Monday, September 30, 2013

It begins . . .

Day 1 of the Paleo challenge is off to a good start!  I got up at 5:30 this morning, drank my water, and did the mini workout (calf raises).

After I got Liam off to football, I exercised.  I just did my slim and 6 DVD because I know it's a good work out for me (cardio and strength).  But I'm excited to hear what you guys think of the workouts she provided, if you do them.  And thanks for that GREAT list of workout options that you just posted Carrie!!!  I'm sure I'll try a few if them as well!

The breakfast was super yummy, and the perfect amount (I did the eggs, avocado, and bacon).  I'm curious to see how you like the breakfast quiches, Taryn.  I think it's a great thing to be able to grab on busy mornings.

I've already drank 32 oz of water, and it's not even 9am yet.  So I'm feeling really good about that, because I'm not the best at remembering to drink water throughout my day.

Anyway, I can't wait to hear your updates!  I'm really excited about this . . . And actually feel like it's going to be sustainable, and work for me!  I love that I can sneak my work out in after Liam leaves, and before I wake the other kids up!  That's been such an issue over the last several years . . . Just finding a consistent spot in my day for excercise.  I like the fact that I don't have to wake up to excercise . . . I'm waking up for something else, and can just slip it in there so nicely.   :)

I'm excited!

Love you all, and good luck!  :)

Oh . . . P. S.  I made the eggplant bruschetta last night and it was really yummy!  :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013


so, i know we're starting the paleo challenge and there are specific workouts we're already supposed to do on there, but I already had this post started so I thought I might as well get it posted.  Here are some great resources for workouts and inspiration online.

do yoga with me is a great site with all the yoga routines you could ask for in varying levels and timeframes.  it's free but you can donate money to keep it going.  LOVE this site when my body has been through the ringer and I'm feeling tight.  And don't be fooled, some of these are dang hard and will make you sweat!

brett cap.  maybe a little 'hollywood' but I've done a few of his workouts and really like them.  and he's got some vidoes on nutrition too.

we all know gillian michaels from 'The Biggest Loser'.  I love to do her videos on youtube.   She's got some good ones like 30 day shred, 6 pack in six weeks, yoga, etc.

the daily hiit.  My go-to workout site.  Used to be bodyrock.  Love it!!  So many quick, high intensity workouts.  They work.  They really do.  They've gotten me into some really good shape and you can always fit them into your day.  A good place to start is clicking 'check out today's workout' on the homepage.  That's what I do mostly, but as you get more familiar with it, you can explore.  Often, they have challenges you can do too.  They've also got some new hosts which I think has helped a bit with the 'trashy' issue.

thalita pascual is a personal trainer and bodybuilder.  This is a link to her instagram.  I just like her for inspiration.  She works SO hard for her body.  She posts small clips of her workouts, inspirational quotes, meals, and pictures.  I get a lot of inspiration from her, to keep pushing and never give up.  I have learned though, that some things that motivate me, totally do the opposite for others, so I don't know if anyone would feel the same.

ab ripper x.  P90X ab workout.  me and brad do this every other day (and he does it with the guys he works with too).  11 moves, 25 reps of each.  It's good.  Funny, cause we watched one of the ab videos in the paleo challenge and it's seriously a copy of this one, with a few minor changes, but same moves in the same order.

Zuzka Light.  She charges now for her ZCut : ( , but you can still get some free videos of her older workouts (ZWODs and ZWOWs) and some diet help

Tone It Up.  Love their workouts.  tabs at the top of the page so you can read about fitness or nutrition.  simple but effective.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

workout tips, part 3

the last of my workout tips:

-posture.  it is amazing what posture can do for you.  something else I'm working on.  I tend to slouch but I look ten times better when I stick my chest out and lift my head to the sky.  Look in the mirror and try it.  I remind myself often throughout the day, to stand or sit up tall.  It feels a little strange but the more you do it, the more natural it will become.

-don't just go through the motions.  visualize your muscles and squeeze the ones you're working.  Stay FOCUSED throughout.  if your mind starts wandering you won't get as good of a workout. push yourself! set tiny goals within your workout.  'i'm going to go .5 more miles on the treadmill' and when you reach it, say, 'just .2 more'.  or add an extra set of squats after you finish what you had planned to do.  use enough weight that it's not easy for you and you're fatigued by the last rep.

