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Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

workout: Shred Level 1 & 2, this evening

My alarm woke me up this morning to get a little crosstraining in at 4:50. Fourteen minutes later the DC metro area experienced a little earthquake. I knew it was an earthquake because I lived in Japan for a while where tremors and such are pretty common. But neither Matt nor my dog made any sound so I questioned my quake theory and went straight to the next logical theory: ghosts.

I thought a ghost shook my bed.

I got up and dressed to work out and then turned on the local news to see what Joe and Eun had to say. They didn’t mention the earthquake for like 15 minutes. So, of course, in those 15 minutes I was still convinced my house was haunted. I was not about to go work out in the basement, where ghosts live. duh.

My news peeps eventually confirmed the 3.6-magnitude quake. phew. No ghosts. It was past 5:30, though, so I went back to bed in my workout clothes. Healthy activity will resume this evening…

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workout: rest day/speedy walk/BL Cardio Max…whatev

I slept through my alarm this morning. After I slapped it off and knocked over a glass of water. Good morning.

Just as well, though, because I haven’t been feeling good lately. Allergies? Who knows. All I do know is that pseudoephedrine does not sit well with me. It makes my heart race, my stomach feel off, and it gives me the sensation that I’m moving when I’m really not. Did you all see Glee last night? I don’t usually watch it, but it was on when I was making some greeting cards. The students were given pseudeophedrine by the school nurse and they basically went crazy. ha. Made me giggle because I totally got it.

Now on to cake, again. Yesterday I mentioned how I don’t skimp on cake. Well this morning I received my daily Hungry Girl email and it was all about healthy cake combinations. I think she’s stalking me, or worried about my eating habits. HG says, “Why make cake with eggs and oil when there are TONS of better options?”

I’ve made chocolate cake mix with pumpkin puree before. It was good, but brownie-like. And I like to make brownies with greek yogurt, but brownies are brownies. Not cake. Try these at your own risk.

Cake Mix + No-Sugar-Added Applesauce
PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/12th of cake): 179 calories, 3.25g fat, 299mg sodium, 36g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 21.5g sugars, 1.5g protein — POINTS® value 4*

Ingredients:
One 18.25-oz. box moist-style cake mix
1 cup no-sugar-added applesauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add 1 cup water. Whisk thoroughly and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray; bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Refer to cake-mix box for pan size and approximate bake time.)

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Best Flavor: Yellow cake mix. It goes perfectly with the fruity taste of the sauce.
The Texture: VERY moist and fluffy. A+!
The Taste: AMAZING!!!! Sweet and slightly apple-y. Two YUMS up…

Cake Mix + Diet Soda
PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/12th of cake): 171 calories, 3.25g fat, 301mg sodium, 34g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 19g sugars, 1.5g protein — POINTS® value 4*

Ingredients:
One 18.25-oz. box moist-style cake mix
One 12-oz. can diet soda

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray; bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Refer to cake-mix box for pan size and approximate bake time.)

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Best Flavor Combo: Yellow cake mix + diet cream soda. Runners-up include lemon cake mix + diet lemon-lime soda and devil’s food cake mix + diet cherry cola.
The Texture: Moist and light.
The Taste: Pretty darn impressive! However, if you’re sensitive to the sweetener in diet soda, you may notice a slight aftertaste… especially if you use cola of any kind.

Cake Mix + Canned Pure Pumpkin
PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/12th of cake): 183 calories, 3.5g fat, 301mg sodium, 37g carbs, 1.25g fiber, 20.5g sugars, 2g protein — POINTS® value 4*

Ingredients:
One 18.25-oz. box moist-style cake mix
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly — batter will be VERY thick — and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray; bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Refer to cake-mix box for pan size and approximate bake time.)

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Best Flavor: Devil’s food cake mix is CLEARLY a classic choice. (Hello?! Yum Yum Brownie Muffins!) But spice cake mix… WOW. Yellow and white cake mixes, sadly, do not work as well.
The Texture: Thick and dense in the BEST possible way. Brownie-like, in the case of the devil’s food; the spice cake reminded us of pumpkin bread!
The Taste: No one would ever guess this is guilt-free in any way. It’s delicious!

Cake Mix + Fat-Free Liquid Egg Substitute
PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/12th of cake): 181 calories, 3.25g fat, 337mg sodium, 34.5g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 19.5g sugars, 3.5g protein — POINTS® value 4*

Ingredients:
One 18.25-oz. box moist-style cake mix
1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add 1 cup water. Whisk thoroughly and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray; bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Refer to cake-mix box for pan size and approximate bake time.)

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Best Flavor: Egg sub is like the little black dress of cake companions; it goes well with everything.
The Texture: The first time we made this, we used only 1/4 cup of water; it was a little dry and dense, but it reminded us of pound cake, which isn’t a bad thing. With a full cup of water, it came out light and fluffy. It had a more substantial, cake-like consistency than the applesauce and soda versions, but it wasn’t quite as moist.
The Taste: Good! But it’s not our favorite. That one’s up next…

Cake Mix + Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/12th of cake): 180 calories, 3.25g fat, 306mg sodium, 34.5g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 20g sugars, 3.5g protein — POINTS® value 4*

Ingredients:
One 18.25-oz. box moist-style cake mix
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (like Fage Total 0%)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add 1 cup water. Whisk thoroughly and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray; bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Refer to cake-mix box for pan size and approximate bake time.)

