Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK... STARTING JUNE 4... RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

We are so excited to offer this new weekly POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH IN THE PARK CLASS all  Summer long.  It's been a long winter so now let's take it outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.  Contact Step Ahead Wellness Center's fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for more information and/or to sign up!   

describe the image

Tags: jumpstart diet, Sari Greaves, quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, how to lose weight with diabetes, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, OptiFast, Yoga classes, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, best weight loss, lose weight fast

Recipe Corner: Brie Cheese & Avocado Quesadillas

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

brie quesadillaDid you know that an average restaurant quesadilla packs 1,000 calories!We gave this classic Mexican dish a skinny makeover. Spicy arugula and creamy avocado blends beautifully with the creamy aromatic cheese. For a crunchy & sweet element, substitute the avocado with a sliced Gala apple.

 

Ingredients        

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

3 (100-calorie) whole grain tortillas

3 ounces of Brie Cheese, rind removed and sliced

½ avocado, sliced

3 cups baby arugula

Nonfat plain greek yogurt (optional for dipping)

 

  1. Stir mustard and cider in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with 1 ½  teaspoons of mustard mixture. Place tortilla in pan and arrange 1/3 of cheese slices over half of tortilla. When cheese melts, arrange 1/3  of avocado slices over cheese and top with 1 cup arugula.
  3. Fold tortilla in half and cook 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from pan.
  4. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with Greek yogurt as dip.

 

Makes 6 servings, 3 quesadillas (serving size: 2 wedges): 132 calories

Tags: diet, Sari Greaves, HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, quick weight loss, Healthy Recipes, online nutrition, weight loss goals, diet to lose weight, healthy entertaining

AMP UP YOUR ENERGY WITH THESE PRE-WORKOUT SNACKS!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 05:42 AM

describe the image

PRE-WORKOUT SNACKS TO REV YOUR ENERGY LEVEL!

If you’re trying to lose weight or sculpt your body, you know that quality workouts are essential. However, it can be tough to hit the gym if you don’t fuel up beforehand. You should always eat something nutritious as a way of preparing your body. Here are six pre-workout snacks to boost your energy level:

1. Greek  yogurt

With nearly twice the protein of regular yogurt, the thick and creamy Greek version will leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. It will digest slowly and steadily so you can keep your strength up throughout your entire workout. Try indulging in a cup of this smooth, velvety treat before you train and you’ll likely experience a drastic rise in that get-up-and-go
feeling.

2. Raw almonds

If you’re heading to the gym right after work, you may not have access to a fridge. That means you might want a good source of protein that you can eat at room temperature. Raw almonds are the perfect pre-workout snack for those on the run. They’re lower in calories than most varieties of nuts and can easily be packed in a baggie or reusable container. A handful can even be slipped in your pocket as long as you’re not afraid of a little lint. It’s a portable, protein-packed snack to munch to prepare you for your exercises.

3. Bananas

Forget anything negative you may have heard about bananas. When you’re working out on a consistent basis, you need some good carbohydrates to keep you going. Plus, the high amount of potassium bananas contain will help replenish your muscle function as you go along. That can help combat the soreness and stiff joints that typically accompany a hard workout.

4. Oatmeal

Whole-grain oats are an excellent way to get your pre-workout fiber fix. Have a small bowl of oatmeal about 30 minutes or so before training to allow time for the complex carbs to work their magic. They’ll break down slowly in your body so you’ll feel energized from your warm-up to your cool-down. You can even stir in a bit of nut butter for an added boost of protein and tasty burst
of flavor.

 5. Smoothie

Smoothies are great pre-workout snacks since you can put in any healthy ingredients that your taste buds desire. Almond milk or yogurt could serve as a delicious base to get you started. Then, blend in some wholesome fruits like strawberries, pineapples and papayas. If you’re trying to build muscle, you can throw in a scoop of protein powder as well. The fiber from the fruit will digest quickly so you’ll feel an energy jolt moments after gulping everything down. A smoothie is a nice selection if you don’t have time to wait for slow-moving foods to make their way through your system.

6. Eggs

When you think of having a snack, eggs probably don’t immediately come to mind. However, these staples of the breakfast table are a solid choice no matter what time of day you work out. Try slicing a hard-boiled one over some kale or a piece of whole-grain toast. The protein of the egg along with the fiber of the greens or bread will help you power through your exercise routine.

Anyone with a weight-loss goal or a desire for a toned body knows how important it is to work out. In fact, it’s often the key to seeing results on the scale. However, you’ll never be able to tackle all that gym equipment if you don’t put the right fuel in your body. By eating one of these beneficial pre-workout snacks, you’ll get the energy you need to sustain you as you sweat
it out. These tasty options will help you work off those pounds and build up those muscles!

