Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Static Training

Do you ever switch up your weight training methods?  Try Static training, the next time you  lift weights. It builds the endurance of your muscles, a factor that is not often targeted but should be!

For static training, hold the weights out in a specific position for an extended period of time. For instance, raise a pair of dumbbells upward with your arms straight until they are at shoulder level. Hold the weight at this point for several seconds...long enough to make  your muscles shake. Lower and repeat.

You can also do the same thing with a curl...hold the curl at midpoint for several seconds per set. And triceps can be targeted as well, hold your pushup at the bottom for a few seconds. Even the quads can be trained in this way, holding a squat at midpoint or the bottom of the squat for a few painful seconds! Feel the burn!! Change the way you work out, change your body!!

Listen closely: the only time it's too late to change yourself is when you're dead. Until then, you're simply making excuses or lying to yourself.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Favorite Friday...Pure Protein Bars!

I am always asked about protein bars. These are my favorite! I but them at Costco or Sam's club.(apparently I do not shop any where else!)
The box comes in 3 flavors Chocolate Deluxe, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Peanut butter. All under 200 calories or less, 20 grams of Protein, 2 grams of sugar, 17 grams of Carbohydrates, 75 grams of sodium. (Chocolate Deluxe)
I keep one in my gym bag and purse at all times! Just in case I'm caught out without my lunch bag! (Like maybe because I've been shopping too long!)
So the next time you are at Giant Eagle, Walmart or Target, pick some up and try them! Then run to Costco and buy the big box!!

What are stumbling blocks and defeat before you, can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baked Salmon with Spinach Tomatoes and Mushrooms

This is awesome! Either Fresh or frozen salmon, it doesn't matter! Its wonderful! I buy a full fillet from Costco or Sam's Club and cut into 4oz pieces after its done cooking.

4 salmon fillets (4oz each) Or fillet
2 cups chopped fresh spinach (or more if fillet)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium tomato (or more)
1/3 cup Kraft Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 375
 Place salmon in a 9 x13 baking dish, sprayed with your misto.
Mix the remaining ingredients until well blended; spoon over Salmon.

Bake for 20-35 minutes or until salmon easily flakes when tested with fork.
190 Calories, 7g Fat, CHOL 60mg, Sodium 320mg, Carbs 5g, Sugar 3g, Protein 24g.

"Any experience can be transformed into something of value. Everything depends on the way you look at things. You cannot have the success without the failures.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Importance of Fiber

There are two types of fiber: Soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibers offer the real heart disease benefit. This type of fiber has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber food sources include oats, barley, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds apples and other types of fruits and vegetables. Experts believe the soluble fiber called beta glucan helps lower blood cholesterol by binding to some of the cholesterol and is eliminated from the body naturally.

Insoluble fiber, also known as "roughage", is found in whole grains, vegetables, wheat bran, nuts, and beans. Insoluble fiber is not absorbed  by the body. Its health benefits include aiding digestion and promoting regularity by adding "bulk". Bulk keeps other foods moving through the digestive tract.

A normal person should consume 25-30 grams of fiber per day. On average only half that amount is consumed. A person with a healthy colon should have two to three bowel movements per day.

Examples of the amount of fiber in some foods:

1/2 cup Broccoli 2.2 grams
1 cup Spinach 4.0 grams
1 cup Lettuce 1.0 grams
1/2 cup Beans (Lima, kidney, baked) 10.0 grams
Apple (medium, with peel) 3.2 grams
1 cup Strawberries 3.0 grams
1 medium Kiwi 5.0 grams
1 cup Fiber One Cereal 14.0 grams
1/2 cup Whole oats 3.5 grams
3.5 cups Air popped Popcorn 4.5 grams

So think about adding more fiber in your diet! It does wonderful things for you!
By the way...do you know you can store up to 8 pounds of bile in your intestines?! 8 Pounds!!!!!

"Clear your mind of can't." ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The squat

Squatting...is the best exercise you can do to develop lean body mass. But do you know that is is more beneficial to squat deep rather than short, or a partial squat. The right depth lies at a point where the hips and the top surface of the legs are lower than the point of the knee.

One reason why to squat deeper is you activate more hamstring participation. By getting the hamstring involved it takes some strain off the ACL. For those of you who have ACL issues. Shallow squats don't fully involve the hamstrings, don't fully involve the hips, don't challenge the muscular system much, and can put more, not less, pressure on the ACL. It may take a few workouts to get use to the deep squat, start with a lighter weight until you have the correct position, and add more weight from there. Repitions are up to you and your body...lighter weights more reps, heavier the weight, the less you will be able to preform correctly.

The deep squat not only builds up the thighs, but has an effect on the entire body, bones, muscles, metabolism, ligaments and more. Squats transform, deep square transform deeply!

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily. Zig Ziglar

Monday, May 23, 2011

Motivation....What a weekend!

I competed in my second figure competition on Saturday night, I placed third in my age group! But that's not the motivation!

The women that were there competing as well were the motivation!

There was a 50 year old competing for the first time!
There was a woman that lost 100 pounds in a year, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, re-diagnosed... not cancer, but she did have large tumors that had to be removed! She competed for the first time!
A woman body builder competed for the first time who was 5 foot tall and once weighed 240 pounds! She said that she was forty and could walk upstairs and knew she had to do something!
There was this 6 foot tall beauty who lost 90 pounds and competed in fitness and figure competition!
All of the women were so nice and supportive it was an awesome event! It inspires me to better myself and continue on my journey of figure competitions!

"My life tomorrow will be the result of my attitudes and the choices I make today."

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Love Stash Tea!

This is my evening sweet...it takes place of an actual "sweet" that I do not need!
I have found that I love Chai Spice, Vanilla Nut Creme (I'll mix the Chocolate Hazelnut with the Vanilla Nut Creme!) I also have the Herbal tea Sampler just for kicks!
Grab some the next time you are at Giant Eagle...Don't forget the Truvia too! The Mug holds 3 cups of water! And no one in my house believes what it says! Except me!
Enjoy your tea!!

Start doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you'll be doing the impossible!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spinach Stuffed Chicked Breast

I Made this recipe up a few months ago, my boys love it! Its healthy and delish!

4 to 6 5oz chicken breasts (you can pound them out, but I don't...too messy!)
1 clove garlic minced
4-5 cups fresh spinach
2-3 wedges of garlic and herb laughing cow cheese
1 can low-sodium organic diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350.
Saute` the garlic on a med flame. When slightly golden add spinach and cook down. Lower the flame and add wedges of laughing cow cheese mix through until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
Take a chicken breast (pounded or un-pounded) scoop a spoonful of spinach mixture in the center of chicken breast, close with kitchen string or a tooth pick. Repeat until all is gone.
Pour the tomatoes in a 9x13 pan and place the stuffed chicken on the tomatoes. Optional...sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken, cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and let the chicken brown for about 5 minutes.
195 calories, 6.5g fat, 4g carbs, 32g protein per serving.

"Any experience can be transformed into something of value. Everything depends on the way you look at things. You cannot have the success without the failures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salt, Sodium, Sodium Chloride...How much is too much?

I was quite upset the other day when I was eating my grilled chicken with my "favorite"  Jamaican Jerk seasoning from McCormick! I kept tasting salt! How can that be...its just spices! Ah...NO! I went to McCormick's web site and looked up my favorite spice, and low and behold...it has 120mg of sodium in who knows how much spice! Man I was mad! I threw it out and bought every Mrs. Dash I could find! I also found a Fajita seasonings, salt free, at McGinnis Sisters. I sprinkled it on my turkey burger tonight...Yum! 
I want to share some information about sodium...
Sodium is essential in small amounts, Your body needs some to function properly.
  • Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
  • Helps transmit nerve impulses
  • Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles
Your kidneys regulate the amount of sodium kept in your body. When sodium levels are low, your kidneys conserve sodium. When levels are high, they excrete the excess amount in urine.
If your kidneys can't eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, you blood volume increases. Increased blood volume, in turn, makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, increasing pressure in your arteries. Certain diseases such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can lead to an inability to regulate sodium.

How much sodium do you need?
Most organizations recommend not exceeding the range of 1500 and 2400 milligrams a day for healthy adults.
Three main sources of sodium.
  • Processed and prepared foods. Canned vegetables, soups, lunch meats, and frozen foods. Manufacturers use salt or other sodium containing compounds to preserve food and to improve the taste.
  • Sodium containing condiments. One teaspoon of table salt has 2325mg of sodium, and one tablespoon of soy sauce has about 900-1000mg of sodium.
  • Natural sources of sodium. Sodium naturally occurs in some foods, such as meat, poultry, dairy products and vegetables.
How to cut Sodium.
  • Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
  • Opt for low-sodium products.
  • Remove salt from recipes whenever possible.
  • Limit your use of sodium laden condiments.
  • Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to enhance flavor.
  • use salt substitutes wisely.
Other information I found while I was researching sodium:
  • Salt increases appetite! Salty foods increase salivation and gastric acidity, which in turn increases your appetite.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt are enough to retain 2-4 pounds of water in your body's tissues for a day or two. Unless you keep consuming sodium every day, then it stays! Think before you gobble down those chips, salted nuts, or pizza! Not to mention those cans of Red Bull or Monsters that some kids are consuming at alarming rates! 
Take care of yourself and your family. Lets try to stick around to see our grand kids grow up! Put the salt DOWN!!!

"There is no one giant step that does it. It's a lot of little steps."
~Peter A. Cohen


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Body Weight Training

So you find yourself home again... with a sick child... or waiting for the repairman to show up...or the cable guy (your "window" is 8-12!? Really?!). You have do not have a home gym (nothing?). Yes you do...YOU!

Body weight training can be highly successful if done with high intensity! To get the most effect from body weight training aim to primarily target the thighs and back, because these are where the biggest muscles are. Focus more on squats, lunge jumps, squat jumps and pullups, and then on pushups and dips.

Try it the next time you are stuck at home and can't go to the gym. You can add a little running to the mix and really start the fat burning fire in your body!!

"Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear."
~Anthony Robbins

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marathoners Rock!

Pittsburgh Marathon Logo

If you were not part of the over 16,000 people participating in the Pittsburgh Marathon, you probably knew someone who was running a relay, 1/2, or the whole thing! I admire marathoners...all of the time they spend training... long runs, short runs, cross-training! What an accomplishment! That definitely motivates me to focus on my goals! What does it do for you? Talk to someone who ran...feel the excitement..catch it...and build your own dreams!

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means, effort, pain, difficulty.
 ~Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bison...Have you tryed it? (This was Thursdays Post!)

So tonight was a monumental night! We all had bison for the first time. Everyone LOVED it!

I haven't had beef (burger) in some time. Mostly I eat a turkey burger if anything. A few weeks ago I made my boys pasta sauce with ground beef, I always taste test my suace before I serve it, just in case it needs something. I used 95% lean ground beef...All I could taste was greese! Yuck! Was I never going to eat a hamburger again? Because that tasted awful!

So, I have been reading some of my favorite cook books... and they use Bison a ton. I thought, If I could find it I would try it out. So I did...There is not a picture of my lovely burger and roasted asparagus because we (me!) were so hungry it vanished quickly! Oh my! Bison is GREAT! Not "gamey" like venison. I've had Elk before (yes the one that is hanging over one of the fire places in my home...you can see "Moe" on Jennifer Junipers blog  http://http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com/ She featured my home a few thursdays ago)

Any how... Here is so

Favorite...Clean Cookbooks!

Well...between the storms and "Blogger" being down, I finally was able to post!...................... These are 2 of my favorite cookbooks! Not only can you find my flank steak recipe but great ideas for desserts, sides and main dishes that are not just "clean" but awesomely tasty! Try them out, change  your life, change your body! Feel great eating "real" food!
What are stumbling blocks and defeat before you, can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What is the Difference in Yogurt?

Currently I am loving Greek yogurt! Either 0% Chobani or 0% Fage. However, last year I was stuck on Light and Fit Vanilla by the pint. And what the heck is Kefir? Well...I'm here to give you the low-down.

Traditional milk yogurt: Made by fermenting cow's milk with live bacteria. It's a solid source of protein, calcium, potassium and B vitamins. Beware of dessert-like flavors packing in added sugars, even fruit on the bottom may contain more sugar than fruit by weight. Stick with plain low fat yogurt with 12 grams or less of sugar and 3 grams or less of saturated fat. Add  your own fresh fruit for sweetness.

Greek yogurt: Cow's milk strained resulting in its thick creamy texture. It has less sugar than traditional yogurt and double the protein, making it more filling. However it has less calcium. Kind of tastes like sour cream.

Goats milk: Using the same method as cow's milk yogurt, it has similar nutritional and textural profile.  Good option for those sensitive to cow's milk because it lacks proteins found  there that can cause allergic reactions and is slightly lower in lactose. One drawback...It has a slightly gamey flavor.

Nondairy: made with soy milk, this type resembles cow's milk yogurt nutritionally speaking, though it can contain slightly less protein. Ideal for vegens and people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cows milk. Avoid if your doctor has recommended that you steer clear of soy in general.

Kefir: This yogurt like fermented beverage is made from culturing process that combines milk with kifer grains (a mixture of bacteria and yeast). Kefer is loaded with probiotics. Because it is naturally thinner than yogurt, it may be easier to digest. The acidic flavor can take some getting used to. If you buy in smoothie form, watch out for added sugar.

So, there you go! Now you can make a smart choice in shopping for your yogurt! I haven't  tryed Kefir yet..but I'm going to buy some the next time I'm at the store!

Do or do not. There is no try.~Yoda

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blast Away Fat!

Swim suit season is cresting upon us...Are you ready?
Here are six things that you can do to change up your current routine.
  1. Shock your body. Moving from one exercise to the next without rest. For example, push ups to chest presses, crunches to a plank, front lateral raise to an over head press, walking lunges to squats...no rest, keep moving until you've fatigued every body part.
  2. Slow down. Slow down the repetitions...4 count down, 4 count up with a definite stop at the bottom and top.
  3. Step it up. After a regular set of weighted exercise perform a set quickly with out weights. example...forward lunges with dumbbells and a set of jump lunges. Back Squats (bar on rear deltoids) and quick squats with out weight. Chest flys to push ups...get the idea?
  4. Get off the ground. Plyometrics...leaping, jumping or skipping quickly. Add that in between sets or circuit training...2 sets of a regular exercise and 2 sets of plyometrics!
  5. Split the difference. Do a full rep of an exercise and then just do half of the same exercise...fire up those muscles!
  6. Mix in the cardio. Make the most of the time in between sets...Grab a jump rope! Do a set of chest presses and jump rope for 1 minute, repeat through out your entire full body workout! Wa-la! Your own boot camp!
Shock your body...do something different. Make a change to your workout and your body will change too!

At the beginning of any task, more than anything else, your attitude will affect it's successful outcome.
~Jeffrey Gitomer

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Motivates You....

What's your mission? Whats your goal? I usually say this at least once in each group exercise class I instruct. You've got to have a goal! A monumental birthday, a class reunion, a wedding, a race...something!
I find weight loss to be "easier" if I attach it to something. One January I found myself 20 pounds over weight (again!) and I decided I'd train for a sprint triathlon. I ended up participating in 3 triathlons that summer one each month and I lost 15 pounds in the process!
 My latest goal is figure competitions. I competed for the first time last November. In the process of preparing for the competition someone asked me if I thought that I could win...I said, "I already have! I taught the girl who has struggled with weight loss her entire life that, YES you can control what you eat!" I did go on to win the competition! But it was what I learned in the process of that goal that made the difference. I am competing again on the 21st of this month...I still continue to set goals for myself.
What about you? Whats your mission? What is your goal?

"The odds of hitting a target go up dramatically when you aim at it." ~Mal Pancoast

Friday, May 6, 2011

Favorite Friday...Orbit Sugarless Gum!

I have to say these little packs of gum has saved me from thousands of empty calories! I buy them by the case at Sam's Club or Costco!

When I am in need of a sweet that I shouldn't have...I pop in a piece of gum...When I go to Costco or Sam's Club where they pass out samples upon samples of all kinds of good stuff...I pop in a piece of gum before I walk through the doors! When I attend a wedding shower and they have my favorite cake (white on white!) and my competition is 17 days away... I pop in 5 pieces and think of the worst cake I've ever eaten! When I'm bored and starting to fidget around in the cupboards for something to chew on...I pop in a piece of gum! It totally works! Although, I am a horrible gum chewer...I snap, pop, blow big bubbles! Try it...Just make sure you get the sugar free kind...I was going to steal some from my kids Easter basket and it was 25 calories! Jeez...for gum? No thank you!

