Hi, I'm Flavia. I have always been connected to fitness, but like most people, there comes a time when you find yourself less than your personal ideal. In my mid 20s I decided to make a change and discovered that most workout plans were designed for men.
As a Registered Nurse I had a solid knowledge base of nutrition and how food works in the body. I improved that knowledge by studying more about nutrition with Dr. John Berardi and developed my own exercise and nutrition program called Falvilicious Fitness.
You can read more about my workout programs on my exercises for women blog, and you can get a lot of free information right here on tumblr.
Flavia Del Monte, RN, CPT, PN Certified
We’re all familiar with the necessity of stretching and warming up before working out, but many people tend to think that applies only to the muscles targeted in the workout - those that will be most severely taxed.
Unfortunately, the targeted muscles aren’t necessarily those that take the most beating. In many routines, it’s the hamstrings and hips that suffer the most abuse. They’re built for it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a good stretch and warm-up before the punishment starts.
Stretching the hamstrings, groin, deep hip and quads before a workout can prevent the majority of injuries in those areas. The sometimes explosive exertion and constant pounding of cardio and workouts puts a lot of stress on the muscles and bones of the hips and legs, as well as on the tendons and ligaments. Starting those activities cold is just asking for trouble.
And if you’ve ever experienced one of those injuries, you know they’re very painful.
There’s another problem you can encounter, even if you avoid injury. When you’re doing squats or lunges, or working the legs on the weights, you need a good range of movement in the hamstrings, groin, quads, psoas, glutes and IT band. If any one of those is tight, it will limit the movement of all of them. That translates to a poor workout.
The following is a series of exercises to stretch all the above and should last about 7-7½ minutes per side. Don’t rush through these any faster, because proper stretching needs sufficient time to balance out. Go through all six on one leg before switching sides.
1. Hip Stretch- Total: 45 seconds
Elevate one leg onto a chair or other elevated surface. Bending both knees, push your butt back and put one hand on your high thigh, right above the knee. Push down on the knee while slowly moving your hips around.
2. Psoas Stretch- Total: 2 minutes, 15 seconds
a.) With your leg still on the chair, turn so your hips face the chair and rotate both feet so they’re parallel to the chair and hold for 15 seconds. You should be able to feel this in your quads and psoas.
b.) Raising your back heel, bend the standing leg and while you shift your weight toward the chair, push your pelvis under. You’ll feel this in your psoas. Hold for 15 seconds.
c.) Lock your pelvic tilt and straighten your standing knee slowly while trying to press the heel to the floor (you may not be able to reach the floor with the heel - that’s okay). You should feel this in the psoas. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat a, b & c three times.
3. Quad Stretch- Total: 30 seconds
Grab the foot of the leg you had on the chair and pull it towards your glutes. Tuck your glutes under and bend your standing leg and hold for 30 seconds. Your quads will feel this.
4. Hamstring Stretch- Total: 1 minute, 30 seconds
Put one leg up on the chair and try to straighten it (don’t force it). Bend the standing leg and push your glutes out. Keep your back erect and straight, raising one arm above your shoulders and reach for your foot. Keep switching arms in a constant reaching motion, about three seconds apart. Do this 6 times. This will stretch the hamstrings and back. Now round your back and reach out and grab the chair back with both hands. Pull your body forward and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
5. Groin Stretch- Total: 30 seconds
With your leg still on the chair, shift your weight to target your groin, by pushing your glutes back while keeping your back straight and the standing leg bent. You should feel this in the long groin muscles.
6. Plié Stretch- Total: 1-2 minutes
Standing with your back straight (against a wall, if necessary), spread your feet widely. Don’t lean forward at all while you turn your legs outward and maintain your feet and knees aligned. Hold this for 1-2 minutes (it’s not easy… your muscles may begin trembling).
Now, go back to #1 and do it again with the opposite leg.
You should always stretch before and after every workout. This lets your joints and muscles warm up and cool down in a controlled fashion, which will help prevent injuries and aid in recovery.
Alert: You don’t want to let this happen to you… as the hamstrings become gradually stronger and tighter, they can begin pulling the pelvis down into a posterior pelvic tilt, changing the curvature of the spine. This can be aggravated by sitting all day, which also allows retraction of the hamstring muscles.
Keeping your body well stretched and focusing on proper posture can prevent this, also avoiding a long road to recovery and potential injuries.
Here’s another article that offers more stretching tips:
And for more effective workouts, check out this video:
There is a lot of confusion out there about the term organic. In this context we are discussing organic food but there are now organic beauty products and health products as well in the marketplace. Organic seems to be a very loaded word these days. Some people like the label because to them it guarantees food are healthier. Some people feel it is just an expensive version of what is already offered. The truth is it is a little more complicated than either of those.
What Is Organic?
Organic foods are produced without synthetic mineral fertilizers or pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones. They do not contain genetically modified or engineered organisms. Organics foods cannot use ionizing radiation as a preservative; they cannot use most sulphates, nitrates and nitrites. Organic producers instead use natural or non-synthetic pesticides in a system of crop rotation with plant or animal waste recycling. Organic foods do not entirely have to be organic to carry a label in some countries. Each country has a certification process to go through to be certified organic. For example organic products must have an organic content of 95 percent or higher to carry the “Canada Organic” label, but organic ingredients can be listed on the product when at least 70 per cent of the ingredients are organic. Because people prioritize health differently, choosing organic or not is a fairly personal choice.
Factors that affect food
Concern about health is generally the key factor in purchasing organic for many people. Consumers feel that organic foods are free of chemicals, antibiotics and hormones which are very true. One statement that is still up in the air regarding organic food is if it is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. This is not always true. Some factors that affect food’s freshness are how long the produce has sat on a truck or on a supermarket shelf generally have more impact on its taste and vitamin content than whether or not it’s organic. Soil quality, temperature, light, processing time and storage, transportation, seed variety, and animal breed all impact nutritional composition. Organic farming promotes the sustainable health and productivity of the ecosystem – soil, plants, animals and people. Organic foods are farmed in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way, focusing on soil regeneration, water conservation and animal welfare. Vitamin content declines with time and exposure to light. Unless these are tightly controlled during shipping, the store and at your house, organic and conventionally grown foods tend to have the same vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin B levels. Locally grown food scores higher on vitamin levels because the food has been stored for less time to put it simply. There is one thing that organic foods come out ahead of regular grown foods. That is phytochemicals. Time alone degrades vitamin activity but phytochemicals may last longer.
What are Phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals is a class of antioxidants. They primarily affect a plant’s color and taste. Their physiological function is to protect the plant from pests. Plants want to be unattractive to insets and microbes. That is why most herbs, spices and vegetable aromas are actually a defense to repel enemies! Organic plants are not protected by pesticides and fungicides. They are therefore very vulnerable to their predators, which makes them produce more phytochemicals to ward off attacks. This results in organic food tending to have a stronger flavor and higher phytochemical level. This means organic foods have higher antioxidant content. Antioxidants are important because they protect cells from damage by free radicals.
Factors To Take Into Consideration
Some factors everyone needs to take into consideration when deciding to buy organic include the use of chemicals, the impact on the environment from shipping, and nutrition content.
Making a decision to buy organic will really come down to your personal value system and how you weight out all of information to make a decision that is best for you.
Is it more important for you to have a chemical free diet? Is it important for you to have a diet that is not genetically modified and has hormones and additives used to grow the food? Then organic is for you!
Is it more important for you to have locally grown diet to lessen the impact on the environment? Locally grown food is also the most nutritious because of the decreased travel time to your body! If so, then locally grown food is for you!
Is it more important to for you to have a healthy lifestyle and diet and where your food comes from is really not as important as the nutritional content that healthy food provides. Then this is for you!
Whatever option you choose, it will be the right one for you.
Check out this article for a recipe using organic ingredients:
Organic ingredients can be substituted for any ingredients. Organic foods like produce, meat and cooking ingredients will sometimes taste different to you at first because they are processed differently and therefore will sometimes taste differently. Organic food is one of the fastest growing food categories in Canada and the USA. Consumers are demanding it. Organic does not mean calorie or fat free. It is important to understand that an organic cookie and a regular cookie are still sweets and contain similar calorie content and very little nutritional value. Some people forget that when they hear the word organic. They think healthy and think they can eat more organic food without any consequences. That is not the case. Organic food is also often more expensive than conventional food. This cost needs to be taken into consideration when budgeting and meal planning. Eating organic really needs to be a lifestyle not a fad.
List of produce with high levels of pesticides:
For these foods, you may want to choose the organic version if you can.
Although pesticide levels are higher in these foods, they still fall within safe levels of consumption. Rinsing your vegetables and fruit for 30 seconds under tap water will help to reduce the amount of pesticides.
Check out this video for more tips on healthy eating:
What does Sweat do for you?
Sweating is the best natural way to reduce weight. During exercise, your body sweats to burn down fats and release toxins. Therefore, sweating can give you a smoother skin and a shaped body.
Sweating can also relieve stress and help you relax. During sweating the muscles warmed up and help to overcome muscle tension, thus releasing stress and fatigue.
Sweating helps to remove used water from the cells. This helps the cells to replenish with new water. Sweating prevent us from getting sun stroke during hot climates by keeping our body temperature in normal. The excess heat is released in the form of sweats and this cool off the body.
Sweating also helps our skin to look younger and protects the skin from bacterial and fungal infections such as candidasis and staphylococcal infections. Sweat produces Dermcidin, an anti-biotic that kills the harmful bacteria.
What is Electrolytes Made of?
Sodium and chloride are sweats major electrolytes. After that is intracellular potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, amino acids and some B vitamins.
What is Sodium and Chloride?
Sodium is a positive ion in the body’s fluid, primarily found outside the cell. Chloride, another extracellular electrolyte, is a negative ion and works with sodium to regulate fluid balance and electrical impulses across the cell membrane.
One litre of sweat contains about 800-1400 mg of sodium. Where water consumption increases blood volume, water dilutes blood sodium due to increased blood volume and excessive sodium losses in sweat. The key is to replace them when exercising to keep them at a constant level.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is the main electrolyte found inside cells. Stored in muscle fibers with glycogen, potassium helps transport glucose into the muscle cell. Potassium also works with sodium and chloride to control fluid and electrolyte balance, and assists in the conduction of nerve impulses.
As your body breaks down glycogen, potassium leaves muscle cells, increasing potassium concentration in your blood and urine. Though you must replace potassium during and after exercise, high levels of potassium are not good for you. One litre of sweat contains about 150-200 mg of potassium.
What is Calcium?
Beyond teeth and bones, calcium is needed for muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve conduction, hormone secretion, enzymatic reactions and blood coagulation. Calcium also plays a central role in glycogen synthesis and breakdown. The skeleton is a huge calcium reservoir, constantly working to keep serum calcium in tight control.
Calcium is a big molecule to digest. It’s best to aim for dietary sources of 1200-1500 mg per day.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is found in every cell in your body, with the largest concentration in your bones. It’s part of more than 300 enzymes responsible for impulse transmission, muscle contraction and energy production. Tough training can deplete magnesium stores. Prolonged exercise increases that loss of magnesium from the body from sweat and urine. Unless you are diligently eating whole grains, nuts and seeds, you should consider a magnesium supplement.
Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance
Electrolytes imbalances feel a lot like dehydration and are often inseparable. A common symptom is muscle or abdominal cramping, along with light-headedness, nausea, confusion and muscle spasms.
Keeping Your Electrolytes In Check
Health professionals and most drink companies agree that water, glucose and salt with chloride are enough to avoid cramps and dehydration. If you are eating a wall balanced diet it needs to include fruits, vegetables for potassium, dairy products for calcium and nuts, seeds and whole grains for magnesium. You probably won’t need further electrolyte supplements beyond an average sports drink. Try to find one that is organic.
Things that you need to consider are temperature, intensity and the time you are spending exercising. As you exercise your body excretes electrolytes so you need to remember to replace them before it is too late.
Here is a great post workout snack to replace lost minerals:
If you are unable to match your fluid intake with your sweat output while you’re working out, post-work out replacement is the next best time to replace electrolytes. For recovery, drink water with moderately salty foods. Better yet, one cup of orange or tomato juice and a cup of milk can replace almost all the potassium, magnesium and calcium lost in a couple of litres of sweat. Some people will benefit from adding electrolytes to your drinks.
Like anything, it is best to get your source from your diet. With so many diet and muscle building supplements available it can be hard to know which ones work and which ones don’t.
A healthy balanced diet is so important to maintaining a steady supply of electrolytes in your body. Next time you get a headache post workout adjust your electrolytes for the next work out and see if that makes a difference. It is trial and error to get the right balance but it is so necessary and worth it to get the most out of our workouts!
Without a doubt, whole grains are far superior to their refined counterparts with respect to disease prevention and weight management. Complete grains contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than processed grains like white rice and bread that have had their bran and germ removed. This removes the nutrition from it! You need the extra nutrients to help support your training and recovery!
Here are some not so traditional whole grains to try!
What is Amaranth?
Amaranth was a dietary staple of the Aztecs. They incorporated it into religious ceremonies, believing that it has supernatural powers. It is oval in shape and a creamy colour.
Amaranth has the highest fiber levels of any the grains – 9 grams in one half cup uncooked. It is recommended that women and men consume 25 and 38 grams of fiber daily. Amaranth also dishes out worthy amounts of magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese and iron. It is also gluten free.
How To Use It
Amaranth has an earthy flavor that becomes even more pleasing when toasted becomes even better when toasted prior to cooking. Toast it in a skillet with a bit of oil for about 4 minutes and then add 1 cup of the grain for each 2.5 cups of boiling water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Consider adding aromatics to your cooking such as ginger, herbs and spices. Serve as a side for fish, chicken and steak.
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice is indigenous to North America. Dark wild rice is a seed of an aquatic grass traditionally harvested by the native people of the northern Midwest. Today most wild rice is commercially grown.
Wild rice has many of complex carbohydrates needed to replenish muscle energy stores. Wild rice contains the most folate of the rice varieties. Folate is a B vitamin that, on top of helping prevent birth defects, helps fend off depression and strokes as well as lowering levels of homocysteine – a protein that has been linked to heart disease and cognitive decline. Like Amaranth, wild rice is free of gluten.
How To Use
Cooked wild rice has a rich nutty, smoky flavor and chewy texture. It should be rinsed before cooking, to remove unwanted particles. For each cup of wild rice use roughly 3 cups of water and don’t expect quick results. It takes about 45-60 minutes for wild rice to fully cook. It is ready when the kernels begin to burst.
What is Barley?
Barley rates forth just behind wheat, rice and corn in terms of overall world cultivation. Much of today’s barley is used for livestock feed, to make the sweetener malt syrup, or fermented to produce beer. As a whole food, barley is extremely nutritious.
Like oats, barley contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which is a non-starch polysaccharide that reduces blood sugar spike and binds up cholesterol preventing its absorption. Thus, many studies have demonstrated that higher intakes of beta-glucan can reduce overall lousy LDL cholesterol levels, offering protection against heart disease. Barley also is very high in selenium. Acting as an antioxidant, selenium has been shown to have the ability to preserve muscle strength and prevent cognitive decline. Although most barley available commercially is pearled or pot (scotch), hulled barley has only the outer husk (hull) removed and is the most nutritious form of the grain, since the bran and germ are left intact. Hulled barley’s superior nutrient content – including more iron, thiamin and fiber – makes it worth getting! Barley does contain a small amount of gluten.
How To Use
Barley is very good added to soups, salads, casseroles and stews. Add 1 cup of barley to 2.5 cups of boiling water, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or longer. Hulled barley will need the longest to cook thoroughly.
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is the seed of a plant native to northern Europe and Asia that is related to rhubarb. In Japan, buckwheat is ground into flour to make nutritious and delicious soba noodles. Buckwheat groats, also called kasha, is whole grain buckwheat in which only an inedible hull is removed from the kernel.
Buckwheat is also gluten free. It also contains a significant amount of the amino acid lysine, making it a fairly complete protein, which will aid in repairing muscles post-workout. It’s also packed with several valuable nutrients, such as magnesium, B vitamins, copper, manganese, selenium and phosphorus. Not found in other grains, the phytochemical rutin in buckwheat is thought to halt the expansion of body fat cells, and have favorable impact on blood cholesterol.
How To Use
Buckwheat is a quick-cooking and versatile grain. It has a 15 minute simmer time. It can be used in pilafs, salads, stuffing, stir-fry’s and soups, or in place of a portion of meat in burgers and meatloaf. If you find the taste of buckwheat a little too overpowering on its own, try mixing some in with other grains like rice or quinoa when serving as a side dish.
For another article on eating whole grains check this out:
Look for the word “whole grain” on the label and in the ingredient list. Many foods containing whole grains will have the words “whole grain” followed by the name of the grain as one of the first ingredients. Products labeled with the words “multigrain,” and “organic” are not necessarily whole grain - the flour or grains in the products may be made with or consist of little or no whole grains. Be careful and research before you buy! Companies out there have been sneaky with the use of whole grain so read the labels!
Try to pick your whole grains from the organic section. Another great place to find them is in the bins at the bulk and health food stores. Quinoa, millet, spelt and kamut are other nutritional whole grains worth giving a try as well!
Circuit training is always a great way to get in shape and challenge yourself. This series of exercises focuses on three main areas: upper body, lower body and core. It is always nice to mix up your workout routine every 12 weeks in more to see progression! It challenges new muscles and helps all around to keep you motivated by seeing new results from new routines.
Try the following routine for beginner or intermediate and go through the 3 exercise circuit 3 times
The Panther Crawl
1 - Start on all fours with hands under shoulders, knees under hips and toes curled under.
2 – Tighten up your core and lift knees 2 inches off the floor. Move right hand and left foot a few inches forward.
3 – Keeping knees lifted, move left hand and right foot a few inches forward.
4 – Continue to alternative for 60 seconds. As you move, allow the elbows to rotate in, getting as close as possible to the floor.
1 – Get into the “up” part of the push up position. Draw your belly button to your spine.
2 – Keeping feet in place, walk your hands as far forward as you can. Rotate elbows in a hold for 5 seconds.
3 – With legs straight, walk feet forward to hands until you are standing with fingertips on floor.
4 – Walk hands away from feet to return to plank position. That is 1 rep.
5 – Do 10-12 reps
1 – Stand with feet wide apart and toes turned out 45 degrees.
2 – Lower hips and back to come to a squat with your knees behind toes and thighs parallel to the floor.
3 – Clasp your hands in front of you with fingers interlaced.
4 – Keep abs tightened, shoulders pushed back and weight on your heels.
5 – Squeeze your glutes as you push into your heels to spring up and forward (if you have the space)
6 – Landing gently in a plié squat again. Hold 5 seconds then repeat. Try 12-15 reps.
Remember to do this circuit through 3 times!
Monkey Push Up
1. Get into the up part of a push up with hands directly below shoulders and body in a straight line from head to heels.
2. Keep core tight. Push through toes and hop forward then land gently with feet on the opposite of hands.
3. Hop back to starting position.
4. Bend elbows keeping them close to the body to lower your body to the floor.
5. Push back up – that’s one rep.
6. Do 10-12 reps
1. Sit with legs in front of you, knees bent and feet hip-width apart on the floor.
2. Place hands shoulder width apart on floor behind you. Thumbs forward and fingertips at a slight diagonal.
3. Lift butt and extend right leg just barely off the floor. Bring left hand behind head.
4. Crunch forward – bringing right knee towards chest and rotating left elbow in to meet it.
5. For more challenge, at the same time bend right elbow to dip toward floor.
6. Return to previous position
7. Do 12-15 reps then switch sides and repeat
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
2. Bend right knee and lift leg so thigh is parallel to the floor.
3. Bend elbows.
4. Keeping your back flat and abs tight – bend left knee slightly and hinge forward from hips.
5. Reach right hand toward floor as you extend your right leg and left arm back.
6. Push into left heel and squeeze left glute to return o standing on left leg.
7. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps then switch sides and repeat.
This circuit is great because it requires no equipment and therefore you can do it anywhere! Your house, the park, the gym, hotel room, and even your deck or patio! Sometimes it’s nice to be able to take your workouts to a different location for a change of scenery and this in one circuit where it’s easy to transport. To pump up your workout even more – try adding both circuits together. This will lengthen your workout session and burn more calories.
