Blog Posts

3 EASY MEALS WITH 5 INGREDIENTS OR LESS

EGG MUFFINS

Less than 15 minutes to prepare. Total time 35-45 minutes. Reheat 30 seconds each day.

  1. 12 eggs
  2. 1 small chopped onion
  3. 1 red bell pepper chopped
  4. 1 lb browned turkey sausage
  5. 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 ct muffin pan with non-stick spray. Whisk eggs in a bowl and set aside. Fill each muffin tin with the remaining ingredients about 1/3 full. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of ingredients, filling each with approximately 2 eggs or 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for 20-30 minutes just until the tops of each muffin are browned and they pull away from the sides of the tins. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

SPRING ROLL IN A BOWL

Less than 30 minutes to prepare. Reheat 1 minute each day.

  1. 1 bag of shredded cabbage slaw mix
  2. 1 lb ground turkey browned and set aside
  3. 3 stalks celery chopped
  4. 1 onion chopped
  5. 1 pkg of low sodium fried rice seasoning mix

*technically you can add more ingredients to this like garlic and peppers, and you will need coconut or olive oil and sesame oil.

Brown ground turkey in a large skillet and set aside. Heat 1Tbsp of oil of choice and sauté chopped onion and celery (and other veggies if desired) just until fragrant on medium heat setting. Add the turkey and stir in 1/2 cup of water and the fried rice seasoning mix. Stir until well mixed. Add the bag of shredded cabbage and continue to mix well until cabbage becomes slightly wilted. Serve. Feel free to add 1tsp of sesame oil to each serving.

PEANUT BUTTER OVERNIGHT OATS

Less than 5 minutes to prepare. Total time 8-12 hours. You will need a glass pint-sized mason jar for this recipe.

  1. 1 single serving plain Greek yogurt (I like Oikos Triple Zero)
  2. 1/2 cup of unsweetened nut milk (I like cashew because it is creamier)
  3. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  4. 1Tbsp natural peanut butter (I make my own from just peanuts)
  5. 1/2 Tbsp of chia seeds

Add all the ingredients to a pint-sized mason jar. Stir until well mixed. Secure the lid and place in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours. The next morning stir and enjoy cold or heated in the microwave! You can vary this recipe by omitting the peanut butter and adding 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup of blueberries, or fruit of choice. You can also keep the peanut butter and add 1 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa.

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Foundational Tips For Sustainable Weight Loss

For those trying to lose weight, the road can be treacherous at times and you might even be faced with detours that bring you back to your original starting point. It can leave you feeling so defeated. Although there are many routes to get to the same destination, knowing some key points on a basic roadmap can help you to arrive safely without so many detours. Below are some foundational weight loss tips that are found in almost every successful weight loss program. Please consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program.

1. STOP DIETING!

Ditch the drastic diets that eliminate certain, otherwise healthy food groups and restrict calories and just eat more whole, unprocessed foods. A healthy weight is reflected in a healthy diet.

2. DRINK MORE WATER!

Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. Aim for a minimum of 64oz of water each day and drink one full glass before each meal to feel fuller and eat less. Drinking more water will help boost your metabolism and help with weight loss.

3. EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY!

Often we are in a hurry and eat on the run, or we feel the need to eat while watching tv. Make a point of sitting at the table with no distractions for at least 2 meals per day. Chew your food slowly and savor the flavors and textures. This will give your body time to realize it is full. How many times have you pushed back from a meal and said "Im stuffed!"

4. ADD PROTEIN TO EVERY MEAL!

Protein is important in every weight loss program. It helps with metabolism, it helps you to stay fuller longer, and helps to preserve lean muscle tissue. How much? At least 15-20 grams per meal/snack, or for a woman a palm size serving and for a man 2 palm size servings.

5. LOG EVERY BITE!

Using a food tracking app will not only help you to stay accountable, but it can also help you to understand that a bite here and a bite there do indeed add up! If you are working with a coach, they can help analyze your choices and help you to make changes that will help you reach your goals.

6. ELIMINATE NUTRIONALLY VOID FOODS!

Swapping out refined sugary treats with fresh fruits, and processed pasta with vegetable pastas can help you make tremendous progress in your weight loss goals. Eating foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats can lead to fat storage and hunger. Feed your body the nutrients it needs, rather than just "food".

7. REDUCE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION!

While an occasional adult beverage is enjoyed without derailing all your hard earned efforts, you should understand what is happening in your body when you do indulge. Your body's fat-burning engines come to a grinding halt when you drink alcohol. Your body sees it as something it needs to process immediately, and puts everything else on hold. Often we enjoy high fatty foods with alcohol too, contributing to greater fat storage. If you must drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and choose a dry wine, gin, or vodka and skip the fruit juices and soda mixers. Instead mix with diet soda or seltzer.

8. FIND THE BEST EXERCISE!

Clients often ask me, "what is the BEST exercise for weight loss?" My answer: "The one that you enjoy doing and will do often!" There are benefits from just about every form of exercise. While cardio can help to burn the calories and improve cardiovascular health, strength training can help you build lean muscle tissue that will help to increase your metabolism and burn fat. Add variety to your workout routine and ideally aim for 45-60 minutes per day/5 days per week. If you are pressed for time, try a HIIT workout and get more bang for your caloric buck at least 2-3x per week.

Sustainable weight loss does not happen overnight. A healthy diet, exercise program, and stress reduction are the first steps in making that weight loss a reality. If you are not sure where to start, talk to a FITWIN Coach today!

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PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS- DO WE NEED THEM?

You can walk down any health food aisle in the grocery store and see a plethora of probiotics on the shelf. Or see a commercial for a "special" yogurt full of "necessary" probiotics. But what are they really? From the ads we see the biggest reason is to keep our bowels regular. Not surprisingly, companies are just trying to sell you something that really provides little science behind what they are claiming.

Probiotics are simply just live bacteria and yeast that live in our digestive track. Our bodies are made up of one trillion of these microbes! We are only 21,000 genes, so we are more bacteria than anything. These amazing little guys help regulate every aspect of our being, from running our metabolism to the way we think and respond to things. They are what draw us to other people. They help how we feel. They help how we eliminate waste and toxins from our body. But we do need them for so much more than what they are advertised for.

Our gut biome is a well-balanced organism. It needs diversity and the right environment to thrive and continue its life cycle. Changes in our environment and the foods we eat can disrupt this system and cause a number of issues. A compromised gut biome has been attributed to acid reflux, diarrhea, weight gain, allergies, depression, anxiety, ADHA, and even autism.

So why the push to take probiotics?I believe there is more than one answer to this:

1. We have come a long way in understanding the importance of them and why we need them. But although we know how important they are, we still have a lot to learn.

2. Due to what science has taught us, we know many of us has compromised systems. The number of individuals who are experiencing illness contributed to gut biome is growing rapidly.

3. And...if you take a pill or eat yogurt without having to understand the "why" or change your lifestyle, then "why not?" It is so much easier to do, and manufacturers play off this.

There is no magic pill, but over-the-counter probiotics has its place. If you have an infection and take an antibiotic, you have also wiped out a number of the good guys too. It is a good idea to repopulate your gut with some high quality bacteria. This should only be temporary. There is another side to the story. Replenishing gut bacteria is good, but we also need diversity in our gut. When we continually take the same probiotic everyday we are just populating our gut with the same strains of bacteria. If you are going to take them, do so for 2 weeks.

So how can we ensure we have a diverse gut biome? It is almost as simple as good bacteria likes good food and bad bacteria thrives on bad food. When we eat healthy, unprocessed, clean food we are helping the microbes be healthy. Good examples would be yogurt and fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha). These have cultured probiotics meaning they grow there naturally. These were once staples in our diets until the last 30 years. We now have opted for more convenience foods. However, not only does the food you eat play an important role, but so does your environment. We want to encourage diversity, so get outside, play in the dirt, hug someone, travel, experience new things. These things help bring a healthy and diverse gut biome.