For more fitness tips contact our fitness director/certifified fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com and visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
for our latest weight loss programs and specials and for weight loss tips.

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, weight loss newsletter, losing weight fast, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Nutrition, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, diet to lose weight, Weight Loss Center, appetite suppressants, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Step Ahead's Fitness Director, Noelle Lusardi's, Rainy Day Workout!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 06:34 AM

Don't let today's rain sideline your fitness routine.  Below is a heart pounding, calorie blasting indoor workout that's sure to rev your metabolic engine.  Enjoy!

 

untitled (3)

 

For more fitness tips contact our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, directly at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com and visit our website www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for all of our weight loss tips and weight loss program specials.

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, new weight loss drugs, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, online nutrition, OptiFast, Doctor, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, best weight loss, diabetes and weight loss, lose weight fast

Spring Challenge at Step Ahead... Earn a Fit Bit!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 04, 2014 @ 06:45 AM

Get Paid to Lose Weight with Step Ahead!

We will reward you as you progress and meet your ongoing weight loss goals with our "Cash for Fat" program. 

The ultimate reward is a FREE Fit Bit!  See our full rewards program below.  Call today for more information, 908-470-2235.  And visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for all of our weight loss programs and specials.

describe the image

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, jumpstart diet, meal plans, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, new weight loss drugs, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

Schedule Your FREE TRX Training Session Today!

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

unnamed (4)

unnamed (5)

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!

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, new weight loss drugs, Diet and Nutrition, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, Nutrition, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, weight loss goals, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, diet pills, exercise classes, lose weight fast

Step Ahead Brings Fitness Classes to Local Companies!

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 12:16 PM

unnamed (3)unnamed (2)

Our fantastic Yoga Instructor, Alyssia Saporito, takes employees at Peapack Gladstone Bank through another week of great classes!

Interested in bringing fitness classes to your company?

Call today for details -- 908-470-2235, or email our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

 

Let us bring fitness to you!

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, Diet and Nutrition, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, personal training, weight loss goals, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

'Tis The Allergy Season... here are some tips to ease symptoms during outdoor exercise

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

 describe the image

The key to exercising outdoors with allergies is to be prepared. Here's a quick checklist of things
that any athlete with allergies should know.

  • Check your calendar. Pollen seasons are predictable, although they might vary by a few days from year to year. So if you know that you're allergic to ragweed, oak, or other outdoor allergens, find out when the season starts in your area. Once you know, you can prepare. You can start taking your medicine before the pollen flies -- and you can anticipate problems by practicing the other tips below.
  • Check the weather. Information about your local pollen level is available on the Internet or in your local paper. If pollen counts are supposed to be particularly high on a given day, you can play it safe by staying inside. In general, pollen counts are highest on warm and breezy mornings and low on cool and rainy days.
  • Choose the right time of day. According to many experts, the time of day you choose for outdoor exercise matters. Choose morning or late in the evening because most pollens reach peak levels around noon or early afternoon.
  • Sometimes, opt for less intense activities. If the pollen count or pollution levels are high, skip your usual jog or bike ride and
    choose a less intense form of exercise. Why? The more stressful the
    exercise, the faster you breathe; the faster you breathe, the more allergens nd irritants you inhale. So instead, do stretching exercises, or yoga, or weight training. Any of them will give you a workout without increasing your risk of allergy symptoms.
  •  Protect your eyes and lungs. To block pollen and other irritants from getting into your system during outdoor exercise, some people exercise with a mask or bandanna over their nose and mouth. Another trick is to wear goggles to protect your eyes from irritation from allergens.
    looks of passers-by -- it's not a bad idea.
  • Change your clothes and shower after outdoor exercise. During pollen season, your clothing and hair could be covered with pollen.  So when you get home, it's not a bad idea to strip off your clothes and toss them in the laundry. You could also take a shower to rinse off any allergen left on your skin or in your hair.
  • On bad days, exercise indoors. Most of the time, exercising outdoors should be OK. But sometimes, when pollen counts or ozone levels are high, or the weather is so cold that it irritates your lungs, exercising indoors can be a good temporary solution.

For more fitness tips and/or weight loss tips, contact our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  For our latest weight loss program specials, visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

RELIEVE SORE MUSCLES... WITH MASSAGE OR MORE EXERCISE?

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 06:45 AM

untitled (16)

MASSAGE OR MORE EXERCISE TO RELIEVE SORE MUSCLES?

For some people, feeling sore after exercise is a badge of honor, although an
uncomfortable one. Muscle soreness after exercise is a sign you’ve worked your
muscles harder than they’re accustomed to. Fortunately, the pain is
self-limited and will typically go away within five to seven days. What should
you do in the mean time? Take a break and relax with a massage or move your
sore muscles?

