Food Prep… Don’t get overwhelmed

Food Prep…I don’t have time for that!

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard those words from friends who are just too busy, too tired, or just don’t know where to start to plan a food prep.

Well, never fear!  Fit Wife is here to show you what I buy and how I prep my food for the week (Honestly, it doesn’t take that long!  I swear!)

Part 1:  Plan your meals

At my house, we have a few go to meals that we both like that we can cook a couple of days ahead of time.

  • Turkey Meatloaf
  • Baked Chicken
  • Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken
  • Turkey Casserole
  • Protein Pancakes

Part 2:  Go shopping

Here’s an example of our weekly haul…

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I like to go early in the morning Saturday or Sunday so that I can get in and get out.  Stick to the outer aisles; produce, meat, dairy, and make sure you eat before you go and have a list so you don’t stray when those fresh baked pastries are calling your name.

Part 3:  Here comes the prep…

So I actually timed myself this time.

I started at 9:30 AM and ended at 10:15 AM.

In 45 minutes I did the following:

  • Chopped veggies, sweet potatoes, and bananas to freeze for smoothiesDisplaying photo 4.JPG
  • Mixed and baked turkey meatloafDisplaying photo 1.JPG

(looks odd, but it’s really good!)

  • Prepped shredded chicken

Part 4:  How we use our food

I keep a food scale on the counter and measure as I go.  In the mornings I measure my chicken or turkey for lunch and throw my veggies in a pan to saute as I cook my breakfast.  This usually takes me about 15 min to fix and eat breakfast and pack my lunch.

For Breakfast:

Eggy Crepes

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Greek Yogurt Mousse

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I also have a couple of standards; peanut butter oatmeal and egg whites, protein pancakes with peanut butter, eggwhite wrap with guacamole, and of course a yummy chocolate peanut butter smoothie :).  I will share recipes as requested!

So the moral of the story is, with a little planning, and a little practice, you too can manage a successful and efficient meal prep and make your eating plan a whole lot easier to implement.  Fit Wife signing out.

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Workouts and progress…or lack there of…

Hey there! Long time no see!

Well after a long and unavoidable absence from this blog, I am back!  A few things have happened while I was gone.  First of all, this semester of classes have been kicking my hiney!  My Level II Clinical start in just 3 short weeks and group projects, quizzes, and individual assignments have just been overwhelming on top of work and trying to stay healthy, so I had to make the decision to say goodbye to the Fit Wife for a little while and focus on work and school.  In other news…my sister had her baby!  I am so excited to be a new Aunt and it reignites my fire to be healthy, happy, and a good mentor and role model for those who want some guidance.

Today marks 3 months of working out consistently and on program.  Around January, I was really struggling mentally with balance, nutrition, and fitness.  I made the promise to myself, that if nothing else, I would get my workouts in.  For this, I am super proud of myself and I wanted to share a little bit about my philosophy on fitness and how I currently am working out.

Cardio- A necessary part of whole-body fitness.  The amount and type that you do depends on your goals, your program and your preference.  Dance, run, HIIT, classes, and various machines at your local gym are all options as long as you raise your heart rate and get sweaty!

Weight Training-  Absolutely necessary if you demand change in your body.  Build your muscles for increased caloric burn, as well as functional strength and injury prevention.

Yoga- Some love it, some hate it, but it is indisputably one of the best things you can do for your strength, flexibility, and sanity.

I think that the most challenging part about a workout routine, especially for beginners, is probably figuring out the resistance training.  There are so many machines and pieces of equipment, as well as variations of exercises, how are you supposed to know what do start with???

What I recommend for a beginner is the following…

Choose one exercise for each of the following body parts:

Chest

Back

Biceps

Triceps

Shoulders

Glutes

Hamstrings

Quadriceps

Calves

Abdominals

Train each body part at least once a week with one day in between.  I prefer one upper body day and one lower body day. You can Google exercises for each body part or look for videos on www.bodybuilding.com with proper form and technique.  If you are intimidated by all the weights and trying to figure out your form, the best thing you can do is start with machines until you get a better idea of how your muscles move and what the contraction of the muscle should feel like.

Let me re-emphasize some important points for beginners and weight training…

  • Focus on FORM
  • Start with machines
  • Concentrate on the CONTRACTION of the muscle

Start simple, be consistent, lift heavy enough that your muscles are burning but you can still complete the exercise with proper form.

