It's easy EATING GREEN this summer with a few cooking secrets from the kitchen of Registered Dietitian, Sari Greaves. Leafy greens are nutritious superstars jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. They pair well with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Feeling creative? Try any of the following savory toppings with 3 simple steps:
1) Pick your green: spinach, swiss chard, kale, mustard, or collard greens
2) Boil 8 oz. until tender (baby kale takes about 30 seconds), or steam for about 2 minutes.
3) Drain well and toss with any of these delicious toppings!
Serving size: 1/4 of the recipe (green + topping)
Melt In Your Mouth Mushroom Topping:
In a large skillet, saute 1/2 lb. sliced cremini mushrooms in 2 Tbs. olive oil until well browned, 5-7 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce and 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute. (110 calories per serving, mushrooms are a good source ofthe antiaging antioxidant selenium)
Sizzling Sausage Topping:
Remove 4 oz. chicken or turkey sausage fro the casing. Saute with 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes in 1 Tbs. olive oil, breaking sausage up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper. (140 calories per serving, packed with 8 grams of filling protein)
Crunchy Nut & Garlic Topping:
Slice 5 cloves garlic, then saute in 2 Tbs. olive oil with 1/4 cup pecan or walnut pieces until garlic is lightly golden , about 1 minute. Season with 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper. (110 calories per serving, the garlic & heart-healthy nut combo can help bring down your blood cholesterol)
Sesame Delight Topping
Whish together 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1 Tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce, and 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar. Garnish with 2 Tbs. sesame seeds and 2 tsp. grated bottled or fresh ginger.
(100 calories per serving, sesame seeds offer heart-healthy package of vitamins, minerals, and oils)
Recipes adapted from Nutrition Action Healthletter, June 2013 issue.
Got a question or suggestion? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hungry for More?
Call Step Ahead Wellness Center today at 908-470-2235 to learn more about our sizzling summer weight loss and fitness specials!
Who doesn’t want to burn more fat during exercise? It’s the muscle we want to hang on to. Unfortunately, too many people get stuck in a “cardio rut” where they do the same hour or more of steady-state cardio a few times a week. If you fall into this category, you’re getting cardiovascular benefits but your body quickly adapts to doing the same repetitive movements at the same intensity and burns less fat during your cardio sessions. Even long distance runners who run 90 minutes or more a day can put on body fat if they never alter the intensity of their workouts.
Here’s the good news. According to researchers at the University of Guelph, doing a few sessions of high-intensity exercise each week can increase the amount of fat you burn during those steady-state cardio workouts. How so? Engaging in a little high-intensity activity turns on fat-burning mitochondrial enzymes that help you break down and use stored fat as energy. What could be better than that?
High-Intensity Interval Training and Its Effect on Fat-Burning
Researchers asked a group of healthy participants who regularly engaged in recreational exercise a few days a week, like walking, swimming and weight training, to do seven high-intensity training sessions over a two week period. During these sessions, they did four minutes of cycling at 90% of their V02 max followed by two minutes of rest for a total of four sessions. These sessions took about 25 minutes total and they did them 3 days a week for two weeks.
The results? After only 2 weeks of high-intensity training, the participants experienced significant improvements in their ability to break down and oxidize fat. In fact, their capacity to burn fat increased by almost 30%. These changes took place doing only 1.5 hours of high-intensity training a week. Plus, they experienced improvements after only 14 days of training. High-intensity training is time expedient!
What does this mean? If you’ve hit a fat loss standstill with your steady-state cardio routine, incorporating a few sessions of high-intensity interval training into your routine each week can jump start your fat-burning engines. In this study, high-intensity interval training increased the capacity of mitochondria inside cells to use fat for fuel by increasing enzymes that oxidize fat.
Other Benefits of High-Intensity Exercise
There are other reasons to add high-intensity interval training to your exercise routine. High-intensity training boosts aerobic capacity, or V02 max, more than moderate-intensity training – and it’s a real timesaver. The beauty of high-intensity interval training is you can expose your body to higher total work load during a training session by allowing your body short periods of recovery time so you can up the intensity again during the next active interval.
Research shows that high-intensity training is more effective for improving V02 max (aerobic capacity) than moderate-intensity exercise. Most research shows it also improves aerobic capacity more quickly than moderate-intensity training. It’s ideal if you’ve reached a certain level of fitness through steady-state exercise and want to make further fitness gains.
There are other advantages as well. High-intensity exercise is superior for improving body composition, reducing belly fat including visceral abdominal fat, the kind that’s linked with a greater risk for heart disease and type 2-diabetes. When you do high-intensity exercise even for short periods of time, your body has to expend more energy to recover. This boosts your metabolic rate for hours afterwards. This effect is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. You’ve probably heard this referred to as the “afterburn.” You get a greater afterburn with high-intensity exercise compared to exercise at a moderate-intensity.
Then there’s the boredom factor. Doing the same thing at the same intensity for an hour or more can be mind numbing. High-intensity intervals give you something new to focus on. Even if you continue to do steady-state cardio, adding a few high-intensity sessions weekly to your routine can help you further improve your aerobic capacity, increase your lactate threshold so you tire less quickly and increase your body’s capacity to burn fat when you’re doing steady-state exercise.
