February, 2013 | The Cycle Project

Archive for February, 2013

Feb
27
2013
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The Low Down On High Heels

Bad HeelsWearing high heels can be fashionable and may make you feel taller, but at what price? High heels can cause foot problems while exacerbating foot problems that you already have. Leg and back pain also are common complaints from those who wear high heels.

Posture

A high heel shoe puts your foot in a plantarflexed (foot pointed downward) position, placing an increased amount of pressure on your forefoot. This causes you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain your balance. The lower part of your body leans forward and to compensate for that, the upper part of your body must lean back to keep you balanced. This is not your body’s normal standing position.

Gait

When walking, your foot is in a more fixed downward position (plantarflexed) therefore you are not able to push off the ground with as much force. This causes your hip flexor muscles in your legs to work harder to move and pull your body forward. Your knees also stay more bent (flexed) and forward, causing your knee muscles to work harder.

Balance

Walking in high heel shoes is like walking on a balance beam. It takes a lot of balance and just like teetering on a beam, there is not any support in a high heel shoe to catch you if you fall. High heel shoes cause your foot and ankle to move in a supinated (turned outward) position. This position puts you at risk for losing your balance and spraining your ankles.

Back

The normal s-curve shape of the back acts as a shock absorber, reducing reduce stress on the vertebrae. Wearing high heels causes lumbar (low-back) spine flattening and a posterior (backward) displacement of the head and thoracic (mid-back) spine. High heel shoes cause you to lean forward and the body’s response to that is to decrease the forward curve of your lower back to help keep you in line. Poor alignment may lead to muscle overuse and back pain.

Hips

The hip flexor muscles are located on the upper front part of your thighs. They are forced to work much harder and longer to help you walk because your feet are held in a downward position (plantarflexed) and have reduced power to move your body forward. If your hip flexor muscles are chronically overused, the muscles can shorten and a contracture can occur. If a contracture occurs, this could lead to flattening of the lumbar (low-back) spine.

Knees

Knee osteoarthritis is twice as common in women. Some of that blame may be due to high heels. The knee stays flexed (bent) and the tibia (shin bone) turns inward (varus) when wearing high heels. This position puts a compressive force on the inside of the knee (medial), a common site of osteoarthritis. If you already have osteoarthritis, it is best to avoid wearing high heel shoes. High heels increase the distance from the floor to the knee and can result in increased knee torque which can also lead to osteoarthritis.

Ankles

High heels limit the motion and power of the ankle joint. The calf muscles (gastrocnemius & soleus) are shortened because of the heel height. The shortened muscles cause them to lose power when trying to push the foot off of the ground. The position of the ankle may also cause a shortening (contraction) of the achilles tendon. This can increase the pull of the achilles tendon where it attaches on the back of your heel bone (calcaneus) and may cause a condition called insertional achilles tendonitis.

Feet

With the foot in a downward position, there is significant increase in the pressure on the bottom (plantar) of the forefoot. The pressure increases as the height of the shoe heel increases. Wearing a 3 1/4 inch heel increases the pressure on the bottom of the forefoot by 76%. The increased pressure may lead to pain or foot deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, bunionettes (tailor’s bunions) and neuromas. The downward foot position (plantarflexion) also causes the foot to be more supinated (turned to the outside). This change in foot position changes the line of pull of the achilles tendon and may cause a condition called Haglund’s deformity (pump bump).

Skin and Toes

The narrow, pointed toe box that is often found in high heel shoes also causes damage such as corns, callouses and blisters. If you look at a baby or toddler’s foot you will see that their toes are spread apart. If you look at an adult’s foot, their toes are usually squished together. A lot of times this is due to the footwear that has been worn. If you trace the footbed (part of the shoe where you put your foot) of a high heel shoe on a sheet of paper, and then stand barefoot on that tracing, you will probably have quite a bit of overlap. Does it still seem like a good idea to put your foot inside that shoe?

Save Your Feet

If your car tires are out of alignment, you can only drive so many miles before you are at risk of blowing a tire. The same is true for your body. Things need to be in alignment. It is recommended that you only wear high heels for special occasions and even then only a heel height of 1 1/2 inches. Your feet and body will thank you – and you’ll save money on trips to the podiatrist’s office.

