Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Apple cider vinegar?

I keep hearing all these amazing things about apple cider vinegar. Like how it can control blood sugar, clear up skin problems, aid in digestion, help with weight loss, clear a stuffy nose, increase energy and more.There's even some actual research that has been done on it's benefits.  Soooo...I decided to start taking shots of it for a month. 

It is recommended that one gets unfiltered, raw organic apple cider vinegar if you're going to ingest it...so I did. I bought mine for about $4 at my local grocery store. I watered down my first "shot"about two weeks ago (1 tbsp and about 1/2 cup water) and drank it as fast as possible and then chased it with another big glass of water. It is not the tastiest thing in the world, but I'm pretty sure I've done other kinds of shots that were equally if not more disgusting and didn't have any health benefits at all :) 

So after doing the shots for almost two weeks and this is what I've found so far: I feel WAY less bloated, my appetite has decreased (especially less cravings in the sugar department) and when I'm ravenously hungry and I take a shot, I feel like my blood sugar stabilizes enough to make great food choices. Like instead of wanting to eat the entire kitchen contents, I'm able to make myself a couple eggs and be satisfied. Also, about this time of year, my sinuses are a mess; and thus far, I have had NO problems.  So, I'll continue it for sure...at least for a month and see what else happens :) 





Pumpkin muffins with a protein boost





I am 100% aware of how ridiculous those photos are, but I needed to really show how yummy these muffins actually are (especially after this sweaty, calorie scorching workout). I'm' trying the muffin in the first photo and then that is my surprised reaction to their deliciousness (probably not a word).

Anyway. These muffins are 80 calories each and have 4 grams of filling protein in them. They are also gluten-free for the wheat fearing people out there.

I hope you like them as much as I do!

Yields 16 regular muffins
(10 min prep, 22 min bake time)

What you need:

  • non-stick cooking spray (or muffin tin liners-I highly recommend parchment paper muffin tin liners-no sticking, no cleanup!)
  • 1 1/4 cup old fashion oats made into flour (don’t freak out…just put them in your blender/food processor/magic bullet/etc. for like 10 seconds. Congrats, you just made your own oat flour)
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder (I used Isagenix IsaPro…delicious in baked goods!)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, original flavor almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

What to do: 
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients (oat flour that you made, protein powder, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg), then mix in all wet ingredients. Tough, right? Fill your muffin tins ½ full (like ¼ cup).  Bake for 20-23 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out goop-free. Cool before diving in.

Here are the crazy-unbelievable nutrition facts…but don’t get carried away; the entire batch will still set you back almost 1,300 calories. But for one normal sized muffin: 80 calories, 13 carbs, 1.5 grams fiber, 1 gram fat and 4 grams protein.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Weekend workout

Do this simple workout this weekend for a metabolism boost and some good ol' stress relief. Please note that I said "simple," not "easy." It's meant to be a challenge. The first round you may think to yourself that it's just not that big of a deal...just keep going and see how you feel after the fifth round. 

Enjoy!

The Workout

Do each exercise for 45 seconds before moving on to the next...the repeat the list of exercises 5 times. Make sure to do a quick warm up and definitely stretch afterwards. For the most impact, move as quickly as possible from exercise to exercise with as little rest as possible. And....GO!

  1. Jump Squats
  2. Push ups
  3. Burpees
  4. Wall Sit
  5. Mountain Climbers

:-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Up your game


I have a hard time doing the same workout over and over again...and when I get bored, it's time to up my game. Plus, it's really important to increase intensity and vary movements in order to reach your fitness goals and not plateau. Don't get bored with your workouts; check out the three new things I've added to my workouts in the past 2 weeks to "up my game."

1. See that pretty picture of the fun looking stairs at Liberty Memorial (KCMO)? That is my new favorite warm up/interval sprinting places. Those stairs...whew! Game UPed!

2. Check out the four year old (who looks like a 10 year old) in my jogging stroller below. My Sunday morning runs have increased in intensity by about 70lbs (when adding super cute son Carter and the stroller). The smaller 6 month old would be a great choice too...but this kid loves the wind in his hair and yelling "faster" to his super sweaty, panting mommy (that's me, folks) Game UPed!

3. Sometimes my husband and I like to think about what exercises could be combined into MEGA-exercises. For example, last week, we "invented" the Burpee Climber. You do a burpee (with a push up) but before you jump up, you get to do 4 mountain climbers. Game UPed!

Enjoy!









Friday, August 28, 2015

Quinoa bites version 2.0: more veggies, less calories..just better!


Okay...I have now made about 20 versions of my original Quinoa and Kale Protein Muffins and I've realized two things: they aren't really muffins and you can put just about anything in them. Soooo...here's the latest version. I've decreased the calories by putting in more veggies so they are more like snacks but are still very filling. Enjoy!

On-the-go Veggie and Quinoa Frittatas
(Gluten free!)

What you need: 
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 1.5 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 large zucchini either finely chopped (or I just spiralized mine and ran a knife through the strings to make them super small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli (I just used frozen) 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (to enhance taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I am generous with both)
  • 7 eggs lightly beaten
  • 18 parchment paper muffin tin liners (I get mine at Target)
What you do:
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Place muffin tin liners into a muffin tin
  • Cook quinoa as package directs in the vegetable broth (let cool)
  • Combine cooled quinoa, feta, onion, broccoli, zucchini, garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper and eggs and mix well
  • Spoon mixture into the lined muffin tin (you can fill the tin right up to the top-ends up being like a 1/3 cup)
  • Bake for 25 minute and let cool a bit before diving in
These freeze super well...just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 1 minute and let cool.

The recipe makes 18 protein muffins and has these fun nutrition facts:
Per muffin: 

70 calories
3 grams fat
4.5 grams protein
6 carbs
1 grams fiber
less than 1 gram sugar

Protein chips!?!

If you've talked to me at all in the past 2 weeks or so, you know I'm kinda obsessed with Quest protein bars. For a girl who is always on the run, they are a great go-to meal paired with some cut up veggies. Sometimes, however, it's nice to have something salty; enter Quest Protein Chips. Obviously from the picture below, I'm very excited about the new find (and very sweaty after teaching my 4th class of the day-whoop!) I found these guys at Price Chopping (in the health food section). There are other flavors too and with 21 grams of protein and 120 calories (and only 5 carbs), they are filling and crunchy and salty. I mean, don't think they are going to taste just like potato chips, but I will give them two "Yums" up.




Friday, August 7, 2015

Obsessed with this workout

What's your goal? Get stronger? Faster? Leaner? Burn off that extra desert or too much wine? This workout does it all. You should be able to do it in 45 minutes flat as long as you don't rest (or at least keep the clock running.

Here's what to do: 
Do all exercises for 90 seconds each, then 60 seconds each and finally 30 seconds each. Rest when you need to but if you need to push it, no rest! :)


  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walk out push ups
  • Wall Sit
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Burpees (with our without the push up-your workout)
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Walking lunges
  • Planks
  • Box jumps (jump onto a step if you don't have a box)
  • Dips
  • Single leg bridge (do 90 seconds each leg)
  • Sit ups
Enjoy! 

Obsessed with "spiralizing" veggies

I'm always talking about eating stupid amounts of vegetable and this gadget has made it easier than ever; I'm obsessed. It came in the mail yesterday and I immediately put a zucchini and sweet potato in it as a test. It took all of 30 seconds (maybe) to create these masterpieces below. 


The photo of the orange stuff is sweet potato. I just threw those suckers on a baking sheet with cooking spray and spices and baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes...deliciously thin curly sweet potato fries (next time, I'll toss them in coconut oil...yummy!) 

And then we have zucchini "noodles." I just sauteed those guys for about 5 minutes just to soften them up a bit and ate them as is. But next spaghetti night at my house, I'm going to dress them up a bit with sauce and meatballs (and sneak a few "noodles" into the boys' traditional spaghetti-I bet they won't even notice!)

I will have more recipes later...but couldn't keep my original spiralizing adventure to myself-you're welcome :) 

 
The spiralizer I ordered off Amazon.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Obsessed with this playlist

Try it out...great sweatin' music!

Friday, July 3, 2015

3 slimming rules for celebrating this weekend

Here you go: 

1. Start your day with a workout: run, walk, Tabata, just move!

2. For every non-water drink (you know what I'm talking about), have two classes of the pure stuff: water. For example: one lemonade, 2 waters, one beer, 2 waters, etc.

3. Eat stupid amounts of veggies. You can always find, or bring(!), veggies at every get together. Eat them...lots of them to fill you up! 

That's it! Happy Fourh! 

New fav protein bar

Check out my newest favorite protein bar: the Quest Bar. With like a zillion different flavors, there is something for everyone. They also pack in a about 20 grams of protein, 18 grams of fiber and all for less than 200 calories! 

My breakfast this morning between boot camp and interval boxing classes: 

Fourth of July Playlist

Get outside over your three day weekend  and workout to these heart pumping jams! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

15 minute total body burn

Only have 15 minutes? No equipment handy? NO problem. I have been loving-hating this little workout for the last couple weeks...hope you like it too! :)

3 minutes walking lunges (I can get in about 120 or so in that time)
12 push ups
12 tricep dips
12 crunches with legs straight down on the floor
12 bicycle crunches 
12 crunches with legs in table top
24 crunches with legs straight up in the air
12 crunches with legs in table top
12 bicycle crunches
12 crunches with legs straight down on the floor
12 tricep dips
12 push ups
1 minute single leg bridges right leg
1 minute single leg bridges left leg
1 minute plank 
Repeat push-up/ab sequence

You're done!

(if you want some extra...you can carry a weight around with you...or a baby...use your resources, people :) )

Protein packed Kale and Quinoa Muffins

Last month, after I gave birth to the sweetest little girl Quinn, my friend Missie brought by some delicious quinoa kale bites. She froze them so that I just had to pop one in the microwave for a minute and viola, a protein packed snack or meal that I could eat with one hand while feeding a baby or playing hide and seek with a preschooler. I instantly fell in love with them and have remade them several times tweaking them along the way to my own nutritional needs. They are pretty easy, freeze beautifully and are the perfect on-the-go protein packed punch. I hope you like them as much as I do!

                                                                
Kale and Quinoa Protein Muffins
(Gluten free!)

What you need: 
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 1.5 cup vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup shelled and cooked edamame coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups kale finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • dash of cayenne pepper (to enhance taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I am generous with both)
  • 6 eggs lightly beaten
  • 12 parchment paper muffin tin liners (I get mine at Target)
What you do:
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Place muffin tin liners into a muffin tin
  • Cook quinoa as package directs in the vegetable broth (let cool)
  • Combine cooled quinoa, feta, onion, kale, garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper and eggs and mix well
  • Spoon mixture into the lined muffin tin (you can fill the tin right up to the top)
  • Bake for 25 minute and let cool a bit before diving in
These freeze super well...just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 1 minute and let cool.

The recipe makes 12 protein muffins and has these fun nutrition facts:
 
Per muffin: 

120 calories
5.5 grams fat
8 grams protein
10 carbs
1.5 grams fiber
less than 1 gram sugar

Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Eat your veggies!

You know that eating healthy includes eating fresh veggies. But sometimes just because you know you should do something, doesn’t make it easy to do.  I personally think everyone should be eating a stupid amount of veggies, but you definitely want to get at least 5 half cup servings of veggies a day

Why eat your veggies? For many many many reasons, but here are a few compelling reasons for loading up your plate and snack drawer with things that grow in the ground.

  • Vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to operate. Plus they are a great source of fiber! Studies show that those who eat a diet rich in fresh produce have a lower incidence of disease such as cancer, cardiovascular issues and stroke.
  • Eating fresh veggies can help you control your weight. Vegetables are naturally low in calories and most are virtually fat free. So eat them first thing at a meal to eat less calories overall.
  • Eating veggies will make you feel good. When you eat whole foods (unprocessed food), your body responds well, your skin glows and your systems work like they should.

5 servings of vegetables might seem like a hard pill to swallow or get into your schedule. But it’s actually very easy if you make sure to have a serving at every meal and snack. Here are a few simple ways to get your daily quota without blinking an eye.

  • Breakfast:
    • Throw some peppers, zucchini and broccoli in your morning omelet
    • Make a tasty smoothie with a bunch of baby spinach and kale, your favorite fruit and unsweetened almond milk (you won’t even be able to taste the greens…I promise)
  • Lunch:
    • Top your sandwich with actual veggies (forget the sad piece of lettuce and tiny sliced tomatoes…they don’t count). Add cucumbers, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, etc.
    • Hit the salad bar and load up with all colors of pre-cut vegetables including dark leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, cabbage, you get the picture…lots of veggies.
  • Dinner:
    • Load your spaghetti sauce (or any sauce for that matter) with tons of veggies. My favorites are broccoli, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms.
    • Make stir fry with lean meat and lots of veggies such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms and celery.
    • Steam your favorite veggie and have it on the side…have lots on the side…so much so that it looks like it’s the main course
    • Eat a side salad before dinner to eat less
    • Make an old school vegetable soup with lots of chunky veggies and for some “oomph” add some potatoes.
  • Snacks:
    • When you go to the salad bar for a salad, get lots of pre-cut veggies for to much on when you get hungry
    • Make sure to have cut up carrots, broccoli, peppers, celery, jicama, etc for crunching and dipping in low fat protein packed dips like hummus.
    • Steam a bag of veggies (frozen veggies are just like fresh…as long as they aren’t in sauce)
    • Get a pre-cut veggie tray and eat off of it (often)
 So what counts as half a cup? Besides the obvious measuring techniques, keep these easy to remember tips close at hand:

