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What Stephanie Herbert Eats to Fuel Her Fitness

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– Fitness Tips –

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for fueling your fitness endeavors. Here’s how Stephanie Herbert powers and recovers from her workout.

A Life Time personal trainer in Alpharetta, Ga., Stephanie Herbert, CPT, METS, is beloved by members and clients for her balanced approach to exercise and nutrition. Here’s how she fuels for fitness.

Experience Life | Describe your training and nutrition goals.

Stephanie Herbert | I aim for 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day, minimum. The more I move, the more energy I have, as well as a better quality of life.

On weekends I do active recovery workouts: I go hiking, kayaking, walking, running, or biking. Two or three times per week, I work with weights to build lean body mass and be a better fat burner, and I do metabolic conditioning for my cardio two or three times. I am a metabolic technician, so I firmly believe in heart-rate training.

I believe you can eat almost anything as long as it’s in moderation. I don’t feel guilty about eating dessert, burgers, or pizza, as long as I don’t go overboard and eat it every day. I also won’t eat something just because it’s there, especially if it’s mediocre. If I start eating something and it is not that great or is just OK, I stop. I do the Life Time D.TOX every four months. This is a 14-day plan that helps me stay in check with my nutrition.

EL | Do you have any food rituals or superstitions?

SH | Sunday mornings I grocery shop and do meal prep. I clean and cut my raw vegetables and fruits and divide them into small containers to have for snacks, and I make Mason-jar salads. I cook and grill meats for our meals to last for three to four days, then divide them into small containers to have for dinners with the kids.

EL | How has your food regimen changed over time?

SH | I used to skip breakfast, drink coffee the entire day, and eat TV dinners and fast food because it was easier. I feel so much better since my nutrition habits have changed!

EL | Describe a day in your life.

SH | I get up at 4:15 a.m. and drink a cup of black coffee, then head to work to set up for class. From 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., I teach four GTX Cut classes and train three one-on-one clients. I have a break around 7 a.m. to take my daughter to school and have a protein shake made with vanilla whey isolate, almond milk, and two fruits.

At 1 p.m. I have lunch, usually a Mason-jar arugula salad (see recipe below) and do administrative work until my one-on-one client at 2 p.m. Then I pick up my daughter from school and take her to gymnastics. I work out at 3:30 and either have a UCAN energy drink or bar. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and typically consists of protein and grilled vegetables. For example, kebabs (steak, chicken, or shrimp) with peppers and onions, basmati rice, and salad; grilled chicken with green beans and salad; or grilled fish with asparagus and salad. Bedtime is 9:30 p.m.

EL | Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

SH | Mason-Jar Salad. This is my go-to meal-prep recipe.

4 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
2 chicken breasts (seasoned and grilled, or pulled from a rotisserie chicken), and cut up into small pieces
1 large package arugula 

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Divide them equally into four Mason jars. Fill the rest of each jar with arugula. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

This originally appeared as “Fit Fuel” in the May 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

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Health & Fitness

Small Shifts to the USDA Dietary Guidelines

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The recent updates to the USDA nutrition guidelines recommend lowering sugar and alcohol intake and opting for breastfeeding over infant formula.

Every five years, a government-appointed committee draws up a national healthy-eating menu. Since the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans was issued in 1980, this nutritional advice has been broadly focused on our health, but it also affects food-stamp policies and school-lunch menus.

It influences processed-food formulations for the food-manufacturing industry, as well — and this is where politics and big business enter in.

More than half of the members of the panel formulating the 2020–2025 guide have food-industry ties. And those involved in adding first-ever advice for pregnant mothers and toddlers are all connected to baby-food makers.

“My concern is that these guidelines, heavily influenced by the food and beverage industry, will dictate what kinds of food are offered at schools and set the eating habits of children, particularly Black and brown children, for the rest of their lives,” says pediatrician Yolandra Hancock, MD, an obesity expert at George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health.

Despite her own reservations, Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, has been pleasantly relieved by this panel’s work. “I was concerned about this when the committee was first appointed because so many of the members had worked with companies making products high in sugar, salt, and fat. But the committee surprised me. It stuck to the science and came out with recommendations quite consistent with previous recommendations, but even more restrictive.”

Among the new guidelines:

  • The committee reduced the recommended limit for alcoholic drinks from two to one daily.
  • The panel advised lowering daily consumption of added sugars by 40 percent, cutting intake from 12.5 to 7.5 teaspoons, or a maximum of 120 calories or 30 grams.
  • For the first time, the guidelines recommended breastfeeding versus infant formulas, stating that being breastfed “may reduce” the risk of obesity, type 1 diabetes, and asthma.

For her part, Nestle — who served on the 1995 committee — recommends the dietary guidelines be taken with a grain of salt compared with our own intuitive common sense.

“I always have concerns about the guidelines’ increasing complexity — it’s now 835 pages,” she says. “From my standpoint, [journalist] Michael Pollan’s seven-word mini-haiku takes care of things quite nicely: ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’”

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