Apr 22

Planning to get an indoor rower? These features are a must

Ever tried rowing an actual boat on a river or lake? If you have, you would know that it is not an easy feat and requires a lot of power and stamina.

Constant rowing in water can easily tire you and help you burn a lot of calories while having fun too.

Due to this reason, rowing machines have become the best substitute for actual rowing while providing you with excellent workouts to burn that extra fat on your body.

But when you are looking to buy or work on a rowing machine regularly you need a good rower for home and for that there are few things you need to keep in mind.

Resistance Adjustment

Perhaps one of the most important features that you need to pay attention to is whether you can adjust the resistance level on your machine or not.

It is not necessary that all machines come with a resistance dial and so if you are one of those people who would like to manual set the resistance level, you need to check if such adjustment is available in a rower or not. If available, you would also need to check how many resistance levels it offers and if it suits your needs.

If you are more into challenging yourself and don’t want to set the resistance beforehand, then you need to go for air rowers or water rowers which don’t have the feature of setting your resistance and adjust according to your rowing speed.

Easy Storage

Most people don’t have a lot of space at their home which makes it crucial that the rower they are thinking about should have the feature of being folded and kept in a small corner of the house.

You also need to check whether it is easily movable or not because if you are storing your machine in one part of your house, you would need to set it up every day in some place where it can easily fit which might require a lot of transfers. To ensure that your machine has wheels otherwise it might just pose a problem for you.



Another feature to consider is whether the seat is comfortable and adjustable and whether the foot straps can lock your foot in place during a workout or not.

You would be spending at least 20-25 minutes on this machine every day and so if it slightly uncomfortable too, you would end up avoiding the workout, turning it into an utter waste of your money.

User Weight Limit

This is an important feature which you positively need to check before you make a purchase. Usually, a lot of these machines can handle large user weights and since there aren’t many moving parts, the stress is less on the machine. But still you need to keep a check of what is the weight limit on your machine and whether that is fine for your needs or not especially if you’re bulky.

Performance Monitor

Check if your rower has a good display or not which provides you with all the relevant and important information like time, distance, calories burned, etc. You can also go for those machines whose monitors come with inbuilt training programs which you could use for your own workouts.


Mar 25

6 Reasons to have an Elliptical Trainer at home

Did you know that an elliptical machine is a better training equipment than a treadmill or a bike? Yes, also known as Cross Trainer, an elliptical machine helps you in mimicking the motion of stair climbing, cycling, etc. but doesn’t cause too much pressure on your knees as is the case with other gym equipment. It is quite an underused gym equipment even though it offers you a lot of benefits over other gym equipment.

Want to know how an Elliptical Machine is beneficial? Here are the top 6 reasons which make an elliptical machine the best gym equipment that you could find:

Total body workout

The best part about an elliptical machine is that you can work your upper body along with your lower body during a workout.

Unlike treadmills, which only worked on your lower body, an elliptical machine comes with hand levers which can be pushed and pulled so as to work your upper body muscles too.

It’s low impact

Another great advantage of using an elliptical machine is that it is great for people who suffer from knee pain or stiff joints as your feet are always in contact with the pedal.

This stabilizes your feet and doesn’t put any extra strain on your knees or joints, thereby protecting you from all the pain.

Faster weight loss results

One of the best ways to lose weight, an elliptical trainer can burn as much as 400 calories in 30 minutes and help you in losing weight quickly and efficiently.

As you work on your elliptical trainer, you don’t even feel like you have exerted much power which results in you working out for a longer period of time and hence the weight loss.

Simple to use

This is an easy to set up and easy to use equipment which gives you all the benefits of a high-intensity workout but takes half the time of any other gym equipment.

It also doesn’t take up much space in your home which makes it a popular option for most people who are looking for an effective gym equipment to workout at home.

It’s a versatile equipment

The best part about an elliptical machine is that you can perform a variety of exercises on this. You can walk, cycle, run, etc. using just this equipment and can adjust the intensity and resistant as required.

The heart monitor will always keep a track of your progress and will help you in planning your workouts better than before.

Allows multitasking

Another great use of an Elliptical machine is that you can do a lot of other tasks while exercising on this machine. You can read a book or listen to music while working out on it which makes it a good equipment to multitask.

All you have to do is adjust the preferences on your machine in accordance with the job which you want to accomplish and then you can focus on your other task while the elliptical machine takes care that you are getting the workout which you just entered.

Keep in mind only the best brands and models allows such flexibility. Check elliptical reviews to know more.

Aug 08

5 Reasons You’re Always Hungry and The simple fix


Hunger is one thing none can escape. Irrespective of how motivated you are towards your fitness goals or weight loss diet the last piece of cake or the fried chicken leg has got to get you tempted but if you’re hungry way too often then its reason for concern.

