Category Archives: Workouts

30 Days of Fitness – Day 7

If you’re wondering where days 3-6 went, you’ll find them on my Facebook page here. As always, if you can’t find challenge content on the blog, Facebook is my back-up method. This is the only social media outlet I feel I have somewhat of a handle on, which probably means I really don’t know what I’m doing. Nevertheless we’re on track with 30 Days of Fitness and tomorrow (Friday) is Day 7! Of course, if you’re jumping on for the first time, here’s what you need to know before you scroll down to see what tomorrow’s challenge is.

***

Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good. I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th  and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

***

Day 7 – Pay attention to sugar intake

You might be thinking of all the obvious places sugar lurks – drinks, desserts, candy. But have you ever considered just how much sugar is in your yogurt, bread, crackers, condiments or even salad dressings? I’m not asking you to get sugar-retentive here, I’d just like you to become aware of how much sugar you might be taking in. Humor me for a day and check out the labels on everything you put in your mouth (if it has one). See what you come up with. Are you surprised?

And if you’re thinking sugar substitutes and “diet” anything is the way to go, I urge you to read this great post: “Sugar Free Does Not Equal Healthy (And More Startling Facts About Artificial Sugars.”

This time of year, you’re bound to be bombarded by sugar, so let’s start by paying attention to where some of the lesser-known sources are coming from.

See you on Day 8!

30 Days of Fitness – Day 2

How did you do with Day 1? I understand a lot of people take issue with throwing out their junk food. It’s crazy the emotions (and opinions) junk food brings out in us! But if you’re going to make a difference in your health and be better off in time for the holidays (where there will be junk food aplenty!), I really do hope you can say after this weekend that most of the junk food no longer has a place in your house and you won’t be buying any more.  So now what? Today I bring you Day 2 of 30 Days of Fitness! But first, if you’re just jumping on this train here’s the deal:

***

Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good.

I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th  and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

***

Day 2 – Meal Plan To Your Ability

Plan Ahead
Photo Credit: Motiveweight.blogspot.com

If you don’t already meal plan I don’t expect you to spend a large chunk of your day doing it for the first time. Once you get meal planning down, it really doesn’t take much time at all and becomes quite intuitive. But if you’re new to meal planning, all I’m asking for on Day 2 is that you assess which foods you already have in your kitchen and build some meals around those for the week. If you can make it to the grocery store to pick up extras, that’s even better. If you’ve done meal planning before but got off the wagon, Day 2 is the time to start it up again. Dig through some of those recipes you clipped that you’ve been wanting to try. Hit up the grocery store or farmer’s market and stock up for the week. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when just starting out meal planning:

  • Go slow. Even if all you mentally have the energy to do is plan for the next two nights, that’s a great start. The point is to get you thinking ahead so that you aren’t grabbing last-minute options come dinner time when everyone is starving and out of time.
  • Be sure to consider your schedule. This may sound like a no-brainer but I think we all try to do too much. After two kids I’ve finally stopped trying to plan elaborate meals. If I know it’s going to be a busy day, followed by a crazy evening mixed with getting the kids in the bath and into bed on time, I’ll opt for the simplest recipe I can find (casseroles, slow cooker dinners, etc.). I save the meals that require more attention for the weekend or when hell freezes over.
  • Look to the experts. We tend to have very basic dinners at my house – a protein, a vegetable and either a grain or healthy alternative to it (quinoa, wild rice, etc.). However, sometimes I get bored and want to try something new without it getting too complicated. These are some of my favorite sources for those recipes:
  • Find a system that works for you. The biggest challenge I see with my clients is when they are cooking for just themselves or only two people. I get it, that’s a lot of meal prep and work. Think about making meals ahead of time and eating on them all week long. You could make 3 things and divide them up into containers for lunches and dinners, then simply pull them out of the refrigerator or freezer when needed. Make muffins or oatmeal in the slow cooker for two week’s worth of breakfasts, buy pre-cut veggies (or cut them yourself) for snacks. Think simple and experiment with what fits in your lifestyle and your kitchen.

Remember, this 30 Days of Fitness challenge is all about small changes, so don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with this one. Start with two days of planned meals and go from there.

See you tomorrow!

