Archive for April 2014

15 Positive Psychological Effects of Exercise


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We have all heard that exercise releases endorphins, fights anxiety, increases stress resilience, and improves sleep. However, there are additional psychological effects exercise has on the mind. Check out these 15 effects:

1. Escape a Bad Mood: Exercise helps transform a bad mood into a good one. Ever gone for a run after a stressful work day? Chances are you felt better afterward. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise, you get a mood enhancement effect. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with brain receptors (same receptors that bind some pain medicines) to reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling.

2. Reduce Anxiety: Both low and moderate intensity exercise has shown to reduce anxiety, however,

doing high intensity exercise, especially in women, has shown to provide the greatest reduction in anxiety.

 Regular workouts are even helpful for people prone to anxiety because it makes them less likely to panic. Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment; therefore, people learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger.

3. Stress Resilience: Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine which can affect the brain’s response to stress. Exercise stops neurons firing in the region of the brain which is stimulated during a stress response. Studies in mice have shown exercise reorganizes the brain by resisting neuron fire and making the brain more resistant to stress.

4. Improved Sleep: Although it’s not necessarily accurate to say exercise makes you more tired, exercise does show to improve sleep over the long term. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s temperature and when your temperature drops back to normal a few hours later; this signals the body that it’s time to sleep.

5. Lower Dementia Risk:

Any type of exercise which gets your heart pumping lowers the risk of dementia.

Regular exercise in midlife is associated with lower levels of cognitive problems, helping to prevent dementia and mild cognitive impairments.

6. Fight Depression: Physical activity extends beyond the mood enhancing short term effects and shows to help alleviate long-term depression. Exercise provides moderate relief and can alleviate symptoms among those depressed and has even worked just as effective as antidepressant pills.

7. Speed Up Your Mind: After just 30 minutes of exercise, your working memory (what’s in your conscious mind right now and what you’re doing with this information) improves. Exercise improves spatial memory by increasing production of cells in the hippocampus (responsible for memory and learning).

8. Reduce Silent Strokes:

Exercise reduces the chance of silent strokes by 40%.

It has to be more than walking to experience these benefits so any moderate movement like jogging, biking, tennis, or swimming are great to get the protective effect.

9. Protect Against Alzheimer’s: Exercise provides a protective effect against Alzheimer’s by helping to produce chemicals which fight the damaging inflammation of the brain. As the most common form of dementia, the brain literally wastes away followed by the body. Alzheimer’s kills off brain cells which cause the brain to shrink, losing important brain functions. Although exercise cannot cure Alzheimer’s, it can help fight against cognitive decline. As mentioned in #7 above, there is a chemical boost in the brain which prevents degeneration of the hippocampus, an imperative part of the brain for memory.

10. Improve Children’s School Performance: Children who engage in more exercise do better in school. Cardiovascular exercise can improve brain performance and a tough workout (high movement and coordination) increases levels of brain-derived protein in the body which is believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.

11. Stimulate Brain Cell Growth: Connected to cardiovascular exercise, doing cardio can create new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. Exercise actually helps new brain cells to grow, specifically the brain regions related to memory and learning.

12. Increase Executive Functioning:  Exercise reliably improves executive functioning, such as: switching tasks efficiently, ignoring distractions, and making plans.

13. Prevent Migraines: Although there is fear that exercise may create a migraine, exercise can actually help prevent migraines.

Exercising at least three days a week shows improvements equal to taking the most current anti-migraine drugs.

14. Stop Smoking: Taking a brisk walk or doing a similar exercise can help someone give up smoking. Taking that walk creates an experience of less stress, less anxiety, and fewer withdrawal symptoms and helps by making the cigarette seem less attractive.

15. Reduce Motivation to Eat: Contrary to what is believed (eating more after exercise to replace lost calories) after exercise, people have lower motivation to eat food. Exercise helps to suppress hunger by decreasing the body’s levels of ghrelin (hormone that stimulates appetite). Additionally, exercising in the morning makes us more health focused for the day, choosing healthier food and movement options throughout our day.

Exercising has several positive effects which go beyond the gym. Which effects could you benefit from by exercising every day?



The 2014 Boston Marathon: Lindsay’s Experience


It is now a full week after the 2014 Boston Marathon. This is going to be a long blog, but I promise I keep things interesting. Physically, I am still recovering while emotionally I am still processing. I thought I would share my experience and I can only hope you get the slightest taste of what it was like to be in Boston this year. In order to truly understand my emotions leading up to race day it is important to know this was my second marathon (qualifying race was the 2013 Cincinnati Flying Pig), I still haven’t grasped why I was given this opportunity and no, I didn’t “deserve” it. Sure, I worked hard to qualify, but there are bigger reasons as to why I got to be a participant in the 2014 Boston Marathon and I couldn’t be more grateful to share the experience.

Jeff (my boyfriend) and I got up around 5:00 am race day and took our time getting ready. Showered up, put on the body glide (I missed a few spots, ha), tossed on CTF gear and ate a solid breakfast. Jeff’s dad kindly drove us to the bus stop while I took a quick nap—apparently I still needed some shut eye. We arrived to Athlete’s Village around 7:30 am and I knew it was going to be a long wait before I started. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about this part but there is nothing you can do except rest, chit-chat, refuel, use the bathrooms and watch the snipers on top of a local school (craziness). Jeff left around 9:30 am and I had another hour or so before I made my way to the starting line.

Physically, my legs felt ready to go but my stomach was in rumble mode. So many thoughts and emotions—I felt honored to be there knowing so many people were tracking and supporting; having our families awaiting at mile 25 and knowing Jeff was out there was comforting, exciting and nerve racking all at the same time. It was finally time to get started and I couldn’t be happier.

Miles 1-6: Go figure the first thing I hear is the Dropkick Murphys song…it instantly made me think of everyone at CTF and “3, 2, 1, work” became real. I paced my first 6 miles really well given it was a lot of downhill. I knew that would hit me later… going downhill is not fun. It was only fun when I was 6 years old and thought it was cool to run down the hill next to my house to see how fast I could go. I got to mile 7 and couldn’t believe I was already 25% done with the course. Miles 7-13: I made sure to stay on top of my nutrition plan of using my gels, drinking water, drinking Gatorade every so often, and had my first dose of salt supplement. I was able to hold my pace and I couldn’t be more excited about that. These miles were a blast. I tried to clap as many hands as possible, favoring the kiddies. I was truly savoring every mile at this point.

Miles 13-19: Mile 13 wasn’t my finest mile. Thank goodness there was a bathroom close by because I felt my throat start to cease up—that feeling right before you puke. Awesome. I paused my watch at this point, got sick in a porter potty, felt a million times better then kept moving on. Physically, I knew this would probably catch up later but what can ya’ do? You keep moving. Ran to mile 14, drank Gatorade and water, recovered my pace miles 15-17 then proceeded to get sick AGAIN at mile 18. At this point, I was concerned about how my body would handle this once I got to my final miles but all I could do was follow my game plan and try to get my pacing back. Mile 19 was a 9:30 mile and that was when my quads started to cramp stronger than I’ve ever felt in my life.

Miles 20-26.2: These miles were the hardest miles I have ever physically ran/walked/stretched/trotted in my life. Mentally I was strong and knew the goal was to FINISH the race. KEEP MOVING. Maintain form. Wooooah–ceasing up. Pull over. Stop. Stretch. Shake it out. KEEP MOVING. Lean on the crowd’s support. Drink water, drink Gatorade, stay on the nutrition plan, pray and KEEP MOVING. Your friends are tracking you—KEEP MOVING. Family is at mile 25—smile for the picture and act like you aren’t in pain. Drink water. Stop, stretch, shake it out, talk to the person behind the fence then KEEP MOVING. These thoughts and actions were literally my last 6.2 miles. Crossing that finish line was emotional and I couldn’t wait to find Jeff, family and sit down. Finishing at 4:05 was not in the cards at mile 18 (I could have finished around 3:40), but starting at mile 19 a 4:05 finish was stellar. I found Jeff pretty easily and the tears came streaming down.

As I replay my miles, one of the main reasons I believe I had the opportunity to run that race was to be humbled.

Humble literally means to “bow down.” I felt what it was like to mentally rely on something bigger than me because my body was shutting down. In so many words, I had to look up, look around me and have faith that I was going to finish that race—no matter what.



Healthy Recipe: Prickly Pear Sorbet

This sweet, cool delight is low in calories but packed with flavor.  So, you can be good to your tastebuds and to your body.




3 quarts Prickly pear sorbet

1 cup Sugar

4 cups Water

¼ cup Fresh lime juice


  • Plan ahead and freeze ice cream bowl the night or day before.
  • In food processor, process prickly pears, sugar and water followed by mixing in lime juice.
  • Place prickly pear mixture in ice cream freezer bowl.  Turn mixture until thick and semi-frozen.
  • Place sorbet in a metal bowl or pan and allow it to freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • Use ¾ ounce scoop for each serving.  


Serves 48

Serving size 3/4 ounce

30 Calories

0 grams of fat



Fitness Friday: High Intensity Jump Rope Interval Training

30-Minute High Intensity Jump Rope and Body Weight Interval:

A  simple but effective way to get your heart rate up and work your muscles using a jump rope and a timer or stop watch. Have fun!

1 minute jump rope

  • 30 seconds squats
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1 minute jump rope

  • 30 seconds push ups

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1 minute jump rope

  • 30 seconds sit-ups
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1 minute jump rope

  •  30 seconds reverse lunge (alternating legs)

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1 minute jump rope

  • 30 seconds tricep dip

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1 minute jump rope

  • 30 seconds plank

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Repeat 4 times

Take 1 minute break between rounds



Meet LOSE Well Fitness Coach, Jeremy Crawford

Jeremy Crawford, B.S., NASM CPT, USAW Coach – LOSE Well Fitness Coach


Born in the small town of Paris, TX, Jeremy was raised as an avid outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast. He left home for the first time in January 2005 to join the US Marine Corps.  Jeremy spent four years proudly serving his country.  And after two combat deployments he earned the prestigious Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.  His commitment to recreation and sport drove him to complete his Bachelors of Kinesiology in 2013.  Aided by certifications as a Personal Trainer and Performance Coach, Jeremy motivates guests to lose significant weight while gaining valuable mental strength.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our LOSE Well 4-Week Weight Loss Program. 



Ready for a Culinary & Fitness Adventure?




Looking for a rewarding weekend getaway? We’ve packed some of our best culinary and fitness experiences into just three days!

  • Mornings are spent in our state-of-the-art Healthy Kitchen learning to prepare delicious meals.
  • Each afternoon we’ll explore the island’s beautiful beaches and lush wetlands by bike, kayak, and even stand-up paddleboard.
  • Enjoy a private gourmet meal from our chef every evening, and wrap up your trip with a relaxing massage treatment by one of our skilled therapists.


Here’s a snapshot of your 3-Day Culinary and Fitness Adventure:




3-day workshops run alongside our LIVE Well program. Additional fees apply.
Workshop fee includes classes, excursions and Swedish massage.





The Perfect Healthy Gift for Mom

With Mother’s Day coming up start thinking outside the box and think inside the bag. A well-stocked, stylish, gym bag is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Every little motivational tool is a blessing when looking for reasons to workout. A gym bag with all the essentials is just what Mom needs to psych herself up to sweat. Here’s a few suggestions for this awesome gift idea:

First Things First…Find a Great Gym Bag:


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Mom needs a gym bag that is both stylish and practical. A duffle bag with extra compartments, both inside and out, is desirable for storing gym bag essentials. Also, make sure the gym bag you select is either machine washable or has coated fabric that can be easily wiped down. Leather just isn’t going to do. Ideally you want a gym bag that has both a handle strap and a shoulder strap. On days when she is loaded down with groceries and other sundry packages, Mom needs different carrying options for her gym bag. If shopping online, and have a great selection. I also like because you can select from many fabric choices as well as purchase matching accessories like a cosmetic bag.

