Sunday, June 30, 2013

1 Month Diet/Tighten Up Challenge: Abs Are Made in the Kitchen

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow starts a brand new month, and with it Jesse and I are starting a new challenge. You are welcome to join us in the challenge. We will be sharing our progress throughout the month. 

My challenge is a month without sweets, and keeping a food log. 

Jesse's challenge is to complete daily core strengthening exercises. 

Why did we select these challenges? 


1. I have been eating (and craving) sweets much more than usual lately. While I do believe that healthy lifestyles should include indulgences, having high quantities of sweets can create addictions and cravings. When you limit your intake of processed sweets full of refined sugars you re-set your taste buds so that natural sugars (like fruit) becomes sweeter and more satisfying. 

2. Keeping a food log makes you more aware of what you are putting into your body, and portion sizes. Also, when you have to write down (or even better, take photos) of all of your meals it's an extra incentive to make healthy choices. 

1. Core strengthening is imperative for maintaining proper form as a runner. This is especially true for long distances, as form tends to disintegrate as you get tired. 

2. Jesse says "I want my abs to look good. Especially during swimming season." He's sick of people saying "I'm 29, it's not possible to have abs anymore." 

3. "I want to be as attractive as I can to my wife." (awwww! He has already succeeded there.)

For the next month we will be sharing our progress with these challenges (along with our normal workouts!) If you are joining us let us know how your progress is going!

The plan:

Starting tomorrow you can expect to see a daily update of my food log. I will be aiming for around 1800 calories (more if it's a more intense workout day). Nutrition fuels your body, so along the way I will be paying attention to how I feel throughout the day and during my workouts. 

Each day Jesse will be completing one of my shorter ab workouts, or selecting exercises that work each muscle group in the core. We will share his workout/exercises each day, as well as his progress and how he feels it is impacting his running time. 

Feel free to post comments or recipes along the way, either here of on my facebook page:

Other Posts you might enjoy:
Abs Are Made in the Kitchen Meal Prep
Healthy Vegetable Grilled Cheese Recipe
Green Smoothie
Tuna Stuffed Egg Whites
Bean Salad: Easy, Quick and Healthy

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bean Salad: Easy, Quick and Healthy

Hi Everyone!

I was in a rush the other day so I threw together a healthy, bean and vegetable salad to keep in my refrigerator as a quick side (or meal). 

I used a combination of canned and fresh vegetables. If I had more time I would have run to the grocery store and used all fresh vegetables, but I needed something I could throw together quickly. 

You can be creative with this recipe, and use any vegetables you like. Usually I throw in some black olives, but I didn't have any on hand. 

Vegetables should make up approximately 50% of your meals. If you're not getting that amount it helps to start planning ways to add vegetables to your diet. Remember, vegetables are high in fiber, so you will need to increase gradually to prevent stomach discomfort. 

Ingredients: (All canned items can be substituted with fresh veggies)
1 can snow peas
1 can cut green beans
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 can sliced carrots
1 can kidney beans
3 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 cucumber (cut and sliced in half)
Fresh thyme, basil and oregano
3 tablespoons Italian Dressing (or flavor to taste)

Optional ingredients:
Feta Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir or shake (I use a bowl with a snap on lid and shake to ensure the ingredients are combined, and everything is coated with the spices). 

Fit Foot Fashions! Shoes for Cross Training: The Crossfit Nano 2.0

Hi Everyone!

Every time I wear these shoes in one of my workout videos I get tons of comments and questions about my shoe choice. I have several different sneakers that I like to wear for my workouts, and the Cross Fit Nano's are high on my list of favorites for indoor workouts. 

They are breathable and comfortable. The low profile forces my body to work harder to attain balance in some of my exercises, which causes my intrinsic muscles to strengthen, instead of relying on a lot of cushion for stability. 

These are minimalist shoes, which means they have a low heel to toe drop (not a lot of cushion elevating your heels). This does require some additional flexibility through your Achilles. They offer a bit more support and lateral stability than typical minimalist shoes, allowing you additional flexibility of movement and support during workouts that require a lot of transitional movements. 

The flexibility in the sole makes these shoes good for movements like Burpees and Lunge Jumps. They are light enough that you don't feel weighed down during sprints or box jumps. I taught most of my boot camp classes wearing these shoes. 

I have worn these shoes on the treadmill, and during shorter runs (3-5 miles). It definitely felt different. For my running needs I prefer a sturdier shoe made specifically for running, but on lighter run days or interval workouts these are great. 

