This is a delicious warm salad that is perfect for a warm tail end of summer evening.
3 bell peppers, cut into 1inch squares (orange, yellow and red)
1/2 pkg of tofu, pressed and diced
1 ripe mango, diced
lots of arugula, washed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste
1. Heat oil until hot, add garlic and tofu until browned.
2. Add peppers, cook until browned and softened
3. Meanwhile place a generous handful of arugula on each plate and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar on each plate.
4. Add mango, pepper and curry powder. Sprinkle a bit of water into the pan to blend. Stir until heated and blended thoroughly.
August 30, 2010
This is a delicious warm salad that is perfect for a warm tail end of summer evening.
August 28, 2010
A big obstacle toward reaching fitness goals is just the fact that it is often hard to get out there and get the workout underway! It is very common to make excuses, or actually start the workout, and then not put in the full effort.
Techniques to strengthen self-discipline
Know your goal, and know it well
If you want it bad enough, there's no reason why it cannot be reached! Sure you may have to wake up early, or exercise after work. Maybe you even have to give up something for a while (like a TV show) to get it done, but if it's important, you must harden up and face the fact that you won't reach your goal by wishing for it. This is a good time to practice visualization. Imagine crossing the finish line, or buying clothes a couple of sizes smaller. Understand your goal and what you have to do to obtain the result.
Remember how it feels when you do a good job
No matter how much you hate exercising, everybody agrees that the feeling afterward is worth the effort. Feeling good for the rest of the day, having more energy, and enjoying the accomplishment is something to remember when you are not motivated. Thinking to yourself, "this is good for me and I'll feel great when it's over," will help to get you started.
Some effort is required
If you are already working out, you should do a good job. Even if you don't feel 100% full of energy at least try to go a little farther than your mind wants to go. Obviously this does not apply to exercising over injuries or over training. Exercisers can have trouble pushing themselves on their own, and it causes the workout to become sloppy, and not very effective. If you're already out there, and you're taking the time and energy, make it worth something!
Over the years I have learned how to hurdle over my obstacles. Treadmill breaks? Pound the pavement. No weights? No problem, there are plenty of body weight exercises. Too tired tonight? Go to bed, an wake up early tomorrow. Where there is a will, there is a way!
August 26, 2010
Today marks the one month countdown to the Scotiabank half/marathon/5k, coming up in Toronto this September. I'll be participating in the half marathon, and I'm very excited!
This past weekend was the 10k on the beautiful Toronto Islands. I had friends and family participating in that one, and they did great. Congrats, guys!
Running a long distance race takes months of hard training and preparation. Here are five tips to get ready for a race with only a month to go:
1. Buy New Shoes
Don't run your race in brand new shoes, or the old trainers you have been practicing in for months! One month is an ideal amount of time to find a new pair, and practice, to break them in. It will allow the time for the new shoes to feel comfortable, but remain new for the race.
2. Check Your Distance
You should be able to run at least 3/4 of your race distance. It's not necessary to practice the full distance, but doing a practice run is a confidence boost. You will feel less nervous if you know you can complete the full distance.
3. Merge Your Training Runs
Running intervals, for time, endurance, and speed are all necessary, separate, training techniques. However, now it's time to combine them. Start training with a run a week where you, "run your best." Have a session running fast and long, with little recovery time, if you require walking breaks.
4. Plan for Race Day
Start planning for the morning of the race. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, and what snacks or gels to bring for the run. Decide what to wear and run a few times in the outfit to make sure it's comfortable, and nothing bothers you about it. Plan for rides or parking, and be sure to consider all of the practical matters.
5. Ask Friends and Family to Come Out
You'll need a cheer squad. Ask friends and family well in advance to come out and cheer you on. Plan for a celebratory big breakfast, for when you triumphantly cross the finish line!
Being prepared for race day will ease nerves, and save time. This will leave more free time for training, and will have you relaxed at the starting line, and pumped for the race.
Good Luck Runners!
August 24, 2010
August 23, 2010
"A healthy body is the guest-chamber of the soul; a sick, its prison."
"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."
-Mary Anne Radmacher
"From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health."
"The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well-being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually."
"There are six components of wellness: proper weight and diet, proper exercise, breaking the smoking habit, control of alcohol, stress management and periodic exams."
-Kenneth H. Cooper
August 21, 2010
By now I believe most exercisers are familiar with the concept of "spot reduction." This means doing only crunches to slim your waist, for example, or performing just squats because, "All I want is a smaller butt!"
The spot reduction concept works in even more subtle ways. Sure, you know that crunches on their own won't amount to much physical change but how about the idea that training your whole body will give you even better results on the parts you wanted to isolate in the first place?
