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DIY Workout: Make Your Own Medicine Ball

25 Feb

Looking for a good workout but don’t have a medicine ball?  You could be in luck.  The March issue of Men’s Health (with Matt Damon on the cover) provides a cost-effective way to turn an old basketball into an awesome piece of workout gear.

Step 1: Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the rubber plug from the basketball. Set the plug aside.

Step 2: Insert a funnel with a tip small enough to fit into the ir hole. Fill the ball entirely with a fine-grain play sand. A 50-pound bag will make three medicine balls.

Step 3: Brush rubber cement in and around the rim of the air hole. Immediately plug the hole with the rubber stopper, using the nedle-nose pliers to push the stopper in if needed.

Step 4: Brush more rubber cement over the stopper. Allow it to dry.

The Best of March Madness

22 Feb

In a season of rankings, we keep score of the game’s high points.  In the March 2011 issue of Men’s Heath Magazine, the one with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on the cover, there is a great article on the best parts of March Madness, the tournament that we all hold so dear each spring.  They list everything from best seats to best players, and it is all here in this convenient blog post — just for you!

The 3 best NCAA ballers to watch this season

3. Demetri McCamey (Illinois) – McCamey has an impressive combination of size, skill and scoring ability as a point guard. He’s terrific as a passer and ball handler, and he also has a deep shooting range.

2. Kris Joseph (Syracuse) – He’s a gifter scorer with a nice stroke who tallies his points in various ways/  Joseph is an incredibly hard worker.  His coaches recognize that, so expect him to play an expanded role this season.

1. Elias Harris (Gonzaga) – With a rare mix of rebounding prowess, shot-blocking ability, and three-point shooting, he can be a 20/10 guy and a major force on both offense and defense.

Sit where it really counts

Good luck scoring (or affording) courtside seats. The owners of VividSeats.com say your next best bet is mid-court, between rows 5 and 10. You’ll see everything and still be part of the crazy crown, which is half the fun of NCAA games. If mid-court is full, call the stadium to find where your team plays offense the second half.

The 3 Places You Must Watch College Ball Before You Die

3. Kansas’s Allen Fieldhouse – You can sense its history as soon as you step inside. It’s basically a big barn that packs in some of the most passionate fans in the game.

2. Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium – It’s cramped and tight – bordering on uncomfortable – but no place is more intimidating for opponents. And you can feel that.

1. Dayton’s UD Arena – With nearly 14,000 seats, it’s the ideal design for an on-campus arena, providing straight sight lines and plenty of team spirit.

Hottest College Cheerleaders

No matter how lousy the game, here’s the countdown of teams worth watching for sideline entertainment, according to Steve Covino and Rich Davis, hosts of The Covino & Rich Show on Sirius XM.

3. LSU Tigers

2. Arizona State Sun Devils

1. Florida Gators

OJ: Pulp Up the Jam

11 Nov

Punny titles aside, the November 2010 issue of Men’s Health Magazine (the issue with True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten on the cover) teaches us that it is much healthier to drink orange juice that has pulp in it than juice that does not.  In responding to a reader-asked question on the topic, Men’s Health tells us that those tiny bits of fruit flesh do more than just add texture – they’re packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients.  Specifically, juice with pulp contains 30 percent more anti-inflammatory flavonoids and cancer-fighting limonoids than OJ that’s been strained, according to Jairam Vanamala, PhD, an assistant professor of food science and nutrition at Colorado State University. He says that its most healthy to eat fruit in its natural state, so 100 percent orange juice with pulp is the next best thing to a whole orange.

Ice Cream – Top This!

26 May

Thank you Men’s Health for providing yet another way to eat healthy that I will try once and forget about!  Nonetheless, the  June 2010 issue (featuring LOST‘s very own Josh Holloway on the cover) has an article that shows its readers how to make ice cream tastier and healthier by whipping your own toppings.  When you stick your spoon into souped-up ice cream – with all those swirls of corn-syrup caramel, chunks of peanut butter cup, and gobs of brownie – you may as well be eating a GIANT candy bar.  Enjoy some ice cream without all of the dumb calories: crown a scoop of vanilla with one of these simple, low-fat toppings:

Dark Chocolate Sauce

1 Bar (3 oz) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp black coffee

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 Tbsp butter

Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl.  Microwave until they are mostly melted – 1 to 2 minutes – stirring halfway through.  Add butter and stir until smooth.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

1 Cup trimmed and chopped strawberries

2-3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tsp orange liqueur

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Mash the strawberries until the sauce is mostly smooth.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Maple-Walnut Sauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp rum

2 Tbsp chopped, toasted walnuts

Combine the ingredients and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in walnuts and serve warm.

Cubicle Culture – The Best Plants for Your Office

7 Jan

In the January 2010 issue of Men’s Health magazine, the one with Vampire Diaries’ Sean Faris on the cover, there is an article discussing which plant would best keep a man company in the comfort of his own cubicle.  The answers are interesting – isn’t learning fun?  Hopefully you take these words to heard and bring a leafy friend into your workspace – if for nothing else but to impress your coworkers with your knowledge of everything flora.

  1. Areca Palm – Thanks to its huge fronds (which can reach 6 ft in height and feature 60 leaflets), this palm is especially effective in filtering airborne particles.
  2. Peppermint – Sniffing mint can increase your alertness and enhance your memory, according to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience.  Bonus: it can also help suppress your appetite.
  3. English Ivy – Tests at the University of Georgia show that English Ivy is particularly efficient at absorbing volatile organic compounds, airborne pollutants spewed by office machinery, that cause headaches and nausea.
  4. Lemon Balm – Researchers at Ohio State University found that the scent of lemon improved peoples’ moods and raised levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical linked to mood and behavior.
  5. Golden Pothos – This hardy vine reduces indoor ozone, Penn State researchers found.  Exposure to low ozone levels can cause chest pain and throat irritation.
  6. Gardenia – It’s like a long-acting anti-depressant.  A gardenia can live for 25 years, and every time you smell its flowers, your emotional outlook improves…according to research from Rutgers.

12 Days of (Free) Christmas…

13 Dec

The funny thing about the recession is that every magazine on the shelves is talking about how to do everything for less.  I mean everything. I will spare you some of them, but one caught my eye and I thought that it would be worth posting.  The November 2009 issue of Men’s Health magazine, the one with Jason Bateman on the cover, has a full section on how to save money during the recession and various statistics about how spending habits are changing.  One section was titled “12 things that don’t cost a cent.”  For your pleasure, here they are…

Music – listen to full-length albums at lala.com and spinner.com.

Directory assistance – Dial (800) FREE-411 for phone numbers

Television – Hulu Desktop (hulu.com/labs/huludesktop) streams shows – 30 Rock, Lost and more – from a computer’s HDMI out port to a connected HDTV.

Brains – MIT’s OpenCourseWare portal (ocw.mit.edu) provides lecture notes, project examples, homework, and tests from real classes in 35 fields, from biology to architecture to economics.

Software – Open Office (openoffice.org) has word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs that are nearly identical in look, feel and features to Microsoft Office.

Wi-Fi – know before you go with wififreespot.com, which catalogs hotels, cafes, and shops with free web surfing in your hometown or travel destination.

Grub Reviews – your paper’s bloated dining critic is limited to one meal a night, typically at an over-hyped joint.  But chowhound.com‘s user reviews help you find authentic and downright delicious spots from diners who share your tastes and budget.

News – The Wall Street Journal charges for its online content, but if you have an iPhone, you can download its free app and enjoy the same stories at no charge.

Books – Pull up public-domain books, from Twain to Dickens to Poe, on your cellphone with Project Gutenberg’s nearly 30,000 digitized, downloadable books.

Shipping – before you check out at your favorite online store, visit freeshipping.org for coupon codes that can cover the expense of shipping.

Languages – Learn to say “Where’s the bathroom?” in 36 different languages with the BBC’s online guides.

City tours – Learn from the locals with free city tours through the Global Greeter Network (globalgreeternetwork.info), which pairs groups of visitors with knowledgeable volunteers.

Aloe: Power Plant

27 Nov

This little gem came from the UK edition of Men’s Health magazine.  Most major magazines have a UK edition.  They are a bit more expensive, but it allows you to get 24 issues a year versus 12, and you get to have fun converting punds and euros into US Dollars!  Who could ask for more?  In the November 2009 issue of Men’s Health’s UK magazine, in the Health Bulletin, there is a snippet about the Aloe Vera plant.  “You can drink it, brush your teeth with it, even cure burns with it. Is aloe the most versatile medicinal plant of all?”  Here are the magazine’s featured uses of this power plant:

Teeth – “According to a study published in General Dentistry, aloe vera tooth gel is as effective as regular toothpaste in preventing cavities.  It also helps soothe sore and irritated gums. Try Aloe Dent for a change from fluoride.”

Diabetes – “A study in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin reported that phytosterols, substances which are contained within aloe vera, have been found to help control blood glucose levels in people suffering from type-2 diabetes.”

Skin Disorders – “A study undertaken by Kaen University researchers in Thailand found that aloe vera gel was an effective anti-inflammatory when applied to the skin to treat psoriasis, a disorder that is characterized by itchy, red, scaly skin.”

Minor Burns – “Researchers from Iran’s Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences compared the healing of second-degree burns using either aloe vera or silver sulfadiazine (a topical burn cream), and found that aloe was more effective and faster working.”