10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

National Green Juice Day is practically here, and we’ve got some green ingredients that would be perfect for your juicer or blender. Speaking of which, what’s the difference between juicing and blending and is there a best method? 

Juicing vs Blending

Depending on what you want to get out of your beverage, or rather, what you want to leave in, you will have to make a choice between juicing and blending.  

Juicing extracts the liquid from the fruits or veggies and leaves the skin, the pulp, and pretty much everything else behind. According to our registered dietitian, Debbie James, juicing allows you to reap the benefits of drinking up more vitamins and antioxidants, but because it’s a less filling beverage, you’ll also likely consume more (which means more calories).1 She also notes that juicers work best with produce that contain water. For example, you’ll have quite a hard time juicing an avocado or sweet potato which you’re more likely to see in blended drinks. 

Blending essentially pulverizes the whole fruit or vegetable. This means that you have the benefit of consuming nutrients and fiber that are often stripped away when you’re juicing. James explains that blending can create a more satisfying beverage which may lead you to consume fewer total calories. When using a blender, you’ll also be able to add ingredients like “ice, yogurt, protein powder, [and] peanut butter.”1 These types of ingredients can help mask flavors of veggies you wouldn’t normally enjoy. If you’re planning on substituting a meal with your beverage, this approach is probably better suited for you.1  

Creating the Perfect Recipe

The perfect recipe is in the preferences of your taste buds. However, there are some tricks to making a more nutritious drink no matter which method you choose. Whether you’re juicing or blending, James recommends incorporating a ratio of 3 vegetables to 1 fruit. This is one way to lower the sugar content and increase the nutrient content.2  

Ready for some ideas? We’ve got a number of green and nutritious ingredients that you can add to your beverage: 

Nutritious Add-Ins*

  1. CucumberCucumbers contain fiber and are a good source of:  
  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Water 

2. Mint – Mint contains fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Manganese 

3. Lime – Limes contain fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C, B6, and Thiamine 
  • Minerals: especially Iron, Calcium, and Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

4. Green Apple – Green apples are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins A and C 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Fiber  

5. Avocado – Avocados are full of healthy fats and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K, C, E, B5, B6, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium 
  • Fiber 

6. Pear – Pears are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium and Copper 
  • Antioxidants 

7. Celery – Celery is a great source of fiber and water and contains small amounts of: 

  • Vitamins: like Vitamin C, K, A, and Folate 
  • Minerals: like Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

8. KaleKale is highly nutritious as it is a great source of:

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, K, C, B6, and smaller amounts of B1, B2, and B3 
  • Minerals: especially Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, and smaller amounts of Iron and Phosphorous 
  • Antioxidants 

9. Watercress – Watercress is a great source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K and to a lesser (but still significant) extent, Vitamins A and C 
  • Minerals: especially Calcium and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 

10. Spinach – Spinach is high in insoluble fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, C, K1, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Calcium 
  • Antioxidants 

*Nutrition information is from various sources. Click the link for each item to view the source and to read additional details.

For more information on fresh juice, read our registered dietitian’s answer to the question: How Long Does Fresh Juice Hold Its Nutritional Value? Or, read up on what you need to know if you plan to Substitute Meals with Your Juice or a Smoothie. To stay in-the-loop about our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. James, Debbie. “How To Get The Most From Juicing: Q+A.” Living Healthy, 31 Mar. 2017, https://blog.lafitness.com/2017/03/30/get-the-most-out-of-juicing/ 
  2. James, Debbie. “Is It Safe to Substitute Two Meals a Day with Juice or a Smoothie?” Living Healthy, 16 Jan. 2014, https://blog.lafitness.com/2014/01/16/is-it-safe-to-substitute-two-meals-a-day-with-juice-or-a-smoothie/

Fitness Changes: By Age

Fitness Changes: By Age

Our bodies manage a lot. They bear a lifetime of stress, fall into and recover from illness, battle chronic ailments, take bruises, breaks, falls, and burns, and power through long workdays on 2 hours of sleep. Our bodies take it all, and eventually, our system tells us it’s time to take it easy.  

When does the body really start to experience physical limitations, and how does our age affect our fitness endeavors? Let’s find out and talk about some ways to keep your body going strong. 

In Your 30’s

By age 30, and despite the fact that we just barely made it out of our 20’s, many of us get a head start on the “I’m getting old” complaints. Perhaps jokingly and perhaps not. According to a study on aerobic capacity in aging adults, fitness levels begin to decline 3% to 6% every decade starting around age 20.1 So, by age 30, you may technically have experienced a mild age-related change in your physical fitness, but not enough to make a noticeable difference.  

