Friday, August 25, 2006

Dive Bomber Push-Ups

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ive Bombers are great for developing upper-body strength and flexibilty. They can be difficult at first but certainly doable with practice. Be sure to master the form before adding reps.

Watch the video a few times before trying them. Begin with your feet and hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Your hips are in the air and your shoulders back behind your hands.

In a smooth, controlled motion, lower yourself to the ground and project yourself forward and up, to the position you would be in at the top of a forward, extended push-up, looking forward and up.

Now smoothly reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Don't hold your breath. Breathe smoothly.


Note: Dive Bombers are similar but not the same as Hindu push-ups.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Circuit Gyms

Here's an intersting report on circuit gyms. You know, those 20- to 30-minute in-and-out storefronts with exercise stations. Curves is the most well known. But others I didn't know about, men's and women's, are popping up around the country. I checked their web sites (they're given at the end of the report), and a couple of them looked okay (Cuts Fitness, especially). Quick and efficient but with a more serious workout than Curves. Report: go here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Perfect Way to Start Your Day

Karen Giles stopped in yesterday morning. Karen is the Pilates instructor at the gym where we workout. She and Patty have common interests in knitting and fitness and like to compare notes. Karen is middle-aged and of course in great shape, a beautiful woman.

It was early and I asked her if she'd like to try the breakfast shake that Patty and I begin our mornings with. I'm not the greatest chef in the world, but I have great confidence in my breakfast shake. Karen loved it and asked for the recipe.

That makes it unanimous. I have prepared it for quite a few friends now, and every one of them has asked how it's made. Now several of them tell me they start their mornings the same way that Patty and I do.

Want to it try it? Here is how it's made. I think you'll find it delicious and, believe me, it is absolutely loaded with nutrients your body is screaming for.

Breakfast Shake Ingredients for One Person

Put in a blender:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of Ground Flax Seeds (Use a coffee grinder. Be sure to clean the blades afterward because the oil residue will become rancid.)
  • 1 – Measuring scoop (20 grams) of whey protein powder. Get the kind that is almost 100% protein. Unflavored is best because the berries will provide the flavor. We like the Bio Chem brand.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of unflavored, nonfat yogurt – the kind with friendly bacteria. Nancy’s brand is excellent.
  • 1 – cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries (I mix strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.) Get the kind without any sweeteners added.
  • 1-1/4 cups of soy milk, unflavored, no additives.

Blend and enjoy.

Approximate calories: 395

The quantities of ingredients can tweaked upward to increase calories, if that is desired (for young bodybuilders, for example). But most people like it about the way I've explained. Once in a while, I’ll leave out one of the berry varieties and instead add some kind of fruit. But most of the time, I stay with the berry mixture alone. Berries are loaded with antioxidants and you can’t beat their flavor.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Patty and I just returned from a road trip up the California coast and into Oregon. We hiked in redwood forests and stopped at desolate black sand beaches scattered with bleached driftwood. Sometimes you need a reminder of just how beautiful it is.

The picture here is of Patty about to climb one of the redwoods somewhere between Eureka and the Oregon border. Just kidding about the climbing part. But we did have an invigorating hike through groves of these great giants. That anyone is still cutting them down is nothing less than a sin.

And of course we worked out: One motel had an exercise room with a treadmill, stair climber, and stationary bike. We alternated push-ups, sit-ups, and Hindu squats with cardio. Then we found a gym in Crescent City where we could do our regular weights routine.

In some ways it’s good to be home. On the other hand, we found places that we know we’ll revisit. We also saw some that passed the I-could-live-here test.

Traveling the northern California coast? Patty and I couldn't recommend more highly Ravenwood in the heart of Redwood National Park. The tastefully decorated rooms are spotlessly clean and at the best rates you will find. We don't know how they do it. Nice people, too.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

American Heart Assn. Summary of Recommendations for Omega-3 Fatty Acid

People without documented coronary heart disease (CHD):

  • Eat a variety of (preferably fatty) fish at least twice a week.
    Include oils and foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed, canola and soybean oils; flaxseed and walnuts).

Patients with documented CHD:

  • Consume about 1 g of EPA+DHA per day, preferably from fatty fish. EPA+DHA supplements could be considered in consultation with the physician.
  • Patients who need to lower triglycerides:
    2 to 4 grams of EPA+DHA per day provided as capsules under a physician’s care.
  • Patients taking more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from supplements should do so only under a physician’s care. High intakes could cause excessive bleeding in some people.

Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that taking EPA+DHA ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 grams per day (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces deaths from heart disease and all causes. For alpha-linolenic acid, a total intake of 1.5–3 grams per day seems beneficial.

Increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake through foods is preferable. However, coronary artery disease patients may not be able to get enough omega-3 by diet alone. These people may want to talk to their doctor about taking a supplement. Supplements also could help people with high triglycerides, who need even larger doses. The availability of high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements, free of contaminants, is an important prerequisite to their use.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

One-Legged Deadlift

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I love free weights. I occasionally use machines, but I would have no problem skipping that. I think free weights are superior, more functional to real life, and engage more muscles (mostly the core). I also love something that challenges me more than brute strength, ie. flexibility and balance. Hence, the one-legged deadlift.

Try it on your next leg day. I think it is a winner.

Jennifer in Austria

Friday, August 04, 2006

Danger in Some Household Products

Exposure to a chemical compound commonly found in air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, moth balls and other deodorizing products may cause reduced lung function and have a long-term adverse effect on respiratory health, researchers report. Go here.

This isn't surprising. A list of dangers could be extended to household pesticides and herbicides, too. And the thing is, almost none of these products are really necessary. There are many safe and natural alternatives that serve the same purposes.

Here is a convenient list of reliable sources for checking on which products are thought to be harmful. Also listed are sources for safe, inexpensive and natural substitutes. You might want to bookmark it for future reference.