12 Power Foods
Meet the powerfoods that will shrink your gut and keep you healthy for life.
The Power of Food
These 12 foods make up a large part of your diet. The more of these foods you eat, the better your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat. They have been proven to do one or more of the following:
Though you can base entire meals and snacks around these foods, you don't have to. But do follow these guidelines.
1) Almonds and Other NutsEat them with skins intact.
Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus
Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer
Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.
2) Beans and Other LegumesIncluding soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans.
Superpowers: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating digestion
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate
Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Impostors: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar.
3) Spinach and Other Green VegetablesSuperpowers: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)
Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; beta-carotene; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber
Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis
Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Impostors: None, as long as you don't fry them or smother them in fatty cheese sauces.
4) Dairy ProductsFat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.
Superpowers: Building strong bones, firing up weight loss
Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer
Impostors: Whole milk, frozen yogurt
5) Instant OatmealUnsweetened, unflavored.
Superpowers: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels
6) EggsSuperpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, vitamins A and B12
Fight against: Obesity
Sidekicks: Egg Beaters, which have fewer calories than eggs and no fat, but just as much of the core nutrients
7) Turkey and Other Lean MeatsLean steak, chicken, fish.
Superpowers: Building muscle, improving the immune system
Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, heart disease
Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3 rich flaxseed
Impostors: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye
8) Peanut ButterAll-natural, sugar-free.
Superpowers: Boosting testosterone, building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters
Impostors: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters
9) Olive OilSuperpowers: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system
Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Impostors: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, margarine
10) Whole-Grain Breads and CerealsSuperpowers: Preventing your body from storing fat
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas
Impostors: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat
11) Extra-Protein (Whey) PowderSuperpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against: Obesity
Sidekick: Ricotta cheese
Impostor: Soy protein
12) Raspberries and Other BerriesSuperpowers: Protecting your heart, enhancing eyesight, improving memory, preventing cravings
Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)
Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit
Impostors: Sugary jellies
Written by: David Zinczenko
Originally published in Men's Health Magazine online.
TIPS FROM THE TRAINER
Exercise: The Secret Ingredient to Spice Up Your Relationship This Valentine's Day
Leave the chocolate shaped hearts on the shelf and spend quality time working out with your loved one this Valentine's Day. Dr. Belisa Vranich, sports psychologist and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute member, provides you with five tips on how to strengthen your relationship, while increasing your natural libido, through exercising together.
1. Learn to be a good partner. "Be flexible about what your partner likes to do, it's simply a matter of taste," advises Vranich. If you push your partner to do an exercise they don't enjoy, chances are they won't feel inclined to hit the gym with you again!
2. Communication is key! Try to focus on doing exercises that require spotting. Spotting each other requires you to build excellent communication and trust, two vital things for a strong relationship. "Couples who workout together, and especially those that spot each other, have better communication because they know how the other thinks and are more astute to body language," comments Vranich.
3. Don't be afraid to get close. Doing exercises side by side makes couples feel like they are doing something physically productive together. Exercises such as squats require you to pay very close attention to your partner while keeping minimal distance from one another.
4. Encouragement is essential. Praise your partner for going to the gym every single time. "Always applaud them for a body part that looks good, and remember that it is better when criticism comes from within than without," adds Vranich.
5. Let nature do its thing. Attraction is affected by arousal, plus endorphins from working out improves your mood and enhances the connection between you and your partner. "Sweat produces pheromones and has its highest performance level right after working out," comments Vranich. The fact that you are sweating together will naturally increase your libido.
KEEPING YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
Top Five Tips to Staying Motivated
Are you starting to fall off the wagon with your New Year's Resolution of toning up and fitting into your skinny jeans? If so, you're not alone. Recent studies indicate that most gym-goers start to feel a plateau somewhere in their sixth to eighth week of beginning a new fitness program. Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Strength Training and Cardio Expert, Grace DeSimone, provides five tips to help keep you motivated to achieve your new year's resolutions.
Are you getting what you want? By this point, you should see some noticeable positive changes, such as muscle tone, weight loss, improved endurance, and increased energy. DeSimone advises her clients to evaluate their progress to determine if what they set out to improve is being accomplished.
You'll never know if you don't try. If you love the treadmill, try the elliptical next time. If you enjoy walking, try swimming laps. The variety encourages your body to be challenged and also reduces the amount of stress placed on individual muscles from repetitive activity.
It's time to step it up. Add a few laps to your warm-up, set an incline on the treadmill or add more weight to strength training machines. "However you want to do it, progressively make your workouts more challenging and enduring," recommends DeSimone. Making these additions will validate how much you have progressed and keep you motivated to add even more.
What's another ten minutes? Your workout clothes are on, you've already begun sweating, might as well extend your workout for another ten minutes. Adding a few extra minutes to your time at the gym intensifies your workouts significantly, making the increase seem almost nonexistent.
Make the commitment. Similar to other relationships in your life, you have to work at your fitness commitment and make changes to keep yourself satisfied. Focus on making the commitment to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. Having this type of focus will naturally motivate you to become a life-long fitness enthusiast.
Top 5 Power Foods for 2008
Top 5 Power Foods for 2008
With the new year already in full force, millions of Americans are inevitably in search for any new foods that can help them reach their fitness and weight loss goals. Certified Nutritionist, author of "Make Over Your Metabolism," and member of the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute, Robert Reames, provides a list of the top five "Power Foods" to maximize any diet and exercise routine in the upcoming year.
The five "Power Foods" listed below should all be consumed 1.5 to 2 hours prior to working out and within one hour post workout to maximize their effects.
SIX TIPS FOR GETTING IN THE BEST SHAPE IN 2008
With the new year already in full force, millions of Americans have vowed to get in shape and improve their eating habits. Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Strength Training/Cardio Expert, Michael Ryan, provides six simple tips to help you get in the best shape of your life in 2008.
Go for the Goal! Setting realistic and obtainable goals is the first step in starting the year off right. Try taking individual photos every month to compare your progress so that you can see your results.
Go Hard or Go Home. Commit yourself to your objectives. Depending on your fitness levels and prior training experience, try training at least one body part a day. "A perfect fitness regimen should totally exhaust every muscle in your body for a period of time, including cardiovascular training," says Ryan.
It Takes Three. All healthy routines are comprised of three components: cardio, weights and proper nutrition. Each of these are crucial to achieving your fitness objectives. When working for a healthy lifestyle, one does not work without the other.
Don't be Fooled. Whether aiming for weight loss, a toned body, or muscle building, all routines achieve the same goal - develop muscle and burn fat. It is a huge misconception to do just cardio and no weights or vice versa. Of course, if your goals are more sport specific, you can vary your exercises. But everyone from athletes to weekend warriors should train efficiently and thoroughly.
Spice It Up. Muscle needs stimulation, so shock your muscles with new and exciting training routines. You need variety to keep your fitness routine from becoming boring, mundane or hitting a plateau. Just remember to be creative and have fun!
Stay Motivated. Choose a progressive motivating tool to keep yourself monitored. The best indicator to follow is getting your body fat tested. You can check your success regularly throughout your weight loss plan. Ryan believes losing fat is more important that losing weight. "Often, with proper nutrition, you can actually gain weight but become a more defined and shapely person," comments Ryan.
MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION A REALITY
Dr. Belisa Vranich, sports psychologist and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member, offers the tools you need to set a realistic fitness New Year's resolution and finally succeed in 2008.
For many, it's an annual tradition to begin a strict fitness and diet program on January 1st. However, more often than not, we set ourselves up to fail by working toward a virtually impossible goal. Dr. Belisa Vranich, sports psychologist and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member, advises Americans to keep New Year's resolutions attainable.
After all, it is much more difficult to fail at a large ambition than it is to accomplish several smaller goals. Below, Vranich gives you the tools you need to set a realistic fitness New Year's resolution and finally succeed in 2008.
1. Add a thousand steps to your day. This can be accomplished by simply parking further away from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and taking a leisurely walk on your lunch break.