-stretch.  it's really important to stretch GOOD.  don't just lean over each leg for 2 seconds and swing your arms around and call it good.  really sit in the stretch for awhile.  take deep breaths and go deeper on every exhale.  try to sit in each stretch for 5 breaths.  Stretching helps get you the long, lean muscles we all strive for.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

workout tips, part 2 of 3

sorry, i have a lot to say about working out.  : )  just some things that have helped me stick to my workouts daily:

-set aside a time each day for your workout.  It's easier to stick to if it's part of a routine.  Every day, I wake up and put on my workout clothes first thing.  then I eat a healthy breakfast, drop the kids off at school, and prepare to workout (fill up my water, get my protein shake ready for post-workout, write down my workout, drive to the gym, etc.). it's part of my everyday routine and it's easy.  last year, i volunteered in colsie's class every wednesday, soon after dropping him off, so there wasn't time for the workout.  i just knew on those days, the routine was volunteer and THEN workout.  It was a little change in the regular flow, but I just knew every wednesday THAT was the routine.  again, it wasn't hard.   

-do something active EVERY DAY.  every day doesn't have to be the same intensity.  do yoga the day after you lift hard.  go on a walk or hike. try a new workout video.

-get creative.  of course, even with a routine, sometimes things get thrown off.  this morning, for example, i skipped meals and therefore felt very lethargic.  I didn't get my morning workout in.  Colse had soccer practice at 5:30, so I put on my workout clothes, drove him to practice, let the other two kids play on the playground, while I did box jumps on a 3 foot curb right by the playground.  I could watch the kids and get my heart rate up.  I did a couple (kind of) pull-ups on the monkey bars (it's my goal to be able to do 5 pull-ups without help but I'm nowhere near being able to yet), a few lunges, and some push-ups in the grass.  the kids even joined me for those. You do NOT need a gym.  there are plenty of online workouts.  go to a park, use your kitchen table for pull ups, do dips between two chairs.  no excuses!  you can workout ANYWHERE!  i don't think i got the best workout today but it doesn't matter to me.  I had a killer workout yesterday, so taking it a bit easier was probably a good thing.  i'm just glad i did SOMETHING instead of writing it off since it didn't happen in the morning!

-set goals.  like i said, my goal is to be able to do 5 pull-ups without help.  make it attainable so you don't set yourself up for failure.  last year, i had a goal to be able to do 10 guy push-ups without dropping to my knees.  i started with the girl version at the beginning, and it felt SO gratifying when I could do a few guy push-ups after a month of hard work.  Hard work pays off.  don't give up!  When you have a goal, it gives you a reason to keep working at a skill.  If I didn't have the pull-up goal, I probably wouldn't even do pull-ups, but with my goal in mind, I try to fit in a couple sets every other day, using a chair to help myself up.  That's the only way I'll improve and meet my goal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

sample meal plan and recipes

MEALS for the day (just an example of what a day could look like):

7:30 breakfast- oatmeal. spinach omelet (made with 3 egg whites and a whole egg).  WATER. vitamins (fish oil, b vitamins, CLA to help with fat loss)

10:00 mid-morning snack- protein shake after your workout.  and maybe a few almonds.

12:00 lunch-salad with tomatoes and almonds, a squeeze of lime and some pepper, salmon, and sweet potatoes. WATER.  another CLA pill.

2:30 afternoon snack-ezekial toast (freezer section of health food store) with some coconut oil spread on top or some organic peanut butter (i've heard good things about PB2 but haven't tried it.  you could mix some of that with some natural peanut butter.)

6:00 dinner- grilled chicken, brown or wild rice (or quinoa), and a veggie from the veggies listed on the third link in the 'diet tips' post. WATER.  CLA.

8:00 evening snack- a piece of fruit, cottage cheese, and a glass of herbal tea.



Avocado Protein Shake- 1/4 frozen avocado, handful frozen spinach, about 1/2 cup almond milk?  (i really just pour some in til it looks about right), 5 ice cubes, a scoop of protein powder  (we use muscle milk).

Pour it all in a blender and blend til smooth.  Creamy, delicious and full of protein, good fat, and veggies.

Peanut Butter/Banana smoothie- 1 frozen banana, 1 T. natural peanut butter (I really want to try the PB2.  it's healthier), 5 ice cubes,  1/2 cup almond milk, a T. honey (preferably RAW honey.  health food store).   optional: protein powder (you could get a peanut butter flavored one!)

Pour all in a blender and mix til smooth.

Oatmeal- This is a great meal to eat before your workout, along with a few egg whites (protein).
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup water (really you should do 1 cup water and leave out the almond milk, but I just can't do it.  almond milk gives more flavor.  it's the healthy fat.) a dash of salt.

stir around and cook in microwave for about 2 minutes (watch nearby so it doesn't boil over).

add a truvia packet (granules made from the stevia plant), a dash of vanilla, and a few shakes of cinnamon.

only every once in awhile i'll add a peach or some blueberries or apples to it.  most days i eat it without fruit.  remember to make some egg whites too!

oatmeal pancakes-  i've posted the recipe before.  Here's the link.  these are great!   they have egg whites, cottage cheese, and oats.  awesome breakfast.  just be sure not to pour tons of syrup on top.  i've had them with a tsp of coconut oil spread on top (don't overdo that either.  it IS a fat.  fat is good for us but not too much), and a sprinkle of the truvia.

sweet potatoes- I LOVE sweet potatoes.  (note: sweet potatoes are yellow, yams are orange.  they're in the same family and both are good for you but after reading about them i think sweet potatoes are better and, in my opinion YUMMIER.)  I like to buy like 6 at a time and prepare them in big batches so that I always have some ready in the fridge, for lunches or dinners.

wash and peel potatoes.
cut into small squares.
spread evenly in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
pour a couple Tablespoons of olive oil over them. (or you could use melted coconut oil)
sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  (experiment with different flavors.  you could do rosemary instead of cinnamon, or do garlic salt, or cayenne pepper.  so many options)

Put in preheated 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy.

LOVE THESE!  they're great as a side with some lean meat and veggies or a salad.  Just remember your portion sizes from the 'diet tips' post.

workout tips: part 1 of 3

I LOVE to workout.  It gives me more energy, more confidence, and more motivation to do better in other parts of my life.

Some tips to get the most out of your workout:

-Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Eating meals as outlined in the previous post, gives me the energy I need to get a GOOD workout.  If I'm not going to eat like this, I'm wasting my time working out.  I won't have the protein to maintain my muscle, I won't have the veggies to replenish my vitamins.  I won't have the carbs to give me energy and I won't have the fat to help burn fat. FOOD IS FUEL.  when i started seeing it that way, it became easier to eat a healthy diet.

-LIFT WEIGHTS!!!!  Just trust me.  I'm doing squats with 95 lbs and cleans with, i think, 55lbs and that's HARD for me.  But I'm not getting big.  I'm getting smaller.  muscle is waaaay more compact than fat, so if you're following a good diet and burning fat, you'll look smaller when you lift weight because the fat is coming off and the (tight, compact) muscle is building.  but if you don't have a gym membership, never fear.  at least invest in a couple weights.  maybe some 15 lb dumbbells for squats and some 5s or 8s for smaller muscles (biceps, triceps).  Or just buy one 15-20lb kettlebell and do kettlebell swings.  a great full body workout!

-get rest!  When you're working out, your body needs to rest so it can heal.  Exercise definitely makes you feel energized but you also get tired by the end of the day.  You're body needs rest so it can go at it again in the morning.  Keep your immune system strong by going to bed early.  I always get sick when I'm lacking sleep.

-Don't work the same muscle group two days in a row.  When we rest, we get stronger.  When you work a muscle, you're essentially damaging that muscle and, on your rest day, the muscle repairs itself, making it stronger.  If it doesn't have a day of rest, it won't be able to strengthen.  I do abs monday, wednesday, and friday.  That part of my routine is set.  But my other body parts, I switch around.  If I feel like a leg day I might do squats, lunges, deadlifts, and cleans.  The next day I'll do push-ups, pull-ups, dips, weights, and maybe do my cardio too.  Then I go back to legs the next day.  It's different each week, depending on how I feel. (and i will do cardio on consecutive days)

-Cardio.  If you want to see results you must have the trifecta: DIET, WEIGHTLIFTING, and CARDIO.  We've talked about the first two, but cardio will help burn that fat.  YOU NEED ALL THREE! Something I'm FINALLY learning.  I'm usually doing good with one or two of these at any given time, but not usually all three.  I haven't focused on cardio in forever but I just started running again.  It's so hard for me, because I don't have great endurance, but I'm going to commit to at least 3x a week.  You don't need a ton of cardio.  Just 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week.  Go jogging, do the elliptical, do an aerobics video, do a 20 minute HIIT workout with jumprope, high knees, burpees, etc.  mix it up so you don't get bored.  Right now, I can handle maybe 2 miles on the track, but as I get better I'll be able to go further.

-Switch it up.  Don't do the same old workouts every single week.  it eventually gets boring and you won't stick to it.  I love to workout because it's an adventure every day.  I actually get excited at night, thinking about what i'm going to do in the morning.  i sincerely look forward to going to the gym the next day, or staying home and trying a new youtube video, or going for a jog, or doing yoga.  it's so much fun to me.  I definitely have workouts that i love and repeat, but I switch it up often.  Compare it to the way you eat.  Would you want to eat the same dinner every single night?  NO WAY!  You switch it up often.  I'm sure we all have recipes that we make more than once because our family loves them, but we definitely try new things to keep it interesting and fun.

in a future post, i'll give some links of good workouts and fitness sites that i love.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Diet tips

Hi sisters!

 I love to read about nutrition and ways to achieve a healthy and SUSTAINABLE diet (a lifestyle, as opposed to a 'diet' that is short-term and unrealistic).  I wrote this HUGE post and then decided to break it up so it's not so much info at one time.  So today, I'll share some tips for a good diet.  One that will keep you from having cravings.

  First off, how often should we be eating?

-Every 2-3 hours.  It keeps you going.  The days I struggle with getting my 6 meals are the days that I have a hard time making it through the day.

  What kinds of foods should we be eating?

-Meals should be balanced, consisting of veggies, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fat.  Here are some links to some pins on my Pinterest.  I love all three of these, to give you a visual of what your plate should look like.

 I especially love the 3rd picture because it specifies 'low-glycemic' carbs, 'organic' protein, and 'non-starchy' veggies.   It also reminds us that we need (healthy) fats in our diet.  I have learned that we actually burn fat by eating GOOD fats.  It also gives examples of foods in each category, which is awesome.  Study that picture until you have it memorized.  great info!  I believe that if we can eat this way daily, we'll have a lot less cravings for junk.

I've been trying to eat this way for at least a week and I feel really good.  It hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would, because I have an outline for myself to stick to (see above).  So, when everyone was eating dinner the other night and my in-laws brought delicious smelling rosemary bread and soft-looking rolls from kneaders, I actually said no, and stuck to it!  Because I already had a balanced meal with my grilled chicken, wild rice, green beans, and water.  And herbal tea for dessert!  And guess what!  I was completely satisfied after my meal and so proud of myself for not eating the bread.  And when we went out the next night to the park and they brought a pizza to share, I passed on the pizza and had a protein shake with lots of spinach and avocado when I got home(i'll put the recipe in another post).


-drink water.  LOTS of it!  If it's been two hours since you ate, and you were trying to make it to two and a half or three, guzzle the water.  A lot of the time we're just thirsty.  Pay attention to your pee.  I NEVER used to think about this until marrying B.  He's big on staying hydrated.  Any HINT of yellow, drink more.  You want it to look like you didn't pee, like there's just water in the toilet.  sorry if that's too personal.  ; )

-have dark chocolate on hand for a little treat, when you need it.  (and when i say 'treat' i mean like one square of chocolate).  I get the Lindt 90% cocoa.  It's not sweet, like you want it to be (it's actually quite bitter tasting) but you get used to it.

-plan your meals.  have leftovers in the fridge for lunches.  this SAVES me.  i'm so so bad at making lunch.  if i don't have something easy, i'll either eat junk because it's fast, or i won't eat at all, and that's just a recipe for disaster.  i end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and short tempered, and can hardly get through the day.  if i have a leftover piece of chicken in the fridge and some already cooked rice, and some salad, it's so easy.

-have frozen avocado and spinach in the freezer for smoothies.  I separate avocados into 1/4s (chopped into small bites).  put them in baggies in the freezer.  adds the good fat to your smoothie and makes it creamier.  for the spinach, I just buy a plastic container of organic spinach and put the whole container in the fridge.

-frozen bananas are good too (for smoothies).  peel, cut and put in baggies in whatever portions you want. (maybe 1/2 a banana in each baggie)

-limit the fruit but don't beat yourself up if you have some.  Fruit is sugar.  Yes, it has vitamins but you can get those from veggies too.  So we don't want too much fruit but I don't like to ELIMINATE it.  Maybe limit yourself to one piece a day.  The BEST fruits are dark berries, kiwi, and grapefruit.  Have a piece as dessert or a sweet snack during the day.  Definitely beats having a bowl of ice cream.  (apple with almond butter or peanut butter is so yummy! green apples are better than red, health wise.)

-after your 6th meal, no more eating.  try to go to bed an hour or two later.  don't stay up so late that you end up starving and needing more food.