Monday, February 23, 2015

Smart training for cyclists

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I admire my friends who have previously trained or are presently training for the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride. The 7-day event is a big commitment and if you have a busy work schedule, how do you get the most out of your limited training time per week? Cross-training and interval training is how you mix it up. Get smart with your training and get different strategies for your improving your speed and endurance.

As a trainer for various athletes (triathletes, marathon runners, senior olympics cyclist), I've seen how core exercises and proper stretching keeps my students in the game and avoid serious injuries!

I like the article in Bicycling Magazine, "Shake up your workout." More is not always better -- long rides can cause fatigue that are hard to recover from. The best way to boost your speed is interval training, cross-training (core, yoga, strength training), and proper recovery so you can do it again! Even if you're not near hills and only have flatland for your rides, the article talks about changing to a tougher gear so you can feel a harder ride and then go back to an easy pace. If your weather is not cooperating, you can use an elliptical machine and try one of the pre-programmed interval training programs. Using your entire lower body (without your bike seat) will help you gain more strength in your legs.  Balance on the elliptical without holding on with your hands, and you'll work on your flat belly too! (link goes to flat belly nutrition tips).

If you're limited with equipment, simply pull out some space in your home enough for your to practice your elbow and side planks to get started in your core workouts.  Don't forget that the foam roller can also work your core (think pilates exercises) and help you stretch out tights spots like your IT band! Need help figuring out your good form for a core workout? You can email me to set up a 30-minute workout where we can check your form and give you several programs to practice at home. If you want help with your nutrition and recovery, we can set up your nutrition+wellness coaching so you know how and when to get your magnesium, minerals, and other fuel to avoid those nasty muscle cramps and get the energy you need to keep your rides fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

High fiber (flat belly), less sugar, better protein!

You can have your tasty muffins (foodie approved) and feel good that it is a healthy flat-belly food.

And for those of you who worry that gluten-free or healthy baking is too much work, you'll be happy to know that I got almost all my ingredients from Trader Joe's. The low-sugar magic is cinnamon -- it helps accentuate what sweetness you already have in the recipe. I was able to cut the sugar down to only 1/2 cup of sugar from the original recipe from the Victory Garden Cookbook (Marian Morash). And the coconut oil is heart healthy for you, all those who are avoiding the bad saturated fats, this is a good alternative for cooking and baking.

My new favorite non-wheat flour (and ancient grain) is buckwheat flour (Bob's Red Mill is a brand you can find most grocery stores like Whole Foods or any health food store). Just a 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour gives this recipe a dark molasses taste, again helping to enhance the flavor without extra sugar. I was first introduced to buckwheat from a French cafe that featured buckwheat crepes (from Brittany's cuisine). Then I learned that Japanese soba noodles also use buckwheat for a nutty taste. If you look at Wiki, you'll see that buckwheat has a place from all over the world!

The pairing of almond flour (sneaking in protein in your muffin!) and coconut flour helps give a balance of taste, and both of these gluten-free flours have great fiber. For my friend who has had heart issues, she was delighted to eat something that didn't have butter and was heart-healthy for her. If you don't already know, check out my Heart Health Explorers hiking group where I sometimes teach meditation and other heart-healthy exercises to pair up with exploring great parks in the LA area.

Click on this link to get your health pumpkin muffin recipe. Makes for a great snack, dessert, or breakfast side. And happy heart health month!