Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sip on this...spit out that: Toast to 2010 without ruining your diet

With New Year's Eve upon us, we will find ourselves surrounded by not only tasty food choices but fun drink options. It’s a fantastic time of year, right? But all the mixed drinks and chocolate martinis can undo weeks and even months of eating salads and hard work at the gym. So here’s a list of some of the most calorie-laden drinks and of course some good options if you plan to toast the night away. Please note that the drinks listed are frequently served at a higher volume than the suggested servings, so watch your portion size.

Sip this…Champagne (100 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Eggnog (214 per 5 oz)

Sip this…Bloody Mary (125 per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Martini (306 per 5 oz)

Sip on this…Kailua and coffee (150 per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Chocolate Martini (376 per 5 oz)

Sip on this…Light beer (56-100 calories per 12 oz)
Spit out that…regular beer (150-200 calories per 12 oz)

Sip on this…wine (100 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…amaretto sour (350 calories per 5 oz)

And what about mixers? Well here’s the deal: a mixer can make your drink double in calories pretty darn fast. A 1.5 oz shot (jigger) of distilled liquor such as vodka, gin or rum contains about 100 calories. Add that to 12 oz of your favorite soda and you’ve just make that little shot into a 250 calorie drink. Think tonic water and juice is safe? Think again; 124 calories per 12 oz of tonic water and about 200 per 12 oz pour for your favorite juice. Yikes! So what’s a party person to do? Use diet sodas, diet tonic water and club soda as mixers.

Other sneaky ways to have a good time without breaking the calorie bank with beverages:

  • Start with two large glasses of water before you sip even one alcoholic drink. This will cause you to drink slowly since you are no longer thirsty and your stomach is fuller
  • Drink one-on-one: before you grab another glass of wine, drink a glass of water. Keep alternating your favorite drink with water and you will drink less
  • Give your friends a ride. Offer to drive friends to and from the party...sober. How easy is that…no calories from alcohol! Just be careful not to drink other calorie heavy drinks. Stick to diet soda and water.
Happy Celebrating!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Move of the Week: Reverse Lunges

The Move: Reverse Lunge

Lunges are great for the butt and thighs but add a little movement with the lunge and you get a great butt and thighs plus a strong core and improved balance

Muscles Worked: Thighs, Gluts, Core

How to:

  1. Start by taking a large step backwards placing most of the weight on the toe of your back foot and the heel of your front foot.
  2. With control, bend both knees until each are at a 90 degree angle. It is okay to come up on the back toes.
  3. Slowly raise back up without locking the knees and step the back foot forward to the starting position.
  4. Do all reps (12) on one side and then switch sides and repeat.

Trainer Tips:

  • Check yourself out in a mirror to make sure that your front knee remains over your ankle and never goes past the toe (this will project your knees).
  • Keep breathing throughout the exercise.

Make 'em Harder: Grab a set of dumbbells and hold them at your sides while completing your lunges to increase resistance. You can also challenge you balance even more by bringing your back leg up to a 90 degree angle without touching the floor before stepping back into the lunge position.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Favorite Soup of the Moment...

So I’ve been sick for about a week now and the only thing that sounds good to eat is soup (okay…and chocolate). I’ve done the spicy chicken tortilla soup for two days in a row now and am no working on my Tons-O-Vegetable “Beef” Soup. The “beef” is in quotations because I use lean ground turkey but then beef it up with beef broth. This soup is not for the faint of heart…it’s bold, chunky AND you can get multiple servings of veggies per bowl…oh yeah and it’s super tasty!

This recipe should fill an entire stock pot and last for days…feel free to add/take away/or substitute veggie choices.

  • 2-3 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 6 stocks of celery (chopped)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • One package mixed veggies (corn, carrots, peas and green beans)
  • One package mixed veggies (lima beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Parsley, basil, oregano to taste
  • 10 cups beef broth
  1. In stockpot, brown and drain turkey.
  2. Add fresh chopped veggies, drained turkey and spices to the still hot stock pot.
  3. Add beef broth, can of diced tomatoes and frozen veggies.
  4. Cover on medium high for 1-2 hours.

How easy is that?!

