10 Ways to Push Through a Crazy-Tough Workout

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We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a tough group workout, gasping for breath and feeling like at least one muscle (more like all of them) is about to give out. You think your body is saying, “No more!”— but is it really your body, or is it your brain?

“Our body tends to do what our mind tells us to do,” says Brandonn Harris, PhD, professor of sport and exercise psychology at Georgia Southern University. “We have these thoughts, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t go on, I’m not fit enough for this’ and our body tends respond to that, so you feel more fatigue, you perform slower and your performance plateaus.”

But that doesn’t need to happen. You can overcome the naysayer in your mind and feel like a champ for finishing the grueling session. Follow these expert tips to develop mental grit — and know the signs to watch for that indicate you really should stop exercising and come back another day.

1. HIT PAUSE

First, stop and take a deep breath. “I am big believer in listening to your body when pushing it to the limits,” says Shaun Jenkins, head coach at Tone House, a group fitness studio in New York City known for its challenging workouts. “Each workout experience is different, thus stopping for a quick moment to assess your limits and what you are experiencing is very important,” he explains.

2. IDENTIFY THE BARRIER

Take this time to zero-in on what’s making you doubt yourself. “What is it about what you are doing that is leading you to feel like you can’t keep going,” Harris asks. Maybe you feel like you’re taking too long, you’re overly tired or you think you’re not physically conditioned to do the class. Think about your self-talk and see if that’s limiting you.

3. REFRAME THE SITUATION

This is one way you can develop a different “playlist,” as Harris calls it, rather than the negative statements rolling through your mind. To reframe an experience, take the situation and sensations you’re feeling and find an alternative perspective. You’re not sugar-coating it — you’re simply shifting your perspective to see this workout as a challenge and a way to test yourself. Rather than thinking, “I’m so tired,” tell yourself something like, “My body is getting stronger” or “I know it’s tough, but I’m challenging my body, and I will feel great when I accomplish this,” Harris suggests.

4. COUNTER WITH YOURSELF

Another way to remix your playlist is by countering. This time you put on your lawyer hat, Harris says, and look for evidence that contradicts the negative statement. Oftentimes we speak in absolutes: “I’ll never be able to do this.” When that happens, think of past experiences where you’ve been successful. Have you done this workout or something similar in the past? Think back to those and tell yourself, “I can do this. I have before.”

5. DON’T COMPARE

Especially when you are struggling, it’s hard in a group fitness class to not look around and think, “Everyone else is crushing this workout! Why can’t I?” Stop. “Everybody works differently. We all have different levels of cardio and strength fitness,” Harris says. “Who knows how long some others in the class have been doing this? Define success relative to your own previous experiences, not what others are doing.”

READ MORE > 4 EASY MOTIVATION HACKS THAT WORK

6. YOU DO YOU

If you need water or to take a breather at anytime, do it. Then get right back in there. “Keep working out, even if you are not working out as intensely,” Jenkins says. You’ll still get a good sweat session in and feel better afterward.

7. GET A PEP TALK

Some trainers are known for being motivational, and if you need a little encouragement and there’s time to pull your trainer aside, say something. They may give you just the boost you need. Or many classes have that one cheerleader participant who supports and encourages everyone. If there’s one in your workout, don’t be shy — introduce yourself, they can help you reset your mind and even do a few rounds of exercises with you. It’s a huge help when you worry you’re the slowest person and fear you’ll be last to finish the round.

8. IGNORE THE BENCHWARMERS

In a group class, you may not be the only person feeling challenged. If someone else is on the sidelines, and you think you can motivate each other, go for it. But beware that you may also find yourself wanting to sit out just because they are. “Look at this from a self-reference perspective, not based off what someone else is doing,” Harris says. “Maybe they do need to take a break. Let them. Stay in tune with yourself, and if you feel like you can keep going, do it. Don’t get caught in their trap.”

9. OBEY WARNING SIGNS

Mental roadblocks aside, there are some situations where your body is telling you to stop. If you experience shortness of breath or agonizing pain, you must take a break, Jenkins says. Otherwise you risk an injury.

10. PRACTICE … AND PATIENCE

“Athletes didn’t pick up their skill overnight — it took time, commitment and practice,” Harris says. “Mental strength doesn’t happen overnight either.” Work on being able to tap into your negative playlist and change it to a positive one. And keep yourself accountable. “Holding yourself accountable for all of your success and failures will help you develop a strong mental grit when you want to give up,” Jenkins says. “I use this quote when life and workouts are daunting: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’” Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

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Original post at : http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/10-ways-push-crazy-tough-workout/

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Banana Smoothie Pancakes Recipe

Smoothie pancakes are a fun and easy breakfast that kids love! Turn your banana smoothie base into fluffy, naturally sweet pancakes with a just a few extra ingredients. 

