Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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6 Tips for a Perfect Pantry Purge

By: Snap Fitness

Part of a healthy eating plan is eliminating certain foods from your diet. The key is to stock up on fresh, natural foods. The most effective way to avoid processed foods is to keep them out of your pantry. If unhealthy foods aren’t readily available to you, they are easier to avoid. A healthier pantry means a healthier, happier you!


The key is to be prepared. Start by writing a short list of the specific foods that fit into your healthy food plan. Visit our Shopping Cart 101 for ideas on which foods to purchase at the store. Take an honest, hard look at your pantry. Throw out foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, additives, white flour, and sodium. Purge you pantry and refrigerator of processed foods; restock your pantry with whole foods that will support your fitness goals.


6 Tips for a perfect  pantry purge:


1. If you know it isn’t healthy, toss it. Plain and simple.


2. Try to avoid packaged and canned items. These usually contain additives.


3. Read labels. Purchase items that are free of artificial colors, sweeteners, dyes, hormones, and MSG.


4. Don’t deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. Look for alternatives that contain natural ingredients. If you deny your cravings, you will regret it later.


5. Research healthy recipes. This will give you a better idea of which ingredients to stock up on, and which to avoid.


6. Get the family involved! Make it a household activity. The more support you have, the better.


Nothing changes overnight, so cut yourself some slack if you can’t part with your favorite junk food. Take it one day at a time. Take it one meal at a time. Remember, it is the small changes that amount to big results. 

10 Reasons to Eat More Fruit

By: Snap Fitness


The jig is up! Fruits and vegetables are the key towards a healthier lifestyle, but why?


We often hear that adding more fresh fruit into our diet will suddenly make us more nutritionally fit. The fact is, it will! Adding more fruit into your diet is good for your overall health. Eating a variety of fruits is shown to help lower blood pressure, aid in chronic diseases, and lower cholesterol.


Not to mention, fruit is full of fiber and natural sugars to help our bodies function properly and keep blood sugar at bay.


Grab your fruit bowl. Its time to hit the produce section!




Nutritional value: 1 medium – 95 cal, 4.4g fiber

Apples contain antioxidants that may help lower the chance of developing diabetes and help your body resist infections




Nutritional value: 1 medium – 105 cal, 3.1g fiber

Bananas are one of the most potassium filled fruits and pack an energy punch




Nutritional value: 1 cup – 85 cal, 3.6g fiber

Blueberries top the list of all fruits in antioxidants, which help fight off disease and improve memory function




Nutritional value: 1 cup – 77 cal, 2.5g fiber

Cherries may help reduce inflammation and calm your nervous system




Nutritional value: 1 cup – 62 cal, 0.8g fiber

Grapes contain an antioxidant that may help in reducing blood pressure levels





Nutritional value: 1 large – 42 cal, 3g fiber

Kiwis pack more vitamin C than oranges and boost the immune system




Nutritional value: 1 medium – 45 cal, 2.3g fiber

Oranges help lower blood cholesterol levels and help to maintain healthy skin and vision





Nutritional value: 1 medium – 59 cal, 2.2g fiber

Peaches help regulate the immune system and fight off infections





Nutritional value: 1 cup – 82 cal, 2.3g fiber

Pineapple aids in digestion and helps fight arthritis




Nutritional value: 1 cup – 46 cal, 0.6g fiber

Watermelon is a great fruit to add to a weight-loss diet since it is 92% water.

My Survivor Story: Dawn Koceja

By: Snap Fitness

This month, Snap Fitness is proud to sponsor the American Heart Association’s Milwaukee Hearth Walk, taking place September 29. To celebrate, this month we’re providing you with heart health-themed fitness tips, recipes, and a very special survivor story from the American Heart Association.


Dawn Koceja of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin has a strong family history of heart disease, so when she decided to train for a marathon at the age of 39, she saw her doctor first.  She was given a clean bill of health, but a hip injury which required surgery derailed her marathon plans.  After recovering from the surgery, she couldn’t get back to her previous level of fitness.  She was experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.  Several cardiologists were unable to pinpoint what was going on, but one suggested she had a rare condition: myocardial bridging. 


Her condition was confirmed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Basically, Dawn’s left descending artery dips into the heart muscle, instead of lying on top of it.  Every time her heart beat, the muscle would cut off blood flow through the artery.  Dawn underwent open-heart surgery at Mayo, where doctors “un-roofed” or removed half of her top heart muscle.  She was the first patient to have this surgery at Mayo. 


After months of rehabbing, she was able to pick up her workouts once again.  She enjoys cross training, running, biking and weightlifting.  Originally she was on 15 pills a day, but thanks to healthy living, she is now off all medications. 


Dawn has several messages she likes to share:  You’re never too young to develop heart disease.  Be an advocate for yourself and your health; find a doctor you trust who will listen to you.  Know your family history of heart disease.  Eating right, exercising and not smoking truly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to heart health.

My Survivor Story: Kimberly Montgomery

By: Snap Fitness

This month, Snap Fitness is proud to sponsor the American Heart Association’s Milwaukee Hearth Walk, taking place September 29. To celebrate, this month’s Snappenings is heart health-themed, giving you fitness tips, recipes, and a very special survivor story from the American Heart Association.


Kimberly Montgomery of Milwaukee, WI thought she was in good heart health. Her cholesterol numbers were low, she was the office health nut, always encouraging people to eat healthier and take the stairs instead of the elevator, and she ran regularly and practiced hot yoga.  After leaving yoga one night, she started sweating profusely.  Kimberly chalked this up to her work out or hot flashes.  She stopped to get a towel out of her car and became sick to her stomach.  Then, she thought that she had food poisoning.  She stopped at a friend’s house, who insisted she go to urgent care. They told Kimberly she was having a heart attack and had her transported to the hospital.  She was in so much denial she called her family from the ambulance to tell them not to come to the hospital, because she “wasn’t having a heart attack.”  At the hospital, doctors discovered blockages and she had two stents placed.  Kimberly has completed cardiac rehab and is back to living an active life.  She has since learned of her family history of heart disease.  She not only watches her sodium now, but also keeps a close eye on the fats she eats. 

It just goes to show that no matter how healthy you think you are, you can still be at risk of heart-related illness. Learn the symptoms of a heart attack now, so that you can quickly identify if you or a loved on experiences something similar to Kimberly. 

Shopping Cart 101

By: Snap Fitness


We all know that grocery shopping can be a daunting task when in the midst of a diet.


So, how do you tackle the dreaded grocery run without sabotaging the hard work you’ve put into your thin waist line and smaller pant size? You come prepared!


We’ve taken the hassle off your hands by creating a go-to grocery guide that is guaranteed to get you through the grocery aisles with ease. Print this list out before you hit the store. Once you get the hang of grocery shopping, you will see that the intimidation only happens when you’re not prepared.


You’ll soon be a grocery store champ,ready for battle!


Featured Recipe: Lemon & Dill Chicken

By: Snap Fitness

Source: American Heart Association



Fresh lemon and dill create a quick Greek-inspired pan sauce for simple sautéed chicken breasts. Make it a meal: Serve with roasted broccoli and whole-wheat orzo.



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1-1 1/4 pounds)
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil, divided 
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided 
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Cooking Instructions

Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a measuring cup and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill.

Salty Six - Common Foods Loaded with Excess Sodium

By: Snap Fitness

Source: American Heart Association


Eating too many salty foods can create all sorts of health problems, including high blood pressure. But did you know a lot of common foods are packed with excess sodium? It’s not just the french fries and potato chips you need to be careful with.


That’s why the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is increasing awareness of sodium and the “Salty Six” – common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.  


Sodium overload is a major health problem in the United States. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. That’s in large part because of our food supply; more than 75 percent of our sodium consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods.

Be sure to keep in mind that different brands and restaurant preparation of the same foods may have different sodium levels. The American Heart Association's Heart-Check mark—whether in the grocery store or restaurant helps shoppers see through the clutter on grocery store shelves to find foods that help you build a heart-healthy diet.


Sodium doesn’t just affect your heart health, but your physical appearance as well. Excess sodium consumption may make your face feel puffy, give you bags under your eyes, increase swelling in your fingers and make your jeans look, and feel, tighter. In fact, from an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association consumer poll, 75 percent of respondents stated that their pants feeling too tight is their least favorite effect of bloating which may be associated with excess sodium consumption. 


As you gear up for your next grocery store run or order from the menu, keep the Salty Six in mind. All you need to do to make a heart-healthy choice is to look for the Heart-Check mark. Another helpful tool is the Nutrition Facts label on the package and calorie labeling in restaurants, which together with the Heart-Check mark helps you make wise choices for the foods you and your family eat. Make the effort to choose products that contain less sodium. It’s worth it!



 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Vital Signs: Food Categories Contributing the Most to Sodium Consumption—United States, 2007–2008, February 10, 2012 / 61(05);92-98.

Attacking Heart Health – A Three-Part Approach

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

When discussing heart health, most people think of cardiovascular exercise.  Did you know that nutrition, stress management, and cardiovascular training all affect heart health?  To tackle heart health, consider looking at your health from a balanced 3-part approach: 


1. Proper Diet



Dietary changes to improve overall heart health include; a decreased consumption of high fat or processed meats, increased consumption of dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, and the inclusion of high quality, specifically mono-saturated, fats.  Diets high in these items work to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), and increase HDL (good cholesterol).  Additionally, check with your doctor to get a baseline cholesterol level.   


Foods to include:

Lean meats – chicken, fish, turkey, and lean cuts of red meat

Vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, kale, and beets

Fruits – all citrus fruits and berries

Grains – Oats and brown rice




When you are properly hydrated, your cells can function at their best.  Proper cell hydration improves the flushing of fluids and waste products out of your system – free radicals and fatty acids within the blood stream specifically.  Make a goal to hydrate with at least ½ of your body weight in ounces each day.  This should include fresh, plain water without additional carbonation, artificial flavors or sweeteners.  




Omega-3 Fatty Acids – according to a study from the Mayo Clinic Medical Education and Research (MFMER) from 1998-2010 - can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.  Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that is thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Overall, inflammation can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.


They recommend eating one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fish that's rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or including an omega-3 supplement to your diet that contains at least 300mg daily.


Vitamin E – Vitamin E helps to neutralize free radicals and prevent heart disease because it acts as an antioxidant.  According to the Livestrong organization at, Vitamin E slows the process of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to many heart problems. Foods that contain vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oil.  Or supplement with at least 600IU of Vitamin E daily.


Vitamin C - Vitamin C also prevents the activity of free radicals. According to,  Vitamin C helps to rebuild collagen which prevents damage in the arteries and decreases the chance of heart disease.  Choose citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C (like oranges, mango, or grapefruit).  Or, supplement with at least 500mg daily. 


Vitamin D – It is well-known that North Americans don’t get enough Vitamin D each day.  As we spend more time indoors we lose the absorption of this important vitamin.  Plus, when we are eventually outdoors, we cover up with sun-blocking clothing and hats or use sunscreen to prevent sun damage.  Though good to prevent sun damage on the skin, the need to absorb Vitamin D is still crucial to preventing heart disease, increasing energy, and improving your mood.  Truestar Health recommends supplementing with at least 500 IU per day.



2. Stress Management


Stress increases cortisol levels within the body.  This increase in cortisol also promotes inflammation.  Increased Inflammation in the body forces the release of fatty acids into the blood stream.  The result is increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Consider taking up a daily meditation practice or other mind/body disciplines like yoga or pilates as a way to manage stress and subsequent cortisol and inflammation.  We love the meditation support offered through Truestar Health – download and try some of our favorites here:  Travel Meditation with Truestar



3.  Cardiovascular Fitness


Though High Intensity Interval Training is the latest fitness craze, it is well-documented that consistent and moderate cardiovascular exercise is best for improving heart health and lowering blood pressure.  Consider a balanced approach to cardio that includes:  3-4 days/week using a variety of equipment options such as:  Stairstepper, elliptical, and treadmill - at the following intensities:


Steady State – Maintain the same moderate intensity heart rate throughout the entire duration of a 30-45 minute workout.  This intensity should make you winded to the point that you work up a sweat, and cannot sing a song but, could say a few sentences at a time in conversation. Do this 1x/week.


Low Intensity – Maintain a light intensity throughout the entire duration of a 60 minute workout.  For most people, this would include a long walk or an easy bike ride.  This intensity should allow you to speak easily to a friend, break a light sweat, and generally leave you feeling re-energized.  Do this 1-2x/week.


Anaerobic Intervals – Include bouts of high intensity mixed with lower intensity. You should establish an aerobic base before adding anaerobic intervals into your cardio mix.  It is recommended that you complete 2-4 weeks of steady state and low intensity workouts first (2-3 workouts/week for 2-4 weeks), before adding in anaerobic intervals.


An example of anaerobic intervals include; running for 1min, then walking for 1min.  Or, walking at a steep incline for 1 min. and then walking with no incline for 1 min.  During high intensity bouts, you should feel breathless and unable to speak a full sentence.  Use the easy interval to recover and get your heart rate back down to where you can speak 2-3 sentences in conversation. 



Looking to improve heart health and prevent heart disease takes a balanced approach.  The key is consistency and finding a way to make positive changes in all areas of nutrition, stress, and exercise.  Start in the areas that you can make the most immediate impact and add from there.  You will add years to your life and of course, life to your years!

3 Tips for Back to School Success

By: Snap Fitness

Back to school season is upon us, and in just a few short weeks the kids will be headed back to the classroom, giving you time to head back to the gym. Just like kids are preparing for the new school year, now is the time for you start preparing to get back into a regular workout routine. But after a summer packed with vacations, cookouts and suntans, you might be having a little trouble deciding how to get started. 

That’s why this month we’re making it easy for you to kick-start your workouts in just three simple steps:

1) Pick a time and stick to it – By scheduling your workout ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to get preoccupied by other things that might keep you out of the gym. If you say you’re going to work out “sometime this week,” chances are you’ll either forget (or choose to forget). Consistency is key, so pick a day, pick a time and put it on your calendar.

2) Plan your workout – Getting back into your workout groove can be a challenge, especially if you’ve been away from the gym for a little while. Instead of showing up with no game plan, sit down beforehand and decide what type of workout you’re going to do and how long you’re going to do it for. This will keep you on track, and ultimately save you more time in the long run. If you’re unsure of how to create that plan, talk to a personal trainer about your goals and ask for guidance in setting the roadmap for your success.

3) Find a partner – Having a workout buddy is an easy way to increase your motivation and accountability. It can be easy to skip out on a workout or only give a half-hearted effort if you’re by yourself, but if you know someone else is counting on you to be there, you’re more likely to show up and give it your all. Even if you aren’t at the same fitness level as your partner, having a shoulder to lean on can make all the difference.


Bonus tip: When it comes to back to school season, everyone knows it’s important to have the right supplies! That’s why this month, you can win a free “Back to School Grab Bag,” loaded with cool Snap Fitness gear! All you have to do is Like Snap Fitness on Facebook! See below to get started now.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Snap Fitness member Carlie from Salem, WI gets started on her path to weight loss success

By: Snap Fitness

Last month, we invited members to send in your stories and let our very own Jodi the Trainer help you get started on the path to creating your very own Snap Fitness success story!


One of the members selected, Carlie from Salem, WI, is looking to get started on a new chapter of her life starting and sees Snap Fitness as one of the first steps to reaching her goals.


“I am 28 years old and I finally understand how important my health really is,” she says. “One year ago I made a choice to quit smoking and I am proud to say that I have kept that commitment to my health.  The downside of this amazing achievement is that I gained a lot of unwanted weight.  It took me too long to finally realize what had happened to my body.  I finally broke down and bought a scale and when the numbers appeared I broke down in tears of depression and sadness.  This is what I called my rock bottom moment of clarity.  I knew that I had to do something different.”


Carlie is already off to a great start, having added more fruits and vegetables to her diet, preparing her meals ahead of time, and of course joining her local Snap Fitness. Now Jodi the Trainer is going to help her take it to the next level.


“After talking with Carlie on the phone, I learned that her goal is to lose weight, gain muscle and improve her energy level,” says Jodi. “With that in mind, I sat down and created a nutrition and fitness plan specifically to meet her needs.”


Here’s what Jodi had to say when it came to creating a nutrition plan for Carlie:


1) Consistency: “Carlie told me that she has been preparing her meals ahead of time, in order to maintain consistency and stick to her diet. This is an awesome habit, and I love that she is already doing this!”


2) Current Nutrition and suggested changes:  “I asked Carlie to write down what her standard menu looks like, and offered my suggestion for tweaks or changes. My suggestions are in bold.”

- Breakfast–Yogurt with banana

You always want to have protein with a meal.  A lot of yogurt brands alone do not have enough. Instead, try Greek yogurt (low-fat, plain is ideal).  It’s very plain but, you can dress it up by adding fruit and nuts. If you aren’t interested in that, have one egg and two egg whites, prepared however you like. Try and add one cup of veggies too.

- Lunch – Fruit, pita chips w/cheese, turkey sandwich, PB&J sandwich

Your turkey sandwich at lunch is perfect.  Try to include one cup of steamed vegetables along with this. If you are doing pita chips, try to eat them with hummus instead as it is higher in protein and fiber.

Snack  - Carrots or cucumbers

Again, make sure you have either a protein or a fat with your vegetables.  Examples include nuts, avocado, or protein powder/shakes.

Dinner - Lean protein, veggies

Perfect! Remember to drink lots of water as well. You’re doing great!

Once they completed the nutrition plan, Jodi and Carlie discussed her workouts for the week.

“Carlie told me that she’s doing cardio three times per week,” says Jodi. “I told her to start adding in weight training at least two of those three days. For example, she could do Tuesday cardio and weights, Thursday cardio only, Saturday cardio and weights, and then Sunday cardio only once again.

“As for the cardio itself, my recommendation is for Carlie to start switching it up and adding some variety,” continues Jodi. “She’s currently doing a lot of biking – and loving it! However, I told her to think about adding in some elliptical, and don’t be afraid of the treadmill. Both of these will incorporate more core and upper body movement too.”

As an added bonus, Jodi put together a sample weight workout for Carlie, which you can get started with too:

Tuesday and Saturday weights: Do a total body weight routine, with two sets of each exercise, 10-12 reps per set

- Walking lunges
- Squats
- Dumbbell Chest press
- Lat Pull-down Machine
- Seated Shoulder Press
- Seated Row machine
- Dumbbell Bicep Curl
- Tricep Press down machine (using the cable system and a rope or triangle attachment)
- Ab - 30 second plank
- Abs – Basic Crunches
- Ab machine (use what you have in the gym)


We’ll follow along with Carlie’s journey over the next several weeks, and share her nutrition plan and workout routine to help you achieve your fitness goals right alongside!

Posts 41 - 50 of 76