Enjoy! J

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Enjoying the Holidays

Now I don’t promote skipping your workouts just because you get busy during the holidays, BUT in case you get behind a bit in your exercise routine, there are ways to burn extra calories during Christmas and New Year’s celebrating. Check out how many calories you can burn doing the following typical holiday activities for 60 minutes*:

  • Dancing the night away: 300 calories
  • Cleaning house before guests arrive: 205 calories
  • Shoveling snow off your driveway/sidewalk: 409 calories
  • Shopping for the perfect gifts: 175 calories
  • Ice Skating: 477 calories
  • Helping kiddos play with their new toys: 225 calories

All of these activities are great because they work the entire body AND are things you might have been planning to do anyway! So lend a hand doing the dishes, playing with your nieces and nephews and become healthier and happier as a result!

*calorie burn is based on a person weighing 150 lbs

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find (recipe edition): Dark Chocolate Bites with Almonds and Cherries

The Facts: Just because you are trying to eat healthy, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a very tasty, chocolaty cookie that wont break the calorie bank. I a version of this recipe in Fitness Magazine and adapted it to taste better J I’m making these for a cookie exchange I’m going to tonight and I’m sure they’ll be a hit (I did a trial run last week…delish!) Check out the stats on these cookies. Per cookie: calories, 1g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 1.5g fat (0.7g saturated).

So enjoy, but also remember that these should be eaten in moderation…pop five of these suckers and you’re looking at 150 calories…enjoy slowly! J

Dark Chocolate Bites with Almonds and Cherries

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Makes: 5 dozen cookies

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 egg whites
Small pinch salt
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almond

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa and flour.

2. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the confectioner's sugar. When all the sugar has been added, raise the speed to high and beat until the whites have a marshmallow-like consistency. Beat in the vanilla.

3. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in half the melted chocolate, then half the cocoa-flour mixture, scraping the side of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and cocoa-flour mixture.

4. Fold in the cherries and almonds; let the mixture sit until thick enough to scoop, about 5 minutes.

5. Scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets by level teaspoonfuls, leaving about an inch between cookies. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, until the cookies are crackled on the outside.

6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer them to a wire rack. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Spice it up! I think that enjoying these chocolaty, almondy, cherry-y bites would be perfect with a great cup of tea.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cold Weather Workout Tips

(From an article I wrote for

Can’t stand working out indoors even when it looks like Antarctica outside? Outdoor lovers just need to follow a few simple tips for safe exercising in the frigid temperatures.

COVER UP When we are cold, our bodies focus most of its heating effort to the core to protect our heart and other organs. Therefore, make sure to cover up your extremities (arms and legs, hands and feet as well as your head/ears).

CHOOSE LAYERS Our bodies generate a great deal of heat when we exercise…enough to make it feel as much as 30 degrees warmer that the actual temperature, So dress in layers when exercising outside so that you can take off clothing as you start to heat up and put layers back on if needed. Wear fabric that is a synthetic moisture-wicking material as your first layer, then proceed with cotton of fleece layers as well as a waterproof layer if it is snowing or raining. For those with asthma or in temperatures below freezing (32 degrees), cover your mouth with a scarf or mask.

For the complete post (originally published by, which includes a Snowed-in Workout for anyone, anywhere, click here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Yoga

‘Tis the season for cookies, eggnog and…heart attacks. That’s right, the most deaths caused by heart attacks are on Christmas day, the day after Christmas and New Years day. So it’s also the season to try to slow down and ease our stress. Yoga is a fantastic way to do both, plus, yoga has many more benefits such as:

  • Decreasing heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increasing concentration and elevates mood
  • Relieving arthritis and back pain
  • Improving posture, strength and flexibility

Therefore, check out your local yoga studio or the class listings at your gym. OR for those who prefer to practice yoga by themselves (I’m with you!), Exercise TV on Demand has some great yoga segments and your can buy or rent yoga DVDs!

Muscles Worked: Total Body

Trainer Tips:

  • Make sure not to push yourself too much if you are new to yoga, breath into the stretches and do not go to the point of pain. Your flexibility and strength will increase as you continue going to class or working out to your DVD.

Click here for other ways to degrease your (and your loved one’s) chance of heart attack this season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Harvestland individually wrapped, all natural chicken breasts

The Facts: I found Harvestland individually wrapped, all natural chicken breasts at Walmart a couple weeks ago and they have been life changing (that might be an exaggeration…but they’re still awesome). These chicken breasts are individually wrapped so you don’t have to freeze or defrost all of them at the same time if it’s just you eating. Also, these suckers don’t have any hormones, antibiotics and are all veggie fed. This is a good thing people. I love all natural meat, BUT it’s soooo expensive BUT you can get Harvestland chicken for about $5-6 for 3 half breasts…best deal I’ve found yet!

