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At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

The benefit of having a home gym is the home gym fits in your schedule. Sometimes new appointments show up, meetings go long, kids need to be taken here and there, and getting yourself to the gym seems impossible. But when you have fitness equipment at home, you can save time, money spent on memberships you don’t use, have privacy within your own home, and customize your own workout. Check out these top fitness products which are great for creating an at-home gym.

Rband2 300x289 At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

Photo Credit: www.workoutyourdiet.com

 

1. Resistance Band ($5-$15): This is such a great and simple tool to use. A band can be used for a full body resistance training workout. From upper body to lower body to core, bands challenge the muscles to not only contract but also lengthen in the negative part of the movement (for instance the eccentric (down) movement of a bicep curl). Each color band represents a different resistance. Starting with the least to heaviest resistance the colors go: yellow, green, red, blue, purple, and black. This is also a wonderful tool to use while traveling as well. Weighs almost nothing and can be folded up to fit in any small space of your suitcase.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: www.racerxvt.com

2. TRX-Suspension Trainer ($125-$185): Similar to a resistance band, however allows for more range of motion and a better use of supported body weight. A TRX strap can be used for a full body weight training workout. The TRX leverages gravity and your bodyweight, providing greater performance and functionality over using large exercise machines (which costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars). You’re in control of how much you want to challenge yourself because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. Also the TRX is great for travelling because of its foldable and light qualities.

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Photo Credit: www.everythingyoga.com

 

3. Mat ($10-$25): A mat is a very simple product that can be used for many exercises. A mat provides support for your knees, hands, and back when doing floor exercises and also assists you doing Pilates and Yoga at home as well. Consider the thickness of your mat; a mat that’s too thick can make you unstable, but one too thin can leave you sore post-workout.

 

 

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Photo Credit: www.exrx.net

 

4. Fitball ($8-$10) and Dumbbells (Varies based on weight): A fitball is a favorite because the ball can be used to facilitate resistance training by acting as a bench or chair. Seated on the ball you can use dumbbells on your arms or lying down on the ball you use it to execute a bench press or chest fly with dumbbells.  Additionally, the ball is perfect for abdominal and lower back strengthening exercises. Fitballs have different sizes (55, 65, 75mm), therefore the taller you are the bigger the ball you will want to get. The traditional size is a 65mm for anyone between 5’4” and 6’.

BDisc At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

Photo Credit: www.drugstore.com

 

5. Balance Disc ($12-$18): An awesome tool to not only practice balance on, but also a wonderful way to strengthen your ankle muscles and balance. Balancing one 
foot on each or both feet on the same disc, this creates air displacement and an unstable platform for your feet. The unstable platform strengthens the ankles and improves balance and flexibility. Incorporate this into your weight training, by standing on top and adding bicep curls, shoulder presses, or tricep kickbacks—getting an upper body and balance workout in one!

FRoll4 18 300x300 At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

Photo Credit: www.academy.com

 

6. Foam Roller ($15-$50): Exercise can leave our body feeling sore and tight. Having a foam roller at home can help reduce soreness and release some muscle tension. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release which is used to inhibit overactive muscles. Using the foam roller is a form of stretching that improves soft tissue extensibility by relaxing the muscle and allowing activation of the antagonist muscle. Foam rolling can sometimes be uncomfortable, but releasing this tension 1-2X/week will make the rolling more and more comfortable and improve full range of motion for the whole body.

 

YStrap4 18 300x187 At–Home Gym: Our Fave Fitness Products

Photo Credit: www.yogaaccessories.com

7. Yoga Strap ($10-$15): Using a yoga strap is a great way to help assist and progress stretching. Using a strap delivers the benefits of assisted stretching with a partner. Having multiple loops permit deep, gradual stretching of major muscle groups with greater safety, control and effectiveness than is possible unaided. The strap is a simple tool that also can be brought with while travelling. Stretching our muscles help to improve range of motion and improve the body’s elasticity. We want to not only be strong, but functional and mobile as well and using a strap like this can assist in making stretching less forced and improve flexibility.

