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Fitness is a Journey

Fitness Goals

We’re entering the months when so many people quit their fitness goals they developed after the holidays. But, imagine how you will feel if you never quit. Let’s evaluate how you can keep striving for fitness success!

Fitness goals take time and it is important to choose the right goal to achieve during a short period. Think of it this way; choosing many small goals leads to many successes. These small victories are so much more encouraging than choosing an enormous unattainable goal and failing.

Weight loss

In weight loss, you should remember that it took a long time to put the weight on so it will take time to be free of that weight. The same is true while gaining muscle mass—these things take time. But it’s wonderful to be surprised that your pants fit better when you’re in a hurry to dress for work. It’s a pleasant surprise to notice that your arms and back are more defined, or when you feel like you are bursting with energy. There isn’t a health quick fix, but it is a worthwhile life-long journey.

Friends gathering

Then, think about social gatherings. So many people give up because of a questionable choice at a social event. Life happens! It’s o.k. to have fun with friends at social gatherings! Just be responsible. One bad day of eating isn’t going to completely unravel your fitness progress. Be real; enjoy life, but make it a point to make time for your health and fitness.

Another common reason why people stop their fitness journey is, “I don’t have enough time.” There is a solution, though. Take 30 minutes of your day to get a workout. You do not have to spend hours in the gym, or in a gym at all. You can train at work, at a local park, by meeting with a trainer, or even at home. The point is you only have one body and you deserve to take care of it.

What if you have a different problem, though? What if you began to see results and they suddenly stopped? You have hit a plateau. But that proves that your body is capable of amazing things—here’s why: the human body adapts quickly and your body has adapted to the challenges you’ve thrown at it. It has evolved to handle the difficulties you’ve created. So in order to break loose from your plateau you need to change your program, normally every 4-6 weeks, depending on how often you exercise. This could be a great moment to consult with a certified trainer who can help. Certified trainers can constantly modify your program to prevent plateaus and maximize your results.

Ultimately, your health and fitness isn’t a short-term resolution. It is a rewarding and worthwhile life journey. If you count the cost then you’ll find that good health is cheaper than poor health and the resulting doctors’ bills. If you have kids you will find it’s worth it to be able to play with them to create memories and to participate in their lives while during your long, healthy life. So control how you age, don’t let your age control you. You deserve to be healthy and fit. Make it a priority!

Written by, Ray Shonk

Have questions? Contact us.

Carbs Are Friends.

Often people tell me that “carbs are the devil” and they should be avoided at all costs. That’s a myth I’d like to dispel, though.

Food pyramid

When people discuss carbohydrates they tend to think of pasta, potatoes, bread, and grains— all those things that are at the bottom of the food pyramid. People tend to forget that fruit and vegetables are part of that category.

Weight gain

Another myth is that eating carbs will make you gain weight. But not all carbohydrates are the same. Consider this— some carbs are very rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and those carbs are classified as complex carbohydrates. This is important because our bodies need complex carbs because they provide good nutrition to help us maintain a healthy body.

Simple carbs

The opposite of complex carbs are simple carbohydrates which provide a more direct source of energy. They are easy to digest and the human body burns the energy very quickly. Because your body digests them so quickly it takes longer for you to feel satisfied, making it more likely you will eat too many of them. That over-eating is the cause of undesirable weight gain.

Fruit and vegetables

Moving towards a diet of complex carbohydrates, by focusing on foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar, is the healthy choice. These complex carbs are available in healthy fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. The fiber slows the rate of your digestion so that energy from these carbs is released over a long period of time. Foods with simple carbs are a poor choice because your body processes all of their energy quickly, leading to a possible energy crash.

Now, let’s discuss sugar. One myth is that there is a difference between putting “good sugar” and “bad sugar” into your body—for instance, the idea that eating a sugary piece of fruit is better than eating a cookie because “fruit sugar” is “good sugar.”

The problem is that even though a piece of fruit could be healthier than a cookie, the difference is not because one contains natural sugar and the other contains processed sugar added from a bag.

