Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #062 NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

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7 Key Foods to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Workout

By Karen Tonnis

At some point in your hooked-in, hard-core Beachbody® experience, or even if you're just getting started, this thought may cross your mind: Wish I could get results even faster.

Well, now you can. Here's a list of dynamic foods that bring a lot to the table. Not only do they fit within a healthy nutrition plan, they're capable of sending your lazy taste buds a nice wake-up call.

Workout Food

  1. TomatoesTomatoes. Make the lowly tomato your best friend and you could potentially up your chances of staying healthy and recovering faster. They're loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. And because they're particularly rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, they may boost heart health, fight oxidative stress, protect against a variety of cancers, and combat inflammation. Tomatoes also contain potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance.
  2. Fish. A powerhouse of lean protein, fish lets you load up without blowing your calorie budget. The very leanest choices include white-fleshed fish like flounder or tilapia, as well as most shellfish, including lobster. Even dark-fleshed fish like tuna and salmon are considered lean, and the fat they provide (in the form of fish oil) can help regulate hormones and metabolism and reduce inflammation.

    Of course, all this muscle-building power won't show up as a six-pack if you're not careful about how the fish is prepared. Watch out for calorie bombs like deli tuna salad and deep-fried fish or calamari.
  3. BerriesAçai berry. What look like ordinary small, purple berries are actually one of the best superfoods in the world. Açai berries contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any known food, along with fiber, iron, amino acids, and healthy omega fatty acids. Add them to your diet in the form of juice or pulp and you can expect a load of benefits, including increased energy, faster recovery rate, boosted immune system, stabilized blood sugar levels, and more.
  4. Dark green leafy vegetables. Breaking news: Popeye was right about eating spinach. Especially if you want to build muscle FAST. The antioxidants found in dark green vegetables help counteract the oxidative muscle damage that comes with heavy training or exercise. So vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, kale, and our hero spinach should be high on your list.
  5. BlueberriesBlueberries. Mom could've said, "Eat your blueberries and you'll grow up strong." This miniature superfruit is chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants. So if you're involved in strenuous activity, a daily cup or two of blueberries can help reduce cell damage. They also promote healthy blood pressure and contain complex carbs and fiber to help sustain energy and keep you in the game.
  6. Eggs. When you're trying to add muscle, protein is as important as any dumbbell or training buddy. Most important, you want increased "clean calories" from whole, natural, unprocessed foods—like eggs. Eggs are one of the most perfect proteins for growing lean muscle. By incorporating egg whites into your diet (with a small amount of egg yolk), you can get a high amount of protein for a relatively low number of calories. Six egg whites will give you 99 calories and 21 grams of protein. Now that's a deal.
  7. Green TeaGreen tea. If you're working out regularly, giving your body a constant supply of antioxidants can promote quicker recovery on a cellular level. And drinking green tea is a good way to vary your antioxidant intake. On top of its antioxidant properties, green tea can help protect the cardiovascular system, increase metabolic rate (which supports weight control), and may provide some anticancer and blood pressure-reducing benefits.

Add these 7 foods to your oxidant-fighting arsenal.
Go ahead and rev up your engine with these heavy-hitters for quicker results. But don't neglect your regular exercise program and healthy eating plan. Those are the real keys. Start with a sound regimen, then add these seven for extra kick.

Related Articles
"Eat More, Lose More. (Really?)"
"Tropic Plunder: 6 Super-Healthy Exotic Fruits"
"Cereal Killer: Are Grains Really That Bad for You?"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, January 10th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Bring Home BRING IT! in the New Year

Tony Horton's "Bring It!"Tony Horton's new book Bring It! can be yours at the following online retailers for up to 46% off the retail price!

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble.com
Borders.com
Indiebound.org

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, January 10th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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10 Ways to a New You

By Steve Edwards

Most of us make resolutions to somehow change ourselves for the better in the upcoming year. More often than not, these resolutions involve promising ourselves to get into better shape, improve our diet, or quit some habit we think is hurting our health or well-being.

