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METropolitan Fitness

Preparing athletes for success

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22 Foods to Help Keep You Hydrated

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM Comments comments (1)
    Hey everybody, it's another beautiful day in our neighborhood.  With that sun shining bright out there, I hope we're all remembering to keep ourselves sufficiently hydrated. While most of us know that water and other sports drinks can help, I'm betting that not enough of us know that many foods serve as great sources of water too.  The following blog will highlight a great selection of foods that can play a vital role in helping keep our bodies properly hydrated this summer season.  Enjoy!



    Water aids in digestion, nutrient transportation, and joint lubrication, and helps regulate body temperature, which is particularly important during the hot summer months.

    But only about 80 percent of our water intake comes from drinking. The other 20 percent comes from food. While filling up your water bottle is a good habit, you can also add some of the delicious water-filled foods below to your diet to stay hydrated this summer.

  • Cucumber - 96% (water content)
  • Lettuce - 95%
  • Celery - 95%
  • Zucchini- 95%
  • Tomato - 94%
  • Spinach - 92%
  • Watermelon - 92%
  • Strawberries - 92%
  • Broccoli - 91%
  • Grapefruit - 91%
  • Cantaloupe - 90%
  • Peach - 88%
  • 100% Orange Juice - 88%
  • Carrots - 87%
  • Pineapple - 87%
  • Raspberries- 87%
  • Apricot - 86%
  • Blueberries- 85%
  • Yogurt - 85%
  • Apple - 84%
  • Cherries - 81%
  • Banana - 74%

    There are some very nutritious and delicious options there on that list!  I hope that all of you are already enjoying or willing to try the foods listed above.  As always, please share this with anyone you feel would benefit from the information.  


REFERENCES
  • Core Performance - Nutrition Newsletter, Katie Butler June 2012

Sharing Some of the Best Kept Training Secrets

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM Comments comments (1)
    Hey everybody, hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Summer day.  The following blog was written with YOU in mind, and my hope is that you find it both informative and empowering.  Please read through it, and share it with everyone you feel would benefit from it's message.

    In fitness (and in life) arming yourself with the best information available can help you conquer any goal, often in less time and with even better results than you imagined. And there’s no better resource for that advice than the health and fitness professionals whose careers depend on getting people results. To help you reach your potential, it's my goal to share with you the very best tips, mantras, and motivation secrets I've learned and read along the way.  Let's take a look at some of the very best I've come across so far.

1. Forget About the “Fat-Burning Zone”
Stop worrying about the exact percentage of fat you burn during exercise (i.e. staying in the “fat burning” zone), and instead focus on the total calories burned from fat (which include the calories you burn after an intense strength session). To burn more fat over a 24-hour period (and not to mention, get in great shape), go as hard as you can, as long as you can.

2. Get Fit from the Inside Out
Instead of only looking to the scale and the mirror for feedback, focus first and foremost on how exercise makes you feel—more energetic, healthier, and less stressed. Cosmetic changes will naturally occur if you seek out and adopt a fitness plan that you enjoy and take to heart.

3. Start Your Day with Exercise
Has your busy schedule taken over your workout routine? Fit in fitness first thing. Research shows that people who work out first thing in the morning work out more often. Why? Because you're less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way.


4. Make Time to Meditate
Learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, no matter how brief. So much of our suffering, pain, insecurities, and struggles are caused by a disconnection with ourselves and our source. Meditation costs nothing, requires nothing, and can be done anywhere. In order to change your body, you need to change your mind and the way it is hardwired.

5. Do What You Love
If you try something and it doesn't work, try something else. If you're injured, switch gears and focus on another aspect of your fitness until you heal. Never stop searching for the right workout and schedule until you create exactly what works for you. When you find it, don't be swayed by fads, the opinion of others or even the experts. Doing what you love is the surest way to ensure you will be fit for life.

