Tag Archives Diet

The 5 Best Foods For Digestion

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Do you suffer from indigestion, heart burn, bloating or gas?  You are not alone. According to Yahoo around 70 million of American’s suffer from different types of digestive problems each year.

It is important to your overall health to maintain a healthy digestive system. GESA reports that “Although the digestive system can withstand a lot of stress (from the foods you eat to emotional stresses), it can only do so for a limited period. Over time, the negative effects will accumulate and create health problems in the long-term.”  Therefore you should watch your diet and take preventative measures to limit the risk of problematic situations occurring.

Although the best way to diagnose and take care of digestive problems is to promptly report any that appear to your doctor, research on nutrition has found that certain foods effect your digestion positively than others. According to Inside Fitness some of these foods include the following five:

Alicia Bell - Karen Civil - Train It Right - Apple

Apples: This tasty fruit has a magic combination of both soluble and insoluble fibre helps you eat and digest quickly and easily.

Tumeric: Has been known to help with inflammation which can help smooth out the digestion process as your food travels through your system.

Almonds: These little nuts are filled with digestion enhancing fibre and calcium which also supports many functions in the body.

Peppermint Tea:  Is known to calm the stomach muscles and improve the flow of your bile. Try to refrain from the use sweetener or milk.

Coconut Oil: This natural oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids that can help with digestion. You can take it as a supplement, cook with it, add it to smoothies or even use it as a replacement for butter.

For more tips on fitness and healthy eating check out

Alicia Bell is a Toronto based Personal Trainer




How To Create a Healthy Dinner Plate

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There are a lot of misconceptions about the foods that should be include on the dinner plate. The following are some healthy choices as to what you should include. Make sure it is well rounded and includes multiple food groups. The following foods should be considered as options for an “anytime plate” according to Precision Nutrition. The portions will vary depending on your goals (weight loss, weight gain etc), as well as timing (pre or post workout). More information can be found through the Precision Nutrition Plate Guide.


Drink: Choose water or tea instead of juice or soda as your main beverage.

Leafy Greens and Vegetables: You should choose steamed, raw or roast greens such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, collards, kale, bok choy, chard, watercress, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, corn, onions, green peas, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes.

Healthy Fats: Seeds, nuts, olives, and avocados. Try to eliminate extracted oils and processed fats (example: margarine).

Whole Grains and Starch Based Vegetables: Some foods include rice, oats, Quinoa, buckwheat, millet, spelt, barley, whole grain pasta. This category also includes beets, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash. Beans, lentils, soybeans, split peas and tofu are also included in this category.

Lean Meats, Poultry and Fish: Lean ground turkey, lean ground beef, chicken, and fish are all included in this category.

Salt: You should minimize your salt intake by using products with no sodium or low in sodium ingredients. Use salt as a seasoning sparingly. Try and stay inspired and use herbs, spices, vinegars, lemons and limes for seasoning.

For more tips on fitness and healthy eating check out

Alicia Bell is a Toronto based Personal Trainer




A Guide To Eating Healthy When Traveling

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Hydrate - GP8 - Live Civil

Travel doesn’t have to be the death of your healthy diet. A little bit of planning and some strategic ordering at restaurants will help you stay on track and eating clean.

When you are on the road or ordering from restaurant always check  from this list of 21 Superfoods provided by Precision Nutrition and Train It Right to see if your food choices are on the list. If the food choice is not on the list DO NOT EAT or DRINK It.

Your food CHOICES do MATTER, try to stick to the following guide of options when traveling. This will help you stay on track while you enjoy your time away.


1. Lean red meat (grass fed)



– Elk

2. Salmon (wild caught preferred)

3. Eggs (omega 3 and cage fed preferred)

4. Milk (Almond, Coconut preffered)

5. Protein Supplement (whey or plant based)

– Kaizen

– Poliquin Brand My favs

Vegetables and Fruit

6. Spinach

7. Tomatoes

8. Cruciferous Begetables

– Broccoli


– Cauliflower

9. Mixed Berries (low on glycemic index)



10. Oranges (vit c)

Other Carbohydrates

11. Mixed Beans

12. Quinoa

13. Whole Oats

Good Fats

14. Raw, unsalted mixed nuts

15. Avacados

16. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

17. Fish Oil

18. Flax seeds (ground)


19. Water, Green Tea, Coffee (cream has less sugar than milk)

20. Liquid Exercise drinks (or BCAA’s)

21. Greens + Supplement

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. The human body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh, and help you eat less. It will also help you avoid travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and food cravings.

You can find more healthy tips on www.trainitright.com or follow Alicia on Twitter.

10 Reasons To Avoid Sugar

By Posted on 155 3 m read


According to the Huffington Post most of use consume an excess of up to and beyond 500 extra calories of sugar per day. One pound weight gain is equivalent to approximately 3500 calories. This means that the average person is putting themselves at risk to gain a minimum of one extra pound a week.

Here are 10 more reasons to cut back on sugar:

Sugar sweetened beverages are related to obesity

Canadians are drinking roughly twice as many soft drinks now as they did in 1970. Sugary liquids may make us fatter because they don’t curb our appetite for more food.

Sugar enriched beverages are linked to diabetes

Sugar sweetened soft drinks might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes because they’re high in rapidly absorbable carbohydrates. Also, studies have shown that people who eat foods that raise blood sugar levels have a higher risk of diabetes.

Sugar contains empty calories

There’s no question that sugars are a major culprit in obesity, because they’re a source of empty calories that most people don’t need. Sugar has no nutritional benefits whatsoever. Added sugars crowd out healthy foods, or make you fat if eaten in addition to healthy foods.

Sugar-sweetened drinks can raise the risk of heart disease

Excess weight isn not good for the heart. A big belly is one part of the metabolic syndrome, which raises the risk of heart disease (and diabetes). But sugar-sweetened beverages may promote heart disease whether or not they make you gain weight.

Sugar raises triglycerides

When you consume a large dose of glucose, the liver doesn’t pull much of it in if you don’t need the calories. In contrast, fructose ends up in the liver whether you need the calories or not. What does the liver do with all that fructose? It converts some of the fructose into fat, which gets sent into the bloodstream, resulting in higher levels of triglycerides.

Sugar promotes belly fat

According to the Huffington Post A 2010 2010 study in children found “excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature — setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.”

Sugar may be linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival

According to research done by the Huffington Post. A 2013 study found that “sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP (it is completely dependant on sugar levels), that in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that β-catenin may in fact affect the cells susceptibility to cancer formation. They found an associations between high sugar and starch intake and survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon patients.”  This link between sugar and higher cancer risks should make you wan’t to cut back if nothing else does.

Sugar can cause over-eating

Leptin is a hormone made by fat cells. It’s supposed to make you stop eating. Over time a high sugar diet blocks the leptin signal in the brain. The result is that you keep eating and no longer know when you are full.

Minimizing added sugars has been known to keep blood pressure down

There’s a possibility that sugar raises blood pressure, but it is not definitive. It is clear that there’s little place for sugar in a diet that’s designed to lower blood pressure.

Most sugary foods are low in nutrients

When you consume high sugar foods from companies such as Coca-cola, Pepsi, Hostess, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme etc you are getting over fed and under nourished. These foods are high in sugars and low  in nutrients. Many are also packed with white flour which does not contain much nutritional value.

Alicia Bell, BSc Kin, CPT, NCCP, CF-L1

For more info follow Alicia on twitter or check out her website

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding

Craving something sweet at the end of a long work day and you want to keep it healthy? Try mixing up a batch of chocolate peanut butter protein pudding. Its quick, easy and healthy. Because it contains protein as an ingredient it will cause you to stay fuller longer than your regular sugary treats.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding



2 Scoops of Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (You can use any protein of choice or Rivalus)

1 TBSP PB2 – Powdered Peanut Butter (http://www.bellplantation.com/)

1 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Ghirardelli or cocoa powder of choice)

unsweetened cocoa
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (Almond Breeze or almond milk of choice)


2 packets of Stevia, Coconut Sugar, Agave Syrup or another sweet alternative of your choice



1. Mix all the ingredients together in a microwaveable bowl or mug.

2. Place it in to the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute

3. Let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.

4. Enjoy!

Follow Alicia on Instagram or Twitter: @trainitright for more recipes, and health and fitness tips.

How To Shed Those Holiday Pounds

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Karen Civil - Holiday

The holiday season is slowly coming to an end. We have all consumed far too many holiday meals, treats and drink. It’s time to get back on the right track. With all of the holiday celebrations our Nutrition and exercise routines tend to take a back seat to family and social gatherings. With all the commitments it is easy to be consumed with the holiday spirit and neglect your health and fitness.

Did you know that an average according to www.myfitnesspal.com

– Christmas dinner that can include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and broccoli can be up to 1500 calories.

– One Heineken beer can equate to 150 calories.

– There can be up to 158 calories in one holiday mixed drink.

– There are over 450 calories in a regular size rum and egg nog.

– Four Christmas chocolates can contain up to 280 calories.

– And a serving of everyone’s favourite baked macaroni and cheese pie can be as much as 381 calories.

As you can see all of the holiday indulging can really add up the calories and fast. The more time with family at dinner parties and the more holiday staff parties you attended the more time you have probably spent away from your regular workout and nutritional routines.

One pound of fat is compromised of 3500 calories. When you add up all of those extra calories from the holidays you can easily gain unwanted pounds fast. Spring break is fast approaching and the last thing you want is excess baggage on your spring break vacation.

Here are a few tips that you can use to shed those holiday pounds fast:

1. Hire a personal trainer and if you can’t afford a trainer try purchasing an online program from one to keep yourself accountable. Check out this affordable workout ebook: www.trainitright.com/blog/store or you can purchase online training programs from www.trainitright.com

2. Drink a minimum of 2L of water a day. Water flushes toxins out of your body and keeps you hydrated to avoid water bloating.

3. Lift heavy weights. No you will not get big and bulky ladies. The more lean lean muscle you build the more calories you burn. This will have you looking toned and sexy faster than lifting high repetitions of light weights.

4. Sign up for a Yoga Class. If you don’t like the gym try signing up for a regular or even a hot yoga class. Yoga stretching requires body weighted strength and endurance and it’s great for toning and flexibility. It will help develop long lean looking muscles and help you drop the holiday fluff.

5. Supplement Zinc. According to Dr. oz at www.doctoroz.com “zinc is an essential mineral in your diet. It also accelerates the activity of approximately 100 different body enzymes. Supports healthy cell growth and development.” This means that when you are deficient in zinc it can effect your body’s ability to digest and absorb your nutrients properly.

6. Eat a minimum of three meals. When you skip meals your body goes into a type of starvation mode. Since it is unsure when it will get its next meal it will store fat for later energy needs. Ironically they key to weigh loss is to eat more often. Not only do you need to eat more often but you need to eat the right foods. That means plenty of lean meats, veggies, minimal fruits and low glycemic carbohydrates.

7. Snack on good fats (nuts, seeds, avocados). These foods are high in good fats and your body will use them for energy instead of storing them. This foods are also high in satiety which means that they keep you fuller longer.

8. Take a protein supplement post workout. Supplementing protein helps rebuild muscle and aids in recovery so you can work out at a high intensity for your next workout without muscle soreness. Also a diet higher I’m protein has been shown to lead to fat loss and better muscle toning.

9. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Without proper sleep your body will have higher levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone causes fat storage in your body and the target area is usually your midsection. Avoid this by getting proper sleep and make your sleeping times habitual.

10. Eliminate stresses in your life. Stress causes many adverse effects in the mody. One can be weight gain. If you eliminate stresses the more time you have to focus on your health and fitness and the less likely your body is to hold on to those excess pounds that you may have gained over the holidays.

For more tips on how you can shed those holiday pounds follow Alicia on twitter www.twitter.com/trainitright or check out her website www.trainitright.com

Fitness Tips For Travelling

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Most of us live in a very busy and fast paced environment. We are all in a constant state of movement. Traveling from place to place and always on the go. Sometimes we spend hours in a car, on planes, buses or trains and days, weeks, months away from home in hotels, motels and inns. This makes it a constant challenge to workout while you are traveling. It may be difficult but it is not impossible. Follow these tips to make travelling and working out a breeze and part of your traveling routine.

1. Research the hotels facilities. A lot of hotels have facilities for working out. Some are better than others so do your research first. Check out hotels near where you need to be and call and ask what facilities are available for fitness. Some hotels even have their own trainers if that happens to be in your budget. If its not plan your workout a head or make sure the hotel has wifi so you can log onto www.dailyhitt.com and do your daily workout.

2. Create a travel workout kit. If you don’t want to use your hotels facilities, they don’t have wifi for you to log in and do a www.dailyhiit.com workout or they don’t even have a workout facility you can plan ahead and create a travel workout kit. Items to include can be a TRX with door mount, exercise bands, skipping rope and a yoga mat. You can do an array of exercises in your hotel room with these items or a combination of these items.

3. Make use of whatever space available in your room. If you don’t have a travel kit, wifi or a facility to workout at you can use your body weight. Push aside chairs and tables and do some of your favourite body weighted exercises. These can include exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups, supermans, hip raises, glute bridges, planks, bicycles, jumping jacks and burpees.

4. Get outside. If the weather permits grab your running shoes and hit the streets for a long run, intervals, hills or even a brisk walk. Remember to check with the front desk or a local to make sure the area is safe and always tell some one where you are heading. There are plenty of apps to help you with your workout. If you happen to have an iphone try www.pearsports.com and download their free coaching app. It will help you keep your heart rate up and in a personalized training zone.

Happy travelling and training!

Follow Alicia on twitter: www.twitter.com/trainitright

Why Your Resting Heart Rate Is Important

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Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger and larger as a result of exercise. The resulting effects of exercise causes more blood to be pumped through the body with ever heartbeat. This also causes the ability to sustain its maximum level without stress or strain. The resting heart rate for those individuals who do exercise is lower because for them it takes less effort to pump blood.

For men, the healthy range for resting heart rate is 65-70bpm and for women it is 70-75. If your heart rate is higher than the healthy range, regular exercise will help to lower it. And if it is lower than the healthy range that is a good thing. That means you are exercising regularly and have a healthy heart. WebMd states that “regular aerobic exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, meaning that your heart pumps more blood each time it contracts, needing fewer beats per minute to do its job.”

According to the Mayo Clinic “Although there’s a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.”

You know your resting, target and maximum heart rate are. The target heart rate is the rate at which your body is in motion from a sustained exercise. You want to measure it during exercise. The goal when exercising is to stay within your Target HR Range or Zone. The target is to be between 75% to 85% of your maximum HR. The most accurate formula for calculating your maximum heart rate was published in 2001 by Tanaka in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Multiply your age by 0.7 and subtract that figure from 208. For example, a 40-year-old has a maximum heart rate of 180 (208 – 0.7 x 40).

Blood pressure is also important. Regular exercises keeps the arteries in the body elastic at any age. This in turn ensures that blood flow and pressure are normal. People are not very active or sedentary have a 35% greater risk of developing hypertension than regular exercisers do. Therefor regular exercise is one of the lifestyle factors that will also help to lower high blood pressure. Optimal Blood Pressure is 120mmHg and 80mmHg for systolic and diastolic respectively. If you are unsure or have not tested your blood pressure in a while go see your family physician.

I suggest these three heart rate monitors if you want to track your target heart rate during exercise:

Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 












Polar FT40













Mio Alpha









Follow Alicia on Twitter

Do Juice Cleanses Work?

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What is a juice cleanse?

According to the Huffington Post “During a juice fast or cleanse, a person limits their diet to only fresh vegetable and fruit juices and water for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The fast focuses on freshly made, unpasteurized juice, so the usual bottles of OJ that you would pick up at the corner store wouldn’t be allowed.” Juice cleanses also tend to be expensive if you buy them from a manufacturer. If you do decide that you want to do your own juicing the juicers can be costly and can be up to $300 for a top of the line juicer says Huffington Post.

Do juice cleanses work?

The answer is not for long. Some (not all) juice cleanses lack in calories. When you are calorie deficient it can slow your metabolism down. When your body has an improper amount of protein it can also cause muscle loss. Usually people who do juice cleanses want to drop fat not muscle. Therefore you will only be doing your body more harm than good when you deprive it proper nutrients and calories. If you do drop a significant amount of weight from a juice cleanse you’ll like gain weight immediately when you return to your normal eating habits. Therefore it is not a sustainable weight loss.

According to ABC News some people feel amazing after a cleanse. They say that they feel better physically and emotionally during a cleanse. Others have reported that they suffered from moodiness, irritation, depression, fatigue, constipation, constant thoughts of food, and rebound overeating.

Juice cleanses can also be dangerous for anyone who is doing chemotherapy, diabetics, people with nutritional deficiencies or people with kidney disease says Huffington Post. The high sugar in juice cleanses can increase blood-sugar levels in diabetics, This can can lead to problems with fatigue, blurred sight, hunger and thirst.

ABC News recommends that if you do a juice cleanse you should not workout at the same time. They state that the main reasons not to workout and do a juice cleanse are because it can cause tiredness, dizziness and leave you nauseas. They say that because of the lack of protein that causes the breaking down muscle mass can also increase your risk of injury.

If you do choose to try a cleanse make sure it is one where you are not depriving yourself of calories or protein. The moment you have negative feelings, dizziness, fatigue or any other negative symptoms stop the cleanse immediately and check with your doctor.

Follow Alicia on Twitter for more health and fitness tips.


The Two Best Ways To Get Abs

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Alicia Bell - Karen Civil

One of the most common questions I get from clients and health enthusiasts is “how do I get abs?”  To get a  flat stomach isn’t easy. It takes dedication to healthy eating and a fitness regime. There are no magic pills, special wraps or “diets” that will get you fast results. The truth is that you will never see your abdominal muscles without burning the fat that is covering them first. This is can only be done through clean eating and proper HIIT training.

1. Incorporate HIIT Training Into Your Workouts

Stomach crunches and other core exercises will strengthen and tone your abdominals but you need to up your intensity and add in HIIT.  When you are doing your training you should add in both high intensity interval training and compound exercise movements.

Compound exercises are movements that involve more than one muscle group. When you train this way you increase the calorie burn and can shed off fat fast and effectively. Compound movements that shed the fat include squats with an added shoulder press or a step up with a biceps curl.

High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) will burn more calories and get you the abs that you desire much faster than if you were to go for a 5 mile jog followed by crunches everyday. According to Bodybuilding.com “High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of all-out effort alternated with short periods of low-effort “recovery” time.” Also HIIT can take less than 20 minutes to complete. They suggest to go on a sprint-walk, sprint up a hill and job down and repeat, or 30s intervals on machines.

2. Eat Clean

“Great abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym”.  As you may be aware it is really easy to pack on the pounds by over indulging, but it is much more difficult and time consuming to lose the weight.  The key to dropping the pounds and decreasing your body fat percentage is to eat fewer calories and increasing your activity level. Increasing your activity will burn more calories each day so your body won’t get a chance to store anything. It is also important to make sure you are eating the right type of calories.  This means that you should following a diet that is plentiful in the following:

– Lean meats

– Vegetables

– Fruits

– Good fats such as Omega 3

– Drink plenty of water

You should also cut out processed foods that contain high levels of sodium and unnecessary additives. Also try to be carb conscious. This means that you should try to eat carbohydrates for post-workout meals. The reasoning behind this is that post workout is when the body is best able to manage the increase in blood sugar and insulin levels associated with eating certain carbs.

If you consistently incorporate these two changes into your fitness regime you will see your abdominals improve over time. Remember there is no magic pill that can give you results. It takes hard work and dedication.

Follow Alicia on Twitter

Pumpkin Protein Shake Recipe

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It’s leaves are changing, the air is crisp which means it is fall. That means that it is pumpkin pie season. Pies can be high in carbs as well as sugar and fat content. Here is a pumpkin pie shake recipe that is a fast and easy healthy alternative. This is one of my favourite recipes that can be used for a post-workout, breakfast, or as a snack. If you love pumpkin flavour anything like I do I promise that this shake won’t disappoint you because this shake isis thick like a milkshake and tastes like a creamy pumpkin pie. Perfect for your fall taste buds.

In a blender combine the following ingredients:

– 3 scoops of pumpkin out of a cone

– 2/3 ice cubes

– 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or any other milk of your choice

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

– 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon stevia, coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice

– 1/2 of a banana (I prefer frozen)

– 1/2 – 1 tablespoon non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Blend ingredients thoroughly and pour into a glass and enjoy!

Follow Alicia on Twitter for more great recipes and health and fitness tips.




Baked Kale Chip Recipe


Out of all the green veggies to choose from, Kale packs the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrients. The list of health benefits is pretty long but here are some of my favourites: Kale is very high in fibre, which is essential when it comes to maintaining or obtaining a healthy body. Foods high in fibre lower cholesterol and fight off heart disease. For just one cup of kale you are getting 5 grams of fibre. The other important nutrient is IRON! Calorie for calorie, our green goddess contains more iron than beef. If you are a vegetarian, including kale in your diet is an excellent way to get your iron. Kale is also high is vitamin K and antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, all of which help prevent cancer. Vitamin K has also been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

WHFoods recommends that you should include Kale a minimum of 2-3 times per week. WHFoods says that you should “make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups.” This being said, it is simple to add kale to any meal! You can make a kale salad, sauté with extra virgin olive or coconut oil, or make kale chips!

Kale Chip Recipe:


1 head organic kale

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt or other spice of your choice

These “chips” are delicious with any seasoning. I prefer the more spicy flavours, but you can use parmesan, oregano, or garlic salt. Kale chips are a great way to incorporate this amazing green into your diet. Personally I love potato chips so I substitute them for this.


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Wash and dry head of kale.

3. Rip apart chip size kale pieces (keep in mind the pieces will shrink when you bake them). Do NOT include the stem.

4. Place kale pieces in a freezer size Ziplock bag. Drizzle olive oil into bag with the kale and seal (flatten the Ziplock to make sure there are no air bubbles).

5. Massage the olive oil onto the kale, making sure each piece is covered.

6.  Lay the pieces of kale out on a baking in a single layer (this will take at least 2 baking sheets).

7. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper evenly amongst all kale pieces.

8. Put in oven for 20 minutes.

9. Take kale chips out, allow them to cool for 15 minutes.