Thursday, November 21, 2013

Healthy for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week, followed by over a month filled with celebrations and indulgences. For many, fitness takes a vacation during this time and then a snap back to reality comes January 1. But with a little strategic planning, holidays and treats can be enjoyed without feelings of guilt and regret. Here are some tips to help you through the season without stressing over having to start your fitness program all over in the new year.

- Schedule workouts and treat them with the same importance as any other appointment. Even if you have commitments that reduce the number of workouts you can get in a particular week,  scheduling and sticking to those you can fit in will help keep stress at bay and keep your energy high.

- Focus and push yourself during the time you have for exercise. The holidays can be chaotic and stressful. Pushing yourself during workouts will help clear your head while you focus all your energy into the task at hand. And, you'll burn tons of calories!

- Offer to contribute food items for parties and special holiday meals and bring something you feel good about eating. There will always be plenty of indulgent dishes available at celebrations. Adding something nutritious to the spread will show others your commitment to staying healthy and your family and friends will probably be happy to try something new.

- Consider revamping some of your traditional holiday dishes. There are so many ways to prepare traditional holiday fare and highlight your favorite ingredients. Try following healthy food blogs and Facebook pages for inspiration.

- Partner up with a friend or accountability group to keep you on track to meet your goals. Having someone to report your progress (or slips) to can work wonders toward helping you get past the urge to overindulge or skip a workout.

- Choose indulgences wisely. Avoid going to a party and filling up on cheese and crackers and then continuing on to all the special holiday food. Decide which items you're most looking forward to (those that are special for holidays, items you don't make for yourself) and enjoy a reasonable portion.

- Focus on people rather than food at holiday gatherings. Yes, there are food items you may have been looking forward to all year. Go ahead and have some. BUT, holidays are (should be!) about giving your time and companionship to the people you love, not just devouring a giant feast.

- Invite others to exercise with you. Physical activity accumulates and several small bouts can add up to a full workout. If you can visit with a friend while going for a walk or some other activity you both enjoy, you kill two birds with one stone.

These are just a handful of ideas to get you on track for celebrating the holidays while keeping your fitness in check. Plan ahead and you'll be ahead of the weight loss/fitness/health resolution pack
for 2014!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

Egg salad. I love it! But, I'm not a big fan of mayo. So this summer, I had the idea to make egg salad with mashed avocado. And boy is it good! I revisited my summer genius idea today and made my avocado egg salad and ate it on large butter lettuce leaves with a couple tomatoes and slices of cucumber.

This is so easy to make! 

1 large avocado, mashed
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
large lettuce leaves
grape tomatoes
sliced cucumber (I cut mine in strips so it's easier to wrap)

Combine avocado and eggs in a bowl. Season with mustard, salt, and pepper to your personal taste. Spoon mixture onto large lettuce leaves and garnish with slices of cucumber, tomatoes, and whatever vegetables you like. Wrap it up like a burrito and eat! Makes 2 servings.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Cozy Orange Yoga Gear

Recently I tried a new brand of yoga clothing, Cozy Orange. As part of Cozy Orange's "Glam Squad", I received the Gemini Tank in True Teal and Gemini Pants in Raven Black and True Teal, to review. I was so excited to try some new yoga gear! Right out of the package, the fabric of both the tank and pants was super soft. The fabric has retained this softened after multiple washes, and both pieces have retained their shape and stretch as well.
Ready to teach class
When I tried the pants on, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable and flattering the waistband is. It doesn't dig in at all and it looks smooth under whatever top I wear with it. The Gemini pants have a good amount of stretch, giving a feeling of light compression without being too restrictive. The only thing I would change about these pants is to have them available in multiple lengths as they are a few inches too long (as usual for me!).

The Gemini yoga tank is another very nice piece. The seaming gives a flattering shape and again, the fabric feels great on. An interesting feature of this tank is that it has an adjustable shelf bra. I didn't find this to be especially helpful as it didn't feel super supportive and I would always wear a sports bra under the top anyway. However, for anyone who doesn't require/desire strong support, it is nice that you can adjust the band to make the fit more custom. I do like the True Teal color. It's colorful without being overwhelming. 

