Ocnutrition’s Blog

Improve Your Health With Cycling
August 27, 2010, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Exercise

With the increased energy levels you’ve received from changing your eating habits, are you now thinking about adding an exercise routine to your schedule?  You may have been hesitant about joining a gym or buying that fitness DVD on TV, but it’s important to understand that the best exercise routine is the one you enjoy.

If you like the outdoors or need a break from an air conditioned office, grabbing that bicycle in your garage and hitting the road is an excellent way to improve your overall health.  Whether it’s a mountain bike or a regular 10-speed (new bikes have 20-speeds), cycling provides many benefits to your body and mind.  Here are a few to consider:

  • Cycling will reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Pursuing a cycling routine two to three days per week will trim and tone your leg muscles.
  • Cycling on a regular basis will increase your stamina and improve your ability to carry out your day-to-day activities more effectively.
  • If you are interested in weight loss, cycling will reduce those unwanted pounds while increasing the strength in your legs.
  • Cycling will cause you to sweat, which will help eliminate the toxins in your body.
  • Working out on your bike will lower your blood pressure, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
  • Cycling will increase your “good” cholesterol (HDL) and reduce your “bad” cholesterol (LDL).

But before you tackle a new exercise routine, make sure you receive clearance from your doctor if you haven’t exercised in over a year. 

A bike and helmet are the only equipment requirements you’ll need.  There are many more add-ons you can buy but we’ll stick to the basics here.  If you don’t have a bike, then consider buying one from your local bike shop. 

Always buy a bike that meets your goals.  If you want a bike for riding around the block for exercise, all you need is a basic bike.  If you have plans to race in triathlons, road races, or mountain bike races, consider doing some research online or asking around before stepping into the bike shop.

Whatever bike you choose, the most important thing to remember is to get a bike that fits your body.  We all have different size arms, legs and torsos so make sure the bike shop fits you to the bike.  Ask to try a few different models and ride them around the parking lot to find that perfect match. 

Once you have your bike and are ready to go, the next step is to…pedal!  Most people believe that exercising is painful, but it doesn’t have to be. 

The first two weeks of any exercise program should be well below your pain threshold.  Your mind and body need time to adjust to your muscles firing so give them some time to do that.  You’ll feel much better the next day and should have little to no muscle soreness.

After two weeks, consider applying more effort to your rides to gain greater health benefits.  It’s important to remember that your mind and body will adapt to discomfort so the longer you ride, the more you’ll focus on the experience – scenery, fresh air etc.  The end result is that you’ll find more enjoyment with cycling over time.

Keith Rejino is a triathlete, personal trainer, and sports photographer/writer for Dreamscape Images.  For more information on cycling, please see Dreamscape Images mountain bike website at http://www.dreamscape-images.net.

Pre-Workout Nutrition
August 20, 2010, 12:36 am
Filed under: Exercise, Sports Nutrition

Do you avoid food prior to your workouts because of abdominal discomfort or digestive issues?  To avoid these problems, make sure your pre-training nutrition is low in fat and fiber and focuses on high carbohydrate foods. 

  • Ready-to-eat cereal, low fat milk and a banana
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Egg whites, toast and berries
  • English muffin, peanut butter and a banana
  • Bagel, light cream cheese and a piece of fruit

If you are not used to eating before a workout, start with something small that is high in carbohydrates and well tolerated.

  • Half of a banana
  • 1 cup of low fat yogurt
  • ½ cup of cooked cereal (e.g. cream of wheat or oatmeal)
  • 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal

As you develop a tolerance for pre-workout nutrition, you should be able to gradually increase the amount.  If you’re still having digestive trouble, try a liquid meal.

  • Gatorade Nutrition Shake
  • Ensure
  • Boost
  • Slim-Fast
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast   

It might take a few tries before you find the pre-workout nutrition that’s right for you.  Find comfort in the fact that the effort you put in will pay off in the long run.  Proper nutrition before your workout will help you optimize glycogen stores, improve energy levels, avoid hunger, and may even assist in muscle building.

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino, Glendora and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788

Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Panini
August 3, 2010, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Recipes


• 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 red bell peppers
• 1 medium eggplant
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 loaf of focaccia bread
• 1 large tomato
• 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese

Preparation: 20 minutes

1. Prepare a medium hot charcoal fire or preheat the broiler.
2. Combine well: 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips about ¼ inch thick
3. Cut crosswise into ½ inch thick slices: 1 medium eggplant
4. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with 2 tbsp olive oil
5. Grill the eggplant over the hot coals or broil 4 in from the heat just until tender, about 4 minutes each side. Remove from the heat. Split in half horizontally
6. Drizzle 4 tbsp of olive oil over freshly warmed focaccia bread
7. Grill the focaccia bread with the eggplant, red bell peppers, 4 ounces of freshly sliced mozzarella, and one large sliced tomato; serve

Makes 4 sandwiches

*This recipe was adapted from All About Vegetarian Cooking 2000