Make Your Walk a Workout
How to start (and stick to) a walking program, whether you’re new to exercise or already fit.
When I was in college we started a community walking program.As one of the simplest exercises, walking requires no equipment aside from a good, supportive pair of walking shoes. “Exercise doesn’t have to be hard to be effective,” says Julia Valentour, MS, exercise physiologist and program coordinator for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “The recommended 30 minutes can be broken up into two, 15-minute sessions or even three, 10-minute sessions, making it easy to weave into a busy lifestyle.”
Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of a walking program. Regular walking helps lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, increases bone strength, and improves circulation.
“Just a few extra steps each day is a simple and easy way to take an active role in maintaining a significantly healthier life,” says Timothy Gardner, MD, past president of the American Heart Association.
Starting a Walking Program.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program if you’ve been inactive for a while.
To start your walking program:
Establish a baseline, says Courtenay Schurman, MS, CSCS, author of The Outdoor Athlete. “If you’ve been sedentary, start walking three times a week at a stroll for 20 minutes.” Work your way up to five or so times a week, 30 minutes per session, for a total of 2.5 to 3 hours per week.
Choose distance or time. Some walkers focus on distance, others target time. “Ultimately, it’s about speed,” Schurman says. “If you can walk five miles but it takes you five hours to do it, it’s not a fit level of work. So use both distance and time, as well as heart rate.”
Check the intensity. Exercising at a particular heart rate percentage enables you to gauge the difficulty of your workout.
You can check your heart rate by manually checking your pulse or purchase a simple heart rate monitor. Keep in mind, however, that the traditional heart rate formula standards do not fit everyone. “Most recommendations suggest starting out at 70% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, but this may not be enough if you’re fit,” Schurman says.
Or use the “talk test” to gauge your exercise intensity. “If you can string together six to eight words or chat briefly, you’re in your aerobic zone,” Schurman says. But if you find yourself gasping for air, lower the intensity. If you can say several phrases with one breath, you may not be working out hard enough.
Here are simple ways to keep your walks interesting and help you stay motivated:
Wear a pedometer. Bit by bit, boost your daily steps. “Wear a pedometer for a week to see what days you have the most number of steps,” Valentour says. “Then try to repeat the activities of that day and add another 500 steps the following week.” Keep it up until you reach 10,000 steps a day.
Keep a walking journal. It serves as a motivator by allowing you to see your progress, Valentour says.
Get a walking partner. “A walking buddy provides accountability. Neither wants to let the other person down,” Valentour says.
Sign up for a race or charity walk. It gives you a goal to shoot for, which may motivate you to stick with a program.
Find support online. Programs such as the American Heart Association’s StartWalkingNow.org program have helped thousands of people to get started walking. Designed by the American Council on Exercise, the free online program includes a monthly newsletter with health tips and recipes, an online activity and nutrition tracker, access to an online journal, as well as the ability to connect with others for support and motivation. A search option also allows you to look for walking paths in your area.
“You simply go online, register, and take a quiz,” Valentour says. “You’ll receive a 12-16 week downloadable program.” Beginners start with five to 10 minutes; advanced exercisers start with more challenging options.
Tips to Make It More Challenging
If you’re already fit, walking may seem too easy. But it’s easy to kick up the intensity for a more challenging workout. Here’s how:
Speed up. “The easiest way to up the ante is to simply walk faster,” says Therese Iknoian, MS, author of Fitness Walking. You may even want to try race walking, which uses more muscles and, therefore, burns more calories. Brisk walking at four miles an hour burns 334 calories and strolling at three miles per hour burns 221 calories, acc
ording to the American College of Sports Medicine. “Remember to pump your arms but keep the movement compact,” Iknoian says. “The larger the arm swing, the harder it is to move them faster.”
Head for the hills. Walking up hills also increases intensity, as does lifting the incline on a treadmill. But don’t hon to the treadmill as you walk or you’ll negate the benefits, Iknoian says. “You don’t want to look as if you’re waterskiing.” Hanging on makes your body perpendicular to the treadmill, so ergonomically you’re walking on flat ground.
Change the surface. Consider changing your walking surface for a greater challenge. “Walking on trails and maneuvering around rocks increases muscular demand,” Iknoian says. Snow, sand — even grass — makes walking more of a challenge.
Use Nordic poles to get upper body muscles involved. “You increase the cardio workout when using poles, plus they take the stress off of knees when walking downhill,” Iknoian says.
Add resistance with a weighted backpack or weight vest. “If you use a backpack, fill it with water, sand, or kitty litter so the weight distributes evenly,” Schurman says. “Avoid ankle and hand weights, which can change your gait and can set you up for injury.”
8 Safety Tips for Walkers
Keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Follow these basic rules:
  • Walk with a buddy whenever possible.
  • Carry your name, address, and a friend or relative’s phone number in your shoe or tied to a lace.
  • Wear a medical bracelet if you have diabetes, an allergy, or other condition.
  • Carry a cell phone and let a friend or relative know your walking routes.
  • Avoid deserted or unlit streets, especially after dark.
  • Do not use headsets that prevent you from hearing traffic; and walk against oncoming traffic.
  • Wear reflective material and/or carry a flashlight to others can see you.
  • Carry a whistle or noisemaker or pepper spray in case of an emergency.
Above all, make walking fun and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
1 pound flank or hanger
Juiceof 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, 1 each red, yellow, and orange, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 small corn tortillas, warmed
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup grated low-fat Monterrey Jack
1/4 cup salsa Verde or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapenos
Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
Directions
1. Marinate the steak in the lime juice, salt, garlic, and chili powder in a sealed plastic bag for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil to the pan. Add the red onion and bell peppers; cook, tossing frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the corn and continue to cook until the peppers are charred and soft, about 3 more minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
3. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and heat for another minute. Add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the steak in the pan, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook about 8 minutes for medium-rare, turning once halfway through. Transfer to a board and let rest for 5 minutes
.4. Slice the steak across the grain and arrange on a platter with the peppers and lime wedges. Make tacos with the warm tortillas, avocado, Monterrey Jack, salsa, jalapenos and, if desired, sour cream.
Nutrition facts per serving: 416 calories, 32g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 16g fat (4.3g saturated), 7g fiber
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Boot Camp Workout

I came across this workout years ago and it makes this article makes it simple to understand. I use each and everyone of these exercises each week! Enjoy!
Written by Team FRx Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:00
IFBB Pro Jessica Paxon’s Boot Camp Workout!
“It’s nice to do a boot camp workout once or twice a week to mix things up and challenge yourself,” exlains IFBB Bikini Pro Jessica Paxon.  Constantly changing your workouts weekly and slightly every day will keep your body guessing and will prevent your muscles from getting used to any given workout.  Mixing it up is great for breaking through a plateau or avoiding one altogether.  “Train smart and train safe, and always keep your body guessing,” says Jessica.  “Don’t get stuck in a rut because your body will stop responding to your training.  That is why a boot camp workout is so great!  If you add it in once or twice a week it will shock your body, challenge you, and keep your body guessing.”
Jessica’s boot camp is a mix of exercises grouped together in to what’s known as “giant sets.”  A giant set is 3-5 exercises performed back-to-back with no rest in between.  Often times the sum of each exercise will result in a full body grouping.  For example, you may have one exercise for the lower body, one for upper, one for core and a high intensity plyometric move or jump.  There are no set-in-stone rules to putting together a giant set – you can really put together exercises you like best or create workouts to focus on upper body or lower body splits.
“This workout is great because it’s an all-over body workout plus cardio – it’s the best of everything!” says Jessica who uses this workout as often as possible.  She says it will definitely help burn fat and increase your cardiovascular health.  “It’s a total body workout so you’ll be hitting every muscle group.  On top of that you’re getting your cardio in at the same time so it’s very efficient on many levels,” says Jessica.  “This workout is fun and challenging.  It will go by quick because there are so many different exercises and you keep moving the entire time.”
Jessica recommends doing this workout 2-4 times per week depending upon your current workout split and your goals.  “If you train one body part a day, you could add this in once a week (maybe twice).  But if you don’t split up your body parts you could do this workout 3 times a week, maybe four, with rest days in between.”  You can do this workout anywhere for the most part; you’ll just need a bench and some dumbbells.
THE EXERCISES:
Burpees:  Begin in standing position with feet about shoulder width apart.  Quickly drop down to the floor, place hands on floor and throw your legs behind you to land in pushup position.  Use your abs to pull your legs up towards your chest and stand up quickly.  Repeat.
Pushups:  Place hands on outer edges of core board or on the floor.  Place your feet out behind you with your feet together.  Keep your back straight and core tight throughout the movement.   Slowly lower your body to about 3-5 inches from the floor with your elbows out to the side.  Push up to starting position.  If this is too difficult you may drop to your knees and perform the movement exactly the same from there.
Mountain Climbers:  With both hands and feet on the floor, bring one leg up toward your chest and tap the floor.  Quickly move that foot back to starting position and bring the opposite leg up to the chest and tap the floor.  Imagine doing high-knees but on the floor with hands placed firmly on the ground below your shoulders.  Move quickly from leg to leg.
Squat/Kettle bell Front Raise:  Standing in squat position, hold the kettle bell or dumbbells in front of you between your legs.  Slowly perform a squat remember to keep your chest out and back straight.  On the ascent, use your momentum to lift the dumbbells up to about shoulder level in a front raise movement.  Control the weight back to starting position while moving in to the next rep.
Pop Squats on to Step:  Place step or low bench perpendicular to you in front of you.  Stand over the step with one leg on either side of the step.  Squat down and jump up on to the step with feet landing together on step.  Repeat quickly.
Dips on Bench:  Place a bench behind you.  Sit on the bench and place hands on the bench at your sides with your fingers curling down the front of the bench.  Move your feet forward so that your butt is hanging off the bench.  Slowly lower your arms so that your elbows bend to about 90 degrees.  Be sure to keep your elbows back and not out to the sides.  Push your body up using your triceps.  Repeat.
Bench Jumps:  Place a low bench or step in front of you.  Keep feet about shoulder width apart and cross your arms at your chest or place hands on your hips.  Jump on to the bench from your heels and then back down fluidly.  Repeat.  Try to land light on your feet.
  Bent Over Rows:  Using dumbbells or a straight barbell hold the weight in front of you about shoulder width apart maybe a little wider.  Stand with feet just wider than shoulder width apart.  Bend at the knees slightly, bend at the waist forward being sure to keep your back completely straight with no curve whatsoever.  Hold the weight down in front of you and use your back to row the weight up toward your lower abdomen.  Imagine pinching your shoulder blades together while pulling the weight to your lower abs.  Slowly lower the weight and repeat.
Walking lunges (weighted):  Hold dumbbells at your sides or place a straight bar across your shoulders.  Step forward and lunge down remember to keep your chest out and back straight throughout the exercise.  Keeping your core tight will help you perform this move correctly.  Alternate legs and “walk” lunges across the room.
Toe Taps on Bench:  Place a low bench or step in front of you.  Place arms crossed at chest or hands on hips.  Lift your foot to tap your toe on the edge of the step and quickly alternate between legs using a slight jump to move fast.  Repeat for reps.
21s with a Barbell or Dumbbell:  Hold barbell or dumbbell with palms facing up in front of you.  Curl the weight half way up for 7 reps (from the bottom of the movement to the middle), then curl the weight from the middle of the movement to the top for 7 reps, then curl the weight the entire range of motion for 7 reps. That is equivalent to one set.  Always remember to keep your chest out, shoulders back and core tight throughout this exercise.
Jump Squats:  Place feet just wider than shoulder width apart.  Place hands crossed at chest.  Squat down and jump up quickly.  Land light on your feet and repeat.  Be sure to stick your butt out and imagine you’re looking for a bench behind you when squatting. Use your heels to push up in to the jump.  Repeat for reps.

