Shape Up for Spring

Shape Up for Spring

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After you activate your core, all other exercises also become core exercises, Yang said. In low plank, you keep undue tension out of your shoulders, and still reap all the benefits of high plank. For proper form, keep your forearms on the ground in a straight line out from the elbows. Elbows should be underneath your shoulders and palms should be facing down to help pull shoulders into proper alignment. Focus on pressing the middle of your shoulders high to the sky or ceiling to make your upper back as flat as possible, and look forward to keep your cervical spine active. From the top of your head to your heels, you should create a straight line. To make sure you’re working your whole body, squeeze your butt as hard as you can and pull your naval in. 

Feel Good Foods/Hardie Grant Books

When it comes to shedding winter weight, chicken breast is one of your best allies. With a solid dose of lean protein, you’ll stay full longer.

This recipe is simple to prepare in advance, so you can surprise your workout buddies with a tasty lunch after your morning sweat. The preserved grape leaves also add an extra dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacin and Iron.

Click here for the recipe.

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Set up side plank, with your right hand aligned directly underneath your right shoulder and your hips and left arm actively lifting toward the sky. Thread your left arm underneath your right armpit, slightly twisting to look underneath your body. Return to side plank. Complete three sets of 15 reps on both sides. If you need more support, bend the top leg to put your foot on the floor. 

Feel Good Foods/Hardie Grant Books

Spring and summer are ideal times for watching football and baseball games, but traditional game-day foods can pack on the calories. The next time you're hosting, try out this decadent but healthy alternative to traditional dips. Rather than putting your guests into a food coma, these sides will keep stomachs full and energy high.

Click here for the recipe.

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Set a timer for six minutes, put your arms out into a t-shape and hold. For a variation, try small, fast punches out to the side using a micro-bend in your elbow. Punch as fast as you can. To increase the level of difficulty, use a dumbbell.

Reprinted from WHAT DOCTORS EAT by Tasneem Bhatia, MD and The Editors of Prevention. Copyright (c) 2013 by Rodale, Inc. By permission of Rodale, Inc.

If you want a multicourse meal without the multicourse calories, kick off your dinner with this light, healthy appetizer. It packs a walloping 28 grams of protein with only 268 calories, and also supplies your body with a bounty of vitamins and minerals. For the most nutrients, use kale as your leafy green. Kale is full of vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and antioxidants. Plus, the five grams of fiber per serving will help you feel fuller. 

This meal is also great for recovery. Basil not only tastes great, but is also a potent anti-inflammatory that can help your body heal after workouts.

Click here for the recipe.

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Lay on your back with your knees bent, and raise your lower back and butt into the air, keeping your heels on the ground and your ankles over your knees. Lower your body back to the ground and repeat for one minute. For more of a challenge, keep one leg lifted as you move up and down. 

From Clean Start © 2010 by Terry Walters, photo by Gentl & Hyers

One of the easiest ways to fight cravings and lose weight is to eat more soup, according to a study described in BBC News Magazine. During their research, scientists found that soup helped study participants stay full longer than solid foods.

This kale and black-eyed pea stew will not only keep you satisfied, it will also promote good health through nutrients including folate, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. A little dried oregano is an added bonus. One teaspoon has as much antioxidant power as three cups of chopped broccoli.

Click here for the recipe.

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Start in a downward dog position, bend your knees deeply and push off the floor, kicking your heels up toward your butt. Make sure to land softly with bent knees. Repeat the jump as many times as you can for 50 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise three times.

From The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook by Diane Phillips

As you tone up, this dish will help keep your joints and muscles in top condition with healthy fats from fish and an anti-inflammatory mix of spices including saffron, sweet paprika and hot paprika.

Click here for the recipe.

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<p>Crunches and leg lifts will work some muscles in your abdomen, but they neglect your obliques. To help tone the sides of your abs, Sparkes recommends the following exercise. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and draw your belly button in and keep your core engaged. Bring your hands behind your head with your elbows out wide and do a side bend, bringing your right elbow toward your right hip. Return to the top and bring your left elbow toward your left hip. Remember to keep drawing in your belly throughout the exercise. If you need more of a challenge, do this exercise with a weight or ball above your head. Do three sets of 10 bends on each side.</p>

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The wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein in this dish will help you feel satisfied throughout the day. Sesame seeds are rich in copper, magnesium, calcium, manganese and other nutrients, while just a gram of seaweed can fulfill your iodine needs for the day. Seaweed is also high in calcium and offers almost as much protein per serving as legumes such as lentils or soybeans.

Furthermore, the compound fucoxanthin found in seaweed may help reduce body fat. According to a 2010 study published in Biotechnology Journal, mice that ate a diet with fucoxanthin for six weeks had higher good cholesterol and higher excretion of triglycerides and bad cholesterol. This indicated that the compound discouraged the absorption of fats from the diet.

Along with miso soup or sashimi, this salad can be part a simple and light lunch. It must marinate for half an hour, so prepare it before you start your work out. Once youre done, it will be ready to eat.

Click here for the recipe.

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Step your feet two and a half to three feet apart with your toes pointed slightly out to the side. To come into the squat, bend your knees so that they line up in the direction of your toes. Make sure not to extend your hips behind your shoulders. Instead, go straight down so that your shoulders are over your hips. Hold the lowered position and do 30 tiny pulses, coming up roughly a quarter of the way each time. Return to standing. Repeat three times.

Fair Winds Press

Vegetarian and vegan athletes also need a variety of high-protein recipes to help them slim down. This recipe includes generous servings of seitan and tofu. Seitan delivers 16 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, while tofu offers 10 grams of protein for every 126 grams. With fresh vegetables, ample amounts of cancer-fighting garlic and a dose of anti-inflammatory ginger, this dish makes a filling and restorative dinner.

Click here for the recipe.

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Lunge sets are great to intersperse with squats, according to Sparkes. For proper lunge form, step one foot forward about three feet, and then lower yourself so that both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Your front knee should be over your ankle and your back knee should point straight to the floor. Repeat on both sides for three sets of 15 reps.

Reprinted from WHAT DOCTORS EAT by Tasneem Bhatia, MD and The Editors of Prevention. Copyright (c) 2013 by Rodale, Inc. By permission of Rodale, Inc.

The healthy fats in salmon will help you feel satisfied and, at only 240 calories per five-ounce serving, it’s a low-calorie option that still packs 36 grams of protein. The ingredients in this recipe will fuel your workouts and could even help you live longer. Recent research suggests that those who follow the Mediterranean diet (one rich in olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables and fish), may have a reduced chance of stroke and heart attack.

Click here for the recipe.

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This move can be done on a box at the gym or a bench outside (choose height based on your skill and comfort level). Start with your right foot and step up onto the platform. In one fluid motion, bring your body up, with your left knee pulled in toward your chest, and jump into the air as high as you're able. Your left foot should never touch the top of the platform. Land on top of the platform on your right foot and step off with your left. Complete three sets of 10 reps on each side. 

Kristen's Raw

When emerging from your winter slog, too strict a training or diet regimen can be a recipe for a disaster. The key is moderation and—in the case of dessert—cheating in the healthiest way possible. Instead of turning to that brownie sundae once a week, try the next two recipes. This guilt-free dessert include whole foods, healthy fats, protein and enough sweetness to feel like a splurge.

Click here for the recipe.

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This move combines a shoulder press and a squat for a full body workout. Sit back into your squat, making sure your knees don’t pass your toes and that your weight is in your heels. As you stand up, press your arms (or dumbbells) over your head and squeeze your stomach and butt as tightly as possible to work your core and protect your back. Complete 30 reps. Increase the weight of the dumbbells if you need more of a challenge.

Kristen's Raw

This recipes combines medjool dates, raw almond butter, raw chocolate powder and a few other key ingredients for a creamy and healthy dessert.

Click here for the recipe.