Everything is in fives these days: 5 top ways to burn calories, 5 best exercises, 5 healthy desserts … I’m not sure if it’s because of our short attention spans, or writers are getting lazy. Maybe the same marketer that said Power Point slides should only have three bullet points said fitness information is best in groups of five. I will play along with that new rule, and give five of my favorite health tips.
1. Pushup Holds
Some trainers refer to planks as holding yourself up in the pushup position; I think of planks as something you do on your forearms. Anyway, I love this simple exercise. If you have trouble doing pushups this is a great way to get stronger. This exercise helps your shoulders, chest, back, hips and core. With no equipment, you can hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute and really feel it. If you have any wrist pain, you may want to skip this exercise and do it on your forearms instead. The perfect form is head straight, hands underneath your shoulders (many people go to wide) and feet straight back. Don’t let your hips drop.
2. Cottage Cheese
I know some people think it’s gross, but I am a huge fan of cottage cheese. I buy the 4-percent fat, which tastes the best and usually has the lowest amount of sodium and sugar. This is a great post-workout food to eat because of the high protein content and the fat also keeps you full longer.
3. Goblet squats
I love this exercise! This is a great way to hit quads, butt, and stomach without a lot of pressure on your spine. Of course if you have any pain with this or any other exercise I’ve listed, do not do it. I recommend doing three sets of this during your leg workouts, 10-15 reps with a weight that’s challenging but still allows you to complete 10 reps. Check out this video for a simple demonstration.
I hear this all the time, “I do cardio, don’t have to exercise my legs.” Yes, you do. I’m not suggesting squatting heavy weights or joining a bar class where you squat a million times, but you need to work on your legs. Weight training with your legs releases the greatest amount of growth hormone compared to any other part of your body. Often times, a stronger butt can help with back, knee, or hip pain. It’s important to have great form when exercising any muscle group but especially the legs. Email me or work with a trainer to make sure your form is right.
If you follow me on twitter @fitwithkrit or other social media outlets, you see that I cook a lot. I do this for two reasons: I love to cook and it allows me to control what goes in my food. I can go easy on the salt, sugar, pick leaner cuts of meat, add extra veggies, and season with my favorite flavors. Additionally, it saves some money.
What are your health favorite tricks and tips? Send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org or post below for others to see.
This year, I failed at the Oscars. I failed at the Oscars because I didn’t watch them. I didn’t even write about them, something I’ve done extensively for the last four ceremonies on my blog, moviemusereviews.com. This year, however, I did nothing. The Oscars were the red carpet/stairs and I was Jennifer Lawrence, only no one saw me fall.
Even that bad joke is really a 2013 Oscars recap joke, that’s how bad it is, and as much as I want to shake my blunder off like it’s nothing, I just can’t seem to let it go.
Ok, that was a 2014 Oscars joke. (I said I didn’t watch them – I didn’t say I had no idea what was going on.) But even though I knew who and what films were nominated and could swear to you that almost 100 percent of my mental Oscar predictions came true (saw the Gravity sweep with a loss in Best Picture to 12 Years a Slave coming for miles), I felt out of touch, like someone should try revoking my cinephile license.
I was in Houston Sunday night, staying with some wonderful friends who moved there from Chicago a couple summers ago. I intended to be home for the Oscars, but flights are cheaper on Monday mornings. Although my friends don’t have TV, our plan was to stream the ceremony, which ABC offered for the first time this year, but when the time came, it wasn’t working. We tried again and again, but eventually we gave up. So we spent more quality time together instead, which I treasured, but the movie nerd part of me was crushed; I essentially ignored his annual birthday party.
I also acted like I didn’t so much as care his birthday was coming up. For the years prior to this one, I would start preparing for the Oscars Dec. 1 by following the awards season buzz like a hawk, studying up to make Oscar nomination predictions. After the nominees were announced in January, I’d spend the weeks leading up to the ceremony analyzing every single category (even best documentary, short subject, despite not seeing any of the nominees) on my blog and predicting the winners. By Oscar Sunday, the suspense would boil over, and I would be glued to the screen. After analyzing the show the next day, I would sigh in relief that it was over and do the whole thing again 9 months later.
