Workout Challenge of the Month

November Workout Challenge of the Month

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Perform the following exercises while holding a pair of dumbbells in a “count up” format (1 rep of each, then 2 of each then 3 and so on until the time is complete). Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

-Alternating lunges
-Pushups with Row
-Jumping Jacks

Bad Foods

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Everyone enjoys to overindulge in unhealthy foods. For individuals working out and eating well, the idea behind a cheat meal is to eat clean for a period of time, execute workouts as usual, and then reward the body with something unhealthy. Tim McComsey, “a registered dietician specializing in weight-loss programming shares his eight foods to avoid at all costs. This strategy can certainly be effective for overcoming a weight-loss plateau and revving up the metabolism, but not all foods should be given the green light, especially if you’ve set an aggressive New Year’s resolution for yourself.” Listed below are some of the worst foods for you: Source:

  1. Donuts

The amazing taste of donuts don’t come without an enormous cost to the body. These sticky and sweet treats are high in calories, fats, and carbs. Plus, because of added preservatives, they can sit on store shelves for extended periods of time without losing its taste or spoiling. The result? Rapid weight gain and poor digestive function.

  1. Bagels

Bagels have a massively high glycemic index which increases insulin and inflammation in the body, as a result, the possibility of accelerating aging, worsening acne, and rosacea. One bagel alone often contains 2-3 servings of carbohydrates, so the added pounds will come on quick.

  1. Sugary Cereal

Want a surefire way to ruin your body inside and out? With the high amount of inflammation-causing sugar and gluten content, most cereals will do the trick. Gluten alone can increase skin breakouts and inflammation of the stomach lining. Skip out on the sugary cereals if you’d rather spare yourself the gut-aches and crummy skin.

  1. Chips

Most chips are deep fried with trans fats that can increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

  1. French Fries

Just like chips, french fries are often, if not always fried in oils and trans fats. The potatoes themselves are high on the glycemic index leading to an increase in insulin levels which are both harmful to our health, and our waistlines. French fries, along with chips, contain acrylamide, a known carcinogen that is formed when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures which is known to cause cancers.

  1. Fast Food Burger

It’s approximated that the meat used to make these burgers is between 2-14% or less of actual meat, with an average falling at about 12%. The remainder of the burger consists of water, bone, cartilage and other “fillers” that our bodies are highly unlikely to use at all. These chain-made burgers are also high in saturated fats, and may even contain trans fats.

  1. Microwave popcorn

Microwave popcorn contains carcinogens, cancer-causing free radicals in the bags that holds the kernels. Perfluorochemicals, or PFC’s, are added to the bags to make them more greaseproof even though they’ve have been linked to thyroid disease and ADHD, among other illnesses. Another cancer-causing chemical, diacetyl is hidden in the artificial fats.

  1. Margrine

Margarine is marketed as a cholesterol-free, healthy alternative to butter, but it’s the ultimate source of trans fats, which actually elevate cholesterol and damage blood vessel walls. To play it safe, read food labels to make sure the foods you’re eating use omega-3 fats or butter over margarine.

That Gut Feeling

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By Carla Schuit   – Registered Dietitian

We eat when we are happy. We eat when we are sad. We eat when we are bored. We eat when we are mad. Many of us experience that 3pm craving for something to eat. Whether it being true hunger or just needing an escape from work for a moment. There are hundreds of diet books and theories out there for how to schedule your eating. Don’t eat after 8pm, eat six small meals a day, eat three large meals, intermittent fasting or hitting certain macronutrients. We spend so much time and money listening to the latest diet trend or “expert” that we have forgotten who really knows what our body needs… our body!

Hungry defined as the “feeling or display of needing food.” Is the bodies way of telling us it needs energy. Fullness or Satiety is the feeling or sensation of the body being satiated or full. These are cues that we are born with but over time override. Be it from your parents making you clean you plate or as we age developing an unhealthy relationship with food. Our ancestors hunted and gathered what foods were available to survive. We now eat to be social, to occupy ourselves or even to cope, ignoring our digestive intuition.

Intuitive eating at its most basic level is “Eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full”. Can you identify those feelings? When reaching for that snack at 3pm can you stop and ask yourself “Am I really hungry or am I just …….?” When asking for food as a kid my mom would frequently ask us this question.

We obsess over hitting a specific calorie, protein, fat or carb number but forget what we are eating for. I am not saying it isn’t important to pay attention to these calorie and nutrient requirements but don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If you do not feel hungry to not choke down five egg whites just to hit a protein requirement. Listen to your body. Would you put a band-aid on a finger with no cut or take Tylenol when you have no pain? No, most likely not.

Chances are you haven’t been listening to your hunger/full cues for some time now. The cause for weight gain (outside of other medical factors) is that the body is getting more energy or nutrition than it needs to function. So it stores it. So how can you re-learn to hear these cues?


  1. Start with a schedule- This seems counter intuitive to what I am saying above but to hear the cues you must first create them. I do not necessarily mean a meal or time schedule but cognitive eating. Assess what your calorie needs are for your body weight and stick to them. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to help track foods. This will give you an idea of how to identify hunger but also teach what real portions are and their nutritional value.
  2. Honor the hunger, Feel the fullness- If you are hungry, eat. If you aren’t, don’t. Ask yourself that question “Am I hungry or am I… (bored, mad, sad, etc)?”. Start small with your meals or snacks. When I was learning how to cook my mom always told me to add a little, taste and add more if needed. She would say “ you can always add more but you can’t take it out”. It is a lot easier to eat a small meal and if still hungry eat more than to burn additional calories off.
  3. Listen to your body- As you are feeling the cues and eating to your requirements listen to how you feel. Recognize what foods make you feel full and which aren’t worth the calories. Some bodies work best off more fat and some off more carbs. Your activity level and lean body mass will effect which nutrients are best for you. The fitness or meal tracker app will help you identify this as well.


Your body is smart and knows what it needs. Get in tune with your gut and listen to your intuition. We use our instinct and intuition to make choices in regards to fight or flight or safety but rarely apply it to food. Let your body be your guide to health.

Haunted Workout 2015

ForwardFit Haunted Workout!

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Join us Wednesday, October 28th for our second Halloween workout and costume contest.  We will be having our Fitness boxing class at 6:15pm and TRX suspension training class at 7:15pm.  However, the gym will be converted into a haunted house.  If you saw last year’s photos on Facebook, get ready it is going to be even better.  It’s free for Members and $20 for non-members (includes both classes).

No Dairy, No Problem

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By Carla Schuit   – Registered Dietitian

About 65% of the adult population has some difficulty digesting lactose, the protein in milk, after infancy. It is thought that as we age our dependency on milk for nutrition decreases. Our diets vary more and the bodies lactase production (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) decreases. This makes it harder for our bodies to digest lactose creating undesirable side effects such as bloating, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea.

It was originally thought that the best treatment for lactose intolerance was complete dairy avoidance. More recently scientists have discovered that keeping some dairy like yogurt and hard cheeses in your diet can maintain some lactose production and be digested with no issues. This is often recommended to provide a good source of protein, calcium, choline, phosphorus and potassium in ones diet. But remember all bodies are different and some may have more or less issues keeping these foods in their diet. If you are one that cannot consume any dairy increasing food such as dark leafy greens and canned fish with bones will provide the missing nutrition in milk. Below are nutrients found in mlk or other dairy that you will need to find in other sources.

  • Calcium-spinach (or any dark leafy green), canned salmon or sardines with bones, raw broccoli, tuna and almonds. For choline
  • Choline- nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs (with yolk), liver and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, bok choy and broccoli.
  • Protein- nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, legumes and animal meats such as chicken, beef, pork and fish.
  • Vit D- cod liver oil, tuna-canned, sardines-canned, liver and eggs.

By having a spinach salad with tuna and hard boiled eggs for lunch, almonds for a snack and a chicken breast with lentils and kale for dinner will provide multiple sources of all the nutrients in milk that your body needs.

Often times milk alternatives are fortified with these nutrients as well. However, be cautious with milk alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk. Often they have added sugars so always buy unsweetened and read the ingredients. Make sure that the featured ingredient, ex. almond milk, is the first ingredient. Milk alternatives have been in the news lately for not containing what they claim too. Reading labels carefully will ensure you are buying what you expect.

Watch out for hidden lactose! Look at your supplements and processed snacks for ingredients such as whey, casein, curds, milk by products, dry milk solids and non-fat dry milk powder. Milk is a common allergen food packages have to declare it if it is contained in the product so again, pay close attention to the ingredients.

Why So Hangry

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Have you ever been so hungry that you became angry? What your feeling is called “Hangry”

Recently, Oxford Dictionaries add this word: hangry (adjective): bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

The simple answer is that your body needs food. But why does this happen? Here is the science behind why we get Hangry.

“The carbohydrates, proteins and fats in everything you eat are digested into simple sugars (such as glucose), amino acids and free fatty acids. These nutrients pass into your bloodstream from where they are distributed to your organs and tissues and used for energy.

As time passes after your last meal, the amount of these nutrients circulating in your bloodstream starts to drop. If your blood-glucose levels fall far enough, your brain will perceive it as a life-threatening situation. Unlike most other organs and tissues in your body which can use a variety of nutrients to keep functioning, your brain is critically dependent on glucose to do its job.

You’ve probably already noticed this dependence your brain has on glucose; simple things can become difficult when you’re hungry and your blood glucose levels drops. Have you found it hard to concentrate or you may make silly mistakes or noticed your words become muddled or slurred. If so you may have be able to conjure up enough brain power to avoid being grumpy with important colleagues, you may let your guard down and inadvertently snap at the people you are most comfortable with, such as partners and friends. Sound familiar?

Besides a drop in blood-glucose, another reason people can become hangry is the glucose counter-regulatory response.
When blood-glucose levels drop to a certain threshold, your brain sends instructions to several organs in your body to synthesize and release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream.

In fact, adrenaline is one of the major hormones released into your bloodstream with the “fight or flight” response to a sudden scare, such as when you see, hear or even think something that threatens your safety.

Another reason hunger is linked to anger is that both are controlled by common genes. The product of one such gene is neuropeptide Y, a natural brain chemical released into the brain when you are hungry. It stimulates voracious feeding behaviours by acting on a variety of receptors in the brain, including one called the Y1 receptor. Besides acting in the brain to control hunger neuropeptide Y and the Y1 receptor also regulate anger or aggression.

While many physical factors contribute to hanger, psychosocial factors also have a role. Culture influences can impact directly or indirectly whether you express verbal aggression. The easiest way to handle hanger is to eat something before you get too hungry. While you may hanker for quick-fix foods, such as chocolate and potato chips, junk foods generally induce large rises in blood-glucose levels that come crashing down fast. Ultimately, they may leave you feeling hangrier. So think nutrient-rich, natural foods that help satisfy hunger for as long as possible, such as nuts or a protein bar.

Eating as soon as you are hungry may not always be possible. This may be the case during long shifts at work, for instance, or through religious fasts such as Ramadan, or during weight-loss diets that involve severe energy restriction (such as intermittent fasting diets). All of these should only be done if your doctor has given you the all-clear.” It can help to remember that, with time, your glucose counter-regulatory response will kick in and your blood-glucose levels will stabilize. So make sure you keep a healthy diet and don’t skip meals.

Don’t be Hangry, eat something.

National Health and Medical Research Council senior research fellow in the Boden Insitute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders at University of Sydney. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. CNN is showcasing the work of The Conversation, a collaboration between journalists and academics to provide news analysis and commentary. The content is produced solely by The Conversation.

Salad Bar Strategy

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By Carla Schuit   – Registered Dietitian

I thought this month it would be fun to turn the article into a fun challenge. These days most meals are eaten away from the home and grocery stores are becoming more than just a place to fill the cupboard. Grocery stores now offer cappuccinos and or glasses of wine to enjoy while walking around doing your shopping. They also understand the plight of the busy lives their shoppers live. They offer hot bars, deli meals and salad bars so patrons can grab a ready prepared meal for their lunch or dinner. These grab n go options can be a quick healthy option but there are some things to watch out for.

