Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing

Most of us want a sexy back, perky boobs and a tight stomach.  Most of us don’t have a ton of time to spend doing a million exercises over and over with little results.  Most of us want one exercise to do it all.  Well, this is one of the best fitness moves and it works everything. With this one exercise, you’ll tighten your glutes, arms, core and shoulders and you’re chest will thank you too!

What is this one move?  It’s the push-up.  Yes, push-ups are the miracle exercise.  You torch calories and tone nearly everything.  They are hard, but they are effective.  Plus there are a ton of variations to make them easier or harder.  The most important thing, is watch your form.

Basic Push Up

The Basic

Now here, you’ll start in a plank position.  Then lower your body till your elbows are at about a 45 degree angle.  Keep your back flat, do not arch your back or allow your hips to sag.  Then push back up to starting position and repeats.  If your wrists are aching, try using dumbbells or push up bars to allow for a more full range of motion and to take stress of the wrists.

During the exercise, if you can’t keep from arching or sagging, move to your knees until you are strong enough to do one with proper form.  As you get stronger, you’ll begin on your toes and do as many until your form breaks, and then move to your knees.  You’ll find yourself being able to do more and more on your toes.

Do not get discouraged if you aren’t able to do one push up on your toes to begin with.  I wasn’t able to do one either.  My husband would help support my torso and watch my form to make sure I could do it correctly.  I built up a lot of strength and now I can do 20 without stopping.  This really is a great exercise.  My abs look great since I’ve been doing them and so do my arms and chest.  You will feel strong and look toned.  Give them a try!

If you want more variations, check out Womens Health online.  They have great tips!

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/perfect-pushup

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

So now that one of my favorite holidays has come and gone, I have no excuse not to be up doing my P90x! My parents were staying with us this weekend and I had so much to do that, to be honest, I just didn’t feel like getting up early yesterday to do my video on top of all the cooking and entertaining.

I helped my mom get a workout in though. She has MS and her muscles are pretty weak. She can’t walk very well anymore and it makes it hard for her to do things. I popped on a simple yoga video and in between cooking, I’d help her get into the next pose. I know its hard for her to so it on her own, but I also know that she needs to be doing something to keep strong!

So despite my lack of physical activity over Thanksgiving, at least my mom got some in her day! And tomorrow I’ll be back to my routine of early mornings and workout videos!

What are you thankful for?

This year and every year, I’m thankful for my loving family. I’m grateful to have a bounty of good food to eat and people to share it with. I’m thankful for my new husband and our dog. I’m happy to have a safe place to live. I’m blessed to be going to a nice college and getting good grades. My brother is away for the holidays, but he’s missed and I wish he could be here to celebrate with us.

No health tips today! Instead, readers go ahead and list anything your thankful for this year!

Mango Champagne Spritzers

Not necessarily a “healthy” beverage, but certainly not one that you will be kicking yourself for drinking later.  These are delicious and extremely easy to make.  I’m posting a non-alcoholic spritzer as well.  The sorbet is healthier than ice cream, so that takes away a little bit of the guilt.  These are a BIG hit during the holidays! Just don’t drink a bazillion of these!

Mango Champagne Spritzer

Mango Champagne Spritzer

Mango Champagne Spritzers

Glass of champagne

Haggen Daas Mango Sorbet

OR

Haggen Daas Raspberry Sorbet

Add one scoop to your glass and poor champagne over top.  Delicious!!

Sweet Sorbet Spritzer

Sweet Sorbet Spritzer
SERVES 4

1 cup canned mango nectar, chilled
1 pint mango sorbet
1 pint strawberry sorbet
2 cups ginger ale, chilled

1 Divide mango nectar among 4 chilled glasses.
2 Scoop sorbets into glasses.
3 Slowly pour ginger ale over sorbets.
4 Drink immediately.

Thanks Sandra Lee for this recipe!

Have a Happy and Healthy Turkey Day!

Turkey

Eat A Healthy Turkey!

This year, don’t eat yourself into oblivion, but still take the time to enjoy the holiday meals we all love!

Here are a few small ways to tweak your favorite dishes!

Turkey – Avoid eating the skin and stick to the white meat. Pass on the gravy as well.

Green Bean Casserole – Use low fat ingredients such as low fat cream of mushroom soup and fat free skim milk

Cranberry Sauce – Make your own homemade! It’s not that difficult and you can cut back on sugar,etc.

Sweet Potatoes – Use less butter and less sugar than you normally would.

Mashed Potatoes – Again skim milk and less butter! Use chives and non-fat yogurt in place of sour cream if called for in a recipe.

For dessert, just remember everything in moderation.

And most important, don’t stuff yourself silly. Take small portions and if you are still hungry, wait a little bit and then take a little more turkey. Don’t make a meal out of sweet potato pie!

At the end of the day, keep these tips in mind, but don’t stress so much that you end up not enjoying the time with friends and family. Be thankful that you are lucky enough to have a good meal in front of you and people who love you. That is what Thanksgiving is all about.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/slideshow-naughty-list-of-holiday-foods

View the WebMD slideshow for more tips!

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

30 Day Shred

Getting Fit In Your Living Room

As soon as the cold begins to set in, we immediately dread going out for our morning jog. Some days it’s just so not worth freezing your bazoobies off!

Instead, this year invest in workouts you can do in the comfort of your own warm and cozy home. Workout dvds are a cheap and fantastic way to workout without having to step out into that winter chill.

If you aren’t ready to commit to an expensive dvd program like P90x, but still want an intense workout, try these!

30 Day Shred – Jillian Michaels
I love this video! 3 different levels of intensity and each workout is only 30 minutes. Great if you are short on time, but want an all over workout. You’ll need light handweights and a mat if you want. If you don’t have weights, use two cans of soup. It’s honestly better than nothing!

Jari Love Workout DVD

Jari Love Slim and Lean

Jari Love workouts
I love her dvds! She does a lot of weights with high reps and she doesn’t have an expensive studio or videographer, but her videos provide a great strength workout. The exercises are broken down into sections, so you don’t have to do the full hour long video if you don’t have time. Also, she demonstrates proper form for each exercise as well as modifications. No cardio specific workouts here, but you’ll break a sweat…trust me!

These are just some suggestions. If you want to try before you buy, go to your local library!! If they don’t have what you want, they can get if for you from some other library. And they are free to check out (usually for up to a week)!

P90x Update!

So I’ve completed a little over a week of the program and today, my muscles are aching! I love the burn, so to me it’s just a sign that my body is actually getting something out of this whole thing.

Now I’ve been loosely following the diet. Mainly, I use the breakfast and dinner recipes and try to avoid as much junk food as possible.

All the hard work is paying off! I have some abs going. I’ve lost a healthy 2.5 pounds (which is great for me because I’m already at a healthy weight). My back is super strong, but not manly looking. All in all, I’m enjoying the program. The hardest part is the time commitment and dragging my butt out of bed early enough to fit in the workout.

I like Tony’s instruction and his tips that he gives. He clarifies proper form very well and it comes at just the right moment when I’m about to make a mistake.

The recipes taste great! My husband was afraid to try the Island Pork Tenderloin. He was seriously planning on getting take out if it was a dud. It ended up being his favorite meal that I’ve cooked lately! It was super easy to throw together too.

All in all, I’m loving it and looking forward to pressing play and bringing it some more!

Plyometrics: Jump Into A Better Body

Plyometrics

Burn Serious Calories Fast

I never was involved in sports at the high school level.  I didn’t understand what it meant to train for anything.  When I finally wanted to get into working out, I had no idea where to begin.  I would get on the treadmill or the eliptical and would go for quite a while, but never saw any real results.  These days, I know what my body feels like when it’s actually doing work.  I can tell when I’m getting my heart rate up and my muscles are starting to burn slightly, that the exercises are actually doing something.  With Plyometrics, there will never be any doubt that your body is indeed working and changing for the better.

Plyometrics is also referred to as jump training.  It is a series of explosive movements, such as jump squats, which not only gets your heart rate up (and keeps it there) but also builds muscle.  These exercises are designed to improve endurance, strength and agility all at the same time. 

