Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The #1 Ab Move!

Front Planks are a very common exercise that's incorporated into health, fitness, performance and rehabilitation exercise programs.  I recommend planks all the time. They can be done on the wall, the floor or on top of a piece of fitness equipment (like a stability ball). The front plank is an exercise for upper body stability, scapular stability, core stability, hip stability, and postural alignment.

BEST Hand Position For the Front Plank Exercise
Hand Position #1 - Palms Down

Palms Down Forearms in line with the shoulders with palms down. This is a common position. With the palms down, it end ups helping with a little bit of balance during the front plank exercise. With the elbows up, you'll work the shoulder at 90 degrees of external rotation which is good for shoulder health.

 Also in this position it allows you to grab the ground with your hands and activate your scapular stabilizers and lats which help protect the shoulder and lower back.

 *The key thing to remember is to keep the elbows below the shoulders in order to decrease the stress on the shoulder, especially the rotator cuff.

Hand Position #2 - Palms Facing Each Other

Palms Facing Each Other 

If you want to make the front plank more challenging,  move the palms so they are facing each other.You'll get less help when it comes to balancing with the hands and you'll rely more on your core to stabilize and balance yourself in this position.


Hand Position #3 - Triangle Position

Triangle Position

This is a more modified position.  You'll get more help or stability from the forearms. This is an even more stable of a position than hand position #1. It is also good for someone who is not able to get into the 90 degree external rotation of the shoulder (which most people are not able to do). This position puts less stress on the shoulder than hand position #1 and #2.


Hand Position #4 - Genie Position

Genie Position 

This is a very powerful position as you get lots of help from the forearms and the shoulder to create a stable position. This is a good position if you are going to do a front plank into a side plank and then back into a front plank position and it tends to put the shoulder in its best and safest position.


Those are the different positions of hand placement as it relates to a Front Plank position.


You need to select the best position for you to do depending on your strength and the stability of your shoulder.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Diet- Friendly Summertime Coffee Drinks

Iced Capp? Iced Coffee? Frappuccino? Iced Mocha? No matter what your choice, it still spells one thing....loads of calories and most of them from fat!

So, how can you enjoy your favourite gourmet drinks without all the empty calories? I have a couple recipes today to help you enjoy those ‘treat” drinks.  These will taste so good that you’ll swear they aren't good for you but they are! The protein powder not only curbs hunger pangs but adds that metabolically active ingredient...PROTEIN!

I have a couple different ones I use, they are both quite flexible in terms of milk that you use, but once you try them you can work out what suits your taste buds or time frame best.  Play around with them to develop the taste you enjoy, without the calories!

If you just want to wet the whistle, try pouring cold coffee over ice!  Add a little sweetener if you must but I like it straight up!

Vanilla Iced Coffee

-sugar-free non-fat vanilla yogurt
-non-fat milk (or almond milk, rice milk or soy milk – vanilla flavoured, if you prefer)
-instant coffee crystals
-vanilla or chocolate whey protein powder

Directions: You’ll start by spooning sugar-free, nonfat vanilla yogurt in an ice cube tray and freezing it into cubes overnight.  Then you’ll add them to a blender with a splash of milk, a teaspoon of instant coffee crystals, and a scoop of vanilla or chocolate whey protein powder. Lastly, just sprinkle on some cinnamon to add a little fat-burning kick. If you want to cut down on the caffeine, just use decaffeinated instant coffee instead.

Quick Iced Mocha or Vanilla Coffee

-ice cubes
-1 cup non-fat milk, almond milk, soy or rice milk (can use vanilla flavoured milk for more of that vanilla flavour)
-instant coffee crystals or 1 c strong cold leftover coffee (I make extra to use for iced coffee!)
-1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (for mocha) or vanilla
-cinammon and/or stevia (sweetener) to taste

Directions: Throw all the ingredients in a blender or good shaker cup and give it a good shake or until you see it has thickened. Pour into a tall glass and sip away! Easy to prepare and no chore to drink (about 200 cal and 25g Protein).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oats Aren't Just for Breakfast!

No, I am not finished extolling the virtues of the humble oat.  I assume you all got the picture on how good they are for you, but have you ever thought beyond the breakfast bowl?

Today I am going to give you one of my favourite ways to serve oats (and it's not a breakfast food!)

Oat Pilaf
2 tbsp oil
1/2 c chopped onion and/or green onion
1/2 cup chopped green or red pepper, mushrooms, celery and/or zucchini (opt) or any leftover vegetables
1 1/2 cup oats (not the instant variety!)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c vegetable stock, chicken stock, tomato juice or water (may need a pinch of salt if you use water)
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 tsp ea basil and oregano (or to taste)
Saute the onion and other veg in the oil until tender.  Mix the oats with the egg and add to the onion mixture, cooking and stirring until the grains are dry and separated. Add liquid and seasonings; simmer uncovered, stirring a few times until the oats are swollen and tender, about 5 min. 

Goes well with an egg dish.  I particularly like the leftovers for breakfast!