And Then There’s Snow.

Still riding high on that nice weather, even though the weather app on my phone is threatening snow!

I fit in a bike ride on Wednesday afternoon and felt warm in only a sweatshirt! I’m still getting back into riding an actual bike, much of my experience in recent years has been spinning. Cycling outside makes me nervous, so I stick to side streets and bike paths for now at least! And yes, I will always wear a helmet.

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Wednesday’s breakfast was an impressive omelette consisting of an egg, two egg whites, baby spinach, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and feta. I enjoyed it with whole wheat toast.

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For lunch, I had visions of crafting a beautiful salad, but was starving by the time I got home and had leftover chicken broccoli ziti (with a piece of leftover salmon instead).

Dinner was chicken with spinach rice and a big spinach salad.

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I’m trying to be more creative with my cooking, especially as I’m back to blogging.

Stay warm, everyone. Tomorrow’s Friday!

go forth…and be sweaty

I talk an awful lot about strength training around here and while it is an integral part of any training routine, cardio is still important too.

For me, cardio is often a long run or session on the spin bike, but on days when I want something to top off my weight training, I’ll turn to quick cardio bursts.

You can perform the circuit below anywhere between 1 and 5 times, depending on your timeframe and how your body feels. This is also a great workout you can do outside, at home, on vacation, or wherever life takes you. All you’d need is a jump rope, but even that motion can be mimicked without.

Sweat fiercely.

Cardio without Machines

*I apologize in advance for the triple whammy of burpees.

What Exactly Is The Color of Chicken?

I’m a bad little food blogger. I’ve been terrible at snapping pictures lately and so sorry, you’ll just have to use vivid imagination. Really, I’m just trying to help you strengthen your mental capacity.

Let’s see…yesterday, I worked my biceps, shoulders, chest, back, and core- it seems like a lot, but the sequences were fast- and did some cardio on the stair master, which is pretty much hell on earth. No one likes to climb stairs, but damn, it’s effective.

For lunch, I threw together a stir fry using a combination of ingredients. I had leftover grilled chicken and ground turkey, which together equaled my protein. For veggies, I had baby spinach, zucchini, and red peppers. All were simmered and stirred together using a sauce I made of garlic, mustard, and soy sauce and poured over brown rice. Pret-ty delicious and colorful, think greens! Reds! Chicken-colored! Would that be yellow? Charred? Peach? Flesh-colored? (I just threw up a little). You know, for your imaginative purposes, I’m just trying to be helpful.

I am one month away now from my Personal Training certificate test, so I’m at the point where I’m reviewing lots and lots. I feel good about it because I’m not just memorizing, I’m absorbing. Any free time has been engaged by studying and some writing. Unfortunately, the writing gene kicks in just around 11:00 PM when I should be sleeping. Can’t stop the flow!

Oh, and dinner was a takeout salad with honey-barbecue steak tips. The steak tips and dressing were fabulous. The salad, I could have made better and fresher myself, but such is life when you order out.

This morning, I was up and at ’em for a spin class. For breakfast, I fueled up on an egg and 2 egg white scramble with cheese and one slice of whole wheat sour dough toast. Feeling strong during class, I don’t think I’ve sweat so much in a long time. After, I did three circuits that focused on my triceps, legs, and core.

My post-workout meal was another piece of toast, this time topped with peanut butter, a banana, and a halo. That brings us to this very moment as I finish sipping on my cup of coffee.

I hope everyone enjoys the day and the weekend! Make it a full one with lots of time with the people you love, being happy and kind and good.

 

I Think I Broke My One Abdominal Muscle

Okay, I promise I know that there is more than one abdominal muscle in the body. I happen to be studying the muscles as we speak. But sometimes, especially in my regard, I feel like there is just a one-pack. Regardless, I just so happened to twinge one of those muscles yesterday and so I’m really feeling that little guy today.

I’m not certain what happened. Since starting my studying, I’ve realized just how important the core is, so I’ve been making an effort to extend that facet of training. One move that is uber effective is the ab roller and I even had my form checked to ensure that I was doing it correctly- which for the record, I was- but for whatever reason, it hurts in that NOT-A-GOOD-PAIN sort of pain. I did it on Monday with no issues, then tried it again on Wednesday and realized I needed another day of rest from it. Come Thursday, I thought, well hey, but I didn’t make it through one before the pain entered and did not go away. Great.

My workout before that was a fun one. I found a superset workout online, added a few exercises to make it a total body experience, and it killed in a super way. Supersets have you perform two (or more) different exercises back-to-back utilizing the same muscle groups. Whew. I haven’t felt that kind of tension in my muscles (this time, the good kind of pain) in awhile! Mission accomplished, I suppose.

After the ab roller fiasco, I stuck to other core exercises that didn’t twinge nearly as bad. Another fun part of my workout was this box jump/step up combination I thought up the other day. I start out jumping onto a smaller platform (I’ve got no game when it comes to jumping), jumping down, then stepping up onto a larger platform. I kind of felt like I was leap frogging, but there was barely anyone around and I had a blast (and an effective workout)!

I swear to you, I snapped photos of my lunch and dinner from yesterday, but my phone deleted them! Lunch was a salad using leftover steak from the previous night’s fajita dinner. For dinner, I gobbled down a piece of swordfish with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach rice. Both meals were excellent and they looked pretty too, so I’m bummed the pictures are gone.

This morning, I rolled out of bed later than I should have because I was a lady-on-a-mission to get to a spin class on time. First, I had to fuel up, which came in the form of and egg and egg-white scramble. I topped the eggs with a sprinkle of cheese and had a piece of whole wheat toast as well.

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Along with the all-important glasses of water and coffee, it was the perfect meal to energize me! Spin was a great class and once again, I feel like I’m improving. For the record, I made it just in time.

To follow up my cardio, I performed a few resistance moves, including tricep bench presses, lunge presses (note, hard!), clean and presses, seated rows, and lateral pull downs. There was no method to my madness as one of my goals this weekend is to formulate an entirely new workout plan. For today, I just went with what felt right in the moment. My ab muscle was feeling better, though still a little tender, and I focused on core moves that would stretch it out. In a circuit style, I did something I don’t know the name of but it required me holding a weight in one hand and leaning into it, leg ups, side box jumps, kettlebell goblet squats with pull ups, and kettlebell swings. I fit in some nice stretching before heading out.

My post-workout meal included a piece of peanut butter toast and a Greek yogurt with grapes!

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Have a great weekend!

Shh! I Might Just Be A Gourmet Chef…

I have a theory that I might secretly be a gourmet chef and I just forgot to tell myself. Knowing full well I’m about to forgo my humility, I have to admit my meals have been on point this week.

We start with Wednesday’s lunch, which was a re-creation of Tuesday’s dinner. Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground beef in tacos. I cannot taste a difference. All I can say is I can taste awesomeness on a plate. I spiced these bad boys up with chopped zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and baby spinach. I think next time, I’ll halve the turkey meat and combine it with some black beans.

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For dinner, my meal wasn’t quite as fancy, but it was still what you might call divine. There is nothing wrong with a classic pb&j on wheat, especially when you are working and pair it with some veggie sticks.

Thursday morning, I was up early for a workout, so I scarfed down a peanut butter wrap. Post-workout, I munched on a hard-boiled egg, a cheesestick, and a banana. Almonds and raisins came a little while later to keep me going until lunch.

Lunch turned into this devastatingly beautiful stir fry. The plate is piled high with fresh vegetables, grilled chicken, and some brown rice. But mostly, veggies. I’ve not been digging salads lately, but thankfully, I’m still all about the grilled vegetables, so I can get my fix that way. I stirred everything with a ginger sesame dressing.

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This was an accidental shot that occurs every time I go to take a picture of my meals. It says a lot about what other types of pictures I am taking throughout the day. Usually, I jump a little in surprise- every single time- but I decided to actually take the picture this time because it looks so funny.

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You’re welcome.

My dinner on Thursday night might beat out all the other meals. I cooked salmon for myself for the first time and thanks to a little online searching and some sage advice from friends, I cooked it to perfection. Earlier that morning, I tossed the salmon in a bag of the same ginger sesame dressing, then tossed it onto a pan for 4 minutes on one side and three on the other. Grilled zucchini was an excellent vegetable choice, but oh my, these baked sweet potato fries were so good! They require a bit more work, but I had chopped them into fries the day before, soaked them in cold water over night, dried them off and tossed them in a recipe mixture I will share soon, and baked them for about 20 minutes. So good (and good for you!) I drizzled a little honey barbecue mustard over my salmon, which turned out to be an excellent life choice.

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And to be completely caught up before my BIRTHDAY WEEKEND, for breakfast this morning, I enjoyed a delightful one egg-two egg white omelet (that was supposed to be scrambled and I forgot to scramble in time) with two waffles and blueberries and raspberries.

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I needed something to fuel me through a long, grinding workout! Speaking of workouts, let’s recap those next!

We left off again on Wednesday, which was a run that for the first time in weeks didn’t make my feet numb! Yay! I felt strong throughout and happy just to be outside and moving on a beautiful, strangely warm November morning. I’m still not certain what the issue has been with my feet, but I paid special attention to my posture during my stride, keeping my back straight instead of allowing myself to slouch.

Since studying for my personal training cert, I’ve learned just how important posture really is and I tend to be terrible with it, whether I’m exercising, walking around, or sitting at my desk studying. I’m getting better with it during my workouts, which has helped immensely and is making me stronger.

My workout on Thursday consisted of a series of circuits. In my studying, I’ve been delving deeper into the actual exercises rather than just the sciences behind it, so I’ve been experimenting with my own workouts to get a practical angle in there. I’ve been switching up modalities more during each circuit, using kettle bells, dumbbells, medicine balls, barbells, and body strength to do a medley of things. It keeps my body moving and second-guessing, as well as excited to keep getting through my workout. I finished with a couple of Tabata intervals with ropes- I should learn the actual term for it- and treadmill sprints.

This morning, I started off with some strength training, per usual. I guess my new workouts have been, er, working because my body was tired! I actually had to do fewer sets than I intended for a few of my moves because my forearms were tired in the not so great way. I did end the day with a spin class that I felt a little sluggish when I first started, but ended on a strong and supremely sweaty note. I’ve only been doing spin consistently for a few weeks now, but I can already tell a difference from when I started. Cross-training is so important for the body not to plateau during the exercises that you love, but it also opens you up to a whole new world of exercising!

Now I’m just a day away from my birthday weekend and exciting stuff abounds! Part of that includes taking a little more rest from exercising, though I’m hoping to do a ton of walking and perhaps even fit in a class. Tell you more on Monday!

It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No Actually, It’s Just a Tomato

Less than a week since my post in support of nurses went semi-viral and I’ve already descended back into mediocrity. I had a taste of fame and it slipped through my fingers. I never even had an opportunity to pull a Lindsay Lohan on everyone.

No, really, it’s fine. I’m perfectly content with my readers mostly being my family. It keeps me down to earth and fueled with motivation to better myself and all that crap.

I think maybe my posts (in jest) about the apocalypse and Taylor Swift taking over the world may have scared a few people off. But I was hoping a few more might stay!

I’ll just have to lure them back in with pictures of my meals.

We lead off with last night’s dinner. After work, I swam a mile to fit in a workout and came home ravenous!  I filled a tortilla with steak, grilled peppers, and cheese and paired the quesadilla with spinach rice and green beans.

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This morning, I kicked things off the right way with a healthy breakfast and a workout. My meal consisted of an egg and two egg whites and an english muffin with a smear of peanut butter. I don’t know where my picture went…

Starting with a spin class, which kicked my butt, I completed a dumbbell circuit, squat presses, leg presses, and a body strength circuit that left me feeling strong and tired at the same time. It’s an interesting feeling. Notice the droplet of sweat on my nose.

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After I showered and flounced around the house for a bit doing some housework, it was time for lunch. I decided to duplicate the quesadilla I made last night, but make it more gourmet. I chopped up a jalapeno and another tomato from my garden and sauteed them in a spritz of olive oil with a mound of baby spinach. Once everything was starting to cook, I added leftover bell pepper and steak to the mix. Here’s everything compiled on top of a whole wheat tortilla. Of course there’s cheese!

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Once on the plate, it is a thing of beauty. I do think I make a quesadilla better than any restaurant because it’s packed with a ton of healthy and nutritious ingredients, but also so damn delicious! For a little crunch, I added a handful of tostitos.

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It was love at first bite. I mean, really.

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Speaking of tomatoes from my garden, I would love to know what would come from it if I put in a little more effort. The tomatoes are falling off the trees and are so sweet. I also had a huge cucumber (one must have escaped the mating with zucchinis) and two more peppers are growing! One tomato was so good that it broke my knife the other day. It looks so innocent and sweet…

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But my knife knows better from where it now belongs…the trash!

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I will say that it’s also totally reasonable that the knife was just past it’s prime and I just happened to be chopping a tomato when it broke. I prefer to stand by my super-tomato theory.

Woohoo for Friday!