Massage versus Exercise for Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,
researchers looked at the effect of massage versus exercise for relieving
delayed-onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. They induced muscle soreness
in a group of 20 healthy females by asking them to do eccentric exercises
involving their trapezius muscles. Eccentric exercises, where the muscles are
lengthened against resistance, are the most damaging to muscle fibers. They’re
more likely to cause muscle soreness than concentric movements where the
muscles are shortened against resistance.

As expected in this study, the participants experienced soreness after
their eccentric workout. Massage or exercise – which was better for easing the
soreness? They both were. Researchers found massage and active exercise using
resistance bands were equally effective for reducing muscle soreness in the
participants. There was only one downside. The relief was temporary, lasting
only about an hour for both modalities. Still, this study suggests you’ll get
just as much benefit actively exercising your muscles when they’re sore as you
will passively massaging them

Why Moving Your Muscles Helps DOMS

No one knows EXACTLY what causes DOMS. One theory is exposing your muscles
to higher tension than they’re accustomed to causes structural damage that
repairs itself within a few days to a week. Another theory is overloading
muscle tissue increases the temperature of the muscle. This rise in temperature
causes structural damage that leads to pain and soreness. Other sources believe
DOMS is related to accumulation of metabolic waste products. If this is the
case, moving muscles when they’re sore should help mobilize and eliminate some
of the waste products.

Why do eccentric movements where you lengthen the muscle cause more
soreness? When you exercise a muscle eccentrically by lengthening it as you
“brake” it, you activate fewer muscle fibers than you do with a flexion or
concentric contraction where you contract the muscle against resistance. With
an eccentric movement, you’re placing equivalent force over a smaller number of
muscle fibers. This causes more tearing and stretching of muscle fibers – and
more pain. Examples of eccentric contractions are lowering a barbell or running
downhill. In both cases, you’re lengthening muscles in a controlled manner.

Other Treatments for Delay-Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS has been the focus of considerable research in hopes of finding
treatments that helps the discomfort. Some that have been tested and not shown
to work include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, low-intensity laser treatment,
pulsed electrical current and acupuncture. Modalities that show promise based
on small studies include whole body vibration therapy, ice-water immersion,
low-level heat wrap therapy and moist heat. One study showed supplementing with
branched-chain amino acids reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness in
participants doing squats.

For most people, DOMS is self-limited, regardless of how it’s treated. Most
people don’t need expensive therapies that may or may not work. Ice packs work
reasonably well for easing the discomfort. Some people use non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications but it’s not clear how effective they are for
DOMS. They also have side effects.

Should You Keep Exercising?

There’s no evidence that exercising with DOMS delays recovery. In fact,
based on the study above, moving sore muscles offers temporary relief from the
discomfort and is as effective as massage for short-term relief. On the other
hand, it’s a good idea to reduce the intensity of your workout. Research shows
muscles that are sore due to DOMS lose up to 30% of their strength. Trying to
maintain the same workout intensity with sore, overworked muscles could alter
your form and increase your risk for injury. That doesn’t mean you can’t
exercise at a lower intensity.

Stretches and resistance exercises using bands or light weights with higher
repetition will get blood flowing through your muscles and temporarily reduce
the discomfort. Yoga is another form of exercise that may help. A study
published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed yoga,
even a single session, helps to ease post-exercise soreness due to DOMS.

Although DOMS is more common in people who are untrained, even trained
athletes and bodybuilders can get it when they increase the intensity or
duration of their workout or work untrained muscles. Once you’ve developed one
bout of post-workout soreness involving a muscle group, that muscle group
develops some degree of resistance to further soreness or damage that lasts for
weeks to months. You may experience soreness if you change the intensity of
your workout but it won’t be as uncomfortable or last as long as the initial
bout.

 The Bottom Line?

You may be tempted to take it easy when your muscles are sore after a tough
workout but a little movement will make them feel better. Stretching exercises,
yoga and resistance exercises using light weights or resistance bands all work
well. Listen carefully to your body. If a movement causes pain, it’s a sign you
need to lower the intensity or switch to stretching exercises. The good news is
the soreness will go away on its own in about a week.

For more fitness information please contact our fitness director/certified
personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

 

References:

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27(12): 3352-3359, 2013.

Medscape Reference. “Postexercise Muscle Soreness”

ACSM.org. “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness”

More Magazine. “Muscles Sore, They Shouldn’t Be”

J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Nov;18(4):723-9.

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, quick weight loss, losing weight fast, new weight loss drugs, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

Lose Weight with Yoga!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Mar 04, 2014 @ 10:17 AM

describe the image

 

Yoga and Weight Loss: What Does Research Show?

