Monthly Archives: May 2014


Work Your Core and Clean Your Floor!

I love using Gliders to pump up my core and leg training. If you haven’t seen them, they look like this:

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Actually, I don’t own my own pair–and not every gym has them. So when I’m in the mood to glide, I just grab a towel and get moving. In the exercise below, I have placed a towel under my toes while in the plank position. Then I pike my hips, return to plank, and drive my knees from elbow to elbow to work my obliques. Check out the video here:

Vegetarian Update!

Adjusting to vegetarianism has been a bit challenging for me. I thought that simply replacing meat with beans would be a breeze. But in reality, my body has had a difficult time processing all of the fiber I’ve been putting into it.  After two weeks, I started to feel the effects of all the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Not to mention the avocados, nuts, seeds and beans I was eating as well. My stomach became distended, and I felt gassy and uncomfortable. Not good!

Here’s a list of my favorite veggies and fruits and their fiber content:

Vegetables (1 cup servings)

Broccoli and cauliflower, 5 grams

Brussels sprouts, 6 grams

Kale, 3 grams

Sweet potato, 4 grams

Fruits 

Medium apple, 4 grams

Banana, 3 grams

Avocado (half), 9 grams

Mango, 5 grams

These foods are delicious and wholesome. Their fiber content will fill you up  and keep you regular. You should include these in your diet, (just not all at once, every single day)– like I did!

So, to review: when you increase your fiber intake, go slow, make small changes, and  drink a lot of water to help all of that fiber make it’s way through your system. Your tummy will thank you!

Don’t Let Tracy Anderson Ruin Your Workout

“I get it. You want lean, strong legs (and a tight, lifted butt). The problem is, in the quest for toned thighs, we often overdo it and end up with big old bulky legs…I’m not saying don’t ever run or spin or use the leg press machine at the gym, but doing so several times a week can create thigh thickness…” –Tracy Anderson

Thank you, Tracy for warning me off my favorite exercises like running and spinning. I wouldn’t want to (gasp) get “bulky” legs from putting on any unsightly muscle.

SIGH.

First, Tracy is wrong.  I regularly take spin. I weight train my legs with both heavy and light weights. Up until a month ago when I injured myself, I ran several days a week. While I’m not rocking a thigh gap (and wouldn’t want to anyway), my legs aren’t bulky. Spinning and running are endurance exercises, which use slow twitch muscle fibers. These muscles do not bulk. Also, unless she is genetically predisposed with the ability to put on a lot of muscle, the only way for a woman to bulk is to eat. That’s it. Anybody that looks like is body builder is probably working very hard for those results.

Which brings me to my next point: even if it were possible for spinning and running to add bulk to legs, SO WHAT? Why does everyone assume that a woman doesn’t want to “get big”?  Because I’m a female I need to be stick thin? If my pursuit of a nice booty means my thighs get a little bigger, than so be it.  And I’m not the only one who feels this way. This group of sporty people just started their own jean company for muscular legs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/barbell-apparel-denim-jeans-for-athletes_n_5192767.html

Instead of worrying about putting on too much muscle, which again, is not likely if you are a lady (sorry, I never met a dead horse who I did not want to beat), why not celebrate the fact that we are working out? For some, it’s a miracle that they can squeeze a few spin classes into their busy schedules. Let’s be happy that we’re exercising and getting stronger, not stressing over a stupid fear of looking “too big”.

Women’s fitness has come a long way. We say things like “Strong is the new sexy” and I think we actually mean it. Although sometimes that sentiment is accompanied by pictures like this-

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 Oh no! Somebody should tell her she forgot to wear her pants to the gym!

-the evidence that the ladies are killing it at the fitness game is right there in every Crossfit and BodyPump class. Besides being the consumers, we’re also leading the charge to create new ways to get your sweat on. The hottest boutique cycling studios, Soul Cycle and Flywheel, were created and are currently run by women.

Let’s keep running, spinning, swimming, or doing whatever the hell it is we like to do and celebrate that we can improve our bodies and our minds through exercise. I’m on my way to a spin class. I hope I see you there.

Next week I’ll share some vegetarian recipes and products I’ve come across during my 3 month diet experiment. Got any tips on how to be a healthy vegetarian? Let me know on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

My First Week As A Vegetarian!

Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat them… Wow, I am past the first week of vegetarianism and am definitely feeling the effects of all this fiber!

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The interesting thing about the diet switch is that I do feel different, despite the fact that I only did Paleo for a month. It was surprising how my energy soared while on the Paleo diet. This week, eating vegetarian…not so much. Despite the fact that I’m eating some seriously healthy grub, I feel tired and run down. Remember how I bragged in my last post about eliminating afternoon coffee breaks from my routine?

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I admit that I’ve been very tempted to have that afternoon caffeine fix this week.

BUT I DIDN’T! 

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I’m not worried though. In the book, Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman explains that much like detoxing from alcohol or nicotine, our bodies experience withdrawal symptoms when we remove meat, aka “toxins” from our diet. Dr. Fuhrman says that it can take up to two weeks for my body to resolve this, so I will wait patiently for my old mojo to come back into my life.

One last gripe and this one goes out to restaurants: you are making it very hard to eat clean and eat vegetarian at the same time! Unless I plan on going to a special place, the veg options are always pasta, cheese quesadillas, pizza or just plain old salad. Eating out was easier and healthier on the paleo plan. Of course I know that a little pasta once in a while won’t kill me, but I really want to eat as clean as possible.

I prefer to eat at home anyway so I can make yummy things like this:

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A portabella mushroom burger on an Ezekial English muffin topped with a little Gruyere and avocado.

It’s the first time I made something like this and I was stunned by how delicious it came out. Oh, and those things on the side are parsnip “fries”. This meal pretty much rocked my face off.

Pro Tip: marinate your portabella caps in a couple TB of balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper before grilling. 

This week I  was a guest blogger for Ideal Shape (http://www.idealshape.com/paleo-diet-experiment/ ) where I talk about the first phase of this three month diet trial. Check it out!

P-P-P-Push-Up Real Good: Start Advancing Your Push-Ups Today!

What kind of advice do you have for someone who is looking to develop their push up proficiency? I can currently do 5 push-ups from my knees. —Jamie Lynn

Go Jamie Lynn! There’s a reason  you always see trainers making their clients do push-ups. Personally, I do push-ups almost every time I strength train my upper body. They are the perfect exercise for beginners and gym rats alike. A push-up is a compound exercise that strengthens and tones the chest, shoulders, back, and abdominal muscles, as well as stabilizing the shoulder girdle.

They are also very challenging. Since you are only able to do five push-ups from your knees, the best thing to do is actually regress the movement, and do your push-ups in the incline position from a bench.  Start by doing a plank on any surface that will put you at an incline, then slowly lower yourself down.

picstitch (1)Don’t leave your butt in the air! Tuck your pelvis, and as you lower yourself towards the bench, make sure you keep your hips in line with your body. 

Every time you strength train at the gym you should do three sets of ten bench push-ups at the beginning of the workout, preferably before your cardio. Once you can do this, it’s time to move to knee modified push ups from the floor.

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Again, work your way to three sets of ten reps. At this point, you should start adding real, from the toes push-ups into your sets. Each week, try to add at least one or two”real” push-ups. Eventually, you will be able to do full sets of manly-man push-ups, I promise!

Besides the actual exercise, you can also strengthen your push-up power by working the same muscles with dumbbell presses, bench presses (just start with the bar if you’re new to this) and the smith machine. Make sure you lower the bar slowly all the ways down to your chest so you get full range of motion. Since push-ups also use the triceps, finish up your work-out with triceps kickbacks, rope extensions or skull crushers.

Vegetarian Life

I’m reading Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to get me psyched up for my months of vegetarianism and veganism.

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Fuhrman’s book states that a vegan or near vegan diet is the cure for chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. And if that sounds familiar, then you must be remembering my first post about the paleo diet, which claims the exact same thing! The one thing the two books seem to agree on is that wheat and dairy should be avoided. There goes my pizza party!

It’s not even my first week of vegetarian, so I’ll update my blog again soon.

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I just really like this picture.

Bye-bye, Caveman! Hello, Bambi! Transitioning from Paleo to Vegetarianism

My month-long trial of the Paleo diet is over! Woo hoo! Time to celebrate with all the pizza and cake I can eat!

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This is an actual piece of pizza-cake. Really.

Kidding, kidding…

Paleo is strict, but I enjoyed all the healthy fruits, veggies and lean meat I ate this past month. I allowed myself 5 cheat meals in 30 days, which I believe actually enabled me to ultimately stay within the diet’s rigid guidelines. So my first piece of advice if you are going to try the Paleo diet…is to cheat! Ha, ha, easy right? Seriously, you can’t be perfect all the time, so if you reward yourself with a piece of pizza on Friday, to celebrate eating healthy the rest of the week, then you’re golden.

Here’s a breakdown of my 30 day Paleo diet:

Difficulty: It’s not difficult if you stay home and make all of your own food. Going out with friends was a challenge. If I went out socially on a weekend, then that night would generally include my splurge meal. Since I usually like to order fish when I go out, most of my cheats were paleo-esque anyway.

Expense: Not too bad. I mainly stuck to Trader Joe’s, the cost per pound of grass fed meat, wild caught fish, and omega 3 eggs was only about $1.00 more than the regular stuff. All told, I spent about $225 on groceries this month, which in NYC, is not bad for two people!

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What I Ate: Kale and spaghetti squash made perfect “beds” for my protein. I also ate sweet potatoes, kabucha squash, spinach, and broccoli slaw on a regular basis. My animal protein was mostly chicken, fish, pork and eggs. I  ate red meat only three times this month. Nuts, especially walnuts and my beloved cashew butter, were staples, but I made sure to watch my portions.  Overall, I felt like I was eating a very healthy diet.

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Energy Level: High. It’s pretty telling that I no longer needed my afternoon cup of coffee two weeks after I started this diet.  I felt so good this month that I am actually starting to wonder if I have a sensitivity to gluten or to something else that was in my diet before. Hmmm…we’ll see what happens in May.

Body Changes: While I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose weight, I did lose two pounds. I also lost about three inches, which is OK because I maintained my muscle mass and still look healthy. I lost the inches around my hips and thighs.

While Paleo is the most “fad-ish” of the diets I’m trying, it’s emphasis on all natural foods gives it more staying power than Atkins. I may even go back to that style of eating (with a few tweaks once I’m done with my project). But who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with being a vegetarian. Which bring me to…

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Month 2: Vegetarianism

Wish me luck!

Got any tips on how to be a healthy vegetarian? Let me know on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

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