5 Simple (1 fancy) Ways to Eat Your Eggs

Eggs are such as staple in my diet and I eat them at all times of the day. I don’t fear the egg yolk and the cholesterol as it is not deemed as bad as it once thought was. However I simply choose whether or not to eat the yolk based on the carbs, protein and fat content in each meal. One of my own, unique, rules when it come to eating is that I feel the best when I have a mixture of all three (carbs, protein, and fats) in most meals. I have put together 5 simple (well one way is what I call fancy) ways to eat your eggs.

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Breakfast burrito. 

Saute any combo of veggies in a pan until they are almost done. Add 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white and scramble the entire mixture together. Add a breakfast meat of your choice if you desire. Wrap in a tortilla and serve. Top with hot sauce or avocado if desired.

Back to basics eggs and toast.

Don’t be disappointed with this one as it can be a great meal anytime of day. I use 2 slices of ezekiel bread and 2 whole eggs. The whole meal is only 300 calories and leaves me full for hours. This takes almost exactly 5 minutes to make in the morning.

Peanut butter oats.

Cook 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites, 1/2 cup of water in a microwave on high for two minutes. (Watch for overflowing).  Let cool and add a tbsp of peanut butter. It is like a mini oatmeal bake! And the topping options are endless. Fruit, nuts, coconut shreds. Get creative!

Hard boiled eggs and fruit. (Cook eggs in muffin tin).

Set oven to 325. Place an egg in each individual muffin tin. Set timer for 30 minutes and cook. Place the eggs in cool water for 10 minutes to cool down. You need a little more time for this one but at least you do not have to watch a pot of boiling water.

Choose fruit of your choice and you are good to go!

Ok its time to get fancy.  I am not a huge fan of cooking as you can tell by my simple recipes but I love this recipe if I have a little more time and effort that I want to put into breakfast, or dinner. Check it out!

 Mushroom and Spinach Fritta

Ingredients:

2 whole eggs

4 egg whites

1/2 onion diced

2 cups  baby spinach

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup of feta or parmesan cheese

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig oregano, rosemary or thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium skillet and brown your mushrooms.  Add the onions and cook until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute and then add the spinach. It will seem like a lot of spinach but it will wilt as it cooks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then remove from heat.
  • Whisk egg and egg whites together in a small bow and add cayenne pepper if desired.
  • In a large skillet heat oil on low heat.
  • Add the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Then add the egg mixture.
  • Cook until it starts to set.
  • Mix together your herbs and cheese of choice and sprinkle the mixture on top.
  • Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until the middle is firm.
  • Remove and let cool.
  • Slice and serve with avocado slices or a side of fruit or toast.

Enjoy and I would love to hear your favorite egg recipes!

Meet my BFF: the warm-up

These days fitness is more about being strong and moving well than anything else. I want to look my best, feel my best, and perform my best whether I am doing something active or moving furniture around in my house.  After my episode of 365 days of back pain about 24 months ago, I am pain free and back to my full strength.

I went from barely being able to step up onto a curb and eliminating all my favorite exercises, to back in full force enjoying the fitness world once again. One major thing has changed, that being how I warm up and cool down. I make it as much of a priority as the workout itself. It is important to increase body temperature, blood flow, and get the body moving through different ranges of motion. I find it “fun” to move and improve my body in different ways and know that my warm-ups will now be my best friend forever.

I have included two warm up variations that you can use solo or pair together to get the body moving and it is so much more effective than walking on a treadmill or an elliptical for a few minutes as a warm-up.

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From top left, clockwise. Hip flexor with triceps stretch. Seated torso rotation. Birddog.

Hip Flexor Triceps Stretch.

Start in a half kneeling position, as shown, with the right leg forward. Shift the weight forward to get a stretch in the left hip or quad, but make sure the front knee does not pass the foot. Keep the chest lifted. Take your left arm overhead like shown and lean to your right slightly and then return back to center. Repeat 4 more times and hold on the last for 20 seconds. Switch sides. Stretches the hip flexor, quad, triceps, lats and side waist.

