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Freezing Avocados and ENLIGHTENED Giveaway Winners

Happy Friday!

I heart avocados. But sometimes I get little too excited and buy too many. We eat them pretty often but sometimes they just all become overripe at the same time! I try to get a little variety in ripeness but a lot of times, they’re literally all the same. I’ve thrown away one too many avocados. Ugh, I know, life is hard.

So, I recently wondered if I could freeze them. Turns out, you can!

I found two different ways to freeze them. One seemed more geared towards making guacamole…which definitely sounds lovely. I don’t make guac too often though so I decided to freeze them a different way: cutting into quarters. This also appears to be the easier way..which I enjoy. The other way (potentially for guac) is to mash the avocado up, drop some lemon juice on it, then place in a freezer bag. Definitely look that up though before trusting my word since I haven’t tried it. Here’s how I froze my avocado:

I cut the avocado in half, then halved the half.

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Then I placed them in freezer friendly bags. Pretty tough stuff :).

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I’ve been using avocados a lot lately in green smoothies so freezing them makes for awesome consistency.

image

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Love it!

Okay folks! Here are the giveaway winners:

Jordan D!

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Smitha!

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And Laura!

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I’ll shoot you guys an email on how to claim your delicious prize.

 

Thanks for entering everyone!

*sorry about the weird pics I posted this on my iPad. It is the worssssst. I know, first world problems.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps Review and *Giveaway*

enlightened crisps

enlightened crisps

I am so excited about this giveaway!!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the good folks at ENLIGHTENED. You may be familiar with ENLIGHTENED ice cream which can be found in several retailers across the country. I actually haven’t had the chance to try their ice cream yet but I really want to.  Their ice cream bars come in lots of yummy flavors like Sea Salt Caramel, Mint Chocolate Swirl, and more. Each bar is between 70-80 calories with 7-8 grams of protein, and no more than 5 grams of sugar. I need to find these! Anyway, on to the crisps!!

en1

ENLIGHTENED recently launched a line of savory snacks: ENLIGHTENED Crisps. The Crisps are actually roasted broad beans ( or Fava beans… I believe they’re the same thing?). There are only 100 calories in a serving, 7 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. Pretty amazing stats. They are also GMO free, vegan, gluten free, and soy free.

enlightened crisps

enlightened crisps

My honest, honest opinion of these are that they are delicious. I love the idea of roasted beans because they’re healthy!! They’re an incredibly convenient and nutritious food. I always find most convenience foods to be highly processed, high carb, and high sugar-these are none of those things. I think they did a really awesome job with these so I’m excited for you guys to try them! Here are the flavors:

Wasabi

enlightened crisps wasabi

This might be my favorite. I don’t love spicy stuff…but I guess wasabi isn’t spicy? I’m not sure how to describe it but it is addicting. Something about it. The wasabi flavor is perfect. If you like wasabi you’ll love these!

Mesquite BBQ

I think this is my least favorite. It tastes good but sort of weak in my opinion on the BBQ flavor.

enlightened crisps mesquite bbq

enlightened crisps mesquite bbq

Garlic and Onion

They nailed the garlic flavor! These are my husband and daughters favorite flavor.

enlightened crisps garlic and onion

enlightened crisps garlic and onion

Sea Salt

I love just plain and simple Sea Salt. You can’t go wrong with a little sea salt. These are great! Not too salty which is usually a complaint of mine with savory foods.

enlightened crisps sea salt

enlightened crisps sea salt

Sriracha

Yum. Like I said, I generally don’t like hot or spicy foods but sriracha is another exception. In moderation :). This sriracha flavor is actually not that hot at all. I think it’s a little sweet actually. If you love that burning hot flavor you might not love this, but if you like a subtle sriracha…you’ll like it! My two year old daughter ate this and liked it so definitely not too hot.

enlightened crisps sriracha

enlightened crisps sriracha

 

So, this is the best part: ENLIGHTENED will give away a sample pack and (so you can try all the flavors) and ice cream coupons to 3 winners!! Here’s how to enter:

  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Twitter (leave a comment below and let me know) @eatenlightened
  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Facebook (leave comment)
  • Follow ENLIGHTENED on Instagram (leave comment) @eatenlightened
  • Follow ME on Facebook :)  (leave comment)

I will pick THREE WINNERS on Friday. Good luck!!

en8

 

Firmoo Glasses Review

Nerd Alert!!!

firmoo glasses

I have terrible, awful vision. Like, the worst ever. I typically wear contacts except at night and in the morning when I wake up. However, lately my eyes have been acting up….especially the left. My vision is so bad that it is incredibly disruptive to my life.

