A Simple Tool to Help with Your New Year’s Goals

A Simple Tool to Help with Your GoalsThe New Year is upon us, and one of my favourite Christmas gifts this year inspired me to make a post about it. I thought many of you could use this item to help with your New Year’s goals. You may have even heard of it before: The Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer.

The Spiralizer I received was a basic 3 blade model – which is probably all you really need. However, they also have a 4 blade, if you are interested.

It comes with 3 blades, which make noodles, ribbons, and quick work of shredding. It can be used on any fruit or vegetable – including cabbage, carrots, zucchini, apples, potatoes, and more. I made Zucchini Noodles my very first time using it, and in LESS THAN A MINUTE, I had an enormous bowl full of noodles that I topped with marinara. I didn’t even bother to cook or heat it – but those noodles were textured like, and tasted like, real spaghetti. It was amazing. All for less than 150 calories(with the marinara!).

Simple switches for New Year's Goals

Use the ribbon blade to make roll-ups with your zucchini – fill them with sliced meats, pesto, herbed goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, or anything else you like. It would make for a healthy and reasonably low calorie snack.

It shreds heads of cabbage quickly, and you can make healthy baked apple chips/rings, or your own sweet potato curly fries, plus much more.

This is an easy, quick, and relatively low-cost tool that you can use to make healthy and low-calorie dinners, lunches, and snacks that taste great, but don’t make you feel as if you’re suffering. I hope you all give it a try.

I’ve found a few cookbooks dedicated to recipes for the Spiralizer, as well. You can finds links to a few of them below:

– The Spiralizer Cookbook: 70+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Delicious, Satisfying Main Dishes, Soups, Salads, Side Dishes and More…

– Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals

– The Skinny Spiralizer Recipe Book: Delicious Spiralizer Inspired Low Calorie Recipes For One. All Under 200, 300, 400 & 500 Calories

– The Spiralizer Recipe Cookbook: Over 30 Recipes for your Spiralizer Spiral Slicer – Zucchini Noodles, Paleo and Wheat Free Recipes and much more (Spiralizer Series) (Volume 1)

If you have a Paderno Spiralizer, let me know in the comments what kind of healthy recipes you’ve been making with it. I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Fat Loss Truths for 2015

Fat Loss Truths for 2015 from YellowTurtleFitness.com

A few months back, I was out around town, and met up with someone who knew me(and what I do for a living) from some of the local commerce websites.

She took the opportunity to ask a question that I hear all the time:

“Which exercises can I do so that I can eat whatever I want, but still lose weight?”

I responded with my usual – along the lines of, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”.
She seemed taken aback by this, and exclaimed, “I thought you were supposed to be encouraging!”. I then went on to explain that I’m all for encouragement and motivation, but will never lie, or make false promises, to someone who asks my advice.
We laughed about it, but this conversation really stuck with me since.

At the start of every new year, everyone is on their best behaviour… only to quickly be discouraged when they don’t get the results they think they will receive.

It’s not difficult to see why they would be so crestfallen; we are inundated daily with false promises, quick gimmicks, and headlines about weight loss miracles. It’s in our Facebook feeds, on the covers of magazines, in articles or telecasts written by supposedly legitimate news organizations, and on TV – often touted by celebrity doctors who are supposed to have our best interests at heart.

Many times, these falsehoods are even proclaimed by those in the fitness and nutrition industry, either out of a lack of legitimate education, poor research methods, or greed for your money.

Here, I want to simplify things for you – to lay out some facts to keep in mind as you navigate 2015 in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, or the body of your dreams.

“I want to lose weight”

This is the most common reason that someone comes to me for help. Many of those whom I connect with are very overweight, to the point where it affects their health. I also have worked with those who only want to lose a little weight(usually post-baby), or to become metabolically healthier.

There are many different factors that can affect weight loss, and results can be highly individual(a good reason to consult with a doctor, professional trainer, and/or nutrition coach), but these basic guidelines can be key to your success.

Your strategy:

Build lean muscle with resistance exercise, add moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise, and most importantly, watch what you eat.

The less you weigh, the more your food intake will make a difference in weight loss.
You don’t want to eat too little(which may permanently alter your metabolism for the worse), but eating too much will drastically slow or stop progress. A certified Nutritionist or Dietitian can help you figure out what, and how much, you should be eating to attain your goals.

Quality of calories does matter – and no, it is not as simple as the number of calories in v/s out.
When trying to reduce fat, aim for 90%(or better) of healthy, whole foods that are low in added sodium or added sugars.

That last sentence can help many people with that “last 10 lbs”. The average person tends to carry around 5-7 lbs of water bloat due to the quality of the food they’re eating.
This is why so many tend to be duped into thinking that detox diets and juice detoxes are causing them to lose fat quickly. It’s not fat they’re losing, and they could easily lose those same pounds by eating healthier on the whole.

This is why weight loss tends to slow down drastically after that first 5-7 lbs is gone.

It is also not unusual for someone who is severely obese to carry 15-20 lbs of that same water weight. If you’ve ever seen the first few episodes of any season of The Biggest Loser, you’ve seen that water weight loss in action. Ever seen someone on a low-carb diet get really excited on their first two weeks? It’s because they had a rush of water weight loss, due to eating fewer carbs(which hold on to some water). However, most of what they lost was probably not fat.
Water weight loss is nice, but it’s also the type of weight that will come right back, the second you eat a normal meal. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat balanced long-term.

If you are maintaining a loss, or are okay with fat loss being slower, aiming for healthy/whole foods 80% of the time is perfectly acceptable. You’ll lose weight, but it will be slow going. If you add in the aforementioned exercise, it will go faster.

“If Nutrition is most important, why should I bother exercising?”

There are many reasons I could give here, but this is paramount:
Exercising will make you healthier, no matter your size.

A morbidly obese person who exercises will be healthier than a morbidly obese person who never exercises. Ever hear of “skinny fat”? This is the term often used when someone is technically not overweight, but is still flabby, and/or metabolically unhealthy due to lack of exercise.
That resistance exercise I mentioned? You need it because body composition matters. There is a myriad of benefits to adding extra muscle, most notably that it helps you burn extra calories, makes your body look more toned when you DO lose weight, provides stability in old age, and goes a long way towards making you metabolically healthier. You don’t have to be Ahh-nold to get those benefits. Every bit of muscle that you add counts towards a healthier you.

(I have mentioned many of these things before, most notably here and here.)

Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercise should be part of your life. You don’t need to be over the top – you can start with something as simple as the act of walking your dog daily, and build from there. When you’re ready for the next step, consult with a professional trainer.

Make 2015 the year that you take control of your health using facts – not lies, half-truths, gimmicks, and pseudoscience. Things really are a lot simpler when you keep in mind these basic tenets.

I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season, and the best of luck in the coming year.

A Beginner’s Guide to Easing the Pain

Hope everyone had a great time over the Holidays, but now it’s time to buckle down and see your goals through!

Inevitably, new workout routines will put extra stress on your body, leading to some initial muscle pain.
Take heart that it does get better when you keep a regular routine, and doesn’t happen anywhere near as often.

A Beginner's Guide To Easing Sore Muscles, from Yellow Turtle Fitness

In the meantime, some of my favourite ways to relieve sore muscles are the following:

1- Stretching/Warm Up/Cool Down – One of the best ways to prevent most of the pain in the first place is to ensure a proper warmup, and to stretch.

Some dynamic (controlled, but moving) stretches and light cardio before your workout is the best bet, as well as good static(held/not moving) stretches afterwards. This can also help prevent many injuries!

2- Light workouts – Those initial workouts can really put the hurt on if you jump right into something over the top. While healing from that you can still work out, but keep it light.

Some fast walking or light jogging – yoga, pilates, or even just a weight routine focusing on the the parts of the body that aren’t hurting. A light workout will help circulate some blood through the area while you recuperate, and believe it or not, help ease muscle soreness.

3 – Massage and/or Foam Rolling – Massage is the obvious one. Like a light workout, it will help circulate some of the pooled blood in the muscle.

Foam rolling triggers a release of the tight muscle, when done correctly. Buy a good beginner’s roller, and have your personal trainer show you how to roll.

When buying, keep in mind that the more high density a foam roller is, the more aggressive it will be in attacking the tension. Beginners may want to go with a lower density roller until they get more accustomed.
You can also use foam rolling before and after a workout, as part of your regular warm up and cool down. This may prevent some of the soreness before it happens!

4 – Anti-inflammatory foods/drinks/medication – Natural watermelon juice and tart cherry juice have both recently come into the spotlight as excellent muscle pain relievers.

Don’t overdo it – just a small juice glass(6-8 oz) will do, and make sure it doesn’t have tons of added sugar, or other ingredients to muck up the works. The fruit itself may not be as concentrated, but certainly has potential to help.

Watermelon or cherry juice should be the first ingredient. At the very least, it should be the second ingredient, after water. If not, put it back on the shelf.

Coffee is another drink that may help in reasonable amounts. Again, don’t overdo it.

I rarely use any other pain reliever besides aspirin, but any anti-inflammatory pain reliever can help, as well.

5 – REST! – Sometimes, it’s just better to rest the painful areas. This doesn’t mean to lay around for days, doing nothing. You can still exercise other parts of your body, or do light stretches and walks until you’re feeling better. Completely skipping workouts is a good way to backslide in your motivation, so try to keep moving, one way or another.

However, be sure to get adequate sleep, and take care of the parts that hurt for a day or two. If you overdid it on squats one day, do upper body, calf, and/or core exercises in the meantime.

Remember that if you are in pain, LET YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER KNOW! You won’t be seen as “weak” or a complainer. Your trainer wants to help, not hurt you.

They are educated to help you work around the painful areas, can give you more pointers on how to handle the soreness, and if they know their stuff, will refer you to a doctor when it’s more than a little post-workout muscle pain.

Good luck with your resolutions and goals, everyone! You can do this!