Friday, January 30, 2009

get your kiddies moving!

As I have been preparing to speak to a youth group about the importance of health and exercise I've been reviewing statistics about childhood obesity, and it really is shocking. In the United States 1 in 3 kids are considered overweight or obese. 1 in 3!!! The saddest part about's almost a given that these overweight kids will grow into overweight adults. I've studied several cases involving overweight children and the parents health and activity level has a lot to do with the child's health and activity level. Hence; sedentary parents often times produce sedentary children. My plead? Get your kids active!! Make it fun. They don't have to be "exercising" just moving. 43% of adolescents watch more than 2 hours of TV per day. Turn of the tube and get those kids outside, take them roller skating, go sledding, go for a bike-ride, have a dance SOMETHING. Getting them into the habit of being active now will benefit them immensely in the future. Introduce healthy foods to them. Most an example. Be an example of healthy eating, exercise, and taking care of your body. A great family activity is looking over the Food Guide pyramid. Explain the different areas, and the newly added exercise portion. CLICK HERE for a link to, a great, kid-friendly, informative website. Be a part of stopping this growing obesity epidemic that is killing America, one french fry at a time!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who Knew?

(Photo Taken From HG website!!)
Happy National Blueberry Pancake day! (I didn't even know there was such a thing.) My Hungry Girl newsletter gave me the good news...and along with it was Hungry Girl's recipe for a healthy batch of Blueberry Pancakes. They look SO delicious! Here's the recipe...
**I took this recipe straight from the Hungry Girl website. To see the comparison of this recipe to Denny's Blueberry pancakes, and to find a TON more amazing recipes CLICK HERE.


1/3 cup regular oats (not instant or steel cut)

1/4 cup blueberries

3 tbsp. egg whites

1 tbsp. nonfat milk

1 tbsp. fat-free cottage cheese

1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. flour

1 no-calorie sweetener packet

2 tbsp. water

pinch salt


Combine all ingredients except for the blueberries and stir until well mixed. Gently fold in blueberries. In a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, drop batter into pan to form 3 pancakes (or 1 big pancake). Once pancakes begin to look solid (about 3 minutes), gently flip (if possible, re-spritz the pan with nonstick spray as you flip 'em to prevent sticking). Cook for approximately 3 additional minutes, or until both sides are lightly browned and insides are cooked through. Now plate those suckers and enjoy. Serves 1. (Pssst...we like 'em drizzled with sugar-free maple syrup!)

Serving Size: Entire recipe

Calories: 201

Fat: 2g

Sodium: 295mg

Carbs: 32g

Fiber: 4g

Sugars: 6g

Protein: 13g

*3 Points

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

See Megan Run...

Last week's running had it's ups and downs. The mid week runs weren't too bad, but my energy level seemed lower than normal which wasn't my favorite! I decided to change up the schedule from the normal and do them with sprint intervals to keep my body from getting too set in a routine. This is something I'd recommend to those of you who run consistently, but feel like you aren't see a change in your body. Add some speed intervals or hills to change it up. Saturday was my 10 miler, and it went really well. Again, I hate running outside with how cold it is, so I ran on the treadmill in the cardio cinema. I absolutely love the feeling of those last few steps. It feels so good, so accomplished. This Saturday's run is only 7 miles, so I get a bit of a break. Wahoo!

Exercise of the Week: Oblique Plank Twists

The obliques are an area of the body that women often want to work, (think love handles.) This exercise is an awesome one that is SURE to give those sides a run for their money.
1) Get in a side plank position. Keep the side of your body in a straight line, not letting those hips dip down to the ground.
2) Extend the free arm up into the air as if to make a T with your arms. (This picture has the hand behind the head which is ok as well.)
3) If this position alone is difficult for you begin by just holding each side for 30 seconds at a time, not allowing your hips to dip down to the ground.
4) If you feel like you can intensify this exercise rotate your torso down towards the ground, touching your hand or elbow down to the ground. Rotate back to the start position. All this time not letting your hips dip down. Do 15-30 reps on each side. 3 sets of each.

*hint: You should be feeling this in the side that is closest to the ground as it is holding your body weight up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weight Lifting Workout Format

Thanks to Karissa for inquiring about when to do what exercises. This post is LONG overdue. Let me begin by saying there are so many different workout formats that you can follow. It really all depends on what you want to accomplish. I gear my workouts toward the average woman wanting to lean up, lose weight, and become more toned, because I feel like that is the main sum of my reader-base. Writing workout programs is a very individualized process, and is very different for each person. For that reason I try to include general exercises and tips that can benefit anyone. Hopefully these tips can help give your workouts some direction.

1- For the average woman I would recommend doing a full body lifting routine each time you lift weights. Why? Well, as you've read previously I recommend lifting weights three times a week. If you are hitting this goal, working all those muscles three times a week I can guarantee you will see results. BUT, If you are doing a full body routine, and one week life gets crazy and you only get it in twice you won't feel that bad. At least you are still getting all those muscles worked twice rather than having a split routine and having entire muscle groups left out for the week. Kapeesh? I said, full body. What does that mean you ask? Well looking at the basic format you want to hit the following muscle groups (in this order if possible): legs, chest, back, biceps, shoulders, triceps, abs. Aim to do one exercise for each (I usually triple up on legs).

3- Time saver Double ups. Now you see why I talk about multi tasking when working out. If you don't have time for each do squats with a shoulder press, and then do triceps kickbacks in a lunge position. Kill two birds with one stone!

4- USE YOUR CORE. You will benefit in so many ways. You will have better balance, you will decrease your lower back problems, you'll improve your overall strength, and you'll slim down that waistline.

5- Push yourself. Make sure that you are using heavy enough weight. You won't burn as many calories, and you won't see improvements if you aren't pushing yourself.

(Click here if you need to be reminded about the MANY benefits of weight training)

Lastly...So, you get the basic format idea but you're still wondering how often to switch up your workout? This is another area where it depends on what your goals are. If you are looking to increase weight at a certain pace sticking to the same routine for about a month at a time will give you a way to gage your progress. BUT...I like to train my clients in a method dealing with muscle memory. I feel a future post coming on... I switch up my workout every time I lift. I'll go in to detail in a later post, but the main idea is not letting your body get comfortable. Changing things up, so you continue to progress. Makes sense, doesn't it? I hope so.

I've spoken with several of you about offering online training programs. I'm still working out the basic pricing and everything, but for those of you who are motiviated to workout on your own, but just need a little more guidance as far as what to do I think it will be a very valuable tool. I'll let you know when the details are finalized. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the great questions. Keep them coming!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oven Bakes Sweet Potato Fries

You've heard me rave about my beloved Sunflower Market in previous posts. And I'm here to rave, yet again. Their selection of produce is AWESOME. So much variety, and all SO fresh, and not to mention at a great price. It makes me want to eat fresh fruits and veggies all day long. Well, since there is so much variety there I've decided to try a new fruit or vegetable every week to broaden my horizons. It's a great way to spice up your dinner table, and to get your kids trying new things. This week I decided to try preparing a Sweet Potato. I have had sweet potato's for thanksgiving dinner...and that is about it. Soooo...I wasn't so sure as to what I was going to do with it. I looked up recipes online and I found a bunch of different recipes for baked sweet potato french fries. That sounded delicious to me and all of the recipes were pretty similar, so I kind of just did my own thing.

-preheat the oven to 450
-scrub the sweet potato so the fries can be cooked with the skin on
-cut them into strips (french fry like) the thinner they are the faster they will cook
-lay the strips out on a cookie sheet (spray it with Pam first)
-drizzle olive oil over the strips (you really don't need very much)
-flavor them however you like. I sprinkled half of mine with salt, Lawry's, and garlic salt. The other half i sprinkled with a little bit of brown sugar. (I thought using Splenda's brown sugar mix would be perfect for this, but I didn't have any on hand.)
-I put them in the over for about 20 minutes, stirring them around a few times.
-A medium sweet potato makes about two servings of fries, @ about 100 calories each...yep you heard me right...100.

I really had NO idea what to expect. The results...DELICIOUS. I really loved them. My roommates helped me gobble them right up. The texture wasn't as crispy as french fries, but they were so delicious. I liked both the sweet and the salty. I don't even know if i could pick a favorite. They were SO easy, so healthy and low in calories, and I'm positive that kids would love them. Try them!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Jump Squats

Wanna Boost up your workout and work those legs a little bit harder? Insert a set of jump squats in between all of your sets of exercises when you're lifting weights. It will help to keep your heart rate higher, (helping you to burn more fat), and you'll be working those legs!!
Step 1: start with your feet shoulder width apart and squat down as low as you can go. Remember to keep those knees right over your ankles, don't let them extend over your toes. Sit your hips back like you're sitting in a chair. Weight in your heels.
Step 2: Explode upwards trying to get as much height as possible. As you land be sure to land into your squat absorbing the shock into your legs. Go right into step 1. Keep your abs tight the whole time. Stay controlled. Land with your weight in your heels.
Do 15-20 of these in between your regular exercises and sculpt those legs!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

See Megan Run: 9 Miles

Today was the first of my Saturday long runs. There are many more to come and they only get longer from here on out. It am glad to say it went well. Since I'm a total wuss when it comes to running in cold weather I hit up my local gym to pound out the miles on the treadmill. Not my favorite way of doing it, but it gets the job done. One thing I do love is my gym's cardio cinema. I can run in the dark with a movie distracting my attention, and when I get bored I just throw on my ipod and jam the rest of the way. I know some people like to run free of music, but I can't live with out it. It gets me to the end!

I am kind of crazy in the sense that I do get excited for my long run days, not because I think running for two hours (sometimes more) is necessarily fun, but for reasons listed below.
1- I LOVE the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I am done. The last couple minutes for me turn into this almost euphoric joy. For me running is an emotional roller coaster. There are points (usually about 1/2 way through) when I think. Why am I doing this? Am I crazy? But the feeling at the end trumps any doubt I've felt along the way. It's SO worth it. A natural high for sure.
2- I get myself mentally prepared for my long days. It reminds me of when I used to compete for dance. You really have to focus on the goal in mind and doing your best, and then when you succeed it's a great boost.
3- Nothing like burning 1,300 calories at once.
4- I get to say, I did it!

So there you have it. One lung run down. No Injuries. Nothing negative to report, but glad to be done for the day!
OH!! Also...for those of you who were looking into running the SLC 1/2 Marathon. I was wrong in my last post about it the training program for that one hasn't started yet. I was looking at my marathon schedule and not the 1/2 marathon schedule. So....if you thought...oh too late I missed it. You get a second chance!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baskin Robbins goes healthy...ish...

Baskin Robbins has come out with a "lighter" version of their delectable goodness. They call their newest flavers "BRight Choices." (Think, Dryer's Slow Churned...a favorite of mine.) From 90 calorie, fat free vanilla, to 130 calorie low fat chocolate these are definitely a better alternative to thier full fat originals. Note: I said "better alternative," I didn't say go crazy...but, we all must indulge every now and again, and I find this a very good option for indulgence.

TODAY ONLY: January 15th...
In promotional spirit of thier BRight chocies, Baskin Robbins is offering a free scoop of ice cream to those who come in today and show thier gym pass.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Biggest Loser Recap

For those of you who haven't watched it yet...don't worry. I'm not here to spoil it for you, BUT for those of you who have, what a good episode eh? The highlights for me?
-Bob goes Jillian on Silver Team member Joelle....(I say she deserved it.)
-Daniel and Jerry break my heart...what complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
-Tara (green team) wins the challenge...and then gives her phone all to Filipe. (I like her already)
-Carla (silver team) dancing her lbs away at home...see you just have to find something you enjoy! ;)

As I have mentioned before these individuals are in a very controlled environment, which is very conducive to their massive amounts of lbs lost. Not all of us have that luxury, but I think there are definite lessons learned we can take away from every episode. For the lesson from last nights episode I turn to Joelle.
Scenario: Bob getting on Joelle's case for not completing the 30 second sprint he was having the whole team doing. Joelle stopping at 20 seconds every time and repeatedly saying she "couldn't" and giving excuses for not finishing. This happened probably 5 times before Bob went CRAZY. He was not amused. In fact he insisted (with a few choice, bleeped out words) that she could in fact do it, and she would. So, they did it again, and fancy that...she did it.
The Lesson: PUSH YOURSELVES. Just because you haven't done it before, or you think it's hard doesn't meant that you can't do it. More than likely it means that your scared. So, again I say, Push yourselves. You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish, and what you WILL most certainly accomplish if you go about exercising with an "I CAN" attitude.

Also... Host Alison Sweeney had her baby girl, Megan Hope Sanov, on Monday, January 12th.
congrats to the name choice. ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Utah Eatery: au naturale

Fast food has never been something that I've been a big fan of for SO many reasons. Yep it's quick and convenient, but it's chalked full of calories, low in nutritional value, and there are never very many low fat/low calorie options. I didn't think i'd ever say this, but it's finally arrived...Fast Food meets Healthy. Yes, you heard me correctly. I just used both of those words in the SAME sentence. What could I possibly be talking about? you ask. Well. Salt Lake has a new healthy fast food restaurant that I can't wait to try. It's Called au naturale.

It's located at 880 E 2100 S in Salt Lake City. I have seen au naturale featured on Good Things Utah and Your Heart Out this week, and I'm itching to try it. They even have the nutrition facts available for you, which wins HUGE points with me, as you know.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries, Turkey and Avacado Sandwich, Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Chocolate Chunk Cookies? Where do I sign?? I think the only problem with this resturaunt will be trying to decide which deliciously healthy delacacy I should try first.

Monday, January 12, 2009

See Megan Run..., I'm three weeks into the marathon training, and as promised, I'm here for an update. So far so good. These first few weeks aren't to hard, but I'll be honest, for some reason I've had a little bit harder time getting into my running routine this go-round. I don't know why it is. I had been running pre-training, but I guess I'm just waiting for my, "I'm excited to go running today," mood to kick in. Maybe it's knowing that I already have to run 9 miles on saturday... It will come. It always does. It's interesting because with me one of the reasons I love running so much is because of the feeling of accomplishment that comes when a long run is over. Can you empathize with me there? There is something to knowing you just pounded out 5, 10, 15 miles. It feels good. It feels powerful.
I am following a novice marathon training program off of running expert Hal Higdon's website. I've followed his programs in all of the races i've done, and I really like them. For those of you who are still contemplating trying out the Salt Lake City Marathon or Half Marathon with me It's not too late! These first few weeks aren't too crazy, so with some modification you can still jump in and challenge yourself. If you have any questions about it at all let me know! I'd love to answer them. Just remember that ANYONE can do this. You may not think yourself a runner, but all it takes is some want and some will power!
Feel free to shoot questions my way at

You may want to sit down for this...

Olive Garden and Red Lobster have released their nutrition facts....GOO.....that is all I can say. The majority of their main dishes range from 800-1500 calories for one dish. (Remember that isn't counting the OG breadsticks at 150 calories a pop and the RL cheese rolls ringing in at 150 calories as well...remember this is just for ONE.)
Check them out, kinda scary...



The good news is both restaurants do have lighter fare options available. Eating out isn't ruled out when trying to eat healthy. It's just knowing what to order. Look at these menu's and consider yourself prepared. You'll know what you should order when you go out, and what to avoid. Remember folks, Knowledge is power.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ode to Hungry Girl...

If you haven't noticed my link to the Hungry Girl website before, you must go there ASAP! I am absolutely in LOVE. Lisa Lillien is a genius. She is a normal girl who loves to eat...don't we all? She takes recipes that we LOVE and makes them with a TON less calories and the same great taste. I have been following her website for almost a year now, and so I was SO excited to hear she was coming out with a cookbook. I was even more excited when Benita bought it for me for Christmas! I spent about 3 hours just pouring over it. I'm already a HUGE fan of her Peanut Butter FUDGE recipe. Yep you heard right... Aside from great recipes there are a lot of great tips and ideas. It is awesome! I have a list of recipes I've been dying to try, but haven't had time yet. I'll keep you posted!
Hungry Girl has posted a shopping list for 2009. It is complete with all of her favorite products, and it is really great. Look it over (you can even print it out in PDF form), it will give you plenty of great ideas to mix up your meals!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Font Color Change :)

I've had a bunch of people tell me my font is really hard to read. Sorry bout that!! I'm going to change it to black, so hopefully that helps!

It's that time again.

I love this show. Love. Love. Love.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fabulous Food Find

You HAVE to try these. Have to. Jell-O Fat free/sugar free pudding packs. At 60 calories a pop and 0 grams of fat you'll be in heaven. They are really SO good. A great little treat for the sweet tooth in you. They are found in the refrigerated section. My favorite kind is the Chocolate Banana. Delightful. Try em.

You HAVE to try these. Have to.

Exercise of the Week: Upright Row to a Deadlift combo

You know I love my 2-in-1 combination exercises. This one is a great one! The upright row is one of the best shoulder sculpting exercises there is, and dead lifts are great for the hamstrings and glutes. Grab yourself two dumbbells or a bar. I like to use a bar because it makes it easier to control a heavier amount of weight. Don't be afraid to push yourself here. Your legs can probably handle at least 40/50 lbs with the deadlifts at first startings, so go for whatever your shoulders can muster. Also, remember...good form is key here, so if you're throwing away good form at the chance to up that weight, I pick good form. The heavier weight will come with time. Grab your dumbbells and stand with your legs straight feet shoulder width apart, hold your weights in front of you with your palms facing your legs. Begin with an upright row. Pulling your elbows up to your ears. Keep those shoulders pressed down, and your abs tight.

As you bring your arms back down go straight into a dead lift. Keeping your legs straight, let that weight drag you down as if you were going to set it on the ground. Go as far as you can keeping your back flat, and then straighten back up squeezing your glutes and hammies on the way back up.
If you are super flexible I'd recommend doing these on a step or bench so you can take the weight down past your toes. To make the exercise a little harder, when at the bottom of the dead lift press the weight away from your legs (in a controlled motion) bring it back towards your legs, and then come back up.
*make sure to stretch out your hamstrings after this one! I promise it will work them!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009, I hope you've brought with you some motivation...

Happy New Year Everyone! New Years is such a great time for new beginnings. In with the new, out with the old, right? I'm challenging you. Here, now, today. Decide on a goal to improve your health in 2009. Make it doable. Make it reasonable. Make it count. Feel free to post your goals, because i'd love to hear them, and it may give others some ideas!
Here is a few popular ones if you want some ideas...
- lose weight (set an actual number goal, something to work towards)
- drink more water
- eat more fruits and vegetables
- stop eating junk, sugar (again, give yourself something to measure by. "i'll limit myself to two treats a week, etc.)
- run a race
- exercise more (how many days a week? for how long?)
- Eat out less
- stop eating _________.
- Learn kickboxing, Yoga, Pilates, etc.
- Do 50 consecutive push-ups get the idea. Although the list is continually growing my two goals thus far are. Run the Salt Lake City Marathon in April, and continue on my "No Sugar Challenge." Here we go!!

Thanks for being such great readers in 2008! I am excited for another new year of blogging! Some posts to look forward to in the near future...
- a slew of new workouts for you to try out!
- "See Megan Run" - my journey through marathon training for your reading pleasure
- some fun giveaways of my favorite workout gadgets
- Some great healthy recipe finds....and much much more. Stay tuned!!