Monday, July 16, 2018

How to Avoid Dehydration When Exercising

How to Avoid Dehydration When Exercising

It’s hot, and you’re sweaty, and everyone "knows" that drinking more water is essential, but do you understand WHY dehydration has such a negative impact on how you feel? Knowing what happens on a cellular level may give you some insight into why you feel so bad, reasons to take preventative measures, and give you tools to feel better should you become dehydrated.

Dehydration is when your body loses excess fluids (sweating, diarrhea, fever) and is no longer able to carry out its normal functions due to the loss of electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals in the body that regulate everything from muscle contractions, to food absorption, to mood, to blood pressure, to nerve signaling.

Disrupting the balance of these levels can leave you feeling more than just thirsty- including feeling tired, anxious, getting headaches, joint pain, changes in appetite, and cause significant weight fluctuations. Your body can send you messages that something is wrong, so you need to pay attention to getting yourself the care you need.

To keep you and your body happy, drink enough water where you are using the bathroom every three hours, and your urine is clear. Eat foods like:

  • Broccoli and bananas which are rich in potassium
  • Watermelon, and cucumbers which are mostly water
  • Cheeses and yogurts which have high levels of calcium to maintain optimal functioning, and monitor your sodium intake by eliminating packaged foods

Finally, if you start to feel the effects of being dehydrated such as fatigue, lightheadedness, muscle spasms, and an irregular heartbeat the first step is to drink water - NOT a sports drink. Sports drink have other ingredients that can continue to confuse your body!

However, AFTER water supplementing with a sports drink might make you feel better. Don’t drink sodas, diet or otherwise, they will not help to hydrate you in this situation and avoid alcohol at all costs - it will only dehydrate you more!



About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies, a Home Personal Training Service in Manhattan NY. Learn more by visiting her website at HomeBodies.com

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tips To Cure Exercise Laziness




Occasionally, nothing can be more refreshing than enjoying a "lazy day." From binge-watching TV or movies to sitting outside sipping refreshing drinks, a day of lazy can help us recharge. The same cannot be said for exercising and maintaining our long-term health through fitness. In this case, exercise lazy can lead to continued uncharging more than recharging. You can't "yawn" your way through an exercise program and expect results.

Feeling lazy is a phase we all experience, and it applies to many things. This month, we have some tips for you on how to correct exercise lazy and stay on your plan for weight loss, fitness, and overall good health.

Often during the summer months our routine changes, responsibilities shift, and suddenly we get an opportunity to reflect on ourselves. Inevitably one will see an opportunity for growth and change. Some people seem to thrive upon this awakening, signing up for painting classes, races, and volunteer opportunities, while others feel a desire to do something different but somehow can’t seem to “get motivated.”

These continually conflicting feelings of a strong desire to change but no action can lead to feelings of self-loathing, frustration, and the biggest trap of all, defining yourself as “lazy." Taking on this characteristic for yourself will only lead to more frustration and inaction, so before you’ve decided “its just the kind of person you are,” take a look at some micro-movements that might help shift you from a sloth to a superhero.

Take Your Big Goal and Start-Off Small

Let’s say your goal was “To Be Smarter,” we can infer that you’re looking to gather more information, and one way to gain knowledge would be to read. Instead of trying to find the right book, or even the right topic, the small version of this step would be to read ANYTHING for 1-5 minutes a day. Literally ANYTHING. Do this for a week and see if you can expand on it.

Make the Goal Just To Do It

Often we think that if we are going to do something we have to do it well to get the maximum levels of enjoyment. Many people desire to learn a new skill but fear they will be bad at it, so they don’t want to “waste” the time or the money. If we remove this fear and decide that the goal will be to show up and try instead of show up and be perfect, this practice will break down other mental barriers into the habits and behaviors of someone who is always trying new things.

Remove the pressure to “have fun” and instead push to show up and you might find real enjoyment can come a little later.

The Pre-Routine Ritual

If your goal were “To Lose 20lbs”, we can infer that you moving your body more would help this. Set the alarm for when you’ve determined you’re going to go for that walk/gym trip/cycle class and immediately put on your shoes, OR fill your water bottle, OR tie your hair in a ponytail. Whatever it is, do it every single time.

This easy first step won’t catapult you into change but offers a simple behavioral shift that eases you towards the next level.

Set Aside Time for Curiosity


If you’re thinking about improving your aerobic personal training workouts and you want to try your first 5k marathon, or going vegan for a month, set a timer of 10 mins to do some research that doesn’t require an outcome or answer. Most of this time will be daydreaming through google typing “5ks happening locally” or “easy vegan dinners,” but you could also leaf through a vegan cookbook, or stop in at your running store to ask questions. 

Allow this information, and your body might slowly make space for this new idea or habit to form on its own!



About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies, a NYC Home Personal Training Company servicing New York City residents over for over 30 years. Learn more by visiting their website.

Monday, March 26, 2018

5 Ways Muscle Activation Techniques Can Improve Your Workout


If you work out on a regular basis, but you are not reaching your goals, there is a very good chance you are ignoring the benefits you can achieve with a muscle activation technique personal trainer. There are many benefits to utilizing muscle activation techniques and understanding how they can improve your workout. Your exercise regimen can benefit greatly when you graduate from regular strength sessions into activating your muscles before your workouts.

What is Muscle Activation Technique?

Maintaining muscle using strength training is important in increasing your strength and maintaining joint stability. However, when an exercise routine becomes too easy, it can become a waste of time and reduce the benefit you receive from your workout. You need to increase the amount of active communication between the muscle groups you are exercising and your brain, which is a major part of what this exercise technique focuses on.

How does Muscle Activation Technique Work?

When muscles are not strong enough to create full stabilization in a joint, the brain automatically triggers alternative muscles to tighten up and create stability. The problem most people suffer from is that all the muscles in the region do not receive the same signal or respond to the information the same way. This causes some muscles to be worked out more in-depth than others, leading to the needs of the weaker muscles being ignored.

Exercise Benefits?

As we teach in our NYC Personal Training Programs, you want all your muscles to obtain an equal benefit. You want weaker muscles to be enhanced and be strengthened so they can provide the support and strength that your body needs. Muscle Activation Technique Personal Training allows you to teach your brain to communicate more effectively with your muscles, creating deeper, more evenly distributed muscle contractions that provide greater benefit. You will obtain better results from each exercise session and see more noticeable improvement in muscle strength and definition. Here are five benefits you will achieve from personal training in muscle activation training.

1. Increased Muscle Strength

If your brain and muscles are not properly communicating, you are not exercising to your full potential. You may not be able to determine exactly what percentage of your muscles are responding to your exercise but adding a personal trainer can dramatically increase the overall percentage. There is always room for improvement in an exercise program, and most people can double their strength by improving their muscle focus. Increased strength can also increase muscle coordination, decrease pain, and improve flexibility.

2. Improved Muscle Coordination

The brain focuses on keeping the body safe from being injured. Unfortunately, it can develop blind spots and instruct your muscle groups to utilize the strongest muscles in your daily life. Sometimes, the brain chooses muscles that do not function together properly. This creates abnormal gait, improper lifting, poor posture, and even decreased ergonomics.

3. Increased Muscle Flexibility

Decreased muscle strength and improper muscle usage can create improperly or scrambled feedback to the brain. This improper feedback can limit the range-of-motion your body is capable of and greatly broaden the range of stretch you can achieve, providing a better workout for your muscles, and better oxygenation before and after activity.

4. Reduced Risk of Injury

Muscle Activation exercise techniques help increase muscle and joint stability by isolating weaker muscles and triggering them to carry more of the weight in your exercise. This allows them to strengthen and take their natural place and do their job much better. By having your muscles function as they are intended, instead of how they prefer, you will greatly reduce your risk of joint and tendon injury.

5. Helps Reduce Pain

The development of pain is typically caused by a dysfunction of the muscle. It can also be caused by improper movement patterns that have been carried out over a period of years. After a period, the brain interprets these movements as normal and begins communicating the actions as you have been performing them. If the movements are carried out in a manner that the muscle is not equipped to handle, pain can develop in association.

Why You Need a Muscle Activation Technique Personal Trainer

It can be difficult for someone who is learning about their body and exercise to target isolated muscle areas. If the brain and muscles are not properly communicating, and this communication can be difficult to achieve. A personal trainer can provide a wealth of information and teach you how to better communicate with your muscles. A personal trainer can help you isolate muscle groups that your brain has been ignoring and strengthen the weaker muscles you are compensating for.

If you are looking for the perfect way to supplement your workout, a personal trainer can help you learn Muscle Activation Techniques and boost the results you achieve from your workout. Get the most from your workout, starting on day one!



About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield, Director of HomeBodies is a leading home personal training service in NYC with over thirty years experience helping fellow New Yorker's lose weight and get in shape. Learn more by visiting their website at HomeBodies.com

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Top Ten Foods that Support Regular Exercise

When you spend time working out at the gym or pounding the pavement, you understandably want to enjoy wonderful results from the effort. Your ability to remain energized and to put forth your best effort will help you to get the most out of your exercise sessions. However, it seems like many health foods leave you zapped of energy. Try some of these healthy and energizing foods before your next personal training workout.

1. Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit

You may have heard that carbs are bad for you if you are trying to lose or manage weight. However, carbs are essentially your body’s primary source of energy. There are healthy and unhealthy carbs, and steering toward healthy carbs can give your body the energy it needs. Both oatmeal and fresh fruit are great examples of healthy carbs that do not come with unnecessary fats and refined sugars. They can give your body healthy energy to get the most out of your workouts.

2. Coffee with Low-Fat Milk

Coffee may not be the first thing that you think about when preparing for a long workout session, but it has excellent benefits. First, it can give you an energy boost. Second, it may help you to reduce muscle pains after your workout. Add low-fat milk to enjoy a stream of healthy carbs and protein to go with your caffeine boost.

3. A Fruit Protein Shake


Another way to get the healthy carbs that you need is to down a delicious fruit smoothie before exercising. Extra protein in the shake can help you to build muscle while the carbs in the fruit energize your body. This is a one-two punch that is available in your choice of fruit flavors. A simple protein shake light on the fruit may also be a great post-workout snack.

4. Almonds

Nuts are another type of food that you may have heard mixed things about, but almonds offer clear benefits for fitness enthusiasts. Studies have shown that regularly eating almonds can improve your performance and increase your capacity for antioxidants. Plus, they are loaded with vitamin E, protein, and other nutrients.

5. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt

Low-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and healthy carbs that are essential for a great workout that builds lean muscles and burns fat. For added benefit and extra flavor, add oatmeal or fresh fruit to your dish.

6. Cottage Cheese with Fruit

Cottage cheese can be heavy in fat, but you can purchase a low-fat option that is loaded with protein, and that is easy on the fat. This is typically an excellent source of healthy carbs as a stand-alone food, but you can add fresh fruit to the mix for flavor and additional healthy carbs.

7. Salmon

When you exercise, your body actually produces more free radicals, and you need more antioxidants to counter those free radicals. Salmon is loaded with healthy fats and is a great source of protein. It also has the antioxidants you need and a solid dose of vitamin D.

8. Tomato Soup or Juice

While many of these foods are ideal for consuming before a workout, you also need to think about your post-workout nutrition. When working your body hard, you lose water and electrolytes. Hydrating with water alone after a workout only meets half of your re-hydration needs. Because tomato juice and soup are both loaded with sodium and potassium, they are a great post-workout option. If you are concerned about electrolytes before you get started, enjoy tomato juice or soup before your workout.

9. Chicken with Rice

Chicken is a lean meat that is an excellent source of low-calorie protein. When you combine chicken with rice, you add much-needed carbs to your diet. Remember to choose brown rice over white rice to get the healthy carbs that your body needs.

10. An Egg Sandwich

Bread is generally considered to be a bad carb, but there are high-protein options that have healthy carbs. Look for whole wheat bread made from unenriched flour. Top your bread with an egg to get extra protein with your carbs. While the yolk of an egg is filled with nutrients, it is also filled with fat. If you are watching your weight, opt for egg whites only.

Remember to consume pre-workout foods approximately 45 minutes to one hour before you exercise. After a workout, opt for foods that are higher in protein and electrolytes and that are lower in carbs. Each person's body is unique, so you may need to adjust your diet periodically to find the perfect combination of nutrients to support the type of exercise that you regularly do.



About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield, Director of HomeBodies is a leading home personal training service in NYC with over thirty years experience helping fellow New Yorker's lose weight and get in shape. Learn more by visiting their website at HomeBodies.com

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

5 Healthy New Years Resolutions



Drink More Water

Proper hydration is an essential requirement for healthy organ function, and it is very much taken for granted. Keep yourself hydrated by purposely adding four glasses of water (not liquids) to your daily routine. Try drinking a glass before each meal and drinking two glasses of water when you wake up each morning. You can do this during meetings or workouts as well.

Replenishing after a long workout is vital to replacing fluids you sweat away while exercising. If you do not like, or get bored with the taste of water, you can always add fruit slices like orange, lime, or lemon to jazz up the flavor.

Find an Accountabilabuddy and Show Up!

Do you know someone that needs to exercise for various health or physical reasons? One way to ensure that you will stay on track for your exercise goals is to pick someone that needs YOU! When you know someone else is counting on you to help them feel better about themselves or lose some weight, then you are more likely to stick to your personal training exercise plan.

Some ways to keep this routine going strong throughout the year is to contact each other about exercising each day, motivational texts when not together, and compete with each other a little. Remember that your partner is counting on you for success!

10 Minutes of Meditation a Day

Or try Beginners Yoga personal training! 75 percent of the people who said they have insomnia report that they can fall asleep in about 20 minutes when they begin meditating daily. There are more than 1,500 studies on meditation, and one Detroit business found that employees with a meditation plan were 120 percent more productive and made more than 520 percent more money.

