Weekend Challenge June 22nd and 23rd

Hi! I made it! Did you? It’s time for another weekend challenge. Time flies when… life happens?

This Saturday and Sunday let’s try some cardio and abs. Three times each day, try this little routine:

50 jumping jacks
25 crunches
25 bicycles
10 burpees
15 push-ups
50 mountain climbers
1 minutes plank

It will only take you a few minutes, and will get your heart nice and pumped up in exchange for your time. Hooray for heart pumping!

Tomorrow is the last Lil’s practice of the season! Afterwards I’m driving to see my boyfriend’s new place and meet his roommates/friends. It’s always nice to put faces to names you keep hearing over and over… and over. Hopefully it’s not as rainy as the weatherman is predicting. Good thing the weekend challenge can be an inside activity 😉

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge May 11th and 12th

Here’s to the weekend! Time to kick back and relax, whether relaxing means hanging out on the couch or doing something active with every moment of your free time, it’s the not-being-at-work part that really counts. So, how are you spending your weekend?

Hopefully you incorporate this weekend challenge into your Saturday and Sunday morning. When you roll out of bed, whether it be before you wash your face and brush your teeth or while breakfast is cooking, try to get your metabolism awake with this mini total body workout.

50 Jumping Jacks
20 Push Ups
20 Lunges (each side)
30 second Wall Sit
50 Crunches
1 minute plank

This week I made this crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe. However, instead of using two cups of macaroni I substituted half of that with about a cup or cup and a half of cauliflower. I used frozen cauliflower, heated it up a bit so I could tear it into “macaroni-sized” pieces, and dumped it in the crock pot. It was good! Something needs to be added to the recipe to give it a bit more flavor. I used a little ketchup this time, but I’m hoping to find something else to make it taste cheesier. Any suggestions?

Tomorrow is the first Lil’ Kickers (soccer) practice. The soccer portion of Lil’s is my FAVORITE! A friend I’ve known from 4th grade is visiting this week. We’ll hit up the beach and hopefully head to Disney on Sunday. One of my life mottos: When in doubt, DISNEY!

Everyone have an awesome weekend. Spend some time outside. You’ll feel better, I promise.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge May 4th and 5th

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the weekend holiday you have one and a half challenges. The “one” because you have to and the “half” because it would be cool if you did. So here you go.

One: Try this holiday-inspired exercise. Lay something down on the floor, like a jump rope or long towel, use a tile line in the kitchen, the meeting of the wood floor and carpet, a sidewalk crack etc. Basically, you need something to jump over. Start on one side, and simply hop back and forth from one side of the line to the other. I’m calling this the “Mexican Jumping Bean.” Hop as fast as you can back and forth for 30-60 seconds Saturday and Sunday before every meal and every time you get up from sitting for a long time. Wake up those stiff limbs and that metabolism. Play some spicy music while you do it for extra credit.

Half: Find a healthy Mexican recipe to make once this weekend. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A family favorite or a new experiment. You may find some ideas here, or you can easily google something like “Healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes”.

On an unrelated noted, National Star Wars Day, tomorrow is. Use the force and stay healthy!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge April 27th and 28th

Hooray! The end of another long week, and what better way to celebrate than with some exercise? Endorphins, sweat, and smiles all around! So this weekend your challenge is simple: get at least 45 minutes of exercise each day (that means Saturday AND Sunday, people!) Whether it be outside or in the gym. Cardio, lifting weights, or an exercise class. Just do it! And be happy that you did. Don’t treat it like a chore. Your workouts should never be treated like a chore. Do it because it makes you feel good, because it gives you energy, and because it’s good for you. Getting bored of the same old things? Switch between exercising inside and outside, do a different leg workout than you did two days ago. Try something new, like Zumba, a Boot Camp, Kayaking, Hiking, Jogging, etc. The list goes on and on!