2. Lower your cholesterol by ten points. Your cholesterol level is directly linked to your lifestyle. Resolve to lower your intake of saturated fats and fried foods or to finally quit smoking.
3. Improve your diet. Vranich recommends making small changes that will really stick, such as committing to consume at least one additional glass of water a day and remembering to have a small snack in between meals.
4. Find a workout buddy. Aim to find someone with similar goals to yours for encouragement to stay on track and committed to your resolution.
5. Multi-task while exercising. Vranich suggests listening to books on tape while you walk on the treadmill or workup a sweat on the elliptical machine or bicycle. "This will allow you to blast calories, while increasing your brain power," comments Vranich.
Face It, America: Diets Don't Work
by Robert Reames
Once again, it's time to ponder those New Year's resolutions. "I'll get my finances together this year" and "going to spend more time with the family" and "Leep better contact with close friends." "I'm going to fix up the house this year." You or loved one may have these and/or other important resolutions that will become realistic goals and accomplishments for 2008. Then there's the big one, the granddaddy of all New Year's resolutions: "this year I'm going to lose the weight. I'm going to find the "diet" that works for me and I'm going to stick to it! I'm really going to make it happen this time." Momentum will be strong at the onset of the New Year. "I'm going to have the willpower this time and I'm not giving in."
Many folks all across America and abroad are having sincere thoughts of following through with the commitment to finally lose the weight, to finally be the most fit and healthy version of self. And though these thoughts are true and the desire is deep, the reality is that many and most of all Americans that go on that "diet" this year will fail. Not only will they fail, but at some point within the next three years they will have gained back most if not all weight lost.....AND THEN SOME. The diet industry is approximately a 55 billion dollar industry with a 95% failure rate. Yep, read the numbers.
Think about it for a moment. Think of folks in your life past or present. Those that really are what you would consider fit, healthy and that have total control over their weight and their health. Are they on a diet? Were they ever on a diet? Or do they just live it? Perhaps at some point in their life they just laid down the gauntlet and said "Enough is enough" and changed their lives. Or....they've always just lived the lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. They eat, drink, sleep and walk the walk of optimum choices daily and throughout the course of their existence. Less than optimum choices are simply not a part of the plan. And then think about people in your life that have gone on diets. They've tried them all and are ever searching for the one that does the trick. Perhaps a day, a week or even months at a time they "stick to it" only to cave once the myth of willpower wears thin and fades away. How they struggle, how they're looking for the next fad and how they've wasted years of precious time, mental anguish and money on a pipe dream that the diet is finally going to give them the results they dream of. Then again they'll turn around and pump more money into the "diet" industry only to have yet another disappointment. And the diet industry loves the repeat business every year. Do you have picture in your mind of all the above? Are these pictures of friends, co-workers, loved ones? Or perhaps you yourself have been riding the rollercoaster?
Those that go through the "yo-yo" processes of losing the weight on any given "diet" only to gain it back again know exactly what I'm talking about. To see this factor in action just take a look at some of the celebrity magazines and websites on a month-to-month basis. You'll see this clearly at work. This yo-yo factor of extreme weight fluctuation can increase your chances of heart disease by 70%. And until you get your mind set on the absolute total commitment to be the optimum version of self--or what I call your "Personal Best"--FOR LIFE, your weight and your health will continue to spiral out of control. You'll be one year older at this time next year still looking for the magic bullet.
So what does it really take to succeed?
Change your perspective, raise your standards and ultimately change your life. Re-think how you see yourself in the arena of health and being the fittest, leanest version of yourself. It is that simple. That's how it's done. You must look at the choices you make on a daily basis in the areas of nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management (Check out my post The Big Four from September) and ask yourself: "What are the consequences of my choices?" If you do this right you'll only have to do it once and you'll never have to re-visit this concept again. AND KNOW THAT YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY DO IT. Your daily choices will be automatic and you will have made the permanent changes and altered your perspective to be the healthiest version of you.