I bought a pair of glasses oh…I donno…probably like, 7 years ago at this point (because again, only wore them for short periods during the day). I picked the cheapest frames I could find because even with cheap frames, the high prescription of the lenses bumped up the price dramatically. I’m talkin’ 40 dollar frames and 200 dollar lenses. Crazy.

Anyway, my eye irritation combined with old, scratched glasses have been causing major frustration in my life lately. Firmoo, an online optical store, contacted me a few weeks ago asking me to review a pair of glasses. Their timing was pretty much perfect!!

I took this opportunity to order a pair of glasses that I like to call “nerd chic.” I picked a pair of tortoise colored glasses with a rectangular frame.

look at that adorable photo bomber!

look at that adorable photo bomber!

I love the tortoise color! To me, it is so classic. My old glasses are pretty plain jane so I feel like I finally have a pair of “adult” glasses.

firmoo glasses

This was my first experience ordering prescription glasses online. I was a little unsure at first because it seems like something you should try on? I guess shoes do too and I’m totally fine with ordering shoes online so why not glasses? I also wasn’t sure if they could accommodate my crazy prescription but they did!

Anyway, the Firmoo site was really easy to use. I picked the glasses I wanted, then uploaded my Rx (I happened to have a hard copy of my prescription. You can always ask your eye dr. for one or just for the information you need).

firmoo glasses

They have a great feature on the site too where you can upload a picture of yourself and virtually try on the glasses you like.

firmoo glasses

Honestly, the best part of my experience is their price point. My glasses were around $50 dollars. They have tons of options ranging from around $26 dollars to $60.

I have to mention their customer service too. They responded right away when I had questions and followed up with me making sure I was happy with my glasses.

IMG_5473

Ok..I don’t know how to take selfies. Why do they look so grainy? Help! Do I need a selfie stick? I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about my new glasses. They are sturdy, beautiful frames with no scratches. I can actually see! I will definitely order glasses from Firmoo again. The glasses are cute AND affordable. Love it.

 

Do you wear glasses? Where do you buy yours from?

 

*Firmoo sent me a pair of glasses but the opinions expressed are all my own*

Lightened Up Chicken Salad *Recipe*

My lunches are normally really boring. I always cross my fingers that I have enough leftovers and I typically don’t. It’s very sad. Is anyone else really lazy at lunch time or just not creative? I try to have at least some turkey around so I can work with that but usually it’s eggs, eggs, and more eggs. Eggs are the best aren’t they?

Anyway, my husband recently asked me to pick up some canned chicken breast from Costco. Honestly, it sounded pretty gross to me. For some reason canned tuna fish works but canned chicken sounds super weird.

I was actually pleasantly surprised when I opened the can up. It’s pretty chunky, NOT mushy. It came with a mini recipe book so I decided to whip up a chicken salad inspired by one of their recipes.

chicken salad

Lightened Up Chicken Salad Recipe

  • 2 cans Costco chunk chicken breast (12.5 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • half chopped apple
  • raisins to taste (not sure how much I used just tossed them in)

lightened chicken salad

I had it as a sandwich, but it would be great over lettuce too. Next time I’m going to try to use even less mayo….maybe slowly phase it out? I don’t know that’s a little risky. I love my mayo :).

lightened up chicken salad

I am loving this recipe! It’s really easy too and just such a perfect lunch. It’s a nice break from tuna salad. You could probably add some relish, hard boiled egg, grapes, celery- lots of variations!

