Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Day 16 (and my last day) of holiday tippin'.
I've decided to make this my last day of blogging until the new year. I'm so excited to have some time to relax and recoup with family and friends from tomorrow until January 2nd. Rejuvenation is just as important for your health as working out and eating well. So to that end, here's my
Enjoy your last week and a half of 2010. Take this time to unwind and be good to your body. Eat healthfully, exercise, or if you've been keeping up with your workouts all year, it may be a great time to give your body a rest. You can take a couple days off or tone down your workouts a bit. Rest is just as important for your muscles as working hard. Your muscles need time to repair and rebuild and if you have some time off of work for the holidays, use it to let your hard work pay off! Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you haven't been able to fit in much exercise this holiday season, take the gift of extra time to treat yourself to a yoga class, a long walk or jog with family, or whatever it is that makes your body feel it's best. Bottom line: do what is best for your soul. This is the time to soak up the good and enjoy.
(NOT A) HEALTHY INDULGENCE:
Have fun and let yourself enjoy your favorite treat that you never allow yourself during the year. Holiday cookies? Apple pie a la mode? Your mom's famous holiday dinner? Whatever that is for you, savor it. I know I'm going to!
Merry Christmas to all of you who read my blog (I'm so thankful that you do!) and Be Well!!!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The holidays are such a delicious time, aren't they? The cookies, pies, egg-nog, coca, chocolates, candies...I love it. What I'm trying not to do this year is give myself permission to indulge in too much of these treats just because I'm keeping up with my workouts. I advise you to do the same. It's easy to make yourself believe that just because you hit the treadmill for a half hour, you've earned the right to overindulge. I think it's amazing if you're able to keep up with your workouts during this time of year when it's tough to find enough hours in the day. For many, letting oneself go until the New Year seems to be the best option. If you have the motivation to workout, find the motivation to watch your calorie intake as well. Please enjoy, but do so in moderation. The brief time you spend at the gym won't cancel out as much as you might think and you'll find your pants a little more snug than you like when the new year begins.
I made the following recipe for Pecan Pie from the Weight Watcher's website about 3 years ago for Thanksgiving. I brought it to a party and it was the only pie that was completely finished out of all of the pies offered at dinner. It's less calories but just as tasty. Try it out and Be Well.
PS: I used Splenda brand brown sugar so that my pie was lower in sugar as well.
| ||8 sheet(s) phyllo dough|
| ||4 spray(s) cooking spray, or enough to coat dough|
| ||3/4 halves pecan halves, chopped lengthwise into 3 pieces each|
| ||4 large egg white(s), lightly beaten|
| ||1/3 cup(s) light corn syrup|
| ||2/3 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar, firmly packed|
| ||6 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, melted|
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
- Cut phyllo sheets in half diagonally to form 2 equal-size triangles. Place 1 sheet in prepared pan, lightly coat with cooking spray, and top with another sheet of phyllo, placing corners just to the right of previous corners. Repeat with remaining sheets, so you're covering the pan with a fan of phyllo. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; pour into crust. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until firm. Cover halfway through baking process if crust becomes too brown. Cool in pan.
- We renovated Pecan Pie by:
- Cutting the nuts into smaller pieces (so you can cover a greater area with a lesser amount).
- Replacing a butter-laden crust with layers of light, flaky phyllo dough.
- Swapping butter for reduced-calorie margarine.
- Using egg whites instead of the whole egg.
- Cutting the nuts into smaller pieces (so you can cover a greater area with a lesser amount).
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sorry for the tardiness of this post. My internet has been down all day. Oof. I'm also one busy gal as I'm trying to fit all of my clients in before I leave for my sweet home Chicago on Thursday for Christmas. Anyhoo! Let's move on to some tips.
What you eat is important if you want to build muscle. Muscle is made up of protein, so eating protein before and after a workout will only help you to build and repair the muscle you're breaking down. A recent article I read from Men's Health magazine reported that the best time to eat protein for muscle promotion is 30 minutes before a workout and 30 minutes after a workout. To learn more about what kinds of protein to eat and when, check out one of my previous posts about protein supplements. If you hate taking supplements, read this article from Men's Health for snacks you can eat before and after you work up a sweat to see better results after your workout.