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

The natural sweetness of a banana smoothie – turned pancakes. And not just any pancakes – fluffy and moist and filling pancakes. They don’t even need syrup.

If you like your breakfast sweet but still healthy, these smoothie pancakes are for you! They’re lightly sweet and banana-y, and also balanced with healthy proteins, fiber and minerals.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast
What we love about banana smoothie pancakes

Smoothie pancakes are great for so many reasons, including:

Easy cleanup – blend them up and then pour them straight into the pan.
They’re naturally sweetened with bananas so they don’t need syrup.
Protein-packed: Greek yogurt and eggs help you stay full.
Only a few ingredients, and they’re all whole foods.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast
Banana Smoothie Pancake Recipe

We’re going to pretend that you’re making yourself a smoothie, but first – get your pancake skillet heating on medium heat. This saves on wait time later!

Now for the smoothie. Add the following to your blender: 2 ripe bananas (the riper, the sweeter), 3 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

Blend on a medium speed until smooth and bubbly. You may need to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times, depending on how fancy your blender is.

Note: The batter will be fairly thin, but if it seems too thin (it varies based on banana sizes) then add a little more flour.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

Grease your skillet with cooking spray or whatever your favorite fat is. I used a little coconut oil because I love the slight coconut flavor it adds to these sweet pancakes!

Pour the batter straight from the blender onto the skillet. Since this pancake better is fairly thin, they seem to take a little while to cook on the first side. Be patient and wait until you see the bottom edges look browned.

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

Once the pancakes are flipped, they cook fairly quickly on the second side. Eat right away to experience the optimal deliciousness of these smoothie pancakes!

Optional add-ins

If you want to up your smoothie pancake game, consider tossing in two cups of spinach. Vegetables for breakfast is ideal!

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

Or throw in a small handful of chia seeds or flax seeds for extra healthy fats to help brain functioning. These can be added before or after blending, depending on what texture you like.

And of course, you can always place some fresh cut fruit on newly poured pancakes. Double-banana pancakes, anyone?

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

Serve topped with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt or peanut butter. Even throw on some coconut, nuts, chia seeds, or other fun toppings. Enjoy!

Banana Smoothie Pancakes | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink | Healthy Breakfast

The post Banana Smoothie Pancakes Recipe appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

Original post at : http://www.superhealthykids.com/banana-smoothie-pancakes-recipe/

11 Extra Tasty Eggplant Recipes

Eggplant isn’t a vegetable you automatically think of when you’re making dinner. It can be hard to cook, and some people find it just plain mushy! I’m here to change that perception of this underrated vegetable. Eggplant is wonderfully versatile, and works in so many different dishes. When cooked the right way, eggplant can be sweet, sumptuous, and even smoky. Here are 11 delicious eggplant recipes, to make you reconsider eggplant for dinner.

1. Eggplant Parmesan

This noodle-free Italian classic is gloriously cheesy, and shows eggplant off at its best.

Eggplant Parmesan

Photo by Rachelle Shockey

2. Eggplant Tomato Bake

This 3-ingredient recipes is sweet and easy for the summer. Serve with a salad to make it a meal.

Eggplant Tomato Bake

Photo by Piglet1983

3. Eggplant and Ground Beef Lasagna

A lasagna and moussaka mash-up is a real crowd-pleaser for dinner.

Eggplant and Ground Beef Lasagna

Photo Angela Sackett | Superhotmama

4. Grilled Eggplant Rollups

Who knew the humble eggplant could be this fancy? These tasty morsels will make your dinner party special.

Grilled Eggplant Rollups

Photo by by LilSnoo

5. Moussaka

When you’re in need of some creamy comfort food, this traditional moussaka is just the recipe.

Moussaka

Photo by Draustinis

6. Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

A little bit of soy and oyster sauce add a subtle Asian flavor to this simple recipe. Serve with some noodles for a deliciously different vegetarian supper.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Photo by sopenia

7. Eggplant Rollatini

This restaurant-quality dish is easier than you think, and speedy enough for weeknight dinners.

Eggplant Rollatini

Photo by Kim’s Cooking Now!

8. Eggplant — Easy, Good and Tasty

These crispy eggplant bites are insanely addictive as an appetizer or as a main with a salad.

Eggplant -- Easy, Good and Tasty

Photo by CookinBug

9. Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry)

This authentic Indian curry is a refreshingly different way to enjoy eggplant.

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry)

Photo by drzhivago73

10. Eggplant Croquettes

Our home-cooks love this recipe, and some even serve the croquettes as veggie burgers.

Eggplant Croquettes

Photo by footballgrl16

11. Baba Ghanoush

One of the simplest and greatest ways to eat eggplant. Serve with lots of crunchy vegetables and pitta bread,  to dip.

Baba Ghanoush

Photo by LYNNINMA

Related

10 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Grilled Eggplant
How To Cook Eggplant
Check out out complete collection of Eggplant Recipes.

Get more cooking tips, trends, and inspiration on Allrecipes Dish.

The post 11 Extra Tasty Eggplant Recipes appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

Original post at : http://dish.allrecipes.com/top-rated-eggplant-recipes/

These 12 Easy Baked Egg Recipes Are a Lazy Cook’s Dream

Baked eggs might look fancy, but they’re a breeze to make. It’s all in the prep, which makes them perfect for parties. You mix the ingredients, put them in the oven and then hang with your friends while brunch bakes. There’s even time to head over to the DIY Bloody Mary Bar.

Meat Lover’s Baked Eggs

The winning, one-two punch of ham and eggs works well when given the oven-baked treatment, with the porky pleasure parts getting a bit of crispy char. Ham, sausage and bacon elevate that morning casserole to an extra satisfying level. Please pass the homemade salsa.

Eggs Benedict Casserole

Photo by Allrecipes

Eggs Benedict Casserole
Baked Brunch Omelette
Mom’s Baked Egg Muffins
Breakfast Casserole
Dad’s Breakfast Pizza
Individual Baked Eggs

Vegetarian Approved

When it comes to delivering protein power, eggs are king. These veg-friendly preparations focus on the rich flavor and creamy texture egg lovers crave. Pro tip: When adding individual eggs into muffin pans and the like, crack them first into a cup or a small bowl and gently pour into the cooking vessel. That helps prevent broken yolks.

Chef John's Shakshuka. Photo by Baking Nana

Photo by Baking Nana

Chef John’s Shakshuka
Mexican Shakshuka
Whole30 Baked Eggs in Marinara Sauce
Baked Italian Frittata
Shirred Eggs
Chef John’s Baked Eggs

Please check out all things Brunchworthy

The post These 12 Easy Baked Egg Recipes Are a Lazy Cook’s Dream appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

Original post at : http://dish.allrecipes.com/easy-baked-egg-recipes/

14 Sensational Stuffed Vegetable Dinners

With such an abundance of fresh veggies in summer, it’s a great opportunity to get a little inventive with dinner. These stuffed veggie recipes are bursting with flavor, and a great way to enjoy a hearty dinner all wrapped up in a healthy veggie.

Peppers
1. Chef John’s Stuffed Peppers

These mighty peppers are stuffed with beef, sausage, tomatoes, and rice, and are a delicious, tummy-filling dinner.

Chef John's Stuffed Peppers

Photo by Chef John

2. Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

This recipes is a great way to enjoy a low-carb version of that Italian classic.

Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Photo by abbaplez

Zucchini
3. Stuffed Zucchini

These sausage stuffed zucchinis are topped with breadcrumbs, and cheese, and have the power to convert even the most ardent zucchini-haters.

Stuffed Zucchini

Photo by Naples34102

4. Nat’s Shrimp and Veggie Stuffed Zucchini

This slightly fancier version of the stuffed zucchini has prawns and cremini mushrooms, and would be delicious for a dinner party.

Nat's Shrimp and Veggie Stuffed Zucchini

Photo by CookinBug

Squash
5. Chorizo-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

You won’t taste a better spaghetti squash recipe than this — the combination of turkey, spicy chorizo, and squash is a winner.

Chorizo-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Photo by KGora

6. Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

A spicy Moroccan couscous encased in a sweet, juicy squash is what great dinners are made of.

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Tomatoes
7. Stuffed Tomatoes with Grits and Ricotta

This recipe is ideal for when you have a glut of summer tomatoes. Some of our home-cooks add bacon crumbles or grilled shrimp to make it more of a substantial meal.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Grits and Ricotta

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

8. Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

These simple stuffed tomatoes are packed with bacon, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and are ready in 40 mins.

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Photo by LYNNINMA

Cabbage
9. Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage also makes a great stuffed dinner. This recipe with lamb, rice, and feta takes time to make, but is definitely worth the effort.

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Photo by Oksana Seaman

10. Cabbage Rolls II

Beef and cabbage all wrapped up in perfectly, delicious packages.

Cabbage Rolls II

Photo by lutzflcat

Eggplant
11. Stuffed Eggplant with Capers and Olives

Eggplant stuffed with eggs, capers, and cheese is southern Italian dish you’ll want to try.

Stuffed Eggplant with Capers and Olives

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

12. Eggplant with Mushroom Stuffing

Earthy mushrooms, cheese, and breadcrumbs, are a perfect vegetarian filling for eggplants.

Eggplant with Mushroom Stuffing

Photo by mauigirl

Potatoes
13. Garden Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Potatoes stuffed with veggies are a great way to add a little more flavor and nutrition.

Garden Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Photo by CC<3’s2bake

14. Alfredo and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

Or you can just stuff those taters with lots of tasty ingredients like Alfredo sauce and cheese. Just add bacon for a little more indulgence!

Alfredo Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

Photo by Joey Joan

Related

7 Meatless Curry Dinners That Pack in the Veggies
10 Quick and Fresh Summer Supper Recipes
Explore our complete collection of Stuffed Main Dishes

Get more cooking tips, trends, and inspiration on Allrecipes Dish.

The post 14 Sensational Stuffed Vegetable Dinners appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

Original post at : http://dish.allrecipes.com/stuffed-veggie-dinners/

10 Spicy Recipes for the Truly Sriracha Obsessed

We love the way sriracha sauce pops on the palate with its unique blend of spicy chilies, pungent garlic, and tangy vinegar. We crave it in all the usual places — as a condiment with kick for Vietnamese recipes like Pho, baguette sandwiches, and noodle dishes, or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and fried seafood. But now, we’ve tracked down 10 top-rated recipes that take sriracha to some inspired new spots — watermelon salad, anyone? We’ve even thrown in a bonus recipe for making your own homemade sriracha sauce — so you’ll never be caught without your favorite chile sauce! That’s good news for true slaves of the sauce!

1. Sriracha-Lime Kale Chips

“A tasty, guilt-free way to eat your greens,” raves LilSnoo. “I love experimenting with different flavors of kale chips, and this has become one of my favorites!”riracha-Lime Kale Chips

Photo by LilSnoo

2. SPAM Fries with Spicy Garlic Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Salty, crispy fries of SPAM dipped into a spicy, garlicky sauce — because if your fries aren’t made of SPAM, you might be doing it wrong! “The sauce is delicious,” says Buckwheat Queen. “It goes well with celery and carrots, too.” Ditto, with Zucchini Cakes and Salmon Cakes. SPAM Fries with Spicy Garlic Sriracha Dipping Spice

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

3. Spicy Watermelon Tomato Salad

Quick, colorful, and refreshing — this simple, sweet-spicy salad is the perfect side for summer picnics and cookouts. “The flavors go so well together, with the sweet of the honey and then the tang of the vinegar,” says Lori. Spicy Watermelon Tomato Salad

Photo by Molly

4. Sriracha Pickled Eggs

“These pickled eggs make a quick, tasty snack any time of day or for those following a low-carb diet,” says LilSnoo. “I love experimenting with one of my favorite condiments: sriracha.”Sriracha Pickled Eggs

Photo by LilSnoo

5. Ramen Burger

This burger’s all about tantalizing textures and explosive flavors. Ramen noodles become the bun for this spicy burger crowned with melty American cheese, fresh arugula, and a fried egg! But it’s the sweet-and-spicy special sauce, starring srirachi, that steals the show.

 

6. Grilled Tofu Skewers with Sriracha Sauce

You’ll marinate chunks of firm tofu and vegetables in a spicy sauce made with sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, and jalapeno. “Amazing!” raves SLJ6. “I am a huge fan of sriracha sauce. Not only did I marinated the tofu and veggies in this delicious marinade, but I added more sriracha on top! The hotter the better.” Grilled Tofu Skewers With Sriracha Sauce

Photo by Christina

7. Sriracha Scrambled Eggs

Wake and partake…in the eye-opening splendor of sriracha and scrambled eggs. “Delicious,” says Buckwheat Queen. “Cooking the sriracha with the eggs gives them a smoky, smooth flavor unachievable by simply topping it with sauce afterwards. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before.”
Sriracha Scrambled Eggs

