Do You HIIT???

            I’ve been asked many times how I can look the way I do without being a slave to the cardio deck at the gym.  Most people dread cardio, and I am no exception.  The mere mention of cardio has been known to elicit groans because people associate it with an hour (sometimes more) on a treadmill or some other cardio machine.  Well there’s a new sheriff in cardio town that researchers say works better for fat loss, in… (get this) LESS TIME.  It’s called HIIT (high intensity interval training).

            What is HIIT you ask?  HIIT involves alternating between intense bursts (pushing yourself 75% to 95% of your maximum exertion in a certain activity) for a short interval followed by active recovery.  For example, if you’re doing a HIIT running workout  it would look something like this; after a quick warm-up, sprint for 30 seconds, followed by walking or jogging for 1 minute, then repeat this cycle for 20-25 minutes. 

            Why is HIIT more effective for fat loss?  When you do cardio at the same pace for an entire session your body goes into a steady state and begins to adjust itself.  Your body then attempts to conserve energy (calories).  With HIIT your body is continually changing exertion levels, which keeps your body from entering that steady state.  HIIT also causes the “after burn effect” also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).  Basically, HIIT increases your RMR (resting metabolic rate) after exercise.  In other words, when you finish a HIIT workout your body keeps going like a fat burning energizer bunny!  Studies have actually shown that HIIT increases RMR for 24 hours following exercise.  Other studies have shown that long endurance activities can lead to muscle loss (catabolism) which can last up to 7 days after endurance activities.  Catabolism happens when the body eats through its glycogen and fat stores, and is forced to use muscle as fuel.  Compare the physiques of a marathon runner and a sprinter and you will see what I mean.

            Try implementing 1 or 2 HIIT sessions a week to your workout routine.  Also, try taking your HIIT outdoors.  Once a week I take my HIIT outdoors to a steep 100 yard hill.  I sprint up the hill, and jog down it.  I do this 10 times, and it usually takes me about 20 minutes.  Happy HIIT!!!

By Melissa Norgart

Carrot Cake Protein Bars

Carrot Cake Protein Bars

1 cup Oat Flour                                                                               2 scoops vanilla whey protein

2 teaspoons cinnamon                                                                1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4  teaspoon salt                                                                          1/8  teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg                                                                   4 egg whites

3/4 cup splenda                                                                              8 oz. baby food carrots

4 oz. water


  • ·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • ·         Mix flour, protein, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt together.
  • ·         In a separate bowl, mix egg whites, splenda, carrot baby food, and water together.
  • ·         Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet.
  • ·         Spray a 9×9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • ·         Bake 20-30 minutes.
  • ·         Cool, slice into squares, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info.

Calories              94

Fat                         1.25

Carbs.                  10

Protein                 10

By Mellisa Norgart

Nutrition Label Tricks Not Treats

Nutrition Label Tricks Not Treats

It seems that many food manufacturers have resorted to using trickery to give consumers the impression that their brands are healthy. I cannot stress how important it is to READ the labels.  It is very important to read the ingredients AND the nutrition facts.  Many food manufacturers have resorted to using “healthy looking” packaging as well as tricky terms like “no sugar added” or “whole wheat” to fool consumers into believing that an item is healthy.  On a recent trip to the grocery store I had to pause, and gather photographic evidence of this trickery at its finest. 

Lunchables are an item my kids constantly harass me to buy for them, and I always decline calling them “junkables”.  Well, Armour has presented a very pretty package that they refer to as Active Packs.  So when I saw what “appeared” to be a healthy version, I HAD to check it out.  I present to you, Oscar Mayer Lunchables versus Armour Active Packs.     


On the cover, Armour Active Packs boasts whole wheat chicken nuggets, apple slices with caramel dip, & pretzels. Meanwhile Oscar Mayer Lunchables version offers “white meat chicken”, a Capri sun, & fat free Jell-O brand chocolate pudding.  I noticed that Armour did not mention anything about the chicken in these whole wheat chicken nuggets.  Upon further investigation I found that these nuggets were a mixture of Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% Or Less of Natural Flavorings, Salt, Rice Starch, & Chicken Flavor (Chicken Skins, Chicken Broth, Salt, Flavor, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Inosinate & Guanylate).  Yummmm…..nuggets anybody? 

So what’s the good news here?  I DID discover that these chicken concoctions are at least breaded in whole wheat flour.  You see, the term “wheat flour” also means “white flour”, but when you see the term “whole wheat flour”, that’s when you’re getting the whole grain wheat flour.  At least they are made with whole wheat flour, right?   So let’s look at these labels side by side.

3  VS  4

While I wouldn’t recommend either one of these as a healthy choice for someone, let alone our children, it appears that Oscar Mayer Lunchables actually have more protein, less sugar, less calories, and less fat than Armour’s Active Pack.  It’s shocking to think that many people will see the words active pack, whole wheat, and apple slices and automatically assume they are making a healthy choice.  Don’t be fooled by pretty packages and trick words.  Read labels carefully before putting something in your body.  You will be amazed at how many foods have hidden trans fats, sugars, artificial flavorings, and are loaded with sodium.  Many foods turn out to be anything BUT healthy. 

Here are a few more important things to keep in mind when reading food labels:

FAT FREE – means a product has less than .5 grams of fat per serving

LOW FAT – means a product has less than 3 grams of fat per serving

REDUCED FAT – a product has at least 25% less fat per serving than the full-fat version

LIGHT – this is super tricky & has several meanings: a product has fewer calories or half the fat of the non-light version; the sodium content of a low-calorie, low fat food is 50% less than the non-light version; a food is clearer in color.

CALORIE FREE – a product has less than 5 calories per serving

LOW CALORIE – a product has less than 40 calories per serving

REDUCED CALORIE – a product has at least 25% fewer calories per serving than the non-reduced version

SUGAR-FREE or NO ADDED SUGAR – this doesn’t tell you anything about sugar substitutes or sugar derivatives which can have just as many calories as regular sugar!

ORGANICALLY GROWN, ORGANIC, or NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS – only trust labels that say “certified organically grown”

MULTI-GRAIN or MADE WITH WHEAT – look for the word “whole” before the grain to make sure that you’re actually getting a 100% whole-grain product

Pay attention to the ingredients in products as well.  The ingredients list is where you find hidden fats, sodium, sugar, and artificial flavors.  Keep in mind that the first ingredient will usually be the largest in quantity, as the second ingredient will be the second most, and so on and so forth.  A rule of thumb I like to follow is if an item is packed with ingredients that I can’t pronounce, leave it on the shelf.  Sticking with products made from whole foods, and that have little to no preservatives is always a healthier choice.

To read more on food labeling go to


By Melissa Norgart