Just Tri A Little Harder

“Curls for the girls” is one of the most common saying in the gym world, or at least it used to be. We are constantly in elbow flexion as we hold our phones up to our face, sit in the car and drive an hour to work, and sit at our desks typing for hours a day. And then some people will go to the gym do a few push up and bicep curls and call it a day. Those curls may not be doing the best for you, although they may look good.

Putting more emphasis on the triceps don’t only help improve your push ups but can also help improve shoulder health and posture. The long head (one of the three heads of the triceps) originates on the scapulae. When active, the triceps extend the shoulder and elbow. Which are opposite movements then the static position we are in most of our day so it can help improve our posture, decrease some of the pesky shoulder discomfort and decrease a little of that turkey giggle many women complain about.

The following exercises are some of my favorites:

Dumbbell Lying Extensions AKA Skull Crushers

Cable Triceps Push Down

Cable Rope Extension

Machine Triceps Push Down

Note: I didn’t put any over pulls because you need to make sure your shoulders and posture are set to avoid injury!





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Mastering Low Back Strength and Mobility – Can you Pelvic Tilt?

Low Back Discomfort and/or Pain is more common than sliced bread. It effects more than 80% of adults sometime in their lifetime and the most common cause of job related disability. For employers and businesses, low back pain causes lost wages and productivity, increased sick days, poor performance, employee depression and chronic fatigue (while at work),  employee reduced satisfaction with the employer, increasing turnover rate, reduced creativity and new ideas in the workplace, and reduced  effectiveness of customer service.

There are many ways to treat Low Back Pain however often those treatment and preventive strategies miss the actual movement and function that aids in keeping the low back healthy and mobile. For optimal spinal support, the core muscles have to engage. So starting deep is an important assessment. The core muscles include the abdominal muscles, especially obliques and transverse abdominal, the back (erector spinae and deeper), pelvis, hips and gluteals.

So, can you or Do You Pelvic Tilt? The Pelvic Tilt is a lower abdominal strengthening exercise performed lying on your back. Maintaining a pelvic tilt increases spinal stabilization. In addition, the ability to engage the core muscles during exercise regardless of exercise position is key to optimal performance on the field and more importantly in life!

Keep in mind that while the exercise trains the pelvic floor muscles to engage, it is not simply, reducing the space at the waist but the ability to do it while breathing normally as well as maintaining the position while moving.

Performing and practicing the pelvic tilt to strengthen the pelvic floor.

  1. Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent. Slide your hands under the small of your back. This is normal curvature.
  2. Tilt your pelvis back to flatten the small of your back towards the floor by tightening your stomach (abdominal) muscles.
  3. Keep the back flat. Maintain this position, keeping your shoulders and head relaxed and breathing normally as you continue this progression.
  4. Level 1:
    • Lift one leg off the floor bringing your knee toward your chest. Keep thigh vertical and hip at 90 degrees.
    • Lift the other leg to the same position.
    • Lower one leg at a time to the starting position.
    • Complete 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.
  5. Level 2: Can you maintain the position with greater movement.
    • With both legs up, thighs vertical and hip 90 degrees…
    • Keep one leg up and lower the other leg, sliding heel down so that the knee is moving towards straight.
    • Slide it back to starting position.
    • Repeat with the other leg.
  6. Level 3 and more?: Are you maintaining the position and BREATHING evenly?
    • Bring knees and feet back to starting position.
    • Can you do Level 2 keeping heel slightly above floor?
    • Can you slide both heels?
    • Can you extend both legs with heels above floor?

Progression: Don’t move on to the next level until you are successful with the first position.

Mastering and incorporating this movement pattern into your exercise routine will make your execution more meaningful and more effective toward your goals. The following exercises incorporate this pelvic stability training above. Try these again with correct form.

  • Modified Crunch
  • Stability Ball Pass
  • Dead Bug
  • Pilates Flow
  • Plank and Side Plank
  • V-Ups




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“On the Grill” Mediterranean Pizza

Turn pizza night into BBQ night (or BBQ night into pizza night!) with this tasty and healthy pizza recipe!
Makes two 10″ pizzas that serve 4

3.5 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers
¼ cup crumbled feta (about 1 oz)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 c marinated artichoke hearts
10-15 thin lemon slices
2 10″ whole wheat pizza crusts
1 c packed fresh baby spinach
8 quartered pitted kalamata olives
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

1. Turn your grill on medium-high heat
2. Drain the roasted red bell peppers & puree in a blender with the feta and red wine vinegar
3. Drain the marinated artichoke hearts
4. Lightly coat 1 side of each pizza crust with olive oil spray
5. Put crusts oil side down on the grill and heat about 2 minutes
6. Flip the crusts over and spread evenly with red-pepper sauce
7. Sprinkle spinach, kalamata olives, artichokes & lemon slices evenly on each crust
8. Grill about 2 minutes and remove from the grill
9. Top pizzas with olive oil and black pepper
10. Cut each pizza into 4 slices and serve warm

Nutrition Information per 2-slice serving: 217 calories, 7 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 581 mg sodium

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Think outside the box with Stair Climbing

No equipment – no problem. Stair climbing is another all in one exercises with outstanding benefits. You’ll work your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and core.

Stair climbing can help prevent osteoporosis by developing denser, stronger bones. As your muscles pull against the bones of your hips and spine, the bones gradually increase in size, slowing the gradual rate of bone loss that occurs with old age. Other benefits of stair climbing include positively impacting health, improves cardiovascular system and the “good” cholesterol, tones thighs and hips, and improves muscular endurance.

Add stair climbing to your workout and build flights into your day. It requires no skill or special clothing or equipment, it is cheap, effective, and a time efficient activity.

Try these to add more stairs into your day.

  • Make a point to climb 8 flights of stairs each day.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
  • Avoid holding on the the railing, pump your arms to increase intensity
  • Taking stairs more often burns more calories in your day
  • Incorporate climbing at work
  • Create step challenges to get co-workers healthier too!!
  • Incorporate other functional exercises into your workout such as push-ups, dips, squats and/or lunges.

Stair climbing workout

  1. Climb up
  2. 10 squats at top
  3. Walk down
  4. Assisted Reverse lunges holding onto railing
  5. Climb up and walk down
  6. Complete Push-ups on 2nd or 3rd step
  7. Climb up
  8. Perform a plank for 20-30 seconds
  9. Walk down
  10. Step jumps – Hop up on first step and step down for 10 repetitions.



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“The Sandy 7” Beach Workout

The summer has finally arrived and many of us head down to our favorite beach town for a getaway weekend or lengthy family vacation.  The problem is we often leave our fitness programs behind at home when we need them the most! When you realize that your caloric intake can as much as triple during your stay at the beach with eating 3 meals a day at restaurants, you might want to second guess your decision to not exercise.  Those pounds you were so worried about losing leading up to swimsuit season can be packed back on during your vacation.

Here are 7 exercises that will be sure to keep you looking beach ready…and a bit sandy afterwards! Warm-up with some jumping jacks or a light jog for about 2-3 minutes. Perform 1-3 sets of the following exercises in a circuit format with minimal rest (but feel free to take as much rest as you need!)

  1. Shuttle Runs—Draw three marker lines in the sand five yards apart from each other. Straddle the middle line in a three-point stance. You can start by moving to the right or left direction. For example, at the start the person turns and runs five yards to the right side and touches the line with his right hand. He then runs 10 yards to his left and touches the far left line with his left hand, then finally turns and finishes by running back through the start/finish line (middle line). Depending on your fitness level, you may be able to repeat the shuttle run up to 3 times with a 10-30 second rest between each one.
  2. Push ups—traditional, modified with knees on the ground, triangle push-ups with pointer fingers and thumbs touching with hands on the ground, etc.  Perform as many as you can with a stable core (draw your abs towards your spine) until you reach fatigue.
  3. Prisoner Squats—Hands at your ears for prisoner position…spread your feet shoulder width apart and progress squat as far as you can while keeping your hips/knees aligned, keeping weight back and distributed on mid feet and heels flat. Perform 10-20 reps.
  4. Walking Lunges—With you hands on your hips, step forward, drop back knee a few inches from the sand and keep front knee over your front ankle so that both knees are close to 90 degree angles before returning to standing position and alternate between legs. Perform 10-15 reps with each leg.
  5. Bear Crawls—To do the bear crawl, drop onto all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, then rise up onto your feet. You can move forward, backward or sideways and you’ll work every major muscle group in the process. Start with 10 reps in any direction and feel free to increase the reps or vary the direction if needed in order to reach a fatigue response.
  6. Planks—Assume a push up position and hold the position as long as you can with a stable core to protect your lower back.  If this seems easy and you are ready to progress to the next level, lower your forearms onto the sand with your elbows under your shoulders and try holding this position with a stable core and flat back. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to reach fatigue and do not hold your breath.
  7. Crab Walks—Get a feel for the exercise by sitting with your legs spread out in front of you about shoulder’s width apart and feet flat on the ground. Bring your arms behind you with your palms flat and gently raise your backside off the ground tightening your gluteus muscles. Practice holding this position until it feels comfortable then begin taking 10 step forwards and then backwards while in the crab position.
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Crossword Puzzles, Memory Games, Sudoku…New Research Suggests a Better Method to Improving your Brain Health!

Have you ever walked into a room and forgot what brought you in there? Or how about mid-conversation, forgetting what your point to the story was? It happens to all of us! But what do we do about it? New research suggests EXERCISE is the best medicine for improving brain health!

Have you always been an avid exerciser? Turns out, your brain will thank you later. It is now strongly recommended to start exercising regularly early in your life to prevent dementia in your later years. Wait a minute, later years? Does that mean it’s too late? Absolutely not, it’s never too late to start – exercise is the best medicine!

Exercise helps the brain by…

  • Improving memory
  • Increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Improving learning rate (German researchers found that the learning rate in people improved by 20% after exercise)
  • Preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (Aerobic exercise reinforces neural connections by the number of dendrite connections between neurons, making a denser network) Ok so…what does that mean? It helps the brain process and store information better!

Does this mean exercise helps with depression too? Absolutely!

Exercise increases chemicals in the brain that help cognition, such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine and serotonin. Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases concentrations of these neurotransmitters.

What do those chemicals do?

  • Norepinephrine
    • Increases attention, promotes vigilance, pleasure and retrieval of memory.
  • Dopamine
    • Improves motivation, motor control and reward.
  • Serotonin
    • Thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning.
  • Glutamate
    • Memory creation and management, messaging for body movement and thought process.

Feeling like you have “brain fog” or feeling lethargic at work? Try getting up for 5-10 minutes – your brain just may need to be stimulated!

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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, which watermelon should I pick?

Have you ever bitten into a seemingly sweet slice of watermelon only to find it bland and underripe?

5 Simple Steps on How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon

Did you know?  Watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe then honeydew.  It is packed with 170 milligrams of potassium, 17% of recommended daily vitamin A, 20 % of recommended daily vitamin C, and contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes!  Watermelon also has a high water content (92% water), which means it is relatively low in calories – only 46 calories per cup.  This versatile fruit can be easily sliced into wedges or cubes, or used in salads, soups or beverages.   But the key to a good watermelon recipe is knowing how to pick a ripe one.  So, how do you pick a ripe watermelon?

When I was a child my mom taught me to ‘knock’ on the shell and listen for a hollow sound.  If it sounded hollow, it was ripe.  I continue to use this quirky technique and have since passed it on to my daughters.  However, if you prefer a more scientific way to assess ripeness, you can follow these 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Locate the yellow spot, known as the field spot -this is the place where the watermelon rested on the ground.  Ripe watermelons will have a creamy, yellow or orange-yellow spot.  You want to skip over the watermelons that have a white spot, as these watermelons are not ripe.


Photo source: davidwolfe.com

Step 2: Look for webbing; brown woody, web-like features indicate that bees have touched the pollinating parts of the flower.  The more pollination, the sweeter the melon!


Photo source: Brightside.me.url

Step 3: Go for the ‘female’ watermelons!  The ‘female’ will have a round shape and sweet taste.  ‘Male’ watermelons are elongated and watery.


Photo source: Brightside.me.url

Step 4: Choose a watermelon that is not too big or too small.  Find one that is in between – this watermelon will be just right!  The watermelon should feel heavier than it looks.


Photo source:© Depositphotos

Step 5: Inspect the tail/vine.  The tail should be dry, indicating that it was picked at peak ripeness.  A soft green tail means the watermelon was picked to soon.


Photo source: Brightside.me.url

Watermelon Recipes:

Kid’s Watermelon Strawberry Shake

Makes 4 servings


8 ounces low sugar nonfat yogurt (lemon or vanilla). Try Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt!

2 cups cubed, seedless watermelon

1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
In blender or food processor, process yogurt, watermelon, strawberries and banana until smooth and frothy.  Serve immediately.

Pour prepared Watermelon Strawberry Shake into small paper cups.  Freeze, inserting popsicle sticks or plastic spoons when mixture is partially frozen. Or, pour Watermelon Strawberry Shake into ice cream machine.  Set and enjoy!

Watermelon Beet Post Workout Smoothie

Makes 2 servings


1/2 medium beet, chopped

1 cup chopped watermelon

1 banana, peeled

1/2 cup coconut water

1 cup nonfat, plain kefir

1/2 lime, peeled

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder



Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.





Food and Nutrition May/June 2017

Recipes: http://www.watermelon.org/Kids

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