Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Happy Halloween!

I can't believe Halloween is already here! Did anyone go to costume parties this weekend?  I can't wait to see everyone dressed up this week!  Last year looked like this:

Liam was a dragon & Izzy was a punk rock zombie!  Their grandma made the costumes & she is quite the seamstress!! I love that she is able to make such great costumes.  They always turn out better than I can even imagine they will.  Madeline is on the right (one of Izzy's best friends) and her costume is one of my favorite of all time.  She's a paper doll!  She even made a purse and the bow in her hair (and obviously a dress).  Very creative!  My sister and I used to love playing with paper dolls when we were kids.  I remember my favorite one was Princess Diana.  Do they even make those anymore?

I'd love to hear about any unique or elaborate costumes you've worn or seen!

 I finally got my pumpkin carved:

I tried to carve the top to look like curly hair, but everyone says it looks like a flower.  Oh well, close enough.  With Trick-or-Treat night right around the corner, I'm still trying to come up with a really good alternative to candy.  I'd love to have something to pass out to trick-or-treaters that they would actually be excited about getting that isn't candy.  Any thoughts?

Warming Up

Yowza!  What a difference a week makes!  If you are freezing in the midst of the climate change, might I recommend a great way to warm up...WORK OUT!  This weekend, I chose what I consider to be the easiest way to get warm, HOT YOGA!  Hot Yoga is not for everyone and I don't do it all that often, but it felt great to walk into a 100° room and sweat before we even got started.

Suuuuper sweaty!  I love it! 

I also did a little shopping this weekend.  My mom and I stopped by HomeGoods to see if there were any new essentials.  When we passed through the kitchenware section, my mom commented on how heavy the cast iron tea kettles were.  I hear the word 'kettle' and only one thing comes to mind...kettle bell swings!

I also warmed up with a new recipe.  I wasn't sure that it was going to be a hit, but I ended up being a huge fan.  I wish I had leftovers.  I initially got out some extra lean turkey in an attempt to make a clean Italian Wedding Soup recipe.  I was missing some key ingredients, so I just created something new.  My version of a loaded sweet potato:

It looks like a disaster but it tasted phenomenal!  I roasted the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes at 375 °,  I browned the turkey and added Trader Joe's taco seasoning packet to it for a little heat.  I also sauteed some mushrooms and onions.  Those went on top of the layer of turkey.  Topped that with avocado and then topped the avocado with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.  It was a great combination of flavors.  Next time I make this I will add salsa to the pile-up.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Keeps the doctor away?

I started the morning with my favorite protein pancakes from an earlier post, but today I added some pumpkin to the recipe for some added flavor & Vitamin A ( Click here for more about why pumpkins are great! ). 
Another thing I add to my plate every morning is a Brazil nut or two.  They are an excellent source of selenium, which can give your immune system and your thyroid a boost.  For more details on that bit click here.
While I was eating breakfast I was getting my post workout drink ready for later.  Today I just tossed together a common favorite for me:

I love using frozen spinach in lieu of ice.  It's easier to blend, you can't even taste it & it adds some great nutrients!

Arms & Abs

My workout today focused on arms and abs.  At first, it didn't seem too intense, but by my third round I was really feeling the burn!  Especially in my abdominal muscles!!  Try it if you dare!

So Taboo

We had game night at my sisters house tonight.  The game of choice:

(picture found on Wikipedia)
I love this game!  You divide into teams.  When it's your teams turn, you grab a stack of cards, each card has a key word at the top and below the key word is a list of words that would be commonly used to describe the key word.  You have to get your teammates to guess as many key words as possible without using any of the 'taboo' words listed underneath it.  So, it's basically the board game equivalent to a version of $25,000 Pyramid.  Remember that show?

Taste Test Junkie

It was my job to bring a dessert to game night, so I tried to make it healthy, but still something others would consider dessert.  I am on this taste test kick, so I made 2 new brownie recipes to see which one we would like better.  They came together like this:
Option A was made with an almond butter base (16 oz jar) and used just 5 other ingredients: 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking soda.  I baked them at 325° for about 35 minutes.

Option B was a black bean vegan brownie and it did not turn out so well :( I'm not going to even go into details with this one because something went horribly wrong.  I cooked them forever & they still turned out like bean soup with a hint of cocoa.  I will say that I learned something very interesting while studying vegan baking.  You can take 3 tsp of milled chia seeds and add 6 tablespoons of water to create an 'egg' type consistency and use this in your baking in lieu of actual eggs.  I'm not sure if that is part of what led to my epic fail on these brownies, but I think I will try the technique again when I'm in the mood for some vegan baking.

