Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekend Workout #29

OK, this is it, the final Weekend Workout of 2012.  I hope you have enjoyed the workouts I have provided for you.  I am going to do my best to try and put videos with the workouts next year.

***This workout will require that you have a deck of cards, and is best done with a group of people.

Shuffle the deck of cards.  This can be done with 1 exercise or up to 5 (examples of exercises: bodyweight squats, dips, pullups, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges, crunches, pushups).  Each suite will represent a certain exercise, and the jokers will count as 50 reps of the 1 exercise or the 5th exercise (if using 5 exercises).  

Each person grabs a card; the suite determines the exercise/s and the number determines the reps per exercise.  Cards higher than 10 can be set at any value (ie: Jack 11, Queen 12, King 15, Aces 20).

If doing this workout alone, opt to complete as many exercises as you can in 20-30 minutes.  If doing this with a group of 3-5 others, aim to finish the deck of cards.

I hope you find this workout to be as fun as I thought it was.  You can use this workout during family gathering, parties, or when you are looking to add some spontaneity to your workout.

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year..

Don't forget to complete the 12 Days of Christmas Workout if you haven't already done so; today is your last day to do it.

I would like to say thanks to all those who have been following along with my Blog.  I hope I have provided some healthy recipes for you, some challenging workouts, but most of all information to help improve your overall health and fitness.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Workout #28

I know that time is precious this time of year; between shopping for your loved ones, and running around to all the Holiday parties, but you can still find time to get in a good 10-15 min. workout with this weekend's workout.

After a 5 min warm-up of your choice you'll perform this workout, completing 2 sets of all exercises.  Allow yourself 15 sec. rest in between each exercise.  When you finish the last exercise, rest for 2 min. while you move very easy (not standing still).

100 Jumping Jacks
75  Squats
50  Mtn. Climbers
50  Alt. Lunges
25  Push ups
25  Sit ups
5    Burpees

Happy Holidays!!!

PS.  There is only 1 more Weekend Workout remaining for 2012; expect a fun but challenging workout on December 29th.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

14 Ways to Reduce Sodium Intake

According to the American Heart Association, the daily recommendation for sodium (aka: salt) intake is 2,000 - 2,300 mg.  To put this number into context, this is 2/3 a teaspoon.  Doesn't seem like much does it?  You can get this amount from a 12 oz. can of V-8.  Salt has very serious health consequences, such as high blood pressure.

Salt is comprised of 40% sodium, and 60% chloride.  Most table salt is mined, while sea salt is made from salt water.

Here are 14 ways to help reduce sodium intake daily.

1.  Figure out how much salt you intake daily; write down all foods eaten and the sodium content

2.  Read food labels

3.  Compare similar foods and choose the one with less or no salt

4.  Consume more potassium

5.  Flavor foods with lemon juice, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and other spices instead of salt

6.  Eat more fresh, whole foods

7.  Eat low-fat foods (they have less salt in them)

8.  Limit fast-food consumption

9.  When dining at a restaurant, ask that your foods be prepared without salt

10.  Cook whole, not processed, foods

11.  Check sodium content in medications (if not sure, check with your Dr.)

12.  Don't add extra salt to foods form the shaker

13.  Find a low-salt cookbook that provides many low-salt recipes

Source:  American Council on Exercise, Volume 14, Issue 2, Mar/Apr 2008 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Workout

With only 12 days before Christmas, I thought it would be fun to provide a "12 Days of Christmas" workout. This workout will be just like the song goes...

Here is the workout format:

Exercise #1 for 12 reps, then...
Exercise #1 for 12 reps and then the exercise #2 for 11 reps, then...
Exercise #1 (12 reps), then exercise #2 (11 reps), then exercise #3 (10 reps)...
Continue this routine until you get to 1 rep
This is a "ladder" style of circuit which can be done with any number of exercises and for any number of reps.  It's a simple way to make an easy workout challenging.
You will have completed a total of 650 reps when finished with all exercises.

#1  Bodyweight squats - 12 reps

#2  Mountain Climbers - 11 reps

#3  Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls - 10 reps

#4  Pushups - 9 reps

#5  Walking Lunges - 8 reps per leg

#6   Jumping Jacks - 7 reps 

#7  Dips - 6 reps (either on dip machine or off a chair or bench)

#8  Burpees - 5 reps

#9  Inverted Rows - 4 reps

#10  Russian Twists - 3 per side

#11  Squat Jumps - 2 reps

#12  1 minute plank (either on hands, elbows or on Swiss Ball)

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Health Questionnaire - Answers

1.       Doing slow/easy cardio exercise can prevent you from building muscle mass?  Myth or Fact
Moderate to high intensity cardio that goes on for more than 45-60 min. can force your body to break down more muscle tissue to get fuel for your exercise.  Doing 45 min of cardio AND strength training during same workout session can potentially cancel out your strength training .

2.       The best way to tone your muscles without bulking up is to perform many repetitions with lighter weights?  Myth or Fact
There is no such thing as “toning” a muscle.  You can, however, strengthen a muscle by overload it during strength training, and build its endurance through cardio exercise.

3.       Special techniques like drop sets and supersets are good training methods for regular people interested in basic fitness?  Myth or Fact
Both techniques are good options for the average exerciser.
Drop Sets involve doing an exercise for certain # of reps with a certain weight, then reducing the weight and doing the same # of reps immediately, then continuing until you no longer can perform the # of reps as the first set.
Supersets involve performing two exercises of opposing muscle groups (ie:  bicep curls and tricep pushdowns) together with no rest and repeating 2-4 times.

4.       Performing abdominal exercises will reduce abdominal fat?  Myth or Fact
Location from which fat is burned cannot be controlled.

5.       Calorie readout (the amount of calories you are burning during exercise) on equipment (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) is accurate?  Myth or Fact
Research has shown that calorie-burn readout on some exercise equipment can be off by as much as 70%.  Treadmills and stationary bikes tend to be more accurate than elliptical machines and other equipment.

6.       Using machines for strength training is safer than using free weights?  Myth or Fact
Unless machines are properly set up for each person’s height and weight, the machine could actually put you at risk for injury.  Improper set up can lead to incorrect form and function.

7.       In order to lose weight, all you need to do is lots of slow, steady cardio?  Myth or Fact
In order to lose weight AND keep it off, you need to combine cardio with strength resistance training.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, which results in a higher metabolism.

8.       When you stop exercising for any length of time, the muscle will NOT turn into fat?  Myth or Fact
Since muscle and fat are completely different types of tissue, they have totally different functions.   When consistent exercise stops, the muscle will atrophy (decrease in size) rather than turn to fat.  Since you will be burning fewer calories, the fat storage will increase causing fat cells to get larger in size.

9.       Running on a treadmill puts the same amount of stress on your knees as running on pavement?  Myth or Fact
According to Dr. Todd Schlifstein, D.O New York University Medical Center’s Rusk Institute, running on a treadmill vs. pavement causes the same amount of stress to your knees since it’s the force of your body weight on your joints that is causing the stress, not the running surface.

10.   Women who lift heavy weights will bulk up?  Myth or Fact
Women don’t have enough (without the use of steroids) of the muscle-building hormone testosterone to get bulky.  In addition, when lifting heavy weights (1-5 reps), it builds denser and relatively smaller muscles when compared to lower weight and higher reps (8-15).   It also stimulates strength gains from more of a neurological standpoint (especially reps that are 1-3), which will keep you at that desired weight and get you stronger in the process; keeping women looking feminine (like wanted), but also increasing strength.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

8 Reasons to Strength Train

Although doing cardio (running, biking, xc skiing, eliptical machine, row machine, etc.) is great for building your cardiovascular system, it does nothing to build lean muscle mass.  And, without lean muscle mass we begin to get weaker, have more joint/bone problems, and our metabolism begins to slow down (leading to more fat storage).

Below I have listed 8 reasons why you should be strength training (if you're  not already doing so).

1.  You'll burn more calories per day (even while sitting)

2.  You will become stronger - who doesn't want to be stronger?

3.  You will shed more fat mass!!! - metabolism speeds up

4.  Bone density will improve giving you stronger bones

5.  Self confidence improves - when you look good people notice

6.  Reduces stress - the release of endorphins will combat stress

7.  Less chance of injury - tendons, ligaments, and joints all become stronger with weight training

8.  Improved posture - doing core exercises will keep you standing tall

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Protein Shake

I hope you have been enjoying the recent "Fall" recipes I've been posting.  I have been stumbling across lots of really healthy recipes lately.  Each one that I have made I have been very impressed with.  All of them are very simple to make, and make use of ingredients that are in-season (pumpkin and sweet potato).

This recipe comes from Trinity Perkins, TrainWithTrin (whom I have found and made several other recipes from) and makes for a great post-workout shake or mid-afternoon snack.


1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1 Tbsp almond butter (Trinity called for peanut butter but I like almond better)
Dash of cinnamon
Ice as needed


Blend all ingredients in a mixer and add water as needed to get the consistency you like

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Health Questionnaire

Here is the final Health Questionnaire for 2012  Your answers will be either a myth, or a fact.  I'm sure most of you have heard these statements at one time or another in your local gym or from a friend/family member. This can make for a good Holiday game, much like a Trivial Pursuit game.  Results will be posted on December 17th, so you will look like the expert with the answers.
Have fun!

1.  Doing slow/steady cardio exercise can prevent you from building muscle mass?       Myth or Fact

2.  The best way to tone your muscles without bulking up is to perform light weight with lots of reps?
Myth or Fact

3.  Special techniques like "drop sets" and "supersets" are good training methods for the average person interested in basic fitness?  Myth or Fact

4.  Performing abdominal exercises reduce abdominal fat?  Myth or Fact

5.  Calorie readout (the amount of calories you are burning) on equipment (treadmills, eliptical machines, etc.)  is accurate?  Myth of Fact

6.  Using machines for strength training is safer than using free weights?  Myth or Fact

7.  In order to lose weight, all you need to do is lots of slow, easy cardio?  Myth or Fact

8.  When you stop exercising for any length of time, the muscle will NOT turn into fat?  Myth or Fact

9.  Running on a treadmill puts the same amount of stress on your knees as running on pavement?
Myth or Fact

10.  Women who lift heavy weights will bulk up?  Myth or Fact

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Here is another twist on making smoothies.  I made this one a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted, the wife would agree.  Staying with the Fall theme and using the ingredient pumpkin, this makes for a great start to any day, or a perfect mid-afternoon snack.


1 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 scoop of whey vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I substituted Allspice because I was out of PPS)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp raw honey


*Pretty simple, mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy with a I did!
*Top with a scoop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice

Monday, December 3, 2012

Almond Pumpkin Pancakes

This has become one of my favorite breakfasts, along with a side of 4 eggs.  I will admit, I was already a big pancake lover, but after making these I don't think I will ever go back to "traditional" pancakes (white flour, brown sugar,etc).

These make for a great Fall breakfast, but can be enjoyed anytime of year, however, with pumpkin in season they taste even better.  Try these for yourself and let me know what you think.

Recipe provided by Megan, the Detoxinista...


1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 whole organic eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp raw honey


*Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking sheet with  parchment paper
*Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until a smooth mixture forms
*Pour batter into 4-6" pancakes on the baking sheet
*Bake for 10-12 minutes (every oven is different)
*Serve with fruit of your choice (bluberries, bananas, strawberries) and I use Greek yogurt instead of syrup

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend Workout #27

Can you believe it, we are into the month of December already.  If you're like me, you are probably wondering where did the previous 11 months go?  Time sure does fly when you are having fun.

Once again we are going to do some supersets this weekend.  I hope you enjoyed them last weekend and felt the benefits of completing exercises back-to-back.  Not only does it keep your HR elevated, but you can really maximize your workout time.  Personally, I feel that our bodies are only able to perform 100% effort of strength training for about 45 min.

This weekend I'm having you use jump rope (it's ok if you don;t have one or have access to one, just mimic the motion of jumping rope...and yes that means moving the arms as well like you have the rope in your hands) as the cardio exercise of each superset.  You will perform 2 strength exercises followed immediately by jumping rope.  Sound like fun?  Trust me it is, and your body will burn tons of calories doing so.

I have 2 separate pairs of exercises that you'll complete, with a 2-3 minute rest between each pairing.  Rest only as needed between exercises.

#1  When you are finished with this circuit, you will have completed 100 squats, 50 push ups, and 3.5 minutes of jumping rope.  This one will be challenging !

10 squats
12 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
12 squats
10 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
14 squats
8 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
16 squats
6 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
18 squats
4 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
20 squats
2 push ups
30 sec. jump rope
10 squats
8 push ups
30 sec jump rope

#2  This series I want you to perform 3 exercises for 30 seconds each, no rest between, but 1 min rest between rounds.  Try to complete 3-6 rounds depending on how you feel after #1 circuit.

Planks - alternating leg lifts performed on hands or elbows
Lateral Bounds - leaping from side to side while landing only on 1 leg (outside leg)
Jump Rope