Friday, November 30, 2012

Crossfit 101: Tabatas

Doing Tabatas with my siblings on vacation.
What's a TABATA? 
- One 4- minute exercise session consisting of:
- Eight 30 second rounds containing:
- 20 seconds of intense work and
- 10 seconds of rest.

It's that simple! But don't get it twisted, "Simple" and "Easy" aren't the same thing. A 4-minute workout may sound easy-peasy to some of you, but if you do these right, they are intense! Make sure you stretch and warmup before starting, then cool down and stretch again afterward.

You get to choose whether you'd like to do cardio or strength training, but every 20 second work period should consist of one movement.  Should you choose to do several movements within one tabata, make sure the transition can be made easily during the 10 second rest period. I prefer to do no more than 2 movements within one 4-minute tabata session, but some like to change movements every round.

Here are a few suggestions to get those creative juices flowing:
Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks
Squat Jumps or Box Jumps
Mountain Climbers
Bear Crawl

Sumo Dead Lift High Pulls
Kettle Bell Swings
Hand Release Push Ups
Sit Ups or V Ups
Air Squats
Push Press
Pull Ups

And should you decide to be really brave and do more than one tabata, make sure you rest 3 to 5 minutes before starting another.  The idea is to be able to push yourself to the max for each of those 20 second periods.  You'll appreciate that rest and recovery time in between. 

Make sure you have an easy to use stopwatch style timer or a Tabata timer/app, and in less than five minutes, you can get your body burning fat, your muscles working to fatigue and your heart pumping like you just ran sprints. I mean, you can do anything for twenty seconds at a time, right?

For more info on Tabata Training, click the links below:

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Fresh Foodie

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

CrossFit 101: Wall Balls and Sit Ups

Photo Courtesy of: 
Wall Ball:
A full-body squat movement using a weighted medicine ball and a wall with a target 8 to 10 feet from the ground.

This video from youtube is great because it shows you the right and wrong way to do wall balls and the reasons for each. 

"Karen" is a benchmark* WOD using only the movement above. "Karen" is 150 wall balls for time (as fast as possible with proper form).

*A benchmark WOD is a recognized workout in the worldwide CrossFit Community.  It is one that is done periodically to test and see how one's fitness level has improved.

"Rx" Sit Ups:
"Rx" means that a movement is done according to CrossFit standards for that movement.  The basic, or Rx, sit up for CrossFit does not look like the ones we did in gym class.  Feet are together and knees fall open, with hands reaching straight and low in front of you and a support cushion (or "AbMat") in the curve of your lower back.

Photo Courtesy of:
This video from youtube shows proper form for an Rx sit up and the reasons why this is the preferred CrossFit position.

Wall Ball Sit Ups:
Take your sit ups to the next level with one of my favorite movements: Wall Ball Sit Ups. These sit ups combine the two movements above.  They are done in Rx position but with toes close to or against a wall and a medicine ball over head.  Instead of aiming for a high target on the wall when coming up from a squat, you aim for a lower one while coming up from sit up position.
Photo Courtesy of: 
This video from youtube is pretty good.  It shows 3 different modifications of the movement. What he calls "C" is the "Rx" wall ball sit up as I have learned it.  (Note: according to my trainer, wall ball sit ups should also be done with an AbMat and soles of the feet together.  However, in this video and the photo above, they are done "gym-class" style.) 

In order to do these movements at home, all you need is a weighted medicine ball (I usually use a 6lb ball.  That's the lightest one at my box.  I think they carry up to 20lb balls!) and a rolled up towel or something to support your back.

Please watch the videos for proper form and start with lighter weight to prevent injury.

Whether you're changing up your workout or spicing up your recipes, Keep It Fresh!!

Fresh Foodie

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Fresh Foodie's Kitchen: Apple Cinnamon French Toast

The bad news is: the cold I have been fighting for the past few days has finally gotten the best of me. The good news is: today is my day off. So I was able to sleep in and make myself comfort food for brunch. I woke up craving french toast and decided to make it with baked apple topping. I was able to make a clean version in less than 15 minutes.

Here's how I did it (I don't measure, so just go with your gut.):
I like to make the topping first so it can cook while I prepare the french toast.

Apple Cinnamon Topping:
-Granny Smith Apple, chopped into cubes, 2 small (or one large)
-Coconut Oil
-Raw Coconut Nectar (Agave or other clean syrups may be substituted)
-Cinnamon (and loads of it)

Place chopped apple in the bottom of a microwave safe bowl with a lid. (I use a glass bowl and lid.)  Completely coat with cinnamon. (Be very generous.  You almost don't wanna know there are apples underneath.  Drizzle generously with coconut nectar. And add a small dollop of Coconut Oil.  Cover and microwave for about 5 min or until apples are desired softness. Stir before serving.

Cinnamon French Toast:
-Sprouted Bread of your choice, 2 slices (I used Trader Joes' Multigrain)
-Coconut Oil
-2 Whole eggs
-Almond Milk
-Cinnamon, to taste

Heat coconut oil in a skillet.  Beat the eggs, Almond milk and Cinnamon until smooth. (I do it on a plate so its easier to dip the bread in later, but you can do it in a bowl and pour the mixture onto a plate if you prefer.)
Coat both sides of the bread with the egg mixture and place into the skillet.  Cook on both sides to assure that it is cooked through. Both sides should be golden brown and toasted. Place on a serving plate and top with the apple cinnamon mixture.

I like to enjoy mine with a hot beverage.  I'm not much of a coffee person, but I love hot chocolate and tea.  Today, I made a tea latte when the apple topping was done.

Cinnamon Earl Grey Latte:
-2 Earl Grey Tea Bags
-Almond Milk

Fill a large mug halfway with water and the rest with almond milk.  (I like to use sweetened almond milk so that I don't have to add sugar later, but you can sweeten according to your preference.) Heat in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes.  Add tea bags and cinnamon. Allow to steep for 2-3 minutes and stir. Enjoy!

Cleaning up your favorite comfort food recipes is a great way to keep yourself on track during the colder months.

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Fresh Foodie

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