Challenges Complete

Abs

I am happy ecstatic to report that today is my last day for the 30 Day Ab Challenge and the 30 Day Squat Challenge.  This is my second time around with both.   And I feel exuberant having completed them together.

My abs certainly don’t look like the photo (neither do my thighs, for that matter – but my ass is lookin’ pretty fine!) and that is something that I accepted upon starting the Challenges again.  They’re exercises, not magic.  But, that being said, my tummy seems smaller and my thighs are definitely stronger (which I really noticed in Barre class last week).  I feel proud.

I hope everyone who started these Challenges stuck with it.  Who’s with me for the October Push Up Challenge?

~Fit Bitch

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I love pumpkin.  I love September and October because all the little cafes and coffee shops come out with pumpkin flavored everything.  (Thankfully the closest Starbucks and Second Cup are both more than an hour away in another city otherwise I’d be poor and on a sugar high all the time.)   And because I love trying out new things I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin puree lately.

A few weeks ago I made vegan pumpkin ice cream.  I used the Healthy Vegan Ice Cream recipe from back in June and mixed in some pumpkin puree.  I also added pumpkin pie spice which may make it less vegan but it was delish so I’m not even sorry a little bit. 😉

This morning I decided to forego my eggs and make a pumpkin pie smoothie.

Because I have a long day ahead of me (work, gym then 2 fitness classes) I added a scoop of protein powder.  If you make this recipe you can choose to use the protein or not.

– One cup of milk of choice (I used almond milk)

– 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (not pie filling*)

– 1-2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) OR half a banana (I use these for consistency as I like a thick smoothie.  Normally I use the banana but today I used the yogurt)

– 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

(*if you choose to use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree, simply omit the pumpkin pie spice.  Also, the filling will likely make your smoothie less skinny.)

Put all ingredients in a blender.  Enjoy.pumpkin-pie-smoothie

 

 

30 Day Beginners’ Push Up Challenge

One thing I’ve never been very good at is push ups.  I don’t have a lot of upper body strength.  I never have.  In fact, my upper body strength sucks so much that when I was in the 3rd grade I was climbing trees with my brother and his friend and couldn’t hold myself up too long.  I fell 15-20 feet from the tree, landing on my tailbone, breaking it.  Needless to say, I’ve always wanted to improve this strength.

I’ve lifted weights for years and I’ve attempted as many push ups as possible.  And for a while I was able to do quite a few (for me).  But, I’m hoping with this Beginners’ Challenge I can improve (and continue to improve) the strength in my upper body and my ability to rock some push ups.

Since I am (thank GOD!!) on the last week of the 30 Day Abs Challenge and the 30 Day Squat Challenge I am going to begin the Push Ups Challenge on October 1st.  I am looking forward to it and I am looking forward to reporting my progress once complete.  Wish me luck.  (And I hope you join me.)

I'm not sure why this person is exercising naked but you do you and I'ma do me.

I’m not sure why this person is exercising naked but you do you and I’ma do me.

~Fit Bitch

 

Love Thyself

My cousin had this posted on her Facebook the other day and it resonated with me….as I’m sure it resonates with many…even some of you.

Love Thyself

It’s unfortunate how much time so many of us spend loathing our bodies.  Self acceptance is the first step in loving yourself. Realizing that your own (self) worth DOES NOT come from acceptance of someone else will change your life and your outlook.  Striving to be perfect will kill you.   Striving to better your health or your life is a better goal.  You’re already pretty great the way you are.   Once you believe that, others will too.

Love to all my Fit Bitches.

~Fit Bitch

Homemade Raw Energy Bites

I am a chocoholic.  I admit it.  12 step program required.

But nearly a month ago I began the 21 Day Challenge and had to give up chocolate cold-turkey.  And I haven’t bothered picking up my habit again because I’ve been doing so well without it.

Lately, however, I’ve been craving some sweetness so today I came home from work and made some Raw Energy Bites.  These are like little healthy cookies and they are so delicious.  And healthy.  And Easy.  And delicious.  🙂

The base of these Bites are sugar and gluten free.  Here’s what you need*:

*I use a small food processor so I make several small batches.  Recipe below is for 1 small batch

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I use all natural peanut butter.  You can also sub another nut butter of your choice if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted nuts (Today I used hazelnuts, but I’ve used peanuts and almonds in the past)
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (to taste)
  • optional*: chocolate or carob chips, either before or after blending (or both!), flax seed, coconut, cinnamon

* Because I made several batches today I used different ingredients for the optional; the first batch I used carob chips.  The second batch I used flax seed and unsweetened shredded coconut, etc.  You can add in berries or roll the bites in ground cinnamon or ground nuts.  Whatever you like.

{I heat the raisins in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.  This is not mandatory but I threw the raisins into the processor once without warming them and broke the processor.  I also ground a larger amount of nuts at one time and just added them into the recipe as I went.}

To Make: Throw everything into a food processor and combine until very smooth. Roll into balls, cookies, or bars.  Keep refrigerated.

IMG01467-20130912-1613

Keep them at your desk or serve 'em up to friends

Keep them at your desk or serve ’em up to friends

Enjoy.

~Fit Bitch

The Truth About Carbs

Good-Carbs-vs-Bad-Carb

The last decade has promoted carbs (carbohydrates) as an evil in diets and healthy eating.  But most people are misinformed and tout the bad about carbs and staving off them.  The truth of the matter is we need carbs.  We simply need to distinguish between good and bad carbs.   Good Carbs are full of fiber. These carbs that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.  Fiber slows down the absorption of other nutrients eaten at the same meal, including carbohydrates.

  • This slowing down may help prevent peaks and valleys in your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Certain types of fiber found in oats, beans, and some fruits can also help lower blood cholesterol.
  • As an added plus, fiber helps people feel full, adding to satiety.

To get more fibre we need to (a) eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will get you to about 10 or more grams of fiber, depending on your choices; (b) include some beans and bean products in your diet. A half-cup of cooked beans will add from 4 to 8 grams of fiber to your day; (c) switch to whole grains every single possible way (buns, rolls, bread, tortillas, pasta, crackers, etc.).   To minimize the health risk of bad carbs we need to eat fewer refined and processed carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fiber. Examples: white bread and white rice.  The problem is that the typical North American diet is anything but high in fiber.  “White” grain has become our way of life (because it’s easy and less expensive): we eat a muffin or bagel made with white flour in the morning, have our hamburger on a white bun, and then have white rice with our dinner.  In general, the more refined, or “whiter,” the grain-based food, the lower the fiber.

  • To nix the bad carbs we need to avoid: Sugars; “added” sugars {sugars, syrups and sweeteners that are added to foods at the table or during processing or preparation – such as high fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages and baked products – that supply calories but few or no nutrients}; refined “white” grains.  We are eating more sugar than ever before. In fact, the average adult takes in about 20 teaspoons of added sugar every day.  That’s about 320 calories, which can quickly add up to extra pounds. Many adults simply don’t realize how much added sugar is in their diets.  Sugars and refined grains and starches supply quick energy to the body in the form of glucose. That’s a good thing if your body needs quick energy, for example if you’re running a race or competing in sports.

The better carbs for most people are unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods that contain natural sugars, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk.  (Be cautious of snacks that tote low cal or low fat, like rice cakes – they also have very little fiber and very little protein.  Without protein, fat or fiber, these carbs are easily digested and  converted to blood glucose very quickly.)

CARBS

So, the truth of the matter, as most experts agree, is that for good health you need a healthy, balanced diet that includes carbs—at least a third of daily calories should come from carbohydrates.  To distinguish between good and bad carbs keep these tips in mind:

  • Skip refined and processed foods altogether
  • Read the label to see if there is added sugar. Be wary of the “-oses” like high fructose corn syrup
  • Choose whole grains (oats, some cereals, rye, millet, quinoa, whole grain and brown rice), beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables
  • Try to have 40% of your total caloric intake come from complex carbohydrates
  • Avoid the lure of low-fat foods, which contain a sizable amount of calories from sugar
  • Avoid the lure of low-carb foods, which sometimes have more calories from fat

The best carbs come from plants:

  • Fresh fruit, ideally those with a low glycemic Index like apricots, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Whole grains and foods made from whole grains, such as certain types of bread and cereal
  • Nuts
  • Legumes

As well as dairy products that are not sweetened with sugar, such as yogurt, sour cream, cheese and milk.

The worst offenders:

  • Refined grains like white bread, white rice and enriched pasta (or anything enriched)
  • Processed foods such as cake, candy cookies and chips
  • White potatoes
  • Sweetened soft drinks
  • Sugar

Carbs Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make good choices. 🙂

~Fit Bitch

AquaCycle (AquaSpin)

I really want to try this.

I saw this article this morning and it looks like so much fun.  http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2013/09/06/class-action-aquacycling-at-aqua-studio/# . Has anyone tried it?

Aquacycling at Aqua Studio

Aquacycling at Aqua Studio

It looks like such a fun workout.

~Fit Bitch

Inspiration

I am always on the lookout for inspiration; whether it be in my personal life, my job, or my health – and within the fitness community.  And I have found fitness inspiration in the strangest place…Big Brother.

I am a huge Big Brother geek – since Season One (yes, the season most people choose to forget) and this year I was introduced to Elissa (Reilly) Slater.  Elissa, aside from being the sister of a Big Brother winner, Rachel Reilly, is a nutritionist and Yoga goddess.

Elissa Stars

This woman did yoga constantly in the Big Brother house, and now, since her eviction this past Thursday night, I assume in the Jury house as well.  She practiced wherever and whenever she could and I loved watching her.  She gave me some yoga goals to strive for.

I doubt I will ever be that bendy

I doubt I will ever be that bendy

She has a cute little website – Elissercise – and there’s a short little clip on YouTube of some of her yoga moves:

And living with a bunch of psychotics for 2 months, I’m sure the yoga helped Elissa to maintain her zen (Lord knows I would have smacked a bitch in that house!).  From what I’ve seen (from the show) Elissa comes across as a good person and the calming of yoga probably keeps her cool and collected.  She never raised her voice to others, she never joined in the trash or hate talk.  I was inspired by her yoga addiction and also by her inner strength, peace and beauty.  (I’m also extremely envious of her back and arms.)

elissa10Namaste, Elissa.

~Fit Bitch

PS Where does your inspiration come from?

 

I Want to Run like Phoebe

Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel went running with Phoebe and then was completely mortified because Phoebe ran like a Muppet off its Ritalin?

I love that episode.  I especially love that Phoebe is completely right.  I feel so exhilarated when I run that I often just want to take off like a bat out of Hell and bust my moves all over the place.

Last night I was at the gym and went for a 25 minute run to start.  It felt great.  It was nearly a week since my last run and I was determined to get it done.  Twenty-five minutes is all I could handle as the gym was 26 degrees (c) (which is about 78 degrees (F) – which means it was grossly hot and humid and a girl can only take so much.

I was at the gym for about 80 minutes in total and got in cardio and tons of strength – abs, legs, arms, back.   I started the 30 Day Abs Challenge and the 30 Day Squat Challenge again this month so I made sure to incorporate those exercises into the routine as well.  All in all it was a great night for exercise (which was only cut short by a visit from my dad) and I’m excited to get back there again tonight for a pre-workout before my Zumba class.

Since it’s the start of the month and Monday was a holiday, Zumba is my only class this week.  However, Barre Strength begins Monday night, followed by Yoga and Thursday night will be back to the regular routine of Zumba and Yoga.  And I’m looking into taking some kickboxing classes with my sister-in-law (who’s been after me to come to a class with her for years now).  My brother was a boxer when we were teenagers and I used to box and kick box with his boxing bag and gloves back then, but a serious kickboxing class is something I’ve yet to attempt.  Hopefully I can get to one class for the experience and then make the judgement as to whether I want to fork over the money and commit to another class.  I’m not opposed to joining more classes, I just want to be sure that it’s a class I really enjoy.  Right now, I’d like to get into another cardio class (so kickboxing might be for me) and more into yoga.

Happy September!

~Fit Bitch