The Art Of The Salad

If there is one staple of a rocking fat loss diet it’s the salad. Salads are an awesome way to inject some solid nutrition into your diet without all those unwanted calories.

However, I know the daily salad routine can get pretty blah if you are eating the same salad over and over. So I decided to put this post together to help you spark a few ideas on how to spice up your daily greens.

I usually put my salads together in three parts, green leafys, proteins, and the extras. I love my spinach so I usually use spinach for my green leafy but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use just good old iceberg lettuce or romaine. For my protein I tend to lean towards tuna because it’s cheap and easy. You can also use chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, and if I’m feeling extra special I will throw in salmon. The extras is my favorite part. I love broccoli. Yes you heard me, I love broccoli, and I will jam my salad full of those wonderful mini green trees. Now if you aren’t a broccoli lover, you can still put plenty of other extras like cucumbers or tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the extras I usually pack my salad full of extras!

Here’s an idea of what you can put in your salads:

Green Leafys
Chicken breast

Black Beans
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Cheese

Joe’s Ultimate Salad

Side note: Black beans are one of those things I was sure I didn’t like until I actually tried them. They are great in salads. So just because you think you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to throw it in your salad. You might be surprised what you like.

Now this is just an idea of what you can put in your salads but certainly isn’t everything. One tip to keep your salads under control is to make them in a tupperware container that you can easily throw into your lunch cooler. The size of the container will make your salads the perfect size for lunch and keep you from going overboard on the greens.

I’ve said before with salad dressings is to avoid the cream based dressings and go for the oil based ones. They may be a bit higher in calories, but the healthy oils contain good fat that helps your body absorb the nutrients in your bowl of green goodness.

On a final note, preparing these salads can take a little time, but you can easily make a few days worth of servings at once. At our house we make up several days worth of salads in tupperware containers. This makes eating healthy on busy days much easier because we can just grab our lunch and go.

Do you have a salad that you love? Let everyone know in the comments below.

March 2014 Challenge

The plank. It’s simple. It’s functional. And it can make you cry.march_challenge
This month’s challenge is ‘The 5 Minute Plank’.

The Challenge
Everyday for the month of March try to hold a plank for a total of 5 minutes. Time starts when you when you are in a plank position, time stops when you break from the plank position. Your goal is to get a total of 5 minutes.

The goal is to hold a plank for 5 minutes without breaking position by the end of March!

Fit Fridays Challenge
Here’s your bonus challenge. Every Friday for the month of March, we want you to hold the plank for a total of 10 minutes! Same rules, just longer.

Trainer Cues:
Keep your tummy tight and engaged
Keep your head in a neutral position
Keep your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and head in line
Don’t forget to breathe

Start off the month with holding the longest plank you can. Use that as the standard for the next 30 days. Your goal is to hold a 5 minute plank by the end of the month. It’s hard to do, but it’s worth the effort!

If holding a plank is too hard, start with short intervals from your knees, come off your knees for a few seconds and return to your knees. Continue that until you build up the strength to stay off your knees for a longer periods of time.

Here are some tips on progressing up to that 5 minute mark:
Start with 30, 45, or 90s intervals, go shorter if necessary. For example, hold a plank for 30s, rest for 15s, repeat until you have 5 minutes in a plank position.

As you get better, extend your intervals to 60s, 90s, or 120s.

Use Fridays as a way to test yourself with how long you can hold a plank, see if you can improve your longest hold each week.

Tell us your progress
Check in every Friday with your progress by posting in the comments below!

Ready? Go!

Half Get-Up

Half Get-up

Add this great core exercise to your workout!

Try doing 10 reps on each side for 3 sets.

Keep those legs straight!
Keep your eyes on the weight!
Start with light weight, master the movement, then go heavier.

Let’s Get That Body Summer Ready!

Despite the cold spring weather, summer is coming and with summer comes summer clothes. Are you ready for them? Here are a few ideas how to get your body ready for the summer wear!

SpringClean Up Your Menu
Challenge yourself to eat 5 different vegetables a day. Have fruit for breakfast instead of that bagel. Switch to black coffee instead of the sugary stuff you’re having now. Eat nuts for sustaining energy in the afternoon instead of that energy drink. You’d be surprised how making just a few minor changes can make you feel great and make a big change on the scale.

Get Moving
This is the obvious one, but you need to start exercising. It doesn’t need to be the endless intense session at the gym 7 days a week. Thirty minutes a day of activity is a great start. Walking, jogging, strength training, group exercise classes, swimming, it doesn’t matter just start doing something!

Track your progress
Need some motivation? Try on those summer clothes and track how they fit week by week. Hang that swimsuit on the mirror so you get reminded everyday of your summer goals. Each week write down how the clothes fit. Are they super tight? Can you zip up the zippers? Do you feel confident in them? Keeping a log can really help motivate you to make the change!

Challenge Yourself
Summer brings a number of exercise events around the area and now is a great time to start training for them! Make a goal to run a few 5Ks this summer or maybe run that first obstacle race. Whatever it is, challenge yourself to move!

Let’s make this summer the summer you feel confident in those summer clothes! Now get moving!

How To Keep a Consistent Weight Loss Routine

You’ve been on a steady diet for three weeks. You’ve been working out for six weeks. The ‘honeymoon’ phase of the new lifestyle changes are over. Everything is great, but you’re not seeing any change. You feel better, you’re more confident, but you don’t see any changes. It’s frustrating. I’m here to tell you need to be patient and stick to your goals.

No Quick Fix.
There are dozens and dozens of fitness magazines, websites, and just general fitness information out there that it’s easy to get lost in all the information. What’s right? What works? What doesn’t? I can tell you for sure, none of that information works and sticks in just a short time. So if you are tempted to drop your new routine because you are bored are aren’t seeing results. Don’t stop yet.

Be Patient.
You need to be patient when it comes to making changes. Nothing will happen overnight. Right away you’re going to start feeling stronger, you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel more confident, but six weeks is usually a good time frame to start seeing solid physical changes.

Minimize your focus.
It’s easy to gaze at that big picture and forget about the little things. You need to keep your focus small. Yea, we want you to lose 50 pounds, but we can’t do that without establishing some healthy routines first. For example, it’s a goal in itself to start waking up early every day so you can go to the gym. Just going to bed early the night before can be a goal. These might seem like baby steps, but for a busy schedule some of these changes can be a major pain. So keep your goals small.

Create a goal checklist.
One of the easiest way to keep on target with your goals is to track them. The best way to do this is just make a goal checklist. Write down the daily tasks you want to accomplish and as you do them, check them off. This is very similar to what we do at the joefitness gym.

Commit to your goals, be patient, and stay consistent. Nothing is going to happen overnight. If you can keep on target you will see results!

Need help keeping on track with your goals?

Checkout our post on our fat loss action plan.

Find Your Fat Loss Focus For Lasting Results

There is one thing that isn’t mentioned often when changing your diet. Your focus, your attitude, the commitment to your goals. It’s often overlooked, misunderstood, and underestimated. Anyone that has cheated on their diet knows what I am talking about. That moment when your will power withers and you give into a not so diet friendly treat. Or that moment you decide to go home when you know you should be at the gym. It happens. Here are some tips to keep you focused and keep you from bombing your fat loss plan.

Write down exactly what you want to accomplish. Do this often. There is special connection to writing down your goals and keeping them. Your thoughts are easy to ignore, but there is something unbreakable about putting the ink to the paper. It’s like a personal contract with yourself. Write your goals down. Be specific and review them often.

Take a moment and focus on your goals. No you don’t need to light a bunch of candles and listen to zen music. Just take a moment and focus on your thoughts, focus on what you want to accomplish, visualize obstacles you are going to face and how you will over come them. Just don’t think about it once, do it over and over. If you repeat these scenarios in your thoughts you will be more equipped to take them on later.

Every single client I take on has a mile long laundry list of things they want to change about themselves. It goes on and on, but there’s little focus. The first thing we work on is finding focus, singularity, and clarity on their goals. We find that one thing we need to focus on first. You need to simplify and focus on one task at a time. You’ll find you will be much more successful and much less frustrated when you can master this.

You’re stuck. You’ve lost ten pounds, a few pant sizes, co-workers are complimenting you, but your stuck. Your stuck on those next ten pounds. It’s incredibly frustrating and very disruptive to accomplishing your goals. At these moments it’s easy to lose focus. This is when you need to reflect. You need to reflect on your journey so far. Sure the next ten pounds might not be as easy as the first, but it’s important to remind yourself that you have lost ten pounds!

Finally, you need to celebrate your accomplishments. You should mark your milestones with rewards. Whether it’s buying yourself some new skinny jeans or going for a whole new haircut, do something to mark this new moment in life.

Find your fat loss attitude and you might find yourself on the path to success!

Coffee for Fat Loss, Skipping Meals, How to Get Abs – Ask Joe

Does coffee help burn fat? Can skipping meals be the end of my diet? How come I have no abs? and How much water do I need? Another round of Ask Joe!

I read in a magazine that drinking coffee will help me lose weight. Is this true?
Coffee can certainly help you workout harder and give you more stamina at the gym. There is some evidence that the caffeine in coffee can help you burn fat but the research isn’t solid. Keep in mind, drinking sugary coffee drinks will not help you at all.

So drinking coffee before you workouts can help you workout harder and longer, but there is nothing the coffee does not directly help you lose weight.

Does skipping meals really slow down your metabolism?
No. Skipping meals will not slow down your metabolism at all. You could go days (even weeks) on a minimal amount of calories and your metabolism wouldn’t “slow down” one bit. So it’s not the end of the world if you miss a meal.

Now, skipping a meal or two might result in you feeling sluggish, but the sluggishness you feel isn’t your metabolism slowing down. This sluggishness can effect your mood and gym performance as well as make you more likely to binge on food.

I do ab exercises all the time at the gym, but I never see any definition. What am I doing wrong?
Your abs are there! Even a six pack, but your abs have both fat above them and below them, and unfortunately fat can accumulate in both areas. This can make the definition in your abs disappear.

The solution to your definition problem is mostly a disciplined diet, however, exercise does play a role. Now you can do all the ab exercises you want, your six pack will not magically appear. You should be doing intense full body workouts to get those abs to really show!

How much water should I be drinking everyday?
Your body is mostly water, and it is essential to get plenty of it! Everything from your joints, skin, digestion, to muscles, water is essential for a healthy body. For girls, 90 ounces and guys about 125 ounces of water per day is recommended.

It’s easy to drink more water when the temperature is warm or when your working out, but you’d be surprised how easily you can become dehydrated during the winter. The cold dry air makes it easy to forget to drink water. Also, if you are sick or running a fever, drinking more water is important. So drink up and keep hydrated and healthy!

Do you have an Ask Joe question?
Ask me over on our Facebook page!

Holiday Crunch Time – Let’s Lose 10lbs by Christmas!

Today starts the holiday crunch! It’s the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m going to challenge you during this next month to lose 5 to 10 pounds before Christmas so you can look awesome in those holiday pictures! You can do it, here’s how!

I know for a lot of you the next few weeks will be extremely busy. Holiday parties, family get-togethers, school concerts and plays… life gets very busy. I’m here to tell you that know matter how busy you are, you can still drop pounds! It’ll take a little focus on yourself, but you can do it! You only need to exercise 30 minutes per day and make sure you’re making healthy decisions at the plate. Don’t worry there will be plenty of time for all the holiday goodies and drinks!

I put together an action grid for you to use over the next four weeks! I want you to print this action grid off and cross off each task as you complete them. At the end of the week add up your score (each day is one point) and try to get at least a 85%! For fun and accountability: I want you to take a picture of your action grid and email it to me!

Here’s our strategy for those 10 pounds:
-Eat a good breakfast every morning
-Drink lots of water
-Keep most meals Low Carb
-Wednesday and Sundays eat more carbs from fruit
-Eat seeds and nuts for more sustained energy
-You can have a cheat meal on the Saturday
-Relieve your stress by doing strength training 3x per week
-Exercise at Least 30 minutes everyday

Avoid these:
-Sugary drinks
-More caffeine than you need
-Binging on food because you are tired or stressed
-Late night snacking

Don’t forget to send a picture of your completed action grid to me! I know you can do this!

If you are stuck or in a rut with exercise, your diet, or just getting going, yell at me on my Facebook page! I would love to help you out! Now let’s move and drop those pounds!

47 Healthy Left-Over Turkey Recipes

I am most thankful for all my clients and readers! Seriously, thank you all for reading and sharing my posts, you really make this blog awesome!

Chances are there will be some left-over turkey tomorrow. I’m no foodie, so instead of me telling you what to do with that wonderful low-fat meat, I’ll let the food experts tell you. Here are three links for over 40 awesome and healthy left-over turkey recipes! has 9 healthy recipes – The turkey broccoli bake looks pretty amazing! has 20 recipes that caught my eye – The first on list is turkey quesadilla using jack cheese, yum! has 18 fantastic recipes – Check out the Warm Winter Salad!

Short and sweet today, if you find a recipe you love or if you have one you would like to share, tell me in the comments below!

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Need a workout this weekend and won’t be around the gym? Check out these two Turkey Day Workouts I put together for my clients!

Two Turkey Day Recovery Workouts

Workout panic! You might not make it to the gym over the Thanksgiving holiday! I know you all are stressing out over this… Let your anxiety subside because here are two fast paced workouts you can do, no equipment needed!

Turkey Day Meltdown
Jog In Place 60s
Mountain Climbers x50
Jumping Jacks x40
High Knees x30
Push-Ups x20
Side Lunges x10 (each side)
Sumo Jump Claps x20
Single Leg Sit-ups x15 (each side)
Tomahawk Crunches x40
Plank 60s

Complete 3 rounds if you want it easy
Complete 4 rounds if you are tough
Complete 5 if you have turkey meal guilt

Stuffing Burn-Off
Jumping Jacks 45s
Push-Ups x20
High Knees 45s
Air Squats x20
Jumping Lunges 45s
V-Ups x20
Mountain Climbers 45s
Close Grip Push-ups x10
Up-six 45s

Complete 3 rounds for easy
Complete 4 rounds for not so easy
Complete 5 rounds if you should of stayed away from that pie

Want even more workouts? I posted 11 fat-burning bodyweight workout outs here:

Exercise Descriptions & Notes
Side Lunge – Lunge to the side, touching the ground beside your outside foot.

Tomahawk Crunch – Lie on your back, feet straight up in the air, with your hands together and arms straight, touch the ground behind your head and then push your arms past the right side of your feet raising your shoulder blades off the ground, bring your hands back to the ground and repeat on the left side.

Air Squats – Just like a normal squat, keep your hands out in front of you, be sure to get your butt below your knees each time while keeping your back straight.

Close Grip Push-ups – Like a normal push-up except put your hands in a “diamond” position.

Single Leg Sit-ups – Lying on your back, legs straight, with one foot off the ground six inches, sit all the way up touching your elevated foot with both hands.

Sumo Jump Clap – Just like a jump squat. Touch the ground each time with your palms, jump up in the air clapping your hands above your head.

Up-Six – Lying on your back, legs straight on the ground, with your hands under your butt, left your legs six inches off the ground while tucking your chin in your chest.

How Often To Strength Train, Protein Shakes For Weight Loss, & Fasting – Ask Joe

Here is another rapid fire edition of Ask Joe!

How often should I be strength training?
Only 2-3 days a week is just fine. Now that doesn’t mean you should only be exercising 2-3 per week. You should be exercising at least 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym everyday for 30 minutes, it just means you need to move for 30 minutes.

Do I need protein shakes after my workouts even if I’m trying to lose weight?
Sure, if you don’t mind them. Immediately after your workout your body goes into recovery mode. This is a great time to supply your body with some high quality protein to help those beat up muscles recover quicker. Quicker recovery equals faster muscle repair, which results in more fat burning muscle in your body. Most of these protein shakes contain a protein called whey (pronounced ‘way’). Whey protein is a very fast metabolizing protein. Your body is able to absorb and utilize this protein quicker than many other types of protein. This is great right after a workout!

Now if you don’t like the taste of these protein shakes, a simple higher protein meal will suffice. By the way, chocolate milk is a great recovery drink. It’s got the right combination of carbs and protein you need to recover.

What is the deal with intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a technique used to get you those last 10 – 15 pounds off. It’s a bit aggressive, but works quite well. I’m still experimenting with it myself, but so far I like the results!

It works like this: once or twice a week you fast (don’t eat) for a set period of time. For example, on Wednesday’s and Friday’s you would fast for 16 hours. I would have you stop eating at 4pm and resume at 8am the next day. During this fasting period, you can still drink water or tea.

I find intermittent fasting does a few things. First, it makes me much more carb sensitive, so it takes a lot less carbs for my body to feel energized. Second, it makes hunger pangs less annoying, so if I feel hungry when I shouldn’t be, it makes it easier to fight through. Third, it helps my self-control, if I can go 16 hours without food, it makes it easier to skip the junk food at other times.

Do you have an Ask Joe question? Let me know! You can email me joe [at], leave a comment below, or post it to our Facebook wall!