Overall, I really enjoy wearing both of these pieces of clothing and look forward to trying more of the Cozy Orange line!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Workout

After a couple days off workouts due to a bad cold, today was the day to get back to it. Core Speed from T25 was my workout of choice. Actually, once I finished Core Speed, I decided to double up and popped Rip't Circuit in the DVD player.

I really like these workouts because they're short - only 25 minutes each - and they're intense. You feel as if you've done a longer workout when you're finished. And if you have days like I did today where you've missed a couple workouts and you want to come back with a bang, doing 2 still only takes 50 minutes! Because of the high intensity of T25, doing 2 workouts in a day isn't a frequent thing...only once per week to avoid overtraining. 

Here are a couple of clips from both videos. The first section is the last push in Core Speed, featuring every exercise from the whole workout combined and each exercise is only performed a couple times in this section. Then, a few exercises from Rip't Circuit are shown. It's been a few weeks since I've done these workouts, so I'm probably going to be sore tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short and Effective

Ever feel like you have to exercise for at least an hour for a workout to be effective? Hour-long workouts are great if you have the time and enjoy working out. But sometimes, it's nice to have a sweaty, butt-kicking workout in a short time. If you focus and work at a high intensity, a short workout can be just as, or even more, effective than a longer workout. This goes for both cardio and strength sessions. 

I planned to do some lifting this evening before teaching Insanity, but ended up a little behind schedule, leaving me only about 15 minutes to fit it in. With 6 exercises, each working multiple muscles, I knocked out 2 sets with heavy weights, followed by a few minutes of plank work. A couple of hours later, and I'm already feeling that work in my body! The key is to have a plan and move quickly between exercises with minimal rest between. Using heavy weights helps burn out the muscles with few repetitions. If I had a little more time, I probably would have done the circuit a third time, and still would have been under 30 minutes for a complete strength workout.

As far as cardio, I've been teaching a 30 minute version of Insanity a couple times per week. Those 30 minutes are super intense and leave me burning calories at a higher rate for hours after I'm done. I've also been using Shaun T's T25 here and there on days when I don't teach or can't make it to the gym. The same rule applies, focus and push through at a high intensity and you get an effective workout in a short time. 

Short workouts are not only convenient, they're a great way to mix up your routine and keep your body guessing. Throw in an extra short workout into your routine to help break through a plateau and push your fitness to a higher level!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Workout of the Day

Today I didn't have any classes to teach or a set workout planned. Having taught a combo of  INSANITY and PiYo the night before, I didn't feel like I needed a really long or intense workout, but I wanted to do something. I trained a client in the morning and thought I'd do a quick workout with some of the exercises I chose for her, using a medicine ball for resistance.

I was already warm from demonstrating exercises for my client and climbing up the stairs in the gym a few times. I chose 3 exercises that combined, worked all my major muscles. Not resting between exercises and doing multiple sets got my heart rate up and my muscles were feeling it by the end! Try it out and enjoy!

Walking Lunges with Rotation
Hold medicine ball in front of chest with arms extended. Step forward with the right foot and bend the knee to 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle. Keeping arms extended, twist to the right, rotating through the waist. Come back to center and step forward with the left foot, come into a lunge and repeat.

Sumo Squat with Side Bend
Stand with feet together, holding medicine ball overhead. Step out wide to the right and sit into a low squat, keeping chest tall and tailbone tucked. Crunch obliques on the right, bringing elbow toward the thigh. Step together and repeat on the left.

Rear Extension with Overhead Lift
Stand with feet together, tall posture, holding medicine ball in front of the thighs. Shift weight onto the right foot. At the same time, lift the left leg with knee extended and lift medicine ball overhead. Lower leg and medicine ball together then repeat. Complete all repetitions on the right side and then repeat on the left.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Healthy Cookie Dough Bites!

