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.