So Enjoy your chicken chemical free…it tastes better, cooks better and is just plain better.

Spice it up! My favorite way to bake this chicken is by topping it with a little BBQ sauce and throwing it in the oven at 350 degrees for 22 minutes…sooooo good!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

Bar/Table Machine

The Move: Assisted Pull Ups

Pull ups, real pull ups, are great, but not many people can do them before training for a while. Therefore, the invention of the assisted pull up! There are assisted pull up machines that you can use at your gym, OR you can also use the smith machine bar or even a table or desk in your home to do this move. Aside from this move’s ability to get you out of a sticky, hanging-off-the-edge-of-a-cliff situation, pull ups are a fantastic exercise that works multiple muscles in the back, chest and arms…all at once!

Muscles Worked: Back, Arms, Chest

How to (Assisted Pull Up Machine):

  1. Start by adjusting the weight on the machine (the heavier the weight, the more assistance you will get)
  2. Grip the handle bars with hands approximately shoulder width apart
  3. Slowly pull yourself up so that your chin is above your hands
  4. With control, lower yourself down to starting position
  5. Repeat until exhaustion

How to (Smith Machine bar, sturdy desk or table):

  1. Start gripping the bar, table or desk edge with hands approximately shoulder width apart
  2. The position of your knees is key…the more bent your knees are, the less challenging the pull up will be. Straight legs are the hardest position here.
  3. Slowly pull yourself up so that your chin is above your hands
  4. With control, lower yourself down to starting position
  5. Repeat until exhaustion

Trainer Tips:

  • When using a bar, desk or table, it’s easy to use your legs to move your body up. Try focusing on just using your arms to pull you up and only use as much leg “help” as needed to complete the move.

Make ‘em Harder: If these are easy for you…go to a straight on Pull Up…no assistance…just the bar you are pulling yourself up on and you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday: Think Thin Bars

The Food Find: Think Thin High Protein Bars

The Facts:

If you’re like me, you find that getting good protein in your diet is sometimes tough with all the running around, driving and just plain not being at home (and refusing to go throw a drive thru for a meal). Protein problem solved. The Think Thin High Protein Bars come in flavors like Crunchy Peanut Butter, Crispy Brownie and Chocolate Fudge. They have 20 grams of protein and are sugar and gluten free…so great for people suffering from Celiac or Diabetes.

Each bar has about 240 calories, so this is not a snack bar but a meal replacement!

I found an assortment of Think Thin products at Hy-Vee in their Healthy Market. So go there and grab one today!

Spice it up! To make this a fantastic and complete meal, add a small piece of fruit and some fresh cut veggies!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Tricep Extensions

Our biceps most likely got a great workout over the Thanksgiving Weekend what with all the moving our forks to our mouths, so the move of the week targets the opposing muscle to the biceps: the triceps.

Muscles Worked: Triceps (back of the upper arm)

How to:

  1. Start by holding a dumbbell straight over your head (in both hands)
  2. Adjust your elbows so they are close to your head
  3. Slowly bend your elbows so that the weight drops behind your head
  4. With control, lift the weight back to the starting position by squeezing the triceps
  5. Repeat until exhaustion

Trainer Tips:

  • It’s easy to arch your back when doing this exercise. Keep your abs in tight while staggering your stance or standing on one leg while performing your extensions…this will protect your lower back from injury

Make ‘em Harder: Standing on one leg or on a BOSU will make this more challenging, plus it makes you work your core and will improve your balance.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Candy Cane Lane Decaffeinated Green Tea

The Facts:

The last thing on my mind today, the day after Thanksgiving, is food. So today we are talking tea…super tasty, calorie and guilt free tea with no caffeine to make us jittery if we drink a gallon of it and all the goodness of green tea. Green tea drinkers have been shown to have lower risks of disease overall…everything from a decreased risk of viral and bacterial infections to cancer, stroke and osteoporosis. So why wouldn’t you drink green tea?!

I have found a tea that is so tasty, I stock up on it when it is in season (‘cuz it’s a holiday tea) so that I can have it year round. It tastes slightly sweet and pepperminty-hence the name Candy Cane Lane…oh so good.

