Burn Hundreds of Extra Calories

New research at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has found that standing burns significantly more calories than sitting. And it’s even better, because it doesn’t come with the normal increase in appetite that exercise usually does. The study hasn’t been published yet, but their experiment where they asked a volunteer group of people to spend one day sitting (even using a wheelchair to go to the bathroom) and the next day standing showed that the group burned hundreds of more calories on the standing day.

Obviously it’s not the only thing you should be doing, but it’s a pretty simple way to boost your calorie burn throughout the day!

Ask Dani – 200 Calories or 240 Calories?

I couldn't resist this pop-tart kitty picture. Sorry.


Dear Dani,

My friend and I were arguing this week about what’s better for you to eat: A 200 calorie pop-tart for breakfast or a 240 calorie egg sandwich on whole-grain bread. I said that the sandwich was a better option, since the stuff inside it is better for you, but my friend swears by eating as little calories possible to lose weight, and therefore the pop-tart is a better option. Help me prove her wrong please!

Thanks, Fighting Friends

Dear Fighting Friends,

Sorry to say this, but your friend is wrong. Just because something has fewer calories doesn’t mean it’s better for you to eat and it doesn’t mean that it will help you lose weight. It is true that the formula for losing weight is calories in vs. calories out, but not all calories are the same. Pop-Tarts are loaded with sugar and refined flour, which means that when they enter your body they get absorbed way too quickly, and because of that you’re hungry (and most likely sluggish) an hour later. And that means you’re going to end up eating something and then not only take in your lower calorie pop-tart, but something else on top of that too. Had you just had the egg sandwich, which is full of whole-grains, fiber, and protein you would have been satisfied for at least 3 hours. Plus, because your body absorbs those kinds of calories a lot slower you would be using more of them for energy.
So, sorry friend, I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to lose weight, make sure that your calories are coming from good sources, even if it means eating more of them.

4 Ways To Break Through Weight Loss Plateaus

Weight loss plateaus are frustrating. You feel like you’re doing everything right – watching your portions, eating 6 small meals throughout the day, doing your cardio and weight training, staying active, and making good choices when eating at restaurants, etc. – but for some reason, all of a sudden, bam, you’ve stopped losing weight. You have no idea what else you could possibly be doing to lose more weight and you feel like you’re stuck. Now what?

First figure out if you’ve really hit a plateau. It’s only a plateau if 3 things are happening: You haven’t dropped any pounds on the scale, you haven’t lost any body fat, and you haven’t lost any inches. The scale isn’t the only indicator that you’re losing weight. Sometimes you might be going down in inches, but the scale doesn’t move because you’re replacing body fat with muscle (and muscle weighs more than fat). So, if one of these things are happening then you haven’t really hit a plateau.

But if you truly have hit a plateau here are a few things that may shake things up a bit:
1. Food Diary – Start writing down everything you eat and see if maybe you’re eating more than you realize. Sometimes when people lose weight they get comfortable and take it as permission to get a little lax. Maybe you’re giving yourself permission to eat more than you should be.

2. Change up your workout – Your workout routine should change every 4-6 weeks. The body adapts to exercises and needs to be challenged. You can change the kinds of exercises you do, repetitions, sets, or all three. I give all my clients interval workouts, because it keeps the heart rate up throughout the entire workout and the little bursts of cardio will cause you to burn at least 150 more calories per workout. I suggest doing three exercises in a row and then follow that up with a 60 second all out sprint, then rest 2 minutes and begin again. Keep this up through your entire workout.

3. Take inventory - Thing about the past few weeks and see if there’s been any extra stress, anxiety, or anything else that might be tripping you up and leading to some sort of sabotage. Are you being as consistent with your workouts and eating as you think you’ve been? The best way to do this is to journal.

4. Persevere – Whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep at it and eventually you’ll start to see some movement again.

One last thing… This may be some advanced brain food, but think of the plateau as an opportunity to regroup. You need to check in with yourself every now and again to see if what you’re doing is really helping you. Without the plateau you might go through your routine without ever thinking of how you’re really feeling. Maybe what you really need is to simply change things up. Stop and look around for a minute. A plateau is a doorway to something new.

** Get more of these tried and true tips, plus a detailed weight loss plan when you join my 12-week weight management group. Email me for more info!

Beat It or Eat It – Pancakes

Breakfast is by far my most favorite meal of the day. I love everything about it. The foods, eating a meal after waking up hungry, and that it’s like baking mixed in with cooking. And did I mention the foods? Pancakes, waffles, french toast, frittatas, omelets, bagels, cereal (I always say that if I had to live in one aisle of the supermarket forever that it would be the cereal aisle), etc. The possibilities are endless. I even love breakfast for dinner. Seriously, I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. I will just tell you that my love for pancakes is true. Cereal is going to come and cereal is going to go, but my love for pancakes is true, and I will love pancakes till the day I die. For real. Sadly though, I don’t indulge often enough, because like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little girl and little girls don’t get to have 600 calorie breakfasts. So, I’ve resigned myself to sneaking a taste or two off of my husband’s plate, since he is a 6’1” man that can have his pancakes. But boy is it a happy day, because I just found a healthier recipe for yummy blueberry pancakes that will give me the chance to eat my pancakes in loving peace off of my very own plate.

Beat it:
3 Regular blueberry pancakes (with 1/4 cup maple syrup): 530 calories; 128 of those calories are from fat; 14.17g fat; 750mg sodium; 96.66g carbs (!!!); 1.5g fiber; 32g sugar; 9.39g protein

YUM!


Eat it:
Berry Good Pancakes
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup low-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups blueberries

1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Whisk eggs, cottage cheese, milk, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
4. Moisten a crumpled paper towel with canola oil and use it to lightly oil a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Spoon on about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bottoms are golden and small bubbles start to form on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Lightly oil pan between batches. (Adjust heat as necessary for even browning.) Serve hot. (Yields 6 servings – 3 pancakes per serving)

Ready for the stats? Each 3 pancake serving is only 233 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 630 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 11 g protein. AMAZING! And if you use sugar-free syrup, you’ll be adding only 25 calories!

Can’t wait for Sunday!

Week 3 – 12 Weeks To A Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

Hope you’re still hanging in there! Only 8 more weeks to go! This week we’re going to continue with the same exercises only we’re going to ramp things up a bit by turning it into a circuit. That means you’re going to move from exercise to exercise with only 15 seconds of rest in between. At the end of the last exercise (which means the end of the circuit) you’re going to rest 15 seconds and then begin from the top and complete the circuit a second time. For optimal results do this workout 3 times this week, allowing at least one day in between for resting the muscles. Try and get some cardio in on the days that you’re not doing this workout. And remember to give yourself 2 days of complete rest as well.

Circuits are a great kind of workout to do if you’re trying to lose weight, because it helps keep your heart rate up the entire time, which means more calories burned!

The Workout:
Week 3

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/intro/id325808192?i=325808197 (The XX – Intro)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/finally-woken/id253350362?i=253350737 (Jem – Finally Woken)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/they/id253350362?i=253350371 (Jem – They)

- Workout
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/well-thought-out-twinkles/id167387718?i=167387804 (Silversun Pickups – Well Thought Out Twinkies **This guy’s voice is mesmerizing. Yeah, it’s a guy!)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/time-to-pretend/id264720008?i=264720018 (MGMT – Time to Pretend)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tear-you-apart/id91431035?i=91431082 (She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-ghost-inside/id353032605?i=353032615 (Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside **I don’t know what it is, but this song makes me want to move)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/steady-as-she-goes/id205202916?i=205203291 (The Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes)

- Cardio
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/heartbeats/id205108007?i=205108010 (The Knife – Heartbeats **Love the beat. This is my go-to pole dancing song.)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lights-out/id278671865?i=278671971 (Santigold – Lights Out **Another one that makes you just want to move)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/help-im-alive/id307592236?i=307592238 (Metric – Help I’m Alive)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/filthy-gorgeous-original-radio/id23208853?i=23208838 (Scissor Sisters – Filthy Gorgeous)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/big-girl-you-are-beautiful/id219949350?i=219949383 (Mika – Big Girls You Are Beautiful **Play this one twice, because big girls are beautiful – you heard the man!)

- Cool Down
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-believe-in-you/id270788190?i=270788198 (Cat Power – I Believe in You)

** Combine this with my 12 week weight management program to maximize your results. Leave a comment if you’d like some more info.

Week 3  12 Weeks To A Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

Hope you’re still hanging in there! Only 8 more weeks to go! This week we’re going to continue with the same exercises only we’re going to ramp things up a bit by turning it into a circuit. That means you’re going to move from exercise to exercise with only 15 seconds of rest in between. At the end of the last exercise (which means the end of the circuit) you’re going to rest 15 seconds and then begin from the top and complete the circuit a second time. For optimal results do this workout 3 times this week, allowing at least one day in between for resting the muscles. Try and get some cardio in on the days that you’re not doing this workout. And remember to give yourself 2 days of complete rest as well.

