Monday, April 28, 2014

Melissa's Tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family to live happier, healthier lives.
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Not an exciting concept, nor is it new.

This doesn't change the fact that it's true.  The finish line moves forward, as you move forward.

Each new program creates a new challenge, and it should.  It may sound tired, but the truth is, you have to continually find new challenges and goals to keep yourself moving forward.  More than 8 weeks with the same exercises or weight selection is a recipe for stagnation.

With that in mind, let's examine how we can think outside the box a bit, and keep you moving forward!

1.  Create new goals for each 6-8 week time period
     a.  Add in new exercises
     b.  Change up your strategy:  heavier weights/less reps, or lighter weights with more reps.
     c.  Add a new class, switch up the type of class to keep it interesting for you and your body.
     d.  Give yourself something to work toward--a 5k run or walk, a bike ride for charity, a mud run.  This will give you a goal to work toward.
     e.  Ask for assignments--a personal trainer can help set up a program for you and you can run with it for the 6-8 weeks...then they'll change it up at the appropriate time.  I do this with a couple of clients...for my regular weekly folks, I automatically do different exercises as time goes on--I feel like the program morphs--as I note changes in strength and endurance, I automatically adapt to make it more challenging.
Obviously, this is a challenging workout for most of us.  But for those who look at this and see impossibility, I challenge you to try it with modifications!  A 10 minute run can be a walk at a brisk pace, jumping jacks can be a 1/2 jack alternative, and weighted crunches can be just crunches.  So try this out, with or without modifications, and see how far you get!
This seated side stretch is used in Yoga, Pilates, and many fitness classes, with small adaptations.  It stretches your hamstring, your inner and outer obliques, and your latissimus Dorsi muscles in your back.  Tuck one foot in to your inner thigh, while extending the other leg out straight, with the foot flexed.  Now reach toward that foot--you may not reach as pictured, but then reach for the calf or ankle instead.  Reach up and over with the other arm, as shown.  Repeat on the other side, holding about 20-30 seconds.
Breakfast is the meal of champions!  What should you have for breakfast?  A meal with plenty of fresh fruit, some protein, and a bit of energy (carbs) will be a good start to your day.  Below, I've listed some good breakfast options for you:
*Nature valley granola bar + banana=290 calories
*1 piece whole grain toast+ 1 TBSP peanut butter+fruit (can vary depending on your fruit option/1 cup berries or whole fruit like nectarine or apple or similar)=280 calories
*1 egg, 1 piece whole grain toast, 1 piece of fruit=210 calories
*Oatmeal (heart healthly portion is 3/4 cup dry)+ 1 cup berries (YUM!!) 194 calories
*Lowfat cottage cheese (1 cup of 1%) + 1 cup berries  247 calories

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Melissa's Tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family live happier, healthier lives.
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On Vacation?

Here's how you take your exercise on the road-

On a beach vacation for Spring Break?  The possibilities are endless for activities on this type of holiday.  Walking the beach tops my all time favorite ideas, but you can also use a simple beach towel for a whole TRX-like workout, or use a beach chair for triceps dips and push ups.  Even making a sandcastle makes you move more than you might think.  So don't just chill on the chair the whole time, get up and actually enjoy the beach.  And don't forget splashing in the waves!  An average 150 pound person can burn upwards of 350 calories in a 1/2 hour of jumping waves and paddling around!  And don't forget the water activities:  snorkeling, sailing, boogie boarding, kayaking...all are ways to stay active and enjoy your vacation.


Skinny Drinks?  You bet!  Here's one tasty option you're sure to enjoy all summer:


Mix a lighter, 218-calorie, fab Cosmo by trading just a little liquor for club soda. Combine in a cocktail shaker (or ask the bartender for) 1 shot (about 2 ounces) citrus-flavored vodka, 1 splash club soda, 1 splash cranberry juice, and juice of 1 lime wedge; shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Yum—and you’ve slashed 100 calories!
The Swimmer Pilates exercise is a great core exercise that works the back side of your body, toning your hips, buttocks, thighs, and back, while lengthening.  Begin by lying prone on the floor (face down), arms and legs outstretched.  Now alternate right arm and left leg, and left arm and right leg.  It will look like you are swimming, but on land.  Perform 12 lifter per set, and do 3 sets.
Small Group Training:  Spring Session!

Space is still available in my FITT (Focus Integrated Team Training), offered Saturdays at 11:30 am, in the Performance Training Center.  We work on a variety of equipment including battle ropes, TRX, free weights, bosus, and bands, and will be using the last 15 minutes for yoga with the TRX.  We will be using the straps to aid our poses, and perfection of the poses.  There are 5 weeks left, starting this Saturday, and the price will be prorated to reflect that if you are just joining. Contact me if you are interested:,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Too Much Exercise?

Melissa's Tip of the week is designed to help you and your family live happier, healthier lives.

Is there such a thing as too much exercise?

Quite simply, yes.

Most folks don't have this problem, of course, but since I'm on class number 6 in just 48 hours, let's examine what happens to your body if you work out too much.  There are a couple of really important words to discuss:  catabolic, and anabolic.

Things that are catabolic (destructive metabolism) break down your body, and set it up for either injury or illness, or both.  When we lift weights, for example, we are creating microscopic tears in the muscle tissue.  Then we REST those muscles for 24 hours, and they get stronger from the stimulation.  However, if you don't allow the rest portion, you keep breaking down tissue, and you end up breaking down your body, rather than building it up.  So while I needed to keep my regular class load, and cover for some fellow instructors, 6 weight lifting based classes in that short a period of time isn't recommended.  Even if you lift less than normal weight, you are still asking your body to do too much of the same thing.

Things that are anabolic build in a positive way--constructive metabolism.  Mixing your types of workouts to include cardio, weight lifting, and plenty of restorative stretching are ways to build up your body in a positive way.  Building muscle is still initially a destructive process--to stimulate we overload--but giving the muscles recovery is what separates the wheat from the chaff.

So be sure you are giving your body recovery through different types of exercise, and be sure to have 24 hours between lifting sessions.  One way to be sure you are getting enough recovery is to alternate muscle groups throughout the week:
Monday, legs
Tuesday, chest and back
Wednesday, arms and core
Thursday, legs
Friday, chest and back
Saturday, arms and core
Sunday, rest
This is just one possibility among a myriad of ways to approach exercise is a healthy way for your body.  But most importantly, listen to your body.  If it's crying out, you are hurting it.  Too much is as bad as too little.  Find the balance that's right for you.



  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
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  • 1 green bell pepper, quartered and seeded
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  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded
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  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
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  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen


  1. 1. Preheat grill to high heat.
  2. 2. Lightly coat bell pepper pieces with cooking spray. Place bell pepper pieces, skin side down, on grill rack; grill 12 minutes or until skins are blackened. Place bell pepper pieces in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel and chop bell peppers. Discard skins. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place bell peppers in a large bowl.
  3. 3. Rinse and drain lentils; place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 3 inches above lentils; add onion and bay leaf to pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Drain lentils. Discard onion halves and bay leaf. Add lentils to bell peppers. Add remaining 5/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, and remaining ingredients to lentil mixture; stir well.
Mini workout of the week:
25 crunches

25 mountain climbers

25 side leg raises (per side)

1 minute plank

Repeat 3x
Side crunch on Bosu!  This is a great one to work the obliques.  Aim for your waist to be toward the top of the dome, and give yourself a nice base for support, with the legs bent.  Come up sideways, squeezing your ribs and hips together on the side.  I challenge you to 2 sets of 12 this week!