Sweet Potato Fries, Chicken Wings, and Football

You know fall is getting closer when church goes back to non-summer service times, the produce section at Publix is 75% apples, football is on TV all day, and you start making “fall” recipes like winter will be here tomorrow. You also know that this was a good day.

After going to church (an hour later!) and restocking the pantry and fridge, my brother and I bunkered down on the couch to watch the Colts. For lunch I made these baked sweet potato fries, and got creative using spices this time like Mexican chili powder, paprika, rosemary, and then the called for salt and pepper. The cornstarch is the secret crunchy weapon. I cooked them 15 minutes, flipped them over, and gave them another 12 minutes… before eating them all. Yummy!

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And who can forget a delicious fall (or year-round…) iced chai! EXTRA YUM! I use Oregon Trail Sugar Free Chai Concentrate with original flavor light soy milk from Silk.

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By the time the Packers came on at 4 I had wings on my mind! I picked up a bag from Target and found this recipe. I promise I didn’t eat the whole bag. My brother and his girlfriend approved them, thank goodness.

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You also know it’s fall in Florida because I’m headed out to the pool, where the pool water hasn’t been a refreshing temperature since June and the ice in my cup melts in 5 minutes. Ah, the never-ending summer weather. Good, but a leaf change and white Christmas would be nice…

Before I go, here’s some Bonus Abs! 30 seconds of each exercise, without stopping.
Top half crunch
Plank
Lower half crunch
Plank
Full body crunch
Plank
Heel touches (aka penguins)
Plank

Be done there, or be ambitious, rest a few minutes, and repeat!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

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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

“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