Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dance Your Way to Better Health

I'm just saying, dancing is fun, exciting, and can make you feel a little embarrased (if you can't dance). But regardless of how you feel about it, or what your current level is, dancing can be very beneficial your health, and to your relationship.

With my continued journey towards optimal health, I decided to accompany my wife to an 8-week ballroom dance class. At first I thought, "are you kidding?" This was the same reaction from most of my male Facebook friends. I'm glad you can't read their comments. Regardless, after attending the first class, I knew that I was committed to this knew program. We have also agreed that we will join another class when this one ends.

The dance, the Fox Trot, was a bit challenging at first. Fun, but challenging. And I could definitely feel it in my abs, weights, and legs... and arms. But despite the "hurt" and confusion it was a lot of fun. It brought us closer, physically and emotionally. Learning something new together- without one trying to teach the other (which can sometimes be a problem in some relationships).

The Mayo clinic also reports that social dancing helps to reduce stress, increase energy, improve strength, increase muscle tone and coordination.

Additionally, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that dancing can lower your risk of coronary heart disease, decrease blood pressure, help you manage your weight, strengthen the bones of your legs and hips.

So take your partner and dance across the living room, or if you have the time and the funds join a dance class. It will benefit your heart in more ways than one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Exercise Boosts Brain Power

I have to say, that I have been committed to my fitness regimen for the past few months, and I can really feel the difference. I hope that you are on the same path. Exercise not only improves your physical health., it also has a positive impact on your mood and overall mental health. Did you know that a half an hour of cardio helps to impoves reduces anxiety and enhances mood?

Besides being tired, how many of you have noticed how much better you feel when you come back from a long walk, jog or run for 30 minutes, or an aerobics class? I know that after a long day of stress at the job, I benefit from an afternoon or evening run. What about prevention? I have learned that by exercising in the early morning, it helps alleviate stress and relieves stress hormones and makes my day a lot more calm- it also keeps me more alert.

According to, "Exercise significantly increases mental acuity—a benefit that lasts four to ten hours after your workout ends. Exercising in the a.m. means you get to harness that brainpower."

So make some time and get an jump start your health!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Great Post on That's Fit

You don't have to be a gym rat to sculpt a rockin' bod. According to Jay Shafran, a fitness expert with New York-based Wellness 360, all it takes is three, 15-minute workouts a week. "Short, intense sessions that focus on muscle toning and calorie burning will get you the body you want," Shafran...

Great Post on That's Fit

Great Post on That's Fit

There's nothing like supermodel Heidi Klum slurping down a container of yogurt to get non-believers eating the superfood. And that's just what Dannon Yogurt had in mind when it recently launched a TV spot for its Light & Fit yogurt featuring spokesperson Klum, according to a recent MediaPost story.

The commercial, in which a fellow exerciser watches Klum's voracious consumption of Dannon's 80 calorie Light & Fit yogurt, is being used to propel this light yogurt past competitor Yoplait as the best low-cal option. Of course, we're slightly skeptical of this advertising based on Dannon's previous exaggeration of the health benefits of its yogurt products. So while Klum may boost the ratings for Dannon, we're already on board with the benefits of yogurt, since it's a food that doesn't require a hard...

Great Post on That's Fit

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Delicious Smoothie

This is my own creation. Try it.. Enjoy it!

2 frozen bananas

1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1 c. soy milk
1/2 c. orange juice
4 tsp. Agave Nector sweetener

Put all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Makes 2 glasses. A delicious healthy drink. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 268, Fat 5.1 g (sat 1.9 g), Carbs 55.5g, fiber 6.0 g, sugars 36.2 g, protein 9.2 g

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Best Healthy Snacks For The Office : Men's Health

We all get the munchies during the day... and at night. But instead of reaching for a candy bar or a bag of Doritos, check out the healthy snack suggestions from Men's Health Magazine.

Best Breakfast to Eat over Your Keyboard
Chex Morning Mix
We like the cinnamon mix; it has almonds, cranberries, and raisins.
Per pouch: 130 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g sat. fat), 1 g fiber
Horizon Organic Reduced Fat chocolate milk Spoil-proof moo.
Per 8 ounces: 180 calories, 8 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fat (3 g sat. fat), 0 g fiber

Best Hard Candy

Creme Savers Sugar Free The same flavor as regular Creme Savers.
Per 5 candies: 45 calories, 0 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 g fiber

Best Chocolate Bar
Dove Dark Contains levels of disease-fighting flavonoids similar to those of chocolate used in studies.
Per 1.3-ounce bar: 200 calories, 2 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat (7 g sat. fat), 2 g fiber

Best Microwavable Soup Cups
Not quite dinner, but enough to hold you over.
Beef: Chef Boyardee beef stew
Per container: 150 calories, 8 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 2 g fiber
Chicken: Dinty Moore chicken and dumplings
Per container: 200 calories, 12 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 1 g fiber

Best Fruit Cup
Dole Fruit Bowls sliced peaches More of what we want--peaches--and less of what we don't--sugary syrup.
Per cup: 120 calories, less than 1 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 2 g fiber

Check out the rest at Men's Health

The Best Healthy Snacks For The Office : Men's Health

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sexy Abs, Healthy Body

I woke up early this morning morning to watch television. Okay, I didn't just watch television, I watched Exercise TV and followed a workout by my fitness mentor, Marco Reed. Sexy Beach Abs. And no, it's not too early to get my abs sexy for the beach.

The abs can be the hardest body part to tone, but it is also one of the most important to pay attention to. Not only is it one of the first places (one of the first) people look when you walk along the beach, but it is also important to optimal health.

Next week I will be focusing most of my posts on the abs.

So get ready to get healthy sexy abs!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is the Time

It is a new year and I am sure we all have a new attitude. You want to save more money, eat healthier, and start (re-start) exercising. So why are you still sitting around making plans? You have to get out and make it happen. This is one of the prime seasons where gyms are making a killin' on new memberships. Sales are everywhere.

You feel your commitment and how this year is going to be different... but you still haven't made the move. Why not? Even if you do take the tour, put money down, and then commit to the gym (which are great first steps)- now you have to follow through. Problem? Don't let it be.

One way to resolve this issue is to get a friend to commit to your new workout regime. Doing it alone, especially if you're just starting out, doesn't always cut it. Believe me, I've been there. I joined a gym a number of years ago, and I would only go when I could bring someone using a free pass. Once those were no longer offered, I stopped showing up. A few years later, I joined another gym. This time I was able to convince my new bride to join with me, and then a family friend. So I had two people. I have been dedicated to the gym and to working out religiously ever since. Even if we don't make it to the gym, we may go out running, do some home workouts, etc. But since this new habit was formed, I am able to comfortably workout alone. This morning I did an at-home workout by myself with Exercise TV.

Secondly, location. If you are joining a gym, make sure it is convenient to get to. Also, if you have decided to do workouts at the park or at a friend's house... or even at home, make sure that you will not be discouraged by the commute. You may hear people say, dedication is everything. "If you're dedicated then you'll go no matter how far it is." But remember, you may not be dedicated yet. First you have to be comfortable and then it can become routine. And that will lead to dedication. It takes about 3 months to form a new habit. So don't worry about dedication your first day. Just get comfortable.

When I say a convenient location at home, my friends look at me like I am insane. "You're home, location is not an issue." But have you ever had to find a DVD in your huge movie collection, to no avail... and then give up? Have you ever had to find or set up the ironing board, lawn mower, prepare to wash the dishes (by hand)? Although there is not A LOT of work involved, if you are not used to doing this on a regular basis, those clothes may not get ironed for a few days, or those dishes may not get washed until much later. And the lawn, well no one else is looking so "why not wait until next weekend?"

Granted these things have to and will get done, you may not have the same urgency to exercise... at first. Imagine having to find the "other" dumbbell, or having to go into the attic for the yoga mat. Make sure that they fitness equipment is in reach so that when you feel the urge to exercise, you are not discouraged by the inconvenience of not being able to locate the exercise ball (and make sure the ball in inflated).

So this year, make your wellness resolution come true. Get out and make it happen. Keep me posted on your progress.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trainers: Drop the 'tude, give us your all

By Ashley Fantz, CNN


(CNN) -- Everybody says it: This year I'm going to get in shape.

The mantra is repeated a few times, but then February and all the excuses come: I'm too busy; I have to work, pick up the kids, fix the doohickey in the kitchen, do anything besides get on that treadmill or face that trainer.

