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How to Lose Weight: Breaking Through Those Pesky Plateaus

It happens to everyone: after beginning a fitness and weight loss regimen, you start seeing results and feeling good about yourself and your progress…then you hit a plateau. That’s when your enthusiasm and motivation takes a dive and, if you don’t find a way to break through that plateau, you may be tempted to bag it.

The first thing you can do is to let go of ideas of rapid weight loss and expect those plateaus. You’ll go through periods of quick weight loss and periods when it seems like you’re not making any progress at all. Don’t be surprised or bummed out when that happens. If you expect it, and you have a few weight loss tips for plateaus in your bag of tricks, you’ll be more inclined to stick with your original weight loss plan, work past the plateau, and start a new cycle of losing weight and building muscle.

Change Up Your Workout


Try a different workout or form of resistance to break through plateaus.

Weight-loss plateaus hit when your body predictably adjusts to your routine of physical activity. Military Fitness recommends changing up your workout when this happens. Don’t fight it. You may be comfortable with your workout and know it by heart, but the familiarity is what’s causing you to plateau. Drop some of your usual exercises and replace them with different ones that still work the same muscles. has a comprehensive exercise directory that cross-references exercises by muscle groups. The site also has a search option that lets you search by muscle or exercise.

Also, consider changing the time of day you work out if possible, or even the equipment you use. If you typically gravitate to the free weights, give the cable machines or resistance bands a try for a few weeks. Additionally, a plateau can be an indication that it’s time to increase the amount you’re lifting. Do it carefully and gradually to avoid injury, but don’t be afraid to add some weight to your workouts to increase muscle mass and build strength, as well as kick-start your weight loss program again.

Fine-Tune Your Cardio

Use a different piece of equipment or even take your cardio outdoors to get your metabolism into fat-burning mode again.

Some people avoid cardio while some do it instead of resistance training, but it’s important that cardio exercise as well as resistance training are both included in your weight loss plan. If aerobic exercise isn’t part of your workout, add it. If you already do cardio, add another day and increase the amount of time you’re spending on it. Professional trainers recommend increasing your cardio workouts by 5 to 10 minutes at a time to find your cardio sweet-spot. That can be anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes per session, but it shouldn’t exceed 60 minutes. Also, change the type of aerobic exercise you’re doing. Ditch the treadmill or stationary bike for awhile and give the elliptical a try. Attend a class at your health club or, if the weather is nice, go for a run outdoors. Maybe even give HIIT a try. Anything to shock your body back into weight-loss mode.

Make Your Diet a Moving Target

Instead of overdoing the calorie deficit, change how and when you eat.

If making changes to your resistance training and cardio workouts aren’t giving you the weight loss results you want to see, try tweaking your diet. You may be eating too close to bedtime, so try to start eating earlier, giving yourself four or more hours between your last meal of the day and the time you hit the hay. You can also break it up so that you’re eating smaller meals more often–five to six snack-sized meals a day instead of three squares. You can use the Harris-Benedict Formula to determine how many calories you should be getting each day. Keep in mind that, if you don’t get enough calories, your body will start conserving them and shut down your weight loss. (Don’t like to do math? Let this handy calculator do the ciphering for you.) Instead of creating an extreme calorie deficit to induce rapid weight loss, concentrate on the foods you eat, making sure you eat enough protein, and change up your carb count a few days each week. ShapeFit recommends lowering your carbs one or two days in a row, then increasing back up for two to three days. It’s called carb-cycling, and the erratic amounts will keep your metabolism on its toes and in fat-burning mode.

Listen to Your Body

Without enough rest, your body wants to conserve fat and calories instead of burning them.
Image by Alexandra E Rust/Flickr

Plateaus in weight loss are a huge signal from your body that you need to pay better attention if you want to continue losing weight. The best advice is to listen to your body and understand what it’s telling you. If you feel fatigued and worn out, you could easily burn out if you aren’t getting enough rest. If you’ve been exercising 6 or 7 days a week non-stop since the beginning of the year, taking a week off will do you a world of good. When you are in full workout mode, take care to get adequate hours of sleep each night and do your body the favor of including rest days in your regimen each week, anywhere from one to three should suffice. Giving your body enough rest and nutrition and keeping it guessing with changes to your workout will help bust through those plateaus and have you on the quick weight loss track again in no time.

Dieter Beware: Your “Healthy” Diet May Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

If you’ve read any of our posts that mention diet, you know we harp on eating healthy just as much as anyone. A healthy diet combined with exercise is the best way to lose weight, build muscle and get into shape. You might think you’re eating healthy, reaching for the foods on the supermarket shelves labeled “low-fat,” “multi-grain” or “all-natural” but, if you’re not seeing the weight loss results you want, the roadblock could be all that “healthy” food you’re eating.

Translation: Low-Fat=High Sugar & Calories

Low and reduced-fat products usually have more sugar and as many calories as their “regular” counterparts.

The problem with eliminating ingredients from foods is that you need to replace them with something. In the case of low-fat and fat-free foods, most manufacturers use extra sugar to fill in the flavor-gap left when fat is removed or reduced. Increasing the sugar content may make the low-fat versions more palatable, but it also increases the calorie count to equal or sometimes even more than the full-fat varieties.

When you’re faced with choosing between two products that have equal calories but one has a balance of fat and sugar and the other has excessive sugar but not fat, pass up the fat-free option. According to an experiment outlined in the Daily Mail, you’ll lose more weight cutting down on sugar than by eliminating fat. Plus, a healthy diet includes both sugar and fat to help you function normally.

One other issue to keep in mind when contemplating reduced fat products is that they may eliminate or reduce healthy fats. Cooking Light points out that low-fat peanut butter, for instance, has less fat overall than regular peanut butter, but the regular variety includes monounsaturated fats that are actually good for you. The solution instead of eating low-fat peanut butter is to opt for a natural peanut butter that doesn’t have extra oils/fats added to it.

Not All Oatmeal Is Your Friend

Skip the instant oatmeal with its extra salt and sugar and opt for regular or steel cut oats with honey or fresh fruit.

You may have adopted what you believe is the healthy eating habit of having oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning. If, because of your busy schedule, you usually scarf down a bowl of the convenient instant type, that’s where your healthy diet is getting derailed. According to Prevention, instant oatmeals typically contain added sugar and sodium as flavor enhancers. The better diet-healthy move is to boil up a pot of whole or steel cut oats and enhance the flavor yourself with fresh fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey.

If time is a factor, mix up four or five jars of overnight oats once a week. Not only do they provide a tasty breakfast you can grab on the go, but they also incorporate the healthiest versions of oats (old-fashioned or steel-cut) with other nutritious ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt and fresh fruit. Once you understand the ratios of ingredients to make overnight oats, you can make a variety of flavors. Just to get you started, Eat This, Not That has links to over 50 delicious overnight oats recipes.

The Tall Tale of 7 Grains

Sure, it has 7 grains, but if they’re not WHOLE grains, they don’t have more to offer than any other refined grain product.

You’ve ditched the soft white bread of your youth, and now only craft sandwiches out of hearty, multi-grain bread. Unfortunately, if you don’t read labels, that 7-grain loaf of bread is probably not the healthy diet food you think it is. According to Spoon University, “multi-grain” on the label doesn’t mean that the loaf tucked inside is healthier for you than any other bread. It only indicates that more than one type of grain was used to make it. Those grains were still likely refined, so you won’t be reaping the benefits of the whole grain. That’s the key, though: look for baked goods that are whole-grain. Also, when reading labels, the first ingredient is all-important. With breads and other baked goods, if the first ingredient is bleached or unbleached wheat flour, it’s still a refined product and not 100 percent whole-grain, even if it’s “enriched.”

Let’s Talk Turkey

Packaged meats have a lot of extras that outweigh the healthy elements meat can bring to your diet.
Image by robertstinnette/Flickr

…or any other packaged lunch meat. The packaging is the problem. Additional ingredients are the price you pay for the convenience of having what’s typically considered a healthy meat already cooked, sliced, and ready to put into a sandwich or on top of a salad. Not only does packaged, sliced turkey contain an alarming amount of sodium, it also usually has artificial flavoring, preservatives and sometimes even coloring. WBUR in Boston says that researchers are  now looking at artificial additives in foods as a contributing factor in obesity. Bypass the convenient but unhealthy packaged meat and roast a chicken or turkey on the weekend. Then just slice it up yourself, storing it in single-serving sizes in the freezer for a nutritious supply of protein.

Read the entire label — nutrition facts, ingredients and all — to get an accurate picture of how healthy the foods in your diet really are. Image by ilovebutter/Flickr

Of course a healthy weight loss plan is one that includes exercise, a healthy diet, and monitoring your caloric intake versus energy expenditure, but becoming a label reader is essential. Not just the big words splashed across the top of the packaging, either, but the actual nutritional information found in small print on the back. It will make all the difference in the world for your weight loss plans to finally, truly be eating healthy, and could even be a little liberating, too.


Try This If You Think You’ve Tried Everything To Lose Weight

When you’re trying to lose weight, getting sufficient amino acids and protein can get the scale moving in the direction you want it to.

When you hear statistics like “90% of Americans Have a Nutrient Deficiency,” you probably place yourself in the nutritionally complete 10%, especially if you take your vitamins and do a fairly reasonable job at watching what you eat. However, if you are fatigued, chronically lack energy, frequently catch colds and/or have a hard time losing weight, maybe you should think again. Those specific symptoms are signs of amino acid deficiency. Plus, if you don’t get enough aminos, you won’t be able to sufficiently absorb nutrients from that multivitamin and mineral supplement you take.

Additionally, since amino acids are the essential elements that make up protein, if you’re short on aminos, you’re likely not getting enough protein, either. If you’ve been trying to lose weight and nothing seems to work, add amino acids and more protein to your diet. Those elements could be what’s been missing the whole time.

Protein and Weight Loss

Eating lean protein lets you discount 20 – 30% of the protein calories you eat. Your body uses up that much just to digest it.

Protein is essential to good nutrition and, if you think about it, protein for weight loss is good common sense. One reason is that you burn more calories digesting protein than any other food. According to Precision Nutrition, 20 to 30 percent of the protein calories you eat are spent on processing it so, right from the start, protein boosts your burn. Next, when you eat protein as part of a weight loss plan that includes building muscle, protein helps build lean muscle mass which increases the amount of fat and calories your body burns.

The Studies

Scientific studies are what really give legs to the protein for weight loss premise because actual results are hard to argue with. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that increasing protein helped stabilize glucose and insulin that, in turn, enhanced weight loss. Another study published in the Annual Review of Nutrition showed that protein helped with weight loss by providing energy along with curbing the appetite. Yet more research published in the Nutrition Journal showed that supplementing whey protein and essential amino acids helped with weight loss during a restricted calorie diet. The protein and aminos working together allowed subjects to feel full on fewer calories and increased their bodies’ ability to absorb nutrients, giving them more energy.

Research discussed on Web MD indicates that whey protein is most effective for helping to reduce body fat. The study focused on two groups that were given protein meal replacements, but one group’s protein was specifically whey and included essential amino acids. Both groups successfully lost weight, but the whey/aminos group lost more fat than the other group.

Am I Getting Enough?

Protein supplements are quick and convenient ways to get more protein in your diet.

So how do you know if you’re getting “enough” protein? The CDC has it all neatly broken down into dietary needs based on age and sex, with adult women needing about 46 grams of protein each day and adult men requiring 56 grams per day. However, your lifestyle and your body weight play a part in your protein needs. That means, if you’re working out as part of your weight loss plan, you’ll need more than the bare minimum the CDC recommends. Health magazine has a more accurate way to figure protein needs based on your activity level. Start with your body weight in pounds and then multiply it by a certain number based on how active you are:

  • sedentary, little to no exercise, X by .4
  • active, regularly work out, X by .6
  • athletic, competitive athletes, X by .75

The answer is the number of grams of protein you need each day.

Once you figure out how much protein you should be getting, don’t increase your intake all at once. If your body isn’t used to processing a lot of protein, suddenly flooding your system with it can be hard on your kidneys. Instead, gradually increase your protein by about 5 grams at a time once or twice a week until you’re at the level you should be.

Aminos’ Role

Each of the over 20 amino acids are essential for proper nutrition and health.

