Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Workouts on the Go

Have you ever found yourself in a hotel gym, only to look around and realize there really isn’t a lot of equipment?  Perhaps there are some dumbbells, and a Swiss ball or two.  Depending on your travels and stays, you may come across a few medicine balls and a Bosu Ball.  But you ask yourself, what to do with these things?  Well, that’s what I am going to help you out with.

What I am going to do is write a small workout, using both of these great pieces of equipment.

Here we go:

Bosu Ball Squats – Stand on the flat surface of the ball, and balance your body weight on top. For added extra weight, hold a pair of dumbbells on your sides.

Bosu Ball Push-Ups – Hold the edge of the ball, flat surface upward, and perform your normal push-ups.  Not only with this challenge your upper body, your core will also be working to keep your body stable.

Medicine Ball Oblique Twist – If you can keep your feet off the ground, hold the medicine ball in front of your body and twist it from side to side, reaching it toward the ground behind you.   Remember, abs need a lot of direct work to be worked, so don’t go light on the reps!

Medicine Ball Alternating Push-Ups – Assume normal push-up position, with a medicine ball placed under one hand.  You perform the push-up this way, then roll the ball over to the other hand, and perform the push-up that way.

Bosu Ball Burpees – Yes, I said it.  Hold the Bosu Ball above your head, jump straight up high off the ground, upon landing, drop down into a push-up position while holding the Bosu Ball and Perform the push-up, then jump your feet toward your chest, and stand back up.  That’s 1, Enjoy.

Medicine Ball Figure 8’s - This is an ab killer.  You remember the figure 8 basketball drill, where you would pass the ball between your legs while squatting down?  It’s like that, but you are sitting down and keep your feet elevated off the ground and moving in a bicycle manner.  It’ll burn, trust me, and aim for 50 plus in one sitting.

Now there are numerous other things you can do with these as well, this is just a glimpse of things you can do.  I would suggest some basic movements on the Bosu as well.  Things like holding a squat position, and while holding that squat, perform some curls, or shoulder presses.  You can even perform single leg dead-lifts when you find the proper balance.   The options are endless, but you will never know until you try!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unique Grilling Recipes for 2013

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Ah, Summer is finally here, with that comes busting out that grill and doing things that most men (and a lot of women too) enjoy doing…and that’s grilling! Now everyone knows about the typical items that are thrown on the grill and taste delicious (steak, chicken, burgers, brats, etc), but how about something a little bit different and just as satisfying?

Now I’m not talking about confusing recipes that require 50 ingredients and consist of items you may not have ever heard of. There are plenty of great recipes that only require a small amount of items, short amount of time, but endless compliments from your friends after they try them.

Now Kabobs are one of the greatest, easiest, and tastiest dishes you can make from the grill.  Greatest thing is that you decide what to put on them.  Check out the site #1 for one of my most favorite kabob dishes. Quick, easy, and tastes phenomenal!

Now burgers are great but sometimes you just feel like something just a little different instead of using hamburger meat. Try these recipes out with site #2, now keep an open mind and don’t judge it until you try it out because you just may surprise yourself how much you will enjoy it.

Ready to get your mind blown?! How about desserts on the grill…and ones those are actually healthier than most! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!  I know, I know you may think I’m crazy, but you will blow everyone out of the water with these recipes. Check out the final link to check out some out of these world desserts that will surprise everyone!

Now my mouth is watering just thinking about all this food!  Try some of these out and let us know what you think! Happy grilling out there Black Clover Nation!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top 5 Reasons Why We Mindlessly Eat

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Have you ever grabbed a bite to eat without even being hungry? Or thought to yourself why am I eating this, I just ate not too long ago? Well you’re not alone; many people every day partake in mindless eating or unnecessary eating without even realizing it.

The average person makes around 250 decisions about food every day and out of these 200 + food decisions, most of them we cannot really explain. Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry; no we overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, and cupboards and containers. All these are contributors to my top 5 reasons why we mindlessly eat. These are my top 5 reasons why we mindlessly eat and solutions to overcome them.

1. Boredom - When boredom sets in most turn to food or activities incorporating food to overcome that boredom, which is because preparing the food or eating it gives us something to do instead of just sitting around doing nothing.

Solution – When you’re bored distance yourself from available food sources and find something productive to do that keeps you active and away from easy, available food. 

2. Stress – Most of us eat when we’re feeling stressed, this is because in our minds it’s a way of relieving stress or distracting us from it when instead all its really doing is making the unwanted calories add up.

Solution – Whenever you’re feeling stressed, take a break, breathe and relax. Do something to take that mind off of what is stressing you out. I suggest going for a walk, exercising, or going to see friends and family to do something that is not focused around food or whatever is causing you stress.

3. Environment - Environment plays a big role in unnecessary eating and this because the society we live in today uses food to advertise just about anything. For example when we go to sporting events or tailgating what is the one of the things we associate with that? Food! Or what about when we want go out with family or friends, we usually do something involving food.

