Please enable JavaScript
Email Marketing Services by Benchmark
TrainerTiff: September 2011 >

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Tried It: Coconut Milk Ice Cream

My new eating habits of reduced meat, gluten and dairy have been leaving me feeling a little like I'm missing out. Well, not really, but I do miss ice cream.

Well, I did, anyway. Then I discovered coconut milk ice cream.

Now, I know this is not new to a lot of people out there. But it's new to me, and, as someone who has recently started to give up dairy, I'm thrilled.

I tried So Delicious's chocolate peanut butter swirl. At first, I was a little hesitant. I can be a little pessimistic when it comes to trying new things. But, I managed to keep an open mind and dove in.

I first noticed that after sitting in freezer for hours, it wasn't rock hard like most ice cream. It spooned into my bowl with ease, which was kind of nice. I hate ice creams that are so hard,  that you feel like you're going to break the spoon just to get one lousy spoonful.

The first taste was a delight to my tongue. It was really good. In fact, there wasn't much difference in taste from regular ice cream made from cow's milk. It was lighter and a bit fluffier in texture and in taste. Almost like mousse.

I'm sold. I can eat coconut milk ice cream from now on.

The nutrition facts are similar to regular ice cream. No surprise there. But, it's dairy free and an added bonus is it's also gluten and soy free.

Still, don't let that deceive you -- it's still a treat. And this won't be getting consumed on a regular basis. Not by me. But when I'm jonesing for a tasty, frozen treat, I know exactly what I'm getting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AzUrbanAthlon: Jumping Over Cable Spools

When the main page of the AzUrbanAthlon website asked me "do you enjoy your fitness and your fun in the same cocktail?" I replied to myself,  "Yes. Why, yes, I do."

The AzUrbanAthlon is a 3-mile race with 10 obstacles from hurdles, to cargo nets, to wall climbs and a bunch more. One obstacle has about 100 tires stacked on top of each other that you have to climb over. Another obstacle has you literally climbing over huge containers. Another has a bunch of cable spools that you can either crawl over, under or use whatever method you can to get around them. Awesome!

The AzUrbanAthlon has my name written all over it. For years, I've watched American Gladiators (back in the '90s and the recent remake with Leila Ali and Hulk Hogan), then more recently, Wipeout and Ninja Warrior. Those shows have always stoked the competitive fire inside me. Even if I only really want to compete against myself. You know, just to see how I'd do. 

I can even remember back to the days of Nickelodeon's Double Dare. Even the thought of going through an obstacle course where at some point I'd be slimmed with some sort of green goo was right up my alley. Though, it's always been in the back of my mind that it would be cool to do something like this, I've never done it. Nope. Never.

So when Hubby was talking to me about the Athlon one day, naturally, I was interested. After a little chatting, we decided that we would get a group together and do it. Why not, right? It'll be fun.

The event benefits the Arizona chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and will be held November 5, 2011, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick which happens to be the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Sweet!

Let the training begin. I have just under six weeks to get ready. Since I don't like to run and because of that, have never done so much as a 5k, this will be interesting. But I'm game. Oh, I'm so game. I like a challenge here and there. Plus, I already know Hubby is going to start all kinds of trash talking. Bring it. It's going down!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roller Derby Workout

Girl power was in full effect over the weekend. There's something empowering about seeing women dressed like girly-girls while skating around and knocking each other down.

I went to my first roller derby bout on Saturday and wasn't quite sure what to expect. My only knowledge of the sport came from snippets I saw here and there through various media -- like YouTube and the previews for that one Drew Barrymore movie.

We got to the venue early and could tell it was going to be good. The parking lot was full of cars, and we had to create a spot alongside a row divider. We stood in line, paid our admission and finally got a look of things inside -- it was packed. There were people everywhere. Folks were shoulder-to-shoulder and it was impossible to walk with out having to shuffle sideways every few feet. But, luckily, we were able to snag a couple seats without too much trouble.

Before the start of the bout, I sat in my seat and took in the scene. I noticed that the team uniforms weren't uniform. The team colors and team shirts were the only things that seemed the same. The derby athletes added their own individual style to their game outfits. They dressed in short skirts, short shorts, stockings (a lot of fishnets), girly skirts with lots of ruffles, funky socks, I even saw one gal wear a lacy panty over a pair of skin-tight shorts.

During the hour that the bout lasted, I watched jam after jam as the players skated the circle. Some were better than others. Some were easily knocked down. Others were able to hold steady and resist the elbows and shoulder bumps. Surprisingly, some players got tangled in their own feet and brought themselves down to the floor. Yikes.

