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What is interval training?          
2015 SprinterThe simplest definition of interval training is alternating periods of high intensity exercise with periods of rest or active recovery.

The beauty of intervals is that all elements of the interval training – type, length of effort, length of rest, volume – can be adjusted to your situation and be incredibly effective.

We basically do interval workouts every day at boot camp (aka High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT) – the harder you go, the more benefit you get! That’s why we always say “go harder!” at boot camp. J

Why Interval Training – what are the benefits?

Interval training offers a huge numbers of physical and psychological benefits, including:

  • Improved resistance to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Keeps metabolism running higher for hours after end of workout.
  • Burns more total calories per minute than steady state exercise.
  • Same muscular improvement for 1/3 the training time compared to longer steady state workouts (see study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22946099 )
  • Improves lactate threshold (can work harder in same amount of time)
  • Improves VO2 Max – (can run longer & faster)
  • Helps break through an exercise plateau

What are some basic guidelines?

  • Always have a watch to or timer to know your interval and time. Heart Monitors can be especially helpful for intervals, both for knowing a given workout’s intensity and also for tracking progress.
  • Always include extra warm-up time and use dynamic warm-up elements to help prevent injury same type as boot camp but longer.
  • Start interval distance or time to be short at first. (do 200’s before moving up to 300’s)
  • Begin first interval o a set at 50% effort and calibrate from there. You may be fast one day but not as fast the next week. You must avoid injury at all cost!
  • Use a minimum of 1:2 work-rest time ratio – run for 30 sec, walk/recovery for 60 seconds. The harder your intensity percentage, the greater rest interval you will use.
  • Do 3-4 workouts at one level before progressing to next interval distance/speed.
  • Exercise mode can be anything that allows you to get to a high intensity, i.e., running, jumping rope, burpees, stairs, jumping jacks, run-in-place, hills, pushing/pulling sled, etc.


What are some Interval-type Workouts?

  • Around a high school track, can use continuity of track and markings to make intervals easy to breakdown – Classic #1 – Run 200 meters, walk rest 200 meters. Start with 6 repetitions, then 8, then 10. Practice breathing and form for all intervals. This can be built on by increasing distance to 300 meters then 400 meters.
  • On asphalt trail or track, just use your watch, and set timer for 30 seconds – run 30 sec hard, continue recover walk jog for 60 sec. Same as with the track intervals, start with 6 reps and add 2 more each time up to 10. Then add another 15 seconds to the run interval (and 30 seconds to rest interval). Be aware of the surface on your trail, it won’t be as forgiving as a track!
  • 40 yard sprint – FAST! jog up & back, wait 2 minutes, repeat. Save these for after you have been doing intervals for a couple weeks. Many people felt this one from the Saturday workout session!
  • Short incline or hill. Hills are just natural intervals waiting to happen.   You have to be aware of the using the right inclination for your conditioning. If it is too steep, you will not be able to run strong enough to get the benefit from your workout.   The hill should be just steep enough to feel like you’re working even when not running at tops speed. Start off with 5-6 repeats at about 60%. Either pick a fixed Start and Stop point (about 30 Sec apart) or run for 30 Seconds and work to run a little farther on each interval. – run up fast, run back down easy past your start point about 50 – 60 yards then return to start next interval.
  • Suicides – Standard Suicide on Football field. Start at one goal line, sprint to 25 yd line and back to goal line, then to 50 yd line & back to the goal line then to the far 25 yd line & back, then out to far goal line and back. Also known as Gassers. Very painful! Do 1 at moderate speed to see how your effort should be set.
  • Shuttle drill – cycle 3 people for a short distance – 30-40 meters. Team sprints – fun to do with others to break up the workout.
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Holiday DietThe main reason that you’re not happy with your weight is because of what you eat.

It’s hardly your fault.

Have you ever stopped to notice how many times you’re bombarded by food marketing each day?

Ads come at you from magazine pages, T.V. commercials, on websites and billboards, each boasting of cheap, convenient and tasty ways to cure your hunger.

The question “What’s for dinner?” has never been more complex than now.

Extensive menu options and large entrees have distorted your concept of a proper meal, and before you know it you’ve fallen into the trap of the chain restaurant, the drive thru, and the take-out line.

But wait – truly healthy eating is simple.

First you need to block out the blizzard of food marketing around you.