6. Put Parkinson's Law into Practice
Parkinson's Law states that the perceived complexity of a task expands to fill the time you allot it. So if you don't set hard deadlines and timelines, you're not going to be as focused or productive as you could be. Instead of wasting time at the gym, create hard deadlines for your workouts: estimate how long your session should take and enforce that you finish in that amount of time or less. Create a negative consequence for not sticking to it. Once you begin to create and enforce deadlines, the BS gets toned down and the results increase dramatically.

7. Listen to Your Body, Not Your Mind
Your body knows better! On days when you don't feel like working out, that's your mind talking. Your body yearns for movement, circulation, and healing. When I'm having one of those days, I'll take a few moments just to breathe well, and invariably, my arms want to stretch and I might press my hands into a wall and lengthen my spine—anything. And it always feels better.

8. Make an Emotional Connection
Most people don't truly enjoy exercise, but studies show that when you connect with something you like - whether it’s a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness video, or piece of equipment - you make a positive emotional connection and are significantly more inclined to stick with that exercise routine. Find a way to create a positive emotional connection [to your workouts] to stay engaged and wanting to come back again and again.

9. Work More Muscles in Less Time
When it comes to exercise selection, focus on compound moves, not isolation exercises. A compound movement is something that engages every muscle in your body - such as pull-ups, pushups, or planks - whereas isolation exercises focus only on one muscle group. Compound movements will make you stronger, more explosive, and more toned than anything else.

10. Aim High but Stay Realistic
I'm sure that everyone reading this has heard the expression, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ It's been my experience that even the most competitive and knowledgeable athletes (including even myself) set expectations that are often too high, and it’s natural to get disappointed when you set an expectation and fail. It’s good to have goals, just make sure those goals are smart, achievable ones.

11. Shift Your Focus to Your Feet
For anyone who has worked with me you know that I like to remind you that support begins at the bottom, meaning be conscious of what your feet are doing. Most people get caught up in the movement of the exercise and forget about the importance of proper foot placement. Understanding that your feet are the foundation for all of the body parts above will help to create overall balance and proper spinal alignment, making each exercise that much more effective.

12. Share Your Goals with Others
Talking about and sharing your goals with other people is a great way to hold yourself accountable for taking action. It will give you a greater purpose, as you’ll find that you want to follow-through on what you've told people, and it will help you create a support network. You may even find that other people have helpful suggestions based on their own experiences, expertise, or personal and professional networks.

13. You Can’t Out-Train a Poor Diet
I am always amazed at how people sabotage all their incredible efforts in the gym by overeating junk foods. (Sound like a gym we all belonged to once upon a time?) If you commit to a diet of clean food - mainly all colors of plants, lean quality proteins, good healthy fats, and grains like quinoa and amaranth - and limit processed food, fast food, sugar, super starchy grains, and trans fats, you can see tremendous results in your body.

14. Kick Up the Intensity
A lot of people put the time into their workouts but completely fail when it comes to their intensity. Bottom line: If it doesn't feel hard, it isn't. Learning this will drastically change your fitness level and your ability to achieve new goals.

15. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Always have a goal in place to keep yourself motivated. It can be anything from a short-term fitness goal like going to the gym three times in a week, to getting in shape for your high school reunion, to running your first 5K. Initiatives like the 2012 METropolitan Fitness best mile challenge and the September 30th Merrell sponsored Down and Dirty Mud Run are perfect examples of knowing where you’re headed so you'll keep moving in the right direction.

    So there you have it!  Listed above are 15 of the best secrets I could think of to share with all of you.  Naturally, I'm assuming that you all have enjoyed reading this and will share this with friends, workout partners and loved ones alike.  Should you have any of your own secrets to share, or feel like commenting please do so as I'd love to hear some feedback.  In the meantime, keep training!

Yours in health and wellness,

Mike




REFERENCES
  • LIVESTRONG.COM - Fitness / Exercise Routines & Workouts, Jessica Smith June 2012

Superfoods for 2012 (pt.2)

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM Comments comments (0)
Hey everyone, I hope this reaches all of you maintaining your cool on this VERY hot first day of Summer.  As promised, here is the 2nd installment of the blog I published last week regarding Superfood choices for 2012.  There's a lot of good choices here, and I'm hopeful this information affords you the opportunity now to introduce some of these into your diets.  As is always the case, please feel free to share with any and all whom you feel would benefit from reading this.  Enjoy!

