Sunday, December 16, 2012

Healthy Snack of the Day: Healthy Pumpkin Bread

So this pumpkin bread recipe was an accident, in that I didn't have all the ingredients for the recipe I was initially following, so I had to improvise. I also tried to go with lower calorie options when I could, and not compromise the taste, and luckily it worked out!

The original pumpkin bread recipe, which looks like it will end deliciously, I found at Ingredients, Inc.

This recipe calls for chocolate chips (1/4 c), which by all means you can include, I was going to leave them out because I'm allergic and I wanted to be sure to have a piece myself. Now, halfway through the recipe, I also realized that I didn't have any pecans (1/4 c. chopped) stuck with a bowl of batter ready to bake, I had to do something, so I just added a few touches of my own and made a pumpkin bread that has received endless compliments!

Here's the recipe that I used:

  • 1 container (6 oz) of nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Oikos plain because it was on sale, Chobani will work just as well)
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light" spread, and true to name, no one new any different
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons Truvia baking blend (the original recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (the original recipe calls for 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour, but the whole wheat pastry flour tastes sooooo good in this bread)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice (this was my own addition)
  • a couple shakes of orange zest (this was my own addition)
  • turbinado sugar crystals to sprinkle on top of batter (my own addition as well)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

2. Combine yogurt, sugar, and butter into a bowl and cream together.

3. Beat in the eggs until just mixed, and then mix in the pumpkin.

4. In another bowl, mix well the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice, and orange zest. (If you decide to keep the chocolate chips and pecans, add them here).

5. Pour all at once the dry ingredients directly on top of the wet mixture and stir until it is slightly moistened.

6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

7. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of the batter (this will create a slight crunch and nice golden color on the top of the bread).

8. Bake the bread in the oven for 60 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean) and let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan to a rack and let it cool completely.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Client Spotlight: 3D Origami Holiday Star

I just want to take a second away from the normal health and fitness posts and give attention to the talent of one of my clients. For Christmas, she made me a 3D holiday origami star that is STUNNING!!!!!! I hung it up in my front hall and everyone who has come to my house is in love with it!!!!! Anna is truly talented and the piece is of amazing quality. If you'd like to check out the product, here's the link to her page:

I hope you enjoy and I'm so lucky to have such talented clients!!

Christmas ornament, Paper star origami, Christmas decorations, handmade ornament, holiday decorations, 3D star

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Pull-up/Push-up Superset

So today was an upper body day and I threw it at my clients pretty hard. We did a lot of weight work with both dumbbells and barbells, and at the end, when their arms were about to fall off, I threw in this awesome little superset.

The concept is to do 50 total pull-ups and 50 total push-ups, working til exhaustion.

1-Start with pull-ups. Do as many as you can til you're exhausted. This could mean you do only 6, you may do 30.

2-As soon as you exhaust from pull-ups, drop to the floor and do as many push-ups as possible. Again, you may only do 12 or you may bust out 40 the first time.

3-Keep alternating between the two until you have done 50 of each. If you reach 50 of one before the other, it's okay. Just keep working on the exercise you have left until you finished the whole set.

Great way to finish up an upper body weight lifting day!!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Healthy Tip of the Day: Foods with Fiber

Lately, I have been having many conversations with my clients on how they need to add more fiber into their diet. Fiber is extremely important for lowering your blood sugar levels and cholesterol, it helps regulate your digestive system and helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, few people actually consume enough. Women should be consuming at least 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 35 to 40 grams daily.

The biggest question: "What foods have fiber?" Predominately, you will need to look for whole foods, especially in form of plants, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.

(Apples and strawberries contain soluble fiber.....and are delicious!!)

Here's an article from Health that lists 20 great sources of fiber and also has links to recipes to help you figure out ways to include more fiber in your diet.,,20553010,00.html

And here is another with lists of fiber-rich foods:

The good news? A lot of these foods are easy to find at your grocery store, and can be bought on the cheap, so you don't have to worry about being healthy while going broke at the same time!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Decline Bench Press

Let's take the standard flat bench press and do something a little different with it today, shall we?

Today I want to highlight the decline bench press, which focusing slightly more on the lower angles of the pectoralis major (the major muscle of the chest area of the body), and you will also work your deltoids and triceps. You can change up the exercise by using a barbell, dumbbells, weighted bands, and E-Z bars, so it is quite versatile no matter your level or approach to training.

