Monthly Archives: July 2013

Exercise for Moms-to-be

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

It can be tough to know what’s safe when it comes to exercising during pregnancy: some women are combining pregnancy and marathon training while others are being put on bed rest. It really comes down to what types of exercise you were participating in prior to pregnancy, while monitoring yourself and adapting as necessary.

First, it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to exercise. Most docs want you to exercise but above all else they want Mom and Baby to be safe. Ask your doctor for some precautionary guidelines regarding contractions and what to look for in the case of pre-term labor.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes later in your pregnancy, know that it will have an impact on your workout regimen and it’s time to re-open the exercise conversation.

Next up, stay hydrated! During pregnancy, hydration is so very important. It will help you to reduce heat and keep your blood volume at a normal level.

It’s also important to recognize that each pregnancy is different. With my first pregnancy I could do far more than I can with my current pregnancy. And that’s okay! I spend more time in the pool rather than trekking it on a trail with the summer heat and humidity.

If you were exercising before pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue the same exercise program while you are expecting. As your pregnancy progresses you will need to modify your routine to exclude positions like lying face up or down. If you’re feeling a little winded sooner than usual, slow it down. Just remember that your blood volume has significantly increased and it’s important to monitor your intensity.

If you’re feeling over-fatigued, it’s time to decrease your intensity and/or duration, especially in the latter part of your pregnancy – you’ve got to save some energy for your new bundle of joy!

If you weren’t exercising regularly pre-pregnancy, you can still participate in low-impact activities like walking or swimming with the approval of your doctor. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the pool is for the expecting mama. It’s amazing how you can feel weightless at a time when you feel the heaviest! If the pool is not your thing, try Prenatal Yoga. Low-impact activities will allow you to reap the rewards of exercising during pregnancy while avoiding strain or injury.

Research shows that women who exercise recover faster postpartum than those who did not. And who doesn’t want to recover faster? Not to mention moms feel better both physically and emotionally and even sleep better!

For more information on swimming or pre-natal yoga programs, visit one of Rex’s five wellness centers located throughout Wake County. Sign up here for the free Rex Pregnancy Newsletter!

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My First Triathlon: Rodney Reflects

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system. Rodney, our “Garner Ironman,” is helped first-time triathlete, Theresa, achieve her goal of completing our July 14th Sprint Triathlon. 

After spending 3 weeks in Europe with 38 very energetic high school students and 3 awesome teachers, I returned home Friday, July 12 just in time for Theresa’s big day. The following morning, Theresa met Angie and me at 6:00 am for an easy 2 hour bike ride followed by a run. I had a chance to see for myself how ready she was for the following day’s triathlon. Not that I had any doubts, because due to the magic of Wi-Fi, I was able to keep in touch with Theresa, Angie and other team members the entire time I was in Europe via voice, text and Facebook apps so I knew they were keeping her busy and on schedule.

When our Sunday morning race day rolled around, Angie and I met Theresa in an adjacent parking lot,  and we pumped up her tires and walked our bikes and triathlon gear over to the transition area. Our earlier mock triathlon and her personal observations from volunteering for the Two Town Triathlon and the Raleigh Ironman 70.3 had her very prepared. She knew exactly how to setup her bike and run transition equipment on her own.

After receiving our pre-race instructions from the FSSeries event spokesman, we were ready to go. A large number of Theresa’s support team members were participating or volunteering so she had a lot of supporters. The Rex Garner family is a close-knit and supportive group so it came as no surprise to me that so many of us were there. There are too many names to mention but they all know who they are.

As 7:00 am rolled around, we took a few pre-race pictures and were ready to go. Angie and I were in the pool early in the race so I did not see Theresa until I was half way through my run. She yelled at me as she rode by on her bike and was smiling so I knew that things were going well. When she completed her bike ride, she made a quick transition and was on the road for her 2 mile run. The brick training worked like a charm. As she approached the finish line, many of her team members were there to enthusiastically cheer her on.

Theresa crosses the finish line of her first sprint triathlon!

I hope she enjoyed the hugs because she was smothered in them as soon as she crossed the finish line. I cannot with complete certainty say how she felt but the smile said it all. She did it and she is now a triathlete!

Is her journey complete? I doubt it. As Angie and I continue to prepare for our Iron Distance Triathlon in October, guess where Theresa is? She is still training with us. Last November, I wrote a blog entitled “Avoiding Post Race Doldrums” and why you should sign up for another race before you complete your upcoming race. During the course of our training, I told Theresa that Angie and I would be celebrating our October Ironman by flying to Vegas to run the November 17, Las Vegas Marathon. Guess what? Teresa is coming with us to run the half-marathon!

I don’t foresee the doldrums in Theresa’s future. One of our training groups’ favorite slogans is “No Pretenders, Never Surrender.” I think that slogan fit’s Theresa very well. Congratulations Theresa. Well done my friend.

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My First Triathlon: Mission Accomplished!

Post by Theresa, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her goal of competing in Garner’s Inaugural Sprint Triathlon on July 14th, with the guidance of Rodney Jenkins, our “Garner Ironman.” Theresa is blogging about her experiences as a first-time triathlete-in-training to hopefully inspire others to try it! When she has time off from work and isn’t at Rex Wellness Center, Theresa likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends.

My first triathlon is history. It was such an amazing day from beginning to end. The first task was getting all of my equipment to the transition area after a little help from Rodney in the parking lot with the bike. His wife Angie double checked my set-up and gave me some last minute pointers. Then it was time to get marked, pick up my chip, mingle, and wait while getting a lot of pre-race encouragement and good luck hugs in the process. I just wanted to finish and enjoy the day.

Seeing all the people around the pool was a sight to behold. I was thinking if I can just get through this part, everything will be alright. I knew it wasn’t going to be the same quiet and calm pool I had been practicing in. Except for a few little taps by an arm here and there, I got through it and breathed a sigh of relief as I was off to the transition area.

During the transition to the bike is when I think I got a little nervous. That’s when it hit me that I’m really doing this. I composed myself, mounted that bike, and off I went. Since I wasn’t an experienced cyclist, I will say having ridden the route a few times before definitely was to my advantage. This was my favorite part of the triathlon and where I think I performed the best.

The second transition went a little better. I took off running and made my way up Timber Drive. I thought my wet socks were making my feet feel a little heavy, but I’m positive this part would have been a lot tougher if I hadn’t done several brick workouts during my training. Throughout the run I was met in either direction by other members who were shouting my name and encouraging things along the way. Finally, I saw the finish line and one last burst of energy carried me across and I’m done!!

Now it’s time for congratulatory hugs, and of course the first comes from Rodney and Angie. Many others followed along with a lot of pictures. Quite a few other members were doing their first tri also and we were all feeling good for each other. It was a great team atmosphere.

Theresa and her fellow supporters, including trainer Rodney Jenkins (back left in yellow)

Thank you to the staff at Rex for allowing me this incredible opportunity to train for my first triathlon with a first class trainer like Rodney Jenkins. And a big thanks to Rodney and everyone involved who helped him help me during this process. I am quite overwhelmed by all of the support I have received.

Now I’ve been asked if I was going to consider the Rex Wellness Tri-Peat (participating in all 3 Rex races between now and October – Garner, Wakefield and Knightdale). Like the proverb says: if at first you don’t succeed, you must try, try again. Though I feel like my first triathlon was a success, who knows, I just may have to tri, tri again!

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Rex On Call July 2013: Healthy Fish Recipes

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon


  • 1 filet fresh salmon (approx 2 pounds)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 T spicy brown mustard or wasabi mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cedar plank soaked in water for 30 minutes


  • Lay salmon skin side down on cedar plank
  • Rub filet with mustard spreading evenly
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Top with brown sugar and spread evenly
  • Place cedar directly over hot coals and allow to cook. Cover grill and smoke for 10-15 minutes or until flesh easily flakes with a fork.

*If board catches on fire, simply douse with water.

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Grilled whole red snapper wrapped in banana leaf


  • 1 3-4 whole snapper
  • 2 lemon grass stalks (cut in 4 inch piece)
  • 1 yellow onion sliced thin
  • 3 lemons whole sliced
  • 2 limes whole sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • Banana leaf (can be found in most Latin grocery stores)


  • Place snapper on a cutting board
  • In the cavity season well with salt and pepper
  • Place ½ of the lemon, lemon grass and limes in cavity
  • Place fish on banana leaf that is twice the size of the fish.
  • Brush olive oil on skin and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rest of the aromatics and wrap fish with the leaf. Wrap it tightly so no steam escapes
  • Place seam side down on small metal pan
  • Place pan in grill using indirect heating* Cover grill and allow to cook for 20 minutes
  • The flesh of the fish should easily flake with a fork.

*Indirect heating is placing the coals on one side of the grill and the item to be cooked on the other side of the grill. This will allow the fish to cook without direct contact with the coals.


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Apps to Track Your Daily Intake

Post by Caitlin Schryver, a dietetic intern with Rex Wellness Centers. Caitlin is on track to become a registered dietitian in August 2013.

They say ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to our food! When we keep a record of what and how much we are eating, our eyes will be opened to what our daily intake really is. Whether you’re looking to keep calories low or make sure you’re getting enough protein, keeping a food log can help you obtain your goals.

Today, the “diet market” is a hot topic, a pool that every business shark wants to be in because business is booming with the newfound popularity of “natural,” “organic,” and “light” food products. Every time we turn around we are enticed by some label, slogan, or statistic that convinces us that we are helping ourselves by buying their product. Sound familiar? Turn the box around and read the facts, the numbers don’t lie. So let’s just say you decide to turn the box around, take a glance at those numbers, and then what do you do? How do you make a decision?