Now adding to your already protein and fiber rich diet can help at times but not always. Sometimes it’s your lifestyle that needs a reality check and here’s what you need to look into in detail.

Your cardio routine

For a fact we know that cardio is one the best exercise form to suppress your cravings but that only works if you’ve got the intensity right. Too little too easy is the recipe for disaster as you’ll end up starving more.

This is because the body tends to produce higher amount of Ghrelin, the hunger hormone whereas high intensity training has little to no impact on its generation. So if you haven’t yet given it a thought it’s time to step it up now. Switch to rowing machine workouts preferrably on a Concept 2 rower for better resistance and intensity control.

Your personal meal timings

With jobs and daily life issues a schedule becomes a must and most of us have fixed meal timings and we’re likely to be the hungriest at those hours even if you’ve been eating shorter meals in between those hours and it gets tougher to resist more so during social meeting and gatherings.

Changing the entire meal schedule at once can be disruptive and can worsen the situation so I would suggest you skip out on one meal at a time and continue with your shorter, frequent meals.

Your daily diet

Timings aside the first and foremost thing that will need sorting out is the diet and if you’ve been eating a lot of yummy desserts etc. it’s going to be harder to stop that craving. Something as simple as an image or a TV advert can get you hungry.

Ignoring your craving completely can lead to excessive eating so my advice would be to let go slowly. Rather than a whole slice, grab 2 bites. It helps and you’ll slowly no longer feel the urge for it.

Your protein intake

You can either drink up the proteins or eat them. Yes there’s a lot of hype surrounding supplements and while it does help simply drinking your entire daily dose can impact negatively.  A balance is important but studies have shown that protein rich solid foods tends to be more effective and keeps you full longer. So choose wisely.

Your sleep

Sleep is one thing our generation tends to forget about with their high tech fast moving lives but lack of it or odd timings will keep you hungry longer since it leads to higher production of Ghrelin. Plus your overall performance is likely to suffer making you really cranky and frustrated thus in turn leading to binge eating etc.


Dec 17

Sandi – My Journey to IronMOM

My name is Sandi Haws and I just completed an ironman 70.3 (half ironman).  My journey through this adventure taught me a lot about myself, family, and friends.  I am hoping that if you have ever had a big obstacle in your path… reading this may help you find the strength to push through.    To better understand my journey here is a little about me and my family.  My husband and I have been married for 7 years now.  We have two little kids: 3 and 1 years old.  My husband is a registered nurse who works 12-hour night shifts 3 days a week about an hour away from home.  I am registered dietitian.  For the last couple years I have worked 1-2 days per week while staying at home with the kids.  Right before starting training for this race I decided to work part-time with 3 set days each week.  We decided to en-roll our 3 year old son in preschool for this year to see if a classroom setting will help him focus a little more.  It has been a great experience for us.  My husband’s job is unique.  It allows him to be home and watch our 1-year-old on the days I work.  However, on his work days we hardly see him at all.  My husband came to me one day with the idea to train for a half ironman and write about our experience.  At first I thought the idea was crazy.  I am not a writer, and a race that big would require so much training.  One of the reasons I married my husband is because he helps me move past initial fears that often keep me trapped in immobility.  I get frozen in place trying to figure out how or where to start.  All the obstacles start to surround me and I can’t see a way around them.  My husband gets so much fire and excitement for new ideas.  He does all the research to make a dream become real.  And all of a sudden I start to see a path to the goal.  It is a wonderful gift that he has given me many times in our marriage.  Without his guidance I would not have started on this journey at all.

One of the initial promises I made to myself when I started this, was to make sure that my training would have as little impact as possible on my family.  I didn’t want training to take away time spent with them.  Despite the fact that I was just starting to work more I knew I had to find a way to make this work.  Another promise was to try to be prudent about money.  I had the luck of already having a bike.  Jon and I did a couple small triathlons before we had children, and had bought bikes back then.  I will discuss different things I did to save money, and things that I eventually spent money on.


