Recap

PhotoGrid_1450923392303A humbling discovery best sums up last year.  I dove into new areas of my faith, explored multiple fitness genres, overhauled what I knew about nutrition & strived to examine myself to the very core.  Each discovery was made outside of my comfort zone but it’s true what they say, that’s where all the good stuff happens. 

The part of each discovery that stands out the most are the strong people who surrounded me.  Not necessarily strong as in a look or size rather strong in their character, the impact they have to naturally influence others towards progress.  There they were nudging, encouraging & challenging myself & those around them to step forward.  These people are made up of family, old friends, new friends & complete strangers, some of who I won’t ever see again.  I also believe these people have no idea the impact they make by simply being & giving their time. 

Truth be told if you are reading this you are one of them & I’m so very thankful.

It’s exciting to end the year feeling like no stone was left unturned while in good company & now to set out for the future.  My goal, keep discovering & do my best to pay forward the strength that was given to me.

As always thank you for letting me share.  Best wishes, my friends!

 

 

 

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Summer Slaw

Here’s a super easy slaw recipe perfect for summer!

Servings: 9
Serving size: approximately 1 full cup

•Combine listed pictured ingredients.
•Stir in 2-4 drops liquid stevia or to taste.
•Refrigerate till nice & chilled.  Serve & enjoy!  *will stay fresh in refrigerator for several days

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This recipe is a combination of 2 of my friends’ recipes with a Short Side of It twist (thanks Sophia & Shawna!). 

What’s your favorite healthy summer time side?

The Arena

Be a gladiator & step into the Arena to battle yourself.  This is a place for ALL who want to put in work to be better.

Find an individual(s) to conquer walking, running, stadiums, hills or lifting with.  Share tips, recipes, & motivation that’s useful.  This is OUR arena, everyone is welcome, limits are not.

The rules are simple:

Compete against yourself.  Get uncomfortable. Encourage each other.

Absolutely NO negativity (you will be removed) & NO fad health marketing allowed.

I have opted a group over over a fan page because groups allow input from everyone & the ease of setting up notifications to your preference.  If we’re not in your area you are still welcome to join however I highly recommend forming your own local arena!


 

 

Tried & True Recent Pinterest Recipes

I want to share my most recent tried & true easy recipes from Pinterest!  I’ve listed the slight adjustments or tips I’ve found that make these tasty pins fool proof.

 

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

My favorite seasoning combination is hot chili, Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime, pepper & a just a little salt.  I found baking them for 20 minutes was perfect.  Fyi, I tried the left overs cold & it hit the spot!  Never knew I liked cabbage so much.

Direct link to recipe here

 

Low Carb Gluten Free Tortilla

I LOVE (& I mean LOOOOVE) this recipe!!!  They actually have the texture & flexibility of a regular tortilla.  I opted out of the seasoning because I wanted them plain & I’m a fan of coconut flavoring.  If separated by wax paper they refrigerate for several days.  I also decided to play with the recipe and ended up making Vanilla Coconut Pancakes. I’m still perfecting this recipe so expect to see it in the near future!

Direct link to recipe: http://the-lowcarb-diet.com/low-carb-tortilla-recipe/

 

Italian turkey bean soup

This one is a hit!  I swapped the spinach for kale because I prefer the taste of kale. It’s that simple & is delicous!

Direct link to recipe: http://www.rachelcooks.com/2014/02/03/turkey-bean-spinach-soup-healthy-soup-recipe/

If you want more recipes follow my Feed Me Healthy & Feed Me Sweet & Healthy boards!  I also enjoy posting food, fitness & any other positive discoveries on Instagram.  Best wishes!

 

Team Motivation

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This is a phenomenal example of strength!  Surround yourself with people that elevate you & everything else will rise as well!  A tremendous amount of inspiration comes from seeing people come together for a common goal of helping others while getting to improve themselves.  You are most like the people you hang out with.  Build a team, let the strength of your group be unstoppable.  They did & look what they accomplished, together!

HUGE CONGRATS & THANKS to Colby’s Nuggets & Kickin’ Asphalt for letting me share your pictures & inspiring us!

Kolby’s Nuggets at the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk

Chris Velasquez family & friends

Support Kolby’s Nuggets also learn more about Down Syndrome!

