Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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November Super Foods

By: Snap Fitness

It’s that time of year again: the weather gets colder, and the desire for comfort food starts to kick in. Who can resist the temptation of creamy soups, cheesy pastas, and warm breads? Eating healthy as the winter months approach can be a daunting task, especially with the whirlwind of holiday cooking, parties, and eating- lots of eating.

 

Before you give up hope on your healthy eating plan, give in to our November Super Food roster. These nutritional superstars will leave you feeling full and satisfied without ruining everything you’ve worked so hard for.

 

Cranberries- Full of heart healthy antioxidants that fight bacteria in the body

 

Sweet potatoes- Rich in potassium and Vitamin A

 

Winter squash- Full of beta-carotene and Vitamin A

 

Apples- Fiber-full and rich in antioxidants

 

Brussel Sprouts- Great source of Vitamin K and iron

 

Pears- Packed with  Vitamin C and four grams of fiber per serving

 

Consider these “Super Foods” for an easy (and delicious) way to upgrade your diet and boost your nutrient intake this month. Carry on your good habits throughout the Holiday season! 

11 Safety Tips for Exercising with Diabetes

By: Snap Fitness

Source: American Diabetes Association

November is American Diabetes Month! Regular exercise can greatly improve diabetes, but before you get started you need to be safe. Here area few simple things you can do to help prevent injuries, dehydration, and hypoglycemia when exercising:

1) Talk to your health care team about which activities are safest for you.

Your health care provider’s advice will depend on the condition of your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, feet, and nervous system. Still, many people with diabetes can do the same activities as someone without diabetes.

2) Warm up for 5 minutes before starting to exercise and cool down for 5 minutes after.

Your warm up or cool down should be a lower intensity than the rest of your time exercising. This helps get your blood flowing and warms up your joints.

3) Avoid doing activity in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Choose indoor options when the weather is extreme.

4) Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity to stay hydrated.

5) If you feel a low coming on, be ready to test for it and treat it. Always carry a source of carbohydrate with you so you’ll be ready to treat low blood glucose. This is especially important if you are on insulin and have type 1 diabetes.

6) If exercising for an extended period (more than an hour or two), you may want to have a sports drink that provides carbohydrates. Be careful to check the nutrition facts though, you may need to water down the drink so that you don’t have too much, which can cause your blood glucose to spike.

7) Wear a medical identification bracelet, necklace, or a medical ID tag that identifies you as someone with diabetes in case of emergency, and carry a cell phone with you in case you need to call someone for assistance.

8) Activities should be energizing but not overly difficult.

Use the “talk test” to make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard. If you become short of breath and you can’t talk, then slow down. This is most important when you are just starting to increase the activity in your routine. As you become fit, you’ll be able to exercise at a higher intensity and chat with others while you do it.

9) Take care of your feet by wearing shoes and clean socks that fit you well.

You should also check inside your shoes before wearing them. Shoes with silica gel or air mid-soles are a good choice for weight-bearing activities like walking because they are built to reduce stress on your feet and joints. Socks that are made out of a material that reduces friction and pulls moisture away from your skin can also help protect your feet. Some examples are CoolMax, polypropylene, or acrylic (stay away from cotton).

10) Carefully inspect your feet before and after activity for blisters, redness, or other signs of irritation. Talk to your doctor if you have a foot injury or a non-healing blister, cut, or sore.

11) Stop doing an activity if you feel any pain, shortness of breath, or light-headedness. Talk to your doctor about any unusual symptoms that you experience.

Upper Body Tabata Workout

By: Snap Fitness

Tabata is a type of high-intensity training that moves very quickly. 

 

You perform an exercise at full intensity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat the pattern for a total of 8 times. One Tabata round will take 4 minutes.

 

Note: This type of workout is for the more advanced. For beginners, start with just 1-2 rounds and build your endurance up. Anyone with preexisting cardiovascular conditions should consult with a doctor first. 

  

Before you begin the workout, make sure everything is ready and that your equipment and weight is set. To help you keep on track, we suggest a Tabata Timer app.    

 

The Warm up:

 

Make sure to warm up properly by including 4-5min of a brisk walk, jumping jacks, elliptical, etc.

 

The Workout:

 

Perform the exercise at full intensity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat the pattern for a total of 8 times, then move to the next exercise.

 

1. Incline Press

 

2. Lat Pulldown (wide grip)

 

3. Machine Seated Chest Flyes 

 

4. Seated Row Machine

 

The Cool-down:

Your cool-down should include light walking or elliptical and light stretching. Because of the high intensity nature of a Tabata, make sure that you give yourself a day rest to allow repair and recovery of the working muscle, plenty of water, and a protein/carb combination as proper nutrition. 

My Snap Fitness Success: Melanie S. loses 70 pounds in eight months

By: Snap Fitness

Last September, Melanie new that she needed to lose weight, and told her husband that she wanted to join a gym. His response was less than encouraging.

“He told me not to join a gym that has long-term contracts since I probably wouldn’t go anyways,” she recalls. “That just motivated me even more.”

She joined the Snap Fitness in Jacksonville, Oregon since it was close to her home, business, and her daughters’ school. Once she got into a routine, Melanie started feeling stronger and looking better than ever.

“I worked out five or six times a week, just using the ARC trainer and some light weights. Then I moved on to free weights and started lifting more. I loved it!”

Between her new workout regimen and an improved diet, she’s managed to lose 70 pounds in the past eight months.

“It was a long, emotional battle and it messed with me sometimes, but I knew I could do it,” she says proudly. “I’m down from a size 16/18 to a 6/8. I love my new body and I love Snap Fitness who helped keep me motivated!”

Featured Recipe: Chewy Trail Mix Bars

By: Snap Fitness

Looking for a quick on-the-go snack? Preferably a snack that isn’t full of added sugar or processed ingredients? If so, these chewy trail mix bars are your ticket! These bars are a combination of sweet and chewy, full of whole grains, nuts, coconut, and the best part… dark chocolate. Not to mention they are really easy to make! 

 

Go ahead and give these a try. You won’t be buying pre-packaged trail mix bars again!

 

Ingredients:

makes approx 16 bars

1 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4th tsp salt

2 T granulated sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds

3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

 

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan combine; peanut butter, honey, vanilla, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients except for the chocolate chips (save the best for last).

4. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and mix well. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and stir in slowly. Be careful to not over mix, no one wants melted chocolate chips.

5. Place mixture into a 9” greased pan, patting down with moist hands.

6. Chill in fridge for an hour, or until hard

 

Hit the trail and enjoy! 

How To Perfect the Straight Leg Deadlift

By: Snap Fitness

 

Straight-Legged Deadlifts are an excellent exercise for improving strength, power, and overall tone in the glutes and hamstrings. 

 

With a  few key form points, you can perform this exercise as part of your overall strength training, or added into a challenging “Leg Day”. 

 

Using Bodyweight, Dumbbells or a Loaded Barbell, here are some points to keep in mind:

 

Things to Avoid: 

1. Rounded Back

2. Eyes looking down

3. Locking of knees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to perfect the deadlift:

1. Keep your back flat and your eyes forward

2. Push hips back to initiate movement

3. Keep knees soft, avoid locking them straight

4. Hinge forward until you feel a subtle stretch in the hamstrings

 

Jodi The Trainer's October 16th Facebook Live Chat

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Charles - Organic or GMO?

 

Charles – Personally, I choose organic whenever possible.  I made the switch a few years ago after reading “Wheat Belly”.  I would highly recommend the book and the motivation for moving to organic.

  

Traci - What exercises are best to lose my belly?

 

Traci – Losing belly fat is a combination of strength training (ab and core work), cardio for fat loss, great nutrition, and hydration.  Unfortunately, there  isn’t a particular exercise that will change your shape and decrease fat – go for an all-around approach!

 

Michael - How do you measure servings of fruits and vegetables? I'm more into weight gain than weight loss, specifically muscle toning and strength. I target upper body one day and lower the next. So I don't get sore. Should I do light work on the area that I'm not working on that day?

 

Michael - A serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium piece of fruit (like an apple or banana), 1/2cup of chopped fruit (like berries or grapes).   A serving of dried fruit is 1/4 cup and a serving of fruit juice is 6ounces. 

 

One cup of leafy greens is considered a serving of vegetables while ½ cup of raw or cooked root vegetables is a serving.  A 6ounce glass of vegetable juice is also considered 1 serving of vegetables.

 

As for strength training, especially when you are looking to build, I would give a muscle group at least one day in between to repair and recover.

 

Marwa -  I walk on treadmill almost every day between 30-40 min. but not noticing much benefit.  What is the best way to benefit from using the treadmill?

 

Marwa – Great job on being consistent but, it’s time to bring some variety to your workouts to prevent plateau.  I would encourage you to try treadmill intervals with either incline or speed.  The Treadmill interval workout from my blog noted here, is a great way to get started!

 

John - Im working with a trainer trying to bulk up my upper body. How many reps do you recommend per exercise and how many body parts per hour of training?

 

When looking to increase mass, you need to consider overall volume.  I would recommend 8-10 reps of at least 3-5 sets for each muscle group.  I would also choose at least 2 exercises for each muscle group.  When I am in muscle building mode (typically my triathlon off-season), I do the following split:  Day 1: Legs, Day 2: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps,  Day 3: Back, Biceps, Abs.  I do cardio mixed in there as well, I then take a rest day and repeat.  That might be a great option for you!

 

Melanie - I'm 20 years old,  5 '3, and currently weigh 123 lbs. I recently lost 25 lbs and am working to lose 8 more. I'm stuck and can’t seem to get anywhere at the moment. I eat a clean diet,  low fat,  lots of protein and veggies, and fruits. I exercise 4 times week. Any reasons I could be stuck?

 

Melanie – It’s always toughest to lose those last few pounds.  But ask yourself, do you really have more to lose or have you gained hard-earned muscle?  As you increase your exercise and boost your nutrition, your body composition has likely changed.  If you still have more bodyfat that you would like to lose, then make sure that you include high intensity interval strength training or cardio.  See my Treadmill interval blog to get yourself started with an example here.  Finally, mix things up with yoga or pilates as an additional day or two thereby increasing your workouts to 4-6x/week.  Good luck!

