Kale Pesto

It seems that my family is always cooking the same 10 things for dinner so I have decided it is time to explore new recipes. I have been noticing a lot of pesto recipes floating around the internet and decided to try one out. I loved that this recipe for Kale Pesto is versatile (you could substitute just about any green leafy vegetable for the kale) and it is no-cook! I always have a small helper in the kitchen so I love anything that is simple and quick to pull together.

Kale Pesto

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Cloves fresh garlic, minced

2/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

1/2 Cup Pine nuts (I used unsalted)

1 Bunch of Kale

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt

Dash Black Pepper

Directions:

Wash the kale in cold water and remove the stems and large veins from the middle of the leaves. Tear the kale so you can fit it into your food processor. Add the kale into your food processor and pulse a few times until the leaves are finely chopped up. You may have to add the kale in several batches to get it to all fit into the food processor.

Once kale is finely chopped, add in the parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and pine nuts. I did chop up the pine nuts a little before adding it to the food processor but I am not sure it was needed. Mix all ingredients together in food processor for about 30 seconds.

Add in minced garlic and fresh lemon juice. Mix together for about 10 seconds.

Lastly, add in olive oil, salt and a dash of pepper. Mix all up in the food processor until well blended.

The night I prepared this I served it over fresh pasta for dinner and everyone enjoyed it. Well, honestly, my picky 4 year old daughter was concerned at how green her noodles were but my son thought it was great. The next day I used it as a spread on a sandwich and it was delicious. I have found that it held well in the refrigerator and when I thought about it, there were many uses for fresh Kale Pesto.

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Back to Basics: Push-Ups

 

I’m throwin’ it back this week with a basic body weight exercise that I hate to love. Push ups work the chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps as well as your core and quads that stabilize you throughout the movement. They can even get your heart rate up if you add a plyometric movement to them. 

I want you to feel comfortable doing this exercise no matter what your fitness level is so I will be giving you lots of options.  Once you get the proper form and breathing down, you’ll be a certified butt kicker in no time. As always consistency is key and know that doing less repetitions with great technique is much more effective that a gazillion reps with poor form. 

Here is the push up pyramid from easiest to most difficult:

  • Incline Push Up
  • Knee Push Up
  • Toe Push Up
  • Decline Push Up
  • Plyo Push Up

Form for each variation will be the same…just a different way to do it. Here are the biggest things to remember when performing this exercise:

1. Start with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. (There are also variations on hand placement based on the muscle group you want to isolate but we won’t get into all that today… it’s all about keeping it simple.)

2. Foot placement will be a little closer than shoulder width apart. If you’re going to perform the push up on your knees, they can be a little closer together and bring your heels a little closer towards your booty. 

 

3. The breath cycle of this exercise is to inhale on the way down and exhale as you push yourself back up.

 

4.  Your body should remain in a plank position (whether on your knees or toes) the entire repetition. You should never feel your back arch or look like a pyramid because your butt is too high. It should be a straight line from head to toe.

 

5.  Don’t forget to engage your core. Think about pulling your belly button to your spine and zip it up the entire movement.

 

Let’s review and get to the point… hands a little wider than shoulder width apart, feet a little closer than shoulder width apart.  Engage your core as you hold yourself in a plank position. Lower your body down towards the ground so you are about a fist length away from the ground and then exhale while pushing yourself back up to the starting position. Easy, right?

 

Here’s a demo of each variation following the tips I gave you…

 

Incline Push Up: you can increase your angle to make it easier and decrease your angle to make it more difficult.

Incline pushup Knee Push Up:  Always keep in mind that you can start on your toes if you know you can do a couple with good form and drop to your knees when your fatigue out weighs your ability to keep good form.

Knee push upToe Push Up

Toe push upDecline Push Up

Decline push up Plyo Push Up:  Same rules apply as far as proper body mechanics but a change in placement of hands as well as feet. Start with your hands wide as well as feet wide. Perform a push up in this position and as you push your body up you’re going to hop your feet and hands in shoulder width apart to perform a close grip push up.

Plyo push upPlyo push up 2

Time to Set Some Goals

 

I would have to say that besides working out and eating healthy (most of the time), I have had a lot of A-Ha moments about my aspirations in life that haven’t occurred at the gym or in the kitchen. It’s been truly inspiring to take a step back and look at my life and come to some conclusions about what I want, what I don’t want, how I want to feel and what I want to accomplish. I know, sounds deep, doesn’t it? Well it is but the cool thing about it all is I feel a sense of direction now. I feel motivated and I feel happy about the opportunities that I hope to face in the future. My hope is that you can take away some ideas on where to start when it comes to goal setting, gain some inspiration to start writing ideas down and get excited about the possibilities.

I recently found the most clarity when I was on vacation last month. I mean who doesn’t? It’s tough to go to a beautiful place and not forget all the stresses you left at home. I was able to think or not think and have almost a whole day of quiet. I literally can’t remember the last time I had a day where I didn’t say much of anything besides minimal conversations at stores and restaurants. My career involves talking… and a lot of it. I’m in pretty constant conversation most of my days with clients and guests in the store. I never really realized until I could get away from it, how draining that can be. I have become a pretty skilled conversationalist but I found it really nice and refreshing enjoying the silence… well besides the sounds of the city and the ocean.

Why am I telling you this? Well I think we all get caught up in our lives and the stresses of it. We spend so much time working that we rarely get chances to step back and evaluate how we feel about our current day to day. I think it’s really important to take some time for ourselves every once in a while to recharge and I’m encouraging you all to do so. I know what you’re thinking… between work, family, friends and sleep I don’t have time to take for myself. Well I’m telling you that there’s always time for things that you prioritize for. You make time for the things that are important. When you take this time investment for you, I have a few ideas of how to use that time and check in with yourself. These ideas are not my own, rather things I have done or been taught that have really helped me.

1.  What do you want? What don’t you want? Make lists, with one being what you want in your life now or in the future and one being what you don’t want. Be specific with your lists because these will set the baseline of where you see yourself a year from now and even ten years from now. Examples from my own list are: I want health benefits/vacation time and I don’t want to work late nights. They can be about health, career, family… really anything that is important and of value to you.

2. Make your goals solely based on what you want. Not what other people want. Not what you think you want or think you should want… if you had nothing holding you back what would you do? What career path would you take? How many kids would you have? What would you feel like if you had all those things? It’s hard to think this way because we have things that hold us back… financial burdens, work, etc. If you could let all of that go for a moment, what would your life look like?

3. Set small goals that lead up to your big goals. It’s hard to have a end goal without the steps in place to get you there. Who do you need to know about this goal to hold you accountable and keep you on track? When do you want to accomplish it by? Are there things you need to get in place in order to make it reachable. Think about the steps you need to take in order to make your dream come true.

These goals should make you excited. They should scare you a little, but ultimately they should inspire you and make you realize that you can do anything you want to… it just takes time, hard work, focus and drive. Plan your next vacation or staycation to give yourself some time to focus on you. Step outside the stresses of your daily life and find some clarity. Write your goals down. Let others know what they are to keep you honest and on track. If they don’t work or you realize you don’t want that to be your goal, change them. It’s your life… live it up.

Lower Body & Booty Workout #2

 

And I’m back for round two of the bootlycious and lower body workout series. Feel free to mix and match exercises between the two workouts I posted… but don’t always pick the exercises you love, learn to incorporate the ones you love to hate.

Strengthen the glutes and hamstrings and your lower back will thank you. Also keep good posture and proper form throughout your workout. Today in a class I took, it was refreshing to learn from a good teacher. He brought my mind back to awareness of the exercises at hand, alignment and breathing. Even I need those helpful tips when I’m feeling fatigued. It was great to be lead through a workout where I could take away a lot of positives from it.  I hope through my teaching and instruction, you will be able to do the same.

Here’s the run down to get those legs burning and strengthen those glutes:

Goblet Squat: 3×15

Lateral Lunges 3×15/leg

Single Leg Deadlift 3×12/leg

Glute Pulses: 3×25/leg

Static High Kicks: 3×25/leg

Wall Sits: 3×1 minute

squats

 

 

Goblet Squats.  Start in a squat stance with feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly pointed out to the side to give your hips some room. Hold the weight or kettlebell at chest height with shoulders back and core tight. Squat down letting that weight shift back to your heels and go as low as you can without losing good posture and core stability. 

​Inhale on the down and exhale on the way back up. This type of breathing goes for any exercise. During the work phase of the exercise, exhale… as you’re coming back to the start, inhale.

 

 

lateral lunges

 

 

Lateral Lunges.  Both feet should be facing forward as you take a big step out to the side with one foot. Keeping good posture with your shoulders back, bend that outside leg as if you are doing a single leg squat. As yo​u drop into that outside leg, drive that butt back and shift your weight to your heels. Push off that outside leg back to your starting position with feet together. Do all the repetitions on one leg and then switch to the other.

 

 

 

 

single leg

 

Single Leg Deadlift.  Start with the weight in your right hand.  Since the weight is in your right hand, the right leg is the one that is going to do the moving. Keeping the weight extremely close to the left leg while keeping your shoulders back and your chest proud, skim your left leg with the weight as you lift your right leg straight back in line with your body. As the weight moves down your leg, your back leg will continue to move up keeping it in line with your body. Squeeze those glutes as you come back up to standing.  You should feel a good stretch in the left hamstring and a good burn in that booty as you get back to the start of your exercise. Stay on the same leg for all 12 reps and then switch to the other side.

 

 

glute pulse

 

 

Glute Pulses.  You can hold on to a chair or something stable if you need to or you can challenge yourself to some balancing and core stability. Extend your left leg out to the side pointing your toe. Since you want to lead with your heel you have to turn your body so that your knee is just about facing the ground and your hip is facing the sky. This is a small up and down motion pointing that toe throughout the whole range of motion. Try not to touch the step every time you come down to start, rather hover the stair and then raise back up in the air about a foot.

 

 

 

kick

 

 

 

 

Static High Kicks.  You will be in the same position as the glute pulses but you are going to lean into your support a little more this time. Lift your hip as high as your range of motion allows and flex the toe. Pretend you have a kick bag out in front of you and the motion this time is kick out to straight leg and then back in to a bent knee. Repeat on one side and then switch to the other.

 

 

 

wall sit

 

 

Wall Sit.  Find a space on the wall where you can come to a 90 degree angle with your legs. Feel free to lean forward just a little bit to flatten your back out on the wall. If you want a little more of a challenge while you hold this position, lift up off your toes and onto your heels. Hold this position without touching your legs for one minute.

 

 

 

 

 

Along with these exercises, make sure you are stretching out those muscles that you worked as well as rolling them out to get out any of the kinks you may have. It’s important to continue to work on your flexibility to help increase range of motion when strength building.

Of course, the most important thing to do is have fun and stay focused. Bring your awareness to the task at hand and breathe through each exercise.

 

 

 

 

Lower Body & Booty Workout

 

It’s time to get that lower body and booty in shape. The summer seems to be coming to an end faster than we are ever ready for it to but this workout will benefit far beyond bikini and shorts season. Lower body and glute strength helps with countless everyday activities such as sitting down and standing up as well as going up and down stairs. It also helps balance and stability and strong glutes will ensure a stronger lower back. Did you know glutes are actually part of your core muscles and it’s not just your abs? Well, if not you learned something awesome today that could help you a lot in the long run. pun intended or not.

So here’s the workout I put together for you to get you started. I’ve incorporated six exercises as well as a few variations based on fitness level for you to try. 

  • Reverse Lunges – 3 x 15/leg
  • Bridge Hold or Single Leg Bridge Hold – 3 x 30 seconds each exercise or 1 min if you aren’t doing the single leg variation
  • Hip Circles – 3 x 20 each direction
  • Heel to Sky – 3 x 20/leg
  • Romanian Deadlift – 3 x 15
  • Single Leg Step Ups – 3 x 15/leg

lunges

 

 

 

Reverse Lunges.  I used a step as my platform but you can use whatever you’d like such as a step platform or a 25 pound plate if you’re at the gym. The lunge off a higher surface will incorporate more glute action. It will be performed just like a basic lunge but you take a step back instead of forward. Always make sure your knee never crosses the plane of your toe and you’re standing with good posture.  As you step back to the step, squeeze those glutes to help pull that leg back to your starting stop.  You will always start each repetition with both feet on the platform or step. 

