How To Get Back On The Wagon After COVID

June 4th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

So the COVID wagon has taken us on a bumpy ride over the last few months!

Some of us have even fallen off the stay strong/clean eating wagon🤷‍♀️. But….no one says we can’t get back on. Is it going to be a smooth ride? That will be up to you.  We know we will be back in business soon, so how do you get back into shape?

You start with two 30-minute training sessions/week. Add in a healthy diet and some fun physical activity throughout the week that brings you joy.

I will assist you with:

  • Gaining lean muscle and losing fat
  • Assessing your physical condition and tracking changes
  • Setting and reaching your goals
  • Learning proper strength training techniques
  • Nutrition counseling

I’ll even sweeten the pot for a short time* and offer returning clients 2 FREE personal training sessions for each new client you refer (train for 2 months, 2x a week). It’s time to take control of your health and get back on track if you’ve slipped a bit. And if you haven’t slipped, I’m sure you are eager to resume your training regimen.

Here is an interesting article about how quickly you can regain muscle strength after an extended break.

*Now through July 4th


CHICKEN FAJITA LETTUCE WRAPS

June 3rd, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

INGREDIENTS

BRINE: The trick to juicy chicken fajitas is brining the chicken in saltwater prior to baking. It’s such a simple trick but it makes a big difference in taste, texture, and tenderness of the chicken.

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds organic, free-range, boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled + smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns

VEGGIES + SEASONING:

  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut into thin strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into 8–10 wedges
  • 3 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime
  • Black pepper, to taste

TO SERVE:

Iceberg or butter lettuce
Guacamole
Fresh salsa
Fresh cilantro
Cheese, grass-fed and organic
Hot sauce
Jalapeños

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water and salt, stirring until dissolved.
  2. Add the chicken breasts, garlic, and peppercorns. Let chicken brine for 30 minutes, uncovered, at room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Spray a 17 X 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Slice into 1/2-inch thick strips and add to a large bowl. If the chicken breast is thick, cut in half lengthwise, and then slice into strips.
  7. To the chicken, add bell peppers and onions.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
  9. Pour the mixture over the chicken and veggies, and toss with tongs until fully coated.
  10. Bake, uncovered, for 18-25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through and vegetables are tender. Stir once halfway.
  11. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and squeeze fresh lime juice over the chicken mixture. Season with more salt to taste if needed.
  12. Serve in a lettuce cup with desired toppings of choice.

Courtesy of Little Broken


Inside Outside Egg Rolls

May 27th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cabbage or tri-color coleslaw mix, shredded
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 6.5 oz lean grass-fed ground beef – you will need 4.3 oz cooked
  • 2 farm-fresh eggs, whisked
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice blend
  • 1 tbsp lite soy sauce or Braggs amino
Directions:
  1. Combine shredded cabbage, celery, and scallions. Toss together. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef. Throw the veggies in with the meat.
  3. Sprinkle stir-fry mixture with ginger, garlic, and five-spice blend.
  4. Add soy sauce and whisked eggs into the skillet.
  5. Continue to stir-fry until vegetables are tender, but firm. (No pieces of egg should be visible.)
  6. Remove skillet from heat and serve.

from Sandy’s Kitchen Adventures


How Exercise Supports Your Mental Fitness

May 18th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

A healthy body is home to a healthy mind. However, there are numerous different types of sports and a wide range of exercise and training. Which type and how much exercise will keep your mind in top shape?

This is the question that has been explored by researchers at the University of Basel and their colleagues at the University of Tsukuba in Japan through large-scale analysis of the scientific literature. They have used this analysis to derive recommendations that they recently published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Coordinated sports are particularly effective

The research group evaluated 80 individual studies to identify a few key characteristics. Endurance training, strength training, or a mix of these components seem to improve cognitive performance.

Heavy lifting during strength training also strengthens bone density, which can reduce the risk of breaks and fractures as you age. If you lift heavy, you test your mental strength as well.

Lifting heavy increases production of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, the neurotransmitter related to producing new brain cells and improves cognitive function.

However, coordinated and challenging sports that require complex movement patterns and interaction with fellow players are significantly more effective. “To coordinate during a sport seems to be even more important than the total volume of sporting activity,” explains Ludyga.

A higher total extent of activity does not necessarily lead to a correspondingly higher level of effectiveness for mental fitness. Longer duration per exercise unit promises a greater improvement in cognitive performance only over a longer period of time.

All age groups benefit

Just like our physical condition, cognitive performance changes over the course of our lives. It is great for the potential for improvement during childhood (cognitive development phase) and during old age (cognitive degradation phase). However, the research group of the Department of Sport, Exercise, and Health (DSBG) at the University of Basel was unable to find an indicator of different levels of effectiveness of sporting activities within the varying age groups.

Furthermore, sporting activities from primary school age to later age do not have to be fundamentally different in order to improve cognitive performance. Different age groups can thus be combined for a common goal during sports. “This is already being implemented selectively with joint exercise programs for children and their grandparents,” says Pühse. Such programs could thus be further expanded.

Intense sports sessions for boys and men

The same volume of sports activity has a different effect on physical fitness for men and women, as we are already aware. However, the research group has now been able to verify this for mental fitness. Men accordingly benefit more from sporting activity.

Differences between the sexes are particularly evident in the intensity of movement, but not in the type of sport. A hard workout seems to be particularly worthwhile for boys and men. Paired with a gradual increase in intensity, this leads to a significantly greater improvement in cognitive performance over a longer period of time.

In contrast, the positive effect on women and girls disappears if the intensity is increased too quickly. The results of the research suggest that they should choose low to medium intensity sporting activities if they want to increase their cognitive fitness.

Science Daily


Cauliflower Grits with Spicy Shrimp

May 11th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

Cauliflower Grits

  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milkor coconut milk or grass-fed whole dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted grass-fed butteror ghee
  • ¼ cup unsalted chicken stockor vegetable stock
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup grated organic sharp cheddar cheese

Shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimppeeled and deveined, 16/20 count
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher saltdivided
  •  teaspoon black pepper
  •  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  teaspoon paprika
  • 4 slices nitrate free baconthick-cut, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlicabout 4 cloves
  • ¼ cup yellow oniondiced into ¼-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup red bell pepperdiced into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oilto substitute bacon grease if desired
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup green onionsthinly sliced

Greens

  • 8 ounces swiss chardsliced into 1-inch strips

Instructions

Cauliflower Grits

  1. Grate or add cauliflower florets to a food processor. You want the cauliflower to be about the size of rice grains. See the video linked here.
  2. Add cauliflower to a medium-sized saute pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly stirring to release some moisture from the vegetable.
  3. Add one tablespoon of butter, ¼ cup of cashew milk, ¼ cup of chicken stock, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and cook until moisture gets absorbed and cauliflower cooks through about 5 minutes.
  4. sing an immersion hand blender or blender, pulse cauliflower mixture until it resembles the texture of grits (smooth yet still grainy). You don’t want the mixture to be completely smooth.
  5. Transfer back to the pan. Turn heat to medium and add in ¼ cup grated cheese, stir until melted. Slowly add about ½ to ¾ cup more cashew milk until the grits are smooth and creamy. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired. Keep warm over very low heat while making the shrimp.

Spicy Shrimp

  1. In a medium-sized bowl combine shrimp, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon paprika. Set aside. You can add more cayenne pepper if you like it really spicy.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, frequently stirring about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel and drain. Keep 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan, or you can remove and use 2 tablespoons of olive oil instead.
  3. Heat pan to medium and add garlic and onion, stir and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the bell peppers and cook 1 minute.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and add shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, and 1 minute on the other until pink. Add in 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons green onions and cooked bacon. Stir to combine, cook about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp to a warm bowl.

Greens

  1. In the same pan add the swiss chard. Cook on medium-high heat until wilted and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To Serve: Stir and reheat grits if needed. Divide grits, greens, and shrimp evenly among serving bowls.

by Jessica Gavin


Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

April 20th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 4 slices organic Provolone cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Dice the peppers and onions into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic.
  3. Add the ground beef to a skillet and cook over medium heat, crumbling as it cooks.
  4. When beef is broken apart, but still pink, add the peppers, onion, garlic, and seasoned salt. Continue cooking, stirring often, until beef is cooked through and vegetables have softened a bit.
  5. Drain grease from the skillet and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Tear the cheese into small pieces and place over the beef mixture.
  7. Add the eggs, cream, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to a mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the beef and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the eggs are set.
  9. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 366 calories, 23g fat, 33g protein, 5g carbs, 1g fiber

Courtesy of That Low Carb Life


Food Logging For Real

April 15th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

When it comes to healthy eating for a fit and active lifestyle, certain facts are undeniable: Water is crucial, you can eat as many veggies as you want, and weight loss/maintenance is more a result of diet than exercise. Having said that, I recommend my clients log their food, especially when they are not seeing the results they are training for.

