Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What a 1500 calorie day looks like...when you are eating out

Are you following a 1500 calorie a day diet?  Do you look forward to Family Night Out with more anxiety than excitement?   Let me tell you a secret:  You don't have to!

It's true.  You can still enjoy your dinner without "saving your calories" (for which I slap your hand - that's the biggest no-no of all!)

Yes, we save over half the calories by swapping a night out with cooking at home.  But it's also not realistic to think dinners out don't come up or that we can eliminate them all together.

Meal (and snack) planning becomes more important than ever when you know you'll be eating out.  I know I've said countless times "review the menu before you go" to see what your options are.  But what if you don't just stop about reviewing your entire DAY and planning accordingly?   It might look differently that a normal day, but adjust as necessary to still fuel your day & keep your blood sugar levels stable.  

A 1500 calorie day might look something like this when you have a dinner out planned:

6:00 a.m.  Breakfast (271 calories)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 serving vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

9:00 a.m.  Snack (109 calories)
5 extra large raw strawberries
1 wheel of Babybel light cheese

12:30 p.m. Lunch  (445 calories)
1 oz natural turkey breast & 1 oz natural roast beef on Whole Food's Seeduction bread with a slice of baby Swiss & 1 TB yellow mustard
1 medium naval orange

4:30 p.m. Pre-workout snack (212 calories)
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt - 2%
8 chocolate chips - 60% dark
2 TB PB2

5:30 p.m. 60 minute workout

7:00 p.m. Dinner AT CHUY's! - (442 calories)
Mexi-Cobb Salad as on menu (no dressing)
1/2 cup fresh salsa as dressing

Total for day:  1,479 calories  (47% carbs, 30% fat, 23% protein)

So you've done it - a balanced day that hits the macro-nutrient breakdown as determined by the USDA (45%-65% carbohydrates, 20-30% fat and 10-30% protein).  And let's just remember that almost half of the fat grams you are eating today are from the fresh avocado on the Mexi-Cobb Salad you had for dinner.

Notice, there are no chips and salsa at dinner...I know it's hard but be strong!  If you must indulge, limit yourself to 10 chips (93 calories!) and take away the slice of Swiss on your lunch sandwich (55 calories) and the chocolate chips in your yogurt (40 calories)...which will balance your calories and satisfy your craving.

But if you are like me and can't always stop once you start, the best choice might be to ask them not to bring them to the table at all.

**For an 1800 calorie diet you can add the following:
Lunch:  1/4 cup Whole Foods Tex Mex Quinoa (75 calories)
Dinner:  5 oz Chardonnay - most common restaurant pour (160 calories)
Total:  1,714 calories

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Truth about Fitness Boot Camps

**Disclaimer:  I wrote this for a very specific group of friends - and then I realized I talk to people about this subject often and thought you all might enjoy it, too!**

Have you ever seen a fitness boot camp advertised and thought “That looks fun…but NO WAY can I do something that advanced!”? Rest assured you are not alone. 

Just like any other exercise program, boot camp is not for everyone. BUT before you make that decision, let’s explore and discover why they might just be a good choice for you after all.

What we think boot camp looks like

The term “boot camp” is often used by fitness professionals to convey a message of teamwork...not military-type drills. Exercises are often “functional”, meaning they train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports - which may be especially beneficial in improving balance, agility, muscle and core strength

A quick survey and past experience as both an instructor and participant revealed that the most common format used for boot camp training is interval training, meaning you have a defined amount of time to finish each exercise. Interval training utilizes a series of low- to high-intensity exercises that are interspersed with specific rest periods. This allows participants to reach their own peak exercise capacity, which is going to be different than Joe, who is different from Jane.

What boot camp actually looks like!

That’s not to say there isn’t a variety out there to choose from: Some are indoor, while some are outdoor (rain or shine!). Some are ongoing and some are offered for a definitive amount of time. Some are women-only, some are led by ex-football players and some may use medicine balls, dumbbells and resistance bands, while others focus solely on using your own body weight to generate strength, power and flexibility. 

However, there is a common thread in almost all of them: they are comprised of a variety of fitness levels, body types and age groups.

As Jessica Sniff, personal trainer and fitness instructor at Club Blue points out “At boot camp, you will not be alone—and there will be other people there just like you. You will eventually find that you’re all there to push and encourage each other”. 

Another commonality among instructors is basing their programs on social support and comradery. Debra Jones, personal trainer and group fitness instructor, agrees “Boot camp provides the accountability that pushes me to continue even when I want to skip a boot camp class…”  

Joan, a 55-year old long time boot camp participant tells me “Sure, some days I want to go home and lounge on the couch. But what if that’s a day we are doing partner exercises and some one gets left high and dry because I didn’t show?!”

Still unsure if a Fitness Boot Camp is for you? “Try one for a day. Or try a class that is similar to what you think boot camp is like” advises Dion Burns, also a personal trainer and fitness instructor at Club Blue. “You never really know until you try.” 

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