Health Tips

Snack Attack

A little bite here. A small spoonful there. Just a taste, pinch, or lick. It seems so innocent. But, all that snacking can lead to an ever-expanding waistline and diet disaster!

It seems that snacking is an American pastime. We nosh on potato chips while watching reality TV. We munch on crackers as we view our Facebook friends’ updates. We snatch handfuls of M&M;’s from our co-workers’ desks. And we slurp down our smoothies in the midst of running errands.

Snacking isn’t bad. Actually, snacking is a healthy habit, since most dieticians and healthcare professionals recommend eating four to six small meals throughout the day. So, the question is not whether you should or should not snack, rather the question is, “What are you snacking on?”

Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends healthy snacking, particularly before or after a vigorous workout. Missett offers these ideas for healthy snacks that are low in calories and will keep hunger at bay.

• Eggs – One hard-boiled egg has about 80 calories. It has enough protein “staying power” to help you feel full without all the excess calories. Just don’t fry or scramble your egg in butter, which packs on the fat grams.

• Nuts – Grab a handful of nuts if you’re craving something crunchy or salty. Shoot for ten almonds or dry-roasted cashews, either of which totals about 100 calories.

• Fruit – An apple has about 75-80 calories, while a banana ranges from 90-100 calories. Peaches, grapefruits, and tangerines all pack less than 50 calories, and these citrus varieties can even help ward off sweet tooth cravings.

• Yogurt – Refuel with a cup of nonfat yogurt for 110 calories. Avoid pre-sweetened yogurts; add your own fruit to plain nonfat yogurt instead.

• Veggies – Raw veggies are extremely low in calories. Dip your veggies in a little peanut butter, rather than ranch dressing, to add protein power to your snack.

Plan ahead to keep yourself from binging on empty calorie treats when that mid-afternoon slump sends you racing to the nearest vending machine. Portion out your snacks for the next few days and bring a few snack options with you to work or when you run errands.

Keep healthy snacks available at all times, and you’re more likely to make wise choices throughout the day.

Sole Matters – Find Your Best Workout Shoes

Finding the right pair of workout sneakers can often seem like a daunting task. An average shoe store has dozens of styles and designs. And buying the wrong pair can be a costly mistake – not only for your wallet, but also for your precious feet.

Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett knows the importance of finding just the right workout shoe. As a leader in the fitness industry for more than 40 years, Missett gives these five rules for selecting a pair of tennis shoes that will fit your needs.

  1. Shop later in the day. Your feet tend to swell when you exercise. So, it is best to try on shoes when your foot size is at its largest point. Since your feet naturally swell throughout any given day, your afternoon shoe size is typically about one-half size larger than your morning shoe size. Shop for your tennies in the afternoon, and you’ll more likely find a good fit.
  2. Know what to look for. First, check the fit across the front of your shoe. Avoid styles or sizes that cram your toes. In fact, your longest toe should be about one-thumb width away from the tip of the shoe. You also want to make sure that you can wiggle your toes around. Then, check that your heel doesn’t slide or slip-out of the back of the shoe. Lastly, be sure that your foot doesn’t slide off the inner or outside edge.
  3. Learn the lingo. There are three major support components of a shoe. The insole is a foam insert located inside the shoe. It conforms to the shape of your foot and can be removed to make room for custom-designed inserts. Meanwhile, the midsole is the foam layer that offers cushion and support for your arch. And lastly, the outsole is the rubber tread of your sneakers. Different outsoles have varying types of traction, making them best-suited for indoor or outdoor workouts.
  4. Test them out. Before you leave the store, make sure that you test out your shoes. That doesn’t mean just walking around in them. You need to perform a few exercises, to see how they feel.
  5. Remember that you know best. The friendly salesperson may have a lot of knowledge about shoe design, style, and comfort. But, he/she doesn’t know your workout or how your foot feels in a shoe. So, if a pair doesn’t fit quite right, don’t let anyone talk you into making a purchase because the sneakers “should” be a perfect fit. Go ahead and take your time shopping around. Compare the fit and the feel of various types of shoes, and select the pair that meets your individual needs.

Got Results?

Your workout regimen is in place. You’ve been faithfully attending classes, listening to your instructors, and the sweat is pouring off of you. So, how are your results? Do you notice a difference in how you look and feel? If not, then it’s time to gauge the intensity level that you’re putting into your workout.

Intensity is basically a measure of how hard you are working. Keeping tabs on your intensity is imperative if you want to gain the best fitness results. If you waltz leisurely through your workout, it will only frustrate you in the end, when you see a lack of results. At the same time, pushing yourself beyond your safe intensity limits is a recipe for injury and burnout.

Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests that exercisers check for intensity level about every ten minutes. This way, you’ll know if you’re putting in the right amount of effort to gain results without risking injury.

The three most common methods for measuring workout intensity are target heart rate, the talk test, and rate of perceived exertion.

  • Target Heart Rate – The Mayo Clinic offers a simple formula to determine your target heart rate. Subtract your age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate. This is the highest limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during exercise. If you multiply that number by 70 percent and 85 percent, you’ll find a safe target heart rate range. Your goal is for your heartbeats per minute to stay within that range.

Talk Test – With the talk test, your ability to speak gauges your intensity level. If you can’t carry on a simple conversation, then you’re working too hard, and you need to slow down. However, if you find yourself discussing the finer points of last night’s Iron Chef episode without missing a beat, then you probably need to step it up a notch.

  • Rate of Perceived Exertion – Using a scale of 1-10, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is a simple way to measure workout intensity. When you’re relaxing in bed, consider your RPE to be at level one. On the flip side, if you’re sprinting down the street hollering after the last available taxi, you’re probably at level ten. For your workouts, the American Council on Exercise suggests that you stay between a range of three to five on the RPE scale. Novice exercisers will want to spend more time at level three, whereas experienced athletes can log more minutes at an elevated level.

Set a plan to measure your intensity level several times during your next workout. It’s one surefire way to get results.

Technique Tip

External Rotation

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, weights in hands, torso inclined slightly forward from your hips (not your waist), and your knees soft (not locked in place).
Bend your elbows 90 degrees. Your hands should be in front of your elbows with your palms facing each other.
Keep your upper arms still and close to your body.
Retract your shoulder blades toward your spine and open your forearms in an arc.
The movement may be small depending on your range of motion.
Return your forearms to their starting position with your hands in front of your elbows.
Performing this exercise on a regular basis will help tighten and tone your shoulder muscles, specifically the rotator cuff muscles.

For more health tips visit the official Jazzercise site at

If you have any questions please consult your physician.


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