It’s pool season y’all!
Swimming is a demanding exercise, so pace yourself when first starting out. It is an aerobic form of exercise, which improves your heart and lung health. You also work out the major muscle groups in your body when you swim, so it is an effective calorie burner. Eating healthfully and avoiding injury helps you reach your fitness goals.
Start easy when you begin a swimming fitness routine. You get more efficient in the water as you learn better technique, but do not be surprised if you feel exhausted after just one minute of swimming. Pace yourself, and do not try to keep up with the person in the lane next to you. Locate the “pace clock,” which marks minutes and seconds, and time how long it takes you to complete 100 m at a comfortable pace.
Use that number to keep track of your fitness improvement over the weeks. You are more efficient in the water when you improve your technique, so consider swim lessons if you want to swim longer distances without having to stop to rest.
Burning Fat and Healthy Diet
Fat-burning workouts are slow and long. When you sprint fast, your body burns carbohydrates for quick energy, but when you do long moderately paced swims, you metabolize or burn stored fat as well, Swimming uses a lot of energy and the food you eat provides the fuel needed to propel you through the water. Eating empty calories, though, or foods high in refined sugars and fats does not provide the type of fuel you need. Healthful diets that improve your performance and overall fitness are high in fresh vegetables and whole grains and include lean protein and fruits.
Building Cardiovascular Fitness
Numerous slow laps in the pool work well to burn fat, but if you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, you occasionally need to turn up the intensity of your workouts. When you swim at near-maximum effort, you increase your heart and breathing rates. After you warm up with some slow to moderate pace laps, try some short sprints. Swimming faster might leave you out of breath at first, but after a few workouts, your fitness level will improve.
Building Strength and Balance
You risk over-training certain muscles and leaving others weaker by comparison when you engage in strenuous swimming workouts. Swimming relies primarily on the upper body and shoulders, and overuse can lead to postural problems and back pain. Add some strength-building swimming exercises to the regular lap swimming. Work out your core abdominal muscles and legs by performing “vertical” flutter kicking, which is the freestyle kick performed in an upright position. Try kicking for one full minute between each lap you swim. Use a kick board and do freestyle or breaststroke kicking instead of straight swimming, and push off forcefully from the pool wall every time you change direction. Butterfly style or “dolphin” kicking on your back is good for strengthening abdominal muscles, and using long fins is helpful for beginners.
Though you swim to improve your fitness, you might develop reactions to the water in which you exercise. When chlorine interacts with contaminants in the water, byproducts such as trichloramines can irritate sensitive swimmers’ eyes, skin and lungs. If this happens, change indoor pools to find better-ventilated or maintained facilities, or whenever possible, swim outdoors.
Think Green in April!
With Spring right around the corner, it’s easy to see green everywhere you go. How about adding a little spinach to your morning smoothie to kick start your day?
Clean Green Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana (if using a fresh banana, just add a little ice)
- 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup frozen peaches
- 1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 cup skim milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender/food processor and puree until smooth.
Calories 270, Fat 2g, Cholesterol 2.5mg, Sodium 78mg, Protein 7g,
Carbohydrate 63.5g, Fiber 7g + Tons of Vitamins!
To calculate your own recipe nutrition facts, visit http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp
February 2013 II
1. For fat loss, cardio should be done on an empty stomach.
2. Start small with cardio, and increase gradually (weekly). .
3. Each cardio session should not be done the same using the same medium. Vary your forms of cardio, whether it is running, rowing, martial arts, and so on. This avoids boredom and keeps things interesting.
4. With reference to cardio for weight loss, your body starts consuming fat after a certain time during your cardio. Some say 20 minutes, but it depends on the individual (everyone is different). So a helpful tip is to keep your cardio going for at least 30 minutes at a moderate to high-intensity.
5. Always, always, stretch your muscles before cardio. Do a good stretch before each cardio session (includes calves, quads, hamstrings). If you don’t, you will be feeling it 5 minutes into your workout.
6. Switch up the intensity during your workout. Start with a short walk, go into moderate, then high intensity, then reduce it down to moderate, and end the session with a nice and easy pace. The walking parts should only be about a minute or two combined! Your cardio should consist of 50% at moderate intensity, 40% high, and 10% low.
7. It is important to know your target heart rate (THR). This is a must, because if you’re under your target heart rate, you will not receive the maximum benefit.
8. If combining weight lifting and cardio, it is better to run after your lift. When cardio follows weight lifting session calories are burned at a faster rate.
9. Cardio will not make you become a lean mean muscle machine. It is only 10% of the equation with the other 90% being nutrition.
February Recipes Part II
Linguine With Zucchini and Chickpeas
- 12 ounces linguine (3/4 box)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 small zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
- Kosher salt
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, drain, and return the pasta to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Cook the zucchini, tossing often, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, garlic, and red pepper and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water and ¼ cup of the Parmesan.
- Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the zucchini mixture and the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.
Calories 507, Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 697mg, Protein 21g, Carbohydrate 74g, Fiber 5g
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1 cup ice
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Place ½ cup water and the cashews in a blender.
- Cover and refrigerate until the cashews have softened, at least 6 hours (and up to overnight).
- Add the ice, banana, and maple syrup.
- Blend until smooth and frothy.
Calories 301, Fat 16g, Sat Fat 3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 11mg, Protein 6g, Carbohydrate 38g, Sugar 21g, Fiber 3g, Iron 2mg, Calcium 35mg
February 2013 I
10 Tips for Beginner Weightlifters
Before starting any weightlifting or exercise program, be sure to consult your physician, and be sure you know the proper safety measures, including having a spotter and knowing the right way to use your exercise equipment.
1. Choose a goal
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to bulk up, slim down, or get more defined? Try to make your goal as specific as possible and set a time frame.
2. Keep the right mental attitude
Once you’ve chosen a goal, keep focused on it. Post it on your wall to help you keep your goal in mind. Try to find someone to work out with (your training partner) to help keep you focused and accountable.
3. Know your limits
Start light. Lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions (“reps”) builds muscle size and mass, whereas lifting lighter weights with more reps tones muscles.
4. Keep increasing the weight
Although you’ll have to start off with lighter weights, don’t get stuck in a routine where you keep lifting the same amount. Gradually increase the amount you lift. As a rough guide, try working towards adding 10 pounds per month to your bench presses.
5. Don’t work the same muscle group twice in a row
Muscle groups include your upper body (shoulders & back), mid body (biceps, triceps & chest), and lower body (abs, thighs, hamstrings & calves). Varying your workout ensures you won’t overwork one particular area.
6. Don’t forget to work your legs!
Many beginners are so focused on having large arms and abs that they neglect other parts of their body.
7. Don’t overdo it
Don’t lift every day. You need at least 2 days of rest each week to allow your muscles to heal. Beginners should try lifting every other day. Also, make sure to get enough sleep, because without adequate rest you won’t build muscle.
8. Stretch & flex
Stretching both before you lift and afterwards helps avoid aching muscle pain the next day. Stretching and flexing your muscles during your workout between lifts keeps blood flowing in your muscles and helps prevent injury.
9. Keep proper posture
If you’re doing lots of lifting, but using poor technique, you’re wasting your time. Ask your training partner to critique your technique, or work out in front of a mirror.
10. Practice proper nutrition
Remember the GIGO principle: Garbage in, garbage out! Drinking a whey protein shake right after working out helps your body build muscle (without enough protein you can’t build muscle mass) but nutritional supplements won’t replace eating right and doing the hard work of doing the lifting itself.
Spinach Salad with Figs and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Yield: Serves 4
Cost per Serving: $1.24
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 8 ounces spinach, stems removed
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 dried figs, stemmed and sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, optional
- 1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; pour off 1 Tbsp. fat; reserve (about 1 Tbsp. will remain). When bacon has cooled, crumble.
- 2. Add chickpeas to same skillet and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and slightly crisped, 7 to 10 minutes. Place spinach in a large bowl; scatter chickpeas over spinach.
- 3. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in vinegar (watch out, as mixture may spatter). Add mustard and, while skillet is still warm, whisk in reserved bacon fat and olive oil. Quickly scrape dressing into bowl with spinach and chickpeas. Add figs and crumbled bacon. Toss together well, sprinkle with blue cheese, if desired, and serve.
Amount (per serving) Calories: 279, Fat: 13g, Saturated fat: 5g, Protein: 14g, Carbohydrate: 28g, Fiber: 6g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 926mg
1 quart reduced-calorie cranberry juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 quart carbonated water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup raspberry sherbet
10 lemon or lime wedges
Refrigerate the cranberry juice, lemon juice and carbonated water until cold.
In a large pitcher, mix together the cranberry juice, lemon juice, carbonated water, sugar and sherbet. Pour into tall chilled glasses and garnish with a lemon or lime wedge. Serve immediately.
Nutritional analysis per serving
|Serving size: About 1 cup Calories: 63, Total fat: 0g, Saturated fat: 0g, Monounsaturated fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 21mg, Total carbohydrate: 15g, Dietary fiber: 0g, Protein: trace|
Get more recipes at www.ecu.edu/wellnessnutrition