How would you like to make a soup that is “mostly” homemade, healthy and prepared in under 30 minutes? Then check out my Asian noodle soup recipe. As you’ll see, the amounts and kinds of veggies you put in is up to you. Enjoy!
5 cups water
2-3 medium carrots, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (optional: bok choy)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots (cut into strips)
1 can straw mushrooms, sliced
1 can baby corn
In a pot add water. Bring to boil then add carrots, onions and celery. (These will take the longest to cook.) Cook for approx. 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Mix in seasoning packet and ground ginger. Next add noodles and lower to medium heat. After 1 minute add remaining ingredients. If you feel the need for more protein, you can crack an egg into the soup. Cover egg with the noodles and lower heat. Egg will be cooked in under five minutes and soup is ready.
I’ve been interested in suspension systems for a while. They are cost-effective, portable, take up little room and offer a variety of exercises using bodyweight. Words like “core strength” and “stability” immediately come to mind. With systems like LifelineUSA XT Jungle Gym, a pushup, plank or inverted row, require the whole body. And unlike most workout machines, there are no chest pads, back rests, seats or foot boards. You create the stability. To adjust the amount of weight you push or pull, all you need to do is change your body angle or position. A pushup, for example, can be performed by both beginners and elite athletes. A beginner might position their body at 60 degrees while an individual with a higher fitness level might position their body at 20 degrees.
Installment of the LifelineUSA XT Jungle Gym is straightforward. There are easy-to-follow directions and excellent customer service. Anchors attach firmly to a wall or ceiling using four screws and washers. Remember, you need to drill them into the studs. My Jungle Gym XT is suspended from the ceiling. There is also an instructional video describing the product (I learned that each anchor is rated to handle over 300 pounds.) and demonstrating a few beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises. The other day I played around with the suspension system and found it challenging. It’s similar to the difference between exercise machines and free weights. I was surprised how shaky I was with some of the exercises, but like anything, this was new to me. By changing up my body angle, foot stance or arm position I was able to make adjustments safely and quickly. In my next post I’ll share some exercises with you.
Ankle sprains are a common injury. We typically think of them occurring on the basketball court, tennis court or soccer field. However, they can also happen by just taking a wrong step. As easy as it sounds, wrapping or taping your ankle can significantly aid in the healing process. Watch the video demo.
We can all learn from kids when it comes to exercise. How? They can go outside for a couple hours, run around, climb trees and just play. They don’t calculate the amount of calories burned, count reps or estimate mileage. They have fun. So why shouldn’t we? Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. Meal preparation shouldn’t be a big production. Health and fitness should be fun. Just like life.
The other day, I was about to exercise in my fitness studio when my 5-year old asked if he could join me. Absolutely, I said. Bruce and I have “worked out” before. This usually consists of him jumping on the BOSU, pushing the ab wheel around the room and punching me with his Spiderman boxing gloves. We started with some dynamic stretches (leg swings, wrist rotations, shoulder rolls, etc), and he reminded me how loose and flexible kids are. My arm rotations didn’t look like his. Plus we did some Papa calisthenics. We call my dad, Papa, and for many years he’s had a routine of exercises that he does every morning. They’re pretty old-school, but they work for him. In between my back exercises (rows, pull-ups and back extensions), I watched Bruce “exercise”. He even grabbed a 3 lb dumbbell and did one-arm dumbbell rows like me. Good form. We finished with some focus mitt boxing. Our workout lasted 30 minutes and we had a great time. My back is actually pretty sore . . . in a good way. It’s funny when we deformalize exercise and make it fun (and safe), it can be extremely effective. That’s why I joined a tennis league. We’re all out there to have fun, move around and compete.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of impact I’m making on my kids when it comes to health and fitness. Then I read this letter (see pic below) that my 2nd grader left on my bench. I read it and smiled.
I’m not going to cite the latest studies about the benefits of music on your workouts. Why? Because you have already experienced it. You know how it feels to get pumped up or “in the zone” with your favorite workout music. It brings out emotions and experiences. You also know how certain music helps you to relax after you exercise. Your respiration slows down and you feel a sense of calm. For some people, light classical music or jazz does the trick.
Back in college, my third-year roommate made me an awesome workout tape. Notice, I didn’t say CD. Mostly hard rock and heavy metal. Metallica anyone? Hey, I was a 20 year old college student. It would help reduce distractions in the gym and I could focus inward. The fact that the volume was on high helped drown out any noise. The tape was 60 minutes long so I knew exactly where I was in my workout when a certain song came on. For those days when I was going to have a more moderate workout or go for a jog, I’d choose lighter rock music or something with a consistent beat. As I ran, I’d try to land my footfalls with the beat. I’d get lost in the music and sometimes find myself running farther than I had anticipated. When I got back to my car or home afterwards, I’d listen to something light. I wasn’t comfortable with pure silence. I needed something to help slow me down. Otherwise, it felt like hitting a wall. Wham! Workout done and music off.