So, needless to say, the almond butter brownies won the taste test!

What are your favorite boardgames or game night games?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Double Entendre

Taste Test!

My client & friend, Diane sent me a great email yesterday with some healthy Halloween tips.  Included in the email was a recipe for a pumpkin protein shake.  I love pumpkin puree when it's baked into things, but I've always been hesitant to try it blended or stirred into a drink or oatmeal, but I was intrigued to give this recipe a try.  Diane is an Arbonne consultant (Arbonne products are premium health and wellness products) and this recipe called for 2 scoops of their vanilla protein powder.  I have tried their protein powders before and they are fantastic, but I didn't have any on hand, so I substituted with another brand.  If you'd like to see what the Arbonne products are all about, you can check out Diane's website.

Here is how the shake started:

It turns into this:
I included the original recipe.  Instead of water, I used FlaxMilk.  It's only 25 calories per serving and it has 1200mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per serving.  It also has Vitamin A, B12, D and Calcium, so it's 25 calories well spent, in my opinion.  If you really want to amp up the nutritional value on this one, add a handful of frozen spinach instead of the ice cubes.  It does take away from the visual appeal (orange and green do not = a pretty color) but it takes great & you hardly notice the spinach.  I tried this as my post-workout drink today & it was phenominal!! I was worried that it would taste like I was drinking babyfood because of the amount of pumpkin puree, but with the vanilla and the spices, it was full of flavor.  I think the hint of ginger is what sold me on the drink.  Nothing refreshes you will still giving you that warm & cozy kick like ginger does.  This is going to be a new staple drink for me! 

Being Flexible

We stretch to surpass our previous limits.  I mean that as a physical and mental challenge.  Our bodies and minds want to be challenged and pushed to new limits.  So, flexibility can be quite the double entendre ( I love when I get to use the word 'entendre').  The next time you are physically stretching your body, allow your mind to open up too.  It's a great time to think of what your personal goals are and how you can achieve them. 

When considering flexibility as an aspect of good health, hamstrings and hips are king.  These muscle groups work together to support proper posture and alignment.  When your hamstrings and/or hips are tight, you tend to tilt your pelvis forward which causes you to round your shoulders forward and before you know it you're walking around like Mr. Magoo.  So I guess Shakira was right...your hips really don't lie.  Tight hips expose other physical ailments that you will feel inside and out.  The entire body really works together as a system, so when you neglect one aspect of your health, it has that trickle down affect on the rest of your body.  So what can you do?  Below is a link to FitSugar.com for 8 great stretches to help you work toward doing the splits.  Maybe you don't want to do the splits (secretly, you know you do), but the point is, these stretches will open up your hips and increase flexibility in your hamstrings. 
Warning:  When we are stressed, we tend to harbor tension in our hips and hip flexors, so when doing deep hip stretches, you release a lot of mental tension as well.  If you find yourself crying while holding these stretches, just know that you are releasing tension, and crying is perfectly acceptable :)

Bedtime Taste Test

I did a taste test last night as well.  I love brewing tea, especially in the evening.  The ritual of it is calming and it helps me sleep.  However, I've recently been introduced to The Keurig and while I love ritual of brewing loose tea in the evening, I thought I'd give this convenient option a chance.  They have a limited selection of teas, but I did find 2 chamomile options.  Twinings-Chamomile and Celestial Seasonings-Sleepytime Tea. 

They do taste similar, but there was an obvious winner in my opinion:
While I still love brewing my loose tea leaves, this can definitely be a nice substitute on the days I want something quick and easy. 
Do you have a Keurig?  Do you like it?  What is your favorite brew?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Walk It Out(side)

Impromptu Workout/Me Being a Dork

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  It was gorgeous here in Ohio so we headed to a pumpkin patch to embrace a traditional fall day.  Saturday was supposed to be my rest day, but I couldn't resist doing a few bicep curls when I saw this guy:

And this guy:


So I had an impromptu pumpkin patch workout...I'll still consider that a rest day ;)

I love Fall because it leads into the 'tradition' season.  I think that the best part of the holidays is the comfort and familiarity that traditions bring.  What are your Fall traditions?  Please share!  I love creating new traditions and hearing about what other people have done year after year.

Our effort to capture the perfect shot.  We can't even blame the kids for not looking at the camera!  Steph and I are just as distracted.

