Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Killer Weekend Workout!

This workout arrived in my email inbox on Friday of last week and it was like it was meant to be. Last week was INSANE at work and so getting to the gym was a little hard. This workout when completed will burn about 256 calories.

What you'll need: A set of 3-5 pound dumbbells, a step (optional)

For the 90-second-cardio-bursts, choose from step-ups, jumping jacks, running in place, or jumping rope.

Saturday Workout

Lung, Lift, Press

          • First, do 90 seconds of cardio
          • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand elbows bent so that weights are directly in front of shoulders, palms facing each other.
          • Lunge backward with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees.

Shoulder Pendulum
  • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing in.

Boxer's Curl
            • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
            • Lie face-up on floor with knees bent and feet flat, holding a dumbbell in each hand and bending elbows by sides so that weights are hovering above chest, palms facing in.

  • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
  • Start on floor in full push-up position: balancing on hands and toes, arms extended, with hands directly below shoulders.
  • Make it easier: Stay in modified push-up position, on knees.
  • Walk right hand forward about 1 foot, then walk left hand forward 1 foot.
  • Walk right hand, then left hand, back to full push-up to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 8 to 10 reps.
            • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
            • Holding a dumbbell in right hand, start on floor in plank position; balancing on forearms and toes.
            • Make it easier: Do exercise without dumbbell.
            • Lift right arm off floor as you rotate into a side plank. Turn torso to the right so that right shoulder points up, and pivot on toes so that sides of feet rest on floor, right foot in front of left (hips stacked)

Sunday Workout

Row with Arabesque

  • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
  • Stand on right leg with left toes on floor slightly behind you, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing fronts of thighs.
  • Lifting left leg behind you and hinging slightly at hips, bend elbows as you bring them out to sides at shoulder level so that forearms point forward, palms face down.
  • Lower arms and left leg to start position.
  • Do 10 to 15 reps. (Switch legs for this move when you repeat the routine.)
Plie Biceps Curl
          • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
          • Stand with heels together, toes turned out slightly and knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing forward.
          • Lower into a demi-plie, knees bent out to sides up to 90 degrees. 
          • Straighten legs to standing as you curl dumbbells to shoulders.
          • Lower arms as you return to demi-plie.
          • Do 10 to 15 reps.

Single-Leg Deadlift
  • First, do 90 seconds of cardio.
  • Stand on right leg, knee slightly bent, with toes of left foot on floor slightly behind you, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing fronts of thighs.


Table Tuck
            • First do 90 seconds of cardio.
            • Start on floor on all flours (hands under shoulders, knees under hips), holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
            • Make it easier: Do move without dumbbells.
            • Bring right elbow and left knee toward each other underneath belly.

Tush-Toning Trio
            • Do 90 seconds of cardio
            • Lie on left side, head resting on upper arm, right hand on hip, legs stacked and slightly in front of you; bend knees 90 degrees. (This is the start position)
            • Maintaining knee bend, lift shins so that left knee remains on floor and heels are higher than hips.

So how did this feel?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Relaxing Yoga and Dance Workout

I love yoga as a way to de-stress before the day or at the end of the day.
Here is a workout that is fun and different than any that i have seen recently...

Full-Body Flow

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out and arms by sides;lower into a plie squat.
  • Hinge at waist to left, reaching left arm out to side.
  • Return to start and then hinge to right, reaching right arm out to side.
  • Return to start and extend both arms overhead, palms forward, looking up.

Shoulder Soother
  • Stand with feet together, knees bent 45 degrees, and hands on hips.
  • Lunge back with right leg as you swing right arm forward and then overhead and behind you in a windmill motion.
  • Return to start. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep. Do 8 reps.

Side Stretch and Swirl
  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and raise arms overhead, palms facing each other.
  • Side bend at waist to left, chest facing forward. Hold for 3 counts.
  • Keeping back flat and arms extended, fold forward at waist, then rotate torso to right side, bending at waist so that arms reach to right. Hold for 3 counts.
  • Return to start. switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep. Do 4 reps.

Figure Eight Hip Loosener
  • Stand with feet together, hands on hips.
  • Step right foot out to side, touching toes to floor. Push right hip forward and rotate hips in clockwise motion to trace a circle.
  • Return to start and step left foot out to side, toes on floor. Push left hip forward and then trace a counterclockwise circle with hips.
  • Return to start to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Hamstring TLC with a Twist
  • Stand with feet together, arms by sides.
  • Lunge back with left leg, keeping leg straight and heel off floor; bed right knee 90 degrees and place hands on floor on either side of right foot. Hold 3 counts.
  • Straighten right leg and hold for 3 counts. Return to lunge for 3 counts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mug Brownie

For those of you who have ever bought a box of brownie mix and told yourself, I'll only have one square and soon find that the entire pan has been gone... you will appreciate this recipe that forces portion control. At least that's what i tell myself.

one minute mug brownie

        • 1/4 cup flour
        • 1/4 cup brown sugar
        • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
        • pinch of salt
        • 2 tbsp oil
        • 2 tbsp milk, coffee, or water

Mix all dry ingredients together in a mug and make sure that there are no lumps.
Add liquids and stir until combined.

Microwave on high for 1 minutes, check on it at 30 seconds. Like the best of brownies, do not wait and eat it when it's warm and gooey.

For a variation...add a small dollop of peanut butter to the batter and swirled it in before baking.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

And now a word from our sponsors...

This past week I watched the Season Premiere of The Biggest Loser and found myself eating thin mint cookies. Yummy but at the same time... I felt bad about not doing something during those two-hours. So I looked to the internet and my daily emails to see if there were some things that I could work into commercial breaks.

There's the ever popular "push up" or "jumping jack" option. I will caution you that commercial breaks are much longer than they appear as discovered by my old roommate who did jumping jacks throughout one commercial break. I believe her exact words were, "This is freaking crazy... how can anyone do them for this long!"

So I found some different ones that we can do during commercial breaks. Do one during each break and you'll have some awesome ab crunching exercises done while not missing a minute of TV. 

Side Plank Up
  • Lie on left side on floor with legs stacked and a rolled-up towel between your thighs, propping torso on left elbow so that left forearm is perpendicular to torso.
  • Lift hips so that body forms a straight line from head to toe and squeeze towel between thighs. Hold for 1 count, then lower.
  • Do 10 reps, Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

Round Back
  • Sit on a folded towel on floor with shoulder blades against a wall and knees bent, feet flat; make sure back is rounded. Place hands on floor near hips, fingertips pressed into floor.
  • Squeeze abs and lift feet off floor, bring knees toward chest, then straighten legs so toes point toward ceiling, Do 10 pulses: Bring legs 1 inch closer to wall, then move them back 1 inch. Make it easier; Keep left foot on floor and bring extended right leg toward you by grasping right calf with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat.
  • Do 3 sets.

Fly Up
  • Sit on a folded towel on floor, lean back to rest on elbows and place feet together on a wall in front of you so that knees are bent about 90 degrees.
  • Extend legs up, keeping feet against wall, then press rounded back into floor and squeeze abs as you lift arms to reach toward feet, elbows soft. 
  • Do 20 pulses; curl torso up 1 inch, then lower 1 inch.
  • Do 3 sets, hugging knees to chest to rest between sets.

Pelvic Scoop
  • Lie face up on floor with back resting on folded towel, knees bent and feet flat on floor, arms by sides.
  • Cross right ankle onto left thigh just above knee so bent right knee points out to side; flex foot so only heel rests on floor.
  • Rounding lower back and squeezing abs, lift hips off floor so pelvis tilts up toward ribs. Curl pelvis as far as you can without arching back; pull abs in to lift rather than press through left heel. Lower to floor.
  • Do 10 reps, holding the lift for 10 seconds on the final one. Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

  • Stand facing a wall with legs together. squeezing rolled-up towel between thighs.
  • With knees slightly bent, hinge forward at hips to place palms on wall, arms extended, so that back is barely parallel to floor.
  • Squeeze abs and towel as you rise onto toes, then do 20 pulses: lower hips 1 inch, then raise them 1 inch.
  • Do 3 sets.