Just crunching the numbers it wouldn’t seem like yoga would help with
weight loss. More traditional forms of yoga only burn about 200 calories per
hour session. While every bit of activity counts, that’s not a lot of energy
expended for the time you spend doing it. On the other hand, power yoga burns
between 300 and 400 calories per session.

Despite the fact that you don’t expend as many calories during a yoga
session as you do with high-intensity boot camp workouts or other
metabolism-boosting workouts, yoga may still give you a “leg up” when it comes
to shedding body fat. In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute,
researchers looked at the impact of yoga on body weight. They surveyed a group
of over 15,000 men and women regarding their exercise habits and their weight
between the ages of 45 and 55. In this group of healthy people, yoga seemed to
offer weight control benefits. Participants that were carrying a few too many
pounds that did yoga lost about 5 pounds while those that didn’t gained an average
of 14 pounds over a ten-year period.

How Does Yoga Help with Weight Loss?

Yoga seems to have benefits for weight control, but it may not be related
to calories expended. Experts believe the answer may lie in yoga’s ability to
increase body awareness. People who practice yoga become more in touch with
their bodies and learn to deal with internal sensations like hunger in a
healthier way. As a result, they eat more mindfully.

For example, when eating a meal, people who eat mindfully develop a greater
awareness of when they’re full and stop eating more quickly as a result. In
fact, a study looked at how yoga affected eating habits by asking people
questions that measured how “mindfully” they ate. The average BMI (body mass
index) was lower in those that practiced yoga. In addition, a lower BMI was
associated with higher scores on for mindful eating.

When people eat mindfully, they’re more likely to make healthy dietary
choices. You learn to appreciate the taste of whole foods and to be satisfied
with smaller amounts of food. That can certainly help with weight control.

The Stress Relief Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a form of relaxational exercise. It activates the parasympathetic
nervous system, the system that opposes the sympathetic or “flight or flight”
nervous system that causes you to feel anxious and “stressed out.” It also
increases your heart rate, blood pressure and raises your blood sugar level.
The parasympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the “rest and
digest” portion of the nervous system because it promotes calmness and
relaxation. If you feel anxious or “stressed out”, you’re probably getting too
much stimulation from your sympathetic nervous system. Yoga helps to
re-establish balance between the two systems, thereby easing stress and
anxiety. Yoga also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that increases
abdominal fat when it’s chronically elevated.

The Stress Relief Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a form of relaxational exercise. It activates the parasympathetic
nervous system, the system that opposes the sympathetic or “flight or flight”
nervous system that causes you to feel anxious and “stressed out.” It also
increases your heart rate, blood pressure and raises your blood sugar level.
The parasympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the “rest and
digest” portion of the nervous system because it promotes calmness and
relaxation. If you feel anxious or “stressed out”, you’re probably getting too
much stimulation from your sympathetic nervous system. Yoga helps to
re-establish balance between the two systems, thereby easing stress and
anxiety. Yoga also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that increases
abdominal fat when it’s chronically elevated.

What does this have to do with weight loss and mindful eating? A number of
people are stress-eaters that mindlessly munch on comfort snacks to help them
feel better. Comfort snacks are usually high in sugar and calories. By
relieving stress, yoga may help with weight loss and weight control. Having a
high cortisol level not only impacts your waistline – it can damage your
health. Yoga is a natural way to lower your cortisol level.

Yoga can also be a complement to a more demanding, calorie-burning fitness
routine. It’s a good recovery workout for the day after a high-intensity
training session. Plus, yoga helps to stretch the muscles you work during
strength-training session. This reduces muscle tightness and the risk of
injury. Just as you need a balance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic
nervous system, you need balance in your workouts too.

 Increase the Calorie Burn

If you want more calorie burn, power yoga is a more invigorating workout
that burns more calories and works up a sweat. On the other hand, don’t think
every workout has to be a fat-scorching, calorie-burning session. Your body
will benefit from some sessions that are more relaxing. Again, it’s all about
balance.

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Yoga can be a part of a successful weight loss program, especially when you
alternate it with higher intensity exercise sessions. It’s like yin and yang –
they balance each other and help keep you balanced. Yoga can help change your
mindset, how you think about food, and help you eat more mindfully. It also
relieves stress and even changes the relationship you have with your body. There
are lots of reasons to add yoga to your fitness schedule whether you’re trying
to lose weight or simply maintain.

For more fitness tips/advice, contact our Fitness Director and Personal
Trainer Noelle Lusardi at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

 

References:

Science Daily. “Regular Yoga Practice Is Associated With Mindful Eating”

WebMD. “Yoga for Weight Loss”

Yoga Journal. “Tame Your Stress”

Endocrine Society. “ENDO – Feeling Stressed? Try Yoga”

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, jumpstart diet, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, weight loss goals, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center