Egg Bites

I’m back! I took an unplanned hiatus and really missed this place! How are you all doing?

I’ve been up to a lot of things since I wrote last. In particular, I’ve taken quite an interest in Pinterest. If you haven’t checked out the Pinterest website, you really should visit! I love it because you can search for anything and find hundreds of unique ideas.

I’ve been using Pinterest lately to help me eat better. How many times have you been starving and despite your intentions to eat well, you grab the easiest thing because you’re just so hungry. So hungry that you can’t eat fast enough! I’ve been guilty of this! Part of losing weight and keeping healthy is planning and preparation. This can actually be fun when you have new ideas to try!

I found this idea on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit to fit my liking. I call these Egg Bites. The original recipe called for just egg whites but I added in whole eggs because I really believe in the power of the yolk. The entire recipe calls for 6 whole eggs and 3/4 cup egg whites, and each bite contains just over 20 calories. These make great pre or post workout snacks. My family also loves them for breakfast!

They are super easy to make!

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Here’s what you need:

  • A mini muffin tin
  • Olive Oil or cooking spray to prep the pan
  • Chopped veggies of your choice
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup egg whites

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First, prep the muffin tin with olive oil using a paper towel or use cooking spray such as Pam. Line the bottom of the tin with your veggies. Here I used fresh spinach leaves and fresh pico de gallo. The options are unlimited! Go crazy!

IMG_0701 IMG_0702Beat the whole eggs, combine with the egg whites and pour into the muffin tin over the veggies.

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Now bake at 350 for roughly 17 – 18 minutes.

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Uncooked

 

Cooked after 17 minutes

Cooked after 17 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let cool a few minutes and pop them out of the tin.

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Store them in an air tight container in the frig. They will keep for about 4 days!

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Make it a goal to prep healthy food in advance so you’re not caught binging on whatever is easy when those hunger pangs hit.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hand Washing 101

washing-hands-mdWashing your hands is one of the first things you learn to do as child. It’s so basic, right? And there are so many styles. There’s the “2-second rinse and wipe on your pants” or the “5-second squirt soap in your palms and rinse the soap blob down the drain” just to name a couple. Both of these styles have to be better than the not “washing” at all, right? Maybe not.

I saw a little blurb on the news about hand washing which prompted me to do some research and examine my own habits.  I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t putting in proper time.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) set forth the following guidelines to help remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others:

How to Wash your Hands:

1) Wet your hands, turn off the tap and apply soap.

2) Lather your hands with the soap. This includes the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, under your nails, and your finger tips.

3) Now that you’re all nice and soapy, scrub your hands for 20 seconds. If you sing or hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice you’ll be good to go. The CDC even suggests this!

4) Rinse

5) Dry

It’s that simple!

Soap and water is the best way to kill those germs but if you don’t have access to clean running water, an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a good option. Be advised that hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. When applying, make sure you rub in until dry.

We’re in the height of cold and flu season and I think we owe it to each other to take a few extra seconds to lather up and scrub.

I will if you will!

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Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Germs and the Gym

It’s the end of January. You’ve finally got yourself into a little workout routine and maybe you’re starting to make some progress and see some results. This makes you happy. You should be! This is hard work! And just when you’re starting to believe you will see your goal, BAM, you get the plague.

This scenario is all too familiar to me! And it raises the question, “Should you work out if you’re not 100%”?

I have a definite opinion on this, but only because I repeatedly made the same mistake for years until I learned to listen to my body.

But before you hear from me:

What do the Doctors say?

If you google this subject you will find that doctors generally agree it’s ok to workout if you’re symptoms are “above the neck”. Imagine symptoms associated with the common cold including a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and watery eyes. If you have “below the neck” symptoms, hacking cough, chest congestion and/or tightness, then it’s advisable to take some time off. Also, they advise against working out at all if you have a fever, feel fatigued or have widespread muscle aches.

While this medical ‘guidance’ is helpful it’s really not that cut and dry. People are different. Circumstances are different. You have to know yourself.

What I’ve learned:

The best way to get my point across is to give you an example.

A few years ago I was deep in my training when I got cold symptoms. I know a lot of people who don’t slow down for a cold. I decided to follow their example. The result for me? I believe I was responsible for giving myself pneumonia!

I have asthma, so I’m not like ‘a lot of people’ when it comes to the common cold. I didn’t always have asthma though. I developed it as an adult, so I had a lot to learn!

The first thing I learned is that dangerous illnesses can stem from a simple germ and feed on stubbornness. I didn’t ‘want’ to take a break. Heaven forbid I miss a workout! There were two things I didn’t realize. First, my body was laboring much harder doing a familiar workout because I wasn’t well. Second, my body was already working hard to get better. A lose, lose situation!

