6 Ways to Max Your Metabolism

We all know the girl who gorges on junk food and doesn’t put on a pound. Some people are just fast burners. Metabolism (the rate you burn calories) depends on age, sex and even genes. But with exercise and clever food and drink tricks, it is possible to speed up your rate. It’s time to join the fast lane!

Ways to Max Your Metabolism

The Dos

Slash Your Fat Intake- Fatty foods slow down the fat burning part of our cells- cut back and you could burn 16% more calories for up to three hours after each meal. Try the veggie option to cut out animal fat. Chickpeas over chicken and beans over beef. Also fat-free dressings for salads and Dijon mustard instead of mayo.

Drink Smart- Your body needs to be hydrated to keep your metabolism burning. Try drinking ice-cold water, your body will warm it up and burn a calorie for each degree it heats it. Don’t feel to bad about that morning coffee. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it’s thought to increase metabolic rate by 5% for two hours after drinking!

Muscle Up- Resistance training hikes your metabolism rate by 15% because it increases muslce, which burns nine times more calories than fat. Interval training, (ex. three minutes of intense cycling followed by a minute on easy peddling) is a great metabolism booster too!

The Don’ts

Skip Sleep- Got work coming out of your ears? Shift your schedule so you go to bed at 10pm but get up earlier. This will help break the habit of eating metabolism slowing junk food while you work late. Beware of burning the midnight oil. Accourding to new research, just one night of skipped or disrupted sleep slows calorie burn by 5-20% the next day.

Crash Diet- Restrictive diets throw your body into starvation mode, making it hang onto every calorie. Your metabolic rate is highest in the morning, research shows that eating a healthy, good-sized breakfast will boost metabolism 10% for the rest of the day. You could try some scrambled eggs of toast or wholegrain cereal with yogurt and berries!

Ditch Carbs- Carbs produce the glucose your cells need to function properly, so instead of cutting them out, eat good carbs like wholegrain pasta, brown rice and wholegrain bread. Spicy food can also be good as it increases your heart rate, and is thought to boost metabolic rate by up to 50% for three hours afterward.

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Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Hi! I found dinner for you tonight!

Did you know it’s Nation Pizza Week? No? Well it is! I love all kinds of pizza, in elementary school we had this delicious breakfast pizza if you had to buy breakfast. It came with sausage on it and then you got chocolate milk, juice and a piece of toast legit dipped in butter. (hello one reason why I have to workout all the time now.)

Anyways, in honor of National Pizza week, I borrowed/stole a recipe from my favorite blog (I take her recipes all the time!) How Sweet It Is.

If you love balsamic vinegar like I do, then this pizza is for you!

Here also are some other great pizza recipes from a previous post!

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

my mouth is watering looking at this

Ingredients

dough: (her go-to recipe)

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions for Dough

In the bowl of your electric mixer with an attached dough hook, combine warm water, yeast, honey and oil and mix with a spoon. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy, then add in flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, then turn to medium speed to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If it seems to sticky, add a bit more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Brush a separate bowl with olive oil, add dough, turning once, then set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours. Cover with a damp towel.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 6 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 2 ounces freshly grated romano cheese + more for topping if desired
  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar

Directions for Pizza

Right before dough is almost finished rising, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon, then add shallots and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, or until shallots begin to caramelize. Set aside. While shallots are cooking, make sure that red peppers are patted dry (if from a jar). If you’d like to make your own roasted red peppers, see here.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once pizza dough is ready to go, roll/press into desired shape and brush the surface with olive oil and top with minced garlic. Sprinkle on 4 ounces of fontina cheese, then top with shallots, red peppers, and bacon. Sprinkle remaining fontina and romano evenly on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

While pizza is baking, heat vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil, then let simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until reduced to about 1/3-1/2 cup. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes to thicken. When pizza is finished baking, drizzle glaze on top and serve.

Now, go make this before it snows!!

Love the Elliptical? 10 Mistakes You Might Be Making

Top 10 Mistakes You Make on the Elliptical Trainer

As the weather drops, more and more people head straight to one machine in their gym–the elliptical trainer. According to a 2008 report from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, the number of users of elliptical trainers in health clubs grew sevenfold from 1997 to 2007.  And while you may be proud of yourself for making it to the gym and squeezing in some cardio, taking a lackadaisical approach to your elliptical workout and casually spinning your legs while reading a magazine or watching TV isn’t going to blast away those holiday cookies. Here, 10 mistakes you frequently make on the elliptical and how to fix them so you maximize calorie burn while adding fun to your ho-hum routine.

1. You’re too lazy to enter your information.

Most machines are calibrated for a 150-pound person—but personalizing your stats will help you get a more accurate calorie read. Aim to burn around 100 calories per 10 minutes.

2. Your resistance is zero.

You might feel like a million bucks spinning at a mile a minute, but without resistance, you’re not going to see results. Make sure that you’re using enough resistance to push and pull through the stride. Then, continue at a moderate pace until you feel like you’ve done all you can do. You shouldn’t feel like you have even 5 minutes left in you when you step off.

3. You’re a sloucher.

Standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and even work your upper body muscles, hop on a machine with an upper body component so you can engage even more muscles–and blast more fat. Can’t find a machine that lets you pump your arms? Let go: Some research suggests that leaning on machine armrests during exercise reduces calorie burning.

4. Your machine sounds like it’s going to take off.

If you can hear the purr of the machine while you’re exercising, it means that you’re going too fast without enough resistance–which means you’re not getting the most calorie burn out of your time. Keeping a steady, moderate pace at a resistance that forces you to use your muscles will get, and keep, your heart rate up.

5. You don’t change directions.

Going backwards doesn’t just stop you from getting bored, it also changes which large muscle groups are working hardest, according to Europe. While moving forward fatigues your quads, backwards puts emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes. To max out the effect, sit back slightly, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle as you stride.

6. You haven’t changed your workout in months.

Intervals are a great way to break up the monotony of the machine and boost your calorie burn. You can do this in one of two ways: Leave the resistance steady and change your pace (fast for 1 minute; moderate for 4) or maintain your speed and change your resistance (challenging resistance for 1 minute; moderate for 4).

7. You spin until you can’t feel your feet.

One of the most common elliptical mistakes is putting too much pressure on your toes, which can make your feet go numb and cut your workout short. Instead, sit back into your heels, which allows large muscle groups to work harder and gives you the stamina to go for longer.

8. You don’t work your upper half.

Incorporate the moving handles two days a week to put your upper body to work, and hang on to the stable handles on the others. When you’re working your arms and legs, try intervals–focus on your arms for 1 minute, then pump your legs for 4, and repeat through your workout.

9. You spin your way up a hill.

Some models have a ramp incline, similar to a treadmill. But, unlike a treadmill, a large incline won’t increase the difficulty–instead, it’s easier for your legs to push and pull through the stride.

10. You’re an elliptical junkie.

As tempting as it may be to shoot straight to the elliptical every time you enter the gym, you should never be using one machine exclusively. Supplement your routine with weight training and other cardio equipment, such as the rower. Making sure you incorporate variety keeps your body from getting used to a single movement and also continues to help you build muscle mass–which, in turn, will keep your metabolism boosted.

Via Prevention

The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym

Via Wall Street Journal by Jason Gay

The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you’re going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:

1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.

3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading “The New Yorker” and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.

5. Bring your iPod. Don’t borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it’s playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.

6. Don’t fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.

7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn’t bought a record since “Walking on Sunshine.”

8. There’s also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn’t here today…there he is, lurking by the barbells.

9. “Great job!” is trainer-speak for “It’s not polite for me to laugh at you.”

10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.

11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.

12. Nope, that’s not a “recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate.” That’s a chocolate bar.

13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.

14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that’s super tough!

15. If you’re motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a “wooden coat rack.” It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.

16. There’s the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.

17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you’re either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.

18. Be cautious about any class with the words “sunrise,” “hell,” or “Moby.”

19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.

20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.

21. Don’t buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.

22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.

24. If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.

25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.

26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it’s good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it’s not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.

27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

Portobello Burgers with Gouda and Roasted Garlic

Hi.

Happy 2012!! Anyone else think that 2011 went super fast?

This year one of my resolutions is to eat more fruits and veggies. So far it’s been going well! I’m kinda having a love affair with fruit. Bananas, oranges, clemintines, apples, pineapple and grapes, completely head over heels for. But I’m lacking in the vegetable department. That’s where this portobello burger comes in!

Oh hello there you beautiful thing.

Now usually I am not a fan of mushrooms or making a mushroom burger, when I think of burgers it’s usually beef covered in cheddar, bbq sauce, bacon and those yummy onion strings. Mmmmm. But I don’t exactly think that those type of burgers (mostly because of the delicious topings) are that healthy for you.

Then I went out for New Year’s Eve. I went to Elements in downtown Pittsburgh and had a filet with this cheese stuffed portobello on top.

Best.Dinner.Ever.

I seriously cannot stop thinking about it! So to try and recreate at least a part of that dinner, since I cannot cook a steak to save my life, I went in search of something with mushrooms! I found this Portobello Burger with Gouda and Roasted Garlic on How Sweet It Is website (legit obsessed with this site) and decided to share it with all of you!

Porobello Burger with Gouda and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 4 English muffins (light multigrain)
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of gouda cheese
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • butter lettuce for garnish
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

for mushroom marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

Two hours before serving, combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish and add mushrooms. I let them lay on their top side in the marinade, and spoon some marinade into the bottom-up side to let it soak. Marinate for two hours.

One hour before serving, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice off the top of the heads of garlic and drizzle a bit of olive oil (1/2 tablespoon) on top. Wrap in foil and roast for 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, then turn off heat and set aside to thicken.

Slice red onion into rings and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil into a large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and let soften and caramelize for 10-12 minutes. Set aside once finished, leaving the skillet on. Add the marinated mushrooms to the skillet top side up. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 4 more. Turn back over, add a slice of gouda on top, and turn off heat.

Toast the English muffins. Using your fingers, squeeze roasted garlic out of the head into a bowl. Mash with a spoon. Spread on both sides of each English muffin.

Top English muffin with a portobello cap, onion rings, tomato, avocado, and butter lettuce.  A light sprinkle of salt and pepper on the tomato and avocado for flavor. Finish with a drizzle of syrupy balsamic and serve.

Anyone elses mouth watering?

p.s. it’s healthy!