You may discover you prefer shorter, high-intensity workouts to long periods of moderate-intensity exercise. The disadvantage of long, steady-state cardio is it can lead to muscle breakdown and loss of the muscle tissue you worked so hard to get, especially if you don’t consume enough carbs and protein. You’ll still get superior cardiovascular and metabolic benefits with short, high-intensity interval workouts along with less muscle breakdown.
The Take-Home Message
If you haven’t tried high-intensity training, it could be just what you need to break through a plateau, lose weight and achieve a higher fitness level. You can do high-intensity training in a variety of ways, using most pieces of exercise equipment or no equipment at all. The key is to maximize the intensity during the active periods to the point where it’s difficult to say more than a word or two and then allow your body to recover until the next active interval.
For more great fit tips, contact our fitness director/personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at email@example.com.
Thinking about trying Yoga... now is your chance!!
We are thrilled to introduce our brand new 6 WEEK BEGINNERS YOGA SERIES at Step Ahead.
Our certified Yoga Instructor, Alyssia Saporito, will be teaching basic yoga poses to focus on proper alignment from the ground up. As the series progresses, you'll learn the break down of Sun salutations, mountain pose, warriors poses, balances, prop instructions, and basic Sanskrit names. This basic knowledge will give you a safer, stronger practice as well as build confidence to take public yoga classes anywhere!!! Don't miss out!
Classes will take place Tuesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 and 6:30-7:30 beginning June 25!
Space is limited and classes will be capped at 3 so please email Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com asap to reserve your spot, or call Noelle at 908-470-2235.
WEIGHT MAINTENANCE: 3 Hormones That Make It Easy to Regain Weight Once You’ve Lost it!
Once you’ve changed your eating habits and reached your ideal body weight, there’s a new challenge, keeping it off. The reality is most people who successfully lose weight gain it back. Not that you’re destined to regain the weight you lost but there are physiological factors that work against you after losing weight including the effects of hormones that control your appetite and metabolism. Here are the key hormones that make it harder to maintain your weight after losing it.
You’re probably already familiar with leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that tells your brain what your energy status is. When there’s plenty of fat energy stores around, leptin sends a signal to a portion of your brain called the hypothalamus. This signal says you’re well fed. As a result, your appetite is subdued and you aren’t tempted to raid the refrigerator or the nearest vending machine.
Why does leptin make it easier to put weight back on? Leptin levels drop when you take in fewer calories, skip a meal and when you lose weight as your body senses low energy stores. When this happens, you wage a battle with hunger. To make matters worse, leptin affects your metabolic rate too. When leptin levels are low, your metabolism slows down. So you have two things conspiring against you when your leptin levels drop – increased hunger and a slower metabolism. Not a good combination.
Once you’ve lost weight and resumed a less restrictive diet, do your leptin levels return to normal? Not necessarily. Researchers at the University of Melbourne found a group of obese people who lost an average of 14% of their body weight still had low leptin levels a year after stopping a low-calorie diet. Other bad news. The participants gained back half of the weight they lost even though they followed a maintenance diet.
Leptin isn’t the only major hormone that controls your appetite – there’s ghrelin too. Ghrelin might best be called the “hunger hormone.” It’s secreted by the lining of the stomach and small intestine and plays a role in controlling hunger on a short-term basis. When you haven’t eaten a meal for a while, ghrelin levels rise and they fall after eating. But ghrelin has a longer term impact on weight control too. Research shows that ghrelin levels over a 24-hour period are higher after a person loses weight. That leads to an increase in appetite and makes it hard to avoid overeating. Ghrelin is another player that works against you when you’re trying to maintain your weight after losing it.
Hormones produced by your thyroid, T4 and T3 control your metabolic rate. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone and it goes down with calorie restriction and after you’ve lost weight. As you might expect, this slows down your metabolic rate so you burn fewer calories. One reason thyroid hormone levels drop is your body adapts to a lower calorie diet by slowing down the rate it uses energy. That kind of adaptation can make your life harder.
A study showed another possible reason thyroid hormone levels drop after weight loss. You have toxins safely sequestered inside your adipose tissue. Here, it’s stored without harming your body. When you lose body fat, these toxins are released into the bloodstream. Researcher found that organochloride compounds released from fat cells with weight loss seems to decrease levels of T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. This causes a drop in metabolic rate that makes it easier to regain the weight you worked so hard to lose.
How Do You Fight Your Hormones?
Even though appetite hormones like leptin and ghrelin make it more difficult to control your appetite, you’re still in control. The best kept secret for weight maintenance is exercise – both aerobic and resistance training. Research consistently shows that people who exercise are more successful at maintaining a lower weight once they lose it. When you resistance train you get the added benefit of increasing your lean body mass. This helps to offset any slowdown in metabolism as a result of the weight loss. Some studies also show that exercise helps with appetite control, especially high-intensity exercise.
Here’s another suggestion. Keep a food journal so you become aware of mindless eating and snacking. It’s easy to let down your guard after you’ve reached your goal weight and go back to your old eating habits. As a result, the pounds slowly creep back on.
It’s also important to weigh twice a week, first thing in the morning, and make modifications to your diet based on your weight. Take a proactive approach – respond quickly to weight changes, exercise regularly and keep a food journal to keep you on track. You can be a successful loser and keep it off. It takes discipline, motivation and self-awareness but it’s worth it.
For more fitness tips, contact our fitness director/personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.
FOR THE DAD WHO HAS BEEN THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!
Thank Dad for being there, from your first steps across the living room to your next steps in life. This Father’s Day, help him track his own steps with Fitbit, available at Step Ahead!
Email our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, for more info and/or to purchase this great gift for Dad!
Step Ahead’s Summer Special: Connect your body with cutting-edge fitness & nutrition technology
Buy a PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGE TODAY and receive…
FREE Fitbit fitness/nutrition tracker
FREE body composition analysis
FREE nutrition consultation
Offer expires July 1st, 2013
Call us today at 908-470-2235 or
Meal Replacement Type Diets (like Optifast) Make Weight Loss Easier
A new study out of the International Journal of Obesity, shed light on the advantage of using meal-replacement type diets for more effective weight loss. The study highlighted the benefits of meal replacement diets in making the weight loss process easier for three simple reasons. These types of diets help because:
- They give you less options which can be helpful at meal time
- They are more regimented which help keep you in a “grove” daily
- They remove the foods that are “triggers” for people and increase cravings
The study found that people in meal replacement diets lost a larger percentage of weight and lowered their BMI(Body Mass Index) to a greater degree compared to people in a low calorie meal plan. The weight loss was not always more rapid, but it was more successful.
This study is further support for programs such as Optifast that offer a healthy, high protein and low calorie meal replacements for dieters. Optifast, which is offered at Step Ahead Wellness Center, is a well rounded, high protein and nutritionally enriched meal replacement that can be used as a total dietary choice or in combination with low calorie meals. The high protein content of Optifast helps to lower hunger and cravings and makes it easier to stick to a low calorie meal plan every day.
At Step Ahead Wellness Center, we have found that meal replacements, such as Optifast, are ideal for those individuals with busy work schedules or travel schedules. It promotes a more easy method to stay within a low calorie goal while meeting the other challenges of your daily routine. At the same time, this type of meal replacement plan helps people understand the lower amount of calories that they actually need throughout the day. This makes it much easier to transition into a maintenance program with lower portions and lower calories that you can stick to and keep the weight loss off successfully.
Meal replacement diet plans are not for every person looking to lose weight, but for those who chose to use them, they have been found to be safe and very successful. Find out more information about Optifast and meal replacement options at our website, www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.
Six ingredients, sensational recipe! (and you may already have the lemon, pepper, and olive oil in your kitchen pantry!) Who says Memorial Day weekend has to be limited to hamburgers and hot dogs? These mouth-watering scallops add a sweet element to kick-start beach season! If you enjoy outdoor entertaining, you can also cook the scallops on a grill lightly brushed with olive oil. (use a specialty seafood pan for the grill so scallops don't slip through the grates!) If you are in a time crunch, check out my shortcut version at the end of the recipe. - Sari Greaves, RDN Nutrition Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Makes 4 servings; 240 calories per serving
2 Granny Smith Apples
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
12 large sea scallops (about 1 lb.)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper, garlic powder (other seasonings: Chinese Five Spice Powder)
Equipment: Simple blender, mesh sieve
1. Core one apple and cut into small cubes. Place in a blender with lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Puree until smooth.
2. Strain juice though a mesh sieve into a small bowl. Peel, core and cut remaining apple into 1/4" cubes and add to bowl.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with pepper and garlic powder. Cook scallops until golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
4. Add butter to skillet. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add reserved apple mixture and cook, stirring often, until juice is thickened and apple pieces are tender, about 4 minutes. Spoon over scallops.
* Shortcut version: For a sauteed apple topping instead of a glaze, core and cube apples. Skip steps 1 & 2. After scallops are cooked, add butter to skillet, and simply saute apples until fork tender, 4-5 minutes.. Spoon over scallops.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2013
Hungry for more? Call Step Ahead Wellness Center today at 908.470.2235 or email email@example.com to learn about our May promotions and discousnts for weight loss and fitness programs!
Step Ahead's certified Yoga Instructor, Alyssia Saporito, offers private one-on-one yoga training based on your specific needs, skill level and wants. If you've been looking for a personalized Yoga routine to strengthen, stretch and relax your mind and body, call or email us today!!
Our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-470-2235.
Give the Gift of Health this Mother’s Day…
Step Ahead Wellness Center’s
Weight Loss Special designed especially for your mom.
Offer expires May 15th, 2013
One simple step, BIG benefits…
* Make an appointment by May 15th and receive 25% off any personal training, exercise class, Optifast package, or visit with doctor & nutritionist.
* Offer includes a FREE Calorie Counter handbook!
Call us today at 908-470-2235 or