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

8. Sriracha Honey Chicken Pizza

“In my dictionary, sriracha means spicy goodness,” says duboo . “This pizza has just enough sweetness to complement the spicy goodness of the sriracha.”
Sriracha Honey Chicken Pizza

Photo by Olivia

9. Sriracha Lime Popcorn

A snack that snaps with spicy sriracha flavor. You’ll simply season fresh-popped popcorn with lime juice, a little fresh zest, and sriracha. “Something different and delicious,” raves Ms. Jean. “I loved the kick from the siracha; never would have thought to use it but it works great! I cooked the popcorn in coconut oil which works well with all of the flavors.”

Sriracha-Lime Popcorn

Photo by Molly

10. Deviled Lobster Tails

And finally, there’s sriracha for special occasions. Sophisticated, elegant, spicy as sin — it’s Chef John’s Deviled Lobster Tails. But don’t be daunted: “These spicy lobster tails are so easy to make,” says Chef John. “A note on the lobster tails in supermarkets: if they’re not frozen, they’ve been frozen and then thawed. So, bypass the ‘fresh’ for the frozen, which are fresher.” Got it?
Deviled Lobster Tails

Photo by Chef John

Need more? Check out collection of Sriracha Sauce Recipes. And for the DIY crowd, here’s Chef John’s recipe for Homemade Sriracha Sauce.

Get more cooking tips and awesome food finds.

The post 10 Spicy Recipes for the Truly Sriracha Obsessed appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

Original post at : http://dish.allrecipes.com/spicy-recipes-for-the-sriracha-obsessed/

10 Ways to Take Crispy Cereal Bars to a Whole New Level

Take a nostalgic childhood treat, add a little of this and a lot of that, play with it, tweak it, and end up with a whole new world of delight. That’s what happened with these variations on classic rice cereal bars, and we’re loving the results. Check them out.

Peanut Mallow Bars

Gooey, crunchy, crispy, sweet, salty, peanut buttery goodness in every bite. Like AUNTVICKI says, “Forget your diet with this one!”

Fruity Krispy Treats

“My family LOVES THIS! I use plain marshmallows instead though. I can’t seem to keep any in the house. They are gone almost as soon as I make them. SO YUMMY!” — IDALYZME

Fun with Crispy Cereal Bars | Fruity Krispy Treats

Photo by IDALYZME

Brownie-Mallow Bars

Is this a brownie or a cereal bar? Melanie says, “Served this yesterday to 5 young 25-30 year olds. They said this was the best brownie recipe they’d eaten.” The people have spoken.

Peanutty Candy Corn Cereal Bars

“These are really easy to make, very festive and are a nice balance of salty and sweet. ” — magicallydelicious

Fun with Crispy Cereal Bars | Peanutty Candy Corn Cereal Bars

Photo by magicallydelicious

So Pink Cereal Bars

“These are pink and I have 2 daughters — need I say more?” — Jennifer Baker

So Pink Cereal Bars

Photo by Jennifer Baker

Cereal Treats II

“My mom told me about a recipe she came across making candy sushi, PURE FUN and it was the absolute hit of the Halloween party (all adults mind you). Fruit rolls, fish candies and anything that looks like sushi, go for it! Butter your hands frequently-maybe not the best project for little hands as the treats need to be warm and it’s so sticky. Yes, I got ill eating candy while I rolled.” — foodaholic

Fun with Crispy Cereal Bars | Cereal Treats II

Photo by foodaholic

Salted Caramel Marshmallow Crispy Treats (Gluten Free)

“I call these Kryptonite because when I make them my healthy eating super powers are immediately gone and I must eat half the pan.” — Christine

Fun with Crispy Cereal Bars | Salted Caramel Marshmallow Crispy Treats (Gluten Free)

Photo by LYNNINMA

Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Log

“Made this last night and it was a HUGE hit! The only change I made was to add additional peanut butter and heed my daughter’s request to put some additional chocolate/butterscotch on the outside of the log. Will definitely be making again!” — GGMom

Fun with Crispy Cereal Bars | Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Log

Photo by Kim

The Best Brown Butter Salted Rice Krispies® Treats

“These are crazy good! My hubby who happens to be a chef usually turns his nose up at Rice Krispies. Not these…he could not stop eating them & had me make them for all of his industry friends.” — margieluvschaz

Funfetti® Cake Batter Rice Krispies® Treats

“Easy and fast to make. The finished product is pretty to look at. It is sweet, chewy and the flavor of cake batter is fantastic. Five stars.” — Ann

You might also like…

Get more fun-loving recipes for crispy rice treats.
12 Of The World’s Greatest 2-In-1 Dessert Mashups
9 Super-Quick Desserts for Almost Instant Gratification
10 Apple Desserts That Are Easier Than Pie

Love dessert? (What a question.) Get more sweet inspiration on Allrecipes Sweet Life.

