I got a good cardio workout in today, plus those evil PT exercises:
- Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
Single-leg-lift-crunches x 30 each side
Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side
- 30 mins cycling, using Random intervals, average level 8.
- 30 mins swimming laps.
I was feeling all that cardio today, more-so than earlier in the week. I greatly enjoyed a little nap afterwards. 🙂
As always, exercise needs to be paired with a good diet to be effective. Last night I made a stellar carne asada and baby kale salad (if I do say so myself) and I thought you might appreciate the recipe. Paleo and delicious!
Paleo Carne Asada
Ingredients (for 2-3 people):
Note: Sauce ingredients make enough for up to 9lbs of meat.
- 3lbs Grassfed Skirt Steak, tenderized (the more you tenderize, the more it will soak in the sauce)
- 3/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- 1/3 cup lime juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Bragg’s amino acids or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Optional: 1 dried chipotle pepper finely ground (this will really make the dish spicy, without it the sauce isn’t too hot, I didn’t add it personally)
- Mix all ingredients and whisk until well-mixed. Remove one cup of the mixture and reserve it for later.
- Add the steak to the marinade and marinate covered in the fridge anywhere from 5-24 hours. Skirt steak is traditionally a tougher cut so the longer it marinates the more tender it is, though some skirt steak (like the Boyden Farm one I purchased from Vermont) is already quite tender so 5 hours is enough time. If it’s particularly tough you can let it marinate for up to 48 hours.
- Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat.
- Grill ~5 mins each side for medium rare.
- Slice the meat across the grain. Pour the rest of the marinade over the meat and serve.
Baby Kale Summer Salad
- 3-4 large handfuls of baby kale
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 ripe avocado, cubed
- 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 medium-sized lime, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix kale, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss with lime juice.
The salad and steak really compliment each other. I love mixing warm meat with cool veggies this time of year. For the salad, definitely feel free to add whatever fresh vegetables you have around. I grabbed a zucchini from my garden and forgot to use it but thankfully I have more kale and will be recreating this salad again tonight. It’s been a staple in my lunches as well as it’s a very easy salad to through together at work and lime + cilantro is basically like crack. So tasty!! Enjoy!
I started week two of C25K this week. So far it’s noticeably easier this time around and I feel that’s a testament to how my level of fitness has increased over the years. It’s also a huge help that I’ve kept up with a daily yoga practice. My legs were sore last week but daily stretching with yoga, plus a longer class on Thursday night, has really helped make the soreness barely noticeable. This week I also upped my speed in half of the segments that I’m running. The program this week has me alternating running for 1.5 mins and walking for 2 mins for a total of about 29 minutes. I was excited to break the two mile mark yesterday and will try to up my speed when I run again tomorrow. I will say I’m missing my HiiT workouts. I had to shift things around to make room for running so I’m taking a break from HiiT and Kettlebell 2-3 days/wk to running 3 days/wk. While running is great to build my cardio, it’s also a bit boring (especially when compared to HiiT), and it’s not dynamic so it’s uber-focused on legs and core so the rest of my body is just happy I’m continuing to climb and do yoga to keep it active.
I reached a new height in climbing today by killing a 5.9+ route. Regular climbers may not find this impressive, but for me it was a big deal. I specifically chose the route because it had very few jugs and was mostly slopers, pinchers and globes. I hate all of those, though slopers and I have become friendly lately. I’ll also admit the two globes thrown into that route proved to be really nice resting points. But pinchers? We’re still not cool, pinchers. For the non-climbers that read my blog I will eventually explain more about those different holds so sorry if you feel left in the dark for now.
I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new smoothie recipe, so here’s my current favorite:
Pineapple Mango Smoothie:
- 1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk (recipe here)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tbsp flax seed (if your blender won’t pulverize this buy it ground)
- handful fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup frozen mangos
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
Blend it up in the mixer of your choice! I still love my Vitamix and make smoothies for myself and my partner every morning. If you’d like to indulge in the rest of the meal pictured above, make yourself some Scrambled Eggs with Spinach!
Scrambled Eggs with Spinach (yes, this may sound simple but I’m posting the recipe because I believe my scrambled eggs are recipe-worthy)
- two eggs (preferably free-range organic, even better if they’re local)
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (recipe here, omit vanilla and sweetener)
- handful baby spinach
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or fat of your choosing)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt oil in pan over medium-low
- Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper until slightly frothy.
- Add eggs to pan and move continuously. This is the biggest trick to making light, fluffy eggs; keep them moving constantly. I like to use a heat-safe silicon spatula to keep folding them in on each other.
- When eggs are barely firm (maybe 20-30 seconds in the pan) add the spinach.
- Continue moving constantly until they reach desired firmness and spinach has wilted.
Now have your smoothie and scramble and go take over the world! 😉
August has been a pretty crazy month for me, but while my blog entries cooled down, my workouts continued to fire up! I’ve been traveling a lot, which means my routine has needed to shift to accommodate my locale.
The first adventure was a five day intensive Lomilomi retreat. Lomilomi is a style of Hawaiian massage that I’ve been studying for about two years now. This was my third class and it was incredibly inspiring. I knew that I would be in a calorie-friendly environment, as our meals were all vegetarian, mostly made from ingredients found right on the land we stayed at. Speaking of the land, I already knew about Dreaming Mountain in Johnson, VT, but now that I’ve spent four nights there I’m absolutely in love with it! I had done a mini-cleanse before the trip, so I had already cut out alcohol, red meat and was strict to my food allergies diet (generally no sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, coffee and a slew of other random things). This meant that I didn’t feel the need to do my really intense workouts on the retreat. Instead, I did yoga daily, a martial arts dance that’s part of the Lomi training, and, of course, I was giving and receiving massage daily. I ended up dropping 5lbs just from living a healthy stress-free active life for a week!
The next adventure was much more challenging. My company recently opened up a new store in Key West, FL. It was my job to head down there to set up all the infrastructure. This meant taking three planes each way to a hot, sweaty tourist playground, working five 12 hour+ days in a row and attempting to stick to my diet and exercise. The first thing I learned is that the sun rises LATE in Key West, after 7am. So to keep up my workouts I had to just deal with getting up in an unfamiliar place in the dark. I did a combination of creating my own workouts in the hotel’s (really spectacular) gym and yoga on the beach. I should have recorded what I did in the gym but I didn’t think to. It was nice varying between being in the gym and being on the beach. I really didn’t get much time at all to enjoy the island so at least doing yoga under the stars, next to the ocean, and then slowly watching the sun rise through my vinyasas was pretty spectacular. I’ll admit diet was much more of a challenge there, and I made myself outright sick once or twice, but you gotta live too, right?
It’s nice to be back home and back to a more normal routine. Though, it seems my yoga is going to be ramping up as I’m trying to hit the minimum pre-req hours for a yoga teacher-training I’m hoping to start in January. I only just found the program and they require 35 hours in their studio before I can enroll. Since I live an hour away this is a challenge, but I’ve been wanting to get my yoga certification for years now and it’s a teacher I really like. Wish me luck!
So, today’s workout was really unusual for me. It’s a little bit of everything. I started out doing someone else’s workout (some of you may recognize the first few items) and then decided I wanted it to be more dynamic. This was LONG. My arms were shaking at the end and I was dripping with sweat. I feel it’s a good mix of cardio and strength training, though the cardio portion never really ends. Check it out:
- 1 Min High Knees
- 1 Min Sprint
- 1 Min Low-Jacks
- 30 Weighted Burpees (I used 5lbs)
- 30 Knee Tucks
- 30 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
- 30 Plank Side-To-Side Jumps
- 10 Prisoner Getups
- 10 Weighted Sit-Ups (I used 15lbs first 5 and then 10lbs last five)
- 10 Push-Ups
- 20 Knee Tucks
- 20 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
- 10 Side Crunches, Right
- 10 Side Crunches, Left
- 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Tricep Kickbacks in Lunge Position (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
- 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Bicep curls (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
- 10 Weighted Lunge Twists, 5 Each Side (I used 10 lbs)
After that, I needed some protein and amino acids!! Cut to today’s smoothie!
This beauty contains pomegranate juice, coconut milk, spinach, flax seeds, fresh local blueberries, frozen mangoes, and a half-serving of vegan protein powder (Fat Flush). I’ve honestly moved away from using protein powders in my morning smoothie because I feel adding flax or chia seeds plus spinach gives me enough protein without making me bloat. But, today I really killed my upper body so it seems right to add in the protein and help rebuild my muscle tissue.
I also am on a daily gut repair formula from my Naturopath which includes l-glutamine. While new research is always coming out, there’s a lot out there showing a direct correlation between l-glutamine and muscle recovery. It’s recommended post-workout, along with protein and carbs (1:4). We always hear protein protein protein after workouts, but that’s one time when I think it’s important to have carbs to help with the recovery. Frankly, I do think there’s such thing as too much protein. I’m definitely trying to build my muscles, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat 10 eggs and a bucket of protein powder in one day.
What post-workout drinks/meals/supplements work for you?
One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook. She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs. Seriously, that’s it. They are AMAZING. Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).
Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs. Yesterday I did Zuzka’s ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout. I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs. This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.
- KB Swing
- KB Snatch R
- KB Snatch L
- Weighted pilates sit-ups
- Plank climbers
- Pull-ups (as many as you can do
- Dive bombers
- Renegade Row
- Single-Leg deadlifts
- Dragon flags
Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?
Paleo High Protein Pancakes
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Banana
- Optional: pinch of cinnamon
- Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour
- Beat the banana and egg together. You’re done making the batter! No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier. I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand. I added cinnamon, which turned out great. I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it. You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
- Cook on skillet like normal pancakes. I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).
I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave. Enjoy!!
I’m excited that I’ve made it over a month in my 90 day burpeee challenge! I’ve also kept up with running a mile every morning and I’m already seeing my speeds improving and my legs are becoming shapelier. I’m also excited to say that after five days of calf pain, I’m no longer feeling terribly sore from running, just dealing with some minor aches and pains. I’m just about finished with the current Zuzka ZWOWs that are up on her site so as a present to myself for completing them I purchased her ZCut Power Cardio series and I’ll let you all know what I think of it. On top of all of this I’m finally finding joy in doing hot yoga and the two sessions I’ve done have kicked my ass, made me sweat more than anything in my life, and made me feel AWESOME!! This is a huge change from the first time I tried Bikram, when it triggered my acid reflux and I left the class with 15 minutes to spare and cried in the hallway, seriously.
Now I have to get into a topic that I know is seriously overdone on the internet. I fully expect most of you to zone out right about now. Oh wait, let me tell you the topic: Body Image. Ok, now you can zone out. 😉
I’ve been blessed that for most of my life I haven’t struggled with real body image issues. I’ve had minor issues but for the most part I’ve been confident with my size and shape. I was stick thin for most of my childhood, to the point of being teased. Then in high school my Swedish genes kicked in and I suddenly had some junk in the trunk and a small belly. College rolled around and I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle, practically living off of taco bell and alcohol. My weight skyrocketed to 180 and I was wearing a size 14. But somehow I never felt large. I’m a tall woman, just shy of 6′, which allows me to conceal my weight well. My arms and calves generally remain thin even when my hips, butt, gut and thighs expand.
It wasn’t until I moved to Boston, fresh out of school, and started working a retail job where I was on my feet all day, that I realized how unhealthy I had been. Just by living a different lifestyle (normal schedule, steady income which led to good food, and walking all the time) I dropped down to a size 8. I was also doing yoga regularly then but really wasn’t exercising aside from that. When I then attended school for massage I began lifting weights and building muscle. That’s when I started paying more attention to my body and I kept my weight around 165. Not fantastic, but with the muscle and staying at that size 8 I felt good and I think I looked good. The one thing I really never lost was that gut; my belly always protruded and I have an over-emphasized lordotic curve (curve in the low back) which often means lack of abdominal strength.
Flash forward a few years. I eat well, I exercise regularly and I even went through training in Kickboxing and Insanity. I have to say the Insanity program is AWESOME! It’s HARD, but that was the first thing that really kicked my core strength into gear. I know I have a great core now, and I’m constantly improving it, but I still have that gut and curve. I’ve tried not eating within a few hours of bed, eating several small meals instead of a few large ones, cutting out gluten and dairy, even doing full food elimination diets. Nothing really seems to help. Then this past November my boyfriend and I really fell off the wagon, as one tends to do around the holidays. I wouldn’t say it was a worse year than usual but suddenly that 165lbs became 175lbs. In mid-January I got back on the horse and have been eating healthy and exercising. As you all know in the past 32 days I’ve upped my exercise routine quite a bit.
So guess what? Want to know how much weight I’ve lost? I mentioned my legs are looking more cut. I didn’t mention that my arms are more muscular, my face looks thinner, my shoulders and back look like I could punch through a wall. So how much weight did I lose? None. I gained weight. As of this morning the scale say I’m 183lbs. I shit you not. I’m pissed. I now have body issues. Apparently I’m a late bloomer but I’m working my ass off and that gut is going out instead of in. I use MyPlate so I know what my nutrition is and I’m well within the appropriate range. I also can’t be gaining muscle this fast, and when I took “before” pictures yesterday it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of weight around my mid-section. Even in yoga I found myself self-conscious of the fact that the other women in the room were so much thinner than me. Wtf?! I know full well we all come in different shapes and sizes and the point is that I’m healthy so why am I freaking out about this?!
Well, I am. For the past two days I’ve switched to two smoothies a day. I was having one for breakfast and now I do one for breakfast, one for lunch, an afternoon snack and a reasonably-portioned dinner. I don’t feel I personally have much more time to exercise, since I’m already doing about 90 minutes a day, so I have to look at diet. I also had food allergy testing done and I get the results back in a week so I can see if it’s possible that something I’m eating is bloating me up (the testing was also done for other digestive issues I have).
So….blargh! But enough venting about my odd weight issues. Lettuce talk about snacks (yes, punny, but most of you stopped reading ages ago so…):
Ingredients (which you can all see pretty clearly):
- Romaine lettuce leaf
- Small handful of snap peas
- Small handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 hardboiled egg, sliced
I rolled it up like a burrito and it was surprisingly delicious and filling enough to get me to dinner, which will be steamed salmon and brussels sprouts.
For now, it’s time to find new exciting smoothie recipes. I will share that my local health food store offers frozen wheatgrass shots. I’ve been adding those to my smoothies and it’s pretty good. 🙂
I finally did the math. It’s not like it was hard, I just didn’t want it staring me in the face. So far I’ve done 1200 burpees (60 more to do today), which means I have 6900 to go and will have completed 8100 burpees by the end of my 90 day challenge. That’s assuming, of course, that I finish. But I BETTER finish!
I finally gave Warrior Food another try today and I’m sticking with my “C” rating. At this point I’d gladly give the rest of the bottle away. Today I tried mixing it with some of the strongest flavors I could:
- handfull Spinach
- 1c Cranberry Pomegranate juice (100% juice, no added sugar)
- 1 banana
- handful frozen strawberries
- handful frozen peaches
- 1tbsp spirulina
- 1tbsp flax seeds
- 1tbsp flax seed oil
- 2tbsp Warrior Food
I’ve found that the cranberry pomegranate juice is a really nice base and makes smoothies a little thinner and sweeter. I will say for me it’s not the best choice for a morning drink. I have acid reflux and I think that on top of all the fruit is just too acidic. I’ll stick with my unsweetened coconut milk in the mornings but will keep using the juice for afternoon smoothies.
The big bummer is that even with all this flavor I can still taste whatever it is in the Warrior Food that’s making me cringe. I’m still not sure if it’s the cactus or the stevia. I know I don’t like most things with stevia but it doesn’t have the normal stevia taste. I’ve never eaten cactus by itself so that could definitely be it. Regardless, Warrior Food is not for me. It’s also thicker and mealier than the other powders I’ve tried.
I ordered a jar of the Fat Flush Body Protein I reviewed over here. While I wasn’t 100% keen on it the first time I tried it, comparatively it’s one of the best. I really like the minimal ingredients and it’s the only powder I tried that stays white so on the few days that I’d like a smoothie that’s neutral-colored I’ll go with that. I’m also going to continue using the Supreme Meal powder. I like the idea of rotating protein powders, just like I like the idea of rotating all of my smoothie ingredients. I had a nutritionist tell me once that the body likes [healthy] surprises. She recommended switching up supplements as well. That idea seems to work for me so I’ll keep rocking it.
I’m still looking for more protein powder ideas. Let me know if you have a favorite!
That subject is a lie. It’s only 11am here so I’ve only done my first round of burpees for the day, making it 840 burpees so far. But by the end of the day it will be 900, even though I’ll be kicking and screaming the whole way. I am SORE!!! Yesterday I completed Zuzka’s ZWOW #43 (on top of the 90 burpees for the day) and it was a total killer. She apparently recorded it right before Thanksgiving so it was a particularly hard workout. I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache only to realize my abs are just that sore. I guess in the grand scheme of things this is a good thing. But let me tell you, I was NOT excited to do those first 30 burpees this morning. I think I see 90 minute of yoga in my future to try to stretch this body out!
This morning I made a delicious tasting smoothie, despite it being brown. Check it out..
Brown Rice Smoothie
- 1 packet of NutriBiotic Brown Rice Protein
- 1 Banana
- Small handful of frozen strawberries
- Small handful of frozen pineapple
- Small handful of frozen mango
- Handful of spinach
- 1 tbs of chia seeds
I had picked up one packet of the brown rice protein at my local coop and decided to give it a try. I’m a huge fan of the fact that it only has one ingredient and it’s 80% protein. It’s also soy/gluten/GMO-free. I’ll say that the smoothie tastes delicious but it is a little thick, though not as thick as the Warrior Food or Peaceful Planet powders. It’s about the same texture as the Warrior Food, so grittier than Peaceful Planet or Fat Flush. Overall, I’d use it again but I’m not madly in love with it. I’m still searching for that perfect protein powder. Let me know if you have any suggestions! I’ll give this one an A-.