You are what you eat!

Food has so much effect on your feelings, attitudes and your appearance! Here are few foods that are good for skin!

  • Tomatoes
    Why: They’re full of lycopene, a phytochemical that provides red pigment and health benefits. Lycopene helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays – in other words, it protects against sun damage. To reap the most benefits, heat them up: A half-cup of cooked tomatoes, for example, packs 16 milligrams of lycopene. A daily dose coupled with sunscreen will help block the burn.
  •  Mangoes, Papaya and Apricots
    Why: Got that washed-out look? Load up on some fruit. Mangoes, papaya and apricots are full of pigments called carotenoids, which are stored in the layer of fat directly beneath the skin and can improve color. “They peek through, giving you a rosy glow,” says registered dietitian Karen Ansel, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and co-author of “The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life.”
  • Cocoa Powder
    Why: Flavonals, the antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce roughness in the skin and protect against sun damage. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa fortified with 326 milligrams of flavonals a day had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who didn’t get as much of the antioxidants. Just a few ounces a day – or a standard Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bar – is sufficient. Another tasty way to get enough? Spoon some cocoa powder into your morning coffee, Ansel suggests.
  • Flaxseed
    Why: Think of these as tiny wrinkle fighters. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and smooth fine lines. In one study, participants who had about half a teaspoon of omega-3s daily for six weeks had less skin irritation and redness, as well as better-hydrated skin, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition. That’s likely because fatty acids attract water to skin cells, plumping the skin and reducing wrinkling.
  • Sweet Potatoes:
    Why: They’re full of vitamin C, which smooths wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found people who consumed 4 milligrams of vitamin C – about half a small sweet potato – daily for three years reduced the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent.
  • Spinach:
    Why: Want to protect yourself against skin cancer? Take a page out of Popeye’s book. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that folks who ate the most leafy greens (more than four times a day) developed half as many skin tumors over 11 years as those who ate the smallest amount (once a day or never). That’s likely because the folate in spinach helps maintain and repair DNA, reducing the likelihood of cancer-cell growth
  • Canned Tuna:
    Why: It’s packed with selenium – a nutrient that preserves elastin, which keeps skin smooth and tight. Selenium also prevents free radicals that are produced by UV rays from damaging skin cells, protecting against sun damage.
  • Safflower Oil
    Why: If you have dry, flaky or itchy skin, take note: This common cooking oil doubles as a moisturizer. It contains omega-6 fatty acids, which keep cell walls supple, allowing water to reach the skin. Some research suggests consuming safflower oil can help ease skin problems such as dermatitis, inflammation, acne and dry skin.
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Remember to stretch after your workout!

You finish your workout and are ready to walk out the door. Just before you leave you see a few people stretching and you think “I probably should, but i just wait to get home.” Well well well let me tell you that just because you can’t SEE the results of stretching – it is just as important to help reach your goals, whether it’s losing weight or wanting to compete.

Stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and EVEN a cheerier outlook on life (yep! sure can!). Sitting can be hard on your glutes and your back. Stretching helps keep from these muscles from atrophying over time. If stretching hurts – it’s cause you really need it. Breathe through the stretch and imagine your muscle tissues releasing. Practice makes perfect. The more you stretch the easier it is and better you will feel over all.

Here is my cool down stretching routine. Find whatever works for you! I promise with consistent stretching you will feel like a new you!

Walk on treadmill til my heart rate is down (wear a heart rate monitor so you are always aware of your heart rate). Then legs a little wider than shoulder width apart, stretch down feeling it your hamstrings, go to the right side then the left and finish back at center – holding each for about 10-15 counts.

Hip flexors right leg back in a lunge position and press hips forward and squeeze right glute, then straighten left leg and lean forward to feel the stress in your hamstring. I do this 5 times alternating hip flexor and hamstring holding about 8 counts for each stretch. Then do this same thing with the left leg back squeezing that glute and pressing hips forward then straighten right leg out for hamstring stretch on that side, again holding for 8 counts each.

Next I sit on the mat and stretch my glutes by bringing my right ankle to the top of my left knee and you’ll feel that pull in your glutes. The closer the leg is to your body the deeper the stretch. Then do a spinal twist turning to the right – repeat this on the left side.

Then I lay on my back and do some spinal twists with bent knees.

Stretch out my neck from side to side then reach high then I’m done!

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Reference here

Do you foam roll?

