April 5, 2018 by Heather

3 “Super Seeds” to Add to Your Diet

There are seeds, and then there are Super Seeds! Tiny nutrient powerhouses that are packed with goodness promoting a range of health benefits. Sadly, seeds don’t often get enough attention compared to other superfoods. But as the saying goes “good things come in small sizes,” and in this case, it sure does.
Here is a list of 3 top seeds that are well worth adding to your pantry.

Chia Seeds

One of the most popular seeds today is chia seed. Originally grown in Mexico, the word chia in the Mayan Language means “strength.” The Aztec warriors ate chia seeds on a daily basis to give them high energy and endurance for running long distances or during battle.

Chia seeds promote healthy skin, support the heart and digestive system, and help build strong muscles and bones. They contain essential fatty acids, magnesium, niacin, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and are a rich source of antioxidants.

One of the best things about Chia seeds is that they are a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids your body needs. They make a good post-workout drink when added to your smoothie helping to reduce inflammation and to aid in muscle repair and recovery.

Hemp Seeds

Many people are too scared to touch hemp seed or hemp oil because of their name. Yes, it is part of the cannabis family, but no, it will not get you high, only healthy strong!

The only thing Hemp seeds are high in is protein. They are also abundant in minerals and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or soaked and are generally easy on the digestive system. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, which have been recommended to athletes to prevent oxidative damage caused by endurance exercises. You’ll also find plenty of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and sulfur.

Sunflower Seeds

While sunflower seeds don’t sound as fancy as hemp seed or chia seed, they made the list as they’re one of the most common seed variety found around the world. Like most seeds and nuts, sunflower seeds provide a healthy source of essential fatty acids, more specifically linoleic acid.

Sunflower seeds are very high in vitamin E, folate, thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorous, selenium, and copper. They also contain higher amounts of phytosterols, which have been known to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Including Them In your Diet

Munching on a few nuts and seeds for a power snack during the day is a great healthy option and will provide you with energy, protein and plenty of minerals and vitamins.

You can sprinkle them on your morning cereal, toss them into a crunchy salad for lunch, or whip up into your smoothie or shake. Chia seeds make a wonderful morning pudding, just soak a couple of spoons overnight in a bowl of milk, coconut milk, juice, or yogurt!

March 16, 2018 by Heather

The Power of Walking

Walking is probably one of the most underrated forms of exercise. And while it may not seem as fancy or as important as other forms of intense exercise, we are designed to walk. It’s in our DNA and has always been a huge part of our existence as a dominant species on this planet all throughout the centuries.

Walking to Lose Weight

The CDC recommends that adults take about 10,000 steps per day – this is roughly about 5 miles. You’ve probably noticed your Fitbit or fitness apps give you this daily goal. Sadly, most people don’t get even close to that. This is especially the case for those with office jobs.

Walking is just as effective as some more intense workouts when it comes to losing weight. In fact, according to a few studies, walking briskly for as little as 30 minutes a day resulted in a smaller waistline and a lower body mass index compared to non-walkers. Ideally, you’ll want to gradually work up to a longer amount of walking time per day, but just remember that every little bit of walking throughout the day helps.

As you walk you burn up calories without leaving you to feel too exhausted, this can lead to an impressive amount of weight loss over time. Depending on your weight, you can burn up to 100 calories per mile, this is great news if you’re looking for a low-impact exercise that is free, easy on the joints, and something that can be performed just about anywhere.

Of course, healthy eating and more intense exercise also go hand-in-hand with weight-loss and healthy weight maintenance.

The Mental Benefits of Walking

Going for a morning or evening walk does more for you than just helping you lose weight or to help you stay physically fit. Studies have shown the effect walking has on reducing stress levels. It gives you a chance to clear your mind or gather your thoughts before the day starts or after a long day.

Walking gives us a much need break from things we’re easily distracted by at home, such as TV, smartphones or tablets. Many great ideas, inventions, and life-changing events came from a single walk. If you’ve been one to underestimate the power of walking, you may want to reconsider. Even just 5 minutes a day of walking can be the start of a new habit that’s good for both mind and body.

March 4, 2018 by Heather

How to Beat the Bloat

It’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning with the flattest tum and sculpted waistline, only to find yourself looking like you’re 3 months pregnant by the evening. And the timing of our bloated belly couldn’t come at a worse time as that is usually the social time of the day when we’re trying to slip into a little party dress and head out for the night!

Not only does abdominal bloating look bad in that little number we’re trying to put on, but it also brings with it a lot of physical discomforts. The good news is that research suggests this common problem is a condition that is easy to avoid.

What Causes Bloating?

It is a common myth that bloating in the stomach for a healthy adult comes from fluid accumulation. Temporary bloating is caused by intestinal gas and is something that most people have from time to time. Some chronic cases of chronic bloating are caused by a medical condition such as liver or heart disease.

And no matter how many sit-ups or crunches we try to do during the day, it’s not going to force our tummy to go down. A lot of it has to do with our eating habits and lack of physical activity.

Here are a few basic causes:


Not enough exercise and too little fiber or fluids can lead to constipation, which in turn is responsible for bloating and stomach discomfort. If you’ve made an effort to up your intake of fiber but are still constipated and suffering from a bloated belly, then it’s probably because you’re not balancing it out with enough fluids.

Carbonated Drinks

Fizzy drinks are not only full of sugar (even the diet ones) but they can also cause gas to get trapped inside your belly. If a flavored drink is what you’re looking for, try adding a slice of lime, lemon, or cucumber to water instead of a fizzy drink.

Too Much Sodium

Processed food has barely any fiber and is loaded with sodium, which causes bloating. Always eat fresh by preparing meals yourself with plenty of whole foods, and when looking for frozen or canned foods, choose items that say’s “low sodium” totally no more than 1,500-2,000 mg of sodium per day.

What You Can Do to Ease the Symptom of Bloating

If you often find yourself bloated even when taken every precaution such as, limiting sodium, avoiding fizzy drinks, eating plenty of fiber and drinking plenty of water – there are still a few things you can do to ease the bloat.

Some studies suggest taking anti-bloating teas and foods to help fight bloating. This includes peppermint tea, ginger tea, fennel tea, hibiscus tea, lemon tea or chamomile tea to name just a few.

Studies also that eating plenty of gut loving foods such as probiotics found in yogurt or fermented foods can keep the stomach happy. Adding parsley and fresh mint to your food helps as well, and tastes great, too!

February 18, 2018 by Heather

Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching

If you’re tempted to skip the stretching part in your workout routine as you think it’s only for athletes or yoga lovers, then you may want to rethink your strategy.

Stretching is an integral part of fitness as it keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy, allowing us to maintain a range of motion in our joints. Without it, the joints can become stiff, weak, unable to extend, and this is when your risk of injury increases, resulting in strains, muscle damage, and joint pain.

Where to Begin

Okay, so it’s clear that stretching isn’t only for athletes or gymnasts. The main goal with stretching is to prepare your body for vigorous activity or to help it recover. You don’t have to stretch every muscle in your body every day, mainly the areas that are critical for mobility such as your calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, pelvis, and the front of your thighs/quadriceps. Your shoulders, neck and lower back are also important areas to benefit from daily stretching.

You may have heard about two types of stretching techniques called Static Stretching and Dynamic Stretching, and the main difference between them is in when and how you perform them.

Static Stretching

This stretch is similar to its name, a static movement. This stretch technique involves stretching your muscles just to the point where you feel discomfort. An example would be where you sit on the floor, legs straight out and apart, with the goal to lean forward and touch your toes. You would hold this type of stretch for a long period of time (preferably 15-30 sec. to get the full benefit of the stretch) and repeat again two or three times more.

Static stretches are safe and effective, when done properly, and can improve your overall flexibility.

Dynamic Stretching

This type of stretching technique is often used by the athlete, and involves moving your joints and muscles through a range of full motions instead of holding a stretch for a long period of time. Dynamic stretches wake up your nervous system by sending signals from your brain to your muscles, they help improve flexibility and prevent the body from injury.

Movements are controlled and are meant to mimic different movements you would perform in a specific sport or athletic event. Some examples of dynamic stretches are high knee marching or walking lunges. A lot of the movements in a yoga flow are dynamic stretches.

Pre-Workout or Post Workout?

There is plenty of debate on when to perform these two types of stretches, pre-workout or post workout. Some believe it’s best to do static stretches after an activity as your muscles are still warm and can help relieve tension and soreness in the muscle by elongating the muscle and increasing blood circulation.

Various studies show dynamic stretches to be most effective before an activity or event because it allows the body to prepare for specific athletic movements. It elevates the heart rate and increases body temperature, which helps your muscles work more efficiently.

