Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

How to Choose the Right Group Exercise Class...

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 02:25 PM
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Inevitably there comes a time in everyone's -Fitness Training when they get bored and hit a rut.  Most people are gung-ho in January as part of their New Year's Resolution to lose weight and get healthy.  But now it's May... four months later... and getting to the gym becomes difficult, and the treadmill and free weights seem downright daunting.  This is the perfect time to mix things up by trying some group exercise classes! 
But when it comes to group exercise, how do you choose what is right for you? There are so many options, from spinning to kickboxing to yoga to cross fit, and not everything works for everyone. This is the beauty of group exercise classes however, there is something for everyone.
Here are some tips and tricks that may help you decide what works best for you when it come to choosing a group exercise class.

* Pick a class that interests you.  If you like a good -Aerobic Exercise workout, consider a spin or kickboxing class.  If hard core intervals are your thing, try bootcamp or cross fit.  If your muscles are tight, try hot yoga for an increase in flexibilty as well as core strengthing.  BUT don't ever avoid a class because you don't  think you can physically handle it. 
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* Test your limits. NEVER avoid going to a class because you feel like you won’t be able to do it and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Everyone starts somewhere and no one was an expert at their first rodeo.  Additionally, it's the physical challenge and pushing your physicality that makes you stronger and fitter so embrace it!

* Sign up ahead of time and get there early. If you sign up and even have to pay ahead of time, you are more likely to attend the class. That gives you extra incentive to be there. And, getting there early gives you a chance to talk to other participants and get an idea of what they think of that class, instructor, etc. They can also give you some tips on what to look for at certain times during the class and most will even share some funny experiences of what their first time was like.

* Contact the instructor ahead of time. Sometimes, you can contact the instructor of the class ahead of time by e-mail or on their Facebook page. Try reaching out to them and letting them know you are interested in their class but want to know what to expect. Many instructors have a “first-class free” policy where you can try it to see if you like it and then go from there.

* Don’t expect to get it all the first time.  It’s OK to maybe fall behind a step or two or to just watch for a few seconds to figure out the move before continuing on with the rest of the class.  It's also OK to take a breather or water break if needed.

* Have fun! Remember to smile and have a good time. Exercise isn’t supposed to make you miserable and the instructor truly wants to see you smile. Yes, you are sweating and might even be out of breath but a quick smile or a random “Whoop!” during class is a totally welcome expression.  The bottomline is keep moving and don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.  You may find a new sport that you absolutely love.
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Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!
Get Started Today!
Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235
www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes, Weight Loss Center

Strength Training Improves Health and Increases Weight Loss

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 03:52 PM

Why Strength Train?

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Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns—including heart disease or arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.  Strength -Fitness Training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person's mental and emotional health.

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Benefits of Strength Training

There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly as you grow older.  It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

arthritis

diabetes

osteoporosis

obesity

back pain


depression

Arthritis Relief

Tufts University recently completed a strength-training program with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis.  The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical
performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the pain of osteoarthritis was just as potent, if not more potent, as medications.  Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls

As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and, in some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person's flexibility
and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.

Strengthening of Bone

Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results from a study conducted at Tufts University, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for
fractures among women aged 50-70.

Proper Weight Maintenance

Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy.  Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is
enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

Improved Glucose Control

More than 14 million Americans have type II diabetes—a staggering three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older
adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes. In a recent study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident.

Healthy State of Mind

Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. Currently, it is not known if this is because people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces a helpful biochemical change in the brain. It is most likely a
combination of the two. When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.

Sleep Improvement

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Healthy Heart Tissue

Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. One study found that cardiac patients gained not only strength and flexibility but also aerobic capacity when they did strength training three times a week as part of their
rehabilitation program. This and other studies have prompted the American Heart Association to recommend strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Research and Background About Strength Training

Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological aging clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, has many excellent health benefits—it maintains the heart and lungs and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance—it does not make your muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.

One 12-month study conducted on postmenopausal women at Tufts University demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two days per week of progressive strength training. The control group had losses in bone, strength, and balance.  Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures.

 

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!

Get Started Today!


Sincerely,

 Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202
 Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235

Tags: Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, Physician Weight Center, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, Weight Loss Center

Want Glowing, Beautiful, Youthful Skin? Try Exercise!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 @ 01:31 PM

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It's a known fact that exercise does the body good, but what about the skin?  Skin is an organ so it makes sense that exercise will help keep it healthy, youthful and glowing.  Discover the possible benefits working out has for your skin and how to maximize them.

The list of health benefits with regular exercise is endless.  It can decrease the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, some types of cancer and even mental conditions like depression.  Plus, it’s a great stress reliever. These are all good things – but what about your skin? Does exercise have benefits for the part of your body that’s the first to show your age?

Does Exercise Have Skin Anti-aging Benefits?