Spice it up! This tea is fantastic plain, BUT if you are looking for a healthy sweet treat that wont pack on the pounds, add a bit of Stevia sweetener (like Truvia) and a shot of low fat milk, or in my case soy or almond milk…


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have a happy and HEALTHY Thanksgiving!

Have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!

Looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal but dreading the bloat and sleepiness afterwards? Focus on your friends and family instead of the food and follow these simple tips and swap outs! You’ll be thankful that you did!

1. Fill up on the good stuff.

· White meat turkey (15% less calories than it’s dark counterpart)

· Fresh Veggies and fruit

· Mashed potatoes (make yours with Butterbuds to save a hundred calories and several grams of fat per serving)

· Gravy…that’s right, I said gravy. It’s only about 80 calories per 2 tbsp and is more than half the calories of the sugary cranberries.

· Pumpkin Pie (180 calories vs. 250 in apple and up to 700 in pecan!!)

  1. Ditch the bad stuff.

· Bread…you can eat bread any day…don’t waste your Thanksgiving calories on bread

· Butter…there is butter in nearly everything on Thanksgiving so give your mashed potatoes the benefit of the doubt (that they taste great) and leave the butter on the table

· Pass on the green bean casserole…yes, this tasty dish contains veggies, BUT it’s not enough to count this dish as a side vegetable what with all the fried onions and cream. Grab the steamed for fresh veggies instead

3. Skip the nap.

  • Myth: The tryptophan in turkey is not enough to make your drowsy (there is actually more of the chemical in cheese and chicken!). So when you get tired after eating, blame the overindulgence in fatty food. And while napping during the game might seem like a good idea, a better idea for increased energy is to go on a brisk, post-feast walk. Not only will you get your blood circulating, heart rate up and thus an avalanche of energy, but you’ll also be burning off some of the pie you just ate!

If you’re the cook in charge on the big day, check out these recipes from the Mayo Clinic for a heart (and waist) healthy version of the food we love to eat!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: High Intensity Intervals

Are you in a cardio rut? Does your cardio exercise consist of watching your favorite TV show while moving steadily on a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical? Since most of us are planning on shocking our body with a huge Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, why not also shock your body in a more healthy way with some high intensity intervals? High intensity interval training (or HIIT) has been shown to burn fat like crazy, help increase running speed and well as cardiovascular endurance.

Muscles Worked: Heart and full body

How to:

  1. Choose your piece of cardio equipment (OR get outside to run in your neighborhood or bike a fun trail)
  2. Warm up for 5 minutes at a steady, easy pace
  3. Speed up to your normal steady state pace for 2 minutes
  4. Go at an all out “sprint,” giving it everything you have for 30 seconds
  5. Repeat the 2 minutes of steady state/30 seconds of “sprinting” for 20 minutes
  6. Finish with a 5 minute cool down

Trainer Tips:

  • 20 minutes might be too much of a challenge for some people or might not be enough of a challenge. This is your workout so do what feels right and challenging to you!
  • Try intervals on different pieces of equipment to really shock your body…one day might be running the next day might be biking…switch it up!

Make ‘em Harder: By decreasing the steady state time or increasing the interval time you will be making the workout more challenging.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Pizza Fusion (lunch special)

The Facts:

I had never heard of Pizza Fusion until this week when I had lunch with a couple of fantastic ladies. Pizza Fusion is an environmentally conscious, organic, and totally delicious pizzeria that offers rare findings such as vegan soy cheese and gluten free crust for those with food sensitivities and allergies.

It was delicious. The lunch special came with a small salad (I recommend the veggie-heavy Fusion Salad with Goddess Dressing) and a small, whole grain crust, crimini mushroom and soy cheese pizza. I couldn't even taste the soy-ness of the was such a treat! The crimini mushrooms gave this pizza an earthy and warm flavor, plus of course, a boost of riboflavin and potassium. The special is $9 with a drink, $8 without.

I highly recommend visiting Pizza Fusion (135th and Roe,

Spice it up! As always, red pepper flakes are a fantastic way to spice up anything

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Oblique V-Ups

I love this move because it is challenging but awesome. You will start to feel your obliques (your sides) get stronger and firmer after just a few days of doing these. It’s important to train your obliques because they are the main muscles that aloud you to twist, bend to the sides, stay balanced and they really define your waist.