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Best Flavor: Devil’s food cake mix. Hands down.
The Texture: The word “velvety” comes to mind… Super moist and decadent! Kind of like a brownie-cake hybrid.
The Taste: YUMMY! Everyone who tried this loved it. There wasn’t any yogurt taste at all… just pure cake-tastic deliciousness!

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workout: Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD, Level 1

Earlier in the week I went to Barnes & Noble to use up a gift card I got for my birthday. Lucky for me, all DVDs were on sale for three for the price of two. I got three DVDs for $3! I stocked up on the Biggest Loser brand workouts. I’m a sucker for anything Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper. *sigh* I’ve tried other DVDs, but only these two can me sweat in my basement and curse the TV. It’s a gift only they possess.

This morning I tried Level 1 of the Cardio Max DVD. Bob directed it all. His moves were different and I liked the break from all the circuits Jillian uses. I appreciated how he got ab work in without mat work and crunches.

I think my favorite thing about this DVD is that the people behind Bob were previous Biggest Loser contestants. They were normal people! Not oiled up professionals who make you feel bad about yourself if you miss a move. They were all missing moves, tripping over their feet, and out of sync. During some lunge hops I thought one woman was going to fall into her neighbor. Loved it. I’m always out of sync and missing steps doing these DVDs because I’m not the most coordinated person.

Sounds like I just described a circus, no? haha. But I did get a great workout with this DVD. I’m ready to move beyond Level 1, though. When the session was over, I wanted more. I think Levels 2 and 3 will be more my speed.

In addition to Cardio Max, I bought the Biggest Loser Power Sculpt. It’s like the sister workout to the cardio set. My freebie was a new yoga DVD by Jillian Micheals. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one, so I’m glad it was free. I’m not a big yoga person, but I like Jillian’s workout style. Hopefully this DVD will be great like the day after a long run.

Have a great Friday!

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Tuesday’s workout: 3.27 miles; 30:40
Wednesday’s workout: rest day

Last night I scared everyone away with my speed. When I got to the track, it was full of high school guys and they all left when I walked onto the track. I know, I’m intimidating. All 5 feet of me. Don’t let me scare you, though. Just don’t look directly at me when I fly by with my 8:35 minute miles that only last a minute.

The track workout was hard. I finished all six reps, though, because I didn’t want to be a failure.

I kept my warm up and cool down at 5 minutes each. Matt and Scout were waiting for me I knew they both just wanted to go home and eat dinner. Scout was getting mad at me, too. Every time I ran by and didn’t acknowledge him, he barked after me. He’s so needy.

After the third speed rep I wanted to quit. My legs felt weird. They didn’t hurt and they weren’t tired. They just were off because they’re not used to sprinting. My little leggies just weren’t meant for speed and more so for walking. In fact, I think my twitch muscles are missing.

I kid! But I do think I have slow twitch muscles. Here is an explanation of slow and fast twitch muscles:

Slow Twitch
The slow muscles are more efficient at using oxygen to generate more fuel (known as ATP) for continuous, extended muscle contractions over a long time. They fire more slowly than fast twitch fibers and can go for a long time before they fatigue. Therefore, slow twitch fibers are great at helping athletes run marathons and bicycle for hours.

Fast Twitch
Because fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create fuel, they are much better at generating short bursts of strength or speed than slow muscles. However, they fatigue more quickly. Fast twitch fibers generally produce the same amount of force per contraction as slow muscles, but they get their name because they are able to fire more rapidly. Having more fast twitch fibers can be an asset to a sprinter since she needs to quickly generate a lot of force.

I know I can run for hours, but can I run at a decent speed for hours? It’ll be interesting to see where I am by the end of this training season.

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Saturday’s workout: long morning walk with Scout
Sunday’s workout: 5.1 miles; 48:49
Monday’s workout: 30 Day Shred, Level 1; 12 minute incline walk

Baked French Toast Update
I made another batch of this for Father’s Day. My favorite raisin walnut bread wasn’t available, so I used a whole grain cinnamon swirl bread. I cubed it and then did everything the recipe said to do. wow. It turned out many times better than before. More of the egg mixture was soaked up and the new bread was doughy, yet crunchy on the top. Lesson learned. Don’t get too excited about the bread and remember to cube it!

I’m going to try to get better about taking pictures of any food I talk about on this blog. I’m bad at it, I know. But I do hate talking about food with no pictures. I took pictures of the french toast from Sunday, but they came out really yellow. I got a new camera a year ago and I guess I need to learn how to actually use it.

On to other things. I hope you all had a great weekend! I did everything I set out to do, besides go to the pool. Much to Matt’s demise, we ran out of time. But such is life.

I only ran 5 miles this Sunday, but it was a great 5 miles because my legs felt refreshed and I got out before the heat came. I also tried something new with my arms. Let me explain. Last week Comcast realized we were getting more channels than what we pay for, so they took a lot away. By a lot, I mean everything but local stations and 2890348 different WETAs. One channel I happened on whilst folding clothes on Saturday was Universal Sports. Who knew this channel existed?! I think with real cable it gets lost within all the ESPNs. I had the pleasure of watching Haile Gebrselassie run and win the Great Manchester Run 10k. Gebrselassie is considered one of the best distance runners in the world. (Fun fact, he’s running his first NYC Marathon this year when I run! I’m sure he’ll be done by the time I’m at my half way mark, but it’s still neat.)

Well while I watched the runners, I noticed that the top runners move their arms a lot. I noticed this last time I watched the Olympic marathon, too. When I run, my elbows pop out and my wrists go limp. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. And it creates awful race pictures. Again, such is life.

So while running on Sunday, I thought I’d have a little fun with my form. I swung my arms like those speedy runners on TV. Fun! It put a little bounce in my step.  A little jiggle in my wiggle. After a while, though, I began to feel like Phoebe on Friends, so I toned it down a bit. I’m going to try to move my arms like this more, especially up hills. I felt like my arms were helping to pull me up the hill more than when they’re static. I just have to remember to not go overboard.

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workout: 3-4 miles, at some point this afternoon

This morning I woke up to run and got out of bed and stretched and wanted to crumble to the floor and cry. My core and arm muscles hurt so bad. It’s all her fault:

When I finished 4 of the 5 sets yesterday morning, I didn’t think I got a great workout in because I really didn’t sweat that much. Whenever I do Jillian Michaels’ kickboxing DVD, I’m a sweaty mess. It wasn’t until this morning when I really felt yesterday’s workout.

  • Basic Training. This level was fun. The instructor isn’t annoying and gets right to the point when the segment starts. She immediately goes into a warm up and guides you through basic kickboxing moves. As all the segments go, she introduces several moves before the end when she puts them all together into a fast circuit.
  • Ultimate Buns and Thighs. I did not do this level.
  • Arm & Shoulder Sculptor. I appreciated this level because I need to work on toning my arms and building muscle. She introduced holding weights whilst boxing. My only mistake on this level was that I used 5 pound hand weights. I think, for my level of strength, those were a bit too heavy to box with. I need to get 2 pound weights. Toward the end of the segment I put my weights down. My arms were burning. I know, I’m such a cop-out!
  • Washboard Abs. This level forced me to work on my abs. For that, thank you Keli Roberts. I hate ab work. She incorporated lots of different moves, which I liked.
  • Fat Burning Blast. I liked this level, but I don’t know how effective it was. It was a bit too dancey for me. I’m not coordinated to dance, and her moves here were quick and there wasn’t as much kicking. I like kicking!

My biggest gripe about this DVD is that the segments are too short. The levels are 10 minutes each and the instructor includes a minute warm up and cool down within the 10 minutes. So you really have 8 minutes to do the bulk of the workout. I’d like to tack on 2 extra minutes and have a full 10 minutes to kickbox. For a quick workout, I’d like to get in as much intense movement as possible.

But overall, for a change in my routine, this DVD was good and I’ll use it again. I like how the segments are broken up so I can use this DVD on busy days to target certain areas. However, I would not rely on this program entirely to work out and lose weight. For me, it’s just a good supplement to my running because it gets other muscles working.

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Monday’s workout: rest day
Tuesday’s workout: kickboxing DVD

This morning I hopped was forced out of bed by Clocky…twice. Apparently one roll off the nightstand wasn’t fun enough at 5 am. I don’t run on Tuesday, well I usually don’t do anything on Tuesday, but I took yesterday off so I figured I might as well do something to get my heart rate up. So I did some kickboxing. It was fun. I enjoy kickboxing. If ever I have all the money in the world, I will join a kickboxing gym. If one ever exists.

I dream big.

Side note: Matt is running his first sprint triathlon in two weeks. He did his first brick workout last night. When he got home, I expected horror stories of stiff legs and a miserable run. Apparently he was fine and his run was glorious. yay. clap clap. Had that been me, I would have fallen on my face right off the bike, which has happened at the gym before on a stationary bike. I won’t go into details. My body doesn’t like new things all at once, so it protests. Is this because he’s a guy? He keeps endurance too well. humph. I’m deleting his workout from my Garmin…….

Baked French Toast

1 loaf of cinnamon bread, cubed
8 eggs
2 cups of milk
6 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup of maple syrup

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and put the cubed bread in it.

In a blender or bowl, mix eggs, milk, melted butter, and syrup. Pour it over the bread evenly. Cover and place in fridge overnight.

Take out the soaked bread the next morning and let stand for 30 minutes before you bake it.

Preheat oven 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, cut, and enjoy!

Note: I used whole wheat raisin walnut bread from my favorite bakery in Bethesda, Spring Mill, so I added cinnamon to the egg mixture. I also did not cube my bread. Forgot to. I was just too excited to be cutting the bread and eating the discarded pieces that I forgot to cube it. ooops.

I served the french toast with extra syrup and fresh strawberries. mmm. Very good and worth baking!

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