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Post-Holiday Happenings + “No Gym Required” Workout

8 Jul

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Ours was great- family time, friend time, pool time, patio time (and a million bug bites to show for it!). I always feel a little foggy coming off of an extended vacation/holiday and look forward to getting back to my routine 🙂

To lift myself out of my fog on Sunday, I did this cardio workout. You guys have requested more “no gym required” workouts, so here you go! This is a great workout to do at a track/bleachers or anywhere with a flight of stairs.

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After getting hot and sweaty I showered and headed straight to the kitchen- my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. We got an amazing farmer’s market haul on Saturday, so I was extra excited to do some cooking. I made a green juice with grapefruit that totally hit the spot. Then I got to work on Kath’s baked oatmeal for the week, and white bean veggie burgers, kale chips, and sweet corn for dinner.

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After dinner activities included some work (yuck!), couch time, and popcorn (yum!).

I kicked off the post-holiday Monday with a baked oatmeal square topped with peanut butter and headed to the gym for work. After work I made a spontaneous grocery trip primarily to get anti-itch cream for my bug bites. They kept me awake last night!

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The rest of the day…

Lunch

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Veggie burger crumbled over greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with balsamic dressing and goat cheese. A mix of Popchips and rice crackers with hummus on the side.

Pre-yoga snack

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, the juiciest peach ever (SO happy peaches are in season!!!), and apple slices. Not very pretty, but yummy!

Yoga was really hard tonight. At one point I even considered leaving, but I toughed it out and my stress levels (and my hips) are happy I did.

Dinner roasted in the oven while I showered.

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Tofu with a sriracha/cayenne/chili powder/paprika rub, beets, and beet greens sautéed with olive oil/garlic/apple cider vinegar all topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Now it’s time for reading and sleeping! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Easy Weeknight Dinners and a Killer Cardio Workout

25 Jun

Hello!

Is it Friday yet?? This week has been a doozy and we’re only 2 days in, oye. 

Hence the frozen pizza we had for dinner last night and the eggs we had tonight.

Here’s how a dietitian does frozen pizza:

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First, I look for the lowest sodium per serving I can find. Then, I check out the calories (I like to stay around 300 or less). This one is Amy’s Margherita Pizza. 1/3 of the pizza comes in at 280 calories and 550 grams of sodium. Not perfect, but for a frozen pizza those stats are pretty good! Before I pop it in the oven, I load it up with extra veggies to improve the nutritional quality and give it a little more… er… “meat” so to speak. Also, I always pair my frozen pie with a heaping salad. Dinner was ready in less than 30 min!

Tonight was another late one, so we did eggs in whole wheat tortillas. People don’t usually think of eggs for dinner, but it is one of the easy weeknight staples at our house!

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We sautéed onions, diced sweet potatoes, jalapeño, tomatoes, and greens in a pan before adding eggs. I had one tortilla full plus more on the side.

Backing up a bit… 

Pre-dinner, I got a workout in before leaving the gym. I was in the mood for something tough to shake off some stress, so I decided to attempt this baby…

3 Rounds:

1000 meter row

50 burpees

50 box jumps

400 meter run

This is not a Running on Sunshine original, but I can’t remember where I got it. I tend to write workouts on random scraps of paper and find them stuffed in my gym bag, wallet, car, pockets, and (JWD’s favorite) strewn all over the house. I found this one in my gym bag and knocked it out.

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Now I look like this. I think it’s time for bed….

Thanks for reading 🙂

Cheat Meals and an All-in-one Workout

23 Jun

Hi, happy weekend!

I’m not a huge fan of the term “cheat meal” because of its close proximity to the other bad word- “diet”. However, a cheat meal is a helpful concept for many people. I also loosely abide by this healthy eating guideline. JWD and I generally choose one meal per week to indulge- and by indulge I mean go out to eat. This is primarily a budgeting tool, but it helps keep us healthy too.

