<![CDATA[Molly Harrington Fitness - Blog ]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:15:50 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Dining Out: The Demise of Your Diet ]]>Sat, 26 Sep 2015 12:03:36 GMThttp://mollyharringtonfitness.com/blog/dining-out-the-demise-of-your-diet Dining Out: The Demise of Your Diet

8 Tips to Prepare for the Caloric Unknown

Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. You’ve been kicking ass with your daily calorie count and you’ve successfully weeded out most of the dietary demons in your life, when you get roped into dinner plans. It’s a tricky predicament, which has the potential to end in complete and utter decadent disaster, but with a little planning you can socialize and maintain your caloric-cool all at the same time. So, before you click “Will Not Attend” on that e-vite, check out these easy tricks that will set you up for a night of diet-friendly dining success!

  1. Do Your Homework. Ninety-eight percent of the time, you will know where you’re going beforehand. Make use of some data on your smart phone and pull up the restaurant’s menu via YELP or  Google  . This will give you a chance to scope out the healthiest options and plan your choices before you even step foot in the restaurant. You can even plug a few options into your food log to check out the calorie counts. Now that you’ve chosen a few options, be sure to stand your ground when your server presents the specials!

     

  2. Plan your day. Actually, plan your whole week. If you know your dinner will be calorie-laden, make sure the meals surrounding the soirée are ON POINT. Your breakfast and lunch should be super healthy and light. You can even cut your calories the day before and the day after to give room for a little indulgence.

     

  3. Navigating through the appetizers. If we are really honest with ourselves, appetizers typically just ruin our appetite for the main entree. First and foremost, avoid the complimentary basket of bread. Just because it comes with the meal, does not mean you need to eat it. If you must, go for a side salad, shrimp cocktail, or ceviche. Have something simple and not drenched in sauce or cheese.

     

  4. Preparation matters. A client once asked me for tips on cooking tilapia in a healthier way. I told him “to bake it”. He heard “with bacon”. Be conscious of the way your food is made. Look for entrees that are GRILLED, BAKED, POACHED, or STEAMED.

     

  5. Know what to avoid. I’m confident that we all secretly know what to avoid, but a little reminder never killed anyone. It’s best not to order an item if it contains the following words: fried, breaded, cream sauce, the plural form of cheese(s), bacon, bacon fat, Caesar, etc… This list goes on and on. There are delicious, calorie laden foods that we should just avoid.

     

  6. If you must order that… Split it in two and take half home. If you are just dying for some lobster mac and cheese, go ahead. The way to indulge and not kill your diet all rests in serving size. Have them wrap half of it up at the start. This way, you can cut down on your evening’s calories and will save money on lunch the next day.

     

  7. Everybody loves a little alcohol. Yes, you can imbibe without wrecking your diet. Is it easier on the waistline to skip the booze all together? Of course it is. If you can’t resist… choose wine, light beer, liquor on the rocks or mix it with seltzer water. Keep the servings to 1 or 2. If you want to splurge on food calories, skip the booze all together.

     

  8. Dessert. Go for coffee or tea. The bottom line is, unless you are celebrating something REALLY special, desserts are truly unnecessary.

 

 

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<![CDATA[Is My Cardio Conditioning Class Enough?]]>Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:05:22 GMThttp://mollyharringtonfitness.com/blog/is-my-cardio-conditioning-class-enoughIs My Cardio Conditioning
Class Enough?




I started my morning off with a spin class in Union Square. It
was a great cardio workout, and my legs were burning as I peddled hard and swore
in my head at the instructor. The music was great, it smelled pretty, the
  equipment sparkled, and candles flickered softly in the dimly lit room. Had I
  not been keenly aware of each muscle fiber pulling in my quads while sweat
  dripped off my nose, I may have thought I was at a fancy spa. 
Classes like these are wonderful for a number of reasons. They get your
body moving, your heart pumping, and your lungs burning; they can cancel out a
Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte and Chocolate Biscotti in 45 heart-pounding minutes;
and they are a great cardiovascular workout. Key word: CARDIOVASCULAR.



In the last fifteen minutes of the class, the instructor asked us
to bust out these adorable two-pound dumbbells stashed under the bike seat. We
proceeded to biceps curl, shoulder press, and triceps extend our little hearts
out. It was at this moment in the class that I felt disappointed, not because I
expected an amazing arm workout from a spin class, but because some people are
under the impression that they are actually getting a total body workout from a
spin class. And it isn’t just fancy spin classes that get this reputation. I
have heard the same of Pilates, Step Classes (yes, they still exist), Hot Yoga,
some ridiculous trampoline workout, and many others… I have yet to take a class
that really does all of the ‘fitness things’.



It seems to me that a lot of the trendier workouts promote a
  culture of, “This is all you need to be fit.”



So Wait, What Do I Need To
Do To Be Fit?



1. A cardiovascular workout. This type of workout keeps your
  heart and lungs healthy, burns some extra calories, and relieves stress.



2. A proper weight-training program. You need a plan that
  strengthens the muscles in varying planes of motion and uses some real weights.
  It would be best to check with a fitness professional on your form, the weight
  you should be using, and any joint pain you may have.



3. Some sort of stretching, foam rolling, and yoga type activity.
We need things like this to correct the wrongs we do to our muscles during the
day.


4. A NUTRITION PLAN! If you want to see any of the results from
busting your ass all week, you are going to want to put down that beer… and
cheeseburger… and glass of wine… and chocolate cake. A crappy diet does not a
toned body make. Remember, the food you’re putting into your body is the
  material that you’re using to build your
body.


5. A solid night’s sleep. There are articles blowing up all over
the place about the health benefits of sleep and its ability to aid in weight
loss. Hit the snooze button, I dare you.




So don’t be fooled; a single type of conditioning class is not
enough to be fit. By varying your activity types, fueling your body with whole
foods, and getting a few more z’s, you’ll see and feel results faster and notice
an overall increase in fitness. And beware of any trendy workout claiming to be
the ONLY workout you need to be fit. Sure, that class may be an excellent
workout, but alternate it with other types of exercise to get a complete fitness
plan.

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<![CDATA[Will Cutting Carbs be the Answer to My Weight Loss Goals?]]>Tue, 28 Jan 2014 15:42:17 GMThttp://mollyharringtonfitness.com/blog/will-cutting-carbs-be-the-answer-to-my-weight-loss-goalsIn a world of never ending weight loss tips, diet fads, and cleanses, it is hard to decipher what path to chose on the way to weight loss.

Almost every one of my weight loss clients has come to me, at one point or another, asking if they should cut carbs. Currently, carbs are on everyone's "bad list" for a healthy diet. I think that there is a grand misconception about what "carbs" actually are.

Let's take a step back for a minute and describe the three macronutrients that make up our daily diets.

1. Proteins-  Are your body's building blocks. They are used to create things, and I am
not just talking about muscle. Proteins are used to build all of the tissue in
our bodies (skin, muscle, cartilage, etc....).
2. Carbohydrates- Fuel our bodies, they are the most accessible form of energy that we can give ourselves. And a special shout out to Fiber (found in many carbohydrate rich foods), which will help move things through our digestive system.
3. Fats - The healthy fats that we consume help with all of the functions of the body,
they can help prevent heart disease, and lessen inflammation.

Each of these macronutrients play an important role in our bodies. For a sustainable and healthy diet, you will need all three of these macro-nutrients in varying quantities.

Let us be ironic for a moment and compare them to baking a cookie- When you bake a delicious cookie, you would use butter, eggs, and flour. If you take just one of these ingredients out of the cookie, you end up with disappointing results. Miss the right proportion of these ingredients and you risk flat and rock-like cookies, fluffy and awkwardly doughy cookies, or cookies that just fall apart. Our bodies are similar in that they need the proper balance of the three macronutrients to create amazing results.
When we commit to a diet that excludes one of these, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

What foods are classified as carbohydrates?
Pasta, rice, bread, oats.... these are the first to come to mind when someone wants to eliminate carbs.
But carbohydrates are found in so many other foods- fruits, vegetables, legumes, alcohol and sweets, just to name a few.

To actually eliminate carbs from our diets we would be eliminating our bodies main source of energy and many important vitamins and minerals. Obviously the booze and candies did not make the cut for the list of necessary carbohydrates (my Irish ancestors may disagree).

I recommend that my clients eliminate processed carbs and simple carbs from their diets. Get rid of breads, pasta, cookies, cereal, and keep the high fiber, nutrient rich carbohydrates. Enjoy your fruits (in moderation), your vegetables, and your whole grains. Remember that fruits and vegetables that are consumed with the skin intact, tend to have a higher fiber count than their naked counterparts.

What it ultimately comes down to is finding a diet that is rich with healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Then keep track of it in a food log and make sure you aren't blowing your caloric intake out of the water.

Ps. Same goes for juice cleanses that last more than a day or two... don't eliminate proteins from your diet for extended periods of time. Your body will break down your muscle and ruin all of the hard work you put in at the gym.





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<![CDATA[The Myth About The Fat Burning Zone]]>Sun, 03 Nov 2013 20:11:37 GMThttp://mollyharringtonfitness.com/blog/the-myth-about-the-fat-burning-zone
 
First of all, congratulations!
You made it in to
the gym!

You hop on your elliptical/treadmill/stairmaster, select
the-fat burning zone, time it for 45
minutes, and blast your Beyoncé.
You are going to 'fat burning zone' your way 
back into those skinny
jeans!

But are you really?

A zone that burns the fat?!
That sounds amazing! What is this magical zone and how do I get there? Will
this zone melt the love handles off my hips? Can it get rid of that
weird armpit fat that sticks out of my bra? 

The answer is
both yes and no. Weight loss comes down to a number of things, the main one
being caloric intake versus caloric burn. Cardio is amazing for your heart and
lungs, but let's be honest. Most of the people you see on those
machines aren't looking for a stronger heart; it’s six-pack abs and bathing
suits that motivate this battle. The reason cardio aids in weight
loss is its ability to increase your caloric expenditure for the day and
put you in a caloric deficit. However, if you don't pair a healthy diet with the
cardio you do, you’ll be spinning your tires at the gym, no matter what
"zone" you are working in.

Weight loss takes place when the body
is burning more calories than it is taking in, so you want your workout to
help put you in that caloric hole. Think of it as overdrawing your
calorie bank account, except it's your body getting skinny and not your
wallet.  



So wait?
What exactly is the fat burning zone?


The Fat Burning Zone is a level of intensity (usually 50-60% of your max heart rate) in which your body breaks down fat to create energy. During a workout your body is using both carbohydrates and fats to release energy, and the level of intensity
at which we burn mostly fat cells and fewer carbohydrates is the infamous Fat Burning Zone. Unfortunately, this is a very
misleading concept. 

Here is the problem: You have to work much longer in the fat burning zone to accomplish the same amount of caloric
burn you get from working in a higher zone (say, 80-90% of your max heart rate). We all want to  get the most out of our time, and high intensity interval training (HIIT) is  going to make you the more efficient gym go-er. The reason for the intervals is that 90% of your max heart rate is a really hard amount of effort to maintain.  If you are really working that hard, you shouldn't be able to stay at that intensity for very long, hence the rests in between the intervals.


Think of it like this: If you want to make a smoothie, it is going to be much more efficient to throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse it on high than it would be to mash them up with a potato masher by hand. With the blender you will
have a smoothie in 45 seconds, whereas the potato masher may take 10 minutes to get the same consistency. 

I don't know about you, but I would rather work at a high speed for a shorter amount of time than waste
an hour at a medium pace and get the same results. Skip the fat burning zone, and bust out some high intensity intervals and get the most out of your time and energy.

Finally, I will leave you with this: If you can read this article and have a chat about it while doing your workout,
you are NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.  

And a little weight loss tip: No matter how many stairs you climb or hills you
sprint, if you don't put down the cheeseburger and fries you will
be sporting a muffin top until you overhaul your diet. 






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