Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Easy, Light, Vitamin-Packed:Roasted Beet Salad

Last weekend at the farmers market, I picked up a bunch of beets on a whim. I love beets, but I have never tried to prepare them myself before, so I was going out on a limb. Beets are actually quite cheap: they were about $2 for a bunch of 6 small beets with the greens on. Here's how I made a delicious roasted beet salad!

Preheat oven to 425 F

1) Wash and scrub the beets meticulously. I thought I washed mine well, but I tried roasting the tops along with slices of the beets and they were grainy.

2) Cut off the leafy parts to use in salads and smoothies

3) Slice your beets into quarter inch slices, and discard the tops with fibrous roots. I actually cut up the stalks and roasted those, but the branching stalk immediately attached to the beet was very tough and just compost those.

4) Toss beets (and about a half a chopped onion) in a few tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of sea salt, and any other herb you'd like (rosemary, thyme, dill, or fennel would all be good).

5) Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Turn about mid-way through. You know when they're done when you can easily poke them with a fork (sorta like checking potatoes).

6) Load up a plate, top with a little balsamic vinegar, ANY curd cheese (I used queso fresco, but you could also use feta, goat cheese, etc) and enjoy!

So easy and delicious! I roasted all my beets, and now I have an extra-special topping for my lunch salads this week :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lifting for Core Strength

The most important chunk of your body is by far your core. I hardly think anyone could dispute that--having a strong core is important to maintain form while doing cardio such as running, stair-climbing, rowing, and biking. It's also very important to have good core strength while doing lifts that are primarily for your lower body, since most of your those moves are going to impact your spine if your core muscles aren't in shape. Have you ever seen someone trying to do dead-lifts with a hunched back? It's almost as painful to watch as it is to do. At least it'll hurt in the long-term.

Here's a workout that's sure to help your core strength. Make sure you focus on pinching your back while doing the facepulls, to keep the work out of your biceps. My ballet teacher would always say "keep your wings down and back" That's pretty much right on the money. Making every rep slow and deliberate also helps work the core, especially on those single arm dumbbell presses--you'll feel the pull while you struggle to keep everything in line.

Do these as circuits, so that 1a, 1b, and 1c are done consecutively without rest. Rest in between sets, but only from 30 seconds to 2 minutes MAX. For the 2a and 2b, do not rest at all. Use this a a burst of cardio for some extra fat burning, and make sure your weight is light enough that you can do at 5 reps on at least the first 4 sets.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Low-Impact Tabata Workout

My plantar fasciitis (knock on wood) has been very calm recently, but I thought I'd do another low-impact workout in the hopes that it helps inspire someone whose having issues with jumping to sweat it out anyways! I know it's frustrating when you're mentally motivated to work out, but your body won't cooperate-- especially when your feet or knees are the problem. Well don't let it deter you, because you can still be healthy and make progress without running, jumping, or heavy-lifting. 

Here's a workout that will (hopefully) be gentle enough on your lower joints so that you can complete the full 21 minute workout, feel accomplished, and not exacerbate your injuries.  

Side note: If you are having plantar fascitiis issues, you might want to replace the calf raises with something else upper body, maybe bicep curls or delt raises.