7 Tips for Fitness Newbies

Staying healthy and getting fit are very challenging. There is a ton of information, much of which is not applicable to you or just plain erroneous and unhealthy. It is ever tougher when you are new to fitness and are just looking to get started down a good path. Here are 7 helpful tips for people that are new to fitness.

1. Explore changes to your daily habits and behaviors

Perhaps you have a goal of losing 20 pounds by a certain date, but that won’t come easy or thanks to one singular action. Your daily habits and behaviors have a longer term influence on you reaching your desired results.

2. Adopt the Pareto principle (80/20 rule)

Although this is borrowed from the business world, the 80/20 rule is a great rule to employ when sifting through the volumes of information that is out there as you start your fitness journey. For business; 20 percent of your customers represents 80 percent of your sales. We can adapt that to: 20 percent of your time leads to 80 percent of your results. Always look for the methods and advice that will give the most value to your goal.

Seven great tips for anyone who is beginning to work out

Seven great tips for anyone who is beginning to work out

3. Know that there are different paths to healthy eating

Healthy eating is not just eating the most obscure meals under the impression that they are good for you. What’s good for you may not always taste good for you, and there are plenty of palate pleasing foods that are good for you.

4. Get a good amount of sleep

Lack of sleep affects our bodies in many ways, including increasing hunger cravings which will cut into any result achieved thus far in your fitness journey. Sometimes, people devote more time to working out – which on top of an already busy schedule throughout the day can mean less sleep at night. Avoid that, sleep is your greatest ally.

5. Find the right workout program for your specific goals

Just as there are many paths to healthy eating, there are also many paths to reaching the rest of your goals. Finding a workout program you enjoy can mean the difference between sticking to it or giving up early on if you feel that you aren’t getting results.

6. Don’t be a prisoner to your diet

While sticking to your diet is important, it is not important (and not even encouraged) to be too strict with your diet. A slice of cake or a few glasses of wine will not ruin your efforts up to that point. Being discipline, i.e. having just ONE slice of cake as opposed to three, no matter how delicious the cake is, is more important.

7. Your self-worth is not determined by your body

For anyone looking to start getting into the fitness world, it is also important to maintain a healthy mindset. While it is okay to strive toward a certain look, always be aware that your self-worth is not determined by you reaching that mental image of what you want to look like.

New Study Reveals a Half-Day Window for Healthy Eating Habits

For quite a while, health experts have suspected that late night snacking may be particularly unhealthy. However, little scientific proof supported this inkling until recently.  A study that was published recently by Researchers at San Diego’s Salk Institute for Biological studies corroborates these claims. In their study, mice who were not allowed to eat all hours were more likely to avoid metabolic problems and obesity more than mice who snacked at all times.

In particular the researches organized the study so that some of the mice were allowed to eat high-fat food at any time, while others were allowed the same diet, but only during an eight hour time span. Additionally, none of the animals were permitted to exercise. The researchers discovered that the mice who were consuming food at all hours gained weight, and became generally unhealthy as they exhibited common symptoms of diabetes. However the mice who only ate on the eight hour schedule did not gain much weight, and did not develop any other medical conditions. This study was conducted in 2012.

Carl Koenemann examines a new study from the Salk Institute that reveals that one's eating over the day should be limited to a 12 hour window

Carl Koenemann examines a new study from the Salk Institute that reveals that one’s eating over the day should be limited to a 12 hour window

In a new study which was published in December, Salk researchers gave a group of mice four different diets including regular mouse kibble, high-fat, high-sucrose, and high-fructose.  Within each  group, some mice were allowed to snack whenever they chose while others were restricted to feeding times of 15, 12, or 9 hours.  Furthermore, the calories consumed for each mice was the same.

At the end of the 8 month long study, the mice who could eat whenever they chose became medically obese, and experienced general metabolic health issues.  However, their counterparts who were only allowed to consume food on restricted schedules remained skinny and healthy.

The exact reasons why this time-based eating pattern can prevent illness and obesity is not completely understood currently. However, the Salk scientists believe that the hour at which food is consumed somehow affects the body’s internal clock.  Dr. Panda reports that meal time greatly influences the circadian rhythm, and this, in turn, influences the functions of some metabolic genes.

Although the studies have so far been limited to mice, the researches believe the effects to extend to humans as well. The main take away is to be cognizant of the time frame of your eating habits. Try to limit your eating for a day to 12 hours or less. The clock begins to tick from the first bite you take of your daily breakfast.

Three Apps for Making Healthy Food Choices

The holiday season every winter presents one of the most difficult periods to make the healthy lifestyle decisions. The giant suppers and ample desserts feature an array of dishes that are as unhealthy as they are delicious. It is especially tempting to splurge given the sweaters, and baggy winter clothing that can easily hide your body. Here are some useful applications that will help you avoid the temptation, and continue upon your course of healthy lifestyle choices.

Fooducate

Fooducate

Fooducate

Fooducate is a great app to use next time you are perusing the nutritional facts of items at the grocery store. This app utilizes your phone’s camera to scan said item, and provides a grade about the nutritional value of the item, ranging from A to D. Fooducate also provides more healthy alternatives for which you should opt. It is quite useful if you’re looking for a delicious snack that has better nutritional value than the comfort food you enjoy. It also provides helpful features that keep allergies in mind. Fooducate exists on both Android and iPhone platforms, and is sans charge.

Meal Snap

As with Fooducate, Meal Snap also uses your phone’s camera. Simply snap a picture of your meal on a plate (as the name would indicate), and the app will estimate of number of calories. You can then label the meal as your breakfast, afternoon snack, or dinner to keep track of your meals. If you desire, you can seamlessly share your meal pics across twitter, facebook, and other social media sites. Meal snap goes for $.99 on the apple store.

Pic Healthy

GE and MedHelp partnered to create this app which allows you to take and then upload pictures of your meals. These pics are shared with your friends, family, or whoever you choose. The app allows you, and your friends to rate your eating choice. Furthermore, you can earn points when your followers indicate that your meal was healthy. Additionally, you can score honesty points for posting a unhealthy meal and giving yourself a bad rating. It’s a great tool for a group of friends to try to stick to their healthy lifestyle choices together!

Great Foods to Enjoy while Watching Football

Here are some great foods to enjoy while watching football games over the weekend.

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How To Make Your Own “Instant Noodles”

If you love Ramen noodles, but feel terrible about indulging in the MSG-filled, sodium packed noodles then you should simply make you own (and it’s much simpler than you could ever imagine).

These recipes are a product of pure genius. Inside of a jar, you need to place a combination of par-cooked noodles, some vegetable base, and just a couple of your favorite seasonings. Pour in boiling water, patiently wait several minutes, and then it is done. You’ve successfully made yourself a delicious concoction with all the robust flavors of ramen noodles, but a much fresher, complex, and healthier version. The versatility of this concept is what makes these instant noodle jars so fantastic. You can create almost any flavor profile you want. I’ll discuss a few different options.

Spicy Kimchi Beef Flavor

For this particular version, you are going to want to use a beef base, beef jerky, kimchi, chili-garlic sauce, scallions, and some noodles. Selecting a premium quality flavor base is absolutely essential. Do not use the powdered stuff or your finished product will not be all that different from the Ramen noodles that you are trying to improve upon.  To achieve the best results, you should opt for a moist base with a robust proportion of actual meat. Throw it in the jar (around a tablespoon of this should suffice).

RamenNext, add the kimchi and chilli-garlic sauce. Using old kimchi with lots of its picking juice will give you a very sour flavor. The sauce is the ingredient that provides the heat to this dish (you can make it as spicy as you wish). Then thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms and add them on top of the mix. This is when you should introduce the beef jerky. Cut the beef jerky into squares and then throw the into the jar. Next, put the noodles in this mix. You can use an array of noodles including the pre-cooked ramen variety or pre-cooked chinese-style egg noodles. Alternatively, you could try vietnamese style rice noodles. Now you should add some hot water as you would if you were making Ramen noodles. Close the lid, and wait until the ingredients are hot and ready to consume. You should begin to add the fresh elements to the jar.  Chow down and enjoy!

Note: Be audacious in the kitchen and experiment with a variety of flavors.


Look at Carl Koenemann’s other posts to discover some fantastic recipes.

Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon

Instructions

  • 16 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1 cup of peanut oil
  • 8 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 8tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons of green onions, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Firecracker Salmon

1. First take the salmon filets and place them in a medium glass dish. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes. sesame oil and salt in another bowl. Thoroughly whisk this together, and then carefully pour over your salmon filets.  Make sure to cover the dish, and then marinate four 5 to 7 hours.

2. Start an outdoor grill with coals roughly half a foot from the grate. Also, remember to lightly oil the grate, as well.

3. Cook the fish on the grill half a foot from the coals for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish. Make sure to flip over half way into the cooking process.

 

  1. Place salmon filets in a medium, nonporous glass dish. In a separate medium bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt. Whisk together well, and pour over the fish. Cover and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Prepare an outdoor grill with coals about 5 inches from the grate, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Grill the fillets 5 inches from coals for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until fish just flakes with a fork. Turn over halfway through cooking.

Please check out more of Carl Koenemann’s blogs about finance, music, and healthy lifestyle choices.

Top 7 Fitness Apps

Here is a list of my top-7 fitness and health apps. Please suggest any other apps that you believe belong on this list.

7. Tempo run

Brunell University recently released a study confirming that listening to music while exercising has its definite advantages. In fact, jamming out to tunes with the tempo between 120 and 140 beats per minute during exercise may boost longevity by nearly 15 percent. This app, TempoRun, collects and then sorts the collection of songs on your phone by tempo, allowing you to optimize your workout playlist to increase fitness.

6. ViewRanger Outdoor GPS & Maps

Outdoor GPS Tracker

View Ranger Outdoor GPS

This application is intended for consumers with an affinity towards outdoor sports. The app provides a list of the nearest and best swimming, hiking, cycling, and running routes.  The app has a myriad other useful options such as listing the best bird watching spots along your route and close-by rescue operations if you find yourself in precarious situation.

5. Seven-Minute Workout

This app is perfect for the person having difficulty finding the time to get in shape.  Seven-Minute Workout utilizes a high-intensity regimen consists of twelve different exercises of 30 second intervals. The basic version of the app is free, but users can pay to access more features.

4. Myfitnesspal

This calorie-counter app is lauded almost across the board by fitness professionals as it is free of charge and possesses a very intuitive interface.  Myfitnesspal seamlessly counts and keeps track of one’s daily calorie intake, and even allows the user to set goals to help achieve their target weight.

3.  Fitocracy

Carl Koenemann Fitocracy

Fitocracy App

Fitocracy, acting as a facebook-esque fitness app, brings together fellow fitness fanatics and experts. The app serves as a motivational tool helping facilitate progress in users’ workout regimens and goals with the support of fellow Fitocrats. It’s incredibly useful and was lauded by Men’s Journal magazine as they named it the app of the year in 2012.

2. Pzziz Sleep

A  sound sleep cycle is often an underappreciated aspect of one’s exercise and health regimen.  If you sleep too little, too much, or too often you may be diminishing the benefits of your existing diet and exercise. Pzziz, using euphonious and soothing sounds such as that of the ocean or forest, helps you fall asleep more quickly and helps you achieve a better night’s rest once you fall asleep.  In my opinion, it is the best app of it’s kind on the market.

1. Nike + Running Free

This is a one-stop shop for runners and it’s incredibly easy.  After simply turning on the app, it begins to collect detailed accounts of your running route including information about your distance, time, direction, and speed.  Additionally, the app possesses a neat feature in which you can challenge other users of the app to match your running results.


Please check out more of Carl Koenemann’s posts on music, finance, and healthy lifestyle choices.

Fitness Tips – Getting Started

If you’re looking to get yourself in the gym, there are a lot of things that you should be aware of beforehand. While simply throughout some shoes on and running out the door is certainly healthier than sitting on the couch all day, there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure that you are replenishing your body and that you do not injure yourself. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling better.

First Things First: Nutrition

Read up on my nutrition section before grabbing your gym bag. Nutrition is what fuels you – if you do not have the proper foods in your diet, you’ll only be able to run so far before you fall over or catch a cramp. Proper nutrition is crucial to building muscle. Make sure your balanced diet consists of fruits, veggies, complex carbs, proteins and fats.

It’s also important to start eating more often. Instead of three large meals a day, break it down into five or six meals. This way you are continuing to stimulate your metabolism throughout the day. As your activity levels decrease throughout the day, eat less as the day goes on.

Control portions and eat with a purpose. Everything should offer some sort of nutritional value. For portions – it’s a good idea to make sure that meats are smaller than your palm and that pastas are not larger than your fist.

