What do IronPlate trainers eat?

Part 3: on-the-go snacks

 

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Q) “What should I eat as a snack if I’m on the go?” 

A) Travel “snacks” aren’t much different than meals we’d normally have. When possible, it’s best to plan ahead around days you might be traveling or out and about. Traveling? Bring a small cooler with healthy snack options or throw things in your travel bag that you don’t have to refrigerate. Often get stuck out? Keep an emergency stash of unrefrigerated snacks in your car, workbag, or office for unplanned busy days. If you weren’t planning on being away, try to make the best out of the options available to you. (Note: You are not limited to these options; these are mere suggestions to help you if you’re stuck!)

Pre-planned travel snacks

Apple & nut butter
Spiced chickpeas
Cottage cheese
Edamame
Hard-boiled eggs
Greek yogurt
String cheese & fFruit
Nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, mixed, etc)
Hummus and raw vegetables
Nut butter and celery
Pumpkin seeds
Tuna and celery

Unplanned snack options

Most gas stations, rest stops, and airports will still have healthy options you can grab. Sometimes you may have to mix and match a couple of things, but knowing what to look for will help alleviate the need for familiar travel temptations.

Nuts or mixed nuts
- try to choose natural, lightly salted or roasted.
- void sweetened or trail mixes with dried fruit and chocolate if possible.
Pumpkin seeds
Roasted chickpeas
Roasted edamame
Cheese and fruit
Hummus and a vegetable Cup
Greek yogurt
Protein bars
Beef jerky

**Be mindful of serving sizes for any pre-packaged product.


Here’s what our IronPlate trainers take with them on the go:

“Almond or nut butter and fruit preserves on whole wheat/grain sandwich thin or 1 piece of bread. It's filling, portable and doesn't need to be kept cold.”

“Walnuts (7 whole pieces or 14 halves= 1 serving) and Pistachios (about ¼ cup=1 serving)”

“I like to keep and pistachios and a protein bar (Quest cookie dough flavor is my favorite)  in my purse for days I’m caught out. If I’m planning on being gone for a long time, I like to munch on Everything Hummus and raw veggies (usually carrots, cucumbers and or bell peppers).”

 “Pre-made protein shake (See Trainers Favorite-Protein Shakes for ideas)”

Adjusting the Dial

DID YOU EVER "MESS UP" YOUR DIET or skip workouts and think, “Well, I've already messed up, no sense in trying to get back on track. I'll start again on Monday.” For some reason we think it makes sense to be all or nothing when it comes to our diet, fitness, and overall health. Why?

I think we tend to view fitness and nutrition as an option that fits in when it’s convenient. In order to make fitness and nutrition a permanent part of our lives, we have to think of it more as a responsibility to our health and wellbeing.

Let’s look at the other responsibilities in your life. Things like sleep, eating, your career, caring for a family, etc. probably take high priority in your life. (as they should!)  What would happen though, if you slipped up in one of these other categories? Didn’t get enough sleep, missed a meal, missed a deadline, or forgot something important related to caring for your family? Chances are you’d find a way to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. You wouldn’t just give up on sleep, eating, your career or stop taking care of your family because of a mistake or slip up. Doing so sounds silly, right? This is how we should be viewing our diet and exercise. So, you messed up a meal, indulged a little or missed a workout. No big deal!  None of us are perfect (or that boring!). What makes a difference is what you do immediately AFTER the screw up, indulgence or missed workout(s). Don’t waste all your previous hard work by continuing to ignore your good habits for a few days, weeks or even months. Life is rarely convenient and if we wait until it’s “perfect” to get back on track, it may never happen. So, we need to be able to weigh our options, adjust our outlook, and make the best of the situation we’re in. Focus on what you can do now to get back on track.

I recently read an article written by John Berardi called, “Why the pause button mentality is ruining your health and fitness.” In this article, he compares our health and fitness habits to dials that can be adjusted instead of switched on and off. The dial works on a 1-10 scale (1=just getting by, and 10=100% in training for sport or event) Most of us will hover between 4 and 8 when trying to accomplish a goal or maintain our current health status. Mr. Berardi explains that at any given time in our life, we may have to adjust our dials to prioritize what is important at that moment, but we should never fully turn the dial off. He says, “Instead of pressing pause, adjust the dial.” This makes so much sense! If we turn the dial off or press pause we may never hit play again. Life will always come up with excuses for us. We have a preconceived notion about diet and exercise, if we can't be all in, then we can't do anything. Instead, know you can’t do EVERYTHING all the time, but think about what you CAN do. Take a look at the diagrams from the article below:

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1-3: Making conscious decisions to stay active even though you may not be fitting in a formal workout
4-5: Maintenance Mode
6-8: Maintenance-looking to make changes in fitness level
9-10: Training for something specific

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I like to look at the nutrition dial a couple of ways:

1) When you’re first starting to make a change in your nutrition, numbers  1-6 are small behavioral changes you can make over time to adjust your nutrition lifestyle. Start at one and slowly turn the dial up every week or couple of weeks. Before you know it, you’ll be cruising around numbers 6-7. Numbers 9-10 again are for elite athletes or if you are training for something specific. It is not practical sustain a dial number of 9-10 long term in any part of our life, nor is it necessary for most people’s goals.

2) Maybe you’ve gone through dial numbers 1-6 and have been cruising around 6-7 for a while, but life has gotten a little chaotic. Look at the dial, and ask yourself which of these things CAN you do to keep you on the healthiest path possible for the time being.

