Telling It Like It Is: Jews, Sports and Writing

With baseball season in full swing, enjoy this podcast from the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, Telling It Like It Is: Jews, Sports and Writing.

Former New York Times columnist and Emmy-winning television host Robert Lipsyte, author of the memoir An Accidental Sportwriter; historian John Bloom, author of the biography There You Have It:  The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell; and moderator Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post’s “D.C. Sports Bog” discussed sports, culture and modern media.

This event was part of the The Chaim Kempner Author Series, which brings authors of recently published books to the 16th Street J for the learning and enjoyment of the entire community, and was presented in partnership with the 16th Street J’s Sports Leagues.

Right click and “save link as” to download as an MP3
Or listen online here

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Healthy Lunch Idea: Pack a Bento Box!

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Eating clean and healthy meals is an essential component to any weight loss regimen.  Help control portions by packing your lunch in a bento box!  A traditional Japanese bento usually contains rice, fish or meat, cooked vegetables and/or salad.  Adapt this idea to fit your needs by organizing your favorite healthy foods into a bento of your own.  For example, prepare a low-fat egg salad by replacing fat laden mayo with high protein greek yogurt, dill, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Nestle a scoop into a few leaves of butter lettuce or on top of a bed of vitamin rich spinach.  Add some small pumpernickel cocktail breads, steamed veggies, a yogurt dressed fruit salad and some heart healthy pistachios punched up with mini chocolate chips and you have the makings of a nutritionally sound and filling lunch!  The compartments make portion control simple and are easy to remove and clean when you are done.  Kids also love bento lunches.  Have fun coming up with new and exciting healthy lunch options!

The Importance of Core Strength

Many people equate the core with the abdominal muscles only. In reality, the core includes shoulders, chest, upper and lower back, abdominals, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals. Strengthening the core allows the body to efficiently transfer force from the lower to the upper body and back again. A strong core will allow for optimal body alignment, better balance and less overall fatigue during workouts and everyday activities alike. The following core workout can be easily incorporated into your current routine. This circuit should take about 15 minutes to complete and should be done on non-consecutive days. Be sure to remain mindful, focusing energy on the core muscles being worked during each exercise.

1. Plank

  • Get into a full pushup position with your palms on the floor beneath your shoulders.
  • Hold here for 30 seconds, with your abs contracted and your arms and legs extended and your head aligned with your spine.
  • Do 3 sets of 30 second holds.  As you get stronger, try to hold planks for up to one minute.

2. Side Crunch 

  • Kneel on the floor and lean all the way over to your right side, placing your right palm on the floor.
  • Keeping your weight balanced, slowly extend your left leg and point your toes.
  • Place your left hand behind your head, pointing your elbow toward the ceiling.
  • Next, slowly lift your leg to hip height as you extend your arm above your leg, with your palm facing forward.
  • Look out over your hand while bringing the left side of your rib cage toward your hip.
  • Lower to your starting position and repeat 6 to 8 times.
  • Do two sets of 6 to 8 reps, and then switch sides.

3. Squat Thrust

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Begin by squatting down, bending your knees 90 degrees, and twisting your upper body to the left.
  • Now come up and repeat the exercise to the right.
  • Keep your weight in your heels and don’t allow your knees to jut forward away from your toes.
  • Keep your knees facing forward as your chest and shoulders move side to side.

4. Opposite Arm and Leg Raise

  • Begin on all fours, aligning your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders.
  • Raise your left arm to shoulder height and your left leg to hip height.
  • Hold for 2 counts, reaching forward with your fingers and back with your heels.
  • Repeat this exercise on the opposite side.
  • Do 15 to 20 reps, alternating sides.
  • For a bigger challenge, touch your opposite elbow to your knee as you pull your arm and leg in.

5. Single Leg Stretch

  • Lie back in the center of your mat with your knees bent. Lift your head and shoulders and curl your chin in toward your chest.
  • Inhale as you draw your left knee in toward your chest, placing your left hand on your ankle and your right hand on your knee.
  • Lift your right leg about 45 degrees off the floor.
  • Switch legs, extending your left leg while hugging your right leg to your chest.
  • Switch hand positions each time your switch legs, placing your right hand on your right ankle and your left hand on your right knee.
  • Do between 5 and 10 reps for each side.

Don’t Think “Diet and Long Workouts” – Think “Lifestyle Change”

Don't let this happen to youWe’ve all been there, trying the quick-fix diet plans and workouts.  We’ve tried them all – low-fat to low-carb to low-cal.  We’ve tried the “we are going to do cardio every day this week!” –  running from indoor cycle to Pilates and yoga to body sculpt. By day three we realize, UGH! – we can’t even move a muscle in our aching bodies.

This is crazy and we have not even lost a pound.

With little or no satisfaction, we are back on the couch with the remote in one hand, our favorite junk food snack in the other and lots of Advil, swearing that there has got to be an easier way.   

As a personal trainer and fitness instructor for twenty years and someone who has struggled with personal weight gain and loss issues since age five, I am able to relate to the many of the same issues as my personal training clients   Unlike most kids who have their distinct likes and dislikes of certain foods, I can honestly say there were very few foods I didn’t like… I have travelled up and down and back again on the very same path as my clients.   I was always the “healthy kid.”

Through many years of trial and lots of errors, I have figured out what works for me- but that does not necessarily mean it may work for another.  We all have different body compositions, likes and dislikes, and I have found success in making healthy lifestyle changes comes without much effort –they are just part of my every day. There really is not one lifestyle change fits all.  Even working out five times a week does not mean I do not need to watch what I eat carefully.

About two years ago, I started by making small significant changes to my diet, and not overnight, but slowly. I wanted to lose 15 lbs. as I felt my wardrobe was fitting a bit snug in all the wrong places and buying another wardrobe was just not going to be an option.  I started with eating a small healthy breakfast every morning.  But I ate food I liked.

Then, after a healthy breakfast was part of my normal routine, I started to eat both a healthy breakfast and lunch. Before long, this lifestyle change became part of my every day.  You need to do what works best for you –a lifestyle change as part of your every day life, not a crash workout binge– that will keep you healthy and motivated, at least most days.  When it comes to lifestyle change, it is all about you. 

As a personal trainer, when I start to work with a new client, we never discuss the word “diet;” we discuss lifestyle changes that are easy and do not take much effort.  If the changes you make are not easy, there is no way you are going to keep them up and eventually, most of us fall back into our old patterns.  Your diet should be balanced and healthy most days, but is definitely okay to splurge on occasion. 

Start with small steps and before you know it, the change is part of your lifestyle.  When you get up today, take a 10-minute walk, or instead of skipping breakfast, eat a small meal consisting of healthy carbs, protein, and a little fat.  Try it for a week.  When that step works for you without effort, it is time to make another small change: a 20-minute walk or a eating both a healthy breakfast and lunch. 

There’s one basic fact that can’t be denied: we are creatures of habit. To make health-conscious changes, the changes have to fit in with our habits. Quick fixes don’t exist for long-term health.

Alternative for Passover: The Spinning Seder

spinningseder-003-webLove Passover Seder but hate how matzoh, kugel and brisket can pack on those pounds?

Like the story of the Exodus, but struggle with the sedentary feeling of your traditional Seder?

Then join us for the Washington DCJCC’s first annual Spinning Seder: Pedal Out of Egypt. Come together with our qualified fitness staff as they take you on a challenging course of hills, sprints and four cups of wine as we retell the Passover story.  Best of all, the whole thing’s done-with in 45 cardio-health-enhancing minutes.  Our Johnny G Spinning Bikes all come equipped with cup holders to keep that Manischewitz Concord Grape within easy reach, as well as convenient access to the cycling seder plate — complete with roasted egg, parsley, charoset, shankbone and exclusive kosher-for-passover Bitter Herb Cliff Bar.

Why is this night different from all other nights? Because we’re going to get your heartrate up AND tell the story as if we had personally come out of Egypt. If Elijah wants to come to this seder he’s gonna have to pedal hard and keep up. You’ll experience our specially composed Four Questions — written for the Fit Son, the Couch Potato Son, the Training Wheel Son and the Son-Who-Thinks-Nintendo-Wii-is-Exercise. The afikomen will be awarded to the best interval time during the hills course. We won’t say “Dayyenu” until the Grace After Meals has been said, Had-Gad-Ya has been sung, and an appropriate cool-down session along with post-exercise stretching is complete.

When it’s all done, we’ll say as Jews have been saying for years, “L’shana habaya b’Yerushalayim al’Ofnayim.”

Register Today!

This Week at the 16th Street J

A selection of program highlights from the coming week…

Monday, February 4

Annual Theater J Benefit – Roast of Ari Roth

Power Cycle with Elana

5 on 5 Basketball Leagues

Tuesday, February 5

Screening Room: Making Trouble featuring post-screening discussion with Judy Gold

Yoga for Power with Viviana

Wednesday, February 6

25 Questions for a Jewish Mother (Wed-Sun)

Israel 2008: The Political Landscape

Thursday, February 7

Ballroom Dancing Classes Begin

Step-N-Sculpt with Lynda (class cancelled for renovations to space – will resume next week)

Hunger Action

Friday, February 8

Open Mah Jongg

Ta’am Shel Shabbat

DC Minyan Evening Services

Bet Mishpachah Evening Services

Saturday, February 9

Pickup Volleyball

Pickup Basketball

Sunday, February 10

Emery Shelter Visit

Duties of the Heart

RikudDC – Israeli Dancing

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