Monday, September 28, 2009

6 Things Messing Up Your Nutrition...

1. You Hoard Calories
Yes, cutting total calories leads to weight loss. But bank most of those calories for the end of the day and your hunger hormones will go haywire, making you eat more. Middle-aged men and women who ate their daily number of calories in one supersize supper produced more ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger, than when they ate the same number of calories in three square meals, found researchers at the National Institute on Aging.

Smarter move: Front-load your calories. Overeating at night keeps you from being hungry in the morning, setting off a vicious cycle in which you're never interested in breakfast but always starving by dinner. The key is to rebalance your day so you don't set yourself up for an evening binge. To get your appetite back in the morning, cut your evening meal in half. Then eat a breakfast of about 450 calories, such as a scrambled egg with low-fat cheese on a whole wheat English muffin with an 8-ounce glass of juice--an amount that should keep you satisfied until lunch, says George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD, associate director of the division of nutrition at Harvard Medical School and author of Break Through Your Set Point. Once your appetite adjusts, don't go more than 5 hours without another meal of roughly the same size.

2. You Eat Erratically
Trouble is, grazing may contribute to weight gain, according to a 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. When researchers asked women to eat at regular, fixed times or to break their usual amount of food into unscheduled meals throughout the day, they made a startling discovery: The women actually burned more calories in the 3 hours after eating the regular meals than they did after the unplanned meals. They produced less insulin, too, potentially lowering their odds of insulin resistance, which is linked to weight gain and obesity. What's more, grazing instead of planning ahead can set you up to eat mindlessly, says Zied. In the end, we rarely realize how many calories all those little nibbles and noshes really add up to.

Smarter move: Figure out how many times a day you need to eat--everybody is different--and then stick to a schedule. "It's not great to feel starved, but it is okay to feel slightly hungry," says Zied. You can home in on your body's internal cues with a food diary. It's so effective that earlier this year, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found that dieters who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn't record what they ate.

3. You Don't Count Every Calorie
People consistently underestimate the calories in nutritious items such as yogurt, fish, and baked chicken, found researchers at Bowling Green State University who quizzed students on calorie counts. "Just because a food is healthy doesn't mean you can eat big portions," says D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, owner of One Source Nutrition in Stamford, CT. "A handful of nuts can be 200 calories or more. And if you add that without cutting back elsewhere, it could be the reason you're not losing weight."

Smarter move: Count all calories. Once you learn that 1/2 cup of cereal can have as much as 200 calories or that there are about 220 calories in that "single-serving" bottle of OJ, you'll be more prudent about how much you use.

4. You Crash Diet
Slashing significant calories might sound like the fast track to weight loss, but it's likely to backfire. In fact, nutrition experts recommend you don't dip below 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day. "If you crash diet for more than 2 weeks or so, your metabolism will temporarily slow down," says Blackburn. "So the same exact dieting effort results in less and less weight loss." The reason: Your body is conserving energy to keep you from losing weight too quickly. And that's not all. When you drastically cut calories, you lose muscle along with fat--especially if you haven't been exercising. Because muscle is your body's calorie-burning furnace, this can slow down your metabolism, even long after your crash diet is done.

Smarter move: Aim to shed about a pound a week--the slow, steady weight loss ensures you lose fat, not muscle. "If you want to drop 10 pounds, get started 10 weeks before your goal, not 4," says Blackburn. "You'll have a better chance of actually taking off the weight permanently." To drop a pound a week, shave 250 calories from your diet and burn an extra 250 calories through exercise each day. Visit to log your progress.

5. You Set Short-term Weight-loss Goals
The National Weight Control Registry estimates that only 20% of dieters successfully keep off lost weight for more than a year. That's because after we reach our goal, we let old eating habits creep back in. But people who win at weight loss consistently eat the same way even after they've slimmed down. In fact, the NWCR found that dieters who maintain their healthy eating habits every single day are 1 1/2 times more likely to maintain their weight loss in the long run than those who relax their diets on the weekends.

Smarter move: Think of healthy eating as a work in progress, not as a "diet" with a beginning and an end. The key: making small changes you can maintain so they become long-term habits. Start by creating a list of problem areas in your diet, then tackle them one at a time. For example, if you snack on a heaping handful of Oreos every night before bed, set a goal of having two instead of six, and cut back by one a day. Once you've made that a habit, pat yourself on the back and move on to your next goal.

6. You Think "Low-Fat" means "Splurge"
Research suggests that when a food is described as a diet food, we're subconsciously primed to eat more--even if it's actually as caloric as regular food. When Cornell University researchers offered the same M&M's candies labeled either regular or low-fat to visitors at a university open house, visitors ate 28% more of the "low-fat" snacks. While less fat does not mean fewer calories, people make the assumption that it does, setting them up to overeat, say scientists.

Smarter move: First, check food labels: So-called diet foods frequently don't save you calories. Take low-fat chocolate chip cookies--because they've been infused with extra carbs to add flavor, you save only 3 calories per cookie. Once you have that reality check, follow the golden rule for any food: Keep close tabs on portions. Limit yourself to two small cookies, for example, or trade in a bowl of frozen yogurt for a kid's-size scoop; measure out condiments such as low-fat sour cream or low-fat ranch dressing. And remember--if you prefer the flavor of full-fat foods, you'll still lose weight if you watch your portion sizes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

25 Ridiculously Healthy Foods

1. Eggs

Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Though many of us have shunned whole eggs because of their link to heart disease risk, there’s actually substantial evidence that for most of us, eggs are not harmful but healthy.

People with heart disease should limit egg yolks to two a week, but the rest of us can have one whole egg daily; research shows it won’t raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make omelets with one whole egg and two whites, and watch cholesterol at other meals.

2. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to get calcium, and it’s also rich in immune-boosting bacteria. But next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind—compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don’t get enough). Look for fat-free varieties like Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt (90 calories and 15 g of protein per 5.3-ounce serving).

3. Fat-Free Milk

Yes, it does a body good: Studies show that calcium isn’t just a bone booster but a fat fighter too. Recent research from the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie, calcium-rich diet lost 70% more weight than those who ate the least. Vitamin D not only allows your body to absorb calcium, it’s also a super nutrient in its own right. Recent research found that adequate D levels can reduce heart disease risk, ward off certain types of cancer, relieve back pain, and even help prevent depression, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of the 1,000+ IU daily that most experts recommend.

A splash of milk in your morning coffee isn’t enough to provide the calcium and vitamin D you need. Use milk instead of water to make your oatmeal, have a glass with breakfast, or stir some chocolate syrup into it for an after-dinner treat.

4. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits—from preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss to boosting your mood and minimizing the effects of arthritis. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t reaping these perks because we’re deficient, which some experts believe may be at the root of many of the big health problems today, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Omega-3s also slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

5. Lean Beef

Lean beef is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of beef per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy.

If you can, splurge on grass-fed. Compared with grain-fed beef, it has twice the concentration of vitamin E, a powerful brain-boosting antioxidant. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because this type of beef tends to be lower in overall fat, it can be tough—so marinate it, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

6. Beans

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They're also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

The latest dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least 3 cups of beans a week—3 times the measly 1 cup we usually get. Keep your cupboards stocked with all kinds: black, white, kidney, fat-free refried, etc. Use them in salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie chili or pureed for sandwich spreads.

7. Nuts

In a nutshell: USDA researchers say that eating 1½ ounces of tree nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s. Hazelnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that may lower blood pressure. An ounce of almonds has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; they may help lower LDL cholesterol as well.

The key is moderation, since nuts are high in calories. Keep a jar of chopped nuts in your fridge, and sprinkle a tablespoon on cereal, salads, stir-fries, or yogurt. Or have an ounce as a snack most days of the week.

8. Edamame and Tofu

Soy’s days as a cure-all may be over—some claims, such as help for hot flashes, don’t seem to be panning out—but edamame still has an important place on your plate. Foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame help fight heart disease when they replace fatty meats and cheeses, slashing saturated fat intake. Soy also contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, a good amount of fiber, and some important vitamins.

Soy’s isoflavones, or plant estrogens, may also help prevent breast cancer. Some researchers believe these bind with estrogen receptors, reducing your exposure to the more powerful effects of your own estrogen, says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. But stick with whole soy foods rather than processed foods, like patties or chips, made with soy powder. Don’t take soy supplements, which contain high and possibly dangerous amounts of isoflavones.

9. Oatmeal

Fiber-rich oats are even healthier than the FDA thought when it first stamped them with a heart disease–reducing seal 10 years ago. According to new research, they can also cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

To reap the benefits, eat 1/2 cup daily—preferably unsweetened. For a versatile breakfast, top with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You can also use oats to coat fish or chicken or add texture to meatballs.

10. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%—it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. It may also reduce breast cancer odds. In one study, women who ate 10 g of flaxseed (about 1 rounded tablespoon) every day for 2 months had a 25% improvement in the ratio of breast cancer–protective to breast cancer–promoting chemicals in their blood.

Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your cereal, salad, or yogurt. Buy it preground, and keep it refrigerated.

11. Olive Oil

Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

Look for extra virgin oils for the most antioxidants and flavor. Drizzle small amounts on veggies before roasting; use it to sauté or stir-fry, in dressings and marinades, and to flavor bread at dinner in lieu of a layer of butter or margarine

12. Avocado

These smooth, buttery fruits are a great source of not only MUFAs but other key nutrients as well. One Ohio State University study found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, plant compounds linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. “Avocados are packed with heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium,” says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet.

But they are a bit high in calories. To avoid weight gain, use avocado in place of another high-fat food or condiment, such as cheese or mayo.

13. Broccoli

Pick any life-threatening disease—cancer, heart disease, you name it—and eating more broccoli and its cruciferous cousins may help you beat it, Johns Hopkins research suggests. Averaging just four weekly servings of veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower slashed the risk of dying from any disease by 26% among 6,100 people studied for 28 years.

For maximum disease-fighting benefits, whip out your old veggie steamer. It turns out that steaming broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of sulforaphane.

14. Spinach

We’ll spare you the Popeye jokes, but spinach has serious health muscles. For one thing, it contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks. Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol.

Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week.

15. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. The only problem with tomatoes is that we generally eat them in the form of sugar-loaded jarred spaghetti sauce or as a thin slice in a sandwich. For a healthier side dish idea, quarter plum tomatoes and coat with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, and serve with chicken.

16. Sweet Potatoes

One of the best ways to get vitamin A—an essential nutrient that protects and maintains eyes, skin, and the linings of our respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts—is from foods containing beta-carotene, which your body converts into the vitamin. Beta carotene–rich foods include carrots, squash, kale, and cantaloupe, but sweet potatoes have among the most. A half-cup serving of these sweet spuds delivers only 130 calories but 80% of the DV of vitamin A. Replace tonight’s fries with one medium baked sweet potato (1,096 mcg) and you’re good to go—and then some.

17. Garlic

Garlic is a flavor essential and a health superstar in its own right. The onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Allicin also fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.

The key to healthier garlic: Crush the cloves, and let them stand for up to 30 minutes before heating them, which activates and preserves the heart-protecting compounds, according to a 2007 study from Argentina.

18. Red Peppers

Citrus fruits get all the credit for vitamin C, but red peppers are actually the best source. Vitamin C may be best known for skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had less wrinkling and dryness. And although getting enough vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold or flu, studies show that it could help you recover faster.

Vitamin C has other important credentials too. Finnish researchers found that men with low levels were 2.4 times likelier to have a stroke, and Australian scientists recently discovered that the antioxidant reduces knee pain by protecting your knees against arthritis.

19. Figs

When you think of potassium-rich produce, figs probably don’t come to mind, but you may be surprised to learn that six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana. In a recent 5-year study from the Netherlands, high-potassium diets were linked with lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults age 55 and older. Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as 1/2 cup of fat-free milk.

Serve by chopping and adding to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or green salads. Or enjoy them as a savory snack: Cut a slit in the side and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of a low-fat version of a soft cheese such as chèvre or Brie.

20. Blueberries

Blueberries may very well be the most potent age-defying food—they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. When researchers at Cornell University tested 25 fruits for these potent compounds, they found that tangy-sweet wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated cousins) packed the most absorbable antioxidants. Research shows a diet rich in blueberries can help with memory loss, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve eyestrain.

Add up to 1/2 cup of blueberries to your diet a day for maximum health benefits, recommends Ronald Prior, PhD, adjunct professor of food science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This alone provides just about double the amount of antioxidants most Americans get in 1 day.

21. Asian Pears

One large Asian pear has a whopping 10 g of cholesterol-lowering fiber, about 40% of your daily need. People who ate the most fiber had the lowest total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to a recent study of Baltimore adults. The same researchers found that people who ate the most fiber also weighed the least and had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference.

Serve by dicing it into a salad of Boston lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. Or make it a dessert: Add peeled and cored pears to a saucepan with 1 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and enough water to cover the pears. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until pears are soft.

22. Lychee

A French study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that lychee has the second-highest level of heart-healthy polyphenols of all fruits tested—nearly 15% more than the amount found in grapes (cited by many as polyphenol powerhouses). The compounds may also play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer.

Serve by peeling or breaking the outer covering just below the stem; use a knife to remove the black pit. Add to stir-fries or skewer onto chicken kebabs to add a sweet, grapelike flavor.

23. Apples

One of the healthiest fruits you should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been investigating the health habits of 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, named apples as one of only three foods (along with pears and red wine) that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women. Other massive studies have found the fruit to lower risk of lung cancer and type 2 diabetes—and even help women lose weight.

