Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Tabata Workout

I use the tabata workout method sometimes inbetween circuits. This really pushes you to get your heart rate up. 

What is the tabata method?

Tabata interval training is the single most effective type of high intensity interval training, its also the most intense by far, and surprisingly its the shortest in duration, it only last for four minutes... but those four minutes produce remarkable effects.

Tabata intervals follow this structure:

  • Push hard for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat this eight times
I would suggest getting some sort of tabata timer like a watch where you can see exactly where you are in the workout, you don't want to have to think too much, all of your concentration will be on the exercise.

An easy way to try this is on the treadmill. Set the speed to a 9 or 10, almost to the highest setting possible. Watch the timer and jump on for exactly 20 seconds, then jump your feet off to the sides for 10 seconds and jump back on for your full out sprint for another 20 seconds. Do this eight times. Walk for at least 4 minutes and let your heart rate come down before doing this again. Aim for 4 tabata sets each workout.

You will burn CRAZY calories and your muscles will be exhausted in a new way. You've got to keep changing up your workouts or your muscles will never be challenged.

You can also use tabata with plyometric exercises, burpees,or heavy weights.  You have to go all out, so do as many reps as you can in the 20 seconds, put it down for 10, then pick it up again and go hell for leather for another 20 seconds.
Have fun sweating!

Menu Monday: Turkey Meatloaf

I have made this meatloaf countless times. It is so yummy and my husband actually asks me to make it! It's also a great way to sneak veggies onto your kid's plate. There are 1,000 calories in the entire meatloaf.

1 TBSP olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
5 slices of the low calorie bread - there is one that has 35 calories a slice. Put in food processor to make bread crumbs. Or just tear apart with your hands, like I do!
2 eggs or 1/2 cup of egg white substitute
1 TBSP soy sauce
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bottle of chili sauce - divided, I think Kroger's brand is the best
1 pound ground turkey - use at least 93/7


1. Turn oven to 375 F
2. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies start to soften. Add a little water if the mixture starts to get dry.
3. Transfer veggies to large bowl. Add eggs, bread crumbs, ground turkey, soy sauce, cumin, paprika, black pepper and 3/4 bottle of chili sauce. Stir well until blended.
4. Pat mixture into a bread loaf pan. Top with remaining chili sauce.
5. Bake meatloaf for 45 minutes. Cut into middle to make sure the turkey has cooked all the way. 

Nutrients Per Serving:
2 slices = 1 serving (each slice would be no larger than a deck of cards!)
Calories: 197
Total Fat: 5g
Carbohydrate: 18g
Fiber: 4g
Protein: 20g
Sodium: 437mg 

Try this mashed cauliflower recipe for a low-calorie side. I haven't tried this specific recipe, but it looks yummy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fat Burning Zone - How to Figure Your Heart Rate

Alecia asked how she would know when her heart rate is at it's maximum when working out. Remember this blog post about intervals? When you are in the "high intensity" portion of your interval workout your heart rate should be at leaset 90% of it's capablitity. You can figure out your exact rate for you if you plan on wearing a heart rate monitor at this link. However, the easiest and actually most effective way for me to tell if a someone is pushing themselves to their maximum heart rate capacity is a method called the "talk test".

Basically, if you are at 90-100% maximum heart rate you should not be able to talk while working out. It's seriously that simple. See the chart below:

During interval workouts, after the high intensity portion, you would move on to the lower intensity portion. In my classes this would consist of strength training. So when we switch to strength training you should concentrate on breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth to "catch" your breath. You are aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate by the end of the lower intensity segment. This would mean that you are able to talk, but it's in short phrases.

Have fun figuring out your maximum heart rate!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Obliques (AKA: LOVE HANDLES!)

Since we all how to do cruches 100+ ways, I thought I would show you my new favorite ab exercise. This targets your obliques, also lovingly referred to as love handles. 
Start out in a side plank position, with elbow on the ground:
Twist at the torso and touch your free elbow to ground. Return to the above position and repeat.
This ab exercise is EVEN harder! It is a VERY small movement. 
Start in a side plank on your elbow with both feet on the floor:
Raise your hip up in the air as high as you can and hold it while exhaling for 3 seconds. Lower your hip back down to starting position. Do 12 sets of 3 on each side. 
If you are doing this right you will quickly feel your obliques start to burn. Yesssss!
Like I said, this is a small movement but with BIG results. Your obliques [aka love handles] will start to shrink and tone! Yeah!

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Monday: Turkey & Bean Tostadas

First off, this is AMAZING! Let's get started...

Turkey Bean Tostadas
6 servings 
320 calories per serving

6 small corn tortillas
 1LB ground turkey meat - it MUST be either 93/7 or 99/1
1 can of favorite beans - black or kidney - drained
1 can corn - drained
1 can rotel, NOT drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 package taco seasoning

chopped tomatoes
shredded lettuce
1 tbsp fat free sourcream per tostada
2 tbsp cheddar cheese per tostada

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Brown turkey meat thoroughly in large skillet. Add celery, onion and rotel. Let celery and onion soften. Add beans, rotel and taco seasoning. Cook on medium until beans are hot. 

While the turkey/bean mixture simmers, place tortillas in a single layer directly on oven rack. Bake 10 minutes or until crisp.

Place one tortilla on each plate, spoon turkey bean mixture evenly over each tortilla. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Note: any extra cheese & sour cream WILL add calories.

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
1 tostada = 1 serving
Calories... 320
Carbs... 39g
Fiber... 10g
Protein... 36g

You can serve this with Knorr's Spanish Rice, 1/2 cup (prepared) has 120 calories.  

So you can have one loaded up tostada and 1/2 cup of spanish rice for 440 calories! Here's to another yummy, healthy meal choice!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

How to Burn the MOST Calories While Working Out

Get OFF the elliptical for once... 
and start REALLY working out!

In all of my current workout classes I follow the interval training method. If you want to torch calories, not just burn them, then you must take the intensity of your workout to a whole new level. Basically you try to get your heart rate as high as possible and then bring it back down doing some sort of strength training. In my class we do this for the entire hour, which burns anywhere from 600-1,000 calories depending on how hard you are pushing yourself and the person. A 200 pound man is going to burn at least 100 more calories than a 150 pound woman in an hour of interval training.

WHY does interval training burn more calories than just running on a treadmill or doing the elliptical for an hour?
 The cardiovascular key to fat burning is using interval training workouts - workouts that alternate high-intensity levels with lower-intensity effort. Interval training mimics sports - start-and-stop motions with periods of sprinting or close-to-sprinting speeds followed by light jogging or rest.Heart rate is key. That’s the speedometer of the body. If we speed the body up, it will burn more calories, just as a car will burn more fuel if it speeds up.”

Also, you need to mix up your workouts so they stay challenging. This will help keep your heart rate up, and force your body to burn more calories. That is why a bootcamp type class is so great - you're never doing the same workout! 

Here is a great example of a beginner interval workout: 
1. Warm Up: On the treadmill, with the incline set at a challenging angle, power walk at a speed of 3-3.5 for 7 minutes. Keep your elbows up above your heart. Stop, get off the treadmill, and stretch.
2. Sprint: Drop the incline to 0, increase the treadmill speed, and sprint hard for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to 3.0 and walk for one minute.
3. Squats: Get off the treadmill and squat, with your bottom out to the rear and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15 or 20, working your quadriceps. If you’re already in good shape, hold dumbbells by your sides.
4. Overhead Presses: Do 15 or 20 overhead presses with the weights, pushing them straight up and directly over your shoulders.  
5. Sprint: Get back on the treadmill and sprint for 30 seconds (no incline). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed to 3.0 and walk for one minute.

6. Tricep Extensions:
 Using dumbbells, do one set of 15 or 20 overhead tricep extensions. Your elbows should point toward the ceiling, with the weights behind your head. Lift the weights directly above your head and back down again.
7. Pushups. Do one set of 15 push-ups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body. Modification: Do the push-ups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.
8. Sprint: Back to the treadmill. Sprint for 1 minute, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, jog for 90 seconds.
9. Jumping Jacks. Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you're strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells -- lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulder height as your legs go back together.
10. Finale: Incline your treadmill to an angle that really challenges you -- but don't hang onto the treadmill's rails. Walk at a 2.0-3.5 speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1-minute walk. Finish by stretching.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wendesday Workout: Shoulders!

One of the best ways to get toned arms is to focus on your shoulder muscles. Start with 5lb weights and try to do this exercise at least twice a week.

Start with 5lb weights in front of your thighs:

Lift the weights straight to the front, do NOT go above your shoulders. Take the weights down slower than you brought them up. Count 2 seconds up, 3 seconds down. Do 3 sets of 8. (No make-up alert!)
Bring weights back down to front of thighs:
Next: Lift weights out to side 8 times, do NOT go above shoulders. Take the weights down slower than you brought them up. Count up for 2 seconds and down for 3 seconds. Do 3 sets of 8.
Bring weights back to front of thighs:

Happy lifting! Remember, building muscle tone is the ONLY way to raise your metabolism after after 30 - so get to it!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Monday: Low-Cal Chicken Tenders & Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Another MEAL under 500 calories! Chicken tenders and mashed sweet potatoes. These were not only yummy, but also filling!


1 pound chicken tenderloins
1 cup egg white substitute
2 cups Special K cereal
seasoned salt (optional)
garlic powder (optional)

Preheat oven 375. Spray baking sheet with PAM. Mash up the Special K cereal in a zip lock baggie with your choice of seasoning, pour onto a clean, dry plate. Dip each tenderloin in the egg whites and then roll in the Special K. Place tenderloins on the baking sheet. Sprinke any left over cereal on any gaps in the chicken. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center of the tenderloin.
Serve with ketchup, fat-free ranch or make your own low-fat honey mustard.
I made mashed sweet potatoes to go with the chicken tenders. All you do is boil 2 quartered sweet potatoes (you don't have to peel them) and mash with a little bit of milk. Add splenda if you want them sweeter.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Body Mass Index: How Much Should You Actually Weigh?

In order to lose weight you must first establish a goal, which we talked about this week. The big question is how much should you weigh? The best way to determine a REALISTIC goal weight is to figure out your body mass index or BMI. (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

You can go HERE to calculate your BMI.

Please note that BMI does not account for body frame size. A person may have a small frame and be carrying too much excess fat, but their BMI reflects that they are "healthy". Conversely, a large framed individual may be quite healthy with a fairly low body fat percentage, but be classified as "overweight" by BMI.

Also, BMI is particularly inaccurate for people who are fit or athletic, as the higher muscle mass tends to put them in the "overweight" category by BMI, even though their body fat percentages frequently fall in the 10-15% category, which is below that of a more sedentary person of average build who has a "healthy" BMI number. Body composition for athletes is often better calculated using measures of body fat, as determined by such techniques as skinfold measurements or underwater weighing. This image explains it all.

After you figure out which category you fall into you can do the math to see how much you need to lose to be in the "normal" range. If you were already in the normal range, then I would not try to lose more than 15 lbs.

Remember that simply wanting to eating healthy and tone up are totally different than losing weight. My goal is to not only fall into the "normal" category on the BMI scale, but to be healthy and happy, not look like someone a movie star or model.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Green Tea Cheat

"More than a decade's worth of research about green tea's health benefits -- particularly its potential to fight cancer and heart disease -- has been more than intriguing, as have limited studies about green tea's role in lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia." (from

Also, although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea contains polyphenols and caffeine that have been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.

I LOVE green tea but most of the time I would not drink it because of the time it took to make one cup of tea... warm up the water, steep the tea bag, mix in a little honey, etc. This took almost 5 minutes of work. However, not long ago I had the brilliant idea of putting my pre-made green (iced) tea in the microwave for 2 minutes. It was wonderful! My favorite brand is Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng. Since this green tea is already sweetened with splenda, you don't have to worry about extra calories from honey or whatever you might use to sweeten your tea.

Just pour a cup and nuke it in the mircrowave for 2 minutes and you're on your way to fighting all those diseases and raising your metabolism.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Calorie Counting 101

I have countless clients that will work their butts off and barely lose any weight. The reason is ALWAYS food. Read more on how to get a grip on your food and calorie intake...

I know you've heard it a hundred times, but  the #1 key to losing weight is to COUNT YOUR CALORIES! Now, how do you actually do this? Well, the most effective way is to write down EVERYTHING you eat and drink. If you are computer savy (which you should be if you're reading this blog!) then you really need to use to catalog your food intake at the end of each day. They also have a handy dandy iPhone app that you can use on the go. My favorite thing about My Fitness Pal is that you can email your weekly calorie log to your trainer or me (if you're in one of my bootcamps) so that we can figure out where you are messing up.

So, how many calories should you actually consume?
·        Limit the amount of calories you eat to your goal weight times 10. This is for males or females. For example, if your goal weight is 185 (male), then eat about 1,850 calories a day. If your goal weight is 140 (female), then eat about 1,400 a day.
·        When I say “EAT” 1,500 calories a day, that means EAT, NOT DRINK! Don’t let any liquid pass your lips that contains calories… Coffee and water only.  1 or 2 diet sodas is acceptable, but no more than 2!
·        3,500 calories equals about one pound of fat. Therefore, you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound. For example, if you cut 500 calories from your diet every day, you would lose about one pound a week. Or, if you are physically active, you can eat 250 calories less every day and burn 250 calories per day with your workout. The healthiest option is to eat less AND work out.

Other weight loss thoughts....

  •   I am always amazed when people say they are hungry when they start to diet. DUH! Of course you’re hungry! You have stretched out your stomach to accommodate the crazy huge portions you’ve been feeding yourself. You must realize that you WILL be hungry when you start to eat less.  Your stomach needs to shrink back to its normal size.
  • If you are used to eating huge portions, then it will take about 2 weeks for your stomach to shrink to adjust to the correct, smaller size portions. One portion is the size of a deck of cards.
  • EAT CLEAN… no pizza, fast food, liquor, beer, etc. Don’t expect to get ANY results if you are eating junk!

The way your body looks is 90% up to you! It is 70% what you EAT!, 20% how you workout &  only 10% genetics. So be careful what you EAT!

Email me with any questions at Happy calorie counting!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Set Workout Goals

It's that time of the year when we all think about setting resolutions for the new year. Some actaully get around to establishing goals, while others put no effort into accomplishing those resolutions.

Make S.M.A.R.T. goals... 

In terms of working out, here are some basic principles that will help you accomplish your goals.
  1. Write down your goal and put it somewhere visable, like your bathroom mirror or dashboard. i.e. Work out 4 times a week, run a half-marathon, etc.
  2. Set a schedule. Get out your calendar, whether it's an actual paper calendar or your iphone and schedule when you will work out. This way you have already made time in your busy week to work out. If you are a list person, you will love checking each completed workout off your list.
  3. Be prepared. If you work out in the morning, set your gym clothes out so you don't have another excuse (Early morning exercisers have it the hardest, staying in bed at 5am  always sounds better than working out!) If you work out at night, put your gym clothes in your car so you don't go home and get comfy on the couch.
  4. Tell others of your goal. Get an accountability partner to ask you how you're doing or better yet, get a workout buddy you can depend on to get you to the gym.
Good luck and stay on track!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs

I made this yummy dish last night - the husband liked it, so it passed the taste test! It very filling for only 300 calories.

Put the following on skewers (I didn't use any eggplant) and place in a oven safe dish:
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small eggplant, peeled & sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 purple onion, quartered
8 medium mushrooms, whole
8 cherry tomatoes, whole
12 large green olives

Combine the following and pour over the skewers:
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP dried mint leaves
2TBSP dried basil leaves
1TBSP dried oregano leaves

Let the skewers marinate for at least 2 hours, rotate them at the one hour mark. 
Turn the oven on broil (I used the high setting)
Broil kabobs 6 inches from heat source for 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Turn the kabobs at the 8 minute mark. 

Serve with couscous  (available at Kroger and Wal-Mart next to the rice).

 Couscous is a Greek side dish similar to rice, but much healthier. Sprinkle couscous with fresh lemon juice and fresh parsley if you have it. 

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
1 serving = 2 kabobs + 1/2 cup couscous
Calories: 300 (yay!)
Total Fat: 5g
Carbs: 32g
Fiber: 4g
Protein: 31g (yay!)
Sodium: 79mg

Since this entire meal only has 300 calories you could add another vegetable, green salad (no cheese or mayo based dressing allowed!) or eat one more kabob for an extra 100 calories (approx.).


Evening Bootcamp, January 9 - February 1: Monday/Wednesday 6:15-7:15 PM
Morning Bootcamp, January 10 - February 2: Tuesday/Thursday 5:15-6:15 AM
This Bootcamp is a 4 week, 8 session, fitness program designed to get you toned, trim and healthier, fast. It combines cardiovascular intervals to burn fat and circuit style weight lifting exercises to build muscle. There are individuals of all fitness levels in the class.
Cost is $35.00 or $27.00 if you are a member at Bishop Park. You MUST pre-register since spots are limited. You can sign up at the front desk at Bishop Park or sign up online at:  Bishop Park Online Registration  

Beginner Bootcamp, January 9 - February 1, Monday/Wednesday 7:45-8:45 PM

This class is a 4 week, 8 session fitness program to get you toned, trim and healthier. It is designed to give a fitness foundation to the individual who has not worked out in a long time or has a significant amount of weight to lose. The class is 60 minutes long and combines basic, low impact cardio exercises to burn fat and strength training to build and tone muslces. The last 10 minutes of the class focuses on abs and stretching. Expect to burn at least 500 calories per class! Compared to the regular bootcamp, this beginner bootcamp is much smaller group, will have very little running and will offer nutritional and diet planning help.
Beginner Bootcamp will take place in the upstairs aerobics room at Bishop Park. There are ONLY 18 spots! The cost is $42.00 or $34.00 if you are a member. You can sign up now at the front desk at Bishop Park or online at: Bishop Park Online Registration

**Find and "Like" Bootcamp at Bishop Park on Facebook for updates & pictures at: