peanut butter protein bars

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Protein Dessert Bars

Here’s a dessert bar that you can feel good about indulging in.

  • It’s not loaded with sugar, and yet it tastes sweet.
  • It has a healthy serving of protein, and yet it’s creamy and decadent.
  • It has delicious chocolate and protein flavors, and yet contains zero refined sugar.

These Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Dessert Bars are the perfect dessert to make and share this holiday season. Make tons! These disappear very quickly…

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

What you need
Serves 25

  • ½ cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted pepitas
  • 1 cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 (16oz) jar of natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 (9oz) bag Lily’s stevia-sweetened chocolate chip
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon flake sea salt (optional topping)

Instructions
1. Line a 9×11 casserole pan with parchment paper.
2. Place the seeds in a food processor and pulse until fine. Remove and set aside.
3. Place the dates in the food processor and pulse until creamy.
4. Add the seed powder, peanut butter, and protein powder to the food processor and blend until smooth and fully incorporated. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
5. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Pour over the bars and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill. Sprinkle with some flaked sea salt. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Nutrition
One bar equals 198 calories, 14g fat, 86mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 6g sugar and 10g protein.

Healthy dinner plate

Are You Sure Your Dinner Is Healthy?

This is your year to finally lose the weight and get fit…and it all starts with dinner.

You may be exercising hard, getting plenty of sleep and staying diligent in your hydration, but if you’re eating the wrong food for dinner then sadly you will never reach your goals.

Most dinners are too high in calories to allow you to steadily lose weight and progress towards your ideal body. This goes for restaurant dinners as well as homecooked meals.

However, the good news is that it is possible to enjoy wholesome, fitness dinners that support your fat loss results whether out-to-eat or cooking at home.

I want to make this as simple as possible for you so that you’ll actually use it to transform the way that you select your nightly meal. Rather than worrying about calories and measurements simply ask these 3 questions before you sit down to eat your next meal and visualize a clock…

Fat Burning Question #1: Is there Lean Protein?
Your meal should start with a lean source of high-quality protein that’s cooked in a healthy way. Choose a protein that has been grilled, baked, broiled or steamed. Fish, chicken, turkey, egg, lean red meat and beans all make great choices.

Picture your plate as a clock and fill it from 12 o’clock to 4 o’clock with your choice of protein. This is roughly 1/3 of your plate.

Fat Burning Question #2: Is it mostly Fibrous Veggies/Greens?
Next, come fibrous veggies and greens. Fiber is a huge part of eating healthy and being lean. Fibrous foods will fill you up while delivering vitamins and nutrients in a low-calorie package. Salads and seasonal vegetables make perfect choices for your fat-burning meal. Just be sure to watch out for heavy dressings or fattening cooking methods that may add additional calories to the dish.

On your plate fill between 4 o’clock and 10 o’clock with these fibrous veggies and greens. This is roughly half of your plate.

Fat Burning Question #3: Is the Starch in Moderation?
Are you gaining weight or not able to lose weight? Chances are your meals are filled with too many starches, including potatoes, pasta, rice, grains and bread products. To make these starches more fattening, they are often cooked with added fats that increase the calorie count. For your starch stick with wholesome, complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, sprouted grains and legumes.

On your plate fill between 10 o’clock and 12 o’clock with these wholesome starches. This is the smallest portion on your plate for a reason, as these starchy carbs are calorie-dense and just a little goes a long way. Fight the urge to push the line by allowing yourself to eat more starches than you need.

I hope that these 3 simple questions make it easier for you to choose your next fat-burning meal by cutting through some of the confusion. While there are certainly more specific, measured meal plans that lead to body transformation success, this guide is meant to keep you on track when you aren’t sure what you should be eating.

For the most effective results, pair your clean eating with a challenging exercise routine. That’s my specialty!

Call or email today and I’ll get you started on an exercise program that will transform your body once and for all.

looking at fitness tracker

Getting Back On Track

So you took a break from your fitness routine. You ate, you drank, you relaxed, and ate some more.

Well, now it’s time to face the music.

As you look in the mirror after a period of less-than-healthy eating… Your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight.

Maybe you are feeling that way right now.

Here’s how to get you back on the fitness fast track.

1) Find Your Focus
It happened. You ate things from the “never eat these” list, you drank more that you should have…but now it’s over.

Draw a line in the sand. You’re back now so the bad eating stops now.

If you’re serious about your fitness goals, then the past few weeks were the exception and not the rule. Don’t beat yourself up for letting loose. Simply get back up, dust yourself off and get focused.

2) Get Hydrated
While vacation can take on many forms, the end result is most often dehydration and water retention. The only way to restore your balance is to get hydrated.

Your first priority in getting back on track is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Start with a tall glass of water in the morning, and carry a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day.

Don’t add any artificial sweeteners or stimulants to your water – these will sabotage your hydration efforts. For flavor, add sliced fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables to your water, just like at the spa.

3) Cleanse Your System
For your first few days getting back on track, I need you to be extra picky about what you eat. Stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Whole, real foods will help to restore balance and block out cravings.

Don’t eat any packaged foods for the next few days. This means no snack foods, processed meat slices, dairy, baked goods or alcohol.

4) Get Some Rest
As relaxing as vacation days are, most end with the feeling of exhaustion. Make catching up on sleep a priority over the next few days.

When your body is low on sleep, it becomes easier to make poor eating choices. You’re also less likely to get back into your workouts if you don’t give your body a chance to rest.
Aim for getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night.

5) Jump Back Into Your Exercise Routine
It’s time to sweat out all those indulgences. So lace up your shoes and put on your favorite gym clothes. When you start your first workout, ease in slowly. Take the time to warm up and stretch your muscles before powering up to a solid 30-minute routine.

I have just the exercise plan for you – one that will not only help you recover from your summer but will help keep you motivated and going strong in the future.

If you haven’t joined yet, now is the perfect time for you to start. Together we will get you to your goals with my results-driven method.

mixed green salad

Eat Your Greens

Getting a daily serving of greens (such as spinach, kale, or broccoli) is a simple way to brighten your complexion and fight aging. These dark greens are packed with carotenoids that contribute to healthy, perky skin. As a bonus, a daily dose of fiber-rich greens will promote fat loss – especially when you eat these greens instead of a calorie-dense side, such as rice or potatoes.

Healthy breakfast and fruit

13 Tips for a Healthy Body

You know that diet and exercise are important when it comes to creating your best body, but you may be overlooking other techniques for getting into the best shape.

Turn the following 13 simple tips into habits and watch as your body transforms.

1) Eat a Smart Breakfast.
Most people load up on carbohydrates and simple sugars for breakfast. Cereal, pastries, smoothies, and juice are all poor choices when it comes to starting your day off right.

Center your breakfast around protein and healthy fat, and you’ll have energy for hours. Try a protein shake, eggs, lean breakfast meat, or a handful of nuts.

2) Get More Sleep.
If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night then you could use more sleep. This is especially true if you’ve reached a plateau with weight loss. Give your body the 8 hours of sleep each night and make weight loss easier.

3) Just Do It.
If you’re really ready to achieve your best body ever, then dig down deep and commit. As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of success is showing up.” This is absolutely true when it comes to fitness. Show up to your workout. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’d rather be doing something else. Just do it.

4) Plan Ahead.
Take one day each week to plan your healthy meals for the following week. You don’t have to do all the shopping and cooking on that day, simply jot down what you plan to eat. This small act of planning ahead will keep you on track with healthy meals even when the week gets crazy busy.

5) Cut Out Gluten.
Many people don’t realize that they have a certain level of sensitivity to gluten, which causes intestinal inflammation and bloating. Also, gluten-filled foods are typically high in carbohydrates, which contribute to weight gain. When you cut gluten-filled items from your diet don’t fall into the trap of simply replacing those items with other high-carb items. Choose non-packaged, whole foods instead.

6) Believe In Yourself.
Do you believe that you have what it takes to transform your body? If you want to succeed in weight loss then you have to believe that it’s possible. Give yourself a pep talk and dig down deep for the courage and discipline to apply these healthy changes to your life.

7) Eat Less Dairy.
Dairy products like cheese or cream add extra fat and calories to your meals. Pass on the dairy and you’ll eliminate unnecessary calories, making weight loss quicker.

8) Sleep and Wake at the Same Time.
This tip sounds so simple, and yet it’s a powerful way to increase your daily energy. Get your body on a schedule and watch how much more productive and energetic you become.

9) Include Veggies at Every Meal.
Most people aren’t too crazy about vegetables, and probably eat less than they should. Make it a point to include a vegetable with each of your meals – even breakfast. The increase in fiber and other nutrients will give your body that extra boost that you’re looking for.

