Fun Tips, Nutrition

4 Homemade Nut Butters (and Their Health Benefits)

Nut butters make the perfect pre- or post-workout snack! Most nut varieties are packed with protein to promote energy and recovery. They can also help balance cholesterol levels and tend to be a good source of healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals (these vary depending on the type of nut).

The problem with many store-bought nut butters is that they often contain additives, including excess sugar, sodium, and trans fats such as partially hydrogenated oils. When you make your own DIY versions, you can be confident about what you’re putting into your body — no surprise ingredients here!

Because nut butters are relatively easy to make at home, you can try several batches using a variety of your favorite nuts. Simply soak, dehydrate in the oven, and process until smooth. Then scoop a heaping spoonful onto yogurt and granola, dip apple slices or celery, slather onto a slice of whole-grain toast… there are so many ways to enjoy your daily serving of this healthy yet hearty food.

Here are a few favorite nut butter varieties beyond classic peanut butter. Happy snacking!

1. Almond Butter

Almond butter has been climbing the ranks as a popular peanut butter substitute for sandwiches, dipping, and even baked goods. In addition to its complex and creamy texture, it boasts loads of fiber, beneficial fats, protein, manganese, vitamins E and B, and magnesium. Almonds may also help control blood pressure and cholesterol and can be excellent sustenance for those looking to lose weight. This is one butter that packs a punch — both in flavor and health benefits!

2. Cashew Butter

Cashew butter is less common, but still a great option. Cashews contribute to bone health (courtesy of calcium and magnesium) and can also help lower blood pressure. Much like almonds, they can help curb your hunger with monounsaturated fats. They are also rich in vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.

3. Pecan Butter

Pecans are practically nature’s multivitamin. They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, potassium, and zinc. Fun fact: they are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut!

4. Hazelnut Butter

Hazelnuts are a great source of oleic acid, which lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol, plus vitamin E, flavonoids, and vitamin B, which supports proper energy metabolism.

Any of these nut butters are great choices before or after your workout in order to simultaneously fuel up on nutrients and curb your hunger. Sufficient vitamin and mineral intake is essential to ensure your body stays strong and healthy as you continue along your fitness journey. Consider these tasty treats for your active lifestyle!

Start Your Day and Fuel Your Body with These 4 Green Smoothie Recipes

Waking up and staying alert in the morning can already be a struggle. A cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can provide a short-term fix, but loading up on syrupy vanilla lattes and other processed sugars can end in a mid-morning energy crash. On the other hand, starting your day with a refreshing and nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie can keep you satisfied and naturally energized through lunchtime. Add a handful of greens and you’ve got a delicious opportunity to drink your veggies! All you need to do is grab your blender and a few additional fresh ingredients.

A serving of spinach in your smoothie can provide many health benefits courtesy of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants including:

– Magnesium (bone and heart health, premenstrual syndrome relief)
– Iron (Energy and athletic performance)
– B2 (Energy and mineral absorption)
– B6 (Heart and kidney health, improved metabolism)
– Folate (Heart health, lower risk of depression and some cancers)
– Vitamin K (Bone, blood, and heart health)
– Vitamin E (Hair, skin, and blood health)
– Vitamin A/beta-carotene (Eye health and skin repair)
– Calcium (Strong bones, muscle and nervous system health)
– Potassium (Blood pressure, heart, muscle, and bone health)

And there are even more perks to keep you feeling (and looking) at your prime! To name just a few:

– Weight maintenance without going hungry (stay full on fewer calories)
– Antioxidants that keep your immune system healthySustained energy for workouts and day-to-day stamina
– Increased fiber intake for a happy digestive system
– Clearer, brighter skin

If you don’t have spinach on hand, you can also substitute kale in its place for many of the same benefits.

Convinced yet? Read on for four tasty and refreshing green smoothie recipe picks!

1. Low Carb Green Smoothie

Sync Fitness makes healthy eating less of a chore with our free e-book, 42 Delicious Fat-Burning Recipes (get your free download right on our homepage!). You’ll find dozens of breakfast, snack, and lunch and dinner entree recipes to complement your Sync boot camp or fitness program.

