How to use a Foam Roller for Myofascial Muscle Release

If “better sore than sorry” is your mantra, massage those muscles on #NationalFoamRollingDay  and check out my FREE How-To video!

Hit your quads, calves, IT bands, glutes, hamstrings outer thighs, back and more!

To get sore in the first place (and totally sculpted) try one of my 12 fitness videos or get the NikkiFItness App! See the home screen navigation bars.

Fitness – fit it in! Nikki

OM9: One Move, One Mantra, One Must Try: Less sugar, better breakfast

12 Ways to Eat Less Sugar

March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time to talk about one of the most common barriers to nutrition that I see in my health coaching practice—sugar!

One MOVE

If there is one move you should try this month, it’s quitting your sugar addiction. Research shows sugar causes an increased risk of numerous health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and tooth decay. Studies have even linked too much sugar to anxiety and depression. I can tell you this: my clients who ditch sugar report sleeping better, thinking more clearly, having more energy and losing weight, too.

Reasons Why It’s Hard to Control a Sweet Tooth

Many of us reach for sugar when we are feeling stressed. Why? Because foods loaded with sugar can temporarily improve our mood and energize us. Sugar has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Unfortunately, when that sugar “high” passes, we crave it again.

As a society, we have too much sugar in our daily lives. Much of it is hidden in foods that are seemingly healthy. Yogurt is one example. A 2014 finding from researchers at the University of North Carolina showed a startling increase in sugar consumed by American adults. It went from 228 calories per day in 1977 to 300 calories per day in 2009-2010.

As a result, we have a bigger tolerance and crave more sugar.

For many of us, sugar is also tied to our happy times from childhood. For example, did your mom have cookies for you after school and on holidays? Did fun family movie nights always include ice cream? Did you enjoy pie on the holidays? If the taste of sugar takes you back to those days, it may be a reason you can’t stay away from it.

Sugar can also feel like it soothes emotional pain because the pleasure it delivers is the opposite of pain.

How to Kick the Too-Much Sugar Habit

  1. Find out how many grams of sugar are in the foods you like, and limit those with surprisingly high amounts. (Consider that one teaspoon of granulated sugar is the equivalent of 4 grams of sugar. So a food with 16 grams of sugar per serving equals 4 teaspoons of the granulated kind!)
  2. Beware of  dried fruit and fruit juices (9-10 teaspoons in one glass of apple juice, might as well be drinking Coca Cola!). Instead enjoy a piece of whole fruit that has nutrients and fiber to fill you up and help with elimination.
  3. The American Heart Association and World Health Organization both recommend consumption of no more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. A good place to start to reduce sugar consumption is by cutting out processed foods and juices, soda, candy, cake and cookies.
  4. I have found that eating more sweet veggies during the day can help curb a sweets craving. Go for butternut squash soup or a helping of roasted carrots.
  5. Cut out sauces, especially at restaurants where you can’t read a label. Jarred pasta sauces can be surprisingly high in sugar, too.
  6. Try to fix things that are not working in your emotional life. Relationship problems, career stress and other sources of unhappiness can lead to you trying to find happiness with cookies and ice cream.
  7. Experiment with alternative sweetners. Some that I like: stevia, rice malt syrup, coconut milk flesh and oil, cinnamon, vanilla extract, whole fruit, sweet potato, summer squash and honey.
  8. Try to cut out one sugar habit at a time, like your morning tea or coffee. If you can start with adding no sweetener of any kind to those items, others may follow. At the very least, if you have three sweet coffees a day, you will be limiting many spoonfuls of sugar just by making that one change.
  9. Drink a full glass of water, then wait 15 minutes and see if you still crave sweets.Sometimes dehydration causes cravings.
  10. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash next time you feel a sugar craving coming on.Usually that gets the job done because clean teeth and a minty taste often curtain the urge to eat.
  11. Avoid pungent foods for meals. I have found that spicy foods and garlic/onion flavors contribute to a sugar craving, sort of as an antidote to the aftertaste. So if you know you are trying to cut down, skip those flavors.
  12. One way to improve your mood in a healthy way is through exercise! Get your heart pumping with some sweet sweat! You can try my workouts on the NikkiFitness app atwww.nikkifitness.com I recommend cardio for a mood boost, substitute the endorphins for sugar!

