Meet Your New Best Friend

Oh hi there. See that right up there? That’s your new bff and it will love you forver and ever. Let’s look at some facts about why you should have water next to you, near you and attached to your hand all day!

Did you know that 8 cups of water a day will..

  • Increase your metabolism (cold water increases this even more)
  • Fill you up (hot water helps better with this)
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Flush out toxins
  • Get you healthier skin
  • Reduce risks of certain cancers
  • Help digestions and constipation
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Improve overall health
  • All for 0 calories!

Here are some more fun facts…

  • Water comprises more than 80% of your blood, and the brain and muscles are three-fourths water
  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
  • If you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated
  • Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%
  • Losing just 1-2% of your body weight in water causes a decrease in your performance of between 10-20%
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or a printed page
  • Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue
  • On average it takes about 2 cups of water to make up for the dehydration caused by a single alcoholic drink or a cup of coffee
  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in the University of Washington study
  • Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer
  • Water fights bad breath
  • The main cause of kidney stones is dehydration
  • The best treatment for dry eyes is drinking enough water throughout the day
  • 8-10 glasses a day is recommended for a sedentary person
  • A simple way to estimate water recommendation for a person who works out would be to multiply body weight times 0.55. Example: 180 pound person — 180 times 0.55 = 99 ounces of water per day.

But what if you don’t like water and you find that drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (more if you’re exercising!) is a challenge, there are other choices you can make to get your body the fluids it needs. And hydrating your body is, after all, the bottom line!

  • Skim milk. A small glass has about 80 calories, along with respectable amounts of protein and calcium. And, of course, no fat.
  • Decaffeinated iced tea. Go without sugar and you’ve got a drink that’s as calorie-free as water.
  • Soups and broths. There are plenty of low-calorie products on the market. However, they can be very high in sodium, so be sure to check the nutrition label for salt content. (You shouldn’t have more than 2400 mg of sodium daily.)
  • Juice-water mix. You can get the flavor of juice with less sugar and calories by mixing a half glass with water and ice.
  • Add lemon, lime or orange slices to your water to give it a little more flavor.

So this month keep water by your side at all times and make sure you get your recomended amount daily! You’ll only help yourself!

Superbowl Eats

Looking for something to make today for the Superbowl? Here’s a collection of some great recipes I’ve previously posted!

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Burgers with Guoda and Roasted Garlic

Crispy Margarita Chicken Tacos with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ten Recipes for the Big Game

At my house today we are making pizza, which is one of my favorite things to make, and we are also having chicken wings and a big tray of fruits and veggies!

If you splurge tonight in your eating, don’t worry! We’ll see you in the morning for class to burn off those extra calories!!

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.

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.