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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday and Nut-butter Banana Wrap

Starting weight: 176.4
Last week weight: 139.0
Current weight: 138.6
Current loss: -0.4

With Thanksgiving this past weekend and T.O.M (which makes me gain anywhere from 0 - 3 lbs. of water) this week, I'll totally take the 0.4 lb weight loss.  Hoping next week is a loss, too.

Nut-butter Banana Wrap
A recipe really isn't needed for this simple snack.

Instead of using a tortilla, I used swiss chard leaves, smeared them with a tablespoon of almond butter, a drizzle of honey, and wrapped them around half a banana.  The swiss chard leaves don't add much flavor, it's just another sneaky way I like to get in more veggies (and less processed food/carbs).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

Welcome to Monday!  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend... besides having to go in to work on Friday, mine was awesome.

Wednesday night Anthony and I got busy making dessert for Thanksgiving day.  Running around to the different grocery stores trying to find frozen pie crust was my workout for the day!  The last store we checked had TONS of a name brand frozen pie crusts and I'm guessing they had more than they knew what to do with cause they were on sale for $1.25 each!  If they weren't so unhealthy for you, I probably would have bought 20 of them.

Who says a girl from Hawaii can't make a super yummy sweet potato pie?! Recipe coming soon.

Thanksgiving morning started out with an early lower body session at the gym and apparently everyone on the island was there trying to burn some calories before the feasting began.  The gym was packed! 

On a side note, as I was leaving the gym, I found out they were holding a Crossfit boot camp for trainer clients only... and I was pissed because my trainer never told me about it!  I've been super interested in Crossfit and I'm wondering if my trainer purposely didn't tell me because he might lose a client.  I need to talk to him when I see him tomorrow.

Anyway, on to the Thanksgiving feasting.  Lunch was spent with Anthony's family and every year they have pizza and homemade Chinese food.  Sorry no picts... I was too busy stuffing my face! I totally look forward to the pizza with them every year.

Dinner was spent with my dad, brother and Anthony and we went out to a steakhouse. 

I passed on the bread but helped myself to fried calamari (one of the best I've had in a long time) and enjoyed every bite of my 9 oz. filet mignon.  And see the steamed asparagus?  That was my one healthy eat for the day.

Missed out on the Black Friday madness because I had to go into work this morning.  I was able to leave around lunch time so I hit up the gym to do my killer upper-body session.

Took it really easy because my left knee has been really sore.  It's been bothering me off and on for the last several months but I think my lower-body session on Thursday somehow tweaked it.  Usually a lower-body session makes my knee feel much better, but it felt wonky after I tried to set a new personal record on the leg press.

So we went walking around Waikiki and stopped for lunch at one of the hotels.  Seared ahi with mixed veggies and cauliflower garlic "rice".  So yummy and way less starchy/carby than mashed potatoes.

Woke up at 8:30 but wasn't feeling it... so back to bed I went and didn't get up till after 12.  It felt awesome.  Did my normal Sunday routine (grocery shopping for the week, cooking for the week, and house cleaning) and spent the night with Anthony, watching The Next Iron Chef and The Walking Dead midseason finale... OMG!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday and "Big and Bulky?"

Starting weight: 176.4
Last week weight: 140.2
Current weight:139.0
Current loss: -1.2

Feeling good... feeling great!  Especially considering this weekend there was a bit of a binge (my super-cheat meal of the week) at an all-you-can-eat Korean food buffet.  So yummy!!

So how did I do it?  I made sure to stay really strict with my trainings and  nutrition the other days of the week.  I'm also pretty convinced that my cheat meals actually help my body.  I've been lifting pretty heavy 3-4 days a week now and I swear, for the last two months, I've actually seen positive effects (strength gains and fat loss) of my cheat meals.  Several months ago, a cheat meal just half the size of this weekend - 3000+ calories on Saturday! - would stall my weight-loss but for the last couple of months it hasn't.  Of course there are many other factors that can contribute to this consistency but gotta look for the silver lining with cheat meals, right?

Speaking of muscles and lifting heavy, I came across "20 Fitness Myths" on Livestrong.com and had to share one of the myths:

If I Lift Weights I'll Get Bulky  (http://www.livestrong.com)

If you were to look at 1 pound of fat, and 1 pound of muscle side by side, you would notice how much smaller the muscle is even though it’s the same weight. Meaning, the more muscle you have on your body, the less space you will take up. Many people -- both men and women -- think that lifting weights will make you look like a bodybuilder. That’s like saying studying physics will turn you into Einstein. The amount of time, food and discipline it takes to get huge from weights is almost a full-time job -- and sometimes influenced by illegal substances. So embrace weight training. You’ll feel and look leaner and rev up your metabolism.

I love the comparison of looking like a bodybuilder by lifting heavy and turning into Einstein by studying physics... both won't happen unless you put in A LOT of work (and I still doubt you'll turn into Einstein)!

Like the quote says, it's almost a full-time job to be bodybuilder.  Getting big and bulky is most definitely a type of "formula" and if you're missing even one component of it - time to workout (sometimes several sessions a day), calorie amount, type of food, discipline, etc. - it ain't gonna happen.

So pick up those weights and lift H.E.A.V.Y!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday, barbells and a delivery!

Starting weight: 176.4
Last week weight: 141.6
Current weight:140.2
Current loss: -1.4

What a relief!  My trainer has been gone for three weeks and I was determined to pull a good number the next time I saw him and I did.  He actually didn't believe the number and had me jump on the scale again.  Such faith. 

Today I also started barbell training.  I'm really comfortable with dumbbells and have used them for the last three years but this past weekend I did some light barbell work on my own and LOVED it!  My lower body has never felt so strong!  With dumbbells, my grip gives out before my legs get tired so I was never able to push my lower body to fatigue by weight (changing the tempo of your lift with lighter weight gives a good fatigue too).  Enter, the barbell!  I asked my trainer to teach me more but because he already had my workout planned for today we went over the easier barbell moves like chest and shoulder presses.  Next week we'll hit deadlifts and squats. I can't wait!

And to change the topic a little, my mom's work building just started FarmRoofFarmRoof is exactly that... farming on the roof of buildings. I know it's nothing new but the concept is pretty new to Hawaii and her building is the first building in downtown Honolulu to have it.

 Picture from FarmRoof website.

She signed up to receive weekly boxes of veggies delivered to her at work and because the delivery comes with two boxes, she emailed me right away to see if I would be interested in buying one of the boxes.  Fresh veggies weekly for $5... OF COURSE  I'll take it!

I really hope this concept catches on because the rooftops of so many buildings are pretty much wasted space.  Plus, everyone could use more veggies in their life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mall workout

So following up on my post yesterday about my workout at the mall...

On my active rest days or if I'm in the mood to get in low-intensity cardio - but not have it feel like a workout - Anthony and I head to the mall called Ala Moana.  Yup, the mall.  Ala Moana is the world's biggest open-aired mall  and walking down and back on all three floors, without stopping to shop, takes a little less than an hour. 

Over the weekend the mall was super empty because of APEC so it was extra nice.  No fighting pushy shoppers or trying to out-walk the elderly that also exercise at the mall.

It's actually a good way to shop cause I pass by all the stores first, then decide where I want to spend my money.  =) 

This time we actually wanted a more intense workout so we added intervals whenever we came across stairs.  Sprinting/running up five stories worth of stairs = KILLER!  Just don't make it too obvious that you're exercising or the mall security will ask you to stop because you might get hurt and sue them... really!

The top three floors of stairs...

 Another good thing about working out at the mall... the farmers market held in the parking lot.  Exercise and nutritious food.  Can't even get that at the gym!

Again super slow like the mall.  On a normal day this place would be packed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Long weekend recap

It was a long and productive weekend and even with the craziness that is APEC, Anthony and I were brave and headed out to face traffic and road closures.  20+ presidents and delegates from across the globe = M.A.J.O.R. delays everywhere.

I took off on Thursday (because three-day weekends aren't long enough) and Anthony and I were out and about from the morning.  We hit up the hiking trail with these two girls... Beans and Poki! It's been a while since we went hiking because I was having knee problems but decided to give it a try.  Beans and Poki had vet appointments early in the morning but once that was done we were off.

Beans and Poki... tired before the hike even started.

Beans loves to be the leader... it's actually really cute because she'll always look back at us to make sure we're keeping up with her.

View from the top.

Heading back down the "easy" side of the trail.  It's paved going back down.


Tired and waiting to get home!

Friday was filled with shopping at the thrift store (50% off already super low prices for Veteran's Day), cleaning around the house and seeing a movie: Immortals.  I don't recommend it.  I'm a huge action movie fan and L.O.V.E.D. the movie 300 but this was nothing compared to it.  Wait for the dvd... or better yet, cable! 

Friday night I got in my killer upper body workout and at one point I walked away from my workout bench to get my sandbag and when I turned around I found Beans sitting on the bench.  She has a habit of wanting to sit/lay where ever I am and once I get off she jumps up and takes my spot.  What a brat.

Saturday we headed to the mall to get some ideas for Christmas gifts (only about a month left!) and stopped by the farmers market.  It was so weird because the mall and market were dead! Hardly anyone around which actually made it perfect to get in a workout at the mall - more on that in a future post.
Other people weren't so brave to fight the delays so the farmers' market was so slow!  Usually it's hard to even walk around in this place.

This is what it looks like when the mall is closed... not two hours after it opens!
Sunday was pretty low key and since Anthony works during the day, I usually reserve Sunday's for "me time".  I headed to the gym in the morning and got in my full body workout, went grocery shopping for the week, did more housework, washed my car, and cooked for the week.  To say the least, I was tired by 9:00. 

Four and a half more days until the weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday and Protein Ball Recipe

Starting weight: 176.4
Last week weight: 142.4
Current weight:141.6
Current loss: -0.8


Weighing in on a different scale than normal so can't really tell if this is a legit loss.  Next week I will be back to my normal scale.

I have noticed physical changes over the past month or so... most notable in my hands and legs (weird, right).  My quads and hammies are definitely getting back their definition and I can slowly start to see my wrist bones and veins on my hands.  This can most likely be because of my recent workout (muscle pump) but I'll take it! 

And this baby is slowly making it's way back too!!

Protein Peanut Butter Ball

This recipe was originally found on this website but here's my version.  My version is a little too sweet for me so I'm constantly tweaking it till I get the taste and consistency right.  Right now this is my most recent recipe.

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I had plenty of peanut butter to use but normally I stick with almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup agave
Mix all ingredients together.  Scoop out 1-tablespoon size portions and store in the refrigerator for about an hour to set.  THAT'S IT!!  Using the recipe above, it will make about 10 protein balls, or 5 servings.  I always make them in batches of 20 balls or more... the boyfriend and I like them a lot. =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's a sandbag?

***I am in no way connected to or sponsored by any of the products or people listed in this post... I just love sharing a good great awesome thing when I find it.***

After my post last week with the picture of my sandbag, I got several questions about it. 

First of all, I love it.... L.O.V.E. it!!!!

I first got inspired to get a sandbag because of the fitness goddess known as Zuzana.  If you don't know who she is yet, educate yourself here.  She has an amazing community of people, known as Bodyrockers, and her daily workouts are AMAZING!!  High intensity cardio intervals mixed with full-body strength moves.  Please, please check out her website called BodyRock.tv.

Anyway, she uses a sandbag - literally a bag filled with sand -  to do a lot of her workouts.  I did some research into other workouts I could do and came across so many different variations, I had to get one.  The bag that Zuzana uses is The Ultimate Sandbag but it's a little pricey at $99 so I found a cheap one on Amazon for half the price.  Although the one I bought has been surviving 3 - 4x/week useage for the last two months, if/when the one I have breaks, I will spend the money to get The Ultimate Sandbag.

 Notice all the different handle placements?  
That's what makes the sandbag such a good tool for me... it's so versatile and strength training is totally different with shifting weight.

Most sandbags are sold by weight (0-40 lbs., 20-70 lbs., 50-100 lbs., etc.) and come with heavy duty filler bags that you fill with sand (you have to buy the sand... any home improvement store will sell it for cheap). 

So what can you do with a sandbag?  Besides work your core like no other weight-lifting routine, almost any strength move you can do with a dumbbell/barbell or kettlbell... and some that you can't:
  • deadlifts
  • squats
  • rows
  • throws
  • presses
  • swings
  • cleans
  • drags
  • windmills
  • get up's
  • etc, etc, etc
 Just Google or YouTube some sandbag exercises or workouts and I think you'll be pretty impressed.  Gotta go get my sandbag training on in a few... you should too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

New month = new goals

Already a week into November and I haven't mentioned my goals.  For this month (and most likely next month, too) my goals are very "performance" based rather than scale based.

In a nut-shell, here are my November goals:
  • K.I.L.L. my upper body with weights
  • jump rope for 20 minutes straight
  • increase max push-ups from 17 to 20
  • limit eating out to 2x/week
In a kinda-long-not-so-much-a-nutshell, here are my November goals:
  • K.I.L.L. my upper body with weights
    • A lot of times my full-body weight workouts are very lower body focused.  For example, I usually run through a circuit of alternating lower-body and upper-body movements, but a lot of times my upper-body movements also involve my lower body, ie. squat curl to presses, squat and dumbbell swing, etc. I focus on my lower body on purpose because it's the first place I see muscle definition so I love to work it out.  This month I'm going to dominate my upper body with a killer circuit workout 2x a week (third day of lifting will be full body). My lower body will get enough of a workout from HIIT/plyo/hiking/cardio. 
Feel free to throw in some cardio moves like jumping jacks, squat jumps, and high knees in between circuits.
    • jump rope for 20 minutes straight
      • If you've never tried jump rope as a cardio workout, DO IT!! There's a huge difference compared to just running on the treadmill.  For the last couple of months I've been using my jump rope for interval training (30 seconds speed roping followed by 60 seconds jogging in place) but I would love to be able to jump rope for 20 minutes straight.  Right now I'm up to about 8 minutes straight so we'll see how far I can get by the end of the month.
    • increase max push-ups from 17 to 20
      • Pretty straight forward... I want to increase the number of push-ups I can do in a row from my toes.  I've never really trained for endurance (max reps) as far as push-ups go, instead, I've always trained for strength, maxing out a 10-12 reps with a weight plate on my back.  I can't wait to work on this.
    • limit eating out to 2x/week
      • Again, pretty straight forward.  Currently I eat out about 4-5 meals a week and even if those meals include a salad, it's an extra expense (and hidden calories!) I could do without. 

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Cheese... what cheese?

      Who needs cheese when you can have avocado?!?!?!

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      Turkey Veggie Chili Recipe

      As promised, here is the turkey chili recipe.  Sorry there aren't many pictures... forgot to take them while I was making the chili.  

      Anthony and I use double the amount of red pepper flakes and throw in some cayenne pepper because we like things spicy.  If you use canned beans, I would suggest not adding any salt until you're ready to eat because we use dried beans in our recipe and don't need any salt.

      We usually top off our chili with a little bit of cheese and greek yogurt... totally taste like sour cream and adds a super nice creamy taste to the chili. 

      (this recipe makes about 8 servings)
      • 1 tabelspoon olive oil
      • 1 small onion, chopped
      • 3 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1.5 lbs. ground turkey
      • 1 can (15 ounce) no salt added diced tomatoes with chilies
      • 2 cups water
      • 3/4 cup dry kidney beans (or 1 15-ounce can kidney beans)
      • 3/4 cup dry black beans (or 1 15-ounce can black beans)
      • 2 tablespoons chili powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 tabelspoon garlic powder
      • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper
      • salt to taste, but I skipped on the salt and you can't tell the difference
      • whatever veggies you have lying around that need to be used like TODAY (I rolled with half a zucchini, a hand-full of mushrooms, half a red bell pepper, and about 5 cups of baby spinach all chopped)
      1.) If using dried beans, rinse well and soak kidney and black beans overnight.

      2.)  In a medium pot, boil enough water  to cook your ground turkey (this is not the 2 cups of water called for in the ingredient list.  After draining out the water you used to boil the ground turkey, you still need to add 2 cups when you combine all ingredients)Yup, boil it. 
      I learned that this is the best way to get ground meat to cook in the smallest pieces as possible... so you have more meat pieces in your chili.   Thank you, Food Network!

      3.)  Drain out the water and throw ALL ingredients into a slow cooker (don't forget your 2 cups of water).  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or cook on high for 4-5 hours.

      4.)  That's it!!

      Before cooking...

      ... after cooking.

      Nutrition info (will be different if you use canned beans and different veggies) for one serving: 269 cals, 9g fat, 2g saturated fat, 56mg cholesterol, 352mg sodium, 21g carbs, 9g fiber, 22g protein.

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      Weigh-in Wednesday: Yay!

      Starting weight: 176.4
      Last week weight: 143.5
      Current weight: 142.5
      Current loss:-1.0

      TOTAL LOSS: -33.9

      This week I'm sticking to my goals extra hard because my personal trainer (PT) is gone for three weeks.  Which means he probably thinks I'll maintain or gain weight.  He never said that to me but I can't blame him if he thinks it because he's just basing this on past experiences.  The last time he was gone for about a month, I did this "Surprise the PT" challenge with myself, and didn't do too well.

      So this time I'm out to show him I can do this... with or without him! =)