20-Minute Hamstring and Hip Opener Workout

20-Minute Hamstring and Hip Opener Workout

20-Minute Hamstring and Hip Opener Routine

20 minutes and a mat – that’s all you need to stretch your hamstrings and open your hips.

And it’s something I recommend all of us over the age of 40 do at least once a week.

Why is stretching the hamstrings and hips so important?

  • Shortened hamstrings pull on your pelvis, affecting how you walk
  • Tight hamstrings are one of the leading causes of low back pain
  • The muscles related around your hips are responsible for every movement from walking to running
  • Tight hips can cause everything from low back pain and knee pain
  • Both groupings of muscles tend to be shortened with people who sit a lot during the day,
  • Muscles and connective tissue shorten with every passing year due to a decrease of water in the tissue


Hamstring & Hip Opener Routine

 

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10 Best Oatmeal Recipes

10 Best Oatmeal Recipes

10 Best Oatmeal Recipes

I love oatmeal. I have been known to eat for breakfast (not unusual, I know), for lunch and again for dinner (now getting weird).

While some people order eggs benny while brunching with friends at a restaurant, I will ask for a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal, brown sugar on the side please.

Why am I Team Oatmeal?

Well, first off let’s start with the fibre content. One bowl has about 4 grams per serving, and we should be aiming for 25-30 grams a day.

It is a slow-releasing complex carbohydrate, leaving you fuller for longer – and with the fuel to take you through your morning and last you until lunch.

Oatmeal contains important vitamins and minerals such as iron, thiamine, folic acid, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will also help re-stabilize your blood-sugar levels, giving you the energy needed to tackle your busy mornings and help you manage your weight.

Not all oatmeals are created equal, though. The pre-packaged, instant oatmeal packets are filled with sugar and unnecessary chemicals and additives that we just don’t need first thing in the morning.

Don’t be fooled, even the weight-controlled instant oatmeal isn’t that healthy for you.

If time and convenience are the reasons you reach for those handy little packets in the early hours, then allow me to show you how you can make a healthier, cleaner version in just under five minutes – using ingredients that you most likely already have in the cupboard!

best-oatmeal-recipes-Fitness-with-PJ

Steel-Cut Oatmeal Base

I, personally, prefer steel-cut oats because they have a higher protein and fibre count than rolled and quick cooking oats. This recipe I make on a Sunday and it provides me with 4 servings of oatmeal which I then refrigerate and re-heat during the busy work week.

Recipe #1 – the base

1 cup steel-cut oats (I love “Bob’s Red Mill Steel-Cut Oats”)
3-1/2 cups water
dash of unrefined sea salt

Bring water and sea salt to a boil, add oats and gently boil on low heat with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the burner and add the following:

3 tbsp ground flax seed (or you can use bee pollen, salba seed, chia seed, hemp protein)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 tbsp tbsp cinnamon (adjust according to your taste)

Mix the above in with the oatmeal and let it sit until thick and then place in a container and put in the fridge.

This will keep for up to 5-6 days. In the mornings simply spoon a serving into a microwaveable dish (remember, your container is now holding four servings, so simply cut the oatmeal in fours so that you get the appropriate serving amount) and microwave for 1:00.

Add milk, or almond milk until your oatmeal is at the consistency that you like and then put it back in the microwave for another minute. From there you can add any of the following to make your oatmeal even healthier AND tastier:

  • Recipe #2 Apple Walnut Oatmeal
    • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 diced apple (it’s even better if you microwave the chopped apple in some cinnamon and stevia for 1-2 minutes to soften it)
    • sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top
  • Recipe #3 Banana Bread Oatmeal
    • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
    • 2 chopped dates, or 1 tbsp raisins
    • half of a banana, sliced on top
  • Recipe #4 Blueberry Strawberry Oatmeal Dream
    • 1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries & 1/2 c sliced strawberries
    • Slivered almonds on top (if you have time, toasted almonds is really good in this)
  • Recipe #5 Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
    • 2 tbsp dried cherries
    • 1 tbsp sugar-free cherry jam
  • Recipe #6 Cranberry Oatmeal
    • 2 tbsp dried or fresh cranberries
    • 1 tbsp walnut pieces
    • a drizzle of honey on the top
    • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • Recipe #7 Super Duper Oatmeal
    • 1/2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    • 1 single serving, sugar-free apple sauce container
    • A sprinkle of cinnamon on top
  • Recipe #8 Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
    • a dash of nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or if you have it in the cupboard, 3 tbsp canned pumpkin pie filling
    • 1 tbsp sliced almond (if you have time, toast the almonds – yummy!)
  • Recipe #9 Yogurt Oatmeal (boost the protein and calcium of your oatmeal with these additions)
    • add a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • Recipe #10 Peachy Keen Oatmeal 
    • add some sliced peaches (drained) and sprinkle the top with a bit of nutmeg

 

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STEP or BOSU Ball Plyo HIIT Workout

STEP or BOSU Ball Plyo HIIT Workout

STEP or BOSU Ball Plyo HIIT Workout

A YouTube subscriber requested a non-dancey, high-energy workout using the STEP and I thought, “What a great idea!”.

I am the perfect trainer to program this kind of online workout.

Why you are wondering?

Well…. I have absolutely no coordination and could not do a dance-type workout if my life depended on it and they were giving away free Nikes, chocolate chip cookies and Star Wars’ DVDs afterwards.

Just won’t happen cause it just can’t happen.

So, if you have a STEP, or a BOSU ball, you have to check out this workout! It is awesome. Trainer’s promise.

You will:

  • Burn between 300-500 calories (depending on your body weight)
  • Train your heart and lungs
  • Work on your core strength
  • Improve your low back strength
  • Increase your leg and glute strength
  • And, have a lot of fun

STEP or BOSU Plyo HIIT Workout

The Workout

STEP or BOSU Plyo Workout - workout described

 

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Healthy Lunches for You and Your Loved Ones

Healthy Lunches for You and Your Loved Ones

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Whether you have kids that have just headed back to school or you are tired of eating out at the office, brown bagging it is not only cost-effective, it is also a way to control your calories (if you’re trying to lose weight), eat healthier and take charge of what your kids eat during the day.

Healthy Lunches for the whole family

4 Tips to Healthier Lunches for the Whole Family

1) Include more whole foods and less processed foods. Choose lunch items that are high in fibre and nutrients, and low in sodium and sugar.

Take, for example, deli meats. Most deli meats are pumped full of sodium and nitrates. While sodium nitrite does help prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism in humans, it is also used alone or in conjunction as a colour fixative in cured meat and poultry products (bologna, hot dogs, bacon).

During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic compounds.

It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.

Research in Sweden found that Swedes who ate on average three ounces of processed meat each day had a 15 percent greater chance of developing stomach cancer than those who consumed two ounces or less.

Opt instead for nitrate-free deli meats (ask your deli counter person to point out which brands are nitrate-free AND low in sodium), or better yet, roast a whole chicken or roast beef on Sunday and use that meat throughout the week for sandwiches, wraps and to toss into salads.

2) Be creative.  Your kids will appreciate it if you think outside the brown-bag for their lunches, and if you’re packing for yourself, so will you.

I mean, do you really want another boring old sandwich to look forward to at lunch?

Instead, why don’t you try a fruit and cheese plate, or a pita pocket stuffed with falafel balls and some hummus? Or, how about using last night’s pasta and pack a cold pasta salad with chopped chicken.

Then there’s always bean and cheese tortillas, sushi, homemade soup (or try a low-sodium brand such as “Amy’s”, “Imagine” or “Wolfgang Puck”), or my favourite quick lunch meal of almond butter, topped with no-sugar added jam on Squirrelly bread with some raisins sprinkled on top.

3) Plan ahead. Use Sunday to plan your meals for the week and shop and buy all the groceries that you need so that you have everything on hand when you need them.

I plan all our lunches and dinners on the weekend and prepare as much as I can to give me a head start for the week. For instance, plan to make a stir-fry on Monday night and then use the leftovers in a wrap the next day.

Or, make a large salad that will carry you for the week and just add different toppings and dressings throughout the week to give you a variety of different tastes.

4) Don’t actually use a brown bag.  I know I keep referencing a brown bag, but they rip easily and won’t keep your hot foods warm and your cold foods cool.

Invest in a lunch box with insulation and with different compartments so that foods and beverages can be kept separately.

Also, purchase some small plastic containers (avoiding containers with the numbers 3 or 7 on the bottom – these have been proven to leach chemicals into our foods – yuck!), or glass containers to store each item and a freezer pack to keep the cold foods cold. This will keep your foods both fresh AND safe for lunchtime consumption.

5-Day Sample Menu of Lunches for the Whole Family

*All meals are less than 500 calories

Monday 3oz thinly sliced low-sodium nitrate-free turkey breast on 3 Wasa High-Fibre breads, a lg carrot stick & a ½ red bell pepper sliced & dipped in a ¼ c of hummus. ¾ c of 0% Vanilla Greek yogurt for dessert.
Tuesday Tuna salad sandwich: 3oz of tuna mixed with ½ c 0% fat Greek yogurt, (1) chopped hard boiled egg, 1 tbsp green relish, spread on a whole-wheat tortilla shell (such as “Weight Watcher’s” Whole Grain Wrap) and whatever veggies you want to add. 1 c blueberries for dessert. (if you prefer lower calories & 0 carbs wrap the tuna in butter lettuce instead of a wrap.
Wednesday 2c lentil soup (such as “Imagine” or “Amy’s” brand) & carrot & celery sticks & an apple dipped in 1tbsp of almond butter for dessert
Thursday Baked sweet potatoe with 0% Greek yogurt & a sprinkle of cinnamon & a side spinach salad. Chocolate Coconut “Lara” bar for dessert
Friday Pizza roll-ups: take 1-8” whole wheat tortilla shell, spread with 2 tbsp low sodium pizza sauce, 12 spinach leaves & 3 tbsp partly skin mozza cheese (note: you can also add veggies too). Roll & cut tortilla into 6 pieces. Caesar salad tossed in a home made dressing (I use 0% Greek yogurt for my Caesar dressing) & instead of croutons (which are filled with fat & preservatives) try roasted chickpeas, hemp hearts, or salad crunchies (a mixed nut blend you can buy at most grocery stores).

 

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How Bad Is Movie Popcorn?

How Bad Is Movie Popcorn?

How Bad is Movie Popcorn

Headed to go see one of the latest summer blockbusters? If so, stay away from the concession stand.

Not only are the “snacks” sold at the movie theatre unhealthy, some of them are the equal in calories of what a family of four should be eating for one meal and in fat for a whole day! And all at an 85% mark-up (mooneyland.time.com). Ouch.

how-bad-is-movie-popcorn

Here’s what you are getting yourself into if you order a movie’s most popular snack, popcorn:

Small Popcorn (9 cups)
480 calories
2 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
230 mg of sodium
134 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:

670 calories
15 g of saturated fat (3 grams over your recommended daily intake)
186 minutes of walking to burn it off

Regular Popcorn (14 cups)
780 calories
3 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
370 mg of sodium
217 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:

1,030 calories
20 g of saturated fat (almost a 100% over your recommended daily intake)
287 minutes of walking to burn it off

Large Popcorn (20 cups)
1,120 calories
5 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
530 mg of sodium (one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of sodium)
312 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:
1,440  calories (recommended daily caloric intake for a healthy female)
27 g of saturated fat (2.5 days of your recommended daily intake – in one sitting)
401 minutes of walking to burn it off

My suggestions:

  • Smuggle in your own snacks such as: Lara Bars, homemade trail mix, popcorn you made at home, fruit, water bottles. Preferably foods that you made, so not subbing in crap with more crap – you know what I mean?
  • Don’t buy the snacks. Just don’t buy the shit to begin with.
  • Drink herbal tea. Most of the time it’s boredom (and habit) that makes us snack when we watch a movie. So, replace that with a herbal tea. Sip away and walk out of the theatre less bloated than ever 🙂
  • Eat a balanced meal beforehand. Simple enough. Eliminate the need to snack by having a healthy meal before the movie. Go out for dinner, or have a nice meal at home beforehand.
  • If you crave something sweet, bring a dark chocolate bar with you. I get it, you like to munch while you watch.

 

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