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My Basic Workout

Found my old workout Journal from back in 2009 …..This is my basic workout split when I first started out: Got to start somewhere! Many ask what I did when I started out in the gym so here it is! There are NO set number of reps or sets to achieve a certain goal. Everyone’s body is different. So do what suits your body and your goal. Consult with a trainer if you are unsure, and if you are unfamiliar with any of the workouts, Google and Youtube are your best friends! So stoked every one is on this quest to a better, healthier life! www.facebook.com/maguirefirefitness
5-10 minute warm-up on the treadmill
Monday (CHEST)
  • Machine Chest Press 4×12
  • Machine Flyes 4×12
  • Dumbbell Incline Press 4×12
Tuesday (BACK)
  • Hyperextensions 4×12
  • Lat Pulldowns: 4×12
  • Seated Row 4×12
Wednesday (ARMS)
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls 4×15
  • Machine Tricep Press 4×25
  • Tricep Extensions 4×20
  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions 4×20
Thursday (SHOULDERS)
  • Dumbbell Front Raises 4×12
  • Lateral Raise Machine 4×15
  • Machine Shoulder Press 4×15
  • Seated Rows  4×20
Friday (LEGS)
  • Leg Press 4×12
  • Lying Hamstring Curl 4×12
  • Leg Extension 4×12
  • Lunges (dumbbell) 4×20
  • Calf Raises 4×20
  • Stability Ball Hamstring Curls 4×20
(ABS) every other day
  • Roman Chair Leg Raises 4×15
  • Machine Crunch 4×25
  • Russian Twists (w/ medicine ball) 4×25
  • Cable Oblique Twists 4×25
  • Stability Ball Crunches 4×25
  • Leg Raises (w/ stability ball) 5×20
(CARDIO) everyday: 45 minutes on the treadmill or stairmaster (after strength training)
Saturday (FULL BODY or REST DAY)
Sunday (REST DAY)
*please understand this isn’t intended for everyone. Many ask what I did when I started out in the gym so here it is! There are NO set number of reps or sets to achieve a certain goal. Everyone’s body is different. So do what suits your body and your goal. Consult with a trainer if you are unsure, and if you are unfamiliar with any of the workouts, Google and Youtube are your best friends! So stoked every one is on this quest to a better, healthier life!
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Flashback Friday

 

 

Sweet Potato Tuna Patties

These sweet potato-tuna cakes are infinitely healthier, but just as delicious! They are also remarkably easy to whip up and can be made in advance. It’s very low-fat, and quite filling! A nice trick to have up your sleeve!

Sweet potatoes are very fashionable lately: it seems to me that I see recipes including the lovely orange root veg all over the place. They contain more potassium than bananas and are very rich in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and protein, so sweet potatoes are a pretty kick-ass vegetable. Not to mention that their unique taste make them very versatile. They can be use as an alternative to good old regular potatoes in savory dishes, but they are also often used in desserts!

This is an especially good recipe to have handy if you are lazy, or having really long work days that leave you little time to get cooking. It comes together very easily, and you could play with the spices to your heart’s content, and even shake it up by using canned crab meat instead of tuna! Use cilantro instead of dill, finely grated fresh ginger instead of nutmeg and lime juice instead of Tabasco, and you have a great Asian twist on the original recipe! Serve them with ketchup or sliced avacado, or even with a squirt of Sriracha if you can take the heat.

Ingredients:
A medium sweet potato
Two 7oz cans of chunk light tuna packed in water
A teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup diced red onions
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Pepper for taste
Directions:
Peel sweet potato and slice into 4-5 equal sections. Boil sweet potato sections in water for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain potato add into a large bowl and mash with a fork. Open canned tuna and drain excess liquid and add to bowl along with garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients and form patties. Heat non-stick pan and add oil. Cook patties 1-2 minutes both sides.
Nutrition Facts:
Serving size 3
Amount per serving
Calories 217
Fiber 1.3 grams
Protein 22.7 grams
Carbohydrate 8.7 grams
Fat 10 grams
Sugar 1.8 grams
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Shrimp & Avocado Bowl! I love making this!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes 
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients16 medium cleaned, shelled, tail-on shrimp (about 3/4 pound), thawed if frozen2 teaspoons sesame oil1 1/2 teaspoons honeySmall pinch cayenne pepper2 eggs, lightly beaten1 tablespoon light soy sauce1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar1 cup shelled edamame, steamed2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds1 1/4 cups short-grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions1 ripe avocado, sliced
Directions1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium ovenproof pan, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon each of the sesame oil and the honey. Add the cayenne.2. Lay the shrimp flat. Broil for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.3. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil. Pour in the eggs. Cook undisturbed until set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until just set on the second side, 1 more minute. Transfer to a board and cut into strips.4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon honey.5. Fold the edamame and sesame seeds into the rice. Serve the rice in bowls topped with the egg strips, shrimp, and avocado. Place the soy-vinegar mixture in a small bowl and use at the table for drizzling.
Nutrition facts per serving: 483 calories, 30g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 16g fat (2.8g saturated), 6g fiber
Note: I make mine with less rice  so the carbs are not as high!

Super easy taco salad bowls!!!
Preheat oven at 350

Ingredients:
whole wheat tortillas
Black beans 
Turkey meat
Spinach
Tomato
Onion
Black olives
Organic salsa
Avocado
Cumin seasoning
Chili powder
Mrs dash salt free southwest chipotle seasoning

Cook turkey meat thoroughly in pot season with chili powder,cumin, and salt free taco seasoning

Lay tortillas on a upside down muffin pan to make the tortilla bowl put in oven for roughly 5-10 min keep a eye on them because some brands cook faster than others

Drain turkey meat add to shells and put desired toppings!

Enjoy!! Share this with others!
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Brussel Sprout Chips

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the tough bottoms off the brussel sprouts and remove any of the outer leaves that may be dirty or damaged. Then continue to carefully peel off the rest of the leaves.
In a large bowl season the leaves with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
Arrange in a single layer on a non stick pan, or cover the pan with foil and then spray it with non-stick spray.
Broil for a few minutes, checking in regularly because they will burn VERY quickly if you forget about them.
Let them cool for a few min and eat. Enjoy!
Stephanie

My Grocery List Staples

“What do I eat?” Everyone asks so here I will tell you 🙂
Here is a list of food I buy for myself as well as my son give or take he gets the good stuff. I only shop every 2 weeks and cook enough food to last a few days to where I do not have to constantly be cooking and focus on the important things!
I usually cook every Sunday and Wednesday!
Protein:  Egg whites, Chicken- baked or grilled, Extra Lean Ground Turkey- Jennie-O brand,Tilapia, Salmon & Tuna!
Complex Carbs:  Brown rice, Plain Oatmeal, Whole wheat bread, Sweet Potatoe patties ( freezer section) ,Whole wheat tortillas.
Veggies: Spinach, Asparagus, Squash,Zucchini, Green beans, Cucumber, onions, peppers, tomatoes.Salad with fat free dressing ( I love the fresh steam bags that Publix has)
Drink: I drink a gallon of water everyday. Flavor it up with Crystal Light, lemons, limes, cucumbers.
Extra Flavor: Salsa, fat free salad dressing, spicy mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, Mrs. Dash salt-free seasonings.