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So far Eric Foxman has created 279 blog entries.

Back to School

My three boys either ran, sauntered or dragged themselves onto the bus yesterday morning for their first day of school. I’m not sure if I should open a bottle of wine, crank up the radio or just sit and think about what a great summer we’ve had. Yes, I think I’ll do the latter. Reflection is so important. Not trying to relive the past or dwell in the coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m talking about looking back at a couple or a few months and reviewing accomplishments and experiences.

How often have we heard someone (perhaps ourself) say “Where did my summer go?” or “Wow, summer blew by so fast.” In my opinion, that’s the type of person who didn’t make plans or write things down or track their progress. Granted, stuff happens that’s beyond our control. But I’m talking about setting goals and moving toward them. Yes, there are detours and obstacles along the way, but that’s all part of it.

Why did I title this blog Back to School? Because we need to get back to the basics when it comes to living a healthy and active lifestyle. I’m not talking about hitting the reset button now that your children are back in school and there’s structure again. There should always be structure. But that’s another blog all together.

For me the basics of health and fitness as well as living life are:
1. Having fun
2. Trying stuff
3. Being safe.

A coule days ago I attended a client’s retirement party. At my table a gentleman asked me what I thought was the “number one thing” when it comes to personal training. I answered clearly “Having fun.” He looked surprised and pleased. I went on to explain that, in my opinion, working out and preparing meals should be enjoyed. Because honestly, when we look at life, what is it but a lot of experiences and feelings? Shouldn’t we then have good experiences and good feelings that make us smile? I know that not everything is smile-worthy, but you get my point. At the end of a workout, when you leave the gym, field, studio, court or wherever, if you are not smiling and feeling good about what you did, then you’re doing it wrong. For most of us, the workouts aren’t a sacrifice leading up to the trophy. The workouts are the trophy. And even if you are training for a special event or competition, then what happens when that day is over? When you have crossed the finish line? You’re still you and hopefully you can look back at the work leading up to it and know that the reward was in the trying.

I continued by saying that eating healthy and working out should be about “trying stuff”. Then I smiled and I took a sip from my champagne glass. Not conforming to a workout that will be obsolete in three weeks or following a diet plan that will leave you craving a bowl of ice cream. Tennis, dancing, walking, gardening, lifting weights, swimming, playing soccer are all great activities. But Eric, how am I to excel at one if I am doing a little of all of them. My response? I didn’t know that you were a professional athlete. If so, cross-training is a great way to improve performance in your chosen sport and reduce injuries. How about that? This might tick some people off but going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a waste of time if that’s all you do. How about goofing off in the pool with your kids? Or going for a hike with your spouse? Playing ping pong with your dad? It’s about doing stuff and having fun doing it.

I finished by saying that “being safe” was crucial to adherence and long term success. When it comes to “trying stuff” I’m talking about trying stuff within reason and within your current abilities. If you use to play tennis thirty years ago, and today you decide to hit with a friend on the court, you’re not too bright. You may remember how it felt all those years ago, but if you haven’t been training for it, moving side to side, making quick stops, reaching over your head, then you’re putting yourself at risk. Eric, I’m talking about just hitting. No, I get it. That’s when injuries happen. Several years ago, a client of mine asked if I would play tennis with him. I asked him when he played last and he answered that it had been a few years. I politely declined and suggested he get some tennis shoes and begin by gently hitting balls against the backboard. He was not happy with that answer. Another season went by, he asked and I declined. And another. Finally one day, against my better judgement, I agreed. We started with some groundstrokes. My goal was just to rally and feed the ball back to him in the middle of the court. He got excited and hit the ball firmly to my forehand. I returned it a couple feet to his left. Abruptly he made a quick side step, yelped and then fell onto the ground. Oh shit! He said he felt something pop is his lower leg. He had pulled a calf muscle.

To sum up, going Back to School is not about buying the most expensive piece of exercise equipment or joining the fanciest fitness club or even learning the latest stretching technique. It’s about getting back to the basics: having fun, trying stuff and being safe. Find the activities you like to do and do them.

Back to School2018-09-05T10:56:25-05:00

Deviled Eggs and Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Making food fun, eye-catching and appealing isn’t always about the recipe but about the presentation and the platter on which the food is served. Recently Heather bought a chicken-shaped platter with indentations around the edges and a depression in the middle. With a tiny chip on it, the price was reduced by 80%. A good find. The indentations were intended for deviled eggs (or at least we hoped so), but we weren’t quite sure what food would go in the middle. Crackers, a dip, veggies? Ah, yes! Vegetables. Heather had just gone shopping at Willy Street Co-op and picked up some organic Brussel sprouts. They look like little cabbages and have somewhat of a similar taste. So that’d what she prepared. Deviled eggs and Brussel sprouts. Very simple, healthy and delicious!

So the next time you’re entertaining guests or are invited to a party or just want to make a family dinner more fun, serve up some whimsy with a clever platter or tray.

Ingredients for Deviled Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup total of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise mixed
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle with paprika to garnish

Directions
Cut hardboiled eggs lengthwise. With a spoon, gently scoop out yolks and place in bowl. Mix well with yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Then refill egg whites with mixture.

Helpful tip: Do not set your filled eggs on serving platter until after you sprinkle them with paprika. Less messy.

For the Brussel Sprouts, we simply boiled them in salted water until tender. We let the flavor speak for itself.

Deviled Eggs and Brussel Sprouts Recipe2018-06-21T19:42:34-05:00

Add Power to Your Workout Program with 3 Medicine Ball Moves

Let’s begin with some Force and Velocity physics equations. Yay!

Force = Mass x Acceleration

Velocity = Displacement / Time

Power = Force x Velocity

Enter the medicine ball. It’s a great fitness tool that can help you increase your power with a few simple ballistic moves. How? With a partner or against a wall/floor you can pitch, toss, throw or slam the medicine ball. And don’t worry, you can’t hurt it. Just be careful though. The ball will come back to you pretty fast. Core, legs, arms, back, shoulders. . . pretty much your entire body is involved. Which sports benefit by these plyometric exercises? Volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and mixed martial arts are just a few.

Back to the Power equation. To increase your power use a heavier medicine ball and/or throw it faster. Simple as that!

Now watch my three video demos and learn how you can develop explosive strength.

Add Power to Your Workout Program with 3 Medicine Ball Moves2018-05-14T12:25:31-05:00

Watch, Bid & Win! Support Wisconsin Public Television’s 43rd Annual Auction!

How would you like to support Public Television and get a great deal on Personal Training with yours truly? Then be sure to check out WPT’s 43rd Annual Auction.

I donated a package of 5 Personal Training Sessions. That’s a value of $375! What do you think it will go for?

This is WPT’s largest fundraising event, and all proceeds support WPT programs and outreach initiatives. You can bid online or over the phone (608)263-9985. The auction begins Thursday May 31st and concludes on June 3rd. To learn more or view other auction items, go to WPT Auction.

* My donation is reserved for new clients only.
WPT Auction

Watch, Bid & Win! Support Wisconsin Public Television’s 43rd Annual Auction!2018-05-09T12:37:22-05:00

Celebrate with 45 Birthday Push-ups

How should you celebrate your birthday? With push-ups, of course? Watch and see if I can do 45 push-ups to celebrate my 45th birthday.

Celebrate with 45 Birthday Push-ups2018-03-28T11:07:14-05:00

Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Here’s another winning recipe from the January issue of the Willy Street Co-op Reader. The Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce is a fusion of Asian and South of the Border ingredients. They perfectly compliment each other. So many wonderful flavors and textures it’ll be like a party in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 1/4 lb flank steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for the pan
2 tsp honey
4 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 1 clove whole garlic, divided
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 lb sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large avocado, divided
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
2-4 tbsp water
cooked quinoa, for serving
2 cup baby arugula

Directions
Combine the soy sauce, canola oil, honey, crushed garlic and ground ginger in a baking dish or container large enough to fit the steak. Add the steak to the marinade and refrigerate for 1-6 hours. (In place of the flank steak we sliced up a roast. Since we knew it was going to be more chewy, we marinated it over night.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spread them in an even layer. Roast 25-30 minutes, until they are golden-brown and tender, giving them a stir part way through the cooking time.

Heat a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little canola oil to coat bottom of pan, and when hot, place the steak in the skillet. Sear steak for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. (This totally depends on the thickness of the steak.) Transfer to cutting board and let rest about 10 minutes. Then slice into strips.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine 1/2 the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, remaining clove of garlic and some salt and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop. Add 2 tablespoons more water, then process until smooth. Add 2 more 2 tablespoons of water to achieve a creamy consistency (if desired).

Slice the remaining half of the avocado. Fill four bowls with cooked quinoa. Top with handful of arugula, then the steak, roasted sweet potatoes and sliced avocado. Serve with avocado-cilantro sauce at table. Serves 4.

Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce2018-02-22T09:29:29-05:00

Spicy Peanut Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl

Willy Street Co-op’s monthly publication features many healthy and easy-to-prepare meals in their recipe section. This Spicy Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl makes for a wonderful side dish or as a meal in itself. As always, me made changes according to our palates and what ingredients were available. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter, plus 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
16 oz firm tofu, pressed and cut into 8 slices
1 large bunch bok choy, trimmed, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups cooked brown rice (we used white)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup chopped scallions

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, peanut butter and salt until combined. (We left the Sriracha sauce out at this step since we were preparing this for the whole family and my boys can take only so much “heat”. So I added a little bit to my own bowl at the end. Also we halved the amount of brown sugar and omitted the salt since I felt that the soy sauce was salty enough for the dish.) Brush both sides of the slices of tofu with sauce. Some will be left over. Set the tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Stir in bok choy and garlic. (We halved the amount of sesame oil since a little goes a long way. But we did add a couple more cloves of minced garlic. Yum!) Add the remaining peanut sauce and toss to coat. Saute about 5 minutes, or until greens are wilted and stalks are still crisp.

Scoop about one cup of rice into a bowl. Top with bok choy, two slices of baked tofu, crushed peanuts and scallions. Ready to eat!

Spicy Peanut Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl2018-02-05T06:53:53-05:00

Know Your Fitness Terms

Have you ever read an article on health & wellness and felt like some of the language just went over your head? Or you watched an exercise video demo and missed some of the terminology? If so, then watch my video and learn 10 key fitness terms.

Know Your Fitness Terms2018-01-27T11:00:19-05:00