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In this issue of The Quest:

1.      The Quest Quote
2.      The Quest Question –The top 10 exercises for optimal training
3.      Help! PMS cravings
4.      Live the Good Life at www.thegoodlifeshow.com

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1. Quote:
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and grow in spite of obstacles.... Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Don't sell out.
—Christopher Reeve


I am always looking for workout shortcuts and have limited time in the gym. I am a magazine junkie and I get overloaded with all the information out there. Can you tell me what are the best, most efficient exercises to do for an overall body workout?


For a workout to be effective, I don’t believe anyone needs to spend more than 45 minutes, twice a week, on strength training exercises. Having said that, the success of your training depends on the exercises you choose. Most fitness pros will agree that there are essential exercises that will always play an important role of any well-rounded workout. Here are the American Council on Exercise’s top 10 exercises you just can’t live without:

  1. Squats: The squat strengthens all of the major muscles of the lower body, including the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Add hand weights to increase the intensity.
  2. Lunges: Like the squat, the lunge works all the major muscles of the lower body as well as the stabilizer muscles that are used to keep you balanced as you move into and out of the lunge position.
  3. Push-ups: Push-ups strengthen the chest and the triceps and stabilize the core as you hold your body in a plank position. To increase the intensity of this exercise, place your feet or hands on a stability ball or platform.
  4. Pull-ups: Performed with or without assistance, pull-ups are a great way to strengthen the muscles of the upper body, particularly the latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoids and biceps.
  5. Shoulder press: The overhead shoulder press, which effectively targets the anterior deltoids, can be performed while sitting or standing, with either dumbbells or elastic tubing.
  6. Triceps dips: Requiring no more equipment than a bench or the edge of a chair, triceps dips are the perfect exercise to work not only your triceps, but also your pectoralis major and anterior deltoids.
  7. Seated Rows: The seated row, which can be done using elastic tubing, a cable and pulley or a seated row machine, is a great exercise for the upper back, including the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, as well as the biceps.
  8. Abdominal Exercises: Strong abdominals are key to maintaining a strong core. While there are many variations of abdominal exercises, research suggests that abdominal crunches on a stability ball may be the most effective.
  9. Walking: Slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and head out the front door—what could be easier? Walking is a great low-impact, cardiovascular workout for people of all fitness levels. Start out slowly and gradually increase both speed and distance over time. Add hills for a greater challenge.
  10. Running: When it comes to improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories, running is both effective and efficient. But it can also be hard on the joints, so it’s best to ease into this activity and avoid the common mistake of doing too much too soon. Elliptical trainers can provide similar results with fewer injuries.

3. PMS SOS! Most women know what it’s like to crave sugar, chocolate and salty foods leading up to their periods. Women often tell me how difficult it is to avoid overeating ‘junk’ food during this time. From a nutritional point of view there are some vitamins and minerals that help to balance the body and ease those overpowering cravings. Be sure you take the supplements along with food so they're properly absorbed.

      Calcium - Studies have demonstrated that 1,200 mg of calcium per day can help reduce the severity of PMS symptoms.

      Magnesium - Supplemental magnesium may help alleviate some of the emotional symptoms, fluid retention and breast tenderness. The results suggest that modest amounts -- 200 mg per day -- could reduce water retention and bloating.

      Vitamin B6 – A dose of 100 mg per day may relieve a wide range of symptoms, including depression. Take as part of a multivitamin or B-complex.

      Evening primrose oil - This is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which can help normalize hormone levels and influence prostaglandin synthesis.

      Omega-3's - These essential fatty acids can help with both the inflammatory process and with mood.

In addition to ensuring a PMS-proof diet, the next time you feel cravings and fatigue sneaking up on you, try being a little easier on yourself. Slow down, relax and let the dishes sit for a night! You are better off going to bed early or taking a bath, instead of reaching for a sugary snack to boost your energy. It’s hard to ‘down’ a bag of Doritos when you’re in dreamland.

4. Check out www.thegoodlifeshow.com. A new nationally syndicated weekly radio show. Both the website and the radio show are designed to help people find answers to key questions about health, anti-aging, lifestyles, sports, fitness, and wellness.

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