Thursday, March 27, 2014

Melissa's Tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family to live happier, healthier lives.
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I'm reminded every day of the power of the excuse.

It's a powerful thing we allow ourselves, but it makes us weak.

Weak in our bodies and in our minds.  Excuses are the nails that build houses of failure.  Too harsh?  Too bad.  Allow me to share with you a litany of excuses I hear, pretty regularly...
E:  "I can't make it today, I need to do (you fill in the blank)."
A:  Make time for exercise in your day.  If you committed to an appointment, get there.  Manage your time better.

E:  "I just didn't want to get up."
A:  Seriously?  Get up.  Get to bed early enough to get up.  Manage your time better.

E:  "I'm to busy."
A:  So am I.  Get it in anyway.  You'd be surprised how much time you waste throughout your day.  Watch T.V.?  You can exercise then.  Making lunches for the kiddos?  You can stand on one foot, or do leg lifts.  What about short burst exercise...1 set of push ups after a bathroom break?  Come on, you can do better than that...

E:  "I'm too tired."
A:  You will have more energy if you work out.  Not to mention, less health issues.

E:  "It's too hard."
A:  Walking is easy, and it's exercise.

E:  "I can't afford it."
A:  Exercise is free.  Just move.

E:  "It's not working."
A:  What are you actually doing?  How often do you work out?  What are you eating?  Usually this one is easy to poke holes in.  If you're doing the right things, you get the right results.

E:  "I'm too fat."
A:  Right.  So was I, but you know what?  I did it anyway, and so can you.  Who needs to exercise more than those carrying too much fat?

E:  "I hate sweating."
A:  Sweat is fat crying.  Nuff said.

E:  "It's too hot."  "Its too cold."
A:  Temperatures will change, but your body's need for exercise will not.  Adapt by adding or subtracting clothing.  You'd be surprised what the right gear can do for you.

E:  "I don't know what to do."
A:  Ahhhh, I can help you with that:  give me a call!  414-630-1448;;
Be the former.  Drop the excuses and MOVE!  Start today with the following mini workout:

12 squats
12 jumping jacks
12 mountain climbers
12 lunges
12 pushups (you can modify to the knees, or wall)
Repeat 1-3 times.
For me, nothing feels better than a bit of boxing/kickboxing training, especially with a partner...It's just fun!  You can get out your frustrations, aggression, and channel your energy.  You finish feeling refreshed and spent at the same time.

Try it:
Put on some gloves (we have some here), go to the heavy bag in the back of the fitness center, and punch.
1.  jab--it comes from the side that's in front.  Left leg forward, right foot back, punch straight (straight wrists) at chin height with the left arm.  Do 20.
2. cross--it comes from the back arm.  Same stance, punch straight at chin height with the right arm (your left leg still in front).  Do 20

3.  jab/cross combo--left punch, right punch, left foot in front.  Do 20 combos.

Repeat all on the other side.
Pat Mozersky's Chefs' Secrets column is a reader favorite, thanks to the great restaurant recipes she persuades owners to share. She praised this healthful salad from Green Vegetarian Cuisine co-owners Mike and Chris Behrend on various fronts: It shows off kale's pungent, peppery flavor, its hot dressing “makes up in no time” and the salad's sturdy greens hold up well enough that you can enjoy any leftovers the next day.
Makes 16 cups
2 bunches kale
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce (see Note)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Instructions: Wash the kale in cold water, pat dry, and with a sharp knife, trim off the tough portions of the stems and discard them. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl; set aside.
For Dressing: Combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a sauté pan. (I used a bit less red pepper flakes than called for, but add it according to your taste.) Simmer the mixture over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and immediately pour the hot mixture over the kale; mix well to thoroughly coat all of the leaves with Dressing. Allow kale to sit for 10 minutes or more before serving.
Note: Bragg Liquid Aminos is a liquid form of vegetable protein made from soy beans and purified water. It provides 16 essential amino acids and is produced without additional salt or preservatives. You can find it at Whole Foods.
Per (1-Cup) serving: 80 calories (40.7 percent calories from fat), 4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein.
From Mike and Chris Behrend
Copyright © 2014 Elite Sports Club, River Glen, All rights reserved.
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2001 W Good Hope Rd, Glendale, WI
Milwaukee, WI 53209

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Roasted Vegetables!



medium red or green bell pepper
medium onion
medium zucchini
pound mushrooms
Olive oil-flavored or regular cooking spray
teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper
tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, if desired


  • 1 Cut the bell pepper lengthwise in half, and cut out seeds and membrane. Cut each half lengthwise in to 4 strips.
  • 2 Peel the onion and cut in half. Wrap one half of onion, and refrigerate for another use. Cut remaining half into 4 wedges, then separate into pieces.
  • 3 Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut off and discard the end of each mushroom stem, and leave the mushrooms whole.
  • 4 Heat the oven to 425°. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the sprayed pan. Spray the vegetables with cooking spray until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.
  • 5 Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn vegetables over. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender when pierced with a fork.

