The Finest Chefs

Category - Fitness and Well Being

How I Got A Toned and Sexy Butt with these 5 Workouts!


The butt is the object of many of our weight loss efforts. For some of us, it’s the one thing that just doesn’t seem to get smaller even when the rest of our body does. The good news is that there are some exercises that can help tone your butt, if you use them alongside regular exercise.

Make sure to perform the exercises below with dedication 3 to 4 times a week. Every alternate day is a good schedule, since the day off will help your butt muscles recover and strengthen. The exercises below should each be repeated for 15-20 times at least for some effectiveness, and of course more repetitions are a good thing.

#1 Lunges

You can perform a lunge by stepping forward with one foot and bending both knees to come into a lunge position. Variations of the forward lunge include the side lunge and backward lunge. If you want to increase the intensity of your lunges, hold light weights in both hands while doing them.

#2 Squats

Squats are performed by standing with your feet still apart and bending your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing you into a position that looks as though you are sitting in an imaginary chair. When performing a squat, hold both your arms straight in front of you for balance.

#3 Kickbacks

The starting position for this exercise is you being on your elbows and knees on the floor. To do a kickback, lift one leg so that it is parallel to the floor (be careful not to lift too much as this may strain your back). Squeeze your glutes as you do this and pulse your foot slightly upward. Repeat again for your other leg.

#4 Step Ups

Step ups are simple moves that really work your buttocks. Get a platform that is high enough to work out your butt effectively, and after placing one foot on the platform, push up with the same foot and step onto the platform, bringing the other foot up on the platform as well. Repeat again, this time stepping first with the other foot. If you want a simple version of this exercise that doesn’t use a platform, climbing stairs as much as you can is just as good. Step aerobics is also a more interesting way to perform this exercise.

#5 Butt Squeezes

While not technically an exercise, the butt squeeze is a great move that you can do no matter where you are. Just squeeze in your butt muscles and hold for a few seconds, then release. You can do this daily multiple times, at any time. Why not do butt squeezes when you are waiting in line, in the car stuck in traffic or even at the office sitting at your desk all day?

Do remember that, besides the strength training exercises above, you should also incorporate a daily dose of cardio exercise such as running, walking, cycling, dancing, and so on into your exercise regime as well. This is to ensure that the fat layers on your butt are burnt away, showing off the beautiful butt muscles you have underneath that give off the toned look. With some persistence, you will have a butt that everyone will envy!

Share your own secrets to great looking butt at the comments as well.


How to Get Started Running For Fitness


Running is a great way to exercise for cardiovascular fitness, overall health, and to lose or maintain your ideal body weight. Running is also enjoyed by many as a great stress reliever, especially when choosing to run outdoors. Getting fresh air after working indoors all day and enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery is a nice perk of running.

If you want to experience all these benefits, or even just a few, there are some steps to take to get you started in the world of running. It takes time and dedication, but with patience, you will easily begin to accumulate miles on your running shoes.

Set Your Goals

No matter if your goal is to increase your physical activity level or to lose weight, the first step to starting a running program is to set goals specific to you. When you set goals that are personal to you, and are achievable, you will be more likely to stick to obtaining your goal.

Obtain Medical Clearance

If you have never exercised, it is important that you make an appointment to see your medical doctor. Ask for a complete physical, and let your doctor know that you are considering starting a running program. He or she will be able to tell you if a running program is appropriate to your current health.

Plan Running Days

You should make a commitment to schedule time in your busy calendar for a running session. Anywhere from three to five times a week, beginning with a minimum of 10 minutes, is great to start a running program. You can slowly build up this time, but in the beginning, your focus in on making that commitment to running.

Purchase the Right Running Shoes

With each sport, there is certain equipment that is needed to protect you from injury. Running is no different. When it comes to running shoes, ensure that you purchase shoes that are designed specifically for running – not walking or cross-training – just running.

Running shoes have more cushion and support that is needed for this kind of exercise. If you are unsure as to which running shoes are good for you, visit a sporting store that sells running shoes and speak to a professional sales person. He or she will be able to guide you in your particular needs.

Build Your Endurance

Now that you are prepared, it’s time to begin your running program. Don’t start off by thinking that you have to run fast and run many miles. In the beginning, focus just on time spent running. If you start off running too fast, too soon, you could be setting yourself up for injury, which will ruin your running goals.

To begin, start with a brisk walk for about two minutes and run slowly to moderately for one minute. Keep repeating this process until you have completed 10 minutes. You can slowly increase this time to 20 minutes as you feel stronger. Once you are at 20 minutes, try increasing your running time to your walking time. For example, run for four minutes and walk for one minute.

You can then slowly increase this time to 30 minutes. Once you are running more, you will notice that you are covering more distance. This is a great time to start re-analyzing your goals if you just want to keep running just for weight loss or weight maintenance at 30 minute sessions, or whether you want to get into long-distance running and races.

Part 2/2: What and When to Eat After You Exercise


To get the maximum post workout effect, you should eat within 30 minutes to two hours after working out. During this window, your muscles are starving for nutrients and are the most receptive to accepting calories. But just what should eat, when should you eat it and how much?

While it can vary from person to person, generally you should strive to replace 50% of the calories you burned during your workout. These calories should breakdown into the three macronutrients as:

  • 60% carbohydrates
  • 25% protein
  • 15% fat (or less)


This is one of the few times it is recommended that you should eat simple carbohydrates. Eating a banana or raisins or drinking orange juice immediately after exercising gets replacement glycogen and glucose to your muscles quickly. For a carbohydrate/protein combo effect, mix in some protein powder in your orange juice.

Then within one to two hours after working out, eat some complex carbohydrates; these calories will help repair the damage done to your muscles during your workout and help to build new muscle. A moderate intensity workout requires eating 30-40 grams of carbohydrates for each hour of exercise; for high intensity routines, you should eat 50-60 grams.

Some good after-workout complex carbohydrates include:

  • oatmeal
  • brown rice
  • whole grains
  • all fruits and vegetables.


Eating protein after exercising stops your body from further breaking down muscle tissue that occurs during a workout. It also begins the process of rebuilding and repairing muscles so they are ready for your next workout. In general, consume about 10-15 grams of lean protein post-workout. Good sources include:

  • whey or soy protein mix
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • fish
  • Fat

Since eating fat post-workout really does not help you at all, the caution is to not eat too much of it; in excess, it can derail your weight or fitness goal. Most people only need 10 grams or less, so if you are eating good sources of protein and carbohydrates, your fat consumption should be naturally low and within range. If you do ingest some fat as part of your post-workout meal, make sure it is the unsaturated type and not saturated or trans.


Lastly, throughout the course of a workout, you are losing water through breathing and sweating. One of the first things you should do after a workout is rehydrating yourself. Drinking water not only helps rehydrate your body, but it also helps lubricate muscles, regulate body temperature and promote digestion of your after workout meal.

If you exercise at a moderate level, you can expect to lose about one quart of water per hour of exercise. If you sweat profusely or exercise outside in hot/humid weather, then increase your water consumption to one and a half quarts per hour of exercise. Another way to calculate your rehydration need is to weigh before and after a workout; you should drink 20 ounces of water for each pound of weight lost.

By knowing when and what to eat post-workout, you can get the most benefit from your exercise regimen.

Part 1/2 : What and When to Eat Before You Start Exercising


Without fail, our body needs fuel to get us through a workout; to get it, our body has to metabolize glycogen to create energy. But, the glycogen it uses is already in our muscles does not come from anything we eat just prior to a workout. Most of us have enough glycogen in our muscles already to fuel a one to two hour intense, or a three to four hour moderate, workout.

However, if you feel tired, experience mild dizziness, or even some faintness while exercising, you may have a greater sensitivity to a drop in blood sugar that normally occurs 15-20 minutes into a workout. If so, then it might be advantageous for you to eat something before exercising.

To get some pre-workout calories into your system, try either of these eating tips:

  • eat a snack 30 minutes before working out.
  • eat a nutritionally balanced meal one to 2 hours before working out.

The goal is to avoid exercising on either an empty or full stomach, yet have the energy we need to fuel us through a workout.

The Snack

Certain foods are better than others at providing the pre-workout energy boost that some of us need. Strive to keep your healthy snack at 100 to 200 calories. Some great fast-digesting simple carbohydrate choices include:

  • fresh fruit, like pineapple, apricots, banana or watermelon.
  • a sports drink.
  • a fruit smoothie.
  • an energy bar.

Or try cutting up some fresh fruit, such as strawberries and mixing it with non-fat vanilla yogurt. Add some granola on top (for the crunch factor) and you have a great healthy snack what will fuel you through your upcoming workout.

The Meal

The goal here is to consume about 50% of the number of calories you will burn during your upcoming workout. At least half of these calories should come from complex carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable during your workout. The other half should come from protein and fat at about a 35%:15% ratio respectively.

Some good meal choices are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus and raw veggies
  • Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites)
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter or cheese
  • Whole grain fig or date cookies

By eating complex carbohydrates, protein and fat at the recommended ratio, you will have energy to fuel your body through the upcoming workout.

Timing Is Key

Remember you don’t want to exercise either on a full or empty stomach, but you want enough energy available to get you through a good workout and to get your body in a fat-burning mode. And finally, hydration is important, as it will make your workout easier and more effective. Before working out, try to drink at least two 8 ounces glasses of water one to 2 hours prior to your workout.



Power Food For Power Workouts


Anyone committed to a workout regimen knows a sound nutritional diet is just as important for maintaining the optimal energy for power workouts.

Food Before Workouts

Goals: Retain Lean Muscle Mass and Energy
What To Eat: Complex carbs and a lean protein


Working out on an empty stomach can cause muscle loss because when you are hungry the body will go into starvation mode and therefore draw protein for energy from the muscles, instead of from the kidneys and liver where it is supposed to get it from.

This results in the loss of lean muscle mass, and this means a slower metabolism. Also, power workouts require a lot of energy, and when you don’t fuel your body with the proper sources, you will not have the energy to complete an intense workout.

In fact, if you’re on a serious workout regimen and want to make the most of your diet to produce results, forego meals high in fat and low in protein. These are not conducive to a power diet for power workout regimens and in fact will only weigh you down.

Food After Workouts

Goals: Restore Energy, Recovery and Repair

What To Eat: Protein with small portion of complex carbs


When you workout the body uses Glycogen in the muscle for energy. This depletion needs to be restored post workout and demands that you do so a soon as possible after exercise. In fact, various research has shown that the refill of muscle store is decreased by 50% when one waits two hours or more to eat following a workout.
A combination of protein and complex carbohydrates is required to restore energy, support high metabolism, and for muscle repair and recovery.

Power Food Options

The following are some great foods nourish the body with the right fuel it needs to retain energy, build lean muscle mass, burn fat and calories and build lean muscle mass.


First, take the peanut. Many people consider peanuts “snack” food, and they perhaps should because of their high protein content, but the health benefits go beyond that of healthy snacking, especially for those who are workout enthusiasts.
The peanut is a protein packed dynamo product rich in monounsaturated fats, which are proven heart-healthy and therefore reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease when combined with a heart healthy workout regimen. When choosing peanut butter make sure it’s 100% pure without added sugar.


Any powerhouse workout deserves whole grains for carbohydrates that replace the energy expended during a vigorous workout routine. Grains are packed with antioxidants, including, those that are not found in fruit and vegetables, and they also have loads of iron, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium.

You may hear the word “antioxidants” but have you ever considered what all the hype is really about?
Antioxidants strengthen your ability to fight infection and disease. The word is tossed around more than a football but when you stop to think of the free radicals that are everywhere in a world that is hardly germ free, a food source rich in antioxidants is worth growing a fond taste for.

Fortunately, whole grains cover an array of foods such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, couscous, even popcorn.

The nutrient composition of Quinoa earns the title of a “super food”. It is a complete protein, that’s loaded with essential amino acids. It is also higher in protein than barley, brown rice and other whole grains. It also contains valuable amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.


Since we’ve discussed peanuts and grains, naturally seeds must follow. Seeds, much like the aforementioned, are nature’s gift to those who indulge in a regular workout schedule. Perhaps considered more of a “snack” than a food entrée or even side dish, seeds should certainly become a part of anyone’s diet who likes to workout hard and long. Seeds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals to safeguard your body to help regulate the circulatory system and help to maintain strong bones and teeth and bowel regulation.


Next up, is fruit, and it’s no small wonder that fruit it is on the list of “powerhouse foods” for powerhouse workouts. From the time our lives begin, we’ve been reminded that fruit is “good for you.” And if you’ve never heard the word “phytochemicals” that is a word synonymous with antioxidants and fruit, which aid the body’s immune system.
Fruit is a phytochemical rich in so many important vitamins and minerals that the body needs to remain healthy such as calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C and D.


The next powerhouse food for the body to maintain a powerhouse workout regime, dark chocolate. Yes, rejoice, chocolate, but only dark chocolate is the one that is loaded with most of the health benefits referred to as flavonoids or flavonols, the main type found in cocoa, which, again, is considered a powerful antioxidant believed to help the body repair cells, aid in pulmonary and cardiovascular health while “fighting” free radicals, considered internal body pollutants.

Therefore, if you are maintaining a regular workout regimen, you can get your chocolate fix without the guilt.
Muscle Recovery

Another speculation regarding the above list of “powerhouse” foods is that they are plant based. Plant based foods help to fight inflammation caused from workout-over exertion, helping muscle recovery and to heal soreness.

Pre-Workout Meal Ideas

• Banana with peanut butter
• Black beans and brown rice
• Almonds and apple slices
• Grape Nuts cereal with skim milk and berries
• Hummus on whole grain toast

Post Workout Meal Ideas
• Protein energy bars
• Protein shakes with bananas, berries and hemp seeds
• Chicken breast with steamed vegetables or salad with olive oil and vinegar
• Tofu and steamed vegetables
• Quinoa with vegetables or with berries
• Pecans and fresh berries
• Whole grain or multi-grain toast with peanut butter
• Black beans and avocado


The above information may be surprising but five of the most nutritious food sources, without the inclusion of meat in any way shape or form, are arguably the best for those who need powerhouse food to maintain a heavy workout regimen.
Again, peanuts, grains, fruits, seeds, and perhaps best of all raw dark chocolate all have something in common. They’re good for your heart, rich in complex carbohydrates, the bodies preferred natural fuel source, and loaded with antioxidants, too.

It would probably be a wise choice to include the above the next time you head out to shop for food that will help you keep your workout strong, along with a diet to match the rigor.