Trainers say January is their biggest month, but their client roster diminishes by March.

"You'd think right now that people wouldn't part with their hard-earned cash to hire a trainer and then not be serious about it, but it happens," said Drew Dinwiddie, a trainer who has a loyal following at a boutique but no-fuss gym in Atlanta, Georgia.

"You get a pretty good idea quickly whether someone is going to be successful or they're not."

Trainers want potential clients to know that they aren't going to do the heavy lifting. They'll encourage and set parameters, teach proper form, give tough love when necessary and create a comfortable space free of judgment for their clients. But people who want to alter their bodies and improve their health must do more than sweat.

So before you hire a personal trainer, heed their advice:

Be truly willing to accept direction.

"I've had people who are the top boss at their office come in and act like they are the top boss during a workout," Dinwiddie said. "I don't want to battle you. I'd hope someone thinks of it as a collaboration. You're doing what I tell you, but you're also telling me what works for you."

If working out indoors seems like a drag, don't be afraid to pipe up and let your trainer know. Chances are they'll move your workout into the fresh air. Trainer Hyuk Chung, an Ironman triathlon competitor and longtime trainer, prefers to stay off machines and lift free weights and do resistance work using the client's body weight.

"Machines can end up doing the work for you, and we don't want that," he said. "What matters is if you're pushing yourself so your heart rate is at its maximum. I can take you for a run outside, or we'll hit the stairs of a building."

Set specific goals.

Don't say, "I want to lose weight." Instead try, "I will lose 15 pounds by February 15."

Avoid thinking that you want to run a race someday. Sign up for a 5K during your first session.

That's what Stephen Fusco did after he began training with Dinwiddie five years ago. Fusco was 50 pounds overweight after months of repeatedly being hospitalized to treat a rare degenerative tissue disorder. "I didn't think I could do it. Something just got into me, and I made it a routine. Eventually, your body begins to like it and need it.

"I just kept going," he said.

Fusco now trains at the same gym as Dinwiddie, is a certified yoga instructor, has run four marathons and is training for an Ironman.

Begin a food log.

"There is no lasting fitness without the right nutrition," Fusco said.

Fusco requires his clients to immediately began journaling what they eat. "If a client comes up with excuses about not doing that that -- 'Oh, I didn't have time' -- then it's probably a good indication they aren't serious."

And the food log should include liquids, especially alcohol. If a client is a "three glasses of wine with dinner" type, he or she should cut that to three glasses a week, said Keely Towson, who has a master's degree in physical therapy and works with clients with diabetes and short-term injuries.

Work out when the trainer's not around.

She also gives her clients basic exercises -- walking slowly on a treadmill or lifting minimal weight -- that they can do in their home or at the gym when she's not there.

Fusco won't work with clients who won't exercise when he's not around.

"I know from experience that one hour a week with me isn't going to cut it," he said. "When I see a client in the gym, I know they are into it and determined."

Do it for yourself

If you're trying to get a tight rear end for a February wedding, you might actually do it. But odds are, you'll lose that tuned caboose by March.

Don't work out because your spouse wants you to be thinner or because that slightly too-little black dress is mocking you.

"That's not real motivation," Fusco said. "Really wanting to get healthy comes from a sincere need to take better care of yourself, not the person who's telling you to be a certain way."

Be realistic about food.

The next time you shop for groceries, look at what you're putting in your cart. Are there cartoons on the boxes? Not good.

Some trainers recommend compiling recipes that are great-tasting without being calorie- or fat-laden. Bring the recipes in, and let them have a look. They have to eat healthily too and might be able to suggest a few tasty meals.

Also, know what you like and eat what you like. If you don't like lima beans, don't include them in your overall meal change. If you like pizza, delete Domino's from your cell phone, and make homemade pizza with whole wheat or pita bread crust and healthy toppings, trainers say. Clean out your pantry and get rid of the junk. And, no, you can't keep the Oreos by saying you're going to have only a few a week.

Get rid of negative influences

Recognize what is going to work against you, and separate yourself from those things, whether it's food or friends who might be naysayers to the new goal you've set.

"Be proud of yourself for getting in the door. It's a good start," Fusco said. "How you finish is totally up to you."