Post by Pamela Hernandez | December 6th, 2013
Personal Trainer Pamela Hernandez talks about when an energy bar with simple sugars might be a good choice.
In this video is advice for:
- Discussing types of sugars, they are not all created equal.
- Timing of simple sugar intake has a large bearing on utilization.
Post by Pamela Hernandez | December 5th, 2013
The holiday season is in full swing, smashed into a smaller than normal window of time due to a later than normal Thanksgiving. All the festivities are crammed into just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. You’re going to need to be smart in navigating all the ornament exchanges, open houses and holiday candy overflowing from your office mates' desks. You don't want erase all the hard work from the rest of the year in a matter of weeks.
My Island of Health has some simple rules for navigating the holidays in a fun AND fit way.
- If you really enjoy it, eat it.
I love deviled eggs. I get them once, maybe twice, a year. I will eat too many of them but I will enjoy every bite.
- Say no to the crap.
Let’s be real for a minute. Those popcorn tins and chocolate gift baskets in the office break room or you “win” at the white elephant gift exchange don’t taste good. Don’t waste your calories on low quality foods. If you’re going to have chocolate, have some small bites of the good stuff. You’ll be much more satisfied.
- Choose wisely.
If something happens everyday it’s not a treat. It’s a habit. You can’t go to every party you’re invited to and indulge at each one. Pick one or two that mean something to you and enjoy. You’ll need to say no to the others or have a strategy to keep it clean while you’re there.
Need some options to help you enjoy without going off the deep end? Here are some ideas to enjoy the festivities without going overboard.
- Do you have a neighborhood cookie party like I do? Try my Vegan Pumpkin Cookies to satisfy your cookie craving. They are based on my great grandma’s cookies, a childhood favorite, and you’re friends will love them with a cup of hot tea.
- Maybe coffee is more your thing? Skip the coffee shop mocha and try this lighter version from Well of Health. This version of the Skinny Peppermint Mocha has a lot less sugar than the kind in the red cup.
- The office potluck is coming. You can bring the veggie tray or you can bring this Butternut Squash Cranberry Oat Bread from Fit Happy Mama. No one has to know it has extra veggies in it to make up for the oil.
- Need something easy and crunchy for the ornament party or book club? Try my own Special Party Mix. The crunch comes from puffed wheat, which can easily be subbed with puffed rice to make it gluten free. The sweetness comes from carob chips and dried fruit. Simple to make and simple to eat.
What’s the treat you indulge in every year? What’s a classic you’ve figured out how to make healthier?
Post by Pamela Hernandez | December 2nd, 2013
Hello and welcome to Disco December!!! While Christmas music may infuse you with the holiday spirit, I personally think it does nothing for your workout. We will not be listening to Christmas music (at least not on purpose) in the studio.
Year round, it’s 70s Saturday in the studio. There is nothing like some disco to get your training mojo going. One of my clients even asked if we could just dance to the disco for our workout on a Saturday. I told her maybe but she would have to agree to me taking a video of it. So far she hasn’t agreed but stay tuned. In the meantime, shake your groove thing to some of my disco favorites!
- Working My Way Back To You by The Spinners: Working your way back to a better body is more like it!
- It's Raining Men by RuPaul: I like the Weather Girls version too, but this one is my favorite.
- Disco Inferno by The Trammps: Burn baby, burn that fat!
- Dancing Queen by Abba: I could do a whole ABBA list, but I will keep it to one song this time.
- Last Dance by Donna Summer: The real dancing queen of disco herself, the list would be incomplete without her.
- In the Navy by Village People: YMCA is so overdone, this one is much better to workout to.
- Tragedy by The Bee Gees: If for some reason this list doesn’t work for you, just put on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Love love love the Bee Gees
- Keep It Comin' Love by KC & The Sunshine Band: If one band sums up the 70s and disco it has to be this one.
- I Was Made For Lovin' You by KISS: Disco era Kiss as a whole was not very good, but I love this one!
- Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? by Rod Stewart: Does anyone else remember Linda Lavin performing this song on the sitcom “Alice”? Okay, just me.
What about you? Christmas music or not for your winter workouts?
Post by Pamela Hernandez | November 28th, 2013
I miss Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show. The items she featured were rarely things I could afford, but I loved to dream. I loved thinking that if I just had the giant bath sheets or the glorious miracle body cream all of life’s problems would be solved.
New towels or lotions are not really going to do anything to solve the problems facing a fit girl in the real world. (Well except maybe soften calluses from lifting without gloves.) For most of us, the real problem lies in eating clean in a dirty world or fitting in workouts on a busy schedule. If you really want to solve world’s problems give me an easier way to hard boil eggs.
That’s why I am dedicating this year’s top fit gifts list to problem solvers. If you know someone starting a journey, these items will help them tackle the hurdles to come. If you’ve got a long time fitness buff on your list, don’t let them suffer in silence any more. Don’t be afraid to gift yourself too! Happy Shopping!
- Bialetti Skillet – Teflon is dangerous and cast iron skillets are hard to clean. Enter the Bialetti skillet. With only a tiny bit of olive oil, coconut oil or butter you can have absolutely perfect eggs that slide right out of the pan.
- Pro Compression Socks - I never understood how people ran during the winter. That was until I tried compression gear. My feet are nice and toasty as they pound the pavement in my Pro Compression socks. Plus they are wonderful after a day of sightseeing. On vacation, I used to wake up with pain in my calves from the miles and miles we always walk. In London, I wore my Pro Compression socks to bed every night and woke up pain free!
- Blender Bottle for mixing an on the go shake – I do my workouts at work. We have a blender but who wants to clean up the mess? Not me! So one scoop of protein powder plus water blended smoothly in my Blender Bottle is the easy solution. It also doubles as my water bottle throughout the day.
- Go Picnic Meal Subscription – I love GoPicnic meals! These shelf stable and ready to eat healthy “lunchables” are a hit with all of my clients. With their subscription service, you can stay well stocked.
- Adiago Teas utiliTea Electric Tea Kettle – Did you know different kinds of tea need to be brewed at different temperatures? This electric kettle helps you get a perfect cup every time. It heats up quickly, saving you valuable time in the morning. It also saves you money by brewing any variety of loose teas at home for a fraction of the coffee shop price.
- Under Armour Perfect Tote – With a separate container for toiletries and a laundry bag for the stinky stuff, this is the perfect gym bag. Keep it stocked and in your car so you don’t have any excuse not to stop at the gym on the way home.
- Cuisinart Elite Collection 14 cup Food Processor – This is my favorite kitchen appliance. I use it for everything from blending the ingredients for vegan cheese to mixing up date balls to chopping tempeh for tacos. It even has a dough attachment for bread making. It saves a ton of time by allowing me to make big batches with its large capacity.
- Cuisinart 6.5 quart Slow Cooker – This is on my wish list! My current slow cooker is too small. The timer allows you to start dinner at any point in the day after loading it up the night before.
- Theraband Roller Travel Size – Another big win for tired calves on the road. This roller is more compact than the big black foam ones you see everywhere. It stores neatly in a suitcase or carry on.
- LifeLineUSA XT Jungle Gym – This is what I use in the studio for suspension training. The Jungle Gym is more affordable than the TRX brand but works the same. This kit comes with a door mount so you can do your workout at home, no need to find a baby sitter or venture out into the cold to attend class.
What food or fitness gear is on your wish list?
Post by Pamela Hernandez | November 25th, 2013
We spend a lot of time in training sessions discussing food in the terms of “good” and “bad”. What sometimes gets lost in the discussion is that you can get too much of a good thing.
I try to help clients find foods that they enjoy that also make for a balanced plate. I encourage clients to eat their lean protein, brightly colored veggies & fruits and sprinkles of healthy fats. I tell them there is nothing wrong with eating the healthy foods they enjoy every single day. The body loves consistency. But the key is balance and portion control.
For example, if the only vegetable you eat are carrots you’re getting a lot of beta-carotene but you’re missing out on a variety of phytonutrients in the red, purple and green veggies.
Another example is the avocado. It’s full of healthy fat but that makes it very calorie dense. A whole avocado is almost 300 calories. You can’t eat unlimited quantities of avocado just because it’s a “super food”.
Want some other examples of how healthy foods may be sabotaging your quest for a leaner body? Check these out.
When I tell people to try to eat fruit or veggies at every feeding they go for the fruit first. It’s easy and it’s familiar. Fruit does however have natural sugar and can spike blood sugar, particularly when in juice form. Stick with fiber rich fruits like berries, apples and pears and go 2:1 – for every serving of fruit in your day try to match it with 2 servings of veggies.
Natural peanut is the way to go, just be sure it’s only nuts and perhaps salt. Sugar is natural and is often found on the ingredient list of natural peanut butter. Peanut butter has good fat but also a lot of calories in a small package. 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter is about 200 calories. Always measure your serving size and keep it to 1 tablespoon.
I love hummus. It has good fat from the tahini and protein from the chickpeas. But once again that good fat makes it very calorie dense. I’ve watched friends who are trying to eat healthy devour what was probably ½ cup of hummus in one setting. That ½ cup could easily be 300-400 calories. When you add the pita chips you might as well have had the burger. Keep hummus to 2 tablespoons or less and dip with veggies not chips.
Protein bars and shakes are supplements. They are not to be your main source of nutrition. If you’re living off bars and shakes you may be missing critical nutrients. Protein shakes from the gym shake bars may also be huge calorie bombs. Their “Post workout” shakes can easily have 500-600 calories, completely erasing your heard earned burn.
Gluten Free (insert snack food here)
Products like gluten free pretzels and cookies are usually high in sugar to help improve taste. Stick with products that are naturally gluten free like vegetables, beans, quinoa and eggs. Snack on baby carrots instead of pretzels and homemade muffins made with almond meal instead of flour can satisfy a craving better than the packaged baked goods.
Even when eating clean you need to practice portion control. And don’t let the halo of health fool you. Organic or natural is not a free pass to eat as much as you want.
Do you ever fall into the “too much of good thing” trap? What did you learn from the experience?