Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Labels 101

Learn what is in the food you consume and you are on your way to living a more nutritious lifestyle.  Nutrition labels tell you the facts.

Start at the top: Serving size and how many per container are important.  These are standard sizes used to measure food.  Pay special attention to this, especially when buying beverages.  Your sports drink may contain 2.5 servings.  Instead of 100 calories you may consume 250 calories when drinking the whole bottle.

Stats: Make sure that your calories from fat is less than half of your total calories.  Limit sodium and load up on protein or fiber to make sure you stay full throughout your day.  Vitamins like calcium, vitamin A/B/C, and iron are good, especially if the product includes more than 5% per serving.

Below it all: Another good thing to check is the list of ingredients.  Make sure you are able to read and understand what is in the products you purchase.  The less ingredients the better.  Limit artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and dyes.  Make sure there are whole grains or soy, fresh fruits or veggies, and lean meats like fish or turkey.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pilates Principles: Diet

Life is busy and how you eat is just as important as fitting in your workouts.  Let's learn how to eat mindfully using Pilates principles from the book Pilates Practice Companion  by Alycea Ungaro.

Breath: Take time to smell your food before you eat it.  The process of cooking food helps the body prepare for the dish ahead.  Also be aware of different temperatures of food.  Room temperature chicken tastes and smells different then BBQ chicken or cold fried chicken. 

Control: Be aware of your portions.  Use the hand method to regulate serving sizes.  A cup of fruits/veggies is the size of your fist, a serving of cheese is the size of your thumb, and meat portions are palm size. 

·         Concentration:  Lastly, try not to eat mindlessly.  This means be present with your food.  Try not to read or watch TV.  Take smaller bites (or use chop sticks) and make sure you chew your food more than you think you need to.  This will give you time to enjoy the textures/flavor while allowing your body to tell you sooner when it is full so you don't overeat. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eat Right, Feel Great!

Take a look at your nutrition and chances are small changes can make a world of difference.  The foods you eat effect your mood, how your body recovers from workouts, and how much energy you have to make it through the day.  Here are some food choices to help you look great in no time:
1.             Salmon: High levels of vitamin D can help increase muscular strength.  The omega-3 fatty acids also are great for your heart.  Try: Baked Salmon
2.             Cherry Juice:  Prevent inflammation by using this as your recovery beverage.  This antioxidant-rich choice is great to drink alone or add to smoothies.  Too expensive?  Try berry or grape juice instead.  Just make sure it says 100% on the label. 
3.             Sweet Potatoes: Plenty of vitamin A and C make this a good root vegetable. It will fill you up with fiber while giving you the much needed carbs you crave.  Known to help stabilize blood sugar levels.  Try: Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole  
4.             Greek Yogurt: Get your calcium fix along with important protein to repair muscles.  Eat alone, mix it up in a party dip or use it as a topping on your burger.  Versatile and yummy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Break It Down: Stomach Massage

Stomach Massage is anything but a "massage".  This exercise is an advanced way of doing a posture series of Short Box on the Reformer.  Find your rhythm and work your deep abs in this intense series.    

Purpose- cleanse the internal organs, increases coordination, work posture

Preps- Cat/Cow, Rolling like a Ball, Footwork, Short Box series

Form- keep leg alignment (hip, knee, toes), lats engaged, abs resist springs on return in, can add lower/lift with toes when out long for challenge

Different versions: Round, Flat, Arms Up, Twist, Single Leg

Modifications- can put small pad under bottom if hips are tight, lower footbar, hands can stay on Reformer for assistance or tight shoulders 

*May not be appropriate for those with hip replacements or disc injuries that have trouble flexing their spine

How to Advance- add in Twist, less springs to ensure more stability in waist, magic circle in palms (Arms Up, Twist, Single Leg)

Challenges- Single Leg version, increase tempo

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pilates Principles: Precision

Pilates has a specific order of exercises and each is done in a certain amount of reps.  Each exercise has a purpose and goal.  Rolling like a Ball is done in a compact ball shape and is meant to massage the spine and rid the body of toxins.  In performing each exercise in the series the student must have this understanding in order to have discipline in their form.  Quick and efficient transitions also count when it comes to precision.  Your workout needs to have an even tempo and flow to utilize your time.

Make sure in each session you push yourself and gain a deeper understanding of the method that will lead you toward your ultimate goals.  Good health and fitness always come first.  Modifications can be made or props added, but make sure the true essence of Pilates remains.    

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bosu Basics

What is the Bosu?  How does it work?  This half stability ball is perfect for balance, strength and getting your heart rate up.  Train your brain and make your life your playground!  Learn the basics about an intelligent piece of fitness equipment:  
How do you pronounce it?
"Bo" like the boy's name and "Sue" like the girl's name; an acronym for "Both Sides Up" 

Who invented it?
David Weck in 2000
Famous names who use it:
Lance Armstrong, Olympic Freestyle Skier Shannon Bahrke, MLB player Evan Longoria

Who should use it?
Everyone! This tool is great for working on balance training.  Athletes find it helpful for aerobic activity or drills.  It can also be added to a Bootcamp with hand weights, Pilates or TRX class for a challenge.  You will use your core no matter what because of the unstable surface.

What exercises can you do on it?
·                     Basic squats or lunges for stability 
·                     Jumps to up the intensity
·                     Step class moves/athletic drills 
·                     Push ups (either side)
·                     Crunches/abs
·                     Kneeling leg work

Principles of Bosu:
1.             Balance left and right sides of the body
2.             Time efficient for the body to load and explode with power