By Chef Todd

Maximize Your Limited Time For Cooking And Fitness

Chef Todd Mohr and fitness instructor Donavon Israel have combined to share their tips to make the most of your limited time when it comes to food and fitness. "You can't have one without the other," says Chef Todd. "You must have a balance of exercise and nutrition to achieve your health and wellness goals."

The healthful duo appeared at 1901 South Charles Apartments in Baltimore to share insightful fitness tips and how to use a chef's knife in today's demonstration. We're all busy. We all have tremendous demands on our time. Often, what suffers is time to exercise and time to cook, resulting in the tiredness and lethargy of a sedentary lifestyle fueled by convenience and take-out foods.

However, you CAN improve your overall well-being through more efficient exercise and nutrition in 30 minutes or less. Donavon Israel of BodyByDonavon can help you maximize your workouts with these simple tips:

Donavon's "Maximize Your Workouts" Tips:

1) Set Your Workout Length - Make a concerted effort to set aside 30-60 minutes for your routine. Studies have shown that exercise much past 60 minutes isn't as impactful as the first 30 minutes. Decide to work out for at least a half hour and commit to that time.

2) Always Warm Up First - Your muscles must be stretched and warmed before a workout. Without this preparation, you risk muscle injuries and soreness that may prevent you from continuing your exercise routine.

3) Choose Your Weight Or Resistance Carefully - Donavon advises to start with lighter weights and more repetitions at first and gradually increase the weight. More reps with less weight will help in body sculpting. Less reps and more weight will build more muscle.

4) Use Compound Exercises - Burn the most calories with exercises that target multiple muscle groups. "If you are doing "curls", then add a "shoulder-press" to the routine and you're accessing additional muscles," says Donavon.

5) Mix Up Your Routine - You will become bored, and your muscles will become accustomed to the exact same workout each time. Vary your exercises to keep your muscles and yourself interested and effective when you work out.

Lastly, the Certified Fitness Instructor advises, "Get motivated". Add the elements to your exercises that keeps you WANTING do do more. Listen to music, watch TV, visualize and imagine landscapes, but keep your mind involved and your body will follow.

"That's great advice," Chef Mohr adds. "You can maximize your exercise by focusing on the key elements of good fitness. Similarly, to maximize your use of fresh wholesome foods you need to know how to use a chef's knife effectively," he continued.

"Have you ever noticed that farm-fresh vegetables don't come already cut up for you? To use the freshest foods, you need knife skills. This is like a gateway drug because the more you enjoy using your knives, the more fresh foods you want to find so you can use your knife," the chef told the crowd.

The chef's knife is used with a "tip fulcrum method". The tip of the knife stays on the cutting board at all times to act as a pivot point or fulcrum for the action of cutting vegetables. This motion with the knife is like a "choo-choo train", downward and forward...upward and back. Chef Mohr equates it to dipping water from a bucket with a spoon, in a slight scooping motion.

However, the most important hand in using the chef's knife is the non-knife hand. The hand that is NOT holding the knife is in the greatest danger of being cut. The chef recommends "kung-fu grip", as he calls it. If you tuck all your fingers and thumb into your palm, you can guide the knife with the knuckle of the non-knife hand.

Then, it's the non-knife hand that dictates the increment of the cut. The correct motion has the knife descending onto a carrot, the non-knife hand moves to the desired width, the knife finds the knuckle of the guide hand, and cuts downward into the carrot.

"Consistency of cut is consistency of cook," says Chef Mohr as he shares the same phrase he repeats in culinary college classes. The idea is that items that are of the same size cook at the same rate. If you have varied sizes of carrots in a dish, some will be hard and crunchy, others soft and mushy.

Using a chefs knife with a tip fulcrum method, guided by a kung-fu grip non-knife hand where the knife is guided by the leading knuckle, improves the consistency of size and then creates better finished cooked meals.

This ONE kitchen tip will inspire you to use more fresh fruits and vegetables because using a chefs knife correctly is fun. This skill will maximize your cooking, just as Donavon's fitness tips will maximize your workouts.

Then, you will be truly "Fit and Fed".

What do you think of the team of Donavon and Chef Todd?
What tips would you add to cooking or fitness that would help people?
What do you do that keeps you motivated to live healthy?
Please share your comments and inspire someone else.