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Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It’s important to give yourself some time each day to reflect and let your mind wander. Again, life gives us plenty of excuses, but it is so important that we make time for quality time with ourselves and the ones we love.

This doesn’t mean that if you have a deadline or a specific goal in mind for you fitness or nutrition that you can turn the dial down and get results. You WILL NOT get the results you are looking for without putting in some effort. What this does mean, is that when your exercise or nutrition needs to take a back seat to something else that is happening in your life, you can still make choices to prioritize healthier options that won’t completely derail your progress and hard work. For example, when you’re out to eat, you can still choose healthier options. Maybe you can squeeze in a quick ten-minute workout before you jump in the shower. Maybe today your exercise is parking the car a little further away and taking the stairs instead of your usual gym routine. This small change in outlook turns “I screwed up, guess I’ll figure it out later“ to “I accomplished 10 minutes today when I thought I wouldn't have time to do anything!” Or “I ate out all day today, but feel I made the healthiest possible choices.” You can’t control what life throws at you, but focusing on what you can control, helps to take the negative connotations out of your health and fitness goals.

John says in his article, “If you can't do everything, what can you do?” Take a look at your day, week, month and make manageable decisions on what CAN be done. This may mean we have to adjust our dials monthly, weekly, or even daily, but eventually juggling life around our health and fitness will become as simple as juggling around any of our other daily responsibilities.

It is also important to remember not to leave your health and fitness dials at a place that is too comfortable either. Once some of the other aspects in your life have shifted back in maintenance mode, turn that dial back up!  Keep setting new goals and finding ways to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. Reach out to your IronPlate team if you need help. 

To read John Berardi’s article click here.

What do IronPlate trainers eat?

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Part 2: Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are a great on the go, or post workout meal when you are looking to lose weight or build muscle mass.  They can provide nutrients necessary to get you to your next meal, replenish depleted nutrients from your workout, and even curb that sweet tooth. 

When building protein shakes, some key ingredients you may want to include:

1) Protein powder

There are a million protein powders on the market with different protein sources and flavors.  Finding the right one for you might require a bit of trial and error.  You want to make sure it contains at least 20g of protein per scoop, tastes good, and digests well.  Also, check the ingredient list.  Try to pick ones with shorter more recognizable ingredients and no added sugar.

Different Types of Protein Powder (taken from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-tips-choosing-best-protein-powder/):

Whey protein is one of the most commonly used proteins and is best for day-to-day use.  It contains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digested. It helps boost energy and can reduce stress levels. Whey isolates and concentrates are best to use after a workout.

Soy protein is another common choice.  It helps reduce high cholesterol and can ease symptoms of menopause for some women. It can also help with osteoporosis by helping build bone mass.

Egg protein, released more slowly than whey, can be taken throughout the day.

Milk proteins help support immune function and enhance muscle growth.

Rice protein, which is 100 percent plant-based, is a good choice for vegetarians or for people who don’t consume dairy products. It’s also gluten-free.

Pea protein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic and economical.

Hemp protein is also 100 percent plant-based. It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

2) A liquid

The most common liquids are water (no added calories!) and unsweetened almond milk, but you can also use cow’s milk, unsweetened soy milk, unsweetened hemp milk, tea, and coffee.

3) Fruit

Adds a little natural sweetness to your shake and gives you healthy carbohydrates.  I generally like to add frozen fruit* instead of fresh to mine to give more of a smoothie feel, but either is fine!

*Be sure to check the ingredients on your frozen fruit to ensure there are no other added ingredients.  Or freeze your own!

4) Pick a veggie

Throwing veggies into your shake is an easy way to fit 1-2 of your servings in. Spinach is usually my go-to, it blends easily, and you don’t really taste it.  Another one that is fun to add in the fall is pumpkin.  Other options include (but not limited to): kale, swiss chard, beets, cucumber, and celery.

5) A healthy fat

Fats added to your shake will help slow digestion and keep you full longer. In addition, we need healthy fats in our diet for energy, to balance hormones, transport fat-soluble vitamins, balance inflammation, and aid in immune function.  Some good options are avocado, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, almonds, and nut butters.

6) Don’t be afraid of spice

Often times I will add cinnamon to my shakes, but plenty of other spices work too: ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, cloves, vanilla extract, allspice, etc. Get creative!

7) Ice

Use 1/2 cup for a cold smoothie consistency.  

*Note: Not all ingredients are necessary, just healthy suggestions to help build and spice up your shakes.  Consult with your IronPlate trainers and nutritionists to help you determine what combinations might be best for your personal goals.

Here’s what IronPlate trainers drink:

Kristin Reisinger

8 oz unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop VegaOne protein (or other plant-based, organic protein)
1/2 banana
1 tbsp peanut butter

or

8 oz unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop VegaOne protein (or other plant-based, organic protein)
1/2 cup mixed berries
Large handful of kale

Kristin Roche

Scoop of chocolate protein powder
½ frozen banana
Splash of iced coffee
8oz Cold water

Caitlin Harrington

1 Scoop chocolate protein powder (currently use Vega Protein and Greens)
½ cup frozen strawberries (frozen cherries work well too)
½ cup ice
Handful of spinach
¾ cup either water, milk, unsweetened almond milk, etc.

Pedro DoAmaral

Whey Protein-grass fed with cacao
8oz Grass Fed Milk
2.5g (about 1tsp) Tribulus*
1 TBSP Raw Honey

*Tribulus Terretris is an herbal nutritional supplement used in Ayurvedic medicine for male vitality, fertility, to increase strength and as a natural testosterone booster

Vince Marrero

2 Scoops Protein Powder (48g of protein)
½ a dragon fruit
½ cup raspberries
½ cup strawberries
Flax seeds
8oz water

What do IronPlate trainers eat?

