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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Dealing with Diabetes―Deliciously!

Diabetes is a disease that affects 8.3% of the population, or 26 million individuals. When it comes to diabetes, nutrition is key. The goal is to be able to choose foods that help to keep blood sugar levels under control and in the recommended range.

The best way to eat to guarantee optimum blood sugar levels is to always combine carbohydrate foods with a protein to help prevent levels from spiking too high. Foods that are carbohydrates are grains such as rice, cereal, and pasta; dairy foods such as milk and yogurt; and fruits and vegetables. Foods that have protein include meat, eggs, soy, beans, nuts, and dairy foods (which also contain protein in addition to carbohydrates).

Here are some diabetic-friendly recipes that follow this suggestion.

Mini BBQ Chicken-Topped Potato Halves

Ingredients:Shredded Chicken on Potato

  • —2 (1/4 lb total) new potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a fork in several areas
  • —2 cups prepared shredded barbeque chicken
  • —1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream
  • —1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (optional)


  1. Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and cook five minutes, turn, and cook another 4 to 5 minutes until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, place the barbecue chicken in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, about 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. Place potatoes on cutting board, cut in half lengthwise, top with equal amounts of chicken, and then top with the sour cream and green onions.

*Serving size is half a potato; makes 4 servings.

Calories: 83; Total Fat: 1g; Total Carbohydrate: 24g; Protein: 10g

Grilled Asparagus

Ingredients:asparagus new

  • —1 pound/bundle of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • —Pinch of pepper
  • —¼ tsp Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning
  • —1 ounce Fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat grill to high heat.
  2. Lightly coat the asparagus with olive oil, squeezed lemon juice, pepper, and Mrs. Dash.
  3. Grill 2 to 3 minutes.

*Makes 4 servings.  **Pair this with your favorite grilled lean meat

Calories: 116; Total Fat: 10g; Total Carbohydrate: 6g; Protein: 3g

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients:strawberry Small

  • —1 cup Chocolate Cheerios®
  • —2 containers (6 oz. each) Yoplait Greek Strawberry Yogurt (1 1/3 cups)
  • —2 cups sliced fresh strawberries


  1. Save two teaspoons of Chocolate Cheerios for toppings.
  2. Take each of the serving glasses and layer 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of Chocolate Cheerios, and 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries, and repeat layers.
  3. Top with the remaining Cheerios and a whole strawberry.

*Makes 4 servings.

Calories: 136; Total Fat: 1g; Total Carbohydrate: 25g; Protein: 8g

Getting the Balance Right and Learning More About Diabetes

Most individuals need between 45 and 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. Combine this with 15 to 25 grams of protein and blood sugar levels will remain stable and in the healthy range. By incorporating dietary changes, diabetics will be able to improve their health and manage their diabetes.

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. For more information contact her at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating recipes snacks diabetes

Profile: NIFS Triathlon Training Program Participant Zach Smith


The annual co-ed NIFS Triathlon Training Program is complete and participants have successfully completed the first triathlons of the season. The participants never cease to amaze all of us here at NIFS. Working hard during the six weeks of training to perfect swimming technique, practice biking on the road, decrease running time, and create smooth transitions between events pays off every year for these athletes. We love hearing from our participants and giving them the limelight, which is why we are showcasing one of our Triathlon Training participants in this blog post.

We are featuring Zach Smith, an avid runner turned triathlete who has an amazing story that is sure to inspire anyone to get out and try his or her first TRI. Take it away, Zach!

NAME: Zach Smith


In 2011, I was in Boulder, Colorado, for work and decided to start running to get back in shape thanks in part to my co-worker at the time (who was an avid runner) and the beautiful mountain view. Once I was back in Indy, I just never stopped running. I participated in my first Mini Marathon in 2012. I got connected with NIFS in 2013 through the Mini Training Program and decided I would commit to the six-week Triathlon Training after the Mini was over. Currently, I am a full-time employee at IUPUI, working in the Math Department as Student Services Assistant, and am a part-time graduate student pursuing my Master of Public Affairs (MPA) in Policy Analysis through the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).



I think anyone who is an avid runner, swimmer, or bicyclist has thought at least once about participating in a triathlon. As a runner, I naturally was ready to take my competitive nature to the next level by conquering a triathlon. However, I had no idea where to begin or how to train for such an event. I saw the “Ready to TRI?” posters at NIFS during the 2013 Mini Training Program and knew that it was exactly what I needed to do to prepare for my first event.


I really enjoyed working with Kris Simpson and Stephanie (Greer) Kaiser at NIFS during this program. Being in a smaller training group, we were able to receive more individual attention during the training and that was extremely helpful. Kris and Steph really knew lots of training and race-day tips, which helped make my first event go smoothly.


I think for everyone who never swam competitively, the swimming portion of the triathlon can be the most daunting of the three parts. I consider myself an average swimmer and did not swim competitively, but I really enjoyed the swimming training we did on Tuesday nights and my own personal swim training on Fridays. Swimming is such a great exercise and I think most people discount it.


I really enjoyed the biking/running training that we did at Eagle Creek Park. It is such a different feeling biking for 30 to 40 minutes and then getting off and immediately starting to run for 1 to 2 miles. Another plus to training at Eagle Creek was the fact it was where I participated in my first Sprint Triathlon, so I definitely felt more comfortable knowing how the race would be set up beforehand.


I think one accomplishment to note that I achieved during the training would have been giving the training participants on road bikes a run for their money on my hybrid bike. I was keeping up with them and sometimes surpassing them on our training rides through the hilly road course of Eagle Creek Park. This definitely set my mind at ease that I would do just fine on race day with my hybrid.


In spite of all the swim training I did, swimming in the open water was way different than swimming in the pool. Kris had warned us that there is no “etiquette” out in the water during the race, so I knew people would brush into me and I would brush into others, but it was hard to simulate that in the pool (even though we all would swim next to each other in one pool lane at the same time). My biggest tip is to try and do some open-water swimming prior to your event so you are used to not seeing the bottom and feel comfortable racing in it. I know I had to get my bearings at first during the event and managed just fine in the end, but I know more experience with open-water swimming would have helped me.


I am like most people (very busy), so it is very easy to allow working out to fall lower on the priority list. However, I have found that having personal goals and something to prepare or strive toward really helps me stay on track. I just signed up for my first full marathon in November (the Indy Monumental), so that is driving me to keep my fitness in tip-top shape throughout the summer and into fall!


I truly recommend NIFS Triathlon Training to anyone who wants to learn how to train the right way and be ready come race day. I know I am glad I did!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS running group training swimming triathlon cycling

NIFS Staff Completes Summer Showdown

You know (and love) your NIFS staff members. We greet you when you first walk into the facility, we guide you through your workouts, we correct your technique, and we push you to your limit. We are always there during your workout, but I bet that many of you wonder when we work out. You probably wonder if we ever push ourselves with the same crazy exercises that we put you through.
NIFS staff summer showdown workout

Well, there is no longer any need for you to wonder.

The NIFS staff completed the 2013 Summer Showdown: Partner 100s workout, and boy was it a sight to see!

A group of NIFS staff representing the Fitness Center, Membership, Group Fitness, and even the interns got together and partnered up for this summer workout challenge.

It was hard work, and although we were sweaty and tired once it was all over, we truly enjoyed the challenge.

Now you know that when we are telling you to push harder, squat deeper, or do just one more rep…we have been there. We know it’s hard work, but we also know that you can do it!NIFS workout

Have fun these next six weeks working to improve your Summer Showdown time. We will be right there with you every step of the way!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.


Topics: NIFS fitness group training functional training NIFS programs challenge Summer Showdown

My First Workout with the Pilates Reformer

I considered myself to be a pretty fit person—and then I met the Pilates Reformer.

You can find me in the gym five or six times a week, and I try to get at least two outdoor running sessions into my weekly routine as well. Exercise is my go-to stress reliever, my “me” time, and my hobby. I’m even a fitness instructor and consider exercise my stress reliever and hobby. But still, the thought of attending a Pilates Reformer session was a little—okay, a lot—intimidating! I have attended several mat Pilates classes, and I even taught a basic Pilates class while working on a cruise, yet I had never set foot on the Reformer, which is a device developed by Joseph Pilates that creates resistance for the body through a system of pulleys and springs.

Pilates Reformer

Tara Takes on the Reformer

I am always open-minded and willing to try new types of exercise. When I found out that Pilates was NIFS’s June group fitness class of the month, I thought that I would take my lack of experience on the Reformer and use it to YOUR advantage. I know that NIFS has an amazing Pilates program, and I know that our instructors are delightfully personable and highly qualified. But I also know that our Pilates program is one of NIFS’s best-kept secrets.

When I entered the room full of Pilates apparatuses, such as the Chair and the Tower, in addition to the Reformer, I was excited, nervous, and tired from a long day’s work.

Pilates TowerI attended a private session with Morgan , one of our resident Pilates experts. Boy am I thankful that I had a private lesson! Naturally, I am very inquisitive and find myself always asking “why” and “am I doing it right?” The private session allowed me to ask lots of questions, have Morgan’s undivided attention, and learn about why we were doing what we were doing and how it would help my other workouts. Although I am thankful I started with a private session, the small class sizes (maximum of only four participants) allow the instructor to be very engaged with participants even in the group setting. I am mostly thankful I had the private session because I could get chatty!

We began as they do in every class with very basic exercises to get my body warm and my mind focused. I had forgotten how much focus a Pilates class takes, and when we were initially beginning the class my mind was all over the place, making it more difficult to maintain proper body alignment. After a few deep breaths and basic movements, my mind was clear.

Pilates allows our bodies to build muscle without overuse, strain, and misuse of the body—AND we are developing smaller stabilizer muscles at the same time!

Morgan was very hands on during our session, paying specific attention to my body’s alignment, allowing me to perfect my form and feel the exercises in the targeted muscle group. 

Pilates toys

A Challenging but Rewarding Workout

Overall, this workout was challenging for my muscles and for my mind, as I tried very hard to engage my core the entire time and focus in on specific muscle groups while maintaining my posture.

After class, I immediately felt refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated despite the hard work I had just completed. I had a heightened awareness of my body and the way my posture effected how I walked and carried myself. Although the workout was very different than my typical routine, which consists of running, BODYPUMP, interval training, and more high-impact exercises, it still challenged me and left my muscles fatigued the day after. I really enjoyed this workout and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to build strength and stay safe in other forms of exercise, who has difficulty completing high-impact exercise, and who wants to try something new! After one private session, I feel much more comfortable with the reformer and would feel at ease taking a group class.

Make sure to join Morgan and Glenna for a mat or Reformer Pilates class. Check the NIFS Pilates Schedule for times and locations!

Ready to try the Pilates Reformer? NIFS has an intro package just for beginners to Pilates Reformer. Click here to get started.

This blog was written by Tara Deal, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen.
Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness strength core Pilates

Tackling Your First Group Fitness Class


Taking any class for the first time can be terribly intimidating. You aren’t quite sure where to start, where to stand, what equipment you’ll need, if you are fit enough, and so on. What was supposed to be an energizing and stress-relieving workout session is now giving you a nervous stomachache! Here are a few easy steps to ease you into your first class.

1. Introduce Yourself to the Instructor

Introduce yourself to the instructor and let him or her know it is your first class. In most cases, the instructor will probably recognize that you are new and take the first steps. But sometimes as instructors, we can get distracted. The instructor will be able to tell you exactly what equipment you will need and what to expect. Your instructor is key to making the class a success. If he knows it is your first class, he will be sure to cue extra options (both higher and lower intensity) to make sure you can work out at whatever fitness level you are currently at.

2. Meet Your Fellow Fitness Participants

Introduce yourself to someone standing next to you. Group fitness participants are generally by nature social people. The idea of running solo on a treadmill is not our idea of fun, but working out with others, being pushed and motivated by the music and the people around you? Absolutely! Your fellow classmates will have valuable information on how to handle the class, and probably the instructor. They will fill you in on all of the details the instructor left out—like how the day after your first BODYPUMP™ class, your thighs cry a little when you try to walk up the stairs! (Don’t worry, that goes away after the first few classes. You get stronger quickly!) Remember, they had a Day 1 at one point, too, and have stuck with it, so they have the inside track.

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3. Try Three to Five Group Fitness Sessions

Try a class three to five times before deciding whether it’s for you. Each group fitness class has its own skill set and its own learning curve. Go in prepared to learn and try something new. For example, if you are taking a cardio class set to music (such as BODYCOMBAT™ or Step), you will have to learn the moves first before you can really rock out. To get the most out of strength-based classes (such as BODYPUMP™, Boot Camp, or other circuit style classes), you will need to learn where you are strength-wise so you can correctly choose your weight selections. These things take time and experimentation. Allow yourself the time to learn the moves ana, or Step), you will have to learn the moves first before you can rd assess your strengths before deciding whether the class is for you.

That’s it! Three easy steps and you are on your way to becoming a group fitness rock star! Check out the Group Fitness Schedule and pick a class to attend this week. Follow these three steps and soon you’ll be as confident as the other members of the class. Then one day, someone will introduce themselves to you as a new participant and you’ll have the opportunity to pay it forward!

This blog was written by Tasha Nichols, Group Fitness Manager and Program Coordinator at NIFS and a Les Mills US National Trainer. Meet our NIFS bloggers.

Topics: cardio group fitness group training strength Les Mills