Walk it Out

Do you enjoy walking this time of year?  Myself, along with some other experts, contributed some great tips to this article about how to make the most of your walking routine.  The article ran in the Dayton Daily News.  Check out the online version here:
If you have any tips on what you do to keep your walking routine fresh, let me know!

What else can you do with squash?

So we know you can use squash (read:pumpkins, gourds, etc.) for exercise, but in addition to that obvious trait, they also make for a great meal.   I served as the test kitchen for my mom this weekend.  She recently met with the author of the cookbook Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook, Del Sroufe.  This is an amazing cookbook with over 300 plant based recipes.  The recipe I got to taste:
Sorry, I had to take several bites before the urge to take a picture struck me.

This is a vegan recipe that is loaded with nutrition & flavor! It was definitely filling enough to be a meal on it's own.  That middle layer has beans and spinach in it, which helps with the 'being filling' factor and that sauce on the top, the main ingredient is cauliflower!  It's genius!  I can't wait to try some other dishes from this book. 

I've got to run...Michael Bublé is on The Voice tonight!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Apple a Day

Do you like apples?  How about FREE apples?  If you have an Earth Fare in your area, you can get a free pound of organic apples with any $10 purchase:

When you eat your free organic apples, make sure you eat the skin.  Did you know that the ursolic acid found in the apple skin helps prevent muscle atrophy and actually promotes muscle growth?  They also help with a whole other slew of problems.  Check out the link below if you want to read what else they can do for you:
Here is what you will look like if you eat your apple skins:
(results not guaranteed ;)

Guess what else helps with muscle growth...weight training!
Do you have a favorite body part to train?  I go through phases where I prefer training one area over another.  Right now I'm loving back exercises, but for the longest, I was shoulder crazy! So, in honor of my shoulder training fetish, here is a great should series:
Once you get through these 4 exercises once, do 15 reverse lunges, alternating legs.  This will keep your body warm and maximize your caloric burn while you workout (and allow your shoulders a little recovery period).  Repeat the shoulder exercises and reverse lunges again.  The number of times that you should repeat this circuit will depend on your current fitness level.  Listen to your body and if you have questions, let me know (or consult a trainer).  I am happy to provide photos demonstrating each exercise, so please don't hesitate to ask if you'd like to see that.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Like Coffee, I Like Tea

Do you drink coffee?  I didn't until a few years ago.  I've always been a tea drinker.  Green, white, rooibos, herbal...I like it all.  My coffee habit started as an occasional thing.  I'd get a soy latte from the best coffee house in the world- Cup O' Joe (preferable the one in the Short North).  But, eventually I started drinking it almost every morning.  I still can't comprehend why.  I don't like the way caffeine makes me feel.  On the days I don't have it, I seem to fill myself with more water.  I actually feel like I have a healthier glow and more energy when I DON'T have coffee...so what am I doing right now as I type this:

Why?? That, I haven't figured out.  But, is coffee good for you or not?  I've heard both sides of the story.  Below is a link to two expert opinions.  Let me know who's side you're on!

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald & Mark Hyman, MD share to scoop!

In my opinion, individuals process and metabolize things differently, so what is right for you may not work for the person next to you, so listen to your body & respect what it needs to operate at it's fullest potential  One thing that all of the 'experts' agree on...MODERATION! 


Need some energy?

After reading that I'm ready to create some non-caffeine energy on my own!  Today was a leg day for me, so I'm feeling a little noodley from the waist down.  I came across this 15 minute series from Yoga Journal that focuses on energizing the pelvis in legs.  I'm going to give this a run through before heading back to the gym for my afternoon clients.

Energize the Pelvis & Legs from YogaJournal.com

And if you're having trouble with Tuesday rage today, here is an inspiring image:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Camera Ready?

It's Monday! I actually love Mondays. I know, sometimes I even annoy myself. I just like the idea of a fresh start or new beginning. I suppose you don't need Monday for that, fresh starts can happen whenever you choose to make one. Another reason I love Mondays: I love hearing about my clients' weekends. They always have great stories to tell about things that they got into.

