Monday, December 15, 2008

Fitness Me In Workout Series #9

Cardio Cooking

This recipe comes from Iceland, which has one of the lowest rates of depression in the world despite the long, dark, cold days. In the U.S., the lifetime risk of experiencing depression is 20 percent in women and 12 percent in men. Icelanders also have half the death rate from heart disease and diabetes, lower obesity rates and greater life expectancy than North Americans, according to Daphne Miller, M.D., and author of “The Jungle Effect,” which discusses the healthiest diets around the world.
Here is a great Icelandic dinner from the book courtesy of Miller.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

1 small red cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup blueberry, bilberry or other deep-colored, unsweetened juice
2-3 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
3 whole cloves or ½ t ground cloves
1 T butter
Sugar or honey and salt to taste

1. Get your body moving to some fun tunes as you prep and assemble your ingredients.
2. Place cabbage and apple in medium saucepan. Stir in juice, vinegar and cloves. As you do so, do 20 side leg lifts on each side. HOW TO DO THEM: Lift your leg straight out to the side until your foot is 6 to 12 inches off the floor. Slightly bend leg you are standing on and keep abs tight. At the top of the movement pause and count to 3.
3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring every so often. You can cook this longer if you prefer it to be softer. Now work your inner and outer thighs some more with 2 o’clock lunges. Do 2 sets of 10 on each leg. You can find instructions on how to do them on You Tube at:
4. Now it’s time to shake that booty again and get started on the fish recipe below
5. When the 45 minutes are done, add butter, allow it to melt, and then stir into cabbage mixture. Add salt/sugar as desired. Serve hot with Fish and Potato Mash (below).
NOTE: The next day leftovers are excellent on a sandwich.

Fish and Potato Mash (Stappa)

1 pound white fish (like cod or sole)
1 pound waxy potatoes with skin on (such as fingerling), cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
1 cup warm milk (more or less as needed)
1 T butter or cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives or parsley for garnish

1. Prep and assemble your ingredients as you shake that booty.
2. Cook fish 3-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water until the fish becomes flaky. As your fish boil, step back from the stove and do squats. Try for at least 3 sets of 10. In between sets don’t forget to dance to keep that heart rate up.
3. Remove fish with a slotted spoon and drain, and put potatoes in same boiling water to cook until soft. Flake the fish with a fork, making sure to remove any bones (the skin is full of omega-3s but if you find it unappetizing remove it as well). Keep on dancing as you do this.
4. As you cook the potatoes (about 20 minutes), go back to those 10 and 2 o’clock lunges. Try for another 2 sets of 10. Shake your legs out for a minute, then do the following:
a. Soccer kicks (20 each leg) HOW TO DO THEM: Flex your foot so sole it is parallel to the floor. Turn your toe out. Move leg forward as if kicking a soccer ball. Hold 3 seconds. Repeat. You’ll feel this on the inner thigh.
b. Side leg lifts (20 each leg)
c. Rear leg lifts (20 each leg) HOW TO DO THEM: extend your leg straight back behind you, keeping your knee straight and your toes pointed down to the floor. Squeeze your buttocks as you lift. Pause at the top for count of 3 before returning leg to the floor
d. Repeat sequence of soccer kicks and side and rear lifts if possible
5. Now is a good time to set the table. Keep that body moving as you do so. Take a stretch break before finishing up with the cooking.
6. Drain water from potatoes. Add flaked white fish, milk, and butter or cream and mash to desired texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot scooped over Sweet and Sour Cabbage (using an ice cream scoop makes this look nice). Top with chives or parsley. Keep dancing slowly to cool down.

Note: Miller says this is a good way to introduce fish to a “fish hater.”

Shape-Up Shopping (Grocery Day)

We’ve actually got snow where I live, so I completely understand not wanting to walk extra outside where it is cold and slippery. Instead, work in a workout at the grocery store where it is warm and safe. I like to do this either with a full cart or halfway through my shopping.
Here’s how:

1. Do 5 laps around perimeter of the store. For the last 2 laps, keep abs pulled in as tight as possible. Don’t forget to breathe.
2. Do walking butt crunches down one aisle. HOW TO DO THEM: With each step, drag your rear toe on the floor behind you, tightening butt as toe points. Go very slowly.
3. Walk down 4 more aisles.
5. Repeat butt crunches.
6. Walk for 2 minutes.
7. Find another aisle with no traffic. Squat down and look at something. Stand tightening your butt at the top, take a few steps and repeat. Make your way down the aisle, and try to do at least 10. TIP: You can always leave the aisle if someone comes down it and resume in another location.
8. Walk for 2 minutes.
9. Head for the cashier. During checkout tighten and release your abs as you unload your cart.

At a glance:
5 laps around perimeter, with abs tight for 2 laps
Walking butt crunches
Walk 4 aisles
Repeat butt crunches
Walk 2 minutes
10 squats
Walk 2 minutes
Abs at cash register

Cleaning Day
Who doesn’t have a bit of laundry piling up this time of year? If you don’t please email me your secret! This is the chore I like the least, so I make it fun and active to compensate. Here’s an arm workout:
1. Dance as you fill your laundry basket with clean clothes. Now take the basket and do as many bicep curls as you can. This works best if you have a round basket. If rectangular you want to hold it on the narrow sides (so your arms are not out wide). If the basket is too heavy you can remove some of the clothing.
2. Tap your toes side to side as you fold about half of the laundry.
3. Do another set of bicep curls
4. Tap your toes to the front as you fold the rest of this basket.
5. Do one more set bicep curls with the empty basket.
6. Now lift the basket out to the side with one arm. If it’s too easy with the empty basket place some of the clothes back in it. Repeat on the other arm.
7. Briskly walk your laundry to the room it will be put away in. Put it down and do a set of wall push-ups. Keep your booty shakin as you put about half the laundry away. Repeat the wall push-ups. Put remaining laundry away, and do your final set of wall push-ups.
8. Reach around and pat yourself on the back for being such a great multitasker!

Play Day

I liked the State of Missouri Department of Health energizers so much that I’m posting another one. You can find more ideas at

This activity, called “California Dreamin,” takes you on a virtual tour of California. Here’s what to do:
1. March across the Golden Gate Bridge
2. Surf in the Pacific Ocean
3. Climb up a Redwood Tree
4. Pretend you are an actor and wave to all your fans
5. Flex your muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor
6. Stomp the grapes
7. Pick oranges
8. In line skate on the boardwalk
9. Ski on the Sierra Nevadas
10. Climb Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S.
11. Crawl through the Death Valley Desert
12. Hit a homerun at Pac-Bell Park
13. Shoot a foul shot at the Staples Center

Groggy Day

OK, there’s not enough time in the day – especially with the rapid approach of the holidays. So we need to work out smarter and more efficiently. Keeping the core strong is vital to protecting the back and preventing injuries. According to an American Council on Exercise study, the bicycle exercise is the best move to target that abdominal “six pack” and the obliques at the same time.
To do this exercise correctly:
1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee. Exhale as you do this.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion.
NOTE: With this one, it’s quality, not quantity that counts, so move slowly and really feel these exercises as you do them.

Two yoga exercises are a great compliment to the bicycle:
1. Plank pose (see for instructions different levels of difficulty)
2. Boat pose (see

For the full ACE study, see

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.