Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sweet Endings

Happy happy weekend friends!!

My weekend is off to a good start! It actually began last night when I saw my first ever 3D movie with my dad and little step-sister. I know, I’m like a bazillion years behind the times. I normally don’t go to movies because they are so frickin’ uncomfortable. But the theatres here are larger, thus nice cushy seats. Shrek was pretty entertaining – the fat Puss in Boots stole my heart ;)

After the movie I finally watched Lost!!! Wow. So many hours of my life have gone into watching that show…

Moving on!

In case you have not yet noticed, I’m sort of off the oatmeal. I ate hot cereal every single day for a month while trying to clear out my pantry before moving. I haven’t really re-established my taste for it.

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Yup, lately I’m all about the breakfasts I grew up on – eggs, toast, pancakes, freezer waffles and… french toast!

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Syrup is a must for many of these items. In these cases, I prefer table syrup over maple syrup. Both of which are quite sugary for the morning.

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So I rely on sugar-free syrup. I am not a splenda addict, or Diet Coke guzzler, but I do love my sucralose syrup. We all have our weak spots, and at 10 calories a tablespoon, this stuff is mine.

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Besides, the the light syrup allows for more egg-drenched bread to be consumed, and in my books, that’s good :)

Wait, did I say I watch my sugar in the morning? I take that back. I forgot about breakfast dessert.

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Finding this in my mother’s fridge was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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I have been on a huge milk chocolate kick lately, and I would say this stuff is la creme de la creme.

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Hello lover.

My morning was spent puttering around. I didn’t get to the gym until noon, so I popped a couple giant medjools to keep my lunch hunger at bay.

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I know a lot of people don’t do fats before working out, as it can cause digestive and abdominal distress during intense activity. That thankfully does not happen to me, and peanut butter is always my go-to snack before exercise.

My legs are still sore from the full-body workout I did on Wednesday. So I kept today to an upper-body workout. I haven’t been getting as sore upstairs as I used to, so I switched it up to high weights, low reps, extra sets. I went up at least a good 5 lbs for all my weights then completed 6 reps and 4 sets of each exercise. Because I was doing such heavy weights, I kept it to straight sets and rested for about a minute between each set. I also threw some cardio spurts in there to keep my heart rate up and keep it fun :)

20 minutes high intensity intervals on the treadmill

Length Level
1 minute 8
2 minutes 10
1 minute 17
2 minutes 10
1 minute 17
1 minute 30 seconds 10
1 minute 17
1 minute 10
1 minute 17
30 seconds 10
1 minute 17
1 minute 10
1 minute 17
1 minute 30 seconds 10
1 minute 17
2 minutes 10

Strength:
Romanian deadlift to row 
Reverse fly
Incline dumbbell fly 
Reverse push up

Cardio:
5 minutes on the rowing machine

Strength:
Dumbbell shoulder press 
Cable pushdown 
Barbell curl 

Cardio:
10 minutes on stairmaster

 

I didn’t do any abs, but if you want some suggestions for ab moves, here are all the ones I got in yesterday’s comments:

All awesome. I did decline bench sit-ups a couple weeks ago and it hurt to laugh for a few days!

Came home from the gym to yet another ginormous salad.

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Highlights being massaged kale, leftover roast chicken, shredded cheddar and leftover cider vinegar/oil dressing.

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For my fellow big salad eaters – it is important to own the size of your salad. When people come up to you, googly eyed by the sheer enormity of your bowl, do not flinch. Be it boss, mother or step-brother (not that I’m speaking from experience here) do not be scared to say “yeah, and I’m going to eat it ALL.” They are just amazed by how many veggies you can consume in one sitting, and do not know how to properly express this jealousy ;)

Mommy dearest whipped up her famous spaghetti sauce this evening using buffalo meat.

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My mom and I plumped up our noodles with spaghetti squash. We also cooked a garlic bread for the kids, and I enjoyed a special cheese-free piece for myself :)

Such a fantastic dinner needed a fantastic dessert though. The household was slightly bitter that Rudy (aka the gut-weiler) ate a whole box of Lindt special dark chocolates today. Not to mention, tomorrow is Mark’s birthday. Dessert needed to be extra special.

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I finally, finally, made Heather’s famous Maple Nut Oaties!

I followed her recipe and directions to a tee:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup toasted rolled oats.  I just toast them in the toaster oven set on 350° for a few minutes.  Watch them as they burn easily.
  • 1/2 cup nut butter almond butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chocolate/carob chips or dried fruit (One really good combo is cashew butter with dried pineapple.  Yum!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted nut butter)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325°.
  • Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Scoop cookie dough by TBSP (I actually use a melon ball scooper) onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes.
  • Let cool for a minute or so, and then I just pick them up and form into balls before placing on the cooling rack.

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I was weary of toasting the oats in the toaster oven after The Great Fire.

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Thankfully, my mother’s kitchen is still intact. I let the dough chill just as instructed, then enlisted the help of my little step-brother to form the oaties.

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He didn’t care for getting his hands dirty. When I told him getting messy is the best part, he replied “No, eating them is the best part.” Touché.

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They smelled heavenly (ie maple-y) coming out of the oven. We all wanted to gobble them up right away, but good things come to those who wait.

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I can totally see why these are famous on the interwebs. SO good! The best part though, is the stellar ingredients. I really can’t feel guilty for one of these guys when I know each is made out of few and quality ingredients. HEAB also claims they’re calorie dense, but I got 23 little balls, at 112 calories a pop. It’s all about the small serving sizes. I just dare you to stop at one ;)

 

Well friends, it is much past my bedtime (whatever that is these days). I just finished watching Sherlock Holmes with the fam and would definitely recommend it. That Robert Downey Jr. is just so damn charismatic. Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day with a long run, a short hike and who knows what else! See ya then!! xoxo

 

Question of the Day: Is there one special treat you always request on your birthday? Or, a specific treat you really want to request this coming birthday? I’m different every year, and I think this coming birthday I’d really like to go out to an old-school diner for greasy fish n’ chips and a giant slice of chocolate pie ;)

The Perfect Plank

Well, the votes are in, and salmon is the most popular fish. SO fun reading over all your favourite kinds! Mostly because I got ideas on new kinds I need to try, including walleye, sea bass, flounder, croaker, stingray and trigger.  Shellfish and other seafood is a whole other story. We will be revisiting this issue for sure! ;)

My family was up late last night, and I was actually in bed before my mom and Mark. I thought for sure I’d sleep in past 7am today. Little did I realize, my poodle also doubles as an alarm clock.

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I may have been prepared to sleep past 7am, but this furball most certainly was not. I awoke much too early to the feeling of a wet nose on my face. He was wagging his little bum and rearing to go. Okay poodle. You win this time. But you didn’t need to pass out on my lap after I let you outside. Salt in the wound.

Needless to say, it was a pancake kind of morning.

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My new Dairy-Free (ish) Pancakes.

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Janetha asked about the nutritionals on these, and without the added Benefibre, they’re 247 calories, 6.6g fat, 9g fibre, 20g carbs and 32g protein.

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I also cooked in a tbsp each of flaked coconut and walnut pieces. Oh, and I added 1/2 tsp almond extract for a little sumthin’. May-jah yums. I still can’t get over how fluffy they are!

I had a kickboxing date with my mom later this morning, and this new-to-me Banana Larabar was calling out to me as a pre-workout snack!

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I usually don’t care for banana flavoured things as I find they always end up tasting artificial. But I figured the chances of that happening with this one were pretty low.

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However, I think this may have been my smallest Larabar yet.

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Next to my lens cover. What it didn’t have in size, it made up for in taste. Pretty darn good! Didn’t quite get to the top of my favourite flavour rakings, but it’s nowhere near Cherry Pie, which is at the bottom of the list.

I also mummified my foot.

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You will notice my laptop in the background. That’s because I followed a step-by-step guide that everyone’s favourite Smoothie Girl Deb sent me. I mentioned a while ago that I was getting plantar fasciitis symptoms in my left foot, and she said taping hers up has helped her symptoms a lot. All I did was take sport tape and wrap horizontal strips on the bottom of my foot, then a vertical layer, then another horizontal layer.

I actually did this at the cottage over the weekend when my feet were bothering me while cleaning. It helped a lot! After the 45 minute kickboxing class (which despite being at a beginner level, had a great instructor) I ran 2 miles on the treadmill. Last time I ran two miles on the treadmill, I was in pain for the rest of the day – but today I feel fine! Yayyy!! Thank you Deb!!

Lunch was the usual!

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A gargantuan salad with kale, tuna and feta cheese. The dressing was hummus watered down with the juice from a bottle of olives. Gooooood stuff.

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I’m sure these big salads are getting redundant, but I honestly crave one a day now. Nomnom.

I may also crave chocolate after every meal.

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Another Newfoundland Chocolate Company chocolate. I think this one had raspberry or strawberry mixed into the center. Not like the cheap chocolates, this blended the flavours really well!

 

The Perfect Plank

After doing my Perfect Push-Up post, I got a question from Angharad on proper plank form. It’s very similar to the push-up and many of the same rules apply!

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Coincidentally, Lori’s strength training move of the week was also the plank! I asked her for this picture because she demonstrates it perfectly here :)

Some things to remember:

  • Do not stick your butt in the air. Your body will want to do this naturally, and sometimes you don’t even realize this is happening.
  • Conversely, don’t arch your back too much and let your belly fall toward the ground.
  • Elbows should be under your shoulders, or if you’re in a high plank, hands under your shoulders.
  • Keep your head down to make sure your whole spine is straight. It should look like a straight line from your heels to your head.
  • Speaking of your heels, push them back a little. We have a habit of pushing all our weight forward onto our arms, but balance that out by putting some weight back into your feet too. This will help with that straight line.
  • Tuck your pelvis in. Pretend like you’re gyrating it forward.
  • BREATHE. Focusing on your breaths will help you pull through.

As always, I recommend doing them in front of a mirror. You’ll eventually learn what that proper position feels like without having to look at yourself. Remember, this is a core exercise. If you feel it more in your back than in your abs, chances are your form could use some tweaking.

The plank, in my opinion, is probably the best core exercise there is. Isometric exercises (ones where you contract your muscles without movement) are great for your abs. It’s something you do in everyday movements without even realizing it. You’ll be able to perform activities with a lot more power and ease when strengthening your core this way.

That’s not to say crunches don’t help with core strength either, but the only time you’ll really notice these strength gains is when you’re actually doing crunches. Not to mention, many people perform crunches horribly wrong, and do more harm to their back than good to their abs.

Some other plank variations:

High plank

 

Side plank

Plank on a ball

 

 

Leg lift plank

 

Reverse plank

   

Click on the pictures if you want to see their original sources!

As usual, there are tons more plank variations, these are just the very basic ones. But you don’t need to get fancy to reap the benefits. Doing 1-3 sets of Lori’s version above, holding for as long as you can, will get the job done :)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite ab exercise? The cable horizontal woodchop is probably mine :)

 

I’m hitting publish early folks! Off to see Shrek with the daddio and step-sis :)

The Non-Backyard BBQ

Happy Waffle Wednesday!!!

Confession: I couldn’t wait until Wednesday this week, and ate up my waffles on Tuesday. I was waffling in spirit though :) Actually, today was more of a Weightlifting Wednesday. Alliteration Wednesday??

In my unemployment, I’ve become accustomed to waking up at 7am every morning when my mom’s boyfriendlifepartner wakes up. I make breakfast, drink coffee, relax, then go to the gym with my mom when she’s ready. This really is the ideal workout situation for me, as I’m adequately fuelled and caffeinated for when the real work begins.

However, life was not always so agreeable. Back in my working days (almost a month ago!!) I was up at 5am every day to hit up the gym before my office job. I got pretty used to this routine, and my body adjusted to the early morning beating.

Suffice it to say, this is no longer the case :P This morning I woke up, gobbled up a banana, and was on the elliptical within 30 minutes of rising. Whoa. Shock to the ole system. Took me much longer to get into the groove, but once I did it was gooood!

Warm-up: 15 minutes on the elliptical, increasing resistance

Straight set (x3)
One arm dumbbell snatch (shoulders, quads, glutes)

Superset (x3)
Wide-grip lat pulldown (upper & mid back, biceps)
Single leg squat (quads, glutes, inner thigh)

Superset (x3)
Cable twisting chest press (chest, front of shoulder, triceps, obliques) 
Single leg romanian deadlift (hamstrings, glutes, lower back, hips)

Superset (x3)
Dumbbell front raise with a side lunge (front shoulders, top back, thighs, glutes) 
Standing calf raise (calves) 

Superset (x3)
Incline curl (biceps)
Kickback (triceps)

Superset (x3)
Cable horizontal woodchop (obliques)
Reverse crunch (lower abs)

Solid, solid lifting workout folks! Lately I’ve been alternating between upper-body and lower-body moves with my full-body workouts. I used to do all compound moves, but I’ve noticed more results with a few extra isolation moves thrown in there. Whole thing took me an hour. Doing supersets helps me speed through it.

Oh yes, and why exactly was I up working out so early when I’m unemployed?

I had things to attend to of course!

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Fun things :) Friends of Sister Jane were in town playing a show. Bette & Wallet play vamped up folk music, you can listen to them here! And while we’re on it, Sister Jane is a musician as well. She’s currently working on her third album, and you should most definitely go listen to her music here.

There, I think I have all my shameless plugs accounted for.

The only thing that could have made this concert better was some free food. Wait! It had that too!

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There was a “backyard bbq” theme. Despite the event actually being held on the stage of a theatre. I showed up hungry and figured I could snack on the veggie tray until I found something better after we left. Little did I know it was going to be good food!!

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Albeit, not the “healthiest” food. The options were beef chili, seafood chowder, dinner rolls, bbq drumsticks, ribs and a raw veggie tray.

As soon as I saw the chili I knew I was good. Chili is surprisingly a good choice at times like these (if you love the beef). It’s not made with cream, is chock full of veggies, meat and fibre, and relatively low-cal. I had one scoop of the chili (~1 cup), a piece each of the ribs and chicken just to get a taste, and filled the rest of my plate with veggies.

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It was the perfect serving! I got to try some of the yummy stuff, without feeling gross and overstuffed after. They were also offering black forest cake and carrot cake, but I put my foot down to that. Ohyes, and I think I may have a new addiction to ribs ;)

That held me over for a long time while we visited with my Nana after. Only needed a small snack to hold me over till dinner.

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Homemade Maple Cinnamon Protein Bar made with rolled oats instead of oat bran, and added raisins. Never fail!

Dinner was yet another feast. I have definitely been eating well lately!

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Mother dearest put together a tossed salad.

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While Mark made the dressing – 2 parts apple cider vinegar, one part canola oil, and some secret seasonings. He tells me that Dr. Oz says this oil/vinegar combo can make you burn an extra 50 calories a day doing nothing. Fact: so can adding one pound of lean muscle ;)

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Taters! And the star of the show:

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Baked trout. I love trout, I definitely need more of it in my life. I always seem to gravitate toward salmon instead.

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My plate! Notice the new design? My mom replaced the old 1970s plates with ones from the cottage.

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Fish + veggies is my favourite meal EVER.

Then we dropped Sister Sara off at the airport :( It’s okay though, I’ll be seeing her again in Ottawa in three weeks!

 

Okay, I was totally going to blog all about the Perfect Plank tonight. But honestly, my mommy is downstairs watching the Idol finale and I want to join her! Tomorrow, I will yammer about plank exercises. Promise :)

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favourite kind of fish? Salmon if it’s fresh, tuna if it’s canned.

2. How do you feel about catered events? Do you partake? I never used to, but they don’t frighten me as much anymore. If worse comes to worst, I can have a dinner roll and that emergency protein bar I always carry in my purse :)

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