Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fat blast

I'm heading south for a few days in March so I can get out of this cold weather. Warm sun means less clothes, so I've been putting a bit more effort toward my food tracking and exercise routine. I'm not a believer in crash diets, but there are a few things I've been doing like cutting sodium and drinking a lot of water. I've also been changing up my workouts to help burn more fat:

Body shock
Overloading muscles can keep your body guessing. Instead of resting in between my sets while weightlifting, I've been doing all sets in a circuit without rest. Also, instead of three sets of each exercise, I've been doing four.

Mix it up with cardio
Instead of supersetting, incorporate cardio between lifting sets. This can burn a higher percentage of calories from fat. Try jogging in place or jumping rope for 30 seconds in between sets.

Plyometrics (jumping or skipping) can burn calories quickly and build muscle because you're working against gravity. Exercises like Box Jumps work well and I also recommend Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD if you want to incorporate this practice into your workouts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ideas for exercising at home

It's the time of year when finding the energy to bundle up and deal with the winter weather is difficult. Couple that endeavor with finding energy to go to the gym and your workout may likely never happen.

Here are some ideas to continue your activity at home without the hassle of going to the gym:
--Invest in a Swiss ball and try some of these exercises.

--Workout videos can be hit or miss, but I have found success with Ellen Barrett's Crunch videos. This one is my favorite.

--The old stand-bys: Pushups, situps, lunges, squats and plank. These can be done during commercials while watching TV and provide great results over time. While these exercises may seem elementary, make sure you are doing them properly. If you don't know how to do these exercises properly, check out for instructions.

--If you need some cardio, climb your stairs, jump rope (or just jumping period), or try some kickboxing moves.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fruit and Veggie Abyss

I am in the abyss. Or, at least that's what I call the time period from which football ends, yet I still have weeks to wait until I can enjoy the outdoors once again. This time also means that I struggle with comfort food cravings and cannot find a decent fresh fruit or vegetable. I went to the grocery store yesterday and the apples were bruised, the green peppers were shriveled and I was at a loss in produce. I KNOW I need to have healthy foods at hand to snack on, but there were no appetizing items in site.

I decided that I needed to stay away from the 100 calorie pack aisle and get creative. So, I bought some dried figs. I could eat a sleeve of Fig Newtons in one sitting, so I thought I might like the fruit. Here's the quick and dirty:

--They are delicious!
--Figs are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.
--1 fig is about 20 calories with 1 gram of fiber.
--A 1/4 cup serving provides 244 mg of potassium (7% of the DV), 53 mg of calcium (6% of the DV) and 1.2 mg of iron (6% of the DV).
--Figs are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. (WOOT!)

Now I'm on a mission to find more get-me-through-the-abyss fruits and veggies. Ideas?