Merritt Clubs Blog

   

Heather Blake

Recent Posts

Coconut Whipped Cream

Posted by Heather Blake

Feb 20, 2014

1 can regular coconut milk

Sprinkling of cinnamon

Pure Vanilla essence to your tasting

Honey (optional for some sweetness)

 

Directions:

Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight.

Scoop out chilled coconut milk into a bowl, leaving the water behind (save the water for a smoothie or just to drink if you like!)

Add in the cinnamon, vanilla and honey, if desired.

Tip: Add a little at a time and taste until you get it to where you like it.

Whip it together with a fork or electric mixer!

Tastes great over chilled pineapple!

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Topics: quick and healthy, healthy topping, Healthy Recipes, easy desert, pineapple, sweet treat, dairy free, coconut, healthy desert, desert, nutrition, whipped cream, cream

Coconut Whipped Cream

Posted by Heather Blake

Feb 20, 2014

1 can regular coconut milk

Sprinkling of cinnamon

Pure Vanilla essence to your tasting

Honey (optional for some sweetness)

 

Directions:

Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight.

Scoop out chilled coconut milk into a bowl, leaving the water behind (save the water for a smoothie or just to drink if you like!)

Add in the cinnamon, vanilla and honey, if desired.

Tip: Add a little at a time and taste until you get it to where you like it.

Whip it together with a fork or electric mixer!

Tastes great over chilled pineapple!

Read More

Topics: Healthy Recipes, nutrition

Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bites

Posted by Heather Blake

Feb 19, 2014

4 Ripe Bananas

1 tsp Vanilla

½ tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp of pure honey (optional)

2 cups rolled oats

Dark chocolate chips

Chopped nuts, crasins, raisins (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Mash bananas in a medium bowl (some chunks are okay)

Add tsp vanilla

Add 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon

1 tbsp of pure honey

2 cups of quick rolled oats

Mix all of the above with the banana mush

Fold in a handful of dark chocolate chips

Optional: fold in some craisins, raisins, or chopped nuts!

Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray

Drop the mixture with a spoon on the sheet

Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes they should be firm on the outside and soft in the middle

Let cool on sheet for a few minutes before moving to cooling rack to cool completely

Store in airtight container

Bananas may cause them to go a darker brown and should be eaten within 3-5days.

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Topics: quick and healthy, healthy, biggest loser club, Healthy Recipes, banana, oatmeal, sweet treat, dark chocolate, breakfast, healthy snacks, snack, nutrition, recipes for healthy breakfast

Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bites

Posted by Heather Blake

Feb 19, 2014

4 Ripe Bananas

1 tsp Vanilla

½ tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp of pure honey (optional)

2 cups rolled oats

Dark chocolate chips

Chopped nuts, crasins, raisins (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Mash bananas in a medium bowl (some chunks are okay)

Add tsp vanilla

Add 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon

1 tbsp of pure honey

2 cups of quick rolled oats

Mix all of the above with the banana mush

Fold in a handful of dark chocolate chips

Optional: fold in some craisins, raisins, or chopped nuts!

Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray

Drop the mixture with a spoon on the sheet

Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes they should be firm on the outside and soft in the middle

Let cool on sheet for a few minutes before moving to cooling rack to cool completely

Store in airtight container

Bananas may cause them to go a darker brown and should be eaten within 3-5days.

Read More

Topics: biggest loser club, Healthy Recipes, nutrition

Michael Phelps Swim School is Ideal for Improving Kids' Fitness

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 16, 2013

Has all the recent talk surrounding Michael Phelps’ June 2013 photo shoot got your kiddos reaching for their swimsuits? If so, you may want to capitalize on their enthusiasm for the retired Olympian by signing them up for our Michael Phelps Swim School Program. It’s an excellent way to improve yourkids' fitness levels and fuel their chlorine soaked, athletic dreams.

For proof of the activity’s fitness value, just take a moment to consider all of the health benefits commonly associated with it. They include the ability to improve our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems as well as burn calories. Some people say it can even improve one’s mood and minimize certain maladaptive behaviors. In addition, knowing such skills can help to reduce your child’s risk of being involved in an accidental drowning.

Our version of the kids’ fitness program is being offered at our Merritt Athletic Clubs in Towson, Canton and Eldersburg. It is designed for Maryland residents between 6 months and 12 years of age. Families may opt to sign their children up for once a week, individual or group lessons based on their age and skill level. In general, both types of lessons tend to last 30 minutes each and run over a course of 6 weeks.

The skill levels include get wet, pre-beginner, beginner, advanced beginner and intermediate. During the sessions, the kids will learn such valuable skills as rotary breathing, backstroke and freestyle techniques. They’ll also receive Michael Phelps related, motivational items including gold medal stickers. Session times and dates will vary based on the Michael Phelps Swim School Program level desired.

Would you like to learn more about the Michael Phelps Swim School and the other great kids’ fitness programs offered at our Towson, Canton and Eldersburg locations? Contact us by calling 1-410-563-0225 or stop by the Merritt Athletic Clubs’ website.

Read More

Topics: Merritt Athletics, children, Michael Phelps Swim School, Michael Phelps, Fitness for a Cause, swim school, swim, Aquatics, swimming, kids

Michael Phelps Swim School is Ideal for Improving Kids' Fitness

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 16, 2013

Has all the recent talk surrounding Michael Phelps’ June 2013 photo shoot got your kiddos reaching for their swimsuits? If so, you may want to capitalize on their enthusiasm for the retired Olympian by signing them up for our Michael Phelps Swim School Program. It’s an excellent way to improve yourkids' fitness levels and fuel their chlorine soaked, athletic dreams.

For proof of the activity’s fitness value, just take a moment to consider all of the health benefits commonly associated with it. They include the ability to improve our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems as well as burn calories. Some people say it can even improve one’s mood and minimize certain maladaptive behaviors. In addition, knowing such skills can help to reduce your child’s risk of being involved in an accidental drowning.

Our version of the kids’ fitness program is being offered at our Merritt Athletic Clubs in Towson, Canton and Eldersburg. It is designed for Maryland residents between 6 months and 12 years of age. Families may opt to sign their children up for once a week, individual or group lessons based on their age and skill level. In general, both types of lessons tend to last 30 minutes each and run over a course of 6 weeks.

The skill levels include get wet, pre-beginner, beginner, advanced beginner and intermediate. During the sessions, the kids will learn such valuable skills as rotary breathing, backstroke and freestyle techniques. They’ll also receive Michael Phelps related, motivational items including gold medal stickers. Session times and dates will vary based on the Michael Phelps Swim School Program level desired.

Would you like to learn more about the Michael Phelps Swim School and the other great kids’ fitness programs offered at our Towson, Canton and Eldersburg locations? Contact us by calling 1-410-563-0225 or stop by the Merritt Athletic Clubs’ website.

Read More

Topics: Merritt Athletics, Fitness for a Cause, Aquatics

Caffeine and a Healthy Lifestyle- Too Much or Not Enough?

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 15, 2013

 

Most people think nothing of drinking a cup or two of coffee every day to wake up and keep ourselves going throughout the. Caffeine can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and it seems harmless enough- until you decide to quit cold-turkey and suffer from painful caffeine-withdrawal headaches and other symptoms. Many people find it almost impossible to quit caffeine and go back to drinking their coffee in a hurry. Why is it so difficult to give up caffeine?

Both caffeine withdrawal and intoxication are now listed as official diagnoses in the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as DSM-5. When these caffeine “conditions” impair a person’s ability to function in their daily life, they are considered mental disorders. Both caffeine intoxication and withdrawal occur on a regular basis, but only rarely are symptoms serious enough to be considered a mental disorder.

Caffeine withdrawal headaches can mimic other medical issues. According to Laura Juliano, a psychology professor at American University, “We've heard many times people went to the doctor for chronic headaches or because they thought that they had the flu and it turns out it was caffeine withdrawal and they didn't even know it."

Caffeine withdrawal is classified as a patient experiencing at least three of five symptoms within 24 hours of cutting back or eliminating caffeine: headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or sleepiness, irritability, and flulike symptoms such as muscle pain or nausea.

Caffeine intoxication is defined as having symptoms such as insomnia, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, rambling flow of thought and speech, restlessness, or nervousness. The other criteria for intoxication are that the person must have five out of a possible twelve symptoms. Intoxication can occur at levels of more than 250 milligrams of caffeine, and it must be very difficult to function at home or at work.

Many studies have shown that caffeine can have beneficial health effects. But anyone who experiences unwanted effects from caffeine, such as sleeplessness or the jitters should consider scaling back on their consumption. People with diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, or high blood pressure are also advised to avoid caffeine.

"Some people cannot drink any coffee, half-a-cup of coffee or a Coke will keep them up at a night," said Jim Lane, a professor of behavioral medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. However, "if a person doesn't have any unpleasant symptoms, or any health problems that we know are affected by caffeine use, then I would not try to suggest that whatever they consume is too much," he said.

For more information about reaching your health and fitness goals, please contact us.

Read More

Topics: coffee, health, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, wellness, caffeine, Awareness and Support, caffeine withdrawl, nutrition

Caffeine and a Healthy Lifestyle- Too Much or Not Enough?

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 15, 2013

 

Most people think nothing of drinking a cup or two of coffee every day to wake up and keep ourselves going throughout the. Caffeine can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and it seems harmless enough- until you decide to quit cold-turkey and suffer from painful caffeine-withdrawal headaches and other symptoms. Many people find it almost impossible to quit caffeine and go back to drinking their coffee in a hurry. Why is it so difficult to give up caffeine?

Both caffeine withdrawal and intoxication are now listed as official diagnoses in the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as DSM-5. When these caffeine “conditions” impair a person’s ability to function in their daily life, they are considered mental disorders. Both caffeine intoxication and withdrawal occur on a regular basis, but only rarely are symptoms serious enough to be considered a mental disorder.

Caffeine withdrawal headaches can mimic other medical issues. According to Laura Juliano, a psychology professor at American University, “We've heard many times people went to the doctor for chronic headaches or because they thought that they had the flu and it turns out it was caffeine withdrawal and they didn't even know it."

Caffeine withdrawal is classified as a patient experiencing at least three of five symptoms within 24 hours of cutting back or eliminating caffeine: headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or sleepiness, irritability, and flulike symptoms such as muscle pain or nausea.

Caffeine intoxication is defined as having symptoms such as insomnia, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, rambling flow of thought and speech, restlessness, or nervousness. The other criteria for intoxication are that the person must have five out of a possible twelve symptoms. Intoxication can occur at levels of more than 250 milligrams of caffeine, and it must be very difficult to function at home or at work.

Many studies have shown that caffeine can have beneficial health effects. But anyone who experiences unwanted effects from caffeine, such as sleeplessness or the jitters should consider scaling back on their consumption. People with diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, or high blood pressure are also advised to avoid caffeine.

"Some people cannot drink any coffee, half-a-cup of coffee or a Coke will keep them up at a night," said Jim Lane, a professor of behavioral medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. However, "if a person doesn't have any unpleasant symptoms, or any health problems that we know are affected by caffeine use, then I would not try to suggest that whatever they consume is too much," he said.

For more information about reaching your health and fitness goals, please contact us.

Read More

Topics: Fitness Tips, Awareness and Support, nutrition

Can a Paleo Diet Support a Healthy Lifestyle and Help You Lose Weight?

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 14, 2013

One of the most popular diet plans out there today is the Paleo Diet, which focuses on lean meat, vegetables, fish, eggs, and nuts. The concept is based on what our Paleolithic ancestors supposedly ate, and has garnered a lot of attention in fitness circles and the press as the perfect answer to the highly processed foods we consume in the modern world. The Paleo diet might support a healthy lifestyle, but is the Paleo diet also an effective way to lose weight?

A panel of diet experts was hired by U.S. News & World Report to review 28 popular diets to determine if they were effective for both long-term and short-term weight loss. They also looked at the safety, nutrition statistics of the diet, and whether it was easy to follow.

The top-rated diet on the list was the DASH diet, and last on the list was the Paleo diet, which was cited as having studies that were “few, small, and short.”

Three of the five studies on the Paleo diet plan had no control group that randomly assigned them to either the Paleo diet or another diet. As a result, without the corresponding control group following another diet, study researchers could not tell if people lost weight because they were simply participating in a study or on a particular diet.

Two other studies that did have control groups assigned participants with heart disease or type 2 diabetes to either a Paleo diet or a Mediterranean diet consisting of whole grains, fruit, olive oil, fish, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. After 12 weeks, the Paleo eaters had lower blood sugar levels, but did not lose any more weight than the Mediterranean group.

Other trials have tried to answer the question of how a particular diet stacks up in the long run. Comparisons of diets such as Atkins, Weight Watchers, or the Zone diet have shown that none of them were better than others. The most important factor in the success of the diet was whether people stuck to them, with more extreme diets like the high-protein Atkins diet being harder to stay on.

If you are trying to lose extra weight, there is no hard evidence that a Paleo diet will get rid of those extra pounds.

For more information on how we can help you reach your fitness goals, please contact us.

Read More

Topics: Weight Loss, diet, paleo diet, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, pale, Awareness and Support, nutrition, DASH diet, fitness goal

Can a Paleo Diet Support a Healthy Lifestyle and Help You Lose Weight?

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 14, 2013

One of the most popular diet plans out there today is the Paleo Diet, which focuses on lean meat, vegetables, fish, eggs, and nuts. The concept is based on what our Paleolithic ancestors supposedly ate, and has garnered a lot of attention in fitness circles and the press as the perfect answer to the highly processed foods we consume in the modern world. The Paleo diet might support a healthy lifestyle, but is the Paleo diet also an effective way to lose weight?

A panel of diet experts was hired by U.S. News & World Report to review 28 popular diets to determine if they were effective for both long-term and short-term weight loss. They also looked at the safety, nutrition statistics of the diet, and whether it was easy to follow.

The top-rated diet on the list was the DASH diet, and last on the list was the Paleo diet, which was cited as having studies that were “few, small, and short.”

Three of the five studies on the Paleo diet plan had no control group that randomly assigned them to either the Paleo diet or another diet. As a result, without the corresponding control group following another diet, study researchers could not tell if people lost weight because they were simply participating in a study or on a particular diet.

Two other studies that did have control groups assigned participants with heart disease or type 2 diabetes to either a Paleo diet or a Mediterranean diet consisting of whole grains, fruit, olive oil, fish, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. After 12 weeks, the Paleo eaters had lower blood sugar levels, but did not lose any more weight than the Mediterranean group.

Other trials have tried to answer the question of how a particular diet stacks up in the long run. Comparisons of diets such as Atkins, Weight Watchers, or the Zone diet have shown that none of them were better than others. The most important factor in the success of the diet was whether people stuck to them, with more extreme diets like the high-protein Atkins diet being harder to stay on.

If you are trying to lose extra weight, there is no hard evidence that a Paleo diet will get rid of those extra pounds.

For more information on how we can help you reach your fitness goals, please contact us.

Read More

Topics: Fitness Tips, Awareness and Support, nutrition