The video below features O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. The first time I heard it was at a bodybuilding competition twenty years ago. The defending champion, Dorian Yates, used it for his posing routine. The music is powerful and will give you chills.
My love of cooking good food comes from my mom. As a young boy, I would stand on a step stool in the kitchen and help my mom wash fruits and vegetables, measure out ingredients and stir whatever was simmering in the pot. When I grew up, I realized that Mom’s cooking was hard to come by, so it was up to me. One of the first things I did was to pick up some herbs and spices. With most people, salt and pepper are all that reside in their spice drawer or cupboard. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of foods that can stand alone and have incredible flavor by themselves. However, foods like chicken need some assistance. That’s where herbs and spices come into play. A dash of this and a sprinkle of that can turn bland and boring into fragrant and flavorful. If you’ve perused any of my recipes, you’ve seen some of my favorites like curry powder (a combination of nine different spices), oregano (Mexican and Italian), basil (fresh and dried), paprika (Hungarian and Spanish) and thyme.
My suggestion to you is to pick up some herbs and spices the next time you’re at the grocery store. What kinds? Any. Then build a meal out of those ingredients. Need ideas? Check out my recipes or go to your favorite cooking website. Remember, you can easily grow your own herbs. It can be an herb pot on your kitchen counter, a larger container on your patio or a plot in your vegetable garden. FYI many herbs come back in the spring. Heather’s garden is full of perennials like mint, chocolate mint, sage and oregano. If you let cilantro, dill and fennel go to seed, plenty of seedlings will come up on their own. Time to get cooking!
We have over 60 herbs and spices in our kitchen cupboard
and more in the pantry.
I was twelve years old when my father turned 40. Twenty-eight years later here I am. There’s some gray in my beard and on my head. At least Heather says it looks distinguished. And honestly, I feel great. I’m quicker and more agile than I was twenty years ago. Knock wood, I’m injury-free too. Between two major car accidents and some sports related injuries, something usually comes up. But I try to practice what I preach about body intuition and having fun.
Some people say that my energy is naturally high. I think it’s a combination of diet, exercise, sleep and attitude. A cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either :-) Recently, I was playing doubles tennis and ran down a few drop shots. One of the guys on the other team said “Eric, what are you, 25?” I smiled and thanked him for the compliment. 40 seems like big number, but as the sayings go “Age is just a number.”, “Age is a state of mind.” and “You’re only as old as you feel.” My three boys (ages 8, 5 and 2 weeks old) help keep me young too. This may sound cliche, but I’m passionate about living life and helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. . . and having fun along the way. It’s all about the journey, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” So what does the next decade bring for the Healthiest Man in America? That’s easy to answer. Live life to the fullest . . . and schedule my colonoscopy for my 50th.
“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.”
We’ve all heard the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” How true is that statement? Let me ask you a few questions. How do you feel while watching your favorite stand-up comedian? Listening to a joke with a great punch line? Or watching a Three Stooges episode? You’re at the edge of your seat, attentive, smiling. Sometimes tears are running down your cheeks and you can’t get that grin off of your face. According to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore you may be protecting yourself from a heart attack. It all has to do with reducing mental stress which helps lower blood pressure and inflammation.
So if you want to de-stress, help your heart or just have a laugh, then watch this video. Enjoy!
It’s great to be validated by a famous Japanese samurai. Recently I read The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Written 370 years ago, Musashi discusses battle and warfare, but most importantly using your intuition, being instinctive, observing what’s going on around you and varying your tactics. What does this have to do with health and fitness? Everything. Achieving your goals is not about following a set pattern of exercises or a specific diet plan. It’s about learning, adapting, improving, prevention and, ultimately, formlessness. If you decide the battle (to lose weight or run a marathon) is already won, then you’ve won. All you need to do is put in the work to make it happen.
What amazed me was how modern and applicable the book felt. Written more as a guide or how-to book, I suggest reading it in small bits. Don’t just read it and say you’re done. Absorb and implement his words. I can truly see how this book can be used with athletic teams, businesses and individuals. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to take your health and fitness to the next level.
Balance Personal Training is pleased to announce our newest team member, Roy Philip Foxman. Roy was hired on Sunday March 11th @ 4:35am. I know that seems pretty early to start, but he was raring to go. I was excited that he arrived early (official due date March 17th), because that showed a lot of initiative. We met at my home fitness studio. After reviewing his resume (7 lbs) and qualifications (20 1/2 inches) he was immediately promoted to junior assistant marketing director. He will be supervised by Bruce Foxman, who has been with Balance Personal Training for 5 years. They both will be under the watchful eye of our senior marketing manager, Kyle Foxman, who has the most experience with over 8 years in the industry.
On a more serious note, as a father for the 3rd time, I am absolutely overjoyed. Roy is a blessing. He reminds me of the simple things in life like a hug and a warm blanket. Just looking at him and even thinking of him makes me smile. That should remind us all to love and take care of each other. It’s easy to get distracted by the urgent over the important. And while Heather and I may not be getting as much sleep as we’d like, it’s all about balance.