Creative Chicken Salad Ideas

By Jamie Miller, RD, Registered Dietitian, Village Health Clubs & Spas

Chicken salad can be an awesome make-ahead meal idea, and in the warm months of Phoenix, there’s the added benefit of not needing to turn on the hot oven to prepare a delicious dish. However, the standard chicken salad base of mayo can make this dish not so heart healthy and derail us from our nutrition goals. But we’ve got some creative ways to upgrade your chicken salad recipes to make them healthy and filling yet still tasty enough to become family favorites.


Easy Chicken Prep

You can’t have a chicken salad without the chicken! There are several ways to prepare your chicken, but the key is to keep it quick and simple for a fuss-free meal. Some options include:

  • Crockpot or instant pot chicken, shredded
  • Baked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • Rotisserie or precooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • Canned chicken
  • For a vegetarian option, use canned chickpeas or cannellini beans


Pro-Tip: Save time by shredding your cooked chicken in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer.


Swap the Creaminess

Usually the dressing of chicken salad is comprised of a heavy base of mayo. However, there are multiple ways to lighten up a chicken salad and still maintain the creaminess that makes it so delicious. Try one of these creamy, flavorful options:

  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki
  • Mashed avocado or guacamole
  • Pesto
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt and buffalo hot sauce


Pro Tip: If you can’t do without some mayonnaise, try a more heart-healthy avocado oil-based version and dilute it with yogurt, Dijon mustard or another flavorful but low-calorie ingredient.


Pump Up the Fiber and Micronutrients

Adding ingredients to chicken salad is a wonderful way to boost the dish’s vitamins, antioxidants and fiber (along with levels of flavors to keep it interesting!). Try incorporating a range of different vegetables and beans to get a variety of nutrients such as:

  • Chopped veggies — bell pepper, carrots, celery, red onion, scallions, tomato, etc.
  • Fresh herbs — cilantro, dill, basil, parsley, etc.
  • Diced fruit — apples, grapes, pear, berries, etc.
  • Beans/Peas — chickpeas, cannellini beans, sweet green peas, black beans, etc.


Serve It Up

To create a balanced plate, serve your chicken salad with a combination of fresh vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates:

  • On a bed of greens (arugula, romaine, baby spinach, etc.)
  • In lettuce cups (bibb or butter lettuce)
  • With sliced cucumber, carrots or bell pepper
  • On whole grain bread or wrapped in a pita or tortilla
  • With whole grain crackers or tortilla chips




Creative Chicken Salad Recipes


Tzatziki Chicken Salad

  • 2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, grated with excess liquid removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (parsley, scallions/chives, dill, etc.), chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. To serve, fill a whole grain pita, place on top of chopped romaine lettuce, top brown rice cakes or scoop up with whole grain crackers.



Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

  • 2 c. cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
  • 1/2 c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1/2 c. grapes, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 c. pecans (or nut of choice), chopped


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. To serve, enjoy on whole grain bread as a sandwich, in a high fiber tortilla as a wrap or on a bed of mixed greens


Guacamole Chicken Salad

  • 2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 c. red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped (or chop it more coarsely if you prefer)
  • 1/2 c. tomato, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Mash avocados in a medium bowl, leaving some chunks, if desired. Fold in salt, pepper, garlic powder, lime juice, red onion and cilantro. Add in shredded chicken and mix until combined. Then add in diced tomato. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy with sliced bell peppers, in lettuce cups, on top of greens, with tortilla chips or in a high-fiber tortilla.


Tuscan Chicken Salad

  • Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 c. canned great northern beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 c. red onion, chopped
  • /4 c. celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c. kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 c. roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Arugula for serving (optional)


In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, yogurt, garlic powder and salt. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy with arugula on whole grain bread as a sandwich, on top of greens as a salad or scooped up whole grain crackers.


Interested in discussing your own personal nutrition needs with Village dietitian, Jamie Miller? Reach out today for an appointment! E: P:713-494-2030.

Nutrition for Better Sleep

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietitian, Village Health Clubs & Spas

Not getting quality sleep can affect every aspect of our health from cognitive functioning, blood pressure, digestion, weight gain, hormones, insulin levels and much more. While many lifestyle factors such as stress, screen time and low physical movement can impact sleep, the important role of nutrition is often overlooked as a key component for a good night’s rest. Jamie Miller, Registered Dietitian for the Village Health Clubs & Spas, shares the scoop on how we can alter our food choices to achieve our most rested and healthy self.

