Superfoods to Boost Your Smoothie

Superfoods to Boost Your Smoothie

         Before a workout, after a workout, or for a meal or snack, smoothies are a good option to pack a variety of health benefits in a delicious drink.  There are several superfoods that you could add to your smoothie to boost the nutritional value and bring out the flavor of the smoothie base. Whether you’re trying to increase your intake of protein or get an extra energy boost, adding some of these ingredients will help you accomplish your goal.  


Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are from the Flax plant and add a nutty, toasty flavor to your smoothie.  They contain fiber, protein, and omega-3. Flaxseeds have been shown to lower blood sugar.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are from the hemp plant.   They don’t contain any THC and pack lots of nutritional value.  When added to a smoothie, they create a creamy, smooth background to fruits.  They contain essential fatty acids and proteins and promote digestion. Hemp seeds also contain nutrients that are good for your skin such as vitamin E and potassium.

Bee Pollen

When adding bee pollen to your smoothie, it is best to use local honey that is infused with bee pollen for optimal taste and health benefits.   Bee pollen has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help to boost the immune system. It also eases inflammation. Bee pollen also alleviates allergies if using local bee pollen because it is a natural form of immunotherapy.  

Maca

Maca is a plant from Peru that adds a sweet, earthy flavor to your smoothie.  It could help alleviate hormonal imbalances in women, especially during the menstrual cycle or menopause.   It also strengthens the ability to cope with stress and anxiety.

 

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper adds a spice to your smoothie that brings out the sweetness of other flavors.   Be careful not to add too much because it has the potential to overpower the flavors. It also has been shown to reduce belly fat and suppress the appetite.  

Avocado

Avocado is one of those superfoods that goes with everything.   Kind of like cheese or chocolate. Adding it to your smoothie creates a smooth and creamy texture that compliments most flavors.   Avocados contain lutein that helps keep your eyes healthy. Avocados have also been shown to improve your cardiovascular system and aid in weight loss.

 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has long been used for treating skin ailments such as sunburn.   Adding it to your smoothie has a whole other area of nutritional benefits.  Aloe vera helps improve gum health due to it being a natural anti-inflammatory.  Aloe vera also boosts the immune system and aids in digestion.

    Adding these things (probably not all at once) to your smoothie will help give a nutritional boost and change up the flavor of your go-to smoothie.  Next time you go to your local smoothie bar or decide to get creative at home, try one of these add ins.

 

Keeping Up With Your New Year's Workout Resolution

Maintaining New Year’s Workout Resolution – San Marcos Training

It’s almost the end of February and many people are finding it difficult to stay motivated in keeping up with their resolution. Did you opt to lose weight and those chocolate covered strawberries from Valentine’s threw you off track? Did all the changing Texas weather make you not want to go outside and workout? It’s isn’t too late to turn yourself around and keep up with your New Year’s resolution.

Maintaining Your Motivation

Statistically, eighty percent of the people who made a New Year’s resolution have given up by this point of the year. With those kind of statistics it seems that making a resolution is just setting yourself up for failure. The point is, it doesn’t have to be. Most people give up on their resolutions because they either set unrealistic goals or let minor setbacks derail their whole plan.

Dealing with Setbacks

An example of an unrealistic resolution is to run a mile everyday when you have never ran a mile in your life. You attempt to run a mile on day one and fall over from exhaustion halfway through and give up on your resolution. An example of giving up because of a minor setback is when a regular runner makes a resolution to run three miles a day. Several days of bad weather cause them to not run. They feel like they have not kept up with their resolution and give up.  

Moving Forward

If you have fallen into either one of these categories or find yourself having trouble keeping up with your resolution, it isn’t too late to modify your workout goals. An easy way to do this is to create monthly resolutions. This allows you to organize your main goal into micro-goals that are more realistic to achieve and take away some of the psychological stress you might get if you don’t achieve your goal.  

Creating Micro Goals

Remember that your resolution is for the entire year, so you need to rephrase your goal to specify where you want to be with your goals at the end of the year. If your goal is to lose weight, rephrase that to how much you want to have lost by the end of the year. If your goal is to exercise more, rephrase your goal into what you want to be exercising at the most. Once you get an overall specific goal, you will be able to plan out your New Month Resolutions. This will help you keep up with your resolution moving forward throughout the year.

Using Your Micro Goals

If you want to lose weight, a specific resolution could be to lose a certain amount of pounds per week. Micro goals to achieve this could be to create a diet and exercise plan. If you want to work out more, a specific resolution could be to go to the gym five times a week. Micro resolutions to achieve this goal are to start by going once or twice a week, then after doing that for a few weeks, start going three times. Continue this process until you have achieved and are able to maintain your goal.

