Archives for July 2014

What You Can Learn From Shaun T: You Can Do This!

“Every person has a unique gift or talent that they are meant to share with the world. That is why you are on this planet . . . . because you have something to offer that makes everyone better. Let your light shine today and every day. Because without your light, the work would be dark.” – Shaun T

Flickr Photo by: Vital Worldwide

Flickr Photo by: Vital Worldwide

Shaun is known for his big guns and ripped abs. He’s also got a big heart and a passion for helping other people be the absolute best they can be. He’s worked hard for his fitness icon stardom and had to overcome some challenges to get where he is today.

Before Shaun became known a fitness icon for Beach Body’s Hip Hop Abs and Insanity series he was a dance choreographer in New Jersey. In a podcast for NPR’s “My Big Break” series, Shaun says at the time, he was in an abusive relationship with a partner that was not supportive of his career.

He got a call from a friend in California that encouraged him to come out to Los Angeles for a vacation. While in L.A. he auditioned for a new dance agency. Out of the hundreds of people auditioning for the spots only seven men and five women made the cut. Shaun was one of them and was told that he would be contacted in a couple of weeks if they were interested in him.

Shaun tells NPR, “I was at the laundry mat, with my pocket full of quarters, when I got the phone call that the agency wanted me to move to LA to pursue a career in dance.”

Shaun T Meets Beach Body

“Believe it or not, Insanity is very difficult for me to do!” — Shaun T

He moved to L.A. to lead workout dance classes. In not time his classes were full.  That’s when Beach Body discovered him and set his iconic career in motion.

Shaun’s first Beach Body project was Hip Hop Abs, then Rockin’ Body followed by Focus T25 and finally, Insanity. It’s amazing to hear him admit that Insanity is difficult for him to do! He goes on to say that when people that are new to Insanity do the workout with him for the first timey they notice he’s out of breath too.

In October 2012, Shaun Thompson married his best friend and became Shaun Blokker. He made a choice to get rid of the negative influences in his life and go after his dream.

“People, you have no idea. I understand why you feel weak and why you might be not as confident as you want to be,” he says. “All you have to do is tell yourself you can do this, and I know that it’s possible.”

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Lemon Basil Chicken

This summer I planted basil in a pot on my deck and have had fresh basil with all of its fragrance and flavor to use in dishes. This Lemon Basil Chicken recipe is quick and easy and is a good way to use fresh basil.  I served the chicken on a bed of Quinoa for a low-calorie, nutritious meal.

Fresh Basil

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Juice of two fresh lemons

3 or 4 fresh garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)

1 large bunch of fresh basic, chopped

Lemon Basil Chicken Raw

Directions:

Place the fresh chicken in a baking pan. Spread the minced garlic evenly over the chicken.
Squeeze the juice of the lemon evenly over the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil then place the chopped basil on top.

Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve on a bed of brown rice or quinoa.

I made enough to have lunch the next day. The best way for me eat healthy at work is to make extra servings of the healthy meals I make for dinner and then take them for lunch. I bought the microwave container that is perfect portion for lunch at TJ Maxx.

Lemon Basil Chicken

Using cucumbers from the garden I made Hungarian Cucumber Salad which was the perfect side dish.

Cucumber Salad w Paprkia

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Collage Video is Back With a New Look and More Features

Not only is Collage Video back, it’s been given a much needed face lift and has some added features I think you’ll like.

In April I wrote that Collage Video was going off-line. Without a going-out-of business sale yet! But it is back and running and it has been updated with a more dynamic and engaging design.

Collage Video

Collage Video is the number one site for reviewing and selling workout videos.  My favorite feature  – being able to preview clips of the videos before you buy – is still intact. I’ve been introduced to some of my favorite instructors and found the best workouts for me using the preview tool.

Instructors like Kelly Coffey Meyer:

Kelley Coffey Meyer

And workouts like After Burn with Cathe Friedrich:

Cathe Friedrick's After Burn

Plus, Collage Video now has three active blogs: Angie’s Corner, Ask Gilad and the Collage Video Blog.

