News & Events

How to “Bulk Up” Your Fruit and Veggie Intake

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which help protect us from illness, fight off inflammation from exercise, and promote good health. But, it never ceases to amaze me how many of my fitness members say they fall short on incorporating these “super foods” into their daily meals. 

Today, I will share with you some quick and easy tips on how to incorporate fruit and veggies into your daily routine. How many servings of fruit and veggies should you aim for in a day?

Try to aim for 4-5 servings of vegetables and at least 3 servings of fruit each day. Focus on varying the colors of the fruits and vegetables you eat every day because different colors have different amounts and types of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fruits & Vegetables – The more colorful the better 

– Red: apples, red grapes, cherries, tomatoes, red peppers, and watermelon

– Orange: carrots, peaches, oranges, and cantaloupe

– Green: green apples, green peppers, pears, cabbage, kiwi, green beans, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach

– Yellow: bananas, pineapple, lemons, corn

– Purple/Blue: grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Are you among the many people that struggle with finding ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet? Try these tips for incorporating these “super foods” into your daily meals. 

Tips: How can I incorporate more fruit and veggies into my meals?

Fruit

– Breakfast: Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice, add fruit to cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal

– Lunch: Pack a piece of fruit to eat over your lunch break

– Dinner: Have a piece of fresh fruit or canned fruit as the main entrée

– Snacks: Eat a piece of fresh fruit as a snack or before bedtime

Veggies 

– Lettuce salad: make a bowl of lettuce, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and other mixed vegetables

– Cooked vegetables: get a serving of cooked vegetables with your main entrée at both lunch and dinner

– Snacks: Snack on baby carrots, fresh broccoli, or celery throughout the day

Why is adequate fruit and vegetable consumption so important? Find out more at precisionnutrition.com.

Written By: Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance

5 Healthy Super Bowl Tips

“I love football and I love food, so this weekend is a great combination for me! As a registered dietitian, I am always thinking of ways that I can enjoy the Super Bowl party while still making healthy choices. Here are 5 healthy and practical tips that you can apply at your Super Bowl party this weekend. Enjoy!” – Jessica Wegener, RD, CSSD, LMNT. Positive Nutrition of Omaha, LLC.

The Fountain of Fitness

5 Things to Start Doing Now

A lot of people are looking for the secret code or magic potion to look, feel, train or perform better. I’m a firm believer that there is not any of that, and it takes consistent effort and formulating habits that will truly help you achieve your fitness or performance goals.

That is why I am going to reveal my Top 5 Healthy Habits that will give you some leeway to not always be perfect. If you can perform these habits at least 80% of the time you will see huge improvements on your looks and how you feel along with improving your daily performance on the sports, in the field or at work.

Top 5 Healthy Habits

 

1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night

7-9 hours is ideal
Keep a consistent sleep schedule even on the weekends
Refrain from TV, computer, or cellphone screen time in the dark before sleeping

2. Drink at least half your bodyweight (pounds) in fluid ounces of liquids per day

Stick to water and lower sugar content drinks
You will also achieve proper hydration levels by eating a balanced and varied diet of fruits/vegetables, healthy fats, whole grain carbohydrates and lean sources of protein)

3. Participate in at least 45 minutes of physical activity five days per week

Strength training, jogging, cycling, playing sports, walking, etc.

4. Perform active recovery/regeneration activities at least five days per week

Foam rolling, massage stick, stretching/mobility exercises, yoga, breathing exercises

5. Choose nutrient dense food over calorie dense foods

Nutrient dense foods have a higher percentage of nutrients per calorie
Nutrient dense foods would be fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber carbohydrates, lean sources of protein. Calorie dense foods would be fried foods, potato chips, bacon, sausage, ice cream, soda, etc.

With these Top 5 Healthy Habits you can start at achieving your goals, but it’s all about consistency.

Remember, “Consistent action creates consistent results.” These habits are just a few that you can adopt to help you achieve your goals. Don’t miss out the many more healthy tips that Athletes’ Training Center has to offer. 

Written by, Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, RSCC

Question: What do you think will be the hardest part of following these Top 5 Healthy Habits?

Frostbite Nipping at your Nose

A lot of discussion takes place about heat related issues, especially during football season.   But, what about injuries related to the cold for those who choose to train outdoors all year long? Athletes and avid exercisers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of common cold related dangers to keep themselves safe when the temperature turns cold and know about some of the prevention strategies they can utilize when gearing up to go outside. Frostnip and frostbite are two common concerns when tissue is exposed to the cold.

Young woman in winter frost forest hiding her face in woolly scarf and mittens outdoors 

Frostbite Breakdown:

Frostbite occurs when tiny ice crystals form in the skin or other tissue.  The most frequently affected areas include the hands and feet, followed by the ears, cheeks, and corneas.  Any activity that combines wet skin and clothing with cold temperatures can pose a risk for frostbite.  Other risk factors include low air temperature, wind chill, and restrictive or tight fitted clothing.   


Non-freezing cold injuries (NFCI) do not involve tissue freezing and are classified differently than frostbite. 

  • Chillblains (also known as perniosis) are bluish-red skin lesions found on the top parts of the foot and usually seen in teens or people under the age of 20. 
  • Another common NFCI is immersion foot, also known as trench foot, which usually presents with discoloration, soreness and swelling. 
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon is yet another NFCI that usually occurs in the fingers and more frequently affects women.  The fingers begin by looking as though frostbite is the culprit, but then redness, throbbing pain, and swelling sets in as a result of the blood vessels spasming repeatedly.   

Prevention:

Obviously, the best prevention for the above injuries would be to get out of the cold or opt to train inside.  Other measures include preventing heat loss by using plenty of thin layers to create a buffer of warm air around the body.  Wetness is also one of the primary concerns, so using a thin layer made from a moisture wicking fabric as a base layer can help keep your skin dry.  Many options exist for socks, gloves, hats, etc. in moisture wicking fabrics as well.  Footwear is a big concern when training outdoors, especially avoiding boots or shoes that are too tight or are not waterproof.  Consider wearing a trail shoe or another training shoe that is designed specifically for exercising in the elements. 

In addition to tissue related cold issues, breathing problems are also a common concern when dealing with cold temperatures. 

Cold & Breathing: 

Individuals who have asthma, exercise induced bronchospasm (EIB), and respiratory infections also are at risk for breathing emergencies when training in the cold weather.  During the colder months, the air is typically much more dry which leads to increased difficulty for those with asthma and EIB.  Even athletes who normally don’t have problems with EIB can be susceptible to an attack when training in the cold. 

Breathing through a mask or scarf can help humidify the air, as well as focusing on breathing through the nose rather than the mouth.  A short-acting inhaler (like albuterol) can also help and is most effective if taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to activity.  For those dealing with respiratory infections, the best course of action is to rest and avoid training in the cold until cleared by a physician. 

Just like heat injuries, cold injuries are usually preventable and a little planning can go a long way. 

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC, Director of Marketing and Operations

Source: Perrin, Adam.  Cold, Hard Facts.  Training & Conditioning, November 2007. 17:08.

Surge your Physical Performance

The Perks of Nutrient Timing

First of all, what exactly is nutrient timing and how will it affect my performance?

Nutrient timing: When you consume certain foods at specific times of the day, those acts will provide increased performance levels and improved recovery following physical activity.

Taking advantage of nutrient timing has countless benefits for athletic and physical performance.

Periods of nutrient timing that absolutely need to be taken advantage of are: pre-fueling (before a workout, practice, or game) and post-fueling (after a workout, practice, or game). Pre-fueling and post-fueling are also great times to add in extra calories needed to gain weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

PRE-FUELING – Pre-fueling should take place 1-2 hours and up to 10 minutes prior to the activity.