Does keeping a food journal help you lose weight?
Yes. Tracking what you eat at each meal or snack can help you improve your health and lose weight for two major reasons.

First, you’re accountable to an observant yet nonjudgmental party (the trusty food log). Consistently logging your food helps you consider why and when you’re eating and how hungry or satisfied you feel. This record-keeping can help you have a more positive relationship with food in general. It draws your attention to food-related pitfalls that may have previously thrown you off-track and gives you the information you need to move forward from a place of honesty.

The second reason why it works is that it provides you with a wealth of information. You’ll learn more about both the foods you enjoy and the places and situations that you find yourself eating. It can help you notice any negative feelings related to food and identify why you might be eating for reasons that have nothing to do with how hungry you actually felt. Part of being specific is being emotional. You don’t want to simply write about what you ate, you want to write about how it made you feel.

The power of the food journal is that it keeps you accountable and makes you more aware. You are less likely to grab that piece of chocolate cake if you know you have to write down later and face the ultimate critic (AKA you). Plus, you become more aware of the emotions tied to your food or the habits you’ve fallen into. Perhaps you find that you crave fatty snacks around 4 p.m. When you sit down and ask yourself the simple question “why” in your journal, you realize that 4 p.m. is peak stress time at work. The following day, you come prepared with a healthy snack to munch on at 4 p.m.; maybe you even excercise before work to prevent your stress.

How do you write a food journal?

Try to stay as consistent as possible and be patient with yourself while you adjust. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it. Just pick it back up the next. And keep in mind that it’s not foreverFood logs can tell you a lot whether you do it for a week or a month.

Pen and paper are a tried and trusty way to do it, but it may not be realistic for you. Try writing in a note on your phone, taking pictures, or using an app. MyFitnessPal and LoseIt — both free — are two of the most popular ones. Fitbit also has a food tracker built into its app.

To start:

You should include several pieces of information in your daily food diary. These are:

  • How much: List the amount of the food/drink item. This might be measured in volume (1/2 cup), weight (2 ounces), or the number of items (12 chips).
  • What kind: Write down the type of food/drink. Be as specific as you can. Don’t forget to write down extras, such as toppings, sauces, or condiments. For example, butter, ketchup, or sugar.
  • When: Keep track of the time of day you eat.
  • Where: Make note of where you eat. Keeping a physical or electronic record of where you eat will help you become aware of your current habits and the scenarios that impact them. If you are at home, write down the room. If you are out, write down the name of the restaurant or if you are in the car.
  • Who with: If you eat by yourself, write “alone.” If you are with friends or family members, list them.
  • Activity: List any activities you do while eating, such as working, watching TV, or playing a game.
  • Mood: You also should include how you feel when you eat. Are you happy, sad, or bored? Your mood can relate to your eating habits and help you change them.

Log foods as soon as you can. The key to nailing the whole food journaling thing is to actually record what you’re having at the exact moment you’re having it. But since that’s not always realistic, don’t fret. You can take a quick pic of your meal before you eat it and fill in the details after-the-fact, that’s okay too.

Note what you may have “missed” at any meal. Did you order a bunless burger at lunch today and ultimately down the contents of a cereal box while watching TV after dinner? Could you try adding extra protein to your lunch and see how you feel tomorrow? If you skip meals or skip satisfying components at a meal, you’re likely to overeat later on.

Use your food log as a library. It’s a go-to list of your favorite items to order, the restaurants where you picked salad when what you really wanted was a pizza, great recipes you enjoyed, and which options or modifications left you feeling satisfied, not deprived.

Be honest. If you’re using a food log but not being totally truthful in your entries, then it’s no longer working as a tool for you. The only person who has to see it is you. Start from a realistic place and make gradual changes. Habits are a result of the choices you make consistently.

