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

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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

Weekend Challenge March 2nd and 3rd

TGIF! And here’s your weekend challenge to prove it.

Frog Jump Squats are awesome for a cardio kick start, as well as waking up those booty and leg muscles. Try doing them for 30 seconds before each meal, and if you sit in one place for more than a half hour do it for 30 seconds when you finally do stand up. As the crazy guy from P90x would say, “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 30 SECONDS!” Really, how hard can it be?

Hint: Make sure when you squat down you legs are in a wider stance and your hands touch the floor each time you come down! Count how many you do each time and try to beat your own record!

Do something exciting this weekend with your free time. Maybe something you haven’t done before. Try a new exercise routine, that craft or recipe you’ve been wanting to try, something outside, a movie you’ve been telling yourself you’d see, a new restaurant with your friends, your options are endless!

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

Legs, Legs, Legs, and English Muffins

Has your weather been as nice as ours has the last couple days? Clear blue skies and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, with a lovely 50-something at night. Perfect weather for a run. Or a light jog, or a walk, or a hike, or a bike ride, or a just get the heck outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Or maybe the Frigid North is up to its normal habits of think clouds and snow. Time for some sledding or cross country skiing!

Either way, here’s a leg workout that’s an awesome way to finish whatever cardio session you just sweat through. It’s pretty basic, but really works your butt, hamstrings, and quads for a 15-minute-or-less total strengthening and toning exercise set.

You can do this one without dumbbells to start if you’d like to experiment. If you want to make it tougher, grab whatever you’re most comfortable working with (5-lb., 10-lb., etc). Don’t be afraid that your arms can’t handle that much weight for arm exercises, as you won’t actually be lifting, but rather holding.

Here are your exercises:

Same-leg lunge: Start standing straight up, feet together. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step forward and lunge with your right foot, putting most of your body weight into your right heel. Push through the right heel back to your starting position. This motion is kind of like taking a step forward and then stepping back again, as opposed to a walking lunge where you move across the floor. Repeat on SAME LEG.

Curtsey: Like these pictures from a previous post, but just holding the weights at your sides instead of doing a v-raise…
Step 1– Stand straight, feet together
Step 2– Holding weights at side, tap one foot back and behind standing leg
Step 3– Return to standing position
Repeat on SAME LEG

Step-to-Squat: Start standing straight up, feet together. Put one weight down, so you’re only holding one with both hands at chest level or between your legs. Step right foot out to the side and squat down (like a regular squat). Come up and bring right foot back to standing position. Repeat on SAME LEG.

Squat Pulse: Spread legs and feet further than shoulder-width apart. Keep that one weight at chest level, or hold it between your legs. Squat down so legs are parallel (or close!) to the ground. Come up to a 45 degree angle, about halfway up. Come back down to parallel. Repeat! To keep some of the pressure off of your knees and get the most out of your squat, pretend like you’re going to sit down in a chair. Stick your butt out and squeeze those cheeks!

So all together, one set will look like this:
1. Same-leg lunge– RIGHT
2. Same-leg lunge– LEFT
3. Curtsey– RIGHT
4. Curtsey– LEFT
5. Step-to-Squat– RIGHT
6. Step-to-Squat– LEFT
7. Squat pulse

Try 3 sets of 10 (each exercise) to start. Get through ALL exercises 1-7 before you stop to rest for 60-90 seconds. If you need more time, take it! Try to push yourself to keep your recovery time only as long as your legs need it. You’ll feel it in your legs, but it also gets your heart rate up a bit. When your legs stop getting sore after this workout, try spicing it up by doing the exercises in a different order, using heavier weights, or attempting more reps or sets.

I’m up to 15-lb dumbbells now, doing 15 reps of each exercise on each leg. My next step will be a rotation between 4 sets of 15 reps and 3 sets of 20 reps, because I’m not sure my hands want to hold 20-pounders. At least not until I get lifting gloves.

I made homemade english muffins last Sunday. Before I started talking about them I wanted to make sure they were edible. I’m happy to report they are not only edible, but also delicious!

English muffins. Yes, they look burnt, but they were definitely cooked perfectly.

English muffins. Yes, some look burnt, but they were definitely cooked perfectly.

I got the recipe from another blog called BudgetBytes. Here is the link! Making them was very cheap compared to buying them from the store. It “takes” 3.5 hours, but most of that is just allowing the dough to rise.

Superbowl plans tonight, anyone? I’m making my own pizza and watching the game with my boyfriend and some friends. Neither team is on my naughty list, but I think I’m pulling for the 49ers so it makes the Packers look better and Dad wins his bet.

Hey, at least I didn’t choose a team based on whose uniforms were prettier.

Good Things (and a good week!) 🙂

FS&JJ