Exercises to Try Next Time You’re Outside!

This post is sponsored by Zappos. All opinions are my own.

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to get outside! 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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Here Comes the Bride – Spa Day at the Bay Club!

A few weeks ago, my fitness bestie Mickey (@plantsandplanks) got married in a beautiful ceremony and reception in Northern California. But first… no wedding is complete without a pampering session spa day for the blushing bride before her wedding. Nothing can top a deep tissue massage and mani-pedi date to help relax and get rid of any pre-wedding cold feet (literally, because the foot bath is so warm and soothing)!

The Bay Club Redwood Shores hosted our spa day, and everything was top notch from start to finish! And while I have been a member of the Bay Club for several months now, I just discovered their spa, which is a wonderful hidden gem in the Bay Area. Here is a recap of our wonderful day in pictures, and I’m so thankful that we got to spend this time together. A big “THANK YOU” to the Bay Club for hosting us, making us feel welcome, and for overall a wonderful experience.

As you can see, we are really excited to be here! 😀

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Of course, no visit to the Bay Club could be complete without a quick workout in their multipurpose room. This room is amazing for people who want to take a class or want to use the room for quiet time when no classes are scheduled!

The spa is beautiful and welcoming with a nice, calming environment that’s a great little hideaway from the bustling gym, where we can get pampered after that challenging workout!

We had the most amazing massages that were just what we needed to relax before the big day!

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Cold feet, no problem! The nice warm foot bath, foot massage, and skilled nail artist Riley Lyles left us feel completely pampered!

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Mickey is really into geometric shapes, and Riley nailed her dream nails for the big day!

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The Bay Club Spa left us with a special gift, and it completely made our entire day!

Next, we were off for some lovely refreshments to end our special day here. We can’t thank the Bay Club enough for this experience, and can’t wait to come back again soon!

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Love,

Shannon and Mickey (who is now a Mrs!)

#bayclubhappy

Supplements: Protein and BCAAs

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Every week when I post my meal plans, I get a lot of questions about supplements: how they benefit my workout, and how to choose between a sea of different brands. Here, I’m going to go over the two supplements I’m currently taking: protein and BCAAs and how they help my workouts!

Whey Protein

According to research, bodybuilders, and other fitness professionals, drinking protein during or after you train can help to create faster gains, i.e. improvements in strength and muscle development. This can also help with recovery. Probably the most popular supplement out there is whey protein, which is derived from milk protein. The protein in cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein.

People love whey protein because it digests quickly and builds lean muscle, meaning that if you drink it around the time of your workout, you can get the benefits right away around the time that you work out out those muscles. Thus, in my opinion the best time to take it is either before or after your workout.

Pea Protein

However, if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, whey protein is not for you. One suggestion from a vegan friends is pea protein as a dietary supplement. Pea protein is a safe alternative for people with allergies to dairy, those who are lactose intolerant, vegetarians, or people soy allergies. Plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid. However, one primary difference between whey and pea powders is that whey is a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all essential amino acids, and pea is an incomplete protein. It’s a great place to start but it’s not appropriate to use as the primary source of protein in your diet (source: Livestrong). People taking pea protein may have to take additional supplements or get additional protein sources from food.

BCAAs

BCAAs stand for branched chain amino acids, and the these help to not only facilitate muscle growth, but they also help to provide fuel for your body. On days that my workouts are very intense, such as lots of HIIT or cardio-intense intervals, they are very beneficial. We can get a lot of these BCAAs from certain foods, such as chicken breast, beef, salmon, eggs, and quinoa, however on super intense workout days, I like to incorporate a BCAA supplement into my training around the time of my workout. A trainer told me that BCAAs help to promote muscle growth, repair your body, and reduce  muscle soreness. So I started taking them after HIIT and did notice I was less tired and less sore. If you’re curious, it’s definitely worth a try!

The current supplement I’m taking is the Women’s Best protein and BCAAs. I chose this one specifically because of the taste and that the products fit well with my training routine. I currently drink my shakes in the afternoon either before or after my workouts, and the BCAAs after intense training sessions. If you have any questions about the products or are interested in trying them out, you can visit their website here!

