Ditch those free weights, and grab a cast iron skillet instead!
**Tips and Tricks**
1. Carry Groceries. We were never in better shape than when we were catering. Why? Because we carried pounds upon pounds of groceries all over the city. While large loads can tempt you to hail a cab, if you're looking to get some exercise before you start cooking dinner, there is no better way than to lug all of those bags (we recommend backpacks in addition to canvas totes), all those blocks home. Be sure to pack all the food well so you don't smush or spill anything as you have the bags along.
2. Mash Potatoes. Any way you choose to pulverize your potatoes--via a food mill, with a fork, or just using a masher--you're likely to have to use a bit of elbow grease to get the job done. Mash away, and make yourself work hard for your carbs.
3. Pound Meat. If you have a meat mallet, transforming chicken breasts into cutlets can be a breeze. Luckily, we don't own this tool, which leaves us a few calorie-burning options: frying pan, or fists. Sometimes we'll simply cover our meat with plastic wrap and whack it good with a skillet (see #6). Other times, we'll really man up and just pound those puppies with our fist. Who needs Tae Bo when you have some meat to beat the &$%# out of?
4. Whip Cream. There's no kitchen activity that's better for your biceps than whipping cream without electricity. Add this summer Lemon Mousse to your menu, give the egg beaters a break, and use your whisk instead. Your toned arms will thank you later.
5. Nix the Mixer. Like whipping cream, any baking activity that requires a stand mixer can be easily executed by using nothing but your super strong arm. Try making a couple batches of Raspberry Cupcakes, Coconut Layer Cake, or Dark Chocolate Cookies, and you'll see what we mean.
6. Wield a Cast Iron Skillet. Just picking up a large 15-inch cast iron skillet can substitute for your free-weight regimen. Now, try picking it up on the stove with one hand. If your grandmother could do it, so can you. If you're sore the next day, give props to your kitchen skillet work out.
7. Create a Kitchen Sauna. People who want to shave off a few more pounds after a good workout always hit the steam room or sauna. In small apartments like ours, especially during summertime, recreating that environment at home is not so tough. Simply disregard this advice, and turn on the oven!
8. Pair a Picnic with Lawn Games. We are huge fans of picnics during summertime. But no one says that your buns have to be glued to the blanket for the whole evening. Try bringing some lawn games--bocce balls, a Frisbee or football--and encourage your friends to run around with you before or after the meal. Better yet, organize a game of capture the flag! Or, take on the responsibility of playing with your friends' puppies--nothing like a strenuous game of fetch!