Archive for April, 2013

March Madness Movement

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Me with Magic Johnson at the 2000 Final Four Championship game in Indy. We lost to Michigan State, but what an incredible experience!

Ah, March Madness.  My fondest memories from college are from this time of year.  As a member of the University of Florida Dazzler’s Dance Team, I was given the opportunity to travel each year to tournament sites all over the country.  Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Indiana, Chicago, New Orleans.  All incredible experiences!   But it wasn’t all fun and games.  Being on the sidelines requires hard work, practice, and dedication.  You make think it’s just about being cute, but behind the sequins, lycra, and pom pons (yes, pom poNs) there’s a lot of sweat…and maybe even some blood and tears.   

Since Atlanta was fortunate enough to be the host city for the 2013 Men’s Final Four, I invited the spirit programs from Louisville, Michigan (should’ve been Florida, but I’m not bitter…maybe a little), Syracuse, and Wichita State to participate in a friendly, early-morning competition consisting of exercises that a generally healthy person can perform at home.  The exercises I chose mimic some of the movements that are executed by cheerleaders and dancers (and some limber mascots) during basketball games.  

Watch as Miguel Martinez and I referee what turned out to be an intense competition!

The first exercise is a squat with a front kick.  We all know that squats are excellent for strengthening the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but by adding a front kick between each squat we are involving more of our core and relying on balance to switch our weight from 2 feet to 1 foot.  When performing a squat it is important to keep your weight in your heels, pressing through your heels to stand and making sure you only kick to a height that is comfortable for you.  Performing this movement while holding dumbbells can add some resistance and involve your arms.  Only squat to a level that is comfortable for you.  Hip flexibility varies so while you may not be able to squat deeply, you can still perform an efficient squat by holding your chest up, sticking your booty out, keeping your knees tracking over your toes, and keeping your weight in your heels.

The second exercise is simply a get up.  It’s nothing complicated, literally just standing up from a seated position on the floor and sitting back down on the ground.  This happens a lot during games if you’re on the sidelines, especially if your team is hitting a lot of baskets.  It’s more difficult than you may thing so if you’re trying this at home, it’s okay to use your hands.  As it becomes easier, try doing it without your hands for a bit of challenge.  This is an excellent exercise to practice because you never know when you might fall and need to get up on your own.  (Side note: you don’t have to perform the get up as fast as my friends in the video, keep in mind, they were competing for the title win!)

The last and most advanced exercise is the X jump.  This is a milder form of a toe touch and a more extreme version of a jumping jack.  It is important to land with bent knees and to press through your heels when taking off from the ground so you can involve more of your glutes.  The X part happens in the air when your legs and arms are splayed into an X position.  If this exercise is too difficult, please stick to jumping jacks until you have built up stamina and strength.  (Same side note as before: no need to perform these as fast as my friends in the video, they were competing to be champions of the CNN Fitness Bracket!  Congrats to the Cards!)

Good luck building your sideline stamina!  I hope you have a greater appreciation of cheerleaders, dancers, and mascots the next time you watch a sporting event!

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Thank you to Seth, Megan, & Wu from Wichita State, Brittany, Lexi, & Louie from Louisville, Heather, Paige, & Otto from Syracuse, & Alex & AJ from Michigan for exercising with me!

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Egg Cup Snacks

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Well I finally decided to give eggs in a cupcake tin a try, and am I glad I did!  I am NOT good at waking up in the morning.  If I have to wake up before 10, I hit snooze over and over and over again and when I do finally get up, I’m rushing around to get ready.  Because of my horrible wakeup habits, I rarely have time to cram some food down my gullet.  This time constraint has made me resort to Rise protein bars, which I love, but some days I need to save my bar for later in the day to eat as a quick snack between classes or driving around.  This is what led me to experiment with the following recipe.

I have been looking at different egg snack recipes over the years and found this recipe today which finally kicked my cooking butt into gear.  The veggies that I used in my recipe were ones I already had in my house, so feel free to experiment!  

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups egg whites or egg product (Of course, I used the Costco brand egg product)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used a yellow one)
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1-2 cups broccoli, chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray small frying pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Saute peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli in a small pan for 5 minutes.  While vegetables are cooking, spray cupcake tray with nonstick cooking spray (I used a tin with a standard cupcake size and 12 cups).  Once vegetables are done cooking, divide them evenly between the cups.  Pour 3 Tbsp of egg white or egg product into each cup.   Put tray in oven and cook for 20 minutes.  Let them cool.  Store in the fridge and microwave for 30 seconds when you’re ready to eat them!  (Depending on your microwave, you might need to use more or less time.)  

Experiment with spices and different veggies to please your taste buds.  Please post any modifications you make so we can try them out!

 

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