Pizza Stuffed Chicken Breast

March 27th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

  • 3 piece chicken breast, pounded out to 1/4 inch
  • 1/2 cup “clean” marinara sauce
  • 3 oz pepperoni
  • 3 tbsp black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 oz fat-free organic mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Butterfly the chicken breast by slicing right down the middle, taking care not to cut all the way through.

2. Place the butterflied breasts between two sheets of parchment paper and hammer the chicken to about a 1/4-inch thickness.

3. Season both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Spread marinara sauce on one side of the chicken (see Rob's marinara sauce recipe to make your own).

4. Add pepperoni, chopped spinach, olives, and 1 ounce of mozzarella to one side. Sprinkle with chopped basil, then fold another side over. Use toothpicks to hold the two sides
together. Top with additional marinara sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

5. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees F until chicken is cooked through. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

830 Calories, 9 g Carbs, 137 g Protein, 27 g Fat
Servings: 3


5 Important Facts About Sarcopenia

March 11th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia is a relatively new term for the most insidious health crisis in the world. Sarcopenia is a disease that impacts all of us as we age. And there is only one known way to prevent it and treat it.

Here are the 5 most important things you need to know about Sarcopenia:

  1. Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging
    The functions of skeletal muscle include control of movement and posture; regulation of metabolism; storage of energy; acting as a primary source of amino acids for the brain and immune system; and acting as a substrate for malnutrition/starvation, injury/wound healing, and disease. Maintaining skeletal mass is critical not only for remaining physically independent but also for survival.
  2. Sarcopenia affects half of all older adults
    More than 18 million Americans suffer from sarcopenia. One in three adults over 60 have the disease, and that number increases to over 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.
  3. Muscle loss from Sarcopenia begins in our 30s
    Beginning in our 30s, every single human being on earth develops sarcopenia. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against the muscle loss. The erosion of strength accelerates in our 50s and continue to increase as we move into our 60s. By our mid-70s, there is an exponential increase in the loss of lean tissue.
  4. Sarcopenia can cause muscle weakness, frailty, and loss of independence
    The loss of strength that accompanies sarcopenia will dramatically impact your physical health. This loss of strength makes it hard to recover is we lose our balance. As we become weaker, we become more cautious and less physically active. When we are less active, we are weaker. The downward spiral continues.
  5. Strength training is the only treatment for Sarcopenia
    You can counteract this loss of muscle tissue with strength training, which will also have a positive effect on many other chronic diseases. We’re living longer. Strength is critically important to enjoying the extra four or five decades that we each have been given through medical science advances over the last century.

Strength training, as you age, is the recognized treatment for combating the devastating effects of sarcopenia.

Of all of these important facts, the last one is the most important. Medical scientists at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, the Academy of Royal Colleges, and dozens more respected medical research institutions have all concluded that intense strength training is the only way to combat the downward spiral of physical health and loss of strength that Sarcopenia causes.

by StrongPath


Rev Up Your Metabolism

February 19th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

A recent article by Health.com (Jan/Feb 2019) has some great advice that I agree with as a personal trainer, here are the highlights.

Your muscles are in charge

A pound of muscle burns 7-10 calories/day compared to 1 lb of fat which burns only 2-3 calories/day. We all know that after you hit your 20’s, you lose muscle as you age. That muscle loss can slow your metabolism by 15% (your calorie burning power). While building new muscle can help counteract this trend, it is even more important to engage the muscle you already have. Every time you challenge your muscles by strength training, you burn calories by working out and continue to burn calories after you put your weights away.

Do 2 30-minute sessions of resistance training each week and in 3 months, your resting metabolism will be about 6% faster. When you exercise, focus on major muscle groups and do not shy away from heavy weights (60 – 75% of your maximum lift).

A lack of Protein can slow your metabolism

If you are not already on the protein bandwagon, get on board! Your body needs amino acids to stay functional. Without enough protein, your body will be forced to tap your muscles. When you lose valuable muscle, your resting metabolism slows.

Make sure you are putting protein in every meal and snack – starting your day with 15 grams (about 2 eggs) is a great idea. Don’t overlook whey, one of two proteins found in milk. Whey protein is rich in the amino acids muscles thirst for and can aid in recovery after workouts.

Dieting is the enemy

Any weight loss diet can leave your metabolism slower than when you started. We highly recommend a lifestyle diet of plants and proteins (no grains, sugar, highly processed foods or processed starches) and eat enough calories to satisfy your resting metabolism. The easiest way to do that is to multiply your body weight in lbs by 10.

Your metabolism likes sleep

Lack of sleep tends to slow your metabolism, in part because that’s when your body repairs itself (which burns calories). Sleep well, eat well and exercise hard for 2 30-minute sessions each week and your metabolism will thank you.


Spicy Tuna Cakes

February 19th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons melted ghee, divided
  • 10 ounces canned albacore tuna packed in water, drained
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 1⅓ cup mashed baked sweet potato
  • finely grated zest from ½ medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium lemons, cut into wedges (optional)

Instructions

1, Preheat the oven to 350°F, and use a brush to grease a 12-cup regular sized muffin tin with one tablespoon of melted ghee. (Or skip this part and just line the tin with parchment muffin liners!)
2, In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, scallions, and cilantro. Add the mashed sweet potato to the tuna mixture, and gently combine.
3, Then, mix in the lemon zest, jalapeño, the remaining two tablespoons of ghee, eggs, and red pepper flakes.
4, Season with salt and pepper to taste. I normally use 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt, but your taste may vary.
5, Use your hands to mix everything together because that way you can make sure that the fish chunks aren’t overly broken up.
6, Scoop a ¼ cup of the mixture into each greased muffin tin cup and flatten with the back of a spoon.
7, Bake the tuna cakes for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8, Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool. The easiest way I’ve found to get them out is to put the wire rack on top of the muffin tin, flip everything upside-down, and tap them gently on the counter.
9, Squeeze a lemon wedge over your tuna cake before you pop it in your mouth. They’re fantastic right out of the oven. Alternatively, store them in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to four days, and when you’re ready to eat, skillet-fry the cakes in some melted fat over medium heat. Crisp the edges, and you’re good to go.

Heat levels can be adjusted to your taste; amp it up by subbing serrano peppers in place of jalapeño, or turn it down by cutting down on the red pepper flakes. Serve these spicy cakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or whip up an extra-big batch for your next dinner party!

yields 12 cakes

by Michelle Tam


Egg And Ham Cups

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Ingredients
1 slice low-fat, nitrate free, deli ham
1 whole, farm fresh egg
2 tbsp organic, reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 slice, thin/small tomatoes, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Spray the cups of a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Press the sliced ham into the muffin tin cup, forming a ham cup.
4. Place the tomato slice in the cup.
5. Crack the egg and drop it in on top of the tomato. Repeat this process for as many cups as desired.
6. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is almost cooked.
7. Top with cheese and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Let cool for a few minutes. Once the cup has cooled, use a spatula to carefully transfer it to a plate.
Eat with your choice of carbs, such as a piece of fruit or low carb oats.

Courtesy of Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.

 


Protein Cracked: Making A Case For The Egg

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Egg whites are a high-quality protein source, but whole eggs often get a bad rap. It’s time to crack a few myths and showcase the power of the yolk.

Egg whites are often referred to as the perfect protein, due to their amino-acid makeup and the body’s ability to utilize them properly.

The average large, whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, about 200 mg of cholesterol, and nearly no carbs. The average large egg white contains only 17 calories, 4 g of protein, and no carbs, fat, or cholesterol.

Egg whites contain as many as 40 different proteins. Of these, ovalbumin constitutes the majority, making up about 55 percent of the protein in egg white. Ovotransferrin is an iron-binding protein in egg whites that provides antimicrobial properties and makes up over 10 percent of the protein content. Ovomucin is another type of protein that makes up less than 5 percent of egg-white protein and provides the jellying property of egg white, as well as antimicrobial properties.

Egg-white protein is rich in BCAAs and arginine, as well as the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids are critical for maintaining the structure of many proteins such as collagen, which is critical for maintaining joint health and levels of certain hormones.

GET YOLKED
Although bodybuilders used to focus on just the egg white for protein and avoided the yolk because of the fat and cholesterol—it’s now known that it’s more beneficial to consume both the egg white and the yolk together. That’s because that golden center contains the majority of the micronutrients in eggs, including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

The yolk also contains all of the egg’s fat and cholesterol, but don’t let that scare you off. Blood cholesterol levels don’t seem to be negatively affected by whole eggs. In fact, one study from the University of Connecticut tested the cholesterol response of 25 males and 27 females to an egg diet (640 mg per day of additional cholesterol) and a non-egg diet (no additional cholesterol). They found the cholesterol in egg yolks does not raise the LDL cholesterol particles that are particularly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.

We now know that fat is important in a diet. The saturated fat in egg yolks is less than half of the total fat. But saturated and monounsaturated fat, also in egg yolks, are important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. The fat and cholesterol from yolks, which was once thought of as harmful, appears to provide benefits for those who do strength training.

In fact, in a head-to-head egg comparison, consuming more whole eggs was shown to help with muscle gain and strength. The magic number? Three. One study from Texas A&M found that subjects consuming three whole eggs a day while following a weight-lifting program for 12 weeks gained twice as much muscle mass and twice as much strength as subjects eating either just one egg per day or no eggs. Those kinds of benefits may be due to the cholesterol content. After all, cholesterol is converted to testosterone in the body.

Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes, which helps them function properly and avoid breakdown. Scientists from Kent State University put 47 older adults (ages 60-69) on a 12-week weight-lifting program and tested them before and after for changes in muscle mass and strength. They placed all subjects on a moderate protein diet and divided them into two groups. One group followed a lower-cholesterol diet (1.6 mg per pound of body weight or approximately 150-250 mg per day), while the other half consumed a higher cholesterol diet (2.6 mg per pound of body weight or about 250-450 mg per day). After 12 weeks the group that consumed the lower-cholesterol diet did not increase muscle mass and only increased their strength by about 35 percent. The higher-cholesterol group, on the other hand, had an increase in muscle mass of about 5 pounds and upped their strength by about 90 percent.

DROP THE FAT
Eggs can also help you get leaner. Research from Saint Louis University found that people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had breakfast with the same amount of calories from a carb-heavy bagel. A follow-up study by the same team found that when women consumed two eggs for breakfast at least five times per week over a 12-week period, they lost 65 percent more weight and had a 34-percent larger reduction in waist size compared to those who skipped the eggs. The study also found that adding two whole eggs to breakfast resulted in no changes in cholesterol levels.

Consider eating two or three whole eggs each day to take advantage of all the benefits eggs have to offer in regard to performance and body composition. You can bump up the protein intake by adding an extra white or two for each yolk.

While eggs are typically thought of as a breakfast food, you can enjoy them anytime throughout the day. Hardboiled eggs work great in salads or as a stand-alone snack. If you really want to kick your eggs up a notch, try my Egg and Ham Cups; they’re delicious and easy to make.

by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.


What I Learned During 13 Years Of Strength Training

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

It all started when I was 18. At the time, I was slowly recovering from an eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa, and my dad was trying to help me get healthy again.

“You know, there’s a way you can eat a lot more and still be skinny!” he said. “Come to the gym and workout with me.”

It’s funny how different my ideal body was back then, 13 years ago. I was judging myself by what I saw online and in magazines. I wanted to be emaciated-looking. I wanted to be small and petite. I wanted to be “less.”

My first trip to the gym was immensely unproductive. My “hardcore workout” consisted of some abdominal machine work, some crunches, and…wait for it…sleeping on the mat. Yup, I fell asleep on a mat about 15 minutes after walking into a gym for the first time in my life.

Despite what happened during that first visit, I’ve been steadily going to the gym for more than 13 years now. In that time, I’ve completed countless numbers of lifting sessions. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the process of strength training and how it made me feel. I soon became passionate, determined, and dedicated to making gains, both physically and mentally.

Today, I’d like to share with you 13 lessons I’ve learned along the road to becoming a stronger, more fit, and more confident me.

Lesson 1: Women, You Will Not Look Like Men
No matter how hard you work out at the gym, you will not—I repeat—not look like a man. Women simply do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to increase their muscle mass to the point where they look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The women you see pictured online with huge muscles use steroids.

Without these dangerous drugs, you can still see amazing changes in your body shape and tone. You get there by following a healthy diet and by lifting weights—real weights. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the colored-plastic 5-pounders and grab some iron. It won’t make you bulky, but it will make you strong and lean.

Lesson 2: Strength Training Shapes Your Body Much More Than Cardio Does
There are two components to physique: muscle and the visibility of that muscle. We increase muscle mass when we strength train. We increase muscle visibility when we lower our body fat percentage. To increase muscle visibility, you must strength train. In other words, in order to display your muscles, you have to have them! In contrast, cardio is great for heart and overall health, but won’t do anything for your muscle tone.

Lesson 3: Strength Train The Major Muscle Groups
When most people decide they want to change their physique and improve their health, they tend to focus on the body parts that bother them the most. For women, often this means lower body and stomach. For their part, men often focus on biceps and chest. To improve muscular balance, prevent injuries, improve overall appearance and strength, and increase caloric burn, you must train all the major muscle groups—the ones you see in the mirror and the ones you don’t.

Focus on compound exercises that use large muscle groups—exercises such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and rows. Then add accessory, or isolation, exercises that target smaller muscle groups. Such exercises include leg curls, triceps extensions, and rear-delt raises.

Lesson 4: Going For Spot Reduction? If Only!
Newsflash: There is no such thing as spot reduction, meaning no exercise can burn fat in a specific area. Your genetics, not your workouts, determine the areas where you can gain and lose fat. A good diet combined with intensive strength training is what creates an aesthetically pleasing physique.

Lesson 5: Continuous Progress Requires Progressive Overload
The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) is simple: Your body adapts to stress (in the form of exercise) by gaining muscle mass and strength. To continue building your physique, you must constantly increase what you demand of your body through a concept called progressive overload. One way to achieve this is by adding more weight to the bar. But you can also do it through any combination of increasing your reps per set, increasing your range of motion for a certain exercise, improving your technique, or reducing the rest time between sets. All these techniques give you the freedom to change, monitor, and adjust your program so you can keep challenging yourself.

Lesson 6: Diet Schmiet—Mind Your Calories!
I’ve attempted all kinds of diets—low fat, high fat, zero sugar, only “specific foods” diet, and on and on. None of them worked. About three years into my weight-lifting career, I decided to dive deeper into the science behind body composition changes. I hoped to answer several questions: Why do we get fat? How do we lose fat? Are certain foods fattening? Do some foods burn calories just by digesting them?

Along the way, I realized there are three possible scenarios for an individual’s body weight and caloric intake:

  • The number of calories you consume each day is equivalent to the number of calories your body burns per day. In this scenario, you maintain your weight.
  • The number of calories you consume per day is greater than the number of calories your body burns. In this scenario, you gain weight.
  • The number of calories you consume daily is less than the number of calories your body burns per day. In this scenario, you lose weight.

Simply put, we gain fat when we eat too many damn calories, not because we eat or avoid specific foods. I’m a big proponent of the 80/20 rule, whereby 80 percent of your diet consists of highly nutritious, minimally processed foods, and 20 percent consists of low-nutrient, processed foods. The good news is you can still eat those foods you love. Just eat less of them. Maybe a lot less.

Lesson 7: Food Has No Moral Code
Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind?

A cookie is bad for you, while a salad is good for you.
I was bad because I had a piece of chocolate cake. I’d be good if I had broccoli and chicken.
Thinking of foods as “good” and “bad” is called orthorexia, “an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.” Orthorexia sounds great but, in reality, it undermines your long-term success, both physically and emotionally.

Labeling foods as good or bad only encourage a negative relationship with them. In reality, food is neutral; it’s meant to be used as fuel for the body—and to be enjoyed! A healthy diet isn’t all black or all white—it comes in shades of grey. Yes, it’s rich in nutrients, but if you want your diet to last the long haul, it also needs to include foods that give you pleasure.

Lesson 8: Be Realistic About Your Expectations
You’ve finally decided to start your fitness journey. You’re excited. You’re motivated. You think to yourself, “I’m going to have my dream body in 3-6 months!”

Good for you—but not so fast. For most mortals, it takes way more than three months to achieve that dream body, whatever it may be. With consistency in your exercise and diet program, you will see measurable and noticeable changes in three months—just maybe not the kind of before/after transformation you see so often on social media.

Getting a fit body and adding quality muscle can take years. Get into it for the long term.

Lesson 9: Consistency And Patience Are Keys
Motivation can get you started, but habits keep you going. It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, but putting in a not-so-great workout beats no workout at all every time. Keep at it and don’t give up. Being consistent will bring you closer to your goals while also helping you develop the grit and work ethic needed to continue despite obstacles. Treat every day as an opportunity to grow and improve, and rely on your discipline—not your motivation—to get you to the gym. If you miss a workout, don’t get down on yourself. Just get right back into it!

Lesson 10: Don’t Be Obsessed With Scale Weight
For years I’ve been attached to a magical number on the scale, a number that would make my life so much easier, fuller, and happier. In reality, there is no such number. Your weight comprises fat mass and fat-free mass (bones, muscles, connective tissue, organs, and water), and it’s a dynamic measurement, one that fluctuates in response to stress, hydration, carb intake, fiber intake, types of foods, time of the day, and sleep.

Lesson 11: Mental And Emotional Strength Gains Are Coming Your Way
Just as muscles grow by repeatedly overcoming resistance, we grow as people the same way. Sometimes life can seem like a daily resistance workout you never signed up for. If you’re lucky, strength training can help you learn how to show up and do the work.

I fell in love with strength training because it has better prepared me for life. Strength training tests your will power. It challenges your patience and dedication as you progress, regress, plateau, and progress again. There’s something empowering about that, especially for us women.

Lesson 12: You Won’t Always Have The Support Of Others
Some people—even those closest to you—may not understand your new fit lifestyle. That’s OK. Not everyone has to agree with you, because the most important person in your life, you, will understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take care of your own health and well-being first. Focus on getting stronger, healthier, and fitter. The rest will follow.