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This is my latest favorite way to bake my Tilipia...
It's super simple:
Costco has fresh Tilipia...get some (frozen works too, but I like fresh)
Pre-heat oven to 350
Line a bar pan with foil and misto with olive oil. Place your fish on foil and sprinkle with...
Mc Cormick Jamaican Jerk Seasoning! Yummm!
bake for about 20-25 minutes.
I eat the fish over a salad, or in a whole wheat wrap with cucumbers, tomato lettuce and salsa for a fish taco! Or with your favorite side dish. Note...It's kinda spicy...But sooo good!

Be specific in what you want, and use specific words. Empower yourself, and become the person you dream about

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nutrition ...Food Rules

I love this little book...I buy several at a time and give them out as needed. If you don't have one, pick it up and have a light bulb moment!

Here are a couple of Mr Pollan's rules for you to follow:
1. Eat Food (real food)
2. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize.
3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. (Ethoxylated diglycerides, Cellulose, Xanthan gum?)
4. Avoid food  products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
5. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sugar sweetener) listed among the top 3 ingredients.
6. Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
7. Avoid food products that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
8. Avoid food products that make health claims.
I'm skipping...
13.Eat only food that will eventually rot. (Have you ever seen the video of the McDonalds meal after 4 YEARS? It looks exactly the same as fresh! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh1tUBAW8Sg I'm not sure this link works...If not, go to youtube and search: 4 year old mcdonald cheeseburger by diet.com)
20. It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car......See above

There are little explanations to why each rule is stated as well....So If you want nutritional guidance for you and your family (what are we feeding our kids??) pick up Miachel Pollans book Food Rules an Eaters Manual. It's an eye opener! And you may laugh as well ;)

"Success is not a place that we aspire to, it is a process in which we live by. Often the only ingredient being the ability to not quit"
- author unkown

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Did you ever wonder why after a bazillion crunches you still cannot see your abs? Are you tired of crunching, leg lifts and oblique twists? Then lets change things up a bit!
First...I have to say that abs are not made in the gym...they are made in the kitchen! But of course you knew that already!!

Try some of these exercises for the next month combined with a good clean diet and cardio and strength training.
  1. Stability Ball Plank. Set forearms on the Swiss ball, and toes on the floor. Your body should form a straight line from neck to floor. Hold for 30 to 90 seconds.
  2. Mountain climbers. Brace your abs. Start in the top of a pushup position. Keep your abs braced, pick one foot off the floor and slowly bring it towards chest. Do not let hips sag. Keep abs braced and slowly return leg to start position. Alternate sides until you complete all the required sets.
  3. Stability ball rollout. Kneel on mat and place hands on top of stability ball. Brace abs and slowly lean forward and roll hands over the ball. Keep body in a straight line and go out as far as you can. Contract abs and reverse the motion to return to upright position.
  4. Stability ball jackknife. Brace abs. Put elbows on a bench or floor and rest shins on the ball. with your back flat, you body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles, Keeping back straight, roll the ball to your chest as close as possible by contracting abs and pulling ball forward. Pause and return ball to starting position by rolling it backwards.
Start with those four repeat each 3 times through for 10 to 12 reps. Let me know how you did!

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it. ~Mr. Magorium

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Motivates You?

Where do I find motivation? In Oxygen, Fitness Rx, and Muscle and Fitness Hers! I read these magazines cover to cover. Good solid information with out the "fluff"...

There is always an article that speaks to me each month.

In Muscle and Fitness Hers there is an article about a woman who lost her leg as an infant because of a rare disorder called proximal femoral focal deficiency. She has a prosthetic leg that attaches at her hip. She has gone on to compete in a half-dozen marathons and the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon (that's 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run!) Now if That is not motivating...I don't know what is!  She swims with one leg for Petes sake!

So go, pick up one of my favorite magazines...learn something...find a good recipe.... get motivated!

"Never trade what you want the most for what you want at the moment"