A quick at-home workout

So I got home last night and felt like working out but didn’t want to venture to the gym. Instead of giving up and deciding to sit on the couch, watch TV, and tell myself that I should work out, I decided to write up a quick, easy workout designed to get me sweating and to get my heart rate up quickly and maintain it at that high level to maximize results. Muscle strength, endurance, and some cardio as well…what a trifecta!

The workout looked like this:

  • 12 squat jumps (exactly what it sounds like…squat down as low as you can while keeping your back straight, and then launch yourself as high as you can go in one explosive movement)
  • Lying face-up on the ground and holding your legs straight out for one minute (ab work)
  • Lunges (I had one leg elevated to add some balance work) – 12 on each leg
  • 1 minute of plank (Here’s a video about the plank: PLANK) I added the twists you see in the video – touching my hips to the ground side-to-side – and then I also kicked one leg at a time up toward my chest
  • Supermans (Here’s a video to help explain these: SUPERMAN); 12 on each side
  • Burpees (these are no fun, but they’re absolutely awesome. Here’s a video – the guy is pretty terrible on camera but he does a good job explaining: BURPEES); I did 15 as fast as I could, but maybe do a cycle where you do 5, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat until you have gone about 4 mins., so about 20 burpees total.
  • Oblique twists (Here’s a video in case you want to see how it’s done: OBLIQUE TWISTS; you can use weight –a medicine ball or anything else – like the guy in the video to make it more challenging, but doing these with no weight is also great) 20 “taps” on each side
  • Side Plank with hip dips (Here’s a helpful video to explain it: SIDE PLANK); I held the side plank for 15 seconds and then did 10 hip dips on each side.

That’s one set. I didn’t rest much between each exercise, but if you need to, that’s ok! Take about a minute between each exercise.

Try to make your way through the workout two more times, taking about 3-5 minutes of rest in between each of the three sets. I guarantee that your heart will be racing!

If you have any feedback or other great at-home workout tips, feel free to comment below!

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DC Nutrition Examiner

That’s my new title! I am now the DC Nutrition Examiner for examiner.com and I will be writing 2 (or so) articles a week about nutrition in and around DC!

Don’t worry loyal readers…I will still update and write for runfreedc too! Now you’ll just have another place to read my writing 🙂

I’m very excited for this opportunity and I hope you will read and enjoy my articles on examiner.com!

Here is my profile page:

http://www.examiner.com/user-thomas-openchowski

Be sure to bookmark it and check it daily for updates. You can subscribe too!

Fairfax Four Miler

Registration is now open for the New Year’s Eve race in Fairfax. Mal and I ran it last year and it’s a ton of fun. It starts at 6pm and it’s a quick and easy 4 mile route through the George Mason University campus. Starting at 6pm still leaves you plenty of time to get home, get cleaned up and hit the town to ring in 2012. Go HERE to register. Hope to see you there!

Quinoa with Black Beans & Corn

This recipe is so easy and the dish can be either eaten as a full meal or as a side dish. It is a vegetarian dish (could even be vegan if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and if you pass on the Parm. cheese topping), but you are still getting tons of great plant-based protein from the quinoa and the beans. Give it a try!

Here’s What you Need:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small can of corn (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional…I hate cilantro so I don’t use it)

*go with vegetable broth if you want this to be vegan/vegetarian.

 Here’s how to Make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with chicken broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed (about 12-15 minutes)
  3. Stir corn and beans into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through.
  4. OPTIONAL: Mix in cilantro.
  5. Top off with a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Source: QUINOA AND BLACK BEANS

Happy Holiday Office Party Season!

‘Tis the season for holiday office parties! Sadly, that usually means food that’s loaded with sugar, fat and salt. Chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, eggnog, decadent desserts, and of course those delicious holiday cocktails. Trust me, I know these are all tasty staples of any good party. But they’re also not ideal for your healthy diet. So how can you survive the barrage of sugar, fat, and salt at your office party? I have a few suggestions 🙂

First and foremost, don’t think you can’t eat any of the foods you see. Eat what you want, just don’t go overboard. Moderation! It’s so unrealistic to steer clear of “bad” foods and avoid things completely. Let’s be honest, if someone is bringing homemade sugar cookies to a party it’s pretty much impossible to resist them…so just have one! Mac and cheese is my kryptonite, so I have some; I just take a little bit. The key is moderation.

A great way to eat party food in moderation is to eat something healthy before you head to the party. If you have an early afternoon party, still pack your own lunch and eat it before you head to the party. If your party is after work, bring a healthy snack to eat (like an apple and peanut butter, or a yogurt with granola). Filling up on a healthy sandwich or a hearty soup before you go to the party makes you less likely to go crazy with portions once you get there. Again, you can still have some mac and cheese and a cookie, but if you fill up on healthy food, it may stop you from eating too much and then going into a food coma for the rest of the work day 😉

Another strategy that I like to use is to make a dish that I know is healthy and then hone in on it once you get to the party. Case in point: one of my friends’ office party. She said the options at last year’s party ranged from fried chicken to mac and cheese to…well those were about the healthiest options she saw. Not a nutritious spread, to say the least. Her party is Friday and she wants to bring a healthy dish.

So I suggested that she make a delicious and nutritious quinoa dish that I have brought to many parties. There are protein-rich black beans and corn in the dish, so you get nutrition from all the ingredients. Side note: if you haven’t tried quinoa yet (as a substitute for rice or couscous) try it! Quinoa is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet: it’s packed with more protein than most other grains, has a lot of fiber that will keep you full for longer, is really easy to make, and on top of all that, it tastes great. Here’s the recipe for the dish I was talking about if you guys want to make it for your office party:

QUINOA AND BLACK BEANS

Of course, these are just food suggestions. I don’t have any useful tips on how to survive the awkward conversation with that coworker in an ugly Christmas sweater…sorry!

Do you guys have any tips on how to survive office parties? Other healthy recipes to share?

Thanks for reading! Happy Eating and Happy Holidays!