Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ABC's of Green Monsters

I don't have a Jack LaLanne Juicer. 

(RIP Jack)

I wish I did! But until then, I have my handy blender to create amazing Green Monsters! I know that most ALL of you know about them, either you have read other blogger talk about them or even been to the Green Monster movement website (where there are more recipes), but I wanted to talk about the ABC's of making one that you will love! (technically I move from B, A to C...)

The Basics: 
The building blocks of a green monster that can stand alone 
Greens (spinach, kale etc...)
Milk (almond, soy, rice, hemp, almond, chocolate almond, cow etc...) 
Fruits of ANY and every kind, I like banana as a base, but you can use fresh fruit, frozen fruit! Some of my favorites have been peaches, pineapple, berries and even dates! 

The Add ins: 
For fun, flavor and that BOOST! 
seeds (chia, sunflower, flax...)
powders (protein powder, electrolyte...) 
Nut butters - they give a very rich flavor, cashew butter is the best in them!
other: dates, coconut, healthy oil, other supplements!

Be Creative! 
The most creative thing I have added to a green monster was a packet of instant coffee and handful of chocolate chips for the green mocha monster. The second most creative one was my Spring Cleaner: POM Wonderful juice, lemon and cilantro for a very tart juicy Green Monster.  

Green Monsters are a YUMMY, healthy vehicle for you to get your greens in, add in vitamins and minerals you feel you may need more of, or you wouldn't get/eat otherwise. It's fun to see how "green" some of them are depending on what you put in them. Neon, minty or berry busting grayish green, they always are a way to add in healthy options to a tasty smoothie. They are portable, easy, fast, healthy and very yummy. Don't believe me? I dare you to try one! 

Pass it on! 
Trial and error with GM's is the best way to find what you like and what works to supplement your diet to give you that boost of energy and feeling of overall health. Blog about it, tweet about it, post and pass it on, sharing recipes pics and tips as you perfect them! 

There ARE NO rules! Just have fun and enjoy creating tasty GM's for your health and let those creative juices flow! What do you use in your GM?

Free weights Vs. Resistance Machines

When helping people get comfortable in the gym, one of the things we go through is how to use the resistance machines. They can be intimidating when you don't know how to use them, what order to do them in or even how often. 

Then there's the free weight area, big guys pumping big iron. But it's not just for them, it an be for anyone! Still there are pro's and con's to using both the Resistance machines Vs. free weights! 

First of all the machines are designed to help beginners execute the proper move with the proper form. Ideally that is one of the biggest advantages. For example, if you use a chest press machine, but you let the plates touch each time, you will not be achieving as much of a work out. If you keep the plates from resting on each other and the tension on your muscles, but either way you won't face an injury because of it. 

You can build strength as a beginner. With plated machines you can usually increase your weight by 5 lbs while still being sure your form is safe. This way, you are building a base of strength before you graduate, so to speak, to the free weights. 

You can also isolate muscles easier. This is excellent for  building specific area's or if you are in need of rehabbing an injury. Runners can isolate their hamstrings or their glutes on machines to really build strength specific strength, instead of relying on compound movements which simply incorporate the needed muscle. 

I feel that often if you have the strength to use free weights you should. Being seated on a machine turns "off" some of your other muscles while you focus on what you are isolating. It's not terribly often that people are actively engaging their core on a biceps curl machine, but if you are doing a free weigh curl with balance.. you have to. 

There are a number of "kinds" of free weights: from medicine balls, kettle bells, dumbbells, barbells etc. For this general recommendation you can assume I mean all types, save for kettle bells. Free weights force our body's to use their stabilizing muscles and create a more total body movement. For example: when you do a free weight row, you will probably be sore in your abs the next day. You can work more muscles at one time. 

Because they force us to use our core muscles and our stabilizing muscles, they can more effectively mimic functional movements. Performing exercises that will help us be stronger mothers, faster fathers, safer workers and more competent in our everyday! This is the total fitness and wellness model we should all be moving towards. 

It can be a challenge to get used to exerting force, while keeping balance, while keeping good form etc... but if you have already built a base of strength through using machines and have graduated to the free weights you should be able to master balance, force and form while using a weight that will keep you interested in your workout till you get the swing of things. 

There are some machines that I always come back to and use and others that I have never been on but once. It comes down to your personal goals and personal preference as well. As always, before starting a program like weight training, talk to your doctor or at least have someone at your gym give you an orientation on how they all work. 

Salad update! 
I am loving the accountability of the 60 Salads in 60 Days group I joined on the Facebook! I believe in the last 8 days or so, I have only missed 2 salads. I think that's pretty good. I can honestly say that it is keeping it fresh in my mind! 

Totally a salad in my book: Broccoli, cauliflower, beets, 
chickpeas and seasonings

Do you pump iron at the gym? What is your preference? Free weight vs. Machine? or Body weight? Do tell... 

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Although Mary from Fit this girl is a CPT, always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.