Take for example one of my favorite pieces of fruit: a banana. When you eat a banana you’re consuming minerals like potassium and magnesium and vitamin C, CB6, and fiber. 

But think about the cookie— there are very few nutrients in a cookie. When you eat cookies your body grabs the sugar and rushes it into your system. The large amount of added sugar adds lots of calories that do not appear in fruit. So when you eat fruit, unless you’re eating apple pie or peach cobbler, you are avoiding a lot of bonus calories and supplementing your body with vitamins and minerals.

But, you really need carbs. Why? Because carbs are a source of fuel for your body. The presence of adequate amounts of carbs can spare the body from needing to break down muscle tissue.

So carbs are not your enemy. The enemy is an excessive amount of calories. If you’re eating more calories than your body will burn during your daily routine then you’re going to begin to put on weight. And, simple carbohydrates tend to make you over eat instead of providing long-term satisfaction like complex carbs. So keep the right carbohydrates in your diet, pay attention to what you eat, and eat in moderation. In other words, eat smart.

Have questions? Contact us.

Getting the Most Out of Pull-ups

Dead Hang from pull-up

As stated in the book “The Calisthenic Quest,” “pull-ups may be one of the hardest exercises out there.” There are many varieties and modifications for this mighty vertical movement, but the question remains… “Am I getting the most out of my pull-ups?”


Now to be fair, many people struggle to do pull-ups. Even getting one good one is a mighty feat, never mind completing ten. With this movement so many muscles can be involved at one time, and not just in the back! Let’s start at the bar. No… not the pub, the pull-up bar. Just by gripping the bar the muscles in your forearm (flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profondus and the flexor policus longus) go to work.

Back muscle

Before you start your pull, while in the dead hang roll your shoulders down and try to squeeze your shoulder blades (or scapulae) down. Also try to squeeze your abs. Keep the legs straight and try to avoid bending the knees. This will aid in abdominal activation.


As you pull yourself vertically you will start to engage your biceps and deltoids. As you continue to pull on the bar you should try to drive your elbows down towards your hips; this will engage your trapezius, your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and other muscles located in your back. As your chin travels over the bar slowly begin lowering yourself back down to full arm extension.
It’s very important to control your movement traveling both up and down to engage the muscles properly. Do your best to not keep your weight up or flail up and down on the bar as this can put unneeded stress on the joints and spine, potentially causing damage. Proper control in the movement will give you the best results for adding muscle growth and strength.

Written by Ray Shonk

Have questions? Contact us.

Easy Two-Bean Baked Wraps

Easy Two-Bean Baked Wraps (with a kid friendly zero spice serving)

Ingredients:

10 Whole Wheat tortillas

1 can fat free refried beans

About 2 ½ cups cooked black beans

2 8oz blocks of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 packet reduced sodium taco powder

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350

Slice 1 block of cheese into 8 1oz pieces, slice the 2nd block of cheese into 16 ½ oz pieces.

Make the kid friendly portion first:

Place 1 tortilla on a baking sheet. Slather about ¼ C of refried beans over it. Sprinkle about ½ C black beans over the refried beans. Arrange up to 4oz of cheese in ½ oz slices over the beans. Place another tortilla on top. If your delightful small human will only eat warm but not hot food, put this in the oven immediately and remove when the rest are ready to go in (or whenever the melty-crispy factor of the cheese meets your kid’s precise instructions of quality, whichever comes first.)

Make the adult friendly portion next:

Mix the taco seasoning into the remaining black beans with 1-2 T of water. In each of the remaining tortillas layer: ¼ C refried beans, ¼ C spiced black beans, 1 oz cheese. Fold up your wraps and place on another baking sheet. Place ½ oz cheese on top of each wrap. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Servings:

8 Adults (or 4 if you just came from Beast Club)

Children: 1 mini-Hulk, 2 average elementary kids, or 4 standard toddlers

Complements of Margaret Hansen

Tempeh Zucchini Soup

Tempeh Zucchini Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil or butter 

4 garlic cloves minced

2 large onion , chopped 

2 lb zucchinis diced 

4 cups water

6 cubes chicken bouillon 

1 cup heavy  cream

1 cup milk 

8oz Tempeh ( cooked and seasoned to your taste)

2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until they are light golden brown.

