Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Hot Weather Exercise Tips!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 02:50 PM

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Summer is here, and many exercisers like to leave the gym behind and spend their exercise time outdoors. For others, when the temperature's high, motivation can be low. Plus, you have the excuse that exerting yourself might be dangerous! Sorry but these are not valid excuses.  You can still walk, jog, or bike without suffering sunstroke. Just take these precautions:

Drink up before you're thirsty. Once you start craving water, you're already 3 percent dehydrated. To avoid that, drink two to three cups a few hours before you work out. Ten minutes before, have another cup — and one cup every 15 to 20 minutes while you're exercising. If you're a swimmer, follow the same plan — just because you're surrounded by water doesn't mean it's keeping you hydrated.

Eat often. Dieters often count on summer heat to kill their appetite — but exercising without enough fuel is dangerous. No one's suggesting a huge plate of pasta. But if you're going to work out, snack throughout the day on lettuce, carrots, grapefruit, and apples — all great hot-weather picks because they're naturally filled with water.

Avoid high-heat hours. Hit the streets before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Another stay-cool tip: Run or walk on dirt paths instead of sun-absorbing pavement.  Or try a water activity such as, paddleboarding, surfing, swimming and snorkeling.

Sport the right gear. To deflect, not absorb, the sun's rays, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Try cotton or "wicking" fabrics, which move sweat away from your body, or these GHRI-tested sun-safe clothes. And don't forget your head: A hat or visor with a four-inch brim will best protect your face.

Slather on sunscreen every two hours. SPF 30 or higher is recommended. Burns aren't just bad for your complexion; they also raise your body temperature.

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!

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931

Tags: Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, group excercise classes, weight loss insurnace coverage, Physician Weight Loss, health fitness advice, Weight Loss Center, Step Ahead Wellness Center, weight loss success


Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 07:49 AM

Need to lose a few pounds before Spring but the long, cold winter days are leaving feeling unmotivated and “blah”?  There is a way out!  Get yourself on track to a happier, healthier you this winter by setting short-term goals for yourself. 

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Be realistic, your ultimate goal is making lifestyle changes, not just temporary adjustments.
Giving yourself plenty of time to accomplish your goals will allow you to adjust to one change before diving into another, therefore breaking up one big challenge into several smaller ones. This makes it easier for you to commit to your new lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed.

Your first goal may be to exercise regularly and drink more water.  Keeping up the motivation
to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult.  However, in addition to losing pounds, regular exercise will help you lose the winter blues as well.  Exercise is proven to improve mood, mental clarity and emotional well-being. 
So don’t let the weather slow you down… get out from under that blanket, and keep moving!  Participating in the 10,000 Steps Program is an example of ensuring you get enough exercise each and every day.

A second short-term goal example is eating cleaner.  Cut out some refined sugar and eat more fresh fruits, vegetable and whole grains.  Eating clean will give you the energy you'll need to stay in motion and beat the winter blues.  Unsure about how to prepare fruits/vegetables during the winter months when they are not as fresh and plentiful, consider scheduling a consultation with a Registered Dietitian.  He/she can give you some great tips/recipes that will both warm you up and trim you down this winter.

Keeping a food and exercise journal is another great short-term weight loss goal.  Whether it’s a video journal, online journal, or a spiral notebook, keep track of your goals and your time frames. This will help you stay organized and will remind you of your focus. The journal will also allow you to look back at previous mini-goals so that you can see the progress you have made.  And you can write down future goals to stay motivated and excited to tackle your next challenge/goal.

The best part of setting short-term goals...REWARDS.  Besides being proud of yourself for setting and accomplishing your goals, you should also treat yourself every single time you successfully accomplish your goal!  You earned it!!!  Your reward should not be food-related, but instead something that will make you feel pampered. If you reached your goal of toning your arms, buy yourself a sleeveless top.  If you drank 8 glasses of water each day, go get a manicure.  You get the idea!  Your rewards should be tailored to fit your needs. They should be something that will drive you to work harder and then make you feel as though it was worth all of the work. Great rewards will motivate you to stick to your diet and exercise goals, and they will make the road to your overall success even sweeter.

