Exercise Is Your Instant Gratification

Original Content by Training Amigo


We all know that exercising regularly over a long period of time has many benefits; weight loss, lowered blood pressure, greater flexibility, stamina and as well as building muscle.  And it has also been established, that the brain loves to create new pathways– habits, if you will. Do something for 30 days, the experts tells us, and it becomes a ritual; something you look forward to, plan your day around, which is awesome. But it is also true that there are immediate and tangible benefits from the first time you work out.

Health benefits of exercising:


  • You’ll look better! Sweating is just as good as a mini facial when the tiny arteries in your skin open up, allowing more blood to reach the surface. The result? You guessed it– a healthy, rosy glow!  I’m a fan of extending that goodness to 10 minutes in the sauna. Studies have shown, too, that we feel better about how we look after we’ve exercised– an added boost of self esteem. Additionally, exercise that strengthens and stretches your muscles like yoga, can actually make you taller, by improving your posture. Of course, proper rehydration is just as important as the exercise itself. To ensure you are performing your best, you can learn more about how to stay hydrated with the Ozmo Smart Water Bottle or even use the Ozmo Water app as a water logging app to find out how much water you should be drinking after your workout.


  • You will be in a much better mood!  This is pretty much guaranteed.  Exercise raises endorphin levels.– the feel good chemical in our brain. Scientifically, it blocks our receptors to pain, but on a day to day level, people who exercise think more clearly, and have a renewed energy and outlook about their lives.  It has also been known to fight depression. This happens the very first time you break a sweat.  The American Psychological Association stresses the mind-body connection and claims that we will get that first rush of endorphins after only five minutes of exercising.


  • You’ll eat less! Gretchen Reynolds writes in The New York Times that vigorous exercise leads to short term “suppression of appetite”.  A study demonstrated that you’ll consume less calories throughout the day because exercise increases chemicals in the brain directly linked to appetite and satiety. According to this study, this lasts into the next day:

“Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise may have unique benefits”.

In the digital age, we have learned to love, and even expect immediate gratification.  Exercise is especially potent in our day to day life, because it guarantees both immediate gratification– we look better, feel better, eat less–  and significant long term benefits.

Cardio or Strength Training: Which should I do? (Part 2 of 2)

Top photo credit: PowerPhysique

We discussed the benefits of strength training last week but traditionally, cardio has been the go-to exercise to get your fat blasted and your metabolism revved. Do these claims hold up?


The short answer is yes. Apart from controlling your diet, cardio is a very effective method in achieving weight loss. A long and fairly intensive cardio session could lead you to burning 500 – 800 calories, and a pound of body fat is burned for every 3500 calories expended. Strength training typically only burns half that calory (without taking into account the after-exercise metabolic effects). However, typically, strength training is more useful in building up metabolism over the long term through the building of muscles, whereas cardio’s speeding up of metabolism is usually limited to the 24 hours immediately after the workout session.

But what makes cardio imperative is its contribution to improving cardiovascular health (duh, thank you for pointing out, Sherlock). Cardiovascular basically refers to anything to do with your heart. Your heart is arguably the most important organ of your entire body, acting as the powerhouse for every drop of blood that travels throughout your circulatory system. Cardio enhances your heart health by increasing its capacity to use oxygen through increasing the size of its pumping chambers. That means your heart doesn’t need to beat as fast to deliver the same amount of blood. This is why a slower resting heart beat is usually a sign of a healthy heart. Regular cardio can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer.



So, coming to the essential topic in question, should you opt for cardio or strength training? The textbook answer would be to do a mix of both in order to get the best of both worlds. But for whatever reasons you could only do one, it would greatly depend on what your objective of exercising is. If you want to lose weight quickly, cardio is the way to go. If you want to look fit and want to improve your overall aesthetics, strength training would come in handier. Whichever mode of exercise you ultimately go for, bear in mind that diet plays a critical role in health. However much exercising will not offset the adverse effects of a poorly maintained diet, and that includes drinking enough water! Water has been proven clinically to increase the rate at which the body burns fat, and promotes the breakdown and elimination of fat cells, amongst many other health benefits!

