5 Tips for Healthy Snacking
By Josephine Atluri, Director of Business Operations
Snacking - i’s probably one of the main downfalls of a person’s attempt at healthy eating. I can say that for myself, snacking is a major issue. A person can be on point when it comes to their main three meals, but when stressful moments in the day pop up it can be very difficult to think clearly about food choices. In addition, the holiday season is one of the busiest and most stressful times for most people. Coupled with all of the extra parties and social gatherings, there is a lot of room for unnecessary and unhealthy eating. How can you stay on track amidst all of this mayhem? Over the years, I’ve picked up some proven strategies to help combat the snacking dilemma. Here are my top five suggestions for successful snacking:
Tip #1: Planning is key
I’m not saying you have to food journal (although that can be helpful when first starting out to eat healthier) but it is important to think ahead for the day. What does your schedule look like and when can you squeeze in your meals and snacks? Then, have a general idea of what you plan to eat and have it ready or easily accessible. By planning ahead, you take out the guesswork of what to eat in the moment. Many times we eat whatever is in sight (bad or good) due to convenience. It is harder to deviate from a plan if you have already made especially if you already have the food with you.
Tip #2: Portion out your snacks
You may know the healthy options to have for snacks, but you also need to factor in the appropriate amounts. The food industry has become keenly aware of the portion control movement. Thus, we are lucky to have many items already prepackaged in convenient sizes such as trail mix and fruit cups. Seek out these portioned items for your snack options. If your favorite items don’t come prepackaged in convenient portions, prepare several days worth of snacks ahead of time.
Tip #3:Don’t buy it in the first place
If you don’t have it in your home, then there’s no way you can eat it, right? Make sure not to go to grocery shopping when you are starving otherwise you’re more likely to pick out unhealthy options.
Tip #4: A variety of options prevents boredom
Don’t just eat the same snack every afternoon otherwise you will get bored and will turn to an unhealthy option down the road. Mix things up!
Tip #5: Be flexible and have backup options
Life never goes according to schedule. You may have the best of intentions, but then find yourself in a situation where you can’t have your nicely planned snack. Always have a backup that is easily accessible and be flexible if things don’t go as planned. It’s not the end of the world if you don't have that healthy snack. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to start fresh.
Personally, I have a tough time with snacking come midday because I am in the car and running around with my kids. I make sure to bring some healthy fuel so I don’t end up at a drive-thru. My personal favorites include small packages of nuts, a piece of fruit, small packages of peanut butter, greek yogurt, a bag of veggies, and fruit cups. As for my backup, I always find myself at a Starbucks throughout the day. Luckily, most of the items I mentioned as my go-to snacks can be purchased there. My current favorite snack is Siggi’s yogurt because it’s packed with protein but not that much sugar. It’s delicious! Try to incorporate each of these tips slowly into your healthy eating journey and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Happy eating!
Don't Let the Winter Blues Beat Your Fitness Routine
By: Adi Golani, Trainer
It's not a secret. Winter is here and the transition from fall to winter is never easy. We still crave for those warm summer nights and with temperatures dropping down and the days getting shorter, it doesn't get easier. Even the best of us don't always feel like eating well or hitting the gym. Although many see the cold weather as an excuse to cover up in bulky clothing and hibernate until spring, working out can actually help clear your winter blues and chances are, you'll be in tip top shape once the weather warms up.
Here are some simple strategies to get you through the winter months:
1. Embrace the cold weather and try a winter sport
Whether you like it or not, winter is here and it brings with it plenty of fun activities. Try a sport like snowshoeing, ice skating, snowboarding, even sledding. Remember any way to stay active is a good way!
2. Find a workout partner
A workout buddy is one of the best ways to increase accountability. It is much harder to skip a training session when you're part of a workout group. Plus, a little friendly competition never hurts! ????
3. Set a goal
With a goal to work toward, you'll be less likely to slack off. When setting goals, choose realistic goals rather than aiming too high that you wind up with a defeated attitude.
4. Meal prep
We tend to turn to comfort food during the colder season. A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you from putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta, with fresh fruit and veggies. Prep is always a major key. Having healthy meals handy will help reduce the chance you turn to less healthy food.