Make sure, especially if you are trying to lose weight, that you incorporate cardiovascular training into your routine a few times a week.  Remember, heart rate up, GET SWEATY!  Below you will find a sample split for beginners:

  • Day 1:  Upper Body/ 30 min Cardio
  • Day 2:  Lower Body
  • Day 3:  30-45 min Cardio
  • Day 4:  Rest Day
  • Day 5:  Upper Body/ 30 min Cardio
  • Day 6:  Lower Body
  • Day 7:  Stretching/ Flexibility/ Rest

For more a more challenging strength routine you can try something like this:

  • Day 1:  Chest/Triceps/Core/ 45 min Cardio
  • Day 2:  Glutes/Hamstrings
  • Day 3:  45 min Cardio
  • Day 4:  Back/Biceps/Core/ 45 min Cardio
  • Day 5:  Quads/ Calves
  • Day 6:  Shoulders/ 45 min Cardio
  • Day 7:  Yoga/ Rest

The most important thing to remember is to try things out and balance your routine so that it works for you and your schedule.  Working out should not be stressful!  Hope this is helpful!

 

 

 

 

Just Roll With It…My Saturday Workout

Lately, I have been asked quite often about workouts and how I like to spend my gym time.  My answer is, my workouts vary greatly depending on my mood, my fitness goals, my energy levels, and my time constraints.  Sometimes it it is not about following a workout plan to a “T,” it is about being consistent and flexible so that your gym time is not overwhelming and your workouts are manageable.

Yesterday, I had no energy, I was starving, and I was mentally drained.  I got in my weight session, lifting lighter than usual, I did half of the cardio session that I was supposed to, and I called it a day.  I was totally coaching myself through each exercise, “Self, just get through this set and then see how you feel… oh you want to go home?  Just do 5 more minutes and then you can think about it.”  It was a painful process. 🙂

Today, I got more sleep, I was hydrated, and I felt like the energizer bunny…

Warm Up- 10 minutes Elliptical

20 min HIIT on Elliptical

Hyperextensions- 3×15

Deadlifts- 3×15

KB pullovers- 3×15

DB Curl/ Tricep Kickback Superset-3×15

Cable Curl/ Overhead Tricep Cable Ext Superset- 3×15

Hanging Leg Raises from bar- 3×10

Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts- 3×15

Cable Rotations- 3×15 each side

1 mile run

20 min walking at an incline

30 min elliptical

TOO MUCH CARDIO!!!! OMG!!!

Now before I get all the comments about how much cardio I did, let me just say, I had a really good pre-workout snack and I was feeling great!  I did more because it felt good and I guess that is kind of my point in all this.  It is perfectly acceptable to listen to your body and your energy levels and just roll with it day to day, as long as you are making an attempt to be consistent.  Set a goal for how many days a week you want to work out, a little or a lot, just get it in. 🙂

Is this workout for me???

For those of you who are wondering, this workout is considered an “intermediate” workout, with proper form being vital in many of the exercises.  Even though my form is still not the best (especially when I’m tired), I have been coached and done research on how to perform many of these exercises in order to prevent injury (DEADLIFTS!).  That being said, if you are a beginner, please stay tuned and I will have a guest blogger posting soon with a basic workout to get started with!

So you want to get a massage…

Probably the single-most soul soothing treat I have given myself in the past year is an appointment for a massage.  I am a Certified Massage Therapist myself, and even though I only practice sporadically currently, I have had my fair share of “hands on” experience with different methods of massage.

Massage therapy is well known as one of the must-haves for muscle pain, relaxation, and general health.  However, the actual process of initiating your first massage therapy session can be quite daunting and if you arrive unprepared, the whole experience can be rather, well, STRESSFUL!  Hopefully, this post can help clear up some of the confusion, and give some insight to what to expect, massage etiquette, heath benefits associated with massage, and the types of massage.

Where to Start?  The best place to find a massage therapist is through word of mouth recommendation.  Sometimes you can get inexpensive massages through a local massage therapy school by calling at the beginning of the semester and getting on a list, but just remember you get what you pay for.  Usually massages are offered for 30 minute, 60 minute (this is what I recommend), and 90 minute.  I have found that an established business usually charges $60-$70 for a 60 minute massage, whereas private therapists charge anywhere from $45-$65 for a 60 minute massage.  You can also look for reviews on yelp.com.  When looking for a massage therapist online, know what you are going to want (relaxation, work on a specific injury, tight muscle release) and look for a therapist who specializes in that.  Also, look for a therapist with lots of experience and that holds a current license.  My current massage therapist has been practicing for almost 40 years and my body can completely tell.

What To Expect.  When you walk in you may have to wait for a minute or two for the therapist to prepare the room from the last client, but arrive a few minutes early because they will probably have some paperwork for you to fill out about any issues you may have.  The therapist should ask you about what type of massage you would like and if you’ve had a massage before.  Also, they should ask for specific requests or more information on the areas you would like the most work on.  They will then take you into the therapy room.  They should tell you to get undressed and get underneath the sheet (probably face down).  There will probably be some nice music playing.  They will knock after they’ve given you some time to get situated.  The technique to keep you covered is called “draping” and the idea is to keep as much of the area to be worked on exposed without exposing “the goods”.  On occasion, I admit I have felt a little uncomfortable with a therapist’s draping, but sometimes you feel more exposed than you actually are.

Attire.  You should be naked!  No, really, if you are uncomfortable, or it’s that time of the month, or you are a guy and you’re afraid of your googly bits hanging out, by all means leave your underoos on, because in the end, it is all about what is makes YOU comfortable!  However, massage therapists prefer if you are completely naked under that sheet.  Nakedness in front of a stranger may seem awkward (if it doesn’t, I need to write a different post for you), but it allows the massage therapists to have a better flow, a better sense of your natural body alignment, and better address any muscular issues you may have.

Positioning.  In a “classic” massage the massage therapist will usually have you start lying prone (on your tummy) with your face in an apparatus called a “face cradle.”  This looks a little like a doughnut cushion with your face in the middle so you can breath, and the practitioner should have placed some sort of a disposable cover over it.  The most important position for your arms and body is the one you are comfortable in.  It is ok to leave your arms by your sides or let them hand off the table.  Sometimes there is an apparatus below your “face cradle” that is an arm rest that you can also lay your arms on. They should tell you how you should be positioned before they leave the room, but you can always ask.  Halfway through the massage they will have you flip over to supine (lying on your back) and they should put a bolster under your knees and a cushion under your head.  For specialty cases, the practitioner may have you in side-lying but they should tell you how to position yourself.  It is very important for you to relax and for the most part let the therapist move your arms and legs as needed.

Talking.  You should be the one to guide whether or not there is a conversation during your massage.  For the most part, you will reap more benefit, especially from a Swedish massage, if you keep the talking to a minimum.  As a massage therapist, I will say, we appreciate feedback.  Especially, if an area feels particularly painful, or a technique feels fantastic.

Types of Massage Therapy

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork have listed 30 nationally recognized techniques and types of massage that you can find here–> http://www.ncbtmb.org/consumers/glossary-therapy-techniques

If you go to a massage therapist and just ask for a “basic massage” they should incorporate many different techniques depending on your needs.  I will try to break down some of the most popular methods…

Swedish Massage –  This is what a “classic” massage is.  If done correctly it is relaxing and you will notice a “flow” from one area to another.  This is what I would recommend for beginners.

Chair Massage -This is what you would normally see being given next to a kiosk at the mall.  These usually last 10-30 minutes seated face forward on a massage chair and you will stay fully clothed.  These are great for a midday refresher to get your energy flowing and relieve muscle tension.

Deep Tissue Massage – This is not necessarily for beginners.  My experience with deep tissue massage is that it can be painful, but is best for chronic muscle pain (in most cases).  In my opinion, anyone who consistently participates in fitness activities should have some deep tissue work done a couple times a year.

Myofascial Release – This is a technique that releases adhesion in the connective tissue that surrounds the outside of the muscle.  Not to be uncouth, but think of the paper-thin, shiny tissue that you find on raw, skinless chicken breast.  That is the fascia.  Sometimes that tissue will get stuck together and bunched up causing movement restriction, pain, and sometime nerve impingement. During myofascial release these areas are gently stretched back into place or released.

Pregnancy Massage-  This is for pregnant or postpartum women and using specific positioning focuses on reducing swelling, low back, hip, and feet pain.

Reiki – This is energy or “look ma, no hands!” therapy.  It promotes healing through movement of energy.

Reflexology – Reflexology is a form of bodywork based on the theory of zone therapy, in which specific spots of the body are pressed to stimulate corresponding areas in other parts of the body. Foot reflexology, in which pressure techniques are applied only to the feet, is the most common form of reflexology.

Rolfing® Structural Integration-  This is a less gentle approach to movement of the fascia tissue to balance the structure and the alignment of the whole body.  Sometimes it will feel like they are pulling and rolling your skin

Shiatsu – This technique is a pretty neat type, originating in Japan.  This is mostly done using finger pressure to different points on the body to balance energy and promote healing.

