Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fitness Friday: Lung Busting Full Body Workout

Happy Fitness Friday!! Instead of nagging you about form this week, I’m instead sharing a new workout. It’s “intermediate” and one I’ve used for torture in the gym. I do not put down weight recommendations as it’s different for everyone. I will however tell you what range of reps you should be aiming for, that will give you a good idea of what weight is appropriate for you. If anything, just make sure you’re working yourself hard, but not doing anything that could hurt you. Kapeesh? ;)

 Lung Busting Full Body Workout

Warm-up: 5-10 minutes walking/jogging on the treadmill. Enough to get your body temperature raised.

Alternating Sets #1: Complete 3 times through

Burpees 10-15 reps Cardio
Walking lunge with alternating dumbbell shoulder press  20-24 reps Quads, glutes, hips, shoulders
Ab roll-up holding on to a medicine ball 10-20 reps Abs, chest, upper back

*If you can’t do push-ups in the burpees, just come down to a plank then jump up
**For the walking lunges, press the dumbbell up with the opposite arm of whatever leg is forward. Then switch arms as you lunge forward with the other leg

Cardio sprints on the treadmill:

Time MPH Incline Difficulty
0:00-0:30 5.5 1 Easy
0:30-1:00 6.5 1 Moderate
1:00-1:30 7.5 1 Hard
1:30-2:00 5.5 1 Easy
2:00-2:30 6.5 1 Moderate
2:30-3:00 7.5 1 Hard
3:00-3:30 5.5 1 Easy
3:30-4:00 6.5 1 Moderate
4:00-4:30 7.5 1 Hard
4:30-5:00 5.5 1 Easy

*Depending on your skill level, you’ll need to increase or decrease the suggested speeds. Just make sure the difficulty level is on par with what’s written here. The “easy” part is your recovery and should feel like a slow jog. The “hard” part should leave you unable to formulate words.

Alternating Sets #2: Complete 3 times through

Traveling push ups 10-20 reps Chest, front of shoulder, triceps
Inchworm 15-20 reps Hamstrings, abs
Lunge jumps 20 reps Quads, glutes, cardio

Cardio Sprints on the treadmill:
Same as above

Alternating Sets #3: Complete 3 times through

Inverted row  12 reps Back, biceps
Split squat with overhead tricep extension 12 reps each side Quads, glutes, hips, triceps
Wall squat with hammer curl  12 reps Biceps, quads, glutes

*If you let your elbows float away from your torso during the hammer curls, I will personally come to your gym and yell at you.

Cardio Sprints on the treadmill:
Same as above

Stretch
And try not to hate me too much for making you do this. Have fun!! :)

A Simply Giveaway!

Happy Thursday! It’s the end of the week! We made it! Not only that, but the month of January is drawing to a close. A perfect time to take a look back at the goals I set out for this month and review how I did.

Usually, I set goals at the start of every month, but this month I created a list of Simply Switches as inspired by The Simply Bar. Cathy from Wellness Foods shared this idea with me and I immediately got excited about it. I’d been slacking in the goal department lately, so switching out unwanted habits with better ones sounded a lot more doable! And, well, simple ;) Here’s how they described it:

Simply Switches is our “get real” resolution – a campaign to make
health a habit, one switch at a time.

What are Simply Switches? They’re small, achievable shifts in
eating, exercise and lifestyle habits – simple changes that don’t
require a lot of effort, but really go the distance for your health. A
Simply Switch can be choosing a green tea instead of a sugary latte
in the afternoon, or going to a yoga class after work instead of going
home to watch TV.

By making 2 or 3 Simply Switches each day, we’re inspiring positive
changes that actually last. Join us!

And here are the switches I chose:

1. Switch out sugary desserts with natural sweets.

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I can happily say that I have made the switch! Mind you, I still have one sugary sweet a day. But that’s down from three. A big step for me in my self-proclaimed sugar addiction. Thanks to citrus season I now have a clementine at the end of the meal. Natural sugar as opposed to processed sugar. We’ll just forget those few days surrounding my b-day…mmmkay?

2. Switch out 5 minutes of internet time for meditation time.

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This is the one switch I was most pumped about, and the one I failed at. I’m contemplating taking a meditation class. A period of time when I’m forced to do it. Otherwise, it’s just one of those things I never schedule to do on my own. Any meditative personal trainers out there?

3. Switch out one workout a week with yoga.

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Even though I spent a good chunk of the month sick in bed and not exercising, I still call this one a successful switch. My yoga attendance has doubled since the New Year and will only continue to increase (more on a new yoga venture in a future post). I haven’t been feeling as enthusiastic about my fitness since leaving my favourite gym in Fredericton nine months ago. But creating a yoga practice of my own has infused passion into my own personal fitness again. Finally.

4. Switch out unreplied e-mails for replied ones!

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I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m terrible for reading e-mails quickly when I don’t have time to respond to them, then completely forgetting about them. I reallyreally tried to set aside e-mail time every day this month. And I got a lot more diligent about not marking e-mails read until a proper response had been sent out. I still wouldn’t call this “switched,” but it’s at least set the ball in motion to get me more on top of it.

I also made some other switches as the month went on. I made my own protein bars. I switched out “sitting on my butt time” with “going out and exploring time.” Which I’ve done quite well with thankyouverymuch. I switched out my afternoon coffee or diet coke with club soda or tea. And I made homemade bread instead of buying some.

I love encouraging my readers to set goals along with me so we can support each other and work toward enjoying life more together. So this month I also encouraged YOU to set Simply Switches of your own. Well this time the reward isn’t just the feeling of accomplishment. The Simply Bar is rewarding your hard work with not one, but TWO prizes and chances to win.

First off, you could win The Ultimate Healthy Prize Package.

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  • All in one digestive enzymes from Digestive Wellness. The only enzyme that breaks down wheat, dairy, beans and fat. As much bean enzymes as Beano and as much lactase as Lactaid. (Worth $21)
  • Amazing sleep kits from Crowne Plaza, including an eye mask, ear plugs, linen spray, plug in night light, and drape clip. All the essentials for a good night sleep! (Worth $10)
  • Wonderful natural skin care from Ella’s Botanicals. Win 2 of the following 4 products: Chai Latte Moisturizing Soap, Almond Scrub Soap, Yummy Almond Uplifting Lotion, and My Darling Clementine Lotion. (Worth $10)
  • Wonderful organic and fair trade dark chocolate products from Cocoa Camino. Hot chocolate, coconut and dark chocolate bars. So good for the earth and good for you! (Worth $10)
  • Gluten free, organic, and simply delicious pasta for the whole family, from Go Go Quinoa. (Worth $11)
  • “Gloves Off” Stain Remover Spray and IQ Non Toxic Cleaning Spray (made from plants and natural resources), from Planet People. (Worth $20)
  • The Hormone Diet by Dr Natasha Turner. This is a revolutionary book in that it is a “fool-proof plan to balance your life, one hormone at a time.” (Worth $25)
  • One workout with MedX Fitness. An amazing and intense workout, recently lauded in the Globe and Mail. (Worth $89)
  • Delicious and easy to make, loose leaf tea, from Nourishtea. (Worth $10)
  • Simply Bars: Delicious and filling! Win one box of your favorite flavor of Simply Bars. More protein and less calories than any other protein bar. (Worth ($45)
  • Simply Protein Oatmeal: A great way to start your day with 12 g protein and more fiber than sugar – 5g fiber, 4g sugar. (Worth $8)

I know! Right!? On top of that, Cathy has offered to throw in a second prize of a box of Simply Bars in the flavour of your choice. Because she loves you all that much.

To be entered to win one of the two prizes you have to visit this link that will take you to the Simply Switches website. Once you are there, go to the guestbook. Leave a comment saying you’re from The Great Balancing Act and tell them what switch you made this month. Got it? If you have any trouble let me know.

Now here’s the important part… you have 24 hours to submit your switch. So until 10pm EST on Friday, Jan 28.

Good luck! And if you win, choose the Caramel Simply Snacks. They’re my favourite :)

Chicken Not Pie

Happy Waffle Wednesday!! 

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Best breakfast of the week. Yup. Even better than all those fancy brunches. Well, minus french toasted pastries and giant pancakes. But you get my drift.

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A very simple recipe for one belgian waffle, or two rectangular ones:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp egg whites (or one whole egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk)

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Today’s topping consisted of 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp sugar-free syrup and cinnamon to taste. A cinch to whip up and completely delicious! Also, a nice break from the oatmeal and egg sandwiches I’ve been eating lately.

After yesterday’s indulgent pie recipe, I decided it was time to balance things out with a non-pie.

Chicken Not Pie

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Yes, that would chicken pot pie without the pastry. The filling is actually my favourite part (well, technically, the chicken is). So consider this your “healthier” version of a homestyle favourite :)

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If you don’t have any leftover poultry to use (my mom often makes this with turkey leftovers) start by boiling your chicken breasts until just cooked. I used two very big chicken breasts – around 12-14 oz all together.

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While that’s going on, chop up one leek. Around two cups worth. Cook it in a greased frying pan along with 1/4 cup onions, a clove of garlic and a quarter teaspoon of dried thyme.

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Potatoes! Two of ‘em. The key to any homestyle dish.

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Y’all know I’m a fan of the frozen veggies. I added a 500g bag of a carrot, corn, pea and green bean mix. But you can add any veggies you like. Mushrooms, parsnip or turnip would be great too. Around 2 cups worth.

IMG_5369I also have an abnormal fear of store-bought broths. I think it’s because at one point my doctor told me I could have an allergy to monosodium glutamate (MSG) and a lot of broths have it. Turns out I just have an intolerance to certain raw fruits and veggies – but the fear stuck!

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Phew. Safe :)

By now the chicken should be close to done, so just drain it and set aside to cool.

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Meanwhile, mix 2 cups of the chicken broth with 1 cup low-fat milk, 3 tbsp all-purpose flour and a squirt of dijon. Whisk baby whisk! It takes around 10 minutes to get thick.

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Once your hand is cramped from whisking, and your veggies are off the burner, shred the cooled chicken and combine everything into a large casserole dish.

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Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 for around 45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

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Voila! Chicken Not Pie. Who needs pie crust or biscuits? More importantly, who has the patience to make pie crust or biscuits on a weeknight? Not this girl.

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Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 2 large chicken breasts (or 4 small ones, around 12-14 oz)
  • one chopped leek (around 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 potatoes, diced into small cubes (around 2 cups worth)
  • 500g bag of frozen veggies (or 2 cups veggies of choice, chopped small)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup low fat milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Boil chicken breasts in a large pot of water. Cook leeks, onions and garlic in a pan until soft. Add potatoes, spices and frozen vegetables. Once chicken is cooked, set aside to cool. Add broth, milk, mustard and flour to a small pot and whisk on medium-high heat until thickened. Around 10 minutes. Once chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it with your hands. Mix chicken with veggies and add to a large casserole dish and pour broth mixture over top. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375F for around 45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

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Even better than the warm, comforting taste are the nutritionals! Each serving has 273 calories, 3g fat, 33g carbs, and 28g protein. I ate my bowl with a side of some carrot sticks and apple slices, because I eat everything with a side of carrot sticks and apple slices.

OR, if you’re really smart, you’ll follow up your Chicken Not Pie with a piece of Fluffernutter Pie.

You know, for balance ;)

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