Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gym Goals Update

Back in June I laid out some of my goals for the gym and how I wanted to progress and get stronger.

You can read here that I wanted to be able to pull a 200lb deadlift, 145lb(approx body weight) back squat and be able to perform 10 chin-ups.

Over the course of close to two months, I was able to progress to DL a max of 185lbs for a 4x4 and squat 125lbs for a 4x4. The chin-ups are still only about 3 unassisted, but they have become "smoother", meaning doing those three doesn't just completely wipe me out!

I'm sure my 1 rep maxes are well above what my original goals are, but I never took days to just do 1 rep maxes...the school's gym has been under construction, so getting there before they close early everyday has been a challenge. 

I feel really good about my progression though, I didn't push myself hard enough in the beginning though, for the first month, I barely tried going up in weight at all! It wasn't until I started more progressive overload that I could see the rapid change in strength.

So I'm going to continue to achieve my goals and then move on to more challenges! It felt really good to go into the gym with a clear goal in mind, knowing that I needed to pull more or squat more because I was trying to get to a certain place. I think having concrete goals is a healthy thing for me.

ps- We no longer have internet at our apartment, so I will be quiet for a little while until I get moved to the new house in Northern Colorado :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Saturday!

Oh man! Am I glad it's the weekend!
This past week at work was fun, but most days were pretty hot!
And now I only have four more days of work left! Holy cow, this summer has gone by fast!
Next week, the boyfriend and I are going on a short backpacking trip!! I'm SUPER excited!
Last weekend we went on a great hike; bush-whacking our way up a mountain right next to a gorgeous waterfall :)

It was fantastic! And a great workout too! The hill we had to climb was pretty dang steep!

Yesterday at work we harvested veggies at my boss's house and she let us take home some of our findings!

  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Yellow squash,
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Tomatoes
  • Purple potatoes
Of course, I'm technically not suppose to eat the tomatoes and potatoes, but I told Westin that I'll make a big batch of homemade french fries for him :)

I've been having some fun in the kitchen lately, so I will get a couple recipes posted and an update on my lifting soon!

Have a grrrreat weekend!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Eats

My Saturday eats.

About a month ago, I started experimenting with Intermittent Fasting (you can read about IF here, here and here).
Today I fasted for 17hrs and felt really good! I wasn't even all that hungry when I broke the fast, but after I made that zucchini bread, it was almost impossible not to have a slice!

And dinner was incredible! Elk roast with homemade gravy (my new favorite meal!) and beets!! Look how pretty those beets are! Lets have another look at them.

Aren't they beautiful?!

Nature is so perfect :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coconut oatmeal bars

***This recipe has been updated and posted on my new site****

As I promised, I have an awesome recipe finally!
For the past couple weeks, I have been experimenting with a particular oatmeal bar recipe; I've been trying to imitate Bobo's Oat Bars. 
If you've never tried these puppies, go get some NOW! They are by far my favorite oatmeal bar and they are made right next to my hometown in Boulder, CO! It can't get much better than that! bars are thick and chewy and incredibly satisfying. They also have a ridiculous amount of flavors, so you can choose the right one for your mood. From lemon poppy-seed, to strawberry, to chocolate!

The problem is, Bobo's Bars are kind of expensive for a girl on a tight budget, so I've been trying to make my own!
And I think I've done a pretty good job at creating something similar.

So without further adieu, here are my Imitation Coconut Bobo Bars.

Here's what you need (makes 6 bars):
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 scoop (12oz) vanilla protein powder (optional)
scant 2/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp water (reduce to 2 Tbsp if not using protein)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix all the ingredients together, starting with the dry and then adding the wet. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper (or oil VERY well) and press the mixture into the pan. Press it down very firmly! Bake for 25-30 minutes, but don't let the edges brown too much. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then take another sheet of parchment paper and press the mixture down again.
It's important to press the bars so that they stick together better.
Let the bars cool and harden COMPLETELY before cutting and removing. Otherwise, you will have a crumbly, sticky mess. Then wrap each bar individually and store in the fridge for best results.

The signature taste of the Bobo Bars comes from the brown rice syrup, but if you prefer honey or agave, I'm sure either would work fine. With agave, you may need to reduce the amount because of the thinner texture.
Also, I choose to use coconut oil because I prefer it, but I'm sure any oil type would work, although they may contribute a different flavor.

These bars are really close to the real thing, although not quite as thick and there's maybe a little something missing, they are still very good and satisfying!


Picture post

Here's a quick picture preview of what's been going on the past couple weeks! I went home for the past week and left my computer behind, so even with having free time from work, I wasn't able to be busy writing posts.
Sorry about that!!

A Durango sunset made extra pretty by the smoke from the Weber fire. 

My mom's 4th of July cake!

Puppies galore! One of my friends currently has a litter of nine! 

No, I did not bring a puppy home, sadly. 

Hopefully by tomorrow I will have a post about some grrrreat oatmeal bars that I made!

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

ZWOW and gym goals

It's another beautiful Saturday morning in Colorado! We actually have some clouds for the first time in two weeks! But it would probably be too much to ask for some rain...

This morning I woke up and busted out a killer workout from Zuzana Light.

Her ZWOW #22 was intense! But I'm SO proud to say that I beat her time and got 15:35!
I felt pretty awesome after realizing I had beat her time, cause she's so fit! But I just wish my abs looked like hers... :)

I did finally cave and paid for a summer membership at the college's gym. They have strange hours and it will be a bit of a squeeze getting there after work and they aren't open on the weekends, unfortunately, but I'm glad I did it.

Right now my goals are that by the time I move to Fort Collins in late August, I would like to be able to deadlift at least 200lb, squat my body weight (140lb) and do 10 unassisted chin-ups.

Right now I can deadlift just above my body weight (145lb) and squat about 105lb. As I said before, I can do 2-3 unassisted chin-ups, but they aren't very good form, so I will need to work on that too.

I feel it's good to get my goals written down, so I can judge my progress and in the end see if I set my standards too high or too low.

I have about two months and one week to make that progression and I think with lifting at least four times a week, I will be able to gain quite a bit of strength and muscle.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Spelt Pasta Salad

This weekend has been relaxing, I got to spend a lot of time cooking....I made an elk roast, whole wheat tortillas, hummus, pasta salad and that's just what I made for the upcoming week! I've been in the kitchen a lot! Which always makes me really happy :)
I've also been able to read quite a bit and I even sneaked into the gym the other day!!

It made me realize I'm a true gym rat at heart and will probably have to get a membership somewhere soon....
It just felt so good to deadlift again and I've been working on chin ups, so it was nice to actually have a real bar to do that on! I was successfully able to do four on my own and then about 16 more assisted. That's major progress for me! I'm gonna have to get a video of a couple soon, so I can prove to the world!

....And my back is still sore from it ;)

Okay, on to the yummy pasta salad.

Here's what you need:

2 cups spelt penne pasta (or whichever you prefer)
2 carrots, diced
1 medium zucchini, quartered
about 4 oz cheddar cheese (I used 2% mild), cubed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or whichever you like best)

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp parsley flakes (I'm sure fresh would be amazing!)
dash of black pepper and garlic powder

Cook the pasta according to directions so that it's al dente, drain and let cool. I like to rinse mine in cold water to immediately stop the cooking process and speed up the preparation. While the pasta cools, mix together the dressing ingredients and then throw it all in a large bowl and mix until it's all covered with dressing.

I enjoyed mine with some iced blueberry tea :)

I really liked the variety of textures, from the crunchy veggies and then the softer pasta and beans.
Spelt pasta has a bit more protein than other pasta varieties and I think tastes better than whole wheat pasta! The beans add some extra fiber, more protein and a bit of iron. All good things to have in an active body! 

The dressing was not very strong for the amount of salad that it makes (about 4 servings), but I don't like it very heavy, so increase your amounts if you want to taste it more.
You could also add some chicken breast or salami to this recipe if you wanted some more protein. I personally would have added salami or summer sausage because of the flavors.


Here's a picture of beautiful Vallecito Reservoir (about 20 miles away from here) and my friend's puppy Boba Fett :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Brutal workout

Yesterday I tackled a brutal workout. Only 16 minutes long, but I was exhausted by the end of it.
I don't know if it was actually super hard, or maybe I just worked out too close to breakfast...but I was pretty close to losing my eggs at one point.

It was an interval workout, with longer than usual intervals: 1 minute work/ 20 seconds rest
It included four rounds of four different exercises (4x4):

-jump side lunge (58, 51, 48, 50)
-forward and backward jump burpee (8, 8, 9, 8)
-alternating curtsy squat with 25lb kettlebell (22, 22, 20, 22)
-alternating single leg pike press (18, 14, 14, 14)

In the parenthesis are my scores for each round of the exercise.

I personally think it was brutal! One full minute of effort is more than I usually do and it proved to make the workout extra tough!

Here are some examples of each exercise:

Jump side lunge (Zuzana Light in the picture)

Forward and backward jump burpee
 I don't think there's a good picture for it, but it's like a regular burpee with a pushup and instead of jumping upward at the end, you take two jumps: one forward and one backward.

Alt. curtsy squat (source)

Single leg pike press (Zuzana Light in the photo)

If you try the workout, let me know how you did!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pita Pizza & Pics

Today for lunch I had a wonderful little invention called the Pita Pizza!