Avoid wearing baggy clothes as they will not tell the truth if you're eating too many desserts ???? Keep in mind that you won't be able to wear sweats forever!!
These are only a few strategies to help you stay fit during the winter season. The key is commitment and continuity. Don't get lazy. Be active and don't slack off. Do not let the cold weather stop you from achieving your goals and getting to the next level.
How To Make Your Abs POP!
By James Peleckas, Trainer
Nutrition: What you feed your body is a direct reflection of how your body looks, so choose wisely. Everyone has an opinion on what to eat and when to eat it. I've tried it all and know what works for me: simple, cheap, effective. Extensive meal planning and expensive grocery lists don't work for me. It works for a week or two and then it's back to the drawing board. I keep it simple. NO CARBS, HIT IT HARD. I consume little to no carbs during the week, hit the gym hard, drink TONS of water, and allow myself a couple of cheat meals on the weekend. My grocery list consists of 5 or 6 items and that's perfect for me. It may sound boring, but I have my cheat meal(s) to look forward to on the weekend. Besides, nothing tastes as good as being lean feels. Most importantly, I'm able to sustain this lifestyle every single week.
Ab workouts: Crazy ab workouts are not the answer to the six pack you're seeking. Cardio and strength play a huge role in revealing abs. We are all born with a six pack, some of our six packs are simply hiding behind a layer of fat. Building lean muscle and burning fat is how we reveal those sexy abs. As for building and toning the abs, FREQUENCY is the key! I like my abs to pop (especially in the warm months.) I am at my best when I do an ab workout 5-7 days a week. It can be anywhere from 15-60 minutes. If I'm not doing a BodyBurn Core day, I'll put together a little ab circuit whether it's at the gym or in my living room.
Fine tuning: Water is your friend. Your muscles, brain, and skin all LOVE water. Chug water whenever you can...even if you're not thirsty. Also make sure to reduce sodium in your diet. Sodium retains water and makes your abs appear bloated and less cut so hold the salt. Finally, a nice tan enhances the abs (and every other muscle.) It's true!! A suntan masks flaws on your skin, tightens the skin, and creates shadows on your body making you look more RIPPED! Put all these tips together and you're bound to see some beautiful definition in your abs.
How to Eat Healthy on Thanksgiving
By Josephine Atluri, Director of Business Operations
It’s the official time to give thanks for all that we have. However, Thanksgiving festivities doesn’t equate to eating all that we have in front of us! The next couple of months are jam packed with holidays and parties which does mean there’s an increased amount of social eating. How to navigate safely around these social gathering landmines? Allow me to share some personal tips that I’ve followed over the years that have proven successful.
Tip #1: Make Healthy Food Options
If you are hosting Thanksgiving, then you have full control of most of the menu! This is perhaps one of the biggest perks of hosting. Take advantage of this opportunity by making and/or purchasing items that are healthy. Make sure to have the following: a salad with a vinaigrette dressing, a crudite platter, a fruit plate, and plenty of sauteed or roasted veggies. If these items are in abundance in front of you, then you won’t have an excuse to eat the bad things that may also be brought to your home - you know what I’m talking about - creamed veggies and dressings, pies with ice cream, mashed potatoes drenched in sugar and marshmallows. If you aren’t hosting, then offer to bring one or many of these healthier options so you are guaranteed to have something good to eat.
Tip #2: Don’t Deny Yourself
Okay, let’s get real here for a moment. It’s Thanksgiving. It’s a celebration. As we like to say at BodyBurn by Ray, it’s all about moderation and working hard. So, don’t deny yourself a small taste or portion of one of your favorite desserts. And go ahead and have a small portion of that not-so-healthy dish that you equate with Thanksgiving. Just pick and choose your battles. Fill up your plate with the greens and veggies and the lean portions of turkey (the white meat) and then add smaller portions of the other stuff.
Tip #3: Your Best Drink Options
We’re not talking water right now. Choosing what to drink is another chance to be smart and exercise moderation. If you like wine, pinot noir is a great choice because it has a high concentration of antioxidants. Then there are the classic spirits that are low in calorie so long as you mix it with seltzer water and a lime or lemon and not a sugary mixer. In the end, you just need to weigh your options and decide what is worth eating or drinking.
Tip #4: Sneak in a Workout
On the days when I have to attend a party or social gathering, I try to get in a workout that same day. Even if it’s a short but intense fifteen minute workout, then at least I feel like I’ve put in some hard work and can enjoy the food that I’m about to eat later on that day.
Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a time where you are stressing about your food, starving yourself or overeating and then feeling bad about yourself. It should be a time where you say thank you for many things such as all the amazing things you have done for your health so far and will be doing over at BodyBurn in the coming new year. Take a moment to enjoy yourself and then attend some BodyBurn classes on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving!
Is Strength Training Only For Men?
By Ashley Peleckas, Trainer
There are a lot of women out there who believe that strength training is only for men, myself included up until a couple years ago. With all of the myths out there regarding women and strength training it is hard not to believe them, most of which claim that weights are for men and women will get BIG and BULKY if they touch weights. This is so FALSE! For the first few years of my personal training career, I believed this myth so I never incorporated strength training into my routine. From fear of getting big and bulky, I only stuck to total body circuits with light weight and never used anything heavy. Time went on and I was religiously working out but I was not achieving my goal of a lean and toned body. I still had that lingering fear in the back of my mind so I kept to the circuits. A few years had gone by and I found myself in a major rut, completely unhappy with how my body looked. Then, I finally started to change the way I workout out. I switched to strength training and everything started to turn around. My workouts started consisting of strength training a different muscle group each day along with 15-30 minutes of cardio. This was exactly what my body needed to lean out and tone up how I had wanted! I like to stick to a moderate number of reps, about 15, and somewhat heavy weight, having the last few reps challenging to complete. This split routine allows me to workout everyday because I am only working one muscle group and allowing the others to rest. This is why I LOVE BodyBurns and absolutely believe in what we do, it works! You are able to get your cardio and strength in in a safe and effective way.
What is the LiHi workout?
How is this fitness method used at BodyBurn By Ray?
By Rich Rowland Jr., Director of Fitness Operations
What is LiHi (we pronounce it lee-high) and how does BodyBurn class use this new strategy to get better results while getting people to move more frequently?
These days, more and more fitness professionals, exercise enthusiasts, and now the general population are familiar with the acronym H.I.I.T. Pick up a fitness mag, or google the word 'workout,' and you will most certainly see this principle in your search. The H.I.I.T. acronym stands for High Intensity Interval Training. If you have been a knowledgable personal trainer for the last 20 years you were already using this principle with your clients but without the fancy acronym. They were called high intensity circuits. Or just circuits. You would see these workouts in a gym, a personal training studio, or at athletic facilities nationwide. This principle is on hand in the form of bootcamp classes, team practices, or a multi-station workout for a small group or one on one session. Let’s be honest, if you are reading this blog, you have probably been involved in one of those, and if not, then here is a quick tutorial. The H.I.I.T. principle is essentially exercising at a high intense pace for a short amount of time while alternating with a less intense time period and that sequence is repeated. Think sprints on a treadmill, tabatas, or a timed circuit with lots of reps and little rest.
The initial goal of these workouts was to combine elevated heart rates with strength training exercises to burn more calories in a short amount of time. Are these workouts effective,? Oh yeah! But, only effective when done correctly, within a program, and done safely. Like any and everything we do in America, we had to take it to the extreme or next level. We love doing that, don’t we? These workouts were starting to get to the point where people were getting injured, completely exhausted, and their bodies were used to wipe up the floor. You’ve seen this and people started buying in, and started documenting these workouts with pictures of near death. People started coining their experiences, “the killer workout” and “I thought I was gonna die, it was the best workout eva!" Seriously, who wants a near death experience to just look and feel good? No Thanks! I have a baby boy on the way, and I want to be there for him, not have his mother tell him I hate this one killer workout! For the most part, HIIT is an effective way to workout, but not very conducive for a daily regiment for most people. Most people are just not able to recover and injuries can mount very easily. So, this H.I.I.T. principle started to get the wheels turning for me and Ray. After a year of revisions and searching out the most effective motor-less cardio pieces for our BodyBurn class, we came up with a concept that is allowing more people to achieve this high intensity with almost zero chance for injury and paired it with a monthly program that allows people to perform well in our workouts everyday. We call it the LiHi workout and it stands for Low Impact, High Intensity. We needed a principle that would be as effective as the HIIT principle but we needed it to be safer, allow any and all fitness levels to participate, and we needed it to be something anyone could do every damn day. We also wanted it to be fun and user friendly. So, welcome to the world of LiHi.
Let’s break it down. Low Impact is really a fancy way of saying that one foot remains in contact with the ground or in contact with a surface. And wouldn’t you know, we all use a low impact exercise everyday - walking! Well some of us do, some of us even need to see how many steps we take. When we refer to low impact in our principle, we are referring to the impact, pounding, or force on the joints to be minimal. These types of exercises in BodyBurn allow any fitness level to successfully navigate through our class with little exercise history or knowledge, while reaping the benefits of a workout that has a very low risk of injury, with low impact on the joints, and is able to accommodate varying fitness levels. Bluntly speaking, our class is safer, and reduces risk for injury drastically while delivering a fun workout with real progress!
On the flip side, high impact exercises can burn more calories but come with much more risk. Let’s breakdown high intensity. When we are referring to high intensity in this principle, we are referring to one’s personal intensity level, not their exercise history or knowledge of exercises, or how angry they look when they are doing another leg day! I kid. An example of high impact exercises would be, running. High impact exercises come with an increased risk for joint problems, and an increased risk for injury to the ankles, knees, hips, and spine. I don't know about you, but protecting my spine sounds like something I would want to do. These exercises typically cannot be performed on a daily basis by the average person with little exercise history. Also, people performing these high impact exercises have typically been working out for extended period of time, thus making one’s workout history and frequency a sort of requirement to start performing these exercises, and that can be very discouraging to a first time participant.
Our signature class, BodyBurn, is changing the way people workout, their exercise knowledge, and their perception of what a safe, fun, and effective workout can do. BodyBurn utilizes this LiHi workout principle with our 12 different motor-less cardio machines in class, which are all capable of low and high impact exercises, while incorporating 12 strength training exercises to pair with these machines to form what we call blocks. Anyone can come into BodyBurn and perform with little, to no exercise history or knowledge, while taking the worry of injuring themselves out of the equation. These unique machines ditch the old concepts of boring cardio and introduce a member to self challenging timed exercises that elevate their heart rates while building strength. That concept of blending elevated heart rates and increasing muscular endurance is exactly why people of all ages are getting leaner, dropping waist sizes, and losing body fat rapidly in our unique block method class that we appropriately named BodyBurn.
The message here is simple ladies and gents. Our LiHi workout principle, mixed with our block method, and our amazing instructors give every and anyone the opportunity to train everyday without fear of injury, with little to no knowledge, with minimum exercise history, all while having FUN! Our class comes in hot with a new program every month to promote growth, provide new mental and physical challenges, and to rival any one on one session both in price and results! Whether you are 14, or 80 years old, you owe to yourself to come try a class on us!
Team Blog Post: My Quest For Muscle Tension Relief
By Josephine Atluri, Director of Business Operations
I workout six days a week religiously. It is my form of stress relief. It is the one time in the day that I get purely for myself. Personally, my mind races too much for the art of meditation - at least that’s what I think. I can’t even lay in bed at night without thinking of the laundry list of items that I have to do the next day. Yet, when I work out, somehow the exercise completely silences all the things running through my head and I am completely in tune with my body and the exercise at hand. It is my warped version of meditation.
Unfortunately, all this work that my body does naturally takes its toll. One rest day a week sometimes doesn’t cut it. I need to do some extra stuff to help my body get the recovery it needs such as stretching after a workout or getting a massage. As I now live in the mecca of all that is health and fitness related (Los Angeles), I have a plethora of options at hand touting all sorts of fantastic medical healing claims. I love trying out new fitness or wellness trends….I just need a wingman to join me on these crazy adventures. As luck would have it, the “Fit Latina in the Making” blogger, Nubia Chaidez, was in town visiting me so I forced her to try out an urban sweat lodge and cryo therapy with me. Did we die? Well, I'll be honest, Nubia and I totally thought we might at least pass out from heat exhaustion or dehydration. We had a serious case of the nervous giggles when we entered this unassuming house in the middle of a busy commercial street. Obviously, we survived and live to tell our tales….
The Urban Sweat Lodge
Sweating out toxins has been done for hundreds of years in all sorts of cultures. The particular place we went to get our sweat on took the experience to a new level with a technology spin. Rather than sit in an actual hot room and feel miserable with random strangers, we went to a place that wrapped us up in what seemed like a giant heat wrap the encased our whole bodies. We laid in beds with every inch of our bodies covered in the hot wrap with the exception of our heads. To pass the time away, we each had control of our personal tvs complete with any type of show we desired to watch. They gave us headphones so the place remained quiet and they also gave us easily accessible bottles of water to maintain a good level of hydration.
The first half of the hour long experience was extremely tolerable. Our bodies got very warm and it wasn’t at all stifling. In fact, I was thrilled to be so cozy while catching up on my favorite show on Hulu! The second half, however, when the sweat really started to come out, I began to get fidgety. I was still enjoying my show but it was getting really hot on my toes and it was getting gross in the heat wrap because of all the moisture. Before I decided I could no longer last through the detox of the impurities within my body, they told me time was up. Hallelujah! I made it through the entire experience. They released us from the torture wraps and escorted us to a room where we could drink hot tea and relax. We had to wear a long sleeve shirt, sweatpants, and socks for the appointment and every inch of our clothing was beyond drenched with sweat.
I did notice that my sweat was a clean sweat, beyond a Bikram yoga class sweat. When we walked out of that sweat lodge, Nubia and I felt super relaxed like we had a massage but oddly we also felt very energized like we had exercised. They claimed we would burn 500-800 calories from the sweat experience because of the way our hearts were pumping during the detox.
Verdict: So, would I do it again? After thinking about it and comparing it to the other experiences I tried out later that week, I’m really surprised with myself in that I would totally do it again. Maybe not once a week, but perhaps once a month just to cleanse out some impurities (and to catch up on my show since I’m not a subscriber to Hulu! hahaha)
Curious to know about our cryo therapy experience? Be on the lookout in the weeks to come for the second part of my quest for muscle tension relief.
Team Blog Post: Guilt Free Game Day Snacks - Buffalo Cauliflower
By Elise Caira, Social Media Assistant
For my first team blog post I decided to talk about the two things I absolutely love… food and football. As soon as the football season starts, every Sunday you can find me on the couch watching lots and lots of football (after my morning workout of course!) However, with football comes the parties with friends and all those addicting foods we all love. I could never give up my football Sundays and I LOVE food too much to resist everything so I had to get creative and add some healthy alternatives. The result of my healthy snack search - Buffalo Cauliflower.
These buffalo cauliflower bites are a great way to indulge while still staying healthy and avoiding some greasy afternoon snacks! One of my friends introduced me to these and now I'm obsessed. They are an amazing substitute for the usual buffalo wings, with 50% less calories.
And let’s be honest, at first everyone will resist when you tell them it’s cauliflower. But don’t fret. As soon as they give them a try everyone will be asking for more. I’m all for balance so swapping out a couple foods each Sunday works for me! Does that mean I won’t touch pizza or a pumpkin beer? No, never, everything in moderation and try making healthy swaps like this when you can. Enjoy!
1 head cauliflower
1 cup flour
1.5 cups wate
2 tspb garlic powder
3/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
1 tspb butter (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with tin foil and coat w/ non stick spray.
2. Break up cauliflower head into bite size pieces and place in large bowl.
3. Add flour, water, garlic powder and mix until the cauliflower seems well coated.
4. Place on baking sheet, spread out and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Return baked cauliflower to mixing bowl and add butter and Franks, mix to well coated.
6. Serve with your favorite ranch/blue cheese, veggies, and enjoy the game!
Makes 6 servings. (below is the estimated nutritional value for 1 serving)
Calories - 133
Carbs - 24
Fat - 2
Protein - 5
Sodium - 918
Sugar - 4
Team Blog Post: Midlife Eating Struggles
By Josephine Atluri, Director of Business Operations
In our efforts to build a community for our members to feel safe, comfortable, and motivated, the entire BodyBurn team has made a sincere effort to show our members our real selves via our eating habits, exercise routines, and even our personal lives. It dawned on me that as I was pushing this idea of realness upon the team, I had my own real story to share that I had never dared to talk about with others. Our fearless founder, Ray Peleckas, took the bold step of sharing his personal story and it inspired so many, myself included. And so, I find myself finally ready to share a real part of my life - my story about my bout with bulimia. Now that I am in the fitness industry, I feel like it is time to own up to my personal fitness and nutrition struggles in the event that it may resonate with others. So, here goes…
Does this story begin long ago in my teenage days? Actually, no. That’s perhaps what was most surprising to me. I had managed to have a somewhat healthy relationship with food and exercise most of my life. Sure, I had the usual insecurities and body loathing that most girls seem to have here and there, but I never really let it get me down too much. Instead, I focused on my health via regular exercise. Rather, my eating disorder took me completely by surprise when I turned 34!
An extremely long story led up to the fact that I finally had given birth to twins in 2008. I lost a ton of baby weight on my own, but to motivate myself to get in even better shape, I signed up to do a Tough Mudder race in 2011. I enlisted the help of a fantastic trainer and a nutritionist to help me get in the best shape of my life. For those that don’t know me, I’m a pretty competitive person even with just myself. I had set a pretty high fitness goal and had far exceeded that goal. Just look at my back in that pull-up picture. Never in my life had I looked like that. I have to tell you that once you start to lose weight and look good it’s a pretty addictive feeling.
After race season was over and the holidays had arrived, I had a really hard time managing how to eat “regularly” without fearing that I’d gain back all the weight I had worked so hard to lose. It was terrifying. And that’s when it happened. That’s when the eating disorder decided to rear its ugly head into my life. In my 30’s. I don’t remember the details of the first time it happened, but most times it just happened. It was never something that I planned ahead of time. I’d find myself eating something that I had not allowed myself to eat during my training/dieting time. Once I had eaten something off-limits, it almost seemed like the game was over for that day. I had lost so I may as well just keep eating the “bad” stuff. After a certain point in that bad eating cycle, you just feel so horrible about yourself that you feel compelled to throw it all up. And that’s what I did. For about six months during the holiday season and after. It was horrible, exhausting, lonely and utterly depressing. I hated every moment of it and yet I couldn’t find a way out of the vicious cycle. Perhaps the worst part of the experience was that I felt like a total failure.
On the regular, I’m a pretty optimistic person that doesn’t like to get down in the dumps for too long. Plus, I consider myself a hypochondriac. Disease freaks me out. I needed to do something about this problem. So, after half a year with an eating disorder I had decided enough was enough. Here I was trying to raise three kids under the age of four and I could barely take care of my own health.
It was insanely hard to own up to my problem for the first time to my husband. It’s one thing to live it secretly, but it’s a whole other ballgame to say it out loud to someone you love - someone who thought they knew and trusted you. I do remember that day I told my husband I was awash in guilt, shame, and failure, but honestly, I also felt a great sense of relief. It was such a heavy burden to carry around this secret and to live almost in the shadows as a different person. Knowing that someone who loved me finally knew my secret made me feel better and quite frankly made it easier for me to take the next step to get some professional help.
As I write this, I have to be honest and say that I’m freaked out over how my friends and family will react. However, my worry over sharing this truth is trumped by my need to share this experience in order to reach out to others who may also be struggling with their nutrition and weight loss. Plus, as a a mother to a little girl and the aunt of many nieces it is important for me to impart the importance of proper nutrition and a healthy self image rather than the aim of body perfection. Another piece of wisdom that I can share with others trying to lose weight is to aim for that elusive “balance” that we so desperately try to achieve in all aspects of our lives. When it comes to weight loss, it is important to allow yourself some off days and to try and eat a well rounded diet so that you don’t feel deprived. It is important to be train yourself to eat in a healthy way that is realistic and sustainable over the long term. I’m not a dietician so I’m going to leave it at that.
I joined BodyBurn by Ray because I love fitness. I love what exercise has done for my well being over the years. I wanted to help people attain that same relationship with fitness that has turned into a lifestyle for me. I hope that my effort to be “real” and share my story will help someone out there. It is possible to overcome a great darkness in your life. And it is indeed possible to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise.