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Better Body San Diego Podcast
Fitness & Nutrition Tips
Category: Fitness & Nutrition
Location: Mission Hills neighborhood, San Diego
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Fitness Together Mission Hills [http://fitnesstogether.com/missionhills] offers personal training with qualified professionals ...

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December 26, 2013 09:00 AM PST

We've all heard of "time zones," "slow speed zones," "construction zones," "no fly zones," "school zones" and the like, but I would like to introduce you to the NO EXCUSE ZONE. As you embark on a new month and a new fall season, you have an important choice to make. Are you going to jump on the train to a healthy and fit lifestyle or opt for a layover until the New Year’s resolution season rolls around? 

NOW is do or die for establishing a fitness routine before the busy holiday season arrives. Don’t miss out on this small window of opportunity to get back into the healthy habits that you may have abandoned during the past months. It’s time to bust through your excuses and establish a routine that will get you the results you want. Welcome, to the NO EXCUSE ZONE.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp and San Diego CitySearch.

October 27, 2013 09:49 PM PDT

What does it take to be a runner? Short shorts, bright socks, $100 shoes, a GPS watch and personalized playlists? Maybe a dog, water bottles attached to your hips and joining a running gang that meets before sunrise to get mileage in?
Well, in all actuality, being a runner only means putting one foot in front of the other, again and again, until the next thing you know you’ve put together enough continuous steps to run one mile, then two, three and four. It really is that simple. 
If you are new to running and not sure where to start, follow these 10 simple steps to make running fun, enjoyable and part of your regular fitness routine. 

September 20, 2013 06:00 AM PDT

http://fitnesstogether.com/missionhills - With summer temperatures on the rise, it can be hard to focus on your workouts and keep your eye on the prize. As sweat drips down your face and clothes stick in various places, it's a lot easier to throw in the towel and accept defeat, instead of sticking to your routine and beating the heat. To keep from melting away this summer, overcome the intense hot sun with a consistent fitness routine that is active, cool and fun. 

Say Hello to Hydration

Drinking enough water throughout the year is an important component for everyone's lifestyle. But when temperatures climb in the hot summer months and you are active outdoors, consistently drinking enough water is even more critical to maintaining your health and safety.

Hydration before a workout in the heat is really important. And the more you perspire during your workout the more water you need to drink.  Drink eight to 12 ounces of water before you work out in the heat and then consistently throughout the workout. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. You've just had six to eight hours of having no water in your system so it’s important to replenish your water supply first thing in the morning.

While drinking an adequate amount of water is an important factor when exercising outside in the summer, it's also important to keep tabs on other elements that can contribute to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Some of these additional contributing factors include body size, exercise intensity, fitness level, age, humidity and air temperature.

You can get twice the effect working out in the heat than when you are inside. You can work out for a shorter amount of time and reap the same rewards as long as you monitor hydration and watch for the warning signs of heat exhaustion.

Working out in the heat does provide some elements of danger, so take extreme care if you feel dizziness, headache or begin to feel faint, as these are all common signs of heat exhaustion.

Hit the Pool to Stay Cool

Summertime equals swimming time for most kids and families, but taking your workouts to the pool can also be a great way to stay cool while being active this summer. Swimming laps is a great total body cardio and resistance training workout, but you don't have to be a strong swimmer to benefit from exercising in the water. A good non-swimming pool workout  is simply running or walking back and forth in the shallow end of the pool as many times as you can in a set amount of time to get a high-intensity but low impact workout. Alternating between treading water and resting in the deep end of the pool for a set number of one-minute intervals also can be an effective summertime workout. The power of water as a built-in resistance tool can allow you to burn a maximum amount of calories in a relatively short amount of time.

Head Indoors for a Healthy Exercise Environment

If grueling hot temperatures are weighing you down and keeping you from getting in your outdoor workouts, take your exercise routine inside for a more stable and consistent environment. Working out indoors can help protect you from the outdoor elements of the summer season and allow you to focus more on getting in a good workout, and less on how hot you are. It also can provide a good opportunity to try out new equipment, small group classes or exercises that you commonly may not do in an outdoor environment.

In your journey for health, discipline is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When it comes to beating the heat, don't let hot temperatures be an excuse and don’t let them stop you from getting your workout in. Once the "excuse cycle" begins, workouts fall by the wayside, only for us to look up down the line with regret. Whether you work out inside or outdoors, the most important thing this is to keep your exercises fun and challenging, while maintaining consistency when the "heat is on," OR OFF.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session.