But the concept is one thing, your application of the concept of what it takes to be your best in health and at an ideal weight is yet another. For some this may be but a few small but permanent changes. For many it may take a complete 180 degree rotation. And know for sure that if you DO make the life commitment, if it really means enough to you, you'll do what it takes. That's worth repeating. It must mean something to you. If you're wondering why you haven't had success with your weight in the past, it's most likely because it simply doesn't mean enough to you. If it did, you would prioritize, take the action and make it happen. Whether it's 3, 10, 30, 50 or 300 lbs. you want to take off, and your mindset is everything here. You have to of come to a point in your life where you're absolutely 100% ready to make a commitment. No turning back. A major shift needs to take place for long term success. Ask yourself, "Do you truly want to take the weight off?"
Anyone can sustain the diet for a short period of time. It's those like I mentioned above that you know who live it. They're the folks succeeding in this arena of their life. Take yourself there and you'll be where you want to be. Two to twelve weeks of the latest fad will give you some short term results but will not permanently do the job. Just like holding the standards high for your job, your business, your relationships, your ability as a parent, as a friend or any commitment that you hold high; this has to be a standard you hold high and true to yourself. And if you do, you'll reap the benefits. In your job or career you take responsibility, meet deadlines and perform to a certain standard. You strive to continue to move up the ladder of success, have security and feel good about what you do. That's why you have the job or that successful business of your own. There are other areas as well in your life where you would absolutely not compromise a given standard that you have set for yourself. Add your health to this list. You give 100% you'll get that back. You give 50%....25%....that will be your return. Your results are always a direct result of your efforts and action. You can't phone this one in and expect long term success. With permanent changes and unwavering commitment your process will be effortless and easy. You'll be on automatic. And keep in mind that "Commitment IS the magic bullet" here.
And our bodies were made and engineered for locomotion. We have a genetic predisposition for movement. Exercise and physical activity must play a role in your life and at every stage of life. If you sit for most of the day it's imperative that you get up and move either before, during, after work or at some point during all the above. And you don't have to be the elite athlete. Stay in your world on this one and do not compare yourself to someone that is totally not in your place. And a little insight here: even some folks you would consider avid gym goers don't always love going to the gym or grabbing a workout at home or work. But they'll stay consistent on this train because it's part of the plan. Again it's just automatic and wired in as part of the ongoing process. And honor your abilities, your current fitness level and be blessed that you have the physical body that God gave to you to be active. Incorporate your "Personal Best" here at activities that you enjoy. (or dislike the least!) Learn to make this the norm. And if you miss a workout....you'll make it up.
And get your rest. Folks think they can get by with 3, 4, 5 hours of sleep per night. You can't do it long term without consequences. Your body absolutely needs nightly rest and recovery. You cannot expect your body or your mind to be at peak levels if you are constantly sleep deprived. It will never happen. Rest your body. Shoot for 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Take a nap when you can. I fully realize that this is not possible to achieve every day in our fast paced and demanding world. My goal is to simply make you aware of it and just how important it is so you can put the concept to work. Studies confirm the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Just take note of how much less you crave sugars and starches on a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep and chronic high stress levels are linked to weight gain as well. Notice when you're not properly rested, your "fuse" is much smaller and your patience, your stress levels and ultimately your perception and your reactions to what goes on during the course of the day can be dramatically different.
Nearly 70% of adults in America are obese and or overweight. Can we make a significant improvement in these numbers? I believe we can. Centurions (people l00 years and older) are one of the fastest growing segments of the population. Truth is you may have yet another 40, 50, 60 even 70-75 more years on this planet. Question is, what are you going to do with these years? Are you going to be pro-active and possibly avoid or diminish the impact of health issues down the road? Or will you wait for a crisis to make you see the light and then play catch up?
Begin the year 2008 with a new lease on life. Go beyond the New Year's resolution. Make this a New Life resolution. What's stopping you? Take control of your destiny. It is that simple. But again I say the concept is one thing but your application of the concept is yet another. Your ultimate health awaits you. You, your family, friends and loved ones will all benefit from your efforts and the high standards for which you hold for your physical body; your health. Have a happy, prosperous 2008 and enjoy your success!
SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW WHEN LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT GYM
Choosing the right gym can be a stressful. Gold's Gym has provided seven tips to make choosing a gym a fun and exciting experience.