Solution - Start with something simple. Throw out all your junk food and snacks and replace them with healthier options. Those cookies or chips that you have lying on the counter, switch them for fruits. When you mindlessly eat, you’re more likely to eat the very first thing you see then actually weighing your options (no pun intended). 

4. Emotions – Have you ever heard the expression, “Eating your feelings?” Well this is true. When we’re sad we eat, when we’re excited and celebrating we eat, or as mentioned above we eat when we’re bored.

Solution – Don’t use food as a coping tool or a use of celebration. Instead do something that you enjoy to cheer you up when you’re feeling down or to celebrate. For example if you love to shop, go shopping. If you’re a runner, go for a run; just don’t get caught in the food trap. 

5. Seasons - Most people don’t think of seasons being a cause for unnecessary eating, but we associate certain foods with specific seasons. Perfect example during the winter and holidays people start to get less active because it’s colder outside and consume more sweets, like Christmas cookies, fudge, and candies. How about the Spring and Summer months, when it’s nice outside and we are more active, but now we’re going to fairs, football / baseball fame and getting into the greasy and deep fat fried foods.

Solution – No matter what season it is always be aware of your environment and what foods are going to be more readily available and influencing your mind. The main idea it to be conscious and smart about what you’re putting into your mouth and to think, instead of you mindlessly eating whatever is available and easy.

Research by Brian Wansink, PhD, and a Cornell University researcher shows just how much these top 5 reasons can really factor into our mindless eating. For example one of his studies involved different sizes of party bowls filled with Chex Mix showed that people eating from the larger bowl, took on average 53% more Chex Mix than people eating from smaller bowls. This accumulates to about 205 extra calories! This is because at an early age it’s been ingrained into our minds not to stop eating once we’re full, but instead to stop eating when our plates are empty.

Nutritionist and dietitians suggest that when you feel like eating a snack, keep in minding the 5 Ds: delay, determine, distract, distance, and decide. Waiting before eating reminds you to be mindful about your snack and actually thinking about whether you are hungry or not forces you to consider what exactly you are putting in your body. If you’re not hungry, distracting yourself with something else or distancing yourself from the food may help you avoid the temptation of eating.

So remember to stop, think, and be smart about what you’re about to eat instead of just eating what easiest and available.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Relieving Muscle Soreness

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I'm sure that you all know that sore muscle feel that you have for days after starting up a new exercise program.  However, do you know the best ways to relieve your sore muscles? While there are numerous ways to relieve your muscles I'll tell you my top ways that you can help your muscles recover from the workouts. Before I get into the best ways to help your muscles recover I want to briefly touch base on what exactly causes the muscle soreness. The 'delayed onset muscle soreness', DOMS, is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers during the eccentric (lengthening) portion while lifting weights.

One of the best ways to help your muscles recover and minimize the soreness following a tough workout is to alternate roughly 15 minute spurts of heat and ice in a localized area or take an ice and hot bath.  The heat causes vasodialation in your muscles which improves circulation to the area to help with the soreness.  The ice will then in turn constrict your vessels which will reduce muscle swelling.

Another great way to help you recover is to take in the correct nutrients immediately following the workout and after. Amino acids are the building blocks of your muscles and proteins are compromised of amino acids. So with that said, take in plenty of protein rich foods to help replenish your muscles.

NSAID's, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are great in relieving the swelling in muscles. So if your soreness has reached a new level don't be afraid to take the recommended dosage of Ibuprofen to help out.

Another thing that would help you get back to your next workout with minimal soreness would be to stretch following the workout. Stretching will cause extra oxygen and blood flow get to your muscles. This extra blood flow will allow the proper nutrients to get to your muscles quicker.

There are many more ways to keep your muscles from experiencing DOMS, but if you follow one or even all of these ways I can almost guarantee that your soreness will be less than someone who did not do any of these items. So don't forget to stretch, eat protein rich foods, ice and heat your muscles, and take some ibuprofen if you want to be less sore.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Importance of Building Muscle

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Don’t think building muscle is that important?  Well, listen to this; did you know that the typical person will lose up to 30% of their muscle strength between the ages of 50-70?  Maintaining muscle strength at an older age is extremely important to not only maintain mobility, but to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Building muscle has many health benefits, and I am going to breakdown a few important issues that will help you understand why.

• First off, muscle is much leaner than fat (obviously right?).  A pound of fat is generally the size of 2 fists side by side, whereas a pound of muscle is the size of 1 fist.  Building muscle will in turn, make you leaner and help shape your appearance.

• Like I mentioned above, lifting weights and building muscle will help shape your appearance.  You see, when people diet to drop weight and do not incorporate resistance training, they are limiting their potential.  Not only will lifting weights build new muscle, it will also add some definition to your body.

• Strength training has benefits that go beyond the appearance of toned muscles.  Building muscle will help your balance and coordination, as well as your posture.  If you are one that suffers from poor flexibility, strength training will greatly reduce your risk of falling, a crucial benefit as you age.

• Want to kick up your metabolism, lift weights!  Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. This is why metabolism slows down with age-related muscle loss. Building and maintaining muscle by lifting weights is the most effective strategy for maintaining muscle, and speeding up your metabolism. Not only does lifting weights burn calories, each weight training session elevates your metabolism. An intensive weight lifting session can raise your calorie-burning rate for hours.

• Women – This one is specifically for you - When you have a high percentage of body fat, that body fat is stored not only in the tissues that are obvious, such as your hips and your midsection, your arms and legs and so on, it's also stored intramuscularly, which means it's stored within the muscles of your body. It's sort of like the marbling of beef from a cow. If you slice a muscle from a cow, there's some fat inside the muscle, which is the same kind of fat that's in our muscles when we have a high percentage of body fat.

That fat takes up a lot of space in the muscle, so it actually makes the muscle look bigger, because there's fat inside. When you start losing body fat, even if you're engaged in strength training, that intramuscular fat will begin to vanish. So even if your muscle mass begins to grow, which again, is very difficult for women to accomplish, your overall muscle size is probably going to be smaller when you're at a lower percentage of body fat. The net change in your muscle size is going to be almost nothing, unless you really start to do strength training on a regular basis for a period of a year or two, and then you might actually begin to put on a little bit more muscle.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Big Myth about Spot Reduction

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“I really need to do more abs so I can have a flat stomach for the summer.”  “I just need to work on my thighs; they are just way too big.” “I do abs all the time, but yet I haven’t lost anything around my waist.”  These are a lot of the common statements made by clients and the everyday person on the street when it comes to what they want done to their bodies when they get into an exercise routine.  Everyone has at least one certain spot on their body that they are not happy with, and they believe that if they work that one area more than the rest, then that one area will see more results in a faster amount of time.  Sadly, this is a myth that is commonly known as “spot reduction.”  Now in hindsight this would be a great theory; work one area twice as much as everything else, in this case your abs, then you will have that flat stomach in no time.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work that way.

Let’s take your abs and/or waist into consideration with this idea, just because this is the biggest focal point in a majority of these discussions.  You can do crunches all day and yes your abs can become stronger, but just your abs are strong does not necessarily mean that you will lose inches around your waist.  In order to lose inches and tone up abs, there are a couple of things that need to be done.

 “One of the best ways to lose weight quickly is by doing cardiovascular workouts. Cardio is very helpful in helping you get rid of your fat belly. You don’t even need to do cardio for hours to notice any tangible results. If you only run on a treadmill for at least half-an-hour daily, that would be enough for you” (Fitness Tips For Life).

When they talk about doing cardio for half-an-hour, this can be done in a variety of ways: intervals on the treadmill, super setting sprints with crunches on a Swiss ball, or just running for 30 minutes.  All this really depends on what kind of runner you really are. Doing cardio 5-6 times a week will greatly increase the chances of decreasing your body fat, losing those inches around your waist, and toning up those abs.

“If you want to tone up your body overall, acknowledge that you need to pay attention to your serving sizes. The average American eats way more than they actually need” (Diet Nation).  This brings up a great point, because your nutrition is just as important a part to get toned up and lose body fat as strength training and cardio.  I call this the “tone-up tripod” mainly because think those three things as legs of a tripod.  If you only do very well on two out of the three, it’s like kicking out the leg of a tripod and everything can come crashing down.  Well maybe not crashing down, but not completely seeing the results that you want.  You know what I’m getting at.

So spot reduction is a complete myth but if you want to really tone up in certain areas, get some strength training in, hit that cardio hard, and eat extremely well and you will get the results that you want.  Now this will not happen overnight, it takes time but it is all worth it in the end.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5K Run to Remember

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Black Clover Fitness is teaming up with the Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 organization and the Stacy Bartels Agency of Farm Bureau Financial Services to honor Kiley Remmereid and the many others that have been killed in traffic incidents. The event is called “The Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 5K Run / Walk to Remember” and will be held at Skutt High School on April 27th. The mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 two-fold:
Kylie Remmereid

1) To change the way we drive on neighborhood streets, and beyond, through support of communities in creating comprehensive traffic safety solutions that engage residents as front-line solutions to the problems we create - speeding, stop-sign running, all manner of distracted driving, tailgating, buckling up, etc.

2) To support families who experience the death of a loved one due to a traffic incident. Many of these families make amazing, and significant, contributions to traffic safety in their communities in the wake of the death of their daughter, son, mother, father, brother, or sister.KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® stands ready to support and include their initiatives in the work of our mission. (Contact us at 402-334-1391 or

We here at Black Clover Fitness are determined to raise awareness for this great organization and work to keep our neighborhood street’s safe for everyone, as well as promote health and fitness. We would like to invite all of you to join us on April 27th to remember those who have passed due to a traffic incident and to get up, get out and get active. If you have any questions regarding the upcoming event or about Black Clover Fitness, give us a call at (402) 991-7700.