Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fitness Me In Workout Series #2

Cardio Cooking

The day has gone by, and now it’s time to cook dinner with no workout in sight. Here’s one you can do coupled with a healthy meal that my family loves from the Meal Makeover Moms (see link at right for more info on this fantastic resource).

Have It Your Way Tacos

•1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher) – or I sometimes use ground turkey.
•1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup) - I also shred and add a pepper and half an onion.
•12 taco shells
•One 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1 1/2 cups pre-shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
•1 cup salsa
•2 teaspoons ground cumin
•1 teaspoon chili powder
•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•Optional Toppings: Diced avocado, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, sliced black olives

1.Set your table while dancing to music you like.
2.Measure and prep all ingredients. Continue to groove out while you do this – wiggle your hips, do toe taps or whatever strikes your fancy.
3.Heat the oven to 350°F. Bake the taco shells according to package directions.
4.Meanwhile, place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and carrot (and onion and pepper) and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat. While you are doing this, squat partway down, feet shoulder width apart and abs pulled in (similar to chair pose in yoga). Hold until it’s difficult (try to get 30 seconds), come up and squeeze that tushie. Now do “butt pulses” by squatting about ¼ way down, then coming up and squeezing your butt. Do 15 reps. Go back to the original squat and hold. Repeat the butt pulses. TIP: Chair Pose Instructions can be found at
5.When the meat is done, add the beans, cheese, salsa, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder and stir to combine. Cook until the cheese melts and the mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes. While you are doing this lift your right leg out to the side 10 times, then the left. Repeat 2 times.
6.Remove pan from heat. Stretch your quads by standing on one foot and pulling heel on other leg toward buttocks. You may want to put a hand on the counter for balance. Do the other leg. Then touch your toes.
7.Serve the meat mixture in the taco shells with optional toppings.
Tip: Use a soft flour tortilla if your children find hard taco shells difficult to bite into.

Nutrition Information per Serving (for the original recipe): 360 calories, 15g fat (4.5g saturated), 530mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 28g protein, 70% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 15% iron

Grocery Day

Much of this week’s shopping workout will be done at home.

At the store: When you are done shopping, walk down each aisle one more time and also around the perimeter before you go to checkout. At checkout squeeze your abs each time you unload an item from your cart. TIP: The full sized grocery cart works better than the mini cart.
By the way, no long shirt necessary this week!

When you get home, bring in two bags at a time (even if you can carry more). Do bicep curls with your bags as you walk them into the house. This works especially well with an environmentally friendly organic cotton bag (hint, hint). Place the grocery bags on the floor.

Grab two canned goods or two of something else that is easily held. Do 15-30 shoulder presses. Place the items on the counter – you’ll use them again. How to do a shoulder press: Take hold of your items with an overhand grip. Your elbows are bent and your hands are next to your shoulders, fingers facing forward. Press overhead until your arms are fully extended. Make sure to push the items you are holding up and in so that they touch at the finish position. Lower slowly under control and repeat.

Unload the rest of that bag. Each time you remove an item from the bag do a squat, squeezing your butt at the top.

Go to a wall and do push-ups against it – as many as you can.

Unload the next bag doing squats again.

Grab your cans and do lateral raises. Try for 15-20. How to do them: Grasp object in front of thighs. Bend over at hips slightly with knees bent. Also bend elbows slightly. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists. Hold for a second and lower.

Unload the next bag doing squats again.

Grab your cans, and do as many tricep extensions as you can. How to do them: Stand with your hips shoulder width apart. Keep the knees slightly bent. Leaning forward slightly and keep those abs tight. Lift the elbows up so they are parallel to the floor and close to your side. Your elbow should form a 90-degree angle when holding the weight. Extend backward focusing on the contraction of the tricep muscle. Hold at the top before lowering.

Put your cans and any remaining groceries away, stretch, and you are done!

