Interval Training

If you’re looking for  a way to make your cardio program more intense, consider interval training.  Most cardio machines have a “random” or “interval” setting.  Next time you’re doing cardio at the gym try one of these programs out.
If you find that a given program is not the right intensity consider creating your own interval program.  If you are on the treadmill, for instance, try running at a fast pace for 30-45 seconds followed by 60-90 seconds of a fast paced walk.  Increase to a 1:1 ratio if you’re looking for higher intensity.  A 2:1 ratio makes for an even tougher workout!
Interval training is beneficial in keeping your body challenged during a workout.  The uncertainty of change, whether it be in speed, incline, or resistance, can take your standard cardio exercise to a whole new level.
Try implementing an interval program on the treadmill, stationary bike, stairmaster, elliptical, or rowing machine next time you’re in the gym for cardio.  Depending on how hard you push yourself it can be a great way to ease into a new type of cardio or bring your typical cardio exercise to a much higher intensity.

Get Your Goals and Your Effort ALIgned!

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”  – Muhammad Ali

As we approach the end of March, assess the progress that you’ve seen since the beginning of the year.  In doing this, you should be able to find the motivation to keep at it.  If it seems like you should have had better results, try not to dwell.  Make each and every day of the second quarter count.  Do your best and I guarantee you’ll be happy with the way you feel at the end of June.
If you’re happy with your progress thus far, keep it up!  Remember to make changes to your workout program to continue seeing favorable results.  Treat each day as an opportunity to get you closer to your ultimate goals.  Goals are met one day at a time, so instead of counting down to the day your goal will be reached, do something positive each day that will get you closer to achievement.

Look Ma, No Hands!

The video above displays the potential aftermath of this equipment-free legs workout.  It is entirely lower body and should be completed as a circuit.  After you complete all five exercises once, take a 60 second break and start from the top.  Complete the entire circuit three times and you can claim success!  GOOD LUCK!!  And hopefully you won’t become a statistic. 
30 Split Squat Jumps
Perform 15 split squat jumps on each leg.  If these are too tough for you, consider subbing squat jumps.  If you need something non-impact just complete 30 body weight squats.
30 Alternating Lunges With Five Count Pulse
For this exercise you want to complete 15 lunges on each leg.  Each lunge should be followed with five pulses as shown in the video.  If you need a modification consider taking out the pulses OR simply taking one step out into a lunge and completing 15 pulses on each side.
30 Squats With A Hip Abduction
Perform 30 total squats with 15 kicks on each side.  If you’re looking to make this exercise a little bit harder, place one foot on a step or a weight bench before squatting and kicking out with the foot on the floor.
30 Seconds of Box Jumps or Step Ups
If you’re doing this at home, box jumps can be completed on something as low as your bottom step.  If you’ve got a picnic table or sturdy bench to work with you can use those as well.  If you’re not ready for box jumps just complete step ups instead.
30 Sumo Squats
This exercise is good for men and women, alike.  Keep a wide stance with your feet and make sure your toes are pointed outward.  You can use a weight if you’re looking for higher intensity, but don’t feel like you need one to complete this exercise properly. 

The Benefits of Omega-3s

According to an article written by Isabel De Los Rios, the author and creator of The Diet Solution Program, omega-3s are one type of fat we should focus on getting enough of.  You can find omega-3s in foods such as wild salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, flaxseeds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnut, butternut, and anchovies.  If you’re a picky eater, there are also omega-3 supplements that can help you increase your intake, but just like any supplement, you need to do a decent amount of research before you pick one out.

The benefits of omega-3s include:

By regulating your body’s inflammation cycle, omega-3s relieve and prevent conditions like arthritis and bursitis.  For people that struggle with these types of problems, this could be your answer to getting back on track with tougher workouts and/or everyday activities.

Foods that are high in omega-3s can help increase your memory, reasoning, and focus.  For expectant mothers, omega-3s can have a positive impact on the happiness and intelligence of their baby.  Who doesn’t want to give birth to a mini-Einstein?  

Fish oil supplements have proven to reduce conditions such as depression, psychosis, bipolar, and EVEN PMS!!!  My guess is that this research, alone, will be enough to justify the cost of a supplement in the eyes of any husband!