Sources:

Coughlin MJ. The high cost of fashionable footwear. J Musculoskel Med. 1994;11:40-53.

Ebbeling CJ, Hamill J, Crussemeyer JA. Lower extremity mechanics and energy cost of walking in high-heeled shoes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1994 Apr;19(4):190-6.

Esenyel M, Walsh K, Walden JG, Gitter A. Kinetics of high-heeled gait. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2003 Jan-Feb;93(1):27-32.

Kerrigan DC, Johansson JL, Bryant MG, Boxer JA, Della Croce U, Riley PO. Moderate-heeled shoes and knee joint torques relevant to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 May;86(5):871-5.

Kerrigan DC, Todd MK, Riley PO. Knee osteoarthritis and high-heeled shoes. Lancet. 1998 May 9;351(9113):1399-401.

Opila KA, Wagner SS, Schiowitz S, Chen J. Postural alignment in barefoot and high-heeled stance.Spine. 1988 May;13(5):542-7.

Snow RE, Williams KR. High heeled shoes: their effect on center of mass position, posture, three-dimensional kinematics, rearfoot motion, and ground reaction forces. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1994 May;75(5):568-76.

Source

 

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Feb
25
2013
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How Bad is Restaurant Food For You?

There’s no questioning the fact that the foods you eat go far in determining how quickly you’ll meet your fitness goals.

And if you’re eating a number of your meals out at restaurants then you’re going to want to keep reading because the average restaurant meal contains more than 1,200 calories.

Most people have no idea just how fattening restaurant entrées are. In fact, the following information may shock you.

Here, in no particular order, are 5 of the most fattening restaurant dishes along with tips that I’ve included to equip you in making lighter, healthier versions of these dishes at home.

Bad Food #1: Cobb Salad
Cobb salads are loaded with cheese, bacon, egg, and topped with a creamy dressing. Sure, you’re eating a salad, but that salad is likely to contain more calories than a burger.

At-Home Version: Making a lighter Cobb Salad at home is easy and quick. Start with a dark lettuce, like spinach or arugula, to get the most nutritional value. Top it with hard boiled egg whites, baked turkey bacon, light cheese, avocado and drizzle lemon juice and vinegar for dressing. This at-home version has dramatically lower calories while still providing you with a satisfying, tasty dish.

Bad Food #2: Spinach Artichoke Dip
When it comes to appetizers, spinach dip is filled with veggies so its calorie content is often underestimated. Don’t be fooled: just half a cup of this creamy dip will set you back about 350 calories. And if you finish the bowl yourself then you’ve just taken in 1,000 calories in dip alone, not to mention the chips or pita bread you scooped it with.

At-Home Version: That delicious creamy spinach flavor can be recreated at home by using low-fat milk, spinach, some olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. A quick Google search for ‘light creamed spinach recipe’ will give you plenty of recipe options that are much lower in fat and calories than the restaurant version.

Bad Food #3: Chicken Tenders
Fried chicken of any kind from a restaurant is going to be loaded with more fat and calories than you’d believe. Even a serving on the kid’s menu will tip the scales at over 800 calories.

At-Home Version: Making faux fried chicken at home is easy and surprisingly delicious. Whip up a few eggs with some Dijon mustard, garlic powder and onion powder. Dip your skinless, boneless chicken tenders in the mixture and then coat with almond flour, thyme, paprika and salt. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until no longer pink, flipping once halfway through. Turn on the broiler for the last couple of minutes to make it nice and crispy.

This at-home version will save you hundreds of calories that would have ended up around your waist.

http://thecycleproject.org/healthy-fried-chicken/

Bad Food #4: Sliders
Sliders are so small, there’s no harm in enjoying a couple of, right? Wrong. Despite their petite package, enjoy a couple sliders and you’ll have taken in more than 1,000 calories.

At-Home Version: The biggest problems with the restaurant slider are its fatty meat content and the refined-carbohydrate bun. So at home you can remedy these two issues. 1) Use lean, ground turkey to create petite patties. Use your grill pan to cook them with minimal oil, or outside on the grill. 2) Instead of the carbohydrate-filled bun, use large pieces of butter lettuce to wrap around your patties. Add sliced tomato, low fat cheese and grilled onion and secure the whole thing with a toothpick. These at-home sliders are guilt-free!

Bad Food #5: Pasta
Eating a pasta-based dish at a restaurant is weight-loss suicide. There’s no way to escape all those carbohydrate calories unscathed. The 1,000+ calories found in the noodles will quickly end up stored on your body as fat.

At-Home Version: There are two really easy and guilt-free ways to mimic pasta noodles at home. 1) Bake a spaghetti squash until tender, then scoop out the soft, angel hair-like strands and top with your healthy pasta sauce. 2) Using a vegetable peeler, create long strips of zucchini and top with your healthy pasta sauce.

Cooking more of your meals at home, using the tips above, will save you many hidden calories and goes hand-in-hand with regular, challenging workouts in seeing you to your fitness goal, Call or email today and I will schedule a time to meet with you one-on-one to strategize the quickest and most effective route to getting you to your fitness goals.

 

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Feb
22
2013
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Guilt-Free Kale Chip Snack

Salty, crunchy snack foods are a weakness for most people. Instead of eating chips or popcorn or crackers, which quickly add up in unwanted pounds, make a batch of these delicious, crunchy kale chips. Kale chips are low in carbs and make a delicious crunchy snack.

Servings: 5
Here’s what you need

  • 1 bunch kale, washed and torn, stems discarded
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • dash of salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix the kale pieces with all of the ingredients.
  3. Spread evenly on foil-lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, watching closely that they do not burn. Remove from oven when crispy.

Nutritional Analysis: 51 calories, 3g fat, 68mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein

 

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Feb
20
2013
0

5 Fitness Snacks

5 Fitness Snacks
  1. Hard Boiled Egg and Sliced Veggies.
  2. Sliced Apple and Almond Butter.
  3. Natural, Low Sodium Jerky.
  4. Seasonal Berries with 1/4 cup of Almonds.
  5. A Bag of Homemade Kale Chips.

 

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Feb
18
2013
0

Avoid The Snack Trap

The Snack Trap

We’ve all heard that snacking is great for the metabolism…but have you taken it too far?

In other words, your excessive snacking may be killing your fitness results.

Let’s face it, there are only so many extra calories that the body can take before it adds those on as unwanted fat.

Even if you’re eating perfectly healthy meals and putting in your time at the gym, if your snacking is out of control then your results will be disappointing.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid The Snack Trap:

1) Calories Count. Even when you’re snacking on “healthy” food, you’ve got to keep track of how many calories that you’re taking in. Almonds are healthy, but if you down 800 extra calories in them you’ll quickly gain weight.

2) Fill Up on Protein & Fat. A lot of well-meaning people are still afraid of fat. They think that if their snack is high in fat then it will end up on their body as fat. This is simply not true. Healthy fat, such as avocado or almonds, is a wonderful thing to snack on as it fills you up and keeps you full longer.

3) Avoid Sugar Calories. Sugar is an awful thing to snack on when weight loss is your goal. Refined sugar is a catalyst for fat storage, so avoid any snack that contains sugar. Remember that eating sugar will satiate your hunger for a very short period of time, and then you’ll quickly be hungry again.

4) Don’t Be Fooled By 100-Calorie Packs. A popular marketing technique is to package junk food into 100-calorie packs. These could be crackers, cookies, chips…basically any guilty snack food you could think of. The premise is that since you’re only eating 100 calories, the snack is healthy. I’m sorry, folks, but eating 100 calories of junk food is not a healthy snack. You are better off avoiding the junk completely and eating something wholesome.

5) Use The ‘Is It Real’ Test. As a rule of thumb, you should use the “Is it real?” test when deciding if a snack is worth eating. The test goes like this: If your snack can go bad, then it’s good for you. If your snack can’t go bad, then it’s bad for you. The idea is to eat fresh, real foods that are unprocessed and wholesome. These real foods are naturally filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will assist you in achieving your fitness goals.

6) Avoid Refined Carbohydrates. Processed and refined carbohydrates make up the bulk of popular snack foods. Take a look around the snack aisle at the grocery store and you will see that most packaged snacks are made with grains. When your goal is to lose weight and increase lean muscle then eating refined grains will work against you. If you only take one tip away from this article, let it be to remove grain-based snacks from your life. This single change could very well recharge your weight loss.

Now you know how to snack in a healthy way that will not derail your fitness goals.

Remember that exercise plays a huge part in getting in shape and losing weight.

 

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Feb
15
2013
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Blackberry Chicken

 

This recipe makes a wonderfully healthy family meal. Use organic berries and chicken to get the most from your meal nutritionally and flavor-wise. Serve your chicken on a bed of steamed veggies or on a dark leafy green salad.

 

Servings: 4
Here’s what you need:

For the Chicken:

  • 1.5 pounds organic, skinless, boneless chicken tenders
  • 1 cup organic blackberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup plum vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packet Stevia
  1. Rinse the chicken tenders and pat dry. Place in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
  3. *optional* Strain the seeds from marinade (If you don’t mind the crunch, then leave the seeds in!)
  4. Pour the marinade into the bag of chicken, seal and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the marinated chicken in a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, drain off excess marinade, then place under high broil for 4 minutes, watching closely. Remove when golden.

For the Blackberry Sauce:

  • 1 TBL coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic blackberries
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 Tbl plum vinegar
  1. In a skillet over medium low heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer, stirring often, until the blackberries become bright and the sauce reaches desired consistency.
  3. If you wish to thicken the sauce more, add 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot powder.
  4. *optional* Strain the seeds from the sauce (If you don’t mind the crunch, then leave the seeds in!)
  5. Serve over the cooked chicken.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 287 calories, 7g fat, 655mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 36g protein

 

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Feb
13
2013
0

Monkey See, Monkey Do

If you don’t eat right, neither will your children.

As much as you’d like to see the kids enthusiastically eating a pile of green veggies, you’ll need to be the first one to dig in. The easiest way to model healthy eating habits is to eat most of your meals at home.

When you eat out, the kid’s menus options are mainly fried and carbohydrate-filled, and most come with a sugary beverage. When you make your own meals at home center the meal around a lean protein, such as chicken or fish, and then add in lots of colorful veggies. Start with the recipes in the blog.

 

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Feb
11
2013
0

Make Fitness a Family Affair

Today childhood obesity is a major concern among parents and the medical community. This generation of kids is less active and more obese than any generation before.

Wouldn’t it be great if your kids naturally enjoyed exercise? If this were the case then childhood obesity wouldn’t be the looming problem that it is.

As adults we exercise to improve health, stay fit, and control weight. But what motivates a child to be physically active? Fun. Ultimately, if children and adults enjoy an activity, they’re more likely to stick with it.

As you know, an inactive child has a greater chance of becoming an inactive adult if healthy habits aren’t instilled early in life. And it’s never too early to start.

What better way to get your kids moving than to find a fun exercise activity your whole family can enjoy together? Your family will not only be healthier and trimmer, but will spend quality time connecting and set habits that may last a lifetime.

Just remember that exercising as a family won’t look like your typical workout. Here are some fun, creative ways to incorporate exercise into the life of your family.

Make Chore Time Fun Time
Let’s face it: chores and kids don’t mix. Not willingly at least. Chores and fun don’t usually mix, either. How can you combine chores with fitness while making it fun at the same time?

Turn up your family’s favorite tunes and sing and dance while cleaning the house. Let the kids take turns choosing the music. All ages can be involved. The youngest can pick up toys or sweep the floors. The older kids can vacuum, dust, and help with laundry.

While you’re at it, turn chores into a competition. Who can clean his or her room the fastest? (Without stuffing everything in the closet.)

Dance Party 
Want a little more wiggle in your family exercise routine? Invite the kids’ friends over for a dance party. Move the furniture out of the way, turn down the lights, and turn up the tunes! Then get moving.

Kids will have a great time with this. If you have a Wii dance game, take turns in dance competition.

Family Fitness Nights
Family fun night is often spent sitting around watching a movie or playing a board game. How can you turn family nights into fitness nights?

Go on a bike ride together. Head to a nearby trail in the woods and go on a hike. Invite another family to join you and organize a soccer game, whiffleball tournament, or relay races. Set up a badminton net in the backyard.

If there’s snow on the ground, get out the sleds and head to a nearby hill. What about roller-skating as a family? Now there’s a fun family workout! Let each family member take turns choosing which activity to do on family nights, but keep the nights focused on fun fitness.

Hire a Personal Trainer
Each person has different fitness needs and goals. Call or email me today to design a workout program for each family member.

Track Progress
A great way to stay motivated as a family to keep exercising is to track individual progress. If one family member needs to lose weight and another is trying to bench press heavier weight, track both of their progress and encourage them along the way.

You can also have all family members wear a pedometer and reward the person with the most steps, or choose an exercise of the month. Good choices are squats, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, or jump rope. At the beginning of the month, each family member must perform his or her maximum number of repetitions. After a month of training, the person with the highest percentage of improvement gets a small reward.

And keep progress at the forefront with a chart on your refrigerator to track your family’s fitness goals.

A Way of Life 
When fitness is incorporated into everyday life, it won’t become a drag or another thing to fit into your already busy schedule. Set aside just an hour two to three times a week to get moving as a family. Your kids will have fun and learn valuable life lessons.

 

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Feb
08
2013
1

Roasted Chicken and Veggies Dinner

 

Roasting a whole chicken with veggies is a wonderful meal and is much simpler to prepare than you might think. Make this recipe on the weekend and then enjoy nutritious leftovers throughout your week.

Servings: 5

Here’s what you need…

  • 3 bulbs garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, gently melted
  • 1 Tablespoon each minced, fresh rosemary, oregano, tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 4 large organic carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 organic zucchini, cut into 1 inch half-moons
  • 1 cup pearl onions, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 hormone-free, organic chicken
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the tips of each section of the garlic bulbs. Place the blubs in a small glass pan. Brush the tops with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine the melted coconut oil, fresh herbs, minced garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set 1/3 of the mixture aside for the veggies.
  4. In a large bowl combine the carrots, zucchini, pearl onions and Brussels sprouts with 1/3 of the herb mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Carefully slide your hand between the skin and the breast and liberally rub some of the herb mixture. Rub the rest of the herb mixture over the top of the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the chicken on a large roasting pan, and surround it with the veggies.
  6. Roast the chicken and veggies for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth over the chicken and veggies, and place the garlic pan in the oven off to the side.
  7. For the next 90 minutes, pour 1/2 cup of broth over the chicken and veggies every 30 minutes as it cooks at 350 degrees F.
  8. To see if the chicken is done, poke the tip of a sharp knife between the leg and body and see that the juices run clear. Transfer the chicken and veggies to a large platter. Add a couple of the roasted garlic bulbs to the chicken platter, reserving one for the gravy.
  9. To make gravy: Pour all of the roasting pan juices into a skillet and bring to a simmer. Remove the garlic cloves from one of the roasted blubs and smash with a fork. Add garlic to skillet. Mix in the tablespoon of coconut flour, and whisk the gravy as it simmers. Cook for 10 minutes, or until desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Analysis: 251 calories, 14g fat, 113mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, and 17g protein

 

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Feb
06
2013
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5 Steps to Sculpted Abs

  1. Stay Hydrated. Drink water throughout your day, rather than calorie-filled drinks.
  2. Cut Your Carbs. Eliminate bread from your diet, as well as carb-filled snacks like pretzels or chips.
  3. Exercise Your Abs. Perform the above ab exercises every other day.
  4. No More Sugar. Eating sweets is the easiest way to gain fat, so avoid sugar.
  5. Make Exercise Count. To make sure your exercise routine is effective, call or email me today.

 

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