Fitness & Wellness

What's The Best Plant Based Protein?

What’s The Best Plant Based Protein?

More and more people are aware of fitness today, and some choose a more plant based diet to help them get fit. In order to do that and build lean muscle mass, a good source of protein is necessary. Animal protein is complete, meaning it contains all the 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t make. It’s a little more difficult to get that in a plant based diet, since many of the sources are incomplete. Finding the best plant based protein can be difficult, even in Stamford, CT.

There are some complete sources of protein from plants, but just a few.

You have to search for complete sources of protein, since they’re rare for vegans. Buckwheat is one of those sources. It’s versatile and can be made into noodles. Quinoa is another complete protein. Tofu and Tempah are complete sources of protein. While soy, from which tofu is derived is not complete, the processing of the soy to tofu makes it that way. Pumpkin seeds, spirulina, chia seeds and hemp seeds are also complete sources, just as nutritional yeast is. Nutritional yeast is also flavorful, giving a cheesy, yet nutty type flavor. Tofu and whole grain pita,

Even though most vegetable sources aren’t complete, they can be combined.

To qualify as a good and complete protein source, the food has to have an adequate amount of each essential amino acid with a minimum percentage of each. Aside from the aforementioned foods, most plant sources of protein don’t. The good news is that you can combine sources and it doesn’t even have to be at the same meal. However, some combinations often found together are brown rice and beans or hummus and pita are examples.

Most often, vegetarian protein lacks lysine and methionine.

Two essential amino acids most often missing in plant protein sources are lysine and methionine. Good vegetarian sources of these two can be combined with other vegetable protein sources that are incomplete. Food sources for lysine include whole grains, like oats and buckwheat, and most types of seeds. Lysine is found in leafy greens, whole grains and also seeds. You can combine these with beans that tend to lack methionine or nuts that lack lysine and methionine to get a complete protein.

  • Ezekiel bread is a flourless bread made from sprouted grains and beans. It’s considered a complete source of protein. The sprouted grain makes all the nutrients more bioavailable.
  • Lentils are a good source of protein, just as chickpeas and beans are. If you want to increase your protein intake, toss them in salads and soup. You can add seeds and nuts, as well.
  • If you make your PB&J with whole wheat bread it’s a good source of vegetable protein. Peanut butter has 7 grams of protein for two tablespoons. Other nut butters also contain protein, but the amount varies.
  • Choosing plant based protein can save you money. Compared to red meat, chicken and pork, it’s far cheaper per serving. If you aren’t strictly vegan, combine it with milk products or eggs to increase the protein.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Why Running Is Good For Your Heart?

Why Running Is Good For Your Heart?

The body was designed to move in a lot of different ways to be its healthiest. It needs strength training, flexibility training, balance and endurance training. Another name for endurance training is cardio. That’s because it exercises the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular includes not only the arteries, blood vessels and capillaries, it also includes the heart. One of the simplest cardio exercises is running, so it makes sense that running is good for your heart. It also provides many other benefits for your health.

The heart is a muscle, like any other muscle.

Just like your biceps, your heart needs exercise to be strong. When you run, it gives the heart a good workout, but it does even more than that. It increases the efficiency of the heart by building the strength of its walls. Studies show that people who run on a regular basis have a slow resting pulse rate with high maximum oxygen consumption. They have lower blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.

Obesity can take a toll on your heart.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. In fact, it rivals smoking. Running burns tons of calories and the more calories you burn, the more weight you lose, but you have to eat right, too. If you want to lose weight, it takes consuming fewer calories than you burn. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You also have to be consistent and that means exercising regularly. Always start off slow and work toward faster times or longer runs to condition your body.

How does running help lower bad cholesterol levels.

What is the bad cholesterol? It’s the LDL—low density lipoproteins. When you run for 30 minutes at least three to five times a week, you decrease the LDLs. If you have a high amount in your blood they build up and cause plaque that blocks arteries. If you already have plaque buildup, it can help reduce the amount already there. It lowers blood pressure, too. Again, consistency will help you get the results you want.

  • You can modify your run and make it even more effective by using the HIIT—high intensity interval training—technique. You simply alternate your speed between top intensity for a short time and a recovery pace for the same amount of time or longer.
  • If you’re using running to lose weight and get into shape, don’t forget other types of exercises. Strength training builds muscles, while burning fat. Running burns calories. You also need flexibility training to avoid injury.
  • Running boosts circulation and reduces the potential for blood clots. Studies show that running on a regular basis can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 55%.
  • Stress is a killer and can affect all your body, including your heart. Running helps burn off the hormones of stress that comes from the fight or flight response.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

How To Workout With A Knee Injury

How To Workout With A Knee Injury

Whether you strained your back, sprained or tore a muscle or have any other injury, at Revolution Training in Stamford, CT we modify your workout to match your needs. There are exercises and modifications that can be made, which allow you to workout with a knee injury, too. Meeting your special needs is a top priority. If you’re working out at home, here are some tips to help you do that.

Keep your muscles loose.

Knee injuries often require you to sit, keeping any stress off your knee. Your doctor will make that determination. Always listen to his or her advice. While you’re letting your knee recuperate, you can work on other parts of you body. Assisted pull-ups are a good start. A seated overhead shoulder press, seated row, incline dumbbell press, lateral pulldowns and seated shoulder presses can also help retain upper body strength. Again, even though you’re not working your knee, check with your doctor to make sure it’s okay.

When the doctor says you’re ready, take it slow.

Stretches are not only good for warming up, they’re excellent exercises to start building a muscle that had no exercise due to an injury. If you’ve had a cast, stretches are doubly important. You want to work all the muscles, but not too hard. Keep it simple and start with a knee straightener. You’ll be amazed at how tough it is to do. Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Start by lifting one leg, exhaling during the process of rising and exhaling as you lower it. Then do the other leg. You can modify it by doing the exercise standing or laying on your back. If you’re having a problem lifting, it’s okay to use your hands to help the leg lift. Quad, hamstring and calf stretches are excellent, too.

Avoid pressure on the knee, particularly when you first get back into exercise.

There are lower body workouts that don’t put pressure on the knee that you can add. Leg lifts, crunches and heel raises done with resistance bands are a few exercises that don’t put pressure on the knee. An excellent exercise, even before you’re ready to put pressure on your knee, swimming can be a great way to get your cardio. Depending on your injury, bicycling or a stationary bike can be a good exercise.

  • Working out will help you heal faster, since it boosts circulation. It also helps prevent weight gain that can add extra pressure on the joints. While it has been said previously, always check with your health care professional before doing any exercise.
  • If you feel pain in your knee, rest. Listen to your body, it’s trying to tell you that there’s too much strain on the knee. Take a rest or work on a different part of the body.
  • You need to improve your range of motion, particularly after an injury that limited movement for a while. Try using resistance bands. Start with front leg extensions with no bands and work toward bands or leg weights.
  • You can work with a personal trainer to get the muscle back into shape or get a program you can do to maintain your fitness while you’re healing.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Why It's Important To Time Your Workouts

Why It’s Important To Time Your Workouts

If you think that working out longer will get you more results, maybe you should time your workouts and actually limit your time, rather than extend it. If everything is based on how many minutes, you’re at the gym, you’ll be surprised at how many side trips to the water cooler or stops to talk to another client that you make. It’s also important not to skip a few minutes and rush through your time in the gym, but to find the perfect point where you get a good workout but aren’t wasting time or exercising beyond the point where it’s safe and healthy.

More time doesn’t mean better results.

While a 30-minute workout is better than a 10-minute workout, there comes a point of diminishing returns and the longer you workout, the less benefit you get. It can even be dangerous is you workout too long. Spending every waking hour in the gym isn’t a good idea. You’re not giving your body time to heal from strength training and causing excessive stress on your body. That’s right. While exercise burns off the hormones of stress, workouts that are tough or too long can actually cause stress on the body. That can affect the functioning of your immune system for up to 72 hours and leave you vulnerable.

How intense is the workout and is it causing distress.