October is flying by, so I decided to prepare a cleaned up version of a pumpkin cookie. I'm posting a video below. I intentionally didn't watch the video, otherwise, you all would never get to see it. I don't know if anyone feels this way, but I hate the sound of my recorded voice (which I assume is what it actually sounds like to others) so, I knew if I proofed the video, I wouldn't post it ;). So, hear I am, getting the pumpkin walnut cookies prepped for baking:

And they turn out looking like this:

I baked them at 375° for 18 minutes.  I am no food artist, so you can likely make yours more attractive.
Total Body Monday
I often take Sunday as a rest day or light cardio/activity day for my workout, so by Monday I'm ready for an intense, total body workout.  If you can't make it to the gym (or to meet with your trainer), try something like this when you wake up in the morning:
I feel I should add a disclaimer: that is not me in the image.  The picture was found on Pinterest and the text was added by me.  Also, as with any workout...exercise can be dangerous (as can handstanding on top of a building) and both should be done at your own risk.  Of course, it is always suggested that you consult with a doctor before starting an exercise program.
That workout will definitely get your heart rate up and get your muscles burning.  It's great calorie torcher and should help you work up a sweat.  I like to do workouts like this when I don't have equipment at hand.  No excuses with this one!  If you are short on time, do the circuit once.  You'll be done in less than 10 minutes!
I'd love to hear your feedback!
Here's is my question of the day...Anyone else have issues with hearing their recorded voice or seeing themselves on film?  Have you ever posted a video of yourself on YouTube?


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fit for Life

Good Morning!

I love Sundays because I can get going a little more slowly in the morning.  The rest of the week I get up around 4:30am, which is great because I can get so much accomplished in those few extra hours, but I am certainly in love with the occasional late morning.  It allows me to spend a little more time on breakfast.  Clients often ask me what I eat, so here is my preferred morning routine:  I always have a 12-16oz glass of water with lemon as soon as I wake up.  While I am drinking that, I'm working on turning this:

Into this:
The pear and cucumber give it a really fresh flavor & the lemon and ginger give it an energizing bite.  The kale and broccoli make my cells dance for joy.  I swear I have a healthy glow as soon as I get this in my system ;)  I can actually feel my cells renewing!
Once that's had time to do it's trick, I put together something with a little more staying power.  I love these protein pancakes.  I got the recipe from another blog, Peanut Butter Fingers and I just changed it slightly to reduce the amount of sugar.  It's likely that you'll find her original recipe a little bit tastier than mine, but here is how I eat it:
This makes 2 servings.  I will sometimes add vanilla bean, cocoa powder, banana or whatever flavor I'm in the mood for to change it up a little. I usually top it with 1 tsp of pure maple syrup (if I'm going to add sweetness to something, that's almost always my method of choice).
So that's what a typical breakfast looks like for me.  On those days that I get up at 4:30, my breakfast routine changes slightly, which I'll share with you later.  
Let's talk workouts! 
I recently had the opportunity to contribute an article to a functional training magazine 11Athletics.  It was a great experience.  I loved writing a workout then seeing it come to life through pictures.  Here is the feature:

This is the Women's Fitness feature, but men can probably handle it too...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Split Decision

I'm self diagnosed with a split personality. I've always been split with what decision is the 'right' decision.  House on land or urban apartment?  Little black dress or jeans and a t-shirt? Fast paced career or happy homemaker?  Vegan or meat? Weight training or Yoga?    We only get one shot at life, right?  That's a lot of pressure to make the 'right' decision the first time, especially when I tend to do things so much better on my second try.   So what's a girl (or guy) to do.  This is where my first quotable piece of advice is applied..."Make 'a' decision and 'then' make it the right one."  Get it?  There may be more than one correct answer, so just pick one, own it, make it work.  The beauty of this philosophy: worst case scenario, you just change your mind and start over.

How do I know this is a winning practice? Because I went from this:

Business Me

To this:

Yoga Loving Personal Trainer Me

While I originally thought Business Me was a decision I was trapped into until retirement, after a lot of diagramming and girls-night-out counseling (the absolute best kind!), I suspected that I could reinvent Business Me into a far more suitable Me that turned what I loved (fitness & healthy living) into something that I could share with others while simultaneously building a career.  So that's what I did.  And boy am I glad that I did!

So, now that I'm training an AMAZING group of people (seriously, I have the most amazing clients that inspire me every day!!!), I'd like to have a place to post the occasional 'try this on your own' type of workout or 'eat this if you want to try something super healthy that will blow your mind' kind of recipe.  But mostly, I want to be able to share my split personality decisions with you so that we may counsel each other into making some 'right' choices...or at least making SOME choices and then owning them like we never had a doubt.  

I am ecstatic to begin this journey & I can't wait to hear from you!