Your Space, Your Workout

12 Mar

I am absolutely loving the home workout movement!

When I’m not traveling, I always make time to go to the gym or hit a class – it is my ‘me’ time and my way of cooling down after a stressful day.But when I am on the road, which is at least 4 of my workouts every two weeks, I’ve found that going to the gym is not always an option. Most hotels nowadays have some sort of small gym but it always seems like all the machines are taken or they just have a bike and elliptical (old school elliptical might I add). Even if there is a gym, my time is so limited and I never have time to get in a full hour. Don’t get me wrong, the first thing I make sure my hotel has is a gym but these workouts are a life saver!

I was first introduced to the idea of home workouts about two years ago when I found the most amazing site – BodyRock.tv (note – this site has changed dramatically, now called the Daily Hiit, and I no longer use it). BodyRock introduced me to exercises that can be done at home (with hardly any equipment) and complete workouts in less than 15 minutes. Most of the workouts are built upon the foundation of interval training – bursts of high intensity that noticeably burn fat and reshape the body. I’ve taken the basics of these workouts and transformed them into my own – workouts that I can do in my living room, in a hotel room, outside in a part or if I want, in the gym. The best part of these workouts is that you can make them as intense as you want – repeat the set another time (or two, or five), add dumbbells, do 10 minutes of abs after, follow the workout with cardio.

Here’s one of my workouts (you can tailor it however you want) …

Home Workout 101

Time – 40 minutes

What you need:

  • Jump rope
  • 10 lb. dumbbells

WARM-UP: 10 minutes

  • Jump Rope

THE WORKOUT

45 sec. on + 15 sec. rest

Repeat 3x

1. Squats w/ 10 lb. dumbbell

2. Push-ups

3. Alternating, Jump Lunges

4. Chair Tricep Dip

5. 10 Mountain Climbers + 10 Alternating, Knee to Elbow in Plank Position

6. Burpees (Jump Squat to Plank + Push-up, repeat)

7. Alternating, Side Lunges w/ dumbbells

8. Push-up Row w/ dumbbell (25 sec. each arm)

9. Bicycle Twist (abs)

10. Straight-leg Dead-lift + Row

COOL DOWN: 5 minutes

  • Stretch

For more great workout ideas and/or exercises, check out BodyRock’s old site.

Go to ALL WORKOUTS – OLD WORKOUTS (BODYROCK) and search through their archives (again, I am not a fan of the new site or content).

Get it!

– NNN

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Spartacus Workout

11 Mar

Spartacus Workout

Time – 45 minutes

What you need:

  • Cardio Machine
  • Tabata Clock / Interval Timer
  • Dumbbells

WARM-UP: 10 minutes

  • Jump on your favorite cardio machine to get your body warmed up.

THE WORKOUT

Set your interval timer to 50 sec. on + 10 sec. rest.

Repeat 3x.

1. Dumbbell Squat to Alternating Shoulder Press & Twist

2. Mountain Climber + Pushup

3. Alternating, Dumbbell Side Lunges + Bicep Curl

4. Plank

5. Alternating, Dumbbell Forward Lunges

6. Alternating, Dumbbell Clean (Single-arm)

7. Pushup Row (each arm) + Dumbbell Squat Jump

8. Squat + Alternating Reverse Lunge

9. Weighted Russian Twist

10. Straight-leg Dead-lift + Row

COOL DOWN: 5 minutes

  • Get on your warmup machine and set on low-intensity.

This workout is rumored to be the same workout that the Spartacus actors were given by their trainers – hello six-packs! It is an interval workout – shall I say anything else?

This workout is perfect to do with your partner, or a friend, because you can tailor the weight to fit you. Brandon and I love to do this workout together – I use 15 lb. dumbbells and he uses 25 lb. dumbbells – and we each get a great workout in.

Get it!

– NNN

Benefits of Lemon Water

10 Mar

lemon-water-splash-up-bs2-698x392I was looking for something with a little flavor to replace coffee in the afternoon and I found my new favorite thing – Lemon Water! After I started drinking it (hot or cold), I noticed that I felt refreshed and more energized. I did a little research and found that drinking Lemon Water has a ton of health benefits – lemons are packed with natural vitamins and minerals.

Here are the top reasons why I’ve added Lemon Water to my daily diet:

1. Helps Kick My Afternoon Coffee Habit: I always have to have a drink in front of me during work, so when plain old water just wasn’t the thing, I often turned to coffee. Now I turn to Lemon Water – hot or cold, it does the trick!

2. Natural Energizer: it hydrates and oxygenates the body so you feel refreshed and revitalized – it’s my ‘during work’ yoga that I don’t have to be embarrassed about (or get out of my seat).

3. Cleanses the Body: Based on the research I’ve read, the citric acid in lemons helps flush out all the unwanted materials – lemons increase the rate of urination and the citric acid helps the liver produce bile which is a required for digestion.

4. Immune System Booster: Lemons are high in vitamin C and potassium – fight colds & stimulate your brain.

5. Clears Skin: The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes, and when applied directly to your skin, helps reduce scar appearance.

6. Natural Weight Loss Starter: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, helping you fight those cravings! If I’m in a snacking kind of mood, I have a glass of Lemon Water and it helps me kick those random cravings!

There are so many articles and research on why you should drink Lemon Water so if I haven’t convinced you, look it up for yourself. In most of the research studies, it suggests drinking warm (or room temperature) water with 1/4 to 1/2 of a fresh lemon squeezed in.

– NNN

Mexican Spaghetti Squash

3 Mar

photo 3Ingredients:

(1) Medium Spaghetti Squash

(1 lbs.) Ground Turkey

(1 Can) Mexican-style Diced Tomatoes

(1 Can) Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained

(1) Green Pepper, Chopped

(1/4 Cup) Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro

(1 tsp) Ground Cumin

(1/4 tsp) Garlic Salt

(1/4 tsp) Black Pepper

(2 Tbsp) Taco Seasoning

(1/4 Cup) Monterey Jack Cheese

Directions:

1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a glass dish with 1 inch of water. Bake 45 minutes or just until tender. Shred hot squash with a fork and place in large bowl.

2. Cook ground turkey in a large skillet. Once browned, add Taco Seasoning and mix well.

3. Add ground turkey, tomatoes, beans, cilantro, cumin, garlic salt and pepper to the shredded hot squash; toss well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish (1.5 – 3 quart baking dish). Sprinkle cheese on top.

4. Bake 30 – 35 minutes

Tips & Tricks:

–         Cutting Squash: Squash can be difficult to cut so sometimes I place it in the microwave, on-high, for a minute or two. This helps soften it, making it easier to cut.

–        Baking Squash: You can also place the squash face-down (once cut and seeded) on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with a non-stick cooking spray. I find when baked this way, the ‘noodles’ are slightly more crisp. I prefer the ‘noodles’ to be a little more soft but it is totally your preference.

–         Meat: We love our meat but this dish is great without it too! You can also replace the ground turkey with ground beef.

–         Additions: You can really add a variety of things to this dish – think fresh diced tomatoes, onions, avocado as a topping, etc.

I love this dish – Spaghetti Squash is easily one of my favorite dishes. Since I am gluten-free, I rarely make noodles but my husband loves all things noodles – Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti, etc. – so this is a great dish to make as a replacement. And, he LOVES it. It tastes great, is healthy and a filling meal.

– NNN

25 Minute Cardio Blast

27 Feb

QUICK CARDIO BLAST

     Time – 25 minutes

     What you need – A Treadmill

 

THE WORKOUT

  • Warm-up: 4 minutes
    • Alternate (1 min. each) Squats & Push-ups
  • Cardio Blast:
    • Start the first 2 minutes at Intensity Level 5
    • Minutes 3 & 4 : increase to Intensity Level 6
    • Minutes 5 – 9 : Work your way up, from Intensity Level 5 to Intensity Level 9
    • Repeat for minutes 10 – 14
    • Minutes 15 – 19 : Work your way down, from Intensity Level 9 to Intensity Level 5
    • Minute 20 : Cool down, walking for 1 minute

     

I love this quick workout when I don’t have a lot of time at the gym and it’s a cardio day  –  it’s a fast paced 25 minutes that will get your heart rate up and your sweat glands glowing.

Get it!

– NNN

Everyday Ingredient Substitutions

26 Feb

SnipImage

I have to say thanks to my mom for this post – she has greatly helped me along the ‘cleaner’ eating journey – she has done a ton of research and constantly sends me little tips and tricks along the way. Below are some of the substitutions that I do everyday in my baking and cooking. If you are interested in finding more great substitutions, I suggest you browse Pinterest – it has some amazing ideas for substitutions and recipes too!

Eggs:

For one (1) egg, you can use any of the following:

  • (1 Tbsp) Ground Flax Seed + (1/2 Cup) Water
  • (1/4 Cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
    • Only use if you don’t mind the taste of banana in your final creation
  • 1/2 of a Small Banana, mashed
  • (1 tsp) Baking Soda + (1 tsp) vinegar
    • Add baking soda to dry ingredients and the vinegar to the wet – combine wet and dry at the end
  • (1/4 Cup) Coconut Milk Yogurt
    • This is also a great replacement for sour cream

Butter:

  • (1/2 Cup) Butter = (1/3 Cup) Oil
    • Canola Oil is best for general baking, olive oil for finer baking like breads
  • (1 Cup) Butter = (1 Cup) Dairy Free Organic Palm Shortening
    • Spectrum Naturals Organic Vegetable Shortening is best – they also have a butter flavor for recipes like frosting

Buttermilk:

  • (1 Cup) Buttermilk = (1 Tbsp) Lemon Juice + (1 Cup) Non-Dairy Milk
    • Combine ingredients and let it stand for 10 minutes

Sugar / Sweeteners:

In general, you can replace (1/2 Cup) Dry Sugar with (1/4 to 1/3 Cup) Liquid Sweetener – Honey, Agave, etc.