The post 10 Ways to Take Crispy Cereal Bars to a Whole New Level appeared first on Allrecipes Dish.

Original post at : http://dish.allrecipes.com/creative-crispy-cereal-bars/

Going Vegan Really Isn’t a Magic Diet for Weight Loss

You may not recognize John Mackey’s name, but you definitely know his business. Mackey is the founder and CEO of healthy supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, and he has a new book out called “The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longetivity.” In his book, Mackey details how he became a healthy eater after growing up eating junk food, and the vegan diet he says revolutionized his life.

In a new interview with NBC News about his book, Mackey says he became a vegetarian in his 20s, but started eating fish when he dated a woman who wasn’t a vegetarian. “And gradually, over time, I was starting to gain weight,” he says. “My biometric measurements were not as good as they used to be. I was getting older. I just thought, ‘Oh, this is coming with age.’”

But Mackey says his health began to improve “almost immediately” after he adopted a vegan diet. “I started losing weight and I felt better,” he says. After a year, his health plateaued, so he cut out sugary and highly refined foods as well. “When I stopped eating all those processed foods and combined that with a plant-based diet, my health was just amazing,” he says. “I weigh the same as I weighed when I was 18 years old … I’m an extremely healthy person now.”

Mackey points out that he went from being a kid who wouldn’t eat vegetables to teaching himself to “love every single vegetable out there” — and he urges people to try to do the same. “You can teach yourself to enjoy any type of food, so why not teach yourself to love the healthiest foods in the world?” he says. “When you combine the things our body naturally craves — whole-starch foods (sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, etc.) with fruits and vegetables — you can eat all you want and you’ll lose weight.”

READ MORE > THE MOST DANGEROUS FAT IS THE EASIEST TO LOSE

Experts say that while people can lose weight on a vegan diet, it’s not a guarantee. (Also, not that gaining weight is inherently a bad thing, but eating all you want — even if it’s healthy — can still affect how much you weigh).

If your goal is to lose weight, the process involves many more aspects than just what you eat and whether you follow a plant-based diet. Sure, exercise is a factor, too, but so many other things come into play. Components like stress and sleep, along with things you can’t fully control, like health conditions and hormonal fluctuations, can play a big role in your weight as well.

It’s true that there is some science behind veganism potentially promoting weight loss, but the reason why is simple.

Many studies have shown that veganism is associated with a lower weight, Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF.

For example, a cross-sectional study of more than 70,000 people published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013 found that vegans had the lowest BMI of people with different dietary habits (ranging from non-vegetarian to vegan), even though everyone ate the same amount of daily calories. And a meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrients in 2014 looked at over 100,000 study participants and found that vegan diets are linked to a lower risk of developing obesity (as well as hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease). Another meta-analysis published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2015 discovered that people on a vegetarian diet — especially those on a vegan diet — saw better weight-loss results than dieters on other eating plans. Of the more than 1,000 people who followed a specific diet for nine to 74 weeks, vegans on average lost about 5.5 more pounds than non-vegetarian dieters (vegetarians lost about three pounds more than those on a diet that included meat).

Sonya Angelone, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF that veganism can cause weight loss simply because it’s a form of food restriction. “Anything that restricts food, even temporarily, can promote weight loss in the short term,” she says. Certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group, agrees. “When most people think of veganism, they think of eating strictly veggies and cutting out high-fat animal foods like cheese, burgers and bacon,” she says. “Naturally when you eliminate fatty animal foods, you may notice weight loss due to less calorie intake, and of course, animal fat is typically artery-clogging fat, which is not recommended.”

With that said, going vegan doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be eating healthier or less food than usual.

“There are many vegans who eat nutritiously with no problems, but being healthy while vegan can actually be pretty hard work.”

Although there aren’t as many processed vegan foods as non-vegan ones, they’re still out there. Plenty of foods like chips, nondairy ice cream and cookies may fall into the vegan category but still not be healthy, Angelone says. As a result, a person may end up eating a diet that’s technically vegan, but high in sugar, carbohydrates and calories. The limited category of things vegans can eat can lead to nutrient deficiencies, Angelone says, so vegans need to be careful to get enough calcium, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fats.

Vegans also may deal with cravings and have to work harder to be satiated, potentially leading to eating more than they used to. “It can be even harder to keep portions and calories in check when eating a strict vegan diet because, by eliminating good quality sources of protein like eggs, fish, dairy, and organic lean meats, it can be harder to stay full and keep cravings in check,” Moskovitz says. That’s why she recommends vegans focus on consuming more protein-rich foods such as beans, lentils, quinoa, soybeans or tofu, on a daily basis.

Of course, there are many vegans who eat nutritiously with no problems, but being healthy while vegan can actually be pretty hard work. Luckily, you don’t have to go vegan to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. If you want to go vegan because you truly believe in the lifestyle, have at it. But if you’re considering striking foods you love from your life and going vegan just in an effort to lose weight, it’s absolutely not necessary. If you’d like to eat a healthier diet — whether weight loss is a goal of yours or not — Stanford says it’s important to make sure you’re incorporating lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and fruits into your diet. “It is also important to realize that the less processed a diet the healthier it is overall,” she says.

It’s also important to remember that undertaking a diet that’s too restrictive for you can lead to dangerous bingeing and yo-yo dieting, which over time can contribute to problems with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

That’s why it’s key to figure out how to fuel your body and mind in a way that’s safe and realistic for you. “There is no one strategy that is universally effective in helping people to achieve a healthy weight,” Stanford says. And, of course, if you’re struggling to find a diet that works for you, seek out a certified dietitian — he or she can help guide you toward an eating plan that best suits your needs.

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Original post at : http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/going-vegan-really-isnt-magic-diet-weight-loss/

4 Ways to Work Out Like a Beach Lifeguard

The movies might sometimes make it seem like the only skills you need to be a beach lifeguard are swimming and running in slow motion, but in actuality, lifeguards need to be ready for anything — from saving someone caught in a riptide to resuscitating someone having a heart attack on the sand. And you better believe their workouts are as demanding as any athlete’s.

We know because we talked to Jenna Parker, 33, a surf-lifesaver for Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Not only does she spend her summer days watching the waves for changing tides or swimmers in trouble, she also trains intensely for lifeguard competitions. These events pit lifeguards against each other to see who’s fastest at swimming, running, rowing and paddling — crucial activities they use to save lives.

Even if you never intend to don a whistle, floatation device and (striking red) swimsuit, working out like a beach lifeguard could bring your fitness to the next level. Here’s what we learned from Parker’s fitness routine — and what you should keep in mind when getting your sweat on.

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1. MAKE THE TIME COMMITMENT

Parker basically works out all day. She wakes up at 6:30 for an hour-long session of swim drills, typically in a pool, but sometimes in the ocean. Then, it’s time for a run, paddle, surfski or row. After breakfast, she heads to the beach where she organizes paddle practice or mini-Ironmans (run-swim-paddle-row races) for the patrol. Post-work, she does another run or Ironman-type workout with patrol captain Randy Townsend.

Train Like a Lifeguard: Let’s be honest: You’re not going to work out four or five hours a day like Parker. For for many of us, committing to even 30 minutes a few days a week is hard enough. But if you want to see results — whether it’s losing weight, gaining muscle or achieving a new PR — you need to put in the time. If it helps, block out workouts on the calendar and think of them like an appointment or work meeting, meaning you cannot cancel.

2. DON’T IGNORE YOUR CORE

During the winter, Parker preps for summer competitions by incorporating more plyometric work with a focus on her core. “Having a strong core is incredibly important when rowing, paddling or surfskiing,” she explains. She also does a number of functional training movements to prevent injuries during training and competitions.

Train Like a Lifeguard: Even if you’re a cardio junkie like Parker, you need a balanced regimen of strength training and heart-pumping exercise. Add compound, functional training exercises (like lunges, squats and pushing and pulling motions) to your routine to increase your ability to perform everyday movements and avoid injury. Be sure to work your core, which will benefit you during both exercise and everyday life.

3. FIND A PARTNER

Parker and Townsend became good friends as teens because they found they both loved to push themselves. The two often work out together, and the entire patrol is super supportive. “Everyone motivates each other,” Parker says. “There are very few days I don’t want to work out in the summer because I have Randy and some of the others [doing it with me].”