Seated Torso Twist.

Sit on a chair or bench and place the hands behind the head without arching the back too much. Rotate from the mid to upper back to one side, pause, and alternate sides. Repeat 10x total. Improves mobility for the thoracic spine.

Birddog.

Start in a kneeling position on all fours. Find a neutral spine and extend the opposite arm, opposite leg until parallel to the ground. Pause and repeat sides. Keep your gaze down toward the ground and move slowly. Repeat for 10x total.

Also….

Check out this quick video to give you some ideas you can use to warm-up.  You can do these exercises with or without the band. 

Is moderation overated?


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For the past two years I have started to pay close attention to what motivates individuals in regards to food, fitness and making progress. And more often than not, it is not really the gray area. I see individuals motivated by, what I would consider, a more extreme approach that emphasizes the all in all or nothing.  By extreme I mean the following.

The Whole 30.  The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Strict clean eating.

Six pack abs. Flat stomachs. Bugling biceps. Tight buns.

People who are incredibly strong. Top athletes.

Workouts that drive you into the ground.

Constant soreness.

#nodaysoff #pukie #shredded #nopainnogain

There does not seem to be a whole lot of excitement is finding a balance or simply being moderate.  And I have been there before. We want to see and be the extraordinary. We want to see the rock solid bodies made in the gym and the abs that are made in the kitchen. It is much more common to see an Instagram account with thousand of follows for someone who is magazine ready shape, then someone who keeps their shirt on all the time. Why don’t we like to see the person who has some curves to their body, who eats bread on occasion and works out a few days a week?

Is moderation boring?

Is extreme healthy?

Is moderation overrated?

Does the ordinary motivate people?

Can moderation even make us successful?

And from my perspective, moderation is the most critical component to your success, but it is hard to come by in the public eye. I get that we like to see the most successful people in their physique and sport, but rather than looking at what they look like or how they perform, I encourage you to be motivated by their drive, dedication and mental focus. Not to achieve a shredded body or turn into a freak of nature athlete, but to find balance and a way of eating and working out that you can do consistency. Ask yourself the following.

Does your eating feel effortless?

Can you see yourself eating this way forever?

Do your workouts enhance your life?

Are you able to stick to them on a regular basis, not skipping because you feel exhausted and overtrained?

Is the way you are eating and working out helping you reach your goals?

When choosing extremes, for most people, it is hard to reach their goals because extremes are hard to maintain. When was the last time you lost weight eating less? When was the last time you were able to stick to 6 hour long workouts a week? Or even worse, combining an extreme eat less, exercise more approach. (Check out this post for more information on detriments of the eat less, exercise more approach, here.)

I had a client tell me “I am not very good at moderation so I have to go all out.” That comment alone begs the question.

Why? Why can’t we be moderate?

We are scared that if we relax a little we will lose everything we have worked so hard for. Sometimes it is easier to avoid pasta and ice cream completely than have a few bites. It is easier to keep yummy foods out of the house, then have a reasonable portion. So we just say forget it all together and avoid those foods completely until we are faced with them outside of our well controlled environment. Will we moderate or indulge completely? Being deprived does not feel good, but being super stuffed and bloated doesn’t really feel good either.

Is it possible to find a common ground? Moderation is the more challenging approach. Avoid bread and sugar for weeks? Easy! Allow yourself to have one or two small indulgences once or twice a day without going overboard. Not so easy. I challenge you to find the common ground for yourself and it all begins with practice. Can you buy one of those mini Ben and Jerry’s ice cream containers and have a bite a day?

My boyfriend does that and it use to drive me crazy. How can he just have a bite or two and put in back in the freezer and make this damn thing last 2-3 weeks?!? Half a pint! 2-3 weeks! I could never do that! Or could I? So I did. Shhh! Don’t tell but I snuck a bite of ice cream for a few days. And you know what? I was able to stick to those 1-2 bites. A couple amazing things happened. I enjoyed each bite completely and it took some of the power away. Next time you go out to dinner and are craving dessert, get it! Have 3-4 bites and then stop at that. Can you do it? Moderation is difficult, but you CAN get better at it, it just takes a little practice.

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We think being sore is the only indicator of a good workout. When my clients come in a couple days after a training session and say they were not sore, I say, “Good.” I reply this way because being sore can indicate that you challenged yourself in the appropriate amount, or it can mean you overdid it, did not recover properly, and pushed too much, too soon. None of those things are beneficial to you. Appropriate intensity and challenges are good for you. Being sore for a entire week, not so much.

We think our workouts need to drive us into the ground to be an effective workout. As a former athlete, I had an especially tough time with this concept. As an athlete you train to be able to endure the toughest matches, where your brain and body are being challenged at the highest level. You are training for a purpose. Post college I sought out running as my primary form of exercise and didn’t feel like I was getting a good workout unless I ran 3-4 miles. It was not fun, it hurt my body and my appetite was out of control.

When I joined a CrossFit gym, I loved it because it reminded me of my glory days. But you do not have to train THAT hard to the results and benefits of everyday health. I got to a point where I had to take weeks off at a time because my body simply could not recover. Mentally I couldn’t shake working out and not being gasping for air. Lessening my intensity has been one of the best things that has happened to my workouts. I am able to workout more consistently because I do not have to take as much time off. My body feels better and my hunger and cravings are under better control. I have found the balance and therefore I can practice the same way of working out and eating, week in, week out.

How I see it.

Moderation is the middle ground, but moderation is admirable. In fact, I think moderation is underrated. It is as challenging, if not more, as taking the extreme because finding moderation is finding a balance for lifelong health. And thinking about it in that length of time is a bit intimidating. What? I have to do this for life? Yes, yes you do. So get to practice, take some action, and find your motivation in challenging yourself to finding that lifelong approach. Because one you do, it is beyond worthwhile. And remember, everything in moderation, even moderation.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes you can! Do push ups and pull ups when you can’t do them

Pull ups and push ups are not easy by any means, but they are such great staples in any workout routine, as some of the best upper body and core exercises around. Pull ups work primarily the back, rear delts, biceps and forearms and the push ups work the chest, shoulders and triceps. Both work the core more than you might guess.

But what if you can’t do a full push up or pull up? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Pull ups

Level 1 – Pre gaming. Before the bar.

If you work out at a gym I will recommend two machines for you to use. The assisted pull up machine and the lat pulldown  machine.

Start by using a weight that is challenging for 10 repetitions. For your next set bump up the weight, but shoot for 7-8 repetitions, and for the last set bump up the weight and shoot for as many as you  can up to 4-5. Allow yourself at least a full minute of rest in between each set and keep the movement slow and in control. Note. With the assisted pull up machine you will start with more resistance to help you, and lessen the resistance for each set to make it more challenging.

Level 2 –  Head to the bar.

If you have access to a large workout band, you can use this for assistance. This is a great way to get use to hanging on the bar with your body more freely suspended. Depending on the band you use, will determine how many reps you will be able to do. Start with a band that let’s you do 6-8 reps.

Level 3 – At the bar.

If you are working your way toward a full pull up start by seeing if you can hang from the bar with straight arms to see if you at least have the grip strength to hold on. If that is the case jumping up and holding your chin over the bar for 15 seconds (the first part of the pull up video demos this). Try doing this for 2-3 sets, 2-3 times a week. I use a neutral grip, like shown in the video, or a chin up grip, with the palms facing me.

Once you have conquered the hang, try working the eccentric part of the pull up, the letdown, as shown in the pull up video attached. Start anywhere from 1-3 sets of 3-5 reps. Working the eccentric movement of the pull up is very challenging and puts a large demand on your muscles, so you will want to start small and gradually progress.

 

Push Ups

Level 1 – Start high.

A great option to practice having the body in a full push up position is using an incline push up. At home you can use a counter top or back of a couch. At the gym you can use the smiths machine or set a bar low in the squat rack. This helps you start to develop the position and core strength of a full push up. Start for 3 sets of 10-15.

Level 2 – Make your way to the ground.

Doing a kneeling push up on the ground is also a great, do anywhere exercise, to build strength. Make sure you are in a straight line from the shoulders to the knees and the butt is not in the air, nor does it sag to the ground. Start for 3 sets of anywhere from 5 to 10. Go slow and try to go down to a hover over the ground to make it more challenging. 

Level 3 – High, low.

The eccentric push up. I love, love, love, this variation demonstrated in the video below, to work towards a full push up. We are stronger eccentrically, meaning we are stronger on the lowering part or release of our exercises. Like the video shows start in a full push up position and lower the body to the ground keeping the core braced and everything in line. Let the body completely rest on the ground. Press back up in a kneeling push up position. Do 3 sets of 3-5 to start.

How to put this all together.

Add a little pull up, push up practice to the beginning of your normal workout.

Pick one push up variation that challenges you. If the incline push up is too easy, choose kneeling, if kneeling is too easy choose the eccentric push up and if that is too easy start doing a full push up.

Same thing for the pull up. Choose the assisted pull up or one of the bar pull up variations. Perform the designated number of reps and sets mentioned in this post.

For example.

3 x 10 Kneeling pushups  –  3×12,10,8 Assisted pull ups

3×3-5 eccentric push ups  –  3×3-5 letdowns

3×3-5 full pushups – 3×3-5 letdowns

As always let me know if you have any questions on the post on my Facebook page. I love to help people get strong!

To protein shake or not

Just like all other foods, protein shakes get quite the debate on whether they are healthy or not, and whether we should or should not use them. Here is a quick breakdown about protein shakes and some insights on why you may or may not want to use them. Check it out and then decide for yourself.

What are protein powders?

Protein powders are dietary supplements that contain higher amounts of protein. Some contain a mix a carbohydrates and small amounts of fat, but still have a moderate to high source of protein.

Why would I want to use them?

Protein powders can be an easy way to add extra protein to your diet, are highly convenient and can be a good way to balance a smoothie/shake to be a meal or snack. A smoothie made with a liquid and fruit will not help with satiety as much it would if there was additional protein added.

You can also take them anywhere without worrying about them having to spoil. For example, when you are on the run, it is easier to drink a quick shake then break out a chicken breast.

Soy, hemp, rice, egg, whey? What’s the difference?

Precision Nutrition gives you the best quick breakdown of the different types of powders below. I took the following breakdown from their website and be sure to check it out as they have tons of great resources!

Rice protein – Hypo-allergenic, gluten-free, neutral taste, economical. 100% plant-based. May be derived from genetically modified rice.

Egg protein – Fat-free, concentrated amounts of essential amino acids. May upset stomach.

Milk protein (includes whey, casein, calcium caseinate, and milk protein blends) – May enhance immunity, high in BCAAs, contains lactose, highly studied. May cause digestive upset or other symptoms in people sensitive to whey, casein, and/or lactose.

Pea protein – No saturated fat or cholesterol, highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, economical. Rich in lysine, arginine and glutamine. 100% plant-based.

Hemp protein – Provides omega-3 fats, most forms provide fibre, free of trypsin inhibitors, can get in raw form, high in arginine and histidine. 100% plant-based.

Soy protein – May have benefits for cardiovascular disease, contains some anti-nutrients, may be derived from genetically modified soy. 100% plant-based.

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Why would I choose one over the other?

As you can see, some of the proteins are 100% plant based which may make your decision based on food preferences. Some protein powders can also be more difficult on the stomach and harder to digest.

Some protein powders may be used as a meal replacement, as they typically have a little more fat and more carbs.

