Week 5

Here is the challenges for week 5!  This is one that I struggle with.  I never seem to get enough fiber.  Make sure that as you up your fiber intake, you also up your water intake to keep everything going smoothly. Oh, I’m excited!  My nutrition class starts up again on Tuesday.    

*** Week 5: Fiber ***
Goal … Increase fiber intake.

Substitute … All fruits to be consumed with the skin (except, of course, bananas, cantaloupes, watermelons) Potatoes to be eaten with the skin intact. Stone ground wheat bread, wheat pasta, brown rice, as previously mentioned. Increase intake of beans & dried peas, consume 3-5 vegetable servings & 2-4 fruit servings daily, substitute whole fruits for fruit juices.

Try to choose these higher-fiber foods when possible:
– Fiber (g) per 1/2 cup serving, cooked
– Baked beans 6.5
– Lentils 5.0
– Peas, green 4.5
– Garbanzo beans 4.5
– Bulgur wheat 4.0
– Acorn squash 3.5
– Brussels sprouts 3.5
– Broccoli 3.0
– Brown rice 1.5
– Spinach 1.5
– Couscous 1.0

– Fiber One Cereal 14.0 (not cooked)

Here’s a tip for you: Eat a small bowl of soup as an “appetizer” before lunch or dinner. It will help fill you up a little more & help you not to overeat.

Week 4 Challenge

January 23 – 30, 2007, Week #4 for our challenges this year! I read that 60% of people have given up their new years resolutions by Valentine’s Day. Let’s be part of the 40% & stay in shape throughout 2007. If you miss a day or a week, or even a month, that’s fine, just get back in there & work hard! You are worth it!!!  I have attached the pictures for the physical challenge. 


Our nutrition challenge this week will be easy for some, a little harder for others. This is probably the most important part of your nutrition though. Water is sooooo important! 8 oz is only 1 cup, it’s not that much,especially if you space it out throughout the day. I drink 3 32oz bottles of water everyday. Sometimes I have more, but that is the minimum I try to drink each day. Some days I only make it through 2 of them, but most days I am able to go through all 3 as well as some green/herbal tea & my breakfast smoothie in the morning (juice, soy milk, frozen fruit & protein powder). It has took me at least a year before I made my water “quota” of the day. If you normally drink only 8 oz a day, work your way up to 16 or 20 oz a day, etc. Good luck & wear some good shoes for running to the bathroom! 🙂 To re-cap, we are working on staying away from Fast Food places, eating Whole Grains instead of processed “grains”, & staying far away from trans fats & lessening our saturated fat intake. Let’s add water this week, you can’t eat sweets if your belly is full of water 🙂


*** Week 4: Water ***
Goal … Increase fluid intake with increased consumption of water. Decrease or eliminate consumption of alcohol or caffeinated beverages, which may increase dehydration.

To determine how much water you need … Drink the amount of water in ounces equal to half your body weight in pounds. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 125 ounces of water a day (approximately 10-13 10-ounce glasses a day. Drink half of this amount between the time you wake-up & lunch. Drink the other half between lunch & bedtime. Remember, if you are exercising, drink 8-10 ounces before exercising, 3-4 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise & another 8-10 ounces after exercising.

Fluid intake with exercise … Exercise blunts the thirst mechanism. The most reliable indicator for fluid needs is body weight. To determine your fluid needs: Measure pre- & post-workout weights. Weight should be measured in minimal clothing immediately before & after working out; the weight loss represents fluid loss as sweat. Each pound lost represents 1 pound or 16 ounces of fluid. Ideally, pre- & post-exercise weights should match, indicating that fluid intake matched fluid loss.

Before exercise … Drink 14 to 17 ounces (about 2 cups) of cool water not ice cold 15 minutes before exercise. During exercise: Drink 5 to 8 ounces (about 1 cup) of water every 15 minutes.

After exercise … Drink 16 ounces of water for every pound loss after exercise. Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, & magnesium) can be replaced by eating e.g., low-fat dairy products, oranges, grapefruit & bananas.

