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TrainerTiff: August 2009 >

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My 5 Favorite Healthy Snacks

Who says you have to cut out snacks to lose weight? In fact, you shouldn't. Yes, you read that right. I'm telling you, if you want to lose weight, start snacking.

The key is to make wise choices. (You don’t want to munch on donuts and other junk food -- duh.)

Here's why snacking is good: Having a bite to eat between breakfast, lunch and dinner will help your metabolism operate more efficiently.

Munching on the right things keeps your blood sugar from dipping too low and making your body more prone to store fat.

Here are my favorite healthy goodies to nibble on.

1. Yogurt with strawberries: I always choose a yogurt that is low in fat and sugar. I cut up fresh strawberries into slices and mix together with the yogurt.

2. Cashews: I love these! And because I love these, I have to be careful about how many I eat. Keep in mind that a serving is 1 ounce which isn’t a lot. A shot glass full of cashews is a little more than a serving. Five whole cashews is plenty. Nuts are filling and are a source of healthy fat.

3. PB&J: When I make mine, I use natural peanut butter, low calorie whole-wheat bread and low sugar strawberry preserves. Often times, 1/2 of a sandwich is plenty. I like having these because they provide a healthy fat and whole grains.

4. Protein shake: I tend to keep mine simple by using light soy milk and a scoop of whey protein. If you want to give it some flare, get a blender and throw in a few pieces of frozen fruit to make a smoothie. Having a shake is a good way to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet.

5. Cucumber slices: I mix together vinegar, a small drop of olive oil and a dash of Italian spices and toss over cucumber slices. These are refreshing and very low in calories which make for a great snack late at night.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TrainerTiff: Get Your Boot Camp On

Boot camp workouts are all the buzz now—and for good reason. Think of this type of specialized group fitness class like milk, it does a body good.

When most people think of “boot camp”, a drill sergeant dressed in fatigues barking out orders comes to mind. While there are definitely some that operate in that format, not all do. Others have a more low-key approach where the instructor leads the group with a less intense approach.

Boot camp workouts are essentially drills, drills and more drills.

Beyond that, the structure of the camp depends on who is running it: Outdoors or indoors; with equipment or without equipment; cardio-based or resistance-based – the possibilities are endless.

A common theme, though, among most boot camps is that they tend to be high-intensity workouts -- and because of that you burn a lot of calories. Very efficient. Nice.

They’re fun, too. Unless you have young kids, the last time you jumped around -- outside or inside -- was probably when you were a kid yourself.

Our regular work out routines can become easy and boring. It’s nice to change things up a bit. And when that change efficiently burns calories, it’s all the better.

How about the group comradery and accountability? Being held accountable to your workout sometimes makes the difference of whether you do it or skip it.

We’ve all been there.

When you know someone is waiting on you, you’re more likely to do it. Plus, it’s nice to see the familiar faces in your group. Who knows? By the time the session ends, you might come away from it having lost a few pounds and having gained a new friend.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Friday, August 14, 2009

TrainerTiff: My Top 5 Glute Exercises

When I think of targeting the gluteus maximus muscles, I can’t help but to think back to the early '90s and the "Buns of Steel" era. Remember?

This video made every woman and teen girl want hard buns -- and I was no different.

(Never mind the fact that actually having a butt that was as hard as industrial grade metal might not be the most desirable thing.)

When we were starting high school, my friends and I got together a couple of times a week and did this tape. We were fanatical about sticking to the routine. We fought through the pain and the ever creeping desire to quit. We even blocked out the thoughts of “is this really worth it?” We were on a mission -- for a while, anyway.

We stopped after a month or two (at best).

Today, my "Buns of Steel" tape is probably stored away somewhere with dust all over it. (Even if I could get to it, I may need a refresher on how to operate a VCR.)

One thing that I learned from our brief commitment, though, was that getting steely buns -- as opposed to, say, honey buns -- would take a couple of things.

One: You had to really want it.

And two: It was going to take some effort.

Consistency is the key here. Hard work pays off. It's worth it in the end (get it?).

Below are my favorite exercises to target that famous backside area. Check them out.

1. Squats: My favorite exercise. Try this version: the plié squat. Not only are squats great for the legs, they're also fantastic for your glutes.

2. Cable kickbacks: I like doing these with a little bit of weight. Remember to squeeze in the target area as you lift.

3. Doggy leg lifts: Old school, but gets the job done. If I remember correctly, this was one the exercises in "Buns of Steel."

4. Forward lunges: Targets your entire leg. As you return to the standing position, push with your heel rather than your toe to really target your butt.

5. Bridge: You’ll feel these in your hamstrings as well, but be sure to squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments e-mail

Monday, August 10, 2009

Supermarket Ready

So you've decided to follow a healthy diet. Great!

But now what? You're standing in the grocery store faced with countless options. It seems like every product in every aisle is marketed as "healthy."

It can be overwhelming.

Here's a bit of easy-to-remember advice: Stay out of the aisles and shop the perimeter of the store.

The inside aisles tend to hold all of the processed foods that are bad for you. The outside is where you'll find healthier, natural foods.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't purchase anything from the inside aisles. (After all, that is usually where they put the bread.) But, your cart should be filled with more things from the store's exterior than from the store's interior.

For example, fresh lean meats and fresh vegetables are healthier choices than, say, canned meats and canned vegetables. Also, even though the packages of crackers and cookies and breakfast bars promise to be "healthy" or "low calorie" or contain "zero trans fats" it's best to avoid this stuff.

