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4 guilt-free pasta recipes

It’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta. 
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?! 
Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.

Rub the inside of each spaghetti squash half with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #2: Zucchini

 Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.

Make Zucchini Noodles:

Wash the zucchini and remove the green skin with a veggie peeler. Run the peeled zucchini through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.

Top with warm spaghetti sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #3: Butternut Squash

While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency. 
Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.
Make Butternut Squash Noodles:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the narrow part of both squash off and peel off the skin. You should have 2 nice solid pieces of squash (no hollow section). Run this through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.

Toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

Serve immediately with the spaghetti sauce of your choosing. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #4: Asparagus 

Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein. 
Make Asparagus Noodles:

Wash one bunch of asparagus spears. Resist the urge to chop off the tough stalks, these are your handles! Cut off the asparagus tips and save. Hold onto the tough stalks and use a vegetable peeler to peel long asparagus noodle strands into a large bowl. Mix in a Tablespoon of fresh dill.

In a small bowl combine 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey and a dash of sea salt and black pepper.

Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus noodles. Sauté for 2 minutes then remove from heat. If you’d like, sauté the asparagus heads by throwing them in the pan after 1 minute. Toss with the dressing.

Serve the noodles warm and garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy!

Eating healthy, low carb meals like these are what it takes to have that lean, sexy body that you want. But don’t forget that a fit body also requires a consistent, challenging exercise program! Call or email me today and get you started on the fitness plan that’s custom designed for you.

Let’s do this!

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Kill those cravings – once and for all

If you’ve ever tasted packaged junk food (and who hasn’t) then you know just how addicting it can be. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability. This is done with a special tantalizing balance of sugar, fat and salt. 

But while junk food tastes pleasing…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results. 
Unclear on what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re not alone, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices. 

Here’s the checklist on what classifies something as junk food:

  • Junk food has little to zero nutritional value
  • Junk food is processed and packaged
  • Junk food is high in sugar, fat and salt
  • Junk food is high in calories
  • Junk food is rarely eaten out of hunger

Soda pop, convenience foods, packaged snacks, frozen treats…

4 Steps to Kill Junk Food Cravings

Picture the next 30 days of your life being 100% free of junk food. How would your results improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action! 

Step #1: Clear Out the Junk

Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that you currently have in your home, office and car. We like to label these foods as “red light” foods.  Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories. 

Step #2: Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Now you didn’t think I was going to let you starve, did you? Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate. 

Step #3: HALT!

When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep. 

Step #4: Stick With It

The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be a smidge easier than the second…and so on. The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.

The ONLY Fitness Lesson You Need

Are you working towards a specific number on the scale? Or are you hoping to fit into a certain size dress or jeans? While having this goal is great, it will NOT ensure your success.

Think about how many people you know who have had a specific number that they wanted to reach. You are probably one of them. This number might have been posted up on a sticky note on the fridge, reminding you to watch what you eat and consistently make it to the gym. Maybe this number was updated and recorded everyday, to enforce accountability.

How long did that last? A week? Two weeks? Statistics dictate that it likely didn’t last longer than a few weeks until that “goal number” began to fade from your life. Then you took it down off the fridge, or you stared at it defiantly as you reached for the off-limits food. You began to look at your goal number as an adversary rather than something good.

I’m going to clue you in to the ONE AND ONLY lesson that you need to know when it comes to fitness, fat loss, and achieving any goal. Listen up; this one is worthwhile.

IT’S NOT ABOUT REACHING A NUMBER.

This may go against everything you’ve come to believe about achieving a goal, but then, your techniques haven’t exactly been working. The number that you’re hoping to magically be one day doesn’t matter one bit, and here’s why…

IT’S ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOMENTUM.

Can you remember how it felt the last time that you ate clean, exercised hard and got adequate sleep for a few consecutive days? A feeling of momentum came over you, didn’t it? There was a buzzing in your cells and a rhythm in your pace. You felt alive, you felt sexy, and you felt empowered. Never mind that you weren’t yet at your goal number, you were headed there!

Getting down to your goal weight, and fitting into your goal size, is the direct result of living in that state of momentum for an extended period of time. You see, the momentum can be felt immediately, once you start eating clean, exercising hard and taking care of your health, whereas that “goal number” simply can’t be felt until it is achieved, and so it’s not as powerful a motivator.

My challenge and advice to you is to find the joy of living in the momentum, and keep that momentum going until your goal number is achieved. Focus only on the momentum, not on the number.

