Tag: healthy

Exercises to Try Next Time You’re Outside!

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to get outside, and today I’m going to share some awesome outdoor workouts, sponsored by Zappos!

The weather has been gorgeous here in Northern California. So in between the rainy days, I take every opportunity for a hike or outdoor workout because the scenery is much more breathtaking than the inside of the gym!

The start of a new season is also my favorite time to get new gear. Because I’ve been doing a lot more outdoor HIIT (high intensity interval training) up and down steep hills in addition to bodyweight workouts on uneven ground, I have to make sure that my shoes have good traction and are stylish too! I just got a new pair of Brooks Pureflow 6 shoes, top and leggings from Zappos, and I’m loving them! More about my shopping experience a little later. But without further ado, let’s talk about workouts!

HIIT Sprints

For HIIT, my favorite is HIIT sprints. Doing this once or twice a week definitely burns fat and elevates your metabolism so you can even be torching calories when at rest. One way I stay lean is to get in my sprints as my form of cardio. I like to add intensity to my sprints by doing them on the trails for a bit of an incline. Try this workout and let me know what you think!IMG_7676_E

Sprint uphill 50 to 70 percent speed and then walk or jog back down the hill for your recovery. I usually stop after I’ve sprinted and walked back down 10 times. Then I climb the hill for a nice scenic view!

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Bodyweight Workout

Another type of workout I love to do when outside is bodyweight workouts. This includes dynamic lunges, squats, and if you can find a bench, push-ups and tricep dips! But in order to do this, I need a lot of good traction, and once again, my Brooks gear from Zappos came through!

I recently posted on Instagram about building strength for push-ups, one of the most difficult exercises to do for those without a lot of upper body strength.  A great way to build the strength is to do push-ups on a bench or elevated surface until you can do a full push-up!

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Try doing 10 reps of these 4 times!

Awesome new Brooks Gear from Zappos!

So this season, I ordered a new pair of Brooks Pureflow 6 shoes – chosen because not only did they get awesome reviews on Zappos, but they are very lightweight, and have good traction on the bottom for those steep mountainous climbs. I also got a cute Brooks top and pair of performance leggings from Brooks to match my shoes! I felt great going up and down the mountain and got in my HIIT and some push-ups too!

I wanted to make sure that I got my new gear quickly and had the opportunity to return – often things online don’t work out for me or don’t fit right. Luckily Zappos has fast and free shipping and a 365 day return policy.

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I was shocked at how reasonably priced my Brooks gear was but how high-quality it was. The shoes were so supportive up and down the rocky terrain, and the clothes kept me dry even though I was sweating.

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Like my outfit? Get this look from Zappos.com!

Hope you guys all liked this post and that you get outside for some fun outdoor workouts!

Love from California,

Shannon

PS – Special thanks to my fiancee Kelvin, who came to work out and enjoy a beautiful day with me! 🙂

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

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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!

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!

 

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!

Dragonfruit Nice Cream

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Dragonfruit is one of my favorites because it has superfruit qualities – rich in antioxidants and a multitude of beneficial vitamins! It actually comes in three different colors: red, white, and yellow (this is the red one). For a while I was taking fresh dragonfruit and freezing it to make nice cream. Then I discovered that you can buy frozen dragonfruit pulp, which makes smoothies and nice cream so much easier to make!

You will need:

  • Food processor
  • 1 pack of Pitaya Plus (or equivalent) dragon fruit frozen pulp
  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • small handfull of frozen mangoes
  • a few tablespoons of coconut milk

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IMG_4705Combine the first 3 ingredients into your food processor and pulse until it breaks up, then blend until smooth. Add a few splashes of coconut milk and you’re done!

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You had me in the POM of your hand!

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I’ve been making  more and more acai bowls, because they just taste so good!

I use the Sambazon frozen unsweetened acai packs. Run the pack under water and break it up. Put in your nutribullet and blend along with the following (for a thicker consistency, add ice as needed):

  • Cup of frozen blueberries
  • Half cup of frozen pomegranate seeds
  • Half cup of frozen strawberries
  • Cup coconut milk
  • Handful of flaxseeds

I topped it with:

  • Naked granola
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Chia seeds (bulk from Whole Foods)
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Sunflower Seeds

#HEALTHY2015 – Superfood Supersalad and Scrumptious Sashimi

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As we say goodbye to 2014 and ring in the new year, it’s no time like the present to change your eating habits and begin a healthy fresh start! If you’re like me, the holidays are the time to spend time with loved ones, but it’s so difficult to resist the decadent food and delicious treats that are available in abundance everywhere!  My first meal of the New Year consisted of a salad featuring a multitude of different superfoods. I also decided to treat myself to some fresh sashimi from the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, California!

SUPERFOOD SUPERSALAD

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(Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease, and prolong life, and people who eat more of them are healthier and thinner than those who don’t.)

My Superfood Salad contains the following:

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Broccoli*

Brussel Sprouts*

Cabbage*

Chicory*

Cranberries*

Edamame* – I buy the frozen bagged edamame from either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and boil it for about 3 minutes.

Hodo Soy Tofu (firm), grilled* – Be sure to buy the firm, because the softer ones tend to fall apart when grilling. This tofu is all the things that mass-produced tofu isn’t: flavorful, nutrient-rich, full of character, and high-quality. One serving contains 1/3 of our daily protein needs and 1/5 of our daily calcium needs. Fortunately I live near Hodo Soy http://hodosoy.com/ in Oakland.

Kale*

Pumpkin Seeds*

Red Quinoa*

 (* denotes a superfood)

TOKYO FISH MARKET

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I buy my sashimi from the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley. IMO, they have the freshest and largest, most reasonably-priced sashimi in the Bay Area. Many Japanese restaurants even come here to purchase fish for their menu.

I bought the sashimi pictured for about $20 total. I came home and with a sharp knife was able to cut it into slices ready to eat. This time, I got hamachi (yellowtail), salmon, and tuna. They also have delicacies like tako (octopus) and uni (sea urchin), among others, along with a good selection of tobiko (flying fish roe – the little eggs) in different colors. I also bought wasabi powder here. Mixed with water, it’s an easy and quick way to make your own wasabi!

Here’s to a healthy 2015. Happy healthy New Year everyone!