Get Ready for Spring - Pt 2

Do you recognize that foreign object in the sky? The sun is here! Each day I become more and more anxious to plant my veggie garden but I know I have to hold off because here in Zone 5 we can still get night frost! In two weeks, step aside because I will be planting cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, squash and more. Photos to come. In the meantime I have been able to plant hardier vegetables including potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic. With the arrival of that foreign object – our beautiful sun – I am outside all the time including when I drink my morning coffee in my comfy chair parked on the patio. I spend the first 30 minutes of each day outside, weather permitting, preparing for my day mentally and physically. Approaching the day with mindfulness helps anchor me to what is important. This is also that meaningful time when I practice Gratituding – giving thanks for the many blessings of my life. I encourage you to practice Gratituding too. If you can’t think of what to say, count on your fingers, ten things you see and feel around you that you are grateful for, even your fingers!!

Afterwards, I head to my gym, take my skipping rope and Cellerciser outside and get a good sweat on. After reading Spark (the book connecting brain health to exercise) I can’t wait to skip, jump and run to pump up my brain, which in turn pumps up my motivation and lifts my feelings of gratitude for nature and the beauty and power of renewal – something we ALL of us have within – to new heights! Embraced by a warm breeze, surrounded by singing birds and fresh flowers – you are filled with feel-good energy. Try to spend 15 to 30 minutes every morning outside, having breakfast, lifting small weights, going for a short bike ride or just meditating and I promise you will feel your worries melt and your spirit soar. Even more astounding, those minutes of exercise will boost your productivity for the day. Just watch what happens.

In Part 1 of the Get Ready for Spring series, I talked about doing a spring cleaning of your mind and your pantry, assessing your Eat-Clean® progress and goals, and toning up your arms. Today’s post is a spotlight on 3 clean and fresh recipes I encourage you to try this spring if you haven’t already, and some tips to make your calves toned, tight and ready to rock shorts and skirts!

Many of my favourite fruits and veg come alive in spring. In Ontario, this is the coming out season for rhubarb, greens, asparagus and so much more. I love celebrating these vibrant local ingredients with satisfying clean dishes that are uncomplicated, yummy and fun! Here are some delicious, no fuss Eat-Clean® recipes to try this week:

Everybody Loves Rhubarb Flax CrispBaked Mini Pepper PoppersBe a Master of your Frittata

Now we know a healthy, beautiful body is the result of BBBH. What?? You know it – the combination of 80% nutrition, 10% genetics, and 10% training. The BODY BEAUTIFUL BODY HEALTHY formula. Since there really is no better accessory for a cute dress than a pair of shapely calves, let’s start sweating.

Calf muscle fibers tend to be packed together in very tight balls, so it takes a little work to loosen them up before growing them. Start by performing stretches on a stair or box to improve the range of motion of your ankle. Try three sets of twenty to thirty stretches without weight to start. Be sure to drop the heels low enough to feel a deliberate stretch each time you do a repetition. Next, five minutes of skipping rope or Cellercising. Doing this before getting into resistance training will help warm those calves up nicely since you are on your toes while you skip.

Now add resistance training to the plan. After your warm up, begin with the Standing Calf Raise. If you haven’t trained calves in a while, don’t load up the weights just yet. Begin with a light weight of 20 pounds or so. Place your toes on the foot pad of the machine and your shoulders under the shoulder pads. Feel free to use foam grips on your shoulders to cushion the weight a little - that’s what I do! Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, making sure to stretch heels right down as you lower the weight and press way up on your toes as you raise it. Push out 20 reps, rest and repeat three times.

This exercise NEVER fails to give me a burn especially because my calves are not my strong point.

What are your favourite calf exercises? I want to hear about your burn too. Share them with me in the comments section below, at the Kitchen Table, or on Facebook or Twitter!

Remember, I’m always listening! Tosca

PS. Gotta skip!