Raw & Gluten Free “Donut Holes”

Well it snowed for about 12 hours today. I was able to make it to one client but even that was pushing it. So I had a bunch of downtime today, which was nice. I got to have a long workout, take a shower long enough to shave my legs, shoveled out our walk way and my car and I caught up on all workout and nutrition plans for clients. I have probably had 10 cups of loose leaf tea as well. Now that I think of it, I accomplished quite a bit. I share all this because I like to bore you, so lets talk “Donut Holes” (heavy on the nuts, sans dough).

I recently inherited my mom’s super retro food processor. While my boyfriend says is sounds like a lawnmower, I love it. It works well and it has a little sentimental value. Apparently my mom made all my baby food in this bad boy Oyster.

image

These little protein bites are slightly sweet and packed with protein and fiber. I wouldn’t put them in the dessert category because they lack the decadence I demand in a dessert. I would call them the perfect pre workout snack or addition to breakfast.

Here is what you will need:
• ¾ cup of almonds
• 12 pitted dates
• 2 tbsp of peanut butter
• 1 tbsp chocolate protein powder
• 2 tbsp of chocolate tahini

image

My favorite chocolate tahini. Just 2g of sugar!

image

First place almonds in a food processor or vita-mix. Process until you have an almond meal consistency. Move your meal to a mixing bowl. Process your dates for about 30 seconds or until you have a sticky paste. Add the rest of the ingredients including the almond meal to your date paste. Pulse continuously as needed until you everything is combined. Move your “dough” back to the mixing bowl to roll into tablespoon sized balls. I keep my donut holes in the refrigerator but they are perfectly fine covered at room temperature.

image

Almonds post processing

If you want to make these a little more dessert like you can add some mini chocolate chips. You may find you need a little honey to help the chips stick.

image

Enjoy!

Video Review: Double Down with Amy Dixon and Paul Katami

It has been a while since my last review, so I am very excited to gush about Amy Dixon and Paul Katami’s latest collaboration. If you have seen my reviews in the past you know I am a fan of both Amy and Paul’s workout DVDs.

Doubledown is a 50 minute combination of total body strength and cardiovascular plyometric exercises. The circuit set up is unusual, but in a good way. Each circuit consists of two minutes of total body exercises and two minutes of cardio work. So that is four minutes per circuit with 8 circuits. The two minute strength segment is split up into two parts. Paul starts with one exercise for one minute, then in the second minute you “doubledown” and add onto the move. This gets your heart pumping and the targeted muscle group(s) burning. Once you complete Paul’s two minutes, Amy takes over the cardio portion of the circuit. Her circuit is split into three 40 second intervals. With each interval the intensity increases. This gives you a little time to recover from Paul’s intervals before you start gurgling your heart again with high impact plyometrics.

I did this workout twice last week. The first time alone and the second time with my HIIT sister. Both times I was amazed by how fast this workout goes by. It is a shot in the arm, then you are off to shower and continue with your day. I did have to add some of my own stretching after the video to attack my legs a little better. I often find videos don’t give the legs enough attention when it comes to stretching.

If you bore easily with workout DVDs and want to burn some fat and calories in a short amount of time I definitely recommend this DVD. I purchased the digital download for just $15, which is a steal for how often I will do this DVD in future years. As a workout DVD whore I have recently been turned off by the videos being put out. They are getting too short and lack creativity. My faith is restored.

I give this workout 5 stars for sure. I hope there is Doubledown 2 coming out soon…

My Yoga Checklist

image

Yoga studios are popping up everywhere, so why is it so hard to find a class that checks all your boxes? In my mind There is a list of requirements that must be met when committing your time and money to a studio. I’m a picky yogi, probably too picky. But here is my excessively long list:
1. A good flow. By this I mean there is a fluid sequence that makes sense. I like to heat up first before stretching deeper. I can’t stand a choppy flow.
2. Sweat. I like to be challenged physically, but I realize that is not everyone’s priority when they step on the mat, and that’s fine!
3. Practice. I love instructors who help your take your practice to the next level. Just a few minutes of free time to ask questions and fix form can go a long way.
4. Length. After heating up its time to stretch. Yoga helps me balance my fitness regimen, and getting a good stretch is crucial for injury prevention.
5. Instruction. There is nothing worse than your favorite class switching instructors on you. Everyone prefers a different style, but when you find someone you love they become the reason you commit to a studio.
6. Space. There is nothing worse than getting whacked in the face during savasana. When studios over schedule I find myself comprising poses to avoid kicking my neighbor, it’s not ideal!
7. Variety. It’s the spice of life! You want to switch up your flow and grow as a yogi. I hate to see a Bikram only studio. Hot is not for everyone or everyday, it deters me from committing to a studio.
8. Ambiance. I once took a yoga class in a UFC gym. Mid Pigeon Pose you couldn’t help but be distracted by the sound of punching bags and sweaty grunting men. The teacher was great, but I couldn’t get into it.

This list combined with my unusual work schedule has me practicing at home most days. I did get a 10 day pass to a new studio this Christmas. I look forward to spending my Sundays afternoons in class.

What are your yoga studio must haves? Pet Peeves?

5 Day Fitness Blender Challenge

It’s been a while since I have reviewed a workout and I am excited to share with you my experience with Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Challenge to burn fat and build lean muscle!

maxresdefault

I came across the challenge on Sunday August 17th via Instagram and decided to add it to my workout regimen for the upcoming work week.  I was in a bit of a workout rut and becoming bored by my strength training routine so It was a welcomed change.  You can find all the workouts on YouTube and they are 100% free.  Start with Day 1 and you will easily find Days 2-5 on their channel. 

The workouts are all about 50 minutes long, which includes a warm up and a cool down.  This challenge is definitely easy to fit into a busy schedule and requires minimal equipment, all you need is dumbbells.  I supplemented a bit by adding barbells, kettlebells, a weight bench and a step  to increase the intensity of strength routines.  When a HIIT Exercise was not taxing enough I added some weight as well. 

Day 1: HIIT Routine & Total Body Strength Training

Day 2: Fat Burning Cardio Intervals with Upper Body Strength Training

Day 3: HIIT Cardio & Abs

Day 4: Cardio Kickboxing & Upper body Strength Training & Yoga Segment

Day 5: HIIT Cardio & Butt and Thigh Strength Routine

Overall I think the program was beneficial to my fitness routine.  It was nice to check out mentally for a week and perform another fitness professional’s program without having to design my own workout schedule.  I definitely had some soreness but the program is designed to create a balance of work and rest, so while one muscle group is healing you are working another part of the body. 

The HIIT Routines were fun and presented in a tabata style on most days.  On day 2,3 & 4 I skipped a lot of the rest periods and continued with the HIIT/Cardio moves to increase intensity.  This challenge is made to cater to a range of fitness levels so in order to keep my heart rate up I modified exercises and skipped rest intermittently. 

I found the workouts to be a little on the short side, but I still sweat my butt off and finished with my heart thumping. Day 4 was definitely the easiest day.  In Kickboxing you get out what you put in, so you really have to push yourself to get your heart rate up and feel the workout the next day.  Kickboxing is a great way to rest a bit without taking a day off, and I love that Daniel and Kelly used it as a way to recover along with some yoga exercises. 

Day 1 was my favorite workout and Day 5 was too short for my liking.  When adhering to my own workout schedule my workouts never really fall short of an hour, so 40 minutes including the warm up and cool down just doesn’t feel like enough.   However, I had gone paddle boarding with my Storm Fitness team for 3 hours on Friday morning and a short workout was welcome after all the core work I did while on the Potomac.  Plus there is something about spending time on the water that just wears me out, in a good way. 

Kelly and Daniel show modifications for every exercise they perform, so whether you are a novice or a fitness fanatic, this challenge can easily be added to your weekly routine.  They also show you how much weight they are using for each exercise. I like this concept, but they lift pretty light. Be sure you are challenging yourself without comprising your form.  I found myself lifting the same as Daniel if not more and I am not a heavy lifter by any means. 

The day after the challenge I did  a 50 minute Yoga video to hit my reset before button getting into another week of intense fat burning workouts.  I had a lot of fun trying something new and I felt great by the end of the week.  I was not overly sore or tight but that is in part due to a daily foam rolling ritual.  I will say, I went for a 5 mile run on Sunday and my body felt great. I would recommend this challenge to friends, clients and even my crazy fit mom 🙂

 

Fat Burning Spin Routine

Being a personal trainer, I have to create cardiovascular routines for a wide variety of fitness levels, injuries, muscle imbalances and age brackets.  I often see my clients slacking off when I prescribe time on a stationary bike or elliptical, … Continue reading

A Video Review: Get Extremely Ripped & Chiseled with Jari Love

It has been a while since I did a workout video other than YogaDownload.  In the past month I have picked up a new weight lifting routine which includes heavier weight and lower repetitions compared to my past circuits.  Being … Continue reading

The Liebster Award

I don’t know much about blogging, but I do love to do it! So I was excited when Jen from the blog Burpees for Breakfast nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Thanks to Jen, I now know a Liebster Award is…

An award from bloggers to bloggers with smaller followings in order to get his or her name out there.

liebster-award

So here is how it works once you have been nominated:

  1. Answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
  2. Select 10 blogs with a small following to nominate for the award
  3. Create 10 questions for your nominees
  4. Link back to your nominator
  5. Inform each of your nominees of your nomination

So Here are the 10 questions Jen asked me, along with my responses:

1. What are you eating (and watching) right now?

I am eating one of my “yogurt jars” for breakfast. It’s my go to breakfast. I make a few jars in the beginning of the week that I can grab on the go. It consists of: 1 banana, 1 small peach, ¾ cup of plain FAGE yogurt, 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 1 tbsp of raisins. I wish I was watching the latest episode of Ladies of London on my DVR, but unfortunately I am at work.

2. Favorite pre and post workout meal?

I have a sensitive stomach/gut issues so I cannot eat within 2 hours of exercising. So if I work out in the morning I operate on empty. Which is terrible, but it’s my reality. I try and plan my workouts so a meal falls right after I sweat, but on days where I lift weights I have a protein shake. I use Warrior Whey chocolate protein powder. If I have the time I blend the powder with almond milk and a frozen banana.

3. You wake up for a workout and you are NOT motivated. what do you do?

I just roll out of bed and put on my workout clothes. With my busy schedule, it’s crucial for me to follow the workout schedule I planned for the week. If I am unusually sore I will opt for a long yoga session. I use Yoga Download so I can do my workouts last minute at home. If I am really behind on sleep I will pick sleeping over working out the night before so I can sleep soundly without hitting snooze. It’s really important for me to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Otherwise, my workout will suck and it will just be a setback in my fitness routine.

4. What’s your current girl power jam? (i’m DIGGING meghan trainor ‘all about the bass‘)

Dancing On My Own by Robyn.  It’s been my jam since the first episode of GIRLS….

5. What has been the best part of your summer, so far?

All the parts. I kicked off the summer with my best friends in Las Vegas. It was my first time visiting and it was such an amazing weekend. I am also fortunate enough to have a friend in Nantucket and I was able to visit for a long weekend at the end of June followed by an amazing 4th of July weekend at my family beach house.

6.  Because i’m thinking of waffles…favorite type of waffles, pancakes, and ‘dessert’ bread (like banana or zucchini)?

In the morning I like eggs, yogurt, fruit and nuts. I like to have healthy fats and protein to keep me full and satisfied until lunch. I don’t like waffles, pancakes and I have never been a big breakfast bread or muffin person. Again, I am a weirdo. Growing up my mom would always make waffles and pancakes from scratch in the mornings. They made me so nauseous, and I hated breakfast all together. I would spend my bus ride trying not to barf. I think this is because I was unaware of my gluten allergy, and breakfast is typically loaded with the worst kind of gluten.

7.  Favorite type of workout and place to workout?

It all depends on the weather for me. On a cold day (30 to 45 degrees is ideal) I love the long hilly run on my parent’s country roads. I also love to run in new places. I am notorious for getting lost in foreign countries. When I lived in France I ran on the coast of the Mediterranean everyday and it was divine. When it’s too hot to trot outside (or a blizzard) I get my high from an intense HIIT workout with kettlebells or plyometric training. Yoga has really taught me how to balance hard work with healing practice; it has saved me from so many injuries. I love to practice in a studio but my schedule keeps me working individually at home. I don’t love strength training yet. It’s hard for me to enjoy a workout where I don’t have a consistently high heart rate, but I am learning to love the benefits.

8. How many times have you gone into target and walked out without purchasing anything?

Zero

9.  If you could create your own Starbucks drink and name it, what would you create?

I love the classics.  Americanos, Iced Coffee and Green Tea are my go to drinks.  It would be nice to add some protein powder or chia to a light coffee frappe. We could call it the Fit Frappe.

10. Who is your inspiration and why?

Ma! She has taught me so much about being a balanced and healthy individual.   Before I was born up through my toddler years she was placing first in every 10 K and 10 miler she entered. I grew up trying her workouts, entering races alongside her and watching as she evolved into one of the strongest and most well rounded athletes I know. She is strong, fast, fit and hilarious. Plus, she is not afraid to skip dinner and have a hot fudge sundae, my girl.

11.  What would be your Disney ending?

I just want to live a long healthy life and spend as few years in diapers as possible. I also would like to be a mermaid.

Okay enough about me.  Here are the blogs I chose to nominate:

My Liebster Questions:

  1. You are going to be stranded on an deserted island for a year and you are allowed to bring 3 pieces of exercise equipment. What would you bring?
  2. What is your summer cocktail (or mocktial)?
  3. What time did you get up this morning?
  4. Where would you retire?
  5. Sweet or Salty?
  6. What was your dream career growing up?
  7. What is your dream job now?
  8. What is your favorite sport to watch vs play?
  9. If you could invite three people, living or dead over for a party, who would they be?
  10. If someones underwear is showing would you tell them?

🙂

The Muscle Confusion Debate

This week I had a great conversation with a client and it led me to writing this blog post.  We were talking about the principle of Muscle Confusion.  Which States that muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress and … Continue reading