Fitness & Wellness

Does Dehydration Affect Nutrition?

Does Dehydration Affect Nutrition?

If you’ve looked for ways to extend the freshness of food when you stock up because the price is low or have grown it in your own garden, there are several methods to use, canning, freezing and dehydration are the favorite options. Do you get the same amount of nutrition from eating all these types of food, compared to fresh? In most cases, canned and frozen are just as nutritious, particularly if you grow them and can or freeze them immediately. How about dehydrated fruits and vegetables?

Dehydrated food is better than junk food and often cheaper.

If you grew your own food or bought it on sale, you can actually save money with dehydrated food. It’s also more compact and easier to store or transport if you’re hiking, camping or don’t have a freezer or area to store home canned goods. If you want a healthy snack for kids, dried fruit can be good. You’ll be ready for any situation that can cause a shortage of food if you have dried fruits and vegetables ready on the shelf to cover it.

So is dehydrated food less nutritious than fresh?

In some ways, it can be, but it depends on all the factors. The vitamin C and A don’t survive the heat and air used for dehydration. In order to prevent as much loss, you can use a sulfite treatment. One word of caution, when you do that, it destroys the thiamin in the fruit or vegetable. If you blanch food before you dehydrate it, it causes loss of some vitamin B complex and C. Blanching also reduces some of the water-soluble minerals available.

There are three ways to dehydrate food.

Solar drying is the cheapest method, since it uses the sun. Conditions have to be right for this technique to work. Not only should it be hot, but also dry. The second technique of oven drying and the third of using an electric dehydrator don’t require nearly the effort or precise conditions, but if you’re doing it just to save money, the cost of the energy might eat into your savings.

  • Since dehydrating fruit removes the water weight, if you eat same number of grams of fresh fruit compared to dehydrated fruit, you’ll eat fewer calories with fresh fruit.
  • Dehydrated foods tend to last longer and information from the University of Missouri says it won’t spoil. In order to develop yeast, mold or bacteria, water is necessary. That’s why complete drying and proper storage are so important.
  • Using dehydrated food for soup can help. Since water leaches the nutrients and dissolves them in water, making water in the form of soup provides those nutrients.
  • Don’t forget, you can also dehydrate herbs and spices. Some will dehydrate simply by hanging them in a room, but for a quicker process, use a microwave.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fitness


Is Protein Water A Real Thing?

Is Protein Water A Real Thing?

There’s been a lot of talk and questions about protein water recently. The first question is always, “Is there really such a thing as protein water?” The answer is, “Yes, Virginia, there is a thing called protein water.” It does start with water and does contain protein. The process of making protein water starts with whey protein isolate that’s taken from cow’s milk and adding it to water. It can also use other types of protein that are either animal-based proteins or plant-based, which offer more variety to suit special dietary needs.

You’ll get more protein without the calories in some protein water.

Just like anything, not all protein water choices are alike. However, there are plenty of choices that are higher in protein and lower in calories. Other brands may use added sugar, artificial flavor and color or other types of sweeteners. You want to avoid those brands, particularly if you’re drinking protein water regularly. Depending on the brand, protein water can fill some of your nutritional needs with vitamins and minerals. If it’s made with whey protein, it can contain calcium and magnesium. Other types may add vitamins and minerals to boost your vitamin B, C and D intake.

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a great alternative for a protein shake.

Protein water contains fewer calories than most protein shakes and less sugar. So if you want some protein after a tough workout to help with recovery, it can help you. The protein taken after a workout increases the rebuilding process, but it’s not the best solution. Rather than grabbing a shake or protein water, you’d be better off eating food after a workout and getting protein from a plant based source like beans or from meat. Not only is that more satisfying, it also keeps you feeling fuller longer.

There is a downside to protein water.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Everything has a downside and that’s also true for protein water. Anyone that has kidney problems should avoid protein water, just as those who have trouble metabolizing protein. It doesn’t overcome those issues with protein in the diet, just adds to them. For others, it might be a refreshing change of pace for a recovery drink. There’s about 15 to 20 grams of protein in a 16-oz bottle and 70 calories. If you ate a chicken breast, you’d get about 27 grams of protein and 240 calories, so protein water is a viable option, even if it isn’t as satisfying as a chicken breast.

