Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learned & Tools that Taught

Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully you're waking up feeling afresh and ready to tackle any fitness goals you may have decided on for 2012. =) I'm currently enroute from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and wanted to take a moment here at Suvarnabhumi Int'l Airport to update LaFemmeFITalle starting with my first guest blogger, Kristy. 

Kristy is a dear friend of mine I've known since high school. We've traveled abroad together, partied together, and have even worked out together- You may recall my post about rafting this past summer up in Pennsylvania. Well, Kristy was along for that ride and we had a BLAST! 

Without further adieu, please enjoy Kristy's story of (weight) loss and triumph. It's sure to inspire all of us as we resolve to a healthier new year. 
*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************
When my good friend, Ms. Laci, asked me to do this guest blog, I wanted to knock it out of the park! I wanted to do something different... something fun… but then I remembered; it's about being HEALTHY, not just cool and innovative ways to keep it interesting (which is a BIG part - but maybe a little down the line for some people).  For those of you who are starting a New Year resolution or who may have fallen off the workout bandwagon, this one is for you.  

At the bottom of the blog is my TOP TEN TIPS to jump start your weight loss and how to learn that part of being healthy is changing your LIFESTYLE.  That took me a while to figure out - but I did.  The proof is in the pudding and the tips are for real.   It's something that is embarrassing to reveal, even on here where the following isn't my own but I'm still putting me out there.  That is always scary. So, what better place to do it for the first time than on a friends blog that’s all about fitness and health!   
I, like many of you, refused to take pics so this is as good as it gets)


In December 2006, I was at my grandmother's house for Christmas and stepped on her scale.. It was BAD (deep man voice that makes it sound REALLLLY bad).  It was the highest I have ever weighed.   In that moment I decided I was done.  Done being uncomfortable. Done hating clothes.  Done breaking out.  Done being tired.  Done not caring.  I was DONE.   

The first thing I did was cut the crap.  I knew what I was eating was crap.  I started cooking-   eating chicken, chicken and more chicken.  I had green beans and corn and broccoli and wheat bread.  I started slowly changing my lifestyleIn 8 months I lost 20 lbs.   


When you are heavy or eat crappy, the first bit goes the fastest.  I felt good, maintained for a while then I STEPPED. IT. UP. First up, working out.  I started with speed walking then once I could do that, I started running.  At first 30 mins, 3 times per week… then 45 minutes, 3 times per week.  Over the next two years I s.l.o.w.l.y did it.  A pound or two a week.  Be realistic; FAST weight loss means FAST weight gain!   I wanted this to be gone forever!  
 






Since 2009, I have maintained my weight and learned that even though that number didn’t get bigger when I stopped working out for a while, my body changed.  Having small goals of 5 pounds by my trip to Europe or 10 lbs before I was a bridesmaid help keep me on track – but if it didn’t happen it was OK.  It’s a process.  I would go through spurts but overall I learned with working out, I can maintain and eat things I want to.  But then something happened; the opportunities came and I noticed my appetite for all things bad had changed.   I had done it.  I made the LIFESTYLE CHANGE



Right before March 2009, I felt so good! I had reached my goal. So I did something I have always wanted to do: I donated to Locks of Love. I did it- I cut off all my hair and suddenly I felt a sense of freedom. Gone now was my shield from the world. It was the one thing I was complimented on. Not my clothes and not my shoes and not my body. Losing weight helped me see I was beautiful outside as well as in.didn't feel the need to hide anymore. I donated 13 inches and have never felt better.   


A few months ago I reached my "it's never gonna happen but still in the back of my mind goal" goal.  After 5 years I lost 54 lbs!   I now want to lose about  15 lbs more lbs but its really not a numbers game anymore because I am happy with ME.  For the first time in a long time.   


