Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


The season of eating

Hummm, what shall I try first?

I hate to do this to you, but it needs to be done. As I’ve said before, Halloween marks the beginning of the season of eating. It starts with Halloween candy on Halloween and ends with champagne brunch or a greasy hangover recovery meal on New Years Day. In spite of our best efforts most of us end up adding layer of blubber to our winter coats during this period.

Let’s start with Halloween. Obviously the best way to keep from packing on the pounds is to completely abstain from taking a dip into the candy bag. Since I’m pretty sure every one of us (except for me because I’m perfect) is going to sample at least one treat this Halloween, there are a few things to consider.

  • First — My fav, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (5 mini ones) contain 220 calories, 13g fat and would take me 20 minutes to burn off running a 10-minute mile. Yikes! 20 minutes for just 5 baby cups and who can eat just 5? Not me! Is it worth it? No!
  • A better choice — Dark chocolate. Dark Choco contains less sugar and is rich in antioxidants.
  • Go nuts & fruits — Chocolate that contains raisins and or nuts contain a variety of nutrients, healthy fats and fiber that displace some of the total sugar.
  • White is evil — White chocolate is your least healthy option. It doesn’t actually contain any cocoa, only cocoa butter and it’s packed with sugar and added fat from the extra milk products used. Uck!
  • The bottom line — You put the calories in; you must burn ‘em out. You know that. Right?
  • Some math — 4 Mini Musketeers are equal to 94 calories, 4 Mini Snickers 170 cal’s, 1 snack box Raisinets, 150 cal’s and 4 Milk Maid Caramels contain 150 calories. The average 150-pound person will burn off about 115 calories during 30 minutes of cycling or 340 calories running for the same amount of time at a moderate pace. Think about that.

While I really do try to stay away from the candy I understand the desire to indulge. With that, I hope you will simply remember to work a little harder this season to keep from busting out of your holiday gear. Remember, calories in, calories out.

As always I’ll be here with suggestions so we can all stay fit and fine this yummy season.

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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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Making muscle

Doin' Dips

As I mentioned the other day, a pound of muscle takes up more room in the body than a pound of fat. Muscle also burns calories to maintain itself while fat just sits weighing you down.

When I encourage you to gain muscle, I’m not suggesting that you bulk up and enter a bodybuilding contest. I am simply suggesting that you take the muscles that you have and feed them (pump them up) a little bit. When you do this you will not get bigger, you will become toned and smaller as the increased muscle will burn the excess fat.

Think about this, after the age of 40 our bodies start to lose muscle.  As you lose muscle, your strength decreases, increasing your risks of injury from muscle weakness, poor balance and fatigue. Not to mention weight gain. Need I say more?

With that, below is a very basic workout you can do anywhere, all you need is your body. Give it a try.

  • Warm up with a 10 – 15 minute walk or jog. Swing your arms around, across your body and around and around like you’re swimming.
  • 10 Push ups (on your knees, against the wall or boy style, whatever you can manage but is still hard!)
  • 20 – 30 (each leg) Walking Lunges
  • 20 – 30 (each leg) Standing Straight Leg Kickbacks
  • 20 – 30 Tricep Dips
  • 20 – 30 Calf Raises
  • Plank – Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Now repeat the sequence two times for a total of three sets.

Add this basic circuit to your weekly fitness routine. Do it three times per week if you can manage.

Remember, this is just a sampling of things you can do. If you want to come up with your own routine be sure to work everything; chest, back, quads, shoulders, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, calves and abs. You know where to find me if you need help.

P.s. Always suck your navel toward your spine while performing every exercise. Inhale during the easy part of the movement, exhaling during the more difficult half.  Do not hold your breath when performing any exercise.

P.s.s. The basic rule of strength training is: to get stronger, work with heavy weights and perform fewer repetitions. To promote tone and endurance, use lighter weights and complete more repetitions. For the purpose of this post I’m suggesting that you start with building endurance and adding tone (light weight, lots of reps).


Watercress, really?


I find it amusing that things that have been around forever, all the sudden become popular. Like they were just discovered or something.