Cooler beverages (at approximately 40 degrees F) are preferred over warmer drinks, since they are absorbed more quickly & help cool the body. The best fluid replacement beverage is water, but if you are exercising more than 1.5 to 2 hours, sports drinks are recommended to replace electrolytes & carbohydrate.

Challenge 3, how is it going?

Have you made it past any stumbling blocks?  How about your fats?  Its amazing what products have trans fats in them.  On the trans/saturated fats I’m doing okay, not so much with other fats.  My face can tell you I have been consuming too many fats lately!  I’m glad my nutrition class starts up again next week.   I had a tip about whole wheat pasta from a friend for you, the Barilla Plus pasta is a whole wheat flour pasta that doesn’t taste like one.  It is still lighter in color & flavor than most whole grain pastas.  Try it out. 

Do you all have nice abs from last week?  Cutting out some fats will help slim down the middle to help you show off all that hard work.  Keep it up.  Debyi

How did you do last week?

Are you ready for this week?  No trans fats!!!  It’s amazing what they are in.  Saturated fats are a little easier to avoid, except for chocolate!  Yes, chocolate & yogurt are saturated fats. 

What stumbling blocks are you struggling with?  Are they with nutrition or exercise?  Maybe both?  Don’t be afraid to find someone to hold you accountable.  It really makes a big difference.  Let me know how you are doing.  Debyi

Challenge #3 – Jan 16-22. 2007

We are continuing to watch our Fast Food intake & switch over to whole grains, this week we are adding a fat watch!

*** Week 3: Fats ***
Goal … Reduce saturated & hydrogenated fats in the diet.

Substitute … monounsaturated fats (olive, canola, peanut oils), polyunsaturated fats (soybean* & corn oils), olive oil, organic butter, flaxseed oil (keep refrigerated, never heat & use quickly), skim milk, low fat or fat free milk, cheese, condiments & salad dressing. Use saturated fats sparingly. Use lean cuts of meat & poultry & select skinless cuts of poultry for cooking. Bake, broil, boil or grill food. In restaurants, order baked potatoes, salads, & meats plain with condiments on the side. Substitute vinegar & or lemon juice for salad dressings. For peanut butter or soybean butter, choose low fat versions, & dump out the top layer of oil, wedge a few paper towels down the middle of the jar, put the cap on & turn the jar upside down. Repeat the process & change the paper towels for a few days at room temperature. You may also want to place the peanut butter between paper towels & run a rolling pin over it to flatten it out & blot up the oil. When the peanut butter has lost its shine then it has much less fat. Also, use cooking sprays, such as Pam, in place of butter or oil when possible.

* Note: As with soy nuts, soy oils contain phytates, which interfere with digestion. Use sparingly, if at all)

Trans fats have been in our food supply for many years despite the fact that scientists & food companies know that they cause heart disease. These fats, which are less expensive than other fats, also increase the shelf life of many foods, such as crackers & cookies. Therefore food companies have been very reluctant to remove them from their foods. However, by consuming these fats, you will increase your bad cholesterol, decrease your good cholesterol & cause an overall increase in your risk for heart disease & stroke. 

The good news is that most foods now carry a label, which states how many grams of trans fats a food contains. My goal for you is to have a diet that has ZERO grams of trans fats. They are just no good for you, & thankfully, there are now many healthier alternatives to choose from. And remember, if you don’t support these unhealthier products, you make it harder for the food companies to continue to use them.

A mental challenge

Well, its sort of a mental challenge. What are your stumbling blocks to working out & eating right. The mental part of it, I think is at least 90% of the battle. I hope you can find something in this article that will help you stick to a healthy eating & workout routine. For those of you who are fired up & ready to go, Amen sista!!! Stick to it.

Stumbling Blocks? Stack Them Up…And then Climb Over Them! By Dale Murrie, FIRM Master Instructor

Okay so it’s a brand new year, a brand new you, a clean slate, a fresh start! You’ve heard it all & it’s true! Embrace it & make it work for you in 2007. What’s keeping you from being the ultimate you? What are your weaknesses & how do you overcome them? We all have some weakness that we want to overcome: splurging with friends on a Friday night, spending more time with the TV than our families, overpaying for those high sugar, high fat coffee drinks, making excuses & not working out… So, HOW do we overcome these weaknesses? What are the steps we can take?