Fitness is a way of life. Being lean is a lifestyle. Neither of which can be had by going about it halfheartedly.

You have to become the momentum.

Call or email me today and we will get your momentum started on the exercise program that will reshape your body once and for all!

White Belt Nutrition: Quinoa

The next time you decide to opt for white rice, white pasta and regular store-bought breads, you may want to consider choosing carbs that are slowly digested and absorbed.

Why?

These carbohydrates will help control blood sugar, insulin concentrations, energy levels and body composition.

In other words, you’ll burn fat, feel less hungry, and have more energy.

So with that in mind, check out our “White Belt Nutrition: Quinoa” video for more:

4 Body Changes From Reducing Refined Carbs

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen to your body if you stopped eating refined carbs?

It’s no secret that refined and processed carbs contribute to weight gain, and so reducing the amount of these in your diet would logically lead to a leaner, fitter you.

But is it true, or is it hype? And is it really worth giving up your carboholic ways?

Here’s what really goes down when you give up refined carbs…

Body Change #1: You BURN FAT

When you stop eating simple carbs your body no longer has readily available calories to burn, and so it clicks over into burning stored fat as energy. This means that your pants will start feeling looser around your waist and thighs.

Body Change #2: You FEEL LESS HUNGRY

Fat burns longer and slower than simple carbs and so your energy stores will take longer to deplete. This means that you’ll find yourself skipping that afternoon pick-me-up snack and powering through until mealtime without hunger pains. You’ll also notice that it takes longer to feel hunger in the mornings after waking up, once you’ve cut the simple carbohydrates and refined sugars out of your diet.

Low Carb Body Change #3: You HAVE MORE ENERGY

Living on a diet of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates puts your body in a continual energy roller coaster. Right after you eat your energy is high and then, whoosh, an hour later your energy levels crash. All of that changes once you cut out those simple carbs. The low carb meals that you switch to are filled with nutrient dense foods that sustain your energy levels for hours at a time, saving you from that frustrating roller coaster.

Low Carb Body Change #4: Your STOMACH GETS FLATTER

Probably the most coveted of the low carb body changes…once you’ve been off of simple carbs for a few weeks your stomach will visibly become flatter. It’s a well-deserved reward and one that will keep you motivated to continue your healthier eating habits.

Choose “SMART” Carbs

Before you decide to go carb-free, it’s important to know that there is a big difference between simple, refined carbs (which cause rapid fat storage) and complex carbs (which are necessary and healthy). By switching from simple carbs to more complex carbs like fruits and vegetables, sprouted grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and other whole-grain options—you’ll reap the fat loss benefits and will have a steady flow of energy while you avoid the ups and downs that simple carbs cause.

Measure Your Carbs

Forget about counting calories.  Many of my clients have lost pounds and pounds of fat simply by following the Precision Nutrition system.  Here’s a simple rule of thumb guide to follow:

  • 1 cupped palm of smart carbs for women
  • 2 cupped palms of smart carbs for men
While eating healthy, nutritious meals is awesome, don’t forget that exercise is half of the battle when it comes to getting and staying fit. Call or email me today and we will get you started on the exercise program that will reshape your body once and for all!

5 Super Fast Meals

Most of my clients want to eat healthy – they really do – but a single detrimental factor gets in their way…they simply don’t have the time.

I get it, we all lead busy lives that leave very little extra time for healthy meal prep, but the alternative of fast food meals, frozen dinners and restaurant fare is making us lose in the battle of the bulge.

All too often I see clients exercise hard everyday, and then flush their results away with irresponsible eating. Don’t let this be you!

To get you on the fast track to quick, healthy eating here are 5 healthy meals that take only 5 minutes to prepare:

Fast Meal #1: Traditional pancakes are filled with carbs, grains and a plethora of simple sugars – not something you’d consider healthy. In fact, eat pancakes regularly and you’ll find your fitness results quickly disappear. However, this simple, wholesome, 3-ingredient pancake recipe is the exception. It’s a pancake that you’re able to enjoy without guilt.

3-Ingredient Pancakes

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or ground cinnamon *optional
  1. Mash the bananas in a bowl (or blend in a food processor). Add the eggs, almond butter and flavor additions. Mix until smooth.
  2. Preheat a griddle or skillet. Lightly grease with coconut oil. Pour the batter in ¼ cup scoops.
  3. Once you see bubbles form, flip and cook the other side until golden.
  4. Serve with fresh fruit.

