Health and Fitness Report!

WSUM is UW- Madison’s student radio and I am the newest member of the news radio team as the health and fitness reporter!

Here is my first report:

‘New Years Resolutions – Keep Motivated throughout the year’

Nutrition Tips, Setting Goals, Exercise Tips, Healthy Snacking, Health and Fitness Education ~ Enjoy!

Life is a work in progress

Hello Fitness Enthusiasts –

It certainly has been awhile since my last post.  To re-vive this blog I decided to start with a new theme.  Changing times calls for updates and revisions.  Life after all is a work in progress – so please excuse the unpolished look as I update previous posts.

I hope you like the new look – its clean, showcases photos and previous content nicely!

2nd Trimester - I thought I was finally showing!
2nd Trimester – I thought I was finally showing!

Stay tuned for posts on pre-natal workouts, post-natal exercise and of course nutrition! In case you need the 1+1=3 Tomas and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives March 2013.  I was able to teach fitness classes all the way up until week 38 and I went back to teaching when our baby was 8 weeks old.  It was a slow and steady healing process that I am looking forward to sharing with all of you! I am happy to say that a huge benefit to exercise is one happy healthy baby!

~ For now – drink water, take vitamins, and inhale deeply – last but not least don’t forget to smile! ~ 

Find the Balance: Between Work and Life

I am a full-time graduate student, a project assistant, a Monkey Bar Gymnasium Instructor, a documentary writer, a daughter, a sister, a best friend, a girlfriend, a roommate, a blogger, a health news reporter, a researcher, a health promotion implementer, a grant writer, a healthy eater, an exercise enthusiast….

This list is not exhaustive – and I know plenty of people with more on their plate! After a yoga class I taught the other day a fellow graduate student asked me

‘How do you find the time? How can you fit in both teaching and exercising… and school?’

To the overworked graduate students and workaholics:

~ First, Take Time To Breathe ~

~ Second, nothing good was ever accomplished while you were rushing ~

If you are running late, be late.  Showing up a day late and a dollar short is not the answer.  Instead, show up late with a smile and a dollar to spare. I find when I have the urge to run out the door in the morning, I usually forget something important.  (I take a deep breath and focus – sometimes I do a hand stand – It helps me to put things into perspective!)

Third, Make time for you – take breaks and move!

Schedule workouts into your daily planner and make them as much of a priority as a meeting with your boss.  I have seen people working from their laptop while on the treadmill! I doubt productivity increased as much as it would if they would have taken a mental break. Your health, mental and physical, is more important than any due date or deadline. Understand your limits ~ the overworked are often exhausted, unhealthy eaters, and too young to look that old.

It is easy to lose sight of what is important when you have bosses and professors requesting your time. Commitments, tasks and obligations can fill every aspect of your day if you let them.  Remember …

This is your life ~ and time is not something you will ever have enough of nor will you get it back once its gone

Recently I was on an outdoor adventure with a friend I truly admire and she said her wish for this year is to find

‘Balance Between Living In the Moment and Living For the Future’

For more information on finding that work-life balance:

‘Striking a Balance’ By Kelly Grace From Experience Life Magazine

Hand Stand Push-Ups

Check it out!

Now it is your turn!

If you have never tried this before you might think it is incredible, its easy if you practice and progress properly!

Start with Kicking up to a Hand Stand on the Wall:

  • Begin in an exagerated sprinters stance
  • Fingers about 5 inches from the wall
  • Palms spread out
  • Weight evenly across both hands
  • Keep arms straight and strong
  • Start kicking up by pushing off from your bent leg

Goal: Lightly and quietly onto the wall and off of the wall … this takes control from your core!

Progress to Hand Stand Push-Ups – Check out to learn more

Phytonutrient Fun — Have you eaten all your colors today?

Phytonutrition eating healthy means incorporating 5 colors into your diet per day!