There are over 20 amino acids, and each one plays a part in nutrition. Some are specifically tied to functions that affect weight including metabolism. The branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs), for example, typically show up in weight loss supplements because they not only support energy levels, but the specific BCAA leucine has numerous effects on the metabolism, including increasing calorie burn, telling your body to burn fat while keeping muscle, and helping curb your appetite. One study published in the Nutrition Journal even found that supplementing with leucine resulted in a higher loss of body fat than dieting alone.

Livestrong recommends other aminos essential for weight loss goals including:

  • carnitine — which tells your body to use fat for energy instead of storing it
  • tryptophan — which helps stabilize hormone and insulin levels, stabilizes blood glucose levels, and encourages your body to produce growth hormone by promoting restorative sleep
  • tyrosine — which speeds up your metabolism for fat burning and enhances other aminos’ appetite suppressant effects

As if helping you to lose weight weren’t enough, an article in the May 2015 issue of “First for Women” reveals that getting enough protein and amino acids in your diet will also improve your mood and decrease depression, give you more energy, help you concentrate, and enhance digestion of all the food you eat. Even better, Health Central says that amino acid and protein-rich foods like turkey and soy products will help increase your skin’s elasticity. So consider younger looking skin the cherry on top of the amino acid/protein cake.

A Secret Weapon to Lower High Blood Pressure

Natural ways of lowering blood pressure are the healthiest.

There used to be a time when doctors would counsel hypertension patients against resistance training. The prevailing opinion was that lifting weights would increase blood pressure, so those already fighting it should avoid aggravating the condition. However, once medical professionals became aware that bodybuilders had lower overall blood pressure than those who didn’t follow a strict workout regimen, they began rethinking the issue. Several studies have been done over the years that all indicate resistance exercise is one of the best ways to naturally lower blood pressure.

Gifts With Purchase

Resistance training incorporated with aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure and makes you feel great!

Resistance training improves your overall cardio health, so you decreased blood pressure can be considered a side effect. It’s a pretty significant side effect, however, for people who have tried everything to bring their systolic and diastolic numbers down. Resistance exercise is an effective way to lower blood pressure because it makes your cardiovascular system perform more efficiently, transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout your entire body with less effort.

However, resistance training works to reduce your blood pressure in many different ways. Web MD explains that it helps increase muscle mass and boost metabolic rate. With those elements in play, you should be able to lose body fat even with minimal or no change to your diet, and that’s another piece of the blood pressure puzzle. Losing as few as 10 pounds has been shown to lower or even prevent high blood pressure in people who are overweight. Just to sweeten the pot, in his book “High Blood Pressure for Dummies,” Dr. Alan L. Rubin lists a few non-blood pressure-related perks including increased strength and fitness, improved confidence, stronger bones, and better balance.

Lifestyle Change Alert!

Even committing to taking BP medication is a lifestyle change — so why not opt for working out to look AND feel great?

Those who want to lower blood pressure with a quick-fix instead of shifting gears for a lifestyle change should probably stick to medication. That isn’t the healthiest route with the best prognosis, but you can’t just add resistance training to your schedule for a few weeks or months with the plan of quitting exercise once your numbers come down. According to Volume III of the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine, people who engaged in short-term resistance training didn’t show as much of an improvement in blood pressure as people who permanently added working out to their schedules. The bottom line is that whether you commit to taking medication the rest of your life, decide to cut salt out of your diet from here to eternity, or include resistance training on your lifetime agenda, you’re making a lifestyle change. The workout option offers the most benefits with the least drawbacks. (When have you ever seen the same list of adverse side effects attached to exercise that usually comes with every bottle of medication?) Since studies show resistance training can significantly reduce your blood pressure, isn’t it the best option on the table?

Resistance Training to Reduce Blood Pressure

Talk to your doctor before beginning a resistance training program to lower blood pressure. Image by Vic/Flickr

The first thing to do if you want to give resistance training a try for lowering high blood pressure is to talk to your doctor. He can help you tailor your program to your specific circumstances and offer warnings or advice. You’ll want to start out lifting light weight and with more reps until your blood pressure improves. Only do one set of 12 to 15 reps at first, and don’t lift so heavy that you’re struggling at the end of the set, just heavy enough that you’re starting to fatigue by the 12th or 15th rep. Rest a full 90 seconds between sets and exercises. As your strength and blood pressure improve, increase your weight and the number of sets you do. If you’re looking for a specific workout that has proven to lower blood pressure, you could always try the one researchers used in a study on the positive effects of resistance training on blood pressure. According to Precision Nutrition, the participants worked out three days a week with a minimum of one rest day in between, completing three sets of 12 reps each of:

bench press

A workout that incorporates all the muscles in your body helps you look great — a nice side effect to lowering blood pressure.

  • leg curls
  • leg presses
  • lat pulldowns
  • chest presses
  • biceps curls
  • shoulder presses
  • triceps extensions

It’s a full-body workout that’s useful as part of a comprehensive exercise program that also incorporates 75 to 120 minutes of aerobic exercise each week for lower blood pressure and overall better health.

Exercise During Pregnancy: Yes, You Can–and Should!

Personal trainers and health club staff across the country routinely hear all sorts of excuses for not working out. A frequent justification among women is, “I’m pregnant, I can’t exercise.” –or– “I’m trying to get pregnant, so I can’t work out.”

For most women, those are just excuses. It is true that some pregnancies have complications that require bed rest but getting in shape before becoming pregnant and working out while pregnant can often prevent the need for bed rest. Actually, exercise can eliminate many potential pregnancy risks and even help you build a healthier baby. Looking at the big picture, pregnancy and exercise go together just as much as pregnancy and bizarre cravings.

Before Conceiving

Getting in shape before you conceive will help your body handle the stress of a pregnancy.

Pregnancies are not always planned, but if you do plan on conceiving the best time to start getting in shape for the event is now. Going through a pregnancy is as hard on your body as participating in an extreme sport. If you signed up for a triathlon or to run a 10K, you would train and get in shape, right? Parents points out that making a habit of working out before getting pregnant makes it easier to continue working out while pregnant, plus getting in shape while you are trying to conceive can help your chances of success. According to the Mayo Clinic, being overweight can interfere with ovulation, which can affect your fertility. Remember, though, that an ideal weight for getting pregnant has more to do with how much fat you are carrying rather than what the scale says. If your body mass index (BMI) is 25 to 29.9, you are overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Get that number down into the 18 to 24.9 range and you will be at an optimum weight for conceiving.