And I did it all for fun. I did it for free. I did it because I loved it. Just as I did with everything else on my blog, and another website (or two) that I wrote and edited content for over the course of three years.
Then, last March, I got a full-time job with JUF and Oy!Chicago, a job that has nothing to do with movies (except when I write these blog posts). (In a cruel poetic twist of course, I received the call with the job offer while at a movie theater.)
It all went downhill from there for the movie nerd part of me. I struggled to see movies in theaters or at home, especially in a timely fashion, and some reviews took weeks to complete. I wrote no feature stories or fun movie content to supplement the reviews I did write. My movie mojo had disappeared.
Everyone has their Super Bowl. Everyone has something that not’s a value or a priority but a pure love: a sport, a hobby, an event, a holiday or even a second professional passion, which every so often comes to a boiling point. It’s a time when the world stops and we must stop anything from tampering with our little love affair; we want to completely lose ourselves to it. For some people, that’s the Oscars. For me, it’s the Oscars, the actual Super Bowl, my fantasy football draft, and a few other things. At times, however, for one reason or another, our lives interfere with and impede our Super Bowls, and that disappointment stings a little.
The real challenge, however, isn’t dealing with the pain of a missed Super Bowl. It’s not about forcing yourself to understand that this passion isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things and that you should get over it. Rather, it’s being able to recognize that where you are, what you’re doing, or who you’re with, is totally worth missing a Super Bowl for.
As my congregants know I have a wall full of Jewish MLB rookie cards hanging in my office. A congregant walks into my office, looks at the hanging cards and says "hey, that's Justin." Of course, I immediately asked for his contact information and Justin was gracious enough to answer some questions. We spoke on the phone for a while and he has some great stories. Although his career in the majors was short, Justin had a lot of amazing baseball moments including meeting Sandy Koufax. Below is a little more about Stanford great and Jewish MLBer, Justin Wayne.
Justin Wayne and Jewish baseball legend Sandy Koufax.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Both parents from New York, who moved out to the Islands before my brothers and I were born. We played every sport growing up, not focused specifically on baseball until late into high school. Along with going to the beach as often as possible when we were younger, our priority was academics and family. I have visited South Korea, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, many countries in the Caribbean, and all the states except Montana. My interests in school were always geography, math and sciences. I have been living in Florida since I finished college, and now that my brothers live in South Florida with me, it seems to be the place that I will stay. I will be getting married this fall and look forward to having little Jewish athletic scholars of my own.
What was it like growing up playing baseball in Hawaii? Was it harder to get noticed?
Baseball was very competitive in Hawaii. Many times we participated on travel teams during the summer and competed in the continental United States. These travel teams have showcased Hawaii’s talent since before I was around. In high school, we had scouts come to the islands to evaluate us just about every week of the baseball season. Some professional teams even had local scouts, including scouts that worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau, that were able to watch us develop even before high school.
What was your experience at Stanford like? When did you know it would lead to the MLB?
I was so lucky to be able to attend Stanford. Everything from the academics to the athletics is top notch, as well as the ability to meet and become friends with kids from all over the country. I probably realize it more now than while attending, but the campus might be the most beautiful in the whole country. Once I became familiar with the Stanford baseball team, I saw many of my teammates using the program as a stepping stool to a career in professional baseball. I would say sometime during my sophomore year I began to believe that I might also have the chance to follow that path that so many before me took: an opportunity to live out all of our childhood dreams and play in the Major Leagues.
You were drafted 5th overall by the Montreal Expos. What was that moment like?
Because we knew there was a good chance a team would be calling us that day, my roommates and I,
including my older brother who was in town, were all waiting in our apartment. When the phone rang, it was as if I had forgotten about all the hard work that had been put in up to that point. It seemed just too good to be true. I wanted to call everyone I knew and let them know that I had just been given the key to the candy store. Not a lot of time was given to celebrating, as we were in the middle of getting ready for school finals, and preparing to go the College World Series. It will surely be a day that I will never forget.
Eventually you were a key component in a blockbuster trade involving Carl Pavano and Cliff Floyd. What is it like to be traded at that level?
