10 Superfoods That Make Healthy Snacks for Kids

Healthy foods give kids the energy they need on a daily basis while also supplying the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that help their bodies and minds to develop and mature. Since most are constantly on the go with school and play, snack time is one of the absolute best times to introduce healthy foods into their diets. With that said, here are ten quick and convenient nutrient-rich foods that can greatly optimize physical growth, development and mental performance among children, adolescents and young teens alike.

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The Important Role of Metabolism in Weight Loss

Metabolism (or the metabolic rate) is the amount of calories your body uses to fuel all vital functions (breathing, blood pressure and brain activity). These calories are obtained from macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) housed in the foods you eat. Your metabolism is affected by numerous factors, which collectively determine your body weight. If your health and fitness goals are centered on losing weight it’s important to understand the critical role that your metabolism plays.

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How to Exercise with Water Dumbbells

Water-based exercise is an excellent form of cardio that works all the major muscle groups and burns calories while significantly elevating the heart rate, thereby improving your overall level of fitness. Using water dumbbells allows you to perform full-body resistance training which greatly increases the intensity of your workout while also providing a toning effect. Check out this video clip to learn how to exercise with water dumbbells.

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Understanding The Significance of The Calorie

A basic understanding of how calories work is essential to a successful and safe weight loss. Calories are obtained from essential nutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and serve as fuel for the body to carry out vital functions like breathing, eating, and sleeping. In addition, calories fuel all types of physical activity from taking a shower to strenuous exercise.

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The Role of Protein During Dieting

Protein is an essential macronutrient and a key component of a healthy balanced diet, especially for those who exercise regularly. It is primarily responsible for building, repairing, and maintaining cells in the body. Protein is also an important structural component of muscle, bone, skin, blood, and other body tissues and organs.

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Major Conditions Associated with Low Back Pain

At some point in time, almost everyone will experience low back pain as its prevalence greatly increases with age. Exercise plays an essential role in both the prevention and treatment of low back pain but to learn more about this condition, visit The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Major Conditions Associated with Low Back Pain Nina Cherie Franklin

For more of the latest and greatest in health, fitness, and nutrition, "Like" me on Facebook at Nina Cherie, PhD of Complete Health Solutions and follow me on Twitter at @NinaCheriePhD.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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Fat-Shaming: Are Legitimately Unhealthy Fat People Hiding Behind the Term?

The Urban Dictionary has defined 'fat-shaming' as "a term made by obese people to avoid the responsibility to actually take proper care of their body". As an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and research scientist who studies obesity and one who’s battled the disease all my life, I’m not diametrically opposed to this definition in cases where the term 'fat' isn’t used maliciously.

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Infographic: A Complete and Total Snorefest

These days it's pretty clear that a lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, smoking, and other lifestyle-related factors elevate the risk of chronic disease but did you know that a lack of sleep and frequent snoring can also increase disease risk? Yes, it's true! Check out this cool infographic provided by ResMed and see how. When you're done, click it and take the screening test to see if you're at risk.

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3 Common Behaviors That Sabotage Healthy Eating

Your attempts to eat healthy can be thwarted by a lack of understanding of what makes foods "healthy" in the first place. Some foods are considered healthy because they promote proper functioning of the body while others are labeled "healthy" simply because they are lower in calories. It's important to understand that healthy foods are not always fair game and abusing them can do more harm than good when it comes to your efforts to eat healthy. Here are three common behaviors that can really sabotage healthy eating.   

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The Gluten-Free Lifestyle: Is It Really a Fad?

Gluten-free eating is the latest craze among health enthusiasts and folks seeking to lose weight. In fact, if you’ve visited your local grocery store lately, you’ve probably noticed that the shelves are packed full of foods labeled as "gluten-free". Unfortunately, for a large majority of the population—say 90-95 percent—such gluten-free foods are an unnecessary investment.

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Infographic: The Science of Weight Loss

I always emphasize that the most effective way to reduce excess body fat and maintain your overall health and fitness is to moderately reduce your daily calorie intake while engaging in cardiovascular (cardio) exercise and resistance (weight) training programs. Sometimes pictures just speak louder than words and seeing the benefits of gradual weight loss is better than simply believing it.

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Infographic: Sick! Epidemic of Chronic Diseases

I’m a firm believer that humans are designed to be physically active and that not doing so creates energy imbalances within the body that ultimately contribute to obesity and other health problems. While modern times have improved human efficiency and productivity, many of today’s technological advances support inactive behaviors and laziness in general (learn more here). Now, sometimes a picture just speaks louder than words and seeing the real impact of unhealthy behaviors is more powerful than simply just reading about it.

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Drinking Smoothies with Diabetes: What You Should Know

Recently I met with one of my clients who was extremely excited about his new hobby – making "healthy" smoothies. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call him Clarence. Over the course of my consulting with him, Clarence had successfully lost weight and lowered both his blood pressure and cholesterol levels to the point that he’s now able to reduce his usage of medications. This is fantastic considering that Clarence is well in his 70s. 

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How to Reduce the Appearance of a Pear Shape

If you have a pear shape you tend to carry excess weight in your lower body. Excess body fat can make the pear shape look highly exaggerated but a lack of muscle tone makes it look a lot worse. In order to really reduce the appearance of a pear shape you'll need to perform targeted resistance exercises that slim your lower body. Check out this clip for three of these exercises.  

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Three Ways to Find a Gym and Make It Work For You

Just recently, I was asked to respond to a press release out of Richmond, California, detailing the experience of a Bay area woman asked to cover up while working out at a local Planet Fitness due to potential "gym intimidation". Surprisingly enough, this request was actually in direct adherence to this chain’s highly publicized no "judgment" policy, which doesn’t allow members to wear certain clothes or even perform certain exercises.

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Wheatgrass Juice: An All-Natural Blood Tonic that Boosts Immunity

If you’ve visited your local health food store lately, you’ve probably seen fresh wheatgrass juice being sold at the juice bar. Wheatgrass juice is prepared by extracting juice from the mature sprouts of wheat seeds by way of a cold press juicer. When consumed regularly, this juice offers a multitude of health and nutritional benefits. Here are some of the many evidence-backed effects of wheatgrass juice.

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Eight Super-Simple Ways to Get More Veggies Into Your Diet

Like many folks, I used to hate vegetables and then, oddly enough, I became a vegan. Now, that was well over a decade ago. While I’m no longer a vegan, my past adoption of this lifestyle truly changed the ways in which I approached and embraced vegetable eating. It’s undeniable that veggies are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, as they are rich in disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As such, hating them is really not an option if you’re seeking to achieve and maintain good health.

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Two-Day Fasting: A Viable Option for Healthy Eating

Two-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting regimen that’s associated with exceptionally high levels of adherence. What makes two-day fasting especially beneficial is that it encourages substantial reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and visceral (belly) fat, which is the type of fat that's linked to disease. I’ve practiced two-day fasting and other forms of intermittent fasting for years and I often recommended this way of eating to serious clients who are committed to maintaining a healthy body weight in the long-term.

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How To Choose Your Weight Training Equipment and Exercises

In order to establish a solid weight training routine you'll need to strategically choose your exercises and equipment. However, you shouldn't do this until you've carefully established your weight training goals. In order to reap the full benefits of weight training, all your major muscle groups need to be taxed. There are many muscle groups in the body but to keep it simple I'll refer to seven of them as major muscle groups: chest, back, deltoids (shoulders), triceps, biceps, lower body/legs, and abdominals.  

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Exercising To Lower Cholesterol

In addition to eating the right foods, you can greatly improve your cholesterol with regular physical activity in the form of exercise. In fact, exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce triglycerides (fat in the blood) and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. There are two types of exercise that are especially beneficial: cardiovascular   exercise and resistance training.

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What You Need to Know About Being "Big-Boned"

Ever heard the statement: "I'm not fat, I’m just big boned?" Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself.

Unfortunately, the "big-boned" theory is one that’s all too commonly misconstrued by people as justification for being overweight or obese when, in all actuality, they are simply carrying too much body fat. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are certainly people with a predisposition to carrying excess fat and many who naturally have big bones, so being slightly overweight may be inevitable for some. However, the average person is not predisposed to weighing in excess of 300 pounds.

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Three Easy and Convenient Ways to Stay Fit When Traveling

If you regularly engage in exercise training, traveling can really interrupt your routine, especially if your lodging spot is devoid of fitness equipment. Personally, I can recall a four-day visit to Tupelo, Mississippi during which I stayed at a family member’s small ranch surrounded by nothing but outhouses and red dirt roads. Adding insult to injury, at a temperature of nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it rained the entire time I was there, which left me without the option to run outdoors.

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How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes in a Healthy Way

A few years back one of my clients asked if it were possible to cook candied sweet potatoes in a "healthy" way? I chuckled a little at first, as the words "candied" and "healthy" generally contradict each other.

However, after having heard her usual recipe, roughly comprised of "ten or so cups of sugar" and multiple sticks of butter in one of those full size deep table pans, I realized that her question was asked with good reason. Unfortunately, this woman is not at all alone, as many people have been raised to believe that candied sweet potatoes should be prepared this way, touting that they only eat them 2 or 3 times a year as an excuse for indulging.

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Hammer Curls

Hammer curls are great for sculpting the forearm muscles and they also works the biceps on the front of the arm (learn how well-developed biceps can reduce the appearance of jiggly arm flab by clicking here).

This exercise is very easy to perform. Simply stand or sit on an exercise ball while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in.

To complete the movement, curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders either simultaneously or alternately and then return to the starting position.

It’s important to keep your abdominal muscles engaged while performing this exercise.

You should also keep your elbows as close to your waist as possible during the movement (click here for more exercises that work the arms). 

For more of the latest and greatest in health, fitness, and nutrition, "Like" me on Facebook at Nina Cherie, PhD of Complete Health Solutions and follow me on Twitter at @NinaCheriePhD.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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My Unintentional 20-Pound Weight Loss

I’ve been actively controlling my body weight for nearly 20 years and it isn’t easy as I’m a big-boned, pear-shaped woman who fights the disease of obesity every day. However, I’ve found great solace in managing my body weight and ultimately my health with sensible dietary strategies and a large volume of exercise. Over the years, I’ve learned some things about myself when it comes to eating:

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Eating Unhealthy Foods and Losing Weight: Is This Even Possible?

A while back someone asked me "Is it at all possible to lose weight without eating vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods?" Believe it or not, my answer was a firm "YES!"

In fact, many people believe that losing weight requires continuous consumption of "healthy" foods but contrary to popular belief, healthy eating isn't at all necessary for weight loss. Weight loss is simply a matter of creating calorie deficits and this can easily be achieved with everyday consumption of unhealthy nutritionally devoid foods. Now, while it is possible to lose weight this way, it's definitely not a sensible long-term approach.

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Infographic: Are You Losing the Dieting Game?

Research shows that 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States is trying to lose weight yet nearly 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese suggesting that the popularized dieting and exercise programs aren’t working. Why aren’t they working? Well, it’s primarily due to a lack of compliance, which, in most cases, explains why over 75 percent of individuals who resolve to lose weight each year abandon their weight loss programs by the end of January.

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Establishing a Weekly Workout Plan

People often ask me for advice and tips on starting a workout routine for weight loss, fitness, or general health. I always emphasize that the most effective way to lose weight and maintain your overall health and fitness is to moderately reduce your daily calorie consumption while engaging in cardiovascular (cardio) exercise and resistance (weight) training programs.

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Three Simple Tips for Living Healthy in the Summer

With the summertime here and in full effect I hope you’re sticking with your New Year’s resolutions to stay healthy and physically fit. Given that the summer is a season of vacations, picnics, cookouts, happy hour, pizza by the slice, ice cream, sugary frozen beverages, and lazy days outdoors, it's easy to slack off from practicing the healthy behaviors that brought you to where you are today.

As you’re enjoying your summer, take full advantage of everyday opportunities to remain healthy. Here are three quick and easy tips for doing this.

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How Sit-Ups and Leg Raises Can Be Bad For You

Excessive core work in the form of sit-ups, leg raises, and the like is actually bad for you because these exercises cause deep muscles in the front region of the hips (deep hip flexors) to become shortened and tight. These "deep" muscles are not visible and cannot be felt as they are located underneath the abdominal muscles in front and the spinal muscles in back (see the image below).

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Are You Overestimating Your Daily Calorie Expenditure?

For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you’ll know that I often post images of my daily calorie expenditure by way of my Nike+ Fuelband. However, what you may not know is that I actually have a love-hate relationship with this device. While the Fuelband and similar fitness-tracking devices (Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up) serve as great motivational tools that can greatly increase your level of adherence to regular physical activity and exercise, overestimating your daily calorie expenditure by way of these devices could hinder continued progress.

With that said, before you get overly excited about how many calories you burn each day, consider these facts.

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Home-Style Pressure Cooked Pinto Beans with Smoked Turkey

Like other types of beans, pinto beans are an incredibly cheap yet all-too commonly forgotten source of protein. They are also rich in countless health-promoting micronutrients including B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. In addition to their unique nutritional composition, pinto beans contain over 60 percent of a day’s worth of dietary fiber in a single cup.

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Health and Fitness Tips: August 2012

A Point to Ponder:

'Tis the season of fad diets promising dramatic weight loss results.  No matter what you’ve heard, exercise is the most beneficial way to lose weight and keep it off.  Dieting without exercise seldom leads to successful weight loss in the long run.  In fact, most weight loss diets fail, with more weight gained than before the dieting began.  Exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling may seem to take forever when it comes to weight loss but, in the end, they work and failure NEVER results so long as you continue.  Effortlessly burning 250 calories a week with exercise will lead to a weight loss of over 20 pounds in a year and you can always increase the amount of calories you burn if you wish to lose weight faster.  If permanent weight loss is your goal and you don’t like to exercise, you need to learn to love it.

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Seven Food Labeling Tactics That Are Making People Sick

For well over 20 years the eyes and ears of dieters, health enthusiasts and the general public have been continuously bombarded with confusing and oftentimes misleading packaging and labeling information courtesy of the food and beverage industry. Unfortunately, successful employment of such tactics and resultant changes in peoples’ everyday food intake patterns have paralleled the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related health problems.

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Portion Size Essentials for Weight Management

Numerous studies show that a lot of people overeat due to a misunderstanding of portion sizes compared to serving sizes. It's important to understand that many pre-portioned foods actually contain multiple servings. Getting into the habit of controlling your portion sizes isn't as difficult as you might think. Here's a quick and easy guide for judging serving sizes for some of the more commonly underestimated foods.

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A Simple Guide to Eating Sensibly

I always emphasize that eating sensibly is an absolute must for successful weight loss, long-term weight management, and overall good health. But, what does it actually mean to eat sensibly? Eating sensibly essentially involves incorporating a diet that’s rich in nutrient-dense foods, which are those that supply an abundance of high-quality "nutrients" relative to the number of calories they provide. It’s actually simpler than you might think. Here’s my quick and easy guide to sensible eating.

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The Power of the Pineapple

You may find it hard to believe that something as juicy and refreshingly sweet as pineapple could actually be good for you. Due to its unique composition of nutrients, this tropical fruit has long served therapeutic purposes in traditional medicine. Regularly eating pineapple naturally boosts immunity and fights disease, aids in protein digestion, and greatly alleviates the effects of inflammation associated with injury and inflammatory disorders like arthritis.

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The Skinny on Being Fat

So you think you’ll never get fat because you’ve always been skinny? Do you consider your body weight to be 'healthy' because your bathroom scale says so? Well, if you’re slacking off on healthy habits like exercise and other forms of physical activity, you’re sadly mistaken as you are indeed living a sedentary lifestyle. One of the most dangerous effects of a sedentary lifestyle is being fat, even when you’re skinny.

