Hate Running? Here are some tips to get you out of your cardio funk

Let’s face it, not everyone can wake up bright and early, hop out of bed and instantly decide a run sounds like the best idea.  Most of us (including myself) enjoy our leisurely morning with a nice cup of a coffee and some downtime before the hectic day begins.

So, if you’re stuck in a rut where you need to get cardio in but the thought of running makes you tired just thinking about it, look no further.

Swimming

swimming.jpg

There’s no time like the present, and with summertime rolling in there’s no better time to kick your cardio into high gear by hitting your nearest pool or beach! An article by Tesco Living states that not only does swimming burn more calories in 30 minutes than its other competitors, but it also manages stress, enhances your self-esteem and improves your sleeping patterns.

Cycling 

cycling.jpg

This shouldn’t come as a shock to most, since spin classes of the Soul Cycle type are all the rage these days!  Whether it be indoor or outdoor, cycling is an incredible way to boost your cardio workouts in a new and exciting way.  An article published by Cycling Weekly shows that in just an hour of cycling an individual can burn anywhere from 400-1000 calories depending on the level of intensity.  That sounds like a perfect way to lose weight to me!

Jump Rope

jumprope-1280

Yep, I said it.  Jump rope.  Think back to your days on the playground when jumping rope was King. If I do recall myself, I would always come back from recess shiny with sweat. This has become a staple in my workout routine, using it as a cardio interval between my strength training sets and personally, I have never felt such of a burn!  Burning on average 10-16 calories a minute, jumping rope adds a fun twist to the average workout.

There are countless options to amp up your workout and to get your sweat on, and I have found that personally, these three are the most exciting and fun ways to do so!

Advertisements

‘Tis the Season for our enemy…the common cold

As we all know much too well, Christmas season is upon us! The weather cools down, the food becomes much more ‘pumpkin-centered’ and our enemy the cold comes army strong until it tears down our fortress we have built so strong.

I once believed that I could defeat this terrible monster, thinking as long as I eat clean, sweat it out at the gym and wash my hands regularly I would be immune to getting it.  WRONG.  Here I am, Sunday night and dealing with my third day of this beast.

I’m already flustered due to the fact that it’s finals week here at CSULB and so my last week has not been filled with hardcore gym sessions and kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner and now I’ve got the sickness to add to it! And lemme tell ya, it’s exhausting.  I can’t go five minutes without sneezing and you know I have my alarm set for every four hours to remind me to take that DayQuil to fast-track this sucker out of me!

When I was first getting into my consistent workout regimen I was a freak of research and the second I felt a cold coming on I looked up the best way to stay in shape when you’re sick. And to my dismay….rest.  Rest and trying your best to eat clean are the ways you can stay healthy during this sickly season.

Now, of course there are ways to help your body heal faster and feel better, and that’s what I am here to share with you today!

I am a large fan of pressed juices and here in Long Beach we have this place called ‘Salud.’ (If you’re local to LB and haven’t been yet, hop in your car and go right now…it’s a dream). I stopped by today, said “hey, I’m sick and don’t have the time for it, tell me what you got,” and they provided me with endless samples of juices, tonics and shots to cure my aching body.

I ended up settling with “The Grunge” which was recommended to me by my roommate and I am now obsessed.

It’s an exotic combination of kale, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber, orange and lemon and it rocked my world.

the-grunge

I know for some people the second they see a green drink they run for the hills, but juicer’s have every flavor under the sun and it’s a guarantee you’ll find one that suits your tastebuds.

Next, what I can recommend is what experts call the “Above the Neck” rule.  This means that if you’re just suffering from a sore throat, sniffles or a headache, a little physical exercise can do you some good.  But if it’s below the neck: body aches, fever, stomach pains, etc, you should probably sit the next sweat session out, just for safe measure.

Happy Holidays and Stay Healthy!

Fitness Plans You Can Stick to That Work

Lately a lot of people have been asking how I can maintain a healthy lifestyle while working, attending school, maintaining a social life, etc, and that’s one of the main reasons I started this blog!

It is hands down one of the most difficult things to do at this stage in life and trust me, I struggle DAILY, but it’s always worth it in the end. And, as I have mentioned prior, it IS possible and doesn’t have to be something you dread, either!

I recently just started this new 3-month program my friends told me about called the “Bikini Body Guide,” by popular social media fitness guru Kayla Itsines. It is a day-by-day breakdown of resistance training, cardio and stretching exercises that definitely kick your butt!

Each resistance training session is twenty-eight minutes with a two-minute cool down period, helping you save time and leaving you sweaty yet pumped for what the next day has to offer.

bbg

Now, when it comes to my eating habits that is the more difficult area of expertise. Especially going to school all day and then work the next, it’s hard to meal prep for that many times out of the house! What I have found works best for myself is having three solid meals throughout the day, and snacking twice; in between breakfast and lunch, then again between lunch and dinner!

The most important thing to remember is that you should not exceed the recommended calorie intake per day with the incorporation of these snacks (typically 2000 calories depending on how active you may or may not be).

An article on FitWatch states that when a person tries to starve themselves to lose weight they end up gaining more due to the fact that the body holds onto more of the fat content of your meals!

On any given day I always try to pack my meals and snacks with protein since it helps keep you fuller longer, and so here is what you can typically seeing me eating on most days:

-Breakfast: I like to either do banana wheat toast or oatmeal.

-Toast: wheat bread (Ezekial is my jam) topped with organic crunchy peanut             butter, sliced bananas and chia seeds.

-Oatmeal: Steel cut oats with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter mixed in topped with chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut shavings (BOMB), sliced banana and honey!

****I recommend the oatmeal if you have a little more time in the morning because it will keep you fuller longer and it supports weight loss and boosts heart health.

-Midday snack: I like to usually grab a Greek yogurt if I’m on the go but if I have a little extra time I always succumb to Trader Joe’s Black Bean and Quinoa Infused Tortilla chips with their Sriracha hummus (to DIE for).

-Lunch: My go to sandwich: Two slices of Ezekial bread topped with mustard, spinach, turkey, Swiss cheese and avocado (toast the bread first if you can, the crunch really adds an extra kick to it

-Mid-afternoon snack: Here I’ll usually opt for my veggie or fruit snacks, so I’ll snack on some carrots and hummus or an apple with peanut butter

-Dinner: My go-to staple for dinner is always my Stuffed Sweet Potatoes because they are so easy and I can use it as leftovers for the next day’s lunch too!

Now, all of these methods have taken years of trial and error, and everyone’s plans are ever changing, but if you try to make conscious decisions daily, you’ll see progress before you know it!

Sweet Potatoes, and Why They Should Be Your Best Friends

Up until around this time last year, the word “sweet potato” never even crossed my mind for a lunch/dinner option. Now, you can ask anyone that knows me, sweet potatoes are my go-to meal for EVERYTHING.

Sweet potatoes have been deemed one of the world’s healthiest vegetables (click here for nine reasons why!) and so the best part about eating them is the fact that they taste like a cheat meal but you’re actually fueling your body with some essential nutrients!

When I first started eating them for meals I would just poke holes in them, nuke them in the microwave for eight minutes and call it fine cuisine! However, now that I have learned to love cooking and different variations of recipes, I have created a few sweet potato concoctions that I love sharing with everyone!

The one that I crafted tonight is my all-time favorite, a baked sweet potato stuffed with a ground turkey meat mixture very similar to the one for my Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe from last week! The ingredients are very basic and are easy to combine.  Here they are:

-However many medium to large sweet potatoes you desire

-Ground Turkey

-Black beans

-Nonfat Fage Greek yogurt (once again, weird I know but tastes like sour cream I promise!)

-Taco seasoning

-Diced red onion

-Sriracha to taste

-Lime juice to taste

IMG_7149.JPG

Now, for ingredients I typically don’t list serving sizes necessarily due to the fact that it all comes down to personal preference and how much or how little someone likes a certain recipe ingredient!

