YouTube Challenge!!! Fitness Blender!

I’ve talked about my love of YouTube workout videos on a ton of posts so I wanted to share with you a challenge that I recently finished. I have been working out to Fitness Blender for a few months now and have found that their workouts have just enough umph to make me feel the burn a few days later. This particular “challenge” was five days long and it kicked my arse! I didn’t do all five days in a row even though it was designed to be that way. I am very much a believer that the body needs time to recuperate and recover after a workout. The workouts target all of the major muscle groups as well as incorporating cardio into the routines. After completing all five, I definitely felt stronger although I was really sore after day four. This is probably due to the fact that I upped the pounds on the weights I use.

If you need a kick start to your fitness regime or just want to switch it up, this would be a good five day starter!

Click the link below to get started and enjoy!

Go make breakfast….YES! Right now!

The hour of reckoning has come. It’s time for me to go back to work and I am not excited. Nope not at all. Let me explain…..I am ready to see my students, some of my coworkers, and none of the paperwork that my job involves. But alas, here we are! Lady S is starting preschool and Mister S is on year two of college with a full course load! That means we do a lot of prepping and planning in this house.

Lady S is provided breakfast at school which is a huge timesaver for us in the mornings. We like to give her something homemade anyway just for the ride there. I am thinking muffins this year and rotating the recipes I use. I can only imagine how hungry she must be by 8 when breakfast is served. For the Mister and I, we keep it pretty simple with different breakfast sandwiches, CLIF bars, yogurt and granola, and the occasional burrito.

I’m jumping on my soapbox for a minute here. I’ve probably said this a million times before, but the blow to success is inconsistency and lack of planning. Being healthy is not some bandwagon to jump on and off. It truly is a lifestyle change and a major part of it is cooking and what you eat! There are tons of excuses as to why someone can’t cook but please…if I can go from thinking hamburger helper with a salad was a meal to fresh foods and veggies then you can too!

Yes McDonald’s is easier but do you really know of that patty is sausage? I’ve always thought it was hamburger on a smaller scale. Yes iced coffee is delicious….a grande, French vanilla, iced coffee with extra cream and sugar is not. And I’m not judging here…I used to do both of those things above. A little planning goes a long way.

I’ve been asked for the recipe for breakfast sandwiches/burritos and I’ll share it with you!

To Go Breakfast Sandwiches
Ingredients

  • 1 pound of bulk sausage (avoid Jimmy Dean small tubes, Swaggerty’s Gwaltney–they all have MSG and/or fillers) OR 1 package of Canadian bacon
  • 1 pack of mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 dozen of eggs
  • 1 pack of English Muffins (12 pack) OR 1 tube of biscuits OR 1 package of tortillas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried parsley
  • Baking pan
  • Muffin tin
  • Plastic wrap

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If cooking biscuits, set the oven to the temp the biscuits say. This may reduce the time the sausage and eggs cook.
  • While the oven heats, line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray a muffin tin (holds 12) with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cut sausage to desired thickness being sure to end up with 12 total pieces and place on baking pan. If using place Canadian Bacon, just lay on baking pan.
  • Place meat in the oven and let sausage cook all the way through about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven*Canadian bacon will take a shorter amount of time*
  • In a bowl, crack 7-8 eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add dried parsley to your liking. I don’t measure the parsley. Just eyeball it y’all.
  • Pour egg mixture in each muffin tin to about 1/3 full. Repeat until all cups are full. Place in the oven.
  • Go watch tv or fold clothes or read the other posts on my blog. ūüôā
  • Once all components are done cooking, make an assembly line and begin to assemble your breakfast!
  • Place cheese on the bottom, then egg, then meat. Wrap in plastic wrap and place inside a freezer bag for storage.
  • The night before eating, defrost in the fridge. In the morning, cook in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute keeping an eye on the sandwich. When the cheese has melted, it’s warmed through.

Voila! You just made breakfast for a week or more in one hour!!!

Pointers
* I LOVE bacon. I really do, but it does not reheat well. Do not even attempt turkey bacon. Thank me later ūüėČ
* To cut down on calories, buy a thin sliced version of mild cheddar cheese. Target has one and Sargento does as well.
* You are welcome to add veggies to your eggs or do a vegetation version without meat if you prefer.

Monkey See, Monkey Do…Fit Kids

As I sit in the park with Lady S watching her make up games as she goes and making sure the spaceship doesn’t blast off without her, I often think about how her little mind and body works! Oh the minds of kids. It’s amazing when you become a parent because once kids hit the right age, they start to do everything you do and say all the bad things you say.

Lady S is the kind of kid who repeats and emulates all that she sees and hears the people around her do. ¬†There have been many times when we thought she wasn’t listening, only to discover later that she heard it all. ¬†This can play in our favor and against us! ¬†Now that she is four going on sixteen years old, she is hellbent on doing it all and mostly by herself.

Except eat vegetables.  This she refuses to do.  Even if I put cheese, butter, and bacon all over every vegetable that hits our table, she will not eat anything green and proclaim that it is nasty.  The conversations typically go like this.

  • Me: ¬†Eat some of your green beans! ¬†They are SO good. ¬†Mommy made them for you!
  • Lady S: ¬†Mommy, you made them for you, not me! ¬†(Actually this is quite true!)
  • Me: ¬†*insert stern parent face* ¬†If you don’t eat your vegetables you won’t be strong like Daddy.
  • Lady S: ¬†*insert sly preschooler smile here* ¬†Mommy….don’t be silly. ¬†I already have big muscles! ¬†(The kiddo proceeds to flex her miniature bicep)

So you can see where this conversation goes….right….exactly nowhere. ¬†For some reason she has an aversion to all things green! ¬†Her only saving grace is that she loves spaghetti and noodles and corn and sometimes mashed potatoes. ¬†I can often times slide in some finely chopped veggies into her spaghetti.

When we workout at home, she often decides to that she needs to workout as well. ¬†It is complete hilarity to watch her try to do a burpee or a pushup. ¬†She often sits on Mister S’s back while he does his workouts and has become my accountability partner while working out.

As a child and teenager, I was obese.  Always have been and it never occurred to me to do something about it.  Once I became old enough to decide what I wanted to eat, it was often an unhealthy choice.  I have heard those comments about having a pretty face.  Thank God I had a healthy dose of self confidence from an early age despite my weight.

Childhood obesity is real all over the country and it is so disheartening. It is so very important that children see the adults in their lives making good choices when it comes to being healthy. ¬†No, that does not mean that everyone in a child’s life has to have slim to no body fat. ¬†It simply means that kids need to see adults eating those fruits and vegetables and breaking a sweat every now and then. ¬†They shouldn’t think that a home-cooked meal comes from McDonald’s or that desert always has to be something drenched in sugar.

Just a few pointers to help with this process

  • Keep fruits and vegetables in the home at all times. ¬†Most kids love bananas, strawberries, citrus fruits. ¬†Whatever fruits they like, keep them so that they are readily accessible.
  • DO NOT….I repeat DO NOT use food as a reward for good behavior and other things. ¬†Kids are quite smart and will do “good” things just to get those sweet treats.
  • Put it on the plate –> ¬†Whether they eat it or not, present vegetables to your kiddos at each meal. ¬†The more they see, they more they realize it’s not an option.
  • Moderation of sweets –>¬† Offer sweet treats a few times a week and do it randomly so that it becomes and unexpected event!
  • Send them outside –> ¬†Kids need exercise every single day and the sun does their little bodies good! ¬†Although they are quite stinky when they are done playing, physical activity is important to their overall physical and mental health.

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat vegetables?  Any pointers on how you made this process easier?

 

Coffee Drinkers…yes you…come here!

I’m addicted to coffee. All kinds of it. Light, dark, medium, flavored, organic…I don’t care as long as it’s coffee! Until I’ve had my cup of joe in the morning, it’s best to not ask me multi step questions or those you want serious answers to! I simply can’t think straight! It’s one of the main reasons I avoid morning meetings at all costs.

