5 Big Benefits of Morning Workouts

As I sit here, procrastinating my morning workout, I ponder all of the reasons that I should get up and get moving. I have no doubt that I’ll feel 1,000 times better when it’s done. What is it about a good morning workout that makes us feel superhuman, anyway? Actually, quite a lot…

  1. Exercise awakens us in the best possible way – blood pumping, brain working, body moving. Your energy level will be higher and you’re less likely to hit that mid-day slump, even hours after you sweat. Endorphins are a beautiful thing and can make or break a productive, rewarding, enjoyable day. So, lace up those sneakers and move! And, make sure it’s a workout that you actually enjoy to reap double benefits, mentally and physically.
  2. Burn ALL day. Thanks to EPOC, (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) the body works extra hard to restore and rebuild muscles, increasing metabolism for up to 14 hours post-workout! So, hit it hard for at least 30 minutes and burn more calories for more hours!
  3. Start the day on the right foot. Completing a morning workout will empower you to tackle the rest of your day head on, tackling your to-do list like a champ. Just as you accomplished that workout and crush your fitness goals, you’ll crush your life goals too.
  4. Food is fuel. Your post-workout meal will be used to replenish your muscles and provide you with lasting energy. Had you rolled out of bed, had a big breakfast, and sat at your desk all day, that meal would more likely be stored somewhat as fat instead of fuel. Your body is a machine – keep it moving, keep it fueled, and it will continue to operate well for you.
  5. Sleep better. Not only will you wake up and metabolize food more efficiently, you’ll also wind down and sleep deeper at night. Working out in the evening will awaken your mind and body and can put your body in a state of stress, setting you up for a night of tossing and turning. Following a morning workout, your body (and mind) can rest peacefully and wake up to do it again the next day.

Of course, if you work out in the morning, it’s DONE for the day, a weight off your shoulders…but is it such a bad thing to workout later in the day?? You know what they say: “you’ll never regret a workout.” If you’re not a morning person or cannot fit it into your AM schedule, get it done on your own time because something is better than nothing. To maximize benefits and feel healthier all-around; however, I highly recommend incorporating a few morning workouts into your weekly schedule. If you’ve never been a morning exerciser, start now and you’ll form a new healthy habit in just a few weeks. It’s not black and white, either, you don’t have to do a class or get to the gym. Even just 15-20 minutes of morning yoga in your pajamas or walking to work in the morning will make a difference. PLUS, you’re less likely to skip, cancel, or rush your fitness routine in the morning. Speaking of which, I’m off to workout…why? See #’s 1-5 above!

One Healthy Breakdown: no excuses this morning, get it done!


I’ve rekindled with an old flame: kettlebells. Aren’t they pretty?!

FullSizeRender(22)Made of iron or steel, kettlebells are (literally) full of potential for anyone, from professional athletes to first-time exercisers who are looking to gain strength and burn fat. Kettlebells combine the benefits of heart-pumping cardio endurance with weight-lifting in a dynamic, full-body workout. It’s like fusing a killer spin class or an energized run with intense strength-training session. Instead of choosing cardio or weight-training, kettlebells are a double whammy.

Kettlebell training builds muscle, increases endurance, strengthens balance, burns fat, and, in-turn, boosts metabolism too! Another added bonus is that kettlebells can be incorporated into your existing routine or utilized as the primary workout, in which case, it only takes about 20-30 minutes to reach exhaustion and reap the benefits. There have been many times where I’ve only had 10-15 minutes to spare and I turn to kettlebells for a quick full-body burn. Although they can be used to target certain muscle groups and body parts, pretty much all kettlebell exercises engage and strengthen the core. Due to the handle, the center of gravity of the weight is constantly changing, teaching your body to adapt by turning on a range of muscles.

KBThere is definitely a technique to training with kettlebells and proper form is highly important to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness. I would suggest taking a class or consulting an expert if you’ve never used a kettlebell or aren’t confident you have it down. Fortunately, the Hamptons has some great kettlebell experts. Try a Kettlebell class at Sag Harbor Gym with Sara (pictured above) and/or a class at Truth Training in East Hampton. You’ll get a kick-ass workout and eventually, you’ll learn to love yourself some kettlebells too! Once you’ve got your form down, you may just want to invest in one of these bad boys for yourself.

Sara explains: kettlebells can be used as a full body integrative movement, strength isolation, cardio drill, or all of the above. I’ve kept a kettlebelll in my workout routine for years and with all of the types of exercise equipment out there, kettlebells remain my favorite. The range of resistance, exercises, and challenges using a kettlebell makes it absolutely impossible for one to plateau. Besides the fact that everyone looks badass flinging iron, kettlebells build muscle and increase exertion, which burns more calories throughout the day, long after your workout. Who doesn’t want that?!

8309043682_cff4e10768_zOne Healthy Breakdown: why choose between weight-lifting and cardio when you can do both with kettlebells?

Best Metabolism Boosters

Image-1(5)Metabolism. We all have it. Some faster. Some slower. Metabolism is the rate at which we burn energy, aka the rate at which we burn calories. Though our individual metabolism is largely determined by our health and genetics, here are a few ways to boost metabolism…aka burn more calories…in less time. Aha, now you’re paying attention! Try these simple tips:

Hydration. How many times do I have to say it; drink up. Water, water, water! Sparkling water, lemon water, tea, and hydrating smoothies all count! Here’s how much water you really need.

Exercise. Move your body. While cardio definitely burns calories, strength training exercises boost metabolism for hours after the workout is complete. Also, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns. Find what you love, switch it up, and work those muscles. Varying your workouts also causes muscle confusion and prevents boredom and plateau.