September 06, 2013 06:00 AM PDT

http://fitnesstogether.com/missionhills -- The total package of living a healthy lifestyle not only includes being physically fit, but also mentally strong. The same energy and attention you put into building your body's strength, endurance and flexibility should also be applied to having a positive attitude and perspective on life. It takes combining mental and physical strength with solid nutrition habits to build a body and brain that can successfully work together to accomplish your life's goals.

Mind Over Matter

Living a well-balanced healthy lifestyle starts with focusing on your mental, physical and nutritional health during your daily life activities. If you are not 100 percent on your nutrition, training and attitude, one or all of those is bound to suffer. Your attitude in the weight room, on the elliptical or while using the battle rope has to stay with you while you are on the construction site, taking care of the kids or sitting in your office.

One of the first steps to obtaining a strong body and healthy mind is to have solid, attainable goals before beginning the journey of health and fitness. Without a goal, or at least a vision in mind, you will most likely end up spinning your wheels or finding yourself working toward the impossible. Set your sights high, but be aware of the fine line between being realistic and completely impractical.

An example of a realistic and challenging goal might be to add 20 pushups to your existing maximum set of 15 within eight weeks. This type of approach gives you a clear-cut goal that can be broken down into smaller increments, making the challenge both mentally and physically achievable. Setting goals this way is much easier to manage and keep track of, and, make little tweaks along the way. Strength of the mind and the body will follow.

Active Lifestyles Breed Healthy Habits

Proper nutrition and exercise go hand in hand for achieving mental and physical health. While illness, stress, depression and other outside influences can take their toll on mental and physical health, each of these conditions has been shown to be diminished with the right diet and exercise plan.

While there is no one right way to train or eat, and while not every diet or program works for everyone, the two must be combined and work synergistically for the best possible outcome. The hormonal response the body puts out when undergoing these activities has been proven by science time and time again to illicit happy thoughts and less stress.

To accomplish total body health and fitness, it's important to incorporate strength training, cardio and mobility into your fitness regimen. A consistent cardio routine is key to keeping the heart healthy, enhancing your body's recovery and improving longevity, while lifting weights is an integral component to building strength, burning calories and accelerating fat loss. Weight training builds lean muscle, which in turn burns more calories because your body must use energy to build and maintain your muscles. More calories burned can lead to an increase in fat loss, making for a healthier and happier you.

Eat Well to Be Fit

When people think about eating healthy, the first thing that often comes to mind is reducing what they eat and taking away certain foods. Many people skip meals in an effort to lose weight and become more fit. This is not the answer, as you have to focus first, on simply eating to establish a healthy nutrition plan, which is all about portions size, frequency and quality of calories in. While you may lose weight (by skipping meals), you are in no way getting more fit. You are not building or retaining lean muscle. You are not recovering from your workouts. You are not getting vitamins and minerals. You are not feeding your brain. You are not going to keep your hormones in check and you are simply not feeding your body the raw energy (calories) it needs.

It is important to choose the right foods at least 95 percent of the time. Eating healthy doesn't mean that you can never enjoy your favorite foods again, but you have to keep in mind that you are what you eat. It's important to ask yourself whether eating your favorite food will help you get closer to your goals or further away from your goals. You also need to be mindful that you can’t out-train a poor diet. You can do all the crunches and side bends that you want, but living off fried foods and sweets is not going to carve out your six-pack,Set goals and accomplish them by taking a total mind and body approach to healthy living. The simplest advice is to stick with it. You can’t accomplish your goals by quitting or seeing the glass as half empty. Fitness is a journey that takes time. Stay strong mentally and physically by training right, eating well and keeping a positive attitude.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session.

August 17, 2013 08:00 AM PDT


January in July: Re-Commit to Your Resolutions this Summer 

Do you make health and fitness resolutions to start out the New Year, but end up abandoning them before the first summer heat wave? Are you having a difficult time living a healthy and fit lifestyle this summer with the lure of outdoor barbecues and poolside parties?

Have no fear – resolutions aren’t just for the start of the New Year any more.

Now that you have hit the mid-point of the year, July is the perfect time to re-align your health and fitness goals. Close out the second half stretch strong and feeling great with the following tips to re-commit to your resolutions and incorporate fitness into your daily activities.

Set Real Resolutions for Real Results

One of the biggest obstacles for staying on track and achieving your resolutions is setting realistic goals that focus on long-term health and fitness results. Short-term goals of losing a certain amount of weight in only a few days or weeks is not only potentially dangerous, but can set you into a vicious start/stop workout cycle. Instead, break out your long-term fitness goals into short-range achievements that you can realistically accomplish. This approach will leave you feeling motivated and focused as you progress toward your ultimate fitness goals.

People generally set unrealistic goals.  So when they don’t achieve losing “100 pounds in six months”, they feel like a failure. Try to be realistic, taking into account the time you have available, work and family commitments and how committed you are to sticking to the nutrition side of the program.

The biggest battle is good nutrition, which means sticking with real, unprocessed whole foods. You shouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand food labels. If you don’t know what the ingredients are on a food label, put it back on the shelf and move on to healthier options. Keep it simple and keep it real to stick with your health and fitness resolutions. Portion size, frequency and quality are key.

Carve Out Time for Fun Fitness Activities On the Road and At Home

Summer is a great time to take a break with a relaxing vacation. But that doesn’t mean you should vacate from a consistent exercise program. Do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. The 30-minute sessions should include aerobic exercise to work the heart and lungs as well as resistance exercises on alternate days to strengthen your core, tighten your stability and improve balance. If you’re unable to commit to a full 30 minutes, break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout your busy day.

In a short 10 minutes, you can do some pushups, squats and some walking lunges. No matter where you are on vacation, have a resistance band in your suitcase and either walk or run. On alternate days, do bodyweight exercises for 30 minutes. Not much time taken out of your day. Most resorts have posh fitness facilities and great staffs; check it out.

When you’re at home, the summer may make you feel lazy. But it actually is the perfect time to be active outdoors with your friends and family. Whether you prefer a solo early morning walk, run, bicycle ride or swim before temperatures heat up or an evening bike ride and sunset walk with your family, it’s easier to find time to work out if you schedule it before or after the busy part of your day. As summer turns to fall, you may need to adjust your workout schedule to align with your family’s back-to-school commitments.  Just make sure that working out and staying fit is a top priority for you and your family.

Find Something You Love and Someone You Love to be Around

If you are struggling with taking the first step to an active lifestyle, start out simple by finding an active outlet that you enjoy doing.  If you can grab a partner in fitness to share the experience, that’s even better. By reaching out to others who may be struggling with committing to a healthier lifestyle, you can not only support each other, but enjoy working out together so the task is less daunting and a lot more enjoyable.

Working out can be a chore unless you find something you enjoy doing. If you love dancing, try Zumba®. If you like walking, try progressing it to jogging.  If you loved swimming when you were younger, why not try it again now? There are no rules. Just do something you love and you’ll find that the time will fly by. 

Stay Committed for the Long Term by Continuing to Move Forward

Even if you indulge in burgers and brews at this weekend’s barbeque, keep moving toward your fitness resolutions by getting back on track the next day with a clean, nutrient-rich diet and consistent exercise program. There aren’t any quick fixes to a healthy and fit lifestyle. It’s important to not stop and continue moving your body in the gym and throughout your daily activities.

If you start moving and trying to eat the right foods, you will start to feel the difference.  Slow and steady is going to pay off for life, whereas a quick fad diet and rapid weight loss is not only dangerous, but will be back to haunt you in a matter of months. Don’t ever feel like a failure for straying off the path briefly. Just make sure you get back on the right path again quickly. It’s not so much about abstinence as it is about recognition and getting back on track.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise andnutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp and San Diego City Search.

August 10, 2013 08:00 AM PDT



While tree leaves and backyard lawns are well known for appearing in shades of glorious green colors this time of year, you also can bring some green to your fitness routine as you embark on living a healthy and fit lifestyle this spring. Summer is the perfect time to focus on the Three R’s of the environment by incorporating the following green tips into your active fitness routine.

Reduce:  While the common attitude in today’s culture is, “more is better,” the health and vitality of the planet relies on fewer toxins in the air for the betterment of the world and the people who live in it.  You can not only improve the health of Mother Earth but also your fitness level by focusing this spring on reducing the car exhaust and emissions that escape from your vehicle and household into the atmosphere. You can reduce your family’s carbon footprint by riding your bike to run errands, drop off/pick up your kids from school and perform any other transportation duties around your neighborhood. You also can reduce the electricity you use to work out by trading in the electrically powered treadmill for an outdoor track or running/walking path.

