5 Foods You Must Avoid

Another Great Article From Prograde Nutrition!

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

Buying local, fresh foods from Farmers’ markets, organic farms, or from your local grocer can go a long way for your budget and your health.  However, not everyone can benefit or wants to shop healthy.  Here are the top five foods to avoid or minimize in your diet for a longer, healthier life and a leaner waistline, followed by the top five foods that will give you amazing health benefits.

Food #1 Low-fat Foods

Food labeling can be very deceptive when it comes to food geared for weight loss.  Low-fat foods are one of the products to be careful about.  Just because the food says “low fat,” does not mean the food is low calorie.  Be sure to check the label and see how many calories are typically in the product.  Most people associate low-fat foods with lower calories, so they tend to eat more.  Do not be fooled by this deceptive labeling technique.

Food #2 Sugar-Free Foods

Sugar-free foods are geared to people with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes.  Sugar-free foods have low calories and no sugar.

However, look at the label under sugars, and you will see something interesting.  Sugar-free foods tend to have sugar alcohols, which is an ingredient designed to give it sweetness.  Most of the time, sugar alcohol is made from sugar products, which can lead to increased calories.  Sugar alcohols carry between 1.5 and 4 calories per gram.  Not only do you get extra calories, but you also can get cramping, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems if you ingest too much.

Food #3  Commercial Smoothies

Normally, smoothies are associated with healthy eating.  They have skim milk, fruit, and yogurt, so they are considered a great, healthy food.  Some commercial smoothies, however, have many hidden calories from extra sugar.  Some smoothies are also made with ice cream, so you end up ballooning sugar, fat, and calorie content.  Most of the time, the fruit in smoothies is blended up into fruit juice, or fruit juice is added.   This eliminates the fiber that is found in the skin of most fruits.  My advice:  Make your smoothies at home, and leave the commercial smoothies on the shelf.

Food #4 Commercial Yogurts

Yogurt, again, has been considered a natural health product containing calcium, probiotics, and other products that have been shown to be beneficial to our health.  Look at the label again, and you might see something surprising.   When looking at the label, some of the first few ingredients in yogurt are different forms of sugar.  All this extra sugar can lead to weight gain and stubborn, hard-to-lose body fat.  So again, read the label and see exactly what is in the product before you choose the yogurt of choice.

Food #5 Sugary energy drinks including items with added vitamins and minerals

Energy drinks have been advertised as giving you that extra pick-me-up during the day, and a way to increase the intensity of your workouts.  Energy drinks can contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, which gives you that initial pick-me-up, but you end up crashing hard later.  Also, some drinks that have added vitamins and minerals, can have loads of sugar as well.  So stop and think before you drink and choose something lower in calories and sugar, maybe something like coffee or tea.

Next, I am going to share with you 5 foods that are beneficial to your health, and you might not even know it.

Food #1 Swiss Chard

Aging can create many different problems for people.  Wrinkles, lack of balance, and our eyesight can worsen, and are just some of the different things that happen with the aging process.  Swiss chard is considered a super food because of some of the amazing caroteniods that can be found in this leafy green vegetable.  Swiss chard contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to help with good eyesight.   These two caroteniods have been shown to build up in the eyes, which help with the way light rays enter our eyes and are absorbed.

Food #2 Pepper, Especially Capsaicin

So most of you are probably asking why pepper is on the list.  Pepper is a zero-calories food that can add a lot of flavor to your foods.  Not only does it pack a great punch to your foods, but capsaicin has been shown to have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties.  It has also been shown to be helpful in fighting some cancers because of its anti-cancer effects.
Food #3 Wheat Grass

There are plenty of juices out there that contain Wheat Grass which is chock full of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy.   Loaded with Vitamins, B, C, and E, this food can help to clean out your system and fight infections.   Not only does this food contain essential vitamins and minerals, but it also is a complete protein.  This food is full of the essential amino acids that our bodies require for building muscle.   The high concentration of vitamins helps protect the body from stress that our bodies are under daily.

Food #4 Tahini

Tahini is now found in most grocery stores as an excellent source of all the B vitamins as well as calcium.  B vitamins are essential in development of healthy cells in the body, especially red blood cells.   B vitamins can also help in raising metabolism, and help our immune system become stronger.  Tahini also holds a surprising amount of calcium, zinc, and copper.  The high levels of calcium can help keep bones strong and healthy, and might be responsible in fighting some cancers. Tahini also holds an abundance of fiber, specifically sesamin and sesomolin, which can have positive effects in lowering cholesterol.
Food #5 Avocado

This amazing fruit helps reduce inflammation through some of the carotenoids found in the green, fleshy part of the avocado. This vegetable also has a tremendous amount of fat, but the good fats that are beneficial to the body. The main source of fat is Oliec acid, which helps with fat absorption and also helps to lower the risk for developing heart disease. Avocados also have phytosterols, which keep inflammation in the body under control.

How To Instantly Remove Two Of Your Biggest Weight Loss Obstacles >>

5 Exercise Goals for Beginners

A handful of things every newbie should put on his or her exercise to-do list.

Just getting started exercising? Congratulations! Your decision is one that will bring you face to face with improved health, looks, energy, and more. While there is a great temptation to swallow the entire gym whole in one bite, it’s better to take stock and come up with goals that fit your needs.
Ready to create some gym-worthy goals that will help you reach your destination of a better, healthier life? Get started with the list below.

Goal 1: Find a Time

The first thing you have to do before you work out is figure out when you’re going to head to the gym. Sure, you may go to the gym on a whim on occasion, but you can’t depend on these spur-of-the-moment trips to help you meet your other fitness goals. Rather, you’re going to have to come up with a regular time to get to the gym. Whether it’s at 4 a.m., during your lunch hour, or right after work, having a predetermined time to exercise will help you with the next goal.

Goal 2: Stick with It

Once you’ve figured out when you can work out, it’s up to you to make sure you follow through. Though you may think the benefits of exercising are enough to keep you going strong, you may be wrong. To make it a little easier to stick with your routine, give yourself a goal of sticking with your routine three days a week for three months. Once you’ve been at it for that long, it should be cemented into your schedule, making it easier to stick with exercise for the long haul. If you constantly need another goal, reset your clock for another three months a week or two before completing the initial three months.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. – Jim Ryun

Goal 3: Trim or Tone

Toning up and trimming down are often the primary purposes for working out. If these are reasons for your new interest in exercise, use them to your advantage. Every day you work out, write down your weight, the most important measurements to you, and the exercises you perform. Over time, you’ll be able to see improvements in all three areas. And if you’re having trouble in one (it can be difficult to continue losing weight after a certain point), you can be encouraged by other statistics, such as your lowered blood pressure or how much longer you can stay on the treadmill now than when you first began.

Goal 4: Be Honest

When you’re first getting into your exercise regimen, it’s easy to be forthcoming about your workout routine. After all, you’re in the gym three times a day, lifting more weights in a day than you have in the past four years, and running six miles during lunch. But it becomes more difficult to be honest when you’ve been at it a while. To keep yourself honest, get an exercise partner to hold you accountable. The best way for this to work is to work out with this person every time you go to the gym. This way, your partner knows when you’ve worked out and can help you work out at the intensity necessary for you to meet your other exercise goals.

Goal 5: Limit Rewards

It’s not uncommon for people to feel they deserve rewards for every positive thing they do. If you’re one of these people, you may seek a reward for your exercising prowess. But it’s important to see the way you feel and look as your reward. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with missing a day at the gym or licking an ice cream now and then. However, if you’re not careful, your reward system can wind up making it impossible for you to meet your exercise-minded goals.


Subject: 5 Fat Fighting Lunch Recipes (and a BIG sale, too)

I’ve got two awesome updates for you today from my partners over at Prograde Nutrition.

First, you’ve got to check out these 5 Fat Fighting lunch recipes they just released. They will fill you up and fuel your body the right way:


Second, they are having a HUGE sale where all their products are 14% off for a limited time!

Just click the link below for your very own coupon code:


Holiday Fitness Challenge Is Now Live!


  • Once entered into the challenge, each challenger must record his/her initial statistics with the gym. Before/After pictures, Body Weight and Standard Measurements .
  • Each challenger must eat a Paleo compliant diet during the challenge. You will be required to turn in a weekly food log for evaluation and assessment of points.
  • Each challenger must attend a workout at the gym a minimum of 3 times per week.
  • Each challenger must post comments on progress and thoughts to this blog post page daily.

