What is MSG anyway?

MSG is the big scary abbreviation we hear most associated with Chinese takeout, but what is it really and what does it do to you?

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate and it if you are on a steady diet of it then you are twice as likely to be overweight as those who rarely eat foods with the flavor enhancer.

MSG may lower levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates metabolism and hunger. So, next time you order that Chinese takeout have them hold the MSG. And read food labels: the additive is listed as “hydrolyzed protein.”

If you are having trouble sticking to a healthy meal plan or you are not sure how to even begin Nutrition is Easy is a great place to start. We have several plans for you to choose from that include customizing meal plans specifically for your needs or just consulting with a food coach on how to tweak what you are currently eating to make it even better. If you struggle with losing weight and you are exercising regularly then the problem most likely is your nutrition. Contact us today for a free fitness consultation where you will meet with a personal trainer and food coach to design a nutrition and exercise plan to fit your lifestyle.

Why is it so hard to “diet” during the Winter months?

What happens to us as soon as the weather turns cooler, football is cranking, and the leaves start to fall? Is it because we know we can hid behind bulky sweaters and sweat pants that we stop our food vigilance and start indulging ourselves. Hot Chocolate? Sure. Another piece of Pizza? Why not. Halloween Candy? Just one more. Stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving? It’s a tradition. What happens to our brains that we now think indulging ourselves past reason is okay as long as we can justify it?

There are 2 simple thoughts to keep this over indulgence in check: (1) do I feel guilty for eating this? and (2) can I eat it in moderation? To fend off the extra pounds during the winter months exercise should be a priority. Be extra careful to stick to your exercise plan during the regular months. This will also help with the stress the holidays bring us and the winter blues.

While I know how easy it is to make excuses this time of year (I’m too busy! I’m not in the mood! It’s too cold!), mark your workout on your schedule just like you would anything else and make sure to keep that appointment. Just think of the jump start you will get for bikini season this year.

The great thing about NuBody Bootcamp in Concord, NC (near Charlotte, NC) is that not only is it five days a week with lots of times to choose from to work with your hectic schedule, but the trainers will encourage you to come back day after day. You realize you have a whole team of people wanting you to succeed in your weight loss goals.

It’s hard to lose weight and fat on your own. NuBody Fitness has group workouts as well as nutrition plans where you can get a food coach to design meal plans specifically for your goals and lifestyle.
If you don’t have a workout routine then contact NuBody Fitness today for your free fitness consultation to see how we can help you reach your weight loss goals quickly and safely.

Breakfast Alternative

Breakfast provides the fuel that is needed by all bodies to start the day. When your child wakes in the morning, his/her tank is empty and it is time to “break the fast”.

Food gives the energy needed to function mentally and physically. Don’t believe it? Consider this: Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast before school perform better on their reading and math scores, have longer attention spans, visit the school nurse less frequently, and are better behaved in class.

As if improved school performance weren’t reason enough to get your kids into eating breakfast, kids who eat a healthy breakfast are better able to get the daily nutrients they need. They are more likely to eat recommended levels of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, folate, iron, and vitamins A, C, and B12. Breakfast-consuming children also have lower cholesterol levels.

Some kids, especially teenagers, skip breakfast because they would rather sleep in, or because they think skipping breakfast will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast to lose weight is a myth.

In fact, those kids who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to have a greater body mass index (BMI) than those who do. Skipping breakfast makes kids so hungry they eat extra calories later in the day to make up for their skipped morning cuisine.

Easy, Healthy Options
Why aren’t your children eating a healthy breakfast each day? If it is because your family is too rushed in the morning, or you think you don’t have extra time to make them a homemade nutritious meal, it’s time to change your thinking. There are plenty of easy, fast, healthy foods to have readily available for your kids to grab and eat on the way.

Any food is better than no food for breakfast, but healthy foods give your kids the energy they require to make it until lunch. A great way to knock out breakfast is to handle it the night before by hard-boiling some eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and are fast and easy in the morning.

You can also keep some small yogurt containers in the refrigerator for your kids to grab on the go, and of course, keep whole-grain bread, English muffins, or bagels on hand to toss in the toaster.

You can also warm up microwavable oatmeal or let the kids eat cereal bars in the car. Keep whole-grain, low-sugar cereals on hand that kids can eat with low-fat milk or yogurt. Lastly, keep fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, and pears readily available to eat on the go.

These are all nutritious options that are easy for moms or even kids to make themselves.

Good Start
So before rushing out the door tomorrow morning, make sure to give your kids a good start to the day. Fuel them up with a quick, healthy breakfast. They may not thank you, but their stomachs, minds, and teachers will.

Healthy eating goes hand in hand with maintaining a consistent and challenging exercise program. Call or email me today to get started on one of my programs that will get you feeling younger and more energetic than you thought possible.

Don’t wait – call or email today to get started.

4 Worst Breakfast Items
Don’t get caught eating one of these 4 things for breakfast:

  1. Breakfast pastry: muffins, doughnuts, bear claws and croissants sure taste good with coffee, but all those refined carbs are going to cause unwanted weight gain.
  2. Granola Bars: watch out for the breakfast bars that claim to give you fiber, vitamins and minerals. Check the number of carbs and sugars on the back of the label – most contain the same sugar as a pastry.
  3. Cereal: here’s another popular breakfast item that has tons of sugar lurking beneath its surface. Only eat cereal that has no added sugar and that contains some protein and healthy fat.
  4. Drive Thru Breakfast Sandwich: don’t even think about heading to the drive thru for a quick breakfast sandwich. Instead grab a hard boiled egg from home to enjoy on your commute.

Breakfast Protein Parfait

Here’s a great recipe to make the night before for an easy grab-n-go breakfast straight out of the fridge. It’s packed with protein, vitamins and minerals for sustained energy all morning long. And it tastes great too.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…

  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt, plain, fat free
  • 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop high quality strawberry or vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh berries
  • 1 Tablespoon pecan pieces, toasted

In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the yogurt, cottage cheese and protein powder. Mix until well incorporated.

Place half of the yogurt mixture into a clear cup, top with the berries and then the remaining yogurt mixture. Top with pecans.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 260 calories, 6g fat, 307mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 38g protein.

Tips for Surviving the Holidays

3 Tips for the holidays
1. Never go to a party with an empty stomach. Fill up on a healthy meal before you ever leave home.
2. Don’t skip your workouts, regardless of how busy you are. Make it a priority.
3. Indulge with control. Never participate in mindless munching.

Pre- and Post-Workout Tips

Pre Workout Tips
If you like working out on an empty stomach and you can make it through the entire workout without getting nauseous or dizzy, then have at it.
But, for the rest of you that need a little something in your stomach I am going to give you some tips about Pre-Workout nutrition.

If it is early in the morning allow yourself about 30 minutes before you start to workout to eat something like ½ of a pink grapefruit.  You can use a packet of Stevia or local honey to sweeten it.

Post Workout Tips
After you have finished a workout your body’s blood sugar has dropped and you are on empty.  If you don’t eat quickly your body will crash.

If you don’t give your body food high in protein in will begin to take protein from your muscles, which is what you don’t want to happen.  So instead, try 1 cup of Trader Joes’ Non-Fat Yogurt or 1 cup of Greek Yogurt like Fage or Oikos.  Add in ¼ cup of Bear Naked Peak Protein Granola.  That will give you about 25g of Protein.

You should eat this about 30-45 mins after your workout.  The next thing you should be consuming is a meal.

Tortoise and the Hare

Tortoise and the Hare

Let me preface this article by saying this is not a shot to anyone that runs slow, LOL.  I know you are wondering where I am going with this, so keep reading.  Many of you know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  Like the Hare, it seems that many of us want the results but face either 1 of 2 problems.

  1. We want them quickly.  Sometimes overnight.
  2. We are disillusioned about the hard work it takes to get the results we want.
Let me make it clearer, if you want to lose 30lbs in 4 weeks, ask yourself some questions:
  1. Did I put this weight on in just 4 weeks? NO
  2. Is it safe for me to lose this much weight in so little time? NO
  3. Is all weight loss good? NO  (Fat Loss is great, but Muscle loss is not so great)
  4. In the past when I lost a lot of weight did I put it back on? YES

My point behind this story is simple:  Don’t be the HARE, be the TORTOISE.  Remember “slow and steady” wins the race.  That doesn’t mean slow down your workout, that just means take your time and STAY FOCUSED.  Putting it simply:  Diet, Exercise, Weight Management, Fitness, etc is hard work. If it were easy our country wouldn’t be over 60% obese.  So because this is such a daunting task you have hired a professional to help you reach your goals. I want to share with you one SECRET thing I do when I hire professionals like a lawyer, doctor, mentor, coaches, accountant, etc.


That may come as a SURPRISE to you but that’s the truth.  I hired them to help me.  If I insist on still not listening, I must know this is counter productive, and will hinder me reaching my goals in a timely manner.  I tell everyone the things you do today will definitely effect your tomorrow.  So ask yourself the question:  Are you giving 100%?

If the answer is NO, then start today!  After reading this email, you have one job the next time you show up for Boot Camp.  That is: BE QUIET AND TRAIN!

Relax, Relate, Release

I LOVE my work as a personal trainer, I LOVE off-season training, and I LOVE to see NuBody Fitness filled with clients and athletes, but sometimes it gets a little crazy. My team and I prepare for the busy times. There’s a plan in place and we’re ready to roll. But, is it stressful? Some days it can be. Just like yours, my life gets stressful too. How we survive these periods is all about our coping skills and stress management habits.

My goal for this article is to provide a little education about stress and a lot of encouragement for increasing your coping skills and improving your ability to manage stress. But, before we get into managing stress, first we need to understand it. A friend of mine gives what she calls a “whiteboard talk” on stress – in other words, the key points you need to know. I’ve included a few of the most important ones here. If you’ve already got the background, skip this section. If not, definitely read it – you’ll be glad you did. If you would like more on the subject of stress, send me a note and I’ll consider a more in-depth educational piece for a future newsletter.

Managing Stress

I’ve always believed that we can improve our stress management skills if we only attend to four things: exercise, nutrition, sleep, and prayer. These will remain my top four, but there are others to consider. Here are 6 key ideas for improving your coping skills and your ability to manage the stress in your life.

Start with physical conditioning.  If you struggle with this, then do it first thing in the morning (5 am or 6 am). Get a trainer, attend a class, set goals, listen to great music, find a workout accountability partner, or get involved in a competition.  We just celebrated the completion of our NuBody Boot Camp Spring Challenge and this year’s winner was Kimberly Kraut. She decreased her body fat, increased her pushups (over 140 straight), and drastically improved her core strength all because of her complete commitment to health and fitness.  Kimberly’s “all-in” attitude contributed to her first place achievement and the $500 prize money. But, the longest lasting effect of this level of commitment is the impact it will have on her physical and mental health. That’s the real prize.

Make sound nutritional choices.  Eat like a king or queen in the morning, a prince or princess at noon and a pauper at night. Follow a plan like Racheal Keesee, who has lost over 30lbs on our Nutrition Is Easy program. Plan ahead for trouble zones: air travel, late night hotel arrivals, lunch and dinner presentations that cause you to miss a meal, etc. Pack some meal replacement bars. Research restaurants that offer healthy options. A great idea I heard from a client is to refuse the menu (too many temptations) and order without one. Ask for simple fish, grilled chicken or petite lean steak prepared without oil or butter, lots of steamed veggies, and a side salad without dressing. Request dressings or sauces served in a very small portion on the side (or not at all) and you can’t go wrong!

Get a good night’s sleep. So many adults have trouble sleeping… insomnia, sleep apnea, the list goes on. Nothing lowers our stress threshold faster than lack of sleep. How much sleep do you get? If you are a 5-hour a night sleeper, I challenge you to get 6 or 7. If you are a 10-hour a night sleeper, I challenge you to exercise more. A healthy adult should not need 10 hours a night. Here’s a good rule: go to sleep relaxed and you will wake relaxed. That means turn off the computer 30 minutes before going to bed, disconnect from all electromagnetic waves that can actually disrupt the quality of your sleep, put some lavender on the pillow, read a great book before retiring to bed, take a hot bath, or just listen to some soft, relaxing music. (Now, that’s stress management!)

Create “holy” time.  This is time for YOU.  Read, pray, meditate, listen to great music, but take time to nourish your soul. How often do the words, “I don’t have time to think” come from your lips? Hit the pause button daily and feed your mind with words and music that lift you up. We cope better with the reality of today when we have faith that tomorrow will be brighter.  I like to have “holy” time in the AM before my day starts up, but the bottom line is just get it in.

Learn to say no. Nothing reduces stress faster than turning off the flow of demands you require of yourself. And, while you’re at it, take some time off!  Start small if you have to (half-days, three-day weekends), but be warned! Vacations are addictive.  We all need more  “down” time.  A quiet afternoon, a lazy Sunday, a road trip… It won’t be long before you’re hooked and happier than ever.

Surround yourself with positive people. Research tells us that a strong and loving support system is highly effective in improving our abilities to cope with life stresses. Feeling low or overwhelmed? Phone or visit a friend. Invite a neighbor to go for a walk. Share your life with others and remember the power of laughter – it is the best medicine. Stay connected with the people who lift your spirits. Thank them for the impact they have on your life.

We can’t completely remove stress from our lives. The good would go out with the bad. We need some stress in order to perform at our best. What we don’t need is excess stress – more stress than we can cope with successfully. Most of us struggle with life balance. We are challenged daily by professional and personal demands. The goal is to know our personal threshold for stress and to do our best not to exceed it. For me, the many hats I wear (business owner, leader, trainer, mentor, manager, presenter, coach, etc.) often pull me in opposite directions. Added to this, my role demands that I am “on” all the time for everyone.  So, just like you, I seek peak performance but sometimes exceed my threshold for stress, and I too can suffer the consequences. For me, my back and my hydration levels are my barometer for stress and they will often let me know when my stress level is too high.  If I listen and pay attention, I am fine.  I will go to bed earlier than normal, get a massage, get in a great workout, relax with a good book, or just stop to spend more time with the people I love.  If I don’t listen, it could literally put me flat on my back and force me to slow down.

Simple Corn Relish

Prep: 10 minutes

Stand: 20 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

1  cup fresh or thawed frozen corn

¼  cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2  tablespoons chopped chives

1  tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1   tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno

1  tablespoon cider vinegar

1  teaspoon olive oil

1/8  teaspoon salt

1/8  teaspoon pepper

Stir together all of the ingredients; let stand at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serving Size:  ¼ cup

Calories                  25

Fat  1g (0g Sat; 0g Mono; 0g Poly)

Cholesterol  0mg

Protein  1g

Carbs  5g

Sugars  1g

Fiber  1g

Iron  0mg

Sodium  1mg

Calcium  3mg

Recipe from Health Magazine June 2010