<![CDATA[Fitness with Kat - Blog]]>Sun, 02 Apr 2017 16:53:56 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Before You Workout]]>Sun, 22 Jan 2017 23:03:04 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/before-you-workoutNo one ever really plans out what their going to eat before they workout just as long as they eat something right? Eating just anything won’t do your workout any favors. What you eat before a workout is just as important as what you eat after your workout. Some foods tend you slow you down while you’re working out because it didn’t provide you with any energy or you might have eaten too much and now you feel sluggish. Think of your body like a car- you fill up your car with gas so you can get to and from places, so why wouldn’t you fill up your body with the appropriate amount of energy for fuel?
 
Foods to Avoid Picture
Salads
 
Salads with high protein are great for a post-workout meal not a pre-workout meal. Lots of salads contain a lot of high fiber veggies or fruits which tend to slow down the digestion process which leaves you feeling bloated and gassy. Trust me no one wants to run or jump during their workout when they feel sluggish and heavy. Your workout is time to yourself that you scheduled for you, so why would you only give of a half performance? Giving a half performance will only get you half of the results that you’re aiming for. You should always have a bundle of energy when you walk into the gym, you shouldn’t feel slow and tired. 

PictureOptimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard™ Double Rich Chocolate available at GNC for $29.99
Dairy & Fruit Juices
 
I never recommend yogurt or any kind of liquid base product before a workout because it never sits well in your stomach. You need to eat something that will actually sit in your stomach and not move around making you feel nauseous. Dairy can also make you feel sleepy, or even leave you burping in your trainer’s face. Same goes for a protein shake or a fruit juice, there’s still a chance you’ll have a sugar crash or get sick on the gym floor.  
 

Don’t Over Eat!
 
There’s no reason for you have a whole buffet before you workout. Eat something small and smart otherwise you’ll never make it to the gym.
 
So What Should You Eat?
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You should eat any low-fat source of protein such as: egg whites, chicken breast, or lean deli meat. If you really don’t like to eat before a workout and you don’t feel you get nauseous and you prefer to have a shake beforehand just make sure your shake is whey protein based and maybe add a little spinach in to keep the shake down. 

I know most people are pressed for time in the mornings before they workout but it’s important to maximize on your energy and minimize stomach discomfort. That’s why eating eggs for instance is a great option to eat before you workout because of its low fiber content and quick digesting carbs. If eggs or a small omelet aren’t your cup of tea opt for a rice cake with coconut oil or peanut butter, or a banana. Everyone should at least have time to eat a banana on the go in the morning there should be no excuses there.
 
Your training and performance is based on your energy and attitude before you walk into the gym. Therefore, it’s so important that you fuel your body with the right amount of foods so you maximize your results in the gym the best way possible. 



Sources:
 
Mindbody Green. Ruby William. 12 December 2016. Foods to Avoid Before a Workout. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27396/7-foods-you-should-never-eat-before-a-workout.html?utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=161212

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<![CDATA[No More Excuses]]>Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:40:48 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/no-more-excuses
How much longer are you going to procrastinate from getting in shape? How many more excuses are you going to make because you’re feeling overwhelmed or work is too busy? DO NOT let bad excuses get in the way of you being healthy and achieving your goals. You only get one body if you want to live long and be healthy for you and for your kids you need to make the time. I work about 12-14 hours a day training clients, writing articles, emailing clients recipes, cooking my own meals, and yes I’m guilty I do get about 4-5 hours of sleep which isn’t good but I STILL find time to workout. I know being in the fitness industry working out is part of my job, and I do have a life and some things come up, but I will always make time. If you don’t make a stable routine of working out you will fall off, unfortunately you can’t just work out once a month and expect to be in shape. Here are some obstacles you can conquer next time you find an excuse to not workout. 

“I’m too tired”
Most of my clients and the general public get a little second wind after they workout. You have adrenaline pumping and endorphins are being stimulated which both help toward brain function. Just walk into your workout slowly, if you feel dizzy cause you’re running take it back down to a walk, if that weight feels too heavy today then come down a little and do more reps. According to Michelle Segar, PhD, Associate Director for University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center says, “It’s okay to exercise at a lower intensity for a shorter time. Start doing it, and really listen to your body to see if this is nurturing or punishing. This helps people get more in tune with their body and actually can improve their desire to move.” All you have to do is get out of bed, once you take that first step into the gym I know you will push yourself. 

