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Happy Birthday Mom!

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Today is my Mom’s birthday!

 

I wish I could take the day off work to just hang out with her all day!  My mom and I have a great relationship, and I love talking with  her spending time with her, joking with her, cooking with her, walking with her, working out with her, and just about doing anything with her!

 

We love you so much, Mom!  Have a happy Birthday!!

 

 

How to Indulge on Vacation Without the Guilt

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I love to eat healthy most of the time, but when I go on vacation (and in everyday life too!) there are certain instances where I want to indulge.

When on vacation, sometimes it can feel like everything is out of whack because you are going to sleep at a different time, waking up at different times, eating different foods, and maybe eating more sweets or treats than you would usually enjoy.

This is totally OK, and I don’t want anyone to think it’s not!  If we never went on vacation and broke our regular routines, then we wouldn’t appreciate our little routines and healthy habits…and we may go crazy (well, at least that would happen to me!).

However, when going on vacation, there are some habits that I like to bring with me so that I can enjoy the extra bowl of ice cream at night without the extra guilt.

Breakfast

We all know how important breakfast is in our regular schedule, and it is just as important while on vacation.  I found it helpful to eat a breakfast that I would normally eat to really set the tone for the day so that I didn’t feel like a slug from the get go.  On my trip to Florida, I packed a little pre-portioned baggie of Sunwarrior protein powder with me and asked my mom to add bananas, peanut butter, Greek yogurt and oats to the grocery list so that I could prepare my overnight oats for breakfast before bed each night.  It may be a little boring eating the same thing each day, but it got my day started right and I honestly looked forward to my overnight oats!

Snacks

While on vacation, meal times can get weird and I found that my family was eating dinner way later than what I am used to, so I was hungry way before it was time to eat.

One of the evenings, my mom decided to order a pizza from a local pizza place called Flippers that we had heard great reviews about.  This was definitely a treat, as I have always loved pizza but rarely eat it so that I never get sick of it.  While my tummy was growling as the pizza seemed to take forever to arrive, I made myself a little side salad appetizer as a snack so that I didn’t want to scarf down the entire pizza the minute it came in the door.   The fiber and water in the veggies and beans filled me up, but left just enough room for me to enjoy a piece of tasty pizza with the rest of my family.

Workouts

When I am at home, I workout 5-6 days a week.  The point of vacation is to relax and give the body and mind a rest.  Honestly, this is a pretty hard task for me to accomplish because I feel like my brain is always running a million miles a minute, but I find that if I plan workouts rather than schedule them it helps keep me sane!

Some mornings, I woke up and walked with mom, one morning I ran 3 miles, a couple of mornings I completed a crossfit inspired circuit that required zero equipment, and some mornings I did nothing!  Because I had a handful of workouts that I knew I could do, I was completely ok with just waking up when I was ready and seeing what my body was ready for.

After my little sweat session, I was more than ready to relax in the sun for the rest of the day 🙂

While I was searching various things on the internet, I came across an amazing workout from  Women’s Health Magazine that literally requires ZERO equipment, uses moves that we have all heard of and tried before, but puts them in 5 different exercise orders so that with only 6 moves you have 5 different workouts.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.  It’s called the “Do Anywhere Crossfit Workout” and I can guarantee that it will forever be in my workout library .

So there you have it.  I know I am not perfect, and I truly enjoyed the extra rest, relaxation, and treats, but enjoying those treats has given me more motivation to start out this month of August, and this work week on a great foot. The extra rest has left my body time to repair and left it itching to get back into the gym!

Time for You to Share:

  • Do you worry about working out while on vacation?
  • Do you worry about what you eat while on vacation?

Happy Father’s Day!

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Happy Father’s Day to all of the great dads out there!

 

Thanks Dad for being at each performance, family event, vacation, and holiday with a video glued to your hand to document each moment and memory.

Thanks for being a support system, and allowing us to “learn things on our own.” even if it wasn’t always the easiest option.