  • Benefits of pre-fueling are:

Reduce the risk of injury and increase nutrient delivery to muscles due to improved protein balance

Ability to play at a higher intensity and improved mental focus from increase of glycogen storages

Set nutrition stage for faster recovery following activity

Limit immune system suppression

  • Pre-fueling snacks should contain:

Protein (5-15g based on tolerability)

Carbohydrate (20-60g)

Fluids and Electrolytes

  • Pre-fueling snack ideas:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a piece of fruit, and water

Yogurt and Gatorade

POST-FUELING – Post-fueling should take place within 45 minutes following a workout, practice, or game.
  • Post-fueling benefits include:

Maximize muscle recovery/protein synthesis

Maximize restoration of glycogen stores

Restore immune suppression

Increase blood flow

  • Post-fueling snacks should consist of:

Protein (15-20g of complete proteins)

Carbohydrate

Amount dependent on training intensity and duration

High Glycemic Carbohydrates

Fluids and Electrolytes

Print

Written By, Trenton Clausen – Director of Sports Performance MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP

Question: What is your favorite snack during your workout session?

4 Ways to Succeed During Your Workout, Where Others Fail

Benefits of a Dynamic Warm-Up

What is the most underrated part of your training session? I would say it’s the first ten minutes. This is the time when you do your soft-tissue work (foam roll, lacrosse ball) and perform a dynamic warm-up. During this time, your body is cold and probably sore from your previous workout.

Young Woman Doing Stretching Exercises before Jogging. Focus on the Face. Town Setting in the background.

While it might not be your favorite, I would argue that the first ten minutes are influential in the quality of your training session that day. Here are four reasons why the initial portion of your training session is so important to your fitness routine.

1. Improves Quality of Muscle Tissue

Our muscle tissue is enclosed by connective tissue called fascia. After pro-longed periods of inactivity or following an intense training session our fascia loses its elasticity which can limit joint range of motion, cause muscle soreness and decrease performance. The soft-tissue techniques that we use (foam rollers, lacrosse balls) address these issues to help you feel better, move better and train better.

2. Raises Core Body Temperature

Performing a dynamic warm-up, as opposed to a static stretching routine, warms and adequately prepares the body for training. This process greatly reduces the risk of injury during training.

3. Increases Blood Flow to Muscle Tissue

As our body warms, our heart not only beats faster, but more forcefully. The combination of beating faster and more forcefully results in more blood to working muscles. The increase in blood is necessary because blood delivers oxygen, which our muscles need to function properly.

4. Improves Range of Motion and Movement Preparation

Lastly, performing a dynamic warm-up is an opportunity to improve joint range of motion. It also serves as a time to prepare the body for movements that will be performed during the training session.

Now that you know the benefits, I encourage you to take 10 minutes prior to your workout to warm-up. There are plenty of ways to prepare your body for activity, so feel free to mix it up and try different things. A warm-up should be fun and help get your mind in the right place for training!

Written By: Mike Servais, CSCS, USAW-L1SP, Head Performance Coach – Papillion

Question: What is your favorite warm-up movement?

4 Reasons We Fail at Meal Planning

What to keep in your pantry and the how, what, when, and where of meal planning.

How do you know what you or your family will be eating at your next meal or tomorrow’s meals?  Meal planning is challenging for the average family.  When you add in practice, commutes, school, work and family commitments, it can become pretty complicated. While there is no one right or wrong way to do meal planning, the key is to think ahead and have some ideas planned.

healthy eating, dieting, slimming and weigh loss concept - close up of diet plan paper green apple, measuring tape and salad

4 reasons people fail at meal planning.

  1. planning is not a priority
  2. believing that pre-planning is restrictive
  3. resistant to change
  4. simply the fear of failure

How can we combat these common failures? Some strategies include:

  1. batch cooking on weekends
  2. planning a week in advance
  3. planning the night before
  4. planning meals just hours in advance

Any way you look at it, each of these options allow you to think ahead instead of deciding in the moment.

It is important to remember if one method doesn’t seem to work for you, try another one until you find what works best. You might find multiple methods that work for you. It is not failing if the meal that is planned doesn’t come through; just try a different method until you find what does work.

I like to use the “How, What, When, Where and Why” approach to meal planning.  Start by answering why, and it will be easier to provide performance-based foods for your athlete.  The actual planning can’t start until you know what you are planning. The answer to that question can be all meals and snacks, just dinners, pre-workout snacks, recovery snacks, etc.

Think about which meals/snacks seem to be causing nutrition downfalls for your athlete/family. This will help you to know what to plan. When, is determined by the best day of the week for you to plan and shop. Think of when you can shop, then try to plan the menu that same day or the day before.

Now that you’ve answered all the other questions, move onto the how you will do it.  There are multiple methods to use for planning meals. You can go “old school” and use the pen and paper method, or you can go “digital” and use your computer or smart phone. Just be sure to find what works best for you. There are a many different options for digital; here are a few that I have used with families I work with that they seem to like. You don’t have to commit to a year subscription; you can try them for a few weeks or months and see if you need to continue after that.

emeals.com – $5 – 10 per month, has app for smart phones

plantoeat.com – $4.95 per month, or $39.00 per year

relishrelish.com – $7 per month or $58.80 per year, has app for smart phones

Where you shop is completely up to you. There really is no right or wrong grocery store.  Online shopping is an option for some stores, and delivery to your home may also be an option.  That is what I call convenient fresh foods.

Keeping a well-stocked kitchen can help make on-the-go eating and meal prep easier too. Stay tuned for my high performance grab-n-go foods and high performance pantry staples posts soon!


Written By: Jessica Wegener RD, CSSD, LMNT, Registered Sports Dietitian, Positive Nutrition of Omaha LLC

Question: What are the meal planning strategies that work best for you and your family?

Jessica Wegener is a certified specialist in sports dietetics and registered dietitian; she can be reached on her website at www.pnomaha.com.

Put Your Heart Into It

Is your workout “heart healthy?” Of course strength training improves the way you look and develops fat free mass, but it can also improve your heart health – if performed the right way. If the right sets, repetitions and rest intervals are applied, your heart can get a workout along with your other muscles.

Three apples with engraved hearts on wood background

We have high demands for our training sessions.  We want to get as much work done in a certain amount of time to achieve a certain heart rate and burn as many Calories, all while with getting stronger. We aim to keep your heart rate between 60-90% of your maximal heart rate to remain in a moderate to difficult physical activity zone. The longer we can keep you in this zone, the more it will decrease your resting heart rate and better the health of your heart over consistent training sessions.

Here is How You Do This:

  1. Group the exercises in a circuit style order and do them with minimal rest until the first set is complete.
  2. Following the first set of exercises, take a longer rest until moving onto the next set.
  3. Continue that formula for several circuits.

After doing this for two to five sets you will see your heart rate climb. This is different from a normal session where you complete one exercise, then sit and rest until you are ready for the next.

We utilize a software system call MYZONE to give immediate feedback on how close you are to your maximal heart rate and how many Calories you have burned throughout your training session.  It is displayed on a screen to allow your coach to constantly use as feedback to know exactly how your session is going and to offer a little more motivation when needed. We want to make sure you are in the right zone to give both your muscles and heart a proper training session.

Written by, Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, RSCC

Under the watchful eye of a coach, top notch programming and immediate feedback from the MYZONE system, you will for sure reach your training goals and receive a “heart healthy” training session!

Orville Inglis, 99 years old, rides 4 miles every day

Orville Inglis is 99 years old and rides his stationary bike 4 miles every day.  Inglis lives in Walhalla, North Dakota and was recently featured in a story in the Grand Forks Herald.  Dale Inglis, adult fitness member, shared the story with us.  What an inspiration and testament to staying active!
Visit the Grand Forks Herald to read the story:

 

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.