A Complete Light and Healthy Summertime Meal

image-blog-PGX-social-A Complete Light and Healthy Summertime Meal-20160727

Cooking nutritious, light, and tasty meals, to compliment the hot and sunny days of summer is one of my favorite things to do! Today, I am going to share my go-to healthy summertime meal with you – complete with an appetizer, main dish, and dessert!

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-summersalad-20160727 1. The Appetizer: A Summer Salad

Starting a meal with dark, leafy greens like spinach is a simple and delicious way to increase your intake of protein, fiber, and minerals.

This summer salad makes use of an assortment of fresh veggies, nuts, dried fruit, and a healthy homemade dressing, for the perfect green appetizer.

Salad Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Chopped carrots, onions, snap peas, tomatoes
  • Dried cranberries
  • Diced avocado
  • Sliced cashews

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Directions:

  1. Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over salad.

 

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-salmon-20160727 2. The Main Dish: Salmon

Salmon is a known superfood boasting omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, and more.

Perfectly seared, and paired with grilled asparagus and naturally sweet mashed yams, salmon is the perfect summer meal to leave you feeling full and satisfied, but not heavy.

 

Ingredients:

  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Yams

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a pan with foil and place salmon skin side down. Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. For every ½ inch of salmon, cook for 4–6 minutes.
  3. While the salmon is cooking, rinse and chop off the hard ends of asparagus. Mix with olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Let stand for a few minutes to absorb the juices.
  4. Reduce oven to 400 degrees and cook asparagus for 15–20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the yams into ½-inch round pieces (skin can stay on).
  6. Bring ¾-inch of water to a boil in a pan, place yams into boiling water and cover, reducing heat to low – for 15 minutes or until yams are easily pierced with a fork.
  7. Once done, mash yams with a fork and remove the skin (per preference).

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-summersmoothie-20160727 3. The Appetizer: A Summer Smoothie

A healthy, fruit smoothie, using your choice of nut milk, is the perfect sweet treat to cap off a great meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • Handful of frozen berries
  • Handful of spinach

Keep in mind the fruit-to-liquid ratio. Too much liquid and your smoothie will be very runny. Not enough, and it will be too thick. Depending on how big your banana is and how many berries or spinach you put in – you may need to use more or less – adjust as needed and enjoy!

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How to Exercise Safely in the Heat

 

image-blog-PGX-How to Exercise Safely in the Heat-20160719 During the sunny days of summer, a lot of people like to take their workouts outside. But with all that glorious sunshine also comes the heat, and the need to be extra cautious and smart about the way you exercise out of doors.

Follow these five tips on how to exercise smartly and safely outside during the summer:

1. Avoid the Hottest image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-sun-20160720 Times of the Day

One of the simplest things you can do to exercise smartly in the summer is to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Usually, the hottest point of the day is the early-to-late afternoon – when the sun is blazing above – but a quick glance at your local weather forecast should help pinpoint more exact times.

Ideally, you’re able to schedule your workout in the morning, before it gets too hot, or in the evening once it’s started to cool off a little.

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-caprun-20160720 2. Pick the Right Clothing and Accessories

Opt for lightweight, light colored, breathable clothing. If you’re going to be working up a sweat, look for tops and bottoms that are designed to wick away sweat and moisture, and have vents or mesh built in. And don’t forget about your feet! Make sure your socks are also moisture wicking, light, and comfortable.

You’ll also want to invest in a good hat. Look for something made from light materials, with a decent brim, and vented panels that will allow for air flow and help keep you cool. And don’t forget to protect your face and other bare limbs with sunscreen!

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-h20bottle-20160720 3. Have Water On-Hand

This should really go without saying, but water is a must-have when exercising in the heat. If you’re worried about a water bottle being cumbersome, you can buy belts that hold little water bottles in them while you workout. You can also buy slim, lightweight water bottles that are easy to hold if you’re doing an exercise like running, where your hands aren’t required.

If you’re worried about a water bottle being cumbersome, you can buy belts that hold little water bottles in them while you workout. You can also buy slim, lightweight water bottles that are easy to hold if you’re doing an exercise like running, where your hands aren’t required.

You can also pour a little water over your head, neck our shoulders to help you cool down.

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-shaderun-20160720 4. Pick a Shaded Route/Spot

Finding a workout spot or route that is partially or fully shaded is a great option to keep cool. Parks, rural areas, and local athletic fields are a great choice, as they often provide wide open areas and trails that offer shade.

 

image-pgx-blog-pointer-icon-stretch-20160720 5. Cool Down

A 10–15 minute cool down will help naturally bring your temperature back down after exercising in the heat. To cool down, take a slow walk for 10–15 minutes while sipping on some water.

To cool down, take a slow walk for 10–15 minutes while sipping on some water. Add in a few upper and lower body stretches afterward, and you’re good to go!

Working out in the heat of summer can be a fun and rewarding way of keeping in shape. Just remember to be thoughtful of your body and how you’re feeling during the exercise.

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Workout Food: 6 Snacks to Energize and Replenish

image-blog-PGX-Workout Food_ 6 Snacks to Energize and Replenish-20160712 Are you ready to conquer your workout? What about your recovery? To make the most of your exercise regime, you need to eat the right foods. This means eating pre-workout foods that support long-lasting energy and hydration, and post-workout foods that support muscle recovery and replenish energy stores.

There’s no “best” food for fulfilling these needs, but sports nutrition experts agree that protein and carbohydrates are key. Protein supplies energy and helps repair and build new muscle tissue, while carbohydrates provide energy and help replenish muscle and liver glycogen [1] [2].

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Pre-Exercise Foods

Eating a healthy snack 30–45 minutes before a workout will help you sustain your energy – but keep it light! A full meal is bound to cause an upset stomach or cramps.

Keep these three options on your pre-workout menu:

 

1. Oatmeal

A pantry staple, steel cut oats provide carbohydrates and protein. In addition to being a quick and easy snack, oatmeal is relatively easy to digest and has a low-glycemic index for steady, longer lasting energy.

2. Banana and Almond Butter

A satisfying and energizing combination, a pre-workout snack of banana and almond butter supplies carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, as well as the electrolytes potassium and magnesium.

3. Greek Yogurt with Blueberries

Toss a handful of juicy blueberries into a ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt for a delicious balance of carbs, protein, and antioxidants. To bump up the energy value and mineral content, sprinkle on a spoonful of chia seeds!

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Post-Exercise Foods

Eating healthy foods that contain protein and complex carbohydrates soon after a workout will help your body replenish its glycogen stores and rebuild muscle tissue.

Keep these three options on your post-workout menu:

 

1. PGX Satisfast Organic Vegan 15 g Protein Bar*

PGX Satisfast Organic Vegan Protein Bars are a delicious ready-to-eat recovery snack that offers 15 g of organic vegan protein and 270–280 calories of gluten-free energy.*

2. Hummus with Veggie Sticks

Garbanzo beans are a quality source of protein, iron, and complex carbohydrates. Pair them with juicy vegetables, such as sweet peppers and cucumber slices for added hydration and micronutrients.

3. Salmon Fillet and Yam Wedges

Salmon will satisfy your protein needs while also supplying the omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA. Round out your meal with a side of yam wedges for complex carbohydrates.

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

References:

[1] Moore, Daniel. “Nutrition to Support Recovery from Endurance Exercise: Optimal Carbohydrate and Protein Replacement.” Nutrition and Ergogenic Aids 14.4 (2015):294-300. Web. 4 July 2016.

[2] Ormsbee, Michael, Christopher Bach, & Daniel Baur. “Pre-Exercise Nutrition: The Role of Macronutrients, Modified Starches and Supplements on Metabolism and Endurance Performance.” Nutrients 6 (2014): 1782-1808. Web. 4 July 2016.

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4 Moves to Strengthen and Tone Your Arms

4 Moves to Strengthen and Tone Your Arms

Arm day – one of my favorites! Help strengthen and tone your arms with these four exercises targeting your triceps and your biceps.

Working with weights is not only mentally stimulating and energizing; it also helps maintain healthy muscle groups. As we age, we begin to lose muscle, which is why your workout plan should include lifting weights as it can help combat early muscle loss.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2 Exercises to Tone Your Biceps

Your biceps are the front muscle in the upper arm, with its main purpose being to flex the arm. To give your biceps muscles the best workout, we will be doing pulling actions.

 

1. Standing Bicep Curls (3 sets, 10–12 reps)

For this workout, you’ll want to have two weights that feel moderate-to-heavy to you, and that you can lift 10–15 times.

  1. Stand shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, core engaged. Hold weights in both hands at the sides of your body. Your elbows should never move, they should stay tight against your body and simply flex to bring the weights up.
  2. When you flex your arms, bringing both weights up, your arm should stop when it’s bent at a 45 degrees angle before slowly lowering back to the start position.

If you get too tired doing both weights at once, you can alternate arms. For a visual representation of this exercise, watch How to Do Standing Dumbbell Curls.

2. 21s (3 sets, 21 reps)

  1. Stand shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, core engaged. Hold weights in both hands at the sides of your body. Your elbows should never move, they should stay tight against your body and simply flex to bring the weights up.
  2. When you flex your arms, bringing both weights up, your arm should stop when it’s bent at a 90 degrees angle. Do this movement for 7 reps.
  3. Next: Start with the weights all the way up (arms bent), then lower to 90 degrees. Do this movement for 7 reps.
  4. Next: Complete the movement in full. Do this movement for 7 reps.

For a visual representation of this exercise, watch How to do 21s

 

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2 Exercises to Tone Your Triceps

Your triceps are the large muscle at the back of your arms. It’s primary purpose is arm extension. To give your triceps muscle the best workout, we will focus on executing pushing exercises.

 

Tricep Dips (3 sets, 8–12 reps)

For this exercise, you’ll want to find a bench, low table, or workout step up.

  1. Position your back against the bench, arms extended shoulder width apart, and holding onto the edge of the bench.
  2. Slowly lower your body till your arms are angled at 90 degrees before pushing back up again

For a visual representation of this exercise, watch Bench Dips.

2. Standing Dumbbell Extensions (3 reps, 15 reps)

You’ll only need one dumbbell to complete this exercise, so it should be a bit heavier than the ones you use when doing an exercise that involves two weights.

  1. Hold the weight with two arms and lift above your head
  2. Lower the weight behind your head (only bending at the elbow) to about 45 degrees before pushing your arms back up.

For a visual representation of this exercise, watch Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension.

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