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BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TO HELP COMBAT CORONAVIRUS

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TO HELP COMBAT CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus is here and Boca Raton schools and shuls (synagogues) have shut down much like many other cities across the country. My once-a-week cleaning lady has canceled, 3 of my 4 kids are at home doing online school (for those of us who have never home-schooled our kids it’s so weird seeing them in their room on their online classes, right?), and my 19 year old son cannot come back from Israel where is a lone soldier in the IDF even though he has not started service yet and likely won’t be drafted for the foreseeable future (if anyone knows a way to get him out of this and bring him home, let me know!). I never thought I’d see this kind of eerie sci-fi movie-like existence in my lifetime, have you? The good news is I think we have enough toilet paper….at least for now! tongue

We all know the CDC recommendations by now and they are so important to follow as instructed: wash your hands for 20 seconds, don’t touch your face, keep a social distance, etc. etc. But what else can we do? Well, there ARE things you can do to help boost your immune system so that if you do get the virus it will be over quickly and the symptoms will hopefully be mild.

Please note that the advice I outline below is not to replace that given to you by your medical doctor as I have no way of knowing what medications you might currently be on or what your particular health situation is. Rather, these are general guidelines for you to help make the best food, supplement and lifestyle choices to keep your immune system as strong as possible in these crazy times with such an incredibly contagious virus around the world.

Immune System Boosters

One of my son’s teachers used to tell his class “you can’t boost your immune system – you’re not a car” which always made me laugh – and get annoyed – at the same time.  To his credit, my son would argue with his teacher, something along the lines of “my Mom always gives us extra Vitamin C and herbal medicine when we get sick” to which he would respond “well, that’s just stupid.” Okayyyyy.  It didn’t matter that there is scientific evidence or the fact that it worked a majority of the of the time….some people are just very stuck in their ways of thinking.

Yes, of course you can boost your immune system! Just like there are certain activities, foods (think white sugar and white flour) and medications that will lower your immune system, the same holds true for increasing it’s ability to ward off viruses and infections.  Some people think “Well, the coronavirus is so contagious I’m going to get it anyway so what’s the point?”  That may be true but it’s important to recognize that anything you put into your body, or on your skin for that matter, has the ability to either put you “up the slope of health” or “down the slope of health,” to quote one of my mentors, the highly respected Canadian functional nutrition practitioner and teacher Josh Gitalis.  Basically, as he explains, the higher up the slope of health you are, the faster and easier your body has to respond to any type of invader and the better off you are but you have to work on getting up the slope and staying there on a daily basis.  You aren’t “healthy” or “unhealthy” – you are somewhere along that line and must keep striving toward better health.  Hopefully that puts things into perspective!

Some of the recommendations below are known to be effective against the common flu virus and we are hopeful that it has the same effect with Coronavirus although we don’t know for sure.  Others are simply known to help strengthen your overall immune system:


Immune Boosting Foods:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables – but make sure you aren’t adding toxins to your body with pesticides.  Wash produce well but check out the annual Dirty Dozen list for produce especially high in pesticides.  It is recommended that those on this list are bought organic whenever possible.  If you don’t like to eat your fruits and veggies, juice them in this top-rated juicer or do what my family does and blend them into a smoothie such as in this high speed blender.  There are tons of fruit and vegetable smoothies online or get the kids involved and create your own!
  • Speaking of fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit are high in natural Vitamin C – known to help boost your immune system.  Interestingly enough, red peppers are even higher in Vitamin C than oranges! Red pepper juice, anyone? 
  • Drink lots of water – reverse osmosis or spring water is best.  I personally use this inexpensive, easy to install, under the sink filter.
  • Drink bone broth – I know it’s all the rage these days but with good reason: your grandmother was right, chicken soup really does help your immune system – and maybe your soul, too.  But to really get all the benefits that bone broth has to offer including strengthening your immune system, follow a bone broth recipe.  If you don’t want to wait that long for it to cook, use an instant pot and it will be ready in no time! 
  • Garlic and onions have natural anti-viral properties.  Chop them up and use them in whatever you are cooking and of course add some to your bone broth for extra benefits.  If you have IBS and/or are following a LOW-FODMAP diet, skip this suggestion.
  • Ginger – aside from being known as the anti-nausea herb of choice, it also contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols which inhibit the formation of inflammatory messengers of the immune system.[1]  It also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties and soothes lung tissues.  Make a simple tea with fresh ginger, lemon, mint and this delicious organic honey.