Ask Gilad

BayView Entertainment

Collage Video is now a division of BayView Entertainment. BayView Entertainment, LLC, is America’s number one independent distributor of fitness, wellness, and special-interest DVD releases. BayView has forged relationships with the top names in fitness and special-interest, including Pranamaya and Yoga Journal Magazine as well as performers and producers as diverse as Kathy Smith, Gilad, Total Immersion, 8 Minute Abs, Scott Cole, Joyce Vedral and many others.

The Collage Video website operates via a new design and faster web host with improved security and technical capabilities.

In a recent press release BayView Entertainment said it will leverage its buying power and industry insight, as well as its own deep catalog of fitness and wellness titles, to re-energize the Collage website with an even greater selection of fitness.

No Excuses

There are still plenty of reasons to have a good selection of at-home workouts in your possession. The main one is they are excuse busters. It’s never too cold, too hot, too early or too late for a workout in your own home. They fit your schedule, and the best selection is at Collage.

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You Should Be Taking More Steps Every Day

You can’t out run a bad diet but you can out sit a good one.

You might be eating low calorie foods that are high in nutritional value, drinking plenty of water, avoiding sugary pop and drinking lite beer only on the weekends. But if you’re sitting at a desk or have another sedentary occupation or past time, the pounds will be hard to keep off. If you find your waist line is expanding in spite of your calorie counting it may be because you’re sitting too much. By being sedentary you’re also losing that precious muscle mass that keeps your metabolism at its peak.

Earlier this year, four experts for the Washington Post created a detailed list of everything that happens to the body when you sit for too long.  The expert panel consisted of James A. Levine, inventor of the treadmill desk and director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic, Charles E. Matthews, National Cancer Institute and author of several studies on sedentary behavior, Jay Dicharry, director of REP Biomechanics Lab in Bend, OR and author of Anatomy for Runners, and Tal Amassay, biochemist at Barry University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Pedometer

Levine, Matthews, Dicharry and Amassay’s created list of health related issues that are the result of too much sitting.  The three big ones are:

  • Heart disease – muscles burn less fat and blood becomes sluggish in the veins when we sit. Prolonged sitting is also linked to high blood pressure and cholesterol which are also indicators of impending cardiovascular disease.
  • Overproductive pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin which carries energy to the cells.  If you’ve been sitting for awhile, the muscles don’t respond to the insulin so the pancreas has to produce more which can lead to diabetes. Scarier yet, according to the experts, a study was done in 2011 that showed a decline in insulin response after one day of prolonged sitting.
  • Colon cancer – The reasons why colon cancer is more prevalent among sitters isn’t proven but it is believed to be related to the elevated levels of insulin that encourages cell growth.

Other reasons to move more during the day is to prevent mushy abs, tight hips, soft bones and a foggy brain. A sore neck and shoulders and back problems are also the by-products of immobility.

There’s More

You don’t need more bad new, but even if you get a healthy does of structured exercise every week it doesn’t undo the health risks of sitting. One study shows that the negative effect of six hours of sitting is similar in magnitude to the benefit of one hour of exercise. That doesn’t mean that if you sit for eight or nine hours a day you have to exercise for three hours to make up for it. That would be impossible to do. What the researchers suggest is to break up the sitting with short doses of movement.

Taking short walks throughout the day, walking in place while you’re on the phone, and getting on the clothes rack treadmill while you’re watching T.V. are some simple ways to get more walking in. To get to the goal of 10,000 steps a day, you’ll probably need to get creative and do something extra. If you need some tips, click here.

Why This Is Important For You

A study published in the American Medical Journal shows that inactivity in American men and women continues to rise.  Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center report that in 1988, 19 percent of women were inactive. By 2010, that number had jumped to 52 percent. For men the rate nearly quadrupled, going from 11 to 43 percent in the same period of time.

The study notes that what didn’t change is the number of calories people consumed.  More calories and less activity is the formula for obesity.

I could have turned this into a post about 50 ways to put more steps in your day but I think you all know what you should do: park in the space farthest away from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk on your breaks at work. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things.

Wear A Pedomoter

Wearing a pedometer will help you build the habit of reaching a walking goal. If you don’t wear a pedometer you don’t have any idea how many steps you’re getting in on an average day. It might be 2,000. That isn’t enough.

