it’s possible that the old mantra of ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ might actually not be as valuable as we thought.intermittent fasting

For those who are trying to lose weight, a huge emphasis is often put on eating breakfast to get your metabolism going, then spacing out five more meals throughout the day.  Intermittent fasting often includes skipping breakfast and some proponents have abandoned the morning meal altogether.  Consisting of two phases, fasting and feasting, this diet pattern prevents the many small meals type of eating schedule from being possible.

Intermittent fasting relies on the fact that your body functions differently in each phase.  When feasting, the body burns the energy it can from what you’ve just eaten because it’s easily accessible, instead of pulling energy out of stored fat.  In the fasting phase, there’s no readily available source of energy in the blood, making the body more likely to go to fat stores for energy.  Burn fat, lose weight, and that’s good news.

The eating schedule associated with an intermittent fasting diet pattern can vary from eating only during certain time windows to taking a full 24 hours away from food.  Popular plans include alternate day fasting (12 hours of feast, 36 hours of fasting), randomly skipping meals, one or two 24 hour fasts during a week, 8 hours of feast, 16 of fast and 4 hours of feasting with 20 hours of fasting.  If you decide to give this type of eating a try, play with different feasting windows and be sure to take into account how your exercise or training routines can affect your body’s caloric needs.

Intermittent fasting can affect men and women differently, so before you start, check out this wonderful article from Mark’s Daily Apple.  If you want more information, you can also read this incredibly thorough article from Nerd Fitness or email us at Info@FitNicePT.com

Lauren’s Braised Rustic Chicken

This Braised Rustic Chicken recipe comes from Team FitNice member Lauren.  Lauren is an avid runner working hard to reach new and challenging goals at the half marathon distance who loves to cook healthy, sometimes paleo friendly meals at home.  She loves this non-paleo Braised Rustic Chicken for its simplicity and ease, in addition to how scrumptious and healthy it is.  Give this low-fat, one pot, good-for-you Braised Rustic Chicken a try the next time you need an easy clean-up weeknight meal.

Basics
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes
Difficulty: 2

Ingredients
1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 lb potatoes, skin on red potatoes, removed from russet or sweet
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Rustic Herb Seasoning
10 ounces green beans, fresh or frozen, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups baby kale, washed and dried (optional)

Instructions
1.  Warm olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken and seasoning.
2.  Saute chicken until no longer pink, then add potatoes and broth.
3.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes until potatoes begin to soften.
4.  Add green beans, cover and cook an additional 8 minutes until green beans are to taste.
5.  Serve over bed of kale (if desired).

Braised Rustic ChickenIf this Braised Rustic Chicken looks good to you, that’s a wonderful thing, because it is!  You can even make it paleo friendly by replacing the butter with 1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil and being sure to use sweet potatoes, instead of red or russet.  Fire up your stove top tonight and enjoy Lauren’s delicious one pot meal tonight.

Have questions about this recipe or working on a meal plan?  Ask us for help!

5 Tips to Handle a Missed Goal

You set a goal for your Spring Race.  You trained.  You ate right.  You slept.  And then, you missed it.  Months of hard work, for nothing.  Well, maybe not.  As disappointing as it is to put time and effort into something that ends up not working, it’s also a great learning opportunity.  Running is a tough, outdoor sport, and it’s getting more and more popular missed goaleach year.  That means crowds are getting bigger, starting corrals are filled with more bodies and there are lots of newbies who don’t necessarily know where they should start the race to begin with.  The good news is that missing your goal might have absolutely nothing to do with your training or your diet.  Here are 5 tips to help you work through the disappointment of a missed goal.

Evaluate the weather.  Was it windy?  Wet?  How about below freezing or over 70 degrees?  All of these things can have a major impact on your body, and in turn, change your stride, heart rate and pace.  A different stride can slow you down and even end up causing pain, while an increased heart rate will make you work much harder than you expected to run your goal pace and do it much too soon.  Your missed goal might have been completely out of your hands.

Think about your competition.  You might not be out there to win an age group award, but the guy next you might be.  There’s only so much space on a race course, and there are a lot of people who want it.missed goal  Weaving through a crowd of runners and taking wide turns can add distance to the race course, costing you valuable steps and seconds while leading to a missed goal.

