Affordable Inside Tips from a Celebrity Personal Trainer
Many of us are trying to make healthier choices these days when it comes to exercise and eating. And many of us are also struggling to make it happen successfully. I recently had a chance to spend the afternoon via phone with Kathy Kaehler, Today Show fitness correspondent for over thirteen years and personal trainer to such celebrities as Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfieffer. Her most heavily weighed piece of advice was on a surprising topic. Read on for details.
One might have expected the entire advice list to be about exercise. What does a personal trainer focus on, if not specific fitness moves? In point of fact, we did cover that topic. Additionally however, Kathy was incredibly passionate about food choices and how to work in healthy ones more easily. Basically, what sense does it make to work your tush off in the gym and head home to ice cream sandwiches? Food choices are critical to getting the most out of your workout and training regimen. Here are the highlights.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Use your body as a natural weight when working out.
This is perfect for those not wanting to dish out for a set of free weights. Working out against a wall, or by leaning on a chair can do just as well on a budget. Think squats, leaning push ups, etc.
Mini workouts of approximately one minute.
For those with trouble finding larger blocks of time who can't necessarily get to the gym from work, these are great. They are also a fantastic way to flush some oxygen into your system to stay focused as well as fit. Pick a simple move or two to work on a particular muscle group, and repeat. Teachers can use these mini workouts with their students for class transitions, unexpected time gaps or to kick off a group fitness activity.
Remember the importance of food choices in your overall fitness plan.
Getting the whole family on board is key here. Kaehler is passionate about including the kiddos in all phases of food preparation and cooking. Surprisingly, many children today don't participate in meal prep at all, or in some cases even know where it comes from. Involving them will not only give them some ownership, it will get them excited about the family's overall menu choices.
Storage containers for dips and sauces, as opposed to jars or bottles with pour spouts.
Kaehler says these help keep her honest. If she has to spoon out a particular dip or sauce, she is more likely to pay attention to portion size. Inside tidbit: Kathy's also been making the transition to glass instead of plastic, and you have no idea how hip I felt when she shared that the glass containers with plastic snap on lids I've been using along with my canning jars as a budget hack are the same ones she has in her refrigerator. (Score one for the budget crowd! If these are good enough for woman who trains the red carpet crowd, I feel absolutely no pressure to upgrade.)
Common challenge? Convenience.
With today's busy careers and lifestyles taking so much time, and kids' schedules getting crazier than ever, it's no big mystery why people cave for prepared and take out foods. According to Kathy, the answer lies in making fruits and vegetables as convenient as potato chips, and freshly prepared meals faster than takeout and sexier than casseroles. How does she make this happen? Through a process she calls Sunday Setups. Basically, it's sort of a twist on OAMC and weekly lunch box prep that handles everything you'll need for the week – from snacks to suppers, and lunches to morning meals.
KATHY'S SUNDAY SETUP PROGRAM
Basically it's easier than you think, and can be implemented with a variety of food pairings to suit your particular family favorites. Here are her main procedures and tips for making this work in her own home, and what she encourages her clients to do.
Set up a fruit and veggie snack buffet.
She and her family set this up on Sunday along with their other menu items for the week. Getting this done allows for simple lunch packing through the week, and healthy after school snacks that leave junk food eating dust. One healthy dip is selected for the week. You can mix and match according to what's popular at your house. From there, you just incorporate produce choices that work for your budget and family preferences. Kathy's current list includes blueberries, seedless grapes and cherry tomatoes. Your list might be carrot sticks, wild strawberries and apple wedges. Before her kids make it in the door, she grabs these items out of the fridge (remember, they're all pre-washed and prepped from Sunday) and has them available on the counter. These are also elements you can select from when getting school lunches ready to go.
Incorporate seasonal shifts.
Kaehler's lucky enough to have a farmers' market close to her home, but even if you don't you can work this in by observing the sale trends on produce at your local grocery store. Not only is this a more planet friendly way to go, but will keep the budget on track while mixing up the fruit and veggie selections to provide that variety all families need to keep going full steam on the healthy eating front.
Stock up on staples.
Obviously, the healthy pantry staples will vary slightly from household to household. Kathy shared her base ingredients and current fresh items, which are basic enough to work in with any budget: brown rice, a variety of healthy pastas, kidney beans, black beans, 4-8 boiled chicken breasts for use throughout the week, one dozen hard boiled eggs, a container of chopped onion, one container of chopped mixed peppers, a container of cherry tomatoes and three bunches of kale sautéed down to mix in with rice or tuck in with sandwiches. From this base set of items, she incorporates such meals as salad, stir fry, rice and beans, tacos and more throughout the week.
Do you have a frugal food pairing list that you use in your home? What tricks do you use to keep nutrition on track for the whole family?