Wednesday, June 27, 2012

yummy 4th eats!


Red, White and Blue Fruit "Cake"
 Recipe found here from Eat Better America


Ultimate Barbeque-Rubbed Chicken
 Recipe found here from Eat Better America


Bean and Tomato Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
recipe found here from Eating Well


Star-Spangled Dessert
recipe found here from FamilyFun

Just some fun ideas to celebrate the 4th of July while still keeping things a bit healthy!

We have a local 5K race on the morning of the 4th, but nothing too exciting!  I have seen other bloggers talk about foam/water/mud races to celebrate the 4th...come on Texas, step it up and let's get some fun, festive races out our way next year!!!

Are you planning on a festive, 4th race where you are?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

it was rough...and a sports bra that I LOVE!

I had a great morning workout, some spinning followed by a 45 minute boot camp workout video.  Since temps are reaching 104 today, we headed to our neighborhood pool!  The boys had a blast, especially my five year old who was SO impressed with the Olympic trials last night that he wanted to attempt some lap swimming of his own...
We swam for a long time and then I decided I'd try swimming laps!  
You probably know where this story is headed...


Our pool was roped off and is 25M each way.  I started off pretty good, freestyle then changed it up with backstroke...and so on!  Uh, how many did I get in before I felt my heart beating out of my chest??

FOUR!  Yea, FOUR!!!  And sadly, I actually stopped to catch my breathe during the third lap!  

I thought to myself, "OMG really???" 

Then the high school lifeguard says, "you're doing great, keep it up!  All of the lifeguards that work here have to do 300M without stopping"...
-I thought to myself, Thanks young, lifeguard girl who has no idea that I've given birth to two children and am in my 30's!!!  Not to mention, I haven't swam laps since college, possibly even high school!!!

What's the point of my story, you ask?  Well, we all know I've wanted to attempt and set a goal to complete a triathlon in my near future...if I felt like I was dying during my four lap swim, how will I manage to swim, bike and then finish with a strong run?  
I'd be like jell-o...and not pretty looking jell-o either!!  

I always consider myself to be in pretty good shape, BUT swimming today was sure eye-opening for me!  
Gives me a new goal to attain!  Woohoo!  
I will make sure I gain endurance and am able to get at least 200M without stopping!  
I mean, I should have been able to do that today! 

Enough about my lack of endurance, let's talk sports bras...a great sports bra!  
They were kind enough to send me a Empower PostureCue sports bra to try out during my workouts!  

First of all, this bra is AMAZING!  
Hands down, the best sports bra I've ever worn!  
It's comfortable, fit perfectly and held everything in place-which is SO important when it comes to great workout apparel!  
From their website:  "The Empower Sports Bra is the first sports bra developed that supports your front from the back, providing a gentle PostureCue-ing of the muscles that support and align your spine and shoulders. The sports bra is so comfortable, you can wear it daily and so functional that simply wearing it enhances and re-trains your posture"
This bra honestly helped me remain in my correct posture throughout my workout!  This is very important for me because I've found that during intense running in the heat, I tend to slack on my posture due to fatigue and I'm thinking this bra will help where I need it most!  I haven't tried it with running, but I plan on doing that tomorrow!  
The IntelliSkin name speaks for itself because it feels like you aren't wearing a binding, uncomfortable sports bra...it rests perfectly against your skin in all the right places!  
We, as women know that finding some workout apparel is very important when it comes to staying fit and IntelliSkin has raised the bar for me in the future!  I hope to try some of their other products very soon and can't wait to share the feedback with all of you...


I received the Empower PostureCue sports bra for free in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% mine.  









Monday, June 25, 2012

do you cleanse?

With Jess's weight loss challenge in full swing, I have debated on whether or not to cleanse?  I lost 1lb this week and while I'm proud of that success, I have a long way to go...I'm trying to see if a cleanse might be right to jump start things for me...


