Thursday, April 25, 2013

Top 10 Fitness Tweeters to Follow

When it comes to connecting, Twitter is one of the fastest ways to share and receive information. In 140 characters you can connect with friends, experts, celebs and your favorite brands. In the health and fitness world, Twitter is a hot bed of great info and advice, but not all Tweeters are created equal. That's why we've compiled a list (that’s really just scratching the surface) of ten great accounts to follow:
1. @BornFitness - Adam Bornstein is the former editorial director of and former fitness editor of Men’s Health. He tweets quick fitness advice, tips and articles and encourages his followers to ask questions so he can help them live healthy and strong.
2. @MyTrainerBobBob Harper of The Biggest Loser, is a New York Times best-selling author who will hold you accountable by calling you out on your excuses and procrastination. He tweets the hard truth, encouragement and video workouts you can do at home or at the gym.
3. @ChrisFreytag – Chris Freytag is an author, trainer, health coach and a contributing fitness editor for Prevention magazine. Follow Chris for supportive coaching, healthy recipes, intense workouts and all-around inspiration for life.  
4. @Greatist – With articles and infographics that inform you on everything from proper exercise form to the best proteins to eat, Greatist tweets fitness information that will rapidly increase your knowledge on how to live a healthy life.
5. @AceFitness – At the American Council on Exercise, passionate fitness professionals put together scientific research and pass it along to you. Find out why kettlebells work or why you could have more fitness success when you set specific goals.
6. @MindBodyGreen – Don’t you love it when life just clicks? MindBodyGreen brings it all together in one place—quick healthy tip lists, articles on how to live a positive life, being green and finding happiness. Follow immediately for a pick me up. They make wellness fun.
7. @KellyOlexa – As the founder of #FitFluential, a nationwide network of influential bloggers, vloggers and influencers in the health and wellness space, Kelly is an aggregator of some of the best fitness and health content on the web.
8. @Runtastic – The Austrian app company has great advice for runners and cyclists alike. Follow them for updates on the latest in fitness technology and workout video tips from the Runtastic fitness ambassadors.  
9. @FitBottomedGirl -These ladies keep it real with female-focused fitness and health topics. They discuss food, trends and post product reviews all with a touch of humor. 
10. @TheCoachNicole – Follow this 2012 Personal Trainer to Watch, SparkPeople blogger and home exercise video star for workout videos, technique tips and always-positive motivation.  
And of course, we hope you'll follow us (@LifeFitness) as well for weekly Fit Tips, industry news and the latest in fitness trends.

*11 @FitnessShowcase

Brought to you by: LifeFitness 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado, No Butter

If you’ve been on Pinterest you’ve probably seen some tantalizing pictures of recipes made with impossibly healthy ingredients. Can it be true? Do those recipes taste as good as they look? Our team wanted to find out, so we tested out a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that has NO BUTTER. The secret ingredient: the buttery and delicious super-food, avocado. A big thanks to Natalie over at Deconstructing the Home for the recipe.
I Instagrammed the entire process and as a notoriously horrible baker, I’m proud to say I only made one mistake. While they didn’t look as beautiful as the one’s from Natalie’s blog, they definitely passed the taste test. 
The recipe calls for ½ cup, or roughly one, avocado. I managed to buy a giant one, so I used about 2/3 and saved the rest for a delicious snack the next day. Isn’t she a beauty? 
Using a hand mixer, I mixed the avocado until it was just slightly lumpy and followed that with the sugar. The recipe calls for Splenda as a sugar free option, but I prefer to choose natural ingredients over processed foods any time I can (even if that means a few more calories.)

Next came the egg and vanilla, which I also mixed until smooth.

I mixed up my remaining dry ingredients (baking soda*, whole wheat flour and salt) in a separate bowl and slowly added to my lovely green mush.
*Welcome to my mistake. It turns out I only had baking powder on hand, not baking soda. These ingredients help the cookies rise, so I took to the internet to find out if I could substitute. The general consensus online was to use about twice the amount of baking powder than the recipe called for in baking soda. Two teaspoons it was. My cookies tasted delicious, but you’ll see very soon that they didn’t come out very pretty. Please be smarter than me and check all your ingredients before beginning. 

A good portion of chocolate chips came next to finish off the recipe! Note: The recipe calls for 1 cup chocolate chips, which made the cookies very yummy, but you can definitely get away with less. I would recommend 2/3 cup to cut the calories a bit, but still get chocolaty goodness in every cookie. 

Onto a lightly greased baking sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes. 

The finished product. Like I said, not the prettiest, but they were still a hit at home and at Life Fitness headquarters.
Have you ever used avocado in an unexpected way? Comment and tell us!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado

½ Cup avocado (approximately one avocado)
¾ Cup Splenda (or your favorite sweetener)
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or unsweetened to remove all sugar)
½ Cup chopped pecans (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 290 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
2. Remove avocado from skin and place in mixer. Mix on medium until slightly lumpy. Add Splenda and mix on high until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
3. In small bowl mix together baking soda, flour, and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients. Mix on medium until well combined. Add chocolate chips and pecans and mix till evenly combined.
4. Scoop one tablespoon of dough per cookie and place on cookie sheet one inch apart. If you want flatter cookies you can use the back of a spoon to flatten them out. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Dig in!
Makes 24 cookies!

Brought to you by LifeFitness

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fit Tip: Five Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer

When we feel sick, we call the doctor, and when we have a leaky pipe, we call the plumber. So when 30 minutes of cardio training and a stop in the weight room doesn’t generate the fitness results we want, why not turn to a professional who can coach us through the rut?      
The American Council on Exercise boasts more than 50,000 certified fitness professionals in the world, making it easier than ever to tap a local trainer to fit your budget. A trainer typically costs between $40 and $90 per hour, and less for small group training. If you’re struggling with the personal trainer debate, we've got five reasons why now may be the time to invest in some exercise support:
1. Accurate evaluation:  Personal trainers evaluate your fitness goals to design a progressive program that will get you where you want to go. This starts with a thorough evaluation of your current fitness level that can be duplicated in the months that follow. Your trainer will make sure you know just how much you’ve improved.
2. Motivation:  Not only do trainers make great exercise buddies, they offer a no-excuses attitude to motivate you to continue working toward your goals.
3. Perfect positioning:  Head neutral, back flat, core tight, shoulders retracted – these are some of the instructions your personal trainer is likely to command. Just don’t take them lightly. Better body positioning on cardio and strength-training equipment will help you maximize each movement and avoid injury.
4. Education:  A personal trainer knows the why behind every squat, curl and crunch you make and how it will get you one step closer to reaching your fitness goals.
5. Follow through:  Your personal trainer is invested in your success, too. When confidence waivers, your trainer will be there to pick you up and keep you going.  
Brought to you by LifeFitness

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fit Tip: Get Fit with Your Phone

Your smartphone isn’t just for Facetime, Foursquare and Facebook. It’s also for fitness. More people are turning to apps to track their fitness, enhance their workouts, find better foods and customize their workout experience. Here are just three ways you can get fit with your phone:

Track what you are eating and how much you are moving with this popular app. If you want to be on the positive side of statistics (the people who lose weight and keep it off) track what you are eating. This app is easy to use and its database makes it easy to find, select and log your meals. Plus, it remembers foods you eat regularly so you can easily select them. Track the type and duration of your workouts and find out approximately how many calories you burned. This free app also features an online community for further support and features. 
If you are incorporating interval training into your bike rides, running, strength training or plyometrics, check out Tabata Pro. You can change the work and rest time and number of cycles to customize your workouts. Use the Tabata Pro App on your iPhone or iPad for only $2.99.  This great timer will make interval training easier when you’re at the gym or on the go.
LFconnect lets exercisers enjoy total control of their workout experience. With an LFconnect account, you can create and personalize your cardio workouts by duration, level, speed and intervals. Easily access your personal settings and select from 17 statistics to see on the equipment display, such as calories, pace, time remaining or heart rate. Select your own heart rate targets or interval levels to meet your goals. Your personal trainer can also schedule various workouts for you and track your progress.

Brought to you by LifeFitness

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fit Tip: Use Technology to Improve Your Health

Technology can get a bad rap, often blamed for the increasingly sedentary lives many people are leading. But your phone, tablet and television don’t have to be a license to sit still. They can actually be used as motivators to get and stay fit. In fact, in a global survey of exercisers, Life Fitness found that exercisers that use technology to support their workouts consider themselves to be more successful at achieving their weight and fitness goals.  Try one of these tech-driven tools to lead a healthier life:
Heart Rate
A heart rate monitor can be a great tool for monitoring workouts. Most cardio machines feature an embedded heart rate monitor that clearly displays how hard the body is working. You can also wear a heart rate monitor for indoor and outdoor workouts. To effectively us it, it’s important to know your maximum heart rate. This is the highest number of times your heart can beat in one minute and offers a key figure in determining training intensities. Using heart rate to create interval training sessions or steady-state workouts, can strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular fitness. 
Wearable Fitness Tech
One of the biggest trends in fitness technology is wearable monitoring devices. They come in the form of bracelets or clips and go beyond classic heart rate monitors. Meant to be worn at all times, these devices can measure movement, calories burned, heart rate, sleep patterns, skin temperature and even blood oxygen levels. Most also sync with mobile apps to help you track these vital statistics over time. Investing in these tools and seeing results over time can be a huge motivator. Some of the most popular wearable fitness devices include the Nike+ Fuel Band, Core 2 from Body Media, Fit Bit Flex and Jawbone UP.
Healthy Eating Apps
With the advent of apps that support meal planning, nutrition tracking and calorie counting, it’s never been easier to eat right. Find tools that fit with your lifestyle to educate yourself about your food and take steps towards a healthier diet. Not sure how healthy that granola bar really is? Apps like Fooducate will analyze the nutritional content of a product and give it an easy-to-read grade of A – F.  Meal tracking has been a long trusted technique for improving eating habits, and it’s even easier today with apps like Lose It!, which features a rich database of foods to help you count calories and even sync with Life Fitness cardio equipment.
Social Accountability
One of the greatest fitness benefits technology can provide comes through social accountability. With just a few clicks you can join an online community like Spark People or LFconnect to connect with others trying to get fit. Apps like Fitocracy and Teemo add a sense of gamification and competition with your friends. You can even take your accountability to the next level with GymPact, which charges you real cash every time you miss a scheduled workout.

This FitTip was brought to by LifeFitness