Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eating Healthy for Holidays!! YOU CAN DO IT!

Holidays are not an excuse to gain weight. Challenge yourself to not gain any weight this Easter!

Here are a few of my helpful tips to keep your healthy lifestyle in check, no matter what the occasion is!
  • If you’re doing the cooking, ditch the full fat dairy products, use reduced fat milk or reduced fat cheese.
  • You can substitute apple sauce for vegetable oil in baking recipes. If the recipe calls for ½ cup oil, ½ cup applesauce will do.
  • Avoid piling your plate full of the high-calorie/high-fat appetizers or side dishes, fried foods, heavy casseroles, and desserts. FILL up on veggies, grains, fruit, or lean meat (if available). You can have small tastes of the high calorie dishes, just don’t load up.
  • You can bring your own healthy dish so that you can know you will at least have one guilt free option.
  • You can have everything in moderation, try to add up the calories on your plate, just by using ball-park estimates, be careful when you think about getting seconds. Sit and wait and drink some water before you think about more food,  you need to let your stomach catch up with your mouth!
  • Don’t show up starving, have an apple, or some veggies before you go so you won’t feel the need to dive into anything and everything.
  • Eat your veggies first, I always use this rule! Make sure you eat your salad or veggies first, so that you start to get full by the time you eat the not so low-calorie food options.
  • TAKE YOUR TIME! Holidays are about being together with family and loved ones and enjoying one’s company. Don’t scarf your food down, make conversation, avoid the TV, and chew SLOWLY. See if you can chew 20 times before you swallow, this will train you to take your time when eating.
  • Move away from the buffet/appetizers/snack table when talking to friends/loved ones, the food is less tempting when it’s out of sight.
  • If you know you’re going to be eating a big meal for dinner, have a healthier breakfast and lunch to try to balance out the excess calories you will be consuming.
  • REMEMBER: Alcoholic beverages contain calories too. These calories will sneak up on you, so be mindful of that. Diet Sodas actually make your body crave more food and need to be avoided. Water is your best bet, and it helps to flush out water weight and toxins!
  • Get MOVING: A walk, throwing football outside, work out earlier in the day before the partying starts. It's all about calories in vs. calories out. This extra workout CAN make a difference!
That's all for me today, I'm off to PA to see my family and beautiful nieces. YAY! Happy Easter Everyone.
My little peanuts, love them to pieces :)

xo- April

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Asian Bean Slaw

I find that I get the most creative in the kitchen when I have the least amount of food in my fridge, which is exactly the case right now at my house!

I still haven't gone to the grocery store (my normal Sunday routine). I've been so tired lately from going non-stop and passing out on the couch then getting up in the middle of the night to head to bed. I HATE when I do that, because it really does disrupt your sleep cycle and makes you feel so much more tired than if I would have just got my lazy butt up and fell asleep in bed in the first place. Woops! I get very stubborn when I'm sleepy, haha.

Last night when I got home late from work, I had nothing planned, nothing thawed, and I was STARVING. I decided to make something up from scratch. I didn't measure anything but this is about what I used:

Asian Bean Slaw
1/3 chopped red cabbage
1/2 bag shredded broccoli slaw (found at any grocery store)
1 package mung bean sprouts
1 can of sweet corn
1 can of rinsed black beans
1 can of chickpeas (rinsed & roasted for 10 minutes at 450 degrees)
1.5 TBS rice wine vinegar
4-5 drops of liquid stevia
1.5 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Dash of Mrs. Dash No Salt Added Garlic & herb seasoning
IT WAS DELICIOUS, and it made a TON of food that I will be using up this week. I put it on a bed of spinach and topped with pico de gallo, a black bean burger, and avocado and it was delicious.
Andddd it's pretty :)
Here's a salad I had this week that also hit the spot:
Spinach base, add chopped green pepper, mushrooms, strawberries, avocados, dried cranberries, almonds, flax seeds, & gluten free poppy seed dressing! So sweet and satisfying!


I found a coin workout on instagram by following @workoutroutine that I modified for my bootcamp class. I changed the Plank Knee Tucks to Spiderman Pushups and added Diver Push-ups/Triceps Extensions at the end. We did 4 rounds, it was awesome!

What can you find today to make you smile?
I found this key ring a few weeks ago at World Market. (I AM OBSESSED WITH THAT STORE!) It's a doggy and a kitty that look nothing like my pets, but it was just too cute, I had to have it. Every morning when I grab my keys, it still makes me smile just thinking about my furry babies. They bring me so much happiness, and it feels so good to be unconditionally loved by an animal. My cat, Noodles, used to sleep with me every night and she has not done that in almost 2 years, she prefers her kitty bed, but this week she has been sleeping in bed next to me again, and as nerdy as it sounds, it really makes me so happy knowing she still likes to cuddle with mom!
I take a million pictures of my pets and I probably talk about them more than most people, but it's what makes ME happy. My whole mood changes when I walk in the door and my big puppy is waiting for me with a wagging tail. I would rather be at the dog park than at the bar any day of the week. I still enjoy going out and having fun, don't get me wrong, but honestly, this has just become part of our everyday ritual. My boyfriend and I go to the gym, and our puppy needs his exercise as well, so he goes to the doggy park. I want them both to live long, healthy, happy lives and an active lifestyle is key to achieving those goals.


^^ Words to live by ^^

Make it a great one! Xo- April

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Races

Good Morning! It's Monday, it's rainy, it's cold... what will you do with today?

You may be able to guess where I'm going with this by now, but honestly everyday is what you make it. If you wake up thinking how cold and nasty it is outside, how tired you feel, and how badly you don't want to go to work.. you are setting yourself up for failure. If you think it's a crappy morning, it IS going to be crappy. But if you start your day thinking, it's cold and nasty outside, but I'm thankful for _______. Your day can start on a happier, more positive note. It's not hard to do, and if you can't find something to be thankful for then you need to seriously re-evaluate your life. However, I know ALL of you can find something to be thanful for. I joined a challenge recently that challenges you to put into writing something you are grateful for everyday for the month of March. I love it because it really makes me dig deep for things I am thankful for. This weekend I was thankful for my two little adorable nieces and having one more on the way. I am going home to Pennsylvania this weekend for Easter and my dad's birthday and I could not be more excited. My family is all getting together for a big Chinese dinner at our favorite restaurant on Friday. I am so happy to get to see everyone, and especially excited to see how my little peanuts have grown. It's tough being away from them, but luckily for Facetime and technology they still know who "Aunt Apple" is. They are ahhhh-dooor-ah-bull! haha

What did you find to keep you entertained this weekend? Did you stay active despite the cold and rain? Did you plop your butt in front of the TV for March Madness all weekend? Did you try any new recipes? Weekends are always good for creativity because we tend to have a little more time on our hands. Pick a new recipe to try next weekend, or maybe decide to try your first meal prep on Sunday. Find a yummy, healthy recipe and make a big batch of it to put in multiple tupperware containers for lunches/dinners for the week. It's much easier than you think! I need to do my meal prep today or tomorrow because I did not have the energy to go grocery shopping and meal prep yesterday after my half marathon. Luckily, I have about 5 extra meals to hold me over for lunches this week. Plan one thing you are going to do next weekend that will help you in your health/fitness goal(s) and STICK TO IT. You will feel better having done that thing you said you would.

My Weekend Summary:
I had a friend who I went to college with (GO SLIP ROCK) come down from PA to run the Spartan Race on Saturday and she was also tough enough to run the Charlotte Motor Speedway half marathon with me on Sunday. Crazy people tend to stick together, haha! So, the pup & I went out to support her and her friends running the Spartan Saturday morning. It was cold & wet but it was fun seeing everyone covered in mud crossing obstacles. Unfortunately, many of the obstacles were nearly impossible to complete due to the wet conditions, so that left them doing a LOT of Burpees. She did great, and we had a good time! I snapped some shots from the morning, see below.
I caught her warming up on the obstacle wall and then we took a pre-race/mud pic, I look like a midget.. story of my life, lol. 

Here she is finishing one of the last obstacles. She had to climb under barbed wire through the cold, muddy water, climb up the slippery angled rope wall, climb down the other side, jump through fire, fight through gladiators, and cross the finish line. She did a great job!

Sunday was wetter & colder, but the show must go on. The Charlotte Motor Speedway Half Marathon was a nice course and was flat for the most part, a few rolling hills, but there was always a downhill after the uphill battle which was nice. I snapped this picture of the Speedway, Saturday, when I went to pick up my race packet.
-Bre & I after the race, cold, wet, & still smiling. :)
-Matty came to cheer me on through the rain. As a runner, it means so much to me to see a familiar face along the way. Poor boy kept missing me at spots, but he was there at the finish line with a smile.  I could NOT ask for a better best friend to support me in everything I do.

I couldn't decide if I wanted my ears warm or my face shielded from the rain, so I went with the best of both worlds, hence my goofy looking head ensemble. I accidently left my gloves in my jacket pocket, which I gave to Matty before the race. It was really obnoxious to not feel my fingers the entire race, lol. The medal we got was awesome it has light up red/yellow/green LED lights and the middle of it spins which is pretty cool!

I was hoping for a PR (Personal Record) and I GOT IT! I have been training for months including speedwork into my workouts. I ran my last half marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:46:37 I ran this one in 1:44:17 and I was very happy! This came out to be a 7:58 min/mile pace and I felt great! The last two miles I made a game out of how many people I could pass. I was picking people off left and right, lol. I thought of my SRU cross country days, our coach used to always say "protect your neighborhood", meaning, don't let people around you pass you. I literally chuckled because I kept thinking, "GET OUTTA MY 'HOOD", in my head as I was passing people, lol. I am such a nerd I can't even help it. Here are the race results, below. I got 3rd for females 25-29 which I was pretty pumped about. This is why you push ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE END! :)

I had homemade chicken stir fry post-race to refuel my body and it was delicious. I cooked brown rice and sauteed stir fry veggies in EVOO (I actually bought fresh pre-chopped stir fry veggie blend of peppers, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, bok choy, baby corn, broccoli, and carrots at Trader Joe's for like $3 and only used 1/3 of it, great deal!) I added reduced sodium soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, love the mixture of sweet and salty, it was delicious! I used more rice than usual because, HEY I RAN 13 miles, I wanted it! I paired it with water and Green Tea with mango. Gotta rehydrate! YUM!

Breakfast today was the usual: Overnight oats!
Today the ingredients were: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 banana, 4 strawberries, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, cinnamon, flax seeds, and 2 drops liquid stevia. YUM! You must try it, it is so filling! I also had a cup of green tea with breakfast.

^^ This e-card cracks me up. If you don't know what PINTEREST is, you're missing out. You can organize your favorite recipes, home decorating ideas, fashion ideas, workouts, etc... and "pin it" to your virtual bulletin board. I love it and I love this e-card so much because you will see a lot of people pin things that read, "BEST WORKOUT EVER, LOSE 10 POUNDS IN 7 DAYS" or other gimics like that. They always have a picture of a super skinny model on it as well. Let's do this the old fashioned way with diet and exercise, not by eating grapefruit or starving yourself. EAT CLEAN, TRAIN DIRTY PEOPLE! The weight did not get there overnight and it is NOT going to leave overnight either! I made the e-card "work appropriate" as well, like my fancy editing skills? Lol.

Have a great day, loves. Decide today what your goals for the week are. Don't just read this and say yah, ok April. DO IT, say it out loud and WORK FOR IT. It could be "I want to drink 8 glasses of water a day" or "I want to log all my calories" or "I want to workout 40 minutes for 5 days this week". Whatever goal you make, be specific. "I want to workout" is too broad, you need to say WHEN/WHERE/HOW LONG etc.. Be accountable, starting TODAY!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Eating Clean does NOT mean eating tasteless!

Don't let anyone tell you healthy eating is tasteless!

Today I had the most bangin' pancakes ever! Vanilla Banana Protein Pancakes! Delicious! I got the recipe from @megameows instagram account earlier and adapted it to what I had in the kitchen.
Is this droolworthy or what? Ok so here's the recipe:

1 egg
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup oats (you can put them into a food processor to make it oat flour, my food processor is broken, so I did not and it turned out great)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 chopped banana
1/2 cup blueberries (I was out so I skipped these)
Mix everything well (add a little skim/almond milk if it is too thick)
Make 4 medium or 6 small pancakes over low heat.

NOW- I topped these suckers with:
 2 TB PB2 (powdered peanut butter with less fat & calories) mixed with 1 TB water. I also sliced up the rest of the banana (This adds more calories, just a note)
Then I made a Mixed berry Chia seed Jam and used 2 TBS of it (tweaked @Powercakes recipe).
2TB chia seeds
5 strawberries (fresh, I used frozen though)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (I used mixed berries)
1/4 cup water
Microwave for 2 minutes -- YUM!

I couldn't finish it all, but it was delicious and high protein low fat!
Here's an EGG-cellent Idea:
If you like hard boiled eggs, but hate the hassle, here's a good way to cook them!
(Thank you Pinterest!) Just in time for dying eggs for Easter as well!
  • Put your eggs in a muffin pan
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool & peel. They peel much easier this way!
  • ENJOY!
Need a quick sweet tooth fix?
I LOVE chocolate and strawberries! The mix is delicious!
Mix 1/2 TBS Dark cocoa powder
1 packet sweetener (I use Stevia, Truvia is another good choice)
1/2 TBS Almond milk
Spread over 4 strawberries for a sweet savory snack and the chocolate spread is only 15 calories! You could always make more, but know that weight loss is calories in versus calories out!

Gluten Free Pasta!

I tried out Jovial brand brown rice pasta. I won an instagram challenge and received a 3 month subscription to Conscious Box which has vegan friendly samples of healthy products. I got a sample of this brown rice pasta and as you can see the only ingredients are brown rice and water! It was delicious!
I mixed the pasta with fat-free italian dressing, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocados, and then I added baked chicken to it. It was delicious and so filling! I try to not eat gluten as much as possible because I suspect I have some gluten intolerance with all my stomach issues, eating this way tends to make it feel better!

I want to show you that eating clean can be healthy and delicious! GET creative. I get ideas from recipes I find and then I make them my own. I don't rely on measuring cups, just eyeball things and get creative. YOU CAN COOK don't say you can't. You CHOOSE not to. You are capable of following a recipe, you just have not challenged yourself to do it. SO, try something new and healthy this weekend!

I have a half marathon on Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. (13.1 miles) WOO! So I will be eating a big meal of spaghetti and meatballs Saturday night! YUM! Carb loading is important for endurance events, you need to rely on carbs for energy, which is another reason why low-carb diets are not good for active individuals. OR ANY OF THOSE STUPID FAD DIETS! Eat clean, eat small amounts often, and you WILL SEE RESULTS!


XO- April :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Live in the Now!


Namaste is a common greeting in coming and going among Hindus and Buddhists. You will hear this saying in yoga at the end of the practice and it is accompanied with a bow of the head and hands together in front of your heart. I did a short run today then I did 90 minutes of hot yoga today which was challenging and soothing at the same time. My yoga instructor explained the saying, Namaste, in such a great way today. She said Namaste is as if you are saying to the person, the best part of me is greeting the best part of you. I loved thinking about that. It's so much more than "Hi, how are you? Good, how are you?" That is so monotonous and we are trained to say "good" no matter what you're feeling. If someone replied to you, "I'm terrible, I've had the worst morning ever, and and the day isn't even half way over yet." You would probably sit there dumbfounded not knowing how to respond to them, because we are trained to respond with good or great.

So, when you are greeting your friends, loved ones, and strangers in passing today, greet them with the BEST part of you. Be the smiling face that can brighten someone's mood. Live in the now and be happy and free. Yes, you still have a to-do list, yes, you may be stressed out, but give your heart and mind a break and clear your head to complete one task at a time. I feel so much more focused after yoga, I need to start every day with some "me" time by working on a few poses and clearing my mind at the end. Even if it is just 10 minutes, I feel that my stress level will be lower and my mind and body will be happier. This is MY challenge to myself. What is YOURS?! Set a goal today for the next 3 or 4 weeks, what can you do to better yourself? That's what life is all about, being the best YOU that you can be. Don't compare yourself to others, compare yourself to the way you were yesterday.

Smile. You have so much to be thankful for. :)

After yoga, I treated myself to a tai chi latte from Starbucks while I sat in the sun and caught some vitamin D. Sunshine always lifts my mood. It was a very peaceful morning.

Now, let's talk FOOOOD!

Here is my salad from yesterday and today. I made it very different both days by what type of protein I added on top of it. The base is spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, pico de gallo, nutritional yeast, and avocado. Yesterday I added grilled chicken and salsa. Today, I added my turkey/quinoa/edamame mix and salsa on top and it completely made it a different salad. YUM!

Get creative and throw things together and enjoy the flavors. Eating healthy is not as hard as you think. Just buy fresh produce and avoid the processed yuckiness!

That's all for today!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't say the "D" WORD!