Add zucchinis, water bouillon cubes . Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium. 

Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until zucchini is very soft. 

Puree soup in blender and return back to pot

Add heavy cream and milk and simmer for 15 mins

Add Tempeh and cayenne pepper 

Ladle into bowls, swirl over a touch of cream if desired, a pinch of shredded parmesan, and more pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Complements of Daniel Roskamp.

Chicken Curry Stew

Chicken Curry Stew

Chicken Curry Stew

3/4-1 lb Chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1 large onion chopped
1 jalapeño chopped (or bell pepper)
8oz fresh mushrooms diced
2 T of basil pesto
1 13 oz can of coconut milk
~1 t ground ginger
~1 heaping T curry powder
~1 T veg oil (I used avocado oil)
salt&pepper

Sauté veggies in oil, pesto, pinch of curry powder, and some of the broth.
Cook chicken breast (or use rotisserie), chop, and combine with sautéd veggies, seasoning, and rest of the broth.
Simmer ~10-15 mins, while stirring in coconut milk.
Add salt, pepper, and/or more curry to taste.
Enjoy!

Complements of Dani Banks.

Chili-Spiced Steak Salad

Steak Salad

3oz. Raw lean sirloin cut into thin strips.

1/4 tsp. Chili Powder

Sea salt and ground black pepper to tast

Nonstick cooking spray

2 Cups shredded red cabbage

1/8 medium avocado, sliced

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinaigrette

Season the sirloin with chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a medium skillet lightly coated with cooking spray over medium high heat.

Add the sirloin and cook stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes or until cooked through.

Place the shredded cabbage and a serving plate top with the sirloin and avocado. Then drizzle with Balsamic vinaigrette.

Compliments of Ray Shonk.

Peanut Butter Squash Soup

Peanut Butter Squash Soup

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil

4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash

1 cup chopped onion

8 cloves finely diced Garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter

1 small can tomato  paste

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion,garlic, cummin, salt, coriander, sauté til onions soften, cover 15 minutes or until squash begins to soften. Add broth, peanut butter, tomato paste, and pepper, stirring well to combine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Complements of Daniel Roskamp

Ground Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Ground Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

2 T butter

1 C fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion, minced

1-pound ground turkey

1T minced garlic

1t Italian Seasoning blend

1 C chopped carrots

2 stalks celery chopped

1 green pepper chopped

3 beef bouillon cubes

8 oz tomato sauce

3 C water

Instructions:

1. Melt butter in a large soup pot on medium heat.

2. Add the onion, mushrooms, and ground turkey. Cook, stirring often until the turkey is no longer pink and the mushrooms have released all their moisture.

3. Add the minced garlic and Italian Seasoning blend and cook a few minutes more.

4. Add the carrots, celery, and green pepper and stir well. Place the lid on the pot and let steam for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the bouillon cubes, tomato sauce, and water and stir vigorously. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.

6. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the smell overpowers you and you must EAT IT NOW!

7. Serve with crusty bread or buttery biscuits and a light-bodied red wine.

Courtesy of Margaret Hansen

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

¼ C canola oil

½ C applesauce

½ C brown sugar

2 eggs

1 C milk

1/2t salt

1t cinnamon

1T baking powder

3C oats

Optional: top with a light dusting of brown sugar and a handful of slivered almonds

To Prepare:

Lightly grease a 9”x9” baking pan.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the oats last.

Pour mixture into prepared pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight works well)

To Bake:

Uncover and place cold dish in cold oven.

Preheat oven to 350.

After the oven is preheated, bake for about 35 minutes.

Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and enjoy warm. Serves 6.

Courtesy of Margaret Hansen