Remember Those Muffins?

Yeah, those pre-workout muffins? These ones. Well, I just made a batch with apples and raisins in them and let me tell you they smell DELICIOUS. I can’t wait to have one before my run tomorrow morning. I just cut up an apple and threw in a handful of raisins. I’m still using ultra grain flour, too. Yay healthy muffins!
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In other news, did I mention I switched to the dark side last week? I finally got a smart phone (dun dun dun). And today my new case came in the mail! How cute!
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It’s been a while, so lets get a few sets of bonus abs in!
25 straight leg raises
25 bicycles
25 crunches
25 kayakers (aka Russian twists)
1 minute plank
Repeat 3 times and feel the burn!

Tomorrow is the last day before Ramadan, a Muslim holiday where you fast during daylight hours and eat after dark. My friend is Muslim, and to celebrate her last day of “freedom”, she, another friend, and myself are going out to lunch. I love that even though we all come from diverse backgrounds and religions, we can still be good friends and have fun together.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge June 29th & 30th

A happiest of happy Fridays to you! Did you have a nice week? What was the best thing that happened? What did you do for someone else? What was the best food you ate this week?

Your weekend challenge this week is to get in 300 reps of abs both Saturday and Sunday. I know that sounds like a lot, but you could do that in 20 minutes, or split it up for 150 reps before breakfast and bed. Change up your exercises to keep it interesting. (Each second of a plank counts for 1 rep- i.e. 1 minutes=60 reps.

I’m thinking about doing a month-long “subject”- maybe a “Challenge Month”. I’ve thought of a few different ones, like an Ab Exercise a Day, A Healthy Recipe a Day, Inspiration a Day, etc. Thoughts? What would you like to see? Usually contributors (you) are more creative than inventors (me), so get thinking!

This week was avocado week. I bought a bag at Sam’s (You know how they come. Packs of a million, aka five). On Wednesday night I made a turkey burger with an egg (sunny side up!), tomato, and avocado. Last night I had stuffed avocado with tuna and tomato. Tonight I had turkey meatballs with chopped up tomato and avocado (okay I was running out of time and ingredients) and brown rice. Tomorrow I’m either making flatbread or pizza with regular pizza toppings and… you guessed it… avocado! I hope I’m not all avocado’ed out by the time they’re gone, but they sure are good for you and summery.

Mom, Dad, my boyfriend, my brother’s girlfriend, and some family friends will all be here for the 4th of July. Can’t wait! Happy 4th of July to all of you, and may the fireworks be all you dreamed they would be (and the food, can’t forget the food!.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

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 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

Hips Don’t Lie

My new roommate/not-new-friend/future-sister-in-law (unofficial) inspired this post tonight. She’s been having a lot of hip problems lately that are getting in the way of her running and exercise activities, as well as life in general. So for her and all of you other readers out there who sometimes struggle with sore hips, lower back, and glutes, this ones for you! For all of you who don’t, read this anyways, because these are good exercises whether you’re a marathoner or a couch potato. Low-impact, low-intensity, but supportive strength-building exercises.

Hip Bridge

A hip bridge is a simple exercise that really helps to strengthen not only your glutes and hamstrings, but also your hip flexors and lower back. Use the picture below from Women’s Health Magazine online and follow these directions: Lie flat on your back with both knees bent and feet on the floor. Pinch your butt cheeks together, push your heels into the ground, and raise your hips towards the ceiling until your body forms a straight line. Lower back to the ground and repeat. 3 sets of 20. Want to make it harder? Follow my picture and extend one leg out, so your knees still touch. Raise hips using just one leg, heel still digging into the floor, until your body is straight. For a little extra core work, try putting your feet up on a yoga ball.

Hip Raise, Step 1

Hip Bridge, Step 1

Hip Bridge, Step 2

Hip Bridge, Step 2

Single-leg hip bridge

Single-leg hip bridge, Step 1. Dig in those heels!

Single-leg hip bridge, Step 2. Dig in those heels!

Single-leg hip bridge, Step 2. Dig in those heels!

Hip Bridge Roll-outs

This exercise requires a yoga ball. Lie flat on your back on the floor. Put your legs up on the yoga ball, about mid-calf. Roll the ball in towards your butt, keeping your butt cheeks pinched, until your knees are at about a 90 degree angle. Roll the ball back out. That’s one rep. 3 sets of 20.

Hip bridge roll-out, Step 1

Hip bridge roll-out, Step 1

Hip bridge roll-out, Step 2

Hip bridge roll-out, Step 2

Leg raises

This exercise requires a pilates or theraband tied in a loop around something sturdy, like a table or bed leg (preferably in front of the tv!). Stand far enough away from table so that the band is stretched a bit around one leg. Move forward or backward to make it harder or easier. Raise leg out in front of you. Do 20 reps. Repeat this on all sides (left, right, and back) and then switch to the other leg and do the same thing. Do this a total of 3 sets of 20 reps on each side, each leg.

Leg Raises, Step 1. Stand with one foot through theraband, feet even, band stretched.

Leg Raises, Step 1. Stand with one foot through theraband, feet even, band stretched.

Leg Raise, Step 2. Slowly raise leg out in front. Repeat 20 times.

Leg Raise, Step 2. Slowly raise leg out in front. Repeat 20 times.

Leg Raise, Step 3. Turn to side and pull band across body, working the inside of your leg. Repeat 20 times.

Leg Raise, Step 3. Turn to side and pull band across body, working the inside of your leg. Repeat 20 times.

Leg Raise, Step 4. Turn again and kick backwards this time. Repeat 20 times, slowly!

Leg Raise, Step 4. Turn again and kick backwards this time. Repeat 20 times, slowly!

Leg Raise, Step 5. Turn one more time and raise leg to outside, working the outside of your hip. Repeat 20 times. Switch legs and repeat all four sides.

Leg Raise, Step 5. Turn one more time and raise leg to outside, working the outside of your hip. Repeat 20 times. Switch legs and repeat all four sides.

Penguin Waddle

You will need some sort of stretchy band for this, like a pilates or theraband. Loop the band around your legs, so it sits on your ankle bones or just above. Spread your legs out just wide enough so it’s tight enough to not fall down your legs. Take a step to the left (or right), stretching the band with your legs. Let the other leg follow, returning to your first stance, where the band isn’t loose enough to fall down your ankles. Waddle (like a penguin!) about 10 yds across the floor, then come back facing the same direction. Give it a rest and go again. Try to do this 3 times. This exercise works the outside of your hips (really good).

Penguin Waddle, Step 1. Band it tight so it won't fall down, but not stretched too far.

Penguin Waddle, Step 1. Band it tight so it won’t fall down, but not stretched too far.

Penguin Waddle, Step 2. Step out to the side, pulling the band tighter. Bring other leg in, and continue to "waddle" across the floor". Don't forget to come back so you get both sides evenly!

Penguin Waddle, Step 2. Step out to the side, pulling the band tighter. Bring other leg in, and continue to “waddle” across the floor”. Don’t forget to come back so you get both sides evenly!

Scissors

This is an ab exercise that also works your hip flexors. You may remember it from previous posts. Lie flat on your back, with legs straight and about 6-12 inches off the ground. Spread legs out horizontally and back in, exactly like a pair of scissors. Pair this with flutters, the exercise below, for a full-hip workout. Try 3 sets of 25 reps.

Flutters

Flutters are the opposite of scissors. That is, you kick vertically, like you’re swimming in a pool. Again, try these with the scissors exercise above, and do 3 sets of 25 reps. If either of these give your lower back trouble, put your hands flat under your butt for support.

Fire Hydrants

This exercise gets its name from the motion. Just think of a dog… doing his business on a fire hydrant. You know, stereotypes. Get on all fours. Keeping core tight, raise leg out to the side and bring it back down. That’s one rep. Try to do 3 sets of 20.

Fire hydrants, Step 1

Fire hydrants, Step 1

Fire hydrants, Step 2

Fire hydrants, Step 2

Leg Kick-backs

This exercise is also done on all fours. Kick your leg back straight behind you, pinching your butt tight. Bring your leg back down. That’s one set. Do 3 sets of 20.

Leg Kick-backs, Step 1

Leg Kick-backs, Step 1

Leg Kick-backs, Step 2

Leg Kick-backs, Step 2

Lunge Stretch

This is just how it sounds. Lunge forward so knee rests on the ground. Lean forward to feel the stretch in your hip. To make it more intense, raise both arms in the air straight above your head. Hold for 3-5 slow breaths. This is a great hip stretch.

Front Leg Lift

The effort you put into this will vary based on the strength/pain of your hips. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. Keeping your legs straight, lift them into the air slowly. To make it harder, raise your legs high into the air (until you come to a 90 degree angle). If that hurts your hips, don’t go as high! Whether it be a 45 degree angle or just 6 inches you can get off the ground, as long as you’re doing it slowly you’re doing great and building strength. This exercise really helps your hip flexors, and also does good things for your lower abs. If this strains your back, simply place your hands flat under your butt to help support it. Try 3 sets of 15-20.

Front Leg Lift, Step 1

Front Leg Lift, Step 1

Front leg lift, Step 2

Front leg lift, Step 2

Side Leg Lift

Lie flat on your side with one foot/leg on top of the other. Raise leg up in the air, as close to 90 degrees as you can get (the full 90 takes a bit of flexibility!). Lower back down for one rep. Try 3 sets of 20.

Side leg lift, Step 1

Side leg lift, Step 1

Side leg lift, Step 2

Side leg lift, Step 2

Any or all of these exercises can be added to your leg workout or even your daily life. Hip and glute strength are a very important thing to keep strong for your body’s balance, and hopefully these exercises will help. Some may be quick and easy enough that you can do a few sets before you go to bed at night, or while you’re waiting for your toast to pop in the morning. I hope you work as hard at these exercises as I did with this post (It took me three days, so appreciate it!! Just kidding…. kinda).

Are you looking forward to a new weekend challenge tomorrow night??

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge April 13-14

We’ve all made it through another week! Hooray! And with that comes another healthy weekend for all of us. Double hooray! Your challenge for this week is simple. Do 300 reps of abs each day. “THREE HUNDRED?!?” you say? Yes! It may sound like a lot, but it will take no time at all to knock them all out. Best of all, it’s your choice of what to do. Switch it up or do the same exercise. Split it up into sets of 100 or 50. Do them all before breakfast or before you go to bed. If you need inspiration, check my bonus abs sections in previous posts. Do them while you’re watching TV, or outside in the sun (if you have any this weekend). In the end, your tummy and core will thank you.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge- Easter Weekend March 30th-31st

I’m here! I’m alive! And I apologize for slacking to the highest degree. I promise to be better this week. I already have a yummy meal planned to share with you and I know you’ll love it. Pregame hint: get some salmon and asparagus 😉

I guess you may wander to this page tonight or tomorrow morning to get the low-down on your new weekend challenge. Well, here it is! Between the Easter egg hunt and basket candy, the dyed eggs, and the yummy Easter meal, you may need a little metabolism nudge this weekend. Enter the 1-minute egg hunt training program. It’s all about the stoop and ground touch!

The first 30 seconds go to the squat jump. All-out, as high as you can jump, and make sure you touch the ground with your fingers every time you squat down. As many as you can in 30 seconds! When time is up, immediately switch to speed skaters for the remaining 30 seconds. When you “skate” onto one leg, reach over and touch your foot with the opposite hand (i.e. left hand to right foot). Finish that, and you’ll have a quick minute of exercise under your belt (and the perfect training for getting to those Easter eggs quickly and efficiently without tiring out!) Try to do this before each meal, and maybe once or twice in between meals as well, say when you’re waiting for your afternoon snack to cook or before your morning shower.

And because I feel bad about abandoning my few but faithful followers, it’s time for BONUS ABS!

Do 25 reps of each exercise, and then rest for 30 seconds at the end of the set. Repeat twice more, for a total of 3 sets, 300 abs!

1. Leg raises
2. Full crunch
3. Bicycle
4. Kayakers aka Russian twists
5. Plank- 30-60 seconds.

In other news, tomorrow is already the last Lils’ t-ball practice and these kids are spoiled rotten. If I don’t get the best coach of the weekend award for an Easter egg hunt, medals with their names engraved on the back, and baseball cupcakes, I’d like to meet the person who one-upped me.

Healthy baseball funfetti cupcakes. Yummy :)

Healthy baseball funfetti cupcakes. Yummy 🙂

I’m currently flipping between the FGCU/UF and MSU/Duke basketball games. Go Michigan State!!

A happiest of happy Easters to everyone. I hope that your church services are inspiring, your meals are filling, and your company is loving.

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

Let’s talk about snacks.

Snacking is something I do a LOT of. It’s mostly healthy, which is good, but I also have a wicked sweet tooth that gets the best of me some nights. In the end, it’s usually okay to happen once in a while because I am lucky to be very active. However, sometimes you just run into those consecutive days where you’re really busy with work or on a project, and that’s where healthy eating, specifically healthy snacking, can be very beneficial. I’d like to share some of my favorite snacks with you, and I hope that you’ll like them too!

Mix-Your-Own Trail Mix
3/4 cup Fiber One chocolate cereal
3/4 cup Cheerios
1/4 cup Archer Farms (Target!) Sunny Cranberry trail mix (or another nut and fruit blend. I chose this one because it was inexpensive at Target and still healthy)

Sunny Cranberry Trail Mix, Cheerios, and Fiber One Chocolate Cereal

Sunny Cranberry Trail Mix, Cheerios, and Fiber One Chocolate Cereal

Simply mix ingredients in a bag and take it to work or the doctor’s office or on errands or wherever you may need a snack. Only 290 calories.

Blueberry Parfait
1/4-1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or fruit of choosing)
1/2-1 cup Light-and-Fit vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup Bare Naked Fit granola- vanilla almond crunch
(these measurements are up to you to experiment with and see if you like more fruit, more yogurt, etc.)

Light and Fit vanilla yogurt, frozen blueberries, and Bear Naked Fit granola

Light and Fit vanilla yogurt, frozen blueberries, and Bear Naked Fit granola

Microwave blueberries (or other frozen fruit of your choosing) for 14 seconds in the microwave. Mix them around and heat another 14 seconds. Add yogurt and granola, stir, and enjoy!

Another good yogurt option, especially if you’re on the go, is Light and Fit Greek yogurt. Less calories and sugar than many other greek yogurts out there. Greek yogurt taste funny to you, or look too chunky? Give it a really good stir. I know it sounds weird but it really helps to smooth it out!

Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

Caprese Salad
1 serving low- or non-fat cottage cheese
1 roma tomato, sliced into pieces
1-2 teaspoons basil (or fresh basil leaves if you’re feeling
fancy)

Roma tomato, Low-fat cottage cheese, and Basil

Roma tomato, Low-fat cottage cheese, and Basil

Cut up tomato and mix in a bowl with cottage cheese. Sprinkle basil leaves on top and nomnomnom.

And finally…
Rotisserie Chicken
Now I don’t mean make a whole rotisserie chicken, I mean buy one already made from Walmart and de-bone it. Shred it and stick your leftovers in the fridge. You can easily pull some out when you get hungry and heat it up in a bowl with some bbq sauce (or other flavor of your liking). Chicken is high in protein and low in fat (which reminds me, TAKE THE SKIN OFF WHEN YOU DE-BONE THE CHICKEN!)

Whole chicken

Whole chicken

Shredded chicken

Shredded chicken

I also just made these yummy and light snacks for my extra-sweet tooth at night. A snack from the show Biggest Loser. And who can say no to peanut butter (JIF natural, or course)? YUM.

What are your favorite healthy snacks? Try these out and find some more new ones. Remember, just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean they’re not filling and delicious!

BONUS AB TIME!
It’s all about planks tonight. Whether you do them on your elbows or in push-up position with your arms straight, try to hold each one at least 1 minute. Repeat three times, resting about 30 seconds in between. My challenge for you is to hold for more than a minute. Try to max out and hold for as long as you can each time! Doing it again tomorrow? Try to beat your times from today. What’s another ten… or thirty… seconds, huh? No big deal, that’s what.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