 

 

 

 

bridge

 

 

 

Bridge Hold/Single Leg Bridge Hold. Lay on your back with your arms next to your sides. Lift your hips up as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top of your rep. Your body should be as straight as possible. If you want an extra challenge, lift one leg off the ground. Make sure you keep it in line with the other knee and keep your hips high. This is going to be a timed hold so you can do 30 seconds starting with two feet on the ground and then 30 seconds with each leg in the air. If single leg isn’t working for you, decrease your time or just hold your bridge with both feet on the ground.

 

 

circles

 

Hip Circles.  Start on all fours with your hands stacked below your shoulders and your knees stacked below your hips. The first direction of the circle,  you will kick your leg back and then lift your knee up drawing a circle with it. The tighter your hips are, the harder this will feel and your circle will probably be a bit smaller. Repeat this exercise and then switch directions by bringing your knee into your chest first and then lifting your knee to draw a circle. Try to keep your body parallel with the ground as much as possible. When we feel inflexible, we tend to turn and compensate instead of working on correct range of motion within what we can  actually do.

Heel to Sky.  This exercise will also start on all fours. Keeping your knee at 90 degrees, lift your leg up until the bottom of your foot is facing the sky. From there you are going to pulse up and down no more than 12 inches up and down. If you want to make this more challenging, you can stick a weight behind your knee and pulse squeezing that weight to keep it in place.

 

deadlift

 

Romanian Deadlift.  This is the straight leg version of a deadlift. You should feel this exercise in your hamstrings as well as your glutes and you should be able to use a little bit heavier weight. I had to improvise using a fire log as my prop but you can use dumbbells or a barbell to complete this. Start with your feet a little closer than shoulder width apart. You want to make sure you are continuously keeping good posture and keeping your shoulders back giving you a nice flat back. Keeping the weight close to your body, slide the weights down close to your legs until you get to just below your knee. As the weight is moving down your leg, think about shifting your weight to your heels so you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.  Once you get to your end point just below the knee, slide the weight back up keeping it close to your body and squeezing your glutes the whole way back up to your starting point.

 

 

step up

 

 

 

Single Leg Step Ups.  I used a step but you can use an 18″ box at the gym, a chair or a bench. Place one foot on top of the step and that foot will stay there until you switch legs. Step up with the opposite leg until the leg with the foot up is fully extended and then slowly control your leg back down to the starting point. Make sure that you are stepping back behind the step to ensure your knee is protected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorporate this workout two times a week into your exercise routine and I promise you will feel results. It will take time and consistency but I know you’re up for the challenge. Time to get bootylicious for fall.

 

 

Sunshine Workout #2

 

 

It’s round two of the Sunshine Workouts so grab some water, yourself and a friend and that sunscreen and let’s get moving. You can mix and match all the exercises in the past two workouts or perform all of them if you’re really feeling like a rock star. Remember it’s 45 seconds per exercise with 15 seconds rest to get set up for your next exercise.  Your core kicker is 90 seconds long and then a small rest before you start the circuit again. Get after it and keep in mind quality form is more important than trying to complete a hundred reps in the time allotted.

squat jacks

 

 

Squat Jacks.  Little Miss Addy helped me out with this one. The helmet is optional but she is practicing safe exercising and I can’t fault her for that 😉  Start with feet together and then jump your feet out wide as if you’re going to do a jumping jack. Instead of keeping your legs straight dip down into a wide stance squat. Toes can be pointing out on an angle a little bit just so you don’t put a lot of pressure on your knees. Jump back to your starting position and repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

frop hops

Frop Hops.  Start in a plank position on your hands.  Jump your feet forward, landing outside of your hands and jump back to your starting plank position. If you want to challenge yourself you can always add a push up after each jump forward. Make sure you are engaging your core at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plyo pushups

 

Plyo Push Ups.  You can do your push ups on your knees or your toes. Find what works for you and roll with it.  Perform a normal push up and at the top of your push up, push your hands off the ground and back down to their starting position. This is an explosive movement and will get your heart rate up a little more than a normal push up. If this isn’t going to work for you, rock out the movement your best at and do the best you can.

 

 

 

 

 

monkey hops

 

Stationary Monkey Hops.  Start in a plank position on your hands. Hands should be directly below wrists and body should be in a straight line with your core zipped up nice and tight. Keeping your feet together, you’re going to hop to the right and then hop to the left. Continue this burner of an animal exercise for the remainder of the time. Make sure to always keep your shoulders right above your hands and engage that six pack of yours.

 

 

 

 

 

planks

 

Core Kicker this week: Plank Up Downs.  Start in a plank position on your hands. Hands should be stacked directly below shoulders with your core zipped up. Drop down to your elbows and then push back up to your hands. Make sure you are alternating the starting arm. Keep your feet wide and try to keep your body as parallel to the ground with as little movement in your hips as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Next time I will be starting a series on some bootilicious and lower body work.  Get fired up and have a great week.  Get a plan for your workouts and your eating and stick to it. Being prepared is one of the keys to success in your fitness journey. Have fun and get sweaty :)

Sunshine Workout #1

 

Well it’s been a while but I’m back and I bring with me some sunshine and warmer weather. Hopefully everyone has been enjoying their summer and staying healthy and active. The next two blogs are going to be outside workouts so you can take advantage of being able to spend time in the sun… don’t forget that sunscreen though.

There are going to be five body weight exercises which include some of my personal favorites and some variations I have learned in workouts I’ve done in the past couple months. The best thing about them is you need nothing but yourself and some motivation to get you through. I was lucky enough to have some of my favorite little kiddos join me… workout buddies always make exercise more fun.

Without further ado… Sunshine Workout # 1.

It consists of four exercises that you will circuit through doing each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second rest in between. The fifth exercise will be a core exercise that will be 90 second interval. Once you get through all five exercises, take 90 seconds and then power through the sequence 2-4 more times depending on how much time and energy you have. 

Squat Jumps1. Burpee Squat Jumps.  Perform a burpee by placing your hands on the ground shoulder width apart, jump or walk your feet back to a plank position and then jump or walk your feet back so that they are a little farther than shoulder width apart. Come to a standing position and perform three jump squats, shifting your weight back into those heels and attempting to get your quads and hamstrings parallel with the ground before exploding up into a jump and then landing softly back into the next squat. If you aren’t able to jump, feel free to do body weight squats instead. Modifying is always 100% okay to do if necessary.

 

 

 

 

spider push upSpider Push Ups.  I’ll start with the most advanced way to perform the exercise and then give you modifications so anyone and everyone can do it. Start in a push up position. As you lower your body down for your push up, drive your right knee towards your right elbow. Alternate between right and left leg movements. The next option is splitting up the two motions. Drive your right knee towards your right elbow, bring it back to your starting push up position and then perform your push up. The final option is the same as the second but instead of doing the push up on your toes, you will drop down to your knees and then back up to your push up position.

 

 

 

 

 

split jumpSplit Jumps.  I have explained these in previous posts but here’s a refresher. Start with your feet in a lunge position while standing with good posture. Drop your back knee towards the ground without allowing your front knee to cross the plane of your toes. As you come up, you are going to explode off your feet and switch your feet while in the air into a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. If you’re thinking I’m crazy and that isn’t going to work for you, simply keep your feet on the ground and perform alternating back lunges. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

climber

Mountain Climbers.  Start in that push up position and stack those shoulders right above your wrists for the entire 45 seconds.  Drive one knee into your chest and alternate as quickly as you can.  Keep your core tight and your body parallel with the ground. This should feel like you’re running but parallel with the ground instead of upright. My niece and nephew sure did a good job ‘climbing that mountain’ with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

situps

Core Burner of the Week:  Roll Ups.  Roll ups are a slow and controlled movement using as little momentum as possible. Start by laying on your back, arms perpendicular with the rest of your body.  Keeping your arms in the same place as much as possible you’re going to sit all the way up and then slowly roll back down one vertebrae at a time. This is your 90 second core exercise so get in as many as you can but remember proper form is most important thing to focus on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun, work up a sweat and stay tuned for Sunshine Workout #2!

