Are All Processed Foods Bad For You?

Are All Processed Foods Bad For You?

While there’s a generalization that processed foods are bad for you, it’s just that, a generalization. There are foods that are processed that not only could be in your menu, but should be. The definition of processing is food that is cooked, canned, frozen, milled or dehydrated. Processing does many things. It can lower the nutritional value of food. It can also be loaded with unhealthy additions, which include preservatives, sodium and added sugar. Those are the true culprits of processed food, so reading the label is imperative.

Check your label and see if the food includes the following ingredients.

Is there added sugar to the food? Whether it’s low calorie sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, regular table sugar or other sweetener, it adds calories, affects your health and provides no upside in nutrition. Refined grains are another that should be avoided. It doesn’t have the nutrition of whole grains. There’s a link to bad health and refined grains. Trans fats are removed from may products, but you’re more likely to find them in pastry, donuts and pies. Fried foods are also food you should avoid.

You may have to do a little extra to make some processed food healthier.

If you’re on a budget, it’s good to know that canned vegetables and canned fruit without added sugar can be quite healthy. For food with added sodium, such as beans, you may have to pour off the liquid and rinse them. Canned salmon, tuna or other fish without additives and packed in water are also healthy. If you’re a fan of peanut butter or other nut butters, you’ll be happy to know natural options are good. The same is true of whole-grain cereals without added sugar and plain yogurt,

Eating whole food doesn’t necessarily mean fresh from the garden.

During off-season, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can be a bit pricey. To save money, you can use frozen fruits and vegetables liberally. The same is true for canned ones, except you still have to check the labels on canned food. Studies show that frozen fruit and vegetables may actually have more nutrients since they’re picked at their ripest and immediately frozen.

  • Do you want a delicious and healthy dessert? Combine chopped walnuts, chopped whole frozen black cherries or blueberries and plain Greek yogurt. Mix well. It’s a sweet treat that is healthy and low in calories.
  • Cheese may be a healthy option, but you want the healthiest options. Cottage cheese, feta, goat cheese, Parmesan and part skim milk mozzarella are healthiest.
  • If you want a simple method of finding food to avoid, consider anything with added sugar, processed meat, like hot dogs, diet or regular soda and most snacks, such as chips, cheese puffs or tortilla chips.
  • While fruit juice may seem like a healthier alternative to soft drinks, you’re better off eating the whole fruit and drinking water. You’ll feel fuller, add fiber to your diet and often consume fewer calories.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

What Is The Best Day To Meal Prep?

What Is The Best Day To Meal Prep?

If you’re using my ap or working out with me in Houston, TX, you know I highly recommend a program of healthy eating. Weight loss and fitness starts in the kitchen, which is why I made it easy for you with the weekly menu and shopping list ap. I’ve had several people follow the plan and ask what the best day to meal prep is. That’s one thing that’s so great about the program. You get to choose. It should be a day when you can have time to stay home and don’t have to go to work.

Some people use two days for meal prep.

Since the ap eliminates the need to create a menu and shopping list, that’s one task you don’t have to do. You still have to shop and should do it after you’ve eaten, to prevent those chips and snacks from jumping into your grocery cart or the need to check out empty cookie boxes. It happens and we all know it, so take precautions to prevent it. People who have a Monday through Friday job often do meal prep on the weekend. Most of the dishes can be created and cook while you do other things around the house.

If you have unusual hours, you be the judge.

It’s easy to say use your day off to cook, but I know those, like nurses and shift workers who have odd hours. They may work 10 hour shifts for four days or work a straight week and take a half week off. It’s all about having time at home to do the cooking. Once you make that time, the rest is a breeze. Just like our nutrition programs, find the one that works for you.

Planning your meals, including snacks, helps you avoid junk food.

It’s pretty easy to stop for drive-through or grab something quick and easy at the grocery, but you won’t be tempted when you know you have a great meal waiting for you at home that you can just heat and serve. In fact, it’s actually faster than waiting in the drive-through line or stopping for a quick meal from the deli section of your grocery. That’s why meal planning works…and helps you stay on track.

