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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Pilates is Nearly 100 Years Old and STILL One of THE Best Total Body Workouts

Ever walk past a Pilates studio and wonder if the equipment inside is some kind of medieval torture device? You’re not alone. Despite being nearly 100 years old, the workout method still remains a mystery to most people who don’t already practice it. 

If you’ve never tried Pilates, the appeal and experience of taking a class, either in-studio or online, or signing up for a private session might not be so obvious. But the first thing you should know is that “Pilates is more than a fitness routine,” says Marina Kaydanova, founder of BK Pilates in New York City. 

“It’s meant to fix alignment and improve mobility,” she explains. “In that way, it’s sort of a form of physical therapy.” Pilates workouts are all about slow, controlled movements that tone muscles, increase muscular endurance, and promote good posture and balance.

And in case you were wondering why it gets capitalized when yoga, for example, does not, it’s because Pilates is named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercise style in the 1920s in Germany. Ever since, it’s been popular with dancers, not to mention super-fit celebs (see: Kate Hudson), who swear by the fitness method because it’s hardcore (read: lots of abs) but low impact.

Keep reading for everything you need to know before your first Pilates workout—plus, all the health benefits to expect after taking up the muscle-shaking sessions.

What happens in a Pilates class?

That depends a lot on what sort of session you sign up for. All classes fall under two main types: mat and reformer.

The good news for newbies is that “you can achieve the same results with mat or reformer classes and can do either one if you’re just starting out,” says Kaydanova. The main difference is that using a machine gives you more options and can up the challenge, she notes. She also says to keep in mind that muscles are harder to target on the mat, which means “you just might need to add some props to a mat class for certain moves,” she explains. “For instance, you can’t do inner thighs on a mat unless you have a magic circle.” WTH is a magic circle? More on that later….

Reformer classes add resistance with a spring-based machine. (Joseph Pilates created the first ones by rigging up springs on hospital beds.) “Moving on a reformer strengthens you as you move one way and stretches you the other way,” says Kaydanova. Using a machine makes it more interesting but also gives you more support than a mat class, she says, as you can play with resistance depending on your ability. 

Mat classes don’t require a large machine, but you’ll likely reach for other pieces of gear—like a block, the aforementioned magic circle (also known as a Pilates ring), and mini exercise ball—to pump up certain moves, add stability to exercises, and help you connect with your deepest core muscles.

Aside from there being two types of Pilates workouts (reformer and mat) there are also two styles of Pilates workouts—classical and contemporary—and the exercises you’ll perform has everything to do with which one you choose. 

Classical style runs you through 34 of the same exact moves (with straightforward names like the roll up, spine twist, jack knife, and the all-time classic abs moves the Hundred) in the same exact order every session. (Moves can be altered slightly depending on your level.) 

Watch this video to get familiar with a dozen common exercises you’ll likely do in your first Pilates workout: 

Contemporary style classes, on the other hand, mix in more creative choreography and exercises from other fitness modalities such as lunges, plank variations, and other popular bodyweight resistance moves. If you’re not sure which style the studio or instructor you’re taking lessons from teaches, just ask.

No matter which type and style of Pilates workout you choose, you’ll likely hear some new lingo during your first lesson. Common terms your instructor might use include: control, alignment, C-curve, roll up and roll down, and articulate (meaning to roll down one vertebra at a time). Don’t worry, though, you’re teacher will either demo or talk through what each of these terms means and offer adjustments and cues to help you execute them properly. 

No matter what Pilates workout you choose, prepare to feel it: “People are surprised after the class, how sore they are and how much they hurt, even if the class is paced more slowly than they expected,” says Kaydanova. But you’ll also feel good. You’ll likely walk out of the studio a little lighter on your feet than when you came in—feeling more elongated and relaxed, since stretching is half the point of Pilates.

What should you wear to and expect from your first Pilates workout?

Think form-fitting. A pair of leggings or Spandex shorts and a sports bra or not-too-baggy tank are the way to go, and many studios require students to wear socks with grippy treads on the soles.

How often should you do Pilates?

For the best results, aim for a few weekly sessions. “Two to three times a week is ideal,” says Kaydanova. “But what I always say is: Everything you do is more than you didn’t do.”

Will Pilates help you lose weight?

It definitely could—but it might depend on how much you exercise to begin with. Women who did Pilates three times a week for eight weeks lost weight and inches in their waist and improved their BMI, in one small study from Pamukkale University in Turkey. However, the women in the research were overweight and inactive beforehand. 

