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?
- KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge R
- KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge L
- Double KB step-ups
- Elevated Plank Pushup/Knee Tuck
- Ab roller
- Weighted Sit-Ups
Buy-Out: 10 Burpees
- KB Swings
- KB Clean R
- KB Clean L
- KB Reverse Lunge
- Weighted Lunge Twists
- KB Renegade Row
- Reverse Crunch
- Side-Plank Toe Touch
- Front plank
- 6 Turkish Getups (3 each side)
- KB Single-leg Deadlift R
- KB Single-leg Deadlift R
- Ab Roller
- Weighted Ab Twists
- Pilates Hundreds
- Plank w/ Knee Tuck
- KB Swings
- Thruster R
- Thruster L
- KB Bent-Over Row
- Weighted Lunge-Twist
- Plank->Side Planks
- Dive Bombers
- Pilates Sit-Ups
- Bicycle w/ out-and-in-arms
- Box jumps x 20
- KB Snatch R x 10
- KB Snatch L x 10
- KB Renegade Row x 10
- Lunge Twist R x 5
- Lunge Twist L x 5
- Pull ups x 3-10 depending on your fitness level
And now for something completely
Raspberry Mint Smoothie
I’m on a mint kick right now and have really enjoyed adding it to my smoothies. It’s great for digestion and adds a nice refreshing kick to the smoothie. I’ve also learned that many fresh herbs go well in smoothies and have lately enjoyed cilantro and basil; can’t wait to find more good combinations!
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tbsp flax seeds (or try using sprouted flax or chia seeds!)
- 1 handful spinach
- 2-3 sprigs of mint
- 1/2 package frozen raspberries
Mix that up in your blender until smooth and you will have a sucka-punch of flavor to your face!
Speaking of sprouted flax and chia seeds, that’s been my latest experiment and I’m pretty happy with the results:
That is chia on the left and flax on the right. It took only a week to go from seed to overflowing sprouts that were pushing the top of the container off. They added a really nice fresh flavor to my smoothies and some wonderful nutrients. The one thing I haven’t been able to find out is if sprouted flax and chia are more or less nutritious than the raw seeds. If anyone has info on that I’d love to see it!
Are you the type of person who has an inner monologue that you make bargains with? “If I run a mile I can eat a slice of pizza.” “If I get home before 5 I’ll do my workout, otherwise I’m just cooking dinner.” Chances are the answer is “yes”, because you’re human (or you’re a dog who learned how to read, good job). We all make little bargains with ourselves and while I’m using exercise and diet as examples, bargaining can creep into any part of your life.
The other day while driving through a snowstorm in Vermont, I listened to an episode of Radiolab (one of my favorite shows) called “Help!“. They discussed bargaining and told a story of a long-term smoker who made a deal with herself to finally help her quit cold-turkey. She had always tried to use the bargains of “it could kill me”, “it causes cancer”, “it makes my kids fear for me”, but all of those were easy to ignore because they’re in the future. She needed something in the NOW. The deal she made with herself was that if she ever smoked another cigarette she had to give $5k to the Ku Klux Klan, and her best friend had to keep her good to that promise. Now, that might sound ridiculous but after a life of fighting for civil rights it was high enough stakes to make her quit. I highly recommend listening to the whole episode to hear more.
I mentioned my weight woes the other day and I decided to make a high-stakes bargain with myself. If I don’t lose 20lbs in three months I’m buying $500 in Monsanto seeds and gifting them to a local farm. I can’t tell you how sick that idea makes me. Not just the fact that I’d be giving $500 to Monsanto, but that I’d then have to do the walk of shame to present these to a local farmer and if the farmer doesn’t care that they’re from Monsanto I could potentially be polluting my local soil with GMO seeds. Aaaaggghhhh!!
I’ve got to say, so far it’s working. It’s gotten me to hot yoga, it’s got me running faster, and it has me picking up healthy snacks and tracking my calories with a fine-tooth comb. After months of exercise and not seeing my weight drop, I’m FINALLY seeing the pounds start to go. I’m on a fairly strict diet now of two-green smoothies a day, a healthy snack and then a healthy dinner, plus lots of water. No food within a few hours of bed, no gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no processed foods, no sugar. These are rules I try to live by anyway but I’m not nearly as strict as I have been in the past week. Wish me luck, because believe me the alternative is NOT HAPPENING!!
I also made my tastiest smoothie yet and I have to share the recipe with you!
- 1 cup almond Milk
- 1 scoop protein powder (I used Fat Flush Body Protein)
- 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup frozen peaches
- 1/4 cup frozen mango
- 1 cup raw spinach
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp flax seed oil
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flake
So. Friggin’. Good!! It’s fruity and nutty and vitamin-packed! Plus it’s only 394 calories and has a whopping 25g of protein! This made me a very happy woman, I hope you love it!
On top of my normal workouts I headed out to hike Elmore mountain today with my man and my trusty pup. While the grey days of winter really seem to stretch on far too long, today was one of those special Vermont days when the weather was fair and the mountain tops were covered in a fresh dusting of snow. It really was a beautiful hike and it’s a shame I didn’t think to snap a picture.
Afterwards we were starving! Neither of us had really eaten enough to support the level of exercise we did today, which is always dangerous. We headed to the grocery store and it was a real fight for both of us to not leave with a cart full of frozen pizzas and pastries. We made it out with the veggies and eggs we went in for and quickly ran home to make what has become the most amazing smoothie I’ve ever had! Chocolate lovers, this baby is for you!
In searching for new green smoothie recipes I came across this great post featuring 4 recipes under 400 calories. I added protein powder to it and it was seriously incredible!
Chocolate Covered Raspberry Green Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (original recipe uses almond milk)
- 2 cups organic spinach
- 1 cup frozen raspberries (original recipe uses fresh and adds 1-3 ice cubes)
- 2 tbsp flax seeds (original recipe calls for ground, I like using whole seeds)
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 scoop of Fat Flush Body Protein
If you love chocolate and raspberries this is for you! I also just got a jar of the Fat Flush Body Protein, which I’ve reviewed previously. Now that I’ve been using several different protein powders I can make a better comparison. It’s texture is closer to Plant Fusion powder I reviewed, in that it’s a very fine light powder. It dissolves pretty well with minimal grit. It does contain stevia which is a con for me, the stevia aftertaste annoys me. While the powder itself has that sweet smell, the flavor in the smoothies hasn’t bothered me like it has with other powders. I’d be happier if it didn’t have stevia but it meets all of my other protein powder requirements so I’m actually going to raise the rating on this from a B+ to an A-. I’ll definitely finish the jug.
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!