Meditation is known to relieve stress and help you maintain a calming Zen. If all you have to do is meditate for ten minutes a day to get results like that, then why are we leaving it out of our routine? There are clips on YouTube that can help you begin a meditation program. Even counting your breathing in and out for a few minutes every day can help you reduce stress and feel better.

Create and Share A New Playlist

Music can be an immediate mood booster and motivator for any situation, and especially when exercising. A simple, easy way to improve your mood and make it easier to get things done is to create a new music list. Add your favorite songs from 2017, and think about what you need from a new playlist. Do you want to relax after work, or do you listen to music when you workout? Choose new tunes that fit the need for your playlist and get busy filling it up.

If you go blank when you try to think of singers or you want a longer list, just type a few favorites into YouTube, and it will pop up similar artists. You can do the same thing in the search bar on the Spotify free version. For even more fun, send your energized playlist to your workout buddy, or the relaxation playlist to a friend that could use some chill time!

Plan Your Sleep

You may not think it is that big of a deal to miss an hour or two of sleep here and there, but how much sleep do you give up each week when you do it day after day? Regular sleep loss can cause you to develop high blood pressure and diabetes leading to stroke and heart disease or heart attacks. A simple way to get the sleep you need is to set two alarms, one to go to sleep and one to go to bed. This way, you never let binge watching keep you from a productive day at work.

To make your 2018 a healthier and more productive year, consider adding these five easy tips to your daily routine. A few minutes of time each day to take care of yourself helps you become the BEST version of you!



About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield, Director of HomeBodies is a leading home personal training service in NYC with over thirty years experience helping fellow New Yorker's lose weight and get shape. Learn more by visiting their website at HomeBodies.com

Monday, May 8, 2017

The 7 Best Exercises for Pregnant Women

The 7 Best Exercises for Pregnant Women


Upon receiving the great news of your budding bundle of joy, you must be super-excited to make healthy changes in your life, which include regular exercise. Exercise during pregnancy is not only important to get you lively and ready for your baby, but it is also the fastest way to weight loss post pregnancy. It also helps you have less back pain and a shorter labor.

The following seven best exercises for pregnant women will help you look and feel your best during this special time in your life.

Yoga

Prenatal yoga stimulates circulation, strengthens your muscles, and helps you relax, which can help you stay strong and calm during your pregnancy.

You can also use the techniques to stay relaxed and have more muscle control during labor. In fact, a study conducted on more than 70 first-time mothers showed that those who practiced regular yoga experienced less discomfort and shorter labor.

As your bump grows, keeping your balance can become more challenging, so skip positions that require more stability. Additionally, in your second trimester and beyond, avoid poses that require you to lay flat on your back because as your uterus gets weighty, it can put too much pressure on major veins, which can limit blood flow to your heart.

Walking

A leisurely stroll around the park is an excellent way to get a cardiovascular workout without putting too much strain on your ankles and knees, and it can be done at any time through the entire pregnancy. However, remember to wear supportive shoes and try to walk on smooth surfaces because as your pregnancy progresses, it can affect your coordination and balance.

Swimming

Swimming is the safest form of exercise during pregnancy because there is no risk of toppling and harming your baby. In addition, exercising in water allows a broad range of motion without putting pressure on the joints; therefore, you can swim, dance, or walk in the water throughout your entire pregnancy. However, avoid jumping or diving in because it could cause abdominal pain. You should also avoid warm pools, hot tubs, and saunas, etc., which could cause you to become too hot.

Light Weight Training

Mild weight lifting helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, which can prepare your body for the abundant lifting and carrying that will be required once the baby arrives. Doctors warn that lifting weights that are too heavy can put a dangerous strain on your abdomen; therefore, stick to light weights (about 5-8 pounds) and perform more repetitions for a good workout. Furthermore, avoid lying on your back when training, which could decrease blood flow to your baby.

Pliés

Pliés strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, and butts, which helps improve balance.

To perform a plié, stand parallel to the back of a stable chair with the hand nearest to the chair resting on the top of it.

With your feet parallel and hip distance, apart and your toes and knees turned slightly outward, while keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees lowering your torso as much as you can. Slowly straighten your legs to return to starting position. Repeat as many times as you would like, or as guided by your Prenatal Personal Trainer.

Squats

Squatting is helpful in preparation for delivery because it increases the pelvic opening
an additional quarter to a half inch, allowing more space for the baby to descend, so you should practice it regularly to strengthen the muscles required.

The wall slide squat is especially beneficial because it does not require much balance. To perform a wall slide squat, stand with your back flat against a wall with your feet about six inches from the wall and shoulder width apart. Keeping your arms relaxed at your sides and your back flat against the wall, gently slide down the wall into a squatting position until your thighs are in line with the floor. Hold the squat for up to 10 seconds, then gently slide back up the wall into standing position. Repeat this exercise 5 to ten times.

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts strengthen abdominal muscles and ease delivery. It can also improve the flexibility of your back and ward off back pain during pregnancy and labor.

To perform a pelvic tilt, get comfortably down on your knees and hands with your head in line with your back. Tuck in your pelvis while arching your back upward. Hold this pose for a few seconds, then flatten your back and relax your stomach without allowing it to droop. Repeat this exercise three to five times, gradually working up to ten reps.

As with any exercise, you should consult with your doctor first to be sure you have no limitations and that the exercises are safe for you and your baby. Once you receive the okay from your doctor, indulge in exercises for pregnant women knowing you are doing your part in growing a healthy baby as well as taking steps to ease your labor. 




Additional Resources


About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies NYC Personal Training at Home, a leading personal training service in Manhattan NY with over thirty years experience.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Benefits of Home Personal Training

Benefits of Home Personal Training


Benefits of Home Personal Training

Whether you really love your current workout, would like to try a new workout, dread working out and are looking for a way to make it more enjoyable, are athletic training, training for an event, would like to try a new sports activity as part of your bucket list, want to achieve weight loss, and more NYC Home Personal Trainers can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Personal trainers are highly skilled in various exercise techniques and can develop a personalized fitness plan based on your specific needs, as well as provide the inspiration you need to achieve effective results. Also, trainers work on your schedule and, in many cases, can even come to your home or office for added convenience. Some benefits of incorporating a personal trainer into your fitness routine include:

Motivation and Support


Whether you are stuck in an exercise rut, are having a bad day, or are simply not into fitness, a personal trainer can provide the motivation you need to both get and keep you going. Personal trainers are enthusiastic about fitness and are eager to pass this enthusiasm on to you. Not just as a quick fix, but to help make you enthusiastic about fitness as a lifestyle choice, which can greatly improve your overall well-being.

Your trainer cares about you and your success. In addition to providing motivation, your personal trainer also provides ongoing, non-judgmental support, which can help give you the confidence you need to stick to your workout.

Each time your trainer is with you, their focus is you and only you. During your workout, your trainer will provide constant feedback and help you improve your routine, as well as yourself, in a caring but non-judgmental way.

Trainers do not judge or belittle, instead they help you see your success throughout the process, even when you do not realize it yourself. Through this continuous support, your trainer can motivate you and help you feel good about yourself.

Develop/Improve Your Routine


Whether you have a beloved routine, would like to try a new routine, or you are new to fitness and don't know where to begin, your personal trainer can help you develop a routine that is realistic to you and improve upon fitness routines already in progress.

Trainers are educated in various exercise techniques and can help you with meeting your fitness goals. A trainer will consider your fitness level as well as your exercise preference and help develop a routine that fits your lifestyle, so you are not overwhelmed. This will help maximize your workout time and motivate you towards success.

Proper Form and Technique

It is very easy to injure yourself while working out if you are not exercising the proper form and technique. Having a personal trainer by your side can provide instant feedback on the proper way to perform exercises, learn how to properly do cardio and aerobic training, and how to use exercise equipment to help avoid injury. As a result, you will develop a mind and body connection, develop proper form, improve your posture, burn more calories, and increase your strength.

Even if you are a recreational athlete, NYC Personal Trainers can help you develop your sport. Trainers have studied movements and body patterns and know the best exercise to help you develop endurance, strength, agility, and speed to excel in your sport.

Injury Rehab

In the event you have suffered an injury, trainers can work with you to safely exercise and improve your range of motion, so you get your strength back. They can even work with your physical therapist to develop a plan to maintain the rest of your physique while you rehab your injury. 




Accountability

Personal trainers are adamant at holding you accountable. Once you have a set, paid appointment, your trainer will be there with a smile on their face ready to help you achieve your goals. Also, they will not let you make excuses, and they will continuously challenge your abilities, so you take your workout to the next level and continue to see results.

Education on Nutrition, Health, and Fitness

As part of your trainer's job, they are required to remain up-to-date on health trends and continued education to continuously provide you with the healthiest and most fact-based information in the industry. Trainers can use this education in addition to their experience to provide you with effective tips and tricks to help you develop a healthier lifestyle. This includes addressing obstacles to your nutrition, how to manage eating while dining out, sharing recipes, and they can even refer you to the appropriate experts if they notice that there is a deviation in your health and well-being.


Home Personal Trainers in NYC are motivators, nutrition guides, and life coaches, which many people may find they need to achieve their fitness goals.


Additional References


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Slow Cook for Fast Weight Loss

A slow cooker meal is a delicious, healthy, and time-saving alternative for making weight loss meals.
Because of our fast-paced culture, even the things we eat are prepared and processed with such speed. While this may be good because we can have food on the go, this "fast food" is incomplete when it comes to the nutrition that our body needs. What it lacks in the nutrition department, is made up for in added carbs and calories. This is why a lot of us who eat fast food and processed meat almost every meal and are continuously gaining weight even if we moderate our food intake.

Instead of eating fast food, try preparing a slow-cooked meal in the Crockpot that you can prepare before you go to work and by the time you come home it will be ready for you and your family. This style of eating is not only a time-saver, but it also is good for weight loss. Today, we will look at the benefits of the slow cooked meals as well as a good recipe that you can make yourself.

Slow Cooked Meals Help You Lose Weight

In addition to a proven home personal training program, slow cooked meals help you lose weight because they have a complete set of nutrients in them thanks to healthy ingredients that are involved. Because of this, the body absorbs the necessary nutrients it needs without the extra ingredients that happen to be in processed foods.

This is a fabulous way to lose weight because you don't have a bunch of unknown ingredients in your meal. Having healthy ingredients means lower fat, fewer calories, and more fiber, which makes you feel fuller. Don't think you have to cut down on the flavor, either, as any meal in a slow cooker can be seasoned with a variety of spices providing a delicious savory meal.

Slow Cooked Meals Are a Time Saver and Save You Money

When you get up in the morning, you perform your morning routine, which includes breakfast and getting everyone else in your family ready to go. When you actually get off to work, you work hard all day, only stopping briefly to have lunch. By the time it's time to get off work, most of us are too tired to make a meal, as we just want comfort food and to basically veg out in front of the TV.

With slow cooked meals, you don't have to worry about making a delicious meal for you or your family at nighttime since it is already done for you when you get home. Not only are there a variety of recipes available today that are delicious, but these recipes are healthy as well, which will help you if you are trying to lose weight.

Going out to eat at fast food restaurants all the time will not only add inches to your waistline but will take away your hard-earned cash as well. With slow cooker meals, you can have a delicious, healthy alternative for a fraction of the cost of going out to eat.

A Recipe to Try

Chicken Adobo

This Asian recipe is enjoyed throughout Asian-Pacific countries on a daily basis. This recipe will serve 4 people.

Ingredients:

    6 skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite-sized pieces
    2/3 cup soy sauce
    1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
    4 cloves of minced garlic
    1 small sliced red onion
    2 bay leaves
    1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons of sugar (can be replaced with alternative sweetener)
    Salt to taste
 

In your slow cooker, place all of the ingredients together, and set on low for five to six hours. This Chicken Adobo is best served on rice.



In Summary

Eating slow cooked meals is a great way to provide healthy nutrients that your body needs. Not only are these meals healthy, but they can help you cut down on fast food while saving you money. Why not try replacing one meal every day with a slow cooker meal for one month and see how much weight you have lost and how much money you have saved.

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies, an NYC home-based personal training service that has been helping New Yorkers lose weight for over thirty years.

Additional Slow Cooking Recipes for Weight Loss:

5 Ways Your Slow Cooker Can Help You Lose Weight

14 Best Crock Pot Recipes for Weight Loss

 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year New You? 3 Strategies to Realize Your 2016 Fitness Goals

New Year New You - 3 Stategies to Reach Fitness Goals
2016 is finally here, but your six-pack abs from 2015 never showed up. What happened? There are 1,000 reasons why you fell off the wagon in 2015. Time to let it go and game plan for success in 2016.

1. Set Realistic Goals with Small Improvements

No matter what, you can get there. Maybe focus on the short term as well as the big picture. Every day you have the opportunity to be better than yesterday. Maybe not 100% better, but 1% better is possible.

Think of it this way: Can you lose those 20 lbs in 1 month? Probably, but not safely. Slow and steady progress, consistency and determination will ensure long-term success.

Break up that big goal into smaller monthly goals. Even set your intention for each week with a Monday mantra.

2. Set Aside the Time

Schedule it in. Schedule it in. Schedule it in. Use your planner reminders, set your alarm clock and use a light timer for those dark wintry early mornings. Sometimes having ten backup alarms is worth it if you get yourself to get moving.

Also, begin now! If you miss your Monday mantra, Tuesday through Sunday are all fantastic days to begin anew. Missed the morning workout? There's no time like the present to take 30 minutes and do something for you.

Sometimes we justify that we are not ready for the next phase because our ducks are not in a row. Have you ever seen a mamma duck line her ducklings up? NO! She starts moving and the little fledglings fall in line. Boom. Begin, again and again.

3. Ask for Help

You don't have to do this alone. You are surrounded by resources:

  • Find a buddy.
  • Make your workouts social and fun.
  • Try a variety of different classes because the best workouts are ones you enjoy.
  • Schedule sessions with a personal trainer to ensure that you are progressing consistently without worrying about injuring yourself 
Breaking old habits is extremely difficult. Focus instead on building a new routine. Man is a creature of habit. We weave a thread of it every day until it becomes a cable so strong it cannot be broken.

About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies NYC Personal Trainers at www.homebodies.com, a leading fitness and weight loss service for personal training at home for thirty years.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Benefits of a Postnatal Personal Trainer at Home

Postnatal Personal Trainer helping a new mother
Many say, "Motherhood comes naturally," but sometimes pregnancy and childbirth can put too much strain on the body. This can increase the likelihood of postnatal complaints and complications. The postnatal period begins at childbirth and ends after the baby is six weeks old. While all available care and information are focused on prenatal care, the major challenges after childbirth are left to be experienced and figured out. This makes the transition to motherhood all the more difficult.

Every woman will undergo different postnatal changes in their lives, including physical, psychological, and social adjustments. The amount of support given to her, as well as preparation, can make a difference in shaping her new experience as a mother.

What are the Challenges and Changes During Postnatal?

The changes during the postnatal period can be dramatic and come with no warning. During the first weeks after childbirth, the body begins to adjust to no longer being pregnant and heal.

The first sign of change happens in the uterus. Once the baby is born, the uterus begins to shrink, but the process is gradual. After childbirth, the uterus weighs a little over 2 pounds, and within the next six weeks, the muscle fibers are slowly broken down up until the uterus goes back to its original size and weight of 3.5 ounces.

Mothers may also experience hormonal changes soon after childbirth. Their breasts enlarge as their breastfeeding hormones begins to rise and blood supply is increased. At first, the breast will feel soft, which contains rich and creamy first milk called colostrum that is full of antibodies to protect the baby against infection. After three to four days, the breast milk production usually starts. Normally, mothers may feel uncomfortable; especially when the nipples feel very sensitive, and the breasts are swollen and tender

After nine months of respite from menstruation, some mothers will experience postpartum vaginal discharge known as lochia. It can be characterized as a heavy menstrual period where for the first 12 hours, the mother continuously discharges bright red, thick blood that is normally the sloughed-off cell lining of the uterus. After a few days, the lochia gradually lightens in volume and turns to pinkish-red in color.

Other physical changes may include incontinence and hemorrhoids. Incontinence does not always happen to every mother, but it can be expected, especially since the muscles that keep the urine continent are temporarily numb due to the contractions and the banging of the baby's head during childbirth. The same can be said for hemorrhoidal veins since they become irritated and swollen as a result of the same pressure they get as the baby is being pushed out of the vagina.

Psychological and emotional changes may also take a toll right after childbirth. Many women start to feel messed up from the intense pressure from the family and the responsibilities to take care and nurse the baby after birth.

First-time moms may experience an unbelievable amount of stress and challenges to care for their babies 24/7. Adjusting to their new role as parents may even contribute to marriage problems, such as in cases where the woman might feel that their husbands are not being sensitive enough to their needs, or that they are leaving all the responsibilities to their wives.

Other women may find themselves getting irritated every time they see themselves in the mirror because they think they are too fat. This also goes along with the fear that they might have a hard time getting their shape back or their husbands might find them unattractive because of the weight they have gained. Added to the worries of most mothers is their new belly paunch, experiences of hair loss, swollen feet, and a feeling of looseness or falling sensation in their vaginal area.

Pregnancy and childbirth leave their battle scars, whether it be their physical or emotional changes. And while some women may find it easy to overcome these challenges, sadly, others do not. Depending on their adjustment period and the amount of support they get, some mothers may take over a year to finally get their old selves back.

Why Postnatal Exercise is Important

Finding time for postnatal exercise can be just as challenging as being a mother to a newborn child. However, making time to exercise is very important. During pregnancy and for six months after giving birth, supporting ligaments tend to become lax, stretchy, and softened due to the hormonal changes and imbalances. As a result, mothers become prone to injury, such as back and pelvic injury as well as ankle sprains.

Researchers have found out that postnatal exercise can help strengthen muscle core, joints and ligaments, and improve mother's overall well-being. Exercise may also decrease body pain, promote weight loss, and increase energy.

Other benefits include:

  • Boosts mood by releasing high levels of endorphin hormones in the brain, which relieves stresses and makes mothers feel good and happy
  • Reduces risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Improves abdominal recovery and increases core stability by conditioning the abdominal muscles
  • Reduces risk of incontinence
  • Reduces risk of shoulder and back injury when carrying the baby by increasing upper-body strength
  • Improves posture
  • Improves circulation

How Soon Can You Exercise After Childbirth?

Six weeks after childbirth, most of the bodily changes that occurred during months of pregnancy have returned to normal. For those who have had a caesarean section and had difficulty during pregnancy, it may take a longer time to be ready for exercise. Then again, postnatal exercise can be started as soon as mothers feel up to it, but it is best that they get their doctors' okay first before jumping into any program.

New mothers must keep in mind that their muscles, joints, and ligaments after childbirth are still weak because of the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy. They are still susceptible to injury, so a little extra effort in stretching and twisting can be dangerous. To start, mothers can begin with easy and mild exercises and slowly build up to harder ones.

What Kinds of Postnatal Exercise are Best For You?

There are numerous recommended postnatal exercises recommended for mothers. They can start with brisk walking for 15 to 30 minutes every day in the morning, climbing the stairs up and down four times a day, or doing more strenuous work like tummy and pelvic floor exercises. If mothers find it hard to start off with these few exercises, they have the option to bring their baby along with them, for example, walking around the whole house while carrying their newborn.

Other options for postnatal exercises are Yoga, Pilates, cycling, and low-impact weight training and aerobic or cardio workouts. Mothers may also begin to do swimming and aqua aerobics, as long as their vaginal bleeding has stopped.

Where to Get Help for Postnatal Exercises?

Personal trainers, whether at a gym or in the privacy of the new mother's home, can be the perfect choice for postnatal exercise. They are certified and trained in various exercises that can help their clients get back into shape and fight off postnatal depression and challenges that come along after childbirth.


Personal exercise trainers who are trained in postnatal care will provide customized solutions for new mothers depending on the individual's level of fitness and amount of weight they put on during the pregnancy. Choosing the proper postnatal personal trainer can play an important role in keeping a new mother's regular postnatal exercise regimen at the proper pace and safety mode that will give better results.

About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies NYC Personal Trainers at www.homebodies.com, a leading fitness and weight loss service for personal training at home for thirty years.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Healthy Habits of Thin People

Improve Your Fitness and Weight Loss Efforts with Tips from NYC Personal Trainers, HomeBodies
Have you noticed a thin person and wondered what their secret is? You might be thinking they never eat, or they never eat anything good. In truth, there are many habits thin people practice, and enjoy life just the way you do. This month, I'd like to share many of them with you.

Whenever you want to make a lifestyle change, it's always best to do it gradually. If you find some tips here you think will help you maximize your workouts, try adding one or two at a time, and build on your progress. Chances are, it's the same way you exercise today. Gradual process is an ideal way to build new, and healthy habits.  

  • Eat an early dinner (3 hours before bedtime) 
  • Weigh yourself regularly (knowledge is power)
  • Eat a routine diet (save the "special meals" for special occasions)
  • Eat Breakfast - start your day right
  • Plan healthy snacks
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces
  • Scan the whole menu and order a la carte in necessary - if it's on the menu, you might be able to create your own meal
  • Eat whole grains
  • Sleep 6-8 hours nightly
  • Manage stress - yoga, meditation, exercise
  • If there is a choice between stairs and an escalator, take the stairs or take the stairs whenever you can 
  • Chew your food thoroughly and don't be distracted during your meals
  • Move after meals
  • Have healthy food on hand and keep the enemy out of the house
  • Eat protein
  • Keep a food journal
  • Take home doggie bags
  • Use the 3 bite rule for fattening foods
  • If it's not worth it, don't eat it! 
About the Author

Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies NYC Personal Trainers and HomeBodies.com, a leading fitness and weight loss service for personal training at home for thirty years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Benefits of Kickboxing Personal Training

The Health Benefits of Kickboxing Personal Training
Doing the same workout day after day can become boring, but adding a dynamic twist can bring back the enthusiasm in physical fitness. Kickboxing can offer alternative methods that provide cardio and strength exercises without removing the fun and variety of mixed moves. With every thrown punch and kick, one may feel the energy build that leads to the toning of the body and increased endurance.

Kickboxing is often a sport that takes place inside a ring where combatants may use kicks, punches, head butts, elbow strikes, knee strikes, and random throws against one another. Generally, kickboxing is a martial art that can be used for self-defense.

Many kickboxing classes are offered for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes can burn anywhere from 300 to 700 calories, depending on the intensity of the workout. This makes it a total-body workout that gets a person in shape while also toning and developing muscle strength.

Benefits of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is perfect for anyone regardless of age and purpose. Whether it is used for the purpose of finding a new and exciting way to exercise, finding a higher dose of adrenaline for one-on-one competition, or simply learning self-defense, kickboxing is an excellent way to exercise the heart while burning a lot of calories.

Practicing kickboxing requires focus, quick reflexes, and the willpower to allow one's self to push its body to their limits.  Aside from the challenge it may bring, kickboxing is very fast-paced, and that eliminates the feeling of boredom of a routine that seems to drag on for hours every single session.

Anyone can participate. Whether a long-term exercise aficionado or a fitness newbie, kickboxing has a lot to offer. Not only does it boost energy; it also includes benefits such as:

  • Reduced stress level -kicking and punching all your pressures out is an effective stress reliever 
  • Improved coordination - kickboxing is a fast-paced exercise that requires quick reflex of the feet and the arms, and improves the coordination that helps one to execute their movements successfully 
  • Better posture - many muscle groups are challenged through kickboxing, including the core and the back muscles. Targeting these areas that do not get enough attention can improve strength and awareness to better their posture 
  • Improved cardiovascular - participants keep moving all throughout every session, which keeps the heart pumping, improving circulation of blood and heart rate level 
  • Better oxygenation - as one tries to catch their breath through every punch and kick, the lungs are exercised, pumping more blood carrying oxygen to every part of the body 
  • Improved strength - every punch and position made is done with precision that helps build up upper- and lower-body muscles, which in turn strengthen the body 
  • Boost energy levels - kickboxing leaves one breathing hard and profusely sweating out toxins, which in the process provides the needed energy for a high-energy workout
Kickboxing is a great choice for getting out from the fitness rut and it brings about as many health and fitness benefits as other available workout routines offer. And for anyone working hard in their usual routines, kickboxing offers a break to retain momentum, which becomes a perfect cross-training workout.

Just one or two weeks of wearing wrist weights or ankle weights while mixing a combination of punches and kicks provides such an adrenaline rush that it may cause one to actually leave their other workout regimens and transition into a kickboxer fitness enthusiast. Anyone thinking of starting with kickboxing training should consider hiring a personal trainer.

Kickboxing Personal Trainers

Choosing a kickboxing personal trainer can be a challenge, but they are perfect for anyone interested in acquiring a personalized training far beyond any large exercising class. Personal trainers are capable of giving focused attention by adhering to their clients' preferred schedule and location in which to do their routines; a different convenience that a general gym class could not offer.

Home personal trainers can assess the course of the path towards achieving their client's goals. They will determine which best practices or exercise routines will best suit the fitness level of their clients, from beginners and intermediate to advanced.

The starting point should be all about red flags that may come up during sessions, such as health concerns, previous injuries, or any medical condition referred by their client's physician. This is to evaluate and assess safety before any training starts. In fact, many personal trainers will go to the extent of contacting their client's doctors in order to discuss their health issues and to personally get their medical clearance.

In addition, kickboxing personal trainers must have a better understanding of their client's personal fitness goals, whether specific or general. Some may simply want to get motivation, and a designed workout planned to help them get back in shape, where others may only have a couple of problem areas in the body that they want to fix, such as their core or the back.

With this information, personal trainers are able to assess how frequently they have to meet with their clients, whether meeting them only twice a week, or working with them more intensively for several months. However, more than that, they are there to provide motivation if training becomes hard, or interest starts to fade away.

When you work alongside kickboxing personal trainers, you will learn various jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and kick techniques that may be used not just for fitness alone, but also for strengthening the body for use in everyday activities and chores. They are ready to modify exercises to meet their client's initial goals.

Another benefit of working with a personal trainer is the additional experience they have with nutrition and dieting. With this knowledge, they can help in designing ideal nutritional diets that will help their clients achieve their goals.

Personal trainers help to evaluate their client's progress and may recommend a change of exercise regimen if they are far from reaching their goals. All in all, your trainer should be a certified professional that is ready to take on the challenge of training, encouraging, and helping their clients meet their fitness goals.


Elizabeth Crutchfield 
Homebodies Personal Trainer in NYC
www.homebodies.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ten Foods to Avoid

Luncheon meat and hot dogs are two of the unhealthy ten foods to avaoid for proper nutrition.
Let's play a numbers game. There are at least ten foods that compromise the health of your body. These ten items offer no nutritional benefits and can actually damage your body.

Here's our list of ten items of food and why they're a threat.

1. Luncheon Meat - Processed meat is heavy in chemical additives designed to increase shelf life. There are large amounts of sodium to raise your blood pressure, placing your otherwise healthy heart at risk. Other nitrates present in the meat increase the odds of cancer appearing later in life. The combination of sodium, nitrates and fat can slow your metabolism, resulting in weight gain.

2. Hot Dogs - This kids’ favorite is also part of baseball culture. Echoing luncheon meat, a hot dog is a nitrate and sodium sandwich capable of placing all kinds of negative effects on your body. Amounts of sodium beyond your recommended daily intake can weaken your blood vessels. Trace quantities of other nitrates preserve the meat, but they also increase the likelihood of diabetes and cancer.

3. Bacon - Yet another salty treat to steer clear of. You can taste the salt in your mouth and almost feel your heart laboring to cope with the rise in blood pressure. It certainly fulfills one of the quoted reasons for consuming terribly unhealthy food in that it's tasty and smells wonderful, but bacon is full of saturated fat and cholesterol, more than enough to contribute to heart disease.

4. Soda and Heavily Sweetened Drinks - The sugar and caffeine alone are enough to send a robust metabolism into a roller coaster of negative actions. The caffeine is a powerful stimulate, while the sugar can be responsible for diabetes in young and old. Strong acids combine with the sugar to cause cavities in teeth, weakening tooth enamel. On top of all this, there's no nutritional value to be found in soda.

5. Mayonnaise - This condiment is a creamy delicacy, but it's full of fat and cholesterol. A single tablespoon of the substance equals 5 mg of cholesterol. Sodium is also present here, and it's an important part of healthy muscle function, but, as usual, the quantity of salt is too great. High amounts of sodium can increase a risk of stroke.

6. Butter and Margarine - Pay attention to the label on the margarine you buy, as this simple act will make a difference in your healthy diet. Butter is typically a fatty dairy product, and margarine is afloat with trans-fat. The hydrogenated vegetable oil used in margarine solidifies to create fatty acids and bad cholesterol. Check the label and purchase products made from Canola oil and other oils consisting of unsaturated fats.

7. Candy - Kids love them and adults pretend to hate them, but candy and chocolate is made with formulations rich in sugar, a sweet trap to capture a sweet tooth. The sugar in the candy, the fat in the milk chocolate, are the bait in that trap, causing obesity and an increased risk factor for metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

8. Breakfast Cereal - It's the same old trap, with companies adding lots of sugar to lure kids into trying their latest variety of cereal. The sugar is encrusted in each tiny piece of cereal. If that wasn't bad enough, kids raid the closet for extra sugar to pour on an already over-sweetened breakfast food. Even “healthy” cereals can have a lot of sugar.

9. Certain Varieties of Seafood
- Some species of fish have relatively high amounts of mercury in their tissue, a chemical that could build over time to affect the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to heavy metals.

10. Bagels - Made from refined white flour, the typical bagel is a nutritionally empty package of at least 300 calories. That's extra inches to the waistline without any vitamins to offset the damage. Just as with sugar, refined flour can lead to diabetes and spikes in blood sugar.

Overall health can be improved by looking closer at labels while you're in the market, substituting soda with diet drinks, white flour with whole grain, and simply shopping smarter. Try taking a holistic approach to the nutrition and be kind to your body and eat healthy.

Elizabeth Crutchfield
Nutritional Guidance and Home Personal Trainer in NYC

HomeBodies.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cortisol, Stress Management and Diet Adjustments

Man with gastrointestinal issues due to stress
Cortisol is a type of hormone known as a glucocorticoid or steroid hormone. It is naturally produced and released by the body as a response to any type of stress. It can also be released due to caffeine consumption and low glucose levels in the blood. Its main function is to increase blood sugar, which increases your energy level. This is accomplished by boosting your metabolism. Cortisol triggers a response specifically targeting fat, carbs and some proteins to burn and then turn into glucose.

The Dangers of Stress

Any significant changes in your life, both positive and negative, can cause you to experience stress. We've all experienced stress at some point or another and we know that it can sometimes be unpleasant.


It causes feelings of nervousness, anxiety and in some people it can even result in stomach upset and other gastrointestinal issues. Stress can actually be dangerous, especially chronic stress. It weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, puts increased strain on your heart causing it damage, and it can even slow down bone formation as well as healing if you're injured. People with high stress jobs are significantly more likely to experience heart problems and even heart failure.

How Does Cortisol Effect Stress Management?

Some of us tend to perform better under stress, but prolonged stress can have what are obviously very bad repercussions.  Cortisol attempts to manage that stress when it first begins and this initial response is very beneficial. It increases glucose levels, which gives us a surge of energy to fight the stress, whether the stress is caused by a sudden fright, sickness or even a promotion at work. Like adrenaline, it allows us to flee from danger and it makes us feel motivated to accomplish tasks we wouldn't normally accomplish.

Prolonged, constant stress causes a prolonged, constant release of cortisol. Too much cortisol decreases your white blood cell count and leads to a suppressed immune system. This is also what slows down healing and can even result in peptic ulcers. Intermittent cortisol is a vital part of recovering from an injury. Similarly, intermittent coristol release burns calories while prolonged, high cortisol levels increase appetite and fat storage. Cortisol is truly subject to the "too much of a good thing" adage. Too much cortisol often results in the exact opposite effect of regular cortisol fluctuations.

Exercise, Cortisol and Stress Management

You may not think of it this way, but exercise causes your body to experience stress. The stress is usually mild compared to other types of stress. The physical activity of exercise still causes an immediate cortisol response as your body tries to manage the stress. The cortisol plays a significant role in the burning of fat and calories. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight are the reasons why most of us exercise, so cortisol is important for these goals. Different types of exercise actually cause different types of stress and different cortisol responses. In general, cortisol levels increase as exercise intensity increases, which correlate with more fat being burned.

Interestingly, another factor that goes into cortisol release during exercise is when you eat and what you ate. Most people will experience anywhere between 7 and 15 spikes in their cortisol levels throughout the day, which coincide with meals. If you've just eaten a meal high in carbohydrates, then your glucose levels are going to be up. If you then exercise, not as much cortisol will be released. Your body will try to avoid increasing your glucose levels beyond their already elevated state. This means fat will not be burned as significantly during your workout.

What You Should and Shouldn't Be Eating

In order to maximize the effects of cortisol and avoid the negative effects of excessive cortisol release there are a few rules of thumb to follow. First, you want to get most of your daily calories from non-processed food. Non-processed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables will give you your needed calories without a lot of bad fat and additives that come with processed foods. Drinking a caffeinated beverage before exercise gives your cortisol a jumpstart.

If your workout goal is weight loss, you want to steer clear of foods that are high in carbohydrates before you exercise, but after exercise you can eat a moderately higher carb meal or snack. Carbs are fuel for the body, so you need some in your diet so that your body has something to burn if you're working on maintaining your weight. Regardless of your goals, after exercise you want to consume foods with higher protein levels in order to promote the formation of muscle and replenish any proteins that your cortisol metabolized during your workout
.

Elizabeth Crutchfield
HomeBodies Personal Training

HomeBodies.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Healthy Thanksgiving Tips, From the Pilgrims

Healthy roasted Thanksgiving Fall harvest vegetables for good nutrition
Sticking to your diet and enjoying Thanksgiving are two things that may seem to be mutually exclusive. You don't even have to miss out on the delicious celebration in order to stay in shape and avoid adding on extra pounds. Instead, you can prepare a Thanksgiving dinner more closely based on the one that the pilgrims ate in 1621.

The original Thanksgiving was a three-day long feast to celebrate the first fall harvest, but it was much lower in fat, calories and carbs than today's traditional Thanksgiving dinners. It was also very high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients thanks to that bountiful harvest. It definitely didn't skimp on flavor either.

Tips for Thanksgiving Proteins

Turkey probably popped into your head immediately. It's unknown whether or not the pilgrims and their Native American neighbors had turkey. They ate fowl, but along with wild turkey, swans, geese and ducks were also plentiful. Today's turkeys are different from their wild cousins and also different from the turkey found in the Plymouth area 400 years ago.

The domestic turkey that is a staple of our Thanksgiving menu is bred to be eaten. They're huge and meaty creatures to provide lots of that tasty, lean white meat. Along with that healthy meat, though, comes fatty skin and the greasier dark meat that has about 20 grams more fat. You may want to try duck or goose instead of turkey this year.

Another meat option is deer. The pilgrims most definitely cooked deer for their first Thanksgiving. Deer, or venison, is one of the healthiest meats. It is extremely lean and only has about 1 gram of fat per ounce. It definitely gives turkey a run for its money and is very high in protein. Deer is also versatile. There are as many cuts as there are of beef and there are numerous ways to cook it.

Skip the stuffing. The pilgrims didn't have any bread-based stuffing or dressings. Instead, they used herb and spice rubs or cooked their meats with onions and nuts. If you insist upon stuffing your fowl or want to add flavor to your venison, then try creating a vegetable stuffing as an alternative. You can use butternut squash or even pumpkin and add in pecans, walnuts, raisins or scallions and other seasonings.

Seafood on the First Thanksgiving Menu

Shellfish and fish are probably some of the last items you'd think to add to your Thanksgiving meal, but the pilgrims ate them. Mussels, clams and oysters were plentiful and easy to gather during that time period. They're a great way to mix up your dinner and offer more options if you have guests.

The pilgrims also likely ate bass. Bass is high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. The mercury content is a little higher than other fish, so if you want to create a fish entree you might want to consider salmon or tuna instead, but definitely don't count out seafood.

Fruits and Vegetables

You probably know full-well that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. The first Thanksgiving was heavily weighted in the fruit and vegetable direction. Spend time in the produce section of your local grocery store and look for green leafy vegetables. Spinach was one of the crops the pilgrims harvested. Also consider cabbage, carrots, onions and a variety of fall squash. Beans were also grown and they're extremely high in protein and fiber. Fresh vegetables are a great source of important nutrients and antioxidants for health and wellness.

Cranberries and cranberry sauce are Thanksgiving staples. Though cranberries were indigenous to the region they are very tart and by the time of the harvest celebration the pilgrim were likely completely out or very low on sugar. Potatoes, both white potatoes and sweet potatoes, weren't yet being grown in the colonies either, so there were no mashed potatoes or candied yams. There were though, plenty of other fruits and berries - blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, grapes and plums. They were used and can still be used to create sweet sauces and relishes.

The corn of the pilgrims was different from our yellow corn today. It wasn't eaten the same way that we eat it today either. After the corn was harvested the kernels would be removed from the cob and then made into meal. That meal was then used to create either a mash or porridge. It may have been sweetened with molasses.

Pumpkin Pie

Without ovens and without access to wheat flour, there was no way to either make bread stuffing nor pie crusts. Pumpkin was a very common crop, but it was never made into pumpkin pies. It was more likely that it was just cooked alongside other squash. It may also have been made into custards, which make fine desserts. Pumpkin is an often overlooked source of fiber. Cutting back just on bread and sugary foods, which the pilgrims didn't have, will wipe out a lot of calories and carbs from your Thanksgiving meal.

Elizabeth Crutchfield
HomeBodies Personal Training

Nutritional Guidance
HomeBodies.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Healthy Fall Foods

Apples are among the best healthy fall foods.
Fall is harvest time. There is a veritable cornucopia of delicious as well as healthy seasonal foods that are readily available as summer comes to a close and we head into winter. Pumpkins immediately come to mind, but you should keep your eyes peeled for other healthy dining options and ingredients.

Winter Squash

Winter squash are actually harvested any time from the early fall to late fall and pumpkins are in this category. Winter squash have much thicker skin than summer squash and they can serve as a main dish, side or even a dessert.


All of the winter squash are pretty much interchangeable in recipes depending upon your tastes as they have slightly different flavors. Try butternut or acorn squash. They can be baked, boiled, broiled, grilled or sautéed. Don't forget your pumpkin pie and remember to save your seeds for roasting. All winter squash have ample vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber.

Brussels Sprouts

These small, flavorful cabbages are considered a superfood. Brussels sprouts are full of vitamins K and C as well as minerals and antioxidants. Steaming is the best way to prepare them to maximize their flavor without affecting their nutrient content, but you can also sauté, braise, roast or boil them. They are an excellent side to accompany any fall meal.

Sweet Potatoes

A lot of root vegetables are harvested in the autumn months. Sweet potatoes are actually only distantly related to other potatoes, but they are one of these staple fall crops. Though more closely related to nightshades they can be cooked many of the same ways as other potatoes from baking them to making fries or chips. They have a rich, sweet flavor that is also great for soups. They are a great source of fiber and are also rich in vitamin A.

Parsnips

Another fall root vegetable to consider are parsnips. Parsnips are closely related to carrots, but have a sweeter taste especially after being cooked. Some people like to snack on raw parsnips, but they are often used to make extremely savory fall soups and similar dishes. Like sweet potatoes they are full of fiber.

Apples

Apples are arguably the most popular fruit on the market and though they are available year round, they are really a fall crop. Apple pie is right up there with pumpkin pie in the realm of fall desserts. During autumn you will often find more varieties of apples than during other times of year. Eating an apple will give you a hearty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Turnip Greens

Don't overlook the leafy tops of your turnips. Turnip greens are absolutely full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C and K, fiber and more. Steaming them and serving them as a side or topped with a Mediterranean style dressing is the way to go in order to take full advantage of their nutritional value as well as distinct flavor.

Kale

Kale is rapidly rising in popularity because it is another superfood. It is a dark, leafy vegetable that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of ways. Unlike spinach it stands up better to heat and doesn't wilt as quickly and begin to lose nutritional content. Kale contains vitamins A, B, C and K as well as beta-carotene, which is a major antioxidant that may prevent cancer.

Fall Seafood

For a fall fish meal, try trout. It is one of the healthiest fish.  Trout can be easily braised, sautéed, grilled, baked and more. Like salmon it has plenty of omega-3 fats. If you are looking for fall shellfish then prawns are often easier to find at this time of year as well. Prawns can be used to make a variety of hearty dishes and they are a great source of protein. They are also relatively low-calorie compared to other sources of protein.

Some of the most nutritious seasonal fruits and vegetables are harvested in fall and many are versatile as well, which make your dining and cooking options very diverse. Also, be on the lookout for cool weather seafood.

Elizabeth Crutchfield
HomeBodies Personal Training in NYC

Certified Wellness Coach and Nutritional Specialist
HomeBodies.com