Eliminate the D word from your vocabulary! What word were YOU thinking? I was talking about the word "DIET"! ;)

DIETING makes us think of depriving ourselves and eating rabbit food or food with no flavor. Let's make a LIFESTYLE change with our eating patterns and just make healthier choices instead of saying we're on that ugly "D" word. You can have everything in moderation. I noticed I was being too strict with my eating this week when I was craving EVERYTHING. I realized I was not eating enough carbs for the amount of exercise I was doing, so I made sure to refuel and give my body the sweetness it was craving, the CLEAN way.

I made Peanut butter banana ice-cream last night with only two ingredients!

  • 2 Frozen Bananas
  • 2 TBS Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (I use Trader Joe's brand)
  • Thinly slice 2 ripe bananas and throw in ziploc baggy in freezer
  • Freeze for about 1 hour
  • Throw in food processor until it starts to become creamy
  • Blend in 2TBS peanut butter
  • ENJOY!

It definitely hit the spot! I couldn't even finish it, it definitely could be 2 servings. It was aMaZiNg! Seriously so much better for you than regular ice cream without all those mystery ingredients!!

Nutrition Facts if you eat all of it:
Calories:  400 calories
Fat : 16.8g
Carbs: 61g
Protein:  10.6g
Sugars: 29.8g
OR-- make 2 servings out of it and cut all the above in 1/2. Bananas are the most calorically dense fruit and all fruits are high in sugar, but at least it's natural sugar and the fat is coming from the natural peanut butter and it is the "good fat", i.e. unsaturated fat, which does not play a role in heart disease. There's also a ton of protein in our ice cream vs. store bought ice cream! So let's compare store bought peanut butter ice cream facts for HALF CUP serving. Our healthy ice cream results in more than double this serving if you eat the whole thing:
Calories: 160
Fat: 7g
Carbs: 21g
Sugars: 16g

Now who only eats 1/2 cup of ice cream? That's like one tiny scoop! So let's double that to make it more equivalent to ours, however it did result in slightly more than 1 cup:

Calories: 320
Fat: 14g (not the good kind)
Carbs: 42g
Protein: 4g
Sugars: 32g (not natural)
Not to mention there's about 25 ingredients in their ice-cream versus our 2 natural ingredients. It's not ALL ABOUT CALORIES. It's about what you're putting in your body to FUEL yourself for the day. Be sure to look at ingredients - if you don't know what it is- buy something more NATURAL!

Today for breakfast I had my usual overnight oats, but my peanut butter jar was left empty last night after this treat, so I made the oats in the peanut butter jar to get all the goodness out!

Overnight Oats:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup almond milk
dash of cinnamon
sprinkle of dried cranberries, and slivered almonds,
sliced banana --> put in peanut butter jar - pop in fridge overnight --> AMAZING!


I'm listening to my body because I feel tired even though I got plenty of sleep. I know I am working out a ton and not eating enough carbs so yesterday I whipped up some basmati rice, sauteed spinach, and baked chicken and threw it all together to add to my lunch today. Here are the steps:

1. Heat 1 Tbs EVOO in skillet on stove
2. Add chopped garlic and finely sliced onions - sautee for a few minutes
3. Add 2 cups or more of fresh spinach (It cooks down a TON, this will not make that much)
4. Sautee until spinach is desired texture
5. Add a touch of fresh ground sea salt & black pepper
6. Prepare 1 cup basmati/brown rice according to package directions
7. Grill chicken with Mrs. Dash no salt added garlic & herb seasoning (or seasoning of choice)
8. Add it all together and make 2 servings out of it - NOM!

I used left over chicken I made on the George Foreman grill earlier this week added hot sauce to mine for a punch!

So, I had 1/2 of this rice with my salad and it was amazing!
Salad: Spinach, red cabbage, green peppers, portobello mushrooms, grilled chicken, and poppyseed dressing! YUM!

Dinner will be one of my meal prepped quinoa/turkey/veggie mixtures with roasted brussel sprouts from my previous meal prep post.

Enjoy your day, and always LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You should not be restricting yourself so much that you feel the need to eat EVERYTHING! If I want to treat myself to frozen yogurt, do I?! YES! I adjust my meals throughout the day to be able to fit it into my day without going over on my macros "i.e. fats/cho/protein"


Xo - April

Monday, March 18, 2013

Put in some "ME" time!

Happy Monday!

I caught up on sleep and enjoyed St. Patty's day this weekend! Saturday, the boy, pup, and I headed out to the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC for some live music, grilling, and amazing weather. They had a color trail run earlier in the day then they dyed the entire river green. LIKE BRIGHT GREEN. It was pretty awesome hanging out with friends and puppies and watching people white water rafting and kayaking right in front of us. Here's a picture of the awesome river below.

How was your weekend? Did you take time for YOU!? That is my favorite part of the weekend. My "me time" might mean: I take a walk, read a book, or even catch up on tv shows that I'm too busy to watch during the week. I enjoy running without my iPod to just reflect and think and clear my mind. It really is amazing how much BETTER you feel after consciously taking a mental health break for yourself. Put your to-do list on hold for a minute and just do something for YOU.

I used to be a Health Suite Coordinator at a senior center, and I sometimes work for them when they need help. I supervised a rental last night for an Italian Club where they offered me one of these happy deviled eggs, that I couldn't resist taking a picture of. How cute and happy is he with his little caper eyes? :) It's the little things in life that can make your mood improve, if you let it.

I made cauliflower pizza crust Friday night and made a BBQ pineapple/chicken pizza with it! NOM! The crust recipe can be found HERE. It was @megameows blog with tons of great recipes. You can also follow her on instagram! She rocks! It was so yummy, you definitely need to give it a try! *Note Use the exact recipe ingredients as listed. Regular flour will not work the same as coconut flour. This dough saves on a ton of carbs compared to regular pizza crust.

I gave you the link to her blog with many more recipes, but here is the exact recipe:

2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 tablespoon of almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp of black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, italian seasoning mix
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
2 1/2-3 cups of cauliflower, put into a food processor and “riced” (pulsed until the texture of rice)
1 whole large egg and 2 large egg whites
1 tbsp water
2 cloves of garlic minced


First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix very well. Need to make sure there are no huge lumps of coconut flour inside of the mixture. Form the mix into a ball the best you can. Using a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan, place the ball onto the baking sheet. Flatten out the “dough” to be about an inch in thickness. You can make it more thin, but then you may not be able to eat it with your hands. Go around the edge and press in making a bit of a dip so it looks more like a real crust. Place the crust into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and put on all your ingredients and return to the oven for 10 minutes or so. She used 1/4 cup of organic tomato sauce, 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped up finely, extra lean ground turkey that she had already made, scallions (green onions), crushed red pepper flakes, and reduced fat mozzarella cheese. But you can top with anything you choose!
I made mine by combining BBQ sauce/Light Ranch for the sauce, reduced fat mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, pineapple slices, chopped portobella mushrooms, and onions! ENJOY!

I also had my powerbowl from meal prep this week for dinner on Sunday. Baked tilapia, roasted sweet potato, asparagus, and brussels. (Recipe found on previous posts).

^^ I found this picture courtesy of @igfitness on instagram. I loveee everything about this. This is what I mean when I say "eat clean". The more natural you can eat the better. I don't stick to it 100% but I would say about 85-90% of the time I am eating clean, now. Which is great for my GI issues and have noticed a difference in my body as well, SCORE! It's really hard to cook for my boyfriend and I at dinner time because we could not be more opposites with food. He's a southern Mississippi bred boy that likes his meat and potatoes and the only veggies he eats are from a CAN. I know, this is a constant battle and headache for me. I made Chocolate Zucchini muffins and didn't tell him there was zucchini in them so he would try one.... He almost threw up after the first bite... That's my southern boy for you. How does one not eat mushrooms, onions, broccoli, or peppers?! OH, OR EGGS?! Yah, a BATTLE is the best word to describe that situation, lol. Luckily, he enjoys lean proteins like fish, grilled chicken, and will eat ground turkey over ground beef and will also drink juice I make him from the juicer. It's just those darn pesky vegetables that I would rather him eat canned peas then no PEAS ever! Relationships are full of compromises, I guess this will be one of them.

Mac also graduated from dog training this weekend. We are working on distance training, i.e. making him listen to our commands from far away. He actually held a sit while we walked like 200 yards away. Pretty awesome from the boy that follows us everywhere we go.  (Notice picture below, he'd rather be right on top of me than more comfortable anywhere else.)

That's all I have for today, just a dose of peppiness to make it through your Monday.
Remember to make time for you, because YOU are the most important factor for your own happiness.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Low Impact Exercises Do Not Have to = Low Intensity!

Woohoo, do the Friday Dance! :)

Why are Fridays so amazing?! Hopefully it means you have a day or two off, this is the first time in foreverrrrrrrr that I haven't had a weekend job and it is glorious! I babysit here and there, but I don't consider that work, because I love kids and it's actually an enjoyable side job. I was a waitress for almost 10 years while putting myself through college/grad school and even though the money was good, having some "me" time for the first time in my life feels so so good. I literally lived off 4-5 hours of sleep for the 2 years I spent at UNCC for my masters. I worked 50-60 hours a week, (I had 3 jobs and also did three 200 hour practicals - UNPAID)  and went to school full time. Soooo... sleep was the first thing to go. Caffeine intake was at an all time high, and I was always hungry and sleepy. Exercise was the second factor I let slide by. I still ran when I could, but my fitness level was definitely lower than it was previously. That is when those ugly pounds started piling on. The moral of the story: allow yourself some "ME" time, make time for exercise, prioritize your to-do list, and take deep breaths often.

I had a request from a client to provide some workouts to do with a lower body injury. Low impact exercises with minimal weight bearing do not have to mean low intensity. Monitor your heart rate as you do these workouts, if you are pushing yourself, you will see that you are still getting your heart rate up, while letting your lower body heal/rest. Soooo, here are some ideas:

  1. Swimming is a great way to burn calories and increase fitness without adding stress to any joints/bones.
  2. Interval routines with minimal weight bearing
  3. Biking (Depending on the injury)
I found these swim workouts from and have done a few of them myself. This article was written by Stew Smith and can be found here.

1. Swim Workouts for Cardio:
Do sprints/fast swims/kickboard/underwater swims first phase (20-30 minutes) then go to easy pace cardio swims to burn fat at a higher rate the 2nd half of the workout. If you can get anaerobic first and then go aerobic in the later part of the workout, you can focus on fat burning the last 20-30 minutes.

Workout #1
- 5 x 50m sprint freestyle (change strokes as desired)
- Rest with 20 seconds (hydrate if needed)
- 5 x 100m sprints -- any stroke
- Rest 40-60 seconds

The remaining time of your hour, swim at regular pace non-stop for 15-30 minutes
Organize other workouts by adding kickboard / underwater swims too

Workout #2
- 5 x 50-100m sprint/rest with 50m kickboard using flutterkicks
- 5 x 50-100m sprint/rest with 50m kick board using breast or dolphin kick

Swim with fins for 15-30 minutes non-stop
Stretch your legs well as you will feel the burn after kickboarding using flutterkicks.
For more of an upper body pump add in some calisthenics or weights in between laps

Workout #3:
- Swim 100-200m moderate pace
- Pushups - 30 seconds worth of pushups (10-40 reps depending on fitness level)
- Abs of choice - crunches, setups, flutterkicks, leg levers - 1:00 of abs

Repeat 5 times

Workout #4
(Bring a medium and a light weight set of dumbbells to the pool deck)

- Swim 100-200m moderate pace
- Pushups - 10-20
- Crunches - 20-30
- Bicep Curls - 10-20 reps
- *Military Press - 10 reps

Repeat 5 times

Here are pool running workouts from my favorite magazine, Runners World: 
(I swim very infrequently which is why I am not making these up myself.)

30 minutes of lap swimming using kickboards, breast stroke, freestyle, butterfly.. switch it up. Then choose 1 of the running workouts below:

ENDURANCE-SPEED 3 x 5 minutes at perceived 10-K race pace. Jog two minutes between each.
SPEED 6 x 2 minutes at perceived 5-K race pace. Jog 60 seconds between each effort.
SPRINTS 10 x 60 seconds at perceived one-mile race pace. Jog 30 seconds between efforts.

2. Interval Routine With Minimal Weight Bearing
Repeat this workout 4-5 times. Keep moving with only 10 seconds rest between exercises to keep your heart rate up and burn more calories. You need a stability ball and hand weights, you may need a lighter and heavier set.

1. 15 Bicep curls on stability ball- keep your abs tight. 2 count up/2 count down
2. 15 Shoulder Press on ball - Punch weight to ceiling
3. 15 Lateral raises on ball- Arms by your side and palms facing towards body, extend arm straight until it is at shoulder height, slowly lower down.
4. 100 Quick Punches-Put weights down, stay seated and have a wide stance with your legs for stability. Punch Left arm to right corner and repeat with Right arm. PUNCH quickly to get your heart rate up.
5. 10/20/10/20 Stability Ball Crunches- Do 10 crunches at a 3 count up/3 count down pace, 20 crunches at a 2 count up/2 count down pace and repeat. Arms behind head. The less amount of your back on the ball, the more you will be working your abs. You can put your feet wide and against a wall for more stability.
6. 20 Stability Ball Pike- Lay on the ball on your stomach, walk yourself out so that your shins are both on the ball and crunch your knees in towards your chest while lifting your butt to the ceiling. Click HERE for a demo. You will see modifications for easier/harder.
7. 30 Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball- On your back, on a mat, put your feet onto the ball. Lift your glutes, bring ball in towards body by bending knees and drawing feet in. Push ball back out. Keep glutes raised throughout entire reps. Click HERE for a demo.

3. Biking
Warm up with 10 minutes easy cycling, always cool down with 5-10 minutes easy cycling.

1. Bike 1 mile at 100+ RPM
2. Cycle easy for 2 minutes
2. Do 10 intervals of 30 seconds FAST AS YOU CAN/45 seconds easy
3. 1 Mile at 100+ RPM

BOOM! Don't let injuries keep you down!

Have a great St. Patty's Day Weekend & Get Active!

Xo- April

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Count your blessings.

What are you thankful for today?

Today is going so slowwwwwwwww. Maybe it's because I've been at work since 6:30am teaching BOOTCAMP, then I ran 8 miles, showered, & napped in my car before my 12-8pm shift. Yup, I packed my pillow for my 14 hour day.

Bahaha... bags under my eyes, and bundled up! BRR it was cold out today!

I'm a borderline work-a-holic, I get my work ethic from my parents. Aren't they cuties? Mom and Dad, below, at my sissy's wedding last summer.

They've always taught me to work hard for anything you want in life. I consider it a blessing that I wasn't spoiled as a child, because it teaches you to appreciate things so much more. What are you thankful for today? I'm thankful for my parents and the love they share together after 30+ years. They really are a couple to look up to. Maybe they get along so well because my dad doesn't always wear his hearing aids, but that's besides the point, lol. Just kidding, Momma, XO! Count your blessings and appreciate life... these are ways to make every situation bearable. Decide today that it is going to be a GREAT day, and see how it changes the way you look/respond to things.

Today I am also thankful for my boys: Matty & our dog, Mac. This is a picture from our camping trip with friends in the mountains this past November... yes, we're crazy. It was freezing!
There's no way I can come home in a bad mood when one or both of them greet me when I walk in the door. Pets always make you feel special because they love you endlessly. Lucky for me, I've found that in a man as well. No matter what, I know he's there to support me.

Now that I got some girliness out, let's talk FOOD!
What's on the menu for today?


  • 1 frozen banana
  • Handful frozen strawberries
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (add more if needed)
Blend it all up: VOILA! This made 2, I made one last night and put the other one in the freezer for my breakfast today!
I topped it with chia seeds, flaxseeds, and goji berries. NOM NOM NOM!

Lunch: Veggie/Fruit Salad

Handful spinach
3 Red Cabbage leaves chopped
Handful Blueberries
Handful Strawberries
Grilled Green Peppers and Portobella Mushrooms (Grilled on George Foreman - AMAZING)
Roasted Asparagus with Almonds (recipe is in previous post)
Topped it all off with Gluten Free Poppyseed Dressing. YUM!

Snack: Granny Smith Apple & Almonds

Dinner: Grilled chicken topped with Pico de Gallo, Roasted Asparagus, Turkey/Quinoa leftovers (from previous post)

Chicken Recipe:
Rub chicken breast with Mrs. Dash no salt added Garlic & herb seasoning
Pop on George Foreman for 5-7 minutes
Top with pico de gallo
BOOM.. Best chicken ever. SO JUICY AND TENDER!!

We got our George Foreman from an old neighbor, it was brand new, never used, and it's just been sitting in my cupboards. The roasted veggies and chicken were amazing. I thawed out like 8 chicken breasts, you know what I will be eating for the rest of the week, LOL.

I'll probably have an egg white omelet when I get home, then a snack later. I'm craving some peanut butter so I'll probably make a natural peanut butter protein smoothie, or I might try out some home-made peanut butter banana ice-cream.. we shall seeee! Either way, my legs are beat from two boot camps and sprint work. I'm off to enjoy my evening of REST.

*The purpose of this blog is not to suggest you should eat exactly the way I do, you have to find out what works best for you and your body. I am just here to give you ideas of what you may want to try!

Have a great day and be sure to post a comment about topics you would like me to post about!