Archive for June 13th, 2011
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I’m going on a beach vacation in Jamaica over the week of the Fourth of July, so when I got an email with the subject line, Get Rock Hard Abs by July 4th, I was thoroughly intrigued. I’ve got less than a month to whip myself into bathing suit shape, so I am definitely going to use the following tips from Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-founder of exhale mind body spa and its famed Core Fusion classes. She suggest doing the following exercises four times a week for 10 minutes to score awesome abs.
Fly Up: Targets abs
- Sit on floor on a folded towel, lean back to rest on elbows and place feet hip-width apart on wall in front of you so that knees are bent about 90 degrees.
- Press rounded lower back into floor and squeeze abs as you extend legs up, keeping feet against wall and lifting arms to reach toward feet, elbows soft. MAKE IT HARDER: Really press feet into wall as you extend legs.
- Do 20 pulses: curl torso up 1 inch then lower 1 inch.
- Do 3 sets, hugging knees to chest to rest between sets.
Twisted Curl: Targets abs, obliques
- Sit on floor on a folded towel with knees bent and feet flat, then lean back to rest on elbows.
- Press rounded lower back into floor, squeeze abs and curl torso up toward left, lifting arms so that both hands grasp outside of left thigh.
- Maintaining curl, release hands so that both hover to outside of thigh and do 20 pulses: Curl torso up toward left by 1 inch then lower 1 inch. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both hands on thigh for pulses. MAKE IT HARDER: Raise arms overhead for pulses.
- Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.
Side Plank-up: Targets abs, obliques, inner thighs
- Lie on right side on floor with legs stacked and a rolled-up towel between thighs, propping torso up on right elbow so that right forearm pointing in front of you. MAKE IT EASIER: Stagger feet so that side of left foot is on floor in front of right for a wider base of support.
- Lift hips so that body forms a straight line from head to toe, squeezing towel between thighs.
- Hold for 1 count, then lower.
- Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do three sets.
C-Curve: Targets abs, quads, inner thighs
- Stand facing a wall with legs together, squeezing rolled-up towel between thighs.
- With knees slightly bent, hinge forward at hips to place palms on wall, arms extended, so that back is nearly parallel to floor.
- Squeeze abs and towel as you rise onto toes, then do 20 pulses: Lower hips one inch then back up. MAKE IT HARDER: Start with knees bent 90 degrees so that hips are closer to knee level, then pulse.
- Do 3 sets.
I’m planning to start this regimen today. Feel free to share these tips with your clients (and try them yourself), and keep me posted on the state of your summer tummies.
The USDA recently announced a new way to look at healthy eating. Remember the old food pyramid? It’s gone. They’ve replaced it with the new MyPlate, which balances fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins and dairy all on one plate. Here’s the breakdown:
- Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains (I go for all whole grains).
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Take a look at the image above. It makes a lot more sense then the ancient pyramid did, and if you choose just the right types of food, you can help your skin look and perform its absolute best, too. Here what to put on your plate to eat healthy and get great skin at the same time:
FRUITS: Watermelon and papaya contain lycopene, which studies show can help protect skin against damaging UV rays. Red grapes contain antioxidants known as polyphenols—known to help to keep skin from sagging by strengthening collagen. And don’t forget blueberries, plums, strawberries, and blackberries. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that these four fruits had the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. So they’re super free-radical fighters that protect skin cells from damage and prevent premature aging. And pile up the cherries—acerola cherries contain even more vitamin C than an orange – and C is a super-antioxidant for the skin.
GRAINS: The mineral selenium found in whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and cereals is essential for skin health. People with higher levels of selenium sufferer less damage from environmental aggressors. Be aware, however, that this is only true for whole grain breads, not white flour items. So skip the white pasta, rice, and cakes.
VEGETABLES: Carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, which gives skin a healthy glow and has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm skin ravaged by the environment. Sweet potatoes are also packed with vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and manganese, so they’re basically perfect for your skin. Also, choose dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, and spinach. They are rich in age-fighting magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamins B1 and B2.
PROTEIN: Think about fat—not fatty foods, but fatty acids. They’re responsible for healthy cell membranes. And the stronger the membrane, the better your cells can take in and hold moisture. Fill your plate with proteins like omega-3 packed salmon, mackerel, herring, or sardines. And don’t forget about oysters and shellfish. They contain zinc, which can help break down your skin’s damaged collagen and allow new collagen to form, so your skin looks younger and rejuvenated.
DAIRY: The vitamin A found in dairy products is essential for the health of skin cells. Plus, a low-fat Greek yogurt will also aid in digestion, since it contains active live probiotic cultures. And when your insides function at their best, it shows on your skin.
Do you think about your skin when you choose the foods you eat? Have any quick recipes to share? Share them here in the comments.
—Barbara Salomone, Bioelements Founder and President