End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

*Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend Yoga with a Twist and Splash Sundays for free in exchange for this blog post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey Friends! A few weeks ago I was able to partake in a monthly event, Yoga with a Twist, held at the Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa. Currently living in South Tampa myself, I never had a reason to go to The Epicurean, but as soon as this opportunity came up, I said it’s time!!

Now, I’m not great about doing yoga. I like it, but haven’t found that sweet studio or instructor I clicked with. I did it regularly during my undergrad because I loved loved loved the instructor, the type of yoga, and the timing of it in my schedule. I wouldn’t call myself a yogi, since I don’t do it regularly anymore, but will for sure give my damnedest when I do get a chance to go. It is definitely one area I always need to work on. Remember my post on yoga for runners and my foam rolling routine? I explain my struggle of recovery there, and am pleased to say I have been MUCH better at fitting it into my schedule. Still a work in progress but its happening—in case you all were wondering.

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Enjoying champagne with Caitlyn post yoga!

The thought of yoga makes me feel excited even though it’s not my fav. When its combined with my friend, Caitlyn, who is also into fitness-y things, plus heading to the Splash Sundays pool party after, I said YES!

Yoga With A Twist, the official name, is a once a month event held during the last Sunday of the month at the Epicurean Hotel, a local boutique hotel located off South Howard. A good way to get in a one hour yoga class, hang out at the Epicurean, and cheers with Champagne with fellow yogis is fun and a popular way to enjoy the morning.

Reservations are required and are $15 for the class and $20 for the class and glass. Each class is offered by Kodawari Yoga, Bodywork, and Wellness Studio. Make sure to bring a mat, water, and a towel. Refreshments were available during the event and cool towels were given right before Savasana (cool-down pose). A nice refreshing way to end class!

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Cheers to a great class!

There was about forty people participating in the yoga. Each person brought their own mat, water, etc. and was done under a huge white tent near the roof of the hotel, at the Garden Terrace on the second floor to be exact. Although it was hot, the tent was beyond helpful as well as the ice water and tea that was available during the class.

The class was done in a vinyasa-type style. In case you’re not familiar with the different types, I’m meh on my yoga let alone knowing the different kinds, LOL, but basically this was a flow type class. With a few variations to add a challenge, it was definitely a good class with a mix of challenge and easy. I’m right in the middle and found there was a good balance. It was also nice knowing there were two spotters nearby who help correct as needed. Since this event was once a month, I’m not sure it is always run by Kodawari Studio or has the same instructor each month. I’ll have to go more then one time to see if it is or not. ;P Have I mentioned that guests participating in the yoga get 10% of Élevage brunch menu items and 15% off spa treatments? I haven’t been to Élevage yet, but have heard it’s pretty tasty and requires a reservation.

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Post-yoga conversation to end our practice

After class it was super chill and everyone got champagne for a toast. After the toast, everyone hung out and chatted or in mine and Caitlyn’s case, headed to the Splash Sunday pool party!! WOO!! Did I mention the Tampa Bay Bloggers hosted Splash Sundays that week?!

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The two events don’t work together, but anyone who wanted to join in the pool party could join in for the afternoon. However, a reservation is needed and requires $15 entrance fee. Splash Sundays is offered July 3rd to September 4th from 12-5pm and includes pool time, lounge chairs, umbrellas, and DJs that provide music as you chill in the pool or get your tan on. Drinks are also available but are not included the in the reservation. Depending on if you’re getting a group together, a cabana is an option for larger parties.

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A super fun way to end your summer or way to enjoy the Epicurean, their pool, drinks, and music! I know not having a pool, this was a great option that I’ll keep in mind for next time!

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Enjoying this sweet pineapple float😉

YOUR TURN:

-Do you participate in yoga?

-Do you prefer a fruity cocktail or a light and refreshing spritzer by the pool?

-What is your favorite way to spend a summer afternoon?