10) Ditch Packaged Food.
Throw out those packaged foods! This is one of the easiest things you can do to achieve quicker weight loss results. Packaged foods contain chemicals and additives that will slow your fitness results.

11) Drink More Water.
Being hydrated is key when it comes to creating your best body. Drink water throughout your day and limit caffeinated beverages to once daily.

12) Forget Artificial Sweeteners.
Sure, these sweeteners don’t contain calories, but they are known to increase your appetite and cravings for carbohydrates. In the quest for your best body, put down the diet soda and reach instead for some water.

13) Exercise With a Pro.
Are you exercising as efficiently as possible? Do you challenge your muscles enough during each workout? Are you keeping the routine new and fresh? These are all factors that will be taken care of for you when you work with a trained fitness professional. Working with a pro ensures that you make the most of your exercise time.

So there you have it, 13 tips that will take your results up a notch.

woman drinking water on the beach

The Simple Fitness Habit You’re Not Doing

Start the new year off with this easy yet effective fitness habit, something that I can almost guarantee you’re not doing. By making this small change to your daily routine you’ll quickly find those unwanted pounds coming off quickly and easily.

***Warning: This fitness habit is going to sound so easy that you may be inclined to simply dismiss it. My advice is to try it out before writing it off as too easy.***

The simple fitness habit that you’re not doing is to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily.

Now I know that sounds boring but take a moment to calculate your water intake over the past few days. Did you even get close to a minimum of 64 ounces? Really, for optimal fat loss, you want to be drinking closer to a gallon of water each day.

Why is water such a big deal? Here are 3 serious reasons why drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day will help you drop pounds and achieve a stunning transformation…

#1) Water Helps Fat Metabolism in the Liver

When it comes down to the technical process of losing fat, your liver is where the action is. The key to having a highly functional liver, one that quickly removes metabolic waste and built-up toxins, is to be properly hydrated by drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day.

Your liver is a filter for your body. When you aren’t drinking enough water, your liver accumulates a buildup of waste product that slows the process of fat metabolism down.

#2) Water Helps Balance Hormones

Without getting too technical about the science of fat loss, it’s important that you understand that your hormones play an important role in your body’s ability to lose fat. When your body enters a state of dehydration, your organ and digestive functions are compromised, which in turn negatively impacts hormonal balance.

This stress, brought on by dehydration, impacts your adrenal glands, signaling the need for an increase in cortisol, which encourages your body to begin storing fat, rather than burning it.

#3) Water Reduces Calorie Intake

By drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily, your desire for high calorie, sugary drinks like soda and high fructose juices will diminish. This decrease in fattening calories really adds up!

In addition to weight loss, drinking water has an infinite number of benefits – including improved skin complexion, boosted immune system, cleansing toxins out of the body, etc.
While it’s important to drink plenty of water in general, be sure you’re increasing your amount before and after your workouts. The more you sweat, the more water you lose, and it’s important to replace that lost water to avoid dehydration.

Does this make sense? Remember: Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day.

I hope that you find this simple fitness habit to be helpful in your quest for a new and improved you in 2020! Remember that participating in a challenging and consistent exercise program is absolutely vital when it comes to getting into great shape

Vikki Success Story

Vicki B’s Success Story

Vikki at Advantage Personal TrainingI came to APT in November 2016. I had been athletic throughout my life – played various sports, and had always been physically active. About 5 years ago, I began to have issues with my right shoulder and arm. Nothing too serious but I was in a lot of pain. I knew if I didn’t take care of it I‘d end up with permanent damage, and potentially have to get surgery. Working with health professionals I tried rehab. I would heal to a certain point but would eventually reinjure my shoulder/arm. I was also diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. My weight was increasing, while my physical and mental health were decreasing. I had tried other gyms, classes, and every fad diet out there. Nothing was working! I needed something to change, and it needed to happen immediately. After getting my shoulder to a good place again, last November I signed up for the 21 Day Challenge at APT Mystic.

I met with Keith Kessinger, Director of Programming, who assured me he & the trainers at APT could take on my case and we could work my body back to health. My goal was to be fit, lean, and healthy. I wanted to be working with experts in the field who would help me set reasonable & attainable goals but I was petrified I’d have another setback. In the 21 days, I lost pounds, inches, and body fat. Keith lived up to his word & so much more!

