Monday, June 27, 2011

Great minds think alike.

Not that I needed more proof that Randal is a great fit for our household, but the places he falls asleep crack me up:

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Got a busy couple of weeks ahead of me, followed by some much-needed R&R in Vegas. How's your summer going? Busy? Cool travel plans? Work? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hows & Whats.

Time for another edition of Hows & Whats.

HOW I'm currently eating:
DISCLAIMER: As with any nutritional plan, always seek guidance from a professional first; this way of eating is what currently works for *me* and may not be the best option for you.

Oh, food. You and I always seem to be at odds, depending on the week and where my head is at. For the time being, I'm aiming for higher protein and less sugar, using Jackie Warner's book as a guide:

I actually bought this book shortly after it was released, just never got around to doing a proper review. I know it probably comes across as just another fad, but it's actually a pretty decent read when it comes to food. And nothing is banned; the main goal is to eat less refined sugar and processed foods, which pretty much every one can benefit from. I'm fond of this plan because it works best for my current way of eating (eat clean for 5 days, then allow for some treats on the weekends), but also forces me to improve my meal composition (less sugar, more protein, more veggies and focusing on whole grains & fruits for carb sources). Each day, I aim to eat 4 servings of lean protein, 3 servings of veggies (though I allow myself more if I want), 2 servings of fruit, 2 servings of healthy carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, pasta, wheat bread or wraps, etc.) and 1 serving of healthy fat (olive oil, nuts, avocado).

It's not rocket science by any means, but since my fitness goals include improving my sprinting speeds and increasing my lean muscle mass, Jackie's nutrition plan is pretty much spot-on for properly fueling my workouts. Before following her plan, I was eating healthy (for the most part), but had cut back on protein and found myself eating more carbs, in addition to drinking more alcohol and overeating on the weekends. Doing so was starting to affect my athletic performance; I just always seemed sluggish whether I was running or lifting and was taking longer to recover, thus bailing on more workouts. Getting back into my protein groove has already kept me from half-assing a session and has kept debilitating muscle soreness in the backseat.

I'm into my second week of following the plan and have noticed a dive in my junk food cravings and my appetite is starting to subside as well. First week, I dropped 3 pounds, so I can't complain. And because there's no counting calories or tracking involved, it's keeping my anxiety and binges at bay. I'm not hungry either, which is kind of a big deal. As with any healthy eating plan, there is some more prep involved (taking time to cut up veggies for snacks & lunch; boiling eggs and mixing protein shakes the night before, etc.), but nothing I haven't had to do before.

HOW I'm currently sweating:
Right now, my routine is pretty basic: 2 days of cardio, 3 days of strength/weights, 2 days of rest. For cardio, I head to the gym and do some sort of mix of the following, for about 45 minutes or so: sprint intervals, incline walking, stairmaster, elliptical or spinning. I try not to do any single activity for more than 20 minutes because I have a confession to make: I'm officially bored with cardio.

Back when I first started to lose weight, I adored cardio and despised strength training. Anyone who's followed me from my LiveJournal days knows this is true. It seems after getting into Jari Love and Jackie Warner workouts, I finally learned to love lifting and compound strength exercises. They just always seem to give me that edge when trying to meet a goal, be it improved definition or fat loss. I STILL meet women to this day who shy away from weights or believe they shouldn't start lifting until they're closer to their weight goal. For any ladies reading this, please, please, please- don't put off this type of training any longer. You will NOT get big and bulky (unless you're getting testosterone injections, lifting 300+ pounds AND eating a steady diet of chicken & creatine supplements). Study after study has proven time and time again that weight training boosts fat-loss efforts, improves performance in other fitness activities and improves bone density. You can scarf down all the milk and calcium supplements you want (*raises hand*), but adding some extra resistance in your workouts will ward off osteoporosis and fractures even more. Running, yoga and Zumba are all great, but don't be afraid to pick up some dumbbells a couple times a week.

Ok, stepping off of my soapbox now.

WHAT I'm currently reading:
Well, technically, all I should be reading is my ACE Personal Trainer Manual, but I need a break from that every once in a while. Right now, I'm pretty much obsessed with Oxygen Magazine. 

I'm letting my subscriptions to Shape, Self and Fitness all expire because I relate to less and less of their content every month. I don't identify with flavor-of-the-month celebs or the numerous underweight models featured on every other page, parading as fitness role models. And when I'm in the mood to read about exercise, I want to read about just that; not flip through dozens of pages featuring beauty products and $500 boots. Can you feel the rage?

Well, Oxygen is not like the others. Forget the anti-aging moisturizers and bring on the butt-kicking workouts! I've gotten 2 issues so far and just reading them makes me feel like a strong, healthy bad-ass. They cover a variety of workout types, share great clean recipes, tell inspiring success stories and feature models who truly do exemplify what eating healthy and working out should look like, without any fluff.

Don't get me wrong; those other women's health mags deserve some credit, but they just seem so shallow to me now. And honestly, if I see another Kardashian being played up to be a source of health/fitness inspiration, I'm gonna need corrective surgery to pull my eyes from the back of my head.

Bonus: You can score a subscription from Magazine Deals Now for a more than reasonable price. (I've used this site tons in the past; it's legit. If you sign up for their mailing list, you get sweet discount codes too.)

What are some of your current Hows & Whats?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I'm pretty terrible at post titles. Whatevs...

So, I'm a new fangirl of Oxygen Magazine. I was about to give up on women's health/fitness magazines, but Oxygen seems to know what's up. It's great to see ripped, fit women doing tough workouts as opposed to the usual underweight bikini model pretending to be disappointed by what she sees on the scale in an article about weight-loss. ANYWHO, rant aside, I found a great Spanish-style quinoa recipe on the Oxygen site and decided to give it a try last night.

I opted for the version that used pinto beans instead of peas. I also left out the green onion because we were out.

Turned out great! I sometimes (well, all of the time) find myself stuck when thinking of new ways to jazz up quinoa and this recipe was just what I was looking for. It reminded me of really well-seasoned, hearty Spanish rice.

To boost up my protein intake, I served it with some salmon:

I seasoned the salmon with taco seasoning (we likes to keeps it classy like dat) and topped it with my new obsession:

There are only a billion different jarred salsas out there, so I don't usually buy it, but I'm officially a whore for Frontera. One of my new goals in life is to eat at a Rick Bayless restaurant, based on this salsa alone. There's also a red pepper-garlic variety that's pretty great too.

Turned out to be a tasty meal, no thanks to my lazy sous chef:

Oh well. Being cute does give one a lot of free passes in life.

This dish would also great with grilled chicken, pork, ground beef or turkey. And to keep it meatless, add more beans (black or kidney, perhaps?) and/or tofu. Looking forward to trying the leftovers with cheese & sour cream.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Catching up with the times...

Hello, readers! Just a quick post to let you know I finally created a Facebook page for this blog.

My goal is to offer a more interactive, supportive place for readers. I'll also post food/fitness tips that don't always make it to the blog.