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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Integrate Nutrition and Fitness Goals for Best Results: Apply the 80/20 Rule!

Dec 31, 2014 04:00AM ● By Elizabeth Reed

Have you ever wondered why you may not be getting the desired results from your fitness training regime? Many gym-goers try to “out-train their diet” to achieve weight loss and body composition results. At one time, in younger years, you may have been able to maintain your weight and physique this way. However, the older we get, the less our metabolisms are able to compensate to do this. Nutritionists, registered dietitians, health coaches and fitness trainers will usually tell you that to achieve your desired health and fitness goals, 80 percent is from your diet and the other 20 percent is from exercise. The following are four lifestyle changes you can make to align your nutrition and fitness goals to achieve success this year.

STEP #1: Decide to make permanent, long-term lifestyle changes instead of short-term goals using fad diets and training routines. By incorporating nutrient-dense, low-glycemic index (GI) meals along with moderate aerobic and anaerobic exercise, it is possible to achieve permanent and positive health and body composition changes. “Exercise and eating well with a low-GI diet go hand-in-hand with feeling good about ourselves. This is a winning combination that elevates your health and physical wellbeing and the foundations for a healthy lifestyle,” states Donna Brown, MS, a clinical nutritionist and the founder of Fairfield-based Nutrition Kitchen.

STEP #2: Encompass lifestyle behavior modifications by getting enough rest, shaking up your regular exercise routine and eating clean. Get rid of highly processed foods that are heavily laden with unwanted calories, hidden fats and sugars, and are low in nutritional value. Ditch the restrictive short-term fad diets that remove entire food groups. This can cause food cravings and create sluggish metabolisms that increase unwanted weight grain and impede body fat loss. These fad diets, which can initially cause a drastic drop in weight, eventually backfire and cause rebound weight gain, ultimately sabotaging your workout efforts.

In contrast, a low-glycemic index way of eating embraces a non-restrictive diverse food list that guarantees long-term compliance and success. This ensures suitable nutritional support from foods when they are consumed in a proper food-combining method that maintains blood sugar balance and keeps the body in a fat-burning zone all day long. Furthermore, this type of program does not focus on calorie counting to achieve these goals but rather on combining protein and fiber at every meal (see sidebar for low-GI breakfast recipe: Tiny Omelettes in Muffin Tins). This concept is the cornerstone of keeping blood glycemic levels balanced and body fat at bay. Additionally, proper blood balancing will give you more energy for your workouts.

“Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. One actually feeds the other. If you exercise, it has a direct effect on the food choices you make. On the flip side, if you feed the body unhealthy foods, you feel lethargic, heavy, depressed, and you are less likely to want to exercise,” states Annette Alfieri, MS, a clinical nutritionist and founder of Annette Alfieri Nutrition in Fairfield. When you eat right to balance your blood sugar, you will have more energy in every aspect of your life, better mental clarity, improved energy levels and improved workout results.

Seeking out nutritional guidance from a professional is one of the quickest ways to get on track to creating new healthy eating habits. Most nutritional coaches no longer focus on the old way of recording calories. Instead, the focus is now about blood sugar control to manage weight, energy levels and overall health and getting better results in the gym.

STEP #3: Forget about the traditional bathroom scale; instead of focusing on actual pounds lost, focus on overall inches and body fat loss. A low-GI-food program can produce a reduction of up to 15 inches, reduction in body fat percentage and a drop in one to two clothing sizes before losing a single pound on the scale. “Body fat percentage is thankfully gaining more popularity as an effective marker of overall health and fitness instead of the BMI index,” says Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT, the creator of BuiltLean. Know when you have reached an appropriate body fat range. Just as too much body fat is unhealthy, so is too little body fat. A healthy body fat range for women is between 18 to 24 percent and for men it is 8 to 20 percent. So lose the habit of weighing in every morning and replace your traditional scale with a tape measure and a bioelectrical impedance scale. For best results, focus should be on fat loss, not weight loss.

STEP #4: Shake up your exercise routine. If you do the same routine every time you work out and do not change the intensity, your body will plateau. An effective way to break your training plateau is to hire a trainer and/or add a group exercise class a few days a week. Positive changes can be seen and felt in as little as a few weeks. Try adding Pilates, yoga, pole sculpting, Zumba, or other types of general group training class. Just keep shaking up your exercise routine for the best results.

Do not wait to get started. Get the most out of your training efforts by incorporating these four steps to align and rebalance your nutrition and fitness goals for a successful 2015.

Elizabeth Reed is the owner of BodySmart, a Boutique Fitness and Weight Loss Studio in Monroe.  She is a Clinical Nutritionist, MS, CNS; PMA Certified Teacher and NASM Personal Trainer. Connect with her at 203-767-0623 or


Donna Brown, MS,
Clinical nutritionist
Nutrition Kitchen, Fairfield

Annette Alfieri, MS
Clinical nutritionist
Annette Alfieri Nutrition, Fairfield

Mayo Clinic - Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Marc Perry, CSC, CPT

Tiny Omelettes in Muffin Tins

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes






• Green onion, chopped (optional)

• Tomato, chopped (optional)

• Onion, chopped (optional)

• Cheese, grated (optional)

• Green chilies, minced (optional)

• 6 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbsp milk (or egg whites)

• Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Grease your muffin tin. Add vegetables of your choice along with cheese. Pour beaten egg mixture on it.

Place muffin pan on the center rack of a preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are light brown, puffy, and the eggs are set.

Let muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the muffin pan or cups. Loosen gently with knife if they seem to be sticking. Eat immediately or let cool completely and store in plastic bag in refrigerator or freezer. The egg muffins can be reheated in the microwave.

You can add cooked chicken, beef or mince, spinach, sausages, ricotta cheese and more as per your taste

Source: Catherine Yummly

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