  • Don’t forget about snacks. You’ll be more likely to eat the cantaloupe or grapefruit if it’s already in the refrigerator in a bowl. It makes it easy to grab a quick snack and doesn’t pack on the pounds.
  • You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save after a few weeks, especially when you double the recipe and freeze meals for another week. In fact, you’ll probably be able to take a week or two off from prep after a while.
  • You’ll have pre-measured meals when you do meal prep and freeze ahead. That cuts the need to measure everything you eat when it’s dinner time, you’re starved and more likely to eat more than you should.
  • Meal prep saves money, too. You won’t have food that goes to waste. My ap makes it easy and each meal is designed with you in mind.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

How To Quit Sugar For Good

How To Quit Sugar For Good

You don’t have to live in Houston, TX, to realize there’s food with added sugar everywhere you look. If you want to quit sugar for good, it becomes pretty difficult. Not only is added sugar in the vast majority of food we eat, it’s also quite addictive. It stimulates the reward center of the brain, like an opioid, releasing dopamine that makes us feel good. While it’s not physically addictive like an opioid, it’s emotionally addictive because it makes you feel good. Think about the times you grabbed a sweet because you felt bad emotionally. That’s what is meant by emotionally addictive.

You can go cold turkey or slowly.

Quitting anything or starting anything all begins with the first step. Whether you choose to give up all sugar and change your entire diet in one felt swoop or start by taking baby steps, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. If you’re a baby step taker, begin by making changes to the obvious. Eliminate sugary treats or sugary beverages from your diet. Often people fail to identify a soft drink as a source of sugar or calories. Switch to water, not diet drinks that trick your brain into thinking you had sugar. If you’re getting rid of sugar in steps, do this for a week or two and move on to the next step.

Read labels.

If you’ve successfully given up food with added sugar, including cereal and sweet tea, it’s time to start reading labels. You’ll be amazed at how many condiments contain sugar. Watch out for other names for sugar, such as dextrose, fructose and etc. Just because it’s a natural sugar, it doesn’t mean it’s okay. Natural or man-made, they both work the same way to keep you on the sugar train.

Watch out for simple carbs that act like sugar.

When you eat refined grains, such as white bread, pasta and crackers—which also have sugar in them–your body breaks them down quickly and there’s a rush of sugar. Try substitutions. Vegetable spaghetti—vegetable squash—is a great substitute for pasta. Consider eggplant or zucchini lasagna over regular. Add more meat and vegetables to your pasta sauce and cut back on the pasta.

  • When you want something sugary, go for fruit. The fiber in fruit changes how the sugar affects your body. Keep fruit cut up and ready to eat in the refrigerator. Put some peanut butter on the apple to mae it more filling.
  • If you really crave sugar, take a hike. Really! Do something active. You’ll be surprised at how that can get you away from food and change your mood. It helps release dopamine that is the feel good hormone.
  • Eat healthy meals and don’t worry about weight until you conquered sugar. If you’re following the rules and giving up sugar and simple carbs, you probably will actually lose weight.
  • Get plenty of sleep and hydrate frequently. Lack of sleep adds to sugar and food cravings. Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger. Water is amazing when you need a quick pick-me-up.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

How Accountability Can Increase Results!

How Accountability Can Increase Results!

What is accountability? There are a lot of definitions, but they all boil down to someone holding you personally responsible for your actions. When you work with a personal trainer, he or she tracks your progress when you exercise and measures and records your success. The trainer knows your goals and what you should be achieving, so if you don’t meet them, either you didn’t follow the path or there needs to be changes in how you reach those goals. Someone who has to meet a trainer at a gym or report to a trainer is being held accountable for his or her actions.

If you workout with a trainer and record your results, you’ll be more apt to finish every set.

Everyone has probably gotten near the end of a task and wanted to quit. Getting started may be a problem, but finishing something is just as big a problem, maybe worse. It’s the same for working out. You’re tired and achy. It seems so easy to just cut out the last few push-ups or last few minutes, where in reality, it’s those minutes that do the most good. If you’re working with a trainer and reporting your progress, being held accountable, you’re more likely to do every set and finish the entire workout.

Accountability is important in diet, too.

One reason people often fail to lose weight is that they don’t realize just how much they eat. How many times have you walked into the kitchen and mindlessly grabbed a cookie or a cracker, and you weren’t even hungry! Whether it’s cookies, candy or snack food, eating out of habit, rather than hunger, does occur. Whether you follow a specific diet plan or choose to eat healthy, recording everything you eat, you’ll be more aware of those habits. When you’re accountable for tracking food, no matter which way, you’ll be more successful.

Everyone wants recognition for their success, too.

Being held accountable isn’t all about having to report failure. It’s also about reporting success. Whether it’s a workout friend or one of the RC Fitness Team, it’s nice to be able to report how well you’re doing. Unless someone is also going through the same weight loss and fitness struggles, has been there or works with others with the same problems, they simply don’t understand what an accomplishment it is to be successful.

  • Having a friend to workout with and share your trials and tribulations is also important. Not everyone has a friend that wants or needs to transform their body and fitness. It’s important to find other ways to get support and accountability.
  • Documenting your progress with a log or through pictures also holds you accountable and gives you a visual for success.
  • Being held accountable keeps your goals to the forefront. Whether it’s logging into the dashboard or recording your progress, it keeps your mind on your fitness goals.
  • Getting fit and even being held accountable can actually be fun. It’s always important to challenge yourself and see how much you can achieve. Consider fitness your challenge.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work?

Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work?

If you’ve heard about the latest miracle diet called intermittent fasting, don’t just toss the idea away as another fad. There is some scientific proof that intermittent fasting may be good for your health and also some logic that says it might be a good way to shed those extra pounds. The studies were animal studies. For a long time, scientists have known that calorie restriction could make rats stay younger longer. However, more recently they found that there was more to the story.

Mice were divided into two groups.

The results of a recent study published in the September 6, 2018 issue of Cell Metabolism, which divided lab mice into two groups. The first group had a low sugar, whole food diet, while the second group had a diet with more processed food and sugar. They then divided each group into three types of feeding patterns. One had an on demand access, where it was available around the clock. The next group was calorie restricted, with 30 percent less food given once a day. The third group received the same number of calories as the on demand group, but it was given only once a day.

So who came out healthier?

You probably would expect the healthier eaters to live longer and have less disease than those who ate sugar and refined foods, but that wasn’t where the big difference was. The scientists discovered that calorie restriction and the composition of the diet didn’t make a difference. The fasting did. Those mice in the group fed once a day, gobbled their food quickly, just as those in the group of calorie restricted did with their two meals a day. That meant they had periods where they didn’t eat, periods of fasting. Mice fed twice a day lived 11 percent longer than those in the on demand food schedule. Mice in the calorie restricted group increased their lifespan over the on demand eating group by 28 percent.

The study showed that increasing fasting times, even without calorie restriction, improved the health of male mice.

While only male mice were used in this study and not female, it does show a unique result. Scientists considered that the improvements in health and longer survival of the male mice might be due to extended fasting that allowed the body to do maintenance and repair. While the results were for male mice, there’s new research to see if it affects humans the same way. Another study on mice showed that fasting produced a molecule Beta-hydroxybutyrate, which reversed vascular aging and built more cells that lined the interior of blood vessels, which is a marker of cellular youth.

  • Intermittent fasting is good for weight loss. Just by restricting your caloric intake to a smaller window, you’ll automatically cut the calories consumed. It also could boost your metabolism according to some studies.
  • Intermittent fasting can also reduce insulin levels and help control blood sugar. Some research shows it can help retain muscle mass better than calorie restriction and can aid in decreasing body fat significantly.
  • Some research says intermittent fasting can significantly benefit a keto diet and boost fat burning. It speeds up ketosis for maximum weight loss.
  • You don’t have to go a day without food for intermittent fasting, you can limit your eating window to a six or eight hour one. Some people choose to eat once a day and others choose to go 24 hours without food two times a week. No matter what, you’ll get health benefits and a boost in your weight loss effort.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Do You Need A Preworkout?