“I’m intimidated”
I hear it all the time, that’s why I have most of my clients. They don’t know how to use a machine or have proper form without me. Of course the occasional grunting from the meat heads can be distracting and intimidate most of my female clientele but please don’t be intimidated, you pay just as much as everyone else in that gym that is YOUR GYM. You walk in there and you own your workout! Or buddy up with a friend that is more knowledgeable of the gym and can show you around, or try out a personal trainer for a month just so you can get your feet wet and be comfortable on that floor and properly know what you’re doing. 
“It’s too expensive”
Gyms actually are having a tough time staying alive with all the competition out there. A lot of people are opting to just pay for a personal trainer or take a barre or spin class. Gyms like New York Sports Clubs, Blink, and your local gyms are averaging $20 a month for a membership. If you work for a big corporation like J.P. Morgan, Saks, Just Works, Mt. Sinai, etc. you can get a membership at a premium gym like Equinox, or New York Health and Racquet on average for about $70 a month through your corporate discount. Now I’m located in the Metropolitan area of New York so I’m just using that as an example. But gym memberships are very do-able it doesn’t matter the quality of the gym, they all have the same equipment they will all get the job done so JOIN ALREADY! If you still think it’s too expensive and not worth it for some reason you know what’s entirely free…. THE PARK! Any park is free you can run, swim, play soccer with your kids, push-ups or sit-ups in the grass, tricep dips and step ups on the park bench, play tennis or frisbee with a friend. If you have resistance bands, or therabands, a jump rope, or free weights bring them to the park, this way you’ll be more motivated to get out of your house and workout (park workout)
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Join your kids on a jungle gym and start monkeying around
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You can tie a resistance band to anything
“My diet is perfect”
Let me guess, your diet is perfect but you’re still skinny-fat? If you don’t have the best genes diet simply isn’t enough.That one extra little cardio session will go a long way with your diet to get you to that summer body you’ve always wanted. Diet is a huge part of losing weight and being healthy but it may only be making you healthy on the inside and the outside may not be your ideal goal, but when exercise is added into the mix you will enhance your results. You should always add strength training into any workout program no matter your age or injury. If you trip, fall, or pull a muscle from carrying groceries there could be a lot of damage if you’re not careful. Actually lifting up weights and working out will help lower back pain, improve balance, reduce stress, and “tone” up those problem areas that your diet simply can’t get to. When you incorporate a healthy diet with exercise you will look better, feel better, have more energy, and be more productive.
“Work is crazy”
You either get up early and workout before work or skip out on your lunch break to workout and eat lunch at your desk. I know everyone gets swamped at work but that doesn’t mean you should skip your workout altogether. Maybe you normally workout for an hour, well today workout for 30min. with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), to get your heart rate up faster in a shorter amount of time. 

“I’m bored at the gym”
It’s only boring because you’re making it boring. If you don’t have a trainer or take the same class everyday, and do the same routine whose fault is that? You should be switching up your workouts every 6 weeks, you shouldn’t be doing the same workout routine longer than that. You think you’re mentally bored, your body is already plateauing and is three times as bored. 

Switch it up:
From:

Running 5 miles on treadmill
Aerobics class
Spin class
15min. sprints on treadmill
Elliptical 30min.

Strength training
Yoga class
Zumba class





To:

Walking uphill for 15min. jog uphill for 10min. (repeat 2x)
Orange Theory class
Run 3 miles and finish with three 30sec. sprints
Jump rope for 10min.
Bike 10min. at resistance four then resistance seven for 5min (repeat 2x)
HIIT workout
Barre class
Hip hop class



Sources:

Beach Body Blog. How to Bust Your 6 Biggest Exercise Excuses. June 3 2014. http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/fitness/bust-6-biggest-exercise-excuses


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<![CDATA[Coconut Oil: May be more beneficial to your body then you think]]>Sat, 06 Jun 2015 15:45:46 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/-coconut-oil-may-be-more-beneficial-to-your-body-then-you-thinkCoconut oil or MCT oil is one of the most underrated products out there. This oil was frowned upon because contains a lot of saturated fats which we were always told to stay away from. New data today is showing how harmless saturated fats are to the body and how it was responsible for clogging arteries were all myths. However, coconut oil doesn’t contain the same saturated fats that are found in steaks in cheese, it contains fatty acids at a medium length. These medium length fatty acids are metabolized differently, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders. Coconut oil is amongst the few foods that can be called a “superfood” because of its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. I’ve listed the most positive effects coconut oil has on the body as there are many more.
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Fights Heart Disease

Coconuts are an exotic food found highly in the Western world. Where coconuts are more popularly grown people consuming them have been known to be more health conscious. Coconuts have been used as a dietary staple and have been thrived on for generations. These people eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fats in the world but are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. Two studies were done testing the affects of coconut oil on women and in rats. Forty women were tested on how coconut oil it improved their cholesterol levels. The study showed that coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil. In the study performed on rats, coconut oil reduced triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increased HDL and improved blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.

This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over a long period of time. In both studies coconut oil proved to lower the important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Increased Energy

Obesity is still one of the biggest health problems in the world. It is a fact that food affects people differently whether it’s the ingredients in the food or calories obtained from intaking the food. These medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day. Which over time can potentially lead to weight loss over a long period. 

While replacing dietary LCTs with MCTs men and women increase their daily energy expenditure (metabolic rate). So,assuming your calorie intake and exercise remain unchanged, any increase in metabolic rate through the addition of MCTs to your diet will result in the loss of body fat. 
Controls Hunger

In one recent study men were given varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were tested. The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories a day on average. Another study was done whom involved 14 healthy men who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch. The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce/ control your appetite, which may positively affect body weight over a long term. MCTs have also been shown to improve satiety of meals, meaning you feel fuller, and you’re more satisfied quicker, making you less likely to over-eat and ingest too many calories.
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Hair & Skin

Coconut oil can serve in various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it, but rather than applying it topically. Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of their skin. Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage. Coconut oil can be an effective form of sunscreen blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Another way coconut can help your overall hygiene is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in your mouth, improve dental health, and reduce bad breath. 

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Brain Function

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals. In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides lead to an immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s. Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease. These studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.


Sources:

MCT Oil- The Most Underrated Supplement. By: Bryan Hamann. Lean and Muscular. http://www.leanandmuscular.org/mct-oil.php

The Truth About Coconut Oil: 10 Facts You Need to Know. By: Kris Gunnars. http://cdn.eatlocalgrown.com/2-coconut-oil.html


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<![CDATA[Natural Supplements That Improve Your Athletic Performance]]>Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:48:55 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/natural-supplements-that-improve-your-athletic-performanceThere’s so many vitamins, protein shakes, thermogenics, pre-workouts to post workout supplements but do you really know what’s in them? Why would you chose these powders and pills over food if you don’t know which ones will react with your body or how and when to take them? Why not improve your overall athletic performance with natural performance-enhancing foods? Smart supplementation can go a long way toward boosting your performance and recovery period when working out.
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Tart Cherries
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Bananas
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Olive Oil
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Salmon
Responsible For:

They neutral free radicals so you can recover faster






Responsible For:


Just as effective as sports drinks at keeping your electrolytes balanced.





Responsible For:


It has monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation, and alpa-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E associated with better lung function. 







Responsible For:


Their protein urges your muscles to begin the strengthening process.
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Coffee

Need a pick-me up? Caffeine whether you’re getting it from tea or coffee is a great source of anti-oxidants and can play a huge role in athletic performance. Caffeine can be taken an hour before you exercise or during prolonged exercise to improve performance. As an athlete you don’t need much or a huge amount, try to keep a low doses of caffeine in mind just your average cup (200mg). Low doses will steer away from jitters, nervousness, the inability to sleep, or gastrointestinal distress. I would recommend having a cup of coffee before you leave the house or on your way to the gym, I personally don’t like to drink anything hot during my workout but if you have time to make a pot in the morning throw one on. During your workout you should be still drinking water as to not get dehydrated. Throughout your day every cup of coffee/tea you intake I would recommend one cup of water. Caffeine also has a similar effect as the drug therophyllin, which opens up the airways during athletic performance, says Dr. Turowski. 

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Edamame
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Beets
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Ginger
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Pistachios


Responsible For:

Soybeans are high in fat-torching protein and fiber.




Responsible For:


These bad boys help you push harder with less effort during your workouts.


Responsible For:

Fights nausea and can reduce muscle pain by about 20 percent.






Responsible For:

Curbs post-workout hunger without packing on the pounds.
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Turmeric

The spice that makes curry yellow acts like ibuprofen against joint pain because of its main component curcumin. Curcumin is a phytonutrient that helps in anti-inflammatory and is now being investigated as potential recovery aids following physical performance without the negative side effects. “In a recent study, curcumin was proven to reduce evidence of muscle damage, and resulted in a trend for lower pain intensity at 48 hours after eccentric aerobic exercise.” Not only does curcumin show anti-inflammatory aspects but it targets cell signals, particularly inhibition of certain proinflammatory pathways which have been linked with impaired performance.  