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Research

Research Nina Cherie Franklin PhDDr. Nina Cherie Franklin is a research scientist with over 15 years of academic, clinical and industry experience in health and wellness promotion and programming with extensive expertise in working with minority and underserved communities. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), a Master of Science degree in Movement Science and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Kinesiology, Nutrition and Rehabilitation Science, both from UIC. Dr. Franklin is also a board certified and licensed Clinical Massage Therapist (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork), a certified Health Fitness Specialist (American College of Sports Medicine), and a certified Group Exercise Instructor (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America).

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5 Tips For Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

With all the freshly baked cookies, cakes and pies that surround you during the holiday season this may not be the best time to start a rigorous weight loss program. However, there is absolutely no reason why you have to pack on the extra pounds. In order to manage your body weight during the holidays, calorie management is an absolute must.

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Why You Need to Change Your Exercise Routine Regularly

Ever think to yourself, "I've been exercising regularly and eating right but I still haven’t lost the weight?" You're certainly not alone. Many people are finding their weight loss battle to be quite difficult in spite of their exercise and dieting efforts. Although weight loss is primarily a function of calorie management, whether you're exercising or dieting, there are many other factors that can influence your ability to lose weight.

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About Me

About Me Nina Cherie Franklin PhDDr. Nina Cherie Franklin is a native of the Englewood community on Chicago's South Side. Like many African-American women and girls she struggled with obesity, leading a lifestyle of physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Inspired by her mother at an early age, Dr. Franklin distanced herself from many peer influences and had the wherewithal to affect real change by embracing healthier habits that have become her life’s passion and profession.

After graduating from high school, Dr. Franklin attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and majored in Kinesiology, the scientific study of human movement. During her tenure at UIUC, she also became a certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Science degree, Dr. Franklin worked in numerous fitness centers and gyms as a manager, trainer and exercise instructor. During this time, she also pursued a Diploma in Clinical Massage Therapy at the Soma Institute in Chicago. After graduating and completing her national board certification exam, Dr. Franklin launched her own business, Complete Image, Inc., for which she provided personal and group training, fitness consulting, and clinical massage therapy services.

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Is Your Girdle Doing More Harm than Good?

For centuries girdles or "body shapers" have been mass-produced to meet the needs of women wishing to easily and effortless achieve the coveted hourglass figure. But, for the first time ever these body shaping apparatuses are being touted as spot reducing, fat burning tools that promote efficient weight loss and improve posture while eliminating 'toxins' through sweat. So I ask: If you can achieve this much with a body shaper, tummy control girdle, waist cincher, or thigh shaper why workout at all?

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Building a Sculpted Lower Body

The lower body is basically made up of three parts: the gluteals, thighs, and legs. The gluteals are comprised of several muscles that attach to the hip joint: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest gluteal muscle and is usually referred to as the 'butt'. The thighs are comprised of multiple muscles that attach to both the hip and knee joints. The muscles on the front of the thigh are collectively called the quadriceps while the muscles on the back of the thigh are called the hamstrings.

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The “Freshmen 15”: Six Simple Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight

With every passing year a new pool of incoming college freshmen are faced with the sudden risk of double digit weight gain commonly known as the "freshmen 15". While some folks call it fiction, the fact of the matter is that many students do experience weight gain during the first couple of years of college oftentimes due to a newly found food independence and subsequent changes in customary eating patterns, social influence, peer pressure and even stress. Given the ever-lurking threat of the dreaded freshmen 15, here's a crash course on avoiding all that unnecessary weight gain.

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Stretch Less, Exercise More

There is a popular belief that stretching before exercise is important for injury prevention and muscle recovery, however, there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove this. In fact, current research shows that stretching before exercise impairs muscle strength and performance for up to 30 minutes.  As such, if you implement the time consuming ritual of stretching to warm up prior to exercising, now is a good time to change it up.

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Infographic: Shop Smart & Fill Up Your Cart: Your Healthy Grocery Shopping List

If you're trying to eat healthy but having a difficult time finding the right foods to buy, a trip to the grocery store can be quite intimidating. For weight management and overall good health, it’s important to eat a wide variety of food sources of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. For the most part, these foods should be relatively high in essential antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Luckily, your local grocery store houses hundreds of foods that meet these criteria but you have to know what to look for.

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African-American Women Have A Harder Time Losing Weight? Give Me a Break!

Just recently, I reviewed a press release of sorts on the Huffington Post suggesting "African-American women who follow the same diet as white women and exercise just as much tend to lose less weight because they burn fewer calories". The information in this release is based on a recent scientific article published in the International Journal of Obesity

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Implementing Resistance Workouts for a Beautifully Healthy Face

Cleansers, moisturizers, toners and treatments come a dime dozen but healthy, beautiful facial skin starts from within. As you may already know, eating a diet comprised of protein-rich, vitamin-loaded, and antioxidant-dense foods, can greatly improve the clarity, texture, and overall appearance of your face (click here for 6 simple, delicious ways to get amazingly radiant skin). However, you might not know that combining such a well-balanced diet with regular resistance exercise is one of the most critical steps towards a beautiful face.

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East-West Curried Seafood Stew

Are you a fan of bouillabaisse? Well, prior to meeting my husband, I’d actually never had bouillabaisse, which is surprising since I’ve always been quite the foodie. Now, I’m somewhat of a connoisseur. Bouillabaisse is essentially a type of seafood stew that’s packed full of veggies, beans, herbs and spices. Using a pressure cooker to prepare such stew can substantially reduce your cooking time while also preserving all the savory flavors. Here’s a fun and delicious pressure cooker bouillabaisse recipe that’s perfect if you’re in the mood for something exotic: "East-West Curried Seafood Stew".

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Three Effective Ways to Slim and Tone Your Inner Thighs with Dumbbells

When it comes to slimming the inner thighs and burning fat in this area many people think about those inner and outer thigh machines at the gym. Contrary to popular belief, there's no way to spot reduce inner thigh fat. However, you can perform targeted resistance exercises to sculpt the inner thigh muscles giving them a slimmer shapelier appearance. Check out this clip in which I demonstrate three that are highly effective. 

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Holiday Weight Gain: Eating Too Much or Stress?

The holidays are a popular time for eating socially, which oftentimes leads to unwanted weight gain (click here for simple eating strategies that prevent holiday weight gain). However, when it comes to holiday weight gain, overeating isn’t always the culprit, as numerous other factors like physical inactivity can also play a role. Of all the factors that can cause you to pack on the pounds during the holiday season one of the most overlooked is stress.

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How to Perform Push-Ups

Push-ups are great for sculpting your chest, shoulders and triceps which improves the overall appearance of your upper body. However, many women complain of soreness behind their breasts (chest soreness) after performing them. Check out this video clip to learn how to perform push-ups. You'll also learn why you may experience chest soreness after performing them.

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Intense Exercise Training During a Juice Fast? Is This Even Possible?

Fasting with fresh vegetable and fruit juices is an excellent method of detoxification or a way of introducing a comprehensive lifestyle change (diet modification, exercise training or weight loss). What's cool about juice fasting is that you reap the benefits of a rested digestive system without depriving your body of essential vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants that promote overall good health.

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What You Can Do About Uterine Fibroids: My Personal Insights and Professional Advice

Back in 2007 while pregnant with my son I found out I had a single uterine fibroid that increased in size throughout the progression of my pregnancy. I didn’t sweat it as my obstetrician-gynecologist assured me that the fibroid would shrink after childbirth. It did. Unfortunately, my fibroid issues took a real turn for the worst from 2010 to 2012 during which time I had three consecutive miscarriages.

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How to Make a Traditional Conch Salad from Scratch

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting any one of the 30 or so inhabited islands of the Bahamas, you have likely either had or heard of conch salad, as it’s indeed their signature dish. Now, a good conch salad is one that’s packed full of raw/live conch, veggies, citrus juices and zesty spices for maximum flavor and utterly enjoyable satiation. During one of my visits to the beautiful island of Nassau, I had the privilege of having a full batch of traditional conch salad made fresh for me by Mr. Tyrone Culmer, one of the towns best culinary talents, as part of an exclusive event catered by Circa1890 Lounge.

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8 Reasons Why Women Should Weight Train

Are you afraid of weight training? Do you think it's too hard or that it will "bulk you up"? Do you find cardio exercise to be a better use of your workout time? In many instances, the answer to these questions keeps most women out of the gym and away from weights. However, in spite of what many women believe, weight training is absolutely critical for weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall good health. Here are 8 reasons why weight training is especially beneficial for women:

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The DASH Healthy Eating Pyramid

I've been advocating healthy eating for over 15 years and the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) eating plan still remains to be one of only a few that I've ever endorsed. This plan was originally developed to protect against high blood pressure but has been shown to also prevent obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and numerous forms of cancer.  

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The Ab Bench Back Extension

The back extension exercise is a great way to work the lower back and other muscles of the core for greater balance and stability. Performing this exercise on a Roman chair ab bench, not only works the lower back but it also works the glutes and the hamstring muscles located on the back of the thighs. Check out this clip to learn how to perform the back extension on an ab bench. 

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3 Ways To Achieve Successful Weight Loss For Free

In spite of what the hundreds of weight loss books, videos, diets and subpar exercise programs on the mainstream market want you to believe, losing weight does not require a significant financial investment. Take it from someone who experienced a 65-pound permanent weight loss as a broke teenager raised in a broke family in the Englewood Community on Chicago’s South Side. I achieved weight loss by way of a cheap 10-speed bike, 6 small dumbbells, 4 limbs, home cooked meals courtesy of my mama, a little portion control and a whole lot of dedication. That’s it!

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How to Build Your Cycling Speed

Whether performed outdoors or indoors on a stationary machine, cycling is an excellent exercise for increasing your cardiovascular fitness and overall health. For maximum benefits, it is a good practice to continually work towards building your cycling speed. Check out this video clip to learn how you can easily do this.

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3 Ways To Rid Your Body of Stubborn Back Fat

Not satisfied with the appearance of your back? Do you have excess 'flab' lingering around your lower back and sides that you simply can’t get rid of? What about your upper back? Are you tired of turning around in the mirror only to see flab hanging over your bra strap? If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions and are one of the many individuals out there struggling with an unsightly appearance of stubborn back fat, read on to learn why it occurs and what you can do about it.

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How to Perform Cardio Exercise the Right Way

Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise training is one of the most effective ways to increase your daily calorie expenditure, which is essential for weight loss and long-term weight management. When coupled with resistance training, cardio exercise also improves body composition by reducing body fat percentage (click here for more information on body composition and body fat percentage guidelines). In addition, through its beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels, cardio exercise reduces the risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and various forms of cancer. Although the optimal amount of cardio exercise varies from person to person, there are some key factors that need to be considered when implementing cardio exercise.

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Delightful Pastries: An Enjoyable Healthy Eating Experience in Chicago

Is it at all possible to combine the words "nutritious" and "bakery" into a single sentence? Believe it or not, it is!

Last week I was invited to attend a tasting at Delightful Pastries, a popular Chicago bakery located in the historic Old Town neighborhood on the city’s North Side. Although this bakery has been widely popular among health conscious folks in the Chicagoland area for over a decade, it was the very first time I’d ever dined there.

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The Best Exercise Equipment for Toning Your Hips

When it comes to toning your hips you need to choose resistance training equipment that allows you to work all of the major muscle groups in this area. These muscle groups include the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings as well as the muscles located on your inner and outer thighs. Check out this clip for some of the best equipment and exercises for toning your hips.

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BungyPumps: A Great Way to Burn More Calories and Lose More Weight With Walking

Walking is by far one of the most common types of cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, as it’s easy to perform, requires little or no equipment, and can conveniently be incorporated into your everyday routine. Through its beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels, regular walking has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of obesity and numerous chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and various forms of cancer. 

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How to Get More Out of Your Walk

Walking is by far one of the most common types of cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, as it’s easy to perform, requires little or no equipment, and can conveniently be incorporated into your everyday routine. Through its beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels, regular walking has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of obesity and numerous chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and various forms of cancer.

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