Burpees WILL make your abs VERY sore!

I was so confused as to why my abs were sore….then it all made sense. I did 50 burpees yesterday. Oh the pain. 

Fitness Update

  • I’ve been to the gym everyday this week so far. 
  • Today was especially crazy because I woke up at 6:30a to cook lunch and dinner since I knew I would be on campus all day. Then I was in the gym by 9a. I felt hella productive.
  • Not really feeling the showers in the gym on campus, but since I’ll be working out a lot during the morning or in between classes, I’ll have to get used to them. 
  • For the same reason, I’ll be purchasing a gym locker for the first time. Talk about dedication. Lol. (only $15/quarter)
  • I eat chicken again. lol (went pescatarian for a while)
  • I haven’t been eating the best food since I haven’t been to the grocery store, but that’ll change after this weekend. 
  • My legs are hella sore.
  • Lifting weights is soooo exhausting!
  • I miss doing cardio all the time lol

That’s the quick version of what’s been going on over the past three days. I was going to type it all out in paragraph form and make it sound pretty and interesting, but I’m way too tired for all that. 

I’ve been pretty motivated so far. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep up with everything once school gets more hectic. 

Set Goals!

Don’t enter the world of health and fitness blind. Itʼs important to be very specific about your goals. Take some time, sit down, and really think about what it is you want to improve about your overall fitness level or your body. Be sure to review your goals often and adjust them as necessary.

  1. List 3 things you would like to improve regarding your fitness. (Anything! Stronger, faster, increased energy, more stamina, improve sports performance…etc.)
  2. List 3 things youʼd like to improve about your body
  3. Then, write down how your life will change once you achieve these goals

Don’t let negative thoughts or people prevent you from reaching your goals! If you start to feel unmotivated, re-read your goals. 

I’ll be sharing mine as well!
"A MOMENT ON THE LIPS, A LIFETIME ON THE HIPS."

The saying isn’t far from the truth. Be conscious of what you’re putting in your body.

Food has a direct effect on your physical appearance, but don’t overlook food’s affect on your mental and emotional wellness.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day! 

For all you clean-eaters out there, it only has 6 ingredients!

A Whole Grain How-To

  • Buying: Look for grains with undamaged kernels. The outer bran layer protects the kernel’s flavor and nutrients from destruction by light and air, so it comes in rather handy.

  • Storing: Keep whole grains in airtight containers in a cool, dry place, out of direct light.

  • Using: It’s easy to work delicious grains into your day. Start with a bowl of oatmeal or 7-grain cereal and pile millet or quinoa onto your plate at dinner.

Whole Grain Flour 101

The first thing you should know about buying whole grain flours is that they should always smell fresh. Store them in the refrigerator in moisture-tight containers, where you can expect them to last 2 to 4 months. (Hint for the cook: always let flour come back to room temperature before using for the best results.) For more on the grains that these flours are made from, see above.

  • Amaranth flour: A strong, sweet, spicy, nutty-flavored flour. Best used as an accent flour in waffles, pancakes, cookies or muffins. And this one’s gluten-free.

  • Blue cornmeal: Higher in protein than yellow cornmeal. Blue cornmeal turns lavender when cooked. Use this gluten-free flour to make beautiful pancakes, muffins and corn tortillas.

  • Buckwheat flour: Commonly used combined with wheat flour for pancakes, waffles, blintzes, and in pastas. Try this on for size: Whole Grain Apple Waffles.

  • Gluten flour: Gluten flour is white flour mixed with concentrated wheat protein. Add to bread dough to increase leavening (2 tablespoons per 1 cup flour in whole grain bread; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon per 1 cup flour in white breads). Also add to breads with extra bran, raisins or nuts. Increase kneading time to activate extra gluten.

  • Graham flour: Hard whole wheat flour with a coarse and flaky outer bran layer and finely ground germ. Though its most famous use is in crackers, it adds texture to all baked goods.

  • Oat bran: Contains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a low-cholesterol diet. Add oat bran to muffins or bread, or use it as a coating for chicken and seafood.

  • Rye flour: When added to baked goods, the results are moist and dense. Due to its low gluten content it’s often mixed with whole wheat flour to increase its rising ability.

  • Semolina: Durum flour with the bran and germ removed. Used to make high quality “white” pasta. Also adds extra flavor and texture in some bread recipes.

  • Soy flour: Like rye flour, this high-protein flour is usually combined with whole wheat flour to increase its rising ability.

  • Spelt flour: This ancient grain is used as a wheat substitute. (Note: If substituting for wheat in a recipe, reduce the liquid by 25 %.) Don’t over knead; the gluten here is sensitive.

  • Teff flour: Rich in calcium, protein and iron; sweet malty flavor. Use this gluten-free flour in quick breads, pancakes, and waffles. In leavened breads, use 5 parts wheat flour to 1 part teff flour.

  • Unbleached white flour: Refined wheat flour; naturally aged to strengthen its gluten. Excellent for baking breads and cakes. It’s often combined with whole wheat pastry flour for cookies.

  • Wheat germ: Vitamin and mineral-rich layer of the wheat berry. Excellent source of vitamin E. Look for it toasted or untoasted. Add to pancakes and other baked goods as well as meat or vegetable loaves. Traditional pumpkin bread’s got nothing on this honey-sweetened Pumpkin Bread made with wheat germ.

  • Whole durum wheat flour: From very high protein wheat; has less starch than other wheat flours. Makes a tough dough that can stretch and expand, so it’s perfect for making whole grain pasta.

  • Whole wheat flour: Ground from the entire wheat berry to it has a full-bodied flavor and coarse texture.

  • Whole wheat pastry flour: Ground from soft wheat berries, this flour absorbs less liquid in recipes. Use in non-yeast baked goods such as cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads and cakes.

  • Unprocessed bran flour: The ground outer layer of the wheat berry. Use small amounts at a time to increase your fiber intake.

  • Yellow cornmeal: If you’re looking for rich, buttery flavor, you’ve come to the right place. Use yellow cornmeal, which is gluten-free, to make polenta, corn bread, muffins, or perhaps a Gluten-Free Italian Cornmeal Cake.

Whole Grain Cooking Tips

  1. Rinse: Just prior to cooking, rinse whole grains thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear then strain them to remove any dirt or debris.

  2. Cook: As a general rule, you can cook whole grains by simply boiling the water, then adding the grain, return water to a boil, then simmer, covered, until tender. Cooking hint: Use broth instead of water for even more flavor.

  3. Test: Just like pasta, always test whole grains for doneness before taking them off of the heat; most whole grains should be slightly chewy when cooked.

  4. Fluff: When grains are done cooking, remove them from the heat and gently fluff them with a fork. Then cover them and set aside to let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

Cooking Oils

Not all oils are created equal. In fact, no one oil can be used for all things; instead, each has its distinct place in the kitchen. Keep these basic categories in mind when you’re cooking:

For baking: Coconut, palm, canola and high oleic safflower and sunflower oil work best.

For frying: Because they stand up well to the heat, avocado, peanut, palm and sesame oil are ideal for frying.

For sautéing: Many oils are great for sautéing, including avocado, canola, coconut, grapeseed, olive, sesame and high oleic safflower and sunflower oils.

For dipping, dressings and marinades: When it comes to making dressings and marinades, or finding oil that’s perfect to serve alongside crusty bread for dipping, you’re looking for terrific flavor. For this purpose look to flax, olive, peanut, toasted sesame or walnut oil.

Dairy Product 101

Buttermilk

Historically, buttermilk was the liquid that remained after butter had been churned, which was then exposed to airborne bacteria and allowed to ferment, acquiring the slightly sour, acidic flavor that it is prized for. These days, the buttermilk available in supermarkets is actually a cultured product created from ordinary skim milk that’s been fermented and pasteurized. Use buttermilk as a base for soups, salad dressings or marinades, mix it with sweet berries or peaches, or look for baked goods that use it as a tangy ingredient. (You can’t go wrong with a classic. Use buttermilk to make Fresh Herb Buttermilk Biscuits.)

Cheese

Where do we start? There’s just too much to say about our favorite dairy product here. Go to our cheese page to really stir your appetite.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is actually a cheese-curd product that still contains some whey; it’s usually available in either large or small curd varieties. Cottage cheese, along with its cousins farmer’s cheese and pot cheese, is usually served with fresh fruit and vegetables, but it has merit as a substitute for richer, high-calorie dairy products in lasagna, dips and desserts such as cheesecake.

Cream

This term is used to describe everything from heavy cream to half and half, whipping cream and double cream. (The fat levels range from roughly 12% to 48%.)

Crème fraîche

With a fat content of about 30%, this rich specialty used in the regional cuisines of France is a delicious extravagance. It’s slightly fermented with lactic bacteria which thickens it and gives it a distinctively sharp, not sour, flavor.

Clotted cream (a.k.a. Devonshire cream)

With a 60% fat content, this cream is too thick to pour, but it’s not as thick as butter either. Traditionally served with scones or fruit, it has a slightly cooked taste and a longer shelf life than ordinary cream.

Mascarpone

Tiramisu wouldn’t measure up without this sweet and flavorful cream cheese product of Italian origin that’s made by adding citric acid to heavy cream. The final product is similar to a richer, smoother and denser clotted cream with a 75% fat content, just 5% away from butter. Delicious with fresh fruit, it can also be used as a substitute for heavy cream in savory recipes. (Want to take this one for a spin? Try making Gingered Pears with Port Glaze and Mascarpone.)

Quark

Funny name. Delicious stuff. Quark can be classified as a sort of curd cheese somewhere between yogurt and small-curd cottage cheese. It’s quite low in fat, versatile in the kitchen and, like yogurt, is sometimes sold blended with fruit.

Sour cream

Did you know that sour cream is simply cream that’s been soured by harmless bacterial cultures, giving it a piquant flavor that’s perfect for topping potatoes or cooked in cheesecake?

Yogurt

What’s not to love about this dairy favorite? Yogurt contains beneficial bacterial cultures that aid digestion of the product itself and promote healthy intestinal flora. Also look for kefir, a yogurt product that’s one of the oldest cultured dairy products known. Made from “kefir grains,” it’s an amalgamation of milk proteins, probiotic bacteria, yeasts and other fermentation byproducts. (Yogurt’s not just for breakfast anymore. Try Lentil Curry with Cashews and Yogurt.)

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Are you a mint-chocolate-chip person? Or do you always go for butter pecan? Any grocer worthy of the name now carries a selection of ice cream large enough to pacify even the most insatiable sweet tooth. Today, we can choose from a bewildering variety of ice milks and ice creams, not to mention those delicious frozen products made from water, rice milk and soy milk.

The fat content of ice creams in general rank on the low end of the scale. (Per 4-ounce serving, low fat ice cream or ice milk must have no more than 3 grams of fat, light or reduced fat ice cream no more than 9% fat and regular ice cream at least 10% fat.)

Why We Love Butter

Wonder why we love butter so much? Because it’s churned from rich, flavorful concentrated cream. In fact, by law it must have a fat content of at least 80%. Spread on toast or tossed with hot pasta, we think a little butter adds just the right touch.

All butters have the same basic make-up and list of uses, but there are so many delicious ones to choose from. Check out a few of our favorites:

European butter

This rich product has a slightly higher amount of butterfat (up to 84%) so you’ll find it a bit richer than its American counterparts.

Ghee

Essentially, ghee is just clarified butter. That is, it’s been heated until all of the water has evaporated, leaving a concentrated flavor and texture. Ghee is most popular in India, where the climate necessitates having butter that can be kept at room temperature for a long time.

Homemade butter

Think it’s hard to make your own butter? Think again! Use a clean pint or half-pint jar with a tight-fitting lid and fill about one-third of the way with heavy cream. Shake the jar until a lump of butter has formed. (This will take about 10 minutes. The longer you shake the jar, the larger the lump will be. You can also whisk heavy cream in a bowl with the same results.) Pour off the remaining liquid. Fold in a bit of salt or a small handful of fresh herbs and you’re set.