Good Eats, Good Sleep
While it might sound cliche, one of the most vital components for restful sleep is a healthy, balanced diet. Countless studies have shown that a diet high in processed carbs, sugar and saturated fats can disturb sleep. It’s believed that a low-quality diet causes nutrient deficiencies that hinder hormonal pathways involved in sleep. Instead of sugary sweets, refined grains, high-fat animal products and processed oils, focus your meals on ample produce, lean proteins, quality carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Natural Sleeping Aids
While an overall balanced diet is key, there are also specific foods that can help improve sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps promote relaxation and sleep, and many nutritious foods contain this compound. Some examples are tart cherries and cherry juice, goji berries, bananas, tomato, eggs, salmon, pistachios and almonds, flax and oats.

A powerhouse nutrient that is often overlooked for high-quality sleep is the mineral magnesium, which is something most people don’t get enough of in their diet. Magnesium helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping our bodies stay calm and relaxed. Foods high in magnesium include dark chocolate, nuts (such as almonds, cashews and peanuts), avocado, edamame, banana and yogurt.

Need a Bedtime Snack?
It’s recommended to eat your last meal or snack three hours before bedtime. The body’s digestion naturally slows by about 50 percent when we sleep so that three-hour window ensures no upset stomachs from slow-digested food. Allowing ample time for our food to digest before lying down also can help prevent any indigestion or heartburn.

However, a growling stomach can disrupt sleep, too! If you’re truly hungry before bed, aim for a small snack to quell the hunger. It’s best to avoid a high-fat, high-protein snack since these macronutrients take the most time to digest, which can disturb a restful night’s sleep. Instead, go for a snack more focused on complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, whole grain toast, low sugar cereal or whole grain crackers. These carbohydrate foods take a less time to digest and carbohydrates also help trigger the release of the hormone serotonin, which can help with sleepiness. See some sleepy-time snack ideas at the end of the article!

Swap What You Sip On
What we drink, and when we drink it, can directly impact our sleep. The first key is to stop consuming any caffeine after 2:00 p.m., or earlier if you find yourself easily affected by caffeine. It’s also helpful to limit alcohol intake. While alcohol can make falling asleep easier, it can actually harm your restorative sleep stages. Instead, try sipping on chamomile tea, which contains an antioxidant called apigenin that can promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. It’s also helpful to watch the quantity of liquids you consume later in the evening to avoid any extra trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Instead, focus on getting ample water in the beginning portion of your day!

Nighttime Snacks for Better Sleep

Avocado Toast with Tomato, Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Basil
● 1 slice 100% whole grain bread, toasted
● 2 Tbsp. avocado, mashed
● ¼ c. sliced tomato
● 1-2 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
● Balsamic glaze, to taste
● Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Evenly spread your mashed avocado onto a toasted piece of bread. Next, place the tomatoes on top, then add the basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately.

Sleepy Time Trail Mix
● ⅓ c. goji berries
● ⅓ c. dried tart cherries
● 1 c. nuts of choice (almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seed, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
● ⅓ c. dark chocolate chips

In a mason jar, quart size bag or Tupperware, add all the trail mix ingredients and stir or shake to combine. Enjoy a palmful as desired.

Banana Yogurt Parfait

● 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
● Natural sweetener of choice (such as stevia, monk fruit, honey, or maple syrup), to taste
● ⅛ tsp. vanilla extract (or try substituting with almond or maple extract)
● ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
● ½ Tbsp. ground flax
● 1 small banana, sliced
● 2 Tbsp. walnuts, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the plain Greek yogurt with sweetener of choice to taste, extract, cinnamon and ground flax. Take a small glass or mason jar and spoon in half the yogurt, then top with half the banana slices and one tablespoon chopped walnuts. Repeat by layering the rest of the yogurt, banana slices, and walnuts. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Enjoy immediately.

Wondering what personal dietary changes could help improve your sleep, or have any other nutritional needs? Reach out to Dietitian Jamie Miller for an appointment via or 713-494-2030.

Upper Body Workout Health Benefits

By: Tracy Flood, Physical Therapist and Personal Trainer


With the work from home life being more prevalent than ever before, coupled with an already sedentary lifestyle for many of us, now is the best time to work on your upper body health. Upper body health includes better posture, strength, balance, and ease of daily activities like lifting. Check out the benefits, and exercises, for upper body muscles and better health in your upper body.


Benefits of Upper Body Workouts

Many people don’t realize that many day-to-day activities require upper extremity motions. From getting dressed, to putting your seatbelt on, these motions can be compromised by upper body injuries. In order to prevent these injuries, it’s important to focus on functional motions with good form. Upper body workouts and strength training exercises also support strong bones and burn calories. The best part is, incorporating a few of the movements below, a few times a week, goes a long way toward a more healthy upper body!


Daily activities that may be made more accessible with upper body exercises include:

  • Playing tennis
  • Lifting heavy objects into your car
  • Putting dishes away into the cabinet
  • Carrying groceries
  • Placing items in storage above your shoulders


Upper Body Workout Examples

  1. Bilateral External Rotation: This move works to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles. These muscles are important for overhead movements and rotating your shoulders.
  2. Pull Aparts: This movement helps with postural strengthening as well as prevents rotator cuff injury.
  3. Rows: This exercise also helps strengthen your posture muscles. Make sure you are pulling your shoulders down and back and not letting your shoulders come up to your ears.
  4. Farmer’s Carry: This exercise promotes shoulder stability and endurance. Try to maintain good posture while carrying the weight.
  5. Bicep Curls: Doing this exercise will help with carrying heavy objects. Make sure you’re allowing your elbows to straighten all the way at the bottom of the motion.

At the Village we have a wide variety of equipment and excellent personal trainers to help you with whatever health and fitness goals you have. If you’re looking for more ways to improve your health, check out all the Village has to offer!

Wearable Technology For Motivation

By: Erin Mahoney

There’s a good chance you already have a smart watch, but do you know how to maximize your wearable technology for motivation? The device you have on your wrist is more than just to tell time and track your steps. Instead, you should look at your wearable technology as your personal motivation tool. Competitions, biofeedback, goals and badges, and even a personal trainer are all ways your device can help keep you on track.


If you love fitness, chances are you also love competition. What better way to keep your motivation levels high than setting fitness competitions with your activity tracker? They’re proven to help you up your fitness game and easy to set up.

Why Fitness Competitions and Wearable Technology Works

We know using your smart watch to participate in a fitness or health competition works for several reasons.


By participating in a competition, you’re held accountable to your fitness goals. Most people won’t enter a competition without even a slight expectation to win. One thing you’ll see repeated as a benefit of wearable technology is the concept of cognitive dissonance. In short, our brains don’t like to be inconsistent with our actions. This means, your behaviors will start changing just because of something your brain has committed to. Even if you don’t win your fitness competition, participating in the game will increase your likelihood of working out. This in itself is a win.

Social Influence

When you know others are watching you, you tend to try harder. When you have friends you like or respect, you tend do more of what they do. Participating in a fitness competition with your smart watch is a great way to get the positive benefits of social influence. Especially in a time where you might not be at the gym as much, the Village still aims to keep you engaged with MYZONE competitions. Just as a group training session or group fitness class gives you an extra “push” for your workouts, so will the use of a wearable device.


When physical activity becomes “a game” it adds an element of fun. Too often, people will think of working out as a chore. But staying connected and competitive with your fitness tracker adds an element of fun that otherwise might not exist. You can increase the fun factor of fitness competitions by changing up the goals. If your competitors are all using an Apple Watch the scoring is simply based on points. This is good because it accounts for movement calories, exercise minutes, and stand hours. To keep things interesting, try data outcomes linked to the following:

  • Minutes Exercising
  • Daily steps
  • Calories burned
  • Types of exercise used
  • Most badges in a month
  • Biggest variety of exercise types

If you and your friends have different brands of smart watches or general wearable devices, worry not! There are still plenty of apps you can use to aggregate the data and track progress in a competition.




Goals and Badges

Goals help you know what you want to accomplish. Badges give you low value incentives to achieve your goals. It has been scientifically proven that goal setting in health and fitness increases the likelihood of your success. Goals can be outcome, performance, or process related and most wearable devices will let you track each of these.

  • Outcome goals include when you expect to achieve at the end of your fitness journey. In most cases outcome goals for health and fitness include weight loss, body fat loss, or lean body mass gains. Although your wearable device won’t directly track this, it could sync to technology that does. For example, some scales such as Quardio will measure your weight and body fat percentage. This type of smart scale will then sync to your health data and smart watch. This is great because as you lose more weight, you’ll burn less calories per day. So, keeping this info up to date on your wearable device will increase accuracy in data,
  • Performance goals are less about the end and more about the actual workout session. For example, hitting your anaerobic threshold five times during a workout is a performance goal. Heart rate monitors like MYZONE easily track this information and sync to your devices. Other performance goals can include running a mile in a certain amount of time and achieving a specific pose in yoga. These are less common in wearable technology except running and other cardio related goals. Nonetheless they are another type of goal you can set to enhance your motivation.
  • Process goals, sometimes called short term goals, are the ongoing activities you need to do to achieve your goal. Process goals can include logging your food, achieving a daily step count, and burning a certain number of calories. There are many process goals you can track with wearable technology. These goals are guideposts to help you know if you are on track to achieve your outcome goals.

No matter what, setting all three types of goals will enhance your motivation. Smart Watches specifically will offer badges for certain goals accomplishments. For example, your Apple Watch will give you an award if you hit 200% of your daily movement goals. However, you can achieve other performance goals such as doing a specific workout for the first times.

Badges are great for motivation because they are low stakes with low incentives. When you accomplish something, such as a 200% active calories badge, there is no tangible incentive. You don’t get more money. You don’t win a free meal. It’s simply a digital badge or a gold star. This works because it translates better for intrinsic motivation. Simply put, the greater your intrinsic motivation levels are, the more likely you are to stick with your healthy habit.

To increase your motivation levels even more, you can share your digital badges on social media. This further gives you benefits of motivation through social influence.



Receiving real time data such as your step count, calories burned, heart rate, and more gives you immediate feedback on your health and fitness. Biofeedback works because of the psychological impacts of cognitive dissonance. It’s even more impactful when you set goals for yourself. If you’re taking our advice, you’ll sign up for competitions, set goals, and work with personal trainers at The Village. If you do all these things, you’re committed. When you have commitment, biofeedback will increase your awareness to how you’re doing every step of the way. Biofeedback, when paired with commitment, is powerful. For example, if you’re in a step competition to hit 10,000 a day and your smart watch reads that you’re only at 2k by 5pm, you might be more likely to go for a walk.

Similarly, on a smaller scale, you will be more likely to get general activity in throughout the day. For example, maybe you’ll park farther away at the grocery store. Or maybe you’ll make multiple trips back to the car when bringing your bags in. You may find yourself doing more household chores. All of this is related to the positive psychological impact wearable technology and biofeedback has on your healthy behaviors.

Personal and Group Training

Once upon a time, personal trainers and group coaches only had the time you were in front of them to evaluate if you were working hard enough toward your goals. Now, this information is just one of many data points fitness professionals have to use when working with clients. Your group exercise instructor can see how hard you’re working in cycle with MYZONE. Because they’re great coaches, they can use this information to motivate you more or even to tell you to back off if you need more recovery.

Personal trainers love wearable technology because they can know even more about what you’re doing in between training sessions. This allows them to be even more exact with their fitness and nutrition programming. Collectively, personal and group trainers give you accountability and motivation. When you have a fitness tracker and share the data with them, they can do their job that much more effectively.

Bodyweight Workouts For All Goals

By: Erin Mahoney

It’s easy to see the benefits of bodyweight workouts. They’re convenient, especially in times where you want to work out at home for social distancing reasons. However, bodyweight exercises are often overlooked as part of a traditional strength training or overall fitness program. Most people don’t make best use of bodyweight exercises because they:

  • Only know a handful of bodyweight exercises
  • Don’t know how to target all muscle groups
  • Aren’t sure how to achieve other goals like building muscle mass

We’re here to tell you the truth on bodyweight workouts and why they matter in your exercise routine. The fact is creativity is key in making bodyweight exercises part of your everyday fitness routine. There is so much more than just pushups, squats, and lunges for you to choose from. Further, you can find ways to target most muscles of both the upper body and lower body. Finally, bodyweight workouts aren’t just for beginners. You can achieve outcomes like improved strength, decreased body fat, and increased lean body mass.

Fitness Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

Most people coming to the gym want to lose bodyfat, put on muscle mass, or achieve general fitness goals. The good news is, a well put together bodyweight workout and larger program can get you what you need, saving you space and cost.

Bodyfat Loss

To achieve body fat loss, you need to create a calorie deficit. You can do this by reducing your caloric intake and increasing your caloric expenditure. Both cardio and resistance training will help increase caloric burn.

Cardio helps you burn the most calories in the least amount of time. In terms of bodyweight workouts, the most obvious is walking, running, and hiking. However, you can get cardio gains with other bodyweight exercises such as speed skaters, burpees, and hand touches. We’ll provide a full body weight cardio workout to try in this blog.

Another important part of bodyfat loss is strength training. Strength training burns calories during the workout. However, it also helps you burn more calories for the next 24 – 48 hours as muscle tissue repairs itself. Further, the more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolism is. This means you can be burning more calories 24 hours a day. Outside of the obvious pushups and squats, bodyweight exercises for strength training can include single leg Romanian deadlifts, reverse rows, and plank pushups. A full bodyweight resistance training workout is included here.

Increased Muscle Mass

To achieve hypertrophy, or increased muscle size, strength training is critical. Increasing the intensity or the weight of an exercise will help grow muscle tissue. This can seem difficult with bodyweight training if you’re limited to no-equipment strength exercises. Do not overlook the option of weighted vests with body weight training. Although it is additional equipment, weighted vests don’t take up much space. Additionally, you can do the same bodyweight exercises you were doing before, with the simple addition of a weighted vest that often comes with removable weighted pouches. This allows you to modify the weight based on the exercise.

More importantly, remember that adding weight to an exercise is really just increasing the intensity of each repetition. Therefore, if you can find a different way to increase intensity, you will also get the size gains you’re looking for. This includes performing bodyweight exercises explosively or rapidly. Explosive movements, or power exercises, result in similar muscle cell size adaptations as increasing weight. Power exercises are also commonly termed plyometric exercises. These aren’t just exercises involving jumping, like those seen in squat jumps. In fact, any exercise performed with extreme speed or explosion is considered a power exercise. The intensity of your power exercises, to increase muscle mass, must be great enough that you could not do more than 8 to 12 repetitions- or sustain the activity for more than 30 seconds.

With bodyweight exercises, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind for developing hypertrophy. The first is giving yourself enough time to rest. If you’re hitting the 80 – 90% intensity level mark, then you need to give yourself a full one to three minutes of rest in between sets of the same exercise. If you’re doing circuit training style workouts, you can allow for less time in between each bodyweight exercise if working different muscle groups. Just be sure to give yourself three to five minutes of rest in between each full circuit. In addition to a workout designed for building lean body mass, it’s important for nutrition to also be tailored to this goal. Check out this article to learn more about how to gain weight the healthy way.

General Fitness Goals

There’s more to fitness than just decreasing body fat or increasing muscle size. In fact, optimal posture, core strength, good balance, and quick reaction times are all important. These components of fitness allow you to function better overall which is why they are often part of a functional fitness program. The best part about posture, core, balance, and reactive work is that most of these exercises are bodyweight by nature.

Goal Specific Bodyweight Exercises and Workouts

Now that you know bodyweight training can help you accomplish just about any goal, below is a breakdown of bodyweight exercises and how to incorporate them into your training program.

Bodyfat Loss Workouts

Your bodyweight workout for weight loss should include sets of 12 – 25 repetitions. The intensity level will be lower, 65 – 80%, and with shorter rest intervals. Keep in mind, strength training exercises intended to increase muscle mass will also help with bodyfat reduction.

Cardio Exercises

  • Burpees (power or step out)
  • Prisoner squats
  • Ali shuffle
  • High knees
  • Hand touches
  • Jack push climb

Sample Cardio Program

Perform each of the below exercises at a moderate intensity (about 65 – 75%) and for 60 seconds each. Complete the exercises in succession, resting for one minute in between the circuit. Complete the circuit four times.

  • Step out burpee
  • Hand touches
  • Jack push climb
  • Body weight squat
  • High knees
  • Cross punches
  • Plank hold

Resistance Training Exercises

  • Lower body
    • Squat
    • Single leg squat
    • Assisted (or non-assisted) pistol squat
    • Single leg Romanian deadlift
    • Lunges (front, side, turning, stationary, walking)
  • Upper body
    • Pushup (wall, knees, floor, with rotation)
    • Plank pushup
    • Triceps pushup (wall or floor)
    • Cobra
    • Scaption

Sample BW Resistance Training Program For Bodyfat Loss

Perform the following exercises in succession, circuit style with a one to three minute rest in between the entire circuit (if needed). Each set should include 12 – 25 repetitions performed at a moderately slow pace (think two seconds down and two seconds up).

