Month: January 2017

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Our Favorite Smartphone Fitness Apps

Written by Shannon, aka Cassandra. 

Sometimes you simply can’t avoid getting sick. This week I caught a cold which resulted in a husky alter-ego that Nick named “Cassandra.” So don’t mind the raspy co-host for today’s episode.

Ironically, we’re talking about health & fitness apps today! Specifically, Nick and I share our favorite apps that we use every day, then we go through apps from listeners and friends who submitted their picks.

Following up on our previous episode where I reviewed the Fitbit Charge 2, I dive into the user-friendly mobile app that serves as the real power behind any Fitbit. This free app is where you setup your actual Fitbit device, establish your goals, and even where you can track a few other handy health and fitness items.

The Fitbit app includes a very easy user interface, with a main screen that highlights some of your main daily metrics like: steps, floors climbed, miles covered, calories burned, activity and water consumed. You can also get info on your resting heart rate, calories consumed, sleep, etc.

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Picture courtesy of fitbit.com

The best part is the integration with other apps, including Nick’s food log app that he breaks down further, and the peloton app, which sends workout info from the bike to your Fitbit app.

Nick provides a review of the Lose it! app, which is a food journal. While neither of us are big on counting calories, we do like holding ourselves accountable and it’s easy to lose track of what you’re eating. This app is a great way to ensure you’re truly seeing how much macronutrients you’re taking in each day, your calories consumed and your calories burned.

The food catalog for Lose It! is truly impressive with millions of food items, ingredients and meals alike, already logged into the database. You can even scan barcodes with a built-in barcode scanner to make it easy to identify specific food items.

Snap it!, which is an extension of the Lose It app, even gives the option of identifying food by snapping a picture, which it then tries to match up to corresponding nutrition information. It’s just not incredibly accurate, so it’s more effective for simple items (e.g. piece of fruit, protein bar, etc.).

There is a premium version of the app, but the free version offers great options and even integrates with other fitness apps to provide information like steps and exercise.

Getting into the listener’s favorite fitness apps, we list them off for ya:

At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter if you use fitness apps or not. Use whatever tools you need to hold yourself more accountable and help you to reach your fitness goals.

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We wrap up this episode getting amped up for the new Facebook Live workout that is now available on the ETT Facebook page. Perfect little 25-min workout video that includes a warmup, 15 min HIIT workout and an ab-centric cooldown.We’ve got exciting episodes coming up; please reach out at elementaltampa@gmail.com and let us know what topics you’d like us to discuss on a future episode. Thanks for listening!

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/our-favorite-smartphone-fitness/id1121420986?i=1000380559728&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/our-favorite-smartphone-fitness-apps

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What’s on the Menu – The Other Red Meat

If you’ve been paying attention to my weekly menu spotlights, you’ve probably realized that I don’t discriminate when it comes to food. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do my best to stay away from anything that contains refined sugars and grains, but other than that I’m an omnivore through and through. I say that because last week’s post and today’s post feature foods that are not exactly vegan friendly. I want my vegan friends to know that I’m not discriminating against you all. Shannon is a former vegan and she still makes some delicious vegan dishes and I promise to feature one in an upcoming post. But today’s post is dedicated to very special type of red meat.

The steaks featured below can’t be found in the grocery store. They don’t come from any factory farms or feedlots. They come from the fields, woods, and prairies. These are steaks from a whitetail deer. Deer meat, better known as venison, along with other wild game meat tend to have lower caloric and fat content but equal amounts of protein compared to meat from conventionally raised livestock. Venison in particular has approximately 150 calories, 24 g of protein and 1.5 g of fat per 3.5 ounce serving (source). Any regular readers of the blog will know that I am not afraid of fat so the idea of the meat having less fat doesn’t exactly thrill me, but venison and other wild game have a better ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, which researchers have found could help mitigate certain chronic diseases/conditions (source). Eating wild game like venison not only provides nutritional benefits, it also allows you to be less reliant on factory farmed meat.

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Legit wild game is not regulated by the USDA, which means it cannot be sold in supermarkets. I believe this is a good thing because it inspires people to take up hunting or in most instances, connect with a friend or family member that does hunt. Having grown up in a hunting family, I can tell you from experience that hunters are extremely generous when it comes to sharing their harvest. Take these folks up on their generosity because the less reliant we are on meat from factory farms, the better off we, and the planet, will be.