  • If you’re lactose-intolerant, beware of the protein contained in most protein water. Whey isolate is dairy, so unless you want to feel bloated or sick, read the label before you buy it.
  • To build muscle throughout the day, you should aim for a daily protein intake of about 1.2-2.0 g per kg of target body weight, he says. So chugging a 16-oz. bottle of protein water after your workout isn’t really gonna do much.
  • While protein water won’t hurt you, it’s probably unnecessary to meet your protein needs. Most people get enough protein. If you’re working out, there are yummier ways to meet that after workout protein need.
  • Rather than focusing on protein water, focus on plain H2O with a side of protein. Drinking more plain water is better for you and far easier on your budget. Save even more by putting your own water in a bottle and taking it with you, rather than buying bottled water.

Contact us today at Craig Long Fit


Do You Like Overnight Oats?

Do You Like Overnight Oats?

If you find yourself rushing around in the morning, barely able to make coffee, let alone breakfast, it’s time to try overnight oats. What are they? It’s regular oatmeal with a twist. You don’t cook it. Simply pour quick cook, steel cut or rolled oats into a container and soak them overnight with coconut milk, regular milk, Greek yogurt or almond milk. In the morning, you’ll have a breakfast ready meal because they absorbed the liquid and softened, like they would if you cooked them.

Overnight oats have some great benefits.

Everyone knows that oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast that fills you and keeps you feeling full throughout the day. Overnight oats are no different in that respect. They also contain all the nutrients of regular oatmeal, such as protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and Omega3 fatty acids. Since you’re making them from plain oats, unlike some types of instant oatmeal, they don’t contain added sugar. Almond milk or coconut milk as a soak also add a creamy texture and extra flavor.

You’ll get even more when you make overnight oats.

If getting the nutrients and the filling nature of oatmeal isn’t enough, there are other reasons to opt for the overnight method. That long overnight soak helps break down the starch in the oats and lowers the amount of phytic acid that can block your body from using all the nutrients it contains. It also protects the nutrients from undergoing the harmful effects of heat. These oats are easier to digest, making it a good choice with sensitive stomachs and digest issues.

You’ll save time and have a low cost breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

Oatmeal, particularly the kind you buy in a big container to cook, not the instant kind, are quite inexpensive. They provide a filling breakfast that won’t break the budget. It’s super quick in the kitchen with no extra pots and pans from cooking and takes about five minutes the night before to make. It’s quicker than laying out your clothing for the next day and saves even more time than that does. You can eat them immediately when you wake up or even take them with you to work.

  • You can make these oats even more versatile and interesting by adding different types of plant based milk or even Greek yogurt. Add a few raisins and nuts and sprinkle on some cinnamon.
  • If you want to keep it healthy and lower in calories, use berries or other fruit to sweeten it. You can also use stevia, maple syrup or honey or add protein powder, nut butter or wheat germ.
  • If you want to improve your digestion, increase that feeling of fullness, improve your chances of weight loss and level out your insulin levels, you need more resistant starch. Overnight oats contain more resistant starch.
  • Some people make overnight oats as a daytime snack. Add a few berries and you’ll have a snack that will fill you up without adding tons of calories.

Contact us today at Craig Long Fit


How Are You Supposed To Measure Fruits And Veggies By The Cup?

How Are You Supposed To Measure Fruits And Veggies By The Cup?

In Florida, there’s a lot of fresh produce and it’s always a bit of a concern on how to measure fruits and veggies. While peas may be quite easy, measuring things like broccoli are not nearly as easy if you’re using a cup. The good news is that if you measure incorrectly and put too much broccoli on your plate, it won’t affect your weight loss program much and will boost your healthy eating. However, for people creating healthy recipes, it can make a difference in flavor.

You can use techniques used by chefs to get an accurate measurement.

It starts by cutting the vegetable in manageable pieces. From there, you can julienne them, dice them, chiffonade them or cube them. The problem many people face is not knowing how much to cut to begin with and that problem is solved easily. If you’re preparing dishes all week that require fruits or vegetables, when you get home, cut them up and store in one cup bags. Put them in the cup, pack them down and store. You’ll be ready for almost any recipe that way.

