Should You Still Be Doing Cardio?

During the 80s and 90s and the era of Jane Fonda workouts and Tae Bo, aerobics were in and weightlifting was out. How the tables have turned today. Now it’s all about being strong, not skinny. Having bigger arms, more definition, and rock-hard abs is definitely “in.”

No longer is there a fear of becoming too “bulky.” These days we know resistance training is an essential tool for building muscle and improving metabolism. Plus, who wouldn’t mind looking great by the time they hit the beach in the summer?

So, is cardio a complete waste of time? Couldn’t you just invest that time into doing more bicep curls, squats, and crunches?

Cardio is not the enemy. Fitness trends are constantly cycling in and out of popularity. But it’s important to remember that all types of exercises have their benefits and, just like with your diet, a well-balanced fitness regimen with a lot of variety will always be best.

You should still be doing cardio—at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1). In fact, cardio itself offers quite a few benefits for your body that exceed that which weight training can provide alone.

Cardio Works for Your Heart

Like every other muscle in your body, the more you work your heart, the stronger it becomes. Endurance increases with exercises that improve the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to muscles. The more you engage in this type of exercise, the more blood your heart is able to pump per beat and in turn, your heart rate (even at resting) will decrease. This will make both exercise as well as everyday activities much easier.

Cardio Supports Your Brain

Studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex (the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory) have greater volume in people who do regular exercise when compared to those who don’t. The hippocampus shrinks as we age, which often leads to impaired memory or even dementia. One study found that aerobic exercise even has the ability to reverse hippocampal volume loss caused by aging, which, in turn, improves memory and overall brain health (2).

Cardio Helps Protect Against Health Risks

Numerous studies have suggested that increasing physical activity can reduce the risk of multiple chronic diseases and health conditions including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases (3). One extensive research review of the scientific literature found that there were more than 24 physical and mental health conditions that exercise helped protect against (3).

You’ll Burn More Calories

Aerobic exercise or cardio is still king when it comes to driving weight loss. The more we move, the more calories we burn, and because there are fewer resting periods during aerobic exercise (as compared to other types of exercise like weightlifting) you burn a lot more.

Variety Is Key for Cardiovascular Fitness

Remember, the best exercise routine is one that is constantly changing and challenging you to improve your fitness level. If you’re someone who only likes weightlifting, try working in a cycling class or a quick jog a couple of times a week. If you’re someone who runs the same track every day, try hitting some weights at the gym or even trying a few body weight exercises in your living room.

Variety is the spice of life… and diet… and exercise—with it you might find yourself much more excited about your workouts. The possibilities are endless, so mix it up. Try a new workout every day if you like! You’re bound to find a few workouts that you truly enjoy and have fun doing.

References

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do adults need? Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/
  2. Erickson K, Voss M, Prakash R, Basak C, Szabo A, Chaddock L, Kim J, Heo S, Alves H, White S, Wojcicki T, Mailey E, Vieira V, Martin S, Pence B, Woods J, McAuley E, Kramer A. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3017-22. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108. Epub 2011 Jan 31.
  3. Alford L. What men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2010; 64 (13): 1731 DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02478.x

3 Ways To Get More Isagenix Greens Every Daily

Not only does Isagenix Greens™ makes a great-tasting beverage on its own, but it can also be used in different ways to pack your diet with those phytonutrients woefully absent from most Americans’ diets. For most of the U.S. population the average intake of vegetables is only about two servings per day (1).

Two servings daily does not leave a lot of room for variety. Our current lack of vegetable consumption is troubling considering that a recent study suggests that consuming a variety of vegetables is more important than consuming too much of the same kind (2). The reason is that consuming a wide variety of vegetables provides the body with a variation of unique phytonutrients and antioxidants not otherwise found in the diet. It’s also why it’s recommended that you consume six to nine servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.

Why should you use Isagenix Greens? The powdered green drink mix provides you with a healthy dose of phytonutrients to support your overall health and well-being, even on days when you don’t meet the recommendations. Just as there’s more than one way to enjoy your other favorite Isagenix products, Isagenix Greens is no exception.

1. Add Isagenix Greens to your IsaLean Shake.

It’s hard to imagine an IsaLean® Shake being even more nutritious and delicious than it already is, but adding Isagenix Greens to your shake is great way to get the added benefit of phytonutrients.

Adding whole fruits and vegetables to your IsaLean Shake is a great way to add fiber and phytonutrients; however, you can only fit so much in your IsaBlender®, so Isagenix Greens can help you achieve more variety with key phytonutrients from more than 30 ingredients. Now that’s convenient!

2. Replace your sugary beverages with Isagenix Greens.

A recent report shows that one third of Americans drink at least one soda or sugar-sweetened beverage every day. These sugary drinks are a major source of added sugars, providing on average eight teaspoons per serving without any nutritional value (3).

Enter Isagenix Greens—and don’t forget Isagenix Fruits™! Each serving contains only 30 calories and 1 gram of sugar and is a great-tasting alternative to sugary soda and juice. It’s not only for you, but can benefit your entire family.

3. Get creative with recipes!

It’s easy to find creative ways to get more nutrition from Isagenix Greens with innovative recipes. If you’re looking for some inspiration, see our recipes page for ideas on using Isagenix Greens before creating your own.

No matter how busy you are or what your day looks like, you can always find opportunities to benefit from the nutrition found in Isagenix Greens. But if for any reason you’ve missed taking your Isagenix Greens during the day, don’t worry—you can also use Isagenix Greens as a “night cap” on Shake Days as it’s also a core component of our Bedtime Belly Buster (BBB).

References

    1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-20120. 8th Ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2016.
    2. Bhupathiraju SN, Tucker KL. Greater variety in fruit and vegetable intake is associated with lower inflammation in Puerto Rican adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:37-46. doi: 10.3945
    3. Park S, Xu F, Town M, Blanck HM. Prevalence of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Among Adults — 23 States and the District of Columbia, 2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:169–174. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6507a1.

High Protein With High-Intensity Exercise Best for Weight Loss

Eating a diet high in protein leads to more muscle gains and body fat losses when combined with regular high-intensity exercise, a new study suggests.

Top protein researchers found that during weight loss, a diet containing a little over 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight was more effective than a diet containing half that amount to promote increases in lean body mass and increased losses of fat mass in combination with high-intensity interval training (1).

In the study, subjects in the high-protein group averaged an increase of 2.64 pounds of lean body mass compared with the control group gaining an average of 0.22 pounds. The higher-protein group also had greater fat loss compared to the control group at 10.56 versus 7.7 pounds, respectively.

Their four-week, single-blinded study randomized 40 overweight young men to two calorie-restricted groups that either ate a lower-protein diet (1.2 grams per kilogram) or a higher-protein diet (2.4 grams per kilogram). All subjects performed resistance exercise training combined with high-intensity interval training for six days per week.

The research suggests the combination of higher protein and high-intensity training can be instrumental for keeping or building muscle during weight loss. Weight-loss diets otherwise often result in a 20 to 30 percent loss of weight coming from muscle mass (2).

The authors of the new research wanted to conduct a proof-of-principle trial to examine whether protein intake during a large calorie reduction with intense exercise would affect body composition. To help get the proper amount of protein, both groups received whey-based protein shakes that were consumed multiple times throughout the day.

The researchers also asked that subjects consume the shakes right after training on exercise days to assist with optimal recovery.

Because the high-protein group needed to consume more than twice the amount of total protein compared to the control group, they had three times the amount of whey protein in their shakes. In fact, the average dietary intake daily for the high-protein group was 245 grams of protein, 311 grams of carbohydrates, and 38 grams of fat. In comparison, the control group on average had 116 grams of protein, 286 grams of carbohydrates, and 86 grams of fat.

Because carbohydrates are an important fuel source during intense exercise, the researchers also sought to increase fat intake for the control group to keep calories similar between groups. The strength of the study is evidenced by provision of all meals and beverages that were consumed over the four-week period.

References

  1. Longland TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CJ, Devries MC & Phillips SM. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):738-46.
  2. Weinheimer EM, Sands LP & Campbell WW. A systematic review of the separate and combined effects of energy restriction and exercise on fat-free mass in middle-aged and older adults: implications for sarcopenic obesity. Nutr Rev. 2010 Jul; 68(7):375-88.

Salmon Fillet with Vegetable Pasta in Tomato Sauce

Low-fat and delicious, these salmon fillets with vegetable pasta are great for slimmers.

Salmon Fillet with Vegetable Pasta in Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 100 g pasta shapes such as rigatoni
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g broccoli broken into small florets
  • 100 g fine green beans trimmed and halved
  • 1 leek trimmed and sliced
  • 4 x 100g salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 100 g frozen garden peas thawed
  • 500 g jar original tomato pasta sauce

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the grill.
  • Cook the pasta shapes in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 8-10 mins, or according to pack instructions. At the same time, cook the broccoli, green beans and leek in a little boiling water until just tender, for about 5 mins.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the salmon fillets on the grill rack. Sprinkle them with lemon juice, season with black pepper and sprinkle with half the chopped chives.
  • Grill for 6-8 mins, or until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  • Drain the pasta and vegetables then return them to the saucepan with the peas. Stir in the jar of pasta sauce and heat, stirring gently for 2-3 mins.
  • Share the pasta between 4 warmed serving plates or bowls and top with a fillet of salmon. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve immediately.

Notes

Swap the lemon juice in this recipe for orange juice to give the salmon a different flavour.

Grilled Vegetable and Halloumi Salad

This warm grilled vegetable and halloumi salad can be cooked outside on the barbecue in the summer or indoors on a griddle pan when the weather is not so good. Halloumi is the perfect cheese for grilling because it has a high melting point so retains it’s shape when cooked. It has a slightly rubbery texture and salty flavour and is delicious when grilled or fried as it gets a golden crust on the outside. If you’re on a gluten-free diet this salad can be served as an alternative to a pastry-based quiche and is very good served with new potatoes or potato rosti cakes.