Circuits are a great kind of workout to do if you’re trying to lose weight, because it helps keep your heart rate up the entire time, which means more calories burned!

The Workout:
Week 3

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/intro/id325808192?i=325808197 (The XX – Intro)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/finally-woken/id253350362?i=253350737 (Jem – Finally Woken)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/they/id253350362?i=253350371 (Jem – They)

- Workout
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/well-thought-out-twinkles/id167387718?i=167387804 (Silversun Pickups – Well Thought Out Twinkies **This guy’s voice is mesmerizing. Yeah, it’s a guy!)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/time-to-pretend/id264720008?i=264720018 (MGMT – Time to Pretend)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tear-you-apart/id91431035?i=91431082 (She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-ghost-inside/id353032605?i=353032615 (Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside **I don’t know what it is, but this song makes me want to move)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/steady-as-she-goes/id205202916?i=205203291 (The Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes)

- Cardio
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/heartbeats/id205108007?i=205108010 (The Knife – Heartbeats **Love the beat. This is my go-to pole dancing song.)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lights-out/id278671865?i=278671971 (Santigold – Lights Out **Another one that makes you just want to move)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/help-im-alive/id307592236?i=307592238 (Metric – Help I’m Alive)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/filthy-gorgeous-original-radio/id23208853?i=23208838 (Scissor Sisters – Filthy Gorgeous)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/big-girl-you-are-beautiful/id219949350?i=219949383 (Mika – Big Girls You Are Beautiful **Play this one twice, because big girls are beautiful – you heard the man!)

- Cool Down
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-believe-in-you/id270788190?i=270788198 (Cat Power – I Believe in You)

** Combine this with my 12 week weight management program to maximize your results. Leave a comment if you d like some more info.

Enthusiasm is Contagious

“Having enthusiasm is contagious. Not having enthusiasm is also contagious.”

– Fortune cookie

You know, in Spinning there’s a concept that if you try really hard to push the pedals on a hill it’s more likely that you’ll be fighting them than actually succeeding at making them go round. It will actually be harder than if you relaxed your body and just went with the rhythm of the cycle. Instead, you’re supposed to relax your shoulders, back, and elbows, and make yourself heavy in the saddle (seat). When you do that, it almost seems as if the pedals have a mind of their own and your body ends up having more energy to power through. By tensing up you only sap your body of any power that it has, because it seems that you’re fighting to push the pedals forward, but what you’re really doing is fighting against them.

It’s the same with weight loss and living a more balanced and positive life. The more you complain about working out and eating healthier, and the more you tell yourself that you’ll never feel good about yourself the harder it will be to actually get there. You need to embrace it and run right through your challenges and not go around them. You’ll find that success breeds success and that you’ll get nowhere fast by complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Look towards the future and know how great you will feel after you struggle a bit to get there. That kind of happiness is priceless and is worth any pain you might have to suffer now.

Ask Dani – Hobbled in Hoboken

Dear Dani,

You have really nice toes, by the way :)

Last week I went running on a dirt path trail thinking it would be less impact on my joints. It was, but ironically enough I ended up tripping on the roots of a tree and got a minor fracture in my ankle. It doesn’t need to be in a cast, but it is in an ACE bandage, and I was told by my doctor to lay off of it for a little while. She said that cycling is ok, but nothing with any major impact. I’ve recently lost some weight and have been working hard at staying in shape, but now I’m worried that I’m going to lose my momentum, strength, and gain the weight back if I have to lay low for a while. Do you have an alternative workout that I can do while still allowing my ankle to heal?

Thanks, Hobbled in Hoboken

Dear Hobbled in Hoboken,

So sorry to hear about your ankle. Injuries are the worst to get after you’ve worked so hard to get where you are. But fear not, because an injury doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything, it just means that you have to change some things up a bit. You should actually look at it as a good thing, because it’s going to give you the chance to try something new out and shock your muscles in a different way.

I came up with a workout that will work your opposite leg, so that it doesn’t lose it’s strength while you’re recovering and I also added a bunch of upper body and core exercises. Simply click here and print out the workout. If you have any questions, just let me know! This is also a great workout for anyone else looking for something else to do. There are a lot of stability exercises to challenge and keep you motivated.

The last thing I want to tell you is to remember to RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest the leg as much as possible, ice it after you’ve used it to reduce swelling, compress it with a bandage (such as an ACE bandage), and elevate the leg above your heart when sitting. A few pillows under the leg should be just fine. Be religious about this treatment and it will be healed in no time. And whatever you do, avoid the temptation to rush back into working out – it will only delay recovery or make the injury even worse.

Feel better!

The Perfect Time To Work Out

So many of my clients have asked me at one point or another when the best time to work out is. There are hundreds of articles on this topic too, and each one claims to have the magic answer. Funny thing is, they each have a different answer. So which one is it?

Morning
* The good: If you’re like most people, you probably have way more piled on your plate than you can handle, so working out in the morning will guarantee that it gets done before life gets in the way. It will also set the tone for your day, which means that you’ll be more likely to watch what you eat. It’s also not as hot in the morning, so you’ll be able to stick through your summer workouts.
* The bad: If you didn’t get enough sleep the night before your morning workout will probably suffer.
* Make the most of it: Give yourself at least 20 minutes to wake up in the morning before starting your workout. And make sure you give yourself a full warm-up, about 10 minutes, to make sure that you’re not working out cold muscles, which can lead to injury. And here’s the most important thing: DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST! You need these calories to fuel you through your workout, otherwise you’ll feel nauseous, faint, and won’t be able to power through your workout. Your best option for a quick bite is whole-grain toast and peanut butter.

Afternoon
* The good: You’ve been awake for a few hours, so you’ll definitely be ready to go, plus the workout will help energize you, so you’ll be able to avoid that 4pm coma you usually feel come over you. And if you feel like ripping your coworker’s head off you can get it all out in the gym!
* The bad: If you work in an office you’ll most likely be rushing through your workout during your lunch hour (if you’re even lucky enough to have a boss with slightest hint of normalcy that will allow you to leave your desk), so it’s likely that you’ll be rushing through the exercises, which can lead to sloppy form and possibly injury.
* Make the most of it: Make sure to work out before you eat lunch, because a full tummy will slow you down and possibly cramp you up. But also make sure to have a snack about 45 minutes before your workout so that you have enough gas in the tank. A banana is a good choice. Then choose a lunch that includes carbs and protein to refuel and help you recover. Without it you’ll be feeling your 4pm coma at 2pm.

Evening
* The good: Supposedly among most people your strength, power, and flexibility are at its best between 4pm and 8pm (even if you’re a morning person). An evening workout is also great because then you can work off the stress of the day and not take it home with you (your family will thank you for it).
* The bad: It can be hard to fit a workout in after you leave the office, because you might feel like you just want to put on your jammies and forget the whole day. It might be the last thing you want to do after a long day and you’re probably thinking about dinner.
* Make the most of it: Make sure to leave at least an hour between your workout and bedtime, otherwise it’ll be hard to get a good night’s rest. If you’re going to the gym pre-dinner make sure to avoid an energy crash by eating a low-fat yogurt or an apple about an hour before heading out.

Bottom line: Some of us are early birds, and some of us aren’t, so to say that there’s one perfect time is kind of like saying that there’s a perfect time to take a shower. Some of us prefer the morning and some of us prefer the night (unless you’re like me and like to take 2 showers), there is no magical answer for this. I personally like to work out mid-morning, because I’ve woken up, eaten, and gotten some stuff done, so then I can really concentrate on my workout. Plus, afterwards, I really feel like I earned my lunch. It also helps me sort out the rest of the day and I don’t have to worry about fitting it in or making time for it. Whatever time you choose is the right time, just make sure to follow my tips for making the most of it.

Beat It or Eat It – Strawberry Margarita

Beat it:
Ok, I know I’ve said it so many times, but I love summer! And what goes better with a hot and humid day then a nice cold drink? A nice frosty cocktail, that’s what. And what’s the best icy alcoholic beverage? A margarita! Problem is, it’s easy to down way too many extra calories when you’re sipping something so sweet and so good. And don’t forget, the tipsier you are the less likely you’ll be to watch your calories. So, instead of chugging your way to an extra 340 calories, 67g carbs, and 17g sugar, try this slimmed down version…

Eat it:

No guilt!

- Half a 2-serving packet (about 1/2 teaspoon) sugar-free strawberry powdered drink mix (try Crystal Light or something similar)
- 6 ounces diet lemon-lime soda
- 1-1/2 ounces tequila
- 4 frozen unsweetened strawberries
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes
- Optional garnish: lime slice

1. Combine powdered drink mix with soda in a glass and stir to dissolve. Pour mixture into a blender. Add all other ingredients to the blender, and blend at high speed until nice and slushy.
2. Pour into a margarita glass and, if you like, garnish with a slice of lime. (Yields 1 serving)

This 10oz. drink has only 125 calories, 0g fat, 24mg sodium, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 2g sugars, 0g protein. How awesome is that!