Below, I've put together a sample list of some items to choose at your next grocery store visit.

Vegetables: stock up on any fresh vegetable you like -- except iceberg lettuce and white potatoes. Iceberg lettuce contains very few nutrients. A darker colored lettuce like Romaine is a much better choice. Romaine lettuce compared to iceberg lettuce has more nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein and beta carotene--to name a few. And, white potatoes are high on the glycemic index. Foods that are high on this index are more likely to make you store bodyfat--rather than burn it.

Dark green leaf lettuces
Green beans
Sweet potatoes

Proteins: the key word here is: lean. Skinless chicken is a better option than chicken with skin since the majority of fat is found in the skin. If you opt for red meat, like steak; make sure your selection doesn't have a lot of white marbled fat. Lean ground beef with a ratio of 96/4 (4% fat) is a good choice. Lunch meat tends to be high in sodium, so don’t add this to your diet too regularly. If you find a low-sodium variety of lunch meat, use that.

Skinless chicken
Lean red meats
Ground turkey
Egg whites

Carbohydrates: always choose brown over white. White rice, pastas and breads are sugar based. These sugar based carbohydrates are more likely to get stored in the body as fat. Brown rice, whole grain pastas and breads are better carbohydrate choices because they have more nutrients that your body can use for energy and are not likely to get stored as fat.

Brown rice
Whole wheat pastas
Whole wheat breads
Whole grain cereals

Dairy: opt for light and low-fat versions here to cutout extra calories and fat. Eggs are high in cholesterol, so don’t eat too many. Egg whites are a better choice. Yogurt can have a lot of sugar so make sure you read the nutrition facts. Look for varieties that have 10 grams of sugar or fewer, per serving.

Low- fat milk
Light soy milk
Low-fat cheese
Light or fat-free sour cream
Light or fat-free cream cheese
Low calorie & low sugar yogurts
Egg whites

Grocery shopping for healthier options shouldn’t be a chore. Equipping yourself with information to help you select healthier foods makes the task more enjoyable. Next time you’re due to hit the store, keep these tips in mind and see how much of a breeze your healthy shopping experience can be.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TrainerTiff: Squats Make the Legs

"I couldn't even walk down the stairs without it burning."

A line like that is music to a trainer's ears.

Music? Yes. Music. Because it means a trainer put a client through a seriously intense leg workout that yielded results ... score!

Post-workout soreness should be your mission. Being sore is not a bad thing. (I repeat: Being sore is not a bad thing.)

Soreness is positive because it lets you know that the muscle was properly stressed to allow growth. And that's the whole point anyway, right?

(Ladies, don't forget we don't have the body chemistry to grow big, bulky muscles. When our muscles grow they become firmer and tighter.)

Squats are my favorite. They're great for defining your leg muscles. With one exercise you're able to hit many areas of the lower body -- lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

If you haven't been doing squats, I highly recommend adding them to your routine.

C'mon ladies, who ever said having nicely toned and shaped legs was something to be avoided? Right, I don't think I've ever heard that.

And fellas, don't neglect the lower body. Having hot shoulders, pecs and arms becomes a lot less hot when your legs don't match.

The nice thing about squats is that there are so many different types: barbell squats, Smith-machine squats, hack squats, dumbbell squats, stability ball wall squats, bodyweight squats -- to name a few.

Critics of the exercise discourage it because of its potential injury risk. Improper form can cause damage the knees and back.

However, this risk can be mitigated. To reduce the chances of joint injury, proper form is critical to any exercise, not just squats.

Done properly you should have no worries. When performing the squat, follow these tips:
  • Start with a weight you're comfortable with. Build from there.
  • Imagine you're sitting straight down into a chair as you squat down -- stick your butt out.
  • ALWAYS make sure your knees do not go past your toes.
  • Don't lean forward. Keep your chin pointed toward the ceiling to help prevent this.
  • Never lock your knees as you stand up -- keep them slightly bent.
If you want to try it, and you've never done the exercise before, grab a trainer and get on over to that squat rack. Not ready for the squat rack? That's OK, grab some dumbbells or a stability ball and get to work.

And if a day or two later you find yourself unable to go down a flight of stairs without feeling an incredible burning sensation in your thighs ... score! Your mission is complete.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and an NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail

Sunday, August 2, 2009

TrainerTiff: Take Time to Do You

"Me-time" is a must.

We all need it. Life is stressful and taking a break from it is an absolute necessity.

It surprises me how many people I encounter who are so wrapped up in their job (or jobs), families and other responsibilities that they don't even make the Top 10 on their own priority list.

It doesn't matter what you do -- paint, read, play Wii or talk on the phone -- the key thing here is that you find a positive outlet.

As a trainer, I'd encourage you to take these regular time-outs in the gym.

Here's why: When you're in a group fitness classes, your boss can't bother you -- neither can your spouse.

You can listen to that obnoxious, guilty-pleasure song on that you don't want to admit you like (say, like, Pitbull's "You Know You Want Me" -- don't judge me) on your mp3 player.

People watching. (Nothing wrong with checking out the hottie on the leg press. Just don't be creepy.)

You want to lose a couple pounds anyway, right? (C'mon, who doesn't?)

And seriously, we know the benefits of being on a regular fitness program -- self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, healthier heart, weight loss -- and, of course, stress relief.

I know you're busy. But if you make time for yourself it will improve your life and ability to do, and enjoy, all of those other things that are so important.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail