Author Archives: Kristina

About Kristina

Kristina is an adventure seeker with a life-long love of sports and a love of cooking that makes her favorite dishes healthier for all who enjoy them. She holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's in exercise science from Wichita State University. Commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, Kristina is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard.

New York’s Ban on Trans Fats is Working

A recent study shows that New Yorkers are eating much less of the trans fat since the ban took effect back in 2008.

The city passed the ban back in 2006 that limited the amount of trans fat per serving to be less than 0.5 grams.

Americans eat about a third of their meals away from the home which meant at the time a larger consumption of this dangerous fat. Trans fats are even more dangerous than saturated fats because not only do they raise total cholesterol levels but also lower good cholesterol, which helps fight against heart disease.

The recent study done by Christine Curtis, MBA, of the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and colleagues looked to see how much, if at all, the effect of the ban was having on New Yorkers. They looked at 6,969 lunch receipts from before in 2007 and 7,885 after the ban in 2009. They reported their findings in the July 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. (more…)

Saturday Morning Drills: The Ultimate Pushup Guide

If you are looking for a great way to tone your upper body as well gaining more strength, pushups are an excellent choice. Another reason they rock is because you can pretty much do them anywhere. Pushups strengthen your arms, shoulder, back and even your core!

If you are first starting out, start by only doing 5-10 and focus on proper form. Unlike many other exercises, you can perform pushups everyday. Make it a goal to do 100 pushups everyday. To make it more attainable, break them up into smaller session of 10 or 20. Pushups are very challenging but if you stay consistent, you’ll soon see amazing results and start gaining confidence!

The following guide provides you with eight different variations of the pushup. It includes options for beginners all the way to more advanced moves. Try all of them and see which ones you like the best!

View The Ultimate Push Up Guide Slideshow


Worst Vacation Destinations for Your Waistline

A lot of people fall victim to diet traps while on vacation. Sure, you’re taking a break from work, but that doesn’t mean you can take a break from your diet, too. Doing that will mean you’re falling victim to a different kind of tourist trap! The biggest tourist trap of them all is in the Mediterranean, and it’s probably not the country you’re thinking.

Based on a study done by Fly Thomas Cook, which looked at 350 people from the U.K vacationing for an average of a week and a half, close to half of them came back with a few extra pounds as souvenirs. According to the study, men gained about five pounds while they were overseas and women came back with a little more than one pound. (more…)

Saturday Morning Drills: Get Sculpted Legs

In this 15 minute workout we are going to focus on getting sexy sculpted legs by doing high intensity exercises with little rest. This routine will turn your body into a fat burning inferno!

What to do: Before you start, make sure you have properly warmed up. Do the following routine a total of three times, making sure you spend 30 seconds resting before starting the routine over again. Also, you can hold on to light weight dumbbells to really kick it into over drive.

The Routine

Side Lunge– Standing with feet shoulder width apart and arms by your side, take a big side step with your left leg. Bend your left leg while keeping your right leg straight. Keeping your back straight, lower your arms till your hands are near your left ankle. Hold for a few seconds then bring your left leg back to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Repeat as many times as you can for 1 minute.

Sumo Jumps– Stand with feet wider than your shoulders and squat with elbows bent. While raising your arms, jump up. Lift your knees up as high as you can in the jump. Land softly back in the wide stance. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Front Lunge– Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take a big step forward with your left leg, bending your left knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Make sure your back is straight and you are not leaning your back or head forward. Picture a horse on a carousel. Bring your left leg back to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Repeat as many times as you can for 1 minute.

Squat Jumps– Squat with feet shoulder-width apart and jump up while raising your arms up in the air. Land softly back into the squat position. Go for 1 minute. (more…)

Fear Of Gaining Weight After Quitting Smoking is Legit

Quitting smoking leads to more weight gain than originally thought, discovered a recent study, with an average gain of eight to eleven pounds in the first year.

Researchers analyzed data from earlier studies that were conducted between 1989 and 2011 in the United States, Europe, Australia and east Asia. They looked at weight changes of people who had successfully quit smoking.

They discovered the majority of the weight is put on during the first three months. For quitters who did not use nicotine replacement therapy they gained an average of 2 pounds the first month, 5 pounds the second month, 6 pounds during the third month, 9 pounds at six months and 10 pounds after a year.

Previous experts estimated people only gained an average of 6 pounds when quitting. This new research shows that the weight gain is more than most women are willing to tolerate when it comes to attempting to quit.

However, you shouldn’t let the fear of gaining weight discourage you from quitting. Experts continue to stress that the health benefits of quitting far outweigh the risks of weight gain. (more…)

Eating Avocados and Olive Oil Could Triple Your Chances of Fertility

A diet high in monounsaturated fat has been found to increase fertility in women trying to get pregnant trough IVF treatments, finds a new study.

The results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) by Dr Jorge Chavarro, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, USA.

“Different types of fat are known to have different effects on biological processes which may influence the outcome of assisted reproduction – such as underlying levels of inflammation or insulin sensitivity. However, it is not clear at this moment which biological mechanisms underlie the associations we found,” said Chavarro in the press release.

The study took place among 147 women having IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. According to the press release, they had preclinical assessments including oocyte development. They were also categorized into tertiles of fat intake, with outcomes compared in relation to the lowest tertile. Results were controlled for other sources of energy, infertility diagnosis, ovarian stimulation protocol, body mass index (BMI) and smoking status.

The study also found that women who ate polyunsaturated fat or the “bad fat” had more poor quality embryos. The connection of a diet high in saturated fat and lower sperm count has already been discovered. (more…)

Adapt to Running in the Heat with These Easy Tips

This summer has broken all sorts of records for being the hottest summer in almost 100 years. With the scorching temperatures, running outside is probably the last thing you want to do. However, if you follow these simple tips, you will be able to run outside safely and efficiently.

Adapting to the heat gradually is the best way to prepare your body. It typically takes around two weeks to adapt to the environment. The best way to see if you are adapting is to weigh yourself before and after your workout. If you have lost weight, you need to make sure to consume more fluid while you are exercising.

Drink 2.5 ounces of fluid for every pound lost. Two hours before your workout it is recommended by experts to drink at least 16 ounces of water to ensure you are properly hydrated. During your workout, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking 5-10 ounces for every 15 minutes of your workout.

If your workout is 45 minutes or less, water is sufficient and drinking a sports drink will only bring in extra calories. However, if it’s longer, a sports drink is needed to replenish your electrolytes.

The best times to run during the summer is in the morning or evening. The mornings are usually cooler and ozone levels are typically lower but tend to be more humid. The ozone levels tend to peak right during midday and again in the early evening. Avoid running outdoors between noon and 3 pm. (more…)

Cutting Back on Sugar Isn’t a Guarantee for Weight Loss

Between 2001 to 2004, according a study done by the American Heart Association (AHA), Americans on average were consuming 22.2 teaspoons of sugar per day, that is equivalent to 355 calories a day. Over one year that is equal to 37 pounds!

Experts say the consumption of sugar is a large contributor to the obesity epidemic and the AHA recommends women consume only 100 calories of sugar a day (6 teaspoons) and men limit it to 150 calories (9 teaspoon).

In order to cut back on the sugar, it’s important for people to understand where they consume most of the sugar. The biggest sources are soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

A good tool to use when it comes to cutting down on sugar is to use alternative-sweeteners.

“Artificial sweeteners are very useful for people with diabetes and other disorders of glucose metabolism,” says’s resident dietician Mary Hartley, RD. “For others, they can be a waste of time or not. It depends on how committed an individual is to using artificial sweeteners as a tool.”

She agrees that non-nutritive sweeteners can be useful for limiting added sugars but this will not guarantee weight loss.

She explains further, “Obesity is much too complicated for such a simplistic solution. In fact, chronic ‘dieters’ are more likely to use artificial sweeteners and statistics show that most dieters regain lost weight.” (more…)

Don’t Become Your Personal Trainer’s Biggest Nightmare

Too often, people rely on their personal trainers more than they should, thinking the trainer will do most of the work for us.

“Many trainers will be more than happy to collect your checks for years, but a good one will find the best way to educate you quickly, ensure you have developed healthy habits properly and then kick you out to do it on your own when you are ready,” said Kelly Turner, a Seattle-based personal trainer.

Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations going into their first session. They don’t realize it will take more than just that one session to get into shape and to learn healthy habits.

“A trainer’s job is not to lead you through workouts for the rest of your life. You should not have a trainer forever,” she continued. “A trainer’s job is to teach you how to exercise properly on your own.”

She says people tend to think the sessions are the only times they need to workout and they get frustrated when they don’t see results quickly. Turner says it’s important to apply what they’re learning to their everyday lives outside of the gym. “Most of the work is done when the trainer isn’t there.” (more…)

What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Personal Trainer

As smart phones become more popular, so are apps promising to help you get into shape. These apps might make you think there’s no reason to spend money on a personal trainer. But some experts say relying on so-called “virtual trainers” might not be the best idea.

“Every person has a different body and learning curve, for this reason I think it is crucial to workout with a trainer,” said celebrity trainer Joel Harper. “The modifications and the tweaking that is done by a personal trainer, so that you exercise properly, is key.”

Experts say this is something lacking when you are using a workout video, website or phone app. You can follow along, but it takes someone actually watching you, ensuring you are doing the exercises properly. If not, you run the risk of injury or not getting the results you are expecting.

Your first step in hiring a personal trainer is finding one. If you are a member of a gym, that’s a great place to find a personal trainer. This gives you the opportunity to observe the trainer and see how they work with their clients. The gym can also provide you information on the trainer, including their certifications, specialties and testimonials.

If you’re not a member of a gym, you can also find personal trainers by doing a search online. The American Council on Exercise website is a fast way to find ACE certified trainers in your area. Go to and enter your zip code. Another website to use is (more…)