Monday, February 28, 2011

Making the most out of your cardio session

For those of you who are gym regulars or even if you only go a few times a week, it's important to make the most out of the time you can spend there. Most of you, I am assuming, can't afford to spend hours at the gym trying to burn off those calories. We've all got other things on our list of to-do's - work, kids, cooking, cleaning, etc. The answer is:
High Intensity Interval Training

This is a routine in which you switch off doing high intensity to moderate intensity.
By doing your cardio this way you rev up your metabolism & burn calories like wildfire. It's like putting a blow torch to those extra fat stores. After this type of workout, your body will spend the rest of the day expending extra energy to recover. This is also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it basically means that your body expends a lot more oxygen recovering from this type of workout than from a steady moderate routine. This also means that later that night when you're just sitting on the couch you could be burning up to nine times more fat than if you would have done that moderate steady cardio routine.
Did you know that when performing long-duration steady exercise your body can actually enter into a catabolic state in which you actually start to lose your muscle mass? If you want to get in superb athletic shape HIIT is your answer. If you have worked so hard to gain that muscle yet still have that pad of fat on the surface .. this is your answer.

Try this workout I did today, the next time you get on the treadmill.
If you find it's too easy, just up the speed and incline. Get out of that comfort zone because that is what creates change. The beautiful part of this type of routine is that in between each burst of high intensity work, you get a "rest".

Minute 1&2 - 5.5 MPH
Minute 3&4 - 5.5 MPH Incline 6
Minute 5&6 - 5.5 MPH Incline 0
Minute 7&8 - 7 MPH
Minute 9&10 - 5.5 MPH
Minute 11&12 - 5.5 MPH Incline 7
Minute 13&14 - 5.5 MPH Incline 0
Minute 15&16 - 7.5 MPH
Minute 17&18 - 5.5 MPH
Minute 19&20 - 5.5 MPH Incline 8
Minute 21&22 - 5.5 MPH Incline 0
Minute 23&24 - 8 MPH
Minute 25&26 - 5.5 MPH
Minute 27&28 - 7 MPH
Minute 29&30 - 5.5 MPH
*Cool down by walking for at least 3 minutes & do some static stretches especially on those hamstrings.

Let me know how you all like it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Running Essentials 101

So I went out for a run this morning in the sunny cold February weather & I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some running gear that is a must have during the winter. As some of you may already know, last year I ran the Ogden marathon and since it was in May, I had to train during the winter months.
At first I was a little intimidated to run outside because #1 I HATE being cold and #2 I had no clue what attire I should invest in.

So here it is my get up - from head to toe
{Two of the most important things you should wear while running out in the cold is a headwrap & gloves. If there is one thing I can tell you, it is that when you're running out in the cold your body will warm up after a few minutes, but your fingers & ears will stay cold! So don't forget these two very important accessories.}

{if it's not terribly cold, you can get away with just wearing a long sleeved wicking (dri fit) shirt. If it's really cold add a long sleeved running jacket}
{Running tights are my most favorite thing. I would recommend getting a capri pair as shown here, and also a full leg pair if you plan to do some serious training outdoors during the winter. I have both & I will admit my capri pair gets the most use but on those really cold mornings, you'll want those full leg ones. I love running tights because they conform to fit your body and they don't ride or chaff at all. I even wear them to the gym!}
{a great pair of wicking running socks will keep your feet dry & will help you stay warm, they are also beneficial in keeping your running shoes from wearing out faster}
{Invest in a good pair of running shoes. These are actually the exact ones I ran my marathon in & I love them. BUT you may not love these ones because everybody's feet are different. So I would recommend going to a place like Wasatch Running and getting your feet analyzed. They will tell you which type of shoe would work best for your feet & then they will help you try on a bunch and test them out. Great running shoes may not be pretty, but you will be worshipping these bad boys when you hit those higher miles.}
{Something you may not have known about running shoes - it is best to buy a new pair every 350 miles. Depending on your running style, weight, etc you may be able to get a little more use out of them. Over time the shoe will lose stability and shock absorption capabilities which can promote injury, so it is super important not to run on worn out shoes!}

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Questions anyone?