The more intense your workout, the more prone you are to overworking your body. If you’re going to ramp it up, stick with 75 to 150 minutes a week. If your exercise routine is moderate, go for 150 to 300 minutes a week. How can you judge intensity? Try the sing method. If you can talk, but singing is impossible, you’re moderately working. However, if talking is so hard you can only get out guttural sounds and a few words here and there, your workout is intense. The more intense, the less time you should be exercising.

How do you know if you’re spending too much time?

There are some signs you’re overdoing it at the gym. Too much exercise can cause mood changes and changes in your physical health. You might be angry, depressed or irritable for no reason. If you’re getting minor illnesses frequently, it might be a sign that you’re overworking your body and your immune system is compromised. If you lose interest and dread gym day, it could be from overdoing it.

  • If you’re not getting the results you want, even though you spend hours at the gym, maybe you’re focusing more on how much time you’re spending and too little on what you’re accomplishing. Time only the actual exercise sessions.
  • You can shorten your exercise time by using HIIT—high intensity interval training. It’s a technique where you vary the intensity from high intensity for a few minutes to recovery for a few minutes and back to high intensity.
  • A more accurate way of monitoring intensity is with a heart rate monitor. It can help you identify how much time you need to spend working out based on intensity.
  • At Revolution Training we provide programs that will ensure you get the workout you need and the amount of time necessary to ensure you maximize the benefits.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

How Often Should I Work Out As A Beginner?

How Often Should I Work Out As A Beginner?

If you have a question of how often to work out as a beginner, you first have to identify exactly what you count as a workout. Clients at Revolution Training in Stamford, CT understand exactly what that means. If you’re coming to the gym pressing weights, boxing at peak intensity and pushing yourself to the limit the answer is one thing. If you’re taking the pace easier, it’s quite another. The type of exercise you’re doing, strength-training, aerobic, flexibility or balance, make a difference, too.

Let’s look at intensity.

The Department of Health and Human Services—HHS—suggests that 75 to 150 minutes of intense exercising or 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity is necessary. That means you have to consider the level of intensity, among other factors. If you’re pushing yourself hard, working out for a half hour three days a week can be enough. Moderate intensity, including walking fast or jogging should be done twice as often.

What type of training are you doing?

While some workouts involve all types of training, others focus strictly on one type, like strength training or cardio. If you’re doing strength training, you definitely need to give your muscles at least 48 hours to recover and repair. Not giving them a rest between sessions actually causes the muscles to break down, rather than build, since it continues to cause microtears without any healing. You need to ensure you have a good balance of all types of workouts or face potential injury.

Since your fitness level plays a role, beginners should start slowly and build.

Start by working out 2-3 days a week for approximately 30 minutes a day. Take it easier at first and work toward more intensity. On your days away from the gym, it doesn’t mean you should avoid any forms of exercise, just make it more leisurely. Take opportunities to increase your activity, no matter how small. Take a walk at lunch or take the stairs not the elevator. Enjoy yourself and go dancing or for a short hike. Make it leisurely but keep active. It’s called passive recovery and can help you achieve fitness faster without causing injury.

  • For the first week or so, start slow. Gradually build up your workout. Make sure you include time to warm up or cool down. Listen to your body and be flexible the first week or so.
  • You need to do cardio at least three days a week, but limit strength training to two to give that 48 hour muscle rest. Studies show that doing flexibility training 4 to 7 times a week, brings best results.
  • The longer you stick with your workout program, the more time you can add to your workout regimen. You can even workout every day, especially if you break up your workout, such as upper body training one day and lower body training the next.
  • Listen to your body, especially when you first begin a program of exercise. It’s easy to push yourself too hard initially and then be sidelined for weeks. A personal trainer can help you safely get back into shape.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Healthiest Winter Vegetables

Healthiest Winter Vegetables

When you want to eat fresh and healthy, you need to focus on vegetables and fruit that are seasonal and readily available at the time you’re purchasing them. Seasonal veggies are easy to find in the summer, spring and fall, but what are the winter vegetables? Not only what are they, what are the healthiest winter vegetables? There are far more options than you might think.

What once was cast aside as garnish, is now considered one of the healthiest veggies.

Kale has always been on the salad bar, but now it’s part of the salad, not just decoration. Its nutrients make it one of the most popular new superfoods. It has vitamins A, C, K and many B vitamins. It’s also high in mineral content and has a lot of antioxidants. Kale can be served cold or cooked, like other members of the cruciferous family, which includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, which are also winter vegetables.

Root vegetables are normally considered winter vegetables.

Root vegetables not only exist underground covered by a layer of soil to protect them, they also have a high amount of sugar that helps prevent the cells from freezing. Carrots, beets, fennel root, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, garlic, turnips and radishes all fit that description. If you’ve ever had a carrot pulled from the ground during cold weather, you know how sweet it is. Carrots are highly nutritious and relatively inexpensive during the winter. They are high in beta carotene, which converts in your body to vitamin A. Not only are they good for the eyes, they also help your immune system work better.

You may never have eaten a Jerusalem artichoke, but you should.

These plants were already being cultivated by America’s indigenous people when the pilgrims landed in the “New World.” They taste like a cross between potatoes and artichokes and can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, broiled or baked. They are a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E. They also are rich in minerals like potassium, copper and iron. Jerusalem artichokes contain inulin, which is a prebiotic that helps feed the beneficial microbes in the gut. Inulin also is helpful in balancing blood sugar levels.

  • Put a little color on your plate with red cabbage. It contains anthocyanin, which gives it the purplish red color. It’s a powerful antioxidant. It also contains a good amount of potassium, B vitamins and manganese.
  • Do you want more vitamin K or alpha-lipoic acid and fiber, which keeps your blood sugar levels stable? If so, try Brussels sprouts. It can be used baked, steamed or boiled and is excellent raw in a salad.
  • Parsnips and rutabagas don’t often make it to most American’s dinner tables, but they should. Parsnips are high in fiber, vitamins C, E, B and a slew of minerals. Rutabagas contain enough vitamin C in one cup to provide 50% of the daily requirement and enough potassium for 16% necessary in a day.
  • Let’s not forget beets. These delicious vegetables taste great no matter how you make them, but steamed in their skins, which is then slipped off before serving, is my favorite. Beets are high in fiber, potassium, iron, vitamin C, folate and betanin and vulgaxanthin that fight inflammation.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Have You Tried Intuitive Eating?

Have You Tried Intuitive Eating?

What is intuitive eating? It’s nothing more than just listening to what your body is telling you and learning how to interpret it. I’ve seen people shovel food in their mouth, quickly devouring their entire serving and when I asked whether it was good, they really didn’t know. They simply ate it because it was there, never once savoring the pleasure of good food. Intuitive eating means getting in touch with your body and its signals. One thing that clients at Revolution Training in Stamford, CT, find is that the more they workout, the more in touch with their body they become.

Throw away the old misconceptions and guilt about eating.

If you’re constantly beating yourself up every time you take a bite of food, it’s time to stop. People get hungry. You’re a person. Therefore, you have a right to get hungry. Once you learn to accept that, you can also learn to recognize times you’re not hungry, yet you still eat. Ignoring hunger also leads to eating even more when you do eat. It’s in our DNA to overeat after being hungry for a long time. It’s part of survival to eat when food is plentiful. Eat with intention and feed your body when it needs it.

Change your focus.

Don’t focus on bad foods or good foods. Don’t focus on calories or carbs. Instead of looking at how much you have to lose or worrying about how much you may gain, focus on whether you’re hungry or not. Give yourself permission to eat when you’re hungry and even eat some of those “forbidden” foods. The good news is that when you act in conjunction with your body’s desires, you might have an Oreo or two, but won’t eat the whole package.

Identify when you’re full.

If you’re always worried about how much you eat or shame yourself continuously while eating, that voice in your head will drown out the information that your body is telling you. Focus on the food. Savor it and eat slowly. Enjoy every minute. You’ll be providing an atmosphere where you can get true satisfaction. You’ll also be slowing your eating, so you’ll have more time to recognize when you feel full and the food is no longer that satisfying.

