Remember when protein bars were few and far between? It wasn’t that long ago when they seemed like a novelty in the grocery aisle. But those days are long gone. Today there are entire aisles of protein bars. So how do you choose? Let us help. Keep these six things in mind and you will be well on your way to finding the perfect protein bar for you.
- High-Quality Protein. When selecting the best protein bars, the more protein, the better, but only if that protein is good quality. Look for a minimum of five grams per bar. The best proteins to look for are milk and whey.
- Low Sugar. Make sure your bar has no more than eight grams of sugar per serving. Bars with low sugar will prevent your blood sugar from increasing, which will prevent your body from producing too much insulin, which can lead to unwanted fat storage. Eating as little sugar as possible is the best way to prevent this.
- Limit Carbs. Excess carbs are quickly converted to fat and can cause cravings so make sure to pick a low-carb bar.
- Calorie Control. For women, the bar should contain between 140 and 200 calories; for men, between 170 and 300 calories. For some of the bigger protein bars, this may mean cutting it in half to avoid too many calories. Caveat: calories aren’t all bad. There is no need to fear them, especially after exercise when they can speed up your recovery. But they key is not to overeat and consume just what you need.
- Be Wary of Artificial Sweeteners. To get a delicious tasting bar without sugar, many bar manufacturers use artificial sweeteners. Many artificial sweeteners, despite being calorie free, are unhealthy. They can cause cravings and an unhelpful insulin response. Many artificial sweeteners also cause headaches, joint pain, and problems with concentration. Best to avoid artificial sweeteners.
- Look for Healthy Fats. A low-fat diet is not necessarily a healthy diet. In fact, some dietary fat is good. Omega three and omega six polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are important. However, high amounts of saturated fats contain a lot of unwanted calories, which is the last thing you want in a protein bar. Look for bars that contain healthy fats but are low in saturated fat. Aim for a bar with less than three grams. While saturated fats are OK in small amounts, trans fats are not. Make sure your bar has no trans fats. Pro tip: hydrogenated vegetable oils are a common source of trans fats.
“My dad has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis for 21 years now. From 1988-2008 he worked as a police officer in Irvington, New York where he retired due to the decline of his health. In 2009, our family moved to Port Orange, Florida, where he met his best friend and personal Trainer, Joe Elam, at Snap Fitness New Smyrna Beach. Although He may not physically be able to walk or do your average activities, he finds time every Monday and Wednesday to push himself and push me. Because of his strength and motivation he's brought to my life and many others, Snap Fitness New Smyrna Beach would never be the same without his big smile and determination.” -Peter's daughter, Jackie Carelli
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups 1:1 gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
¾ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/3 cup blueberries
2 sliced strawberries
1/3 cup blackberries
- Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 10-inch round pan. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Scrap the sides of the bowl and then stir again briefly.
- Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Press dough into round pan* and use a spatula to separate dough from the edge of the pan, which makes removal easier.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden.
- Let crust cool and remove it from the pan.
- Use a spatula to spread Greek yogurt evenly across the top of the crust.
- Decorate fruit pizza with berries.
- Optional: garnish with lemon zest and honey.
- Place in fridge and let set for 20 minutes before enjoying.
*For a thinner cookie crust, only use ¾ of the dough and save the rest for making cookies.
I was always a heavier kid growing up, but by the time I was 25 I was well over 250 pounds. I ended up getting food poisoning and when I went to the doctor I was surprised that they were far less concerned about my immediate illness. Instead they were much more concerned that I was pre-diabetic. I decided then and there that I needed a change in my life. Not understanding how diet and exercise work, I immersed myself in health and fitness and worked incredibly hard to get down to 150 pounds in ten months.
Since then, I have fallen in love with strength sports and have begun competing in strongman and powerlifting competitions. I feel better than I ever have in my life and it's now my passion to help others achieve THEIR fitness goals.
There is nothing like summer. Who are your favorite summer artists? There are no wrong answers, if it’s something that keeps your feet moving, you’re listening to the right songs!
It’s well-known that music can be a highly important motivator for exercise. Music can be a key ingredient to wellness. There are many reasons for this. Research consistently finds that listening to music provides a healthy distraction from the pain of a workout. One study even suggests that music can benefit athletic performance by up to 15 percent. The rhythm of your workout music is shown to stimulate the motor area of your brain, thereby aiding self-paced exercises such as running or weight-lifting. By paying attention to these signals, it helps us use our energy more efficiently, since keeping a steady pace is easier on our bodies than fluctuating through a workout.
To help you get your groove on, we’ve made our summer Spotify playlist. We’re hoping that these songs will help you in your workouts. But by all means, make your own playlist. It’s the time of year for good vibrations so get out there and enjoy yourself!
We all know that some workouts feel better than others. But when rough ones stack up it can affect your motivation. Next thing you know you’re hardly going at all. It’s important to break that pattern and get back into a healthy routine. Here are five ways to keep you smiling as you head to the gym.
1. Take a Class. We’re all social creatures and there is often valuable energy to be gathered by exercising with other people. And it’s a fun way to make friends! On the days you may not be feeling your peppiest, it can be motivating to look forward to seeing friendly faces.
2. Don’t Worry About Being Perfect. It can be easy to beat yourself up about not hitting your exact time or getting your reps done to your complete satisfaction. Or you see someone next to you burning it up and you suddenly don’t feel great about your performance. Don’t let those things get you down. Remember to enjoy the process and revel in how it feels to work your body. Let that be its own reward.
3. Do What You Enjoy. This may sound like advice from Captain Obvious but it’s so true. If you always enjoy hitting the Stairmaster, but are hit and miss on the Elliptical, then focus on the stairs. Yoga may be your thing, so bring your mat and water bottle. Weights are rewarding. Put on those gloves. Do what energizes you love and build from there.
4. Timing Is Key. The time of day can be a big factor in whether you consistently look forward to working out. Some love to start the day with a burn. But if you’re not a morning person, that can be a slog. Maybe you’re a noon-hour person? Or you enjoy working off the stress of the day after work? Find out what works with you and stick with it. Not everyone’s clock works the same.
5. A Little Is Better Than Nothing. Some days you have a million things going on. It happens. But do keep your commitment to hitting the gym. You may need to scale back your workout on a given day— maybe do 30 minutes instead of 45 — but there are still so many health benefits to even brief appearances. On days when your phone is blowing up, give yourself that break in the day. By the time you’re done you’ll be ready to walk out the door with newfound calm and clarity.