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Quick And Tasty – Easy Lunch Ideas To Prepare The Night Before

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By the time Sunday rolls around, the couch and movies seem way more interesting than slaving in the kitchen for hours, just to prepare lunch boxes for the upcoming week. If you give in, you know, and we know where you going to end up: pizza, pasta, muffin cuffs!
But fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are three easy-peasy lunches that are prepared in no time, can be eaten even on day 2 and have 500 calories, or less.

 

CHICKEN AND CABBAGE SALAD

Why? Because a portion comes to 575kJ and with 35 minutes cooking time you can easily prepare this filling midday meal the day prior. The crunchy chicken salad has 4g of fat, 17g of protein and therefore is good for you!

What you need:

chickencabbage_salad

 For the dressing:

 

Step 1   To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, shallot, chilli and garlic in a screw-top jar. Shake until well combined

Step 2   Place the chicken in a large frying pan and cover with cold water. Season with salt and pepper. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside in pan for 15 minutes to cool. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 2 hours to chill.

Step 3   Finely shred the chicken with the grain and place in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot, mint, coriander and half the peanuts.

Step 4   Drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts to serve.

 

TUNA AND HUMMUS WRAPS

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Why? Because tuna. And because hummus. And, it’ll take you 10 minutes to throw something together that will fill you up and satisfy your stomach for a couple of hours. 1903kJ, 14g total fat and 31g protein – boom!

What you need:

 

Step 1   Place the wraps on a clean work surface. Spread hummus evenly over each wrap. Top with tuna, cucumber, spinach and tomatoes. Sprinkle with mint and parsley. Roll to enclose filling. Cut each wrap in half and serve immediately.

 

BEEF AND BLACK BEAN STIR-FRY

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Why? Because rice with a delicious, thick sauce is always a good idea and because it’s super easy to do. Especially when you’re happy to eat the same stuff a couple of days in a row, then this is for you! 20 minutes of prepping, 10 minutes of cooking, 1910kJ per serve with 11g of fat and 36g of protein. Yum, yum!

What you need:

  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

 

Step 1   Combine the cornflour, half the soy sauce and half the sherry in a bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.

Step 2   Meanwhile, combine the stock, black bean sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and remaining soy sauce and sherry in a bowl.

Step 3   Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Stir-fry half the beef for 2 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 2 teaspoons of remaining peanut oil and remaining beef, reheating the wok between batches. Heat remaining peanut oil in wok. Stir-fry the onion and capsicum for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the beef and stock mixture. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Divide the rice and stir-fry among serving bowls. Top with shallot.

 

All recipes can be found on taste.com.au

Protein – What, Which and Why?

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Protein powders provide you with a low fat protein source that is convenient and cost effective, meaning, it is a nutrient that is necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body – male, and female. Obviously, there is considerable debate over the amount of protein an adult needs to consume per day. The current recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women aged 19-70, and 56 grams for men aged 19-70. Any excess protein is turned into energy by the body. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general.

Of course men seem to make more use of proteins and other muscle-growing substances, than women, but fact is that protein can be part of a healthy diet and a balanced meal plan. The trick is to know how what exactly you need, how much you need of it and what you’re substituting it with.
The biggest factors that influence which protein powder you should choose are generally:

  • What do you need to achieve by using it?
  • Are you allergic to any of the main ingredients such as lactose, soy, casein or eggs?
  • Does the powder contain any enhancements?
  • Are you vegetarian or vegan?

 

DIFFERENT TYPES

white powder of whey proteinThe general types of protein can be divided into two main categories: animal sourced proteins, including milk derivatives, whey, casein, goat’s milk and egg whites; and vegetable sourced proteins, such as soy, rice, pea and hemp proteins. Nutritionally, animal sourced proteins are superior to vegetable proteins, as they generally are complete proteins. This means they contain the necessary amino acids, which are commonly not found in vegetable based protein powders, unless they are added as an enhancement. Vegetable based protein powders are normally used by those who are vegetarian or vegan.

The most common animal protein, whey protein, comes in two varieties: whey concentrate and whey isolate. The advantages of each are:

Whey concentrate is more economical per gram of protein. It has a low lactose level that is well tolerated by most lactose-sensitive people. It has higher amounts of fat and carbohydrates that are relative to your overall nutrient intake. Whey isolate is virtually fat-free and right for those wishing to eliminate as much fat from their diet as possible. It is typically lactose free for those few individuals who are very sensitive to the low-lactose levels found in whey concentrate. Whey isolate tends to taste slightly better than whey concentrate too, yet its consistency is a little thinner.

Casein or Milk Protein

Like whey protein, casein protein is another milk protein derivative. Since most of the protein in milk is casein, the terms milk protein and casein protein are generally used loosely to describe the same product. The key difference between whey and casein is that whey is absorbed in the digestive system quickly, whereas casein is absorbed slowly and steadily, making it a great protein to be taken on an evening before bed. Taste-wise they are similar, both are more or less tasteless in their unflavoured and unsweetened state. At times casein is normally thicker.

Vegetable Proteins

Among the vegetable source proteins, soy, rice and pea protein are by far the most popular. Soy and hemp are unique among vegetable protein sources in that they supply all eight essential amino acids. Most vegetable proteins lack one or more. Soy has additional benefits – the isoflavones in soy provide antioxidant benefits, heart health benefits and is often used by women transitioning through menopause. For all its benefits, soy protein has a characteristic taste that, while not unpleasant, can be hard to completely mask with flavours and sweeteners.

Enhancements

Besides protein, flavours and sweeteners, many manufacturers add other ingredients to enhance the product’s nutritional value and taste, or to make it more enjoyable to use. Other protein powders are enhanced with digestive enzymes to help improve the absorption of large servings of protein.
Another way to enhance a protein powder is by adding amino acids to improve its nutritional value. Although whey protein contains all the necessary amino acids, it doesn’t provide them in equal amounts. By adding amino acids like glutamine, BCAAs and arginine, the nutritional benefits of that protein are extended and enhanced. Other types of enhancements include the addition of carbohydrates and nutritional fats to the protein and/or the addition of vitamins and minerals. However, when these types of ingredients are added, the products can no longer called protein powders. Such products are known as meal replacements or gainers.

Guilt-Free Pancakes

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As we often choose to celebrate specific occasions throughout the year that mean something to us, I am guessing that you didn’t know there was one specific day, just dedicated to pancakes! And why not? Pancakes are awesome! But like everything loaded with sugar, white flour and butter, they’re not the best for . To combat the overwhelming feeling of post pancake guilt, we have found a great healthy pancake recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions

  1. Place raw, uncooked oatmeal in a blender or food processor and blend until it becomes fine flour.
  2. Add eggs, banana, protein powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and pulse blend until smooth.
  3. Toss blueberries into the batter and mix using a spatula or spoon.
  4. Place a pan on medium-high heat and measure out about 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp of batter per pancake. Use small amount of coconut butter to lubricate the pan.
  5. Cover the pancakes while they cook to help the inside cook faster. Cook them for about 45 seconds to 1 minute on the first side, and then about 30-45 seconds on the other side.
  6. Enjoy some great, guilt free pancakes!

 

Cinnamon helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and is a source of iron, which improves your ability to transport blood to your muscles so they get workout-powering nutrients. Whey protein powder contains the amino acid leucine, which helps your muscle fibres grow and repair after a gym session. Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants among berries. They are also low-GI, which means they release their energy slowly, and count towards your daily five portions of fruit and veggies. Enjoy!

How to find the right goals

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As we move into February this is the time 80% of the new years fitness resolutions have been dropped. There are various of reasons and excuses as to why people give up on their fitness dreams. Here are some guesses: training is too hard, you are scared to start from scratch, you don’t know where to start, you want to lose weight, be fit, trim up, but don’t know how to do that. And so on.

You need to design your goals using the SMART goals principal:

SPECIFIC                Set specific goals, e.g. to lose 10kg

MEASURABLE       Ensure you can measure the progress of your goals – numbers don’t lie

ATTAINABLE         Your goals need to be obtainable – it is impossible to lose 15kg in two weeks

REALISTIC              Make sure your goal is realistic both in the timeframe and the

TIME-BOUND        Your goals need to have a deadline, which always needs to be realistic

When creating goals ensure you have a mix of long, medium and short term goals to keep motivated, these all depend on your individual level of commitment:

SHORT TERM GOALS
… can be as short as 1 day! For instance, if you’re a sugar junkie, and can’t go without your fix for the day, then it is highly recommended to starting small. Go one day without a trip to the vending machine.

MEDIUM TERM GOALS
Medium term goals are them best way to ensure you remain on track to achieving your overall long term goal. They can range from a week to a month depending on your specific goals is. A great medium term goal is to attend a minimum of three training sessions per week. Without medium term goals you’re making much harder on yourself to achieve your overall goal.

LONG TERM GOALS
Other than to remain active and healthy, long term goals are the reason why we train, whether its to achieve a dress size, gain or lose weight, or even set a performance based goal to achieve them you need to focus at the beginning of the goal pyramid – short term goals.

 

As soon as you determine your SMART goals, tell your family, tell your friends, post it on Facebook! As soon as it’s out of your head, it’s no longer a thought – it’s reality. If you begin to lose focus, your friends and family will be the first to ask you about your progress and if you train with AUSFIT, you’re then accountable to the team.

So stay focussed, and never forget why you started!

The Perfect Squat

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Squats are one of the most functional movements in our lives

Since we discovered our ability to squat as babies, we have done so, but as we get older its important to maintain correct posture and stance when performing squats, to not only get the most out of the movement, but to also minimize the risk of injury.

As the squat utilises more than one joint, it is classified as a compound exercise. A simple bodyweight squat uses almost every muscle group in the body – and if weight is added to the equation, it is a great functional exercise to strengthen your core, legs and back while increasing joint strength.

How to:

1. The Setup – Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.  Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward.

2. The Look – Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall or in the distance to focus on. Focus on this point for the entire squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the sky.

3. Lower phase– As you begin to lower into the squat bring your hands up to be parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position. This step is best described in two movements:

Imagine your about to sit down onto a stool, this will ensure your spine remains in a neutral position and you wont accentuate the natural curve of your back or hunch as you lower.

Then finally lower in this position until your quads are parallel to the ground. Note: ensure your knees do not go over your toes, causing the weight to shift from the heel to the ball of your foot.  

4. Raise phase ­­– once your quads have reached the parallel position, its time to return to the standing position. This is done by driving through your heels, engaging your core and raising to the standing position. Note: remain conscious of the weight remaining at the heel and the knees not bending inwards during the raise.

Running Foods – What to eat before, during and after

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Everyone has different levels of comfort regarding eating around training, so it is important to trial what works best for you. In general, allow two to four hours before running and/or after eating a large meal, to allow time for your food to fully digest. After a smaller snack 30 minutes to two hours should be sufficient, depending on how much you have eaten.

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BEFORE

BERRIES: For energy boosting snacks before a run, try to focus on smaller carbohydrate snacks that have a reasonably high glycaemic index score (GI). A food’s GI measure is relative to how quickly it is digested and broken down into glucose, so high-GI foods are absorbed faster and less strain is placed on the gut. Berries are a great little energy booster, they are packed full of healthy sugar and also contain Vitamin C and potassium to help your muscles repair whilst you run. Potassium is also one of the key electrolytes that will help you body fight off those unwanted muscular cramps.

 

 

 

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DURING

NATURAL POWER BARS OR GELS: When talking about foods and supplements to be taken during a run, it all depends on what length we’re talking about. If your going on a chilled run around the block, then you probably won’t need anything, just suck it up and push on as your body has enough energy to get you through. But if we’re talking about a full marathon, then you will have to look to supplements and food sources to keep you going. A great natural option is a handful of sultanas or natural power bars – these babies are packed full of sugar and good fats to keep you going. Alternatively, if you’re about to embark on a 20km+ run it is possible to stick to energy gels. These are full of sodium, potassium and magnesium; all the key electrolytes your body loses during such a run. They are also much more manageable than a handful of fruit.

 

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AFTER

PROTEIN: After your run you probably won’t care what you eat, as long as its tasty and within grabbing distance. However, this is the most important part of your working meals. Your body has just depleted a lot of its minerals and vitamins and has worked a lot of muscle groups for a long period of time. Your post run meal has to be packed with as much protein, carbs, minerals and vitamins as possible – look to lean chicken breast, quinoa, avocado and green vegetables for nutrient dense recipes.

 

Australia Day – A Guilt-Free BBQ

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As we head into a long weekend filled with Australia Day BBQ’s and booze, you’re probably a little worried about sticking to the healthy stuff,  here are a few great BBQ recipes to get you through the weekend, and have you come out on top, ready for another strong week of training. Swap the fatty burger patty for a chicken breast filet and the cocktail sauce for a dressing, voilá – a gazillion calories saved.

