As most of you know my favorite piece of equipment in our gym is a Swiss Ball. It is so versatile and can add many levels of intensity to a workout.
If you just have a ball at home can still get a great workout. Below is a video on just a couple of ideas on how you can incorporate the ball into your home workout.
Details on the exercises below the video. Enjoy!
Today's blog is a video to help with this time of self isolation. I give you five tips that anyone one of us can do in the comfort of our own home. So check out the video below to see what 5 things you can do for your mental and physical health during these strange times.
Here is an overview of what I cover:
1. Hydration & Healthy Nutrition
2. Get Outside
4. Make a Schedule
Watch below for more detail and leave us a comment on what you all are doing for your health during this time of isolation!
In this installment of the 'Hunker Games' I'm showing a full workout with only 1 weight. In this video I'm using a Kettlebell, but you don't have to. It's only to show that you don't need a whole suite of equipment to kick your own butt. Enjoy!
As always, keep coming back as we all try to get through this craziness together, but apart. Thanks for watching!
music: "Elevate" Bendsounds.com
Hopefully you all got to try out yesterday's workout. If not check it out! In today's workout you'll need some weights and a Swiss ball. Please let us know what you think of the workouts and feel free to share with your friends!
Warm-up - Take a shoulder width stance and perform 10 air squats followed by 10 arm circles in both directions. Repeat for a total time of at least 2 to 4 minutes. This will get your core temp up and loosen up all your major joints.
Single arm Dumbbell Squat to Press - using a light to mod weight (in this demo I have 10lb) take that same shoulder width stance and place the dumbbell such your fingers face inward. Drop into your squat maintaining good core activation, neutral spine, and knee/toe tracking. As you stand up be sure to lock out at the top and then perform the press over head turning your palm facing outward. Retract to start. 3 sets of 10 presses on each arm(lotsasquats)
Reverse Dumbbell Alternating Lunges - Take a healthy step backward maintaining an upright posture, drop down into lunge stance maintaining good alignment in the lower forward leg. Push down hard with the forward leg and return to standing. Repeat with the other side.
3 sets of 8-10 per leg
Swiss Ball Hand Walkouts - Start kneeling with the ball at your chest. Slowly, rock forward until both your hands and feet touch the floor. Begin pulling yourself forward over the ball with your hands. Keep strong activation in your core, don’t droop in the middle, and walk backward until your toes touch. No launching! 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell Chest Flys on Swiss Ball - From a seated position with the dumbbells in hand. Slowly walk your feet outward until your head and shoulders are on the ball. Your hips should be off and your glutes squeezing so that you are in a ‘tabletop’ like position. Press the weights over your chest, palms facing. Slowly lower the weights with a slight elbow bend until your arms reach all the way outward. Can also be performed one arm at a time for extra glute/core work. 3 sets of 10
Reverse Dumbbell Fly on Swiss Ball - Place the weights on the floor in front of the ball. Anchor your feet flat on a wall behind you and push your body up over the ball. From this elevated position grab hold of the weights and raise your arms out, squeezing your shoulder blades together. 3 sets of 10
Upper Body Russian Twist - Holding onto on dumbbell walk your feet out as you did for the chest flys. Hold on to the ends of the weight and press over your chest. Keep a strong contraction in your glutes and rotate your upper body to the left and right sides alternating.
3 sets of 10 each direction.
Hello All! As you no doubt are aware we are unfortunately closed for the time being. As such, we wanted to make sure that you all have a resource to turn to for maintaining your exercise plans.
Moving forward during this period we will be posting regular updates to this site with actionable material for you to take advantage of. Be sure to check back daily over the next several weeks for these updates and new programs.
Box Squats - A chair or bench is ok, as is just air squatting. Don't overthink it, just sit down and try not to lean back and rock forward as you stand back up.
Pushups - Shown are some modifications to make it easier to get larger numbers. If you can do multiple sets of 10 full ones, do that.
Lateral Lunges - Take a healthy step out and stick your butt back as you sit down through your heels. Keep your lower leg aligned with your feet/toes and push off hard to return to center.
Floor Bridges - Two footed with a pause helps get a strong contraction. But if you're pushing 20 and it's getting easy, switch to a single leg version.
Side Planks - Start out by holding for 10-15 seconds for a few reps. Build up those hold times to 45 seconds or a minute. Try to shoot for a total hold time of 3 minutes.
Keep moving out there! We'll be back tomorrow with another routine. Feel free to reach out (virtually of course) with questions or leave a comment below!
I get asked about HIIT training A LOT. ( Also known as High Intensity Interval Training.)
There seems to be a new study that shows up every month or so talking about how it can save you time plus keep you fit. Over the past two decades this type of training modality has become all the rage. It has been the subject of many studies ranging from reducing obesity to helping to stabilize blood sugars.
HIIT training is basically physical activity that has brief intermittent burst of very intense activity, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity exercise. HIIT can be performed using weights or as a cardiovascular workout.
An example of a strength training workout using HIIT Training may look like this:
Repeat all above for 1 minute at max effort and then rest for 1 minute.
Cardiovascular HIIT programs are what most of the health studies have focused on. They are short and intense. The goal is to get your heart rate into a 80-90% of max heart rate (MHR) during a given time. For example:
Ride a bike at 80-90% of MHR for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times
OR a little less scientific…
Run up a hill at max effort, walk back down the hill. Repeat 10 times
There is nothing fancy or exactly inventive about HIIT training. It can literally be done anywhere. Your living room to your local park. The draw to it is the time saving factor. Since many of us are always running from one meeting to the next or rushing to pick up kids from school. This type of training can absolutely help to keep you in shape with as little as 10 minutes three times a week!
The draw of HIIT training and what many proponents of its say is that you can get the same health benefits as walking for 30 minutes keeping your heart at a lower steady state. For just a little amount of intense exercise and I mean very intense you can reach the same health benefits of a longer slower steady state type of exercise.
Many studies over the past 20 years have focused on the benefits of HIIT training.
One study in particular focused on HIIT training versus moderate intensity continuous training (MICT) altering body composition in post menopausal women (1). In this study each participant was divided into three groups. They had to perform their given activity 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
All of the women in this study lost weight plus fat mass over the 12 week time period. Not surprisingly the group that included resistance training increase their muscle mass.
The surprising part to me was the HIIT and HIIT + resistance training lost “signficant” abdominal/visceral fat. Not the MICT group. Similar findings were found in another study with young women. With three times a week of HIIT training they lost significant total body fat in addition to reduction in leg and abdominal fat. This study also found a decrease in insulin resistance. (2)
While these studies focused on women there are still plenty out there for both sexes.
Overall studies have shown HIIT can help with body fat reduction, insulin sensivity, Type 2 diabetes, and blood pressure.(3) In addition the conclusions on most studies support the fact that HIIT is just as beneficial as moderate intensity longer cardio sessions.
So yes HIIT training is worth all the hype. However as with all exercise and nutrition recommendations there a couple of asterisks.
The studies that have been performed so far are typically done in a very supervised setting and focus on the effects with obese individuals.
In a separate, Australian study they looked at HIIT in the real world. They wanted to see how individuals performed HIIT without being supervised. So they took 250 overweight people and let them choose between HIIT training and moderate intensity training. They were given a one time tutorial then told to do their chosen exercise three times a week for 12 months.
The results? No difference in health outcomes when comparing HIIT versus moderate training. No surprise there, however, “regular participation in unsupervised HIIT declined rapidly, those apparently adherent to regular HIIT demonstrated beneficial weight loss and visceral fat.” (4.)
The take away? Without someone keeping you accountable to doing your HIIT workout you probably won’t do it. In fact 60% of the HIIT group dropped out by the end of the year.
Besides HIIT being difficult there are other reasons it might not be good for a given person.
First, if you have an injury, high intensity movements may be contra-indicated. If you have a bulging disc or arthritic knees, for example, doing an all out effort may cause more damage than help. This may lead to you dropping out of exercise all together.
Second, your current stress level and sleep patterns. If you are highly stressed adding a stressful type workout on top of your current stress may lead you into getting sick or injured.
I also would not recommend it for those you who have problems sleeping. A lot of repair of the bodies systems occur during sleep and if you are only getting a couple of hours of sleep a night than you are not repairing and will do further damage.
So, my take away on HIIT? It's great for those that can commit consistently to it 3 times a week that are not currently injuried or incredibly stressed. If you are in this category, I would recommend going outside for a steady walk for 20 to 30 minutes instead.
In terms of cardiovascular training and, really exercise in general, ask yourself, "What type of physical activity do I enjoy doing? AND What will I do consistently?"
People who can answer these two questions are more likely to find paths to staying healthy and strong for the long term.
Find an activity that you love to do. Is it long hikes on the weekends with your spouse or biking to work? Or maybe it’s tennis or pickle ball (a new favorite for some of my clients.) Or maybe it’s HIIT training on your bike. Not knowing is ok too, just go try some things and see which ones you like, even those that you scratch off the list counted as exercise in the moment.
The point, is studies can show a particular exercise is beneficial but only IF you do it consistently. So, yes HIIT is a great way to get fit and healthy but make sure it is the best way for YOU to become fit and healthy!
Accountability. Something most of us need when trying to reach a new goal or create a new habit. Since we are a couple of weeks into the New Year its a good time to see if what you are doing so far to reach your goals for 2020 is working.
One thing that can be extremely helpful is creating accountablity. There are several ways to do this.
First, an Accountability Buddy. This could be a spouse, friend, child or parent. Anyone that will support and encourage you to keep going.
For example, one of my clients made a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day for 60 days. She set it up so that if she didn’t did reach her goal every day her daughter would get $100. Her daughter could check to see if her mom was reaching her steps for her day and give her encouragement when she was lagging behind.
Another client of mine gets up at 5 am and walks 3 miles a day with her neighbor every day. They are each other’s accountability partner!
I have several clients that meet their friends at Weight Watchers every week. They do this to encourage each other and help each other to stay on track.
Having someone that you are accountable to can be hugely helpful in keeping the goal in sight and remind you to keep going even in the tough spots.
For me, an accountability buddy does not work. I love to make lists, and use stickers and checkmarks. So, I use a bullet journal or an accountability chart. For me, this makes accountability fun.
Each Sunday I sit down and right out my yearly goals. Then my weekly break down of those goals. This can change weekly depending on what progress or regression I’ve made. These little mini weekly goals help me to realize what is working and what I need to change.
After setting those intentions for the week I then create a chart. It looks like this.
I know super fancy! Since my week varies I then sit down and look over the coming week. In my calendar I outline at what time I’ll do a specific workout.
Now this is key and a suggestion I often make to my clients - These are appointments in my mind. They are not changeable. They are not negotiable. If someone calls me to meet up for tea at my workout time the answer is no. If, in that slot, my husband wants to talk about the Zags game from the night before he has to do it while I’m lifting some weights.
Make it an absoulute priority for that time and day.
I find the bullet journal to be helpful in several ways. One, I can look at the week and see how I did. Two, if I get sidetracked or sick then I have a reference to get me back on track. Three, it helps me to refine the weekly goals. Sometimes a type of workout is just not working or the reality is I don’t have time for 5 days of cardio. This chart helps me to take a step back and look at what is working and what is not.
It's important to realize adjusting your goals does not mean failure. It just means a different path might be needed.
While this simple little chart works for me it may not be what works for you. There are so many ways to track your workout goals for 2020.
It could just be a gold star on your calendar when you did your walk for the day or a big fancy chart that you color in. There are a lot of options.
If you want to look at some other examples go to Pinterest and search either accountability chart or habit tracker. Both will give you a ton of options. It might take a while to find what really works for you.
If you have something that works for you feel free to share below! Would love to hear how you stay accountable.
Look for our blog next month when we exploring the WHY of goal setting.
Obviously, for a land locked area like Spokane sea vegetables are not top on everyone's list. Ease of access probably being the biggest reason for this lack of exposure. However, sheets of nori are now widely available in the Asian section of any grocery store and if you live in Spokane we actually have a couple of great Asian markets.
Nori is a sustainable crop that requires no fertilizers. It usually gets all the nutrients it needs from the environment. When processed into what we buy at the market, fresh nori is shredded, pressed into thin sheets, and then dried. Often what we purchase at the store is also toasted. During the drying process the seaweed turns a dark green or even black color.
Iodine is one of the biggest health benefits of nori. When a person is deficient in iodine they can have swelling of the thyroid and develop hypothyrodism. Now if you don't like iodine you can also get it from other common food such as cod, iodized salt, shrimp, tuna, eggs, prunes and lima beans.
In addition to having a lot of iodine - nori contains 25% RDI in just one gram- it also contains a lot of other good nutrients. Here are just a couple:
A recent study has also shown nori to help with significantly reducing plasma cholesterol.
Typically, we think of Nori as something we surround our sushi rolls with. There are so many other ways to incorporate this vegetable into our diets without eating raw fish. Below are a couple of ideas!
First up, what I call nori chips. I know its a bit of a stretch to think these are anything like chips! However I started eating them after my son Jack asked to include them in his school lunches. I guess the kids really like them! These little snacks can be found in most stores. My favorite one is the Wasabi Roasted Seaweed from Trader Joes.
This next idea is just in time for the Super bowl! Try out this Nori Sour Cream Dip from Food 52. Super easy to make and a little twist on traditional veggie dips.
Nori soup is often eaten in Korea for your birthday or for new moms. In fact most women eat this nutritious soup for up to three weeks after. Below is a link to a super easy and quick nori soup to try.
Furikake, which means literally to sprinkle, is a Japanese multipurpose seasoning. There are several different types out these. They could include wasabi, dried salmon or matcha green tea. This one pictured below is from good old Trader Joes. Other varieties can be found at the Asian market.
Typically, it is used on eggs, rice, ramen, over salads, in soup or sprinkled over popcorn.
All of these would make a great nutritious addition to anyone's diets. Hopefully you have also tried the nori wraps we posted about a couple of weeks ago. If not head over to nori-wraps.html
Let us know if you try any of these recipes! We would love to know what you think!
Next month we return to a more traditional veggies of the month: Sweet Potatoes.
When my life became gluten free a lot of foods were elimanted from my diet. One of my favorites were burritos. I literally lived on Taco Bell bean burritos the first trimester of my pregnancy with Jack. Flour tortillas are vehicles of food delivery that bring other yummy foods together. For example the tortilla is a vehicle for rice, beans, salsa and of course cheese. Just like chips become a vehicle for salsa. Crackers for cheese.
So as my life changed from gluten filled to not, I had to find other vehicles for my food. One in particular is Nori. Yes that stuff that sushi rolls are made with. Also known as seaweed and also January's veggie of the month. I know a weird choice for a vegetable to highlight but one that I think we must take a look at.
The main reason to add nori to your diet is iodine. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and it is nutrient that we cannot make. With Americanized diets of processed foods and salt restrictions that has come with the worry of high blood pressure, iodine deficiency can happen.
One simple way to avoid damage to the thyroid is by simply adding nori to your diet. Not daily but a couple of times a week. Just 5 grams of nori meets about 57% of our daily intake requirement. To put this into context one sheet of dried toasted nori is 3 grams.
Besides eating sushi several times a week there a couple of options of adding this highly nutritious food in. For this blog we are going to be using it as a vehicle for other food much like the tortilla. Nori wraps are super easy to make plus they are a vehicle to adding in even more veggies!
All you really need is some protein, veggies, maybe a grain and of course a sauce. Plus some imagination.
These wraps I highlight below are purely suggestions. Add what veggie or grain or protein you prefer. There are no hard and fast rules here.
Suggested ingredients to make Nori wraps
First Roll: Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Sprouts, with Sriracha mayo.
This is obviously a take on my favorite sushi roll. In this instance I was using left over salmon from last night's dinner but I also used canned salmon often. To make the SIriacha mayo stir 1 tablespoon of mayo with 1 tsp of siriacha.
Second Roll: Rice Noodles, Shrimp, carrots, scallions, mint with a Peanut sauce
This one is super simple but makes me feel like I'm eating something fancy. Rice noodles cook up super quick, like in 2 minutes. I used mint this time as well, but if I have fresh basil I'll throw that in or cilantro.
The hardest part is making the peanut sauce. (But well worth it!) If you need a good recipe head over to Feasting at Home. It literally is the best one I've tried. www.feastingathome.com/best-ever-thai-peanut-sauce/
Third Roll: Lettuce, Turkey, Hummus, carrots, cucumber and sprouts.
This one makes a great quick lunch. Most of these things I usually have on hand and throw together if I don't have any left overs to eat. It can easily be made vegetarian by leaving off the turkey. You can add in some rice if you want.
A couple of tips:
In our next installment of Nori we will talk more about the health benefits. Picking out your sheets and other ways to subtly add it into your diet.
If you make your own signature nori roll please share below your combinations! Would love to hear what you create!
This is the time of year that I start to really crave those amazing farmer's market freshly picked leafy greens. I know this is not what everyone craves in December but for me the crunch of good lettuce leaves is something I do enjoy. We recently have been including BIG salads into our daily diets. (Pictured to the left. Jason's is one meal mine is easily two!)
Since the lettuce is a little lackluster and big salads become extremely boring to me. (Not Jason he could eat them every day.) I have turned to cabbage salads for my daily go to during the winter. One thing I love about any type of cabbage salad is the longevity. I can easily make the salad Sunday evening and still be eating it on Thursday. This cuts down on my prep time and gives me an easy lunch every day.
November got a little away from me so I never did finish up my vegetable of the month on brussels sprouts. Many might think this is due to the fact that so many folks hate brussels sprouts and that I just gave up trying to convince everyone out there to eat them.
In fact I have been working on perfecting this shredded brussel sprouts salads. I tried a couple of different vinaigrettes, cheeses and even compared adding crasins versus pomegranates. (A fruit often added to Brussel Sprouts salads.) I decided to pass on pomegranates. I like them but they were just to much work to put a quick salad together.
The recipe below is what I came up with, my new favorite salad. I have to say that it is also very Christmas-y looking.
Just a little side note: the week I photographed the salad for the blog I used purple Brussel Sprouts. They do not look as holiday inspiring or photograph well but they taste just as good. (The salad above is from this week and photographed much better!)
If you're adding this salad to any holiday meal you can balance out all the fat and sugar typical with these type of dinners with the healthy benefits of Brussel Sprouts! As mentioned in our last blog these little guys are full of vitamin K, C and Fiber.
With this recipe you can be as lazy as you want or really dig in for the freshest brussel sprouts out there. i.e. the ones on the stalk. My local Trader Joes has had these for the last month and they are fantastic. More work for sure but the taste is truly fresher.
Plus as it turns out the stalk can become a great chew toy for your pup. Mine decided to steal it off the table once I was done getting all the sprouts off!
After cutting the sprouts from the stalk, then starts the chopping. You can either use an attachment on your food processor or just cut as thin as possible like below.
If the whole stalk is not available or it just seems like too much work. No worries! Brussel sprouts can often be found already shredded and ready to go from the store. My only caution is to really look through the bag and make sure there are not brown spots. This usually means they are old. Keep looking for the greenest ones available.
Before I start all this chopping I get my hazel nuts ready. First you want to remove as much of the skin as possible. I use a clean towel and try to rub them together trying to get the brown skin off. Then place them on a sheet pan with parchment paper already down. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Once you smell the scent of hazelnuts you know they are ready. Take them out and set aside to cool. Once cool enough go ahead an roughly chop.
Once your Brussel sprouts are all shredded then move on to making the vinegrette. Place the following in a mini blender:
Give it a whirl, making sure everything is well mixed. If you don't want to use a blender just make sure to really dice the shallots and mince the garlic. Then just whisk everything together.
Now its the time to throw the salad all together!
Mix in to the shredded sprouts:
Lastly, toss with the dressing and Enjoy!
Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad
Prep time: 25 minutes
2. While the hazelnuts cook start shredding the Brussel sprouts.
3. Next place the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, shallots, garlic plus some salt and pepper in a blender. Mix until well blended.
4. Mix the shredded Brussel sprouts with the Craisins, cheese and hazelnuts.
5. Toss the above mixture with the salad dressing. Enjoy!