The start to my weekend will be with all my kiddies for the last Lil Punters (football) practice and the last Kid’s Triathlon Training practice. The Lils’ kids will be getting their usual cupcakes, football design this time. The Kid’s Tri athletes are a little older and in preparation for a big race next weekend. I don’t think feeding them cupcakes would be a great example, so I bought a bunch of oranges to cut up for them. Brings me back to my soccer halftime days. Still yummy, hydrating, and much healthier. Also a relaxing treat on the porch or by the pool!

Healthy Football Cupcakes for Lils'

Healthy Football Cupcakes for Lils’

Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Don't leave him hangin'!

Don’t leave him hangin’!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Magical Kale Smoothie and a Kick-Butt Interval Workout

Today I am sick and I don’t know why. My tummy hurts! Being sick means cinnamon toast and other foods that are all, unfortunately, the same color. My lovely brother took care of me and brought me an “Island Smoothie” from Tropical Smoothie a little bit ago. Two things happened. First, it hit the spot. I couldn’t drink the whole thing, but what I did drink was deee-licious. Second, it reminded me of the homemade smoothie I’ve been making lately. Here’s the recipe:

Banana Kale Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 branch/leaf/whatever that thing is called of kale
5-8 slices of frozen peaches
1 small container vanilla Light & Fit yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup of milk (depending on how thick you like it, and how much liquid your blender needs to mix it)

Toss everything into the blender and blend until smooth. You don’t want kale leaves floating around in your drink (or maybe you do?)

This recipe makes a lot, definitely enough to serve 2 people, but I don’t usually have anyone to share with and end up drinking it all myself. No complaints here! Yummy! It looks green and tastes like banana. Get a serving of veggies and the only evidence is the color.

Because I wasn’t feeling well today I missed my workout (better than throwing up on the machines I always say) but I’ve been thinking of what to share with you to make up for it, because if I can’t workout someone’s got to do it for me!

This can be done walking or running, inside on the treadmill or outside in the sunshine. You can walk the “recovery” stage and jog/run the more intense parts, or run the whole thing. I’ve read in more than one place that doing a 20-25 minute interval workout can have the same benefits as a longer 40-45 minute constant cardio workout (although both should still be utilized). Interval workouts are also nice when you’re a little short on time. Try this one next time you want to spice up your cardio session:

Interval Cardio Workout
5-10 minute warmup
1. High-intensity pace for 90 seconds
2. Sprint for 30 seconds
3. Recovery Pace for 120 seconds
Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as you can or have time for. Each set is a total of 4 minutes. Give yourself a slight cool-down at the end.

So maybe your sprint is the fastest walk you can do, or your sprint is a jog and your high-intensity pace is the fastest walk you can do. Or maybe you’re intense and you’re going to run the whole thing. Maybe it will be harder than you thought and you can set a goal for yourself to not walk through any of it. Maybe you’ll have to start with only 3 or 4 sets, but want to work your way up to 7 or 8 sets. Or maybe you woke up late and need a good cardio workout in a shorter amount of time than your long run (look into Tabata for a solution also).

Whichever way you decide to do it, be thankful that paying attention to the minutes help time fly by. Before you know it, your workout will be done!

Have you tried running/walking/working out to something other than music? Pick up an audiobook for your iPod of that book you’ve been meaning to read but just can’t find the time for, or try a podcast. Check out the library for some good books on tape you can load onto your iPod. I’ve found audiobooks and podcasts to really help pass the time, especially when I wan’t in the mood to workout in the first place.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

IT’S PI DAY EVERYBODY

March 14th=3/14=3.14. You know what that means? Only that you get to look forward to a pi-themed workout and healthy pi(e) for dessert. Let’s get cracking.

The workout today will provide a good mixture of cardio and strength training. There are two workouts. One for those of you who don’t have access to weights at the gym, and one for those of you who do. Do each exercise for one minute. There will be 3 minutes of cardio (3 exercises), a 1-minute rest, and 4 minutes of strength training. Here are your options:

At Home: No Weights

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps

1: REST

4: Lunges
Push-ups
Squats (touch the floor with your fingers every time you squat down!)
Diamond Push-ups
REPEAT 3-5 TIMES

With Weight

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps

1: REST

4: Lunge with Bicep Curl
Curtsey with V-Raise
Squat with Shoulder Press
Squat Pulse holding weight straight out in front of you
REPEAT 3-5 TIMES
*3 minutes of cardio can also be substituted at a fast pace on an elliptical/treadmill/bike etc.

And what would Pi Day be without super delicious yummy almost-homemade pie? My pick (the same one I made last year) is Easy Peanut Butter Pie. My love of peanut butter may sway my vote a bit when choosing this over a fruit pie, but I can’t resist! You’re all invited over to have a piece of mine when I come home from work tomorrow night. First come, first serve!

So happy Pi Day to all, and may you find the perfect way to celebrate!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

“Lung Conditioning”

For some reason hearing the phrase lung conditioning seems a lot less painful than “cardio”. Maybe I’m the only one. It almost sounds relaxing. Well I’d love to tell you this workout is just that, but I’d be lying 😉

Good news is you will most definitely feel relaxed and accomplished when this half-hour Tabata session is over. It’s all about cardio (lung conditioning!) and abs today. I’m so excited to share this with you and I hope you have the same love-hate relationship with it that I do.

Remember Tabata from an earlier post? 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds, a total of 4 minutes. These 4 minutes equal 1 set, and there are two exercises in each set. In this instance, the first exercise is lung conditioning and the second is an ab move. Like this:

(any exercise with a * by it has a how-to picture further down the post)

1. Jumping Jacks
2. In-and-Outs*

1.High Knees/Butt Kicks (do two of each)
2. Bicycles

1. Burpees (no push-up)
2. Scissors*

1. Frog Jump Squats*
2. Crunchy Frog*

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Kayakers aka Russian Twists

1. Squat Jacks*
2. Plank Jacks*

In-and-Outs Step 1. Use your hands to support yourself

In-and-Outs Step 1. Use your hands to support yourself

In-and-Outs Step 2. Use your hands to support yourself

In-and-Outs Step 2. Use your hands to support yourself

Scissors Step 1. Try to keep you foot flexed and your leg as close to straight as possible

Scissors Step 1. Try to keep you foot flexed and your leg as close to straight as possible

Scissors Step 2. SWITCH! Try to keep you foot flexed and your leg as close to straight as possible

Scissors Step 2. SWITCH! Try to keep you foot flexed and your leg as close to straight as possible

Frog Jump Squats Step 1. Wide squat stance and make sure you're fingers touch the floor!

Frog Jump Squats Step 1. Wide squat stance and make sure you’re fingers touch the floor!

Frog Squat Jumps Step 2. Explode into a high froggy leap, which you can tell is oh-so-fun by the look on my face

Frog Squat Jumps Step 2. Explode into a high froggy leap, which you can tell is oh-so-fun by the look on my face

Crunchy Frog Step 1. Hug your knees. This one is hard to do at first, especially the balance part.

Crunchy Frog Step 1. Hug your knees. This one is hard to do at first, especially the balance part.

Crunchy Frog Step 2. Legs go straight out in front of you, not necessarily this high. This one is hard to do at first, especially the balance part.

Crunchy Frog Step 2. Legs go straight out in front of you, not necessarily this high. This one is hard to do at first, especially the balance part.

Squat Jacks Step 1. Basically a jumping jack in squatted position. Stay low!

Squat Jacks Step 1. Basically a jumping jack in squatted position. Stay low!

Squat Jacks Step 2. Basically a jumping jack in squatted position. Stay low!

Squat Jacks Step 2. Basically a jumping jack in squatted position. Stay low!

Plank Jacks Step 1. These can be done with straight arms in push-up position or as shown. Move legs in and out like you would a regular jumping jack.

