5 Reasons To Drink Coffee Before Your Workout

Half of Americans start their day with coffee, and, according to recent study, working out after downing a cup of java may offer a weight loss advantage. The Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo. The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman (68 kilograms), that’s roughly 300 milligrams of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning.

If you’ve always thought of coffee as a vice — one you’re simply not willing to give up — you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually a secret superfood. And if you exercise, caffeine can offer even more functional benefits for your workouts. Here are five more reasons to enjoy it as part of an active lifestyle, along with five “rules” for getting your fix healthfully.

Improved Circulation
Recent Japanese research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Each participant drank a 5-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, scientists gauged finger blood flow, a measure of how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Those who downed caffeinated coffee experienced a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank the decaf version. Better circulation, better workout — your muscles need oxygen!

Less Pain
Scientists at the University of Illinois found that consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute bout of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. The conclusion: Caffeine may help you push just a little bit harder during strength-training workouts, resulting in better improvements in muscle strength and/or endurance.

Better Memory
A study published this year from Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhances memory up to 24 hours after it’s consumed. Researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 milligrams of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. This brain boost may be a real boon during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recall specific exercises or routines.

Muscle Preservation
In an animal study, sports scientists at Coventry University found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, as well as skeletal muscle. The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.

More Muscle Fuel
A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66 percent increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy “piggy bank” during exercise, to power strength moves and fuel endurance. Packing a greater reserve means that the very next time you work out, you’ve upped your ability to exercise harder and/or longer.

But this news doesn’t mean you should down as much coffee as possible — your good intentions may backfire. In my work with athletes, I recommend five basic rules to best reap caffeine’s rewards:

Don’t overdo it. The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is up to 6 milligrams per kilogram body weight, which is about 400 milligrams per day (or about 16 ounces of coffee) for a 150-pound woman.

Incorporate it in healthy ways. Doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.

Be consistent with your intake. Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic. In other words, don’t reach for two cups one day and four the next.

Keep drinking good old H2O as your main beverage of choice.

Nix caffeine at least six hours before bed to prevent sleep interference, and listen to your body. If you’re relying on caffeine as an energy booster because you’re tired, get to the root of what’s causing fatigue. Perhaps it’s too little sleep, overexercising, or an inadequate diet. If something’s off kilter, you won’t see progress, and you’ll likely get weaker rather than stronger. Striving for balance is always key!

Leave a Comment »

Eat Smart with Jan Tilley: Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing

Are you at peak performance?

Performance is typically thought of in relation to athletic ability, but in reality it can encompass multi facets including cognitive, digestive, emotional, athletic, and rest/recovery. This month we will be focusing on all aspects of performance to provide you tools to boost your performance in each area.

Food for thought…your cognitive prowess is significantly impacted by the foods you choose. The brain and its protective covering (the myelin sheath) are comprised of 60-70% fat, thus the need for consumption of essential fatty acids is vital to our daily thought process. While the brain may be structurally made up of fat, its primary fuel source comes from carbohydrates. Our brain’s efficiency is determined by what type of carbohydrate foods we consume. Carbs have a dual function; they act as an energy source as well as being the most initial component for most reactions in the body. During a day, about ¾ of the carbs consumed are used to fuel the brain. The brain requires a steady input of carbohydrates since it is unable to store large amounts of carbs throughout the day. No wonder we feel sleepy and slow during the day if we skip meals. Being able to maintain peak cognitive performance throughout the day requires a steady flow of nutrient and fluid intake.

In honor of July 4th.. .let the fireworks of flavor explode with this week’s recipe, Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing. This recipe is designed to include all the basic nutrients your brain needs to reach its peak performance.

Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing

1 hour


Serves 6 (12 patties)



1 large sweet potato, cooked, cooled and mashed
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup packed chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 (5oz) packets of skinless, boneless Pink Salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil


½ ripe medium avocado
¾ cup packed fresh cilantro
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon agave or honey
½ teaspoon salt

Nutrition Information
270 calories, 10g fat, 85mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 28g protein


1. In a large bowl, stir together mashed sweet potato, bread crumbs, parsley, shallots, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce and seasonings. Stir in egg and salmon; mix together just until blended.

2. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out evenly sized croquettes until you have twelve patties. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (you can also freeze the patties for future use).

3. While croquettes are chilling, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and set aside.

4. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium high heat. Place six croquettes into skillet and cook for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently flip and cook another 4 minutes.  Place croquettes on baking sheet and warm (250 degrees) and repeat with remaining oil and croquettes.

5. Serve 2 croquettes over mixed green salad. Top with two tablespoons of dressing.

Leave a Comment »

A High-Intensity Workout + Stretch You Can Use All Summer

Even though wellness and a commitment to feeling good are our passion, sometimes even we feel like hell in the morning and the last thing we want to do is get out of bed.

But we always feel better when we push myself to exercise. That’s why we’ve organized some tips to help you get moving on those days when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Why You’d Want to Exercise In the Morning:

Exercise conquers bad moods and low energy states. It’s totally worth the time and slug (don’t worry if you stick with it you will learn to love it), even if its effects last for just a few hours (the post-workout high can wear off when other stressful daily curveballs come careening at us).

Furthermore, sweat sessions are most effective when done in the morning because they will help you start your day with a positive attitude. They also rev up all metabolic systems setting your body and mind up to function at their highest levels all day long!

However you decide to cut it, The American Heart Association and many other national organizations recommend 150 minutes of light to moderate cardio and 75 minutes of vigorous cardio as a minimum amount of exercise weekly for the researched health benefits of working out.

Working out can seem like drudgery until you get good at it and reap its benefits. Once you hit the key threshold, when your body adapts to the new aerobic demands and begins releasing the “feel-good hormones” called endorphins, you’ll feel the high with which the rest of us exercisers walk around all day! Over time, you will increase your chances of disease prevention and injury.

5 Quick Tips To Get Yourself Ready For A Morning Workout:

  1. Lay out your clothes the night before and take pride in your workout style. Looking good helps us to feel good!
  2. Plan your pre and post workout meals. We recommend a coffee and my banana smoothie for before a workout (give yourself 1 hour to digest) and oatmeal with cardamom, cinnamon, walnuts and pure maple syrup for after your exercise.
  3. Have an amazing playlist ready.
  4. Know your workout goals.
  5. Establish a plan such as your distance, route, time, HIIT moves and post-workout yoga poses the night before.

5 Minute HIIT Routine

The Moves

  • 1-minute Jump Rope
  • 1-minute Cherry Picker Crawls (more info below)
  • 1-minute Jumping Jacks
  • 1-minute Side Reaches
  • 1-minute Squat Jumps

Note: If you need to take a break between moves, feel free to do so! Start with 15 or 30-second breaks and then close the gap as your body adapts to the routine over time. The idea is to build toward doing all of the moves in in rapid succession without stopping!

You can easily make this a 10-minute workout. Simply repeat this sequence starting from the top!

Want even more? Choose a couple of moves and add a minute to each — for instance do 2 minutes of Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks instead of 1-minute each. Or, do a third round of all the moves.

How to Do A Cherry Picker Crawl

1. Stand tall with your legs slightly wider than hip distance apart. Engage your core.

2. Touch your hands to your hips, then shoulders and then extend your arms towards the ceiling. Suck your core in and up as you do this. Without stopping, touch your hips again and walk your hands forward until your body assumes a straight plank pose (like the top of a push-up).

3. In your plank, which you’re only holding for 1 second, your hands should be shoulder-width apart, pelvic bowl neutral and legs in full extension. Suck your navel in towards your spine.

4. Walk your hands back in towards your feet. Stand up.

Don’t forget to stretch after your workout!

Post Workout Short Morning Yoga Sequence

  • Fan Pose A
  • Side Angle
  • Triangle
  • Forward Bend
  • 1 Sun Breath
  • 1 Sun Salute
  • Downward Dog
  • Pigeon
  • Child’s Pose
Leave a Comment »

Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad

On a daily basis, I talk to clients who do not drink enough water because they simply do not enjoy the taste. A common reply I hear when asked about how much water they consume is, “when the ice melts in my drink.” Summer is here and most of us do not consider the impact the heat has on our hydration needs. So grab a glass of ice cold water and read on.

Did you know that 60% of your body is made up of water? We can conclude then, that water impacts many functions within our body. Drinking fluids serves a variety of purposes, such as eliminating waste through urine; regulating body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

This week, we invite you to evaluate your hydration habits with the provided questions below:

  • How many different sources of fluids do I consume that hydrate me?
  • Do I know how much fluid I should be drinking each day?
  • Am I able to recognize the signs and symptoms of over-hydration and dehydration?
  • Can I identify the functions within my body that water affects?
  • Am I willing to choose water over other fluids to ensure proper hydration?

Being aware of signs/symptoms of dehydration is important when trying to maintain proper nutrient balance within the body. Common signs/symptoms include dark-colored urine, salty sweat, thirst, flush skin, increase in body temperature, dizziness and rapid breathing or pulse. Take a break, check your pulse….. have you been sipping on fluids while reading this message, or water?

You may be wondering what counts toward your fluid intake. We identify it best in a liquid form, but hydration can also be found within the foods we eat. The proportion of water that comes from beverages and food varies with the proportion of fruits and vegetables in the diet. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, the water content for selected foods was as follows: water at 100%; melon, cabbage, celery, lettuce at 90-99%; fruit, cooked broccoli at 80-89%; avocados, cottage cheese, baked potato, shrimp at 70-79%.

Salads, while hydrating as they are, happen to be left as forethought or a side dish for most people. We would like to show you how to hydrate with food and, in fact, make salad the shining star. Our recipe this week is inspired by the ingredients found in Vietnamese spring rolls and the fresh explosion of flavors that they offer. This Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad is designed to be an all in one entrée, perfectly orchestrated to include starch, fruit, protein, and fat needs.

Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad
Type: Entree
Prep Time:  15 mins
Total Time:  15 mins
Serves: 4
  • • 4 ounces vermicelli rice noodles, cooked as directed on package
  • • 2 cups skinless cold rotisserie chicken breast—shredded
  • • 2 cups Boston lettuce, torn
  • • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • • 2 green onions, sliced
  • • 1 cup fresh papaya, cubed
  • • ¼ cup basil, torn
  • • ¼ cup cilantro, torn
  • • ¼ cup mint, torn
  • • ¼ cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
  • • ½ teaspoon oil
  • • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • • 1 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • • ¼ cup water
  • • ½ teaspoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
  • • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • • 1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
  1. Assemble the salad, toss in dressing and enjoy.
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 390 Fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 44g Sodium: 200mg Fiber: 5g Protein: 30g Cholesterol: 60mg
For more on Jan Tilley, check out her website at myappetiteforlife.com
Leave a Comment »

Eat Smart with Jan Tilley

We are so pleased to announce our newest guest blogger Jan Tilley, MS RD LD. Jan will be contributing her vast food and nutrition knowledge to our new Eat Smart with Jan Tilley. We send these messages to help you and your family make healthy food choices over the weekend and beyond. With Jan’s help, we will now include easy-to-follow and delicious recipes that anyone can implement. Jan’s advice extends beyond the kitchen to helpful blogs on topics like resisting your sweet tooth to taking charge of your taste buds to getting more vitamins and nutrients into your diet.

“Combining Jan Tilley’s nutrition knowledge with our wellness solution was an obvious choice,” stated Sam Rosario, Vice President of Sales at Walkingspree. “We share the same mission of providing a lasting solution to create good health; it’s as simple as that. Jan Tilley’s reputation and experience is unparalleled and partnering with her takes our healthy eating advice to the next level.”

Jan Tilley is a highly respected clinician, nutrition expert, corporate health and wellness expert and motivational speaker. She is a national leader in nutrition consulting, dietary wellness and medical nutrition therapy. Jan holds a MS in Nutrition and has over 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry. She enjoys speaking to a broad audience of clients on finding motivation to make small changes that bring BIG results in creating good health.

Jan’s latest cookbook Healthy Meals for Hurried Families offers recipes that are quick, simple and satisfying. In addition, she authored Getting Your Second Wind inspiring a path to wellness through physical activity and healthy eating. Getting Your Second Wind has encouraged thousands of individuals and given them a fresh start toward creating a positive attitude and balanced lifestyle.

For more on Jan Tilley, check out her website at myappetiteforlife.com

Leave a Comment »