30 Days of Fitness – Day 1

Here it is, the day I warned you would come! It’s Day 1 of 30 Days of Fitness. Alright, Day 1 is actually tomorrow but as I mentioned I will be posting each day’s challenge the day prior. Now before I give you today’s fitness musing, here’s the scoop in case you missed yesterday’s post and want to find out how to WIN something too!

***

Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I don’t know yet, I only have about 10 days planned out right now, but I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good.

I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th  and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

***

Halloween Candy
Photo Credit: Bluezones.com, but this could have easily been a photo taken of our kitchen counter after surviving a month of Halloween festivities.

Day 1 – Purge the Junk

Day 1 is focused on getting the junk out of the way. So listen up, trick-or-treat victims! All that candy your kids acquired last night (or, if they’re like mine, over the course of October) and all that candy you’re secretly happy didn’t get snatched up by the trick-or-treaters at your door? OUT! Yes, seriously. Here’s what I want you to do:

  • If it’s your kids’ candy, go through it with them and tell them they can pick out 5 of their favorites. Keep those and toss or give away the rest. Do not hide them somewhere “just in case.” Do not put them in the freezer so you can snack on them all year ‘round. Out they go. TODAY!
  • If it’s your own candy that you purchased for handing out, or because it was on sale, or because it was just…there…same rule applies as above but you don’t get to keep any. You have lots of sugar in your future with the upcoming holidays so don’t try to tell yourself you deserve this one thing. You don’t deserve to feel like crap. You don’t deserve the guilt afterwards. Out it goes. TODAY!
  • If there’s candy waiting for you at the work place Monday, make a mental note now to either get rid of it Monday morning or make sure to give it to someone else and have them keep it where you won’t know about it or see it. You can do this.

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories and aren’t concerned with candy overload, Day 1 for you is devoted to assessing what your “junk” is and getting rid of it. Maybe it’s salt in the form of chips and crackers, maybe it’s cheese and starchy carbs (I only speak from experience). Start assessing the junk in your kitchen and decide today to lay it to rest. If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. Unless criminal prosecution is totally your thing.

Junk Food is Cheap for a Reason

Stay tuned for Day 2 of 30 Days of Fitness tomorrow!

30 Days of Fitness and Cookbook Giveaway!

Oh man, here come the holidays. The food, the fun, the family, the cheer. The weight gain, the stress, the dysfunction, the drama. I’m not trying to be negative – I’m just seeing the future for what it is and always has been from this personal trainer’s point of view – a time everyone forgets about their health. So what do I propose we do about it? We embark on 30 Days of Fitness.

30 Days of Fitness

Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I don’t know yet, I only have about 10 days planned out right now, but I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good. I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is my fault a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here, or on the left sidebar of this page, so you get each day’s updates.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here good friends don’t let friends feel like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a geek like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <—- See that little sign-up box in the left sidebar? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between TODAY and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” What’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

100 Days Cookbook That’s it. Are you ready? See you soon!

My Favorite Moves to Kick My Own Butt

Ever get sick of hearing the same advice about how to break out of a fitness rut? I get ya. Or maybe you have no idea you’re even in a rut. So let’s see how you answer this question: Are you completely bored with exercise? If you answered that in any way other than a resounding ‘NO,’ you’re a nut in a rut.

I feel equipped to call you that because I too have been that nut. So rather than tell you all the ordinary ways to break out of it (which, for the record, are good approaches too), I’m going to give you the list of moves I revisit when I’m in need of a solid butt-kicking and motivational slap in the face. Or to put it more gently, a reminder to mix things up.

Treadmill Lunges

My clients will tell you how much I love treadmill lunges. They’re a great way to mix up your circuit or strength workout. My favorite time to do them, however, is in the middle of a treadmill cardio session. If I need a mental break from running or hill walking I’ll slow the treadmill way down to 1.0 – 1.3 mph and lunge for two to four minutes before resuming my workout. Not only will your quads burn, you’ll also burn more calories AFTER your workout because of the metabolic boost you’re giving your muscles.

Psst – Don’t hold on to the handrails, that’s cheating. If you feel like you have to hold on to something it probably means you just need to slow the speed down.

treadmill lunges

 

Box Jumps

If you’re thinking you have to be an athlete to pull off box jumps, you’re mistaken. I’m not talking college football training height (unless you’re game for that), I’m talking about 12″ to 24″ box jumps. Stand in front of the box, use your arms to jump up as high as you can and land on the box in a squat position. Step back off the box and repeat, as fast as possible, for either a certain number of reps or for time. I like to place box jumps in my circuit workouts to mix up the intensity, so I’ll usually do them for 30 seconds or 20 reps depending on my workout. I’m always sore after these. As in, it-hurts-to-stand-up-from-the-toilet sore. I am completely aware that this is a strange thing to be proud of. That just goes to say I must be in the right industry.