Plank Jacks Step 1. These can be done with straight arms in push-up position or as shown. Move legs in and out like you would a regular jumping jack. Try to keep your butt down! I’m cheating here, shame on me.

Plank Jacks Step 2. These can be done with straight arms in push-up position or as shown. Move legs in and out like you would a regular jumping jack.

Plank Jacks Step 2. These can be done with straight arms in push-up position or as shown. Move legs in and out like you would a regular jumping jack.

Any other exercises you aren’t sure how to do can be found easily in an online search. So now it’s your turn. Try this on a cardio day, or when it’s raining outside and you can’t go for your usual walk/jog/run/skate/bike/hike/swim/skip/cartwheel. Oh, look! Ideas for fun exercises to enjoy outside! Isn’t that something.

Mommy was here to visit this last week and a half. She left this morning and now I’m lonely again! I guess taking pictures of myself doing exercises is one strange way to pass the time. Luckily the only eyes that saw me belonged to the neighbor cat. She’s always being nosy.

I’m hoping next time to post some smoothie ideas. Why don’t you get a head start on me and try making one yourself today? Delicious and nutritious!

Check back tomorrow for your Weekend Challenge!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Cardio with a Cherry on Top

“Cherry on Top” is code for that lovely exercise set that can kick your metabolism into full gear much further than regular cardio might. Good ol’ plyometrics! Awesome, quick, and just pushes your body to the brim to finish your workout power-strong. Let’s get to it!

Six exercises for thirty seconds each (no resting in the middle you dirty cheaters). This can be done once, twice, or three times with a minute rest in between each set.

Plyo Set
Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jacks
Lunge Jumps
Squat Jumps
Burpees (with or without push-ups)

Each of these for thirty seconds with no break in between makes a total of three minutes. Go ALL OUT on this! They are the cherry on top of your cardio, the icing on your weight training, the grand finale! Try to do three sets. If your cardio workout was really rough (good for you!) stick to one, two, or whatever you have energy for. I believe in you, and you should too.

Have you tried myfitnesspal? It’s an app and a website where you can log everything you eat, all of your exercise, etc. It’s very helpful if you’re ever curious how much you think you’re eating and how much you’re eating in reality, especially if you have a special goal in mind. It’s a bit of a hassle at first, but once your foods get stored in the app’s memory it gets quicker to log meals and is very interesting. Try it out!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Tabata and Healthy(…er) Cupcakes

Tabata…

Sounds cool, yes? Maybe a little intimidating, but hey, it was a sweet last name and now a fun word. Why not?

Tabata is a type of workout created by some health-crazy Japanese man who knew his stuff. He ran tests and experiments and found that high-intensity interval training increased both aerobic and anaerobic systems (two different types of exercise that collectively benefit all of your different muscles types). Basically, interval training is fantastic. It revs up your metabolism and helps your muscles to stay active, even after you stop working out, to burn calories and boost fat loss.

I’ve recently been teaching Tabata as a half-hour exercise class, and my clients love love love it! Originally, Tabata was meant as a 4-minute all-out cardio blast, where you max out all effort during your set and keel over in exhaustion and satisfaction at the end. Now don’t go getting any ideas that you should pace yourself when you try this workout, but it is going to be challenging. Try not to cheat. The harder you work, the sooner that second wind comes around… right?

So here’s the deal:

Each set is 4 minutes total.
6 sets; 2 exercises in each set.
That’s 4 rounds of each exercise in a set, for 8 total rounds in a set.

Got it? No? Yeah, that explanation was about as Japanese as the man who made this up. Follow this:

Do each exercise for 20 seconds and rest 10 seconds. For example, you would do (1) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (2) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (1) 20 seconds, etc. Each exercise will be done 4 times before moving on to the next set, for a total of 4 minutes per set.

Note: Any exercise with a * next to it has a how-to picture posted underneath the exercises. All other exercises you may not know (make sure you have proper form!) are easily found in a Google search.

HARD 
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squatted Punch (stay low the whole time!)*

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Lunge with Dumbbell Bicep Curls

1. Burpees/Squat Thrust
2. Bridge (aka hip raise) to Crunch*

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. V-Raise with Curtsey*

1. Lunge Jumps (go down as far as you can!)
2. Squat Pulse holding weight

1. Push-ups/Diamond Push-ups
2. Squat Kick-backs*

EASY
1. In and Outs (shuffle your feet in and out quickly)
2. Standing Punch

1. High Knees
2. Front Raise/T-Raise*

1. Squat Jacks (stay low!)
2. Hip Raises aka Bridge

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. V-Raise with Curtsey*

1. Lunge Walk Jumps (for less impact)
2. Squat Pulse

1. Push-ups/Diamond Push-ups
2. Backward Leg Raises

No weights? Try the workout below, or hold a couple laundry bottles, heavy bags, etc. for the ones above!

NO WEIGHTS
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Push-Ups

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Diamond Push-Ups

1. Squat Jumps
2. Bridge to Crunch*

1. Squat Jacks (stay low!)
2. Alternating lunges

1. Burpees/Squat Thrusts
2. “Kettlebell” (i.e. something heavy) Swing

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. Squat to Press (just use something heavy)

Again, do each exercise for 20 seconds and rest 10 seconds. For example, you would do (1) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (2) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (1) 20 seconds, etc. Each exercise will be done 4 times before moving on to the next set, for a total of 4 minutes per set.

Doing all 6 sets, and resting 1 minute in between sets will bring your workout to a grand total of 29 minutes. Modify if needed for knee, back, elbow, etc.problems, but don’t modify just because your lungs are burning! They’re supposed to. You can do it! Yes it sucks, and yes you’re breathing heavy, but you’re also sweating yourself to a good mood and fitter, more toned body. Definitely worth it.

V-Raise with Curtsey

V-Raise with Curtsey-- Step 1

V-Raise with Curtsey– Step 1

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 2

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 2

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 3

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 3

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 4

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 4

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 5. Repeat!

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 5. Repeat!

Squatted Punch

Squatted Punch-- stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch– stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch-- stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch– stay low the whole time

Front to T-Raise

Front to T-Raise-- Step 1

Front to T-Raise– Step 1

Front to T-Raise-- Step 2

Front to T-Raise– Step 2

Front to T-Raise-- Step 3

Front to T-Raise– Step 3

Front to T-Raise-- Step 4

Front to T-Raise– Step 4

Front to T-Raise– Step 5. Repeat!

Squat Kick-back

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 1

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 1

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 2

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 2

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 3

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 3

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 4

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 4

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 5. Repeat!

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 5. Repeat!

Bridge (aka Hip Raise) to Crunch

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 1. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 1. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 2. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 2. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 3. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 3. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 4 Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 4. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 5.Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 5.
Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

And here we go with a complete change in gears to talk about the C word. CUPCAKES! And more importantly, my personal weakness, funfetti cupcakes. Tomorrow is my last practice coaching soccer for 3-5 year-olds. Most know the routine but a few will be surprised tomorrow when they receive shiny medals with their names on them and a yummy cupcake for all their hard work. These kids are my entertainment for the weekend, and it’s so awesome to hear them say “Coach! Coach! Can you show me this move?”. How can you not give a kid a cupcake when you tell him he’s running extra fast today and he shouts “That’s because I’m wearing my Nikes!” (Pose included). So the kids are getting these in the morning…

Cupcakes for the last day of Lil' Kickers

Cupcakes for the last day of Lil’ Kickers

I’m no artist, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Hey… I used applesauce instead of oil. Almost healthy C-words. Yum.

What kind of things would you like to see on this blog? The more suggestions, the better. And the more input, the more motivation for me to keep writing. Thanks for reading!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