Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

5 Easy Tips to Make Your Green Smoothies Better

Adapted from simplegreensmoothies.com

1) Blend in stages to avoid leafy chunks. [I personally think this one is the most important!] Chewing your green smoothie is no fun! To get a “smooth” green smoothie experience, blend up your leafy greens and liquid-base first. Then add your remaining fruits and blend again.

2) Follow the 60/40 formula. When you’re making your first few green smoothies, don’t just throw things in the blender. Chances are, it’ll taste nasty if you wing it right out of the gate. Use the 60% fruit/40% greens rule.  Add chia seeds and/or some protein powder to round out your 60/40 formula, and voila! You’ve just created the perfect meal.

3) Freeze your fruits & forego the ice. Want your green smoothie to be extra chilly? Freeze your favorite fruits like ripe bananas, grapes, pineapple or berries. This is also a great way to not waste ripe fruits (like those brown bananas on your counter). You can also freeze your leafy greens in a freezer-safe bag. Just make sure to add your frozen greens straight to the blender (don’t defrost these fragile lil’ guys).

4) Avoid juices and artificial sweetners. Add naturally sweet fruits to any smoothie that tastes bitter or a bit too “green.” By sticking with naturally sweet fruits like bananas, mango, apples, pears or pitted date, we can easily avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugars. The healthiest bases use filtered water or your favorite milk substitute.

5) Make smoothies ahead for the perfect fast food. Life can get crazy busy— especially in the morning. That’s why we think green smoothies are the healthiest fast food for people who are constantly on the go. You can prep your green smoothies and blend the night before and store it in your fridge (up to 2 days). Use an airtight lid to limit oxidation and keep it as fresh as possible. When ready to drink, give it a good shake before you open.

Daily Burn has some great GREEN smoothies that you can try at home.


It’s a Great Time to do the ‘D’

Continuing on in our regular series “The Vail Blog” – A monthly discussion on the “ABC’s” of discipline in health, fitness and wellness.

via – Jackie Vail, Personal Trainer, Team AVAC®

jackie-vailThe Vail Blog – “D”

When creating a diet plan, we can learn a lot from the letter D. From dried fruit and nuts to vitamin D, make sure you are defining healthy choices on a daily routine.  A daily plan and determination will make the commitment for discipline easier to conquer!

A quick and easy idea for a snack is to have dried fruit and nuts available in your pantry. They are loaded with wonderful nutrients and a handful is perfect in offering controlled intake.

driedfruit.jpgWhen choosing your fitness routine try to include some time outside. Vitamin D through natural sunlight is a wonderful way to ensure you get the health benefits necessary for beautiful skin!

∴ A great explanation of Vitamin D and why it’s important for us.

Is dried fruit good or bad? A detailed article on this debate.

– Jackie Vail, CPT


Getting Out Ahead of a Known Obstacle — With Your Ally, AbsoluteFIT!

Help yourself, even when the plan is to treat yourself.


Somehow I’d missed it, despite the half-dozen emails, group texts, etc. Or maybe deliberately ignored it, whatever — but it’s happening anyway, and right here in my own house: Girl Scout Cookies are coming!

We dealers are reminded: Don’t get high on your own supply. And I have been very, very successful at my 2017 goal of reducing my sugar intake — it was out of control, and now it’s in healthy moderation. Yay, me!

But the thing is, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. this morning thinking of Tagalongs. They are my kryptonite. And I must be realistic about what my life will be like during cookie season.

Which is where AbsoluteFIT comes in. I’m planning ahead: a few extra workouts (building calorie-burning muscle!), the support of my trainers and workout buddies, the discipline I’ve developed through AbsoluteFIT to savor a few of those little demons-in-cookie-form instead of inhaling the entire box at once.

Who’s with me?

—Lydia M. 


Lydia Markoff is an Almaden-area writer, mom, and fitness enthusiast with Texas roots, a New York education, and a Californian heart. She plays bass, reads a lot, watches too much TV, and can be found in the AbsoluteFIT studio three to five times a week. Her life goals include having a body like Linda Hamilton’s in Terminator 2, and/or having Bill Murray randomly crash a party she is attending. If you need something from her, try bribing her with good coffee or cold beer; odds are, she wants one or the other of those right now.




Ooops! I did it again… Now what?

You tell yourself you will be good. You remind yourself that you need to have self control. But then the holiday food comes out and you just can’t help yourself. What’s a food-lover to do?!!!

via – Greatist.com

How to Bounce Back After a Food Binge

‘Tis the season to overdo it with stuffing, turkey, buttery rolls, and pie, pie, and more pie. With all the office parties, cookie swaps, and holiday potlucks (just us?) this time of year, it’s especially hard to avoid overeating. But really, stuffing yourself rotten isn’t limited to the holidays. Sometimes that late-night frozen pizza somehow becomes single-serving with gut-busting repercussions.

Hey, it happens to the best of us. But the real problem is usually what happens after—in our body and our mind.

Are you filled with regret, dejectedly pondering starting a juice cleanse? Or do you feel the urge to go for broke, double down, and top it all off with a big bowl of froyo (or maybe a big bowl of Reese’s, mochi, Captain Crunch, and rainbow sprinkles)? Do you wallow in the damage for hours or even days?

And physically, do you fall into a food coma? Get that feeling like your food has turned to concrete in your abdomen and/or suffer from hours of nausea and discomfort?

Don’t fret. Sometimes reframing the situation and having an action plan is all you need to rebound ASAP.

Emotionally: Reframe the Sitch

Bummed Post Binge

All photos via greatist.com

It can be easy, post-gluttony, to beat yourself up. Things like “no self-control,“ “lazy,” and “gross” can get thrown around. Maybe you run five miles and end up making yourself sick. Or swear off eating for an entire day. It’s super easy to treat your body to all types of abuse post-gorgefest, but here’s where taking a step outside yourself is critical.

As the custodian for your body, you’re responsible for its care—just like you’d be responsible for a child that you’re babysitting. Imagine finding this kid knee-deep in candy bar wrappers, halfway into an all-out candy binge. Caught red-handed, this kid looks up at you, terrified, ashamed, awaiting punishment. What do you do? Do you yell insults at the child? March him or her over to the treadmill to run off every last calorie? Of course not. You’re not Mommie Dearest. With that in mind, let any name calling and punishment stop. You will treat yourself with the same compassion you would treat this child.

Why is this helpful? In his book The Marshmallow Test, psychologist and Columbia professor Walter Mischeldescribes how emotional situations like this can stay in a heated place, which could lead to more self-destructive or self-punishing behavior. To counter that, it helps to cool your distress by “self distancing” and entering into “cognitive reappraisal.” In other words, viewing yourself from a distance or as another (e.g. a child) helps engage a cool, rational reaction where you can regroup and rebound.

So what should you do to regroup? We’re glad you asked…

Physically: Your Immediate Action Plan

Let’s handle the physical symptoms for bloating and food coma first.

Don’t: Let the weight of your food baby take you down for the count (or straight to the couch). Lying down can give you heartburn and other gastro issues. It can even aggravate respiratory issues for people with asthma.

Do: Get moving. Light exercise is the best thing you can do to help your body bounce back. Operative word: light. Jogging around the block might not be smart, thanks to the high barf factor, but taking a walk can do a world of good. Not only does it speed up digestion, it’ll also even out your blood sugar and clear glucoseout of your bloodstream. Another idea is light yoga. Certain twisting poses have been known to assist and alleviate digestive woes.

Don’t: Drink alcohol or coffee. Knocking back a boozy “digestif” drink after a calorie rager is a common practice for many, but they don’t actually assist with digestion. In fact, alcohol can pump the breaks on your body’s digestive process. Coffee may swing you back up from a food slump with a jolt of caffeine, but it also doesn’t do any good for digestion.

Do: Drink water, seltzer, or teas. It might seem counterintuitive to drink water when your belly is full to bursting, but H2O helps move along digestion. It can also battle sodium and carb bloat, and it’s a preemptive strike against any post-gluttony constipation. You can also try seltzer, which is proven to relieve indigestion. Herbal teas with ginger, peppermint, and fennel have been shown to ease that I’m-so-stuffed feeling. In short, keep these liquids coming.

Looking Ahead: Your Back-in-the-Game Action Plan

OK, you’ve got your head on straight and you’ve forgiven this entirely human moment of overdoing it. And after hitting the two W’s (water and walking) and letting a few hours lapse, your overstretched gut feels like it’s returned to its normal size. Now what can you do to move forward from this food bender beyond the short-term? Start with this rebound checklist:

1. Plan your next healthy meal

Like we said before, it’s easy to rebound from a gluttonous moment and overreact by shunning food. But don’t let the pendulum swing to the other extreme. Ground yourself with a healthy meal that fits right in with your life pre-bender. Keep in mind, skipping meals can trigger another trip to Taco Town. Even if you’re not hungry, simply planning your next meal is a powerful act of self-care that can remind you that food is not public enemy No. 1.