What I’m Loving Lately: Trader Joe’s Cocoa Nibs & Three-Layer Hummus

What I’m Loving Lately: Trader Joe’s Cocoa Nibs & Three-Layer Hummus

*I’m not affiliated with Trader Joe’s and have not been sponsored for this post, I just love sharing my recent items with all of you!*

I’ve always loved shopping at Trader Joe’s! Or what I like to call TJ’s😉 I love it there because of the wide variety and creative products they sell as well as the quality of their produce, meats, coffee, etc. Basically TJ’s knows what’s up. I actually like it better in some ways over Publix. Although Publix is great for quick, essential items, I feel most creative with my grocery list when I go to TJ’s. It’s like they promote being creative! Which I like. Don’t get me wrong, Publix has a place (namely their pub subs), but my go-to for big grocery trips will be at TJ’s.

We got our TJ’s here in Tampa a couple years ago and we have one in the Tampa area. Best part is that it’s not far from me either! However, if you have been to TJ’s then you know the parking is TERRIBLE but well worth it every time. Over time I’ve learned to accept it the distrastrous parking and go when it’s less busy during the morning or in the evenings. I found a pattern when I went into the TJ’s in Delray Beach (where I’m from) and in Portland, OR when I went for the first time and BOTH places also had small parking lots. Hmmm…anyways, they may not have the parking situation down at their locations, but they sure do have the food part down!

When I go into grocery shop, I keep in mind the grocery shopping rule: stick to the perimeter first. If you haven’t heard of this “rule” basically it means all the healthy, quality type foods (produce, meat, dairy, etc)  are around the outside and the “less quality”(processed snacks, bread, chips, soda, etc) for lack of better words because its all good in moderation😛 is in the middle isles. I find this consistent in all grocery stores, and believe quality still exists in the middle to an extent. Nut butters, whole grains, canned beans, nuts, dried fruit, etc. are also there! You just have to pass the various types of cookie butter to get to them in some cases. *begins drooling*

So according to the topic of today’s post, I did have to pass through the middle isles a bit to explore a couple new items that I’m really excited to share! The first item being cocoa nibs. OMG. I love love love chocolate and when I saw these little morsals, I thought of a few things they would go SO well with beyond just keeping them as a sweet. If you haven’t seen them before, they kinda look like the nerds candy. They’re crunchy and delicious and satisfy that sweet crunch. Even without putting them in or on top of anything, I’ve poured some straight into my hand and throwing them into my mouth as is! Simply delicious.

When I’m not just eating out of the pouch, I’ve put them on top of plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter for a little indulgent snack, put some in trail mix for a salty sweet taste, or on a mug cake! (blog post still TBA on this one, can’t quite get it yet). The list goes on, but this is basically what I’ve enjoyed the most using them for! Putting them on oatmeal, baking with them, smoothie bowl toppings, ice cream, etc. A decent amount in a pouch too and not too expensive either. A good buy to make whatever you eat a little more indulgent without going overboard.

The other item is three-layer hummus. Now this wasn’t in the middle isle because of refrigeration (of course) but the idea of three flavors in ONE container got me. I really enjoy their beet hummus as well, but hummus can be flavored so many ways, I figured I’d give this one a go. IT WAS AMAZING! To be honest, I’m more of a traditional hummus fan. However, I love garlic flavored anything too. Garlic though was NOT a flavor of the three. From bottom to top: spicy, cilantro jalapeño, and traditional on top. No so much into spicy, but it was tolerable and something I did get used to! Cilantro Jalapeño also spicy, yet tangy, and somewhat savory at the same time. Lastly, traditional because it’s just my favorite and also a winner.

Perfect for dipping carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, celery, etc or dipping tortilla chips or veggie sticks are some of my favorite things to dip into! Using hummus as a spread in place of mayo or replacing the yolk in a hard-boiled egg are some of my favorite combinations. One of my favorite breakfast go-tos is to use hummus on toast with an egg on top! A feel-good easy breakfast idea.

So many variations for both items, each to pair with something different! Enjoy!

YOUR TURN:

-Do you have two new grocery items you’ve been loving?

-What are some items you’ve been pleasantly surprised with or have been ultimate disasters?

 

Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Happy Friday!! Figured I’d add a workout-type post this week since I’ve been switching up my planks lately. I practice a lot of them on myself and then add them to my workouts for my HEAT class and with my clients. In case you’re reading this and am like, “hmm what”- listen here!

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Standard Forearm Plank

I LOVE planks let me tell you. If I can’t figure core-wise what I wanna do, my go to is a plank of some kind. There’s so many options and you don’t need any equipment to get the most of this exercise. Switching your arms, legs, and movement patterns throughout your torso and you’re bound to challenge yourself differently every time.

A plank is an exercise used to isolate your core (abs and low back). Planks are all about contracting, namely through isometric movement, known as holding/squeezing. 

Tips to good plank form:

  • Back flat
  • Butt down
  • Hands under shoulders (modified plank)
  • Forearms/elbows unders shoulders (standard plank)
  • Breath!

Planks are all about time. No need for counting any reps. What I would suggest to someone doing a plank for the first time is focus on good form first. Time doesn’t mean as much if the form isn’t there. Seeing yourself in a side view using a mirror using my tips above is the first step. However you hold yourself, keeping the core tight and engaged is key to get the most out of your plank. The goals is to have good form first, then start the timer!

Once your form is good, start the timer and hold as long as you can until you lose form. Once form is lost, stop the timer and make a note of the time of course!!!😉 Adding five to ten seconds at a time with good form is a good way to start. Working up to fifteen seconds then to twenty, thirty, ultimately a min or more is the goal!

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Modified High Plank (hands come under shoulders here ;P)

 

YOUR TURN!

-Favorite plank variation?

-What’s your go-to core exercise?

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions With Garlic & Thyme

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions With Garlic & Thyme

Hey Hey! It’s FriYAY and I’m excited to share with you this yummy weeknight vegetable side to use with basically anything all week long. So when I started to come up with my meal prep and veggie ideas last week, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. So I just walked around the produce section at Trader Joe’s until I found something remotely appealing to me. Sometimes that’s how I shop, FYI. Not all the time because I do go into the store with some kind of game plan, but I took the opportunity for the veggies to find me, so to speak, lol.

Broccoli spoke to me that day! It was also a good price, which helped. Then I remembered that I had a red onion I could put with it and saw the colors of the two of them together and knew that was it. I’m all about throwing whatever into a bowl and calling it a meal anyways, so I figured roasting could work the same way. I ended up roasting the two together with olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and called it a day!

Best vegetable side in a while if you ask me! Super easy too since the oven did all the work for me. I just cut up the onion and broccoli then lined the baking sheet with foil and took care of the cleanup too. Ultimate WIN. The whole process took me about twenty minutes with prep and clean-up. If you ask me, THATS how you meal prep. Or as I like to call it, minimal meal-prep.😉

Since this is pretty versatile, I found myself throwing this onto a salad or having as a side. You can also eat this warm or at room temperature. Anything goes with this if you ask me!

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions with Garlic and Thyme

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sprinkle of thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder (or fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Chop broccoli into pieces leaving it in bite size chunks. Cut red onion into chunks. Spread onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over veggies and toss to combine. Shake thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and toss again. Put into oven for 15 minutes until broccoli and onions are slightly browned. Enjoy warm or at room temperature! (Note: coconut oil would be a good option too!)

JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

-What are your favorite summertime vegetables?

-What are your favorite toppings for a salad?

 

 

Five Ways to Boost Motivation

Five Ways to Boost Motivation

Happy Friday! Lately I’ve been feeling a little meh about my workouts. I have less motivation to eat clean, and yummy indulgent food sound REALLY good lately. I’ve still kept up with my three times a week strength training and running, but food-wise I’ve been so-so on my portions and choices. School and being kinda homesick/wanting change up the scenery too have been a recent stressor which leaves food choices to be what goes amiss for me.

Despite my less then optimal food choices, I’ve learned to write out my thoughts on why I feel stressed or overwhelmed. I have found over time writing out my thoughts exactly has helped immensely towards working towards a clearer head.

So I took out a large pad of paper and wrote out my concerns, feelings toward them, why I feel the way I do, and how to fix them. After a couple minutes of jotting thoughts down, I felt 100x better! In terms of school, I wrote down steps in order to accomplish assignments and ways I can improve myself either through new study methods or going to my professor. I can say I DID already see my professor and can say it was a big step in the right direction, so YAY for creating solutions!

Homesick-wise, my parents visited me last weekend since I can’t leave because of my school schedule, whoomp whoomp. That helped more then I thought knowing I was able to kinda get away from home and enjoy a few fun things with them. A small stressor, was the interest in my boyfriend meeting my parents…*cue shaking.* All went well and he passed so YAY for that! That’s always a little nerve wracking and a little early into our relationship, but the opportunity arose and I said YOLO so it worked out and am happy it went well.🙂

Onto some motivation though. Since motivation and stress have been a constant thing for me lately, so I figured I’d share a post on ways to boost your motivation game whether its fitness, blogging, food-choices, or your schedule to keep you feeling fresh.

  1. Start by writing EVERYTHING down. Yep, it all goes on the paper. Break it down if you need to. If you feel meh about your running routine (something I feel rather stale in to be honest), focus on the why. Have you been running the same route or distance for a bit, been in “pace lock” or seem to not be improving? Maybe the weather has something to do with it? Here in Florida the weather is terribly hot so running outside in the summer can be downright OPPRESSIVE. Florida runners you know what I’m talking about. Then write out feelings associated with this decrease in motivation, good and bad, and go from there. Next write out solutions.
  2. Reach out to a friend or family member… Or anyone you feel comfortable with. Sometimes I feel like I have everything under control and don’t want to accept I want to share my feelings. Sometimes actually being open can share and help more then you think. I hate sharing when feel lost, weak, or nervous…who does?! But I know if I don’t talk through my thoughts they will continually be bottled up waiting to explode. I did this with a couple friends and hearing each of their perspectives helped immensely. If texting doesn’t do it for you, call them. I find calling allows me to speak my mind more then a text ever could.
  3. It’s OK to say NO. I recently had to say this to an opportunity for networking for my business. I’m always looking to expand my personal training clients. I love helping people and the more people I can help, the more experience I get, the busier I become. I like that. But I’m in school and want that A in my class. I also have to juggle my current clients, classes I teach, workouts, and MY social life and other responsibilities. Let’s add a boyfriend to the mix too, and marathon training this fall. I say BRING IT with the best attitude possible, but some things may have to go to the back-burner. After I talked about it with my mom, I realized my goals on taking this opportunity wasn’t the best timing for me at that moment.  So that’s when I wrote an email early in the week saying I could no longer participate. It killed me, but its for the best. I say there will be other times!
  4. Something fresh, shiny, and new! Now I know this is different for everyone, but adding something new to your wardrobe, a switch in your schedule, a re-creation of a favorite dish, or taking advantage of a fun opportunity might be just what you need. This can occur at some costs, so minimizing that is key. I know for myself I need new running shoes. I’ve been running in the same pair I ran my MARATHON in back in January. I know, shame on me. All runners know to replace shoes every couple months and I’ve FAR exceeded that. I just didn’t buy another pair simply because mine still felt good. Now I’m seeing this as a reason why this could help boost motivation and eliminate my “staleness” for running at the moment. New music too. Both which I know have helped a lot before. If it’s not a fitness related motivational boost, maybe its a new way of re-creating a favorite dish. Experience-wise, meet a friend for lunch on a day you would normally stay home and get stuff done and enjoy a good conversation instead. Nothing beats a good conversation and food with a friend!
  5. Taking a break. What if you’ve already tried some of what I mentioned and you’re still blah? That could be a sign to temporarily use it as a break for a bit. Focusing on other parts of your life that may be taking priority and returning to whatever it is later will allow you to comeback stronger then before. Having a new perspective on whatever it is can be the missing piece you might not think of.

Hoping these five tips help you as they do for me! Sitting with a cup or tea or coffee, sometimes wine but then I remember I need to think clearly, also helps while making myself SIT DOWN and RELAX which is usually at an all-time low during these times of stress. Knowing there is always an answer and believing everything will work out for the best is what keeps me grounded and sane!

YOUR TURN:

-What has helped you in times of stress?

-What is your favorite dessert? (stressed spelled backwards is dessert! LOL!)

-Any weekend plans?

