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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?

Hunger Games Obsessed

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Last night, Brian and I stayed up a little later than planned reading The Hunger Games.  I feel like everyone I know has already finished to book, and if we didn’t have to sleep last night we could have easily finished the story.

My sister is also a Hunger Games fan and finished the book yesterday.  As an avid reader, she has always fallen into the trends with book series like Harry Potter

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and Twilight

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I, on the other hand, have never found interest in books that were currently topping the book and movie charts.  So, now that I am completely in LOVE with the Hunger Games, I am also excited that I am finally on trend with my reading 🙂  I can’t wait to read some more tonight!

 

Breakfast

I decided to switch up my oatmeal a bit this morning.  Here is what was in the mix:

  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 tsp World Berries Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 2/3 frozen banana
  • 2 tsp peanut butter

I like to call it Monkey Oatmeal Bowl…simply delicious!

It will definitely full me for my group fitness audition later this morning.  Have an amazing and productive Tuesday!

 

Of Possible Interest:

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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