Fitness Friday: Best Cardio Workouts

Best Cardio For Heart Health

Hey guys! Today is National #GoRed Day, a movement started by the American Heart Association to raise awareness about heart disease in women and SAVE LIVES!

Did you know that just 30 minutes of physical activity per day can reduce your risk of heart disease?

Here are some GREAT Cardio workouts to get you started!

Interval Running

from Back On Pointe

Interval-Running

Walking Intervals with Kathy Smith

walking with kathy smith sm

 

 

Jump Rope Circuit

from Peanut Butter Fingers

Photo courtesy of Peanut Butter Fingers

Photo courtesy of Peanut Butter Fingers

 

Lower Body Blast

by Pieces in Progress

Lower Body Blast workout

 

Question: What are some of your favorite cardio workouts?

Tell me in the Comments below!

 

Fitness Friday: Fearless Workout from Nike Training Club

Happy #FitnessFriday! Today we’ll be toning and strengthening our core. Today, I’m sharing the 15-minute Fearless Workout from Sofia Boutella courtesy of Nike Training Club. This workout has a total of 5 moves that you will repeat three times.  Are you ready?  Let’s do this!

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the Nike Training Club app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

Grab a mat, and let’s get started!

The first move in the Fearless Workout is the Crunch Circuit.

1)  Lie on your back with hands behind your head and legs slightly apart in a V-shape.
2)  Squeeze your abs in tight to lift your upper body and shoulder blades off the ground.
3)  Return to starting position.
4)  Crunch forward again and extend one arm straight in front of you, with your palm-side facing up.
5)  Lower back down.
6)  Crunch forward again and extend the same arm straight out in front of you with the palm side facing down.
7)  Return to start position and repeat with the opposite arm.
8)  Repeat for one minute alternating arms, as above.

Check out this YouTube clip to see dancer Sofia Boutella demonstrate this move.

The second move in this workout is V-Ups.
1)  Sit upright with your knees tucked into your chest, feet elevated off the floor, and hands in a supportive position behind you.

Courtesy of Nike Training Club

Courtesy of Nike Training Club

2)  Extend legs out in front of you as you lower your upper body back towards the floor.
3)  Crunch back in to start position and repeat for a total of 60 seconds.

Watch a YouTube clip of modified V-Ups below:

The third move in this workout is Side V-Ups with Leg Kicks.
1)  Sit upright with knees tucked in and feet off the ground. Swivel to one side and keep your hands in a supportive position behind you.
2)  Kick your legs out as you lower your upper body towards the floor.
3)  Crunch your knees back in.
4)  Kick the top leg out in front of you.
5)  Bring it back down to start position.
6)  Kick the top leg behind you.
7)  Return to start position and repeat on the other side.
8)  Do this move for one minute.

Watch a YouTube clip of modified Side V-Ups with Leg Kicks below:

The fourth move is V-Hold with Leg Kicks.

1)  Sit upright with knees tucked in to your chest, feet off the floor and hands in a supportive position behind you. This is the same starting position that you did above in move #2.
2)  Tighten your abs as you kick one leg towards the sky.
3)  Return to start position.
4)  Tighten your abs as you extend the same leg out in front of you.
5)  Return to start position and repeat, alternating sides for one minute.

Watch a YouTube clip of modified V-Hold with Leg Kicks:

The fifth move is Side High Kicks.

1)  Start on your side with legs stretched out, using your arms for support.

Courtesy of Nike Training Club

Courtesy of Nike Training Club

2)  Bring your legs in towards you bending both knees.
3)  Kick out with both legs to make a 90-degree angle, making sure you keep both legs as straight as possible.
4)  Bring both legs back in towards you chest.
5)  Return to start position and repeat for one minute, switching legs halfway through.

Repeat each move 2 more times for a total of three sets.

Congrats! You are DONE!

Fitness Friday: Perfect Alignment Workout from Nike Training Club

Happy #FitnessFriday! Today we’ll be focusing on our core, hips, and glutes … those common problem areas. Nike Fitness Club has added some great new workouts! Today, I’m sharing the 15-minute Perfect Alignment Workout from Gabby Douglas. This workout has a total of 5 moves that you will repeat three times.  Are you ready?  Let’s do this!

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the Nike Training Club #NTC app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

You do not need equipment to do this workout.

The first move in the Perfect Alignment Workout is the Side Plank with Leg Lift.
1)  Start on your side, with your arm directly under your shoulder, hips lifted and bottom leg bent.
2)  Keeping your abs in tight, lift and flex your top leg. Keep your hips lifted off the ground as you return to start position.
3)  Repeat this move for 30 seconds on each side.

Check out this YouTube clip to see this move performed.

The second move in this workout is Side Leg Circles.
1)  Start on your side, with your legs out straight and head resting on your arm.
2)  Lift your top leg, pointing your toes to contract the muscles in your leg.
3)  Keeping your form, make small circles with your leg.
4)  Repeat for thirty seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Side Leg Circles - Nike Training Club with Gabby Douglas

The third move in this workout is Straight Leg Flutters.
1)  Starting on your back, lift your legs, point your toes, and touch your heels together.
2)  Pressing your abs into the mat, lift your arms and bring your shoulder blades off the floor.
3)  Flutter your hands up and down as fast as you can without losing form for one minute.

Straight Leg Flutters - Nike Training Club with Gabby Douglas

The fourth move is Side Leg Lifts.
1)  Start on your side, with your legs out straight and head resting on your arm.
2)  Lift your top leg, turning your toes in towards the ground.
3)  Flexing your foot, lift your leg up and down until time to switch sides.
4)  Repeat for thirty seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

The fifth move is the Roll Up.
1)  Start on your back, with your hands above your head, legs straight and toes pointed.
2)  Pressing your lower back into the mat, roll from your shoulders into a crunch and reach for your toes. Roll back to start.
3)  Continue for one minute.

Roll Up - Nike Training Club with Gabby Douglas

Repeat each move 2 more times for a total of three sets.

Congrats! You are DONE!

If you did this workout, come back tomorrow and let me know how you feel. Do you feel it more in your abs or legs?  Let me know!

Fitness Friday: Wanna Run? What’s Stopping You?

 

Hi there! I’ve been delinquent on my Fitness Friday posts for a few weeks now.  Just too much activity, not that I’m complaining 🙂

I’m not posting a workout today, just some honest talk about running. I’ve had several people say things like “Oh, you’re a runner? I wish I could run.”

My question is: WHAT’S STOPPING YOU????

I’ve never considered myself an athlete, but after I started running my outlook changed. Let me tell you, if I can run, ANY ONE can do it. I ran my first half marathon this year at age 39. It was a huge goal, and I was a bit nervous about training but I did it. Not only did I finish, but I finished in the top 50% of runners. Far from winning, but my goal was to finish NOT to win.  And it felt GREAT!

It doesn’t matter if you have never run before, don’t think you are an athlete (I sure didn’t), lack coordination (hello… I am constantly bruised from running into tables & walls!). Just set a goal, make a plan, and do it!  I used the Nike Training Club Half Marathon Training Plan, with a few exceptions (I did Pilates instead of yoga, since it is already something I was practicing regularly). I can’t emphasize how important the stretching is!!  The Kara Goucher Pro-Running Stretches Workout on the Nike Training Club app is AWESOME!

If running is something you want to do, go for it. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You don’t have to join a gym or buy much of anything except for a decent pair of running shoes. It feels so free being out there, and I love the acknowledgement you get when you pass other runners — so motivating!

So if you are one of those people who says, “I want to run…” I say GO FOR IT!!  What’s stopping you? 🙂

OC-half-tee-sm

At the OC Half Marathon Finish - 2013

At the OC Half Marathon Finish – 2013

 

 Question: Do you have a running goal? 

 

15-Minute Fat Blaster Workout

It may be getting cold outside, but that is no reason to ditch exercise completely. Daily exercise helps you stay strong and keeps stress and depression at bay.

This 15-minute workout is fast, and you don’t even have to leave the house to do it.  Queue your favorite playlist, and let’s get this party started!

In this workout, we are going to do three 5-minute circuits of the same exercises.  Each will start with a 30 second cardio burst.

bicycle-crunches

  1. For your cardio, you can run in place, jump rope, or even do jumping jacks. Choose one of these and give it your all for 30 seconds.
  2. Step-Up Backward Lunges (lower-body targeting) for 1.5 minutes.  Grab a bench or stand in front of stairs. Step forward into a lunge with your left leg, then step up onto your bench or stair with the right leg. Bring your left knee up and hold. Lower your left foot off the stair, then step back without your right leg into a lunge. Do a total of 10 reps on each leg (should take you about 90 seconds)  You can see a demo of the move here.
  3. Bicycle (core targeting). Grab a mat or a towel and lie face-up with your hands behind your head and legs at a 45 degree angle.  Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, taking care not to pull on your neck. Bend your left knee in and reach across to touch with your right elbow.  Switch sides for one rep. Do this for 90 seconds. Check out a demo of the move here.
  4. Triceps Pushups (upper body targeting). Get down on your hands and knees on your mat or towel. Keeping your arms close to your sides, lower yourself down into a push-up with your elbows bending behind you. Do this for 90 seconds (feel free to take a break if you need to). You can see a demo of the move here.
  5. Repeat for two more circuits, starting with the 30 second cardio burst.
  6. Don’t forget to do a little stretching when you are done!

