Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Hey All!! It’s almost half way through the week. YAY! I’ve been trying a few new ideas for my pre-workout snacks as well as adding my usual ones. Try these out to fuel your workouts for the week!

When picking healthy snacks, I typically pick something that has a good balance of carbs and healthy fat mixed with a little protein. Nothing heavy or anything that requires much prep because remember its a SNACK–something small to get you through without weighing you down. Let the weights take of that instead. 🙂 They’re filling, easy, and full of only the good stuff. If you can, prep these in advance so you have them all week long.

These snacks can all be swapped for something vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian. I do like dairy and don’t have a nut allergy, which is what I typically used for these snacks. Feel free to use what you have in your pantry. No special grocery trips here. 🙂

Trail Mix

-I love this mix because you throw everything into a bowl and that’s IT. A salty-sweet crunch with healthy fats from the nuts, easy digestible carbs from dried fruit, and whole grains from the Cheerios. I like Trader Joe’s selection of nuts and dried fruit for this mix the best. When measuring each into a bowl or bag, I’d say less is more. If you over fill the bag, your portions get large fast! (if you’re doing single servings). I try and keep this is mind because of the nuts since the healthy fats are usually dense in good calories. This makes enough for one serving so it’s perfect for pre-portioning and having them ready through the week! Just remember to store them in a cool, dry place.

  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s mixed nuts lightly salted and roasted
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s dried pitted cherries
  • 1/3 c Multigrain Cheerios
  • Handful of Semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional but completely worth it)

Celery & Peanut Butter with Pretzels

-For peanut butter, I buy whichever one is on sale so I don’t have a brand preference. I love to hate peanut because of the price (BOGO is my friend at Publix) and the calorie content *insert crying emoji face* such a tease because it is SO good! The pretzels are really good with it too. Its a great salty-sweet crunch that’s hard to beat!

Hard-boiled Egg on Toast with Gouda Cheese and Salt and Pepper

-I cook my eggs in advance so they’re the perfectly convenient way to get in protein. Sometimes I even have this for breakfast its so good and filling yet light. Gouda cheese is my favorite, no other reason. Bread-wise, I buy Rudi’s Multigrain Gluten Free bread. This would be good on an english muffin too.

Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt with Multigrain Cheerios, Honey, & Fresh Fruit

-I never used to like plain yogurt, in fact I rolled my eyes because it reminded me of sour cream. I didn’t actually starting liking it until I saw how much SUGAR was in my flavored yogurt. It was basically dessert for breakfast. So there went that idea. Now, I sweeten my plain yogurt myself with real flavors. 😉 Multigrain cheerios give it a crunch, honey adds a naturally sweet flavor (of which you don’t need much) and fresh fruit for added antioxidants, fiber, and color.

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Hey Guys! I’ve been going through my pantry and taking some mental notes of recent ingredients I been into lately. Of course I have my staples I buy every week like yogurt, eggs, fresh veggies, meat, etc. but some of the meal prep I’ve been doing involved a couple new additions. For a while I wasn’t great about meal-prepping every week because I simply didn’t feel like it. Lately I was going through some blogs, namely The Blissful Balance, my girl Christina’s blog and Cooking Light for some inspiration for meal prep ideas, because we all need a little motivation to spark our interest right?! 😉

I’m a carnivore and really enjoy meat, but I wanted go on the lighter easier side and go meatless for a change. I also felt super lazy when it came to cooking meat and keeping an eye out as it cooks. Not feeling it. I saw how lentils are a meatless alternative and found a great one-pot dish for it. The dish lasted me the WHOLE DAMN week! All dinners Sunday  through Thursday and I didn’t get tired of it because it was THAT good! With wilted spinach and parmesean cheese (which can be opted out for dairy-free if vegan) on top, it was easy to reheat and enjoy (almost) every night of the week.

Aside from being an easy/convienent dish, lentils are great for you. They’re full of fiber, high in protein and iron, and have a meaty satisfying feeling to them. They’re also great with most things and can easily be used as a side among other ingredients. I can see how vegans and vegetarians really enjoy them. As delicious as they are too, they’re CHEAP! I mean really. Not a bad price for a 16 oz bag. I think $2-3. I don’t remember an exact number but I don’t recall cringing at the price. Filling up on a budget, that’s what I like to call it.

Another favorite has been sundried tomatos. They come jarred and if they’re an option, picking the ones in olive oil is your best bet. They’re full of flavor and go well in anything! I love them in salads or snacking on them among mozzarella cheese and crackers or bruschetta *drooling*. Going Italian and I’m not complaining, note: not one bit of me is Italian…lol! I was disappointed when I ran out when making my mini english muffin pizzas and realized I couldn’t use them. SO SAD. Thinking of having the tomatoes as a staple for last minute ideas since they have a decent shelf life as well. I love the flavor they have, that roasted and savory flavor! Packed with goodness, its an item that’s gotta be on your shelf. Aside from how great they are to have in your kitchen, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, are full of water keeping you satisfied, and is a fat free food, just to name a few!