Fast Meal #2: Tuna is a wonderful fish that’s packed with muscle-building protein. However, most tuna salad recipes drowned out the benefits with a boatload of calorie-packed mayonnaise. Scroll down for a refreshing tuna salad recipe that, in addition to being quick to prepare, avoids the trap of high-calorie dressing.

Here’s what you need…

  • 2 cans Albacore tuna, packed in water
  • 1/2 cup white bean hummus
  • 1 small apple, finely minced
  • 1 Tbl yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • dash of Pepper
  • 1 TBL Dijon mustard
  1. Drain and flake the tuna in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Serve in a bowl, on large lettuce leaves or in half of an avocado, garnish with dried dill weed.

Fast Meal #3: Yogurt has often been advertised as a healthy, guilt-free snack or meal replacement. This always bothers me because I know just how many simple carbs and sugars most flavored yogurts contain. Many people are deceived into thinking that the creamy, fruit flavored snack will help them lose fat, while it does just the opposite. Here’s a recipe for a creamy, fruit flavored snack that is actually packed with protein and free of fattening sugars.

Creamy Protein Mousse

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup chopped fruit
  • 1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk, full fat (chilled in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 frozen banana, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup stevia-sweetened vanilla protein powder
  1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Do NOT shake the can up at all! Carefully turn the can over and open from the bottom. Drain out the liquid and scoop the white cream into a food processor. Discard the liquid.
  2. Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor. Blend on high until creamy. Enjoy chilled.

Fast Meal #4: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and not only because it’s the meal that breaks your overnight fast. What you decide to eat for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of your food decisions for the day. A donut or breakfast sandwich grabbed from a drive thru will set you up to eat junk for the rest of the day. On the other hand, a wholesome, nutritious breakfast will get you geared up to eat good-for-you foods all day long. This quick breakfast recipe is packed with amazing, natural flavor as well as protein-filled eggs to power your day.

Zucchini Egg Scramble

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 organic eggs
  1. In a small skillet place the olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, green onion, chives and rosemary. Cook until the zucchini is lightly browned on both sides.
  2. Crack the eggs into the skillet and continue to cook, mixing, until the eggs are set. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately.

Fast Meal #5: I’ve saved the best for last, in this list of 5 Fast Meals. There was a time when most people would turn their nose up at the idea of a salad being a meal, but times are changing, and we are now more aware than ever how traditional meals are too heavy and lead to obesity. I’d like you to consider a ‘Everything Salad’ to be the perfect, quick and guilt-free meal. Sure, there are plenty of ways to take a salad and make it fattening, but that’s not what we want to do. By taking a big bowl of fresh greens and topping it with lean protein, colorful veggies and a light, homemade dressing – you’ve got yourself the perfect meal!

Everything Salad

Here’s what you need:

  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, arugula, kale)
  • Lean protein (chicken, turkey, lamb, hard boiled egg)
  • Colorful veggies, chopped (bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini)
  • Fresh Herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano, mint)
  • Homemade dressing (see recipe below)
  1. Raid your fridge for fresh, organic produce and lean, cooked protein. Add in some fresh veggies and chopped herbs and mix together with a simple, homemade dressing. There you have it, the perfect meal!

While eating healthy, nutritious meals is awesome, don’t forget that exercise is half of the battle when it comes to getting and staying fit. Call or email me today and we will get you started on the exercise program that will reshape your body once and for all!

Fat Burning Meal Hacks

The term ‘hack’ is being used a lot lately. While it used to have a negative connotation, these days to ‘hack’ is to find a quicker, easier and more effective method for achieving a goal.

There are life hacks (like packing Christmas ornaments in empty egg cartons), food hacks (like placing a handful of cherry tomatoes between two plates and using a knife to halve them all in one fell swoop), and as I’ll share with you today, fat loss hacks.

Fat loss hacks are ways of doing everyday things, like eating, in a way that promotes fat loss and blocks fat storage. Sounds pretty great, right?!

Here are my 7 most effective Fat Burning Meal Hacks…

Fat Loss Hack #1: Cauliflower Rice

Serve shredded, sautéed cauliflower as rice, rather than traditional brown or white rice. This simple hack will save you hundreds of calories per meal and will leave you no less satisfied. You can even add your favorite spices and flavor additions as you do with traditional rice.

Fat Loss Hack #2: Vegetable Noodles

There are many ways to create and enjoy noodles made from vegetables, rather than noodles made from grains. The veggie noodles are a hundred times less fattening than grain-based noodles, so what are you waiting for?! Use a spiral slicer to turn zucchini or butternut squash into noodles; bake a spaghetti squash and scrape out those nature-made noodles; or simply use a traditional veggie peeler to create long noodle strips from zucchini.

Fat Loss Hack #3: Lettuce Wrapped

By simply replacing your sliced bread and buns for large pieces of lettuce, you’ll quickly eliminate a couple hundred calories from each meal. Once you get used to the crunch of the lettuce you’ll enjoy your new style of sandwich and burger even more than the traditional way.


Fat Loss Hack #4: Protein Powder


Did you know that protein powder can be used in many recipes to increase the protein and reduce the carbs? Replace a portion of the flour in your pancakes with high quality protein powder and you’ll see how delicious it tastes while being so much healthier for you.

Fat Loss Hack #5: Coconut Oil

Replace the vegetable oil in your kitchen with coconut oil, and enjoy benefits such as increased fat burning and reduced appetite. In addition, you’ll be avoiding the pitfalls of other, less healthy oils and fats. Coconut oil can be used in virtually any recipe – both stove top and baking.

Fat Loss Hack #6: Wholesome Sweeteners

Throw the refined sugar out of your kitchen and replace it with any one of these wholesome sweeteners: coconut sugar, raw honey, pure maple syrup, or pitted dates. By getting your sweet fix from these wholesome, real food sweeteners you’ll be taking in fewer calories and there will be less of an impact on your blood sugar, which will result in less fat stored.

Fat Loss Hack #7: Water

Replace high calorie beverages with crystal clear water. This simple hack could quite possibly change your life. If high calories, sugar-laden beverages make up a significant part of your daily calories then switching to water will swiftly induce fat loss. 

Start using these Fat Burning Meal Hacks today and enjoy a leaner physique. Let me know when your jeans start to feel loose around the waist!

A consistent, challenging exercise program, like the ones that I provide for my clients, is the only way to achieve and maintain your ultimate fat loss goal. If you’re on the fence about starting one of my programs today then call or email for the details.

Let me be your #1 secret weapon in fat loss.

Fat-Burning Ab Exercises

Are you still wishing for flat, washboard abs?

Traditional crunches are old news, so let’s take your ab routine to the next level with the following Fat-Burning Ab Exercises. The most effective ab exercises strengthen your core as a whole –which helps prevent dreaded back pain, increases your agility and, of course, makes you look good.

In your new ab routine the focus is on quality over quantity. A few concentrated movements are always more effective than dozen and dozens of old fashion crunches.

1) Plank: When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. Keep your back flat and your belly button pulled in toward your spine.

Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.

2) Mountain Climbers: This vigorous variation of a standard plank kicks the core tightening up a notch. Angling your knees toward the opposite shoulder is a wonderful way increase the intensity even more.

Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.

3) Russian Twist: Nothing quite brings the burn like a properly done set of Russian Twists. By holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands, the exercise becomes even more effective.

Sit on the floor with knees bent like in a “sit-up” position. The feet should be kept together and slightly off the floor. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Next, the arms should be swung from one side to another in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.

4) Knee Tucks: All too often I see people neglect their lower abs in favor of quicker, easier exercises. The fact is that our lower abs typically need the most work, so give them the attention that they need with these Knee Tucks.

Start on your back, bend your knees with your feet on the floor and knees touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Exhale and bring your knees up towards your chest. Slowly lower your hips back down to start position.

5) Side Bridges: In yet another variation of the fantastic plank, Side Bridges are much more challenging that they appear at first glance. While the focus is mainly on your waist, due to the stabilizing nature of this exercise, you’re also working your entire core as a whole.

Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be resting on your left hip. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat.

Even the best exercise routine in the world is fruitless if you throw away your results with sloppy eating. Remember to keep your meals lean by avoiding processed carbs, packaged foods or fried items. Fill up on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and reward yourself with organic, seasonal fruit. That, my friend, is lean living!

Ready to take your fitness results to the next level? Call or email me today and we will get you started on an exercise program that’s designed to deliver massive results. Come on, you deserve it!

From Fat Loss to Win Fight

I recently had the honor of training Soledad High School teacher and head football coach, Frankie Berlanga.  After leading the Soledad Varsity Team to Central Coast Section and taking the DIV Title with a 10-3 record back in November 2016, Coach Frankie had his eyes set on his next goal – getting into fighting shape.

