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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Candy Lander

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Charter member Candy Lander talks about her favorite things about NIFS. Watch Video.

Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center running marathon training mini marathon half marathon accountability nifs staff anniversary

How to Add Superfoods to Your Holiday Meals

We have all heard about holiday weight gain from eating too much of those delicious celebratory foods. However, a lot of the foods that we typically only see around this time of brussel sproutsyear can be very good for us. Here are some superfoods and recipes to incorporate into your annual holiday feasts!

Brussels Sprouts:

  • Loaded with 15% of your RDA for fiber to help keep cholesterol low.
  • Lots of cancer-fighting antioxidants like Vitamins C, E, and A.
  • Contain one-third of the inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids your body requires per day.
  • Over 200% of the RDA of Vitamin K, which is essential for proper brain and nerve function.


  • May help keep plaque from forming on artery walls.pomagrante
  • Antioxidants in it have been found to slow prostate cancer growth.
  • Improves blood flow to the heart and reduces the risk for heart disease.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Bacon

Makes 3 to 4 side-dish servings

5 to 6 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1.5 lbs.), cleaned and quartered

2 slices turkey bacon or center-cut bacon, cut into small pieces

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup pecan halves, roughly chopped

⅛ to ¼ tsp. sea salt and pepper, depending on preference

  1. Begin by cooking the bacon over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  2. Once the bacon is almost all browned, add the Brussels sprouts. Cook and stir at least once a minute. When most of the Brussels sprouts have browned a little bit and are softened
    (about 5 to 7 minutes), pour into pomegranates and pecans.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the entire mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes.

(Recipe from www.eatliverun.com.)


  • Lean source of protein with all of the essential amino acids.
  • Contains selenium, which is helpful in thyroid and immune system function.
  • Is a good source of Vitamins B3 and B6.

Turkey Pot Pie SoupTurkey

Makes 8 servings

¼ cup flour

2 cups turkey stock

4 cups fat-free milk

2 large celery stalks, chopped

1½ cups chopped onion

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

Fresh ground pepper

2 TB. chopped parsley

8 oz. frozen peas and carrots

1 tsp. turkey bouillon (or more to taste)

2 medium (12 oz. total) potatoes, peeled and cubed small

16 oz. cooked turkey breast, diced small or shredded

  1. Create a roux by combining ½ cup of the cold broth with flour in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Pour remaining broth and milk into a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, parsley, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables, and salt and return to a boil.
  3. Partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, add potatoes, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add turkey, and slowly whisk in roux, stirring well as you add.
  6. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until soup thickens.
  7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.

(Recipe from www.skinnytaste.com.)

Sweet Potatoes:sweet potato

  • Rich in beta carotene and meet the daily requirement for Vitamin A.
  • Provide one-third of your daily dose of Vitamin C.
  • Packed with fiber to help keep you full.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Makes 12 servings

1 lb. cooked, mashed sweet potato

½ cup orange juice

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 egg whites


½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

  1. Mix orange juice, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Add to sweet potato.
  2. Place sweet potato mixture in a casserole dish.
  3. Mix topping ingredients until mixture is mealy. Spread on top of potato mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped pecans on top (optional).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.


  • A serving contains more than 200% of the RDA of Vitamin A, which helps with vision.
  • Loaded with the antioxidant beta carotene, which is a cancer fighter.
  • Plenty of potassium to aid in the body’s electrolyte balance.


  • Has been found to help reduce blood sugar levels of individuals with diabetes.
  • Can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
  • May help against the destructive process of multiple sclerosis.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Makes 12 servings

15 oz. canned pumpkin

8 oz. Cool-Whip

1 package sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding mix

½ TB. pumpkin pie seasoning

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

Sliced apples for dipping

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together except apples.
  2. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.
  3. Serve with sliced apples.

 Red Wine:red wine

  • Can have a significant positive effect on lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Resveratrol, a compound in red wine, can help keep your brain sharp.
  • Studies have shown it can prevent you from getting the common cold when drinking red wine in moderation (5 oz. per day for women and 10 oz. per day for men).

Pot Roast with Dried Fruit and Red Wine

Makes 6 servings

1 well-trimmed boneless beef rump roast (2 pounds), tied

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup beef broth

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 large red onions, cut into wedges

2 cups pitted prunes

2 cups dried apricot halves

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Rub the roast with the salt and pepper.
  3. In an ovenproof Dutch oven, bring the broth, wine, orange juice, and allspice to a boil over high heat.
  4. Place the roast in the pot and return to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
  5. Bake, turning the roast several times, for 2 hours. Add the onions, prunes, and apricots and cook for 1 hour, or until the roast is very tender.
  6. Place on a cutting board, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the strings from the roast and cut into thin slices.
  8. Arrange the meat on a platter and spoon the pan juices and fruit over top.

(Recipe from www.prevention.com.)

Happy Holidays, and make sure to incorporate some of these superfoods into your meals this season!

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, wellness coordinator at NIFS, She also organizes the Mini Marathon Training Program, Dealing with Diabetes, and Lite ‘N Up classes. To contact Angie about Personal Nutrtional Coaching sessions email her at ascheetz@nifs.org or call 317-274-3432.


Topics: nutrition healthy eating recipes holidays

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Ronald Cooper

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Charter member Ronald Cooper talks about a few of his favorite things
at NIFS! Watch his video!
Topics: exercise fitness nutrition staying active fitness center motivation anniverary

Ready, Set, Row! The NIFS Staff Rowing Challenge Is Back

Get ready for the 2013 Annual Staff Rowing Challenge here at NIFS! If you are looking for a little bit of friendly competition as the winter rolls in, be sure to sign up with a team this year! The competition is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is sign up for a team; row, row, row; record your meters; and watch the boats on the string-line in front of the rower to see if your team is winning the race!

WARNING: This competition can be pretty intense (all in fun), so bring your “A” game!

For those of you who participated last year, you probably remember how it all turned out in the end. For those of you who didn’t, here are the results from last year:

2012 Team Total Meters Rowed

  1. Tony: 730,336
  2. Rick: 483,377
  3. Adam: 413,370
  4. Ben: 325,370
  5. Mike: 242,032rowing NIFS
  6. Cara: 213,230
  7. Tasha: 206,304
  8. Brad: 199,438
  9. Josh: 90,726
  10. Alex: 84,505
  11. Christy: 83,793
  12. Steph: 77,543
  13. Thomas: 59,297

             Do you know the right way to row?
             Watch our video with Tony and Alex!
             They will show you the proper form before
             you get started!

2012 Team Average Meters Rowed

  1. Ben: 46,481
  2. Adam: 45, 930
  3. Rick: 30,212
  4. Tony: 26,083
  5. Cara: 21,323
  6. Brad: 16,620
  7. Tasha: 12,894
  8. Alex: 12,072
  9. Thomas: 11,859
  10. Christy: 9,310
  11. Mike: 9,309
  12. Steph: 7,754
  13. Josh: 7,560
This year we are adding a little bit of a twist to the program that will be sure to make the race even more exciting and competitive than it has been in the past. Here are the ground rules for the program this year:
  • Choose your team and sign up with a Health Fitness
    Specialist at the track desk for your team starting November 18.
  • Between November 25 at 6am and December 24 at 2pm, row!
  • There are two ways to utilize your meters rowed this year. In the tracking binder located at the track desk, record your meters rowed immediately following your rowing session, either for your team or against another team. Your meters rowed can only count for one or the other.
  • All rowing must take place at NIFS to count toward your team total.
  • Your HFS will move your team boat along the line to show how well your team is doing against the others.
  • There will be two winning teams that will have bragging rights as champions for the year: the team with the most total meters rowed and the team with the highest individual average.

Sign up before Monday 11/25! We are looking forward to another exciting race this year! If you have any questions about the program, contact Stephanie Kaiser at sgreer@nifs.org or 274-2432, ext. 226.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. Click here to learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS winter fitness fitness center nifs staff rowing

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Rick Hurst

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Charter member Rick Hurst talks about his favorite activities at NIFS and what has kept him coming back for 25 years. Click here to watch his video.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness cardio staying active fitness center workouts anniversary

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Jeff Powers

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Jeff Powers has been a NIFS member for 25 years. What keeps him coming back to NIFS and motivated to keep working out?  Click here to watch his video.

Ready to give NIFS a try? We offer a 14-day free trial membership. No commitment and no strings attached. Click here to get started today!

Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center group fitness anniverary member

NIFS 25th Anniversary: What Keeps Charter Member Pat Marshall Motivated

NIFS Indianapolis is celebrating our 25th anniversary throughout the month of November by highlighting some of our Charter Members that have been around since the beginning. These members have participated in countless group fitness classes, training programs, have lifted more weight over the years than we can keep track of and have logged many miles on our cardio equipment.  NIFS 25 logo

We want to give a HUGE thanks to these members who have really been with us through it all. To do that, we are highlighting these charter members by learning more about their stories and what keeps them coming back to NIFS.