Bye Bye Sugar

 

I decided to say goodbye to one of my favorite things to eat…sugar. I know what you’re thinking… ‘you’re crazy, there’s no way I could do that, I’d crave it too much.’ Well, that was the main reason I decided to give it a try. It’s like being an addict… you eat something that has sugar or artificial sweeteners or additives in them and then what does your body do? You guessed it, makes you want more. I’ve read about this topic and watched documentaries about the scary food world we live in today and they put it perfectly for all of us sugar addicts out there… everything is laced with sugar of some kind by the food industry. So the question is, how do you overcome this addiction when we live in a world where it’s nearly impossible to do? If I can take steps in the right direction, you can too. Trust me, I lead a healthy, active lifestyle and most people would say to me that I work out a lot so I can pretty much eat whatever I want. I agree to a point because one small reason out of the many reasons I lead the life I do is so I can enjoy life and not restrict myself on special occasions. But I don’t always have the willpower people think I do.

Here’s a little story about why I decided to end my toxic relationship with sugar. On my birthday this year I got the most delicious 11×14 pan of cookie butter bars from a client. What are those you ask? Well let me tell you… they are a layer of cake mix, a stick of butter and an egg, followed by a layer of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (which is cookies ground up into a peanut butter consistency… eat-it-with-a-spoon good) mixed with a can of condensed milk to make it seem almost like caramel… but better. Then it is topped off with three kinds of chips… chocolate, butterscotch and white chocolate. I mean these puppies are dense, rich and absolutely delicious and in moderation during my birthday week they would’ve been totally fine. Well, I came to realize that moderation does not mean eating three quarters of the pan in four days. If that didn’t slap me in the face as a sugar addiction problem, I’m not sure that anything would.

So I bought a book a coworker recommended with the catchy and appropriate title of  ‘I Quit Sugar’ and off I went on my quest to be bigger than my addiction. How many times do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something? Is it because we can’t do it or we don’t want to? I always said I could never give up sugar and the truth of it was I didn’t want to. So I decided to stop being a victim of the ‘I can’t’ and move forward with the ‘Why can’t I?’ attitude.

It’s hasn’t been easy, I’ll admit that but I went into it knowing it most definitely wouldn’t be. I knew I’d be hungry, cranky and want to quit and go back to my old ways but since I went into it knowing this would happen I was able to push through and stay strong. Now I feel like I should pay it forward and help others tackle this addiction once and for all. I should preface all of this by saying that I won’t go the rest of my life without sugar. There will be parties and holidays and happy times that I want to celebrate and enjoy but what I will be able to do is find moderation with my sugar servings and know that I can stop eating it after that appropriate portion size and feel satisfied instead of feeling like I want more. I will be bigger than my circumstances because I am in control instead of the addiction taking control.

So how did I go about all of these eating habit changes?

1. Take an honest look at your daily sugar intake.  It’s amazing how much we consume without even knowing it.  Right now, according to the documentary Hungry For Change, an adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day on average. Can you imagine eating 22 spoonfuls of sugar a day? Of course there are natural sugars in foods that are good for you on a daily basis but even too much of a good thing can be bad. It’s important to take into account ALL sugar… good and bad.

2. Start to read food labels more carefully.  Sugar is disguised on many food labels and a lot of times it’s in the form of something we can’t pronounce. The heavy hitter when it comes to sugar is fructose.Your body doesn’t acknowledge it when it is in your system so instead of metabolizing it, it holds onto it and eventually turns into fat. Also, one thing to know when looking at a dairy product label is that the first 12 grams of sugar is in the form of lactose which your body can use and can also recognize it and in turn use it to help your body. So in general, awareness is the first step to ‘recovery’… recognize the problem and slowly learn how to be proactive about doing something about it.

 

3. Give yourself some time to slowly start eliminating the ‘bad sugars’ first and start incorporating more healthy fats. Keep natural sugar in your diet such as fruits or plain whole fat yogurt but start saying goodbye to the artificial and processed sugars. Start adding in more healthy fats such as avocado, meat and cheese. These food ideas should all be full fat as opposed to low fat because low fat just means they had to alter the food somehow to take some of it out. Fat will curb your hunger faster and satisfy you enough to curb your sugar cravings.