Point Schedule During Challenge

  • 2 points each will be awarded for daily meals: B – L – D – S
  • 1 point for bringing a friend to the gym.
  • 1 point for each blog post.
  • 1 point each week for turning in weekly food log

Note: 1 point will be deducted for each item missed.

Final Point Assessment

  • 10 points for fastest male timed workout
  • 10 points for fastest female timed workout
  • 1 point for each pound lost
  • 1 point for each inch lost

Final Workout and Body Composition Assessment: At the gym

Entry Fee: $35, non-refundable


1st Place – Total Package Value $325

  • 1 month tuition free at the gym
  • $75 gift card to store of your choice
  • Hair cut and style at “Hair by Sue”
  • Hot Stone Massage by Samantha Cooper at Tina Marie’s Salon
  • Manicure by Stacey Bates at Tina Marie’s Salon
  • Pedicure by Danelle Johnson at Tina Marie’s Salon

2nd Place – Total Package Value $200

  • 2 weeks tuition free at the gym
  • $50 gift card to store of your choice
  • Hair cut OR style at “Hair by Sue”
  • Manicure by Stacey Bates at Tina Marie’s Salon

Visit our awesome sponsors at their websites:

Hair By Sue

Tina Marie’s Salon

Samantha Cooper’s Massage at Tina Marie’s Salon

Welcome 5 New Athletes To Killeen’s Boot Camp!



Reshanda Tatum

Cheryl Fidelia

Angela Clemons

Timika Bynog

Gaynor Lewis

Do These 8 Underrated Exercises

They may not be fancy, but these exercises do the body good. So why are you ignoring them?

Eat Plank For Breakfast!

You go the gym, do the same routine day in and day out, and go home But is your routine pushing your body to be its best or are you sticking by a certain set of exercises just because you’re comfortable with them? Read on to find eight exercises that you – along with half the people in your gym – may be neglecting.


They seem so basic, because they are. Resting on your forearms and toes, you hold your stomach tight in order to cause your body to levitate a few inches off the ground, keeping your back straight. Thanks to these stripped down, basic exercises, your body gets the basic results you want – a stronger, more supportive core.


Though pictures of competitive body builders may leap in your head when thinking of deadlifts, you may be surprised that the average Joe or Jo should also be performing this underrated exercise. Why? Because you perform it one way or another almost every day. Whether picking up your child during playtime, grabbing a bag of 35-pound dog food from the bottom shelf, dead lifts are part of life. Getting better at them at the gym only makes sense.

Horizontal Pull-Ups

This one may be neglected because it’s not as available as others. Or at least it doesn’t seem to be available. To perform this, you have to find a bar relatively close to the ground. Hanging underneath it with your body extended out and feet resting on the floor, pull yourself up to the bar repeatedly. While essentially the same motion as push-ups or bench pressing, horizontal pull-ups push your body in slightly different ways and more closely mimic movements necessary for climbing and other activities.


Always the underdog, push-ups are the essence of basic exercise, working out the chest, biceps, and triceps. In fact, if performed correctly, you’ll be forced to tighten your core muscles during each repetition, which adds to the shape and strength of your six-pack abdominal muscles.


You probably don’t see a lot of body builders on the treadmill. That’s because they run at home. One of the most vital pieces to a complete workout regimen, running consistently improves your cardiovascular health, increases your stamina, and helps tone and shape your muscles.


Toss some weight on a rack and bend at the knees until you lower yourself toward the ground as far as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat – but do it all with precision and proper mechanics. You’ll feel the burn in your legs, but squats actually work quite a few other muscles and should therefore not be neglected in your routine.


Often overlooked as an unnecessary part of working out, stretching is anything but unnecessary. In fact, if you want to get bigger and stronger and maintain your range of motion, the only way to do it is through stretching whatever body part you’re planning to exercise. There are stretches for every muscle, from the thighs to the calves to the biceps to the neck. With a little stretching, you give your body a chance to warm up and prevent yourself from potential injury.


It offers a full-body workout that tests your stamina and strength. You’ve known it for years, but you still don’t take advantage of it. What kind of swimming should you get started with? Any kind of swimming will work, and swimming freestyle laps at a moderate pace is a great way to break your body into swimming shape.

And the Downside

Now that you know what exercises deserves a spot in your routine, you may be curious about some of the exercises out there that get too much credit.

