Most of us have don’t drink enough water or keep our bodies well hydrated so that we can function at our best. There are many benefits to keeping our bodies hydrated and weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight are no exceptions. If you find drinking water is boring, try adding some sliced lemon or a dash of real fruit juice to your water bottle to help the process. Aim for 8 glasses a day or more if you are vigorously exercising. How hydration can help you lose or maintain weight. Water is calorie free Helps you feel fuller longer Gets rid of toxins and helps the digestive system Helps to curve cravings like salt and sugar- thirst gets misinterpreted as hunger. Increases metabolism, dehydration slows down metabolism Helps with headaches, migraines and joint pain. Fruit also works as a good hydrator, so eat fruit as a snack between meals. Directly effects energy levels so workouts are more productive and burn more calories. Staying hydrated plays a critical role in your overall health and fitness levels and helps you to lose weight so start taking action today!
Core strength is critical to maintaining a healthy body. It helps with good posture, everyday activity; helps avoid back pain and perform at our best. According to studies, 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. This can be avoided with a good core strength program which includes more than just your core muscles, but every muscle between your shoulders to your hips.
Today I am going to focus on just one of them, the Transverse Abdominals. This is the most important ab muscle to strengthen first. It is the deepest muscle running horizontally under the Rectus Abdominal (the six pack muscles), and if properly worked will support your back, prevent or reduce back pain, and contribute to a flat stomach and improve athletics all around. One of the best exercises to target this very important muscle is the plank.
Try beginning with 30 seconds and work up to a minute. After that, you may want to hold out one arm for 15 sec, then the other. Move to lifting a leg for 15sec. and then the other. Lastly, come back to a standard plank and hold for another 30 seconds. If you are a beginner this will take time so be consistent and you will notice progression.
One really easy way to strengthen the transverse abdominals throughout the day is practicing “the vacuum”. I practice this while I’m driving, especially at stop lights. Inhale, and as you exhale, suck in your abs deeply and hold while breathing normally. (do not hold your breath) Hold for 10-30 seconds. This exercise trains your muscles to stay pulled in forcing better posture and alleviating lower back pain. Although this exercise doesn’t burn fat, it will contribute to a smaller waist and flatter abs. Try doing this 10x a day. This really works!
Back from my up north 4th of July vacation where I enjoyed foods I normally don’t eat. We’re talking brats, ice cream, beer and wine. Oh did I forget to mention a stop into Barbs Bakery. Seriously!!! Yes, way more sugar, salt and calories then I’m use to consuming. So here is what I do to detox and get back on track.
First day back from vacation start the day with a tall glass of lemon water and one hour of spinning (any exercise is good, even brisk walking. Just get the heart rate up) – no coffee. Fix myself a tall green smoothie made with romaine, apple, carrots, cucumber, ginger and lemon.
Lunch- Huge kale salad with lemon vinaigrette. Lemon water
More lemon water through out the day plus dandelion tea. ( great for detoxing)
Dinner- more kale salad plus more dandelion tea.
Go to bed early!
Day two – feeling much better already just by giving my body extra nutrients exercise and rest!! Continue with lemon water, dandelion tea and kale salads. Added a berry smoothie and Greek yogurt to the mix, no sugar. An hour of yoga and brisk walking.
Day three- Added coffee back in, what can I say, I love my coffee. Continue with lemon water and dandelion tea throughout the day. One hour of boot camp class, strength training, cardio, and stretching. Hard boil egg with fruit for breakfast.
Lunch- Huge salad with mixed greens and veggies.
Berry Smoothie with lemon and Greek yogurt.
I’ll continue to eat especially clean for the rest of the week and slowly add other protein into my meals. Easy to do and helps me get back on track to feeling full of energy.
Feel free to share any strategies or tips you find helpful to detox after a vacation!
If you are not on the Kale craze train yet, here are some reasons to get on the ride.
Kale scores as having the highest antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients. It’s so good for the heart and lowers cholesterol plus supports the body’s detoxification process. This stuff should be in your diet regularly. Here is one of my new found favorite ways to eat this super food thanks to “The Food Babe” for this recipe. If you’re not familiar with Vani, check out her web site at www.foodbabe.com .
Melt In Your Mouth Kale Salad-
- 1 bunch of lacinato or dinosaur kale, stems removed, rinsed and patted dry
- ⅓ cup currants (or chopped raisins)
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp local honey
- ½ cup pine nuts toasted
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp grated raw parmesan cheese
- In a food processor, process kale into small chopped pieces
- To make dressing, stir lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in a large bowl
- Add chopped kale, currants, pine nuts and parmesan to bowl with dressing
- Stir all ingredients together and serve
- (Optional – Save some pine nuts and/or parmesan cheese for top of salad before serving for presentation purposes)
Try this salad today and share how you liked it!
If you are falling short of your fitness goals or having trouble knowing where to start, implementing SMART strategies are a must in reaching your goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. No matter how small or large the goal, following these guidelines will get you moving in the right direction and reaching your target. Start by getting yourself a notebook and writing it down. I know its old school using a paper and pen, but studies show that simply writing down your goals and an action plan makes a huge difference in your success. Visualize yourself doing everything in your action plan and reaching your goals
Specific- Make sure you start with a clear goal in mind and write it down! If you goal is too general you’re not setting yourself up for success but more of the same. Example: I am going to lose 10 lbs. by September 1st.
Measurable- You will need to track your progress to see how you are doing. For weight loss you will want to weigh in weekly or biweekly or track your measurements with a tape measure and write it down.
Attainable-.Make sure you set yourself up for success by reaching for an attainable number. Research suggest that a 5-10 % weight loss is attainable for most people. So, an attainable goal could be I will lose 7% of my body weight.
Relevant- Make sure it its important to where you are in life right now. Don’t make your goals someone else’s or what someone is pressuring you to do. It has to make sense to you specifically and fit into your life.
Time-Bound- Make sure you include an end point. Knowing you have a deadline keeps you motivated. Healthy weight loss is about 1-2 lbs. per week so if you use the 7% as your goal and 3 months as your end point, you are now on track to reach your goal in a set amount of time.
Now write down an action plan you can start to implement weekly. For example-
I will walk 5 day for 30 minutes
I will drink 8 glass of water every day
I will bring my lunch to work instead of eating out.
Keep track of how you are doing at the end of each day and write it down. Once you reach that goal, go head and start another or move into phase two of a larger goal. If you want to reach your goals, and I know you do, becoming a better YOU starts with SMART goals. Just like with anything else you aspire to get done, you must have a plan and work the plan.
Have you used SMART goals before? If so, share how it worked out for you.
These cookies have it all-banana, peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips! And guess what? They are gluten-free and vegan too!
3 large, very ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil, slightly warmed, but not melted or add in raw unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Stir in the peanut butter, coconut oil, agave, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
3. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are set. Let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
I love these cookies eaten right out of the freezer.
Research has proven cocoa powder contain compounds that help protect against stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. So try adding this delicious stuff to some recipes and enjoy a boost of health.
Chocolate Spinach Smoothie- (serves 6-7oz servings)
1 cup of non-fat milk or almond milk
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
2 ripe bananas
1 cup of raw spinach
1 Tbs. honey
3 cups of ice
2 cups of uncooked oats
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of non-fat milk
1/2 t of salt
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 T of ground cinnamon
2 T of pure maple syrup
Cook for 5-7 minutes until liquid is absorbed
I find myself keeping this raw cocoa in my cabinet at all times. Share how you use this other than baking. If you don’t have any of this stuff, go out and get it!
We want results from our workouts, right? Understanding the recovery phase is essential to getting the best results possible. Over training is a common mistake that can cause injury, cease progress from occurring and cause unnecessary frustration.
When we workout, our job is to break down muscle. In order to get the results from that breakdown, we need to let the muscles recover to make progress in our fitness. You may have heard to strength train muscles on nonconsecutive days so that the muscles can recover from the workout. So what is actually happening in this recovery phase and why is it so necessary? When we strength train properly, the muscle tissue actually breaks down and in the recovery phase, which begins right after the workout, the muscles begin to repair themselves. Without repair, muscles don’t get the opportunity to heal and get stronger. Rest days is where the repair magic happens. Does that mean no movement on rest days? On the contrary.
Recovering muscles need blood flow and circulation to bring nutrients to the tissue which in turn facilitate improvement in the recovery. So on non-training days (rest day) find activities that require easy movement like walking, swimming, biking or any activity that involves movement without over taxing the body.
The time between workouts will vary depending on the individual’s fitness levels, the intensity of the workout, nutrients and lifestyle. A well designed workout will leave the muscles feeling mildly sore but not debilitating. The next workout should occur between 24-48 hours from the last workout. Rest is an importance piece of recovery as well as sleep, proper nutrition and easy movement that enhances circulation.
Do you include a warm up before your workout? It’s a must do, especially if you want to avoid injury and get the most mobility from your joints and prep the body for more intense movement. Dynamic warm ups include stretching the muscles while you are moving, therefore delivering better performance, power and flexibility. Focus movements that hit ankles, hips, shoulder and thoracic spine. Here are a few of my favorite moves that don’t require any equipment at all.
Lunge with a front kick -
Standing ab rotation- no weights
Arm circles -
Side shuffle movement- moving side to side
That’s all there is to a dynamic warm up, so next time you head out for a run, swim, brisk walk or whatever you enjoy doing, give this a try and see how much better you feel!
Join me and AA Rec & Ed this summer for fun outdoor boot camp workouts to help raise money for Food Gatherers.
Saturday mornings starting in June! 8-8:45a.m. (weather permitting)
Located at the back lawn of Community High School.
All fitness levels
Kids 10+ with adult supervision
$5.00 donation to Food Gatherers
For every $5.00 you donate to Food Gatherers, you can help provide 15 meals to adults, seniors and children in need in your community. Fighting hunger where we live one workout at a time.
If you have any questions or want to reach me, please email me at email@example.com
Please share this post and see you there!