My Sister (Brenna), Dad, Me, and My Brother (Kenny)

My Sister (Brenna), Dad, Me, and My Brother (Kenny)

I love you, Dad, and have a happy Father’s day!

 

Breathing Fire

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I started this early morning with a bowl of overnight oats.  Today, I actually ate them before teaching my 6am spin class because I was so hungry.  I kind of flip flop back and forth between eating just a snack before teaching or working out early morning and actually eating my breakfast.

I love that when I make overnight oats the night before, no matter what time I decide to eat the oats are ready and waiting for me.

Dinner

Last night, I decided to try a new-to-me recipe for a jalapeno slaw with coconut line dressing topped with shrimp.  I saw the original recipe in Clean Eating magazine and knew that I had to try it.

 The dish was tasty and came together very quickly, however, there was one little mishap….I should have taken the membrane and seeds out of the jalapeno.  Honestly, sometimes when I leave all of the spiciness in the jalapeno I can’t even tell it’s there….but believe me, last night it was there and super spicy!  So, based on my experience, when making this recipe remove the seeds and membrane, unless you want to breathe fire all night.

Shrimp Over Jalapeno Slaw with Coconut Lime Dressing

Yields: 2 Servings

Cook Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut almond milk
  • 1/8 cup unsalted peanuts
  • Zest and juice 1 lime, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, divided
  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • about 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Prepare dressing by combing coconut milk, peanuts, 1/2 of lime and zest, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.  Set aside.

Chop the cabbage, jalapeno, and pepper.  Toss together to create slaw.

In a small bowl, mix together shrimp, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Have a medium saute pan heated to medium high heat, saute the shrimp until cooked through.  Once cooked, add the remaining lime juice and remove from heat.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix thoroughly.  Divide the slaw among two plates and top with 6 shrimp.

ENJOY!!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Today was an absolutely beautiful day in good ole Fort Wayne, so my mom and I took advantage of it by going for a nice walk with my mom’s new dog, Gypsy.  There is a little loop through our neighborhood that my mom had been walking the pup on and she wasn’t exactly sure of the mileage, so I strapped on my Garmin so that we could map the route.

My mom really wanted the route to be 4 miles, so we had to do a couple of additional twists and turns in order to get the mileage right, but we got it!

After the walk I showered and got ready for the day, and the next thing I knew it was time for lunch.  Whenever I am home, I completely take advantage of raiding my parent’s pantry, so I made sure to load my plate up with plenty of veggies and some tuna for a nice and filling salad.

Shortly after that it was time for me to hit the road and head back to Indy.  I wanted to be back in town by at least 5pm because I had my 5th Body Pump team teaching session at 6pm.  I am honestly loving the team teaching aspect of Body Pump and I think I am going to be lonely when I don’t have anyone up on the stage with me to interact with.

When I got home it was 7:30pm and I was hungry.  7:30pm is pretty late for me to have dinner, and I just completed a workout, so I wanted to make something fast.

The meal was kind of a spontaneous decision, but turned out delicious.

Veggie Marinara Mix-Up

I simply steamed 1 cup of cauliflower for the base.

I then sauteed some red onion and yellow bell pepper until they were tender.  Once the veggies were tender I added 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1/4 block of tofu.  I allowed the entire mixture to heat through.

Once the cauliflower was steamed, I placed it on a plate and topped it with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese.  I know that may sound a little strange, but in my family we put cottage cheese in our lasagna, so I thought it would add a nice creaminess to the sauce as well as a little extra protein.

I then topped the cauliflower and cottage cheese with the veggie, sauce, and tofu mixture.

It was delicious and quick.  I will definitely be making this dish again 😉

How Does Your Garden Grow?

As Mom was finishing up the gardening yesterday, she realized that she had some leftover starter plants for cucumbers and tomatoes.  I absolutely LOVE fresh tomatoes and cukes from the garden during the summer, however, growing them myself is another situation completely.  But my mom potted up a couple of starters for me so that I could take the plants to Indy and attempt to take care of them myself.

