Is Your Health Worth Your Money?

That question is harder to answer than you think.

People love to tell others how important health and fitness are, yet when they go to the grocery store and see the healthy food prices marked up, or they have to pay a little extra for that premier training session, they suddenly second-guess themselves…

“Am I overpaying for this? After all, I could easily spend my money on cheaper stuff that will make me happy, right?”

Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to spend on your health.

Health and true happiness are related!

Let’s walk through this so you get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Say you pony up a little extra cash per month for healthy training and food. That raises your chances of losing weight and gaining more self-confidence…

…which means you’ll feel better all the time, not just when you watch a TV show or read a book….

…and when you feel amazing, you can better serve the people around you…

…and you’ll have more fulfilling relationships, greater impact, and a deep sense of accomplishment.

The main point? When you get in shape, you unlock your fullest potential. Your body feels renewed and unstoppable. More importantly, your quality of life will rise, as your health will turn you into a better husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.

Never let money keep you away from your purpose. You owe it to yourself, as well as to the people around you.

Motivation Monday: Fight For Someone Else

There’s a simple trick that makes your goals 10x more powerful. Wanna hear it?

Attach your goals to people.

Wait, what now?

Nothing makes you go to greater lengths, give more of yourself, and put it all on the line then when you do something for someone else. That’s why parents love their kids unconditionally, or why teachers spend hours outside of class making sure their students understand class material.

You can use that motivation to lose weight and get in shape. All it takes is a little reframing…

How to Instantly Boost Your Motivation

Again, you have to attach your goals to a person (or persons), because fighting for someone else is the most powerful motivation you can have.

Let’s walk through an example of this…

Say your motivation to lose weight is to move around more freely. Maybe you want to walk around the house with no limits, or perhaps you want to get rid of that nagging leg pain that always slows you down.

Good motivations, sure. But think about this: It’s much easier to let ourselves down than it is to let someone else down.

So instead, make your goal about someone else, someone you really don’t want to disappoint. Here are a few ways you can reframe our example above to motivate yourself even more:

  • “I want to move freely so I can run around with my kids and do the things they want me to do with them.”
  • “If I can move around easily, I can teach my daughter how to swim!”
  • “Moving around freely means my husband and I can finally hike to the top of the mountain where we went on our first date!”

As you can tell, each of these goals means something powerful. Do this with all of your goals and they’ll be within reach in no time!

Upper Body Sculpt

Strong muscles make your upper body look sexy and amazing. Want some for yourself?

Today’s upper body workout will chisel your arm and chest muscles to perfection. Don’t worry…we also mixed in some leg and core work, so you’ll feel the fat melt off in multiple places on your body!

This workout is a freestyle time trial: you’re tasked with performing a set number of reps per exercise. You can finish these at your own pace, so try to complete each rep with good form. Pro tip: remember to control your breathing as you perform each rep. Trust us, it helps!

Let’s get to it!

Warm Up

High Knees

Forward Lunges

Butt Kickers

Squats

 

Time: 2 minutes

Repeat: 2x

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Warm Up: 2:30

 

Station #1

Jumping Jacks

# of Reps: 100

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #2

Pull Ups – Find a bar you can hang from without your feet touching the ground. Pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar, then lower yourself back into starting position.

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #3

Sit Ups

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #4

Wall Sits + Bicep Curls

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #5

Supermans – Start face down with your arms and legs extended straight out. Lift your legs and arms while keeping your stomach on the ground and your head looking forward. Make sure your arms and legs form a straight line across your body. Briefly hold, then return to starting position.

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #6

Man Makers – Start in the push up position, with both dumbbells in your hands and on the ground. Pull each dumbbell up, then hop into squat position standing up. Do a deep squat, then press each dumbbell up as you rise during the second half of the squat. Return to starting position and repeat.

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Workout: Will Vary

Recipe: Apple Spice Muffins

Low sugar muffins? Um, yes please!

These apple spice muffins are the dreamiest low sugar desserts you’ll find in a muffin tray.

The secret behind these muffins and their deliciousness? Apples, honey, bananas, pecans, ground cinnamon, almond meal, and flax meal — all healthy ingredients that make these muffins low in calories, sugar, and carbs.

Try baking these for your New Year’s get-together, and let us know if they’re a hit with your friends and family.

Now, on to how to make them!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of flax meal
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of apples, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of pecans, chopped
  • 12 apple slices
  • 12 whole pecans

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flax meal, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, raw honey, and mashed banana. Mix well until no large lumps of banana remain.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until fully combined. Fold in the chopped apples and pecans.
  5. Fill each muffin cup until they’re three-fourths filled. Top with an apple slice and a pecan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and set.
  6. Let the pan cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.

 

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 1

Calories: 145

Fat: 10g

Sodium: 318mg

Carbohydrates: 11g

Fiber: 3g

Protein: 4g

Sugar: 6g

Workout: Crazy For Crunches

Will doing crunches really give you washboard abs?

By themselves, no. But by mixing in a few different exercises, you’ll be on the road to scoring that picture-perfect midsection!

Reminder about crunches: it’s easy to cheat when doing them. Guarantee you get the most out of each set by folding your stomach into your knees, using your core instead of your upper body. This will recruit your abdominal muscles to complete the crunch motion and burn the fat around the tummy!

Time to get to crunching! Here’s what your workout looks like.

Warm Up

Sprint / Jog in Place

Jumping Jacks

Spiderman

Bicycle Crunches

 

Time: 2 minutes

Repeat: 2x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Warm Up: 2:30

 

Station #1

Primary Movement: Crunch + Curl

Secondary Movement: 1 Push-Up + 6 Mountain Climbers

 

Time: 3 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Station: 6:00

 

Station #2

Primary Movement: Crunch + Curl

Secondary Movement: 1 Push-Up + 6 Mountain Climbers

 

Time: 3 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Station: 9:30

 

Freestyle Workouts

Renegade Rows + Push-Ups (dumbbells lifted up from push-up position)

Alternating Jackknife Sit-Ups

Lunges + Lateral Raises (dumbbells lifted out to sides)

Squats + Front Raises (I Raises – dumbbells lifted out in front)

 

Time: 6 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 1 minute

Time at End of Workout: 16:30

3 Cooking Hacks For Healthier Meals

Relax. Healthy cooking is way easier than you think!

No, you don’t have to completely overhaul your existing recipes for something healthier and less delicious. Sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks that make your dishes the healthiest, and you can even preserve all those signature flavors you know and love in the process.

How easy can it be? Here are three simple hacks you can use to health-ify your meals in just one step.

Liquid Stevia Instead of Sugar

Got a sweet tooth, but want to cut down on the sugar? Replace the sugar in your recipes with liquid stevia!

Stevia is a healthier alternative to sugar that is often found in healthy dessert recipes; don’t worry, you’ll still experience that same “rush” of sweetness that you get from sugar, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!

 

Greek Yogurt…Learn to Love It!

Meet your new best friend, Greek yogurt!

Greek yogurt is a creamy delicacy that can replace ice cream in your diet. Just add in some fruits and you’ve got yourself a heck of a late-night snack.

Greek yogurt is also used in place of ingredients like sour cream, so be on the lookout for healthy recipes that use Greek yogurt in creative and delicious new ways.

 

Lettuce for the Win

Craving a juicy burger or a melt-in-your-mouth sandwich? If you’re looking to lower your carb intake, there’s a simple trick you can use to do just that: swap out the bread for lettuce.

Think about it: you preserve all the flavory goodness packed inside the sandwich without killing your diet. Lettuce is a green vegetable, one of the healthiest veggies you can eat, so you won’t feel guilty biting into that lettuce-wrapped lunch sandwich or that dinner burger you’ve been waiting to eat.

Recipe: Cookie Dough Delight

This recipe tastes exactly like cookie dough…minus the guilt…and the sugar…and the tummy aches…

Just replace the dough with some creamy nut butter and mix in nutritious ingredients like liquid stevia, garbanzo beans, and coconut milk, and voila! You have yourself a cookie dough recipe that’s vegan and low in sugar and calories.

