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A Welcome Break

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Good Morning Friends!

Right after work last night, I made a pretty impromptu trip up to Fort Wayne for a family thing that happened last minute.  I got home around 10 and jumped right into bed…let’s just say I was tired.

Mom and I are headed to Michigan at around 7am, which really didn’t leave me much time to complete a morning workout.  Because I had already planned on completing a 9 mile run on my usual day off, Sunday, I welcomed the extra hour of sleep this morning and I am sure that my body is welcoming the rest!

Breakfast

Is it just me, or does everyone take a peek in the cupboards and the fridge to see what kind of food Mom and Dad have on hand first thing after arriving home??

Well, before hopping in bed, I peeked in the cupboard and saw Coco Wheats, peanut butter, and egg whites.  I knew EXACTLY what I was having this morning.

Protein packed Coco Wheats!

I prepped the Coco Wheats in a similar method to oatmeal that I occasionally make with egg whites.  Then, I added a dollop of peanut butter and called it good to go!

Drop Dead Healthy

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for book suggestions before heading to Florida on vacation.  After receiving several suggestions, I finally decided to read Drop Dead Healthy. I am not finished with the book yet, but so far I love everything about it!

I am still fairly close to the beginning, but something that A.J. mentioned that really got me thinking is mindfulness.  

If you are unfamiliar with this book, it covers a two year span of A.J. Jacobs’ life in which he attempts to be the healthiest man alive.  He tries various exercise plans, eating styles, goes to several specialists to learn about what is going on in his body and creates a 53 page list of things he needs to improve on.

He mentions mindfulness, because for the first time ever he is thinking about what happens in his body as he breathes and thinks, he is thinking about how is body is digesting the food he puts into it and how it absorbs the nutrients.  He is thinking and aware of everything.

source

While I would consider myself to be a pretty mindful person when it comes to my body and my health, there are times when I catch myself not thinking and just doing.

Now, I am not quite sure where I am going with this, but the whole idea of being aware of the body and being mindful just got me thinking.  Maybe it got you thinking too??

I can’t wait to read some more of this book!

Well, friends I am off for now.  Have a great Wednesday!

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New Workout Page and Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

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Boy, oh boy do I have a recipe for you!

But first, I want to tell you about some updates I made to the blog yesterday.

After the usual Sunday grocery shopping and food prep, I got out of the house and headed to Starbucks to completely focus on getting some blog work done.

 

The end result was a mission accomplished!  I updated the workout tab on the top bar, and created a drop down list categorizing various workouts that I have created, my race stats, and I compiled all of my fitness related posts into one place.

So, if you are in need of  a workout routine, then head on over to the workout page to check it out!

Now, on to the important stuff…

Honey Peanut Buttery Granola

I had really been wanting to make a batch of granola recently, so I decided yesterday was as good as a day as any!  I looked at several of my usual recipes, took bits and pieces from each and threw in a little of my own flair.  The end result was completely tasty.

Ingredients (warning, this recipe makes a TON!! So you can definitely half it or even quarter it!):

  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups oats
  • 2 cups sunflower seed
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, oil, honey, vanilla, and agave.  Place in the microwave and heat for about 1 minute, or until it is slightly bubbly and easy to stir and combine.

Place dry ingredients in peanut butter and honey mixture.  Stir until combined.  Place the mixture onto one or two greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir.  Reduce the oven temperature to 250, and place the granola back in the oven for 10-15 minutes removing it to stir and replacing it back in the oven until it is the desired brownness.

When it is done cooking, spread the granola on waxed paper to cool, then store in a sealed container.

ENJOY!!!

Pre-Cardio Interval Snack

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Good Morning!

Today is day number 2 on the job, and I am really looking forward to it.  The hotel offers complimentary breakfast to our guests, and one of my supervisors suggested that I eat breakfast there today.  It should be fun!  At least I know they have fruit, oatmeal, and coffee.

Before heading to the gym this morning, I made myself a pre-workout snack to tide me over until my hotel breakfast.

It was like a mini smoothie!  In the mix was: 1/3 frozen banana, 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup almond coconut unsweetened milk, 2 tsp peanut butter, stevia, and vanilla extract.  It was smooth, creamy, and the perfect pre-workout fuel.

Cardio Intervals

Thursday mornings, I teach Cardio Intervals.  I am really enjoying this class because it gets pretty intense and sweaty, and the group I teach is simply amazing!

Here is a look at the super sweaty cardio and strength training workout we did today:

Now, I am off to work!

After work plans:  attend and study Body Pump (it is one of our instructor’s last class!), make a delicious treat to bring into work on Friday…that is the best part of the job, someone to eat all of my treats 😉

Happy Thursday!

Once in a Lifetime View

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Happy Monday morning!

After a restless night’s sleep, I started off the morning with a bowl of overnight oats.

 

I topped the oats with 1/3 of a frozen banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter.  I love overnight oats because they have serious staying power, and I know they will hold me over for a while and give me lots of energy when doing my own workouts and teaching classes.

Solar Eclipse

There was a solar eclipse yesterday!  Did anyone see it?  Unfortunately, the news informed me that the eclipse was not visible in Indianapolis.  The hot spots were from Texas to California and in Southeast Asia.

This eclipse happened during the day when the moon passed in front of the sun creating a “ring of fire” effect.   There are lunar eclipses, which happen at night, and solar eclipses, which happen during the day.  Other than that, I didn’t quite know what the difference was between the two, so I did a little research.

Apparently, lunar eclipses are much more common than solar eclipses because the moon is so much closer to the sun.  Also, when a lunar eclipse occurs it can be seen in most places throughout the world, but when a solar eclipse occurs there is very limited viewing.  When viewing a lunar eclipse, one can look directly at the moon, but when viewing a solar eclipse one’s eyesight can seriously be damaged when looking directly at the sun, and special eye protection must be worn.

The news stated that the last solar eclipse occurred in the United States in 1994, and I remember seeing it!  At the time, I was in kindergarten and stayed home from school because I was sick.  I remember my mom rushing to get me outside to see the spectacular once-in-a-lifetime view.  I did not have special glasses, but there was a woman there who had a mirror for safe viewing.

It is a pretty special experience to have seen such a wonder of the world.

Workout 

Today, I am subbing a spinning class at 8:30 this morning, then I plan on doing some upper body strength work.  I am also team teaching Body Pump tonight and making a test video to make sure that everything will go flawlessly when I do the entire release.

 

Question of the Morning:

  • Did anyone see the solar eclipse yesterday?
  • Has anyone ever seen a solar eclipse?

 

A New Showering Experience and Graduation Season

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Boy, have I had a busy Friday!  I woke up super early again and started my day with a smoothie made up of a little bit of Greek yogurt, strawberries, spinach, Plant Fusion protein powder, almond milk, ice, and a touch of peanut butter.  I opted for a smoothie because it seems like forever since I have had one, and I was heading to a Body Combat class at 6am and knew that I needed to eat something before hand and didn’t want it to be too heavy sitting in my stomach.  I also knew that I was teaching a spinning class about an hour after Combat, so I needed something that would hold my over.

I’m not gonna lie…my tummy felt a little full during Body Combat.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still able to perform well, I would have just preferred a lighter feeling in the tummy region.  All in all it was still a great class.

 I woke up early so that I could put the finishing touches on some crafting I had been up to.  Today, two of my good friends had their hooding ceremony for their health professional programs.  Maelyn, is now (I guess officially tomorrow after graduation) a Physician’s Assistant (hence the PA) and will be moving to Houston, TX next month!

 And Caitlin, who lives just below Brian and I, will be a pharmacist as of tomorrow (hence the Rx sign).

 I am so proud of them, and although it has been a long journey, I can’t believe how quickly it has gone.  They are both super smart and are going to rock their brand new careers!

 After teaching my spinning class, I did something that I have never done before.

I showered at the gym.  

And it wasn’t too bad!  I was able to get completely ready in 30 minutes…I don’t know about you, but for me 30 minutes is pretty darn quick.

I then drove to Butler for the hooding ceremony and snacked on an apple that I had stashed in my bag.  Thank goodness I packed that because as the ceremony went on, my hunger continued to grow.

 It is such a perfect day outside for celebrating these ladies’ huge accomplishments!

Maelyn and Me

Caitlin and Me

After the ceremony, I came home and quickly made myself lunch.  A nice large salad topped with salsa, plenty of veggies, cottage cheese, and an unpictured side of celery and peanut butter. Delish!

Now, I am off to tackle some things on the to-do list so Brian and I can have fun tonight!

Questions of the Day:

  • Have you ever showered at the gym?  Was your experience pleasant? Any funny stories?
  • What is your record “get ready” time (ladies only for this one!)

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.

source

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?