Some protein powders may be used to get additional protein in strictly, while some have carbohydrates which may be a better choice post workout as you want to get in a balance of protein and carbs.

But protein powders are not real food?

Protein powders are not whole food, though they are derived from whole food sources.  There is often a great debate that powders are loaded with chemicals and additives, are completely unhealthily and not “real food.” The thing is “real food” can be different from one person to the next.

Here is my .02.

There are many things that could potentially be unhealthy from certain foods, additives, or drinking from plastic bottles. When it comes to protein powder, decide if you like it and if your body reacts well to it. I find protein powder to be a great quick post workout meal. Liquid post workout is often recommended to get into your system quicker.

However, you will not find me with a protein shaker as I always have to use a blender and add fruit, almond milk and lots of ice. I whip up this tasty treat that to me, tastes like a chocolate milkshake.

1 scoop of chocolate protein powder ( I use Shakeology, Dynamtize or VegaSport depending on what I have around)

8-10 oz of almond milk

1/2 banana

Handful of frozen cherries

1 Tbsp of cocoa powder & 1 tbsp of PB2

Lots of ice.

Blend for a minute and eat with a spoon.

Like everything else, decide if protein powder FITs your eating and fitness philosophy .

6 Food and Fitness Realizations That Changed My Life


The beauty of the fitness journey is we are always learning and always adjusting. I think about how I use to eat and workout, even just 4 years ago, and it has completely shifted.  My new rules of food and fitness serve me so much better and have changed the way I approach eat and every day.

Old: All or nothing.

I use to either eat super strict or not care. Neither one made me feel good physically or emotionally.

New: Moderation. 

It doesn’t matter whether I am at home, out to dinner, on vacation, or at a friends house, I eat the same. I make healthy choices with strategic indulgences. Deprivation doesn’t feel good but neither does being super stuffed. I could end up at  Jack In The Box and still make a healthy choice. I think. 😉

Old: What the scale says.

Oh that scale. I really don’t think it counts for a whole lot if it is within a few pounds. There is nothing more meaningless then stepping on a scale every day and judging your progress or self worth by a pound or two.

New: How my clothes fit.

How clothes fit are a much better indicator or if you are gaining or losing fat/weight. When using a scale you could be down a few pounds from a night of drinking. Healthy? Not necessarily. Or up a few pounds from extra sodium in last nights meal. Unhealthy. Not necessarily. Of course the scale can be a good indication and progress for some, but it is not the only one, and should definitely not be used to judge worth.

Old: Keep food out of the house.

I use to keep tempting food out the house and this can be a great initial tool to use when practicing moderation. The trouble is, unless you confine yourself to your home, you will be faced with tempting foods at some point. I had a phase where I just said no to things like ice cream in the house. Then I went crazy and said no to peanut butter in the house. I was scared that one bite would turn into the whole thing.

New: Keep food in the house and practice self trust.

Here is what I did. I would *practice* by keeping those mini Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or individual peanut butter packets in the house. It was there in case I wanted it but not so stressful that I would eat all of it. Once I developed that self trust, I introduced those foods back into the house without feeling the stress that I might eat it all.

Old: Eating on a clock.

Eating 6-8 meals is a modern way of eating. We train ourselves to to be hungry 6-8 times a day.  I did follow this strategy for quite a few years, and I think it can be helpful for some people, but for me it became stressful and I was always hungry. I pack my lunch almost everyday and trying to shove 6 meals into my lunch bag was not fun or convenient.

New: Listening to my body.

I still eat 4-5 meals/snacks a day but I do practice with the cues my body gives me. Am I hungry? Am I craving something? Am I thirsty? If I am not super hungry first thing in the morning I don’t make myself eat. But because I know my body, I will make sure I eat within a few hours so I do not get cranky by lunch time.

Old: Working out to burn calories (lots of running and long workouts).

I gotta tell you. I am not a fan of heart rate monitors that boast 900 calorie sweat sessions. Often the more you burn, burn, burn, the more you eat, eat, eat. Tons of calories burned is not the answer to your goals.

New: Working out to build lean muscle.

My workouts are short and sweet now and consist of three days a week of weight lifting, one day of intervals, one yoga or pilates session, and lots of dog walking. I would rather preserve my lean muscle and manage my appetite, then be a slave to calories burned.

Old: Never letting myself get hungry

I use to NEVER let myself get hungry. With the slightest acknowledge from body that I might need a calorie and  I would immediately grab a snack.  I would fear I would eat everything in sight if I got too hungry.

New: Letting myself get hungry

It is ok to let yourself get a little hungry. I have, over time, developed trust with myself that I will make good choices, even when I am starving. And when I am a little hungry, food tastes better. When I eat not to let myself get hungry, it is not as enjoyable.

These practice may take time to develop, but I would love to hear from you, if any of these resonate, or if you have any old versus new rules that you use.

 

 

Why you shouldn’t despise the way you eat

When it comes to eating, you actually have to like the way you eat. I have seen multiple posts in the new year, of people posting chicken and broccoli, plain salads, and odd looking green, brown juice concoctions, with comments of how they have to stick with it miserably, until a certain date or until they reach a certain goal.

Here is where the problem lies. If you do not enjoy the way you eat, you will not stick with it long term, and you will not get sustainable results. You may drop a few quick pounds short term, but long term they will come back on quickly, which turns into a constant yo-yo diet cycle, of on again, off again eating. How much you restrict yourself right now will determine how much you indulge in a few days, weeks, or months.

It IS possible to maintain lose fat or maintain your physique and like the way you eat. Now I like chicken and broccoli, but I also like chocolate and peanut butter too. I like pizza and ice cream as well. But I also know I can’t have everything all the time and maintain my weight. More so than what I eat, my mindset has shifted about how I think about food.
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I have developed a simple palate. Over the years I have experimented with different types of eating and did go through a phase where I did not want to put a sprinkle of salt or a hint of salad dressing on my food. Healthy? Not so much. But what I did learn during that time, is that I don’t need food to be as salty or as sweet as it is usually prepared. Steamed brown rice and veggies. Love ’em. Peppered chicken breast. Love that too. A starbucks with one pump of syrup. Perfect amount of sweetness. Uber salty and sweet food doesn’t taste good to me in large amounts. I love my sample bites, which you can read more about here, but I find that I feel better with less salt and sugar, and still really enjoy my food!

I don’t eat a cheat/treat meal unless I feel like it. And I don’t even call it a cheat/treat meal. I call it eating.  A friend told me that she had a treat meal, not because she craved it, but because she deserved it. I have even experienced this myself. I would eat perfect all week long and then get to eat a cookie on Sunday night because I had earned it. Even if I did not feel like it, I would still eat it.

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about food is the way we think about it. We think we earn food. We think we train so we can eat. No, we eat so we can train. We eat so we can move. We eat to be social. We eat to survive. Justifying our food choices is one of the biggest sabotages we can make, because no matter the situation we can always make it seem ok to overindulge, and ok to eat too little or too much. When you are justifying your choices, you can never be wrong. You never have to take responsibility You can get away with anything you claim to be right in your own head.

On your birthday do you deserve birthday cake? No, you make to choice to have it because you want it.

6-8 meals is not all that it is cracked up to be. Eating multiple times throughout the day CAN be good for the metabolism, if it works for you. But don’t automatically assume that it’s your key to success. Eating that often can be stressful. Prepping Tupperware can be stressful. Sometimes we eat, even if we are not hungry, just because we are “suppose” too. And what if you go out to dinner? Are you suppose to cut that meal into a 4th because it is too big to be a normal meal and you have already eaten 7 times today? I really try to eat when I am hungry, and always eat within a couple hours of waking. Sometimes I eat often throughout the day and other times I eat less. It often depends on how I am feeling that day.

I think that is the ultimate key to our success and that is why I can’t wait to share YOUR Meal Design (your, own, unique, rules) which is 30+ pages of strategies, recipes and information on how YOU can create your own meal design suited specifically for your needs.

Sign up here to get on the list so you are alerted when I release it! And in the meantime enjoy the way you eat. 😉

 

Loving Lulu: 10 reasons dogs make your life better

Happy 4th birthday Lulu!

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I can’t blog fitness, eating, health, relationships, and not dedicate at least a few to my precious fur baby Lulu.  She does get mentioned quite often as one of the cutest creatures you ever did see, and is infamous for making it difficult for me to leisure walk, as it is simply too exciting of adventures, not to check out everything in sight.

Lulu and I have had quite an adventure together and believe it or not we have lived in 4 different places in two years. She has happily accompanied me from place to place, always excited for the next adventure. I did not always like dogs, (I love last years birthday post you can check out here) but I have grown to love them and believe that they make your life better for so many reasons.

1. They take part in your joy and happiness.

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2. They like to get outside, be active, and move.

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3. The go with the flow.

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4. They are good company and companionship.

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5.They like to cuddle.

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6. They know when things are not going well.

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7. They want to help make it better. “Hey mom, if you could just let me on the bed, I can comfort you.”

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8. They believe in rest and recovery.

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9. They show unconditional love.

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10. Every day is the best day!

5 Kinds of Must Have, Multi-Purpose Cardio

There seems to be an anti-cardio movement going on in the fitness world and while I don’t believe cardio is a great tool to lose fat, I would never say that it is bad for you. However, I do think there is a misconception that the more you do, the better results you will get.

Longer duration cardio can keep our bodies in a chronically high cortisol (stress hormone )state and strip our bodies of lean muscle mass. Often this type of activity is either paired with eating less, in which our metabolic rate slows, or causes us to crave and eat more, resulting in excess fat/weight gain.

If you run long distance or like to spend an hour on the bike because you enjoy it, it releases those feel good endorphins, or you are training for a triathlon, then by all means go for it! But if your goal is to lose fat or build muscle, you are picking one of the least efficient forms of training.

Over the past few years I have figured out my own unique cardio formula, that has been most successful for my body and my mind.

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“Leisure walk” with my dog, Lulu.

 

Here are the 5 types of multi-purpose cardio that I enjoy and see results from.

 Leisure walking. The stress reducer.  Leisure walking is a great way to lower your cortisol levels. I walk 15-40 minutes 5 days a week with my dog, depending on how much time I have. She makes it a bit more stressful, as she likes to stop and smell everything or try to run ahead, but I take it as an opportunity to practice patience and enjoy my time outside.

Hiking/Swimming . The exercise that does not feel like exercise. When I go hiking or swimming, I don’t really think about it in a workout perspective. I think about it in a movement perspective. I don’t do it to burn calories, I do it because I love it and it is a great mood enhancer. I think it is important to have movement in our lives, that is not considered “exercise” to our brain.

 Sprinting – The athlete in me. Whenever I sprint it makes me feel like an athlete, which makes me feel powerful and confident. Sprinting is probably one of the forms of cardio I do least, but when I do it, it makes me feel strong. Sprinting is also a great workout to develop abs. Who knew? It works the waist from all angles and is one of the best exercises for fat burning.

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Post sprint workout.

 

Lift weights faster – The all-in-one cardio. This is the form I use most often to get my heart rate up. I like to pair most of my strength exercises in a pattern that allows me to keep moving, makes me breathe hard, and get the benefits of strength training at the same time.  This allows me to keep lean muscle mass and burn more calories at rest. (Sign up below to get a few examples).

Interval Training – More time efficient. I have no desire to sit on a bike, elliptical, or go for a run for more than 20 minutes, let alone 2 hours. If I can get solid benefits from 20 minutes of intervals working harder but for a shorter period of time, or add a quick 10 minutes in after my strength workout, I am all about it!

I created 10 types of multi purpose cardio workouts completely FREE for you to try. (Sign up  —-> here .) Ultimately, the best kind of cardio is the kind you can stick with ongoing. Find what you enjoy, or can at least tolerate the best, and you will find it is easier to stick with.

 Additional reading:

The Best Ab Exercise EVER That No One Does

Walking & Intense Training: Synergistic for Fat Loss

Cardio vs. weights: Which is really better for fat loss?

The edward scissorhands reminder

I am the worst movie person you ever did meet, in the sense that I just do not watch a whole lot of movies. In fact, it might be a fun game for you to ask me if I have seen a movie, because chances are, I have not. I have a handful of movies I love, and of course have seen *some* classics, but ask me if I have seen a movie and I probably have not. Star Wars? Harry Potter? Braveheart? Anchorman? I have not seen any of them!

My boyfriend wanted me to watch Edward Scissorhands last weekend and I resisted because I am not the biggest fan of scary movies. I am not one for creepy people sneaking up and scaring each other, especially with some scissors that could do some serious cutting and damage. He countered that Edward was not a bad guy and he thought I would like it.  I couldn’t wrap my head around this thought as I KNOW that when every Halloween comes around his face is plastered everywhere with the creepy association.

I ended up watching it and I was in complete shock because for the last 25 years (yes it was made it 1990) I thought Edward Scissorhands was a horrible villain that cut people up with his hands. And as it turns out, he is just completely misunderstood, judged solely by his looks and different upbringing. Halloween has been encouraging his villain like appearance for years, and I fell right into the trap. The same trap that we all fall in when we go about our days and lives making assumptions and judgements about the world around us.

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We judge without really knowing and we judge with out even bothering to learn.

 

I couldn’t help but be reminded that perception is everything. 

We choose how we view the world. We choose how we view our circumstances and we choose how we view others. We  judge without really knowing and we judge with out even bothering to learn.

This is what dictates our views and approaches towards life, relationships, and how we view ourselves. In the book, The Blue Zones, there is a passage about an American visiting Costa Rica, who meets a man who loves to play his guitar, drink beer, spend time with his family and amigos, and fish. The American questions why he doesn’t try to turn fishing into a business, to make more money, to be more successful and to have more time to do things he wants to do. The Costa Rican man explains that if he had more time he would play his guitar, drink beer, spend time with his family and amigos, and fish. He would do the things he is already doing.

I love this scenario because there are two completely different perceptions here. I don’t think either one is wrong or right, but you can choose either view, as long as the view suits you. I think this is a huge part in our own personal happiness. The American man wants more money and success to do the things he wants and the other man find happiness in what he already is doing.

The key is, we have the choice.

That can be one of the hardest things to accept, admit, or take personal responsibility for, but we can choose to view situations with gratitude and love, or we can choose to view that everything is happening against us. The trouble with viewing the latter is that it often leads to a great deal of unhappiness and misery, when we feel the world is out to get us. I do not know about you but I am all about lessening misery and increasing happiness.

I find the best way to do this is by practicing gratitude and not making assumptions or judgements. By using these key tools we set ourselves up for the opportunity to choose how we view everything arounds us. Good or bad. Happy or sad. A challenge or opportunity. We have the power to choose. 

And let me tell you, to have this power is really amazing! It helps us create the lives we want without having to depend on anyone else for our own happiness. I find it to be a constant practice, as yesterday I was not having the best day, feeling a bit sorry for myself and falling into victim mode.  I had a moment where I told myself. “Ok Adele, you can sit here and be miserable about things you feel are not going well today. OR you can change your perception about this day and change the direction it is going.” I took the power and with an hour my mood completely shifted.

Working on this practice is the way we shift our energy, the way we change our perception, and the way we change our lives. It is the way we view the world and life around us and if you are not careful you might spend 25 years judging and assuming, without ever really learning and knowing, others and yourself.