Workout Wednesday~ Plank Challenge Week 5

Congratulations on making it to the final week of April’s plank challenge!  Do your arms feel stronger?  Does your body feel taller?  Does your midsection feel leaner?  If you have not had the opportunity to try Weeks 1-4 go back and try them first.  Check them out here:

How are you using your new found plank knowledge?  Are you adding these series into your workouts?  Are you starting each day with a core power wake up?  How are these simple do-anywhere exercises useful to you?

Today we add one more variation to our planks; rotation planksPlank Challenge Week 5 we will use everything you have learned about your core blended together in one rotation challenge!

I have provided 5 different levels for the Plank Rotation Challenge.  Find the level that is a touch out of your comfort zone complete 5 repetitions, 3-4 sets.  Work at this level for a week then move up to the next level.  To turn this into your core workout for the day start at level 1 then progress to your currently practicing level (doing each level) complete 3-5 rounds.

Check out these great photos or follow along with the video below!

  • Plank Rotations Level 1Plank Rotations
  • Plank Rotations Level 2Plank Rotations
  • Plank Rotations Level 3Plank Rotations
  • Plank Rotations Level 4Plank Rotations L4
  • Plank Rotations Level 5Plank RotationsPlank Rotations

Or you can check out this vid~

And You Made It!!

Join me next month as we do a 4 month recap!

*During this Recap I will pull my Favorite Exercise from each month*

Jan- Hips

Feb- Upper Body Posture

March- Squats

April- Planks

Mmm Mondays~ Cinco De Mayo Mexican Salad

Cinco De Mayo is a week from today!  How will you be celebrating?  Hopefully with some tasty Mexican food :).  Any time I went to a Mexican restaurant I always ordered a tostada… the crispy shell bowl… the blend of rice and beans… delicious salsa and guac layered throughout… my mouth is watering already.

Unfortunately many of these restaurant style tostada salads are full of empty calories and unhealthy fats. True, a salad can actually be not so good for you! Fortunately the salad can be “health-ified” with some tasty changes! The Mexican Salad is the perfect party pleaser, main or side dish, most people will have no idea it is good for you!

This salad is how I get my tostada fix without the stomach ache!

The Mexican Salad is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan. This tasty meal is a perfect complex combination of carbs, fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep you fuller longer.  If you are a carnivore you can also add grilled chicken, fish, or lean steak to top this salad.

Mexican Salad

Serves– 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Spinach Lettuce
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 2-3 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice
  • 1 jar/container of salsa
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • ½ c + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp + 1 tsp dried or minced garlic
  • ½ c Pepitas
  • Blue Corn Chips
  • 1/8 c chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions-

  1. Prepare rice as described on package. Removed from package place in bowl.
  2. Mix 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, and if desired cilantro into cooked rice. Set in fridge or freeze to cool to room temp.
  3. In a large salad bowl mix spinach, bell pepper, celery, green onion, and black beans.
  4. In a small bowl mix ½ c olive oil, 1-2 tsp garlic (depending on your taste buds), black pepper (depending on your taste buds), juice a lemon thoroughly. This is your dressing.
  5. Remove rice from fridge and mix into the large salad bowl with the veggies.
  6. Top with fresh made dressing (step 4)
  7. Top salad with pepitas and a few handfuls of crushed blue corn chips.
  8. Serve with fresh or jarred salsa on the side for each guest to top their individual salad.

Mexican Salad

Fantastic Fridays~ Beauty

What defines beauty to you?  Is it perfect symmetry?  Is a certain clothing size?  Is it “flawless” skin?  Is it a perfect colorful flower?

Is beauty something you can define yourself or do you look for the society norms?

Everything is beautiful

Beauty can be found in truly everything.  Sometimes you just have to look.  Sometimes beauty doesn’t look like our standard beauty criteria.  But if you don’t open your eyes you can miss something so beautiful or someone so beautiful.

Beauty is more than just a look… beauty is internal as well!

This quote also reminds me to see the positive in every situation.  If you are able to do this you will be so much happier in your life!

Workout Wednesday~ Plank Challenge Week 4

Welcome to Plank Challenge Week 4!  Congratulations on making it this far!  Are you making time for your quick daily plank variations?  Are you compounding the planks from week to week; adding more endurance to your planking?  Or are you finding it best to focus solely on the theme of the week each day?  Have you incorporated these plank variations into your strength routines?

Your entire core should be getting tighter and stronger!  Your glutes should be finding a new more defined shape!  Your arms, shoulders, and backs should be finding a new definition!

If you are new to the plank challenge, take a look at these-

Today we add three more plank variations

  1. Plank w/ Slow Mountain Climber
  2. Plank w/ Alternating Arm Reaches
  3. Plank w/ Alternating Heel Reaches

Grab your mat and follow along with these photos or the video below :)… Happy Planking!

  1. Plank w/ Slow Mountain Climber; complete 20 total reps- 3 setsMountain Climbers Mountain ClimbersMoutain Climbers
  2. Plank w/ Alternating Arm Reaches; pick a level that best suits you or challenge yourself by completing all four!  Complete 20 total reps; 3 sets.Plank w alt arm reaches L1.2Plank w alternating reachPlank w alt arm reachesPlank w alt arm reaches L2.2Plank w alt arm reachesPlank w alt arm raisePlankPlankPlankPlankPlankPlank
  3. Plank w/ Alternating Heel Reaches; pick the level that best suits you or challenge yourself by completing both!  Complete 20 total reps; 3 sets.PlankPlankPlankPlankPlankPlank

Or check out this vid~

Stay Tuned for Next Weeks Final Plank Series!!

Rotational Planks!

Level 1-5

Mmm Mondays~ Baked Veggie Quinoa Bowl

Happy Monday!  It’s time for a new delicious recipe!

Last Friday I had a bunch of  quinoa that I had pre-made earlier in the week but did not get a chance to use.  Rather than tossing it I decided to put it to good use!  I grabbed all the veggies I had in the fridge and created this simple-hearty vegan Baked Veggie Quinoa Bowl.

This randomly thrown together dinner has turned into one of my favs! The Baked Veggie Quinoa Bowl is also a great on the go lunch; heated or eaten chilled!

Serves- 4

Ingredients-

  • 1 bunch of asparagus; bases cut
  • 3 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 c sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sliced shallot
  • 2 c sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • olive oil
  • cracked black pepper
  • pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions-

  1. Preheat toasted oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with foil.  Lightly drizzle each baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. On one baking sheet distribute asparagus and shallot; top with black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.  On the other baking sheet lay out mushrooms and cherry tomatoes; top with black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Place both sheets in oven and bake 20- 25 minutes, until veggies are fully roasted.  Check on veggies about halfway through and rotate if necessary.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl mix quinoa, garlic powder, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, Grapeseed oil and truffle oil.
  5. Remove veggies from the oven.
  6. Heat quinoa mix in microwave for 2 minutes or until fully heated.
  7. Chop baked asparagus.
  8. Remove quinoa mix from the microwave and add in chopped asparagus, tomatoes, shallot, and mushroom.  Mix thoroughly.
  9. Plate up and enjoy!

Roasted Veggie Quinoa

Fantastic Friday~ Make Time 4 FUN!

Get up, get ready, head out the door, work- work- and well more work, drive home, workout, cook dinner, prep for the next day, go to bed…. does this sound familiar to anyone?  As an incredibly driven society we are taught from a young age to PUSH PUSH PUSH…  All this pushing makes it very difficult to find time in our already packed schedules to well… breath, let alone think about doing something slightly “unproductive”.

But it’s time to MAKE TIME FOR FUN PROJECTS!  What would you do with a few extra hours?  No, not clean the house.  What creative fun activity would you like to do or have always wanted to do?  Take a painting class?  Play with your kids legos?  Brush up on your photography?  Go to the beach and build a sand castle?  Create your own blog?

