Stretching and Juicing

 

In this post, fitness blogger Ashley shows us some basic stretches and shares a juice recipe.  She also gives some interesting nutritional info on kale and spirulina. 

So I realize I’m only 27…young, able bodied, healthy etc etc…but there are some days where I am starting to feel the 20 years of sports taking a toll on me. My knees crack and crunch when I bend down, my back hurts after certain lifting days and the range of motion in my shoulders just isn’t what it used to be. I’m not writing this to have a mini pity party for myself, I actually had quite a wonderful day…my awesome nephew had his four year old birthday party and I celebrated Mother’s day with my mom and step dad. No pity parties allowed after a day spent with family.

I only write about these aches and pains because they brought me to the realization that I am in need of a change in my routine. It’s so easy to get stuck doing the same exercises on the same day every week without fail so I’ve decided to start focusing on my flexibility. It is one of those things that I know is so good for me but if I run out of time or energy, I typically skip it.

The main muscle groups I’ve been trying to increase flexibility in are my hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and quads. All of these areas contribute to my on and off low back pain so I’m trying to lengthen and strengthen. I’ve also been taking yoga at least once a week which encourages lower impact exercises to help with balance and flexibility. If you currently don’t take the time to work on your flexibility, I highly suggest joining the stretch party and just start by spending five minutes post workout just cooling down and working on it. The more consistent you are with it, the faster the results and more than likely, the better you’ll feel. Here are two simple stretches you can start with:

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Runner Stretch is a great for hamstrings. Stretch that opposite arm over to reach for your toes to feel a nice pull in those lats as well.

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This is a great stretch for hip flexors. If you can’t grab your foot, that’s okay, stay within your body’s range of motion. Once you’re in the correct position, try to sit up nice and straight for an even deeper stretch.

Back in the kitchen, I’ve been trying out some new food recipes as well as juice recipes. I’ve been using my juicer now for about three week now and I’ve really enjoyed it…though it takes a little bit of time to prepare, the nutrients I get out of each glass is well worth it. I actually enjoy healthy foods. I mean of course I was probably attracted to them at first because I know they are good for me but I actually really do like the taste. For me, fruits are a lot easier to consume so juicing helps me take in more veggies. Besides the color of the veggie juices, they are actually quite tasty.

Another plant based protein I’ve started incorporating in my juices is spirulina. It is actually a blue-green algae that is 65 to 71 percent complete protein (beef is 22 percent) with all essential amino acids in perfect balance. It also contains vitamin B12 which usually is only found in animal products. This superfood has helped me control cravings and has also helped balance out the decrease in meat protein in my diet. The label suggests one teaspoon a day and it’s pretty flavorless. All you have to get past is the bright green color and the fact that it’s algae.

So here’s a good juice recipe to add one teaspoon of spirulina to:

1 cucumber

1 celery stalk

1 peeled lemon

6 kale leaves

*side note: Kale is a superfood…thanks Brewers Organics for adding this to the menu. It has the highest vegetable source of vitamin K and may help the risk of developing certain cancers. It’s a source of calcium, chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Kale is low calorie and also a good source of minerals, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It promotes eye and skin health as well. (thank you rebootwithjoe.com for all your fun veggie facts)

2 handfuls of spinach

2 apples

*you can also add a peeled orange or some carrots to sweeten it up a little.

While you’re enjoying your nutritious green drink, I’m off to figure out what to make with the world’s largest zucchini I got in my order this week.

 

Hungry for Change: creating a morning juice routine

 

In this post, fitness blogger Ashley talks about her new morning juice routine:

So it’s the weekend…I’m always happy to relax a bit, spend time with my family and friends and just get myself ready for the next week. Last weekend, I decided to make some healthy lifestyle changes.

It all actually started when a documentary was brought to my attention. Typically, Netflix gives me the opportunity to spend countless hours watching entire seasons of mindless dramas like Friday Night Lights. Though I was really sad to say goodbye to all my friends in Dillon, Texas, I can’t say I learned much from it besides how not dramatic my life is compared to tv shows most days.

Well, in this instance I was told that I should watch a documentary called Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead. It is about an Aussie, Joe Cross, who comes to the US for 60 days to go on a juicing fast. He was obese, unhealthy and suffering from a chronic disease that required him to be on many medications with numerous side effects. He was closely monitored by doctors throughout his journey because all he consumed were fruit and vegetables in juice form as well as tea and water. Long story short, he lost around 100 pounds and was able to stop all of his medications and to this day he is feeling great and is actually very well known for his choice to take a stand and change his life.