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Raisins
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Eggs
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Flaxseeds
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Oatmeal
Responsible For:

Grab a handful during long workouts for a natural energy boost.





Responsible For:

This rich source of amino acid leucine jump-starts muscle repair.








Responsible For:

They contain high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to be connected to lower risk of asthma.





Responsible For:

Provides staying power so you won't crash between the 10th and 11th laps.
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Apples

An apple a day may do more than just keep the doctor away. Apples are rich in phytochemicals and are particularly a good source of querctin, a flavnol that may benefit endurance performance and counter exercise-induced inflammation. A recent study also found slight increases in the expression of genes associated with mitochondrial production in muscle tissue. Quercetin and curcumin also work in the same way when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties. 

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<![CDATA[ 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Foam Rolling]]>Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:07:33 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/-5-mistakes-to-avoid-when-foam-rolling
Foam rollers can be found anywhere now a days, in your physical therapist's office, local gym, in your home, or in your book-bag. Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release; or deep tissue massage that helps to aid adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue. Chris Howard, C.S.C.S. and LMT at Cressey Performance says, “If the muscle isn't contracting uniformly from end-to-end, it could lead to injury and pain.” Foam rolling helps to increase blood flow to your muscles and create a better range of motion, aiding in recovery and improving overall performance. Foam rolling can be a little painful don't get me wrong, but you have to think you're supporting your whole body weight on one cylinder shaped roller and now applying your whole body weight to that area of discomfort., of course it's going to be uncomfortable. Most importantly, you need to understand where your pain is coming from, don't just start rolling on everything and everywhere.
Foam rolling where you feel pain

Your knee hurts so you foam roll over your knee. Wrong. Your knee hurts because another area of your leg is under tension. Whether it's a knot in your quad, your IT band is too tight, your glutes can even target a sensitive area to your knee, even the tensor fasciae latae (a muscle that runs along the outer edge of the hip) can target any pain in the knee joint area. It's best to go indirect rather than direct when foam rolling. Sue Hitzman author of The MELT Method says, “If you find a spot that's sensitive, it's a cue to ease away from that area by a few inches. Take time and work a more localized region around areas that feel sore before using larger sweeping motions.”

You're rolling too quick

When rolling you need time to tell your muscles to relax and really adapt and manage the compression. Use short slow rolls rather than being quick. I know personally I just just apply pressure and stay still in one area for about 30 seconds before I start to roll, and then I slowly roll and hold for another 30 seconds and keep repeating the sequence.

You have bad posture

Foam rolling can be workout in itself. You have to hold your body weight up in certain positions over the roller which requires a lot of strength. “When rolling out the IT band, you're supporting your upper body weight with one arm, when you roll out your quads, you're essentially holding a plank position,” says Howard. If you don't pay attention to your form like sagging hips or contorting the spine you could create more harm.

Foam rolling over your spine

The spine is probably the most sensitive area on your body that you want to make sure you don't cause any damage to. You never want to roll horizontally on your back, stick to a vertical alignment down your spine for a good stretch. Position the foam roller vertically down your spine by sitting on the far edge of one end and laying right down the center. Try to relax your shoulders and get your elbows and wrist to touch the floor for a good stretch. You can roll a little bit back and forth just for balance this way you're working your core while you get a good stretch. Otherwise if you're not laying on your stomach and having a certified professional foam roll your back for you I wouldn't even try the move. Opt for child's pose or foam roll the muscles that connect to your lower back- the piriformis, hip flexors, or rectus femoris to relieve tension in your lower back.
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Relaxing your spine on the foam roller
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Rolling out your piriformis
Foam rolling away from your heart

You want your blood to flow and circulate to the muscle and towards your heart. You don't want to roll away from your heart, depending on which muscle group your rolling you need to roll up or roll down.




