Linda’s Success Story

As a teenager, I carried a few extra pounds and did not like the image in the mirror. A few years after having my daughter at age 18, I joined my first gym, a women’s only facility. Not feeling challenged enough, I moved onto a coed gym, where I worked with a personal trainer. While I loved working with weights and my muscles became defined, I grew bored with the routine and decided to try the glitzy gym across the street where I mainly took spin classes and wandered aimlessly. Yet again, I grew bored.

I started running outside and a whole new world opened up for me! In 2005 I did a full marathon. This was my new thing! I could eat all I wanted and never gain weight due to all the cardio, but I still had these few extra pounds that would just not go away and was still not happy with the image in the mirror. In addition, I lost my muscle definition because I had stopped strength training.

Over the years, I’ve completed numerous 5K races (taking 1st place in my age group once), many half marathons, Ragnar Relay Road & Trail Races, and several obstacle course races (taking 3rd place in my age group in the Hartford Down & Dirty race a few years ago). I love the challenge, all the like-minded people I’ve met and all the sights I’ve seen while running through the countryside I otherwise never would have seen.

But still, those few extra pounds until I joined one of APT’s 21-Day programs in May of 2017. The nutrition plan was not at all hard to follow but was certainly different from anything I had tried before: counting calories or points, the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet (remember that one?)…But this plan worked! Quickly! In 21 days I lost those last stubborn 7 pounds and I could look at and carry myself in confidence!!! I was so psyched that I joined APT and I am so happy I made that decision because, the personalized strength training programs have brought back my muscle definition which in turn has improved my running performance and endurance, all while having fun. Amazing, right?, that at age 57, I’m in the best shape of my life and I feel it too! I LOVE Advantage Personal Training, where the workouts are never boring, the trainers are dedicated and obviously love what they do, the atmosphere is upbeat, and I always leave with a smile on my face. APT is most definitely “The best part of my day”.

My next goal? The unassisted pull-up. Why? Because with APT I can!

Happy Turkey Day

Eat This, NOT That, Thanksgiving Edition

I don’t know about you, but I am transfixed by all of the books, articles, and advice available when it comes to healthy eating – especially the ones that give you healthier alternatives to your favorite foods. With America’s feasting holiday upon us (Thanksgiving), there is no better time than to put together a list of Eat This, Not That, the Thanksgiving Edition. We’ve compiled a short list of a few very tasty, yet more healthy, alternatives to the main dishes that will laden your table this Thanksgiving.

The Main Event: TURKEY TOM

Americans, as a whole, look to this tasty bird as the main dish every Thanksgiving Holiday. It takes a million hours to make, but it’s worth it because you end up with leftovers that feed lingering company for days. When it comes to your main dish, here are a few ideas to make it as healthy as possible.

Eat this:
Skinless turkey breast – removing the skin removes unwanted fat calories.
White meat – Eat white meat for an extra lean bonus.
2-3 portions max – our fist size is roughly 1 portion.

Not that:
Dark meat – Just a little-added fat content, but do you really need that?
Butter & Gravy – If you can avoid them, your meal will be a bit healthier.

The Topper: Gravy

We will give you this, eating the white meat of turkey without gravy is like trying to swallow chalk. It just doesn’t go down that easily. But, gravy is essentially made of the fat drippings and butter that didn’t sink into the bird. Still sound tasty? If so, give this a try…

Eat this:
If possible, eat gravy made with fatless turkey drippings
Let your gravy sit for a bit on the counter and then take off the top layer of fat.

Not that:
Canned gravy – Packed with sodium and other ingredients you likely cannot pronounce.

Dish Filler: Bread and Rolls

This is a tough one…just the smell of baking bread and stuffing alone makes many people salivate with anticipation. But, you’re on a mission for health, so do your best to avoid these tasty dish fillers. If your carb cravings are overwhelming, try to make a stuffing using whole grain bread and low butter content. Load it up with onions and celery for flavor so you can get a taste of the good stuff without going overboard on filling calories you just don’t need.

