Real Mom Nutrition

Real Mom Nutrition

Real moms in Alexandria, VA, aren’t always appreciated. Being a real mom isn’t easy sometimes. They don’t have perfect children who love every nutrient-dense meal they create. Getting kids to eat food that boosts nutrition isn’t always easy, but that’s when real moms are at their best. They sneak healthy food into their child’s diet and avoid having junk food on hand. Nobody knows how to trick their kids into eating healthier than moms.

Don’t let the kids know the food is healthy.

A friend has a scale when they try new healthy food. The best rating is “Yummy. I’ll make it again.” Then comes the rating, “Okay,” followed by the lower rating, “Edible.” The lowest possible score is, “Ewww, this tastes healthy..” Too often food that doesn’t taste good is pushed on kids with the accompanying phrase, “It’s healthy” or “It’s good for you.” Instead, serve the food to adults at the table and give the kids something different. Tell them the food is for adults. That makes the food more attractive, and most want to try it. Let them if they ask. Adult food is far more appealing than “healthy” food.

Make food fun.

Create vegetable animal displays. Add to the fun by announcing you’re eating the nose or the ears. Create fun dishes like ants on a log. It’s celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins in a row. A dinner where you make your own taco or burrito night is always fun. Include healthy options like both traditional, like tomatoes and lettuce, and less traditional options, like avocado chunks instead of guacamole or sweet potato hash instead of refried beans. Use Greek yogurt as a topping instead of sour cream.

Create yummy recipes with added vegetables.

Add extra vegetables to scrambled eggs or make muffins stuffed with vegetables and cheese. Make sure what the children drink is also healthy. Bann sugary drinks from your home. There’s no reason to have soft drinks in the house. Skip the Kool-Aid and fruit juice, too. They’re all loaded with sugar. Instead, have bottled water available. You can make infused water, too. Let the kids pick the infused water flavor. Switch out commercial Popsicles for homemade ones made with fruit and coconut water. If you want a creamy variety, add yogurt.

  • Let the kids help make the food. Food always tastes better when you make it yourself, especially when you’re young. Give them age-appropriate jobs.
  • Cook food differently. Instead of frying food, air fry it, boil it, broil it, or bake it. Improve the nutritional profile of favorite foods by making substitutions. Instead of regular fries, opt for sweet potato fries.
  • Control the ingredients in your snacks. Make your trail mix instead of buying it. Add nuts, dried fruit, popcorn, and maybe dark chocolate chips. Divide it into individual servings and put it in plastic bags.
  • Show children how to eat healthy by teaching them to make their plate a rainbow of color when choosing vegetables. Each color provides different benefits for the body.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Staying Healthy This Summer

Staying Healthy This Summer

Summer is the time for family fun in the sun. But with that fun comes a few extra steps for staying healthy in the summer. Some ways to stay healthy, like exercising, should be done throughout the year. Others, such as hydrating, are more important in the summer. Your body is mostly water. It protects organs, keeps your body functioning properly by regulating temperature, helps eliminate waste, lubricates joints, and performs many other vital functions.

Protect your skin with sunscreen.

Sunscreen is important all year, but especially in the summer. Most women have it in their make-up, which is exposed the most in the winter. In the summer, clothing is cooler and there’s less of it so more of the body is exposed. If you go to the beach, apply sunscreen liberally and follow the manufacturer’s directions. We get vitamin D from the sun, so if you want to boost vitamin D intake, follow safe sunning practices. Expose your skin to the sun without sunblock three times a week for a few minutes midday, then put on sunscreen. Increase that time as your skin tans to up to 15 minutes a day. The fairer your skin, the less time you should spend.

Stick with your sleep schedule.

In the summer, the days are longer. It’s easy to stay up later and get up earlier. That can cause a problem with your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm. Lack of sleep can cause heart issues. It causes your body to create more hunger hormones and less satiety hormones. You’ll be hungrier and more likely to gain weight. If the light interferes with your sleep schedule, buy blackout shades to darken the room.

Don’t be a weekend exercise warrior.

Summer seems to be the time for sprains and strains. Some people are sedentary all week and get active on the weekend. They don’t prepare their body for the punishment the sudden activity brings. Get in shape and exercise regularly. Spend at least a half hour to 45 minutes five times a week to prepare your body for summer fun. You’ll have a lot more fun and have fewer accidents when you do. If you exercise outside, carry water with you and stay hydrated. Take breaks and get out of the sun if you feel too hot. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • If you’re venturing into nature beyond the beaten path or driving in an area without cell phone access, have a two-way satellite communicator. Always have your cell phone and let someone track it.
  • When your fun in the sun is near water, even if it’s a pool, assign swimming partners and closely supervise children. When you’re boating, also make sure there are adequate life vests.
  • Keep your beverages non-alcoholic if you’re in the sun or driving any vehicle, including a boat. Alcohol dehydrates you and when combined with heat, it can occur pretty fast. If you decide to imbibe anyway, alternate between water and alcohol.
  • Add healthier options to your menu for summer cookouts. Grill veggies for side dishes and chicken and portabellas instead of hot dogs. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid food that spoils if not refrigerated.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Drop The Fries And Move Those Thighs

Drop The Fries And Move Those Thighs

If you ask what body part people want to change, the answer is often the thighs. It’s one place where fat seems to accumulate, but there are others. How do you get rid of those extra pounds? You have to move more and eat healthier. A regular exercise program and healthy eating is the best place to start. Just cutting out junk food and replacing it with whole foods can help with the unwanted weight. Toning muscles and burning calories with exercise completes the dynamic duo that transforms your body.

Exercise does more than burn calories.

Most people realize that exercise tones muscles and increases the calories the body burns. They might not realize that more muscle tissue means a higher metabolism. Muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. The more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7, including when you sleep. Those toned muscles make you look thinner even if you don’t lose a pound.

You don’t have to follow a strict diet to shed extra pounds.

You only have to eat smarter. Choosing whole foods instead of processed food or food with added sugar is a good starting point. No matter how much you exercise, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You’d have to run uphill between a half hour and an hour to burn the number of calories in a McDonald’s large fries. The calories burned depend on your weight and speed. That would maintain your weight, not cause you to lose it. Increasing your intake of non-starchy vegetables, fruit, and healthy protein and cutting out junk food can make a huge difference.

Get even more bang for your effort by increasing daily activity.

How often have you taken the car to a destination within walking distance? If you’re like most people, it happens frequently. Have you ever circled a parking lot several times in hopes of finding the closest parking space? Maybe you’ve waited in front of an elevator for several minutes instead of taking the stairs. Those are all opportunities to move more throughout your day. Take advantage of them, and you’ll get the fastest results.

  • You may love fries, candy, donuts, and other junk food with empty calories. That makes it hard to quit. It takes a few weeks to lose sugar and fat cravings, but once you do, you’ll realize just how delicious real food is.
  • You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. Having healthy snacks and meals is all that’s necessary. Eating smarter doesn’t mean you can never have a treat. Just don’t do it often and keep portion control in mind.
  • Drinking more water can help you lose weight and keep your body healthier. Replace any soft drink in your diet with water, and you’ll save 100 calories immediately. Drink water before a meal, and you’ll eat less.
  • When you make healthy eating and exercise part of your lifestyle, you’ll never have to diet again. It’s hard to eat too many calories. Whole foods have fiber, healthy fat, and protein that keep you full longer.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Eat Right, Live Strong

Eat Right, Live Strong

The goal of Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, is to help you live strong. That takes a program of regular exercise. It also requires adequate hydration, quality sleep, and learning to eat right. We can help you master two with an exercise program that transforms your body and nutrition coaching that speeds the process. Eating right means giving your body the macro and micronutrients it needs to feel and be your best.

Eat more healthy options and avoid unhealthy ones.

When you eat unhealthy food, like food high in added sugar or fat, it triggers the release of dopamine and opioids in the brain. These feel-good hormones have the addictive nature of opioids. The more sugar and fat you eat, the more you want. Like any addiction, it takes an increasing amount to trigger the pleasure hormones. Food with added sugar causes weight gain and affects your heart and kidneys. It damages collagen and causes wrinkles. If the food has high fructose corn syrup, a highly processed sweetener, it affects your ghrelin—hunger hormone—and leptin—your satiety hormone. It creates an empty pit of hunger you can never fill.

Choosing highly processed foods introduces chemicals and unnaturally high sodium levels into the body.

If you read food labels, you’ll notice highly processed food often has ingredients that sound like a chemistry experiment. If you can’t pronounce the additives, don’t eat the food. Not all processing is unhealthy. Washing produce makes it processed. The food that doesn’t resemble anything found in nature causes problems. Consider Cheetos, one of my guilty pleasures. There’s nothing natural about them. They’re high in fat and sodium. They contain maltodextrin. The FDA doesn’t require the manufacturer to label it sugar, yet the glycemic index is twice as high as table sugar even though the label shows zero grams of sugar. It’s no wonder it’s hard to stop eating them.

Stay focused on eating more whole foods.

Fill your plate with a colorful salad, baked salmon, fresh steamed broccoli, and a potato mash made with steamed carrots, cauliflowers, and potatoes. It’s delicious and far healthier than eating a burger and fries. This meal is a rainbow of colors from vegetables. Phytonutrients in vegetables give them their color, so the more colors you include, the wider the variety of nutrients. Choosing meals like this can help you get fit faster.

  • Including high-fiber food in your diet helps keep blood glucose levels even. It feeds the beneficial microbes in your digestive system to keep you healthier and helps keep you regular.
  • Live strong by hydrating regularly. Drinking water frequently helps. Avoid soft drinks. Studies show a link between diet soft drinks and belly fat. If you don’t like plain water, try infused water.
  • Include all types of exercise in your workout. Your body needs flexibility, strength, cardio, and balance training. Flexibility training and balance training are often overlooked but can prevent injury.
  • Exercising regularly also plays a vital role in another healthy lifestyle change. It helps you sleep better. Adequate sleep is necessary for heart health. When you sleep, your brain reorganizes information, and your body heals injuries.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Benefits Of A High Protein Diet

Benefits Of A High Protein Diet

Some people reap huge benefits when they switch to a high protein diet. It’s especially true if the protein is replacing simple carbs like sugar. The average American often has enough protein to sustain them but might do better by increasing protein. A high protein diet is based on the calories from each macronutrient. Traditional diets get 50% of calories from carbs, 20% from protein, and 30% from fat. Increasing the calories from protein to more than 25% is considered high protein.

High protein diets fill you and help you lose weight.

Protein is one of the most filling macronutrients. It takes longer to digest, so you feel full longer. It also increases your metabolism for a while because of the calories used to digest it. Protein also reduces the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and increases hormones that make you feel full One study showed that when protein intake was doubled, from 15% to 30%, obese women being studied at almost 450 fewer calories. Protein also helps increase muscle mass. Muscle mass requires more calories to maintain. The more muscle mass you have, the easier it is to lose weight.

Contrary to popular belief, eating more protein is good for the bones and digestion.

Studies show that people who eat more protein have a reduced risk of osteoporosis. While earlier beliefs stressed the danger of a high protein diet on bones because of increased acid load, that’s been proven untrue. Both plant and animal proteins benefit bone health and can lower the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. It can lower cravings for late-night snacks that can lead to acid reflux.

Scientific evidence is constantly changing.

At one time scientists thought that eating more protein would raise blood pressure. The opposite is true. In reality, eating more protein may lower blood pressure. In over 40 studies reviewed, it lowered the systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mm Hg and the lower number, diastolic blood pressure, by 1.15 mm Hg. Some studies indicated that it lowered bad cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • If you have a pre-existing kidney disease, a high protein diet isn’t healthy. For people with healthy kidneys, it won’t do kidney damage.
  • As you age, you lose muscle mass. It’s a condition known as sarcopenia. That can lead to bone thinning. Staying physically active and eating more protein can reduce and even reverse the condition.
  • Increasing protein in your diet can help you heal faster after an injury. When consumed after a workout, it helps boost recovery. It contains the building blocks for muscles to get the process started.
  • While increasing protein does provide many benefits, not everyone should increase the protein in their diet. Always check with your healthcare professional first before starting a new diet or program of exercise.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Incorporate Fitness Into Your Family Routine

How To Incorporate Fitness Into Your Family Routine

People in Alexandria, VA, are realizing that eating healthier and being active makes life healthier. Most wish they would have started earlier. It helps maintain a healthy weight and provides more than just physical benefits. It also offers mental benefits. Children who are active and eat healthier meals do better in school. It’s time to share a life of good health with your family. You don’t have to force the kids to eat bean sprouts and do calisthenics at the crack of dawn, you can add fun activities. You can slowly change how you cook to increase nutrition. The changes you make today affect your family’s health tomorrow.

