Eating around a workout

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If you are like me, I have struggled through an intense workout too soon after a meal and maybe (!) saw that meal again, sadly. Felt like a whole lot of wasted time and food. Or I have woken up for a endurance exercise like a long run and felt utterly sluggish from the lack of fuel. A cup of coffee just won’t cut it!

In the recent weeks I have been researching and experimenting with eating before and after a workout. I believe I have found the secret formula for both intense and moderate workouts!

For all intensities…

An hour before your workout starts: Have a small simple carb with low fiber, like a banana, and a liter of water. I also will have a cup of coffee. The caffeine will get the energy levels jump started. Avoid having more than two cups though. Too much acid can cause tummy troubles mid workout.

After your workout: Pack on the protein and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I recommend a recovery beverage, like P90X results and recovery to help process the lactic acid and prevent soreness, but that is not a food! Protein shake, veggie egg scramble, and Greek yogurt and granola are all great options for a post early morning meal. If your workout is later in the day, you can go for any protein/complex carb mix. Try Avocado and black bean with quinoa wrap, or hummus and whole grain flat-bread with veggies! I always have pre-baked chicken breasts on hand in the fridge, which go great with just about anything.

For those pesky long endurance workouts:  Carb loading is not a myth. Have some simple carbs the night before if your workout will be longer than an hour. I reach for good old cheerios and almond milk before bed. Late workout? Carb it up at breakfast but ease up at lunch. See previous guidelines for an hour before your workout. Those still apply!

Your body is a machine! Fuel that puppy right. If you are making an effort to fit exercise into your busy life, give yourself the best shot to make it super effective! Get the most bang for your buck time!

Meal prep! Failure to plan…

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Failure to plan is planning to fail… someone once said that. Various sources are pointing at Franklin or Churchill. I am not sure who deserves the credit for the quote but I love it. I know the wording is kind of harsh, but I would say that if you have a goal to eat well and save money, there is no better way to ensure your success than meal planning and prepping your food ahead of time.

I’m a teacher, so I had today off, and tomorrow is a professional day (no students). So I have a fairly easy week ahead of me, and I did my weekly prep and plan today (Monday) instead of the usual Sunday. Yesterday the kids and I took a day trip to Magic Kingdom. We live only a couple hours from Orlando, but the big one was complaining the whole ride about how long the trip was! If only you knew how good you have it, kid!

My meals this week will be clean and yummy for the whole family! I am weening myself off of dairy. I still give my kids milk and yogurt and cheese, but the only thing I am allowing myself at this point is the sugary goodness that is coffeemate creamer. Next long weekend I am going to experiment with a few homemade, dairy-free recipes but for now it’s my little treat in the morning.

  • Shredded chicken tacos in the crockpot with black beans and avocado.
  • Lemon tilapia, steamed zuchinni, and roasted sweet potatoes (yes again! I am in love with them roasted in coconut oil!)
  • Shepards pie – I found a variant using frozen cooked butternut squash in place of the mashed potatoes. Going to give it a whirl!
  • Whole grain pasta with my hidden veggie sauce and a salad

I leave one weeknight meal for Leftovers, and one night we will be out the house for dinner. This will take us through Saturday!

Sounds good right? I also prepped some things for breakfast, lunches and snacks:

  • boiled eggs
  • cooked plain quinoa
  • baked a lb of chicken breasts
  • Soaked oats for tomorrow’s baked oatmeal – with strawberries this time – that should last most of the week.
  • cut up a watermelon, avocado, and a mango
  • portioned grapes (otherwise my daughter would plow through the whole bag in 5 minutes)
  • Bagged up portions of black beans and quinoa for lunch wraps

20140120_181944 20140120_182014That about does it! I’ve been using a structured dinner plan with a few ideas for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. That’s what works best for my family and it simplifies things for us here who like to decide snacks on a whim. However, when I was on a super tight grocery budget, I planned down to how many apples I would need to buy for each person’s snack needs. It works for some, but that was just way too much micromanaging for my taste!

I had the chicken and tilapia in the freezer already (I buy extra when it’s on sale and stock up my freezer), but with this meal plan plus all the breakfast/lunch/snack foods AND various health/beauty items I needed, my grocery bill only came to $78!

Eating well does NOT have to be expensive! More on that another day, but really people, I promise it’s doable. More than doable.

Not only is it easier on the wallet, but my training for my second half marathon is going leaps and bounds better than my first. I know without a doubt it’s because I’m eating well! Fuel your body right! It will do whatever your mind decides it wants to. Promise. ❤

How is your week looking?

New Year’s Resolutions: Put it to ACTION!

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I will go ahead and admit it. I lurve me some resolutions. But… I know most people make em and and break em, so I am here to help make some goals that can actually be met.

GOALPLAN

Common resolutions like “lose weight” or “save money” ultimately start and end the first week of January. Why? There are a lot of blogs/books that break down goals into little bitty pieces and complicate things, but it all boils down to one thing: it’s too dang vague. Oh yeah? You are going to lose weight? How? Doing what? And why haven’t we been doing this all along?

Goals will be met if there is a plan! So instead of stating the outcome as your goal, restate your goal as an action goal. What are you going to DO in 2014. Here are a few examples of how to change a vague goal into an action goal:

Vague, sucky goal: I’m going to lose 20lbs in 2014! (high fives all around! Woot woot!)

Action goal: I’m going to exercise 4x a week for 1 hour each day, 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weight training.

Vague, sucky, never-going-to-happen goal: I’m going to save a ton of money in 2014! Gonna be super stacked! Dolla dolla bills ya’ll!

Action goal: I’m going to write up a budget that saves me $300 a month and I’m going to follow it! Yay math!

See the difference? I mean, outcomes are the reason you try to make these resolutions, I get that. However, that seems to be the never-ending problem with health and fitness. Wish for the accomplishment without giving any real thought to the work that is involved to reach that milestone.

So I encourage you to stop and think, before you are popping the bubbly and smooching your date, to write out your goals on paper. Yep, old fashioned paper and a pen or pencil. Underline your goal. Then ask yourself, what will I have to do to accomplish this? Make a list. Brainstorm. Write down everything and anything you can think of that you are willing and able to do to reach that goal. And be honest with yourself. Can you afford that crossfit membership? Can you get up at 4:30am before work? Really??? Be realistic, and also understand that it will probably look a little daunting. Then draw a line across the paper after the idea dump. Look at your list. Pick out one or two tasks that, if followed through with, would snowball into more and more tasks accomplished. A task that if you complete it, other tasks would naturally be completed. For example, if you chose “go to the gym 4x a week for an hour each day,” you would naturally have to get a membership and get some new workout duds.

Now, under the line, re-write your goal as an inclusive action statement. Make it say what you are going to actually DO that will take you to your ultimate goal, without stating the ultimate goal itself. Don’t worry about it including every little thing in your brainstormed list. As I said before, they will all get done by default. When you commit to your action goal, doing the little things will seem more do-able because you have taken out the vagueness and put in something tangible you can accomplish. You know it is not going to be easy, but that’s ok, because you have been honest with yourself and tailored your action goal to be something you know you CAN do!

ACTION

That’s why you haven’t gotten to saving money yet; it’s hard. That’s why most people do not reach their goals, small and large. They are goals because they are something you want to do but it is an uncomfortable thing to do. But if we are really putting ourselves out there and truly reaching for more, these goals should be scary. Uncomfortable. Even intimidating. If they don’t scare you at least a little bit after you have wrote down what it will take to get there, then you are not aiming high enough.

So happy goal setting, peeps! I’d love to hear what your action goal is for 2014! Comment below and tell us.

Baked Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal

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baked-oatmeal-with-blueberries

This is a recipe that I modified from thischickcooks.

And by modify I mean added unsweetened coconut, used frozen blueberries instead of fresh (boo… sorry I’m cheap. Fresh is best, I know) and two tablespoons of honey instead of 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

As is, the recipe’s great! I’ve made it with the syrup before but I think mine is not a high enough quality for the recipe. Use whatever sweetener you enjoy. Brown sugar would work too. I didn’t use a 1/4 cup, but I don’t like my oatmeal super sweet. The following recipe makes 4 servings. I double the recipe and make it on the weekend. Refrigerate for a quick and easy, yummy and healthy breakfast all week!

Overnight Baked Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, water and yogurt and cover. Set on the counter the night before you want to bake the oatmeal.

  2. Heat the oven to 375. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the berries.

  3. Stir remaining ingredients into oat mixture (except for berries) and sprinkle on remaining blueberries.

  4. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until it is set and the top is golden brown.

Swap out blueberries for whatever berry or fruit you like! Let me know if you changed anything and how it turned out in the comments below.

Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://thischickcooks.net/2012/05/14/overnight-wild-blueberry-baked-oatmeal-nourishing-traditions-style/

Meditation challenge week 2

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Happy holidays, peeps! Hope it was full of love and family. I had a fantastic Christmas eve and day. The holidays are still rolling around here, as I have my baby brother and his lovely girlfriend in town through the new year. 🙂

On the Momstar (previous blog) I mentioned my new years resolution to try out a new positive habit every month of 2014. January is meditation, and I decided to start early. Last week I completed class one at http://www.onlinemeditation.org and it was… interesting.

I enjoy meditating. I already can tell that it is a very underutilized wellness tool. I am a skeptical scientist at my core but I could truly feel the energy. It may have been created by my mind because I wanted to feel it, but either way, the experience so far has helped my mindfulness, so what could it hurt? Even if it is pseudoscience?

A few hiccups:

  • Finding time. Even for 15 minutes, finding alone time where I am not solely responsible for the well-being of my two small children is difficult without sufficient planning.
  • Forgetting about the world around me. Hard hard hard. The hardest. I’m trying.
  • Posture. My posture sucks. If I am truly emptying my mind for a chunk of time, I am forgetting to remind myself to sit up straight. After 9 minutes my shoulders are almost touching my knees and my neck hurts.
  • Finding the optimal time to  harness my own energy. Let’s just say its not 10pm. ZZzzzzz….

While I intended to complete two classes a week, I only got through one so far. Oops. Ah well, good thing I started a month early. During the past two weeks I did meditate at least once a day almost every day. So I will chalk that up to a success! On to class two this coming week, Preparing yourself for Kundalini awakening. You can get to the class 2 page here.

Please comment below with your experience of class one! I’d love to hear what you thought. And of course start now with us! The course is free, online, and self guided. Get at it.

This would also be an amazing journey to take with a spouse/partner. Just saying. 😉

Happy meditating!

– Amy

*I don’t receive anything from the meditation site. I simply found something cool and am sharing!

New things, plus some begging.

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happy voltaire

Hey all, and welcome. I really appreciate you stopping in. If you are a momstar reader (my previous blog), thank you thank you thank you for coming over here. With my future endeavors, it was important for me to have a more professional platform that was more focused on my goals. The switch has been a long time coming, but rest assured that I will maintain my same snarky self. Couldn’t stop if I tried.

So while construction is underway, please take a minute to subscribe/share/etc! Here I will be sharing information on all things wellness. Fitness tips and challenges, nutrition advice and recipes, and essays and discussions on personal growth. I want to get the most out of my life, and I want you to come with me. So please, share! (I’m not above begging 🙂 )

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please email me at stellawellsfitness@gmail.com.

Have a happy day!

❤ Amy