Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Jump Rope

Let your inner child out and skip rope! It’s a killer calorie burner, good for the heart and builds strong bones (i.e. combats osteoporosis). I totally remember jumping rope for the entire 25 minutes of recess, three times a day my whole year in second grade, but I’m not going to kid you…jumping rope is not child’s play any more. It’s tough and a completely awesome change up to any cardio routine.

Muscles Worked: Heart, legs, arms, core

How to:

  1. Make sure that you are in a space with a tall ceiling.
  2. Grasp a handle of the rope in either hand.
  3. Swing the rope from behind you to the front and jump over the rope before it hits your feet…keep going
Trainer Tips:
  • Start with one minute of continuous jumping…and then work up to 5, then 10, then 15 and…well…you get the point.
  • Keep the shoulders down and relax and focus on the rhythm of the rope and your jumps…this will keep you from “messing up.”
Make ‘em harder: Ever see the Rocky movies? Jumping faster makes you work work up a sweat faster…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burgers

The Facts: I know that not everyone is into the veggie burger, but you have to try this. The Black Bean Burger is not trying to taste like hamburger but more like Mexican goodness in a convenient patty. With just 120 calories, 4 grams of good fat, 4 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, this tasty burger substitute is the perfect main dish.

Spice it up! Slap one of these puppies on an Oroweat Sandwich Thin (see previous Food Find) with some avocado, tomato and lettuce and a piece of fruit on the side and you have a completely balanced and tasty meal!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Real Body...I've got one!

This photo…yes THIS photo was featured in Glamour magazine (September 2009). I’m shocked an in awe. Finally there is a real live person in a woman’s magazine who looks normal and un-airbrushed and completely comfortable in her own skin. Love it!

If you are like me, I have (on occasion) read magazines like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Self, etc. and compared my imperfect body to those women on the cover and on every page. Even after sweating through the “Bikini Body Workouts” and “Flat Abs Challenge” my abs never looked flat and toned like the models and actresses featured. Even after eating all the “Foods that Fight Cellulite” and none of the “Top 10 Most Fattening Foods,” my thighs are still more than a little bumpy in some areas and I still have a little junk in the trunk.

So what gives? I’ll tell you what. I’m a real live person who does not have scores of make-up artists giving me the perfect complexion and shadowing all over my body. I’m a real live person who doesn’t have a slew of photographers and graphic designers making me more slender and airbrushing out all my imperfections. What I DO have is a real body…a healthy body that I take care of. And because my body is totally unique with its own measurements, shape and size, my body is perfect for me! It’s the only body I have, so I can sit here and compare it to other’s or accept it for what it is…beautifully and uniquely mine! :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Cable Machine Tricep Press Down

The tricep press down is so great because it really isolates your triceps which means that you are working that muscle and that muscle only for optimum muscle strength gain.

Muscles Worked: Triceps

How to:

  1. Adjust the cable machine so that the pulley is as high as it can go. Attached a bar.

  2. Stand with feel hip width apart and grasp the bar with both hands…they should be a bit closer than shoulder width apart.

  3. Keep elbows in tight to your sides and press the bar down so that your arms are fully extended.

  4. Raise the bar back up only as high as you can while still keeping the elbows into the sides.

Trainer Tips:

  • Try to think of only moving the forearms…elbows should not move at all.

  • Think about your triceps (the back of your arms) while doing the exercise…focus on squeezing them when your arms are straight.

Make ‘em harder: You can do these on one leg to work on your core and balance.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Pop-Secret 100 Calorie Homestyle Popcorn

The Facts: If you have spent any time around me, you know I’m a freak for popcorn. I used to eat popcorn every morning for breakfast…I’m obsessed. This individual serving of popcorn is perfect…it tastes awesome, only has 100 calories per FIVE CUPS! And it offers 3 grams of both fiber and protein. Perfecto! Be careful when you microwave since it’s a small bag…it only takes about 2 minutes.

Spice it up! I love spicy food, so I sometimes toss my 100 calories worth of popcorn with some cayenne pepper…sooooo good!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Barbell Preacher Curl

Our biceps work all day long every time our elbow bends whether it’s to carry heavy boxes or to lift a fork full of food to our mouths. Therefore, it’s important to keep this muscle strong. AND…let’s face it, it’s a nice muscle to look at too!

The Barbell Preacher Curl is a fantastic bicep exercise because it isolates the bicep in a way that is difficult when doing a standing bicep curl. Because of the position you are in (seated with backs of the arms resting on a preacher curl set up), there is no way to help lift the weight with your back, shoulders or with a swinging motion.

The Muscles Worked: Biceps

How to:

  1. Start by sitting at a preacher curl bench. Adjust your seat so that your arm pits can rest near the top of the pad.

  2. Grasp the barbell with an underhand grip with arms fully extended

  3. Curl the bar up towards your face and then lower the weight so that are your arms are fully extended in the starting position.

Trainer Tips:

  • Keep your back straight and your shoulders down and relaxed so as not to strain the neck muscles when lifting the weight.

  • Inhale as you lift the weight and exhale as your lower it back down.

  • If you don’t have access to a preacher curl bench, you can use the back of a chair. Simply start in standing position with the back of the chair facing you, bend your knees and bend over at the hips so that you are in leaning forward squat position and rest the back of your arms on the back rest of the chair. Complete the move from this position.

Make 'em Harder: The more weight you add to the barbell the harder the move will be. Just make sure that you can fully extend the arms down at the end of the move to promote full range of motion in the muscle. You can also do this move with dumbbells.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Pop Chips

The Facts: Rejoice chip lovers. These tasty crunchier than crunchy chips are not baked, they’re not fried, they’re cooked with pressure and heat for a delicious crunch and kick. You can enjoy 19 chips for 140 calories and 4 grams of fat (no saturated or trans fat here). They come in delicious flavors like salt and pepper, BBQ and others. If you are looking for a crunchy, chip snack this is it!

Spice it up! I have paired these with a delicious roast chicken sandwich with a side of sliced apples and cucumbers….perfecto!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Plank

Our core (made up of the abdominal and lower back muscles) is extremely important to strengthen because it is the bridge between our upper body and lower body, it is what gives us stability. A strong core decreases the risk of back injury as well as helps us to move in every day activities…plus, strong abs don’t look too bad either!

The Muscles Worked: Abs and lower back

How to:
  1. Start by lying on the floor or on a mat.
  2. Place your forearms on the floor next to your chest
  3. Push up through your arms so that you are balance on your forearms and toes. Your body should be a straight line from head to toe…do not lift the hips up or let your belly sag down.
  4. Hold the position for as long as you can in good form.

Trainer Tips:

  • It’s important to keep your abs in tight during a plank to get the full benefit of the exercise as well as to protect your lower back.
  • Let your gaze go out a few inches away from your arms so that you keep your neck in neutral alignment.
  • If this is too challenging, simply put your knees down on the mat to help support…but make sure that your hips and abs aren’t sagging or raising up…you should be in a straight line from your head to your knees.

Make 'em Harder: There are so many ways to make the plank harder but one of my favorites is to keep everything very tight and lift one leg off the ground, hold for five seconds and then lift the other leg for five seconds. Alternate between legs until you can’t hold the pose any longer in good form.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Portion sizes de-mystified..

Recently, I've heard (and maybe said once) several people exclaim "That's it?!?" as their meal is brought out at a "fancy" restaurant. In a culture where more is great and super-sized is even better, a 3 oz piece of chicken and a small plate of pasta seems downright puny. But really "That" is most likely a much better representation of what we are supposed to consume regarding portion size than the huge plates of food we are used to receiving. I find it helpful to use the following props to estimate correct portion sizes.

  • pasta or rice=1/2 cup or one small fist
  • cooked meat= 3 oz or one deck of cards
  • muffin=1 large egg
  • peanut butter=2 tablespoons or a golf ball
  • pancake=CD
  • 1 oz cheese=4 dice

If you are like me...when I first saw this list I totally balked...I mean really....who eats only a small fist worth of pasta or a muffin the size of an egg?! That's insane! OR it's totally correct! We just need to change our way of thinking...more is not always better and super sized is just plain worse. Armed with these tools (figuratively of course...but then again you could carry props around with you...but eyeballing works too...) there's no reason for us to overeat!

Just some food for thought...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Food Find: Oroweat Sandwich Thins

The Facts: Hamburger season is still in full swing and if you're looking for a healthier bun to toast on the grill or a different way to spice up your sandwiches, you're in luck. Oroweat just came out with a tasty, healthy option: Sandwich Thins. They are made with 100% whole wheat, 5 whole grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and only 100 calories and each! I highly recommend this perfectly portioned bun/bread substitute for all sandwiches, paninis and grilled meat or vegetables.
Spice it up! I had the most tasty veggie burger on a toasted Sandwich thin with reduced fat pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, spicy mustard and lettuce. Tomorrow, I'm making a tasty, toasty egg white and deli turkey sandwich for breakfast.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Overhead Shoulder Press

Strong shoulders not only look fantastic, they help you do all arm movements as well as prevent a dreaded shoulder injury. The dumbbell overhead press is a great move to work the shoulders because it engages all three “heads” of the shoulder muscles (anterior deltoid (front), medial deltoid (mid) and posterior (back) deltoid). Also, because you are using two weights (one in each hand) you have to work each shoulder individually so that you gain strength in both shoulders instead of relying on the stronger shoulder to help the weaker shoulder when lifting a barbell overhead. One more benefit of the overhead press is that you also use your lower body and abdominals to stabilize your body….therefore, it’s kinda like a work-you-whole-body move.

The Muscles Worked: Shoulders/Deltoids

How to:

  1. Start by standing with soft knees and tight abominals.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and slowly raise them up so that your arms create a 90 decree angle (the weights should be on either side of your head).
  3. Press the arms and weights up over your head until you have a straight arm.
  4. Return to start (arms at 90 degrees) and repeat.

Trainer Tips:

  • Hands and weights should be slightly in front of your ears and not behind the head for proper alignment.
  • Do not look to the side while performing this move, instead look directly ahead. This will protect your neck.
  • Exhale when you press the weight up and inhale as you lower the weight into starting position.

Make 'em Harder: I love making this exercise multifunctional by adding some balance challenge to it. You can do this move on one foot or on a BOSU for more core strength and balance work.