Monday, December 20, 2010

Leg Lifts!

Leg Lifts:

The leg lift is a simple exercise that works your front and inner thigh muscles… with a bonus: It also tones your abdominal muscles. One easy exercise can help chisel down two problem areas – what could be better? Here’s the leg lift in its most basic form:

Step 1:
Lie on your back with your palms down and hands underneath your behind (this will help you stabilize). Crunch up and hold your upper abs tight so that your shoulder blades are off the ground. Lift your legs about 2 inches off the ground.

Step 2:
Keep your abs tight and chin up, and breathe slowly and rhythmically as you lift your legs through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3:
Hold and squeeze at the maximum tension point for 2 seconds.

Step 4:
Lower your legs to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 5:
Repeat three times without resting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Portions and Muffin tins

All right...let's talk about portion size.  It's just all out of hand, here in America.  We are eating on big plates, and throwing back huge portions of food.  Remember the "blooming onion"?  A single blooming onion with dressing has been reported to contain approximately 2,210 calories and 134 grams of fat.  Wowza!  Which brings me to my next suggestion:  The muffin pan!  I just read an article about this, and thought it was a brilliant idea.

Think about it:  you could make all sorts of things in your muffin pan, and have 12 perfect portions.  Additionally, you could make things faster, because they cook faster in a muffin tin.  I'm thinking spaghetti bake, macaroni and cheese (homemade with low fat cheese--yum!), and guessed it...muffins!  Here's another thought:  what about freezing the remainder, and then you can take out just the portions you need for your meal--instant Jenny Craig!!

The possibilities are endless, from mini pizzas, to mini baked sandwiches, to portioned desserts.  You could even make your lunches ahead in muffin sized portions;  just take the out of the freezer, assemble your lunch, store overnight in the fridge, and voila!

Here's a sample recipe from  Matthew Kadey, a Canadian based nutritionist:

Matthew Kadey's Salmon Lentil Cakes Recipe

Submitted by Mary_RD

Makes 10 servings

Serves 10

2/3 cup dry red lentils
3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
6 oz. salmon, canned sockeye or pink salmon
1 tbsp horseradish
2 large eggs
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
  1. In a saucepan, bring lentils and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils have become tender and water has mostly been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  2. As lentils cook, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet and cook shallots for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin seeds and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. Mash lentils with a fork or potato masher and combine with shallot mixture: salmon, horseradish, eggs, dill, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Divide mixture among 10 lightly greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until set and slightly golden on top. Let cool before unmolding.

Main Dish

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 51.4g

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber

Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 4% Iron 11%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional details are an estimate and should only be used as a guide for approximation.

Nutritional Analysis
Nutrition Grade
96% confidence
  Good points
Low in sugar High in dietary fiber High in phosphorus High in selenium High in thiamin
  Bad points
High in cholesterol

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Russian Twist

How To Do It:
Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate and sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the weight straight out in front of you and keep your back straight (your torso should be at about 45 degrees to the floor). Explosively twist your torso as far as you can to the left [1], and then reverse the motion, twisting as far as you can to the right [2]. That's one rep, do 3 sets of 8-12 at the end of your workout.

This can also be done on a stability ball, with your head and shoulders on the ball, hands together over your chest, with or without a weight in your hands.  Again, 3 sets of 8-12 will work just fine.  Spine stays neutral, and abdominals are braced throughout the exercise.

Fit Fact:
The strength you need to paddle a raft is generated in your core, not your arms or shoulders. Build paddle-worthy obliques and incredible rowing muscle with this simple move.

Back pain and appropriate exercises

Below are several exercises that are crucial for those suffering from low back/back pain.  Often, low back issues are caused or exacerbated by hamstrings (the back of the thigh) that are too tight.

1.  Hamstring stretches are an important part of any low back conditioning program. 
2.  Cat and camel--sink back down and inhale, then exhale and round back like a cat.
3.  Pelvic tilt--you are only focused on the pelvis.  Push your back down into the floor by tilting your pelvis forward-exhale...then lift back to neutral spine.
4.  Partial curl/crunch-be sure not to pull on head or neck.  Lift shoulder blades off of the floor, exhale, Inhale and release.
5.  Prone hip extension--begin with lifting one leg, and you can progress to lifting both legs.  For this version, turn toes slightly out, lift leg, and lower.  Repeat on the other side.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You Are What You EAT!

You Are What you EAT!

This week, I'm going to share some information that I've seen in more than one place, both highly respected in the fitness industry.  Les Mills (Body Pump), and Paul Chek (The Check Institute) have both published similar ideas on how to eat.  And it's really simple.  So read below, and then I want you to think about how much your are eating, and if your portions are in line...

Who are you?
1. Protein Types live to eat!  If you are a protein type and you eat too many carbs you will feel sleepy an hour or so after eating and find it difficult to concentrate!

2.  Carb types eat to live and can quite often go for long periods without eating. When they eat too much protein and fat they tend to feel tired and sluggish straight after the meal.  The will also have problems concentrating.

3.  Mixed types are a combination of both and are the hardest to please.

Les Mills suggests you start out as a mixed type, and then adjust until you feel like you can keep going and concentrate for 3 to 4 hours without feeling hungry.

How can you tell if you are eating enough?

1.  Look at your plate.

2.  Look at your hand.

3.  If you are a protein type, you should have about one whole hand of protein and a half of a fist of starchy carbohydrates or one handful of non-starchy carbohydrates and one thumb of fat at each meal.

4.  If you are a carb type, you should have about two fists of starchy carbs or four handfuls of non-starchy carbs and half a palm of protein at each meal, plus one thumb of good fats.

5.  And if you are a mixed type, you will need one palm of protein and one and a half fists of starchy carbs or three handfuls of non-starchy carbs.

Once you start to eat like this, keep a food diary and record how you feel after you eat.

If you feel sleepy about an hour after a meal= too many carbs

If you feel sluggish immediately after a mean=too much fat and protein

If you feel bloated, hyper or sluggish, then you know you have not eaten what your body needs!  Try again!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This week...kettlebell exercise...goals.

Below, I have shown a picture of one of my favorite kettle bell exercises, the windmill.  Starting from a standing position, with your hand holding the kettle bell overhead, you tip sideways, and stand back up, keeping your core strong.  An excellent exercise for the waistline.

And regarding goals and completion thereof:  if you have done well with your goals for the month of November, I know who you are, and I will enter you into the drawing for this month.  My independent picker will be picking this evening, and I will announce prizes and names shortly. 
For December:  again, we need to get through the holidays without putting on the average 12 pounds.  In order to do that, let's create goal for ourselves that help to keep us under limiting goodies to one serving, or one time a week, and making sure to carve out time for exercise!!  In order to continue to maintain your current weight, you need to work off what your put in.
Looking forward, I will be studying for the MES certification:  Medical Exercise Specialist.  Very exciting, but a lot of work!  This further qualifies me to work with special populations like Fibromyalgia, stroke, and post rehab