I have tried buying the try at home methods from local nutrition stores, but have seen no change or noticed a "cleansing" at all, if ya know what I mean!  If you still don't follow, these things don't usually "work" for me.  I have read MANY articles regarding the pro's and con's to a good natural cleanse, store bought or even ones you can get at the doctor's office.  As well as the bought cleanse, there is also a body cleansing diet.  This method is more like a lifestyle rather than something you just try one day, so I'm interested in learning more.


As I was running yesterday in the 102 degree heat, I realized how I've slacked on my mileage and on my diet.  We tried the Paleo lifestyle, but honestly with my two boys it's just not realistic for our family (which sounds like an excuse so take it how you wish), My body has never "worked" normally in regards to cleansing, so I'm curious to find out if they actually work, or will work for someone like me.  I'm not even sure if it's right for me, but I figure it's worth a try?


This rambling post basically comes down to the fact that I was struggling and this week is a new beginning for me!  I'm had one of those ah ha moments were I feel like I had let myself down.  I was on a roll last summer at this time, feeling good and running like crazy!  I find with my husband's schedule and this heat, it's very difficult to find time for LONG runs.  This week started a new journey for myself, thanks to Jess's weight loss challenge!  My husband and I tweaked our diet to what works for us and started committing to our workouts!  We all make mistakes and have times in our life where we allow the bad to come creeping back in!  Unfortunately.  I say this like I've gained weight, fallen off the wagon and started leading an UNhealthy lifestyle and that is, by no means what has happened.  I've simply slacked off a bit.  And I feel like being honest with all of you is what needs to be put out there.


Most importantly I want you all to understand that we're all only human and if you haven't made the commitment to yourself to start living healthy, that's ok. Today is a perfect day for change!  I will leave you with a quote from Jess's weight loss challenge!  I thought it was pretty perfect for a fresh start in all of our lives...


Friday, June 22, 2012

vacation eats: healthy or unhealthy?


It's a problem that many of us face, especially in the summer!  
Eating healthy while on vacation.
Is this a tough one for you and your family?  
My husband, boys and I usually prepare and eat pretty healthy while out of town and on vacation, but it does take some pre-planning and making sure you have enough good eats to keep you fueled while on the go!  

This will leave less room for giving into those indulgent, quick foods we see all too often while traveling...
yea, you know what I'm talking about!!

Since we decided to try out our new travel trailer this week, we didn't bring the healthiest of foods, but I still managed to eat small portions and keep my carb intake to a minimum, while getting in lots of fresh fruit but I'll admit we were lacking on the veggies this time around :(

What I did correctly was prepare several meals before the trip to heat up on the skillet while we were there!  I made an egg casserole with turkey sausage and eggs to serve on whole wheat tortillas!  Also a broccoli dish that I cooked, froze and thawed there too!  I don't think 2 meals were quite enough for these hungry boys, so next time I'll know better, but hey...you live and learn!  And simple, frozen grapes made the perfect, no-mess snack that kept us cooled off outdoors!  Brilliant!

 (my boys enjoying their very first camping trip this week)

As for me, our next camping trip we'll do more pre-planning 
and use the following tips to keep in mind while on vacation.  
Even if you aren't camping this summer, these are great tips to keep in mind for road trips or any type of family vacation...so, pack up and ENJOY!!!

 Pack apples, pears, grapes, pineapples and precut watermelon are easy to carry and provide quick, lasting energy. Nuts and fresh-cut vegetables like carrots or celery are also great trail snacks.


For a hot dinner, wrap seasoned veggies in foil and throw in the campfire. Sweet potatoes, squash and onions are easy to make and do not require refrigeration to stay fresh.


Pack energy bars wherever you go. Whether you are hiking, swimming, canoeing or lounging, energy bars provide a nutritious energy boost with no preparation. Look for brands with whole grains, raw nuts and low sugar content.


Keep an ice chest packed with water, frozen veggies and premade meals.