Sports Massage – Sports massage is applied to athletes to help them train and perform free of pain and injuries. Massage therapists blend classic Swedish strokes with such methods as compression, pressure-point therapy, cross-fiber friction, joint mobilization, hydrotherapy and cryotherapy (ice massage) to meet the special needs of high-level performers and fitness enthusiasts.  This is a quicker, high energy massage to stimulate muscle function and circulation. 

Thai Massage-  In Charlie’s Angels (the one with Drew Barrymore), Lucy Liu quickly switches roles with a Thai massage therapist in order to attack her enemy.  In this scene she holds on to a rod secured to the ceiling and walks on her enemy’s back to emulate a Thai massage.  In an actual Thai massage she would also use hands, fingers, elbows, and knees as well as gentle stretching of the client to balance energy.

Trigger Point Massage-  This technique uses direct pressure to different points in the body that can resonate pain (trigger points) in order to release the fascia and muscle adhesion (those knots in your shoulders).

I hope this has been helpful and please comment with any questions you may have!

Thanks!  Sydney

P.S. My massage therapist is Scott Dorsey, L.M.T. at http://www.healthinhand.com/index.html

He has been a major help in my chronic pain issues and he is probably the most educated and balanced therapist I have worked with.  His wife, Pam Dorsey, L.M.T. is also amazing and does great work for my husband.

How to get off of a nutritional tangent…

The professor in one of my classes is notorious for going off on a tangent.  She obviously is passionate about the lecture subject, however, something in the power-point will distract her, luring her off topic to a more comfortable and well-versed branch of knowledge…something that gets her REALLY excited.  Sometimes these distractions will last 5 minutes, sometimes they will last 20, but every once in a while, this professor allows herself to become so immersed in the conversation sparking her interest that before she knows it, half of the students are glazed over with lost interest and the class time is nearly over.

This week I went off on a nutritional tangent.  This was not just a 5 minute, briefly mentioned, off-topic subject.  This was a full-immersion, so far off-topic you might think you are in the wrong class kind of catastrophe.  🙂

For those of you who follow some sort of healthy eating guidelines, you probably know what I’m referring to.  You are sailing along, feeling great, following your plan, and suddenly something unexpected comes up.  An unplanned social gathering, a potluck at work that you just can’t say no to, or a stressful situation in your daily life that ends you up in the drive-through of the nearest ice cream shop.  These scenarios are all completely containable when isolated.  You had an unplanned, free meal, so what?  However, if you are anything like me, once you pop you can’t stop!  That all or nothing mentality that I have been training myself to fight against is what accelerates that one slip up to a less-than-healthy dinner followed by a double serving of ice cream.  Sometimes the damaging effects of a nutritional stray leads to one day of off-plan eating, sometimes more,  and sometimes that one off-plan choice leads to a complete reversion of lifestyle choices, something comfortable…before you know it you’ve abandoned your plan, your goals, and you are right back at the start with nothing to show for it.

So how do we combat this?  How do we get back on topic?

Accountability

In class there are a whole group of students to bring you back to reality if you’ve veered too far off course.  You need this accountability in your nutritional plan as well.  Confide in someone, whether it be your spouse, your best friend, your workout partner, or your mom, use this person as a talisman to bring you back to reality when you have so much carb-fog you can’t see daylight.  For me, I have friends on http://www.myfitnesspal.com/  (I love this app) and a very supportive husband who very is good at not rolling his eye when I freak out about getting off track :).

Revisit your Outline

Lecturing usually requires a neat little outline of the main points that are to be covered in the class.  If the professor gets distracted, she can always refer to the outline to get back on course.  YOU NEED AN OUTLINE.  I always make a list of my short term goals, my current status, and my plan of attack (my current nutrition plan) and I hang it somewhere very visible.  This is great to refer back to when you feel lost and are having difficulties getting back on track.

Look at the Big Picture

What is the message you are trying to get across?  What is the end goal?  My end goal is always a healthy, well-balanced life.  One or two days of getting off track are like a millimeter on the meter-stick of life!

Bring Closure to the Topic

If a professor is off topic in a lecture they are forced to find a segue back to the original topic matter.  You need to do this too.  So you had ice cream before bed AGAIN.  That’s fine, it’s done now.  Drink some water, pack your healthy meals for tomorrow, and be done with it.  Go to bed and prepare your mind to start fresh the next day.

REFOCUS

Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to think about the way you felt when you first decided to eat more healthfully.  Think about your motivations, think about how pumped you were, how determined you were.  Take in those feelings and take a big breath.  Tomorrow is a new day.

This post is Oliver approved 🙂

Guest Blogger Steve Seiter: Starting Your Fitness Journey- A Three Part Series!

Part 1- The Mental Game (Get Your Attitude Right Son!)

Hello! My name is Steve Seiter, and I’m married to the wonderful woman who created this blog! I’ve been asked to share some of my expertise in the fitness industry, namely how to begin your very own fitness journey. As a personal trainer for the past 8 years, I’ve seen countless people start, and subsequently stop, their fitness journey, and I’ve also been blessed to be an integral part of many of my clients’ fitness journeys from the beginning. I would venture to guess that for as many people that join gyms, participate in personal training, or workout in their homes to DVD’s and stick with their programs long-term, just as many start… and then stop. Sometimes over and over again (think Yo-Yo fitness- similar to Yo-Yo dieting but without the stale rice cakes and no calorie, fake-sugar desserts!!).

So what causes some people to start a fitness regimen and stick with it long-term, while others start and stop, over and over again, barely able to get into a fitness routine before crapping out, becoming discouraged, and altogether quitting…only to give it another failing attempt several months later after stepping onto the scale and wondering why the thing keeps arbitrarily adding 10 pounds a month. Well, as the title of Part 1 suggests, one’s Mental Game is important, very important actually. So important that it’s the first topic in this three part series!

So what, exactly, do I mean by your Mental Game? To put it simply, your Mental Game is your Fitness Attitude. There are many types of Fitness Attitudes out there. There are the I Want To Look Good For Spring Break Attitudes (i.e. short-term Attitudes), the I’ve Gained Too Much Weight And Need To Get It Off Now Attitudes (i.e. frantic Attitudes), and the I’m Not In The Shape I Should Be In And Need To Do Something About It, In A Healthy Way attitudes (i.e. long-term Attitudes). Sure, there are hundreds of other Attitudes, as everyone has their very own reason for starting a fitness program. But most Attitudes fall into one or more (think of the I’m Too Fat And Out Of Shape And Spring Break Is Right Around The Corner! Attitude) of the three categories above.

While you ponder which category you might fall into, keep this in mind… If you fall into the short-term or frantic Attitude categories, you are SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE. Sure, there are people that started their fitness journeys in the short-term or frantic categories and ended up sticking with their fitness routine long-term (and by long-term I mean lifetime. Yes lifetime. Fitness should be a life-long pursuit. Period.) But this is not common. Long-term Attitudes, as you might have guessed by now, are the best way to insure that once you start your fitness journey, you will have the best chance at sticking with it for the rest of your life.

That’s not to say that a short-term attitude can’t be motivation to get started on your fitness journey. Weddings, Spring Break, and Summer vacations are all great BEGINNING motivators to spur your entrance into the fitness world, but you must realize that if the short-term Attitude isn’t backed by a longer-term Attitude, your fitness journey will likely wane and ultimately die a slow, agonizing drug-out death once the heat and hangover of Miami Beach wears off. You must must MUST have a back-up long-term Attitude for your short-term motivator Attitude.

Finding your long-term Attitude may take some time. Take it, ponder it, and really think about what will motivate you long-term to stick with your fitness journey once you’ve started it. And let’s be clear… Weight loss is NOT a long-term Attitude. Unless of course you plan to continually lose weight for the rest of your life. Weight loss is, again, a great beginning Attitude, but it won’t suffice on its own. Isn’t worth a few hours, days, or even weeks to be realistic with yourself and to find that Attitude that will set the stage for the rest of your life? Once you find it, write it down. Put it somewhere where you can see it frequently. Let it motivate you, and take comfort in the fact that you have just overcome one of the hardest parts of starting your fitness journey… getting your mind right. Do realize that you may not be able to coast from here on out. You may have to constantly remind yourself down the road, as you begin your (oftentimes grueling) workouts and deal with sore muscles, why you started this journey and what your long-term Attitude is.

You may even think of other long-term Attitudes (yes, you can have more than one!) that you can add to your first one. Things like maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, and increasing bone density are all great long-term Attitudes that can be very motivating. Consider the cost of decades of blood pressure (and other) medications versus the cost and benefits of decades of exercise and health risk management. There is absolutely no comparison. Well, that’s it for part 1! Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

steve

Steve Seiter is currently Head Trainer at Kinex Fitness Studios in Urbana, IL.  Steve has his B.S. in Kinesiology from University of Illinois and is an ACSM and TRX Certified Personal Trainer.