One MANTRA

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to TRY!

One MUST TRY

Start lessening your sugar addiction with your first meal of the day: breakfast!

maypo oatmeal has less sugar

I recently discovered that Maypo (also known as Homestat Farm) has updated its classic oatmeals with some great whole grains, like organic chia and quinoa, that leave you surprisingly full. The instant varieties, that do have sweeteners—like the maple flavor— have 2/3 less sugar than regular brands. You can find it at your local store, or lots of sites online with a Google search.

With just 4 grams of sugar, 170 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 75 mg sodium, and 5 grams of protein, you can ease your way into less sugar at breakfast, then switch to the unsweetened varieties once your taste buds adjust. You can always add berries to the wholesome wakeup meal for antioxidants.

Now that’s a “sweet” way to start your sugar detox!

Om 8: One Move, One Mantra, and One Must-Try! Get Down and Dirty but Eat Clean!

One Move, One Mantra, and One Must-Try!

Move: Down and Dirty

Spring and summer travel seasons are upon us, and one question I get the most from people who have read my book, do my videos or are my health coach clients, is “What fitness routine can I do while traveling?”

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I created a 30 minute Slimnastics Fit Travel Workout (www.nikkifitness.com) that requires no equipment, but if you want just “one move” to pack with you, it’s Down and Dirty! Check out the one-minute demo here that I shot on my vacation in Mexico:

 

This move is four jumping lunges, a burpee where you lower all the way to the ground, perform two airplanes, then push up back to plank and finish the burpee by jumping back to stand and doing two push-ups.

 

It is a miracle combo I came up with that works the chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, abs, upper back, lower back, glutes, quads, calves and cardio! It’s the best 2 sets of 8 counts for you to memorize, goes perfect with music, and you can repeat it for one-minute at a time throughout your day, or do intervals of 1 minute D&D, one minute walk/jog.

 

If you are modifying, do two alternating lunges instead of 4 jumping lunges at the beginning and instead of jumping back into your plank, step back slowly and step up slowly instead of jumping up and into the air at the end of the burpee.

 

 

Mantra: Work out because your life depends on it – because it does!

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Must Try: Eat clean with Safe Catch Tuna

Tuna is a versatile, lean protein that can be added to salads, sandwiches, pasta, you name it! If you want to stay trip, tuna is a catch. The problem with regular canned tuna is that some is not sustainably fished (claims of catching dolphins and other fish, as well as overfishing with nets). The other problem with tuna is that most of it has a high mercury count, which is why pregnant women are supposed to avoid it and the average person is warned to only have about 2 servings a week.

 

Safe Catch Tuna is different, because they pole and line catch the fish and test every single one for mercury:

 

Safe Catch Elite is the only brand that:

  • Tests as pure as wild salmon
  • Meets Consumer Reports’ ‘Low Mercury’ criteria set for pregnant women and kids
  • Has 10 times stricter mercury limit than the FDA.

 

Conventional tuna is precooked, re-hydrated, machine processed, and recooked.  As a result, it loses many vital oils and flavor. Safe catch hand cuts and hand packs premium tuna steaks that are slow cooked to perfection so that all Omega 3 oils and nutrients are retained. You can buy it online at www.safecatch.com or use their store locator to find a grocery store near you that carries it. You can get a box of 6 cans for less than 25 dollars or a subscription that gives you 20% off. I believe your health is priceless and you’re better off spending money eating good quality protein than spending it on medical bills later!

 

And if that wasn’t enough, they even sent me the best tuna salad recipe (http://rootandrevel.com/tuna-salad-recipe-avocado/) I have ever tried. No mayonnaise! It uses pesto, tuna, cannellini beans and avocados. It tastes great on bread and crackers, but if you really want to eat clean, eat it in a lettuce wrap or my favorite: on apple slices!

 

If you pack moves like Down and Dirty and some tuna cans, you are sure to have a fit trip!