Make time for FUN

Make a list of activities that you find FUN and pick one a week/per month/per year (depending on the length of activity) and start having fun!  We only live one life and it is important that we make the most of it!  That includes having some fun!

Added Bonus!  Having more fun = more happiness in your life = less stress = healthier life = less sick days = more productive!  Funny how things work!

What are you going to do for fun?

Workout Wednesdays~ Plank Challenge Week 3

Welcome to Plank Challenge Week 3! If you have not tested out Plank Challenge Week 2 or Plank Challenge Week 1, click here to try them out first -> Plank Challenge Week 1 & Plank Challenge Week 2.

This week we challenge the core with Plank Steps.  By changing your overall body positioning with use of changing arm positioning your core has to react to keep you in good form.  Challenging your balance, challenges your stabilization mechanisms, and strengthens your core!

Plank Steps Level 1 Plank Steps Level 2

You can link this series with Week 1 and Week 2 series for an ultimate core challenge or you can add this series to your strength and cardio workouts as a great core component of your workout!

Grab you mat and let’s get started!

Follow along with these photos or the video below ->

  1. Plank Steps- Level 1; Complete 5 full rotationsPlank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1Plank Steps Level 1
  2. Plank Steps- Level 2; Complete 5 full rotations Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2Plank Steps Level 2

Or follow this video~

See you next week for:

Mountain Climbers

Arm Raises

Heel Reaches

Mmmm Mondays~ Raw Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of the easiest grab and go snacks out there.  However, many of the prepackaged trail mixes can be loaded with sugar and be just like eating a bag of Peanut M&Ms.  Making your own trail mix is simple and fun! By creating your own trail mix you can create your own favorite flavor combinations!

Trail Mix
This trail mix contains the perfect well rounded combinations of various minerals, crunch, healthy fats, and a burst of sweet.  This trail mix is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.  It’s so convenient and easy, it makes healthy snaking throughout the day a snap.  Grab two large Tupperware containers for this mix, one for the office and one for home.
Ingredients-

  • 1 lb raw almonds
  • 1 lb raw walnuts
  • 1 lb raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 lb raw cashews
  • ½ lb toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 lb yellow raisins
  • 1 lb dried cranberries
  • 1 lb raisins

Directions-

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.
  2. Separate into Tupperware containers; one for the office and one for home!

Fantastic Fridays~ Begin each day…

What is the best way to start your day?  Is it with a gym workout?  Is it with a great cup of coffee?  A hot shower?  A full news report?

No matter what patterns you must complete to begin your day, how you mentally start your day is key.  I always knew that starting my day with a positive upbeat mindset was very important but the following quote gave me a better balanced, realistic way to start my day…

Positive Quotes

Yes it is important that we roll out of bed with a strong positive mental energy but it’s also important to keep our creativity running!

And in honor of spring, why not add a little SPRING into our steps!

Workout Wednesday~ Plank Challenge Week 2

Welcome to Plank Challenge Week 2!  If you have not tested out Plank Challenge Week 1 yet, click here to try out Plank Challenge Week 1 first.

This week we take our Planks Around the World series and add some leg and hip movement variations.  These movement variations force your core to react.  This reaction forces the core to stabilize.  Since our deep core muscles are our stabilizer muscles we are strengthening our core!  Tight core anyone?  Who doesn’t want a tight tummy for spring?

Grab a mat or floor space and let’s get started!  Each variation provides different levels; find the level that challenges your strength without causing you to compensate.

Follow along with these photos or the video below…

  1. Forward Plank with Alternating Knee Drops; complete 20 alternating drops.
    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank Alternating Knee Drops Level 1

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

    Plank w Alternating Knee Drops Level 2

     

  2. Side Plank with Hip Dip; complete 10 reps on each side.
    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 1

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 2

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 4

     

  3. Reverse Plank Leg Lifts; complete 20 alternating leg lifts.
    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 1

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

    Reverse Plank Leg Lifts Level 2

     

  4. Repeat series 3 times through.
  5. Repeat every day this week :).

You can also check out this video~

See you next week for some Plank Steps!