Treating Yourself Well

Another way to help keep your resolution is to treat yourself well. Don’t feel bad for missing a workout or eating that chocolate covered strawberry. Life happens, and sometimes everyone needs a little chocolate. Your brain will be happier if you don’t beat yourself up over little mishaps. If you still feel like you need balance, run a few extra minutes the next couple of workouts. Also, reward yourself. A good reward for keeping your goals is to get new workout clothes. And, added bonus, if you feel sluggish and don’t want to workout, put on those new clothes. Sometimes just getting into workout attire gives your brain a little boost to get up and get moving.

Final Thoughts

There are several things to keep in mind that will help achieve your workout goals. Remember that your goal needs to be specific and achievable. Create micro goals out of your main goal. Micro goals are easier to achieve, you are less likely to give up, and you are more likely to achieve your overall goal. Taking these steps will help keep you from falling into the statistics of forgotten resolutions.

Interested in learning more about creating and maintaining a workout routine? Or maybe 24 hour fitness in San Marcos Tx? Visit STR8 Training, one of the 24 hour gyms in San Marcos TX, for more information.

Foods That Help Boost Your Fitness

Foods That Help Boost Your Fitness in San Marcos TX

A good diet is just as important as a fitness routine if you are trying to get in shape. In fact, it will be nearly impossible for you to reach your fitness goals if you do not eat right. There are many healthy foods that you can add to your diet.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is high in a monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats. These healthy fats can improve your heart health. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it can reduce pain and swelling. You will be able to recover more quickly after your workouts if you consume olive oil.

Almonds

Almonds are a great energy-boosting food. They are filled with healthy fats, protein, minerals and vitamins. These nutrients will make it easier for your body to burn fat. They can also help you build muscle.

Eggs

Eggs are filled with protein, which can make it easier for you to get through your workout. It is best for you to eat the egg yolk because it has most of the egg’s nutrients. You can have scrambled, hard-boiled or over-easy eggs.

Sweet Potatoes

One four-ounce sweet potato will have 100 percent of the beta-carotene that you need for the day. It is also high in vitamins A and C. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are a great source of iron. All of those nutrients can help protect your cells from damage. They can also support muscle recovery.

Blueberries

Even though blueberries do not have any protein, they have many of the other nutrients that you need to stay healthy. It is one of the healthiest fruits that you can eat. Blueberries are filled with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. You can eat blueberries as a snack or put them in a smoothie.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is one of the healthiest types of yogurt that you can eat. It has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. The high concentration of protein helps keep you full longer. Additionally, Greek yogurt has probiotics in it. This can help with your digestion.

Whole Grain Bread

Bread often gets a bad rap because of its high sugar content. However, if you eat whole grain bread, then you can get more out of your workouts. Whole grain bread is high in complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates can help you sustain energy during your high-intensity workouts. Whole grain bread is also a great source of fiber.

Salmon

Salmon is one of the healthiest types of fish that you can eat. It is high in healthy fats and protein. Omega 3 fatty acids can improve your heart health and brain health. They can also improve your muscle health.

If you follow a healthy diet and exercise, then you will be able to reach your fitness goals. It is also important to make sure that you keep yourself hydrated before, during and after your exercise sessions.

Looking for more tips about the food you should be eating while training? Visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour fitness gym in San Marcos, TX, for more nutrition information.

Three fruits smoothies among scattered fruit

Tips For Sticking To Your Healthy Eating Plan

When there are all those tasty, high calorie snacks out there, it’s hard to stick to a sensible meal plan. Dieters must consider that a healthy diet leads to a healthy person. Maintaining a healthy diet is good for your body. Being heavy can lead to heart disease as well as stress and strain on other bodily organs. Below are several tips that can help people stick to their healthy diets.

Avoid Processed or Packaged Food

These processed foods include frozen meals and snacks like potato chips, crackers, and cookies. Snacks like nuts, raw fruits, and vegetables taste good and are better for the body.

Cook Your Own Meals

Many frozen meals contain preservatives, fats, added sugars, and sodium. They may taste good, but people do not know what they are really getting in this meal. Preparing meals from scratch allows dieters to know exactly what they are eating. Simple meals like a sandwich or pasta not only lower economic expense, they also lessen the waistline.

Prepare Your Own Snacks

Peanut butter and hummus are healthy snack toppings that make carrot sticks, celery, and apple slices tasty snacks. Keep unhealthy snacks out of the house. If the unhealthy snacks aren’t around, they won’t be eaten. Granola and yogurt with banana and strawberries make healthy snacks. Many fruits, vegetables, and dips can be carried along in plastic tubs for snacks on the go.

Make Small and Realistic Changes

If you are used to consuming 5,000 calories per day, it isn’t realistic to immediately go on a 1,000 calorie per day diet. One must gradually diet the calories from a 4,000 calorie a day diet down to 1,000 calories a day. The body can’t handle an abrupt change in calorie intake.

Plan Exercise Routine and Diet Plan at the Same Time

Diet and exercise go hand and hand. Aerobic and dance exercises make exercise time fun. Group classes are a fun exercise worth trying. If you’re working hard to lose the weight, you’ll be less likely to sabotage your gains with unhealthy food.

Try Different Kinds of Healthy New Foods

Dieters should never try any diet plan without checking it out. Another problem is that some dieters suffer from food allergies and need to find what foods they are to avoid in the future. When it comes to fats and carbs, dieters need to listen to their body. There are plenty of foods and salads good to eat. Dieters should know poultry and seafood are also healthy for diets.

Three Meals a Day

Healthy meal plans should include meals at least three times a day. People need to be sure meals have plenty of fruits and vegetables included.

Don’t Eat Mindlessly

Eating slowly helps prevent overeating. Slow down to savor the texture and taste of the food for 20 minutes. People shouldn’t eat while watching television. Dieters must track the food they eat and their weight loss.

Tell Hunger and Craving Apart

There’s a difference between genuine hunger and food cravings. Cravings come from the head, hunger come from the stomach. Emotional eating must be avoided.

Looking for more tips for maintaining a healthy meal plan? Visit STR8 Training, a 24 hours gym in San Marcos, TX, for more nutrition information.

Man and woman using indoor gym equipment to workout

Basic Stretches To Start A Great Workout Part 2

In our last article we went over some basic stretches to do before working out. Something to keep in mind is that a lot of these can effectively be used to warm up before doing any exercise or physical activity, but you can also use them the day after an intense workout to relieve soreness.

Shoulder Stretching

For stretching out your shoulders (especially when you are sore), a good stretch is the elbow pull. Just stick your right hand elbow up in the air, and put your right hand on your shoulder blade, or at least as close as you can get. Now use your opposite hand and pull your elbow to the left until it is in the middle of your back. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat on the opposite side.

Glute Stretching

If you have to do dead lifts or squats, or if you have sore glutes, this next stretch is one of the best (and one of a few) that will actually target your glutes directly. Sit down on the ground and extend your right leg outward to the right, then take your left foot and put it behind your right leg. Now pull your left leg backwards, and it should stretch out your left leg. Now switch sides. This is one of the few, and one of the best, exercises to target your glutes.

Pectoral Stretching

Another hard group to target is your pectoral muscles. This one is a little more involved. First, find a corner that you can stretch in. Next, stick your favored leg forward, and bend it, and stick your back leg backwards and keep it straight. Next, put both of your hands on the wall, on either and opposite corner. Now push yourself towards the wall until you are almost right next to it. Your hands should be just past your shoulders. This should target your pecs if done correctly. An easier one to do, if you do not have access to a corner, is to lock your fingers behind your head, above the top half of the back of your head, and push your fingers back with your head.

Lower Back Stretching

Another good stretch that will help relieve stiffness all over your body is to stand straight up, then separate your legs past your shoulders, stick your right hand in the air, and then push your right hand left. This will target your lower back and hips, and your upper body.

Active Recovery

For soreness, using your muscles lightly the next day will also help. This means if you did sprints or rode a bike, take a light walk. This will help you build up a tolerance to the soreness, but also works out the lactic acid and helps trigger your body to target the existing inflammation and start repairs. For lifting, using 5 pound dumbbells or doing body exercises that mimic your sore muscles will help. So either body squats or push-ups or bench press.

For more information about safe stretching and work outs, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour fitness San Marcos gym, to speak with one of our professional trainers.

Woman stretching on a mat in a San Marcos gym

Basic Stretches To Start A Great Workout

In our last article we went over some of the basics of stretches, including their benefits, the reasoning behind them, best practices and the first stretch we covered as an example of what’s to come.

Stretching the Calves, Thighs, and Glutes

We left off going over a calf, thigh and glute muscle stretch, the forward bend. But as we previously discussed, you should ideally do several for each muscle group. Another great one that targets the calves, as well as the shins and even your feet, is the curb stretch. As implied in the name, you will need access to a ledge or curb, or if you are just beginning to work out and stretch more, you could instead use a wall. Put the front half of your foot on the curb, but have the second half (slightly past the middle to the heel) hanging off the edge, forming a 30-45 degree angle downwards. This will stretch out your calves, while also working them out. And because of the need to balance while on the curb, you will also work your shins and even your supporting muscles on the bottom of your legs and feet.

Quad Stretches

A great one for stretching out your quadriceps (elegantly named the quad stretch), is to pull back your right foot with your right hand, and pull it behind you to touch your glutes, while trying to remain perfectly balanced. Balance may be hard, and like with the previous one, leads to stretching of the support muscles, and even a slight arm workout. After 20-30 seconds of this switch sides and repeat. A stretch to pair this with is to find a wall or a fence and extend your right foot out while keeping your left foot planted, and form as close to a 90 degree angle with your body as you can (but will ideally end up being closer to 60 degrees comfortably for most people). Lean your head toward the extended leg for better form. Keep your planted foot forward. This will stretch out your hamstrings, which if you do not keep in shape alongside your quads, you can experience serious knee issues.

Stretches for the Arms

For some quick arm stretches, begin with tricep stretches by taking your right hand and placing it behind your head, touching your opposite shoulder. The opposite sides help wake up your brain, and will start your arm stretches. Switch sides. Trapezium rotation is a stretch that you do both sides at once. Start by lifting up your shoulders (the trapezium is the muscle in between the tops of the shoulder and your neck), then moving them backwards, downwards, then forwards and upwards in a circle motion. Do at least 20 reps of this, very slowly. Neck rotations are another one to do slowly. Start by moving your head down, then very slowly move it up and to the right, in a circle all the way around a few times. Locking your fingers behind your head can also help stretch out your biceps, bringing your hands outwards and away from your body, with your knuckles facing outwards.

Looking for more stretches to try before working out? Visit STR8 Training, a fitness gym in San Marcos, TX, to get advice from one of our professional trainers.

San Marcos personal trainer leading pre-workout stretches

Important Stretches For Warming-Up Before A Workout

If you want to get the most out of your workout and not injure yourself, it is important to warm-up before exercising. Part of a healthy warm-up is light exercise before getting up to full speed, but it also means doing some stretches. There are many different ways to stretch out, all of which have several different benefits to them.

Warm-Up Before Every Workout

Even though a lot of people don’t stretch before they workout because they assume they don’t really need to for that exercise, it is just as important to lift before weight lifting as it is to lift before cardio exercises. People who do cardio exercises often assume that they do not need to focus on any upper body muscle groups, and only the lower body. But especially for certain cardio activities, that can be false. Even for running, there is movement of your arms, and even muscles you don’t use during your exercise still help get your heart rate up and get your blood pumping. Point being, don’t think that certain exercises are immune from needing stretches beforehand. Everyone will perform better after doing proper warm-ups.

Warm-Up Properly

There are a few different lower body exercises for each different muscle group that you can do. And it is best to do a couple for each muscle group, because even if two stretches target the same main muscle, the supporting muscles that each target are likely to be different. For example, if you are looking to stretch your thighs, one muscle might target the thighs, calves, and glutes to some extent, while another might get the calves, but work the hips as well because of the need to balance during it. It also ensures one area is not overextended, because each muscle relies on supporting muscles to make it work properly. If you hurt your supporting muscles and have to use improper form to avoid pain, your muscles will develop poorly, or you can begin to experience long term issues related to the injury.

Different Types of Warm-Ups

Some basic workouts for your calves can also help stretch out your shins, which is a common problem spot, while others will workout your legs. Some of these will only require a flat surface, while other workouts would require a ledge or something sturdy to stand on. One of the most basic stances is the forward bend, where you extend your left foot forward and bend to form a 45 to 60 degree angle, while you extend your right foot backwards while planting it firmly on the ground. This will stretch your thighs and your glutes slightly, while, if done properly, also really stretching out your calves on your back foot. Make sure both of your feet are facing straightforward.

Still have questions about the best warm-up practices to perform for an effective workout? Visit STR8 Training, a San Marcos fitness gym, for advice from one of our professional trainers.

A woman in a gym doing squats with a barbell

Work Your Way to a More Firm, Shapely Butt

In beauty today, curves are in, and according to Sir Mix A Lot’s hit song, “I like big butts and I can not lie..”  he knew how helpful large glute muscles could be to your esteem. There are many ways to achieve the “big butt” look that has increased in attraction through workout and exercises over the years. Recently, butt implants have become a popular procedure to enhance the butt without having to do any real work at all. However, the procedure is costly.  If you are broke or do not want to go under the knife, then you have other practical options available to you to get that curvy, attractive big butt look simply by working out.

Strength Training for the Glutes

You may have heard that squats are a great workout to help achieve a more voluptuous bum. For beginners, air squats work best by gradually increasing your set number over a few month period. After that, you will want to add weights or the barbell when doing squats to really help firm up and shape the butt to give it that fuller, bigger look. Front and back squats are similar in that they both help strengthen your legs and hips, particularly your thigh and butt muscles. Slowly over time, adding more and more weight will add shape and cause the butt to look bigger.

Front and back squats are great to help tone and tighten the muscles that lead up to the butt, but side squats or lunges are great for the inner thigh muscles. If you take a wide step, you really focus in on the gluteus maximus area. Working that out will help increase the size of your butt over time. Be careful not to add too much weight to fast and pull a muscle, because then your butt will never get big.