Change your family’s diet slowly.

Start by changing how you cook if you fry everything or eat at fast food restaurants regularly. The change doesn’t have to be drastic. If your kids love fried chicken, switch to roasted chicken like you find prepared in the grocery made at home in the air fryer. Find ways to substitute ingredients to maintain the taste but add nutrients while you reduce the calories. You can use meal planning where you cook everything for the week in one day. During the week, just heat and serve.

Make being active fun.

You don’t have to do jumping jacks to exercise and get benefits. Buy hula hoops for everyone and have contests. Go for walks or bike rides. You can build their minds and bodies by taking trips to nature preserves or museums. Museums are large and you walk a lot as you see all the exhibits. If you have the space, start a family vegetable and herb garden. You can even do patio gardening. You’ll be surprised how much fun eating vegetables can be when you grow them yourself.

Plan gifts around an active lifestyle.

Family time should be active time and the gifts you give should reflect that. Instead of the latest video game, give the whole family rollerblades or bikes. Find a sport or activity your kids enjoy and plan gifts around that. Gifts don’t have to be sports equipment. They can be a family vacation to a large amusement park. If you’ve ever spent a day walking these parks or standing in line, you already know how active and wearing a trip can be. You’ll boost everyone’s activity level and make memories at the same time.

  • Start sitting at the table for supper at least one day a week. Don’t allow electronic devices. Eating together, sitting down, and socializing cause everyone to eat slower and make meals more enjoyable.
  • When the weather is foul, find ways to exercise in the house. Turn on the music and dance. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun.
  • Have healthy snacks ready in the refrigerator. Vegetables and dip, yogurt with fruit and nuts, and fruit, like melon, cut in bite size pieces are examples.
  • Get the kids to help make meals. Food always tastes better when you help prepare it. Have them make salads with vegetables you prepared if they’re young and give them more difficult tasks as they get older.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

When you’re first starting a weight loss program, you’re going to make some mistakes. Some of these can just slow you down a bit, while others are more serious. They can add pounds. Gaining weight when you’re trying to lose is the ultimate in frustration. Not only does it shred your confidence, but it also destroys your motivation and commitment. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it doesn’t matter how you lose weight, just lose it. That opens the door to fad diets that can block your progress in the long run.

If the goal is weight loss, why does it matter how you did it?

Sure, you want to lose weight but doing it with a starvation diet or fad diet that limits you to one or two foods isn’t the right way. You might lose weight, but you have to return to normal eating at some time. When you do, you often gain that weight back and often a little extra. That puts you even further behind than you were when you started. Instead of starving yourself or eating a radical fad diet, focus on eating healthy foods. Cutting out food with added sugar and highly processed food and eating healthy can continue throughout your life so you never have to diet again.

You’re being tricked into believing some foods are diet foods.

Granola bars, energy bars, low-fat yogurt, and many other foods that people buy, thinking they’ll help with weight loss, can pack on the pounds. Fat-free foods can be particularly deceptive. Fat-free foods can cause weight gain. When companies take out fat, it loses some of its flavor and consistency. To make it palatable, they add sugar. Healthy fat helps balance your hormones, stops cravings, and even burns body fat.

People often don’t realize it takes both a healthy diet and regular exercise to lose weight.

If you’re exercising to lose weight but eating junk, you’ll fail. You can’t out-exercise an unhealthy diet. Eating healthy and not exercising isn’t recommended either. You might lose weight if you don’t exercise, but it will be fat and muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism is. Shedding muscle tissue makes further weight loss and keeping pounds off harder.

  • Doing constant cardio can also make weight loss harder. Cardio burns tons of calories, but those calories come from both fat and muscle tissue. Do cardio, but also strength training to build muscles.
  • Don’t starve yourself. You can’t do it for long, but that’s not the biggest problem. When you eat too few calories, your body goes into starvation mode, which slows your metabolism for survival.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to overeat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin—the hunger hormone, and less leptin—the satiety hormone.
  • Drink more water and monitor what you drink. Staying hydrated is vital. Sipping on water throughout the day can diminish your appetite. Drinking soft drinks and fancy coffee can add calories you may miss. Watch out for diet soft drinks. A new study shows they may add inches to your middle.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

People come to Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, hoping to lose weight and get fitter, but end up getting so much more. You can see the change as they get fitter. They develop a self-assurance the longer they stick with a program of exercise. It gives them a boost of confidence that’s hard to ignore. It shows in how they walk, stand, and talk. Part of that confidence comes from sticking with and achieving a goal.