I’m sure you’ve seen them at your gym. People rolling and contorting their bodies on this foam cylinder, and you think “what does that even do?”

A foam roller is a very helpful tool that helps your body recover and can help to prevent injury. When you use the foam roller  it digs into muscles to release tension, specially Self-myofascial release. It a massage technique that require longer low pressure on a muscle until it releases and the mobility and tissue are restore to their proper form. A foam roller allows you to have this type of massage by yourself.

Benefits

  • Increased blood flow throughout the body
  • Better movement and increased range of motion.

Ideally foam rolling should be down both during your warmup and your cool down. It’s so important to get your body prepared for a lift and to stretch after a workout!

Now why does it hurt?

Now if you’ve tried foam rolling and feel like you are almost forced to tears, chances are you are doing it right AND you really need it. Similar to the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you release you should feel looser.

How do I do it?
I like to start with my calves and work my way up to my hamstrings. Then I move to IT bands (which usually hurt a lot because I hold a lot of tension in my hips). When I find a spot that’s tight I hold in place and bend my knee to increase the pressure. Then I move onto my quads and then inner thigh. Then the other leg – IT band, quad and inner thigh. After that I sit on the foam roller rolling over my glutes sometimes crossing my leg putting my ankle to my opposite knee to dig in deeper, switch sides. At the end I lay on the foam roller in line with my spine and up my arms up like a touchdown signal and am just still for about a minute (which is actually really long time to be still). I usually feel my shoulder and neck tension release and a great sense of calming to do nothing for a minute.

This is just my routine. There are many ways to foam roll you can what works for when you consistently include foam rolling into your workout regime.

Here are some pictures!

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I promise after a week or two of consist foam rolling your body will recover faster and your muscles will be looser over all!

references here and here

Sunday BUNSday

Happy Sunday!  If you can’t make it into the gym today don’t worry, I got you!

3-5 rounds of this booty blasting routine will keep you on track and best part, it will take at MOST 35 minutes of your day! Get everyone involved family, friends and neighbors!

Pin,  share,  tag your friends and tackle this Sunday BUNSday workout!

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13 Habits of Fit and Lean People

I came across this article and I like the points it makes. I want to highlight the word HABITS. Once you commit to a healthy, active lifestyle you form healthy habits to keep up with that lifestyle.

Here are the 13 Habits:

1. Eat a smart breakfast. Individuals who start their day off with breakfast have a reduced risk of weight gain.
Think about it – when you don’t eat breakfast and that hunger bug finally hits – you want to eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Starting your day with a smart breakfast prevents from making a decision based on hunger and not a smart decision.

Examples: eggs with spinach or bowl of whole wheat oatmeal and fruit

2. Listen to internal hunger cues.  Learning to listen to your inner cues and not social cues – It’s lunch time I need to eat or the boss brought in doughnuts. Social environments like work and parties can be incredable influences on when, how and what people eat. ues such as social pressures or environments strongly influence when and how people eat.  It can become a mindless act – getting candy here or grabbing one more brownie at the office.

Try learning the difference between eating because you are hungry or eating because you are near it.

Tip: To keep yourself honest try keeping a healthy snack, like fruit or nuts, nearby.

3. Avoid skipping meals. According to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, short-term food deprivation can lead people to make unhealthy food choices and increase the attraction of high calorie foods. The researchers found that “hungry” participants who did not eat five hours prior to grocery shopping were more likely to buy higher-calorie foods, compared to those who snacked on crackers before shopping. The results confirm the importance of eating before shopping, but also demonstrate that consuming regular meals can promote healthy food choices later in the day.

Lesson: Prevent yourself from the pitfalls of “hungry choices” and stay ahead of your hunger!

4. Eat most meals from home. Eating meals away from home decreases awareness of the calories and ingredients in the meal, as indicated by a 2013 study conducted in popular fast-food restaurants in America. Two-thirds of the 3,385 study participants who ate at a fast-food chain underestimated the calorie content of their meal, with one quarter underestimating by more than 500 calories.

Additional findings in children and adolescents were also published in 2013, demonstrating that eating out at fast food and full-service restaurants increases children and adolescents’ daily energy consumption by 126 to 310 calories. That’s in addition to increasing total fat, saturated fat, sugar and protein intake.

Tip: Pack a lunch! It not only helps you make healthy choices, it saves money in the long run!