  1. Cost- you can quickly turn a pile of veggies into a $20 salad if you aren’t careful. Stick to lighter vibrantly colored vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc that will add a lot of nutritional value but not weigh down your plate. Avoid prepared salads such as potato or pasta salads as well as heavy creamy dressings. These add a lot of weight and cost to your bowl with out the nutrients of the veggies. Stick to vinegar and oil or other vinaigrette for your dressing.
  2. Calories – If you aren’t careful as you go down the line you can pack your bowl with high calorie items. Prepared salads, fried foods, and sauces can add up quick to your bank and calorie account. Keep it simple.
  3. Convenience- A lot of times we use these easy and convenient options as excuses or opportunities to indulge. Although we eat out much more often than our parents did we still treat it as a special event. Steer clear of the fried foods, sausages, desserts or other indulgent items. This brings us back to calories consumed and could unintentionally derail us from our diet goals. Choose lean proteins like fish or chicken and add veggies on the side. You can eat as if you cooked it yourself with the luxury of someone else doing the work.

So the challenge extended to you is to go to your local grocery store and make a meal from the cold, hot or salad bar. Make it affordable and nutrient dense by avoiding heavy caloric premade salads and piling high the veggies. Use vinaigrettes instead of heavy, creamy, gravies and sauces. What to do:

  • Go to you local grocery store and make your meal at the hot, cold or salad bar.
  • Take a picture and submit what you included in your meal and the price. (trying to get the most nutrition for our buck here!)
  • Send all information to by August 31, 2015.

We will announce the results at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see all the great choices and creative meals you make!

Eat on!

tea infuser

Benefits of Antioxidants

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Antioxidants found in your morning coffee or tea, known as polyphenol antioxidants, may help prevent heart disease. They work to prevent the oxidation of fat and thereby limit the internal inflammation that may increase risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you prefer coffee to tea, choose your roast carefully; light roasts have been shown to have a much higher antioxidant count than dark roasts. As is always the case, you should work with your physician if you believe you are at risk for heart disease.

More and more studies show that there is a link between free radicals and mood disorders like anxiety and depression as well as complex neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants may work to combat neuroinflammation caused by free radical damage, which is thought to be a precursor to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By reducing free radicals, antioxidants have also been found to improve the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Free radicals are naturally formed by the body during exercise and through various energy processes in the body. At the same time, your body releases enzymes to keep these free radicals under control. Many antioxidants work by “quenching” free radicals’ need for an extra electron, thereby neutralizing these potentially harmful particles. So, by eating antioxidant-rich food, you add an extra layer of protection to your body’s natural defenses, helping to ensure that the usual enzyme defenses don’t get overwhelmed.

Antioxidants in berries, such as such as vitamins E and C, may help defray the effects of aging and prevent or even reverse memory loss. They do so by helping to improve brain cells’ ability to maintain long-term communication and establish strong connections. Just as antioxidants in the body work to help slow down our aging process, it’s possible to slow the ripening—or over-ripening—process of fruits and vegetables by enhancing the concentration of their natural antioxidants through conventional breeding and genetic engineering. This allows produce to stay riper for longer, preventing food waste.

Carotenoids, the pigments found in a number of fruits and vegetables, protect dark green, yellow, and orange plants from sun damage. When consumed, these carotenoids form vitamin A in the body, which also has a protective effect. Vitamin A regulates the pigment produced by the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in your eye), helping to protect your eyes from sun damage while maintaining the functionality of your low-light and color vision.

By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants may help limit not just the internal deterioration caused by aging, but also the outward physical effects. Some studies have shown that antioxidants may reduce the signs of aging by minimizing wrinkles, preserving the texture of the skin, and even reducing your susceptibility to sun damage. Foods with high levels of unsaturated fat, such as butter and meat, are prone to going rancid quickly due to oxidation from exposure to the air. In processed meats, this is often described as a “warmed over flavor.” Not only does rancidity impart a foul odor and taste, it actually decreases the nutritional value of the food.

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