February 6, 2018 by Heather

How much Protein is Enough?

We all know the importance of eating protein. It’s an essential nutrient as it’s made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our tendons, muscles, blood vessels, skin, hair and nails. It also plays a significant role in the production of enzymes and hormones.

How much protein we need to consume per day in a healthy diet is a rather controversial subject at the moment as some people believe more is better. It’s become a hyper-focus part of our diet between athletes, and non-athletes.
But is more better? And is it possible to eat too much?

How Much Protein Do I need?

The recommended daily allowance for most people is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This brings it to about 46 grams for women about 56 grams for men. Contrary to what most people think, bodybuilders don’t require that much more than the normal recommended amount.

If you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough protein in your diet don’t, as most people in America have no problem getting enough of this macronutrient.
In fact, research has shown that most Americans eat as much as 100 grams of protein per day, which is roughly around twice the recommended amount. Vegan or vegetarians can get to about 60 to 80 grams on a simple plant-based diet.

6 Animal Protein Sources

  • Grass-fed beef contains 28 grams of protein per 4 oz. serving
  • 1 Chicken breast contains 53 grams of protein
  • Turkey breast contains 24 grams of protein per 85 grams
  • 1 cup of Tuna contains 39 grams of protein
  • Salmon contains 19 grams of protein per 85 grams
  • Eggs contain 6.4 grams of protein per 1 large egg

6 Plant Protein Sources

  • 1 cup of Quinoa contains 8 grams of protein
  • 1 Tbsp. of Hemp Seeds contains 5.3 grams of protein
  • ½ cup of oats contains 13 grams of protein
  • Pumpkin seeds contain 5 grams of protein per 28 grams
  • 1 cup of broccoli contains 6.8 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of spinach contains .9 grams of protein

Eating Too Much

Depending on your activity level, consuming a large chicken in one single meal doesn’t mean that your body is going to absorb it all. In fact, research shows that overconsumption of protein can actually lead to weight-gain as the body stores the excess/unused into fat.

Very few people don’t get enough protein in their diet and are unaware of the long-term risks of consuming too much, such as kidney damage, elevated blood sugar, loss of bone minerals (etc.)

It’s best to just have a well-balanced diet adding small amounts of protein with each meal. I have put together incredible meal plans where your macros (protein, fat, carbs) are calculated for you according to your stats and your goals!

January 20, 2018 by Heather

Fat-loss vs. Weight-loss

The festive season is nearly finished and you might be tempted to step on the scale to see how many extra pounds you’ve gained and how many you’re hoping to lose.
Whatever you do, don’t start to panic. You ate what you ate, and you may or may not have kept up with your exercising. If there was any time of the year to sit back and enjoy life a little, it was now! If it’s any reassurance, you’re not alone!!!

Now the festive season has passed and the New Year is around the corner. But before you step on the scale and start to panic about the extra pudge around your belly – concocting an immediate “weight loss” diet of water and kale – let’s get a couple of facts straight.

Weight loss vs. Fat loss

We’re going to break down a hot topic term here which people seem to use interchangeably. “Weight-loss vs. fat-loss.”

Weight Loss – means lowering your body-weight, this includes the weight of your organs, bones, muscles, body fat, water, etc.

Fat Loss – means lowering the amount of body fat your body carries.

Misled by the Scale

There is a huge difference between losing fat and losing weight. For the average person, your goal should be to lose fat, not weight. Most people are misled by the scale and focus way too much on how much they weigh.

When you lose weight, you lose fat, muscle, fluids, etc. So, if your focus is seeing those lbs drop when stepping on the scale you may be losing important muscle – not fat.

Of course, in some cases, such as obesity, your goal is to also lose weight, but you want the majority of your weight loss to be fat, not weight.

Measuring your body fat according to the scale alone is an inefficient way to tell if you need to lose extra body fat. Another thing to consider is that muscle weighs more than fat, which means if you’re toning up and building muscle, chances are you may step on the scale and be surprised that you’re heavier than when you started. This is because you gained valuable muscle.

Replace Your Scale with Weights and Look Healthy

If you are seriously obese then you may want to keep the scales close by to monitor your general weight loss goal. But if you want to want to look and feel healthy put away those scales and pick up some weights!

Losing weight alone can leave you looking “skinny fat” because you have no muscle tone underneath for the skin to stick to. Start lifting weights and focus on losing fat and building muscle instead of losing weight!