14. Dark Chocolate
This delicious treat is loaded with flavonoids, antioxidants that have been shown to improve memory and blood flow. Dark chocolate has also been linked to lower blood pressure and improved heart health. Choose a chocolate with more than 60 percent cocoa and limit portions to two or three squares.

15. Cherries
A single cup of cherries has just 90 calories and is packed with fiber and vitamin C. Cherries have been show to help alleviate inflammation, joint pain, and gout, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and enhance post-exercise muscle recovery. Top off yogurt, cereal, and desserts with fresh or frozen cherries or mix them in your recovery shake.

16. Turmeric
This dark yellow spice is used in Indian and Chinese medicine to treat jaundice, colic, toothaches, bruises, chest pain and more. It's powerful antioxidant properties have been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers, lower cholesterol, protect against Alzheimer's disease, and alleviate arthritis. Add it to rice and stews for a punch of flavor.

17. Pomegranate
This colorful, sweet fruit is rich in fiber, vitamin C and K, and is naturally low in calories. Pomegranates are also packed with antioxidants linked to a healthier heart and decreased inflammation. Eat the seeds for a healthy snack or sip on 100% pomegranate juice in the morning


18. Brussel Sprouts
These little cabbage-like veggies are packed with fiber, vitamin C, K, A, and B, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also supply a variety of antioxidants that are associated with cancer prevention, increased cardiovascular health, and lower cholesterol. Grill them for a healthy side dish or shred them into soups, salads and sauces.

19. Sunflower Seeds
These kernels are packed with more than 30 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin E, phosphorous, manganese, and selenium and more than 20 percent of panthothenic acid and copper. Sunflower seeds have also been linked to a healthy heart and lower cholesterol. Add a crunch to your salad or use them to crust your favorite fish.

20. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, lemons, and limes are not only loaded with vitamin C but also with folate, fiber and phytochemicals. These acidic fruits have been shown to protect against heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Squeeze citrus juice into your water for some flavor or eat the fruit whole.

21. Pumpkin
Synonymous with Halloween and fall, pumpkin is more than just a celebratory symbol. This delicious veggie is packed with carotenoids, which have been linked to improved night vision, eye health, and joint protection. Plus, pumpkin is waistline-friendly at only 50 calories per cup. Roast, grill, or mash pumpkin as an alternative to potatoes.


22. Cinnamon
Once considered more precious than gold, cinnamon is one of the world's oldest spices. Research has shown that eating cinnamon can help control blood sugar, boost brain power, reduce inflammation, and fight bacteria. So add a bit to your favorite yogurt or mix it into a fresh fruit smoothie.

23. Edamame
These soybeans have a sweet, nutty flavor and are used in Asian cooking. Edamame is one of the few plant-based foods that contains all essential amino acids and is high in fiber, protein, potassium, and vitamin B and K. Research has linked edamame to a reduced risk of cancer and a healthier heart. Eat them as a snack or toss them in a salad.

24. Green Tea
Packed with antioxidants known as catechins, green tea has been linked to increased heart health, enhanced weight loss, and stronger bones. It's also been shown to help ward off some forms of cancer and lower cholesterol. Drink a cup in the morning or sip it throughout the day.

25. Pistachios
A single ounce of this nut provides 3 g of fiber, 6 g of protein, and less fat and more antioxidants than any other nut. Pistachios are also a good source of antioxidants and may protect against heart disease and assist in weight management. Sprinkle a handful over cereal or yogurt or enjoy alone as a snack.




REFERENCES
  • Core Performance - Nutrition, Edwina Clark February 2012

How to Beat Heat-Related Illnesses

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM Comments comments (0)
    Hey everybody.  I hope this blog reaches you in good spirits, great health, and in the midst of your best Spring ever.  It is with the latter in mind that I am preparing the following blog for all of you to read and share.  With the first day of Summer coming tomorrow and temperatures expected to be between 94 and 100 degrees here in NY the next few days, I thought there was no better time to speak about the impact of heat on our bodies.  Please feel free to share this with everyone whom you feel would benefit from the information.  Thanks and have a great, safe Summer season!

    As temperatures rise, the body uses its built in systems to cool itself. It does this by letting heat escape through the skin and by evaporating sweat. If your body does not cool properly, then you may suffer a heat stroke. Anyone can be affected by the heat, but older adults are especially vulnerable.

    
How it Happens
Heat-related illnesses occur when the body gets too hot. If you're exposed to high temperatures for a long time and don't replace lost fluids, the body systems that regulate temperature become overwhelmed. In the heat, your body cools when your sweat evaporates, but on hot days, the evaporation is slowed due to increased moisture in the air. As a result, your body produces more heat than it can control. Heat-related illnesses can also result when large volumes of sweat are replaced with fluids that don't contain enough salt.

By the Numbers
  • 400
    Number of people who die from heat-related illness each summer.
  • 47
    Percentage of heat-related illnesses that occur in adults older than 65.

Heat Cramps
Heat cramps typically occur during heavy exercise in extremely hot environments. As the body sweats, it is depleted of salt and moisture, which lowers salt levels in the muscles and can cause cramping. 

Symptoms of Heat Cramps
  • Hot, sweaty skin
  • Cramping in the calves, arms, legs, abdomen or back

Initial treatment
  • Rest and cool off
  • Drink clear juice or a sports drink
  • Gently stretch and massage muscles
  • If cramps don't subside in an hour, call your doctor


Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is the body's response to losing an excessive amount of water and salt. The body typically reacts by excessively sweating. Athletes, outdoor workers and elderly people are particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion may occur after several days of exposure to extreme heat without proper fluids.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
  • Difficulty continuing exercise, loss of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pale or flushed complexion and clammy skin
  • Fainting, dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps

Initial Treatment
  • Move the person to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area
  • Have them lie down with their legs propped at heart level
  • Remove excessive clothes and equipment
  • Give the person cold water or a sports drink
  • Have the person take a cool shower
  • If they don't improve quickly, then take them to an emergency facility

Exertional Heat Stroke
The most serious of heat-related illnesses, exertional heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. If a person's body temperature rises above 103 degrees, they're suffering from heat stroke. Although treatable, exertional heat stroke can lead to heart attack, permanent disability or death.

Symptoms of Exertional Heat Stroke
  • Erratic behavior, slurred speech
  • Fainting, loss of consciousness
  • Confusion, dizziness, hallucinations
  • Abnormally high body temperature
  • Hot, sweaty skin
  • Chills
  • Headache

Initial Treatment
  • Call 911
  • Get the person to a cool, shaded area
  • Remove excess clothing and equipment
  • Douse person with cold water or soak in cold tub

Prevention
  • Drink 16-32 ounces of cool fluids every hour 
  • Avoid alcoholic or sugary beverages 
  • Drink a sports beverage to replace the salt and minerals lost from sweating 
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored (they reflect the sun's energy), loose-fitting clothing 
  • Try to schedule outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day, which is usually between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., or in the evening
  • Take regular rest breaks in shady areas 
  • Pace yourself. Start exercise sessions slowly and gradually pick up the pace. 


I hope that after you finish reading this you feel better prepared to protect yourself while training outdoors this Summer.  Remember, training SMART is equally as important as training hard!


REFERENCES
  • American Red Cross
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Gatorade Sports Science Institute
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Core Performance - Core Knowledge, Injury/Pain, Jim Brown May 2009

Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM Comments comments (0)
    Possibly. Some research studies suggest that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including:
  • Reducing the risk of blood clots
  • Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol
  • Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart
  • Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure
    Grapes are rich in health-protecting antioxidants, including resveratrol and flavonoids. These antioxidants are found mainly in the skin, stem, leaf and seeds of grapes, rather than in their pulp. The amount of antioxidants in grapes depends on many factors, including the kind of grape, its geographic origin and how it's processed. Dark red and purple grapes tend to be higher in antioxidants than are white or green grapes. Likewise, the level of antioxidants such as resveratrol found in wine varies, with higher levels in red wine.
    Besides grape juice, other grape products may offer health benefits, including dealcoholized wine, grape extracts and grape powder.
    Keep in mind that it's also beneficial to eat whole grapes — not just grape juice. Some research suggests that whole grapes deliver the same amount of antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine but have the added benefit of providing dietary fiber.



