Need something to kick your own butt in 10 minutes?

In Fitness, Flute, Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

boring tv
Cardio can be really boring.  I mean, really, who wants to spend the better part of an hour on a machine staring at a screen?  Even if you’re on a bike outside, or walking or running, if the scenery isn’t great, it’s easy to get bored.  And if you’re like me and you like to try new things, well, meet my new thing…
bodyweight circuits.
body weight
These are in no way new to the world.  Heck, I did them at Basic Training for the Army and didn’t realize it.  We would go outside and set ourselves up in stations: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skiiers, full situps, crunches, pushups, diamond pushups, squats, military presses, and anything else the drill sergeants could think of.
Well, bodyweight circuits make a great substitute for cardio, and a good sub for HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.  If you don’t know what that is, basically, you run all out for a brief period of time, recover, repeat, puke. :)   HIIT has been proven time and time again to be a better cardio choice than steady state cardio for upping caloric expenditure, especially, post exercise calorie burn, meaning your body will be burning calories at a higher rate for hours later.  What’s not to like about it?
You can do it in about 5 feet of space, with no equipment, anywhere and anytime you want and in 10 minutes you’ll be sufficiently huffing and puffing and dripping, if you really give it your all.  What’s not to like?
It’s really hard!
Here’s the Crazy 8 Bodyweight Circuit I did twice this week by Craig Ballyntine.  You can see the original here:
In fact, he has a ton of bodyweight videos on his Turbulence Training website here:
So here was my circuit today:

  1. 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
  2. 15-20 Spiderman Pushups: I’m just doing normal pushups until they become too easy. Typically it is a breeze for me to do 40+ pushups, but it is much tougher when you do these with zero rest in between jumping jacks.
  3. Walking Lunges: I take 20 steps total. This is the easiest part of the workout in my opinion.
  4. Spiderman Climb: I do a total of 20 of these (10 per side) I really feel these in my abs and obliques.
  5. Wall Squat: Do for 45-60 seconds. This hurts! Don’t rest your hands upon your legs, since it makes it easier.
  6. Planks: Do for 60 seconds. Tough after doing all these other exercises without rest.
  7. 5 Burpees: Make sure and do a full pushup at the bottom and explode as high as pssible at the top into a jump. I’m still kind of uncoordinated with these…probably because I’m “smoked” at this point!
  8. High Knees: Done as fast as possible. Do 50 total. I just count when my right leg hits the ground for 25. It is hard to count both legs for 50 since you are going fast. You will be dying about 1/2 way through.

Notes: Each exercise is done back-to-back with zero rest in between. You will want to rest, but immediately hit the next exercise. After this 8 exercise circuit is done, rest exactly 60 seconds. I usually run over to the microwave and set the timer. Those 60 seconds will feel like 15-20 seconds. Do this circuit 1 more time. Don’t add in the 3rd one until you are ready.
I Felt Like a Chain-Smoker After My 2nd Circuit!
I simply was not in good enough shape to complete the 3rd circuit my first 2 times doing this routine. I was breathing hard and my body was zapped. My skin was hot to the touch. These are all great signs of a great interval workout, but I just couldn’t push myself to do this circuit a 3rd time. Again…I have pride when it comes to being fit. I can max out a treadmill for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of walking and continue this pace for 15-20 minutes. This is after lifting heavy weights. That being said, these body weight circuits are a humbling deal.

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Fitness Trainer

In Fitness by AngelaLeave a Comment

Unbelievably, I just found a great post about virtual fitness trainers.  This is what I consider myself to be able to do: someone can hire me over the internet to write out a fitness plan for them and we keep in contact by photos and email.  Need more information?  How about the Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Fitness Trainer?  Courtesy of Men’s Health, here you go:
Have you ever heard of the term “virtual fitness coach”? Just like a personal trainer in the gym who will closely monitor your workout sessions, this type of coach will serve as your personal coach. The only difference is that you will not have a face-to-face interaction? it will all be done through consultations and communications online.

Amp Up Your Personal Fitness Training with a Virtual Fitness Coach
First up, let us take a look at the role that a virtual fitness coach plays on your personal physical training so that you can have a head start with meeting your workout goals.
These days, a lot of people find it difficult to squeeze in some serious workout time to have serious workout sessions, what with all the things that they have to do at work at home. Let’s take a working mother as an example.
Rather than spending her time on personal fitness training sessions in the gym, she would rather work out at home so that she can watch over the kids while doing it. If she does it this way, there is a big possibility that she will not meet her weight loss goals because she does not have the benefit of having a personal trainer or instructor working beside her.
This is where a virtual coach for your workout sessions comes in. By hiring one, she can enjoy all the benefits of having a personal trainer in the gym ? while having the freedom to workout at home.

Enumerating the Top 5 Reasons Why It Pays to Hire a Virtual Fitness Coach

So what are the top 5 reasons why it pays to hire a coach for your workout sessions? Take a look at the following list:
1. A virtual fitness coach will help you evaluate your current level of being fit on the onset of the training program.
2. Once your initial strength level is determined, an instructor will be able to help you create a personalized fitness training program so that you can reach your weight loss goals.
3. This type of coach can double up as a morale booster, to give you the encouragement you need when you are lagging in your personal training program.
4. A virtual fitness coach is the best motivator for you to pursue your weight loss goals.

5. Unlike hiring a personal trainer in the gym, seeking the help of this type of a coach is usually more cost-effective.

From Nancy Georges – The Attitude of Excellence

In Fitness, Flute, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

Image via Wikipedia

I got this in my email box from IFBB Pro Nancy Georges and thought it was wonderful enough to share.  Whether your goal is fitness or musical excellence or anything else, this applies.


What does it mean to be excellent? How do you define it? For me, how I define excellence, is when I am personally lined up with my own values, goals and vision as an athlete and in all areas.  When I am doing whatever I can to achieve my goals and I am not slacking off “according to me” then I know that I am being excellent.

This is challenging to do, especially around the holidays when we are around more people who have their own ideas of what is good for you.  In addition to that there is an extreme slacker mentality during the holidays.

Now I am not against relaxing. And I have to admit, it is not always easy. I get recharged pretty quick, so taking off an entire week to lounge around the house and eat, really doesn’t work for me.  But, like I said, that is just me.
The trick with the holidays is to have a plan. If you plan on gaining 10 pounds, then go for it, but don’t put on 20. If you plan on staying in contest shape, then you are not going to be able to sit around drinking wine and eating cheese doodles all week with the gang.
Decide what you are going to do this holiday season. Write it out. Are you going to actually lean out, maintain, put on a few pounds, put on a lot of pounds? How many, how much. Are you going to improve weak body parts, get those glutes to sit up higher, build a little muscle? Write our your plan for the next 6 weeks.  Once you know what you are planning on doing, then you will know what needs to be done to get there.
Being excellent, has to do with listening to your own internal monitoring system.  Even when people around you are encouraging you to eat.   Maybe they are even badgering you to eat.  Now this goes both ways, just because you have decided to be excellent, don’t expect them to remove that tray of goodies, because you can’t control yourself.  They have the right to eat whatever they choose to, but it is their choice.  Here is your Thanksgiving and December plan.
1. Decide what you are going to do this holiday, in regard to your goals.  Push yourself in a way that works for you. If you don’t have a show in December, I certainly think that a Thanksgiving feast is warranted. But you know your body, and you know your mind.  Push yourself a bit, don’t be fooled by the “it’s just one bit” decide what you are going to look like on January 1st. Write out that plan.
2. Be willing to do what it takes to achieve that. Period! That is all, it is that simple.
Being excellent is a choice, don’t worry if others aren’t coming along, but don’t stop going just because they have taken a break.
Whatever your goals, whatever your vision, whatever your dream, do what it takes to have it.  You will feel so proud of yourself, and that is the ultimate feeling of satisfaction.
Gobble Gobble, it’s turkey time.

New Favorite Healthy Foods

In Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day; and while eggs and egg whites are considered one of the most perfect bodybuilding foods, they get old for me.  Let me introduce you to some of my favorite foods, recipes and websites!
MrWink 02
Mr. Breakfast is THE place to go for figuring out what to eat when you have no idea what to cook.  There is a HUGE database of ideas, recipes and even reviews of breakfasts restaurants!
Some of my favorite ideas to look up:
Omlettes, scrambles, French Toast and pancakes.
meethg imgHungry Girl
If you don’t get this woman’s newsletter, you should!  She is on board the Weight Watcher’s Train, and while I don’t care about WW, I love getting healthified recipes in my inbox all the time.  The woman has even come up with an idea of how to make chocolate fudge from pumpkin!  I don’t agree with all of her swaps (she uses lots of un-natural things, like fat free items, etc. flavored with artificial flavors and colors) however, for the ocassional craving that arises but you can’t bring yourself to succumb, she offers some great swaps!
Here’s one for a Blizzard that looks yummy, great idea for PWO meal!
New Favorite Foods:
Like I said, I’m getting tired of having oatmeal and eggs every morning, even though I LOVE both of them, especially oatmeal.  I’ve been eating  a lot of breakfast sandwiches lately, fritattas and scrambles.  Let me introduce you to some of the ingredients I’m really digging, that help me get my protein in at breakfast without resorting to a dozen egg whites or protein powder.
Applegate Farms Natural Turkey Bacon
af turkey bacon
THIS is some fabulous stuff!  I used to go for the Jennie-O turkey bacon, until I found this wonderful stuff.  It has a deep, smokey flavor, and ZERO nitrates or fillers.  If you can pronounce all the ingredients, you know you have good stuff.  They’ve also got an organic version and lots of other products including deli meats, sausages and hotdogs.
Visit their website for ideas and recipes:
Chicken Sausage
This stuff comes in all flavors, brands and varieties.  I like this Al Fresco brand, but since it’s usually pretty expensive, I hit up Trader Joe’s for their store brand any time I can.  Right now I have their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and bell pepper sausage.  The mango sausage isn’t bad either.  Al Fresco actually has a blueberry sausage, and man, does that sound good with some french toast!
Something to watch out for though is fat and carb content.  When picking your proteins, try to keep them just protein with low amounts of the former.  While it’s ok to have higher fat content in your meats, it basically means you get less fat at other meals.  Not as much fun, because the fat adds up fast! – check this out for their flavors and tons of recipes
Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain Bread and Great Harvest Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Alas, I have no pictures of these wonderful breads, but let me tell you, they both make WONDERFUL French Toast, for which the recipes are at the bottom of the page.
The TJ bread is amazing, with only 60 calories, 5g  protein and 7 grams of carbs per slice!  AMAZING!  And when you sprout the grains in the bread, this actually increases the nutritional value of the bread.
The Cinnamon Raisin Bread, well, maybe not so healthy, and I don’t have pictures of it either.  But, why do I like it? Besides the fact that this delicious bread seriously tastes like a donut in sliced form, they stick to a belief of having only 5 ingredients in their bread – all of which you can pronounce.  From their website: (

Five pure and simple ingredients are the hallmark of our legendary whole grain breads:

  1. Fresh-ground whole-wheat flour
  2. Filtered water
  3. Fresh yeast
  4. A pinch of salt
  5. Something sweet (usually a local honey).

We believe bread is best when you keep it simple. It’s even better when you use the highest quality ingredients you can find. You can taste it and your body benefits from it.
Just like fresh-ground coffee beans make a better cup of coffee, fresh-ground grains of wheat make a better tasting – and better for you – loaf of bread.

As far as preservatives go, forget about it! Great Harvest breads have never been made with preservatives or artificial additives of any kind…and they never will. Thanks to our special scratch-made process, our breads still stay fresh for up to ten days (if you can keep your hands off it that long!)

What’s not to love?
I have lots, but these are my favorites that I have been doing for awhile now:
French Toast – and variations:
2 slices TJ Bread (or 1-1 1/2 cinnamon raisin bread)
3-6 egg whites
vanilla, water, stevia
Mix eggs and liquids together, dip bread in mixture and fry in pan.
Slater on 1 Tablespoon of Philadelphia fat free cream cheese, peanut or almond butter (or flavored peanut butter, check out 17010005 lg ) and/or fruit, make into a sandwich, dip sandwich into mixture and fry.
High Protein French Toast:
If you want the extra protein but not so many eggs, add in some protein powder in leiu of 3 egg whites.  My favorites are Oryx Goat Wheyvyogoats and BSN Lean Dessert Cinnamon Rollip 1029
There are so many versions of this.  So pick your ingredients and here is the method for making them.
Sautee veggies (with or without oil).
Add eggs/whites.
As the eggs begin to set, lift up edges and let the runny parts run underneath.
Top with meat and/or cheese.
When it is almost set, throw the pan under the broiler for a few minutes.  Take out when it’s golden brown and bubbly on top!
Ingredients I like to use:
Extra virgin coconut oil
turkey bacon, nitrate-free deli meat
Goat cheese, goat gouda
all kinds of veggies: peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli
Extras: beans, yum! or russet potatoes
Breakfast Sandwich:
Bread of choice (current choice is Pepperidge Farms WW English Muffins)
Meat (I love smoked salmon or turkey bacon or deli meat, or even chicken sausage)
Salsa (optional)
Easy to figure this out: cook all, make a sandwich
Oatmeal Protein Cookies
3 egg whites
30-40g old fashioned oatme

Protein Bar recipes

In Fitness, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

1430542 f520

Lots of people eat protein bars.  Most are junk; candy bars in disguise.  I did a review of one of the two I support and you can read about that here, and I HIGHLY suggest purchasing Quest and Power Crunch Bars.  Quest bars have 20g whey protein, 17g prebiotic fiber and no artificial anything, and they taste great.  Most protein bars don’t even do that.  Power Crunch Bars remind me of wafer cookie bars, like Nutter Butters, except with protein in the middle. 🙂 – I put in plugs for them at the bottom
In the meantime if you’d like to make your own, these are some of the most popular recipes I’ve gathered to help you out.
If you need some really quality ingredients and live in places where you can’t get them (aka things like raw cacao nibs, cocoa butter,acai, goji, hemp, maca, etc are impossible to find) you can find those ingredients at this place (and probably some other really good ones.  Ever tried to shred your own coconut? Don’t bother.  Buy it here and save yourself the grief 🙂 ). Did I mention they have free shipping specials, too?Free Shipping on Live Superfoods orders over $99* – Orders under $99 ship for $7.99 to the *48 contiguous states.image 5761986 11033536

Raw Organic Cacao - Beans, Nibs, Powder & Butter

Raw Vegan Superfoods

Another really great website that I love to visit for various dieting concoction recipes is:
4 Tbl butter
1.5 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbl DaVinci Chocolate SF syrup
2 cups Optimum Nutrition Chocolate
Whey Protein
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
Melt butter in large bowl in microwave. Whisk cocoa in well, then SF syrup. Incorporate protein powder. Add chopped nuts Press into wax-paper-lined 9×9 pan & refrigerate. Caramel consistency, and much better than any of my old fudge recipes. Plus, no wasted calories. High Protein snack or dessert. Best cold.
2 and 1/3 cups vanilla protein powder
1 oz square unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 oz chopped almonds
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peanut butter
1/4 cup Splenda
Melt butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and chocolate in bowl in microwave. Mix together very well and then add splenda & vanilla, mixing well again.
Add walnuts and protein powder and mix. It will be difficult and messy to mix,
you will have to use your hands near the end to knead it all together, squeezing so that the powder is incorporated into the mixture.
Now place in an 8×8 0r 9×9 baking pan,  flatten and refrigerate. When cooled and hardened, cut into 8 bars. Per bar: 21 grams protein, 3.15 carbs. This will vary according to the protein powder you use.  Optimum Nutrtion was used in this recipe and it has 22g protein and 1.5g carbs in each scoop.
8 oz fat free cream cheese
4 scoops protein powder ( i use chocolate)
3 cups whole oats
1/2 cup splenda
Dash of cinnamon ( to taste)
Combine splenda, cream cheese, protein, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high til its smooth.
add the oats and mix with the mixer until you have a fairly homogeneous mixture.
note if it is too thick add a 1/4 cup of milk or water
spray an 8×8 pan with PAM. spread the mixture in the pan. sprinkle some additional splenda on top and place in the fridge for an hour.
I cut mine into ten bars for a breakdown of
154 cals, 17.8g carb, 15g protein, 1.8 g fat
Meal Replacement Bars
2 Egg Whites
1 Whole Egg
3 Packets Quaker Oats (Raw) (Maple & Brown Sugar)
6 Scoops Whey Gourmet Root Beer (Any Flavor will do)
Splenda (however much you want)
3tbs Wheat Germ
1% Milk (around 200ml)
2 BioBest Yogurt (any yogurt will do)
1. Put everything into the bowl
2. Mix it together until you cant tell anything apart
3. Pour altogether onto a baking pan
4. Heat oven to 350
5. Bake for 10-20 Minutes (I cant remember exactly how long but just start checking after 10)
6. Take the pan out of the oven
7. Cut into 5 equal pieces
8. Top with more Splenda 😛
9. Enjoy
Macros Per 1 Piece
Approx. Protein 36 Carb 36.4 Fat 6 Cals 342
Macros For Entire Pan
Approx. Protein 180 Carbs 182 Fat 30 Cals 1710
This is probably the best homemade bar for someone following a 40/40/20 Diet. I like having one half before a workout and one half after.
EDIT: The macro ratios are 42% 42% 16% If you want more fat just make all three or two of the three eggs whole
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cupcakes
I just tried these and they were awesome. I’ll eat two in a meal for 15 carbs (frosting not included), 10 grams of healthy fat, and 24+ grams of protein.
1 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein
1 Large Egg White
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon Natural, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2-3 Packets Splenda
1/8 Cup Coffee
1 Tablespoon Water
Dash Cinnamon
Dash Salt
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter
Chocolate Frosting:
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free/Fat Free Pudding Powder (heaping tbsp)
1/2 Teaspoon Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Natural Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
1 Packet Splenda

