Fitness Friday: Burn More Calories Trail Running

Need some new ways to blast calories? Since it’s warmer outside, head to the trails. Try some of these three fun, fast-paced trail routines designed by Vindum and Nikki Kimball, three-time winner of the prestigious Western States 100-mile endurance race. I love all of three trail running suggestions.

1. Circuit Play
Why: Mixing walking, running, sprinting, and strength work transforms a hike into a full-body workout.

How: As you move along the trail, vary your pace: Go easy for two minutes, pick it up a bit for five, then sprint or speed-walk hard for 15 to 60 seconds. Recover at a slow pace until your breathing returns to normal. Then launch into a strength move (pushups and triceps dips on a log, calf raises on a rock, squats with one foot propped up on a rock) for 60 to 90 seconds. That’s one cycle. Do four to six cycles, switching up the strength moves and your speeds throughout your workout.

2. Cardio Hill Blast
Why: Running and hiking uphill increases your leg strength and improves your cardiovascular fitness while also torching fat—win, win, win! For each degree of incline, count on at least a 10 percent increase in calories burned, according to New York City nutrition and metabolism expert Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist’s Plan: The No-Fail Prescription for Energy, Vitality & Weight Loss. So running up a 5 percent grade (a gentle hill) will burn 50 percent more calories than running on a totally flat surface for the same amount of time.

How: Run up gradual hills at a strong but comfortable pace (you’re breathing hard, but you can still say a few words). Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders relaxed and down. On steep grades, switch to a quick walk, using medium to long strides. If the route you take has only one or two hills, do repeats: Run or walk the hill, jog back down, then take the climb again. Aim for four to eight total hill climbs.

3. Power Up, Race Down
Why: When you do squats, lunges, and other strength moves uphill, and then run downhill, you’ll get a balanced lower-body workout. The uphill exercises target the glutes, calves, and inner and outer thighs, while downhill running works your quads. Bonus: Doing strength moves on an incline requires more energy, so you’ll burn more calories, and managing uneven ground as you descend improves balance and coordination.

How: When you get to a hill, work in a few strength moves. Then run down the other side (or the same side). If the climb is long enough, perform 20 reps of each exercise on the way up.

Read more of this story at Women’s Health

Blueberry Pancakes for Mother’s Day

What a week… I can’t believe that a week ago I buried my mom, and tomorrow it’s Mother’s day. It’s been such a rough week, but I have so many of you to thank for the sweet messages, notes, emails, calls, flowers, comments, lunches, etc. I am trying to pick myself up every day and move forward, and this blog is one great way to push me to do that. I thought I would share a super simple recipe for Blueberry Pancakes for Mother’s Day or any day since my mom always loved Mother’s Day brunches and who doesn’t love pancakes and blueberries?

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful, wonderful, giving moms out there. For those of you who still have a mom, give her a big hug today! All the best, Alison

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Fitness Friday: New “Strong & Sculpted” Canyon Ranch DVD & Giveaway

When I heard about the new “Canyon Ranch: Strong & Sculpted” DVD releasing this week, I was excited to check it out. This is a great concept of bringing the Canyon Ranch experience home with you. These three 20-minute workouts take healthy living to a new level for total-body transformation designed to work together to firm, tone, and invigorate your entire body. The workouts include a dynamic strength-training segment to build strong bones and long, lean muscle; a fluid, easy-to-follow yoga flow for more body sculpting and to improve balance and flexibility; and a powerful core segment to work the muscles of the abs and hips that are key to a powerful, smoothly functioning physique. With this program, you’ll chisel your muscles, focus your mind, and transform your body. For more information to purchase, see Acacia Lifestyles.

Check Out These Workout Options:

  • Core (20 min. plus 5 min. cool down) with Canyon Ranch fitness instructor Darcy McCue

  • Strength Training (20 min. plus 9 min. cool down) with Canyon Ranch fitness instructor Heather Schmidt

  • Yoga (20 min. plus 5 min. savasana) with Heather Schmidt

    Bonus Features:

·Take healthy living to a new level with three bonus segments featuring Canyon Ranch integrative health experts.

·Cooking with Super Foods: How to select and prepare foods that reduce inflammation with Canyon Ranch’s nutrition director and corporate chef (7 min.)

·Building Lean Muscle: What you need to know about muscle and how to build muscle through exercise with an exercise physiologist (3 min.)

·Healthy Joints: How to protect and strengthen your joints during exercise and in everyday life with an integrative medicine expert (4 min.)

·Booklet with recipes from the renowned chefs of Canyon Ranch

For a chance to win, leave a comment telling me why you would like this DVD. Do the following for more chances to win and leave me a comment telling me you did. Winner will be drawn on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 8 p.m CST.

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Fitness Friday: What is Corporate Yoga?

What is “Corporate Yoga”? Have you heard about it? I am so thrilled to feature an interview with my friend, Jennifer Berman, Owner of Jennifer Berman Yoga. She is doing what she loves teaching yoga classes in major corporations. I find this trend and her entrepreneurial spirit so interesting, unique and inspiring. I couldn’t wait to share this story on my “Fitness Friday”.

 Why is Corporate Yoga So Important and beneficial?