FullSizeRenderSleep. The body can’t metabolize food effectively without adequate sleep. 8 hours, people. Read all about why you snooze, you lose here.

Eat. Yes, eating (and digesting) burns calories and boosts metabolism. Breakfast is key as it literally breaks the fast that our body undergoes overnight. Not only is it important to eat throughout the day, there are also quite a few foods that are known for their boosting power.

FullSizeRender_1One Healthy Breakdown: boost a bit to burn more!

November Jumping Jack Challenge

We’re going back to the basics this month with the ever famous jumping jack! Don’t estimate the power of the jumping jack, there’s a reason it’s still around! Jumping jacks get the heart rate up, working the cardiovascular system while warming up the whole body, top to bottom! We’re all familiar with how to execute the jumping jack, just be sure to get some air and land softly, decreasing impact on the knees. Perform your jacks at a speed that is maintainable, but gets you breathing heavily by the end. Work your way up. If you need a break, take one, but keep going if you can, yes all the way to 100! If you do your jacks in the morning, you’ll get them out of the way and get your metabolism going for the day! Print, pin, save the calendar below and get jumping and jacking today!

November Jumping Jack ChallengeOne Healthy Breakdown: commit to 100 jacks by December and you’ll ring in the holidays right!

Cold Crunchy Chopped Asian Salad

This refreshingly crunchy salad is tasty, healthy, and super easy to make. With lots of veggies, healthy fats, and protein, it packs a powerful punch and tastes as indulgent as take-out! Makes a great lunch, dinner, side dish. Makes 2-3 servings and makes for great leftovers for the next day!

asianIn a bowl, combine:

  • 1.5 cup shredded cabbage (use red, green, or a combination of both)
  • 1 cup chopped jicama
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions

For dressing, whisk the following until mixed:

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter or tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dark miso
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

For more protein, add cooked egg, tofu, chicken, tempeh etc. Pour dressing over ingredients and mix thoroughly.

One Healthy Breakdown: easier and tastier than you think!

*Recipe adapted from The Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook by Mark Hyman

Warming Herbs and Spices

Well, the weather outside is (again) frightful. Until spring hits and we begin to defrost, there are things we can do to keep a little bit warmer. Here’s a list of herbs and spices to add to your next meal, soup, or even smoothie, to turn up that internal temperature. Plus, as if warmth isn’t reason enough, they all pack a powerful metabolism-boosting punch as well!


  • Tumeric
  • Wasabi
  • Basil
  • Shallots
  • Carob
  • Rosemary
  • Ginger
  • Dill
  • Nutmeg
  • Star anise
  • Black peppercorns
  • Garlic
  • Miso
  • Cardamom
  • Fennel
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginseng
  • Allspice
  • Coriander
  • Chile Peppers

One Healthy Breakdown: Turn the heat up and warm from the inside out

Q & A w Z: Strength Training vs. Cardio

Q:  When and why does strength training trump cardio?

People Exercising at a Gymnasium

A:  There are SO many benefits to strength training: increasing BMR (basal metabolic rate) increasing muscle mass which increases the metabolism, preventing osteoporosis, increasing bone density, decreasing fat, increasing strength of muscles, tendons, and tissue which prevents injury, preventing disease like arthritis, and even preventing depression.

Cardio is good for the heart and it burns calories, but cardio cannot change body composition. The effect of cardio really stops when it stops. With strength training, your muscles are tearing and rebuilding, extending effects much longer.

With cardio, your body adapts metabolically and depends on those calories burned to maintain the same weight. So, if you consistently burn 500 calories on the elliptical, your body plans for the deficit of those calories. Then when you don’t burn those 500 calories, your body actually gains weight instead of maintaining it because it learns not to need those calories. Even when you increase the cardio, your body immediately relies on the calorie deduction. Strength training, on the other hand, kills the fat. Your muscles are tearing, rebuilding, and changing and this muscle synthesis causes a high spike in metabolism so you continue to burn more calories post-workout. Your body becomes more metabolically active and your BMR continues to increase.

My own experience is a great example. I was a dancer, I was doing tons of cardio and had very little muscle definition, I was what you could call “skinny fat.” When I discovered weight lifting a few years ago, I had to ween myself off of the cardio, because you learn to depend on it, mentally and physically. I could tell that weight-lifting was changing my body. Hours and hours of cardio was not.

Don’t waste your time and your energy, don’t spend hours a day on the treadmill or the elliptical, especially if you don’t enjoy it. Cardio is necessary for heart health, but don’t overdo it, it can actually wreck your metabolism and create too much cortisol. Of course, if you enjoy cardio, don’t cut it out. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s running or walking on the beach or yoga, but strength training is the way to change body composition. Try a good combination of the two.

If you’ve never tried weight training before, start with your own body weight or low-volume weights. Form and tension are most important, you have to perfect the form to benefit and avoid injury. And, you should have enough weight that there’s heavy tension (especially on the last few reps, those should be really uncomfortable, but it should still be manageable and safe so that you don’t need a spotter.) Lots of reps creates muscle endurance, about 8-10 reps of challenging weight is most effective for increasing strength. Again, training won’t do miracles if nutrition is left behind. Diet is number one. Cardio is not the enemy, especially the high intensity interval taining (HIIT), but it shouldn’t be abused. Balance is the key.

One Healthy Breakdown: I don’t need to spend an hour on the elliptical? AMAZING NEWS! If you have a question for Z email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com or post on the OHH facebook page!