How to Build Muscle

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

When it comes to building muscle, there are some basics that you should be aware of. You need to increase your caloric and complete protein intake – that’s the basics in terms of nutrition. When in the gym, make sure you are focusing on form. Compound movements, weight training four times a week. You want as little movement as possible – only target specific muscle groups. And rest, rest, rest! Muscle tissue repairs when you’re outside of the gym.

Also, go for as much range of motion as possible. When it comes to how heavy the weights should be, have each exercise last 30 to 45 seconds; if it lasts longer or shorter than that, change the weight accordingly.

Finally, get the proper supplements. It’s hard to meet the requirements for protein intake – look into shakes for after your workouts.

Endurance

Hydration and proper nutrition are the basis for endurance. This type of training is very draining on your body – you’ll be burning calories like crazy, so you need to make sure you’ve increased your caloric intake. When it comes to endurance, you’re trying to exhaust your muscles. Work until you cannot push yourself any further.

Reduce the rest between sets and fight the fatigue that comes on during endurance training.

Find Your Motivation

When you’re stepping into the gym, make sure that you are motivated to perform each exercise to a certain level of success. If you’re lifting weights, count down your reps until you reach your goal. Also, ask yourself why you’re in the gym in the first place. To look good? To feel good? The more effort you put in during your time at the gym, the quicker you’ll reach those goals.

Change Things Up

Change your workout every couple of weeks to ensure that your body does not get used to the exercises you’re performing. It’s important to always keep the body guessing. Changing exercises, how heavy the weights are, the order that you perform exercises, your tempo and your rep/set count will all help keep you from plateauing. Even something as simple as the time of day you train can cause you to plateau.

 

Chipotle Chicken Recipe

Chipotle restaurants have become a favorite around the country. Not only is it very delicious – it’s also very fast. On top of that, the portions are very generous; all-in-all, it’s a great experience.

The marinade on the Chipotle Chicken is phenomenal; it’s spicy yet smoky. This is due to both the wide array of peppers and the adobo sauce that is used.

As for the chicken itself, Chipotle uses boneless skinless chicken thighs (this is what makes them tender and juicy).

This recipe will produce approximately 2 cups of marinade – enough to flavor up to 10 pounds of chicken! Try out this marinade and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 oz.) package of dried ancho chiles. These chiles should be soaked for at least 12 hours.
  • 1 red onion. Coarsely chopped.
  • 1 (7 oz.) can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trim the thighs before using.

Cooking Instructions

  1. After soaking your ancho chiles for 12+ hours, split them open and rinse the inside. Get rid of all the stem and seeds. Place the chiles inside a blender. (I recommend wearing gloves for this part)
  2. Strain the adobo sauce into a small bowl. You can either discard the peppers or use them for another dish. However, there is still a lot of juice / sauce in each pepper; squeeze them to extract all of the liquid. If you want the chicken to be spicy, crack the peppers open and add the seeds to the blender.
  3. Throw your onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, 2 teaspoons of pepper and 5 teaspoons of salt into the blender. Give the blender a few quick pulses, turning the concoction into a coarse paste.
  4. Keep the motor running and pour 1/4 cup of the canola oil into the blender. Continue blending. Once smooth, you should have approximately 2 cups of marinade; throw one cup in a freezer-safe plastic bag and save it for later.
  5. Take your five pounds of chicken and throw it in another freezer-safe plastic bag. Add in the remaining cup of marinade, close the bag and toss it around until the chicken is evenly coated. Place the bag in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  6. When you’re ready to cook, preheat a cast iron skilled to medium-high heat. Coat the skillet with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Cook the chicken in batches, reaching an internal temperature of 160 degrees. You should see caramelized fond on the outside of the chicken after about 12 minutes. Make sure you add a tablespoon of canola oil between batches.
  7. Remove from grill and place on a cutting board. Chop the chicken into small pieces and add them to the dish of your liking.
  8. Enjoy!

Honey Beer Chicken

Below is a recipe for my Honey Beer Chicken – one of my favorites that I came up with during my college days. This recipe is great if you’re working on a low-carb or no-carb diet. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1Tbl spoon Avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1lb Boneless chicken tenders
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3  thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce – low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you're on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you’re on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

Directions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan.
  • Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.
  • Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  •  Remove chicken from pan; keep on plate covered with foil or paper towel
  •  Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent.
  •  Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  • Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  • Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.