If you’re thinking you wanna try these two ingredients, here is the lentil recipe I used from The Blissful Balance. Again, very filling and it went along way! I also included another recipe using lentils but in a greek style type salad that is ready to eat straight outta the fridge thanks to Cooking Light. Hope these two ingredients and recipes sparked your interest as they did mine. Enjoy!

 

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers and AT&T spokeswoman Karen McAllister, I had the privilege of getting to use the Fitbit Charge HR for nine days in exchange for this post, social media love, and tickets to Lowry Park Zoo. All opinions are my own.*

After being in touch with Karen from AT&T and Tampa Bay Bloggers, the Fitbit Charge HR was a great product to try for over a week. It gives being active a new sense of awareness. It was nice being able to see my numbers throughout the day and it gave me something to push for during my workouts! I had secretly wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about and I’m really glad I did. It was a pretty cool product and a worthwhile nine days seeing how it worked with me throughout the day while teaching my classes, training clients, and incorporating into my own workouts.

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Fitbit HR has a sleek design and felt light weight when I wasn’t checking my stats.

I specifically had the Charge HR band that tracked my heart rate on top of all the other features it came with: sleep tracker, calories burned, stairs climbed, distance traveled, active minutes etc. It read the heart rate via the radial pulse on my wrist and tracked it at rest and throughout the day. That part alone was especially cool! It was a great way to keep yourself motivated during an intense cardio session alone. During my spin class at Soho Cycling Studio it was handy to look down and check periodically throughout the class how I was doing and to see my total calorie burn post workout. As a group exercise instructor, I especially loved seeing the calories burned and steps tracked throughout my classes I teach. All the little movements and walking around really do add up to more calories burned and distance walked. Once you reach your step goal, mine was 10,000, it vibrates to notify you. From there you receive badges and can see your collection as it grows!

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A day I incorporated a strength day into my routine (note the 26 active minutes) among classes I taught and clients I saw

I would say that the Fitbit is a great tool for many people. Its a great fit for people returning to exercise after an injury, newbie to the fitness world, athlete or regular exerciser, individual with a nine to five desk job, and a cross trainer. Having this tool is great for anyone who needs that extra reminder, motivation, and awareness of their numbers at their fingertips to keep goals in check.

For the individual who are returning post injury and getting back into a routine or is just getting into fitness, this is a great first step. A few of my clients have them and I love asking how their steps are, what they burned during our workouts, their sleep, etc. It’s funny since even a few people in my group classes I teach always report to me how they did post class or even funnier–ask during class, “can we do more cardio? I need to get my steps in.”  In cases like these, I LOVE utilizing it THROUGH my clients and class participants to keep challenging them even more! 😉 From what I have learned about it through myself and others is to WEAR it, otherwise it doesn’t work. Sounds silly making this comment, but if it isn’t charged and ready to wear, don’t count on it doing it’s job. Less time wearing it = less motivation.

For the athlete/regular exerciser, this is great for the constant added challenge through the heart rate feature. I learned I could push harder throughout my spin class, so I continued to increase the intensity and after looking at my stats post class, I TORCHED about 800 calories! WOWZA!! I thought to myself, “I wonder how many I would have burned if I didn’t add the extra resistance?” Yeah no regrets there. 😉 In terms of strength training, my heart rate during the workout was not as high as it was during spin or a run, but it did take note of my elevated heart rate during my half hour strength workout. So, YES males/females that like to strength train and crank it out in the weight room–this is for you too!!

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Badges earned each time you make your goal!

Even when not active, the Fitbit HR keeps the numbers going even at work during the day. Checking resting heart rate during the day and after a few cups of coffee (like I did) I saw a small increase in heart rate! However, it does not vibrate as a way of notifying you to move…which I thought was odd. It does track active minutes, so even though there is no obvious way of notifying you, being motivated to get up and walk around during your lunch break or throughout the day does count. The calories burned and distance traveled stat will soon be your friend.

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I’m pretty sure this was rest day for me, but I did go for a walk with a friend. Tracked my heart rate even during our walk!

What if you’re not a high intensity fitness freak but still enjoy being active–in a less intense way? Maybe yoga/pilates or cross training is your thing? That counts too! Again active minutes and a jump in heart rate counts as a workout and automatically tracked in active minutes. As mentioned above, looking at calories burned is another great way to track as well!

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Each week I got a daily “progress report” on my activity. Great overview to keep me motivated!

As a runner, I LOVE/LIVE by my Garmin Forerunner 15. It tracks my pace, speed, and includes a GPS. It also has a built in heart rate monitor with a strap. I feel the Fitbit would be a good fit for someone who wants to track their overall healthy habits and activity and isn’t necessary focused solely on running. I had this product during my half recently, and chose not to wear it simply because it did not track my running stats–specifically my pace. However, it was GREAT for other activities I participated in.

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Fitbit made it to the Gasparilla Expo!
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Had to take a selfie with it after getting it from Karen!

Throughout the week I used the Fitbit, I did learn a lot about myself and confirmed some things I wasn’t sure of. I learned I can really challenge myself MORE which is exciting to know (via the heart rate feature), I really do need eight hours of sleep..lol, and I have a low resting heart rate. Aside from it being an overall positive experience, in a technological way (the app and way it worked was super easy) and motivating sense, I would recommend this product to everyone looking to enhance or maintain their fitness.

Forty Minute Push/Pull Strength Workout

Forty Minute Push/Pull Strength Workout

 If group fitness isn’t your thing but working out alone is (or in a small group), this workout is perfect for you! I especially love how its about forty minutes and a total body routine. The only difference with this one compared to other workouts I’ve posted, is that it requires weights. Bodyweight is great, in fact I use it primarily with my bootcamp classes, but weights are a great addition too! Have no fear–added resistance makes it challenging, ups calorie burn, and gets your heart rate pumping fast. And LADIES–this will not make you bulky–it is physically not possible. Ya girl wrote this workout remember? 😉 You don’t need a fancy set of weights or be in a gym for that matter either. Bonus points if you own your own set! I recommend you pick a weight about five to eight pounds or having a heavy set either of tens or fifteens. Pick weights that fit your ability but are still moderately challenging. I like to say that the last few reps (~3) of a set are challenging/fatiguing but do-able. This workout is a push/pull concept which means that each set is grouped by movement, i.e pulls would be rows, bicep curls etc. and push would be chest press, squats etc. You can be as creative as you want! Just think about the movement and build on that. Don’t forget about the warm-up, cool-down, and core! Grab your weights and get ready to get sweaty 😉

Push/Pull Strength Workout

Perform each exercise for a minute each, back to back with minimal rest in between three times total. Rest 1 min after fully completing each round.

Round 1: 3x through

-Chest press (1 min) *push*

-Single arm row  (30 sec each side) *pull*

-Jump Squat with weights (1 min) *push*

-Upright row (1 min) *pull*

~rest 1 min after each round~

Round 2: 3x through

-Butterfly arms (goal post arms, bringing elbows together in front of chest) 1 min *push*

-Bicep curl (1 min) *pull*

-Single or double leg glute bridge (30 sec each leg/ 1 min both legs) *push*

-Deadlift (1 min) *pull*

~rest 1 min after each round~

Round 3: Abs 3x through

-Leg lifts (1 min) use without weights *pull*

-Russian twists (1 min) *pull*

-Single/double leg v-ups (30 sec each leg) 1 min*push*

-Crunches (bonus if on exercise ball!) 1 min *push*

~rest 1 min after each round~

YOUR TURN:

-What are your go-to strength workouts?

-How do you beat burn-out with your strength training workouts?

 

How To Be *SMART* About Your New Year Resolutions

How To Be *SMART* About Your New Year Resolutions

2016 is right around the corner! How crazy is that?? That means new years resolutions are on the mind too. Did you know the most popular resolution is “to live a healthy lifestyle”–no surprise I’m sure. If you’re falling into the same resolution year after year and not keeping it, you may need to look deeper into WHY it isn’t working. I always like to say its a commitment between your body and your mind. If the two aren’t working together it only goes so far, and you go only half way. Make this year different! It may take a little more thought, but if you really do want to make a change, it IS worth it. Be one of the people that can say you DID achieve a healthy lifestyle this time next year. Instead of listing expectations for yourself, be SMART about it. 😉 Use SMART goals to kick your resolutions the right way!

S– Specific; make your goal meaningful and specific–not vague and “open.” If you want to take up running, instead of saying “run everyday”say, “run three days at 8am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before I go to work.”

M– Measurable; make your goal measurable to see progress and improvement. It no fun if you go through the motions without seeing progress–the whole reason behind your resolution, right?! Instead of saying “I want to run for thirty minutes everyday” say, “I want to start with running without stopping for 10 minutes for the month of January and continually add three to five minutes each time for the first two weeks in February.” You’ll see a difference in ability have kept a consistent measure of time.

A/R Attainable & Realistic; this is interchangeable with realistic, but make sure this goal is something you know you can do and is possible to achieve! Kinda silly I know, but we can all get caught up in the goal and then forget it really isn’t feasible like we chalked it up to be. Do a reality check on yourself and look at it hard making sure you can make it happen. Don’t forget it IS good to push yourself!

T– Time Frame; Putting a timeline on your goal gives you something to look forward to and work towards. Instead of saying “I want to run the Thanksgiving turkey trot next year” say, “I want to be able to run/complete the Thanksgiving turkey trot 5k without stopping by Thanksgiving next year or *insert whatever day the 5k is”

Happy New Year and GOOD LUCK–Make it happen!!!