Remember that advertisers want your money, and they don’t stop to consider if the food they promote will expand your waist – that’s your job.

It’s safe to say that, with few exceptions, any food that you see marketed should be avoided. When was the last time you saw an ad for grilled white fish, steamed broccoli and a side of brown rice?

So what does truly healthy eating look like?

A healthy meal contains lean protein, fresh vegetables and a modest serving of whole grains.

Just as importantly, a healthy meal does NOT contain:
Refined sugar / corn syrup
Fried / fatty food
Full fat dairy food
Processed food with chemical additives
Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you decide to eat when you first wake up will set the tone for the rest of your meals that day. Try these healthy options:
Scrambled egg whites, sliced tomato and whole grain toast
Whole grain oatmeal, sliced fruit and a protein shake
Homemade breakfast sandwich: Multi-grain English muffin with lean turkey slices and egg
Healthy Lunch

It is important to plan your lunch ahead of time in order to avoid turning to a fast food joint or vending machine. Pack your lunch the night before and carry it with you. Try these healthy options:
Dark baby greens topped with chopped chicken breast and diced tomatoes
Albacore tuna (packed in water), mixed with finely chopped cucumber over brown rice
Homemade sandwich: Sprouted grain bread with lean turkey slices, lettuce, tomato and mustard
Healthy Dinner

Dinner is the meal where most people splurge and eat far more calories than they should. Eating at home is the first step in reducing your dinnertime calories. Try these healthy options:
Grilled white fish, sautéed spinach and whole wheat couscous
Baked chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice
Try the recipe for Rosemary Lamb Chops below
While healthy eating is a huge factor in achieving your ideal weight, exercise is the other half of the equation.

Your exercise routine should be challenging and should be done on a regular basis.

I know that you have more than enough in your life to think about without having to plan your own exercise routine. Leave that job to me—call or email today to get started on a personalized fitness program that will leave your body no choice but to shed those unwanted pounds.

2013 Poo Poo Point TopWhile the phrase “go take a hike” is usually meant to tell someone to go away, around Seattle/Tacoma, that phrase can literally mean go and have a great time!  Connie and I have been hiking, running and racing the area trails for the last 12 years and we still have a great number of trails and peaks to check out.  We are truly blessed to live in a place with such amazing mountains, lakes and forests to hike in and around.  There are so many places that it is probably hard to decide where to go, especially if you have kids to bring a long.  That’s a whole trick in itself.  In general, the hikes best for kids are not too long, not to steep and have a substantial payoff at the turnaround or top.

I’ve picked out 5 local hikes that can all be done in a morning and are generally kid friendly (I’ve seen lot’s of kids on the trail anyway!).  Some tips to help make any hike fun and successful are: 1) go as early as possible, many trailheads have limited parking and you can spend more time on the trail! 2) take a small pack with enough cold water to keep everyone happy, 3) also bring some good snacks or lunch to eat at the top/turnaround, 4) Bring your camera/phone to take some shots of the family in action, and 5) Bring a map so you know how far you have to go and can adjust your plans if something happens.

1) An old favorite of mine is Discovery Park in Seattle.  The park has many miles of level and slight grade trails with a long trail that heads down to the beach where many hours of beach combing awaits, as well as a light house.  The park has a playground, a nature center, views of the Sound, and lots of parking.

2) Pt Defiance Park in Tacoma is an amazing park with miles of easy trails to hike and run, a large parking area close to the water, spectacular views across the Sound, a Zoo, some Go-Karts and an Ornamental Rose park ( maybe not the kids favorite!).  A real gem of a park with lots to do, so plan to go back more than once!

3) Rattlesnake Ledges hike is the first a must do hike for the whole family.  Pick a day with clear skies and go early to give yourself lots of time on the ledges.  Just take I-90 east to exit 32 and head south on 468th for about t3.5 miles to big parking area.  The trail has been completely revamped and well maintained.  It’s only about 2 miles to the Ledges area (the actual trail continues all the way across Rattlesnake Ridge, about 11 miles!) and the views from the Ledges are unmatched.  This is a popular hike so going early is recommended.