Train Like a Lifeguard: To increase the chances of sticking with your fitness routine, find your own Randy. A friend or supportive fitness studio not only keeps you accountable, it makes working out more fun. And that will make you more likely to give every second your all.

4. CHALLENGE YOURSELF

“One of the things I love about surf-lifesaving is that there is always something more to learn,” Parker says. “The ocean is a constantly changing environment — you’re never going to see the same wave twice. That requires you to constantly learn and adapt, and take the knowledge you have and try to re-apply it to new situations.”

She also does this in her workouts and started surfskiing last summer. “I spent three months getting in, paddling a little bit in flat water and falling out of it,” Parker says. “But by the end of summer, I was able to take the ski in and out in the ocean and paddle through the surf.”

Train Like a Lifeguard: Seek out your thing, no matter how out-of-the-box or intimidating. “There are not many things in life that are so challenging they require you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone,” Parker adds. If you’re looking to challenge yourself in new ways, the key could be just beyond your comfort zone. So go ahead: Finally try CrossFit, sign up for a race or take your first yoga or cardio dance class. You’ll be glad you did.

Written by Brittany Risher, a writer, editor and digital strategist specializing in health and lifestyle content. To stay sane from working too hard, she turns to yoga, strength training, meditation and scotch. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The post 4 Ways to Work Out Like a Beach Lifeguard appeared first on Under Armour.

Original post at : http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/4-ways-work-like-beach-lifeguard/

Why Hitting Your Step Goal Doesn’t Matter

Getting in your steps is great goal. And the more, the better. Or so they say …

After all, in a PLOS ONE study, people who increased their daily step count from 1,000 to 10,000 steps cut their risk of dying during the study’s 10-year follow-up by 46%.

But here’s the problem: When we get zoned in on steps, pacing around our living room at 11:55 p.m. to hit our step goal for the day (admit it: Who hasn’t done this?), we forget the fact that steps aren’t the only metric of our fitness.Honestly, they’re not even the best one.

“While tracking steps may be a good way of initiating an awareness of one’s activity, with the idea of changing other behaviors and increasing other exercises that lead to better fitness, using number of steps as an indicator of fitness is self-deluding,” says San Diego bariatric surgeon Julie Ellner, MD.

Yikes. OK, let’s break this down a bit. And, while we’re at it, let’s be clear that steps aren’t bad — they just don’t take into account a lot of factors that influence health and wellness. Most notably steps ignore exercise intensity, explains James Borchers, MD, Director, Division of Sports Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Steps taken during a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or a march-in-place session in front of the TV count just the same as steps taken while running to catch the bus or sprinting during a high-intensity interval workout, he says. However, 10,000 steps spent running are going to make a far greater impact on your health compared to 10,000 steps walking.

READ MORE > SCIENCE SAYS RUNNING HELPS YOU LIVE LONGER

GO AHEAD, MISS YOUR STEP GOAL

Meanwhile, some of the best workouts out there involve virtually zero steps. Swimming, cycling and lifting are all great examples. And, when it comes to improving mobility and function, increasing bone strength and revving up your fat-loss efforts, you can’t get much better than high-intensity strength training.

“All exercise is good, but when you have 30 minutes to exercise, you’re better of spending it engaging in high-intensity exercise in the gym than you are taking a couple of thousand steps around your block,” Borchers says. Case in point: In a 2015 Harvard School of Public Health study of 10,500 healthy men, those who strength trained for 20 minutes per day gained less belly fat over a period of 12 years compared to those who performed the same amount of aerobic exercise — like walking and running. We’re willing to bet that the cardio bunnies got 10,000 steps much more consistently than the lifters did. According to research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, taking as many as 18,000 steps per day is associated with good health, but so is 4,000.

“I have many patients who have bought a pedometer and tracked their steps — proudly announcing how many they are taking each day — wonder why they don’t lose a pound,” Ellner says. “These are the same people who, when they finally join an exercise class bootcamp or lift with a personal trainer, are flabbergasted that they can’t complete a simple routine because they are out of shape.”

After all, to increase your fitness, you have to progressively overload the body — challenging it to do more and more over time. At a certain point, that’s pretty hard to do with walking. That is, unless you want to wear a weighted vest and take all of your walks uphill or you somehow have time to walk for six hours per day.

In the end, to score the fitness results you want, it’s all about improving the quality of your workouts. If that means you miss your step goal that day, so be it.

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Original post at : http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/hitting-step-goal-doesnt-matter/