As the end of the year quickly approaches, most people start looking back and thinking about how the year went. Likewise we start to wonder, what the New Year will bring us. Often we start to form ideas and new plans for how we can become healthier and wealthier in the coming year. Thanksgiving is over and we are in the height of the holiday season when we most often over eat, over drink and over spend. During this time my suggestion is to be mindful of your eating and spend wisely. Just because you are invited to several holiday parties doesn’t mean you have to attend all of them as a food tester, who has a bottomless pit of a stomach. Pick your holiday foods with care, I know it’s difficult when you’re around family and friends and everyone’s stuffing themselves, however you can still enjoy the food without overindulging. According to a November 2007 article in the New York Times, the average person gains 7 -10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas alone! Think of all the time and hard work it would take in the gym to drop that much weight. So unless you want to gain extra weight like all the others around the holidays you may want to try a different approach. Here are three simple tips to help beat the unwanted holiday pounds:
1) Exercise more often: take an extra workout class during week, use the stairs or add 15 more minutes to your cardio workout.
2) Don’t over eat: when going to holiday parties use the salad plate. This will help to keep your food portions smaller and help prevent over-consumption.
3) Walk after your meals: Taking a walk 30 minutes after your meals will helps you burn some extra calories.
As we struggle to manage our busy lives, it’s important to keep up your exercising as a means of stress relief. If you were to survey people about some of the reasons they have difficulty staying consistent with their fitness programs; I could just about guarantee, one if the biggest reasons would be the lack of motivation. Personally, I find it easier to stay motivated when I work out with a partner or a group. It works well when I have someone there counting on me to keep them accountable, as well as to keep me on task.
Years ago at the height of my track and field training, it was essential to have training partners to draw strength from; especially on those 200 meter interval days. Although I loved the 200m as a race, as a workout … well…let’s just say I would rather run 10 miles! It helped to know, we were all in it together, that we were all hurting, tired and ready to pass out. Just the knowledge of knowing that I was not alone in the fight to make my body do what I needed it to do, gave me the energy to endure the workouts.
Now like then, consistency is the most senior of importance to staying fit, fast and strong. I do my exercises with proper form and sometimes when it becomes difficult, having a workout partner can help me get through my most intense workouts. Knowing that I’m not the only person feeling the pain makes it a little bit easier to bear. When choosing a workout partner, pick someone that keeps you on task, helps you stay motived, challenge you, and most of all, makes it fun!
Today’s blog will be a workout I call: “The Day 260 Workout”. This is when you will do 260 repetitions total and call it a day. I suggest setting your watch for 30 minutes to complete this workout. I would take 15 seconds (no longer) to rest between each set during the workout. Try it and post how well you do.
- 1×20 Curl & Press
- 1×20 each side Donkey Kicks
- 1×20 each side Dirty Dogs
- 1×20 Pushups
- 1×20 Squats
- 1×20 Jump Squats
- 1×20 Burpee’s
- 1×20 Donkey Kicks
- 1×20 Dirty Dogs
- 1×40 Crunch
- 1×40 Toe Touch
Over the years, I’ve really grown to appreciate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. When I am fully rested the world seems a little brighter, I feel more upbeat and ready to embrace the day. Good sleep makes it easier to getting things done the next day. I have also noticed when I don’t get enough sleep, it feels like my body and mind struggle to recover and can even react in very strange ways. I remember the first and last time I worked a sixteen hour shift. I was just out of high school working as a guard at a food manufacturing plant here in Oakland. I remember being so tired the last 2 hours of my 16 hour shift that, I was hallucinating! It had been a long, windy day and I was finishing up my rounds. The wind was blowing hard and I spotted something that look like a seagull flying low to the ground. However when it got near me it was just newspaper floating in the wind. After that I decided to never go that long without sleep again if could help it! That lasted maybe two years, until I was in my second year in college. I was on the forensics team and early one Saturday morning we were scheduled to have a debate. It was my first one and I was nervous. I had been up studying my argument until the wee hours of the morning and was exhausted. In spite of that, my team needed me to show up and perform, so I did. Unfortunately on the drive home, about 3 blocks from my house, I fell asleep at the wheel and totaled my car. I was lucky to be ok, but the moral of the story is: get sleep and plenty of it. Your body and mind will operate better, work faster and you will get more things done when you’re well rested.
Here the Top 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep By Mark Stibich, Ph.D
1. Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
2. Sleep May Prevent Cancer
3. Sleep Reduces Stress
4. Sleep Reduces Inflammation
5. Sleep Makes You More Alert
6. Sleep Bolsters Your Memory
7. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
8. Naps Make You Smarter
9. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression
10. Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs
Today I decided to blog about one of my favorite things to buy…running shoes. I would say on average most people have about least 2 to 3 pairs of running shoes, however I have at least 40 pairs! I know that’s a little excessive, but I do love how a great pair of running shoes feel on my feet…and yes, I really have that many or maybe more…lol. Running has become more popular now days and there are a huge variety of shoe colors, fit, and styles in the marketplace.
I choose a great pair of running shoes by testing the fit and style of them. Because I have narrow, almost flat feet I don’t just run in anything. I prefer to wear a shoe that is formed in the same manner as my foot. The shoes that I most often run in are my Nike (LunarSpider) racing flats or my Adidas marathon 10′s. Those of you who are looking for new running shoes I have a couple of recommendations for shoe shopping. It is important to try on different brands and styles to determine what works best for your foot and running style.
My favorite running shoe list:
Merrell Sonic Glove
Nike Free Run
New Balance Minimus
For years growing up, I would watch women looking over their shoulders into the mirror to see how they looked didn’t quite understand what they were looking for. However later in life, what I came to realize through my work as a personal trainer, that men & women alike, do appreciate women with nice booty…lol. The emphasis on a nice rear is a major part of the pop-culture, nowadays you hear it referenced in songs, there are workout programs devoted just to booty building like “The Brazilian Butt Lift”….as a matter of fact I was told they make padded underwear that make it look rounder too! However the wildest thing I have ever heard was that people are having surgery to enhance their derriere. Not only do they add implants to create additional curves, they also have body fat transfer surgery; it’s where fat is taken from an area like the stomach and added to other areas of the body such as the breast, buttock, and a number of other places that are too weird to discuss! In fact recently there have been articles in the news where illegal doctors were injecting people with toxic things like cement, which of course can permanently disfigure the body and create serious health issues. Although these are extreme examples, most of us wouldn’t mind improving the look of that area. What I would recommend is before considering costly surgeries is to try this exercise routine to build your best booty!
Dead lift 2×15
Dumbbell squats 2×15
Jump squats 2×20
Hip thrust 2×15
Single leg hip thrust 2×15
Weighted walking lunges 2×20 steps
Hey it’s recipe time… Chicken is a great way to incorporate protein in your daily diet; a 6 oz. chicken breast has about 32 grams of protein. However I sometimes get tired of plain old chicken, if you’re like me sometimes you need a little variety. Hopefully this marinated chicken breast will spice-up the chicken breast in your life! This recipe is really easy to follow, try it and let me know how it tastes.
6oz chicken breast, trimmed and ready to cook
1 tsp. chili paste
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 pinch black pepper
- Zest lime and place into blender. Add garlic, cilantro, olive oil and chili paste, blend until smooth adding just enough water to help puree
- Make slits in chicken breast to allow marinade to permeate, and pour over breast.
- Marinate for ½ hour minimum, grill or roast in 400 degree pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Slice and serve
A couple of weeks ago my Mom asked me if I could write a blog about how important drinking water is to the health of the body. Sorry Mom, I did drag my feet a little bit, but here you go!
As I was thinking about how to approach the subject, I started to recall a time about eight years ago when I was training for the chance to make the U.S. Olympic team; at the time I kept a rigorous training schedule. Running on the track five days a week and doing weight training four days a week. I had to consume lots of calories and drink tons of water to keep myself energized and recovered for the next work out. Being properly hydrated became very vital to my training. I remember once, after several days of training in 90 degree weather sweating and not replenishing the fluid loss; I had a crazy abdominal cramping episode. This is what happened: At the end of the 150 meter run, I bent over with exhaustion. After about 60 seconds rest, I started making my way back to my coach and I felt a little dizzy so I kneeled down to pull myself together. However this time I was seeing stars, and all of a sudden my abs cramped up like crazy. Next thing I can remember is being curled up in the fetal position on the track rolling around in pain like a 3rd grade boy that was just punched in the stomach by a bully named Dehydration.…. From that point on, I had a better appreciation of the importance of staying hydrated.
Water is one of the most precious resources we have on the planet. In fact about 60% of the body’s weight is made up from water. When we break down the water the content in the body, we find that our brains are made up of 74% water, the blood in our body’s have 83% water, our muscles hold 75% water, and our bones contain 22% water. Water has been known to rejuvenate, replenish, and energize the body. From my own personal experience I can say that being properly hydrated makes a difference in how I feel. What I have noticed is that when I drink enough water daily, I am more energized throughout the day. I’m more focused, my skin doesn’t feel dry and when I working out, I recover faster and perform better.
Dehydration can cause serious health issues. Being just 1%-2% dehydrated can disrupt normal physical and mental functions. Being 15% dehydrated can be deadly, without water a person can only survive a few days. Water is a key factor in organ function, and transporting nutrients to cells. Water is crucial in eliminating toxins from the body. It is essential for perspiration, urination and bowel movements and is critical for many other functions of the body.
My suggestion is to drink more water daily and to be sure to replenish the fluid lost during exercise. You can calculate how much water your body needs daily on this
Wow, the Olympics Games were great to watch….every night I stayed up until midnight and sometimes as late as 1:00 am to catch up on the events that I missed during the day. Although I struggled getting up in the morning, I really enjoyed the Games; However I am glad they have finally ended, because I would have never gotten any sleep if they didn’t! Anyway, today I was sitting in one of my favorite places… Starbucks, doing one of my favorite pastimes… people watching – lol.
Just like any other day, I settled in my regular area by the drink pick up counter. As I sat there watching people coming in to Starbucks to get coffee, I noticed one thing that a vast majority of people had in common: excess belly fat. It didn’t matter if they were taller, shorter, and bigger or smaller… belly fat seemed to be winning the fight.
Most people that I speak with about their fitness goals are very concerned about getting rid of their stomach; some of them go as far as surgery to lose belly fat. However there are effective, non-surgical ways to cut belly fat. Before I give you tips to getting a flatter stomach, understand that spot training the body is not the most effective way to get rid of belly fat. We all have abdominal muscles, and yes we do need to train them, however what’s the point of doing the work if you can’t see them because they are buried by fat? The “ENEMY” here is the “Belly Fat “period… so we need to “ATTACK” the fat through diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help in the overall reduction of body fat and to show off the hard work you put in on your abs!
1: Don’t Drink Alcohol: Its toxic, poison, with unhealthy empty calories
2: Stop Stressing: Because stress causes an increase in cortisol, visceral fat and emotional overeating
3: Stay Away from Trans Fat: It increases the risk for heart disease, raises cholesterol and clogs up arteries
4: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: They are a good source of healthy fiber and nutrients and are low in calories
5: Exercise Intensely: Exercising at least 3-4 times a week will burn calories and add lean muscle mass
6: Get Sleep: Getting at least 6-10 hours of sleep a night according to researchers helps to lower cortisol in the body
Certainly there are more things that can be done to reduce overall body fat, but these tips will give you an idea on where to start.
Almost a year ago a friend and I were having a conversation about how fruit tasted when we were young. In this discussion we were making a comparison of the taste, size and color of the fruit that we remember from growing up. We came to the conclusion that while the fruits are bigger and the colors brighter, the taste isn’t as delightful as they were in the past. Nowadays, it has become more difficult to find fruits that are naturally sweet and rich in nutrients. Just recently I went to the grocery store to grab some fruit, but was disappointed in the taste. The mangos were not sweet, apples too soft and the oranges dry. I decided to test the quality of the nutrients in the oranges and the results were shocking. They scored D!
I came up with this information by using an instrument that a friend of mine located during our search for answers on how to measure the nutrients in produce. I used two things, the Brix chart and an instrument called the “Refractometer” .What is the Brix? It is the measure of the richness of the juice of fresh raw produce and the Refractometer is the tool used to get your reading. If you want to learn more about the Brix and Refractometer, checkout this website:highbrixgardens.com
To test the orange I used the following procedure:
- Cut the orange in half.
- Extracted the juice from one half of the orange into a clean glass
- Cleaned the Daylight plate and main prism of the Refractometer
- Let the Daylight plate and main prism air dry for 30 seconds
- Looked directly through the Refractometer in the direction of the light source to focus the eyepiece and clearly see the graduations
- Used my dropper to extract orange juice from the glass
- Dropped about two drops of juice in to the main prism, close the daylight plate and checked the reading.
- Referred to Brix Chart to check score
The Orange scored a 6 which is Poor (letter grade D), according to the Brix chart (Excellent score 20, Good 16 and Average 10). Why this is important?
Well as you know the body needs nutrients to perform its functions properly. Likewise the best way to get nutrients is from the foods we eat. So when I spend my hard earned money on produce I expect to get nutrients from them. The test brings up a number of questions…. Could it be that all of the produce in the grocery stores are low grade produce? Are the produce at the farmers markets more nutrient dense? I will continue to look into this topic and let you know the results…until then….to be continued.
P.S. If you are interested in this, I would recommend getting yourself a Refractometer to test your produce. I am sure you will see the benefits in knowing what grades of nutrients are in your food. It’s best to look into it yourself, don’t just take my word for it.