Fitness Fun Friday #18

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Sunday, May 31, 2009

I know it's Sunday... it's a little delayed, but I've had my coffee this morning, so I'm all set to rock and talk exercise :) And yes, in case you're wondering, coffee has been proven to be beneficial for exercise, just make sure to not add any sugar to it :)

So, if you read the other recent post, you know a little about posture, stretching, and the general importance of warming up and waking up your gluteal muscles. Your butt muscles do two main movements, which include extending your thigh backward (behind you) rotating it both inwards (toward your other leg) and outwards.

It makes sense to me to warm up and do these motions with your bodyweight, before you even start any type of weight resistance exercise. To some of you, these simple motions may be enough of a workout already, and to others... well I have some more difficult exercises set up if you're feeling saucy, spirited, and challenged. Remember, weight training is all about progression.

I wish these videos were of me, but my camera's memory card is too small to really be effective. These videos are all over the Internet, so feel free to search and see some more if you have any questions. Most of the people are doing them correctly.

So to start, after stretching out your hip flexors, turn over and do a supine gluteal bridge. Your back should be flat on the ground, your hips rotated to take out your lumbar curve (smoosh it into the ground), and your knees should be bent. This motion fires the butt muscles to lift your pelvis up and off the ground. It also works the hamstrings, and part of your lumbar spine erectors. Try to squeeze your butt, and use it to lift you off the ground. You want your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line (diagonal). Hold for 5 seconds, and slowly descend and repeat. If you are feeling it only in your back, reset to the starting position, and really, really concentrate on lifting up with your butt :)
Try for 15 reps, nice and slow. I can almost guarantee you'll feel it.



After this, flip over and assume a 'on all fours' position. This is actually a dog style type move, aptly called fire hydrants. As hilarious as it sounds, you need to picture yourself next to a fire hydrant, and you just drank a gallon of water (hey it is summer). Mentally picture rotating your hip, and lifting your leg out to your side. Focus on lifting the knee to the side, like it's attached to the ceiling. Your back should remain as flat as Kansas on a Tuesday, and no rotation in the back. It's ok to shift your weight slightly, but your core and abs should be tight during the whole movement. You are a human table, built for support. Try for 10-20 reps on each leg, doing all 10 on one leg, and then the other. Our goal here is to try to feel a burn in the side of your hips.


Next, without any rest. Take one leg, and extend it backwards, pointing your toe. It's as if you are pointing to something directly behind you. All of the movement should come from your butt and thigh, and once again... there is no twisting or rotation in your lumbar spine or back. I know it's a little tough, but with a little practice you'll learn how to do the movements directly. Do these for 20 reps each side, alternating each leg.

Grab a drink of water. How do you feel? Do your glutes feel worked? Awesome.
Now for some of you, this is enough already. You might be sore later in the day, or tomorrow. That is perfectly fine. To be super cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was this Lego Dinosaur :)

For those of you wanting a bit more, I have some crazy stuff for you. They are exactly how I like my workout music and BBQ chicken... upbeat, simple, and with a bit of kick.

The first one is bodyweight squats. I would prefer that you do them onto a flat bench, so that you are certain your hips are to parallel (if you are of average height). Most people do not dip down enough when squatting, and that's a problem. You want your thighs to be parallel to the ground... like I could place a tennis ball on them, and it won't roll toward your knee. Remember, your butt extends your legs back, which is basically going from a sitting to standing position. If this isn't challenging enough, try to do a one legged version. Pistol squats work on your balance, and lowering yourself down to a sitting position is especially taxing. You'll love it :) Try 2-3 sets of 15 reps... either together, or with each leg.



Next up is box step ups. This is basically placing one leg up on a box... once again so the front leg is parallel to the ground... and using ONLY that leg to push you up onto the box. If you lean forward, or cheat to boost yourself with your other leg... you'll lose that effectiveness. Do all of the reps on one leg, and then the other. It's much more difficult that way. Just don't hate me :)



And lastly, we have reverse lunges. I like reverse lunges more than ever, because it attempts to stretch the opposite hip flexor as you do the movement (your left hip flexor stretches as you work the right leg). Using your bodyweight or some hand dumbbells, take a step back, and land on that opposite knee lightly. I say lightly, and it would be awesome if you barely put any weight on it, because then ALL of your bodyweight is on the front leg being worked. It definitely works the quadriceps and glutes more that way, and they have to work to stabilize you.


Alright, well that's all I have for today. It's supposed to be 85 and sunny, and I'm going over to a baseball game. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll catch up with you guys later :)

Cheesecake Lemon Aide

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If I think back to about this time last year, I had a pretty mean cheesecake recipe. Yup, there it is. It has saved me time and time again, and probably my favorite part about it is how easy it is to throw together. I bake a lot of my desserts for "Celebration Fridays" for the staff and patients, and like a couple other hundred things I do... I kinda have to wait until the last minute.

So yeah it gets to be like 9pm on a Thursday, and I'm like... "Oh man, I have to still do that!"

It's a good thing cheesecake requires as much brainpower as watching old Ren&Stimpy cartoons.

So what's up with the different deliciousness this time? Well, now that summer is coming on full tilt, I decided to wish spring a bon voyage with a spring flavor. Lemon. Now, is lemon a spring flavor? To me it is :)

Also, another thing you might notice is that unless it's on s'more's, I try to avoid graham crackers. I dunno, they just taste like cardboard... and totally look like it. So, I try to experiment with different bases for my cheesecake.

Today's culprit are: Animal Crackers... which I think is a pretty cool idea. Who doesn't love animal crackers? I mean they are right there from your youth, next to Kool-Aid, Bugles, and Creepy Crawlers/EZ Bake Ovens. And I found these without trans-fat... which is kind of a special find, seeing how they can sit on the shelf for a little while :)

Animal Cracker Lemon Cheesecake
Recipe by Dr. Adam

Crust:
-1 - 1.5 cups animal crackers, crushed into small almost powder pieces
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
-1/4 cup sugar

Filling:
-2 pkg. 80z low fat cream cheese
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 zest of one lemon (or to taste)
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-1 Tsp vanilla

-2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350*. Lightly butter a small 8 inch springform pan, or a 12 cup muffin tin (in this case).

To make the crust, place the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together in a small bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix together gently, until the crumbs become moist and stick together. Feel free to use your hands and combine together well. Take out small tablespoon portions and press into the bottom of the muffin tin or springform pan. Press down firmly, making sure it covers the bottom completely.

For the filling, lightly beat the softened cream cheese until it becomes smooth, and add the lemon zest and sugar to the mix. Increase the speed to medium until you don't see any granulation or sugar specks anymore.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and lemon juice, and continue to mix the mixture until it becomes smooth, perhaps another 2 minutes or so. Make sure you scrape the bowl with a spatula, and everything is equally combined.

Pour the filling into the tin or pan, so that it travels about halfway up the pan. With a muffin tin, I just poured equal amounts into the 12 cups.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick, broom straw, or cake tester comes out clean. Make sure not to overbake these guys. For a springform pan, I suppose the time would be closer to 35-40 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack, and then place in the fridge for a few hours to totally firm up. Feel free to top with fruit or jam... or just enjoy them on their own :)
Thanks to everyone for wishing me a warm welcome back. I know it's been awhile, but I've had some serious stuff to attend to. I have done some serious time organizing, and am trying to balance out all the cool things I like to do, and that includes hanging with awesome food friends. I hope you all had an awesome weekend, and let summer and grilling begin :) Oh, and if anyone ever has some recommendations for baked goods you'd like to see in a doctor's office, well let me know :)

A Prequel to Fitness Fun Fridays #18

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ok, finally... it's almost time for the 'Baby Got Back' workout. Yup, the one that most of you have been waiting for, and just in time for full swing summer and shorts wearing weather. Should I have done this a little while ago? Probably :) But hey, I was a tad busy with... ya know moving and stuff

I was thinking of doing this, and maybe the future exercise heavy posts with the help of a digital camera... I think it would save me a ton of typing, and you might get more out of it. I might give it a try and see if it's as easy as I think it might be... oh, I'm def crossing my fingers on that one .

You might not be happy with this, but lets just throw the question out there in the open...

"Why is my/your butt weak/soft/small?"

Well, I answer that question just like I would for any other muscle. Muscles do one of two things, they either get bigger, or smaller. There's a good chance you butt has been asleep for quite some time, and you may not even know how to use it. It's kind of like putting your arm in a cast when you broke it on the playground. If you don't use your arm, it would atrophy, and it would take some time to learn how to use it again.

I just think the glutes are hard to train, because you can't see them... unless you really turn your head around :)

We sit all day. Like 40 plus hours a week, and maybe more. So... that puts our glutes in a non-active position, and keeps them elongated. On the flip side, our hip flexors... the antagonist (the opposite muscle group... think hero vs. villain for a second) become short and stiff.

Look at your legs right now. Don't your hips feel tight? Exactly.

So what do we have to do before we even start to work out the butt muscles?

We have to stretch out our hips, and then learn to flex and use our glutes. In our world, the villain Skeletor muscles are overruning your body, and your He or She-Man muscles are just learning how to enter the game. We have to even the score up before we attempt to rock and roll.

So for the rest of this post... I'm going to talk about stretches and how to get your body ready to do a good butt workout. I'm doing this for two reasons:
  1. It would make a wicked long post if I did it all together, and you might get lost... and I might too :)
  2. I really want to try this video thing out and see how it works :)
Does that sound good? Cool.

Alright, pour yourself a nice glass of reading... and grab some floor space in a bit. If you don't feel like getting up... well, I can't help you with that :)

We have to stretch our hip flexors. Stand on up as you would normally, with a chair or sturdy piece of furniture near an arms reach from you. With ample space behind you, take a big step backward, and slowly land on that knee. You should be in a kind of 'hurdle' position. Like an exaggerated kneel. Balance yourself carefully, keep your chest and head up, and make sure you front leg is close to 90* to the floor.

Using your back leg, push your body forward, so most of your weight is on your knee and back leg, and your torso and upper body glide forward. You should feel your back leg extend backwards, and feel a pull in the front of that back leg.
Do you think you got it? You probably didn't even know that muscle was there :)

Congratulations... you are stretching your hip flexors, and are well on your way to having the butt that you, your friends, and probably half the cashiers at Target always wanted :)

But you haven't even done an exercise yet? I know. I understand. But you have to realize that we just took the first step towards getting the glutes to wake up. We shifted the power a little bit more towards them, and gave them a Texas hand with an ace or two. They are almost ready to start working.

Well what's next? The exercises and movements to help your train your butt. But... haha get it?

I think I'm going to wait until next post. I know you're anxious. But it's quite a bit to write and work on. Don't worry... it'll happen. And you'll dig it, I promise.

Thanks for all the welcome backs. I missed you guys too, and it feels good to start writing again. I'll mosey on around all of your blogs soon :) I'm out like trout on this one.

Coming Back...

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Posted by Adam | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, May 17, 2009

I've missed blogging.

In the past few months, I've been learning quite a bit. There's learning the ropes of a rewarding and awesome job, and also all of the little aspects of living in the "real world". I mean, I clip coupons now... and pack lunches... and have automatic financial transfers set up...

I've grown by Paul Bunyan leaps and bounds in terms of self reliance and responsibility.

But it's a really, really cool feeling. Being totally in charge of yourself reaffirms that if you want something done right, you need to put in the hard work and therefore, reap the rewards. Kinda like baking, right? You put in the effort and creativity, and then you get a delicious result :)

So, before I lose totally track of where I'm going with this, I'm going to come back to blogging.

Like most of you, I work full time now, and probably don't have as much free time as I used to, but if so many of you can still have a blast and do it, I know I can too. I still look up some of your recipes, ideas, and stories, and they are all awesome. Do I have a couple of stories on the back burner since I've started my life in NC? Of course. What kind of guy would I be otherwise?

I bake stuff every Friday for my patients. There's a start right there :)

But anyways... I'm going to try and post once a week, time permitting. There's been quite a few demands for workout stuff and of course, the food will always be there :) If you see me around your awesome site and dropping comments like hot NC sweet potatoes, don't be alarmed :) While I won't have time to make every site and every post, I will peak on in from time to time (especially if it looks delicious or looks like a bodybuilding food)

Up next is a super delayed Fitness Friday. It just might be posted on a Monday is all :)

Be good to each other kids, and I'll see ya soon.