Oh Avocado, I Love You #WIAW

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As you can tell from my blog title, I love avocado! I don’t know how one can NOT love the avocado. It’s so delicious, versatile, and healthy. That’s literally everything that a food should be.

hey there, good lookin'!

hey there, good lookin’!

One of the other fantastic things about eating avocados is they have a terrific satiety factor; this is due to their healthy fat and fiber content.  I could actually go on to list many, many more benefits from the wonderful lil’ fruit (yes, fruit) but I will move on to What I Ate Wednesday!  As avocados are great for satiety, I have been enjoying mine for breakfast recently.   I am a big fan of eating a fair bit of fiber early in the day to help give me energy and keep me from mindlessly snacking.  I find that a FlatOut Bread covered with 1/4 cup of mashed avocado makes a lovely way to start the day!  In fact, it’s got way less fat and way more nutrition than grabbing a bagel and cream cheese – not to mention – it has more fiber and less impact on your blood sugar.  Win!

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take that, bagel and schmear!

Since last week avocados were 4 for $3.00 at the produce market in town, I pretty much stockpiled them #ExtremeAvocadoing. Hey, if you buy that many you have to eat them every meal, right?  Tell me I am right.  Thanks! Since we’re in agreement that I am right, I should say that I also decided to add avocado to my lunch; a turkey burger on salad with Marie’s Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing.  Yummmm-y.  Have you tried the Marie’s Yogurt Dressing line?  If not, please do, they are very delicious and have less fat and calories!

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I am trying to really watch what I eat this week, as I am GOING TO SCOTLAND Saturday!  About three months ago I made the comparison that going to the UK is like visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for yours truly.  Oh my Cadbury Crunchie, the British know how to make a chocolate bar!  I will try to control myself, but it may be really difficult.  I mean, if a Crunchie could eat itself, it probably would.  Just saying.

you look so good. -omg, so do you.

you look so good.
-omg, so do you.

Okay!  I think I need to sign off now!

Happy eating – join the #WIAW movement by clicking on the button below!
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8 Insanely Effective Ab Moves (That Work More Than Your Middle)

“Little in the middle, but she got much back *cracks the whip*” – I’m assuming many of you watched the MTV VMAs on Sunday night?

who doesn't do this? ...in the privacy of their own home.

who doesn’t do this? …In the privacy of their own home.

However, this post has nothing to do with Nicki Minaj’s ass or MTV.  Please keep reading! This post is all about some of my favorite moves to help tone and strengthen your midsection.  This collection is a combination of various fitness gurus out there who I respect and admire, greatly (Shaun T!!)  Wanna know what’s on my list of faves?  Okay, here it goes!

  1. Stability Ball Jackknife – 2 sets of 20 reps (targets:  abdominal muscles, hips, and upper-body)

stability ball jk

 

2.  Side Plank-Up 2 sets of 10 reps/side (targets:  obliques and transverse abdominal muscles, shoulders)

side_plank2

3.  Hammer Kicks – 2 sets of 20 reps (targets:   shoulders, back, abs, and butt)

 

4.  The “Pyramid” – 2 sets – as many as you can in one minute! (targets:  chest, arms, abs, butt, and legs)

 

5.  Alternating Speed Knee – 2 sets – as many as you can in one minute! (targets:  abs, hips, butt, and legs)

 

6. Tricep Extension with Reverse Sit-Up – 2 -3 sets of 20 (targets: triceps, upper & lower abs)

Watch the demo here!

 

7.  Pullover Curl-Up – 2-3 sets of 20 (targes: abs and this move is great for lats as well – which I LOVE)

Watch the demo here!

8.  LOVE HANDLE MOVE.  If you want to tone up and trim down your love handles do Bent-Over Dumbbell rows using a slightly heavier weight than you are used to.  For example, if you normally lift 20 reps using a 10 pound weight, choose a 12 or 15 pound weight and do 15 reps instead.  How does this work?  While you’re performing the DB rows,  and your back and biceps are working hard, it forces your love handles to take over and stabilize your body.  Be sure to watch your form, if you do these correctly, they are very effective!

So there you have it, my top 8 favorite moves for an excellent and effective ab (and total body) workout!  Add these moves in over the next couple of weeks and I promise you’ll thank me.  After you’re done cursing my name during your second set (ugh, pyramid!) :)

Have any favorite moves to add to my list?

xoxo

Too Busy To Workout? Try This!

