November 30, 2009
November 28, 2009
This makes a perfect lunch. It's easy, tasty and healthy.
Focaccia and Cream Cheese Sandwich
2 Vine ripened or any small tomatoes
4 Tbsp Cream Cheese Light
1 Tbsp Freshly grated herbs
enough focaccia bread for 2 sandwiches
2 Tbsp red pepper dressing light
1 Tbsp or less Olive oil
Salad leaves or spinach
1. Preheat the oven 190 C, 375 F.
2. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the sandwiches. Place the Cream cheese, fresh herbs and seasoning in a small bowl and mix with a spoon.
4. Spread the bread with the cheese mixture and decorate with salad leaves.
5. Drizzle the cheese with red pepper dressing and top with remaining bread.
6. Lay some roasted tomatoes on each plate still attached to the vine and serve. Or slice them for inside the sandwich.
November 26, 2009
Shameless self promotion time! If you live in Toronto, consider hiring me, Kaleena, as your personal trainer.
I have been training in Toronto for five years and I am certified through the Canadian Fitness Professionals of Canada, Can Fit Pro.
My personal training is incredibly flexible and I customize every training program for individual goals, abilities and limitations.
My specialty is weight loss, as I lost fifty pounds myself over six years ago and have kept it off, while living a healthy and active lifestyle. Currently I maintain my fitness levels by: walking, cycling, speed walking, yoga, calisthenics, belly dancing, running and weight training.
I can train with an outdoor running/cycling/running program (seasonally dependant) or in your home/condo gym. Partner and group rates are available. I provide equipment if you do not have any, and we will do a mix of all types of fitness disciplines.
Custom programs are also available for training on your own with online or phone support.
Personal training is a great service to give you results quickly, effectively and safely. Training will keep your workouts consistent and provide you with the solid fundamentals of exercises to exercise on your own and to design your own programs.
Give it a try.
Check out my Personal Training Rates and e mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org or call anytime 647 308 KALI (5254).
November 24, 2009
November 23, 2009
"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best."
"Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off."
"Fans don't boo nobodies."
"Golf is a game in which you yell "fore," shoot six, and write down five."
"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."
November 21, 2009
Ten weeks ago I started taking belly dancing lessons. You can check out my article, Benefits of Belly Dancing, here.
I'm now in to the second module of the beginner level and I have my very first performance at the beginning of December!
So far, I have noticed some really great changes in not only my body, but in my overall well being.
1. The best result, is that my stomach is more toned. Belly Dancing has a lot of movements that come from the core. I still can't get over how worked my abs feel the morning after class!
2. Stronger pelvic core. The first few classes really made my lower back feel overworked. This was simply because I'm not used to using it in that way. I regularly practice yoga, which is great for stretching, but nothing has strengthened my low back quite like belly dancing.
3. Improved Co ordination. When I first started, I felt like I had two left feet AND arms! Actually, I felt rather silly! I have improved immensely and muscle memory is making it much easier for me to grasp the concepts. I've even noticed this shine through in other aspects of training with improved agility and balance.
4. Better posture. The first lesson in belly dancing is on posture. Everything you do starts from an upright pose, with a relaxed lower back. I'm walking taller, moving gracefully and feeling more confident.
5. Better muscle endurance. Even from the first class I noticed that my shoulders were killing from having to hold my arms up for prolonged periods of time. It helped me to realize an area of weakness in my training. I do shoulder strengthening exercises but I wasn't training properly for endurance. Belly dancing in itself is all the training I've needed, as I can keep them up much longer than two months ago!
If you are interested in learning the art of belly dancing, I highly recommend it. It's a lot of fun and I'm seeing the results I was hoping for. I can't wait until the new year when I get to enter the next phase of my lessons!
November 19, 2009
During the past week, I have been speed walking hills, instead of the usual morning jog. The first difference I noticed was that while I didn't sweat nearly as much as running, my heart rate soars out of control! To give you an idea of the difference, my jogs take me to a max of 130, whereas the walks were measuring in between 150 and 160!
It's amazing how easy it is to believe you are well conditioned in all areas of fitness, and then do something your body isn't quite used to, just to see where your training weaknesses lie. I walk all of the time, but never up a hill, at over 4 miles/per/hour for 30 minutes straight!
Not to mention how tired it made me! You know that feeling after a day long hike? That's how I felt after my first speed walking workout. Considering I walked for less time than my usual runs (and they don't tire me at all!) I think these walks should be a part of my regular fitness rotation.
Here are some speed walking tips:
1. Concentrate movement from the core.
Keep your back straight, your abs tight and imagine your legs and arm are being propelled by your midsection. This means that every movement is very intentional. Your body is moving like a machine. When the left leg is out the right arm is out and vice versa. It's important to keep this form for the most effective workout possible, core strengthening, and injury prevention.
2. Swing your arms.
Speed walkers swing their arms for extra cardiovascular conditioning, and balance. Using your arms allows more blood to be pumped into the heart. Using light 1 or 2 lbs is debatable. Some people believe it will give you a repetitive strain injury. For the most part, I believe this too. Using weights should be strictly for strength training, not cardio. However, using very light 1lb weights when speed walking does help you to keep your arms swinging, and to stay sweating. There's no doubt about that. Using them sparingly, every few workouts won't do any harm.
3. Use an incline.
Walking up hills, or on an incline is more challenging, and helps to cushion impact. Walking on flat terrain, or even worse, downhill is extremely hard on the joints. If you are walking downhill, swivel your hips and bend your knees. This will help to strengthen the lower back and prevent shin splints.
Speed walking is fantastic for people who cannot run due to injuries, obesity or weak leg muscles. It's also a great way to cross train, to switch up your running routine periodically for better overall results.
November 17, 2009
Grocery shopping doesn't have to be a headache, comparing food labels and finding low fat/sodium/carbohydrate alternatives. Of course, spending time to do this will make for a healthier cart of food items but there is one quick and easy rule everybody should know:
November 16, 2009
November 14, 2009
I was browsing online to find an upper body cardio to routine for exercisers in wheelchairs, or with lower body injuries. I was surprised to find that there is not a lot of information on this topic. I created a calisthenics based upper body cardiovascular workout that works really well.
November 12, 2009
If you do not have equipment at home, and go to a gym instead, you may have noticed that gym goers can be pretty rude at times! Try to be the better person, and make the gym a friendlier place by following three simple rules of weight room etiquette:
Three Rules for Weight Room Etiquette
1. Don't be a Cardio Hog!
Imagine rushing from work to the gym, and all you want to do is grab a 30 minute bout of exercise on the treadmill, only to find that the machines are already in use. Okay, you think, I can wait. You patiently sit by waiting for your turn and then 30 minutes goes by, then 40, and the same people are still using the equipment, despite seeing you sitting there waiting for them! It's frustrating when this happens, and for that reason, it's polite to only use cardiovascular equipment for 20 to 30 minutes if people are waiting.
2. Don't be a Weight Hog!
Same as above, I see this all of the time. A weight lifter has his own little circuit going on. He'll rotate between the cable machine, bench press and free weights, resting in between sets. You go to use the cable machine and he says, "Hey, I'm using that!" So instead, you go for a bench press and he says, "I still have one more set on that one." Okay, buddy, now you're getting on my nerves!
Look, if you want to use equipment exactly when and how you want to, then consider buying a bench and cable machine for at home. To use a busy gym and take all of the equipment hostage until you're done your own workout, is pretty rude!
3. Wipe Equipment
It only takes thirty seconds and it makes a huge difference to the quality of the gym. Nobody wants to lie down in some one's head sweat, or on a mat covered with back sweat. Ew! Keep the gym sanitary and fresh by using the cleaning solution provided and either a towel, or a paper towel.
Everybody needs to work together to make the gym a friendly and enjoyable experience. Without every member's cooperation, the fitness facility and experience as a whole, truly suffers.
November 10, 2009
Working a career that has you on the go all day, leaves little room to sit down and enjoy a full lunch. Fortunately I have what I know as, my power foods. Little snacks that are easy to grab at any coffee shop/convenience store for energy, and feeling full, to hold your stomach over until dinner time at home.
November 9, 2009
"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
–Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris
"To be 'on edge,' you are literally not centered - not being in your spiritual center."
"Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life."
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
–Mohandas K. Gandhi
"Sometimes a headache is all in your head. Relax."
"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."
November 7, 2009
Check out my article from a while back called, Crazy About Chickpeas. I really love using them in recipes. They're high in protein and fibre, low in fat and a complex carbohydrate. They're truly perfect for a vegetarian diet and extremely versatile.
Here is an easy chickpea recipes to try on your own. If you have never cooked with chickpeas before, start by using the canned variety and when you're comfortable with chickpea recipes, switch to dried. They take (a lot) longer to prepare but it's well worth it. They taste much better and are lower in sodium.
This recipe is from Big Oven. This is an amazing recipe community and I encourage anyone who loves to experiment with food, to check it out!
Chickpeas and Baby Spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds lightly toasted and ground
1 Salt preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chopped fresh pepper) to taste
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring for one to two minutes, until fragrant and the tomato paste has turned a darker color. Add the chickpeas, the stock or water, and the cayenne, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, stirring until each addition of spinach wilts. Add salt to taste and simmer uncovered, stirring often, for five minutes. Add lots of freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt and cayenne, and serve.
Note: Another way to make this dish is to blanch the spinach separately in salted boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, drain and squeeze dry. Add to the chickpeas as in step 2, but stir together for only two to three minutes.
November 5, 2009
With such busy lifestyles, fitting in exercise can be a huge challenge. If you are lucky enough to have developed a good routine at home, you just want to get through it. If you travel to a gym to work out, you are losing quite a bit of time just traveling there and back. While it can be tempting to cut corners, the truth is that you'll probably regret it later. In order to avoid paying later, you definitely need to take the extra time to do things like warm up, cool down and stretch.
Warm Up and Stretching
Jumping right into a hard workout can put a lot of stress on your body. Your muscles can easily become pulled and strained if proper procedures aren't followed. An easy warm up consists of a few basic stretching exercise. Some people do a bit of yoga in order to stretch and become limber. Yoga helps your body become flexible and can also bring better mental focus to your entire workout. Most people also don't realize how much physical strength holding the movements requires. In addition, you should start your main workout with some lower impact movements. Consider a brisk walk on the treadmill or a moderate cycling speed. If you power walk outdoors, spend the first five minutes at a comfortable walking pace before kicking it into high gear.
Once you are done with your workout, what you really want to do is get out of there and get in the shower! A good workout can leave you feeling invigorated and ready to start the day. Physical activity is also a proven mood booster. However, these benefits can quickly be forgotten if you neglect to wind down after the stress of physical activity. Moderate physical activity after a heavy workout can help your muscles relax. This leads to less discomfort as your muscles react to the strain of exercise. A proper cool down period also ensures that your lungs have a chance to catch up and cool down before you rush into your daily responsibilities. The cool down period has mental benefits as well, including helping you to change gears and focus on the mental tasks that your day will bring.
It's not news that exercise is great for your health and well-being. Fitting it into a busy lifestyle isn't always easy. However, taking the time to do it right by stretching, warming up and cooling down after hitting the gym can ensure that you get the best results in the limited time that you have available.
This guest post was contributed by Christine Howell who frequently writes about Sports Massage Schools.
November 3, 2009
Weight lifting routines become even more beneficial and effective when form is perfected. It takes practice, but a sure way to speed progress is by remembering key phrases to remind yourself of the proper technique, for many strength training exercises.