Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Burn off that Halloween Candy Binge TODAY!

 If you missed (or chose to ignore) last week’s “how-to-not-overindulge-on-Halloween” and decided to go a bit overboard with the candy last night, burn those handfuls of tricky treats off today!
This workout is tough (I’ve done it twice this week so far) and is designed to be done Tabata-style: Perform each move as many times with good form for 20 second of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes or eight rounds. For more on Tabata workouts, click here.
The entire thing should take about 45 minutes and burn around 400+ calories (or 4 peanut butter cups). Enjoy!
Warm up with a light jog for 5 minutes
Alternate the following strength and cardio moves (you will be doing 4 of each move per Tabata set).
·         Tricep Dips/Quick Feet
·         Wall Sits/High Jumps
·         Push Ups/High Knees
·         Traveling Lunges/Sprints
…and you’re done…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy (Healthy) Halloween!

Halloween is less than a week away now and one of the scariest things about the holiday is how many empty calories you can consume in the days before and after because of all the darn candy. So what is a person to do when candy is EVERYWHERE? Well, just don’t eat it (or buy it)! Easier said than done;  so here are a few tricks and tips to keep the candy out of your tummy and off of your waist.
·         Buy candy to hand out to trick or treaters  that you don’t like. Don’t be your own undoing. Pretty simple, eh?
·         At the office, make sure you have cut up fruit, veggies and nuts on hand so that you have something to munch on other than handfuls of candy corn and “fun sized” chocolate.
·         If your kids bring home candy that you can’t resist, do something like the “Halloween Fairy” and have them pick out their favorite 10 pieces and put the rest on the front doorstep for the “Halloween Fairy” to trade for a non-edible present on Halloween night. (Healthy kid tip too!)
·         Extra Halloween candy? Throw it away! OR better yet, donate it to our troops overseas. Click here for where you can drop your candy.
·         If you just have to have a piece of candy, keep it at just that: one piece. Or check out this awesome chart of what 100 calories of your favorite candy looks like.
If you’re interested in the best and worst candy picks, choose Three Musketeers for chocolate (avoid Butter Finger and peanut butter cups), Dum Dum Pops for fruity candy (avoid Air Heads) and tootsie rolls for a chewy fix (stay clear of Twix).  Click here for a calorie and fat comparison from Eat This, Not That.
Happy and Healthy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get your best abs

One of the most frequent fitness questions I’m asked as a trainer is “how do I get flat abs.” Unfortunately, there is no way to spot-train one area of the body and not everyone has the genes to get a six-pack, but here are a few tricks to not only tone up the tummy but to decrease fat all over the body. Check it out:

  1. Reduce your daily caloric intake with the focus on vegetables and lean protein with very limited amounts of whole grains. Click here for more information about how to figure out how many calories you need to eat to lose weight.
  2. Incorporate a full body strength routine that includes abdominal exercises 2-3 times a week. Some of the most effective abdominal exercises are superman back extensions, planks, bicycles and oblique v-ups.
  3. Do moderate to intense cardiovascular workouts 3-5 times a week. Make sure that you are working in the top part of your target heart rate. Interval training is a great way to do this.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Fall Soup to die for!

This is one of my staples during the cool fall months (and into winter…and possibly spring…it’s that good!). Super easy to make, and low in sugar and carbs, I’ve changed a recipe from the World’s Healthiest Food’s website to meet my own nutritional needs and also to make this recipe vegan friendly. Now, don’t let the “vegan friendly” part scare you off; this is an amazingly filling and calorie-light soup that will get you in a festive-fall mood fast! Plus, butternut squash is super high in vitamin A (you’ll get over 100% of your daily recommended intake). Vitamin A is required for the development of eyes, skin, and immune system. So it’s important.
What you need (serves 4):
·         1 medium-sized butternut squash, cubed* (about 3 cups)
·         1 large onion, chopped
·         1 TBS minced garlic
·         ½ TBS minced ginger
·         1 tsp turmeric
·         1 tsp curry powder
·         3 cups vegetable broth
·         1 cup unsweetened, light coconut milk (I like Trader Joe’s version…it’s the lightest I’ve found)
·         salt & white pepper to taste
How to make it:
  1. Chop onion
  2. Peel and cut squash. Just a little note here; for me, squash is incredibly hard to cut, so I’ve found that poking it with a fork a few times and then microwaving it for about 5 minutes, softens it up just enough so that I don’t lose a hand trying to cut it up J  
  3. Heat 1 TBS broth in medium soup pot. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and ginger, and continue to sauté for another minute. Add turmeric and curry powder, and mix well. Add squash and broth, and mix. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in blender and blend with coconut milk. Make sure you blend in batches filling blender only half full or it might explode all over your kitchen (don’t ask how I know, I just do). Blend until smooth adding more broth as needed. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Check out these amazing nutrition stats:
Calories: 88 kcal
Fat: 1.3 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Carbs: 17 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Sugar: 4.5 grams

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Organic vs. Conventional Produce

Organic vs. non-organic (or conventional) produce has been a confusing issue for consumers. Organic produce is grown without the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals or herbicides. For a detailed description of what it takes for a food to be labeled “organic,” refer to the USDA’s regulations and definitions. Shop in peace by checking out the lists and facts below of what to buy organic and what to save money on by purchasing conventionally grown. 

Buy organic
The foods below are known to contain the greatest amounts of pesticide residue in 2012:
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Imported Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Kale/Greens

Buy conventional (non-organic)
The following items are either protected by a barrier (via their in-edible skin) or do not get treated with an overload of pesticides.
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms

Some things to consider when deciding to purchase organic or non-organic produce.

  1. The cost. Organic produce is typically more expensive than regular produce. Organic crops have a lower production yield, more labor intensive practices (ex. Hand-weeding instead of using pesticides) and are subject to tight government regulations. All of these things add to the price tag. Try to shop at your local farmers market to save money on organics and buy what’s in season.
  2. The nutrition. There is no evidence to say that organic fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients than their conventional counterparts. So if it’s nutrition you are concerned about, just eating your daily recommended 10 servings of fruits and veggies is the goal.
  3. The health risks. Though it would seem like ingesting a bunch of chemicals would be harmful to your health, there is no hard evidence that the amount of pesticide residue left on your food is harmful to the body. And eating fruits and veggies even with small amounts of chemicals is still better than not eating them at all. That being said, if you are one that tries to be all natural, go for organic.
  4. The quality. Organic produce may spoil sooner than conventional produce because it is not treated with preservatives and conventional produce may come in odd shapes and inconsistent colors, but all in all, they should taste the same.
  5. The environment. Organic farming keeps the environment in mind by conserving water and soil as well as cutting down on pollution.

So hopefully keeping these things in mind, you will be able to stroll the isle of your grocery store or farmer’s market with produce picking confidence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Should you be sore after working out?

I had a client today ask me about soreness after workouts: Why does it happen? Is it okay? Am I getting a good workout even if I’m not sore?

Some people are extremely sore when they first start to work out or try something new (like hard to sit down and get back up out of their chair kind of sore). This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This is typically caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers from overloading the muscles during your workouts. You might experience soreness 24 to 48 hours after a workout in which you did a new exercise or increased the weight that you lifted.

Even if you are a seasoned exercise buff, you may still experience soreness the day or two after a workout in which you did something different (a different move, more reps, etc.) or when you go up in weight as you get stronger.

Although many people view muscle soreness as an indicator of how hard they worked during their last workout, it is not always the best measure. Varying your work outs, increasing your weight, lifting to fatigue and working in your target heart rate zone are all great ways to make sure you are getting a good workout...with or without soreness.

To prevent soreness or to alleviate sore, tight muscles try the following:
  • Stretch all major muscle groups after your workout
  • Apply heat to the sore area...heat, hot water or heating pads, rush blood to the warm area to help heal muscles
  • Move it...doing light cardio exercise will increase blood flow and your muscles should relax a bit. Sitting on your behind will only make your recovery longer and your muscles tighter