Don’t have an Ab Wheel? Don’t have a knee raise bar? Don’t have an abdominal crunch machine? No problem. You can still get strong ab muscles without gym equipment. Watch my video and try these “No Gym Equipment Exercises” for all fitness levels.
Sometimes you just need a day off from working out. Maybe you’re not feeling it or your body is still sore from the previous training session. That’s okay. In my opinion, that’s your body’s way of trying to protect you. To keep you from overtraining and getting injured. Instead of feeling upset or depressed that you’re not up to the challenge, understand that after a break you will come back refreshed and reinvigorated. I’m not saying that you need to go on a two week Mediterranean vacation, sit at a beachfront cafe, sip an espresso and watch the sun set over the deep blue water . . . sigh. Sounds like a great idea. Just remember that your body needs plenty of rest and that taking a few days off will NOT negatively affect your strength, endurance, flexibility or weight. As a matter of fact, going on a staycation, waking up to see a sunrise, having a “fun” meal, staying up late with friends, being in nature and not waking up to an alarm clock are all great ways to lower stress.
A few weeks ago, I took the family camping in Door County. As the expression goes, it was “just what the doctor ordered”. Here are some fun pics! Enjoy!
Throwing the frisbee at Ridges Beach in Baileys Harbor.
Heather and I at Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. An incredible place for taking walks in nature.
Heather shows off her mini-golf putting skills.
Cave Point County Park is one of my favorite places to visit with its underwater caves and beautiful views of Lake Michigan.
Edgewood Orchard Gallery in FishCreek has beautiful sculptures on outdoor walking paths.
A picturesque sunset at Anderson Dock in Ephraim.
When you think of a stack of breakfast pancakes, what do you picture? Thin and round steaming cakes with a tab of butter on top? A light and fluffy flapjack covered with maple syrup and other delicious toppings? Did you know that pancakes are basically flour, butter or oil, eggs, baking powder and salt?
Have you ever tried blintzes? A friend of mine calls them lumpy pancakes and loves them. My blintz recipe is high in protein and is more substantial than traditional rolled or filled blintzes. Plus this recipe does not use sour cream, ricotta cheese or cream cheese. My middle son, Bruce, says that he likes them “much more than boring pancakes.”
I have made blintzes for over twenty years and have experimented by adding baking powder, fresh fruit, frozen fruit, nuts, flavored yogurt, large curd cottage cheese, etc. The combinations are endless. See which one you like best! Enjoy!
1 cup unsifted flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 cup yogurt (flavored, non-fat, low-fat or Greek)
1 cup cottage cheese (non or low fat)
4 eggs, beaten
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs. Mix well. If consistency of batter is too thick then add a little milk.
Heat nonstick griddle to 325-350 degrees F.
Using a large mixing spoon or a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter onto hot griddle. Each blintze will be about 4 inches in diameter. On our 22 inch griddle, we cook 2 rows of 4 blintzes: 8 total. It’s important to leave enough space between blintzes and room for flipping.
Cook for about 5 minutes. Then flip. You can tell when the blintz is ready to flip when: 1) The edges of the blintz are slightly pulling away from the griddle. So it is easy to get the spatula underneath and it doesn’t stick. 2) When you see the top of the blintz bubbling slightly. Cook approximately 5 minutes until done.
Serve with fresh blueberries, sliced bananas or your favorite fruit. Of course, drizzle a little Wisconsin maple syrup on top.
Have you made the decision to reach your goal weight but aren’t sure how to make it happen? Then watch my video and learn 7 safe and effective nutrition tips that you can start doing today to help you lose weight fast and keep it off.
Don’t have a gym membership? Don’t have any fitness equipment at home? No worries. You can still workout and get results. Watch my video and try these “No Gym Equipment Exercises” for all fitness levels.
The other day, my 8 year old son, Roy, excitedly grabbed his pail and ran outside to collect blackberries. We have blackberry bushes surrounding our vegetable garden and at the edge of our woods. A few minutes later he came back inside and showed me his full pail. “Try one.” he said. I did, and they were delicious. Blackberries are great on their own, on top of hot or cold cereal and in crumbles, tarts and cakes. Soooooo Heather whipped up a dessert in no time at all. She did add fresh mulberries from some of our mulberry trees. It turned out great!
Enjoy this Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Mulberry Cake. (Recipe adapted and modified from Favorite Recipes of the Michigan 4-H Family)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of allspice
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 tablespoons butter, cut it in
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces applesauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups blackberries
1 cup mulberries
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Cut in butter. Add honey, eggs, walnuts, vanilla, yogurt, brown sugar and applesauce. Mix well. Stir in blackberries and mulberries.
Spread batter in greased 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
Serve and enjoy.
Looking for an easy-to-prepare, healthy and delicious chicken recipe? Then try this Street Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with Yogurt Lemon Sauce. Recipe adapted from Backyard Poultry Magazine April/May 2020 issue.
For the chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For the Rice
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups long grain rice
2 cups chicken brother
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
For the Yogurt Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp clear vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
handful of chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions for the Chicken
Combine lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Place chicken in large bowl or casserole dish and add marinade. Turn chicken to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour and up to fours hours, turning occasionally. Don’t marinate chicken longer than four hours or it’ll get broken down and will have a mushy texture because of the acid from the lemon juice.
Remove chicken from marinade. Chop into pieces. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and garlic from the marinade to skillet stirring frequently. Cook chicken until done. Approximately 10 – 15 minutes.
Instructions for the Rice
To a pot add rinsed rice, 2 cups of water and 2 cups chicken broth. Cook on high heat. Add butter, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly. Bring rice to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest until water is absorbed and rice is tender about 15 minutes.
Instructions to Serve
Plate rice. Add a few spoonfuls of chicken on top. Drizzle with yogurt sauce. We served it with steamed broccoli and bruschetta.
Two weeks ago, Heather and I hiked a portion of the East Bluff Trail at Devil’s Lake. We’ve been to Devil’s Lake a few times but haven’t hiked this section since my parents visited in 2004. Wow! How time flies! Since it was going to be a warm and sunny day, we made sure to get an early start and arrive in the morning. . . and to beat the crowds. By the time we left, the beach, trails and parking lot were all full.
There is something energizing and peaceful about going on a hike. Nature, fresh air, scenic views. My mind relaxes. My eyes relax. My muscles relax. We didn’t have a set time to return to the car or specific mileage we wanted to accomplish or particular overlooks that we had to see. Just enjoying. Being in the moment. Step after step. Breathing. What’s around the next bend? We took a break every now and then to see where we were and where we came from. Great views. As an added bonus to he hike, we ran into my sister-in-law and her family along the way. Unexpected and very cool.
In my industry, Personal Trainers have more than just a tendency to track workouts, monitor progress and evaluate goals. What you don’t hear often enough, if at all, is encouragement to just go for a walk or a hike or leisurely stroll. It’s always about getting your heart rate up, burning fat, counting steps, etc. Maybe that’s true at the beginning when you are just starting your exercise routine. But, in my opinion, the goal is to become intuitive and body aware. Train by feel. Outdoor activities like this hike remind me that lifting weights, stretching and doing cardio at a gym or fitness studio is great. But it’s just one component of the bigger picture of health and fitness. Like pieces of a puzzle. For the complete picture, you need a sufficient amount of quality sleep, proper nutrition and a balanced diet, positive and supportive people and stress management skills. And most of all, you need to learn to HAVE FUN. So where are you going for our next hike?
Up, up, up I go. It was a lot easier than going down.
Heather takes a little rest in the shade.
Getting to enjoy scenic views like this one was a big reward.
I was recently asked to post one or more videos demonstrating exercises that you can do at home with no gym or fitness equipment. Here are 10 awesome lower body exercises for you to try. Enjoy!
It’s 75 degrees F today, the windows are open and there’s a nice cool breeze blowing. Unfortunately, tree and grass pollen are blowing in too. Yup, it’s pollen time here in Wisconsin. If I look outside I can see the grass starting to go to seed. Our lilacs are also blooming, changing from purple to white. They smell nice, but they give me a sneezing fit. Ever since I started lifting weights in gyms (36 years ago), I’ve paid close attention to indoor air quality. One gym where I worked out was unbelievably stuffy, relying on just two small windows for the entire space. It made it difficult to breathe, and I remember getting headaches halfway through my workouts. Another gym was overly humid with an inadequate HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. I saw moisture actually dripping from the ductwork onto the treadmills. It was so gross. Another fitness club had absolutely filthy HVAC registers on the ceiling in the free weights and machines area. In the same gym, the HVAC register in the men’s locker room looked like some kind of science experiment gone wrong. Ick!
In April, I purchased a Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter since I was only running my furnace occasionally (I’d open the windows just a crack during the day and close them up at night). What is a HEPA filter? It stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter and High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filter. The Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter is a large, lightweight and portable filter that helps capture particles like pet dander, pollen, dust and smoke. It reduces up to 99.9% of certain airborne viruses, bacteria and mold spores, odors. It uses 3 HEPA filters and 1 pre-filter. I recently checked the HEPA filters and noticed they were no longer bright white but a light grey. That tells me it’s doing its job.
Here’s the million dollar question. Have I noticed a difference in air quality with the HEPA Filter running in my workout studio? The answer is YES. Not only does the air smell cleaner but I observe less dust on surfaces that require dusting. Also some of my clients own pets, and I often react with a runny nose within minutes of their arrival. I’m happy to report the nose is less runny. Lastly, the HEPA filter circulates the air very well without being too noisy.
If you know me, you know that I am particular about my fitness studio. Safety, cleanliness and good air quality are top priorities. I take pride in the fact that I clean all surfaces with disinfectant cleaning products in between client appointments. If the weather is being reasonable, I open a window, sliding patio door or a screen door to air out my studio. Using the Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter gives me peace of mind. It’s an extra level of protection for my clients and me.
* One more thing. Heather reminded me that house plants like Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Snake Plant and Devil’s Ivy all help to improve air quality too.