2. Plan your next workout

Yes, you don’t want to go for a jog right after you did a faceplant into your mom’s pumpkin pie, but scheduling your next workout is also a strong reminder that after this gluttonous interlude, you’re getting back to your normal fitness routine. It’s also a great affirmation of how you see yourself: You are not defined by this food bender. For example, you could say, “I am not only the person who ate all the pumpkin pie. I am also a runner. A runner that just ate lots of pie. But a runner nonetheless.“

3. Get some perspective

The world is bigger than a bag of chips (or several bags). And this moment of indulgence is but a blip on the radar of life. Tune in to larger issues: Read a newspaper, a book, or even your old journals. There are bigger things to occupy your mind than this moment.

4. Call a friend or hug it out

Sometimes food benders come from a place of loneliness or discomfort. If you’ve realized your spree was triggered by these feelings, don’t ignore them just because “the damage is done.” Reach out to friends, hug it out, and get the companionship you need. Feed this emotional hunger. Likewise if you look back on a holiday or family celebration and realize you were stress-eating through it, give yourself the tools you need to de-stress and unpack some of that. And of course if you spot a reoccurring pattern with overeating, getting professional help from a therapist or counselor can be incredibly helpful.

The Takeaway

Admit that overdoing it on food is the human condition. We all have our moments. How could we not, in a world where cronuts exist? As a popular inspirational quote says, “You are not defined by your mistakes, but your reaction.” Or as a wise kitten once said, “Hang in there!” Getting back on that healthy-eating horse is as easy as practicing a little self-care.


Have You Tried One of These 13 Expert-Recommended Ideas?

They literally take 10 minutes or less to make. And we know you’ll find one you love!

via – Greatist.com
All photos via Greatist.com

In an ideal world, we’d always have plenty of time to whip up and savor a gourmet meal. But in the real world, we often take what we can get and scarf it down in record time.

Luckily, making quick meals doesn’t mean we have to opt for processed, high-calorie food. If anyone knows how to make healthy food fast, it’s the world’s top (read: crazy busy) health experts. Check out their go-to 10-minute recipes.

1. Chia Seed Pudding

“I wake up super early as a trainer, so it’s always kind of a rush. But I want to be sure I get a complete meal (i.e. not a shake).” — Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness

Ingredients: 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, dash of cinnamon, fruit of choice

Directions: Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate for 10 minutes, and garnish with fruit or nuts.

2. Avocado Coconut Toast

“I love a refreshing mix of textures and a combination of sweet and salty ingredients. This avocado coconut toast keeps me full for hours and provides the energy I need for training sessions.” — Anna Kaiser, Founder & CEO of AKT InMotion

Ingredients: 1 slice Ezekiel Bread, 2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 avocado, 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional: slices of tomato or red onion)

Directions: Spread a thin layer of coconut oil on bread, top with mashed avocado, and sprinkle with chia seeds and sea salt. Top with slices of tomato or red onion, if desired.

3. Protein Pancakes

“Mornings are usually really chaotic in the Bauer house, so I created a hearty breakfast that I can whip up in less than four minutes (trust me, I’ve been timed by my kiddos). My protein pancake is like a bit of a.m. magic. Enjoy for just 270 calories and nearly 20 grams of filling protein.” — Joy Bauer, R.D., NBC’s TODAY show nutritionist and founder of Nourish Snacks

Ingredients: 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chopped fruit

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together, then pour the batter into a nonstick skillet to form one gigantic pancake. Cook until batter begins to bubble—about 1 to 2 minutes—then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Top with your favorite fruit.

4. Kale Salad

“This kale salad recipe is a game-changer for those who are vegan and seeking a hearty meal without feeling weighed down. I love it because it’s fresh and light yet very sustainable. I avoid anything that may give me a midday crash, and this certainly helps me power through the day feeling energized.” — Eric Helms, founder and CEO of Juice Generation

Ingredients: 1/2 avocado, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pinch of sea salt and black pepper, 2 cups kale, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/8 cups raisins, 1/8 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions: Mash avocado and mix with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Tear the kale with your hands. Then massage avocado mixture onto kale until it’s well coated. Add shredded carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds, and quinoa. Toss salad and serve.

5. Smoked Salmon Sandwich

“There’s nothing like a sandwich for a quick and easy meal. One of my favorites is smoked salmon on toasted whole wheat bread with hummus, avocado, red onion, and tomato. It’s the perfect mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and protein to help keep me satiated.” — Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet

Ingredients: 2 ounces thinly-sliced smoked salmon, 1 tablespoon hummus, 1/2 avocado, chopped, 1/8 cup chopped red onion chopped, 1/4 cup sliced tomato, 2 slices whole-wheat bread

Directions: Toast bread and spread hummus on top. Then layer smoked salmon, avocado, red onion, and tomato.

6. Tuna Salad Sandwich

“Yes, it comes out of a can, but the cheaper canned varieties are usually lower in mercury than albacore and have a richer flavor.” — Marion Nestle, Ph.D., Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University

Ingredients: 1 can chunk light tuna, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mayo, 1 slice of tomato, romaine lettuce for garnish, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread

Directions: Mix tuna, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mayo in a bowl. Spread on bread and garnish with lettuce and tomato.

7. Whole-Grain Stuffed Pita

“I always try to sit down and eat, even just for a few minutes, but sometimes life gets in the way. I love this because you can pull it together fast and eat it as you are dashing out the door.” — Ellie Krieger, R.D., best-selling author and host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite

Ingredients: 1 whole-grain pita, 3 tablespoons hummus, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup sliced tomato, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber (optional: olives, pine nuts)

Directions: Cut whole-grain pita in half, then stuff with remaining ingredients.

8. Steamed Kale Bowl

“My favorite on-the-go meal is a steamed kale bowl. It’s a great way to use leftovers, and it’s easy to pack the night before while cleaning up from dinner.” — Dana Angelo White, R.D., nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com and sports dietitian and clinical professor at Quinnipiac University

Ingredients: 2 cups kale, 1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup canned white beans (drained), 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese

Directions: In a microwave-safe bowl, layer kale, broccoli, white beans, and pepper jack cheese. Microwave for a minute and serve.

9. Raw Salad with Russian Fig Dressing

“Top off the meal-size salad with a fresh fruit dessert, such as a mango or orange.” — Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Eat to Live

Ingredients: 2 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup kale crisps, 1/4 cup red beans, 1/8 cup whole-wheat croutons, 1/2 avocado (sliced), 1/2 cup chopped tomato, 4 tablespoons tomato sauce, 4 tablespoons almond butter, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, 2 dried figs

Directions: Mix greens, kale crisps, beans, croutons, avocado, and tomato in a bowl. Then use a food processor to mix remaining ingredients into a creamy dressing.

10. Mason Jar Salad With Chicken and Bacon

“The trick is to put the heavy veggies and dressing on the bottom, the protein in the middle, and the lettuce on top. This way, hours later, your lettuce won’t be soggy! When you’re ready to eat it, just give it a shake, and empty it into a bowl.” — Lisa Lillien, founder of Hungry Girl

Ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped apple, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette dressing, 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 4 ounces cooked and chopped skinless chicken breast, 1 tablespoon pre-cooked, crumbled bacon, 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Directions: In a small bowl, evenly coat apple in lemon juice. In a one-quart wide-mouth mason jar, combine dressing, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Top with chicken, bacon, apple, and lettuce. Cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, give the jar a shake, and flip contents into a medium bowl, or eat right from the jar.

11. Kitchari

“One of my go-to recipes I use a lot—especially when I’m teaching a week of workshops or a training—is a version of kitchari. It’s yummy and very much like comfort food.” — Jeanmarie Paolillo, teacher and trainer at Yoga Works, author of Vibe-A-Thon

Ingredients: 1/4 cup red lentils, 1/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice, 1 diced carrot, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup frozen green peas, 1/4 cup frozen edamame, pinch of salt

Directions: Bring lentils, rice, carrots, and water to a boil. Bring down to a simmer, cover, and cook until there is still a little bit of water remaining. Add peas and edamame. Turn off the heat, cover pot again, and let it sit for five minutes. Season to taste.

12. Bacon, Egg, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

“This over-the-top bacon, egg, avocado, and tomato salad keeps all the flavor of a BLT without the bread. With the addition of creamy hard-boiled eggs and avocado, what’s not to like?” — Mark Sisson, founder of Mark’s Daily Apple and author of The Primal Blueprint

Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado (chopped), 2 hard-boiled eggs (chopped), 1 medium-size diced tomato, 1 tablespoon mayo, juice from one lemon wedge, 3 cooked and crumbled pieces of bacon, salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients together, stirring just enough to turn some of the avocado and egg into mush.

13. Tuna Salad With a Twist

“If you don’t have any peppers on hand, dump in some salsa for some texture and flavor.” — Joseph Venarre, co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio™, and Race Day Domination

Ingredients: 1 pouch tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 red pepper sliced

Directions: Mash avocado, then mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.


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Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes Perfect for ANY TIME OF DAY!

Last night, as I was making my son his traditional grilled cheese on wheat, I realized that it had been quite some time since I’d made myself something ooey and gooey! But instead of succumbing to the basic grilled cheese (as yummy as it…) I decided to step things up and add some fruit to the mix. I googled Healthy Grilled Cheese Recipes and discovered this piece from Fitness.com. *By the way… the Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Heirloom Tomatoes is DELISH!!! Add a cup of high fiber soup, and you’ve got a well-balanced, tasty fall meal.

– Stephanie