Tis’ The Season To Get In Shape.

Tis’ the season to get in shape.


If you have a friend of family member who loves to stay fit. How about purchasing one of these fit gifts to bring in the New Year.DSC00279


Jump Rope- Stay indoors or take it to the great outdoors. It’s portable cardio. On average jumping rope can burn about 11 calories per minute.


Blender- It’s easy to be in a hurry and skip a meal.  Blending allows you to whip up a healthy and fast snack. Look for single serve blenders so you can blend and go.


Portable cooler- Give your hungry friend a lunch box that allows them to manage their nutrition and eat clean through the day. You can purchase coolers that allow multiple meals making it impossible to miss a meal.


Fitness Journal- Stay accountable and consistent by tracking your past, present and future fitness goals and accomplishments. Online applications are great for the person on the go.


Fitness Magazine subscription- Keep up to date with the latest training and diet trends. Give a gift that will last for months and also remind them of you with each new magazine.


Personal Training- Perfect for the beginner or advanced gym member. It can be intimidating to walk through the gym doors for the first time, keep them inspired and accountable with a training session or package. Your more advanced gym member might want to spice up their program or need a little extra push.


Massage- Most people enjoy a massage but let’s face it in today’s world one might consider a massage as a “luxury” not a necessity.  Give your loved one some much needed R & R. They have earned it.


I will wrap this up by saying that it is the thought that matters most. You may consider giving your loved one a lending hand, perhaps a break from the kids or daily chores to allow them a few minutes to exercise.

Happy Holdays!


Cool finds-

Six Pack fitness–  http://www.sixpackbags.com Pack all your daily essentials in one bag- Nutrition – Gym Gear – Electronics

Ninja- Rule The Kitchen-  http://www.ninjakitchen.com/index.shtml

LifelineUSA -Power Jump Rope- http://www.lifelineusa.com/products/power-jump-rope-144.html

Massage Envy- http://www.massageenvy.com/directory-of-clinics.aspx



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

Is it Possible to spot reduce? (part 1)

Did  you ever ask the question “What can I do to get rid of this belly fat?” or “How can I lose the fat on my thighs?” As a trainer I hear this question often.  You can target a muscle through specific exercises, however, you can’t spot reduce. In other words, no matter how many sit ups you do you will never see your muscles if you have an extra layer of fat hiding them. We have no control of where we lose body fat. In order to lose fat over any specific body part, one must follow a proper nutrition plan and have an adequate fitness plan in place.

There are no short cuts to being healthy and fit. Working out is only a small portion of your results. A big portion of your success will happen in the kitchen. Here are some guidelines to help you eat for life.

What is a portion?

Most of us are not sure what a portion is. We either over estimate or underestimate our servings. More than likely we are over indulging, which is why some of us can’t seem to lose weight. Although our food guidelines may vary depending on our personal fitness goals, in general I recommend eating a palm size portion of a protein, carbohydrate and a fibrous food at each main meal. (breakfast, lunch, dinner).


What’s on your plate?

It’s time to plan your meals. Here are a couple examples of how you could pair up your meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  The rules are simple. Palm size portion of a protein, carbohydrate and Fiber for your 3 main meals.

breakfast Breakfast Ideas:

  • Eggs, fruit, oatmeal (stay away from pre-packaged oatmeal that is full of sugar).
  • Greek Yogurt, fruit, whole grain bread.
shake Snack Ideas: (No carbs at snack time)

  • Protein Shakes. Be cautious of what you put into your shake or you will end up with a high calorie drink.  Example: Protein, water, ice, frozen fruit.
  • Natural Peanut butter and celery.
 lunch Lunch Ideas:

  • Chicken salad, baked potato. Keep in mind that just because it is a salad, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Keep it clean; chicken and fresh vegetables. Use dressing sparingly.
  • Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, apple.
dinner Dinner Ideas:

  • Fish, asparagus, rice.
  • Chicken, broccoli, sweet potato.
Notes: No carbs at snack time or after 6:00 PM.


In a nutshell, you can’t spot reduce. You can help eliminate body fat through proper nutrition and exercise. Plan your meals. Drink plenty of water and get some exercise in your day.


Stay tuned for part two of can you spot reduce? Having a proper fitness plan can set you up for success.



Can Meal Planning Help You Reach Your Goals?

Hello Everyone! I am very excited to be writing my first article for HardCore Physique! I love having the opportunity to share with you my fitness lifestyle and the knowledge and information I’ve gained through my experience. I am learning and progressing everyday, and hope I can help and inspire others on their own journey! Nutrition is a very important component to overall health and fitness and I’d like to share my view on the importance of meal planning and preparation.

When I first began learning about the fitness lifestyle and the world of competing, I remember reading about how many of the fitness names I admired pre-made their food. This concept was completely foreign to me…I had never even though about making food days ahead of time or even freezing it for use weeks later, and I’ll admit, I was turned off to the idea. I was weight training and doing cardio consistently, but seeing menial changes in my body. No surprise…I was eating whatever and whenever, and it was not until I gave meal planning a shot that I began seeing the progress I wanted.

So now, every Sunday my husband and I spend the morning preparing our meals for the week. It takes about three hours for us to get everything cooked and packaged, which is not too bad considering we make about 50-60 meals. Everything gets weighed or measured and placed into Ziploc baggies and put in the freezer. I pull out a day’s worth of my frozen food the night before I need it and let it thaw in the refrigerator. I have found this method to be simple and easy, and I don’t have to worry about making food 5 times per day!

Because I prefer basic, staple foods, the meals I cook typically consist of chicken, ground beef and turkey, steak, sweep potatoes, brown rice, broccoli, green beans and peas. I have also found that keeping my diet simple makes food prep easier and cheaper! More often than not, I eat every 2-3 hours, which helps keep me feeling full aside from keeping my blood sugars stabilized.


Aside from food prep being time effective, the prior planning helps keep me on track when it comes to eating the foods I need to be eating. I can take my meals with me anywhere to avoid making an unhealthy choice. Coolers are a great way to carry your food, and if you don’t have a microwave, well, you can always eat it cold J

But most importantly, the effort put in to preparing food in advance had been the key factor in helping to change my physique. Proper nutrition and consistency in diet is the absolute most important factor of my “trifecta” of fitness; weight training, cardio and nutrition. Sure, there are times when I don’t get all my meals in, and I definitely have “cheat” meals weekly, but keeping just 80% on track can bring your progress to the next level.

If you don’t already, I encourage you to give this a chance to see what it can do for you in reaching your fitness goals! Thanks for reading!

Sarah Serna

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 www.fda.gov


By Melissa Norgart