Sunday, April 26, 2009

Have A Sore Back? Want Great Abs? Look No Further...

I spent my Saturday in training on a fabulous piece of pilates equipment called the ARC.

The Pilates ARC is a lightweight piece of equipment that can be used on its own or in tandem with the Reformer. And it is quite possibly the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The ARC's design allows for:

  • Increased core strength and stability (my abdominal muscles were sore after just one work-out!)

  • Improved mobility of the spine

  • Upper body strengthening and conditioning

  • Better balance and coordination

Plus, it's completely fun and totally different from other typical pieces of exercise equipment!

The ARC can be used by novice and experienced Pilates practitioners and is available online (with an instructional DVD) at

If you are a current client, get ready for a whole new work-out on the ARC!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recipe: Cooking Light Butterscotch Bars

This month's issue of Cooking Light has Butterscotch Bars as the feature recipe. I baked the bars and ate my way through at least a quadrant of the pan on Easter. It's a winner. Here's the recipe:

Butterscotch Bars

1 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup butterscotch morsels
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and egg. Combine flour, oats, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Add oat mixture to sugar mixture, stir with a fork until combined (mixture will be crumbly). Place 3 cups oat mixture into the bottom of a 13 X 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; press into bottom of pan. Set aside.

Place condensed milk, butterscotch morsels, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a microwave-salt bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until butterscotch melts, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir in walnuts. Scrape mixture into pan, spreading evenly over crust. Sprinkle evenly with remaining oat mixture, gently pressing into butterscotch mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Calories per serving: 148
Fat per serving: 5.1 grams

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Avoid Tendinitis, Check Your Tennis Shoes

Last week, I got out of bed unable to walk due to a sharp and stabbing pain that started in my ankle and eventually traveled up to my knee. The only way I can explain the severity of the pain is shin splints times 100. At times, the sensation felt so "nervy" that it took my breath away.

The orthopedic physician diagnosed acute and severe tendinitis of my anterior tibialisis (think front of the ankle). The interesting thing is that tendinitis in this area is highly unusual and generally only seen in athletes who participate in high intensity sports, which is definitely not me. The physician was surprised to learn that I walk and practice yoga for exercise, thinking that I must be a high endurance athlete to have this type of tendinitis. He got a good laugh out of my definition of "regular"cardio: vacuuming my house twice daily to stay on top of the dog hair!

So I'm walking around now in a huge boot that looks like something that Luke Skywalker might wear. My son, B, thinks its very cool.

I am scheduled for a MRI next week and physical therapy later this month. In the meantime, I'll be doing lots of yoga (one legged Down Dogs and planks!) and modifying Reformer exercises to incorporate upper body and abdominals.

As I was cleaning out my gym bag this morning, I took a good, hard look at my exercise shoes and wondered why in the world I've continued to use the SAME shoes for the last year and a half. I'm sure you've seen them...the light blue, split toe Nikes that offer virtually no support whatsoever. I wear them all the time. And I definitely know better.

Truth be told, I became very lazy about my footwear, thinking that my low intensity style of exercise didn't warrant a pair of decent shoes. I've logged a lot of miles on the treadmill, on the streets with the dog and on the elliptical. Far too many for my old Nikes to support the repetitive impact.

The lesson here is quite simple. Avoid injuries of any type by upgrading your exercise footwear at least twice a year. Consider doing this more frequently if you live in your tennies, like I do.

You can bet that when this tendinitis is healed, I'll be at Fleet Feet treating myself to a more-than-decent pair of shoes.