Thursday, September 26, 2013

Legs: The Foundation of our Bodies

I lift weights five days per week. I always make sure to shake up my workout routine to keep my muscles challenged, but I also make sure to work my legs twice a week, as opposed to once a week like every other muscle. Why you ask? The legs are the foundation of our bodies; they're used in a plethora of exercises, not just the ones that primarily target the legs, like the bench press. Since the legs are used in so many exercises, I work them twice a week; on Monday and on Friday. Here is the pool of exercises I choose from:

Squats (Regular)
Front Squats (With Cross Hand Grip)
Dumbbell Lunges
Punching Bag Lunges (Throw the punching bag over your shoulder and lunge)
Leg Presses (I do two variations, with my legs positioned high on the platform, and low)
Tire Flips
Leg Extension Machine (with one leg, and both legs)
Leg Curl Machine
Calf Raises

I usually make sure to always do squats, but I only dead-lift every other week. But I don't simply do the same thing on Mondays and Fridays, so here's the second aspect to my leg workouts:

Mondays: I focus on lower weight and more repetitions on Mondays. I also do squats, leg presses, and leg extensions with my legs positioned closer together. I also don't ever dead-lift on Mondays. Lastly, I only do leg curls and calf raises on Mondays, never on Fridays.

Fridays: I focus on fewer repetitions with higher weight. I also my squats, leg presses, and leg extensions with my legs positioned further apart. This is also when I max out on my squats and dead-lifts (when I do them). I also do most of my tire flipping on Fridays as well. 

I have been working me legs this way, and I have seen an increase in strength with other muscle groups as well. I increase my bench press on a weekly basis, and my shoulders are also gaining strength. If you're into weight training, and especially if you would like to start lifting heavier weight, I would definitely recommend working your legs on Mondays and Fridays and working other muscle groups on the days in between. I thought I sounded weird at first, but it has really helped me make huge strides with my weight training progress.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wilted Kale with Walnuts

Kale yeah! I love this green stuff! Whether it's making kale chips or eating it in a salad, kale is awesome. It's also a super food, which doesn't hurt. But the best thing is that it's so versatile; it can be prepared in so many ways and it's still so good! This recipe is so so so simple but is so so so tasty. I've tried experimenting with other seasonings in this recipe, but I like the taste of kale too much to mess with it!

Wilted Kale with Walnuts

1 Bunch Kale
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup Walnuts (more if you want)

1.      In a large pot over medium heat, toast walnuts for about 5 minutes.
2.      Add olive oil and let it heat up.
3.      Add kale and toss for 10 minutes (give or take a little).
4.      Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Print this recipe here.

It's plain, it's simple, and it's amazing. Don't mess with it people, or I'll have to kick the kale out of you! Okay, I'm done with the kale puns. I'm gonna go actually enjoy some of this now.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jump Rope Workout

I always hated jump-roping as a child, but I never could figure out as to why. Now, I see that it's definitely because it was too much work! Jump-roping takes a lot of energy that isn't able to be obtained in large amounts of time; also, it kicks your butt. Last night I got home from a day out-and-about and decided that I would jump-rope in the driveway. I'm so glad I did! So, without any further rambling, here's my jump-rope workout:

Circuit 1
Jump rope: 5 minutes
Jumping Jacks: 50

Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Circuit 2
Jump rope: 4 minutes
Jumping Jacks: 40

Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Circuit 3
Jump rope: 3 minutes
Jumping Jacks: 30

Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Circuit 4
Jump rope: 2 minutes
Jumping Jacks: 20

Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Circuit 5
Jump rope: As long as you can.
Jumping Jacks: As many as you can.

All done!

This workout is a bitch. That's all that needs to be said about it. I have more energy after running miles upon miles than after this workout. And one more thing, your arms may feel like they're going to fall off by the end!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Spice Up Your Raw Vegetables

I'm really tired of raw vegetables. Cauliflower is so bland and crumbly. Celery tastes akin to dirty water. Carrots take me five minutes to chew up. Cherry tomatoes are about the only raw vegetable I eat that I don't have a problem with. It's time for a trip to the spice rack, because I'm afraid if I keep eating veggies that are this bland, my taste buds are going to disappear. Here are a few spice combinations that will keep your raw veggies interesting!

Spicy Blend
Cayenne Pepper
Chili Powder
Crushed Red Pepper (if you're feeling daring)

Fresh Blend
Ground Thyme

Tarragon Blend
A squirt of lemon juice

Savory Blend
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder

Specialty Carrot Blend
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Nutmeg

**Disclaimer: I would suggest using these spices sparingly on your raw veggies. 
If you use too much you'll have yourself a very dry snack!**

I find that spices aren't used as much as they should be. Instead of using something fatty like oil or butter to make your food taste good, use spices! They're natural, and when they work together, they taste superb!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Taco Casserole

Casseroles are good. Casseroles are real simple. Casseroles save well. I hope you enjoyed my casserole haiku, but I'm sure you'll enjoy this recipe more! It's a Paleo taco casserole, and it makes me want to wake up at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning because that means it's a little closer to lunch, which means it's a little closer to eating this casserole. But all swooning aside, here's the recipe.

Paleo Taco Casserole
1.5-2 lbs ground beef
Coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 butternut squash, peeled and shredded
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. onion powder
4 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
 ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups warm water
Print this Recipe Here.
Recipe adapted from here.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cook ground beef over coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
3. In another skillet, cook onions, peppers and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Then add in tomatoes with juice and cook another 3 minutes.

4. Mix spices with water in a medium bowl.
5. After meat is no longer pink, take the spiced water and pour into the skillet with the beef. Let simmer until most of the water is gone.

6. Place meat in the bottom of a casserole dish.

7. Layer vegetables on top of beef.

8. Top it all off with the shredded butternut squash.

9. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes.

I really can't see how something that tastes this good (and looks this good) can be that great for you, but I'm not going to question it. What I'm going to do is enjoy this as my lunch this week. I can't wait!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Portable Meals

To be completely honest, I could live in a tent and it would be suffice for my needs. I'm always on the go, and hardly ever at home these days! I always have to take meals with me on the go, which is why I've been eating a lot of soups and salads lately; meals easy to tote around. Normally, I see people bring their meals in Ziploc or Glad containers, and I used to do the same. That is, until I found The Container Store! I went shopping, and there I found a brand of tupperware called Sistema. A-maz-ing.

Whenever I'm in the mood for salad, I use the Sistema Chill It To-Go container. It comes with a large salad bowl, an insert that goes on top of the salad (I usually put chicken here), a small container for dressing, and a fork and knife! If that's not enough for a salad, I don't know what is!

However, when I'm not in the mood for salad or soup, I use the Sistema Lunch Cube. It has three compartments, and folds up nice and compact. I usually put grilled chicken and a vegetable in the big compartment, and two vegetables in the other compartments. Easy to microwave and enjoy! The Lunch Cube gives you the ability to have a home cooked meal at your fingertips.

A meal on the go isn't as hard as it looks, is it? I never think twice about having to take a meal on the go anymore because of my containers. Plus, being healthy takes a lot of planning, so I usually have food on hand to take anywhere. It works out just swimmingly!