Fitness · Food

How to make those Abs pop

abs

Abs, everyone wants them, everyone has them; so how can we get them to appear?

While exercise is important,  your diet is even more crucial on your journey to rock hard abs. For exercise focus on strengthening your core muscles. In addition, mix in workouts targeting all abdominal muscles not just upper or lower. Now keep in mind if you have a lot of extra weight hanging out you will need to get your cardio on as well. Cardio well shed those pesky layers of fat that are hiding those abdominal muscles. Creating a good mix of cardio, core, and ab specific exercises will get you started on your quest for an ‘abtastic’ physique.

As mentioned above, diet plays an important role in getting those abs to come out and play. Here are some foods that you can incorporate into your diet:

Salmon

  • Lean protein such as seafood containing omega-3 fatty acids; think salmon, tuna, etc… Omega-3 fatty acids are great for fat burning and promote a more efficient metabolism.

almonds

  • Nuts like raw Almonds contain both protein and fiber. In addition almonds provide antioxidants found in vitamin E and minerals like magnesium which promote energy as well as build muscle.

berries

  • Fruits like berries. The more fiber you get from foods like berries the less of the unhealthy calories you will absorb from the not so healthy choices.

leafy greens

  • Veggies are essential in fueling your body. You will have more energy while also keeping the calorie count down. Veggies like broccoli and leafy greens also contain carotenoids which help prevent cancer.

eggs

  • Eggs contain a wonderful balance of essential Amino Acids. Studies show consuming eggs in the morning will help curb your appetite throughout the day. They are one of the best sources of protein you can add to your diet.

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  • Yogurt is a great sources of calcium and helps keep your digestive system in check. A healthy digestive system will help keep the bloat away and you may see a less flabby midsection.

brown rice

  • Healthy Starches such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa.  Along with the health benefits you  also benefit in feeling fuller sooner and longer.

For more fitness tips check out my fitness tab, or comment below with questions.

-Yesenia Whipple

Food

5 Ways to get your salad on

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Salad can be boring. Let’s be real. How many people really ‘crave’ salad. Few yes; but the benefits of salad to your daily food intake is so important. Greens fuel your body, help your skin, weight control, are packed with dense nutrition, and can keep you regular to name a few benefits. So often people think of salad and say blehhh and then think of the prep that goes along with it and there goes that side dish. One of the best things I have done is keep prepping to a minimum. I make just enough for dinner and one serving left over for lunch the next day. If I skip the salad during lunch I add the leftovers to my next nights prep and it takes me 5 minutes to whip up a salad. I also find that when you incorporate salad into your day and fill your plate with 3/4 salad you tend to indulge less on the bad stuff and snack less later on throughout the day or night.

So here are 5 ways to get your salad on…

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1. Add some protein – Chicken, Steak, Hard-boiled egg, Fish, cheese, and nuts which can be heart-healthy fats, protein, and have disease-fighting vitamins and minerals. Keep your portions to 4-6 oz of protein for meats and fish, 1-2 hard boiled eggs. no more than 1/4 cup of low fat cheese, and just a handful of nuts. This will keep that salad healthy and low calorie. If you add all of the above cut the portions in half, however, I recommend choosing just 2-3 of the above so as to not take away from the overall goal of enjoying a healthy, lower calorie, salad. We are trying to enhance the salad not over run it with additives.

avocado

2. Healthy Fats – Such as nuts again; remember that handful is plenty and some good ones to try in your salad are cashews and macadamia nuts. 1/4 of an avocado, 10 olives, and a tablespoon of olive oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil. So why are healthy fats important anyways? Well using monounsaturated fats, aid nutrient absorption. This means adding these healthy fats to your salad will maximize your vitamin absorption.

asparagus salad

3. Veggies! Veggies! More Veggies please! Asparagus, Green beans, Spinach, Broccoli, carrots, onions, tomato (o.k. technically a fruit I know!). Get happy there really isn’t such a thing as too many veggies in my opinion. The more the merrier so make yourself vegetable happy!

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4. Sweeten it up with some fruit. Adding fruit to a salad can make your lunch or dinner taste like a sweet treat. Try adding strawberries, mandarin oranges, grapes, mango, or apple. Some great cheeses to compliment fruit in a green salad are gorgonzola, feta, and goat cheeses.

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5. Lastly, what is a salad without salad dressing?! Keep it to 2 Tablespoons max and try to stick with oil and vinegar based vinaigrette dressings. I recommend finding some quick and easy homemade dressings you can make yourself. My favorites are the Beach Body 21 Day Fix Balsamic Vinaigrette and Dijon Vinaigrette recipes. Most store bought dressings are loaded with unknown ingredients and sugars. I know the creamy dressings like ranch and blue cheese are tempting and every once in a while go for it but if you want to keep it light, healthy, and delicious you cannot go wrong with a tasty vinaigrette.

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6. Yes I know I said five but as I was typing I remembered another great way to spice it up in the salad department. Herbs! Basil, Cilantro, even ground cinnamon can put a new twist on your plate of greens!

So there you have it; my favorite 6 ways to keep salad exciting, versatile, and a staple at your dinner table (breakfast and lunch are acceptable too :)).

-Yesenia Whipple

Health and Fitness Beach Body Coach

Certified Personal Trainer

Fitness · Food

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

pumpkin spice protein pic

I found this delectable recipe on Lulu-lemon this morning and had to share! This is the perfect way to follow up a crisp Fall run.

pumpkin spice protein

‘Post-run pumpkin spice protein smoothie’

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 dates
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger

Images and content courtesy of Allessia contributor at Lulu Lemon 

-Yesenia Whipple