Eating Better for the Holidays

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As the holiday season draws closer, one of the hardest ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle during this time of year is to eat right. Even if you have been doing great on your diet, the holidays can still lead to overindulgence and weight gain. One of the reasons for is this is that food seems to be extra plentiful during celebrations with plates and plates of delicious goodies. Plus, the majority of food served during the holidays is usually loaded with fat, calories, and sugar. If you are not careful, your health can suffer.

In order to stay healthier over the holidays, here are some tips for eating better:

  • Make Wise Choices – Instead of reaching for things like pie, stuffing, gravy, eggnog, bread pudding, and ham or beef, choose healthier options like turkey, chicken, fresh salads, and steamed vegetables. It’s OK to have some holiday treats, but it is important to choose your calories wisely. Keep track of your calories as much as possible so you know how much you are eating.
  • Bring Your Own Food – During many holiday celebrations, there is often not many healthy choices. By bringing a healthier dish of your own, you can give yourself and others that option. Plus, there are plenty of traditional recipes that can be modified in order to be healthier.
  • Control Your PortionsSmaller portions allow you to sample many different foods while keeping the amount of calories down. Also, it is best to chew your food slowly and take small bites to avoid overindulging. When you are done with your meal, it might be helpful to leave the room in order to keep from going back for more.
  • Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption – The holidays are notorious for alcohol but alcoholic drinks are high in calories and have hardly any nutritional value. Plus, it dehydrates your body. Practice moderation, if it is impossible for you to avoid alcohol then try and drink a glass of water in between drinks. But the safest bet is to stick to plain water and your body will thank you for it.
  • Stay Active – Moderation is critical when it comes to eating over the holidays but so is staying active. Keeping exercising regularly and get moving!

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Why feel sore?

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Ever wonder why after heading back to the gym after taking few weeks off from working out we feel stiff and sore the next few days. Or if you have to shovel snow or clean out the garage does your back, legs and shoulder ache. Everyone has experienced this muscle stiffness and soreness at some time or another after physical exertion, but why?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also known DOMS, is described as muscle pain, soreness or stiffness that usually occurs 24-48 hours after working out. It generally peaks around the 24 hour mark and in severe cases can last for 3-4 days after.

Causes

The causes are not fully understood but are theorized to be due to small micro-tears of the muscle fibers and are thought to be related to certain types of muscle contractions. The severity of the pain is not necessarily related to the severity of muscle damage but it does depend to a large extent on the type of exercise, the duration and the intensity.

Treatment

Depending on the level of soreness, working out the next day is okay and can actually help relieve the stiffness. You should take it easy and not overdo it especially with lower body/leg exercises. Warm up well beforehand and perform some light sets of the exercises before the real sets. Stretching can also be very beneficial in relieving the soreness. For severe soreness, icing and massage the affected areas can also help. You can also just wait it out as it will simply go away after a few days.

Prevention

Most people experience some level of being sore after beginning a workout program, or performing an activity that they have not participated in for a while. This can be avoided by taking it very gradual when beginning a program and progressing with very small increments. As the body adapts to exercise so to it should adapt to the response to increases in exertion levels. Contrary to the popular belief that once you have been working out for a few weeks you should not continue to experience DOMS after your workouts. If you completely change your program and start something very different then you will experience a certain amount of soreness but not the same levels as when you began your program first.

Not feeling any soreness after working out does not mean you are not working out hard enough or that you have hit the plateau. It just means that you have both adapted to this level of exertion and also your body has adapted to the pain response related to exertion. It is okay not to feel stiff or sore after working out.

There is a distinction between soreness and pain. Pain is a message from the body – “too much!” So when we feel pain, it is our cue to stop, take a breath, and reassess. Sometimes the act of stopping and breathing is enough to ease the pain and then we can continue. But other times, a different approach is called for. Easing off, going at a slower pace, or trying a different exercise may be more appropriate.

At times like these, it can be useful to look at our health and wellness from a long-term perspective. In the long term, developing a loving and honest relationship with ourselves and our bodies is a much more effective way of getting to where we want to be. If for today, we ease up, soften our approach, we may just have the energy and wellness to push a little harder tomorrow. Certainly our motivation to exercise our bodies, and the likelihood of training again, will be much higher if we are kind to ourselves.

So next time you’re out and over-doing it, take a breath and just stop for a moment. What is your body saying? The more we learn to listen, the more we can pick up on those cues sooner.

If you are in New York City and interested in joining an all woman’s boot camp  please visit  NYC ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP, mention that you found us through our blog for and extra 15% off a membership. Come work out like a GIRL!!!