Do You Need A Preworkout?

One client in Houston, TX, asked me whether she needed a preworkout. When I said that it all depended on her situation, she looked puzzled. She thought a preworkout was a warm-up, which is important for every person that exercises. I reassured her that a preworkout was a drink or other type of supplement taking before starting a workout and that there were reasons to take them and also reasons they’re unnecessary.

Whether it’s a powder you mix with water, pill or liquid, most preworkouts have certain ingredients in common.

These dietary supplements are created to increase athletic performance and boost your energy. Most of them contain creatine, caffeine, all types of B vitamins and amino acids. Some have artificial flavor and sweeteners. There are no standards set for these products and some can actually have a dangerous and unhealthy effect on your body. Some may contain artificial sweeteners, including sugar alcohols, which can cause abdominal distress, such as diarrhea, gas and bloating. That’s not a recipe for a good workout. Excess caffeine in these products can elevate blood pressure and cause anxiety.

Do you have a nutritional deficiency?

If you’re trying to overcome a known nutritional deficiency, a preworkout supplement may be for you until the effects of an improved diet take over. However, for those that just want to boost flagging energy levels, adequate dehydration and sleep should be your top priority. Our society is constantly looking toward pills as a quick fix for bad habits. Don’t fall into that trap. Make sure you drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water daily and get seven to nine hours of sleep a night and you won’t feel the need for a supplement.

Should you take a preworkout supplement?

In my estimation you don’t need to do that if you’re eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and are well hydrated. However, if you feel you need a boost for your workout, consider drinking a cup of coffee before you start. Studies show it can make the workout more efficient and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like the energy preworkout supplements do.

While most preworkout supplements contain the caffeine equivalency of a cup or two of coffee, it’s easy to consume too much or use a product that has far more.

Be careful to identify the country of origin of the supplement. Some from countries that don’t regulate products closely, have banned substances or dangerous amounts of others.

Most research hasn’t found that preworkout concoctions aren’t as effective as eating a whole food diet that’s loaded with nutrients. Try a cup of coffee and banana before your next workout and you’ll find it works as good as preworkout supplements.

If you decide to use a preworkout supplement, always find as much about the company and supplement as possible. Read both reviews and the ingredients before you take it. It could save your health and money.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Does Drinking More Water Help You Lose Weight?

Does Drinking More Water Help You Lose Weight?

If you’re looking for an easy way to help shed those extra pounds, consider drinking more water. You might say it sounds too easy to be true, but it’s not. If you aren’t already drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, increasing your water intake will probably help you lose weight. Of course, it’s just one of the aids and you still need to change your eating habits and workout regularly. How can something as simple as a glass of water boost your weight loss?

Sometimes, your body sends the wrong message or you interpret it wrong.

How many times have you been totally starved for something and couldn’t figure out what it was, only to identify it as juicy or other descriptor similar? You probably were thirsty, not hungry. If watermelon or a bowl of ice cream or shake were on that list, the chances that thirst not hunger drove you are huge. Too often, people either ignore their thirst or misinterpret the message. They head for the cupboard or refrigerator, when a glass of water would quench their hunger by quenching their thirst.

Drinking a large glass of water before a meal will help fill you up so you’ll eat less.

Water acts like an appetite suppressant. When you drink it before a meal, it helps fill you up so you’ll eat far less than you otherwise would. Studies show that it causes the average person to eat just 75 calories less at each meal, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider most people eat at least two meals a day, that can save you 150 calories a day and 1050 a week. In less than three and a half weeks, you’d save over 3500 calories, which means you’d lose a pound.

Switch from sugary soft drinks to water.

It doesn’t matter what type of water you drink. If you prefer to opt for something flavored, like infused water, it’s still contains almost no calories and provides some nutrients. Compare that to soft drinks that add another 100 calories or more to your daily count. Don’t even consider low or no calorie, sugar free drinks. Studies show that drinking those may not add calories, but they add inches to your middle.

  • Give your metabolism a boost with some ice cold water. Studies show that ice cold water increases the calories you burn. The coldness requires extra calories to warm your body back to normal, so it boosts your metabolism.
  • Dehydration can cause your energy level to drop, so you’ll burn fewer calories. Sip water throughout the day and you’ll find weight loss is easier.
  • Are you suffering from bloating and water weight? Ironic as it may seem, drinking more water can help. Water acts as a diuretic to eliminate water weight.
  • If you aren’t sure whether you’re getting enough water, the color of your urine should tell you. A very light yellow color is what you should see. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Stress Hormones And Illness

Stress Hormones And Illness

I have a lot of clients in Houston, TX, that tell me they actually are staying healthier, looking great and avoiding illness now that they are working out. One even told me that he was ready for the flu when there was chaos at work, but it didn’t happen this year. That’s because working out burns off stress hormones. There’s a link between stress hormones and illness, so burning them off can keep you healthier.

What are stress hormones?

Your hormones are messengers. You may immediately think of sexual hormones like estrogen or testosterone, but there are so many other types of hormones that don’t affect your sexuality and are responsible for keeping you healthy. Hormones are chemical messengers that affect all parts of the body and triggers proper functioning. Stress hormones prepare your body for fighting or running. In early man, that was beneficial. It helped prepare the body to escape a predator or fight when attacked. Today, stress comes from far different types of things. It can occur when your boss yells at you, the baby cries or during a traffic jam. None of those situations would benefit from the fight or flight response. Adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine are the three primary stress hormones.

Adrenaline raises your blood pressure, boosts your heart rate and increases your energy supply.

Cortisol, another stress hormone and the primary one, triggers more sugar to be put in your bloodstream, sending more to the brain, while also boosting the amount of the substance that stimulates the repair of tissue. It ensures the essential functions necessary for flight-or-fight receive the majority of energy by curbing nonessential functions or those that would interfere with running or fighting. Norepinephrine causes blood flow to increase to the muscles that help you run or fight or reduces it to the digestive system, while also inhibiting digestive and even voiding.

Stress hormones do more than just that, they affect your metabolism, too.

When stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays in “on” position. It slows the metabolism and affects where the body stores fat. When you have high levels of cortisol, fat is stored around the abdomen. This visceral fat crowds organs and can create even more digestive problems than the original hormones, while also crowding and interfering with vital organs, like the lungs or heart. It causes anxiety, depression, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, weight gain and affects concentration and memory.

  • Why do clients find they stay healthier when they exercise. Stress hormones suppress the immune system. When they workout, they mimic fight-or-flight and burn off stress hormones.
  • When you burn off the hormones of stress, you also improve your sleep. During sleep the body makes repairs, while chemicals boost the immune system.
  • Stress hormones can lead to craving unhealthy food, such as those high in sugar. Exercise helps burn off stress hormones and makes eating healthier easier.
  • At Reggie C Fitness, I’ll provide help with a program of exercise and healthy eating to help you deal with stress hormones, burning them off and getting back into shape and healthier.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Love Being Fit

Love Being Fit

I always loved helping clients in Houston, TX, which is why I developed an online presence, so I could help even more people. I enjoy all the great comments and stories they share about how they love being fit. It makes everything I do worthwhile. Whether it’s the young mother that not only got back her figure, but also boosted her energy level and mood, or the young girl that lost weight revealed the real person she was meant to be, who now had the confidence she needed to accomplish her goal, it warms my heart to see their success.

You’ll love how you feel, especially if you’re a young mother.

Not only do young mothers face the changes that pregnancy and childbirth made on their bodies, they also face exhaustion and even hormonal changes during postpartum. Working out helps with the changes the body makes during and after pregnancy. In fact, exercising during pregnancy can actually make delivery easier. Postpartum exercise can help both mentally and physically.

You’ll have more energy and a new zest for life when you’re fit.