Benefits of Morning Exercise


Original Content by Training Amigo

When your alarm clock blares at some ungodly hour in the morning, the last thing you want to do is spring out of bed and into your workout clothes. Exercise is great… but so is slamming the snooze button and curling back into your blanket cocoon. But the science is showing there are amazing benefits associated with a morning exercise regimen. Whether you’re running on the track, hitting the gym, or trying out stretches from the Training Amigo wellness library, an active morning sets you up for a productive day.


Morning Exercise Boosts Your Metabolism

One of the hottest topics in fitness is the so-called afterburn effect, more formally known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. One study found that participants who pedaled an exercise bike for 45 minutes burned 190 calories in the fourteen hours following exercise compared to days when they didn’t work out at all. In other words, moderate exercise helps your body burn calories even when you’re not moving around.

After exercising in the morning, you boost your metabolic rate for the rest of the day. The calories from breakfast and lunch are used to replenish your energy, and not stored as excess fat. If you’re trying to lose weight, even a simple workout every morning can go a long way.


You Will Be More Focused

Mornings are perhaps the least productive time at the office. You walk in with your cup of coffee, your eyes are bleary, and you slowly will yourself to begin working. You’re still focused on waking up, not on your tasks at hand. Studies routinely show that exercise boosts your focus for two to three hours, meaning you’ll strut into the office knowing exactly how to attack your day. Just thirty minutes of exercise stimulates your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for hours, boosting your reflexes and improving your attention span when you need it most.


You Will Have More Energy

We’ve all been there—you load up on coffee all day to stay alert, leading to the notorious 3pm “crash” wherein your productivity is destroyed for the remainder of your day and all you can think about is curling up into bed. However, by implementing an exercise program every morning, you can eliminate morning fatigue as well as that dreaded afternoon crash. A study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin comprising more than 6,800 people found that sedentary people who begin a regular exercise program experienced vastly improved energy levels throughout their day. You can also leave at the end of a tiring day knowing you’ve already fit your exercise in, so you’re less likely to skip workouts altogether.


Your Mood Will Improve

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after running, cycling, or lifting weights? That’s because exercise releases a burst of endorphins, which immediately improve your mood and keeps you chipper all day long. Moreover, morning exercise helps alleviate depression. A Columbia University study of nearly 5,000 people found that people who exercise regularly have a 25 percent lower chance of being diagnosed with depression. Another study out of Duke University found that a regular exercise program can be just as effective as the antidepressant Zoloft. A simple morning exercise routine can start your day on a positive foot and keep it there for life.


Get Started with Training Amigo

Don’t know where to start? Having trouble getting motivated in the morning? There are some great videos on Training Amigo to help you jump out of bed refreshed and ready to start your day.

If you need help falling asleep earlier, take a look at Training Amigo’s nighttime stretchzZz videos. For a quick jolt of energy in the morning, the Training Amigo wellness library is complete with morning jump-start exercises to help you instantly wake up and get motivated. And if you’re feeling fatigued during your workday and need a pick-me-up, explore our coffee-break exercises that you can perform right at your desk.

Cultivate a morning workout routine and make fatigue a thing of the past!

Cardio or Strength Training: Which should I do? (Part 1 of 2)

Top photo credit: WatchFit


Cardio or Strength Training: Which should I do? (Part 1 of 2)

It’s a common dilemma faced by everybody. In a stressful society when 24 hours a day seem highly insufficient, when getting enough sleep alone feels like a task often out of reach, sneaking in an hour of exercise comes with great opportunity costs. And so when you’re finally able to do so, you find yourself at a crossroad and asking yourself, “Should I spend this precious hour jogging on the trails or hitting the weights at the gym?”

To answer this question, let’s visit some of the basics of the two forms of exercises. We’ll begin with strength training this week.

Strength training is great firstly because it helps you build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is and the more calories you burn at rest (i.e. even when you’re not active). But the exact number of calories you burn with each extra pound of muscle vary according to different studies, and could range from a whopping 50 calories to as few as 7 calories. A typical person gains 3 to 5 pounds of muscle over a period of a few months, so the total caloric effect could amount to being able to consume an entire additional light meal, or just a few potato chips. Whatever the number is, what you should bear in mind though is that as with any exercising you should always be looking towards the long term, and the accumulative effects of even just a few dozen calories a day could build up to thousands of calories a year which translates to many pounds of weight loss.


There are numerous other benefits to strength training, from helping you tone muscles, thus improving your appearance and overall confidence, to improving balance, coordination as well as posture. If you’re hitting middle age, bone deterioration is inevitable, and muscle strengthening has been shown to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.


But is strength training necessarily better than cardio exercises? We’ll find out next week by delving into the benefits of cardio!

Five Easy DIY Hacks to to Wellness

Original Content by Training Amigo

I’m going on a diet can sound like a trip to the I.R.S, or the D.M.V.  A necessary evil. Something to be endured. Instead, flip the script to I’m going to make healthier choices. And that doesn’t mean depriving yourself of what you love– that wouldn’t be fun.  Here are few of Training Amigo’s favorites hacks to get on track with your health in the world of

corporate wellness and solutions


Hack Number One

Do This:  A scoop of fruit sorbet when everyone is going out for ice cream.

Not That: Two scoops of chocolate ice cream..

The Breakdown: Sorbet is made from fruit juice, syrup and water. The good news is that one scoop has about 180 calories, and no fat. The bad news is that it has 32 grams of sugar.  Still, it’s a healthier way to enjoy dessert especially when you consider that one scoop of ice cream has 276 calories, same sugar content, but a much higher fat count.  Making conscious choices like this will empower you to make bigger changes– and still have fun along the way.

Hack Number Two

Do This:  Spaghetti squash with turkey bolognese for dinner.

Not That: Pasta with meatballs or sausage

The Breakdown: Spaghetti squash, while it doesn’t taste like pasta, is still very effective if you are craving carbs– there are so many great recipes online, some that include a bit of pancetta for a smoky taste. It’s filling, and brimming with protein and vegetables. What are the numbers? 337 calories, and 11 grams of good fat. The alternative? Spaghetti and meatballs clocks in at about 1,000 calories and 34 grams of fat.  See? Delicious and healthy alternatives to what you crave!

Hack Number Three

Do This: Top plain nonfat yogurt with Middles East spices such as; olive oil, cumin, lemon, sea salt, pine nuts and chopped spinach,or cinnamon and honey.

Not That: Commercial yogurt brands are hyper-sweetened with fruit and fruit juices.

The Breakdown: If you eat yogurt on the regular, and who doesn’t– it is an excellent source for protein and calcium, it might not hurt to swap out the sweet for the savory.  Number one, we all eat way too much processed sugar. In fact,  some commercial brands have as much as 20 grams of sugar in one serving.  Number two, savory yogurt  has 80 calories and only 6 grams of sugar.

Hack Number Four

Do This: Crave a candy bar? Choose dark chocolate that is 90% cocoa.

Not That: Milk chocolate, like Hershey bars, are much higher in fat and sugar.

The Breakdown: Dark chocolate contains a surprising 4 grams of protein in half a bar, 3 grams of sugar, antioxidants, and only 240 calories. While it’s not a health food, it’s still a better choice if you must have something sweet.  Milk chocolate has the same amount of calories but a much higher sugar count, no proteins and no antioxidants.  Wellness is all about making smarter choices, not deprivation. The little things do count, and little things become big things– meaning big changes.

Hack Number Five

Do This: Make your own salad dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, or vinegar.

Not That: Bottled creamy dressing

The Breakdown:  Olive oil is a good fat and combined with lemon juice is a really fresh way to dress your salad. For extra protein add feta cheese, avocado or nuts.  Crunch is always good in a salad.  Bottled dressings, even low calorie, are either high in fat or sugars, and contain as many as 137 calories per teaspoon.  Whereas olive oil and lemon juice is 13 calories and only one gram of fat.

The Conclusion

There is an almost endless list of healthy choices you can begin to make in your diet.  Start incrementally, that is– one step at a time.  Awareness is key.  Read the labels on processed food: that low calorie frozen mixed veggies with sauce might seem like a good idea– until you see that what it lacks in fat, it makes up in sugar.  What are some of your favorite DIY hacks? Contact us at Training Amigo, we’re the leaders in corporate wellness, and we have a passion for exercise, good eating, and solutions and benefits for big and small businesses.

Understanding the Adverse Effects of Sugar: That Sugar Film

Cover photo credit: That Sugar Film


Understanding the Adverse Effects of Sugar: That Sugar Film

It’s the simplest form of indulgence. Downing an entire bottle of chilled, highly sugary drink after a long session of intensive workout is a kind of simple luxury on par with wrapping yourself in a big, soft towel in a hotel room, stepping on a bath mat that’s soft like a lamb, or being able to sleep until you wake up naturally on a weekend.

But you should do that sparingly, as more and more research now show that sugar might be a lot more detrimental to your health than previously acknowledged. If you haven’t already watched it, That Sugar Film is a good starting point into the endless vault of nutritional knowledge that focuses on one of the most desired ingredients in modern cooking and eating – Sugar. The premise is simple: Documentarian Damon Gameau wiped the slate clean by ridding all forms of refined sugar from his diet for three years and then embarked on a 60 day journey of re-introducing the same ingredient back to his life and documented all the changes that happened to his body. Like how all fair experiments are conducted, all other variables were kept constant. This means that Gameau did not go wild on other forms of unhealthy food – like those of extremely high fat or calorie content.  He also maintained an exercising habit and stuck to the typical Australian’s 40 teaspoons of sugar a day in order to avoid an exaggerated result. Here’s one more catch: in an attempt to dispel common deceptive marketing, he only consumed the sugar through products widely assumed as healthy, such as cereal, smoothies, muesli bars and low-fat yoghurt.


So what were the results? We’ll let you find out on yourself. But here’s a hint – they weren’t good. Regardless of whether you find the conclusions derived from this documentary truthful and accurate or not, there is little dispute as to the adverse effects of sugar to the human body. What does this mean? Instead of sugary drinks, drink more good ol’ water. Before you consume any processed food, look into the food labels and determine whether its worth ingesting the large amounts of sugar often laced in packaged food. Good news is the Ozmo app is now equipped with a barcode scanner that allows users in the US to obtain nutritional information on major consumer food products through the USDA Food Composition Databases. Understanding what you’re eating has never been easier!

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Three Easy Ways to Kickstart a Healthy Diet

Three Easy Ways to Kickstart a Healthy Diet

Original Content by Training Amigo

1.Plan your meals ahead of time.  I know. We’re all very busy. We have jobs. Some of us have children. We have errands to run, emails to answer, reports to write, meetings to attend. We have bills to pay, dogs to walk.  Start small. Baby steps.  Choose one meal you enjoy cooking. Maybe it’s couscous with vegetables and chicken. Maybe it’s vegetarian chili, or something as simple as a Caesar salad with grilled chicken. Find your favorite recipe online, double the measurements. Make a list of what you need at the grocery store. Set aside two hours at home where you can leisurely cook it up. Because you’ve doubled the recipe, you have enough left-overs for two or three meals. Once you’re in the habit of cooking one meal, add another. Before you know it, you will have an amazing repertoire of healthy meals.

2. Keep a food journal logging when and what you eat. Believe it or not, this really works. It creates an accurate record that allows you, at the end of the day, to reflect upon your eating habits. So, how to start?  Keep the log digitally or buy a small notebook.  Write everything down– all the iced coffees, the protein bars, the bagel on the run, the candy bar after work. Going out for brunch? Write it down. Most people, knowing they will be held accountable (if only to themselves), begin to make healthier choices. They choose the fruit plate, not the Eggs Benedict, or the blueberry pancakes.  For a snack, they might choose the apple, not the bag of *healthy popcorn.* Again, baby steps. If you find your energy flagging in the afternoon, and that your usual choice is a cookie– you might decide to swap it out for some raw carrots. The bacon, egg and cheese on a roll becomes, instead, an egg white wrap with turkey. You get the picture. And remember, don’t try to change everything all at once!

3. Have nutrient rich snacks with you.

The seemingly healthy bran or corn muffin can have as many as 400 calories. In many instances, it’s akin to eating a piece of cake!  If instead, you have a ziploc bag of raisins and raw cashews, it’s much easier to make the healthier choice.  While you may think an energy or protein drink is smart, it may have as many as 500 calories.Just because it’s *green* doesn’t mean it’s good! Read the label carefully; note serving size. Many of these drinks offer a calorie count for half the bottle. Again, if you have planned ahead (see no. 1), you can snack on cherry tomatoes, and hummus, pita bread, and low fat cheese, a big red apple.  Many people buy nuts and dried fruit in bulk, and create their own to-go snacks.  Finally, watch out for energy or protein bars. If your favorite has 300 calories, try to find one that has 250.  And remember, like corn and bran muffins, a protein bar, in terms of sugar content, is often the same as eating a candy bar.  In the end, it’s easier and healthier, not to mention cheaper, to pack your own snacks.

Food Labeling in the US and Ozmo’s Cool New Feature


Food Labeling in the US and Ozmo’s Cool New Feature


Arguably, one of the biggest and best developments in the consumer food products industry in the 21st century is the establishment of a consistent, tightly regulated food labeling system. Knowledge is power, and there’s no form of power more coveted than the ability to have control over your body, your health and your general wellbeing.

With more than 2 in 3 adults considered overweight or obese in the United States, the need for food labeling is undisputable. Sure, saying that it’s the magical solution is a far-cry, but a presenting an opportunity for American consumers to at least make an informed decision nonetheless serves as a good starting point to mitigate this problem that has been lurking since the 1970s.

And this view is evidently shared by the American government too, which in May 2016, pushed out a major overhaul to nutritional guidelines printed on packaged foods, something that hasn’t seen changes since two decades ago. The change saw the labels becoming more relevant by including vital information previously not stated such as amounts of added sugar, potassium, Vitamin D, calcium and iron, as well as new serving sizes that are actually reflective of how Americans normally eat.

What’s to note, though, is that manufacturers have up to 3 years to update their labels, depending on the sizes of the companies. But in the mean time, get familiar with these labels that you should have been seeing around:


Here at Ozmo, we agree wholeheartedly the importance of knowing exactly what we’re consuming, and we’re welcoming these changes with open arms. In fact, we’ve been trying hard to contribute to this wave of health movement by developing a cool new feature for our Ozmo App. We’re incredibly excited to announce that users of the Ozmo App in the United States are now able to obtain nutritional information on major consumer food products through an easy-to-use barcode scanner. Ever wondered how many grams of sugar is in that bottle of orange juice? What about the sodium level in that tub of hummus? We are now bringing you those information from the USDA Food Composition Databases right to your screen. Check it out, and start making easier and more conscious decisions on what you’re eating!

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The Benefits of Optimal Wellness: Your Best Defense is a Healthy Lifestyle

The Benefits of Optimal Wellness: Your Best Defense is a Healthy Lifestyle

Original content by Training Amigo

At Training Amigo, we know that exercise and nutrition work hand in hand. The benefits are synergistic; meaning the healthier you are, the more you want to continue, the deeper your commitment, the better you feel, and so it goes. Stress doesn’t rule your life. You make better decisions. You have more patience, optimism and stamina. Sound body equals sound mind. The Washington Post reported that, for soldiers returning from the Middle East “…treatment for PTSD with painkillers, antidepressants and psychotherapy often have mixed results. The Veterans Health Administration has launched four pilot programs — including one in Richmond — offering yoga, acupuncture, [and] Qigong.”

It’s heartening to see that more and more, as a culture, we are beginning to realize that optimal wellness, is a holistic effort. Treat the body and you often treat the mind. Studies have proven again and again, that exercise and good nutrition, not only for veterans, but everyone else as well, is often the solution to depression and lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. This is what Training Amigo can bring to your employees and to the company as a whole — optimal wellness. On an individual level, here is what you can expect:

Increased vigor and energy.  If you return home after a vigorous work-out to a healthy breakfast of hot oatmeal with agave and a touch of cinnamon — you will walk the out the door to begin your day, ready to face whatever the world throws at you because you feel great. And yes, you will have a bounce in your step! Traffic on the expressway, and the intranet is down at work? No problem. You can return phone calls and schedule an ad hoc F2F meeting to catch up with your team. It’s very unlikely, as we often do, that you will reach for something sugary and loaded with carbs to help cope. You are coping, in fact, you are excelling.

Increased insulin sensitivity, which can help stave off weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes. The synergy of exercise and diet also helps prevent one of the most prevalent of lifestyle diseases, weight gain and diabetes, which has been on the rise at an alarming rate. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010. We have become a sedentary workforce. Yet, we are busier than ever.  It is easy to get into the habit or prioritizing everything but our health. We have to answer this email, we have to pick up the dry cleaning, we have to download this new program —  we eat more processed food, and collapse on the couch at night, and no matter how much sleep we get we are tired. It’ a vicious cycle. But the good news is — this is relatively easy to reverse.

Improved immunity. I have a friend who hits the gym every time he feels a cold coming on. He says, I’m gonna sweat it out.  And he usually does.  It’s just a fact that people who eat well, and exercise get sick less of often. Exercise  slows the release of stress related hormones, regulates antibodies and white blood cells. Good nutrition gives your body the fuel it needs to operate at optimum levels and fight off infection.  If all else fails, and you get a cold anyway, being at optimal health means you will be back in action much sooner. As The Harvard Medical School asserts, “Your best defense is a healthy lifestyle”.

How to Stay Adequately Hydrated All Day Long


How to Stay Adequately Hydrated All Day Long

By Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN


When was the last time you stopped to make sure you are staying adequately hydrated throughout the day? I know your life is busy — sneaking in a workout first thing in the morning then rushing to get your kids ready for school while you get ready for work, quickly jumping from one meeting to another throughout your work day, then running to pick your kids up from school and get dinner on the table — and before you know it you barely had time to eat lunch much less sip enough water throughout the day!


But staying adequately hydrated is so important to keep your energy levels elevated throughout the day, boost your metabolism, and keep your brain sharp, so why aren’t you raising your glass frequently?


The best time to stay hydrated is consistently throughout the entire day, but since it’s so easy for many of us to forget, set your phone alarm to remember these key times to take a sip…


7 amWake up, drink a glass of water and brush your teeth! Adding water into your morning routine, just like brushing your teeth, is a great way to start your day with the intention of staying hydrated. Drinking a glass of water not only wakes you up and gives your metabolism a boost, but it also provides some hydration before a morning workout.

TIP: Keep a glass of water on your night table so you don’t forget to sip smart first thing in the morning!


9 am — If you exercise in the morning be sure to sip frequently in the hours following to replenish the fluids you lost through sweating!


12 pm — Always drink a tall glass of water with lunch. Not only will it help fill you up, but mealtime is the perfect opportunity to remember to get in a glass.


Aim to be close to 50% of your hydration goal by noon so you can meet your hydration goal for the day! We find that Ozmo smart cup users are more likely to meet their goal if they hit the halfway mark by lunch time!


3 pm — Curb afternoon cravings with a glass of water! We often mistake thirst as hunger so before you reach for a nourishing afternoon snack grab a glass of H2O!

TIP: If plain water is boring to you, spruce up your glass with fresh fruit!


7 pm — A glass of water should always be on the table at mealtime! Water should especially be nearby if you consume a glass of wine with dinner as alcohol can be dehydrating.


9 pm — A mug of warm water with lemon is a relaxing way to end your day and signal to your body that it’s time to unwind and destress before bed.


Is there a time of day you make sure to stay especially hydrated?




Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN is a New York City-based registered dietitian and healthy food blogger at CitNutritionally.com. Chelsey’s practice specializes in health promotion, weight management and food allergies and intolerances. When she’s not helping clients one-on-one see their lives nutritionally, she is in her kitchen developing tasty, food allergy friendly, mostly vegetarian (largely vegan and gluten free too!) recipes and photographing every bite! Chelsey’s mission is to help as many people feel their best, look their best and be their best so they can live their very best lives! You can find out more about Chelsey here and catch up with Chelsey anytime on her blog, plus over on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!