Baby Got Back!!

I could be making a bold statement here, but I believe most of us ladies tend to skip over our back when it comes to our weight training. We think abs, biceps, legs…. All instant gratification. Back seems to get pushed to the side in favor of body parts we can actually see!

Well, no longer! I did a great back workout the other day that I just had to share. When doing these exercises, remember to contract your abs and use the stability of your core!

Warm-up - any cardio machine for 10-20 minutes... really get your heart rate up!

Back Extensions

15 reps, 3 sets


15 reps, 3 sets

Lat Pulldowns

10 reps, 3 sets

Seated Low Row

10 reps, 3 sets

One arm dumbbell rows

10 reps, 3 sets

If you end up doing this workout, let me know how you liked it!


A Smoothie Popeye Will Approve Of

I have been reading all sorts if articles on how to make a post workout smoothie full of nutrients without sacrificing taste.

After a few tested combinations (some more successful than others) here is the winning recipe:

1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 container, plain Greek yogurt
Splash skim milk
2 handfuls baby spinach
Teaspoon chia seeds
1/2 scoop protein powder (sun warrior is my favorite since it's free of allergens)

Blend and enjoy!! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop


Clean Eating Shopping List

My recent post about Clean Eating got me thinking about those weekly staples I just can't live without. Here is my typical grocery list:
  • Baby spinach
  • Romaine hearts
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries and blueberries
  • Sweet Potato 
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Pepper – red and/or green
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Spring Mix
  • Butternut Squash
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Skim milk (or soy or almond!)
  • Nonfat greek yogurt
  • Ground chicken and/or turkey breast
  • Filet mignon
  • Cashews (unsalted)
  • Almonds (unsalted)
  • Quinoa
  • Isreali couscous
  • Whole wheat pasta 
Eating clean does not mean you need to forgo taste!! Check out Clean Eating Magazine for some yummy recipes you can make tonight! 


A Workout That'll Make You Feel the Burn!

My love for the gym only started about one year ago. When I first made working out a part of my everyday life, I realized quite a bit about myself. I was intimidated by weight training and totally out of shape! It was hard for me to get a good job going on the treadmill without developing shin splints and being completely out of breath. My upper body was so weak I could barely do a good set of bicep curls, and mostly – I just had no idea what I was doing.

After a few weeks of wandering around the gym trying to imitate the buff people around me, I started to read up on fitness and what a good workout consists of. Between reading websites online, subscribing to magazines (I am completely 100% obsessed with Oxygen Magazine) and talking with some friends who train either professionally or for enjoyment, I have begun making wiser decisions in the gym and finally now see results.

Here is what I’ll be doing today – chest and tris with a little cardio to round things out. Give it a try – you’ll thank me tomorrow :)

Warm-up: 9 minute mile done at intervals

Minute 1: 5.5

Minute 2: 6.5

Minute 3: 5.5

Minute 4: 7.0

Minute 5: 5.5

Minute 6: 6.5

Minute 7: 7.0

Minute 8: 5.5

Minute 9: 5.0

Followed by Chest & Tri’s:
Chest Press – 10 reps, 2 sets (these can be done on a stability ball to engage your abs)

Tricep dips – 8 reps, 3 sets

Tricep pressdown – 8 reps, 3 sets

Skull crushers – 8 reps, 3 sets (these can be done on a stability ball to engage your abs)

Chest Fly – 10 reps, 3 sets (these can be done on a stability ball to engage your abs)

Tricep kickbacks – 8 reps, 3 sets
These can be done as drop sets (start with heavier weight, work until fatigued and decrease with each set) or with consistent weight. See what feels right for you.

Followed by cardio:
20 Minutes on the Elliptical - again, do intervals!!! Interval training makes the most of your time. Long gone are the days when you need to strap yourself to a piece of cardio equipment for an hour!

Read about the benefits of interval training here

Have fun, feel the burn and be careful!
*Please note - I am not a physical trainer. You should always check with a doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.


Lasgana Made Healthy(ier)!

A typical Sunday in my house.

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Bryan: Lasagna
Me: No. What else do you want for dinner?
Bryan: Why no lasagna?? You never make what I want... you always cook healthy stuff that I hate. Please make lasagna. Please.

And then I concede, make the lasagna and spend three hours in the gym on Monday trying to work off last night's dinner.

Well I decided to break the vicious cycle today. While I did make the lasagna, I made quite a few healthy additions/substitutions and now will feel MUCH better about eating a piece (or two) for dinner tonight.

Here is my adaptation from the recipe on the back of the Barilla lasagna noodle box:
1 (9 ounce) box of barilla no-boil lasagna noodles This is a must. Do not buy regular lasagna noodles as those need to boiled first.
1 eggs
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese I only used three cups, a mixture of part-skim and non-fat
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese I skipped this all together, 3 cups is plenty of cheese!
1 lb ground beef or 1 lb sausage, browned I left out the meat, although you could easily use ground chicken or turkey here.
28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes, plus 1/2 jar tomato sauce
I also added a green bell pepper, chopped, 1/2 container of baby portobello mushrooms, chopped and 1/2 bag of spinach, chopped

Preheat oven to 375.
In bowl, combine beaten egg and ricotta cheese. Here is where I jazzed things up by adding dried oregano and basil, along with a chopped green bell pepper and chopped fresh spinach.
In a 13X9 pan, spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of pan.
Layer in the order, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles (they will overlap), then 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, half the browned meat, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.
Next layer, 4 noodles, 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 1/2 cups sauce TWO times.
For top layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
All assembled: 
Bake covered with foil for 50-60 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking until all the cheese is melted on the top (about 5 minutes).
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


Clean Eating

We often worry about keeping a clean house, but rarely worry about keeping a clean diet. A recent conversation I had with a friend who has been a professional dead-lifter got me thinking...

Let me give you the background story. I recently approached my friend frustrated that after nearly six moths of 5x p/week workouts, I still don't have those flat abs I've been dying for! She assessed my workouts and said they all look great but I needed to remember one thing. Abs are made in the kitchen.

Interesting, no?

This got me thinking - I need to take a serious look at my diet and start holding myself accountable.

Starting immediately I revamped my lunch (which I usually eat at my desk since I workout during my lunch hour). Here is what my "clean" lunch looked like. Baby spinach, organic goat cheese, sliced strawberries and dried cranberries. Organic baby carrots on the side and 24 oz of water. What's your version of clean eating??


Fours! Feel free to play along…

1. Four TV shows that I watch:

• Biggest Loser

• Teen Mom (embarrassing, I know)

• Real Housewives of wherever

• House

2. Four things that I’m passionate about:

• writing

• good food and wine

• my friends & family

• health

3. Four words/phrases I use a lot:

• Douche

• I love you

• I miss you

• Babe

4. Four things I’ve learned from the past:

• Don’t let anyone determine your self-worth

• Love with your whole heart

• Sometimes it’s more important to listen than speak

• When it’s meant to be, it always finds its way of working out

5. Four places I would like to go:

• Almalfi coast

• Napa and Sonoma (again!)

• Hawaii

• Eastern Europe

6. Four things I did yesterday:

• Ran

• Worked

• Ate a delicious dinner my husband made for me

• Met with my financial advisor

7. Four things I am looking forward to:

• having a blessed 2011

• getting in the best shape of my life

• furthering my career

• maintaining and making some new friendships

8. Four things I love about winter:

• baking

• fireplace

• snuggling w/ my husband on the couch

• long pants and tall shoes