The Wednesday Word — fitness survey

Gooood morning!

Holy moly…I am too sore to workout – so I decided I needed to take the day off. {Live Fit Trainer has 3 days off at the end of the week, since I have been super sore, I dispersed them throughout the week this week}Since I was so sore this seemed like a nice alternative! Get those sore muscles stretched out… blood flowing into them and wake up the brain!

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So, along with my fitness goals, I really want to get back into blogging more frequently. Once a week, but more than once would be awesome! I thought a cool way to do that would be to implement something I devised {or thought I did… although I am sure I’m not that clever!}, called the “Wednesday Word”. Soo, I will post a new fitness survey, a new motivational mantra or photo that I’ve found… something to keep me {and hopefully you} going and excited about health and fitness! :) #iwill #whatisbeautiful

This week I have decided to hone in fitness. I’ve seen this fitness survey floating around the  web… {Over at Carrots ‘N Cake, etc.} I am not a fitness guru or health nut, so my answers are pretty bleh. BUT I thought it would be interesting to see how my answers change during each phase of the Live Fit Trainer. Since I’m in Phase 1 – here is posting numero uno!

Hope y’all are having a great and productive week!

Five Fitness Things I Can’t Live Without:

  1. iPhone - cannot workout without music!
  2. Nike Free 5.0s - favorite shoes ever
  3. H20 - hydration baybee!
  4. Motivation - sometimes that means pulling up Pinterest, thumbing through a fitness magazine really quick or even just turning on some of my favorite workout songs!
  5. My HUSBAND! - He keeps me motivated and wanting to stay fit. I couldn’t imagine having a partner who isn’t motivated to stay fit and healthy! XOXO!

Most Embarrassing Song I Listen To When I Workout:

  • Britney Spears? – I will always love Britney. I grew up with her and love her – she gets my heart pumping!
  • Little Mix – Wings - This popped up on my Pandora and I love the beat!

Favorite Pre-Workout Snack or Meal:

Egg {usually 1} and Dave’s bread, toasted with coffee –  I usually workout in the AM around 5ish, so breakfast is the first thing in my belly!

On My Fitness Bucket List:

  • Complete all 3 phases of Live Fit Trainer – and stick to it!
  • Complete a 1/2 marathon
  • Complete a color run – seems fun!
  • Lose fat – gain lean muscle!

Must Have Tech Tools:

  • iPhone! - cannot live without my music playlists – especially Pandora!
  • I don’t currently have but totally want… Polar FT40!

Top Exercise Gear:

Seriously love my Nike Free 5.0s. I had a foot injury {Morton’s neuroma – no fun!} a while back and ever since have difficulty with the way shoes fit, and flare ups.. ever since I started wearing this style of Nike I have had ZERO problems! These are my favorite!

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Motivational Mantras:

I have quite a few but two that are true to where I’m at right now in my journey are…

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Favorite Strength Moves:

  1. Squats!
  2. Leg Press!
  3. Lunges! – I loathe them, but I feel and see results… it’s a love hate relationship! ;)

I love leg days – probably because I have the most strength and so I feel the best when I go up to a heavier weight.

What are you favorite things?! Copy and repost – just tag me back so I can read and comment! Happy Hump Day!

Ciao,

xoxo

Roller coaster ride.

I am tired of the roller coaster. I am tired of the, “I want to get fit… I want to gain muscle and eat lean” mentality that quickly falls to the “OMG that looks/tastes so good” mentality. I am through. Finished. Ready to make a permanent change.

This past year has been quite difficult for me on the fitness home front. My first year teaching was a lot more difficult than I imagined. I thought for some reason I wouldn’t be subject to the first year teacher stresses and struggles. Alas, they got me. And they got me good! The summer leading into my first teaching job (last summer), I worked out pretty hard and started the “New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women” program, which I loved by the way. Then, I was hired and like a whirlwind life changed. I was working 12 hours a day, and some days more to get my classroom together… I was working long days to get my plans finished in between and after meetings while trying to maintain my normal life, also while being infected with 5 year old Kindergarten germs. It was crazy. ;-)

All the while I told myself, “Well, next week things should calm down and I can get in a workout or two.” If you guessed that I didn’t do that, then you guessed right! Pretty soon it was December, and the holidays hit, and so did all my favorite sugary treats. Finally come Winter Break I got back into the gym, only to become very sick with the flu. Another road block. Long story short, I am just finally getting to the point where I can regain the right mentality, the right priorities to take care of myself and realize that is the best thing I can do for my husband, my students and most importantly myself.

Today I did a lot of online browsing… I came across a great fitness program that I started today and am SUPER excited about! …click here to check out Jamie Eason‘s 12 week Live Fit Trainer program. Stoked on that. And I also found out about the Under Armour “What is Beautiful” campaign. I joined up on that and am super excited to start some of the challenges. {Pssst… follow me on UA What is Beautiful – HERE!”}

Its late. Its random. I haven’t blogged in… a long time. BUT, I just couldn’t wait to get a post going, to chat about all the things going on inside my head. This post is somewhat of a ramble. But I think it is best that way. I am so tired of living my life “lazy”. “Ugh. I am too tired to work out”, and then feeling disgusting or gross when my clothes don’t fit. BTW, I REFUSE to buy new clothes! And, I also refuse to keep yo-yoing back and forth just to fit in said clothes! :-)

My goal is… Complete Phases 1, 2 and 3 in a 12 week program… Change my lifestyle and teach my students to be active!!! #iwill #whatisbeautiful

Fitness is for life. I’m making the change… I’m challenging myself to become a better version of me. I am challenging myself to be the best person I can be, someone my future children can be proud of, someone my current students can be proud of. {Seriously… my kids would rather sit in front of a TV or video game… NOOO!} NO EXCUSES THIS TIME! I want to make a change.

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Well, all I can say/guarantee is…stay tuned for the next installment on this roller coaster ride! ;)

Ciao! And Sweet Dreams… zzzz.

xoxo

Happy birthday… to me!

Wow. It has been months. I mean, months, since I’ve posted! It even feels weird to be typing this up!

Quick catch up… I got my first teaching job! I graduated last June, and was hired in August to be a half day Kindergarten teacher. MAN. Half day Kinder is tough. But, at the same time it is rewarding and fun! And because of the craziness, it is safe to say that my life has been taken over! All I do is teach, plan for teaching, organize for teaching, talk about teaching. I LOVE IT! And, I have an amazing husband who is supportive and listens as I ramble on, and on about my days. However, life is good!

The other day I was reading up on a friend’s blog. She is blogging to keep family and friends in communication about her pregnancy. She made my bagels recipe, and shared it on her blog. I realized how long it has truly been since I blogged and how much I enjoy it! So, here I am! It was perfect timing because… today… is… my… birthday!! Yes. I am 27 today. Weird. And, I was already planning on baking up some birthday happiness, so it was a perfect time to share with you all!! {If anyone is still even subscribed/reading my blog that is! ;)}

For my birthday I couldn’t choose between a lemon cupcake with lemon curd filling, or a mocha inspired cupcake. Alas, the chocolate and coffee lover in me won!

I thought it was fitting that I take a pic to mark my enthusiasm to get back into blogging… CHEESE!

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Yep. 27 year old cheesy smile. It still feels weird to say I’m 27. :-\

Anyhow – these cupcakes were fun to make. I must admit I wasn’t thrilled with the texture, and they weren’t chocolaty enough for my tastes, but all in all they are good! The frosting is smooth and airy and delicious! The frosting is definitely a remake!

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Yummm. These will be delish tonight for a birthday treat.

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Eeek. All my cute little cupcake soldiers lined up! Ready to be devoured!

ONTO the recipe!!!

Mocha Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 5 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and espresso powder. Set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup, mix together cooled coffee and buttermilk. Set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, beating in one at a time.
  5. Slowly add in dry ingredients, alternating with milk mixture {about 3 additions of each}.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners, no more than half full {seriously – the rise up fast, and don’t dome over like most cupcakes… don’t over fill!}
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. For the frosting, warm cream for about 30 seconds in microwave. Whisk in espresso powder and chocolate syrup. Set aside {I threw mine into the freeze for 5-10 minutes to cool down the mixture, so as to not melt my thick airy frosting!}.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar together, until fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add cooled cream & espresso mixture slowly until desired consistency. If desired, whip an additional 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered espresso bean, or in my case a chocolate covered nut or chocolate ball {Chocolate covered espresso beans are non-existent where I live!}.

