Happy almost 4th of July! This is an awesome, real-deal long weekend and, like many of my clients, you probably have a handful of barbeques to go to. IzzyFit is all about making healthy living fun so here are some tips for keeping this weekend from kicking your fitness and nutritional goals in the butt. There IS a way to celebrate AND stay on track.
· Fit in a workout no matter what! Whether you’re out of town in a hotel or at a friend or family member’s house, or you’re staying put in your own home, get that booty moving for a good, intense 30 minutes (at least) each day this weekend. Go on a hike, go jogging, have a dance party. You don’t need a gym to fit in a good, intense workout, nor do you need any equipment. New blog post with my favorite butt-kicking, equipment-free workout coming tomorrow!
· Do high-five yourself for exercising and do bask in your post-workout glory! Do not drink an extra margarita to reward yourself for working out. Using food and drink as rewards can be major upsets as you work towards your goals.
· Keep yourself accountable by keeping a food and drink journal if you don’t already. I’m not going to tell you to go on an all-pickle diet at your barbeques to keep the calories down but if you’re going to indulge here and there, indulge consciously and mindfully. Keep track of the hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, chips! Eat mindfully and slowly so you can really enjoy what you’re consuming.
· Here’s a tip for eating slower: chew everything that’s in your mouth and swallow before taking another bite. This sounds incredibly obvious but you’d be surprised by how often we take another bite with an already-full mouth.
· Alcoholic beverages have calories in them, too. On average, one 12-oz bottle of beer has 150 calories; one 6-oz glass of white wine has 120; a vodka lemonade drink like an 11.2-oz bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade has 220. Drinks = calories which is why you need to keep track of them like you do food.
· DO NOT HANG OUT BY THE CHIP BOWL. Take a plate. Put a handful of chips on the plate. WALK AWAY FROM THE CHIP BOWL. This will keep you from mindlessly munching away at the entire bowl.
· Condiment calories can add up. Limit the amount of cheese and mayo you put on your sandwiches.
· HAVE FUN!
I know this is a long list of dos and don’ts but my hope is that they give you the power to make good choices this weekend so you can hit the ground running on July 5th without feeling like you’ve sabotaged yourself during the long weekend. Being mindful of your actions, and taking ownership of them, will give you the freedom to have guilt-free FUN!
Anyone who's trained with me knows how much I LOVE strengthening the gluteus medius, or "side butt" as i like to call it. Not only does this muscle have a huge responsibility in stabilizing the hips but a weak glute med can contribute greatly to knee and ankle injuries and can make activities like running or dancing really painful; this study sheds some light on the topic.
So how do you strengthen that glute med? First, let's get a visual of where this muscle is located so you have an idea of where you should be feeling the muscle working:
Now, here are some great exercises that really get that muscle working, conditioned and strong. Aim for 2 sets of 12-20 repetitions on each leg in your workout. Incorporate this a few times a week if want but remember that muscles you work out one day need a good 24 hours to rest and repair before you work them out again.
LATERAL LEG LIFT (a.k.a. The Jane Fonda):
This is one of my favorite exercises, mainly because it seems to be the one exercise that most of my clients have their "Side Butt Aha Moment". If you're not used to working the gluteus medius, I would recommend that you try this exercise first. It really isolates that muscle and makes it easier to identify exactly where the muscle is in relation to everything else.
Start on the ground, laying on one side. Bend the bottom leg for support and make sure your hips are stacked one on top of the other (so that your top hip isn't in front of or behind your bottom hip). Straighten your top leg and flex your foot and then extend the top leg ever so slightly behind you. Now, lift the top leg up and down in a slow, controlled manner; initiate the leg raise by squeezing that booty. Do not let your leg drop to the ground! Remember, controlled is the key word.
Take a resistance band and wrap it around your ankles or above your knees. Sit back into a slight squat; take 15 small steps to the left and then repeat in the opposite direction. Click on the picture to see the move in action.
Focus on initiating the movement from that side butt and don't let your torso rock back and forth like a penguin!
SINGLE LEG SQUAT:
This one can be a little tricky for those who lack balance so if you have trouble with this exercise to start, limit your range of motion or do it somewhere where you can catch yourself if you find yourself falling over :)
Start with one foot firmly planted on the ground (that includes all of your toes, especially the big toe and fourth toe). Raise your other foot up as if it was resting on a phone book. Hinging at the hips, sit back like you're going to sit down on a chair; pause for a second or two and squeeze that booty to get back up. Do this one in front of a mirror and make sure that 1. your hips stay level as you sit down and come back up to standing; 2. your standing knee is in line with your third and fourth toes and is not caving in; and 3. your torso is not collapsing over your lower body. If you see yourself falling into any of these patterns, limit your range of motion until just before your form breaks down. In time, you'll be able to push yourself further and get deeper into your single leg squat. Click on the picture to see the move in action.
These are really just a few glute med exercises to start incorporating into your workouts. Like I said, I love focusing on this part of the body so look out for more exercises in the future! Enjoy!
Summer is almost here which means my local farmers' market is now open for business! This also means that asparagus season is almost over.
While grocery shopping these last few months, I've stood in front of those lovely green spears and have picked out the best bunches. A few weeks ago, though, I stared at those bunches at the market and wondered, "What on earth can I do with these that I haven't already?"
The answer came to me from one of my favorite cookbooks, Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast. It's an asparagus soup that tastes great, even when it's warm outside! Here is the recipe, slightly altered by me:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped shallots
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour; cook until incorporated, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add the asparagus and stock; season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, until the asparagus is bright green and just tender, 2-4 minutes.
Puree the soup with a hand blender or working in batches in a regular blender. Add a splash of lemon juice if desired.
This recipe yields roughly 8 cups which can be split up into 4 filling 2-cup bowls at about 170 calories per serving!