As you accomplish goal after goal, the only thing you’ll “gain” is a healthier, better, stronger and more successful YOU!  You  have nothing to lose but old habits and extra pounds!  If you want to try working with short term goals this winter and can procrastinate until Feb 16th, consider our 10 POUND TAKE DOWN WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE.  Give us just one month and we’ll melt up to 10 pounds off of  your body and put you on the fast track to lean, healthy and magnificent…
quickly, safely and naturally with no gimmicks!  You’ll receive a customized diet plan and weekly personal training sessions as well as all support from our certified staff.  Click the link below to sign up!

10 pound take down challenge

Don’t want to wait until Feb 16th, we can offer you a customized program anytime so you can get started Today!  Learn about Step Ahead Wellness Center's personalized weight loss plans created by a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.


Get Started Today!





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


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

Tags: jumpstart diet, beat winter blues, medically supervised weight loss center, Physician Weight Loss, personal training, lose weight fast

Physician-Assisted Weight Loss without the Worries

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 09, 2014 @ 11:33 AM

For some, a successful diet is a simple as setting a goal and a plan, for others, weight loss takes more than picking a day on the calendar and setting to work.For some, weight loss is as quick and worry free as taking a few extra trips to the gym or simply cutting back on meal portions. However, what works for one person may not work for another.

Whether it’s because of their metabolism or their lifestyle, it seems that some people just have an easier time shedding the pounds and keeping them off.

The question is, how can you lose weight without excessive worry?

In answer to this question, a lot of people turn to the next big diet of the day or to an advice book. Unfortunately, they don’t always work. When the big fad diets and even good (if generic) healthy living tips fail you, there’s still hope.

Physician-Assisted Weight Loss

The problem with major fad diets and other weight loss programs is that they’re designed to work for the broadest possible audience. This means that they cannot ever truly address the needs of specific individuals.

So, if generic diet programs don’t work for you, and you don’t want to have to resort to invasive surgery, what can you do to safely shed excess weight without worry?

You can get real help from a trained physician who won’t just throw basic advice your way, that’s how.

By going to a real physician, you can get a personalized weight loss program that is tailored to your specific needs. When you use a physician’s weight loss program after they’ve run a comprehensive assessment of your diet, metabolism, and lifestyle, you’ll get a comprehensive solution to your weight loss needs.

With the help and guidance of a real weight loss expert, you’ll start seeing results quickly.

Keeping the Weight off (with a little help)

Another one of the big problems with fad diets is that even when they do work, weight is often quickly regained once the “diet” is over.

We’ve seen it time and time again: clients come to us for a weight loss solution after their previous diet ended and they ballooned up to more than their original weight.

The best way to combat this problem is to commit to a long-term solution that offers you support after your initial weight loss goals are met and you’re back to a healthy BMI. This way, you can keep the pounds off once you’ve lost the weight.

By using a physician-assisted program, you’ll get the support you need to not only lose excess pounds, but keep them from coming back after you hit your goal.

Other Advantages of a Physician-Monitored Program

Beyond creating a specialized diet and exercise regimen that will address your specific needs, a Step Ahead Wellness Center physician can help you reach and maintain your goals by prescribing dietary supplements and appetite reducers. These additional supplements can make it easier to maintain your diet while ensuring that you keep getting enough nutrition.

Find out how you can take advantage of a physician-assisted weight loss program from Step Ahead Wellness today!

Start Losing Weight Now

Tags: Weight Loss, medical weight loss solutions, Physician Weight Loss


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 14, 2014 @ 03:31 PM

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One of the most dangerous lies of mainstream weight-loss advice
is the notion that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and if the number of
calories you consume is fewer than the number you burn, you will lose weight.

Many struggle with their weight, even as they follow this
advice. They count calories and exercise, yet the numbers on the scale never
budge. Or even worse: the numbers grow higher.

The laws of physics correctly say that if you burn more calories
than you consume you will eventually lose weight. This is a scientific fact,
but hidden in this fact is your metabolic rate is not a static number and the
food you eat as well as other factors can cause your metabolism to fluctuate
throughout the day and over longer periods of time.

These and other factors make accurately determining your
calories burned very difficult.

When combined with overly optimistic and often incorrect
calories consumed as well as thyroid and hormone issues, it easy to see why so
many people calculate calories needed to lose weight wrongly.

 Fat Storage is a Complex Metabolic Process

The idea that you will successfully lose weight if you eat less
and exercise more is continually disproved, but is still often repeated as

Fat storage–how much is stored, where it is stored, and how much
is used as fuel for the body–is determined by the actions of a variety of
enzymes and hormones. How your body processes the nutrients that become fat is
based on genetics and the foods you choose.

You can see evidence of this fact in the people around you: A
pregnant woman’s hips and thighs increase in size, even if she’s usually slender.
One person is thin and struggles to gain weight, while another person is
overweight in spite of hours in the gym and skipped meals.

The foods you eat, especially those that elevate blood sugar
levels, have a tremendous impact on how much fat is burned and how much is
stored. This is why low-carb diets are so effective. These diets eliminate the
foods that spike your blood sugar and promote the release of fat-storing

The Source of Calories Matters

Does it make a difference if you take in 100 calories from a
cupcake or the same amount of calories from chicken breast? Research shows that
the answer is a resounding “yes”.

All carbohydrates convert to glucose (sugar), but some are more
easily digested. This means that, compared to other carbohydrates, they elevate
blood sugar levels higher and for longer periods of time.

Foods like wheat and other grains, sugar, starches, and
dehydrated fruits are the easiest to digest and boost your blood sugar levels
sky-high. Insulin comes in to bring down those levels by storing the sugars as
fatty acids in your fat cells.

Fructose, the sugar contained in table sugar, high fructose corn
syrup, and agave nectar, travels straight to the fat cells. It is much better
at adding to body fat than either glucose or starchy foods.

In spite of its repetition by nutritionists and doctors
everywhere, a low-calorie diet and physical activity do not guarantee weight
loss. All calories are not created equal. Certain foods, like wheat and
starches, stimulate insulin production that leads to fat storage. Sugars not
only stimulate insulin, but also go straight into your fat cells. Remove these
foods from your diet and replace them with high-quality nutrients found in
animal proteins, vegetables, and fruits for the most effective way to lose
excess pounds. To get started, the next time you go grocery shopping purchase
as many whole foods as possible and start reducing your purchase of processed


For more fitness information contact our fitness director/certified fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at




Taubes, Gary. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the
Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease. New York: Knopf,
2007. Print.

Corbett Dooren, Jennifer. “Not All Calories Equal, Study Shows.”
WSJ Health and Wellness. Wall Street Journal, 26 June 2012. Web. 3 July 2012.

Hallfrisch, J. “Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fructose.” The
FASEB Journal 4.9 (1990): 2652-660. Print.



Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Weight Loss, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Physician Weight Loss, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, personal training, Weight Loss Center, appetite suppressants, diet pills, Step Ahead Wellness Center, 100 calorie snack

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK START JUNE 4... call today to reserve your spot!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 09, 2014 @ 02:37 PM

Join us every Wednesday evening this summer for an hour of movement that will restore, rejuvenate, strengthen and energize you... after a long day at work or home with the kids/family.

Email our fitness director Noelle Lusardi at for more info or to sign up!

We look forward to walking and stretching with you!


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Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, quick weight loss, memorial day weekend, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, Physician Weight Center, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

Step Ahead Brings Fitness Classes to Local Companies!

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

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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


Let us bring fitness to you!

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Mark Your Calendar for "Fit and Fuel" Hour on April 23!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:20 AM


There is no cost to participate and we encourage you to bring your friends/family!  

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Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Physician Weight Loss, Physician Weight Center, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, Weight Loss Center, diabetes and weight loss

Don't Ignore These 4 Important Muscle Groups!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 06:51 AM


Start Paying Attention To These 4 Important Muscle Groups!


You probably have muscle groups you love to work. It might be your
shoulders, biceps or glutes – but more importantly what muscles are you giving
the “cold shoulder?” If you enjoy working certain muscle groups, you may be
spending more time on training those muscles than you are your least favorite
muscles to work.

Why is this a problem? By focusing more on your favorite muscles, you
creating strength imbalances. Strength imbalances are a problem because they
increase your risk for injury. Strength imbalances also create asymmetry. A
symmetrical, balanced body in terms of strength and development is better from
a structural standpoint and is more aesthetically pleasing as well. Muscles
work together in an integrated manner to help you move. If one muscle is weaker
it throws movements slightly off balance and increases the risk of injury

What muscles are you not working often enough? In terms of muscle balance,
some muscles are more likely to get the “cold shaft” than others. Here are some
of the most commonly neglected muscles.


Chances are you invest more of time working your quadriceps and hamstrings
than you do your calf muscles. Your calf is made up of two muscles
gastrocnemius and the soleus. Strong calf muscles are important if you do
sports that require explosive power like jumping. Always stretch your calf
muscles after every workout to maintain flexibility, especially if you run or
do plyometric exercises that involve jumping.

Fortunately, it’s easy to work your calf muscles by doing standing or
seated calf raises. The results you’ll get from working your calf muscles will
vary. Some people develop calf muscles more easily than others based on
genetics. Even if you don’t develop noticeably defined calves, you can still
strengthen them for greater muscle balance and symmetry. Why should your quads
and hamstrings get all the attention? Add some calf raises, with or without
weights, to your lower body routine.


The obliques are another group of neglected muscles for some people. The
oblique muscles, made up of the internal and external obliques, are muscles on
each side of your rectus abdominis. Why do you need to work them? They give
your lower back support and help to improve your posture. Plus, your obliques
come into play as stabilizers when you do other types of lifting movements.

Two of the best exercises for working your obliques are oblique crunches on
a mat or a stability ball and side planks. Don’t let your obliques be an
afterthought. Side bridges and Russian twists also target your oblique muscles.
For overall core balance, don’t make your obliques an after thought.muscle


Lower Back Muscles

When you work your abdominal muscles and obliques, save some focused
attention for your back. By zeroing in on your abdominal muscles without
training your lower back muscles, you create a core imbalance that increases
your risk for injury and back pain. After all, back muscles are part of your
core. When you focus on abdominal exercises without balancing things out with
lower back exercises, your core becomes “off-balance,” being stronger on one
side than the other. Your goal should be core symmetry. Plus, strong back
muscles provide the support you need to train other muscles harder by
supporting your spine. When your spinal stabilizers are weak it affects your
posture. This places added stress on your vertebrae. Not to mention strong back
muscles reduce your risk for back pain.

How can you give your lower back muscles more love? Balance abdominal
exercises with “supermans.” To do this, lie on your stomach and lift your
shoulders off the floor as high as you can. Hold for a few seconds before
releasing. Repeat until you can’t do anymore. Deadlifts are another good
exercise for strengthening your lower back muscles.


Forearms you say? Why do I need to work them? Strong forearms reduce
fatigue when you train your biceps and when you do presses. They also improve
your grip strength – perfect if you play racquet sports or if you do pulling
exercises. Having weak forearms can limit the amount of weight you can lift
when working other body parts. Don’t let your forearms limit your development
in other areas.

Among the best exercises for strengthening your forearms are wrist flexion
and extension exercises using weights. When you do biceps curls, add a set of
reverse barbell curls to strengthen the extensor muscles in your forearms.
There’s no need to spend a large amount of time working your forearms, but
don’t ignore them either. They help you maximize the rest of your resistance

The Importance of Total Body Workouts

One way to make sure no muscle gets left behind is to focus more on total
body workouts and compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. You’ll
also burn more calories doing a greater percentage of compound exercise as
opposed to exercises that isolate a single muscle group. Still, if you already
have muscle imbalances because you’ve ignored certain muscles, you’ll need to
do isolated exercises that target those muscles to create muscle balance.


