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?




Thursday, April 30, 2015

Move it May Monthly Challenge

What's it About?

Are you looking for a challenge to get motivated to move? Or maybe you just like challenges and want to add something different to your routine.

My Move It May Workout Challenge is a great way for beginners to get started and a fun challenge for old pros. There is no equipment needed and you can even do the moves while catching up on your favorite tv shows!

How Does it Work?

Each week is a different bodyweight only exercise. You begin with 30 reps and work your way up to 50 reps. You can do the exercise in groupings throughout the day (e.g., 10 reps in the morning, 10 at lunch, etc.) or knock them out all at once. It's your choice!
MayChallengeImage

Visit my Where's the Beach Fitness Online Training Website to sign up for weekly email reminders and to find out about new challenges!

Let's Get Social!

Don't forget to like me on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Instagram for check ins and reminders. Use hashtag MoveItMayChallenge and/or WTBFitness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Salsa Salad with Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing

Big confession: I don't like avocados.

I think it's more of a texture thing than just the flavor. I've tried over the years, I really have. If I can hide them away smashed into other flavors, then I may be able to eat a small sliver.

But, I know that they're really healthy with healthy fats, vitamins, potassium and amino acids. Research has shown that eating avocados can reduce risks of several types of cancers, lower your cholesterol and are good for heart health. 

Jason loves avocados and has been using them often lately. I decided I'd give them another shot in the form of a dressing or sauce. Avocados, in my mind, go with salsas. Ok, not that I eat them with salsas myself. But, this was my train of thought. 

I had several tomatoes on hand that needed to be used, some frozen corn and canned beans. I often make a black bean and corn salsa/salad during the summer so I just ran with that general concept for flavors and textures and came up with a Summer Salsa Salad with Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing.



Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing
Ingredients:
1 avocado, peeled, de-seeded
1 tbsp peanut butter (I used Myprotein) (tahini would also work)
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup OJ (more or less for consistency)
To taste: Honey (or agave or raw sugar), salt, cumin powder, chili powder, garlic powder
Small bunch fresh cilantro (more if you like the taste)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (more or less for consistency)

Directions:
In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth. Re-season as needed.

Summer Salsa Salad
Ingredients
4 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (optional)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked quinoa (rice or couscous would also work)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix in the Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing. Refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld together and the onions to mellow.

Because I had the quinoa already cooked, this came together really quickly. Even if you don't have any pre-cooked, it's still a quick and easy recipe to throw together. You can serve it as is or over a base of greens.

Are you an avocado fan? What fruits/veggies do you dislike but know you should try to eat?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Downtown Dash and RussVegas in the Books

As I mentioned, I may have taken a break from blogging, but I jumped right back into running and racing.

Downtown Dash

After the Little Rock Half Marathon, I was signed up for the Downtown Dash 10K to support the Junior League.

I had done this race last year, and thought it'd be a good race to try to help me continue to regain my endurance, and confidence truth be told. Though, I knew that the course was kind of tricky. It's a double loop and there are some challenging long, gradual inclines. It may not be a straight up big hill, the those gradual inclines really sneak up on you.

The race started just over a mile from my house, so I did a slow, easy warmup run down to the start. Only it was warm and humid. I knew right away it was not going to be a good running day. Not only was my cardio still down, but the humidity is never good for my asthma.

I lined up near the front. Unfortunately, several kids and slower runners did as well. It's a small race so maybe it's just a lack of general race etiquette/knowledge, but please don't line up in front if you aren't able to race fast. It's just out of courtesy and also safety really. So, it was a very frustrating start.

Mentally this race got me because it's a double loop. I know the hills, I know the incredibly long, slow, gradual, butt-kicking inclines. I managed 1st in master's but my time was significantly slower than last year. I was frustrated.


This race kicked my rear far more than it should have. I honestly felt like I had run a half not a 10K.

RussVegas Half

Thankfully I have very patient running friends who have helped me along. Because I didn't think I was going to do the Little Rock Half, I had signed up for another half - RussVegas. It was highly recommended.

As race day approached, I dreaded my decision to have signed up. I hadn't been doing dedicated speed work, but at least I had worked up to 13 miles steadily. Race start time was 7:30 and it was just over an hour away so that meant a very early wake up call.

The weather started off right around 45 degrees, which would have been fantastic. However, the temps rose fast as the sun came up. It was in the 60s by the time I finished if that gives you an idea of how quickly it warmed up.

The course was surprisingly populated with spectators, bands, live music. It was mostly flat and fairly scenic as well. I was really impressed with the crowd support. That truly goes a long way for the runners.

While the course was mostly flat, there was one really nasty bridge right at mile 12. As you came around the corner, it didn't look too bad from the side, but man once you started up it, your perspective came to a screeching halt ... oh no, that was my speed! Not only was it steep, but the grade changed halfway up to an even steeper stretch. It was like a death march at that point. I was struggling with my breathing, the heat was really getting to me then that darn hill.

Luckily it is pretty much straight down as soon as you crest. I tried to take advantage of that. I could see the enormous American flag at the finish, but it was still so incredibly far way. But I could see it. The end in sight.

I crossed the finish line at 1:37:46. Again, not my best time, but all things considered, I was really proud. I feel like I raced as hard as I could. I did stop at several aid stations for water knowing that the water was more important than my time. So, it could have been faster? But maybe not if I was too dehydrated.




I took 1st in Master's division. This race, while difficult for me still, gave me some much-needed confidence.

One of the best parts of the day was that I got to meet Beth from Running Around My Kitchen. We had actually run near each other for a huge part of the Little Rock Half Marathon without even knowing it. There's even a picture of us next to each other during the race! So, it was great to actually get to finally meet her and not just run near her LOL.