Holy cannoli… is it hot out or WHAT!? You know it’s hot out when you look forward to going to the gym just for the A/C. My workouts change from week-to-week, but I thought it would be fun to share how I plan around my work/life schedule to fit in exercise each week. Workouts don’t have to be an hour long or even at a gym. They can work for you and your schedule — it just takes a little planning ahead.
Right now, I’m participating in Fitnessista’s Summer Shape Up (SSU) 4-week (FREE!) challenge. Here’s a glimpse at what I did last week for workouts:
Planning note: I had something to do for work in the morning, so I fit in my workout after work. I planned accordingly. I packed my clothes for the gym the night before, packed a snack that I could eat before the gym so I felt energized enough to go after work, and packed some protein powder to mix with water for after my workout the night before. I also spent 5 minutes over the weekend writing down the workout on a piece of paper — along with any form notes I needed to remember — so that I wouldn’t waste any time once I got to the gym. Then, I take that piece of paper with me to the gym each time I do that workout. I never need to check my phone or stop between sets.
TUE – 20 minute steady state cardio (I walked because I was SO sore from Monday’s workout!)
Planning note: I was SO sore and had every intention of skipping this workout. I planned ahead by bringing a bag of workout clothes with me to work, so that if I felt better by the end of the day at least I was prepared to go to the gym. I ended up going and walking for 20 minutes instead of running because I was too sore. I listened to my body and got some movement in — which is better than nothing. I also felt less sore afterwards!
WED – Workout #1 from SSU again, followed by serious stretching and foam rolling.
Planning note: I drank a ton of water today and the next day (Thurs) to prevent/heal the soreness. I really didn’t feel like working out today, but looking at the private Facebook group for SSU helped motivate me. I didn’t want to let everyone down (even though no one is watching lol!).
THURS – off/active rest day. Took a very short walk on a break at work, and at night.
Planning note: I made sure to drink a lot of water today to prepare for my workout tomorrow and also to flush the lactic acid that had built up from the week. I did a few stretches at work in my office in between different work assignments to stay flexible. Just because it’s an “off” day, doesn’t mean it has to be a sedentary day.
FRI – ~20-minute “hill” walking workout (Start walking at 1% incline; increase incline another 1% each minute on the minute until you get to best incline you can hold – mine was 9% without holding the handles; hold it at your highest point for 2 minutes; decrease 1% every minute on the minute until back to 1%).
SAT – WORKOUT 1 from SSU + 20 minute easy walk on treadmill
Planning note: it was so hot out that I knew I wouldn’t get much movement outside on Saturday. Instead, I took an easy 20-minute walk on the treadmill to loosen up after my workout. I also brought clothes with me to change into for the day so that I didn’t miss any time on a Saturday : )
This week, I’m following Week 2 of Fitnessista’s SSU plan. You should join!! It’s not too late. You could either start back at Week 1, or just hop into Week 2. It’s so much fun! There’s also a private Facebook group full of supportive women cheering each other on.
Are you motivated by following a workout series along with a group? Does it hold you accountable? I know that I wanted to skip the gym several times last week, but I thought about the women in the private FB group posting about their workouts while 7 months pregnant, while their baby was taking a nap, in between meetings, etc. — if they could do it, I could too!
Good morning and happy Thursday! It doesn’t feel like Thursday this week, does it? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this one change I made in my daily routine lately, and I thought it would be fun to talk about it here. And since I’m enjoying my slower morning now, I figured it would be a good time to write this post.
When we travel, I always pick up some trinkets or souvenirs to remember our trip and the places we visited. I usually end up placing them around the house, my office, or even in my car as a constant reminder of the amazing experiences and places we’ve been.
When we traveled all around Scandinavia, Russia and Europe this May, something felt a little different. Of course, I wanted to get some of the classic items that the countries were known for, but I couldn’t help but admire more of their way of life than their material items. A lot of things stood out to me. Perhaps the one we’ve taken to heart the most, though, is slowness and consciousness in daily activity. Let me explain….
I couldn’t help but notice a few things that were different in places like the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, etc.:
No fast food joints, except for the occasional train station or airport McDonald’s
Not a lot of to-go options at restaurants or cafes
Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Panera were missing and replaced by cool, chill cafes
No white paper cups in people’s hands as they hurried off to work or school (they’re too busy biking everywhere — no earphones or anything!).
In other words, it seemed to me like their culture was not based off of being in such a rush all the time. It made me realize that, although I love the U.S., we have an entire industry and culture dedicated to getting you somewhere faster.
Since my brain tends to think about everything in terms of health and food, I couldn’t help but notice the effect this has, or seems to have, on our health. So I thought to myself, “What can I do to implement small changes to slow down and enjoy what I’m doing at the time I’m doing it?” I thought about how different my daily morning routine looked compared to that of a typical working person in the Netherlands, Denmark, etc. I had to be honest with myself and think of how rushed I was/felt.