Looking for the magic anti-wrinkle cream or pill?  Save your money and try exercising instead.  Exercise can be beneficial to your skin because it helps keep inflammation in check.  Although you generate free radicals during exercise, your body becomes better at dealing with them so they’re less damaging. One reason exercise lowers the risk of chronic diseases comes from its ability to reduce inflammation and make your body more efficient at dealing with free radicals and oxidative stress.  Free radicals also damage collagen and elastin tissue that keeps your skin firm and youthful. Regular exercise may actually slow the skin aging process by helping your skin offset free radical damage. Be aware however that if you exercise outdoors and don’t wear a sunscreen consistently, you’ll accelerate the skin aging process by exposing your skin to damaging ultraviolet light.  Always protect yourself with SPF 35 or higher.

 Does Exercise Help or Hinder if You Have Acne?

Some people who have acne are afraid to work up a sweat. They’re convinced that sweating makes their acne worse. A study published in Pediatric Dermatology found no increase in acne outbreaks among exercisers who sweated during their workout. Another study carried out by Stanford University School of Medicine also found no link between exercise-induced sweating and acne. It also showed no link between the amount of sweating during exercise, time spent
sweating or the interval between exercise and showering and acne outbreaks.  Some people believe that sweating during exercise helps to open up clogged pores and release pore-clogging materials that trigger acne.

Here’s something to keep in mind. If you have acne on your body, avoid tight-fitting clothing when you work out. There’s a type of acne called acne mechanica that’s triggered by wearing tight clothing that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. If possible, wear moisture-wicking fabrics. Stress is an acne trigger for some people and a vigorous workout helps to keep stress in check.

Exercise Brightens Your Skin

Ever notice the glow your skin has after a workout? Exercise increases heart rate and blood flow, delivering more nutrients to the outer layer of your skin as well as the deeper layer called the dermis. It’s the increased blood flow and oxygen that gives your skin that post-exercise glow. Who needs blush after a workout?  No one!

Skin Conditions That May Be Aggravated By Exercise

For some people, exercise can aggravate certain skin conditions including rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. If you have rosacesa, exercise in a cool environment. Heat can worsen the redness and skin flushing that people with rosacesa experience. If you have eczema or psoriasis, wear lose clothing so sweat doesn’t build up. Sweat can aggravate both conditions. Be sure to moisturize before and after exercise.

Bottom Line

Exercise may have benefits for your skin that can help you attain that beautiful, youthful flow we're all looking for – but also be aware of the pitfalls... always use sunscreen when exercising outdoors and if you do have one of the skin conditions listed above, be aware of your exercise environment.  If you take the proper steps to care for your skin, it will radiate for you!

If you'd like to get healthy, exercise and have glowing skin consider a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.

 Get Started Today!

Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

 

 References:

Science Daily. “Caffeine and Exercise May Be Protective Against Skin Cancer
Caused by Sun Exposure, Study Suggests”

Pediatr Dermatol. 2008 Jan-Feb;25(1):126-8.

Medscape Medical News. “Exercise Does Not Appear to Increase Risk of Acne”

WebMD. “Skin Benefits From Exercise: Tone Skin, Collagen and More”

Tags: Personal Trainers, group excercise classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes

Lose Weight and Keep It Off with Weight Training

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 01:49 PM

 

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So you've lost the weight, and you're feeling great, but are you ready for the next challenge, keeping it off?  Staying consistent with your exercise routine, especially weight training exercise, might be the key to your continued success. 

A new study shows that consistent exercise can alter the body's response to weight loss and potentially stop unwanted pounds from creeping back on.  The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and offers good news about exercise and body weight.  Most Registered Dietitians will agree that to lose weight, you must reduce calories, whether you exericse or not.  Take in fewer calories than your body burns and you will lose weight.  The general rule of thumb is create a 500 calorie deficit in calories in vs calories out to lose on average 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Unfortunately, as you get smaller your body burns less calories because there is less of you.  So after losing weight, your body burns fewer calories througout the day than it did before, because you have less body mass using energy.  Fitness Training becomes imperitive during this stage of the journey.  Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to closely study the effects of exercise during that pivotal time just after someone reaches their goal weight.

They began by recruiting about 100 overweight, sedentary women, all of whom agreed to undertake a strict diet of only 800 calories a day.  The group was divided into thirds.  One third of the women were asked not to exercise at all.  Another third began a supervised cardio program consisting of about 40 minutes of walking/jogging on a treadmill three times a week.  The final third started supervised weight training three times per week.

Each woman, regardless of the group she was in, stayed on the 800 calorie diet until she lost 25 pounds.  At that point, she continued to follow the exercise instructions and transitioned for a month to a customized, supervised diet designed for maintenance. 

