Workout Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

21 Day FixExtreme

It only takes 21 days to create a habit.  By now many of you are well familiar with Autumn’s first life changing program, 21 Day Fix.  The 21 Day Fix fitness program has been sweeping the nation helping everyday people get back on the horse through cleaning up their nutrition and exercise habits.  But for those of you that maybe are in the been there done that stage, or perhaps are wanting something a bit more challenging, a bit more extreme, Autumn released the second training series based on 21 Day Fix called 21 Day Fix Extreme.  And it’s no joke.

The title says it all.  This, my friends, is not for the faint of heart.  If you found yourself in a pool of sweat during the original 21 Day Fix prepare yourself as this program will have you literally sweating buckets and blasting through plateau’s.  Much like 21 Day Fix, Extreme features the best of cardio, resistance training, and those feel good classes like pilates and yoga for a full body transformation. The eating plan is similar to  21 Day Fix with the containers however it’s even more strict cutting out loving elements like your wine and guilty pleasure of dessert.

What are my thoughts?  I LOVED it.  In fact after completing the program two years ago I still incorporate at least one of her workouts like the lower body workouts, cardio fix extreme, pilates etc within my weekly routine. I really like how she diversified the timing for each exercise.  Before she primarily used the one minute interval approach, which that’s fine but i get bored easily and need changing interval times, exercises etc to keep me engaged.  21 Day Fix Extreme included that.  She mixed things up with one minute intervals, 30 second intervals etc.  Bottom line, if you have been working out on a somewhat regular basis for >6 months this is an excellent workout for shaping up for that wedding, bikini season, or a random trip to the islands.

Let’s take a deeper look into the workouts and nutrition, shall we?

# of workouts included: 6 main workouts, 3 additional workouts

Cardio workouts:

  • Plyo Fix Extreme – jumping, jumping, and more jumping…. oh but with weights, like 10lb weights!
  • Cardio Fix Extreme – cardio intervals mixed with strength intervals
  • the Fix Challenge – no equipment, 13 moves in a pyramid style routine
  • ABC Extreme – Abs, Butt and cardio to finish you off

Resistance Routines:

  • Lower Body Fix Extreme – Every muscle in your lower half will feel it 5 minutes in, sooo good.
  • Upper Body Fix Extreme
  • Dirty 30 Extreme – upper, lower and abs
  • Power Strength Extreme

Flexibility and Core: 

  • Pilates Fix Extreme –  pilates on steroids with bands
  • Yoga Fix Extreme – dynamic yoga flow
  • 10 Min hardCORE abs

I’m not going to go into crazy details on the nutrition plan. Fact of the matter is, I love the containers. I use them daily to transport things to and from work or anytime i need a quick measurement on something but I do not live and die by this plan. If you do not eat the cleanest or are trying to diversify your eating habits then I do recommend you give the nutrition program a chance as it can really help you understand the fundamentals of what you are eating and why and it takes the guesswork out of prepping meals for the week.

Want more insight into the program itself or the nutrition?  There are a lot of great reviews out on the web.  Here are a few of my favorites I recommend checking out:

21 Day Fix Extreme – A Review From a P90X Junkie and Marathoner

How do I get ripped?

The Dysfunctional Parrot – Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

So did you try this program?  If so what are your thoughts and would you recommend it to a friend?

 

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Diet Trends – Fat Free/Low Fat Craze

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I wanted to take some time to do a series of blog posts on various diets out there.  I know when faced with the goal of losing weight or getting healthy that there is so much information out there it is to our detriment. I also know that there are many “quick fix” diet plans and crazy low carb, no carb, high fat, low fat, high protein variations. With all these choices it is bound to drive a person crazy….  and fact of the matter is what is right for you might not be right for someone else.  So I’ll take you through some of the biggest fads and leave you to decide but ultimately a well rounded diet based on whole foods and exercise will always ensure long term success.

