Fitness · Food

Do’s and Dont’s to a flatter belly

abs

Abs are made in the where? Kitchen! How many times have we heard this? Well you are hearing it for a reason so here are some tips and tricks to get rid of some bloat and get that envious set of chiseled abs.

Let’s start with exercise. The best thing you can do for your abs is to work on your Core. “Crunches work only the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen, but it’s important to target all the muscles of the core to get more defined abs—including lower back, hips, and upper thighs,” says Lou Schuler, co-author of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.

It is likely not reality to have absolutely flat abs every single day of the week. A lot comes into play like the foods we eat for example. Some foods contribute to bloating, gas, and water retention. So on those days you really want to avoid the bloat and squeeze into a bikini or a pair of your favorite skinny jeans try to avoid the following foods:

broccoli

  • Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale – do not say buh bye to these nutrient rich foods all together. What to do: smaller portions, and steam them to soften the fiber and cook some of the water out. This will allow for more space in your GI tract and easier digestion.

beans

  • Legumes (or beans) – Not new news but beans cause gas. Combine them with whole grains like rice or quinoa and your body will eventually start to get used to them. The more sporadic your bean intake the more likely you will have bloat and gas.

dairy

  • Dairy – Dairy products can cause gas and bloating as your body may not have the enzymes necessary to break down lactose. Try to choose non-dairy alternatives; there are a slew of products that are just as good if not better without the lactose.

salt

  • Salty Foods – it is hard to avoid salt these days. Sodium can be found in so many foods. Look at the amount of sodium in your foods and eventually you will become familiar with what to avoid or eat less of. If you cannot avoid salt at times you should drink lots of water to help flush it out

Incorporating these foods will contribute to getting rid of bloat, gas, and stomach discomfort:

ginger

  • Ginger – a natural anti-inflammatory that helps with your digestion, ginger will reduce puffiness and gas. Try adding ginger to salad dressings, smoothies, and teas.

lemon

  • Lemon – add lemon to your water. Lemon has so many wonderful benefits like antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemon is also a digestive aid and a cleanses your liver.

tea

  • Peppermint and chamomile tea – have some peppermint tea in the evening to relax your GI muscles and dissolve gas in your stomach.

asparagus

  • Asparagus – a natural diuretic, anti-bloating super-food will help rid that pesky water weight away.

cucumber

  • Cucumbers – contains quercetin, an antioxidant that helps get rid of swelling. Add to your water, or just snack away on some cucumbers and say goodbye to that puffy belly.

banana avocado

  • Bananas, avocados, pistachios, oranges, and kiwis – these delicious treats help to regulate sodium levels in your body.

Please share your tips and tricks on obtaining rock hard abs! I would love to hear from you!

Having shared these tips and tricks I do want to disclaim that I am by no means a doctor or nutritionist. I am a personal trainer and fitness and health enthusiast. The information provided comes from my personal experience and if you have any concerns, questions, etc… you should always consult medical professionals.

-Yesenia Whipple

Food

3 Avocado Clean Eat Recipes

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Avocados not only taste good but they are packed with almost 20 essential nutrients. They are nutrient dense and enable the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients.

Here are avocado inspired recipes you can incorporate into any breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, and/or dessert.

Avocado Tomato On Whole Grain Toast

Avocado tomato on whole grain

Chicken Avocado Burger

chicken avacado burgers

Ingredients
1 pound ground chicken
1 large ripe avocado – cut into chunks
½ cup panko crumbs or other bread crumbs
1 chopped clove of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Toss the chunks of avocado, breading and garlic together.
2. Blend mixture into ground chicken being careful not to mush the avocado.
3. Form into 4-5 patties and grill until done

Avocado Lime Frozen Yogurt

Avocado Lime Frozen Yogurt

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium ripe avocados

1 cup strained low-fat natural plain yogurt

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup lime juice

Pinch sea salt

Optional Garnish

3 cups fresh tropical fruit (such as pineapple, mango, melon or passion fruit), cut into chunks

Directions:

  1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and scoop flesh out from skins with a spoon. Cut flesh into large chunks, about 3 cups. Place all ingredients, except garnish, into a food processor and purée until smooth, about 2 minutes. While puréeing, stop mixer every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Scoop mixture out into a shallow nonreactive freezer-safe container – 9 x 9-inch is ideal. (NOTE: At this point, if using a commercial ice cream machine, freeze mixture according to manufacturer’s instructions.)
  2. Place container with yogurt mixture into freezer for about 30 minutes, or until mixture begins to freeze slightly around the edges. Scrape down the edges with a spatula and mix yogurt thoroughly with a whisk, blending in ice crystals until mixture is creamy again, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place container with yogurt back into freezer for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and repeat the process of scraping the sides and mixing 2 more times, for a total of 3 times. Each time the mixture will get a little harder to whisk. After the third mixing, place mixture back into the freezer until hardened and ready to eat, about 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Remove from freezer and scoop into serving bowls. If yogurt is too hard to scoop, allow it to warm slightly for a few minutes on the counter until softened. Top with chunks of fresh tropical fruit, if desired, and serve immediately. Best if consumed within 1 week. Store covered in a sealable freezer-safe container in the freezer.

Nutrients per 1/3 cup serving (not including fruit garnish): Calories: 120, Total Fat: 8 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 14 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium: 35 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

TIP:
For mixing, a food processor may be used in place of a whisk. Be sure to break up any large chunks into smaller pieces for easy processing.

Fitness

My Go To Fitness Tools

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Photo credit courtesy of Richmond Renew Me Today

1. Nutrition and Exercise – number one is by far my diet and nutrition coupled with a healthy exercise regimen. Nutrition is 80% of the reason I am fit today; 20% is the exercise. So what do I do to stay healthy and fit? I drink a nutrient dense shake everyday, balance my foods with the right balance of protein, veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and starches; as well as maintain a constant exercise routine. Sometimes I do PiYO, sometimes I follow the 21 day fix, sometimes I just take the family with me on a long walk and clean the house; the key is staying active and making sure you get at least 30 minutes of heart pumping activity into your day.

fitbits

2. Fitbit – Oh my Fitbit is like gold to me. I have owned the Zip, the One and now the Fitbit flex. I have to say my favorite is definitely the Flex. I like the convenience of not having to take it off unless to charge. It’s even waterproof! I just wrote a great post on Fitbit Flex accessories to add some chicness to your flex band so check it out 🙂 Fitbit is great because it tracks your steps throughout the day, activity, and sleep. It tells you how many calories to eat based on your given activity. So you really get amazing accuracy on how many calories in vs. out. My favorite aspect is that it syncs with Myfitness Pal. They talk to each other to calculate food, exercise, etc. You only have to log food and exercise in Myfitness Pal and it will automatically sync to the Fitbit database.

myfitnesspal

3. Myfitness Pal – is an amazing tool which I have also written all about in the past. It allows you to set goals with regards to gaining. maintaining, losing weight and it tells you how many calories you need to accomplish that goal. It also tracks the nutrients in the foods you are eating to let you know if you are above the percentage for carbohydrates or fats for example on a given day.

FT4

4. Polar Heart Monitor – I am a huge advocate of wearing a heart rate monitor when doing cardio. It really will give you the most accurate number of calories burned based on how hard you work that day. You also can track your heart rate throughout your workout as well as calories burning to determine if you need to step it up or slow it down. I log my calories into Myfitness Pal and am able to see how many additional calories are in my ‘bank’. I recommend getting one with a chest strap; you will get the best results that way.

These pretty much sum up the tools I use daily to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay fit and active. What are your go to fitness tips and tricks?

-Yesenia Whipple

Fitness

5 tricks to transform your body and avoid plateaus

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Do you ever leave the gym and think ‘I just worked my rear off; I better have a six pack tomorrow’ and then wake up the next day feeling bloated, flabby, and disheartened? You say to yourself ‘I have run a total of 10 miles this week; why am I not seeing results?’ There are a few reasons you likely are not seeing the results you want.

1. Have you heard the saying your diet makes up 80% of your overall fitness and health? Well it is true. If you are working out 500 hours a day but not eating the right foods and the right portions you are going to feel bloated, be bloated, gain or stay at the same weight, etc… You first need to calculate your daily caloric intake needed in order to lose the weight or maintain the weight you want. A great free app for this is My Fitness Pal. Then you have to fuel your body with the right foods to keep your cravings at bay. If you are eating the right foods  you will not likely binge on the bad stuff b/c your body will feel fulfilled and fueled. You will feel GOOD. Make sure to eat lean meats, fish, proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. If you have some wine at night keep your starch intake lighter that day. If you need help with this let me know I can help come up with a plan that will fit your lifestyle and caloric needs.

2. Strength training is critical. You need to pump that iron. Muscle burns fat and muscle via weight training is what will transform your body. Keep cardio to 3 times/week and get those strength training sessions in. If you have problem areas focus on building muscle in those areas. I’m telling you this will make all the difference. You will transform your body by adding weights to your routine.

3. Muscle confusion goes hand in hand with strength training. If you only focus on one muscle group every time you strength train you will not see the results you want. Mix it up and you will actually burn more calories and see faster results.

4. Rest days to most people are torture. You want to get a good workout in. Get those calories burning. But your body NEEDS to rest. If you cannot just take that day off then do yoga or mild Pilates. Your muscles need to rest and recharge. If you overwork them you are prone to injury and you will likely plateau sooner than expected.

5. Mix up your routine. Just like muscle confusion you will need to at some point switch up your routine in order to avoid or get over a plateau. Plateaus do happen so to prolong getting to one OR to get over a plateau you just need to make adjustments to your workout schedule and find some new exercises to work your muscle groups. Even switching up your cardio or adjusting the foods you are eating can get you through these times. Don’t get discouraged; it happens to everyone whether a novice athlete or a beginner to the fitness world.

Transformations don’t happen overnight. But if I told you there was a way you could lose up to 18lbs in 21 days would you be in? That is just 3 weeks and it incorporates everything listed above. A plan you can follow where everything from portions, lists of foods, and workouts are provided for you. It is like having your own personal trainer spelling everything out for you. I have not had one person on this program not get results. Did I mention you can have wine and chocolate on this 21 day journey? So what’s holding you back? What do you have to lose except some pesky lbs. and self doubt. You got this; so let’s do it! I’m just a comment or click away

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Image credits: Mashable

-Yesenia Whipple

Fitness

21 Day Fix – 21 Days to transform your health and fitness

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I just returned from vacation and as you can imagine I indulged and enjoyed every second. When I got back I wanted to get my health and fitness back on track; so I decided to give  21 Day Fix a try. I have several friends who in just 21 days have lost a ton of weight and feel and look amazing! I started the 21 Day Fix Beach Body program just 2 days ago and I have to tell you it is by far my favorite Beach Body program I have done.

Now I know I am only 2 days in so why do I love it so much after just 2 days? I’m a gal who loves structure and creativity. This program provides both structure with your workout schedule and creativity with what you can eat. You get a variety of different 30 minute workouts so you do not get bored and they are amazing. I am a fairly fit person and after 2 days of these workouts I am SORE!!!! With regards to nutrition. You have to follow the plan to get maximum results. The great news is that the sky is the limit with what to prepare for yourself. There are recipes for seasonings and dressings (that double as marinades) that are delicious and flavorful. Truly amazing and I can see why so many people love this program and have been so successful. Bonus: for anyone looking for this program in spanish it’s on sale this month!

I will keep you posted as I continue the 21 Day Fix! If you have any questions let me know! If you want to check out more information on it click here: 21 Day Fix and click shop for details on this fitness program.

http://www.teambeachbody.com/yeseniawhipple

-Yesenia Whipple