August 2012


Now that's progress :)

Repinned from Jenn@Peas and Crayons’ Pinterest board.

Day 13: FIT TEST!

(Note: I’ve only taken one day of rest during the first two weeks. My Day 13 is the 13th day of exercise. If I followed the Insanity calendar, the Fit Test actually falls on the 15th day, which includes rest days.)

FIT TEST!!! I covered my results from Week One’s Fitness Test so I wouldn’t let that distract me After I was done with today’s Fit Test I compared the difference after two very challenging weeks of Insanity!

I was happy with the improvements, but also wondered what the heck happened on some exercises where I either stayed the same or…did worse??

One less power jump this week! I think that huge increase in the power knees from 58 to 99 took the starch out of my shorts (so to speak.)

I’m glad I did better with push-up jacks, but will need to work on my globe jumps.

Day 14: Plyometric Cardio Circuit and that Time of the Month

I woke up really, really tired and was wondering how I would do with today’s Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I started around 8:30 a.m., did okay with the warm-ups, but felt like everything else was just too hard. I was doing better with Mountain Climbers and could maintain my “picking guava” arm motion, thanks to my improvement with push-ups! I tried to push harder and dig deeper, and it seems I’ve been doing just that the last 3 or 4 days. Today during the in-and-outs (start in plank position, hop both feet in with knees to your chest, hands on the floor, then hop feet back out back to plank position) I was having a tough time just to do 2 of them consecutively. Again, I blame myself for not getting enough sleep. My flexibility wasn’t good today, either.

After the workout I wasn’t very hungry and felt like my stomach would prefer to be left alone for the time being. I did make a protein shake and bring some chocolate chip zucchini muffins with me on my errands so I could eat when I got hungry.

Day 15: Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs, 1200 Calories per Day

I did a 9 a.m. workout, still a bit tired and I think it’s because of my period (blech!) I had some cramps during the warm-up, but they disappeared…or maybe I just didn’t notice them during the intense cardio session! My quads never seem to feel like they’re getting stronger; power jacks, squat jumps, and especially the Cardio Abs section where you jump and have to bring your knees to touch your elbows…wow, talk about challenging! I felt like a rock, as soon as I jumped up, I was already coming down.

The floor exercises were easier for me, and it felt like I worked my obliques a lot more than the abdominal muscles. One thing you should do when you’re doing the c-sit position exercises is to make sure your belly doesn’t pooch out (I learned this from Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body exercise DVDs!) Contract those muscles and make your belly nice and flat:

Keep your abs flat, make sure they don’t pooch out! Image source: http://www.fitbomb.com

I have only lost about a pound since I started, and it’s time to do the thing I hate most: count calories. It’s easy for me to eat more in the evening, especially when having a glass of wine, extra helping of dinner or grabbing the bag of chips and just crunching away. And now that I think about it, that’s nearly 50% MORE of my daily intake–yowza!

So, I’ll be limiting myself to 1200 calories a day, but will also allow an extra 300 for “emergencies.” My plan is 3 meals and 1 in-between snack, drinking more water (including tea, I don’t like plain water much,) and eating lots of low-fat, nutrient-dense foods. My main concern is getting enough protein, and I’ve been leaning towards a vegetarian diet lately. I’ve been eating yogurt every day and having meat dishes at dinner time since I cook for my husband and myself (but sometimes I cook veggie meals.) Vegetarian sources of protein are usually high in calories and fat, so I will probably need to incorporate more eggs into my diet. My protein powder has 130 calories and 14 grams of protein. Half a cup of yogurt has 70 calories and 11 grams of protein. If dinner has about 30 grams of protein, I should be good for the day.


Day 16 & 17 workouts combined: Cardio Recovery / Cardio Power & Resistance

I took an Insanity break this weekend. Saturday I got distracted making myself a pair of pajama pants and a new cat toy for Trixie (pants took me over 3 hours to make, but I love ’em!)

