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Fitness for all! Find serious strength and cardio workouts, motivation, and fitness information for new gym-goers and veteran lifters here.

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Roasted Peach and Tomato Gazpacho

05/04/2016

Let’s say it together: gazpacho! It’s a Spanish-style soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables. This isn’t your average soup, though. Gazpacho is traditionally served cold. This recipe comes from Lauren at “Making Life Sweet” and features a variety of flavors. With tangy roasted peaches, cool cucumbers, and fresh cherry tomatoes, this soup will start your fiesta off right for Cinco de Mayo!

 

INGREDIENTS

4 large peaches, halved
1 ¾ cups cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
½ sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


For garnish:
Olive oil
Fresh basil
Additional chopped peaches, tomatoes and cucumber


INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the tomato and peach halves on a baking sheet and roast until slightly tender, about 10 minutes.


2. Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Place mixture in the fridge and let cool before serving. You can also eat gazpacho warm, but traditionally it is served chilled. It’s totally up to you!

3. Ladle gazpacho into bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Top with basil and additional chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and peaches if desired.

 

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

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May Plyometric and Abdominal Challenge

04/29/2016

Rev up your metabolism with this high-intensity workout that pairs simple movements together for major results. Our monthly challenge will help burn your lower body and abs – the perfect type of strength training before swimsuit season.

 

The movements below are featured in our monthly calendar that you can download here.

 

BURPEE

The burpee – a crazy intense workout on its own. Master it by starting in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet to the squat position and vertically jump into the air.

 

V SIT-UP WITH WEIGHTED BALL

Lie flat on on your back with your arms fully extended over your head holding a weighted medicine ball. Your legs will be fully extended together roughly six inches off the floor. As you exhale, bend at the waist while simultaneously raising your legs and arms to meet in a “V” position. The legs should be extended and lifted at a 45-degree angle from the ground and the arms should be extended and parallel to your legs. You upper torso should be off the ground as well. Lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.

 

ATOMIC PUSH UP

We’ll take push-ups to the next level with this move. Start in a push-up position with your arms extended and hands about shoulder-width apart. You should be on your toes with legs fully extended and feet together. Bend your elbows and move your body down to the ground. Make sure your abs and glutes are tight and keep your body in a straight-line. Once your chest is one inch from the ground, extend your arms and drive your hands into the ground as hard as possible. Done properly, you should generate enough force and power to allow your hand to come off the ground by about three inches. Land flat on your hands with a little flex in your elbows to absorb some of the shock.

 

SIDE PLANK

Lie on your side with your legs extended straight. Place your forearm on the ground at a 90-degree angle then elevate your body off the ground, forming a diagonal line. Rest your other hand on your hip. Once you are in position, lower your hip straight down to the ground and pause for one second about one inch from the ground. Bring your hip back to the starting position and make sure to tighten your glutes and abs at the top.

 

STAR JUMPS

To start, stand tall in a vertical position with your arms by your side and knees slightly bent. Driving your feet into the ground to create power, jump up into the air extending your arms and legs out from your body. You’ll look like a star, hence the name of this exercise. Land softly with your knees together and hands by your side. Make sure to keep your abs tight and back straight.

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Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Bowls with Coconut Rice

04/27/2016

Pineapples are at the top of our list this spring! Don’t be intimidated to slice the pineapple lengthwise for serving, but be careful. Our recipe creator Lauren of “Making Life Sweet” said it was easier than she anticipated – and it’s just oh-so-beautiful. Prepare yourself for an oasis of flavor. A pineapple packed with chicken, bold flavor, vegetables, and coconut rice cannot be outdone!

 

Serves: 4

382 calories per serving | 21g protein | 20g fat | 33g carb

 

Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Bowls with Coconut Rice 

INGREDIENTS
2 chicken breasts
¾ cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
1 pineapple, halved
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ orange bell pepper, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ onion, diced
½ cup broccoli, chopped

For the coconut rice:
1 ½ cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 ¼ cups water
1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
1 teaspoon sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place chicken, ½ cup of teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and coconut oil in a resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to coat.
  2. Place bag into the refrigerator for 24 hours before grilling.
  3. Prep pineapple bowls before you begin cooking by setting the pineapple on its side and carefully slice it in half lengthwise. Remove fruit with a pairing knife and grapefruit spoon, then set aside. Reserve ½ cup of pineapple chunks and place the rest in a storage container in the refrigerator.
  4. For the rice: In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes until rice is tender.
  5. While rice is cooking, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Add bell peppers, onion, broccoli and reserved pineapple chunks and stir-fry until slightly softened, about five to seven minutes.
  7. Preheat grill to high heat and lightly oil grill grate.
  8. Remove chicken from bag and grill each side for six minutes until juices run clear when pierced.
  9. Let chicken cool on a cutting board and cut into one-inch cubes.
  10. Place chicken, rice, stir-fried fruit, and vegetables and remaining ¼ cup teriyaki sauce in a large mixing bowl and stir until combined.
  11. To serve in pineapple bowls, fill each half with equal amounts of the chicken and rice mixture. Eat out of the bowls or scoop onto plates.