Working Out While Pregnant

Yes, you can even lift weights while you are pregnant. Image via Bodyfit by Amy/YouTube

Getting in shape before conceiving and working out while pregnant will benefit you and your baby in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to start listing the advantages. First, obesity during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for a number of complications including:

  • preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure)
  • gestational diabetes
  • premature or overdue deliveries
  • problems during labor

Obesity also increases the chances that you will miscarry or that you will need a cesarean, and that brings a new list of increased risks such as wound infections and increased recovery time. Also, the University of Rochester Medical Center says that obesity tends to be related to vitamin deficiency, an issue that can cause health problems for both you and your baby.

Exercise during pregnancy improves your mood, your circulation and will keep nagging backaches at bay. Image via Pregnancy and Postpartum TV/YouTube

Your body will experience a number of changes during pregnancy that can be alleviated with exercise. Working out improves your circulation, which can help with typical swelling during pregnancy. Strengthening your back and core muscles will decrease your chances of developing back pain. Plus says that working out while pregnant will give you more energy and improve your mood, chasing away the “baby blues.”

Exercise, Pregnancy, and Your Baby’s Health

Healthy, happy babies are just one reward of working out while pregnant.

Don’t feel like working out while pregnant for your own sake? Do it for the health of your baby. The Mayo Clinic says that babies born to obese women are likely to have increased body fat. That can set your baby up for a lifetime of health issues starting with weight problems but also including high risk of diabetes and heart disease. Also, obesity during pregnancy increases the chances of birth defects. According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, obese mothers are at a higher risk of delivering babies with a congenital heart defect and are two times as likely to have a baby with spina bifida.

The Benefits Just Keep Coming

If you have been working out while pregnant, you will be happy you did once delivery time arrives–and after, as well. According to FitPregnancy, you will be more likely to have a fairly easy delivery (as easy as expelling another human from your body can be). You will also be 55 percent less likely to need an episiotomy and 75 percent less likely to require the use of forceps. For women who exercise throughout pregnancy, labor tends to be shorter, too.

Exercise during and after pregnancy will have you slipping into your pre-pregnancy clothes sooner.

Once you are back home, you will be able to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes quicker if you paired exercise with pregnancy. An average, healthy weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds, but most of that will go away after the delivery. If you have continued working out while pregnant and stayed within the recommended weight gain, you will only have 7 to 12 pounds to lose after your baby is born. And! If you are already used to exercising on a regular basis, you should be able to lose that extra weight easily within a few months. Additionally, continuing to work out after delivery will keep those happy-mood endorphins flowing, decreasing your chances of developing post-partum depression.

Approach Pregnancy and Exercise Wisely

Consult your OB/GYN about exercise before, during, and after pregnancy. Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

You should always consult your doctor before jumping into any workout program but, if you are planning to conceive, you will be in close contact with him anyway. Talk to her about your current BMI and tell him your plan for beginning an exercise regimen that you will continue throughout your pregnancy. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercising up to 30 minutes a day every day of the week is a healthy plan for exercise during pregnancy. Get the green light from your OB/GYN and keep him updated for the whole nine months and beyond. Some women may have to adjust their workouts as they go, but most will be able to continue right up to delivery time.


5 Better-for-You Breakfast Recipes for a Sweet Start to Your Day

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you these sweet and healthy breakfast recipes courtesy of our friends at Pyure Organic:

Pancakes, waffles, French toast: there’s nothing better than comforting, carb-friendly breakfast foods. Whether you’re cooking up a weekend brunch for your family or looking for a quick, kid-friendly breakfast-for-dinner recipe, these 5 dishes use better-for-you ingredients like stevia and almond flour to make your favorite breakfasts guilt-free. Top off your pancakes or waffles with Pyure’s Harmless Hunny Alternative or Organic Maple Syrup Alternative to start your day on the right foot.

Keto Cinnamon Rolls

Our keto cinnamon rolls are fluffy and delicious. They’re the perfect addition to your morning cup of coffee. There’s no wrong way to eat them, and they’re sure to please everyone as they’re sugar-free, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and grain-free. Prepare these keto cinnamon rolls in three rounds: the buns, the filling, and the decadent vanilla frosting.

Yield: 12 rolls


Keto Cinnamon Roll Recipe Dough Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup extra fine almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Keto Cinnamon Roll Recipe Filling Ingredients

Keto Cinnamon Roll Recipe Frosting Ingredients

Instructions: You will want to prepare the dough first, then the filling, then the frosting while the cinnamon rolls bake.

To Make the Dough

Preheat oven to 360°F. Set aside a non-stick cookie sheet or a round 9-inch non-stick baking pan.

  1. Melt mozzarella cheese and cream cheese in a small pot over low heat. The cheese should be just melted. Do not bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Remove pot from the stove and stir in room-temperature egg.
  3. Add almond flour and baking powder, stir to combine.
  4. Roll the mixture into a large ball of dough (you can flour or oil your hands first to avoid sticking).
  5. Divide the dough into six equal balls.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, pinch dough down and roll into 15-inch rectangles
  7. Flatten each roll, making each roll as thin as possible.
  8. Set aside.

To Make the Filling

After you set the strips of dough aside, make the filling. Make sure the dough is not in a warm area or it may tear when you work with it next. Now, prepare the filling.

  1. Boil water for the filling.
  2. Stir in cinnamon and Pyure Organic All-Purpose Stevia Blend.
  3. Wait to cool just slightly, then pour evenly over the strips of dough.

To Assemble the Buns

After you pour the cinnamon filling over the buns, it’s time to assemble them before you put them in the oven.

  1. Roll each cinnamon-covered strip into a bun.
  2. Cut each bun in half sideways.
  3. Place each of the 12 buns onto your cookie sheet or into your round pan.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.

To Prepare the Frosting

Prepare the frosting while the buns are baking so you can coat them as soon as they are ready.

  1. Mix cream cheese with Greek yogurt and Pyure Organic Liquid Stevia Sweetener with Vanilla Flavor. Set aside.
  2. Remove buns from the oven, and while still warm, pour the frosting over them

Keto Cream Cheese Pancakes

Adapted from Healthy Recipes, these pancakes feel indulgent without all the artificial sugar. Top with your favorite fruit, sugar-free maple syrup alternative, or sugar-free hunny alternative.



  1. Microwave the cream cheese for 10-20 seconds to soften it. Make sure it doesn’t turn into liquid.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well with a hand whisk.
  3. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia. Whisk until well incorporated and smooth. This will require some time and patience!
  4. Heat half the butter in two mini nonstick skillets (or use an egg frying pan) over medium heat. Add ¼ of the batter to each skillet. Cook until golden brown and set on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil.
  5. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the pans.

Almond Flour Banana Muffins

Tender, moist and naturally sweet – enjoy these muffins as an afternoon snack or as a wholesome grab-and-go breakfast.


  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Pyure Organic All-Purpose Stevia Blend
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup large flake oats
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together bananas, eggs, sweetener, milk, oil, ground flax seeds and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine oats, almond flour, baking powder and salt; stir into banana mixture just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin; sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of a muffin. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool completely.
  • TIP: Muffins can be wrapped individually and frozen for up to 1 month.

Fluffy Keto Waffles

Another recipe adapted from Healthy Recipes, these waffles are fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and better for you than freezer waffles. With stevia and almond flour, these waffles are kid and adult approved!


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, a full tablespoon, not a typo!)
  • ½ teaspoon Pyure Organic Liquid Stevia Extract Sweetener
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups blanched finely ground almond flour (8 oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter for the waffle maker


  1. Plug your waffle maker in. Set your oven to warm (150°F) and fit a baking sheet with a wire rack. Place the baking sheet in the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, stevia, and milk.
  3. Gradually add the almond flour, whisking it in until the mixture is smooth.
  4. If the batter seems very thick, add a little water. I often add 2 tablespoons.
  5. Mix in the kosher salt and the baking soda.
  6. Brush the waffle maker with melted butter. Pour the batter into the waffle maker, using a scant ½ measuring cup per waffle and spreading the batter to the corners before closing the lid.
  7. Cook until puffy and set, about 5 minutes. When the first batch of waffles is ready, place the cooked waffles on the wire rack in the warm oven to keep them warm.
  8. Brush the waffle maker with more melted butter and repeat steps 5 and 6 until all the batter is gone. Serve the waffles immediately.

Overnight Oats

Looking for a great breakfast on-the-go? This is an easy, delicious, low-calorie breakfast to make ahead of time. It’s great for those early mornings before school or work when you need a nutritious way to fuel up.



  1. In a pint mason jar (16 oz), combine gluten-free rolled oats, almond milk, vanilla extract (or another extract of your choice), Pyure All-Purpose Stevia, and a dash of salt.
  2. Shake contents and place in the fridge overnight to wake up to a lovely breakfast, ready to go!
  3. Garnish with fruits, nuts, spices, and seeds for flavor.

This article originally appeared on the Pyure Organic website.

Superfood Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Samon Roe


This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative health and fitness article from Carnivore Aurelius:

Salmon roe is a real superfood unlike Kale — or what I refer to as green toilet paper.

It’s loaded with almost every vitamin and mineral you need to function optimally.

For thousands of years your ancestors prized superfoods like salmon roe. But western society has replaced them with green smoothies….which is almost like replacing a ferrari with a toyota camry.

What is salmon roe and what are some nutrients it’s high in?

What is Salmon Roe?

Salmon roe are the fish eggs that come from salmon. While the size of them can differ depending on the salmon species they come from, they all showcase the same bright orange hue.

Salmon roe isn’t the same as salmon caviar. A caviar requires the salmon roe to undergo an aging process in a soy sauce type of brine. Salmon roe is usually eaten by itself or placed within sushi, and it has a unique taste.

I think of them like adult gushers.

You may be wondering why you’d want to eat salmon roe when you can simply add a handful of vegetables to your plate. Well, apart from the protein, salmon roe is bursting with a variety of nutrients that you’d struggle to find in other food sources.

If you’re on a carnivore diet, it’s the ultimate sidekick to beef liver and muscle meat. Loaded Let’s look at its full nutritional profile.

Nutritional profile of Salmon Roe

100 grams of salmon roe provides 200 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 2.90 grams of carbs. Let’s delve deeper as to why many people are choosing to eat these fish eggs.

Below is the nutrition content of 100g of salmon roe

High quality source of protein

100g of salmon roe contains 25 grams of protein. As a valuable protein source, these fish eggs fit perfectly into a low carb diet, offering more protein per calorie than almost anything else.

It’s also packed with essential amino acids, including lysine, which has many impressive benefits. Lysine can’t be made by the human body, so the only way to retrieve it is via food or supplementation. As a building block of protein, lysine can enhance wound healing, may promote calcium absorption, and may potentially diminish blood sugar response in diabetics. Pretty good, right?

Another amino acid found within salmon roe is leucine. 100g of salmon roe contains around 2g of leucine; a branched-chain amino acid which helps muscle growth. If you’re hitting the gym and searching for ways to build or maintain muscle, a serving or two of salmon roe is a great solution. Leucine has many benefits, including being a potent mTOR activator.

Packed with Omega 3 fatty acids

Salmon roe is packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids. You’ll find around 3.5g per 100g serving, providing one of the best natural sources of DHA and EPA – Docosahexaenoic Acid and Eicosapentaenoic Acid. In fact, a study discovered that over 30% of the fatty acids found in salmon roe are either DHA or EPA.

DHA is massively beneficial for optimal brain functioning. So much so that almost 25% of all the fat in your brain is DHA. Unlike some other fish products, salmon roe contains DHA in a phospholipid form, making it easier to cross the blood brain barrier.

If providing brain fuel wasn’t enough, DHA boasts anti-inflammatory effects which could prove useful in treating a number of issues, including heart disease and arthritis.

On the carnivore diet it’s a challenge to obtain adequate DHA. Salmon roe is a great addition to do so.

Contains Omega 6 fatty acids

The majority of us gain way too many omega 6’s from our diets. But, if you’re eating a balanced diet and getting them from healthy sources, there’s no cause for concern.

Omega 6 fats like AA can be beneficial and are great for promoting skin and hair growth, as well as nurturing bone health, regulating metabolism, and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. Like omega 3, it also has advantages for brain development and functioning.

Vitamin D dietary source

100 grams of salmon roe gives us around 232 IU of vitamin D, or around 58% of the suggested daily intake. If you’re looking for one of the few food sources of this vitamin, salmon roe is a great source.

Depending on where in the world you live, vitamin D is essential if you’re not getting enough exposure to sunlight. That’s because the body creates vitamin D via cholesterol. The energy from UVB (ultraviolet B) rays synthesizes cholesterol, producing vitamin D. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘sunshine vitamin’, now you know why!

Vitamin D is often associated with depression. A study examining depressed subjects found that vitamin D supplementation improved their mood. Additionally, the vitamin is linked to playing a part in other illnesses, including reducing the risk of getting the flu, and multiple sclerosis. This may be partly due to the role vitamin D has in enhancing the immune system.

Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins

If you’ve been feeling anxious, fatigued or simply ‘under the weather’, eating a portion of salmon roe may be a good remedy. Many common cognitive issues are due to vitamin B deficiencies — some of the most important vitamins for cognitive function. In a 100g portion, there is a whopping 20.0mcg or 333% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin B12. One thing to know is that your body can’t produce it, so it needs to come from dietary sources or supplements.

Why is this vitamin important? Well, it keeps nerve and blood cells healthy, supports bone health, and gives you an overall energy boost. Pregnant women are especially advised to intake adequate levels as deficiency has been associated with birth defects and even miscarriage.

Let’s not forget the other nutritious B vitamins found in salmon roe. Each 100g gives around 0.14mg (9.3% of your suggested daily value) of vitamin B1, 0.36mg (21.2% DV) of vitamin B2, 0.40mg (2% DV) of vitamin B3, 3.50mg (35% DV) of vitamin B5, and 0.32g (16% DV) of vitamin B6.

The benefits of these include aiding energy levels, fat burning, digestion, eye health, and much more.

Antioxidants, including Astaxanthin

With 91mcg of vitamin A (10% of your DV) and 2.68mg of vitamin E (13% DV) in 100g serving of salmon roe, salmon roe is high in antioxidants. Oxidative stress occurs via free radical damage. In other words, unstable atoms provoke damage to healthy cells. This can result in premature aging, as well as potentially genetic degenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, and dementia.

Another antioxidant found in salmon roe is called Astaxanthin, which is the chemical responsible for their orange color. You may be wondering what makes Astaxanthin so special? Well, for starters it’s 500 times more potent than vitamin E, and 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C, providing a multitude of health benefits.

Research has discovered that this substance may enhance the skin’s fight against UV damage. Then, there’s also the possibility that it helps battle liver disease and oxidative stress.

Need something natural to boost athletic performance and diminish muscle soreness after workouts? Astaxanthin has you covered. You could call this a super-antioxidant as it really does boast endless benefits.


Salmon roe features 5.5% of your daily copper intake (0.11mg) per 100g.

Copper is difficult to find in foods other than beef liver. It aids collagen functioning to help the skin look smoother and firmer. Additionally, it helps to maintain good immune health, bones, and nerves.


While it can be a challenge to hit your daily requirement of iodine, salmon roe provides an excellent source. Iodine aids the construction of thyroid hormone. Deficiencies in this often leads to fatigue, low sex drive, digestive problems, brain fog, and much more.


100g of salmon roe has 275mg of calcium or 27.5% of your recommended daily intake. If you tend to avoid dairy, getting as much calcium as possible from the rest of your diet is essential. Why? Not only is it great for bone health, it’s also necessary for your heart and muscles to perform correctly.

Additional vitamins and minerals

Salmon roe is high in selenium and choline: two of the most important nutrients for cognitive function. Two that are also only found in substantial quantities in salmon roe and beef liver.

You’ll get around 65.5mg of selenium (roughly 100% of your RDA) from a 100g portion. Selenium is often absent from many peoples diets, yet it’s imperative for cognitive functioning, memory, motor performance, and coordination.

Choline is another vitamin which assists cognition. So much so, a deficiency is often linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. In 100g of salmon roe, you’ll find around 45% of your RDA or 247mg of choline.


Salmon roe is one of the most nutritious foods you’ll come across. While the downside is that it can be difficult to track down the high quality stuff, if you can get your hands on it, you’ll be adding a true superfood to your diet.

This article was originally published at

Carnivore Aurelius is a nutrition and biochemistry expert who’s studied for over 5 years. He used the carnivore diet to cure IBS, rheumatoid arthritis and his acne. He’s passionate about distilling complex nutritional information down to actionable advice.

Fake a Gastric Bypass to Lose Weight

Last week’s post promised that we would reveal a weight loss plan that essentially works like gastric bypass surgery–but without the “surgery” part. This is a very doable weight loss program that does not require special foods or medications or even an overnight hospital stay. It is based on fitness expert Chris Powell’s recommendations featured on Dr. Oz’s website. Aside from saving you the cost and risk of a surgical procedure, the best thing about this weight loss plan is that you can customize it to fit your lifestyle. It starts with adding one simple step to your day and includes several little tweaks to enhance your weight loss results. Do them all, or just do the ones that fit comfortably into your schedule.

While it may not bring immediate weight loss, this program does offer fairly fast results that can be maintained. A family member was used as a guinea pig to try this trick out, and he lost 5 pounds in one week by just doing the one basic step. Of course, everyone is different and results will vary depending on the foods you eat and how active you are. Still, even if you could consistently lose a minimum of 4 pounds a month, adding one step to your day is worth it.

The One Thing You Can do to Lose Weight

Counterintuitive but true: a spoonful of dietary fat before meals will help you lose weight.

So, let’s get right to the point: the one simple step Chris Powell recommends that will make your brain think you have had gastric bypass surgery is to eat one measuring tablespoon of dietary fat–specifically almond butter–30 minutes before each meal, and wash it down with a full glass of water. Medical experts explain that this too-easy trick works because the fat will signal the pyloric valve at the end of your stomach to close. It takes about 20 minutes for this process, so that is why the advice is to eat the almond butter 30 minutes before your meal. Between the fat closing off the stomach valve and the water taking up space, your stomach will think that it is already mostly full. You will not be able to overeat, even if you want to. Instead, you will be satisfied to eat much less, just as if you had a gastric bypass.

Why Almond Butter?

Almond butter can help you lose weight while providing loads of health benefits.

There are actually a number of dietary fats you could choose to eat 30 minutes before a meal, but picking one and sticking with it makes this one step as simple as possible. We specifically recommend almond butter over avocados, coconut oil, or other types of nut butters because the flavor and texture are pleasant and because of the additional benefits of almond butter.

We’ve already expounded on the benefits of almonds including their effectiveness at defending from cell-damaging disease such as cancer in addition to reducing your risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome. The vitamins and minerals in almonds boost your immune system, give you energy, and have also shown to increase alertness and improve memory.

Customizing This Weight Loss Program

You will benefit from the one step of eating almond butter before each meal, and you don’t even have to take it before every meal. Just ingesting it twice a day before meals will bring results. However, if you want to go all-out and follow a few more pieces of advice, you can optimize your potential weight loss results.

Eat like you have had a gastric bypass–people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery have to eat slower, take smaller bites, and chew their food extremely thoroughly. Everyone can benefit from that technique, even if they aren’t trying the dietary fat trick. This method works, though, because it gives your brain time to register when you truly are full–and you will be because your pyloric valve will be temporarily shut, and your belly will be almost full of water.

Eat high fiber foods–it takes longer to digest fiber, so eating almond butter before your meals offers two ways to curb your appetite. The result is that you will feel fuller longer and will not be tempted to snack.

Eat smaller meals more frequently. Take smaller bites, too, and take your time when chewing and swallowing.

Eat smaller meals, more frequently–divide your calories over four or five meals rather than just three. The advice is to eat every three hours, so you may end up eating as many as five times a day–what weight loss plan tells you to eat more?! It is logical, though. Giving your body a constant source of fuel will make it work more efficiently, including improving how well your body burns calories. Also, frequent eating keeps your blood sugar stable, which helps reduce the cravings that attack when your blood sugar drops.

Cycle your carbs–going low-carb every other day allows you to eat the bread and pasta you crave on a regular basis, so you will not feel deprived. The key is in keeping the calories of each meal between 250 and 350 and, on the alternate days when you allow yourself carbs, still keep your final meal of the day carb-free.

Exercise!–burn more calories than you take in for maximum weight loss.

Slow and Steady

Most people want quick weight loss and, as mentioned above, this is not that weight loss plan. Here is the truth, though: no matter how bad you want to lose weight quickly, slow weight loss is healthier and more likely to be long-lasting. When you want to lose weight, you really want to lose fat, right? Well, LIVESTRONG points out that you can only burn a limited amount of fat in one week, so much of the weight lost in a fast weight loss program includes muscle and water weight in addition to some fat weight. The fat will come off anyway with a slow-burn plan, and without slowing your metabolism down.

Fitday lists some additional benefits to losing weight slowly including:

  • you won’t risk dehydration or nutrient deficiencies
  • you won’t feel fatigued or lack in energy
  • your body will adjust better to the changes in your diet and exercise

Only a select few look good with saggy skin. Take your time to lose weight slowly to give your skin a chance to shrink with your body.


Plus, people who go through gastric bypass surgery typically have a lot of loose skin to deal with. The rapid weight loss doesn’t give their skin time to adjust to the change in body mass, resulting in saggy, loose skin all over the body. When you lose weight slowly, though, your skin will contract as your body shrinks.

Gastric Bypass: Not an Ideal Quick Weight Loss Solution

Having been around since 1960, gastric bypass surgery is not a new procedure. Over the past decade, give or take a few years, the procedure has seen a resurgence in popularity. A gastric bypass might sound like an easy way to lose weight quickly, especially for those who think they have tried every available solution. However, going through gastric bypass surgery is not as simple as it might sound. Your eating habits will change, and your doctor will want you to exercise to maintain your weight loss and keep you healthy. Considering those are changes you can make without going under the knife, gastric bypass should be a last-resort decision.

The Mechanics of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery blocks off most of your stomach, leaving you able to only eat 4 ounces at a time at most. Image via HCA East Florida/YouTube

The normal size of an adult human’s stomach is roughly the size of a football but, in general, it varies from person to person. Overeaters stretch their stomachs, and when you fast or reduce your food intake it can shrink, too. When your stomach gets stretched to oversize, it takes more food to make you feel full, leading to consistent overeating, weight gain, and obesity. According to Prevention, when you undergo gastric bypass surgery, the majority of your stomach is blocked off–bypassed–leaving you with a “new” stomach that is only the size of your thumb. The doctor creates a small, dime-sized hole in the new stomach and attaches your intestine to it.

Not Everyone Qualifies

Roughly 1/3 of U.S. adults meet the obesity qualification for gastric bypass surgery.

There are people whose metabolisms have turned on them, making it nearly impossible to maintain a healthy weight no matter what they do, but just being overweight does not make you a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. Only those who are 100 pounds or more overweight are typically recommended for the procedure. While the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease says that over one-third of adults meet that requirement, that leaves it up to the other two-thirds of adults to manage their own weight-loss. Additionally, your doctor will have to verify that you have given diets and other weight loss therapies an honest try–for 3 to 6 months or more each time–with no success. You will also have to go through counseling that will paint a detailed picture of what life after gastric bypass surgery will be like.

Complications and Risks

Gastric bypass is no out-patient procedure. You may end up staying in the hospital as long as 5 days. As with any major surgery, there are a number of risks involved. MedlinePlus lists some of those to be

  • blood clots
  • allergic response to medication and/or anesthesia
  • heart attack or stroke
  • infection at the incision site or in the abdomen
  • stomach or intestine blockage

Complications can cause stomach pain after gastric bypass surgery.

Some patients experience stomach pain after gastric bypass surgery when ulcers develop on the new seams in their stomachs. Pain can also be caused by intestinal hernias that are created if portions of the bowel get caught on seams created on the abdominal wall by the surgery.

Also, you are likely to wake up with a whole new attitude toward food. That might sound like a plus, but your new feelings and reactions to food will be extreme. Some patients have reported that just the thought of what were previously favorite foods such as steak, pastries, or dairy products made them physically ill after gastric bypass surgery. You may not be able to eat any food at all within the first few days. Consider it a feast if you can manage to get 2 ounces of cooked cereal down without it coming back up.

There are some serious risks, too: life-threatening complications and even death. According to Prevention, the University of Minnesota reviewed research on 22,000 patients who had gastric bypass surgery. The findings showed that 3 percent experienced significant complications such as blood clots, internal bleeding, and intestinal leaks. Additionally, 1 in every 200 patients died within 30 days of having surgery.

Big, Big Changes

You will eventually be able to eat after gastric bypass surgery, and your new stomach may even stretch enough to hold up to 4 ounces. However, you will have to get used to taking tiny bites and chewing them slowly and thoroughly, a technique that everyone, even people who haven’t undergone the surgery, can benefit from. You will not be able to take a bite of food and immediately gulp down a drink; solids and liquids have to be separated. You may have to get used to eating several smaller meals throughout the day rather than the big three you are used to but, again, that is a strategy that is effective for everyone regardless of their physical condition or weight loss goals.


Exercise on your own or join a gym–you will have to start working out to maintain the weight loss surgery initiates.

In addition to your new eating regimen, your doctor will recommend exercise. Many people report having more energy once they start losing the excess weight, so exercising should not present a problem. Though you will lose weight seemingly effortlessly at first , if you don’t exercise after a gastric bypass, you will gain back a high percentage of the pounds you initially lose. Within the first few years, most patients gradually gain back up to 25 percent of what they lose. Plus, Prevention says that after 5 years, 85 percent of those who have had the surgery gain back up to half of their initial loss, and the remaining 15 percent of patients regain more than half.

There are numerous people who have had gastric bypass surgery, and some are happy they did it. Yet, even the satisfied customers will tell you that the tradeoff for a slimmer, healthier body is a new lifestyle that was tought to adjust to. Since you will have to alter your lifestyle anyway, why not give diet and exercise one last chance before you take the gastric bypass plunge? It is a healthier alternative that will not present the complications and dangers that surgery does. And stay tuned for your bonus. Next week’s post will explain a non-surgical technique that tricks your body into thinking you have had gastric bypass surgery.

Finding the Best Health Club For You

As we all ease back into real life, it’s time to start giving serious consideration to your fitness, especially if you skipped the requisite New Year’s resolution this year to “finally” start working out. Even if you don’t have extra hibernation pounds to shed, exercise is more important than ever, considering that it is an excellent way to boost your immune system. Whatever your reasons for working out, whether to improve your body’s ability to fight disease or to burn fat and lose weight, a combination of strength training and cardio exercise is the best way to do it all. A gym or health club will have the equipment you need as well as the professionals who can help get you on the right track. What’s more, the science shows that next to no one is getting sick from their health club. That means a well-run gym is the safest, healthiest place you can be right now.

If you live in a small town, you may not have many gym choices, if any. People who live in larger cities, though, often have several different gyms and health clubs to choose from, and that’s where another problem arises. You may get stuck at choosing a gym, or might choose one that’s not right for you. Either way, your resolve to exercise will dissolve, and you’ll be back at square one. Consider the important issues when choosing a health club to ensure it is the ideal choice, one that will reinforce your immune system and drive you to reach your weight loss and fitness goals.

Location and Hours

hours of business

If the gym’s hours don’t match your schedule, you’ll never workout. Image by Edward Webb/Flickr

IDEA Health and Fitness reports that inconvenience is the number one reason people leave a health club. By not considering the location and the hours of business to determine how conveniently a club will fit into your lifestyle, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Even so, though you may be more likely to use a nearby health club frequently, it will be of no use to you if it isn’t open during hours when you have time to exercise. Many clubs have extended hours and are open early mornings and late evenings. Additionally, 24-hour clubs are more popular and available than ever. Whatever your schedule and your preference, find a gym that doesn’t take you out of your normal way and is open when you can work a workout into your schedule.

Gym or a Club?

An old-school gym won’t satisfy those who crave pampering and amenities.

You can eliminate a handful of choices if you know what you’re looking for in a fitness facility. Are you super-serious about your workout, and know the value of old-school iron and well-built fitness equipment? Or is a plush locker room, flat-screen TVs on all the cardio equipment and mint-infused cooling towels important to you? There’s nothing wrong with either scenario, unless you pick a facility that doesn’t fit with your preferences. A no-frills, down-to-earth gym will give you the basics you need by way of weight and cardio equipment and is the perfect choice for the person who just wants to hit it and quit it. A health club should be the choice for those who enjoy amenities and the social aspect of working out.

The Bottom Line Is the Bottom Line

Though the economy is getting back on track, many people find that they still don’t have an excess of disposable income to spend on “luxuries.” While the argument over whether a health club membership is a luxury or a necessity is a topic for an entirely different blog, the fact remains that finding an affordable place to work out is essential. The American Council on Exercise points out that there are as many different payment options as there are health clubs. Some charge initiation fees as well as monthly fees; some require up-front payment for at least a year at a time; others allow you to pay month-to-month and don’t lock you into a contract. While a lot of people believe that signing a contract will motivate them to exercise regularly, the reality is that many who sign one end up spending money and not working out. Sign that contract if it truly will motivate you, but also consider whether you can afford the monthly payments along with the initiation fee. If not, look for a club that doesn’t require contracts and with low, affordable monthly rates.

Is a Club Right for You?

working out at home

Some would rather invest in home gym fitness equipment instead of joining a health club.

Harvard Health‘s checklist for choosing a club asks first if joining a club is even the right option for you. While there are many benefits to signing on with a gym or health club, it does you no good if you don’t use it. Whatever the reason, whether there’s no fitness facilities nearby, none of them are open during hours that match your schedule, or you simply feel more comfortable working out in private instead of in front of God and everybody, you don’t have to give up on exercise as a way to improve immunity and to lose weight and get fit. You only need a few pieces of quality equipment to put together an effective home gym to get a gym-quality workout. Well, that — and the dedication to use it.