In fact, one of the only things that could make an apple unhealthy is mixing it with sugar, flour, and butter and stuffing it into a mile-high pie. Instead, have one as an afternoon snack with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or add slices to sandwiches or salads.

24. Guava

Native to South America, this tropical fruit is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin C, with 250% of your RDA per serving. One cup of guava has nearly 5 times as much C as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than 5 times your daily need. It’s also loaded with lycopene (26% more than a tomato), which may help lower your risk of heart disease. And according to research by microbiologists in Bangladesh, guava can even protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and staph.

You can buy guava juice, or simmer chunks in water as you would to make applesauce. Guava also makes a super smoothie: Blend 1/2 banana, 1/2 ripe guava, a handful of strawberries, 1/2 cup soy milk, and a few ice cubes.

25. Dark Chocolate

Thank you, dark chocolate, for making us feel good—not guilty—about dessert. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Researchers gave 16 participants 100 g of either dark or milk chocolate and 2 hours later offered them pizza. Those who consumed the dark chocolate ate 15% fewer calories than those who had milk chocolate, and they were less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

Try a chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips with fresh berries as a midafternoon snack or after-dinner dessert should give you some of the heart-healthy benefits without busting your calorie budget.

If most of these are already in your nutritional diet GREAT JOB!! Most of them are in mine...but I can stand to add a little more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ab Ready Bikini Season? (from

Bikini season is right around the corner. Have you seen your abs? If not, you still have time to make a noticeable difference in the way you look on the beach or at the pool through diet and exercise. Before you start, read these six exercise myths from Marie Claire and learn why when it comes to ab workouts quality, not quantity, is the name of the game.

1. Myth: To get rock-hard, you have to work your abs every day.
Why: Abs need rest and recovery: It's only during rest that your muscles build. "Three to five days a week of consistent, dedicated abdominal training should get you strong, sleek abs," says Kathy Kaehler, trainer and author of Kathy Kaehler's Celebrity Workouts.

2. Myth: A good ab workout takes half an hour.
Why: "If it takes you that long to feel them working, you're doing something wrong," says Kaehler. "I trained Jennifer Aniston about three days a week, and we did no more than five minutes of abs each time." Check your form, don't use momentum and focus on quality rather than quantity.

3. Myth: Super-slow crunches make you stronger.
Why: Taking as much as a minute per crunch doesn't make you stronger than regular crunches do. In fact, ultra-slow ab work is less effective. Ideally, your workout should help you do everything better, from kickboxing to picking up a suitcase - neither of which you do in slo-mo.

4. Myth: The best time to train your abs is at the end of your workout.
Why: "It makes no physiological difference when you train abs, it only matters that you do it consistently," says abs researcher and physical therapist Gilbert Willett, M.S., associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. So the best time to work them is simply whenever you're most likely to do it. "But if you do abs at the beginning of your workout, make sure you warm up first. Getting blood moving prevents many types of injuries during a workout."

5. Myth: You can't get a six-pack by doing Pilates.
Why: "Pilates exercises your core, so if you practice it regularly and combine it with diet and cardio, it can give you a six-pack," says Kimberly Lyons, a personal trainer in L.A. But Pilates isn't a six-pack guarantee. "How your abs look has a lot to do with your genes, how lean you are, how long your torso is and how tall you are."

6. Myth: You won't get firm without a weight machine.
Why: You don't need weights to build sleek and sexy abs, although some competitive athletes do use them to build extra strength. "Many weighted ab machines aren't designed for women," says Lyons. "If you don't fit into the machine properly, you might stress your body in the wrong spot." Her advice: Stick to the floor - it's cheap, effective and available everywhere.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Get a Workout From Playing Cards


Things You’ll Need:

  • One full deck of playing cards
  • Enough space to lie down
Assign an exercise to each suit. For example, Diamonds=push-ups, Spades=squats, Clubs=crunches, Hearts=jumping jacks.

Discard all cards numbered two through five (too easy!). The numbers on the remaining cards determine the number of repetitions you perform for each exercise. Face cards can equal 15 reps, while an ace gives you a 30-second rest.

Shuffle the cards, draw one and perform the exercise indicated. For example, if you draw the eight of hearts, perform eight jumping jacks. Take a breath.

Draw another card. Continue drawing cards until you complete at least three sets of each exercise.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walk Off 5 Times More Belly Fat

Pop quiz: Two women go walking. One finishes quickly; the other takes her time. They each burn about 400 calories. So who sheds more belly fat? The obvious answer: It's a tie. But a surprising new study shows that the one speed walking actually loses more.

Researchers from the University of Virginia found that women who did three shorter, fast-paced walks a week (plus two longer, moderate-paced ones) lost 5 times more belly fat than those who simply strolled at a moderate speed 5 days a week, even though both groups burned exactly the same number of calories (400) per workout. Those speed walking also dropped more than 2 inches from their waistlines, pared about 3 times more fat from their thighs, shed 4 times more total body fat, and lost almost 8 pounds over 16 weeks--all without dieting!

The improvements didn't stop there. The high-intensity exercisers lost about 3 times more visceral fat--the dangerous belly fat that wraps around organs such as the liver and kidneys and has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. "Vigorous exercise raises levels of fat-burning hormones," says lead researcher Arthur Weltman, PhD, director of the exercise physiology laboratory at the university. It also increases afterburn (the number of calories your body uses postexercise as it recovers) by about 47% compared with lower-intensity workouts.

So how do you make all this science work for you? Start with our 8-week progressive walking plan, which includes both shorter, high-intensity workouts and longer, moderate-paced ones. Add in the Flat Belly sculpting moves to firm your ever-shrinking middle. In just 2 months, you could walk off 1 or 2 sizes--without dieting!

Then celebrate your success by joining Team Prevention to walk a full or a half marathon. The 8-Week Plan will prime you for the challenge while flattening your belly, and our Walk-a-Marathon (or Half) Training will keep you on track to get in your best shape possible.

Monday, April 20, 2009

(2/2) that you, too, can become great!! ~ Mark Twain
(1/2) Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions~Small people always do that~but the really great make you feel

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

8 Slim Down Tips from the Biggest Loser Trainers

1. Crank Up the Incline

Run for the hills.

Jillian says, the next time you're doing your treadmill workout try boosting the incline. You'll change the muscles you're training; you'll up your calorie burn by increasing the intensity; and you'll add some variety to your cardio so you don't get bored.

2. Hold That Position

Just because your heart isn't pounding doesn't mean you're not working out.

Core workouts focus on improving strength and stability of the torso. Holding a yoga or Pilates pose offers as much of a challenge as a sweat-drenched workout, says Bob. Start by holding a pose for 5 to 10 breaths, then gradually work up to holding it for one minute. These workouts offer benefits such as improved posture and strengthening the lower back as well as your abdominals.