It's the Great Pumpkin (Workout)!

By: Snap Fitness

In celebration of the Fall season – why not grab the nearest pumpkin and build up a little strength?  This festive harvest season workout is designed with a little fun and fitness in mind.  Simply choose a moderate to heavy pumpkin and get moving – no excuses for not having equipment on hand!

 

Jack-o-lantern Jump

Set up your pumpkin and stand to one side.  Jump over the pumpkin from the right to the left – pulling knees up high for added challenge.  Shoot for 20-40 total jumps between each strength set below:

 

1. Pumpkin Overhead Lunge

Lunge back with one leg as you raise the pumpkin overhead – alternate legs and repeat overhead lift.  This exercise challenges balance, overall leg strength, plus tones the shoulders.

 

2. Pumpkin Patch Pushup

Place one hand on a pumpkin, one hand on the floor – complete 5 full pushups then repeat with the pumpkin on the other hand.  This offset stance challenges balance, chest, shoulders, arms and core strength.

 

 

3. Pumpkin Twist

Stand with Feet hip distance apart while holding the pumpkin in both hands at waist height.  Rotate the torso right, while pulling the right knee up – repeat on the left side, continue by alternating right and left.

 

 

4. Harvest Hoist

Hold the pumpkin in both hands, squat down and lower the pumpkin toward the ground, stand up through the squat by pressing through the heels.  Raise the pumpkin overhead – repeat.  This exercise works the hips, legs, core, and shoulders.

 

 

5. Gourd Getup

Place a pumpkin at your feet, squat down and place both hands on either side or top.  Jump feet back into a plank and complete one pushup, jump feet back to the pumpkin, pick it up and jump up!  Repeat for 5-10 reps.

 

 

 

No Tricks Healthier Treats for Halloween

By: Snap Fitness

It’s that time of year again! The streets will be filled with ghouls and goblins, pumpkins will be a-glow, and candy will be flooding our households. Boo! It’s Halloween! If you’re watching your intake of sweets, Halloween can be just as scary as it’s made out to be. We all know that if you have small children the sugar high is unavoidable. Luckily, with a little bit of nutrition ammo you can survive another Halloween without scaring your healthy eating plan away.

 

Here are a few alternatives to candy, saving you the extra pounds without losing the spirit of Halloween!

 

1. Trail of Terror mix- Get creative and put together a trail mix for your next Halloween bash. Combine dried fruit, nuts, and coconut for a healthy treat. You can also add dark chocolate chunks, since dark chocolate is good for the heart.

 

2. Fruit- Small fruits such as Clementines are great for healthy snacking, plus they’re portable.

 

3. Granola bars- Full of whole grains, most granola bars are low in sugar and high in the good stuff like fiber. Look for seasonal granola bars, such as pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon.

 

4. Instant oatmeal- Low in fat and calories, and full of soluble fiber. Try our favorite, banana walnut.

 

5. 100 calorie snack bags- For most of us it’s about portion control. The perfect way to get a taste of your favorite snacks without going overboard

 

6. Sugar-free gum- This will make your body and your dentist smile, literally. Plus it comes in fun flavors like watermelon, bubble gum, tangerine.

 

Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare for the big day on October 31st. Just because its Halloween doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with your eating plan. Sure, a trick or treat is good every once in awhile; just make sure you choose wisely.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

My Snap Success: Daniel H. Drops 70 lbs. in 7 Months

By: Snap Fitness

Daniel H. was never a “health nut.” He was always active, balancing two part-time jobs, sports and academics all the way through high school, and his father owned a construction business, meaning Daniel’s afternoons and weekends were jam packed full of manual labor. Still, he never watched his diet or thought about what he ate. Fortunately for him, his active lifestyle canceled out those calories and kept him in decent shape. Then one day, it all changed.

 

Five months after graduating high school, Daniel’s parents bought a local grocery store, and he traded in his long days of working in the sun for a new job that came with a cozy chair and air conditioning.

 

“I was sitting behind a cash register all day, just eating anything and everything I could possibly want,” he explains. “Then about two months later they opened a pizzeria in the store, and the eating continued. Next thing I knew I had gained more than 60 pounds.”

 

Realizing he needed to make changes, Daniel tried dieting on his own. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick.

 

“I would go on a diet for a couple of weeks, then break down and end up gaining twice the amount I had lost,” he says. “At one point I was really low, and thought ‘I’m miserable when I’m dieting, but I’m happy when I’m eating. Who cares if I’m fat?’ which was a bad place for me to be.”

 

That’s when Daniel joined the Snap Fitness in Lockport, N.Y. and finally got on a workout and eating plan that were right for him.

 

“Snap Fitness helped me shatter my old habits,” he says proudly. “I’ve lost over 70 pounds in the past seven months, and created a new life for myself. I’ve never felt better.”

 

When it comes to getting started on the path to losing weight, the first step is always the hardest. But just like Daniel experienced, having the right group of people around you can make a world of difference.

 

“I want to thank the Snap Fitness crew for helping me get back in shape. They’ve been great, and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

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