4)Poo Poo Point via the Chirico Trail is another must do hike – especially on a clear day. Also about 2 miles to the top, the trail is a little steeper than the Ledges trail, especially in the first half mile.  Do not be deterred, the pay off at the top is well worth it.  On your way up, there are some clearings that open up towards the Olympics and just before you reach the top, there is a large clearing with an unobstructed view of Mt Rainier. Perfect for those family adventure pictures.  A short hike up the rest of the hill and you have the amazing views to the north from Poo Poo Point.  On ice weekends you get the added bonus of seeing paragliders taking off and flying around Poo Poo Point – very cool!

5) Little Mt Si – While most people know about Mt Si, there is also a shorter but just as scenic hike you do to little Mt Si – the smaller peak at the base of Mt Si.  Much shorter and lower in total elevation than going all the way up to the top of Si, this hike is still a good work out and affords tremendous views to the west.  You may even see some rock climbers practicing their craft on along the way up.  The trailhead parking for Little Si is on the same road as Big Si, and requires a Discover Pass to park there.  It is also popular so going early is your best bet.

There will be many beautify days coming this summer so get up and get out to check out some of the great local hikes!

For several years, in locations all over the world, I lived out of a backpack for months at a time. I’ve travelled on deep desert expeditions into the Sahara, the Mongolian desert, and other wastelands where my personal baggage was severely restricted because we had to carry so much petrol and water.

One of the lessons I learned during this extreme adventure travel was about just how little you really need in order to live a satisfying life.

But the first time I set out on the road — to Central America — my pack was overloaded with sun cream, duplicate photocopies of passports, traveller’s cheques, wind-up laundry line, rubber sink stopper, water filtration kit (complete with spare filter, of course) and more.

I dragged those practically useless items across 7 different countries. And eventually I threw it all away, one item at a time. The funny thing is, lightening my load — both physically and symbolically — didn’t just make walking to the bus stop easier. It also opened me up to new opportunities.

Travel taught me that it’s difficult to make a change when you’re dragging around a lifetime’s worth of baggage. You can apply that same “road lesson” to your business and your life.

If you want to transform your business or create the life of your dreams, you have to start by clearing the decks to make room for growth.

These 3 tips will help you get the ball rolling.

1. De-Clutter Your Stuff

If you want to de-clutter your life, start by cleaning up your physical environment.

It can be tough to let things go, especially if you’re a bit of a packrat. But those excess belongings weigh you down, both physically and mentally.

Start with the easy stuff, it’ll help you build momentum.

Go through your closet and make a big pile of everything you haven’t worn over the past year. Include clothing that no longer fits. Items you were given as gifts, or that you hid at the back of the closet because they were just too hideous to look at. Sure, they might be back in style in 20 or 30 years. But is keeping them really worth the cost of dragging them around?

Next, tackle your papers. Take the time to sift through the pile, and discard all those old bills, receipts and manuals for products you no longer own. You could digitize those few documents you really need to keep. The online software Evernote is a great solution for this. Uploading them to the cloud gets them out of your immediate personal space. And de-cluttering is now just a click of the delete key away.

So that’s your first task. Throw out the junk that’s crowding your garage, your office or spare room. All those things you haven’t looked at in years. They’re weighing you down.

Give them away or donate them to the Goodwill, where those same items might enrich someone else’s life. You don’t need them anymore.

One final tip. You might consider selling some of these things on Ebay, or having a garage sale or listing them on Craigslist. But before you do, think of the cost in terms of your time and effort. Do you really want to mess around with listings, or run to the post office, or make complicated arrangements for people to view, barter for and pick up these items at your home? I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. But sometimes it IS more trouble than it’s worth. You might be better off simply donating or giving them away.

Don’t think about what you paid for those things in the past. You already got your value from them. Just think about what they’re costing you now. And factor in the time it takes to remove them from your life.

Make it as easy and painless as possible, so you can move on to more productive tasks.

2. De-Clutter Your Relationships

Next, it’s time to clean up your personal life.

You can’t forge new relationships or connections if you’re clinging to a past that no longer matches the vision of the person you want to become. Time passes, and life moves on. If you want to shift your life into new spheres, sometimes you have to move on too.

Start by letting go of those relationships that no longer serve you. Those people whose phone calls you dodge because you really don’t enjoy talking to them. Those relationships that are entirely one way — the energy vampires who monopolize your time and drain your energy.

Make a list of all those people you only spend time with out of a sheer sense of obligation or guilt. Don’t judge them. Just let them go.

There’s nothing callous in this. You’ve simply grown in different directions, and you honor that person by allowing them to move on.

Spend time instead with people who excite you and who encourage you to grow in new directions. If your life is too crowded, you’ll never have a chance to let those new people in.

3. De-Clutter Your Schedule

Finally, when you’ve finished cleaning up your personal environment, and when you’ve cleared your life of those people whose values you’re no longer aligned with, it’s time to tackle your priorities.

Start with how you spend your time.

Do you want to reach new heights in your profession? Let go of those tasks you do only because you feel you have to. Delegate them to someone else.

While you’re at it, you can also let go of all the jobs you absolutely hate — you’re probably not very good at them anyway. Release those things so you can focus on the tasks you’re truly great at. THAT is where you’ll bring something unique to the world.

And what about your home life? Do you find yourself doing everything around the house? Assign the kids to empty the dishwasher, do the laundry, take out the trash and cut the lawn. It’ll teach them the importance of responsibility and of pitching in.

Take a close look at how you spend your personal time too, and cut the stuff that doesn’t add value to your life. Do watch several hours of aimless TV every night? Switch it off — or better yet, kick it in.

Do you want to replace unhealthy habits with practices that promote your life? Don’t just try to slap a bunch of new ideas onto what you’re currently doing. Let those old habits go. Yes, this means taking the time to closely examine your beliefs and decide why you started doing these things in the first place. It isn’t easy, but it works.

Examine each aspect of your life, consciously and deliberately. And begin removing those non-essential elements so you can focus on the things that truly matter to you.

When you do this, new opportunities that you never imagined will rush in to fill the space you’ve created.

RYAN MURDOCK

We did a great Beach Body workout at Boot Camp Tuesday and everybody loved it so much they wanted to take it home with them.  We thought we’d share it with you as well and see what you think.  Check out the instructions at the top.  If you’re not sure about an exercise just skip it or look it up on You Tube.   You’ll need some dumbbells, a stopwatch, a jump rope and some elastic band.

Time yourself for the full 30 minutes and see how far into the workout you can make it.  See if you can  make it farther the second time you do it.

Have Fun!!

Click Here for Beach Body Workout

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sleep guyimages

How’s your sleep?

Even if your sleep is not interrupted and you get a ‘good 7 or so hours’ you may be short changing yourself.

Let’s take a step back. We know sleep is important, but why does it matter when trying to lose belly fat?

Sleep is THE number 1 strategy for recovery from training and reducing overall stress. Don’t recover from training or let overall life stress not be diminished and you WILL have belly fat, PERIOD. Belly fat is caused by 4 primary factors. Cortisol, the stress hormone. Sugar, a stressor to the body. Alcohol, a poison to the body and gut inflammation from poor nutrition habits.  Do all you want but without clearing up gut inflammation, a lean stomach isn’t physically possible; it’ll always have that ‘pooch’ look regardless your total body fat levels.

Ever have the ‘tired and wired’ feeling or wake up around 2-3am for no reason? Congratulations, your stress hormones are in overdrive which means overdrive in belly fat accumulation, yikes!

You can have the best training and nutrition on the planet, but without reducing stress, especially those of financial, relationships and work, and all that perfect training is reduced dramatically in effectiveness.

Let’s look at another angle, REM cycles.

REM cycles and sleep are found to be optimized in roughly 90 min blocks. So 6 hours, 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep are optimal.

That means if you wake up at 8 hours of sleep, you’ll probably feel like crap vs waking up at 6 hours and feeling awesome with less sleep.

Sounds weird, but test it out on your own some time.

And that’s only the REM cycles!

Have caffeine in the afternoon or evening? You can forget deep sleep even happening.

Eat foods (alcohol, caffeine and sugar being the biggest culprits) for dinner or before bed that are not only likely to make you gain fat faster but completely destroy your sleep as well, which continues the nasty cycle of no recovery resulting in more overall fat, specifically in the belly!

So how do you know what’s destroying your sleep and when you should wake up for optimal daily function?

Test and track.

Zeo sleep tracker (can get them at Amazon) that’s also a alarm clock using gentle nature noises that progressively get louder vs a stress inducing blaring alarm clock that strikes right when you are mid cycle.

You give the Zeo a window and what time you absolutely need to be up and it tracks your sleep all night and wakes you up within that window at the optimal time, so no guessing by going to bed at X time and hoping you hit it just right. And generally the phone apps that try to do the same thing as the Zeo just aren’t accurate enough to test and track variables, don’t waste your time on the apps, just get the Zeo.

