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Goals For February

Erm, Happy Monday? Or Tuesday, if that’s when you’re reading this. Then I’m sorry, because Tuesdays suck more than Mondays. Is it Waffle Wednesday yet??

So I’m not 100% better today. My body is still producing snot at a high rate. But the rest of me feels okay, so I got up in the minus million celsius weather to go to spin class this morning. Not gonna lie, it was hard to do with a cold! There were a few other people blowing their noses and hacking up gross stuff along with me. I kinda felt like we had a secret hardcore bond, and felt each other’s pain after each brutal hill climb. I also burned 499 calories in 60 minutes. What’s up with that?

Showered at the gym and went straight to work. Got there at 7:50 am!! I kinda like the quiet hours before everyone arrives. I get to enjoy a quiet breakfast and take my time preparing for the day ahead.

Breakfast was another go at overnight oats. Well, kinda.

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  • 200g plain yogurt (3/4 cup?)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • lots and lots of cinnamon
  • raisins
  • 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup coconut chia granola

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The applesauce helped and made the consistency much better! Still didn’t keep me full though.

 

Luckily, I had a PB&J homemade granola bar to keep me going till lunch.

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These are TAS-TEE. But the consistency is off. The jam added more moisture than I anticipated so they’re a little on the gooey side.

Lunch was as boring as boring gets.

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 Tuna salad (with capers) in a pita and a naval orange. Snore.

I was hungry again soon after and dug into my next snack early.

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Yoplait Source muesli yogurt cup and a Kashi blackberry cereal bar.

And a touch of snobbery.

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Although, I guess the classiness is brought down by the fact that I drank it out of a can.

This snack powered me through the next four hours! Not bad eh? I couldn’t help it, I got lost in the aisles of the grocery store after work. Happens every time. Came home to a quick dinner featuring this:

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Turned into this…

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I just mixed it with some tomato sauce, adzuki beans, broccoli, mushrooms and chili powder. Super simple, pretty tasty!

My evening snack was another bar (I try to limit myself to one a day), but I just had to try this new flavour!

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Okay, the Kashi Dark Mocha Almond chewy granola bar is a “new to me” flavour.

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I really liked it! I could smell the coffee flavour as soon as I opened the package (which is saying a lot, as I’m really stuffed up). It was still kinda bland like all the chewy bars are, but hey, you can never go wrong with chocolate and coffee. Except when there’s chocolate chips on top. They always fall off and melt in the most unfortunate of places.

I also just realized that of the six meals I ate today, only two of them didn’t contain oats. At least I’m getting lots of grains?

 

Goals For February

So this is something I used to do every month, but took January off. My goal for January was just to start my new job and “survive” the month. Besides a few close calls, I’d say I did that :) So what’s in store for February you ask??

1. Work out no more than 6 hours a week. You see, I have a bad habit of doing long ass workouts every single day. Then I get run down and sick and have to take a whole weekend off doing nothing to recover (ahemlastweekend). So my goal for this month is to find a balance between reaching my fitness goals and accidentally overtraining.

2. Say yes more. I’m awful for making up lame excuses to get out of doing things. This month, I’m going to say yes more when people ask me to do something. Hopefully I’ll get some new wonderful experiences out of it!

3. Make more leftovers. I have a tendency to make a lot of single-serving meals. Now that I have a microwave at work, it would be pretty sweet to just grab leftovers instead of making a big lunch every night.

4. Eat more fat. This is a big one and I’m going to dedicate a whole post to it tomorrow. A lot of people mentioned in my last post that they too need more fat in their diets. Well Emily and I have decided to initiate a little challenge to make it a Fatty February ;) Our hair and skin will all be shining by the end of it!

 

There ya go. Not really ground breaking goals compared to some of my old ones. But I know I can accomplish every single one of these. And they’re all important in making the next month not only run more seamlessly, but be more fun!!

 

Question of the Day: What are your goals for the month? Big or small, write them down. I’ll be checking in every Sunday!

Beat the New Year’s Crowd

Mooooaaaan. That’s the noise I’ve been making all “Moanday” :P For the third week in a row, I had high hopes of making it to a Monday morning spin class. And for the third week in a row, I failed to go! I’m not very good about going to bed early Sunday nights, so the idea lost all appeal by the time I set my alarm last night. Oh well, the sleep and nice breakfast was well worth it!

I went through a period where I was buying a lot of stuff at the Bulk Barn. I thought it was awesome because I could scoop out just as much as I wanted and the price was right. But the more I did it, the more I realized the product quality sucked. Everything was stale, and the oats were a “bad cut” (you oatmeal snobs know what I’m talking about). I finally finished up my bag of bad bulk oat bran last week and went back to my Golden Box.

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It’s like reuniting with an old lover. I made 1/2 cup custard style with a whole egg whisked in.

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Topped with Bekah’s Coconut Chia Granola, cashew butter and molasses. Heaven.

Also bought yesterday was a $3 lunchbag! I’m quite proud of it. The top separates from the bottom, so I don’t have to lug the whole thing to lunch with me if I don’t need to.

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Hiding in that bag  was…

Morning snack:

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Yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder and granola.

Lunch…

IMG_3022Pita with mustard hummus, pickles, turkey, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. The mustard hummus with pickles was awesome.

Afternoon snackage…

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Homemade protein bar. I used just chocolate protein powder on this batch and it actually made it taste more bland! Next week I will spice it up a bit ;)

Had a good day at work today, despite being in a daze for most of it. Have to work tonight too, filming a lecture for the website. So dinner was quick! Good thing I had leftovers ;)

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Bean and vegetable chili. Chili leftovers rock my socks. So does turkey. I don’t know how I was a vegetarian for so long when I’m clearly a heartless carnivore :P

 

Crowded Gyms

I figured it’s pretty much safe to assume that everyone’s gym is crowded these days. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some helpful tips to beat (or tolerate) the crowds.

1. Stay away during peak times. This is the most obvious one. Everyone goes to the gym at 5pm. If there’s a way you can sneak it in elsewhere – do it! Friday nights and weekend afternoons are some of my favourite times to workout because it’s always abandoned there.

2. Try new machines. Good luck getting a treadmill or elliptical this time of year. Instead of throwing a hissy fit, try something new! Churn out some sprints on the stationary bike, work your arms on the rowing machine, or even (yes) climb onto the dreaded stairmaster. It’s your chance to step out of your comfort zone.

3. Hit up the weight room. New years resolution-ers tend to stick to the cardio equipment. Gym newbies are a little more apprehensive of free weights, so you’ll likely be in there with all the usual suspects. Perfect excuse to incorporate more strength training into your routine ;)

4. Take turns. Forget what I just said – sometimes the weight area is packed! I’ve gotten into the habit of asking people who are obviously doing alternating sets if they mind I use their machine or weights while they’re on their other set. Just because weight lifters are big and scary looking, doesn’t mean they’re not polite and sensible too :)

5. Be a hog. Okay, forget that polite thing I just mentioned too :P If I see a window to grab popular machines or weights, I grab them and hog them for all their worth. I was once the most hated person in the gym by hogging the 10, 20, and 25 lb dumbbells for 30 minutes.

6. Get there early. Exercise classes fill up fast in the New Year! I know getting there is sometimes hard enough, but make the extra effort to get there 10-15 minutes earlier. You can take the extra time to do a slower warm-up, which will boost your performance while you’re at it.

7. Be flexible. Don’t ditch your workout just because you can’t get your favourite treadmill, second last from the water fountain. And do not kick someone off your favourite spin bike! (yes, I’ve heard of both of these things happening before) Now is a perfect time to practice going with the flow.

8. Keep your cool. Don’t let the newbie incorrectly hogging the squat rack ruin your workout. There are worse things in life than having to sub out a set, or opt for a different machine. Remember, we go to the gym to relieve stress, not instigate it!

 

Question of the Day: How do you deal with busy gyms?

Made At Home

Well hello there! Hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend!! Mine was near perfection. I finally got the 8 hours sleep I was craving last night, then made myself a pancake feast.

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My usual protein pancake recipe (found under the “Eats” tab!) topped with a mixture of 1/2 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp banana baby food, 1 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp sugar-free syrup. A random assortment that was ooohhhsogood.

I spent the morning in bed doing blog updates! I made a new header and some minor changes to my About page, The REAL Story and Fave Posts. More updates will continue next weekend. I’m going to add an exercise page with my favourite cardio and weight lifting workouts. It’s gonna be good! (I hope)

I eventually made it to the gym for some treadmill + upper body weights.

Treadmill – 1% incline

Minutes MPH
0-5 3.5
5-6 6.0
6-7 7.0
7-9 6.0
9-11 7.0
11-14 5.8
14-17 6.8
17-21 5.8
21-25 6.8
25-28 5.8
28-31 6.8
31-33 5.8
33-35 6.8
35-36 5.8
36-37 6.8
37-40 3.5

Back + Shoulders

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Assisted pull-up 75 lbs 6 3

Chest + Back

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell bench press 20 lbs ea 10 3
Seated cable row 55 lbs 8 3

Triceps + Biceps

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Skull crusher 20 lbs 10 3
Barbell curl 20 lbs 10 3

Shoulders + Abs

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell shoulder press 15 lbs ea 8 3
Plank bw 60 sec 3

First, I gotta give Janetha credit for the treadmill intervals. Or, her mom anyways ;) I started out too fast. I wish 6.0 mph was a “jogging” speed for me, but it’s more my legitimate “running” speed. So I had to take it down to get rest between the faster spurts.

As for the weights, my arms are mush. I barely made it through those shoulder presses!

Came home and refuelled with an breakfast sandwich and sweet potato cheetahs.

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Yummm!!! I always crave eggs after weight lifting, I have no idea why.

I hit up the grocery store after and had an exciting food find!!!

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Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain granola bar. For the longest time we just had the Kashi chewy bars here, and only just got the cereal ones. I embarrassed myself yet again at the Superstore upon finding these bad boys.

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They also had the pumpkin flavour, but this one obviously caught my eye first. Dark chocolate and coconut? Yes please!! It was pretty small, and tasted borderline stale. But my goodness the chocolate on top is goooood.

After my snack I got to work in the kitchen! First up: Beek’s Coconut Chia Granola.

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You may recall Bekah sent me some of her famous granola over the holidays. I LOVED it. I offered Bekah the opportunity to come here and make the granola for me on a regular basis, but instead she told me to make it myself :P

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I followed her directions almost perfectly…

Bekah’s Coconut Chia Granola:

recipe adapted from the back of the Let’s Do Organic brand of coconut flakes:

  • 3 cups rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2  cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B.)
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste. (I like a lot, probably 1 t of each, and then some.) 1/2 T of each
  • 2 T safflower oil canola oil
  • 2 T chia seeds

Mix allllll together in a bowl or directly on a cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, making sure to mix up the granola one or two times while baking, to ensure even coloring (NOT burning!)

I pulled it out to stir every five minutes or so, burning my tongue on a nibble every single time :P

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Best. Granola. Ever. Seriously guys, go make it yourself. The sooner the better.

Next up was another batch of my homemade protein bars. Pretty much the same as last week, but with a touch less water.

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  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • < 3/4 cup water

All mushed together and pressed into a 9×9 baking pan. No baking though, just put in the fridge to harden.

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Then cut into 8 pieces and wrapped up for the week!

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I changed the recipe just a tad, so the stats are slightly different: 174 calories, 6g fat, 17g carbs, 1g sugar, 3g fibre, 15g protein. Still not too shabby!

Then it was on to Homemade Sunflower Mustard Hummus.

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Yes, you read that right mustard hummus.

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (+3 tbsp of their liquid)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter (I used Deb’s!)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • salt + pepper to taste

I added the mustard because I’m out of lemon juice. Oddly, it turned out quite sweet!

Last, but definitely not least, I made my meal for the week. I stumbled upon this Mark Bittman chili recipe in Runner’s World that’s chock full of veggies. Sign me up!

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Bean and Vegetable Chili

3 tablespoons olive oil Canola spray
1/2 pound ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken – 1 whole pound
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 small one big eggplant, cubed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup 2 cups mushrooms, quartered
1 fresh or dried hot chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 cup canned tomato, seeded and chopped 1 can no-sodium tomato sauce
4 cups canned 2 cans kidney beans, liquid reserved
Vegetable stock as needed (about two cups)
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium; add the meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned. Remove meat from pan and drain off all but three tablespoons of fat.

Heat the pan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic; cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables; cook for 10 minutes or until they start to caramelize and dry out.

Add the seasonings and stir, then add the tomatoes and beans with enough of their liquid to submerge everything (use the stock if there isn’t enough).

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook about 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serves six.

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I thought it tasted a little bland so I topped my bowl with salsa.

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MMmmm…. love me a chunky chili full of veggies :D

Now I am officially ready to start my work week :)

Those of you who expressed interest in the Banff Blogger Trip should have gotten an e-mail update on it :) Our dates are June 8-15 with tons of fun things in between. If you’re interested and didn’t get the e-mail, let me or Holly know: thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com or healthyeverythingtarian@gmail.com

Some things are just a no-brainer:

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SO excited!!!

Okay, it’s waaaaay past my bedtime. I need my beauty rest for spinning tomorrow!

Question of the Day: What store-bought items do you usually like to make at home? I love making my own hummus. And I must say, I’m really getting into this homemade protein bar thing. SO much cheaper, and I feel better eating them knowing the ingredients aren’t as scary.

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