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12 Days of (Tabata) Christmas- Day 2

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Another day another Tabata…get excited folks! This one focuses mostly on your glutes with a splash of quads. It’s another short one so feel free to combine both Tabatas- still only 24 minutes so not too shabby.

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Here’s a breakdown of each exercise:

lunge with forward kick- Lunge your right leg back, then swing it forward into a kick, then back to the lunge for 20 seconds. Do 4 rounds on each leg then switch.

Step ups- so, if you’re doing these at home (like me), find yourself a stable surface light a chair or in my case, the side of a fire place. Step up on your right leg, bring your left knee up towards your chest, then left leg down again. Keep your right leg on the surface the whole time and when your come up, try to stay balanced on your working leg. Switch at 4 sets.

single leg hip bridge- come onto your back on the floor and bend your knees. Lift your right leg in the air and keep it there. Lift your butt up, squeezing those cheeks, then back down to the floor. Do 4 sets on the right leg and 4 on the left.

That’s it! Like I said this is a great, short workout you can add to any other workout you’re doing. If you’re crunched for time though, it’s only 12 minutes!

12 Days of (Tabata) Christmas

I’m really looking forward to traveling for the holidays. We are headed to California so definitely can’t complain about that! No beach time but assuming no snow either so I’ll take it!

Visiting family and friends is always a good time.  There is just so much to do and people to see, which is great! Finding the time to exercise though can be a challenge. It definitely is for me when we’re away from home and out of our element.

There are ways to do it though! Tabata workouts are especially great for traveling because they can be short, require no equipment, but still challenge you.

For the next week and a half, I will post some Tabata workout ideas which I hope you can use this holiday season!

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Some are really short like todays (only 12 minutes). You can either do this or these workouts alone, or pair them up with strength training, running, skiing, whatever you’re up to! Here is today’s:

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Squat jumps are probably self explanatory. Burpees probably are too….but a burpee with a tuck jump is a little different. You perform a regular burpee but when you come up, instead of jumping in the air, jump and tuck your knees in towards your chest. If this is too much, you can perform a regular burpee or instead add a push-up to work your chest.

Remember, a Tabata workout is 20 seconds of the exercise with a 10 second rest 8 times through. First, jump squats, then after 8 rounds move onto the burpees.

It’s quick but painful! You’ll love it :). Tuck jumps are awful so get excited.

 

Avoiding (some) Temptation at Holiday Parties

I want to eat all the treats. ALL THE TREATS! I also want to continue losing baby weight. Why can’t I have both? Sad for me.

Holiday parties are the best. You get to dress up a little fancier than usual, sip on pretty drinks, taste tons of different delicious foods, and if you’re lucky, take a gift home. It’s an indulgent time, which is definitely part of the fun!

Most years, I walk into a party and immediately grab a drink (you know you do it too) and often times, head over to the food table. Depending on how many people I know, I sometimes start to mindlessly eat. Typically the less people I know, the more I snack.

I went to a party Saturday night and really tried to be aware of how I approached drinks and food. I made a plan before going: I would stick to higher protein foods, stay away from sweets, and have one drink.  My night was actually a success I’m sort of shocked!

If you’re anything like me, meaning you want to partake in holiday fun but also keep the temptations in check, here are a couple ways to approach party time:

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Eat something before you go- It’s like walking into a grocery store starving except this time, you don’t have a massive bill when you leave. Walking into a party starving is just asking for a food (and possibly alcohol) hangover later. If you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to overindulge.

Grab a small plate-  Put what you’d like to eat on your plate, then walk away. Soooooo many times I realize I’ve been standing next to the food and eaten like, a block of cheese and 12 cookies. Oops. Loading your plate up will help you choose wisely and limit the amount of food you eat.

Load up on protein- So you have your plate, next move is to add some protein: shrimp cocktail, maybe a little cheese, etc.

Load up on veggies/fruit too-  Can’t go wrong with a plate full of veggies!

Skip dessert….initially-  Think about eating your “main course” first before adding desserts to your plate. Once you’ve settled into the party and had a little food,  dessert may not seem like such a necessity. Of course, it’s the holidays so don’t feel bad about treating yourself.  If you want to limit your sugar intake though, it will be easier to do so after eating some real food.

Overall, try to be mindful- This has always been my problem: mindlessly eating. Thinking about my choices really helped me say no to foods I otherwise would have said yes to.  I’m pretty proud of myself to exhibiting some self control. It may sound kind of pathetic  to some that this is a struggle of mine, but it is what it is.

 

I have a couple more holiday parties and of course, Christmas, so I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by limiting treats this past weekend. The reality is, I absolutely did not miss out. I’m at the party with friends and family and that’s all that matters. Cookies are delicious….and they will always be delicious whether eaten yesterday or two weeks from now so no worries!

 

Do you worry about treats at holiday parties or say, f it, ‘it’s the season?

 

*These are my opinions. I am personally till trying to lose some baby weight so cutting back on sugary/fatty foods is essential to achieve that goal.  Maybe you’re trying to maintain weight or even gain weight- everyone is different! This post is not meant to shame anyone if they indulge in holiday teats.  Enjoy your holiday season however you’d like!*

Gift Ideas for the Fitness Buff

Christmas is so soon! Once again, time is flying by. Crazy.

Speaking of Christmas, I have not bought one Christmas present. I’m pretty much relying on Amazon Prime at this point which may be risky. Isn’t Amazon Prime the best thing ever? If you’re not on it, sign up immediately!!

If you’re like me though and need some ideas for a fitness lover in your life, or you love fitness and need to give someone ideas, or you want to buy me presents, here are some awesome ideas:

Xmas ideas

Xmas ideas

Kettlebells

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CAP Kettlebells on Amazon (duh). I have three kettlebells at this point and bought all three through Amazon prime: no shipping on 35lb. kb…not bad! These are just so great to have around for hard home workouts. They give you both strength training and cardio.

 

6 Pack Meal Bag

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I want! 6 Pack Fitness bags are awesome. They are to-go bags which fit either 3 or 5 meals plus your other goodies like drinks. They come with 2 freezer gel packs and 5 leakproof microwave/dishwasher safe containers. These are so great for someone who is constantly in their car but want to eat healthy. It’s hard to keep grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs on the seat of your car for 6 hours. Problem solved!

Beats by Dre

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So, these headphones are crazy expensive in my opinion but apparently they are the best thing ever. I use my crappy little ear buds I think came free with something at some point, but since I do spend a lot of time listening to music in the gym, it would be nice to upgrade (someday).  Plus, they come in a ton of different colors which makes me like them more :).

 

Gift Cards and Magazine Subscriptions

I always ask for gift cards. This year, I asked for any of the following: Lululemon, Athleta, GNC, and Amazon. Can’t go wrong with any of those! Magazine-wise, I asked for a subscription to Oxygen (my fave). I already subscribe to Women’s Health which is another good one.

 

Stocking Stuffers

 

Quest Bars

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I love me some Quest bars. They are expensive so I have a love/hate relationship with them, but they would be a great stocking stuffer!!

Exercise DVDs

I love most Jillian Michael’s DVDs-they are always pretty challenging (and inexpensive).

Diet and Exercise Books/Cookbooks

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This is for someone who would absolutely enjoy this kind of thing….not for anyone who would take it personally so be careful!! I love fitness books. A good one I read recently is Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. It has tons of information on exercise but also legit “diet” advice.

 

Those are a few of my favorite things!! What are you asking for for Christmas (or Hanukkah) this year?

 

 

Quick Full Body Burner

Well, the snow has started! It actually started like, two weeks ago, but its been coming down nonstop for a few days now. Is it seriously only November? Boo.

We had a good weekend anyway! When the sun came out, we got out for some walks. I did a few home workouts which have yet to get old-good thing because winters just starting! My two year old also recently discovered you can eat snow so walks are pretty exciting.

It’s Thanksgiving week! I can’t believe it’s already here…mostly because that means Christmas will be here before we know it! Then 2015.. What?? I was watching Friends over the weekend, by the way, and the episode aired 20 years ago…can you believe that? Slow down time!

Selfie with the babe!

Selfie with the babe!

Anyway,  if you’re snowed in (like me) or traveling this week, here’s a workout you can do anywhere- no gym required! Traveling is tough sometimes since you’re out of your element. Typically, you don’t have access to a gym so home workouts are great to have in the back of your mind!

 

Workout

Doesn’t sound too bad, but the 5 rounds catches up to you!

Happy Monday everyone!

Toddler Approved Smoothie Recipe

Toddlers are tricky little creatures. Some days they love vegetables, the next day they hate them. They’re hard to read.

However, my 2 year consistently loves smoothies. It’s literally 15 degrees outside and she still wants a smoothie. Sneaky me, I decided to put spinach in her smoothie…

toddler smoothie ingredients

toddler smoothie ingredients

I used to buy fresh spinach and would use that in smoothies, but I recently bought frozen instead. GREAT idea!! Fresh spinach is delicious, but it also goes bad relatively quickly. Frozen can also replace ice in your smoothie so it’s a win-win.

Here’s what I used for Brooke’s smoothie:

  • half a banana
  • handful frozen berries
  • handful frozen spinach
  • tbsp flax seed
  • half cup orange juice
  • splash of milk
hers and....hers

hers and….hers

The only changes I made to mine were no juice, a little more milk, and water.

sassy pants approves

sassy pants approves

Is that some serious attitude or what? She takes smoothie time very seriously.

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Good stuff. I love when I can sneak spinach into smoothies. My favorite smoothie lately is a little less green and a little more chocolatey..

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Here’s my favorite:

  • Chocolate protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • banana
  • cocoa powder
  • peanut butter
  • coffee 
  • milk, water, and ice

It’s delicious. Delicious I tell you.

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FYI, that picture does not do it justice. Lucky you, you can also see my chicken thawing in the background!

Hurray for winter smoothies!!  Polar Plunges can’t stop our smoothie making.

Cardio Shoulder Scorcher

Scary name huh? I thought we needed a little drama in our lives. This workout is awesome. It really is a shoulder scorcher so heads up! There’s also 30 minutes of cardio but it’s broken up into ten minute segments. I like to break up the pain. :)

 

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I did 2 treadmill runs and 1 ten minute segment on stairs. Do whatever cardio you’d like! Here’s more information on the exercises:

Chair pose with shoulder press- chair pose is a classic yoga pose. You basically sit down in a narrow squat like you were going to sit in a chair and hold that position. Grab a pair of light dumbbells and perform shoulder presses while in chair pose.

Front raise overhead- light weights here too! Start standing with arms down in front of you holding dumbbells. From there, raise them straight out in front of you, to shoulder height, all the way up overhead, then back down again.  I think these are really hard!

Bosu ball plank walks- flip the bosu so blue side is up. Start in a plank position with hands on bosu. From there, drop down to one elbow, then the other, then back up to one hand, then the next. Repeat.

Bosu ball burpee- this is a class burpee except your holding on to the bosu ball the whole time! Black part is facing you so when you hit the ground, the blue parts on the floor.

Isometric scaption- here is a link explaining this further. Switch arms at 30 seconds.

Plank with front raise- grab some light weight. Start in a straight arm plank position. Stay in plank and perform a front raise one arm at a time alternating for 1 minute.

I went through this this one time and that was plenty for me! Let me know if you have any questions! (Sorry for misspellings,etc. I did this on my iPad and it was pretty rough).

20 Minute Tabata

Hi guys! I have a great workout for you today. I did this workout last week and it was enough for me. I’m tellin’ you, Tabata workouts are killer.

I did two different Tabata workouts: one on the treadmill and one lower body focused.

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1st Round:

-Box jumps- So, 20 seconds of box jumps followed by 10 sec. rest 8x through. You can jump on anything: box, bench, etc. If you’re in a gym, try to find a box higher than a workout bench just to be sure you’re pushing yourself.

– Squats on bosu. Perform on the black side of the bosu ball. You can use weights if you’d like.

– Bench hop overs- ugh these. Stand on one side of a workout bench and place hands on bench. From there, hop up and over to the other side. Repeat.

– Crunches on bosu- Lay down on top of the blue side of the bosu ball. From there, perform a crunch. It’ll hurt I promise. :)

 

2nd Round:

So, this treadmill workout should technically take 4 minutes. If you take longer though, don’t worry about it. Do your best!

I ran between 5.5 and 6.0 the entire time, just changed the incline. So, your first round will be 20 seconds run at 5.5 speed and 7.0 incline. Then you can come back down to 1.5 or 2 incline for your rest of 10 sec. Next 20 sec will be at 7.5, etc.