·         5 broccoli florets
·         6 baby carrots
·         1 large handful of raw greens (spinach, lettuce, cabbage)
·         1 large stalk of celery
·         ½ large ear of corn
·         6 bell pepper strips

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January Heat Wave Workout

Get outside tomorrow, Wednesday January 28...it's going to be in the upper 60s! Don't breath in stale air while you workout when you can be getting the fresh stuff. Take your booty to the street, park, backyard, etc. and sweat it out with this do-anywhere workout!

Warm up (walk/jog): 5 minutes
(repeat the workout below for 30 minutes or your allotted workout time)

12 push ups
20 jumping jacks
12 tricep dips
50 walking lunges
walk fast/jog/run/sprint for 5 minutes

Cool down (walk/jog): 5 minutes
STRETCH

Enjoy!

Heatwave in January playlist

Tips for joining a gym that is just right for you

It's the last week in January and that means that deals on gym memberships may be expiring soon. So if you're thinking of joining a gym, now is a great time to take advantage of the New Year's discounts. But, before you hand over your hard earned money, did you know a staggering 67% of people who pay for gym  memberships never use them...what?! Don't be a sucker; join a gym that is right for you and your goals. Here are several areas to investigate and questions to ask to make the right choice for you!

  1. Join a gym in a location that you are going to drive to. Duh, right? But 4 out of 5 people that pay for a gym membership, don’t use it…crazy! For most people, the gym should be very near (10 minutes or less) from their home or office. If you join a facility that is hard to get to or will make it hard to get a workout in on a busy day, you will not go.
  2. Your ideal gym will have the amenities that you want and need.
·         Are you social and like to spend time with other people? Then join a gym that has group fitness classes.
·         Do you know that you need some extra support and direction to get fit? Make sure that there is personal trainer available.
·         Are your children going to accompany you to the gym? Find out if there is childcare at the facility.
·         Are you expecting to swim as part of your routine? Your gym needs an indoor pool.
·         Will you be changing into your workout gear or showering at the gym after your workouts? See if the gym in question has locker rooms with showers, towels and lockers.
·         Do you need a 24 hour facility because of your schedule? There are many gyms that are open 24 hours a day. Check out the facilities hours of operation.
·         Are you on the road frequently? Many gyms are part of a larger organization that has locations all over the country. For those that get around, make sure that your membership fee includes access to these other facilities.
  1. Join a clean gym. Exercise facilities and locker rooms can be a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria. Ask your prospective fitness facility how often they machines are cleaned, equipment is disinfected and the locker rooms and childcare areas are scrubbed down.
  2. Are the membership fees within your budget? If you can’t pay for the membership, then you obviously shouldn’t join.
  3. What is the cancellation policy? Life changes, so make sure that there is a reasonable cancellation policy in case you need to quit your membership. Some gyms require a 30 day written notice while others have lengthy contracts that are difficult and expensive to break. Know what and how long you’re signing up for before you sign on the dotted line.
  4. Find out what is included in your membership fee. Some gyms have the following benefits included in the membership and some charge extra. Find out how much your membership is actually going to cost you before joining.
·         Group Exercise Classes
·         Locker rental/towel service
·         Child Care
·         Swimming
·         Personal Training
·         Fitness Evaluations
·         Equipment Orientation

  1. Try it before you buy it. You might do this with several fitness facilities to get a feel for what you like in a gym. Most gyms give a few days of free passes to use their location and some even give a 2-week free trial. Take advantage of this so that you can try out classes, make sure you’re comfortable with the environment and other members and staff.
  2. Make sure that the instructors and personal trainers have a current national certification. Many gyms require that their trainers to have highly reputable national fitness certifications and some do not. You want the experts at your gym to be trained properly so that they can train you properly, so ask.

Happy gym hunting!