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

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Exercise Tools You Might Not Know About

There are always new fitness tools coming out -- some good and some bad. It can be difficult to identify the ones that are worth your money and the ones that should stay on the shelf.

But there are some tools that do work. We have to keep in mind that a tool is just that -- a tool. It doesn't take the place of doing a variety of exercises and healthy eating. As important as it is to workout, so is changing up your routine. We adapt to the same ol' exercises and as soon as the body is no longer challenged, the results slow and eventually come to a hault. I've listed some tools below that are sure to add some oomph into your workout. Check them out!
Heavy Ropes: These are great for conditioning and for upper body strength training. The ropes will work muscles that don't typically get any attention from regular weight training programs. The exercises vary from jumping jacks to two-handed rope slams where you take the rope in each hand, raise them overhead and slam them into the ground.
Sandbag:  You can use an actual bag of sand that comes in plastic or use a specially designed exercise sandbag, which is like a gym bag that you put smaller bags of sand in. The handles allow you to keep better form and control. Try using the bag for an intense circuit training routine that will burn a lot of calories and increase muscle strength. These are great for working the stabilizer muscles adding grip strength.
TRX Suspension Bands: Great for total body workouts using bodyweight for resistance. Do everything from planks, to squats, to push-ups with these. These are perfect for any skill level. Adjusting your positioning changes the level of difficulty for each exercise.
Body Bar: These bars seem light and delicate, but they can hold some weight. Weight sizes vary from 3 pounds all the way up to 36 pounds. The bar is versatile allowing you do many different fitness disciplines like martial arts, yoga, pilates, strength and conditioning to name a few.
Ugi Ball: It's sort of like a squishy medicine ball. This ball is a great functional tool for total body workouts. It emphasizes balance training and strengthening core muscles. Each exercise done with the ball challenges entire muscle groups at once.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Gluten Free Pasta Marinara

I've been on a little bit of a cooking kick. I have taken some classic recipes that I like and have put my own vegetarian, vegan or gluten free spin on them. I'm pretty basic when it comes to food. I'm not really big on exotic flavors or creating dishes from odd pairings (I'll leave that stuff to the real cooks). I like foods that suit most palates.

It's necessary to add new meals into the mix because eating the same ol' stuff can get pretty boring. Even for me. Someone who has been known to eat the same oatmeal breakfast for years without pause.

This recipe is really easy and quick to make. It's gluten free and if you omit the cheese, it's vegan. Check it out.

16 oz gluten free pasta
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Himalayan salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese (use mozzarella to make it more traditional, I just like monterey jack cheese)
fresh parsley for garnish


To make marinara:
Side note: this recipe for the marinara I got from the Weight Watchers beef baked ziti recipe. It is by far the best marinara sauce I've come across. And it's good for any dish requiring a tomato sauce. I use it in my lasagna and spaghetti as well.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium heat, add garlic and lightly saute. Add tomatoes, thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and stir together. Let it sit and simmer while preparing pasta. (I like to let the sauce sit for as long as possible. Sometimes I'll even make it a day in advance so all the flavors can come out. But it's ready to use immediately after you let it simmer while the pasta cooks.)
Cook pasta according to package directions. I like DeBoles multi-grain penne. It is made from rice, quinoa and anaramnth (the last two being complete protein sources). Drain and rinse.
To assemble. Add 1/4 pasta to a bowl, spoon marinara sauce over pasta, add cheese and top with parsley if you choose.