Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In my quest to distance myself from my high-priced gym and do more workouts at home, I purchased the Cardio Blast DVD with Coach Nicole, and I took some time to work through the workouts. This is a great choice and would make a very good addition to anyoneís workout. Here is why I like it.
The first plus is the cost: I ordered it from the Spark Store www.sparkpeoplestore.com/prod
The DVD costs $15.50 (plus shipping). This is a very competitively priced workout DVD. In addition, the DVD has six tracks of varying degrees of intensity, and each one begins with a warm-up lasting approximately 3 1/2 minutes. As indicated on the DVD insert, you may do each workout individually in any order, or do them sequentially. A feature that I especially like is the ability to customize your workouts. If you choose the ďIntermediateĒ customizable workout for instance, you are taken through track 3 & 4 (a kickboxing routine and a high-impact jumping routine, respectively). The customizable workouts are made up of 2, 3, or 4 of the six tracks. No matter what your goal may be, whether you want a hard workout or something more at the beginner level, youíre bound to find this Cardio Blast DVD useful.
I looked at this DVD very objectively and had trouble finding any shortcomings. The only drawback I could find is the warm-up routine. Each of the six tracks begins with the same identical 3 1/2 minute warm-up. To break up the monotony, I would like to have seen a different warm-up for each track; however, that was just a minor downside. Overall, it is a great DVD and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to do more cardio at home.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen. Just between you and me, I am working on a cookbook (Iím a little more than 50% complete), and in it I plan to include lots of tips and strategies along with recipes. Here is one of my recipes I recently made for a family gathering, and it was all gone fairly quickly. I thought I would share it here, and I hope you give it a try.
Baked Eggplant Salsa
1 1/2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1 small green and bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium sized zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat Baking dish with non-stick spray. Evenly spread eggplant in pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside allowing to cool.
In a large bowl, combine other ingredients. After eggplant has cooled, add to mixture and toss well. Can be used either as a stand alone snack, to accompany chips, or as a side dish.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Have you noticed them? Not all stores have them. One chain near me has them, another one does not. If you havenít noticed, I am talking about symbols on aisles, shelves, or on products (or groups of products) that let customers know what the healthier choices are. These symbols are similar to the ones you might see on a menu in a restaurant. Many stores use color-coded tags through out the store to point out nutrition content. Sometimes you might see a circle or square with a green checkmark, or other times you could see a picture of heart Ė such as the ones depicted below.
I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw them in my local market, and I didnít know what they were at first. One store even has an entire aisle with the health symbols. These are canned and boxed items that have low or no amounts of ingredients such as sodium, refined sugars, and other things that healthy eaters pay attention to.
According to this Safeway employee that I talked to, who only wanted to be identified as James, this relatively new industry-wide/nationwide system is designed to help make shopping easier for consumers who are concerned about improving their diets and making smarter food choices. Each store sets up its own system. In this store, one aisle had a wide variety of products, such as cereals, juices, canned soups, canned vegetables, and many other items.
Take a close look the next time you go shopping. If your store doesnít have them yet, they are probably on the way soon.
Examples of nutrition symbols:
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Increased physical activity is one of the best routines to add to your weight loss efforts. I try hard to avoid use of the word ďexerciseĒ because it just sounds too much like work. Becoming more mobile is an important part of the plan to lose weight. Unfortunately, the cost of a gym membership can be out of many peopleís budget, and some equipment can be expensive to purchase for home use even if you have the space for it. If you donít want to incur this expense, there are some simple yet effective things you can do that will give you little out-of-pocket cost. Here are three of my favorites.
This is something everyone can do regardless of their fitness level. You can walk quickly or slowly, vigorously or moderately, up or down a hill, across flat terrain, or up and down a flight of stairs. You can even walk up and down the hallway in your home. Swinging your arms helps to enhance the intensity of your workout. Obviously, the more briskly you walk, the more calories you are likely to burn. As your fitness level improves, the more walking you can do. If you really want to add a challenge to your routine, add a light set of dumbbells (perhaps a 2 pound weight for each hand approximately $12 to buy both of them). I work hard to increase the amount of walking I do. I seldom park in the closest space near my destination. I find a space that will give me extra steps. I also take the stairs as often as I can, avoiding the elevators. Try these techniques. This may not seem like much; however, each step you take is cumulative and adds to the number of calories you burn each day. Also, this can help you more easily reach the 10,000 recommended number of steps experts say we should get each day to maintain a healthy life.
If youíre like me, this is a word you probably hadnít heard since P.E. class in school, or if you were in the military, this word may have been circulated in boot camp or basic training. If you donít know what it is, well calisthenics is nothing more than a series of activities in which you use just your own body for a workout. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, shadow boxing, and deep knee bends are all examples of calisthenics. There are also other things you can do, which you can easily find from a basic Google search. I recommend you do three sets of each one, doing as many as you can for 2 minutes and a 1 minute rest in between.
I like this one because itís something you can do practically any place. You can do this in a park, in your parking lot or driveway, in your back yard, or any place with a space big enough for you to maneuver the rope. This gives you a good workout of your arms, legs, back, shoulders, buttocks, and abs. A high end jump rope can cost $50 on up, particularly if it has an odometer and a heart rate monitor. But if all you want is a basic rope, you can expect to pay about $10-$12; however if you donít want to spend that, you can jump in place, simulating you have a rope in your hands.
It just takes a little imagination to get in a good workout. You can also look online an find a lot of things too. So, no more excuses. In the words from the Olivia Newton John song, letís get physical.
Monday, August 03, 2009
I participated in an aerobics class at my gym the other day. It was a good class and I really enjoyed it. Just before the class started, two ladies greeted each other who were friends that hadnít seen one another in a long time. In a short time, it seemed very obvious to everyone in the class that those two ladies began competing with each other, trying doubly hard to keep up with the instructor and out do each other. They were really showing out. About halfway through the class, one lady fell down crumbled over in pain from a muscle cramp in her leg. Evidently she overdid it and suffered an injury.
What is your purpose in going to your gym? If itís to show off for others, then you may not reap the full benefit of your routine; but more than that, you may be putting yourself at risk. If you canít keep up with everyone else, thatís okay. Do what you can and workout at your own pace. If you are able to keep up, donít try to rub it in the face of others, as it could make them feel insecure causing them to feel bad.
Just be yourself and work at your own level. You arenít there for everyone else. Youíre there for you and only you.
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