Avocado Chocolate Pudding – Video Recipe

***Disclaimer #1: I was not going to post this yet because I wanted to put up an exercise demonstration instead.  Unfortunately, YouTube is taking a LONG time to process that video.

***Disclaimer #2: I usually put 1 Tbsp. of Vanilla Extract and 1 tsp. of Cinnamon in this recipe as well, but I had run out of the vanilla extract and totally forgot to put the cinnamon in until after I had already edited the video.  You can just as easily sprinkle the cinnamon on top when you serve it.  I’m REAL big on cinnamon, but that will be the subject of another article coming soon…

…now for the article…

After much interest  from my clients, I’m finally posting my recipe for Avocado Chocolate Pudding. I originally found the basis for this recipe online somewhere and after thinking about it for a while, I figured out how to reduce the amount of sugar (Maple Syrup) and to increase the protein content while still maintaining a smooth, chocolate-y texture and flavor.

For this recipe you’ll need the following:

2 – ripe, peeled pitted and diced avocados – medium sized
1/2 cup pure maple syrup – light amber
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup Syntha-6 Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of Sea Salt

In a blender add the ingredients in the order listed.  This will make the blending process easier.  Once everything is in the blender, start pulsing until the mixture starts to fold into itself.  You’ll need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender to loosen any dry powder and get it to move down into the stream.

You’ll see when you have a nice, smooth, consistent texture.  Empty the contents of the blender either into a large bowl or individual serving cups, cover and chill.  If you’re in a hurry, you can eat it as soon as it comes out of the blender!

This is actually a very healthy dessert.  The avocados provide healthy fats as well as a good amount of fiber.  The cocoa powder is naturally high in antioxidants and is reasonably low in calories.  The protein powder helps make this a power snack as well by providing high quality protein, branch chain amino acids and other beneficial nutrients.  The almond milk is low calorie as well and provides gluten free protein to boot.

Maple syrup is still a sugar, but we’ve been able to reduce the amount used in the recipe by half since the protein powder has it’s own no calorie sweetener.

I normally put vanilla extract and cinnamon in as well, but some people don’t like the additional flavor.  You can add or delete according to your tastes.

This is a dessert that you don’t have to be ashamed of as well as being delicious! Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Stay Fit Forever!
Tony

FocusOn: Side Plank Variations

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Today’s FocusOn session is dedicated to variations of the side plank. The side plank is a very effective core strengthening exercise that heavily recruits the external and internal oblique muscles pictured below:
External and Internal ObliquesThese muscles contribute greatly to core stability and strength.  When coupled with a low body fat index, they also add to the appearance of a trim, well defined waistline.

Side planks can vary in intensity and complexity.  The video will demonstrate the more popular variations in increasing difficulty.

Side Plank Bridge
Stationary Side Plank
Star Side Plank
Side Plank Runner
Side Plank with Elbow Rotation

Remember to stack the elbow or the hand directly over the shoulder and to make a straight line from your head to your feet through your midline.

Start off with the basic side plank bridge and work your way up the ladder to create a strong, stable and visually pleasing waistline!

Stay Fit Forever!

Hummus Deconstruct – Video Recipe

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OK,

Today we take traditional hummus and do a little tweaking to make it a whole lot healthier for our purposes while keeping a creamy texture and tangy flavor.

The recipe calls for:

1 – can Garbanzo beans/Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
2 – Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 – Tbsp. Lemon or Lime Juice
2 – Tbsp. Chia Seeds (left to soak in 6 oz. water for 10 min.)

Season with:
Garlic Powder
Mrs. Dash
Cayenne Pepper

By using the chia seeds, we’ve effectively reduced the fat content of the recipe by 26 grams, or basically 240 calories… ALL FROM FAT!!

Plus we’ve added Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s as well as an additional 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in just TWO TABLESPOONS of this stuff!

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Tony

Twenty Ten – No Equipment Interval Workout!

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Ok, I think it’s time for a workout.  I get a lot of questions on how to get and stay lean.  While diet plays a large part in determining how lean you’ll be able to get, you still have to find ways to boost your metabolism.

A lot of people are under the assumption that you have to drastically reduce your food intake if you want to lose weight/fat.  I’m here to tell you that is NOT the case!

In actuality, when you dramatically reduce your caloric intake you will initially lose weight.  Some of it will be fat but most of it will probably be fluid.  Once that is gone, you’re progress will slow down and eventually stop.  The reason for this is because your body is an efficient machine.  It will realize that it is receiving less nutrition, so it will counter your move by “turning down” your metabolic thermostat.  The sad thing about this is that over time, this will become your new “set point”, so if and an when you go back to eating regularly, you’ll usually rebound and actually GAIN weight, over and above where you started.

The truth is, you want to feed your body WELL and OFTEN!  By doing so, you are telling it that it will regularly receive good nutrition so there won’t be a need to dial things down.  In fact, by introducing some good metabolic training methods, you can actually “turn up the heat” and get your metabolism into a higher gear!  Personally, I eat anywhere from 5-7 times a day, and I consume roughly 3200-3500 calories. That’s a far cry from some of these 800-1200 calorie plans that I see a lot of people trying.  You’ll starve AND get frustrated doing that.

Sure, we want to work out to make our muscles either harder or larger.  That still won’t do you any good if you have a thick layer of body fat covering them up.  Think of the Princess and the Pea…  Wow, I might be dating myself there!  This is where Interval Training comes into play.

Interval training works because it is extremely efficient at raising your metabolic rate, and then keeping it there.  It’s different than steady state cardio in that you’re doing shorter bursts of higher intensity work so that you’re actually stimulating your muscles rather than just simply burning calories.  The effect is twofold.  Plus, with interval training, your metabolic rate stays elevated longer after you finish your workout as opposed to steady state cardio, which means you burn more calories for an extended amount of time.

Watch the video and see how you can incorporate interval training into your routine.  Replace some of your steady state cardio with interval training and turn up your thermostat!

Stay Fit Forever!

Shut up and Squat!!

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“SHUT UP AND SQUAT!!”

As a trainer, you have no idea how many times I have wanted to say that to somebody.

It seems like there are so many excuses people use to justify why they shouldn’t squat. “It hurts my back!” or, “It hurts my knees!”, or the ever famous, “My doctor told me that squatting is dangerous!”.

Really??! Has your doctor ever seen one of these?

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The other thing I get a lot, especially from women is, “I don’t want my butt to get too big!” Tell me, do their butts look too big to you? Didn’t think so…

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The truth is, the squat is an essential functional exercise that everybody needs to learn how to execute correctly.  I don’t mean that you need to get out there and use a ton of weight, or put yourself in a dangerous position, but squatting, when done correctly forces you to learn how to use your hip extensors, your gluteals, your quadriceps and your core all at the same time!  What a great movement! One that you will use throughout your day, every day, for the rest of your life.

Whether it’s sitting down on the toilet, getting up from your favorite easy chair, reaching down to pick up your child or better yet, your grandchild, squats are what you’ll be doing. So you’d better learn to do them right!

My suggestion to you is to try and find a way to incorporate these into your workouts. Over the long run, you will notice more strength and more flexibility.  In general, they will make every day tasks much easier to perform.

So now, shut up and squat!!

Fit Forever,

Tony