Friday, July 17, 2015

On the 5s HIIT Cardio Workout

To say that it's hot outside is putting it quite mildly. Summer has hit us hard here with heat indices well over 100 degrees. Even if I wasn't injured and unable to run, I would be highly tempted to take more of my workouts indoors.

While I can't run or do any weight bearing exercises, I found that I can ride the bike (outdoors or spin with it set up on the bike trainer). Of course, just pedaling indoors can get old really fast, even if you're watching tv.

One way that I like to break up a potentially monotonous workout is with intervals or HIIT (high intensity interval training). Not only will intervals make the time go faster, they are an excellent way to rev up your heart rate fast and burn fat all in a shorter amount of time. Who wouldn't want that?

Ready to get started? All you'll really need is a timer, either your watch or a phone app, a bike (or cardio equipment of choice) and at least 25 minutes.


On the 5s HIIT Cardio

Warm up for 5 minutes with an easy spin. Gradually increase bike tension just enough to where you're working harder, but you don't feel like you're grinding up a hill. The intensity will come from a sprint rather than hard tension.

For the intervals, sprint all out for the indicated time followed by the prescribed recover time. Repeat each Interval five times through for a total of 5 minutes for each Interval.

Interval 1
30:30

Interval 2
45:15

Interval 3*
20:10

Repeat these intervals as many times as you like depending on the time you have available remembering to take 5 minutes for an easy cool down.

*Repeat this interval a total of 10 times to = 5 minutes. Each 20:10 segment is 30 sec.

Note: You can easily do this same workout on a treadmill (or the pavement), elliptical, rowing machine, or stair climber.

Are you a fan of HIIT workouts? 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Full-Body Blast Circuit Workout

Raise your hands if you find yourself saying, "I don't have time to lift weights?"

I hear this so often, especially from runners. But I also hear it from working moms (and dads). As a runner, especially training for a marathon, it's so easy to focus on the running. If you're a mom (or dad) who has to contend with work, family, chores, etc., time becomes extremely precious. Let's face it, time is precious period.

What if I told you that you could get in an effective weight workout in 30 minutes or less? During your lunch break, first thing in the morning, right before dinner? It's true. It can be done.

How can you get in an effective workout in 30 minutes or less?

Two words: Be Prepared.


1. Write down the workout

2. Know the weights you'll use (in general)

3. Have your workout gear packed (or laid out)

4. Set up your workout area (this goes back to #1 and #2)

5. Get in and get started

Being prepared means not wasting time figuring out what exercises to do. That also helps you have an idea of the weights needed, which allows you to set up your workout area for efficient transitions.

Pack your bag the night before. Even keep doubles of everything from socks to workout gloves so there's no excuse of, "I forgot [insert item name]." If you workout at home, have everything set out and ready to go. The last thing you want to think about is finding a sock, a hair tie, even your iPod.

When it comes to the type of workout, there are many options depending upon your training plans and goals. Today I'm focusing on Circuit Workouts.

Most people want the biggest bank for their buck. I think a full-body circuit workout is fantastic for getting in, getting it done and still being effective as a fat burner and muscle builder. Circuit workouts move quickly and allow you to get in resistance training while keeping your heart rate elevated. Again, it's about personal goals of course.

Give me an example you shout (you're shouting right now right?)! Here is a Full-Body Circuit Workout using complex moves that will fire up the muscles and elevate your heart rate in 30 minutes or less!

Full-Body Blast Circuit Workout

Start with a 5-10 minute warm up then do each exercise 8-12 reps moving quickly to the next exercise. After completing all exercises, rest up to 1 minute and then repeat up to 4 times depending on your time availability.

Squat with Shoulder Press
Burpees
Deadlift with Double-Arm Row
Static Lunge with Bicep Curl
Plie Squat with Overhead Triceps Extension
Standing Woodchops



What's your "be prepared" tip? Favorite time-crunched workout?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Eggplant Chickpea Quinoa Burgers

Lately I've been cooking with quinoa quite a bit. What I like about it, other than the fact that it's a complete protein source, is that it cooks up fast. It's also super versatile and can be used in many different ways, such as a base for a veggie burger.

I try to keep veggie burgers in the freezer for a quick meal. I'll admit that I used to buy them out of convenience. But they can be quite pricey. Plus, if you make your own, you can control the ingredients and choose whatever flavor combos you fancy most. Did I mention it's a lot cheaper too?

Since I make veggie burgers often, I try to get creative with ingredients and flavor profiles. I had an eggplant on hand that needed to be used quickly, so for this veggie burger recipe, I decided to go with more of a Mediterranean flair.

While I used chickpeas, you could use another bean of your choice, but I like the texture of chickpeas for veggie burgers. Other beans can often be too soft I find. But, it's absolutely up to you. That's the beauty of a veggie burger!


Eggplant Chickpea Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients:
1 small eggplant, cubed
1/2 cup red quinoa (white would be fine)
1 cup water
5-7 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flax + 3-5 tbsp water (I let mine get thick)
3 oz tomato paste
Splash of balsamic vinegar (to help loosen mixture if needed)
Salt, to taste
Handful of fresh basil, as much as you like

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cubed eggplant on a prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly salt. Bake until soft.

In a small pan, combine quinoa and water. Cover and bring to a boil, lower heat and cook approximately 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed

In a food processor, puree quinoa, oats, chickpeas, basil, salt, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add in the flax mixture.

Next puree the eggplant then combine in the bowl with chickpea and quinoa mixture. If you have a large enough or powerful enough processor, this can be done at the same time.

Mix well then form into patties (I got 6 patties) and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake approximately 20 minutes, flip and continue to bake until browned and firm.



I topped these with caramelized onions, spinach and Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Shreds. Of course, there are plenty of other options for topping these veggie burgers!

What's your favorite veggie burger recipe? 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quinoa Heirloom Tomato Basil Salad

Sunday, we decided to walk over to one of the local farmers' markets a few blocks over from our house. We actually have several farmers' markets around town. I'll admit that we don't frequent them as often as we used to though.

But this past Sunday, the Bernice Gardens Farmers' Market was having a tomato festival, so we decided to stop by and check it out. It's not a large space. Most definitely local vendors, but a unique little variety none the less.

We quickly spotted some Purple Cherokee Heirloom Tomatoes that we snagged up. I should back up and admit that I'm not really a tomato fan. What? Why go to a tomato festival you ask?

While I don't just love and crave tomatoes, I have found that I can enjoy a really goooood tomato. I like the smaller tomatoes, almost always cooked, but that's progress (trust me). Last year, I randomly bought some Purple Cherokee Heirloom Tomato plants and discovered that, while larger, I still really enjoyed the flavor.

I later learned that my grandmother used to plant those in her garden. Seems fairly perfect that I'd like them right? So when we saw them at the market, we grabbed up a container as mine have not started producing fruit just yet.

We had no plans for them exactly. We just knew we liked them. This is par for the course for many of my concoctions though. I just take what I have, what I like and toss it all together. Taste, re-season, add something more, and so forth.



Quinoa Heirloom Tomato Basil Salad
Ingredients:
1 cup red quinoa (you can use any color you prefer)
2 cups water
Large handfuls of fresh basil - use approximately half for dressing then mince remainder for salad
1-2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup - 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Honey or agave, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 block tofu, pressed
2 Purple Cherokee Heirloom tomatoes (or your favorite tomato)
Fresh spinach (to liking, I used half small package)
Optional: feta (we also purchased a locally made feta)

Directions:
Combine water and quinoa and cook per package directions.

In a blender or food processor, combine basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and honey or agave. Puree until smooth.

Cut tofu into fourths then marinate with half of the dressing for an hour or more. Once marinated, bake at 400-425 for approximately 15-20 minutes, flip and continue to bake 15-20 minutes or until extra firm to the touch.

In a large mixing bowl, toss spinach, remaining basil, quinoa, tomatoes, tofu and remaining dressing. Re-season as needed.

Note: Wet ingredients are mostly to desired consistency and the flavor profile you prefer. 


This turned out fantastic. It's a perfect spring or summer dish that you can make ahead for a get together, meal prep for lunches or just enjoy for dinner with some freshly made ciabatta on the side (which is what we did).

Are you a recipe follower or do you tend to just make things up as you go? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

June Runfessions - The It's Too Hot Edition

Not sure what it was about this week, but it felt never-ending. Sort of like my runs have been feeling honestly. Summer has hit us fast and hard here. When you wake up and the "low" is hovering near 80 with dew points at 72 and above, you know your run is going to be bumpy at best.

Rather than moan and complain about how hard marathon training is during the summer (what the heck was I thinking by the way) I thought it'd be fun to jump on the Runfessions train this Friday courtesy of Marcia at Marcia's Health Slice (you must go read hers too).

Runfessions for June


For the past 2 weeks my runs have left me feeling defeated and I'm questioning my sanity for having signed up for a fall marathon. Well, a marathon period, but fall? What on earth was I thinking?

I've been very remiss recently with stretching and rolling out after runs. Well, at all. Instead I just fall out in the floor in front of the fan wishing for winter. << Yes, I did just type that.

Wednesday was a PTSD invoking kind of run. It was a stupid run. We didn't listen to our bodies, or each other for that matter (when words "dizzy" and "urpy" are uttered, pay attention). The temperature at 5:30 am felt like 86 degrees, there was zero breeze and we over-heated, but we kept on going. I mean, when you say you're doing 9 miles, you do 9 miles right? Um, the answer folks should be NO. Lesson learned. PSA know the signs of heat exhaustion.

Thursday morning I actually told my running partner that I would gladly drink a frozen margarita if someone handed it to me at that very moment. Yes, 6 am. Oh, and I hate margaritas, but the thought of something cold would have out-weighed my sense of taste. I may have been hallucinating because I also got a little giddy at the idea of putting my head under a slushy fountain and opening that spigot up full throttle. Hello brain freeze.

Would you take a margarita at 6 am? What runfessions do you have to share? 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reaching for Progress



When people decide to come to me for help, as a personal trainer, it's usually because they feel like they need to lose weight. Often that is accompanied by wanting to get stronger, feel healthier, and even be a role model to their children.

When you set up a goal for yourself, you need to have ways to measure your progress. How do you monitor that progress then?

Generally speaking, people like to focus on numbers. But I believe that we should focus more on our incremental progresses. Not an idea of perfection, but continual progress. Things we forget to pay attention to, but that add up to mean so much more than a number. It's sort of like remembering to focus on those little things, those little moments each and every day that make up our day.

I think focusing on progress vs perfection helps too because it's not a linear process. There are always steps forward, back, and sometimes seemingly staying firmly planted. But when you break it down into something looser than a number, you can start to see the changes, the changes that matter far more than any number.

For fat loss and muscle building I suggest that clients use the following measurements of progress:

  • How do your clothes fit?
  • How do you feel over all?
  • What are your family and friends saying?
  • Do you feel stronger, more energized?
  • Has your endurance increased? 

For runners I would ask how they feel about their endurance, is it getting easier, are they getting faster, more confident.

What about someone like me trying to grow my business? Or maybe it's someone like you. What ways can we measure that progress other than monetary numbers? I think it's engaging with new people, learning learning and more learning, enjoying the process, feeling more confident, becoming an expert (e.g., your friends asking for advice).

Basically, it's all about the progress, the journey and recognizing those "little" improvements, moments. Not letting ourselves become overwhelmed with this notion of reaching for perfection. Come one, we all know that doesn't exist. Let's focus on something that matters more, it'll certainly keep you more motivated!

Do you do well with focusing on your progress vs trying to reach for perfection? How do you measure progress in ways other than numbers?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Re-Commit to Your Goals


I suppose my promises of more consistent posts, new recipes and workouts fell through. Looking back, it wasn't really that it fell through, I simply wasn't making the blog my priority. My focus shifted, and that's ok. It's important to readjust goals, priorities, expectations from time-to-time rather than just trudging along doing something just for the sake of doing it.

But it wasn't just losing focus on the blog, it was losing focus on many things. I said that I wanted to step back so that I could spend more time actually living, enjoying life. But I didn't really even do that. Don't get me wrong, I've been making it a point to enjoy the little things. To focus on being more present, trying to not always be thinking ahead.

However, I'm a thinker. I think. A lot.

My mind is always going with new ideas. New business ideas. New workouts to try, new recipes to taste, new blog posts and informative articles to write. New ways to promote Where's the Beach Fitness. And the list goes on and on and on ...

So with all these ideas, why the lack of follow through?

I allow myself to get completely overwhelmed.

Then I allow negative thoughts to take over and I simply talk myself out of whatever the idea was. I think the key word is "overwhelmed."

It's easy to think too far ahead, to eye the big picture rather than take everything in bits and pieces. I tell clients to make mini-goals, but I don't do this for myself quite often. But that doesn't mean I've completely failed. It simply means it's time to re-commit to my goals, my current goals.

I think it's so easy to allow ourselves to get so overwhelmed that we basically freeze up. Throw up our hands and declare something impossible. But I'm seeing that it's not impossible. It's a cop out really. But if you want something, if it's truly worth having, then you'll work for it. You'll find a way to make it happen. And that may mean a little goal changing and re-committing. And that's perfectly ok.

So let's start going for the things we want shall we? Who's ready to re-commit to something today?