If you already eat wild game on a regular basis, let us know what your favorite type and preparation method is. Feel free to contact us elementaltampa@gmail.com with any recipes.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Heart Rate Training & Fit Bit Breakdown

The first month of 2017 is nearly complete and some may be welcoming new habits after weeks of hard work setting new routines. On this week’s podcast, Nick and I kick-off by sharing the things we’ve added to our own fitness/health routines so far.

Nick started the year by doing a series of monthly challenges. For January, he’s given up an overindulgence – alcohol. In addition, he’s incorporating daily morning workouts to try and lose the pesky holiday pounds that almost all of us pack on.

I, on the other hand, finally started exploring a quest into a new topic of my health, which is also the topic of our podcast today – Heart Rate Monitoring and Training.

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Nick shares the formula for how to calculate your Zone 2 (fat burning zone):

180 – your age = your zone 2 beats per minute (BPM) OR being able to hold a conversation while exercising (e.g. if you’re 30 years old, you subtract that from 180 and your Zone 2 heart rate is 150 bpm, give or take a few beats)

In order to better understand my own heart rate efficiencies (or otherwise) I invested in the best monitor for the money I was looking to spend and bought the Fitbit Charge 2.

My motivations for wanting to better understand this element of fitness and how it contributes to my health comes after long battles with stress and poor sleep, two things many people are likely grappling with as well. The Peloton classes introduced me to how heart rate training can improve your fitness and I had read countless articles about how it benefits your overall health.

The Mayo Clinic states that a normal resting heart rate (RHR) for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Fitbit compiled their substantial user data and estimated 50-90 BPM is average for an adult.

So what affects your resting heart rate? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot:

  • Activity level
  • Fitness level
  • Air temperature
  • Body position
  • Emotions
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Medications

You can impact your own heart rate in a number of ways:

  • Physical exercise (15-20 min/day will lower RHR)
  • Reduce body fat/increase muscle mass
  • Mindfulness

In terms of exercise, Zone 2 training is how many athletes build endurance. It’s all about low intensity for long periods of time – staying in that fat burning zone.

I’ve been experimenting with some of the Zone 2 training on the Peloton so far and have already seen some impact on my RHR.

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Much of what I’ve learned in the last few weeks is due to my Fitbit Charge 2. Costing a fairly reasonable $130 (to start) the Fitbit Charge 2 was highly rated by CNET, even more so since Fitbit launched a software upgrade late last year.

In the last part of the podcast I get into the details of my own review of the fitness monitor, including the ups and downs (because nothing is perfect, right?).

Pros:

  • Not bulky
  • Changeable bands
  • Useful mobile app/interface
  • Battery life is good (4-5 days before needing a charge)

Cons:

  • Absolutely can’t get wet
  • Charger is awkward

Some of the features I like most include a cardio fitness rating. It gives a rating based on its estimated VO2 Max and indicates your overall performance in endurance-based activities. Currently, mine is sitting around 38-42, which is “good – very good” for a female of my age (positive sign!).

The app is a whole other side of this product, which we’ll get into in a future episode, but as of now, I would recommend the Fitbit Charge 2. It holds me to new levels of accountability, further helping me stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Now all I need to work on is adding some friends to my Fitbit circle!

We’d love hear what goals you set or accomplished so far this year. Please feel free to share them with us in the comment section, on Facebook or email us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. Your feedback and support has helped us grow into a 5 star rated podcast and we are extremely grateful. Keep rating, reviewing and sharing the podcast and let’s stay healthy year.

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/addicted-to-fitness-podcast/id1121420986?mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/a-breakdown-of-heart-rate-training-the-fit-bit-charge-20

 

What’s on the Menu – An Egg-squisite meal

Shannon’s saucy tomato eggs dish is one of my favorite brunch options. I mean favorite of all time!  I prefer it over 90% of the stuff I can order at my favorite brunch restaurant. What’s not to like? Fresh herbs & veggies – good. Italian sausage – good. Eggs – GOOOOOD!!! The combination of ingredients creates an absolute flavor explosion, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite part of this dish. I’m sure you’ve already figured out from the title of this post, that it’s really an homage to eggs.

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Let’s be serious folks, eggs are the best whole food on the planet.

I know vegans will disagree but one egg provides 6g of protein, 5g of fat (1.5g saturated) and 0g of carbs. They also provide essential micronutrients like choline, selenium, and leucine, which is essential to the production of muscle protein (source).

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If the nutritional benefits aren’t enough, the number of ways you can prepare them is almost endless. I don’t want to go on a Bubba Gump-like rant, but you can enjoy eggs fried, poached, scrambled, basted, hard boiled and I’m sure there are preparation methods I don’t even know about.

