Fitness & Wellness

Benefits Of Greek Yogurt Vs Regular

Benefits Of Greek Yogurt Vs Regular

There are benefits of Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt, even thought the two start out basically the same. Greek yogurt starts out being regular yogurt, but has one extra step. It’s strained and much of the whey, the liquid in yogurt and lactose are removed, leaving a thicker product that’s creamier and smooth, with a tangy flavor that is the perfect substitute for sour cream. Besides being thicker and to most people, better tasting, it has other attributes that are beneficial.

With the whey removed, there’s more curd.

If you’ve only heard the term whey when you’ve heard the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Moffat,” you may wonder how that can make Greek yogurt more beneficial. Whether making cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt, the milk solids, or curd, separates from the liquid, or whey, to create the product. Whey has protein, too, but not as much as the curds left behind after it’s drained. Greek yogurt, because of the fluid removed has a thicker consistency and more protein. It’s almost double that of regular yogurt.

You can make your own Greek yogurt at home and even use the whey to make ricotta.

If you purchase live culture yogurt, it doesn’t take much to create your own Greek yogurt quickly. Get a wide mouthed bottle, a coffee ground strainer and a large portion of regular yogurt. Just put the yogurt in the strainer and drain the whey until you have the consistency you want. You can use the left over whey to make home-made ricotta cheese, which is also good for your health.

Not all Greek yogurt is real Greek yogurt.

Unfortunately, there is not standardization when it comes to labeling Greek yogurt. Not all the yogurt is a strained version that removed the whey. Some has additives to make the yogurt thicker, so you don’t get all the benefits normally provided by Greek yogurt. Some companies add thickening agents and extra protein rather than straining the yogurt. Read the labels to see the contents if you want true Greek yogurt.

– Just because Greek yogurt is healthy, it doesn’t mean all forms of it are. Some flavored varieties contain large amounts of sugar. Check the label to make sure the first ingredient is milk, followed by live cultures and fruit. Better yet, add your own fruit.

– Compare labels for protein content. Since they’re not all made the same way, protein content will vary.

– If you decide to change regular yogurt to Greek yogurt, you can use the whey to start fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and natto.

– Greek yogurt is a healthy substitute for sour cream, oil, butter and mayonnaise. It saves you calories and provides more nutrition.

Get The Right Gear

Get The Right Gear

The right gear doesn’t mean the right “in-style, latest outfit.” It does mean having the clothing appropriate for the workout, the right equipment and good shoes. The clothing appropriate for a hard workout doesn’t have to be pretty, but it should soak up sweat—they’ll be a lot of that in our programs. Comfortable shorts and t-shirts that don’t restrict your movement and socks that absorb sweat. Some people wear a head band or backward hat to soak up the sweat and keep it of their brow. For ladies, you’ll need something to tie your hair back if it’s long.

Shoes, an important element that needs to fit well.

Since we train boxers, many people think they need special boxing shoes. You don’t absolutely need special boxing shoes but you do need at least comfortable, well-fitting athletic shoes. A good pair of real boxing shoes is best since they help your overall performance. They add speed, agility, mobility and are extremely comfortable. Boxing has you moving in ways most sports don’t. The shoes help with that movement. Best of all, even if you’re a beginner who just wants a workout, you’ll have a comfortable pair of shoes that allows you to do that and that can be worn for all the exercises we provide.

Good gloves are a must.

There are all types of boxing gloves. Some high quality, some not. Using the wrong gloves can cause injury to your hands. That’s one reason we supply the first set of gloves for beginners. As an expert in the area of boxing, I know the right type of glove to choose. As you progress further in boxing, it’s time to start looking at different types of gloves, such as competition gloves or sparring gloves, over all purpose gloves.

Hand wraps protect your hands as you’re punching.

Boxing is a lot about the use of the hands and they can take a beating. Hand wraps help protect the knuckles and small bones in the hand. They come in a lot of different lengths, normally between 108 and 180 inches. There are classic-style wraps and “Mexican-style” wraps. Classic-style wraps are shorter and don’t stretch like Mexican-style ones do. These are normally the easiest for beginners to use. There are even junior wraps for young boxers that are shorter than either the classic-style or Mexican-style wrap.

– Get a gym bag to carry your workout clothes and other essentials. It doesn’t have any other requirements, but being sturdy and longer lasting.

– When you spar against a partner, you’ll need a mouthpiece, headgear and groin or chest protector.

– While most people train solely at the gym, if you train at home a bag is an important item to have.

– Also for at home practice, don’t forget a jump rope. There are all types of jump ropes, but when you first start working out, inexpensive is the way to go. You can opt for weighted, a speed rope or other options once you get established and know what you personally need to develop further.

How To Do Squats The Right Way

How To Do Squats The Right Way

There are all types of squats that can be broken down to two categories, those using weights and those using only body weight. No matter which type you’re focusing on, you have to do squats the right way or you won’t get all the wonderful benefits they provide and in some cases, may even injure yourself doing them improperly. Here are some tips on the most common mistakes that occur when doing a squat, which is squatting down with your body facing forward, feet pointing forward and then rising again. It’s a basic movement that’s often done wrong.

Your stance isn’t right from the start.

If your feet are too wide apart or to close together, it completely changes the muscles you work and how hard you work them. It also throws you off balance so you can’t get low enough to get the most out of the exercise, since it affects the movement of the hips. The way to solve the problem is by doing it right in the first place. Your feet should be at shoulder width and just a smidgen turned outward. You don’t have them placed exactly parallel.

If your form is correct, you should be able to squat to a 90 degree angle.

If you don’t look like you’re seated when you’re at your lowest squat point. You’re making a mistake and not getting the maximum benefit. You’re also not working your butt. Squats need to put your thighs parallel to the floor to get the full benefit for the glutes. Get a box or chair that’s knee high and lower yourself until your bottom barely touches the top of the chair.

Keep your back straight and tummy tight.

Some people roll their shoulders forward when doing a squat. That adds pressure to the lower back and can cause muscle strain. While your back has a natural curve, you should try to keep your trunk perpendicular to the ground as you do each squat, keeping your chest up—not just your head. Too many people arch their neck thinking head up position is correct. Push your chest out and up as you squat down while keeping your torso tight.

– Too often just sticking with one simple form of squat restricts the advantages of all the other forms. Once you have the primary form down, you can start experimenting and maybe use a wider stance to work the inner thighs.

– Make sure you keep your feet flat on the ground.

– If you’re having problems, try a toddler squat, where they drop their butt to the floor behind their lower legs and the back of their upper leg touches the lower leg. It really improves your range of motion.

– Make sure as you squat that your knees stay over your feet and don’t wobble to the side or inward. That puts extra stress on your knees.

How To Tailor Your Diet To You

How To Tailor Your Diet To You

To get the best results and a diet that you’ll stick with or a healthy eating plan that’s good for you for a lifetime, you need to tailor your diet to you. Some of the tailoring is important for more than just taste preferences. Some people can’t digest certain foods properly, lactose and gluten intolerance are examples of that. There are also food allergies that affect the type of food on your diet. List all the foods you can’t eat because of health reasons first.

Add in the food preferences.

Not everyone loves oysters, some people rave about them, while others gag watching people eat them. That’s a distinct food preference. Now if you hate vegetables, you’ll be out of luck because every healthy diet needs fruits and vegetables, so skipping those is not an option. Find either new healthy ways to cook vegetables or combinations you like raw. That’s super important.

Make sure the diet contains all the essentials.

A healthy diet should have a lean source of complete protein at each meal, vegetables at each meal and for snacks in between, healthy fat at least once a day…avocado sounds great…plenty of water throughout the day an consist mostly of whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are closest to their natural state and have been processed very little. Whole foods contain far more nutrients than processed foods, so you get more nutrition without having extra calories.

