Author: Shannon

Sweating Almost Every Day of the Week and Staying Clean too!

[wpvideo k4gfSIBE]

It’s taken me forever to get down a schedule of workout consistency, and it’s a question I get asked about a lot too. It’s mainly because if you’re following the BBG program, you know that there is a workout every other day, and  you’re supposed to do LISS (see definition below) on the off-days in between. So that doesn’t leave a lot of time to do any other workouts if you’re following the program to a T! However, I always crave variety in my life, so I’ve created my own plan which incorporates several other types of workouts in addition to BBG. Here’s a recap of my current schedule, where I can fit in all in without having to be crazy and work out 3x/day!

Since I’ve done both BBG 1 & 2 already, I’m going through all of the BBG 2 workouts a second time, slowly (2 workouts a week) and doing my own workouts the other days! Here’s my current schedule. I even made a video recap for you guys!

  • Sunday – BBG 2. Yesterday, was  week 18 arms. I still struggle with decline push-ups but I’m getting stronger every day, one push-up at a time!
  • Monday – I love making up my own challenges, and most of the videos you see are filmed on a Monday. Some of the things I LOVE are wall mountain climbers, swingset pikes at the park, a swiss ball, or creating variations!
  •  Tuesday – LISS. LISS = Low Intensity Steady State. i.e. slow jogging or walking. On nice days, I get outside. When it’s raining, I walk/jog inside on a treadmill.
  •  Wednesday – I try to incorporate yoga into my fitness routine. It’s helping me to manage stress, improve flexibility, and take it easy from the high intensity of Sunday, Monday and Thursday.
  • Thursday – BBG 2 workout. This Thursday I’ll be doing BBG week 18 abs! I love going through these workouts a second time, because I get a chance to perfect my form and see how I’ve gotten stronger!
  •  FridayLagree megaformer! I love it because the movements are controlled with an emphasis on proper form (and as you know, I’m really into form)!
  •  Saturday – Rest day! It’s my chance to recover, spend time with my fiancee, and catch up on laundry. I mentioned that I was trying out @persilproclean after my favorite fitness bloggers said it was rated #1 for smelly workout clothes by a leading consumer testing publication. I tried it, and it smelled good AND got my clothes super clean! (I got it at target online, where shipping is always free with a redcard. If you want to use the same $2 off coupon that I used, click here – spreading the love!) One tip for washing sports bras is to put them in a mesh lingerie bag to keep them from getting misshapen. Gotta keep my gym clothes looking nice because I hardly own any other clothes! lol

So there you have it, my week! Hope you guys get a chance to slay your workouts, try something new, get outside, or just have fun!

PS – Persil ProClean sponsored this post, but the advice, opinions, and honesty here are 100% my own!

Vegetarian Japchae Recipe

img_0488

Japchae has been a Korean staple in kitchens for a long time! It’s made with sweet potato starch noodles and stir fried with vegetables and meat (optional). It’s very easy to make, and when reheated tastes just as good as when it’s made fresh. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites for mealprep!

It may seem labor intensive – you have to cook each of the ingredients separately and then combine them, but it definitely makes the dish delicious, because each of the ingredients has a different texture and cooking time. Added together, they create delicious flavors that compliment each other perfectly! A lot of recipes use brown or white sugar, but I have eliminated it for clean eating/health purposes and replaced it with honey.

Here’s how I made this. Let me know what you think!

You will need:

Button mushroom isolated on whiteistock_000018119166xsmall-copyspinach-potherikart-500x500bell-peppers

garliccloveso-honey-facebookdangmyeon509201shoppingsesame

  • 1 package sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 small bag of carrots, sliced into strips
  • 1 bundle of spinach
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 12 oz or 1 bag Korean vermicelli (sometimes called starch noodles, glass noodles or sweet potato noodles), called Dangmyun in Korean
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions:

1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the bag of vermicelli noodles.  Cook for about 4 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Drain then place in a large mixing bowl. Rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.

2.  Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan.  Add the carrots.  Stir fry over medium heat until the carrots are slightly soft.  Once done, remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl, on top of the noodles.

3.  Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the pan along with the mushrooms.  Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms have become browned.  Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl, on top of everything else.

4. Add the sliced bell pepper into your already oiled pan. Stir-fry until they are slightly soft, yet still have a slightly crunch texture. Add to the mixing bowl.

