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Curly Nikki

KinkyShea’s Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

By January 27th, 20212 Comments
Recipe of the Week:
Crunchy Pear and Celery Salad

Crisp pears meet with celery, cheddar cheese and pecans for a delicious side dish for dinner or lunch. You can shake up the flavors a bit by adding Parmesan cheese with pine nuts or crumbled Stilton with walnuts.

Nutrition Profile: Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low cholesterol, low sodium, high calcium, high fiber, gluten free.

4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce

Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for about 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry and cut into ½ inch pieces.

Whisk vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears and gently stir to coat. Add celery, cheese and pecans and combine by stirring. Season to with pepper. Divide lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

To toast chopped pecans, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2-4 minutes).

Nutrition Per Serving (1 cup):
215 calories; 13g fat (5g mono, 4g sat); 20 mg cholesterol; 20g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 240 mg sodium.

KinkyShea's Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Fit Tip of the Week:
Strength Training: The Basics

Strength training is an important part of any fitness routine and you don’t need to be a body builder to benefit from strength training. A well designed strength-training program can provide the following benefits:

Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissues, also leading to a decreased risk of injury. For women this also means a decreased risk of osteoporosis.

Increased muscle mass. Adults lose about ½ pound of muscle per year after the age of 25, mostly due to decreased activity. Muscle tissue is partly responsible for the number of calories burned at rest (aka your basal metabolic rate). As muscle mass increases, so does your basal metabolic rate, thus making maintaining a healthy body weight easier.

Enhanced quality of life. As strength increases, the performance of every day routines (carrying groceries, working out in the garden, playing with your children) will be less taxing.

To get started with a strength training routine I would recommend getting one-on-one help with a qualified fitness trainer who can help you meet your personal goals as well as address any limitations. A fitness trainer can also help ensure you’re using the proper form and technique to avoid injury as well as find equipment that you’re most comfortable with, be it strength training machines, free weights, weighted balls, or resistance tubes/bands or a combination of equipment. For starters usually one set of eight to 12 repetitions of a particular strength training exercise is usually sufficient for beginners. Good technique, not heavy lifting, should be the primary goal when starting a strength training program. Lifting the weight to a count of 2 and lowering it to a count of 3 or 4 is generally effective. When you’re able to perform 12 repetitions of an exercise correctly (without cheating that is) increase the amount of resistance by 5 to 10% to continue making a safe progression.

An encouraging aspect of strength training is the fact that typically you’ll experience rapid improvements in strength and muscle tone. However, don’t be discouraged if visible improvements begin to taper off after a few weeks. It’s only natural, as your fitness level improves improvements in strength and appearance will come slightly at a slower pace. If you’re having problems keeping your motivation up then you should look into getting a partner to train with you. You should aim to exercise each muscle group at least two times per week, with a minimum of two days of rest between workouts. Training more frequently or adding more sets may lead to slightly greater gains, but the benefit may not be worth the added risk of injury.

Free weights, machines, resistance tubes, and weighted balls are all effective tools for strength training and using a combination of equipment is often recommended. Utilizing two types of strength training equipment provides variety to your workout which is important for both psychological and physiological reasons. Variety helps to reduce boredom and provides subtle exercise differences that will in enhance progress.

Questions of the benefits of strength training have long been put to rest. Research continues to demonstrate the various benefits of adding strength training to a fitness program. A safe strength training program combined with cardiovascular training and flexibility training will give you the benefits of a well-rounded, total fitness program.

Until next week…


  • KinkySheaPT says:

    Hi Karuana!

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoy the weekly health and fitness tips and find them helpful.

    To answer your question, from what you've told me I don't think you would need 30 sessions. That's something I would expect someone who's never worked out before would need. The number of sessions really depends on how confident you feel (and it sounds like you're very confident) and if your trainer feels you've got proper technique and form as well. If you're still doing cardiovascular training on 3-4 days a week or more and you're looking to revisit strength training it wouldn't take 30 sessions to do so. The trainer would need to ask a few questions about your medical history and possibly tweak your cardiovascular training if necessary and then put together your strength training program. Once you and your trainer are satisfied with the strength program then you should be ready to go. If everything is looking well (and if you've got a well educated trainer) it should take less than 10 (of course this could vary).

    I would suggest looking into seeing if you can get fewer than thirty sessions with a trainer. If not then another option would be strength training group fitness classes such as yoga, circuit training, a dumb bell lab-type class, even Zumba® Toning. All are great, inexpensive, and effective alternatives to expensive personal training appointments that will help get you back on track with strength training. If you have a gym membership (which I am assuming you do) most gyms include group fitness classes in with the membership with no extra costs. This will give you the support you need while ensuring safe and effective techniques without the hefty price. I hope this helps! Best of luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks, KinkyShea! I always love reading your health and fitness tips! Regarding getting a personal trainer, how many sessions with a personal trainer do you think are beneficial when starting out? For me, I was very athletic through college (graduated 7 years ago), and regularly worked out for 4 years after graduating, but since taking on a more demanding job, the last 3 years have been more sedentary. I'm still quite slim, but have lost some muscle tone, and would like to get back into regular strength training (I still do quite a bit of cardio).

    The problem with training–it's so darn expensive! As a naturally athletic person, I'm not so sure I need to buy 30 sessions with a trainer, I just wanted some support while I get back into the weight lifting portion of my workout regimen. Do you have any suggestions as to how long and how frequently someone in my position should train with a trainer? I don't want to become someone who believes that the only way they can remain in shape is to have a trainer, but of course most trainers will inevitably gear you toward that reliance so they can keep their job, which is understandable! Motivation has never been my problem though, so I truly think that I only just need support at the beginning.

    Thank you very much for any advice you can offer!


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