Sorry all, I have been MIA the last little while due to the horrible illness known as the FLU. And now, unfortunately, my husband has it :(

I wanted to ask you guys to give me some ideas of what you'd like advice on or questions you may have so I can use those ideas to make posts & better cater to everyone! So leave a comment! Thanks :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

{Chicken salad sandwich w. almonds}

Thought I'd share the yummy lunch I had today.

Chicken salad sandwich with almonds
What you'll need:
1 can shredded chicken
1 tbsp fat free mayo
approx. 10 raw almonds
1 whole wheat bagel thin or 1 slice whole wheat bread

1. Put one serving of the chicken into a small bowl & add 1 tbsp of FF (fat free) mayo.
*The cans of chicken I get at Costco have about 3 servings
2. Chop up almonds
*I buy the huge bags of raw unsalted whole almonds from Costco, they are a great healthy item to have around.
3. Spoon chicken salad onto bread & top with almonds
*The reason I recommend eating them open faced is because you want to keep a good balance of protein & carbs. So (1) slice of WW (whole wheat) bread -OR- (1) whole WW bagel thin
Sprinkle the top with some ground pepper

Side with a handful of baby carrots & a tall class of H2O & you've got yourself one healthy, balanced, delicious lunch! Enjoy!

{chicken tacos}

Couldn't wait to share this delicious dinner idea with you! After my husband ate it the other night he told me it was the closest he's had to the taste of an authentic Mexican taco since we went last year!
What makes this recipe even better is that there is almost NO COOKING involved!
What you'll need:
Stone ground corn tortillas
A rotisserie chicken
Tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
Feta cheese
Fresh limes

When we have meals like this we call it 'taco bar night' because we just lay out all the ingredients & everyone builds their own tacos.
So try it out...

Shred the rotisserie chicken (make sure to remove the skin first to save on unnecessary calories & fat)
Chop up the onion & cilantro
Slice the limes into wedges

I like the tortillas to be a little crispy so I brush a little olive oil on each side and put them on a skillet until they've reached my desired crispiness.

Build your own taco however you like it, and go ahead and have (2).

The way I like mine:
tomatillo salsa
feta cheese
top it off with a squeeze of lime

*Like sour cream? Try plain greek yogurt instead! You won't even notice a difference but your body will thank you for it!

{A few secret weapons}

For the past while I have been putting my cooking skills to the test every night making homemade meals for my family at my parent's house. It's great practice for my future family & I have come to enjoy it a lot! I think Tyler likes it too, because he gets a home cooked meal every night when he comes home from work.
Well for those of you who know me you know that I am a crazy psycho about eating healthy. Don't get me wrong I don't forget to indulge a little every once in a while but for 90% of the time I am pretty darn strict. So how do I come up with yummy healthy dinners you ask?

Meet my secret weapons...

These beauties are my favorite cookbooks so far that I've obtained. Prerequisites are that they must contain meals for 400 calories or less, use wholesome ingredients, & taste delicious!
...and boy have they yet to disappoint.

Some favorite meals pictured below.

{Buffalo Chicken Blue Cheese Sandwiches}

{Chicken fried steak with turkey sausage gravy}

{Loaded Nachos}


{Chicken Noodle Soup}
Other favorites:
*A-1 Swiss burgers
*Cheesy Turkey Enchiladas
*Apple butter pork chops
*General Tso's chicken
*Chicken nuggets & steak fries
*Chicken Parmesan pizza
*Fettuccine Alfredo
*Baked potato soup
*Chicken pot pie
*Mac n' cheese
*Crouton breaded chicken
*Spaghetti w/ meatballs
*Spaghetti Carbonara
*Chicken Cordon Bleu
*Bacon burgers

I know you're probably asking yourself, "how on earth can these be healthy meals?!"
They are.
And since I know you don't believe me.. I DARE you to go buy one or all of these books & see for yourself.
You can thank me later..