Glute-Focused Cardio

When it comes to cardio, there are many different elements to consider. Many people are under the impression that simply doing just cardio will help them build up muscles. Cardio exercise is great for cutting down fat, but does not do too much for building up big muscles. That is why you do not see bodybuilder cross country runners, you typically see long, skinny, fit long distance runners instead. You need to choose workouts that work the glutes and focus on building muscle while still burning calories and fat.

Running up a hill or stair runs would be a great cardio workout that focuses on those gluteus muscles you want to enhance. Another good cardio workout is running sprints. Learning how to structure your sprint drills can help build your glutes over time plus it burns fat. So be cautious when it comes to picking out cardio exercises when wanting to build up the gluteus muscles or else you will not see much change in your muscle tone.

Maintaining strength and developing consistency when working out helps build up and shape muscles. Since curves are in and flat butts are out, to keep your curvy butt will require upkeep by routinely working out and doing butt exercises to keep all your hard work literally hard. Hopefully now when Sir Mix A Lot sings, it is a song about you and your big butt.

Man lifting weights in local gym

Natural Methods For Raising Testosterone

An integral part of building muscle and maintaining a healthy body is making sure you have properly balanced hormones. For men, an important hormone to be aware of for overall health is testosterone. If your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone, it could have unwelcome effects, such as low energy, disrupted sleep patterns, and even changes in appetite. In addition, low testosterone can limit muscle growth. For those whose fitness goals involve building muscle mass, low testosterone can quickly get in the way.

Increasing Hormone Production through Exercise

While low testosterone can slow muscle growth, there are activities that can increase the production of testosterone. The best types of exercises for boosting testosterone production are multi-joint exercises, preferably ones that use the largest muscle groups in the body. These are usually high intensity short burst activities, such as sprints. Low-rep high-weight lower body weightlifting can also help boost testosterone production, and increase muscle production as well. Push ups, squats, and deadlifts are also beneficial activities to use.

Encouraging Hormone Production through Diet

After exercise, one of the first things you can do to help increase your testosterone production is take a good look at your diet. The food you eat ensures that your body has plenty of energy to get through the day, but it also makes sure that your body has the energy to produce essential hormones, such as testosterone. A good first step to improving your diet is to try to cut out food with little nutritional value. Make sure that you are getting enough protein for your body to be able to handle the workouts you want to participate in. Consider taking multi-vitamins for an extra boost as well. These often contain zinc and vitamin D, which can help in the production of hormones like testosterone. You can also look for certain foods that contain these vitamins, such as low-fat milk which contains vitamin D, or fish, which is a great source of protein.

Boosting Hormone Production through Sleep

Exercise and diet are some of the biggest factors in testosterone production, but not the only factors. Sleep is also an important part of hormone production. In order to produce testosterone naturally, your body needs time to rest. Getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are the building blocks of healthy testosterone production, but your body needs sleep in order to put those building blocks to work. The amount of sleep each person needs varies by individual. Some factors, such as age, may affect everyone, but pay attention to your own body to learn how much sleep you need to stay healthy. A good generalization to begin with is at least 7 hours of sleep a night, but preferably 8-9 hours per night.

For more information about how exercise and fitness can improve your everyday life, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour gym in San Marcos, TX.

Runner crossing mountainous landscape

Choosing Training Strategies To Reach Your Goal

Choosing a fitness goal is only a single step on the road to better health. Once you’ve decided on your goal, whether it is losing weight or increasing your endurance, you must plan a training strategy to reach it. Exercising in general will always be a net benefit, but not all exercises were created equal or have equal results. Below are some common goals, and suggested activities to achieve them.

Muscle Building

If you are looking to build muscle, then sprints and high weight training may be the best options for you. You might also consider incorporating some cardio routines, though in regards to muscle growth, cardio will not necessarily give you the same results that targeted lower body exercises with weight lifting will get you.

Losing Weight

If your goal is to lose weight, then a combination of cardio and weight training is often the best strategy. It’s important to remember that losing weight requires changes in diet alongside changes in exercise. Some gyms employ a nutritionist that can give you professional advice on diet changes for healthy weight loss.

Increasing Endurance

For those whose goal is to build endurance and enhance their natural energy levels, a combination of cardio exercises and distance running is a great choice. There are a variety of activities recommended for cardio. These include walking, running, biking, swimming, and more. If you want to mainly focus on running, such as preparing for a long distance running event, sprints are also a good activity to try.

Personal Training

If you have difficulty deciding what exercises you should use to achieve your fitness goal, working with a personal trainer can be a great help. Many local gyms employ personal trainers who can help you choose exactly what activities you need and can teach you how to safely do them. Personal trainers can also be great motivators if you ever find yourself feeling discouraged.

Group Training

For any fitness goal, a great way to get started and make sure you follow through on your commitment is to find a group class. A group fitness class will give you the benefit of a personal trainer at lower cost, as well as provide an exercise routine for you to follow. The other benefit of participating in group training is added safety. While many of the exercises are ones you can do on your own, there’s always the possibility of incorrect form leading to injury. Having someone there to guide you in a group class can make sure that your form does not lead to injuries over time. Activities that do require gym equipment are safer when a spotter is nearby, especially for beginners.