Happy Sunday!  I hope you’ve all been having a wondrous weekend – hopefully you’ve had some nice weather, etc.  So, normally Sundays are all about the running factor for me, but this past week I have been completely immersed in house painting.  OMG, I admire (and seriously want to ask, why??) to anybody out there who does painting as a profession.  Can I just say, whoa!  Painting sorta sucks.  Okay, it totally sucks, in my opinion.  However, if you want to make lemons into lemonade, I will say this – painting is an awesome shoulder, upper arm, abdominal, and butt workout all in one!  I was twisting, contorting and using body weight like crazy all week, and I can see the results!  The best thing to do is focus in on your form and the muscle groups you’re isolating while you work.  It’s a win-win situation!   This got me thinking (scary, I know) about how wonderful it is that the things we need to do in life, can actually help us trim down and tone up our bodies.  In fact, I wore my heart rate monitor while mowing the lawn the other day – I burned like 1100 calories in an hour.  Okay, mowing the lawn is not as fun as Zumba, but, like I said, if it has to be done, why not look at the bright side?

Vacuum lunges, anyone?

Do you see chores as a good way to burn calories?

 

xoxo

Wasa (Healthy) Snack For Busy Days! (#WIAW)

http://peasandcrayons.com/

Hiya!  How’s your week going so far?  Hopefully GREAT!  I have been painting for DAYS.  It’s been really hectic, stressful, and exhausting and there’s SO much more to go!  Anyhoo, because I’ve been so busy eating has been a bit creative the past several days when I need a snack break!

Now, I cannot take credit for thinking up what I’ve been eating; my boyfriend Luke has been telling me for weeks that he’s been using Wasa Crackers in place of bread during lunch – my fave is the Light Rye!   I’ve been eating my Wasa with avocado and Briannas Honey Mustard dressing (just a lil’ bit, mind you.)  The honey mustard/avocado combo is also not my idea – the Brianna’s bottle boats that it is “delicious on ripe avocados” and seriously, it is zomg!


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I also topped my little scooby snack with my newly favorite seasoning, Highland Foods Maple Pepper.  I know some of you out there can be weary of chemicals or msg in seasonings, but Highland Foods uses all natural, gluten free ingredients, including 100% pure maple sugar and black pepper.  I’m telling you it’s fabulous on pretty much everything – try it!!

notice half the bottle is gone.

notice half the bottle is gone.

Okay, well I hate to love ya and leave ya, but I’ve got to get back to painting.  UGH.

Do you like Wasa crackers?  How do you like to eat your avocado?

xoxo

 

Abs Without a Face: Fitness Selfie WTF

Everybody likes a philosophical chat on their Monday, right?  Last night while I was on Twitter I started noticing a bunch of tweets popping up on my feed that really annoyed me.  I don’t even know if I ever actually actively agreed to follow these handles (is that what a tweeter with no identity is called?) but it really got me thinking about what the face of fitness is becoming.

Then I realized, on Twitter, this is the face of fitness, because most of the fitness tweets are literally faceless.

It’s a shining sea of endless six pack abs, masculine looking hip bones, and jacked biceps.  One of the tweets said “you’re not a dog. don’t reward yourself with food.”  Really? I’m a fitness professional, and I definitely admire an individual who works hard to be fit.  I do not, however, speak to clients in this manner, in fact, it’s down right insulting and could land you out of a job! This did get me thinking (sorry for the SATC/Carrie Bradshawesque inner monologue) about the representation of fitness in social media; are fitness selfies intimidating people in real life?  Is it worse than the pressure from the regular media?  Are the people tweeting that you’re not a dog also fitness professionals?  Do they really think it’s motivating to see these pictures all day and night? Lots of questions, Daniel son.

I have a friend, let’s call her (for anonymity’s sake) Cheryl.  Cheryl is about 35 pounds overweight and a beautiful, vibrant woman.  I literally try every single week to get her to come to my spin class, because I know (as well as any of you out there who spin do) that it’s an amazing workout, it’s fun, and let’s face it – it gets results!  However, every single time I ask (and I have stopped asking, btw) Cheryl to come to spin she says to me, “I’m too flabby to come to spin.”  WHAT?!  How can people feel this way? I asked her to elaborate and she said, “I see what people in the gym look like all over my Facebook and Twitter, I don’t need those people making fun of me.”  I tried to relay the message that this is not something that is real and that fitness at any size is revered as a wonderful thing!  Oh, I could continue to preach and question this until I’m blue in the face, but the fact remains; if Chez feels this way, how can I say she’s wrong?  I haven’t always been as fit as I am today.  I have struggled like many, many other women my entire life and it’s still a continuous battle, believe me.  I thought about it and stored it in the back of my mind, but couldn’t help it this evening as I was bombarded by headless humans telling me to put down the ice cream; is the social media’s representation of fitness too intimidating?

I guess I have convinced myself that fitness isn’t anything to be intimated by, because I am the type of fitness professional that specifically thrives on creating a non-intimidating fitness experience.   However, it seems obvious, that people out there who feel and look like my pal Cheryl, and not like Abs Without a Face (sorry, but I mean, they have no name or face!) feel discouraged.

 

Sleepy Hollow Gym.  Always open.

Sleepy Hollow Gym. Always open.

So, the question really is, when it comes to fitness, who motivates the average person?  Is it the person with 2% body fat or the gal who shakes her booty at Zumba three to four times a week, who may never have washboard abs, but is beautiful, healthy, and confident just the same?   Does it really matter?  I say, no, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t matter if either motivate; it only matters if either of them discourage. What I believe matters most is  regardless of your size or fitness level is whether or not you judge others.   Now you may say that I’m judging fit people by saying that they are judgmental, and I’m not.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  In fact, I’m 95% sure that the people posting those headless selfies are not the people in the photo.  I also know that social media has made many, many, MANY people more confident to get fit.  Right here and now I’m talking about the implications social media has when it comes to gymtimidation (ooh, I do love a play on words!)  I’m talking about the headless, jacked abs telling us to get a straw and suck it up.  Why should they tell us  …wait, how would they use a straw exactly?  Just wondering.

When it comes to fitness it’s more about overall health.  It’s not the size of your jeans, the packs of your abs, or the fact that you can eat a dozen donuts without gaining a pound, because we all know that being thin does not a healthy person make.  Just remember, fitness is for everyone, regardless of  age, size, race, gender, income, or physical capabilities.  The next time a member of Sleepy Hollow Gym visits your Twitter or Facebook feed, just remember, nobody gets to determine how you care and feel about yourself.  Only you do and you are the only person that matters to yourself.  Now, get out there, get your sweat on, and take a face selfie when you’re done and send it to me.  Seriously.

I have rambled a bit here, but the bottom line is:  don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  I don’t know about you, but I’ll sure remember that quote much sooner than I’ll ever remember (or regard) any picture of headless abs.

 

 

 

Lidia’s Italy Intervention : My Zuppa and Fauxcaccia Recipes

I don’t know what’s worse binge eating or binge watching!  Actually, I do.  It’s binge eating while binge watching.  I used to be a HUGE fan of Lidia Bastianich years ago.  She is single-handedly responsible for the majority of my kitchen snafus circa 2005-2007.  Watching her make anything is like witchcraft, honestly.  I sat there and said, “pssht, I can do that, it’s nothing”  only to find myself drinking Chianti out of the bottle with a straw in the fetal position covered in flour and egg whites twenty minutes later.  True story.

www.beetsperminute.com

can i get a wtf?

Not all my memories of Lidia are bad.  For instance, I had the pleasure of lunching many times while I was living  in New York at her NYC restaurant, Becco.   Lovely, wondrous memories. So, I have literally watched hours of Lidia this week and it pretty much made me want to run away and move to Italy, drink wine, and eat pasta until I die a happy, carb-alcohol induced death.  Boy, what lofty ambitions I do have!  Anyhoo, I love Italian food.  It is so colorful and rich in history and flavor.  I just get drawn in every episode – even when she’s making something I wouldn’t eat.  Mostly, veal.  It’s delicious, but they are too cute to eat.  What’s up with that, anyway?  All the cutest animals are the most delicious.  It’s some sort of backward,  food chain Darwinistic thing!  I’m not saying uglier animals should be offed first, but wtf?

wait, i am a total hypocrite.

wait, i am a total hypocrite.

So, after hours of viewing white beans and broccoli and cheeses (oh my!) I finally decided to make some Italian inspired dishes.  Now, as much as I LOVE Lidia, homegirl uses so much oil.  I know that’s because it makes everything taste like a party in your mouth, but I can’t dump it on without feeling bad. #Foodguilt. So for my two dishes I made a cauliflower based appetizer I called the “fauxcaccia” and a cannellini bean, broccoli, and gouda soup.  Both were very healthy and super simple to make.  The soup, is an amazing dish because it literally takes like 18 minutes to make …hot!  I cannot stress how easy this soup is to make and how delicious it is.  I think even your pickiest of eaters will love it!  I did cut some corners, so if you don’t cut corners like yours truly the prep/cook time could take longer.  Hey, if you’ve got the time, go for it! Cannelinni, Broccoli, and Gouda Zuppa Ingredients:

  • 2  cups of  reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns (I used frozen – totes can use fresh), trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups) -
  • 1  can of cannellini beans, rinsed (please rinse them!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese (or any kind you want – more on that!)

www.beetsperminute.com Directions: Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute. Add in the cheese and reduce heat.  Using your immersion blender (or regular blender/food processor) blend until you’ve reached a smooth consistency. Top with shredded cheese, additional salt and pepper and serve! Now, I used Gouda but you can certainly use a sharp cheddar or Parmesan cheese.

www.beetsperminute.com

zuppatacular!

For my “faux”caccia I used a cauliflower base (great for you gluten-free & paleos out there!)  This was my first time trying to make a crust out of cauliflower, so it wasn’t perfect, but still tasty. fauxcaccia As you can see from my photo, for this recipe you will need one head of cauliflower (which makes up to 3 crusts), parmesan cheese, one scape or three cloves of garlic (chopped), several leaves of fresh basil, salt and pepper, and one egg.

Preheat your oven to 425

I do not own a microwave, so I had to steam the cauliflower first and then “rice it” in the food processor.  Which essentially turns your cauliflower into a dough base.  If you do own a microwave (which most people do) you can rice the cauliflower (raw) first and then microwave for several minutes.   Just be sure to use paper towel to get the moisture out of the cauliflower before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Next, add in all of your dry spices; the 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of parmesean cheese, chopped up scape (or garlic), and chopped basil and mix together. After mixture is complete, add in your egg and mix in ( I used my hands, but if you’re not about that definitely okay to use a good ‘ol spoon). I used a pizza stone to cook my fauxcaccia on, but you could certainly use a cookie sheet, just be sure to get it nice and sprayed or greased (to be sure your crust comes up in one shot!) crust Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool and serve!  You’ll be impressed with how light and delicious this is and it totally feels like you’re eating bread, but you’re definitely not!  I topped mine with a scape pesto I made and a couple fresh basil leaves.  So good!

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I have no Italian heritage, so I do what I can, but these two healthy dishes are definitely worth trying!  Ciao, Bellas!

xoxo

Post-Workout “Puffins”

Howdy ya’ll.  Okay, Monday I was a pirate, and today I’m Dolly Parton.  I’m all over the shop this week.  It has been a crazy week including shrub planting, painting, and lunching with friends.  The weeks just fly by.  Which reminds me …I’m going to Scotland soon! Yay!  I miss my boyfriend SO much.

lurve.

lurve.

I was up at 5 am to head over to the gym to lead my indoor cycling class.  It took a LOT of effort to get myself up and out, but I managed to do it and had a butt kicking class!  When I got home I was super famished and needed something yummy and filling but that wouldn’t destroy all my efforts at the gym.  A couple of weeks ago, while in Maine for a Zumba training, I had breakfast at a Denny’s.  They have these things called pancake puppies, which are essentially a pancake doughnut ball with a cinnamon maple dipping syrup.  They were pretty tasty, I must admit.  They also have a new peanut butter cup pancake breakfast.  I did not try this (not without much debate, however.)  What is my point in getting you all worked up over this?  I do have one.  I wanted to make something that was a cross between these two items but not as unhealthy.  Sorry, Denny’s, but coming in at nearly 490 and 800 calories, these foods need a makeover! My solution?  Peanut butter cup power “puffins”.  I put a healthier spin on both these foods and came up with these! PB Cup Pancake Muffins   They may look like a regular muffin, but they are so much more.  I used a whole wheat pancake recipe found on www.skinnytaste.com - very simple and delicious.  I also added in 1/4 cup of PB2 and mini chocolate chips to give them a peanut butter cup taste.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of PB2 (or powdered peanut butter)
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

(skinnytaste.com) PB Pancake mixture Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 F and spray a muffin (or mini-muffin) pan, poor mixture in and cook 8-10 minutes (ovens vary). EAT! PB Cup Pancake Muffin   As you can see, these were very light, fluffy, and tasty (okay, you can’t see that) AND only 100 calories for one.  These are also about twice the size of one Denny’s pancake puppy and less than a quarter the calories (6 pancake puppies are 480 calories vs. 100 for 1 pb puffin!) However, want to know the best part?  I know, it’s pb and chocolate, and good for you, so what else  is left?  The best part is these puffins are full of protein and healthy carbs which make them a terrific post-workout treat! table Happy Eating! What’s your favorite post-workout food?

Monday Runday & “Compost” Hummus

Ahoy!  I don’t know why I felt the need to get all piratey on you.  Hope your Monday is going swimmingly.

dory

So as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had been out of commission for several days on account of my back issues.  I am often a “do as I say and not as I do” type of gal, which is definitely a shortcoming.  That being said, I knew when I saw this hill at the fourth mile of my run this morning that I should probably not sprint up it …twice. #ForTheHellaFit

whoa!

whoa!

