Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Emergency provisions courtesy of Trader Joe’s

There are all kinds of ways to eat an all kinds of things to eat. If you’re reading this you must be somewhat interested in eating right. As a rule I’m a solid fan of eating fresh, organic and clean so I’m pretty good about severely limiting processed foods in my diet. However, there are those days when emergency provisions are necessary. With that below are three things that are processed but as far as “processed foods” go, they’re not so bad. Check ‘em out!

Steamed Lentils —  You find these in the refrigerated veggie section. Trader Joes sells them under their name but other stores sell the same thing under other names. Basically they’re just steamed lentils that can be immediately turned into anything. I’ve made soup and lots of different salads with them. My favorite way to eat these little brown bits is to: toss ‘em with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, a handful of grape tomatoes, red or green onion and little chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Toss in a carrot to add another color and crunch if you like. Sometimes I serve on a bed or romaine. HellaYummy!

Organic Frozen Brown Rice — At first I thought this stuff was too good to be true. It’s just so good and so easy to prepare. Something about this product seemed fishy to me, so… I asked around and did some research to find out exactly that the deal was behind this stuff. What I found was, in fact Trader Joes Organic Frozen Brown Rice is just that, real rice that’s been cooked and frozen. There are no weird additives or magic involved in the processing of this item. Basically, this rice saves me from eating everything in frig on those nights when I need something fast. All I have to do it cut a slit in the bag and pop it in the microwave. While I’m not a huge fan of microwaves (that’s another story) I make an exception for this stuff. It’s my go-to emergency food. Add some veggies or simply drizzle with a little olive oil and you’re happy as a clam.

Gone Bananas Slices —  These little two bite frozen chunks of goodness are the perfect thing to satisfy your sweet tooth. I’ll admit, some times I take a tiny bit of organic almond butter and smush it on top to make for an even better, more satisfying treat. The almond butter obviously adds calories and fat but nuts are super good for you so I figure two Gone Banana bites with a bit of almond is all good!

Seriously, get some of this stuff and keep it in the freezer in case of emergency, or anytime you need something good and fast.


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More bang for your buck (The Season of Eating – Navigation Tip #4)

My first dumpling

Okay, I get it! We all have way too much to do this time of year. Along with our regular duties we now have to add holiday shopping and celebrating to the list of to-dos. I don’t know about you but I’m overwhelmed and very behind.

If you workout with me you know that I like to choose exercises and activities that work more than one part of the body. Like doing squats with overhead press together.  You get “more bang for your buck” as you work the lower and upper body all at once. In my mind it’s about time management as much as it’s about getting more sweat for your effort.

With that here’s today’s Season of Eating Navigation Tip # 4 – More bang for your buck.

  • Rather than going to lunch/dinner/drinks with friends to celebrate the season, go for a hike and take along a bottle of bubbles to sip at a sweet spot in the trail. You get your cheer and exercise at the same time.
  • Gift cards are cool but why not give a friend a gift certificate to a workout class or workshop that you can attend with her/him. Give a gift and get one in return. See where I’m going with this? How about, Hip Hop, Hula Hoop or ever hear of Cocooning? Ooh…how about Massage for Couples!
  • Take your friends/family ice-skating. You can stop for a drink after. Remember, you burn more calories in the cold. If you decide to go, here are some helpful things to remember.
  • Teach somebody something. I learned to make Pork Dumplings this weekend. Rather than having a party where you just sit and eat, my friend Dora invited her friends over to learn how to make traditional Chinese Dumplings. We drank wine, ate yummy healthy dumplings, learned something cool and socialized. At the end of the day Dora sent everyone home with dumplings to enjoy another day. It was a great event and wonderful gift from Dora to all her friends. (Thanks again DL)

There you go, find ways to accomplish more than one thing at a time. Some say, “kill two birds with one stone” (but I never liked the image that congers up). You get the idea… and please feel free to share your “more bang for your buck” ideas.

Happy Monday!


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The Season of Eating 101

Too much turkey

It’s started. I call it The Season of Eating. There’s really no way to get around it, one way or another your healthy living tendencies will go to shit during this period. Some of us will manage better than others, but basically we’ll all suffer a shift in our waistlines and our exercise regiment.

First and foremost, do not to panic! Worrying will only stress you out causing you to eat or drink more, elevating the situation.

I’m not going to lie; I cave during The Season of Eating. I definitely dive head first into most opportunities to suck down yummy food and drink. Miraculously, I usually manage to keep the same jean size but it’s not a pretty picture nor is it easy.

