Monday, September 15, 2014

There are so many foods that are part of a new health power-food craze like Maca, Chia Seeds and Teff, that it can be overwhelming and a little intimidating to venture out with this uncommon foods. If you're a little hesitant to trying these strange named foods but want a diet that's power packed with nutrients you can still get it with the more common foods we all know and love. It's even been proven that some of our regular go-to's are healthier and cheaper than the trendier options!

TOMATOES: Low calorie and are one of the highest sources of cancer-fighting antioxidants-lycopene. Slice them up and sprinkle them with some pepper, salt, and EVOO.

RED BELL PEPPERS: One cup has triple the amount of our daily need of vitamin C, which helps with skin and powers up your immune system. They are loaded with antioxidants and ant-inflamtory benefits. Add them to any dish, grill them up, or slice them and dip in your favorite hummus or guacamole.

BROCCOLI: We all know that Broccoli has a PLETHORA of health benefits.  It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and even aids in better heart health and bone strength. Did you know that one cup of broccoli contains as much protein, but half the calories as a cup of rice or corn? This veggie also aids in digestion and detoxification and helps alkalinize your body. (Click here to learn more about eating for balance and an alkaline vs acidic body) 

PUMPKIN: Packed with fiber, this fall veggie has 3 grams of the beneficial nutrient per 1 cup serving and clocks in at only 50 calories. This keeps you fuller and satisfied longer. Their seeds can even help your heart health and boost our mood too! But here's the real kicker, pumpkin contain more potassium than a banana making them a great post workout snack with way less sugar.

BEETS: This purple veggie helps lower blood pressure Beets are full of phytonutrients that help fight cancer, aid in inflammation and detox your body. They also help increase your stamina, so throw one in your pre-workout shake next time for an extra boost during your WOD. Don't forget to eat the greens too! Beet greens can help fight Alzheimer's and osteoporosis and boost your immune system by producing antibodies and white blood cells. Sautee the greens with spinach and Swiss chard or add them raw to your Shakeology or juice.

The bottom line is you don't have to break the bank buying into the latest and greatest power-food fads. Head to the produce section and grab what's in season and organic if possible. Don't forget to wash your produce first! Don't get me wrong, these new super-foods have incredible benefits for your body, but if you're intimidated or overwhelmed- stick to the basics and remember- the more wholesome the food, the healthier your body will be. Take care of your temple ✌️

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pavement Progress Proof

Although it's what got me into fitness in the first place, I haven't thought about going for a run in a LONG time.  I had been overweight for almost all of my life, except for the years I struggled with anorexia. When I made it to the other side of recovery, I had gained a lot more weight than just the recommended amount. I went from underweight to overweight, (you can imagine what that does to a girls self esteem). It was then that I decided to register for my first race.

My brother and sister-in-law had been living in Texas for three years at the time and invited me to run a half marathon in Austin. It was a great idea to get me out of my recovery funk and get me involved more in running. I began training and fell in love. The best part about races, to me at least, is that it's not about competing with other runners, it's competing with yourself. For the first time I wasn't comparing myself to others, I was comparing myself to my previous time. (Hence the term: Personal Best). Since that first 13.1 mile race, I have ran in eight other half marathons. For years I considered myself a runner. I loved everything about it, especially being outdoors. BUT anyone who runs long distance knows how time consuming training can be. 

Between being a student, working full time, becoming a coach, and still having time for personal relationships, carving out more than an hour for fitness wasn't doable. That's when I really dove in to my at home workouts. They were short, effective and ANYTHING but boring. I've used programs like P90X3, Focus T25, The 21 Day Fix and now PiYo. All of them are effective but I've still had the itch to run.  Now that we're heading into the fall (my favorite running season in Michigan), I know that I'll want to hit the pavement more.

Today's weather was perfect to head out. So I laced up my trusty Brooks Running Shoes, grabbed my favorite Nalgene water bottle (in Empowered Blue of course), my headphones and headed up to my favorite running spot across from my old High School. (Insert thoughts of nostalgia) This was my first time running in 16 months. Yes, over a year. I clicked on Map My Run, pressed play on my Spotify playlist and started my LONG overdue run. I started off strong. To be honest, my main goal was to get through a mile without stopping. Before I knew it I was 2.5 miles in and felt great. I didn't want to strain my muscles, after all it's been over a year since I ran, so I decided to stop at a 5k (3.1 miles). I pressed stop on the app and checked how I did. Turns out my at home programs have been paying off. I managed to pull off an 8:42 pace, not too shabby! That's faster than I have ever ran in my years of me considering myself a runner. 

It's crazy to think that working out at home, no gym- no running, has exponentially helped me in all aspects of my fitness and endurance. It felt great to get back out on the pavement and just run. I can already tell that my quads are sore and that my tendonitis in my ankle is acting up, so I'm definitely going to be doing PiYo tonight to keep from being sore tomorrow. As I've come to learn, flexibility and strength training are any athletes best friend.  With that being said I think it's time to find balance with my life and favorite fitness activities, Running in the morning with some PiYo in the evenings. Needless to say, I am one happy athlete, and even better, I'm one happy runner. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tips to surviving your first week of T25

There are a couple reasons why I chose T25 as my latest cardio routine. Since I consider myself cardio challenged I knew that 25 minutes would be the perfect amount of time and leave me with no excuses to not getting it done. Plus it's pretty fun and Shaun T is amazing.