Also, they come in 20 different color combinations! :) 

There will be a new workout tonight, so be sure to check back!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Love HIIT: 10 Minute Dumbbell Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is a quick, high intensity (HIIT) workout. In the video I say that my intervals are 50 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest, but afterwards I realized I did 60 seconds, 10 seconds of rest. 

I was sweating, and I definitely felt like I got a great workout in! For this workout I used 2 dumbbells, and a stability ball for the last move. 

If you don't have a stability ball, the final move can be performed on the floor. No dumbbells? Try soup or veggies cans. As always, this workout can also be performed with body weight only. 

Enjoy the workout!

Workout Tutorial: (Full length workout below)

Full Length Workout:

1. High Knees
2. Man Maker Burpees
3. Rainbow Climber
4. Romanian Deadlift
5. Russian Kicks
6. Warrior Deadlift (right)
7. Pendulum Hop
8. Warrior Deadlift (left)
9. Hip Lift Stretch
10. Chest Press Situp

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

25 Minute Home Yoga Flow

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night. It's a 25 minute home yoga flow. It felt great to stretch and work my muscles at the same time. 

As with any workout, be sure to listen to your body. Move purposefully through each movement. Do not overstretch. Go to your limit. No bouncing during stretches. Stretch and hold the position, after a few seconds if you can move more deeply into the stretch go for it. 

Enjoy the workout, there will be a new one later!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

HIIT, Sweat It, Tone It: Home Workout and Hill Sprints

Hi Everyone,

One round of tonight's workout takes 15 minutes. This workout can be repeated up to 3 times. If you are repeating be sure to take a quick break in between rounds. 

With any workout you get the best results if you warm up first. When your body is warmed up it is already working at a higher level, which leads to boosted metabolic benefits. It is especially important to warm up before HIIT workouts so your cardiovascular system is ready to work at a high level. If I forget to warm-up the number of reps on my first round is always significantly lower than my reps on the second round, when my body has adjusted to the effort. 

I went through this workout once, and followed it with 4 hill sprints. I timed my sprints: 
Sprint 1: 18 seconds
Sprint 2: 18 seconds
Sprint 3: 18 seconds
Sprint 4: 17 seconds

In between each sprint my rest time was walking back down the hill.

Hill sprints should be based on your fitness level. Beginners: 10 seconds, Intermediate: 15 seconds, Advanced: up to 20 seconds. The goal is to run as hard as you can, while keeping in mind that you have to repeat it. You want to maintain your pace throughout the workout. The short duration of these sprints helps prevent injury, while maximizing calorie burning, and speed/strength building. Also, sprinting uphill is safer for your body than sprinting on flat surfaces. The angle of the hill decreases your risk of pulling a muscle and teaches you appropriate running form. 

Never start hill sprints before warming up. I did them immediately after this workout so my body was ready!

Enjoy the workout!

All Levels: Max reps for each 60 second interval, 30 seconds cardio of choice between each exercise.  

*I wrote my cardio bursts in the breakdown, you can follow along with me or select your cardio of choice. You can select one form of cardio or alternate. 

1. Curtsy Lunge Hop
cardio: high knees

2. Mountain Climber Hop
cardio: burpee

3. Angel Abs
cardio: high knees

4. Sumo Pushups
cardio: Jumping Jacks

5. Leg Series (right)
cardio: high knees

6. Leg Series (left)
cardio: burpee

7. Temple Tap Abs
cardio: high knees

8. Frogger Crunch
cardio: Jumping Jacks

9. Chair Twist
cardio: burpee

10. Prone Heel Tap
cardio: burpee

Friday, June 21, 2013

10 Total Toning Moves: Home Workout (No Equipment)

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night. This workout utilizes 10 Total Toning Moves. It's a full body workout with no equipment required. This workout combines a series of movements designed to challenge and work your muscles from a variety of angles. 

I incorporated movements to help stabilize the hips and core. Strengthening these areas provides increased postural support and stability, which will assist you in maintaining good form during all workouts. 

I went through this workout twice, and followed it with a 2.75 mile easy run. I kept the pace light and comfortable the entire time. 