The following are a few of the most overrated exercises that you may be doing with a little too much frequency:

  • lunges: they’re great in moderation, but it’s not uncommon to overdo lunges and wind up with knee problems down the road
  • bench press: very useful in defining the chest and arms, the bench press belongs in your routine; just be careful not to start and end every routine with it
  • sit-ups: yes, they strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you’ll never have a six-pack unless you eat right and get enough cardio to burn off the layer of fat covering up you abs

HCG…Should I? No!

I have been asked by several of our athletes and prospective clients what I thought about the HCG diet. I am extremely vocal about fad and crash diets and say so all the time. I didn’t know much about the HCG diet, so I did some research. Here are some of the things that I found. I listed my resources so that you too can read up and form your own conclusion.

What is the HCG Diet?

This diet plan was formulated by Dr. Albert T Simeons, who stated that a hormone HCG, can help men and women lose unwanted body fat, thereby assisting in weight loss.

The human chorionic gonadotropin hormone is a glycoprotein hormone naturally produced in pregnant women by the placenta, to nourish the growing fetus and provide nutrients.

The function of the HCG hormone is to signal the hypothalamus gland in the brain to mobilize fat stores and release the fat from the reserves. The hormone thus fuels the body with required energy by using up the fat from the reserves in the body.

Okay, okay enough of the science…

The HCG diet plan claims that it can help a person lose 1-3 pounds of weight per day. A person on the HCG diet plan is required to take HCG hormone (125 i.u. to 200 i.u. of Hcg everyday) on a daily basis. The number of days in this particular weight loss will depend on whether a person is taking injection or drops and the amount of weight wants to lose. Mostly, this diet plan runs over a period of 23 days.

One of the many things that scares me is that a person on this diet is strictly allowed to consume only up to 500 calories. Thus, besides taking HCG hormone, one also has to supplement the hormone intake with an extremely low calorie diet. The diet comprises of raw, steamed or grilled vegetables like spinach, celery, cabbage, etc. Organic fed veal, beef and skinned chicken are also permitted.

But is this diet plan safe?

HCG Diet Side Effects

Nevertheless, there are some human chorionic gonadotropin side effects that people on such a diet face. They are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hives
  • Water retention
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Some HCG diet side effects in women are stomach ache, swelling of extremities, pelvic pain, etc. which occur due to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), that has been caused as a result of an HCG diet. People on HCG diet injections are also seen to experience additional side effects of HCG diet, such as muscle cramps, lumps, gynecomastia, premature puberty in men, etc.

    Another side effect is sudden weight gain. What!!!
    Well, an HCG diet calls for consumption of only 500 calories a day, which is not enough for supporting normal brain function. The body compensates the deficit by using up the stored glycogen, protein and fat. The additional hormone will suppress appetite, however, once one is off the diet and begins to eat normally, the weight lost is gained back. Moreover, since people have starved for over 3 weeks (500 calorie diet!) they usually tend to eat more once the diet program is over.

    Irregardless of the alleged HCG diet side effects, it is important to remember that even though the HCG diet proposes to help with weight loss, it is yet another crash diet and is not a healthy way to lose weight.

    Here is what our Food and Drug Administration has to say about HCG as a dietary supplement,

    It is not FDA approved for weight loss at this time for the following reason, and I quote ” It is not possible to obtain uniformity in the reporting of results solely through the use of a common standard, since hCG is a complex molecule.”

    To lose weight in a healthy manner there is no shortcut. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is mandatory for losing weight the right way!

    Just get yourself to the gym and do Boot Camp! Call me at 254-247-4999

    American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition  http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/29/9/940.pdf

    American College Of Bariatric Physicians http://www.asbp.org/resources/uploads/files/HCG%20Position%20Statement.pdf


    Welcome New Fitness Boot Camp Athletes!

    I want to welcome Paige Claro and Norma Martinez to our evening Boot Camp class! Oh and they totally rocked the “Murph” workout today. Just sayin.

    What’s Your Real Reason For Not Commiting?

    Do you have a REAL reason for not training, for not working hard to lose fat? A REAL reason for it?

    Look at this picture and tell me yes...

    Sunday Focus Punch

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

    Hello there! I hope your weekend was great. Mine was relaxing. We have some good stuff coming up for you. A newly revised nutrition seminar, kids jiu-jitsu belt test and a few other things too.

    Stay focused on your goals and keep on being awesome.

    Thank you again for choosing our gym for your fitness and self defense source.