Bonus TRICEP MOVE
Use this move when you have those flabby arms that are waiving back at you in the mirror! If you have been shying away from sleeveless dresses and halter tops then this is a move you need to incorporate into your workouts for some serious results. The key to getting this toned up is to specifically tone up your triceps muscles. Your triceps cover about two-thirds of your upper arm. Make them strong and sleek called the Triceps Body-Lifter.
1. Lie on a mat or the ground on your right side with your legs on top of each other. Knees bent 90 degrees.
2. Wrap your right arm around your waist.
3. Place your left hand on the mat or ground in front of you. Elbows slightly bent and fingers pointing away from the body.
4. Keeping your right arm in place – straighten your left arm (don’t lock your elbow) to push your upper body off the mat.
5. Lower back down to starting position.
6. Do 8-12 reps and then switch sides and repeat.
Do this move 3 times a week for the best results!
You can put this routine into your workouts when you are in need of a change, just getting started, to substitute other exercises, or to add to your current workout plan. When you are looking for cardio tips make sure to check out this video:
Cardio is an important part of any fitness program and this is a great way to burn fat fast and effectively!
Check out this article for more at home muscle building workouts:
Also remember with all this working out to keep your nutrition in check! You don’t want to be working out this hard and ruining all your work with poor eating habits!
Since nutrition is such a big part of weight loss success it is important to have the right tools in your kitchen. Some of these tools help to flavor dishes, cook items properly, reduce fat from cooking, retain essential vitamins and minerals in the food or help to prepare healthy food faster. Anything that makes eating healthy easier is always a bonus!
Muffin Tins – You can make small portions, side dishes, quiches and then freeze them for later or to serve immediately. It definitely assists in keeping portions under control for everyone in your family. This recipe would work very well in muffin tins:
Oil Mister – Filling an oil mister with oil like canola or olive will save you a lot of calories. Use it for salads, oiling pans, in recipes. A tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. Using a mister you can significantly reduce that and still have great taste and flavor to your dishes
Small Glasses and Espresso Cups – Besides the obvious – drinking espresso! Using these cups for portion controlling your desserts with help you stay on track and not over indulge. They look nice when served to guest but keep the sugar cravings satisfied with their small sizing.
An Immersion Blender – An immersion blender is a very helpful tool because of its versatility. You can whip smoothies and protein shakes right in the glass and also puree soups right in the pot. Use this healthy stock to start a nice pureed vegetable soup. It is a great way to stay satisfied while keeping the calories down!
Small Plates – Try eating off of salad plates instead of the standard dinner plates. This will just naturally keep you in check because you aren’t over filling an already too large plate.
Herb Mill – Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to add flavor to any dish without adding calories or fat. Using dried herbs is ok but nothing beats fresh herbs. Having an herb mill is a great way to ensure that those fresh herbs get used. It makes it a lot easier than cutting them up yourself. Herbs are a great substitute for using salt which will only bloat you.
Apple Divider – This is definitely a great tool to have around your kitchen. Apples are such a versatile food that it’s nice to have them cut up easily as well. For a snack, to put in salads, serve with pork, make into applesauce to use as an oil substitute in recipes and the list goes on and on. It will increase your likeliness of grabbing a healthy snack versus an unhealthy one if all it takes is one downward motion to cut through and core an apple.
Handheld Chopper – Having a handheld chopper handy makes chopping vegetables a breeze. There will be no more excuse why you can’t get your daily servings when you can chop up salads, veggies for stir-fry, ingredients for side dishes, soup mixes, and chop nuts. Turn your vegetables into instant additions to any meals easily with this tool.
Kitchen Scissors – Investing in a god pair of kitchen scissors and keeping them sharp and clean will help you stay fast in the kitchen in preparing meals. Kitchen scissors can be used to cut fat off chicken, trim up vegetables and herbs, cut pizza, and even cut bagels and breads. Make sure they are take a part ones that can be safely washed.
Zester – A zester or grater can be used to grate cheese. You end up using less which will save you calories. It is also handy for grating small amounts of chocolate. A citrus zest can be added to so many dishes to add flavor. Add zests to sauces, fish, burgers, and meats, side dishes instead of butter or salt to add flavor and no added calories or fat.
Steamer – A steamer of any kind is so great for cooking vegetables without adding oil and for also keeping in most of the nutrients. This is a very important thing you want to consider when choosing what method to cook your vegetables. A steamer can also very effectively cook fish!
Reusable Baking Liners – These non -stick baking liners help to eliminate the use of oils to grease pans and sheets. They also save the environment rather than using parchment paper every time.
Here is a Shrimp Salad Recipe that only has 188 Calories and you can use many of your new kitchen tools to make it!
TO MAKE ONE SERVING:
5 peeled large shrimp, use oil mister to spray pan and heat on nonstick skillet over medium heat, cooking until shrimp are done, add pepper and zest about ½ tablespoon of lemon while cooking. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine 1 ¼ cups of equal parts of chopped watercress, chopped fennel, chopped radishes and mist with oil and a squeeze of half the lemon for the juice. Top with fresh mint from the herb mill and 1 tablespoon of fresh feta cheese. Placed cooked shrimp on top and enjoy! Add pepper if needed.
Calories 188, Fat 11g, Protein 17g, Sugar 1g, Fiber 2g, Iron 3mg
See how awesome these tools help out in making quick and easy meals full of flavor and that are healthy?
Check out other great recipes here:
Cooking and baking can be fun especially if you have some of these great and helpful tools to make it fun! Adding these tools to your kitchen will help you to save calories and maximize the flavor in all your dishes. No more needing to add butter and salt to everything to taste good because now there are many options to boast the flavor of any dish if you have an herb mill or a zester!
When a vegetarian diet is well planned, it can meet your nutrient needs for training and fitness. The key to this is to get enough energy from other sources then meat and to replace key nutrients found in animal products. If planned and executed properly a vegetarian diet has many potential health benefits. They include lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Other benefits include lower blood cholesterol levels and a lower risk for gallstones and intestinal problems.
Vegetarians need to make sure that they are getting an adequate supply of zinc, B12, calcium, iron and Vitamin D. These are all things that meat eaters get from animal sources. Always check with a doctor regarding your diet and how to supplement with vitamins.
Zinc is an essential mineral in the diet. Generally ample amounts of zinc are found in meat. To replace zinc, vegetarians can choose these foods: beans and chickpeas, soy nuts, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds and yogurt.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally only in animal products. If you don’t eat eggs or dairy products, include foods fortified with vitamin B12 like soy beverages and meat substitutes (veggie dogs, veggie burgers).
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are important for healthy bones, muscles and nerves. Dairy products, fortified soy beverages and some fortified orange juices provide both. Almonds, figs, beans, tahini, tofu set with calcium, turnip or collard greens, broccoli and kale also provide calcium. Vitamin D is also made when the sun hits bare skin. In the late fall or winter in Canada, our bodies can’t make enough vitamin D from the sun. If you train indoors most of the time, you may be at risk for low vitamin D. A supplement with 200 IU of vitamin D daily would be a good solution.
Vegetarians need almost twice as much iron of non-vegetarians because iron from plant foods is poorly absorbed. Training can increase your need for iron too. Iron deficiency leads to fatigue and can impair your performance. Make sure you eat enough iron rich foods every day. Choose from beans, lentils, seeds, soy, and whole grain or fortified cereals, breads and pastas. Include a source of vitamin C like citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli to help your body absorb the iron from plant foods.
Food – Portion Size – Calories (cal) – Protein (in grams – gm)
Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin/squash seeds 1 oz, 85 seeds 126 cal 5 gm
Black walnuts 1 oz 173 cal 7 gm
Pine nuts 1 oz, 167 kernels 190 cal 4 gm
Roasted almonds 1 oz, 22 count 171 cal 6gm
Pistachios 1 oz 49 count 161 cal 6gm
Sunflower seeds 1 oz 166 cal 5 gm
Peanuts without shells 1 oz 160 cal 7 gm
Cashews 1 oz 18 kernels 164 cal 4 gm
Hemp seeds 2 T 160 cal 11gm
Flax seeds 1 T 100 cal 4 gm
Ricotta cheese lowfat ½ c 171 cal 14 gm
Romano cheese 1 oz 108 cal 9 gm
Cheddar cheese 1 oz 113 cal 7 gm
Provolone cheese 1 oz 98 cal
Mozzarella 1 oz 71 cal 7 gm
Parmesan 1 oz 116 cal 7 gm
Gouda cheese 1 oz 100 cal 8 gm
Swiss cheese 1 oz 100 cal 8gm
Feta cheese ½ c crumbled 200 cal 21 gm
Cottage cheese 2% low fat 1 cup 163 cal 28 gm
Egg 1 whole 77 cal 6 gm
Egg whites 1 whole 16 cal 4 gm
Milk 1 cup 137 cal 10 gm
Yogurt low fat 1 cup 137 cal 14 gm
Sun-dried tomatoes ½ cup (1 oz) 72 cal 4gm
Soy beans 1 oz 35 cal 4 gm
Tofu ½ cup 95 cal 10gm
Navy beans 4 oz 88 cal 8 gm
Peas 4 oz 108 cal 8 gm
Lima beans 4 oz cal 88 cal 5 gm all
Brussel sprouts 1 cup 65 cal 6 gm
Spinach 1 cup chopped 65 cal 6 gm
Broccoli 1 cup spears 52 cal 6 gm
Asparagus ½ cup 20 cal 2 gm
Apricots dried ½ cup 190 cal 3 gm
Peaches dried ½ cup 185 cal 3 gm
Cereal, bread, grains and pasta
Oat bran 1 oz 59 cal 5 gm
Oats 1 oz 109 cal 5 gm
Spaghetti, whole wheat dry 2 oz 198 cal 8 gm
Buckwheat 1 oz 96 cal 4 gm
Couscous dry 1 oz 105 cal 4 gm
Bulgur dry 1 oz 96 cal 3 gm
Millet raw 1 oz 106 cal 3 gm
Rice, brown long grain cooked 1 cup 216 cal 5 gm
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 69 cal 4 gm
Oatmeal bread 1 slice 73 cal 2 gm
Rye bread 1 slice 83 cal 2 gm
Whole wheat pita bread 4” diameter 74 cal 3 gm
Quinoa – 1 cup cooked – 170 cal – 7gm
Here is a vegetarian recipe to get you started:
This one too:
Check out this video for tips on how to incorporate fitness into your routine as well!
This article also has great information for vegetarian diets to source fats, proteins and carbs from my husband, Vince:
Vegetarians tend to consume less cholesterol and saturated fat then meat-eaters. They are also known to consume more beneficial fibre, vitamins and antioxidants than meat-eaters. There is also the cost savings of buying meat alternatives versus purchasing meat. The savings can be significant.
Vegetarian diets for women can be very successful and provide many benefits if it is planned out right. Starting with figuring out your protein needs and finding substitutes will ensure that you are not filling up on empty calories that will just add weight on! Protein is the best way to feel fuller longer. Like anything in life, smart choices will work to your advantage.
Whatever your current physical shape and your fitness goals, getting injured sure is not one of them! No one starts a new fitness routine or is part of one with the intention of getting hurt. This article will highlight some common injuries that females can get if not training properly. In recent years there has been an increase in gym related injuries so this is important information to understand for your fitness future!
There are basically two categories for workout-related injuries:
The first is poor posture during the day, which eventually weakens your entire musculoskeletal structure. To prevent this, make sure your computer screen is positioned in a way that you’re not straining or hunching to see it.
The second is trying to do too much too fast, in both reps and weight.
To get started, find a certified personal trainer (to make sure you’re using the right technique). Make sure they are certified in your area! Also try to set realistic goals. Unrealistic goals tend to lead to going to hard too soon.
Common Females Gym Injuries:
FOOT AND ANKLE
Cause: People spend their days in front of their computer with rounded shoulders. When your shoulders are rounded and you stand up, your weight falls to the front of your foot. Take that misplaced center of gravity and put it into running shoes, which naturally tip you forward with a heel higher than the toe, and your feet and ankles start to bear the brunt of any impact.
Prevention: Look for a running shoe that isn’t too high in the heel, or try a walking shoe, cross trainer or tennis shoe. By helping spread the impact to the whole foot, you’ll prevent problems like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, anterior compartment syndrome (a compression in the front of the ankle), lateral compression syndrome (a compression at the side of the ankle) and bunions.
Cause: Sitting all day is again a cause of knee problems. Not using hip muscles during the day then deciding to go kickboxing or do boot camp is hard on the knees! If your feet aren’t stable, due to improper footwear, and our hip muscles aren’t strong, the knee gets all the stress. Exercises like leg extensions, curls, and presses don’t help resolve the problem because they don’t strengthen the muscles of the feet and hips.
Prevention: A better exercise would be lunges. With a lunge your hip and ankle are bending together, stabilizing and strengthening the knee. Lunging backwards and forwards as well as side to side really help with strength.
Cause: Sitting all day at a desk. If someone is rounded throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym and do an overhead shoulder lift standing, their upper back cannot extend properly. They straighten and arch upward from their lower back, which has a nervous breakdown. This can cause anything from soreness to more permanent injury because it’s getting all the stress.
Prevention: Remember to stretch and strengthen your upper back to compensate for all that hunching you do at the office. A suggestion would be super-setting in straight-armed wall squats in with the rest of your lifting regimen. This is how you perform it: Sit against a wall. Flatten your lower back into the wall, by tilting your pelvis under you. Straighten your arms in front of you, and try to raise arms up to your ears, without letting a gap form behind your lower back. And whenever you can, exercise standing up. Standing helps you engage bigger muscles in your body.
Cause: This is definitely another case sitting all day at a desk. Your arms have to internally rotate when you type, which puts pressure on the shoulders. Then you go to the gym and do chest presses, shoulder presses, pushups, all also with your arms rotated in. What’s the outcome? Supraspinatus tendonitis, an overuse injury of the rotator cuff.
Prevention: You need to externally rotate your arms to balance your shoulders, and a great way to do that is by rowing with cables. Grab the cables in front of you and pull the arms back, rotating your palms away from you and behind you.
Cause: The other four areas being out of whack lead to a misalignment in your neck. If you sit with rounded shoulders, your neck follows your upper back, but then your eyes need to look at the screen, so you arch your neck and you get pain. As if work wasn’t a pain in the neck enough, you get to the gym and that poor posture follows you all the way to the bench press, where the real trouble starts. When you’re lying on the bench but your back isn’t flush with the pad. A lack of mobility and extension in your upper back will put stress on your lower back and neck.
Prevention: Clearly, when doing the bench press, make sure your lower back and neck are supported properly. Then, avoid putting additional stress on your neck with exercises that cause you to raise your arms over your head, especially if you’ve just put in a 12-hour day. Finally, strengthen your mid and upper back—and improve your posture—by doing reverse shrugs. Sit at the lat pull down. Grab the bar in front of you and do straight arm pull downs. Pull down just the shoulder blades—not the arms—and go just slightly in front of you for three to four inches. You’ll feel it in your lower traps—which, once strong, will help you maintain your posture—and health—whether you’re at the office or at the gym.
Too Hard, Too Fast
The other way, besides sitting all day and then going to work out to injury yourself is to go too hard, too fast.
This can be prevented by:
Appropriate fitness program for your fitness level
Seeking professional advice
Knowing your limits
Setting Realistic Goals
Understanding the equipment and how it works
Starting slow and working your way up
Not making too many changes to your routine at one time
Using proper shoes
Stretching after your workout
As you can see, without a real goal in mind in your female fitness routine, it can be easy to get injured. The goal is injury prevention in all cases so it is important to get all of the facts before starting a new workout routine. For more information on starting a new female fitness routine check this video out:
When you combine multiple exercises in to a single workout program you get great workouts just for women. When you combine my targeted exercises you get the results you are looking for in the fastest way possible. This is known as circuit training and for females it can produce really great results!
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training involves performing a series of strength training exercises with less than the normal amount of rest. The rest between sets is purposefully not enough for complete recovery.
There are many ways to design a circuit. You could pick ten exercises and do one set of each with no rest. You could go several times through a circuit with no rest. You could do a series of exercises with work intervals and rest intervals. Circuits can be intense and as short as 12 minutes or they can be as long as an hour. The variable are limitless so it may seem confusing but the main point is to do more work in less time than you would in a “normal” weight training session.
What Is Circuit Training Good For?
How Does Circuit Training Work?
Circuit training falls under the broad category of metabolic training. Metabolic training responds to the volume of work done. Cardiovascular training is a type of metabolic training for example. In contrast, max strength and max speed training are not metabolic in nature. In general metabolic training and maximum intensity (central nervous system) training are incompatible with one another. This is why circuit work will not make you faster or help with your power production. Circuit training does accomplish two goals.
1. Circuit training causes buildup of lactic acid in the body. Circuit training is challenging because accumulating lactic acid is unpleasant and can even make athletes nauseated. The benefit is that the body learns to better buffer the acidosis and this leads to much better strength endurance.
2. Circuit training releases growth hormones in the body. It is theorized that the growth hormone released allows fat loss with minimal muscle atrophy and this is why circuit training is effective at creating favorable changes in body composition.
When Is Circuit Training Effective?
Circuit training is best used:
Summary and application
Circuit training involves a series of strength training exercises with incomplete recovery. The goal of circuit training is to accumulate lactic acid and release growth hormone in the body. You can expect to see increases in work capacity and muscular endurance but not increases in speed or strength.
In designing a circuit, choose exercises that work the large muscle groups and that do not require much skill or coordination. Form will be difficult to maintain under conditions of fatigue. If you feel nauseated, stop the workout early and increase your rest intervals next time you do the workout.
Circuit Training VS Weight Lifting Benefits:
Circuit Training Benefits
One of the biggest advantages of circuit training is time efficiency. If you only have an hour or less to get cardio and strength training in, you can pack a lot into a well-designed circuit training workout. In addition, because there is little rest between exercises in circuit training, the heart rate stays elevated and you can continue to burn calories at a higher rate for hours after your workout is completed.
In addition to building strength, which is done through high volume and lower weight exercises, and building size, which is done through low volume and higher weight exercises, weightlifting also helps with bone density strength, greater energy and metabolic function, better balance and often better performance in sports.
Hack Squat (light weight) 20
Walking Lunge (bodyweight) 20 total
Step Up (bodyweight & high step)
Dynamic Step Up 10 each leg <– click link to see how to preform
Repeat that for a total of 3 -4 sets
Laying Hamstring Curl (heavy) 8
Hip Extension (using the pad of the hamstring curl – where legs go under) 15/leg
Weighted Glute-Hamstring Bridge (heavy) 15-20
Split Squat Jump 20 (10/leg)
Repeat for a total of 3-4 sets
* No rest in between exercises in the circuit. Rest 60 seconds between sets and 90 seconds when changing circuits.
Weighted Curtsy Lunge x 12/side
Lateral Lunge with Resistance Band x 10/side
Toe Hops off Bench x 15/side
Repeat x 2
Reverse Hyperextension x 15
Leg Extension x 20
Wall sit x 30 seconds
Repeat x 2
* See Leg Exercises To Burn Fat Fast for exercise demonstration video
Exercise Combo 1:
Standing Shoulder Push Press – 4 x 10
Exercise Combo 2:
Cable Side Lateral Raise – 4 x 8 (plus a drop set for the last set)
Cable Front Raise – 4 x 10
Exercise Combo 3:
Leaning Prone Lateral Side Raise (dumbbells out to the side) – 4 x failure which is about 10
Prone Front Raise (dumbbells out in front) – 4 x failure…8-10
Rear Fly Machine – 1 x 25
Parallel Bar Tricpes Dip – 4 x failure
Exercise Combo 2:
Cable Press Down – 4 x 8 with drop set on last set
Overhead Triceps Pressdown - 4 x 12
Dumbbell Arm Extension - 4 x 12 – Click here for video
Dumbbell Tricpes Kickback – 1 x 25
The chain of exercises put into a circuit will produce an effective workout routine for any female looking for results that deliver and a body that you dream of. Of course hard work and sticking to the program also is a factor when achieving desired results!