Stumbling Block #1: Commitment
First of all, you have to WANT to overcome that weakness with all that you have OR you are doomed from the start. You have to COMMIT to it; not just a casual commitment, but a serious, heartfelt commitment to whatever it is you’re striving to overcome.
In order to achieve that level of commitment, you have to make yourself accountable. Tell people. Let those around you support your new commitment! Ask your friends & family to encourage & then applaud you as you make changes for your new way of life. I always tell myself that it takes a village to make something happen. I reflect on this in terms of raising my daughter; I need support! Rely on your support system to help you.

Stumbling Block #2: Fear of Failure
Then you HAVE to visualize yourself being successful at overcoming your weaknesses! Play out the scenarios in your mind. How will you feel if you fail & go back to your old behaviors? Visualize your daily activity & attitude.
Now, how will you feel if you are successful? Again, visualize your daily activity & attitude, but with this newly achieved success! Let the strength of this visualization motivate you to keep your commitment & stick to it!

Stumbling Block #3: Negativity
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! I feel like we always tear ourselves down & focus on the negative. Let it go!
Surround yourselves with positive people & positive images in your life. They will lift you up so that you can believe in yourself!

I truly believe that by making the commitment, visualizing your success with it, & believing in your self, you will become what you want. This is the ONLY true road to success. It all lies within YOU. Don’t blame any other factors for not being successful! So commit to the new you, visualize the new you, & believe in the new you. BECOME THE NEW YOU that you strive to be in 2007!

January is National Wheat Bread Month!

How are you guys doing? It’s been a week, so it’s a good time to reassess your goals. Do you think they are too easy, or maybe you need to step one down just a little to make it more attainable. If you are just getting started, try to set 3 attainable goals and maybe one that is going to be further down the road, something to work towards.

Its all about your CORE

PHYSICAL –  Let’s focus on our core this week. Here are a couple of circuits to incorporate into your exercise routine. Here are a couple of ab circuits to give you some ideas. 

Janet’s Plank Circuit

Plank Circuit #1: Warm up first (of course).
Learn the plank stretch position before you start. It’s also the position known as “child’s pose” in yoga. Here is an explanation: lie on your stomach, & then push back your gluteals (that’s your butt) to your heels. Hands & arms are straight in front of the body, such that elbows are near the temples. Palms down on the floor. Forehead down to the floor, chin somewhat ducked toward chest. Round your lower back. Feel the spinal vertebrae separate & round, really stretching through the back, particularly lower back.  Now you are ready to get started.

Stay in prone position (that means with face to floor, back to ceiling). Walk your hands & chest out until you are resting solely on your elbows, forearms, & sides of palms. Head should be straight out from spine, eyes cast down or you may slowly turn your head side to see your reflection in the mirror & check your form. Your knees are not touching the floor, so that your toes are your only other body part touching the floor.

At this point, only the following body parts are touching the floor: elbows, forearms, & sides of palms, & toes. Your back AND buttocks (we’ll use the pc word) must be straight & even – like an ironing board. Do not let your buttocks lift – you do not want your buttocks to be high – hips should be level with rib cage – NOT higher. So be sure your back, buttocks, & legs are on the same even plane.

Now you are ready. KEY – if at any time you tire, your back hurts, or your buttocks start lifting up (thus lifting the hips, losing that ironing board effect), immediately go into the stretch pose described above. Stretch as often as you must, then go right back & finish the circuit. Soon you will be able to do it in its entirety without stretching until the end.

In the plank position, contract your lower back. Contract the abdominals, pulling the belly button up to the spine. Contract the gluteals (butt). You must hold these contractions the entire time you are in the plank position – through all the plank moves. You can only release during the stretch.

Start by just holding the position with lower back, abs, & buttocks contracted. Hold 16 counts.

Next lower & lift your knees (to the floor & then back level with body), Right then Left. As you lower, move the knee slightly inward to also engage the sides of your waist (the obliques). Do 16 of these (that means 16 on each side – 1 rep is R then L).

Next lift & lower your leg, R then left – toes will come off the floor, then go back into position on the floor. It’s a small lift, so that as you lift you further contract the gluteal of the leg you are lifting, further contract the lower back, & feel the abs flatten even more (the lift slightly stretches the abs – keep belly button to spine & feel this lengthening of the abs). Do these 8 times at an even tempo (that means R then L is one time). Once you have lifted & lowered each leg alternating 8 times, we are gonna intensify.

Lift the Right leg & hold 7 counts. Lower R toe back to the floor on count 8.
Lift the L leg & hold 7 counts. Lower L toe to floor on count 8.
Repeat 2 more times.

Now it’s back to the knee drops, (lower then lift as described above). Feel the obliques again. Continue contracting the abs, lower back, & gluteals. Do 8 reps (8 R/L).

Now stretch as described above. Really feel the lower back rounding. Separate the spine. This should feel great. Hold this stretch as long as you want, but not so long that you stop feeling it. Now flip your body over to a supine position, keeping spine rounded even as you flip.

Once in supine position, you want your feet on floor with knees up (bent). Keep your spine rounded into the floor. Continue to feel the stretch. Take a pelvic tuck – it will help to keep the spine rounded into the floor. Pelvic tuck means lifting the buttocks off the floor, lifting the hip bones, & pulling the stomach in. Again, belly button all the way to spine. You should feel as though you are lying flat on your back with your stomach concave. Like a U-shaped torso flat on the floor. Holding this position, take hands behind head, resting head on fingers (not laced). Elbows stay to the side. Eyes to ceiling, chin lifted so that you could hold an orange between chin & chest. Now lift & lower the shoulders, being sure to hold your pelvic tuck & spine to floor. Do NOT allow your abs to round up – keep them sucked in. Now you can do some standard ab moves if you want, & by holding this correct position, you will be amazed at your results. Try to do between 25 & 50 regular ab crunches…challenge yourself!!!

Janet’s Plank Circuit 2 – We will do planks facing side now.
Start from your original plank position (prone portion of Plank Circuit 1).
Carefully turn your body on its Right side so you are supported by your right hand (Right elbow is straight). Left foot is crossed over right foot on floor. Now LIFT your hips up – get them high & aligned with the body so that the only body parts touching the floor re your Right hand & Left foot crossed over Right foot (so toes are pointed to floor & heels also are on floor). Make sure the right arm is directly in line with the shoulder, so shoulder is straight above wrist. Think about your torso. Is your belly button contracted to the spine? Is your back contracted? The sides of your waist? All of these areas must be pulled inward – visualize a corset wrapped around your waist, oblique’s (sides of waist) & lower back, & pull the corset tight. Keep your chest & shoulders lifted.

Extend the left arm in the air & look up at your hand. Hold this for 3 counts, then on count 4 lower the left arm to floor. If you are tired, rest hips on floor & then lift back up. Repeat 8 times.

Next, take L hand behind head & Left elbow is pointed upward. Same body alignment. Keeping shoulders squared, turn L elbow down so that it turns to floor (of course, it will not touch the floor – just point downward. Your face also turns to floor, so that your eyes are looking directly at floor. Do this 8 times.

Repeat on other side.

I try to do planks 4 days a week, even if I do no other workout that day.

Janet’s Plank Circuit 3 
While in prone position (face looking at floor, body on toes, back flat & LEVEL – no butt lifting):

Extend/straighten your elbows so that your arms are straight & wrists are at floor — DIRECTLY below shoulders. Extend Right leg straight out from hip (horizontal to floor). Squeeze lower back, buttocks, & really tighten your abdominals…PULL YOUR Belly Button in to Spine as tight as you can. Now extend Left arm straight out from floor – again, horizontal. Squeeze lower back & further tighten belly button. Hold 7 counts.

Change sides — i.e. Use Left leg & Right arm, & Repeat as above.

Do each side 8 times, then stretch by sitting your buttocks back to heels, round lower back, arms extended & palms on floor, forehead on floor.

Once you have stretched lower back, round up (keep buttocks on heels) until spine is erect. Roll shoulders back & then down. Now clasp hands behind back & pinch shoulder blades together, lean head back to look at ceiling. KEEP ABS CONTRACTED! This opens your chest & you can really feel the chest stretching – important to keep flexibility & good posture through your shoulders/chest.

Janet’s Plank Circuit 4 
Walking Planks — Same position as above, i.e. hands aligned under shoulders, elbows straight, toes on floor, back flat like ironing board. For this one, however, you should put a towel under the toes to assist your “walk”. Keep belly button pulled in to spine; Keep lower back & sides of waist contracted.

Now slowly walk hands forward – as though you are taking six steps, & use your toes to drag the towel with you as your hands walk.

You probably will want to stretch (see paragraphs below) after your hands walk six steps, then you should do it again. Stretch once more & do these walks a third time. Once you have mastered this one, try to increase the number of steps your hands walk – increase to eight for 3 sets, then later possibly ten steps & 3 sets.

Stretch – just as above – to repeat: stretch by sitting your buttocks back to heels, round lower back, arms extended & palms on floor, forehead on floor.

Once you have stretched lower back, round up (keep buttocks on heels) until spine is erect. Roll shoulders back & then down. Now clasp hands behind back & pinch shoulder baldes together, lean head back to look at ceiling. KEEP ABS CONTRACTED! This opens your chest & you can really feel the chest stretching – important to keep flexibility & good posture through your shoulders/chest.

Suzannes’s Fab Abs Routines 
The first routine is mostly standing, uses a stick & focuses on the obliques. The second routine is on the floor & is a good mix of upper, lower & obliques. Before both workouts, please make sure you’re warmed up. Either add these on to the end of one of your workouts, or you can do these as stand alone workouts & get warm using your favorite warmup routine.

Ab Routine One
1. Seated leg extensions 16 reps
This exercise will warm up the entire ab region.
Start seated on a chair with knees up & hands on the back corners. (beginners just 1 knee up for 8 & switch)
Extend the legs & exhale. Pull back in & inhale. Advanced exercisers will lay out almost flat as they extend legs & torso.

2. Standing oblique twist 8 basic 16 with knee
With stick on shoulders, twist at the waist to the R keeping hips forward. Next add a R knee lift crossing the knee to the mid-line of the body.

3. Standing oblique lift 16 reps
Lower torso to the L, elbow pointed to the floor shoulders facing front & then pull your body back up to neutral using the R obliques. This is a stretch, followed by a contraction to return to the starting position.

4. Standing oblique crunch 16 reps
Take 2 pound weights into both hands & lift arms overhead to the L. Extend your R leg, toe pointed & touching the ground. Pull your arms down & across your body as you lift your R knee (like a knee repeater).

5. Standing Ab Crunch 16 reps
Keep the twigs in both hands centered overhead with elbow slightly bent. Alternate knee lifts while crunching upper abs toward the knee. Basically, crunch yourself into a C-shape.

Repeat Exercise 2-4 on the L
Repeat exercise 1 & 5.

Finish with a set of planks. Hold for 16 counts, can alternate knee walks or leg lifts. Do 3 sets.

Beginners should not use weights.

Ab Routine Two
Begin in supine position. Hands can either be behind your head, flat by your side, under your hips, or behind you holding on to a table or sofa leg.
Beginners should keep all leg extensions & leg walks shallow. Advanced should extend & lower legs as deep as possible without lifting the back.

1. Leg Walks 16
Start with legs fully extended over hips. Lower legs together (can modify with alternating legs) & lift.

2. Leg Extensions16 or Leg Extensions with scissor 16
Extend legs out together & bring them back in with knees stopping over hips. Do not add a reverse crunch to the move. Advanced, extend legs & add an open-close scissor & then bring legs back in.

3. Reverse Leg Walks 16 reps
Extend legs out & walk up together slowly.

4. Flutter 10 reps
Extend legs at your level, keeping legs very tight & controlled. Flutter quickly.

5. Oblique Crunch 8 reps; with knees 12 reps
Bring feet to the floor & drop knees to the L. Both hands behind head, shoulders square to ceiling & do upper crunch. Then extend R arm, palm to floor for leverage, & add bent legs to crunch.

