Friday, November 16, 2012

Testing 1-2-3

 Testing 1-2-3

It's the Friday before Thanksgiving!  I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in my life this year.  I've been trying new recipes this week so that I can do a test run before I serve these dishes on the big day.  I've been on a delicata squash kick lately, so yesterday I tried a simple roasted squash recipe.

I just chopped these into half moons and topped them with himalayan salt and pepper.  I roasted them at 425° and it only took about 20-25 minutes.  Note: I recently discovered that you can...EAT THE SKIN!  The skin of this type of squash is very thin.  I just read that it was edible, so I tried it yesterday, and indeed, it is.  

I also had some great tilapia with the squash:

This was topped with turmeric, chili powder, mustard seed and pepper. It is such a great combination of flavor, but ultimately, the health properties are significant.  Turmeric is known for it's natural antiseptic properties.  It is used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant and it is also known for boosting metabolism.  Chili powder includes trace vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.  To find out more about the benefits of mustard seeds, check out this link.  Dr. Oz has also mentioned that this combination of seasonings is great for setting your metabolism on fire (which is a good thing ;).  Here is a link to a cauliflower recipe that incorporates these spices.  In this article, it states that combining cauliflower combined with turmeric can help prevent prostate cancer.  

We just listed several ways that you can use food as medicine.  Now let's talk about a different type of medicine..my FAVORITE kind...the MEDICINE BALL!

I told you earlier this week that it is my favorite piece of equipment.  Now, let me show you a great workout that you can do with a medicine ball.  No other equipment is needed.

You'll start with the series of exercises that are shown in the video below:

Once you've completed 30 seconds of each of those exercises, complete 15 reps of the following exercises:

Once you've completed these 5 exercises, repeat the 30 second interval workout.  Go through this entire series 3 times...more if you'd like ;).  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Your Workout Back-Up Plan

There is no place like home

I'm often asked for suggestions on what type of equipment is needed for a solid 'at home' workout.  I love working out in a gym because I feel like I am more focused and I have great tools readily available, but sometimes life gets in the way and you need a back-up plan.  If you workout with me at the gym, you know that the big equipment is great, but it's not even what we utilize most often.  So, before you go out and spend thousands on a home gym, let me tell you what my top five, favorite pieces of exercise equipment are (in reverse order, to build anticipation):

5. Dumbbells:

Yes, dumbbells are on the list, but not at the top.  When it comes to adding weight to a movement, they are king.  The only reason they don't make the top of the list, is because it is ideal to have a variety of dumbbells so that you can increase or decrease the weight depending on the body part being worked.  This can make dumbbells a more expensive option.  With that being said, if you do invest in dumbbells, I find the 10-20 lb range to be most versatile for the general population.  Of course,  I'm happy to consult with you personally to see what is most suitable for you.

4. Resistance Bands:

These bands are great for all fitness levels and you can use to work every muscle group.  They are easy to travel with.  They come in a variety of resistance levels and they are inexpensive.  They typically range in price from $6-$20.

3. Physio ball:

Physio balls are great because they can be used to make an exercise safer, or to make it more challenging.  For instance, you can put it against a wall at the small of your back for added support while you squat or you can put your feet on the ball and your hands on the floor to make a push up more challenging.  You can find these for as little as $20 and up to $100 or more, based on the brand and quality of the ball.

2. Suspension Band:

A common brand you've probably heard of is TRX Band.  I like this one which is sold on Amazon.  It has grips for hanging it over the door.  This makes it great for at home use because you don't need a bar to suspend it from.  Suspension bands allow you to use your own body weight to build muscle, strength, balance and flexibility.  The have handles that you can grip with your hands or rest your feet in for versatility.

1. Medicine Ball:

Are you surprised that this is my favorite?  It's in first place primarily because of it's cost effectiveness as well as it's durability.  You can use it for strength, endurance, agility and balance.  You can create and endless number of exercises with it.  If you have a partner at home that wants to workout with you, there are tons of great ways to use the ball with a partner.

Over the next few weeks I will provide a total body workout using each of these items.  Get ready!

Dinner in 10 minutes

I was so ready for dinner when I walked in the door this evening.  I was able to throw something together at lightening speed & it was delicious!  I had some arctic char from Trader Joe's in the fridge. I seasoned it with a few of my favorites:

That's turmeric, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Artic char tastes very similar to salmon in my opinion.  I think it had a great flavor on it's own, so I don't go too heavy with the seasoning.

Even though this dinner took no time at all to put together, I'm not going to lie, I had a few of these while I was waiting for it to cook:

I also tossed together a brussel sprout side salad.  This was a 'hut find' at Trader Joe's.  Every once in a while the recipes that you can sample at the hut at Trader Joe's really suck me in.  This one was so simple.  It's made with finely chopped raw brussel sprouts, dried cranberries and pecans.  Just toss them together with about 1/4 cup of the light champagne vinaigrette from Trader Joe's (or a little olive oil and cider vinegar if you don't like bottled dressing) and it's done!  

It was quick and easy AND I have leftovers!  I love when I have enough leftover for lunch the next day.  

Do you have 'go to' dinners that you make when you want something healthy and fast?  Do tell!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tricks With Your Treats

Repurposed Treats

Are you being taunted by leftover Halloween candy?  I've been thinking of ways to get my kids to be excited about using their candy for something other than decaying their teeth.  I didn't want to give them the typical speech about picking a few pieces & dumping the rest.  I wanted them to be truly excited about the alternative to eating it.  Here is what I've come up with:  Because the holiday season is officially among us (I consider Nov. 1 to be official), I was trying to find new uses for the candy that could be applied to our upcoming holiday events.  I love the idea of making holiday ornaments with candy.

I found a recipe with instructions on how to make the above style of ornaments.  You can use this link to find the instructions.  You can use any hard candy and 6 ounces will make about 30 ornaments.  I think you could just pour the melted candies into metal cookie cutters and let them cool for an even simpler solution.  

I few other things you might consider doing with your leftover candy:

  1. If you have a baby shower coming up, make a game out of the fun size candy bars:  Using newborn sized disposable diapers, you put a different type of candy bar into each diaper and melt them a little in the microwave.  People pass the diaper around and try to guess what type of candy is in each diaper.  Most correct answers wins!
  2. Use it to complete a homework assignment.  My daughter needed to make a cell membrane for science class.  She was able to use the candy to represent different parts of the cell:
  3. You can save it for next years costume.  My son got a ton of Smarties last night.  I saw a great costume idea where you take the rolls of smarties and pin them all over a pair of pants.  What's the costume?  Smarty pants!  
  4. I am also working on some centerpiece ideas utilizing leftover candy.  Standby for future posts to see of they were a success.
If you have any other ideas, let me know!

Here is what my day started with:

I'm running low on fresh greens, so my typical green green drink was substituted with a pomelo, beet & ginger drink.  It was a refreshing change.

Need a Lift?

Lately, a common request I've been getting in the gym is "Help me tone and lift my butt!"  Never fear, I know just the moves.  If you are coming to the gym this week, brace yourself, because we will be doing this one...with a few twists:

The side lunge is a great way to work your legs and glutes.  I like the side lunge because of it's versatility.  This week we are going to be doing side lunges while holding a weight plate at the chest.  If you push your butt back while lowering into your side lunge & holding the weight in at your chest, your gluteus muscles will really have to react while you draw your leg back to the center.  Squeeze your butt & tilt your hips forward in the middle.  Alternate sides.  An added bonus is that you will also be working your inner and outer thighs as well as your quads.  Makes sure you don't step out too far.  This will make it more difficult to keep your shinbone stacked over your ankle (which helps protect your knee).  

A few other variations we may try:

Keeping one foot on a glider while sliding into the side lunge position.  This will help us deepen the affect that the lunge has on the hip adductors and abductors. 

Performing a straight leg deadlift in between each rep to better incorporate the hamstrings.

Hinging forward and tapping the ground with each lunge to better isolate the gluteus muscles and incorporate more core engagement.

Sounds like fun, right?!?!