Fitness Friday: “Love Your Body” Stretches

Love-Your-Body-Stretches

Happy Valentine’s Day! Show your body a little love today by doing some of the stretches in this awesome roundup of “Love Your Body” Stretches

Stretching can help you: Avoid injury, Increase Range of Motion in Your Joints, Improve Circulation, and Increase Energy

For tight hamstrings, try the Modified Hurdler Stretch

Photo courtesy of fitsugar.com

Photo courtesy of fitsugar.com

  • Sit on the floor with your left leg straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch legs.

 

On Your Side Quad Stretch

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Lie on your right side, with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle resting on the floor in front of you (see photo on left).

2) As shown in right photo, bend your left knee behind you holding your left foot with your left hand.

3) Switch sides

Tight shoulders? Try the Eagle Arms Stretch

Photo courtesy of yourspineguide.com

Photo courtesy of yourspineguide.com

 

And lastly, for your back …

Seated Trunk Twist

 

Photo courtesy of self.com

Photo courtesy of self.com

This one will get your back, as well as your obliques!

1) Sit up tall on floor with your legs extended out in front of you.

2) Rotate just your ribcage to right (keep your butt on the mat & hips as still as you can). Keep your abs engaged!  Twist as far to the right as possible without allowing your butt to come off the mat.

3) Return to center & repeat on the other side for one rep. Do a total of 10 reps!

 

 

 

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? 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Pumpkin Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies

I had more than half a can of organic pumpkin puree left after finishing another recipe as well as some really nice super-ripe persimmons from a friend’s tree, AND I was in the mood for a little baking.  What could I do to use up these persimmons and pumpkin?

I scoured the pantry and found some gluten-free oats and chocolate chips, and I was ready to start putting together this new recipe.

After pureeing two large ripe persimmons together with half a cup of pumpkin puree in my food processor, I added the mixture to a bowl containing one cup of quick gluten-free oats.  The mixture looked a little runny at this point, so I grabbed my coconut flour (which is known to soak up liquids in recipes) and added 1/3 cup.  The consistency was PERFECT after adding the coconut flour.

Pumpkin-Persimmon-Cookies-Prep

Next, I added cinnamon, a little Truvia Baking Blend, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I was pretty happy with the results of these cookies.  And considering I used NO EGGS and NO BUTTER, they were quite a tasty healthy treat.

Pumpkin-Persimmon-Cookies

Here’s what you need to make two dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup persimmon puree (use two very ripe persimmons)
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin puree from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup quick-cook oats (if you want this recipe to be gluten-free, make sure you choose oats that say gluten-free on the label)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (for dairy-free cookies, use dairy-free chocolate chips)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add oats to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Puree the persimmons with the pumpkin puree until texture is smooth. It’s ok if there are still some visible pieces of persimmon once you are done.
  4. Add the puree to the oats and mix well.
  5. Add the coconut flour, mixing again.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  7. Add mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet using an ice cream scoop. After all of the cookies are on the baking sheet, use a spatula or your hand to flatten out the mixture into a cookie shape.
  8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.  Enjoy!

pumpkin-persimmon-cookie-done-sm

Question:  Do you have any recipes using persimmons? Have you ever made persimmon cookies before? Tell me about it below!

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

Brands that Give Back: Treat Yourself and Support Breast Cancer Research in October

Hello, lovelies!  I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate my first post of October to an area of great importance to all women …

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS

The CDC’s website says:

“The best way to find breast cancer early is with a mammogram. If you are a woman age 50 years or older, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years.”

I’m not sure when the recommendation changed from age 40 to age 50. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you should talk to you doctor about getting screen sooner.

A few stats from the CDC’s website, for your information:

How many people get breast cancer each year?
In 2009:

211,731 women and 2,001 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.
40,676 women and 400 men in the United States died from breast cancer

 

The support to find a cure for breast cancer is immense.  I remember doing my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k back in 1999. Walking along with these people, both survivors as well as friends and family, was such an amazing feeling. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such emotion and support as I did during that event. It was amazing!

Every year, brands give back by developing and selling products from which a portion of the proceeds will go to organizations such as The Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and many others.

Every day in October, I am featuring one of those products on my Instagram feed. Follow me on Instagram & don’t miss a single one of these products.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think of doing this until October 2nd … SO, the first product I posted was on Wednesday, October 2nd.

This awesome PINK pie plate called the Bake For The Cause Pie Plate is made by French company, Emile Henry.  10% of the proceeds from each pie plate sold will be donated to Breast Cancer Research.

Emile Henry Bake For the Cause 9"-Pie Plate

Emile Henry Bake For the Cause 9″-Pie Plate

 

Today’s featured item is an AWESOME pair of PINK skinny jeans from True Religion.  You’ve been doing your squats & leg work religiously, right?  I think you deserve these!  Ten percent of sales will go to Susan G. Komen!

HALLE SUPER SKINNY BREAST CANCER JEAN from True Religion

HALLE SUPER SKINNY BREAST CANCER JEAN from True Religion

Stay tuned to my Instagram feed for a new product that gives back every day during the month of October.

Question: Know of a product that I should feature? Please let me know about it in the comments below!

 

Other posts you might like:

Eat Chocolate, Help Save the World!

How to Be Your Best Self