Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Protein Packed Smoothie

When I was training for Ironman distance races, this smoothie was one of my favorite post long training day "snacks." Of course, after a long day of training I could call it a "snack" and quickly inhale whatever else was around. These days I like to have it in the morning as breakfast so that I can sip it as I run around after my two little wiggly girls and somehow get them dressed and out the door before I go crazy.

The best part about this smoothie is that it fills me up and keeps me satisfied so I don't have a mid-morning snack attack. I don't usually measure out the ingredients as I've made them for so many years but you can vary the ingredients depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

Ingredients: (1 serving)
Blend the following ingredients until smooth in either a large blender or my preference, the Rocket Blender which is a much easier clean-up.
1 ripe banana
1/3 -1/2 cup of non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt* (you can use vanilla if you want it to taste a bit sweeter)
1/2 cup cut fresh strawberries (use whatever berries are in season or simply increase the amount of frozen berries below)
1/3 cup of frozen mixed organic berries
1 scoop of whey protein powder (I currently use biPro because it's sugar free, unflavored, contains no bulking agents and blends great)
1/4-1/3 cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk
1/4 teaspoon of organic blue agave syrup (if the fruit isn't quite sweet enough, this syrup is better to use than sugar - if you can't find it at your local grocery store, it can be found here)

* I like to alternate between regular yogurt and greek yogurt because when comparing the two per serving, regular yogurt contains more calcium and greek contains more protein.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Guy On A Budget: Four C9 by Champion Products to Buy at Target

As I mentioned in my previous post, the C9 by Champion line at Target has some great workout pieces that are not only affordable but well worth snagging before they are gone.

Here are my men's picks:

This C9 by Champion Men's Jacket ($24.99)
is a great lightweight cover up. It is semi-fitted, has two front pockets and is made of wicking fabric. It comes in two colors and is a great jacket for the gym or running errands around town.

The Long Sleeve Powercore Tee ($16.99) is a steal as most compression fit shirts are more than double this price. This versatile wicking top can be worn as a base-layer or on it's own.

The Pieced Tee ($14.99 now $12.74) is a great basic wicking tee and is on sale now! The contrast color under the arms gives it a sporty look but also serves as side vents to keep you cool.

Just like the previous tee, the Long Sleeve Tee ($16.99) is a great basic lightweight long sleeve workout top. It comes in several colors and will keep you moving on those cool days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Girl On A Budget: Five C9 by Champion for Target Items Worth Buying

Let's face it, good workout gear can be expensive so I was excited to see the Target exclusive C9 by Champion spring line. With prices that won't make you sweat (nothing is over $50), there are definitely some pieces worth snagging. While the fabric may not be as technical as some of the more expensive fitness pieces out in the market, they still do a good job wicking sweat and, most importantly, keeping you moving if you're on a budget. I tried on just about every piece of the line at my local Target so that you know which pieces are worth buying and how they fit.

Here are five of my favorite items...

Cardio Athletic Jacket ($27.99): Very cute, lightweight jacket that is perfect to wear to the gym. It has a semi-fitted silhouette so go up one size if you want a bit more breathing room or to layer pieces. Love the cute ruching at the wrist and inside pockets to store your iPod or keys.

C9 by Champion Running Skort ($17.99): This is a steal as most running skorts are more than double this price. It has a great fit and has a flattering look. The waistband sits smoothly without cutting into your hips (and creating the dreaded muffin top), but is snug enough to stay put while you run.

Long & Lean Running Tank: ($14.99) With summer fast approaching, grab a few of these basic tanks that come in a variety of great colors. It's long enough to hit below your waist and has a fairly snug fit so size up if you like a looser top.

Seamless Cami Bra: ($16.99)  I picked up one of these seamless bras for myself as it is soft and comfortable. While it doesn't have enough support for me to run in, it's perfect for a pilates class or weight training. I like the fact that it has adjustable straps in the back so you can customize it a bit.

Running Capri Pants: ($25.99) These fit well and have a drawstring to keep them from riding down while running or doing high impact exercises. The waistband has more of a regular fit (versus a low rise) and hits just below the belly button. They have an overall snug fit and the cuffs hit just below the kneecap.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Portion Distortion

Pic from sparkpeople.com

Do you really know what a correct portion size is? Food sizes have steadily increased and often provide well over the daily amount you need in one meal - "Super-size me!"

Take this quick, informative quiz from Sparkpeople.com and see how you do. Even if you feel like you know what an appropriate portion size is, you might be surprised at what you learn.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Treat Yourself!

Put down the chocolate and treat yourself to something healthy...

I'm smitten with this pink Swiftly Tech 1/2 Zip ($88) from lululemon. This gorgeous lightweight top is made with my favorite anti-odor fabric, Silverescent so you can sweat hard and still cuddle with your favorite valentine post-workout.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Sporty Looks For Your Little Ones

If you're a sporty mom or dad, chances are your little ones want to look just like you when you're wearing your finest fitness attire. My oldest daughter is always grabbing my running shoes and putting them on her feet and "running" through the house just like mommy does. She had the cutest pink adidas tracksuit (pic here) that she would wear to kids' fun runs that she has since outgrown so it's time to find her something new.

Here are a few adorable items for your fit kid:

An adorable half-zip just like moms and dads for those chilly days.

I love this classic tracksuit style to replace the outfit my little one outgrew.

This sporty jacket also has matching pants ($34) to complete this cute tracksuit look.

Skirt Sports Happy Kid Skirt ($36)

A running skirt for girls, how cute!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let It Rain

For this post, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite waterproof jackets of the season:

While we haven't had much rain as of late, the Brooks Women's Utopia Embossed Soft Shell ($120) has still been my go-to jacket this winter. for both workouts and running errands around town because it's stylish, comfortable and functional. I immediately liked the pretty embossed print when I first laid eyes on it because it gives it a unique look compared to your basic workout jacket.

Well worth the price, it's made of a breathable, full-stretch, and waterproof fabric which makes it ideal to wear on both cold rainy days or cool spring mornings as a layering piece. Fully-loaded it also comes with a cozy cuff with thumbholes (see pic), a flip-mitt and an internal moisture-proof media pocket along with other details.

Wearing my Utopia jacket!

Brooks Mens Utopia Soft Shell

The men's version, called the Brooks Utopia Soft Shell, is a favorite among the guys for its fit and lightweight feel. Also comes with the above details and is available in four great colors.

Monday, February 6, 2012

10 Tips to Fit Exercise Into Your Schedule

Multitasking with my iPad

Happy Monday - or, shall we say, Motivation Monday.

How many of you made time for yourself today to exercise? Especially those of you with kids?  Are you following your New Year's resolution to exercise more?

Well, February is American Heart Month so it's the perfect time to motivate yourself to make sure exercise becomes a regular part of your life. Need more motivation besides wanting to stick to a goal and follow it? According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. So, let's get rid of the excuses and find some ways to fit exercise into your life.

Here are ten tips to help you get motivated:

1) Find Something You Enjoy:

There are so many different options when it comes to exercise that if you try something and don't like it, try again! Run, bike, walk, swim, Zumba, pilates, bodypump, yoga, kickboxing, Jazzercise, water aerobics, bootcamp, rowing, etc. Ok, you get my point, the list could go on and on.

2) Get Into A Routine:

Schedule your workouts just like an important work appointment and commit to 3-5 workouts a week for a month. (When just starting out, if you're really sore continue to stick to your commitment even if just exercising easy for 20 minutes.) You'll be surprised at how exercise will become a part of your routine.

3) Change Into Your Workout Gear:

I'm not sure why but simply putting on my workout clothes gets me into the mindset to workout. Sometimes I'll just put my workout clothes on first thing in the morning even if I'm not planning to exercise for a while. I always end up working out no matter how tired I am or what comes up that might normally dissuade me from exercising.

4) Start Moving:

If you don't feel like exercising, tell yourself you'll just exercise for 10 minutes and if you don't feel like continuing you will stop. Sometimes simply telling yourself is enough to get you moving - and once you're exercising you'll more than likely continue to exercise past those 10 minutes.

5) Get A Workout Buddy:

I've blogged about it before, but by committing to another person you are much more likely to stick with a workout program. Plus it's just that much more fun to chat with a friend and makes the time pass more quickly.

6) Invest In Exercise Equipment:

Eliminate the excuse that it's too far or you're too tired to drive to the gym. I recently purchased an indoor stationary bike and it's been a great investment. I can ride while I watch a TV show at night or while my kids are napping and there is no need to drive to the gym.

7) Don't Get Stuck:

Some people get a set number in their mind as to what a "good" workout is (for example, at least a 5 mile run or a 45 minute workout), and if they don't have time then it's not worth doing. Get rid of this negative thinking.  Even a 15 minute walk is better than nothing in the long run.

8) Set A Goal:

Set a goal for yourself and tell someone about it - whether it's running 3 miles without stopping or signing up for a fun run/walk.  A goal will motivate you to continue to exercise especially if people know about it and will hold you accountable. Better yet, get someone to do it with you! 

9) Use Technology:

With technology there are so many possibilities. Download some music that motivates you to workout and keeps you moving by taking your mind off of the task at hand. Or download your favorite movie/series on your phone but only allow yourself to watch it while working out. You'll be surprised at how quickly the time passes when watching an episode of your favorite show. 

10) Don't Use Kids As An Excuse:

Yes, things get more complicated when you have kids but you can still find the time to exercise. Find a gym that has a daycare included in the monthly fees or put in a workout dvd and exercise during naps or before the kids get up in the morning. Even better, exercise with your kids and show them how important it is to stay healthy. The Wii Fit can become a fun family time while getting in some exercise. Jump rope with your kids and see who can do it the longest. Get creative and have fun! Also, take advantage of family if they offer to watch your kids. My father-in-law comes over two times a week on a regular basis so that I can exercise. Not only does it get me out the door, but he and my girls get quality time together.

Get out there and get your heart pumping!