Photo credit: lisettehoward.com
Photo credit: lisettehoward.com

 

Rolling Plank Leg Lifts

Most of you reading this are going to get to this point and decide I’m a freak of nature and I must be joking if I think you’re going to pull this off. You will say to yourself there’s no way in hell you’re trying this move. Just suck it up and do it! Yes, this looks ridiculously hard and yes, it’s incredibly awkward and challenging at first. But here’s the thing: It’s mostly a coordination issue and once you get that down, these cease to suck so bad. Here’s another thing: You only need to do a few to feel incredibly accomplished.

I wasn’t able to snap a photo of myself demo’ing this one for you. Instead, I found some still video shots (from fitnessblender.com) that I hope will work. I had to throw out some quality standards when posting these, so please humor me.

Essentially you start in a high plank, roll onto one arm to face the side and then keep rolling until your whole body is facing up, looking at the ceiling (but keep your hips off the floor). Roll to the other arm, all the way back into high plank and lift one leg straight back behind you. Repeat the other direction and with the opposite leg.

Photo credit: Fitnessblender.com
Photo credit: Fitnessblender.com
rollingplank2.jpg
“Roll” to one side so you’re in a side plank.
Roll to opposite side.
Back to high plank.
Back to high plank.
Lift one leg before repeating the entire sequence the other direction.
Lift one leg before repeating the entire sequence the other direction.

Pyramid Sets

If you’re a woman and you’re thinking that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky, you’re wrong. I’m not saying you should always lift heavy but you should definitely consider doing it once in a while to change things up. Women just don’t have the muscle structure men do to make bulky muscles. With that said, one of my favorite ways to lift heavy is by doing pyramid sets.

You can play with pyramid sets a bit, but what I like to do most often is start with a lighter set of dumbbells – let’s say 8lbs – and do a high number of reps – let’s say 20. Let’s also say I’m doing bicep curls. The next time I come back to those bicep curls I’m going to pick up a heavier weight – let’s say 12lbs – and do a lower number of reps – let’s say 15. The third set I’m going to pick up an even heavier weight – let’s say 15lbs – and do an even lower number of reps – let’s say 10. You can either keep moving down until you’re absolutely fatigued or you can stop there. Or maybe you want to do a reverse pyramid and start with the heavier weights and lower reps. Any way you do it, pyramid sets are a fun way to mix up your strength training routine (and give you that sore feeling again).

Stop Resting

It’s pretty common to see people at the gym resting for a minute or two before they move on to the next machine or free weight exercise. I’m not saying anyone’s doing anything wrong since everyone has different goals, but one thing I like to do in my workouts is move as quickly as possible between exercises. I set a timer and only allow 10 seconds between moves, which makes me sweat and challenges my body to keep up. Try going from squats to jumping jacks to lunges with only 10 seconds between each move, for instance.

The Element of Surprise

Try this: Set a bunch of alarms on your phone so they are anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes apart. Start your workout. Every time your alarm goes off, stop whatever you’re doing and immediately do something else, like 30 seconds of jumping jacks or 10 squat hops or 20 crunches – whatever you decide the element of surprise will be, do it. Resume your workout and every time an alarm goes off you’ll stop immediately again to do the “surprise” exercise. If I’m doing a 30-minute workout I’ll typically set about 10 alarms to surprise me. This is a fun one to do when you’re really not motivated to do a traditional workout or when you really need to shake things up.

This post brought to you by Trainer Luke, who’s preferred way of kicking his client’s butt is by sitting on her anytime she does crunches, planks and pushups.

Treadmill HIIT Workout and Pumpkin Banana Smoothie Recipe

I feel like I’m trying to solve a rubix cube on a slip-n-slide these days! I see no sign of the crazy clearing anytime soon. In fact it’s just different stages of ongoing-craziness, would you agree? It’s messy and fun, frustrating and wonderful, brutal and rewarding. All. At. Once. I don’t care who you are, this wild-life thing is happening to you too, isn’t it?

For me right now this chaos, this gargantuous momentum-build, is a blended concoction of parenting, business ownership and grape harvest. That’s right, Riesling grapes are a-headed this way TODAY! Let the crush and hard labor reign! A few days from now our Syrah grapes will also be ready and our limbs will be purple for weeks to come. On top of these laborious days we’ve got wine events, the farmer’s market, the release of our pumpkin wine, label designs and peppers rolling in waiting to be processed. Between Von’s full-time city gig and my days at the studio, we’re trying to eek out some quality time with the kiddos and still eat dinner at home together. This weekend is also the FitOne fitness event here in Boise which the women in my family have been participating in for over a decade now, so there’s lots of fun going on and many of my favorite people in town for the 5K on Saturday.

There’s not enough coffee or hours in the day, my friends! This should all start slightly calming down around Halloween and then ramp back up in time for our Thanksgiving Open House event. And I won’t even get started on the (super exciting) projects we’ve got lined up to take place in the weeks before Christmas. Yes, I just said the ‘C’ word. Which brings me back to the point I wanted to segue into…

Right now it seems everyone’s back at the studio trying to get fit for the holidays or trying to stay fit to survive their own crazy lifestyle (because I do know I am certainly not alone in the juggling journey). So how are we expected to stay healthy, workout, and eat right through it all?

My own solution: You fit it in where you can. Hence the 15-Minutes-a-Day Challenge I posted a few weeks back. 15 minutes may not seem like enough to make a difference but when 15 minutes is all you’ve got it sure feels a helluva lot better to your body than nothing. As for the eating right aspect – the way we pull it off at our house is to get back to basics. This time of year there are no fancy dinners, a lot of soups, store-bought whole roasted chickens, fall-type salads, slow-cooker meals and we take advantage of the local in-season produce from the market as well as from our back yard (I’ve eaten so many cherry tomatoes lately I think I’m bleeding beta-carotene). Also, I make sure to get in a green smoothie or two every week to give myself peace of mind that I’m at least getting some vegetables and a big source of iron in my blood stream early on in the day.

So this post is two-fold today. I bring you my quick (22 minutes!) Treadmill HIIT Workout and a recipe for a Pumpkin Banana Smoothie!

For those who aren’t familiar with the super-easy concept of HIIT training, check this post out. If you’re new to green smoothies, don’t be scared. There are a lot of reasons why they rock and why I rely on them and one day I will perhaps write more on the benefits. But for right now all you need to know is this: Green smoothies are brilliance in a blender. For another fun recipe and to use up some of that basil you may still have left in your garden, try this recipe I posted over a month ago!

First, the workout. It’s a mix of jogging, inclines, sprints and fast-walking hill climbs. It’s quick, it’s a boredom-buster and it’s effective.

22 Minute Treadmill HIIT.jpg

Next!

Pumpkins are about to be everywhere, why not in your breakfast too? I embrace the pumpkin fever. Who knew pumpkin had the potential to start your day off right AND wine you down in the evenings (yep, we do both over here). This recipe is super simple because I was feeling like a smoothie purist when making it the other day. You can add in some of the optional things if you’d like, I just found it tasty and refreshing all on its own. By the way pumpkin and spinach are cleansing foods when eaten in raw form. So, uh, fair warning on that one…

Photo Credit: Cuisinart
Photo Credit: Cuisinart

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie Recipe

The Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup milk of your choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1 banana, frozen if you’ve got it but an unfrozen one will work too

Big handful baby spinach

1 to 2 tablespoons honey, pure maple syrup or brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 ice cubes, more if not using a frozen banana

Optional add-ins: Vanilla protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil, flaxseed, chia seeds

The directions:

Blend. Drink. Go.

What tips have you found work for you when trying to stay healthy whilst your life schedule has you barely remembering to brush your teeth?

The Tuesday Tank

I’ve decided to create a segment on this blog that I will eloquently title “The Tuesday Tank.” That’s one of the glorious things about writing on your own blog – you get to make things like this up.

“The Tuesday Tank” will be just that – a little tank of information where I talk about things like what happened over the weekend, what’s happening the current week, random news I find appropriate to share (or just snippets I find cool), workouts I’m doing, recipes I’m making, crazy kid stuff that’s happening, and just….stuff. All good stuff.

I can’t promise “The Tuesday Tank” will make a showing every week but you’ll know where to find it thanks to the handy category menu on the sidebar of this here blog.

So let’s get this tank filled, already!

Today’s Tank:

~Check out the breakfast on this girl!

Many of you who read this blog (does anybody read this blog? never mind, don’t tell me) know that I love me some breakfast. I wake up, drink my warm lemon water, followed by a cup of coffee and cannot WAIT for breakfast. I don’t care if I have 3 minutes to eat or 20, it’s my favorite meal. I figure it’s a new day, a new start and I have this chance to do something really good for my body before @#$! gets crazy.

So here’s something I’m loving: Cookie Dough Cereal. You think I’m joking? I wouldn’t kid you about this. Try it. If you like cereal and you like cookie dough and you like knowing there’s a way to eat both for breakfast in a healthy fashion – you’re gonna love this.

Photo credit: Pinterest user Sara Vieira
Photo credit: Pinterest user Sara Vieira

I can’t take credit for the original recipe, which I found at Fitnessista.com, but I do alter it just slightly. Some mornings I use almond butter and others I use peanut butter. I use a small amount of raw honey or pure maple syrup for a sweet touch. I prefer to use unsweetened coconut almond milk and I don’t use protein powder unless I happen to have some, which I currently don’t because after years of disagreeing with my husband about protein powder being a luxury expenditure that is not REALLY necessary, I kinda sorta am agreeing with him now that I’m a mom of two who would rather put the same money toward her son’s Tumble Bus class. I know, if my pre-mom self knew then what my mom self knows now, she would have bought a LOT more protein powder!

That being said, if you have protein powder you should definitely use it in this recipe and enjoy!

Click here for the recipe!

~A workout for those who don’t want to think

Yesterday I did a quick circuit workout between clients at the studio and I was feeling a bit scattered. One thing that works for me when I don’t feel like counting my own reps so that I can shut my brain off is doing circuit workouts for time. Everything in this one was done for 1 minute with no rest between exercises. I repeated it one more time and would have done a 3rd round but there was lunch to be had before my next client. Exercise + fuel = good idea.

This took me about 30 minutes including a 5-minute warm up on the treadmill. Here’s the workout for you!

30 Minute Circuit Workout

~You know how some days you just know you’re a happy family and other days you wonder if you should be doing more together?

Check this out: 6 Things the Happiest Families Have in Common. Some of these things I can see happening as the kids get older (the family values talk) but some you might find you’re already doing (dinner together most nights, maybe?). I think back to my childhood and while we may not have done all of these all the time, we did most of them most of the time and I figure that must’ve worked seeing as how I’m happy with the way it all turned out. The point that hits on family history was particularly interesting to me.

…recounting your family history is not just telling kids, ‘Our family is awesome.’ Recounting the tough times, the challenges your family faced and overcame, is key.”

~Taking a healthy diet too far.

Back in July, a popular vegan food blogger came clean about having an eating disorder. The Blonde Vegan admitted to having orthorexia – a fixation on righteous eating – and restricting herself entirely from certain foods, even some vegan ones. You can read here for more info but my point in even addressing this in the first place is simply to say that I don’t believe any of us will get it right 100% of the time and I feel like we need to be OK with that.

I see so many fitness enthusiasts – moms, dads, trainers, nutritionists, professionals, coaches, athletes, teenagers, 20-somethings, the list goes on – who take it wayyyy too far. So I guess I just want to say to anyone listening out there who’s guilty of becoming obsessed with losing weight/getting fit and fitter and fitter/looking better and better and better, that hey – you’re doing just fine. Relax. Ruling out certain food groups entirely will hurt you more than help you. If you take it even further and rule out entire macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) you’ll definitely suffer.

Enjoy some junk now and then and between those times nourish yourself and take care of your body. If you’re doing the best you can it’s likely you’re doing it right.

Thoughts on this? By the way, kudos to this gal for coming to terms and getting help (and keeping her blog).

~While we’re talking about indulging yourself…

It’s Shameless Self-Promotion time! I happen to know some people who are having an End of Summer/Making Room for New Inventory Case Sale on their Riesling right now!

It’s like Christmas over here!!

Seriously though, at $8/bottle could you really deny the fact that this is news-worthy? That’s right, $96/case for Potter Wines Riesling, my friends! We currently sell it for $12/bottle and give 10% off when you buy 6 bottles. But THIS, this is a serious deal if you’re on the prowl for some off-dry Idaho Riesling!

Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com or comment on this post for details on how to order. Or go to potterwines.com for our contact info.

And that concludes this installment of “The Tuesday Tank!” Thanks for tuning in and scrolling down!

30 Day Workout Challenge: 15 Minutes a Day

I’m inspired by my clients to do this workout challenge this time around – it seems we work hard to get to a summer weight/physique and then we blow it by September. And since so many of you are parents who, like me, are ready for your structured routine again, let’s throw in a little accountability this time around.

Enter: 30 Day Challenge!

15 Minute Workout Challenge(3)

I ran this one back in January when everyone’s resolutions were mighty. I purposefully set the exercise time at a reasonable amount because of seeing far too many people dive in with long, excruciating workouts in the attempt to drop pounds fast, only to find themselves toast after a month. For me, 15 minutes is a doable amount that I can tell my brain and body to commit to. What often happens is I find myself working out longer than the 15 minutes.

So, move it! Start today, tell yourself you’ll do 15 minutes of exercise, ANY exercise, a day. Check in daily here or on my Facebook page, where I’ll be checking in daily as well with my workouts.

Yesterday I started (unofficially, since I’m pronouncing today as Day One) with a 15 minute bodyweight cardio routine – everything was 1 minute, no rest between exercises. Between picking our backyard grapes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house (yes, really!), giving my clients a workout in the morning, making more laundry detergent (yes, I’m that woman), and chasing after my children, I was only up for 15 minutes and I don’t think I could have fit in more anyway.

Among the things I did were jumping jacks, high knees, plank, supermans, skater hops, squat jumps, cherry pickers, side planks, double crunches, and hallway sprints (always a hit with the kiddos).

Today is manic, I don’t even know where to start. But I’ll be getting my 15 minutes in somewhere. Here we go!

It’s Not Monday and Other Randomness!

Woohoo! Take a congratulatory lap, you’ve survived another Monday! Since it’s too early to drink wine to celebrate (says who?), instead I’m posting some random thoughts. So much randomness in this world, why not highlight a few bullet points?

  1. That crazy earthquake in Napa
Photo Credit: NBC News
Photo Credit: NBC News

If you haven’t yet heard about it, Sunday morning a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Northern California and shook Napa Valley hard – so hard that unofficial reports say the valley could be looking at a $100 million economic loss. That’s a LOT of wine.

There was reportedly a barrel containing $16,000 of pinot noir that crashed to the floor. I’m a bit of a fair-weather pinot noir fan, but re-reading that last sentence makes my stomach hurt.

Check out this Washington Post article for more on the crazy quake that hit at a VERY unfortunate time, as wineries were gearing up for harvest (not that quakes ever hit on an appropriate occasion).

2.   Bulu Box, anyone?

Fun stuff in a box!
Fun stuff in a box!

I’ve just discovered a little mail service over at Bulubox.com, which mails custom fitness and health goodies to you for $10/month. For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Nature Box, this is the same idea. I’m seriously contemplating signing up because #1 – I love trying new healthy goodies, and #2 – I crave variety in my fitness routine. My only reservation about this? Finding out after committing to a 3-month subscription that it’s loaded with supplements, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t even take a multi-vitamin anymore, let alone rely on any weight loss or fitness enhancing-pills. Has anyone out there tried this yet? Or should I just dive in completely and utterly unwarned?

3.  Meal planning – questions and answers

meal-planning

I get a lot of questions from clients about meal planning and how to go about it. Here’s what I know: Sitting down for 10 minutes to plan out the majority of the week’s dinners will seriously save you time every day. I spend about 20 minutes on Sundays making a list of what to have for dinner all week and then writing a grocery list. Then off to the store we go.

I don’t plan every breakfast unless I have some mornings where I don’t have to rush (ha!). Breakfast is usually a green smoothie, oatmeal (overnight oats recipes are HUGE timesavers and scrumptious, more on that soon), or a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait.

Lunches are always leftovers from the night before because we purposefully cook twice as much as we need, unless we didn’t have enough (aka: the Luke monster ate it all) or had the occasional evening out, then it’s something thrown together if I’m at home (cherry tomato and cucumber salad with cottage cheese and avocado toast = happy woman), or a sandwich from Subway or Jimmy John’s if I’m at the studio or running errands. I really try not to spend money on lunch if I don’t have to.