My Five Favorite Yoga Poses For Runners

My Five Favorite Yoga Poses For Runners

Hello! I’m really excited to share this week’s post (as I usually am), but am especially excited to share a few of my favorite yoga poses that I have found that have helped me as a runner.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t done a legit yoga class in a few months. *Cringes.* Yeah, it’s not my thing, fitness-wise. I think it’s great and I love how I feel after I’m done, but yoga doesn’t have the same amount of sweat involved as a run or strength training…sorry to any hardcore yogis reading this!😛 I do enjoy the stillness and the series of movements to help open me up and help me relax. The music, the vibes of the class, and learning a new pose are all something I look forward to when I attend a class. Getting that challenge from stretches and new movements does intimidate me a little, but I have to constantly remind myself that just like anything else, it takes work and patience to see some improvement. Hence, why going to a class regularly like I should would be helpful!

I was going pretty regularly during my undergrad since I enjoyed one instructor in particular, the type of class she taught, and the day/time of the class. Plus it was our school gym so I basically walked across campus and I was there. Now real life has set in and I have to find a new place to go not a part of UT! This has been part of the issue of finding a studio to go to among other factors like instructor, timing, type of yoga, etc. I have learned to use YouTube in a pinch, which does help. Better then nothing right??

Post class, I feel a sense a re-newness while being aware of my being. I leave every time saying, “I forget how much I enjoy this.” Sometimes we forget what our body actually needs instead of what our mind wants. I try to remember the “post” feeling of something when I’m not at first interested in doing something. This happens most often with yoga, but simply reminding myself how good it is for me is enough to put in on my calendar and make it happen. Another thing that helps me prioritize, is knowing it helps benefit my running. Both those reasons combined and I make it happen. Yes, as a personal trainer, I’m following my own advice as a way of putting it on a calendar or in my schedule to make it a priority!

Okay so I’ve told you my thoughts on yoga and what works and what hasn’t for me. I love keeping it real and open here, especially since no one is perfect, even us personal trainers! Watch, after I finish writing this, I’ll look up a couple options for yoga YouTube videos I can do at home! Told ya it doesn’t take much.😉

Anyways, yoga poses for runners. Tight hips, low back/core, and hamstrings are my tightest spots. I foam roll about three to four times per week but getting a good stretch is something completely different. Like I mentioned above, I enjoy the series of movements to gradually open up and relax me. You’ll find one of my favorites in last week’s post: the cat-cow! Great for low back and core.

Below are my five favorite yoga poses for runners. Add them to your post-run cool-down routine or add them to a morning or evening to start or end the day.

  • Runner’s Lunge (1)
    • Great for: tight hips
  • Pigeon Pose (2)
    • Great for: tight hips and glutes
  • Swan Dive to Downward Dog (3)
    • Great for: lengthening the upper body and hamstrings
  • Triangle Pose (4)
    • Great for: total body, especially inner thighs, hips, obliques
  • Child’s pose (5)
    • Great for: low back and core (I love finishing my stretches with this–helps me become centered in cool-down)

 

LET’S CHAT!

-Do you have a favorite yoga pose?

-Do you stretch post-run? What kind of stretches do you do?

-Do you do yoga?

Strengthen The Low Back: Deadlifts & Core Warm-Up

Strengthen The Low Back: Deadlifts & Core Warm-Up

Happy Friday! Finished my first six week grad school class last week, and started my second one this past Wednesday! One down, last summer class to go. Before I start writing this, I checked out the syllabus and wrote out the semester in my planner for due dates of assignments, class topics, etc. I love my Erin Condren planner and it being so easy to plan and use, I highly suggest it if you like to write everything down!

Even with being in school, I decided to change up my goals and routine to incorporate one more extra day of strength training. I figured add in another day because I can make it happen with my schedule and having that extra workout keeps things fresh. See my post on squeezing in strength training into a hectic schedule hereOne exercise that is great for fitting into this time frame, is deadlifts, or any core exercise for that matter. Just like upper body or lower body, core deserves it’s own day too. What better way to fill the extra day of strength with all core, lower back, and abs?? I do core at the end of each upper body and lower body day, but I’ve really been enjoyed having these days just to focus here too along with mixing it up with a shoulder or arm day.

One thing I’ve concluded while working with clients that have desk jobs is that their core and lower back are especially tight and/or weak. No surprise right? I didn’t actually think of this, but I was getting a lot of the same comments from everyone like, “I feel so tight in the middle of back”, “I’m stiff constantly”, and “I have occasional neck/back issues.” Unfortunately, sitting for such long periods of time affects this. Yes, walking around during your lunch hour and taking the stairs helps, but at the end of the day, desk job employees can’t do a whole lot about the sitting part of their job. Unless, they get a stand-up desk which in my opinion, is the best option out there.

This is where I come into play. Although I’m not at work reminding them to walk around (although I’m sure they would like that!) I try and focus on regaining that strength and improving their low back and core when I do meet with them.

One key component of the dynamic warm-up (stretching with movement) I’ve done with them are:

  • Cat-Cows: It’s a yoga move it’s a great way to warm up the spine and core. It gently moves the core and spine up and down while easing low back stiffness.
  • Child’s Pose: No movement here, but a great way to release any tension between sets of Cat-Cows.
  • Torso-Twists: Rotating side to side from the waist gently twists the core and spine.

Perform each movement one after the next, ten to fifteen times each, three rounds through. Once warmed-up, I show my clients the proper form of the deadlift before giving them the weight. Deadlifts are tricky since they do incorporate the low back, an area of concern for some people. Once done correctly, they’re easy to grasp and provide so many benefits!

One mistake I find often is that people tend to add a squat to the movement. The squat isn’t necessary and tends to take away from the purpose behind the deadlift. The deadlift works to use the core, namely the low back, to lift from the hips up. I like to think of hinging at the hips/sticking the butt back as a way to describe the movement. Check out how to perform a deadlift here!

Another thing that worries people about this movement, is that we’ve been told our whole lives to “use the legs, not the back.” Yes, that is true, but properly recruiting the legs AND back is what is really key. Keeping the core tight is something that we don’t think of right away, but keeping it mind throughout the warm-up and into the exercise can help keep form together.

If you’re nervous about trying the deadlift alone, start with supermans. They work the low back the same way, but without the weight. You’re also on the ground which takes the thinking out of the movement. Check out how to perform the superman here!

Be sure to cool down and stretch the core once you’re done! The child’s pose is a good one post workout as well as the hamstrings toe touch. *BONUS* perform hamstring stretch sitting. It’s more intense this way because the floor is keeping your legs supported as opposed to standing up. Feel free to add a slight bend to the knees if you have tight hamstrings like me😉 Work up to keeping the legs as straight as possible.

LET’S CHAT:

-Do you suffer from a tight low back? How do you keep it from getting cranky?

-Do you do yoga?

-Thoughts on stand-up desks?

 

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

*Disclaimer: Thanks to affiliations with the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Louis Pappas, I was able to attend an intimate, complementary tasting of Greek food for this post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey All! Happy Forth of July weekend! To say I’m excited for this three day weekend is an understatement. I’m see a few friends from UT over for a BBQ in St. Pete and I’m pumped! I’m bring a patriotic fruit salad, think raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Someone has be bring a healthy side dish right? Leave that one to me hahah. I’m always the one to bring one of those. No shame!😉

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Baklava & Rice Pudding

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend an intimate tasting with the Tampa Bay Bloggers at this cute Greek cafe in South Tampa called Louis Pappas Greek Cafe. It’s so cute inside and very authentic! They had a great spread for us to try too. I mean REALLY good. A few options from each off their menu. I planned on basically having dinner there since there was so much and it was all so good! They didn’t fail to disappoint.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pitas with Plain Greek Yogurt & Bread Pudding

I’m not so much of a huge Greek fan. I don’t crave it as much as I do pizza or Chipotle. Those two are my favorite cheat eats ;P but this place is definitely a good place to grab a quick, healthy bite for a mid-week break from the usual. Although everything about it was delicious, my favorite was the greek salad. I’m a sucker for a good salad, and THIS was amazing. It was all so evenly chopped with such good flavor. The cool part about this salad was that it had a scoop of potato salad at the bottom. Yeah. Potato salad. Who would have thought right?? I asked what that was all about and the owner said that was a staple for when they first started to make it filling. The potatoes add that extra filling component that was surprisingly good. YEAH. They offer it without as well, but the potato salad was what they called “traditional.”A family recipe they called it. I said I would eat that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves & Spinach Pies

So, onward to the snackage. Namely the hummus with homemade pita, stuffed grape leaves, and delicious Baklava. I’ve come up with some inspired greek inspired snacks you can make in your own kitchen! No special ingredients needed. I went to Trader Joe’s or Publix and found them there. Enjoy these snacks at home and if you’re in the South Tampa area, be sure to check out Louis Pappas!

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Front Salad: Traditional Greek Salad with Potato Salad and Non-Traditional without Potato Salad
  1. Hummus with veggies and pita bread.
  2. Plain Greek yogurt with peanut butter or honey
  3. Chopped Greek Pasta Salad by dishingouthealth !
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Definitely making it back here in the near future!

 

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

Happy Friday!! Fridays have seemed like a good day to post new material so I’m getting excited about making this a more regular thing. With school, I’m able to post about once a week, if you haven’t already noticed. I’m excited to keep cranking out new posts despite the fact that school is in now happening.

Anyways, to the blog topic: Strength training! To be honest, not my favorite thing. Just like I mentioned last week recovery isn’t my favorite thing. I’ve been very real the past few posts, but its a good thing at times because no one is perfect!😉 I really enjoy leg day, practicing my pull-ups, and bootcamp classes but nothing makes me happy as running. However, running doesn’t enhance my entire fitness. It’s cardio, comes with different benefits, and is only one part of my program.

Strength on the other hand, complements the cardio. You build specific muscles, prevent injury, and improve bone health to name a few benefits. Yes, cardio does some of that too, but strength is specific to weight bearing. Weight bearing or resistance training meaning anywhere from bodyweight, to resistance bands, dumbbells, etc. If you haven’t check it out, be sure to look at my Why Women Should Pump Iron post to get a good idea on key reasons to starting lifting!

“I know how great strength training is, but I don’t have time for a full hour of it!” –>I’ve heard a million times. No one says you have to do a full hour to get benefits! Recently I’ve changed some goals to where I switched over to doing 30-40 min workouts using smaller muscle groups that take less time. Think shoulders, arms, calves, etc. I’ve done the opposite too using big muscle groups like legs and back to hit a lot in a short amount of time to get more bang for my buck. I still enjoy a good leg day so I’ll keep one of my strength workouts closer to an hour because leg days are favorite–no other reason.

Still feeling unsure of how to tackle a short workout and getting similar benefits? View my tips below to see how to build a effective 30-40 workout!

  • Pick a muscle group: Upper body, Lower body, Core. Keep it simple!
  • Set an end time: How long do you plan on working out for? Need to be done by a certain time? Estimate a half hour to forty minutes from the current time and make an effort to get the workout done! Knowing you have a deadline makes you prioritize what needs to get done, from your rest between sets to how you order your exercises.
  • What’s available equipment-wise: In a hotel room, park, or stadium? Use the benches, stairs, or field to get a kick-ass cardio/hiit style workout in! If small weights are available add squats, overhead press, or bicep curls to the mix. The more options you have, the more complicated the workout becomes. Don’t overcomplicate anything though, use it to be creative and challenge yourself! Bonus points if you have it all set up ready to use instead of taking what you need as you go! Those extra steps back and forth add up to wasted time.
  • Make sure you build in a warm-up and cool-down before and after: This would ideally be included as part of your thirty to forty minutes of work. If you’ve been sitting for a bit, a longer warm-up might be necessary. If you’re like me and are always on the go teaching, training, running, etc. a few minutes might be enough. The key is to feel warm and ready to go. Not still stiff from sitting. Think five minutes of dynamic movement.
  • Best way to keep it at the thirty-forty minute mark–put it on your calendar!!! Book it like anything else in your life. I say time and time again that if you schedule your workout in a planner among your other commitments, you’re likely to stick with it. ‘Nuff said.😉

Let’s Chat!

-What’s your favorite muscle group to work?

-Tips that you find helpful to fitting in your workouts each week?

-Any fun weekend plans?

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!! Hope you all have had a productive and good week. I’m on my fourth week of grad school and so far so good, but is quite the challenge. I’m definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone with studying since it really is a whole new level of knowledge. I’m more then half way through my course, then I’ll have about a week and half or so off then return to my next six week course after the forth of July.

First off, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a recovery mechanism that releases adhesions, or knots in the muscle from repeated stress. It promotes blood flow to the affected area through rolling the muscle. Scientifically, this is called myofasical release, meaning ‘myo-‘ for muscle, ‘fasical-‘ referring to fascia meaning connective tissue, and ‘release’ from releasing tension on muscle.

With that being said, I figured I share my foam rolling routine and talk recovery since that is equally important too. I’m always go-g0-go. Constantly having a plan of action is my jam. For me, each week (even if its not set to a tee) has some kind of workout in it. It’s either just one workout of cardio, usually running or weights, either body weight or some kind of resistance. Twice a week I work out twice a day, usually in the morning then in the afternoon either a run then weights or weights then speed work.  Then I have a rest day or two. One thing that is weak in my own program is recovery. YEP, I said it. In fact, it’s probably my biggest weakness. Yep, I said it again. It really takes a lot out of me to focus on this. But I’ve learned over time that it is equally important in order to bounce back well from workouts. That doesn’t mean I get massages every week. I’m on a student on a budget, so that’s not happening! BUT I can do my own job of recovery instead and it starts with a foam roller.

Way back when I started running I was hurting a lot because of a lot of things like not strength training, stretching, and eating well (I ate Bud’s Chicken– a “nice” local fast food drive through post cross country and track meets). One big culprit (although all of them are significant), was foam rolling. I got to college and I had terrible IT Band Syndrome. It was so bad I could hardly walk AND on top of it I was training for my second half marathon. How I did that feeling like sh*t I don’t know but I ran it. Dealing with severe tightness, I learned from a professor I took a class with what foam rolling was. Thank you Exercise Science degree!!😉 I was so tight and uncomfortable I hated it, but is showed me how much I really needed it and how it important it is to do regularly.

To this day, I’m not great at it, but I do it often enough now that I have my tightness under control and my IT Band Syndrome at bay. I’m still tight there from time to time, but it was WAY more manageable then when I wasn’t doing it at all! I was seriously like a grandma looking back now. How I went that far without rolling was my bad BIG TIME. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to be reminded how important it is.

Okay, so fast forward to TODAY and I probably roll out two to three times per week. I could more, but I don’t always. I know. I can be better. It is something I struggle with and realize it is something to work on so I try to make it part of my routine somehow. So, I do it before bed as part of my bedtime routine. It takes about fifteen minutes, but it is well worth it. I especially love rolling while watching The Bachelorette or American Ninja Warrior. Roll and watch, it’s a good combination.

If you don’t have a roller and you workout, run, or train multiple days a week rolling is especially beneficial and definitely worth the investment. They come in all different kinds of firmness, treds vs. no treds, brand, etc. However, they are on the pricy side depending on what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with a softer roller (like a pool noodle type softness) and go from there. My favorite is Trigger Point brand recovery tools. They have a great variety for all types of recovery needs! Although I focus on legs, foam rolling can be for all over. If I roll out my whole body, it usually takes a half hour to forty five minutes. I find I have the most amount of time for this on the weekends. During the week I stick with  rolling for about fifteen minutes.

For my routine, this what I do two to three times each week. Starting easy from the bottom and working up or vice versa. Roll a little bit at time, about an inch more in one direction before go back to your starting point. If you feel a particularly tight or tender spot, hold there and breath. I broke it down here, but feel free to check out my video for a visual on Instagram to help get a better idea!

-Starting at the bottom of foot roll five to ten times up and down

-Foam roller under ankle, foot is resting on top, achilles tendon side down:

  • dorsiflex and plantar flex five times
  • circle the ankle in one direction and reverse
  • turn inside then outside ankle to roller and circle one direction and reverse

-Roll up shin to calf until back on knee (it’s safe with light pressure)

-Roll from bottom to top of hamstring up to the glutes

~Switch legs and repeat!~