Yep, I did it! I made HEALTHY chocolate chip cookie dough bites...and they are delicious! It's so simple too. Just be careful not to eat them all in one sitting! Here's what you need:

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup walnuts (or other nut of choice)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
2 TBSP finely shredded coconut flakes
3-4 TBSP honey (to taste)
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
1 TBSP coconut oil (more or less to help it stick together)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Put oats and walnuts in food processor and process until finely ground. Add all other ingredients, EXCEPT chocolate chips and process until a dough starts to form. Dough should stick together when pressed. Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to break up chips and distribute through dough.

Scoop dough with a small cookie scooper (or by tablespoons). Chill in fridge. Yields about 15 bites. Enjoy!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Photo Food Journal - Turbo x2 Day

I decided yesterday that I would take a picture of everything I ate to make a little food journal of what one day of eating looks like for me. This Thursday was my week to teach 2 Turbo Kick classes, making nutrition extra important this day so I wouldn't crash halfway though class.

Chocolate Shakeology Overnight Oats
I started off the day with a VERY filling serving of these chocolate Shakeology overnight oats and a handful of blueberries (not pictured). This breakfast left me with plenty of energy for my morning Turbo class and I didn't feel as hungry right after class as I usually do when I eat a less satisfying morning meal.

Even though the oats stuck with me, I still needed a snack after class to keep me going until lunch. The kids decided they wanted to go to the library after the gym, so luckily I had a Larabar stashed in the car. I forgot to take a picture when I ate my bar, but this is the flavor I good! I love the simplicity of Larabars...this particular flavor has: dates, peanuts, and sea salt. That's it!

Beans, corn, avocado, cheese
I was definitely hungry by lunch time, so I made one of my (and the kids) favorite quick lunches. Black beans and corn with avocado and cheese. I scooped mine with a handful of organic yellow corn chips (not pictured). Ingredients for the chips: organic yellow corn, organic expeller-pressed oil, and salt. Yay for simple ingredients lists! I also had a few peach slices that the kids didn't eat :)

Iced coffee
It was a pretty warm afternoon and I was hanging outside with the kids, so I decided to make myself an iced coffee. I make mine with fresh brewed coffee from my Kuerig, a couple tablespoons of half and half, and about a teaspoon of coconut sugar. It was a nice afternoon treat!
A couple hours before my second Turbo class of the day, I fueled up with a second serving of Shakeology. This time, I blended vanilla Shakeology with ice and coconut milk. It tasted like vanilla bean ice cream! I don't normally have 2 Shakeology's in a day, when when I have 2 classes, it helps me have the energy I need to deliver a high intensity class with lots of power and holds me over until I can eat dinner after the second class.
Dinner salad

I finally ate dinner after a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home from the gym. I had prepared a salad earlier as well as pasta with Italian seasoned diced tomatoes and olive oil. I topped my pasta with some shredded mozzarella/provolone. It really hit the spot after a long day!

Pasta w/ tomatoes & olive oil
So that was my day of eating for Thursday. Don't ask me what the calorie count was, because I don't know! I focus on eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. My water bottle or cup stays filled throughout the day so I stay hydrated and am less likely to mistake thirst for hunger. If I feel hungry, I eat something...doing my best to make nutritious choices that make me feel good!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Getting It Done!

Even though I teach several group fitness classes each week, I still feel the need to do a couple additional workouts to round out my schedule. Currently, I don't have any scheduled classes on Tuesdays, Fridays, or over the weekend, so I like to do at least a little something most of those days. Sometimes, I go to the gym and hit up another instructor's class or do some lifting on my own, but there are days when I just have to get it done at home. Today was one of those days.  So...with 2 kids playing around me, I did my 25 minute workout and was POURING sweat when I was finished! Sure, I might have had to pause the DVD a couple of times and dodge my daughter's tiny toes, but I felt so good when I was done that it would be worth hurdling many more obstacles.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Touching Lives

One of my regular class participants recently commented to me about how we sometimes touch the lives of people we come into contact with in a meaningful way without ever realizing it and how seeing the familiar faces in class and taking in the energy and encouragement of the instructors can be really powerful. It meant a lot to me to get this feedback from a participant (who I also consider a friend) and it also served as a reminder of how we do impact others' lives on a daily basis. Its our choice whether that impact will be positive or negative. My goal is that I will touch people in positive ways, big or small, each and every day. A big part of that is the energy I bring into my group fitness classes, but it extends further too. I think about the cashier at the grocery store, or other parents I see at the playground and how a friendly smile or quick exchange of "Hello, how are you? Have a great day!" might add a little light to their day - whether they need it or not! Sometimes it can be hard to get out of my own head when there's a lot going on and I might be in a bad mood, but the thought of lifting another up in even the slightest way almost always helps bring me back to my ultimate goal of helping others.
Crazy face, as usual!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vanilla Shakeology Overnight Oats

Base ingredients for Shakeology Overnight Oats
I keep hearing about/seeing pictures for "overnight oats"...oatmeal that requires NO COOKING!  Yipee! It's something I've been wanting to try and thought that the new Vanilla Shakeology would be a great addition for my first try. I looked up a few recipes to get an idea of a good ratio of dry to wet ingredients and here's what I ended up with:

1/2 cup oats
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
3/4-1 cup unsweetened almond milk (use more or less depending on the texture you like)

With peanut butter and almonds on top

Mix the oats, Shakeology, and almond milk together in a container with a lid and place in refrigerator before you go to bed. When you're ready to eat in the morning, remove your oats from the fridge and top with your desired toppings. I chose natural peanut butter and sliced almonds, but the possibilities are endless. Chopped fruit and nuts, granola and a dollop of yogurt, any type of nut butter. I'm excited to try this with Chocolate Shakeology as well. Nothing like having dessert for breakfast!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Keeping it Fun!

Chaturanga arms

It was a beautiful day this morning (before it got really humid this afternoon!) so this kids and I decided to get some outside time at the playground in our neighborhood. After pulling them the couple of blocks there in the wagon (a workout in itself), I started to look around the playground to see what new and fun exercises I could do on the equipment. First, I had my eye on this spinning disk you're supposed to stand on and then hold on to the steering wheel type thing overhead and spin yourself around as fast as you can. I got into a plank position with my hands on the disk and started twisting from side to side then lowered into chaturanga arms and twisted some more. Pretty good core workout! Then I spotted the pull-up bar next to the stairs up to the slide. I hadn't attempted a pull-up for awhile, so I went for it...and I did it! My feet were on the ground for the starting position rather than hanging, but I didn't jump or bounce up. I was able to do 2 in a row!  Doing unassisted pull-ups has been one of my fitness goals for some time now so this is exciting.  It was so much fun being able to do something new! Opportunities for physical activity are all around us if we're willing to step outside the norm and not worry if anyone is looking :)

Summer Fresh Recipes

This Memorial Day, I was fortunate to enjoy a cookout with my family and some good friends. One of the greatest parts of our gathering was that everyone chose to contribute healthy dishes for us to all share. I decided to bring two things, a bean salad and some healthy-ish cookies.

The bean salad was super simple:

1 bag frozen shelled edamame, steamed in bag
1 can low or no sodium black beans, rinsed well
2 cups frozen sweet corn,  lightly steamed (can use fresh too)
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine edamame, beans, and corn in a bowl. Whisk oil, lime juice, garlic, and cumin together and put over bean mixture. Stir or shake to combine, then chill until time to eat.

The cookies were also very easy and ended up being a big hit (2 dozen cookies, gone!). I found the recipe here: The Lean Green Bean

I hope to fill the summer with simple, refreshing recipes like these!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chocolate Shakeology No Bake Brownies

I had a couple people ask me for the recipe for the brownies I posted over the weekend, so here it is!
Chocolate Shakeology No Bake Brownies

1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
1/3 cup walnuts (or mixed nuts of choice)
1/3 cup oats
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2-3 tbsp honey (to taste)
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Grind nuts in food processor until mealy. Add remaining ingredients and process until combined and a dough forms. Press dough into a small container and refrigerate. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Fit Weekend