I am planning a new yoga workout for tonight so be sure to check back!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Knee Drop Plank
2. Heel Tap Abs
3. Walking Pushups
4. Runners Lunge Reach
5. Goddess Pulse
6. Oblique Crunch (right)
7. Oblique Crunch (left)
8. Cheek to Cheek Plank
9. Folded Leg Lift (right)
10. Folded Leg Lift (left)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weights and Intervals: Full Body Sculpt in Under 20 Minutes

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is a combination of weighted exercises and a 5 minute interval round. The entire workout can be repeated 1-3X. I went through this routine once, and followed it by a 3 mile run outside. It felt great to get outdoors and put in a few miles. 

This was a challenging workout, especially after yesterday's: 10 Minute Cardio Smash HIIT. By the time I started running my legs were tired! 

I thought this routine was a nice challenge. I hope you like it!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Interval Round: Max reps during each 60 second interval, 10 seconds of rest

1. Reverse Lunge with Dumbbell Raise
2. Romanian Deadlift with Row
3. Weighted Temple Tap Abs
4. Back Extensions on Stability Ball
5. Squats with Lateral Raises

1. Rainbow Climbers
2. Knee Tuck Squat
3. Bicycle Abs
4. Hip Lift and Press
5. Burpees

Sunday, June 16, 2013

10 Minute Cardio Smash: HIIT

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is a 10 Minute HIIT Cardio Blast. There is a focus on the large muscles of the lower body, which leads to major calorie/fat torching. It was a fun, and challenging 10 minute workout. 

I warmed up with a 1 mile run on the treadmill, and followed this workout with 2.1 miles. I stuck to a comfortable pace. For me that meant I ran 8 minute miles. You know you're doing a comfortable pace if you can carry on a conversation while you run. 

I have not been as consistent with my workouts lately, and I definitely felt it during tonight's interval. I am super motivated and excited to get back on track. Jesse and I are done house hunting (YAY!), so I will have my workout time back in my schedule. As long as inspections, etc, go smoothly we will be closing on our new house at the end of July. :) 

I am excited to see my fitness level improve again, and get some more of my tone/definition back. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout!

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Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest between exercises. 

Warm up: 1 mile run, or 10 minutes jump rope or cardio of choice

1. Frog Hopper
2. Jump Squat Turn
3. 3 Way Plank
4. Right Leg Hop Press
5. Left Leg Hop Press
6. Single Leg Frogger Pushup
7. Squat Jacks
8. Single Leg Hip Thrust
9. High Knees
10. Burpee

Cardio: 2 mile run, or 15-20 minutes cardio of choice

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jump Away Jiggle: 20 Minute Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is a fun, fat burner. One round took me 20 minutes. This workout can be completed up to 3X, but I only went through it once today. I tried out some new combinations, that I really liked. The Russian V-Ups were a great challenge that got my heart rate up. 

This is a full body workout, but there is an emphasis on working the core from every angle. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout, and have a great night!

PS My sports bra is from and you can get 15% off your total order with the code BenderFitness at checkout. 

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Mountain Froggers
2. Squat Jump
3. Rotating Ab-Crunch
4. Lunge Jumps
5. Russian V-Up
6. Weighted Plies
7. Leg Circles (right)
8. Leg Circles (left)
9. Warrior 3 Leg Lift/Hop (right)
10. Warrior 3 Leg Lift/Hop (left)
11. Rotating Oblique Crunch

Monday, June 10, 2013

Healthy Vegetable Grilled Cheese Recipe

Tonight I felt like experimenting in the kitchen. I'm a fan of simple, tasty recipes. This vegetable grilled cheese sandwich was easy, delicious, and the flavor options are limitless!
I love avocado, but Jesse isn't a fan, so I made his sandwich a little bit differently. 


Melissa's grilled cheese:
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin (100 calories)
Fresh Baby Spinach
1 Slice All Natural Gouda Cheese
Avocado (cubed)
Sliced Cherry Tomatoes (about 3)
Feta Cheese (about 5 cubed chunks)

Jesse's grilled cheese:
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin (100 calories)
Fresh Baby Spinach
1 1/2 Slices All Natural Gouda Cheese
Tablespoon All Natural Salsa
Feta Cheese (about 5 cubed chunks)
1/2 Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedge (Monterrey Jack and Cheddar)

Ready to go in the oven
I cooked these in my convection oven on the "Toast" setting for about 3 minutes. If you don't have a convection oven you can use a panini maker, foreman grill, or cook them in the oven or broiler.  I left my sandwich open faced to cook so I could monitor the melting cheese. I closed Jesse's sandwich. I wanted to see if either way worked better. The open faced method led to a slightly crispier sandwich. 
If you are using a different bread you may have to toast your sandwich a bit longer. Monitor to be sure the cheese is melting, and cook until bread reaches desired toast level. You can also lightly pre-toast the bread before heating. This method significantly reduces the number of calories found in a typical grilled cheese sandwich (which is slathered in butter, and served with white bread).  
Fresh From the Oven
I served both sandwiches with sliced granny smith apples. Jesse said that it was "fantastic" and he "really enjoyed it." His sandwich was spicy and flavorful. I ended up putting some apple slices on half of my sandwich, and it added a whole new delicious element to the flavor. It was a refreshing summer meal, served with a side of watermelon.  

Jesse's Sandwich with Sliced Granny Smith Apples

Melissa's Sandwich Served with Sliced Granny Smith Apples and Watermelon

Happy Meatless Monday! 

Quick Body Weight Home Workout

Hi Everyone! 

This was my workout last night. One round took me around 14 minutes. It is a quick (but effective) full body workout, with some challenging new exercise variations. 

Jesse and I also did a 4.6 mile trail run with two of our friends. I love getting out on the trails and running under the trees. It's beautiful and the air feels so clean when you breathe. 

Remember, during all of your workouts focus on form. If you're not sure if you're doing a move right practice in front of a mirror, or ask a friend. Using proper form maximizes the benefits and keeps your body safe during all of your workouts. 


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
*Leg Series reps: Beginner 5, Intermediate 8, Advanced 10 per movement

1. Angled Mountain Climber
2. Leg Series (right)*
3. Leg Series (left)*
4. Knee Drop Plank Press
5. Temple Tap Abs
6. Triangle Dog Press
7. Heel Slide Abs
8. Dips

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Depression, Serotonin and Exercise: Getting Your Motivation Back

Hi Everyone,

I have been thinking a lot about motivation lately. I have been having a hard time getting motivated for my workouts. If you have been following my blog you probably know how crazy and out of character that is for me. 

I love working out. I love sharing my workouts on my blog, and hearing about the progress of those of you who follow my workouts. This is my passion, and my hobby. So where has my motivation gone? 

The first step to getting your motivation back is pinpointing the cause of de-motivation. 

1. Exhaustion: If you are not getting enough sleep your body may be lacking the energy required to workout, or engage in other activities that you normally enjoy. 

2. Feeling Over Whelmed: Have you ever had so many obligations at one time that you feel pulled in multiple directions? Eventually you may start to feel that you aren't as successful as you would like to be at any one endeavor, because you are spread to thin. There isn't enough of you to go around. 

3. Stress:  This can be caused by a variety of things. Change, both good and bad, can be stressful. Major life events (birth of a child, marriage, job change, move, graduation, etc) can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels. 

4. Lack of Enjoyment/Reward: Perhaps you aren't motivated because you just don't enjoy the task at hand. Instant gratification is short lived, but it can be very tempting, even if it is at the cost of long term goals. 

5. Depression: There are several types of depression. Some depression starts in response to a specific event or experience, and other types of depression seemingly appear out of no where. Many studies have linked depression to decreased functioning of serotonin receivers in the brain, reduction in chemical reactions which allow serotonin transport in the brain, or decreased serotonin production in the brain. 

Once you have identified the cause of your decrease in motivation you can take steps to rectify it. 

Sleep is the easiest cure. Sometimes you just need to take a day off and let your body rest. When I don't get enough sleep I get a double whammy: I don't want to workout, and I crave high calorie foods that I normally don't even like! Studies have shown that getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night leads to an average increase in caloric intake of 360 calories per day. 

If you are overwhelmed it may be beneficial to prioritize. Try to decrease the number of obligations you have, or the amount of time spent on less important obligations. Remember, your mental and physical health need to be on your priority list. Without these two things the rest of your to-do list is going to suffer. 

Stress is a part of life. Sometimes you need to recognize what is causing you stress, and find ways to cope. Some things you can't control, but you can control your reaction to stress, and how much time/energy you dedicate to it. For example, if you get road rage and someone cuts you off you may find yourself still angry about it long after the offending driver is gone. If you're still upset it may help to take a minute and realize you are giving them more time and power out of your life than they deserve. Your anger does not affect them in any way, but it's still affecting your life and mood. Are they worth it? 

Lack of Reward. Instant gratification vs. long term results. Sometimes vegging out on the couch sounds more satisfying (and easier!) than a hard workout. Or perhaps that piece of cake looks better than a nutritious and healthy meal. Sometimes having long term goals is disheartening because it takes a long time to get there. This is why I am big on celebrating all of your victories along the way! Is your goal to run a 5K? Maybe you can't run more than 2 blocks without walking. Celebrate and give yourself credit the first time you run 3 blocks! Is your goal to go from a size 18 to 12? Don't beat yourself up because you are only down to a size 16, that's progress! A new outfit can be a great motivator. 

Depression: This can be the hardest one to deal with. Sometimes depression can be a cumulative effect of all the things listed above. Sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere. If you find that you are having suicidal thoughts it's time to see a doctor. Exercise and nutrition have been shown to decrease depression, but sometimes you also need additional intervention. 

So what has been the cause of my lack of motivation? It's a combination of many things. 
1. I have been tired. Staying up to late, and getting up early. My body requires sleep and I wasn't listening. 
2. At times I have a tendency to take on to many projects. I don't believe in limitations, which means I want to do a little bit of everything! Normally this is okay, but with my increased tiredness I felt that I wasn't giving all of my projects my full effort. I want to do things successfully. Set a goal, achieve it, set a new goal. The last two months have been very busy and I felt like I was "fitting in" the things that are important to me. Things that I love seemed to fall by the wayside of obligations. 
3. Stress. Remember, even positive changes create stress. I switched jobs, my sister got married and is now having a baby, and Jesse and I are house hunting. I thought house hunting would be fun. Turns out not so much! We found a house that we loved, and it didn't work out. I'm still not over the disappointment. 
4. Normally I find exercise intrinsically motivating. I love how it makes me feel. 
5. Depression. I found myself feeling moody, down, and negative. Plus, I was angry at myself for feeling that way because it is so out of character for me. Jesse was doing everything he could to cheer me up and it wasn't working, so I also felt guilty for bringing down his mood. 

End result: me lying in my bed with the lights off and curtains drawn, moping and feeling sorry for myself. I started to think about two things. First, that I was making a choice to lay there and pout. If that was my choice I had to accept the responsibility for walking in that room and deciding to be stagnant and doing nothing to change the situation. Second, I thought about neuroscience and chemical reactions in the brain (yes I am a nerd, and honestly I like it that way). Science has shown that exercise increases the amount of serotonin in your body. My normal amount of exercise has been significantly decreased lately. Could this have created a "deficit" of serotonin in my body, as compared to what I have become accustomed to? Could part of my moodiness be a chemical reaction that I was feeding through inactivity? 

Decision time: Lay in the dark or do a workout? My body felt heavy and exhausted, walking upstairs to my room had felt like maximum effort so working out didn't sound good. I decided to go for a run. I gave myself permission to go as slowly as I wanted, or even take walking breaks if I needed to. 

End Result: I strapped on my i-pod, stepped outside, and started to run. I found myself thinking "Today running is my therapy." I went at a pace that felt good to my body. I tried to combine running and yoga and exist in the moment. When my watch beeped to indicate my first mile was done I glanced down and was surprised to see that I had done it in 7 minutes and 41 seconds. Slower than race pace, but faster than my normal running days. Mile 2 of my loop is almost all uphill so again I focused on the physical feeling of running. My second mile was 9:19. For the third mile I found myself thinking about how comfortable this run felt, I was putting in some effort but not giving 100%. I clicked off mile 3 in 7:26. I glanced down again at the 5K point and saw that I did an "accidental 5K" in 25:15. I still had half a mile to get home, but I took a moment to think about how fast my body must actually move during a 5K, and I wondered when this became a comfortable pace for me. 

I walked into the house and Jesse asked me how I felt. I had finished my 3.6 mile run in 28:52. I felt strong, I felt healthy, and I felt grateful for what my body was capable of. Even if I had completed this run 10 minutes slower I think I would have felt grateful that my determination and will power were strong enough to get me moving when I felt like moping. I was faced with a decision, and I chose action. Suddenly I felt like myself again.  

I am heading out for a trail run with Jesse, and there will be a new workout posted tonight. Let's keep motivating each other! I would love to hear what you do to get motivated. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

15 Minute Interval: Iso-Plyo Workout

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is a combination of isometric and plyometric exercises. It is quick (15 minutes), but was a very challenging combination. 

Isometric exercises occur when the muscle is contracted, with no change in the length of the muscle during the exercise. Plyometrics are fast movements that cause quick contractions and lengthening of the muscles involved in the exercise (usually with some type of jumping). 

