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Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Recipes

Vegan and Gluten Free

Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Chestnuts, and Cranberries
Serves 4
30 minutes or fewer
Brown rice and butternut squash make this salad filling but not overly heavy.
·         1 12-oz. pkg. cut butternut squash
·         ½ or (1/2 cup) red onion, chopped (½ cup)
·         3 Tbs. olive oil
·         1 6.5-oz. jar cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped
·         1 cooked brown rice (2 cups)
·         1 tsp. grated lemon zest
·         1½ Tbs. balsamic vinegar
·         ½ cup fresh or frozen Cranberries (dried Cherries maybe substituted)
·         1 5-oz. bag arugula, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss together butternut squash, onion, and 2 Tbs. Olive oil in large bowl. (If desired Season with salt and pepper) Roast squash 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chestnuts during last 5 minutes of baking.
2. Meanwhile, warm rice according to package directions, and toss with lemon zest in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 Tbs. oil with vinegar in small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over rice, and add pomegranate seeds. Stir in warm squash mixture. (Seasoning with any combination of salt, pepper, cayenne or thyme) Fold in chopped arugula, and serve.

Chocolate Basil Cake with basil buttercream frosting

Nonstick baking spray with flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus addition leaves for garnish)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and uniformly green in color (it will look slightly wet).

In a large bowl whisk the melted butter, cocoa powder and basil sugar until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

Gradually add flour to bowl, stirring just until blended (do not over stir). Add hot water to mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 22-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Cool completely, Prepare sour cream frosting. Spread over cake and garnish with basil leaves, if desired. Makes 9 servings (serving size: 1 wedge).
Basil Buttercream (vanilla bean blog)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (three sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine milk, heavy cream, and basil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat gently,  until just simmering, and remove from the heat. Let cool, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Remove basil leaves from cream, squeezing any 'basil juice' from the leaves into the cream.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk-cream-basil mixture and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, 7-9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about another 1-2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin
·         6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, semi-soft, divided
·         2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, rinsed
·         1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled
·         2 1/2 cups 2% milk
·         1 garlic clove, pressed
·         1 tablespoon kosher salt
·         2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
·         1 teaspoon ground black pepper
·         1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         1/2cup whipping cream
·         Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with 2 tablespoons butter. Thinly slice all potatoes; place in prepared dish. Bring milk and next 5 ingredients to boil in medium saucepan; pour over potatoes. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Cover with foil. Bake until potatoes are tender and milk is almost absorbed, about 50 minutes.
·         Bring cream to boil in saucepan. Uncover potatoes, pour cream over, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Bake uncovered until top is golden brown in spots, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Mommies and Fitness

Hello Everyone! We will like to introduce you to our guest blogger, Kelli Atangan, who is a client in our bootcamp program. Here is what she has to say about staying fit as a new mommy, and her fitness program that she runs:

Like most moms, I was very active before I had kids.  I competed in gymnastics through college and then took up triathlons in graduate school.  I kept myself active throughout my pregnancy, walking and taking prenatal yoga.  Then I had my first son, and my whole exercise routine came to a halt.  There were always excuses that kept me from going to the gym or going on a run.  The baby is sleeping, the baby is up, the baby is hungry or fussy, I didn’t sleep last night, I don’t have the right stroller, nothing fits, who will watch him, and he doesn’t like the gym daycare, and so on.  When your life turns upside down it is easy to fall out of a routine.  So I went about my day, trying to do a million things for my son and nothing for myself.  Exercise became a thing of the past and something I would get back into “one day”. 

     When my oldest son was nearing three I realized that “one day” might never come if I didn’t schedule it into my life.  I had to figure out how to make it work and I had to schedule every single workout or it would never happen.  I started taking Mommy Bootcamp class with Natalie of Embody Pure Fitness once a week; where I and three friends sweat it out over a grueling (but awesome) 45 minute workout.  My muscles began to remember what working out felt like again and I was hooked.  So I enlisted help of more friends to get back in shape with me. I reached out to my local mommy friends and asked if they would join me twice a week for a workout.  I knew if someone was counting on me, I’d have to actually get out of bed and go!  Modeled after popular mom and baby stroller workouts, we put our little ones in strollers and does a 1.2 mile loop in our neighborhood.  I lead most of our workouts right now but the other moms are starting to jump in and take turns.  Our workouts include a cardio warm-up, walking, lunges, and squats, lifting light weights, abdominals and core.  Any mom is welcome.  Since we don’t run, we’ve had moms with umbrella strollers, moms regularly wearing their babies on their backs and pushing one in the stroller, a mom 8 weeks postpartum, and another mom due the next day!  Basically, we’ve removed all the excuses (except for being exhausted, that one I can’t fix!).  I’ve been amazed at how many moms were looking for something like this and keep coming back each week.  I only wish I’d begun these three years ago! 

