Thursday Thoughts Ed. 104 - Play hard, eat well, rest up.

I hope this message finds you all enjoying the last few days of August. 

I am always excited about the start of a new month. I relish any chance to realign, rebalance, prioritize and move forward. Truly, it feels like we should do this every morning. Days will go by before I realize I have become distracted, that I've let my healthy habits, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, eating smartly, slip and bad habits have found their way back. 

Today was one of those days. 

The 5am alarm felt cruel. Dehydrated and crunchy from a late dinner with friends, worn out after a weekend of long hot workouts - I was a sorry mess of sore muscles and a troubled tummy. Not 10 minutes into my weekly track workout my coach gave me a pat on the back and sent me home and back to bed. 

I spent much of the day feeling pretty down on myself. I know better! 

But, I also made a point to look past this crappy moment, see the bigger picture and take the time I needed to recover and regroup. 

My afternoon was spent talking to a group of amazing young people about what healthy eating means to them and how to make nutritious food a part of their lives. It was awesome to see their excitement and willingness to change long standing habits that might not be the healthiest and try to discover ways to make new habits that will make them feel strong and vibrant.

We can start now. The point is to keep trying. Keep starting. Even if you do it over and over and over again. 

Take some time to ask yourself what being healthy means to you. How many of those things are part of your life right now?  What can you do to make your definition your reality? Try today. Try tomorrow. Just keep trying. 

Need some help? I've got your back:-) Come see me next week at NW Women's Fitness Club - I have Tuesday evening time slots available for personal training or nutrition coaching as well as Wednesday and Friday mornings.remy@nwwomensfitness.com, or reply to this email to book appointments. 

Phone and Email consultations are great ways to hash out goals and make plans.

There are two new posts at Manifest the Best!! And I'm also in the middle of a website overhaul. Excuse the construction. It's gonna be good! 

Get strong from the inside out with Beyond Planks
and fill your tummy with BBQ Chicken and Peaches!

Play hard, eat well, rest up!

Beyond Planks


Practicing planks is a great way to develop core strength and build the muscles that support our bodies. But, you shouldn’t stop there. It’s rare that we hold ourselves still for much more than a few minutes at a time. Life is movement! Although the current record for holding a plank is over three hours – and that is one amazing feat of strength and will - holding the position for that long is sort of pointless for us.

When you can perform a plank correctly you are in excellent place to work on shoulder strength, core contraction and hip and torso stabilization.

I like to teach clients what I call a ‘perfect plank’. Instead of just throwing your body into a hover, start from the ground and contract the muscles from shoulder blades on down the body one by one. Shoulder blades pull down your spine, tummy muscles tuck in away from the floor, glute muscles fire, quad muscles tighten and all of a sudden you have a full-body contraction. Perfect!

If you can do this, there’s no need to hold the position for hours on end. Try for 20-second rounds and add reps from 2-10.

Now, let’s get real. In our daily lives, jobs and sports we are moving all the time (ideally) not acting like a whimpering statue.

The purpose of planks is to teach full-body stability, develop good core strength, and help prevent low back weakness and pain. Sounds good, right? Well, why is that? Because having those things means we can do more things. Play, race, work, move.  


So, how do you do it?  There is any number of ways to take your planks to the next level. 

The tip-over: With a partner just having you buddy trying to gently push you over is both hilarious and effective.

Reach for it: Try holding a side plank and slowly reach your top arm under you body, rotating the torso just slightly and returning to a strong side plank position.

Hip dips: In regular plank, without falling over, try to drop your hips from side to side. Start in a perfect plank and from there lower to one side and gentle tap your hip to the ground and return to a solid plank. Try the other side. Work to get as close to the ground as you can without lifting your elbow off the ground.

Lift your limbs: Starting in plank, focus on keeping hips parallel to the floor and without shifting your body weight too dramatically raise one foot off the floor. Lifting your arm off the floor is much harder. Try them both one at a time and when you master it try lifting the opposite arms and legs.

Walk it out: I love this one. Get into plank position at one end of a yoga mat. Start “walking’ sideways on your elbows (or hands) and toes until you get to the other side. Watch out for wiggling hips. See how many times you can go back and forth.


Planks are great. But they are just a start. You can improve core strength and stability better if you continue to progressively challenge yourself and vary your exercises. Besides moving while holding a plank is WAY less boring than staring at the floor for hours.

RECIPE: BBQ Chicken Thighs, Quinoa Salad and Summer Peaches.