Identify the times you overeat.

Everyone has an eating trigger. Some people reach for a donut when they’re tired, while others soothe their stress with sugary treats, chips or fries. If you know what your trigger is and how you appease it, it’s easy to find a healthier substitute. If you grab a bag of chips when you’re angry because you like the crunch, pack raw vegetables and have it ready for those stressful times. Do you want to drown your sorrows in Ben and Jerry, low fat yogurt could be just the trick. Are you tired and need a lift. Try water. That’s right. Cold water will wake you up faster than coffee or sweets.

Identify the foods you love and find ways to make them without the fat and calories. Vegetable lasagna is delicious, but it’s made with zucchini instead of lasagna noodles.

Try a new low calorie treat each week. Be adventurous. Try mangosteen or other exotic fruit you may never have tried. There’s a whole world of interesting foods that are both healthy and delicious.

Create your personalized diet with several smaller meals, such as six. You’ll feel less hungry and have more energy.

Great Spices To Give Your Favorite Low Cal Foods A Kick

Great Spices To Give Your Favorite Low Cal Foods A Kick

Rice cakes are not necessarily tasty, but they are low in calories. However, you don’t have to give up great flavor to lose weight. In fact, many people who eat healthy find they love their new way of eating and it’s almost gourmet. They use spices and herbs to boost the flavor. These don’t add calories, but they do add nutrients and have health benefits, too. Here are some great spices to give your favorite low cal foods a kick. A good place to start is a personal favorite, cinnamon. Cinnamon can boost the flavor in sauces, meats and vegetables. It actually can replace some of the sugar. Make your oatmeal dynamic with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some nuts or berries. It helps control blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of coronary disease. (Cinnamon basil is also a personal favorite.)

Chili peppers create a spicy delight.

You can change a simple soup to a roaring hot delight when you add chili peppers. Chili peppers have compounds that not only help prevent illness, they help make you well. Whether you choose fresh chili peppers, dried or powdered, you’ll make every meal more memorable. You can also stuff and road certain types of hot peppers if you’re more adventurous.

Have you had caroway seeds?

You probably have eaten caraway seeds if you’ve had Christmas baked goods with an origin in Europe. They have an anise flavor and are often in breads. There are loads of healthy nutrients in this little seed, plus iron, calcium and potassium. It also has antiaging compounds too. That cooked cabbage can play a number on your digestive system, fennel helps with the problem.

Cocoa can add comfort to a dish or create a delight when combined with other herbs and spices.

Adding a bit of cocoa to your milk or milk substitute, like almond milk not only adds flavor, it can boost your metabolism and make weight loss easier. It increases brain hormones that suppress your apetite too. Not only is this a comfort food, it improves your mood and makes your hair dazzling. If you want a meat marinade that will make the dish special, create one from 100 percent raw cocoa and chili powder.

If you like the licorice tast of caroway seeds, consider fennel seeds, better yet, try cooking a fennel bulb. It’s low cal and yummy. Fennel also boosts your metabolism and aids digestion.

A pinch of garlic can make any dish more desirable, while having loads of health benefits. It does leave a lingering odor if much is ingested, so eat it wisely and when you’re planning to be alone for an evening.

Turmeric adds an exotic flavor to dishes.and has huge health benefits. There are studies that indicate its good for a number of conditions, including slowing th progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Fresh oregano has a mild taste that adds extra flavor to salads, soups and other dishes. It also has many health benefits like antioxidant properties, antibacterial properties plus vitamins and minerals. Sprinkle some on tomato slices to boost the flavor.

Stretches That Relieve Stress

Stretches That Relieve Stress

If you’ve had one of those days where every muscle in your body is screaming from the tension, you don’t have to reach for the ibuprofen to relieve your headache. It probably won’t help that knot in the pit of your stomach or bring the relief you hoped to achieve. There are stretches that relieve stress, however, which can do the trick and have you feeling better in no time.