In the mornings, start with our very own low-carb green smoothie recipe. Blend coconut water, almond butter, wheatgrass, spinach, banana, low-carb chocolate protein, and ice and sip on 15 grams of protein with less than 200 calories. See page 10 of the book for complete measurements, nutritional analysis, and more details.

2. Tropical Green Smoothie

Add pineapple, mango, papaya, or guava (or all of the above!) to your blender with your favorite greens for a quick island getaway in the AM. This vibrant tropical green smoothie recipe relies on ripe frozen pineapple and mango chunks for a bright dose of fruity flavor (and for their anti-inflammatory properties plus digestive and immune system support).

3. Detox Green Smoothie

This Spring Detox Smoothie is packed to the brim with veggies for maximum nutrient power. Green tea adds even more antioxidants. Blend digestive superstars such as cilantro, baby kale, cucumber, avocado, ginger, and lemon, and throw in a hint of pineapple for just enough sweetness.

4. Berry Green Smoothie

Mixed frozen berries and sliced banana make this an accessible green smoothie for even the pickiest eaters. A scoop of natural peanut butter means additional tasty protein and flaxseed meal adds fiber and heart-healthy fatty acids.

Get Real This New Year: Fitness Resolutions You Can Actually Achieve

We’re all for committing to self-improvement in the year ahead — but some New Year’s resolutions are notorious for falling by the wayside when we set, ahem, lofty expectations. The reality is sobering: a mere 8 percent of people complete their resolutions. That’s a pretty exclusive group. Far more of us fall into the 92 percent that let go of these goals – often by February. The ensuing disappointment can feel defeating.

The problem, in many cases, is that many people set goals that are difficult to achieve. The key is to focus on what you can realistically commit to accomplishing, especially when considering your personal track record and comfort level. Often, setting small milestone goals can help get the ball rolling, and you may then feel inspired to use that momentum to surpass what you hoped for.

Maybe you want to get in shape, and your goal for doing so is to start running. It sounds awesome to say you’re going to run a marathon in the summer, but for some, that’s an extraordinary goal that can feel far out of reach when your body isn’t used to long-distance running and you find yourself out of breath after a mile. Instead, you may consider signing up for a 5K in the spring and a 10K in the fall. Work toward those smaller goals, and the motivation you feel upon hitting them can spur you to aim for a marathon.

Experts note that the key is to be honest with yourself. Understand what your current fitness level is and where you want to be. Not everyone starts from the same place, and that’s fine. Fitness requires some lifestyle changes, and it’s not going to happen overnight. Below are a few more tips that can help you steer yourself in a positive direction:


– Pair up with a workout buddy who can help keep you accountable.
– Join a class or a boot camp to jumpstart your new lifestyle.
– Shoot for small goals first – like running a mile or bench-pressing 100 pounds – with the idea that you’ll level up as your body adapts.
– Keep a journal to track your progress.
– Try not to stress out about it. Instead, find workouts that you enjoy and want to do.


If you set up realistic goals for the new year, we’re confident you can and will tackle your New Year’s fitness resolutions!

Sync Fitness is here to help you along the way. We wish you a happy and healthy 2017!

Health-Conscious Holiday Baking Substitutions to Keep You on Track



The holidays are here, and families all over are starting to plan their Thanksgiving, Christmas, and miscellaneous winter holiday celebration feasts. Whether you’re hoping to add some healthier options to an ultra-rich and indulgent Thanksgiving table or want to make your Chanukah cookies healthier because of a family member’s dietary needs, there are a number of healthy, simple substitutions that can turn even the most decadent of holiday treats into healthier yet equally delicious alternatives!

From flour substitutions to reduce gluten intake and calorie count to saturated fat substitutions to maintain heart health, there are plenty of kitchen hacks to improve the dietary value of your seasonal baked goodies.