 

4. Give your body time to get used to the change.  The women who wrote the book I read did an 8 week detox from sugar including natural sugar as well to get it completely out of her body and then she could reintroduce it and her body would react differently to it. I’m not saying you have to do an 8 week no-sugar diet but find what works for you. If having an apple or some full fat yogurt will help get you through the day, have those types of snacks in moderation.

 

This is a lot for your body to take on depending on how much sugar you intake in a day but allow your body to function without it and just see how you feel. There are a lot of great sugar free recipes out there made of natural ingredients and will give you the sweet taste that you need but won’t be harmful to your body. Be bigger than your cravings and addictions and test your willpower. Like I said before, in order to do something you have to want to do it for yourself. Take care of your body and fuel with it real food and tackle that sweet tooth once and for all.

 

 

Wellness From Nature

 

Summer is in full swing whether or not the weather is to our liking, but that is Wisconsin. The calendar says it is summer; the days are long and nature is following along with the first products of her majesty. June is the month to stuff your body with all the vegetables and herbs we have been waiting for. Vegetables promote long-term health, provide energy, and help you look your best. They are nature’s power-house of goodness.

The fact that we need to eat vegetables everyday is not a new concept to any of us. Our mothers have told us “You need to eat your vegetables” ever since we can remember, and as a species, from the dawn of time! Vegetables supply an incredible amount of health-promoting vitamins. Some are required daily, like the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and D, which also can be stored in our bodies for future use. The water-soluble vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, and folic acid) can only be stored in small amounts or not at all. Remember, humans cannot make vitamins; we have to get them from the environment and they are “essential nutrients”.

Eating a wide variety of vegetables as a regular part of your diet will help you stay slim and will provide the energy and vitality for you to enjoy life. A mantra here at Wellness For Me is: “Pursue health and performance will follow”.   Vegetables provide the fuel for you to thrive, and you will find phytonutrients, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and other substances that will provide health benefits. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts and the Allium family of vegetables (onions, garlic, and leeks) are among the highest phytonutrient containing vegetables. They contain high amounts of sulfur containing compounds, which have shown to reduce heart disease and cancer. This is just the tip of the iceberg of health benefits.

Make the logical choice and stock up on those vegetables; it will be one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Here are some more great June items you may like to try with your Brewers Organics order:

 

Asparagus

Green onions

Peas

Radishes

Sprouts

Kale

Cilantro

Spinach

Chard

 

Pursue health and performance will follow.

Live well!

Frank

 

Frank Alvarez is the Veteran owner-operator of Wellness For Me, LLC, specializing in wellness at the individual and corporate levels. He currently offers a nutrition course resulting in a certification. Frank received his degree in bacteriology from UW-Madison and is currently enrolled in Hawthorn University’s Master of Holistic Nutrition course. He is a Holistic Life Coach from the CHEK Institute, a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor from the Cory Holly Institute, a Cooper Clinic Fitness Specialist, a Level 1 U.S. Track and Field Coach and a U.S. Triathlon Official.

All course information and registration can be found at his site: http://www.wellnessfor.me, Twitter and Facebook. Contact Frank at 262-488-3011 for more information.

 

Fun With Resistance Band Circuit Training

 

Recently someone asked me if I had any ideas about an exercise routine they could do with their resistance bands.  I was surprised that this was a subject that I had not covered yet but was excited for the new idea.  Resistance bands are super easy for travel, at-home workouts and even circuit training when you’re crunched for time. They are a great tool to use for lighter resistance and higher repetitions. Bands comes in all different styles and thicknesses. I recommend investing in a few different thicknesses of bands so you have some variety in ‘weight’ for your workout. The band that I used for my workout is made by Power Systems and is long enough to be wrapped around an anchor point. It also has an attachment that you can close into a door and it will stay. Bands are typically pretty inexpensive and depending on how often you use them, they should last you a good amount of time.

 

The workout I designed would work well as a timed circuit. This means that you complete one set of each exercise for a set amount of time and then start over at the beginning. I recommend doing three sets of each exercise performing each exercise for one minute with a 20-30 second rest in between to get yourself set up for the next exercise.

 

Your workout will consist of seven exercises:

 

Using a tree as an anchor point:

Chest Press

Chest Flies

Squat to a High Row (not pictured)

 

Using your foot as an anchor point:

Squat to a Overhead Shoulder Press

Bicep Curls

Reverse Flies

Single Arm Tricep Extensions

 

Chest PressCHEST PRESS: Wrap the band around the tree and face away from the tree to start with one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t matter what foot you have in front…whichever you prefer is just fine. Contrary to my picture, the band should be at chest height to start, my band is a little lower than it should be though i was still able to complete the exercise with correct form. The starting position for your hands is palms facing eachother. As you press the band forward, your palms will turn down towards the ground keeping your arms at chest height. As you come back to your starting position, your palms will end by facing one another once again. Remember for each exercise that exhalations are performed when the exercise is difficult and inhalations are performed when the exercise is easier. For example, the press forward is the hard part so you’ll exhale and inhale as your hands return back to their starting position.

 

 

Chest Flies

 

CHEST FLIES: You will begin in the exact position as the chest press with your palms facing one another and your feet in a split stance. Again, the band should be at chest height and not quite as low as the picture shows. Begin the exercise by extending both arms straight out in front of you at chest height with your palms facing one another. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, (not 180 degrees and not 90 degrees but somewhere right in between those two angles) you are going to extend your arms to the sides until they are in line with your body. Press your palms back towards your starting position and repeat.

 

 

 

 

SQUAT TO A HIGH PULL

I failed to download this photo but you can always refer back to previous posts if you’re confused on form. This will be the only exercise where you will be facing the tree. Feet will be shoulder width apart and your arms will be extended in front of you at chest height. You will perform a squat with a good form… push that booty back and let your weight shift back into your heels not letting your knees cross the planes of your toes. Keep your arms outstretched until you begin to stand. As you stand, you are going to pull the band back towards you with your elbows high squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your arms will end at a 90 degree angle. As you begin to extend your arms back, you will perform your next squat and repeat this full body exercise.

 

Overhead

 

SQUAT TO AN OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESS

Start with your feet shoulder width apart with the band underneath each foot. You have control on the resistance you’re up against by how tight the band is when you step on it. If you need to make the resistance easier, simply give the band some slack and then step onto it. The exercise is performed similar to the last exercise but instead of a row you will perform an overhead shoulder press. Start by performing a squat with your hands at your shoulders and palms facing in front of you. As you stand from your squat you’re going to press the band up overhead and repeat by dropping your hands back to your shoulders while performing your next squat.

 

 

 

 

Curls

 

 

BICEP CURLS

Start in the same position as the squat press with the same rules applying when it comes to how much resistance you can handle. Palms will be facing away from your body and you’re just going to curl the band up to your shoulders with your elbows staying close to your body and then return back to your starting position.

 

 

 

 

Reverse Flies

 

 

REVERSE FLIES

Grab the band with both hands holding it out in front of you about shoulder width apart. You can adjust the resistance if necessary by giving yourself a little more slack between your hands. Pull the band at chest height until your arms are fully outstretched at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades at the end of your exercise. Bring your hands back to their starting position and repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

Tricep

 

SINGLE ARM TRICEP EXTENSIONS

Step on the band with one foot giving yourself the appropriate resistance.  Since we are doing one arm at a time, feel free to switch arms at the 30 second mark. Bring your arm up overhead and hinge at your elbow keeping it nice and close to your ear the entire time. Palm will be facing up to start the exercise and just press the band up until your arm is extended and lower back down to your starting position. Your elbow should stay high the entire exercise.

 

 

 

 

Like I said before, perform each exercise for one minute doing as many reps as you can with correct form in that time. Give yourself 20-30 seconds in between each exercise. Try to perform one set of each exercise before taking a longer break before you start your next full circuit. I plan on doing another band workout post in the near future so have fun with this one and stay tuned for more band excitement.