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BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Monday, January 7, 2013

Motivation Monday | Wipe your slate clean

Happy Monday Team!

This will be our first entry for Motivation Mondays!
The beginning of the week has such a bad rep, but it should be celebrated just like the week ends! With a slightly different approach of course.

Let Mondays be the day you start fresh, where you wipe your slate clean of all your naughty shenanigans and cheat meals/drinks from the weekend that just passed.

Begin by waking up at a timely hour. I suggest at least 2 hours prior to your actual departure time.
This will give you ample time to start your day leisurely and focused.

After your usual morning rituals, start with a nice tall glass of refreshing cool water to kick start your metabolism.

While you prepare your breakfast, use this time to go over your weekly schedule in your head and think about the times and days you will be hitting the gym.
As you sit down for your morning meal, grab yourself a piece of paper and pen and start to plan out this week's goals for training.
Don't forget to include your desired weights, reps, sets, and accompanying meals that will keep you fueled during the days.
Once you have your week planned out, stick to it. It should be easier to do that with your goals written out, keep it close and look at it regularly.

Here is a little peak at what I have down for the start of MY week:

Monday *cardio only* - 20 minute run, 5 minute high paced precor, 5 minute high paced row machine. Total 30mins only.
Tuesday *full body* - 35lb 1 legged squats, 60lb narrow squats, 50lb deadlifts, 15lb single arm reverse flys, 15lb alternating chest flys, overhand pullups, 10lb shoulder circles on BOSU, hanging knee ups. Total 1 hour, about 10 mins cardio.
Wednesday *core/kickboxing* - 1 hour Core pilates and stretch, followed by 1 hour cardio kickboxing. Total 2 hours only.
Thursday *upper body only*.....

You getting the hang of it? Give it a try yourself and start to see what amazing things you can accomplish!

Until next time Team, make this into a Monday weekly habit, and I guarantee you will always have a fantastic week inside the gym!

Health respect & happiness


Friday, January 4, 2013

Foody Friday | My 1st Homemade Tomato Sauce From Scratch

It should be everyone’s goal to choose the best options for dining but it can be hard when there are so many delicious and naughty easy pre-packaged to-go meals or frozen dinners that can be so easily heated up. Plus, who has the time to spend an hour to prep and cook a nutritious meal these days?

I have a somewhat hectic and sporadic schedule due to the nature of my profession, so I tend to rely on super quick meals or snacks that don’t need a lot of time to prepare. You may think that you need to slay away in the kitchen for hours to have a well-cooked healthy meal but it’s not always the case. With a little imagination and some fresh, healthy ingredients, you may surprise yourself with what you can create!

And that is exactly what happened to me. I love pasta. Yes, I said it. I don’t care if it is a bowl of carby-starchy-sugary-fats…pasta is delicious! The saucier with more cheese, the better! Now, that being said, it doesn’t mean that I eat it everyday nor am I saying that you should be eating it everyday or that it is the best option. However, if you can produce a pasta dish that is somewhat healthier, why wouldn’t you? So my inspiration for today’s Foody Friday is my first attempt at making a healthy-ER pasta sauce from scratch.

I am no chef, nor do I claim to be, but I am confident enough to throw a few things together to make a yummy dish at the end of the day. So here I am, at the grocery store, picking up random things to make my very first tomato sauce from scratch! Mind you, I have no idea what goes in it or how to prepare it in the first place.
I picked up a few red tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, an onion, and a medium size can of crushed tomatoes. Seriously, how hard could it be right?

Beki’s “attempt at” homemade tomato pasta sauce

2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (more or less depending how garlic-y you like it)
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 can of fresh tomato sauce (I chose a medium sized can because I wanted to make sauce that would last a few days, but you can always use less)
Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
Salt, pepper for taste
*optional 2-4 tsp of chipotle chilli powder
*optional other herbs you like in your sauce, example: basil…etc
1) Heat a big pot over med-high heat, add about a tablespoon or so of oil, then begin to sweat out the onions. (I made the horrible mistake of not letting the onions sweat out enough…it should be translucent when you are done..keep an eye on it)
2) Now add all the mushrooms and continue to cook until they have decreased in size considerably. (It should be smelling real good right about now)
3) Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so, then add the fresh tomatoes. Keep stirring for a few more minutes. (I always salt a little bit after each time I add a new ingredient, I’d suggest you do the same)
4) Pour in your desired amount of the can tomato sauce and STIR like crazy! (The pot will be a bit bubbly from the sauce boiling) Decrease the heat to med-low and continue to stir. You cannot leave the sauce alone because it can easily burn! This is when you can add more salt & pepper to taste and add your desired herbs. Always taste after you add anything to make sure you like it.
5) I let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes (I’m horrible with checking the time…or measuring anything…) and it was done!
6) You can enjoy the sauce with any type of pasta you like, this night, I chose my BF’s favorite, bow-tie pasta!

The sauce was lacking a little bit of taste due to my impatience to let the onions sweat all the way through and the fact that we had also ran out of basil!!! But all in all—it was rich in tomato taste, a little bit sweet, a little bit tart, and very fresh! I’m not about to win any Top Chef titles with this one..but I think I’m on my way to cooking fresh pasta sauces from now on, no more store bought sauces, yay!

Until next time Team, why not try making something from scratch that you normally ALWAYS buy at the supermarket?
Health respect & happiness

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WatchOut Wednesday | Seated Press & Your Spine

I was in the gym early this afternoon for a session with a new client. I’ve noticed the usual influx of bodies within the facility since the 31st of December already. And with this increase of traffic flow, comes the overzealous intentions of pushing too hard, too fast and improper execution techniques by newcomers who have no direction by a professional. This is every personal trainer’s worst nightmare!!

A particular member, who I saw performing what looked like a seated shoulder press, is the inspiration for today’s entry.

I have seen her before so she is not a newbie to exercise but this doesn’t mean that someone who has worked out for years will not do incorrect moves. In fact, many people I know who have claimed to have worked out for many years don’t know how to execute proper alignment in some very basic exercises (the classic one is the squat!).

The above photo shows proper technique. This is NOT the member that I saw in the gym.

The member had her shoulders pressed against the back of the bench, and her back was extremely hyper-extended. So much so, that almost her entire backside would not touch the bench while she was doing the press. This is poor technique and will cause intense spinal and back pain due to the unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae and little to no core contractions to keep the torso stabilized.
This is a very common risky mistake I see amongst new and old fitness participants. Be aware of your mid section at all times Team!

Proper Technique

1. Sit on the bench with your legs 90 degrees, knees above ankles, hip width apart.
2. Press your shoulder blades against the back part of the bench; to get the rest of your backside against the bench properly, contract your core muscles and pull your bellybutton towards your spine until you feel the small of your back pushed against the bench. There shouldn’t be space between your back and the bench. Keep your stomach contracted to stay like this!
3. Lift hands beside your shoulders so they’re about the same height of your jaw line.
4. Press the weight straight up towards the ceiling without locking the elbows, pause, then return to start position.
5. Elbows should start and finish at about shoulder height, and wrists aligned with the elbow.
6. Beginners start with 8-10 reps, 1-2 sets. Work your way up to 12-16 reps, 2-4 sets.

This is a great variation of the seated press with an incline:

Make sure you pay attention to these two shots! Does YOUR execution match what you see? You don't want to start the 2013 working hard towards back pain!

Until next time Team, why not revisit basic techniques and execution with all your exercises to make sure you are starting off strong and correct!?

Health respect & happiness,