1-Set the bench in a decline position, and then lay face up on the bench. Make sure you keep your lower back pressed against the bench. You do not want an arch in your back as this may cause injury.

2-Grasp the barbell that you are  using and hold it, with your arms extended, overhead. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. (I like to always have a spotter when getting into this position to help hand me the barbell and/or make sure that I get into position safely, no matter how heavy the bar.)

3-Slowly begin to lower the barbell to your LOWER chest, rather than the middle or upper areas of your chest. Hold it at the lowest point for a count of 2.

4-Slowly and with control, exhale and press the barbell back to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 12 reps with a moderately heavy weight.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Single-Arm Tricep Pushdown

Time to tone up those arms! I LOVE working triceps and pushdowns are great for creating burn in the back of your arms. You can use the standard rope, or multiple other attachments at a cable machine, so working this exercise into your routine.

1-Set up the pulley at a high position on the cable stand. Keeping your core engaged and extending through your spine, hold the end of a rope, or the handle of a cable attachment with your right hand. Be sure that your palm is facing inwards, towards your core. Hold your right elbow tightly next to your side.

2-By only extending at your elbow (do not use the rest of your upper body) extend your right forearm downwards, until your right arm is perpendicular to the floor.

3-Slowly bring your forearm back to the starting position. This is one repetition.

Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions per arm.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Hanging Abdominal Windshield Wipers

This one is a doozie. Hanging wipers are amazing for abdominal (especially your obliques) and overall core strength. This is an advanced version of the windshield wipers that you can do laying on your back on a mat, as pictured below.

To do Hanging Windshield Wipers, you need a Pull-Up Bar.

1-Grasp the inner handles, as if doing a chin-up and engage your abs so that you are able to bring your toes up to the bar, your upper back as parallel to the floor as possible. This is the center position (Position A in the picture above).

2-Keeping your core as stable as possible and your upper back parallel to the floor, begin to tilt your legs at a 45 degree angle to your right. Pause for one count (Position B in the picture above).

3-Bring your legs back to center, your toes going straight up towards the bar (Position A).

4-Begin to tilt your legs at a 45 degree angle to your right. Pause for one count (Position C). Bring your legs back to center. This is one repetition.

Do as many repetitions as you can.

I added this video from YouTube to demonstrate the exercise. Much better to watch this exercise than to simply look at pictures.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Pallof Press

The Pallof Press is a great addition to any core workout because the exercise trains your entire core, plus important stabilizer muscles in your legs, such as your hips, glutes, and inner thighs. Because you are working your core to prevent rotation, you help strengthen your spine. I really like having my athletes incorporate this move into their workouts because its ability to improve stability is key to preventing injury, especially from sudden movements that may, sometimes unexpectedly, occur out on the field.

1-Set up your cable so that the handle, when held taut directly in front of you, is even if the upper portion of your abs. As you are holding the handle in front of your, make sure that your arms are straight, only allowing for a slight bend in your elbows.

2-Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, being sure that you are creating length through your spine. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears, pressing down into your lower back. It is very important that you have your core engaged and properly aligned throughout the exercise.

3-Completely engage your core and begin to side shuffle, a lateral movement, away from the cable stand. Your core needs to prevent any rotation with the cable. Take at least 3 to 4 steps away from the cable stand.

4-Shuffle back to the beginning position.....this is one repetition.

Do 2 sets of 3-5 reps per side.

Don't have access to a cable machine? Try using exercise bands!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Healthy Tip of the Day: 20 Zero to Low Calorie Foods

Check out this link to an article on which highlights 20 different foods that are low in calorie, but high in nutrient value.

Be sure to add these foods to your grocery list and feel full and satisfied without the guilt! What foods are included? You'll read about cucumbers, apples, asparagus, watermelon, tomatoes, and many more excellent sources of nutrients and vitamins that make great additions to any meals, can serve as healthy snacks, and can be blended into delicious smoothies to help you through your day.
20 Healthy Zero-Calorie Foods // cucumber slices c Mitch Mandel


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Swiss Ball Rollout

Nothing trains the core like challenging your stability. A great exercise which challenges your core and balance is the Swiss Ball Rollout. It's very challenging and only requires a Swiss Ball and little space, making it easy to do at home, at the gym, or wherever you please.

1-Start in a kneeling position, with the Swiss Ball in front of you and your forearms resting at a 45 angle on the ball. The Swiss Ball should be placed so that your torso is also at a 45 degree angle.

2-Exhale and begin to roll your forearms over the Swiss Ball, until the ball is almost touching your chest. Keep your core engaged so that your back remains flat, as if in the plank position. Your body should be at the farthest extension without needing to collapse out of form.

3-As you take your next exhalation, roll the ball back to the starting position, ending with your torso in a 45 degree angle to the floor and your forearms resting on the ball. This is one repetition.

Do as many repetitions as you can in 1 minute.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Butterfly Situps

The Butterfly Situp is a fantastic ab exercise because the manner in which you position your legs forces your abdominal muscles to do more work since your hip flexors become disengaged.

1-Lay on the floor, face up. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, your knees pointing in opposite directions.
2-Using the power of your abdominal muscles, bring your torso upright, eventually rounding over your legs and touching your toes with your hands. Exhale throughout this motion.
3-On your next exhalation, slowly lower your torso, vertebrae by vertebrae, back down to the ground. Again, this is done with the power and control of your abdominal muscles. This is one repetition.

Do as many reps as you can in 1 minute.

It is important that you do not throw yourself up and down and are certain that your abs do the work. It can hurt your back and/or completely avoid working your abs if you do not control your core.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Inspiration of the Day: "I Won't Quit 'Til I'm Dead....."

Exercise of the Day: Oblique V-Ups

Oblique V-Ups are one of the best ways to burn your abs and hit that area we oh-so-lovingly refer to as the "Love Handles."

1-Lay on your side, being sure that you are balanced more on your glute than on your hip joint.

2-As you exhale, engage your abs to raise your legs and upper torso off the floor, forming as much of a V-shape as your strength allows. Hold the highest point for a count of 3.

3-Slowly lower your torso and legs back to the floor. This is one rep.

Do 25 repetitions, slowly and with control, on one side, and then do another set of 25 on the other side.

Love the BURN!

If you do not quite have the balance to hold yourself without your arms, you can rest the arm closest to the ground outwards in front of you to prevent falling over (see below).

Healthy Tip of the Day: Best Beverages for Fitness

Here's another article, this one from Men's Health, that covers five beverages that are effective for fitness.

What are the five drinks that covered in the article?
For best hyrdration, drink coconut water.
For enhanced performance: drink coffee.
For weight-loss: drink EBoost.
For recovery: drink chocolate milk.
Best beverage overall: water (of course!)


Healthy Tip of the Day: Best and Worst Foods for Losing Weight

Here's a link to an article featuring the best and worst foods to eat when trying to lose weight:

No surprises here. Some of the best foods are walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and yogurt. Try making yourself a parfait including your favorite nut and yogurt. Delicious, and will keep you satisfied longer to ward off more snack runs! Also included, whole grains and leafy greens, which are rich in vitamins and fiber!

Best and Worst Foods for Diets // yogurt and strawberries c Thinkstock

Amongst the worst? Salty and fried foods like french fries, sugary drinks such as soda, and foods loaded with saturated fats, like processed meats.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Plank Punches

Ah yes, planks. Love them or hate them, they do wonders for your core and are great for shoulder stability. 

Of the many variations of the planks that are out there, the one I'm loving right now is the plank punch. This exercise is going to work your shoulders, arms, glutes, and, of course, your entire core. Take your time with this one; it's extremely important your nail the form perfectly before you start trying to speed through it!

1-Begin in High Plank position. Your shoulders, elbows, and wrists are in line with one another, and your back is flat, creating a flat line from the top of your head to your heels. Really engage your core and your glutes.

2-Raise your right arm and punch your right hand forward, punching out from your forehead. Keep your core as still as possible, resisting any tipping to the left or right that may occur from throwing off your balance.

3-Lower your right arm down back into its starting position, shoulder, elbow and wrist aligned, and immediately raise your left arm, punching it forward, even with your forehead.

