Exercise of the Day! The Superman!

supermanexercise

This exercise is a good supplement to all those crunches, the Superman is a great way to strengthen your lower back and tone your glutes. All you need to do this exercise is your body weight, no equipment necessary.

1. Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
2. Keeping your arms and legs straight (but not locked), or placing hands behind head while keeping torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form an elongated “u” shape with your body — back arches and arms and legs lift several inches off the floor.
3. Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to complete one.

Try to perform 10 reps for 3 sets. Have Fun!

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Recipe of the Week!! Banana Tea Bread!

bananateabread

I made this recipe the other week and it turned out so good I just couldn’t not share it with you all! All credit goes to the simple veganista.  This banana bread has a great texture, is not too sweet, and is super healthy!! I added some flaxseed to mine and it didn’t seem to affect the recipe whatsoever, I also chose to use whole wheat flour and opted for the coconut oil instead of grapeseed which gave it a subtle yet delicious flavor.  I definitely recommend trying this out when you have an extra hour to spare.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups spelt flour, or flour of choice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grapeseed or warmed coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic pure cane sugar or finely chopped dates
4 small or 3 large bananas (preferably overripe), mashed

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium/large size bowl and set aside. In a small bowl mix oil, sugar and vanilla. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix briefly, set aside. Mash bananas, you should have approx. 1 3/4 cups, add to batter and mix until combined. Pour or spoon into a well greased loaf pan…I used coconut oil to grease mine. I don’t use vegan butters, margarine’s or sprays as I don’t care for them. Bake for about 50 min to an hour. With my oven it only goes for 50 min. You can also do the toothpick test in the center of the loaf, if it comes out clean it’s about ready. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 min.

Exercise of the Day! Knee to Outside Elbow Planks!

KneeToOutsideElbow

Start with a standard high plank. Slowly bring your right knee toward the outside of your right elbow. You’ll be tempted to look back to see how close your knee is—don’t do it! It will make you round your shoulders and drop your hips. Just get it as close as you can without losing your form. Be sure to have your hands stacked underneath of your shoulders and keep that core engaged the entire time! Repeat on the other side. Perform 20 total reps alternating legs (10 on each side) on each side and complete 2-3 sets. Enjoy!

Exercise of the Day! Medicine Ball Rock and Roll Ups!

Medicine-Ball-Rock

This one is a toughie at first to coordinate, but hits all the major muscle groups in one powerful move. Lie down, back to the mat, with knees bent. Hold a medicine ball on the ground with arms fully extended overhead. Pull the knees into the chest, preparing to use the weight of the ball (and the strength of your core!) to help catapult you to a controlled squat position, then standing. Next, slowly lower back into a squat, and ease back to the floor, butt first before lying back down. Don’t get too comfy though: The goal is to rock and roll for 10-12 reps.

When is the Best Time to Train?

besttimeofdaytoworkout

So, when is the best time to train?  It’s a loaded question that if you asked a number of professionals you would probably receive a plethora of different answers.  There are a lot of different variables to take into consideration, one being that sometimes psychology wins out of physiology when it comes to dragging your butt to the gym. Bottom line is, don’t let the time it says on the clock hold you back from getting your sweat on.  Here are the top five times of day to train.

1. When it Fits Best into Your Schedule

Thank you captain obvious, surely this is the first one that comes into everyones mind.  The majority of us lead hectic, busy lives, which leaves us little time for much else.  The great thing about our bodies is, they adjust.  Sure, you may only be able to fit in a half an hour at the gym right after work, and it will be hard the first few weeks, but after that you will fall into a routine and staying with that consistent time will help you stick to your workout regimen.  

2. When You Feel the Most Energy

Thanks to our circadian rhythms which control our body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and metabolism, among other things, some of us are morning people and some of us dread the thought of opening our eyes before 11am.  I don’t think this is something that should be ignored.  The good news is that research done by the University of North Texas, Denton found that even though circadian rhythms are inborn, we do have the ability to reset them.  If the only time you can work out is early mornings, keep setting that alarm, once your system resets itself you’ll have no problem rising to the sound of chirping birds. 

3. When Your Nutrition Meets Your Goals

If you’re looking to be stronger, faster and improve performance, your body needs to be properly fueled.  Muscles have big reserves of a complex carb called glycogen.  Muscles convert glycogen into energy that your body utilizes throughout the day.  Glycogen stores are usually at their lowest in the morning, which is not ideal for performance. 

4. First Thing in the Morning on an Empty Stomach

If you’re trying to drop pounds and lose fat, working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is probably the best time for you.  If your glycogen stores are depleted, your body is forced to utilize its fat stores for energy.  If you find you lack energy before your morning workout, have something light like a protein shake. 

5. At Night Before Bed

Can exercise improve sleep quality? Yes, and no.  Exercise increases core body temperature, heart rate and prompts your system to release epinephrine (adrenaline) none of which are ideal for sleep.  On the other hand, exercise reduces stress hormones such as cortisol, which can leave your body in a more relaxed state for sleep.  Try to wait and hour or two after a late workout to allow your body time to return to a rested state.  

Don’t forget some other key points, such as the fact that morning exercisers are more likely to be consistent with workouts according to research.  As far as afternoon workouts are concerned it has been shown that injuries are less likely to happen during mid-day because we are most alert and our body temperature is at its highest, so our muscles are warm and flexible.  Also, according to research, body temperature is at its highest between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and at its lowest just before waking.  You will find that your strength is the greatest in the afternoon.  Studies show strength output and anaerobic performance, such as sprinting is 5% higher in the late afternoon, as well as endurance being approximately 4% higher around the same time of day.  

I hope this helps some people to decide and stick to a plan of when they are going to get their workouts in.  Remember, getting a small session in is better than nothing at all, and making a habit of breaking a sweat everyday could be the best thing you do for your longevity.  

 

 

Exercise of the Day! Reverse Lunge Knee Up!

Explosive Lunge

This is a great exercise to help work on your speed and strength.  Begin by standing on one foot, then step the opposite foot backwards into a reverse lunge. Powerfully push through the front foot and bring the opposite knee towards the chest. Quickly step back into a reverse lunge and repeat! Complete 10-12 reps on each side and try for 2-3 sets. 

Recipe of the Week! Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt

FlourlessChocolateChipChickpeaBlondieswithSeaSalt-3

These bars are healthy, vegan, and totally yummy.  Try experimenting by mixing in other fruits or nuts for a completely different type of flavor!

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, almond butter, or your favorite nut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 × 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips. Process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and spread batter evenly in prepared pan with a buttered spatula. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chocolate chips over top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges are very light brown.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt and cut into 16 squares.

Enjoy!

Recipe Thanks to The Comfort of Cooking

Green Tea Extract and Exercise- A Combination Made in Heaven?

green tea extract

I’m not very big on recommending supplements to my clients unless I feel they will absolutely benefit from them, and even then I usually ask them to speak with their doctor first.  With that being said, I read an interesting article regarding green tea extract and how supplementing with green tea extract (GTE) can cut body mass by almost 30% when combined with an effective exercise regimen.  In a 16 week study performed by Molecular Nutrition & Food Research it was found that significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels and insulin occurred when GTE was ingested by subjects who were also engaged in a running program.  These subjects lost 40% abdominal fat after taking the supplement.  In addition to that, the subjects also showed improvement in expression of genes related to energy metabolism.  With results like that, I figure it’s worth a try, especially if you have hit a plateau or are just looking to blast off those last few pounds, but as I said before, always check with your doctor before adding any supplementation to your diet!

Exercise of the Day! Battle Rope Grappler Hip to Hip Toss!

battleropegrappler

This is a fun battle rope exercise. It mimics the movement a grappler makes when they toss someone over their hip. Grab the rope so the ends are sticking out from between your thumb and index fingers and hold the ends down by your right hip. Pivot your torso to the left. During the pivot, flip the ropes over your hip as if you were throwing a grappling opponent to the ground. Pivot back and forth like this until time is up. Start off with 30 second intervals, breaking 20 seconds in between and completing 3 sets. Increase your time by 15 second intervals to challenge yourself!

Recipe of the Week!! Butternut Squash and Tomato Posole

butternutsquashposole

Posole is a traditional Mexican stew most often made with pork and hominy (dried corn kernels that have been treated to soften the hull) cooked in a fragrant chile-based sauce. In this quick vegetarian recipe, we rely on the meatiness of pinto beans and butternut squash combined with hand-crushed whole tomatoes to make a satisfying stew.

Ingredients:
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably no-salt added
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups diced (1/2-inch) peeled butternut squash (see Tip)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can white hominy, rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
1 ripe but firm avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method:
1. Working over a bowl, break apart tomatoes with your fingers one at a time, letting them drop into the bowl
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add squash, broth, hominy, beans and the crushed tomatoes (and juice). Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with avocado and cilantro.