  • Burpee with pushup
  • Right leg single leg squat
  • Left leg single leg squat
  • Pushup with rotation
  • Floor scaption
  • Plank push up
  • Right single leg Romanian deadlift
  • Left single leg Romanian dead lift

Notes on Bodyweight Exercises for Fat Loss

Some of the exercises listed in this section may seem foreign. Therefore we have provided a breakdown of how to perform some of the less common exercises.

  • Hand Touches
    • Begin by setting yourself up in a pushup position, or hand plank.
    • Hands should be about shoulder width apart and you can increase the intensity by spreading the hands farther apart.
    • Shift the weight to the right side of the body, allowing your left hand to come up off the floor and touch the right shoulder.
    • Switch sides, transitioning the weight to the left side and touching the right hand across to the left shoulder.
    • Repeat the exercise
  • Jack Push Climb
    • These exercises consist of three common exercises: jumping jacks, pushups, and mountain climbers.
    • Perform two jumping jacks, then drop into a pushup position for two repetitions, and finish with four mountain climbers.
    • Stand back up and repeat as many times as needed.
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
    • Slow transfer the weight to the right foot so the left foot is floating just next to the right.
    • Keep a slight bend in the right knee the entire time, this ensures maximum glute contraction.
    • Hinge forward at the right hip (keeping the knee in the same flexed position) as far as possible and keep the left floating foot right next to the right foot.
    • Return to the standing position, continuing to keep the knee slightly bent. The only motion should come from the hip.
    • Perform the set number of repetitions before switching to the other leg.
  • Scaption
    • On either one or both legs, tip forward at the hips so the trunk is parallel to the ground,
    • Turn the palms in so the thumbs face the sky.
    • Lift both arms up and into a Y position, aiming to get the upper arms in line with the ears.
    • Make sure the arms stay straight the entire time.
    • Return the arms back to resting level and repeat.




Increased Muscle Mass

Remember, to increase muscle mass you need to increase intensity. You can do this by changing the angle of an exercise (think decline pushup) or by increasing the speed to create power.

Resistance Training Exercises

  • Lower Body
    • Speed squats
    • Squat jumps
    • Speed skaters
    • Jump lunges
    • Speed lunges
  • Upper Body
    • Power pushups
    • Boxing exercises
      • Cross punches
      • Upper cuts
      • Hooks
    • Inverted rows
    • Inverted bicep curls
    • Power triceps pushup

General Fitness


Bodyweight Exercises For Core Strength

  • Planks
    • Forearm
    • Hand
    • Single arm
    • Single leg
  • Bird dog
    • Single arm
    • Single leg
    • Single arm, single leg
  • Cobras

Bodyweight Exercises For Balance

  • Single leg balance
  • Single leg balance with reach
  • Step to balance
    • On a platform
    • Side to side
    • Turning
    • Forward and back
  • Single leg squat

Bodyweight Exercises For Reactive Training

  • Single leg hop to balance
    • Forward and back
    • Side to side
    • Turning
  • Speed skaters
  • Horizontal jumps
    • Forward and back
    • Side to side
    • Turning




Tips to Support Local Business

By Molly Cerreta Smith

For those that are still working on their New Year’s resolutions list, the Village Health Clubs & Spas has a suggestion — shop local! Especially after the windfall of 2020, and the economic challenges that are still very real as 2021 unfolds, supporting local business and our economy is perhaps more essential than ever before.


Local First Arizona reports that when shoppers spend $100 dollars in a local establishment, $43 stays within the local economy, versus only $13 when that same $100 is spent at a non-local company. So when you shop small business, more money stays here. Win, win! If you don’t know where to start on your new quest to shop local the Village Health Clubs & Spas offers the following ideas:


Shop our Preferred Partners — The Village partners with many local vendors to support one another — and our members benefit with some pretty great deals! Each of our clubs has its own list of preferred partners offering Village Club members discount with services ranging from dining, hotels and resorts, golf, boutiques and shops, cryotherapy, services like dental and wellness, transportation, and more. So why not support local business and save? For a complete list of our locations’ Neighborhood Network Partners, click here.


