Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday - Walk It Out

Ahh walking, the unsung hero of the cardio world. If you're looking for a super easy way to get in some exercise, go for a walk!! All you need is a pair of shoes.

Health Benefits of Walking
Benefits of walking, from (powered by Kaiser)

Walking is low impact, so no need to worry about harming your joints. Plus, you can walk anywhere!! Too hot to walk outside? Hie thee to your local shopping mall and log some air-conditioned membership-free workout time. :)

Walking is a wonderful way to get some quality alone time. Bring earbuds to bliss out to your fave tunes, or go headphone free to spend some time getting lost in your thoughts. When I was in school, I used to walk whenever I was stuck on a project and by the end of my 3 mile loop, I had a renewed sense of purpose and the energy to persevere.

Walking was how I got started on my journey from 155lb back down to my current 134lb. I had been sedentary for more than 2 years after graduating high school and leaving behind softball and cheerleading. It's a fabulous way to start making healthier life choices.

Already a walker? Head to the hills!! Make your walk more challenging by finding some cool new terrain to cover. Shake up your routine!

Just make sure to put on some sunscreen and wear a hat if you're venturing out into the sun!!

Something else wonderful for your Wednesday... Trader Joe's Goat Cheese Medallions!

I put one of these lovelies on my lunch today.

Grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, roasted kabocha, and marinated mushrooms topped with goat cheese and a coffee flavored Chobani Bite for dessert!
 These miniature cheese medallions are wrapped as single servings, making these perfect to take along to work and have with lunch or as a snack. One ounce of this creamy cheese has 70 calories, 1g of carbs, 6g of fat, and 5g of protein. Mmmmmmm.

I'm lucky to work at the same company as my mom.
We matched out nail polish today on complete accident!!!
I'm off to take a walk around my work neighborhood.

Tell me, what are you doing to make your Wednesday wonderful?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fit Cookie Bars

One fit cookie.

Someone called me that recently, which I absolutely loved... are you kidding? Two of my favorite things; cookies and fitness. :)

This, of course inspired a recipe. Much as I love cookies, they're not the healthiest of foods. Sure, that two ingredient cookie I posted a while ago is awesome, but sometimes, I want something a little different and with some protein. I had also been itching to try out the cocoa nibs I picked up at Whole Foods this week.

Power food indeed, these are DELICIOUS

Don't those sound awesome??? They are full of antioxidants (more than red wine and green tea), iron, and magnesium to boot! Some have proposed that cacao nibs might even help to improve heart health.

I had sampled the nibs a few times this week and I was really loving their nutty chocolate flavor. All the benefits of chocolate with none of the bad stuff that comes from processed chocolate, even the dark stuff? Yes, please, and thank you very much.

Before I get to the recipe, I want to ask you something. When is the last time you were able to actually receive a compliment? I don't mean brush it off with a "oh, haha, thanks, but..." and then put yourself down. I mean smile and say "thank you!"

This morning, while at the gym (of course), I was trying out some new wrist wraps during overhead squats. Overhead squats are a recent addition for me and I always question myself when it comes to proper form for the exercise. I can only see myself in the mirror from the front, I cannot see anything from the sides.

When I was about halfway through my sets, a trainer came over during my break and complimented me on my form. I started to brush the compliment off and those self-demeaning words were on their way from my brain to my mouth but instead, I smiled and said "thank you so much!"

I'm trying to extend this healthy lifestyle of mine to my mindset and that means not putting myself down, for any reason!

Try it sometime, it feels good.

Onto the recipe!!!

These lovely little bars get the Dr. Boyfriend stamp of approval!
Fit Cookie Bars (serves 8), ~40 min

1 C quick cook oatmeal
3 scoops of Vanilla Optimum Nutrition Egg Protein (or other powder)
2 ripe bananas
2 T raw cacao nibs
1 T Truvia baking blend
2 large eggs

Assembled and ready for action!
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Mix ingredients until combined well (the batter will be kind of runny)
Coat a 9X9 baking pan with non-stick spray and pour in batter
Bake for 20 min or until a knife inserted into the center is clean when pulled out
Turn out onto cooling rack and let sit 5-10 min, cut into 8 pieces

See what I mean by a little runny?

It's like letting meat rest once it's off the grill or out of the oven. It's worth the wait!!

Nutritional Information per serving (I got this by entering the ingredients into MyFitnessPal)
126 calories, 14g carbs, 4g fat, 12g protein

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Wonderful Wednesday: You ARE beautiful

Hello friends!

I saw something today that spurred me to create "Wonderful Wednesday". After all, who doesn't need a little boost by this point in the week? So, every Wednesday, I'll try to give you a wonderful thing to look at.

This week, a Dove Beauty video that I received in my email courtesy of Refinery 29

Before you watch, know that while it does produce the warm fuzzies, it's also a little sad and you might want to have a kleenex or two nearby.

Head over to youtube and check it out here:

I found this absolutely fascinating. Growing up, especially as women, we're subject to all this information about appearances and what they should be. There are entire industries devoted to it! 

