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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Tips for Healthy Eating at Summer Barbecues

Summer is perfect for being active outdoors and grilling some healthy items for cookouts. Getting together with family and friends is a wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon and evening. Unfortunately, some barbecues can turn into really unhealthy meals quickly. Here are some simple tips to ensure you keep up healthy eating while enjoying a cookout. Healthy Eating at BBQ

  • Better your burger. Consider topping your burger with fresh and flavorful veggies such as onions and tomatoes versus higher-fat options like mayonnaise and cheese. Also, grab a whole-wheat bun to increase the fiber, or a sandwich thin to keep calories lower. Seek out lower-fat ground beef to make your burgers, such as Laura’s Lean Beef, or grab a turkey burger or a plant-based burger to grill. 
  • Select sides wisely. Coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni salad are typical staples of most cookouts. However, these mayonnaise-based options are loaded with fat and calories that aren’t necessarily the best for a balanced plate. Choose a serving the size of a tennis ball to keep portions in check, or choose oil-and-vinegar or yogurt-based dishes if available. 
  • Fill up on fruit. This time of year is full of almost every fruit in its peak season. Load up on filling berries, cherries, and melons. Make a giant fruit salad or kabobs, or toss some peaches or pineapple on the grill and top with nonfat vanilla yogurt. If fruit pies are on the menu for dessert, choose the option with a bottom crust only and stick to one slice!
  • Don’t forget the veggies. A lot of times veggies are completely forgotten at a barbecue, but these can be super tasty and easy to fix when done on the grill. Zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, and peppers are great on the grill and can easily be made into fun kabobs. Corn on the cob is technically a starchy vegetable, but it’s still a vegetable! Just be cautious with the amount of butter and salt that you load on top of it. Instead, try grilling it in foil with a touch of olive oil and squeeze a lime on it before eating. You won’t even miss the butter and salt!
  • Be careful not to burn your meat. Two compounds found in charred and overcooked meats are known carcinogens. Always make sure to clean your grill to get rid of preexisting charred food bits before you start grilling, or grill on top of foil or a grill mat. Another great idea is to marinate your meats before throwing them on the grill. Not only will it increase the flavor, but it can reduce the presence of the carcinogens. Grab a meat thermometer and make sure beef, pork, fish, veal, and lamb reach 145 degrees and poultry reaches 165 degrees.
  • When you are finished, go play. Challenge the kids to a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Start tossing the ball around or choose another outdoor game. The point is to not just to jump around and “burn off” dinner, but to get up and moving and away from the tempting chips and other snacks!

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating calories summer disease prevention paleo

Keeping Your Fruits and Vegetables Fresh

GettyImages-1253261400Did you know the American Heart Association recognizes June as Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month? Purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables can be a challenge for some, as they are typically more expensive and don’t last as long than produce that is canned or frozen. Try some of the storage tips in the chart below to prolong the shelf life of your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables!

Storage Tips for Fruit

Screen Shot 2021-06-15 at 11.11.48 AMScreen Shot 2021-06-15 at 11.11.57 AM

Storage Tips for Vegetables

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This blog was written by Lindsey Recker, MS, RD, NIFS Registered Dietitian. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Bring on the HIIT Training!

GettyImages-1222657413Bring in the summer with some fun ideas to get your fitness goals accomplished. Completing both circuits will help you get a jump-start on your fitness goals going into this summer. This workout can be done outside or in the gym.

  • Reps: 10-8-6-4-2. Complete 10 reps of every exercise, and then start over with the 8 rep countdown to 2 reps
  • Equipment needed: A moderate kettle bell
  • Time: 15 minutes

Complex #1

  • Goblet squat
  • KB swing
  • Deadlift
  • Goblet walk 50ft

Start the circuit with 10 reps. Once you’re done with the goblet walk, start the circuit over at 8 down to 2 reps.

Complex #2

  • Goblet backward lunge
  • One-arm KB row, 10 each
  • Low KB hang squat
  • Squat jumps

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This blog was written by Jason Quarles, IUPUI Athletic Performance Coach. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: workouts circuit workout outdoors kettlebell high intensity HIIT

Stay Properly Hydrated: Your Kidneys Will Thank You

Greetings NIFS friends and fitness aficionados! As warmer days come, we will be subject to higher instances of dehydration. This might seem fairly obvious and straightforward, but what really happens to your body, namely your kidneys, as you reach these states of dehydration? We are told to drink “x” amount of water every day, but is that right for everyone? How does taking supplements effect our kidneys, especially when we do not have enough water? What can we do to help alleviate the effects of dehydration and protect our kidneys from chronic kidney disease? Taking time now to address these concerns will help keep you healthier as you get older.

GettyImages-1202329799What Do Your Kidneys Do?

You might be asking yourself, “What’s so special about kidneys?” The answer to this can be found at the National Kidney Foundation website. Basically, your kidneys allow your body to remove excess waste and fluid from the body via the bloodstream, help in regulating blood pressure, create red blood cells through erythropoietin, keep your bones healthy through processing vitamin D with calcium and phosphorus, and keep your body’s pH levels balanced so that you don’t become too acidic. So, nothing major right? The importance of your kidneys cannot be overstated, and keeping them safe should be a priority.

How Does Dehydration Affect Your Kidneys?

For starters, one of the main kidney functions involves removing waste from the body (this is a filtration process through urination). When there is a lack of water, a buildup of this “waste” happens. This could lead to kidney infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure. To prevent all of this, adequate water intake is a necessity. Many sites, such as The Mayo Clinic, suggest roughly 8 glasses of water (closer to 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women) while other reputable sources, such Dr. Roxanne Sukol at The Cleveland Clinic suggest, “Your size, activity, metabolism, location, diet, physical activity and health all factor into how much water you need.” Basically, your needs will vary depending on the situation (if you sweat a lot, you may need to drink more than someone who doesn’t sweat as much).

How Can Supplements Affect Hydration?

Dietary and workout supplements vary in nature and are rarely regulated by any government agency. This being said, the components in our supplements, such as a pre-workout drink, may contain an immense amount of caffeine. Caffeine has been proven to cause dehydration in the body. With this dehydration, any other substances that need to filter through the kidneys have a harder time processing and the filtration process becomes more and more taxed. At some point, the initial dehydration becomes a huge problem. The safest bet, if you are using any supplements, is to make sure you are always drinking ample amounts of water and staying within the recommended serving sizes noted on the container.

Are You Dehydrated?

If you are unsure that you are drinking enough water, there are several tests to see whether you are dehydrated. Over-the-counter urine sample tests are designed to tell whether you are dehydrated. If you do not have access to these tools, you can use thirst as an indicator (although thirst is the afterthought of dehydration and you should drink up before this occurs). Drinking the recommended daily amounts of water per day might seem like a daunting task, but you can use strategies to create an interval so that you don’t drink all your drinks at once.

Where Can You Get More Information?

There is so much to gain from taking care of your kidneys. Your health, happiness, and life depend on it. For more information about taking care of your kidneys and advice about incorporating water into your daily regimen, contact a NIFS Fitness Specialist at 317-274-3432 ext. 262, or reach out via email at tlivegnood@nifs.org.

Thank you for reading… muscleheads rejoice and evolve!

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, NIFS Health Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.
Topics: Thomas' Corner hydration disease prevention water supplements dietary supplements kidneys kidney health

Build a Workout Program with Full-Body Training Splits

Screen Shot 2021-06-01 at 2.24.57 PMAs a young trainer, I struggled to find my training style. I spent the first few months trying to make my clients happy, trying to make every session as hard as I could with no real connection between workouts. Our training had no direction; they were individual workouts according to what my clients wanted to work on that day. More times than not, this turned into working out one muscle group for the entire 30 minutes. I did a good job at working one muscle group, but that did not benefit them in the long term. As I grew in my education and as a trainer, I learned that there was a better approach to training: the full-body training split

The Full-Body Split

The full-body training schedule reduces the amount of time you need to spend inside the gym while still working the different muscle groups more than once per week. A typical bro split is push, pull, leg. On that schedule, if you miss one day, you more than likely will not train that muscle group for another week. Now you have gone at least 14 days without training a specific muscle group. By training full-body in each training session, you will never miss hitting your lower or upper body within a week.

Putting It All Together

Using the movement patterns discussed in my previous blog, along with your weekly schedule, you can put together your weekly training schedule. There are a few different ways to schedule your week to make the full-body routine.

Three Days per Week

On a three-day-per-week schedule, your training days should be at least 48 hours apart. An example of an ideal schedule would be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With this schedule you will hit each movement pattern with at least one exercise per category. There is room, depending on how much time you have, to add more isolation movements at the end. A very basic week would look like this:

Day 1–3: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

  • Bench press
  • Pull-up
  • Back squat
  • Kettlebell deadlift

Four Days per Week

For the four-day-per-week program, you will do a full-body push day and a full-body pull day. The full-body push day will consist of an upper-body press and a lower-body squat pattern. The full-body pull day will consist of an upper-body pull and a lower-body hinge pattern. The workouts can be done back to back at least 24 hours apart. An example of an ideal schedule would be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. A basic four-day-per-week schedule would look like this:

Days 1 and 3: Monday and Thursday

Days 2 and 4: Tuesday and Friday

  • Deadlift
  • Pull-up
  • RDL
  • Rows

Five and Six Days per Week

This is a more advanced version of the four-day-per-week schedule. You use the same full-body push/ pull split, but with not as many rest days. A five-day-per-week schedule cycles through each week, alternating between push and pull days. Week 1 has three push days and two pull days. Week 2 then starts with a pull day, giving you three pull days and two push days. After a four-week cycle, you will come out with the same amount of push and pull days. A six-day-per-week cycle is much easier to make, with alternating three push days and three pull days. A basic five- or six-day-per-week schedule looks like this:

Days 1, 3, and 5: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Days 2, 4, and optional 6: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday

Get Help Structuring Your Program at NIFS

For more information on how to properly progress and structure a training program, visit us at the track desk to set up a session. We are more than happy to help at any time, and as a part of your membership here at NIFS, you can receive as many free workout programs as you would like. All programs are tailored to your fitness goals by our health fitness professionals.

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This blog was written by Evan James, NIFS Exercise Physiologist EP-C, Health Fitness Instructor, and Personal Trainer. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: muscle building leg day workout programs full-body programming pull push arms training schedule