1. Replace 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of pureed avocado. This substitution works best in brownies and chocolate cakes. Once pureed, avocado has a very similar texture and consistency when compared with room temperature butter. Both ingredients contribute to the smooth consistency of batter, but while butter is a source of unhealthy saturated fat, avocado provides the “good” kind of fatty acids. By switching out the heavy butter with avocado, you can maintain richness and flavor while improving the nutritional value of your chocolaty baked goods!

2. Replace 1 cup of refined sugar with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce. You should reduce the liquids that you add to the recipe by ¼ cup for every cup of applesauce used. This substitution is a vegan go-to, and can be used in just about any baked recipe. From oatmeal cookies to sweet breads, this sugar-cutting switch works wonders.

3. Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of canned black beans. This substitution is best in brownies; it may not work as well in other dishes. It may sound strange, but it cuts gluten and calories while adding a punch of protein and fiber. You may notice a slight difference in texture, but it won’t impact the flavor much. It also adds extra depth to the color of the finished brownies.

4. Replace eggs with flax meal in water. This substitution works best in muffins, cakes, and cookies that rely on eggs for structure and consistency. Mix 1 tablespoon of flax meal (fresh ground is ideal) with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for five to ten minutes. This mixture can replace a single egg; adjust as necessary for your recipe. Store flax meal in the fridge to increase its shelf life, or grind whole flax seeds, which can store for longer, as you need them.

5. Replace 1 cup of butter with chia seeds in water. It’s important that this substitution not be used if you’re also replacing eggs with flax seeds. This substitution works best in muffins, cakes, and sweet breads. Unlike the flax seeds, the chia seeds aren’t ground into meal. You mix 2-3 tablespoons with 1 cup of water and let it sit for fifteen minutes. This mixture can replace 1 cup of butter. The chia seeds add potassium and a little extra protein to the recipe, while cutting out a lot of fat.

6. Replace 1 egg with a chia seed mixture. Again, do not use this substitution in the same recipe as a chia seed and butter substitution. This is a well-loved vegan substitution that works in just about any baking recipe. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1 cup of water and let sit for fifteen minutes. This mixture can replace 1 egg. Scale up as necessary to reduce fat and overall calories in your favorite sweet baked goods.

7. Replace 1 cup of oil or butter with 1 cup of mashed, ripe banana. This substitution works best in brownies, cookies, or basic sweet breads (hint: try it with banana bread!). The banana has the same consistency as room temperature butter, and instead of fats, it adds potassium, Vitamin B6, and extra fiber to your sweet treats.

Sustainable Habits for a Fit & Healthy Spring into Summer

Whew! We’ve already had a scorcher with record-breaking temperatures on Monday, and it’s not even June! All of that lovely weather is probably going to get you in the mood to get into a swimsuit (or at least shorts) too cool off, but lots of us struggle attaining the beach bod we can be proud of.

The following suggestions and tips will help you get on the path with sustainable habits for and building a body you love.

Start small. Let’s be honest, doing a complete overhaul of your lifestyle and diet can feel challenging. And since we’re creatures of habit, it’s easy to fall back into poor habits. But if you can start with a small change and commit to it, such as skipping dessert or going for a 30-minute run/walk every day, you can tackle your habits one at a time for more success! The key is to stay active each and every day, even if every session is not hard core.

Mix it up. The best workout regimens include a mixture of cardio and strength-training exercise. The cardio improves your heart health while causing you to lose calories and fat from sweat, while the strength training increases muscle mass and tones your physique.

Focus on your food. A diet packed with protein is what you need for a slimmer, fitter bod. A healthy serving is 4-6 ounces – have some with each meal! Great sources are plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, meat, fish, tofu, lentils, nut butters, mixed nuts and quinoa. Your lunches are where the key is, here, since it’s usually the most rushed and easy to grab something unhealthy. Give yourself a chance here, with healthy lunches that you pre-pack the night before to help keep you on track. Change the way you think about foods, in general, and when most of your diet is packed with clean, healthy foods, it’s okay to have a ‘treat’ food once in awhile!

Find something fun. It’s difficult to do things we don’t enjoy, and although a lot of people feel intimidated by exercise, but it can be fun! Find physical activities that you enjoy, and make them the core of your efforts. This could include cycling, playing soccer, or fitness classes with a friend!