The findings... women in the non-exercise group didn't move much at all throughout their days.  The women who did cardio exercise continued moving throughout their days so the calories they burned outside of exercise was significant.  However the women who weight trained moved the most, movement felt easier for them and their bodies continued burning through calories more efficiently.  Overall, the data suggests exercise, particularly weight training, after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day thus burning more calories, and with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight gain.  It seems clear that weight training has a positive effect on weight management overall.

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.

 Get Started Today!


Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

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Why Strong Is The New Skinny....

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 04:26 PM

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No doubt you’ve heard the slogan, “strong is the new skinny.” For
years women have focused on losing weight, sometimes using unhealthy techniques
like extreme calorie restriction, excessive aerobic exercise and weight loss
supplements. The tide seems to be turning as more women discover the power
weight training has to transform their body – and their mind. Rather than
depriving themselves, they’re fueling their bodies with whole foods that build
strong, defined muscles. Why is this a good thing? Here are five reasons why
strong is better than skinny.

Strong is about Functional Strength

Strength isn’t just about building defined biceps and thighs,
it’s about developing the strength you need to do everyday things like moving
furniture, carrying heavy loads and shoveling snow safely and more efficiently.
This makes everything you do easier. How do you achieve this? With an
integrated approach to strength-training – compound exercises that work
multiple muscle groups simultaneously, bodyweight exercises and exercises that
mimic movements you do in your everyday life. It also involves strengthening
your core, the part of your where most of your power originates.

“Strong” enhances your life and makes you more functionally fit
and capable. “Skinny,” if it comes from calorie restriction, under-nutrition
and too much aerobic exercise, makes you weaker and less able to do your daily
activities without feeling fatigued. Of course, there are people who are
naturally thin but even naturally thin people can benefit from strength
training.

Skinny Doesn’t Mean
Firm

You’ve probably familiar with the term “skinny-fat.” It’s used
to describe people of normal or low body weight with a high ratio of fat to
muscle. If you fall into this category, you’re still at higher risk for type 2
diabetes despite not being overweight. Here’s where it gets interesting. A
study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found people
with type 2 diabetes that are under or at their ideal body weight have a
greater risk of dying from diabetes.

In contrast, research shows resistance training not only builds
strength – it increases insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar control.
One study showed men that weight trained at least 150 minutes per week lowered
their risk for type 2 diabetes by between 35% and 50%. Skinny won’t necessarily
improve your blood sugar but strength training will.

Skinny is No Guarantee of Health

A study recently showed people who are underweight are at as
high risk of dying as people who are obese. This conclusion was based on a
meta-analysis of 51 different studies. People with a BMI of under 18.5 were at
1.8 times greater risk of dying relative to people of normal weight. This
finding held up even after the researchers controlled for factors like smoking
and chronic disease. Using extreme calorie restriction and excessive aerobic
exercise to get skinny carries risks too. Women who fall into this category may
experience a drop in estrogen that leads to osteoporosis and infertility. The
scale can be deceptive. It’s not a measure of health.

Strong Helps You Age Better

As you age, if you don’t strength train, skinny turns to frail.
You begin losing muscle mass by the age of 30 and the loss greatly accelerates
after 50. From then on you continue to lose strength and muscle mass. Along
with loss of strength and muscle mass, you lose functional strength. This means
you can’t do the things you once could do with ease. Muscle isn’t the only
thing you lose. You lose bone density too. Your risk for falls and fractures
goes up – including the most serious type of fracture – hip fractures.

“Strong” that comes through strength training slows down muscle
loss and helps preserve bone density. Even if you’re still in your 20s,
strength training helps you maximize your bone density so you’re better
protected against osteoporosis later.

Self-Esteem

Resistance training builds self-esteem. When you’re strong you
feel more comfortable with your body and have a more positive self-image. This
transfers over to all aspects of your life. You’re more confident at work and
in relationships. Strength-training and the confidence that comes from it
improves all aspects of your life.

One study carried out at McMaster University found twelve weeks
of strength training significantly improved how participants (men and women)
viewed their bodies. Along with gains in strength and lean body mass came
improvements in self-esteem and body image. In this study, women felt the most
satisfaction from knowing they could lift heavier and do more reps as a result
of their training. “Strong” changes how you look – and how you think.

The Bottom Line?

Strong has lots of benefits that skinny doesn’t – even if you’re
naturally thin. Age brings changes that make “skinny” hard to maintain. Even if
you manage to maintain it, body fat increases and muscle mass declines with
age. This leads to a more extreme form of skinny-fat – sarcopenia. Sarcopenia,
or the age-related loss of muscle mass, is one of the most serious problems
older people face because it increases the risk for mortality. “Strong” can
help you avoid it.

 

References:

Science Daily. “Underweight people at as high risk of dying as
obese people, new study finds”

JAMA. 2012 Aug 8;308(6):581-90.

Diabetes Care August 2006 vol. 29 no. 8 1933-1941.

“Psychological aspects of resistance training” Michael H. Stone,
Meg Stone, and William A. Sands

Body Image, December 2005: vol 2: pp 363-372.

 

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, muscle conditioning classes, diet to lose weight, exercise classes, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Schedule Your FREE TRX Training Session Today!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 04, 2014 @ 06:17 AM

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Step Ahead's fitness director/certified fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, is offering FREE 30-minute training sessions next week only!  Call today to schedule your session 908-470-2235, timeslots are filling up quickly.

TRX training will blast calories and challenge your muscles and cardio endurance like never before in as little as 30 minutes.  If you're looking to jumpstart your weight loss goals and get fit before summer, train with us and TRX!

Pictured is our awesome client Julie demonstrating a TRX row during her training last night! For TRX questions or for more info email Noelle directly at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  For more information on our weight loss programs and specials visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Enjoy this Snowstorm with Calorie Burning Winter Sports... see the breakdown below..

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:41 AM

 

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Don’t let this snowstorm sideline you from exercising!  Stick with your weight loss goals by going outdoors today!  Take advantage of this beautiful winter weather with these calorie burning activities that can be done alone, or with your family and children.  For more fitness tips, contact Step Ahead Wellness Center's certified personal trainer and fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  Visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com to take advantage of our latest healthy weight loss specials!

 

 

Winter Sport

120-lb
  woman

150-lb
  woman

Skiing

273

340

Snowboarding

273

340

Snowshoeing

382

476

Cross-Country Skiing

436

476

Ice Skating

327

408

Ice Hockey

436

544

Winter Hiking

327

408

Shoveling Snow

273

340

Sledding

327

408

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Post Holiday Gain? Here Are Ways to Recover...

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 12:27 PM

 

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How to get back to your healthy habits after the holidays. Painlessly.

Article By: Erinn Bucklan

"By adding just 500 calories per day, or three homemade sugar cookies and a glass of low-fat
milk, you could gain two pounds in two weeks over the holidays," says Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, LD, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics.

Now the merriment has ended, here's how to get back on track to healthier habits in the New Year.

Up your fruit and vegetable intake

Ideally, you should consume at least five fruit and vegetable servings per day now. These vitamin-rich foods boost your fiber and antioxidant intake and help you feel full. A tip: Replace that midafternoon 16-oz. cola (200 calories) with an orange (65 calories) as a nutritious snack.

Pre-arrange exercise time

You'll stick to a regimen if you schedule exercise ahead, says Brad Cardinal, Ph.D., associate professor of sport and exercise psychology at Oregon State University. Try to get in 30 minutes almost every day. Wear a low-cost pedometer (it counts footsteps) or sign up for a charity walk/run to stick to a plan.

Resist depriving yourself

Focus on what you're going to eat rather than what you're not. "It sounds indulgent," says Colleen Thompson, R.D., a nutritionist at the University of Connecticut. "But concentrate on ways to feed
yourself now. It helps you to stick to healthy eating habits." For example, don't skip a nutritious, fiber-rich breakfast, like oatmeal or a half of a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter. It can help prevent overeating later.

 

For more tips, or for more information about Step Ahead Wellness Center’s weight loss
programs, visit us at www.stepaheadwellnescenter.com or call 908-470-2235.  Let us help you
get back on track and reach your weight loss goals in 2014!

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CARB BLOCKING SUPPLEMENT Now Available at Step Ahead Wellness Center!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 01:23 PM

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If you've been battling carb cravings, Step Ahead Wellness Center can help!  We are thrilled to announce a new carb blocking supplement called CARB CHECK designed to stop cravings for empty carbs that sidetrack your healthy eating goals.

Empty carbs can sabbatoge your healthy weight loss plans and keep you off track.  This new supplement can help you block your cravings for empty carbs thus allowing to stick with your healthy eating plan optimizing nutrition, keeping your sugar levels steady and allowing you to feel energized all day long.  Additionally

Carb Check contains a northern white bean that inhibits the breakdown of starch in the intestinal track, thus alleviating cravings for empty carbs. By blocking these empty carbs, you're energy/sugar levels remain steady throughout the day thus making it much easier to stick with your healthy eating plan, and your execise regime!

In addition to Carb Check, Step Ahead Wellness Center offers many other healthy doctor supervised weight loss plans including OptiFast, on site one on one personal training and small group exercise sessions also on site.

 Let us help you stay on your healthy weight loss track this holiday season and beyond!  Call today to learn more about Carb Check, and all of our weight loss programs:  Call 908-470-2235 or email drneiman@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

 

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Step Ahead's Health Tip for Today... Drink Water!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 @ 06:47 AM

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For more information on Step Ahead Wellness Center's healthy weight loss program and/or personal training/fitness programs, visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  Be sure to click on our special Holiday Giveaway! 

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