Exercise makes you more energetic and powerful.

You’ll have more energy to deal with problems that occur in life. That energy can help you overcome many obstacles in your way. That gives one more confidence boost. You’ll also feel more powerful. If you’re always tired, it can make you feel weak and helpless. The opposite is true when you’re fit. Feeling strong physically can help you feel strong emotionally. It also boosts your cognitive thinking so you’re stronger mentally, adding to your confidence.

Your posture improves, so you look more confident.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “Fake it until you can make it,” you know that walking tall and acting confidently can give you the confidence you need. When you workout, it improves your posture, making you look self-assured. People treat you with more respect because they sense that air of confidence. That treatment is internalized and gives you that extra boost.

You’ll burn off stress and look fabulous.

Stress can take you down if you let it. Exercise helps burn off stress hormones. You’ll sleep better at night and function better during the day. Exercising boosts the happy hormones that make you feel safe and secure, putting a smile on your face. Now add to that the fact that you look far better, you can see how working out regularly can improve your mood and confidence. Nothing makes you feel more confident than knowing you look great.

  • The longer you stick with a fitness program, the more you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything. That’s especially true if you’ve tried to get fit before and failed. It gives you a new sense of accomplishment.
  • You’ll be more productive. That can earn the respect of friends and colleagues. Knowing others respect you and turn to you for help boosts your confidence.
  • You’ll feel healthier when you workout regularly. Feeling good can make the difference between a day gone bad and one where you come out victorious. Adding more wins to your day boosts your confidence.
  • Achieving your fitness goal gives you the boost of confidence to tackle other difficult goals. Winning is the ultimate confidence builder. Even your self-talk will improve.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Most Effective Resistance Band Workouts For Strength And Tone

Most Effective Resistance Band Workouts For Strength And Tone

You’ll have all the equipment you need when you go to the gym, but what about those times you can’t make it? It happens. You can do a variety of bodyweight exercises to build strength and tone your muscles. You can also use resistance bands to add variety to your workouts. Resistance bands are excellent at-home equipment. They’re inexpensive and small enough to store easily. You can add them to traditional exercises, making it easier to incorporate them into your workout.

Use resistance bands to build upper body strength.

Toning your upper body with resistance bands is easier than you think. Start by holding an end in each hand at shoulder-width. Gather the band so there’s no slack between your arms. Raise your hands above your head to do an overhead pull with your palms facing out. Pull outward, attempting to create a T with your arms until you can’t pull any further because the tension is too demanding. Try the same exercise, but instead, hold your palms facing inward. You can also start the pull with your arms outstretched in front, or the resistance band behind your back.

Adding resistance bands to a squat makes it even more challenging.

People who add hold weights when they do squats do so to make it more challenging. You can use resistance bands in the same manner. Choose the appropriate color for your fitness level. Hold one end of the band in each hand with the middle on the floor. and in the middle of the band is on the floor. It should have no slack when your forearms are at waist level. Now bend your elbow and lift your forearm to your ears. You’ll feel the tension. Start your squat in this position. The bands make all the muscles work harder.

Modify the clamshell exercise with resistance bands.

Some resistance bands are like long strips of flat or ropelike rubber. Others resemble large rubber bands that form a complete circle. Place the rubber band-style resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Lay on one side with your knees bent and head resting on that side’s forearm and hand. Place the opposite hand on the hip that’s in the air. Press the upper thigh outward by squeezing our thigh and glute muscles. Hold the clamshell open, then slowly close it back to the starting position. Do several reps and repeat on the opposite side.

  • Use a longer resistance band and do curls. In a seated position, hold both ends in one hand and loop the band under the foot on the same side. There should be no slack. Do a curl.
  • Use a rubber band style band. Put it around your ankles. Then raise your leg to one side, hold it, and lower it back to the starting position. Do a set and do the other leg. You can also lift one leg forward or backward.
  • Do a high plank with resistance bands around your wrist. Raise one hand until the resistance stops you, then slowly lower it back to the ground and raise the other hand.
  • Glute bridges are even more difficult if you have a resistance band around your thighs. Bring your body up to a bridge by tightening your glutes and pushing your thighs outward. Hold the position then lower your body.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness