Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chocolate tasting results and meal demonstration list

Last night was the first Phit Chicks Chocolate Tasting and Healthy Meals Demonstration at my home. I say "first" because I'm hoping they'll be another! I don't know about my students, but I certainly enjoyed myself.

So today I get the pleasure of passing on the notes from the cooking demo and the results of the chocolate tasting!

First, the meal demonstration. We prepared five lunches and five dinners in about an hour and ten minutes. The shopping list can be purchased locally; I got nearly all the ingredients at Price Chopper for under $70. I bought the pork tenderloin at Whole Foods and the Barilla Plus pasta at HyVee. With apologies to the "real" cooking demonstrations, I attempted to show how a busy woman tries to create healthy meals.

Here's what we created:

Mixed greens salad with warm shrimp & asparagus
Mixed greens salad with Italian Chicken strips
Italian Chicken breast (or strips) with side spinach salad
Curry chicken wrap (whole wheat tortilla and some shredded low-fat cheese)
Curry Chicken served with brown rice and sautéed zucchini w/mushrooms and red peppers
Pork loin medallions served with pasta with zucchini, mushrooms and red peppers (mix the pasta with the veggies)
Pork loin with sweet potatoes, side salad
Italian Chicken breast (or tenders) with acorn squash slices
Pasta with shrimp and asparagus and white wine sauce
Roast beef in slow cooker (or beef strips) in onion sauce with carrots and barley

You can download the entire list (with a few additional ideas and a Shopping List) in a Word document if you'd like. It's available here on my PhitChicks website. (newby blog users: you can click on any bold word or phrase and get to a link with more information)

Now, for the chocolate winners.

With over a dozen to choose from, the Phit Chicks chose their favorites and then scored them based on the calories vs. taste.
The Phit Chicks found these three chocolates the most likely to be worthy of 10 minutes on the treadmill:
  1. Christopher Elbow
  2. Chocolate-dipped strawberries from Classy Chocolates
  3. Cappacino Truffles from Whole Foods

These three got the most votes (meaning the most people picked them up and tried them) AND the highest scores. This highly scientific scoring system (yeah right) allowed Phit chicks to give a "10" to indulgences VERY worth 10 minutes on the treadmill and a "1" to anything that was a waste of calories. Christopher Elbow's Bananas Foster and Rosemary Caramel rated 8.8. Next was Classy Chocolates yummy dipped strawberries with 7.5 and then Whole Foods Truffles with 6.2. The Dove chocolates were a close fourth place.

Christopher Elbow is located in the Crossroads District, Classy Chocolates is on the square in Liberty, and unfortunately, the closest Whole Foods is in Overland Park at 91st & Metcalf.

A special thanks to Phit Chick Cheryl C-T. for bringing us Mozart Chocolate Liqueur in honor of Mozart's 250th birthday. It sort of deserved it's own category. Only four people were brave enough to try the yummy stuff, but it scored a 7.8 out of 10!

Thanks to all Phit Chicks who took time to attend and participate! And double Kudos to those of you who walked or did yoga this morning.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Four Things I've Learned

You can not exist in this world today and not see Oprah everywhere. I"m not a TV watcher but I am a big fan of her magazine, and this month there is a wonderful article from an obesity physician who has lost over 100 pounds (page 133 in Feb issue). She shares "Four Things I've Learned" that is worth passing on:
1) The foods I'm craving will be available tomorrow. Pepperidge Farm and McDonald's are not going out of business anytime soon. My obsession with a particular food will eventually pass if I work through it.
2) It's ok to ask for help. Sharing my vulnerabilities actually strengthens me.

3) Food is just for the nourishment of my body; it will not solve anything else pressing in my life.
4) Taking the time to prepare my meals in the morning, even if it means I'll be late for work, is an expression of self-love.
I think these "Four Things" are just brilliant! Not to mention extremely useful.
A quick reminder that the winter walking club will meet this Saturday at 7:00am at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.
Remember, this Friday night at 6:00pm is the Phit Chicks Winter Open House. We'll be judging chocolate. You'll get to rank several samples on their "treadmill worthiness" and the Phit Chicks will pick our overall indulgence most likely to be worth 15 minutes on the treadmill. Balance doesn't mean doing everything in the middle; that's too close to doing everything mediocre. So join us this Friday to sample some good chocolate and get psyched to plan healthy meals and work out even smarter in February and March.

As mentioned by the obesity physician in O Magazine, taking time to prepare healthy meals is an expression of self-love. And this Friday night we'll be learning to prepare five lunches and five dinners in under one hour.

One more plug for "Zen Fitness for Improved Productivity" it'll help you with your job, your kids, your relationships & your health. Learn meditation and breathing exercises for real people. And not to worry, it's very mainstream, no weird incense burning or anything. It's an evening workshop on Thursday, Feb 9th at the Liberty Community Center, meets only one time and is only $19. Register at 792-6009.

Since I"m talking about magazines today, did you notice Sheryl Crow on the cover of January issue of Shape? At 43 years old, she is looking incredibly trim, and apparently does so with an hour long run every day. She also says she joins Lance on the "first leg" of his bike rides (which is only two hours!). Seeing a busy recording artist keep up that kind of cardio schedule should provide inspiration for at least walking on Saturday morning! Hope to see you then -- Bring your friends -- everyone is welcome.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chocolate & Yoga

Chocolate & Yoga? Well, I was impressed with the creativity of these workshops, but something about it bugged me. I thought maybe the pure yogini in me was a little offended at another case of over-commerced, diluted yoga. But, in all honesty, I think I was a just a bit miffed that my uniqueness as a fitness instructor who loves fine wine & chocolate is maybe not so unique after all.

Unique or not, I have an invitation for you. In the spirit of Angela's balanced approach to fitness and to life (more on that later), I'm inviting you to the Phit Chicks Winter Open House on Friday night January 27th from 6:00 - 8:00pm. We'll be judging chocolate. That's right -- chocolate at your fitness instructor's house. You'll get to rank several samples on their "treadmill worthiness" and the Phit Chicks will pick our overall indulgence most likely to be worth 15 minutes on the treadmill.

Then we'll do a mini-meal preparation demo. I am going to show you how to put together healthy meals for one week, and we'll do it in under an hour. Rachel Ray's got nothin' on me! Five lunches and five dinners (for one or two people), and I'm going to show you how to do it in under an hour. If you're going to occassionally indulge in chocolate, the only way this balance thing is going to work is if you commit to healthy meals and a smart exercise regimen.

Balance doesn't mean doing everything in the middle; that's too close to doing everything mediocre. So we will eat some good chocolate (as well as some healthier treats) and get psyched to plan healthy meals and work out even smarter in February and March.

Again, the open house is NEXT WEEK on Friday night from 6:00 - 8:00pm, so put it on your calendar now. All Phit Chicks (walking club, Yoga, Equilibrium) are welcome, but RSVP soon, as we can accept a limited number at this dreamy event. After I get your RSVP I'll send you directions.

Two class annnouncements: on Saturday I'm starting the winter "Kid's Cardio Dance Party" so if you know anyone with children 8 - 10 years old, please forward them this. Look at this and scroll down to the class photo. It's too cute and too much fun.
Second class announcement: if you've ever been curious about what they are chanting about in some yoga classes, if you don't know the words Chakra or Ayuveda, or you'd like to learn the basics of meditation, or know how yoga can help with PMS, I have the class for you! "Zen Fitness for Improved Productivity" will help you with your job, your kids, your relationships & your health. And not to worry, it's mainstream, no weird incense burning or anything. It's an evening workshop on Thursday, Feb 9th at the Liberty Community Center, meets only one time and is only $19. Register at 792-6009. If you are a little unsure, go to this site, scroll down and read my friend Lawrence's article on mind-body-spirit connections before registering.

