12 Days of Fitmas

Do you want to stay in shape over the holidays, but feel like you don't have time to get to the gym? Our 12 Days of Fitmas challenge offers a daily dose of quick exercises you can fit into any hectic schedule! 

Here's how it works:

Begin with day 1, perform that exercise. The next day, add day the exercise from day 2. For example, on day 1, you'll do burpees. On day 2, you'll perform burpees and squats. On day 3, you'll perform burpees, squats and tuck jumps, and so on... until you accomplish all of the exercises on the 12th day. 

The beauty of the 12 Days of Fitness is that you can tailor it to your very own capabilities. We recommend at least 25 of each exercise. Perform 50 of each exercise to really feel your muscles burn! Perform 100 of each exercise and earn yourself an extra bite of pie over the holidays!

Merry Fit-Mas! 

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3 Essential Vitamins for Winter

Winter really has a way of getting the best of us - it soaks up our energy, causes seasonal sniffles and colds, can cause joint pain and just makes us not feel our best. 

That being said, many of these may be caused by a lack in nutrition. This is why replenishing your system with the following vitamins is key when it comes to putting a little pep back into your step.

  1. B Vitamins are some of the best vitamins you can take not only for immune health, but for energy, too. This energetic group of vitamins is responsible for converting carbs into energy by breaking down fat and protein into fuel. Your B vitamins, especially B12, are so important during the winter months because not only can they offer more energy when you're feeling zapped on a dreary day, but they also assist in reducing depressed moods, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. 
  2. Vitamin C is one of the most common vitamins for aiding in immunity. Not only this, but it's also a natural antihistamine, which means it helps with seasonal allergies, too. This powerful antioxidant has so many functions in the body, such as boosting your immune system, detoxing your cells, building collagen in the skin, promoting heart health, and fighting adrenal fatigue. It's really a no-brainer to take vitamin C year-round. And because it's all too commonly asked, no, drinking orange juice is simply not enough. Orange juice is very high in sugar, which contributes to weight gain and low immunity. Additionally, it doesn't provide enough vitamin C to help fight off sickness. It is recommended to take 3,000-4,000 mg of vitamin C daily, and you can nearly double that when you're trying to fight off an infection.
  3. Vitamin D is a vitamin that is most commonly referred to as "the sunshine vitamin". While we can absorb some vitamin D from natural sunlight, not only are we not exposed as frequently in the winter months, but it's not quite enough vitamin D to help your body's immune system stay in tip-top shape. Without sufficient vitamin D, the body can't stimulate the immune response that protect us from colds and infection.

With the harsh days of winter ahead, it is crucial that you load up on your B, C and D vitamin stores so that your immune system is ready to play defense. Fortunately, all of these nutrients can be found in liquid form, which makes taking your vitamins easier than ever before!

What are your go-to nutrients for keeping energized and healthy during the winter months? Share in the comments below.

Green Detox Shake

For sustained energy throughout the day, it's important that you fuel your body first thing in the morning with nutrients that get your metabolism and that also support your body's natural detoxification processes. In this simple detox shake you'll accomplish not only that, but you'll also get in all your daily vitamin C, too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 handful kale
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 t spirulina
  • 2 oz. liquid vitamin C
  • 8-10 oz coconut water or room temperature green tea
  • Ice

Blend & enjoy!

5 Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season Naturally

Coughing, sneezing and sniffles are in the air and can only mean one thing, cold and flu season has arrived. In addition to the weather constantly changing, our immune systems become compromised and therefore, weakened, causing us to be more likely to develop a cold or worse, the flu. 

During this time of year it is absolutely critical that you keep your immune system top of mind. The good news? You can boost your immune system naturally and without the use of over-the-counter drugs or cold/flu medications.

Similar to building up strength in your muscles, you also need the same type of persistence when working to build up your immune system, and even more so if you are an allergy sufferer. Frustrating fatigue, itchy and watery eyes, an obnoxious cough and debilitating headaches are the last thing you want or need, especially during the busy holiday season.

A strong immune system helps you fight off common colds, germs, viruses and the flu. And for those who suffer from allergies, a strong immune system has been shown to also improve your allergy symptoms, too. 

Below are 5 easy ways you can boost your immune system naturally:

  1. Get plenty of sleep. Getting at least 7-8 hours of rest each night is magical when it comes to your total health, and especially when it comes to your immune system. Too little sleep with too much stress negative impacts your hormones, causing hormonal fluctuations at night, keeping you awake when you should be catching some z's.
  2. Remember your probiotics. Probiotics, also known as "the good bacteria", are some of the best nutrients you can offer your body. Not only do they support overall gut health, but these beneficial strains of bacteria support a strong immune system, too. Just as you take your multivitamin and vitamin D daily, probiotics should always be a part of your daily health routine as well.
  3. Get some sun. That's right. Step outside and get some good ol' natural vitamin D to help boost that immune system of your's. At least 10-15 minutes a day of direct sunlight helps your body to absorb a fair amount of vitamin D, which helps not only strengthen your immune system, but your bones, too.
  4. Add more garlic. In fact, add garlic to everything! This natural antimicrobial agent works as a natural immune booster when added to your recipes. For optimal use, add raw, natural garlic to your recipes. (Just don't forget to brush afterwards!)
  5. Increase your vitamin C. Known as one of the most versatile and useful nutrients on the market, vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine, helping to block your body from reacting to allergens and boost your immunity. If you're one to experience a cold every season, it's safe to double up on your vitamin C, as your body excretes whatever it doesn't use or need.

What is the ONE nutrient you rely on most when it comes to keeping your immune system strong and healthy? 

koo koo for coconut oil!

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see coconut oil. It seems to be everywhere in some form in every aisle. I like coconut, and although I know nothing about coconut oil, I was interested. The marketing gimmicks seemed to get the best of me. I broke down and purchased some coconut oil without even knowing how I was going to use it. It’s been setting on my counter for a few weeks now, and I decided it was time to research how to use this new fad food.

After much reading and research on many different sites, I copied and pasted (and came up with a few of my own) ways that I can use coconut oil in the kitchen and elsewhere.

  • Two tablespoons per day taken orally are proven to rev up metabolism.
  • Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil when baking - it's a different taste, but it's not bad. The sweetness adds to a cookie recipe, brownie recipe, etc., and it's healthy.
  • Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into morning smoothies. It's a great compliment to 1st Step Pro Wellness vanilla whey protein powder.
  • One teaspoon taken in the afternoon can provide a burst of energy instead of drinking a caffeinated energy drink.
  • Use coconut oil when shaving - this will provide a moisturizer at the same time.
  • Replace butter, cooking spray, vegetable oil, etc. with coconut oil.
  • Coconut oil is safe to use on a baby, and is helpful in treating diaper rash.
  • Coconut oil also helps fade age spots. Rub on hands or other areas affected by age spots.
  • Coconut oil will help relieve the burn of a sunburn after too much sun.
  • It also works as a suntan lotion by keeping skin moisturized during a day at the beach.
  • And my personal favorite, which I have tested and found to be true. . .coconut oil helps clear eczema spots on the skin. I've tried all kinds of expensive creams to treat my eczema and nothing has worked as well as good ol' coconut oil.

I hope this information helps you and that you are able to try some of the suggested uses for coconut oil. This oil is inexpensive and can be found at the grocery store.

 

 

 

Make sure your meals are "colorful"

Go for color when choosing fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer many refreshing and tasty choices. They are also a smart pick because they are low in calories and high in vitamins, mineral, and fiber.

Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants which may help prevent some diseases. These antioxidant compounds have been shown in studies to help reduce both the effects of bad cholesterol and the risk of cancer. 

To help protect against illness, choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables - the more colorful, the better.

Red = cranberries. Fresh or dried, cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.  Raspberries and strawberries. They are high in vitamin C.


Orange = sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots. They contain vitamin A, which helps the skin block infection-causing germs. 


Yellow = corn and green spinach. They boast carotenoids, which are being studied for potential heart-protecting benefits. 

Purple = grape juice. It’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.

In addition to choosing an array of beautifully colored fruit and vegetables to help keep you healthy, be sure to supplement your diet with 1st Step Pro Wellness liquid vitamins.

Foods That Strangely Resemble The Body Parts They’re Good For

I can't take credit for writing this, but I do think it is worth sharing. I have seen this before and was delighted when I came across it again today. Enjoy.

There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet can help keep your body healthy. But when it comes to which foods can specifically benefit which body parts, science remains surprisingly sketchy. But nature gives us a big clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

Here are 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrients for—for example, brain-boosting walnuts actually look like a brain. Coincidence? Maybe. Though these healthy foods are beneficial to the whole body, the list below is a fun reminder of what to eat to target specific areas. Remember, most of these foods are more beneficial when eaten raw.

  • A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. According to science, eating carrots greatly enhances blood flow to the eyes. Carrot gets their orange color from a plant chemical called beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects against macular degeneration an age-related sight problem that affects one in four individuals over the age of 65. If one tries to pop a pill of beta-carotene it doesn’t have the same effect, says scientists at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA.
  • A Tomato has four chambers and is red in color, so also the heart is red and has four chambers. Research has confirmed that tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and it is indeed pure heart and blood food.
  • Grapes resembles the alveoli of the lungs. The lungs are made of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny branches of tissue called alveoli. These structures allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. A diet high in fresh grapes has shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which is thought to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy. One reason that premature babies struggle to survive is that, these alveoli do not begin to form until 23 to 24 week of pregnancy.
  • A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are similar to those of the neo-cortex. Scientists claim that walnuts help in developing over three dozen neuron-transmitters within the brain enhancing the signaling and encouraging new messaging link between the brain cells. Walnuts help warding off dementia. They also extract and break down the protein based plaques associated with Alzheimer’s diseases, according to a study by Dr. James Joseph of Tuft University in Boston.
  • Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and are shaped exactly like the human kidneys (hence their name). Kidney beans provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, and so are generally beneficial for your health. If your kidneys are healthy, kidney beans can -- when consumed as part of a balanced diet -- contribute to your kidney health. If your kidneys are diseased, you might need to moderate your intake of kidney beans.
  • Celery, Rhubarb, Bok-choy and more look just like bones structure. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are made up of 23% sodium and these foods have sodium in them. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
  • Avocados and Pears are good for the health and functioning of the womb and cervix of the female and look just like these organs. Modern research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances the birth hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and can even prevent cervical cancer. It even takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit, just like a human baby! There are said to be over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods.
  • Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Studies have shown that Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the sperm count as well as overcoming male sterility.
  • Sweet Potatoes resemble the pancreas and can actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics. The oblong sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and also promotes healthy function in the organ. "Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that protects all tissues of the body, including the pancreas, from damage associated with cancer or aging," says Somer.
  • Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries. An Italian study found that women whose diets included a lot of olive oil had a 30% lower risk of ovarian cancer. The reasons are unclear, but the healthy fats in the oil may help suppress genes predisposed to causing cancer.
  • Grapefruits, Oranges, and other citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts. The similarity between round citrus fruits––like lemons and grapefruit––and breasts may be more than coincidental. "Grapefruit contains substances called limonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in lab animals and in human breast cells," says Dr. Moulavi.
  • Eating a Banana will cheer you up and put a smile on your face. This popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan, when digested it gets converted into a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a mood regulating chemical in the brain. Banana can be termed as an antidepressant drug, since it adjusts the level of serotonin production in the brain.
  • Onions look like the body's cells. Research shows onions clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. 
  • Ginger looks like the stomach and it also aids in digestion. Indians and Chinese have been using it for over 5000 years to calm stomach and cure nausea, and motion sickness. It also slows down the growth rate of bowel tumors.
  • A Mushrooms when sliced in half resembles the shape of the human ear. Mushrooms improve hearing abilities, since they contain Vitamin D, which is healthy for bones, especially the 3 tiny bones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.
  • And finally, Broccoli – the close-up of tiny green tips on a broccoli head looks like 100 of cancer cells. A team of researchers at US National Cancer Institute found a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45%.