Tag Archives: fitness expert

Why You Should Stop Making Excuses & Cook at Home

IMG_4493As a fitness expert, I know everyone wants to look like a supermodel and eat like Miss Piggy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work unless you are one of those rare individuals with exceptional genetics and metabolism. Eating out all the time is too tempting and thus we blow our diets. So I recommend that most people cook at home. In most cases I encounter initial resistance, and a lot of “genuine” excuses. From my experience, the best training results from being careful about what you consume and eating a healthy, balanced, protein-rich diet with fiber, healthy carbs, and healthy oils. Unless you have a personal chef, you will need to shop wisely for healthy, affordable food and cook at least some of the time.

Let me share with you some objections to healthy food preparation that I have heard from my clients, along with my own commentary and insights:

“It’s too expensive for me”
True, it costs more to buy healthy food, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it to add a few more dollars to the grocery bill in order to boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals for the benefit of your skin, hair, body and immune system. There’s no doubt organic food is more expensive than conventionally grown food, but it’s so worth it. It’s your body and you only get one. Even if you buy organic, cooking at home ends up being cheaper when you factor in the cost of health care. Food is prevention; food is a cure to whatever ails us. So many diseases are stopped dead in their tracks by your immune system when you get the nutrition your body needs. We are all exposed to the same environmental stressors (viruses, pollutants and so forth), but not everyone gets sick or to the same degree. Viruses are more likely to thrive in an unhealthy body that is full of pollutants such as chemical additives, preservatives and saturated fats and lacking in vitamins and minerals. Your immune system needs proper fuel to function. Invest in yourself and your health by cooking at home, and spare yourself the days off work, the medication, and the medical bills.

“I don’t have time”
Maintaining health takes time: time to train, to shop, to cook, to research, to plan, to attend workshops, to watch educational or inspirational videos. He who doesn’t invest time in his health will eventually spend that valuable time treating and recuperating from disease. Those who want something badly enough will find the time to accomplish it. If you are a busy person, simply cook for the whole week in advance on the weekend — partition the food into meal-sized portions in Tupperware containers and freeze half of it. Before you leave the house, just grab a container of prepared food and you have a healthy meal ready to eat. If mornings are chaotic and rushed, prepare your breakfast the day before. For example, prepare your shake/smoothie the night before by loading the blender with the various fruits and vegetables and put it in the refrigerator; then in the morning simply take it out, and the ice, liquids (almond milk etc.), powders (protein powder, green powder, etc.) and hit the Smoothie button. Or prepare steel-cut organic oatmeal the night before and reheat it in the morning for a quick and healthy breakfast.

“I have no idea how to cook”
Everyone has family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) or friends who know how to cook. Spend some quality time with them in the kitchen and — who knows — you might even enjoy it! Also, we live in the Internet age, with so many recipes, tips, and instructional videos available at our fingertips. With this wealth of information there’s no way you won’t understand how to cook. Be willing to experiment, to make mistakes, and it will turn out fine.

“I’m not a good cook”
This one is a total cop-out. This means you haven’t put enough effort into it. With enough trial and error, you will get to competence. There’s no need to cook gourmet meals to eat well and healthy. Start with something simple, like an omelet, and move on from there. Take it one step at a time, like a child learning to walk. You wouldn’t expect a baby to run long distances at one year old, so don’t set unreasonable expectations of yourself as a cook either. Encourage yourself every step of the way, celebrate your successes, and be patient with yourself. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. One day you just might surprise yourself by teaching someone else to cook.

You can find me online at www.orionsmethod.com

5 Inside Secrets From Top Fitness Pros

Five tips from our fitness experts to get the most out of your workouts and feel better than ever.


Freeze and squeeze

Momentum is a great thing in life, but in strength training, it can cheat your muscles out of toning. “When you get to the connecting point of an exercise—the moment in which you go from contracting your muscle to releasing it, before lowering a biceps curl or rising out of a squat, for example—freeze for a second, then squeeze and contract the muscle you’re focusing on for a second or two,” says Lalo Fuentes, a top trainer in Los Angeles. “Stopping releases the momentum of the movement, so you can’t rely on it for the second part of the exercise. When you freeze, then squeeze, it fires up more muscle fibers for better toning.”

Maximize each minute

Blast fat during set breaks. “I think up a move of the day and do it for one minute between each set,” says Blahnik. “Explosive, plyometric moves such as jump squats or side leaps or jumping rope boost your heart rate, burn a few extra calories a minute and firm your lower body.” You can burn up to about 100 extra calories a session.

Make like a superhero

Transform standard strength training into a super-duper sculpting session as easily as Wonder Woman slinks into her shiny one-piece: While doing any move in which you grip a bar or both feet touch the ground, imagine trying to fold the bar or floor in on itself. Without actually moving your hands or feet, engage the muscles you would need to bring your hands or your feet together as if you were infused with extraordinary power and could, in fact, crumple the objects. You will feel the extra contraction from trying to exert force on the bar or floor. During your next session, exert the same type of force, but in the opposite way: Instead of trying to make hands and feet meet, pretend you’re trying to stretch the bar or floor like taffy. “The exercise looks the same, but adding these forces will work additional, new muscles in your arms or legs,” says James Bowman, co-owner of Next Step Conditioning Systems on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Be a class act

Up the calorie-burning ante of any cardio class such as dance, kickboxing or step aerobics by imagining you’re being graded on participation and form. “Following steps and learning new ways to move makes me forget I’m exercising until I realize I’m sweat-soaked,” says Coopersmith. Strive for an A and at the end of the “semester,” you’ll have a 4.0 body.

Feel the slooow burn

In strength training, you contract a muscle, relax it and start again. “Try taking as many as six counts on the release phase. If you don’t let the weight simply drop, the muscle fibers stay more engaged during the entire move because they can’t relax,” says Michelle Kennedy, an exercise physiologist in Washington, D.C. You’ll spend a little extra time on each move, but the better-body results you see are worth it!


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