Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Strong Like Popeye

Chef Boy R Me

I've been on a cooking spree these past few days.  I've been going through a bit of a dry spell in the kitchen lately, so I'm glad to be back in the groove.  It started on Sunday when I gave a Pinterest recipe a test drive.  I've been hearing lots of buzz about cauliflower pizza crust lately, so I finally bought some cauliflower, googled how to 'rice' it and gave it a try.  These are the ingredients I ended up using for the crust: 

  • ½ head cauliflower (about 2 cups riced)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

The recipe is from a blog called Eating Bird Food.  I used about 4 cloves of garlic instead of one (I wasn't trying to scare away any vampires, I just like it that much).  I topped mine with tomato sauce and roasted zucchini, but the one in the blog I linked to got a little fancier.  Bottom line, the crust is AMAZING, so top it with whatever you'd like.  Even my anti-cruciferous-veggie-eating-best-friend liked it, so if you are a veggie hater, this recipe is for you.  

I also had a Costco portion of spinach that was hiding in my garage fridge.  I would've been heartbroken had I let it expire without fulfilling it's lifelong purpose of being eating.  So I cooked up the entire bunch and made some garlicky spinach.  I'm always amazed at how much it shrinks once it's cooked down.

I vaguely remember reading about a study that said a group of lab rats that were fed spinach had stronger muscles than those rats that were not fed spinach.  Maybe this guy was on to something:

What's up with Popeye's gigantic forearms?  Why does the spinach only make his biceps pop out?  That, I am not sure of, but check out this link to read more about why spinach is so awesome.

I also tried a few other recipes from some of my favorite blogs.  This morning it was Almond Butter Pancakes from pbfingers.com.  This evening I prepped one for tomorrow.  I made Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars, which were inspired by the recipe I've linked to on sparkpeople.com, but I actually revised it and made it my own, so if they are good, I will certainly share!

Back It Up

I've been working on a freelance piece (I've always wanted to say that).  I don't want to give away too much, but it has inspired me to add some additional training attention to my glutes.  I'll leave you with a good butt exercise that you can do at home, no equipment needed.  This is a glute wall lift.  It's paired well as a superset with straight leg deadlifts:

Start by lying on your back with one foot on the wall and the other toward the sky:

Raise your hips toward the sky and really contract your glutes at the top.  Lower your hips slowly and repeat that motion 15-20 reps.

Want to make it tougher?  Add some resistance by resting a plate (10-25 lbs) on your hips.  Try it and let me know what you think!  Do you have a favorite body part that you like to train?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Yoga Winner :)

Who won?

The winner of the For the Love of Yoga give-a-way will be announced at the bottom of this post!  We have 7 entries.  Two were kind of mixed among other posts, but I know what the intention was and I'm not going to disqualify anyone over a technicality, so-I know who you are and your comments have been accounted for!

Before and After

I went to the oral surgeon today for my follow up visit after my procedure and I got the clear to resume life as normal.  Yay!  Good thang too, bc I've been resuming away for about 4 days now ;).  I don't know about you all, but I LOVE a good before and after shot.  Whether it be for weight loss, a make over, a home remodel or ANY sort of transformation, the before and after split screen is one of life's greatest pleasure...so...at my own expense, I have a before and after to wrap up the week long saga of my wisdom teeth being removed:

Eeeeeew! The left is clearly, immediately post surgery (thank you mother for capturing that fine moment) and the right is today, seven days later.  Pain free and able to eat and lift whatever I want!  If you need an oral surgeon for any reason, I highly recommend Dr. Krause in Westerville.  The entire team is friendly and professional.  I was able to fill out paperwork online, in advance to save time.  They made the process quick and convenient.  Dr. Krause explained the procedure with specifics so that I had no cause for concern and his team gave me clear after care instructions, so I healed in half the time!  DONE with that!

Why Plyo?

Do you ever do plyometric exercises?  Plyometric exercises are fast, power moves.  Think: squat jumps.  They are great for improving speed, but that's not the only benefit.  Because they are compound moves that use your bodies largest muscle groups, your body will produce anabolic hormones while performing them.  This will force your body to store energy as muscle...not fat!  Good-bye cellulite!  I incorporate them into one of my leg days each week.  I do them at the beginning of my workout because they require a lot of energy.  Your body will need to recruit lots of muscle fibers to execute these types of moves, so you'll want to be fresh when you do plyometric exercises.  One great plyometric move is The Box Jump:

They are as simple as they sound.  Find a sturdy surface that won't collapse under your weight.  Make sure the height is manageable for you.  Soften your knees and jump onto the surface.  Repeat until your form starts to get sloppy.  

Time to Relax

It's past my bedtime, so I'm going to finish the cup of chamomile:

and hit the sack.  So let me leave you with what you've all been waiting for...For the Love of Yoga...the winner is...

Commenter number 4, Sandy!! You win the 1 month pass for February's For the Love of Yoga!  


Thanks to everyone who participated! I hope to have another give-a-way soon, so keep reading.  Clearly, I'm not above bribery :)  Have a great night.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Center of Attention

Tooth Utopia

I'm in a state of post recovery euphoria today.  In case you've not experienced this before, it occurs after you've recovered from an illness, injury, etc. and everything is in working order again.  I am a bottomless pit of gratitude for my health and ability to eat.  I inhaled...I mean savored some salmon and veggies today:

Then I had an abundance of energy, so I did a 1,000 rep conditioning type workout to get me back in the game and prepped for some heavy lifting tomorrow!

I had a lot to catch up on today so I just threw together 10 exercises and did 100 reps of each for a total of 1,000 reps.  This allowed me to expend some energy and work up a sweat in a short amount of time.  It looked a little something like this:

100 kettlebell swings
100 push-ups
100 second wall sit
100 crunches
100 squats w/ upright row alt. sides
100 second plank hold
100 skater lunges
100 crunches (again)
100 reverse lunges (50 each leg)
100 second plank hold

Try to complete this circuit in under 30 minutes!

Ommmm Yeah!

Are you ready to find your center?  Do you know where your third eye is?  I am ready to help you develop or grow your yoga practice.  February is going to be 'For the Love of Yoga' month at Infinity Fitness.  I am going to be leading 8 yoga sessions that will be designed to support all levels of practice from beginner to a more experienced yogi.  Some sessions will be gentle and restorative and some will be more a more intense workout.  My goal is to introduce you to a few different styles of yoga so that you can have a better understanding of the different types and benefits of yoga.  Because I want to be able to offer this program to as many people as possible, I am offering a 1 month unlimited class pass for $50 ($120 value).  This rate will be available for anyone who pre-pays by the end of January.  You can attend as many (hopefully all :)) of the 8 sessions as you'd like.  After January 31, you can join in for $15 per session.  But wait!  There's more...ONE lucky blogger will win a FREE one month class pass.  I told you I had something coming your way!  Comment at the end of this blog and you will be entered to win.  Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and there will only be one chosen for this give-a-way.  If you are worried about your ability to practice yoga...don't be.  Yoga is for all levels and plenty of modifications are offered to allow beginners and more experienced yogis to participate together.  If this guy can do it...so can you!

Raise a Racket!

There is ONE other way to get hooked up with a one month class pass for the 'For the Love of Yoga' month.  I will be providing a prize pack that includes the 1 month class pass and a few other goodies to this worthy cause:

Diane Crawford, a client, friend and cancer survivor, has a non-profit organization that puts together this event (among others) to raise funds to support cervical awareness, cancer research, etc.  This event will be held at Wickertree Tennis and Fitness Center in Columbus, OH on January 26, 2013.  There will be dinner, drinks, music, multiple raffles (including my yoga prize pack) and more.  You can register to play with local tennis pro's (accommodating to all levels) or you can enjoy the festivities and watch.  If you'd like to read more about this event and Diane's story, just click here to find out more.  Register soon!  It's going to be a great night!!

Friday, January 11, 2013


A Transforming Chair 

If you are looking to furnish your home and expand your home gym, look no farther.  This little, unlikely suspect pictured below offers more than meets the eye.  It converts from this:

To this:

Taahh-daaahhh! Those are resistance pedals that pull right out for your workout convenience.  If that's not enough for you, you can also buy add-ons like steps, resistance bands and alternate back rests so that you can complete a total body workout from the comfort of your living room.  Cleverly named the Charmaster, this runs right around $1,100.  If the powers that be over at Chairmaster want to send me a sample chair to test run, I'd be happy to report back my opinion ;)

New Year, New You Winners

I was able to award 3 winners for yesterday's contest and I have now had a chance to reach out to you directly.  If any of you have questions, feel free to contact me.  As the New You Challenge comes to a close, I hope to share your successes on the blog! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Giveaway for YOU!

A YOU Revolution!

This weekend at Infinity Fitness (the gym I train at), We kick off our annual New Year, New You weight loss challenge.  This challenge is an 8 week program that includes a body composition analysis and consultation with a personal trainer, a 1 hour bootcamp, various nutrition and fitness seminars and on the final day (March 9th) we have our final weigh-in and a healthy potluck.  It's so much fun and we've seen people get amazing results that last because of the lifestyle changes that they've implemented and have been able to maintain.  Why am I rambling on and on about this...because one of you are going to get to participate in the challenge for FREE!!  Just comment (about anything!) at the end of this blog and one of you will be randomly selected.  If you don't win, but still want to join the fitness revolution, the cost is $40 for the 8 week program.

What to eat?

I thought you may have seen enough of my pureed diet, so instead of telling you about what I'm eating today, let me tell you about what I want to be eating.  I'm looking forward to this:

This is an Asian kale and tofu salad from Clean Eating.  This is a great recipe to try if you are interested in trying tofu but aren't really sure how to prepare it.  This is a mega superfood salad, so try it ASAP!  I hear that flu season is here in full force, so keep your immune system in top shape!  Click here to see why kale is a nutritional rockstar!

Easing into Yoga

Have you gotten your head in the game yet for the upcoming Yoga challenge?  Have you tried corpse pose yet?  Today I want to introduce a pose that you can practice at the end of your workouts.  It is a great one to use stretch the outer hips and thighs as well as the chest and shoulders.  It also offers a gentle spinal twist to help elongate the spine.  It is called Half Lord of the Fishes pose.  Click here for a link to a demonstration from Yoga Journal on how to practice this posture.

Don't forget to leave a comment below if you want to be entered for a chance to win free registration for the New Year, New You Challenge!  If you have questions about the challenge, just let me know!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Smooth Start to 2013

A Smooth Start to 2013

Is your first full week of the year off to a productive start?  I'm having a little downtime this week because I had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday.  I've been putting that off for years and it really needed to happen.  In order to put an end to my procrastination, I put 'having my wisdom teeth removed' on my list of one year goals back in October.  Even though I'm sore now, it feels pretty great to have that one checked off of the list!  Putting goals in writing really is a great way to keep you accountable.

Because of my procedure, my nutrition has looked like this:

My blender has been working overtime.  This concoction was a creamy dream!  I'm not sure if it was so good because I had been fasting for the day or if it was because my mom made it for me (it always taste better when mom makes it, right), or if it's just that good!  Here is what it included:

1/2 an avocado
1/2 a banana
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup of coconut milk
1 scoop of acai berry whey protein (Tera's Whey)

I plan on making this one again, even when I don't have a mouth full of stitches :)

Doctor's Orders

Do you have a hard time following doctor's orders?  I'm supposed to 'take it easy' for a week, which is actually the opposite of 'easy' if you ask me.  I'm only about 24 hours into my 7 day rest period and I'm already planning what my workout regime is going to be when I have the clear to resume normal activity.  I'm going to get back into it with this total body conditioning circuit:

After completing this circuit, follow it with a super set of 10 mountain climbers and 10 push ups back and forth 3 times.  Once you've completed that, go back to the beginning of the circuit.  Complete a total of 3-4 times.

Pureed Perfection

Smoothie #1 in this post was dinner last night.  This morning I was looking for something a little more substantial, so I threw together another smoothie, but this time I added a few ingredients that I thought might give it a little more staying power.  It came together like this:

I threw in 1 cup of almond milk, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, 1/2 cup of pineapple, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/4 of an avocado and 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt.

It was delicious and filling...but I am looking forward to digging into something chewy in a few days!

The GreeneBerger

If you are looking for some great recipes and more information about nutrition and how it impacts our health, check out The GreeneBerger.  You'll find nutrient dense recipes and an explanation as to why certain foods fuel our bodies while others drain us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

If I Could Turn Back Time

Is your calendar moving backward?

Happy New Year!  Now that you've had a few days to let 2013 settle in, how are you doing on your resolutions?  Has the momentum fizzled yet?

I typically resolve to learn something new each year.  Sometimes I set the bar low with something like 'learning how to eat with chopsticks' and sometimes I get a little more audacious and vow to learn a foreign language or something like that (if you need to ask someone where your backpack is in Spain, I'm the translator for you).  I'm still working on mapping out my 2013 goals, but I imagine they will end up being a revamped version of the goals I wrote out in October (which included starting this blog).

As we all know, popular resolutions are often related to health and fitness.  I can certainly understand why.  Our health had a direct impact on our quality of life and our ability to carry out other goals and challenges.  I just read a fun article outline some of the health benefits of exercise.  Click here to read about how exercise is a fountain of youth!

If you are looking for other ways support your body and improve your health, give matcha a try.  Matcha is a finely milled Japanese green tea.

This is what the powder looks like before you whisk it into hot water.  I use a milk frother to make sure it is blended well.  I typically just drink it unsweetened with nothing else added to the water.  It tastes rich and earthy.  I will admit that it's really an acquired taste (that I've grown to love), but if your pallet can't handle it, try sweetening it with a little honey or adding a little coconut milk when you whisk it.

I got mine at Teavana, but I've also seen it at Earth FareWhole Foods, and a few local grocery stores.  Why drink it?  It is loaded with antioxidants.  Check out this article from Bodybuilding.com.  The benefits of matcha are mapped out beautifully!

Building a yoga practice in 2013

If all of this talk about tea has you feeling zen, you may want to give yoga a try for your daily workout.  When I started practicing yoga about 12 years ago, I intended to use it as a body leveraging workout to help improve my physical strength and flexibility.  It definitely did just that.  However, about 6 years into my practice (yes, it took that long), yoga became about much more than that.  I started to notice additional benefits from yoga.  At the end of a yoga class, we close with a final posture called Shavasana (also known as corpse pose).  

This happens at the end of class to allow you the opportunity to clear your mind, relax your body and regroup.  I used to despise this portion of the practice.  My mind would wander and I would get anxious about what I could be accomplishing if I could just take that last five minutes to get a head start on what I had left to do that day.  One day, years into my yoga practice, I realized that instead of using shavasana as a time to plot how I could roll up my yoga mat and slither out of class in complete silence, I was actually relaxing.  It was amazing!  My head was clear, my heart rate was lower, I had no muscle tension and I felt refreshed, not fatigued.  By accidentally participating in this final pose, I was able to discover the power that could be drawn from it.  Allowing our minds to quiet for just 5 minutes each day is a priceless gift to give to ourselves.  For many, this challenge will be greater than any headstand, contortion or bind that you may attempt while growing your practice.

At the end of this month, I will be adding additional yoga classes to my training schedule.  I will be sharing poses and postures with you here on this blog as well.  I wanted to introduce shavasana to you first, hoping that you could begin to practice this now so that it doesn't take you 6 years to realize the beauty of relaxation.   

Once you are awoken from corpse pose at the end of your practice, I like to come back to a seated position and hold my hands at my heart and close with 'Namaste',  meaning the good within me honors the good within you.  So let me close the blog today with the same...