Sources:


Hello Healthy. 5 January 2015. Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong? Http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/are-you-foam-rolling-all-wrong/

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<![CDATA[ How Your Body Weight Alone Can Help Build Muscle]]>Fri, 13 Feb 2015 03:24:55 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/-how-your-body-weight-alone-can-help-build-muscleDon’t get me wrong free weights, cables, and resistance bands are all amazing equipment to add into your workout regimen but what if those weren’t available to you? The strategic use of body weight exercises can be just as effective if used properly just like the bench press or squat rack. I always add at least two body weight exercises into my workout regimen and for my clients. Using your own body weight in your workouts help build stamina, resistance, and overall tightening. Look at the push-up for example. You’re supporting your whole body weight using your back, arms, and core then lowering your body to the floor performing a negative more resisting movement and exploding back up. If you perform an inverted push-up and simply add a bar, you have a bench press, two very similar exercises one with iron.
Weights are an extremely effective tool that are simply used in strength and resistance training, however when you pick a weight you’re the one in control because you pick the exact amount of weight you’d like to add. Free weights are more versatile than if you were to just rely on body weight and gravity alone. Body weight resistance training uses more natural movement patterns and forces your body to move in a more everyday life functional movement.

You can incorporate body weight exercises in your everyday strength-training regimen rather easily. I like to always add a push-pull combo on a back day especially to give my muscles a shock of explosion and get faster results.


For example:

PicturePull Up
Back Day:

Deadlifts to push-ups

Pull-ups to push-ups

Bent over rows to push-ups

Squat to rows to push-ups

PictureWall Squat
Leg Day:

Squats to wall squat

Squats to jump squats

Leg press to wall-sit (air squat)

Alternating walking lunges to static lunges

PictureBench Dip
Arm Day:

Tricep pull-down to bench dip

Alternating dumbbells curls to static hold high curls


PictureMountain Climbers
Core:

Sit-ups to plank

Mountain climbers to plank

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Reduce Your Stability

Balancing exercises can also help build resistance without adding weight. Add an unstable platform like a stability ball or bosu ball while performing your same strength training exercises.

Lifting one leg up while performing hammercurls is a simple way of strength training with a balance-challenged position. Again you always want to improve and get better, if lifting one leg up or adding a bosu ball is hard for you you’re just strength building. Yes stability training forces other muscles to kick in rather than just isolating one muscle group but it has an overall better training effect on the body. If holding a plank is too easy for you then why do it? Wouldn’t you want to challenge yourself and get stronger rather than plateau and not see any results? Stronger training effects mean you have a more solid fitness base and can push harder in other areas, which lead to muscle growth with a more functional effect and a reduced risk of being injured.

PictureSplit Jump Squat
Add Plyometrics Between Sets

Plyometric training uses gravity as its highest loading capacity by going airborne. Anything that forces you to takeoff then land after a period of being airborne is called ballistic or jump training. This type of training effect forces eccentric muscular contractions, which tell your body to fire your high threshold muscle cell motor units. Plyo’s force powerful and quick adaptations in the body that add strength and build muscle much faster than traditional weight training.  When this type of training is used correctly you create a template for getting ripped rather quickly when adding weight or no weight.








Sources:

The Beach Body Blog. By: Steve Edwards. How Body Weight Exercises Build Muscle. 8 January 2015. http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/fitness/how-body-weight-exercises-build-muscle



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<![CDATA[What's In Your Bar?]]>Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:13:39 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/whats-in-your-barEveryone always looks for a quick snack to eat on the go in between classes, meetings, clients; but do you really know what's in your snack 'on the go?' Some “protein,” “energy,” or “meal replacement” bars or snack bars are just glorified junk food. Most snack bars tend to be loaded with sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients.
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According the American Heart Association you should be limiting the amount of added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men, which is roughly about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar.

Just like with your bread, or any other product if you can't pronounce the ingredients in the snack bar or don't know what it is then it's better not to eat it. Look for snack bars that contain only WHOLE food ingredients such as: dried fruits, nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa, millet, amaranth, blackstrap molasses, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey, and dark chocolate (70%). Avoid any bars with hydrogenated oils, milk chocolate, sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, or any ingredient ending in “ose.”

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Inspect the Nutritional Facts Label:

-Be less than 200 calories

-Contain fewer than 10 grams of sugar per bar

-Have less than 20% of the daily value of saturated fat

-Have 5 grams of protein or more

-Contain a minimum of 3 grams of fiber


For instance most KIND bars include 5 ingredients or less, as well as contain whole clean foods you can pronounce, and only one natural sweetener and extremely tasty and come in many difference kinds.

To make your own health bar check out the recipe under Sides and Snacks.




Source:

Nutrition Blog at nyhrc.tumblr.com


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<![CDATA[Get Bigger Biceps]]>Sun, 30 Nov 2014 23:11:01 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/get-bigger-bicepsThere’s a reason why whenever a hot girl walks by in the gym men start doing biceps. It’s get our attention… if you’re in perfect form at least coming from a personal trainers standpoint. Everyone wants to get the gun show so why not do it properly and get the results you want quickly. Don’t fret ladies, biceps aren’t just a muscle group men should be working out. Women should definitely be strength training their arms as well, no one wants bat wings. It’s important to train your muscle groups for everyday functional movements. Perform these five exercises to boost up those guns and add a little more definition. 

1. Concentrated Bicep Curl

Yes the most boring of them all but the most effective. Sit down on a flat bench with your legs spread far enough where you can curl a dumbbell and you won’t hit anything.  Place the back of your right upper arm on the top of your inner right thigh. Rotate the palm of your hand until it is facing forward away from your thigh. Your arm should be extended and the dumbbell should be above the floor. This will be your starting position. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the dumbbell forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. At the top of the movement make sure that the little finger of your arm is higher than your thumb. This guarantees a good contraction. Hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the biceps. Slowly begin to bring the dumbbells back to starting position as your breathe in. Really push against your right leg to avoid swinging motions at any time. Again it’s called a concentrated bicep curl because you are just concentrating on the bicep, you’re isolating your bicep so yes this exercise is going to be a little harder than the other following bicep exercises. 
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Starting Position: Concentrated Bicep Curl
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At the top of the movement remember to hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the biceps
2. Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Place your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. The slight bend makes you engage your core a little bit more when performing this exercise. Begin the exercise with both arms extended at your sides, palms facing forward. Slowly curl one arm up to shoulder height and squeeze your biceps at the top. Slowly lower the dumbbell down and alternate arms. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body and don’t let them move at all during your rep. If you feel like you are swinging from the hips or legs the weight is probably too heavy for you. Try standing with one foot in front of the other in a comfortable stance. This stance cuts off any hip movement that is occurring or helping “cheat” on your bicep curl, again keep your core engaged at all times.  
3. Hammer Curl

Stand in same position as your alternating dumbbell curl stance. Begin the exercise with both arms extended at your sides, palms facing each other towards your thighs. While keeping your palms facing toward each other, slowly curl the arms up to shoulder height and squeeze your biceps at the top. Remember your holding the dumbbell like you would a hammer so don’t change your wrist position. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body and don’t let them move during your rep. 
For a more advanced move, I like to kneel on a Bosu ball while performing the hammercurl. Place Bosu ball upside down with the flat part facing up and kneel in the middle of the ball (you might want to grab a towel for knee padding). Sit up straight without your toes touching the ground, when you have a good stance and you’re not swinging or falling over grab the dumbbells and perform the hammercurl exercise. This move really engages your core and has you work on balance and strength.
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4. Chin-Ups

Not only does this exercise target your biceps but it also works your latissimus dorsi, and abdominal muscles. Grab a bar shoulder width apart with your palms facing towards you and pull your body up so that your chin goes over the bar. The move is not completely done until you lower yourself back down and your arms are fully extended. While performing a chin-up, make sure you keep your muscles engaged so that you don’t stress your skeletal structure and its connective tissues. 


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If you can’t get your head over the bar simply grab a resistance band to perform assisted chip-ups or an assisted pull-up machine. 

5. Supinated Bent-Over Rows

The supinated bent-over row works similar to the chin-up exercise. This reverse grip bent over row  works the biceps, the latissimus dorsi, the hamstrings, and the shoulders. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a barbell (or 2 dumbbells), palms facing away from you. Bend over so that you feel your hamstrings engage. Keep your back flat and chest expanded and pull the barbell into your body until it is just below your chest as if you were rowing. Lower the weight(s) back down and repeat.








Sources:

 5 Moves for Great Biceps. The BeachBody Blog. 2 June 2014. By: Collette DeBenedetto. http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/fitness/5-moves-great-biceps?code=SOCIAL_BB_BLOG


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<![CDATA[The Seeds Are In]]>Sat, 29 Nov 2014 15:12:22 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/the-seeds-are-in
Not only nuts are great for your diet but they’re not the only things in your kitchen that can add flavor, mega nutrients, good fats, and a hefty dose of fiber.

Chia Seeds

Not only are they a great source of fiber but they’re also full of the bone-strengthening minerals phosphorus and calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Ounce for ounce, chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! These essential fatty acids also support heart health, regulate blood sugar, and promote healthy hair, skin and nails. An ounce of chia seeds contains three times more calcium than skim milk! 
Try making chia pudding at home:
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Vanilla Chia Pudding (Vegan)

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Cup almond milk
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. pure honey
(Makes 1 serving)

Top with banana and cinnamon!

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until a uniform texture is achieved. If you prefer a tapioca-like texture, simply stir all of the ingredients together and allow to chill overnight. Chia puddings take practice to get the texture “just right,” so feel free to adjust the amount of seeds or liquid to achieve the texture you desire.

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Apple Cinnamon Chia Pudding:

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup fat free milk
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. apple butter
1/8 Tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Optional add-ins: apple slices, apple Butter, or fat free vanilla greek yogurt

Pumpkin Seeds:

These seeds have a slightly grainy taste, but do a body good. According to a recent study pumpkin seeds are loaded with the mineral Manganese which promotes bone health as well as muscle-building protein, they also contain compounds that may help control blood sugar. Check out the Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese recipe only 229 calories!


Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds offer as much protein in two tablespoons as six ounces of milk. Try making your own powered-up pesto by blending these ingredients and substituting pine nuts for hemp seeds. 
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Homemade Pesto

Ingredients:


2 to 3 Garlic cloves
3 Cups packed kale (about 1 small bunch)
¾ Cup hemp seeds or toasted walnuts
2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
¾ Tsp. sea salt
¼ Tsp. ground pepper
Red pepper flakes for taste 
¼ Cup flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ Cup grated Parmesan cheese


Make the pesto: In a food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves and process until the garlic is minced. Add the kale, hemp seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper if necessary. (You can thin out the pesto with more oil, but if you’re serving with pasta, keep in mind that you can also thin it out with reserved pasta cooking water.)

Add to your favorite whole wheat pasta!

Poppy Seeds

Try shaking a teaspoon of these seeds onto your favorite chicken or tuna salad recipe for extra crunch and flavor. Two tablespoons of the fairly fruity seeds give you a quarter of your daily calcium requirement and a decent amount of immune-enhancing zinc. 

Try poppy seeds in your favorite baked goods:
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Lemon Glazed Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Ingredients

1/2 Cup poppy seeds
1/2 Cup milk
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. zest from 1 lemon
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 Cup light brown sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
(Makes 8 to 10 servings)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oven rack in upper middle position. Butter loaf pan. In a small saucepan, combine poppy seeds and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in poppy seeds and milk. Stir in lemon zest. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. While cake is still warm, whisk together confectioners sugar and lemon juice. Pour over cake. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.






Sources:



Lemon Glazed Poppy Seed Coffee Cake. Serious Eats. By: Carrie Vasios Mullins. 8 May 2012. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/05/lemon-glazed-poppy-seed-coffee-loaf-cake.html

Apple Cinnamon Chia Pudding. The Skinny Fork. 10 April 2014. http://www.theskinnyfork.com/blog/apple-cinnamon-chia-pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding. The Detoxinista. 8 February 2013. By: Megan http://detoxinista.com/2013/02/vanilla-chia-pudding-vegan/

Not a Bad Seed Here. Women’s Health Magazine. By: Rachel Meltzer Warren, R.D.N. December 2014. 

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<![CDATA[10 Benefits of Cinnamon]]>Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:32:24 GMThttp://fitnesswithkat.com/blog/10-benefits-of-cinnamon
I bet this is one spice you most forget about or think is only for baking. I bet you didn’t know all the benefits cinnamon has to help keep you healthy. This flavorful spice is one you should always keep stocked in your cabinet and add to your daily meals. There are two main forms of cinnamon. Cinnamon comes from the branches of wild trees that belong to the genus "Cinnamomum" usually found in the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. However, there are two main forms of cinnamon that are commonly found in foods. Cinnamomum verum, “true” cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon which is commonly used in sweet pastries. The second type is Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cinnamon which is used as a stronger spice in a variety of foods. In fact, it is cassia-based cinnamon that is often seen on the grocery shelves and is most often cheaper than true cinnamon.

Here are 10 benefits to adding cinnamon into your daily diet: 

1. Blood Sugar Control 

Several studies have found that cinnamon has properties that help those with insulin resistance. It’s popular amongst those with Type 2 diabetes to add cinnamon into their diet to help control their blood sugar variations.

2. Stomach Bug/Flu

Cinnamon acts a powerful anti-bacterial that will destroy all the bacteria in your stomach. Cinnamon in its various forms work most effectively against adenovirus. Adenovirus is an important etiological agent that can cause human respiratory and alimentary infection. While other remedies like ginger work for stomach ailments, cinnamon works much faster. You will begin to feel better within minutes, especially if you feel nauseous. Cinnamon also acts as a warming agent and dramatically reduces any chills, aches, or pains you have,  and make your comfort levels feel more at ease.
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3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome 

As a digestive, cinnamon dramatically reduces the uncomfortable feelings associated with IBS especially with bloating. It does this by killing bacteria and healing infections in the GI tract and enabling the gastric juices to work normally. So next time you feel a little puffy or bloated, have a cup of cinnamon tea and you will start to burp and let out air within minutes of drinking the tea. This an indication of the bacteria being killed.

4. Arthritis/Osteoporosis 

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center cinnamon has high level of Manganese which is used to build bones, blood, and other connective tissues. The body needs Manganese for optimal bone health, so people who are deficient in the mineral are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Of course a huge factor causing Osteoporosis may be lack of dairy consumption. 
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5. Odor Neutralizer 

Have a smelly bathroom, floor, kitchen, counter tops, garbage cans, interior of cars, or toilet? All you need is 2-5 drops of cinnamon leaf oil mixed with water on a diffuser and within minutes all odors are neutralized. This natural neutralizer doesn’t mask or create a bad odor but also kills bacteria created by the bad odors. 

6. Alertness, Memory & Cognitive Development 

Professor Michael Ovadia of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University tested  how the affects of cinnamon would contribute with memory loss. Professor Ovadia and his researchers grinded cinnamon and extracted the substance into an aqueous buffer solution. They then introduced this solution into the drinking water of mice that had been genetically altered to develop an aggressive form of Alzheimer's disease, and fruit flies that had been mutated with a human gene that also stimulated Alzheimer's disease and shortened their lifespan. After four months, the researchers discovered that development of the disease had slowed remarkably and the animals' activity levels and longevity were comparable to that of their healthy counterparts. In the test-tube model, the substance was also found to break up amyloid fibers, similar to those collected in the brain to kill neurons. 
"The discovery is extremely exciting. While there are companies developing synthetic AD inhibiting substances, our extract would not be a drug with side effects, but a safe, natural substance that human beings have been consuming for millennia," says Prof. Ovadia.
7. Weight Reducer

Cinnamon apparently has the effect of thinning your blood thereby increasing blood circulation. Increased blood flow generally boosts your metabolism which is why it may be helpful in weight loss. This blood thinning property of cinnamon also helps in acting as an anti-clotting agent especially for those suffering from heart disease. 

8. Anti-oxidant 

Cinnamon is one of the top seven anti-oxidants in the world. Studies have shown that cinnamon has sufficient anti-oxidant properties and makes for improved food palatability. Consider anti-oxidants as good for your whole body, repairing damage to virtually all parts of your body from skin to organs.

9. Lower Cholesterol

Now cinnamon isn’t a treatment for lowering your cholesterol, but it is found to affect how your body processes sugar and fat. This however, could theoretically lower your cholesterol. A study conducted in 2003 noted that a daily intake of one-half teaspoon of cassia cinnamon not only lowered blood sugar levels in type II diabetics, but it also significantly lowered LDL and triglyceride levels. HDL, or "good" cholesterol, was not affected by cinnamon in this study. 


10. Cold, Sore Throat and Cough

At the first sign of sniffles or an itch in your throat take some cinnamon tea or cinnamon stick tea within 5-10 minutes. It is said to stop an impending illness in its tracks. Again this is related to the anti bacterial properties and warming properties of cinnamon and its propensity to increase blood flow and thereby improve blood oxygen levels to fight illness. Chinese traditional medicine commonly recommends cinnamon for phlegm coughs.


Try a sprinkle or two of cinnamon in your favorite foods such as:
  • Cup of Green Tea
  • Coffee
  • Lentil Soup
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cereal
  • Pancakes
  • Whole Wheat Toast

And check out the recipes for the full scoop on adding cinnamon to your foods








Sources:


20 Healthy Benefits of Cinnamon. Cinnamon Vogue. 2014. http://cinnamonvogue.com/cinnamoncommonuses.html 


Cinnamon Extract Inhibits Progression Of Alzheimer's Disease. Medical News Today. George Hunka. 28 June 2011. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/229809.php

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