Relax your shoulders and neck.

Many people, particularly those at a desk job, start to feel stress in their shoulders and neck. In fact, people with TMJ may actually get relief from massages to the muscles at the back of the head and even stretches for the neck. If you’re sitting in a chair, put both feet flat onto the floor and sit up straight. Your feet should align with the outer edges of your shoulders. Put your hands behind your head, interlocking your fingers. They should be at the base of your neck. You’ll be holding that position as you tilt your head forward and slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold it for about 15 seconds, release and push them tightly together three more times. You’re feeling better, aren’t you.

Another neck and shoulder stretch to do.

The neck and shoulders is often the area where people feel the pain the most, with the back being next in line. You need to stand for this stretch, keeping your knees slightly bent. Drop you head until your chin touches your chest. Put your hands behind your head and push down. You’ll feel it slightly stretch. Hold that position and breathe in and out normally several times. Slowly raise your head and repeat about five times. You’ll feel the difference.

Stretch those back muscles and leg muscles.

This can be a lifesaver if you have an achy back from stress. Lay on the floor with your knees bent. Hold a rolled towel with one end in each hand. Lift one leg, extending it upward and putting the towel either behind your heel or on the arch of your foot. Gently pull your leg toward you, feeling the stretch. Hold it and then relax, doing the other leg.

Do a push away for upper back relief. You can do it standing or sitting. Interlock your fingers in front of you with your arms parallel to the floor. Keep your neck relaxed and round your back, pushing your hands forward with the palms facing outward. Hold, breathe in and out slowly, relax and repeat.

To relieve lower back stress, sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lean over and grab your ankles with both hands. You’ll feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold that position for a few seconds and then repeat several times until it no longer feels tight.

While it’s not exactly a stretch, this one does relax your hands. Bend your arms at the elbow with your hands up. Relax your hands and shake them by moving the forearm slightly forward and back quickly. Shake them side to side too. They should be like limp rags. You’ll feel the muscles relax.

Try a breathing exercise for overall relaxation. This yoga style technique works every time. Close your eyes and focus your attention to your breaths, breathing in slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Spend a few minutes doing this and you’ll chase away overall stress.

One Pound At A Time

One Pound At A Time

When you’re trying to shed those extra pounds, looking at your overall goal can be overwhelming, particularly if that number is large. In many cases, you’ll do better looking at it as one pound at a time. You can appreciate the effort more quickly and be less discouraged. Of course, that doesn’t mean you weigh yourself every hour, but do it one time a week at the same time of day to get the most accurate view of your weight loss. Don’t be discouraged if you find you haven’t lost weight, particularly if it’s a time when you’re prone to water retention. You can actually fight that bloat by drinking more water, which acts as a diuretic.

Losing weight is like saving money.

If you had to save $5000, you wouldn’t expect to do it overnight….not even if you bought a lottery ticket—unless you’re one of the very few that wins the big amount, which doesn’t happen often. You’d start saving a little each week until eventually had enough. You’d find the first $100 was the toughest, but if you started marking your achievement each time you added a $20 bill, it would give you a feeling of accomplishment. That’s what happens when you try to lose weight. It won’t happen overnight, so appreciate each pound you lose.

Consider each meal as you try to shed a pound.

In order to lose weight, you need to eat 3500 fewer calories. If you eat 500 calories less each day, by the end of the week, you’ll lose one pound. Making substitutions, such as eating an apple instead of a candy bar, can save about 100 to 150 calories (depending on the type of candy you like!). Eating a burger between lettuce instead of a bun can save 170 calories. While I recommend a healthy eating plan, these are just two examples that will have you on your way to a 500 calorie savings each week.

Burn off extra calories with a vigorous workout.

Working out for an hour burns extra calories. While the number varies by the workout you do and your weight, you’ll burn anywhere from 300 to 400 calories using the workouts I provide. That’s almost the total you need each day to reach the 500 calorie savings. Don’t workout without adjusting your eating habits, opting for a sugary treat for an extra hour of exercise. That’s not only unhealthy, it never helps you change your lifestyle.

Walk whenever you can. Sure, finding the magic parking space close to the door is exciting, but parking further out allows you to get in a few more steps. Every calorie you burn gets you closer to your goal.

Keep your healthy eating habits by saying just one more day, when you’re craving a high calorie treat. Don’t say never again, because that’s a huge amount of time and can get discouraging.

Be happy with yourself. Appreciate who you are and how you look. You don’t have to wait until you lose the weight to appreciate yourself. Negative thoughts can block your progress.

Notice other things besides weight loss. If you find you have more energy or that your clothes are fitting loser, that’s a victory. Sometimes, you’ll lose inches long before you shed pounds.

Habits Of Healthy People

Habits Of Healthy People

healthy habitsIf you want to be rich, find someone who is rich and follow their habits. If you want to be healthy, learn the habits of healthy people and mirror them. It’s a simple method to helping yourself to a world of good health and fitness. One of the easiest habits to mimic, particularly if you workout and sweat, is to drink plenty of water. It chases away the mental fuzziness, makes you more alert. While the average is about two liters or eight 8-ounce glasses, some people need more on days they profusely perspire. Carry water with you at all times and sip on it frequently.

Exercise is another important habit.

You didn’t expect me to skip this one did you? I preach the health benefits of exercising all the time. People who are the healthiest get about 30 minutes of exercise each day. While it may not be at a gym, they’re always moving. One study showed that while 150 minutes was adequate exercise to bring health benefits, 170 minutes or more each week was even better.

Healthy people eat healthy with loads of fruits and vegetables.

It’s harder to get all the nutrition you need today. Studies show that many of the nutrients are in shorter supply, since our fruits and vegetables contain less than they did just 20 to 30 years ago. To make matters worse, pesticides are often found in fresh fruits and veggies, plus there’s the threat of GMO foods. Start by avoiding processed food. Do yourself a favor and select an abundance of organic fresh fruits, vegetables and meat or protein source for your diet. Consider grass fed beef and eggs from free range chickens to maximize the nutrition. Create a meal that has a wide selection of different colors to provide the most different types of nutrients.

They laugh a lot and enjoy the company of others.

Healthy people are often social people. They smile more than twice as much as the average person, according to studies. Smiling activates the pleasure center of the brain and provides a bigger response than even chocolate. One smile is produces a reaction in the brain center that’s the equivalent of eating 2,000 chocolate bars…and it contains no calories! In fact, a study at Wayne State University in 2010 that used the player cards of Major League baseball players from 1952 found that those who smiled in their picture had a life span five years longer.

Healthy people meditate. While they might not call it that, they have a method, whether it’s through breathing or just mindful mental calming, which lowers blood pressure and stress levels.

Healthy people are always learning. They keep their mind active and stay interested in the world around them.

Healthy people start their day like a cat, with a good stretch of all their body parts.

Healthy people have good sleep habits. Exercise can help you sleep, but good sleep hygiene, which includes going offline and shutting down the television, is up to you.

Diet Hacks To Help You Stick With It

Diet Hacks To Help You Stick With It

diet hacksMany of the foods you eat are out of habit, more than preference. While you may think they’re your favorite, once you get used to a healthy diet and they’re no longer a familiar meal, you’ll find they don’t taste as good as you thought. Here are some diet hacks to help you stick with it when the fast food parlor beckons you as you pass it or the box of cookies calls. Make sure you identify your goal clearly and the reasons you want to eat healthy and/or lose weight. It’s one of the first hacks to help you stay on track.

Keep a refrigerator of healthy food.

The same is true for the cupboards and freezer. If you only have healthy food in the house, when that uncontrollable urge to eat hits you at midnight, you won’t be cheating. Air popped popcorn will be your food of choice or a healthy snack of an apple or other fresh fruit. If it’s not in your home, you won’t be tempted. As far as the rest of the people in the house, the next hack will help you there.

Have healthy snacks readily available.

There are some excellent snack foods that fill you up, not out and contain an abundance of nutrition. Having them on hand and ready takes a little forethought, but it’s well worth the effort. Your family will also have these snacks available and may not notice there are no cookies and chips in the cupboard (but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it). Peanut butter and apples are one choice. (Don’t use the apple as the delivery system for peanut butter, slathering small slices in it). One teaspoon of peanut butter per half apple please. Spicy baked chickpeas, homemade Larabars, amaranth popcorn and sweet potato quinoa cakes are just a few more.

Keep your goal written and posted.

Keeping your goal always visible can help keep you focused. Have it posted on the refrigerator and even put it in your Smartphone. If you want to try something different, record a message to yourself. Tell yourself you’ll make your goal, that you can lose weight and you stick with the plan. When you feel tempted, listen to the message. Studies show the words you use can be first person. “I always achieve what I set my mind to do.” Second person, “You always get what she sets her mind to do.” or Third person, “Mary Jones always achieves what she sets her mind to do.

Don’t let a slip set you off track. So what if you ate a slice of pie or even a whole cake! Get right back on the dietary plan and don’t look back at the transgression.

Be patient. While everyone wants results and wants them right now. It took a while to put on the weight and it will take a while for it to come off.

Celebrate smaller victories. You may have a master plan where losing 50 or more pounds is the goal. That can look pretty hard, so break it down to smaller ones and pat yourself on the back when you reach the smaller goals.

Make a meal a production, sitting at a table with a plate and silverware. Make sure the plate is smaller, so it makes your meal look larger. Don’t grab a bite on the fly.

Take Control Of Your Body

Take Control Of Your Body

take controlWhen you try on beach wear do you feel like your body has turned against you and intentionally looks bad just to mock you. You don’t have to put up with it any longer. You can take control of your body and make it behave and look like you want it too. It takes effort on your part, but well worth it in the end. You just have to persevere until your body looks like you want. I’ll help you with the right type of exercises and a healthy eating regimen.

Never surrender to fat.

You may be at wits end thinking that you’ll be forever trapped in a body that’s overweight and out of shape, but I say nonsense. Even if you’ve failed to shed pounds before, it doesn’t make you a failure. It means you either know what doesn’t work or what throws you off track to the perfect body. I’ll work with you to insure you stick to the program and provide motivation until you see results. Results are the real motivator and with my program, you’ll get them fast.

Dedicate a month to sticking with the program.

If you think about dedicating a lifetime to exercise, it sounds overwhelming when you’re first starting a workout and healthy eating program. Instead, set a one month devotion to fitness. Take your measurements and weight when you start. Notice how long it takes before you run out of steam. Work your hardest for one month and stick to it. If at the end of the month you want to quit, feel free to do that. I guarantee if you follow my program to the letter, that won’t happen because you’ll see fantastic results.

Plan to go shopping after a few months.

Start putting away a few dollars a day for a big shopping trip. You’ll need to do that because none of your clothes will fit after a few months. Start today with that in mind and enjoy the process that gets you there. If you had loads of weight to lose and no “skinny” clothes in your closet, you may find that trip is necessary after just a month or two.

Only you can make the difference. I can provide the plan of exercise, healthy eating and motivation, but the success or failure all depends on you. Stick with it and you’ll tame your body.

Notice your energy level growing. The body is amazing. The more you work it, the more energy you seem to have. You’ll get work done faster while you’re losing weight and even want to become more active.

Love the feeling that comes with a good workout. While you’re working out, enjoy the daily effects that make it worthwhile. You’ll feel amazing after a workout since it burns off the hormones of stress and replaces them with ones that make you feel good.

Enjoy your new way of eating. You won’t starve yourself and probably will eat more than you normally would. Best of all, the food tastes fantastic and helps you shed pounds.