Ahhh, the dog days of summer. The hot, sultry weather makes the beach a must better place to be than the kitchen. Can't get to the beach? Backyards are delightful too.

Although, I am looking forward to cooler nights and getting back to creating meals of roasts, stews and sweet potato-everything, the BBQ remains my favorite cooking method.

In this recipe, I split the time between kitchen and coals to create a quick and healthy weeknight dinner.

Boiling or poaching fresh chicken thighs before grilling them leaves the meat moist and tender. Bring water, chicken or veggie stock to boil in a big pot on the stove. Add chicken thighs and simmer covered in the liquid for about 20 mins. Remove chicken from boiling liquid and cover with your favorite BBQ sauce, refrigerate until time to grill. This can be done ahead of time to make dinner prep extra easy. I poached the thighs in the morning while I got ready for work. The kitchen was cooler and I knew I'd be home late that evening.

Ok, time to eat.

Start the coals!

Boil corn on the cob.

Cook quinoa. Make it mega-easy by using a frozen package of organic quinoa and popping it in the microwave.  So simple!! Once the grain is cooked add to a big bowl with fresh spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. Salad!

When the corn is done on the stove take it outside and grill it for a few minutes to add a touch of summer smokiness. Grill the thighs until hot and the sauce gets a little caramelized.


I served this dish with some fresh sliced peaches, drizzled with espresso flavored balsamic vinegar and a dollop of soft goat cheese. Perfection.


Core Strength and Stability


We are half way through the first Core Strength and Stability group training at O2 Endurance and there has been lots of improvement. Even if you can't see that 6-pack, remember that its what's inside that counts.

http://remywright.blogspot.com/2014/07/get-more-from-your-core.html

WEEK 3: This week we took things up a notch. A redo of the balance test showed some serious stability! Good work team. Then we learned how to do what I call a "perfect plank". Instead of just throwing your body up off the floor and gritting your teeth, practice tightening all the muscles of support, back, abs, butt (glutes) and thigh (quads) then hold it steady for 20 seconds. That should be enough. Slowly lower down, reset and repeat 5-10 times. Now that's a plank!

We added a few exercises to the routine this week. Side lying leg raises to keep our hips strong and stable. Bow and arrow crunch to activate tummy muscles and hip flexors. Remember this one? Lie on the floor with both legs extended straight just above the floor. Draw left knee up and roll hips up in reverse crunch.

WEEK 4: More new stuff and fun with props! This week we took our glute bridges to new heights. Elevated bridges with feet up on a bench or chair activate butt muscles and help loosen tight hip flexors. This exercise is a great stepping stone to more challenging stability work. Adding a few more plank variations keeps things fun and challenging. Bringing one foot off the floor and drawing the left knee to left elbow (then repeat on right) really gets the oblique (side ab) muscles firing.

COMING UP: The Banana!

Thursday Thoughts Ed. 103 - PARTY Time!

Start with the grill. A bunch of friends. Various lawn games. Ice cold drinks. And you've got a party!

Tired of the same old burgers or chicken kabobs? Try this recipe for Korean Barbecued Short Ribs to liven up your next summer fete. 

You can find marinades like this at the grocery, often called Kalbi, but mixing it up at home can save money and calories. With just a few ingredients you can grill up something exotic and ridiculously tasty.

GET THIS:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped scallions
1/3 c lower sodium soy sauce
2 tpsp honey or agave
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 lbs of Korean ribs, or flaken ribs, about 1/4 inch thick
High heat cooking oil, like safflower or grape seed
Hot chili sauce, if you like it!

DO THIS:
Combine scallions, garlic, soy, sesame and honey to a small bowl and whisk it all up. Add to beef in a sealed bag and refrigerate overnight, or atleast 1- hour. 

THEN: 
Heat up the grill. Gently place ribs on hot grill and cook for about 2-4 minutes per side. That's it!
You can serve this for dinner with large pieces of Bibb lettuce to make ssams or wraps. I'm planning to serve this over the weekend on a pretty platter with piles of other fun summer treats. 

Need something to wash it down?? Tangy, refreshing cocktails made with fresh ingredients are perfect compliments to spicy Asian-inspired meals. 

DRINK THIS: The electrolyes in the coconut water will even help keep you hydrated on a hot summer night. 

Juice of 4 limes
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped, plus some sliced for garnish
2 cups unsweetened coconut water
1/2 c honey, sweeten to taste
4 oz rum or gin (I like gin, Hendricks or Beefeater best)

MAKE IT:
Blend the lime juice, coconut water and duke with ice, honey and booze. Pulse until smooth. Serve over ice with a slice of cuke on the rim.

Only 100 calories per drink!

Get your pals to bring sides and salads. Stock the freezer with popcicles and ice cream sammies and you are ready to celebrate. 

Live it up people. 

Remy


Thursday Thoughts 102: Too hot to EAT?!?!


Ok, I've personally never felt that way -- that it's just too hot outside to eat. But, I have been feeling sticky icky these past few days of near 100 degree temps and my usual meals just don't appeal. Here are a few things to try when you are tired of grilled chicken and your appetite is over heated.

1. WATERMELON: I have been loving coming home from a run and slicing up a few sweet slices. It's  totally hydrating and gives you a little carb reboost after a sweaty workout. Try cubing a fresh melon and tossing it in a bowl with feta cheese, mint sprigs, balsamic vinegar and some pistachios. Perfect summer salad.

2. HARD BOILED EGGS: I eat an egg nearly every morning. Scrambling them as I usually do is less yummy right now then a chilled protein packed ready to go hard boiled one with salt and pepper. Easy peesy!

3. SUSHI: Easy to buy, easy to eat and just as easy to make. Pick up some rice paper, avocado, bibb lettuce, cukes and carrots at the store. Roll those suckers up and dip in a little peanut sauce for a simple meal or snack. Add tofu, shrimp or crab to get your lean protein. They call the Summer Rolls for a reason!

4. SMOOTHIES: Kinda like ice cream! Whip up a delicious frosty treat with bananas, fresh berries and fruits, almond milk and ice. Smoothies pack a ton of nutrition in one ready to go cup. Add spinach, avocado, chia or nut butter to kick it up a notch.

5. ICE CREAM: Duh.

Come see me NEXT week at NW Women's Fitness for some training! OPEN SLOTS on...
TUESDAY 7/22 @ 4pm or 5:30pm
WEDNESDAY 7/16 @ 6am and 12pm

If these times don't work for you just let know and we will figure out a time that does. 

EMAIL me to set up ONE-on-ONE Nutrition Assessments and Success Planning. Whether you live here in Portland or ANYWHERE -- I am here to help!  


I'll be updating the blog over the next few weeks with new recipes so keep an eye out. 


Remy Maguire, NASM-Personal Trainer
ACE - Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach
Health Coach/Triathlon Coach
Northwest Women's Fitness Club
2714 NE Broadway
Portland, OR 97232
And don't forget to CHECK OUT http://www.o2endurance.com

What to eat when its too hot to eat!

Ok, I've personally never felt that way -- that it's just too hot outside to even eat. But, I have been feeling sticky icky these past few days of near 100 degree temps and my usual meals just don't appeal. Here are a few things to try when you are tired of grilled chicken and your appetite is over heated.

1. WATERMELON: I have been loving coming home from a run and slicing up a few sweet slices. It's  totally hydrating and give you a little carb reboost after a sweaty workout. Try cubing a fresh melon and tossing it in a bowl with feta cheese, mint sprigs, and some balsamic vinegar. Perfect summer salad.

2. HARD BOILED EGGS: I eat an egg nearly every morning. Scrambling them as I usually do is less yummy right now then a chilled protein packed ready to go hard boiled one with salt and pepper. Easy peesy!

3. SUSHI: Easy to buy, easy to eat and just as easy to make. Pick up some rice paper, avocado, bibb lettuce, cukes and carrots at the store. Roll those suckers up and dip in a little peanut sauce for a simple meal or snack. Add tofu, shrimp or crab to get your lean protein.

4. SMOOTHIES: Kinda like ice cream! Whip up a delicious frosty treat with bananas, fresh berries and fruits, almond milk and ice. Smoothies pack a ton of nutrition in one ready to go cup. Add spinach, avocado, chia or nut butter to kick it up a notch.

5. ICE CREAM: Duh.

Come see me NEXT week at NW Women's Fitness! OPEN SLOTS on...
TUESDAY 7/15 @ 5:30pm
WEDNESDAY 7/16 @ 6am and 12pm

EMAIL me to set up ONE-on-ONE Nutrition Assessments and Success Planning. Whether you live here in Portland or ANYWHERE -- I am here to help!

remymaguire@gmail.com