Fireworks

Man and Woman in Workout ClothesWhile the practice of making health-related resolutions tends to be great for business at Beachbody (or any health and fitness company), these resolutions really only matter to you if they're helpful to you. Unfortunately, the statistics show that most of us won't see our resolutions through to the end of the coming year. Of course, you're an individual, not a statistic. Whether or not you succeed is entirely up to you.

Our job is to make your path to health and fitness easier. So here are some tips to help you succeed with your New Year's makeover.

  1. Notebook and PenFeel free to change your resolutions. After all, they're yours. You made 'em and you can change 'em. While New Year's resolutions are a great idea in theory, we tend to make them so challenging that most are virtually doomed to fail. Research tells us that the majority of people have already cheated on their resolutions or given up on them altogether by the end of the first week of January.

    The main reason is difficulty. The average resolution aims high—really high. For example, let's look at the ubiquitous, "I'm going to stop smoking." It's pretty easy to mess this one up, and once you've cheated at all, it's very easy to give up completely. In fact, a case could be made that many of us make our resolutions too difficult on purpose, because it makes it so much easier to stop trying. Instead, attempt a more holistic approach. Maybe your resolution is to stop smoking, but throw in "by the end of the year." Now you've got an entire year to work toward your goal.
  2. Make a plan. This is a big step, because given the scenario above, without a plan it's unlikely that you'll change anything in your lifestyle until the following December. Most of us can look at a calendar for the coming year and come up with a decent idea about our schedule and what might work for us if we were, say, going to schedule an event as part of a resolution. Taking a minute to look at the upcoming year can give you a realistic sense of what you want to attempt.

    Again, using quitting smoking as an example, you might want to schedule some kind of healthy retreat where you can cleanse yourself, get healthy, etc., during the year. You'll need to know your schedule, or, as we tend to do, you may find your resolution-related goal happens to fall during a month when you've got a lot of other obligations. Planning ahead will help stack the odds in your favor. Then you can also plan goals for the months leading up to your retreat.
  3. Woman Looking in MirrorRemember the big picture. This one has to do with the fact that most resolutions are about self-improvement (or helping someone or something else improve). Some of the main resolutions we make are to quit a bad habit, change the way we look or feel, or become more educated. All these things require our minds and bodies to change. And while it is possible to do a 100-percent turnaround at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, it's not very likely. Your chances for success will increase dramatically if you use your brain and make a plan that allows for failure, plays to your strengths, and moves towards your overall goal in a way that makes it harder for you to give up than to keep going.

    Again using quitting smoking as an example, here's an idea that's focused on the big picture. Break the year into 12 months. For January, you might want to start with an exercise program, because you know that the harder your body has to work physically, the less it'll crave cigarettes. So your entire first month might not actually address your ultimate goal directly. Instead, it can focus on something you know will help you down the line.
  4. Involve your family. If you've got a family, find a way to involve them in your quest. If you can't get them on your side, you might face some trouble, because you might find they're pulling you in the opposite direction. If quitting smoking is your goal, chances are your family will be supportive and do anything you ask. So for this example, let's use a family that consists of a dog, who isn't about to stop you from doing something you enjoy. Involving your dog is easy, because while he doesn't care whether or not you smoke, Fido would certainly rather have you out hiking with him. So thinking something like, "When I want a cigarette, I'll take the dog for a walk" could be an effective element in achieving your ultimate goal. And as you well know, Fido will be very supportive on this one.
  5. Man SmokingInvolve your bad habits. We've all got some bad habits. If you can embrace yours and somehow involve them in your efforts to stick to your resolutions, you'll stand a much better chance of achieving success. Let's say you smoke most often when you're out drinking socially. Since you know you're vulnerable and will probably break down no matter what you tell yourself, find a roundabout way of allowing this.

    For example, in the beginning, you might allow yourself to socially smoke a cigarette if you've exercised for an hour that day. This can evolve over the year to be stricter—perhaps increasing the exercise intensity or time required to earn the reward. In this instance, the harder you exercise, the less your body will crave that cigarette. So even though you've set up a cigarette as a reward, you'll be likely to find that you'll crave it less and less the more you exercise. The possibilities are nearly endless, and you'll need to get creative, but by involving your bad habits you'll virtually eliminate your excuses to quit progressing towards your goal.
  6. Involve your good habits. While this should fall in the "duh" files, it's surprising how often people try to ignore their own history when they attempt to make themselves over. Get realistic and embrace the things you like to do. Certainly, you must have some healthy things that you love to do that are good for you—going for walks, dancing, a favorite sport. Make sure they're a part of your plan.

    And even if something you love isn't currently good for you, there's usually a way to change that. For example, if you love watching House, you can make this more positive by vowing to stretch in front of the TV, or exercise during the commercials. An hourlong network TV show has 20 minutes of commercials. You can get a lot done in 20 minutes.
  7. Men and Women on BeachFind strength in numbers. Even the most independent of us needs support from time to time. Unless your goal is completely off the radar, there's probably a support group available, which you can prove to yourself by performing a 30-second Internet search. These support groups can be amazingly helpful and can fit any personality type. Even if you're very shy, just reading through what others say can help to motivate and keep you on track.

    For exercise and diet support, we offer the Team Beachbody® Message Boards, the WOWY (Work Out With You) Supergym®, our virtual gym, and the Million Dollar Body Game® (free to join, free to play!). By logging in to WOWY and working out, you can win cool prizes every day. For even more diet and fitness support, join the Team Beachbody Club—risk free for 30 days!)
  8. Get involved for a higher purpose. This doesn't have to mean a religious higher power—although it can be. A higher purpose can be your family, your friends, or any number of causes—essentially anything that helps you make the world around you become a better place. We can often wallow in our bad habits due to a sense of helplessness. Getting involved in something beyond yourself can give you the sense that your life matters, because, well, it does. Engagement can be very empowering. Not to mention fun.
  9. Hiker on MountaintopSchedule some alone time. This is important because we tend to allow the outside world to distract us. Often this is done for the most altruistic purposes, putting family, friends, or job above ourselves. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and allowing control of your own life to slip away—even for a higher purpose—isn't the answer. If you're not healthy, happy, and content, it's going to be difficult for you to help others to be healthy, happy, and content. Even if it's just minutes a day, make some time for yourself to be alone where you're able to gather your thoughts and focus on what you want to happen in your future.
  10. Use a target goal that's qualitative, not quantitative. Our society loves numbers. Losing X amount of pounds, running X amount of miles, going X number of days without smoking—these are things we dangle in front of ourselves as if they were some Holy Grail. In fact, these things have very little impact, if any, on what we really want, which is to improve our lives. Numbers can be great motivators. They can be nice as signposts on your road to progress. But they can also mislead you and shouldn't be a part of your ultimate goal, because you can't really control them. Shooting for unattainable numbers is one primary way we can sabotage our self-improvement goals. The adage "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game" isn't just about sports. Live your life well, and in the end, you'll be content, no matter where the numbers fall.

Related Articles
"12 Ways to (Painlessly) Go Green in 1 Year"
"Your Brain on Exercise"
"Doing the Right Thing—for the Right Reasons"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, January 10th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Recipe: Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry BuckleHere's a delicious yet sensible dessert recipe that contains the healthy fiber of oats, the antioxidant properties of blueberries, and the crunchy goodness of almonds . . . plus it tastes great!

  • 2/3 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup raw blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional: 1 tsp. honey or raw sugar, or a pinch of stevia.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish and mix well. Bake for 20 minutes (or microwave on high for 1-1/2 minutes). Makes one generous serving.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving, without sweetener)

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
291 10 g 9 g 51 g 8 g <1 g

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.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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