Thursday, October 28, 2010

Music Madness

It is a good idea to mix up your workouts. Doing different things benefits both your mind and body.
When you do the same workouts, your muscles become used to those movements and they don't have to work as hard because muscle memory allows them to adjust to the workout more quickly. By mixing it up, your muscles have to adjust to new ways your body is moving, which then allows your muscles to build in different and new ways. It can result in soreness, but make sure to stretch and keep working out...those things are most effective in reducing soreness.
Also, by doing new things, you won't get bored! When you get bored, you don't work as hard and you don't get as much out of your work outs. So mix it up to keep in top shape!

Here is a new workout to try:
Whether you are running, walking or on the eliptical, you can apply this. On an ipod, make a play list of slow and fast songs...about 20 fast workout songs to 7 slow songs. Put the ipod on shuffle, and go! When a fast song is playing, either run, sprint, power walk, up the tension on an elipitcal or increase the incline on the treadmill. You can mix up what you do during the fast songs, but make sure your heart is beating faster than normal, so you are pushing your body to do new things. When a slow song comes on, this is a recovery song. Slow down a bit, but not too much. Let your heart rate come down enough that you can carry on a conversation with someone next to you, but not for a long time. Go through this for 30 - 45 minutes. Have fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cake!

Yes! It is that time of year that pumpkin desserts are abundant! Here is a
yummy pumpkin cake that I made for my family. I found the original
recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine, but changed it a little to make it more
healthy. My family enjoyed it, so you should try it too!

Pumpkin Cake:
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. honey
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
4 eggs separated
5 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. canned pure pumpkin puree

1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 c honey, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the 4 egg yolks and pumpkin puree. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.
2. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the remaining 9 egg whites at medium speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. With the machine on, gradually whisk in the 1/2 c sugar; increase the speed to high and beat until stiff but still moist, about 2 minutes.
3. Add one-quarter of the egg white mixture to the pumpkin batter, folding with a rubber spatula just until no streaks remain. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture the same way. Pour the batter into a 10-inch tube pan and bake until springy to the touch and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
4. Let cool in the cake pan for 5 minutes, then take it out and place on a cooling wrack or plate for about an hour to completely cool. Enjoy!

**Instead of making it into cake, I divided the mixture into muffin made about 24 muffins. On half I put a few chocolate chips on top prior to baking. When you put them on top and not mixed in, you use less and then I left some without for those that didn't want chocolate. I cooked the muffins for about 30 - 35 minutes, depending on your oven.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Got Nutmeg?

I came across this article and thought it was pretty interesting. A lot of times we talk about foods that have health benefits, but not so much the spices we can add to foods. And since it is fall, nutmeg is a nice, warm spice that can be added in lots of recipes. So enjoy this bit of information and add some spice to your life!

1. It zaps zits: Got a blemish? Mix a little milk with ground nutmeg to form a paste, then aply it to the trouble spot. Its ant-inflammatory effects will help reduce the redness and puffiness.

2. It soothes tummies:
Sprinkle a little on top of your morning oatmeal--it can can help regulate your GI tract, say experts.

3. It may help you catch more zzzs:
Drink a glass of warm milk with a dash of nutmeg--the perfect sleep-inducing cocktail says Micahel Murray, ND, co-author of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.

4. It helps relieve tooth pain:
Nutmeg oil on the gums may help reduce tooth aches and sore gums, say experts.

Monday, October 18, 2010


We are coming upon the time of year that is known for consuming calories and eating treats for every holiday and event we attend. Frequently diets are forgotten, weight is gained and people just settle in for the winter. But I have a challenge for you! Don't wait for January to start a new resolution. Start TODAY! That is right, before Halloween, before Thanksgiving, before Christmas and New Years. Start a fresh way of living, including healthy diet and regular exercise. Allow yourself a treat every once in a while, but don't indulge and don't miss a day exercising. It will really make this the "most wonderful time of the year!" You won't stress about gaining weight and feeling sluggish. You will be high energy and feeling great as you spend time with family. Try'll thank me :)

Here are some steps to getting healthy...which remember, you are starting TODAY!
G - goal setting
Set realistic goals that can be broken down into monthly or weekly achievements. Make sure your goal is written down, measurable and realistic. For this time of year, set goals like eating 5 fruits and vegetables every day, only allow a small dessert once a week (or ever 2 weeks is better!!), and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in 6 days this week.
E - excitement
You have to have emotion tied to your goals. If it allows, give yourself a reward for meeting your goals, such as buying a new workout shirt or going to a movie. (Don't reward yourself with food...ever!)
T - tracking
Tracking your goal is key to reaching it. It gives you the confidence to know you are ready and able for the challenges ahead.
I - information
Information is the key to understanding the best way to get something done. Talk to healthy friends, a personal trainer, or other professionals to know how much you should be eating, what changes need to be made, and new ideas of workouts
T - team
Every winning program has a team of support. Make sure family and friends know your goals, so they can help you and remind you when you want to cheat a little. Don't do it!

Remember you are the only one that can make the changes happen...and you can do it. So start today!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musclehead, Powerlifter, or Toner

When people think of lifting weights, the big bulky powerlifter comes to mind. You know what I'm talking about...the bulky muscles in tight sleeveless shirts at the gym grunting as they lift 75 lbs. kettle balls.
But I have good news for you! Lifting weights isn't just about building 20-inch biceps. In fact, for most women, it's not about that at all, since resistance training may be the single most effective way to lose fat and look great. Even more than that, the benefits of lifting extend into nearly every aspect of your health and well-being. Basically, you'd have to be crazy not to lift weights—even if bigger biceps are the last thing you want!
Lifting gives everyone the upper edge of everything - over belly fat, stress, diabetes, body image...the list goes on! Here are some ways that lifting helps you look great, stay healthy, and live a full and long life!

1. You'll lose 40% more fat! Muscle burns fat and helps burn the sugars in food. If you weight train as you diet, you'll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat instead.
2. You'll burn more calories! Both during your workout of lifting and for a while after. As your muscle repairs from lifting, it is burning calories.
3. Your clothes will fit better! This is because even if you aren't gaining weight on the scale, as we age, muscle gets converted to fat as we don't use it. Fat is more flabby than muscle, which shows more under your clothes.
4. You'll build stronger bones! Just like muscle, you lose bone mass as you age. But putting pressure on the bone in a normal way, like when lifting, increases bone strength to help prevent injury in the future.
5. You'll shrug off jet lag! Strength training helps your body adjust faster to a change in time zones or work shifts.
6. You'll sleep better! Like other exercise, when you lift hard, your body rests better when it's time to go to bed.
7. You're diet will improve! Lifting weights provides a double dose of fat-loss fuel: On top of burning calories, exercise helps your brain stick to a diet.
8. You'll add years to your life! Get strong to live long. Muscle protects so much in your body, and enables proper growth and movement for the future.
9. You'll handle stress better! Break a sweat in the weight room and you'll stay cool under pressure. Researchers have found that the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal the fastest after a stressful situation, compared to those who had the least muscle.
10. You'll be happier! Not only because your body is looking great, but because any type of exercise increases endorphins, which make everyone feel good.

So get out there and start lifting! Don't forget how essential it is that you do cardio as well, so work your heart muscle and continue to burn calories and increase endurance. But both are so important and so necessary!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is Your Thinking Holding You Back?

How many diets have you tried? Can you count them on more than one hand? If so, there might be more to the problem than just the unrealistic eating schedule they put you on that can never last. (That's why you do something like I talked here!) But here is another hint...your mind has to be ready to diet just like your body does. Even further, just like you need to hit the gym every day and exercise your body, you need to work your mind to be at it's peak to lose the weight. The key? Think like a thin person.
Everyone can admit to starting a diet and then having those thoughts such as "I can't diet when I'm stressed" or "I know I shouldn't eat this, but it's my birthday/Thanksgiving/Groundhog Day/fill-in-the-blank day". Then the diet quickly goes down the drain.

The first trick is to get the idea out of your head that once you are off the diet, you can eat whatever you want. Talk to anyone that has gone through a diet, and for it to be affective it must be a life style change. You might be able to cheat a bit more as long as you take more time in the gym, but never will you be able to go back to your ways prior to losing the weight. Thin people are aware of what they eat at all times, not in an obsessive way, but a way that keeps them in check of not eating too much of the wrong things.

The second trick is to learn to allow yourself to be hungry. Nothing will happen if you don't eat right when you feel hungry. In fact, drink a big glass of water to make sure it is hunger and not thirst. Then wait a bit, plan in your head what healthy snack you will eat once you have spent some time being hungry. This will help distinguish between cravings and real hunger.

Finally, an initial trick when starting a diet involves creating a plan for the first week or two and not changing it AT ALL. Eat exactly what you planned, with the exact number of calories you should eat and the times you should eat. This is when a personal trainer comes in handy to help figure out the number of calories needed and how to get the right calories.

Everyone has the ability to change their life. It is just getting all aspects of the process in line...the body and mind need to be ready and need to work for your benefit. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh Those Gym-less Days

Let's face it, there are days we just can't make it into the gym for our full workout that we need. That being said, don't just allow yourself to not do anything! Go for a long walk, play outside with your kids or take a bike ride around the neighborhood to get your heart pumping. In addition to that, here are some toning exercises you can do every day right inside your home. Do them whenever you have a second!

For your arms, try push-ups. Everyone cringes at that word, but they aren't too bad. If you can't do them on your toes, move to your knees. Remember though, that if you are on your knees, you need to be going deep into the push-up to get the most out of it. But mix up where your arms are...try some wide arms, standard width and then in close. All of those tone different parts of your arm. Try to do as many as you can for 3 reps.
Chair dips work the triceps on the back of the upper arms. They can be done with one or two chairs, depending on your level. To make it harder, try a chair under your arms and your feet. For beginners, just one chair under your arms. Stand in front of one chair with the other in front of you. Bend down and place your hands on the sides of the chair while propping your heels up on the other chair. Slowly lower and raise your body by bending your elbows. Without two chairs, do the same but with your feet on the ground.

As for your are a few to try! A leg pull front is an exercise that targets the thighs, back and abs. It is usually seen in Pilates. Sit on the 
floor with your legs straight, hands by your hips and fingers facing forward. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Keeping your arms fully extended, lift your right leg as high as possible and hold for three to five seconds. Slowly lower your leg, repeat with your left leg and alternate back and forth.
Squats and lunges work the quads and hamstrings and glutes, all major muscles in your legs. To do squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower and lift your body by bending your knees. Lunges work the same leg muscles as squats, except they are done with your feet in a split stance. Lower yourself down until both knees form 90-degree angles, stand up and repeat. To make these more challenging, add some hand weights. Try to do about three sets of 10-15

Last of all, here are some ab exercises. At home you can do things such as the bicycle maneuvers, scissor kicks, reverse crunches, long lever crunches and crunch ups. To do crunch ups, lie on your back with your legs lifted straight in the air and arms parallel to your legs. Steadily lift your shoulders off the floor, reach for your toes and squeeze your abs forcefully. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat. With abs, do as many as you can until you think you need to stop, and then do 5 more. Take a rest, and try again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shin Splint Help

Running is one of the best calorie burners in the realm of exercise. It gets your heart beating fast and gets your body moving. However, it is also very common to get injured running. A frequent complaint among runners, especially those who have just started running after a break or are just beginning, are shin splints. Shin splints occur when the muscles and tendons in the lower leg cause stress and trauma to the tibia bone after extensive running, overuse or exercising on hard surfaces. Here are some tips on how to avoid painful shin splints:
1. Make sure you are running in good shoes. No matter what type of feet you have, if your shoes are old or not supporting your arch the right way, shin splints are inevitable.
2. Always try to warm up your leg muscles a bit before running. This can be done by a light jog or brisk walk for five minutes before your run. Getting blood flow to your legs will help decrease the impact from running.
3. Stretch! If you want to stretch before a run, make sure to do it after a light warm up. The most important time to stretch is after your run. Your muscles are nice and warm, but by stopping quickly after running, your muscles can tighten up quickly.
4. Strengthening your calve muscle and the muscles in front of your leg. You can do this by doing calve raises on stairs.
To strengthen the muscles in the front of your lower leg, have a friend hold down your feet and then lift your toes into the air against this resistance
5. Be sure to minimize impact on your legs as much as you can. If you have the option to do your long runs on a surface other than concrete, try to do that. Asphalt is even a better option than concrete. Also, don't increase mileage too fast, and be sure to do cross-training on your days off of running. Mixing up how you use your leg muscles will help increase strength overall. 

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