If you have ever read anything about health and nutrition, you know how important your fruits and vegetables are for your diet.  Did you know it is also important to incorporate different colors?

natural food rainbow
Natural Food Color Wheel

Phytonutritient expert, Kieth Randolf Ph.D recommends at least 2 servings a day from each color on the spectrum.  The colors are white, orange, red, purple and green and each have different health benefits!

White natural foods typically promote bone health and circulation.

Examples include:

Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Pears, White Kidney Beans, Coconut

The Orange/Yellow category is great for eye and immune health, skin hydration and growth! (Containing α and β carotene) Caroteniods are powerful antioxidants because they react with a single oxygen ions, which is beneficial because single oxygen ions are very reactive and cause damage to important cell structures and their communication signaling. Diets rich in the orange food group are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.

Examples include:

Pineapple, Lemons, Oranges, Carrots, Passionfruit, Mangoes, Sweet Potatoes, Squash

The red group promotes prostate health, DNA stability. Another immunopotent caroteniod is Lycopene, which is abundant in tomatoes. Did you know that grapefruit, watermelon and guava also contain lycopene?

Examples include:

Cherries, Cranberries, Red Apples, Red Carrots, Pomegranate, Radishes, Raspberries, Strawberries

The purple natural food group is great for cognitive and heart health, along with antioxidants!

Examples include:

Beets, Currants, Eggplant, Plums, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Grapes

Many people do not have trouble with two servings a day of the green food group.  Green food is so important as it promotes cell health, lung, heart and liver function!

Examples include:

Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, Grapes, Kiwi, Green Apples, Broccoli, Sprouts, Beans, Soy, Tea

Have Fun with your food! Here are tips to incorporate 2 servings/color = 10 servings a day:

  • Go to your local farmers market and try something new from each color!
  • Make a smoothie with frozen mixed berries
  • Add veggies into your sandwich
  • Snack on fruit throughout the day that are brightly colored
  • Try a supplement on days that you cannot get all the colors in your diet – go to to check out organic Nutrilite health products along with more information on phytonutrition

What is Fit for Feats?

Goals for this blog = 1) Post Health Tips 2) Try New Fitness Activities 3) Track My Training and Progress toward Hand-Stand Push-Ups!

Tentative agenda

Fit’s goals are subject to change but here is what I envision thus far

I am a fitness professional – I am fully aware of how bogus that can sound which is why I say it hoping someone will question the validity – regardless, I have a wealth of knowledge pertaining to health and fitness specifically physiological responses to exercise, nutrition, stress, and aging.  After teaching in health clubs, I also am aware of common pitfalls as well as the difference between fitness ‘lifers’ and the seasonally ambitious.  I’m hoping that the average person can tune in, get inspired and continue their journey in health – can I stress this is a journey not a destination and as all things in life you must put forth effort to receive benefit.  My goal is to provide ways to keep moving – no use living with friction – Newton’s first law of motion – inertia – an object in motion will remain in motion!

I like to try new things – I plan on attending classes around the Madison area to see what challenges I can introduce to my body – for example I plan on trying hula hooping, juggling, cycropia, tightrope walking (aka funambulism), as well as the norm body power, boot camp, yoga, Pilates.  With any luck an avid ‘fit for feats’ reader will join me in these endeavors as there is substantial evidence that says body moving with friends is better than moving alone!

A year ago I could not do a perfect push-up.  I made it my goal to strengthen my core, pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii and trapezius in order to be successful.  At the last ‘Feats of Strength’ competition I had with my friends I completed 50 push-ups which beat the runner-up by 6 push-ups.  I constantly create new goals – one I am working on is to complete an off the wall hand-stand push-up. Mostly because I think this would be a sweet trick to do at a park this summer! Currently, however, I cannot stabilize a hand-stand and thus I will track my progress and how I will train for this ‘feat’ here on this blog – stay tuned!

Get your squat challenge on!

That baby has great form!

A recent study published in Sports Medicine just looked at half versus full squats and found not only are full squats not dangerous, but actually cause less stress on your knee joint and spine.  So get low!

Proper form is essential – not just for strengthening your muscles but also for protecting your spine and other synovial joints.  Just like the white text on blue background says: feet shoulder width apart, weight in the heals, upright torso, head in neutral, and crease of hip below parallel!

Now onto the challenge: In June I did the 30 Day Squat Challenge for fun (Do you remember how I said in my last post that I am a new parent? my definition of fun has thus changed!)


I would advise getting a partner to do this with in order to ensure accountability! Write it down, set daily reminders, share your goals with friends and family… Good habits take longer to catch than bad habits.  Knowing that is half the battle, the other half is your own determination!



It has been several months and its time to get geared up for December’s Squat Challenge … Who is with me!?!


Cinnamon – Spice Up Your Life!

Cinnamon Varieties

Cinnamon Trees are native to South Asia, the bark of the cinnamon tree is dried and rolled into sticks, which is also called quills. The characteristic flavor and aroma of cinnamon comes from a compound in the essential oil of the bark called cinnamonaldehyde.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices.  Once the outer bark of the tree is removed cinnamon sticks, or quills have many thin layers that can easily be made into powder using a coffee or spice grinder.

Indonesian Cinnamon

Unless you get your hands on Indonesian cinnamon, often sold in neat quills made up of one thick layer, capable of damaging a spice or coffee grinder.

You likely are aware of cinnamon in regards to pies, donuts, cinnamon buns and cinnamon toast.  Did you know that especially in Mexico chocolate is often prepared with cinnamon?  Cinnamon is also used for savory dishes, soups and even cinnamon curries.

Cinnamon provides a low calorie, high flavor substitute for sugar.  You probably have had cinnamon in your tea, but have you tried cinnamon in your cup of coffee?  A cup of coffee with cinnamon instead of cream and sugar could save up to 70 calories, because a whole tablespoon of cinnamon is only 19 calories vs 45 in a TBS of granulated sugar.  It can be a substitute in your coffee, yogurt, and popcorn – oh my! 

Tablespoon of Cinnamon

For diabetics and those interested in a low-sugar diet, the effects of cinnamon versus sugar should make you happy (more on that later). One study found that a half a teaspoon a day could keep the diabetes at bay, as it reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.  (more on natural diabetes prevention)

Need even more reasons to love cinnamon? Excellent, because I have plenty more!

Ever had that after-meal sugar crash?  That crash leads to more cravings and decreased satiety.  Cinnamon can slow down the speed that the stomach empties after a meal, reducing the influx of blood sugar; cravings; and overeating!  Reducing caloric intake might be a stretch, but anything that helps can’t hurt, right?

It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Nutritious, nutritious!

Cinnamon can strengthen the immune system by enhancing the antioxidants from other foods to help the body defend itself. In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea, and painful menstrual periods.

Cinnamon and Ginger

In a study patients given a topical cinnamon and ginger ointment treatment reduced pain and morning stiffness.  Topically, cinnamon can also promote collagen biosynthesis (read can be used as an anti-aging cream!)

It was found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.  The cinnamon aroma is also a mood booster and aphrodisiac… oooh lala love cinnamon! 

Happy Cinnamon Recipes Under 100 Calories from

Spiced Orange: One orange— about the size of a tennis ball— sprinkled with cinnamon.

Stuffed Figs: Two small dried figs with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat ricotta stuffed inside. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Oats n’ Berries:  ⅓ cup rolled oats (cooked with water), topped with cinnamon and ¼ cup freshberries.

Baked Apple: One tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender.

Cinnamon Graham Crackers & Peanut butter: Two graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Warm Spiced Cider: 6 ounces apple cider with sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg, warmed.

Sweet n’ Spicy Pecans: Five pecans roasted with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Check out this blog post about the Top 5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

LuLuLemon Yoga Saturdays!

Every Saturday at 9a Lululemon opens its doors to the community and offers a yoga class. The instructors rotate throughout the year, they feature a gym each month and the month of October in the city of Madison’ Lululemon selected Monkey Bar Gym!

Oct 1st, 9th, and 22nd I will be the yoga instructor. I love this opportunity to meet new yogis in the community as well as share Eischens Yoga. Eischens Yoga focuses on realignment and restoration of the body to natural alignment. The quality of movement is emphasized over flexibility and range of motion. Engaging all of the muscle fibers especially those often underused is grounded in each of the poses. The more muscle fibers that are engaged, the higher the caloric expenditure of your practice!

Lululemon Athletica logo.svg

Lululemon Athletica is a self-described yoga-inspired athletic apparel company, produces a clothing line and runs international clothing stores from its company base in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For more information check out yoga events in Madison (like the Salutation Nation event that was held early this fall in Vilas Park with the zoo adding its unique sounds to the brilliant view of the lake during our practice)

Downdog in Ephesus, Turkey
Downdog in Ephesus, Turkey 2011

WSUM: Health Tips on the Road!

‘Good Afternoon this is Caitlin Iverson hosting ‘Fit for Feats’.  This is part 2 of the staying fit while traveling series. It’s summer time, which for most of us students that means travel/adventure and explore!

Traveling can seriously hinder exercise routines and especially derail healthy eating habits. Last week we took a round trip world tour with music hits from around the world.  I provided some tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your caloric intake while exploring this blue planet.

Today we will take a roadtrip and discuss ways to be healthy on your adventures.  Lets kick it off with some sweet tunes to start your roadtrip!

‘Get myself into it’– The Rapture

‘For the girl’ – The Fratellis

I hope those tunes got you moving,  as a sweet mix is essential for long road trips.

My first tip for staying healthy on your roadtrip is to pack a kooler of healthy snacks that keep well like cut up fruits and veggies, and plenty of water.

If your trip is a bit longer and a kooler wont last look for places like Quik Trip that have ‘500 Club Meals’, which are meals under 500 calories and include reduced or only healthy fats.

This is Caitlin Iverson with WSUM 91.7FM Madison.  Stay tuned for more healthy traveling trips.

Air France ‘Beach Party’

Chairlift ‘Bruises’

On long roadtrip your body tends to lose energy from being stagnant in the car. Make sure to take advantage of breaks by moving your body at rest stops. I like to do a few yoga poses like forward flexion, front warrior and walking lunges. You could also pack a jump rope, soccer ball or even a Frisbee to get that heart rate up and enjoy some much needed playtime.

Thanks for tuning in today to Fit for Feats – aka feats of strength. Today we are chatting about staying healthy when you are traversing the terrain on the road.

Obviously packing food is nice in that you know exactly what you are eating, but if you can find a grocery store wherever you are staying, many hotels have refridgerators to store your fresh foods.  Also, park the car and take a hike to explore the land!

These next few tunes have something to do with driving – hope you enjoy!

Gotye ‘Night Drive’

Gladys Night ‘Midnight train to Georgia’

Various Artists ‘I drove all night’

That last song needs a bit of introduction. Last year I was in costa rica and I asked a friend I had made to make a mix cd for my road trip. After he asked if I had ever heard of a man named Carlos Santa up in America, I wasn’t sure what would be on the mix. Of course I responded with a casual afrermation that Carlos Santa has made himself known up in America!  This song was one of the many interesting and pecular tunes.  Sometimes staying healthy also means being flexible with what is available!

My last travel tip for the day has to do with packing. As I mentioned before, packing healthy foods is ideal. Packing your own gym, to do your favorite body workouts, jump rope, p90x, suspension trainer like TRX or Jungle Gym are excellent additions to your trip. Whatever you do stay happy, as stress an derail even the best healthy intentions!

Thank you for sharing your time with me.  Enjoy your day – make it healthy and happy!

The Beatles ‘All Together Now’