Show Your STRONG in 2015, 7 Tips To Get Your Resolution Going

1599823_1556684527884329_5857333848100900026_o

I love this photo from Strong Fitness Magazine.

2015 is just around the corner and you know what that means. We all begin to think about those New Year’s resolutions. Well this post is going to focus on the oh so very popular resolution of “I will get into shape this year” or “I will lose weight this year” or I will commit to get healthier this year” etc. etc… So, I am not going to beat around the bush with a lot of nonsense clutter on this post so I am going to get right down to my top tips to get your resolution in gear before the new year rolls in.

1. You have to really want it. What I mean is, if you want to change something about yourself you have to change what you are doing. You have to commit. You have to be serious about this, it is your life and your health you are dealing with.

2. Set a specific goal. I don’t mean just saying “I need to lose weight”, you have to set a realistic goal, set a beginning date to start and an ending date so you have a sense of a deadline.

3. Make your plan of how you will reach this goal. Be specific and write it down. If you have no idea what the heck to do, then educate yourself. Research, see what others are dong. There is an enormous amount of information out there but you have to be proactive. If you need help, enlist a friend or hire a trainer.

4. Tracking workouts and logging your daily food intake will keep you accountable and motivated. People who log see more progress than people who guess.

5. Consistency is key. Consistency is key. Consistency is key. Hello, Rome was not built in a day.

6. Patience and commitment is must.

7. Understand there is no quick “fix” or “pill” that will do it for you. You have to earn it and it will involve some sweat, sacrifice, sore muscles, a change in lifestyle, maybe some tears, hopefully no blood (haha)  and hopefully there will be some fun.

Stay focused on these tips and you will succeed and the reward will be priceless. Get on it now! Be your Best Self in 2015!

Happy 2015!

Food Prep With The Isobag Mini

This is food prep made easy.  My reasons for food preparation are to save time during the week, to keep my meals clean and healthy, spend less at Zoe’s Kitchen (love) and to keep me from eating out a box when I am home from teaching classes (so hungry and tired). Can anyone relate?

Hey, I get it. We are all busy. The world is busy. I understand. We all do different jobs, have different schedules, have loads of responsibilities, families to take care of etc. and I think many of us have some of the same goals too. We want to get fit and healthy, we want to maintain fitness and health, we want to choose better foods, and we want our families to be healthy and happy. I know it is overwhelming. I am here to tell you there is a way to prepare simple healthy meals and snacks ahead of time so you are not consumed by chaos and then resort to “the box” full of fake food or fast food.

Say hello to my little friend, the Isobag Mini 🙂

20140921_190830_resized

20140921_190920

I found this little gem at http://www.IsolatorFitness.com so I ordered. When I received it something clicked. Food prep made easy. I have food prepped before and I was not organized, I over complicated things, I did not have the correct types of tools, I was a mess. I know you may think it is just a cooler but wait, it is a cooler, but it is special. It comes with its own containers (dishwasher and microwave safe and BPA free), a shaker bottle, its own ice pack, and it is small and light. It also comes in different colors. I think the pink suits me. I am here to tell you Big Things do come in small packages.

20140922_102930_1_resized

Anyway, I am writing this post because I have many clients and students asking me about food and nutrition, how to eat healthier, easy recipes and all of that. I give them my opinion, write-up plans, follow-up and then I get the spill, “I don’t have time”, or “I can’t”. Well, we all have the same amount of time in a day and we all are busy. If you really want to change something, you have to make it a priority. This is what works for me and this is how I did it.

I had to think ahead. I ordered the bag with some extra containers. I decided to make simple meals that did not have too many ingredients (save time right?) I chose Sunday afternoon to do food prep. I chose baked garlic chicken tenders, spinach and feta turkey balls, asparagus, brown rice, green beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with salsa on top, sliced apples, rice cakes with peanut or almond butter, raw nuts, and protein shakes. These foods are so easy to prepare. Bake the potatoes, steam the veges, cook the rice (not minute stuff, it is just rice and water and simmer), bake or grill chicken, turkey balls are simple and are under “fitmuffins” here on my blog. Done.

I then portioned out the meals in the handy Isobag containers, mix and match, and food prep was done.

20140921_203218

20140921_203159

I placed neatly into the refrigerator and I packed my bag when I was ready to go. The ice pack stayed very cold all day.

20140922_102738_1_resized

To top if all off, dinner was ready when I got home. It just took a couple of hours to prepare and it was so worth it. Now if you are overwhelmed with thoughts of how to eat healthier and incorporate it into your lifestyle, give this a try. It is great for those of you at the office all day and for those of you who travel for work. Hey busy moms taking your kids to after school activities and sports, don’t go to the fast food drive through for their snacks everyday, try food prep and the Isobag mini. Oh and hey all my runner friends who put miles and miles of training in for that marathon or ultra marathon, I know you need your fuel handy. Give it a try.

Hope this helps inspire someone to see that preparing healthy food can be simple. Remember, don’t over complicate. FYI, the bags come in different sizes and colors 🙂

I will post more food prep ideas on my Instagram and Twitter if you would like to see more. I am @nthefitzone.

 

*Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

 

 

Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 2

20140914_185951_1_resized

Ahhhh, how we love spaghetti pie. I love spaghetti but I have never made spaghetti pie. There is a restaurant in town that always served spaghetti pie on the menu and every time we went there, the husband was sure to get it. It was tasty, and a favorite for him. We have not been there in a while so I am not sure if it is still on the menu. So, I was pondering recipes the other day hoping something would pop in my head that would be different that we both will enjoy this week. Enter spaghetti pie 🙂 Of course I healthed it up a bit and I must say it was awesome. It will definitely be in the rotation around here. This is my recipe and this is how it went down.

Ingredients:

1 pkg quinoa pasta

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1 lb of grass-fed beef

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

2 heaping tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

grated mozzarella cheese (optional)

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pasta according to the package ( I shortened the cook time a few minutes because it will also be baked later so I did not want the noodles to become to mushy). Brown the beef and drain the excess fat. Add the green peppers, onions, and garlic. Add the jar of sauce and the tomato paste and mix well. Let simmer on low for about 10 minutes while you prepare the noodle crust. In a small bowl mix the yogurt, egg, and parmesan cheese well. It should make a nice creamy mixture. Drain noodles and add the yogurt mixture to the noodles and mix well to coat all noodles. Place noodles in a pie pan coated with nonstick cooking spray and mold to the sides and bottom. The noodles crust should be thick and sticky. Add sauce mixture (the pie filling) to the noodle crust. Add a little mozzarella cheese on top if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy with a green salad.

The leftovers are awesome. Double the recipe for an extra pie to freeze for later. Dinner is served.

20140914_175600_resized

Noodle crust

20140914_175921_resized

Noodle crust with filling before baking

20140914_184740_1_resized

Pie after baking 🙂

Who loves spaghetti pie?

 

Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 1

Food prep is no joke, but the reward is awesome. It is so nice to know that I have a few meals prepared for this week. Last week was a blur. Every night I came home and I had nothing ready or even in my mind about it. Does that sound familiar? I always end up eating whatever when I do not plan a couple of meals ahead of time. So yesterday I decided to make a few “make ahead meals”. I spent a couple of hours prepping and cooking so I still had most of the day to enjoy. Here is what happened.

20140914_163608_1_resized

MEXICAN CHICKEN AND QUINOA CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded chicken

1 tsp EVOO

1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed in small pieces

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (10 oz) pkg of frozen spinach, thawed making sure to squeeze all water out

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 (8 oz) jar of favorite salsa

shredded cheddar is optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook quinoa according to pkg

3. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp EVOO and saute onion until lightly browned. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and combine well. Add tomato paste. Add chicken. Transfer mixture to another bowl and stir in quinoa and beans.

20140914_161147_resized_1

20140914_162057_resized

4. Add broth and salsa to the saute pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine to the mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: I cooked my own chicken but the original recipe used shredded rotisserie chicken. Original recipe can be found at http://www.mjandhungryman.com along with other awesome recipes.

Also, make sure to squeeze all the water out of the spinach. I made into a ball and squeezed squeezed squeezed 🙂

20140914_161230_resized

I made one pan to freeze without the cheese. Can’t wait to dig into this at the end of the week.

Do you food prep for the week? What are your favorite make ahead meals?

Stay tuned for part 2 Spaghetti Pie!

 

 

 

6 Reasons To Warm Up Before The Workout

IMG_20140805_154252

IMG_20140805_143538

I have witnessed the neglect many times around the gym. The eager beaver ready to workout arrives at the gym, heads straight to the bench press (or whatever exercise), slides a couple of plates on the ends of the bar and begins a painful workout. Warming up before a workout is so important. Why? The body has to be gradually prepared for the stresses that are about to be upon it.  Below are 6 reasons given by the American Council on Exercise on why a warm up will benefit your workout.

1. Core body temperature increases which leads to more efficient calorie burning.

2. The elasticity of the muscles will improve which will help prevent injury.

3. The joint range of motion will improve.

4. A good warm up will stimulate the neural message pathways to the muscles, which results in better muscle control and reactivity.

5. Warm ups help prevent lactic acid buildup which will lead to better workouts because the energy systems are able to adjust to exercise.

6. Warming up psychologically prepares you for higher intensities by increasing the focus on exercise which will lead to better, more efficient performance.

 

In my opinion a proper warm up is anywhere between 6-10 minutes. I prefer some type of exercise performed at a gradual pace to prepare my body for more intense work such as cycling, jogging, jump rope, or body weight exercises. If my workout is to run, I warm up by performing a slower jog. I like to gradually build heat within my body to where I begin to sweat. Then the magic happens! My workouts are always much stronger with a proper warm up. Do your body good, warm up, it will make your workout more enjoyable 🙂

Be honest, do you skip the warm up to save time?

 

*All exercises are not suitable for everyone. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or workout program.

Post Vacation 21 Day Shape Up

Hi all,

I have just returned from a relaxing and indulging vacation. Before I left I was on a 6 week strength and muscle-building program that went great. I had planned on running during my time away but before I left I pulled something in my lower leg from doing sprints so I decided to do a little walking and recovering. It went great but I also over indulged with a few goodies. I do not feel guilty about my indulgences because I was on vacation enjoying myself and having a great time. However, the results of that are me feeling tired, sluggish, less motivated. So enter a new program.

I love the http://www.bodybuilding.com website because it is full of free workout programs and great information overall. I found a program I am going to be doing over the next 21 days. It is called The Bizzy Diet 21 Day Fitness Plan. It is designed for the busy persons lifestyle with a focus on strength and muscle-building which I want to continue and also on fat loss. It incorporates Hiit (high intensity interval training), which I love, at the beginning and the middle of the workout. I like this because you get the strength and cardio in one workout. Perfect for me. Below is the link for an overview of what it is all about. Check it out if you may be interested too. I will be posting about my progress over the next 21 days. The great thing about this program, is that it can be done at home too. You do not have to have a gym membership, just dumbbells and a great attitude. Time to get Bizzy 🙂

 

*Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

 

 

Spinach And Feta Turkey Balls

So here it is, an easy mouth-watering combination of lean turkey with two of my faves, spinach and feta. Yes, I know it looks pink because it is raw.  The husband said the photo looked like the balls had pink frosting on them. No, they are raw, ready to go in the oven. This is how it went down:

Ingredients:

2 packages of lean ground turkey

2 cups chopped fresh spinach, I chopped in a blender in 20 seconds

1 small container of reduced fat feta cheese

1 tsp of garlic/parsley powder

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of this up in a big bowl, use your clean hands because  it is easier than using a spoon and you have to make balls anyway. Form into balls and place the balls in a lightly greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

They smell so good while cooking. Such a simple and delicious way to get lean protein, veges, and some yum yum with the feta.

Let me know how your balls turn out!

Peace ❤IMG_20140619_143743

 

 

 

Quick Recipe Round-Up

If you follow my Instagram account you may have seen the yummy recipes I posted this past weekend. This post is recipe round-up.

First we have the mouth-watering tropical kabobs. These are so easy and light.

IMG_20140604_135401

Just skewer pineapple chunks, mushrooms, purple onion, sweet red peppers, and green peppers. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. I roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Grilling the kabobs would work well also.

Friday night I was craving something sweet. We had nothing in the house I could get my hands on so I decided to whip something up with what I had. It was national doughnut day that day. All I saw on social media were yummy doughnuts all day. That got me in the mood for something doughy. This is what happened.

IMG_20140606_202510

Blueberry Banana Cookies 🙂

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 scoops of vanilla protein powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 ripe banana

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp organic honey

1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

A big handful of fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Combine flour, protein powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine egg, mashed banana, coconut oil, honey, milk, and vanilla extract and whisk together. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and combine together. Fold in the blueberries. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. These were a hit at my house.

Who doesn’t love chicken salad? I love it, but not with mayo. A good friend shared this with me. It is so easy and delightful.

IMG_20140606_152307

 

Avocado Cilantro Chicken Salad 🙂

2 cans of chicken breast or 2 cups of shredded chicken

1 tbsp garlic powder with parsley

1 tsp salt

Juice of 2 fresh limes

1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

2 tbsp finely chopped purple onion (optional)

1 large ripe avocado

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. I served open-faced with an Ezekiel muffin and tomato. It would be great as a sandwich or on a bed of mixed greens. Simple, healthy and easy to prepare. Enjoy.

Effort And Success

“Success always demands a greater effort.” – Winston Churchill

I said in my last post that my next post was going to be about high intensity interval training (hiit) and steady state cardio but I changed my mind today. I will get to it but today I want to share and update everyone about my friend Karen ( I wrote about her weight loss journey a few posts back) and her progress. If you did not see the link to her blog a few posts back, I will share again here. Karen is on a great journey. In January she began an intense program to lose weight and change her lifestyle. She has been coming to my classes regularly plus putting extra time in the gym. The program she is on is like a college course. It requires discipline, accountability, tests, reading, learning, and prioritizing to complete. Karen is on a great journey to become her best self. It is not just about exercising and dieting. It takes a great effort.

Anyway, one requirement for this course is that she has to weigh in at different points and she has to be weighed by someone else and have it documented. I am that person for her 🙂  Today was her final weigh in for this portion of her course.I am smiling right now because it is so awesome and inspiring to see someone really go after what is important to them. To give it 110%. This is Karen. I am still smiling because she was the last person I was talking to when I left the gym last night and she was the first person I saw at the gym this morning. We laughed as I was weighing her because I told her she was here as much as I am now and that she should work here. I love her dedication and her determination. We talked a little after I weighed her about where she is in her  journey and how she gets through some of  the temptations. She has found ways that work for her to keep going and to keep moving forward. She will not stop.

After she left, I checked facebook to see what was going on in facebook world and I saw a link to her latest blog post  titled “Last Official Weigh In”.  Karen is on an amazing  journey and all along the way she is inspiring others including me to be my best self. She is a strong and beautiful person and I admire her strength, dedication, and effort she puts in every single day. Yes, there may be setbacks, struggles and obstacles here or there but  the effort and courage to continue is what counts and Karen has this. She will be successful. Check out her latest post.

http://www.mypointsintime.blogspot.com/2014/06/last-official-weigh-in.html

Keep moving forward 🙂

Increasing Metabolism and Strength

So in my previous post I started the 21 day program from Ashley Conrad. I did it but not exactly all 21 days. It is a great workout and one that I will go back to when I need a full body intense workout. Now, I have started another workout program. It is by Erin Stern and it is called the Elite Body Workout. She is a figure competitor, Ms. Olympia and a track and field athlete. I was inspired by her workout because I love her style and the way she trains. I love to run so I have to include it in my workouts and her training method always includes HIIT (high intensity interval training) which works great with my runs too. I am feeling so much stronger! IMG_20140527_090738 I began the workout 2 weeks ago and I can see a difference already. I am following a clean eating plan similar to hers also. The workout is for 4 weeks but I am stretching it 6 weeks. I have been progressing with the weights and getting stronger. I find that when I follow a complete plan I stay motivated and really enjoy it more. The only thing I changed was adding another leg day. I know my body and it responds better to 2 leg days per week, of course with plenty of recovery between. Legs are shaping up! IMG_20140528_133706   I am doing this program because I reset my goals. My new goals are to increase my strength, power, muscle, and speed. I took before photos in a swim suit so I can really see my progress by the end of the 6 weeks. My nutrition consists of lean protein, vegetables, fruit, brown rice, quinoa,  sweet potatoes, oatmeal, almond milk, protein shakes, and nuts. I avoid processed food. No bread, cheese, milk, sugar, butter, sauces, junk etc… It is going pretty smooth because I eat clean most of the time. I love lifting weights and learning more about different styles of lifting. I believe if you really want to change the shape of your body, increase strength, and increase metabolism you must lift weight and I mean weight, not the dinky vinyl covered weights. It is time to pump some iron. There are great workouts and articles about lifting, nutrition, and supplementation over at http://www.bodybuilding.com and below is a clip of the Erin Stern’s training philosophy.  Check it out. My actual workout split is: Monday-rest Tuesday – Plyometrics and Legs Wednesday – High Intensity Cardio Thursday – Chest and Shoulders/Sprints Friday- Back/Sprints Saturday- Plyometrics and Legs Sunday – Shoulders and Arms/Sprints I vary my cardio and sprints. It will sometimes be running, spinning bike, stepmill, or the elliptical. I always keep it high intensity. I will have more on HIIT and steady state cardio in my next post. Have a great day everyone! Go pump some iron! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: