Giving or receiving holiday gifts can be a terrific opportunity to bump up a fitness program. The below list of equipment complied by fitness trainers at our adult weight loss camp supports a healthy lifestyle, well-being and of course weight loss. You can please your health conscious spouse, a faithful workout partner, and even an open minded couch potato. Need a gift for office buddies? Turn it into a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year by developing a time to use the fitness gift during the day on a 15 minute break or lunch hour. You can also use this list to drop hints for yourself.
- Exercise Tubing and Bands are portable and versatile, perfect for toning muscles. A recent study shows, with proper form, tubes and bands are as effective on muscle development as dumbbells and machines. Great for hiding in a desk drawer.
- Foam Roller uses self-massage and acupressure techniques to get rid of knots, drive out lactic acid, and relax your muscles after a vigorous workout. Using a foam roller increases circulation to soft tissue.
- Gift Certificate to Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts will be the best gift of all! You and your buddies and/or loved ones can come together to one of the wonderful adult weight loss camps to recharge your battery, learn better eating habits, and get inspired with fun creative classes to teach you how to use all these exercise gadgets.
- Heart Rate Monitor comes with a chest strap you wear during your exercise program. It helps you stay within your target heart rate zone for a safe and more effective workout.
- Kettlebells are a terrific workout tool. Studies show that you burn around 20 calories per minute, since it combines strength training and cardio at the same time. Great for adding functional fitness to your existing program. Women should start at 8 lbs, men at 10 lbs.
- Medicine Balls are fun and functional. Terrific for abdominal work and come in a variety of sizes and weights to add unlimited variety.
- Pedometers, perfect for your office buddies. Wear them during the day at the office and see who accumulates the most steps. They also keep you mindful of achieving your weight loss and fitness goals.
- Running Shoes are a great idea since we tend to keep our sneakers long after they are worn out. Get a gift certificate so they can be properly-fitted and are happy with the styling.
- Stability Balls are great to use at home and at the office to sit on as well as exercise and stretch with. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your height. Short – 55cc, Medium – 65 cc, Tall – 75cc.
- Stretch/Yoga Mats can get worn out with lots of use. It is always a nice thought to find one that is made from recycled or eco-friendly ingredients. Keep in mind the mats thickness – some people appreciate the extra padding.
- Stretching Strap/Yoga Tie will come in handy to assist with all types of flexibility exercises for a more effective routine. You relax and let the strap do the work.
- Yoga Blocks are wonderful for someone beginning a yoga class or who does not have a lot of flexibility. They help you perform certain standing and seated positions intended to improve strength, stamina, and flexibility.
Remember, you can be a positive influence in the lives of the people you care about. Your gift can enhance some ones quality of life and give you another exercise partner to support you as well. It is a win-win!
During this time of year, with it being fall and winter, weather isn’t always the best. It gets darker earlier, in some areas it’s snowing, raining or foggy and let’s face it, we could all use a little more sunshine.
Our weight loss resort in Texas made a Sunshine Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa with Pecans and Fruit for a cooking class. A delicious dish that will help brighten your day!
Sunshine Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa with Pecans and Fruit
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can also use skim or soy milk)
- 1 cup chopped apple
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- In small pot over medium heat, cook quinoa in water with cinnamon for about 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (check liquid after about 15 minutes, and if needed add and extra ½ cup water and finish the 20 minutes of cooking time).
- While quinoa is cooking, toast pecans in a skillet on medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add maple syrup, pecans, apple, and blueberries to cooked quinoa.
Nutrition Info: Calories: 338, Total Fat: 17g, Sodium: 48mg, Total Carbohydrates: 39 g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g Protein: 8g
Tips To Help Make Weight Loss Successful
Here is a post from Tara Heath, a freelance writer on health and wellness, offers a fun personal take on some common tips and knowledge that she’s found useful in her own weight loss journey.
About three months ago, having indulged in a delightful—albeit, not especially healthy—summer of margaritas, barbecues and yes, I’ll admit it, the occasional GIGANTIC ice cream cone, I found myself standing on the scale in my bathroom and staring at a truly disturbing number. My mind flashed forward to the pending holiday season and I shuddered. I could just imagine all my well-meaning-but-judgmental relatives whispering behind their hands about my new . . . uh. . .voluptuousness.
It was time to go on a diet.
I confess I was not especially optimistic. After all, I’ve done the dieting thing once or twice (or seventy billion times). Who amongst us hasn’t? And, while I could usually drum up some impressive motivation at first, after a few weeks I’d decide that I didn’t really need to get all the way to my goal weight. Sometimes I’d manage to keep off the weight that I’d lost up to that point– more often I did not. So, this time, I decided to do a little research and find some changes I could actually stick with.
And you know what? I learned a lot.
For one thing, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean immediately dropping all the foods I love and replacing them with nothing but salads and skinless chicken breast, nor does it mean hours in the gym every day. Gradual changes in diet and exercise can actually be much more effective, because they’re easier and don’t make you feel deprived and discouraged. Healthy weight loss takes time.
Here are a few other things I’ve learned:
1. Focus on what you’re adding to your diet, rather than what you’re taking away.
For me, this was really important. In the past, I’ve often struggled because I’ve felt frustrated at having to give up the things I loved and replace them with things I really didn’t love, and I hated always feeling hungry. When I started putting my attention on simply adding more good stuff –like fruit, spinach and healthy smoothies—rather than sacrificing all things yummy, I immediately felt better about the whole concept of dieting.
2. Eat when you’re hungry
There are actually two parts to this little gem. One of them, of course, is the need to really stop and examine your motivations for eating. Am I actually feeling hunger, or am I just giving in to that craving for some salty potato chips? However, the second part of this equation was more surprising for me. “Eat when you’re hungry,” means just that: eat. when. you’re. hungry.
When you feel those pangs, stop what you’re doing and take the time to eat. So often we wait until we’re ravenous. And what do you do when you’re starving and faced with a whole refrigerator full of food? If you’re anything like me, you pretty much eat everything in sight– not good for the weight loss thing.
3. Choose healthier nighttime snacks
I know. Some people swear that in order to succeed, you can’t eat anything after 6:00. Unfortunately, I’ve just never been able to make that happen. However, I have found that I can choose healthier snacks. Rather than buttery popcorn or a cookie, I’ll have a low-fat yogurt or a fruit smoothie.
4. Don’t eat your stress away
Sigh. I am a stress eater. There’s no two ways about it. Things get crazy in my life and I immediately head for the freezer. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s has gotten me through more hard times than I care to admit. So, I had to find new ways to deal with my stress. Long walks have proven to be a surprisingly enjoyable substitution for me.
In the end, for me, it’s worth it. Judgmental relatives aside, I want to live a long, full life. According the National Institutes of Health, obesity can cause high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and perhaps most alarmingly, heart disease, which is the #1 cause of death in America. Simply ignoring heart disease won’t lower your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and exercising regularly can dramatically reduce the risk of these problems and so many others. and I like my life– love it, in fact– and I’m not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.
Tara Heath is a health enthusiast and freelance writer living in Southern California, and her writing covers everything on personal wellness and lifestyle. While she may indulge in the occasional treat now and then, she makes sure to remember that moderation is everything!
Come out of the holidays lighter and cheerier!
At our weight loss camp we know how important it is to continue our healthy eating during the holidays, but we also know that these holidays only come around once a year and it’s okay to indulge a bit!
On the actual holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), eat what you want! It’s a special time of year with special foods that we don’t get everyday. But for all the days in between and around the holidays (there are 54 days between Halloween and Christmas and 60 till New Year’s day), stick to your food and exercise plan and you’ll be successful in continuing with your health goals even during the most challenging time of year.
Tips for Parties:
- Don’t go to parties on an empty stomach
- Eat very well the rest of the day, being mindful of portion sizes – and eat a little lighter than usual if you know you’ll be eating extra for dinner
- Limit snacking on appetizers.
- One-bite rule – if you feel obligated to or just want to try all of the dishes at a party, just get one bite of each item so you get a taste but don’t end up with too much by the end of the meal.
- Eat mindfully! Especially if you’re going for the one-bite rule, eat slowly and savor each bite. This will allow you to enjoy all of the same foods but be satisfied on smaller amounts.
- Make sure you bring a healthy dish – this guarantees you’ll have “safe” food to eat no matter what the circumstances.
- If you are in charge of planning a party (home or office party), give everyone a theme of “healthy holidays” where the goal is to bring lightened up versions of holiday recipes
- Try to incorporate all of the food groups into your main meal like you would for other normal meals. This helps to balance your plate and keep you from getting too much of any one item.
- Try hanging around areas other than where the food is located (out of site, out of mind!)
The rest of the time: (All the days around Thanksgiving and Christmas)
- Have a little extra discipline with food choices, making sure to watch portion sizes and eat an overall balance among all food groups
If you follow these simple steps, you can’t lose anything but pounds!
Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can sometimes be even harder than it is to plan for meals. You can find yourself having unplanned cake at an office birthday party, nibbling on after school snacks with the kids, or caught in a past habit of having a before-bed splurge. Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two! This is an issue a lot of out weight loss resorts guests are having.
Becoming mindful of the times that you’re most likely to fall prey to over-snacking means you can now come up with a plan to avoid it in the future. Whatever your favorite time to snack is, make sure you allot yourself enough calories to have your snack and feel satisfied. Also be sure to include at least two food groups for your body to feel full.
If you’re a person who likes to snack throughout the entire day, five to six small meals as opposed to three larger ones might be a better way to stay within your caloric range without feeling deprived. If there is only one time where you really get caught over-eating, make sure you have a plan where you have a small snack that you enjoy every day during that time. Just knowing that you will be able to have something that you enjoy again the next day will help to avoid the need to overindulge on it.
Here is a healthy snack recipe from our Snack Simple booklet (that will be available soon!) by our weight loss resorts RD Megan.
Mayan Pumpkin Seed Dip
Makes 5 servings of 1/4 cup & 5 whole grain tortilla chips
- 1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
- 1/4 cup cilantro, lightly packed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup water
- Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a large skillet for five minutes, tossing occasionally. Place seeds in food processor.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add shallots, jalapeno, and garlic cloves. Place mixture in food processor with pumpkin seeds.
- Add the parsley, cilantro, remaining olive oil, lime juice orange zest and water to food processor and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Here’s some information on this popular snack food in acknowledgement of this occasion!
Peanut Butter and other nut butters, such as almond butter, tend to get a bad reputation because they are about 180-200 calories per serving, which sounds like too much for those trying to watch calorie intake and lose weight. But, did you know peanut butter is actually packed with nutrition making those calories what we refer to as “nutrient-dense calories?” This means there are high amounts of nutrients per calorie. Foods like sugary soft drinks, cookies, chips, or other popular snack foods are referred to as “empty calories” because they don’t have many nutrients for all of the calories they contain.
When trying to get more nutrient-dense, satisfying, and healthy foods into your meal plan, peanut butter can be a great option.
Some nutritional highlights of peanut butter and other nut butters:
Good source of protein – Great for helping to fight off hunger
Fiber – Ideal for healthy digestion and may help reduce cholesterol
Source of healthy fats – Don’t let the high fat content of nut butters scare you; the fats found here are heart-healthy and also help you feel fuller longer.
Antioxidants – Also found in fruits and veggies, antioxidants may help prevent diseases
With all of its benefits, it can be easy to get a little carried away with our portion size of peanut butter. However, it is important to keep in mind that too much of anything (even a good thing) can contribute to weight gain. So make sure to measure out or pre-portion your peanut butter, so you still get the benefits without consuming too many calories.
Also, the type of peanut butter you eat is important. Make sure to purchase peanut butter (or any nut butter) that is natural. Look under the food label at the ingredient list–the best nut butters will have only 1 or 2 ingredients – for example, peanuts and salt. The more natural the better because many peanut butters, including reduced-fat versions have lots of added oils and sugar that take away from the great nutrition properties this food has all on its own.
Here’s a tasty Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake than a healthy snack!
Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 Banana
- 1 TBS Cocoa Powder
- 1 TBS Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup ice (preferably crushed)
- 1 cup plain Soymilk, Skim, or Almond Milk
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If needed, ingredients can be added individually if the blender is too full.
Approximate Nutrition Per Serving: 200 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 9 g protein, 121mg sodium, 12 g sugar
As a trainer, I hear “I don’t have enough time to workout” quite a bit and that is one of the biggest obstacles guests at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss camp ask me how to overcome. Work, kids, job, school, errands, the list goes on. But I promise you there are ways to make time! Here are a few suggestions for you to be able to fit exercise into your daily life.
1. Take 10!
For those of you that really can’t dedicate a full block of time for exercise, just commit to 10 minute exercise breaks.
The recommended amount of exercise for adults is a moderate to intense cardio respiratory exercise, 30-60 minutes; five times a week minimum and strength guidelines are to work each major muscle group two to three days a week. ACSM guidelines say this time can be divided up throughout the day with smaller bouts of exercise. For example you could complete 10 minutes when you wake up, 10 minutes on your lunch break, and 10 minutes when you get home from work and you have the recommended amount of exercise checked off for that day.
2. Plan ahead.
Here are a few ways to plan ahead:
- First, plan what time you will exercise. Morning, lunch break, after dinner?
- Second, schedule the time in your calendar just like an appointment you wouldn’t want to miss and keep that same schedule and time so it becomes a habit.
- Third, set out your clothes, gym bag, water, iPod, shoes, pre or post workout snack, and whatever else you may need the night before so you can grab it and go the next day.
3. Daily lifestyle and activities
Here are a few options to increase your caloric burn and fit in extra mini workouts:
- Take the stairs wherever you can. This will increase your heart rate and calorie burn as well as build your backside.
- Find a parking spot farther away from the entrance.
- Take 10! Run around with your kids or dog, or take a short walk around the block.
- Skip the chair. Standing may burn somewhere between 20-50 calories more per hour than sitting. This may not seem like much but over the course of the day it can definitely add up!
Most importantly, everyone is different! See which workout-timing strategies work better for you then keep up the hard work for amazing results!
Written by: Liz Mitchell, BS, CPT, NASM WLS
These days it seems that we are constantly bombarded with new ideas on how we should be eating to lose weight as fast as possible. Usually fad diets promote rapid weight loss and involve over-restricting certain foods and eating large amounts of other foods. It’s important to remember that we need an overall balance of the right foods in the right amounts to get all of the nutrients our body needs. Depriving the body of key nutrients can be very harmful in the long run. Keep in mind that like most things in life, if a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to lose weight and become healthier is to eat a well balanced diet along with regular physical activity.
Here are some examples of four popular fad diets that may sound like a good idea for shedding those extra pounds, but are really not good for your body and may even be harmful over time.
Main Principle: Replace 2 meals and all snacks each day with about 14 jars of baby food, and eat an adult-sized dinner. The idea is to reduce calorie intake during the day to jumpstart weight loss.
Why it’s not a good idea: Babies and adults have different nutritional needs, especially in terms of calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating baby food for most meals will not meet the needs of an adult, nor has this diet been proven sustainable, as most adults can only eat baby food for a certain amount of time before tiring of it.
2. The 5-Bite Diet:
Main Principle: Skip breakfast and eat only 5 bites of any food of your choice for lunch and dinner. No snacks. The idea is to train your body to be satisfied on fewer calories.
Why it’s not a good idea: This promotes a very low calorie diet, likely below the nutritional needs for the average adult. This promotes weight loss from water and lean stores (muscle), not from fat. Also, 10 bites of food each day is likely not anywhere near enough to get enough nutrition for the body each day. Even the creator of this diet recommends taking a multivitamin and including protein each day to address this issue. Healthy eating plans allow you to get enough nutrition through food.
3. Feeding Tube Diet:
Main Principle: Participants pay to have a feeding tube inserted through their nose and into the stomach, through which they are fed only 800 calories per day and monitored daily for complications. The tube is worn for 10 days at a time and is heavily promoted for use of brides-to-be.
Why it’s not a good idea: 800 calories through a feeding tube isn’t metabolically different than eating 800 calories of food. That amount of calories is also very low and can be considered unsafe, especially with long-term use. There are also many side effects to using feeding tubes, including discomfort, infection, dizziness, headache, dehydration, and more. Feeding tubes are meant for use in hospitals for patients who cannot eat food orally, and not designed for this type of use.
4. The 8-Hour Diet:
Main Principle: Eat whatever you want for 8 hours each day then stop eating for the next 16 hours. The idea is that extended periods of fasting on a regular basis will promote weight loss.
Why it’s not a good idea: Putting your body in a fasting state 16 hours each day puts the body in a state of stress, which may actually increase fat retention. Weight loss tends to be from water, meaning it will likely come right back. Also, what you eat is so important, and eating poor food choices instead of healthful ones during those 8 hours will not have beneficial health impacts on the body, and may cause harm long-term.
It is important to remember that there are no miracle diets. Even if one of these fad diets help you lose weight, chances are it’s going to be temporary and could cause other issues. At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we focus on the most proven way to lose weight and that is with physical activity and eating healthy, well balanced, nutritional meals. We also provide each of our guests with a personalized At Home Plan to help them reach their weight loss goals even after they leave.
Does it accomplish both Strength & Cardio Training, at once?
In the past few years, the concept of the ‘circuit workout’ has resurfaced in many clubs, and is actually the ONLY option offered in certain franchised gyms. Is this type of workout effective? Is it for you?
A circuit involves a workout designed for a specific set of machines that are all arranged in close proximity, and that each focus on a different muscle group. The group circuit class has gained popularity the past couple of years mostly due to its user-friendly nature. The fact that the workout takes no longer that 30 minutes, and the fact that the resistance choices are somehow pre-set (whether by the trainer or by the machine itself), causes it to attract a large market: all of those people who are pressed for time.
A traditional workout regime typically involves three components–cardio training, strength training, and flexibility training. The total time for even a trimmed-down routine would add up to about four and a half hours per week. The circuit workout promises the same results in about one and a half hours per week. This reduction of time makes the circuit routine very attractive to a busy individual. The question is: which workout is right for you? The fitness staff at Shane’s weight loss camps will help you find out based on the criteria below.
The circuit workout claims to be both a cardio and strength training routine, all at once. The promise of receiving a cardiovascular workout while going through the circuit is based on the fact that there are no 60 second “resting” breaks for muscle recovery, as there are in a traditional strength training workout; this requirement claims to cause enough constant movement of the client to produce an elevated heart rate that equals one produced by a traditional cardio activity. The question then is, are most clients actually in the ‘training zone’ while performing the circuit, thereby enabling them to kill two birds with one stone? The answer to that is directly related to the fitness level of the client.
A person just starting or re-starting a fitness routine will benefit the most from a circuit type of workout. This statement is true for two reasons. Firstly, the beginner is not yet conditioned to a high level of cardio work, so pushing that client through a circuit with no breaks would most likely cause that person’s heart rate to go above 120 beats per minute, putting them in the training zone. A beginner would very likely feel challenged in the lower end of the cardio training zone, which typically range from 120 to 156 beats per minute. Secondly, the unconditioned muscles of a beginner will be quite challenged from a one-set strength training routine on each machine, as long as the resistance choices are appropriate.
The type of client least likely to yield cardio benefits from a 30 minute circuit workout is the aerobically-conditioned person. Someone who usually does between three and five 45 minute workouts per week, and feels comfortable when the heart rate is in the upper end of the training zone, is not going to feel aerobically challenged in a circuit.
In addition, the person who’s used to doing a challenging two or three set strength training routine will not feel equally challenged by the one set routines that most circuits offer.
On the positive side, the benefits of a circuit workout for a starter or re-starter client are incredible. The circuit provides a solid conditioning base for strength-training, and at the same time, it does cause a beginner’s heart rate to push into the cardio training zone. Providing the circuit ends with stretching, in a mere 30 minutes, the beginner can accomplish a complete workout. The wonderful aspect of this is that if the beginner does establish the habit of exercising on a consistent basis, then the circuit has provided the perfect foundation for the next step: a more challenging, intermediate program.
A Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, we find out what workout program is safe and best for your body. Any movement is better than no movement at all, but at Shane we strive to give you the biggest calorie burn for your buck and make it fun at the same time. The most important factor is to stay consistent and make it part of your routine.
Today may be Halloween but there are still going to be Halloween parties this weekend. Want to bring something delicious, but don’t want to undue all the hard work you’ve done to lose weight and stay healthy? Check out this recipe created by our Registered Dietitian at our weight loss camp in San Antonio!
Chocolate Pumpkin Popcorn Balls
Makes about 24 1-inch popcorn balls (serving size: 2 popcorn balls)
6 cups plain popped cornIngredients:
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 TBS chopped dark chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Put popcorn in a large bowl.
- Combine honey and peanut butter a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, cooking until mixture is bubbly and smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in the pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and chocolate (the chocolate will melt in to the mixture).
- Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.
- Dip both hands in the ice water. Press 2 TBS of the mixture at a time into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Make sure to press them tightly into a ball shape so they hold together. Place the balls on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Let the popcorn balls cool completely before wrapping them individually in saran wrap and store in an airtight container. Best if eaten within a few days.
Calories per serving: 70, Total Fat: 4 g, Total Carbohydrates: 8 g, Sugar 7gg Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g, Protein: 2 g