3. Ditch the Soda

Quench your thirst with better bubbles.

When it comes to choosing a beverage, don't drink soda, says Jillian. Whether it's sugared soda or diet soda, it's terrible for your body. It'll put weight on you, dehydrate you, and deplete the minerals from your system. Make a smarter choice. Sparkling water, unsweetened iced teas, green tea and white tea have been shown to burn more fat and up to 78 more calories per day.

4. Throw Your Weight Around

Discard the equipment for allover results.

Jillian says that a great way to improve your balance and coordination is to work with your own body weight. Oftentimes when you go to the gym and you work on machines, it artificially isolates a muscle, which isn't natural. But when you do things like squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, pull-ups--the variety of exercises is almost endless—you're forcing your upper and lower body to synergize and work together. This gives you more balance, more stability, more coordination and better overall performance.

5. Get Menu-Savvy

Pay attention to these healthy food terms.

Almost 25% of Americans' meals come from eating out. So it's important to make your next restaurant visit a healthy one. Jillian suggests you look for steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods on the menu. Don't be shy about making special requests if you don't see a figure-friendly option. When in doubt, go the salad route. Salads are a healthy choice, especially with dressing and cheese on the side.

6. Avoid Over-Processed Foods

Read nutrition labels to identify diet disasters.

Bob suggests avoiding foods containing high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener and preservative that helps extend the shelf life of food. (Foods to watch out for: soda, cereals, bread, breakfast bars, ice cream.) It's found in processed foods that are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. Simply read the nutritional facts on your favorite foods to see if they contain high fructose corn syrup. If they do, throw them out.

7. Eat These for Stress Relief

Swap junk food for healthy comfort foods.

Bob says it's easy to make poor food choices when we're stressed—but here's the skinny on some real stress-reducing comfort food. Walnuts help replace stress-depleted B vitamins and it's a great source of omega 3s. Also try eating asparagus, a natural mood lightener. Dip them in fat-free yogurt for a touch more calcium. And when chocolate and only chocolate will do, go for the dark option. Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants with the strength to fight not only cancer but also heart disease.

8. Torch Calories with Weights

Strength train for maximum calorie burn.

When you're working out, it's important to incorporate weight training into your routine says Bob. You'll burn 8 to 10 calories a minute lifting weights. Also, lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after your workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover.

Fast Food Renovation

Chef Rocco breaks down our cravings

Chef Rocco DiSpirito understands the allure of fast foods. Quick and flavorful, fast foods are a staple in many a standard American diet. But cheap food comes at a big price. Fast food is filled with calories and saturated fat, let alone the unnecessary sodium and other additives.

"Some of the worst food you can eat is fast food," Rocco told the Biggest Loser cast during a recent episode.

Chef DiSpirito shared these shocking stats:

* A typical stuffed crust meat pizza has 490 calories, 27 grams of fat, 1,570 mg of sodium. That's per slice. A whole pie can run 4,000 calories.

* A typical stuffed burrito with the guacamole, the sour cream and the cheese has more than 1,100 calories, 47 grams of fat, and more than 2,600 mg of sodium.

* A typical triple cheeseburger has 1,230 calories, 82 grams of fat, and over 1,500 mg of sodium. And if you add fries, fat in a typical cheeseburger with fries is 110 grams.

Don't let the allure of fast food muck up your healthy eating plan. If you must eat burgers and tacos, cook healthier versions at home using leaner ingredients like bison instead of beef and yogurt instead of sour cream.

Next time you drive by your former favorite fast food joint, do your body good, keep driving.

This is just a test! My 1st blog from my phone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Items to keep in yout gym bag...

7 Gym Bag Necessities

When you pack your gym bag before a workout, there are a few necessities you can't do without, like your sports bra and your sneaks. Here are some other items you should consider stowing in your gym bag to make your post-workout life better.

Facial Towelettes

If you don't have time after exercising to shower or even wash your face, these convenient Blum Naturals Daily Towelettes ($7) are perfect. They're alcohol-free, made with tea tree oil to prevent breakouts, and contain no synthetic fragrances, preservatives, or parabens.

Laundry Bag

When you're done with your workout, you don't want your dirty, sweaty clothes to mingle with everything else, so keep a laundry bag in your gym bag. This one from August Moon Organics ($29) is made from organic cotton, so you can wash it with your workout clothes.

Gym Membership Holder

Depending on your gym or studio, you probably have some sort of ID card that you have to show every time you go. Keep it in a little pouch like this one from Vera Bradley ($5), and you can also keep money, tampons, and your jewelery safe while working out.

Flip Flops

If you shower at your gym, that means tons of other people do too. In order to prevent catching athlete's foot or some other nasty bug, wear flip-flops in the shower. These from The North Face are on sale for $9.93! Pack a clean towel too, unless your gym provides one.

BPA-Free Water Bottle

Many people carry a water bottle around wherever they go, but knowing me, I'd leave mine at work when I headed to the gym. So I always keep a bottle in my gym bag to use while working out. Choose a BPA-free one from Sigg, Klean Kanteen, Nalgene, or Intak. Not only will you stay hydrated and save money on bottled water, but you'll be doing the planet good, too!


Whether you need a pre- or post-workout pick-me-up, you've got to keep snacks in your gym bag. Try snacks that can stay in your bag since they need no refrigeration, such as fruit and nut bars like Larabars or Kind bars, or bags of trail mix. Bags of whole grain crackers are a good idea too, or if you remember, you can pack fresh fruit right before you head out the door (just don't forget it's in there!).


I keep an extra deodorant in my gym bag in case I want to reapply before a workout. If you don't want aluminum in yours, I like Adidas Cotton Tech deodorant.

5 Reasons to Lift Weights

We should all be lifting weights, or doing some form of strength training, at least twice a week. Yet that statistic on women strength training is well below 30 percent, and there are so many benefits to gaining some muscle. If you need some convincing, here are five reasons you should pick up some dumbbells and start lifting.

24 Hour After Burn

One of the benefits of weight training is the after burn — burning calories as your body recovers from your workout. After an hour long session of lifting weights, the average woman burns an extra 100 calories over the next 24 hours. Those extra calories add up. Think about it: if you weight train three times a week, that is an extra 300 calories per week, and an extra 1,200 calories per month. Over the course of a year that equals almost four and a half pound lost — close to that magic number of five pounds most women I know say they would like to lose.
Source: Getty

Muscle Mass Fights Diabetes

The rate of type 2 diabetes continues to climb in this country and one way to combat the disease is to build muscle. Muscle mass, not only burns more calories a day than most other tissues, it also dispels the blood sugar quickly. Muscles effectively contribute to preventing type 2 diabetes.

Helps You Lose Inches

We all tend to think of cardio as the calorie torcher and the necessary exercise for losing weight. Remember though, it is better to lose inches and gain muscle than to simply lose pounds. Lifting twice a week can reduce your overall body fat by three percent in just ten weeks. This is because muscle tissue requires more energy to simply exist than other tissues like fat, so muscle burns more calories.

Skip the Light Weight Many Reps Routine

There are many ladies out there who fear they will bulk up if they lift heavy weights and many trainers who perpetuate the myth. There is another reason, aside from saving time, for lifting closer to your maximum weight load instead of doing 100 reps with a super light weight: Increase calorie burn for two hours after training. Lifting a greater weight fewer times means you can burn almost twice as many calories post workout. Think of it as more bang for your buck.

Makes You Stronger

I know this one is obvious, but strength training has daily practical applications in lifting heavy things. Increasing your strength also makes you less prone to injury. Two very great things for an active gal.

How to lose weight without going into DEBT!!

By Charles Stuart Platkin

Everything costs money, and that includes staying fit and healthy. But there are ways to trim the fat -– so to speak -– and still, well, trim the fat.

1. Set up an inexpensive home gym. Instead of a gym membership ($30 to $70 per month), invest in an exercise mat, a resistance band and an exercise/stability ball. With those items, you can work out in the comfort of your own home, in a park or anywhere. Learn a few key exercises such as a plank, side plank, squats and push-ups. Also, using the band, learn the chest press, lateral raises, bicep curls, standing back row, triceps extension and overhead shoulder press.

There are many sites online that will help you create a 30-minute home workout for free. Just enter "exercise resistance band workout" into the search engine and see what comes up. Or try: and and

2. Use your tv. Start your own collection of fitness DVDs by purchasing them online at or Check around for sales. Or rent them from Netflix for as little as $4.99 per month. Or see if your local library has any you can borrow. Also, as a side note, you can save money by borrowing diet and fitness books from the library instead of purchasing them.

3. Use the free stair climber. Find the tallest public building around and climb to the top at least once per day.

4. Walk more. Save gas and improve your life. Walking is simple, it's inexpensive and almost anyone can do it –- you don't even need a pair of sneakers (but it helps). Try to incorporate your walk into something you have to do anyway. For instance, you need to go shopping -– why not walk to the store? Also, while you're walking, you can catch up with friends and family on your cell phone, stop in to visit with friends and neighbors, or use the time to think of ways to improve your relationships. The idea is to multitask while you're staying fit. Or use the walk as a time to reflect. Research shows that the more scenic your walks are, the more you'll want to take them. Walking burns 246 calories per hour.

5. Bicycle. Go onto and buy a used bike, or buy a new low-cost beach cruiser with a basket. Start biking to get around town -– and to get some exercise while you do your errands. Before you buy a bike, take it for a test ride. Make sure it feels right. Also, don't be shy -- play with the gears and brakes and travel on terrain that's similar to where you're most likely to use the bike. You can even get a $20 monthly credit on your taxes, which can be used for maintaining, repairing or buying bicycles (see: Biking at a leisurely pace of 10 to 12 mph, you can burn 423 calories in just 60 minutes.

6. Jump rope. It is very inexpensive and it burns calories while it improves your endurance, cardiovascular health, coordination, timing and agility. You can buy a jump-rope at your local sporting goods store or go online to, or Slow jumping burns 9.4 calories per minute or 281 calories per half-hour. Moderate jumping burns 11.7 calories per minute or 352 calories per half-hour.

7. Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Spring: apricots, broccoli, green beans, mangoes, pineapples and spinach. Summer: bell peppers, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, eggplant, grapes, melons, peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, summer squash, watermelon and zucchini. Fall: apples, butternut squash, cranberries, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, pears, pomegranates, sweet potatoes and turnips. Winter: apples, grapefruit, kiwis, leeks, oranges, mushrooms, tangerines and winter squash. When not in season, or to avoid having fresh produce go bad, try frozen fruits and vegetables –- you'll probably be surprised by how good they are.

8. Buy organic only when necessary. According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the following fruits and vegetables generally contain the most harmful pesticides, so buy them organic when you can: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, grapes (imported), carrots and pears.

9. Cook in batches, and eat at home. Eating out can be expensive and unhealthy (lots of calories and big portions). Cooking for yourself saves money, and you also get to choose the ingredients so you can make sure all your food is healthful. Also, taking the time to cook your own food helps you to appreciate it more -– and preparing, cooking and cleaning up burns calories. One of the most effective ways to ensure that you always have a healthy meal on hand at home is to cook several meals at once. Maybe create a cooking day. For instance, Sunday you could spend the day cooking for the entire week. Make a vat of vegetable soup, or prepare and cook two whole chickens (without the skin, of course). Divide everything into serving-size portions and freeze it.

10. Get group support. One of the reasons Weight Watchers is so successful is that it provides participants with support. You can create your own group support by putting up fliers in your neighborhood or at local markets. Hold weekly meetings with others who want to lose weight. Or, if you're not the organizing type, try the nonprofit TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) at Dues are $26 annually in the United States, plus chapter fees that average less than $5 per month to cover operating costs.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate, founder of, the health and fitness network and author of "The Diet Detective's Calorie Bargain Bible" (Simon & Schuster, 2007). Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter and iTunes podcast at

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Excerts from Chat with Joy Bauer of the Joy Fit Club

It is just me and my son and i dont like to cook for just two. I have to be at work at 6 pm so I have little time to cook. What kind of fast food can I eat?

Joy Bauer: Healthy canned soups (lentil, vegetable, minestrone, bean), lean ham or turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread with mustard or reduced fat mayo, egg white omelets with vegetables and reduced fat cheese, tacos made with ground turkey meat, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and shredded reduced fat cheese and salsa. Hope this helps a bit!

[Comment From Brenda - Woonsocket, RI]
How do I gain some stamina to start an exercising program and eating healthy when everything is so expensive and I am out of a job. I just sit around all day and I haven't the energy to do anything about it. Please help me!!!

Joy Bauer: Start by simply walking 30 minutes a day -- you don't have to be an athlete and best of all, it's FREE. It's my personal favorite form of exercise -- I try to walk for an hour every day. If you have an iPod, load on your favorite tunes and enjoy some solo time.... or, buddy up with a friend and enjoy a quality visit.


[Comment From Butler Road]
What are your top three fish choices. I heard some are better than others.

Joy Bauer: Wild salmon, sardines, and shrimp. The first two are brimming with omega 3 fats and Vitamin D! Shrimp is super low-calorie and low-contaminant.

What to do when workouts and sleep collide...

Your Rest Period

Biggest Loser Club fitness expert Michael Scholtz knows that many of us get our physical activity in the evening hours. Scholtz also knows exercising too close to bedtime can make it difficult to sleep. He shares these tips with BLC nighttime exercisers who need their sleep:

1) Go to bed well hydrated. Drink plenty of water during the afternoon and early evening.