He kicked off the new year as a 21 Day Fat Burning Challenge contestant.  After 3 weeks of consistent training and eating clean, he would take home the grand prize of $150 after finishing in the lead.  But things didn’t stop there.

An avid practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai at Kugtar MMA Academy, he immediately transitioned into training for his amateur MMA debut set for April 15th at Cagebound Fighting Championships in Modesto, CA.  I continued to guide him along the way as his striking coach, strength and conditioning coach and nutrition coach.

With a lot at stake, he endured weeks of intense training and followed a nutrition program I designed for him. By the time he stepped on the scale at his official weigh-in, Frankie lost 25lbs in total.

So how did he do?  Check out the footage below.  

Injured again?

Can you relate to this scenario? After putting it off for too long, you commit to get fit—only to find yourself injured the minute you start working out.

All of the sudden your fitness goals go back on the shelf and you are left to deal with the pain. Whether your injury occurs right off the bat or after years of regular workouts the result is always the same. It is discouraging, painful and downright depressing.
And since studies suggest that up to 38% of all exercisers suffer from an injury each year, it is a subject worth exploring.

Top 3 Workout Injuries 
The following three ailments occur commonly among active people. Let’s explore the cause of each and then detail your very own injury prevention plan—because let’s face it, you simply don’t have time to spend nursing and injury (and losing all that progress you had made).
1. Strain / Pulled Muscle: occurs when a tendon (connects muscle to bone) or muscle is stretched or torn. If you suffer from a strain you will feel pain and swelling in the muscle belly, or loss of function if the strain occurred in a tendon. Many strains occur as the result of an improper warm-up and insufficient stretching.
2. Sprain: occurs when a ligament (connects bone to bone) is stretched or torn. While this can happen to any ligament in your body, the most common placements of sprains are in the ankle, wrist and knee. Often this injury will happen suddenly as the ligament is stretched beyond its normal limit, usually during a fall or other acute trauma.
3. Low Back Pain: it is said that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives—and the list of causes is as diverse as the sufferers themselves. Here are the main reasons for workout related back pain:

Improper form: Similar to bad posture, using improper form while performing weight bearing exercises will leave your back sore and aching. The good news is that once your form is corrected this pain should subside after a healing period.

Weak muscles: If you have a desk job then chances are your deep back muscles are inactive and unconditioned. When you start an exercise program, but fail to properly strengthen these muscles, the result is often an aching back.

Strained muscles: Not to pick on that desk job, but another result of sitting all day is tight back muscles. When these muscles are not properly warmed up and stretched before exercise begins, muscle strains occur.

Your 5-Step Injury Prevention Plan
Injuries don’t have to slow you from meeting your fitness goals. The following 5 steps will dramatically reduce your chance of injury and if you do find yourself injured, but have been following these 5 steps, your recovery will be quick and efficient.
Step 1: Stretch
What is more boring than stretching? You want to exercise, not sit around touching your toes—right? Even though it isn’t exciting, stretching is the best way to increase muscle elasticity and durability. Tight muscles are big contributors to strains—remember? Take the time to stretch everyday before and after your workout to stave off injury.
Step 2: Warm Up
Preparing for your workout should not begin and end with putting on your gym clothes. Your muscles need to be coaxed into motion by way of a 10-15 minute warm up in order to prepare them for injury-free use. Cold muscles are less elastic and are therefore more prone to tears.
Step 3: Proper Gear
For most fitness enthusiasts proper gear has everything to do with their shoes. Don’t be fooled—not just any shoe will do. Find shoes that offer support and traction for your exercise of choice, and make sure that they aren’t too tight or too loose. If you are prone to ankle injuries then try a pair of high-tops for extra support.
Step 4: Lifestyle
Stop for a moment and think about your car—if you don’t maintain it with regular tune ups, oil changes and quality fuel then you can’t expect it to perform well on the road. The same applies to your body. Getting healthy amounts of sleep, eating well balanced meals and staying hydrated will all contribute to your performance during exercise. The healthier your lifestyle is the less likely you are to suffer an injury.
Step 5: Condition
This may seem like the most obvious step to injury prevention, but unfortunately it is the most overlooked. People who keep their bodies in top condition by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the least likely to injure themselves. When exercise programs are started and stopped sporadically your muscles are most likely to become injured.
Of course being conditioned also has another great benefit that everyone enjoys – you get to look and feel great! And who doesn’t what that, right?
The ultimate injury prevention plan is to work with me, your qualified fitness expert! Together we will explore proper technique and will craft a plan for your unique fitness goals.