34 Surprisingly Delicious High-Protein Smoothie Recipes | Greatist

Not a bodybuilder? Enjoy a protein smoothie anyway! Studies show protein works as a building block for healthy skin, hair, bones, and heart in any ol’ person   . Plus, a protein-packed breakfast can prevent overeating, and a dose of protein after resistance traininghelps build and repair muscle tissue (especially when mixed with soy)  .

Generally speaking, adults (18 and older) should strive to eat .36 grams of protein for every pound they weigh, per day. That means a person who weighs 150 pounds should aim to consume 54 grams of protein daily. Protein smoothies are an easy, portable, and (if you use one of these recipes) delicious way to guarantee you get your recommended dose.

The secret to mixing something up you’ll look forward to sipping is striking the right balance between protein sources, such as superfoods like Greek yogurtchia seeds, and eggs, with sweet and/or savory add-ins—something all of the recipes below have nailed. In order to qualify for this list, recipes had to have eight or more grams of protein, be derived from whole food sources with minimal ingredients, and make us drool a little bit. Bottoms up!

Breakfast

The right carb-to-protein ratio will jumpstart energy levels and keep them steady throughout the day, says Jeff Thomas, Director of Nutrition at Creative Edge Nutrition.

1. Sunrise Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Take a (sort of, not really) vacation when sipping this tropical-tasting smoothie. It calls for Greek yogurt and antioxidant-rich berries, an orange, and banana.

2. Kale, Berry, and Acai Power Smoothie

Protein source: Kale, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp protein powder
Green smoothie ingredients sometimes get a bad rap, but superfood banana and berries mask the bold taste of kale in this recipe. Bonus: The tablespoon of acai powder boosts energy, while cinnamon helps reduce inflammation.

3. Roasted Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Protein source: Cottage cheese, dairy milk, chia seeds
For a serious flavor boost, roast strawberries (yet another superfood!) before tossing them into this blend. The creamy cottage cheese is a tasty alternative for those not partial to Greek yogurt’s tangy flavor profile.

4. Coffee Banana Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt, flax seeds
Enjoy a breakfast of yogurt, banana, and coffee—all from the same cup. Caffeine pairs with protein for an exceptional energy boost.

5. Hot Chocolate Protein Shake

Protein source: Dairy milk, egg, whey powder
A volatile vortex means it’s worth having this warmed-up recipe on hand at all times. Not to mention it makes a (healthy) meal out of classic hot chocolate, working in both protein-packed whey and unsweetened cocoa powder.

6. Skinny Green Monster Smoothie

Protein source: Peanut butter, Greek yogurt
Holy vitamins, Batman! The spinach alone serves up vitamins A, C, K, fiber, magnesium, and calcium! Allergic to peanuts? Try one of thesetasty peanut butter alternatives.

7. Coconut Almond Ginger Protein Shake

Protein source: Almonds, protein powder
Switch up a savory breakfast when opting for this sweet, still-healthy smoothie. Almonds and spices deliciously complement the crazy-versatile coconut oil.

8. Peanut Butter, Banana and Oat Smoothie

Protein source: Peanut butter, flax seeds
All the fixings of a healthy breakfast—peanut butter, banana, and rolled oats—but with a creamy taste of a milkshake. Need we say more?

9. Banana Raspberry Chia Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds
Frozen bananas, raspberries, and spice make busy mornings nice (and full of antioxidants!). The best part: This recipe takes only five minutes to make.

10. Almond and Cookie Butter Protein Shake

Protein source: Protein powder, almond butter
Cookie butter (essentially gingerbread cookie crumbs mixed into almond butter) is totally a thing, and the littlest bit doesn’t really offset the nutritional quality of this protein-rich, almond-butter-based smoothie. #blessed

11. Strawberry Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds

Protein source: Chia seeds
Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? Bland but nutrition-packed chia seeds sneak protein into the classic strawberry-banana smoothie combo.

12. Spinach, Kiwi, and Chia Seed Smoothie

Protein source: Chia seeds
A green smoothie that tastes anything but. Bananas sweeten it up, while tart-tasting kiwis keep it from feeling too much like dessert.

13. Blueberry Mango Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt, dairy milk
Really, you can sip this smoothie anytime—but the fresh taste of antioxidant-rich blueberries and mango is a convincing reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Lunch

Talk about a liquid lunch. Instead of a mid-day rager, these options source fiber- and protein-packed ingredients that work as a wholesome meal replacement or accompaniment to lighter lunches.

14. Kale, Banana, Chia, and Hemp Superfood Smoothie

Protein source: Hemp and chia seeds
A sugar hack for smoothies? Pitted dates. They’re a natural, fiber-filled sweetener that will satisfy a sweet tooth without added sugars (they also break down easier in a blender when soaked beforehand) .

15. Papaya Ginger Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Thanks to its high fiber content, papaya has been shown to promote digestion, says nutritionist Michelle Davenport, PhD. So if breakfast isn’t sitting well with your stomach, stick to this smoothie RX. Bonus: It also includes ginger.

16. Green Warrior Protein Smoothie

Protein source: Hemp hearts
A ¼ cup of hemp hearts—seeds similar to sunflower seeds and pine nuts—provides about 15g of protein, almost 3g of fiber, and may help to prevent hypertension, says Dr. Davenport. Mixing them with super fruits, like bananas and apples, makes for a sweet, creamy sip.

17. Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

Protein source: Peanut butter, whey powder
It’s peanut-butter-jelly time! Berries, peanut butter, rolled oats, and protein powder give the bread (and taste buds) a break.

18. Vanilla Matcha Avocado Smoothie

Protein source: Vegan protein powder
So, those amazing benefits of green tea? Get them by sprinkling a half teaspoon of matcha powder—finely-ground green tea—into this smoothie.

19. Blueberry Pineapple Oatmeal Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder, Greek yogurt
Here’s a sunny twist on a staple breakfast. But, feel free to break this recipe’s rules by adding whatever fruit or greens you have on hand.

Snacks

These sweet, protein-rich drinks will satisfy cravings and keep you full until your next meal.

20. Pineapple Coconut Milk

Protein source: Chia seeds, Greek yogurt
If you like piña coladas…then spring for this smoothie edition! Pineapple and coconut milk mimic the signature cocktail’s taste, while chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and rolled oats ramp up nutrition. Tiny drink umbrellas optional.

21. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Protein Shake

Protein source: Protein powder
Between the dark chocolate protein powder and the cocoa powder, chocolate lovers are going to want this drink morning, noon, and night. Which is fine, since dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help regulate stress.

22. Cool N’ Creamy Cantaloupe Smoothies

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Fruit salads are a great snack—almost as great as this creamy mix of cantaloupe chunks, Greek yogurt, and honey.

23. Cherry Almond Smoothie

Protein source: Almond butter, protein powder, dairy milk
Put a craving for cherry ice cream on, well, ice when sipping thischerry smoothie instead. Cherries are also an anti-inflammatory, so this snack choice is pretty painless (get it?).

24. Honey Banana Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Want to get back to smoothie basics? This recipe does the trick by only using five ingredients (though there’s plenty of room to addcacao nibs).

25. Chocolate Espresso Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder
Order up! This latte-like smoothie skips the sugar and uses greenish bananas and chocolate protein powder instead.

26. Strawberry-Banana Quinoa Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt, quinoa, chia seeds
Not only is it a complete protein, but quinoa is a prime source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. And its taste is cleverly paired with other smoothie ingredients, including strawberries, bananas, and vanilla almond milk.

27. Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Protein source: Greek yogurt, dairy milk, peanut butter
Treat yo’self to a creamy, candy-inspired smoothie that fuels both muscles and taste buds (and is way more nutritious than a Reese’s).

Post-Workout

With the right ingredients, protein shakes and smoothies can help your body bounce back faster from the muscle breakdown that often occurs during exercise  .

28. Spinach Banana Smoothie

Protein source: Almond butter, protein powder
Handfuls of pureed spinach may not sound appetizing (unless you’re Popeye), but a ripe banana sweetens the taste. The taste being spinach’s high levels of vitamin A and iron.

29. Green Vanilla Almond Post-Workout Shake

Protein source: Almond butter, protein powder
Milkshakes can go green, too—and this one excerpted from the new book Clean Green Drinks gets rave reviews. The sweetness of the banana, coconut milk, and vanilla protein powder overpowers the spinach flavor, while keeping things healthy.

30. Pomegranate Protein Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder
Keep recovery simple with superfood pomegranate juice, seeds, and protein powder. Not only are they tasty, but pomegranates have high contents of vitamins C, K, fiber, and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, says Dr. Davenport.

31. Strawberry Almond Protein Dream Smoothie

Protein source: Almonds
Using almonds for DIY milk allows you to source more of the nut’s protein, calcium, and good-for-you fats. Strawberries keep things sweet and antioxidant-y.

32. Peachy Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder
Sit back and unwind with this refreshing, fruity smoothie that’s basically fro-yo in a glass (but with non-dairy, delicious coconut milk and vanilla protein powder instead of processed sugars and dairy milk). You’re welcome.

33. Orange Mango Recovery Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder, cashews
After protein, super spice turmeric is what sets this recovery smoothie apart. The spice is an anti-inflammatory that’s also high in antioxidants.

34. Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

Protein source: Protein powder
For a dessert that won’t undo a workout, blend carrot juice, almond milk, a banana, and sugar’s healthy swap, cinnamon. Then sip.Aaaahh.

A Primer On Protein Powders

If you’ve already locked down your favorite smoothie recipe on account of particular tastes and/or food allergies, you can always just scoop in protein powder. When choosing a protein powder, “The two most important things to consider are brand and nutritional breakdown,” says Dr. Davenport. She points out that protein supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to research safe brands before purchasing. (Start with our easy-to-followsupplement guide.)

It’s also important to note how you’re using the protein powder—whether it’s to replace a meal or recover from a workout. “Whey, milk, casein, and egg protein all absorb differently, and you want to get the maximum absorption with each meal,” Thomas says. Don’t worry, non-animal-protein-eaters: There are plenty of plant-based options for you, too, including rice, pea, hemp, and soy protein.

Research can also help you navigate the options on the supplement shelves. Our bodies may be better able to utilize whey and egg proteins better than soy protein, says Dr. Davenport, while whey and rice proteins may perform equally in terms of increasing power and strength. The bottom line? Choose the most unprocessed form of the source that best suits your needs.

34 Surprisingly Delicious High-Protein Smoothie Recipes | Greatist.

21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat

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1. Bean, Kale, and Egg Stew

Bean, Kale, and Egg Stew

Between the kidney beans, kale, egg, and cheese, each serving dishes up a solid 28 grams of protein. Get the recipe here.

2. Cashew Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Cashew Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Craving pasta? No problem, just add tofu, cashews and broccoli and you don’t have to feel bad about indulging. Recipe available here.

3. Black Bean, Arugula, and Poached Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean, Arugula, and Poached Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Between the black beans, the egg, and mmm… Fontina cheese (7 grams of proteinper ounce), this gloriously stuffed sweet potato will leave both your mother and your trainer equally impressed. Recipe available here.

4. Peanutty Quinoa Bowls with Baked Tofu

Peanutty Quinoa Bowls with Baked Tofu

Combine quinoa with peanut butter, tofu, and broccoli for this powerhouse of lunches. Check out the recipe here.

5. Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad

Give yourself hefty portions (or add some jack cheese) to up the protein in this filling salad. Recipe available here.

6. Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie With Seitan

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie With Seitan

William Abranowicz / Via epicurious.com

I know seitan feels like tofu’s weirder cousin, but with about 20 grams of protein per serving, it’s totally worth trying. Recipe available here.

7. Vegan Chili

Vegan Chili

Oliver Parini

Every good vegetarian needs a bean chili recipe in their arsenal. Just remember: Do all your eye rubbing before chopping the jalapeños. Recipe available here.

8. Bean-Kale Burgers With Sweet Potato Wedges

Bean-Kale Burgers With Sweet Potato Wedges

Pinto beans, kale, and jack cheese mean you get all the protein you gave up in beef, without all the heart disease, fat, and ethical implications. Recipe available here.

9. Brown Butter, Peas, and Mint Omelette

Brown Butter, Peas, and Mint Omelette

Yossy Arefi

With 8 grams of protein in every cup, frozen peas can do more for your sore muscles than just ice them. Recipe available here.

10. Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans

Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans

Yes, you can make broth out of cheese. Add some kale and white beans and BOOM: protein soup. Recipe available here.

11. Egg in a Basket Grilled Cheese with Asparagus

Egg in a Basket Grilled Cheese with Asparagus

Perfect for impressing the vegetarian you’re waking up next to, the egg (6g), Gruyère (10g), and asparagus (2g), makes this breakfast perfect for fueling up for round two. Wink. Recipe available here.

12. Crock Pot Lentil Vegetable Barley Soup

Crock Pot Lentil Vegetable Barley Soup

Lentils (50g/cup), split peas (48g/cup), and barley (23g/cup), all in one easy-to-make, throw-it-all-in-the-crock-pot meal. Can I get an amen? Or maybe just the recipe.

13. Corn Meal and Oat Waffle Mix

Corn Meal and Oat Waffle Mix

Tina Rupp

Sick of eggs for breakfast? Oats and corn meal will take care of you. Recipe available here.

14. Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens

Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens

Barley risotto: perfect for the ambitious, healthy-ish vegetarian cook. Recipe available here.

15. Vegan Tacos

Vegan Tacos

Besides the beans, this recipe also uses soy chorizo (9g/serving) just in case you miss the real thing. Recipe available here.

16. Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe

Start your meal with this protein-heavy soup and feel free to indulge in pure carbs for the rest of it. Recipe available here.

17. Leek, Artichoke, and Lentil Mung Bean Linguine

Leek, Artichoke, and Lentil Mung Bean Linguine

This dish is not just high in protein (20g/serving), it’s also gluten-free and vegan, making it perfect for even the pickiest of eaters. Recipe available here.

18. Baked Tofu and Quinoa With Chickpeas and Spinach

Baked Tofu and Quinoa With Chickpeas and Spinach

This is what you serve your carnivorous friends who tell you you’re not getting enough protein. Between the tofu, the quinoa, and the chickpeas, each serving packs in more than 32 grams. Recipe available here.

19. Meatless Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

Meatless Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

Tofu, oats, walnuts, and eggs all make this a ridiculously protein-y alternative to boring old meatloaf. Get the recipe here.

20. Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash with Tempeh

Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash with Tempeh

Tempeh’s not for everyone, but with 31 grams of protein per cup, the dense, nutty meat alternative is worth trying at least once. Get the recipe here.

21. Trisha Yearwood’s Black Bean Lasagna

Trisha Yearwood's Black Bean Lasagna

OK, so you’ll need to use whole wheat pasta and have a large serving to get the full 18g of protein, but when a country music legend shares a recipe, you do what you gotta do to make it work. Get the recipe here.

21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat.

More Whole Grains May Boost Life Span – MedicineNet

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — In more good news for those who fill up on bran cereal and quinoa, a new study suggests that older people who eat a lot of whole grains may live longer than those who hardly ever eat them.

Even the obese and sedentary appear to gain a benefit, the researchers added.

People should “eat more whole grains and reduce intake of refined carbohydrates,” said study co-author Dr. Lu Qi, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Qi added that eating more grains may even help people lose weight: “There is no evidence that [a diet rich in] whole grain increases calorie intake, and it may lower it,” he said.

The finding does have limitations — almost all participants were white, for example — and it doesn’t directly prove that eating lots of whole grains caused people to live longer.

In the study, researchers looked at whole fiber — the whole seed of grain that’s used in grain products like bread and cereal.

The researchers tracked almost 370,000 people in the United States from the mid-1990s, when they took surveys, through the year 2009. They were all members of AARP and aged 50 to 71. The study excluded tens of thousands of people with conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, meaning that the results don’t apply to older people as a whole.

After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn’t be thrown off by high or low numbers of certain types of people, the researchers found that those who ate the most fiber were 17 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who ate the least. However, the risk of death during the study was low overall: About 12 percent (just over 46,000) of the people died during the study period.

Those who ate the most fiber were more likely to be educated, less likely to be obese and less likely to smoke than those who ate the least, the study found. They also ate much less red meat, on average. But the life span benefit held up even when researchers adjusted their statistics to eliminate the impact of factors such as obesity and poorer health.

The researchers also found signs that whole grains lowered the risk of premature death from lung disease and diabetes. More consumption of the cereal fiber inside whole grains, meanwhile, translated to fewer deaths and lower levels of cancer and diabetes.

How much whole grain might a person need to reap this benefit? A lot. The researchers defined heavy eaters of whole grains — those with the greatest life span benefits — as those who ate 34 grams of whole grains for every 1,000 calories they consumed per day. For a person on a 2,500-calorie diet, that’s 85 grams: the equivalent of five slices of whole wheat bread or 5 cups of whole-grain breakfast cereal.

Those defined as eating the least whole grain consumed about 4 grams per 1,000 calories per day, or 10 grams for a person on a 2,500-calorie diet. That’s fewer grams than are in half a cup of oatmeal (16 grams).

One expert noted that switching over to whole grains could make a big difference.

“National survey data indicate that the current average intake of dietary fiber is only 16 grams, so increasing dietary fiber intake to the recommended more than 30 grams a day could significantly impact public health,” said Dr. Yunsheng Ma, an associate professor in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.

“Foods high in fiber are predominantly protective foods high in micronutrient density, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes,” Ma added. “There is no upper limit that has been set for dietary fiber intake per day.”

Ma, who’s familiar with the new research, wrote a study published earlier this year that linked fiber consumption to lower weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Why might whole grains be so good for a person’s health? Study co-author Qi said they may work by lowering three things: food intake overall, levels of “bad” cholesterol, and inflammation.

The study is published in the March 24 edition of BMC Medicine.

More Whole Grains May Boost Life Span – MedicineNet.

Obesity, Smoking, Drinking, Depression: All Linked to Low Back Pain

backache_40072WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) — People suffering from lower back pain who smoke, drink, are depressed or are obese may be able to ease their agony by making some lifestyle changes, a new study suggests.

“If you have lower back pain that is not explained by a spinal problem but is more of a muscle pain, things like obesity, alcohol abuse, smoking and depression, factors that you can affect, can be contributing to it,” explained lead researcher Dr. Scott Shemory, an orthopedic surgeon with Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio.

Of all these risks, obesity is most obviously associated with back pain, he said. “It puts stress on all the joints and the lower back as well,” he said. Also, smoking can decrease blood flow, which can also contribute to pain, he said.

As for depression, it might contribute to the pain. On the other hand, lower back pain might contribute to depression, Shemory said. The same can be said for alcohol dependence, he added.

However, Shemory said that these problems might cause people to be less physically active, which can increase pain.

But altering these behaviors can improve your overall health and may reduce lower back pain, he noted. However, the study only showed an association between these factors and lower back pain, not a cause-and-effect link.

Shemory said there are no really effective treatments for lower back pain not caused by a disk problem or pressure on the spinal nerve.

“That’s why preventing lower back pain is so important,” he said. “In many cases, people just have to live with their pain.”

The findings were to be presented this week at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual meeting, in Las Vegas. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

For the study, Shemory and his colleagues reviewed data on 26 million people, 1.2 million of whom had lower back pain. Overall, 4 percent suffered from the condition.

Lower back pain was most common among smokers (16.5 percent), alcohol-dependent drinkers (almost 15 percent), obese people (close to 17 percent) and those suffering from depression (slightly over 19 percent).

Dr. Jason Lipetz, chief of the division of spine medicine at the North Shore-LIJ Spine Center in Great Neck, N.Y., said, “This study of over a million patients with low back pain reminds us of the many interrelated factors which can contribute to this common complaint.”

For example, cigarette smoking is known to accelerate degeneration of the lower spine, he said.

Obesity might reduce a patient’s level of fitness. “What we do not know, however, is if the pain itself is limiting exercise and leading to more weight gain,” said Lipetz, who was not part of the study.

“In addition, the relationship between mind and spinal pain is highlighted by an up to four times increase in lower back pain in patients with a history of alcohol abuse or depression,” he said.

Obesity, Smoking, Drinking, Depression: All Linked to Low Back Pain.

Never Miss a Powder Day: Get a Functional Movement Screen To Prevent Injuries

Winter is an incredible time of year in Colorado and is often the main reason so many people choose to live here.  World famous ski resorts are less than two hours away.  Snowshoers and cross-country skiers have access to amazing scenic trails.  Indoor and outdoor ice rinks seem to be popping up everywhere these days.  Unfortunately, we tend to see a significant number of injuries from all of these winter sports.  Lower body muscle weakness, balance deficits on slippery or unstable surfaces, and poor flexibility are major contributors to injuries.  Most commonly we tend to see a significant number of knee and shoulder injuries from winter sports that are result of falling or twisting awkwardly.  The rehab for these injuries tends to be costly both from a financial and time perspective.  It is not unusual for someone to miss the entire winter sports season from one injury.  But these injuries can be prevented.  The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is designed to identify people who are at risk of injury from all types of winter sports.

What is the Functional Movement Screen?

The FMS is a tool that was developed in 1995 by physical therapist Gray Cook and his colleague Dr Lee Burton, a certified athletic trainer with a doctorate in health performance and wellness.  The screen looks at 7 different integral human movement patterns (i.e lunges, squats, stepping, etc) to identify dysfunctions or imbalances between right and left side of the body. Weakness, asymmetry between right and left side of body, and limited flexibility of muscles are common sources of musculoskeletal injury. Each of these seven movements are graded on a 0-3 scale with 3 being a normal/non-dysfunctional movement pattern and 0 indicating pain during the movement. At the end of the screen a score is calculated ranging from 0-21. The key score that the tester is looking for is 14 or less.  Some examples of the movements are shown below.    

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.08.53 PM

Low FMS Scorers Are 50% More Likely To Be Injured

Several studies have shown that if the FMS score is less than or equal to 14 then the probability of suffering an injury that would cause you to miss time at your sport increases by at least 50%. One study in particular studied 38 female collegiate athletes at the start of their fall or winter sport  and found that 69% of the athletes that scored 14 or less suffered an injury during the season that caused them to miss time at their particular sport1.  A 2nd study looked at an entire professional football team and again concluded that the key number for prediction of an injury was 14. The likelihood increased from a pre-test probability of injury of 15% to just over 50% when the player scored 14 or less2.

 

What do we do with the results of the screen?

The nice thing about the FMS is that we can use an advanced software program to create a specific home exercise program that is individualized to you based on your specific score and movement dysfunctions . This home exercise program is emailed directly to you with descriptive pictures and videos of each exercise. FMS clients often set up one-on-one physical therapy sessions with our physical therapists to review the exercises and address any pain or dysfunction that was encountered during the FMS.  The home exercise program and physical therapy visit is especially important for individuals that score 14 or less on the screen. Our PTs use information from the screen along with a thorough PT evaluation to create a custom workout that is specific to your winter sport.  Injury prevention is why the FMS is such a valuable tool for the winter athlete.

Example of Custom Home Exercise Program:

workout

Where can someone get a Functional Movement Screen?

Our physical therapists at Therapydia Denver feel so strongly about the importance of the FMS in preventing injury that we have done over 140 free screens in the last 2 years.  We have worked with clients of all types including high school and college athletes, weekend warriors, and sedentary desk jockeys embarking on a new exercise program. The FMS is offered free of charge to all members of our friends at Vital Strength and Fitness gym in which our clinic is located.  We are now also offering the screen for free to members of the community when you mention this blog post.  Scheduling is easy through our therapydiadenver.com website or by calling 303-482-1540.  We have wide range of available hours so you can complete the 20-30 minute screen when it is convenient to you. Don’t wait for an injury to happen this winter.  Be proactive and schedule your Functional Movement Screen today.

 

References:

 

 

 

33 Low-Sugar Recipes That Are Totally Sweet! | Greatist

America’s love of sugar has gotten a little out of control—we’ve gone from adding it to sweet things like pies, fudge, and muffins to having it listed as one of the first ingredients in everything from canned soup tocrackers to breakfast sandwiches.

But as more research reveals the not-so-sweet side effects of too much sugar—including obesitydiabeteshigh blood pressure, andcardiovascular disease—more of us are trying to cut back. And luckily that doesn’t have to mean a tearful farewell to pancakes, brownies, ice cream, and finger-licking barbecue chicken forever.

We searched high and low for some of the best treats that pass the delicious (and healthy!) test without including any added sugars (other than natural ones from fruit) or artificial sweeteners. Now that’s a sweet deal.

Breakfast

Give the average berry muffin a makeover with a crown of toasty almonds and banana to replace the sugar. With all that fresh fruit goodness, they’ll be plenty sweet and a much better choice than anything from the bakery. Pick any berry you like—they’re all high in fiber and antioxidants.­

With this 20-minute recipe, pancakes can be an option any day, not just on weekends. With whole-wheat flour, eggs, and bananas, they turn out fluffy and delicious. Forgo topping with the optional honey and use even more fresh fruit like pineapple, mango, or kiwi.

Instant packaged oatmeal might seem like a good breakfast option, but the flavored ones can go overboard on the sugar. Making stovetop oatmeal is a way better option, especially when it tastes like apple pie! This recipe is super easy, plus oats are always a good choice since studies show they keep you full for hours  and reduce cholesterol  .

One of the best-tasting breakfasts has got to be banana bread, but it’s usually so full of oil or butter that it can feel more like eating a slice of cake. This recipe uses mashed banana, milk, and unsweetened applesauce for the wet ingredients to cut down on the fat while still keeping the loaf nice and moist. For long-term storage, slice the whole loaf once it’s cooled and freeze individual portions in zip-top bags.

Packaged granola seems like a healthy morning meal, but a quick glance at the nutritional info usually unveils tons of sugar and oil. Making it at home couldn’t be simpler, and it will make the whole house smell heavenly. This mix turns out crunchy with chewy clusters, just the way granola should be. Use whatever fruit, nuts, and seeds you want.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the weekend than by setting up a waffle bar. Whip up a batch of these waffles with a tropical flair, and then go wild with a bunch of healthy toppings. Toasted nuts, fresh fruit, roasted veggies, and an egg are all great options.

Muffins seem like such a good idea when you’re eating them, but then an hour or so later, they usually lead to a massive sugar crash and a growling stomach. These are flavored with unsweetened applesauce and fresh cherries, plus the recipe calls for whole-wheat flour for more fiber that will help keep you full. This is one pastry that makes you feel good all morning.

There’s nothing better than the smell of blueberry pancakes at a diner. (And there’s nothing worse than having to wait for more than an hour to grab a seat!) Skip the craziness by whipping up a batch of flapjacks at home. This gluten-free and sugar-free version comes together in minutes. Though the recipe calls for wild blueberries, any blueberries, fresh or frozen, will taste great.

Nut and seed lovers, this granola’s for you! Raisins mix with oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nuts, then get a drizzle of coconut oil for a little sweet. A touch of almond extract and cinnamon transforms a pretty basic mix into an amazing topping for yogurt, fruit, or smoothie bowls.

Snacks

Apple chips are a tasty treat, but they can have all sorts of strange sounding preservatives. Yikes! Spend a weekend making a batch of these sweet chips dusted with cinnamon, and they’ll be ready for snacking all week long. The method works with any apple, so feel free to swap in any of your favorite varieties.

Dried apricots are a fine snack, but they don’t have much staying power on their own. These bars combine the fruit with dates, almonds, and almond butter for a sweet, chewy bite. Vanilla and coconut add that “extra” something to the party without being too in-you-face (er, taste buds?). Best of all, they’re no-bake and will last for two weeks in the fridge.

Trail mix always sounds like a healthy snack, but it’s usually more chocolate and candy than it is nuts and fruit. Mixing together coconut chips, nuts, seeds, and some fruit makes for a trail mix that lives up to its healthy reputation. A few cacao nibs add a little chocolate flair without going overboard.

When the afternoon slump hits, arm yourself with these apple treats that taste every bit as good as a slice of pie but won’t leave youlethargic. Blend dried apples, dates, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor, and then form them into balls. They’ll be ready to go when you are and you don’t even need to pack a fork.

Granola bars are an easy snack for busy days, but packaged ones are often more candy bar than health food. These homemade snacks have just enough sweetness from dates and lots of crunch from sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This recipe makes about a dozen bars, so freeze extras for those crazy days when heading to the vending machine is all too easy.

Some energy bars give you pep by packing in the… sugar and artificial sweeteners? Something about that doesn’t seem quite right. These use nuts for healthy fats and dates for good carbs that keep you going all afternoon. Simply mix together the ingredients, spread into a dish, and bake for one of the easiest and tastiest snacks.

Cookies and Dessert Bars

Red velvet cake is just about the prettiest dessert out there, but it’s a total sugar and calorie bomb. This healthier twist gets a similar gorgeous color from beets. The combination of dates, figs, and the root veggie gives these just enough sweetness plus fiber and antioxidants. They’re so good, there’s no need for icing (really!).

Overripe bananas usually wind up baked into a loaf, but they’re also perfect for these vegan and gluten-free cookies. The best part is that oats are the only other ingredient. Just squish them together, drop onto a sheet tray, and bake. Although they’re great as is, use this as a the perfect blank canvas for some mix-ins like nuts or coconut.

Blondies are so delicious thanks in large part to the butterscotch taste from brown sugar, but these somehow have that same flavor thanks to dates. A combo of almond flour and almond butter give a rich, nutty taste that’s irresistible. Flax eggs might sound complicated, but it’s as easy as mixing ground flaxseed with water.

How is it possible that a triple-layer dessert can contain not a grain of added sugar and still taste delicious? This recipe cooks up dates with a bit of orange and vanilla until it forms a rich, sticky filling that’s sandwiched between two crispy, nutty, coconutty layers. These bars are perfect for those on a Paleo diet, those avoiding sugar, and vegans. Sounds pretty perfect, huh?

There’s nothing more disappointing than biting into a brownie only to discover that it’s dry and tasteless. This version skips the baking altogether for a dessert that’s rich, fudgy, and also vegan. Blend the dates, walnuts, coconut oil, and cocoa powder in the food processor, and then press it into a baking dish. They’re delicious as is, but the sugar-free icing adds even more indulgence.

Peanut butter is practically a food group in and of itself, and these cookies are the perfect way to showcase that deliciousness. Sweetening with banana keeps them healthy by cutting the sugar and offering up a dose of potassium. Elvis would certainly approve of these treats.

Frozen Treats

Red, white, and blue pops look practically pathetic alongside these colorful beauties, which are made entirely from fruit that’s been pureed for less sugar plus more vitamins and fiber. The process of blending, cleaning, and layering takes a bit of time, but the results are well worth the effort. Though this recipe calls for kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, mango, watermelon, and pineapple, any fruit will work.

As any vegan knows, coconut milk makes insanely creamy ice cream—nobody would guess that it’s dairy-free. This one adds in pistachios, oranges, and dates (try finding that flavor in stores!) and comes together in the blender before a trip to trip to the freezer, making it one of the easiest ice creams to pull together.

Food is always more fun when it’s on a stick, and these popsicles prove that. Made from bananas, peanut butter, and yogurt, they’re like a frosty PB cup. They also pack a fair amount of calcium, potassium, and protein, so they’re as healthy as they are delicious. No popsicle molds? No problem! Just pour the mix into small cups, pop them into the freeze for about an hour, and then add the sticks.

Frozen yogurt is famous for being lower in fat than ice cream, but it’s also filled with an absurd amount of sugar (and who knows what else!?). This recipe swaps in banana for a taste that’s just sweet enough. Freeze a bunch of bananas ahead so you’re always ready when a craving for something cool and creamy hits.

There aren’t many low-sugar frozen dessert options in the grocery store, and there are even fewer without artificial sweeteners, so making one at home is the best option. This coconut vanilla ice cream tastes rich and decadent, but it contains no sugar or dairy. With just two ingredients, it’s also about as simple as it gets. It doesn’t even require an ice cream maker!

Fudgesicles always sound good, but they’re usually too sweet and not chocolaty enough. These pops get their creamy texture from cashews and soymilk, sweetness from bananas and dates, and rich flavor from cocoa powder. Kids and adults will devour them.

For the flavors of pumpkin pie with the dreamy texture of ice cream, look no further than this frozen concoction. Made with pumpkin puree, coconut milk, dates, and spices, this treat makes the flavor of fall available any time of the year. It could be a new contender for Thanksgiving dessert.

Dinner

Some nights, takeout just beckons, and sweet and sour chicken is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, that bright red sauce (Why is it red anyway?) is so packed with sugar that it can taste like glaze for baked goods. This recipe uses pineapple and all-fruit apricot preserves (check the label!) for sweetness while rice wine vinegar adds a bit of tang. Though the steps take a little bit of time, it couldn’t be easier to prepare.

There’s something super comforting about BBQ pork sandwiches. For a new take on the classic, this recipe combines tomatoes, spices, vinegar, and pineapple for a sweet and tangy sauce. The best part? This dish comes together in a slow cooker, so just blend the sauce and pour it over the pork for a dinner that requires zero maintenance.

Sloppy joes tend to be made with ketchup and brown sugar, but this recipe gets the same rich flavor with tomato sauce and raisins. Lean beef is rich in protein and one of the best sources of iron, making this a winner of a dinner.

An updated take on pork chops and applesauce, this one-skillet supper offers a lot more texture and nutrition. Sweet apples and onions pair perfectly with the savory lean meat. Keeping the skin on the apples ups the fiber and vitamins and makes for a beautiful presentation.

Peach sauce goes great with chicken, but a lot of times recipes call for jams or jellies that leave the final product more sweet than savory. This sauce cooks up easily by combining peaches, mustard, vinegar, and some spices on the stove before a trip to the blender. Don’t be scared away by the long cook time because most of it’s just letting the chicken simmer.

33 Low-Sugar Recipes That Are Totally Sweet! | Greatist.

Here’s How You Should Be Sitting at Your Desk (According to Ergonomics) | Greatist

Don’t let this infographic fool you—we know sitting can be bad for our health. It’s been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer   . Not to mention, sitting for long periods of time can cause your muscles to become inactive, and has you burning one calorie a minute, a third of what it would be if you were walking . And that’s even when you have good posture!

But most of us don’t even have good posture. We’re sitting like contortionists and twisted pretzels, setting ourselves up for a lifetime of pain and injuries . And although standing desks (or even treadmilll desks) are trendy, they haven’t become the office norm just yet—making sitting the majority of the day pretty inevitable.

To avoid the scary consequences of days spent on our rears, we teamed up with Alyx Brown, a chiropractor at Manhattan’s Urban Wellness Clinic, to find the best way to sit at our desks.

 

1. Computer Monitor and Eyes

It’s important to have your eyes in line with the area of the screen you focus on the most, whether that’s the top (if you’re sending lots of emails), or the bottom (if you’re writing a bunch of code). Looking down at your screen puts excess strain on your neck, which leaves you vulnerable to injuries such as cervical disc herniationcervical strains, and headaches. Stacking books under your monitor is a simple trick if you need to raise your screen to be at eye level. And if you happen to be a multi-monitor worker, make sure you apply this tip to the monitor you use the most—the last thing you want is an injury from looking sideways all day.

2. Desk

Anything that you constantly use (think your phone, mouse, or water bottle) can be a stressor on your body if you’re always reaching out to grab it. Instead of forcing your body to overwork (and be in an uncomfortable position), keep these must-use items within a foot.

3. Arms

When your arms are stretched and extended, your shoulders actually start to rotate forward, causing you to lose strength in your upper back. To avoid shoulder injuries and chronic upper back pain, keep your arms at a comfortable 90-degree angle in a nice, neutral resting position. Chairs come with armrests for a reason, so don’t be afraid to let them lend you a helping hand!

4. Back

You want your back to be comfortable and supported, with a small curve in the lumbar spine where your natural lower back (or lordotic curve) is. Without support, the back tends to get too much of a curve in the opposite direction—what’s known as kyphosis, or more commonly, hunchback—leaving the lower back perfectly exposed to disc herniation and chronic postural lower back sprains and strains (the most common injuries Brown sees). If you don’t have a chair that can provide support, get creative! Pillows and jackets are the perfect solution to such a problem.

5. Legs and Feet

When your legs are crossed or just your toes are touching the floor, you’re putting unnecessary stress on large supportive muscles and hampering proper blood flow (hello, pins and needles). Even little things—like keeping your legs crossed all day long—can lead to chronic pain. It’s of course OK to cross your legs every once in a while, but it’s important to be aware of your body position.

6. Vertical Alignment

While seated, you never want to be reaching or leaning forward. Why? Well here’s a fun fact: For every inch that the head comes forward, the spine feels like is has taken on an extra 10 pounds—bringing on some major strain for your muscles.

The Takeaway

Little changes to your posture matter. Bad sitting habits—from slouching to crossing your legs—can lead to serious injuries and chronic pain. Fortunately, most of these issues are preventable, and regardless of if you’re big or small, there’s a creative way to make your desk setup and posture a bit better. (There’s zero shame is stacks of printer paper people!)

It won’t feel awesome at first—we know the ideal posture is rarely the most comfortable—but that doesn’t mean you should give in to your long-standing (er, sitting) habits. Try slowly incorporating these changes (i.e. five minutes every half hour at first) to get your body adjusted to a healthier posture, and over time, sitting properly won’t feel awkward at all. You better believe your body will thank you.

Here’s How You Should Be Sitting at Your Desk (According to Ergonomics) | Greatist.

7 Yoga Moves for the Most Intense Muscle Burn Ever (Really!) | Greatist

Why does yoga get pigeonholed as the exclusive domain of the feminine, bendy-as-a-Twizzler set? If that’s you, namaste. But if it isn’t, you should know that yoga is a party everyone is invited to—including the bros and the not-so-bendy. That’s why we love anything that breaks free from the stereotypes, whether it’s Yoga Joes#curvyyoga Instagrammers, or DDP.

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What’s that last one? Dubbed “Beefcake Yoga” by theNew York TimesDDP Yoga was started by former pro-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. After sustaining a brutal spinal injury, Page’s body was wrecked. But little by little, he used yoga to heal himself, and in three years, he was back in the ring. The transformation was so astonishing that Page devoted himself to teaching his own brand of yoga: a studly version where Sanskrit names are replaced with handles like “Thunderbolt” and “Touchdown.”

If you’ve dismissed yoga before as a bunch of stretching and chanting, DDP shows just how athletic it can be—and makes it ridiculously fun. Just try not to laugh too hard as you end aVinyasa-style flow by flexing your biceps to “Hulk It Up.”

1. Table Into Cat Stretch/Cat Arch

Start on hands and knees in a tabletop position, back flat with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Warm up the spine by curving your back down into cat stretch and curving it sharply up into cat arch. Repeat 3 times.

2. Broken Table

In tabletop position, lift right arm and left leg straight out, parallel to the ground. Hold for 5 breaths, engaging core. Repeat, lifting left arm and right leg. Do each side 3 times.

3. Road Warriors One and Two

Transition from tabletop into a lunge position with right foot in front, spinning left heel down and angling left foot out slightly to come into road warrior one (a.k.a. warrior pose). Lift arms overhead, keeping the muscles engaged like you’re squeezing an invisible beach ball between your hands. Keep torso and hips facing front foot, and stay here for 5 breaths. Open hands and bring arms parallel to the ground, rotating torso and hips to the left. Keep right knee at a 90-degree angle and continue to reach your arms long with muscles engaged. This is road warrior two. Stay here for another 5 breaths.

4. Punches

Transition back to road warrior one with torso and hips facing right foot. Now is when you enter the ring: With all your force, punch right hand forward while left hand is retracted by your torso. Then switch hands. (Picture punching through a brick wall.) Repeat 10 times with each hand.

5. Supported Lunge Into Space Shuttle

Circle left heel up, staying in a high lunge with hands on right thigh. From there, lean chest forward onto thigh and put hands straight behind back. Here, in space shuttle position, begin your countdown: “Ten, nine, eight, seven… ” Once you hit one, launch right foot off the ground and use the strength in your left leg to come to standing. Blast off! Repeat road warrior, punches, and supported lunge/space shuttle with left foot in front (as shown here).

6. Ignition Into Touchdown

After blasting off from the second space shuttle, come to standing with feet hip-width apart and leg muscles engaged. With hands out in front of you, grab that imaginary beach ball and swing it up overhead. (Feel free to shout, “Touchdown!” in the process.) Then swing arms back down to sides.

7. Diamond Cutter Into Hulk It Up

From touchdown, bring hands in front of you, pointer fingers and thumbs touching to make a diamond. Swing arms overhead, slightly arching upper back to come into diamond cutter. Then bring arms back around and flex them in front to hulk it up. (Try not to rip your shirt while flexing those guns.)

7 Yoga Moves for the Most Intense Muscle Burn Ever (Really!) | Greatist.

33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere | Greatist

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Rock out with the band! Resistance bands are a great addition to any strength training routine or rehabilitation program and come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and strengths  . This portable exercise equipment is also easily stored, making it perfect for home use, hotel workouts, or when you’re tight on space at the gym. Just like free weights, exercise bands come in a range of resistance levels, from highly stretchable to heavy-duty strength.

The most common types of bands include tube bands with handles, loop bands (aka giant rubber bands), and therapy bands. (When in doubt, a fitness professional can help determine which band is right for you, depending on your fitness level and specific workout plan). For most exercises, try aiming for 8 to 25 reps for 2 to 3 sets per exercise. And don’t miss our sample workout suggested at the very end. Ready, set, streeetch!

Lower-Body Exercises

1. Front Squat

Stand on band with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. (If it’s too long, secure band in place by crossing your arms at your chest.)Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

2. Leg Extension

Kick it up a notch with this quad-builder. Anchor a loop band in a low position on a support (like an incline bench), looping the other end around your ankle with the band positioned behind you. Step away from the anchor to create tension on the band, and position feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to the left foot, and lift the right leg from the floor. Extend the knee until it straightens out in front of you. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps before switching legs.

3. Prone (Lying) Leg Curl

Lie belly down and loop a band around your right ankle, anchoring the other end to a door or support. Scoot away from the anchor to create tension. Tighten your core and bend your leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably go. Slowly return your leg to starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.

4. Glute Bridge

Salute those glutes! Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Do 15 to 20 reps.

5. Standing Adductor

Anchor a loop band at ankle height to a support and stand with your left side facing the support, wrapping the free end around your right (outer) ankle. Stand perpendicular to the band and step away from the support to create some tension (the good kind, of course). From a wide stance, get into a quarter squat or an athletic stance, and then sweep your working ankle across your body past your standing leg, squeezing your thighs together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.

6. Supinated Clamshell

Loop a band around your legs just above your knees. Lie on your back with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees. Pull the knees apart while contracting your glutes for 2 to 3 seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat, aiming for 10 to 12 total reps.

7. Plantar Flexion (Ankle Flexion)

Take a load off for this one. Secure a loop or therapy band around an anchor (like the leg of a coffee table or chair), and sit with one leg straight out, wrapping the other end of the loop around the top of your foot. Lean back, supporting your weight on your hands, and flex your foot forward until you feel a good stretch in your shin. In a controlled movement, bring your toes back up, flexing them toward your knee as far as comfortable. Slowly return to starting position and go for 10 to 12 reps on each side.

8. Lateral Band Walk

Don’t sidestep these side steps! Step into a loop band or tie a therapy band around the lower legs, just above both ankles. Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, shift your weight to the left side, stepping sideways with the right leg. Move the standing leg slightly in, but keep the band taut. Take 8 to 10 steps before heading back the other way.

9. Standing Abduction

This one’s a bit of a balancing act. Anchor your loop band at ankle height, and stand with your left side toward the anchor. Attach the free end to your outside ankle and step out to create tension on the band. Move your supporting leg back so your foot is elevated from the floor, lift your working leg up, slowly bringing your looped foot out to the side, contracting your outer glutes. If you feel wobbly, grab a support (like the wall or the back of a chair). Lower back down to starting position and repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.

10. Seated Abduction

To really show those thighs who’s boss, sit at the edge of a chair or bench and tie a loop band around both legs, just above the knees. Place your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Slowly press your knees out, turning your feet in as your legs move apart. Hold for two seconds, and then bring your knees back together. Aim for 15 to 20 reps.

Back Exercises

11. Bent-Over Row

You can do it, put your back into it. Stand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10 to 12 reps.

12. Seated Row

Take a seat, but don’t get too cozy. With legs extended, place the center of the band behind the soles of your feet. Grab the band with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other. Sitting nice and tall, bend at the elbow and pull the band toward your core, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

13. Pull Apart

Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the middle section of the band with both hands at shoulder level with palms facing down. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band out and back until your shoulder blades contract. Slowly return to starting position and stretch, squeeze, and release for 8 to 10 reps.

14. Lying Pullover

No, this doesn’t involve pulling the covers over your head. For this effective pec and lat exercise, anchor the tube band in a low position. Next, lie on your back, grabbing the free end of the band with both hands, stretching arms straight out overhead. With elbows slightly bent, pull the band overhead, crossing your torso until the handle reaches your knees. Slowly return to starting position and keep it up for 8 to 10 reps.

15. Lat Pulldown

Ready to work the upper back? Anchor the band overhead to a horizontal bar (or even a sturdy tree limb), pulling the free ends down at your sides. Kneel facing the anchor so the bands are positioned in front of you, gripping each end with arms extended overhead and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bending the elbows, pull the band down toward the floor while contracting your back muscles. Once the hands reach your shoulders, slowly raise them back to the starting position and rock out 10 to 12 reps.

Chest Exercises

16. Push-Up

Take this classic move to a new level. Get in plank position, draping the resistance band across your upper back. Loop the ends of the band through each thumb, and place your hands on the ground in starting position—body facedown on the ground. Contract your glutes and abs, and push straight up until your arms fully extend. Lower back down, chest to the floor, and see what you’ve got for 5 to 20 reps (depending on your strength).

17. Incline Chest Press

Next up: The upper chest muscles! In a right forward lunge position, place the middle of your band beneath your back foot. Grabbing a handle in each hand, bring the band to shoulder level. Press the bands upward straight over your chest like a rainbow until the arms fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

18. Bench Press

No barbell? No problem! Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand. position them at shoulder height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

19. Standing Chest Press

Anchor the tube band on a cable column or sturdy support at chest height. Grab each handle with your back to the band. Step forward to reduce slack, positioning your hands at chest height. With elbows up and palms facing down, press the band straight out in front of you until your arms reach full extension, and squeeze those chest muscles. Return to starting position and press on for 12 to 15 reps.

Shoulder Exercises

20. Overhead Press

Stand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

21. Forward Raise

To hit the front of the shoulders, stand on the middle of the band with feet shoulder-width apart and grip each handle at your sides with palms facing in. Next, without locking your elbows, bring your right arm straight out in front of you to shoulder height. Slowly lower back down and raise the roof for 8 to 12 reps before switching arms.

22. Lateral Raise

Build bolder shoulders with this isolation move. Stand with feet positioned over the center of a tube band, shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle with arms down at your side and palms facing in. Bending your elbows ever so slightly, raise your arms straight out to the side to shoulder-level. Slowly lower back down and go for a total of 8 to 10 reps.

23. Upright Row

Stand proud as you target your traps. With feet positioned over the center of the band, shoulder-width apart, grip each handle and position them with palms facing each other just in front of your thighs. Pull the band straight up the front of your body to shoulder-level, keeping your elbows bent and positioned in a high “V.” Slowly lower back down to starting position and keep rowing for 10 to 12 reps.

24. Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly

Target the whole shoulder with this fierce move. Sit at the edge of a chair or bench, positioning your feet over the middle of the band. Cross the band at your knees, grabbing each handle with palms facing each other. Bend forward at the waist, back straight, and raise your arms straight out to your sides until the band reaches shoulder level. Lower back to starting position and fly away with 10 to 12 reps.

Arms Exercises

25. Concentration Curl

Want to get ready for the gun show? Start in a forward lunge position, right leg in front, and place the middle of the band under the right foot. Grasp one end of the loop band with your right band, resting your elbow on the inside of your knee (to target those biceps a little deeper). With palm facing away from your knee, curl the band up toward your shoulder, squeezing your biceps at the top. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 8 to 10 reps before switching sides.

26. Standing Biceps Curl

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your feet placed over the middle of the band. Grab a handle in each hand, starting with your arms down at your sides. With palms facing in front of you, pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow until you get a good bicep contraction. Slowly lower back down and go for a total of 12 to15 curls.

27. Triceps Kickback

Kick back and relax. Just kidding! Stand in a forward lunge position with your right foot in front, positioned over the center of the band. Holding each end of the band, position your arms at your sides with palms facing behind you. Bend at the elbows (keeping them tucked by your sides) until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Next, press down the arms, pushing the band behind your body until the arms fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

28. Overhead Triceps Extension

Sit on a chair or bench, placing the center of a tube band beneath your glutes. Grab a handle in each hand, and stretch your arms up, bending your elbows so that your hands are positioned behind your neck. With palms toward the ceiling, press your arms straight up until they fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps before switching sides.

Core Exercises

29. Kneeling Crunch

Attach the band to a high anchor (such as the top of a door or cable column) and kneel down, grabbing each side of the band. Extend the elbows out at shoulder-level, engage your abdominals, and crunch down toward your hips while contracting your abs. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

30. Woodchoppers

Be an ax man (or woman) in training with this great core move. Anchor the loop or tube band toward the top of a cable column or support. With your right side to the support, grab the free end of the band with your arms stretched out overhead. In one smooth motion, pull the band down and across your body to the front of your knees while rotating your right hip and pivoting your back foot. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 8 to 10 reps on each side.

31. Anti-Rotation Band Walkouts

Know when to walk away. Anchor a loop or tube band on a cable column or support positioned slightly below your chest. Grasping the free end, create tension on the band and squat to an athletic stance. Holding the band with both hands straight out in front of your chest, keeping your core tight, step laterally until the band is too tense to go any further. Slow and controlled, move back toward the column to starting position. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps on each side.

32. Reverse Crunch

Now flip it and reverse it. Anchor the band on a low support. Lie on your back, bending knees 90 degrees. Wrap band around the tops of both feet and scoot back to create tension. Abs tight and back flat, pull your knees toward your shoulders, contracting your abdominal muscles. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.

33. Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with legs extended, wrapping the center of the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the free ends in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Return to starting position and rotate left then right for a total of 10-12 reps on each side.

The Full-Body Resistance Band Workout

Ready to put it all together? Greatist expert and certified personal trainer Jessi Kneeland(who also demonstrates the moves here!) created this routine that’ll work your whole body.

The Products

Want your own resistance bands to use at home or on the go? Here are a few awesome products to consider:

  • Lifeline Professional Exercising Tubing with Handles: This five-foot durable exercise tubing with hard plastic swivel handles comes in 10 levels to accommodate all your fitness needs; $13 to $25.
  • Perform Better Mini-Bands: Long-lasting and capable of stretching up to three times in length, these mini loop bands travel well and come in 4 resistance levels; $2 to $20.
  • Thera-Band: These 5-foot latex bands come without handles and work well to enhance athletic performance or improve rehabilitation. They come in 5 resistance levels and can be purchased in multi-packs; $6 to $16.

33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere | Greatist.

What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations | Greatist

Scale-FeatureThere are few morning things that have the power to absolutely dictate my mood for the day. A loss in my fantasy league, for example, will pretty much ensure that I’m scowling, even on the nicest of days. More relevant thing to you, my dear reader, is the number that I see when I step on the scale while on a fat-loss diet.

Fortunately the scale reading is only a number. Like all pieces of data, this number may or may not be an accurate reflection of whether or not you are losing fat. Let’s look at problems with over-relying on your scale weight and how we can better interpret said weight.

Modeling Scale Weight

Let’s say that there were a hypothetical universe where someone’s weight had no variability. In this universe, Joe has 150 lbs of lean mass and 50 lbs of fat mass. That means Joe weighs 200 lbs at 25 percent  body fat.

Now let’s transport Joe to our universe. The one where the scale can be a fickle bitch. How much does Joe weigh? Joe would probably weigh somewhere between 196 and 208 lbs. Why the difference? One’s “scale weight” can be broken down into the following formula:

Scale Weight = True Weight + Weight Variance (AKA weight of the annoying little gremlins that mess with your weight)

True Weight: The weight that you would be in our hypothetical universe above (there are ways to get close to this).

Weight Variance: A value that adds or subtracts from your weight, given the conditions below.

Something interesting that I’ve seen from clients is that the upper and lower limits are asymmetrical. The upper limit of one’s scale weight is about +4 percent of his/her true weight, whereas the lower limit seems to be about -2 percent of his/her scale weight. Hence, why Joe’s scale weight is 196 to 208.

Understanding Variations in Weight

Here are a few things that factor into “weight variance:”

  • Glycogen stores. This amount depends on your current consumption of carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores via glycogen, it also stores three grams of water. If you are carbohydrate-depleted, you will be at the lower end of your variance. Conversely, if you consume a crapola of carbohydrates, you will be at the upper end of your variance.
  • Water retention/depletion from sodium. If you suddenly consume more sodium than you are used to, you will likely retain water. Conversely, if you suddenly consume much less sodium, you will release water. Your body adjusts to the new levels accordingly via the hormone aldosterone, so don’t think that you can keep this value low just by cutting sodium out from your diet.
  • Cycle bloat. Women will retain water during their cycle. For this reason, it’s best for women to only compare weight from month-to-month.
  • Dehydration. This obviously comes into play, but we’re going to assume that everyone here is well-hydrated.

Scale Weight Fluctuations

Why does the scale seem so erratic when you are dieting? The foremost reason is that glycogen is a much more volatile substrate than fat. That is, fat loss occurs slowly, while glycogen levels can swing wildly.

Let’s see what happens at both ends of glycogen storage.

The High End: Full Stores (i.e. bloat, often from binge eating)
What happens when people go on a binge? Typically they will retain a ton more glycogen afterwards and see a massive increase in the scale. This is only water weight. Too often, I’ll see people defeated because they “gained all of the weight back.”

One thing that you rarely hear about water bloat is that it makes you look fatter than actual fat. Yes, that means that a person whose true weight is 190 lbs and bloats up to 195 lbs will look fatter than if his/her true weight were 197 lbs.

Try this for yourself. When you are on a diet, take weekly pictures of yourself when you adhere to your nutrition plan. After you’ve lost some weight, take pictures again after eating wildly for a day.

Find the two pictures that match up with the same weight. You’ll notice that you will look fatter in your latter pictures, even if your true weight ls lower.

If you find yourself gaining a ton of weight after a bad day of dieting, remember, this is only temporary. Your true weight hasn’t moved much; it’s still subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

(Funny story: As a test I once consumed 1,200 grams of carbohydrates in one day with only trace dietary fats. Research predicts that almost none of this turned into fat. The next day, I looked like the Michelin man and my “skin” felt hurt and bruised. Yes, my skin. Interpret this as you will.)

The Low End: Carbohydrate Depletion
Those who go on Paleo or ketogenic style diets usually cite the rapid loss of weight at the very start, as well as the rapid influx of weight when they cease their low-carb diet.
This isn’t due to some magical powers from copying the diet of pre-historic man. Rather, this is due to the rapid depletion and replenishment of glycogen.

Similarly, the rapid drop in weight that occurs when one starts a diet can usually be attributed to a drop in carbohydrate intake.

Other reasons: Lyle McDonald talks about “the whoosh effect,” in which scale weight will often lag behind true weight loss. If you haven’t read this article yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I take this one step further by showing that you can use certain measurements to determine an impending whoosh, as you’ll read later.

Clients will also often gain lean mass and/or increased glycogen capacity during a diet, especially with a mild deficit. For that reason, scale weight may remain the same even if fat loss is occurring.

Interpreting the Scale

The true secret to interpreting the scale is building a story. Most people use the scale as a final number, rather than piece together a story using relevant pieces of data. The scale number alone is useless when you need to troubleshoot.

Instead, we can create a powerful story by pairing scale readings with the following data:

  • Waist measurements. This is the most powerful piece of accompanying data. That’s because waist measurements are far more useful at determining overall direction of fat loss. Take measurements at the navel, two inches above, and two inches below. Compare with last week’s measurements and assign the measurement either -1, 0, or +1 if the new measurement decreases, stays the same, or increases respectively. Now add the numbers together to determine overall direction that fat loss/gain is occurring.
  • Strength as determined by PRs. Assuming that you have reasonable programming for a deficit, PRs are a good indicator of how far you are from your caloric deficit in the natural trainee. If your strength is increasing, then you are likely increasing your weight from lean body mass as well.
  • Bloat. This tells you how much variance is going into your measurements. Be keen on noticing whether or not you are holding water in key parts. This will vary from person to person, but it will be areas that seem to swell up after a binge. My face balloons in size for example, but my thighs always look the same.

Remember our hypothetical universe where scale weight is equal to “true” weight? We want to replicate this as much as possible. For this reason, you should not interpret measurements when bloat is high. Either wait for it to go away (if it’s caused by your menstrual cycle) or eat normally for a few days (if it’s from a binge).

After that, use the following chart to interpret your data.

What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations | Greatist.