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE
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Member Success: Michael Drops Over 100 Pounds!

04/26/2016

In 2009, Michael weighed 340 pounds. At 6’ 5’’, he had 40.1 percent body fat and a 54-inch waist. Numbers like that put him in high risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, and other medical issues that ran in his family. “My father who passed away that year triggered a reality check of leaving my wife as a window and single mother over something I have the ability to manage: my health,” Michael said. “Realizing it was just a matter of time before I experienced an early death like my father, I made the bull-headed decision to do my best at bettering my health.”

 

Michael admits he had a general idea of what good health and fitness looked like. He started by cutting back on sweets and soda. However, Michael knew he needed to educate himself on nutrition and hold himself to a consistent, regular exercise routine if he wanted to take control of his health.

 

That brought him to Snap Fitness last March. Michael credits the staff at both the Gainsville, VA and Bealeton, VA locations. “The staff is great. Derreck and Lance are some great guys and really know how to encourage others,” Michael said. The clean, friendly environment was also a big draw in helping Michael stay dedicated to his workouts.

 

We’re proud to say Michael found a perfect fitness routine and diet! He’s come a long way since 2009. He’s lost over 100 pounds! Beyond that, he’s lost inches around his entire body; his chest measurement went from 51.5” to 44”, his hips went from 50” to 40”, and his waist went from 54” to 34”. “I physically feel 120 percent better,” Michael said. “I’m able to walk the stairs in my home without gasping for air. In short, I’m able to enjoy life in more abundance.”

 

Fitness has become such a passion for Michael that he wrote a book on his fitness journey, “Drop Weight Daddy.” Next up for Michael is becoming a personal trainer. He became certified two months ago, and his current goal is to pay it forward and help others who want to take control of their health. 

 

Way to go, Michael! We are so proud of you and the strides you’ve made. Keep moving and inspiring Snap Nation!

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5 Ways Exercise Boosts Your Brain Power

04/22/2016

Let’s start with the obvious: exercise does wonders for your body. As little as 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your health. From losing weight to building muscle, fitness is a key part in helping people become the best versions of themselves. The positive effects from working out aren’t limited to your body, either. 

 

Regular exercise brings big-time mental benefits. No matter what how old you are or what your fitness level is, exercise improves your brain function. Who can say “no” to that? Think of what amazing things you can accomplished with a well-functioning and positive mind! So, what specifically does exercise do for your mental state? Below are the top five ways working out boosts your brain power.

 

Reduces Stress

Ah, stress. It happens to everyone. It could be a tough day at work, home, or out and about. Exercise builds levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate how your brain responds to stress. If stress is weighing you down, a solid sweat session at Snap Fitness is what you need!

Reduces Anxiety

Working out also helps with anxiety. The endorphins that are released with you exercise not only make you feel happy, they can calm you down. We recommend a nice jog or run to clear your mind if you’re feeling anxious. That energy will be replaced with a much more relaxing one!

Increase Your Confidence

Regular exercise will have you looking and feeling great. It boosts your self-esteem, which is so important. Next time you’re in the gym, check yourself out in the mirror. Look at how strong you are! Strength comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but we love them all in Snap Nation.

Sharpen Memory

Do you have a big presentation or exam coming up? Don’t skip your workouts! Exercise boosts your memory and ability to learn new things. Review your notes or materials before and after your workouts. The added focus will help you prepare.

Spread The Feel-Good Vibes!

A positive attitude is contagious. Extend your fitness routine to include group classes or activities. Running around the lake before coffee? Yes! A pick-up game of softball after work with friends? You bet! You can inspire your crew to work harder and have more fun. We call that a win-win.

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Glorious Breakfast Cookies

04/19/2016

You know you’re winning when delicious ingredients come together in a cookie that you can eat for breakfast (without guilt). Great for grab-and-go, a snack between classes or at work, and even a post-workout treat!

 

These breakfast cookies are naturally sweetened with honey and almond butter. That’s not all, they’re packed with feel-good ingredients like protein powder, rolled oats, banana, raisins, and more!

 

 

Recipe makes 16 cookies.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup almond flour

½ cup shredded coconut
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (we suggest Clean Vitamins protein powder)
½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger

1 ripe banana
½ cup grated carrots
2 dates
2 tablespoons almond butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

¼ cup raisins

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place one cup of the rolled oats in the bowl or a food processor and blend until it becomes oat flour.
  3. Place oat flour, remaining rolled oats, almond flour, shredded coconut, vanilla protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and mix until combined. Set aside.
  4. Place banana, grated carrots, dates, almond butter, maple syrup and coconut oil in food processor and blend until combined.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
  6. Fold in raisins.
  7. Form dough into 16 cookies and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE
Read more

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