Why Exercise?

I know not every person loves to exercise. But exercise doesn’t have to be a chore! With the right fitness program and the right motivation, exercise can become a habit that you actually look forward to doing. There are so many great reasons to workout, and many have been scientifically proven. For example, on the days you workout you are more creative, smarter, kinder, and you’ll sleep better that night.  Exercise can help you live longer, it makes you healthier, it can prevent many types of diseases, it makes you happy, and the list goes on and on.

Why don’t some people like exercise?

People who don’t like exercise are usually doing it for the wrong reasons. If your reason to workout is to lose weight, then you will get disappointed and most likely quit.  Humans love instant gratification, but losing weight is more of a long-term benefit. Some people approach exercise as a punishment for overeating or drinking too much. While other people may associate exercise with a negative experience from their childhood like getting chosen last for dodge ball or being pushed into a sport like tennis when they wanted to play ice hockey.

The first step in learning to like exercise is to do it for the right reasons. If your reason to exercise is to feel better, be smarter and more focused, be happier, sleep better, increase your energy, put a spark back into your sex life, and to have fun then you will be successful because exercise does provide these benefits.   And, guess what?  You’ll feel them right away!  There’s your instant gratification.

How can I make exercise a habit?

The best way to start making exercise a habit is to exercise at the same time every day. I love to exercise.  I can do it morning, afternoon, or evening but it is already a habit for me. Choose a time that is realistic.  Whether that is first thing in the morning before kids wake up or directly after work, it is important to find a time when you can’t be interrupted. I know things come up, but you and your health should be a priority. One of the many reasons why I like group classes or personal training session is that you are not holding your phone in your hand while working out which minimizes distractions and you get a better workout. The environment where you workout should be a place that is convenient and a place that you find enjoyable.  Likewise, you should enjoy the people that you see while exercising.

Another great way to make it a habit is to set triggers to remind you to exercise. You can set your workout clothes out the night before so that when you see them, it is a reminder that you planned on going to the club today. Another idea is to set an alarm on your phone for the time to go to the club or meet your trainer. These things will create triggers in your brain to workout and thus creating the habit.

How do I know what type of exercise to do?

Think back to when you were a kid. What types of movement did you do? Was it a sport, riding your bike, playing on the jungle gym, dance, running? I loved riding my bike as a kid; I would ride it over to my friends house, and we ride our bikes around the neighborhood for hours! Hello, exercise! But as a kid, we didn’t think of it like that. I believe that is one of the many reasons I like indoor cycling. Maybe there was a sport you loved to play as a kid; find the adult version. If you loved to dance, then try Zumba.

The key is to try various types of exercises and mix it up, so you don’t get bored. Find a workout that when you are done, you think to yourself, wow I did that! Feel empowered! Find something that you can do. Keep trying different workouts till you find the one or better yet two you like.

I teach Pilates and fitness to people of all levels and abilities. We find out what they like and set a goal. Together, we customize a program that works, challenges them, and encourages them!

Improving your physical well-being will improve your mental well-being, your relationships, and makes you feel good about yourself. Creating an exercise habit is the perfect way to achieve these benefits.

Healthy Turkey Chili

Ok, honestly I am not the biggest cook. So, I tend to find recipes that include “simple” or “easy” and always “healthy” in the title.

Chili is a dish I love. It feels you up with protein and fiber and keeps well in your fridge. I have tried several different turkey chili recipes and found this one and it is my favorite! I can make a pot on Sunday and have several lunches or dinners for the week. In one cup serving it contains 39 grams of protein!  Try this recipe, you will not be disappointed!

Turkey Chili

 Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, no-salt added
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, no-salt added
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, no-salt added, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot and saute onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until crumbled and brown, draining excess liquid as necessary.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium/low heat for about an hour. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 cup • Calories: 264 • Fat: 2.5 g • Carbs: 19.2 g • Fiber: 5.8 g • Protein: 39.7 g

Don’t Let the Holidays Ruin Your Diet!!!

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So summer is officially over and the holiday season is quickly approaching…  But don’t let the holidays ruin your diet!!  Here are my top tips to stay fit this holiday season.

1. Make your workouts mandatory.  There is always an excuse to miss a workout, but don’t.  Write your workouts in your schedule and don’t miss them.  This is a busy time of year but you deserve to make time for yourself.  You will happier and if you stay with your workout schedule.  And if you are feeling lazy then take a group class or workout with a friend.  Summer bodies are made in the winter!  Especially with the parties this time of year and all the food and sweets that are readily available, this is not the time to be missing a workout.  Do at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 to 7 times a week.

2. Find balance.  On Thanksgiving it’s tradition in my family to have pumpkin pie so I will have a slice.  The important part is not to go back for seconds or thirds, that day and the next.  Find balance and moderation, don’t deny yourself and make yourself miserable, instead have reasonable portion sizes and eat healthy the majority of the time.  You will notice the healthier you eat, the less you will crave unhealthy foods.

3.  Know what you are putting into your mouth.  When you are at a party or dinner eat off a plate.  Snacking or eating from a tray and lead to over eating, and when we over eat, we gain weight.  It is important to know what you are putting in your mouth.  Health pros suggest eating a small meal or snack that is rich in fiber and protein before a party to avoid over eating.  Also, make sure to eat plenty of vegetables because they are full of nutrient dense carbohydrates that will help you stay satisfied longer than refined carbohydrates.  Another great tip of knowing what you are putting into your mouth is to make and keep a food journal.

4. Drink water.  Sometimes we mistake being thirsty for hunger. The cues from our body that tell us we are hungry and thirsty are every similar.  So staying hydrated will help you from not eating when you are not hungry. In addition, if you trying to lose weight the process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function.  In addition, when you are exercising it creates toxins and water has a vital role in flushing them out of your body.  There are several different recommendations for water intake and it can vary from person to person, however, drinking six to eight eight-ounces glasses of water each day is a standard recommendation.  So drink up and stay hydrated.

Enjoy your holidays and stay active!  Remember that shopping at the mall should not replace your workout, but it does add to your step count.  Every day is a new start, so if you had one bad day or even two the worse thing you can do is beat yourself up about, just start fresh the next day and stay positive!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

~Workout Wednesday~

LEG PULL DOWN

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Start in a plank position with your hands right below your shoulders and hips in line with your body (shown above).

Lift one leg towards the ceiling and pulse it twice then place it back down. Then lift the other leg pulse it twice then place it back down. Do 10 sets!

This is a great exercise that works your entire body including your core, scapular stabilizers, lumbopelvic stabilizers, and you get gluteus maximus work!

 

Check out the video here : http://youtu.be/YB0zv950YNk.

Pilates is for Everyone

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Pilates is a full body workout that is low impact which makes it great for anyone, at any age.  Pilates helps people to move better, feel better, and perform at their best.  This wonderful exercise system was developed by Joseph Pilates helps people:

  1. Build strength and tone muscles
  2. Improve balance
  3. Increase flexibility and mobility
  4. Develop core strength

Joseph Pilates created Contrology which later turned into Pilates, over 80 years ago.  Exercises are performed on a mat or a specially designed Pilates equipment including the Reformer, the Trapeze Table or Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, the Magic Circle, and Barrels.  The Pilates system includes exercises for every part of the body and applications for every kind of activity.  When Pilates was first created, it was so far ahead of its time that it did not begin to achieve popular recognition until the first few years of the 21st century.  Over 10 million people are now practicing Pilates in the United States and numbers are growing every year.

People with back injuries may also benefit from practicing Pilates as the movements performed help to strengthen the back muscles without placing any pressure on them particularly on the Reformer or Cadillac.

So why not give Pilates a try!!!

Pilates is for Everyone

 

~Workout Wednesday~

Open Leg Rocker
Open Leg Rocker

Starting Position

Sit up and balance between the sits bones and the tailbone with the knees bent, the feet off the floor and the hands on the ankles, or as close as you can get.  Open legs so the knees are pointing out and the feet are together.

INHALE: straighten one leg and balance

EXHALE: bend the knee to return to the starting position.

INHALE: straighten the other leg and balance.

EXHALE: bend the knee to return to the starting position

INHALE: straighten one leg then the other and balance with both legs open in a V position. (Image shown)

EXHALE: engage the abdominals and roll back, keeping the arms straight and the legs in a V. DO NOT roll past your shoulder blades.

INHALE: take a sip of air at the end of the roll.

EXHALE: pull the abdominals in and roll back up to the V position.  Lengthen the spine in the V without arching the back.

Do 4-8 reps.

The purpose of this exercise is to develop pelvic stability, core control, coordination and balance.  It also helps improve scapular stability.

I find this exercise challenging.  But is it good to do things that challenge us because that is how we can improve.  A great place to start or if you can’t roll, hold the pose in the above image to work on balance and core control.

~Workout Wednesday~

The Pilates Roll Over

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To start lie on your back with your hands at your sides, your legs together and your feet pointed.

Step 1: Exhale.  Engage your core and lift the legs up toward the ceiling to prepare.

Step 2: Inhale. Roll your lower back off the mat reaching your legs overhead until they are parallel to the ground.  Press your upper arms into the mat and roll up until you are balanced no higher than the top of your shoulder blades.  Do not roll up onto your neck!  (shown above)

Step 3:  Continue to inhale and open your legs shoulder width apart and flex your feet.

Step 4: Exhale. Roll down, keeping the legs shoulder width apart, engaging your core and pressing the upper arms into the mat to make the roll smooth and steady.  Keep the chest open and the back of the shoulders on the mat.  Lower the legs as far as possible without letting the back arch off the mat.

Step 5: Continue to exhale and bring your legs back together and point the feet to start again.

Do 3 reps beginning with toes pointed then do 3 reps beginning with feet flexed and shoulder width apart.

Not only is this exercise fun it also helps you develop core strength and control, increases your flexibility, teaches you how to articulate the spine, and stabilize your shoulders.

 

 

Get The Skinny on Fat!

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Good fats, bad fats… what is the difference?  But there is a difference, there are good fats and bad fats to look for in your diet.

Fat is the target of much scorn, yet it serves up health benefits you can’t live without.  Fat supplies essential fatty acids (EFAs).  Your body is incapable of producing EFAs, known as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, so it must come from your diet.  In addition, fat carries vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat soluble vitamins, into and around the body.

Fat is also necessary for maintaining healthy skins, and plays an important role in promoting proper eyesight and brain develop in babies and children.

Although fat does good, it is usually the culprit in the battle of the bulge.  And it is easy to understand since fat contains 9 calories per gram.  Good fat or bad fat, it packs more than twice the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein.  Yet, it’s a mistake to equate dietary fay with body fat.  You can get fat eating carbs and protein, even if you eat little dietary fat.  Excess calories from any source is what is responsible for weight gain, not fat per se.  If weight gain is your concern then watching your total calorie intake.

There is an established link between fat intake and heart disease and stroke.  Diets rich in saturated fat and trans fat, both “bad” fats, raise blood cholesterol concentrations, contributing to clogged arties that block the blood flow.

When it comes to fat quantity and quality count.  Make sure you read the labels on your food!

To understand the game, you need to know the players.  There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • trans fats (bad fats)
  • saturated fats (bad fats)
GOOD FATS
Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

 

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

BAD FATS
Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing trans fats and saturated fats with good fats. This might mean replacing fried chicken with fresh fish, swapping some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love chocolate chip cookies but I try and stay away from starchy white flour.  The reason why starch isn’t good for us is because it is digested way too fast, which causes insulin levels to spike.  Insulin (as you know) is a hormone and when it functions improperly it is linked to an array of physical problems.  When insulin levels are disturbed, it throws-off your whole body and everything has to compensate.  In addition, white flour is stripped of good parts.  Whole wheat consists of three parts: the bran, the germ, and the starch then they get rid of the two nutritious parts – the bran and and germ and leave just the starch in white flour.

So I was excited to find this recipe and changed it to make it a little healthier, feel free to add your touch.  These cookies have simple and quality ingredients (I always like simple!).  I actually think these cookies are even more delicious than normal cookies because of the soft chewy oats gives the cookies a flavor that really melts in your mouth!

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sweetener (brown sugar, coconut sugar, or desired sugar substitute, don’t use white)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (better if you can use dark chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp oil or melted margarine
  • 1-2 tbsp milk of choice

First, blend in a food processor or blender oats, baking soda, salt, sweetener, and coconut flakes for one to two minutes.  Then add chocolate chips, oil and milk and blend with a spoon.  Roll into balls about 1 inch and place on a baking sheet and cook for 6-7 minutes at 375.  Makes about 8-9 cookies. Each cookie has about 50-60 calories.

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My daughter who’s a big sugar lover, loved these cookies!  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Banana Berry Smoothie

I make a smoothie every day!  I throw fruit, veggies, and my favorite protein powder in the blender.  It is a great way to get lots of good nutrients and it really fills you up!  Here is my favorite smoothie recipe:

1 cup almond milk (unsweetened or fat free milk)

1 cup frozen berries

1 cup raw spinach

1 medium banana

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder

optional 1/2 cup of water to reach desired consistency

*blend together and ENJOY!!

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