#Friday, August 08, 2008

One of our goals at Venice Nutrition is to teach you how to use your time efficiently, particularly when your working out.  Let's face it; time is precious and if your taking an hour out of your day to invest in your body and health you should learn how to make every minute count. 

So why is a heart rate monitor so important?  Have you ever seen someone at the gym who trains every day yet their body never changes? Maybe he or she slaves away on the treadmill or in an aerobics class with no noticable results?  This is a great example of someone not using their time efficiently.  A heart rate monitor can help you to avoid this!

A heart rate monitor is typically a chest or wrist strap along with a "watch" that reads your heart beats per minute.  By monitoring your heart rate and staying in your individual "heart rate zone" you can ensure that you are breaking down body fat and protecting your hard earned lean muscle mass.  This is called red fiber of fat burning training, meaning training at a pace that you are breaking a great sweat but not out of breath.  Your individual target heart rate is given to you inside your personal plan.

We also need to train our "fast twitch" muscle fibers otherwise known as white fiber training.  This includes interval training; which can have a major and positive affect on your results, but only if done correctly.  Your heart rate monitor ensures that you are hitting the right intervals and making the most of the workout. 

See your personalized plan to get your target heart rate and make sure to read the cardiovascular sections in your online manual to learn how to perform both fat burning and interval training corrrectly.  Remember your time is important, and your results depend on it!

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Friday, August 08, 2008

This time of year alot of my clients, myself included, travel for pleasure.  All too often, I see people try to go into "strict mode" with their nutrition and fitness leading up to their vacation and as soon as they get to their destination, all bets are off!  We are all guilty of this; we eat and drink to excess and blow off exercising altogether.  The challenge is how sluggish, discouraged and heavy we feel once we get home.  To counter this, I like to give my clients the "fast four" tips to bring with them on their trip so they stay in control and maintain their results while away.  First, I recommend to pack the right "tools"; plenty of protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, protein powder, and water for the plane or car ride and for quick snacks inbetween meals.  The second rule of thumb is to drink more water than usual to ward off bloating and fatigue and to prevent overeating.  The third rule is to have only one "off" meal per day.  For example, if you know that you plan on having a big dinner with drinks, aim to eat a balanced breakfast and lunch with snacks inbetween (for ideas look through your meal plan book and don't be afraid to ask your server for healthy suggestions).  Lastly, aim for "fun" exercise every other day. Maybe it's a walk on the beach or kayaking lessons; take advantage of your new surroundings!  The "fast four" will keep you in control of your body and your health even while having the time of your life on vacation!  Remember, your goal is not necessarily to achieve any new goals while away, but to simply maintain all that you have worked so hard for.  Have a great trip!

Valerie Cogswell

Head Chef and Nutrition Coach

#Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We were recently working with one of our phone coaching clients and he brought up an excellent issue when it comes to nutrition.  One of the meals in his plan called for chicken tacos. He frequently goes to a casual fast food mexican themed restaurant where he tries to order a healthy version of the taco dish described in his meal plan.  We immediately recommended that he go online to the restaurant's website to view the nutrition information.  Most restaurants, particularly chain restaurants and fast food joints now include the nutrition information on their menu items so their customers can make healthy and informed choices.  Going out to eat is a fact of life for most of us, and a fun one at that!  We highly recommend that you check out your favorite restaurant's websites for nutrition data so you can make the best choices possible.  Often times there are simple and healthy substitutions that can make all the difference in your results.

#Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A balanced diet is critical for everyone, including children, for long term health and weight management. By learning how to stabilize your blood sugar and eat correctly, you can easily pass on your knowledge of great nutrition and health to your family.

Teaching your children how to balance their meals by showing them examples of protein, carbohydrates and fat, is a simple and fun way that you can educate him or her on how to eat correctly. Please keep in mind that a child does not need to count grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat or follow strict nutritional parameters. The goal is to teach them how to create somewhat balanced meals. For example, instead of a handful of crackers as a snack, teach your child to include a string cheese on the side for protein and fat. Also encourage your child to eat frequently to keep energy high and prevent low blood sugar.

Another great exercise to teach children is how to incorporate higher quality foods into their every day diet. For example, whole wheat bread in place of white bread will add a boost of fiber, vitamins and minerals and will keep your child satisfied longer. Low sodium and low fat deli meats, such as low sodium turkey and ham, are great replacements for bologna and salami. Lunchbox snacks such as fruit and nuts are healthy options that pair nicely with a sandwich.

Water and low sugar drinks will keep your child hydrated without elevating their blood sugar levels. Protein Smoothies made with skim milk and fruit and peanut butter or nuts are a quick and tasty snack for children as well.

Dinner with the family is the perfect time to create a balanced meal. If for instance, you have prepared pasta and marinara sauce for dinner, please make sure to add a high quality protein such as grilled chicken, to the meal. Please see the Forum Tab for great recipes that you can share with your family.

#Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I’m a huge fan of eggs because they are a great source of protein and fat, they’re inexpensive and quick to make.  I find that so many of my clients don’t utilize eggs enough in their diet so I wanted to share some creative ways to enjoy them.  Breakfast is obvious- scrambled, omelets, sunny side- up, etc.  But how about a breakfast burrito?  Wrap cooked eggs in a whole wheat tortilla with cheese, veggies, and salsa.  Roll in foil and you’ve got a meal on the go.  I also love to scramble eggs with brown rice, low sodium soy sauce, a little peanut oil and chopped carrots, onions and peas for a quick “fried rice”.  And who says you can’t serve a big omelet with whole wheat pancakes for dinner?  Kids love it, and it’s an easy meal anyone can make.  Please share your favorite egg recipes!


-Venice Nutrition  Head Chef,   Valerie Cogswell   

#Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As much experience as our team of nutrition and fitness professionals have working out in the gym, we know that the same old routine day in and day out can get stale, both mentally and physically.  By changing your workouts and trying new classes and endeavors, you can avoid the dreaded “plateau” that so many of us get caught up on.  How do you find something new that you’ll actually enjoy?  Re-discover what you loved as a kid.  Maybe it was dancing, roller blading or swimming.  Chances are these are still activities that you’ll thrive in to this day.  Find a new workout trainer or friend to keep your workouts fresh.  Some of the easiest ways to scout out a new partner is to speak to your gym and ask if they have a “buddy” system or could suggest someone to pair you up with.  Talk to people in your health club to see what trainers have the best track record and are a good match for you.  And don’t forget to grab a copy of the fitness class calendar that comes out each month and give a few new classes a try.  Many people find that a fun and structured class is just what they need to get to that next level.  Change can be intimidating for many of us and it always gets easier.  Keep your mind open to exploring new activities and your body will thank you for it.

We all know how challenging it can be to fit in a half- hour to an hour a day of exercise. And most of us also know how important that hour of exercise is both mentally and physically.  That hour is your “me time” and it is incredibly important.  It’s your time to unwind and relax.  Physically that hour keeps your bones healthy, strengthens your muscles and immune system and brings you one step closer to the physique you’re trying to achieve.  So how can we all find the time to fit exercise into our hectic day?  The first step is considering your workout a “necessary” part of the day, just like brushing your teeth or paying bills.  Take the time each day to add it to your appointment book (in ink!) and you will be more likely to stick to it.  Most of our members find that even if they promise themselves to workout for only 15 minutes, they will keep going because of the endorphins they feel.  Will you have days, even weeks, when your workout schedule becomes irregular, and working out falls a notch on the priority list? Absolutely.  Our best advice for fitting in your “me time” is making yourself a promise to make it happen.  We all have 24 hours in the day; it’s up to us how we choose to use them. 

#Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Did you know that the number one way to reach your nutrition and fitness goals is as simple as getting enough sleep?  Most of us will notice that we are much hungrier than usual and craving sweets like crazy when we are sleep deprived.  Not to mention, we lack the energy to get up and get moving.  For any of you out there who have experienced sudden changes in life (a new baby, a new job, family, stress), you know how much skipping sleep can hurt.  Here are a few excellent tips to help you get the sleep you need and deserve.  It begins with accepting the fact that life will get crazy at times and letting some of the worry and stress go.   If you missed out on an hour of sleep last night, make it a point to get to bed an hour earlier tonight with a good book to relax.  At the end of the day, try writing your to-do list of everything that needs to get done the following day.  Taking all the stress off of your mind and putting it on paper will clear your head for the night and allow you to relax. Make sure to create a comfortable sleep environment, an incredibly important (but often overlooked!) factor.   Invest in a quality bed (shop around to see what feels best for you) soft sheets, along with a dark curtain to keep the morning sun out of your eyes.   Remember, the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity.  For more effective tips on learning to improve your sleep, please see your online member handbook.

#Wednesday, July 18, 2007
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
As most of you already know, it is easy to forget about nutrition in this fast paced, processed, convenience food crazy world. We all do it. It is easy for other things to take precedence, but if we forget about it for ourselves, we are also likely forgetting about it for our children too. So lets remember some simple things that will not only help to keep our focus, but will also engage, interest, and add to good quality time with our children. Kids love to be involved! They especially love working and eating with their hands. Even if it is not a food they typically eat, I bet you if you let them help prepare it they will. Bright colors and interesting shapes are a bonus. Let them help roll, cut, shape, or mix their foods and I guarantee it will be a success. Try different combinations of healthy foods. For example: Ants on a log. Take a stick of celery, spread a teaspoon of peanut butter in the middle, and add raisins on top. A quick, fun, nutritious snack all rolled up into one! While you are making the snack point out the different food items and teach your child what is good about them and what nutrient they provide to make it a learning experience too!

Nicole Hilburt, RD,CNSD Director of Dietetics