Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Time to Register for the Turkey Trot

Did you know? More Americans participate in races on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year! Join the crowd and start your holiday on the right foot by participating in the Burbank Community YMCA Turkey Trot. This family friendly 5K/10K race is open to runners, walkers, stroller-pushers and pets. Costumes welcome! There is a Pre-Race Expo for all and Kid's Fun Zone for the little ones. In addition, you'll get a commemorative race T-shirt to wear around town throughout the year. Everyone will know you did the race Thanksgiving morning.

The Turkey Trot is a great Burbank community day with people from all areas of city life coming together to move their bodies before sitting down to dinner. It's fun to see so many friends gathered for the event. John and I will miss this year, but we will be doing a Family Turkey Trot on-board a cruise ship. (Yes, I make people exercise on their vacation!) I have costumes for all twelve of us!

Don't miss this year's Thanksgiving morning fun! Save $5 and pre-register now at

Stay Active, Keep Moving 
Have Fun

Friday, October 14, 2016

Are Gym Machines a Good Workout Choice?

Your gym is probably full of shiny machines designed to hit every muscle in your body. Most weight machines do that in two ways: limiting your range of motion and isolating a muscle group. This format is great for bodybuilders and those recovering from an injury.

If you are not in one of those two groups, which is unlikely, choose a workout that uses multiple muscle groups at the same time. Our bodies are meant to jump, crawl, dance, sprint, squat and lift. Plus, using multiple muscle groups at the same time will raise your heart rate and burn more calories in less time. Here's a few overall workout principles:

Dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and medicine balls are far more versatile than machines. They help you build functional strength because they require you to move in all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse) whereas a machine moves you through only one at a time. And, with free weights, you're more likely to eliminate weaknesses and imbalances because you can't compensate with your dominant side the way you can when lifting on a fixed-path machine.

There are endless ways to use your body as resistance - yoga poses, push-ups & burpees, planks, etc. - and most such exercises have you moving naturally, the way you were meant to, while engaging tons of muscles. To continue getting fitter, simply increase your reps, sets or pace or make your moves more challenging by adding instability.

When you do cardio, make your workout more efficient by heading outside. Run. Take a hike. Ride a bike. The change in terrain as well as the weather - wind, heat, humidity - provide added challenges that can result in better fitness gains. 

Step away from the big, clunky machines and move your body using integrated exercises and natural movement for a more effective workout that burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Halloween Candy Horrors

October is here and that means Halloween. Halloween means candy - and lots of it. When you are on trick-or-treat duty, it's hard to resist dipping in, but those fun-sized bars can add up to hundreds of calories. Here are four tricks to fend off those little treats:

Put empty wrappers on display. A Cornell University study found that people who left these visual reminders ate nearly half as many candies as those who tossed them out.

Don't buy your favorites. Stock a treat that you don't particularly love, so you won't be so tempted to go overboard.

Promise yourself a future treat. In exchange for avoiding the candy you don't really like, promise yourself that you will get to eat a fun-sized version of the treat you REALLY want at another time. And then, keep your promise!

Hide the candy. Use an opaque container with a lid to stow your stash so you won't snag a piece each time you walk by. Make it more difficult to get to the candy so choosing one piece is a conscious choice.
You can be successful in conquering your sweet-tooth this Halloween. Identify the cues that lead to nibbling Halloween candy, make a plan and follow through! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cardio Circuit Class - Last Call!

Take this opportunity to make time for YOU before the crazy holiday season starts. 
Just one hour boosts cardio, stokes metabolism, pumps strength and tightens abs.
Plus, on the 29th, we will do a Halloween-themed workout with real pumpkins!
You can do one of the sessions or all three
Only a few more spots available. Sign up now!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Critical Calcium

Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If people aren't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis.

Knowing which foods to avoid when taking a supplement or eating calcium-rich foods can help your body use more of the calcium you consume. Research reveals that consuming certain foods can interfere with calcium absorption. That's important because we typically use only 30 - 50 % of calcium from food. Try these tips to increase your calcium levels and maintain bone health.

Foods That Dilute Calcium

The oxalates in spinach, sweet potatoes and cocoa reduce the absorption of calcium from those foods. To increase calcium intake, combine with some cheese.

Salt increases calcium excretion through urine and sweat. Try increasing potassium-rich foods like bananas or cantaloupe to help counteract this effect.

High fiber foods reduce the absorption of calcium in other foods eaten at the same time. For example, cereal and milk. When you increase fiber, try to increase calcium intake, too.

Caffeine, a diuretic, can also increase calcium loss through urination. A smart option is to take your supplement in the afternoon or evening when you're probably limiting caffeine intake already.

Phosphorus, found in meat, poultry, corn and potatoes, also interferes with calcium absorption. Choosing a few meatless meals can reduce your phosphorus intake and increase overall calcium levels in your diet.

Ways to Boost Calcium Intake

*Increase Vitamin D to aid absorption

*Add magnesium, which keeps calcium soluble and available for your body.

*Take your supplement with orange juice because Vitamin C improves absorption of calcium.

*Try splitting your supplement into two 500mg doses - one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

*Consume more calcium-rich foods: navy or white beans, Chinese cabbage, dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, seafood (crab, salmon, sardines, shrimp), and seeds.

Make one or two changes this week to increase calcium levels. Enjoy eating a variety of foods and keep those bones strong! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 16, 2016

Strength vs. Power Training

Exactly what are strength and power training? Is there a difference? Which one is better for me?

Strength training is the popular term for exercises that build muscle by harnessing resistance - that is, an opposing force that muscles must strain against. Strength training is sometimes called resistance training or weight training. Resistance can be supplied by your body weight, free weights such as dumbbells, elasticized bands, or specialized machines. No matter what kind of resistance you use, putting more than the usual amount of load on your muscles makes them stronger.

Examples of strength exercises are weighted squats, dead-lifts and chest presses. Each of these exercises are done with consistent, slow exertion focusing on the contraction of the muscle and the extension of the muscle as the weight is lowered. The goal is larger muscle mass and the ability to lift more weight.

Power training is aimed at increasing power, which is the product of both strength and speed. Power reflects how quickly you can exert force to produce the desired movement. Power can help you react swiftly if you trip or lose your balance, helping you avoid a fall. Power moves are very practical for many sports and activities and create control over your strength.  Most power exercises are performed repetitively over a period of time to improve speed, quick reflexes and stamina.

Some power moves are just strength training moves done at a faster speed. Other power routines rely on the use of a weighted vest.  Plyometrics are power moves such as jumping and throwing that involve a rapid loading and stretching of the target muscles before a powerful counter contraction. Examples include depth jumps, hurdle jumps, lateral hops and clap pushups.

When you go to the gym, you have a limited amount of time to spend. Training for power is much more of a balanced approach to physical fitness. Not only will your muscles get stronger, but they will be better coordinated for quick, precise motions. You will gain strength and power while being efficient with your time.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Save the Date for this Fun Circuit Class!

The Saturday morning classes are returning for a short time in October! As a bonus, on the last morning of the series, we will use real pumpkins as part of a Halloween-themed workout. Block out the time slots on your calendar and join us for high-energy fun.