5 Things You can do to Improve Your Health

June 18, 2014

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health

1.  Sleep.

2.  Eat.

3.  Walk.

4.  Move/lift heavy objects.

5.  Rest.

Sleep.

Adequate sleep affects the mind and body in drastic ways. The benefits of sleeping are widely researched and are often very clearly seen when you encounter someone who does not get enough sleep compared to someone who does. Lack of sleep hurts your ability to function, inhibits your body’s ability to efficiently use nutrients, and wreaks havoc on your efforts to gain muscle or lose weight. Some tips for getting a good night’s sleep include shutting down electronics a few hours before bedtime, blacking out your room to keep artificial light from disrupting your ability to fall asleep, and developing a routine to practice each night before bed. If you’re interested in learning more about sleep, check out the following resources:

National Sleep Foundation

National Institutes of Health

The Definitive Guide to Sleep – Mark’s Daily Apple

Eat.

Eat quality, fresh foods. Don’t worry about counting calories or sticking to a particular diet. Instead focus your efforts on eating foods that rot within 7-10 days and eating enough of those foods to feel satisfied. Don’t overeat and avoid starving yourself, especially if you are active. Foods that have a short shelf life are unprocessed, contain very few ingredients and are usually found along the perimeter of the grocery store, BUT…beware, grocery stores and big manufacturers are catching on and are starting to place “not food” items on the perimeter. New rule:  if it’s in a package (box, bag, etc.) and it wasn’t growing or roaming the earth a few days/weeks ago, you probably shouldn’t eat it.  Here are some great resources (in no particular order) for eating high quality, nutrient dense foods:

Mark’s Daily Apple

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet Quick Start Guide

Whole30

Paleo Comfort Foods – Recipes, Tips, and Knowledge

Walk.

Walking is one of the most underrated activities individuals can do to improve their health. Walking helps with recovery, improves your mental health by reducing stress, and improves your ability to cover distances without using a motorized vehicle. It is a low intensity functional movement can make a world of difference in improving your health and longevity when coupled with the other 4 items on this list. Walking can be performed with purpose (ex. walking to the store) or without purpose (ie. Walking around your neighborhood) Either way, when you walk you will see things from a different perspective, be outside in the fresh air and sunlight, and have the opportunity to think deeply and creatively.

Benefits of Walking

More Benefits of Walking

Move/Lift Heavy Objects.

Pick up something heavy and move it 2-3 times each week. Your options in this area are endless. I use a variety of objects from regularly shaped objects like barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells to irregular objects like rocks, logs, and sometimes, HUMANS! (Partner Carry, anyone?) It doesn’t matter what object you choose or how you decide to move/lift it (carrying, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, etc.), just pick something up and get going!

Arnold Agrees!

Rest.

Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to get in another workout this week. Your body needs to recover. Take time to relax, read a book, and decompress. Meditate, listen to the birds outside, or pick up that musical instrument you have touched for a few months. Allow your body time to heal and it will reward you.

On the path to health, the goal is to stress the body during workouts and alleviate stress during non-workout times. If you continually stress the body without giving it rest, you keep your body in a state of chaos and it becomes unable to function. This type of environment hinders your ability to lose weight, sleep and efficiently process nutrients from your food. So ask yourself…I am giving my body enough rest? 

Essential Elements of Rest/Recovery

Importance of Rest/Recovery

 

Start implementing these 5 things and you’ll begin feeling and looking better than you have in years. It’s simple and effective, so what are you waiting for?

Running Interval Workouts for New Parents - 05/28/2014

Running Workouts for New Parents        

Finding time to run when you have a young baby can be challenging. My wife (Kmugs) and I both like to incorporate running into our training and participate in a handful of races each year. Since we had our little one (Lilly) back in October 2013, we have discovered it is difficult to train together and make sure Lilly is receiving proper care. Working out together has long been something we have enjoyed, so we needed to come up with a few ideas for how to train together and keep Lilly with us. We rarely opt for long, slow runs, but instead prefer to do interval training to help us prepare for races. After some trial and error, we found some great workouts that we could complete together while Lilly strolls along with us safely secured in her stroller.

Since Kristy and I aren’t the only couple with children who enjoys working out together, I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you.  The best part about these workouts is the equipment needed to perform them…all you need is a watch and a stroller for the baby. I recommend a jogging/fitness stroller as it makes doing workouts on varied terrain like grass/trails much easier (even though the stroller is used only in recovery between intervals). We use the BOB Stroller for Lilly and as you can tell from the picture, she’s pretty comfy in there!

To do these workouts, it is beneficial to have a park or a track where you can perform a loop of known distance so you can get an idea of how much ground you cover. We use Bessie Branham Park in Kirkwood, which is just a few blocks from our house.

Workout #1:    “The Chase”

Total Workout Time: 25-40 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired (available) time. Typically Kmugs and I set the clock for 25-30 minutes. Partner #1 takes off running while Partner #2 walks with the stroller. Both Partners are moving in the same direction around the park/track and Partner #1 will stop running when she catches up to Partner #2. As soon as Partner #1 arrives, Partner #2 takes off running and Partner #1 recovers while pushing the stroller.  Continue alternating until time expires.

Workout #2:  “The Meet up”

Total Workout Time: 25-40 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired time. Kmugs and I usually set the clock for around 25 minutes. This workout is similar to “The Chase”, but this time, Partner #1 takes off running and Partner #2 begins walking in the opposite direction around the park/track. Partner #1 will stop running and switch roles with Partner #2 as soon as they meet, hence the name “The Meetup”. Continue alternating until time expires.

Workout #3:  “Back That Thing Up”

Total Workout Time: 20-30 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired time. This is a shorter workout than the other two, so aim for 20-25 minutes. Partner #1 starts the fun by sprinting forward for 30 seconds while Partner #2 walks casually pushing the stroller in the same direction as Partner #1 is sprinting. When 30 seconds elapses, Partner #1 hits the brakes and backpedals until she arrives at the stroller. Partner #2 sprints 30 seconds, then hits the brakes, puts it in reverse and heads back toward the stroller where Partner #1 is casually walking to recover, yet eagerly awaiting her next turn to sprint. Continue alternating until time expires.

 

Hopefully, you found these workouts helpful and you and your partner can start incorporating them into your training regimen. If you give them a try, take some pictures and chime in on Facebook with your thoughts. Happy sweating!

Garlic Herb Crusted Salmon and Coconut Curry Cauliflower Recipe

Chef Jose’s Corner!

It’s Tuesday and we’re back with another edition of Chef Jose’s Corner. We took a rest week last week, but Chef Jose has whipped up a tasty one for us this week! Today’s recipe is for Garlic Herb Crusted Salmon and Coconut Curry Cauliflower. 

GARLIC HERB CRUSTED SALMON

4 Wild Caught Salmon Fillets
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Black Pepper
No Salt Added Garlic Herb Seasoning
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Season Salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Season heavy with garlic herb seasoning. The seasoning will form a crust when pan frying.
3. Heat oil in medium - large saucepan and place the salmon in oil.

4. Cook for 4 min on each side or until your desired temperature is reached.

COCONUT CURRY CAULIFLOWER

3 pounds Cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 can Coconut milk
2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp Red Curry Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Parboil the Cauliflower, onion, garlic, and turmeric in enough water to barely cover the cauliflower.

2. When the cauliflower begins to soften, drain the water and return the cauliflower to the heat.

3. Add the coconut milk, cumin, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to yield a creamy, delicious side dish for your salmon.

Enjoy!

Jose Martinez is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!

15-Day SWING into SUMMER CHALLENGE

Smugs Fitness 15-Day Swing into Summer Challenge

Summer is right around the corner and there’s no better time to prime our bodies for all the sun and fun. Kettlebells travel well and are extremely versatile tool for building a stronger, healthier body. We’re going to use just one movement for this challenge, The Russian Kettlebell Swing.

The challenge is simple and there are three different levels you can choose from for participation depending on your fitness level, time availability, and fitness goals.

Level 1:  50 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 750 Swings in 15 days!

Level 2:  100 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 1500 Swings in 15 days!

Level 3:  200 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 3000 Swings in 15 days!

 

THE DETAILS

Over the next 15 days (May 5 – May 19), complete the required number of Russian Kettlebell Swings for the level you have selected. Choose a kettlebell weight that will challenge you, make you work hard, and help you get stronger. There are no awards for completing this challenge, but the rewards your body will reap include increased grip strength, a tighter, more toned midsection, and a stronger posterior chain. Hesitant to join us? Just think about how strong your bottom will look in that swimsuit this summer!

ACCOUNTABILITY

To keep the challenge open to all and maintain accountability for everyone that participates, tweet us when you complete your swings each day (@Smugsfitness) and include the weight of your kettlebell, the number of swings completed and use #SFswingintosummer so we can track everyone’s results. Feel free to tweet pictures of you swinging the bell too!

Not on Twitter? No problem, chime in on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/smugsfitness and post your daily totals there. 

Spread the word and get your friends and family involved! We could all use a little extra swinging as we head into summer! Good luck!

Albondigas, Cabbage and Chayote, Oh my!...Must be Chef Jose's Corner!

Chef Jose’s Corner #4 - 04.22.2014

It’s Tuesday and we’re back with another edition of Chef Jose’s Corner. Today’s recipe is for Flattened Turkey Meatballs (Albondigas de Pavo Molido), Cabbage in Salsa de Sofrito) and Poached Chayotes. 

ALBONDIGAS de PAVO MOLIDO

(Flattened Turkey Meatballs)

1 pound Lean Ground Turkey

1 TBSP Garlic powder

1 TBSP Onion Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.     Combine all the ingredients except the EVOO and mix well.

2.     Form into balls and flatten like mini hamburger sliders

3.     Heat 2 TBSP EVOO in a pan.

4.     Sear the meatballs until they have a good, slightly dark color on both sides, then remove from heat and set aside. They will not be cooked thoroughly at this point.

CABBAGE in SALSA de SOFRITO

1 TBSP Garlic, minced

1 Onion, chopped

1 Bell Pepper, Chopped

2 Roma tomatoes

1 bunch Cilantro

2 Chipotle Chiles in adobo sauce

½ Cup Low Sodium Chicken stock or water

½ head of Cabbage, shredded

1.     Sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, and chipotle peppers in a pan until soft.

2.     Place the sautéed vegetables in a blender and add the Chicken Stock.

3.     Add the shredded cabbage to the pan you used to sauté the vegetables and add half the sauce from the blender.  Cook for 10 minutes.

4.     Place the meatballs in the pan with the cabbage and sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

5.     Using a thermometer, check the meatballs and stop cooking when the temperature reads 165 (F) for 15 seconds.

6.     Use the extra sauce to top the meatballs or as a side dipping sauce.

POACHED CHAYOTE-MERLITON-WHISKIL

2 Chayotes, peeled with gloves on and cut into thick slices

2 cups Low sodium Chicken broth

1 TBSP Salt

1 TBSP Garlic, minced

½ Onion, minced

1.     Add Low Sodium Chicken Broth to medium sauce pan along with salt, garlic, and onion.

2.     Peel the Chayote and cut into thick slices.

3.     Add the Chayote to boiling broth then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

4.     The Chayote is fully cooked when it can be punctured easily with a fork.

Enjoy!

Jose Martinez is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!

Chef Jose's Corner #3 - 04/15/2014

Stir Fry Vegetables, Teriyaki Chicken, Spaghetti Squash "Noodles"

It’s Tuesday and Chef Jose is back with another edition of Chef Jose’s Corner. Today, Chef Jose shares a recipe for Stir Fry Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables served with Spaghetti Squash "Noodles"

 

SPAGHETTI SQUASH “NOODLES”

2 Spaghetti Squash

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Garlic Salt

2 tsp Black Pepper

 

1.     Preheat oven to 350 (F)

2.     Cut both ends of spaghetti squash and split down the middle. Remove the seeds.

3.     Line a cookie sheet with foil, place Spaghetti Squash skin side down on the foil.

4.     Dust with garlic salt, black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

5.     Turn the spaghetti squash skin side up and place in the preheated oven for 30- 45 min. Once it is cooked, the skin will cave if you apply pressure.

6.     Let the Spaghetti Squash cool for 5-10 min until you can touch it without getting burned. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash to yield stringy “noodles”.

*Note: Once the “noodles” are made, they can be vacuumed sealed and frozen for up to 6 months. They can be used in a variety of pasta/noodle dishes.

 

STIR FRY VEGETABLES

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sesame Oil if allowed

2 tsp minced garlic

1 pound Bok Choy, bottoms cut at the tip, chopped

3 Carrots, peeled, cut on bias

10 oz. Mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch Green Onion, ends cut and washed. Cut on bias

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

1.     Heat EVOO on medium heat in a sauté pan or wok (preferred).

2.     Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add carrots and green onions cook for 3 minutes.

3.     Add the mushrooms and bok choy

4.     Season with salt and pepper to taste, the bok choy will reduce in size by half.

 

TERIYAKI CHICKEN

1 pound chicken thighs or breast, Skin on

Marinade

½ cup Tamari or Gluten Free Soy Sauce

¼ cup fresh squeezed juice from an orange.

1 TBSP Fresh Garlic

1 TBSP Fresh Ginger

1 TBSP Honey

 

1.     Combine all marinade ingredients place chicken in the marinade overnight or for at least one hour.

2.     Preheat a grill and grill chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 (F) for 15 sec.

3.     If you do not have a grill, heat a sauté pan with 2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sauté chicken until the same temperature is reached.

Enjoy!

Jose Martinez is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!

 

04/08/2014 - Chef Jose's Corner Returns!

Chef Jose’s Corner #2

It’s Tuesday! Time for another tasty recipe from Chef Jose! Today, in Chef Jose’s Corner, is a tasty, yet simple recipe for Meatball Vegetable Soup. You can make a large batch and freeze the leftovers for a night when you are too busy to cook. The recipe as written serves up to 10, so there should be plenty to freeze!

Meatballs

1 ½ pounds Grass Fed Ground Beef, Ground Pork, or half and half

1 TBSP Garlic powder

1 TBSP Onion powder

1 TBSP Salt

1 TBSP Pepper

1.     Combine ground meat with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

2.     Form into small, uniform sized meatballs. To assist in uniformity, you can use a small ice cream scoop size 16 or 18. If you don’t have one, measure with your fingers or a small spoon.

3.     Set aside.

Veggie Soup

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Onion, diced

2 Yellow Squash, diced

1 Sweet Potato, peeled and diced

1 Zucchini, diced

2 Carrots, diced

2 Celery stalks, diced

2 TBSP Chili powder

2 TBSP Cumin

1 TBSP Smoked Paprika

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

4 Quarts vegetable stock or beef stock for meatier flavor

Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 Green Onions, cut bias

 

1.     Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots in a large stockpot, until onion is translucent

2.     Add the rest of vegetables and seasonings, continue to sauté

3.     Add the stock and allow to boil, once it boils add the uncooked meatballs, you set aside earlier

4.     Let the soup simmer until the sweet potato and meatballs are fully cooked approx. 35-40 min.

5.     Season with salt and pepper to taste

6.     Garnish with freshly cut green onions


Jose Martinez is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!

04/01/2014 - Welcome to Chef Jose's Corner!

Chef Jose’s Corner has arrived!

In the first installment of Chef Jose’s Corner, Jose shares his recipe for Chipotle Marinated Fish (Turbot or other lean white fish), Braised Garlicky Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potato Hash. 

Chipotle Marinated Fish

Ingredients:

½ Red onion

3-4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 Lemon

2 Garlic cloves

2-3 Chipotles in adobo sauce seeds removed and chopped (leave seeds in for extra spicy)

1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

1 pound Turbot or any lean White fish

Instructions:

1.     Mix onion, EVOO, Garlic, Lemon, and Chipotle in a small bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper

2.     Add the Raw Turbo and let marinate overnight.

3.     Grill until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (F) for 15 seconds or until the fish begins to flake.