Reuse: The past generations of our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in a time when reusing everything was more of a norm than it is today. You can get back to your roots and make the Earth a better place to live for future generations by reusing many of your day-to-day items, ranging from plastic grocery bags to sandwich baggies and water bottles. You can start implementing a zero-waste philosophy during your workouts by eliminating the waste of plastic water bottles and paper water cups commonly found at workout facilities and endurance events. Instead, bring your own reusable water container with you during all of your workout activities and carry a reusable bottle with you throughout your day to ensure that your daily water drinking routine is green.

Recycle: One of the best ways to make your workout routine green this spring is to incorporate your daily calorie burn with giving back to the community once or twice each month. For instance, you can volunteer at a local recycling center to get a good workout lifting and organizing recyclable goods. You also can get up and get active outside the house by recycling your lawn and garden clippings.   Take your workout routine to greener levels this summer by incorporating these few simple tips into your daily life and fitness regimen. By getting outside and getting active you will not only make a difference in your health and fitness, but also help to make a difference in the world and community in which you live.

August 03, 2013 08:00 AM PDT


Four Exercise Tips to Shape Up Your Golf Game

The fairways are groomed, the putting greens are smooth and the tee boxes are set. Your favorite golf course is ready for another great golf season; but is your golf game up to par?

Shape up for this year’s golf season with the following exercise tips to increase your fitness level as you shoot for a season full of birdies and eagles. 

Tip One: Train Like An Athlete
The primary goal of training for athletes is to prevent injury, followed by improving performance. If you're injured you can’t practice, you can’t play and you can’t make your game better. That’s why Bruce Kelly, owner of the Fitness Together studio in Media, Penn., believes that the first step of an athlete’s training program should be a personalized fitness assessment that tests range of motion, strength and flexibility. If you don’t have an established baseline to work from, then you won’t have a clear direction toward accomplishing your golf fitness goals this summer.
“Golfers are athletes, so they should train like athletes,” says Kelly. “You have to get fit to play, not play to get fit.”

Tip Two: Turn Up Cardio Conditioning

If you want to talk like the pros, then you have to walk like the pros. Since the PGA requires golfers to walk all 18 holes of the golf course during its tournaments, fit players need to focus on increasing cardiovascular fitness levels in the offseason with exercises that are performed while standing up.
“Golf is an expanding, explosive sport.  So you need to train as functionally and effectively as possible,” Kelly says. “This means that as much of your training exercises need to be done on your feet as possible and the training movements need to be as explosive as possible.”
Increasing your cardio and metabolic conditioning, though, doesn’t mean that you have to log double digits of running or walking miles each week. Instead, Kelly suggests adding exercises into your fitness routine that mimic the explosive and repetitive nature of golf. Adding a circuit of sled pushing and pulling, battling ropes and medicine ball slams into your workout will not only help increase your overall fitness level, but prepare your body for a summer of powerful tee drives and strong golf swings.

Tip Three: Build Total Body Strength, Power and Stability

The golfer’s swing is one of the most critiqued movements of the game. If you only focus on strengthening the upper body portion of your swing, though, you miss out on a critical part of your golf game.
“The swing is such an explosive total body movement,” Kelly says. “You have to be able to control the forces of the swing or you’ll end up spending most of your time looking for your ball in the trees or, ultimately, injuring yourself.”
The power of your golf swing comes from total body strength that starts with strong, explosive and flexible legs followed by strong back, shoulder and neck muscles and ending with powerful biceps, triceps and forearms to finish the swing. You can hit all of the key muscle groups in your body by adding total body strength and power training moves into your workout. Some total body movements for golfers include kettlebell swings, shoulder press squats, medicine ball throws and medicine ball lunges with a twist.
Holding regular plank, side plank and Superman positions for one minute in duration for three or four repetitions at a time also are excellent exercises for building strong core and back muscles to stabilize your body, which can help you crush the ball off the tee and drive it down the fairway.
Tip Four: Stretch It OutA limber, flexible body is an integral part to every golfer’s game. It’s important to stretch after hitting the greens to recover your muscles and prepare them for the next round. It's also a good idea to stretch prior to teeing off to loosen tight muscles and prepare them for the torque and repetitive motion of a golf swing.
Before you head out to the greens, warm up your lower and upper body muscles with dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, moving toe touches and foam rolling. After your golf game, static stretches at the course followed by foam rolling and even regular massage will help relax your tired muscles and prepare your mind and body for the next golf outing on your summer roster.
As you prepare for a summer of walking down sun-drenched fairways, it’s important to focus on your body’s fitness level for the physical wear and tear of the golf season. By incorporating these four tips into your workout routine, you'll be on your way to getting the most out of every day on the links. 