Though there is always a risk of injury when it comes to working out, the biggest risk is to be inactive and not take an active interest in your health. For more information about achieving fitness goals, or to speak to an experienced trainer, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour gym in San Marcos, TX.

Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mango slices mixed together for a nutritious diet

How To Add More Fruits & Vegetables To Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients such as vitamins to the body. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet is usually advised by nutritionists and health professionals due to the health benefits that come with them. However, for many people who have busy day to day lives, adjusting daily diet can be difficult and even frustrating. Below are several tips to consider to help increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Make Your Snacks Revolve Around Fruits and Vegetables

Snacks help to reduce hunger during tight schedules that don’t allow time for having a full meal. Adding them to your diet can be quite useful. Encouraging yourself to replace common salty or sweet snacks with fruits or vegetables can help improve your dietary health. This can be achieved by keeping a bowl of fresh fruits at your desk or at home, providing easy access to a quick, healthy snack. You can also try keeping dried fruit in your car for snacks on the go.

Boost Your Breakfast

Breakfast is the appropriate time to get in an extra serving of vegetables or fruit. This can be accomplished by simply stirring fresh or frozen berries, or banana slices into your yogurt, cereal, or other meal. If you have time, you could also consider making a breakfast smoothie from a simple recipe such as this:

  • Take your favorite yogurt (or a low fat milk)
  • Add 1/2 cup of frozen berries (any kind will do, though remember to consider seeds!)
  • Blend together to desired consistency!

If you prefer to use fresh fruit instead of frozen, considering adding some ice to your smoothie as well. If you have no time for breakfast, you can pick an orange, apple, or banana and have it on your way to work.

Add Small Amounts

Another great way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them into your current daily diet. This will not only allow you to improve the health of your favorite dish, but let you use your creativity to spice up old recipes. A simple way to do this is to grate or puree fruits and vegetables and add them to dishes they might complement. Another idea is to grate carrots or zucchini onto burgers, meatballs, or other meat dishes, as their taste and consistency can go well together. In addition, putting chopped peppers, mushrooms, carrots, or other veggies into recipes such as pasta sauce can add a few more vegetables into your diet.

Make a Meatless Day for Yourself

At least once a week, create a meatless day. Prepare fruits and vegetables for the day and then increase your intake to 3 servings. You can also make a fruit salad for snacking and meals. Also consider grilling extra vegetables and preserving them for salads, soups, sandwiches, and other meals during the week. This is not only good for your health, but it can also be beneficial to the environment.

Try Something New Each Week

Trying new things can be a fun way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Whether it’s a new recipe, or a fruit or veggie you’ve never tasted before, try to find something new each week. Looking up which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you decide what new food you’d like to try. You might even discover something that you want to keep eating on a regular basis.

Double Your Intake

Since extra vegetables are generally fairly easy to add to recipes without greatly affecting taste and composition, doubling what you use is a good option to consider. Some ideas for adding extra veggies to regular recipes include adding extra vegetables as topping to frozen pizza, to a variety of casseroles, or onto sandwiches.

Choose Fruit-Based Desserts and Salads

Using fruits such as grapes or bananas can add a good flavor to popular desserts. Some examples of desserts that can be improved with fruit include ice cream, frozen yogurt, and even pastries. You can also use frozen fruit as a dessert by itself. This can be done by dipping part of your fruit into a small portion of antioxidant dark chocolate.

For more information about how to increase the health of your daily diet, or to speak with a nutrition counselor, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Upper Body Workout Ideas For Men And Women

When you are looking for an upper body workout, there are a large number of available plans that will give you results. You will want to make sure that you find one that is right for you and your particular needs. The following upper body workouts are suggestions to help you find a workout plan that will give you the healthy body that you had always dreamed was possible. Remember to always use an experienced spotter when using gym equipment.

Chest Press

The first exercise that you will want to look at doing is call a chest press. This is an easy exercise to do as long as you have a flat surface that you can lie down on with a couple of small weights in each hand. Place your legs up in the air at a 90-degree angle and then slowly begin to press your hands upwards. This exercise will help to increase the muscles in the chest.

Arm Raises

Another suggested exercise for increasing upper body strength is arm raises. This exercise will also use weights. To perform this, stand with your feet spread shoulder width apart, with your arms at your sides. Raise your arms up until they are parallel with your shoulders, then bring them down to your hips where you started. Then raise your arms to the sides in a position that forms a T shape. Bringing the arms back down will be one rep. It is advised that you do 15 of these in your workout.

Diamond Press Up

Start in a press up position. Instead of keeping your hands on the floor shoulder width apart, put your thumbs and index fingers together to form a diamond against the ground. Then bend your elbows and lower yourself as far as possible without touching the floor. Push back up in the same position to return to the start.