 

 

 

Fitness Friday: Amazing Arm Definer Workout

Happy Friday! I’ve been posting on Mondays and Thursdays for quite some time, but for the next several weeks I am promoting #FitnessFriday and will be sharing a fitness-related post with you on Fridays. I hope this gets your weekend off to a GREAT start &  motivates you to include some movement during the weekend. Don’t forget to schedule some time for FUN too!  Remember, it’s all about balance 🙂

This is a 15-minute Arm Definer Workout designed by the Nike Fitness Club trainers with only five moves that you will repeat three times. If you have an iPhone, you can download the Nike Fitness Club app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

 

Arm Definer Workout

 

You do not need equipment to do this workout, however, if you choose to use weights you will need a pair of dumbbells and a medicine ball.

The first move in the Arm Definer Workout is Single Leg Arm Curls. In this exercise, weights are optional. If you plan to use weights, grab a pair of 3 or 5-lb dumbbells and let’s get started!
1)  Stand with your arms by your sides, palms facing towards you. Your knees should have a very slight bend.
2)  Lift one leg, bent at the knee and balance on the standing leg.
3)  Hinge from the elbows and bring dumbbells up to your shoulders.
4)  Lower and repeat, switching legs after 30 seconds.
Check out this YouTube clip to see this move performed.

The second move is the Alternating Medicine Ball Pushup.
1)  Start in push-up position with the medicine ball under one hand.
2)  Lower down as far as you can go, then push back up into starting position.
3)  Roll the ball to the other hand, and repeat push up on the opposite side.
4)  Continue to do this move, switching from one side to another for one minute. To see this move performed, click here.

The third move is the Modified Tricep Pushups.
1)  Kneel with your hands out in front of you. Bring hips forward and shift your weight so it is positioned over your shoulders.
2)  Lower your upper body towards the floor, keeping your abs pulled in tight & your butt down.
3)  Push up and repeat for one minute.
To watch a clip of the Modified Tricep Pushup, click here.

The fourth move is the Sumo Squat with Press.
1)  Grab your dumbbells again if using weights.
2)  Stand with your feet wide, toes turned out, elbows bent with hands up by your shoulders, palms facing one another.
3)  Squat down bringing hips towards the floor, with knees over toes.
4)  Squeeze your butt & legs as you come back up, pressing your hands up over your head (palms still facing each other). Repeat for thirty seconds.
To watch a clip of the Sumo Squat with Press, click here.

The fifth & final move is the Plank Row.
1)  With dumbbells in hand, bring yourself into the plant position. Start with your weight over your shoulders and your feet in a wide base.
2)  Perform a row, bringing your elbow up past your back so there is a slight twist in the torso. Keep elbows close to your sides and abs in tight!
3)  Repeat on the other arm.  Keep switching sides and repeat for one minute. To watch a clip of the Plank Row, click here.

Take a well-deserved 30 second recovery, breathing in and out. Repeat each move 2 more times (including the 30 second recovery), for a total of three sets.

 

Arm Workout

 

Question: Do you work out your arms at least a couple of times a week? What is your favorite arm move?

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tofu and Walnut Lettuce Cups

One of my favorite appetizers when I go out for Chinese food are Lettuce Wraps! I’m always bummed when there isn’t a vegetarian version on the menu, but so many restaurants have both a chicken & a veg version now!!

It seems like a simple dish to whip up at home. Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is from House Foods — made with firm organic tofu will definitely hit the spot if you have such a craving.

And with only 120 calories per serving, you don’t even have to fill guilty! 🙂

 

Photo courtesy of House Foods

Photo courtesy of House Foods

 

INGREDIENTS:
½ package (7 oz) House Foods Organic Tofu Firm, drained well
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced

Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoon Miso (red or awase)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Sake
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon corn starch mixed with ¼ cup cold water

To Serve:
Lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS:
In frying pan, heat olive oil, garlic, and Tofu over moderately high heat, breaking up the Tofu into small pieces with a wooden spoon (can also be cubed beforehand according to preference). Cook until Tofu and garlic gets well toasted.

Add all the sauce ingredients and continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the water and cornstarch mixture in, stirring until mixture thickens. Mix walnuts in.

Serve them on lettuce cups, topped with shredded carrots and chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!!

From house-foods.com

From house-foods.com

Learn more about Meatless Monday here.

MM-Bloggers-on-Board-WS

Meatless Monday Recipe: Savory Quinoa Cakes

Happy Monday!  Are you tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’?  I sure am!  I’ve been in the kitchen this afternoon trying to whip up something different, and I came up with these Savory Quinoa Cakes that I’m sure you are going to love.  I know I did!

Savory Quinoa Cakes

I wish you could smell them too 🙂

These are a great Meatless Monday recipe idea for lunch or a light dinner.  Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover quinoa?  I had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge, which was perfect for this recipe.  If you don’t have any quinoa leftovers, then first you’ll need to make some and let it cool to room temp.  Once that’s done, you are ready to go!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
  • 4 liquid egg whites (I use 3/4 cup of Cage Free 100% liquid egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic power
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (for cooking)

 

Preparation

Combine the quinoa, egg whites, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Put the garlic and carrot in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add to the bowl with quinoa and other ingredients.  Stir in the cilantro and parmesan cheese.

In a small bowl, add the almond meal and season with the garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Add one third of the seasoned almond meal at a time to the quinoa mixture, mixing well after each addition.

You should have enough mixture that can be formed into twelve 1-inch thick cakes or patties.

Savory Quinoa Cake Prep

If the mixture seems dry, you can add a little water to moisten.  I used almond flour instead of breadcrumbs to make sure this was gluten-free.  You shouldn’t need to add water if you followed the above exactly.

Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 6 of the quinoa cakes.  Cover and cook for 7 – 10 minutes until the bottoms browned, taking care not to burn the bottoms.  Flip the cakes and cook the other side for 7 – 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool.  Repeat with the second batch.  Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition information (from Wellness Science): Calories 113.0, Total Fat 6.9 g, Saturated Fat 0.9 g, Cholesterol 1.8 mg, Sodium 168.6 mg, Potassium 51.6 mg, Total Carbohydrate 8.2 g, Dietary Fiber 1.7 g, Sugars 0.6 g, Protein 5.7 g

Savory Quinoa Cakes

These are great alone, with a few slices of fresh avocado, and amazing with a side of my favorite Easy Guacamole.

Let me know how you liked these in the comments below!  They make fun little finger foods that even the kiddos would enjoy.

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Other recipes you might like:

Meatless Monday Spicy Veggie Frittata | The Wellness Scientist

Meatless Monday Spicy Veggie Frittata | The Wellness Scientist

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza | The Wellness Scientist

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza | The Wellness Scientist

5 Reasons Why Laughter is the Best Medicine

 

Does your best friend, partner, dad, or someone in your family make you laugh every time you talk to them?  If you said “YES,” then you may want to spend time with your favorite jokester.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I spent a couple of hours the other evening catching up with a group of friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in about a year.  I swear, I laughed so hard my cheeks were sore the next morning!  It was well worth it, though. And guess what? Research has shown that laughing boasts lots of health benefits.  Some of them include:

1) Calorie burner.  10-15 minutes of laughing burns off about 50 calories.  Nothing compared to running, but not bad for sitting around having a good time.

2) Immunity booster.  Stress takes a huge toll on our immune systems.  Some studies have shown that laughing may boost the number of antibodies and immune cells we produce.

3) Tension tamer. Laughter can also stimulate blood circulation and help our muscles relax.  Both help reduce stress symptoms!

4) Pain reliever.  Scientists at the University of Oxford found that a good laugh is linked with feeling less pain, likely because laughing causes a release of endorphins (which can also act as painkillers.)

5) Memory sharpener.  In a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Maryland, humor during instruction led to increased test scores.

What makes you laugh? Got something funny to make us all crack up? Leave it in the comments!!

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Other Posts You Might Like:

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How To Be Happy

What Makes You Smile?

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10 Fun Things To Do This Summer

School may have started already, but we still have Labor Day to look forward to and a whole month of summer left.

Before summer’s end, try a few of these fun summer ideas.

10 Fun Things To Do This Summer | thewellnessscientist.com

Having fun makes us happy, and happiness is a part of good overall health and wellness.

Summer Fun

  1. Have a barbecue & eat outdoors
  2. Watch the sunset
  3. Go swimming
  4. Play mini-golf
  5. Go to the beach and build a sandcastle
  6. Buy produce at a Farmer’s market
  7. Ride a bike (or trike)
  8. Go for a hike
  9. Take a weekend road trip
  10. Turn off the AC and sleep with the windows open

I’m sure there are tons more summer fun ideas.  What would you add?