Thursday, July 31, 2014

4 Major Reasons To Drink More Green Tea

Green tea is known for being great for your health. but do you actually know why it's good for you? Regularly consuming green tea has several benefits so check out the list below to see what this super drink can do for you.

1. Aids in weight loss. Perhaps the biggest reason green  tea has become so popular recently is because it has been proven to help boost your metabolism. The faster your metabolism is, the faster you are able to burn body fat. Not only does green tea boost your metabolism, but the catechins (a type of antioxidant) in the tea allows you to fuel your body with fat, ultimately increasing your endurance during grueling workouts. The longer your workout, the more calories you are able to burn, which will eventually lead to faster weight loss.

2. Increases immunity and prevents cancer. Green tea contains tons of EGCG (also known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate), a specific type of catechin. The EGCG helps to increase your number of immune cells, which are crucial for helping fight off diseases. The vast amount of antioxidants contained in the tea are also great for preventing several types of cancer because the catechins help eliminate any free radicals in your body that pose a threat to your DNA, thus stopping cancerous growths before they can occur.

3. Healthy skin. Studies show that people who drink green tea are much less likely to see reddening or wrinkling of their skin. Green tea can also be used topically in products such as creams, lotions, and sun screens. Not only are the antioxidants able to work inside your body, but they are able to protect your skin from the outside as well. 

4. Prevents tooth decay. The antioxidants in green tea are known to kill bacteria and viruses that can be found in your mouth, which can prevent throat/mouth infections and decrease dental plaque and tooth decay. 

The benefits of green tea don't stop here, there are dozens more! Here are few of them: lowers bad cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, prevents heart disease, provides stress relief, and promotes brain health. Go to bembu to see a full list with plenty of explanations.

Let's celebrate this Thirsty Thursday the healthy way with a big ole' cup of green tea!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Get This App!

If you're trying to lose weight, gain weight, or even just learn how to maintain your weight, then you should get the MyFitnessPal app. It's a free calorie counter that will keep track of all your logged foods and workouts throughout the day. I've been using it on and off for a couple years, and I've always seen great results when I use it. It's so simple to use and has tons of great features to make your goals easier to attain.

When you set up your profile, it will ask you for details about your height, weight, gender, activity level, goal weight, and how often you workout per week. It will also ask how fast you wish to gain/ lose weight (gain 1 or 2 pounds per week, lose 1 or 2 pounds per week, or simply maintain your weight). Everything is customized specifically for you and your goals. Once you're all set up, it will give you your daily recommended calorie intake, and you can take it further by customizing your macro ratios. So if you're going for a high protein and low carb diet, you can set it to whatever percentages you feel are ideal for you. 

Now here comes the fun part, logging all your food. The great thing about the app is that it already has tons of food programmed into its database so you can simply search for your food. MyFitnessPal has a majority of chain restaurants in its system so it makes going out to eat so easy. For example if you had a Chobani yogurt for breakfast, you can just type it into the search bar and select the right one. And if you don't want to search for it, or the database doesn't have your food, you can even just scan the barcode of your item with your phone, and it will automatically find all of the nutritional facts for that item. And if neither of those float your boat (or the barcode doesn't work for some reason), you can add the item yourself by manually entering as much or as little nutrition facts as you want. 

If you have any meals that you eat regularly, you can program all the contents of the meal once, and save them in a tab called "My Meals" so you can quickly add that meal to your diary when you eat it. If you create your own recipes, you can also save those too in a separate tab called "My Recipes". I have saved a few of my favorite recipes like protein pancakes and pumpkin pie overnight oats. After everything is saved, you'll be able to complete your diary entries in a matter of seconds.

Hitting your macros is also extremely easy because the MyFitnessPal app keeps track of everything for you. It will tell you how many of each you should be eating, how many you have already eaten, and how many you have left. This is so helpful because say you have 100 calories left at the end of the day, and you realize you're low on protein, you know that you should have a high protein snack in order to meet all your nutritional goals. 

Another great feature about the app is that you can also enter in any workouts you've done throughout the day. Some of the exercises (like running and biking) are already in there and it will give you an estimated amount of calories that you burned depending on your duration and intensity. If your workout isn't in the system though, you can enter the amount of calories you think you burned and it will add it to your diary. With this app, the more calories you burn, the more calories you are allotted for the day. Whether you eat back the extra calories you burn or not is up to you; for me personally, I generally only eat 1/3 to 1/2 of those extra calories. 

Every time you weigh yourself, you can log it in the "Progress" tab and see how well you're doing. It will show you a line, graphing all the changes in your weight. Losing weight always seems to be easier when you have a buddy to do it with you, so this app allows you to add friends who are using the app so you can interact with them and and exchange tips and advice. 

Overall, this is an amazing app and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their health. It makes everything so simple. No more calculators, no more notebooks...all you need is your phone, which you probably have on you at all times anyways. 

If you're new to the app, check out these tips from the My Fitness Pal blog to help get you started: 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivational Monday

Ugh Monday. Everyone's least favorite day of the week. Our weekend is over and we have to go back to work for the next five days. I'm sure you probably have a serious case of the 'Mondays' right now like the rest of us, but I'm going to tell you why you should learn to embrace today.

It's the beginning of the week, which means it's the perfect time to try something new, have a fresh start, or do something you've always wanted to do. Have you been wanting to start a new fitness regime? Start eating healthier? Finally lose those stubborn excess pounds? Well, today is the day! Stop saying, "oh, I'll just start tomorrow" and start right now. If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. 

Maybe you're scared to start because you have so far to go. But you know what? The sooner you start, the sooner you will achieve your goal. It may not be easy, but I can promise you that it will be worth it. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." 

If you're in need of some serious inspiration, check out the video below. Arthur Boorman was a disabled war veteran who was told he would never be able to walk again, and gained a significant amount of weight as a result. Arthur eventually got the point where he realized it was time to make a change in his life; so he turned to yoga. His hard work and commitment to yoga ultimately saved his life as he lost 140 pounds and increased his strength, flexibility, and balance drastically. Arthur was able to completely change his life in less than one year's time, and his transformation is truly remarkable. 

"Just because I can't do it today, doesn't mean I won't be able to do it someday." - Arthur Boorman

Hopefully you were inspired by Arthur's story and are motivated to begin your own journey. Just remember that nothing good ever comes easy; it's going to be hard and you may want to quit, but the only person standing between you and your dreams is you. Realize your potential and know that the possibilities are limitless. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Best Protein Bar

When we're crunched for time, protein and energy bars are a common go-to meal or snack for a lot of us these days. We've fooled ourselves into thinking that this is a healthy option because the label screams "high protein," but we're sadly mistaken. A majority of nutrition bars, as well as many other so called health products on the market, are simply marketed as being good for you, but they're actually the complete opposite. In order to determine how healthy that 200 calorie breakfast bar you just ate is, you need to dig deeper by looking at the macros and the ingredient list. You'd be surprised about how much sugar can be hiding in the supposedly "healthy" bars.

Lucky for you, your search for the perfect protein bar stops here. Let me introduce to the almighty Quest Bar.

These bad boys are made from high quality, natural ingredients and are packed with tons of protein and fiber. They also have a very low sugar content, which is a huge reason why these tower over other protein bars in regards to nutritional profiles. If you're a stickler for reading ingredients, you'll be pleasantly surprised about short the ingredient list is. These bars are made with only natural and plant based foods, which allows for optimal nutrition. 

Just so you can get a better idea of how Quest bars compare to others protein bars, check out the nutritional labels below. The first one is for a Balance Bar (chocolate peanut butter flavor). The second is for a Quest Bar (chocolate peanut butter flavor). The Quest Bar is a no brainer! It trumps the Balance bar in all the major categories (calories, fat, fiber, protein, and sugar) by a landslide. Additionally, check out how short the ingredient list is compared to the Balance Bar. 



It may seem too good to be true...but it gets better. Quest bars actually taste amazing! These are hands down the best tasting protein bars I've ever had. The cookies & cream flavor is my ultimate favorite, but I've yet to try any flavor that I don't like. Quest Nutrition even has tons of simple recipes that you can make with their bars for tasty treat that allows you to #CheatClean. You can check them all out here

A majority of the other bars on the market are simply glorified candy bars, so I definitely recommend that you give Quest bars a try. They'll keep you full, provide you with some great nutrients, and they taste awesome. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HIIT it!

If you've never tried a HIIT workout, it's about time you start mixing them into your weekly exercise routine. HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, involves bursts of maximum effort exercises followed by short periods of low intensity exercise or recovery.

So why should you do HITT? This type of training is an excellent way to boost your metabolism. Because you are working out at such a high intensity, your body's need for oxygen skyrockets, resulting in an oxygen shortage, which means that your body will also require more oxygen during your recovery as well. This creates an after burn effect that allows you to continuously burn calories for several hours after your workout, and who doesn't want that?!

HIIT workouts are also much more efficient and convenient than your standard hour long cardio session. The typical HIIT workout is about 30 minutes and can be done practically anywhere. Most of these workouts require no equipment and rely on pure body weight exercises. No time for the gym? Too lazy to leave the house? Those excuses aren't going to fly anymore!

The high intensity intervals can include anything from burpees to sprints to lunges, and everything in between. Though the type of workouts can vary, they all are sure to get you breathing heavy and your heart pumping in a short amount of time. Some HIIT workouts consist of 30-45 seconds of high intensity exercises, followed by 15 seconds of rest/ low intensity exercises. Others consist of doing a series of high intensity exercises each for 30-45 seconds, followed by a rest period before repeating the set. If you are someone who loves the cardio machines at the gym, there are even HIIT workouts designed for the treadmill or elliptical where you can adjust the speed, incline, and resistance to keep your heart rate constantly changing.

Here is a great example of HIIT workout to get you started! It may look easy, but you'll definitely be dripping sweat by the end.


If you're looking for an awesome way to boost your metabolism and burn that stubborn fat,  then HIIT workouts are definitely the way to go. You don't have to replace all your workouts with HIIT, but just doing it once or twice a week can do wonders for you. Quick, exciting, and a fat blaster...what more could you want out of a workout?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Make Your Morning Green

Having a green smoothie in the morning is the perfect way to start your day. Not only do green smoothies make for a quick and easy breakfast when you're on the go, but they'll also provide you with tons of essential nutrients that your body needs.

Let's be honest, the thought of drinking your greens may not seem like the most appetizing breakfast, but green smoothies can actually be quite delicious when you add fruit. to them The best rule of thumb is to try to keep a 60% fruit to 40% greens ration. Since the sweetness of the fruit will cancel out most of the bitterness of the vegetables, it's an easy way to sneak in your veggies without even having to taste them. You can even add in protein powder, nut butter, or various seeds to give your smoothie a little extra protein boost.

An advantage to having a green smoothie as opposed to a green juice is that the smoothie packs much more nutrients. Since smoothies blend whole fruits and vegetables, rather than pressing out the juice, they are able to provide tons of fiber, which can greatly aid in regulating digestion.

There are endless ways to make a green smoothie; it's all about finding the right fruits, vegetables, and extras that suit your taste preferences. Use the guide below from to build your perfect smoothie!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why More Men Need To Start Doing Yoga

If you walk into a yoga class, I can almost guarantee you that the room will be dominated by women, with possibly a few men sprinkled in here and there. Unfortunately yoga has gotten a bad rap in the male community because they think it's too girly, not masculine enough, or what have you. 

What these skeptical men don't realize is that yoga is an incredible full body workout that provides undeniable results and benefits. Yoga has been proven to reduce stress, prevent injuries, improve sex life, and increase flexibility, strength, and endurance. Most men who have never tried yoga would actually be surprised at how challenging yoga is and how much of a workout it can be. No, the type of workout you'll get in a session of yoga can't be compared to that of cross-fit, but yoga helps to provide an essential connection between mind and body through a series of different poses, stretches, and breathing exercises. 

Women aren't the only ones who swear by yoga; numerous professional athletes have even attributed much of their athletic success to yoga. Among these yoga practicing athletes Kareem Abdul Jabar, David Beckham, Victor Cruz, Lebron James, Tom Brady, and hundreds more. Some of Hollywood's top A-listers have even jumped on the band wagon. Adam Levine, Robert Downey Jr., Russel Brand, and Matthew McConaughey are all reaping yoga's amazing benefits as well.

So if you're skeptical about yoga, don't be! Forget about the stereotypes and just give it a shot. You'll be amazed with how great you feel and the outstanding results you'll see within yourself! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Today is the day we celebrate America's independence by going to parades, watching fireworks, and enjoying the company of friends and family.  But everyone knows that no 4th of July party is complete without an awesome BBQ! Hot dogs, hamburgers, beer, chips, cake, know, all the good tasting, but not good for you stuff.

It can be sometimes be difficult to stick to your diet at a party, especially because eating is such a social thing. If you're trying to watch your waistline, the answer isn't "don't eat," but rather just "eat right."
The last thing you want to do is wake up tomorrow morning and regret everything you ate last night, so here are some tips to keeping your Fourth of July as healthy as possible:

  •  Opt for the grilled leaner meats like chicken and beef. Avoid the wings and the ribs smothered in endless amounts of sugary barbecue sauce. 
  • If you're having a burger, try to use a whole wheat bun. You should also load up your burger with as many veggies as possible, rather than filling it with cheese and mayo. 
  • Stay away from the chips. Just don't even look at them. Make salad your side dish, or if you want something to snack on, grab a plate of fruit or vegetables.
  • Use a smaller plate. This one may seem silly, but by using a smaller plate, you can trick yourself into thinking that you're actually eating more food than you actually are because your plate will be full. 
  • Be mindful of your drinks. Sodas and alcoholic beverages are just empty calories so be weary of your intake. Of course it's okay to crack open a beer with your bros, but make sure not to go overboard. Some tasty healthy drink alternatives include cold-brewed iced tea with lemon, or fruit infused water. 
  • Watch your dessert! Cake, cookies, popsicles, and ice cream are always tasty summer time treats but your waistline will not be thanking you if you over-indulge on them. If you absolutely can't resist, keep your portions small, just enough to satisfy your cravings. An even better option would be to just have a big bowl of fruit.

We wish everyone a happy, safe, and healthy Fourth of July!