Fear of heart disease, high cholesterol, and an increasing waistline spurred this diet fad to emerge in the late 70’s. Can you guess what it is?  Yup, the reduced fat phase.  At this time in history all we knew was that some preliminary studies showed that egg yolks, red meats and other fats had shown an increase in heart related issues which was enough to declare a war against fat and in turn pro carbs (sigh).

The introduction to this diet spurred the food industry to start making tons of changes to remove whatever fat they could from their products and you started seeing Reduced fat cheese, low-fat cookies, fat-free butter… the list goes on.  However, one problem with this diet is that by stripping out fat from our diets we added in a bunch of sugars and chemicals to mimic that “fat” component.  High carb low-fat was for sure the way to go! Then of course in the 90’s the trend diet took full hold of America and we were avoiding fat at all cost.  Peanut butter, nuts, avocado’s, cheese and full fat yogurt and milk got the boot as did all those cooking oils.

Simply put, this diet is extremely flawed.  Unless you have super high cholesterol or another specific health reason to have to restrict fats from your diet this fad can actually do your body more harm than good.  Bodies need fat, it is essential to body energy, cell growth, your immune system, and reproductive systems.  Fat is not the devil! Without it our immune systems weaken, vitamin deficiencies can occur and because of the added chemicals in fat-free foods you can actually increase your risk of cancer!  Fat helps keep us feeling full throughout the day and squashes sugar cravings.

But all that said, eating the RIGHT type of fat is what is essential.  Yes fat can still be bad if by “fat” your brain automatically goes to pictures of fried food or rich desserts.  Those fats are still bad and yes they will always be bad… But fats occurring in natural, whole foods will not.  Those are the one’s you want to surround yourself around within your diet: avocado’s, cheese, egg yolks, nuts, coconut and olive oil.

Why do you think the Mediterranean diet is such a huge success all through the decades?  It’s based on a high fat diet but with the right fats and on that diet people are maintaining their healthy lifestyle, losing weight, protecting their hearts and are not walking around sugar-crazed and starving all day!

So to help you make the most of your healthy habits including exercise try incorporating a fat of some sort in every meal.  Eating a balanced diet (fat, carb, protein) diet is always essential to success but definitely don’t give fat the cold shoulder.

On a personal note, I have avoided fat for years.  I remember in my teens (90’s) jumping on that fat-free bandwagon and for years I stuck to my butter sprays, fat free rubber cheese, diet breads, and faux spreads/dressings.  But now I’m in my 30’s I have issues with my immune system, I’m always freezing and my reproductive health isn’t in A+ status. So my mission has been to add fats back into my diet in moderation from the right sources.  I have already noticed by adding in fats that I feel more full, i’m started to not feel as cold and I just seem to be in a better state of mind.

Here’s an example daily food log of mine:

Breakfast –  1/2 cup 2-4% cottage cheese with berries, 1 piece of sprouted bread with 1 tbsp chia flax peanut butter (I’m obsessed)

Snack – apple with 1/2 tbsp peanut butter

Lunch – Kale salad with chicken or tuna, red peppers, tomatoes, croutons, parmesan cheese, and 1/4 avocado with Champaign vinaigrette dressing

Snack – popcorn (Skinny Pop) and almond mix

Dinner – Salmon or chicken breast, lentils, and kale sautéed in coconut oil with mushrooms, lemon juice and red pepper

Dessert – Halo top ice cream (1 cup) with a rice cake smeared with 1 tsp peanut butter

Total calories: About 1800

Total Fat: 60 grams

Total Protein: 100-120 grams

What is your take on fat?  Do you incorporate enough fat in your diet or find success another way?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

4 Healthy Junk Food Ideas

woman eating junk foodMore often than not, I crave some deliciously bad-for-you goodness. I have learned that little slip-ups add up more quickly than I can burn them off. An extra 100 calories is about 15 minutes on the treadmill for me, and with most yummy junk food, that means only a bite or two! Fear not, I have compiled a list of better-for-you goodies!

