Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Question:

I have a question on sweet potatoes. Someone told me that eating one sweet potato before a workout is a great source of energy and it does not contain any bad cholesterol. What is your take on this?

– Nick C.

Answer:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy! They are full of complex carbohydrates (25 grams = 100 calories) for lasting fuel with a little protein (approx. 2 grams per cup). Sweet potatoes do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. They have a good fiber content, providing 4 grams per medium potato, which is beneficial for watching your cholesterol.

They are so easy to microwave and eat with a spoon right from the peel when sliced length-wise. No condiments needed! Kept cold, chunks of cooked sweet potato can be dressed up to make savory or sweet. Avoid fried sweet potato pre-workout as you don’t need the added fat slogging you down and hampering performance.

Resource:

  1. What’s to Know About Sweet Potatoes? Megan Ware. Medical News Today, Sept 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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The 5 Types of Yoga You Have to Try: Let’s Take a Mindful Minute

The 5 Types of Yoga You Have to Try: Let’s Take a Mindful Minute

“Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.” – Anonymous

For a complete body, mind, and soul transformation, Yoga is all-inclusive. This healthy lifestyle workout both strengthens and brings relaxation to your overall body. Having originated approximately 5,000 years ago in India, this age-old practice continues strong today.

Some describe Yoga as a science, while others praise it as a way to combine the physical realm with the spiritual realm. Whichever way you choose to see it, one thing is certain: Yoga is here to stay.

But, what is Yoga exactly?

According to the Art of Living, Yoga is all about “harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas) and meditation.”1

If you’re new to this form of fitness, don’t be intimidated – the necessities needed for Yoga are pretty basic.

Here are a few tips for the new Yogis out there:
  1. When it comes to clothing, body-fitting, comfortable clothing works well.
  2. Yoga requires a lot of fluid body movements, so try to wear clothing that doesn’t constrict you in any way. Women typically opt for leggings and a somewhat form-fitting top, while men usually wear shorts, however loose pants work just as well.
  3. No shoes or socks are required for classes.
  4. As for a Yoga mat, LA Fitness offers complimentary mats for members to use during yoga. If you prefer to bring in your own, that is perfectly fine too!

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The health benefits of Yoga are astounding. Research has proven that Yoga can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, aid in improvement of chronic back pain, help lower blood sugar and speed nerve impulses in those suffering from diabetes, boost energy, mood, have positive effects on those battling obesity, heart disease and cancer – amongst many others.2 It’s amazing how such a gentle workout approach can be so beneficial to our bodies.

Below is a list of five different styles of Yoga that are an absolute must-try for Yoga enthusiasts.

1. Bikram Yoga For Healing

Bikram Yoga is a form of Yoga that involves repeating the same set of 26 poses in set cycles over a 90-minute time frame. As taken from the official Bikram Yoga site, this style is meant to “work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.”3 Bikram style yoga is often grouped together with hot yoga, due to the fact that these classes take place in a hot room, either at or above body temperature.

2. Yin Yoga For Relaxation

Imagine Yin Yoga as a slower-paced version of basic yoga. Now before you think this sounds boring, it’s actually quite challenging, while still bringing relaxation to your body. Yin Yoga requires its students to hold postures, or asanas, for longer periods of time. This is supposed to target the deeper tissues of the body rather than the superficial tissues alone. It’s not uncommon for poses to be held 3 to 5 minutes at a time, sometimes even as long as 20 minutes. The poses for this style yoga are similar in form to one meditating.

3. Iyengar Yoga For Strength and Stamina

Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga that was developed by Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar. It corrects alignment of all parts of the body and establishes a sense of well-being. The precision of each pose assists in building strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility. If you’re a fan of varied exercise, this style may be for you, given that no routine is ever exactly the same. This method is all about developing better attention to detail.

4. Bhakti Yoga For Love

This yoga practice may be for love, but not in the traditional romantic way we may first come to think of. Bhakti is one of the major six branches of yoga, which focuses on cultivating a love and devotion toward a personal god. Bhakti Yoga is also known as the path to self-realization. It’s a form of yoga that is recommended for those who feel they are in touch with their emotions. It’s the path of the heart and devotion. The ultimate goal of practicing Bhakti Yoga is to reach a state of pure bliss.

