Monthly Archives: June 2017

Full Body Strength Circuit

We know that strength training is important and we should include it in our weekly fitness routine. Sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time or are unable to get to the gym.   That was the case for me this morning.  I wanted to get in a strength workout at home, but wanted to do something new and fun.  I found some papers with random workouts that I had scribbled down on and developed a full body circuit that was fun and effective!

I began with a 5 min warm up by walking my dog!  Then I started the circuit:

Jumping jacks and high knees:  You could also jump rope, jog in place, burpees.  Anything to get your heart rate up.

Push ups:  Start in plank position and remember to engage your abdominals.  You can always keep your knees on the floor if needed.

Squat with shoulder press:  Hold dumbbells in each hand.  Lower into a squat with weights on front of shoulders.  As you stand up, press dumbbells overhead then slowly return to shoulders.

Plank Row:  Hold a dumbbell in each hand in plank position, holding yourself up on the dumbbells.  Pull right arm up to your chest then left.  Alternate right and left.  Perform 15 on each side.

Stationary lunge with hammer curl:  With a dumbbell in each hand, hold a lunge position with right leg forward.  Perform 10 bicep hammer curls as you stay in lunge position.  Do the same with left leg forward.

Triceps dip:  Sit on a bench or chair with hands on edge.  Position feet away from bench and slide your rear off with heels resting on floor with legs straight.  Lower your body by bending your arms.  Raise and repeat.

Plank:  Lie down on stomach and get in plank position.  Hold elbows close to side, engage your abdominals and lift your torso and thighs off floor.  Don’t let your low back sag and avoid hiking your hips too high.  Do not hold your breath.  Keep your abs strong.  Hold for one minute.  Take breaks if unable to hold for entire 60 seconds.

V-sit with rotation: Sit on floor with trunk upright.  Lean back and bring legs up to about 45 degree bend.  With back straight, rotate side to side while holding dumbbell. Perform 15 reps per side.

Glute bridges:  Lie on back with feet flat on floor hip width apart.  Pushing mainly with your heels, lift hips off floor while keeping back straight and abdominals strong.  Avoid arching your low back as you press your hips upward.  Slowly lower back down to starting position.  Repeat.

Try this Full Body Strength Circuit! Click To Tweet

Once finished, take a 90 second break and repeat up to 3 times.

It’s always nice to mix things up and try something new.  Although I’ve done these particular exercises before, performing them in circuit style is something different.  I hope you find this full body strength circuit challenging and fun!



Portion Distortion: Be Aware!

Just how big should a brownie, bagel, or sandwich be?  Over the past 25 years, portions sizes have gotten bigger and so have we!  Restaurant meals are so large and are usually enough for two people (supersize me?).  Even items off the kids menu are sometimes more than an adult could/should eat.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, “Market place food portions now exceed federal standards.  Portion size increases began in the 1970’s, increased significantly again in the 1980’s and have continued to coincide with increasing body weights.”

A large serving of food pushes you to eat more and allows you to underestimate how much you’re eating.  This adds up.  One hundred extra calories per day equals ten extra pounds a year!  This can easily happen due to the increase in portion sizes offered by restaurants and prepared foods from the grocery store.

Some examples of increases in portion sizes/calories in common foods 25 years ago vs. today:

Bagel:  3-in diameter 140 calories vs. 6-in diameter 350 calories

Cheeseburger:  330 calories vs. 530 calories

Spaghetti & meatballs:  1 cup 500 calories vs. 2 cups 1,025 calories

Soda:  6.5 oz. 85 calories vs. 20 oz. 300 calories

French fries:  2.4 oz. 210 calories vs. 6.9 oz. 610 calories

As you can see, it is too easy to overeat and not even realize it due to today’s portion sizes.  I thought this quote was hilarious……..

Here are some examples of serving sizes offered by popular restaurant chains and what a typical serving size should be:

Panera Bread Sierra Turkey Sandwich is 11 oz and a serving should be 5 oz.

Olive Garden Lasagna Classico is 2 cups and a serving should be 1 cup.

McDonald’s Small Chocolate Shake is 12 fl. oz and a serving should be 8 fl. oz.

IHOP Harvest Grain ‘N Nut Pancakes is 9 oz and a serving should be 4 oz.