The Bottom Line

Everyone has favorite body parts that they love to work more than others.
Enjoy training those parts but don’t neglect ones you don’t like to work and
those you deem less important. It’s also about balance and symmetry. Your body
is only as strong and powerful as its weakest link. Make sure your training is

For more information on exercise please contact our fitness
director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at  And visit our website
for our latest weight loss programs and weight loss specials.



ACE Fitness. “Muscular Imbalances Increase Your Clients’ Risk for Injury”




Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, group excercise classes, Physician Weight Loss, Physician Weight Center, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 @ 06:18 AM

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Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!


Come in for a weigh-in, personal training session, or check
in with the doctor and registered dietician and leave with these

FREE Step Ahead measuring cups. 

Great for all your measuring needs!

Call Erica at 908-440-2235 to schedule your appointment. 

 Don’t delay… offer is good for today only and while supplies last.

We hope to see you today!!


For more information on all the weight loss programs we
offer, visit us at

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Don't Let Lack of Sleep Derail Your Fitness/Weight Loss Goals!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

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Can’t stop snacking? Make sure you’re not skimping on sleep. Research
already shows a link between not spending enough hours in dreamland and weight
gain, but exactly how sleep contributes to weight gain and overeating isn’t
clear. According to some research, the answer lies with the way sleep affects
two appetite hormones that turn on and off the desire to eat.

The Dueling Duo: Leptin and Ghrelin

Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that control appetite control. Leptin is
produced by fat cells and sends a signal to the brain that curbs the desire to
keep eating. It essentially puts a brake on your appetite. Some obese people
don’t respond as readily to the satiety signals leptin sends because their body
is resistant to it, a condition known as leptin resistance.

Ghrelin is produced by cells lining the stomach and pancreas. It’s the
hormone that causes your to stomach to growl and sends you rushing to the
kitchen for a snack. Ghrelin is a hormone you don’t want working overtime if
you’re trying to control your weight.

Together, leptin and ghrelin working quietly behind the scenes in
conjunction with other hormone players to control your desire to eat. They’re a
powerful duo when it comes to appetite control.

How Sleep Affects Appetite

In a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers measured
the effects of inadequate sleep on appetite hormones in 12 healthy young men of
normal weight. They did this by restricting the amount the men slept for 2
night consecutive nights. On those nights, they were only allowed to sleep for
4 hours.

When researchers measured levels of appetite hormones in these
sleep-deprived young men, they found that their leptin levels had dropped by
18% and their ghrelin levels rose by 28%. Not surprisingly, their appetite also
increased, and they experienced more cravings for high-carb, energy dense foods.

Even though this study was small, other research also suggests that lack of
sleep boosts appetite and cravings for carbs. Some experts believe it’s an
underappreciated contributor to obesity.

Another Way Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

If you deprive yourself of sleep, levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down muscle tissue, reduces resistance to infection and boosts belly fat, especially the most dangerous kind, visceral fat. Cortisol is another hormone that can trigger cravings for carbs and send you running to the vending machine for a high-calorie snack.

As you can see, a variety of hormonal players work overtime when you don’t
get enough shut-eye. That’s why sleep should be a priority in the same way
exercise is. If you’re working out regularly and aren’t shedding body fat, keep
a sleep diary for two weeks and see if you’re getting enough sleep. If not,
it’s time to re-prioritize.

To keep your appetite hormones in line, between seven and eight hours of
sleep a night appears to be optimal. Less than that and you’ll have a harder
time reigning in your appetite and may find it more difficult to resist
high-carb treats like doughnuts that usually get passed around the office.

The Bottom Line?

Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep for controlling your weight.
Lack of it can upset the delicate balance between your appetite hormones and
undermine your efforts to control your weight. Next time you’re tempted to
watch a late show on television, head to bed instead. You’ll feel better the
next day, and you may eat less.

For more healthy fitness tips contact our fitness director/certified
personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, directly at  And be sure to visit our website at
for our latest weight loss program special and lose weight fast tips!



Medscape CME. “Getting Sufficient Sleep May Help Reduce Weight Gain”


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