Suspended Press Up

The next exercise will be a bit more difficult as you will have to use a bench as well as a ball. Place your legs on the ball and use the bench to support your upper half. Once you are in position, you can then begin by lowering yourself down and pushing back up. This is one rep and you need to make sure that you do 15 of these reps.

Plank Row

The last exercise suggested here is called the plank row. This is not as hard as it is intense on the upper half of your body. Take and begin in the standard press up position and then begin to bring one part of your body up with your elbow aiming towards the ceiling. This will go a long way toward helping you to get a much stronger upper core. With focused practice you will soon be able to do these exercises without any trouble at all.

All of these exercises can be used as ideas for getting a stronger and leaner upper core. No matter what your fitness level is, you will be able to do these exercises with little to no trouble. Remember to always workout safely, and use an experienced spotter when using equipment. For more information about workout plans, or to consult with an experienced trainer, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour gym located in San Marcos, TX.

Micro Goals: Setting Achievable Fitness Goals

How many times have you told yourself that this is the time that you’re going to stick to that workout plan or loose that extra weight only to fall short of your goal? Sometimes we give up because there is too much time that passes without progress between a starting point and where we ultimately want to be. Newton’s 1st law of motion states that objects in rest tend to stay at rest, while objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Given this principle, if we don’t consistently stay in motion working toward our goals, then we will inevitably stop. But there are useful tactics to help keep you on track.

What are Micro Goals?

How do we keep in motion to create a momentum that will help us reach our goals? Micro Goals. These are the mini milestones that help bridge your short term goals that will ultimately help you reach your long term goals. Micro Goals are extremely specific and, more importantly, task specific. These goals help prevent stalling or giving up by creating an achievement that gets us closer to our ultimate goal. In order for Micro Goals to work, a tangible link needs to be made between these goals.

The Purpose of Micro Goals

Micro Goals help you stay motivated even when you are not feeling like doing anything. They are small enough that completing one goal doesn’t take too much effort, yet powerful enough that completion of a goal adds to the momentum to keep you pushing to reach your next goal. This is because a wonderful pleasure inducing neurotransmitter called dopamine is released when a task is accomplished that makes your brain want to continue to complete tasks. You don’t really feel like doing anything, but a Micro Goal isn’t going to take too much effort so you complete the goal. You’re body is happy you completed the goal and rewards you with dopamine. You suddenly feel better because of the dopamine and this motivates you to complete another Micro Goal. This process has a snowball effect that builds momentum, keeping you in motion to achieve your ultimate goal.

How Micro Goals Work

The reason why using Micro Goals is such an effective method is because this method pushes you to start now and not in the distant future. Micro Goals allow you to focus on something that is attainable at all times and doesn’t allow you to procrastinate or let excuses get in the way. If you were to look at a ruler and create a goal chart, the foot would represent the ultimate goal, each inch would be a short term goal, and each centimeter would be a Micro Goal, as shown below:

Abbreviations:

MG: Micro Goal

STG: Short Term Goal

LTG: Long Term Goal

A map of achieving a long term goal using Micro Goals could look like this:

Now…..MG…..MG….MG….STG…. MG…. MG…. MG…. STG…. MG….MG…. MG….LTG

Goal Examples:

  • LTG – I want to loose 20 pounds in 60 days
  • STG – Run 4x a week, 4 miles each time
  • MG – Get to the gym and run one mile. Then when you’re finished run another mile.
  • Then another, then another. Keep doing this everyday.
  • Planning Micro Goals

    One of the problems in a fast paced society is that we want to do everything all at once. This involves many goals and a lot of chaos. Multiple long term goals create time constraints and cause struggles due to a commitment conflict when trying to decide what needs to be worked on. The thing with Micro Goals is that it allows you to have multiple long term goals simultaneously being worked toward at the same time without the chaos or fatigue of being overworked. Micro Goals are small enough that many could be accomplished in a small time period. They cause you to think about order and priority and help you to plan out how you want to spend your time during the day and what you must do to further your progress.

    Using Micro Goals Daily

    There are many ways Micro Goals can be incorporated into all areas of your life to achieve health and well being. When focusing on health, Micro Goals could be used to achieve a desired weight, to run a marathon, to increase flexibility, or to be able to perform a human flag. Once you know what your goal is, decide what Micro Goals need to be met to achieve your goal and start building momentum. For more information about achieving your fitness goals, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour gym located in San Marcos, TX.

Strength Training VS Aerobic Exercise

Exercise is something we all need regularly to keep our bodies healthy. There are a variety of ways to get adequate exercise, depending on what type of activity you are looking for. Some people may be looking for a fun way to keep in shape, while others may need exercise in order to excel in a sport or other activity. Here we’ll look at the difference between aerobic exercise and strength training.

Aerobic Exercise

In a nutshell, aerobic exercise are cardiovascular activities such as running, biking, or simply walking with a purpose to name a few. Dancing, playing soccer, skating, or doing anything that raises your heart rate qualifies as aerobic exercise and needs to be embraced. This doesn’t mean that you need to compete in triathlons; it just means you need to stay active. Aerobic exercise is beneficial to the body because it strengthens the circulatory system by building up the heart and blood vessels while also burning calories.

Strength Training

While aerobic exercise will can build muscles, many aerobic activities such as sports and dancing are not considered strength training. For most, the idea of strength training brings the gym and weights to mind, but this isn’t always true. Strength training at its core is the use of resistance to contract muscles which increases strength, boosts endurance, and builds skeletal muscles. Weight lifting is a big part of this for many, but yoga, pilates, and simple body-weight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc) all accomplish the muscle contraction that strength training aims to achieve.

Using a Combination

Do not fall into the misconception trap that aerobic exercise simply burns fat while strength training builds muscle. You’re going to burn fat and calories while strength training and you’re going to build muscle during aerobic exercise. A personalized combination of the two based on your body type, wants, needs and goals is ideal. A combination of aerobic exercise and strength training will help keep your body in shape while burning calories and building muscle without wearing your body out on one type of activity.

Aim for a Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise alone, no matter what kind, is only one aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you have a healthy, varied diet, and that you engage in healthy pre-workout activities such as stretching and hydrating. Try to avoid unhealthy habits, such as smoking, which can damage your body, and focus on healthy habits. Healthy habits could include many activities, such as establishing a private workout routine, attending a fitness class, or even meeting regularly with friends for a workout activity. Establishing a routine will help keep your body in shape. Once you begin to build muscle and exercise frequently, you’ll begin to burn more calories and working out will become easier.

For more information about fitness and nutrition, or to inquire about fitness classes, visit the gym at STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Helpful Nutrition Tips For Active Athletes

Being an athlete has different dietary requirements than for other occupations and hobbies. Athletes burn more calories and need more fuel than the average person. However, this doesn’t mean athletes can eat whatever they like whenever they want. Athletes need to put healthy foods into their bodies to stay at top performance levels and have shorter recovery periods after working out.

Accountability for Your Nutrition

One of the most important aspects of nutrition is accountability. It doesn’t matter what type of diet you are on if you don’t keep yourself accountable. You must be confident and ready to commit to changing your dietary lifestyle. Planning your meals and meal prepping helps you keep your commitment. Create your menus based on what type of diet you want to stick to. If you’re able, prep meals and snacks ahead of time. This will make you less likely to choose something unhealthy if healthier options aren’t readily available.

Nutrition and Your Energy Level

When choosing what kind of dietary lifestyle you want to stick with, take your sport into consideration. Different sports require different needs due to different energy levels. For example, a full court game of basketball will burn around 750 calories per hour, yet weightlifting will burn only 250 calories per hour. On the same note, basketball and weightlifting also require different diets for recovery due to the types of muscles used for each sport. A good rule is to eat what you burn, but make sure it is food that is good for your sport. Weightlifters will require more protein in their diets because it is needed to maintain muscles, but it isn’t needed as much in a high energy basketball player’s diet because protein isn’t a good source of energy.

Foods with High Nutritional Value

Many diets have different requirements. As an athlete, you should only put foods with high nutritional value into your body. This will keep your body in optimal health for all areas of athleticism and allow the body to recover properly. Only eat real foods and avoid processed foods. Don’t exclude carbohydrates as an athlete because you need them for energy. Your body changes carbohydrates into a form of sugar called glucose and then stores them in your muscles as glycogen, which is then converted into energy. Choose high quality protein in your diet, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, and milk. Go easy on fats. Most diets get enough fats from nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fish. No matter what, always aim for healthy choices. For example, choose whole grain bread over white bread, or trail mix over chips.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

A major thing that must be done to keep your body healthy and your digestive system working properly is to stay hydrated. Athletes often sweat quite a bit, so staying hydrated is even more important. How much daily water intake your body needs can vary somewhat depending on the person and their lifestyle, but it is generally recommended to drink 64 ounces of water daily. Drink water before, during, and after workouts. Chilled drinks are more easily absorbed than room temperature drinks, so keep your drink cold if possible. If your workout causes you to sweat a lot, replace your electrolytes with a sports drink. Remember that over half of the body consists of water, and it is important to stay hydrated for all bodily functions.

Make Healthy Choices for Your Body

When choosing a dietary style to complement your lifestyle, there are many different factors to consider. Make sure that you get enough types of energy sources to maintain a healthy, athletic lifestyle. Making healthy food choices is part of living an athletic lifestyle, and both will help keep you in great form. For more information about incorporating nutrition into your lifestyle, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.