Core Strengthening Exercise: Get More Than Good Looks

This week I asked my friend and co-worker, Austin Howlett, CSCS, USAW  to help me with a post on one of the hottest fitness trends of 2012 – core training. It’s been fashionable for me since I had my first baby! (Yeap, that’s number one on the  left. Handsome devil he is; and such a ham!) But tight abs aside, strong core muscles are far more than “good looks“.  Having a strong core  enhances balance and stability, two important aspects of physical fitness and daily living!  Poor trunk control is a contributing factor to injuries of the spine as well as to extremities.  Strengthening the muscles around the spine and pelvis  provide protection  to the back, and both the upper and lower extremities.  A strong core also enhances performance  by providing a stable platform for movement and stability of your extremities. This stable platform  provides a means for acceleration and deceleration, as well as allowing  for  rapid change of direction and joint protection from impact loading.  Having a  strong core is critical to all athletes, whether you are in a predominantly upper extremity sport (such as baseball)  or predominately lower extremity sport (such as running)  or a combination (most sports).  A strong core will both  lessen the rate and risk of injury as well as improve your  performance.

Take it way Austin.

Thanks Diane. Today I am going to introduce  V-sit BOSU Core Passes.
(Your CORE is not just what you can see in the mirror.)
This is a functional isometric exercise that targets more than just those mirror muscles.
You will need a BOSU and a medicine ball.
Why use a BOSU?
This allows you to use more of your postural stabilizers and activates more muscles

Here’s how to do it…
1.) Sit on the blue side up of a BOSU.

Core Strengthening Exercise: Get More Than Good Looks







2.) Lean back bringing your knees toward your chest into the V-sit position (take your feet off the floor engaging your core muscles at a 45 degree angle).

Core Strengthening Exercise: Get More Than Good Looks







3.)Pass a weighted object around your waist ten times clockwise and ten times counter
clockwise while holding the V-sit position (not falling over backwards or setting your feet down).

Core Strengthening Exercise: Get More Than Good Looks








View this exercise in real time

Here are some alternatives to a medicine ball: kettlebell, dumbbell, or use your imagination to come up with up with something around your house. Some examples:  a can of soup;  small bottle of detergent; a basketball, etc.

If sitting on the BOSU is too difficult  try starting on solid ground without passing an object around your waist. Try leaning back and maintaining the V-sit position for 15 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. You can gradually increase the amount of time you hold the V-sit position until you feel comfortable implementing a BOSU. Practice holding the V-sit position without weights.

After you have mastered the art of V-sitting on the BOSU, try  challenging yourself by passing a weight 10x around each direction. (If it is difficult at first, break it up by doing 5 one way; placing feet down; and resting for a few seconds. Then elevate feet back up and do 5 reps the other direction.)


Progression/More Advanced:
The difficulty can be increased by implementing a heavier medicine ball, increasing reps, passing underneath your knees, and/or adding a medicine ball to squeeze between your feet.

Back to you, Diane.

Thanks Austin. I have already added the V-sit BOSU core pass exercise to my abdominal routine. I like to do this exercise sitting on the BOSU, squeezing a medicine ball between my feet and  juggling lemons. Just kidding! How do you think you’d like to modify this exercise? What areas are you looking to strengthen? Let us know!

Diane Boyd, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.N.

Austin Howlett, B.A. Exercise Science, C.S.C.S.

Spring For Lighter Meals | Asian Chicken with sweet chili sauce

Asian Chicken with sweet chili sauce

Spring is inspiring!  Just being out in the fresh air and seeing  the abundance of new growth and brilliant colored flowers gets me motivated to  lighten up and get things done!  Here are the top 3 items on my to do list for the last two weeks of April :

clean patio furniture, prune back shrubs , lighten up menus

Today’s post is about the later. Yes, today I am talking food, specifically,  a fabulous springtime recipe you can get to the table in  30 minutes! More good news, even my toughest critic,  daughter Sydney (the foodie),  gives it two thumbs up!

The origin of  this recipe, Asian Chicken, is an article by Liz Biro, Even Real Chefs Struggle With ‘What’s for dinner? appearing  the Wilmington Star News, April 28, 2008. I actually managed to find  this article I had so uniquely archived in a cookbook, behind my blender, on top of the directions to my food processor!

Liz Biro interviewed Wilmington’s top chefs about their “off-the-cuff-home cooking”. Yeah, the kind we deal with everyday.  Each chef rattled off a meal that sounded mouth-watering, yet was incredibly simple and used minimal ingredients. Here is Marc Copenhaver’s (of Marc’s on Market)  Crazy Asian Chicken , which I have adapted to my lighter, dietary preferences.

Asian Chicken
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 1
  • 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 t dried crushed chili pepper
  • 3 T flour
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 T canola oil
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded romaine lettuce or other greens
  • 2 T julienned peppers and carrots
  • 1 T sweet chili sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pound chicken breast to an even thickness (for faster cooking) by placing between two sheets of wax paper and pounding with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
  3. Mix lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce and marinade flattened chicken for about 10 minutes.
  4. Dredge marinated chicken in flour.
  5. Spray pan with cooking oil and heat canola oil over medium high heat. Add chicken breast and cook for 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
  6. Finish cooking in oven for approximately 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve on a bed of greens and julienned veggies. Drizzle with sweet chili sauce.
Serving size: 1 chicken breast Calories: 248 Fat: 8 g Saturated fat: 1 g Carbohydrates: 21 g Protein: 24 g Cholesterol: 40 mg

I like to serve Crazy Asian Chicken with a side of brown rice and steamed sugar snap peas.

 Crazy Asian Chicken

What’s on your spring “to do” list? How is the pre-bikini season inspiring you to change  your meals?

Diane Boyd, M.B.A., R.D., L.D.N

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial