Fit Friday Finds: 11.30.12

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Has anyone else noticed all of the holiday health challenges in the food & fitness blogosphere? It seems like every blog I’m on introduces a new holiday challenge, which is great! This week, I’m sharing two holiday challenges/fun that I’m participating in:

Fit Foodie Gift Exchange via Fit Foodie Finds

First, the Fit Foodie Exchange! This comes from Fit Foodie Finds, one of my favorite food and fitness blogs. It’s free to sign up, and Fit Foodie Lee will match you up with another Fit Foodie. You have a few weeks to email & connect with each other and then send your Fit Foodie any health or fitness-related gift, from a box full of homemade granola bars to an apron to a new fitness tee. (Don’t worry, there’s a $20 maximum so it won’t add to your holiday budgeting woes!)

2012 Closeout Workout Challenge

2012 Closeout Workout Challenge

Secondly, the 2012 Closeout Workout Challenge! This challenge comes from Courtney over at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life (another one of my favorite foodie blogs!). All you have to do is commit to complete 2,012 reps of any exercise/s  by the end of 2012. From jumping jacks to burpees (ah!), you can choose your exercises and make yourself complete those 2,012 reps to close out the year. It’s free to enter and participants can win a pair of shoes from Reebok or $25 gift card. To sign up, visit the Challenge Loop site.

I haven’t decided which exercises I’m committing to yet — I want to do something challenging but not impossible. (Aka no 2,012 burpees!)

What holiday fitness challenges are you participating in? 

WIAW: Starring Roasted Spaghetti Squash

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This week’s What I Ate Wednesday comes from this past Monday. As you can see, I was all Thanksgiving’d out, so no turkey, stuffing, or pecan pie here! Instead, I enjoyed some of my usual favorites to get back into a regular eating routine…

Breakfast: 1/4 c. steel cut oats with water and unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 tbsp. flax seed, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, & coffee

Morning snack (not pictured): 1 pear

Afternoon snack: 1 cup black cherry Greek yogurt & a clementine (love that they’re back in season!)

Nighttime snack: 1 melted banana with chocolate chips and cashews

Lunch: 1 cup homemade vegetable crab soup (recipe coming soon!), baby carrots, brown rice crackers (not pictured)

Dinner: 1 cup roasted spaghetti squash with sauteed onions and tomatoes topped with Parmesan cheese, steamed green beans, and two slices of Andy’s mom homemade bread — SO good!

Doesn’t that spaghetti squash look delicious? After looking at Pinterest recipes all fall, I decided to finally buy one and make it for myself. The result? Delicious, especially when complimented with other sauteed veggies!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Serves 3-4

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice your spaghetti squash in half and clean out all of the seeds.
  3. Place spaghetti squash on a baking tray, open side up.
  4. Roast for about 50 minutes or until the inside is soft. (It’s normal for a bit of liquid to pool in the middle.)
  5. Begin to scoop out squash…and there you go — spaghetti squash!

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • Give it some flavor and add in some toppings! I topped mine with sauteed cherry tomatoes and onions, as well as some basil, oregano, and balsamic vinegar.

How to “level down” this recipe:

  • Mix the roasted spaghetti squash with some regular pasta to help blend the tastes.
  • For a quick meal, top with some canned spaghetti sauce and grilled chicken.

Thankful for this Post-Thanksgiving Plyo-Cardio Circuit

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Sure, I was pretty thankful this Thanksgiving — I do have a lot to be thankful for. (Including my holiday eats!) But, I think I was equally thankful to be able to hit the gym this week with some great post-Thanksgiving workouts.

Yesterday morning, I hit the gym with one intention: cardio. I completed four pyramid HIIT intervals on the elliptical that looked like this…

Minutes –> Incline

0 – 5 –> 5.0

5 -10–> Pyramid One (7.0, 9.0, 11.0, 9.0, 7.0)

10-11 –> 5.0

11-16 –> Pyramid Two (9.0, 11.0, 13.0, 11.0, 9.0)

16-17 –> 5.0

17 – 22 –> Pyramid Three (11.0, 13.0, 15.0, 13.0, 11.0)

22-23 –> 5.0

23-28 –> Pyramid Four (13.0, 15.0, 17.0, 15.0, 13.0)

28-30 –> 5.0

That last pyramid was pretty tough — my legs were working like crazy! After the elliptical pyramid craziness, I hopped off to complete this 10-minute, plyo-cardio circuit. I sure was a sweaty mess for 6: 45 in the morning!

After the gym, I showered, headed off to work, and anxiously awaited 4 p.m. so I could get home and go CHRISTMAS shopping with my hubby! We needed lights, garland, stocking, ornaments, (basically everything!) so it was quite a fun shopping trip. I’ll be sure to post some photos when we finish up!

What I haven’t shared with you is that I was busy cooking (healthy!) foods this weekend when we got back from Thanksgiving with our families, so I have recipes for Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Vegetable Crab Soup, and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits coming your way later this week. In the meantime, be sure to check out my brand new Recipes page for some healthy eats and sweet treats!

“Anything for a Minute” Circuit Workout

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Last weekend, my sister and I were discussing HIIT treadmill workouts and how tough it can be to do really fast speeds on the treadmill until you remember that it’s only for a minute. After all, can’t you do anything for a minute?!

That conversation was the inspiration behind this “Anything for a Minute” Cardio & Ab Circuit workout. I combined some of my least favorite ab exercises (I couldn’t bear to include burpees on this one!) and created a quick ab and circuit workout that only takes ten minutes to complete and is sure to challenge you and make you sweat! But with the knowledge that you’re always done within the next sixty seconds, it’s not too bad!

How to “level up” this workout:

  • One word: burpees.
  • Give yourself a one minute rest after you complete the circuit…and then repeat it again!

How to “level down” this workout:

  • Not sure how to do one of these exercises? Want to get in another specific exercise? Go ahead and swap exercises out. The general theme is one minute of abs, one minutes of cardio.

Do you do circuit workouts? Do you like to create your own or go off of one you find?

Steel Cut Sundays

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As I emerge from my Thanksgiving food coma, I’m slowly getting back into a regular routine. Since our church started offering Saturday night services, I’ve been getting to enjoy my Sunday mornings relaxing and tackling my to-do list. (If you’re in the Newark area, consider checking out The Journey Church — you can get there Saturday night and still sleep in on Sunday!) This Sunday was no different…

I slept until about 7:30 (I can’t sleep in!), got up, and made some coffee while cleaning up our kitchen. Eventually, I sat down to have some oats for breakfast before tackling other projects for the day: catching up on emails, finding a recipe to make for tonight’s dinner with friends, and whipping up a batch of healthy protein bars and steel cut oats for the week. It was a combination of a lazy/productive morning — I finished all of this before 11 a.m. while still hanging out in my PJ’s. Can’t beat that!

Before I lost all motivation, I headed to the gym and completed a 30-minute pyramid circuit workout on the treadmill followed by 20 minutes of arm strengthening exercises. I have a feeling my arms are going to be pretty sore tomorrow!

As I mentioned, this morning I made a batch of steel cut oats. Since they take awhile to cook, I normally make a big pot on Sundays and then eat them every morning throughout the week. It’s super simple and allows you to enjoy a healthy, hearty breakfast every morning without a lot of prep time!

Steel Cut Oats For The Week
Serves 4-5

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  1. In a large pot, combine water and steel cut oats. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and stir occasionally until all water is absorbed.
  3. Let cool and then place in resealable container. Store in the refrigerator.

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • I typically “level up” my oats by taking out a small portion each morning and adding in some unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any milk would work) and some of the following: ground flax seeds, chia seeds, granola, bananas, apples, cinnamon, protein powder, and/or vanilla.

How to “level down” this recipe:

Thanksgiving in photos and food

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Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving, everyone! I have so much to be thankful for and had a great day with family yesterday — I hope you did too!

Here’s What I Ate on Thanksgiving…If you want to see everyone else’s yummy eats, head over to Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast 1: Half of a whole wheat English muffins, little bit of peanut butter and flaxssed

Seven mile run in less than 55 minutes! Anyone else love getting in a good workout before eating all day?!

Breakfast 2: 1/2 cup of oats, 1 tbsp. flax seed, skim milk, water, tablespoon of peanut butter

Lunch: The highlight of my day! For my Thanksgiving, I enjoyed some turkey, stuffing, salad, corn, whole wheat roll, and my roasted sweet potatoes. (Not pictured: Seconds of stuffing, corn, salad, and sweet potatoes)

Afternoon desserts: See that yummy Monkey bread above? I had two pieces (SO good!) and enjoyed some S’mores Snack Mix by Tastefully Simple that my Nana, a TS consultant, had brought for us to try. It was delicious!

Dinner: My dinner time didn’t come until almost 8:30…I couldn’t handle the thought of any food before then. That’s why I stuck with some fat-free strawberry greek yogurt with oats and nuts and a clementine on the side.

Andy and I enjoying our first Thanksgiving as a married couple!

Now, I’m off for a post-Thanksgiving workout…I’m thinking a quick tabata and short run? Then, it’s Black Friday time!

What I Ate Wednesday (Tuesday edition!)

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Today’s WIAW post comes from this past Tuesday — I was on the road most of the day for work and then headed to my second job, so it was a lot of eating on the go!

Never heard of What I Ate Wednesday? Head over to Peas and Crayons to find out what it’s all about!

I began my day nice and early with a nice bowl of oats, chia seeds, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and peanut butter.

For a mid-morning snack, I enjoyed some almonds, cashews, and raisins with a banana (not pictured). I was in the car with my iPhone…so sorry for the bad picture!

For lunch, I enjoyed a nice fall apple salad with Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette  It was the first time I had this dressing and instantly loved it! I also had a small M & M cereal bar (not pictured)…

I was at work for dinner and had a Mexican Sweet Potato bowl with some baby carrots…

Always on the go! If only I had time to take real photos in real dishes in real sunlight…one day!

Today, I started my pre-Thanksgiving break with an awesome 30-minute HIIT treadmill workout and a new “Anything for a minute” circuit workout. It sure had me sweating, and I’ll definitely do that again! Be on the lookout for a full workout recap later this week.

In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If you loved this WIAW post, be sure to check out this What I Ate…on Thanksgiving post. Can’t wait to read about everyone’s day!