Watercress is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. Strangely, it seems to be the current “wow look at this” item of discussion.  The reason: watercress is one of the five vegetables highest in nutrient content per calorie. It’s believed that getting the most nutrients in the fewest calories, is the recipe for disease prevention, reversal, and permanent weight loss. It seems kind of obvious but maybe not something we think about on a daily basis?

With that, I decided to find out what the deal is with watercress. I learned quite a few things, here is what I found the most interesting:

  • The Basics — Watercress can often be found in the wild, in and around streams and cool running water. It is a member of the mustard family, has small, crisp, dark green leaves. Its pungent flavor is slightly bitter and has a peppery snap. Choose crisp leaves with deep, vibrant color. Store it in the frig.
  • Yo’ eyes — Watercress contains among other things, Lutien in very high levels. Lutein acts like sunscreen for the eyes (that’s kind of cool, since regular sunscreen burns when you get it in your eyes).
  • Energy & Metabolism — A generous dose of iodine is found in watercress. Iodine helps make the thyroid hormones that regulate your metabolism.
  • Water weight — Watercress is 93% water, and provides some protein (veggies containing protein are a bonus!).
  • More than you think — Watercress has more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more absorbable iron than spinach (that’s impressive).
  • The list goes on — Basically watercress is loaded with everything your body needs to live longer and live better. It’s full of, many nutrients with antioxidant effects, and phytochemicals including different carotenoids. If you’d like the complete nutritional lowdown you’ll find it here.

That should be enough info to get you started. The next time you see watercress in the market, pick up a bunch and give it a try. It’s all the rage!

P.s. The other veggies highest in nutrient to calorie ratio are kale, collard, mustard and turnip greens.
P.s.s. Check here for some pretty yummy sounding watercress recipes.

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Start with 10

I burned off 25 cookies today!

I first started exercising many years ago to lose weight. At the time I didn’t need to lose weight, but like most young women I thought I did. Because of my lack of sense, I ran 6-10 miles a day and lived on diet soda, apples and nuts. This system made sense to me at the time although I could never figure out why I kept getting fatter and fatter and eventually became so exhausted that I completely passed out one day.  After that little fright, it still took about 20 years for me to realize that one must eat to keep their metabolism going and legs moving. Geez…what a dunce I was!

Now, some 30 years later I eat plenty. Too much sometimes, but fortunately for me my metabolism now runs pretty high. I’m especially lucky being that I’m an “older gal,” at an age when typically ones metabolism slows way down. Mine however runs relatively high because I’ve learned not only to exercise, but also to feed my body keeping my furnace/metabolism running hot.

I exercise basically every day. Some days I workout hard, and some days I just walk and/or do an easy yoga/stretch class. The bottom line is, I move around quite a bit and have done so for years. Because of that, I’m still reaping benefits from exercise sessions I did years ago in the form of a much appreciated, fired up metabolism.

The oddest component to keeping a healthy metabolism is eating. If you don’t eat enough your body thinks you’re trying to kill it. It imagines that you’re starving it to death, and when you exercise on top of not eating, that just accelerates the body’s reaction. Think about it. Your body doesn’t want to die. It goes to great lengths to rebuild itself and heal when you hurt it, right? So it makes sense that it would freak out when you starve it. It responds by shutting down and holding onto the little food that you do give it and stores it as fat for later use. Basically it slows down your metabolism to keep from burning too much fuel. When you feed your body it burns hotter as long as you move it, giving it a reason to burn.

On that note, I once again ask you to make an effort to exercise. The more you exercise the more you get to eat. Think of that. My suggestion for today is to make an Exercise Box. Take a shoebox and place at least 5 short, 10-minute workouts in the box. Every morning after you’ve had your coffee, but your hand in the box, pull out a workout and perform the exercise noted.

10 minutes, that’s all it takes to feel better, jump-start your metabolism and might even encourage you to work out a little longer. If 10 minutes is all you can muster for the day, than fine, but it’s my hope that as time goes on, you’ll add more to your daily workout routine. Whether it’s working out for a longer duration or doing 2 or 3 of these short workouts a day.

