Heart Healthy Smoothie

Matt Vann Les Mills RPM certified instructor

Matt Vann
Les Mills RPM certified instructor

 

This Heart Healthy Smoothie is in honor of Heart Health month! Whip this up for a tasty breakfast or an easy on-the-go snack. Either way, your heart will thank you :)

Ingredients:
1/2 of an avocado
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 serving chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup spinach
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
1 cup almond milk

Directions:
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  You may adjust the amount of almond milk used to make the smoothie the consistency that you like.

Do Your Knees Ever Feel Like a Rusty Hinge?

Robin headshot 126X126.jpg

Robin Robertson
Certified ACE Personal Trainer
Functional Aging Specialist

USA Cycling Coach

 

As a hinge gets rusty, it becomes restricted and harder to move.  It stiffens up when it’s been sitting for too long.

They creak and crack with movement.

They no longer swing freely and remind you that each movement takes work.

With your knee, there is the deep ache of joint discomfort or sometimes the stabbing jolt of pain that I call a “stinger.”

Achy knees or arthritis may prevent you from the activities you love (running, hiking, even walking).  When your knee feels like a rusty hinge, then comes the spiral….You stop doing the things that aggravate your knees because it hurts.  Then your knees start to feel rustier because you aren’t using them.  Any you do less…and they hurt more.  How do you break this spiral and return to fun and healthy activities?

The key is to start moving again.  As a rusty hinge is rocked with consistent movement, the action starts to get smoother.  But how to do this without risking damage or causing pain?

Being someone who was diagnosed with bone-on-bone arthritis since I was 24 years old (and now I’m 55), I have a LOT of experience with how to keep your knees working and not feeling so rusty.

Here’s the secret: Non-impact, no weight bearing movement through a full range of motion in your knee.  And when done correctly, it doesn’t hurt – it actually feels good!  It feels like you are oiling the joint and in reality you are!  This movement helps the joint to produce healthy, thick synovial fluid which is your knee’s lubricant.

Non-Impact:  Why it’s important

A non-impact activity means you are moving your joint without the additional stress of much compression.  Compression happens every time you take a step: it is where your bones come together and are either padded by the meniscus cartilage or, if you are bone-on-bone, then you are just banging bones together.  That hurts.  Non-impact activities reduce the banging = no pain.
When walking, every time you take a step the compression force through your knee joint from the impact of your foot striking the ground is 2 – 3X your body weight.  When running it's 5 – 6X and when jumping 9X your body weight.  This is why staying a healthy weight is ESPECIALLY important to maintain healthy joints and/or reduce arthritic pain.

What You Can Do: Using an elliptical machine is a weight-bearing low-impact activity (because there is no “foot-strike” with the ground – your feet continuously in contact with the foot pads).

Non-Weight Bearing:  Why it’s important

Weight-bearing (for your knees) means that you are in a standing position and the weight of your body goes through your hips and knees to your feet.

What You Can Do: Swimming and bicycling are non-impact, non-weight bearing activities.  Swimming is non-weight bearing because the water is supporting your body weight.  Bicycling is non-weight bearing for your ankles, knees, and hip joints because your body weight is on your butt:  your sit bones (ischial tuberosities) are in contact with the bike seat holding the weight of your body.

The thing I especially like about cycling is that it is also a no-lateral movement for your knees – so if you have any instability in lateral or side to side movement, cycling is the best choice for you.  Plus you can control your movement easily if your ride your bike indoors.

The Key to Getting Started 

(of course, have doctor approval before you try any of this):

Consistency:  Swim or ride your bike at least 2X per week.  3X is better.  Remember, the key to “removing the rust” is to consistently use your joint in a healthy pain-free way with a full range of motion (whatever that may mean to you).  It is extremely important that your bike seat height and position relative to your knees over the pedals are correct.  For more on that, check out my book “Healthy Knees Cycling.”

Duration: How long will depend on your level of conditioning.  Start with what you can do – 15 minutes? 30 minutes? and work up from there.  Remember, something is better than nothing.

Make it your Priority:  Simply put, if it's not a priority, it won’t happen.  “I don’t have time” is because you haven’t made time – so stop using that excuse.  Pick the 2 or 3 days per week and the time that you’ll exercise and make an appointment with yourself.  This is the most important thing you can do for you – and it will make you a BETTER YOU so that you can do more of the things you love in life.

Is there Hope?

Logan Pass.jpg

You bet.  You may not have to give up your beloved impact sports if you add in some non-weight bearing, non-impact activities to give your knees a rest.  Plus STRENGTH TRAINING – but I’ll address that in a future post.  You will certainly find some relief and reduction (or elimination) of pain.

I still have my “original equipment” with 10 knee surgeries to date (no knee replacement yet) and my husband and I recently completed a 22-day bicycle adventure over 1,043 miles with more than 25,000 feet of climbing.  I could only make this wonderful bike trip because I’ve been consistent and some-what pig-headed about taking care of my knees and my health.  Am I pain-free?  Not always.  Some days are better or worse than others.  I can no longer do many of the activities that I loved (running, skiing), but bicycling has saved my knees and my spirit.  I’d like to help you do the same, and so I wrote a book called “Healthy Knees Cycling” that tells you exactly how to set up your bike to protect your knees and gives you guidelines and workouts to get started.

Wishing you a healthy life and happy knees,

~ Robin

Are You Good to Yourself? Is Your Mind Kind to Your Body and Soul?

Roxanne Sailors ACE Certified Personal Trainer Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certified Clubbell Athletics Coach Certified Clubbell Yoga Coach Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certified Functional Training Specialist

Roxanne Sailors
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Fitness Nutrition Specialty
Certified Clubbell Athletics Coach
Certified Clubbell Yoga Coach
Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Certified Functional Training Specialist

 

Did you know that February is Heart Month?
In the wake of Valentine’s day - a day of offering tokens of appreciation and love -
offer up some love for the most important person in your life: YOU!

Wellness care is an act of Self Love, and as a fitness, nutrition and wellness coach, this idea of loving and caring for one’s whole self is at the core of how I coach, and ultimately how I generate the energy and focus to live out my own dreams. It’s not about “doing”, although I find I get a lot more done when I make a habit of taking care of my mind, body, and spirit. It’s really about Being - about getting in touch with who you are, beyond all the things you do.

So often, I hear people say they don’t have time to take care of themselves, but eventually, self-care will become a priority. Growing up, I developed a disordered sense of guilt about doing something just for myself. With my mind in charge, I would pour all my energy into the people and projects I loved until I felt so out of balance my spirit would lose sight of why any of it mattered, and my body would get sick or injured. Even when I would refocus on taking care of myself, it was often out of fear of getting sick again, and I would feel guilty even for getting sick! I would only give myself the bare minimum of care and then I’d get right back to doing ‘all the things’.

Imagine if you only ever charged your cell phone battery from 1% to 10%. You’d be constantly having to stop what you are doing to charge it just enough to do just a little more. You would probably end up spending more time focusing on charging the battery than just doing what you want on your phone. It seems silly, but we often do this to ourselves, constantly putting ourselves behind the energy curve, because we don’t take the time to fully charge up.

Eventually, I recognized how this pattern of being ‘barely charged’ in my life made even the things I care about lose their power to inspire love and appreciation. I was doing everything out of that sense of obligation to ‘get stuff done’. Yuck.

I found this quote that I keep close to my heart to remind me to think of how I’m spending my energy:

"I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic. Coffee (though a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, breakdowns and inner turmoil? Are those things really to aspire to? Self Care, balance the ability to know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back -Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self-endangerment because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine."

After years of repeated illness and burnout, I finally started to take time each day to find ways to practice self-love as access to MORE energy. I created habits, one at a time, that were just for me and to appreciate them as ways to recharge my batteries all the way up - far before I reached 1%. What I found was that I started doing more of what I love. And with the things I didn’t necessarily love, I found meaning beyond the discomfort to be my true self while doing them.

Here is a short list of habits I have incorporated over the years to bring me back to loving myself:

· Doing yoga while cooking in the kitchen
· Taking a dance break while doing the laundry or cooking
· Going for a walk around the block instead of going for a cup of afternoon coffee
· Morning meditation (YouTube has a ton of guided meditations)
· Positive mental mantras while brushing my teeth
· Singing along to songs that make me feel deeply - and maybe even cry (as a lifelong musician, music truly is my first language - and crying is very cathartic for me)
· Doing daily mobility work for my achy joints and sore muscles - it’s like a massage!
· Calling or making a date with a friend or family member
· Calling in the professionals (my life coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, acupuncturist, etc.) when the job is bigger than I can take on myself.

Most of these are little things that I have taken on as I would a project at work. I focus on how it is connecting me back to my true self as a reflection of love.

Try slipping in little (or big) actions in your day that bring you back to being You. Take a moment to think about what excites you in your life. Then build a small habit of self-love that reminds you to be You. By investing in a mindset of appreciation and gratitude that is generated from within you and for you, you access the possibility to achieve more than you thought you could, and to ‘do all the things’ with more love and appreciation for everyone and everything around you.

