Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sweet Snack Sampler

I’ve got great news for all you sweet lovers out there. I’m sure your dentist won’t like this news because it means you won’t be visiting them as much and that means you are not helping her or him purchase that new home in Belize. This “candy”may help strengthen tooth enamel and guard against plaque. So what is this amazing candy called? Dates. They are sweet, delicious and are rich in the element fluorine, which sounds like what it is -- a relative of fluoride, that enamel-friendly compound that can actually help reverse early tooth decay.

My second favorite sweet treat...Raisins! Why? Phytochemicals in these fruits appear to inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria that mess with your mouth, and they help prevent it from sticking to teeth.

My suggestion is to add dates or raisins into your salad, oatmeal, or just eat them as is. You get fiber, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. You can’t make this stuff up. You can’t buy it at your local candy store either.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Few Minutes To Spare? Do This Move For Your Abs...

It’s Sunday night and I am sitting in front of a blank screen trying to figure out what I should blog about. Story of my life! I keep being distracted by the Oscars and can’t resist tweeting about what I am seeing. During one of my procrastination moments aka when Anne Hathaway gave her 17 hour acceptance speech, I got down on my area rug and did some ab work. I had a thought “Hey, why don’t you write about what you just did? It’s the perfect length to complete during a commercial break from your favorite show.” So that is exactly what this entry is about.
The best ab exercise for your body. The Plank. Working the core is not a fitness trend and you’d be crazy not to strengthen the large muscles in your torso, hips, and abdomen. You get better balance, stability, prevent low back pain, and a long strong body line.

How to do a proper Plank:

  1. Lie face down on a carpet or mat, arms folded close to your body, hands by your ears.
  2. Push up your body about 6 inches so only your toes and forearms touch the ground; your body rests like a plank between them.
  3. Keep your stomach pulled in, your butt tight, and your body straight, with your eyes looking at the floor. (Ignore those dust bunnies!)
  4. Hold as long as you can. (More than 1 minute? I’m impressed.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Perk Up With A Cup Of Joe

A stiff cup of coffee has earned great respect: It actually has Herculean powers to reduce your risk of diabetes.
It has blood vessel-loving, brain-enhancing, headache-defeating powers just to name a few. But did you know that drinking four cups of coffee throughout the day reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes by 50%. Now that my friends is SASSY! And it's more than the caffeine that fends off high blood sugar. Other chemicals in coffee stop damage to the building blocks of diabetes-preventing proteins. Yes, there are some side effects to the the cup of Joe. Some of them are: anxiety, migraine headaches, abnormal heartbeat, gastric upset. But the benefits are so amazing if you get any of these I recommend on cutting back the amount you consume.  I'd hate for you to miss out on the benefits.
Just Don't drink that coffee late in the day. You need to get your beauty sleep!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Catch My Breath

Ever run down the stairs to get on the train and you are huffing and puffing because you sprinted through the turnstile to make it into the car before the doors closed?  Of course not everyone lives in NYC so maybe you are late to work and you had to race across the parking lot to get into the office on time. Wherever you live if you find yourself a little out of breath getting where you need to be, GOOD FOR YOU! Tiny workouts like these have a big payback: They make your heart healthier.
20% of your fitness level may come from these micro bursts of activity. My advice is to get moving around. All you have to do is move a little faster to get your heart rate up. And doing so will help make your heart and lungs stronger! Awesome and Sassy! Here are some simple ways to increase your heart rate without even scheduling fitness time into your day:
Try leaving your office a little late for that walking-distance lunch date, then hustle so you're on time. Pick up the pace when you're running mall errands. Give the dog a real walk. Dust, sweep, fold the laundry, and vacuum at speed.
Of course, I want you to do more than tiny workouts (I don't cut myself any slack, either). Try speed walking, hop on an exercise bike, or “run” on the elliptical for 30 minutes. The key is consistency: 30 minutes a day trumps a 90-minute killer workout once a week (If you can add an additional 90 minutes a week that is amazing. I suggest that too.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Banish Your Bulge

It seems like every email or tweet I receive is about how to tackle those tough-to-tone areas -- your abs and your butt. Let’s discuss the “fun” areas and how to get what you want from your workouts.

1. First things first, your workout will work if its hard but fun. Changing your choreography every 3 months will help take you to the next level.

2.  Your workout regime should include cardio, but ALSO strength training to sculpt lean muscle. Focus on all major muscle groups by using the best weight exercises: squats, presses, lifts, and curls.

3. Awesome abs are attainable not only through crunches.(Crunches only engage the top part of the abs.) Try putting your body into a position like a forearm plank, your front, back and sides are engaged. All you have to do is get in the right position --and boom -- your automatic wiring does the rest.

4. It’s not all exercise. Eating right is about 80% of the game. Eat fresh foods that are low in sodium. This will help reduce bloating after meals. Stick to eating fresh berries, leafy greens (the darker the better), and colorful veggies.

5. Make it social. Invite some friends to join you. I do this all the time. It makes fitness fun if you have someone you like next to you doing the same thing. Plus you can catch up on life at the same time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Sweet Valentine

The checkout lines at Godiva get crazy this week because Thursday is Valentine's Day. That brings up a good question...Is the candy they sell good for your heart?

So when you eat chocolate go for the dark stuff because dark has health benefits, including decreased blood pressure and blood clotting, increased blood vessel health, and improved LDL cholesterol. Dark chocolate causes blood vessels to expand, which in turn modestly reduces blood pressure.

Chocolate may lower your diabetes risk too! How great is that news?!
Dark chocolate is rich in a group of antioxidants called flavanols -- believed to be the "active" ingredient that confers chocolate's cardiovascular advantage.

Before you go hog wild eating the stuff you should know that in small amounts, chocolate can be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. But don’t forget about the calories. A standard chocolate bar contains 200 to 300 calories. And a single piece of premium chocolate from that heart-shaped box can have up to 70 calories. So, enjoy your dark chocolate in moderation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Got 5 minutes?

I live in NYC and because it’s  such a small place with millions of people most apartments are small. This poses a problem for me as a trainer who trains people from their home. I want people to workout at home if they can’t get to a gym. No excuses! I need something simple, easy to perform in a small space, but definitely challenging. I need an exercise that combines cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, and speed, depending a bit on how you perform the exercise.

I have the answer! A fantastic exercise called “The Burpee!”

Here’s what you do:

  1. Stand straight, with your feet in a neutral stance.
  2. Squat down to and place your hands approximately one foot in front of your feet, slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. With your weight on straight, vertical arms, jump back with both feet into plank position (same as the top position of the push-up).
  4. Perform a push-up with your chest touching ground in the bottom position, and up to plank position again.
  5. From plank position, jump forward with both feet, raise your upper body and land in the bottom of the squat.
  6. Jump straight up from the bottom of the squat, raise your arms and clap your hands over head. Landing back in position 1.
  7. Repeat.

Sounds easy? Don’t let the simplicity fool you. If you think you’re fit I am pretty sure that the first 10 will make you cocky, but at around 25 you’re surprised how tough it is.
Try it Sassy Girl and let me know how you feel after.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Step Out

Last night I watched Les Mis and the opening scene is hundreds of men manually pulling a huge boat into dock it got me thinking about the standard gym, “Man, what a bizarre place.” I think that if our ancestors were transported to our time and saw us sweating away, running on the treadmills like hamsters on a wheel, stacking weights on our  shoulders and pulling cables, they’d think we were slaves or prisoners, forced to labor against our will. Long ago people got their exercise from their daily labors, walking and plowing and fixing and building. It is a strange part of our modern existence that we must schedule in an hour of time for our body to move since we are almost completely inert for the other twenty-three. Ok so how can I get my exercise if I don’t schedule “gym” time? Here are two great ideas:

1.Do your chores the old fashioned way. Modern technology has made our lives increasingly comfortable and easy. Yet it has also removed almost all work and thus exercise from our lives. Sometimes it’s better to turn down the new advancements and do things the hard way to stay in shape. When it snows in the winter, get out there and start shoveling away.

2.Combine exercise and recreation. Working out doesn’t have to be chore. Instead of spending your time going nowhere on the elliptical machine, take up an active sport. Several times a week when weather permits spend your lunch hour playing ultimate frisbee, which if you have tried, you know is not for the faint of lung. Or during the winter get involved in a dodge ball league that meets weekly indoors. Find a sport you like and look around in your town for an opportunity to play in intramural or pick-up games.