With the coffee comes my obsession with creamer. My amazing grandfather Dupe used to drink it straight black. No sugar or cream! I’ve tried that and it didn’t fair well. I guess you could say I like mine diluted a little bit. In the eight million eight years Mister S and I have been married, I’ve converted him over to the dark side as well. Sometimes I let Lady S smell the coffee beans since it helps the airways for asthmatics. Win win for everyone!

We probably used 2-3 quarts of creamer a month. I used to just turn that creamer bottle upside down and let it rip. And the 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. I can’t even imagine the calories. Well actually I can and I am sure it was somewhere around 150-200 a cup just in creamer and sugar. Bad I know cause the creamer has sugar in it too!

That all had to change of course. I replaced the sugar with Splenda and then decided I didn’t like that either so now I use stevia and I quite like it. The creamer is a different story though. We still use it although it’s limited to 2 tablespoons. Problem is, as I get more conscious about what goes in our bodies, I couldn’t reconcile those chemicals in the creamer. I know what you’re saying because I’ve said it too!

It’s only a little bit!

The flavors are so good!

There’s chemicals in everything!

That led me to Pinterest to find an alternative. I don’t like almond milk as a creamer so that was out. I have to be in the mood to use half and half or milk as a creamer. I like flavors. What can I say! Pinterest has tons of homemade, easy recipes to use for creamer so I decided to give one a try. The recipe is simple and it gave my coffee the right amount of sweetness and creaminess.

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Base Recipe for coffee creamer

Ingredients
1-2 cups of milk – you can use whole, reduced fat, almond milk, or soy milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Pure extracts of any flavors you like – vanilla and almond are popular

Directions
In an airtight jar (Mason is good to use here) combine the milk and sweetened condensed milk. Add teaspoon of extract. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until well combined. Pour into coffee. Savor the flavor. Go out and be nice to people!

I found this to be a great alternative to store brought creamer. The only downside is you must remember the expiration date of your milk. Also using 2 cups of milk/almond milk/soy milk will make about 3 cups of creamer when it is all combined. Keep this in mind as well.

Now go forth on Pinterest and find all the flavor combinations you can make!

Sickness Sucks! Listening to your body…

Ah!!!! I’m sick. Down for the count. In bed looking a mess. I feel like poo and look like it too! It’s been days since I had a good run or workout and I am really hating it right now. I’ll spare you all the grimy details, but let’s just say that jumping up and down would not be in my best interest today!

There have been a few times that I’ve been down for the count with working out. There have been a few times when I stupidly drudged through a workout only to feel like a train wreck afterwards. It’s that blind optimism that all I needed to do was sweat it out and then I’d feel better. Or a little light cardio *no such thing* would be alright. I learned my lesson a long time ago to rest when it’s needed.

There are people reading this who might think that working out all the time is going to get you there faster. Or working out when your body is telling you not to, is a good idea. Well….I am here to tell you it’s not.

If you find yourself not feeling that great or your muscles are hurting to the point of pain, it will not derail your journey to rest a bit. Your body needs those rest days to repair itself and to have the opportunity to build muscles. The last thing anyone wants is to not feel your best and risk injury on top if that? It’s simply not worth it.

So what am I doing today? Lying in bed relinquishing all parenting duties to Mister S. Drinking lots of water and sleeping. The workouts can wait ūüėČ. My body will thank me later.

YouTube workouts. Go get you some :)

The summer is coming to a close for me. ¬†In three short weeks I will be back at work fulltime, Lady S will be starting preschool, and Mister S will be working fulltime AND going to school fulltime! ¬†It’s going to be busy here in our house to say the least. ¬†I’ve got my charts printed out already so that I can start menu planning for the month of September! ¬†I have to admit I am ready to get back into the chaos that is our lives during the school year. ¬†Anyone who knows a teacher knows we don’t¬†really¬†take the summer off. ¬†We just do a little less!

I am on the tail-end of a 30 day challenge that BodyRockTV has hosted on YouTube. ¬†It’s called Transformer and you can find it here. ¬†It has been tough to say the least. ¬†Since taking a hiatus from Planet Fitness, I have been working out solely at home. ¬†Driving to the gym was just too time consuming and I really feel like I get a better workout at home. ¬† The other upside is that Lady S will do her jumping jacks and burpees and jump rope with me!

A lot of people will ask me what I actually do while working out. ¬†It would take at least an hour to name it all, but I try to do exercises that incorporate working all my muscle groups. ¬†If I am going to spend 30-45 minutes of my life working out, then I plan on getting as much in as a I can. ¬†There are a few channels on YouTube that I follow religiously. ¬†I find workouts that I like and do those. ¬†There really is no science to it. ¬†If my shoulders are tight, I’ll focus on lower body and core work and vice versa.

My disclaimer is simple:

  1. Know your limitations.
  2. Practice good form.
  3. Ease yourself into the workouts if you haven’t worked out in a long time.
  4. Take breaks as needed.
  5. Stay hydrated.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Melissa Bender –> ¬†Beginner to Intermediate Levels. ¬† Most workouts are 15-25 minutes in length and incorporate cardio and strength training. ¬†She also has some yoga exercises as well.
  • Fitness Blender –> ¬†Beginner to Advanced Levels. ¬†Workouts include cardio only, strength, yoga, Crossfit style, and weighted workouts. ¬†Each workout typically includes a warm-up and cool-down helping you to avoid injury. ¬†They also have meal plans and workout plans if you want to really step up your game.
  • BodyRock –> ¬†Intermediate to Advanced Levels. ¬†Most workouts are fairly difficult and require equipment including dumbbells, bars, or other materials. ¬†You can easily adapt the workouts to your level, but may have a hard time with the equipment piece. ¬†I would not recommend starting with these workouts if you haven’t been physical in awhile. ¬†Unless you like torture. ¬†Then in that case, be my guest ūüėČ
  • XHIT Daily –> Beginner to Intermediate Levels. ¬†Short and sweet workouts primarily focused on women. ¬†I haven’t found any of these to be especially hard but they do make you feel the burn.

Have you tried any of these workouts from the channels?  Do you feel like workouts are better in the gym or at home?

Clean(er) eating?! Ah this is really hard!

I decided a few weeks ago to make an effort to eat a little bit better. A few of my friends follow the Paleo diet, Smoothie Cleanses (y’all know how I feel about green smoothies), strict diets. I simply can’t do any of that. I need to be able to eat what I want if the mood strikes and not feel guilty about it. Guilt is a great sabotager to my progress and I simply don’t have time for that.

Summer is really hard for me because I am at home with a toddler who eats ALL DAY LONG. I feel like I live in the kitchen with this kiddo! Literally every 2.5 hours this child is asking for a snack. Our typical conversations go like this…

Me: Zoned out watching t.v.
Lady S: Mom, Can I have a snack please?
Me: *Exasperated sigh since we just had breakfast 1.5 hours ago* What do you want to eat?
Lady S: I would like a snack of bananas, vanilla wafers, strawberries, and….

As Lady S grows, it appears her appetite does as well. The good thing about her constantly wanting a “snack” is that she typically asks for something healthy. We make a real effort to provide her with fruits and/or cheese as a snack and she takes to it well. Because of her food allergy, candies are typically reserved for birthdays and holidays. We make sure to keep the staples in the fridge at all times.

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. I like my carbs…yogurt, granola…coffee…more coffee ūüėČ That has changed as of recent weeks. Everyday From time to time, I search the internet for ideas on how to make veggies and how to hide them in the foods that we eat everyday. It has been harder than I had imagined. Mister S is picky about the veggies and fruits he eats. Lady S won’t eat a vegetable to save her life unless it’s lettuce. Plain ole’ lettuce ūüė¶

I have the food pyramid downloaded on my phone and iPad to remind me of how many of each food group I need to eat. Most days I hit it on target but some days I simply don’t. I just move on to the next day and start over again.

There is a ton of information on the web about clean(er) eating. Take a look and see if you could incorporate some of the rules into your diet each day. Remember that big changes come from small steps.

Ro