Many people don’t fully understand what the “core” training is, but they know that they need to strengthen it to help their abdominals look better and to help with their low back pain. In a nutshell, these are both true statements. People also tend to believe that doing crunches will achieve this. This is where people are way off.
The term “core” refers to an assortment of muscles around our midsection, pelvis and lower back. A primary purpose for many of these muscles is basically to stabilize and protect our spine. This means that these muscles are very important and (should be) active when we are sitting, standing and doing any movements. Problems arise when these muscles are weak and we get stress in areas (such as our lower back) where we are not supposed to.
The best exercises to strengthen these areas tend to be stabilizing-type exercises like planks, side planks, chops, etc… Crunches in moderation, along with the stabilizing-type exercises are ok, but not that effective. Click on the link below for some great core exercise examples and more information from one of the great researchers in this area.
Can You Eat Out and Still Be Healthy?
The Answer: Yes
Is it Easy: No
Do I have some suggestions for you? Absolutely. Try the following ten guidelines to keep your waistline in check and your progress on track when you need to occasionally go out for a meal. Do keep in mind, however, that cooking and eating at home is always the best option.
1. Mix and match. Survey the entire menu when you sit down. Let’s say you want salmon but it comes with garlic-cheddar risotto. The filet, on the other hand, comes with sautéed spinach and garlic. Politely ask your server to switch sides. (Politely is the key word: you don’t want to alienate your server or she’ll be more likely to add a $3 surcharge to your entree.) Make eating an adventure. Maybe you’re traveling in the South, for instance, and never tried collard greens. Go for them.
3. Bypass the gargantuan dinner salads. Candied walnuts, bacon, taco strips, dried fruit, rice noodles, and wontons atop entrée salads are red alerts for fat bombs. Likewise, skip the sugary vinaigrettes and creamy dressings. Customize your salad (Chipotle does a fab job doing this) with avocado or guacamole, salsa, chicken, and black beans. Ask for a low-sugar vinaigrette or oil and vinegar on the side.
4. Beware of red flags. Any entrée described as breaded, fried, crunchy, crispy, glazed or creamy translates into fast fat loss obstacle. Order your lean protein and non-starchy veggies grilled, baked, or broiled.
5. You know what assuming does… Ask your server questions before you order so you’re assured your meal is what you want it do be. Ignorance doesn’t cut it. If you fail to ask, and your chicken dish comes drowning in a syrupy soy glaze (even though your menu didn’t say so), you’re responsible if you eat it.
6. Don’t invite the enemy to the table. Banish the breadbasket before your server even sets it down. (If your dining companions insist, just ask that your salad be brought out as soon as it’s ready, and in the meantime visualize your ultimate body)
7. Double up. Two appetizers as your main course provide better portion control than a gigantic entrée. You might order hummus with veggies, for instance, alongside grilled chicken kabobs with salsa.
8. Share or cut it in half. Split that enormous broccoli-garlic stuffed chicken breast in half and share with your dining partner or get it to go before you even dive in. You’ll save money and calories.
9. 3 bites and fork down. Your business date insists you must try the pistachio chocolate upside-down cake, and who are you to argue since you’re trying to score his 6-figure account? Instead of declining, have 3 polite bites – we’re talking bites you would eat on The Rachael Ray Show, not during an 11 p.m. fridge raid – and ask your server to remove the fork. Trust me: your date will have no problem finishing that cake.
10. Get ideas, not absolutes, from the menu. Use it as a guide, not an ultimatum, about how you should enjoy your dinner. Maybe you want the wild salmon sautéed in olive oil instead of sticky soy glaze. Or you want that grass-fed burger on top of some greens rather than a bun (and hold the fries, please). Don’t be afraid to ask, nicely, since many restaurants are happy to accommodate your requests