Speaking of Cosmetic Bags…

A bag inside a bag? Yup, that’s a necessity for the ultimate gym bag. Mom will need a few essential toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and a brush. Look for her favorite brands in trial sizes, which can be purchased at most drug stores, and gather them in a small cosmetic bag for inclusion in her chic, new gym bag.

Hydration Station:

Every gym bag needs a great water bottle and Mom needs to stay hydrated during her workout. Look for a water bottle with an opening big enough to easily fill with ice (my favorite is the Nalgene Tritan Wide-Mouth, and try to find one with a carrying strap. H2O with a hint of fruit can be very quenching so you might consider one of the cool new infusion water bottles like the Define Bottle which has both a wide opening and carrying strap (

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Fashionable Fitness:

Mom will feel better about sweating if she looks good while doing it, so why not help her out with a cute, new exercise outfit (or a gift certificate to buy one)? For the fashionista, is the way to go. For comfort and style try and for fashion on a budget, TJ Maxx is the best!

A Few Extras:

You know Mom best so consider if she will need any of these items in her gym bag as well; hairbands, weight-lifting gloves, a towel, an extra pair of socks and a few on-the-go exercise accessories like a jump rope or resistance bands.



This Versatile Food Could Cut Your Calories by Two-Thirds

As some of you already know, the southeastern part of South Carolina (including Charleston, Beaufort, and Hilton Head) is known as the Low Country. The Low Country is known for its beaches, golf and our favorite local food, shrimp. If you  have seen Forrest Gump, you  know that shrimp is an incredibly versatile food. Shrimp is not only popular in the Low Country; it has been, since 2001, the most consumed seafood in the United States. But is shrimp as good for you as it tastes?

In a recent article in the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter,  Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Director of the HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, commented that it can be. “Shrimp is a lean source of high quality protein”. It is relatively low in calories and extremely low in saturated fat.

If you were to substitute shrimp for the equivalent amount of steak or cheese you would cut your calories by almost two thirds and your saturated fat by more than 90%. It is also very low in mercury making it appropriate for pregnant woman and children.

Unfortunately, because of its low total fat content, it is also low in healthy Omega 3 fats.

Historically, the biggest concern about shrimp has been its relatively high content of dietary cholesterol. With almost 110 milligrams per 3 ounce serving, shrimp is twice as high in cholesterol than steak. Fortunately, researchers now know that blood cholesterol is influenced to a much greater degree by saturated fat than the cholesterol in food. So including shrimp regularly, especially if substituted for higher saturated fat foods, would be a good thing. The American Heart Association recommends anyone with high LDL cholesterol and taking cholesterol lowering medications, should limit their dietary cholesterol to 200 milligrams per day.

Of course another major influence on the health impact of shrimp is how it is prepared. They can be boiled, steamed, grilled, baked or sautéed. Click here for some of our shrimp recipes. Lichtenstein recommends they are best when added to a stir fry with lots of veggies, or to a lightly dressed salad rather than to cream sauce based dishes. Although very popular, breading and deep frying turns shrimp into high calorie junk food.

More than 90% of the shrimp consumed in the US is imported. Due to different standards in different countries, there is a concern that some of the shrimp may be less safe for consumers and methods used in harvesting them may create some environment concerns. The Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter suggests that if you are concerned about buying shrimp that is good for you and the environment, you should follow these recommendations from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Shrimp safe for purchase are:

  • Black tiger shrimp (Southeast Asia, especially CaMau, Vietnam, farmed using Selva Shrimp criteria – but not other imported black tiger or tiger shrimp.)
  • Freshwater prawns (US farmed)
  • Pink shrimp (Oregon, wild-caught)
  • Pacific or West Coast white shrimp (US farmed in fully  recirculation systems of inland ponds)
  • Spot Prawns (Canadian Pacific, wild caught)
  • Wild caught Northern or Bay shrimp (from the Atlantic)
  • Spot prawns (Canadian Pacific, wild-caught)
  • Gulf Shrimp (which may be marketed as Brown, Pink, White, Rock or Ebi Shrimp)
  • Shrimp from Thailand (farmed in fully circulating systems.)


Healthy Recipes: Oaxacan Hot Chocolate

Need something warm and sweet on those rainy days? Stay cozy and satisfy your sweet tooth with this delicious hot chocolate recipe.




1 cup Half and half

1 cup  Skim milk

4.5 ounces Abuelita’s chocolate or dark chocolate

¼ cup Cocoa powder


  • In a sauce pot over medium-low heat; combine half and half and skim milk bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Turn heat off and add abuelita’s chocolate and cocoa powder.
  • Mix the milk with the chocolate by rolling a whisk between the palms of your hands, until the hot chocolate is smooth and slightly frothy.
  • Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, dust with cinnamon and serve.


At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

The benefit of having a home gym is the home gym fits in your schedule. Sometimes new appointments show up, meetings go long, kids need to be taken here and there, and getting yourself to the gym seems impossible. But when you have fitness equipment at home, you can save time, money spent on memberships you don’t use, have privacy within your own home, and customize your own workout. Check out these top fitness products which are great for creating an at-home gym.

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1. Resistance Band ($5-$15): This is such a great and simple tool to use. A band can be used for a full body resistance training workout. From upper body to lower body to core, bands challenge the muscles to not only contract but also lengthen in the negative part of the movement (for instance the eccentric (down) movement of a bicep curl). Each color band represents a different resistance. Starting with the least to heaviest resistance the colors go: yellow, green, red, blue, purple, and black. This is also a wonderful tool to use while traveling as well. Weighs almost nothing and can be folded up to fit in any small space of your suitcase.




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2. TRX-Suspension Trainer ($125-$185): Similar to a resistance band, however allows for more range of motion and a better use of supported body weight. A TRX strap can be used for a full body weight training workout. The TRX leverages gravity and your bodyweight, providing greater performance and functionality over using large exercise machines (which costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars). You’re in control of how much you want to challenge yourself because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. Also the TRX is great for travelling because of its foldable and light qualities.


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3. Mat ($10-$25): A mat is a very simple product that can be used for many exercises. A mat provides support for your knees, hands, and back when doing floor exercises and also assists you doing Pilates and Yoga at home as well. Consider the thickness of your mat; a mat that’s too thick can make you unstable, but one too thin can leave you sore post-workout.




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4. Fitball ($8-$10) and Dumbbells (Varies based on weight): A fitball is a favorite because the ball can be used to facilitate resistance training by acting as a bench or chair. Seated on the ball you can use dumbbells on your arms or lying down on the ball you use it to execute a bench press or chest fly with dumbbells.  Additionally, the ball is perfect for abdominal and lower back strengthening exercises. Fitballs have different sizes (55, 65, 75mm), therefore the taller you are the bigger the ball you will want to get. The traditional size is a 65mm for anyone between 5’4” and 6’.


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5. Balance Disc ($12-$18): An awesome tool to not only practice balance on, but also a wonderful way to strengthen your ankle muscles and balance. Balancing one 
foot on each or both feet on the same disc, this creates air displacement and an unstable platform for your feet. The unstable platform strengthens the ankles and improves balance and flexibility. Incorporate this into your weight training, by standing on top and adding bicep curls, shoulder presses, or tricep kickbacks—getting an upper body and balance workout in one!


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6. Foam Roller ($15-$50): Exercise can leave our body feeling sore and tight. Having a foam roller at home can help reduce soreness and release some muscle tension. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release which is used to inhibit overactive muscles. Using the foam roller is a form of stretching that improves soft tissue extensibility by relaxing the muscle and allowing activation of the antagonist muscle. Foam rolling can sometimes be uncomfortable, but releasing this tension 1-2X/week will make the rolling more and more comfortable and improve full range of motion for the whole body.



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7. Yoga Strap ($10-$15): Using a yoga strap is a great way to help assist and progress stretching. Using a strap delivers the benefits of assisted stretching with a partner. Having multiple loops permit deep, gradual stretching of major muscle groups with greater safety, control and effectiveness than is possible unaided. The strap is a simple tool that also can be brought with while travelling. Stretching our muscles help to improve range of motion and improve the body’s elasticity. We want to not only be strong, but functional and mobile as well and using a strap like this can assist in making stretching less forced and improve flexibility.



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