Get your Groove Back

Summertime, vacations, cook-outs, what’s your excuse? For me it was a bad landing on an exercise jump that left my knee in a big mess. Forget about squats and lunges, I was struggling to bend the leg enough to get in and out of the car. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) this happened right before taking the flight to our Florida family vacation. So initial plans of beach workouts, filming new videos for my online bootcamps, runs along the beach, and water aerobics changed to sitting in the chair, elevated leg, ice, and a good dose of patience. Maybe a little R&R isn’t so bad every now and then.

Despite billions of dollars spent on gym memberships, diet programs, etc., a recent paper published by the Mayo Clinic reports that fewer than 3% of American adults are living a healthy lifestyle.

Less than 3%. Wow! Just Feel it Fitness has a lot of work to do! 😉

The study defined living a healthy lifestyle as meeting these four parameters:

  • Being sufficiently active (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week)
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Being a nonsmoker
  • Having a recommended body-fat percentage (5%-20% for men, and 8%-30% for women)

The results of the study showed many people accomplished multiple healthy lifestyle goals. 16% met three of the healthy characteristics, 37% had two, but fewer than 3% met all four. Women were more likely to not smoke and to eat a healthy diet, and were less likely to be active, compared with men. Older individuals were more likely to be nonsmokers and healthy eaters, and were less likely to have a normal body-fat percentage and active enough.

Granted, this is only a study of 5,000 American adults, but the bottom line this study does an excellent job at providing four concrete steps anyone can take to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Things happen like injuries and vacations and busy periods at work. Life gets crazy. Getting back into a fitness groove can be tough. I know. But get your groove back. None of these steps are easy to take. However, even small improvements make a difference and any effort toward these 4 lifestyle goals can have a life changing impact. Become a nonsmoker, be sufficiently active, eat a healthy diet, and achieve a recommended body –fat percentage.

I’d love to help you towards meeting these healthy lifestyle criteria.  Do you need help getting your groove back?

Our next round of Summer Slim Down starts July 18th. This is a 6 week Challenge. For more details, click here.

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Tuna Salad Boats

Tuna Salad Boats

1 can tuna
1/2 very ripe avocado
1/2 cup chopped purple grapes
Splash of white wine or champagne vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Large Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves

Mash the avocado with a fork. Combine with all other ingredients. Spoon onto large lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.

Stretches for the Desk Job

We all know that job related stress can take a toll on our health, but there is also another contributor to health problems if not careful: sitting. Sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to tightness in the hips, neck, chest, and pain and discomfort in the shoulders and lower back. Luckily, there are things you can do to help counteract the damage that sitting does to your body.

Look at how you are sitting as you read this. Are your shoulders rolled forward with your neck protruding out? Have you gotten up for a 2 minute break to walk around and move your legs today? The body is meant to be in movement, it was not designed to sit for eight hours a day.

Here are 5 of my favorite stretches you can do on your own to help undo some of the damage of sitting all day. Take 5 minutes when you get home this evening and give them a try.

Downward dog
With hands outstretched in front and you, lift your hips and ground your feet into the floor. Press your fingers into the floor and point them forward, and hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. This stretch helps reduce tension in the shoulders, and relaxes the neck, as well as stretching the backs of your legs.
Downward dog
From the downward dog stretch, step your right foot forward between your palms keeping your hands on the floor. Lower your left knee down to the floor. For a deeper stretch release your elbows to the floor as well.  Hold  the stretch here and relax your breath encouraging your hips to sink lower into the stretch.
Lizard part 1Lizard part 2
Cat cow
This combination of a stretch helps to open up the back and stretch the spine. Start with hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position with a neutral spine. On the inhale, round the spine and curve up into your cat pose. On the exhale, arch the back and lift the chest to come into a cow pose. Repeat three to five times, focusing on the breath.
Happy Baby
This stretch helps open the hips and groins.  The hip joints can get stiff from extended periods of time sitting. Lie down on your back, draw the knees into your chest and grab your feet from the inside, pulling them down so the knees extend on either side of your torso. Try to bring the hips down to the floor. Breathe deeply and rock gently side to side for about 30 seconds.
Happy Baby
Doorframe chest stretch
When you spend a lot of time hunched over at your desk or in front of the computer, tightness in your chest muscles can keep your shoulders pulled forward, exacerbating chest and back pain. Stretching your chest can help loosen and lengthen these tight muscles. Simply stand in a door frame with your arms holding on to the wall. Lean your weight forward. You should feel a stretch across your chest muscles and under your armpit. Move your arms up and down along the door frame to increase the stretch and to stretch different areas of the chest. Hold for several breaths and release.

Have a great week,

Featured Snack

Frozen Grapes and Pears

Freezing juicy grapes and pears transforms their texture, turning them in to frosty treats.  You’ll also chew them more slowly. This is a great snack idea for the little ones who always seem to want ice cream, regardless the time of day or year!

Simply place seedless grapes and peeled and chopped pears onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. (At least one hour)

frozen fruit

Hide the Candy!

I knew we had reached the breaking point Friday night when my 3 year old started jumping up and down faster than a kangaroo and was screaming at the top of his lungs “Give me MORE Candy!!”  The effects of so much sugar on his little system were coming out full force and I knew it was time. Time to call it a night after another fun-filled Halloween for the memory books, and time to Hide the Candy.

After Halloween weekend, it’s easy to look toward the next couple of months and get distracted. We’re still on a sugar high and we know that holiday parties, dinners with family and friends, and cookie exchanges are all quickly coming.  Add to that buying gifts, sending cards, and everything that goes along with the holidays and it can be quite stressful. It is common when your schedule fills up and the stress gets high that self-care is the first thing people give up.  When in reality it should be the #1 thing you hang on to.  We should hang on to the things that give us more energy and the things that help us feel our best for all the coming activity.

Discipline means having a plan. Start now. Hide the candy. And make a decision right now as we start November and look toward the holiday season that this year is going to be different.  This year we are not going to start 2015 with an extra 10 pounds put on from the holidays. This year we are going to enjoy our favorite holiday dishes but stop when we are full. This year we’re going to keep time in our busy schedules for exercise.  It’s all possible and it starts today.  It starts with you hiding the candy.  I know you have a big stash lurking around somewhere. Hide it. Or better yet, throw it out! Start November with your health as a priority.

Have a great week,
Pumpkin Bean soup
There are still more pumpkins in my fall display that need to be cooked! Here’s what’s cooking this week:

Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Slice pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds, drizzle a little olive oil and roast at 375 for about 45 minutes.
Scoop out the tender flesh and set aside. Once cool, blend to a puree.

Soup Ingredients:
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
5-6 Tomatoes, Chopped
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Box of vegetable stock
2 Cans of Pumpkin Purée (Or 1 medium pumpkin roasted and puréed)
1 Tbsp. Curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add onion, red pepper, and tomatoes. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes. Add all the spices, black beans, and stock.  Bring to a boil, then add pumpkin purée and more water if needed. Let everything simmer for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!