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Category Archives: workout

Picky About My Equipment

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Yesterday evening I did something fun and unique…

I sang the National Anthem at an Indiana ICE hockey game.  In high school, me and my group of friends called ourselves the Lemon Sistas and sang at nearly every sporting event that needed the National Anthem in high school.  We also sang at churches and events throughout the community.  Even with all of that experience singing The Star Spangled Banner, I realized last night that this was my first  time singing at a sporting even alone.

It was an excellent experience!  I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous about slipping on the ice, but once I was out there everything was fine.  As I was singing the lyrics though, I started to think about the words too much, and realized how easy it really could be for someone to forget the words to a song we all know so well.  Luckily, I didn’t leave any words out 😉

Dinner

Last night, I made Brian his birthday dinner because tonight (his actual birthday) we are going to to eat with his parents.  Brian never really craves certain foods, or offers much input while I make the menu and grocery list for the week, but when I suggested salmon for his special meal he was quick to agree!

My mom had a salmon rub at one point (literally years ago) that had a touch of cinnamon in it, but it was sooo delicious.  The hint of cinnamon mixed with the salmon simply complimented so well and made for a flavorful dish.  Last night,  I tied to recreate that rub:

Cinnamony Salmon Spice Rub

Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and rub onto the salmon before baking.

  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground Red Pepper

I am not quite sure of the measurements because I just started mixing and pouring and tasting, and when it finally tasted good to me, I rubbed it on the fish.  No oil needed! 

Served with asparagus, my favorite springtime veggie, this meal hit the birthday spot.

Workout

Today, I revisited an old friend, the elliptical.

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In my college days, the elliptical was my go-to.  Since I have graduated, I have been much more involved in running outdoors, and spinning when it comes to cardio.  It was nice to zone out on the elliptical for 20 minutes before I lifted some weights doing my 4 move shoulder routine, but I must say I am a bit picky when it comes to elliptical selection.

I like to be able to move forward and backward and change the incline and resistance myself so that I can create a little routine.  This machine, however, shut off whenever I switched directions or resistance, and I couldn’t adjust the incline.  At least I got a little sweaty 😉

Breakfast

For breakfast this morning, I tried something new for the second time, and both times it just hasn’t turned out the way I expected it to.

I have been trying to make Make-Ahead Oatmeal Smoothies, and they are just turning out really runny….and I know why.  It is because I am not using chia seeds.  I thought I could get away with it, I even tried to use hemp seeds instead….and it just isn’t cutting it.  The chia seeds absorb liquid and create a gel like substance, so they are great as thickening agents in these overnight concoctions, but without it…they simply get runny.  Looks like I am going to have to invest in some chia seeds…soon!

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!  I will be spending the day on the golf course with the Maestro Open for the Indianapolis Symphony…hopefully the weather holds out!

Question of the Morning:

  • Are you picky about your exercise equipment?
  • What do you do to get your cardio in?  Run outside, bike, elliptical, walk, group exercise???

 

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Secretly Bad For You???

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Yesterday, as soon as I got home from volunteering, I headed out for a 3.5 mile run.  The run was originally scheduled the day before, but it was raining pretty hard so I decided to postpone it for a day.  It wasn’t my fastest time.  Although I wasn’t sore directly after the Body Pump training weekend, I think that my muscles are definitely fatigued and not able to work as hard this week…but I am pushing through!

I then came in to cool down and bake some cookies for the women I am volunteering with at the Symphony.  The event that they are coordinating is this coming Monday, so Friday (tomorrow) is really their last day to get all of the loose ends tied up and I thought some Oatmeal Raisin cookies would help them power through 😉

And before heading to church choir practice I quickly stopped at Target to pick up some red workout gear.  The colors of Body Pump are red and black, and while you aren’t required to wear the Les Mills clothing or even red and black it helps to be in “the essence” (that is what my trainers called it).  And I totally agree!  When I think of putting on special clothes to teach Body Pump, it is almost like putting a costume on for show choir.  I am able to get in the zone, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it 🙂

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try the clothes on and the shorts were just too baggy.  Not exactly the look I am going for.  Looks like I will have to return them!

 

Breakfast

After team teaching my second Body Pump class this morning, I was more than ready for breakfast and luckily had a bowl of overnight oats with y name written all over it.

 

 

10 Foods that Are Making You Fat

Yesterday, Brian sent me a link to an article on Cha Cha about 10 foods that are secretly making it hard for us to lose weight. I thought this article was particularly interesting because for me, I think about this kind of thing all the time and try to always be aware of what I am putting in my body, but Brian pointed out to me that not everyone thinks like that and may not realize the harm in some of these foods.  So, here is the list with a little bit of my own insight about how to stay in the safe zone!

1.  Salad Dressing–Many people are aware that the creamy dressings pack on a lot of fat and calories (sometimes making your salad choice worse than a burger!), but we also have to be careful when it comes to dressings that may seem lighter like Italian and Balsamic Vinaigrette.  When using dressings at home, it is always best to measure out your portion sizes according to the label so that you know exactly what you are getting.

  • Salad Dressing Alternatives–Using simply vinegar along with salt, pepper, garlic, and spices of your choice is always a great option…and has almost no calories!  Mixing vinegar with a tablespoon of hummus or using salsa are some other great alternatives that packs a lot of flavor.

2.  Mayonnaise–Only one tablespoon of this creamy sauce has 90 calories, not to mention the fact that there are a lot of processed ingredients usually used to make the dressing.  On a sandwich, try subbing mustard or a small amount of avocado (1 Tablespoon).  If you are making tuna or chicken salad, sub non or lowfat plain Greek yogurt.  You will lower the number of calories and boost up the amount of protein in your meal.

  • Mayo Alternative–Small amount of avocado or mustard on a sandwich.  Lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt in tuna, chicken, or potato salads.

3.  White Bread–When it comes to choosing white bread versus whole grain or whole wheat bread, you always want to choose the whole grain/wheat.  White bread is what we can call a fast releasing carbohydrate due to the way the body processes the food.  When the body processes fast releasing carbohydrates it causes a big spike in the blood sugar levels causing the body to release more insulin.  After a lifetime of these blood sugar spikes and your body not utilizing this excess sugar, a person could eventually develop diabetes and this excess sugar is stored in the body as fat.  Without getting too in depth (there is a lot that goes into the way our body processes carbohydrates)

  • White Bread Alternative–whole grain or whole wheat bread

4.  Regular Soda–One can of regular soda has around 150 calories.  If someone were to drink one can of soda a day, that would be over 1,000 calories added to your diet!  By simply cutting out this drink and replacing it with water, you will lower your sugar and caloric intake greatly.

  • Regular Soda Alternative–sparkling water with a splash of 100% cranberry juice with a squeeze of fresh lime, or just plain water!

5.  Ketchup–Ketchup is LOADED with sugar, with around 8g of sugar in only 2 tablespoons of this condiment.  With this sauce, really watch portion sizes and limit your consumption to every once in a while.

  • Ketchup Alternative–salsa, plain tomato sauce, or just limit your portion sizes.

6.  Artificial Sweeteners–There is a lot to be said about artificial sweeteners.  The article by Cha Cha points out the fact that artificial sweeteners are not satisfying to our bodies that want the “real thing” leaving us craving and eating more in order to feel “satisfied.”  There is also a lot of research about the chemical effects of these artificial substances in our bodies.  When it comes down to it, it is always best to be as natural as possible.  And simply because a box says “all natural ingredients” doesn’t mean that the ingredients are actually natural.  We need to actually read the label, and research any ingredients we may not be familiar with.

  • Artificial Sweetener Alternatives–Stevia (to date) is one of the safest sugar alternatives.  Some low glycemic sweeteners that are great alternatives are agave nectar and palm sugar.

7.  Restaurants--This article notes that most foods at restaurants are cooked in butter or grease.  Salads are served with more than a regular portion size of high fat nuts, cheeses, dried fruits, and salad dressings.  Trying to stay healthy, but enjoying a meal at a restaurant can seem like two conflicting tasks, but don’t worry…you can eat healthy and enjoy dining out at the same time 🙂

  • Restaurant dining tips–always check out nutrition information online before heading out to the restaurant so that you can be informed when you make your order. Ask for sauces on the side so that you can control the amount you put on your dish.  Have 3/4 of your plate full of veggies and a portion of protein that is the same size and width as your own palm.  Avoid the bread basket, and don’t be afraid to make special requests (like asking for your broccoli to be steamed instead of cooked in butter 😉 )

8.  Chicken Tenders–Another thing that the article makes note of is that a lot of people think that simply because something is chicken, it is automatically healthy…which is not the case.  Chicken tenders are almost always fried and served with high calorie dipping sauces.  When dining out, opt for grilled chicken or make your own “healthified” tenders at home.