REFERENCES
  • Mayo Clinic - Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Martha Grogan M.D.

Superfoods for 2012 (pt.1)

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM Comments comments (0)
    Hey everybody, hope you're all enjoying a beautiful Thursday today!  In my never ending search to identify healthier options for all of us I have discovered some superfoods we should all be trying to incorporate onto our plates and into our diets.  What I'd really like to accomplish by providing this information is to make eating clean easier and tastier by adding a variety of new proteins, carbs, and healthy fats to your meal plan. The foods below are packed with disease-fighting nutrients and unique flavors from around the world. Add one or two of these foods to your shopping cart each time you hit the market to make 2012 your healthiest year ever!  Since it's a fairly long list, this will be the first installment of 2.  Keep an eye out for the follow-up.  As is always the case, reach out to me with questions or feel free to post responses here to help stimulate dialogue about what we're all trying to accomplish, improved health and wellness!  Let's get started:

1. Adzuki Beans
An East Asian staple for centuries, adzuki beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, vitamin B, magnesium, copper, zinc and potassium. This nutty bean is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free. Use it in soups, mixed with rice, or as a healthy salad topping.


2. Buffalo
A leaner alternative to beef, a three ounce serving of buffalo meat has only 1 g of saturated fat. It also provides similar amounts of protein, vitamins, and nutrients to beef. Try substituting buffalo for beef in burgers, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, and tacos. Choose grass-fed buffalo, if available.

3. Chia Seeds
These tiny black seeds, cultivated by the Aztecs during pre-Colombian times, are slowly working their way into American markets. Similar to flax, chia seeds are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, phosphorous, and manganese. Sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, or salad for some crunch.
**(Fruition bars are a great way to incorporate Chia Seeds into your snacks & diet!)**

4. Lentils
Lentils are a fiber powerhouse and an excellent source of iron, zinc, and other nutrients. They're a great choice for vegetarians to get their protein needs. Lentils have been shown to reduce heart disease risk and help control blood sugar. Add lentils to soups, curries, or salads.

5. Sardines
Found frequently in Mediterranean cuisine, these small fish are an excellent source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, plus they're low in mercury. A single sardine has as much omega-3 fatty acid as some supplements. Mix sardines into pasta sauce or eat them whole on toast.

6. Kefir
One of the hottest products in grocery stores, kefir is a creamy, fermented milk product. With twice as much good bacteria as yogurt, kefir is excellent for digestive health and high in calcium, protein, and vitamin D and A. Eat it for dessert or use it for a smoothie base.

7. Collard Greens
This Southern staple is one of the healthiest greens available. Collard greens are loaded with fiber, protein, calcium, and other nutrients. These leafy greens are associated with improved digestion and heart health, cancer prevention, and lower cholesterol. Serve this nutritional powerhouse as a side dish for your favorite protein.

8. Farro
Farro is a nutty, chewy grain used in Italian cooking. Farro is packed with fiber, protein, zinc, and magnesium. Compounds in farro have been linked to increased immunity, lower cholesterol, and balanced blood sugar levels. Mix it into soups or use it as a healthy side dish.

9. Artichokes
Featured in everything from stews to pasta sauces, artichokes are a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. A half cup of artichokes is packed with 7 g of dietary fiber and more than 10 percent the daily recommended value of vitamin C and K and folate. Artichokes are also one of the most antioxidant-packed veggies available. Use them in salads, on pizzas, or stuff them.

10. Kiwis
Two of these fuzzy berries provide more potassium than a banana and more than twice the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Kiwi fruit is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free and a rich source of vitamin K and fiber. Eat a raw kiwi as a snack or slice it into yogurt.

11. Walnuts
Walnuts have more antioxidants than almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and many other members of the nut family. They're also high in healthy fats and one of the few omega-3-rich food sources for vegetarians. Sprinkle walnuts into your favorite recipe or eat them raw for a healthy snack.

12. Oysters
Oysters are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Six oysters have just 50 calories and provide 227 percent of daily vitamin B12 needs, 212 percent of daily zinc requirements, and a third of the recommended daily intake of iron. Eat them as an appetizer or mix them in with your favorite pasta.

13. Ginger
A pungent, flavorful root, ginger is a natural anti-emetic used to alleviate motion and morning sickness. It's packed with anti-inflammatory compounds linked to increased immunity and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer and joint pain. Mix ginger into a stir-fry or steep a couple of slices in hot water for ginger tea.


Remember everybody, this is just half the list I've compiled.  Please keep an eye out for Superfoods for 2012 (pt.2), coming soon!



REFERENCES
  • Core Performance - Nutrition, Edwina Clark February 2012

Is Everything at the Salad Bar Good for Me?

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM Comments comments (0)
    Hi everybody, hope you are all winding down what was a wonderful Tuesday.  The following blog is important for many of you as you continue to try and identify healthier options to compliment your new and improved diet.  One of the options many of us enjoy are salads, but with so many things out there to dress them up who's to know what choices are healthy and which ones we should try to avoid.  The foods listed below are some of the choices better left out of your salad bowl.

    Just because a food is on the salad bar doesn't make it healthy. Among the healthier choices you'll typically find, like green and fresh fruits, are also foods high in calories and fat. Check out the list below to find out which foods to avoid and how to fill your plate with healthier fare. While some are no-brainers, there are other less obvious salad bar staples that can sabotage an otherwise healthy diet.

1. Croutons
Croutons contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. They provide few nutrients and are high in refined carbs, which won't keep you feeling full for long. 
Healthier choice: Opt for a slice of whole wheat bread or a whole wheat roll.

2. Bacon Bits
It's just a little bacon, right? Not always. Many varieties of bacon bits actually don't contain any real bacon at all. Instead, they're made using artificial flavorings, colors, preservatives, salt, and are high in fat. A three-ounce jar of real bacon bits has nearly 2,000 mg of sodium. 
Healthier choice: Sprinkle a spoonful of smoked ham or fresh turkey on your salad as an alternative.

3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Unlike fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes are often bathed in oil, salt, and preservatives. One cup of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil contains 234 calories and 15 g of fat. 
Healthier choice: Stick with a cup of fresh, raw tomatoes which have only 32 calories and are fat-free.

4. Shredded Cheese
The problem with cheese is portion control. One cup of cheddar cheese has more calories and fat than a large serving of fries from McDonald's. Choose a low-fat cheese if possible and limit your servings to the size of your thumb. 
Healthier choice: A strong cheese like feta or sharp cheddar will give your salad a punch of flavor in smaller amounts.

5. Candied Nuts
Candied nuts are high in fat, sodium, sugar, and artificial colors and flavors. 
Healthier choice: A simple switch is to choose fresh almonds or walnuts, which are packed with healthy fats and other essential nutrients. Stick to small portions to avoid over-loading on calories.

6. Mayo-Filled Salads
Potato, chicken, tuna, and egg salads are typically mixed with mayonnaise or sour cream, making these salad bar staples high in artery-clogging fat and cholesterol. They're also a breeding ground for bacteria if stored improperly. 
Healthier choice: Enjoy a side of sweet potatoes or butternut squash, grilled chicken or turkey, or hard-boiled eggs.

7. Salad Dressings
Even if you put together a healthy salad with all the best ingredients, topping it off with the wrong dressing can turn it into a nutritional nightmare. Many dressings, especially creamy options like thousand island or ranch are high in calories, fat, and sodium. A 1/4 cup of ranch has 300 calories, 32 g of fat, and 488 mg of sodium. 
Healthier choice: Dress your salad with fat-free balsamic vinegar. It only has 52 calories and 4 mg of sodium.

8. Wontons or Tortillas
These deep-fried toppers are high in fat, loaded with sodium, and lack any real nutrients. The worst offender: tortilla bowls. A single tortilla bowl can have more calories and fat than a hamburger. 
Healthier choice: Add crunch to your salad with a tablespoons of nuts or seeds or carrots and peppers.

9. Pasta Salads
Pre-dressed and mixed pasta salads are often made using too much oil, which makes them high in fat and calories. 
Healthier choice: Choose a small serving of a bean or veggie-based salad (just be sure it isn't doused in oil). You'll get a healthy serving of protein and complex carbs.


REFERENCES
  • Core Performance - Nutrition, Edwina Clark - May 2012

Food for Thought - What is Fruition?

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM Comments comments (0)
    Hey everybody, I've got an exciting announcement to share with all of you.  Starting next week, METropolitan Fitness will start carrying Fruition bars.  What I wanted to accomplish by writing this blog was to ensure that all of you understand precisely why I chose to make the decision to make them available to all of you.  I hope you enjoy reading this and find it helpful in deciding whether or not Fruition bars are right for you.

What is Fruition?
Fruition is the latest addition to the PROBAR family. Fruition is a fruit based super food snack bar that is satisfying on-the-go without added fat and calories. The Fruition bar marries whole grain goodness of gluten-free raw oats and the purity of organic fruit chunks. The mixture is then fused with a healthy dose of chia seeds and cashews. Fruition offers superb fruit flavor with a robust texture. Fruition blends great ingredients to create food that is simply real.

How does fruition differ from our whole meal replacement bar?
PROBAR customers love meal replacement but they need high-energy snack food too. After many requests for a snack size bar, Fruition was born. At 1.7 ounces and 160 calories Fruition delivers the great flavors of unprocessed, organic whole foods that have become the benchmark of all PROBAR products. Additionally, Fruition is fruit based while PROBAR meal replacement bars are a distinct blend of nuts and seeds.

How is fruition different from other snack bars?
The difference is in the ingredients. Fruition is power packed with natural antioxidants provided directly from the various fruits and chia seeds blended into the bar. By adding gluten-free raw oats and cashews we are able to provide 4 grams of fiber. The added fiber minimizes the glycemic impact from the natural sugars found in the fruit and grain sweetener. The complex carbohydrates that are derived from the various ingredients deliver sustained, natural energy and provide for a more satisfying snack.

What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are an ancient, high-energy food indigenous to North, Central and South America. A member of the Salvia family, has been used as a superfood by Native Americans for centuries. Nutrient dense, antioxidant rich and loaded with essential fatty acids, chia seeds deliver a wealth of nutrients in a small package.

What are some additional benefits from chia seeds?
Chia Seeds have the highest known whole-food source of Omega-3 acids, which
promote cardiovascular and mental health. Chia seeds also keep the body’s electrolyte balance maintained by retaining moisture, regulating more efficiently, and controlling the absorption of nutrients and body fluids. In addition, chia is also a complete source of protein providing all of the essential amino acids.

How does the Fruition bar achieve such excellent shelf-life without preservatives?
Fruition bars are loaded with organic and all natural ingredients. The fruits used in each bar are naturally high in antioxidants, which aid in preservation. Vitamin E, ascorbic and citric acids, also included in the bar, function as excellent natural preservatives.

Why brown rice syrup?
Fruition bars include organic brown rice syrup as a sweetener simply because grain based sweeteners release glucose into the blood stream much slower than conventional sugars, thus achieving balanced energy levels. The carbohydrates found in a Fruition bar will sustain you longer by not spiking your blood sugar levels.

Are Fruition bars good for me?
In a word, absolutely! PROBAR is known for great tasting food that is simply real. Fruition bars build on that tradition by delivering delicious on-the-go, whole food nutrition. Each Fruition bar contains 1 serving of antioxidant-rich fruit, healthy Omega-3 from chia seed, 4 grams of fiber and 160 calories in an easy to grab package. As with the PROBAR whole meal replacement bars, Fruition does not contain any trans fats, artificial preservatives, colors and is 100% Vegan. By sticking to PROBAR’s high standards of quality ingredients you can feel confident Fruition is one snack bar you can feel good about eating!