Muscles Worked: Obliques (sides of your abs)

How to:

  1. Begin by laying on one side with the bottom arm down on the floor in front of you and the top arm up, hand behind head
  2. Move your legs out in front of you to form a 30 degree angle with your torso
  3. Squeeze your obliques and raise both upper body and lower body off the ground so that you are balancing on your hip…your body making a “V” shape
  4. Slowly lower to the ground
  5. Repeat at least 12 times and then switch sides

Trainer Tips:

  • This is an advanced move, so if you want to work your way up to the full “V” simply crunch up with the upper body and lower body separately
  • You might have to lean back a little bit to make the move more comfortable on your hip

Make ‘em Harder: You can add resistance with ankle weights or by putting a stability ball between your ankles…you will really be feeling the burn then!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Ants on a Log

The Facts: If you didn’t have Ants on a Log as a child, then your initial reaction to this week’s food find might be “gross! I would never eat ants…or a log…especially ants on a log!” Not to worry…I wouldn’t either. Ants on a Log (from my childhood) are just a tasty snack made of celery, peanut butter and raisins…super tasty and packed full of healthy stuff for kids and adults!

Celery is a great low-calorie snack (just six calories per stalk!) that is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

Raisins are loaded with antioxidants and the energy promoting B vitamins.

Natural Peanut Butter is low in sugar and is packed with good fat. Plus, peanuts provide a good source of protein.

How to make: Grab a washed celery stalk and cut into three sticks. Use one tablespoon of all natural peanut butter to fill in the grove of the celery stick. Top with 6 raisins each and enjoy! The snack has 142 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Raking (yes…as in raking leaves)

You can burn a lot of calories without stepping foot into the gym. A great way to kill two birds with one stone this time of year is to rake your yard. Raking uses a bunch of different muscle groups which makes it a great calorie burning workout. You can burn 250 to 400 calories depending on how hard you are raking! If that's not a reason to get outside to get those leaves out of your yard, I don't know what is!

Muscles Worked: Back, Core, Arms

Trainer Tips:

  • Relax your shoulders while raking to ensure that no extra stress is put on the neck.
  • Pull your abdominals in tight to get an even greater core workout.

Make ‘em Harder: Raking with a heavier rake will up the calorie burn of this great exercise/lawn care activity as well will bagging the leaves by hand.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Pumpkin Seeds

The Facts: Pumpkin seeds were a fall traditional food at my house growing up. After we carved our pumpkins for Halloween, we would rinse the seeds off, dry them, throw a little salt on them and roast them at 350 for 15-20 minutes…delish! What I didn’t know as a kid though was that pumpkin seeds are actually very nutritious. The have give you 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc in just ¼ cup. I know, right? Fantastic! Plus, pumpkin seeds have been shown to lower cholesterol and help with arthritis pain as they act as an anti-inflammatory.

Now remember, just because something is healthy doesn’t mean that eating more is better. Stick to a single ¼ cup serving with breaks down to 185 calories, 9 grams protein, 1.5 grams fiber and 16 grams of fat (14 of these grams of fat are the good, heart healthy fat). You can pick up pumpkin seeds in bulk at places like Whole Foods or I definitely recommend making your own.

Spice it up! Throw a couple tables spoons of these tasty seeds in with some high fiber cereal (like Kashi Heart to Heart), a few raisins and almonds and you have your very own tasty and totally healthy trail mix!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't be a victim of holiday weight gain...fight back with these tips!

Welcome to November and December, or as I lovingly call them, The Weight Gain Months. Candy-filled Halloween just ended and we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Years and so on which are all accompanied by excessive amounts of food. That, paired with our busy schedules which makes it hard to exercise, is a recipe for disaster. But not to worry, you don’t have to finish out 2009 with a belly Santa would be proud of; I have a plan.

