Fitness Friday: Hot 2012 Yoga Trends

Welcome to my new Friday column, “Fashion Friday” where I’ll be sharing the latest and greatest information and tips to inspire, help and share my passion for fitness. To kick off this Friday, here are some Top Yoga Trends:

1. Paddleboard Yoga-This outdoor yoga class has peaked my eyes for a while. It looks like an incredible workout in general and awesome for the abs. If there’s a way to find balance and be outdoors at the same time, I am in.

2. Yoga-Spinning-Often called, “Zen on Wheels, ” I can’t think of two more fun exercises that are more fun complement each other. A 30 minute spin class followed by a 30 minute yoga class sounds like a great calorie burning and great combination that I am ready to try.

3. Hot Yoga/Bikram-Although I am a longtime fan for over 8 years, hot yoga is getting even “hotter” every day. Ninety minutes in a heated room will change your body and your life. I am thrilled Bikram Yoga Birmingham has come to Birmingham, and the more I go, the better I feel. Anyone can do this. Just try it, and be patient.

4. Yoga and Weight Lifting-Featured in this month’s Women’s Health Magazine, this routine, created by a New York instructor, combines upper-body strength exercises into a fast-paced circuit with yoga breathing. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of these combined exercises.

Photo via Pinterest

Dunkin’ Doughnuts Coffee Giveaway

For years, my sister, Julie, always served the best coffee at her house. The funny thing is that she wouldn’t tell us where it came from. Finally, she spilled the beans (pun intended) that she purchased it from Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee in Atlanta (it wasn’t sold in Birmingham at the time). Now, I am so excited that almost any local grocery store in town carries “Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend Coffee”. It’s one of my top picks for coffee brewed at home. This unique mix of 100% Arabica beans has a smooth, delicious flavor with soft, subtle flavors, making it very easy to drink. It’s ideal for that first cup in the morning or paired later in the day with dessert. For more information, visit Dunkin’ Donuts and for coffee promotions, coupons, special offers and more. One lucky winner will receive the Dunkin’ Donuts Prize pack containing one bag of Original Blend, one bag of Decaf, and two Dunkin’ Donuts Mugs. Winner will be chosen, Monday, January 9th at 8 a.m. CST. To enter, do the following:

1. Leave a comment telling my why you want to win this. For more chances to win, do the following:

2. Like Ingredients Inc. on Facebook

3. Follow Alison Lewis on twitter

3. Tweet this link: I entered to win the Dunkin’ Doughnuts Prize pack from @alisonlewis http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2012/01/dunkin-doughnuts-coffee-giveaway/

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee at Grocery compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Date-Pecan Bread with Greek Yogurt

This Date-Pecan Bread with Greek yogurt is my newest favorite healthy, quick bread recipe. I used whole wheat and all-purpose flour, flaxseed and nonfat Greek yogurt to create a flavorful, moist bread. My kids were skeptical at first, but shortly after they tried it, they were gladly helping themselves to seconds. Perfect for breakfast, dessert, an afternoon snack or holiday gift, this recipe is a cinch to prepare (no mixer needed). I bought my dates at Costco, but you can find them at any local grocery store. Dates are filled with so may health benefits. They’re full of fiber, Vitamin B, Vitamin, A, Vitamin C, Iron and potassium. They are an excellence source of energy and work wonders for the digestive system.

In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This weekend I have been in search of a great Pumpkin Pie recipe to make for Thanksgiving. You see, I’m getting off easy this year (yea!). I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house the past several years, but my sister and I swapped holidays this year (her request). I still have to make several things to bring to our family event of over 20 people. Since she assigned me the Pumpkin Pie, I have been searching for something new and different. The recipe (above) is a Pecan Streusel Topping from my friend Marge at A Sweet and Savory Sweet Life. It looks so fabulous, and it was one of the first ones I came across. Here are some others, including a “lightened up recipe from Cooking Light as well as vegan version. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie by Parsley Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

Pumpkin Pie Pops from Munchkin Munchies

 Pumpkin Pie Bites from Bakerella

 Vegan Pumpkin Pie from Vegetarian Times

Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Cooking Light

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Spinning: Cycling Rain or Shine

I took my first “spin” (or cycling) class a few years ago, and I loved it. I quickly learned that the teacher and the music can make or break the class, but you can do it at your own level so it’s a great exercise for anyone. It’s also a great cross-training exercise as well. I am so excited to share this interview on spinning-how to’s with one of my favorite instructors, Josh Beck. Josh is the true definition of athlete inspiration. Since getting involved in endurance sports in 1999, he has completed 8 ironmans, 22 marathons and currently holds the East-West state record for cycling across Alabama. When it comes to cycling, he knows the drill. Check out our interview below:

1. Why did you start teaching spin classes?  I had always utilized spin classes to stay in cycling shape throughout the winter.  So, I figured if I taught the class, I could share a couple of interval, high intensity workouts with others.

2. Why do you recommend trying a spin class? What are the benefits?  Cycling in general is just great cardiovascular work without too much wear and tear on your joints. Other than swimming, it’s hard to find a better low-impact cardio workout.

3. Why do you think indoor cycling has become so popular?  People come for so many different reasons.  The main factor is:  it’s more fun to exercise with a group (camaraderie factor).

4. Why should people incorporate spinning in their cross-training?  The main reason is injury prevention.  Running, in particular, 4 to 6 days per week can really take a toll on your joints and ligaments. No matter what your main sport, cycling is a good way to mix it up from a physiological and mental standpoint.  If you put forth 100% effort on the intervals during a spinning class, you can’t help but gain some cardio fitness (increased ability to process oxygen).  This will transfer over to your other sports.

5. How many calories can you burn in an hour spin class?  It really depends on the instructor.  My classes have high intensity intervals sprinkled throughout the hour.  If a rider does the workout like I have it laid out, a male will burn around 1,000 and female around 800 calories.

6. How important is the music to the class?  Very important.  Climbing songs need a steady, consistent beat.  Fast, interval songs need a fast beat and to be high energy.  The music needs to match the segment of the workout you are doing.  If the music is bad, well, so is the class.

7. Do you have any tips for beginners?  Your first move should be to have the instructor help you set up the bike so that it fits properly.  It is like any other type of exercise; it takes a few times to build up your conditioning to where you can really push yourself for the entire hour.  Just do the best you can during the first several classes.  Another factor is saddle comfort.  If you are going to spend time on a bike seat, you need to get some cycling shorts that have a chamois built in.  Lastly, you should try each of the instructors’ classes at least once to find the class that fits you the best.

Healthy Tailgating Recipe: Panko Roasted Drumsticks

As I mentioned last week, football is just kind of big around here during football season. Each week, we rotate going to friends’ houses to watch the game or head to the games (if we are lucky enough). I have such a great time coming up with creative ways to make tailgating (and game watching) a little healthier, so everyone  doesn’t feel so stuffed (and guilty) when the games are over. These Panko Roasted Drumsticks are definitely one of my new popular crowd pleasers. They appeal to adults as well as kids, and they are so simple to make. Your guests won’t believe that this recipe is a “lightened up” version of one of their favorite party foods.

10 Reasons to Start Strength Training

Several years ago, my older sister, Julie, told me I need to start doing strength training. She is eight years older than I and always has good advice. She stressed the importance of this type of workout for strength, osteoporosis, and of course, a great looking figure as you get older. So, I gave it a whirl. When I began, I told my trainer, “Please don’t make me bulky.” He (Jeff Green at Icon Performance) continues to laugh about it to this day. I am so thankful I listened to my sister, so I thought I would share 10 great reasons to start weight training (you will be so glad you did).

1. It really does make you look lean- I can honestly now see real definition in my legs and arms without the bulk.

2. It prevents injury-I am a runner, and I cycle a lot. Strength training keeps my muscles strong to help prevent injury. Before I started weight-training, I used to be constantly sore. Now, I feel great.

3. Increased metabolism-Strength training can boost metabolism up to 15 % more, and it increases your metabolic rate for hours after training.

4. Increased strength and balance-the stronger I have become, the more my muscles work together properly in balance. I can carry my groceries inside with ease, and I see a difference in performance in my other sports.

5. It increases flexibility-By working my muscles though a full range of motion, my flexibility has increased. This really helps ward off back pain that I used to have.

6. Increased posture-Since my muscles have become stronger, I see a difference when I’m sitting and standing.

7. Stress relief-Weight training can really take your mind off stress and problems of the day. If you work out in a group of people, the time really flies by.

8. Increased Energy Levels-I normally leave the gym energized. Strength training elevates your level of endorphins which make you feel great and boost your mood. It is also said to help ward off depression.

9. Burn more calories-Your body burns calories during and after strength training. More calories are used to make muscle than fat.

10. Help fight diseases-Strength training is great to help prevent and fight arthritis, post menopause and even diabetes.

 

“The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.” – Ken Doherty

Tennis Anyone? What Tennis and Love Have in Common

About seven years ago, I learned how to play tennis. My son was taking lessons, and when his friend didn’t come one afternoon, the tennis pro (Bob), asked me to give it a try. He pumped me up telling me that I seemed “like a natural”, and that started the next several years of my tennis addiction. I played almost every day, moved up from level to level, attended two state tournaments, and become a compete tennis fanatic. I loved so many things about playing tennis: meeting new people, making new friends, the competition, the challenge, and honestly, the clothes. I loved playing a team sport which I really never had done when I was young. Tennis gave me a certain confidence, and it helped me focus and exercise my memory. Two years ago, I gave it up for various reasons of family, work and burn-out. Friends and family often ask me, “Will you ever play again?” I hope and think so, but not to the level as before. Tennis is a great sport for so many reasons. I thought I would share why some of my closest friends love this great sport.

 

Love this quote: “Love is nothing in tennis, but in life it’s everything.” Author Unknown


Stephanie: “It’s therapeutic especially after becoming a first time mom. You get to exercise and have fun at the same time. I have made great friends through tennis.”

Nancy: “Tennis is a great weight bearing exercise that uses muscles I don’t use every day. It’s very social. It’s a great way to meet people, talk and exercise all at the same time. The clothes are so cute.”

Amy: “I love tennis for the exercise, camaraderie, competition. I can play as I age, and there’s always room to improve.”

Steven: “I enjoy the competition, strategy and friendships I have made.”

Vanessa: “I love to have a little competition in my life. It’s pure fun.”

Megan: “I LOVE tennis because it is exercise that doesn’t feel like it. It can be competitive or not.”

Jon: “Tennis is competitive and strategic. It helps you think on your feet. It releases aggression, and it helps with coordination.”

Heidi: “Tennis is a great life sport. I love it for the exercise and camaraderie.

Angie: “Tennis gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I play well. It is great exercise, and I have made great friendships through tennis.”

The shirts at the top and bottom can be found at Cafe Press. The middle shirt is from Love All

Easy Grilling: Jamaican Spiced Flank Steak

I do a lot of grilling in the summer, but honestly, I am grilling year-round. Every year, I work on so many grilling recipe projects for food clients, magazines and cookbooks, and my kids love almost anything that is cooked on the grill. Flank steak is always on the top of my list, and I love this Jamaican Flank Steak recipe. The marinade is really fabulous, made with orange juice, lime juice, fresh ginger, brown sugar, pepper and cinnamon. One of my friends tried it, and she told me she only cooks flank steak this way now. Serve this with a tossed salad, fresh fruit or grilled asparagus, and dinner is fresh, healthy and simple.