Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthy Blog Stalking: Blog Posts of Note

I admit it, I'm a blogstalker.

Like a Facebook stalker, I lurk in cyberspace, creepin' on unsuspecting bloggers I admire, to secretly gather interesting and useful information from their posts for my own knowledge.


Marky Mark played Reese Witherspoon's stalker in Fear. Creepy, but pretty smmmexy in his day, no?


In the field of communication, there is a theory called Speech Code Theory, which conjectures that within any given group, culture, or community, there are certain rules, codes, and norms for communicating in that group. These norms are usually unspoken or implied. The blogsphere definitely has a speech code. Being new to this culture, I'm still getting used to the etiquette and rules, so forgive me if this post breaks those.


The "bible" of Communication theory--Katherine Miller's book


I know my blog is just one dumbbell in a mega-gym of health blogs, but I'm learning. During my most recent blogstalking (I mean that in the NON-CREEPY, admiration kind of way), I've come across some fantastic articles lately, so today I thought I'd share some of them with ya'll.

  • The Fitnessista has a great post about "booty sculpting." I have a serious badonkadonk, so glute and hamstring exercises are a must for taming the buns My favorite move to work those muscle groups (besides walking on an inclined treadmill) is the “Mermaid.” Lying prone on a stability ball with hip bones right on top of the ball and hands on the floor under the shoulders, bring the heels together and let the knees fall outward (like frog legs). Keeping heels together and abs drawn in, you push feet upward like a mermaid kicking out of the water.


  • Even though the writer of The Great Fitness Experiment has decided to call it quits on blogging, one of her last articles was awesome. It's about "tough love" coaching. Right now, thanks to The Biggest Loser and Bridal Bootcamp (on VH1), boot camp-style classes on on the upswing in popularity. So do tough love instructors motivate you? This article is worth a read, if only for this hilarious comment:
    "But everyone is not me. And that's ok! I call it the Jillian Michaels conundrum. Heck, she's made a very lucrative career out of screaming in people's faces until they cry and then sitting on them. Some people really seem to thrive with someone nailing their butt to the wall. They feel patronized by platitudes like "You can do it! You're strong and beautiful and awesome!! Yeah!!!" Others like me eat that stuff up like it's unicorn meat in sparkle gravy with a side of kittens and rainbows."

  • The Healthy Apron has a great post on "Intuitive Eating." I love this concept because it illustrates my fitness philosophy--eat what you want, in moderation, stop when you're full or satisfied. It's all about tuning in to your body.



Enjoy these tidbits of knowledge! I'm off to try my hand at making these whole-wheat blueberry muffins that Eat Me Delicious posted about (a vegetarian food blog with SWEET recipes!).

Before I go, a GINORMOUS shout out to my BFF, Kristie, who sent me a handwritten letter and an "I'm so glam, I sweat glitter" notepad (my personal slogan and t-shirt design!). I don't know where she found it, but I love it!



Q o' The Day: Are you a habitual "blogstaker" like moi? If you have a blog and read this one, come out of the shadows and leave a comment with your blog or website address, so I can come and "blogstalk" you! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eating Organic? Eating Local?

Ah, it's so nice to be home! I love walking in the door after a long vacation and breathing in that familiar smell of my own home.

Fortunately, we didn't have that much to unpack since we decided to take only the bare essentials. I'm not usually a light packer, but I managed to fit all my travel things in a laundry basket. Yup, a plastic laundry basket! I've found that on road trips, it's easier to lug around from car to hotel to car to destination and back :)



I brought home LOTS of fresh veggies--zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, blueberries--from my parents' garden and I can't wait to make something fresh and yummy with them tonight. Last night, we ended up ordering Gumby's pizza (which is the epitome UNhealthy, but I was tired and HANGRRRRRY from our long minimal-stop drive).



Since my visit home (spoiled by the southern hospitality and produce), my fitness goal for the rest of the summer is to "eat more fresh and local produce." I'm going to try and shop the local Saturday farmer's market and source fruits and vegetables that are grown by local Midwestern farmers. I want to support the local economy while getting produce that is from the freshest sources.

Notice that I did NOT say that I want to eat more ORGANIC? If you are a believer in organic living, please don't hate, just hear me out.


First, WHAT IS CONSIDERED ORGANIC?

Check out this "Organic Fact vs. Fiction" article from the USDA website. Here's some highlights:

Background on Organic Foods Production:
Congress passed the Organic Foods Production
Act (OFPA) of 1990. The OFPA required the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop
national standards for organically produced
agricultural products to assure consumers that
agricultural products marketed as organic meet
consistent, uniform standards. The OFPA and the
National Organic Program (NOP) regulations require
that agricultural products labeled as organic originate
from farms or handling operations certified by a State
or private entity that has been accredited by USDA.
The NOP is a marketing program housed within the
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Neither the
OFPA nor the NOP regulations address food safety
or nutrition.

Regulation for Organics:
The NOP regulations prohibit the use of genetic
engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge in
organic production and handling. As a general rule,
all natural (non-synthetic) substances are allowed in
organic production and all synthetic substances are
prohibited. The National List of Allowed Synthetic
and Prohibited Non-Synthetic Substances, a section
in the regulations, contains the specific exceptions to
the rule.

Labeling standards are based on the percentage of
organic ingredients in a product. Products labeled
"100 percent organic" must contain only organically
produced ingredients. Products labeled "organic"
must consist of at least 95 percent organically
produced ingredients. Products meeting the
requirements for "100 percent organic" and "organic"
may display the USDA Organic seal.

Processed products that contain at least 70 percent
organic ingredients can use the phrase "made
with organic ingredients" and list up to three of the
organic ingredients or food groups on the principal
display panel. For example, soup made with at least
70 percent organic ingredients and only organic
vegetables may be labeled either "made with organic
peas, potatoes, and carrots," or "made with organic
vegetables." The USDA Organic seal cannot be used
anywhere on the package.

Processed products that contain less than 70 percent
organic ingredients cannot use the term “organic”
other than to identify the specific ingredients that are
organically produced in the ingredients statement.
A civil penalty of up to $11,000 for each offense
can be levied on any person who knowingly sells or
labels as organic a product that is not produced and
handled in accordance with the National Organic
Program's regulations.

A guide to organic labeling from the USDA website:



So is organic food safer or better because it doesn't use chemicals? Who knows--it's almost too soon to see the big picture. This article interviews a professor of soil science who weighs in on this issue, citing that "we're all guinea pigs."

My father, the farmer, grows mostly organic food. By "organic," I mean no pesticides and using compost as fertilizer. However, since he is a small-time farmer (he grows for personal enjoyment), it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to prevent southern insects from devouring all of his produce. He admitted that he sprays pesticides on his squash, zucchini and sometimes tomatoes, to keep the insects at bay.

My dad's organic blueberry bushes



As far as I can tell, my father's pesticide vegetables taste just as flavorful as the non-pesticide vegetables. Do I want to consume pesticides? NO. But pesticides are sometimes a necessary evil in the mass production of produce.

Don't get me wrong--pesticides should be used minimally if at all. But, the fruits and veggies consumed on a daily basis in America need 1. to grow in abundance to meet the demand, 2. withstand mother nature's smackdown and 3. survive transport to the store. Some usage of chemicals makes these things possible and keeps the price of produce down. And let's face it, organic food is generally more expensive. While its true that organic food has become more affordable, thanks in part to Walmart's recent foray into adding more to its stores, it's not necessarily better.

Taste-wise, for example, I've found that organic food is not always more flavorful. This Atlantic article puts organic and local produce to the taste test. Of course, there is always the ubiquitous mislabeling and fraud found in the organic industry. The USDA is cracking down on this food fraud, but it takes time and effort. Offenders of mislabeling and organic food fraud have included some big stores like Target and yes, even Walmart.

In a perfect world, we would all skip down to the farmer's house (who doesn't use pesticides), buy our grains and vegetables for a reasonable price, hopscotch over to the baker's house (who buys the grain from the farmer to make his/her organic flour) to purchase our organic bread, and then ride the rainbow to the dairy farmer's cottage to get our organic grain-fed, hormone-free milk.

Crows: "Gimmeh my organic corn!"


However, most of the urban citizens in this country aren't fortunate enough to live on, or near, a farm and with the population of this country expanding exponentially, it's not (yet) feasible to produce 100% organically.

I leave it up to you to decide whether buying/eating organic or local is worth it, and to what extent. I buy some things, such as spinach, organically. Because of where I live though, I find that it's more worth my while to put energy into sourcing local produce. Here's my quick pros and cons list for both eating organic and eating local:

Organic
Pros: low to no pesticides (safer?), hormone-free
Cons: more expensive, doesn't necessarily taste better, might not support local economy.

Local
Pros: fresh tasting, supports local farming economy, sometimes cheaper, lots of farmland nearby
Cons: hard to source, can't buy ALL groceries locally


I find that a better guide to eating less pesticides is to choose your battles. This article offers some good suggestions for making a difference in your pesticide consumption:

If you are most interested in reducing pesticides in your food, buy organic versions of foods whose conventional forms may carry high levels of pesticide residues. These include:

Spinach

Green peas

Green beans

Green onions (scallions)

Summer and winter squash

Apples

Peaches

Pears

Strawberries

Blackberries

Raspberries


If you're most interested in promoting the growth of organic farming, buy organic foods that require large expanses of cropland and pasture, such as:

Wheat

Corn

Other grains

Dairy foods and beef


If you're interested in more natural conditions for farm animals and fewer antibiotics and hormones, buy products from organically raised livestock and poultry, such as:

Milk

Cheese

Yogurt

Eggs

Meat

To end on a lighter note:



Q o' the Day: I want to see some debate (please don't be afraid to disagree with me!). Do you eat organic or local foods? Why or why not? Do you support eating organic or local?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moving Right Along: Staying Fit On the Road

Welp, my trip home to SC is over and I'll be heading back to good ol' Illinois today :( Seven days just flew by! I guess when you're "home" time seems to stand still but it still surges forward, though you don't realize it. *SIGH*

I'm really NOT excited to spend the next 13 hours on the road, but thankfully, years of cross-country driving and "family road trips" have prepared me. Today, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned about staying fit while on long road trips:



  • Travel in your sneakers. That way, during pit stops and breaks you can walk, jog in place or do jumping jacks when the mood strikes. You may look silly doing jumping jacks at a gas station, but it breaks up a long boring drive :)

  • Try to stop at state rest areas for bathroom breaks. These are usually spacious, well lit and well-landscaped. Take a quick jog or brisk walk around the facility (but watch out for cars!).

  • Pack "healthy" snacks like nuts, jerky (for the meat eaters) or granola bars to prevent being hangry.

  • Try to eat during normal meal times. This provides a sense of continuity in your routine and keeps you from breaking for junk.

  • If fast food isn't your thing, pack a picnic lunch.

  • If fast food IS your thang, or is your only option, check out this About.com guide to healthy fast food choices. And for the love of all things fit n' holy, do NOT spring for the latest Monster Nasty [insert item meat here].
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the BK Steakhouse XT...


          --Wendy's Broccoli and Cheese Baked Potato w/ a 99 cent small side salad

          --Subway Veggie Delite w/ baked chips

          --Burger King BK Veggie (No mayo, add ketchup and mustard)


          • Plan ahead and schedule lots of "interest" stops--a hiking trail in the mountains, a kitschy roadside attraction or wonder--anything that will get you out and moving.

          • Don't forget to drink water! As tempting as the gas station sodas are, you get just as dehydrated riding in the car as you would walking to your destination, so down that H2O! Drinking more water will also give you a reason to take more rest area "fit" breaks :)


          Off I go! This will be Bubby and I for the rest of the day :)





          Q o' the Day: What do you do to stay fit (and preserve your sanity) on long car trips? What is your favorite "healthy" fast food meal?

          Thursday, June 24, 2010

          Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places

          That's the motto of South Carolina: "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places." My trip to SC is almost over, but coming home has been such a blast--you get to feel and act like a kid again without all the strict regulations. My little pups are exhausted, too! They are getting to run, play with lots of other dogs and swim ("What, no leash?!?!" they think).

          My two little hooligans.


          My trip home has given me a renewed sense of the southern hospitality that I try to incorporate in all of my teaching (both academic and group fitness) and has reminded me of the obstacles I've overcome to get to the healthy point I'm at now.

          I can't wait to write out my fitness story and philosophy when I get back (and possibly share some embarrassing pics of myself as a little B). Until then, here's some more highlights of my trip:

          Here's that fresh blueberry buckle I was telling ya'll about. See the recipe below (WARNING: it is NOT low fat, but is a very indulgent breakfast treat for company!)


          My BF's dad bought a JUMP CASTLE for his granddaughter! He gave us a sneak preview one night and inflated it inside the air-conditioned barn (which is smart because it's 90 degrees at night and 100 during the day). I'm jealous--I never had an indoor jump castle! I got hurt the old-fashioned way--by hitting my head, falling off, and getting pushed off a trampoline!




          As a regular reader of my blog, my Mam decided that she needed to get the EasyTone shoes I mentioned in this post. She liked them so much she wore them out of the store! I snapped this pic in the parking lot. Pretty snazzy--just a strip of glitter on the sides.




          I grabbed a free issue of my favorite (always free) mag, Skirt! It's full of short stories, poems, quotes, feminsisting and other inspirational and women-oriented content. LOVE IT! It can now be found throughout the country in various cities, but it originated in Charleston, SC.

          During college I had the opportunity to meet both the editors (who are definitely inspirational role models) and even got an invitation to interview for an internship (which I declined because I decided to intern at The Post and Courier, a newspaper, instead).




          I also read this Carrot n' Cake article about spending and scrimping on certain health products and it got me thinking. Personally, I tend to invest a lot in sneakers because between teaching group fitness and walking my pups daily, I need them to be durable and lasting. However, I scrimp on fitness clothing because it gets sweaty and washed repeatedly (to the point of destruction).

          That being said, I picked up some new (CHEAP) group fitness duds at Wal-mart. YES, WAL-MART. Total cost: $45 for a pair of pants, a sweet Alice in Wonderland shirt, two fitness tanks, and a sports bra.




          Growing up, I was a total Barbie girl! I even had a "Barbie World"--which was a loft in my father's shop that was set up like a town, complete with a cardboard box "school," grocery store, two "community living" mansions and AstroTurf grass under everything!

          Adding to to my tendency to cling on to childhood memories, I LURRRRVVVVVVE Pixar. In grad school, I wrote A LOT about Pixar movies (yes, academic Communication papers about "children's movies.") I'm still such a kid! I haven't seen Toy Story 3 yet, but of course the Barbie and Ken characters in the new movie blow my mind! Barbie + Pixar = OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE!

          I saw this Barbie/Ken set in Target yesterday. Barbie is dressed as an aerobics instructor! AWESOME!

          Well, my fit n' foxy friends, I'm off to the pool for a swim :) I hope you're enjoying your first week of summer!

          Q o' the Day: I know it's not necessarily a fitness-related question, but I gotta know--have you seen Toy Story 3 yet? What do you think? Worth it?

          Tuesday, June 22, 2010

          Homegrown in SC

          "I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
          This brokenness inside me might start healing
          Out here it’s like I’m someone else
          I thought that maybe I could find myself
          If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
          Won’t take nothing but a memory
          From the house that built me"

          --"The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert

          I love this song and I think it describes my current visit to my hometown in SC. It's really strange returning "home" after a long period of time. Things take on a different sheen from how you remember them. Not a whole lot different, but little things--a tree that was planted, a fence that was built, a new restaurant, road or car wash--are signals that time has passed and you have gotten older.

          Coming home for a visit is full of memories but it's also a reminder of where I came from and my life journey so far. Especially my journey into fitness. I think my visit home would be a good time to reflect on my fitness philosophy and tell my story. Stay tuned for that.

          Until then, here's a little taste of my week so far:


          My good little car-riders. My puppies love riding in the car now because I got them motion sickness pills for the trip! :) It was a LONG 13-hour ride, but taking lots of "walk" breaks at rest areas broke it up.



          Duke's BBQ! I'm a vegetarian, but they have lots of "veggies." Well, SOUTHERN veggies, which are usually drenched in cream, cheese or butter--think macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, creamed corn, yams, peach cobbler with ice cream and the HUSH PUPPIES...omg. Sooo good, but afterward my arteries felt like they were drowning! Definitely something to eat only ONCE during a trip to the south. I would have taken pics, but I think it would have grossed you out :)



          My mom fosters dogs for an organization called Molly's Militia. Right now she has four dogs in her care. Along with my two, it makes for some entertaining puppy play!



          This crape myrtle behind my parents' house is now the size of a TREE. I've never seen a Southern crape myrtle that is that BIG and BLOOMING in my whole life.



          My father, the dog whisperer and farmer. Dogs just love him. In the background you can see his extensive garden, full of green beans, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, raspberries, squash, zucchini, and some summers, corn. He is super proud of it. Growing up, we had garden-fresh produce all summer long thanks to my father.



          Mam (my affectionate name for my mother) picking blueberries.



          The loot--big, juicy berries. We are going to use them to make our family's traditional "blueberry buckle," which is like blueberry coffeecake.



          I also made my family-famous trail mix, which is not low in fat, organic, or low in calories, but IS high in energy. 1/4 cup will give you a PUNCH before or after any intense summer workout. See the recipe below.



          B's Energy Trail Mix

          1 Bag Pepperidge Farm Pretzel Goldfish
          1 11.5 oz. canister of lightly salted peanuts
          1 14 oz. bag of M&Ms
          2 cups raisins

          Mix well and enjoy that sweet and salty goodness.


          Can you tell who gives out the most treats? All the fosters and my mam.



          The newest foster! We can't decide on a name--Stephano or Wolfie both suit him. He will be put up for adoption on Molly's website by Friday. The poor little thing has something wrong with his back legs (hip displaysia?), but is SO cuddly and cute!



          With all this good food, rest assured that I'm getting my exercise in! Lot's of dog-walking, shopping, pool swimming, and garden work. This week, I'll share some of my tips for exercising on vacation. Stay cool this week!

          Q o' the Day: What three things are MUST DO or MUST VISIT when you visit your hometown?

          Friday, June 18, 2010

          TurboFire: I got a fever...and the only cure is more TURBO!!!

          Let the confetti rain down--TODAY is the launch of TURBO FIRE!!! Haven't heard of it yet--you should! So check this out:




          Like it's predecessors, TurboJam and TurboKick, TurboFire is slated to be a hit. For you fans of TurboKick, check out this video where Chalene explains the difference between the three:




          I'm a TurboKick certified instructor, so I CAN'T WAIT to rock the TurboFIRE DVD series! Here's 5 reasons why you should too!

          1. Chalene Johnson is a Fitness Goddess.
          This lady has style, spunk, energy and enthusiasm. Not to mention she gives good camera. I own the TurboJam series and you really feel like you are in her class, right in the front row! She is definitely my fitness role model and inspiration :)

          2. It's like a PAR-TAY in your living room!
          Anything with the Turbo stamp on it is like an at-home dance party. With all of the TurboJam DVDs, I sometimes FORGOT that I was working out. Does that sound unbelieveable, probably. But it's 100% true! Expect lots of rump-shakin' and partyin' like a turbo star!


          3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
          Do you like P90x? Turbo Fire incorporates the same fitness principles--Short bursts (workouts last only 9-20 minutes), 2:1 workload (2 minutes work: 1 minute recovery), change it up everyday, rev the metabolism.

          This form of interval training, called Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is in the spotlight right now because of the sculpting and weight-loss success people have had training with P90x and Bootcamp interval formats. Plus, it's not time-consuming. We all have 20 minutes throughout the day to spare for a bada** workout.

          The idea is that, with traditional cardio, you burn up muscle with the fat. With HIIT you end up hitting that 20-minute fat burn mark, without sacrificing muscle energy. Think about what an Olympic sprinter looks like--lean and muscular. That's the goal with HIIT. You sort of "trick" your metabolism into burning more calories long after your workout. Here's the Turbo Fire intensity chart to give you an idea of what I mean:



          HIIT is probably not going anywhere either. I'm sure we'll see lots of interval training DVDs popping up soon. Thanks, Tony Horton (you bohunk you!).


          Speaking of men in fitness, whatever happened to John Basedow, creator of Fitness Made Simple? It's FUN FRIDAY, so check out this hilarious parody of John Basedow and that ridiculous infomercial. It's LOL-idocious.





          4. You will probably lose weight.
          If weight loss is on your to-do list, I highly recommend any type of interval training. I CAN'T say for certain that you will absolutely drop 108 pounds like the infomercial promises, but I CAN say that in my six years of teaching group fitness, interval training seems to be the most effective means of reving up the metabolism among the greatest number of participants.

          For many people, beginners and long-term fitness aficiondaos, HIIT is the way to go for losing weight in a different way than standard cardio. Just don't forget about nutrition, which accounts for MOST weight loss success.


          5. MUSIC!
          I teach TurboKick and if TurboFire is anything like the "Turbo" part of Turbo Kick, get ready for some beat-driving, house, dance, and pop music. Not that obnoxious stuff that you find in some crappy small-town clubs, but really catchy, motivating stuff.

          Whoever produces Chalene's music deserves a medal. TurboJam had a good mix and I've always loved TurboKick's music, so I'm sure that TurboFire will also deliver the goods.

          (Can I have a pair of Swarovski-studded DJ headphones? They're only $2400! lol--in my dreams!!!)

          Speaking of music, I'll leave you with these songs to get your Fun Friday and weekend workouts started riiiiiight...

          1. Love Like Woe by The Ready Set (move over Justin Beiber--this kid is CUTE!)

          2. Rules Don't Stop Me by We Are Scientists

          3. California Gurls by Katy Perry (I can't get this song out of my head--gaaaaahhh!)

          4. Hey by 3OH!3 featuring Lil Jon

          5. Stay Here Forever by Jewel (awww, a sweet cool-down song!)


          Okay, okay, so the downside to all of this fabulousness is that the TurboFire DVDs retail for about $120, which is admittedly a lot of $$$. But if you got the time and the cash, I say GO FOR IT! As Chalene says, "DO MORE!"

          Have an awesome weekend! I'm off to visit my parents in the FINE (that's capital sarcasm, right there) state of South Carolina, where I was born and raised. I'm going to try and stay up to date on this blog next week, so keep coming back for more :)



          Q o' the Day: Who's your fitness idol? Who do you look up to?

          Thursday, June 17, 2010

          Chizel Workout #1: The Magic 12

          Some instructors are super-secretive with their choreography, routines and formats. I understand why--It's time-consuming to come up with fresh stuff! It takes work!

          I am absolutely NOT secretive. I feel that, in this internet age, there is no such thing as "yours." If you want to claim it, you better copyright that sh*t or it will end up circulating somewhere. In fact, if you want to use anything I post on here--articles, routines, or otherwise, please feel free to do so with proper credit (I copyrighted B Foxy Fitness--see below).

          Sometimes sharing is a wonderful thing! I find lots of ideas and moves for free on YouTube and other websites and adapt them to my style and class. It's the marketplace of free ideas out there and I'm all for it. I'm even thinking of starting my own YouTube channel so I can share some videos and workouts I've created with you guys :)

          That being said, I teach a Chizel class at the YWCA, which is a weights/strengthening class. I change up the class routines every 2-3 weeks, so I constantly need new moves. Today, I thought I'd share with you a workout routine I'm using for Chizel this week. If you have hand weights at home you can use those, otherwise, you could do this one at the gym.

          12 is the magic number for this workout! I adapted it from this "Summer Sculpt" workout.


          B's Chizel Routine #1: "Magic 12"

          Set 1: Lunges Across the Room for Warm-up
          • Regular Walking Lunges across and back
          • Shuffle across and back
          • Lunges with Knee across and back
          • Zorro Lunges across and back - Step out to a diagonal in an lunge and drag the opp. foot up to meet the lead foot.
          • Lunges with 3 pulses, step forward to the other leg
          • Skip with HIGH KNEES across and back
          • Stretch legs

          (Skip to my lou...)

          Set 2: Plyo Strength
          • Jumps off Bench 8x - On a step 2-3 risers high (6-10 inches), step off the step. When you hit the group, jump up vertically as high as you can. Step back on the step and repeat.
          • Lumberjacks (Burpees) 8x
          • Power Jacks 8x

          Set 3: Light Dumbells - Upper Body
          • Lateral lifts - 12x ending with palms facing out, arms extended from shoulders.
          • Dumbell Rotational Press - 12x, bring the elbows in to the ribcage, then extend keeping the palms each other. end with arms extended, torso rotated to one side
          • Lateral lifts - 12x, palms facing down. resist going down, resist coming up.
          • Chicken Wings-12x, elbows bent 90 degrees, pressed into sides, open and close the arms
          • Lateral raises-12x elbows bent 90 degrees, lift elbows straight up and down

          Set 4: Light Dumbells - Lower Body
          • Squats with arms crossed at chest - 12x
          • Squats with weights above head - 12x
          • Single leg squat - right leg - 12x, left leg is used for balance only. Repeat on left leg, with right leg for balance.
          • Plie' squat - turn knees and toes out, weights extend to center of body or resting on top of thighs. 12x
          • March out 16 counts, repeat
          • stretch with quad stretch!

          Set 5: Body bar or weight Bar - Strength
          • Bicep curls with bar - elbows stay tucked into body. 12 full range, 4 half way up, 4 from half-way to top, 8 2-count to finish.
          • Reverse rows - same weight, hinge forward from hips, flexed knees. Weight starts at top of the knee, draw in toward belly and lower back down. Elbows drive back. 12 full range.
          • Add dead lift, 12x
          • Behind the back wrist curls, 12x, holding the bar behind the back, curl up the wrists as if you are scooping ice cream behind your back :)

          Set 6: Weighted Bar strength (if time)
          • Overhead press for 12x, then alternate arms.
          • Upright row for 12x, then single arm rows.
          • Reverse Lunges - stepping right leg back 12x, pause and pulse for 8 count, repeat on left leg.

          Set 7: Bar, and Inclined Bench

          Set 8: On mat or towel - ABS
          • 12 - two-count crunches to warm up abs, end in seated upright position.
          • Start in seated position, using abs, roll back half-way, come back to top punch two times to the left, two times to the right, roll back. Repeat for 2 minutes. Roll back to mat to end.
          • Extend hands at sides, bring knees to 90. Lift tailbone off mat for a reverse lift. Repeat for 2 minutes.
          • Combine moves. Hands behind head, elbows stay wide. Bring knees and elbows together.
          • Encourage proper breathing. Do not hold breath. Repeat for 2 minutes.
          • Finish with 15 - two-count crunches.
          • Extend arms and legs to stretch abs. Roll over to tummy -- prepare for push-ups.
          • Two sets of 12 pushups.

          FINAL STRETCH AND YOU'RE DONE! :)



          (Don't forget to drink plenty of water!!!)

          Q o' the Day: Where do you get your workout routines? What's your favorite sculpting move?

          Wednesday, June 16, 2010

          Looking Fit n' Foxy, Feeling Fit n' Foxy!

          Just like how wearing the right shoes can make you feel invincible in the gym, clothes that make you feel powerful can ramp up your workout. Feeling pumped from teaching my 5:30am Chizel class this morning, I decided to do a little "virtual window shopping" on Etsy.com--an Ebay-like website that allows sellers set up a virtual store to sell their specialty handmade items.

          I love love love Etsy...it's like buying yourself a special present that's handmade with love :) AND--it's quality stuff that's AFFORDABLE (even better!).


          Here's some handmade fitness items that made my "love it" list this morning:


          Are these Acid-splash leggings by Clothesmindeddesign just rad as all get out?



          I wasn't sure what a "booty cap" was, but now I know I need one like this by Houseofvansickle. So cute!



          This reminds me of my DIY emo days. I would cut up all kinds of t-shirt and Goodwill finds and make something awesome out of it. You can find instructions to make a t-shirt halter HERE, OR you could just buy this sweet custom-made Bon Jovi one by Supapun.



          Tie Dye Leggings? YES, please! These by tiemee are sooooo fab!



          These urban dance/yoga foldover shorts by jmorco are tres chic! Actually, anything by jmorco is tres chic.



          Diamonds are a girl's best friend and this loose, casual screenprinted shirt by mojonet is no exception. MUST HAVE!



          Okay, I'm a Twilight hater (In a knife fight, I'm going True Blood all the way lol), but I have read the first book and this tank top by firedaughter is quite cute.



          Need a reminder, or motivation to get to the gym in the morning? Get this pillow by alexandraferguson. I definitely need one of these for those 5:30am mornings! :)



          This sweet and sassy skull tote by HautTotes is perfect as a gym bag!



          This gorgeous personalized dance/gym bag by pasik93 almost matches my blog!!!



          So, someday when I win the Mega Millions jackpot, I will buy all this fabulous handmade stuff. Until then, I can keep on dreaming until I find a full-time job. I teach group fitness part-time because it's my passion--certainly not for the money! :)

          Where do you find/buy your workout clothes? Find anything else cute/fantastic/awesome on Etsy? Post a link in your comment! Have a great day and stay cool in the summer heat!

          Tuesday, June 15, 2010

          Healthy, Fast, Affordable Vegetarian: B's Veggie Meal Plan

          When I was 11 years old, my mom took me to a meat market. It was one of those kinds of dirty little stores that are located in “the valley somewhere” and make you wonder if anyone actually shops there. I remember they had a huge window where you could watch and see what cut of meat you were getting. And, at the ripe age of 11, I watched a pig getting butchered.

          That night I had a dream that my dad cooked our cat for dinner as hamburger helper. Needless to say, the next day, meat just didn’t look appealing to me. I just didn’t like the idea or the taste of it. Kind of like people who don’t like broccoli—they just don’t like the taste. I have been a vegetarian for 13 years now. I'm living proof that you CAN survive (comfortably) without meat. Go ahead, meat eaters, gasp and get it out of your system :)



          I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I eat dairy and eggs, but nothing that had a heartbeat, ewwww). I'm hesitant about posting about nutrition because there are SOOOOO many other nutrition blogs out there. What I can't find, however, are people blogging about healthy, fast, and affordable vegetarian food.

          Being a recent graduate student on the job hunt, I need fast, cheap and healthy. Contrary to popular belief (and believe me, saying this could insinuate a debate for some people), even in this economy you can still eat well, get your protein, and feel fulfilled on the quick n' cheap.

          Today I present to you an example of an affordable, 2-day, protein-packed, meal plan:

          DAY ONE.....


          BREAKFAST:
          1 CRUNCHY granola bar (I like Nature Valley and Kashi)
          1 medium banana
          1 cup milk
          COFFEE!?!?!



          SNACK:
          "Trail Mix"=1/2 oz Almonds mixed with 1/4c. dried pineapple

          LUNCH:
          1 Veggie Burger (I LOVE LOVE LOVE Morningstar ones) on
          2 pieces whole wheat bread or bun with
          1 slice of cheese (your choice)
          2 slices tomato
          1tsp mustard and/or ketchup and/or fat-free mayo
          1 orange
          1 oz. baked chips
          100 calories dessert (e.g. 100-cal pack cookies)


          SNACK:
          1 cup low-fat yogurt

          DINNER:
          B's Quick Mediterranean Pasta
          (Makes 3 servings--I got home at 7:00 last night and this was done by 7:20!)
          1/2 package of whole-wheat penne pasta
          9 oz package of frozen chopped spinach (I like the kind you can cook in the bag, like Steamfresh or Green Giant)
          14.5 oz can of basalmic, basil and olive oil diced tomatoes (or the "Italian kind"--I used Hunt's)
          2 cloves of minced garlic (I buy a jar of pre-minced garlic)
          1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
          1/2 cup Feta cheese

          1. Cook whole-wheat pasta to package directions.
          2. While the pasta is cooking, cook frozen spinach in the microwave. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
          3. When the pasta is done cooking, drain into a colander.
          4. In the same pot you were cooking the pasta, heat 1 TBSP.EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until garlic browned a little.
          5. Add the tomatoes and spinach and mix throughly to break up the spinach. Heat through.
          6. Add the pasta and mix.
          7.Serve topped with Feta cheese (about 3 TBSP. per serving) and Salt and Pepper to taste.





          DESSERT (YES, DESSERT!!!)
          1/2 cup frozen low-fat yogurt of choice (Edy's Slow Churned is the BOMB)
          topped with 1/4 cup berries and
          2 TBSP. chocolate syrup




          DAY TWO.....

          BREAKFAST:
          1 cup low-fat yogurt topped with
          crushed granola bar and
          1/2 cup berries of choice
          1 cup milk
          COFFEE!?!?!

          SNACK:
          8 whole-wheat crackers
          topped with peanut butter

          LUNCH:
          One microwavable lean entrée (I personally enjoy Lean Cuisine and Lean Gourmet--hey they have gotten a LOT better recently! Affordable and Delicious!)
          1 medium banana
          100 calorie dessert (for example, sugar-free pudding)



          SNACK:
          One small bag of microwavable popcorn (they make 100 calorie bags of kettle korn now--YUM!)



          DINNER:

          B's Taco Salad
          (serves 1-2--takes less than 20 minutes)
          2 cups salad mix of choice (Romaine works well)
          1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
          1/2 a tomato, diced
          1/4 cup diced onion
          1/4 cup cheddar cheese
          1/4 cup canned corn, drained
          1 veggie burger, microwave-heated and crumbled OR
          1/2 an avocado diced
          1/4 cup sour cream
          1/4 cup Fat-free ranch dressing
          1/4 cup salsa

          1. Top salad mix with first six ingredients (through "burger or avocado").
          2. Mix sour cream and ranch dressing--Dress salad with 2-3 tbsp. and save the rest for another salad.
          3. Finally, top with salsa. Serve with baked or whole-grain tortilla chips.



          DESSERT:
          Fat-free pudding cup topped with 2 TBSP. light whipped cream.
          (I adore Jell-O's new Mousse cups--tastes decadent, but is only 60 calories)




          Now, go and VEG! :) If you are thinking about trying out a vegetarian diet--for personal reasons or health, check out these resources:

          My Pyramid: Gov't resource on vegetarian food sources and meal plans

          Go Veg: Powered by PETA (so beware crazy bias) this site has lots of good info, tips and recipes.

          Vegetarian Times: The vegetarian magazine. Great articles on healthy living!

          Allrecipes (Vegetarian section): Lots and lots of veggie recipes. If you're interested in trying something meatless check out this website. Users rate their recipes by "stars" so you know if it's good before you try it!


          (A glimpse into my [dirty] freezer! lol)


          The Final Jeopardy Question o' The Day: Would you ever/have you ever tried out a vegetarian diet? Do you have any quick and affordable veggie recipes I can post in future meal plans? Leave a comment!