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Part 1: Favorite Healthy Recipe:

IronPlate Studios is a firm believer that your nutrition and fitness go hand in hand to create optimal results and overall health.  Because of this, we spend a lot of time working with clients to teach them how to build their own customizable meals to match their specific goals and lifestyles.  We believe this approach versus handing out pre-made monthly menus, promotes hands on learning and more long-term success in actually changing one’s lifestyle. 

A couple of questions clients frequently ask us are, “What do you eat?” and “Do you have any recipes?” All too often, we (yes even us trainers too!) get stuck in a rut of making the same meals over and over again week after week. So, we’ve asked a few of our trainers to help us out and present you with some new, crowd pleasing and healthy recipes to try at home! This will be a 4 part series, so keep checking back to our blog each week for more of our trainer’s favorites.  Enjoy! 

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas
Caitlin Harrington

Ingredients:

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 red bell pepper, sliced (seeds removed)
1 green bell pepper, sliced (seeds removed)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray
  3. Place chicken strips into baking dish.  In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder.  Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken and stir to coat
  4. Add tomatoes, peppers, and onions to dish.  Stir to combine
  5. Bake uncovered for 30-35min or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork tender.  Serve over 1/2cup of brown rice, quinoa, or in a small tortilla with your favorite toppings. (salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc)

**One of the things I love about this meal, is that with a little planning, a lot of the prep work can be done in advance (the peppers and chicken can be cut and spices can be pre-measured) for an easy throw together meal at the end of a busy day.  

 

Almond crusted chicken fingers with sweet potato fries
Kristin Roche

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup almond flour/meal
1 T paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil cooking spray 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray baking sheet with olive oil, set aside
  2. Slice chicken breasts into long strips, 1-2″ wide - trim off any fatty parts
  3. Mix together all of the spices and almond flour/meal in a wide bowl
  4. Whisk 2 eggs in a bowl and dip each chicken strip in the eggs then coat with almond spice mixture
  5. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden

Instructions Sweet Potato Fries:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into fries (leave skin on)
  3. Toss sweet potatoes in a large bowl with 1 TBSP of olive oil
  4. Add seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, chili powder and/or cinnamon)
  5. Place on a baking pan and roast in oven for 20 min.  Flip then roast for another 10 min.
  6. Toss side salad with greens and balsamic vinegar 

 

Steak & Potatoes
Pedro DoAamaral
Simplicity is key with me! 

Ingredients:

10oz grass-fed, grass-finished, pasture raised skirt steak
4 Russian banana potatoes
Grass fed ghee
Rosemary
Himalayan pink salt
Ground pepper
Paprika
Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Parsley

Instructions:

  1. Start by getting a large cast-iron skillet and a chef’s knife
  2. Cut the potatoes into wedges.  (This will allow it to not only cook faster, but absorb some of the oils and spices)
  3. Drizzle the ghee in the skillet.  Coat each potato wedge with ghee in the skillet. (This will help give the potatoes a nice golden brown color along with a crunchy crust.)
  4. Dry rub the steak with salt and spices.  Let it sit for 15 minutes before cooking in the skillet alongside the potatoes.
  5. While the steak sits, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Add steak to skillet alongside the potatoes.  Slide the skillet in oven and cook for approximately 30-45min, checking every 15 minuntes until steak is cooked to your liking.  
  7. At the last 3minutes, sprinkle parsley on top of the steak and potatoes for a nice aroma, a beautiful garnish, and an addition to the taste. 

Warming Up Before Working Out

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We all remember those high socked, polo shirts, inactive, gum chewing (I can go on and on) gym teachers who always sat us down prior to our gym class for some stretching. The old-fashioned reach-for-your-toes-and-neck rolls (sorry to my clients reading this because I make them do this too--but for good reason, I’ll get to that). We were always annoyed because it had to be done prior to those awesome kickball gym classes, or those dodgeball-matrix style workouts. Yet, could those 80’s dress down gym teachers actually be on to something?

Let’s first take a look at what stretching is in comparison to mobility training, flexibility training, and then see how it all relates to a proper warm up.

Stretching is the action of allowing a muscle to be lengthened to its most allowable range of motion. i.e.: Stretching the hamstrings 90 degrees from a lying position is usually the most range of motion individuals can achieve. To stretch we often inhibit other muscles from working to allow for a deeper stretch. This is the Golgi-tendon organ inhibiting other muscle fibers, usually an agonistic one, so the desired targeted muscle can be stretched past it’s normal range of motion. One example of an agonistic muscle is the bicep to triceps’. They are polar opposites of each other.

Mobility training is allowing the joints and tendons to move through an area of space in which they should normally be able to move. This is usually done in the weak links of the human body such as the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, and wrists. It can also include soft tissue, which have a sub-important role in exercise, but still do contribute. Usually mobility training is done to maximize the targeted joint range of motion (ROM), and increase synovial fluid in the joints (gooey stuff that lubricates your joint sort of like motor oil lubricates car engines.)

Flexibility training is a training style solely done to maximize muscular ROM, joint ROM, and decrease tension in muscle fibers as a response from the nervous system. Flexibility training can go much deeper as it is also a tool to stimulate organ function, contract nearby organ muscles to increase lymphatic function of the body and also improve cognition as well as mood.

Now knowing each one’s properties, we have to determine which one is right for the purpose. Knowing what your purpose is has a great impact on which style of warm-up you should do.

