YOGA FOR MEN AND HEALTHY PICNIC FOODS #459 05/11/2011
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I tried yoga once but took off for the mall halfway through class, as I had a sudden craving for a soft pretzel and world peace.

Terri Guillemets

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6 Reasons Yoga's Great for Guys

By Denis Faye

All right, gentlemen—how often have you been in this situation? It's Thursday afternoon and you got off work a little early. It's been a stressful week and you could use a good sweat. You try to get a few friends together for some hoops, but no luck, so you pop in a P90X® workout.

Man Doing Different Yoga Positions

Which one do you pick? I'm betting most of you went for Shoulders & Arms or Chest & Back. A couple of you iconoclasts might have slid Plyometrics into the DVD player. But odds are none of you picked Yoga X. And why not? Well, despite the fact that Yoga X features Tony Horton, the most manly of all manly men, and despite the fact that it's a gruelingly difficult 90 minutes, when presented with this ancient practice, most men choose to listen to their inner caveman and come to the same conclusion: Yoga is for girls.

And that's just sad, because the truth is that yoga probably has more to offer the typical brute-force-lovin', emotion-repressin', stretch-avoidin', pain-ignorin' American male than it does to any other human being on the planet. Here's why . . .

Women dig guys who do yoga

If you've seen the Mel Gibson film What Women Want, you know that the first thing Mel does when he gets the power to read women's minds is hit the yoga studio. Yoga has its own language, and if you speak that language fluently, you're in. Next time you're at a party and you overhear three babes talking about their yoga preferences, slide in with, "Normally, I prefer hatha, but sometimes I do a little kundalini, you know, just to take off the edge." You just got yourself three dates. I guarantee it.

Yoga works your stabilizer muscles

Man in Prayer PoseBasically, we have two kinds of muscles, big ones that move you around and smaller ones that keep the big ones from moving the wrong way and injuring you. These smaller ones are called stabilizer muscles. They aren't as sexy to look at as your pecs, your abs, or your biceps, but they're just as important. While yoga may not necessarily give you huge guns, it'll strengthen the stabilizer muscles that'll make sure you don't injure yourself while you're doing the heavy lifting to earn yourself those guns.

You can do yoga whenever

Most physical activities call for certain conditions. Basketball requires other players. Surfing requires waves. Skiing requires snow. Lifting requires 48 hours between workouts. Yoga, however, only requires a little free space and some comfortable clothing. That's it. It's the ideal filler exercise when you don't have the personnel, environment, materials, or time you need to do something else.

Yoga promotes body awareness

One of the main things new yoga practitioners, both men and women, complain about is the fact that yoga is booooo-ring. When you first start, this may be true, but if you stick with it, things'll change. With other activities, you're forced to pay attention to what's happening around you. With yoga, the trick is to stop looking for those external stimuli and start looking internally. I'm not talking about the whole hippie spiritual thing; I'm talking about feeling how your body is reacting to the poses. This increased body awareness can translate to a more intuitive ability to improve in other physical pursuits, as well as a heightened awareness of what's happening internally when you incur a sports-related injury. With a little time, you might even be able to work toward lessening the effect of such damage before it even has a chance to happen.

Yoga builds your stamina

Man MeditatingIf you own the P90X ONE on ONE® yoga DVD Fountain of Youth, you're probably familiar with one particularly painful sequence in which Tony appears to forget he is in chair pose as he gabs away with Mason for what seems like hours. As they chat, you're forced to wince, swear, and do your best to breathe into the pain. I hate Tony at that point, yet I love him in the long run for helping build my stamina. For me, stamina lessons learned with yoga make the paddle out to the lineup so much easier when I'm surfing. It has similar benefits across almost all other sports. "Basketball is an endurance sport, and you have to learn to control your breath," explains legendary player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "That's the essence of yoga too."

Yoga increases focus

This combination of body awareness and stamina reap a third benefit: increased concentration. This is especially useful for you athletes out there, given that concentration is the ultimate guard against smack talk. Basketballers, golfers, and soccer players alike love to drop the occasional well-placed put-down in the middle of that crucial shot. Try mastering the Warrior III pose, which requires you to extend both hands and one foot while balancing on the other foot flawlessly for 60 seconds. The Zen state you achieve doing that will help ensure that those pithy little playing-field put-downs bounce right off you.