Disclaimer:
This information is provided for general informational purposes only. PROBAR will never take the place of your medical professional, dietician, or trainer. However, you can always count on PROBAR to provide the best tasting whole food energy bars to fuel your lifestyle on the go!

Is it OK to train on an empty stomach?

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 7:47 PM Comments comments (0)
    For many of you, early morning training is a necessary evil.  More challenging than getting to the gym though, is getting something to eat that will properly fuel you through that training session.  I hope that this next blog will finally put to rest any doubt regarding the following question:

Q: Is it OK to train on an empty stomach every morning?

My answer: If you don't eat before you train, your performance will suffer at higher intensities and longer durations. When you wake up, your body is in a fasted state. You might have trouble just turning on the television without a cup of coffee, so you can't expect to perform your best without fueling up and hydrating first.

    If eating early upsets your stomach, experiment with different foods rather than skipping breakfast entirely. Try food that's easy to digest like a bowl of cereal, two slices of toast with one tablespoon of peanut butter, a 16-ounce sports drink, or a glass of juice. Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates for breakfast with 10-20 grams of protein and a little healthy fat to balance off your meal.

    The body doesn't care what form the fuel comes in—a meal, gel, bar or drink. What matters is getting the nutrients necessary to support your training session. Make it a habit and you'll stay focused and power through your workout, increase strength and power, and burn more calories during your session.


REFERENCES
  • Core Performance Nutrition - Amanda Carlson-Phillips, September 2010

7 Must-Eat Fruits and Veggies for the Spring Season

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM Comments comments (0)
    With spring here and summer right around the corner, I wanted to share a few very healthy examples of things you can be enjoying with a leaner and healthier you in mind. Enjoy!

1. Strawberries                                    

The Stats: A cup of whole strawberries has 45 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 140 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C.
Health Benefits: Strawberries are naturally fat-free and cholesterol-free, and they're an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, iodine and potassium. Strawberries contain an array of beneficial phytonutrients including flavonoids, and may also protect against macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis. 

2. Beets                                                
                                                     
The Stats: A ½ cup of boiled and sliced beets contains 35 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 6 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.
Health Benefits: Beets are an excellent source of folate, which promotes healthy tissue growth.  These colorful root vegetables also contain powerful nutrients to help prevent heart disease, birth defects and some cancers, and they may also help to increase good cholesterol levels. 

3. Limes
                                                     
The Stats: The juice of one lime has 10 calories and 10 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C.
Health Benefits: The Vitamin C in limes helps the body neutralize free radicals, thereby helping maintain a healthy immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. 

4. Tangerines
                 
The Stats: A small tangerine contains 35 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 10 percent of the daily value for Vitamin A and 30 percent for Vitamin C.
Health Benefits: Like most citrus fruits, tangerines are a great source of Vitamin C, which aids the body’s healing process by helping the formation of collagen.  They’re also rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, and orange-red carotenoid that may significantly lower a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.

5. Mushrooms

The Stats: A ½ cup of mushroom has 10 calories, zero fat and 2 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C.
Health Benefits: Mushrooms are an excellent source of minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. They’re also associated with the decreased risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia, an increase in size of the prostate which can lead to urinary problems. 

6. Avocados

The Stats: 1 serving (a ¼ of an avocado) has 50 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 152mg of potassium.
Health Benefits: Avocados contain olecic acid, a monosaturated fat that may help lower cholesterol.  They’re also a good source of potassium, which regulates blood pressure and may guard against circulatory diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. 

7. Spinach

The Stats: Two cups of raw spinach leaves have 10 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 30 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C, 8 percent for iron and 400 percent for Vitamin K.
Health Benefits: At least 13 different types of flavonoids, which function as antioxidants and anti-cancer agents, have been found in spinach.  Spinach also contains lutein, a carotenoid that helps protect against eye diseases and is a good source of bone-building nutrients including calcium and magnesium. 


REFERENCES
  • Core Performance Nutrition - Megan Mangano, May 2009

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