Get support and accountability. Sometimes a friend is all you need to help you reach your goals. Just in time for the advent of summer, we’re offering a special program with our Little Black Dress Project. It’s a four-week program with effective workouts, tips for improved eating habits, and strategies for wellbeing — all supported with inspiration, accountability and non-competitive motivation from trainers and other project participants. Early Bird registration lasts until April 25th, and the project kicks off on May 5th!

Check Your Balance

As you are going about your normal day, do you find yourself occasionally catching your balance, or bobbling here and there in ways that you perhaps didn’t before? Balance is intricately tied in with a solid and strong core. If you feel you don’t have quite the balance you used to have, it is likely that your core is also not what it used to be.

For anyone over the age of 30, your balance starts to wane in barely noticeable ways, then really speeds up once you hit your 50’s and 60’s. While those years may be a ways off for many of you, that is no reason to take your core and your balance for granted.

If you understand the factors that affect balance, then you can learn what you can to minimize balance issues and even re-gain lost balance.

Balance involves the relationship between your inner ear, your vision, and the muscles and joints from your feet all the way up your spine. Your brain processes the information that is transmitted from each of these areas and in turn transmits this information needed for your muscles and joints to manage balance. When all three are working well, you have a good sense of your spatial positioning

The various seasons of life can potentially cause loss of muscle mass, fading eyesight, and the decline of inner ear functioning. These seasons can be normal aging, pregnancy and childbirth, and injuries. When one or all of these areas are degenerating, your brain signals are thrown off and balance is adversely affected. Of course in our 30’s and 40’s, this loss is so slight that it is not usually noticed, but it is occurring.

It stands to reason that improving muscle mass and practicing balance exercises can not only arrest further balance loss, but even re-gain levels of balance already sacrificed.

The best place to start to re-gain or prevent loss of strength and balance is the quadriceps or thigh muscle. Daily squats and balance exercises can all make a significant difference to your balance.

General strength training helps to maintain Type II muscle fibers, the muscles that are needed to help us shift our weight to prevent falls.

Here are some great foundational balance exercises to get you on the road to re-gaining loss balance.

  1. Any core building exercises such as planks and bridging.
  2. General weight training or resistance-band workouts.
  3. Walking with one foot directly in front of the other and standing on one foot are two exercises that can be done daily while brushing your teeth!
  4. Bosu ball exercises to build dynamic balance.

Maintaining and building balance opens up endless possibilities of activities and adventures now and in your future. Keep working on that balance!

How to Find Victory with Your New Year’s Resolutions

Making New Years’ resolutions is a tradition with many Americans.  Roughly 45 percent of us make them, envisioning a lighter, healthier self or better personal finances. However over 50 percent of those who set their resolutions give up on them within six months and only 8 percent make it to the full one year mark. However, if you look at those who do set resolutions to begin with, those people are 10 times more likely to make significant behavioral changes that do lead to improvements even if the resolutions are not fully attained.

It stands to reason that making resolutions is only half the battle, understanding human behavior with initiating change is the other half…or more. Personal coaches and corporate success stories have lessons for us and the message is that it is not that complex to achieve your New Years’ resolutions.

    • Make it measureable: Real and lasting change happens not just with setting a goal, but also setting an actionable and measureable plan on how to get there. If you want to lose some weight, you must also have a nutrition and workout plan to back that up. You can maintain your motivation knowing that your success will be significantly higher if you map that plan out for yourself.
    • Limit yourself: You are setting yourself up for failure if you set multiple goals and try to work on too many at once. It is far better to have success with one or two resolutions because they are more manageable than dismal failure with a long list. Once you have attained a certain level of success with one or two, you can set more. They don’t have to be set in January. In fact, quarterly resolutions can set you up to be more successful.
    • Write them down and share them: A study on goal achievement found that writing down goals and sending weekly updates to a friend resulted in 76% goal success than those who didn’t. That is how you beat the numbers normally associated with failure to achieve New Years’ resolutions!
    • Focus Daily: whether it is photos of your final goals taped to your fridge, or reminders on your smart phone, there are great resources our there to keep you focused each day on your goals and the daily steps you need to get there.