Here’s a list of four tasty treats that have healthful silver linings:

1) Cheez Whiz (nope, not kidding)

This go-to steak topper is full of Natural Trans Fats (aka Cancer-fighting CLA’s). After related research findings were released, “Kraft Foods must have had a field day pointing out that this pasteurized spread was no junk food, but a more concentrated source of a… cancer-fighting compound than any of the [other] cheeses analyzed.” Fat can be soooo good! (Just don’t forget that little note about moderation…at 90 calories and 7 grams of that good-fat per dollop, the cons can quickly outweigh the pros here.)

2) Evol Frozen Foods 

We love these Evol options at my gluten-free house! The free-range, hormone-free chicken, humanely raised beef, house-made salsa and organic beans only boost our love of Evol (which happens to be love spelled backwards). Evol’s website is chock full of information about their products and ingredient sources.

3) Quinn Popcorn

Most people think microwave popcorn is a healthy choice for snacking, but many don’t know about the hazardous chemical coatings inside the bags. Quinn has no need for such chemical coatings, and their delectable Parmesan & Rosemary and Hickory Smoked Cheddar flavors amp up your snack time. Nutritional Info for each flavor can be found on their website.

4) Home-made Spinach Dip

If you use reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, you save 84 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving!!

Lightly sauté:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed

Mix above ingredients with:

  • 1 5-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/trans-fat-vindicated

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/slideshow/3272709/297376/?icid=hp_home_gallery

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/creamy_spinach_dip.html

Contributing Writer, HoneyCrunched Kate Milde

Uncoding Nutrition Labels

nutrition label You have seen them before.  You know those big rectangles on packaging with a bunch of words and numbers. How many of you, however know what they mean?

The labeling on the packages is filled with items that are in the food you are about to consume.  I wanted to use the next series of posts to dig a bit deeper into what all that mumbo jumbo really does mean.  These labels have been ignored and misunderstood by consumers for years yet they are one of the most important clues in keeping a healthy life and weight.

Other than the health claims that you see on the front of a package nothing is really required to be listed, unless trans fat is present.  A lot of companies choose to display some back of the package labeling and also show daily values (dv).  The Daily values tell you the percent of food the contributes to your diet for the day, bearing in mind that these are generic percents based off of a 2,000 calories daily allotment.  At the moment there are no DV‘s established for sugar or protein intake as suggested consumption.  As we dive further over the next few weeks we’ll uncover lots of useful information to help you make a more informed choice next time you are grocery shopping.  We’ll uncode even further those “reduces cholesterol” or “high fiber” claims we see all over the place.  Do they really fulfill all that they claim?

However, the biggest misunderstood item listed on a label, hands down, is serving size.  Do you look when your hands in a bag of doritos how many one 140 calorie serving us? It is literally like 7!  What you say? 7 stinking chips for 140 calories? One, who eats just 7 doritos? Two, I could have had string cheese and approximately 20 special k crackers or 20 cheese pizza goldfish for 140.  Makes you rethink what you are putting in your mouth and what type of satisfaction your getting out of it.   See where I am going with this?

Not all of our issues as a nation lie in no exercise or bad foods some of the real issues lie in serving size.  Before you prepare your next meal check the back of the label. What did you learn about serving sizes? We’re you as surprised as I was about doritos?  Next up… calories and fat and what they really mean on labeling and for your health.

 

Winter Squash Recipes: Spaghetti Squash

This year  have found a new obsession with winter squashes: butternut, spaghetti, acorn… you name it I’ll eat it.   I wanted to create a series of posts for you to enjoy with alternative options/recipes using winter squashes that you may have not tried or even known about before.  This post is dedicated to the first squash of the three: Spaghetti.

Thanks to a recommendation of a coworker, I have unlocked the secret to healthy pasta dishes without having to chomp down on stinky, literally squeaky alternatives like shirtaki noodles.  The answer my friends is spaghetti squash!  Have you ever seen one?  Do you even know where to find one?  Took me a bit of investigating and i did find that not all grocery stores had these so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find one either.  I have found them at Jewel and a local grocery store but have not been as lucky at larger chains like Target, Walmart, or even Whole Foods.  They are bright yellow (similar to yellow zucchini squash in color) but shaped round like a pumpkin.  I get them at my local Jewel in which they are placed by the other squashes in a unchilled area of the produce section next to the potatoes and onions.

Once purchased spaghetti squash is really easy to cook.  For those with less patience for cooking like myself, the squash can be microwaved!  For prep you just need to be sure to poke holes into its sides exactly like you would when cooking a potato. Pop the squash in the microwave on a paper plate for 8-10 minutes and voila it’s done!  if you have time or prefer to cook it in the oven it will take you approximately 45 minutes and the directions for prep are much different (see the squash’s label for details).  Now that you’ve fully cooked your squash you are ready to shred the insides and dress it up!

alt= "spaghetti squash HoneyCrunched recipe"

Spaghetti Squash freshly shredded

Below is just one of the many recipes you can make with spaghetti squash:

Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash:

1. Cook squash in microwave/oven until tender

2. Cut in half and scoop out all of the seeds

3. Take a fork and scrape the insides of the squash until you reach the rind

4.  Mix in 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pesto dry seasoning

5. Mix in chicken sausage or grilled chicken, chickpeas, parmesan cheese, spinach, red peppers and anything else to dress it up (in this recipe i added leftover ingredients from my fridge: chickpeas, mushrooms, and black olives)

6. Season with salt, pepper, garlic to taste and that’s it!

True it is a little more crunchy in texture than pasta, but you can’t expect it to be a perfect match since it’s not actual pasta anyways.  Plus it’s a vegetable so it’s packed with nutrients!

alt = "pesto chicken spaghetti squash recipe"

All About Oil: Cooking, Eating, Baking

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cooking oil’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have all heard the health advocates toggle back and forth between which is the healthiest oil, which oil is full of trans fat…blah, blah, blah. However let’s be frank, do you know the difference between canola, vegetable, and coconut oil? How about olive oil and its “fantastic” health benefits? Are all olive oils equal? What about the coconut oil craze? Should I jump in it too? Relax.  Take a deep breath, we’re in this confusing puzzle together. Luckily, I came across an informative article from FitSugar with a solid breakdown of the oils for better or worse.  Perhaps after reading this a few of those missing puzzle pieces will fall into place giving you a clearer picture of which to use next time you’re making a stir fry or chocolate cake.

All About Oil: Choosing the Healthiest Cooking Option – http://pulse.me/s/iXbgc

Which type of oil do you prefer? Anything you’d change after reading this? Let us know!

Hunger and Food Memory – Are They Related?

Thanks to a friend I stumbled upon a recent food memory article published on NPR’s blog called “The Salt”.   Reading the article further affirmed my believe in people having a food memory hours after they’ve eaten.  Let me explain:  in the article a group of testers were separated into two groups.  Each group was shown an image of a bowl or cup of tomato soup.  Later they were sent to a cubicle where they were then given either the bowl or cup of soup to consume (the difference being 200 ml).  They were told to eat until a special marked line in the soup so neither group really knew how much they consumed.  Initially the group that ate more was fuller.  However a few hours later when both groups should have been hungry it was the group that saw a picture of the larger bowl of soup that felt fuller. Thus memory of how large food dishes are can retain in our minds to further help us out later.

What’s useful about the potential to use this information to help control the # of calories eaten in a day.  What do you think?  Do you believe in food memory? Test it out next time lunchtime comes around.  See if you can trick your mind..

Here’s the full article:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/06/166593912/hours-after-a-meal-its-the-memory-that-matters?utm_source=NPR&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=20121206