Posts Tagged healthy substitutes
I was sent some interview questions by a publisher that was interested in having me featured in a book they are making. Or so they said 🙂 Anyways, I thought that I would share my answers since the questions are pretty common:
Is it true that some exercises produce results faster than others? Is so, which exercises provide the best and worst “returns on investment”? Yes. This usually depends on what the person’s goals are. For example, a lot of “core” or stability exercises are great for overall strength and can help a person avoid back problems. Some people though, will do these exercises to develop their rectus abdominus (six pack muscles), when in fact they would probably be better off doing simple crunches and laying off the potato chips! One of the biggest mistakes I see most people make in exercise selection is actually during cardio. People spend so much time on the treadmill and elliptical just wishing their body fat away, when they could be burning far more calories and fat by adding resistance training or higher intensity, shorter duration cardio. My advice would be to at least talk to a professional about your goals and what you are currently doing to achieve them. Again, the problem isn’t the exercise; it’s WHY you are doing the exercise!
How should someone determine how many grams of protein and carbs they should be eating each day? There are many factors that need to be considered here. Age, sex, body type, lifestyle, goal… There are too many cookie-cutter approaches to diet and exercise nowadays. These diets aren’t necessarily bad, but two people’s bodies can react different to the same stimulus. Here is some diet advice that my clients have found helpful. Regardless of the diet plan that you are following, or how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you are eating, there are two things that you MUST do to be successful.
1.) Log your food. You’ve heard it before, but it is crucial. People that write down what they eat are always more successful at body composition goals than people who don’t. It is even easier now with all of the calorie counting apps that people can use on their smart phones, so there are no excuses.
2.) STAY CONSISTENT! If you are all over the place with your diet and it is not working for you, what do you change? You won’t even know where to start! If you have been consistent and have been logging you food, it is very easy to look and what you are doing, change one thing, and see how your body reacts. Remember, people are different, so their diets shouldn’t all be exactly the same.
Is it a good idea for someone to workout if they have a cold? If they don’t have a hard time breathing, I say go for it. I would lay off of the cardio though, and wouldn’t recommend pushing it too hard in the gym. Also, if you have a fever or are contagious, stay out of the gym!!!
Is it better to perform cardio before or after lifting weights or should cardio be done on a completely different day? Go do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of resistance training after. Then, on another day, do the exact opposite. You will probably notice that you had more energy on the latter day. Both cardio and resistance training cause your body to burn through sugar that you have stored in your body. The difference is that your body NEEDS that sugar for resistance training. The sugar (glycogen) improves your strength, and because your brain is sensitive to blood sugar, it helps you to focus (which is important when you are holding a dumbbell over your head!). Do your cardio after. You don’t need to focus as much, nor do you need extra strength. You are working your cardiovascular system. That’s it.
Is it better to exercise every part of the body on the same day, or it better to focus on different muscle groups on different days? This is another one that differs a lot depending on the goal. If a person wants to grow their biceps for example, they need to overload their biceps with multiple sets of different exercises. They will probably pick one other muscle to workout on the same day. They won’t have the energy, or the time to work every major muscle in their body this way. However, if your goal is more functional, or you don’t want to bulk up, you are better off doing more compound movements and total body exercises. Most women people fit into this latter category.
If someone doesn’t have the time to spend hours cooking healthy meals, how can they still eat healthy? My first advice here is to cook in bulk. Preparing meals for the next couple of days will save you time, save you stress, and make it easier to stick to any diet. If you are a person who travels a lot and cannot do this, there is some good news: eating healthy is getting easier every day! As different health trends catch on, more restaurants (even fast food) are offering healthier choices. Be careful though! Some things passed off as healthy aren’t what they seem. Try keeping apples and nuts with you so that you can snack regularly on healthy foods. This will help stop you from over eating later. Also, when you do go out to eat:
- Have a plan. Check the menu online first to see what the healthiest choices are.
