Saturday, February 28, 2015

Workout Submission Saturday - Week 3

Submission Saturday!

I know we didn't tackle no new techniques this week, but go ahead and still post your weekly workout logs. There's no quit or break in this progress - we make things happen.

An example of a workout submission should look something like this:
Monday: Ellipical 25 minutes, Upright Bicycle 15 minutes
Tuesday: Spinning Group Ex Class
Wednesday: Took two stops off the train earlier than usual - walked
Thursday: Recumbent Bicycle 15 minutes, Step Express Group Ex Class
Friday: Swimming Laps 25 minutes

Share your submission today!
*Respond to this blog post down below*

Friday, February 27, 2015

Week 3 - Nutrition: Portion Sizes and Control

Portion Sizes - confusing at times, isn't it? Some labels as you roll down the grocery store isle read that something like a container of cottage cheese has four serving sizes or that a box of bran flakes has up to 8 to 10 servings per box. Rarely do we ever have that spare time to go out of our way to measure all the ounces or cups to get the right serving size and count our calories up right? 

The question that's probably grinding your gears...

Can serving size actually make me lose weight faster?


There are fast easy tips you can go ahead and do as you prepare your meals each and every day that can help you get close with portion control and serving size. You eliminate extra calories and maintain your specific calorie average each week. 

Make this change in preparing your meals and you will only accelerate your weight loss.

"Use your hand and other everyday objects to measure portion sizes:
  • One serving of meat or poultry -- the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
  • One 3-ounce serving of fish -- a checkbook
  • One-half cup of ice cream -- a tennis ball
  • One serving of cheese -- six dice
  • One-half cup of cooked rice, pasta, or snacks such as chips or pretzels -- a rounded handful, or a tennis ball
  • One serving of a pancake or waffle -- a compact disc
  • Two tablespoons of peanut butter -- a ping-pong ball"
"To control your portion sizes when you’re eating at home, try the following tips:
  • Don’t eat from the bag. You could be tempted to eat too much. Use the serving size on the package to portion out the snack into small bags or bowls. You can also buy single-serving portions of your favorite snack foods.
  • Serve food on smaller plates. Eat from a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Keep serving dishes on the kitchen counter so you’ll have to get up for seconds. Putting your food out of easy reach will make it harder for you to overeat.
  • Substitute lower-fat varieties of food. Instead of whole-fat cream cheese, sour cream, and milk, buy low-fat or skim instead. Use half the amount you would normally use of these products to save even more calories.
  • Don’t eat mindlessly. When you snack in front of the television or while doing other activities, you’ll be distracted enough that you may eat too much. Eat at the table. Focus your attention on your food so you’ll know when you’ve had enough to eat.
  • Snack between meals. If you’re hungry between meals, eat a healthy, high-fiber snack such as a piece of fruit, small salad, or bowl of broth-based soup. The snack will fill you up so that you don’t eat too much at your next meal."

Portion Control, What are they?


"What are they? These are handy plates with painted lines that help measure carbohydrates, proteins, cheese, and sauces.

In a June 2007 study, researchers at the University of Calgary randomly assigned 130 people with type 2 diabetes to use those plates or regular ones. 

Overall, 17% of those who used the plate lost 5% or more of their body weight, while only 4.6% of the control group did; 26% of those who used the plate were able to cut back on diabetes medication (because they lost more weight), compared with 11% of people who did not use the plate."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 3 - Nutrition: Late Night Snacking

Let me paint you this scenario: you had a great dinner, you're getting close to lights out but yet you don't feel satisfied. You're battling in your head,"Should I eat something this late or wait until the morning?" Then you fall prey to your appetite and open up to the light that breaks the dark: your refrigerator. I don't want to speak for people, but the majority of the time, we make bad decisions. We're human: we know what's good for us but yet we don't even follow simple directions and make poor decisions.

Here's a couple of websites where I found some great late night snacks to curb those cravings.

Cottage Cheese - Low Calorie, High Protein
Greek Yogurt w/ Pomegranate - Low carbs, high protein, antioxidants
Pistachios - Reduces Cardiovascular disease
Fermented Coconut Milk - Low Calorie, Prebiotics

Popcorn - Low Calorie, light snack
Fruit Salad - Low Calorie, nutrient packed

And since you asked for it...
                          Here's some awesome and creative recipes!

Quinoa Polenta Pizza

150-Calorie Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 3: Nutrition - Role of Fiber in Maintaining a Healthy Weight

You've probably heard the idea of a high fiber diet, it's almost always a point of emphasis also on breakfast cereal commercials. Well, don't always doubt what you hear on TV.

Webmd - a great source. This specific article on fiber is a valuable source that I definitely recommend as a read. 

"Eating healthy high-fiber foods makes you feel full, so you can resist eating more food than you need. Fibrous foods also can take longer to chew, giving your brain time to get the signal that you have had enough to eat."
"A 2009 study in the journal Appetite compared the satiety or fullness factor of apples, applesauce, and apple juice with added fiber before lunch. People who ate an apple before lunch ate 15% fewer calories than those who ate the applesauce or drank apple juice. This suggests that the fiber in the whole apple was more filling even when compared to the juice that had added fiber." 
"Most women should get at least 25 grams and most men 38 grams each day to gain all the health benefits of fiber, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake. The problem is that most Americans get only about half that when not on a diet and even less when dieting, especially on low-carb diets." 
"Tufts University researcher and professor of nutrition Susan Roberts, PhD, has shown that people who eat 35 to 45 grams of fiber a day are less hungry when losing weight and lose more weight than people who eat less fiber. (But beware of consuming fiber as a bulk laxative; it can sap your body of needed nutrients and vitamins.)"

Another great resource - check it out!

Benefits of a high-fiber diet

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you're less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 3: Nutrition - Benefits of Lemon Water

PHOTO: Hollywood and wellness experts alike have embraced hot lemon water as a healthful way to start their days.

I'll be the first to acknowledge this, but whenever spring whether comes around, for some odd reason I have this urge for citrus. Typically I'll add in two slices of lemon into my water bottle and go along with my day with now refreshing water. I didn't think much of it until the second summer I had gone along with it. 

These two articles hit it on the spot with all the added benefits of lemon water. A-list celebrities go with it and if they say that they use it to start their day off, it cannot be that horrible. Lemon, among other citrus fruits, are known to have anti-oxidants. They fight off toxins in the body and leave you feeling fresh. 

According to, these are the included benefits:

  • Gives your immune system a boost
  • Aids digestion
  • Cleanses your system
  • Freshens your breath
  • Excellent source of potassium
  • Keeps your skin blemish-free
  • Helps you lose weight (fiber)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Gives you an energy boost
  • Helps cut out caffeine
  • Helps Viral Infections

If you haven't made a decision on what your first step to a "healthier you" should be, let this be that first easy step.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Fitness Group Challenge - Week 3: Nutrition

It's come down already to one of our major topics: nutrition. We'll be spending the majority this week spending some time at home investigating, researching, and finally developing plans on how we can adjust and improve our nutrition.

Let's get right to it, this isn't a change in your diet. By almost it's connotation, a diet is a short term change in your eating behaviors. I'll speak for myself and for many of you, there is no short-term fix and all those fads have been thrown out because of either ineffectiveness or adverse effects. A change to our nutrition is a long term change that can really impact our journey through weight loss, gaining muscle, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Each and every day, I will be posting up a new post with trusted sources: organizations or websites that are structurally sound with their nutritional advice or posting evidence based research (with academic resources). Now I'll have a small summary of the research as well as my take on it along with the URL.

This Weeks Goal: 
Adapt Three New Changes To Your Nutrition
Share your changes throughout the week through 
either the sources I provide or through your own research.

What Do All These Numbers Mean???

Great website for those who want to get the basics of nutrition down. Has a lot of expanded topics such as serving sizes and proportion decision making.

For Those Who Missed Week 2...
I'll be making three appointment periods available during this nutrition week for us to meet for our hands-on approach to squats.
Monday, February 23rd: 4:00 - 4:30 PM
Thursday, February 26th: 4:00 - 6:00 PM
Friday, February 27th: 1:00 - 1:30 PM
Sunday, March 1st: 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Workout Submission Saturday - Week 2

Submission Saturday!

An example of a workout submission should look something like this:
Monday: Ellipical 25 minutes, Upright Bicycle 15 minutes
Tuesday: Spinning Group Ex Class
Wednesday: Took two stops off the train earlier than usual - walked
Thursday: Recumbent Bicycle 15 minutes, Step Express Group Ex Class
Friday: Swimming Laps 25 minutes

Share your submission today!
*Respond to this blog post down below*

Friday, February 20, 2015

Week 2: Squats - Swiss Ball Assisted Squat Tutorial

I hope everyone is having a great week. I see a lot of you coming in either doing cardio or hitting those squats. There is still time to come in for a hands-on approach when tackling the squat. However for those who cannot make it, I've set up and uploaded a quick tutorial on the Swiss Ball Assisted Squat. If you ever forget about where the video is, always look on the left side for the video slider. Keep checking in for new video content coming soon and often. Until then, show those squats who's boss!

**Big thanks to Robin from the Membership Staff for recording the video and Alex from our Fitness Staff**

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Fitness Group Challenge - Week 2: Squats


Squats - one of the three core compound movements that have stood the test of time to being one of the most successful and functional movements in the history of fitness and exercise. Now more than ever do we find ourselves unintentionally squatting and staying in a fixed position through most of our day - sitting. 

As Kelly Starrett, a coach, physical therapist, speaker, who currently runs his own crossfit gym in California, and author of the New York Times & Wall Street Journal best seller "Becoming a Supple Leopard," has a strong stance on what our society and technology has done to our bodies. His new book entitled "Deskbound" literally has the phrase, "Sitting is the new smoking."

Kelly Starrett -always a deep thinker and deep squatter 
Now I can understand why he thinks and says that sitting is bad for you. On average the typical day probably looks like this for you: waking up, sitting down for breakfast, driving to work, sitting down behind a desk, sitting down for lunch, back sitting at work, driving home, sitting down to eat dinner, and watching TV. Collectively, how long does all that sitting down take up during your day? I know no one is activating their glutes and quads when they sit.

Most of our sitting is actually bad for us because we unevenly distribute our weight on our spine (which runs down to our trunk *sacroiliac joint* - how you get lower back pain), our legs go into a muscular dysfunction (weird stuff happening at the hips, knees, and ankles), and then we wonder why we have pain or discomfort in our lower back and legs. 

Performing safe, effective, functional squatting can be just the medicine you need to alleviate all those pains. Squatting activates all those muscles I previously mentioned that are either under-active or in dysfunction. Regardless of your level of fitness - squatting can be challenging and effective to creating the greatest version of yourself.

This Weeks Goal: 
Collectively Utilize Squats Twice This Week

Depending on your level of fitness, mobility, and flexibility, squatting can be performed at a safe and challenging environment. I will make five days available for people to meet with me who are interested in learning how to properly squat.

Monday, February 16th: 5:30 - 6:30 PM (At free weights office)
Tuesday, February 17th: 8:30 - 9:00 PM (At free weights office)
Thursday, February 19th: 4:00 - 5:00 PM (Ask front desk to contact me)
Friday, February 20th: 5:30 - 6:30 PM (At free weights office)
Sunday, February 22nd: 11:45 AM - 12:15 PM (At free weights office)

Remember you have to either submit a reply below with the date you want to come in or respond via email at 

Book your appointment times now before they get packed!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Workout Submission Saturday - Week 1

Submission Saturday!

Hey everyone - great job coming in and getting yourself weighed in, recording that body composition, and starting to work on building up your cardio levels to new heights. 

Each and every week, I want all of you to share what you have accomplished this week with your exercise regiment. Remember that this week's goal was to collectively get in 120 minutes of cardio. We are going to be continuously be building up our routine from week to week, but the level of cardio-fitness that you should perform should never be substituted by anything else.

An example of a workout submission should look something like this:
Monday: Ellipical 25 minutes, Upright Bicycle 15 minutes
Tuesday: Spinning Group Ex Class
Wednesday: Took two stops off the train earlier than usual - walked
Thursday: Recumbent Bicycle 15 minutes, Step Express Group Ex Class
Friday: Swimming Laps 25 minutes

Share your submission today!
*Respond to this blog post down below*

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter Fitness Group Challenge - Week 1: Cardio

** Please follow the blog on the right hand side to get constant updates on new content and updates **
** Check out at the bottom additional times to meet up with me for Week 1 **

Here we are at the beginning of our journey together. I want to welcome and thank everyone for displaying their passion for changing themselves for the better in 2015 by joining the Winter Fitness Group Challenge. I loved the turnout for Saturday afternoon during the open house for the kickoff event. We had great questions and conversations that I think helped certain individuals clear up any misconceptions or misinterpretations about cardiovascular activity.

When it comes to cardio, thinking about how important it is to building a healthy individual is the same as if we are to think about how an architect draws up his or her blueprint. That architect knows that they cannot build a piece of infrastructure with just walls or just a roof. Rather that architect immediately knows that the foundation plays the most important part in building a strong, efficient, and reliable building. We're taking that same approach when it comes to cardio: we're building our foundation bit by bit, week by week, and relentlessly continuing to strengthen our base. 

This week is dedicated to cardio. For those who I have not yet had the chance to talk to during the open house, I want you to think of cardio in multiple ways. The machines in the cardio side do serve a purpose from the treadmill, elliptical, stair master, and stationary bicycles. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Y. We also offer group exercise classes like salsa, dance, zumba, and bootcamp that raise your heart rate up into desirable ranges to burn fat and develop lean muscle. Swimming is also an excellent choice: zero impact on the joints (big plus). 

This Week's Goal: 
Collectively perform 120 minutes of cardiovascular activities

Cardio can also be recorded as simple activities as walking in the park, a light jog on the treadmill, or a steady pace on the bicycle. 

Here's a great picture that's in our cardio room next to the Healthy Lifestyles Office (near the recumbent bicycles) that gives a great description of heart rate zones:

For those who have not yet come in to get their baseline weigh-in and body composition readings, I have added the addition time slots for you to come in and record your information. The times are the following:

Tuesday, February 10th: 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Friday , February 13th: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
** You have just this week to record your first week's baseline weight and body composition **

Monday, February 2, 2015

Welcome to the 12-Week Winter Fitness Group Challenge!

Hello, hello - welcome to the Long Island City YMCA 12-Week Winter Fitness Group Challenge. We're fighting off the cold weather and working on our New Year's resolutions in this 12-Week program. It is free to signup if you are a member of the LIC branch and here are a few reasons why you should join:

  • You will learn a great tips in multiple areas of fitness
  • Get help learning proper form and exercises oriented towards your goal
  • Get another whole level of accountability when it comes to your workout by coming to each week's hands-on session and submitting your weekly workout log
  • Great support from the entire Healthy Lifestyles & Fitness Department
  • Push yourself further than before with our week 9 run over the 59th street bridge and back!

As mentioned, each week will have a new agenda and during the first, sixth, and final week we will record your weight and body composition. The program has had successful stories in the past and it is time to get dedicated for this results-oriented program. If you have not done so already, please fill out a Winter Fitness Group Challenge application at the front desk or email me at

Come this Saturday, February 7th at 1:30 PM for our kickoff event during our Open House! You'll get your baseline weigh-in and body composition checked, learn more about what the program is all about, and get in the know about the agenda for week 1 of the challenge.

Can't wait to get the fire started this weekend!