Now that we understand more about probiotics, let's look at prebiotics. Pre means "before", so before we can invite the good bacteria into our bodies we have to create a home for them. Prebiotics help to create that good home for probiotics. These come from fibrous foods , starchy foods, and some seeds. Examples would be blueberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbge, cucumber, chai seeds, sesame seeds, kale, onions, hemp seeds, avocado, and spinach. These foods are sure to provide a great living space.

So there is an important need for pre and probiotics, but we get these from more than what the manufacturers would lead us to believe. They help our gut to be healthy, and our gut plays an important role in our overall health.

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5 Tips To Stay Healthy And Fit In Your 30s

Welcome to your 30s! It is an age when you think you have it all figured out, only you don't, and that's ok. You will experience a lot changes in your body over these next 10 years. Gone are the days of eating bad takeout food, functioning on 4 hours sleep, yo-yo dieting, and partying all weekend with your friends. Although you may be feeling the battle scars of your 20s as a result of those unhealthy habits, don't think your best years are behind you! "Good health habits and preventive medical care can help you continue to enjoy wellness of mind and body and build the foundation for good health over many decades." (1) Here are 5 tips to keep you healthy and fit in your 30s!


1. STOP EATING LIKE YOU ARE 20 SOMETHING

What happened? Your boyfriend jeans are fitting like skinny jeans! Maybe it was the month long binge of super-sized fries, late night snacking, and...oh yeah...maybe a couple bite-sized candy bars at work- every day? You might not feel any different than you did when you were 25, but now that you are over 30 your body reacts differently and if you don't wake up and start making healthy changes, your waistline will keep expanding! Ditch the sugar and processed foods. Give your body more nutrient dense foods. Add more whole foods to your diet and you will feel and look like a million bucks!


2. GET OFF THE TREADMILL AND GO HIT THE FREE WEIGHTS

Your metabolism is slowing down and you are burning fewer calories than you did even 5 years ago. Maybe you have been able to burn off that weekend binge in the past by going for a long run a couple days a week, but now the scale is tipping in the other direction. It is time to change up your workouts. Cardio will burn the calories, but weight training will burn the fat and add lean muscle, which will help keep those fat burning engines revved up! If you feel unsure about what to do in the free weights area, book a session with a personal trainer to learn the ropes. And ladies: you will not bulk up! Lifting weights can actually make you look leaner and add curves in all the right places!


3. MAKE TIME FOR YOU

Somewhere in your 30s you become X's wife, X's mother, X's employee, and you might feel as if you have lost your identity. Relationships, parenting, career- they require a lot of your time and energy. Now is a good time to practice daily meditation, take a yoga class once a week, or put the kids to bed and curl up with a cup of tea and a trashy romance novel! Just take a time out for 30 minutes several times a week and do something completely for you- and don't feel guilty about it!


4. LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL

When you drink alcohol, it converts to sugar very rapidly and is stored as fat. Your body has to stop metabolizing anything else- like food- to quickly break down the alcohol because your body knows this is a toxic substance. It contains empty calories and those calories can add up quickly. Did you know a glass of wine has about as many calories as a piece of cake? If you are trying to maintain a healthy weight or shed a few pounds, try cutting back on the booze. It is recommended that women limit their alcohol consumption to 1 serving per day- which is the equivalent of 1 beer or 5 oz of wine.


5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN

Around age 30 your body goes through some big hormonal changes and is a time you may experience undesirable skin conditions. You start noticing a few fine lines around your eyes, your skin is drier and more droopy, and you might even develop adult acne for the first time. It may be time to change your skin care products. Our skin changes as we age, and so should our cleansers and moisturizers. What worked for your skin in your 20s will not necessarily work as well in your 30s. Exfoliate daily, stay well hydrated, and wear sunscreen to help protect against skin cancer.

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How a Health Coach Can Help You Reach your Goals

When it comes to turning healthy behaviors into habits, a Coach can make all the difference. Research shows that having support improves one’s chances of both getting healthy, and staying healthy. A Coach is a mentor, a cheerleader, a friend and an accountability partner all rolled into one – helping you to stay on track to achieve healthy habits that are sustainable for the long term. Here are the benefits of hiring a Health Coach:

Help Getting Started – Not sure where to begin? Confused about the latest fad diet or workout du jour and want an expert’s advice sorting through what might be the best fit for you? Getting healthy can be overwhelming and your Coach is in your corner and has your back – helping you determine where you should prioritize your efforts and what strengths you have to achieve them.

Accountability – Maybe getting started is not what is challenging for you, but rather, sticking with a program long enough to see results. In working with a Coach, you will find an ally to support you, challenge you and provide that human contact that is so necessary in achieving lasting change. Struggling with portion size? Message your coach a picture of your meals to keep you accountable to your goals.

Customization—Nutrition and fitness are not one-size- fits-all. Your coach will work with you to develop a program that works specifically for you based on your individual goals while taking into account your preferences, time limitations and budget.

Help Getting Over a Plateau – Has your weight loss journey hit a standstill over the last few weeks? Does your once unattainable fitness goal seem to be getting harder and harder to achieve? It can be frustrating to do all the right things but not see results. Having an expert’s perspective can really help with tweaking those last few habits in order to get you past your plateau. Most plateaus occur due to small misunderstandings about exercise and nutrition information, so having the input of a health and fitness professional is crucial. Your coach will be there to help educate and encourage you over your plateau and onto your ultimate goal.

Should I focus on Nutrition, Fitness, or both?

If you decide to go with a Nutrition Plan, you can expect to receive support on what to eat (food selection), how much to eat (calorie and portion control), when to eat (food timing) and how to eat (mindful eating). Depending on your specific needs, this might include the use of a food diary with feedback and ideas for improvement, teaching about different dietary theories, reading food labels, looking at the emotional aspect of eating, education on how to eat at restaurants or what snacks are best before a workout.

If you choose a Fitness Plan, you can expect to receive a fitness strategy customized to your particular body structure (posture), muscle imbalances (based on lifestyle and occupation), desired fitness goals (both physical and mental), and specific exercise instruction. Your workouts will be uploaded into an interactive calendar shared between you and your Coach for extra accountability. Depending on your specific needs, a typical week with your Coach might include uploading videos of your workout in order to receive feedback about your form, and education about everything from different exercise theories to the positive psychological benefits of exercise. Lastly, your Coach will be a wealth of knowledge with tips and resources in order for you to learn best how to fit efficient exercise into your life. Combing both Nutrition and Fitness Plans is the most efficient way to accomplish your goals. By tackling fitness and nutrition at once, you can learn habits that complement and build on one another to improve your overall nutrition and fuel yourself properly for your workouts. To streamline the process, you’ll work with a single Coach who has expertise in both fitness and nutrition, and you’ll have more time with them to cover topics in both categories.

The bottom line is that a FITWIN Health Coach will be a helpful guide on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. When you work with a trained Coach, you will achieve more together than you would on your own. FITWIN knows that losing weight and keeping it off is not easy, but with a FITWIN Coach by your side, you will feel empowered to take on new challenges and crush those wellness goals for good!

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Choosing the best protein powder for your weight loss goals!

One of the keys to losing weight is to keep your protein intake high. The daily recommendation from the RDA is .36 grams per pound of body weight. Bumping up your daily protein intake can rev up your fat burning engines and help to preserve lean muscle. This is because your body works harder to digest protein, which means you burn more calories and stay fuller longer. It is always best to get your protein from whole food sources, but if you are pressed for time here are some recommendations for choosing the best protein powder for your weight loss goals.

Whey protein or plant based protein: which is better for me?

Whey protein has been the preferred source for many gym-goers for quite some time, but plant based powders have proven their value as well. Whey is derived from the cheese manufacturing process and for some people can be more difficult to digest. However, whey is a complete protein and less expensive overall. Plant based protein is derived from hemp, rice, pea, or soy. It is easier on the stomach and typically free of antibiotics and growth hormones. It also provides extra nutrients that whey proteins do not. Both types of protein powders carry a list of pros and cons. The best protein powder is one that your body can digest easily, that fits your budget, and helps you reach your weight loss goals.

Tips to choosing the best protein powder for weight loss.

Whether you choose whey protein or plant based protein powders, here are some tips to help you choose the best one to support your weight loss goals.

  1. Choose powders with no added sugars or added BCAAs, as they promote weight gain.
  2. Choose tubs of protein over ready-made shakes to save money.
  3. If you are using your shake for post workout recovery, choose one that is protein and carbs because both are needed to replenish your energy stores and repair muscle. Fat will slow this process down.
  4. Be sure the calorie count falls within your budget for weight loss goals.
  5. Choose a protein powder that you like. There are many varieties and some mix better in water than others when you are on the go, and some taste better than others.
  6. Consider your dietary needs when choosing a powder. Are you vegan? Go plant based. Are you diabetic? Go low carb.

Whether you choose whey or plant based it is up to you. There are pros and cons to both, and depending on your specific needs there will be one that is better than another. It is always best to get your protein through whole foods, but sometimes we need a little help when we are strapped for time and protein powders can be a fast and easy way to satisfy our body's needs. *Always consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program.

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High Energy Snacks for Busy Moms

As a busy mom on the go, snacks are critical for providing the energy needed to keep up with your kids and avoid the 3pm slump. The trick to boosting energy is to make sure your snacks are well balanced with a healthy dose of protein to regulate your blood sugar, healthy fats to increase satiety and smart carbs, such as whole grains, that are not high sugar and can cause an energy crash. Balanced snacks will also keep you full for longer so you aren’t tempted by your child’s goldfish crackers! 

It is possible to find nutritious snacks that are simple to prepare to give you the boost you need without relying on caffeine or sugar to power you through your day. Here are some go-to, high energy snack ideas that travel well and are quick and easy to prepare:  

Greek Yogurt and Berries – Greek yogurt is the perfect portable snack. Most brands contain 12 or more grams of protein per serving!  Choose a plain version and add your own fresh or frozen berries to sweeten it. 

Rice Cake with Peanut Butter, Avocado or Hummus – Rice cakes can be a little bland all by themselves, but add a layer of peanut butter and some strawberry slices or a few slices of avocado and kick it up a notch. Hummus with slices of red pepper is another tasty option. 

Sliced Deli Meat with a Cheese Stick and Pickle – Wrap a cheese stick and pickle with your favorite deli meat. 

Apple Slices and Almond Butter – Grab a pre-packaged almond butter pack like Justin’s and you’ve got the perfect snack that is sweet and crunchy! 

Smoothie – If you have access to a blender, it is easy to make a smoothie with your favorite protein powder, frozen fruit, greens and milk of choice. If no blender is available, a blender bottle will come in handy so you can mix your protein powder and water and drink it on the go. 

Mini Babybell and Ak-Mak Crackers – Babybell cheeses are super convenient because they are pre-packaged to bring with you to go. Pair this with Ak-Mak whole grain crackers for a satisfying snack.  

Vegetables and Hummus – Individual hummus packs make this a portable and portion-controlled snack option. Sliced jicama, snap peas, cucumbers and peppers are great for dipping. 

The days are long for busy moms so make sure you are taking care of yourself and not just your kids! Next time you are looking for something delicious to nosh on, try and find a balanced snack with plenty of protein, healthy fat and carbs to power you through your busy day. 

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Non-Scale Wins: A Better Measure Of Success?

You have given up sugar for the past 2 weeks, you have gone to the gym each night after work and still the number on the bathroom scale is not budging- what gives? The road to weight loss can sometimes be slow moving, full of ups and downs, with even an occasional stall. There are times you might feel defeated, but don't give up. It is all part of the process. It doesn't mean you are not progressing. Your bathroom scales are not the only way to measure success. Your weight can fluctuate from day to day- sometimes within the same day- due to many factors. There are many other ways to measure success that also play a part in overall health. Consider and celebrate these non-scale wins to help keep you focused and on track! 

1. Your clothes are a little less snug- If you are working out a lot, and especially if you are strength training, you may not see a smaller number on the scale, but you may need a smaller pants size. Your body composition is changing you are losing fat/inches. Eventually the weight will reflect your efforts. But for now- enjoy shopping for some new clothes!

2. Your doctor gives you a high five on your lab results- Your annual lab results show a health drop in blood pressure, your bad cholesterol is down and good cholesterol is up. You might even be able to drop a medication (with your doctor's approval)! These are definite wins in working toward optimal health.

3. Common physical discomforts begin to disappear- No longer do you feel bloated and gassy after meals, you haven't had a headache in a month, your skin is clearer, and you have less joint pain. A clean diet can help your body operate more efficiently.

4. You have more energy- You may not be ready to run a marathon yet, but you notice you are not as winded walking up a flight of stairs!

5. You are more confidentYou have conquered sugar cravings- so you feel you can do anything! You are feeling more confident in yourself and your abilities which makes you a more positive and happier person. 

6. You see a difference in your sleep patternsYou may be falling asleep more easily and sleeping soundly for the first time in years. A good night's sleep provides sustainable energy and makes you want to get up earlier to make the most of your day!

7. Your workouts become a favorite part of your dayYou no longer dread going to the gym, but rather look forward to it now as "me" time. You begin to realize the truth is the saying "The only bad workout is the one that didn't happen." 

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6 Ways to Recover Faster After An Intense Workout

If you just started a new strength training program and are finding it difficult to walk up a flight of stairs or raise your coffee cup the next day don't give up- it is all part of the process of reshaping your body. It is normal for muscle soreness to set in 12-48 hours after an intense or new workout session, and it can last up to 72 hours. This uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness- or better known as DOMS- is caused by tiny tears in your muscle fibers which leads to inflammation to help repair those tears and results in muscle growth. Don't give up, you are not the only one to experience this and the soreness will subside. Your muscles will adapt quickly and the next time you do the same exercises you will be stronger and may not experience the soreness at all. In the meantime, here are some ideas to help you deal with DOMS and speed up the recovery process.

  1. Active rest- If you are experiencing extreme soreness, you may want to put off training for a couple days. Being too stiff can compromise your form and cause actual injuries. This doesn't give you a green light to become a couch potato. Doing other activities will help you recover much more quickly and help the soreness subside. Take your fur baby for a walk, go swimming, or take a yin yoga class!
  2. Foam roller- This cylinder of foam is one of the most effective tools for tightness in major muscles and connective tissue. Using your own body weight, you can roll out the knots and kinks to help blood flow to those areas again. Just remember to breathe!
  3. Massage-Getting a sport's massage is another way to work out those knots and kinks. Plus, it is relaxing and important to your overall self care!
  4. Hot bath- Taking a hot bath after an intense workout can help your muscles relax. Add some epsom salt for greater benefits. The magnesium will absorb into your skin and help reduce soreness.
  5. Food- Eat a quality meal of protein and slow absorbing carbs within an hour following your workout session to give your body the nutrients it needs for repair and recovery.
  6. H2O-Be sure to stay well hydrated before, during, and after your workouts. Dehydration can actually create muscle soreness and cramps- so drink up to help everything flow!
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