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Filed in Kim's Corner — September 12, 2016

As the owner of a gym (not mention someone who both advocates and tries to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle away from work), I get lots of questions about working out, wellness, and everything in between. Here are four of the most common ones, along with my responses!

1) How can I eat healthy and be on a budget?road_to_wellness

This one is easier than you think. Try these simple guidelines:

Eat seasonally. In-season produce is cheaper.
Plan your meals before going to the store. Research shows that making a list saves us 10% at the grocery store.
Buy generic brands instead of big names.
Go meatless once or twice per week (animal proteins usually cost the most when analyzing our meals).
Eat at home and cook at home. Dining out costs more.

See a great homemade healthy bar recipe below. It beats any packaged snack bar out there for taste and nutrient quality—and skips the preservatives!

2) If I stop working out, will my muscle turn to fat?

When you stop using them, muscles can’t turn into anything other than smaller muscles. Lack of regular exercise and excessively poor nutrition will increase your fat, however, and the less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn throughout the day. So keep working out—your body will reward you!

3) I exercise almost every day. Why am I not losing weight?

Unfortunately, even regular exercise won’t overcome poor eating habits. The truth is we have to run approximately seven miles to burn off one McDonald’s Quarter Pounder! Is it really worth it? The path to managing your weight is a combination of good eating habits and exercising regularly.

4) I’m so busy–how can I find time to exercise or eat properly?

If this sounds familiar, the reality is exercising and eating properly is not your priority. Get real with yourself and make a decision that you are important enough and valuable enough to take care of yourself. It’s about prioritization, plain and simple. Who is your top priority? If you answered your significant other, your family, or your boss, then ask yourself this: Are you really able to do your best for them if you’re not doing your best for yourself first?
Simple homemade protein bars:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large bowl combine:
1 cup walnuts OR raw almonds
1 cup vanilla protein powder (good quality; no fillers or sugars added)
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried apricots (halves) preferably unsweetened
1/2 cup whole oats (not quick cook)
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp of raspberry OR coconut extract (optional to your liking, extract isn’t necessary but it does add a little flavor)

Once combined in bowl, process in food processor, in batches if necessary.

Spread processed mix evenly on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I usually put it in drops and then spread it out evenly. This is easier than trying to spread out all of the mix at once.)

Cut spread mix into 20 squares BEFORE BAKING.

Bake at 250 for 25 minutes.

Once cool, store in a sealed, airtight container. (The bars stay yummy for more than a week. They also can be frozen.)

Nutritional data (grams per bar): Calories-162. Fat-4 Protein-10. Carbs-22.

These bars provide good fiber and good omegas, and are very satisfying! –Put only one in your lunch box because you will eat more if you don’t!
Try it with your plain Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese to amp up your protein–you will get your minimum 20 grams of protein per meal if you do so. Do not eat these with another carb – eat them with a protein source!

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