This video really made me think. I woke up with less than perfect skin the other day and spent a good 5 minutes making myself absolutely miserable over my reflection. After watching the video and thinking back... I was making mountains out of molehills. I'd be willing to bet that nobody even noticed, it was only me that saw this so called "imperfection" and I was the only person who cared about it.

I don't mean to go totally crunchy-granola on you, but I am a firm believer that happy people and people who love outwardly are absolutely beautiful. Audrey said it best...

Found here:

"For beautiful eyes, look for the food in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
--Audrey Hepburn

You freakin' go girl. 

Beauty doesn't come in a bottle, or a tube... it comes from you. Take care of yourself, strip negative forces from your life, and let your inner beauty shine out. You're a gorgeous and blinding force of nature.

Do something today that makes you happy and shine on! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

'Bell of the Beach

Hello all!

I wrote a new circuit today that I'm very excited about. I'm currently nursing a tendon injury that is preventing me from hitting the weights as hard as I normally would, so this last week has been full of rest days and cardio.

I felt up to doing some light weights I made a plan, made a backup plan just in case I couldn't even handle a dumbbell, and I monitored myself very carefully.

I'm pleased to report that I experienced no discomfort!! I'm going to be extra cautious and take another week off of isolation exercises; but this next week, I will slowly add in compound lifts. Hurray!

A fabulous mantra, no?
If you're planning on doing this circuit, or any other workout, be sure you have eaten a nice big breakfast. Your body is a machine, it needs fuel in order to perform! Make sure it's a nice clean breakfast so you're is ready to kick some butt! Maybe some banana-oatmeal pancakes sound good to you?

I based these pancakes off of this recipe here. I tripled the recipe, added in two bananas and topped those suckers with some greek yogurt for extra protein! The tripled recipe made 7 pancakes (I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter). Dr. Boyfriend had 4 and I had 3.

Onto the workout!

'Bell of the Beach Workout

A full body workout of exercises that can be done with with kettlebells (do you get it? :P ) or dumbbells. If you (or your gym) don't have a kettlebell handy, you can use a dumbbell or a medicine ball. If you're crafty, you could make your own weight out of an old gallon milk jug, sand and duct tape. You need something with decent heft to it and a handle. 

Remember, go at your own pace!! Listen to your body; if you need a break, take one! Be sure to keep yourself hydrated, drink some H2O whenever you feel the need.

The moves: squat, kettlebell swing, rear lunges, knees to chest, glute bridge, fire hydrants, and side planks w/reach-unders.

Here is a quick video demonstrating the exercises in the workout! I did a full circuit with just one quick break. 

It's not a pretty video, sorry. No music or words, just the sounds of the gym.

Warm up your body with a short walk on the treadmill, around the block, or by jogging in place for 1 minute. 

The Workout - Perform each superset and set 4 in order for 1 cycle, take a 30 sec break between each superset. Repeat the cycle 3-5 times. If you're done after 3, then you're done after 3. If you've got gas left in your tank after 3, shoot for 4 or 5. Know your limits, push yourself but not to injury.

Superset 1: squat & kettlebell swings
10 goblet squats (if this is too challenging, do body weight squats)
5 kettlebell swings

Superset 2: lunge & knees to chest
5 rear lunges (each leg), weight in hands and twist to front leg side (if this is too challenging, do body weight rear lunges)
10 knees to chest

Superset 3: glute bridge & fire hydrants
10 glute bridges, weight across hips
10 fire hydrants each leg

Set 4: side plank with reach-unders
30 seconds each side

This was a pretty monster workout for me. I did 5 rounds (the last round was the one I filmed and had super funkalicious breaks) and I completed the circuit in 32:35. According to my handy dandy PolarFT40, I burned off 295cal. Not too shabby! :) I had worked up a pretty good-sized appetite after this workout (I added in some other weightlifting to supplement), so I whipped up a huge chopped chicken salad.

1 cup of spinach/arugula mix, 1/4 avocado, 2 1/2 roasted beets, 1 apple, 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, 2 chicken thighs, and 1 T balsamic vinegar = 476 cal, 54g carbs, 13g fats, 37g protein
I've been enjoying some down time this past week. I've been hitting the books pretty hard, I'm loving the certification process, I am learning so so much. I've also been trying out some new snack recipes and snacks.

Oh, and smoothies! As a part of their #RESTweet campaign, the lovely ladies of Powercakes and For the Love of Kale put out a super delicious green smoothie recipe. I had been super wary of making my own green smoothie (side note, who else loves the Odwalla Superfood smoothie?!), but this recipe was so easy and so delicious. It was the perfect way to break in my new blender.

Sliced apple with Fage Total 2% with cinnamon, like apple pie fries! 

Cucumber chips and guac, got this one from my co-worker who went paleo for a number of months.

Kale chips!!! A standby and total favorite. I can't keep enough of these around.

Prunes with Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar, a sweet and salty combo that I like late at night for dessert.

The #RESTweek smoothie which may become a near daily staple in my diet, it's too good! 35g of protein!!!!
As if the snack photos weren't enough, here's a shot of the gorgeous view from the top of the hike Dr. Boyfriend and I took yesterday.

The dish trail offers totally awesome views of the Stanford campus, this is my go-to hike. :)