Many of my clients designate a cheat meal because it forces them to put thought into their splurges and gives them an incentive to stay on track the rest of the week. They plan ahead, pick a meal or event where splurging is inevitable (dinner with friends, birthday party, etc.), and savor and enjoy every bite when they sit down to that meal. It also stops them from eating so-not-worth-it stale birthday cake in the break room. Who wants to waste their cheat meal on that??

WARNING: a cheat meal is NOT an excuse to eat everything in sight. After all, it’s your cheat meal not last meal. Keep it reasonable.

So if I had to choose a cheat meal for last week, Thursday night’s pizza and beer would be it! First, let’s back up a bit…

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I started Thursday with a tall green juice, coffee, and overnight oats (oats, soymilk, greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, stevia, and cinnamon).

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I worked all morning, then threw together lunch with leftovers before heading to a meeting. Greens, salmon, millet, avocado dressing, and melon on the side.

The afternoon included a grocery store run, a bike ride, and a quick shower before a fun night out!

JWD and I went to an O.A.R. concert. Pre-concert festivities:

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Pizza and beer! The Pageant is an awesome venue in St. Louis. They serve craft beer and allow you to bring in your own food, so we ordered a Pi pizza to go. 

The show was AMAZING! We didn’t get home until after midnight (wayyy late for us), so I was a tired girl on Friday. To rebound from a “cheat meal” night, I drink plenty of water (the sodium is what kills me), resume my normal healthy eats, and get in a good workout. No need to deprive or “burn off extra calories”.

I want to share Friday’s workout with you because it was a fun one.

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Cheat meals- yay or nay?

Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Getting in the Groove + a Cardio Workout

19 Jun

Hey there! Wow, two posts within less than a month- I’m on a roll 😉 This week I finally feel like I have a rhythm going in my new work/life schedule. I used to despise transitions, but I’ve had so many in the past few years that I’m learning to roll with them (and even enjoy them a little). Anyway…

I spent most of Tuesday in meetings and at my desk, so when I found an opportunity away for a workout in the afternoon I gladly took it. St. Louis gets pretty sticky in the summer, so late afternoon workouts will only be bearable for a little bit longer. I was in the mood to get my heart rate up after so much sitting, so I adapted this workout from my blog idol, Peanut Butter Runner.

Cardio Workout

1.5 mile run

*10 burpees

Run stairs – 2 laps

*20 squat jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*30 box jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*40 mountain climbers

Run stairs – 2 laps

*50 jump rope singles

1.5 mile run

After my workout, I downed a smoothie and headed back to the gym (shower not required = best perk of working at a gym) 🙂 Dinner was easy and amazing:

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Smashed pinto beans that I seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and chili powder combined with sautéed onions, peppers, yellow squash, corn, and tomatoes. I topped it with avocado lime dressing, greek yogurt, and nutritional yeast. I ate mine on a bed of salad greens, JWD ate his in a tortilla.

Today had an unexpectedly calm start when my early client cancelled, so I took advantage and had a quick breakfast before heading to the gym for a strength workout before my next appointment.

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Egg + egg white open-faced on an english muffin, a pile of juicy melon, and coffee. (and unpictured green juice).

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I spent the rest of the day working at my desk with a lunch break featuring dinner leftovers and a snack break.

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Hemp-a-licious (seriously, that’s what it’s called) brown rice cake topped with coconut almond butter and nature’s candy farmer’s market berries. This almond butter is my obsession right now. So. Good.

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I was feeling fancy for dinner, so we made salmon and a crazy concoction of millet, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed beet greens.

Now it’s time for reading and early bedtime! We have fun plans tomorrow night, so I need my rest tonight!

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Minimalist Half-Marathon Training Plan

30 Jan

My relationship with running has been rocky and tumultuous. It is plagued with injuries, heat exhaustion, missed PRs and sprinkled with just enough triumphs to keep me coming back for more. After a marathon, many half-marathons, and countless short distance races, I took a substantial break from racing (almost 2 years). I’ve been working hard to correct my imbalances- strengthen where I’m weak and stretch where I’m tight- and I am ready to run again.