A. THE ENTREE: DIPS VS SKEWERS

The classics are generally what ever is on special at Woolies, honey soy chicken, BBQ chicken, hummus and tzatziki dips etc. But you will save yourself a bucket load of money, if you whip them up yourself. Bonus: you will know exactly what is in the marinade. Grab some green banana prawns, garlic and lemon and you will have an entrée to die for! Extra fancy points especially if you leave the tails on when you cook them…

B. THE MAIN: THE BURGER 

Everybody loves a good burger. Unfortunately a quarter-pound beef burger with all the frills will set you back round about 500 calories (30 grams of fat). Take off the cheese will save you about 100 calories. Swap the beef patty for a chicken breast fillet and you save another 200 calories. The burger bun has around 130 calories, so opt for an open sandwich to halve the intake. But if you can’t give up the old burger bun go for a high seed wholemeal variety with a low GI.

C. THE SALAD: POTATO VS CABBAGE

All time classic: the potato salad. Being full of calories (mayo, yum!) it won’t make the top spot on our healthy-eating-list, although it’s full of fiber and Vitamin C. Using full-fat mayo will set you back about 360 calories per cup, but that’s still better than using no or low-fat mayo, which is full of other, ridiculously unhealthy ingredients, such as conservatives, synthetic sugars and so on. Instead, opt for coleslaw with a vinegar based dressing. Red cabbage, white cabbage and carrots are low in fat, packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants and the dressing is low in sodium – which makes it a perfect side.
If you’re not into creamy salads at all, but still want something potato-y, try this: a fresh sweet potato, apple and walnut salad. Find the recipe here: http://bit.ly/1JqxGus

D. THE DRINKS: COCKTAILS VS BEER

Regarding fat, with cocktails you’re on the safe side. Unfortunately the booze and the mixers are what gives your drink additional calories. A standard drink will easily get 160 extra calories on your meal plan. Better: stick to low-calorie light beer (less than 100 calories).

E: THE DESSERT: ICE CREAM VS ICE CREAM

Well, well, chocolate ice cream – delicious 125 calories and 57 grams of fat per serving. Isn’t it tragic? There is literally nothing you can do about the recipe that would lower chocolate in calories without somehow messing up the classic chocolate-flavour. So, simply forget about it all together. Instead, try self-made fruit ice-blocks: swirl up some kiwi fruit, mango and passion fruit in a mixer and a tiny bit of caster sugar, freeze it to ice sticks and enjoy your (almost) guilt free dessert. Find the recipe here: http://bit.ly/1Bd9j1F

Exercise of the week – The Bird Dog

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A much as we all know how much you love a good 5-minutes-bridge every now and then its always important to go back to the basics, especially when it comes to core strength. One of the best core slash lower back strengthening exercises you can do is “The Birddog” (who comes up with these names!?). None the less it’s a great exercise that can be done quickly and at home or work with now equipment, as a warm up or cool down.

HOW TO: Begin on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Without arching back and keeping your head in line with the spine, extend your right arm and left leg up. Make sure your arm and leg are level with the back. Balance and hold this position for 5 seconds before returning to starting position. Now perform the same movement using the opposite arm and leg, perform 10 repetitions for each arm/leg combination for 3 sets. Be conscious of your heel position – it must travel higher than your head.

Note: When performing core exercises, breathing is key. Breath OUT on the contraction/initial phase, and IN on the release/rest phase.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU – Join the 8 Week Challenge

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The AUSFIT 8 Week Challenge is designed to assist you in making the much needed lifestyle changes you know you should have made a long time ago. To do this, we designed the challenge to be as fun, accurate and engaging as possible. We begin by using the state of the art DXA scan to show you exactly where you stand before the challenge, this scan provides you with an accurate overview of your body, we also end the 8 weeks with another scan, showing you how far you have come in just 8 weeks. In addition to the scan, and a solid 8 weeks of unlimited group fitness classes, you also receive a 1hr face-to-face consultation with our nutritionist, this is to ensure you are in the best possible position to get the most out of these 8 weeks, you will walk away with a professionally designed sustainable meal plan that can also be used after the 8 weeks. To help speed up your metabolism and your recovery time, the Team at ASN Neutral Bay have provided you with a supplement pack valued at $150. The top 3 male and female transformations receive great prizes including a full spa day to relax and rest your new body!
The AUSFIT 8 Week Challenge kicks of on the 12 January 2015, total cost is $547.00.

To register for the AUSFIT 8 Week Challenge click the button below and create your profile through MindBody, once you create your profile you will be able to get started and begin scheduling your classes!