-Roxanne

Gratitude

Matthew Iwersen USPTA Certified Elite Professional USPTA Certified Tester

Matthew Iwersen
USPTA Certified Elite Professional
USPTA Certified Tester

 

This month’s word is Gratitude. I think in these colder, darker, winter days we can certainly forget to smile and dwell on the negative.

I know that sometimes this season does have some serious emotional and mental health effects so if there is anything within our own power to brighten up a day we should seek that out.

Playing tennis and/or working out regularly is something we are all invested in so we do not give into the dreariness of the weather that surrounds us. Which brings me to my word, Gratitude.

I am grateful that I am able to still play and teach tennis on a daily basis. I believe that even when I wake up and slowly warm up my creaky joints that by the end of the day I will have battled off the gloominess of winter and not only made my day great but hopefully made someone else’s day a bit more pleasant.

So here is my list for February:
· I will make the effort every day to first smile about the day ahead.
· I will tell someone each day how Thankful I am for them to be part of my life.
· I will show gratitude to as many of you as I can for being part of BTTC.
· I will appreciate how lucky I am for my family, friends, and my work.
· It is the month of Valentine’s Day and I am certainly appreciative of all the love I have for my family and friends.
· That once again knowing that “Every Day is Great Day”.

The more we smile and the more we recognize the good things in our life, we should be grateful for the better our days will be. Go out and have a great day today!

-Matthew

Quick and Delicious 3-Bean Chili Recipe

Matt Vann Les Mills RPM certified instructor

Matt Vann
Les Mills RPM certified instructor

 

This is a great, quick and easy meal.  You can serve this alone or ladle it over brown rice or quinoa.  Add some avocado and cilantro to the bowl for a little extra flavor explosion.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil (coconut or olive works best)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chili flakes (add more or less depending on your taste)
2 bay leaves
1 medium to large sweet potato, cubed
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 can each of red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans; drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz), not drained
1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:
1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions until they are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté 30 more seconds.

2. Add cumin, coriander, chili powder, and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute until spices are fragrant.

3. Add the sweet potato and carrots and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.

4. Add beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, and bay leaves to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.

5. Remove from heat and remove bay leaves.  Serve in bowl and enjoy.

Take Back Your Health in 2018

Tyler Brown BS, CSCS

Tyler Brown
BS, CSCS

 

Alright, who remembers this? – Back in November, I proposed the “Maintain, No Gain” challenge to you, where the goal was to not weigh more come January 2nd than you did when you started.

If you took on the challenge, ask yourself (and be honest!), how’d it go??

Were you successful? Not successful? And WHY?

Regardless of how well you did, think back…What did you do that contributed to the outcome?

It’s good feedback for the beginning of this new year:

Too many treats?

Too much drinking?

Too much junk food in the house?

Too many parties?

Too much social pressure?

The holidays are tough. But so often, we have the desire to be healthier, we know what we can do to become healthier, yet we let everything and everybody else decide what our outcome will be…And then we complain about it!

My challenge to you for this month: Identify just ONE area of your life where that happens and think about what it would look like for you to not waver anymore. Does that excite you? Scare you? Make you feel like you’d miss out? Make you feel awkward? Do you think you’d be that “extreme” person?

Two things about this:

We like to preach “everything in moderation!” to each other, but think about it…does that ever help? Does that ever work?

and

Remember this – when you say “Yes” to something, you’re saying “No” to something else. When you say “yes” to that extra glass of wine or that extra treat at that extra party, you say “no” to better health and reaching those goals you say you have.

Please hear my heart in this! I DO THIS TOO…ALL THE TIME. This is for me as much as anyone! We have to take back our health. If you want to be healthy, it will take work. It won’t be handed to you. It will mean saying “no” to some things in order to say “YES” to YOUR health, YOUR goals, YOUR quality of life!

You know what’s exciting?

This is a NEW YEAR.

Take back your health in 2018.

-Tyler

The Secret to Youth: Mobility and Flexibility

Roxanne Sailors ACE Certified Personal Trainer Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certified Clubbell Athletics Coach Certified Clubbell Yoga Coach Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certified Functional Training Specialist

Roxanne Sailors
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Fitness Nutrition Specialty
Certified Clubbell Athletics Coach
Certified Clubbell Yoga Coach
Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Certified Functional Training Specialist

 

 Flexibility is defined as "the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion", whereas mobility is the "ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion". ... It is not only the muscles stretching over a joint but also how far the joint moves within the joint capsule.