6. Upper Ab Crunch 16
Feet on floor, knees center, crunch upper abs.

Repeat exercise 5 to the other side.
Repeat exercise 6.

7. Upper Crunch with twist 8 reps R/L; 8 reps L/R
Feet flat on floor, hands behind head. Crunch center, twist R, twist L & lower. Do 8 & repeat twisting L then R.

8. Side planks 2 sets each side
Get into plank position & lower & lift 10 times, advanced can add rotation to the front.

Please modify this as you need to. You may have to build up to some of these exercise or to the amount of reps. 

These are all just some options to get you started.  It is always good to get out of the normal exercises.  If you always to crunches, try some planks or leg walks.  If you always to abs on the floor, try doing them on a stability ball.  If you have a favorite ab exercise you would like to share, let me know!  I love learning new exercises. 

New challenge starts Tuesday, January 9, 2007

NUTRITION – Clean Eating for Health & Fitness, cumulative

*** Week 1: Fast Food Meals***
Goal … Eliminate trips to fast food restaurants from the diet.

*** Week 2: Grains ***
Goal … Eliminate white flour, bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, commercially extruded cereals such as “Cheerios”.

Substitute … whole grain products (without added dextrose, maltose, honey molasses, brown sugar, or [high fructose] corn syrup) Whole-grain breads, sugar-free breads, flourless whole-grain breads made without preservatives if possible, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain brown rice, wheat bran, wheat germ, oat bran, natural grains, couscous, sweet potatoes, beans & lentils, oatmeal (slow-cooked is preferable to instant). Preferred cereals: Puffed Kashi, Kashi the breakfast Pilaf, Shredded Wheat & Bran , Multigrain Chex. Use bread flour, grain flour, soy flour, & whole-wheat flour for baking.

.My favorite breakfast is steel cut oats.  Its oatmeal, but it has more texture, & it does take longer to cook.  Very worth it though.  For bread, Ezekiel brand is a great choice.  If you are used to plain ole white bread, you’ll need to ease into Ezekiel bread, it has much more texture and a richer flavor.  It’s one of my favorites though.  Whole wheat pasta is much easier to find now, there are at least 3 brands that make low-cost whole wheat pasta. 

Here’s our challenge!

NUTRITION – Clean Eating for Health & Fitness

Let’s learn & share what makes a food choice a good one to fit with our goals of strength gains & fat loss. I would love to hear some things that work for you. I will be posting clean eating challenges for you each week. I’d like to credit the author but I haven’t been able to find that information. What do you all think of it? Is it practical, or unrealistic? What are you already doing that would be considered “clean” according to this plan? Here is this weeks challenge, it will be really easy for some & really hard for others.

*** Week 1: Fast Food Meals***
Goal … Eliminate trips to fast food restaurants from the diet.

Substitute … If fast foods MUST be consumed, choose only grilled chicken (if choosing a sandwich try to forgo the bun), or salads with low fat or fat free dressing. No sodas, even diet (some contain sodium). Drink only water. Note that even “healthier” fast food choices can still contain high sodium content. Substitute easy to prepare, make ahead portable meals, like a portable survival kit, protein bars such as MetRx Protein Plus, Myoplex Low-Carb Bar, EAS Simply Protein bar, or Biochem Ultimate Lo-Carb Bar (Note: protein bars are not considered a meal replacement. They are snacks or meal supplements at best, & some contain as much sugar as candy bars! Check the sugar content listed on the label), yogurt, Myoplex Low-Carb Ready to Drink nutritional shakes*, homemade energy bars, fruits, veggies soy nuts**, sunflower seeds, low-sodium peanuts, tuna or albacore canned in water (rinse or soak in water to remove excess sodium. If you are pregnant, nursing, or considering pregnancy use sparingly due to mercury found in canned tuna), cottage cheese doubles (cottage cheese & fruit combined made by Breakstone, I believe)*, wheat nuts, dried fruits such as raisins, figs, cranberries*, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dates*.

* Note: As the rotation progresses, some of these items, which may contain preservatives, will be weaned from the diet as well.

** Note: Soy nuts have the highest phytate content of any food, which makes digestion difficult & may interfere with mineral absorption in the body. Use sparingly, if at all.