I’m usually rushing around, packing plenty of food (in to-go containers, of course), making coffee and putting it into a huge insulated mug, drinking coffee in the car on the go (not even enjoying it because I’m not stopping to think…), etc.
Now I’m trying something new. Something that looks a little more like intuitive eating (thanks to Paige!), but which also applies to things other than food. So what am I actually doing? Slowing down and enjoying what I’m doing at the moment — aka. having slower morning. Here’s what I’ve done to try to implement a slower, more enjoyable morning:
Go to bed at night earlier, in order to accomplish the next thing…
Wake up earlier
Get out of bed within a few minutes of waking up
No TV in the morning (not watching the news has lifted my mood!)
Making coffee to enjoy at home with Ryan
Making a very small breakfast (I’m not particularly hungry when I first wake up – so I still like to eat my breakfast when I get to work)
Sit, without TV or my iPhone, with Ryan and enjoy our coffee and breakfast.
It’s made such a nice difference! It’s a work in progress and it definitely can’t be every morning — I still have hearings, depositions, or other work/life obligations that don’t allow me to sit and enjoy each morning the same way. But at least I’m doing it some or most of the time!
Have you guys ever brought home anything from a trip that has stuck with you? Do you enjoy slower mornings or think they would help set you up more a calmer, more enjoyable day?
Studying for the Bar Exam (and actually taking it) was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. I expected it to be mentally draining, but what I didn’t anticipate was how emotionally and physically draining it would be. I should start out by telling you that I did very little of what I’m about to suggest… but that’s why I’m writing this post.
I did not take care of myself at all while studying for the Bar Exam, and I came unglued. I will never forget how, for the first time, I felt immensely sore just from sitting. My hips, glutes, legs, etc. ached from sitting for so long. I guess that’s what studying for 12+ hours per day, for 2.5 months, will do to you.
Hi guys! Happy Tuesday! I thought I would take this opportunity to share one of my favorite easy weeknight “recipes” — TACO PIZZA! It’s not necessarily the healthiest thing in the world (although it’s much healthier than a typical pizza), but it’s so easy to make that I can throw it together after work on a week night. Since the goal of my blog is to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle despite all the things life throws your way, I thought this would be a fun, easy recipe to share. Plus, who doesn’t love tacos and pizza?
One of my goals on this blog is to show you that you don’t always have to follow recipes exactly, or have every single ingredient on hand. It’s more important to understand the “components” of a recipe and try to use what you have on hand, use what aligns with your dietary needs, and what you like. Read on —>
Hi! How was your weekend? Ours was a nice mixture of being busy and relaxing. We celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday, went on a few walks (the weather in NJ was beautiful!), did some shopping for an upcoming trip, and cooked a lot of food for the week. Speaking of food prep, I thought I would share what I did this weekend to prepare for a really busy week ahead. Besides being really busy at work, I also have several client meetings, Bar Association events, networking events and a family get together. I was also hoping to be able to sleep, eat, exercise and most of all, spend time with my husband. What’s a working girl to do? PLAN!
Thanks to my Sunday food prep, my meals this week will look something like this —>
Breakfast: Egg bake with spinach, shredded potato, onion, maple turkey breakfast sausage, garlic and spices. For days that I hit the gym, I also have 1 scoop of Sunwarrior protein powder with water or a protein smoothie.
Lunches: I packed 3 containers of quinoa, shredded rotisserie chicken and 1 cup of roasted chickpeas, broccoli, onion and carrot based off of this Chickpea Broccoli Buddha bowl from Hummusapien (I have meetings the other 2 days). I topped each bowl with 1 large spoonful of the peanut sauce from Hummusapien’s recipe. It’s one of the best sauces I’ve ever had! Perfectly sweet, salty, spicy and savory – the Thai would be very proud that you hit all 4 “S”s!
I spend a ton of time (more than I care to admit) thinking about, preparing, chopping, cooking, and packing healthy meals almost everyday. Despite the fact that I use skincare products everyday, I haven’t put nearly as much time or attention into carefully selecting and purchasing these products as I do with food.
I’ll stand at Wegmans and read 4 nutrition labels for a pasta sauce, but I don’t even bother to look at the label of a lotion I’m going to slather all over my skin? Doesn’t really make sense, huh?
I’m embarrassed to admit that I only recently started taking a serious look at what skincare products I’m using, what’s in them, and which ones I can find that are healthier for my body. I have made the conscious decision to put more time and energy into what’s soaking into my largest organ: my skin. As you know, the point of this blog is to help busy professionals (like me!) maintain a healthy lifestyle despite a hectic schedule. So I’ve done the heavy lifting for you guys! You can thank me later…
Did you guys know in 2016 the global skincare market is expected to reach sales of nearly $11 billion?! The Nutrition Business Journal reports that the organic/natural skin care industry is just shy of $4 billion.
This prompted me to start a little series here on the blog. Today’s post is the first in that series: identifying what is in your skincare products. Next up, we’ll focus on a few easy swaps you can make, healthy, environmentally-friendly companies making great beauty products (thank goodness for Acure!), and which products are the most important to swap for a healthier alternative if you’re on a budget. Read on –>
Hi all! I haven’t gotten into it too much on the blog quite yet, but I am a travel fanatic! I have traveled all over the world and in a few weeks I’m going to check several more places (Russia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Estonia, etc.) off my list. I can’t wait to write about it! I focus on food on the majority of trips I take (shocking, I know!). Although I’m pumped to try some exotic, new foods when I get to my destination, I know that the airlines are not going to give me very good options on my way there.
I’ve flown 25+ hours to fly around the world. That’s a lot of time to eat snacks : )
Whatever you bring, you want it to (1) be easy to eat on a plane, (2) not smell, and (3) stay well in your bag.
I try to bring a variety of snacks to combat the sweet, salty, and savory cravings that may strike. Here are some ideas of things you can bring along with you if you’re traveling by plane:
Fresh fruit you can eat with minimal mess: grapes, apples, pears, blueberries, banana. I wash everything before I go to the airport, and pack them in Ziploc bags with a paper towel for easy eating.
Veggies: cut up peppers, cucumbers, baby carrots, or other similar veggies and pack in a small lunchbox/cooler bag to bring on the plane.
Hummus package: see #2.
Good quality dark chocolate.
Popcorn: I love taking Boom Chicka Pop and putting some in a Ziploc bag for the plane ride.
Gum and mints.
Lara Bars and KIND bars: Try to grab the KIND bars that have less than 5 grams of sugar so it’s more of a snack than a dessert.
Justin’s Almond Butter or Peanut Butter packets: these are a life saver. Keep a few in your carry on to add quick protein and healthy fats to airport oatmeal (from Starbucks!), a piece of fruit (i.e. apple, banana), or some veggies (i.e. carrots, celery).
Trail mix: either make your own healthy mix ahead of time, or grab some of the healthier options from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or Wegmans.
Dried items: roasted chickpeas for some protein/fiber, raw almonds for protein and healthy fats, or dried fruit (with no added sugar) for something sweet.
Protein Powder: to make your own packets, put 1 scoop in a snack sized Ziploc bag. Bring a packet for each day you are away. It’s so easy to toss in a glass of water, milk, or non-dairy alternative and have a quick protein-rich drink on the go.
Here’s an airport tip in case you need a healthy breakfast on the go –> if there’s a Starbucks or other coffee shop nearby, grab an oatmeal (it’s a much better option than that stale bagel that’s been sitting in the airport for 3 weeks) and use the banana and Justin’s almond/peanut butter packet you brought to create a more filling breakfast. I like to slice the banana and add the nut butter on top.
Here’s an example of what I brought with me on a recent trip to Denver, CO:
Are there any snacks you like to bring with you when you travel? Is there anything you look forward to in the airport or on the plane? Who can resist airplane peanuts?! (Although I noticed they don’t serve them much anymore!)
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If you’re anything like me, you have plenty of weeks where you have little to no time to prepare healthy meals/snacks. Some people just throw in the towel and figure if they have no time, they will just grab take-out, go to the drive-thru, or grab something from their freezer. I like to think that I’ve come up with a happy medium for those weeks. I’m going to share some of the shortcuts that have helped me reach that balance.
The key: healthy food shortcuts from some of my favorite grocery stores. Healthy shortcuts = food items that are either already prepared, or have done all of the “heavy lifting” for you (i.e., chopping, peeling, steaming, etc.), so that you can easily incorporate them into a simple meal or snack. Healthy shortcuts are one of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite working so much. Even though this may mean paying a little more for convenience items, I think it’s worth it in the end.
I’m on a budget – don’t get me wrong. But I also work a lot, and my husband works a lot, and we don’t always time to do everything we want to do throughout the week. I allocate a part of my budget to convenience items at the grocery store if I want to eat well but don’t have the time to prepare everything from scratch. Remember: You can’t do it all! Work, kids, school, healthy eating, exercise, relationships, family, friends…. the list goes on and on. The key is being able to recognize what areas you’re willing to pay a little more for. For me, healthy shortcuts are a big convenience factor that I’m willing to pay for.
Cauliflower Rice – although you can buy a head of cauliflower, chop and pulse it in a food processor, doesn’t it sound a lot easier to buy a bag of it already done for you? It’s SO much easier to toss this cauliflower rice into a pan with 1 Tb. EVOO and saute for a few minutes until cooked through. Plus, TJ’s version only has cauliflower and a little salt as the ingredients. Just the way it should be. Delicious! And so much easier.
Lentils – I love lentils, but I don’t love the amount of time it takes to cook them. Sometimes I just want to throw lentils in some soup or on top of a salad to add more protein but I don’t have the time (read: several hours) to cook dry lentils. Enter TJ’s Steamed Lentils, which are less than $3 and already cooked for you!
Brown Rice packets – when I food prep, I try to cook rice on the weekends if I know I’m going to use it for a stir fry or to add to taco bowls. When I don’t have the time, these brown rice packets from TJ’s save the day. Although you can heat the rice in the microwave in the packet, I like to remove it from the plastic and heat it on the stove (you can toss it in soup or in a skillet with veggies) to heat it up in a healthier way.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Another great, go-to protein source in our family is hard boiled eggs. I try to make my own most of the time, but the whole point of this article is for those weeks when you just can’t get it done. For less than $2.50, you can buy this bag of 6 hard-boiled eggs. They make it so much easier to get your daily dose of protein. Just chop them up and put them in a salad or eat along with a smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast. Remember, though, 1 egg only has about 6 grams of protein.
Organic Apple Slices – even I will admit this is a true lazy girl trick, but hey – I do what I can. I find that I’ll snack more on apple slices in they’re pre-cut and ready to go on my busiest days. This bag of apple slices is great to have on hand as a healthy go-to snack. They make for an easy and convenient travel snack, too! I have to have mine with some TJ’s Almond Butter : )
Tasty Bite packets – I keep a few of these on hand in the house to make a quick and easy vegetarian Indian meal when hunger (hangry!) strikes. Again – this is all about convenience and having back up options! Of course I’d rather make this from scratch. But let’s get real – who has the time to make an Indian dish from scratch on a weeknight? (If you do – I’m jealous!) Toss a packet of Tasty Bite’s channa masala, lentils, punjab eggplant, etc. with some of Trader Joe’s brown or cauliflower rice for a simple vegetarian meal when you have little time. I try to round out my meal with a big salad with tomatoes, cucumber and carrot to add some additional nutrients.
Organic Frozen Fruit – one of the biggest ways I trimmed my grocery budget and made room for these convenience items was to stop wasting fresh fruit and start buying frozen fruit for oatmeal and smoothies. I still buy plenty of fresh fruit (especially when it’s on sale over the summer), but I learned to buy the fruits we weren’t finishing throughout the week from the frozen section instead.
Whole Foods’ Guacamole – this is probably the hardest to stomach because although it’s delicious, it isn’t cheap. I love making my own guacamole when I can, but this is a great option to have on hand to throw on top of a salad, tacos, chicken, etc. throughout the week if you don’t have time. To keep it fresh – flatten it out in the container after using, put a very thin layer of water (enough to cover the guac), and store in the fridge. I dump out the water before serving and repeat the process all week long.
Frozen Greens – I love Whole Foods’ frozen kale and spinach because they’re easy to toss in a smoothie, steam for a side vegetable, or to de-thaw, sauté, and add to any dish. You can always find organic, affordable bagged options. Not only are they much easier to use, but you can ensure you have healthy greens on hand if you just keep some in the freezer all the time.
Are there any items I missed? I’m always looking to learn about healthy shortcut options! What are some of your favorites?
Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a great week. I haven’t been quite as active on the blog front this week. I’ve been so busy at work… can’t do it all! When I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions, I try to take a step back and evaluate what I have going on. The first thing I do is drop anything I can that’s not mandatory and that doesn’t have a added benefit to my life. That step alone tends to make me feel a lot better. Although it seems counterintuitive, I make sure I’m taking the time to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep when things are feeling extra stressful. If I don’t, it just makes everything feel that much worse. Hope this helps if you’re busy, too : )
One of the ways I like to unwind at night is by reading my favorite blogs. Here are some of the recipes and articles that caught my eye this week:
Natural Spring Cleaning – this post from Davida at The Healthy Maven is an amazing round-up of ideas to try in the home, mind and kitchen. I can’t wait to make some of my own cleaning products using the tips in her post! I like to do a spring cleaning of appliances this time of year – 1-2 cups of vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda + run 1 cycle + air dry.
Lindsey posts great workouts complete with instructions, video and a printable/pinnable option – I can’t wait to give this 30 minute AMRAP a try sometime soon. Any workout <30 minutes, and I’ll try it!
Have you read anything great blog posts this week? What do you do when you start to feel too busy and overwhelmed?