4-Repeat the alternating punches, resisting any tipping movement in your core, for 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Healthy Snack of the Day: Avacado and Greek Yogurt Dip

July 4th! The day of Bar-B-Qs and side dishes galore, which usually means veggie platters and chips. With these sides also comes the heavy and creamy dips. Try a healthier option by making your own dip from fresh ingredients and using Greek yogurt. You can easily play around with the recipe to make it your own and work with all people's tastes. The recipe I have here comes from Two Peas and their Pod

It includes jalapeno pepper and cumin to spice it up a bit, but again, play around with your own approach and then serve it with pita chips or some veggies to keep your sides at the holiday get together not only delicious, but healthy too!

1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the yogurt, avocados, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and cumin in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Scrape dip into a serving bowl and serve!


Exercise of the Day: Floor Switch Kicks

Fans of the Insanity Workout with Shaun T will be familiar with floor switch kicks. This exercise is amazing for working your triceps, back, and your abdominals, as well as a cardio blast because it is quite demanding!

Don't worry if you cannot do this exercise very quickly at first. You can build up your strength to a fast kicking movement. It is better to do the exercise slowly and with control than to risk form!!!

switch kick

1-Sit on the ground, your knees bent in front of you, your feet flat on the ground with your ankles directly under your knees. Place your palms directly in line with your elbows and shoulders, your fingers pointing towards your feet.

2-Push into your palms and feet and raise your hips off of the ground. Be sure to keep knee and ankle alignment and wrist, elbow, and shoulder alignment. Keep your chest raise to avoid rounding your back.

3-Engage your lower abs and kick your right leg as straight up in the air as you can.

4-As you lower your right leg back to the ground, kick your left leg as straight up as possible (this is a fast movement. If you cannot do this quick switch in the legs it is completely okay. Simply lower your right leg to the ground and as soon as it touches, then kick your left leg. You can build up to fast kicking movement!)

Repeat this alternating kick movement for 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Healthy Tip of the Day: Estimate Your Heart Rate Max and Target Heart Rates

So often I have clients ask what their maximum heart rate should be. There are multiple ways to calculate this, but sometimes they just want an easy answer, right then and there, for a general idea.

Here's a quick way to check yourself:

Subtract your age from 220. This is about the maximum amount of heart beats per minute your heart can handle during exercise.

When you are participating in low-intensity exercises, you want your heart rate to be about 50 to 60 percent of your heart rate max. So, take the result of 220-your age and multiply it by .50 or .60 for this target heart rate.

For moderate exercise, you want your heart rate between 60 and 80 percent: 220-your age multiplied by .60 or .80.

For high intensity workouts, your target heart rate is 90 percent of your heart rate max. So, 220-your age multiplied by .90.

It is especially important to be aware of your heart rate during bouts of exercise during this extremely hot summer that we are experiencing. And, as always, HYDRATE!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Healthy Snack of the Day: Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Hello! This recipe comes courtesy of A Full Measure of Happiness Blog. Peanut Butter Banana Muffins are good hit at the beginning of the day or for a mid-morning snack because of the good protein you will be consuming. Pretty easy to make, and most of the ingredients are standard pantry items, so you can make them on the cheap!

Photo from A Full Measure of Happiness Blog


2 ripe bananas (mashed)
1/3 cup honey (I used agave nectar)
1/3 cup peanut butter (go for natural)
2/3 cup fat free yogurt (I used Greek yogurt for the added health benefits, and cause I like the taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I add a little more, because I love cinnamon)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
(I added 2 tsp of flaxseed for the additional fiber benefits and cut out the 1/4 tsp of salt)

1-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line or use oil and flour on your muffin tins.
2- Mix the bananas, honey, peanut butter, yogurt and vanilla. Set aside.
3-Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
4-In thirds, slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
5-Spoon the mixture evenly throughout the 12 muffin cups.
6-Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on the center rack.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Healthy Inspiration of the Day: 75 year old Bodybuilder

Need some inspiration to be healthy? Read this article on Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female bodybuilder at the young age of 75! Truly inspirational!!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Barbell Step Ups

Ask my clients this week and they will tell you all about how I made them do barbell step ups (and lots of them!) this week in their lower body workouts. Barbell Step-Ups are a great way to work your quadriceps, but also work your other leg muscles as well. Because you are using the step, the exercise also requires coordination, balance, and core engagement.