 

THE BEST FOODS YOU AREN’T EATING

iStock 000005363958XSmall 300x225 THE BEST FOODS YOU AREN’T EATING

It can be easy to eat the same foods day after day.  Let’s face it—most of us want a simple meal plan that requires as minimal preparation as possible.  We like quick meals with as few ingredients as possible.  However, there are specific foods or ingredients that most of us neglect because we either don’t know what to do with them or we’ve only had them prepared by our grandmothers.  It is time to get creative, think outside the box, and incorporate some highly nutritious foods that give your go-to recipes a huge flavor boost.  The following foods and ingredients are literally the BEST foods you aren’t eating:

  1. Different varieties of fruits and vegetables.  Have you ever tried broccoli rabe or purple potatoes?  What about dried goji berries?  Most of us recognize the benefits of fruits and vegetables:  high fiber, high water content, loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E, K, potassium, folate, etc.   Try incorporating different varieties of fruits and vegetables that you recognize.  They provide similar nutrients, but a different texture and flavor profile.
  2. Beets.  It’s time to turn up the beat in your kitchen by using purple and yellow beets in your regular meal plan.  Beets provide high amounts of naturally occurring nitrates that allow your body to better utilize oxygen…pretty cool, right?  They are also loaded with anthocyanins, an antioxidant, that assist in lowering inflammation.  Try grating or shredding beets into a vegetarian inspired wrap or roast beets and toss with a citrus vinaigrette and top over fresh arugula.
  3. Seeds.  What is good for your heart is good for your brain.  We know nuts are heart healthy, but seeds tend to be an item we forget to grab at the grocery store.  Purchase a variety of seeds such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed.  Chia seeds, high in plant omega-3 fatty acids and iron, work great in oatmeal, smoothies and whole grain pilafs.  Pumpkin seeds, high in vitamin E and fiber, provide a nice crunch to salads or work great in homemade granolas.  Ground flaxseed, high in dietary fiber and plant omega-3 fatty acids, is great over roasted vegetables as well as blended into smoothies or salad dressings.
  4. Herbs.  It is easy to dismiss the herbs in the produce section.  However, start thinking of herbs as miniature vegetables.  They provide flavor to food without using a heavy hand with the salt shaker.  Net result?  Less sodium, higher flavor and more antioxidants added to your meals.
  5. Lentils.  I don’t know one person that has tried lentils and not enjoyed them.  It can be easy to grab a can of beans and use those in tacos, soups, etc., but lentils can be used the same way as beans and still provide protein, fiber, iron, folate and more.  Try making lentil salads with fresh herbs, lentil soup with carrots, celery and onion or a lentil patty that replaces your standard burger.
  6. Shallots.  This vegetable is a milder relative of an onion.  Onions add a ton of flavor to your soups, sauces, sautéed vegetables and more.  The same application goes for shallots.  They cost more per pound and are worth every penny because of their sweet yet subtle onion flavor and nutritional components such as potassium, fiber, flavonoids (antioxidant), vitamin A and folate.  Use these in dressings, sauces, sautés.

 

Bring Friends and Save

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Laugh, sweat and reconnect!

Experience H3 with loved ones and strengthen the bond between you. Here you will create life-long memories supporting each other in weight loss or jumpstarting a healthy routine. And when you travel and stay together everyone SAVES. *

 

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BandS4 163 Bring Friends and Save

 

 

*Savings based on a preferred villa. All guests in your party must stay in the same villa. Three bedroom accommodations are available, but in limited supply. $1000 deposit due at time of booking, balance payable at check-in. Should a member of your party cancel or reschedule the rate will be adjusted.

 

“ALL OR NOTHING” VS. “ALL IN”

Music Cardio 210x300  “ALL OR NOTHING” VS. “ALL IN” Most people that come to H3 are ready and motivated to do whatever it takes to reach their goals—hire a personal trainer, develop a meal plan, set boundaries and more.  In regards to diet and nutrition, those that are motivated typically start practicing the following:  food logging, cooking more often, meal planning, and implementing portion control.  Sounds perfect, right?

What happens if you are the “all or nothing” thinker?  What happens if your perfect plan doesn’t go so perfectly?  Do you get back on 95 or do you feel like you have just landed in a ditch and all the work has been wasted?  One can be internally motivated for all the right reasons, but the all or nothing mindset can easily take one back to ground zero—eating out, late night snacking, eating in front of the television, and a lack of planning…all because one night included a binge of pizza and a pint of ice cream.

H3 tries to encourage guests to get out of the all or nothing thinking and reframing that mindset to learning from the detours while staying on track.   I like to call this getting out of the “ALL OR NOTHING” and into the “ALL IN” attitude.  The ALL IN attitude is serious about health, but gives your body, mind and spirit the ability to embrace grace and forgiveness while staying committed to your goals.  Here are a few examples and scenarios that reveal an ALL IN mindset versus the all or nothing thinking:

  • Scenario #1:  Two weeks of solid meal planning + portion control =  -2 lbs. on the scale.  Week three involves traveling for work + portion control = No gain, no loss (WIN!!!).  Learning experience?  When not in control…portion control.
  • Scenario #2:  Your birthday + dessert =   savoring and enjoying that dessert (if it was me it would be Graeters ice cream from Cincinnati J).   Learning experience?  Mindful eating + accountability (sharing your birthday dessert with others) + desserts on special occasions = you are still 100% committed to your goals and learning moderation is liberating.
  • Scenario #3:  You forget to pack lunch + creating a salad at the local grocery store salad bar (e.g., Whole Foods or Krogers) = continued success.  Learning experience?  Always have a back-up plan.  When in doubt, find a local grocery store or restaurant that becomes your plan B for a healthy lunch or dinner.

Ask yourself if you are the all or nothing thinker.  Most people know right away.  I am here to tell you that it IS OKAY and ENCOURAGED to turn into the ALL IN thinker.  Please share any thoughts or comments!

 

Fitness Friday: Have an “Eggceptionally” Active Easter!

With Easter just around the corner, you may be foreseeing plenty of sugar in your near future as a consequence of treat-filled baskets and Easter Egg hunts. While holidays are an understandable time to be a little indulgent, use being “hopped up on sugar” to your advantage this year! Channel your inner energizer bunny and try this Tabata workout designed to make you move as quick as a rabbit!

Tabata is a style of high-intensity interval training in which 20 seconds of activity are followed by 10 seconds of rest. This method is repeated for a total of eight rounds, or four minutes, for each exercise. Since you will be performing four exercises, this workout is 16 minutes long. Grab a stopwatch and remember to stretch afterward!

Exercise 1:  Mountain Climbers

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Starting Position

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Right Leg to Chest

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Left Leg to Chest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise 2:  High Knees with Fast Arms

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Exercise 3:  Lateral Hops

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Lateral Hops – Jump side to side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise 4:  Grapevine

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COACHING CORNER: ARE YOU LISTENING?

0410 COACHING CORNER:  ARE YOU LISTENING?

I love listening to different podcasts, webinars, Ted talks and sermons on my high tech smart phone.  Most recently, a sermon focused on the art of being intentional and engaging while listening to others.  Most people recognize listening is an important piece of communication and as guests continue to participate in our program it makes me realize how powerful active listening can really be.  In fact, this sermon stressed that “anytime we are talking, we are not actively listening.”

Think about it…we all thrive to voice our opinions, share our beliefs, and gain approval from others—especially through words.  Clear evidence of this is simply going on Facebook and reading status updates or links shared.  However, sometimes we tend to do too much talking, including myself, and not enough listening to what others are saying.  In fact, I bet a lot of us think we are good listeners…but are we really?  The tips below are strategies and must be practiced in order to become a better listener:

  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.  I’ll give an example:  You attend H3 for 2 weeks and you just got back home to your husband, dog, and full-time job.  You are on a health “high” and you want the ice cream out of the freezer, the alarm to go off at 5:00 am, and you no longer want to entertain house guests for the next 3 months so you can focus on your health.  These are all wonderful things, but what if your husband is having a hard time understanding this change?  As you get home from H3 make sure to communicate about your experience as well as listen to how your healthy lifestyle change will impact those around you.
  • Be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying.  Ask questions. Participate through body language.  Emphasize.  To put it simply…genuinely care.  For example, when giving lectures at H3 I love when guests ask questions.  It shows me they want to learn and apply new things at home.  There are also times when it can be hard to control a lecture because one person in the group takes over and may ask 5-10 questions that only focus on who?  “me.”  These are the times that I wonder if they are actively listening to not only what I am saying, but also to the other lectures.

As you continue on your health journey ask yourself if you are listening to those around you.  Are you listening to your personal trainer?  Are you engaged at work?  Do you listen to your Doctor when he encourages you to practice something new?  I hope these two points help you in your day to day encounters and remember…. when you doing the talking, we are not actively listening.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Stress Awareness to Stress Bareness

0409 Wellness Wednesday: Stress Awareness to Stress Bareness

Just in case you are out of the loop, April is National Stress Awareness month. It seems a rather odd label to attach to a month. I mean, isn’t the term “stress awareness” a bit redundant? To be stressed is to be hyper-aware. It’s unlikely that people are walking around stressed without being aware of it. I think they, (whoever “they” are), should consider renaming April something more useful like the National Antidote to Stress month or the National Stress-No-More month.

I’m not sure April was fully briefed when it so graciously accepted the unfortunate label of National Stress Awareness month. For instance, did April know that in 2013 stress related healthcare issues cost employers over 300 billion dollars? That same year, the American Psychological Association reported that more than one-third of the U.S. population identified themselves as extremely stressed. That is a lot of stressed-out people! Furthermore, a recent study also indicates that 77% of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.

So what does this mean for April? How can we make its designation as National Stress Awareness month meaningful? Perhaps we should shift from the ever-present awareness to a game plan. As a culture we have become too accepting of stress as a component in our daily lives. In other words, we complain about it, and sometimes make a feeble attempt at lessening it, but we rarely make a committed effort at fixing the sources of our stress.

The top causes of stress in America are job pressure, money, health, relationships and sleep deprivation. Instead of simply acquiescing to the inevitability of stress in these areas of your life I want you spend April doing an inventory. Sit down and create a spreadsheet with headings that indicate the areas of your life where you experience the most stress. Underneath each heading list, in great detail, what the factors are in each area of your life that cause you stress. For example, if your job is the first heading, then list all the reasons your job stresses you out. Pick one thing from the list to work on changing. This is where the awareness shits to action. Part of your spreadsheet might look like this:

Job:

  1. Constant tension with my co-worker Sally. She is abrasive and doesn’t pull her weight making my job harder. I can’t stand working with her.
  2. I am overloaded at work. I’m expected to do the work of three people.
  3.  My cubicle is too small and allows for too many distractions.

Perhaps you picked number one from the list to focus on first. After some thought, problem solving, and Googling, you take action by setting up a meeting with your HR Director to discuss some possible solutions to the distracting tension with your co-worker. If you are going to stand a chance battling stress you have to think outside the box. You might suggest a meeting with a conflict resolution professional or an in-office transfer. Taking action on just one of the issues contributing to your stress not only helps to reduce stress, but also strengthens self-confidence.

Awareness is great but action is better. We often tackle other problems in our life with dedication while succumbing passively to an overload of stress. April could be the month when all that changes. It could be the month when you take a good, hard look at what is creating unhealthy stress in your life followed by formulating a well, thought out plan with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time oriented) directed at alleviating the source of your stress.

Instead of Stress Awareness month, let’s make April National Acting on Stress month. Spring into action this spring — make stress reduction a priority.

 

Nutrition: Taking a Multivitamin

 

0408 2 300x201 Nutrition: Taking a Multivitamin

Nearly 40% of American adults regularly take a multivitamin/mineral supplement, spending billions of dollars every year. If you are one of them, are you getting your money’s worth? Most recent studies, including two that were published in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine in December, would suggest not. Neither study found any benefit nor in fact an editorial published along with the articles proclaimed, “Enough is enough; Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”  In February, the U.S. Public Health Services Task Force, an independent group of health care experts who develop recommendations for primary care physicians and health systems, reported that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against the used of multivitamin/mineral supplements. Stephen Fortmann, MD, of the Kaiser Center of Health Research, lead author of the report, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that consumers may be ‘throwing their money away.” And some studies have not only shown no benefit, but potential harm from multis.

Based on the current information, you should obviously stop wasting money by purchasing supplements, right? To quote a popular college football analyst, “not so fast my friend.” According to the Harvard School of Public Health’s online resource, the Nutrition Source, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/, a daily multi might be beneficial. They agree of course that the best way to meet your nutrient need is to eat a healthy well balanced diet but for those who don’t, a multi can help fill in the gaps. As far as that study suggests this increased the risk.  The Nutrition Source stated that those studies were flawed; looking at all of the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard multivitamin seem to outweigh the risks.  In addition, in the May 2014 issue of the University of California Wellness Letter, it was mentioned that several groups of people including women who may get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding women, strict vegetarians, and people on prolonged low calorie diets would likely benefit by taking a multivitamin.

If you chose to take one, the Wellness Letter say that it need not cost more than a few cents a day. Store brand and generics are usually as reliable as brand name products. For added insurance look for supplements that are USP Verified (see the graphic below). When it comes to vitamins and minerals, more is not better. Look for one that keeps to around 100% of the RDA’s a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. 0408 3 300x273 Nutrition: Taking a Multivitamin

 

Healthy Recipe: Spinach Pernod Shrimp Dip

0407 315x420 Healthy Recipe: Spinach Pernod Shrimp Dip

Pernod is the brand name of a type of liqueur called a pastis. The leading characteristic of this drink is its licorice flavor, which is produced either with licorice (the plant, not the candy) or anise.

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. Butter, unsalted

½ cup Minced shallots or green onions

2 tsp. Minced garlic

¼ cup Pernod

8 cups Baby spinach, fresh, cleaned and chopped

1 cupSmall shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped

2 oz. Fat free cream cheese

½ cup Skim milk

¼ cup Shredded parmesan cheese

STEPS:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Heat up large sauté pan to medium low.
  • Add butter.
  • Add shallots or onion and garlic and sauté until soft.
  • Deglaze the pan with Pernod.
  • Add chopped spinach and stir to wilt.
  • Stir in shrimp, cream cheese and skim milk.
  • Place mixture in small casserole and top with parmesan cheese.
  • Bake until parmesan has a golden color.
  • Serve warm with pita chips.

NUTRITION:

SERVINGS 6; SERVING SIZE ¼ cup; CALORIES 60kcal; FAT 3gm

 

Fitness Friday: Muscle Mobility

0404 Fitness Friday: Muscle Mobility

“All human beings should be able to perform basic human maintenance on themselves.” – Kelly Starrett

Steadily flexibility training has changed over time. We’ve gone from ballistic type stretching (the bouncing type which isn’t safe) to static stretching where you hold a stretch for 30-60 seconds hoping to restore range of motion to the area. What you may or may not have heard about is this new idea of self-massage using balls or rollers. This is formally known as Self-Myofascial release and may also sometimes be referred to as the poor man’s massage.

What’s the deal with SMR? Think of your body as an interconnected chain between your muscles. Between those muscles lies this connective tissue called fascia. When fascia gets tight it restricts movement. When movement is restricted pain may occur, which can the lead to injury. It’s that one chink in the chain that can throw everything off. Check out the Injury Cycle by TP Therapy. Does this seem like something you’ve gone through? Not too much is out on the CDC as to studies behind this stuff, but many physical therapists continually implement these techniques with their clients.

One of the biggest names out there is a CrossFit Coach by the name of Kelly Starrett.  He’s written a solid book called The Supple Leopard. Coach Kelly Starrett received his Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2007 from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, California. Before starting his own physical therapy practice he practiced performance-based physical therapy at the world-renowned Stone Clinic. Kelly has with the help of others gotten these techniques much more mainstream through his blog www.mobilitywod.com. If you’re ready for a little knowledge check it out!

We’ve recognized the benefits of these SMR techniques so about 3months ago we added a new fitness class called “Muscle Mobility.” Within this class, we teach the most common techniques using lacrosse balls so with a $2 investment our guests can unglue their muscles at home.  Remember that SMR should only be performed on soft tissue never bone or spine. Muscles feeling like beef jerky today? Get on that SMR.

 

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