However, age is not the only factor. Our reduced physical fitness often has to do with changes to our lifestyle habits or diseases.2 As we age, we encounter life changes and assume responsibilities we never had, which can potentially lead to a lot more sedentary time. Naturally, the less active you are, the more difficult many physical activities will feel.  

That being said, Tip #1 is to take a moment to recognize any decrease in physical activity and to commit to reintroducing some of it into your life.  

From Age 40 to 69

Here, we embark on that part of our lifetime we know as “middle age.” Commonly associated with mid-life crises, hair loss, and a slowing metabolism, it’s not typically a very welcome stage. Allow us to assuage your fears.  

This study examined the performance of marathon runners ranging from the ages of 20 to 79. The results show that “no significant age-related decline in performance appears before age 55.”2 This is about halfway through your period of middle age.  

Once you hit 55, you don’t suddenly begin to struggle. The same study reveals that only a moderate decline is observable in their runners after this age. In fact, “25% of the 65- to 69-year-old runners were faster than 50% of the 20- to 54-year-old runners.”2 Even more impressive is the fact that the same percentage of 65- to 69-year-old runners began marathon training within the previous 5 years.2 This should prove that their success was not a result of a lifetime of conditioning. Despite starting their training around age 60 or later, their bodies were capable of outperforming younger runners.  

Tip #2: It’s never too late to start, so start! Need more incentive? Another study found that even untrained individuals, who had never taken up sports until after reaching the age of 50, “were able to halve their mortality risk compared with their non-active peers.”2 

Age 70 and Up

Now we enter older adulthood where our aerobic capacity declines more quickly. Most older adults will see a decline of about 20% every 10 years starting around age 70.1 Fear not, however. Even if your maximal oxygen uptake is reduced, you are still capable of improving your aerobic fitness and of improving your muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.  

For example, this study on balance training in older adults found that regular balance and strength training was capable of restoring performance to a level like that of someone 3 to 10 years younger.3  

Not to mention, the power of exercise remains highly beneficial for the body and is often prescribed to older adults. In fact, this study found that “the life expectancy of active seniors was 3.8 years longer than that of their non-active peers.2 

Tip #3: Don’t allow yourself to believe that your age means you cannot be physically active. Many of our older members are living proof that age is just a number. Check out #3 of our Workout Excuses article to see exactly what we mean. Additionally, many workouts are tailored specifically to older adults who need a safe and gradual starting point. A doctor can help you make the right activity choices if you’re looking to take up exercise but have felt unable to do so. 

For more articles like this one, click to subscribe to our newsletter and receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. Fleg, Jerome L., et al. “Accelerated Longitudinal Decline of Aerobic Capacity in Healthy Older Adults.” Circulation, 25 July 2005, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.545459 
  2. Leyk, Dieter, et al. “Physical Performance in Middle Age and Old Age: Good News for Our Sedentary and Aging Society.” Deutsches Arzteblatt International, Deutscher Arzte Verlag, Nov. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999945/. 
  3. Wolfson, Leslie, et al. “Balance and Strength Training in Older Adults: Intervention Gains and Tai Chi Maintenance – Wolfson – 1996 – Journal of the American Geriatrics Society – Wiley Online Library.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 27 Apr. 2015, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb01433.x 
Member Spotlight | The Way to Wellness

Member Spotlight | The Way to Wellness

Be kind and gentle with yourself. In working out, praise yourself for what you were able to do.”

Ann B.

LA Fitness Member

Ann is an LA Fitness member who tells us she has always been on the heavy side. Partly after the emergence of some health problems, Ann began her movement towards weight loss.  

In the past 25 years, Ann has had 6 back surgeries, and again finds herself with 2 bulging discs. She joined the gym to build up strength in her body, especially her legs, hips, and arms. 2 mini strokes also left Ann with balance and endurance problems, yet this past fall she has already worked her way to losing 50 pounds! Her goal is to lose at least another 40 to 50 pounds. 

Read on to learn Ann’s story and to see how she determined that it was time to make a change. 


 

Emergency Surgery

In August of 2019, Ann underwent emergency surgery for a perforated bowel. While in the hospital for recovery, she rapidly lost 10 pounds. Upon returning home, her reduced appetite prompted even more weight loss: another 10 pounds.  

Seeing that she had lost 20 pounds, what was at first a scary situation became an opportunity for change. Now feeling better from her ordeal, Ann decided she would stick firmly to a 1200 calorie diet to start losing weight healthily. “I wasn’t exercising very much, so the weight was coming off slowly,” she shares. 

Despite her minimal exercise, the changes in her diet were helping. However, Ann still wanted to add activity to her life. 

I used to walk around the block everyday which equaled a mile with my walker. I can’t do that right now, so I was looking into finding a gym. I tried one I knew many people went to, but it was always too crowded, and I had to wait for machines. That’s not my cup of tea.  

I decided to look into LA Fitness. It is close to my home and things move right along. LA Fitness seemed to have what we needed. So, my husband and I became official members.” 

Finding Her Flow

“I feel better when I work out,” Ann says. The days she doesn’t, she feels like she’s just dragging through her day. Part of her transition to an active lifestyle, however, involved the need to find what worked for her body. If you recall, she has had her fair share of back pain and surgeries.  

“One day I over did it with some heavier weights and I had a painful back for four days. I need to find my comfort zone and stay there. I see others pushing themselves, and even though I want to, I know I can’t.” 

Ann’s experience with the heavier weights reminds us that even if we’re eager to make improvements, we can only do so by monitoring our progress with a critical eye. It’s important to ask yourself if your form is still good and if you are compromising your safety by trying to do too much before your body is ready. 

Ann’s Advice to You

We asked Ann, if she could give other gym-goers a piece of advice, what would it be? Her response was perfect: “Take care of yourself because no one else is going to. We are so busy taking care of others, we forget about ourselves. Be kind and gentle with yourself. In working out, praise yourself for what you were able to do.” 

We love this advice because not only do we agree on the importance of remembering to care for yourself, we also don’t think you have to keep up with everyone else in the gym. Your aim should simply be to challenge yourself to do better than you did in the past.  
 
Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 

For grammatical correctness, length, and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided. 

Recommended Reading

How to Transition from Machines to Free Weights

How to Transition from Machines to Free Weights

Machines vs Free Weights 

Machines

Machines and free weights each have their advantages. Machines are great for people who need a bit more guidance. They support your body, usually have a seat and backrest, and they guide your movement which helps you learn how a specific exercise is supposed to feel. They’re great for people who are just starting out and need the direction a machine can provide.  

Both a benefit and a drawback of machines is that, often, they will isolate a single muscle. This can be great if you’re looking for a more targeted workout, but you’ll have to do a lot more exercises on a bunch of different machines to work more than one muscle group. The strength you gain from machines is also not very functional, but this may not be a concern if your focus is on aesthetics. 

Free Weights

Free weights are great for people who are looking to exercise multiple muscle groups at once. Because different muscles come into play to stabilize the weight as you move it, you get a more complete workout from one exercise. A drawback is that you are sometimes limited by what you can lift off the rack or by your grip strength. Your legs may be ready to squat more weight, for example, but your arms may not be ready to carry those couple extra pounds.  

The strength you gain from free weights is highly functional because your muscles are allowed to move naturally. You have the benefit of engaging parts of a muscle you normally wouldn’t engage on a machine, even though you’re doing a similar exercise. 

If you’re looking to transition from machines to free weights, we’re about to tell you how. There are some important precautions and considerations that can help make the transition easier and safer. 

Free Weights Don’t Weigh the Same

This sounds a bit ridiculous. How is squatting 250-pounds on a Smith machine (assisted squat machine) not the same as squatting a 250-pound barbell? Well, the answer is in the mechanics of the machine. Machines guide your muscles through a very linear motion. Your body doesn’t have to work to stabilize the weight (to keep it from tipping more one way than the other, etc.). Because of that, you don’t need to put as much effort into moving the weight that’s connected to a machine. 

>> When you transition from machines to free weights, you need to start significantly lighter and build your way up to find your working weight.  

Master Your Form First

The thing about machines is they stick you into a certain form. It’s great if you’ve never done a particular exercise and you need to know what it should look and feel like. However, once you step away from the machine, it’s all different. Your body will want to move differently to compensate for the position of your hands and feet and where the dumbbells or barbell happen to be resting. You may also notice that you have one arm or leg that is stronger than the other and that it is doing more of the work. This can also set the weight into a different balance that your stabilizing muscles will have to make up for. 

>> When you decide to take an exercise off the machine and onto the floor, you may notice weaknesses you hadn’t noticed before. Master your form first and then gradually incorporate weights. 

Don’t Push Your Muscles to Failure

It was easier to do this with machines because the equipment was relieving you of the weight once you had done your last rep. With free weights, pushing until your muscles can do no more can be dangerous, especially if your form is compromised. It’s important to leave your body a little breathing room and to have a spotter when you plan to challenge yourself in the weight room.  

>> Pushing your muscles to failure when using free weights can be dangerous. Always give yourself enough energy to complete your last rep with perfect form. 

For more workout tips, read up on what happens when you exercise on an empty stomach. Or, find out what you should know before you work out in cold weather. To stay up to date with our content, click to subscribe to our newsletter and receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Body Types: The Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph

Body Types: The Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph

In 1954, William H. Sheldon published the book The Atlas of Men. It was a guide for classifying the human body based on its structural features. Today, we still use his classification system to draw a distinction between body types. According to Sheldon, there are 3: The Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph. 

The idea behind the different classifications is that they can help you understand if your body is genetically predisposed to excel in some areas of fitness and engineered to do poorly in others. Understanding your body type means you can take advantage of what your body may naturally be good at and learn what you need to avoid or do more of in order to maintain good health.

The Ectomorph

The Ectomorphic body type is characterized by: 

  • Small bones 
  • Long, slim muscles  
  • Long arms and legs 
  • Low, narrow shoulders 

Source:  Seyhan, 2019 

Individuals with this body type tend to have low fat storage and find it difficult to gain muscle. These are the people who seem to eat and eat and gain no weight. While this sounds amazing, they also have a hard time putting on muscle. To effectively bulk up, Ectomorphs have to follow a calorie-dense nutrition plan and adhere to plenty of strength training. Cardio may actually make it harder to build muscle if you have the Ectomorph body type. 

Sports and Activities Best Suited for Ectomorphs: 

  • Marathons 
  • Triathlons 
  • Cross-country skiing 
  • Tennis 
  • Cycling 
  • Circuit Training 

Source:  Ruiz, 2017 

The Mesomorph

The Mesomorphic body type is characterized by: 

  • Noticeable muscularity 
  • Large and thick muscles 
  • Wide shoulders
  • Thick forearms 
  • Large hands, wrists and fingers 

Source:  Seyhan, 2019 

The Mesomorph tends to have lower body fat and is able to gain muscle easily. For this body type, it is easier to bulk up with strength training while cardio exists in the workout regimen mostly to maintain a lean look.  

Sports and Activities Best Suited for Mesomorphs: 

  • Weightlifting 
  • Bodybuilding 
  • Soccer 
  • Hockey 
  • Rugby 

Source:  Ruiz, 2017 

The Endomorph

The Endomorphic body type is characterized by: 

  • A round and soft body 
  • Short neck 
  • High square shoulders  
  • A sagging abdomen 

Source:  Seyhan, 2019 

Individuals with this body type will tend towards having higher body fat and lower muscle mass. Because of this, bulking requires attentiveness to calorie intake, so you don’t consume more than you burn. A combination of cardio and strength training can help you keep calories under control while also working on muscle gain. Cardio is more important for people in this group than it is for others. 

Sports and Activities Best Suited for Endomorphs: 

  • American football 
  • Long-distance swimming 
  • Rowing 
  • Cross-country skiing 
  • Snowshoeing 

Source:  Ruiz, 2017 

Combination Body Types

It’s possible that you may have a combination body type if you identify with elements from multiple categories. Some online calculators claim they can estimate your body type after you’ve answered a series of questions. However, Sheldon’s original method required a lot of measuring and some long equations. So, while they may give you a vague idea, we’re hesitant to believe in the accuracy of questionnaires that don’t consider detailed body measurements.   

If you do learn your unique body type, you’ll better understand your body’s exercise needs and potential physical advantages. That’s not to say, however, that you should consider yourself limited in what you can do. Many Ectomorphs and Endomorphs train their way to a lean, muscular, v-shaped or hourglass build. It’s not impossible, only easier or more difficult based on your individual body type.  

To learn how you can sculpt a v-shaped physique, check out our article on How to Build the Illusion of Broad Shoulders. To learn how to train your way to an hourglass body shape, read our article on How to Create the Hourglass Illusion. For more interesting reads, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. Seyhan, Sinan. “Examination of Physical Fitness and Somatotype Features of Parkour Practitioners (Traceur) and Gymnasts in University Education.” Journal of Education and Learning, 8 Mar. 2019, www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jel/article/view/0/38799. 
  2. Ruiz, Fernando Pages. “Just Your Type.” Experience Life, 9 June 2017, experiencelife.com/article/just-your-type/. 

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