Skip the Supermarket — Instead of shopping the mega-grocery stores and big box discount warehouses, consider getting groceries from local farmers. Many farmers’ markets around the Valley feature not only produce, but dairy, locally raised meats, and more. You don’t even have to abandon the convenience of your nearby grocery store as many carry local products — so check for items like Hayden Flour Mills, Shamrock Farms, Hickman’s Eggs, and others that are raised, harvested, or made locally.


Support a Friend — In 2020, many people fell victim to job loss or cut backs — and out of that rose the side hustle! Many people started making anything from soaps and sourdough bread (So. Much. Sourdough…) to jewelry and more. So check in with your friends that spent their quarantine time creating a new side gig and support them when you can!


Ditch Third Party Delivery Services — Oh how we love the convenience of dinner brought right to our doorstep! But many third party services take a pretty big cut from the restaurants’ sales. When possible, order directly from a local business. Another good thing that came from the challenges of 2020 is that many local restaurants now offer their own online systems featuring easy ordering and options like take-out, curbside pick-up, and even delivery. Same thing goes for seeing a Groupon for a local service, many businesses will offer that price if you just call and ask.


Stay at Home Support — Those that are staying in can still make their contribution to the local economy by purchasing online, buying gift cards to local establishments to use at a later time, or taking advantage of virtual programs and services offered by local companies. Many local businesses have gotten very creative — and savvy! — when it comes to how they continue to provide services to those that prefer to stay home as much as possible.


Every local business, from restaurants to retail, can benefit highly from the consistent support of shoppers so keep that in mind this year when spending in any way. The beauty of supporting local business is a one-of-a-kind experience — whether that means trying a unique service for the body or mind, dining at a place with a specialty menu, finding the perfect gift for a loved one, or unique treasure for the home that has a character that simply can’t be massed produced.


Kitchen Gadget Gift Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen

By Jamie Miller


Still have a little more holiday shopping to do? Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, or want a little something for yourself, our Village Clubs registered dietitian, Jamie Miller, has some fun gift ideas to help build a healthy kitchen. Check out these gifts that keep food choices healthy, but also delicious, fun, and convenient!


Crate and Barrel Glass Pitcher and Infuser Set

Staying hydrated is vital for total health, and drinking enough water can be so much easier when it’s deliciously infused. With this pitcher, you simply add fruit, citrus, sliced cucumber, mint, etc. to the center insert for easy infusing. This is a great idea for anyone with a health goal to drink more water or decrease their intake of sweetened beverages.


EVO Oil Sprayer

This oil sprayer is helpful to control how much cooking oil you use. Each trigger provides ¼ tsp of oil in a fan pattern to evenly coat food. It’s non-aerosol, meaning it is free of harmful propellants or chemicals, and its nozzle design does not clog like many other spray products which often do.


The Original Zoodle Spiralizer

This handheld spiralizer makes it easy to incorporate more vegetables into mealtimes. Try it out with zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and more. It’s dishwasher safe, quick to use, and even gives two options of shapes – either julienne spirals or fettuccine-shaped pieces.


Daily Harvest Gift Card

Help your loved ones have healthy food at their fingertips with a gift card to Daily Harvest. This subscription service delivers nourishing, pre-portioned smoothie cups, bowls, flatbreads, and more to your doorstep. There’s an option to purchase either a Custom Gift Box of nine food choices or a Gift Card for recipients to choose their favorites.


Prep Natural Meal Prep Container

Meal prep can help you save time and money, while also supporting healthy choices on the go. These glass food storage containers are durable and also are safe to heat in the microwave or oven. This could be a wonderful gift for loved ones who take their lunch to work.


Food Hugger Avocado Hugger

Avocados are full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, and more. But ¼ to ½ of an avocado is a perfect portion. So keep the rest of these nutritional powerhouses fresh with an Avocado Hugger cover. They are dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and BPA and phthalate free.


Oxo Good Grip Little Salad Dressing Shaker

Keep salads healthy by making your own tasty dressings, and this dressing shaker will make it easy to do. Its markers allow for quick measuring, and leak proof design means worry free shaking, with flip top opening providing easy one-handed pouring.


Butcher Box Subscription

A perfect gift for meat and seafood lovers, Butcher Box provides high quality and responsibly sourced proteins for nourished bodies and a cared for planet. Their products include 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, and wild-caught seafood.


Tailbox Bear Claws BBQ Meat Handler

These bear claws aren’t only for shredding barbequed meat. They also can be used to lift hot and heavy foods like a pork tenderloin or roast, hold meats in place while you slice, or toss a salad! They are a “do all” in the kitchen while keeping hands protected and clean.


Oxo Good Grips Salad Chopper and Bowl

Chopped salads seem to taste so much better than a bowl of big lettuce leaves, but all that dicing can be quite time consuming. Enter this salad chopper! Simply place a variety of veggies, fruit, cheese, nuts, olives, meats, etc., in the specially designed bowl and use the handheld chopper blade to cut all your delicious ingredients. Salads will be a mealtime favorite with this fun kitchen tool.


Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Make blending quick and easy with a handheld immersion blender. You can puree soups right in a pot, blend up smoothie ingredients in a cup, or quickly whisk whipped cream in a bowl. Compact and efficient, an immersion blender may be a new favorite kitchen gadget.


Taylor Digital Cooking Probe Thermometer and Timer

Tired of over-cooked, dry chicken? Or worried about undercooking your fish? Take the guesswork out of cooking with a digital cooking thermometer and timer. This could be a wonderful idea for a less experienced cook to help them feel more comfortable in the kitchen.


SizzleFish Seafood Gift Card

Quality seafood is such an awesome source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and more. But fresh seafood can be difficult to find in many parts of the country. SizzleFish delivers the very best seafood right to you or your loved ones doorstep. From fresh seafood portions, to smoked fish, crab cakes, and more, there’s so much to try. GIft options include either a gift card, sample packs, or individual orders.


Enjoy this holiday season and gift giving time with these great ideas. Share your faves with us on social.

Self Care at a Health Club

With the holidays in full swing and another year coming to a close, stress levels are a tad higher. That’s why it’s more essential than ever to make time for self-care. When people are busy and stressed, they tend to let the things that are good for them, and the things that actually relieve stress, fall by the wayside. Instead of letting self-care slide as we roll into the last month of the year, the Village Health Clubs and Spas has some tips to get your self-care on track at a health club.


Exercise — Exercise and fitness are some of the best gifts you can give yourself. Combined with proper nutrition, exercising provides the gift of great health! Regular exercise can also help you relax and “zone out” some of the hustle-bustle of every day, and relieve stress. Some people may find yoga to be a relaxing way to self-care, while others might enjoy a hardcore sweat session to destress. Find the workout you enjoy and make time for it on a regular basis. It’s also a great way to connect with your workout buddies on a social level.


Use Your Support Team — Whether you need some help working your way through the workout equipment throughout the Club, or you want a personal trainer to coach you through a workout session, there’s lots of help to be had at the Village Clubs and Spas. Make an appointment with a personal trainer who can help you figure out the most effective way to exercise to see results for your body. Or work with a nutritionist to work out a meal plan that can help you achieve your optimal health results in the kitchen.


Say Ahhhhh… — A day of total relaxation is the ultimate way to self-care at the Village! With a variety of spa services, you can personalize your me-day to include a professional massage to rejuvenate body and mind; a body wrap, scrub or mask; facial; waxing; a mani-pedi; hair salon services including professional cut and coloring; and even non-invasive cosmetic treatments for healthy and smooth skin — so you can be your best you yet inside and out! Acupuncture is even offered at The Spa at DC Ranch. This ancient practice can help release tight muscles, align chakras and calm the mind — talk about self-care! Booking a spa day with a variety of services is a relaxing and pampering way to give yourself time to build your holistic health.


Grab a Bite — Self-care is about indulging a little too. And the best part about indulging in a meal at the Village Health Clubs Café is that it’s sure to be as healthy as it is delicious. So why not call a friend for a workout session and then end the day with a glass of wine on the patio paired with a healthy sandwich, salad, wrap, or anything that sounds good to you! Cheers to self-care!


Self-care is an important part of everyday life. As this year comes to a close and you start to get overwhelmed with the holiday hustle, take a step back to slow down and schedule in some self-care time to help you rejuvenate and actually enjoy the holidays. And when you make your resolutions as we head into a bright new year, consider the goal of taking extra special care of yourself with new health aspirations for 2021. Treating your body right with proper nutrition and fitness is truly wonderful self-care.

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