What is HIIT Training?

Simply put, HIIT training is where it's at and has been sweeping the fitness world by storm. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is just that. It's intervals of high intensity and/or explosive movements which essentially bring the heart rate up and down quickly. Perhaps you've heard of Tabata? Tabata is a killer format of HIIT training and each circuit is only 4 MINUTES long! It is comprised of 20 seconds of maximum exertion or effort in movement to 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 repetitions or rounds. Sounds pretty simple, huh? In theory, yes, though in reality when your heart is pumping out of your chest, not so much. Give it a shot! Pick 4 total body exercises and Tabata-ize them. Some example exercises include burpees, squat to overhead shoulder press with dumbbells, jump rope, push-ups or even hopping on the old elliptical, cranking up the resistance a bit and giving it all you've got. You'll find yourself winded and probably quite proud of your effort in the end. Research shows that in some cases HIIT leads to better cardiovascular improvements and higher caloric expenditure in less time than steady state training such as running distance.). In summary, incorporating HIIT with appropriate intensity and frequency, into your cardiovascular training or regime gives you a time-efficient way to reach your goals. So go get your Tabata on!



Will You Gain or Maintain this Season Quiz and Eggplant Dip Recipe

Will you gain or maintain this season?

Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to overstress, overeat, and under nourish ourselves. To see how you'll fare with the many holiday temptations, check out my quiz below.

1. It's the most wonderful time of year...
a. to spend with family b. to eat dessert
2. Modifying your holiday recipes to make them healthier would elicit...
a. praise b. mutiny
3. Exercise is...
a. part or your routine b. something I'll start on January 2nd
4. If you eat a slice of pumpkin pie during dessert, the sugar cookies on the table are...
a. safe b. already in my belly
5. A setback on the scale causes you to...
a. have fruit for dessert tonight b. help youself to an endless glass of eggnog

Mostly a's

You've got this! Aim to maintain your weight this season whether you've just started losing or have succeeded for a while. Choose to allow one daily treat per day while eating nutritionally dense foods and continue to maintain your weekly exercise plan as you navigate around holiday events. Our tip: allow yourself to loosen the reins a bit to prevent feeling discouraged by missed goals.

Mostly b's

All year, you look forward to pumpkin pie, yule log, and rugelach. It's OK to take a break and let your guard down a bit. Guilt is one of the biggest triggers for emotional eating so accept and plan for a small weight gain and then enjoy your favorites without the need to beat yourself up afterward. Our tip: have a salad or broth based soup prior to holiday gatherings and take a vegetable based appetizer such as this delicious Eggplant Dip add to the cheer.

Healthy Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip


Roasted Garlic:
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic

3 eggplant, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1/4 cup grated onion (use a box grater on the largest side)
1/2 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


For the roasted garlic: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a ramekin, add the olive oil and garlic. Roast until the oil begins to bubble and the garlic becomes a very light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a large bowl and put half of the oil in a large pan. Reserve the rest of the oil in the ramekin for garnishing.

For the dip: In the large pan with the garlic-infused oil, add the eggplant, onion and paprika; you may have to do this in batches. Turn to medium-high heat and cook, tossing, until all sides of the eggplant are lightly golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer everything in the pan, bits and all, to the large bowl with the awaiting garlic.

Chop the contents of the bowl until broken down but still a bit chunky. Add the parsley, yogurt and lemon zest and juice to the bowl. Stir to combine, taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with fresh veggies and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson



Carbohydrates - The Real Deal

Everyone is so freaked out by the word "carbs" these days. What most don't realize is that basically anything that isn't a protein or a fat IS in fact a carbohydrate, including vegetables. 

Granted, there are both simple and complex carbohydrates out there so how do we know which ones are the good guys? 

It's actually pretty "simple". Simple carbohydrates are sugars. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested. As a result we get that little "burst" and feeling of immediate satisfaction, however they also leave our bloodstream as quickly enter leaving us sluggish and craving more to get that rush back. 

Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:

Table sugar
Brown sugar
Corn syrup
Maple syrup
Jams, jellies
Fruit drinks
Soft drinks

Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals. And these guys stick around for the long haul giving more sustainable energy for longer periods of time! (I.e., "the good guys")

These whole plant foods are great sources of complex carbohydrates:

Green vegetables
Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
Beans, lentils, and peas

My Top 4 Starchy Carbohydrates that I eat regularly but in moderation:

Just about any type of bean provides more than 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per half cup serving. Some studies have found that bean eaters weighed less but ate more than people who avoided beans. To aid digestion, rinse your beans in water prior to cooking.

Squash are a great source of low-sugar, high-fiber carbs. One cup of cooked butternut squash contains only 80 calories and 7 grams of fiber. Crave sugar? Eating sweet vegetable based carbs such as squash will help to curb cravings and overeating due to the natural sugar and high fiber content.

POTATOES (Sweet and Purple)
Sweet and Purple potatoes with the skin on are great sources of fiber-rich carbs, powerful antioxidants called carotenoids, vitamin C, protein and potassium. Like squash, eating colorful potatoes will help to curb sugar cravings.

Not only does one cup contain 5 grams of fiber, but quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food.

Remember, that ALL carbs metabolize and assimilate into glucose which is energy and ultimately sugar so choosing items lower on the glycemic index scale and keeping portions in control are key!

Bon Appetit!



Move and Eat for Life


Move and Eat for Life

2 Steps to Optimal Health

Well here we are, facing the end of Summer 2015. The sunny days are getting shorter, the kids are back in school and we are finding ourselves settling back into our normal day-to-day routines. For most of us, this time of year is a catalyst to get back to our exercise regimes and a more balanced and healthful diet. Especially after the 47 bbq's that we've attended over the past few months....