Source & Recipe {very slightly adapted} from: Shugary Sweets

I hope y’all have a great weekend and a safe St. Patty’s!! :)

CIAO!

xoxo

Lights.

Hey all! I have been somewhat non-existent again. I have no excuse this time {Last time it was school, etc.} aside from the fact that I am enjoying the last bit of summer, searching for jobs insistently and spending time revising and re-revising my cover letter, resume, etc. hoping to get interviews! Teaching is a tough profession to get into.

Well… I have something super cool to share with you all! Do any of you watch the Glee Project? If not, find it and watch it! I am not a reality show watcher, but I had to watch this season of The Glee Project because… the most talented person I personally know was on it this season! If you do watch it, and you loved Nellie, that is who I am talking about. I grew up with her family having lived across the street from my grandparents. And likewise, I have had the pleasure of watching her grow into a beautiful young woman and I am so thrilled and proud of her accomplishments!

That being said, I am super excited and in love with… HER FIRST SINGLE! Everyone, you should listen, and download and play this on repeat. It is beautiful. Let me know what you think! I don’t know about you, but I think she has a pretty amazing and beautiful voice. Congrats Nellie, so proud of you!

Hope y’all had a great weekend!

I’ll be posting again soon… I am FINALLY nearing the end of stage 1 of my workout program. I’ve gained muscle, but haven’t been super strict with my eating, and I can tell. BUT I am thrilled to share the going-ons of the workout very soon!

Ciao!

 

High Protein Cheesecake

 

Regardless of how hard I try, I am a dessert girl. One of my biggest challenges in my striving to eat healthy, is to curb my cravings for dessert. I am sure that most of you ladies know what that is like! Especially around “that” time of the month. So, whenever I find a recipe which makes dessert a semi-healthy choice, I am all in! :)

When reading “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”, one of the things I loved about the nutrition plans is they acknowledge that the majority of women are hard-wired to want/crave dessert! The meal plan even factors in dessert! Yaaa-hoo! That was one of the selling points for me {tee hee}.

One of the recipes in the book is high protein cheesecake. I was immediately curious! Especially since the cheesecake does not have a crust. I wondered how it would stay together when you served it? But I did love the fact that it had added protein aside from the protein found in the ricotta cheese and eggs. So, the other day I gave it a whirl and baked some up!

Verdict? Pleasantly surprised!! Of course, it isn’t the same as “real” cheesecake. The texture isn’t as creamy as real cheesecake, but that also makes up for the lack on crust on the bottom. It doesn’t dish up very easily since there isn’t a crust. But if it satisfies a dessert craving, does it really matter how pretty it looks?! The flavor is delicious, and when topped with fresh fruit, like blueberries, it is a special {and healthy!} treat!!

Tip: Be careful to not over cook. The recipe says to bake between 30 and 40 minutes. I chose to bake for 35, and forgot to check it around 30 minutes. Result? The outside got a little done. It was still good, but the center was creamier!

Cheesecake with fresh blueberries?! Yes please!

High Protein Cheesecake

Serves 8; approximately 190 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 medium eggs {I used large and it turned out fine}
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey-protein powder {I recommend Optimum Nutrition, Vanilla Ice Cream}
  • 1/4 cup granulated stevia
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients in blender, and process until very smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  4. Place pan on the top rack of oven and place a flat pan of water on bottom rack. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. {Center will still jiggle slightly}. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Chill well prior to serving.

Source & Recipe: slightly adapted from The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

 

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Ciao!

 

A new fitness plan and outlook!

It seems so easy to fall into a rut in your workout routine. Especially if you have been lifting for the better half of your life. That is where my husband was not too long ago. He was looking for a way to switch up his routine, and shock his muscles! He recently bought a book called The New Rules of Lifting. As soon as he started reading it, he was absolutely engrossed in what the author had to say. He read the book in nearly 2 days! He was so excited about everything this plan included, and I wasn’t really interested until a section came up about the difference in metabolisms between men and women. I admit though, I was skeptical. I wasn’t so sure about it. Then, we realized there was a version written specifically for women! So I immediately ordered the book, and when it arrived, I took was taken aback and also read the book quickly, in about 3 days!

I love the subtitle… “Lift like a man, look like a goddess”! Yeahhhhh… Talk about girl power! :) Whoop!

What I liked most about this fitness plan is although the fundamentals are the same between the plan for men and women, there are still variations which recognize the difference between us. The author, Lou Schuler believes that women belong in the weight room, not using the pretty colored, “Barbie Barbells” {as he refers to them}, but using the same equipment {not machines!} that men use. He also believes that lifting muscle groups in isolation {i.e. having specific days for specific muscles, like ‘leg day’, ‘back and biceps day’, etc.}, is an inefficient way to increase strength and build muscle. Rather, he believes lifting should replicate typical movement types that your body goes through on a daily basis.

The fitness plans are what I was most skeptical about at first. I agreed with his theory, that you should increase your strength in order to build more muscle, and you should do so in a way that your body normally moves. But, before we read this book, we were working out 5-6 days a week! We spent 2 hours in the gym on the weekends. It was something that had become a huge portion of our lives. But Lou and Alwyn {Cosgrove, he wrote the fitness plans} only want me working out THREE DAYS A WEEK?! Say what?  This entire book made me second guess how I have been working out and lifting for my entire life. For instance, if you are trying to gain muscle, endurance training is contrary to the goals you are trying to achieve. Wait, I don’t have to spend 45 minutes on the treadmill anymore?! Lou and Alwyn integrate interval training versus long amounts of time on cardio machines. This is not only a fitness plan, but integrates nutrition and meals that are actually tasty and do-able, and include dessert! I could ramble on, and on about it, but I can’t explain it as well or as humorously as Lou. Buy it… do it!

Now, more about the workouts…

This program is approximately 6 months long with varying workouts. The workouts are broken down into 7 stages. Each stage has an A and B workout, which you do for multiple weeks. I am on Stage 1, and completed my second workout yesterday. Let me just preface by saying I have been working out intensely for the past 6 weeks since we started our new health kick. That being said, these two workouts {A and B} have kicked… my… butt {and ham strings, shoulders, abs, etc., etc.}!  Seriously. Obviously it is too soon in the program to tell whether I am seeing gains in muscle tone. But I think the immense amounts of soreness are a great sign!

Cliff’s note version/ultimate favorite things about this program:

1. Focus on strength, and efficiency and recovery time.

2. Well though out, efficient workouts {in and out of the gym in under an hour and I am sweaty!}.

3. Nutrition focused on feeding your body what it needs to compliment the workout and energy expenditure.

4. Written and built especially for women!!

I am already feeling stronger, and successful. Following this plan I am not hungry and feel satisfied. I am more excited than ever and actually feel as though my goals are attainable and I am going to be strong and still look fit and toned!

Now, for an entirely cheesy, yet accurate picture which captures my utter excitement for this new program…

And if that wasn’t enough… here is a goofy, cheesy, duck face picture I took when testing out the lifting for my very cool mirror pictures! :)

Question: What are you super excited about right now? What is your fitness motivation?

I can’t wait to read your answers!

Psst… by the way, if you haven’t liked my official Facebook page, do it {See that handy little Facebook box to the right?}! I have been posting fun and inspiring things nearly daily. Be sure to like the page to get all of the updates that are not available on the blog.

Ciao!

Chocolate Espresso Protein Shake

Raise your hand if you are addicted to Pinterest!

:Raises both hands:

I recently tried a coffee protein shake recipe off of Pinterest. I had envisioned it to be granita-esque {thicker than a frappe, with kind of chunky ice pieces… I love ‘em}. However, it was a mess! It was thin and made entirely too much shake, which was flavorless because the protein powder was so watered down. So, I restructured the recipe to taste better and be thicker!

Chocolate Espresso Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups Ice
  • 1 tsp Instant espresso or coffee granules
  • 1 cup of Milk of choice {I used non-fat, some people prefer almond, etc.}
  • 1 rounded scoop of Chocolate protein of choice
  • Sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia if desired

Directions:

  1. Fill blender with ice to approximately the 18 oz. line. {More or less depending on how thick you want it}
  2. Dissolve 1 tsp of espresso or coffee granules in 2-3 tsp of warm/hot water.
  3. Add milk, dissolved espresso and 1 scoop of protein. {If you want it sweeter, add sweetener at this point}.
  4. Blend until ice is crushed! And ingredients are mixed.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a treat or sweet shake! It will not taste like a mocha frappe. Protein shakes are just that, for protein. This is just a fun way to incorporate your morning coffee fix into your protein! :)

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Hope y’all have a great weekend!