Hopefully this makes sense! I always worry Tabata workouts don’t make sense. Just let me know if you have questions!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Freezer Burritos

Oooo I’ve been having so much fun in the kitchen lately. It’s funny how a day of cooking can make you feel so productive!

I’ve been trying to save money and time by dedicating a full day to cooking meals.  I prep some food for the following week and keep it in the fridge, but also make full meals and freeze them. This past Saturday was my second time prepping meals. The first time around, we had enough food for about a week and half (not including produce and other perishable items like yogurt).

It does take me a day so I’ve been choosing a weekend day usually Sat. or Sunday. This past weekend Saturday was fine with me since we were being pounded by snow (Seriously??? Too soon!).

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Anyway, one of the meals I’ve been making are freezer friendly burritos. These are great especially for quick lunches. Yesterday,  I made 12 burritos! I keep them stored in the freezer. Whenever someone wants one, we just take one or two out, pop in the microwave, and lunch is served!! Here’s what you need for burritos:

Freezer Friendly Burritos

  • zip lock freezer bags (gallon)
  • wax paper
  • foil
  • 1-2 pounds of ground meat (I used 2 pounds for 12 burritos. We used elk meat)
  • flour tortillas – can be white or wheat.
  • whatever fillings you want!! I used black beans and green chili. I also seasoned with taco seasoning. You could add rice, salsa, Rotel, etc.

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I use these tortillas from Costco that you have to cook on a skillet before using. It requires a little more work, but they are amazing. Regular, store bought tortillas just can’t compare anymore.

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First, I cooked the meat, beans, and green chili together. Next, I filled each burrito with a little filling and folded them up. Can I just say, I don’t know how Chipotle and Q’doba professionals fold those monster burritos. They are skilled. Seriously. I can barely fold a tiny little homemade burrito. I don’t get it.

Next, I wrap each burrito in wax paper, then in foil and pinch the ends. I save the foil pieces and sometimes wax paper pieces and re-use them the next time I make burritos.

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Once every burrito is wrapped, I place in a zip lock freezer bag, label, and freeze!! It’s really easy and just so nice to have something readily available to eat.

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12 burritos!

12 burritos!

I added my freezer burritos to the rest of my freezer goodies. I’ll post on those later!

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Do you prep food for the week? Any freezer friendly recipe recommendations? 

Lower Body (low impact) Workout

I’ve walked by the row machine about a billion times in my life. Generally shrugging it off like it was mostly geared towards older people or “beginners” (because I’m so advanced?). This goes to show how naive I am.

My interest in it began to pique when I noticed Crossfitters using the machine. We all know Crossfitters are hard core, so there must be something to it?

I generally love me some high impact workouts-running, HIIT workouts- you name it, I like it. I choose higher impact workouts because they’re highly effective.  They raise your heart rate, therefore burning cals.

Well, lately I’ve been experiencing sore ankles which I think is the result of old shoes and probably too much jumping around. So, I finally decided to give the row machine a try.

I strutted into the gym the other day like I owned the place with the intention of rowing for 30 minutes straight. After about 7 minutes, my plans changed.

I ultimately decided on 20 minutes of row machine broken up into two ten minute workouts with lunge walks in between. Are you lookin’ for some butt burnage? This outta do it.

Row Machine Workout

Row Machine Workout

Here is some information on how to use the row machine:

-Set the resistance. This is found on the wheel part of the machine. I read that experienced rowers usually have the resistance between 3-5 so I’m not sure if something was wrong with mine or if it was just different because mine was around 20. So, fiddle with your rower to find a good resistance for you. You want it to be challenging, but not so challenging you can’t finish rowing for 10 minutes.

Aim for around 20 strokes per minute. There will be a little display on the top or side of the row machine telling you your SPM number.

-Secure your feet. You don’t want your feet slippin’ around while you’re rowing!

-Bend your knees and grab the row bar with arms straight. From there, power off or “drive off” your feet so your legs are basically straight (slight bend) then pull the bar towards your chest. This should all be a fluid motion.

 

Give it a try! It is for sure a cardio workout but also legs and core. Like I said, my buns were burning!  Let me know what you think!