Check up on the goal itself.  Was the goal you set reasonable?  Did you consider changing your goal based on race day conditions?  Did you give yourself enough time to get ready to turn in the performance you want?  Reword or redesign your goal, if needed.

Ask for help.  Can’t figure out what went wrong?  It’s difficult to evaluate your own performance, especially when you’re emotionally involved.  Ask a runner friend or coach for help breaking down the race you ran and determining possible sources of trouble.

Take a deep breath.  Use the missed goal as a learning moment.  Look at your race strategy and your splits.  If you came off the Starting Line too fast, it probably cost you at the end, but you’re lucky because that’s an easy fix the next time out.

Most importantly, remember there’s another race coming and, barring injury, you’ll get another shot.  Want help setting a goal, changing a goal or dealing with a missed goal?  Ask us! 

Breezy Baked Kale Chips

Kale Chips are a great nutritious alternative to potato chips, with more protein and fewer calories.  Kale is a good source of Vitamin A, with 134% daily value per cup, and Vitamin C, with 133% daily value per cup, nutrients those salty potato chips can’t offer.  Team FitNice loves to bake a batch up before any get together, and this easy breezy recipe is both quick and simple.  The best news is they’re paleo friendly!

Basics
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Difficulty: 1

Ingredients
2 bunches of kale
1 -2 Tablespoons of olive or avocado oil
1 Tablespoon of seasoned salt, or your own favorite

kale chipsInstructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Remove stems from kale leaves, wash and dry using a salad spinner.  Make sure leaves are completely dry before baking or they will stay soggy.
3.  Toss leaves with olive oil and distribute evenly with hand or brush.
4.  Place oiled leaves on parchment paper lines baking sheet in a single layer.  Leaves should be as flat as possible to ensure proper crisping.
5.  Bake for 12 minutes, being sure to check regularly or chips will burn and turn bitter.
6.  Remove from oven and season with desired salt or seasoning.

Serve these good-for-you potato chip alternatives on a crudites tray or all by themselves.  Try baking them up during the week for your family to make the week’s meal plan even healthier and enjoy!

5 Tips for Your Stay Fit Vacation

Vacations are a wonderful thing.  Unfortunately, they’re often filled with too much food, too many cocktails and not enough exercise.  Here are six tips from Team FitNice to help make sure your travel time is home to a Stay Fit Vacation.

Wear your runners.  No shoes is no excuse to not get a run, jog or walk in while on vacation.  It’s true that running shoes are heavy and bulky, which can  make fitting them in an already stuffed suitcase can be a big challenge.  Luckily, they’re comfortable, so even though they might not be part of stay fit vacationyour most fashionable travel outfit, carrying them on your feet will keep you cozy, and could save you a checked bag fee.

Bodyweight.  Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats and burpees are a great way to get in a challenging, low maintenance workout on your Fit Vacation.  Pick a few of your favorite exercises and try doing a Tabata routine with them for a quick, intense session that will get you right back to relaxing.

Look around.  With the help of the internet and websites like Yelp!, you can search for and read reviews of fitness centers in the area you’re visiting.  A Stay Fit Vacation can be a great time to try something you’ve never heard of before (spelunking, anyone?) or a class that might not be offered at your home facility.  You can even help others out by reviewing when you’re finished.

stay fit vacationResistance Bands.  Small, flexible and super portable, resistance bands can be just as effective as free weights without the hassle.  Put a band or two to use right there in your hotel room, or even on the balcony if you have a view, and spend less time hunting for a gym and more time enjoying your Stay Fit Vacation

Take a breather.  Forget a Stay Fit Vacation.  Take a few days off.  Let your mind and body relax, rest and recover.  This is especially true at the end of a training cycle or when coming back from an injury, and it’s unlikely you’ll lose a lot of fitness.  Be aware that jet lag and diving back into reality can make returning to your regular routine tough, so if you decide to stop exercising for a while, expect those first few days back home to be a challenge.

Stick with your fitness program on any Stay Fit Vacation using these 5 tips and it’s sure to be a success!

Have questions?  Want a workout design for your next trip?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.