First up, we have Pat Marshall, who became a loyal NIFS member on November 14, 1988.  Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication Pat!

What keeps you motivated to have a healthy lifestyle?

  • I have a history of diabetes on my mother’s side and a history of heart disease on my father’s side. I also think weight control is extremely important.

What is your favorite program/favorite instructor/favorite piece of equipment?

  • I love Body Pump and Cycle
  • The Ellipticals
  • The Spin bikes
  • The indoor track

How has your fitness routine changed throughout the years?

When I first joined NIFS I did so because of the indoor track. I liked to use that for my walking.  Then NIFS got the new Elliptical machines and stair master so I started using those more.  Then the group fitness was added in so I started attending classes.  Now I seem to be going back more to the cycle.

Anything else you would like to add?

NIFS is a top notch facility! It’s very clean—the locker rooms and fitness center offer a lot of variety of classes.

The timing of the classes is really good because people can do it before work or after work.

The location is great as well.

Basically the keep up over the years has been great, as well as addition of new equipment.

I also love the hours that you open early and stay open late.

This blog was written by Tara Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.


Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center group fitness anniverary Les Mills

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Performance: Taking a Deload Week

Just so that we are clear, deloading is when you reduce the volume, intensity, or frequency of training for a specified length of time. For many athletes, thinking of taking a deload week can sometimes be difficult. They are either in a groove that they don’t want to mess up, or the fear of losing too much strength or momentum can outweigh their decision to lighten up for a week. The reality of it is that they could come back the following week refreshed and more motivated than ever to reach their performance goals.

When utilizing a deload week, it canweight lifter
sometimes be difficult to understand when to take advantage of it and how to modify your training so that you can come back fully recovered. Your training age, strength levels, and injury history will determine how often you need to take one. The higher your training age, the stronger you are and the more weight that you can lift. If you tend to be injured a lot, a deload week is more important if you want to be successful. 

The three weeks hard, one week deload idea is something that I have added to my programs and have gotten great results from, as well. I use a four-week block system. Depending on where they are at (think off-season or in-season) will dictate if they deload at the fourth week or the eighth week.

Here I outline some general guidelines so that you can take your training and performance to the next level.

Reduce Training Volume

My first recommendation is to drop the total training volume to 60 to 70 percent of what was originally planned. To make things easy, if you had 10 total sets planned, you would only do six to seven total sets for the training session.

Reduce Training Intensity

My second recommendation is to drop the intensity to 60 to 70 percent. So here you would calculate your one-rep max (RM) and work up to only 60 to 70 percent of that 1RM. Let’s say that your bench press is 200 pounds. Then the highest weight that you would lift for the day would be anywhere from 120 to 140lbs. You can reduce both volume and intensity if you are really feeling under-recovered. In this example, if you had 4 x 5 at 80 percent of 200, you would do the following: 

70% of 4 sets = 2.8
(so you would round up and do 3 sets instead of 4 sets)
Instead of doing 80% of 200, which is 160, you would complete 70% of 200, which is 140.
The athlete now would do 3 x 5 at 140 instead of 4 x 5 at 160.

Take Some Days Off or Reduce Training Frequencyfitness calendar

The other option is to take a couple of days off or reduce the training frequency. So if you normally train five times per week, maybe come in for three days that week while dropping your volume and intensity to 60 to 70 percent. On the days off, you could incorporate some active recovery, which includes some cardiac output training (keep heart rate between 120 and 150) to help stimulate recovery, or even a mobility circuit. Again, if you are feeling very under-recovered, it might be best to take the day off completely.


The biggest benefit from taking a deload week is to give your body a chance to fully recover so that you can stay healthy and come back refreshed and eager to train even harder. The recovery process is just as important as the training process. If you can’t recover properly, that is going to set you up for injuries. 

If you take only one thing from this post, let this be your warning: Don’t wait for something bad to happen that forces you to take time off. Incorporate a deload week as part of your training program so that you can stay healthy longer. Hopefully this post gave you good insight about how to deload properly, stay healthy for a long time, and improve overall performance.

This blog was written by by Josh Jones, MS, CSCS, USAW. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: fitness center workouts injury prevention muscles strength safety