  • Agave
    • Only by raw
    • For the most part, stay away from Agave because it is very high in fructose
  • Pure Maple Syrup
    • One of the healthiest sweeteners to use
  • Honey
  • Coconut Nectar
    • Very healthy and in crystal form can be used cup for cup to replace sugar
  • Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (powdered and brown sugars)
    • Both are processed less than regular sugar and are better to use than regular sugar BUT have no health benefits like the others have

Thickeners:

Instead of cornstarch, you can use the following:

  • Tapioca, Instant
    • A great thickener and binder
  • Potato Starch
  • Xantham Gum
  • Guar Gum

 

I hope this helps!

– NNN

Chocolate Chip Waffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

25 Feb

photo 3Ingredients:

(2 Cups) Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix

(2 Tbsp) Flax Seed + (2/3 Cup) Water

(2 Tbsp) Oil

(1/2 tsp) Organic Vanilla

(1/2 tsp) Baking Powder

(1/2 tsp) Baking Soda

(1 Cup) Water

(2 Tbsp) Sweet Leaf Sugar, Made from Stevia

(1/3 Cup) Enjoy Life Mini Chips

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together Pamela’s Bread Mix, Flax Seed, Baking Powder and Baking Soda.

Add in oil, vanilla, water and sugar. Mix thoroughly and complete the mix by adding the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the middle of a waffle iron – approximately 1/4 Cup.

Nutrition Facts:

– Makes about 12,  4-inch  (1/2 inch thick) waffles

– 1 serving = 1 waffle

191 Calories / 4.3 grams of Fat / 38.5grams of Carbohydrates / 12.6 grams of sugar / 1.67 grams of Protein

 

Tips & Tricks:

–         Flax Seed + Water: This is an egg replacement – the original recipe calls for 2 eggs. Another egg replacement is 1/2 of a banana, smashed.

–         Chocolate Chips: I used a dairy free version. You could also try making different variations with cinnamon and even pumpkin! 

A perfect snow day treat – especially during lent! We enjoyed a snow day yesterday as we accumulated over 10 inches of snow throughout the day (and maybe more). So to start it off, and because Brandon gave up all candy and sweets for lent, I decided that I would make him a yummy breakfast – don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed one too! These waffles are SO good and are on the healthier side than your normal waffle. The recipe I gave is a double batch but you can put these in the freezer for later – just pull out and pop in the toaster for an on-the-go meal. Cheers to hopping for more snow days!

– NNN

Coconut Doughnuts (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

14 Feb

photo 2Ingredients:

(1 1/2 Cups) Superfine Brown Rice Flour

(1/2 Cup + 2 tsp) Tapioca Starch

(2 tsp) Baking Powder

(1 tsp) Sea Salt

(2 Tbsp) Flax Seed + (2/3 Cup) Water

(1/4 Cup) Coconut Oil, Liquefied

(1 1/2 Cups) Coconut Palm Sugar

(1 Cup + 4 Tbsp) Coconut Milk

(1 tsp) Pure Vanilla Extract

(1/2 Cup) Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or plug-in your doughnut hold maker to preheat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, ½ cup tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt.

In another mixing bowl whisk the flax-seed and water with the coconut oil, 3/4 cup coconut sugar, 1 cup coconut milk and the vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together. Spoon the batter into the preheated doughnut machine (to cool, place on a wire rack).

Place the coconut flakes on a baking sheet, spread in an even layer.Place in the preheated oven and cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned.

While the doughnuts are cooling, prepare the glaze. Place the remaining 1 cup of coconut sugar in a high-powered blender with the remaining 2 teaspoons of tapioca starch and process until it turns into a powder. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, stir with a fork to break up any lumps and add the reaming coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a thick glaze is achieved. You may need a little more or less than 4 tablespoons.

Crush the coconut flakes with your hand into smaller pieces and place on a plate. Frost each doughnut with some of the glaze then dip the glazed side into the coconut flakes. Set on cooling rack and allow the glaze to dry. Repeat until all your doughnuts are covered.

photo 1Nutrition Facts:

– Makes about 35 doughnut holes

– 1 serving = 1 doughnut hole

(With glaze) 100 Calories / 3.3 grams of Fat / 17.7 grams of Carbohydrates / 9.4 grams of sugar / .67 grams of Protein

(Without glaze) 67 Calories / 2.2 grams of Fat / 12 grams of Carbohydrates / 4.2 grams of sugar / .66 grams of Protein

Tips & Tricks:

–         Doughnut Pans: Instead of doughnut pans, I used a doughnut hole/cake pop maker. If using a pan, when you spoon the batter into it, smooth the tops of the doughnuts making sure the post in the middle is free of batter. When you bake them, bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

–         Tapioca Starch: My local (natural) grocery store did not have starch so I purchased Tapioca Pearls and put them in the grinder to make starch.

–         Flax Seed + Water: This is an egg replacement – the original recipe calls for 2 eggs. Another egg replacement is 1/2 of a banana, smashed – next time I am going to try this because a little banana flavor would make these even better.

–         Blender verse Spice Grinder: If using a spice grinder, you will need to do the grinding in 2 batches – ½ cup coconut sugar with 1 teaspoon tapioca starch per batch.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day always reminds me of doughnuts – when we were growing up, my Dad would have fresh doughnuts waiting on the table for us every Valentine’s Day morning. They, of course, came with a card from both of my parents too. Since my Mom has so many food allergies (Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Egg – just to name a few), she hasn’t been able to enjoy doughnuts for years. So this Valentine’s Day, I decided to change it up and deliver doughnuts to my parents house that my Mom can eat too!

– NNN

Love (& Marriage) Sure is Sweet!

13 Feb

Love is in the air (in case you didn’t know, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – perhaps you didn’t notice the pink, red and white colors flooding every store OR that your favorite TV Show’s episode this week is celebrating the date OR maybe you just haven’t got online).

Saint Valentine’s Day (or Valentine’s Day) began as a Christian holiday; celebrating the early Christian saint named Valentinus. It began as a day associated with romance, evolved into a day where lovers could express their feelings to each other, to where it is today – a day for celebrating love (whether romantic or not) and friendship.

One of my favorite parts of Valentine’s Day is the cards – they are amazing and put my thoughts on paper so perfectly. I could literally spend hours in the card section of the store – let’s be honest though, I can spend hours in the card section no matter what time of year it is – trying to find the perfect cards for my friends and family.

For many, Valentine’s Day means more that just cards: it means flowers, candy, dinner and more. Did you know:

  • 180 million cards are exchanged annually
  • 196 million roses are produced just for the day
  • More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold

*Check out this fun infographic for more stats on Valentine’s Day 2013.

For me, Valentine’s Day is also a reminder of how my life changed (for the best) a few years ago. It was one of the biggest turning points in my life and, though at the time I couldn’t see through the fog, was one of the best things that ever could have happened. I won’t bore you with all the in-between details but because of it, I am married to the most amazing man and more in love than I ever thought was possible.

This will be our first Valentine’s Day being married and I’m excited that we get to celebrate our love. Marriage is so much more than just love though – It has its up, it has its downs and everything in between. I’m not a relationship expert but here’s our little recipe for a happy marriage:

natalieBrandonPoster

– NNN

Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Protein Shake

12 Feb

smoothie copyIngredients:

(1 scoop) Chocolate Protein Powder

*I currently use GNC Total Lean but am in the process of finding a new protein powder that does not contain Milk.

(1 cup) Drip Coffee

(½ cup) Frozen Raspberries

(½ cup) Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

(½ cup) Water

(1 cup) Ice

*Place all the ingredients in your (Vitamix) blender and blend!

Nutrition Facts:

152 Calories / 2.75 grams of Fat / 17.5 grams of Carbohydrates / 7.5 grams of sugar / 13.5 grams of Protein

Tips & Tricks:

–          Coffee: Don’t waste your day old coffee by dumping it down the drain! Poor it in a glass jar and store in the fridge for your smoothies.

–          Frozen Berries: To save some money, grab these at your local Costco or Sam’s Club.

–          Sweetener: If you’re looking for it to be a little sweeter, you can use sweetened almond milk or add a little bit of all natural vanilla.

–          Water/Ice: To get the consistency you want, try using more (or less).

–          Smoothie vs. Milk Shake: If you’re looking for a milkshake type consistency, add ¼ cup of fat-free cottage cheese.

I love this protein shake because it includes one of my favorite things – coffee! Coffee is my go-to drink and, most of the time, a cup of coffee starts my day. Lately though, Brandon and I have been hitting the gym early a few days a week. So instead of coffee starting off my day, I get to start my day with a few of my best friends – free weights, cardio machines and of course, Brandon! But on days like these, I can’t wait to get home and enjoy my coffee – protein shake style!

– NNN