Back to meal planning. I try to use whatever we already have on-hand so that what we buy at the store ends up being mostly fresh veggies. We’re lucky to have some freezer space so we always have lean beef, lamb (yes, this trainer mama eats lean red meat and LIKES it), chicken, some fish (it doesn’t freeze well as long as other proteins), and shrimp. Occasionally we’ll buy tofu to do a stir-fry or lean sausage to mix into pasta.

Here’s my takeaway tip: If you can think about having one protein, one green vegetable (even if only its leaves are green), and one healthy carbohydrate, you can get the job done. I typically give us one or two nights to play with depending on our schedules and I try to be flexible because there are often times where chaos gets more chaotic and dinner becomes totally impromptu.

For example, here’s what our dinners look like this week:

Sunday: Lamb chops, roasted carrots from the farmer’s market, 5-ingredient corn bread (If you’re going to indulge in corn bread make sure to read the ingredients list, many corn breads on the market have hydrogenated oils in them, which is trans fat.)

Monday: Grilled chicken breasts, kale salad (a family favorite – see this post for the recipe!), and quinoa made with chicken broth and garlic

Tuesday: Shrimp sautéed in jalapeno wine (so good!), soba noodles (Love these! Very quick and healthy!), sautéed spinach and roasted bell peppers

Wednesday: Grilled steak salad (with a boat load of chopped veggies) and grilled sweet potatoes

Thursday: Ground beef-stuffed acorn squash with wild rice

Friday: Fun night out with the kids planned at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Nite Glow (my kids love this event and so does their mom), dinner TBD but it will be picnic-friendly

Saturday: Family in town, it could be anything, or it could be whatever we pick up from our fellow vendors at the Boise Farmer’s Market earlier that day.

As you can see, there’s nothing special here. Make it simple and as affordable as you need. Frozen veggies are great in a pinch. Some nights just clean out your fridge and have whatever leftovers you need to eat up. If your work week starts on Sunday, meal prep on Saturday or whichever day you have off. It saves a lot of time, headache, and money this way. Trust me!

4.  Hey moms, this one’s for you

Poise Fitness Playground Workout (<—check this video out to see a bunch of grown adults running around on playground equipment)

Over the weekend Von needed to bottle wine and luckily we live just a few blocks from the winery so I laced up my running shoes, the kids hopped in the jogging stroller, and we hit the greenbelt to pay our winemaker a visit. There’s a playground on this route so it’s inevitable my kids beg to stop there on our way home. Thanks to teaching boot camp years ago and trying to help my mom clients find a way to fit in fitness while entertaining their kids, I have a few playground obstacle courses stored away in my noggin’ that make my kids happy and give me my fitness fix. Granted, it can be challenging to duck your way through playground equipment intended for miniature versions of you, but I find it’s a great way to get exercise and make your kids think you’re the coolest mom ever. Plus, it’s kind of the point for it to be challenging.

A couple ideas: Use the stairs for, well, running up and down the stairs. Use a high step for step-ups. Create a course for you and your kids to run through and it may or may not include the slide. Use any elevated surface for pushups, monkey bars for hanging and bringing your knees up toward your chest (core strength!), another step for tricep dips, lay on your back on the ground and place your feet on the bottom of a slide to do bridge-ups, do jumping jacks between exercises/obstacle course rounds, jump rope (you don’t actually need a rope), perform box jumps on and off a step or bottom of the slide…you get it? Check out the above video for some visuals. And in case you’re wondering, I no longer teach boot camp in the mornings. Now that I’m a mom I reserve that hour for arguing with small people and exercising my non-morning-person patience.

I recommend you save this one for a time when the playground isn’t swamped and you can play freely with your kids on the equipment without some judge-y Debbie Downer parent tsk-tsk’ing you for not paying attention to the sign that clearly points out adults are not permitted.

5.  Being a winemaker’s wife

It's Wine:30 somewhere
It’s Wine:30 somewhere

I’m sure many wives or husbands of winemakers are much more glamorous than I am. Honestly, I don’t do glamour well anyway. I’m too sweaty half the time and the other half I’m laughing too hard, talking too loud or cleaning the mashed-up banana off my shirt. But I find it suits our business well since much of our time is spent at the farmer’s market talking to people, laughing about the un-believability of jalapeno wine, and sometimes doing all that with our sweet holy terrors in tow.