At a glance:
Do extra laps around entire store before checkout
Squeeze abs when unloading cart at checkout
At home do bicep curls with 2 shopping bags at a time as you unload car
Shoulder presses
Squats while unloading bag
Wall push ups
Squats while unloading bag
Lateral raises
Squats while unloading bag
Tricep extensions

Groggy Day

Yoga is a great resource for days when your energy is low.
Subscribe to and they will send you a free yoga video to try. Do as much as you can make time for. You can also surf around the site for shorter workouts.
Kreg Weiss, instructor and co-founder for the site, said it’s often tough for moms to practice yoga – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
“It’s unrealistic for it to be an hour and a half long and completely quiet,” he said. “How many moms have an hour and a half quiet?”
Often, not thinking that you have to do everything is the key for moms, he said.
“Even 3 minutes just doing postural chair work will help,” he said.
He admits that moms need to be both creative and organized to make this happen.
If you have an infant, there are ways to integrate yoga with mother and baby.
For toddlers, he suggests using a child’s nap time if applicable. “Ages 3 to 5 are the challenging ages,” he said, “but you can easily do a full practice in 15 minutes if you know what you are doing.”
Older kids are great – those ages 6 to 9 can start doing yoga with their parents.

Play Day
Today you’ll do the “Monkey in the Middle” dance with your kids. I found this on the Physical Ed CD by The Learning Station. You can probably find it at your local library. However, you don’t need the official song to play. You just crank your tunes, designate a “monkey” and have everyone else copy the way they dance. Encourage everyone to get crazy! The bigger the moves the better the exercise. Keep switching off. If you want to find this CD, see the link to the right.

Cleaning day

This works best with a big pile of laundry.

Dance while separating laundry by destination (e.g your room, kid 1 room, kid 2 room, etc) and then fold laundry for one room.

When you walk to and from the first room to put it away, do front leg kicks in between steps. How to do them: Raise bent knee so thigh is parallel to the floor, kick your foot so the whole leg is parallel, re-bend your knee and lower the leg.

Dance and fold laundry for another room.

On the way to the second room do rear leg lifts to and from the folding area. TIP: This is the best choice for a hallway. How to do them: Take a step, lift and straighten rear leg tightening the buttocks, and hold before stepping forward. Repeat on other side. Keep abs tight and make sure you do not arch your back.

Dance and fold laundry for another room.

On the third room do side leg lifts to and from the folding area. This is best in an open space, but can be modified for a hallway. How to do them: each time you put your foot down open the opposite leg to the side. Hold to contract. Bring the leg back next to the one with the foot on the floor. Step forward with the leg you just exercised. Repeat on the other side.

Dance and fold any remaining laundry. Continue to groove out when putting it away.

When your laundry basket is empty grab it and do front arm raises. Do 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps. OPTION: do a squat at the same time you raise your arms. How to do them: Hold sides of laundry basket so your thumbs point up. With bent knees, raise basket so your arms are parallel to the floor. Hold and lower. Repeat.

At a glance:
Dance and fold laundry
Front leg kicks
Dance and fold
Rear leg lifts
Dance and fold
Side leg lifts
Dance and fold
Front arm raises

Legal junk: Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice or care of medical professionals. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, or exercise program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Small Changes Make Big Difference

When you add them up, small changes can make a big difference in your health.
Here's one for the chilly days we're having:
Brrr – it’s getting cold and your kids want hot chocolate. Instead of buying the prefilled packets, get a no sugar added variety that comes in a cardboard can. Then, try using half the recommended amount of cocoa. Fill the cup 2/3 to 3/4 full with hot water, and fill the rest with low fat milk. If this does not work for your kids, add more cocoa until it tastes good to them (so far so good with half in my household).
Not only is this less sugar and more milk, it’s much CHEAPER than buying the packets (even if you use the full amount of cocoa). I originally used packets and split each one into 2 cups of cocoa, but my kids busted me. This way they don’t know the difference.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Of course I do!

OK, so you all want to know if I actually do these things. The answer is YES - I squeeze my butt at the grocery store and cook cardio chicken and beans. It gets my kids dancin too when they help set the table.
I will never, ever, ever post something that I have not tried myself in the Fitness Me In workouts - except maybe on April Fool's Day :) So if you are picturing me doing these things and laughing at my expense it's totally justified. Get ready for more laughs this weekend.
I should add that I do NOT work in a workout on every grocery trip or every time I cook.
I do it on days when I can't fit anything else in (that something is better than nothing theory).
Reclaiming a little time for myself makes me happier, and so does being silly. So grab a duster or a grocery cart and try it - I Double Dog Dare You!