  1. Be assertive. No means NO people. So when someone offers you a second slice of pie or helping of buttery mashed potatoes, say “no thank you, it was delicious” and then stick to your no-guns!
  2. No excuses. “But it’s the holidays” is not a good excuse for throwing out everything you know about eating healthy. Just because you can eat a dump truck load of cookies or drink a lake full of eggnog, doesn’t mean you should. Think about how overeating junk will make you feel a few hours later and about all the hard work that will disappear because of a month or two of holiday binging.
  3. No excuses part deux. “It’s the holidays and I’m too stressed and busy to workout,” is possibly the lamest excuse ever for not working out. Exercising reduces stress, helps us to think more clearly, banishes irritability and so forth…plus, it burns calories that we inevitable consume more of during this time of year. Just do it…even if it’s 20 minutes a day…get your body in gear.
  4. Don’t go hungry. A great tactic to ensure that you don’t overeat at big meals or parties is to not go to them hungry. Eat a light but satisfying snack before you go. A half turkey sandwich on whole grain, veggies and hummus or a protein shake should do the trick.
  5. Exercise portion control. Thanksgiving and Holiday parties should not be viewed as all you can eat buffets. Fill up on fresh or steamed veggies, lots of fruits and a small amount of meat and side dishes. Make it your goal to have one plate of food per meal…half of it being fruits and veggies.
  6. Say “bye-bye” to leftovers. Send the fatty and high calorie leftovers off with your guests, put them on festive plates and deliver them to your neighbors, take them to the office or “gasp!” throw it away (this is a great option for your extra Halloween candy). Whatever you do, try not to leave them in your house for you to snack on day and night.

Armed with these tips, you are ready to go to holiday parties, family get togethers, Thanksgiving dinner and wherever else the next two months take you. Remember, it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, just don’t make it a habit.

Strength training is for everyone...yes, even you!

Did you know that exercise doesn’t just include aerobic movement such as running, walking, biking, and working out on the elliptical trainer? Strength training is an extremely important component to your exercise routine. And not just for body builders or fitness buffs…for everyone! Strength training increases your lean body tissue, metabolism, balance, coordination and helps improve arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain and much more. But as important, strength training prevents Sarcopenia, which is just a fancy word for losing muscle mass as we age.

Studies show that we start losing muscle mass at a rate of 1% a year staring in our 30s and 40s. So what? Well, it’s a big deal to lose muscle mass. Not only will you have a higher percentage of body fat which puts stress on your heart, can lead to diabetes and some other horrible things, but keeping your muscles means keeping your balance, preventing osteoporosis, and sustaining our abilities to do every day tasks well into the aging process.

So what can you do? Eat a balanced diet full of health foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains and start strength training…now! Pick up some weights or do body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull ups, sit ups, etc. You will be doing your body good for years to come.

Feeling overwhelmed by weight rooms or just not so sure how to strength train? E.H. Fitness offers a wide variety of training packages or individual sessions to help you with an introduction to weight training and personalized weight training programs. Visit or e-mail Erin at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: PliƩ Squat with Ball Raise

Working large and small muscles together in one movement during strength training makes the body work harder and therefore burns more calories. This is one of the beauties of a pliƩ squat paired with a stability or medicine ball raise. If done correctly, this is a full body movement that will not only work on your lower body, abs and arms, but it will get your heart rate going as well.

Muscles Worked: Inner thighs, butt, abs, back, shoulders

How to:

  1. Start standing with legs spread wide (wider than shoulder width) and toes pointed out at an angle
  2. Hold a stability ball or medicine ball in your hands
  3. Slowly bend your knees while keeping your back straight. While squatting down, lower the ball towards the floor keeping the arms straight.
  4. Squeeze the butt and inner thighs to stand up straight again while brining the ball overhead with straight arms.
  5. Repeat for a minute.

Trainer Tips:

  • This movement should be done slow and control…no swinging the ball up or locking the knees in starting position
  • The arms should be kept straight for the entire movement to get maximum work out of the upper body
  • Pull your abs in tight…you should really be able to feel them tighten when the ball is over your head
  • Like all squatting, lunging, etc., make sure that your knees do not come over the toes and that you are pressing into your heels and not your toes. Doing these things will protect your knees from unnecessary pressure.

Make ‘em Harder: Using a heavier ball will make this move harder. You can also stager your stance so that you have one foot up on a low step.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Veggie Pirate’s Booty

The Facts: Pirate’s Booty snacks are like a cross between popcorn, puffed rice and Cheetos with added vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, carrots and cabbage and other goodness. Pirate’s Booty is a great healthy substitute for chips and other salty crunchy snacks…AND it’s called “Pirate’s Booty” which is just another great plus!

You can eat ¼ of the bag of this tasty snack for just 130 calories and 5 grams of good fat (no trans fats here!). Pick your own bag up at Whole Foods or the healthy food section at your local grocery store.

Spice it up! Get an extra veggie kick by eating this crunchy snack with a handful of baby carrots or some zucchini slices.

Pirate’s Booty Veggie Puffs ARRRRRRR a fantastic food find! (Sorry…couldn’t resist it).