Plyometrics allows for some serious calorie burning as well.  I do the P90x plyometrics video and people have reported burning as many as 895 calories during that one hour video.  Granted calories burned will vary depending on each individual’s weight, age and current fitness level.  Still, it can’t be denied that you have the potential to get a great workout in a short amount of time.  According to Runner’s World, runners who included plyometrics into their workout schedule improved the amount of oxygen they use while running, as well as their overall stride, range of motion and fitness level in just 6 weeks.

Speaking from personal experience, I love this type of workout.  I hate spending time at the gym, only to feel like I didn’t do enough or that I wasted my time doing exercises that aren’t effective.  With Plyometrics, I never feel cheated out of my time.  I get done and I am sweating and exhausted and out of breath, but deep down I feel fantastic. 

Just be aware that you may need to adjust exercises if you have knee or joint problems because they are high impact.  That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily avoid them like the plague, just make adjustments to fit you needs.  And be sure to do the exercises properly and in good form to avoid injury.

Here is a sample Plyometrics workout video

For more info and workouts, check out the links below. 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/jumping-workout

http://www.self.com/fitness/workouts/2007/12/plyometric-jumping-slideshow#slide=1

Yoga Is Bringing Sexy Back

Vanity Fair - Planet Yoga

No This Is Not Me... Obviously!

Yoga has never been my kind of workout.  I guess I’m so used to being out of breath constantly and moving fast that the switch to yoga was hard to get used to.  Now that I’ve done it a few times through the P90x program, I’ve learned to love it.  I feel amazing, my body feels amazing and I can tell it’s working hard to hold those poses.

Now the other great part of yoga are the clothes.  Lets get real, the clothes make any woman look hot.  I love the yoga pants and the way my butt looks in them.  That said, I noticed that certain poses are more difficult even with yoga pants on.  Especially the tree pose because my foot slides on the fabric of the pants.  This was the case this morning, so I just ditched the pants and finished the workout in my boy short underwear… yes, underwear.  I actually enjoyed working out more while wearing less!  I think a part of it was just feeling sexier.  Obviously if you are going to perform yoga in your skibbies, I suggest you close the blinds.  You don’t want to attract peeping toms!

What you will attract is your boyfriend or husband.  Especially if they catch you working out in your cute undies.  My husband was doing the dishes at the time and peeked in while I was holding the bridge pose.  You could tell he appreciated my workouts a lot more.

Obviously, this may not be something you’d want to do every morning.  But on the days you’re feeling it, let yourself go and just enjoy the workout in a whole new way!

More Reasons to Break a Sweat

Fitness Magazines.com had a cool article on the benefits of exercising.  We all know it’s good for us, but it’s always motivating to read more reasons why you should be doing it! So here’s a few:

 

Immediate Mood Boost – your body produces endorphines, seratonin, dopamine and norepinepherine which leave you feeling energized and stress-free

Fight Off Sickness – everytime you workout your immune system gets stronger because your body sends out special proteins that protect from infections

Lower Blood Pressure – working out keeps your heart healthy and lowers your blood pressure for almost an entire day

Keeps You Focused – increases oxygen and blood to the brain

You Live Longer – adding only 30 minutes of cardio to your schedule 3 days a week can add 6 years to your life

And the more obvious is… Your gain lean muscle and are will stay (or become) more slim and fit

 

My main reason for working out is always just because I love the way it feels to have accomplished something challenging.  I try not to have my main reason be for losing weight, etc. because all in all I just want to be healthy.  I don’t pay attention to the scale, I pay attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel overall.  I notice that if I miss a workout or eat unhealthy foods, I feel like crap the rest of the day.  Even my husband notices the difference when I don’t get my workout in.

Plus, I like to remember that this is the only body you get.  The body works so hard every day, your heart, your lungs and just to keep you going day in and day out.  I feel it’s the least you can do to sort of take the stress off of it.  You have to be good to your body so it will be good to you in years ahead.

Anyways, I love finding more reasons to keep up the good work and staying motivated!  Just thought I’d send you all some motivation as well.

 

To read the whole article from Fitness Magazine click below.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/motivation/get-started/power-surge-the-hidden-benefits-of-exercise/