 

On a totally unrelated note, I found a replacement for CoffeeMate coffee creamer!! A little background: I love flavored coffee creamers. They just make me so happy in the morning when I’m sipping my coffee. The thing about coffee creamers is…I don’t know what the hell they are. Like literally. They have no dairy which is sort of bizarre, right? So…they’re just artificially made chemicals that taste delicious? Yes, I think so.

Anyway, I’ve been drinking Premier Protein shakes lately and had the idea of putting some of the vanilla flavored shake in my coffee as a creamer replacement (I know, brilliant). And it totally works! It adds the flavor that I’m looking for without the sugar AND added protein. Love it.

premier protein

 

Finally, my kids say hi :).

Willow, my little baby, is 9 months!! She is officially the sweetest baby of all time. She apparently hates to sleep which is a damn shame….but she’s such a little lover so I forgive her :).

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Have you ever tried to take a picture of a two year old? Because it is impossible.

Brooke is 2 1/2 and (I think) is officially potty trained! I never though I’d see the day. When people say to train them when they’re ready….they’re totally right. She, out of nowhere, decided to use the potty. It was so weird. We weren’t even actively trying. Yay for only one in diapers!!

 

Happy Wednesday!!

Minty Greens Earth Day Shake

First and foremost, I wanted to announce some exciting news with you guys: I am now an ambassador for Premier Protein! I’m so excited to be working with this company because I love their products. They make tasty protein shakes, smoothies, protein bars, and protein fiber bars. My favorites are their shakes and fiber bars…major noms.

PPNEWLOGO

The shakes taste great and pack a serious nutritional punch. They come in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla bean, and strawberries and cream. My favorite is actually vanilla. Usually, I’m a chocolate person but their vanilla shake tastes exactly like vanilla milk. Here are the stats on their shakes:

  • 30 grams of protein
  • 160 calories
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • low fat
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • no artificial colors
  • proprietary protein blend

Good stuff! I love the low sugar count. Sugar stats are one of the first things I look at when buying packaged foods. Anyway, on to the shake recipes!

 

It’s Earth Day! I feel like I don’t appreciate my beautiful surroundings as much as I should. I’ve started running again lately and during each run, I try to stop and take a look around. We live in an unbelievably beautiful area in Colorado…way up high in the mountains. We have skiing, mountain biking, climbing, biking, you name it you can do it here in Colorado.

vail, colorado

colorado

beautiful fall

beautiful fall

vail!

vail!

Spring and Earth Day are both a reminder of how precious life is…does anyone else feel like that? Everything looks so beat down and dead after winter. Seeing grass grow, birds chirp, and flowers start to bloom is pretty incredible.

Warmer weather equals smoothies! The folks at Premier Protein sent me a yummy looking recipe for an Earth Day inspired protein shake. They call it their “Dirt Shake” (love the name).  It looks pretty amazing too.

Premier Protein Dirt Shake Recipe

Premier Protein Dirt Shake Recipe

Right? That’s a fancy lookin’ shake.

Inspired by Premier Protein’s “Dirt Shake” and Earth Day, I came up with a delicious, mint chocolate green shake. Here’s the recipe:

Minty Greens Earth Day Shake

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 Premier Protein Chocolate Shake
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • top with cacao nibs and shredded coconut (optional)

mint chocolate shake

 

This turned out so good. The avocado and banana make the shake super creamy. I usually add xantham gum to my smoothies to make them thicker but I didn’t have to with this one.  You absolutely cannot taste the spinach or avocado, by the way.

The mint taste is so refreshing-perfect on a warm day!

stats on premier protein chocolate shake

stats on premier protein chocolate shake

Peppermint extract is great…in moderation. Too much can and will ruin your shake. My recommendation would be to use 1/4 teaspoon first, then taste it. If you like more mint, add slowly. Like, really slow. A hint of mint is the way to go.

mint chocolate shake

 

Take a look around today and appreciate the world you live in. Life is good! Happy Earth Day everyone :)

Healthy Shopping at Costco

I am loving Costco more and more these days. They have an incredible selection of healthy foods and I swear it just keeps getting better. They just keep carrying more and more organic foods and gluten free if that’s what you’re looking for.

First and foremost, I think each location varies slightly so keep that in mind. If you don’t see something I mention, that could be why. Costco is great though about responding to their customer demands, so by all means, tell them what you want to see in their stores! I have always had a good experience with their customer service.

Anyway, I don’t buy everything at Costco because (as I’m sure you know), some things we just don’t need in bulk. I probably head to Costco once a week. If I were a better planner, I may go only once a month or something but alas, I am not. I also sort of enjoy going (um, samples? Yes please). It’s actually easier too with the kiddos-bigger cart and again, samples. Toddlers love samples. Mommas love samples too. I buy a fair amount of produce from their stores too so my once a week trips are a time to restock.

Keep in mind, some of these items are not “perfect.” In my opinion, they are healthier choices than other items might be so they work for me and my family. Some of them are processed. They’re not all organic. But that’s how I shop. I don’t only buy organic food. As much as I’d love to, sometimes financials just don’t allow us to…and that’s cool with me.

Of course, I don’t buy every one of these items every single week. Anyway, if you’re curious about healthy foods at Costco, here are some yummy items to consider:

Snacks (because….they’re awesome):

  • Nuts- I don’t have a whole foods or store near me with bulk bins so Costco is the next best thing. Nuts can be pricey so if we’re going to buy them, I buy a bag from Costco and it lasts a long time.
mmmm pistachios

mmmm pistachios

  • Dried Fruit- I tend to only buy dates if I’m buying dried fruits. They have a lot of other fruits too but a lot of them have added sugars so just be sure to check the labels if that’s something you don’t want.
  • Bars/Shakes- So many yummy bars! They carry protein bars (like Premier Protein), Kind bars, Lara Bars, and Clif kids bars just to name a few.
kind bars

kind bars

premier protein protein bars

premier protein protein bars

premier protein shakes

premier protein shakes

  • Applesauce- The squeezable kind! They have organic applesauces that are great for everyone! My two year old loves them but I do too!
  • Renola Lara Bar Granola- These are gooooood.
renola

renola

  • Skinny Pop- Addicting.
skinny pop

skinny pop

  • Boom Chicka Pop- Also addicting. Not crazy healthy (has added sugar) but ya know, better than cake I guess :). I just bought these for the first time and it was absolutely an impulse buy. They are crazy good.
boom chicka pop. the addiction is real.

boom chicka pop. the addiction is real.

  • Jerky- They have beef jerky and turkey jerky. Jerky is sort of like nuts, it is expensive. Costco’s prices on it are better than the regular store.
jerky

jerky

  • Late July Organic Tortilla Chips
  • Annie’s Organic Bunnies- I buy these for my two year old. Or that’s what I tell myself.

Dairy/Dairy Substitute

  • Greek yogurt- We buy the big tub of Fage 0%. Costco has a better price than the regular grocery store.
  • Eggs- SO MANY EGGS. They sell organic eggs too.
eggs and greek yogurt. they sell flavored Fage and also just the plan 0% tub.

eggs and greek yogurt. they sell flavored Fage and also just the plan 0% tub.

  • Organic hard boiled eggs

hard boiled eggs

  • Cottage Cheese
  • String Cheese (sometimes)
  • Organic half and half- I only buy this when we’re expecting company otherwise it’s just too much.
  • Kerrygold Grass Fed Butter
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
almond milk

almond milk

Pantry Items (nut butters, cooking oils. etc).

  • Coconut oil- The best deal! It lasts a long time too.
organic coconut oil

organic coconut oil

  • Natural Almond Butter/Peanut Butter- They have both!
  • Almond Flour- This is new to our Costco and I’m so excited! I usually order almond flour from Amazon or sometimes pick it up at the store. It can be a little pricey at the store so so I’m glad I can get a big bag from Costco.
almond flour

almond flour

  • Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Organic black beans
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (in the cartons)- my daughter loves this stuff!
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Organic Brown Rice
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Wild Planet Tuna
tuna

tuna

Meats

  • Ground Turkey
  • Trident Salmon Burgers- These are so good! I love having them around because they’re really easy to make (and healthy).
  • Bag of Frozen Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
  • Rotisserie Chickens- They are so good at Costco!
  • Organic Whole Chickens

whole chickens

  • Organic Turkey Breast- For sandwiches or snacking.

turkey

Produce:

  • Superfood Kale Salad- This salad is sooooo good.  It has kale, shaved brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and comes with a yummy poppyseed dressing. I highly recommend it! I’ve seen it at regular grocery stores too, by the way.

kale

  • Organic Baby Carrots

carrots

  • Apples (they have regular and organic)
  • Berries when in season (they carry regular and organic)
  • Brussels Sprouts- My favorite!
  • Peppers- They sell bags of either all red peppers or a mix of colored bell peppers
  • Beets

beets

  • Frozen organic berries for smoothies

berries

  • Frozen organic broccoli- Their broccoli is the best! I usually hate buying frozen broccoli because it’s typically just stems. Their frozen broccoli has actually pieces of broccoli trees. Yum.

Miscellaneous/Refrigerated Items/Drinks:

  • Suja Organic Mighty Greens Juice- How cool is this?

suja

  • Organic Guacamole- I like that this is portioned out too into 100 calorie packs.

guac

 

  • Kombucha- They sell kombucha! Pretty cool, right? Honestly, I don’t buy it often because it’s pricey, but if you’re a kombucha lover this might be a better deal than the regular store.

kombucha

  • Organic Coconut Water

cocwater

  • 2 Minute Grains- Sometimes it’s nice to have something easy and healthy in the fridge. This is yummy and a great mix of wheat berries, quinoa, farro, barley, tomato, peppers, and onion.

grains

willow

My poor daughter. Every time we check out it’s like a game of tetris fitting the food in around her (sometimes on top).  It gives her something to look at and play with at least.

Anyway, those are only a few healthy options Costco has to offer. I have to watch myself when shopping there though. It is so easy to spend too much on things we really don’t need (especially in bulk). You can definitely find good deals on organic or natural foods, but those prices can sure add up. So, sometimes I just have to ask myself if this is something I really need…..a lot of the time, it’s not. Or I ask myself, is this something my husband would be pissed I bought? :)

 

Do you shop at Costco? What are your favorite finds?

 

 

Kettlebell Swingin’

I haven’t written much about this yet, but I’ve been using kettlebells quite a bit these days. My husband went above and beyond this year on my Christmas present: a whole set of kettlebells!

Kettlebells are awesome. They are a great way to build strength AND work on your cardio. We primarily follow a Kettlebell dvd set (Skogg system- I’ll do another post on that). Every now and then though, we make up our own workouts.

My husband actually made up this workout. Just a side note, I love that my husband and I finally found something we enjoy doing together. We do some sort of kettlebell workout almost every day. Usually they are short-20-30 minutes.

At this point, we are both kind of working on increasing the weight we’re using. We are keeping our workouts basically the same, but switching up the weight. Build z muscles!

Here is a workout we recently did:

Kettlebell workout

So, we did single arm swings. If you wanted to try double arms you could absolutely do that too. I think single arms may be more challenging but it’s nice to let one arm rest while working the other (although you feel this mostly in your Glutes).

kettlebell swing

kettlebell swing

kb

(sorry for the blurry photo- these are action shots baby!)

One thing to keep in mind about swings: they are not squats. You’re sort of hinging forward at the waist, then thrusting forward with your hips. The momentum should be what swings the bell up. You do not use your arms to bring the bell up-it gains momentum and sort of swings on its’ own. Does that make sense? I’ll have to do a video to show you in real time.

single arm kettlebell swing

single arm kettlebell swing

Turkish get ups are hard (at least for me). I’m still sort of practicing them hence only 5 reps on each side. I like to do a few with no weight then add just a couple pounds (literally only 3). I actually did some again today and used an 8 pound weight. Moving up in the world!