  • Eliminate guilt and enjoy your food. Food not only should sustain the body, it should be a pleasure to eat. When you feel guilty eating, you take away that pleasure.
  • When you learn to savor the food and appreciate each bite, you’ll also be able to identify when it doesn’t provide that satisfaction. At that point, ask yourself how hungry you are and whether you need to eat more.
  • When you focus on the food and how eating it feels, you’ll also be able to eat some foods you thought were forbidden. That doesn’t mean you eat a whole pint of ice cream, but it does mean you can eat a small bowl or even a few bites to satisfy your cravings.
  • Eating intuitively isn’t necessarily for everyone. For instance, diabetics and people with hypertension that need to limit certain foods for their health shouldn’t do it. Always check with your doctor first.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Reach Your Potential This Year!

Reach Your Potential This Year!

I love working with each of you at Revolution Training in Stamford, CT, and helping you reach your potential. This is the first of the year and what better time is there to start changing habits and discover the new you that’s been inside all along? One thing I encourage is to take the time to write down your fitness goals and all the things you’d like to accomplish. Take a picture of yourself in workout clothes that are more form fitting, and use it as the “before” picture. Keep it in front of you constantly, reminding yourself the “after” picture will be on New Year’s Eve at the end of the year.

Pick a goal and focus on it.

You may have lots of fitness goals, but you need to prioritize them and focus on just one. It should be important to you and not necessarily something that anyone else wants you to do. If good health is your goal, what changes do you need to make to achieve that goal? Do you need to change your diet? Your exercise habits? Your sleep patterns? Is eliminating a bad habit or addiction going to increase the odds of achieving your goal?

You may not think your other goals have anything to do with fitness, but you’d be wrong.

Everything boils down to being your healthiest and fittest. If you don’t have the energy and good health, you can’t achieve everything your goals in business. It’s one reason the movers and shakers in business often have their own personal trainer or a gym for executives. Achieving anything is about mental toughness, picking a goal and doing the things it takes to achieve that goal. You get all those things by sticking with a fitness program, plus boost your health so your body is at its best.

It’s all about focus and consistency.

You won’t get fit by doing 100 push-ups in one day. In fact, unless you’re fit, you probably won’t be able to do them. You need to be consistent and do as many as you can each day. Focus on the things you can change. At each meal, eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Chew your food more thoroughly and slowly. Focus on food that’s closer to its natural state and avoid fried foods, highly processed food and food with added sugar. Make each day the day you’ll eat healthier than the previous day.

  • Take time at the end of every day to focus on the good things that are in your life. An attitude of gratitude will help you live healthier, happier and longer.
  • Track your progress. Winners keep score, whether it’s about fitness, finance or other areas of your life. Track the things you did to help you get healthier and have written goals. Create a checklist for each day.
  • Don’t worry about the detours. Even the best laid plans have a few glitches. Just know you’ll turn it around and get back on track. Focusing on the positive doesn’t mean you ignore negatives. It means you acknowledge them and use them to your advantage.
  • Once every month or quarter, take time to assess all the progress you’ve made and adjust your goals if necessary. If you’re following the plan, you’ll be far fitter than expected and probably want to increase your fitness goals.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Get Off Your Butt To Lose Your Gut

Get Off Your Butt To Lose Your Gut

You know you have legs, you walk on them every day, but it’s been a long time since you’ve actually seen them. Your belly keeps them hidden. Isn’t it time to make a difference and get rid of that Buddha belly? It’s time to get off your butt to lose your gut. We can help you do it and you’ll have fun at the same time. That probably sounds pretty good and you may wonder if it’s too good to be true. In this case, the answer is that it’s absolutely true. Our Focus boxing and other classes don’t feel like exercise, but the focus is on you and your fitness.

Getting rid of your gut takes exercise.

While hormones play a big role in both male and female belly fat, there are things you can do to help eliminate the problem. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you’re more likely to have visceral fat—belly fat. Exercising helps you get rid of all types of fat, particularly the fat that accumulates around the middle. Exercise also helps reduce insulin resistance, one of the primary causes of abdominal fat. Not only will participating in a program of regular exercise help shave off pounds, it will help change your body composition to one with more muscle tissue and less fat tissue.

Find ways to be more active outside of the gym.

It doesn’t seem quite natural to look for ways to work harder, but it’s one of the best things you can do. Instead of driving our car to a neighbor’s house, take a bike or walk. Park in the first spot you see when you go shopping, so you walk further to the store. It burns calories, but also saves gas, which can improve your budget and the air quality. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’re watching television or binge watching videos, do a plank, lunges or squats, while you watch.

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

What you eat makes a huge difference. Food that’s highly processed or that has added sugar can cause the body to store it as fat, including belly fat. It can encourage insulin resistance, where the cells don’t respond to insulin, so they don’t receive the glucose in the blood. The high blood sugar level then triggers more insulin and it becomes a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes. A healthy diet and regular exercise can reverse the process and prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • Cut back on alcohol consumption. Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients. The empty calories in the alcohol can lead to gaining fat around the middle and the gut you want to eliminate.
  • Prolonged stress causes increased cortisol, the stress hormone. Increased cortisol is linked with increased belly fat. When you exercise it burns off stress and our workouts do it the best. You’ll punch away frustration, stress and the craziness of daily life.
  • Increase your daily intake of fiber. That means eat more greens, fresh fruit and vegetables. Be careful when adding high fiber foods, nuts, fruit and beans. Do it slowly, drink more water and add probiotics, like yogurt to your diet or you’ll end up being gassy.
  • Avoid soft drinks, including diet drinks. One study showed that people who drank diet sodas had more belly fat than those that didn’t. Switch to water instead.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

Should I Be Walking 10k Steps Daily?

Should I Be Walking 10k Steps Daily?

When you see how hard people workout at Revolution Fitness in Stamford, CT, and how much exercise they get in the time they’re there, you’ll understand that walking 10k steps daily isn’t necessary for those people. There’s a lot of confusion about the 10,000 step recommendation. It’s not necessary if you’re doing high intensity workouts for 150 minutes a week, but is a good way to stay active on your days away from the gym.

Walking is good for people who can’t do intense workouts and a way to start a fitness program.

If you’ve been a couch potato for years and suddenly realize you can’t climb a flight of steps without stopping to catch your breath, walking is a good gateway exercise to something more physically demanding. You can walk outside and soak up the sunshine, which is also good for you. As you get fitter, you can modify the walk to alternate between high intensity and a recovery rate, creating a HIIT workout, making it even more effective. A brisk walk is good for bone strength, cardio, balance and coordination, while burning extra calories.

Walking won’t cover all types of training that are necessary for good health.

You need strength, flexibility, balance and cardio training to be your fittest. Walking can provide the cardio and even some balance and lower body strength training. Walking is low to moderate intensity and provides similar benefits to bicycling, swimming, aquatic exercises and elliptical cross training. In fact, doing exercises or even walking in a pool provides more exercise.

You shouldn’t replace the gym with walking, but supplement it.

If you’ve had a tough workout that day, you don’t need to walk 10K steps. If you can’t workout at the gym, due to health conditions, fitness level or even time, it’s a good idea to use it so you get some exercise. It’s all about moving and working your muscles. If you’ve ever boxed, you know you get in lots of steps, but also get an upper body workout that’s excellent. Both are good and for most people both should be part of your fitness program.

  • For people that are cramped for time, walking is a good option. You can even break it down to shorter walking times that add up to at least 30 minutes, as long as each walking session is at least ten minutes.
  • If you choose to walk as a form of exercise, focus on good posture when you walk. Keep your shoulders back, stand tall and try to imagine you’re pushing the top of your head through the clouds. As with all types of exercise, form is important.
  • You don’t need any special clothes for walking, except proper footwear. There are other ways to boost your activity, like taking the stairs. When you walk, make it brisk for the most benefit. Longer strides and more rapid ones are best.
  • If you have a pedometer to count your steps, you can increase the number of steps you take by doing simple things, like parking further away from the store when you shop, walking to lunch and taking the stairs.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training