Best Spinach Salad Ever

The first thing that you’ll notice about this salad is that it tastes amazing. It also doesn’t hurt that spinach is an extremely nutrient-dense food. The recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, which is a flavorful and refreshing alternative to traditional, oily dressing. The fruit and nuts add flavor, fiber and healthy fat.
Servings: 8

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 cups cleaned spinach leaves
  • 3 oranges, peeled, sliced and quartered
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled sliced and quartered
  • 1/8 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced or whole raspberries
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar
  1. Combined the spinach, oranges, cucumbers, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and strawberries in a bowl.
  2. Add the vinegar and toss well.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 99 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbohydrate, 2.6g fiber, and 3.5g protein.

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Easy Baked Halibut


Think that cooking healthy is difficult or time consuming? This recipe will make you think again. Simply combine the flavorful marinade ingredients, brush over the fillets and bake. That’s it! Add a side of veggies and a dark green salad for a delicious fitness approved meal. Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 halibut fillets
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
  • Juice from one lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking pan with olive oil.
  2. Rinse the fillets and pat dry. Place in the prepared pan.
  3. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Brush over the fillets.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to broil for an additional 3 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis: One Serving equals: 201 calories, 7g fat, 250mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 30g protein

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Grain-Free Zucchini Muffins


Most muffin recipes use white flour, sugar, canola oil and dairy—but not these healthy muffins. Each of these Grain-Free Zucchini Muffins is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It’s the perfect way to turn fresh, organic zucchini into a delicious treat. Serving: 12

Here’s what you need…

  • 11/2 cups almond flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with coconut oil, or one large loaf pan.
  2. Combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, banana and oil in another bowl. Mix well and add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined
  4. Fold in the zucchini, raisins and pecans. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each tin 1/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and set (for a loaf bake for 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis: One muffin equals: 182 calories, 12g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 166mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 6g protein

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Breakfast Bird Nests

Jamie Page, CPT
Fitness Program Manager

Blackberry Chicken

This recipe makes a wonderfully healthy family meal. Use organic berries and chicken to get the most from your meal nutritionally and flavor-wise. Serve your chicken on a bed of steamed veggies or on a dark leafy green salad. Servings: 4

4 MUST-HAVES in every meal

Food, Restaurant, Menu, Asia, Dinner, Table, Café, Deli

Jamie Page, CPT
Fitness Program Manager

You have heard the phrase ” you can’t out run a bad diet.” If you use these 4 strategies with every meal, I guarantee you’ll have an amazing physical transformation this year…

1) Pay attention to the cooking method
The way a meal is cooked determines how many calories, how much added fat, and the number of nutrients that survive. This simple factor will make or break your weight loss goal.

Avoid foods prepared like this:

  • Fried and battered
  • Processed and packaged
  • Doused with cream sauce
  • Sauteed

Choose foods that are prepared like this:

  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Steamed

2) Your meal should be mostly protein
The bulk of your calories should be coming from a quality source of protein. With the first guideline in mind, these will be high quality, healthfully prepared.

Good choices of protein include:

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Egg
  • Lean red meat
  • Beans

3) Include lots of fiber
Fiber is a huge part of eating healthy and being lean. Fibrous foods will fill you up while delivering vitamins and nutrient in low-calorie packages. Fill at least two thirds of your plate with fibrous vegetables.

Try these forms of fiber:

  • Salad
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes

4) Lay off the starches
Here’s where many well-meaning dieters lose it. The facts are simple, in order to maintain the low-carb, high protein diet required for healthy weight loss, there is no room for starchy foods.

Starches to Avoid:

  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice and cereal
  • Bread and crackers

For faster results, pair your clean eating with a challenging exercise routine.

If you’re serious about transforming your life then call or email today to set up a consultation with me. Together we will create the perfect program that will quickly get you feeling great.

Let’s get started today…

Jamie Page, CPT
Fitness Program Manager
Jamie@phhcsf.com

Strong and Flexible Posture: Glutes and Keeping Things North

San Francisco, Panorama, Urban, Aerial, Architecture

by: Jamie Page
CPT, Fitness Program Manager

Living in San Francisco, you probably encounter more than your fair share of hills, but you may not be aware of how much climbing hills can affect your lower back if you aren’t sufficiently engaging your glutes.

The Gluteus muscles – Gluteus Maximus, Minimus and Medius – are responsible for supporting your lower back and controlling the tilt of your pelvis from side to side.  When it comes to climbing hills, there are two things to keep in mind.  First, many of us are tempted to lean forward when we start to feel tired.  Unfortunately, this change in posture can hurt the lumbar spine.  Also, when we get tired, we often start to let our body weight sink into each step.  This causes the pelvis to tilt and puts stress on the hips and lower back.  Over time, this can result in lower back pain.

Posture, Posture, Posture

To prevent this, be mindful of your posture when climbing.  Make sure you stay fully upright, engaging your TA (transversus abdominus – see our April newsletter).  This not only protects your lower back, but also strengthens all three Gluteus muscles.  Also, avoid the temptation to let your pelvis tilt.  Instead, focus on maintaining a level pelvis.  This, too, can similarly protect your back while strengthening the Gluteus Medius.  

Climbing hills is a lot of work.  Maintaining a good posture will allow you to enjoy all the fruits of your labor.

Glute Exercises

Of course, not all of us like or need to climb hills, but we can all benefit from strong glutes.  Here are some additional exercises.

To target all your Glutes, try bridges.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Raise your pelvis up until your body is in a straight line.
  3. These are low-resistance endurance exercises, so do 3 larger sets of 15-20 reps for all of them… and don’t forget to stretch.

There are many variations of bridge. Try bridge extensions on an exercise ball.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Raise your pelvis up until your body is in a straight line.
  3. Slowly extend your legs away from your body.
  4. Note: Engage your core to keep your hips from dropping.

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Glute Flexibility:

As we talked about in our previous articles, strength is just as important as flexibility.
Try this cross legged stretch and foam roller to release the glutes you just worked!

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For more glute strengthening exercises and stretching tips, please talk to any one of our personal trainers, physical therapists, or Pilates instructors.

Here’s to keeping our body parts from heading south! Stay tuned as we continue our series… You won’t want to miss it! 

Mind Tricks, Use Them to Your Advantage

 4 Self-Motivating Mind Tricks
Woman, Girl, Balloon, Thought Bubble, Think, Thoughts

Strong and Flexibile Posture: Abdominals

IMG_0735Beyond The Six-Pack

by: Jamie Page CPT, Fitness Program Manager

Imagine a surprise encounter with an elephant.  

In preparation to fight or flee, you would probably engage every muscle in your body.  Any injury sustained would most likely be the result of the elephant’s actions.  Now ask a physical therapist or personal trainer and they’ll tell you that it’s simple tasks like tying your shoe or reaching for coffee that have led to the many injuries they see.  Why?  Because of the often neglected abdominal muscle, the transversus abdominis.

The deepest of 6 abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominis or TA wraps around the center of your torso from back to front.  As a breathing muscle, it assists in exhalation by bringing the bottom of the ribcage closer to the spine.  We involuntarily engage this muscle when we cough or laugh.  The rectus abdominis, which is chiefly responsible for the “six pack” look is functional in nature.  By functional, we mean movements associated with activities performed in daily life.

On the other hand, the TA is a protector.  It is one of two muscle groups that work together – the other being the multifidi – that serve as your internal back brace and work to stabilize and protect your spine.  During any movement of the arms and legs, the TA should be the first muscle to contract, stabilizing the spine and pelvis, and this stable foundation is a prerequisite for force generation in our bodies.  In other words, when the TA is properly engaged, we experience efficient and injury-free movement.

Unfortunately, the TA turns off reflexively with trauma. It’s the body’s way of preventing you from moving, protecting itself from further injury.  So for those of you who have experienced low back pain or for women who have gone through childbirth, retraining this muscle to activate, known as neuromuscular facilitation, is key to restoring healthy functional movement.

In functional training, pilates and physical therapy, we start by learning how to breathe while the TA is engaged.  Over time, we learn how to do this with increasingly complex functional movements.

Need another reason to care?  How about this…  it’s essential in developing the flat stomach.

Abdominal Exercise: Plank

  1. Place hands on floor directly below shoulders
  2. Note: Use forearms if your wrists are uncomfortable
  3. Reach the crown of your head straight out to keep your neck from receiving tension
  4. Keep your back flat and legs engaged
  5. Hold for 30 seconds 3 times, or try to hold the pose as long as you can in one extended set of time

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Want some more? Try Grasshopper:

  1. Tuck your elbows into your side
  2. Lower your body down until the back of your arms are parallel to the floor
    1. Reach the crown of your head straight out to keep your neck from receiving tension
  3. Keep back flat and legs engaged

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You can time yourself to see how long you can hold the pose- over time you will build strength and endurance. Happy planking!

Power Snack

Pear Power Snack
Pear Power Snack
Here’s a simple recipe that makes a fast, healthy snack. The fresh pear, non-fat ricotta cheese and natural honey blend with great flavor and texture. It is also tasty with cracked black pepper instead of honey!

Remember to snack healthy! Avoid the vending machine and the fast food drive thru line! All of that hard work that you put into your workouts can quickly and easily be lost on unhealthy eating – which is why it’s so important to enjoy light, protein-filled meals like this one.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 fresh pear, sliced
  • ¼ cup nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon natural honey
  1. Arrange the pear slices on a plate and spoon the ricotta cheese over the pears.
  2. Garnish with honey.
  3. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 197 calories, 0g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 6g protein.

I hope that you get a chance to give this recipe a try this week. Remember that I’m only a call or email away to assist you in all things fitness. And if you have not worked with me yet, then call or email me today to set up your first workout – I’d love to help you achieve your best body ever!

Talk Soon,

Jamie Page, CPT
Fitness Program Manager
Jamie@phhcsf.com