Both forms of exercise are beneficial, and they provide different benefits to your body. This workout helps to build muscular endurance, strength and speed. I found the static poses very challenging, especially Dancer Pose. It is quite different to go into this pose during a yoga flow, than immediately after a plyometric exercise. I had to modify the pistol squats, because my legs were completely out of energy by the end of the workout! I knew it would be challenging saving them for last, but I was surprised at the difficulty. Remember, form is number one! Better a modification than completing an exercise with poor form. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout! It can be repeated up to 3X. I followed this workout with a 3.5 mile run outside. I have been tired lately, but it felt great to get my workouts back on track. :)

See you tomorrow with a new workout!

Advanced: Max Reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. 
Intermediate: 40 second interval, 15 seconds rest
Beginner: 30 second interval, 15 seconds rest

1. Frogger
2. Extended Hold
3. Mountain Climber Cross
4. Warrior 3
5. Jumping Lunge Kick
6. Warrior 3
7. Jump Squat
8. Dancer Pose (right)
9. Dive Bomber
10. Dancer Pose (left)
11. Side Lunge Tap
12. Boat Pose
13. Pistol (right)
14. Down Dog
15. Pistol (left)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

HIIT Don't Quit! 15 Minute Interval Workout

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout yesterday. It's a 15 minute HIIT workout. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is my favorite style of workout because it maximizes fat burning, while maintaining lean muscle mass. The benefits of this workout continue for several hours. 

The goal is to complete as many reps as you can during each 50 second interval, with minimal rest (10 seconds) between each exercise. Try not to take breaks, but also be aware of listening to your body. If you are just starting out, or are new to interval training you may need to build your way up to completing the whole workout. If you start out completing 7 minutes of the workout, make your next goal to get to 8 or 10 minutes without stopping. This is a great way to measure your fitness gains. 

Don't forget to celebrate your progress, and give yourself credit for even "small" gains in fitness. Every time you push yourself during a workout you are improving your strength, fitness, and agility. You are making yourself physically and mentally stronger. These gains don't just apply to your workouts, they make you stronger in life. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout! Have a great day!

All Levels: Max reps during each interval.
*Beginners: Start with 30 second interval, followed by 15 seconds of rest. 
*Intermediate: 40 second interval, 10 seconds rest
*Advanced: 50 second interval, 10 seconds rest

1. High Knees
2. Flying Pigeon (right)
3. Mountain Climber
4. Flying Pigeon (left)
5. Russians
6. Frog Hop Squat
7. High Knees
8. Down Dog Lift
9. Mountain Climber
10. Squat Planks
11. Russians
12. Reverse Crunch Rotation
13. High Knees
14. Knee Drop Plank
15. Mountain Climber

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Healthy Vegetable Pasta Recipe

Hi Everyone!

This is a simple and healthy vegetable pasta recipe. If you're like me it can be difficult to limit yourself to just one serving of pasta. Even as a child I loved to eat plain pasta noodles. When I was in college I worked at an Italian restaurant with super sized portions. I could never cut pasta out of my diet, but I try to make healthful food choices. For me one of the best ways to eat pasta in a healthy way is adding a lot of veggies. 

I like this article on how to measure one serving of pasta: Measure Dry Pasta

The recipe is below. The added vegetables allow me to enjoy my pasta without overdoing it, while still having a delicious and filling meal. Enjoy, and remember if there is something in this recipe you don't like take it out and substitute something else! I didn't use any meat, but this would also be good with chicken or shrimp. 



-Spinach Fettuccine Noodles (2 servings) (you can use a pasta of your choice)
-1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
-2 cups chicken or turkey broth (low sodium) (To make this recipe vegan use vegetable stock)
-Vegetables of choice: I used 4 cups broccoli, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes  4 cups of spinach, and sprinkled the top with sliced black olives. I would have added some artichoke, but I didn't have any on hand. 
-Optional: lightly sprinkle the finished product with feta or Parmesan cheese. A little goes a long way!


-Boil water and prepare pasta as directed on the box. 
-In a separate pan heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat. 
-Add broth of choice to the pan. 
-Add harder vegetables first (for example if you are using carrots add these so they are able to cook longer). The vegetables I used are all softer so I added everything except the spinach and olives at the same time. 
-Allow vegetables to cook to desired tenderness, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and cook 1-2 minutes. 
-Strain Pasta.
-Add pasta to pan with vegetables, and mix together. 
-Serve Vegetable Pasta. If desired sprinkle with feta cheese and black olives. *You can add the olives at the same time as the spinach, but Jesse doesn't like olives so I added them separately.