Friday, April 30, 2010

Power Plate and me...week 1

It's been a week since my Power Plate my5 arrived. So far: YEA.

I haven't lost inches, I didn't expect to in a week. I don't know if I've lost weight (I haven't had a scale in my house in 10 years), but I expect not.

But I do have that lovely long and lean feeling that comes with effective stretching and flexibility. I used to feel like this when I did yoga every morning, a good habit that went by the wayside a year or so back. That routine took an hour. My Power Plate workout is 15 minutes.

The one other, unexpected, result is that I've been going to the bathroom .... a whole lot! I didn't make the connection between the dozens of bathroom breaks and the Power Plate workouts until this morning. Reading articles on the UK Power Plate site, I saw that the gentle massage and stretching I'm doing serves as a mild detoxification. It increases blood flow, circulation, and releases toxins from the muscles. And since I'm staying very hydrated throughout the workouts, the combination has led to my multiple departures from all the meetings I was in. Oh well. Maybe it's helped my complexion?

Anyway, for the past seven days, I've done 15 minutes each morning of basic acclimation exercises. I'm still disappointed Power Plate was unable to find a certified trainer in the area; I somehow expected there would be several. The incredibly helpful Power Plate PR person, Hailey, was fabulous and did come up with one name in Menlo Park. Not exactly next door, but better than having to go to Los Angeles.

There is a Power Plate at the nearby Club One but in typical Club One fashion, they wanted to know if I was going to write about the experience, when, what, etc. Forget it. On a number of occasions I've found Club One's external PR folks to be great. Their internal people have routinely been ...hmmm, dismissive and ineffective. Anyway, a nice Menlo Park person and facility is better than a lousy one close-by.

I considered going to the training myself, but the $275 course fee plus travel, hotel, rental car etc deter me right now.

Here's a brief video about the Power Plate, just in case you aren't familiar with it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Power Plate and me...and Madonna, and Cindy Crawford and Serena Williams...

My Power Plate machine arrived last Friday, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it...why? Well, I wanted to give it a go for a few days. And at the end of a week, I say, "So far, great!!"

The Power Plate, as I hope you know, is a very impressive piece of exercise equipment: it has a 3 dimensional vibrating plate, and you do your regular exercises on it, which are aided and intensified by the fact that your muscles are vibrating 30-45 times a second. For stars and celebs like Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Hilary Swank, models like Elle MacPherson and athletes like Serena Williams, it's about warming up and exercising in a shorter time. For me, it's about the studies showing how effective it is in helping osteoporosis.

Randy and Ryan (pictured to the right) delivered it to my house and set it up for me. They were so funny and nice, and had just come from delivering a couple of Power Plate machines to Stanford U. Poor guys had to make the drive to my place from Stanford in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. (A normally pleasant 20 minute drive becomes an hour-long frustration if you run into the Apple workers as they leave for the weekend.)

My only gripe about the machine is how hard it is to get specific training here in Silicon Valley. Some cities have Power Plate studios. In London, posh department store Harrods has in-store Power Plate training in the 5th floor studio. In New York, LA, Denver, and elsewhere, finding qualified trainers is not a problem. Here in Northern California the equipment is mostly found in the training rooms of our pro sports teams: 49ers, Raiders etc.

So I'm scrounging around the web, getting all the YouTube videos I can about different training techniques, and I downloaded the exercise guide from the Power Plate web site. Still, I'd like someone to work out three or four routines for me.

Til I get my own workout, I'll occasionally publish some of the YouTube stuff I've found helpful. I hope you like it. If you have Power Plate videos to recommend, let me know.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Biking safety tips. 7 tips to safe cycling.

I just posted an article on San Jose Fitness Examiner about Bicycle safety tips: 3 smart strategies in which two San Jose chiropractors, Drs. Jennifer and Stephanie Rozenhart of Rozenhart Family Chiropractic give three tips on how to avoid injuries while biking.

Working on that article got me thinking about the overall riding strategies that cyclists should keep in mind.

To that end, I share these additional tips culled from the U. S. Department of Transportation brochure, "Seven Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety for Adults," with the first, "Wear a helmet" repeated on both lists. It's that important, and believe it or not, I see cyclists riding by my house every day without a helmet on.

1. Protect Your Head. Wear a Helmet.
2. Assure Bicycle Readiness. Ensure
Proper Size and Function of Bicycle.
3. Ride Wisely. Learn and Follow the
Rules of the Road.
4. Be Predictable. Act Like a Driver
of a Vehicle.
5. Be Visible. See and Be Seen at All Times.
6. “Drive” with Care. Share the Road.
7. Stay Focused. Stay Alert.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

sjDANCEco Dancin' Downtown video

I'm missing the names of some of these groups. If you can help supply them, please do. Just comment on on this post, or go to YouTube and comment on the video posted there.

For photos from the April 25 Dancin' Downtown event, check out San Jose Fitness Examiner


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sex and the City 2 star Kristin Davis on cover of May Fitness

Over on San Jose Fitness Examiner, I talk about Sex and the City 2 co-star Kristin Davis, as she increases her visibility in preparation for the release of the movie on May 27, especially as it relates to her fitness activities:

Kristin Davis steps up profile: hosts half marathon, talks workouts with Fitness Mag (Video trailer of SATC2)

She's spokesperson for the More/Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon in New York's Central Park April 25, she gets the cover of May Fitness Magazine talking about her "slammin' abs" workout, and the trailer for SATC2 went up on YouTube this week.

It doesn't have a lot to do with us here in Silicon Valley, other than the fact that the movie, and Ms. Davis, has fans everywhere (including here), but being that I'm a marketing person at heart, it always interests me how a pre-movie campaign is launched and how celebrities are marketed.

What surprised me is that the comments on People Magazine's story about the Fitness cover. The readers just aren't buying Davis' "aw-shucks, I'm just trying to love my body" routine. Head over to the story and see what they had to say about her comment, "I have hips!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Walnut Cluster Snack - fiber, protein, carbs in a single, healthy snack

I love nuts, and am always delighted to find new ways to use them, so when the good folks at California Walnuts sent along this recipe for Walnut Cluster Snack I immediately sensed something good.

They describe them as "clusters of crunchy oats and walnuts baked with tender dried fruit." I'm not crazy about figs, so I'm going to try them with dates...I'll let you know how that turns out.

(Also check out How to get a bikini body - 5 tips from fitness pro Petra Kolber that include motivational tips and info about the healthy properties of California Walnuts).

Walnut Cluster Snack

Vegetable oil spray
3 cups quick-cooking oats
½ cup oat bran
¾ cup coarsely chopped California walnuts
White of 1 egg
¾ cup apricot nectar
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons walnut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9-ounce package dried figs (Mission or Calimyrna preferred), quartered (about 1½ cups)
6-ounce package dried cranberries (about 1 1/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray.

1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, oat bran, and walnuts.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Stir in the apricot nectar, maple syrup, walnut oil, and vanilla.

3. Pour over the oat mixture, stirring until moistened.

4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Put the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Break up the mixture into small pieces or clusters. Return the clusters to the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes. Put the pan on a cooling rack. Stir in the figs and cranberries. Cool thoroughly.

Store in an airtight container. To serve, put ½-cup portions in snack-size bags or foil muffin cups. Or, portion into decorative bags and tie with colorful ribbon for a healthy and tasty gift.

Mixture will keep in airtight containers up to 1 week. (Freezing is not recommended.)

Serves 16; ½ cup per serving

Nutrition information per serving: 214 calories, 6g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 8mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein

You might also like: The Blueberry Jicama Fruit Salad

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dog fitness that keeps you in shape too: 6 great fitness tips for you and your dog

The folks at Weider Pet Health delighted me recently by sending an email suggesting an article about dog fitness...and how owners can stay fit along with their dogs.

"If you and your beloved canine are leading a sedentary lifestyle, it might be time for a change that can benefit you both," they wrote in the email.
"Regular exercise helps humans and canines maintain muscle mass and improve cardiovascular function, both keys to health, wellness, functionality and longevity."

Before you follow any of these, keep in mind that dogs, like people, can't go from zero to full-throttle. If your dog has been a stay-at-home pooch, has health issues, is old, or has any health conditions, call your vet and ask about the best routine.

That said, here are 6 tips on dog fitness that can keep you in shape too (and ALWAYS remember that your dog needs to stay hydrated during activities):

  1. A human-canine fitness partnership should start as early as possible in your dog’s life. “Use it or lose it” applies to dogs, just as it does to people; physical exercise preserves muscle mass.
  2. But it’s never too late: even if exercise isn’t a regular part of your (and your pet’s) routine, it can be added immediately. A brisk 20-minute walk daily will have an impact.
  3. The ideal doggie fitness program consists of a brisk walk/run on variable terrain, with some incline and decline (hill climbing and descent is good resistance training for muscles.)
  4. Games can be fun for you both, especially if you vary your body position to include squats and lunges and play games such as tug of war. In tug of war, be careful of the dog’s teeth and gums, and never pull too hard. Also don't ever pull in a way that strains the dog's neck, especially in smaller breeds. There are other games too that keep you moving, changing positions, and allow for stretches and gentle twists: a game of catch with your dog is an example, or a game of fetch on a slight incline. If your dog is older, out-of-shape or has hip weakness be sure the incline is not very steep.
  5. Remember that just as with your pet’s diet; you are in charge. For both of you to be active, you must be the proactive one. You set the pace to challenge your animal to a certain extent, but must also know its limits and play within that. Note that some breeds will keep on playing to please, even if they are exhausted.
  6. Always finish the workout with a special but healthy food treat.
It's important to remember, according to the experts at Weider, that exercise is only part of the equation. Nutrition is as important to dogs as it is to people. For dogs, they say that "Complete live nutrition is important from an early age as a preventive measure. Processed dog foods may or may not contain key nutrients for joint health -- for example, chondroitin and glucosamine. Even when these are listed as ingredients, their potency is lost in processing, meaning they are not bioavailable to the pet."
For more information: Weider Pet Health Advanced Canine-Wellness Solutions are available at

Friday, April 16, 2010

Walking, hiking, biking trails in Guadalupe River Park continues to improve

From the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, did you catch this update on the ever-improving trail system being developed in and around downtown San Jose?

Construction is getting underway to extend the Guadalupe River Trail further south. The 0.4 mile trail extension will lead trail users from Woz Way at the Children’s Discovery Museum parking lot to Virginia Street.

The linkage to light rail via the Virginia Street Station will be greatly improved, and distance to the Highway 87 Bikeway will be further reduced. The project has been under development for about 6 years and results from many community meetings, master planning and successful coordination with Caltrans for use of State property along the highway.

The trail will be paved and meander between the highway and river. At several key points, the trail will travel beneath highway structures. Although noisy from highway traffic, trail users will enjoy a dramatic view of downtown’s ever changing skyline and not be impacted by seasonal flooding that is anticipated along the east bank of the river. The trail will include two seating areas with interpretive signs about the Ohlone tribes that once lived along the river and Italian immigrant heritage of the neighborhood Washington and Greater Gardner neighborhoods. Additional amenities include paved trail entries with a “compass” design, seating and architectural elements. These elements enrich the trail experience and contribute to the neighborhood’s sense of place. A conceptual image of the future trail improvements is posted at:
(3.57 .pdf file)

The project is anticipated to be complete by December 31, 2010.

The paving of Guadalupe River Trail from Hwy 880 north to Gold St. in Alviso will start later this year. Unfortunately, that section of the trail will be closed during the construction period, but the resulting paved path should be worth the wait. The project start date hasn’t been determined - we will pass along the information once it’s announced.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More from ACSM Annual Summit - Creating a culture of workplace fitness, and balancing nutrition and exercise for weight loss

The American College of Sports Medicine's 14th annual Health & Fitness Summit was held in Austin April 7- April 10. The Summit produced a great depth of fitness information, which I'm linking to here as a courtesy to readers:


AUSTIN, Texas – Representatives of the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion – an affiliate society of the American College of Sports Medicine
– say building a fit-friendly culture is key to improved on-the-job health...More


AUSTIN, Texas – Experts presenting at the American College of Sports Medicine's
14th-annual Health & Fitness Summit today re-emphasized the importance of both exercise and nutrition for weight loss...More

Blueberry Jicama Fruit Salad

Enjoy the following recipe, courtesy of the folks at Driscoll's, which claims to grow the best berries in the world. Having eaten more than my fair share of Driscoll's strawberries and blueberries, I'm inclined to agree with their slogan.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes 6 servings

1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll's Blueberries
1 cup jicama cubes (1/4-inch)
1 cup seedless red watermelon cubes (1/4-inch)
1 cup seedless yellow watermelon cubes (1/4-inch)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Fleur de Sel or coarse salt

Combine blueberries, jicama, melon, mint, lime zest and juice in a medium bowl. Stir gently to combine. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend, or refrigerate until serving.
Serve in martini or margarita glasses, and sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

Variation: Replace watermelon with red and green grapes cut in halves.

Nutrition Per Serving: 43 calories, .22g total fat, .01g saturated fat, .77g protein, 10.98g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 2.05g fiber, 21mg sodium

Driscoll's has trivia and recipes to help us celebrate National Salad Month

National Salad Month?  Are you kidding?  Well, no. 

Models, stars, vegans and more are always touting the benefits of a good salad on overall fitness. So it seemed appropriate that I pass along this great info from our friends at Driscoll's.

Driscoll's is (as I hope you know) a neighbor to us in Silicon Valley, located in nearby Watsonville, CA.   

According to the crack PR team at Driscoll's:

The average American consumes about thirty pounds of lettuce a year, but of course salads can be built upon any edible foundation your palate desires.


  • Different nations have their salads at different points of a meal: The French eat salad after the main course to cleanse the palate and to prepare it for the cheese or dessert, North Americans eat it mostly as an appetizer to get the gastric juices going, and eastern Mediterranean people always enjoy it with their main course and often throughout the meal.

  • Salads were favorites in the great courts of European Monarchs - Royal salad chefs often combined as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including such exotic "greens" as rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums, and violets.

  • King Henry IV's favorite salad was a tossed mixture of new potatoes (boiled and diced), sardines and herb dressing.

  • Russian dressing typically consists of the mixture of mayonnaise, pimientos, chives, ketchup, and spices. The name comes from the earliest versions that included a distinctly Russian ingredient, caviar.

  • The average American consumer eats about 30 pounds of lettuce each year

  • The term coleslaw is a late 19th century term, which originated in the United States. Cole slaw (cold slaw) got it's name from the Dutch "kool sla"- the word "kool" means cabbage and "sla" is salad - meaning simply, cabbage salad. In English, that became "cole slaw" and eventually "cold slaw." The original Dutch "kool sla" was most likely served hot.

  • Ranch dressing is the most popular salad dressing in the U.S.

ACSM Annual Summit releasing lots of great fitness tips

If you haven't been following the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) annual Summit in Austin, TX this past week, it produced a lot of stories of general fitness interest.  Here are just a few of the releases:



AUSTIN, Texas – Forget the mat and crunches. An expert presenting today at the American College of Sports Medicine's 14th-annual Health & Fitness Summit says core training can be done while standing...More


AUSTIN, Texas – For many people, starting and sticking to a long-term exercise program requires a bit more than just hitting the treadmill, says an expert...More


AUSTIN, Texas – Integrated teamwork can be uniquely successful in weight-loss clinics, say experts presenting today...More

Apps for Healthy Kids challenge is underway: $40,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Sunday, April 11th, 2010
Attn Silicon Valley: Here's a challenge worthy of our entrepreneurs. Create software tools and/or games that encourage kids toward health, and...
Keep Reading »

Super Zumba parties, Bollywood dancing, free Dance Week classes at Halanda Studio in Willow Glen

Saturday, April 10th, 2010
San Jose's Halanda Studio is always a fun place if your favorite fitness is dance. Here are some of their April offerings: Monthly Super...
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