Keep this cookie dough nearby — it’ll be impossible to taste it and not go back for more!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz) of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of creamy nut butter (peanut or almond or tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey (or more to taste)
  • 20 drops of liquid stevia (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk, full-fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of Lily’s chocolate chips (stevia-sweetened)

 

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garbanzo beans, nut butter, honey, stevia, flax, vanilla, coconut milk, and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness; if needed, add more honey or stevia.
  2. With a large spoon, mix in the chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately, or chill until you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 1

Calories: 265

Fat: 8g

Sodium: 109mg

Carbohydrates: 36g

Fiber: 9g

Protein: 13g

Sugar: 8g

These 3 Resistance Band Exercises Flat Out Work!

Ditch those janky old weight machines. You don’t need them to get in a great workout!

In fact, all you need are a few bands and yourself. Simple enough, right?

Bodyweight resistance training is a hit in boot camps nationwide. Rather than mess around with overcomplicated machines, people want something straightforward and effective. It’s why more and more people are switching from big box gyms to boot camp programs.

So where do you start? Here are a few bodyweight resistance exercises to try the next time you work out.

Resistance Band Shuffles

First, get a resistance band that wraps around the outside of your legs. Make sure it stretches enough to allow for side-to-side movement.

Shuffle to the side, leading with your outer foot first and then following behind with your second foot. Keep your hands together in front of you. Add in squats for some extra lower body work.

 

45º Suspension Squats

For this one, you’ll want to get some suspension straps with hand grips. Anchor them to a bar or hook above your head. Grab the grips and lean back so that you’re at a 45º angle. Then, perform squats, extending your arms as you descend to the ground.

 

Resistance Band Curls

Get some resistance bands with hand grips. Stand on the middle of the band, grabbing one hand grip in each hand. Perform curls. When pulling, make sure your band isn’t too loose or too tight!

5 “Healthy Food Myths” Blocking Your Weight Loss Goals

Let’s say it’s Sunday afternoon. You’re walking through the grocery store looking for some healthy meals and snacks you can prepare for the week.

You’ve decided to get serious about making a lifestyle change, and work hard for the body of your dreams!

You walk down the aisles, shopping list in hand, ready to make those good choices.

You keep in mind all the “healthy food” advertisements you’ve seen popping up on the internet lately and promptly fill up your cart.

The grip on your 6 shopping bags is as strong as ever as you make the super human one-trip-trek from the car to the kitchen.

Then you realize, you didn’t actually look at the the nutrition labels before you bought the food.

You start reading through each of your items and you’re practically speechless at the amount of sugar and fat that’s actually in these supposed “healthy” foods!

You’re not alone in this situation, advertising has a funny way of making not-so-healthy foods appear to have all the right nutrients your body needs.

Warning: These foods may be a shock! But if you’re truly serious about getting in shape, you should definitely continue reading!

Granola

The crunchy, sweet grains that add that extra something to your morning yogurt might actually be adding a little extra something to your body, if you catch our drift.

Granola is perceived to be a healthy, protein packed snack. In reality, in order for it to have that sweet taste we love, a lot of sugar, oil, and butter is thrown into the mix.

If you read the nutrition labels on granola, some of them reveal a staggering number of calories.

For example, in 1/2 cup of Nature Valley Oats N’ Honey Granola, you’re eating 210 calories and 12 grams of sugar! The nutritionist recommended amount of sugar intake a day should only be 25 grams – so you’ve already eaten half of your sugar intake for the day in just that 1/2 cup!

For all you granola lovers out there, you can still enjoy these crunchy clusters. Try researching some brands that offer organic grains, and use coconut oil or olive oil in their ingredients as a healthier option.

Flavored Yogurt

We’ve got another big liar in the house!

Flavored, pre-packaged yogurts are crowned with the title of an easy, on-the-go breakfast or snack. Often paired with our old friend granola.

Don’t be fooled! Just because the label says “contains real fruit”, doesn’t mean it’s your healthiest option.

Many of the yogurts that contain fruit is pureed, or has been sitting in some kind of syrup. This means most of its nutrients have been stripped and have little nutritional value. Say hello to sugar overdose!

So what should you do? Start buying plain, Greek yogurt. You’ll get much more protein, calcium, and vitamin D than you would in flavored yogurts. Plus, you can add your own whole fruits to the mix without the guilt!