Jumping rope: and example of cardio!  Remember when you were a kid?  You loved playing outside with your friends, and hopscotch, tag, and jumping rope were all part of the fun.  Reach deep inside for you inner child, pick up a jump rope, and get recharged!
Here is our yoga pose of the week:  Ardha Matsyendrasana, or Half Lord of the Fishes pose, here demonstrated with Gyan Mudra (the hand position).  A great seated twist, good for spinal flexibility and stretching the outside of the hips.  The hand position, with thumb and forefinger together, is a symbol of wisdom, or intellectual expansion.  When used as part of a pose, meditation, or pranayama, Gyan mudra can help ease drowsiness, inspire creativity, and increase concentration.
Jumping rope: and example of cardio!  Remember when you were a kid?  You loved playing outside with your friends, and hopscotch, tag, and jumping rope were all part of the fun.  Reach deep inside for you inner child, pick up a jump rope, and get recharged!
Melissa's tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family live happier, healthier lives.
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What does it take to get fit?

When planning your fitness program, how do you know how much is enough to get fit?

Most people beginning an exercise program have trouble knowing where to start.  How often should they work out?  How long should each workout be?  What types of exercise should be incorporated?  And because of these questions, many fail to create a new habit of regular exercise.  So below, I've listed some very basic guidelines, to help you determine if your program has the right balance to keep you going strong, and becoming fit.

1.  Aim for 4-5 workouts per week, and daily exercise is even better.
2.  Vary the types of workouts that you do each day.
3.  Try to get one of these three types of workouts into your week:
     a.  Cardio; working your heart and lungs.
     b.  Strength; weight lifting, weight bearing exercise for strong muscle growth and strong bones.
     c.  Restorative/Flexibility;  yoga, Pilates, and basic stretching to restore your flexibility and recover.
All three of these components are important, because they do work differently on your body.  It's very common though, to see people who only do Yoga, or people who focus too heavily on cardio or strength.  Balance is the key.  We work the heart and lungs through cardio, aiming to strengthen blood vessels, increase capillary density (which delivers more blood more efficiently to the extremities, increasing circulation), and increase your oxygen uptake.  It also burns calories right now, today, while you are working out.  Yea!

Strength training focuses on your skeletal muscles, increasing strength, and building a beautiful, toned body.  This is where we are shaping your body, sculpting it to the shape you desire.  Stimulating the muscles with resistance helps us to burn calories now, but even more later.  This occurs because when we push our bodies past comfort into fatigue, we are actually tearing the muscle fibers apart (sounds awful, but is part of the process of getting stronger).  Our bodies repair the tissue, and make it stronger.  It's like your body is saying: "If she's going to do this, then we had better prepare!"  This process gives us an "afterburn" effect.  You burn more calories over the next 24 hours or so, as your body works on this repair.  However, if you keep working on lifting daily, without changing up the muscle groups, this can be too much for your body; It doesn't have time to repair, and instead you break it down too much, and end up with a higher possibility for injury.

The third key component to fitness is flexibility.  Once we've tighten those muscles with weight lifting, and strengthened the heart, lungs and circulatory system, we need to restore our bodies with a bit of rest and flexibility training.  Tight muscles cause pain, and limit range of motion.  A yoga or stretch class, Pilates, or other mind body type class can help you to ease those issues, as well as helping you get in touch with what your body needs.  Increased body awareness can help you be in tune with how to keep your body in optimum health.

An ideal week might look like this:
Monday:  Strength/Weight lifting, 45min. to 1 hour + 5- 10 min stretching
Tuesday:  Cardio (walking, jogging, cycling, etc.), 30-45 min + 5-10 min stretching
Wednesday:  Strength, 45 min to 1 hour +5-10 min stretching
Thursday:  Cardio, 30-45 min +5-10 min stretching
Friday:  Strength, 45 min to 1 hour + 5-10 min stretching
Saturday:  Yoga class, 1 hour
Sunday:  Off, have fun!  Go for a walk with your dog, a light bike ride outside--it's your day!