Below is a chart breaking down which category you likely fit in based on your goal.

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For the purpose of this article, we’ll be discussing the importance of utilizing all three methodologies for the minimization of injuries and increase of athletic performance in all capacities.

When it comes to training, the optimal way to warm up based on my experience and other science based research, breaks down to static stretching for a specific duration, followed by flexibility training for the muscle groups being targeted during the training session, and lastly a mobility drill to prepare joints and motor control.

To provide an example let’s say we are going to do a heavy leg day training session. Here is how I break it down:

Static stretching comes first, hitting the main muscle groups being worked such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, which will induce greater blood flow, a feeling of low muscular tension, and create kinesthetic awareness. The sweet spot as research has found for static stretching seems to be between 20-30 seconds for the purpose of training. Anything above 90 seconds has shown to reduce performance. Afterwards, we will follow that up with flexibility training to further range of motion in muscles so that we can create a greater muscular adaption during the workout. The flexibility should also be done for both the synergistic (working together) and agonistic (working against or disabled through one another) muscles so that the body does not become anterior or posterior dependant during the workout. Finally, we do a mobility drill based on what body parts are being targeted. In this case, the ankles, the knees, the hip, and the spine. The drill will be dynamic which means it is moving instead of static, creating fluid motion in the joints so they are lubricated, but also allowing all possible rotational movements of the joints.

With this, your body will be primed in multiple aspects. Those aspects being the motor control of muscle fibers, the nervous system output, its efficiency in firing signals to muscle fibers for contraction. The skeletal system will have an easier time handling heavy loads. Furthermore, the tendons and joints will be in a much more prepared state for the eustress associated with athletic activities. With this approach, 5-10 minutes will be used but it is a well spent few minutes to improve performance, but also increase training longevity.

Never go cold turkey into a workout as your chances of injuries skyrocket. After all, training for the long haul is much more important than training without a proper warm up leading to irreversible damage to the body.

-Pedro DoAmaral

 

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21373870
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26642915
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3849057
 

Water Types: The Best and Worst

Water comes in all tastes and bottles, which is the best ?

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Water as we know is crucial. In the last blog post I’ve expressed how much water you should be having per day based on your stats and overall activity level. Now, we’re going to go deep into the rabbit hole in terms of what kind of water you should be drinking and also why it also matters increasingly so as society becomes more and more modernized.

Believe it or not, there is such a form of water that triumphs in terms of health benefits over another. As we know there is bottled water, spring water, purified water (which include distilled, reverse osmosis, carbon filters, and magnetized) alkaline water, structured water, and tap water. Wow, that’s quite a lot of different waters. I plan to distinguish the best from worst in terms of water.

Let’s begin with tap water which is the most readily available and free source of water we can consume normally. It’s absolutely incredible that we live in a country where water is so readily available. At that, clean drinking water. Yet, it does not come without it’s downfalls. It’s about to get uncomfortably ugly in here so be prepared. Tap water starts in your toilet…. yes… that’s right, your toilet. When you flush, that same water is sent to sedimentation tanks where it is filtered, and then the water left is decontaminated with specific chemicals. Once again, it’s going to get ugly. Here we go.

The chemicals used to purify the tap water into drinkable water include:

  • Sodium hypochlorite (The same chemical found in bleach. That’s right, bleach.)

  • Lead

  • BPA

  • Arsenic

  • Selenium

  • Chromium

  • Pharmaceutical Drugs

  • Fluoride

Now we have to understand, most of these chemicals are put in drinking water to prevent the infestation of bacteria and other pathogens that can be found in dirty drinking water. However, some of those chemicals prompt health problems that can be very difficult to reverse and or are irreversible.

Let’s begin with Lead. Lead in it of itself is not used to decontaminate the water, but it is a byproduct of rusted pipes in which the water flows through to reach your sinks. Lead is infamous for it’s effect in degenerative disease. It causes anything from central nervous system dysfunction to vision loss and even seizures. The current crisis in Flint, Michigan is a good example of lead poisoning. Their drinking water is so contaminated with lead it’s caused an uproar in the city as the water is no longer drinkable.

Now for Chlorine, it is used to prevent contamination of the drinking water. The allowable level of Chlorine in drinking water is 4ppm (parts per million). This is an extremely low level, and it is worth noting that anything above this level can pose hazardous risks to our health. Let’s review what Chlorine has been used for in the past century and linked to so we have an idea of it’s lethality. Chlorine was used as a chemical weapon back during world war one and also in the Iraq war. Chlorine contaminated water has been shown to increase cancer risks in 93% of the population that drink it. Chlorine has been shown to be detrimental to bodily proteins like our arteries causing it to harden.

https://www.makewaterpure.co.uk/blog/dangers-of-chlorine-in-our-tap-water/

Now let’s go over the pink-elephant in the room, Fluoride. If you recall the toothpastes you use likely contain the chemical Fluoride. It’s said to prevent cavities and keep teeth white and bright. But the evidence for Fluorides toxicity shows otherwise. Let’s trace Fluoride use in water back to it’s roots.

During World War II, Germany had figured a way to keep the Jewish people in concentration camps much more docile to prevent any uprisings. They had discovered that the chemical Fluoride, especially when slyly given to their drinking waters at certain levels, made their bodies brittle, created health complications and also made them much more physically weak. The Soviets then began to implement the same tactics into their prison systems to maintain subservience with the inmates. Then, a man then named Gerald J. Cox had suggested at 1ppm(parts per million which is substantially low) Fluoride be added to drinking water for oral health in the United States. From then on, Fluoride had been found in two-thirds of all drinking water around the United States around 0.01-0.03 ppm.

The interesting part is that the Fluoride toxicity can be found in multiple parts of the body from the drinking water. One is dental fluorosis, which is found in over 80% of children in America. It eats away at the teeth, causing dark spots that are a result of enamel weakening. Fluoride has also been a key factor in the increase of bone stress fractures as well due to its contamination in drinking water. It is also classified as a neurotoxin in medical journals. In fact, Fluoride causes calcification of many parts of the brain especially in the pineal gland. The pineal gland is the one gland that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm, melatonin secretion which is crucial for sleep and is an extremely power antioxidant. It has been noted in multiple studies to also lower overall IQ in humans. Adding on to this dangerous unneeded chemical, it is also a protoplasmic toxin which is used in rat poisoning. Ironically, in the periodic table, Fluoride is right below Chlorine. Fluoride is so corrosive in fact, that workers handling it must have full body protection suits and specific tools for safety around the chemical.

“ I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects, on a long range basis. Any attempt to use  water this way is deplorable. “ –Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd. Past president of the American Medical Association.

It’s clear that tap water is clearly a no go. The amount of chemicals, the instances of lead poisoning, and the damaging effects of it’s acidity due to these factors make it extremely hazardous despite its convenience.

Bottled water is next on the list to get crossed-off. Unfortunately, bottled water is not too much better than tap water. Bottled water contain many chemicals just as tap water such as Fluoride which we just went over. On top of that, they still contain other chemicals like arsenic which is highly poisonous to all life forms. A bottled water analysis showed that bottled water contain many volatile chemicals on top of arsenic even if at low amounts. Adding to the mayhem bottled water contain dioxins which have been linked to increase in breast cancer. The same plastic bottle that holds the water contains xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens being a synthetic form of estrogen has been shown to  cause our endocrine system to be disrupted along with throwing hormones off balance. If that was not enough, the same plastic contains Bisphenal A. This compound found in these plastics have been linked to health complications. Adding gasoline to this fire, most bottled water have a very low p.h. level making it acidic.

In regards to acidity, I am sure we have all heard about the acid-alkaline balance in our bodies and how it matters in terms of health. Companies have capitalized on this and created products known as alkaline water. Let’s jump deeper into the abyss with Alkaline water, what it does, why it’s made and how it effects us.

Alkaline water is simply water with a higher ph level than other water. When it comes to ph our bodies rate at 7.4-7.6 on the ph scale. This means our bodies are slightly alkaline and prefer an alkaline nature to health. The ph scale is rated from 1-14. 1 being extremely acidic, and 14 extremely alkaline. We have discovered that disease relates to the ph scale as well, as the more acidic the environment the more pathogens can intrude and infect. Foods that are acidic such as coca-cola, McDonald’s cheeseburgers and pasteurized dairy have been shown to be detrimental to our health precisely because of its acidity on top of the other factors. There is no disease in medical terms that can survive in an alkaline environment. Understanding this, we can see why alkaline water could be beneficial to our health.

Regardless, the fact stands that there is not too much research showing the health benefits of alkaline water. Besides that factor, the bodies ph level is not easily manipulatable. Our stomach’s ph is different that our blood ph levels which are the determining factor in our acid to alkaline state. By drinking alkaline water alone, does not necessarily mean that our blood ph composition can be altered so drastically. The bodies stomach acid is in all it’s clear state, acidic. The reason for this is because the acid in our stomach kills off bacteria that could cause infections. By drinking highly alkaline water, we can alter our stomach’s ph level. However, some benefits of alkaline water still stand such as its ability to reduce acid reflux due to deactivating pepsin, decreasing blood viscosity which helps with proper circulation leading to more oxygen uptake in cells and regulate blood sugar levels.

Now there are forms of natural waters that are alkaline. One of them is spring water. Spring water is “living water,”  as it contains bio photos, is found in nature, include micronutrients required to maintain water conductivity like trace minerals. Spring water unfortunately cannot always be trusted due to the fact that pathogens can inhibit the environment around the source of the spring water. This means contaminants like bad bacteria can be found in this water. Along with being unsustainable due to the fact that not everyone has a naturally occurring spring around, it is unfortunately getting a failing grade.

However, purified water does get a more or less passing grade. Purification processes like distillation help remove 99.9% of all contaminants in water including chemicals we’ve discussed are not good for our health. But, there are purification processes that are better than others. Distilled water unfortunately makes water acidic. This is because it removes certain nutrients that create alkalinity in water. Other processes such as Carbon Block filters and Reverse Osmosis water comes in as the number one in water purification. Carbon block filters basically work by binding things such as chemicals, pesticides and herbicides to the carbon block itself, while the water flows freely through the process. It is recognized by the EPA as the best form of inorganic substance removal from water. A Reverse Osmosis(RO) filter uses high pressure to purify water. With RO we get rid of those pesky chemicals mentioned earlier like Chlorine and Fluoride. The problem lies in that the water also becomes acidic and what happens to the structure of the water after it is Reversed Osmosis water.

Finally let’s review structured water, which by itself is alkaline in nature. Structured water is water in a specific molecular arrangement. This molecular arrangement leaves the water with an electrically charged state. Structured water has a hexagonal molecular shape, which creates a smoother consistency as well as being a more utilizable form of water in which cells can react with the water for bodily functions like muscle contraction and hydration. This is because cells themselves are organized in a grid fashion with receptors, proteins, electrical charges of positive or negative that by relation interact with water in the same fashion. After all, being that our bodies constitute of mainly water we would want efficient functions of our cells through its medium; water.

It’s been shown that post physical activity, our cells and the water surrounding the cells are de-structured. This creates a problem in the musculature, and motor function of muscles through our nervous system. When heat is applied, the area receives more blood flow which helps the cells, and the water to be restructured. This is even more so if the source of heat produces the right wavelength of radiation which should be 3 micrometers. Interestingly enough, the sun also emits this wavelength which could contribute to the overall enjoyable feeling and health benefits we gain from direct sunlight exposure. UV light, in specific UVB from the sun, contributes to overall health with the creation of Vitamin D, but this wavelength also contributes to the structured water found in our cells. Structured water also contains a negative charge. The negatively charged electrons have been shown time and time again to be beneficial to our health. The earth itself radiates negatively charged electrons. It is possible that the negative charge that is found in structured water contributes to its conductivity, it’s health benefits and also cellular function. Basically all this means is structured water has many benefits and is likely extremely important to our health as shown in a microscopic and macroscopic level. I believe structured water is the way to go in terms of the best type of water you should be drinking. It is naturally alkaline, the benefits are rooted deep in our biology and cellular functions, it is smooth in texture, and the decontamination removes most of the harmful chemicals or pollutants. Investing in a structured water machine is the only downside to the water itself as it can be expensive. But to that, I always say: Investing in our health now is always better than paying a medical bill later.

By: Pedro DoAmaral
 

References:

https://draxe.com/structured-water/

https://draxe.com/alkaline-water/

http://www.mercola.com/article/water.htm

https://www.aquafina.com/pdf/bottledWaterInformation_en.pdf

http://www.citywaterfilter.com/fluoride-water-treatment-reverse-osmosis-whole-house-filtration/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213386/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/1754/what-is-bpa-and-is-it-safe.html

http://www.fluoridation.com/atomicbomb.htm

What is Online Training?

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IronPlate Studios is excited to announce its latest endeavor, IronPlate Online! IronPlate Online is a virtual personal training and nutrition counseling service where we will continue to provide personalized coaching to help you meet your health and fitness goals no matter your location. If you've moved away, live too far to make it to our studio or travel frequently, you will soon be able to join IronPlate Studios from wherever life may take you! IronPlate Online will be led by former Hoboken location manager and Personal Trainer, Caitlin Harrington. While she  hasn't moved back to NJ, she is excited to be a part of the IronPlate team again.

Caitlin is an ACSM certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer as well as a certified nutritionist through Precision Nutrition. She has over 10 years of experience working with clients of all ages and abilities ranging from generally healthy to those who are recovering
and rehabilitating from disease, injury or other limiting factors. She received her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from the University at Buffalo.

Caitlin wants her clients to leave each session feeling a little bit stronger and more knowledgeable so they can utilize the tools at their disposal to achieve their goals. Caitlin previously lived in Hoboken and worked at IronPlate Studios as a Personal Trainer and Manager of the Hoboken Studio. She now resides in Ballston Spa, NY with her husband Jon, 2
year old daughter Elise and dog Kiko. She enjoys summer, being outside, hiking, camping, traveling and relaxing anywhere by a lake. Caitlin is excited to again be a part of the IronPlate team and is looking forward to working with you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle!

Why would I want an online personal trainer? What are the benefits?

1) Constant Communication: From the moment you sign up, your trainer will be communicating with you through phone, video chat, and/or email, as well as through the in app messaging. Your trainer will be constantly checking in on your progress, answering any questions you may have, and adjusting your program accordingly as you go.

2) Still personal: One of the biggest reasons training in person is successful is because of the trainer/client relationship you build. This doesn't have to change because you aren't seeing each other physically. Clients will be required to have one initial video call with your trainer
and can have weekly or monthly personal phone or video check-ins after. Your trainer will also be checking in through the app and email on your progress and will be available for any questions or help you may have along the way. The option for more communication is also available if needed. The trainer also creates a personalized program based on your personal goals and the equipment available to you at the gym you attend or at home.

3) Value: your workouts get scheduled week by week so you don't have to think about what your workout should be for the day. Instead of only seeing your trainer one or two sessions a week and having to plan the rest on your own, everything is laid out for you. Your trainer can see all of your completed workouts and leave feedback. They can also help you adjust your plan for any curves life may throw at you.

4) Accountability: Your trainer is checking in on all of your workouts for the week so you'll still have someone to hold you accountable and keep you on track if you start to slack off or have trouble with any part of the plan your trainer has created with you.

5) Portability: Scheduling a time that fits ideally into your schedule and your trainers can be tough sometimes. Now you can workout anytime or anywhere that in convenient for you! Take your training with you on vacation, your business trip, to the park, office, your home or gym!

6) It works! Don't take our word for it. See the results for yourself! Email Caitlin at online@ironplatestudios.com for more info!

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

"I DRINK A GALLON OF WATER A DAY."  —EVERY BODYBUILDER

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BUT SERIOUSLY NOW… just how much water do you really need? I know that is your primary question. We need to understand that first and foremost, our bodies are compromised of 70% water. This simple fact that you've likely heard over and over again is crucial to understanding how much water you truly need on a daily basis. The fact is, every single one of our body-parts compromise of water. Our organs, skeletal system, cells and even the structure of the cell are compromised of water. Signifying that our ENTIRE body relies on water. So when you drink water next time around, think more than just satisfying that quench, but think of every little cell in your body that requires water to perform and maintain homeostasis (our body's equilibrium).

