Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Legs and Shoulders Circut

I am SO sore today. Like not the kind of sore that you feel when you wake up and then brush off and you're fine. The kind of sore where shopping with my sister was painful. I'm THAT sore, and you can be too.(Sounds so enticing...I know.)
I have done this legs and shoulders circuit a few times and it hasn't failed me yet.
There are 3 separate segments each to be repeated 3 times. It goes a little something like this...

Segment #1
1 set of 15 Squats with the 50 lb bar (on your shoulders)
1 set of 12 upright rows with DB's balancing on one foot
1 set of step ups on the bench 15 on each leg (you want some speed so you get that heart rate up)
*go through this three times

Segment #2
1 set of 15 single leg lunges on the physio ball (Stand with feet shoulder width apart in front of the physioball. Place one foot on top of ball, think shoe-laces down, and roll back into a lunge. Repeat on other side.)
1 set of 12 front raises with DB's
1 set of 30 mountain climbers (again this is to get that heart rate up)
*go through this three times

Segment #3
1 set of 12 single leg squats with a military press with DB's (Holding two dumbbells, balance on one leg and squat down as you come back up press the DB's over your head and then repeat. Do each side)
1 set of 20 plyomtric lunges (elevate that heart rate)
*go through this three times

Push yourself! If you aren't feeling these exercises add more weight, or increase the # of Reps. Those buns should be burning!! :)

Think Thin Bar {Reviewed}

Confirmed: I eat because I like.
The new think Thin chunky Peanut Butter Bar, I did not eat. Because I did not like.

Sometimes I have a hard time getting my protein in because I have a very on the go schedule, and I only like lean chicken and turkey. So, protein bars have been a great answer to my problem. I was STOKED when I found these new think Thin bars because they have 20 grams of protein, ZERO grams of sugar, and ring in at 240 calories which isn't bad for a meal replacement bar. They are a little more expensive than the other protein bars I usually buy, so I was expecting them to be really great.

Unfortunately, I was VERY disappointed. I feel like I have acquired a taste to the protein bar realm of eating. I usually don't mind them; there are some I even crave, and I HATED this one. I seriously took one bite and couldn't get myself to take another. I threw the whole thing away. TOTAL waste.

Am I alone in this? Has anyone else tried these guys? Maybe a different flavor? Until I hear differently I'm steering clear.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

I love the website Cookinglight.com as you can probably tell... You want to know what else I love? Breakfast foods. So, when I saw Cookinglight had a super sweet recipe for Banana Cinnamon Waffles I was QUITE excited!

BANANA CINNAMON WAFFLES (This Recipe makes 8 servings of two waffles per serving.) Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • Cooking spray

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, flaxseed, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine milk, butter, and eggs, stirring with a whisk; add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until blended. Fold in mashed banana.

Preheat a waffle iron. Coat iron with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per 4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

Nutrition Info:
Calories: 215 (31% from fat)
Fat: 7.4g (sat 3.3g,mono 1.9g,poly 1.4g)
Protein: 7.3g
Carbohydrate: 31.1g
Fiber: 3.4g
Cholesterol: 65mg
Iron: 1.9mg
Sodium: 205mg
Calcium: 133mg

What is this hCG diet anyways...

There has been a lot of talk about the hCG diet recently. What is it? How does it work? Does it work? Is it harmful? etc. etc. etc. Though I've never participated in it myself, I've had family members, friends, and clients that have. I've read up on it and talked with individuals who administer it, trying to form my own opinion on the matter. Many of you have asked me my thoughts on it, so I hope through this post I'll be able to present factual information to explain what exactly it is.

hCG stands for human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is a hormone that is found in both men and women. It is found more abundantly in pregnant women, and is crucial to a healthy pregnancy. The hCG hormone can be made synthetically or taken directly from a pregnant woman.

When on the hCG diet one combines an ultra low-cal (low carbohydrate, high protein) diet (500 calories per day, to be exact), with a daily dose of the hCG hormone. This process is followed for around three weeks depending on the program that is administered to you. If followed correctly, the diet claims to cause you to lose fat and to maintain lean muscle mass. The theory behind the diet's success comes from the idea that the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for many of the body's metabolic processes, is reset by the hCG. With these higher amounts of hCG, your body wants to "protect the young fetus," so to speak, so it metabolizes excess adipose/fat tissue, and protects lean muscle mass.

The diet claims that the The 500 calories you are allowed to consumer per day are not just any calories. The diet is very strict on what exactly can be consumed. Only certain fruits, vegetables, and very lean proteins can be eaten. hCG injections help to curb hunger, and keeps your body out of "starvation mode," that some restrictive diets put you into. The daily dose of the hormone is administered either by an oral supplement or a liquid injection.

Sounds easy enough right? So, if the diet works so well what are the downfalls? The dangers?
For starters this diet isn't approved by the FDA. The hCG injections have been approved for fertility issues, but not in association with weight loss. While those administering the hormone claim complete safety, Scientific and medical communities lack substantial evidence that prove these shots are safe over an extended period of time. Those who are administering the hormone by injection are at risk for blood clots. Common side affects include headaches, mood swings, depression, blood clots, confusion, and dizziness. Women who take the hormone are at risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which can be deadly. Pregnant or nursing women should not take the hormone for risk of passing it on to the baby.

So does it work? Yes, if the diet is followed correctly you will lose weight. Those that I have seen participate in it usually lose around 10 lbs. Notice I said, if the diet is followed correctly. It is not strictly the hCG causing you to drop lbs. You have to have the calorie restriction.

Those were the facts, if you were strictly looking to find out what the hCG diet is bias free, I hope that answered most of your questions, and you can stop reading now...

However...here is my opinion...having worked in the weight-loss industry for a few years now I have learned one definite thing. If it seems to good to be true, it usually is. Weight loss is hard. It requires effort. When you are restricting calories in your diet, (especially upwards of 1200-1500 per day), of COURSE you are going to lose weight. That is not a sustainable lifestyle. Results that last come from habit changes that last. If you are under the impression that eating horribly previously to being involved in the diet, dropping 15 lbs in 3 weeks while eating very strictly, and then returning to your previous eating habits, is going to keep that weight off you are dead wrong. Remember that. "nothing changes if nothing changes." If you aren't willing to make changes in the way you are eating and living, no fad diet will be the answer for you. I like to eat. I enjoy healthy food. I do not enjoy starving myself, and feeling restricted. Now, I realize that for some this might be a great jump start into weight-loss mode. I have seen it work for some people, but I have also seen people put them through the whole process only to gain it all back. If you can follow up this diet by making positive changes in the way you are eating, you might be able to keep that weight off. However, for the most part old habits die hard, and the weight that you starved off yourself will eventually creep right back on.

So, for those considering it I guess you need to ask yourself if it's worth it to you? If you are going to be able to make the changes necessary to keep the weight off, than go for it. For most people I'd suggest making a livable restriction in your daily calorie consumption, get rid of the foods that aren't good for you, and get exercising. Make lifestyle changes that will last, and you will see results that will last!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Exercise of the week: Prisoner Squat Jumps

EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES...I know. I'm full of them as of late it seems, for my lack of posting. BUT this one is legit. I moved last weekend, and we don't have internet at my new place yet!! SO...I'll do my best. Here is a great exercise to add into your workout.

You know how I love my squats. They are such a great lower body exercise! This is a little addition to the normal squat to keep things interesting.

Stand with your feel shoulder width apart.
Place your hands behind your head as if you were in a crunch position on the ground.
Keeping that chest up and your arms in place squat down as low as you can. (Remember your good form. Hips sit back, knees stay in line with toes.)
Explode up into a jump, getting your feet off the ground as much as possible. (Leaving those hand behind your head the whole time.)
Land down in a squat position and repeat.

Aim to do 3 sets of 15-20 or if you're feeling crazy set a timer for 1-2 minutes. This is a great exercise to add into your interval workouts!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The 10 Best foods for your Heart

Health.com did an article on the ten best foods for your heart.How do you measure up?

1. Oatmeal
Full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium, and fiber. A great way to start the day and keep you full!
2. Salmon
Full of lean protien and omega-3 fatty acids. A great meal in and of itself!
3. Avocado
Contains monounsaturated fat which lowers LDL cholestorol while increaseing HDL cholesterol. Try it in with cottage cheese, sliced on a sandwhich, chopped in a salad, or on crackers with hummus.
4. Olive Oil
Full of monounsaturated fats, it lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease. Use it in salad dressings or in place of butter when cooking.
5. Nuts
A Great source of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. They are a great snack, or taste great atop a salad.
6. Berries...all sorts!
Aside from tasting amazing, they are anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Eat plain, with yogurt, in a fruit salad, or on top of a whole grain cereal.
7. Legumes (Think lentils, black and kidney beans, & chickpeas)
These little delights are full of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber. Add them to your salads, soups, or eat them plain.
8. Spinach
A great veggie containing; lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. Toss some in a salad, add to a sandwhich, or wrap.
A grain full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Sprinkle ground flaxseed on cereal or salads. Add a tbs to your cookies, bread, or pancakes. (Make sure it's ground, or else it will just pass right through ya!)
10. Soy
A lean protein that is low in cholesterol and fat. Try Soy beans on salad, soy milk, or edamame.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

When the motivation is lacking...

This post could also be entitled... Dear Megan, This past Saturday...
We've all been there. The mornings when your alarm sounding with the news of "time to strap on your running shoes," makes you want to cringe. Or when pulling in the gym parking lot takes more effort than you thought possible. Sometimes exercising is just about the last thing we want to do, and when we get busy it can be the first thing we willingly push to the side. Sometimes finding the motivation to get back into the routine, or to get into the routine in the first place is hard to do.

We need to realize that people who work out are just as busy as people who don't work out. We find the time to do the things that we want to do. What is the difference? Those who work out find the mental ability to make themselves exercise, even when they don't want to. Yes, some may be more inclined to enjoying physical activity, but everyone has the same necessity for it. Once we realize the crucial importance of giving our bodies the exercise it needs we will be more likely to get moving. Avoiding exercise will only lead to negative repercussions such as disease, weight gain, loss of energy, decrease in self esteem, muscle atrophy, loss in bone density, and other ailments that can eventually lead to an earlier death.

So, what are some ways to help yourself find motivation?
- Think small. One step at a time. If you start your workout with the "I'm going to be doing this for 2 hours," mindset...you'll be struggling every step of the way. Just get yourself out the door. Getting started is 1/2 the battle. Once you get started take it 10 mins at a time. Once you complete the first 10 mins see if you can't push yourself to go 10 more, etc.
- Find something you enjoy doing. If you hate running and you're trying to pull yourself out of bed at 6 AM to do so, chances are, you'll roll over and dodge that idea. However, if you find an activity that is fun for you, your workout will be enjoyable, and will go by much quicker.
- Pump up the jams. I've talked a bunch about how much my music gets me through. My ipod is my best friend, I kid you not. Find your favorite songs, and change up the playlists frequently. For my list of favorite workout tunes, click HERE.
- Set goals and reward yourself. Decide how many days a week you want to work out and if you accomplish your goal reward yourself. Write your goal down and place in a spot where you'll be constantly reminded of what you're working towards.
- Remind yourself of your reasoning. Sit down and write out why it is you want to exercise, what your purpose is. Look at it often and when times get hard during your workout repeat these reminders to yourself. It's hard to do something when you don't have a purpose behind it.
- Distract yourself. If you're staring at the clock counting down the minutes until you're done it will feel like hours. Watch TV while you're working out, go to a public park where you can people watch, find a gym with a cardio cinema, read a book, or listen to music.

- Find a workout buddy. If you know someone is meeting you, you're more likely to show up. Sometimes that accountability is key in getting us going.

So, set some goals. Reevaluate why you are doing what you're doing. Mix things up. Get back into your groove. You can do it!