Corporate Yoga brings not only a yoga class to the workplace, but also brings a healthy mindset and lifestyle. Yoga cultivates mindfulness, and when we are in a state of mindfulness, we become in tune with our bodies and our health. We also start to make healthier choices. Companies benefit when it’s not just an exercise class a few times a week, but when there is a shift in the corporate culture toward a healthier lifestyle. I strive to keep my classes engaging, challenging, and fun so the participants never know what to expect. I don’t think I’ve ever taught a class that is the same. This helps Corporate Yoga classes stay packed, and it keeps their employees coming back for more!

Why are more companies going this route?

Companies are beginning to see the benefits of providing Corporate Yoga. There are many benefits for both the employer and employees. From the employer standpoint, this could mean lower insurance premiums, less sick days, increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, more attractive to potential employees, increased job satisfaction and positive thinking. From the employee standpoint, the benefits are improved health and wellness, less stress, anxiety, and depression; improved memory, focus, weight loss, and increased mental alertness. Also, it’s a great way for employees to get to know each other and promote team building. The benefits just go on and on!

How did you get into the entrepreneurial business side of yoga?

About 4 years ago, I donated a few private yoga sessions for a school fundraiser. The person who bought the sessions referred a friend to me. The friend contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in coming to her office to teach a class. A few weeks later I was leading a packed class at her office in an empty board room. Soon after, one of the women in this class referred me to her friend at a law firm downtown.  Before I knew it,  I was traveling to the law firm and teaching a full class in an empty office. At this point, teaching yoga was my hobby and passion, not a career.  I was still working in sales  full-time but teaching a few corporate yoga classes on the side. A horrible work experience left me without a job unexpectedly.  I was forced to figure out something fast. During this very difficult time, a student referred me to her company to teach a yoga class.  Before I knew it, I was teaching all over town doing what I loved and what I am most passionate about. Sometimes it takes those really difficult situations to push us and motivate us in the path we were meant to follow. I feel so blessed to be in a career doing what I love, inspiring and helping others toward a healthier life!

How many corporate classes are you teaching on a weekly basis?

I travel all over Birmingham bringing yoga to large utility companies, financial companies, law firms, doctor offices, and dentist offices. All of the Corporate Yoga classes are paid for by the companies as a wellness benefit for their employees.  All you need to get started is a board room, empty office, or lobby. I offer morning, lunch-time, or afternoon Corporate Yoga classes, conference break yoga sessions, yoga parties, and private yoga.

10 Foods That Boost Your Metabolism

I am on Magic 96.5 FM Radio this morning in Birmingham doing my monthly radio show on “Foods that Boost Your Metabolism”. Tune in at 6:50 a.m and 8:50 a.m CST today. Here are 10 Foods that can help boost your metabolism so add them to you diet. You can find the recipe above for Oatmeal with Egg whites here.

1. Water-Water speeds up weight loss and increases the metabolism. It also flushes toxins and sodium from the body. Cold water is said to be even better as your body has to work to heat the cold water until the temperature reaches the rest of the water in your body. This process increases the metabolism even more.

2. Green Tea: The caffeine in green tea speeds up metabolism and also has a chemical, EGCG (antioxidant), that stimulates the nervous system and helps prevent cancer. Extracts from Green tea boost metabolism, aid in weight loss, and also have anti-cancer properties.

3. Grapefruit-Water rich fruits, such as grapefruit, dilute calories. Grapefruit also reduces insulin, which can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. Grapefruit is also a good source of Vitamin C, reducing insulin levels and boosting metabolism.

4. Broccoli-Broccoli is high in vitamin C and calcium. These two work together to help burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium also activates your metabolism, and vitamin C helps absorb more calcium. Broccoli is also great for immunity. It  has vitamin A, folate and fiber.

5. Low-fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt-Yogurt is full of calcium and protein which gives you energy and helps build lean muscle mass. Yogurt also helps regulate your digestive track

6. Hot peppers-Eating hot peppers can boost metabolism and curb cravings. The chemical capsaicin (found in jalapeno and cayenne pepper) assists in speeding up metabolism. Other spices, cinnamon and curry powder, are also metabolism boosters.

7. Salmon-Salmon is a lean protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids which help speed up your metabolism.

8. Lean proteins-Protein found in chicken, turkey and lean meats takes energy to break down so your body burns calories in the digestive process. 

9. Almonds-Although almonds are high in calories, they are jam packed with essential fatty acids, which are great metabolism boosters.

10 Oatmeal-Oatmeal is rich in fat-soluble fiber which requires a lot of calories to break down. It also reduces cholesterol levels and risks of heart disease.

Fitness Friday: Bob Harper’s Top 5 Fitness Tips

Bob Harper is America’s #1 TV weight-loss authority and fitness expert from NBC’s The Biggest Loser. You can also find him here on twitter, and he is the creator of Smart Success. Here are his top five weight-loss and fitness tips:

1. Protein is important for building muscle and repair. It is essential to get at least half of your body weight of protein in grams. For example if you way 180 pounds, you must get 90 grams of protein.

2. When traveling, stick to your workout regiment; sneak out to your hotel gym, and get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio a day. Pack a jump rope-it doesn’t take up much space. Grab a hotel bath towel, and create a short circuit, or just run around the surrounding area of your hotel to keep your body trim and in its normal fitness routine

3. Your warm up sets the mood for your entire workout. Choose something that gives you a dynamic and strong start. An example is standing kicks. They are excellent for getting the blood pumping.

4. When building better abs (or any muscle), work them out 2 to 3 times a week. Not everyday.

5. For an overall body workout, you can keep it simple and stick to push ups. You will see great results.

Photo via Pinterest