Here’s an easy way to estimate how much is in a cup.

Since healthy fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories, estimating a cup is the easiest way. One large banana is one cup, just as 10 broccoli florets are. Twelve baby carrots equals a cup and a medium grapefruit is also one cup. Berries are easy to measure. For instance, eight large strawberries, normally fill a cup. If you want to feel like you’re eating a lot, snack on a cup of grapes throughout the day, that would be approximately 32 of them. Two large plums, one medium potato, one large ear of corn and about a third of a cantaloupe equal a cup. These may be measurements that are easier for you to use.

It’s all about increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you’re eating.

While it’s tough to eat too many vegetables and fruit, it’s easier not to eat enough. If you have an apple as a snack and aren’t sure whether it’s a large apple or small (one serving or two) count it as a small one. Do the same for peaches and pears. A vegetable measurement equivalent chart can show you how much to buy when purchasing by the pound. For instance a pound of asparagus is three cups, a pound of beets makes 2 ½ cups. These charts are easy to find and will help you both when you create menus and shop, while also aiding you in your eating plan.

  • If you’re eating dried fruit, a half cup counts as a cup of fresh fruit.
  • Leafy greens are harder to measure, since you don’t want to spoil them by packing them too hard. For leafy greens, use two cups as a one cup measure.
  • Knowing cup equivalents via pounds when fresh or ounces when canned or frozen can help you save money and eliminate waste.
  • While the USDA suggests people eat from five to nine (approximately ½ cup each) of fruits and vegetables a day, many health care and nutrition experts suggest that ten a day may keep you healthier.

Contact us today at Craig Long Fit


Strength Training 101

Strength Training 101

It might be intimidating to start strength training. Some women worry that it will give them bulging muscles. Learning the right way to do strength exercises is important, not only for maximum benefits, but also for safety. That why I create the easiest to follow techniques for clients both here in Florida and those online. Strength training plays an important role in fitness goals, no matter what they are. I also like to assure women that they won’t get bulging muscles, just toned ones. Due to hormone differences in women, it would take a special program and lots of extra work to see the muscle growth of women in body building.

What’s the difference between all types of exercises.

You need four types of fitness to be truly healthy, endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Each part plays an important role. Without flexibility, you’re more susceptible to muscle injuries and pulls. Endurance is a cardio workout to keep you heart healthy and balance helps prevent injuries from falls. Strength training not only helps prevent injuries, it also helps build stronger bones. Some exercises, particularly if done as a part of interval training.

The key to strength training is form.

One of the most important part of strength training is making sure you have good form. Whether you’re lifting weights, kettlebells or using resistance bands, the proper form will help prevent injury and maximize the benefits. Focusing on compound exercises that work the whole body, not only bring more benefits and cuts workout time, they also burn more calories and continue to burn them after the workout ends. After a strength training workout ends, the body continues to burn extra calories for up to 48 hours.

Luckily, you don’t have to be in a gym to do strength training.

Some simple bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups or pull-ups are strength training workouts. If you prefer to use equipment when strength training, resistance bands pack easily into most suitcases and provide a good workout. For those working out at home who don’t have equipment, don’t worry. You can make weights. Think plastic detergent or milk bottles and add water or sand. As you get stronger, simply add more water or sand. It’s all about technique, not whether you have the most expensive equipment.

  • Some people get too excited when they see the results or want to get results quicker, so they do strength training every day. That actually can slow your progress and even waste muscle tissue. You need at least 48 hours for the muscles to rest and heal.
  • As you age, your body loses muscle mass more quickly. That’s why I encourage seniors, particularly women, to do strength training. It’s found to be as effective as medication for slowing and even reversing bone loss.
  • Even if you’re eager to get results, start slowly and build the amount of repetitions, weight and intensity. I cannot emphasize enough how important proper form is. If you start with weights that are too heavy, you’ll not achieve it.
  • You can achieve more with a varied program. I offer a complete program of workouts you can do at home and will guide you through each step to avoid the pitfalls most beginners make.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit


Does Your Iron Affect Your Workout?

Does Your Iron Affect Your Workout?

Most people know that lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anemia, but they don’t realize that even a small deficiency, which doesn’t qualify as anemia, can affect their workout. Iron is necessary to transport oxygen, via the blood, to all tissues in the body. Iron is in hemoglobin and is what makes blood look red. There’s a lot of things that affect how much iron you have in your body. For instance, age can cause you to absorb less. Digestive problems, particularly issues like Crohn’s disease, blood loss, improper eating habits and heavy menstruation cycles can also lead to iron deficiency.

Iron is stored in other parts of the body, besides being in the blood.

The body stores iron in the spleen, liver, bone marrow and in the blood. The blood has about 2/3rds of the body’s iron. While you probably can’t tell whether you’re low on iron by simply looking at your blood, your body will tell you other ways. You won’t have the endurance you need and often find you’re out of breath. You look pale and are often tired. Low iron causes unexplained headache, heart palpitations, brittle nails, dry skin and hair, restless legs, cold extremities, a sore mouth and more frequent infections.

Athletic endeavors can rob you of iron.

You lose iron through sweat, the gastrointestinal tract, urine, skin and menstruation. While all exercise boosts the loss of iron, high intensity or endurance exercises increase the risk. In fact, athletes or people involved in exercise can lose up to 70% more iron than couch potatoes. Sweating, particularly after a rough workout, can lower your iron levels. If you have a higher heart rate, even though you’re fit, it might mean that you’re short on iron. Not only does sweating cause iron loss, red blood cells break down more quickly in athletes. Consider how your foot constantly hitting the ground if you’re a runner could affect your iron supply.

Depleted iron stores doesn’t necessarily mean you’re anemic.

You can face the problem of less energy and a poorer performance without actually being anemic.

If you’re low on iron, you’ll notice your endurance isn’t as good as it should be. That’s because it’s necessary to carry the oxygen from the lungs. Iron that’s more easily absorbed comes from eating foods such as shrimp, fish, chicken and beef. While vegetarian sources, such as tofu and pumpkin seed are good sources, the iron isn’t as readily absorbed.

  • If you find yourself crunching ice cubes, you probably have an iron deficiency. One study hypothesized that ice might provide a mental boost.
  • To boost your iron, eat food high in iron. Lean red meat, chicken seafood, dark leafy vegetables, beans and dried fruit are a few. Make sure you also have adequate vitamins B12, C and folate to boost the iron absorption.
  • Don’t expect to see changes overnight. It takes as much as two months to replenish low iron stores.
  • Iron from plant sources are harder to absorb, so vegetarians who are athletes have to be particularly aware of the potential and signs of iron deficiency.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit


Intermittent Fasting - Does It Work

Intermittent Fasting – Does It Work

What is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting can be several things. It can be skipping food for a day or two or rearranging your eating schedule to prolonged going without food. It’s not a new concept. Fasting has been part of religious ceremonies for centuries and was used therapeutically since the fifth century in Greece. Intermittent fasting has been popularized recently as a method of weight loss and for health, but when you consider how early man ate, probably started in caveman times. When food was available, they ate. When it wasn’t, they went without.

What’s the difference between fasting and intermittent fasting?

Fasts often last far longer than intermittent fasts. Fasts may last a weekend or longer and consist of merely water. When studies were done on mice using intermittent fasting, the mice went a day without food and resumed their normal eating habits. In the late 1930s and early 1940s studies were done with mice using calorie-restriction and intermittent fasting that led to the discovery that it can lead to longevity and maintaining youthfulness. Intermittent fasting can be anything from skipping food one day a week, having a far lower caloric intake two days a week and eating regularly the rest or simply limiting the hours when you eat, such as between 8am-4pm or 9am-5pm.

You have to find the best type of intermittent fasting for your situation.

Everyone has a different schedule, eating habits and preferences, so whether you choose to eat normally for five days a week and fast for two or eat a severely restricted calorie amount those two days, or simply limit the time you eat each day to eight hours, fasting for sixteen, it has to work for you. By restricting the amount of time you eat, whether by the day or hour, you also limit your caloric intake, which causes weight loss. It also comes with many benefits.

Besides weight loss, intermittent fasting can keep you younger looking.

When you fast, it helps boost the body’s self-cleaning technique where it breaks down damaged cells and recycles them called autophagy. It occurs when insulin levels are low, such as during the fasting state. As you age, this process slows but increases with intermittent fasting, to help the body return to more youthful cell regeneration. Intermittent fasting can help protect the body from diseases such as cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease. It improves your metabolism, too.

  • Whether you choose intermittent fasting of any type, regular fasting or simply a low carb or low calorie diet, eating healthy when you do eat is important.
  • Planning your meals can help you fast. Make food ahead and use an eight hour on and sixteen hour off food approach. Try it for a few weeks to see whether you lose more weight and how you feel.
  • If you want to lose abdominal fat, try intermittent fasting. One study showed that it can increase fat loss by as much as seven percent and weight loss by as much as eight percent when followed for as little as three weeks to as long as twenty-four weeks.
  • You’ll improve your insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and increase the brain hormone BDNF that helps prevent depression and other mental conditions with intermittent fasting.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit


You'll Get More Than Just Muscles From Strength Training

You’ll Get More Than Just Muscles From Strength Training

Whether you’re a man or women, live in Florida or somewhere else, strength training is important. While you might consider it just for body builders or weight lifters, it provides more benefits than just building biceps or bulging muscles elsewhere. In fact, most women, unless they’re training excessively hard to build them, won’t get big muscles, but tone muscles instead. It all has to do with body chemistry. Even men must workout specifically to get that look, but they build muscle tissue faster.

Strength training helps you burn fat, while you do it and afterward, too.

When you’re doing strength training, you’ll be burning calories galore. Even hours after you do strength training, you’ll still get afterburn, boosting your metabolism. It keeps your resting metabolic rate higher long after you quit. It also helps build muscle tissue, which requires more calories than fat tissue does. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn. Strength training is extremely important when you want to lose weight.

Slow down the aging process, while you prevent serious conditions with weight training.

Male or female, after we reach mid thirties, our bodies start to lose muscle mass. That loss of muscle is called sarcopenia. While muscle decline occurs naturally, it doesn’t have to be part of aging. You can slow it and even reverse it with strength training. Muscles tugging on the bones help prevent osteoporosis. It causes a chemical reaction that sends calcium to build bone density. Strength training helps prevent osteoporosis. Even people with thinning bones show improved bone density.

Functional fitness is important, especially as you age.

Building muscle tissue and strength not only helps keep fat off, but also aids your posture, balance and coordination. It can reduce the risk of falling, especially in seniors, by as much as forty percent. Muscle tissue helps protect internal organs and prevents other injuries to the body. However, even though strength training is part of functional fitness, you also need endurance and flexibility training, too.

  • The more muscle tissue you have, the thinner you’ll look, since muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, so it takes up less space. Sometimes, people get discouraged when they fail to lose weight, but don’t consider that they lost inches.
  • Research shows that strength training helps improve cognitive functioning. That’s true for everyone, but especially for seniors.
  • You’ll improve your posture with strength training. Improved posture not only boosts your confidence, it helps digestion, breathing and prevents excess wear and tear on joints.
  • Strength training gives a boost to your energy level. It can help you keep going strong to the end of the day. You’ll complete tasks quicker and have energy to spare.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit


Exercising Is More Fun With A Workout Partner

Exercising Is More Fun With A Workout Partner

If you’ve ever started a fitness program, only to have it end due to neglect, you’ll know the benefit of exercising with a workout partner. Just like a personal trainer waiting for you at the gym, a workout partner holds you accountable. In fact, that’s one reason personal trainers get such good results. Knowing you’ll be meeting with someone for an exercise session is an incentive to workout even when you’d rather sit and watch TV.

You’ll not only show up for exercise, you’ll probably workout harder with an exercise partner.

If you find yourself simply going through the motions when you workout, think about how you might do your exercises if you thought someone was watching you. That’s right! It’s just human nature to push a little harder and do a little more when you think someone is watching. A workout partner can provide you with that audience, just like do for them. You’ll push each other to improve more and workout longer.

Workout partners can be a safety aid.

Seriously, no matter what your age, accidents happen. Having someone there to help if they do can be a huge benefit. If you’re jogging, doing calisthenics or lifting weights, having a partner to help you could make the difference between injury or safety. A lot can happen and a workout friend can get help quickly if there’s an injury, deter a mugging or just be a great spotter for weight lifters. It’s especially important for older people who are just starting a workout program, especially if there have been previous health issues.

An exercise buddy brings their experience to the workout.

Maybe you’ve started a workout program, that doesn’t mean you can’t add to it or mix it up occasionally. A workout buddy brings their own experience and workouts to the mix. I have many clients that say they were afraid to try a new workout, until they had a workout buddy. Not only does it make it easier when two people are learning something new, it also makes it more fun to try new things.

  • A workout partner will push you harder, but make it fun in the process with friendly competition. Even if you don’t compete, nobody wants to quit too soon when someone else is watching.
  • A workout buddy can also be a fitness partner and help you stick with healthy eating habits. Sharing recipes and even cutting the work in half by doubling the recipes and sharing can be part of the relationship.
  • No matter how supportive family and friends are, nobody can really understand those highs and lows of working out unless they participate. Workout partners provide great support and revel in your successes as much as you do.
  • Workout partners can and should be people you enjoy. That means you’ll actually look forward to every minute of exercise. While it’s tough and makes you sweat, that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh and have fun, too.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit


You Don't Need Equipment To Workout At Home

You Don’t Need Equipment To Workout At Home

When you watch TV or look on the internet, there’s always some “magical” machine that will give you the workout of your life and make losing weight and building muscle easy. Here’s the good news. People have been getting fit long before there were machines invented to help them. In fact, the key to getting fit comes with doing the most scientific combination of exercises. You don’t need equipment to workout at home, you just need the right program.

Bodyweight exercises are the best “no equipment” alternative.

Whether you’re doing strength training, flexibility training or endurance workouts, bodyweight training is especially good. Not only have these exercises provided great outcomes for years, but when combined together in a circuit training style, gives some of the best results available that no machine can match. Creating a circuit training workout can help improve cardio, while boosting strength and flexibility. You can adjust for fitness levels by taking shorter or longer rests between exercises or increasing the number of repetitions. Squats, pushups, lunges and planks all fall under the category of bodyweight exercises.

If you want equipment, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Resistance bands can be a boon to a workout. Not only are they effective for all muscle groups, they’re easy to carry when you go on vacation, cost very little and take up minimal space for storage. You’ll work your muscles and keep them under tension constantly throughout the workout. A balance or exercise ball is another piece of equipment that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can create weights with sand or water and plastic milk jugs or laundry soap containers. Even a jump rope or hula hoop can be a super inexpensive and easy to store piece of equipment.

In the distant past, strong men got strong through work.

How did the old time strongmen train? They really didn’t use special workouts, but instead lived their workout. The ancient Greeks lifted stones, threw them and practiced rope climbing. Ancient Chinese also threw heavy items, did tug of war and other simple activities, besides martial arts, to get into shape. In fact, lifting a ding, a large weighted three legged cauldron was part of the martial arts training. You don’t have to look any further to find ways to boost your strength. Lifting heavy items, even grocery bags or a wooden garage door can help build strength. Doing chores and putting in maximum efforts, like rearranging furniture or washing windows can help too. You’ll be getting two things accomplished at once, getting fit and getting your chores done.

  • If your job is more mental than physical, that doesn’t mean you can’t build strength on the job. Chair exercises like chair pushups and moving for five minutes every hour helps you stay in shape.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator or park further from the store or work and walk to improve your endurance. Once you start getting fit, you’ll find ways to boost your workout routine and improve your overall fitness
  • Consistency is the key to any program. Keeping a schedule and sticking with it is important. So is creating goals and tracking and recording your progress.
  • No matter how much you workout, eating healthy should also be a top priority. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet when it comes to weight loss.

For more information, contact us today at Craig Long Fit