A simple cold turned into pneumonia because I refused to rest. I was out for weeks.

If you won’t do it for yourself, think about the other guy.

I truly believe that whenever I get the plague it’s from the gym (or shopping cart handles, but that’s another blog). No one who goes to the gym wants a germ infested person contaminating all the equipment. In my opinion, if your nose is all runny and you’re sneezing everywhere, you should definitely stay home no matter what the internet says.

The final question.

I’ve learned that if you have to keep asking yourself, “Should I work out, I’m not really feeling great,” the answer is “NO, you should not work out.” Give yourself a break. You will probably recover faster with a little rest and may just prevent your fellow gym friends from catching your plague.

Everyone wins!

Going Green

269538-green-teaI’ve always been a tea drinker. I look forward to a hot cup or two every morning. It gets me going.

For years I was loyal to Lipton black tea. Why? Because that’s what my parents bought. It was what I grew up on. I didn’t know anything else.

A few years ago I bought my first package of green tea because it was part of a cleanse I was trying. It tasted slightly different but it was good! Adding a little douse of fresh lemon made it taste just like what I was used to, BUT with added health benefits. I was sold and never turned back to the dark side.

Why is Green Tea a Great Choice?

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Minimal Processing

In general, the best foods and beverages for you are the ones with the least amount of processing. All teas (except herbal) come from the same type of bush (Camellia Sinensis). The level of processing determines the type of tea. Green tea is the least processed type of tea and therefore contains the most antioxidants of all the varieties.

More on Antioxidants

Antioxidants delay or prevent cell damage.

The antioxidants in tea are called polyphenols.

Catechins are a type of polyphenol found in large amounts in tea and are a very powerful antioxidant. (Catechins are also found in much smaller amounts in red wine and chocolate). Catechins are like little warriors that are believed to help fight various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and also help reduce inflammation in the body.

By weight, green tea is 20-45% polyphenols. Of this, 60-80% are in the form of catechins. That’s a lot of natural power fighting for your health!

Considered One of the World’s Healthiest Drinks

There have been numerous studies on green tea over the years which show a multitude of health benefits. Unsweetened, natural brewed tea has zero calories and is packed full of antioxidants. Adding vitamin C in the form of lemon makes the healthy compounds of green tea easier to absorb. (Dairy, on the other hand, makes the good properties harder to absorb).

Low Caffeine

Green tea contains less caffeine than black tea and far less caffeine than coffee.

Weight Loss

There have been many studies on green tea and weight loss, but they don’t all agree. While some studies have shown that green tea helps increase metabolism and fat burning, others don’t show an increase at all. It’s possible the effects may depend on the individual.

In any case, replacing a sugary or processed beverage with green tea is a good thing!

Final Thoughts

This little list of mine just touches the surface of the health benefits of green tea. I know that not everyone is a tea fan. (Hey, I can’t stomach the taste of coffee. I get it!). But if you’re a tea drinker anyway, why not give it a try?

Cheers!

12 Steps to Fitness – The Workout

I thought it was about time to post another workout. Yippee! And this is my all time favorite!

The 12 Steps to Fitness workout is based on the 12 Days of Christmas song, so what better time to pull it out than now?

I like to write it out on a big ‘ol white board for easy reference. You will be repeating each step a lot!

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The workout has 3 sections which you will definitely notice when you are doing it. The first 4 steps are cardio and when put together really get your heart rate up. Steps 5-8 are core based with a little cardio in the middle and the remaining steps are mostly strength with weights (except Step 12 which is basically a free pass for doing such a great job on steps 1-11!)

Step 1 is one rep. Step 2 is 2 reps. Step 3 is 3 reps and so on.

Complete step 1.

Complete step 2 and step 1.

Complete step 3, step 2 and step 1.

Complete step 4, step 3, step 2 and step 1.

Continue in this manner until you complete step 12 all the way down to step 1.

Hey, this is just like the song!

So let’s get this party started!

Step 1 – Of course we start with a burpee with a push-up. Just 1.

Step 2 – Surfer Kickouts. I had to put a little California in here. Imagine you are on a surfboard. Do a burpee and instead of jumping straight up at the top, do a 180 degree turn so you are facing the back of your surfboard. Do another burpee and another 180. That is one rep. Now do it again to complete your 2 reps. Now repeat step 1.

At this point you might notice you just did 5 burpees (step 2 and step 1 combined). I’ve gotten heat about this from clients when the realization sets in. I know, I’m such a giver! Merry Christmas!

Step 3 – 3 squat jumps

DSC_0478Step 4 – 4 plyo stars.

Imagine an air jack but your arms don’t go higher than shoulder height.

This is my daughter doing plyo stars in our kitchen last Christmas Day. That’s how we roll at our house.

These are quite fun! (To watch and to do!)

They make me feel like a really bad ballerina!

Step 5 – Side plank on your forearm or on your hand. Now dip your hip down towards the floor and back up. That’s one rep. Do 5 on each side.

Step 6 – 60 seconds of plank. This is where the fun really starts. You can be on your forearms or your hands. It’s handy to have a clock around for this one.

<Don’t forget you are repeating each step all the way down to 1 after each new step>

Step 7 – 7 Suicide Tap Downs each side. I saw this somewhere and had to use it. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Do a lateral lunge, Jack or squat jump in the middle (squat jump is harder) and do a lateral lunge on the other side. That’s one rep. Sometimes I call this lunge-jack-lunge or lunge-jump-lunge. Whatever you call it, it will get your heart rate up for sure.

Step 8 – 8 Tricep Pushups

Step 9 – 9 split lunges each side. You may choose to hold a weight or 2 at this point. Get in lunge position and go up and down 9 times. Keep your core tight, your spine erect and your shoulders back and down. Also make sure you are not pressing your knee forward over your toe.

Step 10 – 10 bicep curls. Go as heavy as you can. It will be a while before you get back to these.

Step 11 – 11 Sumo squats. Your toes are pointed out at an angle and your squat is low. This is more of a plie’ than a traditional squat. You can hold a weight at chin height or low between your legs as you squat up and down. Advanced can choose to add a little hop in between squats turning it into a sumo squat jump. It’s OK to get creative!

Step 12 is the icing on the cake. Enjoy 12 jumping jacks (and don’t forget to repeat steps 11 down to 1)

Step 13 is not listed on the board, but this is where you can collapse in a sweaty heap on the floor.

You have completed the workout. Well done!

How long will it take?

That is a good question!

Depending on your fitness level, it can range to roughly 30 minutes to more than 50 minutes. It’s always fun to time yourself, but don’t sacrifice good form for a faster time!

A few tips

It is a great idea to write this out in large letters like on a white board or something you won’t ruin with your sweat drips.

I also use a clock with a second hand to time plank. Of course a smart phone works well too.

As with all my workouts, all the exercises are interchangeable. Have fun with it!

The Stats

If you complete the entire workout, here is your rep count:

Burpees (Steps 1 & 2 combined) – 56

Squat jumps – 30

Plyo Stars – 36

(That’s 122 cardio reps)

Side Plank Dips – 40 each side

Plank – Total of 7 minutes of plank when you’re done. WOW!!

Suicide Tap Downs – 42 lateral lunges each side with an additional 6 jacks or squat jumps!

Tricep Push-ups – 40

Split Lunges – 36 each side

Bicep Curls – 30

Sumo Squats – 22

Jumping Jacks – 12

Total rep count – roughly 350 with an additional 7 minutes of plank.

The Silver Lining

I developed extreme pain in my left foot a few weeks ago and diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis (pronounced PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus). A little google search showed that it’s the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen and inflamed, and the heel or bottom of your foot hurts when you walk or stand. This explained what I was feeling to a ‘T’!

I’m not a baby, (well, not a huge one) and I can take my share of pain now and then. But with everything I read about how long it would take me to recover, I was freaking out a little bit. I thought of going to the doctor, but decided he’d just tell me to ice and rest, which is what I was doing anyway. Time would tell if I should seek medical attention.

For the first 5-7 days or so there was a constant dull ache throughout my foot (like a sprain) and it felt like I was walking on nails with every step. I’ve never actually walked on nails before, but in my opinion it couldn’t feel any worse than this did! During this time I stocked up on products that claimed to reduce plantar fasciitis pain.

I ended up with 3 things.

First was an arch support by Pro-Tec. I tried it on in the store and I thought it was amazing. Once I got it home though, I realized it put way too much pressure on the inflamed area. There was no way I could wear it at this point.

Next I tried KT tape. The first time I ever saw this colorful tape was on Kerri Walsh in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Surely if it worked for her it would work for me! Well, it might have if I had a different injury, but the foot and ankle move way too much and I had trouble getting it to stick.

Feetures

My favorite find was ‘Feetures’ which is a sleeve or toeless sock. It helps lift and stabilize the plantar fascia in order to ease heel pain and reduce swelling. I’m not sure if it really did anything or just eased my mind because I thought it was doing something. Either way, I thought is was worth the money.

What I learned from this whole thing:

My real best friends were ice, rest and stretching:

I learned pretty quickly that a cold compress isn’t cold enough. If you have major swelling you need major cold and only real ice will do. Ice 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off and repeat. Do this often.

