Tips for staying fit when traveling

Whether for work or pleasure, traveling interrupts your  regularly scheduled exercise, making it is easy to fall out of the habit. Here are a few tips to on staying active when you’re away from home.

  • Do you research, what exercise opportunities will be available during your trip?
  • Pack your gym shoes and exercise clothes
  • Schedule exercise on your calendar, just like you do at home
  • Go for a swim- look for a hotel pool, or take a dip in the ocean
  • Spend some time in the hotel gym
  • See the city! Run, walk, hike or bike
  • Body weight exercises are effective and easy to do in any setting – try this 7 minute workout  right in your hotel room
  • Book your stay with one of these Fitness Friendly Hotel Chains
  • Plan active vacations (hiking, walking on the beach, swimming, skiing, site seeing, museum walking)
  • If traveling with family, friends, or co-workers, find a workout buddy

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

Add some color and new flavor to breakfast with this blueberry coconut smoothie.

INGREDIENTS

1 small container (5.3 oz) reduced fat coconut yogurt
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (frozen adds nice texture)
1 cup plain soy milk

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend and enjoy.

Nutrition facts (serves 1): 320 calories, 18 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat

Asparagus Soup

asparagus-soup

Looking for a new way to enjoy asparagus? Try this simple soup for those last few chilly days of the season.

Some tips for working with asparagus: look for thin stalks to reduce the fibrous texture that comes with thicker ones. When storing asparagus, treat them like a flower – trim the stalk and place them in a mason jar with an inch or two of water before storing in the fridge. It keeps the stalk hydrated and crunchy.

Ingredients

2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
8-10 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
Ground pepper to taste
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup skim or 2% milk
Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  3. Toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil and season with pepper.
  4. Arrange asparagus and garlic on prepared baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 12 minutes, or until asparagus is soft, stirring once.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer asparagus and garlic to a blender.  Add broth and milk.  Blend until smooth (Note: Depending on how large your blender is, you might have to do this part in batches)
  6. Transfer soup to a soup pot.
  7. Warm soup over medium-high heat, thinning with an additional ¼ cup of broth, if desired.
  8. Season with pepper, garnish with parsley, and serve!

Kitchen staples: how to make dinner in a pinch

We’ve all been there: dinner time arrives, you hesitantly look into the fridge and pantry to see what’s available, and realize in your exhausted state there is nothing to pull together in less than 30 minutes.

Ugh.

If you find yourself repeating this scenario again and again, then you may want to experiment with creating a kitchen staples list. Such a list can help you identify items to always have on hand in order to make a meal in a pinch. The goal is to check the status of your staples prior to any grocery store trips, so you can always keep them stocked.

The key to making this work? Getting comfortable with a little creativity in the kitchen. And the fact that all your meals don’t have to be gourmet or come from a recipe book.

The Example

Last week I found my own dinner options looking slim. A quick search of my kitchen found these recently purchased foods (asparagus and ground beef) and these staples:

Canned, diced tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Whole wheat linguine
Carrots

staples-2

 

So when life hands you lemons….you make pasta with meat sauce and roasted vegetables.

asparagus-and-carrots-1

pasta-with-meat-sauce-2

 

Did I wish I had a bit more tomatoes or sauce in the dish? Sure! But it doesn’t have to mean the meal is a wash.  So if you feel like it’s either a picture-perfect meal or else crackers and cheese, rest assured – a healthy meal lies somewhere in between.

Everyone’s kitchen staples may differ slightly, but here is an example of a kitchen staples list and how they could be used to make quick meals.

kitchen-staples

kitchen-staples2

Do alcohol and weight loss mix?

Ever wonder if your excessive alcohol intake is hindering your results when it comes to weight loss? The answer is most likely yes.

Heavy drinking or binge drinking can result in extra calorie consumption which may lead to weight gain or prevent you from losing weight. Alcohol can also have many other negative impacts on your overall health. Here are some commonly asked questions about alcohol and the evidence based answers you have been looking for:

What is the recommended daily allowance for alcohol?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend having up to 1 drink of alcohol a day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men. These guidelines also do not recommend that any individual whom does not drink alcohol start for any reason.

What is excessive alcohol intake?

Excessive alcohol intake is consuming more than the recommended daily allowance as described previously. Most commonly, excessive alcohol intake is described as heavy drinking or binge drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and the Center for Disease Control describes heavy drinking as consuming 15 or more drinks per week for men and 8 or more drinks per week for women. Binge drinking is noted to be consumption of alcohol in a manner that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to a level of 0.08% or more. This usually is in relation to 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women per one occasion, usually within a 2-hour time frame.

Is the serving size for all types of alcohol the same?

The answer to this question is no! The serving size of alcohol varies depending on type. A standard serving size of an alcoholic drink is equal to 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. This serving size typically correlates to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, 3 oz of fortified wine and 1.5 oz of liquor such as rum, rye or vodka. So beware, depending on the size of your glass, you may be unintentionally consuming more than one serving of alcohol!

alcohol

How does the calorie content of alcohol compare to food?

Alcohol can supply almost twice as many calories per gram when compared to protein and carbohydrates. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram where as alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Alcohol is just behind fat, which contains 9 calories per gram. In reference back to the serving sizes previously discussed, alcoholic beverages can be quite concentrated in calories in comparison to other beverages, which can accidentally be leading you to having greater than one serving of alcohol in a single drink. Alcoholic drinks may also contain calories from other sources, such as sugary mixers, juices, or energy drinks in cocktails, which then also increases the overall caloric consumption of the beverage.

Is it safe to replace food for alcohol in my diet to prevent excessive calorie intake?

No. Replacing food calories for alcohol calories will not aid you in weight loss or benefit your overall health. In fact, alcohol does not have the vitamin and mineral content of food so replacing food in your diet for alcohol can lead to malnutrition and many vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Can eating healthy help reduce my alcohol intake or limit my cravings for alcohol?

Yes! According the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating a well balanced diet can help reduce cravings for alcohol. Planning regular meals and healthy snacks can aid in keeping your mood and blood glucose stable resulting in less temptation for excessive alcohol intake and feelings of dependence towards alcohol.

What other long-term health risks associated with excessive alcohol intake?

Over an extended period time, consumption of alcohol in excess can lead to many chronic conditions or serious health problems including (but not limited to) these examples listed below:

* High blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and/or digestive problems
* Diabetes
* Cancer (commonly breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon)
* Learning and memory problems
* Mental health problems such as depression or anxiety
* Social problems such as loss of productivity or unemployment
* Alcoholism or dependence to alcohol

 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/

https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org

The F.I.T.T Principle and the Fitness Rut

We have all been there! You start a new exercise routine, and one day you realize you’ve been doing the same exact thing for months or even years. While there are health benefits that are associated with moving our bodies in general, the biggest bang for your buck comes from continuously challenging and overloading our bodies. The F.I.T.T principle is a great guide on how to adjust your workout.

F – Frequency (how often?)

I – Intensity (how hard?)

T – Time (how long?)

T – Type (what activity am I doing?)

Aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming overloads the heart and lungs, causing them to work harder than at rest. Your heart pumps blood to your muscles bringing oxygen with it.

Oxygen + food =energy.

Using more muscle groups with exercise requires more energy, placing a larger demand on your heart and lungs. Therefore running, which uses both your upper and lower body, feels harder than riding a stationary bike, which uses mostly your legs.

As you do the same activity over and over, your body becomes more efficient at making energy, and the demand on your heart and lungs decreases. It’s like our bodies go from being SUVs to hybrid cars; less gas gets us further. To continuously create overload, it is important to change the activity. Below is an example of the using the F.I.T.T principle for aerobic exercise.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you are walking for 10 minutes at 3.0 miles per hour. You have been doing this for 1 month, and notice that by the end of the walk, you are no longer tired and are not breathing as hard.

F – Frequency – Add in a 4th day of walking

I – Intensity – Try walking for 2 minutes at 3.0 miles per hour and for 1 minute at 3.5 miles per hour, then repeat for a total of 10 minutes

T – Time – Add 5 extra minutes to your total walk time

T – Type –Try walking 2 days a week and use the rowing machine 1 day per week

The F.I.T.T principle can also be used for resistance training. Resistance training improves muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance. To benefit from resistance training, you must overload the muscles you are working by placing enough external force on them to break them down.

Once broken down, the muscles can rebuild bigger and stronger. External force does not have to come from handheld weights. Using your own body weight, such as when doing a squat or a pushup, is a great way to begin a training program. Just like with aerobic exercise, our bodies adapt and we need to change the activity to overload the muscle.

After completing 10-15 repetitions of an exercise, you should feel like you might be able to do one or two more repetitions at most. If instead, you feel like you can complete another 15, it is probably time to make a change. Remember, our muscles are all different sizes and naturally have different amounts of strength. Your triceps, the tiny muscles in the back of your arms, are much smaller and weaker than your chest muscles. So, it would make sense that you would be able to lift more weight with your chest than with your triceps. Below is an example of using the F.I.T.T principle for resistance training.

You have been doing 1 day a week of resistance training, exercising every major muscle group. You noticed that a lot of the exercises are beginning to feel too easy. Squats, however, are still very challenging.

F – Frequency – Add one more day a week to resistance training, but only do squats 1 day per week

I – Intensity – Try adding extra weight to the exercises that feel easy. if you are using 3 lbs. for bicep curls, try 4 lbs.

T – Time – Add an extra round of weights or extra repetitions (if you are doing 10 repetitions, try 12).

T – Type – Try a harder exercise, if you are doing wall pushups, try them on a counter or bench

When adjusting any type of exercise, focus on changing one part of the F.I.T.T principle at a time. If you are adding another day (frequency) don’t increase the intensity until you feel you are ready. Most importantly, always listen to your body!