Now about Saturday's walk....with so many Phit Chicks needing to get their cardio done, (we had 25 people at our inaugural winter walk last week - yeah!), the indoor track (as wonderful as it is) gets a little warm. So please dress in layers. We will offer two options: 1) walking indoors like last week. If you do this dress in cool clothes and layers. OR 2) walking an indoor-outdoor circuit. If you do the indoor-outdoor option, please bring a pair of gloves and an easy-on-and-off jacket. The indoor-outdoor folks will do a lap in the parking lot, then shed your jacket (left in the safe hands of the water boys) and then do a couple laps inside.
Hope to see you Saturday. Bring your friends -- everyone is welcome.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

$211 spent on "the neck up"

A quick reminder that the winter walking club begins this Saturday at 7:00am at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.

I found a statistic for you to think about and remember. In 1990, in 12 states defined as the midwest, women spent an average of $211 per month on appearance from the neck up.

From the neck up...meaning haircuts, make-up, skin care. And this doesn't even include tanning, shaving, manicures and pedicures. And this was 1990 -- pre Botox, Collagen-fillers, microdermabrasion, peel-your-face-off procedures, etc.

I'm sharing this statistic so that you can feel even better about your investment in fitness. I consistently answer emails about the time and costs associated with classes and fitness training.

Hence I've been motivated to create Angela's top ten reasons for women to exercise. And not one of them relates to fitting into a smaller size. (There's several information-loaded links in here, so refer back to this if you don't have time to look at them all now.) With apologies to David Letterman, here we go:

10. Helps avoid some nasty diseases like stroke and cancer.

9. Regular exercise leads to increased bone mineral density, which leads to increased independence later in life.

8. No exercise = overweight.
Overweight eventually = obesity.
Obesity eventually = hypertention, coronary artery disease and diabetes.*
No thank you.

# 7, 6, 5 & 4 are my favorites -- the brain-based benefits. Some, such as better self-esteem, come as an indirect result of exercise and are fairly subjective. Others are a direct consequence of chemical activity triggered by physical exertion. It's sort of like releasing a make-your-own, legal drug.

7. Endorphins -- there are 22 different endorphins, and these amazing guys can reduce pain and stimulate feelings of euphoria (sign me up!)

6. Norepinephrine -- released in the brain to enhance attention and focus and control impulsivity . Yes, exercise can actually keep you from buying Oreos when you're at the grocery store later.

5. Serotonin -- released during exercise, the ultimate "good mood" juice.

4. Dopamine -- affects the central nervous system, brain efficiency and coordination.

3. Exercise decreases appetite. And I promised no weight management stuff in this list, but decreasing your appetite will help you avoid sugar, fats and alcohol, which, for a variety of reasons, just make you feel crummy.

2. Small group personal training, or specialized classes, can make expert instruction affordable.
And if I exercise correctly, I'll always be able to move.
What? Injuries to the low back occur from such seemingly simple tasks as bending over to pick something off the floor. How? Research now shows that nominal daily tasks, as well as strenuous bodily exertions, may result in a spine ‘buckling’ (McGill, 2001). Computerized analysis of this phenomenon suggests that there is a momentary reduction in neural activation to one or more of the deep intervetebral muscles, resulting in this spinal segmental ‘buckling’ (slight rotation of a spinal segment), leading to tissue irritation or injury. Therefore, the musculature must be trained to “stiffen the spine against buckling” (McGill, 2000). In other words...get on the ball girls! It'll keep you from throwing your back out someday. Love the study in this link, because it emphasizes that not just any exercise will do this for you. But you are not to worry, the core strength exercises included in Equilibrium and Yoga Happy Hour do strengthen the big muscles in your torso but also the multifidus (between the vertebrae) and intercostals (between the ribs).

1. According to "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me" (which I love!), the three dollar mascara is every bit as good as the $35 mascara, netting you $30 from the eyelashes alone to take an exercise class. You'll get to sweat (and hopefully laugh) and give better butterfly kisses straight from a healthier heart.