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US Rower Mary Whipple Defends the Gold with a Vegetarian Diet and Her Pre-Race Ritual

Mary Whipple has only a week left in the states before she packs her oars and heads to London, where she’ll be competing on the US rowing team. She and her fellow women rowers are defending the team’s first gold medal since 1984, which they earned in Beijing in 2008.

While terribly busy with training preparations for team’s trip to the 2012 Olympic Games this month, Mary took some time to chat with us about her diet (which is vegetarian), training methods (which are intense), and even what gets her head in the game at the starting line (it’s not music like fellow water athlete Michael Phelps). She even shares her personal breakfast recipe that she calls the “MWhip special.”

What does your training diet look like?

Because I’m a vegetarian, I keep a fairly constant diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I don’t keep a daily food journal but I do a self-check with my favorite app (Lose It!) on a weekly basis. My official race weight is 110 pounds; I fluctuate a pound or so but because I’m weighed in 2 hours before each race, I track it very closely.

Usually I’m under so often I have to carry weight in the boat. I, naturally, have a lower weight. My weight isn’t something I worry about because I’ve got great genes from my family.   
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Olympic Swimmer Janet Evans Uses the Flex Belt in Her Workout Routine

The London Olympic Games are quickly approach. Athletes are training their hardest to qualify for the U.S. trials, which begin today for swimming, and that includes four-time Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans. One product she uses to do that is the Flex Belt, an electronic abdominal toning device.

“As an Olympian in swimming, our abs and our core are really important to us, so an ab core workout is something I always do at the end of every workout. But I find that there are some things I traditionally cannot get. I can’t get my obliques really well, I can’t get my upper abs, I can’t get my lower abdominals, so what I find with the Flex Belt is that it really helps me get things that I might not get by getting down on the ground and doing traditional crunches and sit ups,” Evans said in an interview.
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Fit in Five: 5 Off-the-Ground Core Exercises

By Pamela Hernandez

Recently I had a client do bicycle crunches. Her teammate looked at me and said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you ask anyone to do crunches.”

She’s right; crunches are not a big part of my ab repertoire. Much like running isn’t always appropriate, I think crunches are something you have to work up to. Many clients come to me with challenges that make crunches a poor place to start for developing core strength. For some, the act of getting on the ground for core exercises, like planks and cobras, can be off limits initially. I often need off-the-ground core strengthening and stabilizing exercises to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

Here are my top 5 core exercises that don’t require a mat or getting off your feet.

Wood chops: I like these best with a cable machine but they are just as effective with resistance bands, a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Start high and chop by pulling diagonally across the body. The hips should not flex but instead stay straight and the body tall.
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Stand Up Paddling is the Latest Fitness Craze with Serious Benefits

Stand up paddling (SUP) or “Yoloing” is the perfect combination of traditional canoeing, surfing and kayaking, but even better. Stand up paddling offers an incredible core workout with a cadence much like swimming or cycling. Yolo Boards, founded by Tom Losee and Jeff Archer in 2006 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, is the custom paddleboard of choice. “Yolo” stands for “You Only Live Once”, and when you first try stand up paddling in a lake, ocean, or bay, this name makes perfect sense.

People of any age, from 5 to 85, can do this. While traditional surfboards are 20 inches in width, stand up paddleboards are 32 inches wide. You can learn by starting on your knees and go from there. What is truly great is that it is something the entire family can do together.

Here are 3 new fitness trends in Stand Up Paddling:

1. Stand Up Fitness and Paddle Fit founder Brody Welte, says, “SUP” is one of the greatest forms of exercise that exists. It focuses on upper and lower body and core strength. It is as challenging as running, swimming and biking from a cardio perspective. It has virtually zero impact, is gentle on the body, and improves your balance as well.” SUP is an exercise like no other. Getting out on the water gives you a true serenity, challenge and good time.

2. Stand Up Paddle Yoga is becoming a top yoga trend as well. When I asked Stand Up Paddle Yoga Instructor Gillian Gibree why she thinks this is becoming so popular, she told me, “Stand Up Paddle Yoga takes the workout out of the studio and into nature. Doing a true sun salutation on a floating mat on the water is so refreshing and meditative. Yoga and SUP are two amazing practices that are great for the body, mind, and spirit!”

3. Racing in Stand Up Paddle is becoming a sport as well. You can find the latest information for races around the United States on at SupEvent.com and iTunes.

For more information, you can also see Brody’s innovative Paddle Fit digital guide launched last year, which gives step-by-step digital instruction on getting fit while stand up paddling. He has also launched an entire Paddle Fit certificationof classes, held in different areas of the country. For your next vacation, see if your resort offers SUP like Sandestin and 30A in NW Florida.

Alison Lewis is a nationally known Cookbook Author, Magazine and Internet Food, Travel, Fitness and Health Journalist, Speaker, Travel and Food Photographer and Owner of Ingredients, Inc., a Media Consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama who is on Facebook and Twitter.



Saturday Morning Drills: Get a Strong Core Fast

Having a strong core is more important than you realize!

Your core includes your abs, upper legs and back. The main muscles are the obliques, abdominals, lower back and the gluteus. Having strong core muscles will help with more than giving you sizzling-looking abs.  They are responsible for your posture and movement. Here is a list of some other benefits:

  • It will prevent lower back pain and injury. Most lower back injuries are from weak core muscles.
  • It will help improve your overall physical performance. So the stronger these babies are the easier everything else will be.
  • Improves balance
  • Helps you maintain your independence later in life.

I have included some simple and VERY effective exercises that you can do in less than 15 minutes right in your living room!
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