Weekends are a big fitness downfall for many people. We make great efforts to eat well and exercise during the week, but often bets are off come Friday evening. Well, not for me! Especially not this past weekend. I started off with a fun Turbo Kick class (including 3 kids!) Friday afternoon followed with a mostly healthy dinner of a big salad and a slice of cheese pizza. Saturday morning brought another Turbo class and I decided to stay for CXworx. What a challenging core workout, and only 30 minutes! I made another big salad topped with avocado and fresh mozzarella when I got home. The kids and I played outside all afternoon and I attempted to practice some yoga, but the kids were very demanding of my attention! Dinner was a small cheeseburger (grilled on the good old George Foreman Grill) and steamed veggies. Sunday was a beautiful day and involved more outside time with the kids. I managed to practice a little yoga and take photos for the Instagram challenge I'm doing this month. We had some yummy chocolate avocado banana bread that I made for a snack (will share the recipe in another post). I made roasted veggies, organic sweet potato puffs, and chicken sausage for dinner. My big treat for the weekend was a bowl of chocolate ice cream Sunday night...everything in moderation, right? It feels good to start a new week but not have to start over on my health and fitness goals. How did you do???

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fueling My Day

Nutrition is important on all days, but especially on days like today when I teach 2 intense PiYo classes. If I don't eat well, but energy lags and getting through the second class is tough. I know my participants expect a great, sweaty workout, so I need to be on top of my game to deliver. I have found that if I start the day with a hearty meal and continue with clean eats throughout the day, I have plenty of energy to push myself hard in both classes. Here's my meal plan for today:

Breakfast: peanut butter baked oatmeal with a handful of dark chocolate chips and strawberries
To make 2 servings:
Mash 1/2 banana in a medium bowl. Add 3-4 tbsp natural peanut butter and 2-3 tbsp honey. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup quick oats to banana mixture and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice) and stir. Divide mixture between 2 ramekins sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes (longer for crustier edges).

Snack: pear + handful sunflower kernels + string cheese

Lunch: Chocolate Shakeology blended with ice, unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tbsp peanut butter

Snack: Green smoothie (Greek yogurt, baby kale, frozen mango and pineapple, water)

Dinner: Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce, steamed broccoli

Dessert: a couple bites of dark chocolate

I also make an effort to drink plenty of water each day. Rather than count calories, I prefer to listen to my body and adjust my intake based on how I feel. If I'm really hungry/tired/sluggish, I'll add another healthy snack or eat a bigger portion at one meal. If I'm eating a variety of healthy foods, I find its not necessary to track closely (I do track every once in awhile for a week or two just to get a more accurate picture of how well I'm doing at getting all the needed nutrients in).

There ya have it! A little glimpse into my eating habits :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fitness Goals Update

A few weeks ago, I posted my current strength training workout and a few fitness goals. Since then, I've had fun exploring yoga through an Instagram challenge (there are 2 more I'm committing to this month!),but I've had a hard time fitting in the strength workouts that I would like to do. Of course, there are always excuses for not doing something, but I also have to consider my priorities. Tops on my list is taking care of myself so that I can also take care of and enjoy my family. I'm still working on finding the balance of workouts and rest that leaves me feeling great and with plenty of energy for all the other areas of life too. My current schedule includes 2 Turbo Kick classes and 3 PiYo classes each week, and I usually end up subbing a few times each month on top of my regular classes. The goal of including 2-3 strength workouts still stands, as does focusing on increasing my yoga practice (I can see myself pursuing yoga teacher training in the future). As the weather warms up, I'll be spending plenty of time playing outside with my children (translation: chasing, climbing, sliding, etc...), so that will contribute to my overall activity level as well. It's important to have goals to work toward, but not if they are to the detriment of other areas of life. That's why I'm revisiting my previously stated goals and renewing them while keeping my top priorities in mind. Always a work in progress!

In closing, here's a favorite Instagram-inspired photo I took last week:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Granola Bars

Everyone needs a fast snack from time to time and granola bars are a quick, easy, yummy solution. The problem is, many store bought options are really just candy bars in disguise. So, I've been wanting to try making some and someone emailed me a recipe out of Shape Magazine so I decided to try it. I modified the original recipe a bit to my liking, and I think it's a good base for trying different flavors and additions. Here's my modified version of the recipe:

1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup Grape Nuts cereal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate bar)

Combine oats through ginger in a large bowl. Whisk together egg, applesauce, honey, and oil. Pour into oat mixture and stir until combined. Stir in nuts, seeds, and chocolate. Pour into 8x8 pan lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes, until edges start to brown. Cool on a rack then lift bars out of pan with foil and cut into bars.

I baked mine for 30 minutes and will probably leave them in a few minutes longer next time as I like mine a little more brown around the edges. I'd like to try adding peanut butter to the recipe as well as use different types of nuts to change the flavor. If you like dried fruit, that would also be a great addition!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Love Smoothies!

Pictured below was my breakfast this morning: a smoothie made with spring greens, frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, strawberry, blueberry), Greek yogurt, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It felt great to start the day with a glass full of nutrition! And if I'm totally honest, my nutrition has been seriously lacking for the past week. More specifically, I've been on a major sugar kick and need to be stopped! So I made the decision to start my day with this yummy and healthy smoothie to get me going on the right track for the day. For me, once I get started eating sweets, it is so hard to stop. I just keep craving more, and if I eat more, the cravings get worse! On the flip side, once I'm able to get out of the sugar death spiral, the cravings diminish and I remember how good I feel when I'm eating well. I've read and seen a lot of research and commentary regarding sugar consumption lately, and the resounding message is that sugar is not only an addictive substance, it is also a major contributor to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. While I'm not an alarmist or extremist, the combination of this knowledge and how I feel when I'm consuming a lot of refined sugar is reason enough for me to put a big effort toward minimizing my consumption. So what do smoothies have to do with this? For me, they are a delicious way to get a lot of nutrients in one meal and also satisfy my sweet tooth with fresh or frozen fruit. And, I can put whatever I like in. My typical smoothie has about a half cup of Greek yogurt, a big handful of whatever greens I have on hand (spinach and kale are faves), about half a cup of almond milk, and whatever kind of fruit I have (I've been buying huge bags of frozen fruit from Sam's Club for this purpose). Surely there are many additional additives to try such as chia or flax seeds, nuts, and different veggies, but I don't have a super powerful blender, so I keep to items I know will get blended well. Now that I've had my smoothie for today, I'm going to keep the goodness going with leftover chicken pot pie for lunch (see recipe in previous post), Shakeology for a snack, and pork tenderloin with roasted veggies for dinner. If I really feel the need for a little treat after dinner, I'll have a square of dark chocolate. Yay for healthy food!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Getting Back to Normal

Last weekend, I took the kids up north on a long weekend to visit the various branches of my family. As is usual with any traveling, I was off my normal routine for several days. I managed to fit one workout in, but that was followed by 3 non-exercise days (and plenty of car time). My eating was way different than usual too...I'm always very well-fed when visiting family. Delicious homemade meals and bigger portions for a few days and I was definitely ready to load up on fruits and veggies and my trusty Shakeology (I also made my special Shakeology brownies to help tame my sweet tooth...yum!) after we got home on Tuesday. My workouts started back with double PiYo day on Wednesday followed by a double dose of Turbos yesterday. Another Turbo this afternoon and again tomorrow morning and I am feeling back on track (need to find some time for lifting!). I fell behind on the Instagram Mad About Yoga challenge, so getting all those poses photographed felt like its own workout too. I even got caught up on cleaning and laundry today! Now if I could just get some extra sleep...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Still Sore!

I took the opportunity to do my own workout at the gym Saturday morning (rather than teaching or take a class) and 2 days later, I am still sore! I take it as a sign that I succeeded at working my body differently from what it's used to and that I should do the exercises I did again so I can get stronger. As a fitness instructor, it is easy to get in the mindset that you shouldn't or don't need to do your workouts outside of the classes you teach. That's fine if you don't have new fitness goals and your schedule of classes is very well rounded (cardio, strength, flexibility). My schedule is somewhat balanced, but I could definitely stand to incorporate more strength training, so that's what I've been working on. A couple of goals: strength train 2-3 times per week, work toward being able to do unassisted pull-ups, explore new yoga poses and styles.

Here's a quick rundown of Saturday's workout:
30 minutes of treadmill intervals (2 min run/ 1 min walk)
Single leg deadlifts w/ 20 lb dumbbell (will increase weight next time)
Single arm rows w/ 20 lb dumbbell
Shoulder to shoulder presses w/ 20 lb dumbbell
Squat & pull with purple resistance band
Assisted pull-ups (feet on box) 5 reps each w/ 2 different grips
Wide and tricep push-ups with feet on Bosu
Plank knee pulls with feet on Bosu
Various stretches and rolling (self myofascial release)

I also practiced a few yoga poses and took my daily photo for the Mad About Yoga challenge I'm doing on Instagram.

My plan is to repeat many of these same exercises (might alter it a little) this week on Tuesday and Friday in addition to the 5 classes I teach. Hopefully it won't be long before I can increase weight on more exercises and need less assistance for the pull-ups. Then I'll start working on some new challenging exercises!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mad About Yoga

While I've had an Instagram account for some time, I've been more active with posting photos and exploring photos in the past couple of months. I've really enjoyed looking at fitness and motivational photos and have found many beautiful shots of people practicing yoga. If you're not familiar with Instagram, part of the social aspect behind it is the photo challenges that people come up with. This month, I'm participating in a challenge called Mad About Yoga (#madaboutyoga to tag your photos). Hosted by 3 talented yoginis who rotate posting the challenge pose for each day, the challenge serves to expose users to new poses and enjoy practicing virtually together. This challenge has been perfect for me as gaining more yoga experience is one of my current goals. Some of the poses have surprised me - some for how easy they were for me, and some for how hard. It's funny how sometimes the simple looking poses can be the most challenging.

Follow me on Instagram to see the pose for each day: @cococrawford

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

For the first time this week, I made a homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, and it turned out delicious! The best part, it was hearty and also healthy! I kinda made the recipe up after browsing other recipes for inspiration. Requirements were that it be healthy (duh!), quick to prepare, and taste great. Here's what I ended up with:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 chicken breasts, baked and roughly chopped (you can also cook on a George Foreman grill or use rotisserie chicken)
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup frozen peas
6-8 small gold Yukon potatoes, chopped into bite sized chunks
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp flour
1 store bought pie crust, or 1 crust from your favorite recipe

Melt butter in skillet, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add onion and cook until transparent. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until flour is absorbed. Add potatoes, carrots, and peas to skillet. Pour in chicken broth and stir. Allow to simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt, chicken, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer mixture to round casserole dish and cover with pie crust, folding edges over is necessary. Brush crust with milk or egg white and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

The day I prepared this we ended up having a snow storm. It was a perfect warm, comforting dinner for such a cold, wintery night!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I've never been one to be super strict about following a specific diet plan or count calories. The have been a couple of times where I've used online programs to track my eating (post-babies, for example), but I don't find it as a long-term necessity. That said, I definitely find tracking my intake to be helpful in  establishing or re-establishing the healthy eating habits that help me feel my best. I got into a pretty good sugar habit again over the holidays, and while I've done pretty well getting away from all the treats, I feel I need a little help to get rid of that craving for needing something sweet every day. I'd also like to have a better idea of how I'm doing on my ratio of macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) along with tracking sugar. Along with this tracking endeavor, I'm making greater efforts toward consuming fewer processed foods. The tool I'm using is My Fitness Pal, and its available online and as a smartphone app. I like that its easy to use and you can customize your goals based on your needs. I'll be updating with specifics regarding my meal plan and recipes. If you're on My Fitness Pal, add me as a friend (username: cmc211)!


Welcome to my health and fitness blog! There are so many fitness and health related topics that interest me that I'd like to share with anyone who is interested. I'm always working to live a healthy and fit life and am learning new ways to do so on a daily basis. Since becoming a mom over three years ago, I've become particularly concerned with helping my family live well and modeling healthy habits for my children. My goal with this blog is to share what I'm doing to help us along this journey.

Here's to living well!