#368 (8/4/2009) SUMMER COCKTAILS!
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When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.

Henny Youngman

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Summer Cocktails: How to Enjoy the Party Without Looking Like a Flotation Device

By Stephanie Saunders

Why do we spend all year doing P90X® or Slim in 6® to look good on the beach, only to sabotage ourselves with summer cocktails? The answer is that's it's fun and social, and it even makes us feel a little bit better about being scantily clad.

Cocktails

Thanks to the dozens of different diet crazes, we are all abundantly aware of carbs, protein, and fat, and we all have different opinions on which is the most evil. But we forget that alcohol has calories too, specifically 7 calories per gram—more than carbs or protein and almost as much as fat. What does this mean for you? It means that it's a challenge to burn off alcohol, especially when it's mixed with yummy sugary ingredients.

The most obvious solution is abstinence, but what fun would that be? Since we cannot remove the alcohol from the recipe, let's remove the excess calories from some popular summer drinks. Here are six summer cocktails and recipes to make them waist friendly.

  1. MargaritaMargarita. The enemy in the margarita is the margarita mix. There are "light" versions out there, but the taste is less than extraordinary. Here is another option that will cut your calories in half without sacrificing flavor.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz. light limeade (either the Minute Maid® version or your own, made with limes, water, and a sugar substitute)
    • Lime juice (one lime)
    • 2 oz. tequila
    • 1.5 oz. triple sec
    • Ice

    Either pour over ice or blend with ice. Add salt to taste. Sip while pretending you are on a beach in Mexico, and you look amazing in your swimsuit.

    • Calories before: 435
    • Calories now: 180
  2. CosmopolitanCosmopolitan. The sneaky trickster here is regular cranberry juice, which should be called sugar with cranberry flavoring. This light version uses only one type of alcohol, which drastically cuts your calorie count.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz. light cranberry juice drink
    • 1 oz. raspberry vodka
    • Squeeze of lime
    • Lime twist, as garnish

    Shake together with ice. Strain ice cubes and pour into fancy fluted glass. Look incredibly trendy and thin at the same time.

    • Calories before: 413
    • Calories now: 98
  3. Tipsy Arnold PalmerTipsy Arnold Palmer. Sweetened bottled versions of lemonade and iced tea can be pretty loaded with sugar. However, if we brew our own iced tea and squeeze our own lemons, with a bit of sugar substitute and 2 ounces of vodka, we can make a really tasty cocktail that doesn't have so many calories. Or, the light Minute Maid version and some diet iced tea will work for the domestically challenged.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz. light lemonade (or juice of one lemon plus 3 oz. water and sugar substitute)
    • 3 oz. diet iced tea (or 2 teabags steeped in 3 oz. water)
    • 2 oz. vodka
    • Sprig of mint (optional)
    • Ice

    Pour over ice. Stir. Enjoy. Just don't try to play golf after two of these.

    • Calories before: 156
    • Calories now: 71
  4. Strawberry DaiquiriStrawberry daiquiri. Nothing says vacation like a drink that a little umbrella will stand up in. Sugar, yet again, is the culprit. Try this version for a vacation flashback that will be reminiscent of the good times, and not of how you ordered seconds of dessert.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
    • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
    • 1.5 oz. light rum
    • Sweetener to taste (depends on how sweet the strawberries are)
    • Ice

    Throw it all in a blender, and let the good times begin. Please don't consume so many that you try to drink the umbrella.

    • Calories before: 299
    • Calories now: 118
  5. Piña ColadaPiña colada. Done correctly, it is the taste of summer. If not made well, a piña colada will taste like someone served you suntan lotion in a glass. This recipe uses actual fruit and skim milk to replace the sugar and cream.

    Ingredients:

    • 7 oz. canned chunk pineapple, including juice
    • 2 packets artificial sweetener
    • 1 tsp. imitation coconut extract
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 1 cup ice cubes

    Blend well, garnish with a small plastic monkey, and mentally escape to the Caribbean.

    • Calories before: 297
    • Calories now: 146
  6. White WineWhite wine/light beer/champagne. These all seem fairly obvious and don't require recipes, but they're worth mentioning. White wine has about 100 calories in a 4-ounce serving. And it's rather refreshing on a summer day, especially if you add a blast of club soda to make it into a spritzer. Beer comes in very light versions now, and some contain fewer than 70 calories. Champagne is not only fantastic with brunch, it also is around 100 calories per serving. With all of these, just be sure to measure your amounts so you don't end up with a splitting headache the next morning.

And there you have it. A handle on your summer cocktails, without adding to your love handles. Now get out that swimsuit and let summer be the party it was meant to be!

Related Articles
"11 Tips for Cooking Out Without Pigging Out"
"The Best and Worst Cocktails"
"7 Great Ways to Freshen Up Your Water"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, August 10th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!


If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Supercharge Your Cardio: 4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Intervals: Get Fit and Lean Faster with Intervals

By Ben Kallen

Interval training is the hottest thing in cardio these days, for good reasons. The fitness and fat-loss results you can get are more impressive than those you get doing "steady-state" cardio (in which you move at an unchanging pace), and your workouts can be shorter, too. That's because intervals let you exercise at a higher intensity than you could just about any other way. Interval training is also a lot easier to learn and do than many people think. Keep reading to see how you can Supercharge Your Cardio: 4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Intervals and your results!

INSANITY's Interval Training

All it requires is alternating periods of moderate activity with bursts of all-out exertion during the same exercise session. And since those higher-intensity sprints are relatively brief, you may hardly even notice the extra effort.

The benefits: faster weight loss, more endurance, better health

Interval workouts allow you to conquer what's known as the "stress adaptation response." When you keep exercising at the same level of exertion, your body quickly gets used to the effort, so it doesn't improve as much. That's why many aerobics plans don't give you the weight loss results and performance gains you want.

Girl with a Measuring Tape Around Her WaistBut when you add in short periods of high-intensity exercise—during which your heart rate is raised closer to its maximum capacity—your body is forced to use new muscle fibers, which continue burning extra fuel even during lower-intensity exercise. And interval workouts allow you to spend more time on these exercise peaks than you could if you tried to go all out without rest periods. As a result, you'll experience faster increases in cardio fitness, more efficient burning of carbohydrates and fat, and possibly a greater natural release of the human growth hormone.

Over the past few years, researchers have demonstrated a wide range of fitness and health effects from interval training:

  • More weight loss. A 2007 study conducted at the University of New South Wales in Australia found that overweight women who rode exercise bikes for 40 minutes three times a week lost three times as much weight—mostly in their legs and buttocks—if they alternated intervals of light- and high-intensity cycling than if they rode at a steady pace the entire time.
  • Faster fat-burning. In a 2007 Canadian university study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, volunteers who did interval training on exercise bikes burned 36 percent more fat than others when they cycled at a moderate pace afterward.
  • More stamina. A 2005 study also published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that after just 2 weeks of interval training, six out of eight moderately fit young men and women doubled the amount of time they could ride a bicycle before getting too tired to continue. Volunteers who didn't interval train showed no improvement.
  • Healthier metabolism. When adults with metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to diabetes, were tested at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, those who did interval workouts on a treadmill improved their blood sugar and insulin response by a higher amount than those who exercised at a steady, moderate pace. They also raised their "good" cholesterol levels by 25 percent, while the other group members didn't raise theirs at all.
  • Better heart health. In a 2007 study published in the journal Circulation, heart-failure patients who did interval training three times a week for 12 weeks improved their aerobic capacity, artery function, and quality of life more than those who did moderate, continuous training.

Intervals made easy

Here are four simple ways to boost your fitness and fat burning with intervals.

  1. Jumping ManTake a HIIT. High-intensity interval training is a long name for a simple formula. If you like to use a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine as part of your overall fitness program, this method will improve your results and make the ride less boring. Here's all you have to do: Following a 5-minute warm-up, alternate 2-minute periods of medium-intensity movement (at about half your maximum ability) with 30 seconds at the highest possible intensity, in which you're going all out and breathing hard. Do this for about six cycles—the whole workout should only take around 20 minutes. (If you're using a heart rate monitor, you'll see that you'll be at about 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.) As with every exercise, stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
  2. Turn your recreation into an interval workout. Whenever you're out hiking, running, or bicycling for fun, change things up by incorporating a few high-intensity intervals. From time to time, go as fast as you possibly can for 30 to 45 seconds. Then return to your normal pace. When you've recovered for least a few minutes, and don't feel winded anymore, do another sprint. Throw in a few of these intervals every time you go out, and you'll increase your cardio fitness and burn more calories, too.
  3. Up your effort. Most Beachbody® workout programs alternate periods of high intensity with periods of recovery—meaning they have intervals built right in, which is one of the reasons they work so well and yield quick results. (So you really don't have to know the science—just follow your DVD's instructions.) But if you want the best results possible, push as hard as you can during those periods of high-intensity cardio. Move a little faster and jump a little higher, to the point where you're breathing hard. But don't overdo it during the recovery periods. You'll need these slower times to let your body recuperate.
  4. Fit Man's TorsoTake it to the MAX. Shaun T's new INSANITY workout program takes traditional interval training and reverses it. Instead of going all out for a short period of high-intensity movement and then hanging back for a longer recovery period, MAX Interval Training has you work like crazy for long phases, with brief rest times in between. The upshot is that you can achieve incredible fitness gains in just 2 months. But there's a reason this twist on intervals is the exception rather than the rule—you have to be in good shape to begin with, and even then, you need to be willing to work much harder than with regular intervals. But if you can handle it, you'll probably end up fitter than you've ever been before.

Related Articles
"5 Ways to Speed Up Your Six-Pack"
"The Great Motivators: 14 Reasons to Keep Pushing Play"
"P90X® Results and Recovery Formula: Not Just for After Exercise"

Ben KallenGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, August 10th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Potato IQ!

By Elizabeth Brion

French FriesPotatoes are a fundamental part of American life these days. Available in thousands of varieties and prepared in dozens of ways, they're the second most consumed food in our culture, after dairy products. For a humble vegetable, the potato has an extremely colorful history—did you know it was once suspected of causing leprosy, syphilis, narcosis, and early death, and of destroying the soil in which it grew? Now we just suspect it of spiking blood sugar levels. Let's see what else you know about potatoes.

True or False?
  1. False: Potatoes originated in Ireland around 200 BC. The Symara Indians cultivated over 200 varieties of potatoes in Peru's Andean Mountains, 10,000 feet above sea level, more than 4,000 years ago.
  2. True: Potatoes were introduced to the French by a scientist who had been forced to subsist on them in a Prussian prison. Potatoes were used as hog feed in 1785, so Antoine-Augustine Parmentier's early attempts to convince people of their nutritional value were met with suspicion. But he had another idea. With the help of Louis XVI, he planted 50 acres of potatoes and stationed the king's guards around the field. Soon, the intriguingly valuable plants were being stolen behind the guards' backs and planted in private gardens. Potatoes quickly became a staple of the cuisine.
  3. False: Sir Walter Raleigh brought the potato to Ireland. This is a commonly believed myth, but the evidence suggests that the potato arrived on Spanish ships much earlier. The Raleigh story, in which he inadvertently makes the queen's entire court ill when a confused chef cooks the poisonous leaves rather than the roots, is decidedly more entertaining. You can see why people would go with that one.
  4. False: The first french fries served in the United States came from a Horn & Hardart automat in 1912. Thomas Jefferson, at an 1802 White House dinner, served "potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings." Recipes for what we now call french fries appear in American cookbooks as early as 1813.
  5. False: Austria and Prussia once went to war over potatoes. While the War of the Bavarian Succession is known as the Potato War, there's a stranger reason for that than you might think. The two sides spent most of the war stealing potatoes from each other. There was very little actual fighting. When the potatoes were gone, everyone went home. This cries out for a major film adaptation, don't you think?

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Reviews
Total number of Reviews: 7
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"Instead of using light juice in cocktails, use Crystal Light in any flavor. It has only 5 calories, 0g fat, and 0g of sugar per serving."

– Kendra, Longwood, FL

"I am so happy an article written telling me have to drink without gather so many calories."

– Sandra N. Salter, New York, NY

"Artificial sweeteners are our enemy. When they are mixed with alcohol they are even worse. Aspartame with alcohol confuses your body and does extra damage. You may get thinner but nobody gets healthier from Saccharin, Aspartame .or Sucralose. Maybe suggest agave or stevia. specifically."

– Katherine Grzesiak, New Lenox, IL

"You did not provide any alcohol or measurement in the Pina Colada recipe."

– Jon Gagnon

"Whoever wrote these tips is a genius. Very entertaining and had some good, practical info. I was trying not to drink at all on the 6-week plan, but I'm glad there are options that seem tasty."

– Jenn, IL

"Loved the article about summer cocktails. One question....since these are all alcoholic, there is not alcohol listed for the pina colada."

"I love and appreciate your articles on food and exercise. I just wanted to add that I'm disappointed that a site like yours, who is obviously helping people eat better and lose weight in a 'healthy' manner would encourage folks to use articifial sweeteners. Most people are now aware of the dangers of artificial sweeteners and most of them avoid them now. Why not talk about real sweeteners, like agave syrup, stevia, etc... artificial sweetners are horrible and should not be consumed by anyone."

– ON

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