Starting a new workout program is first of all, awesome (congratulations!), but can be a little daunting at first. Especially if you're not used to working out regularly your first week at it can be overwhelming, BUT don't get discouraged! Here or some tips that I have found to help me stay focused during my T25 workouts and get the most out of them....without wanting to die in the first week of the program.

USE PROPER FOOTWEAR! Wearing the proper shoes or knowing how to go barefoot when necessary is so important in this kind of program. Being conscious of the right kind of footwear will keep you injury free and ensure you're not putting any added strain on your joints and muscles. The biggest no-no with this program (or any of the other programs like InsanityP90x3, and Turbo Fire) is wearing running shoes. I repeat, do NOT wear running shoes for these workouts. You want shoes that have a sole that promote lateral movement, where running shoes only promote a forward motion. There is a lot of agility work (quick movements in all directions) in T25 and other programs, and if you are wearing running shoes you could get an injury! If I'm working out on a smooth surface typically go completely barefoot. I have really flat feet so shoes can hurt my arches during faster paced agility workouts.  If I do wear shoes, I wear Reebok Crossfit 2.0 Shoes. They are just what have worked the best for me and my flat feet.

PRO TIP: If you're working out on carpet, try doing your workouts in socks. I've found that working out in shoes on carpet can be strenuous on my feet and calves. I ditch my shoes when pressing play on agility type workouts because the traction from the carpet is counterproductive to the movements I'm doing. Total Body Circuit and Ab Intervals are the only workouts I go barefoot on carpet or wear my crossfit shoes to give me some traction and stability while working in plank. These Under Armour 

GRAB A HEADBAND! The workouts are only 25 minutes so you don't want to spend half of your workout wiping sweat from your face. T25 is not the kind of workout that allows you to be pretty while you do it. Throw your hair back and grab a headband. This 2-pack Asics Hera headband I got on Amazon . It's hard for me to find headbands that don't slip off of my head while I work out because my hair is so fine, but have found that these headbands stay in great and keep the sweat from dripping down my face!

PRO TIP: If you're anything like me, sweat is inevitable. Have a towel handy because you WILL use it! If you're not a super sweat person, chances are you're still going to sweat during this program so at least have a headband to keep your hair out of your face, and sweat from trickling down in your eyes.

AVOID THE "PAUSE" BUTTON: Confession: I'm not a fan of cardio, but I know that it needs to be a part of my fitness routine. Although the workouts are only 25 minutes, the pause button can be VERY tempting. Know your limits, but do your best to power through. Modify when you need it, stop and catch your breath when you need to, but don't push pause. Even if that means you only have done 10 minutes of working out during the 25 minutes. The object is to build up to the full workout. If you're constantly stopping, not only do you not build your endurance, but you're allowing your muscles to cool down leaving the chance of an injury likely to happen. Rather than pressing pause, rest if you need to and jump back in when you're ready.

PRO TIP: Aint no shame in modifying your game. Don't get down on yourself if you need to stick with Tania, that's what she's there for. Modifying your workouts is a lot better than not pressing play at all. Don't get discouraged if you have to hang with her for the 25 minutes. Each time you do a workout see how much you can do without modifying and build up to Shaun's pace. Keep in mind they have been doing this a LOT longer than us, no one expects you to go full throttle your first week. **Strive for progress, not perfection**

DRINK MORE WATER: I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to preaching about water intake but ESPECIALLY when you start a new routine you want to make sure you're replenishing your body with what it needs to rebuild your muscles and to keep you hydrated. If you're a sweaty Betty like me, you need to put that water back in (minus the salt ;) ). Opt for half your weight in ounces a day and if you're super active, add in an extra couple of glasses.

PRO TIP: Add fruit like raspberries, lemons, or strawberries to a pitcher and put it in the fridge overnight. It's a natural way to add flavor without added sugar or other chemicals.

DOUBLE DAY: Everyone's favorite day in the program ;) There's two ways you can do double day, 1. Do them back to back or 2. Split them up. I personally split them up only because I have a schedule that allows me the time to do two separate workouts a day. I also feel I put more effort into each of them when they are split up. However you choose to do it is great- the key is to getting them done. Remember if it's too much to start out with two a day, save one for Saturday. If you do move one to Saturday, try for a double workout the following week. Sticking with the program, how it's designed will yield the best results :)

Bottom line is you've made an awesome decision to start a new program and start developing healthier habits. I've never been a big cardio junkie but have found that T25 is a program that allows me to get it done without dreading it. By the time I'm ready to give up there's only a couple minutes left to go. We can all afford 25 minutes in our day and if you'd like some added support, motivation and accountability in sticking with this program or any of the other programs found in my Shop and you'll automatically be registered in our next online accountability group. Now let's raise our Shakeology and toast to a completed week 1 of Focus T25.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spinach Turkey Meatballs

This is by far my favorite Paleo recipe that I have made yet! It's filling and delicious!

Serves 3-4

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

What you need:
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup fresh spinach
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp himalayan salt
1/2 tsp cumin

How to make 'em:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Chop spinach in food processor. In a bowl combine spinach, ground turkey, egg and spices
3. Mix ingredients with your hands until they are well combined
4. Form meatballs with 1-2 tbsp scoops of mixture (makes about 12 meatballs) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I sprayed a little nonstick spray just to be safe)
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until turkey is cooked through

I couldn't tell you the calorie count because I don't count calories anymore, I use the 21 Day Fix program. If you're a fellow 21 Day Fixer, about 4 meatballs = 1 Red Container. 

These meatballs are a great addition to any dish. Today I placed them over grilled zucchini "noodles" that I made with my veggetti and added some grilled artichokes with a drizzle of EVOO.