As far as rest goes, anything more than walking was off limits to me as long as I had any pain. This was a self imposed rule and it was a good one. I have to be strict with myself. I did do nonimpact workouts to keep myself sane though. It was OK as long as there was no pain involved.

Finally, stretching is a must! A common cause of plantar fasciitis is a tight Achilles tendon (the the big tendon at the bottom of your calf muscles above your heel). This can affect your ability to flex your ankle and make you more likely to damage your plantar fascia. I have a habit of overtraining and not stretching enough. Who out there DOES stretch enough? Pat yourself on the back if you do!!

The Silver Lining

I’m not really sure if my self diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is an accurate one. Everything I’ve read says that it takes about 9 months to a year or more to fully recover if you’re careful. It only took me a couple of weeks. I do still feel a tiny bit of inflammation but no pain whatsoever.

The good news is that I learned to take better care of myself. I never meant to be a ‘do what I say, not what I do (or don’t do)’ type of trainer. This was an accident. Like everyone, I get busy and am often pressed for time. The truth is I would do a high impact workout and NOT stretch afterwards, and I did this repeatedly. I know you’re gasping right now. So am I!

You can’t constantly pound your body without it retaliating in some way. It wants proper rest. Your tight muscles need to be stretched.

I think I’m in a better place now having gone through this. Sometimes you need to get a little scared to change the way you do things. I’m actually thankful for this experience!

Last Thoughts

I really don’t recommend self diagnosis and think everyone should consult a physician if they have an injury. I’ve had many injuries and lots of visits to various doctors. I was just implementing what I already knew before going again.

Also, plantar fasciitis has many causes, but I just addressed it as it affected me.

Finally, stay healthy and active everyone! And don’t forget to stretch!

The New UP App (Try saying that 10 times fast!)

I’ve had my Jawbone UP band for just about a year now, and of the 3 activity tracking bands I own, it’s my favorite so far.

Jawbone just introduced the UP24, the wireless version of the UP band (sold for $20 more – $149.99) and the new 3.0 UP App. While I’m not about to run out and get the new band yet, I’ve been playing around with the new app for about a week and want to let you know what I’ve found so far.

Last week I received an email telling me about the update and in very general terms what to expect.

The first change is the “Today I Will” Challenge and Milestones. The email said, “What will you achieve today? New insights help you conquer daily goals and celebrate meaningful milestones. Small changes today add up to big achievements over time.”

This excited me! I love a challenge and more importantly I love to conquer it. My excitement began to dwindle though because it turns out that you have to wait for the app to prompt the daily challenge. Total bummer! About 4 days later (after my update) I was finally prompted.

My first challenge was to add 500 steps to my biggest stepping day since my app update. I was asked if I would accept the challenge of moving 13,868 steps the next day. Challenge accepted! I like how the app keeps track of how many steps I still need to take.

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It took a little extra effort to conquer the challenge on this particular day. It was a Wednesday after all, and usually it’s a struggle just to get to my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I felt pretty good about this.

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So on to the next challenge!  Wait…what? You’re asking me to do the same challenge tomorrow? I wasn’t expecting this, but OK. Challenge accepted…again. So I clicked the ‘Tomorrow’ button. photo

Challenge conquered, again! Yippee! Again, it took a little extra effort, but it was worth it to get this little pat on the back.

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Now on the the next challenge! Wait…what? You’re offering me the same challenge a third day in a row? Sorry, ‘No Thanks’.

I declined the challenge, but wasn’t offered another one yet. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s just an app after all.

My husband received a different challenge: to drink 8 glasses of water that day. I love how the app keeps track of your progress!

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And of course, after completion of his challenge, he got a little pat on the back too!

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Of course after he completed his challenge, he was offered the SAME challenge again the next day. I suppose the app is trying to create habits with the repetitive challenges, which is good, but where’s the element of surprise?

Another change to the app is the activity log. I like this!

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Just scroll up and it gives you a list of your recent data. This is just YOUR data. When you have a ‘team’ like I do, everyone’s activity shows up on your ‘timeline’ similar to a Facebook newsfeed. The activity log is just like your home page. Your recent data at a glance.

The last change worth mentioning is the sleep recovery mode. Raise your hand if you occasionally forget to set you band to ‘sleep’ mode. Me, Me! Just last night in fact! The updated app lets you easily recover your sleep summary and even breaks down your light and deep sleep just as if you had set it. Awesome!

All in all I think the new app has a lot of great potential. I was a little disappointed with the repetitive nature of the challenges, but who knows, it could really help someone else. I also wish I could prompt the challenges instead of having to wait for the app to get around to it. I do appreciate the beautiful graphs and the occasional pat on the back though.

I can’t expect too much from it. It is just an app after all!