Fish oils can help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing your good cholesterol (HDL).  In addition, it helps lower triglycerides and blood pressure.  In short, they are just plain good for your heart, veins, and arteries.

Omega-3s help your body respond better to a hormone called Leptin.  Leptin helps to suppress your appetite while increasing your metabolism and encouraging your body to burn fat for energy.  Why not choose a food that works for you in positive ways?

Make a conscious effort to add omega-3s to your diet over the next couple of weeks.  You may be surprised at the differences you feel.  Eating more of these fats can be an easy way to lead your diet in the right direction.  Starting to implement healthier options can really increase how good you feel!

Turkey Enchilada Casserole That Will Blow Your Mind!

You can prepare the Enchilada Sauce and the Refried Beans two days ahead and then assemble the casserole the day you serve it.

Yield:  9 servings

1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground raw turkey breast
Refried Beans
Enchilada Sauce, divided
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Oregano sprigs (optional)

Heat chicken broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add turkey, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the Refried Beans and 1/2 cup of Enchilada Sauce; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spread 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Dredge both sides of 6 tortillas in sauce; then arrange tortillas, overlapping, in baking dish. Top with half of bean mixture and 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce, and sprinkle with half of cheese. Brush both sides of remaining tortillas with Enchilada Sauce, and arrange tortillas, overlapping, over cheese. Top with remaining bean mixture, 1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce, and remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano, if desired.

CALORIES 482 (18% from fat); FAT 9.4g (sat 3.9g,mono 2.4g,poly 1.7g); IRON 6.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 402mg; CARBOHYDRATE 64.3g; SODIUM 1014mg; PROTEIN 39.1g; FIBER 11.9g 

A New Way to Knockout Your Cardio

If you’re looking for a new and more exciting way to get some cardio in, consider trying a boxing class.  Seek out a facility that has some knowledgeable instructors when it comes to boxing, kickboxing, or mixed martial arts.  Finding such a location that boasts heavy bags is even better.  
Not only are these classes a lot of fun, but in an hour long class you can look to burn anywhere from 600-1000 calories depending on how hard you work!  While most facilities don’t allow you to bring in pictures of your boss or your boyfriend to tape to the heavy bag, boxing can still be a thrilling way to release the week’s aggression.  
If you’re in the Columbus, Ohio area, check out a Title Boxing Club location in Hilliard or near Polaris, or the Sullivan Brothers Boxing Gym in Powell.  I highly recommend either of these establishments for a great workout and a good time!  Both gyms will allow you to try a free session before buying a package.  
If you’re making some changes in your workout program, try one of these workouts and see what you think.  You’ve got nothing to lose and may be able to implement something different into your fitness plan long term!  As good as boxing can be for weight loss and total body toning, a few of these classes might turn you into a knockout!! (Sorry, it had to be said.)

How to Avoid Hitting A Plateau

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
They didn’t call Einstein a genius for nothing!  While the above quote can be applied to just about any aspect of life, it makes a whole lot of sense in terms of fitness and exercise.  Now that we’re nearing quarter’s end it is time to take an honest look at our fitness programs and make some changes.
Assess your current workout regimen.  Have you gotten into the habit of doing the same stuff all the time?  Spending thirty minutes on the elliptical three times per week may have gotten you some results so far, but those results are bound to slow down or stop very soon.  Take my word for it and make some simple changes to your workout.  You don’t want to find out the hard way and have to start over from scratch.  Keep those favorable results rolling in by trying out a different machine or hiring a personal trainer.  There is no point in giving less than 100% if you’re really serious about hitting your goals.
Challenge yourself during every workout by trying something new each time you go to the gym.  Use health magazines and the internet to discover new ideas.  Ask a trainer for advice or consider joining a class at your gym if you feel like you need more guidance.  Remember that the more changes you make to your regular routine the better off you are.  The goal here is to make muscle confusion work to your advantage.  Trying new exercises, a different number of sets and repetitions, as well as working out at different times in the day are all ways to keep your muscles from getting used to a routine.
Over the next four weeks work at least four new things into your fitness program.  Make sure you’ve got a reasonable goal in mind that can be measured and then make some applicable adjustments to your plan.  In four weeks check to see if you’ve reached your goal.  I’m willing to bet that the correct changes will, at the very least, harvest progress.  Constant change leads to constant improvement, so use these tips to your advantage and GOOD LUCK!