Flat Back
  • Sit on floor with lower back against a wall, knees slightly bent and feet planted wider than shoulder-width apart. Place hands on floor between legs and squeeze abs.
  • Press into floor with fingertips and lift feet about 6 inches. 
  • Do 3 sets of 20 reps

Twisted Curl
  • Sit on a folded towel on floor with knees bent and feet flat on floor, then lean back to rest on elbows.
  • Press rounded lower back into floor, squeeze abs and curl torso up toward left, lifting arms so that bot hands grasp outside of left thigh.
  • Maintaining curl, release hands so that both hover to outside of thigh and do 20 pulses: curl torso up toward left by 1 inch, then lower 1 inch. 
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

All exercises are courtesy of Fitness. Enjoy! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Soup

While on a date this past week, my date asked me what was one food/recipe that i could not live without. It was a no brainer but i had to ask clarify whether it was a type of food (i.e. Sushi, Thai, Chinese) or a particular dish. Well it turned out that it was a dish! After a few brief second for dramatic effect i stated enchiladas. 

Friends will attest to my love of mexican food. I worked at a mexican restaurant all through high school and then i would continue to make my favorite recipes through college and beyond. This week i thought that i would share a super easy recipe for Chicken Enchilada Soup that i made in the crock pot.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-3 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (depending on the level of heat you want)
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro (if you have fresh cilantro use 1/4 cup)
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)

  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • tortilla chips/strips

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft (3-4 minutes). Add chicken broth,  tomato sauce, and chile in adobo sauce and bring to a boil. A little secret to the chile... pulse this in the food processor for a few times so that it will evenly disperse through your soup. 

While this is cooking, add your beans, tomatoes, corn, and chicken breast (i use frozen ones) to the crock pot. Pour your broth mixture over these items and into the crock pot. Add cilantro, cumin, oregano to the mixture and stir it up a few times. Cover and put on low heat for 4-6 hours. 

Bring the chicken breasts out of the mixture and shred with two forks. Add chicken back to the soup and you are ready to serve. Top the soup with your favorite toppings. cheese and tortilla chips/strips are what i had but this would also be great with sour cream and avocado as well.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Half Marathon Training

Time to start training. For those of you that have New Year's Resolutions regarding fitness or if you have "running a half-marathon" on your Bucket List, then this post is for you! Like so many of my friends out there, i have recently discovered a love of running.

Like my favorite Pinterest posts...

I truly took this to heart and found tools that have helped me be successful in my run/walk routines. Tools such as the FREE Podrunner Interval, random playlists on my Ipod, Fitness Magazine's Daily Fit Tip, and FREE Yoga Videos are all great things to keep you going.

Through combining several of these resources, I have created a monthly calendar for training for a half-marathon (13.1 miles). Here is month one! The non-running days you do not have to do a yoga like i have chosen to do but i would encourage you to do something active and fun!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

T Shirt Quilt

College Memories...

I know that many of you can relate to the fact that I have a collection of t-shirts from college that are full of memories but their days of wear have long since passed. So since i had a collection of shirts, i decided to make a t-shirt quilt out of them.
WOW aka Week of Welcome was the week-long new student orientation program at Cal Poly, SLO (the real Cal Poly). 4 years of volunteering for this group has left me with the memories and shirts.

Those of you that know me know that i am crafty but have never quilted before. I took to the internet to find someone who had a tutorial for me. I found one!! What did people do before YouTube?!? I mean, seriously, how did we survive!

Leslie from Leslie and Zach broke it down into three tutorials that anybody can do.

I must confess that i did not actually find her blog til Part 3 but i used the principals she talks about in her earlier posts as i created my quilt.

For the binding I used scraps of fabric that i had lying around the house which all had stars on them. I used a light green fleece for the back of my quilt.

Those of you "coordinating color" fiends need to understand that in WOW nothing matches and we did things bold and beautiful. This quilt doesn't have any backs from my shirts but imagine fabric and puffy paint letters/numbers... sheer awesomeness.

This was such a fun project! I'm gonna make another one out of my tri delta shirts. But i think I'll give my sewing hands a break... NAH, who needs that. :)