Thursday, April 24, 2014

Low Carb Meal Ideas

Most of us really love carbs. We like them to dip in salsa, we like them surrounding a hamburger, we like them mashed, we like them mixed in with corn, we like them with beans, we like them with all things Mexican, we like them in pasta, we like them with all the cheeses, we like them with pizza, we like them in dessert. Carbs = comfort.

Carbs are not bad. The right kinds of carbs and whole grains fuel an active life style. We need carbs to survive. That said, from my personal experience, the easiest way to drop weight is to cut daily carb counts. That's not to say I don't eat carbs. I do. I allow myself two-three servings everyday. Whether it's oatmeal in the morning, a sweet potato at lunch, brown rice with a favorite dish, or ,my personal favorite, popcorn which I literally could never live without, varies day to day. I try to put together meals with low carb counts that are still incredibly filling. Here are a few of my current favorite go to dishes:

Sam's Club Asian Stir Fry is a hot item right now. It's delicious, low calorie, low carb, super filling, and my husband will eat it too.

Great for Lunch & Dinner

Any white fish is a great source of protein and a low source of fat. Below I made tilapia with asparagus (side of sweet potato. I started baking fish in foil packets with my veggies. 350 for 30 minutes. Mmmmm good

Do not underestimate the power of the cauliflower. It is one of the more versatile veggies. Below is cauliflower mashed "potatoes", veggies, and ground turkey.

Jamie Eason's Turkey Muffins, Walden Farms ketchup, side of veggies. These turkey muffins taste like mini meatloaf. My husband, who is just plain sick of turkey, was picking these off my plate the other night. They are DELICIOUS. Everything I've ever made from a Jamie Eason recipe has been delicious.

Let's move onto Breakfast. It is the best meal of the day. Cause it's first. If you ain't first your last

Egg white omelette, stuffed with spinach and melted string cheese, side of strawberries

Chocolate protein waffle with a side of homemade fig preserves. Compliments of my Mother in Law!

There are so many different recipes available for the protein waffle. If you have protein powder on hand a quick #proteinwaffle search on Instagram will pull up a million and two recipes for you to choose from. That's exactly how I found the one above!

Snacks, these are two of my favorites. 

The Quest Bar. All Hail the Quest Bar. Turkey Perky Jerky 
(brand found at Target)

What are your go to low carb meals?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Speed It Up: Treadmill Routines

Good morning!! It's Wednesday folks, we are half way there! Happy Dance! I've talked a lot in the past about beating treadmill boredom, and shared tempo run routines. Every time I've been successful increasing overall run speed, it's been using the treadmill to propel me to the next level. 

Fact: When I first started running, I would run two miles on Sunday because the gym wasn't open. I was running a 12:30 minute mile and feeling like I was going to dieeeeee. I didn't, obviously, but I did start to drop those pesky pounds. 

Eventually, I got brave enough to get on the treadmill and start pushing myself at the gym. Back then, I wanted to run at 6.0 and up for more than 3 minutes at a time. 3 minutes grew to five minutes, 8 minutes, and so on. Small, short, concise, achievable goals have always worked well for me. When I took it back to the pavement, I was running in an upper 10. I felt like I was flying.

Right now, I'm trying to see how far I can run in 30 minutes. My short term goal is 3.5 miles. It always seems impossible until it's done. I'm adjusting my cardio to more adequately burn fat, cutting out the long slow distance, and swapping it in for short, fast, aggressive runs. I'm usually on the treadmill thinking:

First five minutes 
Pfff I'm hardly sweating! 
I'm so badass
Five minutes later
This is getting tough
Why am I doing this? 
I wonder how loud I'm breathing
Nah I'm good
This isn't so bad
No Pain No Gain
I hope I'm not dripping on the machine
That's so gross
You are gross
This is gross
Running is gross
It's almost over, it's almost over. 
You can do anything for 30 minutes. 
Speed training is supposed to hurt. 
You can do it, You Can Do It
One More Minute and You can Start Slowing Down
I can
I can't
I Can
I can't
I Will
Recover Recover Recover
Why Isn't my heart rate coming down?
Ok, I'm going to Make it....I think
Do not look at the time
Come on playlist gimme something good
 Do not look at the time
30 Seconds later
Whoaaaa I am booking It
Fastest girl in town, oh yeahs
Do not look at the time
30 Seconds later
Shit I still have 10 minutes
Push it, push it real good
Last mile- here we go
Cool Down Time- That wasn't so bad

