Category Archives: News

Workout for the General Fitness Enthusiasts

 

Hello All! I’ve been slacking and not posting as much lately because I’ve been busy enjoying this summer weather (many trips to the ocean). I cannot believe school starts next Monday (8/25/14) for my daughter. My gym seemed very quiet this morning which makes me think a lot of people are away on vacation. So I am going to share a workout geared towards the GENERAL FITNESS ENTHUSIASTS. If you are on vacation there is NO excuse NOW as this workout can be done anywhere. My daughter and her friends agreed to demonstrate the circuits – there was some resistance from them as they are doing two workouts a day for soccer but they eventually agreed to it.

Warm Up – repeat 2 times through:

*spidermans (6 each right and left)

*30-60 second plank

*15 bridges (toes up, dig those heels into the ground)

*50 jump jacks

Circuit One – repeat 3 times through:

*10 pushups

*20 walking lunges

*30 sit-ups

*40 air squats

Circuit Two – repeat 3 times through:

*20 burpees

*20 reverse fly (if you don’t have dumbbells use cans or water bottles)

*20 side hip bends/drop from side plank position

*20 single leg deadlifts (10 right and 10 left)

Thanks Kennede, Heather, Jonica & Karla!!

Work at your own pace – ENJOY!!

Fitness Tips for the General Enthusiasts

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Looking over my website, I realized that my posts have only been geared towards bodybuilding and competitions. So it’s time to post something geared towards the general fitness enthusiasts.

As a personal trainer, the majority of clients that I work with share common goals. The first being to lose body fat, second to gain muscle (whether they use the words tone, firm up or tighten up it all means more muscle) and third to improve overall health.

Society seems to place emphasis on physical appearance more than ever and yet a recent statistics published by the World Health Organization states that globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them clinically obese. WHY is this happening? I say it is due to processed food that is fast and too easy to eat, eating way too much of the wrong things, too large of portions and lack of movement.

I get so frustrated when I read articles or ads that claim to have that one easy step or exercise like crunches, cleanses, take a pill, drink a tea, etc. to fix the overweight problem plaguing Americans. Unfortunately I have bad news for YOU – there is NO quick overnight FIX – the pills, cleanses and teas do NOT WORK. BUT with some work in the gym (which can be fun when done correctly), educating yourself on nutrition and taking responsibility for your health you can achieve YOUR fitness and health goals.

Starting from scratch – 6 Tips

Give yourself time – things don’t happen overnight. – allow yourself time to learn and adapt to a new way of eating and exercising – I usually tell my clients that within 3 months they will have a better understanding of their nutrition, body, and will start to really see the results they want.

Be consistent – you will not see results without consistency. You have to stick to the program; exercising and eating right. You cannot follow the program for 3 days – be off for a day or two and then resume – repeating this pattern over and over will NOT make any changes to your body and or health – YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT!!

Mindset – this has to be a lifestyle NOT a 3 month diet or exercise program! If you cannot wrap your brain around that then you will NOT achieve the results you want.

Track your macros – Look under FITNESS TALK on my website to learn about macronutrients. This is A MUST DO!! Tracking and logging your food can be time consuming at first but like anything else its gets easier the more you do it. This is the best way to educate yourself about what you are putting into your body and to learn how your body responds. My rule for me is to plan a day ahead – I know today what I am eating tomorrow so my macros are 100% accurate. I use myfitnesspal.com

Find balance – You have to follow the program and be consistent but you also have to learn how to find the proper balance of it all so that you can live it. Example, I’ve been working with a client since March and she has lost 40 pounds and is transforming her body. She came to terms herself that this is her new lifestyle. She was worried about a weeks vacation in NYC but I talked her through it. We decided what ‘treats’ she would allow herself in the city through the week and that she could stick to her usual nutrition program the rest of the time. She brought her workouts with her and had a plan. She allowed herself the treats and came back a pound DOWN. I also taught her that what is important is being with her family in the moment, not eating a 2,000 calorie dessert – it’s just FOOD. During my off-season my rule is that I am spot on for 6 days a week and then have a ‘treat’ day. Find your happy balance and methods that YOU can live with.

Lift weights – Many times with dieting and cardio alone a person can lose weight but they will often lose as much muscle as fat weight which doesn’t alter their overall body composition(percentage of fat to muscle) which doesn’t give them that leaner look they are striving for. Strength training helps you add and preserve lean muscle mass which keeps your metabolism high. Muscle takes 35-50 calories per day to maintain whereas fat only takes 2 to 3 calories per day. Also strength training is what reshapes and re-contours your body not cardio. I always use the example of someone who starts out as a pear shape and does a lot of cardio and loses weight which basically turns them into a smaller pear shape. Below are benefits of LIFTING WEIGHTS:

*Increased bone density

*Decreased body fat

*Increased metabolism

*Increased strength

*Improved mental state

*Decreased stress

*Increased energy & stamina

*Look and feel better

*It is FUN

I am proud of all my clients – they are not afraid to train hard – thanks for trusting me!

 

Grocery List of Carbohydrate Sources

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I recently posted a GROCERY LIST OF PROTEIN SOURCES and several people have asked for a carb list so here it is. Most people view carbs as “evil” foods and have a bad reputation for causing weight gain. In reality, carbs provide energy your body needs to help you function throughout the day and spares protein for muscle repair and growth. Think of carbs as fuel that keeps your body moving, like the way gas functions for a car. The only way carbs make you gain weight is when you eat too many and/or too many of the bad types; like sweets. Remember TOO MUCH OF EVEN HEALTHYFOODS CAN MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT!!! Carbs are organic compounds that contain sugars (either simple or complex). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described carbs as foods that your body uses to make glucose. Specifically, amylase (an enzyme in your body) breaks down the carbs you eat to produce glucose, giving you energy. Glucose can be used right away or your body may store it for use later. I always make sure to have a good serving of carbs before I work out and then again a meal of carbs and protein after my workout.

Below is a list of the carbs that I usually eat – there are many more sources of carbs out there but this is MY LIST of what I EAT. As you see the list is long – I love my carbs and variety is important:

  • Japanese sweet potatoes (MY FAVORITE CARB – broiled, baked, or made into fries. I season them with either garlic, cinnamon, etc)
  • Oatmeal, usually Old Wessex 5 Grain or Myoatmeal.com custom blends
  • Cream of rice cereal by Bob’s Red Mill
  • Coconut flour
  • Truvia (not calorie free as stated – they are a carb)
  • Pumpkin puree (usually for making pancakes or casseroles)
  • Kimchi (alone or use as a topping on salads, meat, etc)
  • Joseph’s brand pita, lavash flats and tortillas
  • P28 flats, bread and bagels
  • Alvarado Street Bakery flax seed bread
  • Ezekiel Sprouted English muffins
  • Alexia fat free French fries and hash browns
  • Dr. Praegers spinach pancakes (just found these – they taste like hash browns)
  • Spelt cakes (usually topped with walden farm caramel dip)
  • Rice cakes (apple cinnamon and caramel corn are my favs)
  • Kashi frozen waffles (usually blueberry)
  • Tinkyada Spiral Brown Rice Pasta
  • Shirataki spaghetti
  • Sesmark rice crackers
  • Popped wheat thin crackers (spicy cheddar is great)
  • Suzie’s multispeed flat bread crackers
  • Stand n’stuff whole grain corn taco shells (YUM)
  • Veggies – mostly asparagus, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli.
  • Cauliflower – need to mention again because I eat it a lot – make mashed cauliflower, riced cauliflower, and pizza crust with it
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Bananas, rhubarb, apples, pineapple and berries (usually blueberries and strawberries)
  • Applesauce – unsweetened
  • Cranberries – make my homemade sauce to use as topping on salads, sandwiches
  • Rice Chex cereal – honey nut my fav
  • Raw Honey
  • Better Than Peanut Butter (I like the low sodium)
  • Salsa, Bangkok peanut sauce, Szechuan sauce, mango coconut pepper sauce, taco seasoning (low sodium), spaghetti sauce (usually walnut acres tomato basil no salt added)
  • Skinny cow bars and cones

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Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Grocery List of Protein Sources

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Proteins play a key role in our bodies and it is important to make sure you are getting enough!  You probably know proteins as the major component of muscle; it is used primarily to build and repair body tissues/muscle and can be used for energy when diet is lacking calories or carbohydrates.  Muscles flex arms and legs, contract our hearts and create waves in the walls of our intestines to move food along.  All this muscle activity accounts for most of the energy our body’s burn.  The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the more food you need to maintain your weight.

My clients always struggle with getting enough protein and eating a variety of it. I eat 150g or protein daily and could easily eat more!! My clients often complain “I am so sick of eating chicken” – you can eat more than chicken!! I assume many people struggle with this too so I thought I would share a PROTEIN GROCERY LIST. Have fun shopping & tasting……

  • Eggs – scrambled, omelets, boiled, fried, etc
  • Egg Whites  – same as above – see my recipes for ideas
  • Chicken – breast, whole, ground, sausage
  • Turkey  – breast, whole, extra lean ground, sausage, bacon
  • Bison – ground, steak, sausage, bacon, hot dogs – MY FAVORITE MEAT SOURCE!!
  • Venison – I prefer ground for chili, burgers, tacos, etc
  • Elk – again I prefer ground
  • Lamb – higher in fat so be mindful when tracking fat macros for the day! I do love a good lamb burger once in awhile
  • Fish – all of it – tuna, mahi mahi, grouper, scallops, shrimp, lobster, haddock, salmon, fresh crab (not that imitation crap)!!
  • Tofu – firm chopped up and stir fry with veggies, I LOVE my tofu pups (hot dogs)
  • Lean beef – ground
  • Steaks – I usually select filet mignon & stay away from fattier cuts like ribeye
  • Cold cuts or lunch meats BUT don’t skimp on money on this one – purchase low sodium and good names like Boars Head, Dietz & Watson, etc. I really like Boars Head low sodium roast beef and the Dietz & Watson low sodium turkey breast
  • Pork – I do NOT eat pork – not that I don’t like it – I don’t prefer it – it is higher in fat so again just watch the fat macros
  • Veggie burgers made by Boca, Morningstar, Garden Burger, etc. Check labels and watch for sodium & carb amounts too (I don’t eat these but they are a good option for those who don’t like to eat too much meat, I prefer bison burgers!!!)
  • Jerky – watch for sodium – beef, turkey, tofu, venison, etc
  • Ostrim sticks
  • Protein Powders – to drink and bake with (see my recipes)
  • Peanut flour – great for baking – good amount of protein in it
  • Protein Pretzel Sticks made by Kay’s Naturals – great snack and good when traveling
  • Bars – I do NOT too many bars but have them for when I travel – my choice of bar is Dr. CarbRite Bars – toasted coconut is my favorite
  • Yogurt – suggest unsweetened and to check labels for sugar – greek unsweetened yogurt & add your own truvia
  • Cottage Cheese – love it mixed with fruit or use as dressing on salads
  • Ricotta Cheese – good with fruit, roll up in egg white pancakes, bake in casseroles with meat and veggies, etc. I use both regular and low fat depending on daily macro count
  • Cheese – I do both lower fat and real cheese depending on the menu for the day and macros. Remember cheese has a high fat content so don’t overdo it
  • P28 bread, flats, bagels and spreads – their flats are my favorite!
  • Nuts and nut butters – almonds, pecans, cashew, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, hazelnuts, chestnuts BUT keep in mind nuts are high in fat (good fats) so be careful on quantities
  • Soy nuts, edamame
  • Soy crisps – crackers made from soy – very tasty!
  • Veggies – they offer trace/small amounts of protein but when counting your daily macros they do add up –
  • last but not least BEANS – I do not eat too many beans because they are also high in carbs but they offer many great health benefits.  Just check the labels and be aware of carbs AND protein per serving.

 

Have you been CUPPED?

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I just completed a massage therapy session – I had my legs (adductors) CUPPED and I cannot put into words how AMAZING my legs feel right now. They feel drunk and like I have brand new legs. I’ve been training these legs hard and have been experiencing some on and off knee pain. It goes away when I am warmed up so I know it is fascia related and knee tracking issues. While the usual deep tissue massages are helpful, they feel great and can be very relaxing, I believe that cupping is the way to go to help with adhesions!!

I have a client (I won’t mention any names) who is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip & knee replacements.  He was experiencing some knee tracking issues due to tight IT Band.  I sent him for a  cupping massage and his words were “Ok I will go to entertain you” and was not believing anything that I told him.  After one session and doing some of his own research, he is now a firm believer and a regular client.

What is it?

Cupping is one of the best deep tissue therapies available. Massage cupping is a wonderful and therapeutic technique that increases fluid movement in the body and decrease adhesions. The entire body can be accessed through massage cupping from the bottom of the feet to the neck and everywhere in between. Cupping is the like the inverse of regular massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gently pressure to pull them upward. So instead of rubbing into those tight muscles, the cups lift the tissue and gently glide the toxins out. Massage cupping is an adaption of ancient technique and traditional Chinese medicine. This therapy has been used by the Chinese medicine for several thousands of years. Glass or plastic cups along with vacuum pump create a negative pressure on the skin’s surface. Cups are then moved using various techniques while gently pulling up.

The cups can be parked or left over a certain area for a short duration of time to facilitate joint mobilization or soft tissue release. Suction reaches deep into the soft tissue and attachments. Toxins, inflammation, blood and lymph are then pulled to the skins surface. Health and healing are promoted by loosening the soft and connective tissue and improvements are seen in scars and adhesions.

Benefits include:

Loosen adhesions

Release deep tissue issues

Move stagnation

Relieve inflammation

Stimulate blood flow

My sessions last for 30 minutes and I experience immediate relief. No marks are left on my skin –I have seen people with marks from other therapist.  I am not sure if it is technique or what the Chinese claim – negative energy elements coming to the surface and leaving the body. I’ve only tried my legs but have several sessions scheduled now to try my back and arms. I cannot wait to see how it feels on my back!!

Hope this helps and that you get cupped!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Steps to Help Avoid Injuries

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An injury to an athlete can cause a wide range of emotions including denial, anger and depression. Athletes may also feel fear and anxiety about losing those gains and feel like they have lost their identity. Unfortunately not all injuries can be avoided but we can take simple actions to help avoid what we can. Listed below are my simple suggestions:

1. WARM-UP PROPERLY! By warm-up I do not mean hop on a cardio machine for 5 minutes, step off and then swing your arms and legs around in funky windmill movements (I see this so often in the gym). I believe you need to start with stationary mobility(ball release and foam roll), followed by dynamic flexibility and then activation. Taking the time to warm-up before EACH workout could save you from weeks of lay-off due to an injury. Make sure you are foam rolling properly – work on specific tight areas and hold the foam roller on trigger points for about 20 seconds. Fast rolling over your body will not relieve the knots. YES, it will bring blood flow to the area but you want the knots to release to get those muscles to their optimal lengths. Remember LENGTH-TENSION RELATIONSHIPS which refers to the length at which a muscle can produce the greatest force. My warm-ups usually take about 15 minutes. Detailed below is what a leg day warm-up looks like:

a) Ball release – Use a small ball to stretch and mobilize the soft tissue and the joints of the foot. Slowly roll the ball back and forth between the toes and the heel. Followed by hamstring pin & stretch technique with a softball.

b) Foam rolling – I roll my gluteal area, I-T band, lateral quad and lateral hamstring, thoracic spine and lats.

c) Stationary mobility – spinal rotation, roll backs, kneeling hamstring stretch with foot rotations & FABER stretch. I am moving during these mobility exercises but they are all done on my mat.

d) Dynamic flexibility – spider mans with rotations, pigeon stretch, down dogs, walking calf, walking lunges with rotation, lateral lunges for adductors. All done moving across the floor.

e) Activation – clamshells with band and bridges.

NOW I am ready to squat and deadlift!!

2. VOLUME – Have a plan and do not over train. I see people training for 2 hours at a time – this is not necessary. Have a proper training program for the week and look at total volume. Remember you don’t have to do every single exercise to make the gains – be wise!

3. DELOAD WEEKS – I’ve mentioned the importance of deloads weeks in a previous post. Look under my training updates from the post dated 1/20/14 for further information! Deload weeks are a MUST and should be scheduled into your training routine. I deload every 4th week!

4. SLEEP & REST – I make sure I get to bed early and aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I also rest daily by either having a nap or just rest with my feet up for 20 minutes. I listen to my body and when it needs a nap, I take one! Not only does adequate rest helps prevent injuries, but experts say that well-rested athletes are able to train harder and more effectively, getting more out of training sessions. Rest is an important part of proper training and can make you stronger!

5. SUPPLEMENTS & NUTRITION – Proper nutrition can affect your performance and there is plenty of well-researched and documented facts to prove it. However there is little research on whether or not your diet can prevent injuries. I believe proper nutrition can help you recover, therefore reducing your risk for injury. I plan my macros for the day around my workouts to make sure I have the fuel I need before my workouts and the proper fuels afterward to recover. I also take BCAA’S and creatine. A well fueled, rested and properly trained body will continue to run at peak performance!

 

 

Training Update 5/17/14 & WORKOUT CHALLENGE

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This week concluded another deload week for me which means a week of CrossFit. I really enjoy this week because I get a break from the heavy lifting and volume and am able to try completely different exercises from my usual training. It is a great break mentally and excellent conditioning!

I feel like I had a successful week.  I am most excited to say that  I have FINALLY mastered the kipping pull-ups. If you read my training update from 1/20/2014 you will see that they’ve been a challenge for me and they were on my list of things to accomplish. I also mastered the rope climb to the top (first time getting to the top and quickly), improved my technique on cleans, handled 30# wall balls and I completed a modified version of a CrossFit Regional Event. My trainer, Anthony Vorachak, qualified for the Regionals CrossFit Games by placing 13th in the Northeast and 127th worldwide! I was nervous he was going to put me through one of the workouts and I was right to be worried. However he modified the workout for me knowing I am ‘deloading’.

This workout was the probably the most challenging part of the week. So much so that I thought I would share with it and challenge you to give it a try. Have fun!!

GOAL: complete in 21 minutes. The actual workout is 50 reps. Anthony modified to 30 reps for me. Another modification was that I did ring push-ups vs ring dips. It is just cruel to go from wall balls to dips and then right back to wall balls.

Modified Regional Event/Workout:

30 calorie row

30 box jump overs

30 deadlifts (125#)

30 wall balls (14#)

30 ring push ups

30 wall balls

30 deadlifts

30 box jump overs

30 calorie row

I wanted to take some videos but we forgot – promise to take videos of me suffering (I am mean working) during my next deload week!!

10 Tips to Fight Cravings and/or Binges

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We all have those moments when we CRAVE something. The urge is so strong that we lose all sense and blow whatever gains we’ve made. I am so strong willed when in show prep mode that I would never think to give into those cravings. But I will be honest, I do give in during the off-season. My goal during my next off-season is to be better and follow my own tips below:

Ensure You Are Eating Enough of the Proper Calories  Make sure you take in enough for breakfast and lunch so you do not approach the afternoon on empty.  This will create killer cravings and binges – make time to eat the proper meals and snacks.  KNOW when your weak times are and plan a snack. Example, I like to snack in late evening so I always plan out enough macros to allow for a good bedtime snack.

Wait 15 Minutes When a craving hits, it takes over your world but it doesn’t last long. Distract yourself for 10-15 min. by cleaning the house, filing those papers, playing with your kids, walking your pet, or running errands. You´ll feel productive and forget all about it.

Stay Hydrated Water acts as a natural appetite suppressant by keeping your stomach full and fending off dehydration, which can lead to false cravings and hunger. As an added bonus water helps your body metabolize stored fat by helping the kidney´s flush out waste and it prevents bloating. Water is one of the best craving busters – you can even try warm water or tea.

Balance Your Meals You’ve probably already heard this but eating high carb meals usually trigger cravings for more carbs and sugar. Balancing your meals with protein and a little healthy fat will satisfy you more and reduce cravings big time. Eat protein and carbs together!

Get Your ZZZ’s Sleep deprivation and fatigue often lead to carb cravings because carbs are your body’s number one source of energy. Getting enough sleep or making up for lost sleep with a good nap can prevent serious dips in your energy levels that often lead to cravings.

Exercise It Away Life can get pretty hectic and stressful and a little treat sounds like a good pick me up but just think of the calories and the guilt. If you want to make yourself feel better, go for a brisk walk, climb flights of stairs, do 100 crunches, do jumping jacks, or drop and do burpees.  You’ll produce some feel good endorphins and forget all about that treat. Remember it takes over 500 burpees to burn off 1 large serving of french fries. You cannot exercise away a bad diet.

Brush It Away A thorough brushing and flossing distracts you and leaves you with a minty taste in your mouth, one that you won’t want to ruin with the taste of food. Plus think about how impressed your dentist will be next time you go in for a check-up.

 Write It Off Keep a journal and you’ll be amazed how often you turn to food in times of stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue or just boredom. A food/mood journal can be extremely helpful in figuring out patterns and devising coping strategies for those stressful times when you would otherwise turn to food. A journal also keeps you honest and it makes you accountable to yourself. Nobody wants to write down that they ate half a pan of brownies or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  Writing those entries and seeing the actual fat and carb grams and calories will snap you right out of the craving.

Quick Tips Chew gum to keep your jaw busy, step on the scale to shock you out of eating that cookie, look at pictures of yourself – the ones you don’t want anybody else to see, call a friend or your trainer, etc.  I know if I go to Facebook I will see enough motivation to stick to the program!

Treat Day Plan on ONE day of the week that you can have a treat meal, snack, whatever. In my world these are called high-carb or refeed days. I plan these days out and look forward to them. It helps to know that treats are ahead. Lately my treat of choice is peanut butter pop-tarts? Other times it has been a burger with a large plate of home-made fries,  ice-cream, biscuits, etc. I make my craving of the week  work into my diet (macros) and knowing that I have something to look forward to helps.  Makes it taste that much better!

Hope this helps….