Mix all ingredients for the cupcakes togther besides the peanut butter, and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Melt the peanut butter in a microwve until it is runny, and mix it into the chilled cupcake mixture. Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit.
In a cupcake baking pan (normal-size), spray some non-stick cooking spray into two of the cups until thuroughly coated. Using a spoon, ladel mix equally into each of the two cups until they are equally filled a little bit above the healf-way point. This doesn’t need to be perfect, just make sure that there is enough room from the top so hat itwont overflow when baking.
Slide the pan and mix into the oven and bake until the mixture has risen, but is not entirely cooked. Test this by piercing one of the cupcakes with a butter knife. If it comes out with mix on it, you are good to go. At this point, reduce the heat to 300 degrees farenheit, and bake until a butterknife pierced through one cupcake comes out clean, and the tops are cooked.
Remove the tray from oven and let it stand for 1 minute, and remove the cupcakes using a small spatula, butterknife, or spoon. Top with frosting if you desire (frosting is made by combining its ingredients thuroughly, and chilling in a freezer until it ‘firms’ up a little bit).
Other tips:
-Replace chocolate whey and cocoa powder with vanilla whey and lemon-flavored sugar free/fat free pudding powder for a lemonbar variation. Remove cinnamon.
-Fill with fresh fruits or light creames for a real dessert.
-Add a tablespoon of ground oats for each cupcake you will be making to make them more filling.
-Add a hint of mint extract, coconut milk, or natural mashed pumpkin for extra delight.

Coconut Chocolat Balls:
24g Protein, 10g Carb, 9g Good Fat per ball
1- mix in blender 1/2 cup water and 6 scoops of chocolat whey adding one scoop at a time until you get a thick chocolat syrup ( I use extreem power whey isolate) .
2- add 2 egg whites and 1/2 cup of oatmeal and blend again.
3- poor the content from the blender into a large bowl.
4- add 120g All Natural Peanut Butter and mix manually.
5- add another 1/2 cup oatmeal and mix manually.
6- Make 10 balls of equal sizes with the resulting mix.
7- Roll the balls into shredded coconut ( I calculated about 25g of coconut for all)
8- Place balls into cooking pan and cook in oven at 325F for 10 minutes, turn them over and cook for another 10 minutes.
This recipie contains only natural, whole foods (with the exception of the protein powder) and tastes AMAZING, you have to try it. I invented it a couple of hours ago and the first batch is incredible, I’ll never have another commercial protein bar ever again.
– 1/2 tsp. cardamom
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/4 cup dates (chopped)
– 1 cup egg whites
– 1 cup fat free milk
– 2 tbs. flax seed (ground)
– 2 tbs. natural peanut butter
– 2 cups rolled oats (toasted)
– 6 scoops protein powder (I used ON chocolate whey)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Coat medium size baking pan with non-stick spray
3. (Optional) – Toast the oats in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until slightly browned & crisp
4. Mix oats, egg whites, and milk together in a large mixing bowl. Add 6 scoops of your favorite protein
powder and mix thoroughly. Add dates, flax seed, and peanut butter, and mix well. Add salt, cinnamon, and cardadmom and mix thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into baking pan and cook for 30-60 minutes or until you reach the desired moisture level.
(alternatively, you can cook at a higher temperature, around 350, for less time, but I’ve heard conflicting reports on how high heat denatures the protein, I’ll let mine go lower, for longer)
6. Remove from oven and place in refridgerator to cool. Cut into 9 equally sized bars
For 9 Bars, each has approximately:
~ 210 calories
~ 21g carbohydrate
~ 5g fat
~ 3g fiber
~ 23g protein
Enjoy! Tell me what you think!
This came from
10 tbsp. natural peanut butter
5 egg whites
5 scoops whey protein (I find that chocolate mint tastes the best in this recipe, however chocolate tastes good as well)
2 cups oats (OPTIONAL: For flavor, I dry cook these on a frying pan until they are toasted)
1/2 cup soy milk
Mix the peanut butter and egg whites in a bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, and mix well (so that the mixture appears smooth). Repeat 4-5 times until all traces of egg whites have dissolved into the peanut butter, and your mixture is a smooth consistent one.
Gradually add the protein (one scoop at a time) and stir into the mixture. Next, add the soy milk and follow with the oats. Continue mixing until a thick ‘sticky’ mixture is present.
Smooth the thick mixture into a 13×9 tray and leave for 20-30 minutes. Cut into 10 equal size bars. Individually wrap each bar (I use aluminum foil) and store in the fridge.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Bar
Calories: 220
Protein: 20.1g
Fat: 10.1g
Carbohydrates: 15.1g

After all that, if you still want to go out and get a protein bar, I’ll put a plug in for my favorite: Power Crunch Bars,

Power Crunch Bars
endorsed by my favorite athlete, Monica Brant.  These suckers have 200 cals, 12-14g fat, 10c and roughly 12-14g protein.  A nice snack and it tastes like a cookie to boot, so it will keep you on track with your diet!
My second (and current new favorite) are Quest Nutrition Bars

Try Quest Protein Bars!
As you can see from the stellar list of ingredients, these are not your typical protein bar which are made with junk soy protein, trans fat (read: partially hydrogenated) and either have high amounts of sugar alcohols or lack fiber.  These have 17g of prebiotic fiber, which supports healthy digestion and the good bacteria in your gut.
What I really like about these guys is that you don’t have to buy a box from them, though you can, you can buy them individually and make your own box!  Who else does that? Not only that, they give you a discount if you sign up for their auto-ship program, and if you eat them as often as I do, that could come in handy.  You can choose when you want them to come, every month, every other month, etc. and which ones AND you’ll save at least 10%  Check them out!

Oh no! My knees went over my toes!

In Fitness by AngelaLeave a Comment

How often have you heard that statement in regards to exercise? When squatting, lunging or anything else that involves bending the knees “make sure not to let the knees go over the toes.”
This is NONSENSE.  Forget about it, because if that were true, we would not be able to climb stairs!  Alwyn Cosgrove, a man who KNOWS his stuff, wrote this recently about the myth that won’t die:

Have you ever heard someone warn you, “Don’t let your knee pass your foot during lunges?” Well, as you might’ve guessed, it’s a load of crap. What about the other knee? In a lunge, it’s supposedly “too dangerous” for the knee of the front leg to extend past the toes. Meanwhile, the knee of the back leg is past the toes the whole time.

I’ve had people respond to that by saying there’s no load on the back leg during a lunge. Okay then… put 135 pounds on your back and go down to the bottom of a lunge. Now lift your back foot off the floor. I rest my case.
When we look at the science regarding the knees going forward, one study jumps out. Fry, Smith, and Schilling (2003) examined joint kinetics during back squats under two conditions.

The first condition placed a board in front of the participants’ shins, which restricted forward displacement of the knee. In the second condition, movement wasn’t restricted at all. They squatted normally and the knees were allowed to pass the toes.

The researchers found that restricting the forward excursion of the knees during the squat increased anterior lean of the trunk and promoted an increased “internal angle at the knees and ankles.”

The results showed a 22% decrease in knee torque and a 1070% increase in hip torque! That stress has to go somewhere. Keeping the knees behind the toes definitely reduces the forces on the knee, but those forces were transferred more than tenfold to the hips and lower back.

Obviously this study was in regard to squatting. However, the knee angle in a lunge is similar and we could expect similar findings. So, intentionally keeping your knees behind your toes during squats or lunges might be a little better for your knees, but it’s much, much worse for your lower back and hips.
(Alwyn Cosgrove)

And with that….I rest my case.

Foam Rolling

In Fitness, Flute by AngelaLeave a Comment

Foam what?  I’m sure most of you have no idea what I’m talking about, but everyone should.  Ever had a massage?  I mean a good, deep tissue massage?  It hurts like mad while it’s being done, you’ll find tight and knotted muscles you didn’t know you had, but when you are done, don’t you feel so much better?  Possibly a bit sore the next day, but much looser, and if you got them frequently, you would probably move a lot more freely, your clothes might fit a little looser due to less knotting of the muscles and water retention and as an added bonus you would probably sleep a lot better.  So why don’t we get massages more often?  Well, cost can be an issue as can having oil/lotion worked into your hair.  We want these benefits….but what do we do?

My friends, let me introduce you to the foam roller; the poor man’s massage.  It comes in varying sizes and lengths but in general, it’s about 36 inches long, looks like a pool noodle but is as hard as a brick.  Roll yourself strategically back and forth over this device and when you are done screaming in pain (especially over the IT band and calves) you will be surprised how much better you feel.

In athletic work, this helps muscles repair, facilitates stretching, promotes joint flexibility and stimulates blood flow/toxin flushing.  In musicians, all of the above are just as true.  With musicians, a tennis ball may be more of your friend, as it is easier to access your upper body muscles.  Please see the attached videos and articles for descriptions.  Rolling out the lats, upper back and thoraic attention will help a lot with musicians, because we tend to slouch over to our instruments and this can roll out our weak/tight muscles.

A note to those who have either low muscle density, are out-of-shape or overweight: you should know that the arms are heavily involved in foam rolling as they support your body weight while you are rolling.  You should also know that foam rolling can be painful and you should be able to distinguish the difference between pain and injury.  If you are not sure, go get a deep tissue massage with trigger point therapy and that will give you a better idea of what to expect.  Foam rolling should never cause bruising.

Other articles you might want to investigate:
Read More

Where, oh where has my energy gone?

In Fitness, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

tired woman
Some questions that I get frequently from people are 1) I want to lose weight, but it never seems to work, why? 2) what do I eat? and 3) I never seem to have any energy, what can I do?  Well, there are a lot of answers to all these questions and the simple (and annoying) answer is “it depends”.   Annoying, but true.  It depends on your situation.  Let’s focus on the main reasons:
1) you have no energy because you don’t eat well, don’t know really what eating well means, don’t exercise, or you exercise too much.  Lots of different variables here.  If you want to break it down into what you should eat, let’s keep it simple: eat things without packaging and labels.  Eat lots of high quality protein.  High quality protein is a chicken breast, pork tenderloin, lean sirloin, etc.  Low quality would be a Special K protein bar.  Things with lots of ingredients (and I don’t mean as part of a recipe) should NOT be a staple in your every day diet.  A sample balanced simple meal?  Chicken breast, kidney beans, steamed broccoli with olive oil.  Not a lot of calories there, but a lot of nutrients.  If you would like help setting up a plan and have no idea where to start, please see my webpage, because I’d be happy to help you meet your goals!
On a second note about energy, if you don’t exercise, well, food is used for fuel and if you don’t use it, you store it.  So you may have lots of stored energy but no circulating energy.  There is nothing more rewarding than building your body and taking care of your muscles and joints.  Even if you just start with walking every day and maybe doing some pushups or bodyweight squats, you’ll notice an increase in energy and ease of breathing and joint mobility.
2) If you have been dieting for any longer length of time without a break, then your metabolism has reset to your lower caloric intake.  If you have hit a plateau, and you WERE losing weights, one of the best things you can do is to take a while and eat at maintenance calories, thus resetting your metabolism to burn calories back at a higher rate, so that when you do resume dieting, you will make progress again.  If you continually drop your calories, and when that doesn’t work, you increase your output (exercise/move more) eventually, your metabolism will bottom out and have no where to go.  By continually resetting your metabolism, you will have a steady drop.  If you over exercise you are likely to experience a myriad of symptoms: tiredness, fatigue, muscle pain/weakness, slight depression, racing heart in the morning, decreased interest in the gym, stalled weight loss, injury, etc.
My quick suggestions?

  • Focus your meals around high quality lean protein (the less packaging the better), fresh vegetables and healthy fats.
  • Take a dieting and workout break every 8-12 weeks.  Bring your calories back up and stay out of the gym for a whole week.  Do nothing besides normal activities, and instead, get a massage, foam roll, stretch, visit the spa and take care of yourself.
  • SLEEP.  It’s underrated and highly needed.  Get at least 8 hours of sleep a few nights a week, until you can stretch that to every night and from then on, listen to your body.  Don’t set your alarm clock and see how many hours you sleep until you wake up naturally.  This will naturally give you more energy (baring any kind of other health issues).
  • Drink water, LOTS!  You can be amazed how much water makes a difference.  Replace your juice, energy drinks or coffee with water and see what a difference it makes.  If you drink enough water you won’t have the caffeine withdrawal headaches.

There are a lot more variables here, but this is a quick over view.  If you would like help setting up your nutrition or workout plan, please check out my webpage for packages, I’d love to help you achieve a vibrant life!

Welcome to my blog – music, flute, fitness, and anything else that crosses my mind!

In Fitness, Flute, Motivation and Success by AngelaLeave a Comment

I finally have a blog and I’m excited for you to share in it with me!  Welcome to my reality.  Between working as a personal trainer, a health enthusiast at Vitamin Shoppe, cooking, practicing and working on my website, articles, recitals and presentations, I workout and spend time with my husband, that’s about all the time that’s left!
I have just returned from the National Flute Association’s annual convention in New York City as of Sunday night.  It didn’t have a great start (81/2 hour delay, on my birthday!!!) nor a great ending (a 3 hour delay due to a flight attendant not showing up, getting in at midnight and coming into town during a tropical storm) but the actual convention was marvelous!  So many good things happened.  Besides getting to see some great presentations and exploring the city, I walked away with a ton of music, a ton of inspiration and two new instruments!  I am now the proud owner of a brand new Hammig 651/4 cocus wood piccolo with solid silver keys and wave headjoint.  It is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever played, in both tone quality, easy of playing and looks!  There was no comparison between this instrument and any other.  I also was fortunate enough to purchase an alto flute from J.L. Smith and Co. for an amazing price because my new alto….is a prototype!  Apparently, the company that made it decided against making the rest of them, so it is the only one in existance….and it sounds marvelous!
My inspiration has come in the form of needing to unite my two passions: music and fitness.  Flutists are HORRIBLY out of shape – and I don’t just mean physically, but mentally.  We get so wrapped up in our own heads with the music, it’s easy to stop paying attention to our posture.  We love what we do and end up playing for hours without a break; locked into a posture that one can at best describe as awkward and at worst possibly as debilitating.  And yet we press on, oblivious to the pain and contortions into which we form our bodies.
This is why I believe methods like Feldenkrais, Dynamic Integration, Alexander Technique and even Dalcroze Eurythmics are so vitally important.  These methods take us out of our heads and into our bodies where we can finally notice what’s going on, we can become more self aware and THIS makes us better musicians.
I walked away from the convention with plans to write articles about these issues, and give presentations on dynamic warmups/stretching and postural improvements to help these problems, give recitals with my new instruments, compete in the piccolo artist and young artist NFA 2010 conventions, expand my flute studio in 100 different ways (not just offering lessons but other classes, like self awareness, posture, music history, flute choirs, etc) and have even been prompted to think about going back to school to pursue my DMA in this area.  I love flute and fitness and the two together seem to be a vastly underexplored area, to which I feel I owe it to my fellow musicians to help them.
Stay tuned for more….and welcome to my world!