Today's Workout:
I'm on day 5 of Jess's challenge and feeling great!  I had felt awful for going three days(while camping) without workout out, so we came home today and I took off for a 4 miler at 2pm!  

First of all, NOT SMART!  
It was SO hot...too hot.  I felt awful out there and I had to keep stopping to drench my head and neck with water.  
I survived the run, but have learned my lesson.
I need to pay more attention to my body and to these Texas high-heat/humidity conditions before I really get hurt.  Trust me, it scared me enough to know better from here on out.  
My big mistake was running too far, to the point where I started feeling so bad, there was no turning back and I no choice but to keep running.  :(  I should be ashamed because I know better.




Monday, June 18, 2012

am I the last to know about it?

Thank you, Run with Jess 
for hosting this fabulous weight loss challenge!
I woke up this morning ready to go!  Headed out on the golf course for a great, breezy run at 6am!
I felt good, really good.  Considering I haven't really gone for a run in two weeks.   The heat has been insane, so I've kept it short and made up for it with my spin bike!  

Have you signed up yet?  There are lots of prizes up for grabs, so what are ya waiting for?
Maybe you wanna lose 26.2?  Maybe less, maybe more?  Doesn't matter, it's your challenge!


Ok, now I'm probably the only person on the planet that hasn't heard of this girl?
I actually "pinned" her transformation picture a few weeks ago, finally clicked on it to check it out this morning!  She eats clean, works out HARD and has this to be proud of,


WOW!!

Here's what's on her website, "Laura Must Lose Weight", 
2 years ago I was an unhealthy 195 pounds and 38% body fat due to unhealthy eating habits, yo-yo dieting, and a lack of exercise. I wasn’t happy with how I looked or felt. My clothes weren’t fitting, I had no energy, and I just wasn’t happy. When I stepped on the scale and saw 195 pounds, I knew I had to change something, I refused to be 200 pounds. I decided I needed to change my life style–I was done with the losing, gaining, and losing. I was going to get fit, and stay that way. No more yo-yo dieting, no low carb or starvation diets. I started eating healthy, started exercising more than 3 times a month, and documented it all on youtube.
Currently I am 145 pounds, 17% body fat, a runner, a marathoner, a lifting addict, an insanity addict, and a future figure competitor. I changed my life and got healthy, and am passionate about helping and inspiring others to do the same.
Twitter: @Lauralostweight –follow me!
BeachBody: LauraDens – Need a coach?
A few of my favorite quotes from her website,
- If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.
- progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
- today is your day. replace negative thoughts with positive ones. reaching your goals is a journey…enjoy the process.

I just love when I find motivation like this!  She's been there, in that dark place.  She knows the struggle, the fight and the determination it takes for success!  She did it and it's proof that YOU CAN TOO.  

It's never too late.  Start this challenge with Jess or start one of your very own, with your support system in place and your mind made up!  Go for it!  Do something crazy...sign up for your first race, set a weight loss goal, find some workout buddies and do something amazing for yourself and nobody else!

And as far as half marathon goals in my future...I'm considering THIS one,
It will take place December 9,2012 so I'll let you know if I commit to it!


Friday, June 15, 2012

MUCH to share!


Crunchy Cranberry-Almond Snack

2 1/2
cups Whole Grain Total® or Total® Cranberry Crunch cereal
1/2
cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/2
cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2
cup sliced almonds
1/3
cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed 
Mix ingredients and bake at 300 for 30 minutes!
**I am thinking this recipe could use some healthy tweaking to make it even better, like for cereal I'd use Uncle Sam's original for the added fiber and low sugar.  And instead of high-sugar apple juice, maybe honey but not sure if that texture would help it stick?  I'll have to experiment but these would be GREAT for a weekend trip to take on the go!
Or even a snack in the car on your way to work, run errands or dropping the kiddos off at school!  Mmm!






4
cups MultiGrain Cheerios® cereal
3
cups trail mix (seeds, nuts and dried fruits)
1/4
cup margarine or butter
1
cup packed brown sugar
2
tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2
cup light corn syrup

  • In 2-quart saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, flour and corn syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • 3 Pour mixture evenly over cereal mixture; toss to coat. Press mixture in pan. Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.
*For this one, I'd probably stick to the recipe but maybe substitute whole wheat flour.  
But won't these make a great camping snack?!  I could make a large serving and package them individually, so they would be a better alternative than the over-processed trail bars!

All of these recipes taken from eatbetteramerica.com



And why am I looking for great snack bar recipes? 
Because we are the proud owners of our very first travel trailer!  We are SO excited, we have been looking for months and decided on this one!  For one, it reminds us of a cabin, and the decor was SO us...looks like something you'd find in Bass Pro Shops, so we fell in love!  We picked it up from Holiday World of Houston yesterday!  The boys were SO excited and we were too!  It's a 2012, so they are trying to make room for the '13's and gave us a great deal!  


We are planning on camping in our driveway tonight-sounds silly, but ya know we gotta test it out! Then next week, our first, official trip...hope we survive!M
I'll allow my son to show it to ya...well, the couch!  I'll share more soon!
 And a PROUD side note:  Our son, pictured above has been running the golf course each evening!  I'm a little concerned that neighbors will begin to think we're doing this to him for torture, but HONESTLY he asks to do it every day!  He wants to ride the golf cart to the first hole, jumps off and starts to run...the other night, he ran 9 holes!  We are starting to think no matter how much we want a little baseball or football player, we might have a track star on our hands!  But we'll be proud no matter what, 
because he says he runs to be healthy...what Momma wouldn't be proud of that :-)


Today's Workout:   Today is H.O.T, muggy and gross!  BUT I went out there and got it done!  
2 mile run, 25 minute spin, and then 20 minutes of drills!  Here's an after workout pic, but I get really frustrated that my iPhone doesn't capture the yucky, sweaty mess I am after workouts...I promise it's BAD!  haha!


And now for a challenge that I'm excited about,


What is the Challenge?
The Marathon Weight Loss Challenge runs 13 weeks over the course of the summer. This time frame is simply MY goal, averaging 2 pounds a week in weight loss.  During this time frame, I will track participants' weight loss, offer tips, recipes, a weekly newsletter, mini challenges, success stories and prize giveaways!  You may have a goal larger or smaller than 26.2 pounds... and you may not even run. That's okay - you can still join for the motivation and prizes. The whole point of this challenge is to encourage one another and hold ourselves responsible in summer workouts and food choices. 

START - Officially Monday, June 18, 2012
You have my permission to start as soon as you sign up!
FINISH & CELEBRATE - Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

How do I participate?
Sign up HERE. Registration will close on June 25. The official weigh-in day is every MONDAY.  Why Mondays? I find it helps to keep me more accountable over the weekend knowing that I have to face the scale on Monday.  Report back your weigh-in to me before midnight each Monday. I will keep a spreadsheet of every participant's progress.  I will never share your weight with anyone, although I may share success stories like "Carly lost 3.5% this week!"  I also suggest posting comments and pictures on my FB page throughout the contest to encourage one another - specifically me! 

How do I win Prizes?!
Throughout the challenge, I will be drawing randomly for prizes... some big, some small, but all targeted at helping you on your weight loss journey.  Each week that you report back your weigh-in, you will earn an entry into the prize pool. You can also score entries by sharing photos and recipes. Only active challenge contestants are eligible for prizes.  If you miss 3 or more weigh-in dates, I will assume you are no longer participating, remove you from the list and you'll no longer be in the prize pool. There is absolutely no benefit to cheating your weigh-in as prizes are not awarded on results, but rather weekly consistency. The only one to cheat is yourself...
  • 1 entry - Report back your weigh-in to Jess (before midnight every Monday)
  • 1 entry - Share a photo on my FB page here - anything related to your weight loss journey. (max 1 photo entry each week)
  • 1 entry - Share a healthy recipe with photo. Email it to me and I will share them all in one weekly blog post. (max 1 recipe entry each week)
  • At the end of the 13 week challenge, there will be a special recognition/prize for anyone who achieves a loss of 26.2 or greater!  I dare you to LOSE a Marathon!
That's a maximum of 3 entries every week in the prize pool!

