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Healthy Fitness Snack

Today this is my go to pre bike ride treat! These are not so bad if you limit yourself to 1 1/2 pieces! These delicious treats are made with all natural organic ingredients, there so yummy it’s hard to only eat 1 1/2 just warning you. So far I have been practicing good self control and only had the recommended serving! Lately I have been having a sweet tooth craving and this has hit the spot! 🙂




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Post Workout Fast & Easy Meal Idea!

Chicken breast, fresh ginger, ginger powder, walnuts, apples and side of zucchini.


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Julie Hale

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Sensational Smoothie

Fresh ginger, turmeric powder, almond milk, ice, naked blue machine, plain yogurt, Green Superfood Goji & Acai, and banana. Blend in your Nutri Bullet enjoy as a snack pre or post workout.



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Healthy Alternative to Help You Kick Your Soda Habit Out The Door…Forever!

When we remove soda from your diet there is a chance of getting headaches and feeling irritable as the body starts to go through with-drawls from not having soda. Drinking green tea is a great alternative that will  help this change in diet go smoothly. Green tea is also a great alternative to coffee especially if your trying to cut back on caffeine.

Sip your way to optimal health to reap the benefits of this hot, green liquid miracle drink.

10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea (No. 3 is Very Impressive)

Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.

It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.

This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.

Here are 10 health benefits of green tea that have been confirmed in human research studies.

1. Green Tea Contains Various Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health

Green tea is more than just green liquid.

Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients.

It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants (1).

These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.

One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health.

Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride (2).

That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.

2. Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

A Cup of Green Tea

Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter.

The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.

It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.

What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (3, 4).

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory (5).

However… green tea contains more than just . It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (6).

L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain (7, 8, 9).

Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function (10).

Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance

Tea Plant

If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.

This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials (11, 12).

In one study in 10 healthy men, green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% (13).

Another study showed that fat oxidation was increased by 17%, indicating that green tea may selectively increase the burning of fat (14).

However, I’d like to point out that some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual (15).

Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy (16, 17).

In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average (18, 19).

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

4. Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer

Green Tea With Pot And Cups

Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.

It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect (20).

Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:

  • Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women (21).
  • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men (22).
  • Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer (23).

Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer (24, 25, 26).

It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value (27).

Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

5. Green Tea May Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Elderly Man And Woman Holding Cups of Tea

Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain.

Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentally lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (28, 29, 30).

Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

6. Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection

Green Tea in a Wooden Spoon

The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well.

Some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections (31, 32, 33, 34).

Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.

Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries (35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40).

Another awesome benefit of green tea… multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath (41, 42).

Bottom Line: The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

7. Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

Iced Tea in a Glass

Type II diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels (43, 44).

One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes (45).

According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic (46).

Bottom Line: Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.

8. Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Powdered Green Tea

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world (47).

Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases.

This includes total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (48).

Green tea also dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway towards heart disease (49, 50, 51).

Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it is not surprising to see that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (52, 53, 54).

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Becoming Obese

Cup of Green Tea With Leaves

Given that green tea can boost the metabolic rate in the short term, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.

Several studies show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area (55, 56, 57).

One of these studies was a randomized controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat (58).

However, some studies don’t show a statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt (59).

Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

10. Green Tea May Decrease Your Risk of Dying and Help You Live Longer

Glass And Bag of Tea

Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable.

However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.

In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period (60):

  • Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
  • Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
  • Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.

Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged 65-84 years found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period (61).

Take Home Message

If you want to buy quality organic green tea (or green tea extract), then there is an excellent selection with thousands of customer reviews on Amazon.

In order to feel better, lose weight and lower your risk of chronic diseases, then you might want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life.

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Personal Trainer

Julie Hale


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Delicious Easy to Make Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Tonight for dinner I made chicken lettuce wraps! Lettuce, chicken, walnuts and strawberries topped with Greek yogurt! If you have a large appetite like myself and over stuff the wraps I recommend using two layers of lettuce! Bon appe’tit!



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10 Junk Foods and How Much Exercise You Need to Burn Them off

I found this interesting. There are many healthy alternatives, just because we eat healthy doesn’t mean we should skimp on working out.

10 Junk Foods and How Much Exercise You Need to Burn Them Off

Julie Hale

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5 Simple Ways to Take Temptation Out of the Kitchen


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Eating healthier can be tough, but that task becomes extremely difficult when temptations from within the kitchen seem to beckon you. Squash those diet-breakers with these five strategies to help you stay focused on your goals ahead. 

1. Begin at the Grocery Store 

Your grocery cart is the first point of entrance for tempting foods to reach your home. If these foods don’t make it into your kitchen, they’ll have a much more difficult time tempting you. So before shopping, it’s best to create a list of all the items you’ll need including snacks. This requires a few minutes of planning each week; however, the amount of time you invest now will save you the effort and disappointment in the long run with having to re-start another program. Keep in mind that your list is only effective if you stick to it. Unplanned purchases can prove disastrous, so minimize them by buying only what is on your list and making sure that you don’t shop while hungry. 

2. Put Your Pantry on the Program 

Troublesome foods exert much less temptation power when they aren’t within your immediate reach. Remember the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Give away or discard all the foods that will make it more difficult for you to stick to your plan. If you have to go to the store to buy a tempting food, you will have extra time to consciously think about whether this is something that’s really important to you or just a momentary whim. Once the tempting foods are out of your pantry, you’ll have an opportunity to reorganize items in a way that puts the healthy stuff up front, visible and within easy reach. 