 

Immune Boosting Supplements:

  • Vitamin C – the immune system vitamin – 1000 mg 3x/day (or more).  Some suggest to take it to bowel tolerance – meaning, until you develop loose stools and then cut back on the dose.  Since this varies person to person, start with the recommended dose and go up from there.
  • Zinc –  the immune system mineral – 30 – 60 mg twice a day.
  • Oregano – but especially this type containing the Mediterranean source P73 wild oregano that was used in studies to successfully destroy bacteria and viruses. It is best to take it 3x/day when you feel the start of symptoms as taking high doses for a long period of time can have negative effects on the good bacteria in your intestinal tract (similar to antibiotics but not nearly as detrimental). 
  • Elderberry extract – in addition to being an excellent source of Vitamin C, it improves and strengthens immune system function, helps detoxify the body and reduces cold and flu symptoms. [2]
  • Echinacea – shown to have profound immune enhancing effects, and direct antiviral activity. [3] We like this brand.  That being said, it’s best NOT to take during a fever as it may increase the inflammatory response of this type of unfamiliar virus.  Best to take as a preventative measure or if your symptoms during the virus do not include a high fever.
  • NAC – N-Acetylcysteine is an antioxidant and precursor to glutathione, one of the major antioxidants in lung tissue.  In a double blind trial, using NAC during the flu season reduced the frequency and severity of symptomatic flu episodes. [4] While we don’t have studies showing it’s effectiveness specifically on Coronavirus, my guess would be that it would show similar effects.  I recommend this quality formula.

Make sure your supplements, whether they are Vitamins, Minerals, or Herbal remedies are low in sugar, and don’t contain fillers or other unnecessary ingredients.  It defeats the purpose to take high sugar, chemical filled synthetic supplements. They should also have enough of the active ingredient to do the job.  Often when studies are done showing supplements did not have a positive effect it was because they were too low in potency or made with unhealthy ingredients. [Hint – don’t buy them from Costco or your local drugstore.]  A health food store, quality brands like those I recommended above from Amazon or a professional Supplement Dispensary is a much better option.

Lifestyle:

  • Make your own easy natural hand sanitizer – get a spray bottle and add 70% alcohol along with a few drops of essential oil of tea trea (melaleuca), eucalyptus, thyme, lavender, rosemary, clove or a combination, and optionally a few tablespoons of pure aloe vera taken from inside the actual aloe vera leaf.  There are many brands of essential oils out there that are not pure and have added ingredients used to dilute the products.  Pure essential oils are NOT the same as botanical oils or the inexpensive essential oils you can buy at your local health food store. I personally have been using Doterra essential oils for a while since they have a great reputation but lately I have been switching to Living Libations which I feel are even more pure. 
  • Lowering your stress helps your immune system so do yoga or dance using an online streaming service (I love Les Mills on Demand), or go for a walk outside which will also benefit you by getting some sunlight.  The naturally occurring vitamin D helps your immune system as well and so many of us are deficient because of the overuse of sunscreen.  It is a good idea to be out in the sun for at least 15 minutes a day without any sunscreen. After that, use an all natural brand like this one or this one.  
  • If you feel like you are coming down with something don’t do a hard workout like running, heavy weight lifting or HiiT as these forms of exercise can increase cortisol levels – the stress hormone. But don’t sit still either – a light workout is fine as long as you feel up to it.
  • Sleep 8 hours a night – this is so important! Go to bed before 11 pm and sleep in complete darkness to have the best benefits.
  • Be happy – I know, I know, easier said than done.  Writing down things you are grateful for….it might sound cheesy but it helps.  I am personally grateful to live in Florida where I can sit in my backyard as I write this, go for a bike ride which is apparently safe for social distancing and of course grateful for my awesome family despite the fact that it’s only Day 2 of them being home and it has been a non-stop cooking and eating fest!
  • Most of all have faith….we will get through this! happy
If you found this helpful, please share with family and friends!

References:

[1] “The Healing Power of Herbs and Spices.” The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, by Michael T. Murray et al., Time Warner International, 2006, pp. 486–487.

[2]“The All-In-One Guide to Natural Remedies and Supplements: Discover the Health and Healing Powers of Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals, Fats, Enzymes, Amino Acids, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Flower Remedies, Leading Edge Discoveries, Nutraceuticals, Phytochemicals.” The All-In-One Guide to Natural Remedies and Supplements: Discover the Health and Healing Powers of Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals, Fats, Enzymes, Amino Acids, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Flower Remedies, Leading Edge Discoveries, Nutraceuticals, Phytochemicals, by Ken Vegotsky et al., AGES Publications, 2001, pp. 202–203.

[3]“Immune Support.” The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, by Joseph E. Pizzorno et al., Elsevier, 2016, p. 391.

[4]“Influenza.” Nutritional Medicine, by Alan Gaby, Fritz Perlberg Publishing, 2017, p. 1249.

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DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC BLOATING?

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC BLOATING?

If you are constantly bloated seemingly no matter what you eat, have gas pain and discomfort, and feel like you wake up in the morning with a flat stomach but look preggers by the end of the day, read on!

MY IBS STORY:

As a child I suffered from chronic stomach pains but at the time I did not realize that “stomach” pains actually meant “lower intestinal” pains.  After enduring a bunch of medical tests in my teen years, my Doctor told me I had IBS.  He also gave me a post-it note – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up – with a short list of foods to avoid: Caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods, chocolate and popcorn. No explanation, no discussion on anything I was eating (and I was eating a LOT of crap) and no advice on anything else that could help.  Giving up these foods was difficult for me, I was a teenager after all and my Doctor literally took away my 5 favorite food groups, but I tried for about a month.  Not surprisingly, it did not help at all and if you read on, you’ll see why – and not just because the rest of my food intake was a bunch of poor choices.

So, what exactly is IBS?  It stands for “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” and in the medical world basically means, “We can’t find anything seriously wrong with you, but your intestines are irritated for some reason – possibly stress and anxiety and too much spicy food – and we have no way to fix it other than to offer meds that may or may not help, but will probably make your symptoms worse in the long run.”  OK, fine maybe that’s not exactly what it means, but you get the point.

All joking aside, an IBS diagnosis is given when other serious gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease, bowel cancer, Chron’s disease and also some gynecological conditions are ruled out.  The most common symptoms of IBS are lower abdominal discomfort, bloating, excessive gas and also alternating diarrhea and constipation.

Well, as it turns out, some folks at Monash University have been researching IBS and these types of symptoms for a long time and have a diet program that really helps.  Even if you haven’t officially been diagnosed with IBS, if you have the symptoms mentioned above and have ruled out other more serious issues, this program is definitely worth a try.  It helped me tremendously and I follow it for several weeks when I have a flare up.  At other times I follow a wholesome, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, gluten-free eating plan with foods made mostly from scratch. By the way, this includes dark chocolate, some awesome spices and even organic popcorn! My old Doctor would have been so disappointed….

WELCOME LOW-FODMAPS

The program I am referring to is the Low-FODMAP diet.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Olig-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.  These sugars can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas.  Current research strongly suggests that this group of sugars contributes to IBS symptoms.

Even though some FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in ALL people – think of what happens when you eat beans, for example – the reason such strong symptoms only occur in those with IBS can be due to a hypersensitivity in the gut and/or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (otherwise known as SIBO)What this means is that in some individuals, the bacteria that are normally located in the large intestine, move up into the small intestine which creates the symptoms of IBS.

Now, not all individuals diagnosed with IBS react to ALL of the different types of FODMAPs.  Some of the FODMAPs can be tested using a special breath test that can determine malabsorption, but others cannot be tested and should simply be avoided to help relieve symptoms.  The test itself is controversial and can have false results but is helpful under the right circumstances.

SOME HIGH-FODMAP FOODS TO AVOID WITH IBS:

  • Fruits such as Apples, Pears, Plums and Watermelon
  • Garlic (garlic infused oil can be used instead: simply cut up 1 whole bulb – not clove – of fresh garlic, add to 1 cup organic cold-pressed olive oil and gently heat on the lowest setting until fragrant; remove from heat, let cool and strain the oil into a glass bottle)
  • Onions (the green part of the spring onion and chives may be used instead, as well an Indian spice called Asafetida powder that has a strong onion/garlic flavor, but I have not personally tried it)
  • Beans
  • FOS: Fructo-oligo-sacharides, often found in Probiotic supplements
  • Nuts such as cashews and pistachios

There are a number of foods to be avoided and others that can be consumed in small quantities at a time such as asparagus, butternut squash, almonds and some dairy products as well as gluten containing grains like wheat and rye.  That being said, in my experience it’s best to avoid ALL gluten containing grains and dairy with IBS. For details on the exact types and quantities of the foods to be limited or avoided, you can download the official Monash University Low Fodmap app or where you can search individual foods or purchase this book.  For breath testing, and/or to discuss your particular health challenges and food sensistive that may also play a role in IBS, contact me for a personalized wellness plan.

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INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

I’m sure most of you know by now that just because a product is on your grocery store shelf, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.  We all try to avoid processed candy, cookies and foods we are absolutely certain are not healthy for us or our children.  But what some of you may not know is that many ingredients found in packaged and processed foods are REALLY bad for your health and in some cases downright scary!

Many packaged foods contain additives and preservatives; are made with genetically modified ingredients (always look for the non-GMO-certified label if you are not sure).  These items have detrimental effects on the body, especially if consumed in excess.  It is important to not only read nutritional labels for protein, carbs, sugar and fats, but to read the full list of ingredients as well.  In this way, you will learn which foods are beneficial to your health and which are not.  There are almost always healthier versions of your favorite packaged foods that do not contain these harmful ingredients.  By shopping at health food stores such as Whole Foods or online at www.Vitacost.com you have the ability to make better choices for you and your family. While they may be a little more expensive, the health benefits you will get are well worth it.

The following, while not a complete list, are common food additives to avoid whenever possible:

Additive: 

            Used in:

           Possible Effects:

Acesulfame Potassium, Acesulfame-K (Ace-K)  

Protein powders, Bodybuilding powders, “diet” products.  Usually combined with Aspartame to mask its chemical aftertaste.

Due to containing methylene chloride, may cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight, hypoglycemia and possibly cancer.

Acacia Gum (Gum Arabic)

Chewing gum, candies, frosting, soft drinks & related beverages

Asthma attacks, skin rashes, pregnancy and fetal development problems.

Alginic Acid

Ice cream and other frozen desserts, salad dressings, cheese spreads and dips

Pregnancy complications and birth defects.

Aspartame (brand name Nutrasweet), E951

Diet and sugar-free soft drinks, gum, candy, instant desserts (Jello, puddings), sugar-free gum, drink mixes (Crystal light, Kool Aid), cough syrup

Mental confusion, rashes, depression, anxiety, headaches, nausea, seizures, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, insomnia.

Benzoic Acid

Margarine, beer, pickled vegetables, soft drinks, jelly, jams, fruit juice, barbecue sauce

Asthma attacks, rashes, irritation of eyes and mucuos membranes, hyperactivity in children, neurological disorders

BHA and BHT

Chewing gum, candy, enriched rice, most major grocery store brands of cereal, shortening, desserts & deli meats.

Elevated cholesterol, liver and kidney damage, infertility, sterility, immune disorders, increased susceptibility to carcinogens, behavioral problems in children.

Calcium Chloride

Dairy products

Gastrointestinal irritations

Calcium Disodium EDTA

Mayonnaise, dressing, canned beans, canned potatoes

Blood in urine, intestinal upset, kidney damage, muscle cramping.

Common Food Dyes/Food colouring, especially Yellow #5 (Tartrazine; E102)

Candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit cocktails, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, ices, bakery products, American cheese, packaged macaroni & cheese

Hyperactivity & behavioral problems in children (ADD/ ADHD), asthma, migraine headaches, kidney and adrenal damage, allergic reactions

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, cereals, cookies

Increases LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, contributes to the development of obesity and diabetes.

   

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), autolyzed yeast extract

Chinese food, salt substitutes, soups, condiments, bouillon cubes, spices & seasonings, potato chips, frozen dinners, lunch meats

Allergic reactions, headaches, eye inflammation, brain edema, central nervous and vascular system problems, obesity (shuts off the feeling of being full), depression and fatigue.

Potassium Bromate

Some breads

Cancer

Sodium Benzoate & Potassium Sorbate

Soft drinks, packaged spreads such as hummus, tahini, etc., Yogurts

Allergic reaction; “chemical” taste in foods.

Sodium/Potassium Sulfite or Metabisulfite or Sulphites

Dried fruits (if does NOT contain, label must state “sulphite free” or “unsulphited”), wine

Headaches, asthma attacks, allergic reactions such as flushing, redness, itchiness.

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite

Hot dogs, smoked fish, smoked meats & luncheon meats ie. Pastrami, salami, corned beef

Birth defects, cancer – nitrates can combine with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a highly carcinogenic substance.

Splenda/Sucralose

“Diet” foods, cake mixes and snacks, low-calorie beverages, diet soft drinks

Shrunken thymus, enlarged liver/kidneys (shown in lab rats who consumed Splenda)

Sulphur Dioxide, E220

Beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, wine, vinegar, potato products

Bronchial problems, asthma, flushing, tingling sensations, destruction of vitamins B1 & Vitamin E in the body.

Tertiary butydroquinone (TBHG)

Candy bars, baking sprays, fast foods

Childhood behavioral problems.

Trans Fat, Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Margarine, chips, crackers, baked goods & fast foods

Increases LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL “good” cholesterol, increased risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes, contributes to increased inflammation.

www.RealHealthFit.com

Please feel free to print this list and take it with you when shopping at you local grocery store; look through the food items in your fridge and pantry to see which items contain these ingredients and slowly switch them for healthier products.  Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions regarding this list or if you think other ingredients should be included. 

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WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

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When the Beachbody Program Body Beast first came out at the end of 2012, I was extremely hesitant to try it as it seemed like it was designed solely for men, in particular men who just wanted to “get huge!”  Check out this original promo video and you’ll see why it took me a while to dive in.

This would definitely appeal to men and teenage boys everywhere, but many women have a fear of getting bulky muscles and try to avoid heavy weightlifting.  While women don’t have enough testosterone to get “huge,” I was still a little wary mostly due to the fact that the Body Beast guide booklet had no caloric intake equation specifically for women. If I used the calculations in the book I’d be consuming 2800 calories a day, about 800 more than I typically consume…..Yikes!  I also knew I’d either have to decrease the weights on the “leg day” workout or swap it out for another program because heavy weights with squats and lunges have always left me with huge quads, a look I personally don’t like.  (If that doesn’t happen to you or you like the look, then go for it!)

A program with weightlifting, very little cardio, and lots of food where the outcome is a toned, more defined body? A variety of workouts so you never get bored, all in less than an hour a day (sometimes just 35 minutes)?  This program was my dream…..if the workouts were doable and enjoyable, of course!

As it turns out, I really enjoyed the workouts and the training style of Sagi Kalev.  I know that some people don’t like his “musclehead” demeanor, or the fact that English is his second language (he’s Israeli), but honestly it didn’t bother me at all.   Sure, his humor is cheesy, and he seems to make fun of his workout buddies quite often, but who cares?  He knows his stuff, is an excellent motivator and he gets the job done.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

The complete program is 90 days.  Each day is divided into a different body part – the first 3 and the last 3 weeks are broken down by Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs, Shoulders, and Cardio while the middle 6 weeks are each individual muscle group – Chest, Back, Legs, Arms and Shoulders.  Since you are working out 6 days a week but there are only 5 different workouts per week, the rest day changes each week.  I didn’t love this aspect of the program, since I’m used to taking a rest day the same day each week but, hey, nothing’s perfect.

There is an option for 2 bonus workouts, Tempo Back & Biceps and Tempo Chest & Triceps.  These are a great addition to the program, especially if you get bored easily and need more variety in your workouts.  The Body Beast workout calendar (see below) includes these workouts as an option to replace some of the Build Back & Bis and/or Build Chest & Tris workouts on the specified days.  The main difference between the workouts is the speed in which you perform each repetition – much slower in the Tempo workouts.  This requires more patience, though, so if you don’t like performing reps at a very slow pace then skip it.

beast calendar

There is an option for a somewhat different schedule, called “Lean Beast” which includes more cardio sessions in the rotation of workouts.  For women, I would only suggest Lean Beast if you have more than 15 lb. to lose, since you will definitely burn more calories at rest with more muscle and therefore lose weight, even on the “Huge Beast” schedule.

The workouts are as challenging as you make them based on the weight you lift, so lift as heavy as you can and keep track of your weights using either the Body Beast app (available with purchase of the program) or the BodyBeast Worksheets. You can take these sheets with you and workout at the gym, which makes it super convenient to stick to the program while traveling.  Sagi does a variety of training sets, such as Pyramid Sets – where the first set is lighter weight, second set is medium weight, third set is heaviest weight etc. and Giant Sets – where different exercises are done back to back.  Therefore, you definitely need a good variety of weights for this program.  Yes, I know it’s an initial investment, but when you think about all the gym membership dollars you would spend on per month, I guarantee that this won’t even come close.  While I personally have separate dumbbells ranging from 3 lb to 35 lb, it’s a lot more space saving, and economical, to get dumbbells like these, which is a favorite among home fitness users. They range from 3 – 24 lbs, in easy to adjust 3 lb. increments. I don’t love the design, since it’s can be tricky to use for some exercises but still doable.  If you are more advanced or the square shape bothers you, then these would be a better option, and they range from 5 – 50 lbs.

Other items to purchase for the best results with this program:

  • Easy Bar with Weight Plates  is used often in the program, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space for it or can’t afford it as there is a modifier who does all the exercises with dumbbells.
  • Weight Bench, an excellent addition to your home gym in general.  You can use a Stability Ball instead, along with the modifier in the program, if you don’t have or don’t want a weight bench.  I have done the program using both, and while I prefer the weight bench, it is definitely doable without it.
  • Pullup Bar with the Pullup Assist is a great way to get started doing pullups; alternatively you can use these well-made B-lines Resistance Bands which comes with a door attachment – just make sure you have a sturdy door frame to use it on!

Beachbody recommends that you take their Performance Line of supplements for Body Beast but I did not do so.  They are a good quality line of products but being sensitive to some of the ingredients, and as a Holistic Nutritionist with access to more affordable supplements, I chose to get my own comparable items.   I did, however, have Beachbody’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology*every day – my go-to treat with amazing health benefits!

The main difficulty I found with this program, but at the same time a huge pro, is the amount of food you get to eat.  Your body needs this number of calories in order to get strong, lean muscles if you are a woman, or much larger muscles if you are a man.  Since the original calculations were designed for men to get bigger, Sagi came out with an easier, updated version for you ladies out there (also useful for anyone who has a hard time figuring out the original calculation) to make sure you get the exact number of calories you need, with 2 options, based on whether you’d like to get more muscular or get leaner.

Calculate your calorie intake by downloading this Book-of-Beast-Calculator

Once you have this number, simply go to the guide that comes with your program to see how it’s broken down into portions.  It took me some time to get this right, since I had been using Autumn Calebrese’s Portion Control Containers for a while as recommended by some of the other Beachbody Programs and this system is very different.  Just be patient with yourself and you’ll get it in no time.

I found the easiest way to track my food intake was to put my allotted servings on a sheet of paper, photocopy it weekly, and cross each item off as I went along (details are in the booklet as to specifically what amount and type of food equals a serving size).  For the first 2 months, at the 2000 calorie level, mine looked like this, just to give you an idea:

PROTEIN    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT

FRUIT/CARB LIQ       FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL     FRUIT/CL

LEG/PR LIQ     LEG/PR LIQ

CARB      CARB        CARB      CARB       CARB

VEG/BAL LIQ    VEG/BAL LIQ     VEG/BAL LIQ       VEG/BAL LIQ

FAT        FAT       FAT      FAT

AFTER WORKOUT SHAKE (since I did not use Beachbody’s Base Shake or Fuel Shot, I made my own based on the nutrition content of those products): 330 cal, 23 gr carbs, 58 gr protein

I hope this encourages some of the ladies out there to try this program. I am very happy with the results as I got stronger doing this program and see a lot more overall muscle definition.  Let me know if you have any questions about this program and I would be happy to assist you.  Order the Body Beast program HERE, or the Body Beast Challenge Pack, which comes with a 1 month supply of Shakeology* at a significant savings.  By ordering through this website, you also get ME as your FREE coach to answer any questions you have while doing the program and to help you succeed.  As an added bonus, you get Lucky 7, another Body Beast full-body workout DVD, FREE! happy

*For my orthodox Jewish followers, please note: Shakeology has 2 vegan options – the others are made with whey protein– but it is NOT certified Kosher.  Please consult with your local Rabbi if you have any questions regarding consuming this product for health purposes.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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WORKOUT ANYWHERE WITH THE RIP TRAINER

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rip trainer

Me, on the beach in Miami, with the TRX Rip Trainer attached to a fence, getting an awesome workout.

There are so many fitness gadgets on the market, sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up.  I find many of them are silly or a waste of time but there are a few tried and true pieces of fitness equipment that won’t cost a fortune and have the ability to give you a full body workout.  In the case of TRX, they first came out with the Suspension Trainer and it has had incredible success because it was different than any other fitness equipment on the market at the time.  Years later, I still prefer the TRX over other suspension trainers that came after it; something about its design and the sheer number of exercise videos TRX puts out to show you how to use their equipment keeps me from switching to another brand or type of suspension trainer.  I use it for variety, as a replacement for chin ups, core strength, and really great flexibility training – not to mention, my clients love it as well.  One young client of mine remarked that she feels “like a badass” when she uses the TRX because “it’s just so cool!” I have to say, I totally get it.

When TRX came out with the Rip Trainer, it took a while until I purchased it, because I thought what could this do that other equipment I have can’t replicate? When I finally caved (if you read my blog, you know I can’t resist cool fitness equipment! winking ), I quickly discovered that not only is it a great exercise tool on it’s own that adds a unique type of training you really won’t find with anything else, but it can also be combined with the suspension trainer to get a full body workout in all planes of motion.  Simply by hanging one near the other, you can alternate between varying exercises for cardio, strength, martial arts type movements, core and flexibility training all in one!

Here are some details about the Rip Trainer from the TRX website: The Rip Trainer allows users to engage in unlimited movements which, when performed properly, enhance fluidity and range of motion and decrease the risk of injury. Whether used for high speed striking movements or slow speed strength and stability exercises, the Rip Trainer is the perfect training tool for elite level athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even people wanting to exercise for the first time.

Life and sport require that we be able to both control and produce rotational force. Rip Training utilizes the same asymmetrical loading we encounter every day. Whether you’re carrying groceries, picking up your child, throwing a ball, or performing athletic movements such as swimming, running, and biking, your body is always producing rotation or controlling externally-induced rotation.

What this means, is that you will get functionally stronger, the way our bodies were meant to work!

Check out this cool video that shows you many of the different ways to use the Rip Trainer:

To order your TRX Rip Trainer, click HERE. Want to purchase one but don’t know how to use it? Book a session with me (remote or in Boca Raton, Florida) and let me teach you the most effective ways to workout using your new equipment.  If you already own one, would love to hear your comments below!

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