    So it is not complex and it is possible for you to beat those dismal numbers and find yourself this time next year looking back to some great new changes that you made in your life.

How To Do Breakfast, Better!



Today we’re going to talk about… how to do breakfast better. A lot of people skimp on breakfast because they’re either not hungry in the morning, or they’re just trying to get out the door – breakfast falls through the cracks. What happens when you don’t start your day with protein – and more specifically 20 grams of protein – is that your blood sugar levels and metabolism never really regulate, causing your body to not burn calories the way it should.
By having 20 grams of protein first thing in the morning, you’re setting the stage for having your blood sugar regulated throughout the day. If your blood sugar starts out well regulated throughout the early part of your day, it’s going to impact the food choices you make throughout the day, all day long. So I can’t over emphasize how important it is to have 20 grams of protein first thing in the morning. I know that Mocha and scone are screaming your name—but don’t do it!

Here’s how you can get 20 grams of protein in the morning per serving.

  • 1. Steel cut oats with a half scoop of vanilla protein powder. (I’ve tried it with chocolate, and it’s not my fave.) Stir the powder into your oats. I add a little plain coconut or almond milk too.


  • 2. Plain Greek Yogurt. Add a little bit of honey and/or fruit for sweetener and some nuts (which is bonus protein protein). Choose a low fat or full fat yogurt. My 2% has 22 grams of protein per cup!


  • 3. Eggs! Super easy. You can do hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs. I like to do scrambled with black beans (which is more protein) and veggies. 3 eggs are 18 grams of protein.


  • 4. Breakfast meats. I love the Applegate brand. Add to your scramble or just gobble them down on their own.


  • 5. Who’s to say you can’t have steak or chicken! Have dinner leftovers for breakfast.


So there you have it! Some of the best ways to get your day started with 20 grams of protein. What are you eating in the morning to kick start your day?

5 Things Sync Bootcampers Do Differently



I have been to gyms all over the country, and do you want to know one of the things I’ve noticed?

No one seems to be having as much fun as we do at Sync Fitness. Now, you can call me a *little* biased, but our Sync Bootcampers are a kick-ass bunch. And, I think it’s because we do things a little differently than the “typical” workout facility. Here’s why:

1. We don’t see exercise as punishment
Been there, done that. Haven’t you? Exercise is a great way to feel good about yourself. Why turn it into something you dread everyday? Here’s an example: You eat pizza at night and then think, “I have to go to bootcamp tomorrow and burn it all off.” At Sync, our classes are not punishments! Our members come to class to have fun, workout, get stronger, and most importantly to be a badass. It’s never about punishment. It’s actually about the privilege that you have to make your day really amazing with your workout. Bootcamp is fun like that.

2. We focus on getting strong
I see this all the time: walk into a fitness facility and all you see are “motivational” pictures of skinny people with “inspirational” quotes all over the walls. Well that’s great and all, but that’s not what the normal person really looks like. So, what happens when you change your mindset from focusing on “getting skinny” to focusing on “getting strong,” is that there’s a paradigm shift. You build a little muscle, and you get leaner and fitter, and more toned – all the things that women are generally looking for when they’re trying to lose weight. And, what I mean by focusing on “getting strong” is that you build lean muscle mass. You won’t get creepy bulky. Building that lean muscle mass is what causes your body to burn fat, and look tight and toned. By focusing on getting strong (in ways that are fun and not ways that are scary, I promise), you’re able to accomplish more of your fitness goals than ever.

3. We practice using food as fuel
How many of you can say that you have used food as a hobby? Or as a form of entertainment? It can be really fun sometimes to sit down with a big bowl of ice cream and maybe a cupcake, but then have you noticed that when you’re finished eating, you don’t feel so great and then you don’t want to workout anymore? Totally common. What our Sync Bootcampers do is try to use food as FUEL. Which means we try to eat things that are going to feed our day and our workouts. And then we have a little indulgence from time to time as well. Maybe you have that glass of wine or that piece of chocolate, or maybe you have that chocolate chip cookie. It’s okay to have those indulgences, but we primarily want to be using food as fuel and not as something a mindless hobby.

4. We laugh a lot
Another thing I’ve noticed when traveling around the country going into big gyms is that no one is laughing. It seems like such a somber and sometime scary place to be! And that always shocks me because when people come into Sync Fitness – I’m telling you right now – there’s laughter, and chatter, and people are communicating with one another – engaging in our community. It’s super fun that way. If you can’t laugh a little during your workout, then you’re not enjoying your workout as much as you should be. Come to any class, and you’ll see for yourself!

5. We check our egos at the door!
This one is important. When people come into our facility they’re trying new things, they’re challenging themselves, they’re trying to be a badass. That takes courage! And you know what? If they fail. . . it’s not a big deal – because *trying* means you can’t possibly fail because you’re learning something new. Sync Bootcampers have a really good time. We make sure that while we’re having a good time we’re supporting each other, making new friends and being active in the Sync community. That’s what sets us apart. Once you leave the ego at the door, an entirely new world of opportunities opens up for you.

So if you’re looking for 5 ways to enjoy your workout experience even more, please come join us!


3 Tips to Practice Radical Self Love

I want to talk to you about radical self-love. A lot of people don’t practice this very well, and I think it’s actually one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Just as crucial to your health as food and water. To help you show yourself some love, here are three of my favorite tips on how you can love yourself a little bit more.

  1. Practice Radical Self Love Everyday

When I talk to people about self-care, and taking care of themselves they’re like, “Oh I get a massage once a month.” I always say, “That’s awesome that you get a massage once a month! BUT… you should be doing something every. single. day. Not every 30 days!” I know that so many of you are very busy professionals and/or very busy moms. It’s really easy to let yourself just slide off the radar when it comes to doing special things for yourself. But set a goal to gift yourself 5 minutes a day, to start. This might mean hiding in the bathroom and playing a game on your phone for 5 minutes. Totally cool. That can be your gateway to taking care of YOU.

Practicing radical self-love can be something that’s super simple or small – like 5 minutes in the bathroom alone. Or it might be a scheduled event: getting a mani/pedi, grabbing coffee and a walk with a friend. Just little things that you can do so that you know you are doing something that you are enjoying that’s just for you, and not anyone else in your life. And yes, that something might even be a workout!


  1. Be Aware of Who You Surround Yourself With

Practicing radical self-love also includes being conscious of our environment. Really be aware of who your influences are and the people you surround yourself with. Of course that’s going to be the physical people around you – at work, at home, and the people you see throughout your day. But it’s also going to be who you surround yourself with online? How do you feel after spending time on social media? How does it influence your internal dialogue? Are you seeing things on social media that put down women, or “fitspiration” that makes you feel more uncomfortable in your own skin? It’s really important to notice what you do and the types of things you surround yourself with. Are they things that lift you up and fuel you and light a fire in you? Or are these things tearing you down and making you feel bad? Or even worse, are they causing you to compare yourself to someone else in a negative way? Noticing these influences, and being aware of who you surround yourself with is a HUGE part of practicing and mastering radical self-love.


  1. Do Things That Make You Feel Good!

You might not be surprised to hear me say that exercise will make you feel good. Yes, I’m telling you to exercise to feel good, rather than just to lose weight. You know that when you get in your workout, you’re going to feel amazing all day long. So by exercising, that’s another part of radical self-care. Same thing with choosing foods that fuel you, if you choose foods that give you energy, and have protein & fat that will sustain you, you’ll actually be more productive and creative member of society all day long. Excellent, right? So, start thinking about things that you can do throughout the day to improve your energy and mood. Maybe that means you take a break from work and step away from your computer during lunchtime, and sit and think about your food instead of your email.

There are all sorts of things you can do to take good care of yourself, and practice radical self-love, in tiny little bits throughout the day, so at the end of the day you’ve had a really fulfilling day. What are some of the ways you practice radical self love?