Do you love candied sweet potatoes? I definitely do. Here's a healthy version I found from Men's Health (quite the Men's Health day, right? This was actually a coincidence, not a plan on my part).
Nutritional Facts per serving
|SATURATED FAT||0.5 G|
|TOTAL SUGARS||11.2 G|
|DIETARY FIBER||2.9 G|
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I have another exercise of the day to share from the small collection of photos that my brother reluctantly took of me the other day. It's high quality, folks. Get ready. The exercise of the day is a row in plank/push-up position.
Here's what you do:
1) Place two 5-15 pound weights on the mat about shoulder width apart (girly purple weights pictured not required).
2) Grab onto the weights and get into a plank/push-up position with your feet a little wider than hip width apart, for more stability (If you want to make this exercise more difficult, keep your feet together. To make it easier, do this exercise on your knees with your toes connected to the mat).
3) Contract your abs in as you pull your belly button away from the waistband of your pants; squeeze your glutes, quads, and calves; and release any unnecessary tension in your shoulders. Make sure that your head is in line with your neck and not cranking up out of alignment with your body.
4) Perform a row with one arm like this:Don't let your elbow flare out to the side! Let your arm brush the side of your body. Make sure that you are keeping the lower half of your body quiet. This means, don't let your hips move from side to side or allow your legs to shift. The only thing that should be moving is your arm performing the row.
5) Release the weight and repeat with the other arm.
6) Perform the exercise for 10-15 reps total, for 2 to 3 sets.
Total body exercises are fun, right?
Okay, so this isn't really an indulgence, but it's my new favorite vegetable dish to make. It's a great side to bring to a party for people that are health conscious like you. Even if they aren't health conscious, they'll probably still enjoy it. The big reveal?
Roasted brussels sprouts!
I know, it doesn't sound too exciting but they're really yummy and really easy to make.
Here's whatcha do:
1) Preheat your oven to 400º.
2) Remove outer leaves from brussels sprouts and cut off stems.
3) Toss the brussels sprouts in a large resealable plastic bag, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and shake to coat.
4) Pour sprouts onto a cookie sheet and place onto the center rack of the oven.
5) Roast in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. The sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done.
6) Enjoy and Be Well!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
On Monday, I was walking to the subway to train some clients when I stepped off the curb directly into a pothole. It was dark outside and I was careless. As soon as I fell, I heard my ankle snap a little and pain flooded my leg. Also, I was sprawled across the street like a mess which was really attractive and not embarrassing at all. Not at all. I got up quickly because I realized that people were looking at me lying on the road like a crazy person, but as soon as I put weight on my foot, the pain throbbed even more and I really knew that this was an injury that wouldn't be good. Luckily, as soon as I got to the gym where I train, I iced it and took ibuprofen to reduce swelling. I think taking action early helped my cause because now, two days later, I can walk on it ok and it's not so bad. I can even workout as long as I don't put too much pressure on it.
Nevertheless, since the little set-back, my motivation to exercise has been zilch. It's only been a couple days, so maybe that sounds silly, but I'm usually pretty raring to go after I've taken a day off. Today, I had no desire to do anything. But I did it anyway because I knew if I didn't, I would feel run down and guilty about it tomorrow.
So, after that big story, my fitness tip for today is get to the gym or do something at home, even if you don't want to. 9 times out of 10, you'll feel much better afterward. Your endorphins will be pumping and you'll have more energy to take on your day. If you're having one of those days where exercise doesn't seem like an option, just tell yourself you'll start with 10 minutes. If that's all you have in you, fine, at least you reached your goal. Usually you'll have a lot more, though, and you'll be glad you got going.
If you've never tried No Pudge! Fat Free Brownies, you better jump on the bandwagon. These brownies are insanely easy to make (all you do is add a carton of yogurt) and they're delicious. They come in 4 flavors: Original, Cappuccino, Raspberry, and Mint. For a holiday treat for yourself or to bring to a party, use the mint flavor and add crushed candy canes to the mix. Follow the cooking directions on the box. Enjoy and Be Well!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I was finally able to solicit the help of my brother to take some pictures of me doing exercises for your learning pleasure. He really didn't want to since he's a busy lad and also thought it was kind of weird to take pictures of me doing stuff on the stability ball in the apartment, but he was kind enough to step up to the plate and help a sista out. Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery so rather than make him wait for the worst camera battery in the world to charge, I asked him to use my blackberry. Therefore, these pictures aren't the most amazing quality, but the point is that you'll (hopefully) learn a new exercise and that's the reason for this blog: to spread the fitness love.
The exercise of the day is a total body exercise (because why waste your time by working only one body part when you're pressed for time with your amazing holiday plans). I'm also demonstrating this in my apartment (aka your typical East Village/New York shoebox) to show you that this is an exercise you can do anywhere, in any space. In the first photo you might notice that I'm laughing at the ridiculousness of the size of my kitchen. My foot is literally a centimeter away from touching the fridge.
Here's what you do:
1) Grab a weight (anywhere from 3 to 10 lbs) and place in on the floor next to the stability ball. You'll need to center your weight on the ball first and holding the weight as you do that might throw off your balance. A lot of my clients get frustrated just trying to center themselves first. If this is the first time you're doing this exercise, it might take you a second to figure out your weight placement.
2) Lie on your side on the ball and stack your feet. Make sure the edge of your foot is pressed into the mat/floor.
3) Grab the weight as you connect your elbow to the ball.
4) If you can, lift your top leg up. If it feels as if you are going to fall backwards off the ball, just keep your feet stacked.
5) DON'T cock your head like I'm doing in the picture. Keep your head in alignment with your body and your neck long. I'm showing you what not to do (that was totally my intention while taking this photo...totally...)
6) Curl the weight up toward your shoulder and curl your wrist toward your body.
7) Release and repeat.
8) Again, don't copy my head and neck alignment in this exercise...ugh.
Perform this exercise for 10-15 reps on each side, 2-3 sets. You will be focusing on your biceps, abductors, glutes, and core in this exercise. To stay balanced, you will really have to concentrate while you work every muscle in your body.
Try this Peppermint Pie from Hungry-girl.com!
HG's Candyland Peppermint Pie
4 sheets (16 crackers) chocolate graham crackers
2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
1/2 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 small (4-serving) box Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Vanilla Instant pudding mix
3 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed
3 tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 standard-sized peppermint candy canes, lightly crushed, divided
Optional topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make the crust, crush graham crackers in a food processor or blender (or place in large sealable bag and crush with a meat mallet). Transfer crumbs to a bowl and set aside.
Place butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 15 seconds. Add to the bowl of graham cracker crumbs and mix until uniform.
Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute crust mixture along the bottom of the pie pan, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the pan.
Bake crust in the oven until firm, 8 - 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling, combine condensed milk, milk, and pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip until smooth. Gently stir in chocolate chips and about 3/4 of the candy cane pieces.
Once crust has cooled completely, evenly pour filling into the pan.
Refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 2 hours. (Overnight is best.)
Sprinkle pie with remaining candy cane pieces. If you like, top with Reddi-wip just before serving. Dig in!
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Monday, December 13, 2010
As I was eating my breakfast this morning, I sat down to watch The Today Show on NBC. Just before I finished my oatmeal and walked away to shower, a new story made me sit right back down. I learned that a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, and star of the Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jennifer Ringer, had been criticized by New York Times writer, Alastair Macaulay, for "looking as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many." I was shocked to hear this, as the woman sitting across from reporter Ann Curry looked like a typical ballerina: trim, fit, long, lean and beautiful. (Ms. Ringer is pictured to the left.)
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Friday, December 10, 2010
When I'm really crunched for time, I can't get to the gym, and I don't want to think about my workout, I like to exercise at home with a DVD. This is usually when I need a good heart pumping cardio workout that I can do in a smaller amount of time. These days, I'm really digging Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism. I think it's worth while because she knows how to keep your heart rate up, she uses the peripheral heart action technique that I talked about in one of my previous blog posts, and the workout doesn't get boring or repetitive. She uses a lot of the same kinds of plyometric exercises that I use with my clients as well. I feel confident that she knows what she's doing. The workout leaves me sweaty, feeling strong, and as she says during the cool-down, "very zen." Order it on Amazon for $9.99.
It's Friday! Horray! If you're like me, you're probably looking forward to having a cocktail or two. Let me suggest this find from weightwatchers.com:
The Prosecco Raspberry Cocktail.
- 1 cup fruit juice, raspberry flavor
- 1 3/4 cup(s) prosecco
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- In a bowl, mix prosecco with raspberry juice
- Divide among 4 champagne glasses
- Drop 3 raspberries into each glass
Thursday, December 9, 2010
If you're really crunched for time because you're rockin' around the Christmas Tree and you only have 3 minutes to squeeze in exercise, I suggest you do some push-ups. If there's one move you can do to work your entire body in the least amount of time, push-ups are it. That is, if you do them correctly.
First of all, if you're doing the push-ups on your knees (I do them on my knees frequently and I have no shame in admitting that) DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT do them like this:
Please keep your toes connected to the ground for optimal kinetic chain alignment. Your knees will thank you for it. This woman's upper body looks great, but I have no idea why she feels the need to grind her knee caps into the ground like that. For a proper push-up, pull your belly button in and away from the waistband of your pants, squeeze your glutes, quads, and calves, and then lower yourself down to the floor with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. Aim for your chest to touch the floor. If you can't no worries, just do the best you can. I like to do 3 sets of 20 reps with a 30 second rest in between each set. If you do your push-ups correctly this can be a total body work out for you. Not so bad in less than 3 minutes.
Do you like ice-cream sandwiches? I do too. Here's a healthy and festive way to enjoy one.
1) Take a frozen Vita Top and cut it in half. If you've never tried a Vita Top, you must as soon as possible. It's a delicious alternative to a muffin top for only 100 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. It also packs a healthy 9 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein into each top. Rockin'.
2) Scoop a 1/4 cup of Dryer's Peppermint, Egg Nog, or Hot Chocolate Slow Churned ice cream onto the center of the Vita Top. Use a spoon to evenly spread it onto the Vita Top.
3) Wrap the sammy in plastic and place into the freezer until it's solid.
4) Enjoy a festive ice cream treat.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Do you usually do bicep curls, squats, shoulder exercises, etc. sitting on a bench or standing? To challenge your balance and your core, try balancing on one foot while performing these exercises. Here's an example of a single leg bicep curl:
You can also rest your foot on a stability ball like this:
If it feels too challenging to keep your foot raised that high on either exercise (or if you have hip flexor pain), you can let one foot stay parallel to the other while letting it hover above the floor (NASM says, "let the feet be friends, but not close friends." Which means they don't touch...clever). You can also just let the toe touch the ground if raising your entire foot from the ground proves too difficult. Remember to switch the foot that is balancing between sets.
You're going to a holiday party and you don't know what to bring. Everyone else is bringing Christmas cookies, and you want to bring a main dish. Also, you're like me and you don't cook very often. What to do? Follow my lead and make a vegetarian lasagna. This recipe doesn't use as many noodles or as much cheese as a "normal" lasagna, so it's lower in calories; it's extremely easy to make; and it's red and green so it's festive. Huzzah!
-8 oz of no-boil lasagna pasta (buy this package, but you won't use all of the noodles)
-26 ounce jar of chunky vegetable pasta sauce (I used a chunky spinach sauce. It was tasty.)
-1 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese
-8 oz of part-skim mozzarella cheese
-13x9 baking dish (I bought a disposable lasagna dish at the grocery store. 2 in a packagefor only 2 bucks! This is perfect if you are bringing the dish to a party. You won't have to worry about leaving one of your own dishes and picking it up later.)
1)Preheat oven to 350º.
2) Spread a think layer of veggie sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
3) Lightly beat the egg and add ricotta cheese. Mix together with Italian seasoning.
4) Place a layer of pasta over the sauce to fit the pan (I used 3 noodles).
5) Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the hard pasta.
6) Add half of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta.
7) Spread a generous layer of sauce over the ricotta cheese. Make sure none of the pasta is exposed.
8) Repeat steps 4 through 7 one time.
9) Cover the dish with foil.
10) Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
11) Remove foil and cook for an extra 15 minutes.