Choosing the right gym can be a stressful and time-consuming process, and it is often tempting to choose the gym with the cheapest membership, but don't be fooled by the low price tag. Gold's Gym has provided seven tips to make choosing a gym a fun and exciting experience.
Location - If your gym is more than a 10 minute walk or drive from home, then chances are, you won't go - no matter how nice it is. So make location a number one priority when searching for a gym.
Atmosphere -You need to know what kind of environment you'll be putting yourself into. Is it high-energy? Is it loud? Is it mellow? Sometimes, a good atmosphere is the difference between getting in shape and staying home.
Reputation - Consider how long the gym has been successful, and ask around. What kinds of experiences have other people had? Ask your co-workers and friends why they like their gym; gym members can often give you a very different and valuable perspective on a club.
Hours - When searching for your ideal gym, have a general idea of when you would like to work out. Often times, people are more motivated to stick with their fitness routine when they go before dawn, while others prefer working out at midnight. Whatever your preference, consider the gym's hours on weekdays and on the weekends.
Equipment - Take a walk through the gym to check out what the facility offers. Do they have enough treadmills for a busy evening? You will not want to wait in line just to use your favorite cardio machine. Also, take note of how up-to-date and clean the training equipment is.
Group Exercise Classes - If you enjoy taking fitness classes, review the class schedule to ensure the gym offers the classes you want, at the times you want. If you have the option, try to sit in on a class before you join.
Trial Membership - Most gyms offer a trial membership (one-day passes up to two weeks) so you can experience the gym's services and amenities before signing on the dotted line. Make sure to visit the gym during the time you'd typically workout to see how busy it is.
Gold's Ultimate 30 Minute Workout Routine for Beginners
The ultimate guide for beginning your new fitness routine. By Robert Reames, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Author of the book, Makeover Your Metabolism.
Congratulations! By deciding to get in shape you've taken the most important step toward leading a healthy lifestyle. Now, you need the ultimate roadmap to get you started. Well here it is! We've put together a simple, easy routine you can use to get you going and get you results!
Our goal is to make the best use of your time. You want maximum bang for your buck every time you go to the gym. And keep in mind...that this is just the start. Your fitness and wellness program is a process that will continue to develop through time.
Before we get to the actual program, here are some key things to keep in mind as you embark on this journey:
*So let's get to the total body roadmap!
1) Warm-up: (4-5 minutes) Pick a your cardio piece of choice; treadmill, elliptical or bike. Step on and perform at a moderate intensity...gradually increasing intensity as you go. Do this for 4-5 minutes. The purpose of the warm-up is simply to elevate your body temp, increase circulation and ultimately to get your body ready for action.
2) Strength: (12-15 minutes) Here's where we start to develop and build the muscle...the fat burning machinery that works for you 24/7.
Note: Strength train on opposite days allowing 36-48 hours of rest and recovery for the given major muscle group worked.
* Note: This is an overall program to get you started off with a 30 minute total body workout. This program will get you to know the facility and the possibilities available to you. It's only the beginning. In time...as you build momentum I ultimately advise you to get a session or two with a Gold's personal trainer to further consult with you on a specific program(s) that meets your individual abilities and goals. This will continue to open up opportunities for you to maximize your experience. As I said above...this is a process and your fitness program will develop and evolve in the coming weeks, months and years of your life. Embrace and enjoy the journey!
EXPERT ADVICE TO STAYING FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS
With all of the extra demands of the holidays in full swing, it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated to keep up a healthy fitness routine. Grace DeSimone, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute member, shares her simple techniques designed to keep you active during this winter season.
Are parties to attend, gifts to buy, people to meet, and holiday travel just a few of the items on your holiday "to do" list? With all of the extra demands of the holidays in full swing, it can be extremely difficult to get up off that cozy couch, much less stay motivated to keep up a healthy fitness routine. Grace DeSimone, strength training and cardio expert and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute member, shares her simple, yet effective techniques designed to keep you active and able to fend off the extra pounds and unnecessary stress this winter season.