Smoothies/Juices

healthy strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry smoothies in glasses with colored straws

If you’re one of those people who enjoys making a smoothie or juice every morning before work or after a workout, you may want to reconsider.

We get it, your intentions are completely pure.You’ve been led to believe that smoothies and juices are just fruits and vegetables, and therefore good for you, right?

While they’re not totally bad for you, they’re not totally great either. When you blend up your fruits, you’re stripping away the fiber and important antioxidants within it. This causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike.

Additionally, fruit has its own natural sugar that, when eaten in moderation, is good for you. But if you’re making a juice or smoothie a few times a day, that’s a lot of sugar you’re consuming!

When you drink your calories, you get a short term fullness that doesn’t last too long. This may cause you to eat more than what you need. If you eat an apple, you feel significantly more satisfied than just drinking a glass of apple juice.

Health professionals argue that fruits and vegetables in their natural state are the best way to get the nutrients you need to keep your body functioning at its best!

Now, this isn’t to say you should never gulp down a smoothie or green juice again. Drinking your fruits and veggies is by far a better option than picking up a soda or store bought juice.

Just keep in mind that in addition to those juices, make sure you’re still getting in your fiber and protein to make up for any lost nutrients in the juice.

Whole Wheat Bread

“No! It can’t be! It’s whole wheat! How could it be bad for me?!”

Did we correctly read your mind?

We know how amazing bread is – you can stick practically anything you want between two slices and suddenly it becomes a delicious, filling meal.

The problem is when you’re taking in the wrong kind of bread. Despite what you may think, carbs aren’t always the enemy. In fact, we need them to give us energy and promote a healthy digestive system.

The “whole wheat” bread you find in the store isn’t telling you the whole truth. Unless you see “100% whole wheat” on the label, chances are you’re getting white bread with a tan.

What some manufacturers do is mix in some wheat flour into the mix, and then label it as whole wheat bread.

Sneaky!

Another mark of a truly healthy bread is if you see that each slice contains at least 2 grams of fiber.

Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

It’s peanut butter facts time!

Peanuts on their own are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

When you opt for peanut butter brands that say “reduced fat”, you’re not really getting a fair trade off of nutrients.

They actually have the same number of calories, but with added sugar to make up for the lack of fat.

Our advice? Stick with a natural peanut butter that has all that wonderful fat in it. Remember, not all fats are bad fats!

 

It’s easy to believe what you see in advertisements – after all, they’re supposed to be truthful in their claims right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you’re ever at a loss for what you should put into your body, just remember that foods in their most natural form are usually the healthiest options!

Workout: Bodyweight Business

Get down with some bodyweight business!

Today’s workout is made up of all bodyweight leg exercises. No dumbbells. No confusing machines. You just need yourself to get started!

This is another freestyle time trial! Use your phone or a stopwatch to record how fast you can get through this workout. Rather than compete with others, try to best your own time and focus on your own progress!

What kind of bodyweight exercises do you enjoy doing? Let us know in the comments below!

Warm Up

March in Place

Jog in Place

Jumping Jacks

Crunches

 

Time: 2 minutes

Repeat: 2x

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Warm Up: 2:30

 

Station #1

Prisoner Squats – Squat with your hands behind your head. Make sure you move your head straight up and down!

 

# of Reps: 50

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #2

Reverse Lunges + Knee Ups – Do a reverse lunge, then immediately drive your knee forward. Transition between the lunge and the knee pump without returning to the starting position.

 

# of Reps: 40 (20 Per Side)

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #3

Squats -> Side Lunges – Start of with a squat: as you dip, move your head straight up and down and push your backside straight out. Then, perform a side lunge keep your arms on your hips, then extend your leg out to the side, leaning into that side as you lunge.

 

# of Reps: 30 (15 Per Side)

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #4

Burpee Push Ups – Start standing up. Immediately jump down into push-up position, then perform a push up. As you finish the push up, jump in to gather your legs, then jump up and reach as high as you can. Land in the starting position and repeat.

 

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #5

Tuck Jumps – Start standing up. Jump straight into the air, tucking your knees in as you reach the height of your jump. Land in the starting position and repeat.

 

# of Reps: 10

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Workout: Will Vary