5. Load up on plant-based protein. Many individuals who maintain a healthy body weight long-term do so by removing meat from the center of their plate. Studies show that vegetarians tend to have a lower body fat percentage long-term, in addition to lower levels of oxidative stress and cholesterol, compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

Tip: Start shopping in the produce and try to think ahead of meals you can prepare for the week. Planning ahead is super helpful in keeping you on track and prevents you from making unhealthy decisions based on convenience.

6. Avoid foods with added sugars. A diet low in added sugars translates to fewer empty calories and a lower risk of weight gain. A 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines added sugars as sweeteners added to processed and prepared foods such as breads, cakes, jam and ice cream. Some examples of added sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses and honey. The CDC report stated that an increased intake of added sugars is associated with a decreased intake of essential micronutrients and an increase in body weight. Stick to naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and dairy products and minimize intake of added sugars.

Tip: Natural sugars in fruit and yogurt can give you your “sweet fix” and keep you on track with your healthy lifestyle.

7. Creatively add vegetables. Veggies provide a variety of nutrients for very few calories, which makes them a key component to achieving a healthy weight. Incorporating vegetables into snacks and meals leads to a boost in fiber intake, which is associated with increased satiety and weight loss. Creatively add vegetables wherever you can get them into your diet.

Example: For breakfast, add diced veggies to eggs and a few scoops of salsa.
For lunch and dinner, try making a wrap with collard greens instead of tortillas, or add tomato sauce to a baked potato.
Other ideas including seasoning and grilling an entire cauliflower “steak” or incorporating broccoli or kale into a rice dish.

8. Choose 100 percent over 50 percent whole grain. Science demonstrates that the proportion of grains consumed in the diet is not as important as type when predicting future weight gain. The study suggests that a high intake of refined grains and sweets may predict weight gain, while consumption of refined white bread is associated with larger increases in waist circumference. Obvious sources of refined grains are white bread and bagels, while less obvious sources are hidden in “whole grain” products that are not 100 percent whole grain. Get in the habit of avoiding all refined grains by choosing 100 percent whole wheat or 100 percent whole grain products. The benefits of increased fiber intake will aid with weight-loss or help maintain a healthy weight.

9. Use smaller containers. Those who carefully control the quantity of food they consume generally eat from smaller serving dishes and containers. A 2012 study demonstrated that students consumed twice as much candy when they ate from two larger candy bowls, compared to the small bowl. The findings imply that eating with larger serving containers – plates, bowls, spoons and packages – stimulates food intake. To help curb overeating, switch to smaller containers.

TIP: Measure your food just once and you’ll see how big your portions really are. Once you see that make appropriate adjustments to help you keep your portion sizes in check!

10. Read ingredients before anything else. Check to see that the claims made on the front of the package are justified by the ingredients that are in the actual food product. Focusing on the quality of food first and the numbers second will ensure consumption of nutrient-dense calories. While calorie content does determine weight loss fueling your body with quality calories helps promote healthy choices long-term.

11. Don’t drink calories. Sodas, fruit drinks, specialty coffee drinks, energy drinks – the list of empty calories goes on and on. These popular beverages are exploding with sugar, meaning empty calories that provide no nutritional value. Regular consumption of sugary drinks adds inches to the waistline faster than you can finish a 20-ounce bottle of soda. According to results from 2005 to 2006 NHANES data, 35.7 percent of added sugar in the average U.S. diet comes from soda, energy drinks and sports drinks. An additional 10.5 percent of calories from added sugar are derived from fruit drinks. In total, almost 50 percent of sugar calories in the U.S. come from beverages that lack any nutritional benefits.

TIP: Avoid soda all together, you won’t miss it! There are numerous benefits of drinking water – try for a week swamping soda for water and you’ll see and FEEL the change!

12. Get adequate sleep. Research has shown that sleep habits influence people’s dietary habits. A study published in 2011 followed men and women for six years and found that every additional hour of sleep decreased the incidence of obesity by 30 percent. The underlying mechanism that explains the relationship is not known, but experts suspect it involves hunger hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, along with other physiological factors. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

Tip: Make sleep just as much a priority as everything else – your body will thank you!

13. Wear a pedometer. Individuals who have a lean shape are often active throughout the entire day, not just during their 30-minute date with the elliptical. In order to achieve optimal health and a slim physique, experts recommend taking at least 10,000 steps per day. Start tracking your steps each day with a pedometer or other devices that increase your awareness of your activity.

Lesson: Be aware of how much activity you are getting throughout a day. Pedometers keep you in check and are helpful tools in accessing your activity level!