  • Chicken Tenders Alternative–Use organic, free range, boneless, skinless chicken breasts dipped in egg whites and coated in almond meal to bake up your own chicken tenders as a substitute option for high fat, fried chicken tenders.

9.  Specialty Coffee Drinks–We all love a good latte or icy coffee drink every once in a while, but they can pack on a lot of fat, sugar, and calories.  Try to make drinks like this a special treat and enjoy them only every once in a while.  Not only will you save calories, but you will save money too!

  • Specialty Coffee Drink Ordering Tips–Only get these fancy drinks as a special treat, ask for no whipped cream, opt for skim or lowfat milk, and order the smallest size.

10.  Cheese–Cheese isn’t necessarily bad for you, but it is another food where we need to watch our portion sizes.  It is always best to choose a lower fat option rather than a full fat or no fat.  The no fat options tend to have some chemicals in place of the fat to help with the consistency and the flavor, and our body needs fat to process fat…so low-fat is the better option.

  • Cheese Alternatives–Simply watch your portion sizes on this one and opt for low fat options.

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What are some of your favorite tips for healthy eating and watching portion sizes?

 

 

What to do with Chocolate Goo?

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Good Friday Morning!

Today is my workout “OFF” day this week because I have my BodyPump training all weekend and I hear it is pretty intense, so I want to be all rested and ready to show them who is boss 😉

Yesterday, I filled in as an instructor for a class called Total Burn.  I taught the class last week and had a great time, but this week I wanted to switch up the routine.  I took one of the boot camp style classes that we taught on the cruise and pumped it up a bit by adding some running in between rounds and about 20 minutes of ab work at the end.  By the time the class was finished, everyone was sweating and struggling to finish the last rep…just the way I like it!

 Here are some pictures for reference of each of the exercises:

Cross Body Single Arm Snatch

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Sumo Squat

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Punches

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Walking Lunges

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Crunches with Weight

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Clam Crunch

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Bicycle Crunches

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Straight Leg Full Sit Ups (starting and ending position)

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Chocolate Goo

After coming home from class and getting dinner ready, I decided to check on some fudge that I had made earlier in the day to see if it had hardened up nicely.  Well, it hadn’t.

Cooking is a science, and that is one of the things that I love about it!  Recipes are all little experiments.  Well, when I set out to make fudge yesterday, I used a recipe of my mom’s that never fails…except when you don’t have several of the ingredients needed.  Did I have marshmallow fluff?  Nope…but I had marshmallows and thought that melting them down would be the same thing.  Did I have chocolate chips?  Nope…but I thought that mixing sugar, cocoa powder, and butter would be the same.  Did I have evaporated milk?  Nope…but I thought that using unsweetened original almond milk would be the same.  None of it worked the same as the ingredients called for, and when I went to cut the fudge into slices, I realized that I had a ton of chocolate goo…great tasting chocolate goo I might add 😉

I thought…hmmm, what can I do with this? I know!  I’ll roll it into balls and coat it with unsweetened cocoa and it will be like little truffles…The balls turned into little piles of flat goo.

I hate to put it all to waste, so I simply put the goo in some jars so that I can think about what I should actually do with it…I have no idea!!!  It just goes to show that you never know what to expect when you experiment in the kitchen.

This Morning

This morning, I was woken up by the lovely voice of my mom on the telephone singing me “Happy Birthday…”  Brian, being the scrooge that he can be sometimes ;), heard this and immediately said “Go do happy birthday in the living room!”  haha!  Granted, it was 5am…what can I say, my mom and I are morning people.

After getting ready and waiting for scrooge Brian to wake up, it was time to open the last present from my mom.

That box had been sitting in my room all week just staring at me, waiting for me to rip it open…what can I say, I have serious will power.

 When I opened it, I saw the first glimpse of the blanket and knew exactly what it was!  A t-shirt blanket made of shirts from the sorority I was in at Butler.  Before I left for the cruise, I gave my mom a giant bag of t-shirts and asked if she would make one for me.  I had no idea when it was coming, and I am so happy that she made this for me!  It is absolutely perfect.

 I am glad that I waited until my birthday to open it.

 Breakfast

Then, it was time for breakfast…the most important meal of the day, and probably my favorite meal of the day.  Today, I had spinach and cheese egg whites with a little peach, strawberry, and banana fruit salad and some coffee.  What a great way to start the day!

Now, I am off to do some last minute BodyPump studying before going out for a birthday dinner with Brian and the Freshly Brewed concert (that is the women’s a cappella group that I was in during college).  Should be a great day!

Questions of the Morning:

What kitchen disasters have you run into?  

What ideas do you have for me to make with my chocolate goo?

Links of Possible Interest:


 

Completely Delicious Chocolate Protein Muffins

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Good Morning!

One thing I love about Thursday?  It is almost time for the weekend!  Which can often make it hard to focus on specific tasks that need to get done before the weekend.  This Thursday in particular just happens to be the day before my birthday!  Even though I will be spending most of the day studying for my BodyPump certification, I still have one more present to open from my parents, and Brian and I have a fun night planned together.

Anyways…back to today!

I started this morning off with my final BodyPump class before the big weekend.  It was hard work, but amazing….as usual.  I find that the hardest tracks for me are:

  • Biceps…seriously are killer.  It is a shorter track, but no matter what weight I have on the bar, my arms are shaking by the end…which is a good thing 😉
  • Shoulders.  I LOVE working my shoulders because I love the way defined shoulders look on a female, but this track is a tough one.  It’s a love hate relationship.

Breakfast

I then came home and my breakfast already prepped for me:

Overnight Peanut Butter Cookie Oats and Oat Bran

Mmmmmm....

In the bowl:

Mix all of the above ingredients together until well combined.  Allow to sit in the fridge overnight or for 30 minutes.  When  you finally remove the oat mixture from the fridge, stir in 1/4 cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt to make them extra creamy.

These are completely delicious and taste like peanut butter cookie dough!

 

And as I promised yesterday, here is a delicious snack recipe!

Chocolate Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 scoop vanilla pea protein powder
  • 4 packets of stevia
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp of organic raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free jam (I used blackberry)
  • 1/2 cup of water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients (flour, vanilla protein powder, baking soda, salt, stevia, and cacao) in a large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl (egg whites, applesauce, jam, and water).

Add the wet and dry ingredients together.  Place in 12 prepared muffin tins (either sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or lined with paper muffin tin liners).  Bake 20-30 minutes in the oven.

Allow to cool, and refrigerate to store.

Nutrition per muffin:

Calories:  43.7  Fat:  .5g  Carbs:  10.1g  Protein:  4g

These taste great with a little peanut butter on top!

Foam Rolling Magic

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Sorry about the lack of postage yesterday, I was having some internet difficulties…but as of right now, I am back online!

This morning, I started my day off early with some speed training on the track.  I completed a routine of 6×400 interval training, and ended my time at the gym with a session of foam rolling.

I am pretty new to the world of foam rolling, but I must say that I honestly feel that it is one of the best things I have ever done for my extremely tight muscles.

What is foam rolling…

Last fall, I ran my first half marathon.  I followed a combination of a two different programs.  It was a learning experience in many ways.  Although I made sure to stretch daily, it still wasn’t enough.  I didn’t have any knee pain until after the actual race, but the pain that I had in my knee made it very difficult to walk.  Both of my parents have bad knees, and I thought that I was getting my share of the problems early.  After continuing to stretch and rest, the pain didn’t go away fully until I left for the cruise and I did not run for about a month.

Things seemed to be fine once I was working on the cruise ship, until I taught spinning (among several other classes) 5 days in a row.  My knee started acting up again.  Luckily, the fitness center was part of the spa, and my roommate was a massage therapist who specialized in therapeutic massage.  She felt around on my knee, and assured me that it wasn’t the bone.  She then felt my outer thigh and was shocked at how tight my IT Band was.  She said that I needed to come in for a massage immediately.  

When I came in for the massage, she performed a technique on my calves and thighs that released the fascia (a layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds the muscles that can become restricted in movement from overuse causing “knots”).  The massage was very “deep” and a little bit painful, but afterwards, my knee pain was gone!  I simply could not believe it.  In my studies to become a personal trainer, I had read about myofascial release, but I didn’t have much experience.  I decided to do a little reading on the topic to figure out why this worked and what I could do to prevent the soreness in my knee from occurring again.  Since weekly massages are a bit out of my price range, purchasing a foam roller was the next best thing!

Just like the massage, using the foam roller realigns the elastic muscle fibers from the “knotted” position into a straighter alignment.

One should use the foam roller to apply pressure to tender areas within the muscles, known as knots.  The foam roller is used on muscle groups such as the calves, adductors, tensor fascia latae (upper outer hip), iliotibial (IT) band, and the glutes.

While foam rolling is used as a therapy to aid in stretching and muscular wellness, it is important to note that it is also hard work and can often be borderline painful.  When foam rolling, one must pay attention to what is a moderate “good” pain and a pain that could potentially cause injury.  The foam roller should make the muscle feel better, not worse.

According to the American Council on Exercise, one should foam roll in small, continuous back and forth movements over the tender area for 30 to 60 seconds prior to stretching.

Here are some poses that can be performed on the foam roller daily:

IT Band Pose

Lie on your side, with your outer thigh on the foam roller.  Roll the area between your knee and your hip, focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, you can place your top foot on the ground for added support.

Quad and Hamstring Pose

When focusing on your quad, lie with both thighs on the roller and your stomach toward the ground.  Roll between your knees and your hip flexors focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, do one leg at a time.  When focusing on your hamstrings, place the back of your legs on the foam roller and roll back and forth from the back of your knee to your glutes.

Middle Back Pose

Lie with the foam roller on your middle back region, knees bent and feet flat on the ground.  Cross your arms over your chest.  Simply roll the area from your lower back to upper/middle back.

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Breakfast

After a good session of foam rolling, I then came home to get ready for the day and refuel with some overnight oats.   But today, I added something different.  Oat bran.  Oat bran is the outer husk of the oat grain, which is usually thrown out while the oats are being milled.  The bran contains most of the dietary fiber in the grain.  I am running low on oats, and I had some oat bran on hand…so I decided to combine the two in my breakfast bowl.  This breakfast bowl seriously tasted like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in breakfast form.  It was good 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats and Bran

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder (can also use unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein
  • 1/2 NuNaturals stevia packet
  • Top with: 1/3 frozen banana, and 1 tsp peanut butter

Combine all of the ingredients (except for banana and 1 tsp peanut butter), and allow to sit in the fridge overnight or for 30 minutes.  When ready to eat, top with banana and last teaspoon of peanut butter.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition for Entire Recipe:

Calories–269.5  Fat–8.6g  Carbs–48.3g  Protein 23.6g

 

Questions of the Morning:

  • What is one of your favorite flavor combinations?
Mine would definitely have to be chocolate and peanut butter 🙂
  • Do you use a foam roller?  What do you LOVE about it?

The Same Foods Over and Over

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This morning started the way I prefer every morning to begin…with a sweaty workout session.  When I complete my workout in the morning, I just have a lot more motivation throughout the rest of the day to stay productive, and today I need that extra motivation.

My workout this morning was another BodyPump class.  The reason I am attending so many BodyPump classes is because these classes are choreographed to music, and when Saturday rolls around I need to have the class memorized and be ready to teach it…basically.  So the more repetition I can get in…the better!  But I still don’t want to over-do it so that on Saturday and Sunday I can actually work.

After coming home from the gym, I showered, and refueled with the same breakfast as yesterday.  My Overnight Oats in a Jar. When I find something I like, I could usually eat it every. single. day.  My mom thinks I am crazy for that, because she likes a lot of variety in her diet 😉 What can I say…I know what I like!

I even added the peaches again.  Prepping my breakfast the night before really streamlines my morning when I have a lot of things to get done.

Off to start my busy day!!

 

Question of the Morning:

  • Do you like to eat the same foods everyday, or do you try to switch it up???

 

Total Body Circuit

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I hope that your day is going well!

After knocking things off of the ol’ to-do list this morning, I headed over to the gym to substitute teach a class called Core Strength Intensity (CSI).  The class is a total body strength conditioning class that lasts for an hour.  When I walked into the room, I introduced myself to the class and asked if anyone had ever been to the class before.  One woman replied that she had been attending (with the same teacher) for the past 10 years!! Now that is dedication, and a little bit of competition for me.  Change is hard to deal with, and after developing a relationship with a certain routine and instructor after an entire decade I was worried that the class wouldn’t be welcoming of me.  I had never attended this exact class before, but I have taught several strength and toning classes, so after taking the class through an active warm-up, here is what we did!

Everyone said that they enjoyed it, even though it was a change from their usual routine.  Sometimes it’s good to try something new 😉

I then came home and whipped up a salad of romaine lettuce topped with tofu (from last night), broccoli, a radish, cauliflower, celery, onion, tomato, and homemade hummus.  A little bit of everything, all on one plate.

 

Now, I am off to tackle more of that to-do list and head to another gym (I am getting my own class instead of just subbing!!).

 

Enjoy your day!