Eat this:
Stuffing – Try to make it with whole grain and low butter content.

Not that:
Refined, white bread rolls. Especially with butter. Darn!
Stuffing made with mostly bread and no added veggies or smothered in butter.

White Elephant in the room: Mashed Potatoes

Turkey and mashed potatoes are such an American classic for Thanksgiving, but they do not contain nearly the amount of nutrients of their healthier cousins, the sweet potato and yams. If you leave off the butter and sauces, these are a great alternative to white potatoes.

Eat this:
Sweet potatoes
Yams

Not that:
White potatoes
Scalloped potatoes
Sweet potato fries
Candied yams

On the Side: Cranberries

Cranberry sauce…yeah, a lot of people just skip right past it, especially when it comes out of a can (seriously, who eats that?!), but eating a spoonful or two of actual cranberries is not only a viable alternative, but it happens to be part of a superfood group that can help lower blood pressure, protect the urinary tract and stomach lining, lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and play a part in good heart health. Plus, they taste really good with turkey, so why not throw some on your plate?

Bon Apetit!

Maria’s Success Story

I had always been fairly active, but gyms bored me. I’d make it a few months and decide that I wasn’t having fun, so I’d quit going. I got my workouts in scuba diving, skydiving, and running around at work, or around the house. However, life and a desk job got in the way of my well being. By Christmas of 2015 I had had enough of not feeling well. One day around that time I happened to drive by Advantage Personal Training. I made the decision to stop in and ended up signing up for the 21 day trial that started in January of 2016. I finished the trial and haven’t looked back. Two and a half years later I’m still here.

Looking back I see how far I’ve come. Because I hadn’t been feeling well I scheduled myself to see my doctor in the summer of 2016. My blood work came back and he said “I believe you’re pre-diabetic and we should start you on medication. You need to start testing your sugar”. I told him I wouldn’t do that. I would make lifestyle changes before I would even start to think about taking medication and accept a pre-diabetic diagnosis. He said, “I disagree, but let’s see how it goes”.

With the direction and support from the staff at Advantage, my workouts changed to better meet my needs. I started talking to the Nutritionist, and my eating habits changed. I found myself tracking my food, and my macros, and I started feeling so much better!

Fast forward to June of 2018 when I was nagged into going in for a follow-up doctors appointment. When I told him I was there under protest and reiterated my refusal to take medication and track my sugar, he laughed and said, “Let’s see what your blood work says”. After a few raised eyebrows and a lot of scrolling on his screen, he laughed and said “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working. All of your blood work levels are where they need to be. I don’t see any reason for the diagnosis at this time or any need for medication. If you don’t mind my asking, did you turn into a gym rat or become obsessive about your food?”. I laughed and answered, “kind of both..”.

And I guess that is kind of true. I’m at APT an average of 5 days per week. I’m in better overall shape now than I was in high school. And In the last two and a half years I have completed 3 marathons, 1 half marathon, 3 Tough Mudders, 1 Spartan Trifecta, (with 2 more Trifectas pending this year), and a bunch of 5K runs.

So, THANK YOU APT! I haven’t gotten bored, I’ve revamped the way I approach fitness AND food, and I have made some fantastic friends along the way with whom I’ve shared so much fun and laughter. You really are the best part of my day.

10 Min Workouts

Advantage Personal Training Expands Facility In Mystic

Advantage Personal Training has expanded its facility in Mystic to better meet the needs of its growing clientele.

The new addition will be celebrated on Friday, September 28 from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Advantage Personal Training, 2906 Gold Star Highway, Mystic. Join owner Greg Drab and his team to celebrate the expansion! There will be food, and friends are encouraged to bring a potluck dish.

The 2,100-square-foot addition was built over the spring and summer. Drab, who started APT in 1999, said it was needed because the growing clientele was squeezing the existing space. The new room will be home to small group and team training sessions, and will also give clients additional space and equipment for their personal workout programs.

“Serving our customers is our number one priority and we look forward to offering them more training options,” Drab said. “We invite everyone to join us September 28 to celebrate!”

Additionally, Advantage is offering a new app that allows clients to access training programs, nutrition, and track their activity while in and outside of the gym. “We’re really excited about this new technology,” Drab said. “The app can be used to view and record both training and nutrition programs, allows direct messaging with the trainers or the facility, and can be used both inside and outside the training facility on your mobile device.”

About Advantage Personal Training
Since 1999, Advantage Personal Training has been helping local residents to get into the best shape of their lives. With an experienced and friendly staff and 2 convenient locations, Advantage Personal Training strives to show our clients how they can fit fitness into their daily lives – while actually making it enjoyable! We are on the cutting edge of the fitness industry, which allows us to provide a variety of fitness programs.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie No-Bake Energy Bites

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie No-Bake Energy Bites

Ingredients:
¾ cup dry oats (suggestion: quick oats)
½ cup almond butter
⅛ cup honey
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ teaspoon (or more) ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scoop protein (whey or plant)
2 fl.ounces almond milk
2 pinches of salt

Instructions:
In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients listed above, sitr and combine well. The mixture should be a bit sticky.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Use a spoon to scoop about a tablespoon of the cookie ball mixture into your hand. Roll into a ball.
Store the balls covered in the fridge (for up to 1 week) or freeze.

How To Make Infused Water

Infused Water

Citrus: Slice an orange, lemon, and lime into a large pitcher of water. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Raspberry Lime: Slice a lime into a large pitcher of water, add a handful of raspberries. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Strawberry Basil: Slice 10 strawberries into a large pitcher of water, add 5 leaves of basil. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Watermelon Rosemary: Place 1/2 cup of small watermelon chunks into a large pitcher of water, add two sprigs of rosemary. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Pineapple Mint: Place 1/2 cup of small pineapple chunks into a large pitcher of water, add 15 mint leaves. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Shakshouka

SHAKSHOUKA

Ingredients:
4 pieces Bacon, diced
2 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 whole Eggs
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, medium, sliced into thin strips
1/2 whole Red Onion, chopped
1 whole Garlic, minced
15 oz Diced Tomatoes
1/8 tsp Chili Powder
(optional: 2 teaspoons Moroccan spice mix)
1 Tbsp Parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 pinch Black Pepper

Directions:
– Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a fry pan on medium high heat, add bacon and cook until browned and crispy.
– Set aside on a plate covered with paper towel to drain the fat.
– Heat another fry pan (large) on medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to saute the onion, garlic
– Add the bacon, tomatoes, Moroccan spices and chilli flakes, stir and cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Make four wells in the mixture with a spoon and crack an egg into each well and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
– Cover again and cook on low heat until the egg whites are cooked, but the egg yolks are gooey.
– Sprinkle on Fresh Parsley
– Serve with Rice, Quinoa, or Leafy Greens.

Carrot and Zucchini Fritters

CARROT AND ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Ingredients:
9 whole Eggs or 18 egg whites (for reduced fat)
4 1/2 cup Zucchini, grated – approx 1 large
1 1/2 cup Carrots, grated – approx 1 medium
3 Tbsp Coconut Flour
3 tsp Salt, More or less to taste
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, more or less to taste + extra for serving
6 Tbsp Coconut Cream, Optional for serving
3 Tbsp Chili Flakes (adjust per desire for spicy)
6 Tbsp Cilantro (Optional for serving)
1 1/2 tsp Lime Juice, Freshly squeeze, approx 1/4 a small lime.

Directions:
Place eggs into a medium size bowl and lightly whisk.
Add coconut flour, salt and pepper whisk again to combine.
Add your zucchini and carrot to your egg mix and stir to combine
Cook your fritters (~3Tbsp) in a medium size skillet or fry pan over medium heat with a little coconut oil (or cooking fat of choice)
Allow your fritters to cook for 1-2 minutes, until the edges are set and dry, then flip and cook for another minute.
Transfer to a wire rack while your repeat this process with remaining batter
Serve with desired toppings: Greek Yogurt, cilantro, sliced peppers.