I realize our lives are not ideal.  Use the above a basic guideline to help you get your program on task and well balanced.  Examine what you're doing, and see where you might be able to make some small adjustments.  And you can always ask me:)
Fixed Firm Pose, or Supta Vajrasana, is a great pose for compressing and clearing your kidneys, compressing and subsequently increasing blood flow to the knees, and increasing flexibility in your quadriceps. Begin by kneeling down "Japanese style".  Wiggle your thighs out  so that your bottom reaches the floor.  If this is already impossible, then try to get close, but keep your hands out in front to take some of the body weight off of your knees.  You can also move the knees further out to the side  to ease the pressure.

Then, with your hands on your feet, slowly bring your elbows down to the floor--if this is all you can do, stop there!  If you are still ok, then bring your shoulders down to the floor, bring your arms over your head, and lift through the chest.  Hold three full breaths.  Reverse to come out.
Raw Chard Burritos

Large chard leaves [the bigger the better]
  • half of a zucchini
  • half of a large cucumber
  • 5 or 6 white button mushrooms
  • sprouted pea shoots
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. horseradish
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne [depending on your tastes]
  • pinch of salt
  1. Chop your nuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped or crushed. Not pulverized or powdered into flour.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil and the above seasonings. Place it into the refrigerator to marinate.
  3. Chop your veggies: Zucchini into large, bite-sized hunks, cucumbers cut in half, then make long slices about as thick as your pinky finger. Mushrooms, 1/4 inch slices. Avocado: cut in half and then slice into 1/4″ pieces. The variations in shape and cut plus the different textures of the veggies makes for a more interesting burrito.
  4. Lay the chard leaf [aka tortilla] flat with the stem facing up. Using a knife, carefully shave away the thick spine. This trick will make your burrito easier to roll.
  5. When you’re ready to fill your burrito, start off with pea shoots and alfalfa sprouts. These add a delightful crunch. Follow with zucchini, then cucumber, then mushrooms, then avocado. Add about a tbsp. of horseradish.
  6. Scoop your “taco meat” onto the pile of awesomeness you’ve just created.
  7. To Fold: Lift both sides and try to get all the ingredients to the middle of the leaf. Then, pull one side to the top, fold the ends in, and roll. Do it gently so the leaf doesn’t rip.
  8. Cut it in half and serve

Exercise of the Week, The kettlebell plank row:

Bring your kettlebell over to the platform of your choice, slightly elevated from the floor.  Come into a plank position (your body looks like a solid plank of wood, flat as a board).  With one hand hold the plank, and with the other, pull the kettlebell up and back, squeezing through the lats and scapula.  Perform 12 on each side, and then repeat 2 times more for a total of 3 sets.
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Is it really that simple?

Well, yes.  You need to burn more calories than you are eating.

And the numbers have to pan out.  3500 calories=1 pound of fat.  Shave that off your diet, or workout more and you will lose the pound.  A combination of both works the best.  If you only work with the diet portion, you are likely to lose muscle, lowering your basal metabolic rate.  In the long run, when you begin to eat a maintenance amount, you will actually find you gain weight back...what a bummer.  If you only exercise, you will find that the weight doesn't budge much, and there is just no way to exercise enough to compensate for a bad diet.

Now, we can get caught up in the minutia.  Macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients, different dietary restrictions or fads, etc.  But really, a well balanced diet with a good variety of different types of foods, many plant based, will work the best, and utilizing the numbers as a guideline, we can forge weight loss like a well-honed blade.  Last week we learned that heavy amounts of meat and cheese are not likely to be healthy choices for longevity, and replacing one dinner a week with a meatless form of protein can be one way to mitigate the risk.  Certainly common sense would tell us that too much sugar or salt would be counter productive.

Here's my suggestion:  download and use  This user friendly program can help you track, calories, fat, carbs, salt, sugar, protein and your daily exercise.  Yes, I said DAILY exercise.  Because that's really what it's going to take to get there.  A well mixed program of daily exercise, some cardio days, some weight lifting days, and some restorative (yoga, pilates) is what is required to see the results you truly desire.

Let's build your healthy body together.