Staying on Track While You Travel

Whether traveling for leisure or work it is important not to let your journey get in the way of your workout regimen.  Getting out of routine, even for a few short days, can lead to abandoning your fitness program altogether.  To avoid a relapse and the sabotage of all your hard work, consider the following tips when you travel.
Pack Fitness Equipment
Suzanne Somers takes her Thighmaster EVERYWHERE!  Okay, I don’t know if that’s true….and if you have a Thighmaster consider taking it out to the curb before you take it out of town.  Resistance bands, jump ropes, and stability balls, on the other hand, are a few reasonable objects to take with you on your next trip.  Having a small piece of fitness equipment with you gets you one step closer to actually working out while you’re gone.  At the very least, you’ll have to look at it every time you open your luggage.  Give the guilt a little time to work it’s magic…
Use What Your Hotel Has to Offer
If your hotel has a gym…USE IT!  You’re paying for that in your room rate, you know?  If it doesn’t have a gym then use what it does have to your advantage.  Consider getting a cardio workout in on the stairs or at the pool.  If your hotel has a courtyard then utilize that space for exercise.  Be creative!  Just remember that 12oz curls at the hotel bar don’t count.
Come Up with a Body Weight Exercise Routine
Keep in mind that there is a lot you can do without any equipment.  Squats, lunges, pushups, and crunches are just a few examples.  Running is another way to stay active without equipment while you’re out of town.  Come up with a short routine that you can complete using only your body weight.  Ask your trainer to write you a travel workout or visit You Tube for ideas.
Walk When Possible
Once you arrive at your destination consider walking rather than taking buses, trains, and cabs.  Walking is an easy way to get some activity in without interrupting your trip itinerary.  Depending on where you’re headed you might ask the concierge at your hotel whether or not bike rental is an option.  Either mode of transportation can be a great way to explore your destination.
Plan Ahead and Make a Commitment
While the above plans would make a stellar vacation itinerary, try to add some exercise into that agenda.  If you plan ahead and commit to working out a certain number of times on your trip, you are more likely to follow through with your good intentions.  Making a promise to yourself to run a certain number of miles or visit the hotel gym a certain number of times while you’re gone is a great way to get moving.  This type of commitment may even inspire you to get your workouts over with in the first few days of your trip.  Make a plan and stick with it!

Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award!

Each month I would like to start recognizing someone who is going above and beyond in regards to their fitness plan.  During the month of February, Rachel Lambermont has been that person.

Rachel and I are going on our third year of training together and the first couple months of this year have proven to be our best yet!  Not only has Rachel shown significant improvement in her confidence and will to try new things, she has also reached all of the month one goals she set out to achieve and then some.

After setting a goal to lose five pounds by February, Rachel has lost 13 pounds to date.  In addition, she DOMINATED her month one goal of being able to run a mile and is more than half way done with her goal of running that mile eight more times by the end of March.  Each time we train it seems she has knocked a few more seconds off of her mile time which is just an added perk acquired by her diligence.

Rachel, the dedication you’ve shown to improving your diet and giving your all during each workout this year has blown me away.  You’re really on the track to making a lifestyle change that will continue to bring you many rewards.  Reaching your goals for January is just the beginning…and look what it got you, an “Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award” and a high five!  (I’ll give you the high five tomorrow.)  Keep up the great work.  You’ve got a very proud trainer.  I can’t wait to see where we’re headed!!

Taking Responsibility

“You are the only person in existence who can use your potential.  It is an awesome responsibility.” – Zig Ziglar
As easy as it is to come up with excuses as to why things aren’t going your way, keep in mind the insightful words above as you set out to reach your health and fitness goals in 2011.  Good intentions can only get you so far, but you always get back the effort that you put in.
As we approach the end of the quarter recognize your responsibility and stay consistent.  Make your time at the gym worthwhile and continue to make positive changes to your diet.  Now is the time to work harder than ever.  Results remain the best motivator, so keep battling to reach the goals you’ve set out to achieve.  Don’t become a first quarter statistic who has already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions.  Take responsibility for what you’ve set out to accomplish.  Take responsibility to use your full potential.
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