Archive for January 30, 2012
Back in December of 1960 President-Elect John F. Kennedy wrote an article for Sports Illustrated called The Soft American. In this article he references a research study that was conducted by Dr. Hans Kraus and Dr. Sonja Weber (Kraus Weber Test), in which they tested the physical strength and ability of American youth compared to that of Europeans.
The test was made up of six parts. Here they are:
Test No. 1. With his feet held on the ground by the examiner, the subject lies flat on his back with his hands behind the neck. Perform one sit-up.
Test No. 2. The subject is in the same position except that his knees are bent with his ankles close to the buttocks. Perform one sit-up.
Test No. 3. The subject lies flat on his back with his hands behind his neck. The legs are straight and lifted 10 inches off the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Test No. 4. The subject lies on his stomach with a pillow under his lower abdomen and groin. The examiner holds his feet down. Lift head, shoulders, and chest off the floor and hold for 10 seconds.
Test No. 5. The subject’s position is the same, but the examiner holds the chest down. With knees straight, lift legs off floor and hold for 10 seconds.
Test No. 6. The subject stands erect, barefooted, and with feet together. The examiner holds the knees straight. Bend over slowly and touch the floor with the fingertips. Hold this position for 3 seconds
The results are astonishing. Nearly 60% of American children failed one or more of these test, whereas only about 9% of European children failed.
In his article, John F. Kennedy talks extensively about the importance of fitness for our youth and our nation. I would like to share the final paragraph with you:
All of us must consider our own responsibilities for the physical vigor of our children and of the young men and women of our community. We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather, we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.
What do you think? Have things changed? Are we a generation of spectators? Could your child or children you know pass the Kraus Weber Test listed above? Have the advancements in all forms of media pushed our children from their playgrounds and fields back onto their couches? (If so, try these steps.) What are you doing to ensure our Nation’s next generation is not considered “SOFT!?”
Wow… Congratulations! You have completed 4 weeks of pushups and sit ups, eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, drinking 8 glasses of water, and exercising for 30 minutes each day. Let’s not forget that you have also gone over 25 days without those cookies, candies, alcohols, cigarettes, or other vices. You should be very proud. We are sure you have lots of successes to report. It should be getting easier now but if you are still having problems squeezing your workouts in, here is a great article about overcoming a busy schedule.
Here are a few of our latest articles:
Thanks for reading those great articles. Don’t forget to Check In, “Still In” in the comments of this article. Also, let us know the successes that you have had since starting this challenge!
Are your kids doing it? Let us know how they have been doing as well. How can we improve this challenge next time?
One of our fans, Briana Starks, had a very common question; how can I possibly squeeze a workout into a very busy schedule? Briana has 3 kids under the age of 4, is a full time student, and spends her nights studying and doing homework after putting the kids to bed. Briana has an issue that is not unfamiliar to many people trying to make their health a priority. Here’s some suggestions we have come up with. Please leave suggestions on how you have been able to squeeze workouts into your busy schedule as well.
Try Involving the Kids
Today’s video games offer many interactive family games. Pop in a dance game or workout video and try to get all the kids involved for 10 minutes. Don’t have a dance game? Just play a few of your favorite songs and have a dance party. Don’t like dancing? Take the kids for a walk. Race them for 10 second intervals. Every 5 minutes, stop and do jumping jacks, squat jumps, squats, jump rope, and or high knee running in place. You can also use the kids as weights and lift them up and down. Playgrounds are fun areas with all types of fitness machines. Hang or do pull-ups on the monkey bars. Play tag on the jungle gym. You can even make an obstacle course for both you and the kids to enjoy. Be creative and the opportunities are endless.
Don’t Start Big
Always remember that something is better than nothing. If on Monday you can only find 5 minutes to workout, get in a five minute workout. If you can only find 5 minutes per day for weeks, that is 35 minutes of working out a week. Compare that to zero minutes per week if you just decide to give up. Instead of trying to wake up 30 minutes earlier a day, try 5. Try to increase your amount of time for working out by 10% each week. This means if you work out 5 minutes on week 1, you would work out for 5 minutes and 30 seconds on week 2. The more you increase, the more your workout will become a habit and you will be up to 15-20 minutes per day with ease. Also, try to choose 2 days a week that you know you can get the most time to work out and make those your more intense work out days.
Write a Detailed Schedule
Start recording your day. You might want to do it by the half hour but no less than by the hour. This will be a way to review your days to find a few minutes here and there to piece together a workout routine. Sometimes you might find a few shortcuts that can be taken or a few things that can be cut out in order to make time. I know many people, who after writing out a detailed schedule have found a way to steal 30 minutes a day to work out. Read more
I make these muffins for my family often, they are quick to throw together and are full of healthy fruit, vegetables and are a good source of high quality whole grain carbohydrates for quick bursts of lasting energy! They enjoy them for a quick breakfast when we are on the run, as a snack to grab for practices after school or for an evening snack if their little tummies are a bit hungry before bed. They are a good alternative to grabbing a cookie or a highly processed granola bar!
You can make these with any fruit you want, or even shredded carrots! I make them different all the time, although carrots and blueberry are my family’s favorites. I keep frozen organic fruits in the freezer to use in all different kinds of ways – this is a great way to use them. The last batch I made was blueberry-apple…I only had about ½ cup of blueberries left so bumped it up with some fresh chopped apple – perfect! The pumpkin and the smashed banana are the two things I use as the base of the recipe all the time though – it adds good sweetness and a lot of vitamins! I also play around with adding chopped nuts – pepitas are our family favorites, as well as almonds and walnuts.
They freeze really well also- make a couple of batches and freeze to take out and microwave as you need them. Make them once a month and be ready for the month ahead!
Healthified Any-Fruit Whole Grain Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
Use organic ingredients if you can
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2 cups whole grain flour
½ cup whole grain rolled oats – not quick cooking
1/3 cup raw organic sugar – substitute Stevia if you wish
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom, optional
1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder – optional
1 banana, smashed
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
½ cup applesauce – unsweetened
2 Tb healthy oil
1 cup fruit or vegetable of your choice, fresh or frozen –diced apples, blueberry, shredded carrot, cranberry (use a bit more sweetener if you wish for cranberry muffins), extra banana, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
½ cup chopped nuts/seeds of your choice
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisk together to combine. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients ( I usually start the wet ingredients by smashing the banana and beating the egg in the bowl first so I can save dirtying another bowl). Omitting the fruit and nuts at this point. When well combined pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a rubber scraper very gently, folding and combining everything well – DO NOT OVER MIX – this will make for tough, gummy muffins! When the ingredients are almost completely incorporated stir in the fruit/vegetable and your nuts/seeds of choice.
Spray a standard size muffin cup with some non-stick spray, or use cupcake liners. Fill each muffin tin about ¾ full, with about 1/3 cup of the batter for each. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and serve . Enjoy!
You can make a little glaze for these if you wish. Simply mix ¼ cup powdered sugar with a drop or two at a time of lemon juice. Mix well until you have the consistency of a glaze. Drizzle lightly over the muffins.
Be sure to visit Chef Kirsten at www.mesadevida.com
Face it; Jillian Michaels has been absent from The Biggest Loser for 2 seasons now!
No matter how many people beg for her return through facebook and Twitter, so far she isn’t coming back. According to the Los Angeles Times she explained on her way out; “How many times can I scream last chance workout? This job is all consuming. It’s seven days a week. I want to start a family. It’s time.”
Through the first 11 seasons there have been many understudies however none have had the staying power of Jillian and Bob. They captured the hearts of Americans with their motivating yells, inspirational talks, and grueling workouts. Then the news of Jillian’s departure sent shockwaves through the blogosphere. Rumors of trouble with Bob, management, and money surfaced. None stuck as Jillian put an end to those rumors by letting everyone know that she had made the decision independently and not because of problems or money. Michaels’ departure caused threats from devoted viewers who swore they’d never watch the show again.
Enter Dolvett Quince and Anna Kournikova.
Both were very enthusiastic and inspirational trainers however Kournikova failed to connect with the contestants and the show and Anna decided mutually that she wouldn’t return for season 13.
Dolvett on the other hand was an instant success. He was called a Fox and a half by one contestant and was often complimented for his big smile and even bigger heart. The contestants that he works with call him inspiring, motivating, and unrelenting in his approach to help them succeed. With all these compliments, what’s not to love about Dolvett?
Well ask Bob!
He came off as the Bitter Loser on episode two of season 13.
While his contestants were in high plank positions, Dolvett was army crawling under them. Bob was so disturbed by this that he accused Dolvett of stealing his workout routines. So much so that he took his team outside to complete their workout. Some might say Bob was a bit of a sore loser after losing the first weigh in of the season. You decide.
So with all the drama, good looks, and muscle that Dolvett brings to the Biggest Loser, has he made you forget about Jillian yet? Also, what’s more important, your love for the trainers or the contestants reaching their fitness goals? (Are you reaching yours?)
Congratulations! You are another week into accomplishing your Health and Fitness Goals. Hopefully you are also teaching your family to follow in your footsteps. As Chef Kirsten of Mesa De Vida explained, There are many ways to get your kids (or reluctant husband) to eat more fruits and veggies. If you still aren’t seeing results, maybe you are making some of these common mistakes in the Challenge. No looking back now! Keep it up. Don’t forget to check in “Still In” in the comments section!
You’re 2 weeks into the JumpStart 2012 By Working on Ourselves, Challenge and haven’t seen enough results yet. You’ve been eating your servings, drinking your water, and straining through dreadful pushups and sit ups, but the scale still reads the same! Here are a few mistakes you are making and a few solutions to help you start seeing results faster!
You Traded One Vice For Another
For the challenge, you decided to give up ice cream. Now instead of ice cream you are eating more cookies. Take a look at your food journal and see what you have substituted your ice cream cravings for. I’m assuming you have some type of food journal as it is paramount to the success of this challenge. If you have traded one vice for another, take a look at our article, “Are you a Cheater”, for ways to cope with giving up vices. I noticed this same problem when I tried to buy Golden Oreos. I had found another vice.
You’re Still Eating Too Much
Again, check your food journal. If you are eating more calories because you added more fruits and vegetables, you need to make adjustments. Too many extra calories are detrimental, even if they are coming from fruits and veggies. If you are full after eating a fruit, veggie and protein source at breakfast, stop there. You may want to start cooking one less egg or eating one less piece of toast now that you are eating more fruits and veggies.
Your 30 Minutes of Exercise Isn’t Intense Enough
If you started walking two weeks ago, you should have made adjustments by now. Pick up the speed in your walk or add in intervals of jogging in order to raise the intensity. If you are biking, or riding the elliptical, you should speed those up as well. You can also try downloading our free EBook for a workout program and body weight exercises that’ll add a little variety to your workout. As we stated in our article, “Can’t Lose the last 10 Pounds? Here’s Why”, you have to change your workouts so that your body is always guessing. Don’t be afraid to push past your pain threshold. Only then will you start seeing more results.
You’re Miscalculating Servings
Do you know what constitutes a serving of fruits or veggies? It may not be as much as you think. Our article, “What’s a Serving”, will help you with this. If you are eating more than you should, you may be adding extra calories to your diet.
You’re Still Modifying Pushups and Sit Ups
It’s time to get on your toes and do a few pushups. Try 1 “real” pushup for every 3 “modified” pushups ratio. Soon you will be doing full pushups. Try the same with modified sit ups. If you don’t try it, you’ll never know that you can do it.
You Need to Divorce the Scale
Last but definitely not least, you need to divorce the scale for a while. Instead, measure your waist, legs, and arms. You should also measure your success by how far or fast you are running, how many more pushups you can do, and how long are you holding your planks! The scale is not the only success measuring tool.
CONGRATULATIONS, you have made it through week 2. If you haven’t yet, please weigh and measure yourself and post your successes here as well. We’ve heard weight loss numbers as high as 20lbs. If you are still having trouble beating the sugar cravings, please read our article, Beat the Sugar Cravings With These 8 Tips. Many of you have asked about the emphasis on fruits and vegetables so we decided to start writing articles regarding the benefits of both. Take a look at this article An Apple A Day. Are you losing your Motivation? Get it back with these easy steps.
Don’t forget to comment, “Still In” at the bottom of this post!
It’s one of the oldest adages, yet one of the most ignored. As the obesity numbers rise and the health and wellness industry becomes more and more profitable, many people are forgetting some of the simplest ways to become healthier. While everyone is trying to sell the next big health food, the neglected apple sits on the tree, silently screaming, “REMEMBER ME.” Let us remind you of all the Benefits of the Apple!
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Apples contain a polysaccharide called pectin which studies show helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol. 2 apples a day will reduce your LDL 10%. Other benefits of pectin are improved insulin resistance and prevent a surge in blood glucose levels.
Prevents Breast Cancer
A study done by Cornell University found that rats who were given 1, 2, or 3 apples per day reduced their risks of breast cancer by 17, 39, and 44 percent respectively.
Researchers in Brazil found significant weight loss among women who ate 3 apples per day as opposed to those who didn’t. Eating an apple before a meal will help you fill up and eat less as well. The honest truth about weight loss is that you will have to eat more fruits and vegetables and less junk.
Eat more apples to clean your teeth naturally. The juice in an apple is so sharp; it whitens the teeth and brightens your smile. Drink water while eating an apple to remove the sugar from your teeth.
These are only a few of the many benefits of an Apple. Always remember to keep apples refrigerated and don’t buy apples that you can dent with your finger.