Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 8 in Review + Butternut Soup Recipe

Good Monday Morning!  I hope that you had a great weekend.  We sure did, as I mentioned on Friday we went to visit my brother and sister in law in Cleveland.  We went to a great dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant in Little Italy on Saturday night and then went to the Cleveland Zoo on Sunday, which Ariana loved!  It was a nice visit and we are excited they will be moving back to Michigan after they have the baby.  How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun or go anywhere exciting?

Before I get to my week 8 in review I wanted to update you on my IIFYM program, or lack thereof.  After 5 days on the plan with a lot of planning, cooking, weighing, and scheduling my meals not to mention too much food (for me at least) I have decided to stop with the IIFYM.  It is not for me.  On Thursday night I ate so much food (mind you it was all healthy food), but I was eating just to reach a number and it hit me that this really isn't going to work for my lifestyle.  It was taking over my whole day, and for me that is not balance.  I have been working on reaching that good balance and the IIFYM was taking me out of that.  I wasn't listening to my body and didn't stop eating when I was satisfied, I was eating just to hit my macro goals.  I am going to return to my normal healthy eating habits and I will track for a few weeks in My Fitness Pal to make sure I am getting the right amounts of food for me.  I think that for the right person IIFYM would work, but in the end I had to do what I felt was right for me and my body and stop before it did damage to all the work I have been doing on creating a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain.

On to my week 8 in review!  I took 3 rest days this weekend, mostly because we were so busy, but also because I was so sore from my heavy lifting week.  Even though I had one week left on my original schedule, I changed up my week a little.  This week will be a new plan with some Jillian added in!  I can't believe that I am moving into weeks 9-12!  I definitely have more definition than when I started, and I am feeling much stronger so I will continue to work toward my goals.  I know that it takes time commitment and consistency to reach my goals, and I know that I have what it takes to get there.  Check back tomorrow and I will share my weeks 9-12 workout plan. 

Monday- Heavy chest/arm day
Tuesday- glutes and abs
Wednesday- Heavy back/shoulders
Thursday- heavy arms and some quads
Friday-Sunday- REST

This week I am going to do 3 days of lifting and 6 days of the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30.  I did this DVD program before and I love it!  I am going to work it into my week and see how I feel at the end of the week.  The few things that I was doing with IIFYM and will continue are eating a pre-workout snack about an hour to hour and a half before my workout and then 30 minutes before taking half scoop of super pump maxx with creatine on my heavy lifting days.  I feel like these two changes helped with my workouts.  How was your week?  Did you get your workouts in?

 photo credit

Here is a clean eating butternut squash soup recipe that is sure to please even the little ones in your house.  This chilly weather makes me crave warm soups. 

Clean Eating Butternut Squash Soup 
(original recipe here)
 Makes 8-10 servings

2 tsp unsalted organic butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 to 2 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped
5 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
3/4 cups 1% organic milk
sea salt and pepper to taste

1- In a medium stockpot on medium high heat, melt butter and saute garlic and onion for about 5 mins
2- Add squash and broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin.  Simmer on low for about 2 hours.
3- Using a handheld blender, puree soup until smooth.  Add milk and blend until combined.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with sliced whole-grain bread.

Nutrients per 1 cup serving: Calories: 132, total fat 1g, Carbs 30g, fiber 5g, sugar 6g, protein 3g. 

As for the rest of my menu for the week it will include:
Breakfast: eggs, toast, fruit
Lunch: salad with lots of veggies and a protein (chicken, salmon, etc), Post-workout shakes (meal replacement)
Snacks- almonds, hard boiled egg whites, apples, bananas, mozzarella cheese, kind bars
Dinner- butternut squash soup, and I think I will pull out the crock pot and make some slow cooked meals this week. I will share recipes throughout the week.

What are your workout plans for the week?  Do you try to plan your meals for the week?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday Fitness Friends!  I have seen Five Things Friday posts on some of my favorite blogs, and I wanted to join in the fun on this beautiful day.  I would love to hear what 5 things are on your list this fab Friday.  These are not all fitness related, but what the heck, I wanted to share anyway.  I also have a love for fashion!

1) Embellished sandals

I got these super cute sandals for a steal at DSW today.  Kind of a funny story actually, my friend Kim and I went out for a girls night and traded shoes (mine were killing my feet!) and she ended up wearing mine home.  Her and her fiance just rescued a new dog and he decided they looked like a good chew toy!  She gave me a gift card for DSW which led me to this great find!  I think I can squeeze a few weeks out of these bad boys before I have to put them away until Spring.

 2) Fall Colors

With the money left over on my gc I saw these awesome fall colors at the register (they get me every time!) and I just had to snag these to pain my nails for the weekend.  Ariana, my mom and I are headed to see my brother and sis-in law (who is preggers with my first niece or nephew) this weekend and I wanted to have fresh polish!  I never do my nails anymore and it felt like a nice treat.  These are colors I will use all season long.

3) Cute messages on shirts

Since, Ariana is growing like a weed these days we needed to do some fall shopping for her today.  My mom told me there was 40% off all kid stuff at Old Navy so after DSW, this was our next stop.  I got a ton of super cute stuff for her, she is going to be a little fashionista (although I am sure she could care less right now, but will thank me later).  While I was there I decided to peruse though stuff for me, and one of my finds was this super cute and lightweight sweatshirt.  It is so comfy and will look cute with a tank and jeans.  There were others with little saying, but I loved this one, its a reminder to live with your heart and soul!

4) Patterned workout leggings posted these on their Facebook page and I just had to order them!  There was a 10% off your first order on the site, which paid for shipping, so I thought I'd try them out.  I know I workout by myself at home, but I thought if I ever get back to my yoga practice these would look cute and be comfy!  You may catch me wearing them out and about, but hey that is one of the advantages of being a stay at home mom, Ariana doesn't care if I spend the day in yoga leggings.  I also found a super cute back and grey pair at Old Navy, what can I say... I am a sucker for cute workout clothes!

5) Spending time with this sweet girl

I am so blessed that I get to stay home and take care of our precious daughter.  She is growing up so fast and learning so much and I get to be here to experience it all.  She was quite the trooper during our shopping trip today and fell asleep on the way home.  She is so much fun and has her own (strong willed) personality.  I thank God for her every single day.  She is the reason I keep myself active and healthy.  I want her to grow up with a good role model, not have body image issues, eating the right foods (or at least knowing the right way to eat), and staying active.  I want to be here for my grand kids (yea, I know I'm getting ahead of myself here), so I will take good care of myself so I am here for her!

Healthy & Delicious Single Serving Recipes

Order your copy here

Do you love to try new recipes, but hate having so much left over to tempt your sweet tooth?  My fellow Sweat Pink Sister Kamila Gornia of the blog Sensual Appeal has the answer for you!  She created a single serving cookbook with healthy and delicious recipes that include breakfasts, snacks and desserts.  A lot of these recipes are gluten free and vegan, and if they are not, just a few tweaks will make them fit your dietary needs.  Kamila allowed me to preview her cookbook and I am excited to try many (many) of these recipes.  My daughter has a sweet tooth (I wonder where she got that from?) so I love having healthy alternatives to usually decadent recipes is a must.  Here is a sneak peek from her breakfast recipes! 

Chocolate Protein Oats

1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond milk
+ more for topping
1/4 cup water
dark chocolate chips for topping
Set the stove on low-medium heat.
Throw in dry ingredients first and mix, then throw in the wet ingredients except the topping ingredients (chocolate chips and additional milk).
Stir and cook for a couple of minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Stir occasionally, more towards the end of the cook time.
Put in a bowl and drop a few chocolate chips on top. Swirl them around if you like. Add more non-dairy milk to top and voila

This recipe for Chocolate protein oats sounds so good and looks easy to make.  This is going on my weekend menu and I know Ariana is going to love it too.

If you want to order your own e-book that is instantly downloadable head over to her website and place your order.  With the low price of $7.99 how can you not?  Oh, and if that's not enough check she has given me a 25% off code to share with you, my wonderful readers!  Enter BLOG25 for your 25% off discount.

Thanks to Kamila for sharing this great collection of recipes with me.

I will be sure to share the ones that I make with you guys here, so check back!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

IIFYM Day 4 + A New High Protein Grain

I am well into day 4 of my new nutrition plan, IIFYM.  IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros (see more here).  I am doing this new plan because with what I was doing before I was not getting the results out of my workouts that I wanted to see.  I want to build more muscle and I felt like my nutrition wasn't supporting that goal.  I sought out a coach with the help of a fellow Sweat Pink Sister Michelle Piccolo, who is 10 days out from her first figure competition!  With her advice I contacted Dr. Layne Norton and he referred me to a few coaches.

 After reading many profiles and bios, I chose my coach Carrie McMahon from This Fit Chick .  So, here I am 4 days in and I feel great, I'm lifting heavier and I get to eat!  Carrie gave me my exact macros and a fiber goal to hit each day based on my goal, and I am not going to lie I freaked out a little the first day I saw the numbers and almost (almost!) didn't do it.  But then I thought, I need to do something different if I want to add muscle and get the overall fit figure I am wanting, so I am sticking with it.  Carrie is very helpful and answers all my (many) questions very quickly.  She suggested an app which makes it easier to track my macros, and even though I can eat what ever I want within my macros for the day, I am sticking with whole unprocessed food.  There is also a lot of planning (for all 5 meals) and prepping to make sure that I have the right stuff on hand, but that is not too different from before.  My energy levels are high and I am not starving, although every 3 hours I am ready for my next meal, which means my metabolism is revved up!  Stay tuned for more updates as I progress in the next 12 weeks.  There is also an article on Body today about Macro Math, if you want to read more about using macro tracking to reach your goals.

Recently I came across this new high protein grain during a shopping trip at Costco.  I was intrigued and decided to grab a bag.  I made it the other night, and it is amazing!  I love it so much more than quinoa (I never was the biggest fan of plain quinoa), it is great just cooked with nothing added to it.  I was worried when I opened the bag because it had a very "earthy" smell, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it.  It has a nutty taste, with the texture of really fluffy brown rice (think P.F. Changs).  The nutrient profile is amazing too, with 8g of protein per 1/4 cup it is a great addition to my meals, and fits in great for my macros.  I am hooked and will run to Costco to stock up, because if you shop there you know, if it doesn't sell they get rid of it.  If you see it any where else let me know.  Grab a bag and cook some up to try, then let me know your opinion. 

Lastly, head on over to Eat. Drink. Be Skinny! to check out part 2 of my Building A Home Gym On A Budget series.  This one is an awesome workout you can do at home with your new equipment.  While you are there make sure to join her newsletter and like her page on Facebook.  Thanks Teresa for having me back!  I look forward to working with you more in the future!

Also, just a quick note...if you leave a comment/question and want to be notified of follow up comments/responses, make sure to click the Notify Me box in the bottom right before you post.


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Zaggora Pants and Bulu Box News

Happy Monday fellow fitness lovers! I am so excited that fall is finally here, I love the cooler weather and the fun fall activities.  I also love being able to wear yoga pants and a lulu jacket when I head out to run errands.  I am excited to take Ariana to the cider mill this year to experience apple picking, hay rides and the petting zoo.  I can't believe my baby is getting so big, one of the joys of motherhood is watching her learn and grow.  She even likes to join in my workouts and jumps, planks and squats when I do.  She thinks that it is fun, and I love that she gets to see me workout and I like to include her in some of my moves.  Hello 27 super cute pounds of extra resistance!  I want her to grow up with a love of being active and will introduce her to many different activities and she can choose what she loves, as my mom did for us.  How do you incorporate your kid(s) into your active lifestyle?

Atomica Hot Pants-Zaggora

I recently found the Zaggora brand and contacted them about becoming a brand ambassador.  I was told they are currently re-vamping their program, but they would love to send me a pair to try and review!  This is my first product sent by a company for me to review and share on my blog!  I am definitely excited for the opportunity.  I will wear them during some of my workouts over the next few weeks and tell you all about them.  So what makes these workout pants different from the ones you already have?  Their patent pending ThermoFit Technology helps your body to burn extra calories during exercise by harnessing your body's natural heat.  The pants were given to me by the company, however the opinions expressed will be my own.  Check out their website for more info and their current $10 off your first order offer! 
Bulu Box
Now some exciting news about Bulu Box...I am a new Bulu Box Ambassador!  Bulu Box is a great way to learn about new health and fitness products that will fit into your healthy lifestyle.  You can subscribe to the box that fits your needs, they have month to month, 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions and each month you get a fun box filled with goodies to try.  Its like a gift of health & fitness to you from you!  Who doesn't love getting a package in the mail? Also, once you have your subscription you can earn rewards by completing reviews and surveys of the products in your box to use toward full size products.  This is such a fun way to try new products that help you stay fit and healthy.  For more information check out their website.  Also, while you are there and if you decide to sign up here is a $10 off any box code BULUGAN451.  You can even use this on the $10 box and try it for FREE!  With Christmas right around the corner (scary, I know!) this is a great gift to give to the health nut in your life.  I am excited to get my first box to try!  If you sign up let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Progress Not Perfection + Week 7 In Review

I can't believe how fast time flies, it has been 7 weeks since I have started sharing my journey with you and I have to say I am loving it!  I have been keeping up with my workouts and I am having fun sharing them with you.  I hope that you have had the chance to try a few too!  My current mantras are "Strive for Progress, not Perfection!" and "The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday".  What are a few of your favorite mantras you use in your journey?  

Since I am trying not to focus on the scale as my only measure of progress I took my measurements.  This week Thursday was 4 weeks from the first measurements I took on 8/19.  My results?  A total of 11.5" lost!  I am so excited to see these numbers.  The biggest change was in my stomach, with 5" lost.  I can tell a difference in how I look, feel and how my clothes fit.  I am starting to see some muscle definition, but I need to work on my nutrition to add more muscle.  How do you measure progress?  What are your goals?

Because I am having trouble putting on enough muscle with the workouts that I am doing, I decided to seek help for my nutrition from a fellow fitness professional.  It is much easier to help others, there is something about not being able to look at your own day and decide what changes need to be made.  I am working with a coach and I will be doing the IIFYM method.  Huh?  Yea, same thing I said.  IIFYM stand for If It Fits Your Macros.  My coach set my macro (carbs, fats and proteins) goals along with a fiber goal and some supplements to help with my workouts and recovery.  It will be nice to have some help with this aspect and I am excited to learn about this new eating lifestyle.  My coach said I can eat anything as long as it fits in my macros for the day.  What does this mean?  That if I want a cookie, pizza or chocolate I can have it, but it has to fit in my macro goals for the day.  I will keep you updated on how I do.  Since my goal is to lose body fat and gain lean muscle, I will definitely be focusing on the nutrient dense foods, but it is nice to know that no foods are off limits and oddly enough that is kind of freeing!  I am looking at this as a lifestyle, not a fad diet.  If you have any questions on the IIFYM please ask!  I am excited for this next step in my journey.

