Planks and Tanks 30 day Workout

Hi Guys,  for the boot camp class I teach we are starting a May challenge.  I chose to call it Planks and Tanks.  Kinda catchy huh.  Not Army tanks, but tank top arms.  Summer is right around the corners and some of my participants have upcoming trips to Hawaii and other fun vacations planned.  So we are going to be focusing on upper body and core.  We will still be doing our total body workouts each day but we will be adding in this fun challenge.  In this challenge I am trying to avoid the challenge where you hold plank for a certain amount of time.  I am focusing on more variety and incorporating upper body strength as well.  The goal is to try to increase time toward the end of the challenge and most importantly to push yourself.

A few notes on proper form.  I see a lot of people in my classes who do not have the proper form when doing plank and other exercises.

Here are a few tips for great form when doing planks:

  1. Keep your body in one straight line.  Your body should be aligned straight with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles all in the same plane of your body.
  2. Tighten your midsection.  Imagine a wet towel and you are wringing out water.
  3. Don’t let your hips sag and your butt lift up into the air.  Keep your core tight.
  4. Make sure your elbows are positioned directly under your shoulders, look down at the floor, and keep your fingers spread wide.
  5. If you cannot perform planks or push ups with proper form for the amount of time suggested feel free to modify by coming to your knees if needed or doing wall push ups.

There are several videos out there on YouTube if you still need to work on that perfect form.

  • Day 1        Low Forearm Plank
  • Day 2        Side Plank (do both sides)
  • Day 3        Push Ups
  • Day 4        Extended Arm Plank
  • Day 5        Reverse Plank
  • Day 6        Plank Up Downs
  • Day 7        Tricep Dips
  • Day 8        Plank Shoulder Taps
  • Day 9        Low Forearm Plank with a Hip Dip Each Side
  • Day 10       Tricep Push Ups
  • Day 11        Spider Plank (plank with a knee to outer elbow each side)
  • Day 12        Plank Jacks
  • Day 13        Wide Push Ups
  • Day 14        Side Plank with added leg lift (both sides)
  • Day 15        Plank Hops
  • Day 16        Power Push Ups
  • Day 17        Extended Arm Plank Hold
  • Day 18        Forearm Plank Hold
  • Day 19        Push up and rotate to side plank (each side)
  • Day 20       Reverse Plank
  • Day 21        Plank Up Downs
  • Day 22        Tricep Dips
  • Day 23        Plank Reach (extend opposite arm and opposite leg)
  • Day 24        Low Forearm Plank with a Hip Dip Each Side
  • Day 25       1 Push Up 2 Plank Jacks (45 Seconds)
  • Day 26       Spider Plank
  • Day 27       Power Push Up (narrow and wide)
  • Day 28        Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow
  • Day 29       Forearm Plank Hold
  • Day 30       Extended Arm Plank Hold

For the first 10 days you will perform each exercise for 30 seconds.  For the next 10 days 45 seconds and the final 10 days 1 minute.  Depending on your fitness level you may want to increase or decrease your time.  Be sure to challenge yourself.  Remember CHALLENGE BECOMES CHANGE!

Plank and Tank
Planks and Tanks Challenge

How to sleep better: My tips and tricks

happy birthday to you

Can we talk about sleep for a minute?  I have been really struggling for the past month or so with my sleep.  March was a rough month.  There were nights when I was barely getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night.  This is not healthy for anyone especially if you have a past history of seizures.  I tried taking some natural treatment like calms forte and melatonin, but these did not work for me.  So I had to resort to a sleeping aid to get my body back on track (doctor’s orders).  I do not like taking any type of medication, so this was a struggle for me.  Now that I am back on track with my sleep I am going to work on better sleep hygiene.  It’s just like working out, it’s something we need to do for our bodies and minds. Here are some tips and suggestions if you have trouble sleeping or bouts of insomnia.

First off relax!  If you are like me and you have a few nights of no sleep you can easily get anxious or stressed out.  Just relax.  If you always associate negative feelings with going to sleep and worry that you may not be able to sleep it will keep you awake.  Try writing in your journal before bed, listening to mediation guides (I love sleep ezy tonight on youtube), or pray.

I take some supplements to help me sleep as well.  Magnesium supplements can help the calm your nerves and lessen anxiety.  I take my supplement Magnesium Glycinate about 1 hour prior to going to bed.  It can also help with muscle soreness.  If you prefer you can take an Epsom salt bath with some lavendar essential oils to increase your magnesium.

Limit caffeine.  This is a big one for me.  I cannot even have decaf coffee after a certain point in the day.  I make sure I drink my coffee before 10 am.  I am very strict about this.   I only drink two cups per day.

Eat!  Don’t go to bed hungry. However, don’t eat a large meal too close to bedtime.   If you are hungry eat something small before bed that contains tryptophan.  Like turkey slices, eggs, or sip warm milk.  I like to steam a cup of almond milk with some cinnamon and turmeric and sip on that before bed if I am still hungry.

Exercise.  Be sure you are getting enough exercise.  Include a variety of daily exercise including interval training, strength training, yoga and walking.

Make your room a comfortable sleep environment.  If I get too hot I cannot sleep, so I keep my room cool.  The ideal temperature is between 60-67 degrees.  I prefer 64 degrees.  Use blackout curtains if your room is too light and make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillows.

Get some down time.  For me I have to have at least an hour before bed for some down time to just relax and so something to calm your mind and body.  Maybe you watch HGTV like I do or maybe you read a book.  Do what you need to do to wind down before bed.

One last note about technology.  Try to avoid using technology too close to bed.  Stay off your computer and your phone if you can.

One last thing (I really need to work on this one)!  If you can’t sleep get up and go to another room and try to relax.  Maybe read a book, meditate, or make a list of what is on your mind.  If you lay in bed and stare at the clock you will just become anxious and stressed and then you really will have trouble falling asleep.

I am still working on a lot of these areas in my own life.  I hope that these tips will help you get a good night’s sleep!

Of course I am not a doctor and these are merely tips and suggestions that work for me.  Always seek your doctor’s advice before starting any type of supplements or sleep aids.

Do Not Be Afraid

Good morning!  I am getting ready to meet up with some friends for my Sunday run.  This weekend was a cold and rainy weekend.  Last night the hubby and I cuddled up with a bit of popcorn, wine and a movie.  This ,is a bit of a side note but I love popcorn!  I could eat a giant bowl all by myself.  My favorite way to enjoy it is when my hubby makes it the old fashioned way using a giant pot on the stove with coconut oil.  I sprinkle it with sea salt and it is sooooo good!

Many of you may not know that I was diagnosed with epilepsy about 8 years ago.  This has been a real journey for me.  I am planning to share bits of my story on this blog hoping that it helps with my healing process and inspires other people as well.  I suffer from catamenial epilepsy which is when your seizures happen around your menstrual cycle.  This form of epilepsy is unique and for me difficult to understand.  Sharing my story and my condition has been very hard.  Some of my close friends do not even know I have it.  I have been thinking long and hard about sharing my story and the thing that stands out in my mind is fear.  I have decided it is time to get over this fear!  In the Bible the phrase “do not be afraid”  is written 365 times.  I need to remind myself that I need to live my life every day without fear and know that God has a plan for me and I need to trust it.  Have an amazing Sunday!  I am off for my run with friends, which basically is my therapy session.

 

Chocolate Brownie Energy Ball Recipe (Raw, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Grain Free)

Happy Friday and Happy Earth Day!  My youngest daughter’s Birthday is today!  You may recall that my older daughter had a Birthday last week too.  So it’s been a bit crazy around here and we have had a lot of sweets showing up in the form of cupcakes and cake.  So I whipped up a batch of my healthy brownie bites today to curb that sweet tooth and avoid devouring too many cupcakes later at her party!