Running to Lose Weight by Jay Johnson

Many people get into running for a simple reason: They want to lose weight, and what a great way to slim down. For most people, especially if you are a few pounds overweight, running is a great way to shed some pounds. But before you take on too much running, you need to remember some important constraints that you’ll face as a new runner.

Tip 1: Give Yourself Time to Adapt

First, the ligaments, tendons and bones will adapt more slowly to running than your cardiovascular system. By running just three or four days a week for three weeks, you can get to the point where your 2-mile or 3-mile runs start to feel easier. You may want to run faster. Resist that urge. It takes weeks for your “structural body” to catch up to your “metabolic body.” Said another way, you can build your engine—your heart and lungs—faster than your can build your chassis­—your bones, tendons and ligaments.

Tip 2: Become a Consistent Runner

Second, you should take a long-term approach to running. Commit to running regularly—say every other day—for the next three months, not just the next three weeks. Running will give you a great deal back in many ways. You’ll see improvements in elements as diverse as self-esteem and attitude to practical benefits like more energy during your workday. But this is only true for the person who fully becomes a runner, not someone who runs once a week.

Back to the main question: What if you want to start running to lose weight?

Tip 3: Follow a Run/Walk Program to Get Started

You should be able to shed some pounds easily if you follow a regimented program, ideally starting with a run/walk program (where you run for a given amount of time, then walk, then run again). I really like run/walk programs for people trying to lose weight because it keeps you moving for a longer period of time. You may work out for 30 to 40 minutes or even an hour with a run/walk program, whereas with a run-only program, you might not be able to go a full 20 minutes. 

If your goal with running is weight loss, then you are—at least in the beginning—better served with longer workouts at lower intensities.

Tip 4: Add Strength and Intensity Gradually

The next thing to consider after you have some run/walk work under your belt (say eight weeks) is to move to some general strength and mobility work in addition to your run/walk program. This could be simple exercises like push-ups and body squats. Also, plank/pedestal exercises are great to improve your core strength. Strength training is important at this junction because you will soon want to move to running-only (no walking) workouts. But before you do, you need to make sure that all of the bones, tendons and ligaments can handle not only more minutes running, but also some minutes of faster running. 

This is a great time to work with a personal trainer. If you’re strapped for cash, no worries, you’ll only need this person for a few weeks, and you can continue to do their workouts once you enter the next phase of your training. 

Tip 5: How to Continue Losing Weight

If you want to continue losing weight on a running program, then you need to keep increasing the volume, or how far or long you run. The body is very cautious about fat loss. While those first few pounds may have come off easily, eventually, a 20-minute run isn’t going to keep you losing weight at the rate it once did. But, now you’re ready for more running. And it’s a great time to sign up for a 5K or even a 10K, and follow a training program. You’re fit from the run/walk program, and you’re strong from the general strength and mobility program. 

Tip 6: Be Smart About Progression

The one problem with this phase in your training is the desire to run faster. No doubt you’re thinking, “If I run harder or faster, won’t I burn more calories?” 

The answer is yes, but the problem is that your risk of injury goes up when you attempt to run faster. This is why I think it’s important to work with a coach (or a personal trainer, if they have a sound foundation in running training methodology). A coach can help you find that fine line between running a controlled, challenging pace in a workout, but not crossing the line into an area that will lead to injury.The same thing is true about making big jumps in mileage. You might think, “If I’m losing a pound a week at 30 miles a week, then I should try to run 45 miles a week and maybe I’d drop two pounds a week.” 

You need to be cautious when bumping up your mileage. Can you handle one week at a new level? Probably. But can you handle two weeks, plus faster workouts? Probably not. Again, a coach can walk you through the correct next steps in your training, and prevent you from taking the wrong next steps.

Bottom line is that running is a great way to lose weight. All you need to do is be patient, knowing this is a journey of weeks and months. If you’re patient, you’ll see good results from your running efforts.