On to my week 7 in review.  I feel good about the weights I am doing, I need to add a few more HIIT sessions in next week.  I think with eating more of the right things I should be able to accomplish this.  As far as my nutrition for the week, I did really well.  I had food prepared and had salad the few times I ate out.  We did order pizza, so I did have that this week too.  This week, if I do have pizza again, I need to work it in to my macros!
Monday: Chest & arms
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: back & shoulders, added sprints in between circuits
Thursday: rest
Friday: Legs 
Saturday: upper body circuits
Sunday: walk with Ariana in the stroller

My week 8 goals are focusing on getting my macros right and getting all my weight lifting sessions in.  I am working on setting up my meals so I know what I need when, I feel that this is going to help a ton with my energy levels during workouts and my ability to add more muscle.  I also want to add 2 HIIT sessions this week and will fit them into my non-lifting days.

I have some fun things coming up this week that I am excited to share, make sure to check back!


Have you heard of If it fits your macros, or tried it?  I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Benefits of Strength Training + a workout!

When someone asks me what the best thing they can do for their overall health and appearance my answer is always the same…start strength training regularly.  Why you may ask?  There are so many benefits to strength training, I hope that I can inspire you to pick up some dumbbells and get some reps in!

Here are the top 5 benefits to get you pumped up, pun intended, for strength training:
  1. Lose or maintain weight: Wherever you are in your fitness journey, strength training can help you lose body fat or maintain the weight you worked hard to get to.  When you add lean muscle your metabolism is revved up and helps to burn more body fat even when you are not working out.
  2. You will look lean even if the scale doesn’t change.  Muscle weights more than fat, but takes up less space.  For example a woman who works out with weights may weight 150, and her friend who doesn’t also weighs 150, the woman who strength trains will look leaner and fit.  A better measure is your body fat percentage, which you can get checked at your gym by a certified personal trainer. 
  1. It maintains or improves your bone density and muscle mass.  Studies have shown that weight bearing exercise is the best way to increase or maintain your bone density and muscle mass as you age.  Both of these tend to decrease with age, the best way to slow this loss, you guessed it strength training!  This will improve your quality of life as you age.
  2. It is important for your mental and emotional well being.  When you workout you are releasing endorphins which improve your mood.  The more consistent you are with your workouts the more benefits you will see.  Exercise is also a great anti-depressant and helps to improve your quality of sleep.  Have you ever finished a workout and felt like you can take on the world?
  3. It reduces your risk of injury and illness.  Strength training helps to increase the strength of your connective tissue, muscle and tendons which improves your range of motion in every day life, thus leading to less injury.  Regular strength training also helps to strengthen your immune system.  Who doesn’t want fewer sick days?

Here is a quick total body strength training workout:
Bench chest press- 15 reps
Standing hammer curl- 20 reps
Dumbbell triceps kickback- 20 reps
Squat to shoulder press- 15 reps
Good mornings- 20 reps
Bent over dumbbell row- 15 reps
Plank hold- 30 seconds (no weight)
*Complete one round of all exercises, rest 2-3 minutes and repeat 2-3 times.  Choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to complete all reps.

*As with any new exercise program be sure to check with your doctor to get the green light!

This post also appeared at FitFul Focus as a guest post. 

Busy and Loving it!

Grilled Chicken Breast, Steamed Broccoli and Smashed Sweet Potatoes
I have been quite busy lately and I am really loving it!  Yesterday was seriously a full day, I started my day at 6:30am with my back and shoulders workout, wrote a meal plan for a client, took my daughter to kindermusik, while she was napping I trained a new client, then I cooked some clean meals to have for the next few days, went and got pictures taken and went to dinner.  Whew! 
A few pictures from our session last night

I also received this super cute tank and water bottle I purchased at Blogilates.  I think carrying around this bottle will help inspire me to drink more water.  I am hoping to do a giveaway of these cute items, I am waiting to hear back.  Fingers crossed!

Also, today I did a guest post over at FitFul Focus.  Nicole is a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador sister and I was more than thrilled when she asked for a guest post.  I discuss the benefits of strength training and give you a little workout!  Head on over and check out her blog, she has a lot of great info.  Also, stop by her Facebook page and give that a like!  Thanks Nicole for having me by to guest post!

I hope that you are having a truly awesome fit day!  I had lunch with my mom, aunt, cousin and her new baby, it was fun, now I am off to run errands then get in my Jillian Kickboxing workout before dinner.  I have been really on track with my eating and I feel great.  My energy levels are awesome and I don't feel like I am starving.  I am doing my one month measurements tomorrow, I'll post my results.
What did you do to get Fit today?  How do you measure your progress?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Guest Post at Eat. Drink. Be Skinny! Building a Home Gym on a Budget

Today over at Eat. Drink. Be Skinny! you can read my guest post about building a home gym on a budget!  If you thought you had excuses for not getting to the gym, I have the answer for you!
Head on over to read Build a Home Gym on a Budget!  This is part 1 in a 2 part series, check back next week for your killer workout with your new equipment.

 If you are looking to excuse proof your workouts building a home gym is the best way to do it.  When I say building, I don't mean adding another room to your house to "build" a gym, I mean shopping for some awesome fitness items that you can keep in a spare room, your room, or anywhere that you can get a good workout in the space that you have.  If you wake up and see your equipment staring at you it will motivate you to get your butt out of bed to workout.  We are all pressed for time in the fast paced world and usually the first thing to get cut is the workout!  Why?  Because we say, "I don't have time for that today, I will get to the gym tomorrow, I PROMISE!"  How many times have you said that to yourself and before you know it a whole month has passed and you haven't made time to workout?  Well, here is your answer...Build your home gym...on a budget!  I have put together a list of what I feel, being a personal trainer and a busy mom, are the best fitness tools to have at home so you can get your workout in and stop making excuses.


1. Dumbbells- These are a must have for any strength training session!  You can create this collection slowly, but the first two sizes to get are a 5 and 10.  You will want both, there will be some exercises that will target smaller muscle groups and you will want the lighter weight, conversely you will want the heavier weight for the larger muscle groups and to challenge your self.  These are a great place to start, and as you get stronger you can add heavier dumbbells to your collection.  Most sets will run you $10-15, you can find them sold together or separately. Hit up your local sporting goods store because shipping these can get pricey.

2. Stability Ball-  Besides being fun to bounce on, this ball is great to build up your core stability.  It is such a versatile tool to have in your home gym, you can do crunches, use it against a wall for squats, or laying down for hamstring curls (see photo below).  I have included a diagram to show you exactly how to pick the right size for you, this is awesome, because now you can pick the right size so you fit correctly while working out.  Depending on the size expect to pay $20-35 for the ball.
Stability Ball Hamstring Curl- Photo credit here
Ball Size Chart
3.Resistance Bands- When it comes to adding variety to your workouts resistance bands are your best friends!  Plus if you have a vacation planned they fit great in your suitcase so you can get a quick workout in where ever you go!  They come in a variety of resistances and I usually like to have easy, medium and hard.  Every company color codes differently, so make sure to check out what the package says.  I have a set that has two handles and three bands that can be used separately or together to create multiple resistance combos.  These are great for bicep curls, tube walks, and shoulder presses (see photo)   A set like the one pictured below should cost around $30.  
Resistance band shoulder press

Set of  resistance bands
  4. Kettle Bells- I love kettle bells, so much so that I became a certified instructor.  They provide a functional workout which means you can do strength, cardio and flexibility movements that help with movement in your everyday life.  Not to mention you burn a ton of calories working with these babies!  Even the most seasoned athletes can benefit from adding kettle bells to their routine.  There are a ton of exercises that can be done with these.  Here are a few of my favorites kettle bells swings (see below), shoulder presses, russian twists and upright rows.  Kettle bells can be expensive so I would start with a $15 which will be about $20-30, again try a store like American Home Fitness because shipping can get costly.  Also, make sure that you buy a kettle bell that is once piece CAP is a great brand, these are more sturdy than some of the others and will last forever! 
Kettle bell swings- Calorie burner!!

CAP 15 lb Kettle bell

5. Additional items- There are a few other items that you can add depending on the space you have available and the surface you are working on.  If your workout area will have hard floors, I would invest in a padded mat, these are not too costly around $15-20, but will be appreciated during floor work.  Love to jump?  Add a jump rope, this classic will help you to get your heart rate up during your workouts and burn some extra calories.  If you don't have space indoor you can always head outside to get a few sets in, and at $10 or so its an easy addition.  The last optional item is a step system, however if you have stairs in your house those will work fine for step ups.  If you are looking for more of a cross-fit jump type workout investing the $30-50 is worth it.  The step can also be used as a bench for chest presses, tricep dips and dumbbell rows. 

Thanks again to Teresa at Eat. Drink. Be Skinny! for having me guest post!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

200 Likes Giveaway Winner!

I want to congratulate Stefanie Benaquisto for being the winner of the 200 Likes giveaway!  She won a $25 Vitamin Shoppe Gift Card and 2 weeks of personalized meal plans.  Thanks to all those who entered and stay tuned for future giveaways!

Sunday night, I made some yummy chili!  The weather was perfect for it.  I had organic grass fed beef already thawed so I used that instead of turkey like the recipe I posted called for.  Here is what mine included:
1.25 lbs Organic Grass Feed Beef 85/15
1 can organic pinto beans
1 can organic white beans
1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with mild chilies
garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, dash of lime and ancho chile powder
*I cooked the beef until until cooked added the other ingredients and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes.
I served it over cooked zucchini and green beans.  YUM!
My husband and I ate one serving each and had enough for 4 other servings.

Just Say No to GMO's and Highly Processed Foods!

So today when I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you today my husband told me there is a video that I have to watch.  Turns out it is a Chipotle ad, and it is literally the most honest and inspiring video I have seen in a while.  Watch it here.  In just over 3 minutes it captures all that is wrong and scary in our food industry today.  I have taken the time to educate my self on what GMO's are and I know that they are not something that I want to eat or feed my precious child.  GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism.  What they (by they I mean "food" chemists) do is take genes from one organism and splice it with the genes of another, an example of how they do this is with corn and the Bt Toxin.  They put the Bt toxin in the seed of the corn and as it grows it has this dangerous toxin inside the food that you will eventually eat.  They do this to cut down on loss of corn from pests, however the job of Bt toxin is to rupture the stomach of the insects that eat it.  Monsanto claims that the toxin will be gone by the time it makes it to your stomach, hmm how can they be sure of that?  Also, studies have been done and the Bt toxin has been found in human stomachs.  The more you read about the topic the more frustrated you will become.  There is no regulation or safety testing on GMO foods in the US and there are numerous countries that have outright banned GMO foods.  Long story short, former Monsanto employees are now seated in government positions that are supposed to protect the people they serve, however these employees are in the pockets of Monsanto thus creating the "food" industry we have today.  The same goes for the factory farmed meat and poultry industry, but that is a whole other topic.

Here are the top 10 GMO foods to avoid:  
  1. Soy
  2. Corn
  3. Canola Oil 
  4. Cotton (Cotton seed oil)
  5. Milk 
  6. Sugar
  7. Aspartame
  8. Zucchini
  9. Yellow Squash
  10. Papaya
So now that you know a little more about what GMO's are what can you do to protect your families from these danger foods?
  1. Educate yourself more about GMO's.  The Institute for Responsible Technology as well as Organic Consumers Association are two awesome resources for information.  
  2. Buy organic whenever possible.  If you can't buy everything organic aim to at least buy the top 10 GMO foods organic and your meat, pork and poultry organic.  Legally GMO foods can't be in organic foods.
  3. Read your labels. Corn and soy are in tons of processed foods.  The Non-GMO Project is a third party verification system and if your food is labelled with the Non-GMO project seal you can know that it has been tested and verified.  Until GMO foods are labelled this is the best you can do to support this project and the companies that are going through the certification process.
  4. Cut out processed foods.  When you take these out of your diet you are eliminating most GMO containing foods.
  5. Don't eat at any fast food restaurants!  This is for your general health too!  You can bet your dollar menu dollar that all of these foods contain GMO's, hormones and other unmentionables.  I'm not sure about you but this "food" is so cheap for a reason.  Keep your kids as far away from this as possible.  I will be a happy mom if my daughter never eats any of this "food" and it will never be a treat.  Gross!
  6. Support labeling of GMO foods.  The best way to do this is vote with your dollars.  Refuse to purchase conventional foods that are choc full of GMO's and chemicals.  This sends a huge message. 
  7. Share your knowledge with others.  This is the best way to get the word out there and get these dangerous chemicals off the store shelves and out of our kids.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the video and GMO's.  This can be quite the controversial topic so lets keep it positive and relevant.  

How do you avoid GMO foods?  I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week 6 review + Clean Eating Turkey Chili Recipe

I usually allow myself one cheat meal a week, but with all the festivities of this weekend I think I had a few too many!  We had a wedding on Friday night, took my mom and brother out for their birthdays on Saturday and I had one of my best friends wedding shower today.  Now with things slowing down, and my yoga pants a little tighter, it is time to re-align with my goals and get myself back on track.  My goal for myself is to lose some belly fat so I can see some ab definition, work on getting my arms and shoulders to pop and to look awesome in the strapless wedding dress for my friends wedding I am standing up in November.  I feel that this is a realistic goal for myself.  I know that if I want this to happen I have to tighten up on my eating.  I would say right now I am about 85-90% clean eating, but I do allow myself more than a few treats.  I am great with my workouts, but I know in order to see the results, I need to be at 100% clean eating and leave the treats alone.  Sometimes I entertain the idea of competing in a fitness competition before we have baby number two, and I know that I can if I really set my mind too it.  I may start researching it in the next few weeks...we'll see!   What are your goals for the rest of the year?  

Week 6 was a so, so week.  Definitely not on par with some of my better weeks, however like I said yesterday, I was taking some rest days because I wasn't feeling great at the beginning of the week.  I am well rested and ready to take on week 7 and work harder, better to get faster and stronger!  How was your week?  Did you get your workouts in?

Here is my week 6 week in review:
Monday: Chest & arms with interval cardio 
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Back & Shoulders
Thursday: Jillian Michaels Kickboxing- 40 minutes
Friday- Rest
Sunday- Rest
Saturday's calorie burn in just over an hour!
Original Recipe Here
Inspired by this rainy cold day I wanted to share this Clean Eating Turkey Chili recipe from Jamie Eason.
  • 2 lbs. extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 - 4 oz. cans of diced green chilies
  • 1 - 15 oz. can Organic Tri-Bean Blend (drained)
  • 1 - 15 oz. can Organic Black Beans (drained)
  • 2 - 14.5 oz. cans Organic Diced Tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 tbsp. Xylitol Brown Sugar Blend (Ideal)
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. regular yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. dried or fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. adobo sauce (optional)
  1. In a large pot add onions and meat, sprinkled with garlic powder and cook until no longer pink (drain using a plate, if desired).
  2. Next add the green chilies, beans, tomatoes, xylitol and spices (except cilantro) and stir until combined.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Finally, add cilantro. Serve hot.
  5. You may sprinkle veggie shreds or a light cheese on top.
 Makes 12 servings
1 serving = 196 calories, 1 g fat, 20 g carbs, 24 g protein

Don't forget today is the last day to enter the 200 likes giveaway!  I will pick the winner tomorrow!  Good Luck!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sunny Saturday + 600 Calorie burn workout

Good Saturday Morning!  I hope that you are somewhere enjoying the sunny morning.  We went to a friend's wedding last night and had a blast.  Sometimes it is nice to get all dressed up and dance with friends.  I may be a little sleepy this morning, but I am going to get my workout in.

All dressed up!
It has been kind of an off week in terms of workouts, I was feeling like I was getting sick at the beginning of the week so I took Tuesday off to rest and give my immune system time to do its thing.  I have realized that it is best to listen to your body and not to push it even when you really want to get a workout in.  Do you listen to your body when you are starting to feel run down or do you push through?  I know that my body will thank me for taking a few rest days, and when I get to my workout today I will be well rested and ready to kick some butt!
Before I give you your 600 calorie burn workout, I want to take a quick moment and share a few things that happened to me this week, in hopes that if it happens to you too you won't let it affect you.  Twice this week I had a few other women, moms in fact, pass judgement on me.  One had a negative comment on Facebook about my article and another one last night at the wedding had her own opinion on how I am too attached to my daughter.  Here's the thing...why would any woman, especially a mother, have anything but kind words for the other.  If you are a mom, you know that along with all the wonderful moments, it comes with its challenges.  I want to be the kind of woman and mother that only has praise and helpful words for others.  It also helps to have some amazing friends that you can talk to and will always lift you up and support you.  I feel blessed to have some awesome women in my life including my mom, sister and aunt!  I took a lesson from The Four Agreements (wonderful book, short and insightful) which says not to take anything personally, so I didn't.  Both of these women have something going on in their lives which has nothing to do with me, end of story.  So if you experience this in your life, let it go, don't take it personally and move on.  Maybe say a quick prayer for that person and get on with your day.  Negative people...ain't nobody got time for that! 
 Ready for your 600 calorie burn workout?  This is what I am going to do today, and my goal is to burn 600 calories in 1 hour!  Try this workout and let me know what you think.  Do you wear a heart rate monitor when you workout?

600 Calorie Burn Workout
30 seconds per exercise 10 seconds in between (this is where a gym boss comes in handy)
Repeat each circuit 3 times before moving on to the next.  Rest 2-3 minutes between each circuit.
Circuit #1- 
Bench step ups (alternate leg)
Squat to shoulder press
triceps dips
high knees

Circuit #2-
 Hamstring curls on stability ball
Ab tucks with stability ball
Bent over close grip dumbbell rows
jumping lunges (alternate legs)

Circuit #3-
Kettle bell upright row
russian twist with kettle bell
jump squats 

Now Go Sweat!  Let me know how your workout goes today!  

Also, today is the last day to enter my 200 likes giveaway!  Don't miss out!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Ditched My Scale + Easy Clean PB & Banana snack

For as long as I can remember I have weighed myself and cared ever so much what that little number glaring up at me would say.  If it was lower than I wanted, I would be thrilled and just the opposite if it was too high (in my head) then I would be disappointed.  I am not sure when or why I got so hung up on that silly number.  It really means nothing!  I have finally, and I mean finally, ditched my scale.  I really, really, really, don't care what it says anymore.  I have decided that I am so much more than that tiny little number.  I am strong, beautiful, loving, caring, a great mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend and this number has no bearing on who I am.  I feel free!  I have decided to measure my progress in how I feel, how my clothes fit and the muscle tone and strength I am building in the gym.  Once a month I will take measurements to gauge my progress, but that is it.  I am not going to worry about it any more.  I hope that you will step off the scale with me and stop worrying about that number.  Say it with's just a number, it really means nothing!  There doesn't that feel good?  Now take your scale out of your bathroom or wherever you keep it and either toss it, or put it far back in your closet and forget it's there! Then share with me how it feels to ditch the scale too!

Okay, now on to something yummy!  I made this little snack last night because I was having a sugar craving and didn't want to give in to chocolate.  I used the Lundberg Farms Organic Cinnamon Toast rice cakes, peanut butter and a banana.  I shared it with my hubby and daughter and fought over who got to lick the bowl, no joke!

Here is the easy clean eating recipe:
1-2 rice cakes
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 or 1 banana
cinnamon to taste
*In a bowl mash banana, for a single serving use 1/2 banana, if sharing use the whole thing
add desired amount of peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mix well and spread on rice cake...Enjoy!

I hope that you are having a wonderful & healthy week! 

What are some of your favorite clean eating snacks?

I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remember the fallen

Taking the day off from blogging to remember all the lives lost on 9.11.01.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Get Your Pre-Baby Body Back...My Guest Post for For Two Fitness

Left: Me 4 weeks before giving birth.  Right: Me now (my daughter is 19 months old)
I mentioned before that I am now a For Two Fitness Fit Mom Ambassador.  I wrote a guest blog that was featured on their blog today about getting your body back after pregnancy.  You can read my full pregnancy story here.  Long story short I gained way more than I wanted.  Since I am a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist I was able to use my knowledge to my advantage and get my pre-baby body back.  I am in better shape now than I was before I got pregnant in May 2011.  Here is my full guest blog that I wrote for For Two Fitness.  I hope that this helps you get back to your pre-baby (or maybe better) body.  Feel free to contact me with questions for for help.  I was there and I know what it takes.  Just know...You can do it!!


Get Your Pre-baby Body Back!

After giving birth to my daughter, I wanted to get back to my pre-pregnancy body, and quickly!  However, I knew that I had to be gentle with myself and start slowly as my body had just undergone many changes.  I was breast feeding which helped shed some of the initial weight (Mother Nature is smart like that).  Once I was cleared for exercise by my doctor I started walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a slow pace and doing some light weights.  I have lost all of the weight I gained and an extra 15 pounds, if I can do it so can you! 
Here are some tips that will help you get back your pre-baby body:
1. Start slow- walk everyday and as you get stronger go longer distances
2. Do some light weights- Invest in a pair of 5 and 8 pound dumbbells
            Easy and quick at home workout while the baby naps:
            -Squat with a bicep curl: 2-3 Sets of 15 reps
            -Alternating reverse lunges: 2-3 Sets of 10 reps per leg
            -Standing dumbbell shoulder presses: 2-3 sets 15 reps
            -Crunches- 2-3 sets 30 reps
            -Plank hold: 2-3 sets 30 seconds
            -Bent-over dumbbell rows: 2-3 sets 10 each arm
*You can perform each exercise individually with 30-60 seconds rest between each set, or in a circuit format which is to do one set of each exercise then move to the next, perform all exercises and start circuit from the beginning.
3. Walk outside!  The fresh air is good for you and the baby!  Once the weather got nice I was able to walk while my little one napped in her stroller.  I walked 3 miles everyday and did weight training 3 days per week.
4. Time your workouts right- I nursed my daughter so I would feed her right before I was going to workout so she would nap and my breasts weren’t so heavy.  This was also important because some women produce lactic acid when they exercise and this can get into your milk, while it is not a danger to the baby it may alter the taste a little.  I also invested in the right bra for me with a lot of support so I could start running without the pain.
5. Wear a belly band or belly support while you workout-  Your stomach muscles were just stretched to the max, and it will take time for them to return to normal.  I used the support they gave me at the hospital after my c-section.  This helped me to stand with correct posture and helped my tummy return to normal size.
6. Stay hydrated- This is especially important if you are nursing and working out.  Drink an extra glass of water after each nursing session and after each workout.  It is important for your milk supply that you stay hydrated.
7. Eat right- This will help to shed weight even faster.  When you eat real whole foods that are nutrient dense your metabolism soars.  Pair this with breast feeding, which can burn an extra 500 calories per day and you will be well on your way to your pre-baby body.  It is also important to watch what you eat if you are nursing because everything you eat your baby does too, all the more motivation to eat healthy.
8. Track your calories- I used the free site to figure out how many calories I needed.  You enter your information and it will calculate how many you need, however you will have to add the extra 500 back in if you are working out too, otherwise you will not be eating enough which can affect your supply.  For example, if My fitness pal says to eat 1,200 calories add in 500, which means you need about 1,700 calories per day.  This is only if you are exercising regularly, because the extra calories you burn from working out will create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
9. Prepare clean foods in advance- Cook 5 chicken breasts at a time and make a large salad for the week. That way when time is tight you can grab something healthy and quick.  Also, have lots of fruit on hand to pair with a hard-boiled egg, string cheese or almonds for a healthy snack throughout the day.  Being a new mom, really a mom, means you don’t always have time to prepare gourmet meals, make it easy to eat right by being prepared.
10. Be consistent- Make working out a daily routine and it will become second nature.  You will feel great that you are doing something to keep you active and healthy, and once your little one is running around you will have all the energy you need to keep up!

Week in Review + Clean Eating Chicken recipe

Good Monday Morning!  After a fun weekend in Chicago, post on that to follow, I am ready to get back to my workout and clean eating schedule.  I had a great week again, I took 2 rest days which felt awesome, and had a great workout on vacation.  My eating was actually not to bad over the weekend, but I am ready to get back to my usual clean eating ways.

Here is my week in review:
Monday: Chest & arms + cardio intervals
Tuesday: Jillian Michaels Extreme Shed & Shred 60 minute workout (killer workout)
Wednesday: Legs (my upper body was so sore, I decided to do legs instead of back & shoulders)
Thursday: Back & Shoulders + treadmill walk
Friday: Rest (left for Chicago.  We did a ton of walking though)
Saturday: Circuit workout in hotel gym see it here
Sunday: Rest (I got a massage at the hotel spa, it was awesome)
Total week calorie burn: 2338 in a total of 6 hours and 14 minutes of workouts

How was your week?  Did you get all your workouts in? What are your workout plans this week?

Original Recipe here

Here's whats on the menu for tonight's dinner!  I will add some quinoa and steamed broccoli too.
Thai Lime Chicken
Serves: 2
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lime
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a mini food processor, grind peanuts until fine, but not to paste.
  3. In a small bowl, combine peanuts, garlic powder and ginger.
  4. Place chicken on a cookie sheet and squeeze juice from lime over top. Then roll chicken in peanut mixture until well coated.
  5. Bake chicken in oven for 25 minutes or until no longer pink in center.
Nutrients per serving (4-oz lime chicken): Calories: 360, Total Fat: 16 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 11 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 42 g, Sodium: 85 mg, Cholesterol: 95 mg