The best way to make food decisions is by knowing what your body needs and making food choices that support a healthy lifestyle. In the midst of everything else we have to keep up with, making sure you’re eating right is not always at the top of our list. All of the technology sitting on our desks and resting in the palm of our hands is getting better and better at helping us keep ourselves organized, and even healthy! So what are your options?

We took time to read reviews and play around with some of the most popular apps out there that can help you count calories, track your daily intake, and help remind you of your goals to help you stay focused! Here are the top five most popular FREE apps that are being used by mobile devices users today. We have rated them based on database size and accuracy, tools, goal setting, ease of use, and overall performance. Take a look at some of the highlights that set these apps apart to find the one that is right for you!

Top5 Most Popular Free Apps for Tracking Daily Intake:

MyNetDiary– 4/4 stars

  • 520,000 food entry database (no user-created entries)
  • Available online, iPhone, Android
  • Barcode scanning
  • Food, exercise, water, weight, measurement logs
  • Weight, calorie, nutrient charts
  • Tracks up to 45 nutrients
  • Diabetes tracking option
  • FitBit device configuration
  • Customized recommendations for healthy choices
  • Customized calorie recommendations(based on gender, height, weight, age, and activity level)
  • Offline mode
  • Upgrades available
  • Community interaction

MyFitness Pal- 3/4 stars

  • Database of over 3 million food entries (mostly user-created entries)
  • Available online, iPhone, Android
  • Barcode scanning
  • Food, exercise, water, weight, measurement logs
  • Multi-app connection (exercise apps and wireless devices)
  • Tutorial videos within app
  • Customized calorie recommendations based on gender, height, weight, age, and activity level
  • Weight measurement charts
  • Limited offline mode
  • Community interaction

Fat Secret– 3/4 stars

  • Available online and iPhone
  • Quick pick food list and searching options
  • Based on 2,000 calorie diet
  • Food, exercise, weight, measurement logs
  • weight, calorie, nutrient charts
  • Recipe selection
  • Barcode scanner
  • Photos of quick pick products, % of RDI, and list of “Frequently eaten with” items
  • Large selection of brand and restaurant food nutrition information
  • Community interaction

LIVESTRONG MyPlate Calorie Tracker– 2/4 stars

  • Database of 1.3 million food entries
  • Available online, iPhone, Android
  • Food, exercise, water, weight, measurement logs
  • Weight, calorie, nutrient charts
  • Tracks calories and nutrition facts values
  • Community interaction
  • Upgrades available

Lose It!– 1/4 stars

  • Available online, iPhone, Android, Nook, and Kindle
  • Food and exercise log
  • Goal setting and reminders
  • Community interaction
  • Weight and nutrient charts
  • Daily and weekly reports
  • Upgrades available

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What apps have helped you stay on track with your diet? Come in see one our dietitians to get started with setting some healthy lifestyle goals today!

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My First Sprint Triathlon: part five

Post by Theresa, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her first half-marathon about six months ago! Her next goal is to compete in Garner’s Inaugural Sprint Triathlon on July 14th, with the guidance of Rodney Jenkins, our “Garner Ironman”. Theresa is blogging about her experiences as a first-time triathlete-in-training to hopefully inspire others to try it! When she has time off from work and isn’t at Rex Wellness Center, Theresa likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends.

With just a few days to go before my first triathlon I feel well-trained and ready. Rodney has been away for a few weeks but he’s been checking in on my progress via the internet. In his absence, his wife Angie and the rest of my support team made sure there was no slacking on my part.

I feel like I’m continuing to get better on the bike each week. Shannon (one of my fellow wellness center members) has been there from day one helping me with cycling and he’s a great teacher. Thanks to all of that training, just this last weekend I went on my longest ride at 31 miles around Jordan Lake with Angie, James, and Rebecca. It was so much fun.I have spent much time practicing in the pool. Since I couldn’t swim at all too many months ago, getting through this part will be a major accomplishment for me personally. The plan is to stay relaxed and not to panic.

Of course Angie and I have still been running together from her house when our schedules permit. One Friday a group of six of us ran together from the wellness center. That was fun too. My final long run before the triathlon was a solo run last Saturday. It gave me chance to reflect on all the special people that have come into my life over the last couple of years as well as the newer ones in the last couple of months that have given so much of their time for me to improve myself and help me with this training program. I could never thank them enough or list all their names but I cross paths with them at the Garner Wellness Center and they know who they are!

Theresa and her trainer, Rodney, the week before the big race!

Finally, this event will be special because so many people I know will be there in the crowd. Some might be doing their tenth and some their first like me. I’m not really competing against any of them, just myself. Everybody will be cheering for each other. It should be a fun day!

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Berry Blast Smoothie Recipe

If you’re craving something sweet, but don’t want to load up on calories, go for berries! This smoothie combines the natural sweetness of four different berries along with the creaminess of low-fat yogurt to create a satisfying snack for your entire family. It’s also packed with vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Here’s to your health!


  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup 100 percent cran-raspberry juice
  • 1 cup low-fat blueberry yogurt
  • 2 cups ice


Place all items into blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 100 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Recipe courtesy of

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