Braised Garlicky Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pound Brussels Sprouts, Cleaned and rinsed

2 tsp Garlic

¼ cup Water

Instructions:

1.     Using a sauté pan with a lid, pour olive oil into pan and heat on medium heat

2.     Once hot add garlic and Brussel Sprouts sauté for 2 min

3.     Add water, Cover pan and turn to low heat for additional 8 minutes

4.     The water will cook out and the Brussels Sprouts will get a charred look, they are finished when fork tender.

Sweet Potato Hash

Ingredients

1-2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Sweet Potatoes

1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

Directions

1.     Peel Sweet potato and grate.

2.     Heat EVOO in a sauté pan and add grated potatoes. Be sure to stack the grated potato like a pancake, season with salt and pepper.

3.     Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes.

ENJOY!

Jose is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!

Upcoming Events, Races, and Other Fun - Spring 2014

Upcoming Events Spring 2014

After the weather we have had the last few weeks, it finally looks like Spring is on it’s way! The arrival of spring means festivals, races, and baseball! At Smugs Fitness, there are plenty of events we’ll be participating in this spring and hope to see many of you there. Here is a listing of some events to check out and participate in this spring!

Sunday March 23, 2014

Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon

7:00 AM Start beginning in Centennial Olympic Park and winding through most of Atlanta. It’s a great race with spectators everywhere! If you aren’t already registered, you can register HERE. For more details about the race, please visit the race website http://www.georgiamarathon.com/. Hope to see you running (wearing your Smugs Fitness Tshirt) or cheering (wearing your Smugs Fitness Tshirt)!

Saturday March 29, 2014

Canine Companions for Independence’s DogFest Walk ’n Roll

Barrett Park Outdoor Program Hotshot, Susan Gordon is a team captain and would love to see many of you join her squad. DogFest begins at 8:30 AM with check-in followed by the opening ceremony at 9:15. The walk will kick off immediately following the opening ceremony. DogFest will be held at First Baptist Church Atlanta. For more information about the event, please visit their website http://www.cci.org/dogfestAtlanta. You can also get updated info by following the DogFest on Facebook (DogFest Atlanta) and Twitter (@ATL_CCIDogFest).

Friday April 4, 2014

GoRuck Challenge Atlanta

The Challenge starts at 9:00 PM and will likely finish up sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

8-10 hours covering 15-20 miles while carrying a ruck full of bricks….what more can I say? It’s a great team event and one that will be awesome in Atlanta given our knowledge of the terrain. Get some friends together, sign up and get after it!

Register for the GORUCK CHALLENGE.

Saturday April 12, 2014

City of Hapeville Spring into Action Festival

The 5K Run/Walk starts at 8:00 AM.   Click to register for the race!

To view the race route, CLICK HERE!

Sunday April 27, 2014

20th Annual Lauren’s Run and CURE Childhood Cancer Picnic

Lauren’s Run is the annual fundraiser for CURE and offers plenty of race options for runners of all levels (10K, 5K, 2K Run/Walk, and Tot Trot). The 10K and 5K races start at 8:00 AM.

Lauren's Run is a Peachtree qualifier!

Click to register for the race and for additional details.

Saturday May 3, 2014(Smugs Fitness Sponsored Event!)

Tri-Cities Annual 10K Run and 5K Walk/Run

Winding through Historic College Park both the 5K and 10K routes offer rolling hills and plenty of scenery. Sign up, put on your Smugs Fitness T-shirt, and join us for a great race benefitting the Main Street Academy. The 5K and 10K start at 8:00 AM.

CLICK HERE for registration and race information.

As we continue to progress through race and festival season, check back for more race updates and a new list of events!

DogFest 2014!

Here's a preview of one of the upcoming events this Spring in which many our Smugs Fitness athletes will be participating. A full list of events will be posted early in March. 

Saturday March 29, 2014

Canine Companions for Independence’s DogFest Walk ’n Roll

Barrett Park Outdoor Program Hotshot, Susan Gordon is a team captain and would love to see many of you join her squad. DogFest begins at 8:30 AM with check-in followed by the opening ceremony at 9:15. The walk will kick off immediately following the opening ceremony. DogFest will be held at First Baptist Church Atlanta. For more information about the event, please visit their website http://www.cci.org/dogfestAtlanta.

You can also get updated information by liking the DogFest on Facebook (DogFest Atlanta) and following the DogFest on Twitter (@ATL_CCIDogFest).

Come one, come all, human or dog!

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