As we age, our bodies natural water percentage also diminishes. Aging can indeed be correlated with our bodies containing less water overall. With this come a multitude of health issues such as less lubrication of the joints, leading to joint pain, which we know as you age becomes more apparent. Dehydration in general can trigger things such as confusion, increased stress levels, shorter attention span, saggy dehydrated skin and migraines among many other problems. Seeing as how we can survive without food for a month-two months, however, without water we can at most survive 3-4 days - we gain another perspective on the importance of water. 

Now that we understand the scope of the importance of staying hydrated not just for the sake of quenching our thirst, but for our overall health in every single spectrum, let's dive in to how much water you need exactly.

According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, women should have 91 ounces of water on a daily basis and men 125 ounces. This broad scope however, will be slightly altered based on individual to individual. A man who weighs 250lbs and is 6'8" in height will need to consume more than 125oz a day of water. There are multiple factors that come into play when it comes to water intake, such as:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Activity level
  • Sweat level
  • Weather
  • Temperature

Based on those factors you can estimate just how much water you need for that day. There are a few other factors you can see and feel to intuitively know if you need more water or not. These also include:

  • Thirst - If you are thirsty, you are in need of water. 
  • If you do not consume foods high in water content like fruits and vegetables.
  • If you eat a lot of sodium as sodium retains water.
  • If the color of your pee ranges from a darker shade of yellow to brown.

Going off those scientific and also biological factors, you can determine an accurate representation of just how much you need a day. For women, aim for no less than 90 oz of water but also no more than 130 oz of water. For men aim for no less than 110 oz of water but no more than 150 oz daily. I can already see some of you wanting to go above and beyond with water intake, however, just as with everything, even water needs to be consumed in moderation.

That is due to the fact that we can also overdose on water. Water intoxication causes a medical condition known as hyponatremia which further leads to sodium levels becoming extremely low, leading to seizures, coma and even death. In response of extracellular osmolality, the brain cells swell with fluid which is called cerebral edema. This ultimately leads to nervous system disorders, and eventually if not treated death.

SO REMEMBER

More is not always better with water consumption, moderation is key. Know the factors that influence dehydration, look out for them and take action to keep your body fueled. Now let's drink a brisk glass of water to maintain good health!

 

By Pedro DoAmaral

9 Simple Ways to Make Beneficial Long-Term Diet Changes

Does the thought of making changes in your diet have you feeling intimidated? If so, you aren’t alone. Many people who want to make the change to healthier eating often wonder where in the world they should begin and how they’re going to stick to such a big change.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as scary as you probably think it is. To help you start making smarter choices in the way you eat, we’re sharing nine simple ways to make beneficial long-term diet changes. Even though dieting is a lifestyle commitment, it certainly doesn’t have to be challenging!

1. Start With Small Changes First

Making changes in your diet can often be very overwhelming, especially if you’ve become accustomed to always eating a certain way. Thinking of all the changes you may want to make and foods you need to cut out can leave you feeling like you’re doomed for failure.

Instead of falling into that trap before you even get started, focus on making small changes as opposed to diving right in. It’s less intimidating when you start off slow and make gradual changes with healthier swaps. Plus, you’ll be setting yourself up for greater success this way.

For example, you can get started with healthy eating by making a few simple swaps each day. Instead of skipping breakfast or having a sugary cereal, have a bowl of oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar instead. It’ll still be a sweat treat but keep you fuller longer and have the added benefit of giving you sustained energy. If you normally reach for a “junk” afternoon snack such as candy or something else pumped with refined sugars, try a sweet fruit such as a mango or berries. They’ll satisfy your sweet-tooth while providing your body with benefits junk food does not.

2. Don’t Cut Your Favorite Foods

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When making long-term diet changes, your immediate thought is that you’re going to have to cut out all of your favorite foods. Fortunately though, this simply isn’t true. Sticking to a diet is a lot easier when you don’t restrict yourself too much. After all, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a cheat meal every now and then. The key is to allow yourself those foods on occasion, but to make healthier choices a majority of the time and you’ll be just fine. I try to stick to the 80/20 rule — 80% of the time I eat as healthy as possible, 20% of the time I let myself indulge.

3. Keep a Food Journal

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you just want to make smarter choices with what you eat, keeping a food journal can help. By recording what you eat, when you eat, and how you’re feeling before consuming a meal, you can learn a lot about your eating habits.

For instance, you may notice that you reach for snacks when you’re feeling bored or stressed out. That’s a sign that food isn’t necessarily what you need in the moment and that there’s something else (a deeper issue) you should address. If it’s stress that’s triggering you to eat something unhealthy, you can implement other stress relieving techniques to curb your cravings.

Recording the foods you eat on a daily basis will also show you where you can make healthier swaps in your diet. For example, if you notice that you’re often hitting the vending machine for a bag of potato chips at three o’clock, you can starting packing hummus and crackers to eat instead.

4. Plan Your Meals in Advance

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One of the downfalls of dieting is that moment when you have no idea what to eat for dinner. However, you’re starving and you need to get something. With no food in the house and no idea what you could possibly cook, you resort to getting takeout or some other junk food that’s quick and easy, that’s probably not the healthiest for you to eat.

If that’s ever happened to you, there’s no need to worry because we’ve all been there. Although, if you really want to commit to a diet change, you need to get serious about it. Instead of allowing yourself to fall victim to those moments, you can take the time to plan your meals in advance. Start by sitting down every Sunday and planning out your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks you’re going to have. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worthwhile because it forced you to stick to a plan. Once you have your meals scheduled out, you can go to the grocery store, get everything you need.