Super simple concept and preparation! Inspired by Peas and Crayons and Cookie+kate.
Just make a pizza on a pita pocket! I used EVOO, herbs, mozzarella, spinach and left over chicken. 
Then cook it at 425 in a cast iron skillet for about 12 minutes and voila! A perfect personalized pizza!
I may be eating this for lunch and dinner for the next two days...or until I run out of pita bread! 

In other news, the past week has been lacking in the workout area because I sprained my ankle last weekend, a silly incident of being run over by a large man and falling into a flower bed during some weekend festivities.
This is what it looked like a couple days after:

Still very swollen and painful at that point. I had to take two days off work to help it heal. It's doing better now and closer to normal size again!
I think I will need to go easy on it for another week, but the past two days I've been able to get some great workouts in without hurting myself more.

Since I'm not a gym rat anymore, my workouts have been consisting of a lot of plyometrics and compound moves to work my muscles and get some cardio. But with a sprained ankle, the plyo part has been difficult because jumping on a weak ankle doesn't seem like the most productive thing for the healing process.
I've been making due and today managed some burpees again!

I'll post more about my "recovery" workouts soon, but I wanted to post a couple progress pics now that I've been done with Jamie Eason's 12 week program for about 6 weeks and on my own, doing mostly at-home-workouts.

 (May 19, 2012)
Yes, I do have motivational/inspirational quotes on my mirror!

 (and please excuse my messy bed!)

I can definitely see some improvements from what my arms looked like in February
That makes me very happy :)

What do you like on personalized pizzas?
Have you ever sprained your ankle? What did you do to recover well?

Friday, May 18, 2012

WIAW...err, Friday?

I was suppose to post this on Wednesday, but that was the night that my boyfriend got into town and I've hardly touched my computer since! So, it's time for another What I Ate Wednesday, except, I'm going to call it a "What I Ate Friday" this week ;) AND I actually remembered to take pictures of *most* of what I ate Tuesday!

Of course, I didn't remember until I made a mid-morning snack, but breakfast was nothing special, just two eggs and a bowl of oatmeal.
But for a snack, I had a delicious triple berry and spinach smoothie!

Since the boyfriend is moving in this week, he gave me all of the food in his fridge, which happened to include a bunch of frozen berries! I actually had a smoothie for my morning snack as well as for my afternoon one :)

Post-workout I ate lunch:

A spinach salad with balsamic and an Ezekiel english muffin, one half with PB and honey and the other with mustard and deer summer sausage. I know, it seems like a strange combo, but I love my peanut butter and had to get some in my day!

For dinner, I made pasta, based on this recipe:

Avocado pasta! I used whole wheat noodles and added some shredded chicken to the mixture! Boy was it good!
And ridiculously filling!
Westin really liked it, I can tell this will be a favorite for a while!

That was mostly it, I guess I did have some dark chocolate in the evening as well :)

Be Flavorful!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

The first three words of the title should have you intrigued! I mean, who doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter together?! I guess if you were allergic to peanuts you wouldn't...but that's beside the point, these bars are delicious!

I adapted this recipe just slightly from =Protein Pow(der). It's a great blog that has SO many recipes for any and all types of protein powder...and they all look so delicious!

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 cups chocolate protein powder
3/4 cup oat flour (ground oats)
1/4 cup peanut butter + 2 Tbsp
1/8 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1/2 cup milk
dark chocolate bar

Mix everything together with a fork/spatula and press into a 3x9 baking pan and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

**Update: I forgot to mention that the extra 2Tbsp PB are to spread over the top of the pressed down mixture...because I love me some peanut butter! :)

For easy clean up, put down wax or parchment paper to prevent the mixture from sticking. Then take them out and cut them into 6 bars. Melt some of the chocolate bar on the stove, about 1/3 of the bar. When it's all melty, you can either dip the bars into the pan, or use a spatula and "paint" on the chocolate.
Place the chocolate covered bars on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Then wrap individually and store in the freezer.

These bars are super delicious and taste like desert because of the chocolate covering!

These are the types of protein and peanut butter I used, in case you're curious:

MyoFusion is an okay protein, it has a good flavor, but after 5lbs of it I'm pretty tired of the same old thing! I do have to say that earth balance's coconut and peanut spread is the BEST peanut butter EVER!! I normally get freshly ground peanut butter from Vitamin Cottage, but this stuff is just to die for. It has a wonderful blend of coconut flavor to compliment the peanut butter.

I'm drooling just thinking about it right now...


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Full body workout and protein pudding

Once again, it's been a while since I've posted, but today I have not just a recipe (it's a delicious one too!), but I also have a full body at home workout!

School has ended and so has my gym membership, so I decided to try more at home workouts for a while to see if I like it. I can always get a gym membership somewhere else in town, but working out at home can save some money and I'm hoping it will change up my normal routine. This first week without a gym has been kind of frustrating because I want to actually lift weights and continue to get stonger, but I only have a 10lb medicine ball at home. I ordered some resistance bands online this week and I'm excited for them to get here so I can have more...resistance in my training! I do have to say that just in the past week, I have really improved with pushups, which is very exciting!

Even though there's been some hard feelings about not being able to lift heavy, I have come up with some great circuits and HIIT workouts, today's circuit was especially brutal.

4 rounds:
-10 rep: walkout plank with pushup
-20 rep: alternating single leg v-ups
-12 rep: chair dips
-6 rep each leg: single leg burpees
-20 rep: frog squats
-15 rep each leg: lunge hold with med ball twist

Including the 2 or so minute break I took between rounds, the whole workout took about 45 minutes and by the last set of burpees, my arms were pretty shot! This workout was also kinda tough on my wrists, so in the 4th round, I had to be mindful of keeping my fingers spread wide to support my wrists.

Afterward, I fueled up with some Chocolate Almond Protein Pudding!

Here's what you need:
1/2 avocado
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/2 cup+ almond milk

Blend everything in a blender and enjoy!
You'll definitely get your healthy fats in for the day with this!!

Note: You may need more almond milk, I was adding it in splashes until I got the right consistency of pudding that I wanted. You could even add more to make it a "drinkable" shake instead of pudding. This pudding isn't very sweet, so if you want it more like desert, you could add some maple syrup or honey.

OH! and I should mention that I am a college graduate now! Here's a couple pictures from my graduation :D

Thanks for reading!

Do you prefer working out at the gym or at home?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ending a Chapter

Today at 10:30am, I was officially finished with my last final and finished with my college career! Wow! So much has happened in the last four years, I feel a need to recap some highlights from my time spent in college.
First, here's a pretty picture of little Durango-town, which has been my home for 3 out of the last 4 years. 

This is me and one of my very best friends, Melissa. We met my freshman year of college, she's from Arizona and had never seen a heavy snow storm until moving to Durango!

My sophomore year: camping in between Durango and Silverton.

During the winter me and my roommate, Vanessa, ingeniously heated up cookies on our space-heater :)

Also during my sophomore year, I visited my best childhood friend, Angela, in LA for spring break. Here we are playing frisbee on the beach in March!

Then I was lucky enough to spend my junior year in Spain. The picture above is from La Rioja region of the Basque country. 

The faithful gang on Halloween in Vitoria, Spain.

Here's me and my mom in Granada, Spain, where I spent my second semester. Above us is the famous Alhambra Palace. 

My two best girls, Colleen and Olivia, and me on the beach in Lagos, Portugal. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. 

Last but not least, Westin and me at the top of Hogsback in Durango during my senior year. 

It's been the best experience of my life to go to college! I have met lifelong friends, traveled across the world and learned so much, not only in school, but about myself!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Catching up

It's been a while since I've posted anything...eerrr, sorry about that! Last week was pretty hectic with school; I had papers to finish and books to read. But it's all (almost) coming to an end! I have one more test tomorrow and then I'm free from college for as long as I wish! :) It's exciting and strange! The past four years have gone by a lot faster than I thought they would and especially these last two feel like they've flown by.
Graduation is just a few short days away and then the days of full-time work begin :) As if school isn't full-time work!

I meant to continue with a WIAW post this past week, but Wednesday turned out to be my busiest day of the week and it just didn't happen. So I'm gonna share a whole bunch of pictures today of the fun, in the sun, I had this weekend and some of my daily eats.

A couple days this past week I made some protein pancakes with a side of PR2 and some frozen berries that I heated up and mashed to make a sticky, chunky, fruity syrup. Super filling breakfast!

I've been snacking on Kind bars and am LOVING them! My favorite so far is Coconut and Almond, it tastes just like an Almond Joy, minus the chocolate...but surprisingly, I didn't even miss the chocolate. That's when you know it's good!

  Tuna has been on my plate, or in my bowl, a lot lately. For one, I love tuna! And two, it's so inexpensive and ridiculously filling. Best bang for your buck! Here I had a salad and topped it with tuna mixed with fresh salsa and a little lemon juice.

As you can see I've been eating while doing homework a lot! This was a delicious bowl of black beans and rice with cheese, seasoned well with garlic and cumin :)

The weather has been unseasonably warm in Southwestern Colorado and it has been nice to be able to break out my bike and use it for errands and joyrides. As you can see, the trees are blooming beautifully and the bike path smelled so sweetly of spring!

What's your favorite part of spring?