5. Cook your spinach. Wash it and bring a pot of water to a boil. Dip it into the water for about a minute, then take it out, squeeze out the water and add to the bowl.

5.  Using your hands, add the rest of the sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce, and honey and mix all of the ingredients together.

6.  Do a taste test — if you think it needs more soy sauce or sesame oil, add it in at this time, then mix some more.

7.  Season with sesame seeds, and serve as a meal! Enjoy!

IMG_0484.jpg

Carbs are not the enemy

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about low-carb diets, and I think for some people, it can help them lose weight and be healthier. In fact, I have a good friend who went full keto and was able to lose over 100 pounds through the keto diet + exercise! However, for me, I truly believe carbs are not the enemy. My 95 year old grandpa has been eating carbs all his life, especially white rice, and he is one of the healthiest people I know. His diet is balanced, combining the carbs with healthy protein from fish and chicken along with lots of vegetables. He still teaches a ballroom dance class, drives, climbs ladders to pick fruit off of his trees, and takes daily walks.

My point is that I think we all need to find what works for us, and any diet that is too restrictive and extreme is difficult to maintain for the average person. I believe the key to health is moderation and having a well-rounded diet. In addition, I walk an average of 5-7 miles per day (to and from work + errands), plus work out almost every day. Without carbs in my diet, I would feel sluggish from lack of energy!

tumblr_nqfpm0prEh1rjgem2o4_r1_1280Healthy avocado toast from my kitchen!

Here are some facts that I found on health.com supporting the campaign for carbs:

Eating carbs makes you thin for life

A recent multicenter study found that the slimmest people also ate the most carbs, and the chubbiest ate the least. The researchers concluded that your odds of getting and staying slim are best when carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric intake, or 361 grams.

Carbs fill you up

Many carb-filled foods act as powerful appetite suppressants. They’re even more filling than protein or fat. These special carbs fill you up because they are digested more slowly than other types of foods, triggering a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly. Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories (roughly 150 to 200 calories for the average woman) during the next day, because they felt less hungry.

Carbs control blood sugar and diabetes

The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.

Eat the carbs you want, but you need to combine them so that they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. Instead of eating white rice, switch to brown and combine it with beans, corn, or other high Resistant Starch foods that keep your blood sugar more balanced than low-carb diets.

Carbs speed up metabolism

Carbs high in Resistant Starch speed up your metabolism and your body’s other natural fat burners. As Resistant Starch moves though your digestive system, it releases fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in your belly.

These fatty acids help preserve muscle mass—and that stokes your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster. Researchers set out to fatten up two groups of rats, feeding one group food that was low in Resistant Starch. A second group was fed Resistant Starch-packed food. The rats fed the low Resistant Starch chow gained fat while losing muscle mass. Rats that ate the high Resistant Starch meals preserved their muscle mass, keeping their metabolism moving.

SOURCE: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20359383,00.html

IMG_3906Gluten free pancakes from my kitchen!

So I’ve concluded for myself that carbs are an essential part of my diet!

The moral of this story is that it doesn’t make sense to overly restrict any foods. Or as my friend Brooke says, foods do not have moral components; they are not either good or bad. I personally feel my healthies when I eat a balanced diet including carbs, protein, healthy fat, and natural sugar.

 

Of course each person’s results will depend on their level of activity, genetics, and type of carbs you eat. But the moral of the story is that it’s A-OK to stick with healthy carbs, like quinoa, brown rice pasta, and beans for a well-rounded balanced diet!

 

Why Chopsticks?

A lot of the food posts on my instagram show chopsticks as my only utensils. I’ve gotten a few questions about why I eat with chopsticks so often, and it’s not just because I’m Asian!

Although I’ve been using chopsticks pretty much all my life and consider myself rather adept with them, using them causes me to eat more slowly! And health experts have discovered that eating more slowly is better for the body overall. So next time you’re hungry, pick up a pair of chopsticks rather than a fork! Your body will thank you!

Here are some of the benefits of eating slower:

  1. Stopping when we are full. According to scientific research, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that our body is full. This means that if you eat too fast, you might eat past the point of fullness, yet not really even know! Ever had that feeling after eating to fast of feeing “gross” or bloated? Chances are that by the time your brain caught up with your body’s feeling of fullness, it was too late, and you already over ate. By eating slower, you can still consume your favorite foods, but not overdo it!
  2. Better digestion. Eating more slowly allows you to more thoroughly chew your food, which in turn helps your body to fully digest it.
  3. Overall enjoyment and satisfaction. As in anything, if we take the time to enjoy it, we will be happier! Food is one of the wonderful and amazing things in life, and like a beautiful sunset or first dance, there is something calming about being able to fully enjoy the meals that we consume! I’ve found that slowing down during meals and taking time to enjoy them have helped me to not only be more mindful of what I put in my body, but to also appreciate all of the tastes and flavors!

Bon Appétit! I hope this post will inspire you to eat a little slower, enjoy your next meal, and maybe even try out a pair of chopsticks!

Love,

Shannon

 

Meal Prep On The Go!

13584091_750362541773132_1264543173_n

Life for me has been a bit crazy between my office job (I work at an architecture firm), workout schedule, and photoshoots (I work part time as a lifestyle model/commercial actress in SF). Most of the time, I’m running late for something, don’t have time for food, and end up eating unhealthy snacks or not eating at all, only to leave myself eating one big meal a day. This is HORRIBLE considering it’s bad for your metabolism to starve your body or to eat all at once. My solution? Meal prep the night before!

This was my first attempt at “meal prep” for a whole day of snacks for on the go. I had a business lunch planned for the day, so I didn’t need lunch, but at least my breakfast and snacks were planned so I could avoid stopping by a fast food place when I get hungry!

IMG_1717

For breakfast I packed some rolled oats, which was easy to make at the office by adding some water. Topped with a few strawberries, and it was good to go! I had a lot of driving to do, so the nicely boxed little snacks were convenient to eat in the car while on the go.

13525444_1777109165853470_14910183_n

I brought along my water infuser by dropbottle to infuse my water with lemon to keep me hydrated!

I was always hesitant to pack food to go in the past because I was worried about it not lasting in the car or getting spoiled or too hot from the California sun! I recently got a special insulated bag to carry my meals in that also holds ice packs to keep it all fresh! I highly recommend The Shield bag by Fitmark, but really any insulated cooler bag can work. The great thing about this bag however is that my snacks are accessible from the top AND the side, perfect since I have been driving a lot lately! They’re running a 4th of July sale right now – JULY4 for 20% off!

IMG_6100

I would love to know your experience with meal prep, how often you do it, and has it made a difference in your fitness results/health! I plan to continue this for a bit to track  my own results as well, so I’ll be posting what’s in my bag regularly on Instagram – @caligirlgetsfit!

Have a Happy 4th of July, beautiful fit people!

xx,

Shannon

Protein Powder

Protein powder is somewhat new territory for me. When I think of it, I would envision men with muscles drinking protein shakes to get more bulky! But after talking with both male AND female trainers, I learned that it can help me to gain lean muscle mass.

I did a little bit of research into the different types of protein shakes – everything from whey (the most popular) to soy, rice, pea, and even hemp protein. I decided to try the whey protein because in addition to helping to reduce fat and gain muscle mass, it has also been reported to improve the immune system (source: Men’s Health).

And that’s not all. According to Women’s Health, women may benefit even more than men from protein supplements because we don’t always get enough in our every day diet. The average woman consumes 46 grams of protein per day, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes consume between 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day. For a 140-pound woman, that would be between 76 and 108 grams of protein per day. (Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/protein-powder-guide)

IMG_0805.JPG

nutritionfacts.jpg

I decided to try the Designer Whey Protein because it was recommended by a friend as tasting good, and has no added sugars, hormones, or preservatives (this is not an ad or in any way sponsored by the protein powder company). I got both the vanilla (pictured above) and the chocolate (shown in the blender bottle below) and mixed it with  water, and it ended up tasting pretty good! I liked the chocolate slightly better. I’ve been drinking it for the past 3 weeks, and so far so good; I’ve seen some improvement in muscle tone!

IMG_0813 copy.jpg

I also tried several different protein powder shaker bottles (I got one for free from GNC, and one from a friend), and ended up getting the Trimr shaker bottle. I found out that a whole bunch of people in my fitness circle love the bottle too because of its sleek yet efficient, spill-proof design and straw (rather than just a big hole at the top that can leak). I’ve chatted with some friends over there, and they’ve graciously offered a 15% discount to all of my readers with the code TRIMRGRAM if you want to try their bottles too! (This is not an ad; I don’t get commission or anything, just want to pass along the savings to you guys)!

What’s your experience with protein shakes? Please share in the comments; would love to hear recommendations from you guys!

 

Are You Dehydrated?

A few years ago, I would get constant headaches and dizziness at random times and couldn’t figure out why. A few visits to the doc, and finally figured out that I was dehydrated! It’s not always easy to remember to drink water, especially for people on the go. Here are some of the things I’ve tried to keep my body hydrated and happy!

  • Wake up in the morning with a glass of water. If you start your morning with a glass of water, you’re already on the right start! I make it a part of my morning routine by drinking my water and also taking my vitamins too.
  • Infuse your water with fruit or veggies. For some people, water can be plain and boring, so infuse it with fresh fruit, cucumbers, or mint leaves. It helps to give your boring ol’ water some extra kick!
  • Drink while you eat. Drinking during your meal will help your digestion, slow down your eating, and keep you hydrated.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and veggies as snacks. Fresh fruits and veggies have more water content than crackers and chips. Plus they’re healthier too! Every little bit of water helps during your day.
  • Have your afternoon tea. I drink a selection of herbal and green teas midday. It’s a great pick-me-up and also helps to get some liquid flowing.

Any other suggestions for ways to keep hydrated? Share them in the comments below!! 🙂

 

Infusing bottle can be found here!

Get Outside!

I grew up in a household without nature. Sure, we had grass in the back yard and trees on our neighborhood block like most kids in the suburbs. And I remember that some of my classmates would spend their summer vacations going camping. My mom’s famous line was “I hate nature” and glamping was not yet a thing! Thus, my summer vacations were spent going to Disneyland and or short trips to Carmel in nice hotels.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining at all about our annual trips to Disneyland (a kid’s dream, for sure!), but it took me into adulthood to discover nature, and I wish that I had sooner. There’s something so relaxing about being away from buildings everywhere and getting a chance to just be one with yourself. Not to mention that hiking is great exercise!

And science backs it up too: A study proved that people who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space. Here are some tips on getting outside for busy people!

  • Get a regular hiking buddy. For many people, it’s hard to motivate yourself, but having a regular partner to hike with can help you stay committed and look forward to spending time with them. You can push each other to try more challenging hikes.
  •  Plan in advance. If you schedule your hikes ahead of time and write it down on your calendar, you’re more likely to stay committed. If you plan in advance, it could also be something to look forward to during the day or on the weekends.
  •  Pack your gear ahead of time. If you have everything ready to go, it will seem like less of a burden to actually get out there. Have your backpack, gear, and water ready to go the day before.
  •  Get a hiking group together. You’ll be more likely to go if you make it a fun social activity! It’s great to find like-minded people with similar interests. They might introduce you to some new spots and vice-versa and it’s a great opportunity to explore together!

 

Hope this post inspires you to get outside! 🙂

Wearing: Dona Jo Fitwear https://www.donajofitwear.com/

Work Out With Me!

I was following the Kayla Itsines BBG Guide 1.0 and then finished all of the weeks! I am planning to start 2.0 next year, but in the meantime the great thing about her guide is that it gives you the tools to create your own workouts based on what area of the body you are looking to target!

Here is a workout that I put together and tried myself. It was great! Try it with me!

Time yourself and do each circuit twice for 7 minutes. You do Circuit 1 (7 minutes), then rest. Then do Circuit 2 (7 minutes) and rest again for a few minutes. Then repeat circuits 1 and 2 for a total of 28 minutes of workouts + a few minutes in between for rest!

Circuit 1

15 burpees

15 decline push-ups

40 x-hops

10 medicine ball smashes

 

Circuit 2

40 side taps

25 regular pushups

20 tricep dips

1 plank for 1 minute

November 8 BBG Meetup

A little rain couldn’t keep us hardcore BBG girls away from our workout today. Mickey and I had a blast sweating with all of our BBG sisters by the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. Here are my favorite photos from the day! Look forward to our next meetup. Thanks for coming out everyone and for those of you who couldn’t make it, hope to see you next time!

DSC07781

Katrina – new mommy to be – made it out to support us!

Photo Nov 08, 11 11 07 AM

Photo Nov 08, 11 22 37 AM Photo Nov 08, 11 44 36 AM Photo Nov 08, 11 43 26 AM