{My Story}

I don’t want to be known by my “story” .. BUT I know for you to better understand why I created this blog & why I am so passionate about living in health, you get to know the juicy details! :]

As a small child, I was as vivacious as they come. The attention was always on me & I soaked every bit of it in. It wasn’t until around the age of 8 that I started to slowly gain weight. At first, I didn’t even notice- I was as confident as ever. By 4th & 5th grade I was wearing about a size 7 in women’s & it was the first time I realized I was “bigger” than the other girls my age. I started to worry about what people thought about me & I became very reserved & shy. I tried to avoid a lot of social situations- resulting in me staying home a lot & feeding my emotions. By 6th grade, I was up to a size 16 & it didn’t end there. My family ended up moving right after my 7th grade year to the Salt Lake area & there I was- a shy, overweight 14 year old thrown into a world where I knew no one.. so what’d I do? I’m sure you guessed it- I ate. Food was the one thing in my life that I loved. It was the one thing I enjoyed doing- it didn’t judge me or care what I looked like. It didn’t critisize me or laugh at me behind my back… by 9th grade I weighed in at a whopping 220 lbs & a size 20.

In 9th grade I met my best friend Laura who loved me & my love handles. She was just like me deep down inside- our soul signatures were the exact same- visionary. Fun, off the wall, bubbly, full of energy, funny, friendly, etc. etc. Together we were the 2 amigas- soul sisters- inseparable. We had one very big thing in common too.. we both loved food. Only you see, my dear friend could eat & eat & eat yet not gain a pound. I witnessed on multiple occasions this girl devour an entire bag of Cheetos. Yet look at that bean pole! Genetics? Who knows..

My high school years were lived through this girl. On the nights she would be on dates- I’d wait at home to hear how it went. When she got asked to school dances- I would be the one to do her hair.. and wait at home to hear how it went. I would constantly have guys using me to get to her. One of these boys actually told Laura that she would get no where in life with a best friend like me- high school boys sucked.

Let me backtrack for a sec.. because right now you’re thinking.. k this girl is useless, did she do anything but eat? I actually loved sports & I played basketball & my favorite, fast-pitch softball. I considered myself naturally athletic & I was good at these sports. I may not have been fastest girl out there but I was considered a good player on the team. In high school I tried out for the softball team my sophomore year & made first cuts but not the second. I was devastated.. if I’m not good enough to be on this team, what am I good enough for? I cried for days- & ran into the coach at school one day where she preceded to tell me she would get me on the team the next year. False hope? You guessed it. I tried out the next year only to be cut from the team once again.

I never felt apart of anything in high school, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. Yet I had no idea by having these constant negative thoughts towards myself that I wasn’t helping my situation whatsoever.

I constantly get asked the question “what made you finally decide to do it?” and I honestly have never had a perfect answer but it wasn’t until about a year after I graduated high school that I decided to change. I was in a very unhealthy relationship with a boy & I was very unhappy. I started to focus my energy away from this boy and into exercising & watching what I ate. At this point in my life, I wasn’t nearly as educated as I am today about health & fitness, but I did what was working for me- and that was eating as little as possible & exercising excessively. After about 6-8 months I had shed almost 100 lbs. Nobody recognized me anymore, people from high school had no idea who I was. Those people who realized who I was couldn’t believe it. I was showered with compliments, and I thrived off of the attention. Guys were finally interested in me, I felt like one hot mama. I was so positive towards my body image & myself, I was constantly telling myself how beautiful I was & how great I looked.

It wasn’t too long when I met, my now husband, Tyler. He had gone to high school with me, yet had no idea who I was. You see, Tyler was a football player.. and dated the cheerleaders. I was so shocked that he was actually interested in me now, I felt so lucky! We dated for a year before becoming engaged & were married July of 2008. By this time, people had finally gotten used to my new found body image & the compliments & praises were coming to a screeching halt. I started to ask myself, “why am I not being noticed anymore? Do people not think I look good anymore?” And that’s when I started questioning myself & I started to be negative again- notice the pattern from my childhood? I gained 20 lbs in my first year of marriage & it made me completely miserable. I worked out religiously everyday yet couldn’t seem to lose a pound. I tried every crash diet & pill on the market, only to be disappointed. At the point beyond frustration, I was losing hope when I realized the one thing I had failed to do. Become educated. Over the past few years, I have educated myself on the right ways to exercise and fuel my body. I am LIVING in HEALTH. I have a newly found freedom away from counting calories & spending hours at the gym. I now eat to fuel my body- and eat to burn fat.

Today, I am a size sexy & I am more than a number on the scale- but I will tell you this.. I am the smallest I’ve ever been & the strongest I’ve ever been both physically & mentally. This blog is all about living in health. You’ll find tips on food, fitness, mind & body health, and anything else I feel like throwing in! :]