Last Saturday I headed down to the market to our booth like every other Saturday, where Von was pouring our wines and chatting with everyone and I was so excited to see one of my most favorite friends on this Earth. She spotted me first and immediately cracked up at my ridiculousness – pushing two kids in TWO umbrella strollers (for every good idea I have, there are two bad ones) and trying to look as though I have my wits together. It’s moments like those that I truly appreciate good friends to laugh with me about how un-glamorous our lives can be amidst a bunch of hype about people doing glamorous things.

Sunday after Von bottled what will be our next super fun wine release, he brought home a bottle so I could taste it (and make a margarita out of it, of course). I love being able to taste wines straight from the barrel or just freshly bottled. It’s probably the opposite of glamorous, but in reality I think the most glamorous things happen when they are just left to be what they are.

Honestly, being a winemaker’s wife looks a whole lot like making business decisions after 9 pm, writing proof for labels during naptime, holding a kid in one arm while pouring wine samples with the other and holding the fort down at home while the winemaker does the heavy lifting.

Really it looks a lot like what every other parent on the planet is doing in some aspect or another. It’s completely unglamorous, a whole lot of work, and surprisingly rewarding.

Cheers to all your random thoughts today!

Beginner HIIT Workout!

As I get ready for our family’s summer getaway I’m reminded of how completely unfocused, chaotic and jam-packed the schedule gets the week leading up to vacation. So much work goes into planned relaxation, it’s pretty comical really. So in the interest of preserving my sanity, keeping my body strong and saving time, I’m focusing on HIIT workouts right now.

Those of you who have trained with me know I love my HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and, essentially, it entails working out as hard as you can with very little recovery between exercises and getting it done in half the time of a traditional workout. Sometimes even less than that. And since time is not usually on our side it seems, these HIIT sessions can really save your butt (literally and figuratively).

As far as HIIT goes, there’s a lot of options. You can apply HIIT to pretty much anything – running, the elliptical machine, the weight room, body weight exercises (my favorite), even Pilates. I have yet to figure out how to apply it to potty training, but you never know…

"HIIT for Parenting", the book we haven't yet seen on the shelves.
“HIIT for Parenting”, the book we haven’t yet seen on the shelves.

Although HIIT isn’t exactly new, I know there are a lot of people who haven’t yet tried it. Or they’ve tried it without realizing it. So this post is dedicated to HIIT newbies. Which, by the way, doesn’t mean you’re new to fitness or even that you’re out of shape. I have quite a few clients who are in fantastic shape and have a solid workout regimen but have never tried HIIT. I always start them out at the beginning, even if they’re a triathlete. HIIT could care less about your conditioning level because it’s all about max effort with little rest between that effort, all with the intention of burning body fat more effectively. In other words I don’t care who you are, it’s going to make you sweat! Still aren’t buying what I’m selling? Read more about the hip HIIT benefits here.

All you need is a timer or stop watch. You’re going to complete each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the same exercise two more times (for a total of 3 times). Then you’ll move on to the next exercise. Complete the entire workout once, rest for 1 minute, then do the whole thing again. If, after two rounds, you feel like you have more left in you still, you should do it for a third time. 

This specific workout requires a three-minute warm up of your choice. If I’m at home my three minutes usually consists of a minute each of squats, jumping jacks, and alternating front-to-back kicks. If I’m at the studio I prefer to warm up with an easy jog on the treadmill. The idea is simply to get your body warm and ready for a workout.

A couple things worth noting before you dive in:

1. You’re going to get tired, that’s the whole point. You want to walk away from this 20 minutes later feeling like you left it all on the gym or living room floor.

2. If you’re doing the pushups and you feel like you’re not doing them correctly or your form is suffering, go down on your knees PLEASE! I don’t know why the world is afraid of knee pushups. It irritates me to no end. Sure, it’s best if you can do them on your toes and the idea should be to work up to that. But let me just tell you, if you do a knee pushup correctly, you’ll get the same results.If you’re doing full pushups with poor form you’re not doing yourself any favors whatsoever. End of rant.

A few demos to watch before you begin if you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises I’ve given:

Traveling Pushups Demo

Bicycle Crunches

Butt Kicks

Skater Hops

Got it? Good. You’re ready! BeginnerHIIT Let me know what you think. I’ll be posting more HIIT workouts in the future and if you enjoy this one please share!