So we need sleep for recovery and stress reduction as a part of an overall strategy in a healthy lifestyle and fat loss program.

So after we start tracking, how can we improve sleep?

The top 2 things I do plus one that I’ve heard about:
Go to sleep on time no matter what, absolutely, positively ZERO EXCUSES
Healthy fats in a snack before bed or high levels of saturated fat in the dinner meal
Magnesium spray right after the shower

Those are assuming that you’re relaxing before bed by reading a book, stretching, etc.

DO NOT look at a TV or computer/tablet/phone and reduce artificial light an hour before bed. The light waves will stimulate hormones that tell you to wake up and get moving, not sleep. Also I’ve found that if I leave any small lights on (alarm clocks, LED on a phone charging or worse fall asleep with a computer screen open) that my eyes will be ON FIRE the next morning. I never noticed this until I made my sleeping area completely pitch dark….moonlight and starlight are no problem, street lights are. Also keep in mind having electronics within a few feet of you may have some negative health effects. The data isn’t clear, but it won’t hurt to keep them as far away as possible during sleep.

Which leads us to the bedroom. The bedroom should have a bed and a closet of clothes, that’s it. No TV’s, (thee worst offender if those Home Improvement TV shows are any indication!) no computers, no home offices or workstations, etc. Maybe a book and a glass of water, everything else needs to be gone to maximize relaxation. Think that little thing in the corner doesn’t matter? Ask yourself, will the world end if I can’t see anything but a bed, a book, a lamp and a glass of water in this room? If the world won’t end, just try it….for at least a month while tracking your sleep, one night or week will never give you conclusive data.

If you’re one of the above people that wakes up around 2-3am, you may try having a handful of almonds by your bed to chuck down as soon as you wake up. One of the reasons you may be waking up is that your stress hormone cortisol has been flip flopped and is going down at night instead of the day….which means it’s consuming fuel, which in turn will turn on your hunger hormones even though you may not feel hungry at all, the hormones are telling you to wake up, conduct your day and find food. The almonds may help curb that a bit and some of the minerals might help you sleep.

Just remember the snack is only a band-aid to the gushing wound called stress; fixing stress and it’s related hormones is the only way to get this under control.

So quick summary:

  • Recovering and reducing stress reduces belly fat faster and better than ANY training or nutrition program
  • Get a Zeo sleep tracker from Amazon, test and track your sleep habits
  • Bedroom needs to be pitch black, not even a single LED light from a phone charger
  • Go to bed on time!
  • Relax before bed without using a computer or TV
  • Magnesium and saturated fats before bed are pure awesomeness…and give you some awesome movie like dreams 🙂
  • If you’re waking up in the middle of the night for no reason or have the ‘tired but wired’ feeling before bed, try having a handful of almonds to chuck down

Something else to keep in mind from a health aspect is brush your teeth and especially tongue prior to drinking anything. We collect a lot of crap in our mouth sleeping and by drinking without rinsing your mouth first will just send all that bacteria, dust and who knows what all into your gut, not a good thing.

I think that covers the extent of sleep for what the average person can get into. You can also track your HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and resting HR every morning before getting out of bed. Combine this and the Zeo sleep score and you have a really good idea what’s going on.

Let’s make this summer your best fat loss – and best sleep getting –  yet!

13 Alternatives Kids Will Love

— By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

Forget haunted houses, the walking dead, or vampire bats. If there’s one thing that scares me about Halloween, it’s the candy. Packed full of artificial colors and flavors, chemical additives, and high fructose corn syrup, Halloween candy makes my skin crawl more than being blindfolded and sticking my hand into a bowl full of cold spaghetti! As a kid, I loved candy, of course. As a mom, I wish it didn’t exist. But I believe that depriving my daughter of the Halloween experience, candy included, would cause more harm than a couple of days of gluttony.Fortunately, I’ve recently discovered that there’s a whole new world of treats out there that will satisfy both of us. It’s still candy, but it’s not made of junk. If you’re going to be treating trick-or-treaters with candy this Halloween, consider stocking your plastic pumpkin pail with some of these healthier selections. Far from handing out apples or toothbrushes, these crowd pleasers are the real thing!

Barbara’s Snackimals Animal Cookies are far beyond traditional animal crackers, which usually contain trans fats and very little flavor. These crunchy cookies are even made with organic ingredients and come in Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Vanilla and Oatmeal varieties. They’re about $.89 per bag, and available at most natural food groceries and online atwww.WorldPantry.com.
CLIF Kid Organic ZBars are low in fat, made with whole oats, and fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals. They are free of hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavors or colors. And they come in 7 delicious flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Brownie, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Honey Graham, Peanut Butter and, just in time for Halloween, Spooky S’Mores. Trader Joe’s sells them for $.69 each, and they’re often available online for even less.
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Halloween Treats are individually wrapped, single-serving chocolate squares—perfect if you want to pass out something delicious and environmentally responsible. They’re available at natural foods stores and online atwww.chocolatebar.com ($6.72 for 24 pieces).
FruitaBü Organic Smoooshed Fruit Rolls look and taste like all-too-familiar junk food, but are made from real organic fruit, with no artificial additives or added sugar. You can buy them in natural food stores and many supermarkets, or online (www.StretchIslandFruit.com).
Ginger Chews by the Ginger People certainly taste good, so you can’t go wrong with flavors like Original Ginger, Spicy Apple Ginger, Peanut Ginger and Hot Coffee Ginger. The Original flavor is available in the bulk bins at Whole Foods for around $5.19 per pound, which gets you about 70 chews. Other flavors are available online at www.GingerPeople.com and packaged in the candy aisle of natural foods stories, including Trader Joe’s.
Let’s Do…Organic Gummi Bears are made with organic ingredients and contain no gelatin, gluten, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial additives. All that’s left is delicious flavor! These come in boxes containing four individually-wrapped bags and are available in four varieties: Super Sour, Fruity, Classic, and Jelly. A box costs about $2.99. Buy them online atwww.EdwardAndSons.com.
Pure Fun Organic Candy makes yummy hard candies and lollypops that are free of pesticides, artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and gluten. They come in several kid-friendly flavors, like Tangy Tangerine, Loony Lemon, and Giddy Green Apple. They’re available at Whole Foods ($4.99 for a bag of 18 candies), or online atwww.PureFun.ca.
Stretch Island Original Fruit Leathers are sweet and chewy strips of real, dried fruit that will satisfy a kid’s sweet tooth and count as half a serving of fruit! Stretch Island is one of many brands of fruit leather that you can buy online (www.stretch-island.com), in natural food stores and at many supermarkets for about $.35 to $.50 each.
Sunspire Dark Chocolate Earth Balls are small but delicious chocolate morsels. They’re sweetened with whole grain malted barley and corn, which cuts the sugar content by 33%. They’re available in bulk bins at natural foods stories (including Whole Foods) for about $12.99 per pound (that’s about 80 individually wrapped balls).
Wolfgang’s Sweet Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries and Raspberries are for the child gourmet! These mouthwatering morsels are made with real berries and dark chocolate, so they supply tons of antioxidants along with their fabulous flavor. They’re available at natural foods stores like Whole Foods for $5.99 for a box of 10-14 individually-wrapped pieces.
Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops and Candy Dropscome in flavors like Pomegranate Pucker and Wet Face Watermelon. Free of gluten, nuts and corn syrup, these candies are also certified organic and kosher. They’re available at Whole Foods and other natural foods stores, and online at www.YummyEarth.com. Lollipops are about $3.50 for 15, and drops are about $2.59 for 25.
Last Minute Treats: If you can’t get your hands on any of these treats before the porch lights go on, don’t forget about good old standbys like individual packages of nuts or raisins, which you can pick up at any supermarket. If you have your heart set on candy, stick to dark chocolate (which should not contain any milk), or candies with the shortest ingredients lists.

When you hand out these candies at your door this Halloween, you can feel a little better knowing that you’re doing your part. If you have kids, and they’re willing, you can even swap their junk for the good stuff. For my four-year-old, I buy an assortment of healthier treats, set up a store where she can shop for them, and let her pay for her purchases with her trick-or-treating loot. It may be a bit of a trick, but in exchange she gets a far better treat. She still eats more sugar than I’d like on Halloween—after all, natural or not, candy is still candy—but it’s healthier than the conventional choices.

This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople healthy eating expert, Tanya Jolliffe.