5. Try a Meal Delivery Service

When you set out to make long-term diet changes, your first hurdle is often figuring out what you should be eating and what you should avoid. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy meal delivery services that can help you out with this.

A personal favorite of mine is a smoothie delivery service called “Daily Harvest”. They deliver you a weekly box of already prepped smoothies. Just drop them in your blender for half a minute, and they’re ready to enjoy! The best part of meal delivery services like this is that they make your life easier and take all the guesswork of dieting out of the equation.

6. Focus on Portion Control

Unfortunately, we’ve become accustomed to eating larger portions in the United States because it’s what is typically served to us. By shrinking your portion sizes, you’ll consume less food and less calories. A caloric restriction is one of the best ways to lose weight (while also working out).

If you like to regularly eat out, one simple trick is to divide your plate in half. You can eat some of what you’re served and take the rest home to enjoy the next day.

7. Get an Accountability Partner

When it comes to dieting, sometimes it helps to have someone there to lend a little support. If you can, find a friend or family member to be your accountability partner throughout your journey. You two can build your own support system as you make those long-term diet changes within your lives.

You can check-in with each other each week to see how things are going, share healthy recipes, and even get together for dinner dates. When you’re encouraging one another, sticking to a diet is going to be so much easier. After all, you wouldn’t want to let your accountability partner down, would you?

If you don’t have someone in your life to hold you accountable, don’t panic! You can actually turn to online communities for support as well. One study showed that internet communities have played a vital role in weight loss progress.

8. Take Time to Savor Your Food

Let’s be honest, we all lead such busy lives these days. We’re often on the go and therefore we don’t take the time to truly enjoy and savor the food we have on our plates. Within minutes, we’ve managed to scarf down a meal without even realizing it.

However, if you want your diet to be successful, you need to take the time to just slow down. Instead of rushing to eat your meals, chew each bite thoughtfully. Enjoy the flavors of whatever it is you happen to be eating. And listen to your body! When you eat a meal too quickly, your body doesn’t have time to tell you that it’s full and you’ll wind up overeating.

By taking your time, you’ll notice the signals your body is giving you and you’ll know when to stop. In fact, it was discovered in a recent study that people who ate slowly consumed fewer calories, but were still satisfied after their meals.

9. Know That You Won’t be Perfect

Whenever you’re making any kind of big change in your life, it’s going to be difficult at first. For that reason, it’s so important that you don’t get discouraged or beat yourself up if you make a mistake. You’re not going to be perfect when striving to change your diet. There are going to be times when you slip up. And that’s okay.

The most important thing is that you get right back on track. Indulging in one unhealthy meal isn’t going to immediately undo any of the progress you’ve made. So, you just need to keep moving forward and strive to do the best you can each and every day.

 


Emily Brewster is a trainer at IronPlate Studios.

Nutrition Straight Talk | Alcohol & Training (Part 3 of 3)

With Memorial Day weekend starting in just a few hours, you need to watch this one if you’re trying to get in shape and are going to be tempted at the many barbecues happening! Have a great weekend!

You have questions… we have answers. Welcome to IronPlate’s “Nutrition Straight Talk” where we’ll be tackling a variety of food-related questions in less than 60 seconds. Feel free to post any questions you have in the comments section and we’ll get to those in the future. Enjoy!

Nutrition Straight Talk | Alcohol & Training (Part 2 of 3)

Going out with friends tonight for drinks and trying to get in shape at the same time? Then you need to watch this one!

.You have questions… we have answers. Welcome to IronPlate’s “Nutrition Straight Talk” where we’ll be tackling a variety of food-related questions in less than 60 seconds. Feel free to post any questions you have in the comments section and we’ll get to those in the future. Enjoy!

Nutrition Straight Talk | Alcohol & Training? (Part 1 of 3)

Going out with friends tonight for drinks and trying to get in shape at the same time? Then you need to watch this one!

You have questions… we have answers. Welcome to IronPlate’s “Nutrition Straight Talk” where we’ll be tackling a variety of food-related questions in less than 60 seconds. Feel free to post any questions you have in the comments section and we’ll get to those in the future. Enjoy!

 

Ridiculous Tahini Sauce

We often get asked what sauces and condiments can be used to dress up otherwise dull chicken breast, eggs and grilled salmon, so for the next few weeks we’re going to focus on some different recipes that will keep life exciting. They’ll all be easy to make and, better yet, pack a taste punch.

This easy-to-make tahini sauce is completely ridiculous: ridiculously delicious, ridiculously healthy, ridiculously quick. We love it on kale salads, over grilled chicken breast, over vegetables; on pretty much anything. (I’m amazed we haven’t yet drank it straight from the bowl.) If you’re looking to shake things up and get away from salsa, give this a whirl — you’ll be ridiculously happy you did.

Prep Time: 3 minutes | Cook Time: 0 minutes | Servings: 8

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup tahini, stirred
1 garlic clove, minced finely
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne, optional
2 to 6 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 tablespoon cilantro, optional

DIRECTIONS

Whisk all ingredients, except water and cilantro, in a bowl until combined. The mixture will be very pasty, but that is normal. Add water a couple of tablespoons at a time and whisk until you have the desired consistency. Keep it somewhat thick if making a sauce for chicken or water it down a bit more if you’re using it as a salad dressing.

Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt or lemon juice, as you prefer. Top it with some of the cilantro and dig in! Store covered in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

Enjoy!