2) Avoid bright light in the evening. Bright light interferes with melatonin production, a hormone we produce that helps us sleep.

3) Avoid eating two hours before going to sleep if possible.

4) Use white noise. The sound of a spinning fan can mute out harsher background noises and keep you at a deeper sleep level.

5) Take a relaxing bath or shower. Light candles if that calms you.

6) Exercise earlier. If your schedule is flexible, hit the gym as early as possible.

7) Avoid stress. Don't pay bills or watch scary movies before hitting the hay.

8) Try chamomile tea. Be sure to avoid any caffeinated beverages before bedtime.

...This is an excerpt, read the full article as a member of the Biggest Loser Club.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Twittering pays off...a link from another fellow Twitter Peep!


As bloggers, we tend to do a lot of sitting as we write, Tweet, Stumble, etc. By the end of the day it’s easy to feel tense, sore and sedentary. But since this is just so unhealthy, I’ve come up with some things we can all do to help us get fit as we blog - exercises to get our heart rate up, help us tone up and de-stress. All at the comfort of our blogging desk… or close by.

1. Cyber Squats - Who says you have to sit when you’re online? Set your chair aside for a few minutes and instead do squats as you write your next blog post, comment, or when you cruise around the Web. I’m squatting as I write this post - ouch!

2. RSS Raises - As you’re sitting at your desk, straighten your knees and lift your legs out in front of you. Do this as you catch up on your favorite blogs on your RSS reader.

3. 10 Minute Move it! Break #1 - Alternate jogging in place with jumping jacks - do a minute of each and repeat 5 times.

4. Twitter Tummy Tone - Tighten your abs for 30 seconds and then release. Do this as you tweet.

5. Social Squeezes - Tighten your glutes for 30 seconds and then release. (Good thing noone can see you at this social, right?) Repeat as you Stumble, Digg, or Friend on Facebook.

6. 10 Minute Move it! Break #2 - Grab a step stool and climb up and down - get creative if you like and alternate knee lifts at the top of the step.

7. Inbox Incline - While you’re sitting with your feet on the floor, raise your heels so you are on the balls of your feet and lower them. make sure you can feel it in your calves. Do this as you read and reply to your emails.

8. 10 Minute Move it! Break #3 - Do walking lunges around the house. Want to make it more challenging? Add some weights and do bicep curls at the same time.

9. Blogger Breather - Grab a quick minute to just close your eyes and focus on your breath. Count to 10 as you slowly inhale through your nose, thinking positive thoughts. Exhale through your mouth, again counting to 10. This time release all the tension and stress out of your body. Repeat if you have a few more seconds.

10. Sign Off Stretches - Your neck and shoulders can get pretty tense when you sit at a computer too long. So loosen them up throughout the day with:

  • Shoulder shrugs - with your head at your chest, shrug your shoulders up and down.
  • Neck Rolls - relax your shoulders and let your head roll forward. Slowly rotate your head in a circle. Repeat five times.

Do these exercises throughout the day to avoid blogger booty! You’ll feel better which could help you blog better.

Anyone else have some blogger exercises to share?

Losing Weight Gaining Muscle...

Spring is around the corner and so is bikini season. This time of year is when I receive queries from readers concerned that they are not losing very much weight, even though they are dieting and exercising after hibernating on the couch for the dark months of Winter. In the questions on this subject I have received recently, the Sugar readers have all noticed that their clothes are looser and their body's are firmer, but their scales have barely budged. Although they're frustrated, I must say they are doing the right thing — dieting and working out.

They may not be losing much weight, but they are losing fat while gaining muscle, which is great. Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, so it takes up less space. When you lose fat and gain muscle your body measurements will change, like waist circumference, even though your weight doesn't.

To see how muscle mass helps when losing weight, read more.
Muscle also requires more energy and therefore burns more calories than fat. Meaning the more muscle mass you have the faster your metabolism, which is great. If you're looking to lose weight, I think you should alter your goal to change your body composition. Keep on exercising and counting calories, since that is how you effectively lose weight. Make sure to keep your caloric intake above 1200 calories, because if you go under your body goes into famine mode and holds onto fat. Measure your progress by how your clothes feel and remember, the slower you lose weight — two pounds maximum a week — the higher the chances you will keep it off.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What I have found out...

I have not ever been one to knock something before I try I did just that! I have been reporting about my fantastic voyage at 24hr fitness and some of the local morning classes, but there is one thing that I have found out...I AM NOT MADE FOR THE BOUNCING OF AEROBICS! I love the class but my coordination for some of the movement is WAY off! Also the chin splits and fractured I carry from my military days do not make it any easier! So why it may be cool for some it is not for me! I will find other ways to increase my cardio! For now my aqua classes are paying off. However, I will go back to my elliptical training, treadmill training, and basket ball drills! I also think that I will add some roller skating! Was always my fave as a kid, and still my ultimate dream as an adult!!

Love all that are reading and hope that you find inspiration through my testimony!

The Great 1 Month Slim Down

The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels knows firsthand what it takes to get the body you want. To uncover her own covetable curves, she had to lose 60 (yes, 60!) pounds. Find out how she transformed—she will help you look amazing, too!

Combine these firmers with the Jump Start Diet to tighten and tone head to toe and drop 8 pounds!
From the January 2009 Issue

Meet your trainer Some people are genetically blessed with flat abs. Fitness pro Jillian Michaels, 34, is not one of them. In fact, by eighth grade, the 5-foot-2 Los Angeles native had reached 175 pounds, thanks in large part, she says, to an unhappy relationship with food, passed down to her from her dad. "It seemed the only way my father knew how to relate to me was through food, so we'd have ice cream and huge bowls of popcorn," Michaels says. As her waistline grew, her self-esteem shrank. She hit rock bottom at age 13, when she was kicked out of a martial arts class for sneaking in Cheetos. "At the time, I was so angry at my instructor, but then I realized he was right. So the next week, I went back and was like, 'OK, I'm ready!' Suddenly I went from the kid in school who everyone would make fun of to the kid in school who could break two boards with her right foot. I felt empowered for the first time," says Michaels, who went on to not only earn her black belt but also shed an astonishing 60 pounds. Now the 115-pound Biggest Loser motivator works out four to five hours a week to stay strong inside and out. "Fitness is not about six-pack abs," she says. "It's a tool to help you reinvent yourself. It's about exercising your greatness, feeling the full potential of your power and reaching it with no shame." Those abs? They're a little bonus.

The workout Each move in Michaels's get-lean routine, designed exclusively for SELF, targets multiple muscles. "The more areas you train at once, the more calories you burn," she says.

You'll need A set of 5- to 12-pound weights and a stability ball

Try it Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each exercise every other day. To shed inches, add cardio; see "Sizzle Calories."

Get more fitness tips and weight-loss advice from Jillian at her official Web site,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Exercise and Weight Loss Tips

Turn Frustrated into Firm
My secret to bust a plateau and lose inches fast
Jennifer e-mailed to ask, "Why am I not losing weight even though I'm working out?" This is one of the most common questions I hear. Exercise is key to weight loss, but it's only part of the equation. In one study, overweight adults who exercised and cut calories shaved up to 66% more inches from their waistlines than those who exercise or diet alone. To pinpoint what's making your scale stick, ask yourself these questions.

Am I working hard enough? Exercise should be enjoyable, but to blast fat, you need to challenge yourself. At the right level, you'll be breathing through your mouth (not just your nose) and be able to say just a couple of sentences without gasping for air. For an even bigger burn, try intervals--every 2 minutes, speed up for 30 to 60 seconds.

Am I snacking more? Working out can increase your appetite. To keep your energy up and still achieve weight loss, have a 100-calorie snack before or after your session or exercise right before a meal.

Are my portions oversized? Studies show most of us consistently underestimate our food intake. To keep tabs, write down everything that goes in your mouth, and for at least 1 day actually measure your portions. I tried it and was shocked at how many servings I poured into my cereal bowl!

Am I in a workout rut? Doing the same exercise routine day after day guarantees stalled results--and boredom! Muscles get used to the same movements, so it takes less effort and burns fewer calories. Instead, add some hills to your walk, switch up your speed or distance, or try a new toning DVD.

Chris Freytag is a board member of the American Council on Exercise, the star of many Prevention Fitness Systems DVDs, and author of Prevention's Shortcuts to Big Weight Loss (

Fit after 40!
Got a question for Chris Freytag? Send it to and include your name and hometown.

Last Updated: 01/13/2009 Issue Date: March 2009 Copyright 2009, Prevention


Took the weekend off to TRULY get over the flu!

Went to the aqua class and pushed perfection with EVERY move!! In the meant time I have done a bit of grocery shopping and made sure to buy more veggies and meal building items that are a bit less starchy! Salads and soups will be on the menu a bit more! I am truly excited with loss of 2inches in the waist! swagger is so smooth! I hope that adding an additional class which will be more on the simple athletics side that will help tone and continue to push my body in a seductively healthy body!!

Love Ya!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stability Ball Workout

Stability balls are already found in many households across Dallas, but just owning one doesn't mean it's being used to its full potential. So dust yours off, or simply purchase one at Target, Walmart or any sports store like Sports Authority and get on the ball!

Before you begin, be sure your stability ball is inflated to it's correct size. That size may be printed on the outside of your ball. This size is a maximum limit, so do not go past this limit as it may result in a burst ball.

Next, be sure to warm up at least 5 to 10 minutes before beginning these exercises.

  1. Push Ups: Two hands on the ball with feet behind you in a plank position. Slowly lower your chest downwards while keeping the ball steady, then rising back up. Check out the picture for a great example.
  2. Squats: Place the ball at your lower back and against a wall. As you lower your hips down, keep the ball pressed against the wall. Be sure that your feet are far enough away from the wall so that your knees don't go past your feet as you squat.
  3. Crunches: Sit on the ball and place your lower back in the center. With your hands behind you head lay back and curl your upper body forward, contracting your abdominal muscles. Lay back to flat, making sure to control every aspect of this motion.
  4. Lunges: Stand in front of the ball and place one foot on top of the ball. With your legs spread far apart, lower your hips down into a lunge. This is a great balance and knee strengthening exercise. Repeat for both legs.
  5. Knee Tucks: Hold your body in a plank position with your hands on the floor. Next place your feet on top of the ball which should be behind you. Once you are balanced, pull the ball in toward you by tucking your knees into your chest. Place the ball back where you started and repeat.
  6. Hamstring Curls: Lie on your back on the floor. Place the ball underneath your and hips lifted off the ground. Pull your heels toward your butt and then straight back out. Keep your hips off the ground the entire time and repeat.
  7. Side Crunches: Lay on the ball on your side with your belly button lined up with the center. Spread your feet apart on the ground to help with balance. With your hands behind your head, pull your upper body toward the ceiling to contract your side abdominal wall. Release back to the starting position and repeat.
  8. Lateral Squat: Stand with the ball to the side of you. With one foot on top of the ball, preform a one legged squat while the foot on top of the ball roles the ball outward. As you raise back up to a standing position, return the ball toward you.

Perform each exercise 10 to 15 times for a total of 2 to 3 sets. The stabiity ball is an excellent core and balance trainer for all ages. This is a great tool to get the whole family involved in working out!

Article from the Dallas Fitness Examiner

Be Kind to your Knees...

Be kind to all your bendy places

Biggest Loser Club fitness expert Michael Scholtz knows when you're new to exercise, aches and pains abound, but he urges you to follow his tips to prevent unnecessary joint pain in your knees. "The knees are involved in practically any movement you do from everyday walking to chores to exercise," Scholtz says. So it's crucial your knees feel good. To keep knees in tip-top shape, avoid the following:

(1) Being a weekend warrior. Knees need consistent activity, not sudden activity.

(2) Deep Squats: "Squatting down very deeply, especially if you stay there for a prolonged amount of time, can be terrible for your knees," says Scholtz.

(3) Kneeling on hard surfaces: kneel on a rolled-up towel or knee pads, not hard wood or concrete.

(4) Plant and twist maneuvers. Point your toes and knees in the same direction when exercising. Turning your body with your feet planted in another direction puts too much torque on your knees.

Scholtz says anyone with knee pain will benefit from weight loss. In any activity, knees absorb three pounds of weight for every pound on your body. So just a five-pound weight loss takes off 15 pounds of pressure on your knees! Remember, when it comes to your knees, work with TLC!

Effective Abdomina Exercises...

The Captain's Chair is the second most effective move for the rectus abdominis as well as the obliques and can be found in most health clubs and gyms. To do it right:

1. Stand on chair and grip handholds to stabilize your upper body.
2. Press your back against the pad and contract the abs to raise the legs and lift knees towards your chest.
3. Don't arch the back and remember to breathe smoothly.
4. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The exercise ball is an excellent tool to strengthen the abs and comes out number three for working the rectus abdominis. To do it right:

1. Lie face-up with the ball resting under your mid/lower back.
2. Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head.
3. Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips.
4. As you curl up, keep the ball stable (i.e., you shouldn't roll).
5. Lower back down, getting a stretch in the abs, and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The vertical leg crunch is another effective move for the rectus abdominis and the obliques. To do it right:

1. Lie face up on the floor and extend the legs straight up with knees crossed.
2. Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet.
3. Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement.
4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The Torso Track is a tough exercise because it can hurt your back if you're not careful.

1. Grip the handles of the Torso Track and pull the abs in without holding your breath (as though bracing them).
2. Exhale and glide forward as far as you comfortably can. If you collapse in the middle and feel it in your back, you've gone too far.
3. Contract the abs to pull your body back.
4. Add tension by using more tension chords.


The plank exercise ranked number 10 in the ACE study and is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as stabilizer muscles. To do it right:

1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.
5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

To see more please visit Top 10 Most Effective Ab Exercise

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

100% Clean Eating...

This is a meal plan from a good blogging friend of mine...Ms Danni is certainly fit enough for me to take advice from! To be exact she is a into fitness and I think she should be a personal trainer or something of a sort...

Ms Danni blog can be found on LJ

( cardio 45 min )

2 )2 harboiled eggwhites no yolks ( yucky )
1slice wheat toast

3 )protein shake

4) salad with oil vinegar topped with a tad of feta and grilled chicken ( I have a feta fetish )

5) 5 oz of lean strip steak with steam broccoli and a tad of couscous

6) low cal ( not carb ) english muffin with natural peanut butter


7) muscle milk 100 calorie pack with no sugar


5 Exercise Tips to LOOSE Belly Fat...

Excess body fat could pose great health risk on an individual. And excessive fat concentration in the mid section may lead to higher health risks, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Health experts agree to attain a healthier body and tone flat abs is to exercise and have a balanced diet. Nowadays there are plenty of exercise tips to lose belly fat fast. The fact is if you want to lose that extra weight you have to remain active, have a healthy balance meals and a healthy lifestyle. By eating the right kinds of food you may be able to trim down those excess fats and coupled with some proven exercise tips to lose belly fat you are on your way to a healthier body and flat abs.

First you must understand that losing weight entails a whole body workout, it’s impossible to get rid of one section of your body alone. Spot reducing will not give you favorable results, instead incorporate exercises that will tone and shape your muscles and then do some exercises that will target your midsection. There are exercise tips to lose belly fat that you can incorporate in your workout routine that can give you excellent results in no time.

These 5 exercise tips to lose belly fat could be included into your routine work out:

1. The Plank

The Plank is a core exercise that strengthens and tightens the abdominal muscles, as well as the back and the lower back muscles. The position; push up pose, forearms and toes are the ones only touching the ground. Hold this pose for 6 counts or until you can tolerate holding this pose. Then slowly go down and repeat the pose 3 times.

2. Abs crunch with stability ball

This core exercise let’s you target and isolates the abs muscles for a more precise muscle workout. However if you do not have a stability ball you can put your legs on a sturdy chair and do the crunch. Do the crunch for 12 counts and repeat for 3 times.

3. Pilates

It is a good body conditioning routine that develops flexibility, endurance and strengthens the core muscles. It tones the abs muscle without adding muscle bulk this is a good workout to have a flat toned abdominals a great exercise for ladies too. There are different pilates routines to choose from, from beginners to the advance routine.

4. Walking

Another great exercise tip to lose belly fat, walking lets all the muscle in the body burn more easily especially the abdominal muscles. Walking is a great cardio workout also. This will strengthen your heart and improve your breathing.

5. Cardiovascular exercises

Cardio exercises or aerobic exercises, like jogging, swimming, biking, and sprinting are some of the best cardio exercises that you will definitely enjoy. It gives a good whole body workout and is a great exercise tip to lose belly fat.

These exercise tips will help you lose belly fat, just remember to add variety in all your routine and diet. Adding variety to your workout will motivate you to go further into achieving your goal. This will also reduce the incidence of plateaus which often makes an individual frustrated.

By: Andres Munoz

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There is something to working out that is contagious!

I love everything about it! I know that when you find something you like and you are good at you should stick with it! Well I love the gym I am at now! It is still under the same umbrella (24hr fitness)! However, the people are much nicer there! They talk to each other...they welcome you and no pressure about people walking around half naked to flaunt! I mean I know the saying but there is a time and place for everything! My gym attire no matter what my size has been modest! A tee and sweats! I do not know why people feel that it is a nigh club when they go to the gym. The best thing about it is that the ones that dress like that normally are the ones that come once a week (if that often), so I do not have to see it all that much! Well I am getting off of that and on to something better!

I noticed today that the swim suit I wear to the class, I have not worn in 7yrs and it was not something that I was dying to put on! However, in a weeks time I have noticed a difference in the way it fits! A difference in the way other items fit also! Is it my strut? YEAH! I have better posture and confidence since putting that swimsuit on! Yes! I am noticing! And it feels good!

Turbo Kick Boxing

Turbo kick boxing is not for the beginers! I am just being honest with you! It whooped my ass! OMG! O I was fucking through with it within the 1st five minutes! However, I stuck in there! I kicked when I cold jumped when I could! I squated and prayed to get up and got up and prayed to squat! I know that one day I will go back in there and conquer that class, but until then...well I am keeping my big ass in the pool and circuit training! I do enough of that other bull with all the DVD's that I have at home! I would rather do my "Flirty Girl Fitness" workout than TKB! It is much more my speed, I feel the muscles and the aches after, and it is fun! I feel like HEEEEEEEEAAAAAYYYYY! LMAO! I will have to recommend that to anyone who likes to dance and wants to loose a few inches of jiggle!

Some days I can not help but love being me!
No drama, no bullshit, just being the playful me that I am!
I love that my mornings in the gym, take my mind off of the drama outside the doors of the gym!
I love being in the water and feeling the muscle targeted and sometime the secondary muscles working like never before! I REALLY love it!
Afterward it is so much easier to be me and loving me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Perfect post-workout refuel: chocolate milk - Sports

Perfect post-workout refuel: chocolate milk - Sports

I am so glad that I do this already! Chocolate Milk is a GREAT after workout boost!

1st Aqua Class

Well, today I went to the gym I had feared for so long. It was the 24hr Fitness with EVERYTHING! Basketball court, full gym facilities, classroom, pool, whirlpool, dry sauna and steam room!

Well I have always wanted to try the aqua classes, and for over a year I was like...uh no way! Synchronized swimming are for old ladies not divas! Besides I want to really work out, you know! I bust sweats with treadmills and elliptical! I make muscles sore with pounding weights! Not an aqua aerobics class! Well YES! I did! I did an aqua aerobics class and it was AWESOME! I am so glad that I did it! For one reason it was very good using my own body as resistance with no stress on the joints. Another reason is that being around the women that were there was the best! These woman were well past their 50's and they were still trucking! Hell, honestly it was hard to keep up with some of them. One in particular I can not wait to see at the next class, she helped me out so much! I was so out of sorts! But once I was engaged and using my core I was on it! However, I was off balance enough twice to land face first in the pool! Yeah, it was hilarious! I just needed to find my center of gravity while sitting and floating at the same time, but splat! There I went!

I honestly have not felt better after a work out! I know I will go back and sweat it out again in the pool of fitness! Yes, you can sweat while doing an hour of aqua aerobics! I can not wait...and then a soak in the whirlpool with a trip to the dry sauna! I am so loving it!