Meet Dixie

It’s been quite a while, 5 years to be exact since we’ve had a puppy. Anyone who has had a puppy knows what I’m talking about…potty training, a couple wake up calls during the night and the 5 am “I’m awake, let’s play!” 
Call us crazy, but in June we added another member to our family! Please meet our new puppy, Dixie! She is  an 18 week old German Shorthair Pointer! Here are some high points about her: 
-She fits in perfect with our crew…our two other German shorthairs Leroy 8, Cooper 5 and Steve our cat and of course our 3.5 year old toddler, Addison. They love playing and running around in the backyard. 
-She LOVES terrorizing Steve! We think Steve secretly loves playing with her because there are so many opportunities for Steve to escape to a place out of Dixies reach, but instead, he sticks around so Dixie can attack him and he can throw in some punches. He bats and hisses at her but she doesn’t mind.
This may not be a fitness post per say, but I wanted to share my new addition to our family. She has been going on walks and runs (a way to get that energy out. Anyone who owns a German Shirthair, knows how energetic these dogs are).  By mid October she should be good to go hunting! She’s a great fit and so happy she is with our family!

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Advertisements

The Day I Broke up with BeachBody Coaching

Breaking up is hard to do, but on June 27, 2017 I made a decision I didn’t want to make, but was long overdue.  I realized that I wasn’t putting in the effort required to take advantage of the opportunities BeachBody provides, so  I made my final decision on that day, and…we are now broken up.

When I decided to start my BeachBody career in 2011 it was with the enthusiasm of a new convert because BeachBody had changed my life.  I was excited to help the whole world lose weight, gain muscle and most importantly, just be healthy like I had learned to do.  I was ready to be a cheerleader, helper and supporter for life!

BeachBody was going great, but when I had my daughter in October 2013, I just lost all motivation to continue recruiting people.  I regularly tried to re-motivate myself, but it just didn’t work.  As I continued to struggle and ultimately quit trying, I realized I wasn’t willing to saturate social media with the same gimmicky and repetitive posts the successful coaches were living on.  Here is what I noticed needed to be done:

-Post on social media post workout sweaty pictures/videos.  Why can’t it be like the “olden” days when people just did their workout and moved on with their day?  I will admit, I have posted some sweaty pics on my IG page, but I tried my best to hide my mismatch workout attire and messy hair. I don’t even look “cute” when I wake up, why would I want to document it when I look like even more of a hot mess?  Does that make someone want to workout?  Maybe.

-Drink shakeology daily and post outstanding results at the same rate. I was never able to make shakeology a habit, but not sure why.  Maybe because my lifestyle isn’t rushed I don’t need a balanced shake to drink on the go when I can get the same nutrition from eating fresh balanced meals. I drank it once in a while and would try the new flavors (by the way, there are TWO NEW flavors available now: vegan chocolate and vanilla), but never noticed a spike of vitality after pounding a shake, even when I did drink it regularly.

There are other diffences between when I was a DVD thumping convert and my current state of apathy, like:

-Way more workouts and nit just P90X and Insanity (plus some others but those were the main cardio and weight workout at the time)

All Access Workouts or BOD (beachbody on demand)-stream your workouts anywhere from your phone, tablet, iPad or laptop even if you’re in a hotel or at the beach.

-challenge packs (add link) you purchase a workout (on DVD) or all chess and get shakeology along with it  much cheaper than separate purchases

Not to fear regular reader, I will still be here writing about my workouts, healthy food, and  any other health and fitness topics as they tickle my fancy, but no more BeachBody pushing.  I will also write about other happenings in my life (like a new puppy), but that’s a different post!

image

They’re Watching us…

They’re watching us…

As a parent, I feel strongly that living a healthy lifestyle is the best gift I can give my daughter. Lifetime benefits aside, working out regularly and eating healthy allows me to enjoy the little things like running around with her in the yard and carrying her when she gets tired on a walk. These little perks of being healthy make me happy, but another benefit is that she is learning what it means to be healthy without any pressure from me. It is becoming clear that, after being my workout buddy for almost 3.5 years (sorry Steve, you have been replaced), she is learning that working out is a normal part of everyday life, and she imitates my workout routine right down to the small details.

Before I press play on my all-access pass, I put on a long sleeved shirt (just until I warm up since I’m ALWAYS cold), so she puts on her fleece. I put my hair up in a ponytail, so she puts her hair up in a ponytail and sets her water bottle next to mine. She always join me for the warmup routine with me with some rather creative jumping jacks and stretching. After the warm up, sometimes she gets bored and scampers off to do her own thing, but sometimes she attempts a full workout.

Last week I caught her doing her version of pushups, which were definitely not up to military standard, but she was having fun. It makes me happy when I catch her randomly doing yoga, squats/lunges, or making her own weights out of foam blocks.

Hopefully being exposed to fun workouts at a young age means that working out will become a normal part of her life, but, for the moment I am enjoying every part of our daily workout routine.

Do your kids workout with you?

Thug Kitchen Cookbook Review

The best &$(%&# cookbook in the *%&#)$ #&%)#*&$ world!

Please excuse the profanity, but in this case I feel it is appropriate to describe my new favorite cookbooks. If the profanity didn’t give it away, I am talking about the Thug Kitchen series of cookbooks. At best I am a reluctant cook, forced into duty by my family, making basic meals commonly found in 1950 kitchens. For a number of reasons (there are some very compelling reasons that I won’t get into here, just google it), we have been trying to cut out meat for about half our dinners. Reducing meat consumption sounds easy, but it’s definitely not just not omitting the meat portion of the meal and serving as usual, but substituting alternate protein sources in place of the meat.

When it comes to these vegetarian meals I started out with a standard repertoire meals: stir fry related (mixed sautéed veggies over rice/quinoa/potatoes), burrito related (this can be anything wrapped in a tortilla), and omelets. Searching the internet for inspiration generally left me feeling inadequate; most of the recipes I found were complicated and had hard to find ingredients. But, the internet came through in the end and I saw the Thug Kitchen series mentioned on a fitness trainers fb page I frequent. The premise sounded intriguing, but to avoid jumping in and buying them outright, I cheated and checked them out of the library to make sure they would work for my family and cooking style.

The books are called Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F$@k; TK-Party Grub and TK 101-Fast as F&-K. As you can tell by the F bomb blurred out in the title, these books have a lot of swearing (I mean a lot, like every third word) so if you are cooking with children who can read, probably not the best source for vegan recipes.

Another nice part of each of the books is the “how to” aspect, they discuss how to cook basic beans, rice, quinoa, millet, barley separately from the recipes that use each grain. There are recipes for drinks, breakfast, appetizers, soups, main meals and of course dessert! The recipes are easy to follow, and even somebody with marginal kitchen skills can make a presentable and tasty vegan meal (I can say that because that is me). What I love is even though some recipes have a lot of ingredients and take some time, almost all the ingredients can be found at our normal grocery store. So far, I have only had to go to Whole Foods for two ingredients, and that’s over the course of making at least a dozen meals.

Besides trying to avoid meat, we are also trying to avoid fake food (like margarine, fake cheese etc.), and these books are great for that too. Since vegans don’t eat real cheese, I was wondering how they would deal with the missing dairy products. I am happy to report that they don’t use that weird fake cheese, but nutritional yeast (which I had never heard of), but have since learned has a ton of nutritional value (Google for more info). Most of the egg recipes substitute olive or grape seed oil for eggs, and there’s even a recipe for whipped cream which uses coconut milk. One substitution I haven’t made yet is using non-dairy milk (like almond) since we always have cow’s milk on hand. The recipes substituting cow’s milk for almond have turned out fine.

Did I mention the swearing? Well, the swearing combined with a spunky, yet helpful writing style makes this the first cookbook I have ever read from beginning to end. When choosing a recipe, or putting the book away, I catch myself reading the next page, either because the picture of a yummy new dish catches my eye, or the swearing looks extra intense….
After multiple renewals from the library, my husband the hunter/fisherman and all around carnivore bought all three books for me as a Christmas present, which I consider a pretty good endorsement.

In summary, just because I can’t choose a favorite, all three books are highly recommended as an addition to any cookbook library!

imageimageimageimageimageimage

All Access Pass

What if I told you that you could have access to EVERY SINGLE BeachBody program ever created? Probably you would laugh, snort empahtically and mutter something about “next time I win the lottery”. Up until recently, I would totally agree, after all, it has taken me years, and I don’t know how much money to fill a shelf on our DVD rack with just a small portion of the BeachBody workouts. But, something magical happened, and BeachBody has decided to offer streaming access to their workouts. If access to your workout from anywhere isn’t good enough, they took it a step further and opened up streaming access every workout ever published! Wow!
This wonderful new program is called the All Access Pass and includes my old favorites like P90X, Insanity: Max 30, Piyo, Body Beast, Country Heat as well as ones I would like to try like Chalene Extreme and TurboJam.  All Access also includes the just released Core de Force (a mixed martial arts that uses no equipment) and other new release workouts!
At this point, I bet you are still standing by the “win the lottery” comment because access to all workouts sounds really expensive and only really there for the upper 1%, but the best part is one year of access to the All Access Pass is only $100 for a whole year! Plus, add a month of shakeology, and it is just $199!
No lottery winning required!

A quick breakdown of the math shows that by a (cough *conservative*) average, I buy two workouts per year, totaling well over $100. So subscribing to All Access will simultaneously allow me to spend less money, access more workouts, and keep my workouts fresh. Plus having a DVD rack is so 2000’s…..what’s not to like?
Hit me up if you have any questions about the service, how it works or how to get the most out of your subscription!image

Dehydrator Review

Rewind a year to a summer with no fruit on any local trees and boy were we annoyed. A fancy new dehydrator sitting there, and paying $5/pound for organic apples at Whole Foods in order to give it a test drive. This year is quite the opposite in terms of fruit; more free, organic fruit than we can possibly pick, so our dehydrator that runs every few days. Mainly we have been dehydrating apples, which are very easy and turn out to be a great snack, for both big and small people.
They are so easy, there really isn’t a recipe, but two tricks we have learned are to make sure the apples are cut a consistent thickness and soak them in a lemon juice/water mix to avoid having them turn brown. To make sure the slices are all the same thickness we have been peeling them (I know peels are healthy, but they don’t dry consistently along the skin if they aren’t peeled. Plus we compost the peels!). After peeling, use a coring tool that cuts the core out of the apple, leaving cylindrical core. Then slice the apples about 1/8″ thick perpendicular to the core, leaving an “O” shaped slice. Dunking them in lemon juice/water is pretty self-explanatory, not even sure how much juice to water to use, but a couple glugs of juice per medium sized bowl seems to work well. No matter how hard I try to keep the slices the same thickness, they are always dry at slightly different rates, so check them periodically and remove the dry slices before they get crispy. I think these apples taste as good as the store-bought variety, but I know where they came from, and the price is right too!
Once dry, keep the bulk of the dried fruit in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life. This simple workflow applies to most fruits, just ask Google whether the lemon juice bath is necessary.
Another fun (or boring depending on age) product that can be easily produced in a dehydrator is fruit leather. It involves a bit more work, as it requires making applesauce from the apples, then drying. It is another tasty, healthy snack, but is also the subject of another blog post.

22 Minute Hard Corps Equipment

A few people have recently asked me what equipment I use for 22 Minute Hard Corps, and the other home workouts I enjoy so much. I have to say the minimal equipment requirements are one of the reasons I really enjoy working out at home; keeping it simple and free from complex machines, GPS input and other technology I don’t get along with takes stress out of working out. With that said, here is a list of all the workout equipment I own: weights, a sandbag, a pull up bar/resistance band, and a jump mat. Other important items are a towel and water.

Weights-I prefer dumbbell style weights in XX pounds per dumbbell. They are versatile and can be used as a substitute for the sandbag if you don’t own one or don’t want to use one. I prefer weights since there are a few moves where sandbag would be a little more difficult to use, but it is just a personal preference. Plus, with dumbbells, as each phase goes on, it’s easier to adjust the weight to keep my reps where they should be.

Sandbag-sandbags aren’t required, but they do make for a bit more dynamic workout with the swinging involved. The advantage is that it is easy (and cheap) to adjust the weight with changes in strength, goals or fitness. For those of us in colder climates, the sand can be used for adding grip to walkways in the winter when strength workouts get fewer and farther in between. Sandbags can be bought at any sporting goods store, Walmart, Target, teambeachbody, Amazon etc.

Jump mat-not a lot of people know what a jump mat is used for, or for that matter what it is. My husband gave me a quizzical look when trying to explain it to him. It is simply a good way to add a little bit of extra shock absorption while doing plyometric workouts. Since I work out in our living room, which is carpeted, I don’t feel the need to use mine on a regular basis, but if I worked out on hardwood or concrete, it would be a lifesaver. I suppose in a pinch, a yoga mat would be a reasonable substitute for a jump mat. But be sure not to confuse the two!

Pull up bar-pull ups are not one of my favorite workouts, so losing and/or breaking my pullup bar has crossed my mind more than a couple times. Maybe that’s why I like my lightweight, pullup bar that over a doorway since its small enough that I could easily “misplace” it. Unfortunately, even if I “lose” it, a resistance band will work just as well. Since the only way to get better at pullups is being able to complete the full range of motion, I used a chair, or pull up assist works quite nicely until I was able to do a couple pullups all by myself.

Resistance bands- can be used in place of most of the equipment I listed above, seems like every video has someone showing how to substitute a resistance band for most workouts. Just be careful to properly secure the end to avoid any painful snap back (don’t ask how I found this out….).

Hope you found this to be helpful. And one more thing…a towel to wipe off the sweat and don’t forget to drink your water, that’s the most important one!