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BBG Bay Area / Sweat SF Meetup February

meetuppic-1A lot of people ask what BBG stands for, especially those who are new to the workout or have never heard of it before. And while the workout is intended to stand for “bikini body guide,” I really think it stands for BADASS BABES & GUYS! Because over 100 of us got together, killed our workout, and fostered a great sense of community that only burpees and a whole lot of sweat can bring!

The workout was held again at the beautiful Bay Club gymnasium, and we had so much fun with a circuit workout that included push-ups, burpees, squats, mountain climbers, and a whole lot of fun!

The day’s workout was created by Mickaela Roxas of Plants and Planks, and she took the best of Kayla Itsines’ exercises from her Sweat app, and compiled them into a full body workout. We had a great time working out together!

Special thank you to Women’s Best for sponsoring protein powder, shakers, and goodies (cookies, chocolates, wafers, BCAA’s, protein creme, and  more) for our attendees! They generously provided all of this workout fuel for 100 attendees to keep us motivated and going strong! Their protein powder and BCAA’s are the only supplements I am currently taking, and I would recommend them for everyone! We are so grateful to have them as a sponsor, and I’m so happy that our attendees got to try the products.

Also thank you to Bay Club San Francisco for their generous hospitality. For those of you who haven’t tried out the club and are local to the SF Bay Area, you totally should! It’s currently my gym (I’m a member) – and I would love to work out with you there! Also, you can join our Facebook group here, where you can download a free 3-day pass to try out the gym. The gym amenities are beautiful, including a luxurious locker room, weight room, multiple cardio rooms, as well as yoga and pilates!

Also thank you to Elizabeth Griffin for being our official event photographer! Here are some of the photos from the event! Click here for the full album!

Also thank you to Jeremy Wong of Where’s the Film Productions for the amazing video footage!

If you are interested in being notified of future events, you can head over to http://sweatsf.com/ and sign up for the mailing list!

We hope you all had fun sweating with us!

Peace, love and burpees,

Shannon ❤

It’s #turkeytuesday and Taco Tuesday!

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Many of you guys saw that I featured a recipe for mason jar tacos by my friend Tina here! I decided to make my own version of this delicious meal that could be eaten as lunch, a snack, or a fourth meal! Mine features avocado (because you know I love healthy fat) and Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey (because I’m all about healthier, locally sourced ingredients from California,  my home state!). People always ask me why I use Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey instead of beef for my tacos. And while I think beef tastes great, Foster Farms organic ground turkey is part of my healthy meal plan as a nutritious and lean diet with no hormones or antibiotics and a great source of protein. It fits within my daily macros, which is what I love! Let’s take a look at how to make this a really fun “turkey taco tuesday” — say that 10 times fast! lol Oh, and my tacos also happen to be paleo!

What you’ll need:

  • Mason jars
  • Veggies (diced and eaten raw)
    • Tomatoes
    • Mixed greens
    • Red cabbage
    • Bell peppers (mine are orange but use any color!)
    • Avocado
  • Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey
  • Turkey seasoning
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    •  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Sriracha (optional)

How to make it:

IMG_1896.jpgFirst, I prep my veggies. I dice up all of the veggies, except for the avocado, which we will do last. The amount of veggies depends on how many of these you want to make! I use these for mealprep, so I usually make about 4-5 jars for the week.

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Then make your turkey seasoning by combining all of the ingredients mentioned above!

Now you’re ready to make the turkey. First, I heat a little olive oil on my pan before pan-frying the turkey. When the turkey is about 80% of the way cooked, I usually add in my seasoning. I don’t add it all in at once; I add it little by little as not to overseason, noting that it’s always easier to add more, than to remove! Be sure to cook it thoroughly. The Foster Farms turkey that I’m using is my lean protein of choice because low in fat, from California, and free range. Once the turkey is cooked, set it aside.

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Once all of your ingredients are done, you can start layering them in your jars. I start with the peppers, then cabbage, turkey, greens, tomatoes, and the avocado last! I make my avocados into avocado roses just for a fun garnish. Set it on top of the jar for a fun and beautiful treat. I might create a tutorial for that another day! Fun little tip about avocados: If you’re mealprepping, I would wait to top these until you’re ready to eat them. Also, if you want your avocados not to turn brown, sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice on them!

And voila! You are all done! Please let me know if you try this recipe and if you liked it! I also use a little sriracha for a bit of spice, and it comes out delicious!

If you try this recipe at home, please share pictures with me, because I love seeing the way you guys make your food! If you are interested in trying the same Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey that I used, you can do so here: https://www.fosterfarms.com/fresh-turkey/organic/.

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Gobble gobble! This post was in partnership with Foster Farms. All recipes, ideas, and opinions are my own.

Taco Tuesday Mason Jar Salad by @fitchickscook

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I love recipes that are not only easy to make, but are easy to eat, especially when on the go! A lot of my mealpreps need to be reheated, and most of us don’t have a microwave or stove in the car! (If you do however, we seriously need to talk!) lol.
For clean meals that can be consumed anywhere, look no further than my beautiful friend Tina, better known as @fitchickscook, who is this month’s featured recipe share! This recipe keeps really well in this Mason jar, and lasts for 5 days! Also, no reheating is necessary since it can be eaten cold. I also love how flavorful it is, and it’s refreshing and really fills you up. Not to mention it’s pretty to look at. This prep is so easy. Here’s how to make it!

What you’ll need:
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded purple cabbage,
  • Cooked ground turkey meat in cumin, paprika, cayenne and chili powder with some salt and pepper or use an all seasoning spice like Flavorgod Taco Tuesday seasoning
  • diced red and yellow bell peppers
  • jalapeño rounds
  • finely chopped kale
  • canned red kidney beans
  • corn
  • green onions and cilantro.

Put it all together:

Layer your ingredients in this list from bottom to top in a 1 L Mason Jar. That’s it! Squeeze the day with a slice of lemon in it, mix it all up and enjoy!


About Tina:

photo-jan-11-10-21-49-amTina is a fit girl that hails from Canada! She believes that mealpreps and heathy eats are important to achieving her fitness goals, and she’s showing that abs really are made in the kitchen with her amazing transformation! In addition to her active lifestyle that consists of crossfit and hot yoga, she is also a banker by day and manages to fit it all into her schedule. Also big thumbs up to Tina for tackling the Whole 30 diet like a boss. For more inspiration, visit her Instagram by clicking here!

Cali Girl Gets Macros!

Introduction To Macros

Welcome to the wonderful world of macros, which has suddenly become MY world! Starting in January 2017, I decided to try using macros to calculate my nutritional goals because I saw a lot of people achieving great results with it. Below, I outline how to get started, but if you are already a macro veteran, you can bypass the How I Got Started section and scroll down to Lessons Learned.


How I Got Started

I heard the acronym IIFYM everywhere, and learned that it stands for “if it fits your macros!” I discovered that the site has a free macro calculator here: https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/, so I used their free calculator, input the required information like age, height, weight, activity level, and goals. A lot of this is based upon how much exercise you commit to every day.

After entering your information and goals, the site gives your macros based on what you input (mine are below)! The great thing about it is that you can PERSONALIZE this to fit what YOU want to do with your body and what you want to consume. I actually adjusted mine a little bit to increase the protein, increase the healthy fat (to accommodate nuts and avocado), and reduce the carbs. The values all have a relationship (so as you change protein, fat, carbs, etc. the others change to fit within the same total number of calories). You can change it too! This is what I came up with for my goals.

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The IIFYM.com website has a place where you can sign up for their specific meal and fitness plans, but I decided that I’m going to put together my own meal plan. I love seeing how things work, and the DIY method is FREE! I asked around to find out what friends use to calculate daily macros, and the first app that was suggested to me was My Fitness Pal.

I downloaded the app, and it seemed very intuitive. You search for a food that you ate or plan to prep, weigh it, and input it in the app. The app then tells you the amount of calories and all of the macros in that food or meal! Easy enough right?

I started with chicken. I got a value pack of chicken breasts, cut them up, and weighed them on my food scale (I use that little “tare” button to offset the weight of the plate so that it’s not included in the weight of the chicken). The food scale that I have is unfortunately not available anymore, but here are a good selection of ones you can try from Amazon if you don’t have one already!

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From there, I input the foods from my recipes into myfitness pal individually. So if my recipe contains 6 ounces of chicken as seen above, 1 tbsp of basil, a dash of paprika, 1 tbsp of parsley, 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper, I enter all of those ingredients into myfitnesspal. From there, if I add a salad to my mealprep, I enter all of those individual ingredients as well to get the totals for that particular meal.

After entering all of the information in, this meal below came out to the following (I did not add dressing to my salad in case you were wondering why it wasn’t listed):

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As I mealprepped more and more meals to the week, I added them all into my app, under the categories Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks.

I then can make sure that my calories and macros fit within the guidelines I got as a result from entering my information into the IIFYM.com website!

I have to say however, that I’m not extremely strict and rigid with the calories and macro counts; I just keep them in mind and make sure they don’t fall too far out of range.

And that’s it! You enter in all of the foods you prep, or if you’re not a mealprepper, you can just add foods per meal as you eat them and get a daily total!


Lessons Learned

And now… for the lessons learned. So much information all in one week!

1 // My Fitness Pal Contains Incorrect Information

I was going along and entering in my food, checking the calories/macros for all of last week, blissfully without questioning the information in the My Fitness Pal app. After all, MFP  was designed for this, and should be smarter than me, right? WRONG! Here are some reasons why your information might be incorrect

  • User Generated Errors – MFP contains foods that are generated by users, meaning that anyone can enter information and it might not be correct. If you search for and find these incorrect entries and add them to your meal plan, this incorrect information will throw off your totals. I made the mistake of looking for a complete meal and found this “Western Omlette.” I recreated it not knowing that the user who input this was incorrect!

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  • My Fitness Pal generated errors – MFP has “verified” foods, noted by a little green check mark as seen below. Most of the time they’ve been pretty accurate, but for some reason, several times I’ve calculated the calories based on the macros and sometimes they too have a slight margin of error. For this reason, I did some research and learned how to verify the calories using simple math.

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2 // Verify the Calories Based On the Macros

I learned that:

fat = x 9 (that’s a multiply sign)

carbs and protein = x 4

To show how this works, let’s look at a nutrition label for gluten free pasta.

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If use the basic formula here, Fat (1 x 9) + Carbs (42 x 4) + Protein (5 x 4) = 9 + 168 + 20 = 197. That’s pretty darn close to 200 (I think they round up). I now have learned to double check to make sure that the total calories look correct/are within close range to make sure my counts are accurate!

3 // Scan Your Food

My Fitness Pal has a scanner feature, where you can scan the barcodes of most foods and it will show the information without you having to enter it directly! This saves me lots of time!

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4 // Getting Your Totals

A really awesome person from Instagram shared with me that if you turn My Fitness Pal to landscape format, it gives you your total macros per meal and for the day! Being a person who keeps the rotating feature on my iPhone currently on lock (so that it doesn’t rotate), I had no idea and was adding things up manually! But look no further to modern technology…. woohoo!

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A Huge Variety of Apps

There are a lot of tracker apps for this, and MFP is not the only one you can choose from. I didn’t have a lot of time to try them all, but I did download Lifesum, and really liked its fun and sleek user interface as seen below. However I think based upon some of the research I did, most of these apps are about the same in accuracy, but MFP has a larger database of food. If you’re looking for more information and not sure which app you might want to use, this article (http://www.imore.com/) has a great detailed breakdown of some of the most popular ones! The article is a few years old, so if you know of some better apps feel free to leave a comment in the box below!

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To Sum It All Up

So remember those results I posted from the iifym.com website up there? It recommended my daily totals be: 1969 total calories, 153g protein, 105g fat, and 103g carbs.

This is my meal schedule for the week and my totals are 1982 calories, 149g protein, 105.5g fat, and 110g carbs. I came pretty close!

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Well that’s all, folks! I hope you enjoyed my recap of my first week with macros, and hope it helps you get started if you haven’t already. I’ll be posting my weekly meal plans on my Instagram page @caligirlgetsfit, so feel free to follow along and tag me in your photos so I can follow your journey too! I love that so many people are doing this and we are helping each other learn and get better. #strongertogether

With love and yummy tummies from California,

Shannon @caligirlgetsfit