Words are powerful. Mantras can be a powerful tool to focus your energy, your efforts and your thoughts into pushing beyond what you sometimes tell yourself are your limits. Committing to a healthy lifestyle is easy, but sticking to it is a true test of your inner resolve. Motivation wanes; it’s the nature of the beast. It can easy to forget what all this hard work is for when you want what’s in front of your face right that second. Sometimes, you’d rather hit the snooze button than workout. Sometimes, that drive-thru calls to you louder than the healthy dinner you already had planned. Sometimes you Just. Don’t. Feel. Like. It.
My mantra? “Do the next right thing.” It works for everything, and puts me in a positive mind frame to move forward instead of dwelling on a past decision. It doesn’t foster feelings of guilt. It acknowledges that something happened, good or bad, and encourages me to move forward in a positive way.  How do you handle any situation? By doing the next right thing.
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Follow these simple tips from registered dietitian Jayson Hunter, the Head of Research and Development for Prograde Nutrition, for a lean and healthy body. 

  1. Eat 4-6 small meals day a day instead of the usual 2-3 large meals. Eating frequently will help regulate and boost your metabolism to burn more calories.
  2. Consume whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar, such as lean protein sources (lean beef, chicken, fish, and whey protein), fruits & vegetables (oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, carrots, nuts (almonds, cashews, & walnuts), and whole grains.
  3. Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole-wheat products and oatmeal instead of refined processed carbohydrates which usually come in a box or a bag.
  4. Consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Fiber will help satisfy hunger pangs as well as control insulin and blood sugar levels which tend to promote fat storage.
  5. Eat some type of lean protein at each meal. Protein helps to satisfy hunger and provide the necessary building blocks to maintain lean body mass while losing body fat.
  6. Consume adequate amounts of healthy fat foods such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, Omega-3 fortified eggs, or other Omega-3 products.  Healthy fats are great antioxidants as well as help with brain function and many other essential processes that take place in the body on a daily basis. Essential Fatty Acids, according to clinical studies, could also help prevent certain diseases. To guarantee you’re consuming enough Omega-3, supplement your diet with EFA Icon.
  7. Eat 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day to meet your micronutrient needs.  Vegetables also contain a good amount of fiber and help to control appetites and curb hunger. Additionally, VGF25+ provides the power-packed nutrition of 25 whole vegetables, greens, and fruits in a convenient “super pill.”
  8. Consume Green Tea or Water instead of calorie-filled drinks such as soft drinks.  Green Tea has many health benefits and you should be drinking 1ml of non-caffeinated fluid for every calorie that you consume. This works out between (8-12) 8oz glasses of Green Tea or Water a day.
  9. Balance your fat intake for the day.  One-third should come from saturated fats, 1/3 from monounsaturated fats, and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fats. Again, ensure you’re consuming antioxidant-rich Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids by incorporating EFA Icon into your nutritional plan.
  10. Consistent fat loss requires good habits. If you want to create good habits, then you need plan. Therefore, map out your meals every day and follow them. If you follow your plan everyday for 2-3 weeks, you will form habits that become part of your daily routine and part of your life.
  11. Incorporate “superfoods” into your meal plan on a daily basis. Some examples are salmon, low-fat plain yogurt, tomatoes, spinach, mixed berries, whole oats, mixed nuts, olive oil, flax seeds(or flax meal), green tea, and various beans. Many of the super nutrition found in these “superfoods” are also found in VGF25+.
  12. Keep total fat intake under 30% for the day.  This can easily be accomplished by avoiding “extra” fats such as butter, sour cream, mayonnaise… This doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate these items, just use them sparingly and avoid adding them to foods whenever possible.
  13. EXERCISE! Yes, you can lose weight just by changing your eating habits. But very few people succeed long-term – and it takes much longer to lose fat – when they don’t exercise. And something most people don’t realize is, just how critical ingesting the research-proven Protein to Carbohydrate ratio is to optimizing the results of your workout efforts.
  14. Record what you eat and drink. You will be amazed by what you find. Keeping a food journal is critical to your success because you need it to evaluate and analyze your current eating patterns. If your fat loss efforts are stagnant, the answer can usually be found in your food journal.
  15. Follow the 90% rule. If you can follow your plan 90% of the time, you will soon see unwanted fat melt off your body. However, if you find yourself breaking these rules more than 90% of the time, your chances of failing increase significantly.