In 2012, the number 1 New Year's resolution was to lose weight. Number 5 was to get fit and stay healthy. of the 60+ percent of Americans that made resolutions, only 8% were successful. Of the numerous reasons for this staggering failure rate, lack of planning, support, and guidance were the most common.
It's time to do it right for 2013! You know that Colleen and I can help you. The 24-Day Challenge (marked down $20 until January 15th) and the Can You 24 workout DVD (only 24 minutes per day, and only $29.95!) are perfect. This exercise and nutrition program is set up for you in a simple step-by-step format that you can't mess up. You also get guidance and support from us (and who doesn't want a kick in the butt to guarantee success).
We are starting our 24-Day Challenge on Saturday. If you are planning any weight-loss, fitness, or wellness resolution, let us help you become one of the 8% of people that succeed.www.getfitz4life.com
Well it's back to school time for me and the vacation is over, so I thought I would get to work on Fitz's Tip of the Day. Today's topic is one that I have come to terms with; bread.
If you were unaware, for the last year or so I have followed a 99% strict Paleo diet and have never felt better in my life. That means I do not eat processed foods, dairy, beans, potato, and (dare I say it) bread. Before I get into the details of today's post, let me tell you about my past relationship with bread. It all started 36 years ago when I was born into a half Italian family. Bread and pasta were staples in our family. My grandmother can make magic happen with wheat. Her pasta, sauce, and meatballs are second to none. Needless to say, pasta was a part of most meals, especially around the holidays. Additionally, I was the kid who would eat so much Italian bread that I would not be able to fit anything more into my stomach. However if you are from Italian descent, you know that Grandma doesn't accept "No" for an answer. So I gouged myself with wheat-based food for my entire life. As if that wasn't enough, pizza and bagels are an unavoidable part of life as a New Yorker (nuff said).
When I tell people that I don't eat bread and cheese they look at me like I am crazy. Crazy like a fox perhaps. I can't tell you the changes that have occurred physically from eliminating these foods. I no longer get allergy symptoms, I retain less water weight, and I feel energized all day long (that could also be due to the Spark twice a day, but anyway). So why is bread so bad? Let me drop a little science for you.
You're Getting Fatter One Roll at a Time.
First of all, our bodies were not designed to eat bread. That is a processed food that is not a part of natural/wild life. Chemically, our bodies cannot process the amount of glycogen (blood sugar stuff) that is produced from consuming complex carbohydrate such as bread and pasta. Our cells literally fill to max capacity with glycogen and then send the rest to be stored as fat for a starvation period that never occurs in the American diet. Thus, we just keep storing fat and never burn it off unless we are highly intense athletes.
Want To Lose Weight? Lose the Bread.
If you are interested in losing weight or you are taking our 24-Day Challenge, removing bread and pastas from your diet will give your results a tremendous boost. Bread and pasta are processed grains with little to no real nutritional value. Most of these products also contain very little fiber and can clog your intestinal tract, making the absorption of nutrients very difficult. You could literally be starving while over-eating! Additionally, bread (in any form) is extremely high in sodium. The average slice of bread has between 100 and 200 milligrams of sodium, and the average "health" wrap has 250-500 milligrams. As you probably know, sodium makes you retain water weight, but what you probably don't know is how much sodium you need per day. In order for your body to function properly, you need to consume around 500 milligrams PER DAY! That means that you have reached your minimum having one wrap with NOTHING on it. Throw some cold-cut turkey on there and you're in trouble. The average American consumes around 5,000 mg of sodium per day! The numbers can be staggering. I have an App on my phone called Restaurant Nutrition that tells the amount of sodium in the food we buy and it blows my mind. I don't want to get off topic, but a Grilled Chicken Wrap at Sonic (assumed to be the healthy choice) has 1,420 mg of sodium!
What Should We Do?
What we need is a proper sodium-potassium balance. Sodium's job is to bring water into the cells, while potassium's is to pump waste out of your cells. In order to have your internal water balanced, you need to have much more sodium than potassium. As I said before; you should consume 500-750mg of sodium per day. Conversely, you should be having around 4,700 mg of potassium. The sodium-potassium imbalance not only cause weight gain, but it also contributes to hypertension and other heart-related problems. An easy way to get more potassium in your diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables instead of bread. They all fuel your body, but two are natural and contain countless vitamins and minerals such as potassium, and the other is a belly-filler and fat-producer.
Top 5 Fruits and Vegetable High in Potassium
1. Bananas – 422 mg
2. Prunes – 637 mg
3. Potatoes – 763 mg)
4. Tomatoes – 292 mg
5. Spinach – 420 mg
How to Correct a Sodium and Potassium Imbalance
1. Remove all breads and pasta from your diet
2. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet
3. Consider starting a cleanse to reset your body. I highly recommend AdvoCare's herbal cleanse. Colleen and I started a 10 day Herbal Cleanse right after we got back from our 10-year anniversary cruise and it totally reset our bodies after the food we ate while we were away (If you have ever been on a cruise before, you know exactly what I mean).
If you have any questions about this topic or any others, please comment on our Facebook Group (Fitz's Tip of the Day) or on this blog. You can also contact us personally as well.
If you’re like me, the last thing you want to do after an hour of weight training is another hour of cardio. So why not combine the two? Makes sense right? That’s what Circuit Training is all about. Get the results of two different types of training in one. You can’t get any better than that!
People always ask me how much cardio work I do. The answer depends on how you look at it. If you mean running, riding a bike, or working on a cardio machine in the gym, than the answer is once a week. If you mean getting my heart-rate up into cardiovascular range, that the answer is 5 days a week. That’s because I do circuit training. My workouts are intense 45-60 minute circuit routines that include body-weight and free-weight resistance with minimal rest that keep my heart-rate elevated the whole time. Why do I do this? Because it works! So let’s take a look at circuit training.
Circuit Training Basics
Circuit training is a method of resistance training, or weight training that maximizes the volume of work done in a short period of time. Circuit training is a great tool to use for people who are interested in weight loss, muscle gain and overall strength increases.
Circuit training consists of performing multiple exercises on multiple body parts in a row with little rest in between sets. My preferential type of circuit training is called vertical training. In vertical training, one set of every different type of exercise is performed before returning to an exercise for the second time. Essentially, you perform the entire workout once through and than repeat. I also use super-set training on certain weeks. Super-sets are similar to vertical training except the exercises are organized into groups of 2-4 where each group is repeated two or three times before moving on to the next group.
The amount of weight that a person lifts during a circuit training session can vary between sets. Some sets may be based on body weight; others may use barbells or dumbbells. The most important component of circuit training is to take little rest in between sets. That’s what will give you the best results. Not only will your heart-rate and calorie burning levels remain high, but you will be putting your muscles through more stress that will result in more gains.
Benefits of Circuit Training
- Elevates heart rates for the entire period of exercise
- Increases cardiovascular effort
- Increases cardiovascular endurance
- Muscle gain through the resistance training increases calories burned daily
- Burns high amounts of calories during the high exertion periods
- Maximizes the total exercise volume over time (workout more in less time)
- Separate cardiovascular training is not necessary
- All body parts can be trained in one session, and therefore, exercisers do not need to work out everyday.
On a final note; circuit training workouts should take no longer that 1 hour and can be as short as 30 minutes. It is a great way to get fast results in less time.
If you would like to contact me about creating a circuit routine tailored to your level of fitness, feel free to contact me via facebook or email. I would be glad to help.
Also, below is a link to circuit training articles and routines from Livestrong.com. Enjoy!
When most people think “Superfoods” they think Super-expensive. If you have ever shopped in a specialty grocery store that carries organic and natural food, you have experienced the sticker shock that I’m talking about. That’s why today's post is going to help. I’ve only picked Superfoods that are easy to get, inexpensive, and easy to implement into your diet.