3. Shrink Your Dishes 

Oversized glasses, bowls and plates tend to make us feel like we need to fill up the entire space with food or drink. This translates into consuming much more than we originally planned. We often eat first with our eyes, so to speak, and then with our stomachs—meaning that if a meal appears small at first glance because it’s served in a larger plate, chances are we’ll likely eat more to feel satisfied. By choosing smaller-sized dishes, your meals will naturally appear larger and you won’t feel slighted in portion size. 

4. Plan It Out 

Planning is key to making many healthy changes. Whether it’s creating a grocery list, organizing your pantry or having dishes that make your meal look satisfying, planning helps you prepare in advance to be successful in your endeavors. A great way to plan ahead is to have healthy snacks ready to go. Whether its individual containers of light yogurt, cut up fruits and veggies, or snack-sized bags filled with pre-measured amounts of nuts or whole-wheat pretzels, prepared snacks can serve as important tools to helping you stay on track between meals. They are easily portable and may be brought to work as a great alternative to mid-day vending machine options. 

5. Get Out of the Kitchen 

Finally, one of the best ways to avoid kitchen temptations is to simply engage in an activity that takes you away from that room in the house. A distraction that takes the focus off the kitchen can help minimize unplanned eating. This could mean engaging in a hobby or craft, reading or even scheduling a little time for physical activity. By participating in other enjoyable activities that benefit you mentally and physically, you’ll likely have the motivation to eat healthier and avoid those kitchen temptations. 

By Gina Crome

Julie Hale

Personal Trainer

(704) 936-6244


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4 Health Foods With Hidden Dangers


It probably comes as no surprise that, as registered dietitians, we’re always promoting healthy foods. However, through the course of our careers, every now and then an otherwise healthy food that we recommend to include in a healthy diet unexpectedly has something worrisome turn up in it. Here are four healthy foods that fall in this category and easy fixes to avoid the hidden dangers.

1. Plain, unsalted microwave popcorn

It’s whole-grain, fiber-filled, crunchy and delicious, and makes a great snack. At 100 calories for 3 cups popped, it’s an excellent weight-loss snack.

The Hidden Danger: BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical that has been linked with a host of negative health effects, from problems with the brain, heart and prostate to harmful effects on reproductive systems and childhood development. BPA has been reported to be found in the lining of microwave popcorn bags.

The Fix: Buy unpopped kernels and air pop your own popcorn. For extra flavor, try sprinkling with cinnamon, chili or garlic powder or a little Parmesan cheese.

2. Lean, grilled poultry and meat

When it comes to protein sources that keep you satiated, lean meat and poultry rank near the top. Grilling keeps these foods lean and tasty. Pair them with steamed veggies and you have a nutrient-packed meal that is seemingly ideal for weight loss hopefuls as well as fit athletes.

The Hidden Danger: Heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, are carcinogens that are created when you cook meats at high temperatures.

The Fix: Here are several things you can do to limit the creation of HCAs:

  • Avoid charring or cooking your meat to well done; the more dried out the meat is, the more HCAs are created.
  • Marinate your meat first to greatly reduce HCAs (whether you soak for minutes or hours, it helps).
  • Use the “filp-a-minute” rule when grilling. If you flip your meat or burger every minute, HCAs can be slashed 75 to 90 percent, because it keeps the surface temperature lower.
  • Microwaving your meat for 90 to 120 seconds and draining off the juices before grilling will eliminate 90 percent of the HCAs.
  • Avoid the temptation to use the drippings, which can contain more HCAs than the meat.

3. Salmon

Packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, salmon seems as though it’s nearly the perfect food when it comes to fighting heart disease (omega-3s appear to lower triglycerides, blood pressure, risk of stroke-and more, and prevent the inflammation that damages the vessels and leads to heart disease) and inflammatory diseases like arthritis. It’s a rich, tasty and satisfying protein that is the highlight of many meals. 

The Hidden Danger: PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are environmental toxins that pollute our waters and our fish. They also are known to be cancer-causing chemicals. According to The Environmental Working Group, seven of 10 farmed salmon purchased at grocery stores in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Portland were tested and found to be contaminated with (PCBs) at levels that raise health concerns.

The Fix: Choose wild salmon over farmed-raised. On average, farmed salmon has 16 times the dangerous dioxin-like PCBs found in wild salmon due to the fishmeal that farmed salmon are fed. To reduce your exposure to PCBs, avoid frying and instead grill, bake or broil to allow the PCB-laden fat to cook off the fish. Instead of purchasing farmed salmon, choose wild and canned Alaskan salmon, and eat farmed salmon no more than once a month.

4. Dried Fruit

Packed with phytonutrients and fiber, dried fruit is portable, sturdy and ideal on-the-go. It goes perfectly in trail mix and, when combined with foods like nuts or Greek yogurt, it can be the ideal pre- or post-workout energy-boosting snack.

The Hidden Danger: Sulfites, often listed in ingredients as sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfate, sodium and potassium bisulfites, and metabisulfites, can cause reactions in sensitive individuals. These allergic reactions can be relatively mild, such as hives, or more severe—such as difficulty breathing and even fatal anaphylactic shock. People with asthma are more likely to be sensitive.

The Fix: Use a dehydrator to make your own dried fruit without sulfites, or read labels and be sure to purchase dried fruits that don’t contain sulfites.

My Banana Pop!

I never let my bananas go bad I turn my almost spoiled bananas into a tasty treat.  This is also a healthy snack your kids will enjoy. One medium banana has 422mg Potassium, 3.1 g Dietary fiber and 1.3 g of Protein. To make them peel the bananas, wrap in tin foil and place in the freezer. For an additional pop of flavor sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves over banana before wrapping in tin foil. Enjoy your banana pop like a Popsicle on a hot day straight out of the freezer. I hope you like my cheap resourceful banana pop idea!


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