I've been alternating between seeing how long I can hold on at the top of my speed range- I pretty much max out at 8.0 for one minute without needing to rest- and trying to up my recovery pace. I've been using a 10 minute mile, or 6.0, for my all day pace throughout long distance training and I'd like to get that up to 6.5

I have been loosely following Jamie Eason's LiveFit Program phase two for a few weeks now. I know sprints are coming in phase three, I peaked shame on me, so I'm trying to prepare myself to step up the cardio. I do plan to follow phase three religiously.

Additionally, using a sprint and recover treadmill routine to help me increase my all day recovery pace. Sprints are really great fat burners, and will help increase speed at a longer distance. I did this routine yesterday evening. I had to coach myself to finish off the sprints as my legs felt like gelatin come number 13, but it was such a rewarding work out! If you don't need a walking recovery, jump straight into a run! My lil heart rate needed a recovery.

 What are your favorite ways to switch things up on the treadmill?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Abs are Made in the Kitchen: What Does that Even Mean?

We've all heard this phrase and seen Pinterest inspiration declaring Abs are Made in the Kitchen

Awesome that's my favorite room in the house! How long do I have to hang out in the kitchen until I'm all rippped up?

This phrase, Abs are Made in the Kitchen, basically boils down to reducing body fat by controlling what you eat. When we exercise, we're using our core, and should be keeping the core engaged, through out a work out. Meaning we are working core every time we exercise! Everything is interrelated on some level. A strong core is a major building block in nearly all physical fitness. 

Example, as a runner, I became stronger as my core strength increased, enabling my upper body to be more adequately supported through out a run. When I first start running, I can recall my upper body being incredibly sore post run, as I improved, that soreness stopped happening.

I used to think I had to do ab work at the end of every single work out. Six days a week. I'm not joking. I would come off the road after a novel distance and force myself to do core. It was totally unnecessary. As I've gotten more into lifting, I'm discovering most don't work abs but once or twice a week. Those ab muscles come out to say hello with the decrease in body fat. It doesn't matter how many times you do Jillian Michael's 6 Week 6 Pack, if you spend 8 hours a day planking, do 500 crunches every morning before breakfast, if you body fat isn't decreased, you won't see your abdominal muscles.

How do you decrease body fat? This is the real tricky scenario. For me personally, where the hardest work truly lies. Body fat is decreased through a consistently disciplined diet. A consistent low carb, high protein diet, coupled with consistent fitness. The leanest I've every been was 19%. I had to work incredibly hard to get there. 

I'm currently between 23% and 24% body fat. This number has been fluctuating for me over the last few months. I couldn't eat for aesthetics, (essentially what a low carb, high protein cutting diet is, eating for looks) while long distance running. The body needs carbs to fuel intense physical fitness. Carbs are fuel. Now that my long distance run season is over, I'm ready to get super serious in the kitchen. 

Would I like to be leaner? Oh yeah absolutely! However, I want to be realistic about how lean I want to be without driving myself insane food obsessing. That's no fun either let me tell ya!

I've begun adjusting my goals to fit into the realistic way I live my life. For me, that fits somewhere in between eating for aesthetics and eating for performance. My summer lean goal is 20% body fat. I'd say it's realistic to assume, one percent loss per month with consistent hard work in the kitchen and in the gym. Here we go, lean out for summer, oh yeahs! Tomorrow, speed training, and Thursday it's low carb meal ideas. Now this is all fitting together quite nicely!

Where does eating for aesthetics vs eating for performance fit into your life?

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Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Crescent City Classic Recap

The Crescent City Classic is a New Orleans Easter Weekend Tradition. The annual 10k race continues to grow in size, and is the only 10k race I've ever completed with an Expo and a finishers medal. Last year, Susannah and I rant his race together for the first time. When she asked me if I wanted to run again, I knew instantly I would love to. Last year I was able to PR on this course and we had a fantastic weekend.

That said, I hadn't prepared for this race at all. I did run four miles last Wednesday, but that had been my longest run since the Zydeco Half Marathon March 30th. I've been battling a nagging hip injury, so my goal was essentially to just have fun. Fun run.

Obligatory Cheesy Blogger Picture at the Expo
Friday afternoon we hit up the expo and carb loaded like we were running a marathon the next day. I'd say I have no regrets but I ate like trash for three days straight so guess what... I feel like trash. I'll never learn! Susannah and I order the following dishes to share, both were amazing a la Louisiana Pizza Kitchen

Shrimp and Andouille Mac & Cheese 

Kitchen Sink Pizza

Saturday morning rolled around, and I've got to be honest. I was not feeling this race. I had the don't wants. I actually didn't get out of bed until 7:00am, the race started at 8:00am across town. Nevertheless, we committed to this so suck it up buttercup!

We rushed out the door and to the start line. I was immediately overwhelmed with how many people there were! I couldn't even see the start line from where we were standing. I'm just shy of six feet tall, so I'm used to seeing what's coming ahead! So. Many. People. We hopped into a corral, snapped a few quick pics and got ready to roll!

It was pretty cool out, and then I was thankful we hadn't been waiting at the start longer. It took 20 minutes after the first corral began for us to cross the start line. Susannah and I planned to stick together for the race, but she kept telling me, If it feels good you should go for the PR! 

Mile One: 10:20

There's so many people and we're both making active attempts to pass people. There's walking going on before the quarter mile marker, and we're both bobbing and weaving between other people. We're passing Jackson Square and Cafe Du Monde at about a mile and half in. 

We're joking about stopping for breakfast and then running the rest of the way. One day, we will do this, fun run right?! As we're about to make the turn onto Esplanade, I'm feeling really great. Let's see what we can do today legs!

Mile Two: 8:55

I can tell I've picked up the pace, but I'm thinking I'm running in a 9:30? All I'm thinking about is getting around people and finding an open space. I'm running in the median on Esplande. I'm criss crossing the boulevard and passing on water, major clusters of people at the water stops.

Mile Three: 9:41

Traffic jam at the mile markers. I do not like big crowds. I just want two feet of space on all sides. Is that so much to ask?! There are all kinds of people out running this race, but my favorites are those out to make a statement.

Mile Four: 9:07

We're about to hit City park. It's almost over and I'm getting serious. I'm thinking about all those carbs I ate the night before and I'm ready to burn off some of those calories. Let's go! Move it Sista!

Mile Five 9:04

I feel incredible. Incredible! I feel like I could run a half marathon this day! To think I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. The race day endorphins are like crack to me. I'm ready to bring this home! I'm actively trying to pass people, but the smaller road space in the park, is leading to a denser amount of runners. The amount of walking going on around me is mind blowing. I'd say the walkers far out number the runners at this point.

Mile Six: 9:12

Heading into the shute I'm picking up the pace big time. I'm ready to totally exhaust myself. Burn calories burn! The girl not two feet in front of me stops dead in the middle of the road to talk to her friend. I plow into the back of her and we almost both fall. She cuts me the stink eye. She's lucky I have runners high.

I crossed the finish line at 6.41 miles for a total of 1:00:18 run. I guess I did a lot of zig zagging.

My husband is waiting for me at the finish line, and he doesn't even realize I've crossed. Why? Because there are so many people! It took me 45 minutes to track down my people. Phew. This was fun, but it wasn't fun, know what I'm sayin? I love this race, the course is incredible, but there were far too many people out on this run. We decide to skip on the race's finish line festival and head to brunch. 

Cafe Navarre and a carafe of Mimosas is a NOLA post race tradition

CCC Finishers = Happy Girls

Would I run this race again? Yes. I would however, make an active attempt to start closer to the start line and jump into a faster corral. Bobbing and weaving between people for an hour was not fun, and trying to run when so many people are walking, is dangerous for everyone involved. All in all, These NOLA run weekends are so much fun. I love getting to visit with our friends, with a little bit of run fun in the middle. New Orleans is simply perfection this time of year!

Post Race fun with the krewe

Weekly Work Out Goals:


30 Minute Fast Run

40 Minute Fast Run

30 Minute Fast Run

Stair Master

Leg Day


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