- drink a big glass of water before you order your food
- eat your veggies first
- get your dressing on the side
- ask the waiter to NOT bring the bread basket
- look for the words “steamed” and “grilled”
What should a personal trainer take into consideration when working with each individual client? Personal training should be personal! Even if 2 people have the same goal, they have different abilities, injuries, allergies, motivational factors, likes/dislikes, and they should have a program designed around THEM. Sometimes trainers forget that in order to get their client to change, they must change their approach. Some people need a drill sergeant, some need a cheerleader, and some need a therapist. Let’s say that a trainer charges $60 per 1hr session. That is $1 per minute. If the trainer isn’t giving their client value every minute that they are together, then that client should be shopping for another trainer!
If someone isn’t sore after a workout, does that mean they didn’t workout hard enough? If your goal requires that you gain muscle, then you’d better be sore after most of your workouts. Otherwise, if the soreness is hit and miss, that’s okay! You weren’t sitting on the couch or taking a nap; you were doing something good for yourself. Just because you don’t feel sore the next day doesn’t mean that you didn’t benefit from the workout.
The new fad seems to be “buying organic”. Is there any validity to eating organic food over non-organic food? What are the benefits and/or things to be aware of? This is where goals change. Whether or not your food is organic won’t effect your body fat. People eat organic when they are trying to avoid pesticides and harsh preservatives. I think that there is a lot to be said for eating organic. It means that you care. It means that you are trying to do something better. Unfortunately, it is often far more expensive to buy organic foods. One general rule is that if you are going to peel it, it doesn’t need to be organic. Some foods are more affected by pesticides and herbicides than others. My wife and I have a list on our fridge entitled “The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen”. It lists which foods should be bought organic and which ones don’t need to be. A quick Google search and you should be able to find something similar.
Should people wait until they’re not sore from their previous workout to start working out again? If your legs are really sore from your workout, it may not be a great idea to do another leg workout, but using your legs during the workout or doing some cardio may help push the lactic acid from your legs and help them recover quicker. What i would do is a light warm up first. If the muscle group you wanted to work is still sore after a warm up, pick a new muscle group to work that day.
If someone reaches their fitness goals, should they still continue to work with a personal trainer? It depends on why they started with that trainer. I have had clients come in long after they hit their goals for one simple reason. If they didn’t have an appointment with me, they would stop working out. Even if this isn’t the case, I think it is a good idea to at least “check in” with your trainer to make sure you are improving, or to get some new ideas. Not everyone NEEDS a personal trainer, but EVERYONE can benefit from having one.
When people first start exercising, why do they sometimes gain weight initially? Multiple factors here again. I see this more with women. The initial weight gain can be from hormones changing, water retention, or muscle gain. Your body is going through all kinds of things when it is subjected to a workout program for the first time. Or maybe all the exercise is just making you hungrier! It sounds funny, but I know people who gain weight when they exercise more because of that reason exactly! Again, this is why I stress the importance of consistency with your diet. If you know how many calories, carbs, protein, and fat you are putting into your body then the initial weight gain shouldn’t scare you. It is the people that have no idea what they are putting into their body that should be scared. It could be the hunger that is getting to them!
If someone has a heart condition, can they still workout? After clearance from their doctor; yes. This person should get into it slowly, and put more of an emphasis on their cardiovascular training initially.
If someone has a job where they don’t move around a lot, what can they do to increase their activity during the day, when they’re not working out? Stand up as often as possible, or even use a stability ball for a chair. That will at least stop you from resting against the back of the chair, which is horrible for your posture. Set reminders on your computer that pop up every 30 minutes to an hour that remind you to stand and stretch out a little. When you do walk around, go ahead and take the escalator down, but always try to walk up the stairs. Park you car a little further away, and if you are in a structure park on the top and force yourself to walk up the stairs to your car. It really is about a mindset here. Some people just want to reach their goals more than others. When you put the extra effort in to little things like this it goes a long way.
Is it safe for pregnant women to workout? Absolutely! There are certain precautions a woman must take into consideration when working out, though mostly in the later half of the pregnancy (like laying on their back). Nowadays women see their doctor so often during their pregnancy that if there were any cause for concern in terms of working out, their doctor can tell them what needs to be avoided (if anything).
The better your food tastes, the higher likelihood you have at succeeding at your fitness goals. Sometimes it is not just taste, but time that is a factor. I have been eating steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast every day for quite some time. I enjoy the taste, especially with some blueberries and the occasional scoop of vanilla protein mixed in. The problem for me is time. I wake up as early as 4:00am to get to my first client at 5, so between packing up my meals, showering, the other 2 S’s, and sometimes even hitting snooze, I just don’t always have time to prepare oats… And then my wife got on a baking kick that changed everything!
Lilia started baking muffins on the weekends for fun and when I asked her to create a healthy version for my subscribers, the challenge was on! I am sharing my favorite muffin recipe so far (there have been several versions) and will also share a couple of side notes:
- 1 cup Oat Bran
- 1 cup Steel Cut Oats (blended in food processor until it looks more like oat bran)
- 3/4 cup Flax Seed Meal (helps keep moist and adds healthy Omega-3’s)
- 3 medium Bananas (7″)
- 2 medium Yellow Peaches (also helps keep muffins moist. You can sub for 1 more banana)
- 5 tbsp Honey (or Agave Syrup for Bee lovers)
- 1 lg Egg
- 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (protein!)
- 1/4 cup water (or less… just until you have a good consistency)
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- “a pinch” of Apple Pie Spice, or to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together flax meal, fruit, yogurt, water, honey. Combine oats, oat bran, spice, baking soda, salt, then stir into the wet mixture. Spoon into muffin pan (use Pam or lightly grease first!) DO NOT USE MUFFIN PAPERS, AS THEY WILL STICK!!! Bake for 20-25 minutes. This makes about 14 muffins.
Note: You can use 2 cups oat bran instead of 1 cup oat bran & 1 cup oat meal. This will drop the muffin to 145 calories and add 1 gram of fiber! You can also use 2 cups oats if you prefer a heartier consistency.
3.5 g Fat (Omega-3’s)
26 g Carbohydrates (Same as 1 serving oatmeal!)
10 g Sugar (You can substitute some of the honey for Stevia or Splenda to cut down on the sugar a bit… currently you get 6g sugar from the honey)
4 g Fiber
6 g Protein
I still get all the benefit of my oatmeal in the mornings, except now it is not only more convenient, but better tasting too! If you have any variations of this recipe that you want to share, please do!
I have been looking for a good Cauliflower Puree recipe, but everyone seems to like to take something that should be healthy and add things like butter and cream cheese. Why ruin a healthy dish?! So I decided to keep it simple, and turn to one of my favorite cooking methods for maximum flavor…
Who doesn’t like roasted garlic? Crazy people, that’s who! So garlic lovers: this one’s for you. And remember, if you are not part of the garlic lover’s club, just adjust the amount of garlic used to suit your taste! Not only is this a great tasting recipe, but it is also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, and is LOADED with vitamin C! Oh, and if you have high cholesterol: you’re welcome! This one is great for you!
Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes
1 large head of Cauliflower
1-3 cloves Garlic (I use 3!)
3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Fage Greek Yogurt 0% Fat
2 tbsp Reduced Fat Milk (optional)
Salt & Pepper*
Pre-heat oven to 375
Place 3 garlic cloves into a glass of water for 5 min (you’ll thank me later).
Remove base and leaves from cauliflower. Chop or break cauliflower head apart into several pieces (smaller pieces cook faster).
Now that it is SUPER easy to remove the husks from the garlic, go ahead and take care of that!
Place cauliflower and garlic into a mixing bowl, toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil (until coated). Place on foiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (go light this time; you can always add more, but can never take it back out!)
Place in food processor and let her rip! Once minced, add yogurt, milk (optional, but recommended), and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until mixed thoroughly and desired consistency is met. Salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with green onions/chives and enjoy!
Makes (4) 135-160 calorie servings.