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Applying "Carpe diem" to your everyday life

Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain.

- Dave Matthews Band

Applying "Carpe diem" to your everyday life

We all have goals--some immediate, some far off in the distance. By working hard and focusing on what you want to get out of life, you increase the probability of achieving all of your dreams. In the end there are no guarantees, so make the most of each day by celebrating and cherishing the moment instead of looking forward. Want to try yoga but have been too intimidated? Tired of getting the same haircut over and over? Want to go back to school? Go for it! Tomorrow is not a promise. Seize the opportunities while you still can!

The world's best exercise-Tommy Europe Newsletter

Complex is Best
Wait! Don't just skim down to see which exercise I've labeled as the best, get the whole story...

I'm often approached and asked to pin down a single exercise as the one that will help lose the most fat and sculpt the quickest. That's not an easy question to answer.

You see, I'm very aware of the fact that though an exercise may be perfect for Client A, it may not be the best choice for Client B—hence my hesitation to label any exercise as the universal best.

That being said, some exercises are definitely better than others. And, yes, there are even a few that I would call the best.

What makes an exercise the best?
When you decide which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you'll burn and the fewer muscles you will strengthen. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.

To put it simply, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.

What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let's compare a simple movement leg exercise with a complex movement leg exercise:

The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You're in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn't much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn't burn very many calories.

Now let's look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.

How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge? Probably too many to count.

You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back- just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and really kicked your metabolism into high gear. That's what I call a great exercise.

Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements are just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Try incorporating a Super Set into your routine. To do so simply perform two or more exercises in a row and then take a short rest.

Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, rest, then perform an exercise with opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a row.

The key to finding the best exercise is to find the ones that bring your workout intensity to a whole new level.

I'd be shortchanging you if I named any exercise as the best. The fact of the matter is that it is a combination of changing your workouts up, using interval training, and even some good old cardio that will ultimately see you to your goal.

These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones. Of course, there is more involved to achieving your fitness goals. You need to incorporate fat burning into your routine. You need to consistently challenge yourself during workouts. You need to take control of your eating habits and to get your diet dialed in.

Play safe and have fun,

Tommy Europe

You're In Charge
While there are many things in life that you do not have direct control over, what ends up in your mouth is not one of them! You control what you eat. Instead of eating extra large portions, chose wisely and your body and waistline will thank you for it. Couple this with a regular fitness routine and you will find that reaching and maintaining your goal weight is easier than ever.

Quinoa and Winter Squash Salad
This recipe is another great way to enjoy protein-filled quinoa. Winter squash combined with celery, onion and parsley makes a healthy and comforting side dish. Servings: 10

Here's what you need:

2 yellow onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 cups diced squash, butternut or any other fall or winter squash
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon brown rice syrup
dash of freshly ground sea salt
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 cups filtered water
1 cup quinoa
4 sprigs of parsley, finely minced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the onions, celery, carrots and squash in a large bowl. Mix in the oil and syrup, then sprinkle the salt and lemon zest. Mix until well combined and then place on a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes remove cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
While the vegetables are in the oven, put the quinoa and water in a saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 25 minutes over low heat, until the water is absorbed.
Combine the vegetables and cooked quinoa together with the lemon juice and parsley. Serve warm or chilled.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 95 calories, 1g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, and 4g protein.

Poise in the face of frustration

Patience is the key to paradise.

- Turkish proverb

Poise in the face of frustration

Whether waiting to see a change on the scale, dealing with your coworkers, or diligently putting in work and feeling unappreciated, losing your patience is very easy to do. By exercising patience with all people, you are allowing them to become better and to learn on their own through gentle guidance. One healthy byproduct of self control in the face of frustration is that it usually leads to encouragement and enhancement of your relationships. Happy families and friendships thrive on patience and learning. It may take time to learn, but the results are well worth it!

BLC News: Chicken Sandwich with a Twist

Sweet Pepper-Chicken Sandwich

Season 7's Estella Hayes and The Biggest Loser nutritionist Cheryl Forberg invented this recipe one day at the ranch when we were bored with a plain chicken sandwich. The addition of bell peppers gives this sandwich added flavor, and the sprouted grain bread lends a great texture.

1 tablespoon yellow or spicy mustard
2 slices Trader Joe's or other brand sprouted whole grain bread, toasted
1 large leaf romaine lettuce
3 ounces lean, low-sodium sliced chicken breast
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, cut in strips
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican four-cheese blend

Spread the mustard on 1 piece of toast. Top with the lettuce, chicken, and bell pepper, ending with the cheese.

Place the half sandwich under a broiler or in a toaster oven for 20 to 30 seconds, until the cheese melts. Top with the second piece of toast. Cut in half. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 sandwich

Per serving: 310 calories, 31 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates (3 g sugars), 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 65 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 1,380 mg sodium

A Tip from Bob
Keeping power snacks readily available is crucial to help keep your blood sugar stable, your metabolism at high speed, and also help curb cravings. Nuts are a perfect snack, or low-fat string cheese, or carry around an apple with you. The fiber in an apple helps regulate your blood sugar levels and keeps you from crashing at the end of a long day.

Overcoming your personal stop signs

Know your limits...but never stop trying to exceed them.

- Anonymous

Overcoming your personal "stop signs"

Many of us use our "limitations" as a stop sign for reaching our goals. While knowing our limits can safeguard us against injury and embarrassment, too often we use them as avoidance methods in our lives. What is holding you back from reaching your goals? How can you push beyond your comfort zone in a healthy way? Many dieters experience such limitations in on their weight loss journeys. Our bodies and minds are capable of overcoming much more than we could ever imagine if we just try. Today set new goals that may push you a little. Overcoming your personal hang-ups and fears may be one of the most rewarding choices you'll ever make!

Battle scars from the Diet War

Self-love is the only weight-loss aid that really works in the long run.

- Jenny Craig, diet guru

Battle scars from the Diet War

Like Martha Graham, who said that "The body is a sacred garment. It's your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor," Jenny Craig seems to know a thing or two about caring for your body and your self. In the Garden of Eden, eating was modeled as one of life's most pleasurable experiences. But then Eve took a bite out of that apple (so much for the low calorie, low fat, high fiber theory), and women (and men) have been at war with food ever since. Both of these quotes reflect this fact. Are your weight issues really a symptom of something else--boredom, depression, regret, or rejection? At the root of many issues is our self-loathing at worst, our self-indifference at best. Food is not the enemy. We are. Break the cycle of dieting and replace it with loving yourself enough to make good choices about your diet. Examine your eating habits this week. Are you honoring your body with your food choices? How can you love yourself back to a healthy relationship with eating? Take steps towards defeating the natural compulsion or craving that might take you down a path of regretful eating. Remember the sacredness of your own skin.

Biggest Loser 11.2 Recap
(Diets in Review, links to articles)

BLC News: Who's on Your Side?

Who's on Your Side?
How to pick the best support team for you

The new teams on The Biggest Loser are in the middle of not only learning to eat right and exercise, but learning how to support each other. Our Biggest Loser Club experts tell members that it's essential that you identify the people who are on your team and who can help you reach your goals.

Studies show that when a person has three or more different sources of solid support, she has a much greater chance of preventing her lost weight from creeping back. Equally important to strengthening your team is to take appropriate steps to reduce your chances of being sabotaged by close friends and family members.

Good team members are:

Non-Judgmental: They never judge you for your decisions.
Positive and Inspiring: They help you "re-frame" your setbacks and help you see how to move forward toward your goals.

Good Listeners: They truly listen to what you are saying.

Altruistic: They truly care about your success. They go out of their way to support you in reaching your goal and never do anything that sabotages your efforts.

Reliable: You can count on them to be there for you

Training for a 5k
Sign up and participate in a Biggest Loser 5k race. If you're not in the best shape, with the proper training you can participate in one in just 8 weeks. Go to for more info on how to sign up for a 5k race near you. And remember, don't compete, just complete.

Creating a positive environment though small acts

Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

- Sarah Bernhardt, actress

Creating a positive environment though small acts

Helping and supporting others is a necessary part of life. Take some time today to think about who might need your love and attention and then give it to them. Not only does this set a good example for your children, but it also reaps many rewards for both you and the person you are supporting. Think positively, create a healthy environment for empathy in your life, and start small. Sincerely thank the person bagging your groceries, open a door for a stranger, offer your seat on a train, or help out a little extra with the kids today. Before you know it your small gestures will accumulate into a more positive lifestyle!

The greater price of financial security

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, and to be given a chance to create, are the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy

- Bette Davis, actress

The greater price of financial security

Money makes us do crazy things we never thought we would do. A great example of this is staying at a job you dislike or working outside the home when your heart is at home with your family. While money does provide opportunities and liberation from certain stresses in life, unhappiness has a greater price. Let money enrich an already abundant life, not define or run it. Can you reprioritize your life in a way that you are achieving both financial goals and also fulfilling your dreams? Live the kind of life that excites you to get out of bed in the morning, one of color and joy. If money comes, great. If not, rest assured, knowing that your life is not defined by what you make but what you already have. The best things in life are free!

BLC News: Digging Deep

Digging Deep
Why did you gain the weight? Here's help in figuring that out

During this week's episode of The Biggest Loser, we will watch the contestants really begin to dig deep over why they let themselves get so heavy. Why, for example, did Arthur, an All-American high school football player, let himself get to over 600 pounds at one point in his life?

Our Biggest Loser Club fitness expert Maria Patella has some words of wisdom as you pay close attention to your weight loss journey: "Your motivation comes from what YOU think is really important. Not from willpower. Not from being pushed by someone else. What makes you want to lose weight? What makes it important to you? How will it make your life better personally, professionally, socially if you lose weight and keep it off? What would you like to do that you cannot do at this weight?"

"And, you know," she continues, "not everyone is ready to lose weight. And if you're not ready to make a change, nothing can force you. But, if you answer the question above about what makes this change important to you and the answer really burns inside you, then nothing can stop you."

So even if you're just starting your journey or are in the middle of it or at a pause, sit down with pen and paper or at the keyboard and do some journaling of the soul. It could make all the difference to your physical health!

It's winter, and if you live in a snowy area, instead of cheating with your snow blower, get outside and start shoveling. According to the Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, just 15 minutes of snow shoveling counts as moderate physical activity! So get bundled up, grab your shovel and start digging!

Getting specific about your goals

I have always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I have to be more specific.

- Lily Tomlin, actress

Getting specific about your goals

Are your goals detailed enough for you to reach them? We all have aspirations and we are better off for having made them. But if your goals are too vague or unstructured, you'll find that attaining them is difficult. Wanting to lose 30 pounds is a wonderful goal, but you need a plan to get you on the right track. These things don't happen overnight. Today, think about your goals and form a plan to achieve them. Write them down, chart your progress, refer to them as often as you need to stay on track, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable.

 current weight: 287.0 
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