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November Fitness Tips

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011.  Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. 
(SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011. Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. (SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

3 GREAT LOWER-BODY EXERCISES FOR PEOPLE WITH KNEE PAIN

Banded Lateral Walk
Stepping laterally with a band looped around your legs targets the butt and hip muscles, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and hip external rotators. While both glutes will be working throughout this exercise, you'll feel more muscle activity in trailing leg as it must stabilize the moving leg.

Start in a quarter-squat position (a shallower squat) with a looped resistance band just above your knees.

Take a giant step to your right with your right foot, then follow with your left. Take 10 steps in this direction (or as many as your space allows).

Step back in the reverse direction, starting each step with your left and then your right, until you return to starting position.

Single-leg Deadlift
This deadlift variation adds an extra stability challenge—which means everything from your core to your hips to your hamstrings needs to work a tiny bit harder to maintain balance as you move.

Stand with your feet together, holding a weight in each hand in front of your legs.

Shift your weight to your left leg and while keeping a slight bend in your left knee, raise your right leg straight behind your body, hinging at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor, and lower the weight toward the floor.

Keep your back flat. At the bottom of the movement, your torso and right leg should be almost parallel to the floor, with the weight a few inches off the ground. (If your hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to lift your leg as high.)

Keeping your core tight, push through your left heel to stand up straight and pull the weight back up to starting position. Bring your right leg back down to meet your left, but just let your toes tap the floor lightly—don't put any weight on your right foot.

Pause at the top and squeeze your butt.

Glute Bridge
Performing glute bridges to activate the entire hip and butt area without putting any impact on the knees. Adding a resistance band above your knees will help you target your glute medius (the muscle on the side of your butt that helps keep the thigh stabilized) a little more.

Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart. Loop a light- to medium-weight resistance band around your thighs, just above the knees.

Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Press out on the band so that your knees don't cave in.

Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower your hips to return to start.

CLEAN EATING HEALTHY MEAL AND SNACK IDEAS
3 Clean-Eating Meals and 1 Snack
Each day eat three clean eating meals and one snack. Here I've outlined a breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner option for day one of your clean eating

Breakfast: Prepare old-fashioned quick cooking oats using organic skim or soy milk. Top with a sliced apple and garnish with chopped walnuts.

Lunch: Toss baby spinach with balsamic vinegar and salt-free dried Italian herbs. Top with a scoop of chilled red quinoa and cannellini beans (canned, drained, and rinsed beans are fine) and sliced avocado.

Snack: Drizzle a little honey into a container of nonfat Greek yogurt, fold in a sliced mini banana and garnish with sliced almonds.

Dinner: Sauté onion, halved grape tomatoes and chopped green bell pepper in extra virgin olive oil until slightly tender. Add chicken breast or organic tofu to heat through. Serve over whole wheat penne.

MORE CLEAN EATING DINNER IDEAS
Lentils and Quinoa with Mint and Lemon:
Sauté chopped red onion, minced garlic, celery, and red bell pepper in extra virgin olive oil until tender. Add lentils (vacuum sealed or canned, rinsed, and drained are both fine) to heat through. Serve over a small scoop of cooked quinoa and garnish with fresh mint and juice from a fresh lemon wedge.

Seared Shrimp in Coconut Oil: On the stovetop, sear fresh shrimp in coconut oil and season with fresh grated ginger and scallions. Serve over a bed of mixed field greens and top with fresh pear slices

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic, Mushrooms, Tomato and, Feta: Sauté chopped onions, minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, and a small, diced plum tomato in extra virgin olive oil. Reduce to low heat to keep warm. Slice a small spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, place face down in a glass dish with a few tablespoons of water. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes. Rake out strands, toss with sautéed veggies, and garnish with crumbled feta cheese.

Mexican Salad with Corn, Avocado, Beans, and Lime: Mix mashed avocado with minced onion, tomato, fresh lime juice, and cilantro. Toss with torn romaine to coat leaves. Top with a small scoop each of frozen, thawed corn and black beans (canned, drained, and rinsed are fine).