Ellipse Fitness Thanksgiving Cranberry-Orange Compote

Cranberry-Orange Compote


2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 Tbsp. grated orange zest

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup water

1/2 cup Truvia


1. Place cranberries, zest, cinnamon and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine

2. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries have popped and compote has thickened, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar substitute to taste.

4. Let compote sit—serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 (3 Tbsp) servings


Per serving: 20 calories; 0g fat; 6g protein; 5g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 0mg sodium


Ellipse Fitness Thanksgiving Sassy Stuffing

 3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
 1 (3/4 lb) loaf whole-grain bread, cut into cubes (4 cups)
 1 lb. sweet Italian-style turkey or chicken sausage
 1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
 4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
 1 Bosc pear, coarsely chopped (Bartlett or Anjou are good subs)
 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
 1 large egg, lightly beaten
 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
2. Remove sausage from the casings and break into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with bread cubes.
3. Return the skillet to the heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits of sausage from the bottom of the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tsp. oil, celery and on-ion; cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add pear and sage; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Transfer vegetable mixture to the bowl with the bread and sausage. Add egg and stir to combine. Add remaining broth, parsley, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread stuffing evenly in baking dish. Bake until top is crisply and stuffing is heated through—about 30 minutes.
Makes 12 cups
Per 1/2 cup: 80 calories; 2g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 6g protein; 10g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 127 mg sodium

Fitness Tip: Sandbag Up Down

The ultimate Sandbag was created by Josh Henkin for functional strength training.

Sandbag (Shoulder) Up Downs challenge lateral stability and dynamic motion.

Begin with the Sandbag in the front loaded position.

First, step back with the L. leg into a ½ kneeling position.

Next, bring the R. leg back into a tall kneeling position.

Then step forward with the L. followed by the right. Alternate lead legs.

For a greater challenge try a unilateral position, holding the sandbag on one shoulder as you alternate stepping back into and out of a kneeling position.

Fitness Tip: TRX with Pike/Hip Abduction

Strengthen the upper body, core and lower body simultaneously with this awesome combination move – the TRX Pike/Hip Abduction.

Adjust your TRX to the mid-calf position with both feet in the straps.

Beginning in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Next lift the hips up towards the ceiling and tuck your head as you move into the pike position. Then return to the plank and go straight into the hip abductor by bringing the legs out to the sides. Return to the plank and repeat.

(Note: the pike can be modified with a tuck).

Fitness Tip: Kettlebell Single Arm Squat Push Press

Kettlebells were developed in Russia in the 1700s and are holistic in their nature in that they work several muscles simultaneously.

The Kettlebell Single Arm Squat Push-Press engages and strengthens the lower body, the core and the unilateral shoulder.

Start standing with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart and the kettlebell between your feet with the horn of the kettlebell horizontal.

Next hinge back at the hips and keep the back straight as you squat down to reach the kettlebell with your palm facing back.

To begin, dead clean the kettlebell from the ground straight up the center of the body to the chest in a rack position, keeping the upper arm next to the body, the wrist straight and the grip on the kettlebell relaxed.

Then squat down with the kettlebell locked into the shoulder and as you drive through the heels out of the squat, press the kettlebell overhead and finish with the palm facing forward.

Then bring the kettlebell back to the rack position at the chest and repeat your squat push-press.

Fitness Tip: Sandbag Opposing Side Single Leg Deadlift

The Sandbag is a training tool that has an interior load of shifting sand which creates an unstable environment and therefore becomes an effective tool for stabilizing the core while simultaneously strengthening multiple muscle groups. 

The opposing side single leg deadlift is a functional movement that strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and core.

Begin holding the Sandbag in your L. hand in a suitcase grip with your weight on your right foot.

Balance the body with the left toe slightly behind the body as you hinge the hips backwards, keeping the back straight and R. leg slightly bent.

Then push the R. leg heel into the floor as you contract the glutes, and hamstrings and return to your upright starting position.

To intensity the core activation of this move, raise your left leg as you drop into the deadlift and challenge your core to stabilize your body.

Fitness Tip: Kettlebell Bent Leg Deadlift

The Bent Leg Deadlift with a kettlebell is a functional strength move designed to strength the glutes, hamstrings, quads and core primarily.

Begin with the legs hip width or slightly wider and toes forward or slightly turned out.

Place the kettlebell in the instep between your legs and under your body with the horns of the kettlebell facing horizontal.

Bend your knees approximately 20 percent, then keep your head in line with your spine as you hinge your hips back so that your body is in the shape of a “V” and not an “L”. Looking up will not only put pressure on your neck but will prevent you from lifting as heavy, so keep the head neutral as you hinge back.

Grab hold of the kettlebell horns and crush your arms against your sides as if you’re trying to hold $100 bills against your body.

Finally, squeeze your grip on the kettlebell, push your feet into the floor as you squeeze those cheeks together as you exhale and drive up.

The heavier the kettlebell the more effective the results!

Fitness Tip: Walking Squat Variations

Squats are a great way to strengthen the quadriceps, the hamstrings and gluteal muscles – the powerhouse muscles of the body. By strengthening these muscles we increase our overall muscle mass and therefore increase our metabolism as our body burns through calories to maintain our muscle.

If we take that squat and add movement patterns we can intensify our cardiovascular and core workout.

Begin by hinging the hips back as if you’re sitting down in a chair. Then keeping the knees bent as you walk leading with the heel and rolling onto the toe as you move forward. Then reverse it leading with the toe and rolling off the heel. You can also add a pivot to the walking squat assuming that the surface and your shoe are able to move freely without sticking.

Another variation is a lateral walking squat which will strengthen the abductors (outer hips) and adductors (inner thighs) as well. You can as add a thera-band to intensify the difficulty and effectiveness of this move.
Keep in mind that anytime you can drop that squat lower than 90 degrees you’ll get a more effective glute workout so it’s important to work on both lowering your squat as well as adding movement patterns to make your squat workouts more effective.

Fitness Tip: Center Woodchopper

Enjoy full body strength and core stabilization with the Center Woodchopper.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding the grip of the dumbbell overhead in both hands. Next, keeping your back straight and chest up, sit the hips back as you squat down, swinging the dumbbell towards the ground and between your feet. Then push with your heels into the ground as you propel your body up and swing the dumbbell overhead to your starting position.

Fitness Tip: Warrior Crunch

Strengthen the core and engage the obliques while working the lower body in the Warrior Crunch.


Begin by standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, and toes turned outward. Place the finger tips behind the ears, keeping the back upright and the arms and chest open. Then lower down into a squat until the thighs are parallel to the ground.  Once in this position, crunch side to side, bringing the elbows to the tops of the thighs, engaging the obliques.