Before I rest my case on eggs’ superiority, I should mention that all these facts are about WHOLE EGGS. If you have an egg allergy, I get ditching the yolk, but all of you who think you’re being healthier eating only egg whites, you are sadly mistaken. You’re missing out on the vast majority of the nutritional benefits due to outdated nutrition advice, most likely misinformation about cholesterol. I’d recommend checking out Ivor Cummins’ (aka “The Fat Emperor”) website and get educated on why you should be putting whole eggs back on your menu.*

If you’re interested in making some saucy tomato eggs at home, check out the recipe on Shannon’s site.

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If you think you have an egg dish that can rival Shannon’s saucy tomato eggs, which is highly unlikely, send some pics or a recipe our way so we can check it out!

You can always leave us feedback either on Facebook or email us at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

 

*I’m not a certified dietician so you should seek a professional’s input if you have any specific health concerns regarding your diet.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Interview with World’s Tallest Bodybuilder, Aaron Reed

This week, Nick interviews former pro-wrestler and the world’s tallest competitive bodybuilder, Aaron Reed. Not only has Aaron worked hard to become a beast of an athlete, he’s also the author of the nutrition book The Supernatural Lifestyle, which serves as the basis for the Eat Like Aaron meal prep service he offers in Tampa Bay.

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Image created with photo courtesy of Luis Battistini (@luisx_com)

The road that got him to where he is today has not been a cake-walk. In fact, Aaron faced a humorless, life-threatening a-hole, also known as leukemia, as a child. He was diagnosed young and had to beat that monster before he was able to follow in his family’s athletic footsteps.

His late start didn’t deter him from finding his passions, though. Aaron learned early on that he was good at lifting weights and sought his inspiration from legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fast forward a bit, and Aaron talks about his days in the WWE and how an injury as a pro wrestler led to him discovering that he had hepatitis. Faced with the choice of going back on chemotherapy, he made the decision to treat his illness with nutrition. A lack of help from other fitness experts led him to become a self-taught nutritionist, passionate about using his diet as a healing and strengthening force in life.

Aaron’s three rules to nutrition:

  1. Eat whole foods
  2. Don’t combine sugar and fat
  3. Eat certain macronutrients at certain times

His learned expertise in nutrition resulted in him writing his book in 2011 and subsequently starting his meal prep service, which focuses on raising insulin sensitivity (that’s a good goal) by eating more fat on its own and fewer carbohydrates.

When asked what kinds of meals are included in the Eat Like Aaron meal plan, he told Nick:

  • Carbs + protein meal (e.g. chicken and rice)
  • Protein + fat meal (e.g. grass-fed burger and guacamole)
  • You can have vegetables at any time because they provide fiber (not suggested for post workout)
  • Eating fat is important because it helps with hormone production and sex drive (hey-yo!)

Aaron also shared his belief that artificial sweeteners are a big no-no because they dull insulin sensitivity and may be the cause of visceral belly fat. So don’t expect to see those anywhere in his meal options.

As the first body builder we’ve interviewed for the podcast, Aaron set a really high bar (and not just because he’s 6’7″)! He’s a friendly and talkative guy with an incredibly inspiring story and a clear passion for nutrition. Seeing how far his knowledge has already taken him is motivating proof of just how critical diet is to your health.

Do yourself a favor and connect with/follow Aaron on his social channels – Facebook, Instagram (@aaronw.reed), Twitter (@AaronWReed)

Oh! And just in case you need a little comparison to see what we mean by the world’s tallest bodybuilder, check out the side-by-side selfie of Nick and Aaron below.

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Let us know how you’re enjoying the podcast between episodes and keep sharing the feedback either on Facebook or by leaving a review in the iTunes store. We love hearing from you! As always, thank you so much for listening and supporting.

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-worlds-tallest-bodybuilder/id1121420986?i=1000380018657&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/an-interview-with-the-worlds-tallest-bodybuilder-aaron-reed

 

What’s on the Menu – Butter is back!

We’ve been told for decades that this particular food item can be a major obstacle to losing weight and being healthy. I’m talking about the ingredient that is making the dish below glisten like a newly shined automobile.

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That’s right I’m talking about BUTTER!