          KRISTY'S TOP TEN "Back to Basic" TIPS:  
  • Get a good play list for running/walking.
    - Get songs with fast beats for running.  Test a few while working out since you really don’t know what kind of pace you need till you are doing it.  If I didn’t have "Major Tom" by the Shiny Toy Guns I wouldn’t have made it the last 5 min stretches on those crappy days you just don’t want to do anything.   
  • Cut out whites!
    - White bread, pasta, cheese, and mayo.  I weaned my way into taking coffee black.  Trust me, its not forever but its helps for the initial boost.  (now I don’t even like mayo and eat everything whole wheat)
  • Always go with Whole wheat vs. Multi Grain. 
    - They can throw a splash of several grains in something but you want to make sure you have all the nutrients you can get. The WHOLE grain.  
  • Fiber is good! 
    - Grab a box of fiber bars ( my fave is Kellogg's FiberPlus Chocolate Chip)  and have a stash in your car or purse so when you get hungry out you have something to snack on instead of stopping in for fast food.  
  • If you must have fast food go CHICK-FIL-A! (if you're fortunate enough to have one in the neighborhood...)
    - Grab a Char Grilled Sandwich (3 g of fat & 270 cal) - No fries.  And don’t be fooled; that Honey Mustard sauce they give you has 6 grams of fat in it.  Say NO THANKS and if a sauce is a necessity ask for their fat free honey mustard sauce.  * Ignore the funny looks, you are better then that!
  • Weight loss is cutting the fat. Healthy is eating nutritiously.  
    - At first cut the fat… maintain by knowing its ok to eat healthy fat.  Hummus and Peanut Butter for example.  
  • Take the stairs!
    - Every little bit helps.  Skip the escalators, elevators, close parking spots and  WALK.  If you have avoided and looked for stairs but still cant find them sprint. Get in the left hand lane, pass those lazies and treat the escalators as stair climbers.  
  • Don’t keep junk food on hand!
    - "Duh!" -right?  WRONG.  When someone give you home made treats or you get to get a taste of something you haven't in a while it gets tricky.  Eat it!  Yup, I said it. Eat it!   Just PORTION CONTROL.  Eat a little get you TASTE (not fill) and toss the rest - or donate to hungry friend or neighbor.  But get it gone ASAP!  Don’t make it harder then it already is.  I love baking, so I make cupcakes/cakes/pumpkin bread (yum!) have me a slice and pass my sweets along! 
  • Have quick healthy snack available.
    - Apples.  Oranges.  Grapes.   If you are hungry for too long you will find that cracker or piece of bread to snack on and add extra calories that are unnecessary.
  • And last but not least - BE HAPPY!!!
    - Don't kill yourself to loose a pound or to fit into a dress.  If you want chocolate - eat some (... preferably dark), but don’t overindulge.  Its about taking the power back.   If you want a burger, do some research - bison burgers are lean.   

Your Cheat Sheet: 
*Cut the crap.*FAST weight loss means FAST weight gain!*You are beautiful outside as well as in.*Lose some lbs then maintain for a few months.  Teach your body the weight it's going to be.*When you stop working out even though the number doesn’t change or get bigger your body does.*It's the little things that count;  the first time I could sit and hold my knees to my chest.*I can maintain my weight and splurge on bad foods by working out and maintaining a lifestyle of healthy - (and actually enjoying it!) *Changing your BODY doesn't change YOU.

 

              Hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday - Now, Tis the season of WEIGHT LOSS!   ;)

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Merry Workout

Hey everyone! With Hanukkah already in full swing and Christmas just around the corner, I thought I'd share a festive holiday activity that allows you to spend time with your best buds AND get your sweat on a little. 


         Introducing the time-honored holiday tradition of ICE-SKATING!




My fellow Lifestyle+Charity gals plus my good friends R and I spent two hours last night at Central Park's Trump Wollman Skating Rink and it was a blast! There are just too few things in life that can make you feel like a kid again but this outdoor activity is definitely included!


R & I. So darn cute!


Some of us were, ahem, more comfortable out on the ice than others.... Hey, I say, if you can just get out there and try it you're already ahead of the game. 


Whether  a part of the group that ventured no further than two feet from the wall or one of those people out there trying new tricks (I managed to do several fast spins around in a circle... Next year, I'll try jumping! ... Maybe.) we all had a wonderful time skating, laughing, and acting like children together. For most of us, it was the last time to hang out as a group before heading all over the country to visit family. 
In total, we spent about an hour and a half out on the ice, so at my weight (126 pounds), I burned approximately 635 calories- Niiiiiice. Of course, I rewarded myself with a hot cocoa  directly afterwards. ;) 


So, if you're in the market for a fun activity to get your heart racing but still manage to smile at the same time, , I strongly urge you to try your hand at ice-skating this year. And if you're in the NYC-area, check out Central Park's Trump Wollman Rink, Rockefellar Center's Ice Skating Rink, or Bryant Park's Citi Pond.


What are some of your favorite holiday-oriented fitness activities? I DEFINITELY have skiing and snowboarding to try this year! I've never attempted either and I think it's about time.  


Also, in the spirit of this wonderful holiday season where we are all so fortunate, check out LifestyleandCharity.com for some great ways to give back to others all year long!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun Announcement!

Hey Everyone!

I hope this latest post finds you well. I just wanted to let you guys know that you're in for a treat very soon. :)

At the end of the month, I have the AMAZING opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia to volunteer and explore for about three weeks with my best friend, M. We will spend two weeks volunteering with Buddhist monks in Thailand before embarking on a trek across Vietnam and Cambodia. I cannot tell you how excited I am or how grateful I am that we will be taking this trip of a lifetime.

M & me earlier this week when I visited Atlanta. :)

While there, I will definitely still be engaging in exercise routines and plan to share them with you but it may be difficult for me to update in real-time here on LaFemmeFITalle. (I'm still pinning down the details on my internet accessibility.) No worries, though, because I have enlisted the help of some incredibly talented writers/health enthusiasts whose posts I know you will enjoy in my absence. In fact, I've already received a couple of them for editing and I loved 'em so just trust me on this.

I wanted to take this moment to invite YOU to submit a post for LaFemmeFITalle. Unfortunately, I don't know you all personally but if you're reading LaFemmeFITalle than I know we must have a lot in common and I'd be honored to give you a platform for you to voice your health and fitness ideas. So please, email me at LaFemmeFITalle@gmail.com if you think this is something you'd be interested in doing. If you are interested but not sure what your topic would be, please still contact me and we can brainstorm together! (Note: All posts will need to be completed and emailed to me by Friday, December 23rd.)

                               I look forward to hearing from you all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reality Check


I think I'm getting old. 


But lemmie start at the beginning. I remember when I was little, riding on the multi-colored merry go-round for hours at a time at Gonzales Park in Jacksonville Beach, FL and training myself to not get dizzy like the other kids (I was a bit competitive). My friends and I would take turns jumping of the swings and measuring who went the farthest and I even broke my arm once after rollerblading down a "bumpy" slide; I actually did it twice successfully before taking my monster fall. Not my shining moment but I did look pretty snazzy in my hot pink cast and, better yet, my BFF (... at the time) had one of her own from falling off her bike two weeks later. But I digress.

I'm getting old. I've come to this conclusion after taking a Trampoline Yoga class a few days ago. Now, don't get too excited because, so far in the class, the trampoline has not come into play much. What dominated the one-hour class I took at Shen Tao Studio in Midtown was stretching. All different ways- forwards, backwards, to the side, this way, that way, faster, slower... At FIRST it was relaxing but soon, I realized I was becoming nauseated every time I reversed the direction of my stretch.

... Seriously?

When did I get so frickin' sensitive?! Of course, I bought a five class package so I have to go back. In this case, though, it's not just about the money I've already spent...
Pictured are the trampolines we moved around on and the stretching contraptions that made me feel so sick. Ugh.

I don't know if this is a quarter-life crisis thing (I am 26) or if I'm imagining it but I refuse to go down without a fight. If it's mind over matter, I will flip and stretch and twist until it becomes natural because I whole-heartedly believe you're only as old as you feel! Besides, my teacher (whose name I forget but was incredibly nice as was the owner) told me it was normal for adults to feel how I did and that with just a little more practice, it'd be no big deal anymore.

So commiserate with me, please! What types of activities did you do as a kid and find, as an adult, don't come to you so easily anymore? Do you feel like fighting it or is it just one of those things you accept?



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Caffeinated Cookies



This week I got on a baking kick- Woohoo! 


There is one minor issue with my "kick", though: I don't love sweets. Nah, I'm definitely more of a salty or spicy type of girl but I do love baking. So, full of holiday cheer and in the giving spirit, I gave away my treats to my roommate, H's, co-workers and visiting family (my roomie doesn't like sweets very much either). I hear they went over rather well with her colleagues and I'm glad I could supply them with the caffeine and sugar necessary to get through another long work day! :) Check 'em out.... 

Espresso Crinkles:


Ingredients:
4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided (I used half this amount)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoons of salt
5 1/4 teaspoons canola oil (I used apple sauce instead)
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used 1 1/4)
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
large egg whites 

Directions:

  • 1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine oil and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Add espresso granules to pan; stir until blended. Remove from heat. Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl; cool 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla. Add egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring gently just until combined. Cover; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • 3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dredge balls in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar; place balls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and almost set. Cool cookies on pan 2 minutes or until set; remove from pan. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

My Call on These: 
Well even though I don't love sweets, I did try them and they were good! If you like coffee (Oh, how I do!) and/or rich desserts, I think you'll like these. 


Now you know I didn't create this recipe on my own- I only tweaked it a bit to take out some of the excess sugar and calories. Here's a link to the original: http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/10-timeless-holiday-cookies-00400000036149/page7.html

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Sushi?


                 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

I am having an "alternative" holiday this year. That basically means I didn't fly home to spend T Day with the fam so there will be no huge spread of turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, soufflés, pies, greens, etc for me. I'm a little bit bummed about missing out on the big day with my family but I know I'll see them all soon. Thanksgiving dinner this year entails a reservation for two at a sushi restaurant in the Meatpacking District- I'm so NY. Just kidding but I am truly thankful for the "family" I've built up here and grateful I get to spend it with some of them this year. :)

But back to this post. Yesterday, with Thanksgiving and sushi on my mind, I came up with a brilliant plan! So without further adieu....


What you see here is homemade sushi made with turkey and cranberry sauce. Pretty simple. This was my first attempt at making sushi and I have to tell you, it was a little difficult because a) my sticky rice was, in fact, not so sticky (I don't know why... I bought short grain rice like the guy in the Japanese store instructed me to...?) and b) my knife was a bit dull which made cutting my rolls a little complicated. Those two issues aside, though, the rolls themselves tasted pretty good!

To make these, simply take your seaweed paper (rice paper is a better option but of course that occurred to me after I'd already made two trips to the grocery store for the ingredients) and lay it out with the "rough" side facing up. After you've boiled your rice, take a handful and spread it out evenly in a thin layer on the seaweed paper leaving a little room at the top. As I mentioned before, my rice wasn't very sticky but if yours is (as it is supposed to be), be sure to have a bowl of water mixed with rice vinegar nearby for keeping your hands slick when handling it. Take your "fillings" (in my case, oven roasted turkey and cranberry sauce) and place them together at the bottom of your rice-covered sushi paper. Then roll. Once you have the long roll, take your (sharp!) knife and cut it into five or 6 pieces. Done.

I had planned to add veggies like peas, asparagus, and mashed sweet potatoes to my sushi rolls but I could tell straight away that because my rice wasn't cooperating with me, I needed to keep it simple. I regret this now though because I really think it would've added to the flavors.

My sides were super easy to make: homemade mashed potatoes with (not homemade) gravy, peas and lima beans, fruit salad, and sweet potato fries (obviously not pictured... they were still baking). After cracking open a bottle of wine and indulging ourselves to my cooking, my roomie and I agreed that our alternative Thanksgiving meal, while a bit odd, was delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and THANK YOU for continuing to read LaFemmeFITalle. Let me know how you spent your holiday and if you'd ever try turkey sushi!




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Groin, Throat, Eyes. I Got This.

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Howeva. I am a single young woman living in a great big ol' city and as strong and safe as I like to think that I am, I know that I could be a potential attack victim. So, I decided that I shouldn't live in ignorance any longer or feel defenseless if, God forbid, I was targeted. Luckily for me, my good friend E felt the same way.

Groupon to the rescue! With just $35, I scored a five class package at James Sherman Krav Maga studios in Midtown. E and I picked a date to start and got ready to become the Krav Maga goddesses we know are in there somewhere!

Our first class was two weeks ago. We both arrived at the studio, met James, and signed in. James is a real bad-ass (and I don't use that term lightly!) He used to be a finance guy but eventually founded the Manhattan Trainers and completed over 500 hours of full contact Israeli close quarters combat training to become a  a certified Israeli Krav Maga Instructor. He's one of only a handful of Americans to do this. K, he seems legit, right? :)

E and I were joined by one other girl and we started class. James starts his classes by warming up- rotating your ankles around in circles one way then reversing, squatting and rotating your knees together in a circle, doing the same for your wrists, stretching out your arms, etc. He also has you touch your toes then immediately put your hands straight up in the air 15 times in a row. This makes me a bit dizzy (maybe I'm doing it wrong...?) but I do it b/c James insists.

He then lectured us. It wasn't annoying or anything. He wanted to let us know that self-defense always starts out before an attack occurs with awareness. Be aware of your surroundings, the time of day (or night), the people, potential situations that could occur, etc. If you see something that looks off, get out of there even if it means doing an about-face and running. "Flight" is always a better option that "fight". But, sometimes, "fight" is necessary and that's where his lessons come in.

The next thing we learned about is where the title of this post comes in: Groin, Throat, Eyes. These are the areas you always go for. Luckily for those of us who would likely be smaller than a potential attacker, it doesn't take much strength to one of these spots to take someone out (if only for a few seconds... but long enough to flee). In fact, Krav Maga is always focused on these points, whether it is striking the attacker's or protecting your own.
Moi striking James. He's in the middle of bringing his arms around to (try to) attack me.  Psh- Good luck!

That's all I'll write about for now since I still have classes to take and I don't want to give up all the things I've learned right now but what do you think so far? Would you ever take a class like this? 

And one more thing. (Did I remind you of Steve Jobs when I said that?!I have definitely already become "that girl" in class that has all the questions. I swear I try not to be annoying but my mind really starts racing when I think of all of the different scenarios that could arise and I want to make sure I'm prepared. It's probably annoying (and definitely a bit paranoid) but I think I am going to start emailing James after class with all of my questions- Do you have any about Krav Maga or self defense that you'd like for me to ask him? 

E performing one of the simple but effective moves James taught- I'll share more about it next time!

I highly recommend his class so be sure to check out James' website: http://jamesshermankravmaga.com/

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Too Busy To Work Out? Quick Ways to Get in Some Exercise Without Missing A Beat!

           
        So you're too busy to exercise, eh? It's OK, it happens to the best of us. With the holidays around the corner (and the chaos that often accompanies them), I can only assume that there will be days between now and January 1st where hitting the gym or taking a class might be asking too much of my schedule so here is a list of some great ways that will add up and help burn a few extra calories when the going gets tough!

1. Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. And as an aside here, don't you DARE just stand on the moving walkways they have in places like airports... If you're going to take them at all, for goodness sake, at LEAST keep walking!

2. Speaking of airports, if you're at a larger one that has a tram to take you from one terminal to the next and it's not an obscene distance, walk it instead. It'll take you maybe five minutes and there are often cool art exhibits to look at as you walk. I happen to know Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia has cool exhibits between some of their terminals.

3. Don't circle the parking lot a dozen times looking for a closer parking space... You'll probably save time just parking a farther distance away and walking it... and you'll get in a little cardio.

4. If you live in a city with public transportation, consider NOT taking the train, cab, or bus to a destination that it isn't totally necessary for. A little walking isn't going to hurt ya! (If, however, it's disgustingly cold or wet, I whole-heartedly support taking transportation that will get you there faster! )

5. Cut out the time it takes to get to and from the gym by scheduling an appointment with a virtual trainer or working out on your own at home!

6. If you NEED some gym time (trust me, I understand this!) but can't commit to your usual length of time, just cut all of your exercise times and reps in half. Something is better than nothing, right?

7. Combine tasks with exercise. Instead of just taking the dog for a walk because it needs to go to the bathroom or raking the leaves because the yard needs it desperately, do this with enthusiasm and work up a sweat! Run with the dog and throw on some weighted clothing to rake!

8. When you're doing any activity that requires you to be there mostly for supervision (like... cooking) and have a little down time, do squats or lunges for just a few minutes instead of sitting down or standing there. 

9. I hate to remind you but the extraordinarily long lines at stores and malls are about to start... While you wait (and try not to eavesdrop on the inane conversations going on around you), do calf raises or using your purse (we all know they're heavy!) to do biceps curls. This isn't as crazy-looking to do in a crowd as you might think and besides, what else have you got to do while you stand there?

10. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be all or nothing! If you do none of the above, at least eat healthfully and drink lots of water to keep your body happy. :)

I just came up with these ideas of the top of my head but I'm sure there are many more! What are your suggestions?

Friday, October 28, 2011

They're Crazy and They're Kooky: Halloween (Fitness) Tricks & Treats

HALLOWEEN HAS ARRIVED!!!!!!! Woohoo! I've always LOVED this holiday! When I was young, I'd head out trick or treating with my cousins and as I got older, my friends and I always went BIG for the occasion, sometimes having more than three costumes to celebrate all week! One of my all-time favorite Halloweens was two years ago when I spent it in Texas with my beautiful family.
T doing his best impression of Tigger.

This year, I'll be in the City celebrating and I've got a few 
things here to kick off the weekend properly!


First, a recipe that'll be perfect with a cup of coffee (make sure you throw some cinnamon in the grounds!) the morning of Halloween. Rest assured, it's healthy.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread 

Ingredients:

1) 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
2) 1 cup packed brown sugar (I cut this amount in half to cut back on sugar- w/ the cranberry sauce, it's plenty sweet!)
3) 2 teaspoons baking soda
4) 1 teaspoon baking powder
5) 3/4 teaspoons of salt (I used a salt substitute- You canNOT tell the difference!)
6) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7) 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
8) 1 cup egg substitute
9) 1 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
10) 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
11) 1/3 cup applesauce (using apple sauce instead of vegetable oil keeps the calorie count down!)
12) 1 tablespoon orange zest
* 2 tablespoons walnuts (I didn't include these because I loathe nuts in bread.)

Directions:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F (or 150 C).
- Spray 2 8x4 baking pans with non-stick spray. (I used one 11.5x5.5 pan)
- In a large bowl, mix ingredients numbers 1-7 well and set aside.
- Mix ingredients numbers 8-12 in a second bowl.
- Combine the two bowls then pour the mixture into the baking pans. (Mixing everything together provides for a great arm workout!)
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (My bread took about an hour and a half... maybe because of the size of my pan???)
- Let the bread cool for ten minutes before removing from pans.

Slice and enjoy with some sliced fruit and that cup of coffee I mentioned earlier!

After fueling up on your delicious bread, I bet you're ready for some spooky- inspired workout tips!  Here ya go:


Pumpkin Squats
This one is pretty self- explanatory. Holding a pumpkin (whichever weight you prefer, carved or not), squat. 100 reps. 






Frankenstein Lunges
Again, pretty self- explanatory. Simply do lunges but keep your arms straight out in front of you (like Frankenstein!) Add light weights if you're feeling particularly motivated. 100 reps (50 lunges/leg)

Witches Brew
This one is easy but there is a lot of explanation (well, more than I want to include in this post) so check out this link for an illustrated tutorial!
exm.nr/veF7WH



Corpse Pose
This is always a popular move in yoga! Just lay there on your back. Yep, just like that! Hold it as long as you wish...

And of course there are hundreds of fun songs to listen to this weekend so get up and dance to burn some calories! Here are a few to get you started (ridiculous videos included!):

- "Thriller"- Michael Jackson bit.ly/d0x110
- "Devel Went Down to Georgia"- Charlie Daniels Band bit.ly/XuDeb
- "Ghostbusters Theme"- Ray Parker Jackson Jr. bit.ly/9BvuXj
- "Super Freak"- Rick James bit.ly/55yfIF
- "Crawling"- Linkin Park bit.ly/bGKwwM
- "Disturbia"- Rihanna bit.ly/q9lAXJ
- "I Put a Spell on You"- Screamin' Jay Hawkins bit.ly/bUmMA9
- "Black Magic Woman"- Sanatana bit.ly/a4FICH



Have a Healthy, Happy Halloween!!!!!



 The bread recipe I used comes from AllRecipes.com. Find it here: bit.ly/upckKx

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Four Meals v. One

Some say it's too expensive to eat healthy. Now, I'll admit it's easier to eat healthy if you have money at your disposal but with just a little effort, it really isn't that difficult and it certainly isn't that expensive.

Case in point: My last week. I spent less money on four, healthy, easy to make lunches than I did on the one lunch I had when I dined out. And, they were also healthier!

MONDAY- Total Cost: $6.17

I enjoyed a scrumptious meal of whole wheat noodles and tomato sauce with sardines in red basil sauce.- $4.59
1/4 cup of whole wheat noodles: $.62
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce (no salt added): $.50
1 3.75 ounce tin of sardines in basil sauce: $1.89

For dessert (or a side, however you want to define it) I enjoyed a cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with 1 banana sliced up in it and dusted with cinnamon.-$1.58
                                              1 cup of yogurt: $1.25
                                              1 banana: $.33

Filtered water was my beverage. (We have a Britta filter so no extra cost there!)


TUESDAY- Total Cost: $4.78
I also put a little hot sauce on it- I'm from the South- Whaddya expect?! :)
                                         
 I had breakfast for lunch (brunch) and could barely finish it all!

 My omelet was made up of three egg whites, 1/2 tomato, two small heads of broccoli, and a slice of red pepper (chopped, of course). I sprinkled garlic powder and black pepper on it.- $2.08
3 egg whites: $1.25
1/2 tomato: $.25
2 small heads of broccoli: $.33
1 slice of red pepper: $.25

In addition, I had one cup of steel oats with 1/2 cup of rice milk, topped with a squirt of agave syrup and more cinnamon.- $2.13
1 cup of steel oats: $1.46
1/2 cup of rice milk: $.34
1 banana: $.33

To drink, I had filtered water and made a 6 cup pot of coffee (I drink it all day... working on my addiction s-l-o-w-l-y) and used a bit of creamer and two packets of a sugar substitute.- $
Coffee grounds: $.38
Sugar substitute: $.13
Creamer: $.06

WEDNESDAY- Total Cost: $3.86


A quick and easy one for Wednesday!

Brown rice: $1.09
1/2 cup of mixed veggies, sauteed: $1.72
1/2 cup of tofu, cooked with the veggies: $.72
1 apple:$.33
Water: Free!

(Entree sprinkled with soy sauce and apples drizzled with honey and powdered with cinnamon):



THURSDAY- Total Cost: $4.31

Asian-influenced meal on the cheap? Mk.

1 serving-size of Thai Coconut Ginger Rice: $1.37
1 package of Japanese Red Miso Soup: $1.39
1/2 cup of tofu, cut up and cooked in the soup: $.72
1/3 mango to top my rice: $.83
Water: Free!

On Friday, I was out and about working and parked it at one of my very favorite neighborhood Cuban dining spots. I was famished and ordered a Cuban sandwich and side order of plaintains (with a water to drink). Now, don't get me wrong, it was indeed scrumptious but... $23.00 later (including tip), I couldn't help but think, "Wow, glad I didn't eat out every day this week!"

That really adds up by the end of the week (not to mention the month!) And, it just defeats the purpose of those miles I put in on the treadmill!
I mean, let's just put it out there: Cuban sandwiches aren't exactly healthy. At the end of the day, I was glad I had balanced out that meal with my four better choices earlier in the week.





So, what do you think? Could you substitute at least one or two of your pricier midday meals for the health and economic benefits of a homemade, cheaper version? I bet you can! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Workout in My Kitchen: Virtual Training

Hope you had a nice weekend! I want to share with you yet another new workout I tried last week.      
                                           
                                     Introducing: Virtual Training! 

Let me assure you, this is a REAL workout... I had the soreness to prove it the following day, too! First, a little background info on how I discovered this type of workout.

A week and a half ago, I attended a Beauties on the Go event at Land Yoga. It was awesome for many reasons:

1) I participated in a free yoga class
2) I received free detox-ing advice from a professional
3) I got to catch up with my friend, G (founder of Beauties on the Go)
4) I was able to network with other fabulous female entrepreneurs
5) I won a FREE virtual training session from Ultimate You Virtual Training!


Now, I'm sure we're all well aware of the workout videos and DVDs that have been around forever... I remember I used to LUV my Mom's "Sweatin' to the Oldies" with Richard Simmons VHS tape when I was younger and I thought the girls in the workout videos and TV programs were so cool and pretty.

Oh, Olivia, you're just too cool for words!


Despite my early fascination with fitness videos you do in your home, it had just never occurred to me, as technology has advanced, that I could do a home workout with a real live person guiding me! Genius!

I expressed my excitement to the founder of Ultimate You Virtual Training, Melissa Pharr, the night of the Beauties on the Go event and we agreed to set up a workout together that weekend. Now, I want to share a few of the things I did during my workout and give you my opinion of the whole experience!

I Skyped Melissa promptly at our scheduled time and we got started right away. On the health intake form she had me fill out prior to our workout, there was a question asking which area, if any, I wanted to focus on and you know I wrote "Core!" - And, boy, did she deliver!

First, of course, we did some stretches. Running and doing a lot of resistance training (and being horrible about stretching) means that I'm extremely tight. Melissa was able to tell right away that I run based on my posture alone so we really focused on stretching my quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the thigh) and my hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the thigh).

We then started working on my core. Oh-mah-goooooodness..... Be careful what you ask for! Initially, Melissa had me lay facedown on my mat then prop myself up on my toes and hands, which were shoulder distance apart. Keeping my back straight and glutes tight, she had me lower down into a plank position (supporting myself on my toes and elbows, body still straight and tight) then back onto my hands ten times in a row. On their own, planks are a SUPERB way to build strength in the abs and back but doing this move ten times in a row was KILLER!



We then moved onto another exercise, still focusing on the core. This time, she had me lie down on my back with my legs at a 90 degree angle (feet facing the ceiling). She then had me alternate dropping my feet about an inch of the ground while at the same time pulling myself up into a crunch and raising the same side's arm towards the foot still in the air. For example, I dropped my right foot towards the ground and "crunched up" with my right hand towards my left foot (which was still hanging in the air). We did multiple sets of 10 for each side. Ouch. But in a good way- Promise!


The third exercise I want to share with you relates back to my legs being so tight! I know a lot of you also run so you'll find this exercise very helpful. Part of the reason my legs are so tight is due to the way that I run. There's nothing wrong with the way that I run but if I strengthen all of the muscles of my butt, particularly those on the sides, I'll depend less on my quads and hamstrings, resulting in less tightness and soreness! Win.
So it's simple. You stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and then lean forward with one hand touching the opposite foot. Come up and repeat nine more times. This requires balance (... so I wasn't spectacular at it...) and you'll feel it in whichever muscles are your strongest. For me, when I was balancing on my left leg, I really felt it in my left calf. However, when I balanced on my right foot, I felt it in my right glute! Melissa said the gluteus muscles on my right side are probably stronger because I've learned to compensate for the weak right knee I have. Aren't our bodies so cool??? By practicing this exercise a few times a week, she says I'll start to notice my left gluteus maximus muscles catching up to my right. I'll be sure to keep you posted on that. ;)

Here's Melissa. :)


BOTTOM LINE: I think virtual training is GREAT and so is Melissa. It's really such a simple concept- a personal trainer straight to you rather than having to go into a gym or studio. Melissa was telling me that a lot of her clients are very busy executives who travel on business often and cannot make it to see a personal trainer often. Instead, they have a standing appointment to "meet" her on Skype a couple times a week from wherever in the world they happen to be! I can see how even people who don't have to hit the road for business often would prefer this method- busy Moms who only have spare time when they put their kid down for a nap or people who may work in an office but go in early and stay late, making stopping by the gym less than appealing. Really, you can be anywhere (as long as there's enough space to move) and you can work out with her- No excuses! :) I intend to schedule workouts with her in the future when I travel.

I especially love that all of my readers, no matter where you are (and I know a lot of you are very far away from my home base of NYC) can take advantage of Melissa's wonderful workout.

Please visit her website for more details, to contact her directly, and to sign up for a FREE fitness breakthru session with her! You'll be hooked, too!

LINKS: 
- Ultimate You Virtual Training with Melissa Pharr: www.VirtualTraining.MelissaPharr.com/
- Beauties on the Go: www.BeautiesOnTheGo.com/ (Networking in NYC)
- Land Yoga: www.LandYoga.com/ (Yoga in NYC)
- SohamWellness: www.SohamWellnessNYC.com/ (Detoxing)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Had Me At "Maple- Mustard"...

Hey everyone! Ready for a recipe that'll be sure to please, is healthy, and is pretty easy to make?! Thought so. 

Introducing Maple- Mustard Baked Chicken! Oh-em-gee... Delish and just what I needed to settle in at home after a long day of running around for work. I also snagged a super easy recipe for sweet potato fries to accompany my chicken, threw some sauteed veggies into the mix, and finished it off with non-fat apricot  Greek yogurt and blackberries for dessert.

I. Assemble the ingredients.

For the chicken dish: 
- 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B (I couldn't find it and used plain syrup... turned out fine though I'm sure the Grade B would have added a bit more sweetness!)
- 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 package of chicken tenders
- 1 1/2 cups of fresh, whole-wheat bread crumbs

For the sweet potato fries:
- 1 small-medium sized sweet potato                       
 - A pinch or two of sea salt
 - Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 - Quality olive oil
   
For the veggies:
- A handful of fresh, chopped veggies for sautéing
- Olive oil to drizzle on the pan
- Garlic and black pepper, to taste

For Dessert:
- 1 serving size of non-fat apricot Greek yogurt
- 3 blackberries, washed and dried

II. In a bowl, whisk the mustard, maple syrup, 1 tablesoon of peanut oil,
thyme, pepper, and salt together. Add the chicken and coat evenly. Then
allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 6 hours.
I marinated mine for about 35 minutes.
                                               
III. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. (The chicken recipe calls for 400 and the sweet potato recipe calls for 450 so I split the difference. Worked out for me!)

Wash the potato (and dry it off very well!) then slice it into large "fries". Slices should be 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch thick. Place them on a baking sheet. (And don't forget to space them out and to leave half the sheet for your chicken!)

Sprinkle with your sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle them with olive oil.

Now that the oven is heated, bake them for ten minutes. After ten minutes, take them out, flip them and put them back in for another ten or fifteen.


IV. Back to the chicken.

For the first ten minutes of baking the sweet potato fries, focus on your chicken. Combine your breadcrumbs and the rest of your peanut oil then coat your chicken.

When you take your sweet potato fries out to flip, add your chicken to the pan.

Again, bake for ten to fifteen minutes then take out the fries. The chicken will probably need a few more minutes of cooking so you can do as I did and place the piping hot fries in a bowl, sprinkle them with cinnamon, cover them with a napkin, and place them in the microwave to keep them warm.
                                             (Note: You're not turning the microwave on here- Just using it place your 
                                              fries for a few minutes.)

V. While your chicken continues cooking and your fries are being kept warm,
go ahead and drizzle a pan with a little olive oil and sautee your veggies. Throw a pinch of garlic and some pepper in the mix if you wish!

The veggies and chicken should be finished around the same time so plate them along with your delish sweet potato fries!




VI. Almost finished! Pour your yogurt into a bowl and top with your blackberries....

                                                                                                     Eat up! 


I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did! Also, unless you're sharing, you'll probably have some chicken left over. It goes quite nicely with rice for lunch the next day! :)


I'd love to take all he credit for this delightful meal but I simply can't. Here are links to the two websites I found them on:
- Maple- Mustard Chicken: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/maple_mustard_baked_chicken.html and
- Sweet Potato Fries: http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-Oven-Sweet-Potato-Fries/?ALLSTEPS

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Listen to YOU!!!!

Hey everyone!

So, I've gotten a LOT of feedback on my very first vlog and it was all so positive- Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Ya'll are amazing to humor this little project of mine and I'm so happy you're enjoying it!

Several of you also mentioned that, while you did think the vlog was wonderful, it was just too dang long. I agree.

So, here you have it! I've condensed the original 20 minute video (what was I thinking??? You don't have time for that in your busy lives!) down to just under seven minutes. In the vlog world, that's still long but it is certainly more do-able, no?

So friends, please enjoy the new and improved video and THANK YOU for your feedback! I'm so flattered you're making LaFemmeFITalle a part of your fitness life! 



P.S. Also, thank you for the fantastic workout ideas some of you suggested! I'll definitely be looking into them and I'm all ears for any others you have! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

42 Flights AND a Vlog!

Thanks so much for checking out the FIRST video here on LaFemmeFITalle! This video is also available on the LaFemmeFITalle YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeYj6-FEpLo

As always, thanks for all of your support, encouragement and feedback! 

Enjoy!