Colby's Nuggets

Kickin’ Asphalt at the Waddell & Reed Kanas City Marathon

Scott Battagler, Jamie Collins, Brandon Collins, Sarah Riney & Corey Van Dine

Help the beneficiary Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Kickin' Asphalt

You can find this & more motivation on the Show & Tell page!

*I got to see Kickin’ Asphalt team form…the support & encouragement they threw at each other through the training process was exciting & contagious. I’m so proud of each of them. I will continue to reflect on their accomplishment of winning as individuals who finished in unity!

 

Reading Nutrition Labels Made Easy

Regardless of the eating plan you follow it begins with knowing how to read a nutrition label.

Below I have put together a printable breakdown.  I recommend always checking the ingredients first & to move on from there as listed.

Also you’ll see a comparison of similar food, processed vs fresh. Bottom line, whichever food you choose make an informed decision. Do NOT depend on key wording from marketing to tell you what’s “healthy”.
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Now compare the above label with the below labels.

Below you get more volume of food, less calories, less sodium, less carbohydrates & half the sugar. Plus it cost less & preparation time is the same.

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Please feel free to share & you’re always welcome to connect with me via Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook!

Going For The Title

Today is a milestone. Today I will walk through the doors of my favorite gym & register for my 4th competition. Exactly a year ago to the date I was walking through hospital doors. I’ve debated with myself on what to share & how to share. The thing is the events of the last year challenged me to grow mentally, physically, spiritually & allowed me to embrace my atmosphere with a heightened passion. So here it goes…

I had a hysterectomy. The future plans of my husband & I didn’t revolve around how many children we would have if any at all however having that option pulled was not a breeze. I felt we were champs about the situation. We didn’t read anymore into the situation than necessary & came to the conclusion that it was a fate not worth stressing over.

Post-surgery… I wasn’t expecting the flood of feelings that rushed over me. Thoughts I didn’t know how to process. I had the world’s most amazing support system but I wasn’t supporting myself. I decided I would bury myself in a prep with the goal of becoming a Pro within 8 months. I lost focus on healing my whole body & concentrated on the shell. In turn my body responded with a fight. The mind is so powerful & I believe it can completely take control for the positive or negative, which ever you allow.

Competing has always been about self-improvement, a challenge, & an enjoyable privileged experience. Being tensely aimed on the appearance & literally letting it consume me negatively made me question everything. I had more closed door tears shed than I’d like to admit but it happened. My spirit felt drained. Three weeks out from the competition those around me started to question if I was okay. It was the very question that I needed ask myself. So I did. I decided to nix doing the show because I wasn’t proud of how I felt & finally let myself process those uncomfortable feelings.

The realization is that I don’t need a coveted title, of any sort, Pro or Mom. The joy of knowing life is right where it is intended & that I have an opportunity to make a difference is indescribable. I honestly feel that this plan was laid out before me so that I could reach more people, more children. Something I couldn’t have done otherwise.

All the meanwhile I was watching a very dear friend go through her own child bearing grievances. I watched her closely & took note. I didn’t want to come right out & say I was hurting. Her poise through the process was inspiring. The intent of this post is twofold, 1, whatever obstacles have been given to you search for the gift in it. I guarantee there is one to be found. 2., Stay strong & encourage each other. Your actions have a huge impact on those around you when you least expect it.

Next weekend when I step on stage I can hold my head high & know what a genuine gift I have been given. As hard as it is to share I hope those out there that are focused on the shell will let their heart start doing the growing because as cliché as it sounds I’ve already won.

As always thank you for reading & letting me share. Live life big & best wishes my friends.

The Value & Belief

With it being the start of a new week I thought I’d share a way I stay committed to my goals, short term & lifelong.

You see I believe I have grand purpose, actually I believe we all have a purpose of great magnitude. Some aspirations are personally set & others, for me anyways, are faith driven. I’ve found the key is to establish the value & belief. Simply put, my purpose is like gold to me so that decisions & follow through leave little room to be debated. I suppose I rarely feel distracted because I consciously chose these values & ultimately decided to make them my priority.

Yet like everyone I get worn down & tempted to sway with convenience. This is when I take a moment to weigh my options & the outcome they will create. Do I want the things most important to me to fade away & fail? Absolutely not, so there my values take over & navigate my next move.

My recommendation, connect to your goal on another level, what is it worth to you. Then raise the standard of what is acceptable. Whatever it is in your life that makes you feel alive is valuable. Merely “saying” your family, health, etc. are priority followed by actions of repeatedly making choices out of convenience is a direct reflection of the significance they actually have.

This is your calling, your life & you have the choice to display what is worthy of your time. Now tell me, what do you value & how will you go forward. I believe you can do it because you too are gold.

the short side of it

Resistance Ab Exercises

There isn’t a body part I dislike training therefore I’m going to aim to share some of these favorite exercises that work for me.  I look forward to hearing your feedback & please share your favorites with all of us.  Now lets do work!  

Abs

 Row Slide

15 reps, 3x

Focus: lower & core.

Get into a push up stand.  Place feet on the row seat & push forward letting your bottom create a hinge movement.

 

Weighted Twist

20 full movements, 3x

Focus: oblique

Hold a dumbbell or plate out from your body.  Keeping your hips forward twist from side to side keeping your abs tight.  The further out your arms are the more challenging it will be.

 

Resistance Band Leg Lifts

15 reps, 3x

Focus: lower

Wrap resistance band around something secure & place the top of your feet through the handles.  Scoot back far enough to create tension but not so much that you aren’t able to lift your feet.  Lay flat, arms at your side & lift legs.

 

Resistance Band Crunches

To failure (at least 20), 2x

Wrap resistance band around something secure.  Grab the handles & scoot away far enough to create resistance.  Lift your legs & pull the bands from behind you.  Lower into normal crunch position & repeat.

 

Looking for more training videos check out Nicole Wilkins website & the Cut and Jacked website.  Great info there!!!

 

Weekly Food Prep Tips

Over time I’ve found serious time & food savers when preparing food for the week.   Hope you find these helpful & please share if you have any great tips for all of us!

PROTEINS

Ground Meat

I brown a few pounds of ground up meat (E.g. turkey, chicken, bison or venison).  Half of it to have available to add to meals for the next 3-4 days (think zucchini boats, taco salads or chili).  Freeze the other half & pull it back out to thaw mid-week.  Personally I do not season when I brown it, this way I can add the appropriate seasoning to match the meal I’m going to have at the moment. Try this zucchini boat recipe.

Eggs

Never peel an egg again!  Spray muffin tin with PAM crack open one egg to each tin.  Bake at 400° 10-12 minutes.  The yolk pops right out.  They are good for approximately 5 days.  Here’s another egg muffin recipe

Never peel an egg again!

Never peel an egg again!

Omelets in 3 minutes.  Spray bowl with PAM & pour in 1 cup liquid egg whites (equals 5 egg whites).  You can add seasoning, mozzarella cheese or some of your precooked ground meat.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes.  Or you can make omelets the traditional way & have breakfast.  Stays good for about 4 days.

Fish

Frozen tilapia is great to keep handy.  Place frozen fish in water for about 15 mins to speed thaw.  Line sheet or baking dish with foil, spray nonstick spray, season fish (I’m all the time using different spices!).  Back at 375 for 20 minutes.  Done!  Afterwards add any topping (guacamole, salsa, egg whites).  Try this tilapia wrap recipe

Refrigerator life of fish is short however it’s a quick easy meal.

Shredded Chicken & Vegetables

Add 6 frozen chicken breast, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, apple cider vinegar to taste, seasoning (Mrs. Dash Caribbean Citrus is my favorite) & 2 cups water (or chicken stock/broth) to crock pot.  Cook on high for 6 ½ hours.  The chicken will shred as you stir.  You can take half & freeze it while keeping the other half ready to eat.

Be creative with what you add to the chicken!  You can add beans, potatoes & almost any vegetable.  If you want more of a soup add more liquid.  Here’s another chicken crock pot recipe I like. You can also do chicken by itself to have to add to meals throughout the week.

VEGETABLES & MORE

Fresh Salad, the trick to keeping it fresh is to eliminate the moisture.  Place a napkin in each container & salad will stay fresh for days.  It works!

Vinegar Cucumbers, slice cucumbers & soak in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.  Will keep for several days.  You can also keep your cut up celery fresh for several days by keeping them submerged in water.

Beans, rice, Freekah can be cooked in mass & divided up to be frozen. More about Freekah & other carbs here

Roasted Vegetables.  Take a mixture of frozen veggies that have sat out about 10 minutes to semi thaw (& feel free to add in some fresh vegetables).  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & bake at 350° for 15 minutes.  The roasted vegs pictured I used a frozen mixture of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli & green beans with fresh mushrooms, shredded cabbage & peppers. Delicious!