     If there’s one thing that a new mom needs it is support.  We need support for mothering our children but we also need support for ourselves.  Having a group of moms to workout with helps you to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your kids.  Getting those endorphins flowing can be the key to getting you through a long day with the kids or the next mega meltdown!  On the days that I exercise, I feel more organized and have more energy.  My kids are still the world’s worst sleepers and I might barely have my eyes open but I’m done using it as an excuse.

Kelli Atangan can be found leading Kingstowne Mommy Strides every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8am in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria,VA.  For more information find us on Facebook:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Caribbean Sounds 10k Race Results

This past weekend on Saturday, our very own co-owner and personal trainer ran in the Caribbean Sounds 10k. She did a fantastic job by placing 2nd in her age group 20-29, and #12 overall of men and women. Embody Pure Fitness are an elite group of personal trainers as well as exceptional athletes, we can make you faster, stronger, and decrease your risk for injuries. Grace Thompson has placed in the top 5 in kettlebell competitions, races, and other endurance sports. To schedule a private session with her email or follow her on twitter @embody_fitdc

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Powers out but you can still workout!

It is not fun when a interruption in power de-rails your workout routine. With a easy to follow program you can keep going even without the lights. Programming based on your current level of fitness, consist of a mixture of cardio, core and strength training. This will ensure that you will not miss a beat when the power does return. The only things you will need is space, some water and your body. Below is a sample program that you can adjust to met your current fitness level. Let's get started.
Plank- 30-60sec
High Knees- 45sec
Burpees- 20-30x(refer to the figure below)
Push-ups-20-30x (can be done modified)
Alternating Lunges 15-20x (per side)
Squat Jumps- 30-60 sec
Repeat three times!

Done let a little thing like lose of power slow you down.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The importance of flexibility; How to stretch

One of the most over-looked aspects of physical fitness is flexibility training. We all want to know how much we can lift or how fast we can run, but do you know if you can bend down and touch your toes? If not, you have a flexibility problem that needs to be address ASAP. In today's society we are plagued with postural imbalances, injuries, and low back pain. Most of these conditions can be corrected with simple flexibly routines. Sitting for long period of time, can lead to tight and weak hamstring, low back muscles, pectorals, neck and hip flexors. Let's not forget the ligaments associated with each joint. Your right, it’s ALL CONNECTED! Having tight muscles can lead to injury and cause chronic pain that your physician may prescribe medications to alleviate, but never address the muscle imbalance that you put your body through every day.

Here is a sample flexibility program for you to follow daily:

Hamstring Stretch: Lie flat on you back and lift one leg up in the air, while having the opposite leg lie flat on the floor. Grab the leg that’s in the air behind the knee and gently pull towards you. Try to keep the leg straight as you can. This should be done slowly and held for 30 secs.
Pectoral Wall Stretch: Stand in the center of a doorway. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and place them on the walls of the door. Slowly lean forward until a stretch is felt in your chest. This should be done slowly and held for 30 secs.
Upper Trapezius Stretch: Stand upright and lean neck laterally (ear to shoulder) while dropping the opposite shoulder. You should feel a stretch between the shoulder and the neck.
Hip Flexor Stretch: Kneel with front and back legs bent at 90 degrees. Gently lean forward stretching the back leg, until you feel a stretch in your back leg. Hold for 30 secs.

Try this out and soon you will notice results, like pain relief, and more movement in your joints.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beginner 6 week Summer 5k Training Program

A 5k is only 3.1 miles of either great fun or gurgling burn. This distance is great to begin your running journey, while giving you a specific goal. It is also a great distance for all ages and levels of runners. This starter program will help you conquer this distance without monopolizing your life. Let's begin:

Week 1: Mon                    Tues           Wed                 Thurs           Fri               Sat               Sun
            15min run/walk       Off         20 min run/walk      Off         30min run/walk     Off          40min walk
Week 2: Mon                   Tues         Wed                   Thurs        Fri                    Sat           Sun
            20 min run/walk      Off         25 min run/walk      Off         30min run/walk     Off          x-train(bike,yoga)
Week 3: Mon                    Tues        Wed                   Thurs       Fri                     Sat            Sun
            20 min run/walk      Off         25 min run/walk      Off         35min run/walk     Off          30min run/walk
Week 4: Mon                   Tues         Wed                   Thurs       Fri                     Sat           Sun
           30min run/walk        Off        20min run/jog         Off         40min run/walk     Off           x- train
Week 5: Mon                   Tues         Wed                   Thurs        Fri                    Sat           Sun
           25min run/jog    Cross train  40min run/walk       Off         30min run/jog       Off     50min Moderate Walk
Week 6: Mon                   Tues         Wed                    Thurs        Fri                     Sat           Sun
            40min run/jog       Off          20min run/walk       Off          Off            15min walk          RACE DAY


Sunday, June 10, 2012

5 tips to protect your knees

Have you had an achy feeling in your knees? Do you find it difficult to walk long distances, go down stairs, or sit for long periods of time without having pain in your knees? You may be suffering from Patella Femoral Syndrome. This is an umbrella term, that describes a dysfunction between the patella, cartilage, tibia, femur, ligaments, and muscles around the knee. Since there is so much involve, it is hard to pinpoint what is really wrong. Here are my 5 top tips to "protect your knees":

1. Stretch-  flexibility is a key role in improving general range of motion of the knee and other body parts.

2. Improve your balance- wobbly ankles can cause poor mechanics of the knee.

3. Decrease compression- doing activites that cause you to do alot of jumping (volleyball), or hitting a hard surface (running on concrete vs. treadmill),
                                            may cause wear and tear on on the cartilage in your knees.

4. Wear proper shoes- even though 9" heels look nice, they are touture on your knees. They may put the joint in hyperextension and causes excessive
                                       wear and tear of the knee joint.

5. Exercise- doing bodyweight exercises improve your strength, and biomechanics of your joints. If you are in pain, get clearance from your physician
                    before engaging in any execises.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Race Results and Welcome

Welcome to Embody Pure Fitness,
For all of those who are new to us allow me to introduce our company as well as what we do before I share with you this weekends race results. Embody Pure Fitness is a leader in cutting edge personal training, sports and rehabilitation training as well as nutrition. We provide a comprehensive approach to wellness that is not only evident in our training philosophy but fundamental in our own lifestyles.  Okay, I am off the soapbox now.

This weekend our Trainer Grace Thompson participated in the annual Capital Hill Classic 10k. She had a stellar performance finishing 30th Overall Female with a time of 46:20. Grace was also 14th in her age group with a group total of 284 women competing against her.
Her next race will becoming up in June so stay tuned. If you need a race coach or help getting started with running she is available for small group and individual training. There is no better time to prepare for the fall race season.

Thank you for checking us out.
Have a Happy Active Day,

Embody Pure Fitness

Friday, April 27, 2012

Functional Exercise

An exercise philosophy known as Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises which allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries.

An exercise philosophy, functional training works to adapt and develop exercises that allow individuals to perform functional tasks which are required for daily life. Functional exercise primarily involves weight bearing activities that concentrate on core muscles in the abdomen and lower back. While your average fitness facilities have multiple weight training machines which target, isolate and train specific muscles. As a result these movements do not bear any relationship to the movements people make in their regular activities, daily life or sports. Therefore, the person will not increase their core stability, and properly train the body as a whole.
The key to functional exercise is integration of all aspects of the body. Reprogramming all the muscles in the body to work together rather than isolating them. Jumping into functional training may drastically change a person's perception of what a difference a functional workout consist of versus using just machines...It's a lot harder! Functional exercise is both physically and neurologically more challenging than simple machine based training.

Teaching our clients to control THEIR own body weight before adding weight.

What's So Great About Kettlebells?

A Kettlebell resembles the shape of a cannonball with a handle on top that allows for a vast array of exercise. Kettlebells range in weight from 4kg (9 lbs) to 40kg (88 lbs).

There are numerous reasons for the boost in kettlebell training. Kettlebells get back to the basic ways of training that requires functional, whole body fitness. Kettlebells require an individual to focus on a complete body conditioning through lifting and controlling the kettlebell which enables the entire body to work as a cohesive functional neurological unit. Workouts with Kettlebell engage multiple muscle groups at once. In this way, they are a great option for getting a full body workout utilizing cardio and strength training in a short time. We focus on teaching form and function of: Kettlebell swing, Kettlebell snatches, Kettlebell Jerk, and preparing for Kettlebell Sport Competition.