July 27, 2013 08:00 AM PDT



Why do some of us gain weight around the middle and others not?

Where you tend to store body fat is related primarily to your genetic disposition. If you have an excessive amount of body fat, and heredity dictates storage around the middle, then unfortunately you will gain fat in the abdominal area. That said, many women notice abdominal weight gain when they go through menopause. This is because hormonal shifts can change the way the body breaks down and stores fat—hence a redistribution of body fat and the tendency for it to accumulate in the belly as women grow older. This tendency is particularly unhealthy, as excessive abdominal fat, especially the deep abdominal fat—called visceral fat—increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

What really works to get rid of stubborn belly fat?

The good news in the battle of belly bulge is that there are three scientifically proven lifestyle changes you CAN make that when combined together are the best way to attack that fat around the middle and flatten your belly.

Three Tips for a Flat Stomach:

1. Eat a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet. Excess body fat, whether it’s in the stomach or the thighs, is the result of routinely consuming more calories than you expend. Now is the time to change those unhealthy eating habits. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats. Eat breakfast, don’t skip meals, drink lots of calorie-free liquid, and eat small, frequent, lighter meals at home. Watch your portion sizes and calculate your daily calorie intake to ensure you’re eating the right amount to lose body fat at a safe rate.

2. Daily cardio exercise. Calorie-burning cardio exercise is one of the best ways to target stubborn belly fat. This is because stomach fat is more metabolically active and when you exercise, you target that area for fuel. What’s more, when you burn those calories up, you reduce your percentage of body fat, thereby shrinking those belly fat cells. This will allow you to see those abdominal muscles you’ve worked so hard in the gym to define.

3. Strength training. While you can’t “spot reduce” belly fat, you CAN strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles. That way, once you lose that extra fat around the tummy, you’ll be able to clearly see that toned flat stomach. Keep in mind that a single abdominal exercise won’t make a flabby stomach into washboard abs! Plus, there are certain abdominal exercises that are much more effective in strengthening and tightening the middle than others. Your flat tummy workout should incorporate exercises that target both the deeper and the lower abdominal muscles. For example, the rectus abdominus muscle is the most common target of abdominal exercises such as crunches. This is a postural muscle; it’s also a paired muscle that runs vertically and has distinct segments on each side. The rectus is responsible for the “six-pack” visible in toned athletes. Another important “core” muscle is the transverse abdominus, buried deep beneath the rectus. This muscle, though often neglected, also helps flatten the stomach. It runs horizontally and acts like a girdle, strengthening the core and decreasing risk of back injury.

May 25, 2013 08:00 AM PDT


Kick Start Your Summer Body by Focusing on a Healthy, Fit Lifestyle

With the countdown to summer in full swing, it's time to start focusing on a total body health and fitness routine. Whether struggling to shed the last few winter pounds, maintaining weekend warrior fitness levels or competing as an endurance athlete, everyone can benefit from a fit, healthy lifestyle built around brain wellness, body fitness and belly health.

Spring is the perfect time to start putting in the work to achieving overall health and fitness with National Public Health Week (April) and World Health Day (April) leading the way to a healthier society. As the theme for National Health Week states, "A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement!"1

It is time to put all excuses and distractions behind you, as today is the day to start moving toward a healthy lifestyle that will lead to positive mental, physical and overall well-being results. Let's get started!

Brain Wellness

A healthy brain and a healthy body work hand-in-hand to achieve overall fitness and well-being. A happy mind and happy body are derived from a healthy fitness routine that is focused on keeping you motivated, pushing you to do better and helping you reach goals you never thought were possible. Consistent fitness routines, especially in a small group setting, not only help release feel good endorphins in your body that support a healthy lifestyle, but working out with friends/peers also can serve as a mind and body therapy session for sweating out negative attitudes, while building total body endurance and strength. A study in the Journal of Sports Sciences even found that focusing on a team or group's strengths instead of your own can improve your body’s performance levels because working out in a group may ease your brain’s performance anxiety so you can relax, focus and reach your health and fitness goals.

Body Fitness

Spring is the perfect time to get your fit on by switching up your routine and combining a mix of cardiovascular and strength training exercises. If you have spent the winter months stuck within the walls of a gym, it can be good for your body and mind to take your workouts outside as the weather gets warmer and the sun shines longer. Instead of logging endless miles on the treadmill, hop on a neighborhood track for a quick interval sprint workout or dust off your bike for some strenuous cycling workouts. It also is important to not get stuck in a time rut by making sure that your fitness routine is burning calories and boosting your metabolism without draining the clock. A fast-paced, interval workout that incorporates short bursts of explosive cardio and strength exercises will not only cut your workout time in half, but it can be more effective for feeling your best, looking your best and performing better than you ever thought possible.

Belly Health

Americans' mid-sections are not getting smaller, on the average, and the size of your belly can be a good indication of the state of your body's health and wellness. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, it is important to focus on your body's core, as a healthy core can lead to healthy cardiovascular systems, digestive functions and strong muscular structures. Busting out hundreds of sit ups, though, may not be the best approach to achieving a healthy middle section. Shedding an extra layer of belly bulge takes a two-prong approach of exercise and nutrition.While sit ups can be a part of your core workout, it is important to focus on toning all of your abdominal muscles for the best results. Effective total body exercises that work the core can include planks (elbow, hand, side), knee/leg lifting exercises and standing on a balance ball when doing your regular strength training exercises.

On the food front, a healthy eating routine should include cooking more meals at home, focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods without extra additives/preservatives/chemicals, watching portion control and drinking adequate amounts of water. A healthy belly not only leads to a reduced risk of disease, but it also supports a more confident, energetic lifestyle.Ready to Kick Start a Healthy Summer Body? With only 12 weeks left until summer, it is time to get your body and mind in shape for optimal summertime fun and activities in the sun. By focusing on brain wellness, body fitness and belly health, you will have your body summer-ready in no time!The experts at Fitness Together can work with you in one-on-one personal training or small group PACK training sessions to help you establish a healthy lifestyle that prepares you to look better, feel better and perform better this summer. Give our studio a call today to kick start your healthy, fit lifestyle! 

May 18, 2013 08:00 AM PDT


Taking Nutrition Outdoors: 5 superfoods that cook up great on the grill

Juicy peaches, red ripe and sweet tomatoes, fresh picked corn-on-the-cob. Its summer, the produce stands are brimming with farm fresh fruits and vegetables—two food categories that Americans simply do not eat enough of.  So why not try grilling them to help you up your daily intake? What’s great about grilling veggies is they taste better grilled than just about any other way! Remember that marinating fruits and veggies first (such as coating quickly with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar) will help them caramelize better to bring out the flavors. So, try these five superfoods that grill up perfectly, and give your summer BBQ a healthful makeover:

1. Pineapple. Most fruit is too fragile to grill. Not true for pineapple! Hearty pineapple is definitely an exception to this rule and tastes sweet and delicious after just a few minuteson the flame. Brush with a touch of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), toss on the grill and youhave the perfect garnish to jazz up a burger or place under a grilled lobster tail. Nutritionally speaking, pineapple is low in calories and packed with vitamin C—1/2 cup provides you with20% of your daily needs.

2. Asparagus. A simple marinade of EVOO and balsamic vinegar makes this super easy to make and flavor-packed veggie a must grill side dish. Nutritionally speaking, asparagus is actually a member of the lily family—extra low in calories yet rich in fiber, folic acid, potassium,thiamin, and vitamins A, B6, and C.

3. Corn. Grilled corn-on-the-cob is a popular menu item for BBQs and clam bakes and fortunately is a healthy nutrition choice too. Grilling brings out the natural sweetness in corn—and allows its natural sweet flavor to surface without the need for too many unhealthful additives. Roasting the corn in the husks is the best way to cook them (just be sure to soak in lightly salted water for 30 minutes before tossing them on the grill). Cornis quite nutritious—filled with phytochemicals, B vitamins, folic acid as well as a notable amount of protein. 

4. Zucchini. Zucchini, sliced lengthwise, are super easy to grill and with their ability to capture those perfect crosshatch grill marks make them a nice visual addition to your menu.Flavor with a touch of EVOO and lemon juice, toss on a low heat and you’re good to go.Nutritionally speaking, zucchini falls into the super low calorie vegetable class (one entire zucchini contains a measly 20 calories). And for those 20 calories, you get a nice amount of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, calcium and iron.

5. Portobello mushrooms. Marinate these meaty mushrooms in a little EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic and onion for an hour, toss them onto a hot grill and it just doesn’t get any better than this for both taste and nutrition. Dense and flavorful, you can use them as a burger substitute, make them into pizzas, or serve them sliced as a side dish. Any way youeat them; these super-tasty and hearty mushrooms are the perfect low-calorie addition to your summer BBQ. Nutritionally speaking, these mushrooms pack a wallop. For just about70 calories you get a nice amount of B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium and copper.

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