Chocolate Beet Protein Smoothie

I was looking for a new way to incorporate raw beets into my diet since I am getting a bit tired of beet juice.  That’s when I got the idea to blend up small bits of beets in my Vitamix along with my Sunwarrior Illumin8 raw, vegan protein powder. Since beets have a very mild taste, the smoothie still tasted great!

The health benefits of beets make them essential to our nutrition intake. Beets contain powerful antioxidants that help cleanse the liver and aid the body on removing toxins. Beets also reduce inflammation in the body which can cause wrinkles, arthritis, bronchitis, pain, infections and more. Beets help our hair and skin look its best while boosting energy naturally. If you want to perform better cardio wise, drink a small amount of beet juice before you work out. The nitrates in beets expand the walls of our blood vessels giving us more oxygen to perform at higher intensities.

Below is the recipe.  If you don’t eat beets often, beware they do change your urine and bowel movements to a pinkish color.

Chocolate Beet Protein Smoothie Recipe

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Chocolate Beet Vegan Protein Smoothie

Packed with organic vegan protein and the super antioxidant powers of beets.  

Servings 2
Author Stacey Albert, Holistic Nutritionist

Ingredients

  • 1 Frozen Banana (sliced)
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior Illumin8 Protein Powder (I used the Vanilla Bean Flavor)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (if not using a chocolate protein)
  • 1/2 of a large beet, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • 1/4 cup purified water

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or other high power blender and blend until smooth. 

 

Getting Strong With the Turkish Get-up

Is it me or does it seem like the Turkish Get-up exercise is creeping its way into our workouts more often?  While it seems like pure torture, there actually are several reasons why this challenging exercise is included in several of our cross training workouts at Ultimate Fit Zone.

The hallmark of any strength building program is a strong core.  Core strength improves our overall body stability, the root of power for olympic lifting and cross training. From head to toe, the Turkish Get-up is a top player when it comes to improving our balance, coordination and strength.

If you want to increase your shoulder stability, mobility and strength, practice the Turkish Get-up.  If you want to develop your core strength and increase your unilateral leg drive- practice the turkish get up.

Because the Get-up focuses on one side of the body at a time, our minds are forced to focus on unilateral awareness and control, something we miss out on from regular bilateral exercises.

This movement is so multifaceted, with a number of different movements required to complete the exercise.  From laying in a supine position to standing up straight, starting and finishing this movement involves many steps.  That is where the strength, stability and mobility come into play.

What makes this exercise even harder at our cross training gym, is that we are often performing the TGU in the middle of different high intensity exercises that tax our cardiovascular system.  When it’s time to perform the TGU, our heart rate is already elevated and we have to control our heart rate in order to precisely perform this movement with balance and strength.

Ultimate Fit Zone is a HIIT and cross training gym in Monmouth County.  We welcome people of all ages, all fitness levels to our open and welcoming gym. We will teach you and guide you through the steps it takes to learn the exercises we perform as well as assist you in building up the physical and cardiovascular strength needed to participate in HIIT workouts.

Fill out the form below to learn more about us:

Contact Us!

 

White bean, sundried tomato and herb veggie burger

If you’re tired of bland veggie burgers, give this vegan, gluten free white bean burger a taste.  The sundried tomatoes add a touch of sweetness while the parsley and especially thyme add a fresh, herbed flavor.  I had mine on an Ezekiel English Muffin with roasted red pepper vegan mayo spread (I included the recipe for that as well), but you could opt for a low carb option and serve this over a huge green salad with lots of veggies. The Ezekial English Muffin adds an extra 8 grams of protein.

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White Bean, Sundried Tomato and Herb Veggie Burger

Vegan, gluten free white bean burger with sundried tomatoes and herbs. 

Cuisine gluten free, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 95 kcal
Author Stacey Albert, Holistic Nutritionist

Ingredients

  • ½ Vidalia onion , chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 1 can small white beans
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons oats (gluten free if needed)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkle of fresh black pepper
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)

Instructions

  1. Place chopped onion, garlic and sundried tomatoes in food processor. Pulse 5-6 times. Scrape down sides and make sure no large pieces of onion remain. Pulse another 1-2 times if needed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT the breadcrumbs. Pulse together until a sticky mix is formed. Be careful not to over-process but it all should be well combined.

  3. Remove mix from food processor and transfer to a bowl. Fold in breadcrumbs gently.
  4. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out mix and form patties. Cook on medium heat about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Serving suggestion: Top with roasted red pepper mayo spread: In a blender, combine ¼ cup roasted red peppers with ¼ cup vegan mayo of choice. Blend until incorporated.

  6. Approximate calories (excluding bun and mayo)
  7. Per Serving: Cals: 93/ Carbs:18/ Fat: 1/ Protein: 5/ Sodium: 243/ S

Is HIIT and Cross Training the Fountain of Youth?

We slather on anti-wrinkle creams and eat our veggies, all in an effort to age healthily and slowly.  Now there is even more we can do to tap into Mother Nature’s natural fountain of youth; exercise.  Exercise science professor Larry Tucker conducted a study at Brigham Young University that revealed major differences in biological aging in people who do intense exercise (think high intensity training) versus sedentary individuals or those that don’t exercise at all.

The study examines the effects of demanding exercise on telomeres, best described as the protein endcaps on chromosomes within the human body.  They are a symbol of our internal biological clock and are strongly tied to age.  As we age, our telomeres shrink.  According to the study, adults who consistently engage in demanding exercises have telomeres with a biological aging boost of nine years.   The people with the shortest telomeres (associated with aging) were those who lived sedentary lifestyles.  To reap the anti-aging benefits, you must be willing to sweat.  ONLY demanding physical exercise (like the type we do at our cross training and HIIT gym in Monmouth County) was associated with elongated telomeres.  Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in telomere length between those with low or moderate physical activity and the sedentary people.

So, no matter what how old you are or your physical fitness level, starting an exercise program could help you live a longer, healthier life.  At Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, we incorporate high intensity interval training, cross training, TRX training, and more into group oriented training sessions.  We can modify the program for anyone who wants to participate.  Plus, our on-site nutritionist will help make sure you are getting the proper nutrition you need to fuel your workouts and live a healthy life.

Ready to start reversing the hands of time?  Give us a call or fill out the contact form below to get started.

Contact Us!

A HIIT Program With Olympic Lifts and Power Lifts

The spotlight is once again shining on the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT).  A new study from the Mayo Clinic recently found powerful anti-aging benefits of this type of interval training.  Other benefits of HIIT include increased endurance, mega calorie burning, boost metabolism, burns calories long after you leave the gym, great for the heart and blasts fat. If HIIT is one of the healthiest ways to exercise, then one can only assume that adding in two of the most popular types of weightlifting; Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, can only create a powerful exercise regimen.

At Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, our cross training program combines, HIIT, Olympic lifts and powerlifting to create an exercise program that fights the aging process, dramatically boosts your cardio performance and  helps to create strong, powerful bodies.

Olympic weightlifting may seem like a sport only ridiculously strong men or women can do.  Not true.  Although what we see on TV may portray this idea, ANYONE can participate in a program that includes Olympic lifts. At our HIIT gym in Monmouth County, we’ll teach you the lifts as well as how to perform them safely within the workouts.   The two olympic lifts are the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.  The benefits of performing these lifts include:

  • Increasing lean body mass and reducing body fat (weightlifting will NOT make you bulky.  Just the opposite.  You’ll see the shape of your body change as you melt fat and sculpt lean muscle tissue)
  • You’ll strengthen and sculpt your back, arms, shoulders and entire core area
  • Better bone health: Weightlifting increases bone mineral density
  • Great brain workout!  Even though it’s your body that’s performing the movement, learning and perfecting the exercises boosts brain activity, concentration, coordination and balance

Powerlifting movements consists of the squat, deadlift and bench.  We incorporate the squat and deadlift into many of our workouts.  Benefits include:

  • Strengthen the muscles of your legs, back and upper body
  • The squat works the muscles of your legs and hips better than many other training alternatives, according to a 2001 study published in “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.”
  • Powerlifting burns LOTS of calories
  • You do not have to lift heavy to get the benefits, we help you choose a weight that’s comfortable and safe for you
  • Increases strength and bone mass, reducing risk of osteoporosis

If you’re looking for an amazing overall strength and cardio workout that combines HIIT, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting in the Monmouth County area, contact us by filling out the form below and come try a free class.  (*Must have valid, local license for free class trial).