And, another disclaimer, for this recipe I am going to show the fundamentals with baking sweet potatoes. Baking requires much more time than just cooking in the microwave, so if ever in a time crunch just know that you can always nuke the sweet potatoes in the microwave!

So, good news, baking sweet potatoes is quite simple and requires minimal effort (music to your ears am I right?) First what you’ll do is simply wash off the potatoes with some cold water and then pierce them three to four times about halfway through the potato allowing them to breathe.

Then, rub down the potatoes lightly with olive oil and wrap them in foil. Place them in an oven preheated at 375 degrees and leave them in there anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potato.

From there, make sure to set a timer for 30-45 minutes to let you know when to start cooking the taco meat.

Once that timer goes off, get a medium-sized skillet and begin to brown the taco meat. Once it is sufficiently browned, pour the taco seasoning on until thoroughly stirred. From there, add the diced onions, black beans, Greek yogurt, Sriracha and lime juice. Mix it all together and patiently wait for the decadent goodness to be removed from the oven.

In order to tell if the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, take an oven mit and lightly squeeze the potato, if it gives beneath your hand, it’s ready to be devoured.

Once the potatoes are removed, place them on a plate and slice them down the middle to open them up so that they can be properly stuffed (pause, isn’t the aroma to die for?!) Then add the taco mixture to the sweet potato and DIVE IN DON’T BE ASHAMED!!!

And the best part about these, is leftovers for days!!!! This recipe is easy, delicious, and so fun to watch come to life!  Sweet potatoes are hands down a gift from above and I hope you appreciate them as much as I do!

Prepare Yourselves, These Stuffed Bell Peppers Will Blow Your Mind!

Once again, another lazy Sunday has surfaced and I decided, might as well become a chef for the night and see what kind of crazy, healthy recipes I can come up with! I have a deep, deep appreciation for a good bell pepper dish, and my favorite style of food is Mexican, so I thought, why not try a healthy twist on Mexican stuffed bell peppers?!

Bell peppers are not only delicious, tangy and sweet, but are also INCREDIBLY good for you! According to the Fat Burning Furnace’s study on bell peppers, they are packed with vitamins that can help reduce your risk of cancer and are high in fiber and healthy carbs!

I decided to make a healthy twist on the classic stuffed bell pepper by going to my local Ralph’s and scouring the aisles for interesting ways to twist the classic stuffed pepper and to make it my own.

Here is what I decided on:

-6 hollowed out red and orange peppers

Trader Joes All Natural Ground Turkey

-1 cup all natural non-fat Greek yogurt (sounds strange I know, but it has the consistency and taste of sour cream, promise!)

-1 can of black beans

-1 can sliced black olives

-1/3 cup diced red onion

-1 can green chilies

-1 packet taco seasoning of choice

-2 Roma tomatoes diced

-Sriracha (use as little or as much as preferred according to your spicy preference!)

-Mexican style blend of shredded cheeses

ingredients.jpg

To start off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then, in a large skillet pour a little bit of olive oil, then place ground turkey into the skillet until it is brown. Once the turkey is brown, pour the taco seasoning in and add around ¾ cup of water to help the seasoning mix thoroughly. Then, add the black beans, Greek yogurt, black olives, red onion, chilies and Sriracha and stir the mix thoroughly until all of the new ingredients are dispersed evenly.

Then, spray down an 8×12 cooking pan with olive oil and place the hollowed out bell peppers onto the pan. Dish out the turkey mixture into each bell pepper until the mix is almost spilling out (want to get the most bang for your buck here!). Then, place a large sheet of foil over the tops of the bell peppers and place in the oven for one hour.

Once the hour is up, remove your bell pepper creation (smell the deliciousness!) sprinkle the cheese mix on top, and place the bell peppers back into the oven for five more minutes. After your time is up, remove them from the oven, allowing them to cool for a few short minutes and dig in.  Don’t feel bad when you start to devour it, we aren’t cute eaters here 😉

This dish is not only freaking AMAZING, but incredibly nutritious with the endless amounts of veggies and protein packed foods inside (and, if planned properly, can be a dish to last you days!) I hope you enjoy my little creation and feel good about it too!

A Quick Fix to Your Lazy Sunday

Today was the epitome of a lazy Sunday that consisted of shopping, snacking and binge watching HBO. However, after a night out last night at a local Mexican restaurant with endless chips and salsa and a steaming plate of fajitas, I decided that no matter how tired and unmotivated I felt, I HAD to get a workout in.

It was 7pm when I decided to get off the couch but my school gym was closed, so I was forced to become practical with an at-home workout. So, this is when the saving grace of all fitness videos came in. Popsugar Fitness videos are hands down the BEST at home workouts that leave you sweaty but craving more.

They have endless options varying between 10-30 minute videos that can range from cardio to light weight lifting to core focused exercises and beyond.

I started with the 10-Minute At-Home Cardio Sweat Session that includes a series of easy to do cardio workouts that don’t involve running or high intensity training but still get your heart pumping and leave you excited for the what’s next!

The fitness trainer, Anna Renderer, is incredibly uplifting and is so easy to follow because she struggles with the workouts just like anyone else (and lets face it, no one likes doing exercise video where the trainer can practically run a marathon and barely bust a sweat). It’s always so important to remember that no matter who you are, everyone struggles to stay on track but keep pushing yourself and I promise, results WILL come!

Now, after a light cardio workout I like to either do a core exercise video or a video that will be specific to either the upper or lower body. So, today I decided to go with 10 Minutes to a Tighter Core. This video is designed to help shape and build a better core and without the repetitive function of your average crunch.

After completing both videos I definitely felt that burn in my core and that sweat on my forehead and let me tell you, it was INCREDIBLE. With just 20 minutes in total of warm ups, exercises and cool downs there’s no excuse for not fitting this into your schedule!  Making the decision to get up and get moving is often times the hardest, but coming from today’s experience, I promise you won’t regret it!

Healthy and Delicious? These Energy Bites Will Rock Your World

Being young means constantly being on the go.  We all want to experience the world before we’re too old and are tied down to things like family and careers; and that can make finding healthy food options a real pain when you’re constantly on the road! However, all praise to the Pinterest gods because I have recently found some incredibly, easy, delicious AND healthy recipes that don’t waste time or money! Yes, its possible for all three of those things to coexist and I’m gonna let you in on this hidden gem. Recently I did a five day road trip from California through Arizona and Utah and as you can assume, fast food restaurants were relentless.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in indulging while on vacation, but five days of chowing on cheeseburgers and Taco Bell burritos can leave one feeling pretty bloated and irritable if you ask me!  So, I searched high and low for something delicious yet easy-to-make and wouldn’t leave me feeling like I was cheating on my fitness regimen! Thus emerging, my discovery of the Peanut Butter Energy Bites. If you’re a peanut butter lover like I am, these bites are going to rock your world. They require seven simple ingredients that you can find at any local grocery store and about 10 minutes of your time and voila! healthy and delicious right at your fingertips. Prep time takes around 10 minutes give or take a taste test or two and then all it needs is a little refrigerated love and your bites are on their way to perfection.

Tell me these don’t look to die for!  Ways to eat chocolate and not feel guilty about it? Sign me up! All credit to the recipe gurus, Gimme Some Oven. Give these bites a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

Welcome to Fitness On the Run!

Struggling to stay healthy in today’s fast paced culture is a daunting task that many fear taking on. But have no fear, that’s what I’m here for! My name is Sarah Amaral, and I’m a Junior at Cal State Long Beach juggling work, school, relationships and the daily struggle of staying in shape. I’m here to help you create a workout routine that fits your schedule and to provide you with recipes that are easy to make and are even easier on your wallet! Stick with it and I promise you’ll start to love your body and the incredible things that it is capable of!