I was just getting back from the Double-A All Star game in 2002, and was caught completely by surprise. Mixed feelings quickly spread through my mind. Did I let my team down? Did they not think I was capable? Were they trying to get rid of me? But from the positive end, another team was so interested in me, that they must have seen me as a valuable asset and a player that would make a positive impact on their club. This was an exciting feeling. A new situation gave me new opportunities. Within two months of the trade, I made my first appearance with the Florida Marlins.
What was the moment like when you were finally called up to the Majors?
I was sitting in our Calgary locker room, which is where the Triple-A team was for the Florida Marlins, when I was given the news that I would be called up at the beginning of September. As soon as I was told that I would make my first start with the Big League club, I tried to contact every person I knew that would be able to make it to New York to watch me pitch against the Mets. With family in town as far away as Hawaii, I was a nervous wreck. But what I had learned was that you could channel the anxiety, nervousness, and unknown to your advantage. Except for not covering first base on a double play opportunity, that moment will be like none other in my life. It seemed like every second flew by with anticipation, but I have such a clear memory of everything that happened that day as if it was yesterday.
Looking back on your experience, did you learn any specific life lessons?
Life lessons happen every day of our lives, sometimes without us recognizing it until we are much older. With all competitive athletes in any competition, whether in the Major Leagues or not, you will always find some that will, and some that won’t. I am not talking about winning and losing, but of putting yourself out there and not knowing what the result will be, just that you did everything you could to succeed. There will always be someone bigger, someone stronger, someone more capable. But if nobody works harder than you, nobody studies more than you and prepares to do the best that you can do, then you will never have to live with regret. You will never have to worry about the unknown, because you maximize what you are capable of, and that is success. In the classroom, on the field, with relationships, with life.
What was your Jewish upbringing like? Was it fun having brothers who also were very talented baseball players?
Our Temple (Emanuel) in Hawaii was a lot of fun. We had about 9-10 students in each grade. Most of the kids we grew up with were not Jewish. From my high school, I think there were five Jewish students in my grade, out of 450. While my brothers each had their bar mitzvah in Hawaii, I had mine in Oceanside, N.Y. (with a cousin who was very close in age). This was a significant change, as they had about 50 kids per class at their Hebrew school. This, along with the fact my brothers and I were close in age, created a very close relationship between the three of us. The three musketeers if you will. And the yes, the competition between us was always high. Sometimes to the point we got in trouble for it.
What do you do these days?
I separated myself from baseball to give myself a chance to pursue other ideas. I am now working as a financial professional, dealing with protecting and creating wealth for my clients through a quantitative and holistic approach. This has a lot to do with what I have always been passionate about, which is numbers and economic trends. I also am a great uncle to my niece and nephew.
Anything else you want to tell the TGR fans?
There are not many things in life more exhilarating than to assimilate one’s self with a sport, team or
player. Being a fan of the game is something that you can never outgrow. I will never lose my passion and love for the game of baseball, even though my playing days are in the past. We just carry that with us and pass it down to the people we show it to.
As the last of the Valentine’s Day chocolates are slowly being eaten, a question is on my mind: Is it possible to fall in love with a website?
If it is, well, then I have it bad for Pinterest. Bad.
In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, Pinterest is a website that mimics a bulletin board. I see something cool that I like somewhere on the Internet, so I can take it and “pin” it to my bulletin board. You can see my bulletin board and if you like what I’ve “pinned,” you can copy it to your bulletin board. Virtual bulletin boards with an unlimited supply of pushpins — count me in!
I’m not as active a Pinterest user as I am a Facebook user, but Pinterest has its moments for me. Here are my top favorite times to use this beloved site.
1. Searching for something specific. My favorite way to find new recipes is to pick a main ingredient and then search by that ingredient. If I’m looking for a recipe that includes butterscotch or red velvet or apple cinnamon, I’ll head to Pinterest first and search for those main components, and I’ll find dozens of butterscotch blondies, red velvet whoopie pies, or apple cinnamon banana bread chocolate chip pumpkin bread bundt cake lava cake. It’s a haven for an avid dessert maker like me.
2. Daydreaming. I love looking at pictures of wedding dresses with bows, dream homes with grand staircases, functional treehouses with electricity, and cute ways to keep pictures of future children as they grow. I’m not really in the market for any of these things, but it’s nice to daydream as I scroll through pictures. Wouldn’t it be great if my bedroom had a sheer white canopy, periwinkle curtains, and 15 sequined pillows on my bed? What would my life be like if I had a mudroom with DIY antique hooks to hang raincoats? Could I be a person who has a wedding cake made of ice cream cones?
3. Finding new “life hacks” I didn’t know I needed. I didn’t know that there was a problem with the way I was organizing my paperclips — but now that I’ve seen a cute, creative, easy way to use magnets to keep them away from other office supplies, I must do it. Now. How did I live for 27 years without using a CD case as a bagel holder? What about a sneaky way to make my ponytail look longer? Yes please!
4. Killing time. This is really the main reason why I love Pinterest. It’s a great way to kill a few minutes — waiting in line, friend is running a few minutes late for lunch, etc. — without getting too invested in something too deep. You can scroll through people’s pins for 30 seconds or 20 minutes, and suddenly your wait time doesn’t seem so bad. Or it’s a great way to relax when you’re trying to fall asleep. So thank you, Pinterest, for keeping me entertained until the wee hours of the morning.
See you on Pinterest!
The above quote is profound, practical, instructive, and chock full o’ brilliance. There is a fairly popularized proverb that I first saw in a collection of inspiring stories by Rabbi Paysach Krohn that states the idea that if everyone’s bags of troubles, challenges, heartaches, difficulties, etc. were put in a clear bag and hung out on a line for all to view and choose from, we would look at everyone else’s bags and realize that our own bag isn’t so bad.
So, the person you are sitting next to during your morning commute might look like they have their act together and are “living the dream, baby,” but they also might be dealing with a personal problem that we would never be able to deal with. The person in front of you at Trader Joe’s might look relaxed without a care in the world, but they might be stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship. The boy in your child’s class who always seems to get extra attention from the teacher might be subjugated to the most horrific family situation that you could ever imagine. The department head in your office, with the leased company car, the never ending suit collection, and the perfect golf game might have a seriously ill child that is costing him thousands of dollars in medical bills. That dude sitting next to you in Starbucks with his MacBook Air might have a serious learning disability and can’t read above a fifth grade level. Your friend in the Zumba class who has three part-time jobs and the perfect boyfriend might be struggling with an eating disorder.
There are times when I think that others have it much better than I do. There are times when I see the problems others have and think that I could handle their tzuris (troubles). Understanding that my own problems (despite having a family that loves me, a job I like, and really cool kids) are tailored exactly for me isn’t easy, for sure. It’s much easier to think that we know everyone’s story and it’s natural to want to walk in someone else’s shoes.The truth is, we don’t know the problems that many people have. Sometimes all we can do is be kind, patient, and sympathetic to others. Sometimes just doing that can lighten the load someone carries and help them fight their battle.
So, the Polar Vortex got the best of me, though really – I got the best of me. After months of whining about the incessant winter chill, I slipped on my way home from work. It was the first time in my life I’d “fallen and couldn’t get up” and instantly I knew something was very wrong. The ER visit revealed a broken ankle. A broken ankle in need of surgery. How’s that for a Tuesday afternoon? Never a dull moment.
Here I am, two weeks post-op, and my world (for the time being) is reduced to my lovely house in the burbs and the occasional outings to the doctor. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am to my family for all of their help and my fantastic employer for their patience while I figure out how to navigate (temporarily) on one foot. I also know how lucky I am that it was just my ankle and nothing else.
So while I will not be running any marathons anytime soon, trying to work normal hours, devouring the latest episodes of House of Cards, re-reading Bossypants for about the eighth time and healing a little more each day all combine to fill my days in a way I didn’t anticipate. I am anything but bored – and that’s a very, very good thing. While this broken ankle might have slowed me down, my mental shpilkes (nervousness, anxiety) are very much intact.
The day I plopped down on the ice, I had an interesting conversation with my manager earlier at work. We were dishing about Kundalini yoga – breathing and relaxation, all that good stuff. I’m very much a yoga novice, but the idea of the practice as an infinite process has proven to be resonant thought over these past couple of weeks.
She was saying that after four kids, she turned to yoga as a new way, initially, to get in shape and refocus. What she learned shortly was that regardless of what poses she could and couldn’t do, she was on a continuum. It doesn’t matter where you begin or where you end up eventually, all that matters that you are on the path.
So what are some takeaways from my couch-dwelling days? I tend to think of myself as a pretty patient person, but oh how my patience has been tested. It’s been tricky attempting to balance a go-go-go attitude some days with feeling completely exhausted others. But it’s all about being on the path, isn’t it? No matter how silly/frustrated/tired/annoyed I feel that I can’t get up and walk around, I know it is a temporary situation and I’m already making progress each day.
Enduring the pain, prodding, sitting and waiting is all building toward my big goal for this spring, which I hope to achieve near Passover time: walking on my own two feet, all on my own. It’s funny how five seconds of your life can give it an entirely new perspective. (Captain Obvious realization now over.)
In the meantime, I’m just going to rock my fluorescent pink cast and find new ways to make these next 4 to 6 weeks productive. Reading suggestions welcome in the comments below.
In this world, there are people who save things and people who don’t—and I guess some people who probably fall somewhere in between.
I am a “don’t save things” kind of person—it’s in my genes. In my family, if you get a new pair of shoes, you should really give away an old pair. This is partially about making space for new things and mostly about recognizing the importance of having a finite number of possessions that you appreciate, rather than an accumulation of stuff. I’m not the most organized person, but the less stuff and clutter, the better.
I always say that I’m not sentimental about things—ticket stubs, clothes, cards, etc. But I do value memories and traditions—I love looking at old photos and watching old videos, treasure the pair of earrings and handkerchief I inherited from my great-grandmother on my wedding day and Flower, the smiley-faced baby toy I slept with from the time I was six months old until I got married, still has a home in my nightstand drawer so it’s close to me at night.
My husband Mike is more of a sentimental saver. He holds on to receipts and ticket stubs forever and has t-shirts in his closet that are more than 20 years old. When we came back from our recent trip to Europe—Mike’s first trip abroad—he saved all of the maps and museum tickets and flight reservations in a Ziploc bag that I desperately want to throw away.
When I got back from studying abroad my junior year of college, coming home put me in a funk—it was such a meaningful and life-changing time for me and I needed to figure out a way to close that chapter and move on to the next. So every night for weeks, I sat down and worked on a scrapbook, adding in ticket stubs and photos and memories I didn’t want to throw away, for once. The final product wasn’t very pretty—I’m not really the artistic type—but I felt the closure I needed and was happy to have those memories tucked away somewhere tangible.
Since Mike and I returned from our trip to Europe, I think we both have felt that same need to package the enormity of the experience into something tangible, other than a Facebook album and the Ziploc bag, of course. So for Mike’s birthday, I spent hours agonizing over creating a Shutterfly photo album, moving photos around and telling the story of our trip. When I clicked the order button, I felt that same sense of satisfaction I had finishing up my study abroad scrapbook. Hopefully when he sees it, Mike will feel the same.
I guess maybe I am more sentimental than I think I am, or maybe there are just some memories—and even some things—that are too meaningful to just throw away.
Sites We Like
TribeFest is an entertaining, interactive and educational celebration that will draw over 1,500 Jewish young adults (ages 22-45) from across North America. TribeFest will reflect the vibrant setting of its host city, New Orleans, offering meaningful, fun, and top-quality content. Through presentations by dynamic leaders in politics, entertainment, music, art, food, religion and other aspects of Jewish life, TribeFest will offer attendees many ways to connect to their own Judaism and how they see themselves as part of the community.
Learn more about TribeFest and traveling to New Orleans at www.tribefest.org.
"What’s in Your Toolbox?"
Being successful in your job search isn’t luck or magic. Whether you are an administrative assistant or a senior level manager, the skills needed to land a job are the same. In today’s economic climate the competition is fierce, and having the tools necessary for a modern and relevant search takes work and knowledge. Topics range from resume and cover letter writing to finding a career identity.
To register for of Career Moves events and workshops, please visit jvschicago.org/workshops-and-events. For more information call 847-745-5482.