Tag Archives: DVD

Living Fit Mommy: Gas Station Health Food?

Tony Horton, of P90x fame, has teamed up with 7-11 to offer healthier fare at your local convenience store.

I have a younger brother who—prior to getting married and becoming a “responsible adult”—used to frequent the gas station, located near his undergraduate university, for lunch and, sometimes, dinner. It wasn’t that he wasn’t health conscious, but after a long day of class and what-not—at his very small university in the middle of nowhere—it was easier to stop and eat from the gas station convenience store than it was to go to the grocery store and figure out how to parlay a bunch of random ingredients into dinner.

My mother and I would often discuss his lack of health consciousness—for the record my mother was much more of a health nut hippie with me than him—and then thank the good Lord he was still young enough to take advantage of an overactive metabolism.  If not for that…well…let’s just say he’d have been in big trouble.

Fast forward a decade later and the fare offered at most gas stations has improved considerably—it’s no longer just hot dogs and cheeseburgers—and it’s set to get even healthier in Southern California…where my now married brother just so happens to reside.

Some 104 stores in the Los Angeles market will begin to sell a line of what the chain calls “nutritionally balanced” fresh sandwiches, wraps and salads — and even cold-pressed juices — under the banner of fitness guru Tony Horton Kitchen.

Horton is the health and fitness executive whose DVD home workout series P90X has sold more than 4 million copies. More recently, he’s delved into better-for-you foods.

For 7-Eleven, it’s not about getting rid of other stuff in order to sell better-for-you items. It’s about offering both. It still will sell beer and cigarettes and Twinkies and hot dogs, but as Millennials and other core customers demand more better-for-you offerings, the chain is eager to expand its lineup of fresh foods and drinks. Health and wellness, after all, is a $50 billion category in the U.S., and growing. (USA Today)

While I’d hardly recommend anyone look to a “7-11” for something wholesome and healthy to eat, if you’re in a pinch, you could certainly do worse. Most fast food chains don’t offer much in the way of healthy foods and, even if they do, it’s often expensive.

That said, the best thing to do, long before you have to consider giving Tony Horton any more of your hard-earned money—as if he needs it—would be to shop for your own food, prepare it at home, and pack a lunch bag before leaving. That way you not only avoid the inconvenience of buying food at a gas station, you eliminate the possibility that what you’re getting may not be as good as it seems.



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News Flash: HIIT and Tabata Aren’t For Every Body

You don’t have to look far to find a website, podcast, magazine article, or video blog touting the benefits of Tabata or HIIT. Hell, I’ve written about both on numerous occasions and utilize each in my own routines quite regularly. However, I’ve been working out long enough to have built up the stamina, cardiovascular capacity, and strength to use such methods effectively without injuring myself or introducing my body to an unfamiliar amount of stress—and no, I’m not trying to come off arrogant by alluding to some notion that I’m super fit and you’re not, but I am saying that fitness is acquired in stages and should be approached as such.

If you’ve not trained in a good while, becoming in effect deconditioned, you can do more harm than good by rushing into something like Tabata or HIIT—both of which require fast movements, done one after the other, with very little time for taking a breather, much less taking into account how your body is actually reacting to such stress—and could open the door to unnecessary injuries or undue strain on the cardiovascular system.

For example, everyone loves the idea of buying P90x or Insanity and  losing a good bit of weight—in a short period of time—in the privacy of their own homes; but how many of said people actually realize those systems heavily institute plyometrics into their programs and heed the warnings given about taking things slowly and working your way up in intensity?

I can tell you right now, a lot of people pop in those DVD’s, without a second thought, and then wonder how on earth they sprained their ankle or twisted their knee.

The reason these “revolutionary” programs call for such caution is because the average human body doesn’t roll out of bed ready to jump, twist, and perform superhuman bodily movements. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes looking to improve power, speed, agility, and quickness. The average Joe isn’t looking to compete in a triathlon or compete in professional sports.

That said, the average human body needs to progress to the point where such actions are a possibility. And they need to do so slowly.

First concentrate on building core strength and balance. If you don’t have these, you’re screwed anyhow since every movement we make goes back to core strength.  Next, look to build muscular endurance so your arms, legs, ankles, and back can take the pounding they’re going to endure. And finally, get flexible. It’s unrealistic to think you can contort and move your body in unnatural ways without having a certain degree of flexibility.

Once you do these things, then you can concentrate on motor learning—getting your body comfortable with things like high knee runs, lunge jumps, plank jacks, etc—so that when you begin to execute them in a more explosive manner, you’re not doing more harm than good.

The bottom line is this: if you haven’t worked out in a while, aren’t familiar or comfortable with plyometrics, have bad knees or prior injuries that limit movement or simply aren’t sure where your fitness level truly is, then you probably shouldn’t jump into a program like P90x, Insanity, or Turbo Fire and you should modify any HIIT or Tabata training you choose to institute—if any.

Quick, fast, and in a hurry might sound good to those looking to lose pounds fast but, in the long run, you can find just as much success taking things slowly and working your body into the kind of shape it needs to be to take on such challenges. Sure, it will take a bit longer, but weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that.

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Celeb Fit vs. Normal Fit

The one thing it took me years to realize is there is a difference between being a celebrity with a great body and a “normal” person with a great body. You can say what you will about using the techniques of the stars, but the bottom-line is the same: they pay good money to look that good.

I don’t know what your purse strings look like, but I am definitely a mommy-on-a-budget. I don’t now, nor have I ever, utilized a personal trainer and the closest I’ve ever been to a “spa day” is getting my hair and nails done at the beauty salon (no days spent at Elizabeth Arden for me); and while it sounds quite lovely, I don’t have a masseuse, on speed dial, ready to come and caress my cares away on a weekly basis—although that would be lovely.

No, I’m just an average woman, with kids to raise, bills to pay, and a household to run.

That said, my ability to stay healthy and fit has a lot to do with my own desire to look sexy as hell—both in and out of clothes—and a little to do with keeping the Grim Reaper at bay for as long as I possibly can (the women in my family have been known to succumb to chronic health issues far before their time; I aim to buck that trend). But I realize that in order to accomplish those goals, I’ll have to do the work. No one is going to help me lift those weights, walk past those Milano cookies, or slip on those trainers. I have to do it—not for a movie, video shoot, magazine cover, or video—for me.

So, whenever I see a magazine cover yelling at me about the bodily perfection of (insert any hot celeb name here), I can appreciate the quality of it’s well photoshopped cover and then move the hell along because I know that lady had a lot more help than I ever will—and that’s fine. It is what it is.

Listen: women are not magazine covers. We weren’t meant to be magazine covers and shouldn’t strive to be. If you’re looking for toned legs, fantastic arms, and a nice butt, then you’re going to have to do the work for it. Sure, you can employ a trainer (they won’t likely be a celebrity, but they’ll still be a nice resource for someone just starting out), buy a gym membership, or shell out cash for whatever hot fitness DVD is burning up the informercial world at the moment, but it’ll still going to come down to you and your motivation.

Celebrities have the world at their feet to look like they do: nutritionists, trainers, style consultants, hair and makeup artists, etc. You have…you.

Keeping that in mind, the next time you pass a magazine rack with a photo of (again, insert great bodied celeb name here), have some perspective, don’t beat yourself up too much, and understand that in their case there was a lot more at work than just a point and shoot.

Does that mean you can’t look like a million bucks, too? Of course not, it just means you’ll have to work harder to do it.

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