The hour that the bout lasted, went by really quickly. And though it didn't last a long time, it struck me how physically demanding it is to skate for a full hour. And, of course, that got me thinking about what kind of workout would best suit a roller derby athlete. So I came up with this total body workout that emphasizes legs, balance, core strength and endurance.

To do the workout below, you'll need access to a Bosu, medicine ball and dumbbells.

Do a light warm-up before starting (i.e. 5 minute brisk walk on treadmill or jump rope for 3-5 minutes). Choose a light weight for the exercises below -- the goal is to increase muscle endurance, not muscle size. Do 2 sets of each exercise of 20-25 reps. Click the links for a demo of the exercises.

Squats on Bosu (legs)
Adding the Bosu helps improve balance and also helps build core strength.
Single leg bridge on Bosu (legs)
These target the hamstrings. The addition of the Bosu makes the exercise more difficult while helping build core strength.
Squat jumps (legs)
This is a plyometric move that help with leg explosiveness.
Deadlifts on flat surface of Bosu (legs)
These target the hamstrings and glutes. Adding the Bosu will improve balance and core strength.
Skaters lunges (legs)
This move simulates the skating movement which specifically targets the leg muscles used while skating.
Woodchops (abs)
These are great for the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles.
Cross-body crunches (abs)
These target the obliques.
Kettlebell* windmill (abs)
These target the obliques.
Medicine ball overhead circles (shoulders)
These target the anterior and medial heads of the shoulders. The abdominals also get worked.
Push-ups (chest)
Targets the chest muscles and secondarily targets the triceps and shoulders.
One-arm dumbbell row (back)
These primarily target the latissimus dorsi muscles and secondarily hits the biceps.

*This exercise can also be done with a dumbbell.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Secret to 6-Pack Abs

We all want them, right? C'mon, the thought of having 6-pack abs has at least crossed your mind. Either that, or it has been the single driving force behind dragging yourself to the gym.

Many fitness magazines routinely promote workouts that will give you "sexy abs" or a "washboard stomach" in a matter of days or weeks. The exercises are great, but that's only the half of it. They don't tell you the secret -- you must lose the fat covering your abdomnials before any definition can be seen. And that may take a lot longer than days or weeks.

This is where following a healthy meal plan, doing cardio and working out -- your entire body, not just your abs -- comes in. (And, yes, you can put some focus on your abs.)

If you're killing yourself by doing hundreds of crunches every day, stop. Constantly doing ab work alone, is not going to get you to your goal. If you're only doing a heavy amount of ab work, you are building up your abdominal muscles, but that's it -- the layer of fat on top that is hiding these sculpted muscles is not melting away.

I would like to dispel the most common myth associated with getting well-defined abs: spot reduction. This is the myth that you can reduce fat of a particular body part by doing exercises specifically for that area. Example: doing crunches with the specific goal to lose fat on the belly to have a flat, more defined stomach. Another example: doing leg abductor and adductor exercises -- the machines you sit in where you open and close your legs -- to get rid of the fat on the inner and outer thighs.

To get a sexy stomach with sculpted lines, start losing bodyfat while also developing the muscles. Here are some guidelines:

Reduce Bodyfat Percentage
  • Eat clean diet: You have to get in the habit of cutting out processed foods, refined sugars (which basically is most things with sugar in it, with the exception of fruit) and high-sodium foods. Make it a point to eat more raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean meat and fish. Once you make the transition to only eating clean, the fat will come off more easily and quickly and then you will start to see definition.  
  • Cardio: You need to incorporate cardiovascular fitness into your routine. This is the easiest way to burn  fat. Try to mix in intense cardio sessions like HIIT (high intensity interval training) or spinning with moderate cardio sessions, such as 30 minutes bouts on the treadmill or elliptical. This will prevent your body from adjusting to any particular training, which will make it efficient at burning fat. 
  • Total body lifting workout: The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. Get on a total body weight program and put a little more focus on core training. 
It's a good idea to get your bodyfat checked periodically to monitor your progress. You can schedule an assessment at your gym. Below is a bodyfat chart. In my experience, those who fall in the range of athlete or fitness usually have visible ab definition. 
Image from ACE

Perform Effective Ab Exercises
  • Doing hundreds of crunches is not the answer. You need to vary your ab workouts.
  • Do 3-5 different ab exercises. For each exercise, do 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps. That's enough. 
  • Do weighted exercises. i.e. medicine ball ab workouts and machine ab exercises. No need to use a lot of weight, just add enough resistance to make it more difficult. This will build your ab muscles which will make them more visible once you've reduced your bodyfat.