Sunday, November 28, 2010

3 More Crazy Fitness Gimmicks

Last winter, I did a post about some of the crazy fitness gimmicks that I have come across online and on TV. Since there are so many great gadgets out there, I thought I would do another installment.

And away we go...

Craziest Gimmick # 3: The Thighmaster
One of the biggest informercial products of the 90's, the thighmaster promises to tone your thighs, abs and even your arms. While the product does offer some resistance, there are no options to increase the intensity of the workout or allow for a greater range of motion in exercises.

Craziest Gimmick # 2: The Hawaiian Chair
The Hawaiian Chair "takes the work out of your workout" while you sit in a swiveling seat that is meant to simulate a hula-hoop. As appealing at it may seem to have a sit-down workout, I have to say that I am a bit skeptical (to say the least) about its ability to provide any aerobic benefits.

Craziest Gimmick #1: The Shake Weight
What can I say about the Shake Weight that hasn't already been said? Even if there were any benefits to using this product, no one could ever get over the "ridiculous" factor.

What do you think? Did I miss your favourite fitness gimmick? Post away!

Stay Healthy,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Makeover

This could be my most favourite makeover yet! Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?

I did some surfing and found a great recipe here. I reduced the amount of sugar and chocolate chips, replaced the butter with applesauce, omitted the coconut and vanilla (I didn't have, but I am sure they would be fantastic with them) and came out with a beautifully moist and delicious cookie. This one is a keeper and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Here is the skinny:

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 30 cookies)

3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with oil or use a silicone pad.

Mix together oats, flour, flax, wheat germ, baking soda and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, cream applesauce, butter and egg.

Pour half of the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until flour is gone. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips.

Drop by the teaspoon full on to cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information (Approx.)
74 Calories
12g Carbs
2g protein
2g fat
1.5g fibre

Stay Healthy,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do It With Intensity!

One of the biggest complaints I get from women (and men) is that they are doing everything they can to get fit, yet are not seeing results. (Read: weight loss).

When I ask them about their exercise routines, I often get answers like, "I walk every night", "I use light weights at home" or "I do fitness classes a couple times a week."

While all of these activities are great ways to contribute to overall health, there is one thing missing. Intensity.

Intensity is the key to decreasing fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
Many people just don't push themselves enough to see the changes in their body that they are hoping for.
So, how do you increase the intensity of your exercises?

Here are some ideas:

Try doing sprints. Walk for 5 minutes, jog for 1 minute. As you build your endurance, reduce your walk time and increase your jogging time.

Weight Training
Increase the weight. If you are doing arm curls with 3lb weights, try the exercise with 5lbs. Do as many repetitions as you can until your muscles are fatigued.

Fitness Classes
Take it to the next level. If you are in a beginner pilates class, switch to intermediate. Ask the instructor for options to make the exercises even more challenging.

Still have questions? I will be doing a Q & A post about everything health and fitness in the next few days, so ask away!

Stay Healthy,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Healthy Lemon Bars Makeover

More delicious made over treats!

Today I tackled lemon bars, one of my staple desserts. I have a family get together this afternoon and thought they would be a perfect addition to the party.

While my usual recipe is fantastic, it is quite high in sugar. I found this recipe today and decided to give them a try.

These lemon bars are much more lemony and less sweet than my normal batch. The crust is very cookie-like, while my usual recipe is more flaky.

They weren't better or worse, just different than what I am used to in a lemon bar. The jury it still out, maybe I better sample a few more :)

Let me know what you think! Click here for the full recipe and nutritional information.

Stay Healthy,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Healthy Raisin Cookie Makeover

This is my third attempt to build a healthier dessert, and I must say I am very impressed with the end result. (if I do say so myself :)

I found a great recipe here and modified it slightly to increase the protein and decrease the fat content.
These cookies are moist, cakey and perfect with my morning coffee. The sugar content may seem a little high, but when you break it down per serving, it is not too bad. I may try my next batch with half of the sugar and see how they turn out. You could also substitute with more applesauce. What do you think?

Enjoy! (Don't you love my dinosaur plate?)

Applesauce Raisin Cookies (Makes 48 cookies)
1 cup brown sugar (can use white sugar with 1 tbsp molasses)
1/4 cup butter
1.5 cups applesauce
1 egg
1.5 cups enriched white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cloves
1 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookies sheets with a silicone baking mat or lightly spray with oil.

Cream together the sugar, butter and applesauce. Add the egg. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until combined then add the raisins.

Drop cookies by the teaspoonful on to the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on wire racks.

Nutritional Information (approx.)
54 calories
8.5 g carbs
1.9 g fat
1.2 g protein

Stay Healthy,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Gym? No Problem!

"I don't have time to get to the gym."
Sound familiar?

Many people feel that the only way to exercise is at a gym. This is simply not true. I haven't worked out at a gym for almost two years.

Don't get me wrong, your local health club is a great place to get motivated and stay fit, but it is not your only option on the road to health.

I wrote this article a few years back with some ideas for an at-home workout. It includes basic exercises and inexpensive equipment that you can use anytime, anywhere.

Stay Healthy,

P.S. How do you like the new look of my blog? Post away!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Say Om


Focused relaxation is vital to our well-being. It helps counteract the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical health. There are many different ways to relax – massage, visualization, meditation, and exercise. Here are some easy ways that you can incorporate relaxation into your busy everyday life.

Practice Yoga – It is a great way to develop a balance between the mind, body and spirit. The physical postures help to relax tense muscles and the breathing will help calm the spirit.

Visualize Yourself Calm – Visualizing a peaceful atmosphere, soothing sounds and colours can help slow your mind and create an overall sense of well-being.

Get Pampered– Never underestimate the power of touch! A gentle massage will help to ease tension and improve circulation. 

Just Breathe – When you are trying to relax, take long, slow deep breaths. Place your hand on your abdominals to feel it rise and fall as you expand your lungs and diaphragm.

The Sweet Scent of Serenity – Aromatherapy has been used for many years to stimulate the senses. Essential oils can be calming and soothing or invigorating and uplifting. Lavender, jasmine and vanilla are especially helpful in relaxation.

“Give your thoughts a chance to settle down. Then feel you mind clear like a still forest pool”
- The Buddha

Stay Healthy,

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Achieving Holistic Health

I am sorry for the lack of postage last week. I was without the internet (I know, the horror), but I am back now and ready rock :)

In the fitness world, we are always talking about different approaches to exercise, the best gear to get you through your workout and the benefits of a balanced diet.

Is this really enough to achieve overall health?
Now don't get me wrong, staying active and healthy eating are vital to our well-being, but there are other factors.

Oral health, for example. If we neglect our teeth, it can cause infections and other serious problems that could affect our body as a whole.

Another one that come to mind is skin care. Do you think about the kinds of products you use? Any chemicals that are in our makeup, shampoo or body lotion will get absorbed into our skin and impact our overall health.
What do you think? What else do we need to consider when looking at holistic wellness?

Stay Healthy,


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