I will give a little background info on my level of fitness just prior to training for this race.  I did very little working out in high school.  I was on the volleyball team for one year.  In college I did workout videos with friends, started lifting weights regularly at the gym (very little cardio), played outdoor sand volleyball, wake boarded, started running 5Ks occasionally.  I was a slow runner, usually averaging 10 minute miles during races.  If you don’t think you are an athlete don’t let that stop you.  At 25 years old I would have told you I am not a runner a biker or a swimmer; I don’t know a thing about any of them and I am not any good at any of them.  When I met my husband we did a few 5Ks together.  He helped create a plan for me to get faster.  I followed a training regimen for about 6 weeks, and dropped my pace to under a 9 minute mile.  It felt great.  I had never really been trained by anyone before, and I loved seeing such a drastic improvement.   My husband had several marathons under his belt before we met, and at some point I decided I would like to do one.  It was a year or more into our marriage, and we hadn’t been working out much.  I was basically starting from scratch.  I remember that even one mile was painful then.  After my first marathon I was determined to get faster and by my third marathon I had dropped a minute per mile off my pace.  Then I started having kids.  After my first child, I ran a marathon 6-months postpartum, but was very slow again.  After my second baby I ran a marathon about 8 months postpartum.  That was this first day of this year 2014.  My knee started hurting halfway through the race and I pushed through the pain.  After the race I backed off running a lot.  I took a few weeks off to let it heal.  I started running 2-4 miles at most, and picked up my pace.  My knee didn’t hurt unless I went more than 4 miles.  I cut back running to 3 days a week at most.  That is where I was at when Jon presented the ironman idea to me.  If I hadn’t run a marathon just 4-5 months prior I don’t think I would have agreed.  But just 18 months after my last child was born I am in better shape than I ever have been before.  Despite many small successes and failures I was able to balance, work, family, and training and I am glad I lived through this!

How I got started…  taking on more work, training plans, time with family, etc


  1. Life plan: Each week I mapped out my entire schedule to determine how and when I could workout. I looked online for some scheduling printouts or organizers and eventually created my own which is attached below.
  2. Research: One of my first steps was finding a training plan.  I didn’t just look at one I looked at several.  I didn’t follow any exactly, but adapted the plans to fit my life and schedule, trying to make sure to implement important aspects of the training plans.  I read about the half ironman and tried to learn from others’ mistakes.
  3. Where to train: Early on I had to decide how and where I would train for this race. Gyms, pools, bikes, strollers, weights, treadmills, bike trailers, bicycle trainers, stationary bikes, etc.
  4. When: I tried to train when kids were asleep as much as possible, so that my working out was taking away my “me time” not my family time.  I also wanted to include my children in my workouts when possible.  This affected what equipment was my priority.



Life Plan/ Research


Once I found a Ironman 70.3 training plan I had to find a way to stay organized.  Until I was able to see that I could fit working out into my life, I didn’t care about the specific workouts.  I spent an hour one day looking at daily, weekly, monthly schedulers/organizers/planners.  A lot of them didn’t work for me.  I didn’t want to plan out every hour, but I needed something with more space than a monthly calendar.  I needed to be able to look at my week and see my work days, my husband’s work days, days I watch my niece and nephew, activities with my kids, and my workout plan, but without having to know exactly what time some things may happen.  One of the best things about my job is that I don’t have set hours.  I can arrive at work at 5 am or 10 am.  I leave when my workload is done 6-8 hours.  Schedules with my family and kids change so I don’t write down specific start times for things, unless I have an appointment.  I found a great idea online and created my own Calendar in Word.



Each row was given a title and events from each category could be tracked throughout the week.  When planning each workout I had to consider a lot of things.  The weather during a summer in Texas is brutal.  Any middle of the day workouts needed to be swimming or biking.  I rarely ever ran mid day.  If I did it was only a few miles.  Since my husband works evenings on the days he works he is not home at night after the kids are in bed.   He is not home in the morning before the kids wake.  I have to either bring the kids with me on a workout when they are awake or workout at home when they are asleep.  This was a big factor in deciding where to spend money in terms of workout equipment.  On my work days I can’t workout during nap time or with the kids, so I must work out early morning or after bedtime.  The number of hours I had to work out varied depending on all these factors.  Here is an example of how I utilized the Calendar for my life.  It helped me keep things straight most of the time.



This was not an actual week, but an example of how it all came together.  It is very similar to a normal week’s schedule.  I printed many copies of the blank calendar and put them on a clipboard.  Near the end of each week I would start working on the next week.  I would adjust based on how the previous week went, and was able to keep up with the most difficult workouts on the training plans I had found.


Where to Train


I had some equipment already, and had a limited budget.  I wanted to include the kids on some of my workouts.  I needed to be able to workout at home 3 days per week.  All of these factors influenced how I spent my money.  Below is a list of what I used for training.


Nature:  I did the majority of my training outside in nature.  I utilized every park and trail that I could find within a 20 mile radius of my house.  No matter where I am in my city I can give a good estimate of how many miles I am from home.  When the weather was good I brought the kids along.

Jogging stroller:  As soon as I was pregnant with my second child I started planning on getting a new jogging stroller – one that would hold two kids.  I used it a lot to train for my marathon, and I used it to train for this race as well.  I use it on almost all outings as well: zoo, museum, park, walks to grocery store, etc.  This investment was very worth it to me.  One day when my three year old wouldn’t go down for a nap he came along on a 6 mile jog.  He slept most of the run and ended up getting some much needed rest.  On longer runs it is really nice to bring some water along.   (ARTICLE)

Shoes:  I spend about $50 – $60 on running shoes.  I probably buy a new pair once every 2 years.  I put a lot of miles on my shoes, and put a lot of thought into each purchase.  The discounted shoes are often the model from the previous year.  They are not poor quality, just not the newest and most exciting.  I have always been able to find great running shoes staying under $60.

Tracker:  To monitor my pace/distance/etc I used a free app on my phone.  I like having my phone on me any time I workout in case something happens.  It uses GPS to let me know my pace and distance.  I didn’t pay for anything just utilized the free app that came with my phone: RunKeeper.  I also utilized a program called mapmyride on some of my bike rides when I wanted to try out a new route.


Bike:  My bike is about 7 years old now.  My husband and I did a lot of research and found a company that made less expensive triathlon bikes.  We found a bike for about $700 that had higher end components.  My sister-in-law spent $800 on a good road bike.  They both worked well.  I personally do prefer the aero bars (handle bars that allow you to ride in a more aerodynamic position).  I noticed a significant difference in my speed, and the position was very comfortable for me.

Bicycle Trainer:  A bike trainer allows you to take your bike and set it up in your home to ride in place.  I prefer it to a stationary bike for several reasons.  First, you can get a bike trainer for much less than a stationary bike.  Second, you are riding your actual bike with a bike trainer.  You can practice correct position on your bike in addition to building your muscle.  It will also get you used to the seat on your bike.  If you can bike outside for all of your training that is amazing, but if weather is a limitation or you are home with kids, like me, the bike trainer is a great solution.

Bike trailer:  I actually didn’t end up getting a bike trailer.  It takes up a lot of space and so I skipped that investment.  I also have issues with my 3 year old being too rough with his little sister.  The one time I borrowed a bike trailer to try it out it didn’t go well.  If my kids got along better I might have gotten a bike trailer that can be used as a jogging stroller as well.

Bike Computer: I started with a $10 bike computer.  It worked great.  It tracked everything that you would want.  It was not wireless.  The one thing it lacked was light, and when I started riding more in the dark I started to want a light on my computer.  I bought a $20 bike computer that was wireless and had a backlight.

Bike shoes and clips: You can actually save time on your transition from bike to swim if you don’t wear bike shoes.  I never noticed a big difference in my speed with bike shoes.  Although I did get bike shoes I don’t think they are necessary.  It works just as well to get toe clips and straps.  The pedal goes around the front of your shoes so you get push down and pull up while pedaling.  This is a much less expensive option.


Pool:  There are a lot of options out there for pool access: personal pool, gym, community pool, neighborhood pool.  Our city gym has a pool for a great price.  It doesn’t have childcare, however.  I was lucky to have an outdoor neighborhood pool.  I waited anxiously for it to open at the beginning of summer, and trained in it til mid October when it closed for the year.  I would have used the city gym if I had been training during the winter.  There pool is indoors.  Texas is known for long hot summers so I had a lot of warm months to train in our neighborhood pool.

Swimsuit:  I did not buy a fancy swimsuit, I just used an old one piece that I had.

Goggles:  I spent a lot of time finding goggles that wouldn’t leak.  I had to go through a few pairs before I found one that worked.   ARTICLE


Neither of the training plans that I ended up using included a weight-lift day.  I think it is essential to build all the muscles utilized in running so that you don’t do damage to your joints.  The stronger the muscles the more support for your joints.  Instead of always just running I also worked in some track workouts with bleachers.  WEBSITE I used a couple training videos that helped workout my core.  I also did planks, squats, superman, crunches, etc.  A strong core helps you keep better posture when running.  I have a small set of hand weights where you can adjust the weigh amount.  I did some good bicep, chest, and shoulder workouts with the weights.  I also used them while I did squats.  The weigh set was actually a free gift from work.  I went to the local high school track and ran bleacher miles and did sprints.  I love using gym equipment for weight lifting, but was able to do everything I needed with a little less expense.


Workout clothes: I have been wearing the same 3 pairs of workout shorts for the last 10 year.  I liked the first pair I bought so much that I went back a week later and bought 2 more pairs.  Since my body has changed over the years I have purchased new running shirts, but I have always been happy with generic brand workout clothes.  I was able to survive all the training with about 4 different workout outfits.

Race clothes: I really wanted to try a triathlon suit for the race.  This was a hard decision because they are expensive but not essential.  I was originally going to buy a one piece because they are a little less expensive.  While researching I read on a website that they are difficult to take off in the port-a-potties for bathroom breaks during the race.  I ended up buying tri top and shorts online.  I used the sizing guide and ordered the cheapest one I could find.  Unfortunately, the top didn’t work for me because it chafed at the top by the zipper.  The shorts on the other hand were perfect.  I loved the little extra padding on the bike, and felt they were very comfortable to run with.  They worked great for swimming as well.  Since I trained with no padding on the bike the padding in the tri suit was a welcome extra on race day.  I just wore an old sports bra during the swim.  I pulled on my favorite running shirt before the bike and wore it the rest of the race.  It worked out perfectly.


Workouts with kids:

I started altering my routes so that I wouldn’t go by a park where my 3-year-old would inevitably start begging to stop at the playground.  I loved to end workouts at the park, however, when I could stretch while they play, then walk home after.





I actually printed off two free online training plans for the Ironman 70.3.  Then I started making adaptations.  I did my best to make sure that I always did the hardest workout of the week, and I tried to make sure I was increasing my distances in each event at a similar rate as the training plans suggested.  Other than that I changed things around a lot.  There were days where my only option was riding on my bike with the Mag trainer.  On other days I could only run if I brought the kids in the jogging stroller.  I adapted time of workout, type of workout to my schedule and conflicts.  By the end of it all I had done the complete swim distance several times including 2 times in open water.  I had done the complete run distance twice.  I had done the complete bike distance once.  I did a lot of transition practice between swim and bike and bike and run.  I completed a 1.2 mi swim followed by a 40 mile bike followed by a 7 mile run.  That workout killed me.  I got so nutrition depleted and dehydrated that I hit a wall and walked about 3 miles of that run.  It was a bit disheartening to me.  It was a really hot day, and I had not adequately replaced fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.  Two weeks later I did a 20 mile bike and a 13 mile run.  It was cooler and I did better with my nutrition.  The run went really well, and I kept a great pace.  Still the last 2 miles I think nutrition again got the better of me.  During my training I never properly repleted nutrition.  I didn’t have enough space on the bike.  Texas summers get very hot and all my long bike rides were between noon and 5 pm.  It is difficult to carry water on runs, and hard to plan runs around water fountains.  I am making a lot of excuses, but I could and should have done better with this.  I was already pretty aware of what I can tolerate.  I have run several marathons, and know what I can handle and what I need during a 26.2 mile run.  I just didn’t prepare enough on training rides to make what I needed available to myself.  I would drain all my Gatorade, and suffer through the rest of the workout.  I just kept hoping that I wouldn’t need to worry about it as much in October.  I was training in 95+ degree weather, and I was hoping for 70s on race day.  One thing I did practice was initial bike nutrition.  I read on a training plan that some people don’t tolerate water or food well the first 10-30 minutes of the bike after their swim.  After my training swims I practiced my transition and did a 30 min bike ride after my swim.  I tried drinking water and Gatorade and practiced eating pretzels.  I had no problems at all so I knew I could start repleting nutrition as soon as I hopped on the bike.  ARTICLE




I am amazed everyday at the things other moms are doing in their lives.  Sometimes people would ask me how I had time for this.  It is the same as anything in your life.  What you put as your priority gets done.  I still worked and put my family first, but I definitely had to give some things up:

Cleaning:  My husband has said multiple times in the last few weeks since the race how much cleaner the house has been.  He keeps saying I don’t know what we are doing differently…  I keep responding that I am spending hours cleaning everyday again!    I was a much less effective housekeeper during this ordeal to say the least.

Cooking: I should have been eating better in preparation for the race, but we were eating out more and eating more pre-made meals.  I stopped making homemade bread.  I stopped making food from scratch.  I had no time to grocery shop and that lead to more eating out.

Me time:  I gave up my “me time”; well exercise became my “me time”.  I was playing volleyball weekly with some friends, but that was quickly replaced by training.

Spouse time:  I made sure to give a lot of attention to the kids through everything, but I did end up spending less time with my husband, which was a strain on our relationship.  Our evenings together after the kids went to bed became my training time.

Patience:  The worst thing that I gave up during training was my self-control.  The added stress and time associated with training left me drained and fatigued.  I was quicker to anger and less patient.  I was more irritated with spills and messes.  I know it is ridiculous to get upset at a 3-year-old who accidentally spills his spaghetti sauce across the room, but when you are exhausted you are less rational.  I love my kids more and more each day, but I regret that maybe I could or should have been a better mom.  I do hope that someday my children will find some personal strength from this goal that I worked for and achieved.


I tried to find accomplishment in every workout.  When I was about 1 mile away from home I always picked up my pace.  I tried to finish every run strong.  Running was the one thing I already knew how to do, and I already could do the distance.  So with running I focused on improving speed and form.  With the swim and bike I rewarded myself for every improvement in distance or speed.  Every workout I would get home and tell my husband what great workout I had just done.  I texted my sister-in-laws about my reached goals, and they told me about their own accomplishments.  That positive outlook got me outside on those days that I didn’t feel like doing anything.  With about two months left I noticed differences in myself.  At that point I was tapering so I had this endurance, but I wasn’t using every ounce on every workout.  I noticed how much longer I lasted playing with the kids.  Things that used to wear me out, didn’t anymore.  I was not in bad shape at the beginning, but I feel like a real athlete now.  My overall health is in a better place than it was before.  Every second was worth it, and the moment crossing the finish line was euphoric.


Jul 30

Why You Should be Eating More Fat (the truth about fat in diets)

For decades, we have been told that fat is bad. We’ve been told to avoid fats like the plague because they’re the downfall to every diet. However, new information is showing that fats can be both beneficial and essential to weight loss.

What is fat?

Fat is an essential nutrient that cannot be dissolved in water. Fat not only contributes energy to our bodies; it also helps us get the maximum benefit of all the other nutrients we consume.

What role does fat play in the body? Why do we need it?

Fat improves our bodies’ function in a wide variety of ways. Fat supplies us with energy. It helps us produce the right amount of testosterone and estrogen. Fat helps our immune system be at its finest. It helps us absorb other nutrients including the FAT soluble vitamins A, D, E, K.

To those who are deeply concerned about weight loss, fat should be your friend, not your enemy. According to the British Journal of Nutrition, eating fat helped participants lose weight even if their daily calorie consumption remained unchanged. On top of that, eating certain fats can boost your metabolism and make you feel fuller for longer.

What are the different types of fat?

Though you should be eating fat, it is of course important to consider where the fat is coming from. The three main categories of fats are saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.

Saturated fats have their molecules completely surrounded by hydrogen atoms. In the past, they have been considered “bad” fat as they raise LDL cholesterol levels.  However, if we limit saturated fat intake and replace it with carbohydrate there is no improvement in risk for cardiovascular disease.  If we reduce our saturated fat intake and replace it with poly-unsaturated fats there is decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated fats are not completely surrounded by hydrogen atoms. They have always been considered the “good” fat. Unsaturated fats can raise HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” kind) and boost your metabolism. Monounsaturated fats have only one hydrogen atom per fat molecule and can boost your metabolism for hours after your last meal. Polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 and omega-6) fats can lower the bad LDL cholesterol levels. They also help the immune system by combating inflammation.

Trans fats don’t occur naturally. They’re made by making vegetable oils more solid by adding hydrogen to them. These are found primarily in highly processed foods and should be avoided. Trans fats both raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels.  More and more food manufacturers are taking these out of the foods we buy since their negative impact on health has been exposed.

How to get the good fats in your diet

It’s important you consider where your fats are coming from. Though fat is good, it’s best to get it from whole foods. Avoid highly processed foods such as sweets and potato chips.

  • For example, a donut and an avocado contain the same amount of fat, but a donut is also high in sugar and very low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals. An avocado is high in monounsaturated fats and provides several vitamins and minerals.
  • Avoiding processed foods will also help you avoid bad trans fats. If you stick to eating organically there is no way for trans fats to sneak into your diet.
  • Consider foods you already eat; our dietary habits easily provide us with enough of certain fats already. For example, omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils that we commonly cook with. Getting enough of it isn’t really an issue. We also get plenty of saturated fats from traditional foods in our culture like milk, cheese, and meat.
  • If you’ve been dieting for awhile you may have been trained to avoid foods that contain beneficial fat. It may help to reintroduce those “bad” foods into your diet. Egg yolks, nuts, oils, avocados, olives are all great  sources of healthy fats.

Good and bad foods with fat

Common sense can help dictate which foods with fat can be a great addition to your diet and which foods will only hurt you. You should always make a point to avoid processed foods. Read the ingredient labels; if you find yourself unable to pronounce most things on the list, you should avoid eating it.

Avocados are a popular choice; they contain 21 grams of highly beneficial fat and no excess chemicals found in packaged snack foods. Milk and yogurt, though they contain saturated fats, will help you burn fat more efficiently.

Avoid fats from foods that contain little to no nutritional value like high fat baked goods like donuts or biscuits.  Instead replace with whole grains that provide fiber and B vitamins.  Always check the label of foods to make sure the fats used are not trans fat.


Fats are highly beneficial to your body, despite years of being told otherwise. They help improve our bodies’ overall functioning, helping out our immune system and nutrient absorption. Fats also help us achieve our weight loss goals; by consuming fat, we both reduce our appetite for prolonged periods of time and give our metabolisms a great boost. You should definitely make fat a part of your diet.

Image Credit: Yersinia pestis


Jul 15

8 Fun (easy) Peanut Butter Snacks for Kids (try #8 at your next BBQ)

8 fun and healthy peanut butter snacks for kids.  These fun recipes are easy for parents and fun for kids and include the long time favorites like ants on a log and new, exciting ones like peanut butter hot dogs, and banana sushi.  Fun and healthy peanut butter snacks that parents can give their kids with confidence.

1. Ants on a Log


This simple snack is perfect for the child with an active imagination.  Simple cut celery stalks into 3-4 inch sections.  Inside the stalk fill with peanut butter. On top of the peanut butter place 3-4 raisins.  You child will have fun helping create this fun peanut butter snack and enjoy pretending the raisins are little ants.

2. Peanut Butter Toast


Easy to make and delicious.  Just toast a piece bread to perfection and then slather with peanut butter. Watch it melt gently into the bread and enjoy your child adoring this treat.

3. Peanut Butter – Banana Sandwich


The name says it all.  Just slather some peanut butter on your favorite bread then slice up a banana and cover the bread.  Your child will love the sweet taste of the banana and the creamy texture of the peanut butter.

4. Banana/Peanut Butter Sushi


Perfect for introducing your child to sushi.  This is simple recipe that your children will love.  Grab a whole wheat tortilla, nutella, peanut butter, and a banana.  Spread nutella and peanut butter on the tortilla, lay the uncut banana down.  Roll the tortilla up around the banana.  Then slice into rolls.  This is a delicious snack for children and adults.

5. Peanut Butter and Apple Slices


There is something about the sweet watery taste of apples mixed with the savory sticky flavor of peanut butter that make this a favorite snack in our house.

6. Double Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores (not so healthy)


Okay, Okay, Okay . . . this one isn’t so  healthy, but it is delicious and your children will love making it.

7. Peanut Butter and Graham Crackers


Simple but awesome.

8. PB&J Hotdog


Okay. . . this is just awesome.  If your child loves hotdogs (like mine) or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches . . . this is the perfect snack for you.  Grab a hotdog bun spread some peanut butter on it, place a whole banana inside it, and top with your favorite jelly. Try this at your next BBQ or with your kids for lunch and tell me the reaction!

Did I miss a favorite peanut butter snack of your? Share it below in the comments.

Image CreditsAmancay MaahsRoss BurtonCatherine RoyHeathere WilloughbyTowerGirlEmily CarlinRachel HathawayKitchen Life of a Navy Wife


Jul 15

10 Largest Marathons in the US [pictures]

If you love running marathons or are a newbie it can be very exciting to run in one of the largest marathons.  Here are the top 10 marathons in the US according to 2012 registrants.

1. New York ING Marathon – 47,000


2. Chicago Marathon – 37,455


3. Honolulu Marathon – 24,413


4. Marine Corps Marathon – 23,515


5. Boston Marathon – 21,544


6. LA Marathon- 18,729


7. Walt Disney World Marathon – 13,467


8. Philadelphia Marathon – 11,553


9. Twin Cities Marathon – 8,781


10. Houston Marathon – 7,637


Image Credits:  MartinericScott RettbergMichele MeyerDavidBU Interactive NewsMichael DorauschDawn AshleyJason PriemTim WilsonBorn_Hiker

Did we miss a marathon?  Share it in the comments below!


Jul 12

20 Insane Marathon Costumes (you thought 26.2 was hard in shorts)

You thought running 26.2 miles was a challenge?  Check out what these crazy marathoners wore for 26.2 miles. The top 20 insane marathon costumes.  Did we miss one?  Share it in the comments below.

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1. Just a Man in a Chicken Suit . . . NBD


2. Storm Trooper Pushing Baby R2D2


3. Superheros Getting a Workout


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4. Leprechauns Run Too


5. Zombie Pirates on the Prowl


6. Gorilla Man Loves Aid Station Bananas


7. Lose the Lake?


8. Sumo Guy Trying to Cut Weight


9. His and Hers


10. What The ?#$%


11. Nurse Bertha


12. Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?


13. Go Fred!


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14. There’s Something on Your Back


15. 2 Men 1 Camel . . . 26 Miles


16. Got Milk?

Dressing up is a staple of marathons all over, Brighton is no different. http://www.mattgrover.me.uk/

17. Getting Back to Nature


18. Spam Man


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19. Need to Call Home


20. Big Bird and Sonic Out For a Jog


Image Credits: Stephen ToppDave HuntStephen ToppStephen Toppdarwin BellStephen ToppStephen Toppthomas_slyTom HarrisonHideya HAMANOShimelle LaineTom HarrisonTom HarrisonTom HarrisonMatt GroverChris WaitsPete Sheffield

Did we miss one?  Share it in the comments below.


Jul 12

12 Amazing Vacation Spots for Runners (how many have you ran?)

Planning a family vacation this summer?  Don’t let that stop you from getting a stellar family workout, hike, jog, or picture.  Here are our choices for the top 12 running trails you should visit as a family during your summer vacation!

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1. McKenzie River Trail – Eugene, OR


A fun place for the kids to hike with bridges winding paths and plenty of hiking, biking, and running trails.

2. Appalachian Trail – Georgia


With 2,179 mils of trail you will have an easy time finding a great place to run here.

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3. Kalalau Trail – Kauai, Hawaii

11 miles of picture perfect beach running.

4. Poison Spider Mesa – Moab Utah


11 miles of picture perfect beach running.

4. Poison Spider Mesa – Moab Utah


A beautiful 13 mile loop for the more adventurous family.

5. Tahoe Rim Trail – Incline Village, Nevada


165 mile trail with beautiful views of Lake Tahoe.

6. Alafia River State Park – Brandon, Florida


Creek crossings, ponds, swamps, and more!  A fun adventure for families.

7. Ice Age National Scenic Trail – LaGrange, Wisconsin


Green pastures and rolling hills covering a total of 1,200 miles.

8. Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Canyon Texas


120 miles long and 800 feet deep, this is the second largest canyon next in the US to the Grand Canyon. A fun and challenging place to run.

9. Shut – In Trail – Asheville North Carolina


18 mile trail with a challenging 3000 foot climb.

10. John Muir Wilderness – Bishop California


212 mile trail with inspiring views of mountains, trees, valleys, lakes, and rivers.

11. Central Park – New York, New York


With miles of trails a great place to enjoy city and fitness.

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12. Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, CA


With so much to see and do this makes the perfect destination for families.

Do you have a favorite running destination we didn’t include?  Share it below!

Image Credits: apsbikerNicholas A. TonelliBrianRob HyndmanJeff MoserLuke LienauElliott Blackburnk.steudelmlhradioAnh DinhJim Trodel


Jul 11

What My 3 Year Old Knows About Food That Most Adults Never Learn

Kids seem to have nutrition figured out . . . that is until they start learning our bad habits.  If adults ate like children love to eat we might see different trends in health and wellness in adults.  Our 3 year old, Taz knows 6 things that most adults never figure out.

1. Children know when to stop eating! 

When they are full they stop and when hungry they eat.  It doesn’t matter if there are 20 pieces of food left on the plate or two.  Children don’t listen to social cues or an inside voice telling them to “clear their plate”.  Children listen to their bodies and are great at self regulating the number of calories they get.  This is a fact parents!  Research has been done showing that two year olds given low calorie jello as a snack will naturally eat more food later in the day than children given regular jello as a snack.  Your body knows when you have the calories you need and tries to give lots of cues to stop eating, but adults don’t listen.  We are too busy talking, watching TV, driving, clearing our plate, etc.


2. It is ok to eat just one type of food at a meal. 

Children may eat 5 rolls for dinner and not one other bite of food.  This is common for children and not a problem unless they are going days without any variety.  Keep the day or even week in perspective.  At the next meal they may eat only the watermelon.  Kids get hooked on a food sometimes and want only that food item.  As long as the food is a generally healthy food from one of the food groups (in other words not just fat and sugar) then don’t worry about it.  This is a natural occurrence and is not a problem.  Continue to offer variety at each meal, but it’s perfectly ok.


3. Children are not emotional eaters. 

They eat for nourishment not to deal with depression or anxiety.  Food is about meeting a basic need.  Children know when they are hungry that they need to eat and that is what they do.  They would never get up in the middle of the night to cry their eyes out over a gallon of ice cream.


4.   Water quenches thirst. 

Kids seem to know exactly what their bodies need and they meet those needs well.  When it comes to hydration children will drink water in response to thirst.  Too often as adults we meet that need with soda or other sugary beverages.  And often we teach that habit to our children.


5.  Its ok to not like every vegetable. 

When kids don’t like a specific vegetable they don’t eat, but they are happy to enjoy the ones they like.  Kids don’t worry about not liking specific vegetables.  It is okay to have preferences and it is also ok to leave some alone while enjoying the ones you like.


6. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not a four letter words. 

Kids eat what they like regardless of what a food is called.  After a while we are told to eat our fruits and vegetables so many times it picks up a bad connotation.   We aren’t allowed up from the table until we finish our peas.  We can’t have dessert unless we eat our green beans.  Young children haven’t had the chance to categorize all foods and deem certain ones “good” or “bad”.