You’ve kept a food diary. Now what?
After completing a week’s worth of food journaling, step back and look at what you’ve recorded. Search for any trends, patterns, or habits. For example, you might consider:

  • How healthy is my diet?
  • Am I eating vegetables and fruit every day? If so, how many servings?
  • Am I eating enough protein each day?
  • Am I eating foods or beverages with added sugar? If so, how frequently?
  • Do my moods affect my eating habits? Do I reach for unhealthy snacks when I’m tired or stressed?
  • How often do I eat on the run?

Are food diaries effective?
A food journal holds you accountable and creates a personal reference guide that can inform your future choices and, ultimately, your habits. However, it’s not for everyone. Keeping track of what you eat is supposed to help you stay mindful and accountable — not bad about yourself.

If a food log helps you make positive lifestyle changes, then that’s 15 minutes of your day well-spent!


Supporting You During Covid-19

March 24th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

My biggest priority is keeping clients safe and strong during this #Coronavirus stay-at-home order. The effects of this pandemic are changing the world and we can only control what we can control, so with that in mind…

I’m taking workouts virtual and bringing DBM Strength Training to you! Let’s stay strong together by joining with our friends and training as together as we can right now.

Strength training classes are scheduled every T/Th at 6:30 am, noon, & 6 pm and Sat at 10:30 am EST. Cost is $10 per person, payment options include PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay or cash app. You can pm or text me for details and the Zoom link.

With the mandated at home order, watch for exercise videos and virtual classes! Three weeks is a long time to be away from the gym.

While we are at home temporarily here are a few ideas;

Look for opportunities over the course of every day to put your body under some kind of brief resistance load. Even if you only work hard for one minute (or less) at a time but are relatively faithful incorporating these “micro” opportunities into your daily routine, the cumulative effect will still be incredible.

If you don’t have exercise equipment in your house, there is still a lot you can do to stay fit, active and sane during these trying times. Online streaming services, the internet, and mobile app stores are loaded with a variety of free and low-cost at-home workouts for all fitness levels and workout preferences, and many don’t require any equipment.

Turn up your favorite tunes and dance like nobody is watching! Whether you are solo or with your fam, this can be such fun. Challenge yourselves to keep adding one more song and keep moving longer every day.

If you have the luxury of a yard (and many do not right now), get your rake out and clean up from winter. Your spring yard will thank you and so will your body.

Hit your local trails! Many of them are pretty quiet right now so dress for the temp and go exploring. Maybe meet a friend at the trailhead and keep 6′ distance while you hike together. The app Alltrails is great for exploring.

Staying socially engaged during a stay-at-home order requires creativity! There are some good ideas being shared on social media and this article has several.

Watch your diet! Eating nutritious food is best during times of stress. Let’s support your immune system with great recipes that will also support your fitness goals.

How many ideas can you share with the DBM community? We welcome your suggestions and tips.


How Much Protein Should I Eat Daily For Weight Loss?

February 5th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Decades of scientific research on weight loss have uncovered a few key pieces of information on what helps people successfully win the battle of the bulge.

  • First, we know that while exercise is important, a person’s healthy eating habits likely matters more for weight loss than the hours they spend in the gym.
  • Second, when it comes to dieting, there is no single best one for losing weight; many diets can work quite well as long as total calorie balance is accounted for.
  • Third, dietary protein is one of the key “levers” in a diet that increases the likelihood of someone’s ability to lose weight.

This article is going to cut through a lot of the noise surrounding protein and tell you how much protein you should be eating to lose weight and some of the things you should consider when planning your diet.

WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Protein is an important macronutrient that is involved in nearly all bodily functions and processes. It plays a key role in exercise recovery and is an essential dietary nutrient for healthy living. Protein and amino acids are primarily used to create bodily tissues, form enzymes, and cellular transporters, maintain fluid balance, and more.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN PER DAY TO LOSE WEIGHT?
If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between .73 and 1 grams per pound. Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 1-1.5 grams per pound if aiming for weight loss.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PROTEIN IN WEIGHT LOSS?
Dietary protein can be an important part of a diet that is intended for weight loss. While there are many benefits to dietary protein, there are four main areas that have direct effects on weight loss:

  • Satiety
  • Lean mass
  • Thermic effect of food
  • Storage as body fat

Let us take a deeper dive into each of these topics.

PROTEIN HELPS YOU FEEL FULL LONGER
One of the biggest things that impede weight loss is hunger.

People are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger.

Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients.

Several different lines of research have all pointed to the same thing: higher protein intakes tend to provide more satiety and less hunger.

For example, in one study, high protein snacks allowed people to go longer between eating and also caused them to eat less at subsequent meals.

Another study showed that including protein into a glass of water decreased hunger compared to water alone.

Depending on the source of protein, there does appear to be minor differences in the exact amount of satiety that protein provides, however these differences are minor and don’t really make a meaningful impact for most people.

Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal level of daily protein intake in one’s diet with regard to staying full. However, roughly .82-1.32 grams of protein per pound appear to provide substantial benefit on satiety.

PROTEIN PRESERVES LEAN BODY MASS
In addition, protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.

One study compared the effect of low protein intake (1.0 grams per kilogram per day) to high protein intake (2.3 g/kg per day) on lean body mass over a short term caloric deficit. On average, the low protein group lost about 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) of muscle mass while the high protein group only lost 0.3 kg (0.66 pounds) of muscle mass.

Currently, most evidence suggests that .73 grams of protein per pound are a recommended daily target for protein intake to spare lean body mass loss during periods of weight loss.

PROTEIN INCREASES THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD
The thermic effect of food is the “cost” of digesting your food.

Essentially, it takes some energy to break food down, digest it, and turn it into energy. Protein has the highest “cost” of all three macronutrients.

While the total effect that the thermic effect of food has on daily energy expenditure and weight loss is small, it is not meaningless and is important to note.

In one study, a high protein diet increased the thermic effect of food by roughly 6-8 kcals per hour when compared to a low protein diet, which may translate to ~50-75 calories per day.

However, not all studies show this large of an effect, and the thermic effect of protein is not likely responsible for most of its benefit, but it may be the “cherry on top” of adequate dietary protein during weight loss.

PROTEIN IS HARD TO STORE AS BODY FAT
During periods of weight loss, there are often times where more energy is consumed than expended. As such, minimizing how much of that excess energy (i.e. calories) is stored as fat is important.

The body processes the three different macronutrients (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) in very different ways.

Leaving out a lot of jargon and mumbo jumbo, in order for protein to be stored as fat, it goes through a much different biochemical process than either carbohydrates or fats.

This process makes it much harder for protein to store as body fat.

One study found that protein is stored as body fat with roughly 66% efficiency, while carbohydrates store with 80% efficiency and fats store at 96% efficiency.

During weight loss, overeating protein results in much less stored body fat than overeating on carbohydrates or fat.

While many different diets can be successful for weight loss, the protein content of a diet is one of the important factors to consider when planning a diet. Protein has been shown to promote satiety, help maintain lean body mass, increase the thermic effect of food slightly, and can reduce how efficient the body is at storing extra calories as body fat.

Courtesy of NASM.org


There Are No Short Cuts to Your Fitness Goals!

February 5th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

In order to see any kind of progress in your health and fitness journey, you must show up for a 30-minute, high-intensity workout, twice a week and eat a clean, high protein, low carb diet! There are no short cuts, just say’n…

Let’s get real. Sure, you can cut your calories in half, or spend your mornings or evenings doing cardio to lose some pounds, but I can promise you your results will not last nor will they give you a healthy, functioning body.

When it comes to weight lifting for weight loss, it is important to keep a few key points in mind.

  • First, you will not get BIG from lifting weights. You get “big” from overconsumption of energy (calories), which can be converted into fat or muscle based on the types of foods you eat and the exercise you do.
  • Second, you can lift more than you think—and you should (with the help of a personal trainer).
  • And finally, if weight training is done properly you may be sore the day or two after your workouts (especially if you are new to resistance exercise). This is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and it is a normal response to weight training. Be sure to stretch, drink plenty of water and incorporate sound nutrition to help your body recover quickly between workouts.

Watching the scale too closely is another issue for clients. I’ll hear, “So the scale is up and I’m doing everything right, my clothes are even fitting better! I don’t get it?!” Then we measure and sure enough, their inches are down. Muscle is denser than fat and it also takes up less room. That’s why you can look leaner yet actually weigh more than someone without muscle definition.

Again, if your goal is to be strong, healthy and have a fully functioning body, proper diet and lifting heavy weights with the guidance of a certified personal trainer will get you there!

in part from ACEfitness