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FAQ’s about Exercise and your Heart

Category : Exercise

February is Heart Health Month

 

Of course, you’ve heard that you can reduce your risk of heart disease with exercise, but we wanted answer some FAQ’s about Exercise and your Heart because the confused mind won’t take action.

 

How Much? How Often? Read more about the American Heart Association’s recommendations

 

What should my heart rate be? Read more about monitoring your intensity level

 

Should I do Cardio or Strength first? Read more…it depends

 

How can I get the most out of cardio training? Read more about maximizing your cardio

 

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Managing Stress this Holiday Season

Category : Active Living

Americans, in general,  are stressed out and the holidays just put the icing on the cake.  According to the American Medical Association, stress is a factor in more than 75% of sickness today. Also, according to the World Health Organization, stress is America’s #1 Health Problem.

Don’t let stress ruin your holidays!

 

Read Managing Stress this Holiday Season

 

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Pumpkin Workout

Category : Exercise

The Pumpkin Workout is designed to help you burn off any extra calories you happen to eat on Halloween.
 
Grab a pumpkin and let’s get going!
 
Exercise #1: Pumpkin swings
 
Exercise #2: Step back lunge with a pumpkin twist
 
Exercise #3: Side-to-side lunge with a pumpkin curl
 
Exercise #4: Sumo squat with pumpkin up & over
 

Every time your eat a piece of candy do this workout & have fun!
 
P.S. The pumpkin I used for this video weighed 7 1/2 pounds and it was plenty heavy. If you can’t find a pumpkin that’s the right weight for you it’s OK to use a med ball or a hand weight instead.

 

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Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon

Category : Healthy Eating

by Karin Jennings

I recently read a very interesting article about the nutritional benefits of watermelon. I have always been a fan of this fabulous fruit because it’s refreshing and sweet, but I learned there are even more reasons to enjoy watermelon!

Why eat watermelon?

  • First of all, it’s a great source of vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium.
  • Secondly, it will help you stay hydrated because it is 92% water.
  • Also it contains citrulline and lycopene, according to Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a professor of horticulture in the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University. (She has been studying watermelon nutrients for 15 years!!)

How does citrulline benefit your body?

I hadn’t heard of this non-essential amino acid prior reading about it last week, but here’s what found out: It is involved in producing nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure which benefits the both the brain and heart. It also helps to flush the kidneys.

How does lycopene benefit your body?

The tomato industry has been touting the benefits of lycopene for a while now (I see it on every bottle of ketchup), but it turns out that lycopene is more abundant and easily absorbed from watermelon than from tomatoes. (That’s good…I like watermelon better!) Lycopene reduces plaque build up in arteries and helps prevent prostate cancer.

For those of you who prefer lists…watermelons will improve the following:

  • muscle pain after workouts
  • blood pressure
  • plaque build up in arteries
  • inflammation of the prostate
  • erectile dysfunction
  • menopause symptoms
  • acid reflux

Watermelon is a very healthy snack…here’s the nutritional information:

Two cups of watermelon contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 21 grams of carbohydrates (mostly sugars)
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of protein

What about all the sugar?

Don’t worry, according to Perkins-Veazie there is an enzyme present in watermelon which regulates the glucose. It is much healthier than any pre-packaged, processed snack you can buy off the shelf!

Go ahead, enjoy your watermelon!!

 

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Spring Fitness Tips

Category : Active Living

If you hibernated over the winter here are some Spring fitness tips to help you get started!

 

Start Slowly

 

Our best advice is to start slowly to avoid injury.  The idea is to “Spring” into fitness; not SLAM into fitness. Begin with three days of cardio exercise and two days of strength exercise.

 

Cardio recommendations

 

Start with walking or another low-impact exercise.

 

You can do this outdoors if the weather permits or use indoor cardio equipment either at your home or our studio. Warm-up your ankles such as tapping your toes, heel raises, and ankle circles.

 

Week 1 20 minutes on three days of the week
Week 2 20 minutes on four days of the week OR 30 minutes on three days.
Week 3 20 minutes on five days of the week or 30 minutes on four days.
Week 4 30 minutes on five days.

 

Once you have built up to five days per week, stick with it. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

Having trouble finding the time?

30 minutes is only 2% of 24 hours!

 

Strength Training recommendations

 

The America Heart Association (and XO Fitness) recommend strength training two non-consecutive days each week.

 

Consulting a certified fitness professional is definitely a good idea because good form and proper exercise selection will improve your results and reduce your risk of getting injured.  As your body adapts to the extra demands of strength training you may eventually want to add a third day of strength training.

 

Stretching recommendations

 

The BEST time to work on your flexibility is AFTER your workout because your muscles are warm and pliable.  Many people blow-off this part of the workout, but flexibility training is just as important as cardiovascular and strength training. Most important stretches for most people include those for your hip flexors and chest/front of shoulders. Try these!

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Spring Clean Your Pantry

Category : Healthy Eating

Now is the time to spring clean your pantry!

 

  • Want to lose weight?
  • Want to have more energy?
  • Want to feel good about what you are eating?

Cleaning out your pantry and changing your shopping patterns may seem like a lot of work up front, however once you have adopted the whole foods lifestyle you will feel much better about what you and your family are eating, have more energy and most likely lose weight.

You can do it…click here to find out how!!

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A Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

Category : Healthy Eating

Dear Friends:

Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner goes hand-in-hand with a super-sized meal followed reclining (or napping) on the couch. Sound familiar?

XO Fitness wants to help you enjoy a Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

If you’re in charge of dinner or helping to plan, keep these tips in mind (even if you aren’t in charge,# 3, #4, #6, #7 are key to your healthy Thanksgiving:

1) Schedule the meal earlier in the day.  Having the big meal at noon or 2 PM will give your body time to digest it before bedtime. Also, if you’ve finished dinner before dark you can go outdoors for some fresh air and possibly a walk.

2) Serve small dishes every hour or so. Another suggestion, turn Thanksgiving into an all- day celebration this will spread the calories out throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to feel over-stuffed.

3) Take very small portions. As you fill your plate, remember there are typically a lot more dishes on the table to choose from compared to your ordinary meal. With this in mind, take very small portions so you have room to “taste” everything.

4) Minimize the carb overload. Instead of eating sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls choose only one or two of these dishes.  It will save a ton of calories and you’ll feel less ‘stuffed!’ (pun intended!) By the way, making cauliflower mashed potatoes is a great alternative regular mashed potatoes!

5) Serve appetizers. Prior to the main meal, serve a colorful vegetable platter, delicious soup and/or salad.

6) Serve lots of vegetables. Offer two or three different types of vegetables at the table (and they don’t have to be heavy-duty casseroles…just simple steamed or roasted vegetables).

7) Drink water. Set out water glasses for everyone with dinner.

Have a Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan & Karin and the XO Fitness Training team

Comments Off on 8 Tips for Eating Healthier on Thanksgiving

8 Tips for Eating Healthier on Thanksgiving

Category : Healthy Eating

Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner goes hand-in-hand with a huge meal followed reclining (or napping) on the couch…here are hints to help you feel great instead of stuffed!

1) Don’t starve yourself.

Depriving yourself all day in anticipation of a big meal is not a good idea. Doing this just sets you up for a binge. You should definitely eat a healthy breakfast and depending upon when the big meal is being served you may need to eat a healthy snacks such as fruits or vegetables so that you aren’t ravenous by the time you sit down at the table.

2) Schedule the meal earlier in the day.

Having the big meal as early as possible is a good idea because it gives your body a chance to digest your food before bedtime. Usually I’d suggest noon, but since the Packer game will be in full swing, perhaps an early evening meal  would be more realistic (with light snacks during the game, of course).

3) Take very small portions.

As you fill your plate, remember there are typically a lot more dishes on the table to choose from compared to your ordinary meal. With this in mind, take very small portions so you have room to “taste” everything.

4) Minimize the carb overload.

Just because sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls are on the table doesn’t mean you have to eat them all. You might not be in charge of planning the meal, but you are in charge of what goes on your plate and into your mouth. You can choose  NOT to put all of these carb-laden foods on your plate…just pick your favorite. It will save a ton of calories and you’ll feel less ‘stuffed!’ (pun intended!)

5) Eat lots of vegetables.

Put veggies on your plate first so that they take up the majority of the space. Eat a salad first if  one has been provided…better yet, offer to bring a salad. Beware of  heavy-duty casseroles…look for simple plain vegetables.

6) Avoid seconds.

Remember you will most likely be having dessert too, so one serving of dinner is enough. Pause and tune in to how you really feel…are you actually hungry or are you just trying to please your host by accepting seconds? It’s ok to say “no thank you” and perhaps offer to take home a small amount of left-overs instead. (If your mom is like mom she will appreciate this!)

7) Drink water.

Drink a glass of water immediately before you eat.

8) Drink alcohol only in moderation.

Remember that alcohol has a lot of empty calories and also lowers your inhibitions so you may throw caution to the wind and eat more than you intended.

 Enjoy your family, friends and food (in that order) and you will feel great!

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XO Foodie: Curry Pumpkin Hummus

Category : Healthy Eating

Lori & Eben shared this Curry Pumpkin Hummus recipe with us. It was delicious! Eben says he rarely follows a recipe, but (mostly) followed this one:

Ingredients

1 T extra virgin olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, minced

1 T curry powder

1.5 T honey

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) unsweetened Pumpkin Puree

1.5 t finely minced fresh ginger

1.5 t koser or sea salt

In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add curry and saute for 1 additional minute. Stir in honey and remove from heat.

In a food processor, chop garbanzos until they are finely mashed.  Add pumpkin, ginger, salt and garlic mixture. Process until hummus is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside for a least 1 hour.

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

Sorry, no pictures…we ate it all up before I thought of that!!

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Fall Fitness Routine

Category : Active Living

by Karin Jennings

The trouble with summer is that people tend to be very inconsistent about exercising. This happens for a multitude of reasons: a) it’s hot; b) the kids are home;c) week-long vacations and travel; d) relying on outdoor activities like gardening and walking for exercise.

Now that it’s Fall, it’s time to get your fall fitness routine together!

How to start? ”Back to School” and “Back to Fitness” have a lot of similarities. The “Three R’s” of fitness include: 1) Regular Routine, 2) ‘Rite it down, and 3) ‘Rithmetic.

1) Regular Routine

Consistency is the key to success. Schedule your exercise. “I am going to get in shape this fall” is far too vague. Instead, say “I am going to exercise for 30 minutes three days a week for the next 4 weeks.” You should consider being even more specific and schedule the days you will exercise on your calendar. Notice how this statement is measurable in couple of ways (minutes of exercise & days per week) it also has a time frame of 4 weeks. Remember that nobody’s perfect, if you miss a day try to reschedule it as soon as possible. Progress, not perfection should be your mantra.

2) ‘Rite it down

Three things you should consider writing down:

Your goals.

Post them somewhere you can see them regularly and act upon them. It is important to review your goals daily…for one minute. Spencer Johnson, M.D., in his book The One Minute Mother gives us this motivational quote: “I take a minute, I look at my goals, I look at my behavior, I see if my behavior matches my goals”.

Record your workouts.

It may seem silly, but most grown-ups are just as motivated as grade-schoolers by something as simple as a chart on the wall with gold stars. Try this at home: Place a calendar which is dedicated to keeping track of your workouts in a prominent location such as your refrigerator. Everyday you workout give yourself a star on the calendar. You may also want to record your time, distance and/or the activities you completed. How many minutes and/or miles you complete weekly or monthly? This will keep you motivated to keep moving.

Record what you are eating.

If one of your goals is to lose weight, a food log is an excellent way to get started. Studies show that writing down everything you eat throughout the day can double your weight loss. This works because it makes you much more aware of what you are putting in your mouth.

3) ‘Rithmetic

A lot of us are motivated by the numbers.

Most people feel they MUST weigh themselves, however don’t measure success by that number alone. Here are some other numbers to consider:

Body composition

This is the ratio of fat to lean body tissue and it is much more important. This can be measured with a skin fold calipers or a bio-impedance device. If you would like to have this measured by a trainer at our studio please let us know.

Inches lost

It’s tricky to use a tape measure and because it’s hard to measure at exactly the same spot the next time, so instead identify a piece of clothing that’s a little too tight right now and try it on again in 4 weeks to see if it fits better.

Measure your fitness

How many push-ups you can do without stopping, how many chair squats you can complete in 30 seconds and how long can you stand on one foot?How long does it takes you to walk/run a specific distance such as one mile (works best on a track)? Re-test every four weeks and you will be impressed with yourself!

Turn over a new leaf…follow the “Three R’s” and get your fall fitness routine in shape!

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