Sunday was spent running errands, taking a much-needed nap (my cramps were pretty bad) then spent 3 hours or so cleaning out the garden. I did limit my calories on Saturday, though Sunday I may have gone up to 1500 calories (OK for my weight maintenance, but not for weight loss.) So to make up for it, I started Monday with Cardio Power & Resistance to get the blood pumping, then did Cardio Recovery right after (the schedule has C.R. first.) This may or may not be a good idea, but since I’ve been doing Insanity for 2 weeks already, I felt it would be okay to double-up with cardio and non-cardio workouts.

My mouth seems to get pretty dry just during the warm-ups, must be all that heavy breathing! I feel like I’m doing a better job of keeping my abs in and even doing a better job of breathing. That extra power from exhaling really helps to firm up your abs so you’re more steady and feel stronger. Every little bit helps! Globe Jumps are in this routine, and I keep on saying how much I don’t like them. Well, I don’t like them less, now. :) I feel like I’m less sloppy with the jumps from side, to back, to side, to front, and I think it’s because my arms and shoulders are stronger, so I’m less tired and less sloppy.

My left ankle felt a little bit sore after doing Cardio Power & Resistance, but I ordered a new pair of Ryka shoes so that should help alleviate my foot problems. With the Cardio Recovery, there’s a series of balancing exercises toward the second half. My left leg is way more flexible and stronger than my right, and I’m not sure how to even them out, unless I do my own stretching exercises. I am not really fond of the yoga poses, probably because (I’ve said this the last time) the twisting position makes it hard to breathe.

Breakfast (10:30am): peanut butter jelly & toast w/coffee – 225 calories
Lunch (3pm): 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 2 cups chopped fruit – 300 calories
Snack (4pm): 6 corn chips, corn flakes (standing up, eating from the box!) – about 125 calories
Dinner (8pm): Light batter fried fish & Thai sweet chili sauce, quinoa, cucumbers & cucumber kimchee – 550??

Daily calories: around 1200 calories

Day 18: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

My hamstrings felt overstretched from yesterday’s exercises, and I’m surprised my back and shoulders weren’t too sore from the V-push-ups. I wonder if I did them properly? Usually if I perform an exercise routine and it’s not making me struggle, I am probably doing it with bad form to compensate for the tough workout! This DVD has a couple of plank exercises that make me want to stick my butt up to compensate for the extra work my back & abs would normally do, so when I make sure my butt is down, I feel my back working extra hard and I know I’ve been doing them wrong! Sure, I’ll be slower, but as Shaun T says, “form over speed.”

Week 3 workouts done, woo hoo!


Happy WIAW! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is over the moon now that her husband, Paul, is back form deployment (hooray!) But she still had time to serve up gorgeous food photos, and even one of her ferret! Check out her blog to see the happy couple, happy food, and a bunch of happy bloggers sharing their midweek treats!

Summer staples from last week included some zucchini that have been producing nicely in my garden, and this week I’d like to include yet another prolific producer–cucumber!

I love the taste and crunch of a fresh cucumber, and if you also like yogurt then yesterday’s Easy Tzatziki recipe is right up your alley. Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie might sound like some kind of body cream, but it’s a real, drinkable smoothie that has the clean, refreshing taste of cucumbers and the smooth sweetness of vanilla. I had one for breakfast, and it was a delicious and light post-workout snack:

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie

Refreshing, packed with nutrients, and low in fat, carbs, and calories–just around 250 for 30 ounces of deliciousness (this glass is only 12 oz…refills!)

Lunch was another fruit & veggie yogurt bowl:

Cucumber, apple, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder & cinnamon. Celestial Seasonings Imperial White Peach tea.

Dinner was leftovers from the previous night, chicken tikka with biriyani:

Another good source of low-fat protein: chicken, yogurt marinade, brown rice and split yellow peas.

Dessert was an assortment of sweets, including some Dutch cookies sent by my husband’s grandma from the Netherlands (thank you, Omi!) We couldn’t eat everything, but it’s just nice to look at a bunch of assorted cookies:

Clockwise, top, L-R: spekulaas (traditional Dutch cookie, tastes like Xmas,) stroopwafel (“syrup waffle”,) roomboter bitterkoekjespencee (thick cookies filled with buttery, pasty filling,) Riesen chocolates, vanilla oreos, roomboter Fondantsprits (butter shortbreads,) fudge coconut oreos, Amarettini koekjes (tastes like almond cookies,) and gezouten drop (salted licorice.) Served with rooibos thee!

This smoothie recipe can be adjusted to your taste, and is yet another great way to use up all those extra cucumbers and zucchini piling up in your fridge. The mild flavors of the veggies add freshness, plus they provide fiber for bulk. The banana also helps thicken it up and gives it some sweetness. The vanilla protein powder gives it the creamy, vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie
A thick layer of foam forms at the top, just stir gently to incorporate all the yummy goodness!

Ingredients:

12 ounces cold water
4 ounces almond milk (or milk, soy moo, more water)
1 1/3 scoops vanilla protein powder, or your favorite flavor protein powder
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, rinsed and squeezed out
4″ cucumber, sliced thin
4″ zucchini, sliced thin (more cucumber is okay, too)
1/3 ripe banana, sliced
ice cubes (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, add water, milk, protein powder. Blend on low until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients except ice. Blend on medium to medium-high until veggies are chopped up, 15-30 seconds. Add ice cubes and blend on high for 10 seconds until crushed. Makes about 30 ounces.

Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie-2

The bulk from the veggies makes this shake thick enough for a straw to stand up

Any favorite post-workout smoothies? What’s the greenest smoothie you ever tried? :D

The flavor of the week is back! Introducing the second most prolific plant in my garden (next to weeds)…cucumber!

This was the healthiest plant of the three. Had to push it back from the stone walkway using tomato cages and a block of wood.

Moved the vine from the ground onto the brick wall so it won’t fall prey to the weed whacker again.

Spikes on some cultivars provide a formidable defense against hungry predators…unless you’re wearing gloves!

These cucumbers, called “Straight 8,” are ready to pick when they’re about 8″ long. They’re crisp and have big seeds, but are so fleshy that I just gouge the seeds out and still have plenty of cucumber left. I eat them with my fruit salads, with tofu soaked in shoyu and ginger, and pickled some in Korean gochujang hot sauce for a lazy kimchee recipe.

But one of my favorite ways to eat cucumber was introduced by my father-in-law a few years ago. He would make grilled chicken with this delicious, creamy, garlicky tzatziki sauce. I had the hardest time pronouncing it but an easy time eating it! In addition to the incredibly creamy texture, the fresh garlic and lemon adds a delicious mouthwatering savoryness that can be eaten guilt-free: zero fat calories, low in sugar, and tons of protein!

I ate twice this much tzatziki, goes well with everything on my plate!

It’s another way to enjoy yogurt and a solution to getting  rid of all those extra cucumbers lying around. I just might have to let my in-laws give this a try…and maybe get zwei daumen nach oben!

Easy Tzatziki
serve with grilled chicken, raw veggies, raw zucchini noodles, or use as a veggie sandwich spread.

Ingredients:

1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cucumber
1 1/2 cup Greek-style nonfat yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine garlic, salt, and dill. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice and zest. In another bowl or on a cutting board, using a box grater shred cucumber using large grater holes. Grabbing a handful of shredded cucumber, squeeze out excess liquid, reserving for later use (or drink it down!) Add squeezed & shredded cucumber to yogurt, stir to combine. Repeat with remaining shredded cucumber. Adjust seasonings to taste, store in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Makes about 2 cups.

Day 7: Cardio Power & Resistance

This is my second time doing Cardio Power & Resistance, and it’s still pretty tough. My quads don’t feel any stronger and I still am not a fan of the Globe Jumps, which is like a ‘leap frog’ with a wider stance, but you start from a squat position then jump up with arms outstretched over head and move right, back, left, front, and right again:

I tried to do better with push-ups, knowing I was letting my fear of injury getting in the way of concentrating on proper technique. As long as I concentrated on good form and keep my midsection tight, I was able to do push just a little bit further, and dig a little deeper!

image source: http://www.fiber.com

My diet has been pretty good, too! Lunches are usually a fruit bowl with a couple of veggies thrown in and yogurt with some protein powder mixed in for flavor and nutrition boost. Compared to salads I used to eat with avocado, goat cheese, and olive oil dressing, these fruit salad bowls are are HALF the calories and have nearly zero fat!

I still crave comfort food, sometimes it’s corn chips and yesterday it was thin n’ crispy chocolate chip cookies! After dinner I whipped up a batch and enjoyed them immensely! I had 5, my husband only ate 3 (packed the rest for his work-snacks.) It’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie made with spelt flour, ground almonds, coconut oil and chocolate chips (and the other basic cookie ingredients.) If you like thin n’ crispy cookies, you will LOVE these!

10 minutes of easy jogging to burn off the calories of one cookie.

Day 8: Pure Cardio

I was feeling good this morning and was looking forward to a 6 a.m. workout. I woke up around 2:30 a.m. (probably because I had a glass of wine with dinner…you can never get a good night’s sleep with alcohol) and was already thinking about how the workout will be, if I’ll be too noisy and wake my husband, and if I should make some healthy snacks. Eventually I fell back asleep.

I didn’t notice the first time around that Pure Cardio has no rest periods between the sets, only after the warm-up, stretch, and before the cool-down. I didn’t keep track of how often I had to take a break but it doesn’ t matter. If you’re out of breath and your legs seem to collapse with every squat-jump, your body needs a few seconds to rest! I made an  effort to do regular push-ups, and even though I was much slower in doing them, I still did ’em! :)

Day 9: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

have fun!

Lots of people enjoy doing circuit training, and I am thinking I like it, too. The intense, fast-paced workouts doesn’t give you much time to worry about being tired or saving your energy for later. But, I ended up making time for those things, anyway. :)

Today (Saturday) I did a late workout at 3 p.m. I woke up at 7 but felt lethargic, so I ended up cleaning up the living room and waiting until I felt more awake and alert to do the workout. Unfortunately I slipped back into a sluggish feeling, and when I did my workout I didn’t feel like I was doing my best (plus I was working out in the bedroom, where the ceilings are about 6 1/2 feet low so couldn’t jump as high or even stretch my arms without flexing my palms to avoid scraping the ceiling!) I pushed harder by doing REGULAR push-ups with only ONE girly push-up set to give myself a rest, sprinted faster, and forced myself to keep going to the point where I felt like crying out of frustration. I was sweating up a big, salty storm with the air conditioner blasting, the floor creaking (it’s an old house) and Shaun T on my laptop shouting in a tiny, faraway voice to dig deeper. I was tired, and though I was glad I did my workout, I still didn’t feel as “accomplished.” Ah well…there’s always tomorrow.

Day 10: Cardio Recovery

Cardio Recovery is a 35-minute stretch AND muscle-building segment, so in addition to a nice, much-needed stretch you get to work on a lot of lower-body strength by doing slower-paced squats, lunges, and leg-lifts starting from plank position. The first time around I didn’t think it was that challenging, so I must have been slacking! This time around I was sweating like crazy during the sqats! You also do yoga stretch poses, one of which I found difficult to hold on the right side (my left leg is more flexible) and so I had a hard time breathing:

The fit test in in three days, time to really watch what I eat so I can do my best!

Day 11: Cardio Power & Resistance

Had a cup of coffee and a bite of light carrot cake 1/2 hour before my 8am workout (just a little something to have in my stomach.) I did pretty good with the warm-ups today, even though I got less than 6 hours of sleep. I tried doing better with the high knees by using the abs as much as possible to bring my knees up. It’s hard to do when you’re huffing and puffing, but after ten days of Insanity I am getting better at it! Since Day 7, I’ve been making an effort to do regular push-ups, even if I could do only half of what Shaun T and the gang were doing. It put a slight strain on my back (which was aching since Friday, but nothing serious) so by tightening the abs, a lot of the pressure is taken off your lower back. I did NO girly push-ups today (woo hoo!) and did 4-6 to every 8 of their push-ups. My deltoids are sore, a good indication that I went a little further!

I made my own recovery drink with a vanilla soy protein powder, water, almond milk, 1/3 of a frozen banana, and a tablespoon of dehydrated peanut butter (like PB2, but a different brand.) I’m not doing a terrific job of watching my calorie intake, though. Breakfast/lunch/snacks are fine, it during dinnertime that I eat the most, as well as after dinner. I haven’t lost any weight, and this is probably the reason why.

Day 12: Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs

I looked at the calendar, saw there was the addition of “Cardio Abs” and thought, “Oh crap!” I was low on energy this morning and just wanted to have my coffee and peanut butter jelly toast and go back to bed (it was 50 degrees and misty.) I actually did just that, but took my laptop with me and worked for a couple hours under the covers. By noon it was a gorgeous day and I was ready to do my workout.

Pure Cardio – I was careful not to drink too much water during the workout since Insanity makes me feel like throwing it right back up. I am getting better at keeping up with the warm-ups, and that alone makes me happy! I tried to go faster with butt kicks and high knees, and mummy kicks–though still challenging–weren’t as much of a struggle to do like on Sunday. Also, because I’ve been doing more push-ups, certain moves where you raise your arms overhead like “Mountain Climbers” and “Power Jacks” have been getting more manageable.

Cardio Abs – This is about a 15-minute segment that has standing and floor workouts. There’s a couple of routines that have alternating kicks and power jumps, then you got floor routines where you sit with your knees up and back in a c-curve, and some ab work starting in a plank position. They’re all very challenging, and my back was a bit achy at the end.

I hated that I had a hard time with the power jumps.  Jumping from a standing position is super hard (this is probably a result of me not doing so great with those other exercises I don’t like: Globe Jumps and Frog Jumps.) The floor ab workouts involved no sit-ups, no crunches, but something far, far more tortuous. You sit with one knee bent, the other leg straight out in front, and your back is in a c-curve. Hands are on the floor to the side of your thighs. You start by bending the straight leg in so your knee comes toward your chest. You straighten your leg back out, then, as your leg is kept straight, you lift it straight up! Sounds scary? The next move is even scarier: both legs are straight out with your back in a c-curve and hands are on the floor to the sides of your thighs. You bend both knees to your chest, then, after you straighten them out, you lift both of them straight up! 

This girl, Tanya, is an incredible powerhouse! image source: ovguide.com

For lunch I ate a bean burger mix and scrambled an egg into it. I had half of a protein shake, was hungry an hour later and ate some corn chips and yogurt with fruit. At 4:30 I just got incredibly, super tired, couldn’t concentrate on my work so took a rough nap for about 45 minutes on the couch. Woke up, ate some chocolate candy, ate some of my husband’s dinner and toast w/melted cheese. Not the best, but I was just in a super tired and lazy mood. I don’t think I’m over exerting myself, I think the problem is that I’m not getting enough sleep. Better catch up on some z’s tonight, tomorrow is my second FIT TEST…wish me luck!!!

We inherited our dining table set from our former neighbors who gave it to us when we moved into our new home (thanks again, guys!) It’s a nice set, and is big enough for six, maybe eight people. One day at JoAnn Fabrics I came across some upholstery fabric in a very cool pattern (remnants bin, additional 50% off!) This would be great for updating our dining chairs, just to give it a personal touch. It has a random/geometric pattern that makes it fun, but not over the top, and the brown in the fabric goes well with the color of the wood.

I love the mix of textures as well as the pattern.

I had my fabric, staple gun, heavy-duty scissors and a screwdriver. This is really easy to do: I unscrewed the seat form the chair frame, put it on my fabric, cut, staple, and screwed it back in. Easy peasy!

The corners are the hardest to do, but just cut away some fabric and fold nicely. You don’t want it too thick, it’ll be harder to screw the seat back in.

The old chairs have a cream colored seat. It was nice, but I felt like something more funky.

Four chairs reupholstered for less than six bucks…awesome! And Trixie likes the new fabric, too.

This is a great project because you can update the look anytime you feel like it, and no sewing involved! BUT…if you notice something, I did a major mistake: TWO of my chairs have the pattern running in the opposite directions! Haha, well, I can either get more fabric or just deal with it. ;) In the meantime, maybe my husband won’t notice, shhhh!!!

Happy Friday, everybody, hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

Today’s WIAW will be quick and dirty, as it’s been a busy week and an even busier Wednesday (hence the evening post!)  thank you again to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this weekly round-up for us to share our recipes, a few laughs, and maybe some interesting stories to close out the summer.

In addition to my summer staples of fresh fruits and veggies, I came across an easy protein bar recipe that could be a great staple to take along on hikes, bike trips, road trips, or even as an on-the-go breakfast while running errands (like I did this morning) or a nighttime snack when you need a little something to satisfy your peanut butter and banana cravings (like I did five minutes ago!) I’ll share this recipe in a moment, but here’s a quick rundown of the day’s eats:

Breakfast: I wasn’t that hungry after this morning’s workout so I had peanut butter jelly toast and coffee (no picture, but it’s the same as last week’s recycled photo!) My stomach was ready for more after a couple hours, but coffee and tea was enough to keep me satisfied until lunchtime.

Lunch: fruit and veggie salad with protein powder-infused yogurt! Fruits: apple, pear, grapes, strawberries, blueberries. Veggies: celery, cucumber, shredded zucchini. This is a good way to add more veggies into your day, just slice them thin/small so you won’t be overwhelmed by a mouthful of zucchini…unless you like zucchini a lot!

Fruit and veggie yogurt bowl and a cup of Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Breeze green tea for lunch.

Snack: half a Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bar! It was so chewy and gooey, and half was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth (picture and recipe below.)

Dinner: quick and easy chicken, broccoli and quinoa:

No dessert if I have wine…and I did have wine!

Protein bars are great, and I used to have them for lunch along with an apple on the days I had back-to-back classes in college. I haven’t bought one in a while and when I do feel like trying one out, it’s usually the price that convinces me not to buy one.  I got this super easy protein bar recipe from http://fatlossschool.com/how-to-make-your-own-whey-protein-bars/. You can make these bars whatever flavor you want with different protein powders and some of your favorite baking spices. I made this version using some powdered peanut butter to help cut down on the fat and it still has a great taste.

L-R: powdered peanut butter, oat flour, nut butter, protein powder & banana.

Thick and sticky, just like cookie dough.

I use tofu containers to mold them, but any small container will do.

Put the plastic wrapped protein mix in the freezer to firm up before slicing.

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars, also can be made into bite-sized nuggets (left).

Chewy Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars (vegan)  recipe from http://www.fatlossschool.com
Give them a light coating of oats and chopped nuts. These protein snacks can also be baked.

1 cup oat flour
1 cup dairy-free vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choice)
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter (like PB2)
1 large ripe banana
1/4 cup nut butter
1/4 cup water (I used water that had soaked dates in it to make it a little more sweet)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine oat flour, protein powder and powdered peanut butter (if using) with a whisk. With a fork or pastry cutter, mash in banana and peanut butter, adding a little water at a time until cookie dough consistency. Blend well.

Line a small loaf pan or container with plastic wrap, leaving half hanging over the side. Spray the inside with cooking spray. Add mixture to loaf pan, or if using a small plastic container, add half of mixture. Flatten with spatula, cover mixture with plastic wrap and press firmly. Repeat with remaining dough. Freeze for 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 10-12 servings.

Baking option: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bars into thirds, place on silpat, ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes, cool before storing in airtight container in fridge for a week or wrap in foil and freeze for up to two months.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the nutritional info (oat and nut coating nutrition info not included):

Total 1/12th serving 1/10th serving
Calories 1360 113.5g 136
Protein 101.5g 8.5g 10.2g
Fat 61.4g 43.4g 5.2g 3.6g 6.2g 4.4g
Carbs 158.6g 13.3g 16g

(NOTE: I made a mistake on the fat! I counted 20 grams instead of 2, yikes!!! Luckily my recalculations brought it down, sorry about the scare, folks!)