Contact Us!

Kettlebell Workouts That Target Your Whole Body

We use kettlebells often in our cross training boot camp in Monmouth County.  Kettlebell exercises provide superior functional, whole body fitness that can be done by anyone, from a fitness novice to a lifetime fitness junkie. Kettlebell workouts combine strength and cardio training, closely mirroring many real life situations you may find yourself face with.  You may be shaking your head wondering, ‘what real life situations do I face that combine strength and cardio??”

Think about it…carrying your laptop bag and briefcase while you are running to catch the train or bus. How about dragging multiple bags of groceries up several flights of steps?  Cycling on the recumbent bike or walking on the treadmill won’t get you in the shape you need to accomplish these every day tasks.

At our monmouth county boot camp, we teach you and help you execute various kettlebell exercises within our cross training workouts.  Some of these include the kettlebell swing, squat, push press, clean and more.

What Can Kettlebell Workouts Do For You?

From strength and cardio to blasting fat and developing lean muscle tissue, here are some benefits of kettlebell workouts:

  • Fast and effective cardio workout
  • Never boring- this is not your standard run on the treadmill type of cardio
  • Functional strength (to do real life tasks)
  • Varied- there are many kettlebell exercises to learn and we incorporate them into our unique cross training workouts that change every day
  • Knock out your cardio and strength in one efficient workout

Ready to try a cross training workout and learn some new kettlebell exercises at our Monmouth County gym?  Fill out the form below and we will contact you asap.  Make sure you fill it out carefully with NO typos!

 

Get Your Cardio and Strength Training in One Boot Camp Workout

The days of going to the gym on separate days for cardio and strength are over.  Our cross training boot camp in Monmouth County efficiently blends your daily dose of intense cardio with a strength training routine to leave you more time to do what you love outside of the gym.

Boot camp workouts are intense, but worth it.  Our beginner program will ease you into this new fitness regimin. Lots of cardio, barbell lifts, kettle bell exercises, body weight exercises such as squats, pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc) running, rowing, jumping rope…we cover it all.  Whatever you don’t know, we will teach you.

Every boot camp workout at Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County is new and different.  We write all of our own programming, integrating exercises and training methods from numerous styles of fitness including many exercises you may see in CrossFit, TRX, high intensity styles such as P90X and more.

What’s even better is that we have our own nutritionist on staff to help you understand how to get the proper nutrition you need to lose weight, create lean muscle tissue, improve your performance in the gym, have better energy, improve your mood, cleanse your system and more.

 

Portobello Mushroom ‘Cheesesteak’ Sandwich (Vegan)

They are probably one of the worst, processed crappy foods you can eat, but when I ate meat, I did enjoy a cheesesteak every now and then.  It’s the combination of all of the flavors and the melty cheese that I loved so much..oh and the warm toasted bread.  This re-created vegan portobello cheesesteak version hit the spot on a cold snowy day.  My husband, who does eat vegan-mushroom-cheesesetakmeat, gave it the thumbs up!

I adapted this recipe from FoRealsLife.com

Ingredients (this made two large sandwiches for my husband and I)

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1  red bell pepper
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 of a vidalia onion or 3 shallots (that’s the kind of onion I personally prefer but I had to use shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Daiya shreds in pepperjack or mozzarella (I used pepperjack for a little kick)

Directions:

Slice mushrooms very thin. Heat them in a nonstick pan and stir them around for a few minutes, dry.  After they brown a little and soften, add in the soy sauce and liquid smoke.  Stir around for another minute or so then set mushrooms aside in a bowl.  Preserve some of the liquid in the pan to add flavor to the rest of the ingredients.

Add the sliced onion and peppers to the pan. Stir in oregano and salt.  Cook until soft.  If they start to stick to the pan, add a tiny bit of water and stir.  Once soft, transfer to a bowl.  Reserve the liquid for the spinach.

Finally add the spinach to the pan and cook on low-med heat until spinach wilts down.

Slice bread open but not apart.  Add a little vegan mayo to the top if you want and assemble onions, peppers, spinach and mushrooms on the bottom portion of the bread.  Sprinkle with the Daiya shreds and place in the oven under the broiler (on low) for about 30 seconds just to melt the cheese.  Don’t leave it in there for two long or else your bread will burn.  Almost happened to me 🙂

We topped ours with ketchup.  Add any other fixings you like and enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram for more yummy vegan recipes as well as  occasional dog and cat pics! @naturalnutritionist

Biggest Weight Loss Challenge In Monmouth County

The biggest weight loss challenge in Monmouth County is about to happen again!  The 90 Day Transformation Challenge, which offers a $1,000 incentive to lose weight, only happens twice a year in NJ.  Our first challenge of 2017 begins April 1st!

Participants have 90 days to lose weight, burn fat, create lean muscle tissue, learn more exercises, master cross training workouts and change their diet and lifestyle.  With the help of Monmouth County’s best personal trainers and a holistic nutritionist on staff, the program is broken down into 3 mini 28 day challenges, with a reward given to the biggest loser at the end of each month.

After the first 30 days, $100 is given to the person that has lost the most pounds.  At the end of month 2, another $100 to the person that has lost the most inches, and at the end of the 3rd month, $1,000 to the person that has made the most inspiring transformation!

Since starting the popular weight loss challenge in 2015, Ultimate Fit Zone, their trainers and nutritionist have helped area participants to lose hundreds of pounds.  A photo gallery below includes some of the most recent success stories and the full program description, as well as more before/after photos can be seen on the official weight loss challenge page.

If you are interested in being a part of the April challenge, call or text Stacey ASAP as registration closes 1 week before the challenge begins.  Text 732-757-7944.

Before/After Photos of Real Monmouth County Residents who lost weight during the challenge:

 

Vegan Mexican Casserole Recipe

vegan-mexican-casserole-recipeThis is the easiest Mexican casserole and what I love about it is that it can be used as a main entree or as a dip for chips and veggies at a gathering.  I chose organic ingredients for this meal.  In many cases, organic canned beans are just about $.20 more than regular canned beans.  For corn, organic non-GMO is always a must. Even choosing organic, this was a very cheap dish to make.  Enjoy! We enjoyed ours with Sea Salt & Lime Tortilla chips and guacamole.

This will make about 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 x 15 oz can black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 cup salsa of choice ( I used milld)
  • 2 cups of Daiya vegan shreds + another 8 oz for topping (I used a combination of Cheddar, Pepperjack and Mozzarella)
  • 1 x 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles (I like the cilantro/lime variety. If you like SPICY – the fire roasted variety will add a good kick)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (Wegman’s sells frozen organic rice that is already cooked. I didn’t even have to defrost it–just added it right to the bowl of ingredients)
  • Optional- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika (I happen to love smoked paprika so I add it to many Mexican dishes.  It tastes amazing but is not necessary)
  • Optional- sliced olives as a toping for the casserole

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with Olive oil baking spray. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl (except the 8 oz of cheese for topping). Transfer to baking dish.  Sprinkle the 8 oz of cheese on top and sliced olives if you are using.  Bake for about 50 minutes.  Let cool a little before you slice it. It will be ‘gooey’ so you may need to use a spatula along with a large knife for serving if you want to try to keep the ‘square’ shape. Otherwise, spoon it onto plates.  Serve with tortilla chips, avocado or guacamole.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 


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