The holidays are over and people have made their resolutions, many to get fit in the new year. The gym parking lots are packed and social media is exploding with before photos claiming this is the year! However, as the weeks (and months) pass the parking lots get quiet and the progress photos slow down. Whether you are brand new to fitness, trying to burn off all those holiday meals, or just trying to make a change in your lifestyle for the better, here are six simple tips to turn your new year’s resolution into results.

Tip #1: Set goals

We know that almost everybody is going to have the goal of weight loss, but challenge yourself to get specific. Break your goal down weekly or even daily. The goals don’t necessarily have to be about the actual amount of weight you’re planning to lose, but more on how you plan to reach your goal.

For example, set a goal of “make it to the gym 3 times this week” or “meal prep on Sunday for lunches throughout the week.” By creating simple, short-term goals, it’s easier to achieve and you’ll have more confidence in your fitness journey.

Tip #2: Write your goals down

Fitness goals written out on a piece of paper.

It is easy to ignore that little voice in your head that says “get to the gym.” We answer by saying “I can go later” or “I will do double the workout tomorrow.” Inevitably, something comes up and it just doesn’t get done.

Write your goals down and put a checkmark next to them when you accomplish them. One trick is to write them on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. You are bound to look at them every morning and they are easily erased when completed. Or leave them up and see how much progress you have made, how many goals you have accomplished. The more often you see your goals, the more often you will think about them, and chances are, the more successful you will be.

Tip #3: Ask for advice

Seek out a fitness professional or a personal trainer to begin your journey. Most fitness experts got into the industry to help people, and many would be happy to give you advice. Collect their opinions on what they have seen work in other people. Although fitness professionals will usually be the most knowledgeable on nutrition, ask your friends what works for them. The more information you have, the more tools you will have to decide what direction you would like to go. And remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Tip #4: Pick a plan and stick to it

Nutrition plans are not one size fits all. Some work better for certain people than others. Try to find one that works with your life and is achievable for you. If it is a plan that you will constantly break the rules on, or “cheat” on, it is not for you. There are hundreds of nutrition plans out there and the only way they work is if you stick to them. Remember, this is a lifestyle change and it must be sustainable for a long time. Nobody knows you better than you do so find one that fits in with your life.

Tip #5: Drink plenty of water

It is colder outside in the winter, and with that, the desire for water can diminish, but we require just as much water in the winter as we do in the summer. Staying hydrated is key to keeping your metabolism running top-notch. A general rule of thumb is to drink at least 50% of your body weight in ounces of water per day if not 100% of your body weight in ounces on days you work out. The two biggest deterrents to physical performance are dehydration and inadequate nutrition. If your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs, it will not perform at the appropriate levels for you to reach your goals. You wouldn’t put regular unleaded in a Ferrari, would you?

Tip #6: Respect the process

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Making a lifestyle change to be healthier is not an easy thing. It’s going to take hard work and time. Remember, your body didn’t get the way it did overnight, so it is going to take some time to change. It takes about 6 weeks of a training program for friends and family to start noticing a change and about 8 weeks for you to start to notice.

The difference does not always come from the scale either, maybe your clothes fit a little better, you have more energy or you are able to lift a little more than you used to. This all means your body is making significant changes to adapt to your new way of living. Don’t get discouraged when the progress slows down, the body gets used to things, which is a perfect time to switch it up. Add an extra day into your routine or add another physical activity like hiking or biking. Challenge yourself and you will be surprised with what you can accomplish.

Take these tips for what they are, “tips” and apply them to make a serious change this year. At FAST we strive to help people with their physical and lifelong goals. Whether it is a massive lifestyle change you want or you just want to move a little better and get more active. Come talk to one of our Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists today to get jump-start your path to living healthier. Schedule a free fitness assessment.

Enjoying a smoothie after a great workout is one way to fuel the body and start the recovery process. Sometimes knowing what should go in that smoothie can be challenging. Just like a balanced meal is what we may be striving for in our day to day eating a balanced smoothie is just the same. We want a good balance of protein, carbs, fats, fruits, and vegetables.

With building a balanced smoothie we need to have an easy to follow step by step process to ensure we use quality ingredients that are health conscious.

Step One:

Choose a liquid and preferably one not loaded with sugar like fat-free cow’s milk, unsweetened almond/coconut milk, water or green tea would all be great options.

Step Two:

Choose a protein powder such as whey, casein, egg or a plant source such as rice or peas.

Step Three:

Choose a vegetable that is either super green in color or one that mixes easily. One that we recommend would be spinach, pumpkin or celery.

Step Four:

Choose a healthy fat such as pecans, walnuts, all-natural peanut butter, and chia or flax seeds.

Step Five:

Choose a healthy fruit such as frozen berries, frozen cherries, apples or bananas.

Step Six:

Choose a topper for some added flavor such as shredded unsweetened coconut, cinnamon or plain yogurt.

Using these step by step processes can ensure you a healthy and balanced shake! For more information on healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle contact our FAST trainers today for a free fitness assessment! 

Summer has arrived and it comes with sunny skies and considerably warmer temperatures. School is out and everyone is looking forward to fun vacation plans. As important as it is to have a good time, too often we forget to take care of our bodies during the hot summer months. Staying hydrated this summer will help everyone stay happy and healthy while enjoying their adventures.

Here are some tips to help you out!

  1. Start each day with a glass of water. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning helps your body re-hydrate and jump starts your metabolism. This simple practice will get the body ready for activities for the day after being asleep for several hours
  2. Invest in a reusable water bottle and take it everywhere with you. This practice is good for your body and the planet. Reusable bottles are durable and reduce a major pollutant; plastic waste. Make it a goal or challenge to see how many times you can refill it throughout the day.
  3. Choose water instead of soda or other drinks. Since our bodies are made up largely of water, putting water into them will produce the best results. Water has zero calories in comparison to the high-sugar beverages too often used for hydration purposes. While other beverages can help you stay hydrated, water is the best option for hydration, body function and overall health.
  4. Try infused waters. Many people do not drink water because of the taste or lack of flavor. There are many combinations of fruit and herbs that can be added to water. These additions can contain health benefits and great taste. Add strawberries, basil and lemon to your water for a refreshing flavor boost that helps keep you hydrated.
  5. Snack on produce with high water content. Snacks like watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, celery or bell peppers have high water content. These and many other fruits and vegetables have more than 90% water in addition to their many nutrients and can help with your water intake. Reach for these in addition to your glass of water to help you hydrate and stay healthy this summer.

These five tips can help everyone to have an enjoyable and healthy summer. There are so many benefits to drinking water and being hydrated, such as: regulated blood pressure, more effective metabolism, improved brain and heart health, better cognitive function, and body temperature regulation. Staying hydrated will allow everyone to have the best summer possible. In the end you’ll be happy knowing that you not only had the best summer, but also took great care of your body.

If you have any further questions about ways to stay healthy for the summer then get in contact with a FAST coach today!

Carbohydrates sometimes get a bad rap…

…but they’re the body’s main source of energy during strenuous activity. When the body doesn’t have enough carbs, it has to break down something else to produce the energy required for sports and activities. This energy comes from the breakdown of fat and/or lean body tissue. When fat and muscle are broken down to produce energy, the result is a decrease in performance. It can decrease endurance too. This is a bad situation for an athlete!

For non-athletes the recommended carbohydrate distribution range is 45%-65% of total caloric intake. This recommendation provides a wide range that works for most individuals of varying activity level.

For athletes, the carbohydrate recommendations vary widely based on training volume, training intensity and type of training. An athlete that undergoes intense training or playing time 2-3 hours a day, and 5-6 days per week is recommended to have 5-8 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day. If an athlete is involved in intense training or playing time 3-6 hours per day and 5-6 days per week, then it is recommended that he or she consumes 8-10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day. In some cases, even higher recommendations are made.

Something that is often overlooked, and is likely a contributing factor to the negative connation associated with carbs, is the type of carbs consumed. The type of carbs consumed is just as important as the amount. In any diet, for any individual, athlete or otherwise, the majority of carbohydrate intake should come from complex carbs with a low or moderate glycemic index. These carbs are sometimes referred to as “slow-carbs.” 

Good examples of complex carbs include whole grains, some fruits, vegetables and legumes. Simple, fast burning carbs still play their own role and should not be excluded from the diet. These carbs have a higher glycemic index which means they absorb quickly into the blood stream. Simple carbs are great for quickly replenishing glycogen after a workout or a period of fasting.

As an athlete, what you put into your body is just as important as how you train your body. In order to optimize performance, you have to consume that right amount and type of carbohydrates; the game could depend on it!

Find a FAST clinic near you to get your free fitness assessment!

The holiday season is upon us, and for many, it’s a time for gathering around the table with family, friends and good food. We’re sharing some healthier Thanksgiving recipes that will allow you to enjoy the traditional dishes with a healthy twist. Read on to get inspired!

 

Simple Butternut Squash Soup  

Start Thanksgiving off with a warm cup of soup. This recipe is only 6 ingredients and takes less than 1 hour to make.

  • Kyle Schneider, FAST Ahwatukee

 

Sweet Potato Mash

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple for many. The knock on mashed potatoes is they are starchy, high GI, easy to over eat and have lots of unhealthy add-ons. Replace mashed potatoes with this healthier alternative, Garlic Sweet Potato Mash. I personally love sweet potatoes and the garlic will be enough to liven it up rather than adding unhealthy toppings.

  • Greg Stein, FAST North Scottsdale

 

Green Bean Casserole

My favorite Thanksgiving dish idea is this Green Bean Casserole recipe. With a total of 188 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein, this Green bean Casserole will have you feeling less guilty about having seconds. If you wanted even a little more crunch to the dish, add some crushed almonds to the mix.

  • Brandon Wood, FAST Litchfield Park

 

Paleo Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple, so if you’re looking for a new recipe to try this year, we recommend this one.

  • Kyle Decker, FAST Arrowhead

 

And don’t forget about the leftovers! If you’ve got plenty of turkey left, try this Turkey Tortilla Soup! We’re wishing you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving break.

Have you hit the Starbucks line to get your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season? It’s no secret that the PSL is many people’s favorite thing about fall, but did you know that the grande size at Starbucks has more than 50 grams of sugar plus many additives? Read on to learn how to make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home (without the added additives and excess sugar).

 

What ingredients you’ll need for a Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • 8 ounces of coffee or 1-2 shots of espresso
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or nut milk of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons of sweetener of choice (honey, agave, maple syrup)

 

After reviewing the ingredients for a healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte, you’ll see there’s only a handful of ingredients and most of it you’ll already have at home. The can of pumpkin puree will last you awhile, so make sure to store it in the refrigerator so you can enjoy PSLs all week long.

 

How to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • In a small sauce pan, mix together the nut milk and pumpkin puree. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, spices and sweetener.
  • Pour your coffee into your mug of choice.
  • Blend the sauce pan ingredients with a hand held frother or blender. This will end up as a foamy milk mixture.
  • Pour the foamy milk mixture on top of your coffee and garnish with extra cinnamon.
  • Enjoy!

 

If you’re a lover of iced coffee, this PSL recipe is great chilled too over ice. And if you’re really feeling in the fall mood, give our pumpkin workout and pumpkin protein smoothie recipe a try. Happy fall!

When is the last time you gave that water bottle of yours a good scrub? You might rinse it out daily but do you spend a few extra minutes really cleaning your water bottle each day? With flu season upon us, you’ll want to make sure you take these steps to keep bacteria at bay.

 

Daily: wash it with warm water and soap.

One of the easiest ways to clean your water bottle is to wash it daily with warm, soapy water. We recommend purchasing a bottle brush set to really get into the base of the water bottle to help rid any bacteria.

 

Weekly: Throw it in the dishwasher.

Before you clean your water bottle in the dishwasher, make sure your water bottle is actually dish washer safe. An easy way to do this is going to the brand’s website to view their care instructions—it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Weekly: Clean it with vinegar.

No harsh chemicals needed. You can use vinegar to clean your water bottle and rid it from any lingering germs. After washing it with soapy water, rinse well and then fill your water bottle 1/5 to ¼ the way full with white vinegar. Fill the remainder with water and let it sit overnight. Give it a good rinse in the morning and you’ll be set!

 

And if you’re really worried: water bottle cleansing tablets.

Some water bottle companies sell cleansing tablets that are meant to really clean and rid your water bottle of any pesky germs. So if flu season is going around your work, gym or home, this might be a great solution to deep clean your water bottle.

We get it, nobody has time to spend all weekend grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week ahead. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, we’re sharing some ideas to make meal prep easy.

 

One Pan Meals

You read it right—one pan. Chop up broccoli, sweet potato and season some salmon, and put it in the over. The clean up on this is a breeze and it’s the perfect way to quickly make roasted veggies and protein.

 

Stir Fry

Load up on your favorite vegetables, quinoa and protein to make a homemade stir fry that’s just as good as take out—but much healthier for you. With simple ingredients like tamari and hoisin sauce, you can create your own stir fry sauce.

 

Overnight Oats

With overnight oats, you can prep this at once and then add different toppings throughout the week to add in some variety. From raspberries and chia seeds to blueberries and honey—you’ll have endless (and tasty) options to kick off your day.

 

Easy Snacks

If you have to lean on protein bars from time to time, read our blog post that shares the best protein bars that aren’t chalk full of sugars and carbs. Another great solution is hard boiled eggs—and Trader Joe’s has pre-made options if you’re in a pinch.

 

There you have it—meal prep made easy. We hope these ideas are helpful and have you spending less time in the kitchen and more time doing the things you enjoy most!

Many of us have been trained to opt for low-fat foods over high-fat foods—from the craze of fat-free dressings, experts claiming eating fats will make you gain weight to counting your calorie intake. So no wonder that we’re all cautious when it comes to re-introducing healthy fat intake into our diets. Today, we’re sharing some top health-related reasons on why adding healthy fats to your diet is important, as well as some tasty recipes or staples to add to your next grocery run.

 

Healthy Fat Intake is Good for Your Heart.

First off—let’s get on the same page for the phrase “healthy fats.” They are typically referred to as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In a number of studies, healthy fats have been linked to reduce cardiovascular disease. This reason alone is one that should make you want to add healthy fat intake back into your diet.

 

Healthy Fats Help You Absorb Nutrients.

Healthy fats are a crucial part of nutrient absorption. Many vitamins, including A, D, E and K, need fat for absorption and storage in the body. Without fat in your diet, you cannot properly absorb these vital nutrients, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies.

 

Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol.

Study after study has shown that healthy fats will reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is usually the culprit when it comes to clogging arteries. Adding healthy fat intake into your diet can also benefit insulin and blood sugar levels.

 

Healthy Fats Can Help you Lose Weight.

Yep, you read it correctly. Eating healthy fats in place of high, starchy carbs and sugars will keep you feeling full longer and regulates blood-sugar levels (say goodbye to sugar crashes).

This information does not give you free reign to load up on fried food and burgers. The source of your fat is extremely important. When you’re at the grocery store or eating out, look for foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

 

Healthy Fat Food Examples:

  • Nuts and Nut Butters
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salmon, other fatty fish

 

Healthy Fat Food Recipe Ideas:

 

So there you have it—the big fat truth on healthy fat intake. If you have further questions regarding healthy fats, feel free to talk to your FAST trainer or speak to your healthcare provider. We hope this helps you better understand the benefits of healthy fats and how you can start to re-introduce them into your diet.

Eating seasonally is a great way to ensure you’re eating fresh. It’s also a great way to get to know the local farmers in the valley. Today, we’re sharing 4 summer farmers’ market finds and how to know if they’re ripe and ready to enjoy. And if you’re looking for a local market near you, check out this site.

 

Swiss Chard

An often overlooked vegetable is swiss chard. It can be used in many meals, such as a replacement for a whole wheat wrap or chop it up and enjoy in a fresh salad or smoothie. When you’re at the farmers’ market, pick a bunch that’s crisp like a celery stick—that will give you a few extra days to enjoy it before it starts to go bad.

 

Corn on the Cob

A summer staple, corn on the cob can easily be found at summer farmers’ markets across the valley. When picking out your corn, make sure the husk is green or yellow. If the husks are dry, it means the corn is overripe.

 

Tomatoes

From heirloom to your typical tomato—you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Try making your own marinara sauce instead of buying store bought, which usually happens to have added preservatives and unwanted sugar. When picking out the perfect tomato, look for a bright green stem.

 

Watermelon

And a summer farmers’ market run couldn’t be complete without watermelon. When searching for the perfect watermelon, give it a knock. If it sounds hollow, that means it’s ripe and ready! Watermelon is a great way to curb your sweet tooth, especially after a long day in the sun.

 

If you’re ready to hit the Phoenix farmers’ market but need some recipe inspiration first, head over to our Pinterest board full of healthy meals, snacks and smoothies.

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).