In weight lifting, it's very common for trainees to only want to work out one half of their bod. It's either all about building the chest, arms, and back, or toning the low body. The thing is muscle building and toning, similar to cardio, doesn't actually happen one body part at a time. I think this fact may be more easily overlooked. It makes more sense with cardio because you're whole body is sweating, and it's easier to see why you will see results throughout the entire body instead of just the legs for running, or just upper body for swimming.
Strength training makes this more difficult to see because you are isolating the body parts you want to see a change in, and probably, neglecting those you have no problems with. However, this is falling prey to the spot reduction myth.
Results happen all over, and not only that, but a strong low body will help you with lifting and pulling upper body exercises and vice versa. Even if you have absolutely no desire to work out your lower body, do it for the changes you want to see in your upper body. The more blood pumping, and the more muscle mass build = More calories burned, which means less body fat and more muscle definition, and better overall results!
A full body workout will generate better results in the areas you want to work out most. Keep that in mind, and see great results in all of the right places!
August 19, 2010
The end of summer means getting in the last few weekends at the cottage. Your weekend getaway does not have to be all about beer, smores, and pretzels. The weather in gorgeous, the water is warm, and that easily translates into FITNESS!
Five Fun Cottage Activities
Kick off the sandals and go ankle deep into the lake. Running with sand and water resistance will add to an already great cardiovascular workout. Frisbee is also a good activity for working on co-ordination and agility!
The ultimate cardio and strength exercise. It's a no impact and challenging workout. Bonus: If you're a runner, go for under water sprints to work on your speed. It is a great way to train without any added impact!
Rent a bike or bring your bike from home along to the cottage, and spend a day seeing parts of the cottaging community you may not have had the opportunity to discover by car or foot. Make a day of it by packing light snacks, and bringing a friend.
Paddling a boat can be hard work but when it's not a workout, it has to be one the most relaxing cottaging activities! Being out on the water enjoying nature sure beats a plastic patio chair!
Whether you're building sandcastles, throwing around a football or simply walking the shoreline, being active at the cottage makes the after sunset barbecue and campfire so much more satisfying.
Sitting in the sun all day is tiring, and you're bound to get bored, and overdo the junk food. So get up, be active, and make fitness a part of your cottage plan this summer.
August 17, 2010
You lost weight? Congratulations! Now it is time to ease away from a weight loss program, and develop your maintenance plan by utilizing the new lifestyle changes you have been practicing, which will continue to help keep the weight off for good!
August 16, 2010
"You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be."
"Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat."
"Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality."
"You've got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It's called perseverance."
"You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there."
August 14, 2010
Flexibility is important. Having loose, supple muscles will give you more energy on a day to day basis. As the week goes on, many people accumulate their stress in the shoulders, neck and back. Athletes and hobby exercisers commonly carry muscular stress in the hips, hamstrings, and calves. Feeling muscular tightness will drag you down, ruin posture, cause clumsiness, and increase the risk of injury.
Here are Tips to Increase Flexibility
1. When the muscles are warm stretch!
Stretch whenever you can. If you ran up a few flights of stairs at work, stretch your legs while sitting back at the desk. Of course, stretch thoroughly after every single workout, and be sure to include the whole body, regardless of what muscle group was worked that day.
2. Stretch after every hour of sitting
Sitting causes spinal compression, hunched shoulders, and tight legs. After every hour of sitting down, stand up to stretch for at least 1-2 minutes. Reach up, bend down, stretch forward, back and side to side.
3. Practice static stretching
Hold stretches with no rocking or bouncing for 15-30 seconds and repeat each two to three times. Breath deeply through the nose and on every exhalation, try to lengthen the stretch a little more.
4. Take a yoga class
You can't do much better than yoga in terms of a long, deep stretching session. Plus get the benefit of a full body strength and balance workout.
5. Keep at it
Flexibility progress takes some time. You may not notice physical results quickly but you will feel amazing! It's common to think that stretching is boring but once you get into a routine you will wonder how you lived before feeling limber, with a skip in your step, every and all day.
Stretch into Health
August 12, 2010
Over the years I have developed healthy but sweet snacks to satisfy my ravenous sweet tooth. I truly believe that deprivation only leads to disaster but on the other hand, this mantra taken too literally, and applied too liberally, is also a recipe for failure. These snacks strike the balance between indulgence, portion control, and healthy ingredients. Even better, they're quick and easy!
Five Sweet, Healthy Snacks
1. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich.
Great for an energy boost. Use 2 slices of whole grain bread. Slice half a banana (or less), layer on top of 1 tbsp (or less) of natural peanut butter (natural contains no hydrogenated oils). Sprinkle with cinnamon.
2. Yogurt Parfait
This one is filling, refreshing, and just as good as ice cream on a summer day. Use 1/2 cup plain non fat yogurt. Slice 1/2 apple, sprinkle raisins, walnuts and a bit of flax meal. *can also be substituted with cottage cheese!
3. Fruity Cottage Cheese
High in protein, low in fat. Makes a good light meal. 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese, 1/2 sliced mango, raisins. *can also be substituted with yogurt!
4. Dried Fruit Trail Mix
Great for energy, healthy fat and fiber. 1/4 cup dried fruit (apricots, strawberry, cherries), 1/4 cup almonds, and a sprinkling of raisins and shelled sunflower seeds.
I view cereal as a junk/sweet treat. I never eat it for breakfast but will have it as a snack. It satisfies the craving, is fortified with vitamins, and when served with skim milk adds protein and nutrients.
Calories- Approx 180-250 depending on brand.
What is your healthy snack? I'd love to try it. E mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
Delicious food can be healthy too! Eat Well!
August 10, 2010
- Fantastic cardiovascular workout
- Tones lower body, especially calves
- Improves co-ordination
- Improves agility
- Increases heart and lung capacity
- Increases endurance
- Improves heart rate recovery time
- Great for fat burning programs
August 9, 2010
"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes."
"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not."
"I'm not old enough to play baseball or football. I'm not eight yet. My mom told me when you start baseball, you aren't going to be able to run that fast because you had an operation. I told Mom I wouldn't need to run that fast. When I play baseball, I'll just hit them out of the park. Then I'll be able to walk."
"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."
"Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown."
August 7, 2010
Moderation is key. However, sometimes overeating is unavoidable. Whether you have no willpower in the face of sweets, or you're socially obligated to have a second piece of cake, there will be times when you will be faced with a diet destroying junk food binge.
Personally, weekends are my weakness. I follow a 4 day on, 3 off schedule. I eat a very clean diet Monday-Thursday. I really enjoy my weekday meal plans. It's healthy, delicious, and truly satisfying. On weekends my plan is flexible. Three days "off" doesn't mean eating whatever I want for three days straight. It translates into flexibility. I'll dine out, or have an ice cream. It is well known by my friends, family, and clients that I have a wicked sweet tooth. Talk to me about baked goodies, candy or chocolate, and I'll talk your ear off about what I love, and how much I enjoy it. While I'm disciplined about not having any around my house, if it's there, I'll eat it. So it's inevitable that every once in a while I'll be out, and my hosts will provide a glorious smorgasbord of junk food. So there I am, just like the Cookie Monster, crumbs flying in every direction, shovelling it in two hands at a time.
So how do you prevent the junk food from storing as long-term fat?
Obviously, the best way is to be preventative:
-Eat a solid meal before going out.
-Eat a good sized portion of only what you have been craving...OR
-Try a *little* bit of everything.
-Avoid excess alcohol. It will make you very hungry.
Okay, you tried prevention, and failed miserably. No biggie. Follow these tips:
1. Don't do it again the following day. Your body stores extra fat. If you only slip once in a while, it will be burned off easily with exercise, and balanced by good nutrition. Honestly, it won't even be an issue. If you're eating really healthy 90% of the time, eating "bad" food is psychologically GOOD for you. Why work out so hard, and monitor food intake, if you can't let loose once in a while? As long as your calorie input is less or equal to the output, you will continue to lose/maintain weight. It's only when you are eating more than you burn on average, over the course of the week, that you should be worried about losing results.
2. Exercise. Burn fat the next morning. Instant feel good!
3. Drink water and herbal tea. Give your body a flush. Liquids are your friend. Staying hydrated will keep the metabolism revved, and will reduce bloating.
4. Calorie cycling. There is a theory called calorie cycling. Just like progressive overload, you want to trick your metabolism into change, just as you do with your body when exercising. The technique is very simple: If you have a heavy calorie day, cycle with lower calories on the following day. Basically, eat lighter.
5. Eat fruit and veggies. Your body needs a dose of health. Fruits especially, and vegetables have a high water content, and both contain: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Fill up on the good stuff.
This article isn't meant to alarm anybody. I'll be sure to point out that a night of bad eating isn't the end of weeks of hard work. Hardly! I do get asked regularly what to about a ravenous binge. Even as a personal trainer and nutrition nut I get irresistible cravings. Hey, it happens, and if it helps, it's a treat...Not a cheat! :P
August 5, 2010
What is the progressive overload principal?
To achieve progressive results in muscle size, strength and endurance one must continually impose challenging demands the body.
Does this apply to cardio?
Absolutely. Your body adapts quite quickly to a cardiovascular routine. By changing anything, whether it's your incline, speed or distance, you surprise, and challenge your body into change.
How do I work the progressive overload principal into my training?
There are many different ways to use the overload technique in training:
-Raise your weight. If an exerciser becomes too good at an exercise, the easiest option is to increase the weight. For example, our exerciser is on a muscle building program. He started by lifting 20lbs dumbbells for shoulder press. His trainer told him that by fatiguing his shoulder muscles at 10 reps, he would notice an increase in muscle size. After one month he can perform 20 reps at 20lbs. At this point he is no longer training for size. If he still expects that result, he will need to increase his weight by 5lb increments, until he is fatigued at 10 reps again.
-Change the exercise. The same exerciser can bench press 150 lbs. However, he will be away on business for a month and won't have his trainer to spot him. Instead he reduces his weight, and replaces the bench press with the more challenging pec flyes. He is now working different areas of his chest. Although he is using a lighter weight, he is still fatiguing at 10 reps. His muscles are "surprised" into change.
-Increase sets. Our exerciser works out at his home gym and his free weight set only goes up to 50lbs. At this point, he is too strong for his weights. Instead of sticking with the same workout simply to maintain, his trainer advises him to increase the amount of sets he has been doing from two of each, to three. This way, more blood pumps into the muscle for a longer period of time. The muscle fibers can once again achieve the "micro-tears" necessary in strength training. The repairing process translates into a bigger, and stronger physique.
-Increase reps. Our trainee has this awful habit of having a psychological barrier. It seems he has it in his head that he is fatigued at 10 reps, when he is not! His trainer urges him to do just one, no two more! Voila, progressive overload.
-Decrease Rest. The exerciser has been resting 2 minutes in between sets. He and his trainer do the same exercises, weight, sets, and reps. Only this time, his rest time is decreased to 1 minute.
See how easy it is to get results?
August 3, 2010
Taking a simple, balanced approach to your fitness and nutrition plan is key. I can't count the number of times healthy food and types of exercise have been shunned in the media, or even by health professionals. Hearing statements such as, "weights never go after cardio," "cottage cheese is too acidic," and "carrots are not as nutritious cooked," are not very helpful to a diet and fitness newbie. With all of the conflicting information surrounding the healthy lifestyle, it's no wonder people's heads spin, and then they give up. Even I felt forced to question my food choices after reading certain reports and articles.
The thing is, diet and fitness are not fundamentally simple sciences. As a matter of fact, information changes often, and the research into these industries prove or debunk different theories everyday. With that said, you don't have to have a degree in sports sciences, or be a dietitian to improve your lifestyle, lose extra pounds, and increase energy.
Simplified Diet and Nutrition
Eating fruits and vegetables? You're on the right track!
You had potatoes, carrots and corn as sides with dinner. Then you read that these are the unhealthiest vegetables. Coming from last week's plan of frozen burritos and McDonald's, you thought you did a good job, so why do you still feel like a food prep failure?
Take my word for it, switching from fast, fried and foods high in saturated fat to vegetables...ANY vegetables is going to achieve results, both physically and mentally. Making a switch is the first step. Eventually, you will refine your food choices and opt in for yams, sweet peppers, and spinach but for now, you're on your way! Don't give up.
Fantastic. Then you hear that cardio is only beneficial after 20 minutes, but you're only up to 10. You read that weight training is not as effective for muscle growth after cardio, and that's what you have been doing all week. Finally, you just discovered the heart rate training zone chart and you have no clue.
It doesn't matter. My philosophy is: ANY exercise is better than NO exercise. Ten minutes 5 times a week is almost an hour more than the prior week before starting your program. Weight training if performed in the morning, evening, before or after cardio, will improve your metabolism. The heart rate issue? As long as you're breathing has increased but you can still make conversation, your doing just fine. Keep going!
You're conscious of your actions!
You can't believe you dined out three times this week. Why oh why did your co-workers choose the French restaurant. Everything was smothered in creamy sauces and cheese. Then last night you arrived home after work past 9pm. How were you suppose to exercise after you kicked off your shoes and face planted onto the couch?
You're thinking about the things that went wrong. Perfect! You know what's even worse than realizing you ate an extremely unhealthy meal? Not realizing it at all! Do you remember before you committed yourself to a healthy lifestyle? I do. I would regularly pound back a fast food burger, up-sized fries, a milkshake, and a dessert without giving it a second thought! Exercise? What's that? The fact that I was destroying my health wasn't even on the radar. These days I'll splurge a little, and I'll have a burger and fries (Hold the milkshake and dessert, please!) but it's on my mind. This is good. It means you are consciously analyzing the lifestyle choices you are making. It will help you to think that since you had that fast food lunch, maybe tonight you'll home cook a healthy dinner.
Don't let all of the information out there confuse or discourage your progress. By exercising when and however you can, and by making healthier food choices by eliminating fast, fried and fatty food, you are on the right track, and you WILL see results.