Wish me luck, because I honestly have trouble keeping anything alive that lives in a pot.

I mentioned yesterday that every year on Mother’s Day my mom plants flowers for the yard and gets her garden ready for the summer, but my mom doesn’t grow her garden the old fashion way.  She uses something called and Earth Box.

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These Earth Boxes are essentially a portable controlled planting environment.  There is no weeding involved, it is impossible to overwater the plants, and the planters last forever.  I think my mom has had hers for 10 years now.

She was first introduced to these planters by my grandparents who are constantly moving and don’t usually live in an environment that is ideal for a garden.  They used their Earth Boxes to plant a garden when they had a cabin in Alaska, when they lived on the sand in Florida, and in the dry heat of Arizona.  They were able to tote their boxes around and have delicious, home grown, fresh tasting vegetables in all climates.

Because of the scientific creation of these boxes, they are basically fool proof as long as you water them daily!  Although I have never planted in the Earth Boxes and taken care of the Earth Boxes on my own, I have eaten their produce and I highly recommend it.  According to my mom, they are easy to take care of, and one of the best things about them is that there are no weeds.

You can plant a wide variety of plants in the boxes, too.  We have planted cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, flowers, chives, green peppers, jalapenos, wild flowers, green onions, and many other things that I can’t even remember!  Everything tastes great 🙂

Now, my plants will not be growing the the controlled environment of the Earth Box, but hopefully I am as successful as my mom is with her garden.

Question of the Evening:

  • Do you grow a garden in the summer months?
  • Have you ever used an Earth Box?

Women Can’t Bulk Up

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Seriously, the weather here is completely confusing me.  The first official day of spring is not until tomorrow, so it is technically still winter and here in Indiana we have been having near 80 degree weather for the past week.  Now, I am not complaining by any means, I am just shocked that it is so nice out!

I took a little break from the to-do list at lunch time to go for a quick 3.8 mile run in this beautiful weather, which then made me crave none other than a smoothie for lunch.

Choco-Raz Protein Smoothie

It was completely delicious and cooled me down after my run while filling my belly 🙂
Women and Strength Training

I learned many things while I was traveling and working on board the cruise line as the fitness director.  I learned about different cultures, about what is personally important to me, and more about the body than I ever thought possible in such a short amount of time.

Strength training has always been something that I just sort of “did” because I knew I had to incorporate it into my routine, but there was never a rhyme or a reason as to what I was doing.  I would simply throw it in at the end of an intense cardio workout because, like most women, I was/am a cardio addict.

I must say that part of the reason why I didn’t focus more on strength training in the past was for the fear of “bulking up.”  We see men pumping iron in the gym, going to the designated “boy area” toning specific muscle groups, and we automatically think that if we do the same thing that we are going to look the same.

Nice to look at...but I don't want to look LIKE that

Well guess what ladies, that is not true!  Women physically cannot bulk up the way men do.  

While working on the cruise ship, the other fitness director was a male who was very muscular and had a history of competing in Strong Man competitions.  Was I intimidated?  No, but did I think that the same workout that worked for him would be effective for me?  Of course not.

Eventually, we began training together.  I completed the exact same workouts as him.  We would single out a different muscle group (chest, arms, back, legs, shoulders) and work each group a different day of the week.  We would switch up the way we were lifting and the various exercises every four weeks so that our muscles did not adapt, and I was so happy with the results!

Not only has my strength increased and I am beginning to have different muscle tone than I had ever had before, but it has also helped with my cardiovascular endurance.  The strength in my body allows me to propel through a cardiovascular workout with ease, which gives me motivation to complete another half marathon.

Simple things like push-ups are now easy and something that I enjoy doing.  When before I would always opt for the “female” version.  And did I bulk up?  Absolutely not.

No bulk here!

My biggest worry is that now that I no longer have a gym membership and I cannot complete strength training workouts as regularly, I will lose my muscle strength and tone.  So, now I have the dilemma of getting creative with my strength training routines.

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Burning More Calories

The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories it takes to feed them.  Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is the number of calories your muscles require to survive in a comatose state (when  you are doing absolutely nothing!).  When you have more muscles, your body requires more fuel, meaning you are burning more calories without necessarily doing more activity.

When we complete a cardio only workout regiment, often times we are using our muscles for energy rather than our stored fat.  When we use our muscles for energy our body stores more fat.  So the numbers on the scale may go down, but we still have a “soft” appearance in those problem areas that we all want to get rid of.

Increase Bone Density

By putting a slight amount of stress on our bones, it causes our bone density to increase which helps to prevent osteoporosis.  It is never too late and it is never too early to start resistance training.

Decreased Risk of Injury

When you strength train you are also strengthening your connective tissue and stabilizing your joints.  It is important to have strong thigh and leg muscles to prevent knee injuries, and it is important to regularly stretch and strengthen your back in order to prevent lower back injuries and pain.

How to Incorporate Strength Training into your Routine

There are so many ways to incorporate strength training into your regular routine:

  • Attend group fitness classes that focus on teaching participants how to use weights:  Body Pump
  • Incorporate pilates and yoga 2-3 times a week into your regular routine
  • Use free weights
  • Use selectorize machines (the weight machines that focus on specific muscle groups)
  • Body weight exercises
  • See a personal trainer

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Homemade Protein Bars and Bowling

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When we arrived home from playing with puppies, I was in the mood to whip up a new and tasty snack: Homemade Protein Bars.  I found some recipes on Jamie Eason’s web site and had been wanting to try them for a while now, but since I had no kitchen on the boat I had to wait until I was home.  

The recipe called for oat flour, and since we didn’t have any I simply put oats in the food processor to create an oat flour and it worked great!

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I thought that these would be perfect for Brian to have as a snack between classes.  Also, when planning snacks, sometimes it is a little bit hard to incorporate protein simply because I don’t always want to include something like tuna or cheese, and these are a great alternative!

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Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bars (Based on the recipe by Jamie Eason)

Yield:  8 servings (cut into 16 squares, 2 bars equals one serving)

Cook Time:  24-28 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup NuNaturals Stevia BakingBlend
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 2 scoops Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Nunaturals Stevia BakingBlend
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze (I usually would use unsweetened but Mom only had the sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt
Directions
Combine 1/4 cup Stevia and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small dish and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  
 
In a large bowl combine the oat flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt, stevia, egg whites, almond breeze, and Greek yogurt.  Mix until thoroughly combined, but don’t overmix.  
 
Pour half of the mixture into the bottom of the 8×8 baking dish.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and stevia mixture on top of the batter in the baking dish.  Pour the rest of the batter into the baking dish and top with the rest of the cinnamon and stevia.  
 
Bake for 24-28 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Cut into 16 squares, 2 squares is one serving.  Bars will be slightly dense. 
 
Nutrition (for 2 bars)
Calories:  93.31g  Fat:  1.52g  Carbs:  13.46g  Protein:  7.62g

Enjoy!!!

 

After the baking was done, Mom had dinner ready for us!! She made a delicious meal of marinated shrimp, quinoa with cayenne, black beans, and corn, and steamed asparagus.  A completely nutritious and delicious meal!

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After dinner, Mom, Dad, Brian and I headed to the bowling alley.  We are slightly competitive as a family, and Mom decided to bring her own lucky bowling ball.  Mom and Dad used to be on a bowling league and are secretly pretty good at it…Brian and I are, however, not that good at bowling.

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I was able to get a couple of strikes…as well as a couple of gutter balls!

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Brian got some strikes as well!!

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Brian and Dad were the high scorers for the first game.

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Mom and I were the high scorers in the second game.  I still didn’t break 100 😉  It was a great way to spend the evening! 

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This morning, I woke up super early again simply because of the cruise ship schedule that I am used to, but I headed right down stairs to make myself some more oatmeal with Sunwarrior, peanut butter and strawberries.

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Now, Brian, Mom, and I are getting ready to head to Zumba…this is Brian’s first time and it should be interesting!