Friday, April 30, 2010

7 easy ways to get healthier (and loose weight)

Recently, Men’s Health Magazine ranked the 100 fattest cities in the United States. Sadly, Kansas City was ranked no 6 on the list. Not good. But there IS good news if you want to get healthy…and lose weight. There are baby steps that you can take. You don’t have to ban ice cream or pizza from your mouth, you just have to make a few small, simple changes to get big and very important results…results that will last a very very long lifetime!

  1. Don’t drink your calories. Sodas, coffee drinks, smoothies and alcoholic beverages can all reek havoc on your waist line. The typical can of soda contains 150 calories, coffee drinks can have anywhere between 130 and 800 calories, and smoothies and alcoholic beverages are no better. So…what is the change here? Drink water before anything else. Water has zero calories and great body benefits!

  1. Hide the goodies. Move all the tempting cookies, chips, ice cream or whatever sabotages your healthy habits to the back of the cupboard, fridge or freezer. Out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Don’t hide the goods! Good food, that is! Get the fruit and veggies out of their drawers in the bottom of your fridge so that they are right in your face as you open the refrigerator door!

  1. Eat an appetizer before your meal. Nope, not stuffed mushrooms or chips and salsa, but eat a small veggie salad or fresh veggies before every meal. Research shows that people that follow this practice eat up to 12% less per meal…think of how that can add up!

  1. Walk it off. Whether you are an avid exerciser or a self proclaimed couch potato, everyone can benefit from taking the stairs and parking in the furthest space away from your destination. Every little bit of movement counts: standing is better than sitting, walking is better than standing. Make it your motto.

  1. Make the best decision possible. At the drive thru, at the family dinner, at the lunch meeting, at the refrigerator, make the best decision possible…the healthiest decision possible. It takes 21 days to create (or break) a habit…stick with it!

  1. Slow down. Eating slowly can help your body register fullness before you overeat. People that take time eating (instead of scarfing your meals and snacks), weigh less.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Craving moster!

Cravings…everyone has them (believe me, this pregnant girl knows ALL about cravings), but that doesn’t mean that we have to give into cravings. It’s important that even though you may feel like you will “just die!” if you don’t have what you crave, you won’t. This is not to say that you should never give into your Taco Bell craving, but MOST of the time, make a better choice that will give you what your body is craving as well as the desire of your tastebuds!

Here are some of my major, die-without cravings and how I've made them "healthy" for me!

Velveeta Shells and Cheese:

A box of this packs a ton of calories. Yes...I said a box, cuz really, if you’re having a mac and cheese craving and you’ve made the whole box, how many people are going to really stop at 1/3 of the batch? I think not many.

STATS: 990 calories, 36 grams of fat.


Smart Ones Creamy Mac and Cheese:

Still the whole thing, but it's portion controlled so I have been less likely to make 3 boxes and can be satisfied with just one :)

STATS: 270 calories, 2 grams of fat.

Taco Bell 5-layer Beefy Burrito:

Hey! Don’t judge…I know it’s gross…but man…I crave this like crazy…and I know that many of you do to!!

STATS: 550 calories, 22 grams of fat.


Homemade bean and cheese burrito:

Still delish and really hits the spot with protein and cheese, but it's just ¼ cup fat free spicy refried beans, ¼ cup reduced fat cheddar cheese all hot and rolled up in a Mission Carb Control Whole Wheat fajita sized tortilla.

STATS: 220 calories, 8 grams of fat.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Any restaurant carrot cake will do, but these stats are from Outback Steakhouse…it’s delish, but not so much nutritionally sound and is over half of most people’s daily caloric need. Ouch!

STATS: 1,200 calories, 28 grams of fat.


Weight Watchers Carrot Crème Cake:

Seriously still satisfying without eating a quarter of an actual cake.

STATS: 90 calories, 3.5 grams of fat

Grilled Cheese

Ooey-Gooey and oh so cravable, right? But if you’re like me, you crave 5 slices of cheese on thick, white Texas toast with a crisp buttery outside.

STATS: 510 calories, 30 grams of fat.


Cheese Quesadilla:

These have become an absolute staple for me and it totally hits the grilled cheese spot! One Mission Carb Control Whole Wheat fajita sized tortilla with 1/3 cup reduced fat cheddar grilled to crispy, gooey perfection!

STATS: 183 calories, 10 grams of fat

So those are just a few examples and I am definitely not saying to not go for your “real” craving every once in a while, but it’s also important to keep a majority of you caloric intake reserved for fruits and veggies and lean protein and whole grains and such.

Just some things to think about. What are your cravings? How can you make them healthier?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Get outside to get in shape!

We’ve survived the nasty and what seems to be the longest winter ever. It’s time to get our rears outside to get in shape and soak up the nice weather! There are a million ways to burn calories and shed pounds right in your neighborhood, at the lake or at a park without any gym equipment. Here are just a few ideas to blast calories in one hour while getting some fresh air.

  • Walking briskly with the dog: 225 calories
  • Jogging with a friend: 476 calories
  • Running after your kids: 680 calories
  • Tennis-singles: 476 calories
  • Mountain Biking (yes…there are hilly trails around here): 578 calories
  • Roller Blading in the park: 476 calories
  • Pick-up Basketball: 544 calories
  • Playing Catch with your kids or dog: 170 calories
  • Sand Volleyball: 544 calories
  • Croquet at a BBQ: 170 calories
  • Swimming with the family: 408 calories
  • Ultimate Frisbee: 544 calories
  • Water Skiing: 408 calories
  • Family Bike Ride: 272 calories
  • Coaching little league: 272 calories
  • Building a deck or fence: 408 calories
  • Mowing your lawn (not a riding or self propelled mower): 374 calories
  • Planting flowers, pulling weeds, mulching, etc: 272 calories

*Caloric values based on continuous movement of a 150 lb person. You will burn slightly more if you weigh more than 150 lbs and slightly less if you weigh less.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Take your cardio and strength training outdoors

If you have a hankering to take your strength and cardio gym routine to the great outdoors, do it! Here’s a great workout that scorches 500-800 calories per hour and combines all the goodness of cardiovascular conditioning with the muscle toning power of strength training.

Minutes Activity

5 min warm up:

walk, jog or run

1 min power move:

tricep dips off bench or stairs

2 minutes cardio burst

Jumping jacks

1 min power move:

Push ups: off bench or on ground

2 minutes cardio burst

Walk, jog or run

1 min power move:

Walking lunges

2 minutes cardio burst

30 second Lunge jumps alternating with 30 second walk

1 min power move:

Side planks

2 minutes cardio burst

30 second Jump Squats alternating with 30 second walk

5 minutes active recovery

Walk, jog or run

Repeat circuit a total of 3 times as well as stretch and cool down for the full 60 minute workout.

Tips for this tough plan:

  • Go at your own pace, it’s not a race
  • Take water or breathing breaks as needed
  • Maybe you only get through the circuit once…no big deal! Work up to multiple circuits
  • Do it with a friend…nothing is more fun or motivating than working out with someone else!

Because we live in the mid-west…specifically Kansas City…we have the unique opportunity to not know when the next ice storm or heat wave will hit. In fact, I’m pretty sure we recently had a snow storm the day after it was 75 degrees out! Be smart as you take to the streets and parks to burn calories. Check the weather and use the tips below to stay healthy even in extreme temperatures

Tips for exercising in the cold:

· 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.

· KEEP HYDRATED Even if you don’t feel thirsty or sweaty, you need to drink lots of water. The recommended amounts are the same for cold weather as they are for hot weather: 8 oz of water before the workout, 4 oz every 15 minutes of activity and 8 oz post workout. You can still get dehydrated in the cold so drink up.

· CHECK THE WEATHER Before you venture out on your walk, run, hike, etc. make sure that the conditions in your area are safe. Snowstorms, icy conditions, hail and driving rain (especially this time of year) are not appropriate weather in which to exercise.

Exercising in the heat:

  • CHUG-A-LUG! Down about two cups (16 oz) of water and hour or two before exercise. Drink ½ cup (4 oz or about 2-3 gulps) every 15-20 minutes during exercise. And be sure to continue drinking water even after your workout is complete to ensure that you are properly hydrated.
  • TAKE IT OFF: Wear light colored, breathable clothing

  • SLATHER IT ON: Don’t forget the water proof sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s damaging rays.
For video demos of some of these moves, check out a video of my friend Jill...on a very very windy day...doing this workout like a rockstar!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My new favorite workout playlist

Get your body moving with this 50 minute playlist! All these songs will get you through even the most grueling of workouts! Use the first song for a warm up and the last for a cool down and all the ones in between to bust your butt (and gut!) into shape!

All the right moves (OneRepublic)
Hard (Rihanna)
Young Money (Vita Chambers)
Whatcha Say (Jason Derulo)
Break Your Heart (Taio Cruz)
Telephone (Lady GaGa and Beyonce)
Naturally (Selena Gomez)
Umbrella..Travis Barker Remix (Rihanna)
Fame (Naturi Naughton)
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
Say Hey (Michael Franti)
Love Drunk (Boys Like Girls)
Jai Ho! (A.R. Rahman)
Ooh La La (Goldfrapp)

Enjoy! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

How to choose a multi-vitamin

So you hear that you should take a daily multi-vitamin in order to meet your vitamin requirements to keep your body healthy. Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed food is the very best way to get all of your vitamins and minerals because whole, unprocessed foods are naturally made to help our bodies absorb the vitamins that they contain. So if you are eating your recommended servings of whole grains (6 oz), veggies (2.5 cups), fruit (2 cups), low fat dairy (3 cups), lean protein-beans and meat-(5.5 oz), you might be getting enough vitamins and minerals from your food.

If you feel that you are lacking in some areas…say eating all your veggies and fruits… then a multi-vitamin might be a great option. There are like a zillion options for multi-vitamins, so to here are a few guidelines to follow when choosing your multi-vitamin:

  • Drs Orders! Ask you Dr. what he or she recommends for your specific needs. You might need a bit of a boost of a certain vitamin or mineral depending on health conditions you might have.
  • Be Pure! Make sure that the vitamin that you take is free of impurities. In order to do this, check the bottle to see that the brand has one of the following seals United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), NSF International (NSF), or (CL). Your best bet is to stick with name brands such as One-a-Day and Centrum.
  • Know your numbers! If you’re taking a vitamin, you might as well make sure that it has enough of each vitamin and mineral. Click here to view the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) which is how much of each vitamin you should be consuming each day. There are also limits to how much of a specific vitamin you should be don't treat those gummy vitamins the same way that you would eat gummy bears. Take the serving size and be done with them!

If you’re anything like me, multi-vitamins might upset your stomach. Here’s a few tips and tricks that have worked for me and others in the past.

  • Don’t take the vitamin on an empty stomach (lots of vitamins need a bit of fat to be absorbed)
  • Pop the pill right before you go to sleep
  • Try a different form of vitamin like water mix in or gummy vitamins

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Loving Britney Spears!

If you've ever taken one of my spinning/cycle classes or have been in my car on any given occasion, you know that I adore rocking out to a good Britney Spears song (Yep...admitting it...why hide my true self, right? :) ) And whether you are a Britney fan or a hater, you'll have to love what she is standing for right now.
As one of the spokeswomen for Candies shoes, she has released her untouched photos next to her retouched photos for her new 2010 ad campaign. She wants people to see how many pounds are "lost", skin is perfected, bulges minimized and cellulite blasted by a simple computer program after a real photo is taken. She is taking a stand saying that she loves her body...flaws and all. What a GREAT gotta love it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bare your arms with pride!

It's that time of year...the sun is shining, the temperatures are warming up and we are packing up the bulky winter clothes and exchanging them for smaller, sleeker spring and summer duds. And you know what that means: short sleeves and/or tank tops!! Dun Dun Dunnnnn....

This can be a frightening time for people if they feel that their arms continue to wave long after they have said goodbye to people. Don't worry if you have neglected your arms at the gym during the winter, I have two moves that will get your firmed up and looking and feeling great in whatever you are wearing (no equipment needed!).

The Walk Out Push Up

This move can be done in your living room, at a park, in your backyard or even in a conference room at the office (door closed!)

How to:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width a part. Begin move by bending over while keeping the legs as straight as possible and place your hands on the floor.
  2. Slowly “walk” your hands out in front of you until your body is in a push up position. Do a push up (keeping your body straight with hands a little wider than shoulder width apart, bend elbows and lower the body until elbows are at ninety degree angles and then raise you body by straightening your arms).
  3. Once the push up is complete, walk hands back towards feet and stand up straight.

For more details about the walk out push up, click here.

The Tricep Dip

All you need is a chair, bench or step to power through this move!

Muscles worked: Triceps, Chest and Shoulders

How to:

  1. Start by sitting on a bench or a stair with legs at a 90 degree angle in front of you.
  2. Place your hands next to your hips so that the fingers are pointed in front of you.
  3. Lift your body up using your arms and move your hips forward away from the stair or bench about 4 inches.
  4. Slowly lower your glutes/hips towards the ground by bending your elbows until thy are at a 90 degree angle
  5. Push yourself back up with your arms being careful not to lock the elbows at the top. Also, don't cheat by engaging your legs...remember, this is a upper body exercise.
  6. Do not sit back down, but immediately lower your hips/glutes to the floor and repeat the movement until the set is complete.

For more detailed information about the dip, click here.