Here is a link to a video showing Turkish Get Ups.  I barely feel comfortable doing them myself so I definitely don’t feel comfortable explaining how to perform one. There are lots of steps involved too so I watch along with videos the first few times I try them. I would recommend either doing that or have someone show you who knows what they’re doing!

 

Have you used kettlebells? What’s your favorite exercise?

Avocado Pudding with Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream *Recipe*

This dessert is so decadent and just majorly hits the spot. If you haven’t heard of avocado being used as a pudding it probably sounds gross. I swear it works though.

Avocado pudding

Avocado’s provide such a great, creamy consistency and as long as you add a sweetener (and cocoa to disguise the green color), you’d never know the difference. Pudding? Avocado? I’ll never tell.

Let’s talk about the chocolate coconut whipped cream. This is good. It actually reminds me of chocolate mousse. It’s a light, fluffy texture with a really yummy chocolate taste. In the future, I may just make this and eat it as a dessert or over some fruit. The avocado pudding is great too, but I really loved the way this turned out. If you were to choose one thing out of this recipe, try the coconut whip!

Both recipes are great because you can customize them however you’d like. You could use different sweeteners, or even less sweetener, cacao powder if you want, try some extracts like almond or even mint with chocolate? There are lots of different things you could try. I would just recommend tasting as you go along!

Avocado Pudding

  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 banana
  • dash of cinnamon
avocado pudding mmm

avocado pudding mmm

Throw everything into a food processor (blender would probably work too) and process until smooth.

I used 3 Tbsp of honey but I think it could even use less. My banana was barely ripe so if you had a super ripe banana for example, you might use less sweetener since they provide quite a bit of sweetness. Again, I would just taste test along the way!

Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Refrigerate your can of coconut milk overnight. Once you’re ready to use it, scoop out the firm part which will be sitting on top. You’ll be left with some liquid on the bottom- do not add this to your whip. I usually use it in my coffee or smoothies.

Anyway, once you have your coconut milk, add the honey and cocoa powder and mix on high (I use a stand mixer, but you could probably use electric beaters) until it has a whipped cream texture.

whipped texture

whipped texture

That’s it! You can serve both right away or refrigerate for a bit if you wanted it chilled.

I threw some Enjoy Life chocolate chips on top because everything could use a little crunch.

mmmm just so much goodness in one bite

mmmm just so much goodness in one bite. and pink toes

avocado pudding with chocolate coconut whipped cream

avocado pudding with chocolate coconut whipped cream

Enjoy!

Review: Jillian Michaels: 6 Week 6 Pack (Level 1)

I’m sure people either love or hate Jillian Michaels. I have to admit: I’m a fan. I’ve watched The Biggest Loser off and on over the years so I wasn’t necessarily a fan of hers because of the show, but more for her fitness DVDs. Of course, I’ve only tried a few (3 to be exact) but they’ve all delivered! I have Ripped in 30 (my favorite), No More Trouble Zones, and now 6 Pack Abs. In my opinion, she just creates good workouts. They’re all challenging but different, require little equipment if any, and are relatively short workouts (about 30 minutes).

Anyway, I ordered 6 pack abs shortly after giving birth to my second daughter. If you’ve ever had a baby, you know your core muscles are nonexistent. It’s actually sort of comical. There is like, literally nothing there. It is a bowl full of jelly..Santa style. But that’s okay, all part of the process. That being said, I wanted to gain some muscle back.

In general, I am not a fan of abdominal work. I think we all have a favorite body part or zone we like to work out and probably a spot we hate. Well, I hate doing abs. I guess because I never see much of a change. If I was the type who always had a 6 pack, I’d probably love working abs! Having a DVD workout is a great way for me to sort of force myself to work those muscles.

I absolutely realize that “abs are made in the kitchen,” but I can also recognize that mine are/were weak and need to be worked on. That’s where Jillian comes in!

Here’s some info. on the Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack (Level 1):

Level 1

First of all, this DVD comes with 2 workouts: a level 1 and level 2 workout. The idea is, you complete the level 1 workout 5 days a week for 3 weeks, then move onto level 2.

Workout Style:

The workout is only 30 minutes long, which sounds like a long time for an ab workout right? Well, Jillian combines full body cardio moves with ab-centric moves, so the workout really works the entire body with a focus on abs.

Some examples of cardio moves she throws in there are burpees, mountain climbers, and plank jacks.

The idea is to throw some cardio moves in there to raise your heart rate. Raising your heart rate torches calories, which of course, burns fat and reveals those bitchin ab muscles that may have been hiding.

Not only do you perform traditional ab exercises, but moves that target other large muscle groups like your legs and back.

squat with rotation

squat with rotation

squat with rotation

squat with rotation

The workout is face paced but she goes through the whole thing once at a “slower” pace. The second time through, the pace is much faster.

supermans

supermans

supermans

supermans

She also provides modifications if you needed the moves to be a little easier or harder.

The moves are easy to follow. I’m not saying they’re easy to do because they’re challenging especially at a fast pace, but it’s easy to follow along.

side plank with leg lift

side plank with leg lift

side plank with leg lift

side plank with leg lift

That move above is hard! Side planks are tough even without the leg lift but it’s like, once you lift the leg, you can feel every muscle in your core working. You also really feel it in your inner thigh.

Equipment Needed:

The only thing you will need is a weight (just one). I used an 8 pound dumbbell. If you don’t have a weight, you can still do the workout, it’ll just be a little easier.

Overall Pros:

  • Hard! It makes me sore every time I do it
  • Easy to follow
  • Short
  • Cheap (only 8 dollars on Amazon)
  • Little equipment needed

Overall Cons (not many):

  • Same workout for 3 weeks
  • 5 days a week (recommended amount you do it) is sort of a lot

 

I’ll write a review soon on Level 2. I’d say another great DVD by Miss Jillian!

 

Do you like Jillian Michaels? What’s your favorite workout of hers? 

Upper Body Barbell Drop Set Workout

So, I’m still loving the barbell! I’m telling you I just feel stronger using them.

Anyway, my goal is to increase my overall muscle mass and in order to do so, I have to increase the amount of weight I use when I lift. For me, it’s easy to kind of get stuck lifting the same amount of weight every time I go to the gym. That weight is typically somewhere between 8-25 pounds for my upper body. There is certainly nothing wrong with that weight, but to build muscle, I’ve got to venture out of my comfort zone and lift even heavier. The barbell is slowly becoming my go-to piece of equipment on weight training days.

There are lots of different kinds of drop sets. I chose a descending drop set method which meant I started with high reps (and lower weights), then decreased my reps and increased my weight. I typically did 12 reps followed by 10, 8, 6, and sometimes 4. With most of the moves, I increased my weight just slightly because my muscles were dead after each exercise. With some of the moves, I kept the weight the same. Here is a breakdown:

Upper body barbell

  • Triceps Bench Press (close grip bench press)- 12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4. I started each move with the barbell only as a warmup just to kind of get my bearings. So, this is performed at the same station as a bench press but instead of hands out wide, hold the barbell basically straight out from your shoulders. When you bench the barbell, keep elbows in tight. This move works your triceps.

Super Set with Bench Dips- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6

  • Bench Press12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4.  Good old fashioned bench press! Again, I “warmed up” with just the barbell to get my positioning right.

Super Set with Pushups- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6

  • Shoulder Press at Smith Machine- 12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4.  This is a classic shoulder press except using the barbell at the smith machine. The smith machine is nice because you can try a heavier weight and not worry too much about dropping the barbell or hurting yourself.

Super Set with Plate Front Raises- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6. I just grabbed a weight plate at the smith machine and lifted it straight in front of me.

  • Biceps Curls Wide Grip- 12, 10, 8, 6, 4.  I used an EZ Curl bar for these (they have the dip in them. They’re not a straight bar).

Super Set with Biceps Curl Narrow Grip- 12, 10, 8, 6, 4. My arms were dead after this.

 

I love it! Love feeling sore muscles the day after…or two days after :).

 

Do you use a barbell at the gym? Favorite workouts?