Options (extra calories apply!):

– omit PB2 and increase nut butter to 1/2 cup, use less water
– substitute Nutella for half of nut butter
– substitute 1/4 – 1/3 cup apple sauce, pureed sweet potato or canned pumpkin for banana
– add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

What’s your favorite protein bar flavor? Are there any protein bars that are worth shelling our a couple bucks for or do you enjoy making them yourself?

Lately I’ve been posting about home renovations and gardening stuff in addition to foodery, and I wanted to add a new element to this mix, which is exercise.

I enjoy trying out different kinds of fitness programs, as long as they’re fun and motivating. A former boss got me interested in running, and within a month I went from 30 seconds of struggling to jog to 20 minutes of nonstop running! When I used to go to a gym, I lifted weights, took spin classes and tried pilates. In college I took a year’s worth of swimming and intro ballet classes (both were lots of fun and very challenging) and continued swimming 2K laps at Ala Moana Beach 3 times a week. Though I never excelled at any of these things (I came in the last 5 of the “Turkey Swim” race!) it was a lot of fun and I always took it as a personal challenge, and that kept me going.

There were times in between where I stopped exercising, but eventually got to the point where I felt like I needed to get moving again. Now that I live far away from gyms and beaches, I do my workouts at home.

Such a small box filled with so much potential!

Prior to doing Insanity I did Jazzercise and Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body 3x a week and loved it (don’t listen to people who say Jazzercise is for ‘old ladies’, I’m sure they would have a different opinion if they tried at least one class!) As much as I enjoyed those workouts, I wanted a different challenge. I wanted more upper body strength and less lower-body bulk. I thought Insanity would be a great way to surprise my muscles with a new challenge…and let me tell you, they were in shock!

Day 1: Fit Test- WOW!

Just so you know, the Fit Test isn’t about comparing yourself to the people on the DVD or to gauge where you stand on a 1-10 scale. This will help chart your progress by comparing your results every 15 days during the Month 1 and Month 2 workouts. It all begins with a 3-minute warm up and I was scared at how fast paced it was! Jogging, jumping jacks, and some other new moves that really got your blood pumping and your heart rate going! After a series of stretching, you go into the Fit Test moves:

As you can see by my scrawling, I kinda lose count.

You have 1 minute to do as many reps as you can. Since I’ve had exercise injuries in the past, I was just as concerned with reps as I was with form so made sure I wasn’t sloppy, but did try my best to do as many as I could. It’s best not to cheat with this since the idea is to do better in 15 days. ;)

I also took a photo of myself in a bathing suit and, knowing that I’m my own worse critic, I was pretty disgusted. I’ve put on a few pounds and can’t fit into some of my clothes without sucking parts of me back in. I decided it was time to get rid of the extra weight and get back into shape–pronto!!!

Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit – OW!

PLYOMETRICS – exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power. (Merriam-Webster)

This morning felt like I spent yesterday riding a horse–and all I did was the fit test!  Just like yesterday’s workout, there is a 3-minute warm up, fast paced, then a 30 second break to get some water, catch your breath, and get ready for the exercises. You do about 4 different kinds of exercises in one round, each takes 1 minute, then you get a 30 second break. The next round you try to go faster, then even faster in the last round. Football drills, basketball drills, and plank exercises are in this one, and I love how you just gotta push through and do your best.

I was having fun with some of the moves by making the arm movements a little more graceful and making up my own visualizations (making ballet arms during jumping jacks, “picking guavas” instead of “mountain climbing”) so that took away some of the insanity. If I had a coach, he/she would be rolling their muscley eyes at me. ;)

Can you picture Shaun T yelling, “Come on, we gotta make that guava jelly, I need fifty more guavas–PICK!” (source: http://www.buildahardbody.com)

Day 3: Cardio Power & Resistance – puff, puff!

My adductors were still sore from yesterday’s workout, as well as the sides of my calves. The stretching focuses on back, quads, hamstrings and adductors, but you’ll probably need to stretch the calves and arms on your own, especially after Day 3’s workout.

You’ll do sprinting, jumping, and also some push-up routines that works your upper body and triceps, and my arms were pretty fatti-gued afterward. There were also my least favorite, the globe jumps, where you start from a squat and jump with arms over head. I didn’t have much power in the quads and glutes, so I rested when I felt I needed it, and practiced good form rather than try to keep up with the rest of the group. I did girly push-ups when Shaun T did regular ones and I know I couldn’t jump as high as everyone else, but it’s the first round, and as I get familiar with the moves and technique, I’ll better be able to build strength and draw more power with each move. :)

I did eat some chips and a fruit salad w/plain yogurt 45 minutes before, and took sips of water during the exercises. I felt just a wee bit nauseous at times, as well as afterward, so just had a few sips of water, chewed peppermint gum (relieves my queasy stomach,) then had a protein shake about an hour later. Figured my body was still digesting the fruit & yogurt from before, and I wasn’t that hungry.

Day 4: Cardio Recovery – Stretching, not Sweating

I took a break yesterday because I was busy doing some home renovations all day. But after seeing this video, I should have just done it and go back to work! It’s mostly stretching with some strengthening exercises, but it’s not likely that you’ll end up in a puddle of sweat like the others. After finishing it, I was wondering if it was the right DVD or if I’m supposed to do something in addition to it. Nope, just stretching! My calves were achy yesterday, today I have no muscle aches (because of the skipped day.) Although the Insanity calendar lists 6 days of exercise routines, this Cardio Recovery video now makes it seem more like 5. I don’t think I need a recovery shake after this, eating light might be a better idea.

Day 5: Pure Cardio – Pure Insanity!

I did my workout around 8:15am, so only coffee in my stomach (I get nauseous if I work out with too much in my stomach, even if it’s just water.) The warm-ups were fast-paced and already I regretted having two “down days” in between Day 3’s “Cardio Power & Resistance” and today’s cardio workout. I’d say today’s workout was just as intense as Day 3, but with different exercises. There were some people in the video that looked like they were going to faint or throw up, but Shaun T would go up to them and tell them to take a break. Yes, this workout will push you to do better, but you really gotta pay attention to your own limits and don’t compromise good form for more reps, especially on the first go-around.

I don’t know what it was, but I was smiling at the end of this workout. Maybe it’s seeing those people on the big screen getting tired like me, or maybe I just felt great because I worked out today. Or maybe that stretch at the end felt soooo good! Whatever the reason, all I know is that I felt great. :)

Day 6: Plyometric Cardio Circuit – Good Shoes are a MUST!

One thing that is important to have for this workout as well as any other is a good pair of shoes. Less than 2 minutes into my workout today I noticed the toes on my left foot were feeling numb. It was difficult to maintain my pace, so as soon as the warm-up was over I paused the DVD, took off my shoe and massaged my toes until they were back to normal. A couple days ago the outside of my right foot, right along the pinky-toe side, felt like it was bruised. I’ve been having trouble with my toes going numb in my workout shoes every now and then and usually adjust the laces to accommodate, which helps. But my workout shoes have gone past its prime and have been through some tough workouts, and I think it’s time to give it a break very soon.

Now that I talked about shoes, let’s talk about the workout. It was tough and challenging, I slipped in my sweat a couple of times (be careful, folks!) and I drank too much water so had to take a break and ease my side stitches and to keep from barfing! I felt like I could do better with my form and focus on the muscle groups I was supposed to (such as using your abs to lift your legs.) I was so glad for the end, which seemed to come pretty quickly. I made a protein shake with half water/half almond milk, 2/3 of a banana and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I drank it down fast–must be hunger as well as thirst!  I felt like I could eat something but need to watch calories. Knowing lunch would be in a couple hours, I brewed a hot cup of coffee to satiate my stomach.

 

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