Lesson 13: Remember, You’re Much More Than Your Body
Strength training doesn’t guarantee you’ll find happiness once you’re lean. Or that your life will be any more meaningful than it was before. Or that your friends and family will love you more. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get wiser or become a better person. All your troubles and hardships may not vanish into thin air, but you will feel healthier, stronger, and, hopefully, more confident. And that is huge!

Over the years, I’ve witnessed so many people (mainly women) attaching their self-worth to the number on the scale or the size they wear. Know that you’re so much more than that. No matter what your body is up to on any given day, learn to love it all and treat your body well. After 13 years of strength training, today I am healthy, energized, and strong. I am a capable human being, and I’m much more than just my body. And so are you.

by Sivan Fagan


4 Easy Ways To Boost Your Bland Fitness Food

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Clients who are staying fit and healthy may use meal prepping as a way to be more conscientious about their diet. Keeping your meals simple and repetitive can make meal planning easier to stick to. However, eating the same thing over and over again can get old fast. (Chicken and broccoli, anyone?)

Spices are an easy way to change the taste of your food, without adding many calories or messing up your macros. Most spices and herbs add zero fat or protein to your meal, and only add a gram or two of carbs, even if you use an excessive amount. For example, garlic powder has approximately 2 grams of carbs per teaspoon, which is generally way more than you would use in a single serving. Beware of store-bought spice mixes such as a generic “steak seasoning,” though, as many of these have fillers and an excess of salt added to them.

Spices are especially good on proteins, such as eggs, pork, tofu, or chicken. Most spices are great on their own and are a simple way to make your bland meal more flavorful. To take it a step further, combining spices can create nearly endless flavor possibilities. With a few easy spice combos, you can make a simple chicken breast taste like your favorite world cuisine.

The amounts of each spice you use will vary depending on the type of food you’re putting it on and personal taste. A good place to start is one part garlic, chipotle, etc., to two parts basil, oregano, etc. Then, adjust a little bit at a time until you figure out what you like. If you aren’t watching your salt intake, adding a little bit of salt can help bring out the flavor of these spice combos.

Here are a few simplified flavor profiles to get you started:

  • To give your food a Mexican flair, create a dry rub with cumin, garlic powder, chipotle, and cilantro. This works especially well on meat, but it could also be mixed into rice or sprinkled on eggs.
  • For more of an Italian taste, combine garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano. This combo can be used as a dry rub for meats, sprinkled on fried or scrambled eggs, or even mixed into tomato sauce to create your own pasta sauce.
  • For a Thai curry flavor, combine basil, garlic powder, curry powder, ginger, and cumin. This mix can be used to season meats or rice, or combined with canned coconut milk to create a simplified curry sauce.
  • For a barbecue taste without the sauce, try combining smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use as a dry rub for meat, sprinkle it on eggs, or experiment by putting it on other foods to see what you like.

Check out our recipes here.

by Freida Johnson


Resistance Training Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Young Overweight Men

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

New Findings:

Short duration resistance training results in early and progressive increases in muscle mass and function and an increase in insulin sensitivity.

Short bursts of high-intensity resistance training improved insulin sensitivity for relatively young, overweight or obese men.

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow recruited 10 overweight men to carry out three sessions per week of 15-20 minutes of resistance exercise. The trial lasted for six weeks. Each session involved a single set of nine exercises which were performed until reaching muscle fatigue.

The participants were aged between 28 and 44 years old with BMI between 26 and 32 kg/m2. Their fitness levels, insulin sensitivity, and muscle strength were measured at the start and after each week of the study.

Insulin sensitivity is a marker for whether a person is at risk of type 2 diabetes. If the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin, blood glucose levels can rise leading to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

A 16 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity was recorded along with improvements in muscle strength.

The study indicates that short bursts of exercise through the week, carried out on a regular basis, can have substantial effects on improving insulin sensitivity which could help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It will be interesting to see how a similar exercise regimen could benefit insulin sensitivity for people of both genders who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The findings have been published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

diabetes.co.uk


THE DEAL WITH SQUATS

January 29th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

I love squats. I train my clients on squats, especially squat presses. I’m a stickler for proper form, and suggest going down slowly (think count to 3 or 5) and coming up strong. Here are some more thoughts on why I love squats:

• Squats are mostly known as a leg exercise, but they promote body-wide muscle building by catalyzing an anabolic environment

• Squats are also one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting mobility and balance and helping you complete real-world activities with ease

• Squats also help you to burn more fat, as one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle

• Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue

• Squats are one type of exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s fitness routine, as they provide whole-body benefits