That’s pretty cool stuff to me, and it’s been the cornerstone of my movement practice and area of study as I coach my students and clients. For those who have taken my Wednesday evening Strong45, you know this about me, and I bet a few of them will back me up here when I say Mobility and Flexibility are the ‘magic pill’ to making you feel more capable and confident in and out of class!

Getting your joints primed and ready for movement goes a long way in preventing injury and helping you enjoy whatever physical activity you are getting ready to perform. From tennis to dancing and cycling to lifting weights, not to mention all the daily tasks of walking, sitting, lifting, bending and twisting we do, getting your body ready to move is vital to maintaining your current abilities and definitely to make improvements in ‘performance’. Mobility work will check the edges of your ability to move without pain or impingement, and get your brain and body plugged in and working together.

Getting properly mobilized is different from just ‘warming up’, although you will definitely get warm. Mobilizing joints and practicing smaller movement patterns create a foundation to build bigger, stronger, more intense and complex movements. Just like walking before you run, you have to roll and crawl before you walk! It’s also a perfect way to build your strategy for learning new movements.

Speaking of new moves: I am excited to bring a new class to the club that takes ‘Clubbells’ onto the training floor for a more dynamic and higher intensity class. Stay tuned for more information on Clubbells - an ‘Ancient Tool for the Modern Athlete’

In the meantime, try something new! Give yourself 5 minutes to perform these 5 mobility practices 5 times each once or twice a day and see how you feel in a week. Take each move slowly and in total control (Tip: Imagine you are playing Red Light Green Light and someone might say Red Light at any point in your move). Find your edge: you should not feel pain but it should feel uncomfortable - and remember to breathe evenly and deeply through the move.

1.     Big, Sloooow Arm circles perpendicular to a wall - 10 seconds per circle! 5 one way, 5 the other way, then switch sides.

2.     Shoulder Screws - Keep the arms parallel to the ground and reaching out as you roll one shoulder forward and then back. 5 one arm, 5 the other then 5 together.

3.     Segmented Cat/Cow - Seated or in Quadruped (on hands and knees) -  5 times: cave and expand the chest ONLY, leaving hips neutral, then 5 times: rock the hips forward and then back keeping shoulders and arms neutral/straight, then...

4.     Spinal Waves -5 times in the same position as cat/cow, Roll under from tail to top, then unroll from tail to top, then 5 times Roll from top to tail and then unroll from top to tail.

5.     Hurdlers - rotate one hip/knee/leg externally, then pivot on your toe to rotate hip/knee/leg internally (option to lift the leg as you rotate, like you are stepping over a fence). 5 times on each leg.

-Roxanne

A Fresh Year

Robin Robertson Certified ACE Personal Trainer Functional Aging Specialist USA Cycling Coach

Robin Robertson
Certified ACE Personal Trainer
Functional Aging Specialist
USA Cycling Coach

 

Ah, a fresh year. 

There is something about a new year that gives a sense of a new start and opportunities to change.

One of the things I do entering a new year is to take stock of what I am grateful for and to consider the direction I am going.  Because, you know, if you have no direction then you certainly will not get there.

I hope you will join me in asking yourself these 11 questions – it’s also a fun discussion to have with your partner and loved ones.  You know that saying…If you keep doing what you are doing, you’ll keep getting what you are getting.  So now is the time to set your course, your desires, and get something better for 2018.

Set your intentions in 2018 – Click here to download the worksheets!

1. What am I grateful for?
2. What have been my happiest moments in life?
3. What am I passionate about?
4. What accomplishments from last year am I most happy about? (personal and/or professional)
5. What were my greatest disappointments from last year and why?
6. What do I want to achieve in 2018? (personal and/or professional)
7. What is going really well in my life right now?
8. What needs to change in my life to make it better and to achieve the results I want?
9. If I am to do one thing in my professional/volunteer life that would have the most positive impact, what would that one thing be?  Why would it have such an impact?
10. If I am to do one thing in my personal life that would have the most positive impact, what would that one thing be?  Why would it have such an impact?
11. What are my BIG 5 goals for 2018?  Answer this for each goal:  Why do I want to achieve this? What specific action do I need to take to make this happen? What habits and behaviors will I need to develop in order to accomplish this?  When I achieve the goal, what will be the result and what will be my reward?  Download the worksheets for these goals.

If you like these questions, I adapted them from an old school planner from fitproplanner.com.  Their planners have these questions and many, many more, and the planner is laid out with weekly, 30-day, and 90-day planning tools.  I love it!  And it helps me to stay focused throughout the year.  I like that this is an “old-fashioned” diary that I can keep every year to review and reflect on my goals and life’s work.

I am excited for 2018 and hope this to be your BEST YEAR EVER!  We are so happy to be a healthy part of your life and wish you all the best in this new year.

-Robin

What's Your 2018 Game Plan?

Tyler Brown Headshot Functional Training Area.jpg

 

What’s your GAME PLAN for 2018?

What’s your power-move going to be?

What’s going to be your game changer?

If you don’t want the upcoming year to be just the same ol’ thing, how are you going to make this year different?

I never want the new year to just be more of the same. This time of the year is so EXCITING to me! So INVIGORATING! I get so pumped up that I get to make a change, I get to be BETTER than the year before! I get to be more generous, I get to be more loving, and I get another chance to take advantage of more opportunities to help others.

Often though when I’m really excited to make a change, I go into it thinking something along the lines of, “I got this, this’ll be easy.”

…And then it’s not…

Without a plan to make the change happen, I often fail, revert back to my old way of doing things, and get bummed out that nothing’s different than before.

Has that ever happened to you, too?

Here’s what I often think about:

Was the change worth it? If it was, then why did I fail? What did I let – yes, let – get in the way?

What can I do differently NOW? What step can I take NOW to inch me closer to my goal?

How am I going to implement that action step into my day? When can I schedule this into my day to be sure that I will work on it?

Believe it or not, this happens to me all the time, even with exercise. I’ve been struggling especially lately with being consistent with my exercise. It’s been hard to get into a consistent routine and to have the motivation to follow through with it.

What I need is a priority-check: Is this important enough to make happen? Yes. So then I need to rearrange my list of things to do that day to include even just 15-30 minutes of intentional movement. I know I’ll feel better afterward: More energy, happier, more positive.

Regardless of what you’re shooting for in 2018, have a gameplan.

I’m not sure if you’ve been thinking of it yet, but I’d love to hear your goals and what you’re aiming to change this next year!

-Tyler

Beating the Winter Blues

Elizabeth Sheinkopf ACE certified Personal Trainer Certified Le Monde Indoor cycling instructor, Power Pilates instructor

Elizabeth Sheinkopf
ACE certified Personal Trainer
Certified Le Monde Indoor cycling instructor, Power Pilates instructor

 

If you find it challenging to get through our long dark winters, you’re probably familiar with some of the steps you can take to alleviate the mood dips that you sometimes feel: get outside as much as possible, use a full-spectrum (happy) light, take vitamin D, maintain good sleep habits and definitely EXERCISE. I’ve found these things to be essential in dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) over the years. I wanted to share some other things that I’ve done that have also helped me stay feeling good in the winter.

This isn’t clinical advice, so it’s good to remember that if you feel sadness and irritability that you can’t shake, talk to your doctor.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Winter is a great time to stretch a bit out of your comfort zone. Maybe there’s a class that you’ve always wanted to take, a new sport to try, volunteer work you’ve thought about doing--regardless of what it is, if it’s new and challenging it can really help boost your spirits this time of year. I’ve been taking an acting technique class that’s new to me, and it is fun, exciting and at times, terrifying. Being a complete beginner at something, going into unchartered territory is exhilarating and fulfilling and might boost your mood and confidence.

STAY CONNECTED

I find it tempting to go into semi-hibernation when the weather is bad and it gets dark at 4 pm. Forcing yourself to go out after work or school instead of staying home and watching Netflix may take more effort in the winter, but it really pays off. Go to an exercise class, go out with friends, make that extra effort to stay engaged and connected with people. Being honest with friends and family about how you’re feeling is a huge help as well-- most of the time, you’ll find that many people struggle this time of year and it will make you feel much less alone.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook, Instagram, etc are great ways to stay connected with friends and family who are far away, but I find that spending lot of time online ends up making me feel less connected and more unhappy with life in general. For one thing, it’s a time sponge and before you know it, an hour has passed. This leads to guilt and feeling more stressed about getting everything done. I think it’s also tempting to compare your life with others on social media, and feel that yours comes up short. Trying to limit checking Facebook to once or twice a week ends up being much more satisfying and leaves you more time for fun activities.

PLAN A TRIP

It doesn’t have to be long or exotic, but planning to get out of town even for a long weekend is a great way to feel refreshed and energized. Getting somewhere with more bright sunlight--even if it isn’t very warm-- is a bonus!

Do you have other strategies that help you get through the winter? What special things do you look forward to? We’d love to hear your ideas!

-Elizabeth