Now that you've learned more about yoga, you may be concerned because the whole it-makes-you-more-manly-and-attractive thing seems like it's being diluted by the whole sensitive-self-aware-lover-boy thing—which may not be quite what you were shooting for when you started up with P90X in the first place. But the truth is, yoga can be as tough, demanding, and punishing as any other physical activity out there. It's a win-win. So unroll that mat and pretzel up. As Tony Horton once said to me, "You coming to yoga with us, dude? You know you need it."

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Denis FayeQuestions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, May 16th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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7 Substitutes for Diet-Killing Picnic Foods

By Joe Wilkes

It's almost summertime, which brings the incongruous collision of picnic season and swimsuit season. The weather's perfect for hiking, camping, barbecuing, and days at the beach—lots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, but just as many opportunities to pig out at pool parties, luaus, outdoor festivals, and county fairs. Here are some foods to try avoiding during the dog days of summer, and some ideas for substitutions for picnic favorites.

People Having a Picnic

  1. Fried chicken. It's not the K or the C in KFC® that's the problem; it's the F, which stands for fried. And if you have any desire to stay slim this summer, it's time to tell the Colonel you're "kicking the bucket." One extra-crispy KFC breast will run you 510 calories and 33 grams of fat, 7 of them saturated. That's nearly three times the calories of a home-grilled skinless chicken breast, and almost 15 times as much fat—more than nine times the saturated fat alone. So you're clearly better off cooking the chicken yourself. But if you're grabbing something on the run, KFC does have a grilled chicken breast option, or you might want to visit the rotisserie case at your local supermarket—if you go there, try picking a chicken that's not slathered in sugary barbecue sauce. Either way, make sure you remove the skin—that's where you'll find a lot of the fat and calories.
  2. Sandwiches. A picnic without sandwiches is like a picnic without ants. It just wouldn't be the same. But of course the sandwich is only as good as its ingredients. If you're using white bread, you're just eating empty carbohydrates. Make sure you buy whole-grain bread, and that it has the word "whole" in the ingredient list. Wheat bread is essentially the same as white bread, only with a little molasses added for brown coloring. It's nutritionally the same, if not worse. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the fiber and the vitamins you're looking for. For lunch meat, try avoiding processed meats like bologna and salami. They're packed with extra fat and sodium. And when buying unprocessed meats like turkey or roast beef, make sure they really are unprocessed. The makers of some brands of turkey grind up the skin and dark meat and then press it into lunch meat form, so you're really getting as much fat and sodium as you'd get from bologna. Watch out for flavored turkey as well. Most of the time the secret ingredient is salt. If you want to be really healthy, buy a whole turkey breast from your market's poultry section and roast it yourself, so you can control the amount of salt you add.
  3. HamburgerBrats and burgers. It's always great to fire up the grill and start cooking up a mess of meat. And the good news is that grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. It adds tons of flavor without adding fat. Of course, the best thing to grill would be skinless chicken or fish, or vegetables. But if you're craving a juicy burger or brat and a portobello burger just won't do, there are still some decisions you can make to keep things on the lean side.

    For burgers, consider a leaner option than beef, like ground turkey or buffalo. But as always, check the label. Some ground turkey has as much fat as fatty ground beef. Ground turkey breast is usually much leaner than ground turkey that's either dark meat or mixed dark and white meat. If you've decided to go ahead and make beef burgers, try to find some that has the lowest fat content available, less than 5 percent if possible. Ground sirloin is usually pretty close. If you can't find a grind that's low enough in fat, ask your butcher to grind a lean piece of chuck roast or top sirloin for you. In addition to being leaner, this will also reduce your chances of picking up food-borne illnesses like E. coli, since only one cow is involved in producing a steak, as opposed to potentially hundreds in ground beef. In fact, if you're someone who likes to eat your burger rare, having the butcher grind a piece of meat for you is a must.

    Bratwurst is another delicious summer fave, but watch the fat and sodium content in these as well. The chicken, turkey, and even veggie versions of sausage sound like they'd be lighter, but they're often just as fatty as the pork versions.
  4. Potato or macaroni salad. The culprit in these two picnic staples? Mayonnaise. At 5 grams of fat and more than 50 calories per tablespoon, mayonnaise is the element of these side dishes that'll sidetrack your diet. But you can mitigate the damage somewhat by replacing the mayonnaise with nonfat yogurt, or you could try whirling some nonfat cottage cheese or nonfat ricotta cheese in a food processor to give it a creamier texture. You'll get fewer calories and less fat—plus by going eggless, you'll lessen your risk of salmonella. Another way to make potato salad healthier is to leave the skin on, as they contain the spud's fiber and most of its vitamins. For macaroni salad, you can boost fiber by using whole-grain pasta. Make either salad tastier and better for you with heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, and lots of veggies.
  5. Baked BeansBaked beans. Beans, beans, the musical fruit . . . well, you know the rest. Full of fiber and low in fat, beans are a great side dish that'll help you feel full. What you want to watch out for is the sugar that's added to most baked beans—sometimes a tablespoon or more in a cup. Try plain pinto beans, or my favorite, beans canned with jalapeños. Replace high-calorie sweet with low-calorie fire and you won't even miss the sugar. Three-bean salad is another flavorful way to consume your legumes without a lot of added fat or sugar.
  6. Trail mix. Summer's a great time for checking out nature, and it's always great to bring along a healthy snack like trail mix. But check the ingredients. Some trail mixes, especially those that contain granola, can be loaded with fat and super-unhealthy hydrogenated oils. There are trail mixes on the market that have more fat than a large order of fast-food fries, so it's definitely a "buyer beware" situation. Also check out how much sugar is in the trail mix or granola bars you take backpacking. Some bars aren't much healthier than a Snickers®. If the ingredients in your trail mix include chocolate chips and marshmallows, you may not have made the healthiest choice. Try making your own trail mix with healthy unsweetened oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Or take along a couple of P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bars.
  7. Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And we'll really be screaming when we try to stuff ourselves into our swimsuits after eating everyone's favorite fatty, frosty indulgence. It's hard to resist a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the tinkling of the ice cream truck bell can still make me want to bolt into the street. But depending on scoop size (which can average from 1/2 cup to a full cup or more), that scoop of vanilla can have upwards of 400 calories and as much as 25 grams of fat, up to 15 of them saturated. If you're culinarily gifted, you might consider making your own sorbet. If not, check out some of the ones available on the market. Sorbets are usually low-fat or nonfat, although they can still have tons of sugar. Try to find some that are mostly fruit. Speaking of fruit, for a healthy frozen treat, how about sticking some fruit in the freezer? Most fruits, especially berries, grapes, and bananas, freeze quite well. They'll last longer and popping a few frozen grapes in your mouth can cool you off on a hot day and you'll still get all the vitamins, fiber, and health benefits that a Creamsicle® just can't provide.

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Joe WilkesQuestions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, May 16th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Working Out in Small Spaces

It's great not to have to drive to the gym. You save on gas, time, parking, and hassle. But sometimes it's hard to work out in limited home spaces. Here are some tips from Tony Horton for working out in small spaces.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Recipe: Apple Fruit Salad

Apple Fruit Salad

Now that warmer weather's on its way, here's a lovely, light, refreshing fruit salad for you to enjoy. The name spells it all out: The emphasis here is on the apples, which give this salad both crunch and flavor. Choose your favorite crisp variety and leave the peels on for added color and fiber!

  • 3 apples, cored and cubed
  • 1/4 lb. seedless grapes, washed and removed from stems
  • 1 banana, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 8-oz. can pineapple chunks canned in juice, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt

In small bowl, whisk together honey and yogurt. Place rest of ingredients in large bowl, pour yogurt mixture over all, and toss to mix well. You can serve it immediately, or cover and let stand for 20 minutes in refrigerator before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Total Preparation Time: 10 to 30 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
289 7 grams 5 grams 56 grams 6 grams 1 gram

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Reviews
Total number of Reviews: 5
Submit a review  

"I have been practicing and teaching yoga for over 20 years and I love this workout. It is not for wimps at all and my husband enjoys it as much as I do!"

– marsy ann osby, asheville, NC

"Weight Watchers recalculate points and use a natural yoghurt,..less sugar"

– Barbara Craxton, North Vancouver, BC

"3rd week into 2nd time around P90X. This article hit it on the head, cause Yoga is tomorrow, and I've skipped it past two weeks. 90 mins of pain is what I call it, but it is probably a good thing. By the grace of God, I will try it tomorrow, probably need it. Is there a DVD that is only around an hour, finding 90 mins really, really mind numbing. Just askin..."

– Chris Walsh, Tulsa, OK

"Great video. Would love to have a series of TH videos with (1) tiny little box routines only; (2) with no weights, bands, or pullup bars; (3) hitting the core, abs, legs, & upper body. I sometimes workout in my bathroom (yoga, ab-ripper) because I sweat too much for anywhere else in the house. (Call me Old Faithful.)"

– David Bissinger, Houston, TX

"Just made the fruit salad for a BBQ and after tasting it I don't know if I will let it leave the house. I used a half cup of walnuts for some extra crunch. I love this fresh idea."

– Michael Randall, Nampa, ID

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