California Pizza Kitchen Margherita Crispy Thin Crust Pizza is 13 oz and a serving should be 5 oz.

As you can see, you can be eating larger portions only because the restaurant sells a serving in super sizes!  My husband always reminds me that most people don’t know or understand what a serving size should be or how to read a nutrition label to determine the serving size.

In the past, I thought it was crazy to blame fast food restaurants or food companies for the rise in obesity.  Now I can understand, especially for individuals who eat out all the time.  Also, the increases in portion sizes has followed the increase in obesity rates.

However, I do believe we need to take responsibility for our actions and not blame the food industry.  We need to be aware of what we’re eating and what a proper portion size is.  An easy way to figure out proper portion sizes is to visually compare food portions with common household items.  Eyeballing these amounts is much easier than breaking out the food scale or measuring cups!

1 cup = a baseball or clenched fist

1/2 cup = half a baseball or 2 golf balls

1 teaspoon = tip of thumb to first joint

1 tablespoon = 3 thumb tips

1.5 oz. of cheese =  4 stacked dice

3 oz. of cooked meat or poultry = deck of cards or roughly the palm of your hand

3 oz. of grilled/baked fish = checkbook

Portion Distortion: BE AWARE! Click To Tweet

Awareness is key.  Next time you eat out, be aware of your portion sizes.  Don’t convince yourself that it’s an appropriate, healthy serving.  Downsize your portions to help put an end to portion distortion!  It will bring valuable benefits for your life and health!!

Have you noticed the growing portion sizes?

Do you think restaurants play a role in the rising obesity rates?



Staying Active on Vacation

Coming home from vacation is bitter sweet.  My family and I were ready to come home, but once home I couldn’t help but miss this beautiful scenery…….

We were away for 11 days.  I am a creature of habit, so I definitely missed my daily routine.  With a time difference of 6 hours, it’s been a bit challenging to “get back to normal.”

One part of my daily routine that I stuck with was running.  I was fortunate to run most mornings and was usually back before my girls were even awake.   When on vacation, one thing I make sure of is that my running or fitness activities do not interfere with any family time.

Being on vacation is a time to relax, unwind, and take a break.   With that said, you should be able to incorporate some physical activity into your plans.  It is possible to balance exercise and enjoying your vacation!  Here are some ways to stay active while on vacation:

1. Get up early and exercise before everyone wakes up.  I always wake up early so this works out perfectly.  It’s nice to get in a workout before the day gets started.  Another option is to exercise with your family.  I managed to get my daughters to run one mile with me!

2. Stay at a hotel or resort that has a fitness facility.  I used the gym at our resort only once.  It felt good to lift some weights and get in a quick strength workout.  Having access to a fitness facility is always a nice option to have.

3. Pack resistance bands.  These are light and easy to sneak into your luggage.  Resistance bands are a convenient way to work out in your hotel room or condo.  Bodyweight exercises are also a great option.

4. Sight seeing.  The best way to take in all the beautiful scenery is by foot.  Be sure to pack some walking shoes.  Flip flops aren’t the best for walking long distances!

5. Walk to dinner.  A nice walk to and from dinner is a great way to, not only get in some exercise, but allows you to enjoy the fresh air and will also help with digesting your food after dinner.

6. Try something new.  Depending on the location of your trip, you can almost always find something new to try.  Hiking, biking, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, hula lessons, or beach volleyball.  We had fun tossing a football on the beach or in the pool.  My husband and daughter enjoyed snorkeling.

7. Drink lots of water!  This may not be a fitness activity, but it’s so important to drink plenty of water especially if you are in a hot environment.  We purchased so much bottled water!  (luckily our resort had recycling)  Staying hydrated is crucial in order to feel good while being active.

8.  Along with staying hydrated, try to make healthy food choices.  I had my fair share of treats while on vacation, but I also chose healthy options while dining out.  Doing this will help you feel good and stay on track.

Do you have a vacation planned? Read these tips to Stay Active on Vacation! Click To Tweet

Going on vacation doesn’t mean you have to abandon your fitness routine.  There are plenty of ways to stay active.   If you incorporate some type of physical activity each day, you will most likely feel your best!

Do you exercise while on vacation?

Do you have any tips?