Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Carb Cycling 101

By: Snap Fitness

What is it:

Carb cycling is a diet trend that is popular with body builders and growing within the fitness community.

 

Benefits:

Carb cycling allows you to build muscle from high-carb days and burn fat from low-carb days.

 

For weight loss:

If you are looking to slim down, shoot for mostly low-carb days throughout the week. Maintain consistent protein intake to burn fat during your workout that day.

 

For building muscle:

If you are trying to bulk up and build muscle, rotate low-carb and high-carb days throughout the week. Try not to have too many high-carb days in a row.  The low-carb days help regulate insulin levels and stabilize your blood sugar.

 

High-carb meals:

On high-carb days, feel free to eat more fruit, grains, and legumes. Start your day with oatmeal topped with berries; enjoy a handful of nuts for a mid-day snack; a small turkey sandwich for lunch; and chicken stir-fry with vegetables and rice for dinner.

 

Low-carb meals:

On low-carb days, stick to eating protein and vegetables. Avoid grains, legumes, fruit, potatoes and carrots because these are foods high in carbohydrates. Try eating two eggs for breakfast; a couple of strawberries and a small protein shake for a mid-day snack; grilled chicken and broccoli for lunch; and a steak salad for dinner. 

Core Attack

By: Snap Fitness

There is more to the core then just the rectus abdominis, commonly referred to as six pack muscles. Your obliques, lower back, and under-laying abdominal musculature are crucial to support the body during movements throughout the day.

 

Make this workout a part of your weekly routine to build strength in your core, improve definition, and develop total-body stability. Without a strong core, it can be very difficult to see an increase in strength and performance.

 

Perform this circuit of movements one to two times through.

 

Cable Machine Oblique Rotations

 

Stand with proper alignment and a neutral spine as you face perpendicular to the machine. Rotate as far as possible using the oblique muscles while keeping the arms straight, then return slowly to the starting position.

 

Repeat rotation 10 times in each direction.

 

Side Planks

 

Keep one forearm flat on the floor and stack your feet on top of one another. Raise your hips up and hold, engaging the obliques to keep the hip elevated. Hold the other arm straight up. For modification, drop knee to ground if necessary.

 

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

Ab Crickets

 

Hold your body in a plank position (on your hands) and brace your core. Maintain a neutral spine as you bring one knee into the chest. Return foot to the ground and then bring the other knee into the chest. Continue alternating knees.

 

Alternate 15-20 times for each knee.

 

BOSU Bicycle Crunch

 

Lay in a supine position (on your back) on top of the BOSU ball. Place hands on the side of your head (keeping elbows out), and elevate one foot above the ground while the other is bent to 90 degrees. Keep the neck in a neutral position and keep a slight flexion in the spine as you alternate bending the knees into the body. Slightly rotate the opposing elbow forward to connect knee and elbow.

 

Perform for 30 seconds.

 

Alternating Supermans

 

Laying face down on the mat, extend your arms out in front of your body. Lift right arm and left leg off the ground, keeping both limbs straight. Engage your lower back and glutes to hold the position then slowly return the floor. Alternate opposing limbs.

 

Alternate for 30 seconds. 

Paleo Blackberry Bars

By: Snap Fitness

In the middle of summer, markets are bursting with fresh produce, best of all – colorful blackberries! These bars are grain-free (thanks to a tasty substitution of coconut flour and almonds!) and they’re brimming with blackberries, which are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. Prepare these delicious, fruity bars each weekend for a healthy weekday breakfast on-the-go!

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Crust

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 cup coconut flour

 

Blackberry Filling

12 ounces blackberries

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

Crumble Topping

½ cup almonds, processed into a meal
2 tablespoons shredded coconut

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together honey, coconut oil, and pinch of salt until well-combined.
  3. Add the coconut flour and mix until dough forms.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about eight minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce the oven to 325° F.
  6. Place the blackberry filling ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until the filling is slightly chunky, about 20 seconds.
  7. Pour the filling over the baked crust and use a spatula to spread evenly.
  8. Mix together the almond meal and shredded coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on top of the filling.
  9. Bake the bars for another 15 minutes, until topping is slightly brown and filling is set. Let cool completely then cover and refrigerate for at least six hours. (This is very important! If you do not let the bars cool, the crust will be too soft and they will fall apart.)

 

*Baker’s tip: Use a 9 x 9 inch pan for a thinner crust.


 

 

Sculpted Back Workout

By: Snap Fitness

People focus so much on working out and building the chest, but what about the back? It may not be as much fun to discuss how much you can lift for a bent over row rather than a bench press, but the benefits are still worth it.

 

If you are looking for the most upper-body definition, the back is crucial to seeing results. This big muscle group will help you burn calories and shape the upper body quickly. Don’t exclude your back muscles from your workout routine if you want to see an increase of strength, definition, and injury prevention.

 

WORKOUT

Perform three sets of 10-12 reps.

Go at 80 percent intensity with a one-minute rest between movements.

 

 

Pull Ups

Hold the bar with a pronated grip. When the elbow bends to 90 degrees, the forearm should be perpendicular to the bar. Descend slowly until the elbows are almost fully extended. Do not swing yourself up to the bar.

 

 

Bent-Over Row

Flex at the hips until the chest is parallel to the ground. Maintain a neutral spine as you pull the dumbbells up the side of your body while squeezing the scapulas together in the back. Let the arms extend slowly and repeat.

 

 

Lat Pull Down

Lean back slightly and pull bar to the chest. Keep shoulders low and pull with the lats. Control the arms as they extend until they’re almost straight.

 

 

Standing Row

Stand holding a squat position (knees bent to 90 degrees with hips flexed and chest up straight). Squeeze the scapulas as shoulders stay down and pull into the chest using the back. Return slowly until arms are almost extended.

 

 

Farmers Walk

Use a weight that you are able to keep at your sides the entire time with the chest up, scapulas retracted and shoulders down.  Brace the core and walk taking even strides without swaying side to side. Make sure your hips stay level.

 

 

Renegade Row

Place hands on dumbbells so they lay directly under the shoulders.  Brace the core by drawing in and perform a row with one dumbbell. Keep the hips and shoulders square to the ground, alternating arms.

Easy Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings

By: Snap Fitness

Many of us have a sweet tooth! Some enjoy the sweet flavor more than others and can easily overdo sugar consumption. Here are a few tips to curb your sugar craving and cut down on extra treats, sweets, and calories.

 

Create a new after-dinner routine

If you routinely crave a sweet treat after dinner, try starting a new routine to distract yourself from your usual sugar craving. This could be anything from going for a walk around your neighborhood to brewing a cup of unsweetened tea.

 

Indulge with reason

If you are craving chocolate, portion out a small handful of dark chocolate chips and mix them with raspberries or almonds. Enjoy slowly so you feel satisfied and don’t go back for seconds.

 

Try new fruits

Grabbing a new fruit is fun and will make you excited to try it rather than just settling for your usual candy bar. The natural sugars in fruit are better than sugars in candy bars because fruits contain vitamins, antioxidants, and often times fiber.

 

Eat balanced meals regularly

Eating three balanced meals a day plus healthy snacks if needed helps you from feeling too hungry and making poor food choices. Load your plate with lean protein, colorful vegetables, and a variety of fruit.

 

Avoid starchy foods

Foods packed with starch (like potatoes and white bread) will spike blood sugar levels. This gives you an energy high that will crash in a couple of hours and likely have you craving a sweet treat to boost your energy. Stick to complex carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains to maintain steady blood sugar levels all day.

3 Foods for Healthy, Glowing Skin

By: Snap Fitness

If you are seeking clear, healthy, and tight skin, your best bet is a well-rounded, healthy diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables and free of processed foods. There is no magic fruit or vegetable that will immediately give you healthy skin. However, a balanced diet with the foods listed below will help you get there.

 

Carrots

Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which helps maintain collagen production. Collagen keeps your skin tight and reduces the sagging effect of aging. Add carrots to your salad, juice them, or eat with hummus for tight skin as you age.

 

Walnuts

Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts contain three grams per quarter cup serving. This “good fat” helps skin look healthier by keeping harmful toxins away and allowing good nutrients into your cell membranes. Add chopped walnuts to your oatmeal, chicken wrap, or homemade energy bars!

 

Avocados

Rich in Vitamin E, avocados protect your skin cells from free-radicals which are damage-causing precursors to skin cancer. Consider a quarter of an avocado spread across a piece of whole wheat toast, or adding avocado to your favorite green smoothie!

 

Why to Avoid Junk Food

If you fill your body with toxins found in junk food, it will try to push them out any way possible, including through your skin. Prevent acne by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet of fruits, fresh or steamed vegetables, and lean protein.

Lower-Body Workout for Stronger Legs

By: Snap Fitness

Strong legs, lifted glutes, and tight abs. Who wants them?

 

Not only will tight and toned muscles make you look and feel better in a swimsuit, they will also help you achieve a strong core. Having a healthy and strong lower body plays an important role in our overall health and wellness.

 

When it comes to having great glutes you must also have great hamstrings. Your hamstring muscles tie in to your gluteus muscles. Working your hamstrings with certain movements helps to activate your glute muscles, which lifts and tones your backside.

 

This specific workout can be done twice a week if you’re lifting heavy weights and three times each week for those who are using lighter weights.

 

EXERCISES:

 

Part One

 

 

Leg Extension: Four sets. Perform 10-15 reps.

 

 

Dumbbell Sumo Squat: Three sets. Perform 10-15 reps.

 

Part Two

 

Circuit:

Perform the below circuit twice through.

 

 

Hip Extension: Perform 10-15 reps.

 

 

Split Squat on Bosu Ball or Bench: Perform 10-15 reps.

 

 

Single-Leg Cable Kick Back: Perform 10 reps per side.

 

 

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each. Perform 10 reps per side.

 

 

Step Ups: Step up onto a bench using a barbell across your shoulders or a dumbbell in each hand. Perform 10 reps stepping up with right leg first, then 10 reps stepping up with left leg first.

 

Part Three

 

 

Kneeling Cable Crunch: Three sets. Perform 10-15 reps.

 

 

Cable Ab Tucks: Attach a foot attachment onto a low pulley and bring knees in.

Three sets. Perform 10-15 reps.

 

 

Bicycle Crunch: Three sets. Perform 10-15 reps.

Coconut Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

By: Snap Fitness

Fresh, sweet, and light tacos: it’s all here, and it will surely tempt you. Why? Because the cod filets are covered in a tasty coconut coating and topped with a colorful and sweet watermelon salsa. If that’s not enough to make your mouth water, it’s accompanied with avocado and sprinkled with cilantro. Need we say more?

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Coconut Fish

2 cod filets, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

Coconut oil

¼ cup coconut flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

½ teaspoon ginger

Pinch of salt

 

Watermelon Salsa

1 cup watermelon, cubed

¼ cup yellow bell pepper, diced

2 teaspoons lime juice

 

For Serving

6 small soft corn tortillas, warmed

½ avocado, sliced

Cilantro (optional)

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

Coconut Fish

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Coat the fish pieces in the coconut flour mixture.
  3. Heat 1/2 inch of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the fish pieces to the skillet and fry until the coating is a golden brown color, approximately two minutes.
  5. Flip and fry for an additional two to three minutes, until the entire coating is golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

 

For the watermelon salsa

Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl until combined.

 

For serving

  1. Divide fish and watermelon salsa evenly into warmed corn tortillas.
  2. Top with avocado slices and cilantro as desired.

 

 

 

How to Get Into a Morning Workout Routine

By: Snap Fitness

Sometimes staying under the warm covers can seem much more appealing then hitting the gym at the early hours of the day. However, exercising in the A.M. jump-starts your metabolism, and keeps you burning calories at a higher rate all day. Also, you get your exercise out of the way and don’t have to worry about not having time for your workout routine, should something unexpected come up during the day.

 

Try these seven helpful tips to help you get out of bed and into the gym.

 

Pack Your Gear
Before bed, set out your clothes, charge your iPod, and leave your shoes by the door. With everything ready and waiting, it'll speed you on your way. 

 

Make it a Date
Having a fitness buddy makes you obligated to show up for a morning workout. Make a weekly plan to meet at the gym early in the mornings. You’re less likely to bail out on a morning workout if you know someone is waiting for you.

 

Get Some Sleep
It’s much easier to rise and shine in the morning when you're truly rested. That means turning in 7-8 hours before you plan to wake. Shut off all your devices and lower the room temperature an hour before going to sleep. 

 

Move Your Alarm

Set your alarm across the room so you have to get up and out of bed to turn it off. Then, once you’re up, flip on the lights. Turn on some music to get you excited.


Tell the World

We're not suggesting you share every detail of your workout with the world but getting feedback and support from your social network can help assure your morning workout happen. Mention how you’re trying a class in the morning.

 

Make Breakfast a Priority
A small meal you can digest quickly that contains protein and complex carbs will fire up your brain and give you the energy you need to break a sweat. We suggest yogurt and fruit, peanut butter and apple slices, hard boiled egg, or whole grain toast.  

 

Super Sleep? Give it Time

When you first start morning workouts it may be hard for you to jump out of bed and exercise instead of hitting snooze. But after a week or two, your body will adjust to your early workout routine and it will be easier for you to get to the gym.

 

Now get some rest tonight and start your morning workouts tomorrow! Tell us #SnapNation: How do you get up in the morning to workout? Share with us on our Facbeook or Twitter accounts.

6 Ways To Maintain Weight Loss

By: Snap Fitness

If you’ve reached your weight loss goal or you’re striving to stay on track to lose more, follow these six easy tips to keep yourself from slipping back into old habits.

 

Fail to plan = plan to fail

Planning your meals for the week keeps you from grabbing unhealthy, calorie-loaded options or going out to eat. Plan and prep your meals for the week in advance to keep your food choices easy and seamless during your busy week.

 

Don’t skip breakfast

This meal sets the tone for your day. Eat a high-protein meal like eggs and vegetables to stay full until lunch. Also, if you make your breakfast the night before, you are less likely to grab a donut on your way to work!

 

Sip on success

One sign of dehydration is the feeling of hunger. If you feel hungry even after eating, try drinking a glass of water instead of snacking to relieve hunger pains. 

 

Stay motivated and active

Staying active for 30 minutes each day keeps your heart healthy and prevents weight gain. This can be anything from weight training to a simple walk around the neighborhood.

 

Be accountable and keep a food diary

The best part about tracking your foods is you can look back on previous weeks to see if you’re eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s important to hold yourself accountable because it builds a solid foundation for success.

 

Try new healthy recipes

Keep meals interesting by trying new foods and recipes. Head to a local farmer’s market and grab a vegetable you’ve never tried before or pick up a new cookbook for cooking light. We also have plenty of fun and healthy recipes here on our blog!

Posts 11 - 20 of 619