Here are some ideas for your Exercise Box

  • Do 30 jumping jacks/15-30 bench dips/ 10 push ups (any style you choose) repeat the sequence for 10 plus minutes.
  • Walk ¼ way around the block/skip ¼ way around the block/jog ¼ way around/side shuffle both directions (face left/right) ¼ way. Repeat for 10 plus minutes.
  • High knees (like running in place, bringing your knees toward your chest/pump your arms) count to 30. 20 squats/20 lunges/10 burpees. Repeat for 10 plus minutes.
  • Run around the block/stop and do 20 squats/run around again/stop and do 20 mountain climbers. Repeat for 10 plus minutes
  • Do 20 jumping jacks/25 crunches/25 bicycle crunches/25 leg raises (lay on back bend legs at waist and bring them straight up/don’t rock/this is a small movement) finish with plank position for 60 seconds. Rest for a few seconds and repeat plank pose if you have time left. Do plank for up to 3 efforts.

Make a commitment to yourself, complete at least 10 minutes of exercise regardless of how tired or busy you may feel, five days a week. If you have kids, get them to join you. It’s only 10 minutes, how bad can it be?

If you need more suggestions, ask…

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Anytime is a good time for exercise

It's all exercise!

The point is to get exercise; it doesn’t matter where you are.

GP-2011 admitted today, “I’ve been a BAD GP. Still doing my work outs, and been pretty good about sticking to my limited wine during the week, but totally off the rails with my food. I love to chow!” While this is not the best possible news, I’m happy to hear that GP is exercising. Exercise keeps your metabolism running high; it flushes the body of toxins and keeps your heart beating. Eat badly, but never stop moving.

Short on time, or just lazy? Try this 10-Minute Go-To Workout.

Warm up – Slowly rotate your foot 10 times in each direction. Shrug your shoulders and swing your arms (open close, open close).

Leg Swings – Hold onto something. Swing right leg 20x’s from right to left across the front of your body then switch legs. Now, swing each leg from front to back. Stand straight engage your core and swing your leg up as high as your hip. 20x’s each leg.

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Push Ups – Any style you can muster. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.

Triceps Dip – Place your butt on the edge of a bench/chair or desk, place your palms on the edge just next to your butt. Feet hips width apart, bend the elbows, slide off the chair, dip down so that elbows are bent at 90 degrees and then all the way back up. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.

Jumping Jacks –1 minute

Wall Squat – 1 minute. Sit in a chair position (with no chair!), with your back against a wall and your hands palms-up, resting on your knees. Keep your heels directly below your knees and at a 90-degree angle; your shoulders should be rolled back, and the back of your head should be against the wall. Keep your face relaxed, and breathe.

Plank – 1 minute. Get into a push-up position with your elbows and toes on the floor, while pushing the area between your shoulders toward the ceiling and keeping your stomach pulled in toward the lower back. Keep your butt tight and your eyes looking at the floor.

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Stretch – 2 minutes

Extra credit – Add more abdominal reps (any style), do this entire circuit once or twice more, or stretch for another 3 minutes.

Print this out – Take it with you when you travel. Do it in the morning before work. If you want more ideas, for God sake – ASK ME!

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Help wanted

The hills are alive

People ask me “how do you come up with things to write about every day?” My response is, “It’s easy, I just write about what crosses my path.”

Today while chillin’ at the nail salon waiting for my manicure to dry, I thought “let me check Twitter and see what folks are yacking about on this rainy Sunday.” Scrolling through the tweets I spotted one that read “Unusual 10-Second Exercise For Fat Loss That Doesn’t Even Burn Calories – But Fat Disappears!” Normally these messages only serve to annoy me so I scroll right past them, this time however I had to take the bait.

Here’s where things take a turn for the absurd.  The Twitter feed took me to a website titled FASTWEIGHTLOSETIPS (all one word, all in caps). That in itself made my head spin. Negotiating the page full of ads and paragraphs of miserably spaced copy I came to the gist of the “Unusual 10-second Exercise.”   Here goes – unedited, directly from the FASTWEIGHTLOSETIPS site itself (although I had to fix the word spacing it was just too much to bear!)

Iח a word… HORMONES!

Yουr hormones aren’t doing tһеіr job. Due tο a long list οf things іח ουr food supply аחԁ environment, ουr hormones аrе really messed up аחԁ unbalanced.

Bυt tһеrе′s a way tο stimulate уουr hormones іחtο being balanced again. A simple way.

Tһаt way іѕ spinning around Ɩіkе children. Yου know… іח a circle wіtһ уουr arms out. Yeah, іt mау seem ridiculous, bυt tһіѕ motion stimulates уουr Endocrine System іחtο working іt’s “magic” wіtһ уουr hormones.

Here’s a simple outline tο ɡеt tһе mοѕt out οf spinning.

1. Spin clockwise.

2. Spin around 5-15 times (depending οח уουr level οf dizziness).

3. Spin οחƖу until уου аrе slightly dizzy.

Yου MUST follow those 3 rules. It wіƖƖ take уου a few times tο realize һοw many spins іѕ rіɡһt fοr уου. Don’t ɡеt tοο worried аbουt tһаt. I suggest уου ѕtаrt οff οח tһе low side οf 5 spins јυѕt tο bе safe.

It’s a powerful exercise. Jυѕt bесаυѕе іt’s easy аחԁ unusual (fοr weight loss) doesn’t mean уου саח ɡο crazy wіtһ spinning. Tһіѕ exercise doesn’t need tο burn calories bесаυѕе іt goes down tο a much deep level іח weight loss… hormone-induced weight loss.

One last piece οf advice. Yου wіƖƖ need tο ԁο аt Ɩеаѕt 5 sets οf spins everyday tο ɡеt tһе best weight loss effect frοm tһеm.

Lets be fair, It may work. I can’t say because I’m not about to spin around in circles five times a day. Frankly, it would make me puke and that would mess up my hydration level, which would definitely mess up my hormone levels causing all sorts of other problems.

However, if there were anyone out there reading this that would like to take a stab at weight loss by spinning I would absolutely love to hear about it. Seriously, anybody want to take the Thin by Spin Challenge? Let me know, I see some really good stories coming from this…

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‘sup for the weekend?

They say it’s gonna snow here in San Francisco right down to sea level, sometime between today and tomorrow. It better. With all the talk folks’ll be pretty sad if there isn’t any snowballing available.  I certainly will be, and I’m no fun when I’m in a mood (I have references).

Here’s the plan.  Snow or no snow we’re all going to get ourselves outside for some fresh, crisp air.  As you know air is a good thing and crisp air, makes your body work extra hard to keep warm therefore burning more calories while it gives your body a nice healthy jolt.

In fact, there are “diets” called The Ice Diet and The Thermal Diet. The Ice Diet suggests that if you eat a bunch of ice and drink lots of really cold water that will shock your body into burning extra calories and at the same time will curb your appetite.  My personal favorite is The Thermal Diet. The Thermal Diet asks you to sit in the tub of cold water with 2, 10 lb bags of ice, 3 times a week for 30 minutes a stretch. The premise with both diets is that the cold temperature will force your body to work harder to warm itself, thus boosting your metabolism.

Personally I’ve done this. I have lowered myself into a tub of ice water, and in case you have any doubt, let me assure you that it is bloody horrific! We used to do this after a bike race to flush the lactic acid from your legs so we could go back the next day and trash ourselves again.  It worked so I put up with it, but I would only fill the tub with enough water to cover my legs and I would cover the rest of my body with multiple wool sweaters, a hat and a scarf. That system would surly hinder the extra calorie burning process, but then again that’s not why I did it. I was doing it because it was the best way I knew to cleanse the toxins from my over worked legs, quickly.  As for weight loss, maybe it does work. It makes sense but let me tell you with complete certainty that it’s far more pleasant to go for a walk, run or bike ride to burn those calories. And, don’t forget the heart healthy and emotional benefits you get from good old fashion physical exercise. Seriously, skip the ice and get moving!

Here’s a thought – The Get Yourself Outside In The Cold & Exercise Diet. Definition – stop whining about the cold and get your ass outside for some exercise. Pure and simple.

See you Monday… (don’t disappoint me!)