There was another documentary that piggy-backed off of it called Hungry for Change. This really impacted me. So many of the foods that fill our grocery store shelves are terrible for us. Partially hydrogenated oils, aspartame and sugar are just a few of the topics health experts tackle. It was almost as if I had a mini epiphany by the end of the documentary. I mean I eat pretty healthy for the most part. I have my days where I struggle or have a social event or family party to go to where the temptations are endless. But in my day to day, I tend to make good choices. I just realized that there are some new things I want to incorporate in my everyday.

The main change I decided I wanted to make was to start using a juicer. Vegetables and fruits in their purest state are the most nutrient rich. So that is what I have been doing for the last week. The baseline of this ‘diet’ that doesn’t feel like a diet is broken down as follows: 50% of daily calories should be from veggies and fruit, 25% from protein and 25% from whole grains. The more organic, grass fed, farm raised, cage free foods I can consume, the better.

So for now, I will leave you with a yummy morning recipe that i’ve come to really like.
The three ingredients are carrots, apples and a lemon. The following information about these fruits and their benefits are from www.rebootwithjoe.com:

Carrots: richest plant source of vitamin A, and a good source of potassium.
Apples: contain antioxidants that help protect “good” cholesterol levels in the blood.
Lemons: High in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory. Also contains natural anti-nausea and overall digestive-aid properties.

So take two carrots, two apples and a peeled lemon, put them all through the juicer and just like that you’ll have about 16 ounces of morning energy. I’ll have some rolled oats with peanut butter or eggs along with it to carry me through most of the morning.

So my journey has only just begun but I’m feeling motivated, energized and excited the reap the benefits of my healthy choices.

Well, I’m off to laugh at an episode of Modern Family before bed.

Meet Ashley; nutrition and fitness blogger

 

 

Ashley

My name is Ashley and I’m 27 currently living in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  I am a certified Personal Trainer and have been in the field for four years.  I also completed my fifth season as the Head JV Girls Basketball Coach at Brookfield Central High School.  I enjoy playing sports and working out as well as learning new ways to keep my body healthy and clean through nutrition.  When I’m not at the gym or on the court, I enjoy taking photos and spending time with my family and friends.

I work at two different gyms with two very different styles which I love as my days are never the same.  I have the wonderful opportunity to help people reach their health and fitness goals on a daily basis,  (though some days they forget that I have their best interest at heart; one of my clients told me just a couple days ago I don’t believe in letting them breathe).

I have learned over the years that in order for me to be a successful trainer, I need to practice what I preach, Mostly… there are going to be off days for me too contrary to what some of my clients might think.  I truly enjoy working out and feeling good about myself and wish for nothing more than everyone I come in contact with to eventually have the same experience.

My active life all started when I was six and sports became part of my every day. My mom even let me try baton twirling which lasted for a couple years…too many leotards and pink roller filled nights for me. So I left my baton behind and ended up playing three sports in high school and continued on to play basketball at the collegiate level.

I’m still involved in basketball, playing weekend pick up games and have been the Head JV Girls Basketball Coach at Brookfield Central for five years so far which I absolutely love. I have to admit that the years when I was playing sports everyday were some of the best days of my life. I have made lifelong friends, learned discipline, motivation and perseverance which have helped me become successful in my career. I guess what I’m really trying to say through all this babble is fitness and wellness, have always been a way of life for me.

Along the way I have learned a lot about nutrition and diet as well.  I have learned what works for me and what doesn’t.  I want balance, moderation and variety when it comes to food…and some ice cream here and there.

Which I guess brings me to the reason I decided a blog would be kind of a cool addition.  I’m a realist, though like everyone I have my moments, but overall I want to portray a lifestyle to my clients that is healthy and active.

So this blog will be twofold: first of all, I will be focusing mainly on diet and nutrition.  The majority of the people I work with enjoy or at least tolerate the exercise part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s what they do outside the gym that holds them back.

Secondly, since fitness is part of my every day, I will make it a part of yours too…or at least four times a week. Yes, I know some of you are shaking your head thinking to yourself, “psht, this girl is crazy.” With that said, I’m excited to get this blogging journey started and have Brewers Organics with me along the way. I will take a time out from writing when Glee is on though to practice my singing skills.