I don't have the luxury of a schedule that allows me to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show very often, but a couple of times over the years I have been off work and home in front of the television at the right time to see that annual episode in which she unveils her "favorite things."
The audience who happens to be there that day gets to go home with all of the favorite things, which is really pretty Badass in my book. This Badass Fitness blog and my personal training side career haven't (yet) made me enough money to be able to offer a truckload of gifts to the whole Badass Army. But I can spread the love through knowledge - specifically, by sharing my latest list of "favorite things" to help you enjoy and reach new heights in your climb to the top of the Badass mountain!
Shannon's Fitness Favorites, Spring 2010 Edition
1. The Women's Health BIG Book of Exercises: I think I need to baptize this as my fitness Bible. For just $24.99 (less at Amazon.com), this book from the health magazine makers offers 619 exercises to sculpt your Badass from head to toe -- not to mention dozens of sample workout routines that puts it all together. There is a chapter on nutrition, and answers to weight lifting questions. The best part: PICTURES!!! Every exercise includes a picture demonstration and description on proper movement and form. It is simply awesome. Buy yourself a copy. Keep it in your gym bag. Use it daily.
2. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Kids today, in increasing numbers, are increasingly fat. Obese. Diabetic because of what they eat, not because of genetics. And I give mad props to British superstar chef Jamie Oliver for trying to stop us from become a world of flubby flubs. This is not about appearances, OK? This is about health -- specifically, about having it so that we can be a productive, happy, vibrant society of movers and shakers. Not a society of slovenly sloths. You think the healthcare debate is wild now? Just wait 20 years, when every American in their 20s is on blood pressure and cholesterol meds and insulin medication. I'm thinking that won't bring down insurance premiums. Jamie Oliver is on a mission to curb childhood obesity by improving the food served in schools. I want to give him a big Hoo-ah and a hug! This week, an ABC TV show began that documents his efforts in Huntington, West Virginia, which has the unfortunate distinction as being dubbed the unhealthiest cities in America. He went in, he took over the high school cafeteria, and he shrank some Badasses. I love you, Jamie Oliver. Besides Badass Foodie, you are now my fave chef!
3. 100-Calorie Almond packets: Almonds are one of the best power snacks out there, but as with even the best of foods, too much is no good for our Badasses because those calories and (good) fats add up. Enter Emerald nut company's 100-calorie almond packs (less than $3 a box at Target). One of my new co-workers, a fellow fitness enthusiast, introduced me to these recently. The packets eliminate the "how much is a serving?" guess work, and they come in natural or -- drum roll -- cocoa powder covered! Cha-choco-ching, right?! These are the perfect snack to keep in your desk drawer, gym bag or purse. Snack on a packet as you flip through that exercise Bible!
4. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood: This "grass" is totally legal and totally awesome! The Badass Foodie, keeper of so much amazing culinary and good eating knowledge, got me onto this powder powerhouse. It's sold at most health food stores, and comes in regular or berry flavor. Both are great, and I use a scoop in my protein shakes every morning. One 30-calorie scoop of the organic Green SuperFood contains wheat grass, alfalfa, spinach, broccoli, carrot, acai, green tea, goji berries, beet and raspberries. All those fruits and veggies means you get tons of antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals. I have seen a difference in my skin and energy levels, and a male athlete friend has experienced the same. I'll have another scoop!
5. Tide Sport with Febreeze: Yeah, so I wish I could say my sweat smells like roses. But um...not so much. Sweat is sweat, and while the burn and glisten of a power workout feels great, it smells like nastiness. And the smell is even worse when it sets into your workout cloths. The geniuses at Tide know this, and thank the heavens they have made a version of Tide designed to leave our shirts, shorts, socks and yoga pants smelling like heaven. It's got Febreeze odor neutralizer, and it works. Yeah, that's me you smell walking into the gym, all Febreeze fresh!
6. Almond Breeze almond milk, unsweetened chocolate: A friend and triathlete introduced me to this yumminess, and I am hooked. Less than 50 calories a cup, less than 4 grams of fat, and scant amounts of sugar make this an awesome substitute for milk (which is high in calcium but also high in sugars, albeit the natural kind). Cook your oatmeal with it, use it in smoothies, or even over breakfast cereal. I use it every morning with Amazing Grass in my protein shake. Publix usually sells this in the Greenwise section (in sweetened and unsweetened varieties) for less than $3 a carton, as do many health food stores. So go get some! Because really, how can you turn down anything that is chocolate!?
Coming tomorrow: Creamy tuna and chicken salad - two more dishes you DON'T have to give up!