Archive of ‘Fit Kids’ category

When life gets crazy, just cook!

me and boys

While I’m not really a traditional person in the sense of roles within the home, I do prefer to do the cooking and like to provide for my family in this arena. That’s not to say that I have a problem with them fending for themselves as I believe that the best lesson I can teach my kids and husband for that matter is to do for themselves. However, after last week I have to admit that I’m suffering from a bit of “meal guilt.”

You see, last week was crazy in every sense of the word. We had just returned from a long and glorious vacation, we all returned to work . I had two tennis games, one tennis drills practice, doctor appointments for both boys, driving lesson for one boy, driving test the next day, a surprise birthday pastry, and tons of other errands. I was only home two evenings all week and was exhausted. Therefore, it was all for one and one for all in the meal department. I personally ate a lot of egg whites. However, that doesn’t exactly appeal to the rest of my family.

Because this week looks equally crazy and I don’t want my family to starve, I’ve decided to do what I’m famous for when life gets crazy and cook! Following my morning coffee, I set out to prepare meals and snacks that can be eaten all week long and everyone will like. From snacks to dinner, I came, I cooked and now we will all eat!

First, to satisfy my boys that hunger for a quick breakfast, I prepared my yummy and healthy banana bread. For the chocoholics in the house, I made double chocolate brownies. For snacks, I pre-measured non-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit, cut up Celery to be eaten with high protein Greek cream cheese or peanut butter. I also stocked the fridge with my favorite “light and fit” Greek yogurt in a variety of flavors.

For dinner, I’m catering to my boys as once again I will be out several nights playing tennis and I want them to have something yummy to eat. I’ve pre-made a huge casserole of my healthy chicken enchiladas which are on my blog. They will be delicious and only get better as leftovers. Because the way to my husbands heart is meatloaf, I’ve made a lean meatloaf which he will get at least a couple of meals out of. I will top the week off with a light and yummy chicken Parmesan which again makes great leftovers.

For me, I am grilling up some fresh salmon (yes you can re-heat salmon!) which I will eat alongside veggies or throw on a nice green salad. I eat my fish the first part of the week to ensure its quality. I am also grilling a bunch of chicken breast that I will treat the same as my fish and eat with veggies for a nice lean meal. I am roasting Brussels spouts, portabella mushrooms and zucchini as my veggies this week. The key to quick and healthy meals is ensuring that you prep healthy ingredients ahead of time so you never have an excuse to not eat your best.

In addition to my large pre-cooked meals, I have made sure that I have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, portable protein shakes and snacks ready to go. I also bought a lean turkey roast from Costco which is great as a snack of meal. In case I run short on meals, I always make sure that my freezer is packed with healthy proteins such as grilled chicken, fish and beef.

With a little good planning, you can keep up with your busy life while not blowing your diet or starving those you love. So when life gets crazy, just cook!

Time Out Your Technology!

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I don’t have a lot of pet peeves, but if I were to name one of them, I’d have to say it’s people who are addicted to technology. You know who I’m talking about, heck you might be one of them. That person who has to check their phone every few minutes, talks and text while they drive, post their every move on Facebook and is endlessly taking selfies or posting to Instagram, (I still don’t know what Instagram is!) and talks on their cell phone ridiculously loud in any and all public settings. It drives me crazy!

Don’t get me wrong, I like my iPad as much as the next person and am thankful for e-mail for work and business. However, even with my more modest use, I sometimes wonder if it’s too much. I check myself often to ensure I’m keeping my use in check. I also, never talk on my phone in public places as I feel that others shouldn’t have to listen to my personal conversation, I never talk/text and drive, believe that nobody wants to know my every move on Facebook and think that selfies are just a little weird.

I’m sure I’ll offend some by this posting, but honestly is that text, phone call or status update so important that you are willing to sacrifice your kids, husband, family, friends, free time and general ability to socialize? I don’t know how many times I see moms talking on their cell phones while they ignore their little ones. Just today, while dropping my kid at the skatepark a small child almost walked out in front of my car because his mother was wrapped up in a cell phone conversation. Even as she grabbed his hand, she never put down her phone! And then there are the moms that walk ahead of their children talking away while their kids are doing who knows what behind them – pay attention!

I know I’m older than some so maybe cell phones weren’t so big when my kids were little. But I’d like to think that paying attention to my kids is and was more important than chatting away on my cell phone. Studies have shown that children that are talked to from the time they are babies (or even in the womb) grow up to be smarter and have way better communication skills. Maybe that’s why my boys won’t shut up!

As parents, we are supposed to be role models. We tell our kids not to text and drive, however, we (not me) do it constantly in front of them. When I pick up my kids from school, it’s the parents that are on their phones while driving, not the kids! What kind of message are we sending? And is it my imagination or do way too many kids these days lack communication  skills? Way too many are down right rude and disrespectful. I personally think that technology has a lot to do with it.

What is most disturbing to me is people who bring their cell phones to the gym. As a fitness director, I spend my days telling people to get off their cell phones. We have a “no cell phone” rule at our club out of courtesy for others actually trying to work out and relax. But honestly, the fact that we have to talk to so many people about this and that many have a problem when we politely ask them to refrain is downright disturbing.

It’s no surprise to me of course that those people that are on their phones at the gym are often the ones that don’t really work out (hard at least.) Working out is like sleep. If it’s disturbed, it is no good. Work outs, like sleep should be steady and have a rhythm so that you keep that metabolism humming along, kind of like sleep. Excessive rest periods and workouts don’t mix.

Most importantly, as much as the gym can and should be fun, people go their to get their “sweat on” and escape. Therefore, the last thing they want to hear is  someone yapping on their cell phone! So do yourself and others a favor and get off your phone. I promise that your workout will be 100% more effective and rewarding. Your mind and body will thank you and so will others. Your phone should never even be of a fitness floor.

While technology can be fun and useful, it can also be addictive, disruptive and unhealthy. If it is taking the place of regular communication with your kids and family, disturbing others, disrupting your regular activities and taking your precious time, then you may want to make some changes. I  personally put a limit on computer and video game use for my kids, made a “no cell phones upstairs” rule and limited my on iPad use in my family and have noticed how much more we interact.

And when it comes to workouts, if you really want to get fit, leave your technology behind. Your body and health deserves a break from frivolous conversations. And if that phone call is really that important, than at least be courtesy to take your personal phone call off the gym floor and make it quick! Put your workouts, family and friends first because at the end of the day they are really all that matters.

Girls Rule, Boys Drool!

tough mudder

So I was out on my evening run/walk with Bella (my chocolate lab) when I had to take a detour through our local middle school due to a baseball practice on the track. I came across a couple of young girls that had stepped out of their activity in the gymnasium. They were dressed in spandex onesies. I asked the petite girl, all of 13 if she was playing a basketball game hearing the cheers from inside the building. She said “no, we are wresting.” Surprised by her answer I said “oh, that’s great, I didn’t know they have girls wresting!” Furthermore, “they didn’t have girls wresting when I was young.” She quickly responded, “well why not, anyone knows that girls can pound anyone like a pancake just as good as a boy!”

While I have boys, if I had had a girl, this would be her! Sassy, assertive and strong!  In fact, if you were to ask me if I live by any mantras in life I’d say many, and one of them is “Girls Rock!” And when I see girls like this little “spitfire,” I feel that all is good in the world. As we become more educated and enlightened as a society, our girls are reaping the benefits. Moms and Dads are realizing that they are only doing their daughters a favor my raising them to be strong, independent and assertive.

Girls were not meant to just do soft, quiet, pretty activities. Life isn’t soft, quiet and/or pretty. If you want anything in life, you need to go out and get it, especially as a girl. Girls that participate in sports, working out and other competitive activities are more confident, outspoken and strong. And luckily, their parents and society in general is realizing and supporting this.

As a trainer, I’ve had the privilege of training some amazing young girls over the years. Several for specific sports such as competitive cheer-leading, soccer and lacrosse and many for just overall fitness. Young girls not only want to look good, they want to feel good and be strong. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our kids develop into strong, healthy and fit people that will grow up and have a good base of behaviors that will help them live long productive lives.

So how can you help your girls develop qualities that will help them live life to fullest?  Well first off, think outside the box. When you think of activities, don’t just think ones ones that girls would typically engage. Think sports, competition, challenges and things that boys typically do. You never know, it might just be there “cup of tea.” And when people choose their own activities and really enjoy them, they are more likely to continue them, excel in them and flat out love them!

Some ideas for girls activities:

  • Youth Boot Camp
  • Running race
  • Circuit training
  • Mud run
  • Cycling club
  • Trail running club
  • Team sports
  • Hiking
  • Water sports
  • Triathlon club

So if you want your girls to to be strong and confident, get them up and moving and support them in anything and everything even if it is a little “out of the box.” Because girls rule the world!

Furry Fitness

Bella - lake

So those that know me know that one of my favorite things in my life is my beautiful Chocolate lab, Bella. She is my best gal pal, exercise partner and wanna be lap dog. She has to be near me every minute I am at home, sleeps on the floor beside my bed, runs with me and brings nothing but pure joy to my life. She is 6 years old, 93 lbs. of pure muscle and provides me with unconditional love on a daily basis.

I take great pride in keeping her fit and trim and believe that as pet owners we have a responsibility to our pets to keep them healthy, they are our family after all. Unfortunately, more often than not, this is not happening. In fact, 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats are considered obese. If this is your animal, you and you alone are responsible for shortening its life or even possibly killing it.

Dogs are just like people, they have to eat right and exercise. When you adopt or purchase a pet, it is just like having a child. You are responsible for its well being. You have to feed it right and give it daily exercise or it will get fat! Pets, just like people get diseases and these diseases kill animasl and shorten their lives just like they do to humans.

I can’t even count how many dog owners I know that own animals but don’t even walk them. It’s no surprise that not only is the pet overweight, but so are their humans. The kids are playing video games, the adults are watching TV and poor “Fido” is laying around sleeping all day. This is bad for everyone! But worst of all, it is downright cruel. Just like with humans, extra weight on  pets joints can cause all kinds of problems resulting in pain and lack of mobility. This pet did not ask to live in an unhealthy home. You brought them home with the unspoken promise that you would provide a healthy and humane environment for them.

I actually have a personal training client that admits that when she passes a fast food restaurant with her dogs in the car, they actually bark for her to pull through the drive through and buy them a burger – are you kidding me?! Of course, her dogs are overweight and one of them had to just be put down due to cancer. I’m sure all that unhealthy food and lack of exercise didn’t help matters.

If you care at all for your pet, which I’m sure you do, get up and get them (and you) moving! You owe it to them and your family. Unsure as to whether they are overweight? check with your vet. Most people have grown so accustomed to their pet that they might now even notice that they are overweight. Your vet can give you a goal weight that you can work toward. By cutting back their food and getting them outside for some daily exercise, you can get them fit and healthy in no time.

Here are some tips for getting your pet Fit and Healthy:

  • Schedule daily exercise. They will learn to expect it and not let you off the hook. Bella knows that we walk at 5:00 pm every day and somehow always knows and will bark at me until I move. Thanks Bella!
  • Take them to the pet park. Dog parks are everywhere and anywhere these days. This is a great opportunity for your dog to get exercise while also working on their social skills.
  • Exercise with your dog. Might as well “kill two birds with one stone,” and get your workout in while your exercise your pet. On the weekends, I hit the track while my dog chases me and wanders around the area. This way we both burn calories.
  • Take a hike. Dog are great hikers and are a great companion on a family hike.  Best of all, they can drag you up the hill on some of the steep stuff.
  • Hit the water! While not all dogs like water, if yours does, grab a stick and let it fly. My dog will swim for hours and tire herself out for the rest of the day making for a nice quiet even for me!
  • Make it a family affair. All family members should take part in caring for the family pet. If one of my kids is being particularly lazy, he is automatically assigned dog walking duties.

I hope this help you get your pet fit and healthy so that they are with you for years to come!

— Chris Maberto