After the Challenge, I joined APT and have made great strides both physically & emotionally. The environment Greg, Calvin, and the rest of the staff have created is encouraging, supportive, and nurturing. Working with the Nutritionist, Bethany, I was finally able to begin replacing my old unhealthy habits with healthy habits, and my self-esteem and body image improved tremendously. Through APT I signed up for the Precision Nutrition online program. I receive daily emails which are teaching me about fitness & food, while Bethany acts as my Coach. The program has been an amazing learning experience.

After 9 months, I have a better insight into my fitness self, and feel more in control of my “Owners Manual”. I understand why I made decisions that ultimately formed unhealthy habits, and I now understand I have the power to change them. I’ve learned this is a LIFESTYLE change, not a fad diet. Not to mention it’s maintainable and enjoyable. In 9 short months, I’ve become stronger, leaner, and in better shape than I’ve ever been. I love the APT Community and can’t thank the staff and fellow gym members enough for helping me along my fitness journey!

nutrition and weight

Lose Belly Fat Faster Than Ever

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished that you could make your belly fat vanish before your eyes? Unattractive fat around the stomach is one of the most common body frustrations that my new clients complain about.

No one wants a squishy stomach! Frustrating as it is, losing body fat is a slow and steady process, rather than an instantaneous fix.

However, I do have an extremely effective method for losing belly fat faster than ever, and I’d like to share it with you today…

The Two-Pronged Approach to Rapid Fat Loss. This effective, fat-melting method attacks fat simultaneously on two separate fronts for maximum effectiveness: your sugar intake and your high-intensity workouts.

Prong #1: This part of the strategy requires zero extra effort on your part! In fact, all you have to do is STOP doing something that you’re already doing! You stop eating harmful, refined sugar, in all its forms. This means no sodas, no desserts, no packaged snacks, no candy, no mocha lattes, NO SUGAR AT ALL!

Stop and consider the food that you eat in an average day. Focus primarily on the items you habitually eat that contain sugar. It may be shocking to find out how much refined sugar you actually consume. Eating sugar is the fastest way to gain weight, so it makes sense that eliminating sugar is the smartest way to start your rapid fat loss.

Do not, however, starve yourself of healthy calories. Fill your diet with lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds as you cut out the refined sugar. Keep your metabolism high by fueling up on high protein, high fiber, low carb, and zero sugar foods whenever hunger strikes.

Prong #2: Here’s the part of the strategy that requires some effort, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Crank up the intensity of your workouts to a whole new level.

Most people take exercise on with the slow and steady mentality – moving, pushing and pulling as little as possible while still “getting the job done”. I’ve got some news for you…if you still have belly fat to lose then the job wasn’t getting done.

If you can comfortably hold a conversation, hardly break a sweat or feel the same when it’s over as you did when it began, then you’re simply not pushing yourself hard enough while you exercise.

Increasing the intensity of your workouts requires focused intent. You must go into the session with the goal of pushing your body to the limit. Remember, it’s a contained timeframe that will be over shortly, so bear down and deal with the discomfort. With practice, you will learn to embrace the burn.

The safest and most effective way to crank up the intensity and effectiveness of your exercise time is to work with a qualified fitness professional, such as myself. I would love to hear from you!

Call or email me today and together we will get you started on your fastest fat loss ever!

Holiday Tips from APT

Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season from Coach Greg Drab

The holidays are in full force and so far you’ve been lucky and the viruses circling the block and your house have missed you. What can you do to keep healthy and end the year on a high note?

Here are a few tips for you:

  • Wash your hands – this is a no-brainer! Keep those hands free of germs by washing whenever you come into contact with an infected person and especially before eating.
  • Stay in control of stress – I know the holidays can really bring a person to the brink, but take a few moments to yourself throughout the day to just … breathe. Stay calm, it’ll all be over soon!
  • Sleep! – You’d be surprised how much the amount and quality of sleep you get can affect your well-being.  Make sure you’re getting to bed at a decent time and getting solid sleep.
  • Keep your cooking surfaces clean – wipe down all prep areas with antibacterial products prior to and after use.
  • Do not drink and drive – if you will be imbibing, make sure you have a designated driver to get you both home safely.
  • Stay active – if you can’t make it into the gym, take a walk around the block with your pets, take your kids to the park, walk around the mall if you’re up for that sort of thing. Just keep your body moving – it’ll help with the stress as well.
  • Eat as healthy as you can – Eat those veggies and fruits and keep a pack of almonds in your pocket for the times you’re looking for a snack.

With these tips, you’re giving yourself the best advantage to stay healthy through the holidays.

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!