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February Fitness Tips

Michelle Walker, the fitness specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for a photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011.  Michelle’s goal is to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. 
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Michelle Walker, the fitness specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for a photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011. Michelle’s goal is to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Have you tried to make healthier choices with the New Year? Try swapping out your evening salad for a change of pace and try the nutritional powerhouse super food, kale! One cup of kale has zero fat and only 36 calories. You can buy it pre-cut to save you time and it reheats well for bringing lunch or planning ahead to have a cooked veggie for your next evenings dinner. You can use kale in soups, stews, stir-fries, smoothies or even just steamed in a little water for a few minutes, then just add your favorite vinegar. Remember vinegar is a fat burner which pairs well with this super food! Kale is loaded with many vitamins and antioxidants and it also helps lower cholesterol! It will also increase your metabolism which will also aid in your losing weight.

If you're looking for a healthy option to snacking, invest in an inexpensive popcorn popper and you are set. Popcorn is a great whole grain, as long as you are popping it yourself and using caution as to what you mix it with. Try putting your cooked popcorn on baking sheet and then spray lightly with Pam and then dust lightly with cinnamon or chili powder if you like a little spice... So easy to make and great for movie night at home!

Need something different to jumpstart your cardio routine try Tabata! Tabata, is an exercise developed in the '70's for Japanese Olympians. All you have to do is pick a cardio activity such as running, jumping rope, or biking and go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times. And when I say "as hard as you can go," I mean 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you have really done something here!! Try this next time you come into the gym before you start your weight lifting program! You will be burning the entire workout! This is also great to do with a workout buddy, someone to keep time for you but best all you have own personal motivator!!