It looks like there are a lot of steps here, but it truly is easy to do. Believe me. I wouldn't make it if it were difficult!
Enjoy and Be Well!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Day 6 of Holiday Tips. Ow!
Try a peripheral heart action workout. This type of program is performed by alternating upper body and lower body exercises throughout the workout. It's great for someone like you who's crunched for time during the holidays, because you can hit every muscle group in one fell swoop. Here's an example of a workout to follow:
1) Bench press with dumbbells
2) Squats while holding 2 dumbbells in each hand (you can perform this with a stability ball behind your back for support or without)
3) Standing Cable Rows
4) Reverse lunges while holding 2 dumbbells in each hand
5) Standing alternating-arm dumbbell shoulder press
6) Squat jumps
Perform these exercises in a circuit and repeat 2-3 times. Do 12-20 reps per exercise.
I just read that Starbucks is coming out with a Skinny Peppermint Mocha that will be 100 calories and delicious. I wish it was available to try now so I could let you know how it is, but for now, I'll suggest my new favorite peppermint drink that I concocted today. I ordered a tall soy peppermint latte and it was Christmas deliciousness in a cup. Seriously, it was delightful holiday goodness. I was with a client of mine and I had her try it and let me know what she thought. She definitely dug it as well. I suggest you try it for a holiday treat. Go now. Now!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Onto Day 5 of Holiday Tips to keep you going!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Another great way to spend less time at the gym: circuit training. A circuit training program consists of a series of resistance-training exercises that you can perform, one after the other, with minimal rest. Because you're quickly moving from one exercise to the next, circuit training is also an excellent form of cardiorespiratory training. That means if you hate jumping on a treadmill but love lifting weights, this is perfect for you. Here's an example of a workout:
1) Chest press with dumbbells on the stability ball
2) Lat pull down
3) Standing overhead dumbbell press while balancing on one foot
4) Dumbbell curls while standing on a bosu ball
5) Skull crushers while lying on a stability ball
6) Alternating backward lunges while holding 2 dumbbells
7) Short rest (if you need it) for 60-90 seconds
Repeat this circuit once or twice depending on how much time you have. You'll train all of your body parts in this workout, which means if you can't make it to the gym tomorrow, you're covered.
In honor of Hanukkah, I wanted to offer an alternative for latkes. Potato pancakes are really delicious, but an average serving contains about 200 calories and 11 grams of fat. Add the sour cream and applesauce and you're piling on even more. Usually I would say, who cares, indulge! Hanukkah only comes once a year!
But if you can't afford to do that right now, try Dr. Praeger's brand potato pancakes for a yummy swap. These pancakes have half the calories and only 4 grams of fat. Add a dollop of low-fat sour cream (or for an even healthier alternative, substitute non-fat greek yogurt for the sour cream) and some unsweetened apple sauce and you're ready to go!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Like I said in my last blog post, you're probably pressed for time right now with all of your holiday obligations, and I mentioned that doing supersets will save you time in the gym. What will also help is adding interval training to your routine. That is defined as doing a high burst of activity and following it with a more moderately paced activity. For example, perform your supersets (as mentioned in yesterday's post) but then add some cardio in between sets: 60 seconds of jumping jacks, 60 seconds of high knees and 10 squat jumps, or hop on the treadmill/elliptical machine for 2.5 to 3 minutes. Go at a pace where it is difficult to talk (if you can). By going back and forth between this high-intensity cardio work and lower-intensity weight work, you can meet all of your fitness needs in less time at the gym. Good news, right?
There's something about cinnamon that makes food more festive. I add it to a lot of the foods I eat (like oatmeal and lattes) not only because I love it, but also because it has many health benefits, including slowing the rate at which your stomach empties after meals and helping with blood sugar control. I also love apples. I eat at least 1 every day. To combine these two loves, I decided to cut up an apple, throw some cinnamon on it, stick it in the oven at 325 degrees and see what happened. I kept the apple in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. The result? Delicious! It tastes like dessert! Here is the finished product:
Can you see the cinnamon gooey-ness on the cookie sheet? Awesome! For a real indulgence, you can also add these to a half-cup of low-fat vanilla ice cream. Wowza. Enjoy and Be Well!