Anyway, here are just a few little things that I personally keep in mind during these challenging times. They work for me and they’re pretty painless.

  • Baked goods – Eat only homemade stuff or things that you can be darn sure will be worth the calories. When confronted with a cookie tray from Cost-Co, skip it and wait until someone passes the truffles or homemade snacks.
  • The same goes for the cheese platter. If you can’t skip it all together then pass up the blocks of Safeway cheese and wait for the artisan cheese platter to surface. It might not appear for a day or two but it will at some point!
  • Sign yourself up for a workout class or organized event. Perhaps a New Years Eve or NY Day run, cycle or walk. There are tons to choose from. It’ll force you to stay on top of your workouts. I’ve signed myself for a New Years Eve half marathon that I’m not fit for at the current moment, so like it or not I’ll have to dig deep and train, impending cookie gut and all!
  • Keep moving. I like to keep moving. It tuckers me out sometimes but it helps keep the furnace burning.  Examples: Walk and take the stairs everywhere possible. Get up in the morning, have your coffee and go for a walk/run/ride or what ever you can manage for as long as you can manage it. 10 minutes is better than nothing! Mid day, walk/take a yoga class, just move for at least 10 minutes. Same goes for the evening, don’t just go home and sit on the sofa ever. Even if you can’t do this every day do what you can when you can. Make the effort it does help!

Here are some numbers that might motivate you. 10 minutes of: (The math will obviously vary depending on your body weight, composition and the pace at which you perform the task)

  • Walking at brisk pace will burn 54 calories
  • Heavy cleaning will burn 54 calories
  • Step-ups (using stairs) burns 175 calories
  • Raking leaves burns 40 calories

And, try these lean muscle builders. Remember, the more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn just sitting at the table next to the cheese platter.

  •  Squats—Do ‘em while you brush your teeth
  • Walking Lunges — As you move about your home
  • Push-Ups — Do 10 every time you find yourself at the kitchen sink. (Against the wall or on the floor)
  • Curls — With a can of soup or bottle of detergent
  • Plank Position — While reheating food. Hold for 30 seconds and work up to 3 minutes.
  • Crunches — There are a thousand versions. Pick the ones you like and do ‘em while you watch the weather.

So there you go, these are things that help me. If you want to be, or if you can be super good, then skip all the holiday treats, simply walk past the cookie platter and when cooking, find ways to make healthier versions of the dishes you serve. Unfortunately total abstinence won’t work for me so I’ve found these other things that help me. As for you, it’s up to you to find ways to enjoy the season and manage your waistline at the same time, I can only offer suggestions.

The bottom line, enjoy this time, no matter what.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I’ll be on back Monday 11/28 with something very gripping to say…

P.s. Click here if you want to know how far you’ll have to run/etc to burn off the bits of your T-giving dinner. I say, just keep moving and stop counting!


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Can cheating be a good thing?

Like everything, best to earn it!

No, I don’t mean it’s okay to cheat on your lover. I’m referring to cheating on your diet.

It might seem counterintuitive but taking a break from your healthy eating regime can actually improve your chances of sticking with the program longer. It’s just like building recovery time into your workout schedule. You don’t go hard all the time. You have to back off once in a while to allow your body time to build muscle and get stronger.

Sure, eating a cupcake is not going to make you stronger or help you recover from a hard workout. But, eating something that’s “forbidden” will allow you to feel less deprived. Research shows that people who deprive themselves of the things they crave end up eating more calories in the long run. There’s also information that states, “restrainers” have lower metabolisms and higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that tells your body to store fat.

Here’s the question; when should you cheat and how much should you cheat? Well, that all depends on you. How much and how hard you workout, how good your daily diet really is, what are your goals, stuff like that. Basically, there’s no general answer, but there are a couple of schools of thought. One way of thinking is to eat a little something you like every day. If you really like full fat latte’s then have one, like chocolate, then eat a little every day (points for eating dark chocolate). Some people prefer to eat really well all week and have one “cheat day” on the weekend when they eat whatever they want. Frankly, it comes down to whatever works to keep you happy and allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The bottom line; There’s no need to sacrifice, keep your metabolism running high by working out regularly and feeding your body. If you do that, a cupcake here and there won’t be the end of the world, in fact, it’ll make your world better.


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Cauliflower ain’t no spud!

Cauliflower

A while back it became popular to substitute smushed up, over cooked cauliflower for mashed potatoes in an effort to save calories.

People boiled or steamed chunks of the cruciferous veggie and mashed, blended or electric mixed it to get the consistency of mashed potatoes. Then, they’d add lots of butter and milk and all the other good stuff one would add to make really yummy mashed potatoes. While the cauliflower mush does taste okay, it isn’t mashed potatoes and with all the stuff added it kinda makes the calorie cutting point, mute.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting the kibosh on mushed cauliflower, I’m just gearing up to offer a few options that I feel maintain the integrity of the often under appreciated, very nutritious brainy looking orb.

First — Cauliflower a cruciferous vegetable, in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. Cauliflower, along with the rest of the cruciferous family is rich in cancer fighting properties as well as lends support to our body’s detox system, antioxidant system, and its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. For detailed health benefits visit here.

A few of my fav details — One cup of cauliflower contains about 28 calories, 3.5 grams fiber, omega 3’s and 2.5 grams protein.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of cauliflower. However, realizing it’s health benefits and in an effort to eat a diverse diet I’ve come to appreciate, and actually enjoy it.

Here are my suggestions — Choose a head that’s compact with creamy white florets. An old cauliflower will be yellowish. Whatever you do make sure to rinse the orb well. All those nooks and crannies provide lots of room for fungus to hide. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use.

According to the World Wide Web the best way to prepare cauliflower is to sauté it. I’ve never done that so I can’t say, but I suggest we all give it a try. The second best (for reasons of nutrition) way to cook cauliflower is to roast it, which I am proficient at.

Here is how I roast my cauli

In a large bowl, stir together:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry power
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Take one large head cauliflower cut into florets and toss to cover with the mixture. Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until chunks are browned on the bottom and tender when pierced with a knife. Serve hot or at room temp. Very yummy!

Obviously eating cauliflower raw is a very good option, dip it in hummus and put some in your salad. They say it’s good with red onion and feta. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


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Mow on these!

I was going to post today about foam rollers but then I spied these super yummy snack ideas and decided they were much more fun than a foam roller. I stole the recipes from Real Simple Magazine. The original article shares 9 really nice suggestions. These are my fav three. The next time you need a healthy snack to tide you over between meals consider these. (Yes, snacks are okay, just be mindful of your total daily calorie consumption!)

Cashew-Strawberry Crunch

Think of this as a gourmet cook’s PB & J. Spread 1 tablespoon of cashew butter on a slice of Ryvita Fruit Crunch. (Or substitute peanut butter and Triscuits.) Drizzle with ½ tablespoon honey and top with sliced strawberries.

Health bonus: Nut butters are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

One-Minute Antipasto Plate 

Roll a thin slice of prosciutto or ham around a part-skim mozzarella string cheese. Eat with a few olives and grapes, or add roasted bell peppers (from a jar) drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Health bonus: Contains almost a quarter of a woman’s 1,000-milligram recommended daily allowance for calcium.

Pineapple and Pistachios

Combine about ¼ cup dried pineapple pieces with about 25 pistachio nuts. (For a treat, use chile-lime pistachio nuts, available at specialty stores.) Other winning dried-fruit-and-nut combos: raisins and peanuts, apricots and almonds, cherries and hazelnuts.

Health bonus: Pineapple and nuts are both good sources of antioxidants


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Weekend Warrior Challenge

I suggest you drink U'r wine after your run...

What’s the haps for the weekend? Here’s an idea, how about I give you a little challenge? It’s just a little something to get you started.

First, did you read my post on Watercress? It’s very stimulating, or at least informative. I suggest you check it out and toss together a delicious watercress feast over the weekend. Try it, you may like it.

Planning to get some exercise this weekend? If you are, good for you! If you aren’t, shame on you! Either way, I suggest that you spice things up by adding this little cardio interval circuit to your plans.

Here’s how it works:

Warm up with a jog, walk and light stretches 10 minutes.
30 seconds cardio (any form you like)
60 seconds rest (yep, rest, stand or walk around just breathe!)
Repeat this sequence for 45 minutes.
Cool down with 5 minutes of stretching.

Voila! You just burned off four glasses or wine, or roughly 400 calories. I bet you feel good too!

Not sure what I mean by “cardio?” Here are some ideas for your 30-second bouts. Choose one or mix it up.

Jog up stairs
Jump rope
Run/Run in place w/high knees
Ride a stationary bike briskly
Skip
Step Up (rapidly done)
Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Burpees or Jump Squats

Give it a try! It’s only 30 seconds of “hard,” then you get to rest for twice that. How bad can it be? I did this workout today and I’m still alive to write about it. Let me know what you think, good or bad! Same goes for the watercress! Speak up people!

Happy weekend!

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