I do love hill sprinting though.  It is an excellent rush and creates amazing EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) to keep your body burning fat all day long!  I have days where I will only do hill drills, but today, for whatever reason, I thought doing that would be a good idea before the last half mile of my run.  D’oh.  My hip is a bit sore but I’m foam rolling away and will give it a rest. It’s always best to listen to your body, my friends.  Listen and act wisely.

When I returned from my run I made myself a juice!

1/2 of a large beet

5 carrots

1 Granny Smith apple

So yummy!

purty.

purty.

If you’re also a fan of juicing, you probably can relate to the dilemma of what to do with the remaining “compost” (as I call it) after the juice has been extracted.  I (shamefully) have been wasting this stuff for years.  So, ashamed.  Really.  However, as soon as I was done juicing I looked at all the colorful “compost” I had left and thought, “this would make a pretty and delicious hummus!”  So, naturally, I made hummus.  Yes, at 10 am.  I still have a heap of scapes (my new FAVE thing) and I’ve been cooking up a storm with them lately, so I thought I’d throw them in with the remains of my morning juice to kick up my traditional (basic) hummus  recipe.

hummus stuffs

 

“Compost Hummus”

16 oz of Chickpeas (canned or dry – soak overnight if you want to use the dry variety!)

1 scape

1.5 cups of “compost” (beet & carrot)

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

3 TBSP of olive oil

1 TSP cumin

1 TSP sea salt

1 TSP black pepper

Place chickpeas in the food processor and pulse until completely chopped.  Next, add in the scapes (or garlic cloves if you’ve got them) and, in this case, the “compost” and continue to run through the processor until completely chopped.  Add in the cumin, salt, pepper, and water and turn the processor back on and “feed” the olive oil through as you blend it smooth.  Voila!  Done!

yummus

It turned out a very pretty color and most importantly was delicious!  I love making quick, easy, and healthy snacks whenever possible.  It’s the best, isn’t it?  Again, this is great for a quick snack, to add to your favorite wrap or sandwich, or to serve as an appetizer.

I have loads more to do on this Monday, which honestly feels like the first real day of summer we’ve had so far; bummer I can’t be out sipping a margarita!  I predict it will be 90 degrees until Halloween.  I should have studied meteorology!  Unless my prediction is wrong – in which case you didn’t hear it from me!

See ya soon!

xoxo

 

 

#ForTheHellaFit

Happy Sunday!  I hope everybody has had a great weekend!  Yours truly has been out of commission the past several days with a minor back issue.

where da icy hot at?

where da icy hot at?

After some TLC and fancy handwork (mind out of the gutter!) I am feeling nearly 100%.  I am usually a VERY busy gal, so to have downtime where I am not able to move is sort of dangerous for me.

for.  days.

for. days.

My point is, I had a lot of time to think.  So, I love Twitter; I do.  Personally, I get hives over social media.  I do not have a personal Facebook page and struggle with the one I have for my blog.  Like it, or something? Thanks.  Unless you didn’t.  Rude. No, no, just kidding!  See that’s pretty much what I’m getting at.  I’m not going to lie, starting up a blog is taking me into a time machine straight back to junior high school hell.  There’s popular people and they all know one another and it’s really hard to be the new kid.  Will they like me?  Does anyone give a $*&^ about what I’m saying?  The sad truth is, most likely, they do not.  That’s okay though, because nothing we do in life should be to please others.  When I first started my blog it was because I wanted to help others with their wellness, and that is still my mission, so I’m gonna do me.  You know, for the hell of it.

Speaking of which, I thought about how I could implement this mantra into fitness.  For the hell of it, you know, just because.  It got me thinking.  Scary, yes, but I told you I had several days of being on the couch to contend with!   What if there was a fitness mantra that we could say in our minds as we push through a workout that didn’t make us want to punch the nearest innocent (or not?) bystander?  I often yell out during my spin classes, “no quitting, pick it up, etc” but what it there was a nicer and more motivating way of putting it?  In comes, #ForTheHellFit.

“I just benched another 50 pounds, bro.”

-Why?

“Why? #ForTheHellaFit.”

So, I’m going to go stick this newly discovered motivational hashtag out there on social media networks, well, the ones I can bother with, to see if it works.

Add it to your blog if you like it – I gots the code (to the left, to the left…)

 

word.

word.

That’s about it for now.  I’ve got some very tasty recipes to throw your way this week, but for now I’ll leave you with this original quote:

“You couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again.  Literally.  No.  Amount.”

See ya manana!

xoxo