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JWD and I are running a half-marathon that is less than 10 weeks away. We have some pretty lofty time goals :), but our main goal is to train and race injury free. Although I want to train for a race, I don’t want to give up my other workouts, so we are following what I call a minimalist training plan. The plan is to only do three runs per week and continue our weekly strength training sessions and yoga practice. Here’s a look at our running schedule:

WEEK TUE THUR SAT/SUN
1 4×400 3-mi tempo 6-mi long
2 4×800 4-mi tempo 8-mi long
3 3×1600 5-mi tempo 10-mi long
4 6×400 6-mi tempo 6-mi long
5 3×1600 4-mi tempo 10-mi long
6 4×800 8-mi tempo 8-mi long
7 6×400 6-mi tempo 10-mi long
8 4×1600 8-mi tempo 12-mi long
9 3×800 3-mi tempo 6-mi long
10 4×400 2-mi tempo RACE DAY

based on http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/first-half-marathon-training-plan?page=single

The key to minimalist training is making every running workout count, so there are pace goals associated with each run on the plan (check out the link above). I’m excited to get started!

Has anyone else tried a “minimalist” approach to race training?

Thanks for reading 🙂

Beat Boredom Gym Cardio Workout + Life Lessons From My Yoga Mat

8 Jan

Hello my friends! Hope you are having a great week so far. Mine has been pretty low-key: working, studying, and a good dose of self-care 🙂 Today I want to focus on a few recent workouts.

I am such a baby about the cold. My standard state in our apartment in the winter is a giant sweatshirt (with the hood up of course), fuzzy socks, slippers, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of hot tea in hand. JWD is a gem for putting up with this 🙂

The only thing worse than sitting inside when it’s cold is thinking about exercising outside. It takes all of my willpower to make this happen. So, when the outdoors looked less than appealing on Saturday I ventured to the gym to knock out my cardio. I get bored pretty easily on gym cardio equipment, so I came up with this workout that mixes things up by utilizing 4 pieces of equipment:

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This workout is easily adjusted to the time and equipment you have available. Short on time? simply cut out one of the 10 or 15 minute machine segments to meet your needs. Don’t have all the equipment? Do the same prescription on a different machine. The 50 minutes flew by and I had fun bopping around to the different machines.

Now on to the second workout. Yesterday I took my favorite hot yoga class. This class challenges me like no other workout. I am always amazed by the growth that happens and the lessons that I carry off my mat and into my life. Before class I came across this article that I shared with my Facebook friends today. (read it, it’s short and sweet!)

Why Being Uncomfortable Is A Sign You’re On The Right Track

Being Uncomfortable

The lesson this article teaches us is priceless. There is enormous power in learning to stay calm in the face of discomfort. To feel it, acknowledge it, and just let it be. Because just beyond this discomfort is where the magic happens. It’s where you grow, change, and get to know the best you you can imagine. I think it’s human nature to avoid discomfort at all costs. We do it everyday- when we decide to go to the same old restaurant because what if the new place isn’t as good? When we stay in a job we hate because finding a new job would mean putting ourselves out there for others to judge. When we avoid trying something new because what if we fail? When we travel the same routes everyday because what if we get lost on the new route?

I am such an introverted creature of my comfort zone (hence the hoodie-socks-tea routine), so being uncomfortable is.. well, very uncomfortable for me. Over the past 5 years I’ve changed cities once, schools twice, college majors three times, homes four times, jobs five times, completed a 10 month internship that required me to immerse myself as an employee at a new site every two weeks, and went through the divorce of my parents. Talk about uncomfortable. I think I’ve lived most of the past 5 years outside my comfort zone. BUT I’ve also grown, achieved, and discovered and fell in love with my “true self” over the past 5 years.

So I take this idea of “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” onto my yoga mat and practice it. I acknowledge the discomfort, I focus, and I breathe through it. I remind myself that no matter what happens, I will be okay. During last night’s class my teacher asked us to practice kicking up into our handstands with both feet at the same time. This is challenging for me because the comfort of having one “safety” leg near the floor is gone. You are literally “jumping in with both feet”. I acknowledged my fear of falling, my fear of knocking over one of the yogis next to me, my fear of failing, and my fear of looking silly. And then I did it anyway. It doesn’t matter whether I succeeded or not. If I fall, I grow. If I succeed, I grow. All that matters is that I allowed myself to feel the discomfort and breathed my way to the other side of it. And that, my friends, means I’m on the right path 🙂

This week I challenge you to jump in with both feet and face discomfort head on. Do one thing outside your comfort zone, big or small, and take in the gifts that wait for you on the other side.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Building The Perfect Workout Routine

21 Oct

I get a lot of questions from readers and clients about starting a workout plan and about my workout schedule. My schedule tends to vary from week to week, but I try to stick to a general routine. Today I’m going to break down my workout routine and the four elements that I include when putting a routine together for myself or someone else. I also added a new tab ↑ (look up!) ↑ where I will update my weekly workout schedule, links to workouts, etc. for your sweating inspiration 🙂

Part One: Strength

Strength training really is the foundation of my routine. I think it yields the best results for weight loss, body composition, and overall health. I like to do my strength workouts at a gym, but strength exercises can be done anywhere with bands, dumbbells, soup cans, and even your own bodyweight! I think strength workouts should be done at least two times per week. It can be as simple as a 30-minute routine done in your living room. I would love to make some videos of my favorite strength workouts for you guys soon! I strength train 3 days per week.

Part Two: Endurance

I think of endurance exercise as longer, slower, bouts of cardiovascular exercise. Think walking, running, swimming, biking at a slow and steady pace. It keeps your heart healthy and builds stamina. I try to include at least one endurance workout per week, lasting about 30-60 minutes. My favorites are running, swimming laps, or a long walk or bike ride.

Part Three: High Intensity

High intensity workouts are the opposite of endurance- shorter time and faster pace. Workouts that fall into this category include sprints or intervals on an elliptical/treadmill/bike. I also put plyometrics into this category. I include at least one high-intensity workout per week for about 30 minutes.

Part Four: Flexibility

This is the component that is often forgotten, yet it is so important! Flexibility and stretching exercises keep me feeling limber and healthy. This component can be as easy as stretching for 5 minutes after a walk or run. I include one yoga practice per week to fulfill my flexibility needs.

Now this sounds all fine and dandy, but most peoples’ lives do not allow for structured, elaborate workout schedules. Exercise is a substantial part of my life, but I understand that certainly is not the case for others.

So what should you do if you only have a small window for workouts? Research shows that shorter bouts of exercise, like 10 minute increments, can be just as effective as longer bouts. Try to find at least 10 minutes in your day to move on most days of the week. I don’t care what you do- play with your kids, walk your dog, dance naked in your living room- just move! Do what you can when you can. Here are a few great 10-minute routines to get you started…

A power sculpting workout for the ladies

The time crunch workout for the guys

The 10-minute flat abs workout

A 10-minute yoga workout

Happy sweating! Thanks for reading 🙂

Addicted To Sweat?

9 Jul

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start. Today is the start of two weeks of insanity for me. Full explanation on all of that to come.

Let’s back-track to the weekend. JWD and I spent the weekend at his parent’s house. It was a good weekend full of family time and old friends (JWD and I grew up in the same town and have the same childhood friends, making trips “back home” a lot of fun). We went out with friends to see a band on Friday night. JWD was up bright and early on Saturday morning for a 7:30am tee time and my intention was to get up when he left at 6:30am… the next thing I knew, I woke up at 9:30 to an empty house and this weather report:

I haven’t slept that late in ages. I sat on the back porch sipping coffee for a good 20 minutes contemplating a workout in the heat. Hot yoga has made it easier for me to tolerate the heat and I was in the mood to sweat, so I downed some water and half a banana and hit the pavement. Since I was racing the rising thermometer, I went for a timed workout.

5 minute warm-up run

4 sets of 5 minute intervals: I gradually picked up the pace during each 5 minute interval until I hit a full sprint for the last 30 seconds, then returned to a slow jog to start the next interval.

5 minute slow jog to cool down

Total: 30 minutes

I was drenched when I returned, but felt much better.

Post-run overnight oats to cool me down. Loaded with blueberries, blackberries, and banana.

The increasing number of sweaty workouts in my life, my recent need for electrolyte replacement nutrition, and the countless loads of laundry we do each week to keep up with the piles of soaked workout gear brings me to this question: Are we addicted to sweat?

There is nothing more satisfying than wringing the sweat out of my yogitoes after my Vinyasa practices. Sometimes JWD and I will go for runs where “getting a sweat” is our only goal. I honestly feel like my day is not complete without breaking a sweat.

Awhile back, I read an article in the NY Times on this very subject. Hot workouts are all the rage from Bikram Yoga to heated spinning classes, but is all that sweating really a good thing?

Here’s what experts have to say about the claimed benefits of hot and sweaty workouts.

Is a “hot workout” a better workout?

Yes- to a point. Your body has to work harder at higher temps, but anything past 100* is entering the danger zone. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious consequences of of a workout that’s a little too hot.

Does all that sweating detoxify the body?

Not really. Although sweat does contain trace amounts of toxins, heavy sweating is not a reliable method of ridding toxins from the body. The primary purpose of sweat is to cool the body, not detoxify it. Leave detoxification to your liver and kidneys.

Are hot workouts for everyone?

No. Exercising in the heat requires a certain level of fitness and slow acclimatization to higher temperatures. Exercising in heat could be very dangerous for someone with a low fitness level or who isn’t used to it.

The bottom line:

Extra sweaty workouts are best suited for those with a higher fitness level and should be eased in to. Hot workouts should not make you feel dizzy, light-headed, clammy, or nauseous!

If you’re going to amp up the sweat, it’s crucial to replace what you lose. Two easy ways to monitor hydration: 1. Check out your urine color- it should look like pale lemonade. Apple juice-colored urine is an indicator of dehydration. 2. Weigh yourself before and after a workout and replace 150% of what you lost (24oz. of fluid per pound lost). Include sodium and potassium-rich foods in the 24 hours post-workout, especially if you are a “salty sweater”.

For me, sweaty workouts are a way to turn up the intensity. I always compensate my sweat sessions with tons of water, coconut water, electrolyte powder, and foods high in sodium and potassium. I am a really salty sweater (my skin gets coated with a white, gritty residue when I sweat a lot), so that last part is important for me.

Between the sweaty workouts, the hot temps outside, and few nights of cocktails ;), the weekend left me feeling dehydrated. I had a headache most of Sunday, so I skipped my Vinyasa class and opted for plenty of water and rest.

On the drive back to STL, I picked up a Lemonade Vitamin Water Zero at a gas station. It has some electrolytes in it and it’s sweetened with stevia, so I gave it a try.

It was pretty good! I was disappointed when I checked the label more closely in the car and found out it doesn’t have any sodium or potassium (the electrolyte biggies). Case-in-point for why it’s important to investigate those front-of-the-package claims! Flavor-wise, definitely something I’ll try again. My state of dehydration was also a great excuse to partake in some salty Mexican food at one of our favorite spots back in St. Louis, Tortillaria.

I had one fish taco and my fare share of chips and salsa. The rest of the day was spent packing and doing some work. Today I am a prisoner of my desk and my lonnng “To Do” list. Lunch:

Almond butter and half a banana on Ezekiel bread and a peach on the side. It’s rare that my lunch is veggie-less. I foresee a giant green salad for dinner!

See you later in the week for an iced coffee post.

Thanks for reading 🙂

It’s All About The LBM

6 Jun

Over the last 10 months, when my life was not my own and I was required to eat, sleep, and breathe nutrition (also known as “the dietetic internship”), I lost a lot of things: sleep, my social life, maybe some blog readers due to my lack of posting, and, from time to time, my sanity. BUT one of the most important things I lost this year is… muscle.

My wonky workout schedule over the past 10 months has caused my muscles to dwindle. Muscle is an undervalued player in the game of weight loss, health, and body shape when it should be the MVP. My mission for the summer is to get it back (along with other minor details like sleep, sanity, friends, and readers 🙂 ) Here’s why it’s all about the LBM…

What is it?

Lean body mass (LBM) is the nonfat mass of the body- everything minus the fat. This includes muscle.

Why should you want it?

  • LBM revs your metabolic engine. In other words, muscle burns “hotter” than fat- burning calories even when you aren’t doing a darn thing. This is one of the reasons why men can eat more calories than women- they naturally have more lean body mass. Building a body that is a calorie-burning machine (aka lots of muscle) is key to weight loss and preventing weight gain.
  • LBM helps you age gracefully. Muscle mass starts to plummet with age, which means less strength and more frailty. Also, as muscle is lost our metabolism starts to slow and our bodies burn less and less calories. Building muscle as we age can keep us strong and agile and prevent body fat from creeping up.
  • LBM will give you the body that you want. “Toned”, “strong”, “firm”, “lean”- these are all common words I hear clients use to describe their ideal body. Building muscle is the best way to alter your body’s shape. Ever heard of “skinny-fat”? People who only do cardio workouts and severely restrict calories are not metabolic engines. They may be thin, but they lack muscle tone and their slow metabolism requires them to eat very little in order to maintain their weight. Someone with more muscle not only looks better, but they are stronger, burn more calories, and can eat more.

How do you get it?

  • I’ll say it again if it isn’t already obvious: strength training! Yes, the weight room at the gym can be intimidating. Most gyms offer free consultations with personal trainers, so ask the experts to help you get familiar with the equipment. Strength classes are a great place to start if you’re new to lifting weights. Check out fitness websites and magazines for printable routines. If you aren’t a fan of the gym, find body-weight routines to do at home or at the park. I am working on a Running on Sunshine workout series so stay tuned for that!
  • Don’t forget about nutrition! I always say exercise and nutrition are inseparable and that is definitely the case with building muscle.  Protein is the the building blocks for muscle, so be sure to include a serving of protein at each meal. As Americans, we get PLENTY of protein, so overall intake is usually not a problem. Protein deserves it’s own post, so tune in next time!

*I quick note to my lady friends: You know who you are, you cardio queens. You are a tough crowd to convince when it comes to strength training! But trust me, it will give you the results you are looking for! You aren’t going to get amazing toned shoulders and a perky booty from the elliptical alone. You always tell me “but I don’t want to get bulky.” You won’t! Our hormonal makeup won’t let us beef up like the dudes. Would you believe me if I told you I bench-press 20lb. dumbbells on the regular? I do! If you are still anti-weights, try other strength workouts like advanced yoga or Pilates. However you do it, I encourage you to muscle up!

You may find it funny that I chose National Running Day to talk about strength training, but that’s usually how I roll- against the grain 🙂 Although, I did celebrate with a quick spin in my new kicks!

Off to an outdoor concert/picnic with JWD and friends! Have a great night!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Valentine’s Day Workout

12 Feb

Happy Sunday, friends! Thought I’d pop in with a workout update before the week kicks off.

Although I adore yoga and running, strength training is especially near and dear to my heart. I love to feel toned and strong and I also love the memories I have of strength training with my mom. When I was still living at home, we were inseparable workout buddies 🙂

My workouts have been a little sporadic lately, so I am trying to get back into a normal workout groove. I’m using Sunday evenings to plan my workouts for the week. This workout is from Tone it Up. I want to be these girls when I grow up 😀

(printable version)   vday_workout

I added freeweights to a few of the moves and did this workout two times through on Saturday. It targets the glutes (booty) and the deepest core muscles. I am sore today!

And it has a pretty cute/cheesy Valentine’s Day theme.

Have a fantastic week! Thanks for reading 🙂

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