It seems back in the 1960’s, butter and other saturated fats (e.g. cream, coconut oil, lard) were labeled as unhealthy by our government. This was most likely due to some possibly-bias research provided by Ancel Keys. Keys and his Seven Country Study asserted that individuals that had a higher intake of saturated fat were more apt to develop heart disease. We’ve recently discovered that his research may have been swayed by the Sugar Association and that higher mortality rates were most likely due to the higher consumption of saturated fat in conjunction with sugar.

The debate of who’s right still rages on, but scientists and researchers like Dr. Mark Hyman, Nina Teicholz and Gary Taubes have discovered that saturated fat is not the villain, it was once painted to be.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think they should start eating sticks of butter like Homer Simpson or Paula Deen, but I think it’s safe to say you should feel comfortable to cook eggs, melt and drizzle on steamed veggies, or create a sauce for a delicious salmon dinner (like the one pictured above) using butter.

One tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories and 12 g of total fat (8 g saturated) with no carbs or protein. Not exactly a complete food, but the fat it provides is essential for the production of hormones, energy, and cell membranes (source).

Also, in a world of processed foods with mile-long ingredient lists, a quality butter has AT THE MOST 2 ingredients: cultured pasteurized cream and salt.

It’s important for me to state that I’m not a doctor. Shocked as you all may be, I would never recommend taking my dietary suggestions over those from a medical professional. However, I’m pretty confident that if Shannon, the chef for the meal above, made this dish for a medical professional, they’d agree that butter is BETTER!

We want to see the delicious dishes you’ve made with butter. Tag your photos on social with #ETTampa or leave comments below on how you’ve ditched manufactured vegetable oils for the real thing.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Our Whole Body Cryotherapy Experience

Hope you are ready to chill with us on this episode as we get into a review and interview on cryotherapy.

Nick speaks with Jeff Houghtaling, who is the manager of the Tampa location of US Cryotherapy Tampa, a franchise based out of California. They discuss the difference between US Cryo’s whole body cryotherapy (WBC) and the partial body cryotherapy aka cryo-saunas (i.e. different cooling component, more thermoreceptors stimulate, breathing in cold air, etc. – more info).

They also chat about the WBC chamber, which a group of ETT clients bravely jump into later in the episode.

The benefits of cryotherapy are varied and attract a number of different types of clientele – from athletes to people looking to reduce wrinkles.

Because the therapy uses pretty extreme cold temperatures, there is quite a good deal of safety equipment and procedures include covered hands, feet, ears, nose and mouth, along with limited exposure times (3 minutes is the max for the full WBC chamber).

Nick shares his initial reaction on how much more intense the full chamber was than a cryo-sauna.

There’s more to the cryotherapy facilities than just the chamber, there’s a warm-up area and Jeff describes all the various equipment they have. While it’s not mandatory, there are some benefits that Jeff goes through why the equipment should be used.

The ETT team ventured into the unknown with a group therapy session and we interview everyone for their reactions after emerging from the frosty chamber, including frozen eyelashes (probably good to not wear mascara in the chamber).

These heat photos track the before and after from Nick and my trip into the WBC chamber.

Overall the whole crew’s experience was really positive and almost everyone walked out wanting to try it again in the future. Armed with a new appreciation for the cold, US Cryotherapy taught us all about our limitations and that we can all use a good chill from time to time.

Don’t forget to drop us a line between podcasts and keep the feedback coming either on Facebook or by leaving a review in the iTunes store.

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/our-first-whole-body-cryotherapy/id1121420986?i=1000379748600&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/our-first-whole-body-cryotherapy-experience

What’s on the Menu

This week’s menu highlight features another one of my wife’s awesome culinary creations. The dish below combines shrimp, spinach, mushrooms and spaghetti squash in an olive oil, butter sauce to produce a fantastic weekday dinner. Not only does this meal’s caloric breakdown match my desired macronutrient intake (60% fat, 25% carbs, 15% protein), the spaghetti squash produces far less of an insulin response than its similarly named refined carb doppelgänger. I’m not really into counting calories but if you are, spaghetti squash has 20 calories per cup compared to pasta’s 100. It also contains 24 less grams of carbohydrates than pasta and is full of important vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, B and folate (source). It may take a little longer to prepare than pasta, but the end product is much more flavorful and better for you. Even though these fruits, yes they’re fruits, are harvested in the fall, you can still get them at the grocery store into winter and early spring. Grab one on your next trip to the grocery store and send us some pics of your spaghetti squash creations.

How to prepare spaghetti squash

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise
  • Scoop out seeds
  • Drizzle with cut side with olive oil & salt
  • Place cut side down on baking sheet
  • Cook for approximately 45 minutes

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