Those bike seats are really, really tiny

"Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger" Kayne West, Stronger

Time and circumstance forced me into an alternate exercise after I was attacked by a dog a couple of months ago. I had just dusted off my running shoes when *snap* I got bit on the foot. I think more than anything that day I was torqued because instead of running a couple of miles I was now spending my afternoon in the emergency room.

A couple of days after I was able to walk without limping I dusted off my bike and went for a little ride. That little ride became a longer ride the next day and an even longer ride the next. Despite the initial ache in my, er, bottom line I quickly grew used to that itty bitty seat and was able to enjoy my outings. I had recently changed my diet and with all the biking I was doing I started to see some major changes...and I could make out my hamstrings again!

Biking can be considered "low impact" exercise. It doesn't stress the knees like running does so it's a great exercise for those with knee problems. But if your hauling ass and fussing with those gears you will see a serious workout by the time you are finished--no matter what your age.

If you are going to consider digging your own bike out of the garage allow me to make some important recommendations:
1. Get a helmet. Safety first! Yes, you'll look goofy...but better to look goofy than look beat the hell up--or worse--if you have an accident.
2. Plan your rides. Can you ride on a bike trail? Stay away from heavy traffic areas and always tell someone where you are going.
3. Always carry identification.
4. Always carry lots of water.

Wanna go for a ride?

What was that again?

Wow, it's dusty in here!
*cough cough*
I was taking a guilty look around when I realized that I left the impression that I was having a knee replacement surgery last year. Well, I didn't have knee replacement surgery. Instead I had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in one fell swoop. Should you be interested in how that turned out go over and take a peek here where I documented the experience.


In the news

Losing weight, getting healthier and stronger may not be the only effect you'll get from exercising.

"From surprise orgasms to black toes, a number of strange things can happen to the body when put through its paces. These issues often occur when the exercise is intense, when it lasts a long time and is atypical -- running a marathon, for example."

The trick to maintaining a healthy balance, however, is moderation.

Read the full article from ABCNews.com here.


A special In The News "Huh?"

I'm all for getting healthy. I'm all for losing that extra poundage that impedes our health. I'm not, however, all for publicly humiliating a client (or, in Alabama's case, state employees) into losing weight. That sort of "motivation" doesn't work. There are better ways to encourage folks to get moving and get healthy:
Create walking clubs for employees while on breaks. (Hopefully natural progression would have folks evolving into running clubs!)
Create walking trails for walking clubs for employees on breaks.
Offer only healthy food in office buildings and cafeterias.
Create "stair incentives" to encourage people to take the stairs more often than the elevators.
The state should invest money in creating/upgrading walking & biking trails....
The list could go on and on and on.


You want 1,720 calories with that?

Would you make different meal choices if the calorie information was staring you in the face?
The New York City health department hopes that you would. Personally, I'm thrilled by the idea of a better informed consumer. I hope that this would become a nationwide trend.


Near and dear to my heart these days

If knee replacement surgery appears to be in your near future then check out this article. Then invest in your own personal sound effect.


In the news

You know, the gym is like a sandbox....everyone has to play in it, so be nice. Don't assault people and risk jail time over an innocent thing like "Woo Woo-ing". And don't assault a guy in the middle of a spinning class.

That's just not cool, man.


Fly Away

"You got a reaction, didn't you?" The White Stripes, Blue Orchid

Whenever I do this exercise at the gym, I imagine myself as The Incredible Hulk. Minus the green skin. And ripped clothes. Oh, and I don't growl. I might grunt now and then (the shame!) but I most certainly do not growl.

This cable fly will primarily work your pectorals but you'll also work your deltoids and lats, as well as a small handful of other muscles in your arms and back. And ladies, remember that old ditty from grade school, "I must, I must, I must increase my bust"? When you were pushing your hands together you were working your pecs. To think, you started your bodybuilding career at such a tender age!

I like to perform this exercise with one leg forward, one leg back so I can work my abs (pull your belly button in toward your spine and compress your tummy). I'll switch legs after one set. If I'm going for that third set I'll position myself like this guy. Only difference is that I wear a shirt to the gym. Most days. ;)


Silly but true benefits of weight loss

There's less surface area to deal with when you shave your legs.

Showering for two becomes more roomy. (Remember, you're saving water!)

Snap button pants no longer pop in public.

It's now possible to hook a bra from the back instead of doing it in front and then twisting it behind you.

Young guys will let a glance linger over you for second longer.

Young gals will let a glance linger over you for a half a second longer. ;)

Do you have any silly but true benefits of weight loss?



What you gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk?" Black Eyed Peas, My Humps

To squat or not to squat? That is the question you should be answering a resounding YES! to. Squats, if done properly, can be the end all, be all of your butt strengthening moves. Tightening, toning, lifting, sculpting. It's got the potential to do all that and more. One of the best parts about this exercise is that the only thing you really need to do it is YOU. Sure, you can add weights to this exercise...but in a pinch you can do mighty fine by yourself.

When you perform a squat it's important to be sure that your knees don't shoot out past your toes. That's keeping your body in proper alignment. Overextending your knees can lead to injury, and I don't want anyone coming back at me and bitching that they hurt themselves doing something I recommended. My suggestion? 1. Read my disclaimer (Ha! Gotcha!) and 2. Don't overextend your knees!

Also don't round out your back. Be sure to keep your back in neutral alignment. This means that you want to keep the natural curves of your back in place while performing the movement. Because I don't want to hear how you hurt your back. Proper alignment will take care of that.

Lastly, to really knock this exercise outta the park...when you come up from your squat squeeze your butt cheeks together. Yes, I really said butt cheeks (I could have said ass but I didn't want to be too crass). Squeezing those muscles together will ensure that your are working your butt. A healthy set of these might be 3 sets of 8-12, depending on your level. Add a dose of lunges and you will be gingerly sitting down for at least one day.

If you would like to see a squat done in real time, check this out. This guy is squatting with a barbell, but you should get the idea of how the movement should go.

Happy Squatting!


Where does fiber rank in your diet?

"Can he walk at all? Or if he moves will he fall?" Black Sabbath, Iron Man

Most folks know that fiber helps keep the inside of your body flowing and, er, regular. Sorry, I just had to go there. But there's other reasons to stock up on high fiber foods, the most important being lowering the risk for diabetes and heart disease. High fiber foods also help you stay fuller, longer. Powerhouse sources of fiber include peas, kidney beans and raspberries. There are two sources of fiber: Soluble and insoluble. Each has a specific benefit to bestow upon you. You can find those benefits here.

Don't dive headfirst into a high fiber diet. If you are just starting to pay attention to the fiber in your diet add it in slowly but surely, and keep the water coming! Too much fiber too soon can cause some rather bothersome side effects such as gas (a la "Beans, beans, the magical fruit...") and bloating. Don't worry though... your body will get used to the changes in your diet and those effects will disappear. For a complete look at the benefits of dietary fiber, check out this article from the MayoClinic.

It's believed that most people eat far less than the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber in their daily diet. Perhaps that's why everyone's so tense! Next time you see someone overly cranky you can ask them if they are getting enough fiber in their diet. ;)


I've got a fever

"Don't let it go away |This feeling has got to stay" No Doubt, New

Sometimes inspiration and motivation can come from unlikely places at unlikely times. On my way home from school I see this guy running on the sidewalk. He's looking the part: wearing shorts (check out those calves!), got the tunes hooked up, sunglasses on to fend off the morning glare and to top it off: a gorgeous blue sky in mild temperatures. Perfect for running.

I thought my legs were going to start twitching. Right then I wanted to be on the road too, pounding the pavement and listening to my own tunes. I felt like I could lose myself in that feeling and I could have run forever.

I just caught Spring Fever.


How I lost 10 pounds in 31 days

"Fully alive | More than most | Ready to smile and love life" Flyleaf, Fully Alive

Yep, I did it. Not that I set out to do it but nevertheless I did it anyway. I lost 10 pounds in a month. So what's the big secret? What on earth could I have possibly done to effect such a change?

I ate better. I moved more. That's it. And I'm down one dress size (almost 2!) as a result.

One month ago I made a commitment to myself: I would make better food choices and do something active everyday. "Active" didn't have to mean running a marathon each day. It could be something as simple as putting a little extra oompf into the house cleaning if I couldn't make it to the gym. Or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator if I didn't have time to the dog out for a run. And making better food choices didn't mean that I was relegated to eating nothing but brown rice and vegetables (although I did eat brown rice and vegetables, but not at the same time).

I challenged myself for 31 days. Why not challenge yourself? What kind of commitment could you make to yourself over the course of the next 31 days? Walk the dog around the neighborhood each night at sunset? Learn how to do a perfect pushup?

What's your goal?


Ab-solutely brilliant

"Are you happy, are you satisfied | How long can you stand the heat?" Queen, Another One Bites The Dust

Face it: most people would rather fill their belly's with food than to exercise them. And no wonder, it's hard work! But if you're going to go for the complete package, you can't afford NOT to have a good ab routine.

Here are a few exercises that I've done in "boot camp-like" ab classes. You won't find a standard sit up or crunch here. No way.

* Get yourself in the classic sit up position. Sit up, do a rapid 1-2-3 punch with both arms, and come back down 10 times. Once you complete that immediately roll over into a plank position (keep your arms folded, not extended) and hold for 20 seconds. Rinse, repeat. Aim for 4 sets.

* Grab a couple of dumbbells. Get in plank position holding onto the weights. Take your left arm and raise it up to the side and over, twisting your body so that your arm and chest are in line. Bring the weight down, repeat on the opposite side. How many can you stand?

Hardest (Note: these are advanced moves... so don't even think about it if you are a beginner!):
* Got a medicine ball handy? No? Grab a bag of sugar. Get in classic sit up position. Bring your legs up in "bicycle". Hold your ball (or sugar, as the case may be) close to your chest and twist side to side as you bicycle. Remember to breath. Try not to pass out.
* Lay yourself down. Have a "lighter" dumbbell overhead. Holding the dumbbell with both hands, bring your arms overhead to meet your legs, which, by the way, come up at the same time. Are you feeling this yet?


Stop eating boring diet food!

"What I've succumbed to is making me numb" No Doubt, Just A Girl
Have I got a salad for you. Wait--did I just hear "boring"? Banish the thought! I do not eat boring food.
Indulge in this:
  • 2-3 green lettuce leafs
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red onions
  • 6-8 black olives, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1.5 ounces of grilled chicken strips(Tyson has a small bag)
  • 2 tbsp Pasta House salad dressing (or vinagrette equivalent)

This powerhouse salad looks like this on the nutrition chart:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 4.8g
Cholesterol 40mg
Sodium 1312mg
Carbohydrate 8.3g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Sugars 1.3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A 95% Vitamin C 22%
Calcium 12% Iron 22%

Granted, the sodium is a bit high on this recipe. This is because of the store bought grilled chicken breast strips. If you make your own that number will almost vanish. But look at your other stats! Only 302 calories? Check out those vitamins! And while 26 grams of fat looks daunting, most of that is good monounsaturated fat.

And now, to really indulge: I love to treat myself, especially when I eat. I had this deliciousness today for lunch, served up in a china bowl with a small glass of Merlot to get those benefits of red wine. It felt rather decadent, if I do say so myself.

And that's exactly how I like it.