January 12, 2018 by Heather

Immune Boosters for the Common Cold

A scratchy throat, watery eyes, nonstop sneezing, mucus in the throat, and a dripping nose –yes, Tis the Season to catch a common cold, and you just caught it! Sadly, from around October, through to March, you, or someone near to you can expect to catch one.

If you’re a parent you may be all too familiar with these symptoms that seem to sweep through every member of the family at the speed of lightning. You hope it passes as quickly as possible with little drama. Oddly, you might also notice that while certain of your family members have gotten sick, you haven’t caught anything?

The Common Cold

There is a common myth that you can catch a cold from getting chilly or wet. “Don’t go outside with wet hair or you’ll catch a cold.” While this could be true to some extent, the common cold is an illness caused by a very tiny thing called a virus.
So, whether you were chilly or wet at the time of getting sick, it had little to do with it, and more to do with the current state of your immune system. This also explains why everyone around you seemed to catch a cold, yet you remained untouched.

The root of the problem here is called the Rhinovirus, and is said to be responsible for about 50% of colds. In fact, there are more than 200 different types of viruses that can lead to your common cold, and it spreads through contaminated surfaces, from direct contact with someone that has it, and even from infected droplets in the air.

How to Feel Better

If you’ve caught the virus you can expect it to last for 7-10 days. There is no magic cure for it, however, there are a few tips and tricks that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Drinking plenty of fluids and warm soups, upping your Vitamin C intake, and going to bed early, won’t make your cold magically disappear, but it will protect you from getting sicker and help you to heal.

Now is the time to eat plenty of those vibrant orange vegetables and fruits such as pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, and lots of turmeric powder. Orange foods are packed with antioxidants and vitamin c that boost the immune system.
Garlic is another powerful flu-fighting food that might smell sick to you, but it’s worth your while taking it, as it’s said to be a natural antibiotic.

Protecting Others

Basic cold etiquette would teach you to avoid close contact with others if you’ve been infected, and always cough or sneeze into a tissue or your arm.

If you can’t stay home from work, make the effort to disinfect any surface you may touch, and ALWAYS wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.

January 5, 2018 by Heather

Incorporating Fitness into your Day

It’s human nature to feel too tired or lazy to exercise. To make excuses for why we can’t exercise in the first place. And to be honest it’s not easy sometimes to fit it into our day.

Our schedules are busy, our days are long, and when the day is done and dusted all we want to do is pour ourselves a nice glass of red and sit back and watch a few episodes of our favorite TV show!

Dedicating even just 25 minutes a day is sometimes difficult so we put it off for tomorrow, but then tomorrow comes and we still haven’t exercised.

Focus on Health and Strength

Many people get discouraged about their health and fitness goals when they step on the scale. They put too much emphasis on weight loss, rather than the gratitude they get from the joys of exercise and movement.

Forget the scale, and think about how you feel after a good workout. Find your motivation to exercise from the exhilaration you feel from getting out in the fresh air for a jog, or from a fun weekly dance fitness class.

Taking the time to connect with exercise on an emotional level will help you achieve your fitness goals in the long run, and you’ll begin to love it again.

Fitting It In

Think of exercise as something you just can’t live without, like food and water. This way you’ll commit to daily exercise and add to it your schedule just like any other appointment.

Develop a “move more” attitude by reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day in everything you do. Sit less, walk more. Park far from stores, and squat to pick something up.

Finding the Motivation

Some of the biggest reasons for not exercising are that we don’t have the proper motivation. Motivation can come in the form of a personal trainer or a regular weekly fitness class that you have to attend.

Fitness apps can be very motivational as it’s something you can follow and do just about anywhere. If you feel like exercising in the park, all you need is your app, a good spot, and a positive attitude!

There are plenty of health apps that record your daily steps, what you’ve eaten during the day, and how many hours you’ve slept. Seeing that you’ve only taken 600 steps in the day get you motivated to get out for a walk and see it change to the thousands. If you are interested in using a fitness app, reach out to me to learn more about Beachbody On Demand.

December 19, 2017 by Heather

The Benefits of Vitamin C

This is the time of the year when the common cold and cough starts to make its round. Many people turn to Vitamin C to help fight off sickness or to keep from getting sick in the first place.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our body’s connective tissue. It also acts as an antioxidant. Our body is not capable of producing it on its own, and unfortunately, it can’t store it on its own either so it is important to eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits.

What Vitamin C can do For Your Health?
Some of the first discoveries of just how important Vitamin C is to our health would be around the time of the scurvy epidemic. This deadly disease would kill thousands of sailors in the Royal Navy.

A Scottish surgeon in the Royal Navy, James Lind, discovered a simple antidote. He would give the soldiers a daily dose of lemon juice, which helped cure and prevents this avoidable disease. This ritual was so effective that it later became a routine practice in the British Navy.

While history has proven the positive cure of scurvy through the use of this potent nutrient, today, Vitamin C remains necessary for a number of other important health benefits.

Some of these benefits include protection of immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, and to prevent the early signs of aging on the skin. It’s also been known to prevent bruising, swollen gums, dry and splitting hair, nosebleeds, gingivitis, swollen joints, and possible weight gain.

Vitamin C and Respiratory Health
Italy is one of the largest producers of Kiwi fruit worldwide. A study was done in Northern Italy between children that were 6-7 years old. They wanted to see how effective Kiwi fruit was for respiratory health and how it offered protection to the lungs through its antioxidant properties.

Their study showed that children who consumed more kiwi fruit on a daily basis were less likely to experience respiratory problems such as wheezing, night coughing, and sneezing.

Best Sources of Natural Vitamin C
Without a doubt, the best source of Vitamin C would be naturally sourced from fruits and vegetables. Sadly, most people don’t consume their required servings of fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis, which is why taking a supplement, is safe and effective.

The foods richest in Vitamin C are mainly citrus fruits, kiwis, tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, pomegranate, raspberries, pineapples, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.

December 12, 2017 by Heather

What Are Macronutrients, and How Does The Body Use Them?

If you’re busy hitting the gym but not gaining the muscle you’re looking to get, you may not be getting enough protein. Or if you’re lacking in energy to exercise you’re probably not eating enough carbs in your diet. Most people tend to focus on counting calories when they are trying to lose or gain weight, or just to maintain a healthy weight.

Of course, controlling your diet and paying attention to calories in and calories out is important, but what we really should be paying attention to is macronutrient intake. On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight but not seeing any change, you may be getting too many macros.

Important Nutrients

There are two types of nutrients; macronutrients and micronutrients, and they are both essential in a well-balanced diet as they keep the body strong and healthy.

Macronutrients are nutrients that you need in large quantities, such as, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and essentially provide your body with energy, muscle growth, and repair.

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that your body needs in order to carry out daily functions. They are essential to the production of hormones, enzymes, and anything that the body needs to produce on its own.

Both macronutrients and micronutrients play an important part in the health of our body, you could say they’re “joined at the hip,” as macronutrients supply our body with energy, and micronutrients help us utilize that energy.

How Does our Body Use Macronutrients?

A good healthy diet consists of plenty of carbs, some protein, and then some fat. Let’s break down macros and see how the body uses them.

Carbohydrates – 4 calories per 1g
Carbs are your body’s main source of energy. They can be found in things like pasta, potatoes, vegetables, and bread.

A good rule of thumb when choosing your carbs is to find whole grains and anything that gives you slow-burning energy. What you want to avoid are empty carbs such as sugar or anything that is highly processed.

Protein – 4 calories per 1g
As you can see, both protein and carbohydrates contain the same number of calories per gram. Many people choose to do a low-carb diet because they think that carbs make them fat. But remember that each macro provides our body with something different and carbs are very important. Protein is necessary for growth and repair, and for packing on muscles. They can be found in meat, eggs, and dairy, as well as in plant-based sources such as quinoa, legumes, and nuts.

Fats – 9 calories per 1g
Fat gets a bad rap for an obvious cause; however, bad fats must not be confused with healthy fats that are essential for our general health, and to keep our body functioning at its best. Healthy fats can be found in olive oil, nuts, fish, avocados, and seed oils.

In Conclusion
There is a general assumption that carbs and fat are bad, and protein is good, but this is not the case as each is important in a well-balanced diet, and the body requires all three.

The number of macros you need in your diet depends on your personal goals. Eating too much of anything can have a negative effect on your health and your fitness goals, and can cause you to gain weight, even protein. Check out the Beachbody On Demand app for structured fitness and nutrition plans where the macros are balanced for you – making it easy for you to achieve your fitness goals!