Try wearing a pedometer and set a goal to get to 10,000 steps a day every day for a week and find out what you have to do to get to the goal. If you’re a cube dweller it will be an eye-opener. It will help you reach your weight loss goals and might even save your life.

Pedometer 10,000

What do you do to put more steps in your day?

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Ten Super Foods You Should Be Eating Every Week

As humans we are forever evolving, or if we’re not, we should be. We should be trying new foods and finding which ones are the most important to our individual life and eating style.

Over the years I’ve posted my list of superfoods and realize it’s time for an update. I’ve grown to depend on some foods more than others to keep me nourished, happy and healthy.  Below is a list of foods I eat every week, some every day.

Super Foods

1.   Almonds – Almonds are a prime source of protein and healthy oil. They have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol, and, when eaten with a meal, lower blood sugar.  Almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.  The best thing about almonds is that they are filling. I eat a few each morning with breakfast and it helps me stay full until lunch. You can add almonds to salads, vegetable dishes, yogurt and baked goods.

2.   Olive Oil – Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean Diet and is most known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and ability to reduce total blood cholesterol.  It’s also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of some cancers. Keep in mind when cooking with olive oil that it has a low smoke point so you don’t want to get it too hot or it will lose some of its health benefits. Drizzle olive oil on breads, salads and garden vegetables.

3.   Blueberries – Blueberries are also famous for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  These berries are also believed to improve cognitive benefits and memory.  They may even slow down cognitive problems that are associated with aging. Blueberries are best when fresh but can also be frozen. They are abundant in vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and manganese.

4.   Bananas – There isn’t anything that compares with bananas when it comes to post-workout recovery.  They have more potassium than sports drinks plus they are a good source of vitamins B6 and C.  Despite their sugar content, bananas are low on the glycemic index due to the amount of fiber and pectins they contain. Bananas can be added to smoothies, eaten with peanut butter or on their own.

Banana Smoothie

5.   Romaine Lettuce – Leafy, crunchy romaine lettuce is my favorite for salads.  It is high in vitamins K, A, C and B1.  Plus, it has fiber and folic acid that’s not found in a lot of other foods.  The best thing about romaine lettuce is its high nutritional value combined with being very low in calories.

6.   Coffee – Okay, it’s not actually a food but it has super powers. The proven benefits of coffee are that it helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer.  It also is known to improve cognitive function and mood and will jump start a workout.  It comes in at zero calories when consumed without any creamers or sugar.

7.   Peppers – Colorful bell peppers are a staple on my grocery list. I add them to pasta dishes, use them as a topping for pizza, and eat them as a snack with hummus. Peppers have more vitamin C than oranges, and are high in antioxidants. We grow mini sweet peppers in pots on the patio in the summer and by fall we have a harvest of beautiful peppers to eat.

Sweet Mini Peppers are an excellent replacement for chips and other crunchy snacks.

Sweet Mini Peppers are an excellent replacement for chips and other crunchy snacks.

8.   Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have an abundance of antioxidants.  They also provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Research has shown that eating chia can lead to improvement in certain health conditions and has long been known as runner’s food. Aztec warriors ate chia seeds and it came them sustained energy.  The seeds can be added to oatmeal, yogurt, breads, and sauces.

9. Garlic – The sulfur component of garlic is, in part, what makes it a super food.  Sulfur is an important component for good health and helps keep blood pressure under control.  Some people may be deficient in sulfur so a daily dose of garlic is a good way to replenish your supply. The best way to buy garlic is fresh and whole. You can use a garlic press or a knife to chop it before adding it to soups, salads, meats and main dishes.

Garlic

10. Black Beans -Black beans are rich in fiber and protein which support the regulation of blood sugar. The beans are also a good supply of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants and give support to the digestive tract. They are low in calories and high in protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways including black bean brownies.

I encourage everyone to experiment to find the foods that work for them.  A super food is a whole food that is high in nutrition, has the ability to improve your health when eaten on a regular basis. Most important, they must be foods that you enjoy eating.

What foods are on your super food list?

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