Depending on how whether you are doing a strength or endurance workout, you can also play around with how many plates are on the dumbbell. If you do not have access to a barbell, or it is difficult for you to balance the barbell on your shoulders, you can also do this exercise holding dumbbells in your hands.

1-Begin by standing, creating length throughout your spine and torso, with the barbell resting on your shoulders. The step or plyo box should be at least six inches in front of you. This is your starting position.

2-Take your right foot and place your ENTIRE foot onto the step and exhale and you push through your right heel, using this force to bring the rest of your body upwards and placing your left foot on the step as well..

3-Step your left foot back down to the ground, followed by your right foot, returning to your starting position. This is one repetition. 

Do a total of 15 repetitions stepping up with your right foot. Then, do 15 repetitions stepping up with your left foot. This is one set. Do a total of 3 sets.


Exercise of the Day: Renegade Hammer Curls

Shape Up: A Call to Arms
The past two weeks my clients have been all about working their glamour muscles, aka, their backs and biceps. It's tank top season, and they want to look and feel good about it! So today I'm going over a bicep exercise that also engages your core, the Renegade Hammer Curl.

I really like the Renegade Hammer Curl because you hit your bicep in a different way than your standard bicep curl, and because you are challenging yourself to hold a plank position, your body is in a constant state of work. No more boring bicep curls!
1-Start in a high plank position, holding onto a pair of dumbbells, your palms facing each other. If holding a plank and the dumbbells in this position is uncomfortable on your wrists, then only hold a dumbbell in the hand on the side of your body you are going to work. This will allow your other wrist a break until you switch sides of your body.

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2-Keeping your upper arm (elbow to shoulder) perpendicular with the floor, bend your right forearm so that the dumbbell comes to your right shoulder. Avoid/resist rocking in the plank as much as possible by engaging your core.

3-Return the weight back to the starting position at the floor. This is one repetition. Do 12 repetitions total on your right side, then do the same work on your left side. You have now completed one set.

Do 3 sets of this exercise.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch

The Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch is a perfect total body exercise to include into your workouts. It's a great exercise that you can mix up with heavy and light weights depending on the day or your goal, so it works for everyone.

1-Stand with your feet shoulders width apart, pressing into your heels, with a dumbbell sitting a few inches in front your of your right foot. Make sure you are creating length in your spine, your core is activated.

2-Begin to squat down, hinging at the hips and keeping your chest up and your shoulders back. When you are all the way down in the squat, use an overhand grip and grasp the dumbbell with your right hand.

3-In a single movement, press through your heels and use your right hand to raise the dumbbell to the ceiling, quickly and with good form. Keep the dumbbell close to your body, avoid waving it all about. You want to raise the weight with such great force that as you come out of the squat to a standing position, you raise onto to your toes. Your arm will stop when it is extended straight overhead, your palm facing in front of you.

4-Lower your arm back down in front of you and lower back into the squat position discusses in Step 2, holding the weight in front of your right toe. That is one repetition.

Do 12 repetitions with the weight on your right side. Then, do 12 more repetitions, this time with the weight on your left.

Want to mix it up? Try using a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Day: Turtle Pose

Turtle Pose, or Kurmasana, is a wonderful pose that will help stretch the inner leg muscles, hips, and your lower back. It is also a nice pose for modifying, so no matter your level of flexibility, or how much your body feels like cooperating on a particular day, everyone can get something out of it.

1-Start seated on your mat, pressing extending through your spine as you extend your legs straight out in front of you.

2-Extend your legs outwards, as much as your flexibility allows. If your legs are not flexible enough, you can keep your knees bent.

3-Lower your torso, leading with your chest, and extend your right arm under your right leg as far as possible. Next, do the same with your left arm, extending it under your left leg as far as possible. Keep your palms facing the floor.

4-Engage your legs and exhale, and lower your torso as close to the ground in front of you as possible, being sure to lead with your chest. Hold yourself in the lowest position for five deep breaths.

5-To come back up, bend your knees and as you take a deep inhalation, bring your torso back upright, keeping a flat back the entire time you lift.

If you are super flexible in the hips and thighs, you can practice bringing your knees close to your ears when have completely lowered your torso to the ground.


Exercise of the Day: Total Body Workout Plan

Many people ask for quick, easy workouts that they can fit into their busy schedules. Workouts that will hit every part of their body. Fitbie offers this workout to do. My recommendation: go through the entire list of exercise three times, increasing your weight slightly each round.

The Hot Body Workout

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Healthy Snack of the Day: Fast, Easy, and Healthy Kale Chips

Memorial Day. Need something super fast, simple, and healthy to make for then BBQ? Kale chips are a perfect! So easy, you only need three ingredients and your oven for 10 minutes! A more flavorful recipe is down below the picture!

1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt (this is optional, if you want to use salt, I recommend sea salt)

1-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2-Carefully remove the kale leaves from the stems (using a kitchen knife or shears) and tear the leaves into the size of chips that you would like.
3-Wash the leaves and dry them completely.
4-Place the leaves on the cooking sheet and then drizzle them with the olive oil and then sprinkle the salt over them.
5-Bake until the edges are brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Kale Chips with a Kick!

Want a different spin with a little more flavor?
1 bunch of kale
1 tsp of olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Prepare the exact same way as above!!


Exercise of the Day: Judo Pushup

Today's Exercise of the Day is the Judo Pushup! I have been really enforcing strong upper body workouts with my clients lately, and I like to incorporate the Judo Pushup because not only is it effective, but because of the actions involved, people who are normally anti-pushups, tend to enjoy them!

1-Start by going into a high plank position. You want your hands, wrists, and shoulders completely in line with each other. your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Point your index fingers straight forward, away from your body. Keep your back flat, pushing through your heels and activating your core muscles.

2-Bring your feet a few inches forward and make your self into a "v", your hips elevated (as pictured above).

3-Lower your body to the floor, leading with your chin (see below), trying to bring it in between your hands. Try to lower your chin and forehead as perpendicular to the floor as possible.

4-Lower your hips to the floor, keeping your legs straight and your glutes active. At the same time, raise your shoulders and head upward until your arms are extended, keeping only a slight bend in your elbows. Remember to keep length throughout your spine and keep your core active.

5-Reverse the last motion, raising your hips straight upwards to the ceiling, and lowering your chin back to the floor between your hands. Then return back to the starting position discussed in step 2, bringing your body into a slight "v" shape. This is one repetition.

Do as many repetitions as you can in 1 minute.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Day: Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose

Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose, or Utthita Hasta Pandangusthasana, is a wonderful pose for stretching your legs, primarily your hamstrings and calves, challenging your balance, and strengthening your ankles. There are multiple variations of the pose which can help further open your hips and shoulders.

1-Begin standing in Mountain Pose, creating length through your spine by pushing through your heels and extending through your head. Keep your chest up and your shoulders down away from your ears, pressing down into your back.

2-Shift your weight onto your left foot, until 98 percent of your weight is supported on your left foot.

3-When you feel balanced, begin to lift your right knee up to your chest, and place your hands on the outside of your knee and hold this position for a few deep breaths. Engage your core and find your balance here.

4-Take your right hand to the inside of your right foot and loop your index and middle fingers around your big toe.

5-As you exhale, begin to slowly extend your right foot forward, being sure to keep your torso straight. Extend to the farthest point of your flexibility or until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold this extension for five deep breaths.

6-On your next inhalation, slowly bring your knee back to your chest, then exhale and lower your right foot to the floor.

7-Find yourself back in Mountain Pose, and the repeat on the other side, this time extending your left leg forward.

Want to challenge yourself and open your hips? Try Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose, B. After you have extended your leg forward to the point where it is parallel to the ground, rotate your extended leg 90 degrees to the side and gaze in the opposite direction.


Exercise of the Day: Pistol Squats

Yesterday I introduced one of the gym members to pistol squats, and her legs and glutes were on fire! This is a great exercise to get firm glutes that are also lifted, perfect for getting ready for that pool season that is almost officially here!!

Pistol squats can be modified easily, so if you're balance just is not quite ready to support it, you can place a hand on a wall or stable bench. You can also make the squats more challenging, by holding dumbbells, or strapping on ankle weights.

1-Stand with your feet placed about hip width apart, creating length in your spine, really extending through your head. You want a long, flat back, and your chest to stay up during this exercise.

2-Begin by raising your right foot a few inches off the ground, being sure that your right foot is flexed and you are grounding yourself through your left foot.

3-When you feel stable in this position, slowly start lowering yourself down into a squat, raising your right leg so that your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Be sure that you keep your torso as upright as possible to relieve your back of as much strain as possible. If this is too strenuous, you may hover your right foot closer to the floor.

4-When your left thigh is parallel to the floor, hold the squat for two to three counts, and then slowly and with control, push through your left foot and bring yourself up to the starting position discussed in Step 2, your right foot hovering slightly over the floor as you stand on your left foot. This is one repetition.

Do 15 to 20 repetitions on each leg to complete 1 set. Do a total of 2 to 3 sets.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Plank and Superman Tabata

Want to make sure that you hit every aspect of your core in one section of your workout? Do a tabata exercise, alternating between holding plank and holding the superman. Both your abs and your back will be worked, and both exercises can be manipulated with to be more challenging,  or simple a little different to prevent boredom in your workout.

You will hold the plank position for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Hold the superman position for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. This is one round. Do a total of 4 rounds, the entire exercise therefore lasting 4 minutes.

Make sure you give your back and abs a good stretch!!! Blast that core!!

Here's a picture of your standard plank. Be sure to have your elbows directly under your shoulders to avoid unnecessary strain on your shoulder and elbow joints. Push through your heels and extend through your neck, as if you are being pulled in opposite directions. Want to make it a little harder? Place your toes on a box to elevate your legs.

Here's a picture of the standard superman. This will really work your lower back, and you want to engage your glutes as well to keep your thighs off the ground. Extend your arms straight ahead of you, keeping your palms facing each other and your gaze at a point about 45 degrees ahead of you to keep your neck relaxed. You can make the superman harder by holding dumbbells in your hands, you can do superman pulses, or you can flutter your hands and feet.

So, play around with the different variations of the exercises and alternate them in a tabata-style exercise.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Healthy Snack of the Day: Agave, Yogurt, and Fig Muffins

Once again, I have attempted to make a healthy recipe another step healthier and it was a success! I wanted to do something a little fancy for my mom for breakfast on Mother's Day, so the decision was to make Agave, Yogurt, and Fig Muffins. Eating Well already had a recipe which involved goat cheese, but I did a few substitutions and was money-conscious and had just as great of results! Delicious!

Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
2 tablespoons of agave nectar (you may also use honey)
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

Muffin Ingredients:
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chopped dried figs

3 additional tablespoons turbinado

1-Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or cooking spray and flour.

2-Combine the Filling Ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

3-Whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and egg white, then add the sugar and vanilla extract until the sugar is dissolved. Gradually whisk in the buttermilk and Greek yogurt until smooth.

4-Combine the wet and dry Muffin Ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the figs.

5-Spoon half the muffin batter into the muffin cups. Add a large spoonful of the Filling on top of the muffin batter, then cover the muffins with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the additional 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over the batter.

7-Bake the muffins until the edges are brown and the tops are springy to the touch, about 15 minutes.


Healthy Tip of the Day: What to Eat Before, During, and After a Run

Fitbie posted an article today on the best foods for runners at all points of their training. Good tips and simple to follow. Plus there are more links to further explore their hints and recommendations.

Here's the link:

Eating on the Run // sliced banana c Thinkstock
Here's a basic rundown:

Prerun: Easily Absorbed Carbohydrates (ie. Pretzels or Bananas)

Midrun (One hour or less): You don't have to eat anything. Stick with water to stay hydrated!!

Midrun (A little over one hour): Easily Absorbed Carbohydrates. This is when a good sports drink or sports gel will come in handy.

Postrun if Completed an Easy Run: Your body is not depleted enough to seriously refuel it, so just consume your next healthy meal, making sure there is good protein in it.

Postrun if Completed a Long or Hard Run: Carbohyrdrates and Protein at a 4 gram to 1 gram ratio. Refuel now and then have your next meal later to keep from starving your body and letting your muscles heal properly.


Healthy Snack of the Day: Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

For Mother's Day, I wanted to make a dessert that I knew would be a big hit, but be sure that I kept the ingredients nice and healthy. The answer: Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. I based my brownies on an Eating Well recipe, so they started out on the "good for you" side, but I took it to the next level. It comes down to substitutions, and easy ones, so that way you're using ingredients that are readily available to you and not spending a lot of money. The brownies were extra moist and had a rich taste so no one even guessed that they were good for you!!


For the cheesecake topping:
4 oz and 1 tblspn of Greek yogurt (I used Chobani's nonfat vanilla)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tblspn flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/8 cup applesauce
1/4 cup strong coffee (you can use black tea instead, if you'd like)
2 tsps vanilla extract


1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used an 8x8 metal pan which I sprayed with olive oil and then patted down with flour.

2-For the topping: place Greek yogurt in a small mixing bowl, add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla and beat until well blended. Set aside.

3-For the brownie layer: Whisk the whole-wheat flour and cocoa in a bowl. In a large separate bowl, beat the egg, egg whites, and sugar until smooth. To the egg and sugar mix, add the applesauce, coffee, and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to this mixture, 1/3 at a time, until the first moment that the ingredients are well-blended.

4-Pour 1/2 the brownie mixture into the 8x8 pan. Next, pour the topping evenly on top. Pour the remaining brownie mixture on top of the topping layer. Using the tip of a knife or a toothpick, swirl the mixture.

5-Bake the brownies until the top is firm to the touch. For me, with my type of pan and oven, this took about 30 minutes.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Split-Leg Barbell Deadlift

Woah! This move is a killer and you will definitely feel it in your hamstrings and glutes the next day! Proper form is absolutely key when performing the split-leg barbell deadlift as you do NOT want your back to get hurt.

  • split-bbell-morning-a-male.jpg
1-Place a small step about 12 inches in front of you and bring a barbell to rest behind your head, on top of your shoulders.

2-Bring your left heel forward, resting it on top of the step. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have your foot flexed so that your heel is pressing into the step because this protects your ankle and knee joints in addition to activating the back of your leg.

3-Begin to hinge at your waist, keeping your torso active, your chest up and your shoulders down away from your ears and actively pressing down into your back. Only hinge as far as your body allows.

4-Slowly and with control, exhale and use your glutes and hamstrings to straighten your body back into the starting position, your left heel remaining on the step. This is one repetition. 

Do 8 total repetitions with your left heel on the step. Do an additional 8 repetitions with your right heel on the step.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Rotational Cable Pull

By including twisting movements into your workouts, especially when you are working your core, you engage multiple muscle groups, improve your balance, and enhance your functional strength. You also burn and sculpt your abs in a highly efficient manner, so go try this move today!!

1-Adjust the cable to its lowest setting and stand facing the cable.

2-Go down into a lunge, your left leg forward, and grasp the handle with your right hand, keeping your arm extended.

3-Without bending your arm, activate your core and twist out of the lunge, so you rotate a full 90 degree angle to your right, and come into a standing position, bringing the handle to your right hip.

4-Slowly and with control, resist the cable as your rotate back to your left, returning into your starting position of a lunge, facing the cable. This completes one repetition.

Do 12-15 repetitions on each side.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exercise of the Day: Tricep Dip and Reach

Today we're working our arms, core, and balance, by doing the Tricep Dip and Reach. This workout can be done just about anywhere, using a step, a plyometric box, a chair, steps, no excuses!!!

1-Sit in front of an exercise step and place your wrists on the edge of the step so your fingers point straight down to the floor. You want your hands shoulder width apart.

2-Bring yourself into a hover position, pressing into your wrists, your elbows bent, using your triceps to support your weight as your glutes hover a few inches over the floor. Press your heels into the floor and raise your toes to activate the back of your legs. This is your starting and end position for the exercise.

3-As you take an exhalation, push through your triceps and raise your torso straight up, straightening your elbows. As you raise up, extend your left arm straight in front of you as you lift your right heel off the floor. Hold this balance pose for a count of 2.

4-Return your left wrist to the step and your right heel to the floor as you sink your body back into the hover position.

5-Push through your triceps again to raise your torso and straighten your elbows, this time extending your right arm in front of you and lifting your left heel off the floor. Hold for a count of 2.

6-Return your right wrist to the step and your left heel to the floor as you sink your body back into the hover position. This completes one repetition.

Do as many repetitions as you can until you can no longer perform the exercise using good form.


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