I have been experimenting with a lot of healthy brownie alternatives lately. Can you tell I have been craving brownies? I am a big fan of Larabars for my pre-workout energy, but they can be pretty spendy depending on where you buy them. So I started making my own which is much more budget friendly. They are super easy and quick to make and you can keep them in your fridge for a quick pick me up before your workout. My friend Wendy gave me a recipe for a brownie bite, so I made a few tweaks and came up with this recipe. Give these a try and let me know what you think!Brownie Energy BItes

Chocolate Brownie Energy Ball Recipe

(Raw, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Grain Free)  Makes 16 Balls (1 tbs size)

1 1/2 Cups Walnuts or Almonds (I used raw almonds)

Pinch of salt

1 cup pitted dates

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Scoops Protein Powder (optional)

*Other optional add-ins: Maca Powder, Chia Seeds, Ground Flax or Coconut

In a food processor pulse the nuts and the salt until finely ground. Add the dates, vanilla, cocoa powder and protein powder and blend or pulse. The mixture may be a bit dry at this point so you may have to add water slowly until the mixture becomes sticky. I added almost a ¼ cup of water, but I also added the protein powder. Scoop the mixture into about a tablespoon size ball (I like a to use a small ice cream scoop) and roll them. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (they don’t last that long at my house). You now have a quick easy pre-workout snack or a little after dinner dessert treat!

Healthy Brownie Bites Vegan and Gluten Free

Happy Monday!  It’s been a Birthday frenzy at my house.  Both my daughters have Birthday’s in April and while I love cake, especially frosting, I cannot eat cake for every party we have.  I did indulge a bit in this beautiful cake my mom made for my daughter Chloe, but I paid the price later.  I am pretty sensitive to dairy and this cake had a whipped cream frosting, which was very yummy!  I cannot eat a lot of dairy or I pay the price.  So I searched the internet and found a few recipes and made a few tweeks and came up with a super yummy brownie bite recipe.  These brownie bites feature 4 simple ingredients and are quick and easy to prepare.  I will say that if you are used to eating the “real deal” brownie bites, this is not going to taste the same.  Depending on the protein powder you use it will change the taste and texture.  One of my daughters ate 3 of them, the other did not like them at all.  I really enjoyed them, but I don’t usually eat a lot of super sweet foods.  My hubby plans to top them with a bit of peanut butter or real whipped cream!  So next time you have a party or an event and need to bring a dessert give these brownies a try. Or just make a batch when you have a major chocolate craving!

Healthy Brownie Bite Recipe (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Makes 15 Brownie Bites (I used a mini muffin tin)

3 Ripe Bananas

½ Cup Nut Butter (I used almond butter)

4 Scoops Orgain Protein Powder (2 Servings)

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

Optional:  Stevia to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin or 9×13 pan with non-stick coconut oil spray.  In a food processor or mixer blend bananas, nut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder until smooth and fully incorporated.  Scoop the mixture into your pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool and enjoy!

Maca Superfood Powder

If you are not familiar with Maca it is a root that is an adaptogen and is getting a lot of buzz lately. I learned about it from my naturopathic doctor and started incorporating it into my diet.   Maca has a lot of benefits.  I am not a nutritionist, but here are a few things that I have noticed while incorporating it into my diet.

Benefits of Maca

  • Can help with PMS symptoms
  • Hormones and Sexual Health
  • Energy, Mood and Memory
  • Antioxidant

Now you are probably curious about how to incorporate it into your diet.  There are many ways to use it.  You can even make a drink out of it (I have not tried that).  My favorite ways to use it are in smoothies, stirred into oatmeal, topped on yogurt or smoothie bowls with a bit of granola, and I also mix some into my energy balls recipe I make (recipe link below).

Here is a link to my energy ball recipe:  https://livingthewrightway.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/pre-workout-eats/

Chocolate Banana Nut Butter Smoothie (1 serving)

1 Cup of Milk of Your Choice (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

½ Small Frozen Banana

2 Tablespoons Nut Butter (I like peanut butter or almond butter)

1 Handful of Spinach

1 tsp maca powder (I use healthworks maca powder on Amazon)

1 scoop protein powder of choice (optional)

Ice (optional)

Blend all the ingredients together.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Lower Body, Cardio and Ab Interval Workout

Happy Friday ! Yesterday’s workout was a killer one!  My legs are still feeling it today especially when walking up stairs.  I thought I would share with you this killer workout.  I hope you all give this workout a try.  You can do it at home or at the gym.  Have a great weekend!  

Things you will need for the workout:

  • Weights 
  • Mat
  • Water
  • Towel (you will be sweating)

Lower Body and Ab Interval Workout

Warm Up:  

  • Jump Rope Series (we did not have ropes, so we faked them)
  • Regular Jump Rope 15 Seconds
  • Single Leg Jump Rope Right 15 Seconds
  • Single Leg Jump Rope Left 15 Seconds
  • Gate Swing or Air Squats 30 Seconds
  • Single Leg Swings 30 Seconds Each Leg
  • Alternating Side Lunges 30 Seconds

Complete exercises in each circuit for 30 seconds each.  Repeat 3 times or more if you would like.

Circuit 1

  • Skaters 
  • Squat with Alternating Side Kicks 
  • Single Leg Back Lunges Right 30 Seconds with weights
  • Single Leg Back Lunges Left 30 Seconds with weights 
  • Plank Pull Across (in plank pull weight across the body)

Circuit 2

  • Burpee with 8 Punches (come up from burpee stay low and jab right and left) 
  • High Knees
  • Weighted Goblet Squat
  • Push Up to a Side Plank add in a Knee Crunch or Just Regular Push Ups

Circuit 3

  • Squat Jacks
  • Sumo Squat with Alternating Leg Lifts (hold weights in front of chest or on shoulders) 
  • Weighted Abdominal Side Bends Right 30 Seconds
  • Weighted Abdominal Side Bends Left 30 Seconds

Core Circuit

  • Plank Jacks 30 Seconds
  • Forearm Plank (hold for 30 seconds)
  • Mt. Climbers
  • Forearm Plank (hold for 30 seconds)

Cool Down and Stretch (2-3 min)

Chocolate PB Chia Pudding

A few weeks ago I started a new meal plan with Gauge Girl Training.  I have been in a slump and I wanted to change things up a bit with my eating.  I was always feeling hungry and my body fat was creeping up.  It may have had something to do with the fact that I LOVE LOVE LOVE peanut butter.   So I heard about the custom meal plans with Gauge Girl Training, so I thought I would give it a try.  I got my meal plan and I noticed there were a lot of protein shakes on it.  I do get a bit tired of the plain old protein shake, so I tried a new twist on my protein shakes.  I made it into a protein chia pudding and now I am addicted.  So I wanted to share my recipe with you.  I eat it as post workout breakfast or in the evening for a little dessert treat.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Chia Pudding (serves 1)

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can use any milk here)

2 Tablespoons PB2 or other powdered peanut butter

1 scoop or 1 serving of chocolate protein powder (I use the chocolate flavored Orgain)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or jar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  I like to leave mine in longer.  Enjoy!

Here is the nutrition breakdown based on my recipe:

Calories 270, Fat 9.2 grams, Carbs 24.5

*Note:  I have tried this with a whey isolate protein powder as well and it was a bit runny, so you may need to adjust your milk ratio a bit and use less if you have a different type of protein powder.  It still tasted great!  FullSizeRender

30 Minute Insane Bootcamp

Happy Monday.  I have not been posting as much last week because I have had some major sleep trouble.  I don’t know what is going on but I am so tired.  I can fall asleep fine, but wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep.  I have tried all types of remedies meditation, calms forte, essential oils….you name it I have tried it.  So I am hoping to start this week off better.  If anyone has any ideas that are natural and help with sleep I would love to hear from you.  Tomorrow morning is going to come very early.  This time change throws me off.  So my 5:o0 AM boot
camp class has to be ready to go and get the blood flowing.  We are going to do a weights and cardio workout.  The workout will start off with a 2-3 minute dynamic warm up and then we will complete cardio and weights for 30 seconds no breaks unless they are needed.  We will repeat it 3 times or more if we have enough time.  Here is what I am planning for Thursday.  I hope you guys have a great week!

Dirty 30 1

Sport Cookies

I have a major sweet tooth!  I love baked goodies, but I don’t make them or I would eat them all.  So my mom always comes up with healthy alternatives for me.  I think these are super tasty and would make a great treat or snack for your kids lunch box.  You could even eat them before your long run or a workout.  The recipe is below.  Have a great weekend!

Sport Cookies

  • 3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1 cup chopped datessport cookies
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 TBS vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 TBS hemp seeds
  • 14 chopped prunes (you could sub another dried fruit)
  • 10 chopped dried apricots
  • 2 TBS melted coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 375 degrees for 18 min.  The recipe makes 30 cookies about 2 tbs per cookie.  Approximately 98 calories per cookie (I entered the recipe in my fitness pal).