For more info, check out her website here.  and don't forget to grab a button too!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

great workouts...how about you?

I have been receiving some exciting workout information that I wanted to share with you...

First up is this Hoopnotica hula-hoop workout:

A longtime favorite workout of celebrities like Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Selena Gomez, Hoopnotica is rapidly becoming accessible to the masses. The Venice, CA company that sparked the growing hula-hoop fitness phenomenon, celebrated for being as fun as it is effective, has launched a widespread expansion of its industry-leading Teacher Training Program. Now in its seventh year and facing a soaring demand for certified instructors, the program is on pace to triple the number of trainings it offers across North America and Europe.

Why All the Fuss?

A new take on an old classic, the Hoopnotica hoop has emerged as a dynamic and wildly effective fitness tool. Last year the American Council on Exercise (ACE) released a study indicating that hooping at the waist burns 400 to 600 calories an hour – on par with cardio kickboxing, but inarguably more fun. In addition to its outstanding cardio benefits, hooping has been shown provide full-body toning and strengthening. Hoopnotica’s Teacher Trainings are certified by both ACE and AAFA.

Already at a Studio Near You.

Over six hundred Hoopnotica certified instructors are now actively teaching in studios and gyms in 37 states and every major city in the United States, and 15 countries worldwide. Trainings over the past year alone have been hosted in Denmark, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Bali, and Canada, with more domestic and international dates added weekly.

A Hoopnotica Workout for Every Body.

Hoopnotica HoopDance, the company’s flagship curriculum, teaches students to gracefully move the hoop in ways that challenge the body but soothe the mind, much like practicing yoga. HoopnoticaFit is the newest program, and features a high-energy but fully customizable non-impact cardio workout designed to be effective and accessible for all levels. Introduced in January, HoopnoticaFit already has two hundred certified instructors in four countries.




And how about good 'ol jumping rope to get a good calorie-burn?

Introducing "Ultimate Jump Rope Workouts," a fitness guide featuring short, intense programs to reshape your body and raise your fitness level. And all you need is a rope and a 4x8-foot space.

These easy-to-follow jump rope routines will have you burning fat and building endurance while additional exercises will strengthen your upper body, lower body and core.

Until I am able to review these workouts, I have been hosting my very own boot camp in my back yard!  LOL!  
That means it's just ME, my spin bike and some free weights!  I spin, jump off and then do 1-minute drills in my grass!  Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get a great workout!  
That means there's NO excuses when it comes to fitness and keeping yourself healthy, I don't have a fancy gym, but I sure use what I've got and by the end, I'm drenched in sweat!  Ahhh!  

*Also, on my Pinterest boards I pin lots of quick and easy workouts from my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, so check those out too!  They are great for last-minute workouts that make ya sweat!

What types of great workouts are you loving these days??


Would you try Hoopnotica or Ultimate Jump Roping?


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kids Live Well program

On our way back into town the other day, the boys were hungry and my husband and I were in desperate need of a strong cup of coffee, so we headed to Denny's!  
Don't judge, we were out in the middle of nowhere so we were lucky to find ANYTHING!  
We hadn't been there in YEARS so I examined the menu and found this,


I was able to get the boys silver dollar pancakes, sugar free syrup, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs...considering the other options were chocolate chip and raspberry drizzled pancakes, sausage and a 3,000 calorie omelet, I think we did pretty good!  Ha!

I took a picture of this logo with my phone because I wanted to learn more about this program and here's what I found, 

There are over 25,000 restaurants nationwide that participate in this program, trying to keep restaurants offering healthy options, especially for children!  


To find a list of the participating restaurants, click here.


From their website:
"The National Restaurant Association launched the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children select healthful menu options when dining out. Restaurants that participate in the voluntary program commit to offering healthful meal items for children, with a particular focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.
The Kids LiveWell program benefits both restaurateurs and guests. Participating restaurants get third-party verification and promotional materials for qualified meals and individual menu items. Parents and caretakers get accurate information to help them make informed decisions about their child's meal."

With help from the Healthy Dining Finder, parents are able to use the smartphone mobile app to find healthy options while on the go!  
Although eating at home is the best option, sometimes that isn't always easy, so to know that restaurants TRY to serve menu options that are somewhat nutritional is a little more settling in a world full of super-sized, high fat menu items!  



Have you heard of this program?
I must say I was fairly impressed with the menu selections and descriptions of calories and fat content in these items.  It helped me, as a Mom, make a healthier choice for my children although dining out is still higher fat and calories that when I prepare a delicious meal at home.  



Are there any other programs like this that you've seen in your area?
I'd love to know about them.  I am always in search of finding the latest and greatest when it comes to preventing childhood obesity, and I think in some way, this is helping Americans become more aware, which is a small step in the right direction!




Today's Workout:  For the past 2 days, I've settled for a nice, spin workout on my back porch!  Although the temps are getting outta control around here, it feels pretty nice to get in the zone and break a sweat to start the day off right!  
I've come to the conclusion that a great song combined with a great spin workout makes for a fabulous calorie burn!  Yesterday, after 43minutes, I was drenched and feeling SO good!  I was in that zone where nothing could get in my way...ya know that feeling, right?  If you don't, you MUST find a workout ASAP that gives you that workout high!  Right?  RIGHT!




  



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oh yea, it's a great tank!

When Lucy activewear contacted me about reviewing a tank from their new, "I Believe In Sweat" line, I looked forward to trying this product especially since our temps have already reached the 90's around here, because I need a product that will breathe and keep me dry and comfortable during my workouts!
Why sweat your run? Believe in it.

The I Believe In Sweat Collection, with breathable burnout mesh, keeps you cool you and dry no matter how brutal the hot summer sun.

Made of a soft knit that feels like a whisper against your skin has no side seams for minimal-to-zero chafing. Reflective taping keeps you safe in low light. Perfect for any hot weather run or workout.

Wear it. Test It. Believe in It.

The tank arrived, like the one pictured below, and I was more than impressed by the fabric!  I decided to test it out right away, threw it on and headed out the door for a run!  
Wow.  
Yep, that's the only words that I have for this tank!  
We all know that I sweat...probably more than normal, 
so if this tank works for me, 
it'll work for any woman!  
It was very comfortable, and it fit in all the right places!  Most of the time I struggle in my chest area, but this fit perfectly!  It looked cute with my compression shorts and by the end of my run, 
I was not a sweaty mess...it felt like it was drying immediately!  
I loved the fabric, very lightweight.  Perfect for both indoor and outdoor workouts!  




As for us, we took a last minute trip to Jellystone Park!
...and as you can see, we had a great time!  We made a few trips last year, and enjoyed it so much that we had to go back!  Unfortunately that meant we missed out on June 6th, National Running Day so we made up for it this morning with a great 5 mile run!  The 6th was the sign up for the Houston Marathon and we decided to try something new and different this year...so, while it was sad knowing we won't be attending Houston as half marathoners again, we WILL find a race very soon where we can put our running skills to the test!  We like to keep ourselves motivated throughout the year, so our mission is to find a race soon!  
Any advice on some great Texas half marathons?
What keeps you motivated throughout the year?
Did you race or run on the 6th to celebrate National Running Day?

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