No matter what your age or your walk of life, having more energy is a boost to anyone. Even teens can use an extra dose of energy, especially during crunch time of finals. Young parents often go without sleep, working moms and dad try to burn the candle at both ends and seniors find they are slowly rusting in the easy chair after work. When you’re fit, you’ll love the difference in your energy level.

You’ll love how you look.

Looking good isn’t a superficial goal. It affects how you feel about yourself and every aspect of your life. If you’re a young girl or boy, there’s nothing crueler than classmates taunting you for your appearance, whether you’re too skinny, too heavy or simply not muscular or curvy enough. The older you get, the more important your physical appearance becomes on making the best impression on that employer or even meeting the person of your dreams. Working out and eating healthy can change all that, no matter what your age.

  • Depression can strike anyone at any time in their life. One of he benefits of eating healthy and exercise that make you love getting fit is that it helps fight depression and anxiety, making life look great again.
  • You’ll walk taller and look more confident when you’re fit. It’s the exercise that improves your posture and healthy eating that improves everything from your weight to your skin, hair and cognition.
  • Not only will you love how you look and feel when you eat healthy and exercise, you’ll actually find that you love eating healthy and how good whole food tastes and also find that working out is something you enjoy.
  • At RC Fitness, I love seeing everyone become the best they can be. That’s why I offer a free workout book. Sign up for yours today. There’s no obligation.

For more information, contact us today at RC Fitness

Eighty/Twenty Rule

Eighty/Twenty Rule

No matter what you’re talking about, if you’re looking for results of some type, the eighty/twenty rule is significant. Believe it or not, the rule actually is one of the most significant rules when it comes to fitness. What is it? It’s the rule that 80 percent of your results will come from a specific action, diet in the case of fitness, and 20 percent will come from everything else, exercise in this case.

You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

If you workout for an hour, you’ll burn from 200 to 1000 calories, more or less, based on your weight, amount of effort and the actual exercise. For instance, walking would burn fewer calories than running at top speed. A 200 pound person would burn more calories than a 130 pound person would exerting the same effort at the same activity for the same length of time. Now that you know how many calories you’ll burn, lets check out how many calories the typical fast food meal has.

A burger and fries with a soft drink is one option.

If you ate a double quarter pounder with cheese with an order of fries and a coke after your workout, no matter what the workout, you won’t lose an ounce. The double quarter pounder with cheese is 780 calories, large fries are 510 calories and a soft drink adds another 150 to 200 calories. That’s a whopping 1440 calories, more than you burned in an hour of exercise. A Big Mac meal with a medium fry and medium soft drink is 1100 calories, again far more than you could work off in an hour. Consider the consumption daily of a typical Frappuccino from Starbucks that adds up to an extra 500 to 600 calories, you’ll never lose weight UNLESS, you change your diet. 80 percent of your weight loss is diet.

So why bother exercising if diet is so important?

Diet is important, but exercise is also a priority. Exercise does more than just burn calories. It helps build muscle tissue and tone your body in the process, giving you a curvier look. Even if you never lost weight, but built muscle, you’d wear a smaller clothing size. That’s because one cubic inch of muscle tissue weighs more than a cubic inch of fat tissue. In other words, it’s like comparing lead to feathers. Since the lead weighs more, the container to hold a pound would be smaller than the container to hold a pound of feathers.

  • Exercise also can help relieve stress. As mentioned before, exercise also has other functions. It helps burn off the hormones of stress, like cortisol, that can cause belly fat.
  • Not only does combining that 20 percent beneficial exercise with the 80 percent beneficial healthy diet make weight loss faster, it also builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, that boosts your metabolism 24/7.
  • Once you start eating healthier, you’ll find you love how delicious the food tastes. It can also be faster and cost less than junk food, especially if you use our menus and plan meals ahead.
  • At RC Fitness, our online training is affordable and provides help with both healthy eating and exercise. You’ll love how quickly you’ll lose weight and become the person you were meant to become.

For more information, contact us today at RC Fitness