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Decrease cellulite by doing the following exercises

We all know what cellulite is: the unsightly dimpled appearance of the skin that is found most on the thighs, buttocks, and on the belly. According to Medical News Today, cellulite can be caused by any of these factors: hormones, genetics, diet and lifestyle factors. In an effort to eliminate cellulite, women have been known to try variety of cellulite creams, heat treatments, injections, and liposuction. While results may be visually apparent, they can be temporary on other times. Proper diet and exercise, however, may be the most healthiest and effective way to improve the appearance of and even eliminate cellulite. Here at NYC Adventure Boot Camp, we are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle not a temporary fix for weight loss.

Attacking cellulite requires a reduction in body fat, junk food and carbohydrates and an increase of protein in the diet and water intake. Exercises that stimulate the lymphatic system and increase circulation should be incorporated into the fitness routine. The lymphatic system is located just below the surface of the skin and is the responsible for fighting disease and infections. Recommended exercises to get the lymphatic system moving again include but not limited walking, jogging, running, jumping jacks and jump rope. These same exercises can improve the performance of the cardiovascular system by increasing blood circulation. For indoor exercises, cardiovascular machines such as the treadmill, stair stepper, rowing machine, stationary exercise bike, and the elliptical machine may be preferred. It is recommended to perform any of these exercises for at least 30 minutes a session between 4-5 days per week to help reduce body fat, increase circulation, and reduce the amount and appearance of cellulite.

Resistance training along with cardiovascular exercise is a great combination when trying to decrease cellulite. In order to lift weights, more oxygen is required in order for the blood to be pumped to the muscles. Lifting free weights whether using weighted machines, resistance bands, or performing body weight exercises are all great examples of resistance training. It is important to focus on major muscle groups when trying to reduce body fat; those include chest, back, core, buttocks and legs. For the chest, the bench press, chest press machine, and push-ups are especially effective. Dumbbell rows, lat pull-downs, and pull-ups work well for the back muscles. The lower body can be targeted with squats, lunges, leg press, and leg extensions.

When in a time crunch, circuit training is the most efficient way to combine cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. A 30-minute workout can begin with a 2 minute cardio warm-up, followed by some active stretching for 2-3 minutes. Then, one set of an upper body resistance exercise (5-10 repetitions) should be performed followed by another cardio exercise. Next, choose a core exercise (5-10 repetitions) and return to a cardio exercise. Finish with a lower body exercise (5-10 repetitions) followed by a cardio exercise and some cool-down stretches.

For those who have suffered injuries or have physical limitations, exercises such as swimming, seated stationary bikes, yoga and Pilates are all effective ways to achieve great results.

In summary, cellulite can be decreased by mixing cardiovascular exercises and resistance training paired with a healthy diet and increased water intake.

If you are in New York City and interested in joining an all woman’s boot camp  please visit NYC ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP, mention that you found us through our blog for and extra 15% off a membership. Come work out like a GIRL!!!

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Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving

We are exactly 1 day away until Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday season. Let’s celebrate with our family and friends and enjoy the next few weeks ahead as they will go by quickly. Make sure you slow down and enjoy every moment from now until the New Year. These are the most important moments of the year, focus on it and live it. But don’t forget to smile, relax and of course, exercise!

Do Not Sabotage your weight on Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories.
  • Our bodies aren’t meant to handle 2,000-3,000 calories all at once and will store excess calories as fat.
  • Skipping breakfast and lunch is a sure recipe for overeating at the Thanksgiving table.
  • Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.
  • Better to eat smaller amounts and drink lots of water throughout the day and really enjoy a healthful dinner.
    Control your portion sizes: Draw a 12-inch dinner plate in your mind and divide it into three-inch-sized circles with each one representing one food group: proteins, vegetables and starches. The key is to stay within your circle for each food group: If you like turkey and ham, fit a little of both in one circle.
  • Be active: Go for a bike ride, a long brisk walk, a run or spend at least one hour at your local gym to burn calories before the big Thanksgiving meal.
  • Be mindful of your alcohol intake: Mixed drinks tend to have high amount of concentrated sugar and quickly add empty calories. One glass of wine may be reasonable, but remember alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein.

Make sure to thanks your family, loved ones, and those who matter most on Thanksgiving!
Thank you all for what you do!

Committed to your success,
Stacy Papakostas

Want to target the Abdomen & Core?

Challenge the midsection with this great exercise

Plank exercises are a simple way of improving the strength of you core by holding yourself up. To perform a plank, lie face down on the ground with your forearms and elbows underneath your chest. Then prop yourself up into a bridged position using your toes and forearms. Keep your body in a straight line and hold for as long as you can (aim for increments of 15 seconds; 30, 45, 60 seconds). It is important that you keep your body in a straight line and not let your hips start to sag. When this happens you can put a lot of stress on your lower back. However don’t over compensate and raise your butt high in the air as this takes the emphasis of the exercise off of the core.

This will help tighten your abs and strengthen your core. Implement 2-3x per week and work hard!

“It is when we step outside of our comfort zone and take on a new challenge that we find out what we are truly capable of…in any endeavor.”