5. Ashtanga or Power Yoga For Weight Loss

Astanga Yoga is a type of yoga is based on eight principles: Yama (moral codes), Niyama (self-purification and study), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption into the Universal). Power Yoga is an offshoot of Astanga Yoga, which uses the same poses, just sped up! If you’re looking for an intense workout that will leave you feeling good and full of sweat, you may want to give this style a try.

LA Fitness + Yoga

Feeling inspired to get your Yoga fitness on? LA Fitness has you covered. Find a Yoga class at a location near you by clicking, here. And for those of you seeking a different take on traditional yoga, consider trying out Yogabeat® and watch yourself dance gracefully throughout a series of varying poses while burning off those pesky calories.

In honor of National Yoga Month, invite a friend to join you to try out an LA Fitness Yoga class by sending them a guest pass here!

Sources: 

  1. “Yoga.” Art of Living (Global), www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga.
  2. Link, Rachael. “13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga.
  3. “Home.” Bikram Yoga®, www.bikramyoga.com/.

Recommended Reading

Sugar Content of Jamaica Tea

Sugar Content of Jamaica Tea

Question:

I have been drinking a lot of Jamaica tea with a little Splenda. Does the tea have a sugar content? I have seen conflicting articles when I Google it. Thanks.

– Antonio D.

Answer:

Tea brewed from the dried petals of the hibiscus flower (also known as Jamaica or Roselle) is a pleasant ruby red, almost cranberry juice-like color, not to be confused with African rooibos tea.

According to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy Release: brewed hibiscus tea has 0 grams carbohydrate per 8 fluid ounces, no caffeine and contains trace minerals. By contrast, a cup of the raw flower petals has 6.5 grams carbohydrate.

If you brew your own or obtain it unsweetened, there should be no sugar in your Jamaica. However, prepared hibiscus/Jamaica teas sold at a coffee shop/restaurant or in the drink aisle at a store may be sweetened with sugar.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Instructor Spotlight | Practice What You Preach

Instructor Spotlight | Practice What You Preach

Before I was an instructor, I ran a daycare business from my own home. I had such a great time raising my own kids that I wanted to continue doing what I loved and luckily started a business out of it.

When my dad reached his 50th birthday, he was diagnosed with Diabetes. It was heartbreaking to hear. A while later, my eldest brother was also diagnosed with Diabetes when he reached his 50s. This was a wakeup call to me and the rest of my family. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet was not something that my family was accustomed to.

When I first started out, losing weight for me was very difficult. After having 3 children, the weight would just come back any time after seeming to make a little progress with weight loss. Naturally, this became very frustrating for me. In 2010, my husband and I made a commitment to educate ourselves on nutrition, diet, and exercise. We researched everything we could on the internet and even started going to our local gym together. We became so addicted to this lifestyle that we were going to the gym 6-7 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. After some time, I started seeing results again, only this time things were different. I was able to lose weight and keep the weight from coming back. I realized that before, my results were poor because I wasn’t properly educated on proper dieting and exercise.

I think a main reason why people fail in their fitness goals is because they are misinformed. Everyone’s body is different, and therefore everyone’s plan should be different. I want to show and teach people that they can get the body they want if they take the time to learn about the diet and exercise that is right for them. In addition to that, I want to show people that making these changes to their lifestyle can make them more confident and ultimately bring more happiness into their lives. This was when I knew I had a passion for teaching.

Teaching was a natural career transition for me. I had a thirst for knowledge when it came to diet and exercise. I also love to dance and interact with people. Before I became an instructor, I attended many different conferences and certification courses. I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I could share the information with others.

I got my start at LA Fitness a couple years ago through a friend of mine who got me an audition as a Zumba® Instructor. I am so thankful for that reference because it has opened so many doors for me in the past couple of years. Not only do I teach Zumba®, but I also run boot camps and Aqua Fit workouts now.

At the end of the day, I feel very blessed to be where I am. I LOVE what I do and hope that people can feel that when they attend my classes.

Q: What are your current health and fitness goals?

My short-term fitness and health goals involve me getting as many people as I can to be excited about exercising. I’m a huge believer in spreading positive energy and getting people motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes. That type of energy/motivation can be infectious.

For the long-term, my goal is to maintain a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle for myself. I’d like to teach for a long time, so I need to stay as healthy and happy as possible to do so.

Q: How has instructing helped shape/change your fitness lifestyle?

Instructing has definitely shaped my fitness lifestyle in a positive way. I’m a huge advocate of practicing what I preach. If I’m going to advise students to exercise, eat healthy and drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) then I absolutely must do the same. Before I even got into instructing, I really enjoyed living a healthy lifestyle – teaching became a very natural transition for me because of that.

Q: If you could give others one piece of advice, what would it be?

Living healthy and happy isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. My only advice would be for people to give it a try.


Member Testimonials

Marilou has changed my life and many others in the most positive ways.

As a 54-year-old woman, I came to Marilou’s class with some problem areas that I would like to work on. Marilou immediately assessed my issues and told me to commit to coming to her class twice a week along with my weekly class routine.

Almost 5 months later I am a changed person for the better. Not only am I sooooo happy because I am seeing results that hard work and dedication can accomplish but I am drinking more water, I am standing proud, I laugh, I listen, and when I do things now I say to myself CHECK ME OUT. Marilou has been the nurturing force behind all of these things I have accomplished.

Everyone wants to be around her due to her infectious personality. She explains the correct form and corrects us to do so. She explains nutrition. She laughs a lot and everyone loves it. She has changed the way I think. I like what I am seeing and am so proud of myself for getting there.

Her classes have doubled in size due to everyone wanting to be inspired by Marilou’s wonderful way of feeling good about yourself. I love going to her classes. I am not turning back as I know how hard it was to get here.

I not only think Marilou is one of the most knowledgeable instructors but I consider her a friend. I met so many new friends in her classes that all are inspired by her wonderful way of teaching. I told her I’m hanging a picture of her on my refrigerator as a reminder of all the things she taught me and how I love the transportation I am seeing when I look in the mirror.

Ann G.

LA Fitness Member

My experience in Marilou’s class has been nothing short of fantastic! She is very genuine when it comes to making sure we understand what it is that she is trying to show/ teach us. She is a very motivated individual that knows how to get myself and the class energized and ready for the class. For myself personally, the class and Marilou has made my fitness journey very enjoyable.

Zoe Y.

LA Fitness Member

Marilou is the best instructor! I have been attending Marilou’s bootcamp classes for over a year now. I notice my strength and flexibility increased and even my friends and family are impressed with the outcome. I never attended a fitness class before hers. Marilou inspires me to attend twice a week. She has an unstoppable enthusiasm that helps carry you through the entire hour. She is attentive to the newbies and the seasoned workout junkies. She takes time to ensure proper form and follow through on each exercise during and after the class. Her bigheartedness and carefree laughter are extremely welcoming and make me feel that I accomplished a great workout and I look forward to the next one.

Fay D.

LA Fitness Member


Recommended Reading

Fruits to Help with Weight Loss

Fruits to Help with Weight Loss

Question:

I’ve been eating just fruit for lunch each day. Can you please recommend the best fruits to eat for weight loss?

– Lisa

Answer:

My first recommendation would be to consume more than just fruit if you eat only 3 meals and breakfast is not ample. On the other hand, if you eat heartily in the morning with snacks between meals, then you might get by on a fruit-only lunch.

Almost all fresh* fruits (save avocados, olives & coconuts) are pure carbohydrates with very little protein or fat. So, they may not sustain you for long. They do offer an abundance of fiber, vitamins/minerals, and water content, though. I would encourage you to balance your fruit only lunch with some nuts, seeds or even a hard-cooked egg for a little protein and fat.

While the nutritional content varies among fruits, there aren’t particular ones that promote weight loss, per se. Melons and strawberries are more calorie-dilute than some others, while cherries, grapes, and bananas are considered dense. Anything that takes a while to chew means you’ll consume less of it, so apples with the skin on and pomegranate arils may be better choices.

For further answers regarding fruit consumption click here and here.

*Dried and canned fruits are a no-no for dieters!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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