First off, what are Superfoods? Superfoods are foods with high nutrient or phytochemical content that have health benefits, with few properties considered to be negative, such as being high in saturated fats or artificial ingredients, food additives or contaminants. We need these today more than ever. Today’s factory created food is processed to such an extent in order to protect from bacteria that they are lacking in essential nutrients that get lost in the process. Once upon a time before food became an industry, we got everything we needed from locally grown and farmed food. Today, in order to meet our nutritional needs we need to supplement; whether it be through supplements products, eating Superfoods, or both.
I have broken down the Superfoods into categories based on their benefits. Keep in mind that some of these foods could fit into multiple categories.
· Powerful fat burner
· Improves digestion
· Builds muscle
· Rids the body of parasites
We use coconut in two ways. We buy organic coconut milk and use 6oz in our meal replacement smoothie every day, and we use coconut oil for cooking as well. The coconut milk in the smoothie instead of water or regular milk is amazing! Try it.
· Regulates blood sugar
· Lowers Alc levels in Diabetics
· Powerful anti-oxidant
· Protects against free radical damage
Cinnamon is a great topping sprinkled on to diced fruit that has been mixed with 1tsp of vanilla extract. We also use about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon added into the meal replacement smoothie daily as well.
· Only 35 calories per serving
· Packed with Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Lutein, and Beta-carotene
· 206% daily requirement of Vitamin
· 134% daily requirement of Vitamin C
· 684% daily requirement of Vitamin K
· Helps build strong bones, improve vision, and aid in digestion
Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add 1 cup of it to your smoothy, add it to your salad, or sauté it. Kale tastes great when sautéed with coconut oil, garlic, onion, and a pinch of sea salt. We have at least 1 cup of kale per day.
· High in fiber
· Low in Carbs
· Helps keep dieters feeling full longer
· Vitamins B, magnesium, and manganese
· Counters inflammation
Flaxseeds are easy to include in your diet. They can be added to any nut butter you like, trail mix, salad, smoothies, sauces, deserts, and anything else you can think of.
Blueberries and Raspberries
· Reduce inflammation
· Improve memory
· Packe with Vitamin C and collagen
· Support healthy skin and gums
· Fight cancer cell growth
· Fight risk of Alzheimers
Berries can get expensive during certain seasons, so beware. Oragnic can be essecially pricey, so get them when you can. We add them to our salad and smoothies whenever we can get them for the right price.
· Contain healthy fat
· Increases good HDL cholesterol
· Helps hydrate your cells
· Supports healthy skin
· Rich in Vitamin B, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E
· Rich in Omega-9 fats (helps balance hormone levels)
You should try to eat 1/2-1 avocado per day. They are so delicious and awesome for you. I even use them to make an avocado chocolate mousse! Here’s the recipe:
2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup organic raw cacao powder (most health stores will have this)
¼ cup agave nectar (check sweetness to taste)
½ vanilla pod or 2tbs vanilla extract
1tbs coconut oil
Seasonal berries (garnish)
Method: Blend all ingredients in a food blender until smooth. Allow to set in the fridge for one hour. Serve in a wine glass with seasonal berries for garnish. Serves 2-3.
· Helps fight Cancer and Heart Disease
· Contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and manganese
· Supports a strong immune system
· Acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal
Add garlic to every meal! I’m half Italian, need I say more?
· Excellent source of Omega-3 essential oils
· Slows the effects of aging (inside and outside)
· Promotes healthy blood vessels
· Protects from heart disease
· Reduces oxidative stress, inflammation, and enhances the immune system
The most important thing to stress with salmon as well as all other fish is WILD CAUGHT. Farm-raise fish is not something you want to be eating regularly. Look it up, you will be shocked.
Cocoa (organic powder) & Dark Chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content)
· High in antioxidants
· Enhance mood (the ladies know what I’m talking about)
· Protects skin from UV sun damage
· Boosts cardio-vascular health
· Beneficial to the nervous system
1-2 ounces per day
Dark chocolate is healthy! Did everyone hear that? Now you have an excuse to eat 1-2 ounces of chocolate per day. Now go my friend…and enjoy. You’re welcome.
1/2 -1 cup daily
- Contains 12 amino acids that aid in building muscle
- Contains high levels of Arginine (promotes Nitric Oxide and Creatine production)
- Aid endurance and muscle building
- Lower bad LDL cholesterol
- High in fiber
I eat about 1 cup of almonds everyday. I make a mix of raw almonds and a bit of dried cranberries that I use as one of my snacks between meals. They keep me going and help rebuild the muscle I broke down the day before during my workout. We also used the sliced almond in salad, over vegetables, and over diced fruit (with vanilla extract and cinnamon).
- One of the top 2 bioavailable sources of protein (easily digested and turned into muscle)
- 20 times more omega-3 fats than factory eggs)
- 3 times more Vitamin E
- 7 times more Beta-carotine
- 4-6 times more Vitamin D
We only buy brown, free-range, grain-fed eggs. If you haven’t compared the yolk color between the regular eggs and these, you have to check it out. The color is rich and golden-orange in free-range, grain fed. It just looks like it’s better for you.
- Aids in workout recovery
- Fights chronic inflammation and oxidative stress
- Detoxifies your body
- Contains Vitamin A, B2, B6, K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and Omega-3
What can I say about broccoli that hasn’t been said already? Just eat it however you need to; raw, streamed, grilled, baked, deep fried (just kidding). As long as it’s nearly every day.
In closing, these Superfoods will get you on the right track to some serious health benefits. If you are eating processed food, or fast food, STOP! Get yourself and your family some real food, with real nutrients, and stop eating crap. You’ll thank yourself later for it.
I thought this would be a great topic to cover before the weekend. Yes, 75% of the sunscreens on the market are toxic. Chances are you use one of the mainstream sunscreens on yourself and your children with good intentions, but you are at risk. Did you ever wonder why the incidents of skin cancer are rising yet sunscreen use has gone up drastically? This article will shed some “light” on the issue.
Last year I had a spot of skin cancer on my shoulder which had to be removed. I wondered how that could happen when as a kid I looked like a commercial for zinc oxide. How could I get it when people for years were covering themselves with pure oil, using aluminum foil as a reflector and having no repercussions? Then I discovered the dangers of conventional sunscreen and realized why. Check this; four different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen! WHAT????
First off, sunscreen has not been regulated since 1978, so there is no one checking on the ingredients. I was shocked by that. Furthermore, recent research has shown that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood and can have toxic effects such as:
- Releasing skin-damaging free radicals when exposed to sunlight
- Acting like estrogen and disrupting hormone levels
- Causing allergic reactions and skin irritations (because they absorb into the skin and blood)
Here is a list of the unsafe, toxic chemicals found in conventional sunscreen:
· Para amino benzoic acid
· Octyl salicyclate
· Menthyl anthranilate
Stay away from these chemicals and try and try mineral based sunscreens. Those are the ones containing zinc and titanium rather than the non-mineral ones that contain Oxybenzone. Here are three recommended brands of sunscreen:
Kiss My Face
100% Pure Hydration Organic Pomegranate
Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin
Additionally, don’t be afraid to get some sun without using sunscreen. I’m not saying get burnt, but allow your body to get at least 20 minutes of unblocked sun per day. Sun doesn’t actually cause cancer itself. Think about it. What did we do for thousands of years? Sun contains vitamin D3, which is essential. It boosts the immune system and can actually fight certain forms of cancer. Ironic huh? Here’s what I have been doing lately; I don’t wear sunscreen for about 1 hour max at my pool. Then I either sit in the shade, put on a shirt and hat (no bald jokes please), or put on some recommended sunscreen. As long as you know your sensitivity to the sun and follow that as a guide, you will be fine.
So here is my advice in a nutshell:
1. Get 20 or more minutes of sun daily (sunscreen free)
2. Cover up or find shade before getting burnt
3. Wear one of the recommended sunscreens if you’re going to be in the sun for long periods
4. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidants to protect your skin
5. If you get burnt, use a mixture of aloe, coconut oil and vitamin E on your skin.
6. Try not to go 70’s style and use baby lotion and aluminum foil ;)
Enjoy your weekend!
Monday's Tip - Superfoods
“I just don’t have time to workout.” Does this sound familiar? Most of the people I talk to about fitness have this same response. However, it really isn’t all that time consuming if you structure it correctly. Just 30 minutes a day for 5 days per week can yield tremendous benefits.
Moderately strenuous exercise, about 30 minutes a day, can lead to enormous benefits in terms of your mood, health, and weight. The exercise doesn’t even need to be athletic or difficult to get benefits. Studies have shown that simply walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes or more on most days can lead to significant health improvements. Add simple strengthening exercises two or three times a week and the benefits are even greater.
The January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter lists some of the benefits of 30 minutes of exercise a day:
Lower blood pressure: A reduction of 5 to 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is possible. In some cases, that’s enough to prevent or reduce the need for blood pressure medications.
Improve cholesterol: Exercise often increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood), especially when accompanied by weight loss. Exercise also helps reduce triglyceride levels.
Prevent or manage type 2 diabetes: Exercise helps insulin work better, lowering blood sugar.
Manage weight: Coupling exercise with a healthy diet is the best way to shed fat and maintain a healthier body composition.
Prevent osteoporosis: Exercise may increase bone density and protect against bone mass decline, especially if weight-bearing activities are involved.
Prevent cancer: Exercise has been shown to strengthen the immune system, improve circulation, reduce body fat and speed digestion. Each has a role in preventing cancer, particularly cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine lining and breast.
Maintain mental well-being: Exercise may help reduce stress, improve mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety, improve sleep and boost moods.
Increase energy and stamina: A lack of energy often results from inactivity, not age.
The excuses are running out. 30 minutes a day is possible for anyone. The only trouble might be what to do. As you read, walking, cycling and running are great for short sessions, but strength training is possible too. You can even workout at home without weights if needed. Here’s a tip. If you have a smart phone there is a free app for workouts routines in your market. I have an Android phone and I use an app called Workout Trainer by Skimble when I want to mix things up a bit. All of the workouts are less than 45 minutes and in some cases as short as 15 minutes. They are categorized by intensity so you can tailor your workout to your ability level. There are hundreds of these free apps out there, so get to it.
When the average person thinks diet, they think starving themselves and fighting temptation. Our concept of diet has been completely ruined. A diet is the way you eat. It’s that simple. And one simple way to improve your diet is to eat more. What? Did I just say that? I think I did. Here’s what I mean.
I’m talking about eating something healthy every 3 to 4 hours. Eating every 3 to 4 hours equates to about 5 or 6 small meals or snacks a day, instead of the traditional, (and flawed) 3 squares that we were tricked into believing was best. This one small step of eating every three to four hours will change your body for the better.
Eat often and in moderate amounts, just enough so that you are not hungry again until another three to four hours. This should consist of breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner on an average day. The meals should inherently be smaller, with the snack meals being something like a meal replacement bar/shake or fruit, vegetables and nuts (I recommended raw almonds because they are easy to get and packed with nutrition). If you eat every three to four hours, you do not build up hunger, so you are less likely to eat large amounts of food.
Benefits of eating every 3 hours:
Boosts your metabolism
Think of fueling a fire with wood. If you don’t put enough wood in the fire, it will burn out. If you put too much wood in, it will snuff the fire out. Either way, your fire is out.
Fooling your appetite
Eating every 3 hours actually makes it seem you're eating 'more' food than normal. Psychologically you do not feel deprived of anything because it seems you're eating more often. That will help you stick to eating healthier food for a longer period of time.
Building Muscle Mass
Don’t worry ladies; you won’t become a female wrestler. Eating some protein every three hours will help rebuild muscle tissue you break-down from exercise or daily activity. This rebuilding is important not only for muscle size, but also for metabolism. Here is a stat for you; for every pound of fat you have on your body you burn 30 calories per day. For every pound of muscle you have, you burn 350 calories per day! It’s time to start replacing that fat with muscle.
So, if you are looking for a small change that can lead to serious results, I highly recommend eating something healthy every 3-4 hours.