If you already get your sweat on often, adding Pilates to your routine might not end up tipping the scale down. But even if you don’t drop pounds, adding muscle and improving your posture make the workout a win-win.

What else is Pilates good for?

A lot. Research has shown that hitting the mat regularly improves muscular endurance and flexibility. After just eight weeks of a Pilates routine, people showed improved flexibility in a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. It’s also a killer core workout, which can not only give you envy-worthy abs, but can also help you stand up straighter and nix back pain.

Are there any risks to practicing Pilates?

All in all, it’s a pretty safe workout to pick up. “Pilates is very welcoming and safe for your body,” says Kaydanova. That being said, for the best experience, you should always let your instructor know about any injuries or conditions you’re experiencing. If you’re pregnant, for instance, you can totally keep up a Pilates routine—but your teacher will let you know all the tweaks you need to make to keep the session safe.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Grilled Strip Steak and Caesar Salad

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min(includes chilling and resting times)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servin

Ingredients

Dressing:

1/2 cup 2 percent plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3 anchovies

1 small clove garlic, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steak and Romaine:

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill grates and brushing the romaine

Two 1-inch-thick strip steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 romaine hearts, split lengthwise and core trimmed

Directions

  1. For the dressing: Combine the yogurt, Parmesan, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, oregano, anchovies, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. The dressing will keep for up to 3 days refrigerated.
  2. For the steak and romaine: Prepare a grill for medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grates.
  3. For the steak and romaine: Prepare a grill for medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grates.
  4. Brush the cut sides of the romaine with the olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill, without turning, until lightly charred and wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Slice the steaks and place on top of the romaine. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Butternut Portobello Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • MUSHROOMS:
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • SAUCE:
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • LASAGNA:
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine ingredients for mushrooms. Transfer vegetables to separate foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pans. Roast 14-16 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, for sauce, drain tomatoes, reserving juices; coarsely chop tomatoes. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chopped tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, basil, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 35-45 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Spread 1 cup sauce into a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles, 1 cup sauce, spinach and mushrooms. Continue layering with three noodles, 1 cup sauce, ricotta cheese and roasted squash. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 252 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 508mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Healthy February Snacks

Yogurt & Granola Fruit Kabobs

Yogurt & Granola Fruit Kabobs

 

Ingredients

  • Fresh fruit chunks of choice (apples, pineapple, bananas, strawberries)
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Granola

Instructions

  1. Thread a piece of fruit onto a toothpick or popsicle stick.
  2. Dip the bottom half of the fruit piece into yogurt.
  3. Roll the yogurt coated piece of fruit in granola, to evenly coat.

Notes

Nutrition Facts:

Strawberry Kabob Per Serving (1 medium strawberry, 1 Tablespoon yogurt, ½ Tablespoon granola): 31.1 calories, 0.5 g total fat, 6.4 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates (0.5 g fiber, 2.9 g sugars), 1.8 g protein.

Pineapple Kabob Per Serving ((1 bite-sized piece of pineapple, 1 Tablespoon yogurt, ½ Tablespoon granola): 35.5 calories, 0.4 g total fat, 6.3 mg sodium, 6.2 g carbohydrates (0.4 g fiber, 3.7 g sugars), 1.8 g protein.

Banana Kabob Per Serving ((1 bite-sized piece of banana, 1 Tablespoon yogurt, ½ Tablespoon granola): 41.5 calories, 0.5 g total fat, 6.3 mg sodium, 7.9 g carbohydrates (0.6 g fiber, 4.2 g sugars), 1.9 g protein.

Apple Kabob Per Serving ((1 bite-sized piece of apple with skin, 1 Tablespoon yogurt, ½ Tablespoon granola): 33.5 calories, 0.4 g total fat, 6.3 mg sodium, 5.7 g carbohydrates (0.5 g fiber, 3.3 g sugars), 1.7 g protein.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

A Five Starr Pilates & Fitness Shining Star!

By Laura Scavuzzo Wheeler
Professor of English at Long Beach City College for (can it be?) twenty years.
I’ve been scheduling in an hour of Pilates six days a week for about two years now. Because I teach English, I spend inordinate amounts of time—hours and hours every weekend in addition to moments snatched between my classes and office hours—grading essays. After a good ten hours of grading, I can feel myself transforming into a hunched gargoyle; Pilates has helped to keep my posture and mood elevated and my days balanced. Nutritionally, I aim for moderation: I cook the meals for our family nearly every night, striving to help our family eat tasty, healthy, nourishing foods. Our daughter is off at college; our son, who’s a junior in high school, is often ravenous when it’s time for dinner, having run cross country and being, of course, a teenage boy. I don’t do diets or any extreme regimens. Instead, we eat lots of Mediterranean dinners, a nod to my Italian heritage—I could never renounce carbs!—and lots of fruit and fresh veggies, which I love. An occasional indulgence—cheese, wine, dessert—is part of the pleasures of life.
As someone who grew up not playing sports but studying ballet, I find that Pilates appeals to my sense of discipline—ballet emphasizes form and control—and leaves me feeling better than when I came into the studio. Five Starr Pilates has been wonderful. Not only is it close to where I live, but its schedule allows me to manage a class after work and before I make dinner, or to come in early on Saturdays before the real day’s activities begin. The variety of instructors keeps classes from feeling routine. I am consistently amazed at the creativity the instructors bring to their approaches—some emphasize breathing and form and classical Pilates moves, others more athletic conditioning and cardiovascular challenges. My running days are, I think, past—I find the notion of running uninspiring now that I seem to develop shin splints!—and intense training that involves my being yelled at has never been appealing. But Pilates offers me an avenue to fitness that I can sustain, and I can feel the ways in which I’ve grown stronger as I’ve made Pilates a consistent part of my routine. Once it’s scheduled, my time in Pilates becomes part of my day, and even when I’m exhausted on my way to class, I’m always glad I’ve gone as we finish and stretch. I’ve been inspired to see my classmates in Pilates who have been doing this form of exercise for many more years than I have, and I hope to be able to keep up my flexibility, strength, and balance for years to come as a result of this practice.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

What a Mom Wants…

We’re proud moms, but that doesn’t mean that all of our jewelry has to be engraved with our children’s names or that the only artwork we want on display is an abstract doodle by a 4-year-old. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we want another machine-washable “handbag.” This Mother’s Day, the items topping our real wish list aren’t exclusive to moms, they’re not necessarily practical, and they’re definitely not for sale at Babies”R”Us. Consider this a list of what we really want this year . . . or any day we need a reminder that while we’re moms, we’re also just women who love a good spa treatment.

Stylish Sunglasses

A Body Scrub Treatment

Nice Perfume

Artwork

An Ongoing Supply of Wine

A Future Heirloom

Unique Flowers

A Designer Handbag

A Decorative Object

Stud Earrings

A Memorable Experience

 

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Five Spice Crusted Salmon

Five-Spice Crusted Salmon with Ginger Pan Sauce

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, skinless and pin bones removed
  • 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground star anise
  • 2-½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, more to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Procedures:

In ancient China, the number five was believed to have curative powers. Most modern five spice powders may contain more than five, consisting of a various spices including cinnamon, star anise, fennel, clove, ginger, licorice, Sichuan peppercorns and even dried tangerine peel.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.

To prepare spice mix: In small bowl, use a whisk to combine the pepper, star anise, fennel, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

To prepare salmon: Press the spice mixture into the salmon and set aside. Place a large skillet on the stove over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the salmon fillet, presentation side first, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully flip the salmon and transfer to the oven to cook in the pan until the fish begins to flake, about 8 minutes.

To prepare the sauce: While the salmon is cooking, place a medium skillet on the stove over a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve: Transfer the salmon to 4 warmed dinner plates. Ladle the ginger pan sauce over and serve immediately.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

How to apply sunscreen

How to apply sunscreen

Sunscreen is safe and can protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging. However, it is not as effective unless it’s applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen:

Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Follow these helpful tips when selecting a sunscreen.

    1. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.
    1. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.
    1. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.
  1. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating. People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen. For more skin cancer prevention tips, see a board-certified dermatologist.

People who get sunburned  usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product.

Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen.

For more skin cancer prevention tips, see a board-certified dermatologist.

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Mother’s Day Brunch Ham & Egg Crepe Squares

med106461_0111_how_ham_crepe_vertINGREDIENTS

  • Simple Crepes
  • 8 slices black forest ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 crepes on a rimmed baking sheet. Place 2 slices ham on each crepe. Crack 1 egg into center of each; fold edges toward center. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg white is set and yolk is still runny, 12 minutes. Top with chives.

 

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

2016 Fitness Trends

2016-fitness-trends-infographic