Grilled Vegetable and Halloumi Salad

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 courgettes halved or quartered lengthways and thickly sliced
  • 250 g asparagus spears trimmed and halved lengthways if thick
  • 8 medium-sized flat mushrooms wiped and trimmed
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g halloumi cheese cut into 8 slices

Marinade

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 9 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed

Instructions
 

  • Place the courgettes, asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in a shallow non-metallic dish. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and pour over the vegetables. Mix to coat in the marinade then cover and leave to marinate for 30 mins.
  • Remove the vegetables from the marinade and reserve the marinade. If cooking on a barbecue, thread the courgette pieces and tomatoes onto skewers before cooking. Cook all the vegetables on a hot barbecue or in a preheated griddle pan, in batches, for 3-4 mins turning occasionally, until lightly charred and just tender. Cook the halloumi slices for 1 min each side until golden.
  • Place the halloumi slices on top of the vegetables and pour the reserved marinade over the top. Serve warm.

Notes

Aurbergines, peppers, fennel, butternut squash and carrots are all delicious cooked in this way and really brings out their sweetness.

Baked Vegetable Polenta

Polenta is an Italian store-cupboard staple. Typically a peasant ingredient it still remains a cheap but versatile grain. Recognised for its rich, yellow colour, it has a sweet taste to it and be found ranging from coarse to fine. It can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or griddled, baked and fried. It can even replace flour in gluten-free baking and comes in handy as a coating to meat and fish. This recipe makes a great vegetarian main meal or great as a side dish. Swap the feta cheese with any that you fancy. Try, cheddar, swiss, gouda or even stinky gorgonzola!

Baked Vegetable Polenta

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 300 g quick-cook polenta
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
  • Small handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 200 g mushrooms
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes
  • Feta cheese cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Mix the dry polenta grains with the garlic and parsley. Into a saucepan, pour the polenta mix into the required amount of boiling water as stated on the cooking packet. Cook polenta until a smooth consistency is achieved. Then pour into a baking tray. Set aside to cool.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the leeks and mushrooms until tender.
  • Top the polenta with the fried vegetables and add the feta and tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 20mins until the polenta has risen and the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.

Notes

For extra flavour, use stock to cook the polenta in instead of water.

Quinoa, Feta & Broccoli Salad

Celeb chef Jo adds quinoa, a super-healthy South American protein, to this tasty salad with feta cheese, broccoli and pomegranate.

Quinoa, Feta & Broccoli Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 300 g quinoa
  • 200 g pack broccoli
  • 200 g feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 large handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 1 large handful of mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful of flatleaf parsley roughly chopped
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes deseeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. Leave to cool in a large mixing bowl.
  • Meanwhile, the broccoli can be cut into small bite-size pieces and either lightly steamed or boiled, until just tender (4-5 mins will be about right) and also left to cool.
  • Heat a small frying pan and lightly toast the pumpkin seeds until they are slightly crunchy. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
  • Once the quinoa and broccoli are cool, stir together along with the feta, pomegranate seeds, herbs, tomato, spring onions, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with a little salt, (the feta cheese will add a salty flavour) and a good twist of black pepper. Toss together until everything is combined and either serve straight away or keep in the fridge.

Notes

Jo says: 'I've used quinoa as a super healthy substitute to couscous or bulgur wheat. Not only is this a lovely midweek masterpiece, it's also fantastic to eat al fresco as part of a picnic or 'al desko' as part of your working lunch.'

Cheese and Spinach Baked Mushrooms

Make delicious cheesy mushrooms as a vegetarian starter or turn them into a filling main served with brown rice and a side salad

Cheese and Spinach Baked Mushrooms

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 75 g basmati rice cooked
  • 150 g fresh baby spinach blanched, drained & chopped
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 25 g Dolcelatte or any vegetarian blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 flat mushrooms or portabello mushrooms stalks trimmed

To serve

  • Tomato and lettuce for the salad

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 190º C/375º F/Gas Mark 5.
  • Heat half the oil in a pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic until golden, then place in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Add the next four ingredients and mix well together to create the stuffing. Divide into four and fill the mushroom caps.
  • Use the remaining oil to grease the base of a roasting tin. Place the mushrooms in the tin and bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked.

Notes

Serve with a tomato and lettuce salad - we've got a great three tomato salad you could do and just add lettuce to it

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Balti

At just £1.09 per serving, this vegetarian curry makes a lovely mid week meal. Quick and easy, it’s a great way of getting more veg into your family’s diet

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Balti

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 3 tbsp balti paste or more if you like it spicy
  • 500 g 1lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400 g can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 125 g 4 oz frozen spinach chunks
  • Naan breads or rice to serve

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry 3-4 mins. Stir in the balti paste and sweet potato chunks and cook for a couple of mins.
  • Add the tomatoes, 300ml (½ pint) hot water and the chickpeas. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 mins. Check the seasoning.
  • Microwave the frozen spinach for a few mins and spoon on top of the balti (or add to the balti for the last 5 mins of cooking). Spoon curry into bowls. Serve with hot naan bread or rice.

Notes

You can add chicken to this dinner to make it a little meatier