Quick & Delicious Meal Prep!

Hey y’all!! Can you believe it’s September already!? I know I can’t. We are heading towards fall so quickly, and it’s more important than ever to be getting those healthy habits in place. One of those habits for me is meal prep! You all know just how much I depend on meal prep to get through my week and this week was no exception.

In fact, it was even more important this week in many ways! Not only am I taking part in this awesome September fitness challenge, but I have an all weekend market for my jewelry at a local winery. So having all of our food ready to go was the only way I was going to stay on track.

Of course, it worked great! I was able to have a healthy meal and snacks at the market yesterday and have more ready for today. The September challenge started off wonderfully too! (See more details on how you can join in at the bottom of this post)

Enjoy!

Get your week set up right with this quick and delicious meal prep!

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I have really been changing up my snacks lately and this week was no exception. Grapes and chunks of grilled chicken are one of my new go-to’s, sometimes with piece of string cheese. Celery with peanut butter are another favorite.

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The new one this week – this mock “tuna salad” to use as a dip with some lower calorie crackers! I really like how it turned out, but the recipe stills needs some work. Basically, I combined tuna with cottage cheese, some seasonings and couple other ingredients. Pretty quick and simple, and a great tasty snack!

main-dishes-chicken-chili-Mongolian-chicken

This is another week where Draz’s and my foods were pretty much separate. For Draz, Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken and Broccoli and Slow Cooker Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili! There were enough of each that I got a couple of servings though 🙂 These are some of my favorites for healthy meals that I can throw together quickly!

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My dishes included Cauliflower Chowder and Low Carb Burrito Bowls! One thing I love about the burrito bowls is that they are eaten cold. Since I had the market this weekend, I wanted to make sure I had food I could take and eat there easily! This time around, I got pre-packaged avocado and put a container of each in with the rest of the ingredients. I LOVE this method! It worked great and I didn’t have to worry about how well the avocado would hold up throughout the week. I will definitely be doing that again.

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You might be noticing that a couple of the containers look a little different than normal. I am testing out a Six Pack Fitness meal bag and those are the containers that go in it! I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on how they work later on!

For the Cauliflower Chowder, I do a few things different than the recipe. At the end of the cooking, I ladle out a couple of cups of the soup, making sure to get some big chunks of cauliflower. That goes in the blender and is blended until mostly smooth. That goes back into the soup. It really helps thicken it up to the consistency I like! Along with that, I substitute the following ingredients:

  • grapeseed oil instead of butter
  • turkey bacon instead of regular bacon
  • unsweetened almond milk instead of 2%

That’s it for this week’s meal prep! Want to give my main dishes a try? Get your grocery list here!

Want to join in on the #AssOffTheCouch September fitness challenge?! It’s not too late! Registration doesn’t close until September 5th! Not only is it a great way to get moving more, but there will be tons of awesome prizes! You can register here and you can use the code 7022smus to get 30% off of your registration, making it only $11.90! That is only 0.40 a day to get motivational emails and be a part of an awesome community that will help keep you going!

Have you tried any new snacks lately? What are your favorite healthy snacks? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Life is a Series of Sprints

Last month I had the honor of hearing Todd Durkin speak a couple of times at IdeaWorld. Now, I’ve talked a couple of times about my experiences at the conference already here on the blog. But I’ve had this really on my mind and I want to share it with you!

What if life isn't a marathon? What if, instead, it's a series of sprints? Are you ready to sprint with me!?

“Life is not a marathon. Life is a series of sprints and recoveries.”

This was something said by Todd Durkin during his keynote address to BlogFest. It resonated with me then and has been on my mind ever since. I can get caught up in the marathon mentality pretty easily. There is always more I should be doing and I just have to keep working at it, right?! Sound familiar?

This mentality has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time, but the past couple of years have really highlighted it. And I will be honest…I think it’s at least part of the reason that I have had so many health issues the past year. I always want to push harder, longer, do more. So when I got back from the conference, all that energy wanted to go into working more, even has I said that I was going to try to stay more balanced!

Well, my plans for the past month and all I wanted to work on and do kinda fell apart. My body had other plans, leading to me getting sick twice within 3 weeks and just overall struggling to keep up with my basic responsibilities! But as I’ve been recovering, this idea of sprints and recoveries really has just been repeating in my head. In the past, any time that I have been sick or unable to make progress for a while, I have gotten overwhelmed and stressed with the idea of all the things I wasn’t doing.

But what if I view this time as a recovery? What if instead of getting stressed and overwhelmed, I view it as time to get ready for that next hard sprint?

So this is what I’m trying to do now. To be kinder to myself and hopefully view things with more understanding. Life isn’t a marathon….I don’t always have to be ON and neither do you! So if this resonates with you…if this is something that you have struggled with too, I hope this helps you make that mentality shift.

Are you ready for your next sprint?!

If you want to join in with me on this next sprint, one way to do that is by joining on on the #AssOffTheCouch September Challenge from Couch to Active! There will be a ton of awesome prizes being given out and it will be a lot of fun! The challenge starts September 1st (TOMORROW) so don’t wait! Use the code 7022smus to get 30% off your registration, bringing the price down to $11.90! Register here

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Veggie-Filled Meal Prep!

After my trip to Las Vegas, I was definitely ready for a food-reset! Am I the only one who finds it crazy that it was hard to eat healthy during a fitness conference? So when I got back, I knew I wanted to make sure that my meal prep for the coming week were packed with veggies!

Sadly, I didn’t get to enjoy it quite as much as I would have liked, since I ended up spending most of the week fighting off a minor flu. But that is okay! I got to experiment with some new recipes and I was able to save most of the prep that didn’t get eaten. The other plus side: Even while I was sick and had just gotten back home a few days before, I didn’t have to worry at all about what Draz was going to take for lunch or anything like that! Meal prep really can save you so much stress.

Enjoy!

Get your week off to a great start with this veggie packed meal prep, including breakfasts!

For snacks, I changed things up a bit. Before I left on my trip, I got some really delicious local ground mustard that I love to use as a dip. So I cut up some veggies to have as a snack to go with it! A couple of the days I ended up taking some pretzels to dip in it too. Have you ever used mustard like that? It’s delicious!

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Other than that, I pretty much stuck with my basic meat and cheese snacks. We were running low on breakfast stuff as well, so I made up a couple loaves of my Healthier Cinnamon Bread and a batch of our Freezer-Ready Breakfast Burritos!

On to the main dishes! For Draz, I made some Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken and more of his favorite Slow Cooker Island-Style Pulled Pork! I know I make that pork a lot, but it is so quick and easy, plus it’s one of his favorite dishes!

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For me, I made some burrito bowls inspired by this recipe, some garlic-y zucchini noodles (still working on the recipe for this one) and the One-Pot Cabbage Veggie Saute I shared with you yesterday! Overall, everything turned out great! With me getting sick, I ended up putting a bunch of the cabbage dish in the freezer, so I guess we will get to see how well that recipe freezes!

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Want to give our favorite breakfast a try? Get your grocery list here!

What are your go-to veggie dishes? Do you have a favorite? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

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Keeping it Simple – This Week’s Meal Prep

Ok, so this prep is actually from a couple of weeks ago, before I left for BlogFest and IdeaWorld. Because I was getting ready to leave, I didn’t really get the chance to actually post it! But I really love how this one turned out, so here it is! (Want to read more about the conference? Check out my experience and thoughts!)

Enjoy!

Get going on your week faster and easier with this simple meal prep!

I kept my snacks pretty simple this time around. The sliced chicken and cheese is my current favorite snack and definitely helps tide me over between breakfast and lunch! And the hard-boiled eggs are a great boost for me when I get home from work, before I head to the gym. What is your go-to pre-workout snack? I would love to give it a try!

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For Draz’s main dishes, I made two of his favorites: Island-Style Pulled Pork and Freezer-Ready Turkey and Bean Burritos! I made extra burritos, since I was hoping some would be leftover for him to enjoy while I was gone. I will be posting my recipe for these soon, but until then, here is the recipe that I started out using!

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For my own main dishes, I made one favorite and one new: Healthy Baked Italian Sausage and Peppers and Cauliflower Chowder. I serve the Sausage and Peppers with steamed cauliflower rice (I love the frozen Bird’s Eye varieties). The Chowder I made a few small changes to

  • turkey bacon instead of regular bacon
  • a little bit of grapeseed oil instead of butter
  • unsweetened almond milk instead of 2% milk
  • 1-2 tbsp dried parsley instead of fresh

cauliflower-chowder

I like a thicker chowder, so I also simmered it a bit longer. And when it was done simmering, I ladled out a few cups worth and blended it, then added it back in. I think it turned out great and will definitely be making this delicious recipe again!

Want to make my dishes for yourself? Here is the grocery list for my main dishes!

Do you prefer chowder or soup? If you like chowder, how do you thicken yours up? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Budget-Friendly High Protein Meal Prep

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend! I actually got to celebrate a little for this holiday. My parents came to camp nearby, so I got to spend some time out there with them! It was great to just relax by the fire and chat 🙂

I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep with you all! Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it was really nice to our budget too. Enjoy!

Want some high protein meals for your weekly meal prep without having to spend a lot of money? This meal prep is the perfect solution!

So, in all my crazy distracted-ness, I actually forgot to photograph the snacks from this week’s meal prep. I kept things pretty basic though. Cookie dough protein balls for Draz, chicken lunchmeat and cheese, celery sticks and peanut butter, and a few hard-boiled eggs. These higher protein and fat snacks have been working great for me! If you have any suggestions for high protein snacks you love, I would love to hear about them!

Now on to our main dishes of the week: Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta and Slow Cooker Pulled Pork for Draz (some favorites). Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken and Low Carb Chicken Burrito Bowls for me! Normally we have a little more overlap in what we eat throughout the week, but this one turned out pretty well split between us. I did have a little pulled pork though, because it is absolutely delicious 🙂

One change I made to the Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken – I doubled the amount of chicken in the recipe. This recipe is originally intended to be side dish. So to make it work better for a main meal, I increased the amount of protein! I didn’t have to change anything else and it worked great with more chicken!

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The Burrito Bowls were new and I absolutely loved them! I will admit, I was a little skeptical at first, since part of it calls for cutting up avocado and putting it in the bowls. But the lime did the trick and the avocado held up great throughout the week! For the shredded chicken, I used a variation of her Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken, but subbing out the tomato sauce for 2 cans of diced tomatoes (mostly because I didn’t have any tomato sauce haha). One thing to note for this recipe – it might make things easier to buy the avocados a few days ahead of time so they are ripe. I didn’t plan well for this, so I actually ended up assembling the burrito bowls a day later than the rest of the meal prep. Also, I left out the sour cream, since I’m not a big fan of it.

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Here are the macros for this week’s main dishes:

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Want to give this menu a try? Get your grocery list here!

That’s it for me this week! What did you do over your holiday weekend? Did you still do meal prep? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below!

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What is the Best Time of Day to Workout?

Whether you are just getting started on your fitness journey or have been at it for a while, I’m sure you want to get your best results! I know I want to get the best workout possible. After all, we are already taking out some serious time out of our day to work on our fitness, so we want to know when the best time to workout is. After all, we want the best results from that time, right?

The short answer - there isn't one! Click through to hear about why I think the "best" time to workout is the one that works best for you!

So what is the best time for you to workout? Short answer – There isn’t one. The best time to workout is the time when you will ACTUALLY do it!

When I first started on my fitness journey many years ago, I was obsessed with finding the right time to workout. I ready article after article and came to the eventual, horrible conclusion – You are supposed to do morning workouts. Now, I am seriously not a morning person. Not even close. But that is what expert after expert said, so I resigned myself to the fact.

To say that didn’t go well would be an understatement. There were days I managed to get up and workout at the beginning of my day, but those were far and few between. I will admit, I always felt really accomplished on those days that I did get it done! I had done the responsible, right thing to do! It was great! But more often, I was plagued with guilt the whole day for “being lazy” and not getting my workout done when I planned to. (We can talk about my negative self talk another day – that is something I still struggle with today)

But the workouts themselves didn’t always go very well either! I had a really hard time waking up, which led to a few clumsy injuries. And I had a harder time pushing myself too. So my workouts themselves weren’t as effective as I wanted them to be. I just didn’t have the energy I needed to really go hard!

The other issue that came up with this failure to consistently do my morning workout – I would then do my workout after work, but still try to get to bed early enough to wake up for next mornings workout. So then I would be trying to force myself to go to sleep not too long after my workout, and then getting frustrated that I couldn’t fall asleep.

You can see how this all got to be pretty terrible, right?!

A couple of years ago, I got fed up with this whole cycle. I was stressed all the time and felt pretty horrible about myself and my lack of willpower. Plus, I had started to notice that when I worked out after work, I pushed harder and still felt good, even though it was the “wrong time.” So I decided to do a bit of an experiment.

For one month, I would plan for my workouts to be after work. No more getting up earlier or going to bed earlier. This still requires willpower of course. There are many days after work where I don’t want to do much of anything. But I wanted to see if there would be much of a difference.

time-to-workout

Not only was there a difference, but it was a big one! I started having more energy, sleeping better and getting more workouts in each week! I felt better about myself and just better in general! And this is when I really realized that there is NO best workout time. In the end, the time that lets you actually get your workout in is much better than some ideal time that doesn’t work well for you.

Do I always get my workout in after work?…No, I don’t. There are days where I get off of work and go home and basically collapse. But overall, I get more and better workouts in after work then I ever did when I tried to do them in the mornings! And I feel better every day because I am getting my workouts in regularly. And that is what really matters to me!

Now, none of this means that you shouldn’t workout in the mornings. If that works for you, that is great! Even if you aren’t a morning person but think it would work better for you, I would encourage you to give it a try! What I really want you to take away from this is that you don’t HAVE to workout at one particular time, and you aren’t failing or lazy if you can’t make yourself workout in the mornings. That might just not be the best time for you!

What has been your experience with timing your workouts? Do you love morning workouts? Hate em? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please leave a comment below!

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When Meal Prep Doesn’t Work Out (and an Announcement)

Hey everyone! It’s been a while! And that fact is where the announcement comes in – I might be missing posts a little more often right now. I do love sharing my life with you all! My meal preps, fitness tips and so much more.

But part of taking care of yourself is working to find balance. And lately, well, my life has been pretty out of balance. I’m hard at work on my jewelry business and trying to build more of a career in fitness. Along with that, I’m still working overnights at my “regular” job and trying to maintain some time with Draz as well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave me nearly as much time for the blog as I would like.

I am going to try to still put out 2 posts a week, but I’m going to ask that you bear with me while I try to figure out my new schedule and responsibilities! Hopefully at some point I will be able to leave my overnights job and have a little more time available.

Now on to the second part of this post – the downside of weekly meal prep!

You all know that I absolutely love my meal prep. It helps me set up for success each week, save money and have more time! I’m able to plan well to hit my macros, feel full every day and keep my stress level down while I deal with my busy life. But there are some downsides as well. One big one is when your meal prep doesn’t go the way you hoped it would!

That is just what happened this week. Sometimes I will have one recipe I’m not thrilled with. This week I had the bad luck of all 3 recipes not turning out well! Add on to this that I didn’t check the macros before planning and so my carbs were over every day. And I didn’t make enough food for the week. So all in all, not a great week for food at our house!

But this is one of the risks when doing meal prep. There might be the occasion when you don’t like anything you cooked. Now, of course, this can happen any given week that you cook, even if you aren’t prepping. But there is something discouraging about knowing that all of your food is ready for the week and you don’t like any of it!

This is one of the reasons I encourage people to only test 1-2 new recipes any given week. This is usually a rule I stick to myself as well, for just this reason. That way, if something doesn’t turn out well, you have other options that you do like! It won’t save you from eating the dish you don’t like, but at least it’s not for every meal haha.

So, no recipes to share with you this week, because I’m not going to subject you to that! Instead, a reminder to try to pace yourself with new recipes. And a peak into my kitchen, showing you that even someone who meal preps every week has weeks that go wrong! It’s all part of the learning process!

Have you ever had a meal prep not go well? How did you deal with it?

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Finding Fitness: Di from Work Out With Di

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to bring you this month’s Finding Fitness interview! Di is so open and honest, and with over 20 years in the fitness industry, she has a lot of knowledge to share! Enjoy!

Looking for some inspiration and guidance on your health and fitness journey? Then Di has you covered! Come check out my interview with Di for some new inspiration, then head over to her blog to check her out as well!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Oh boy this could be a blog post in of itself.. in a nutshell: I’m a 45 year old woman living in California, though I was born and raised in England. I moved to the USA in 2001 with my husband and we became citizens 3 years ago. We have been married 18 years, no kids (more on that one later), and have one dalmatian. Fun fact: we got married in a hot air balloon! That already tells you we’re non-traditional, and have a quirky sense of humor right?

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested?

I guess it started with school. I wasn’t on any sports teams but I grew up in the 80’s in the era of Jane Fonda and fondly remember doing her workout videos in my living room with my leotard, tights and legwarmers. We had a weekly aerobics class after school and I grew to love group fitness classes. Post-school me and my BFF would go to weekly classes at the local fitness center. Just once or twice a week if it fit into our work schedule (we worked shifts).

For me it wasn’t so much a change in fitness journey but life in general. When I was 23 I got a callback after my annual well woman check. I had some ‘abnormal cells’ on my pap results. After a whirlwind of more tests, biopsies, and laser surgery I was declared “clear” but it was a ‘wake-up call’. I was in a job I hated (retail management) and they say if you find something you love to do you’ll never work another day in your life… so what did I LOVE to do? The only thing I could think of was the group fitness classes! In 1996 at 24 years old I switched careers and earned my group fitness certification and I’ve worked in fitness since.

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What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it?

When we moved to the USA in 2001 I wasn’t able to work as I didn’t have a work visa. That year was the year of the terror attacks and understandably all visa/green-card applications came to a screeching halt so it took us 7 years to get our green-cards. During that time I gained 25lbs. To say we fully embraced the standard American diet would be an understatement. That combined with moving less (I was playing World of Warcraft with friends), and being so far from family. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to a fitness career but that possibility was there, so I set about cleaning up my diet, I started running and working out again, and dropped the 25lbs. In 2009 I started working in the fitness industry again.

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them?

I mentioned we don’t have children. One reason for that is that I have a hereditary condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease [PKD]. Cysts grow in and on your kidneys, reducing function. The chances of passing that to my children is 50% and as the condition has no cure, and the treatment is basically eventually dialysis/transplant. That’s a big risk that we weren’t prepared to take so we simply opted out of parenthood.
With the help of diet and exercise I’d been pretty healthy since my cancer scare but 3 years ago I had my first bout of symptoms due to PKD. I was actually teaching a Les Mills CXworx class and the last exercise was prone back extensions. An exercise that was so simple right? I felt “something” pushing into the floor from my abdomen. I came home and slept the rest of the day. I made an appointment with my nephrologist we ran tests. My left kidney was “growing”, as I now had more cysts, and cysts on my liver too. The enlarged kidney has continued to cause me issues and I’ve had to make significant changes. I stopped teaching CXworx, and BodyCombat. As much as I loved the classes they continued to aggravated my left kidney due to movement speed, rotation, and compression. Honestly it was all a “wake-up” call for me. I’ve seen my family members on dialysis, my mum and uncle both have transplants, and I still have an aunt and cousin needing transplants. I could continue to stress my body and cause more damage to my body… or choose to listen to it. I chose the latter. That’s when I began moving into the current era of my fitness journey.

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What achievement are you the most proud of?

I started my career in fitness in 1996 and during the last 20 years I’ve done so many forms of fitness. Spinning, running, cycling, weights, pilates, step, aqua, Zumba, Les Mills… but none bring me to the same space as Yoga. I started teaching yoga at a gym in 2010 but in 2014 I took the plunge and did my RYT200. I took my first yoga class at 13 and 30 years later I was teaching it!
Goals are progressive though, when I achieve one I take a break then start looking for others. I’ve run multiple 5k races including two dressed as Santa and the color run was fun! I’ve also run a couple of 10ks, a 1/2 marathon, all of which lead to a few duathlons, a cycling event and and in 2016 I did my first triathlon. As someone who hates swimming that was a task. I’m always the most proud of my last goal, and for me that was the triathlon. Ask me again in 5 years!

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Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey?

While I did lose 25lbs the fact that I have PKD makes this a health journey not just fitness. Health care providers always ask what blood pressure medications I take as high BP is a symptom of PKD. At 45 most people my age with PKD are on at least one medication. Usually for high blood pressure. Thanks to diet and exercise I’m still at stage 2 of the disease and I want to stay here as long as I can.

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise?

Right now I’m working towards my RYT500 for my own practice and teaching, and my e-RYT200 to become a yoga educator. I’ve been helping with the current yoga teacher trainees this year and it’s something I’ve found I have a passion for.

What does a typical training week look like?

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This has changed a LOT over the last 5 years. I used to actively instruct classes (Les Mills etc) but now since switching class formats I coach more, which leaves me more time and energy for my own workouts. I now only teach 7-10 classes a week, have private clients 4 days a week, and coach a couple of clients online.

Honestly I don’t have a “typical week”, it’s an ongoing schedule I tweak depending on my goals (last year I did a lot of cardio for the triathlon) but this is the current training week for my current goals.

Monday – Weights: Legs & Glutes,
Tuesday -Weights: Shoulders & triceps;
Wednesday -Weights: Glutes, Biceps
Thursday -Weights: Legs, glutes, back,
Friday – Weights: Shoulders & triceps Cardio: Spin Class
Saturday – Weights: Legs, glutes & chest
Sunday – Rest day, usually just walking and yoga.

Everyday – I walk my dog 3 miles in the morning, then 30 mins in the afternoon and 20 in the evening. So I get about 2 hours of walking per day. I also try to get 30 mins of yoga and meditation daily. Plus I move a fair amount in my daily life teaching and interacting with clients. I usually try and get in 2 other HIIT cardio sessions in during the week beside my weekly spin class. Due to my schedule though, this changes. Right now it’s Tuesday and Sunday as I work early Wednesdays and Thursdays. My goal is to start running with my dog again a couple of mornings a week.

What does an average day of eating look like for you?

finding-fitness-diAgain due to my schedule my work days don’t have any consistency. I find meal prepping to be so important for staying on track and would encourage anyone with shift work or lack of time to do the same. Busy days are:

Breakfast is usually a smoothie with spinach, berries, bananas, almond milk, flaxseed meal and protein powder

Lunch is something I usually made ahead of time. Usually a burritto bowl with tons of veggies, beans, salsa, guacamole

Dinner in the week we eat late. Typically we sit down to eat around 7.30-8pm. Typical meals for us include tacos, burger’n’fries, meatloaf, or our favorite: curry.

Snacks: Tofu icecream, pancakes, or dateballs are things I snack on. Depends on the day and activity level.

In case I didn’t mention it already I’m vegan. I’ve been vegan since June 2013 and I was vegetarian for 20 years prior to that. My husband is vegetarian. One of our current favorite things is a sandwich with Benevolent Bacon, tofurky roast slices, and melted daiya cheddar slice on Eureka seeds the day bread. So good and 38g protein!

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not?

If you’d asked me this 5 years ago I’d have said no. However since my PKD progressed I’m not processing some vitamins efficiently.
Currently I take: Vitamin D3 as that showed up on a nephrology bloodwork done 2 years ago (it’s processed by the kidneys); B12 (as I am vegan), and protein powders (I love plantfusion, SunWarrior and Nuzest).
For hot days, long runs, or intense cardio I also use electrolyte replacement drinks, I like Nuun, Emergen-C or as a push just regular gatorade. Dehydration is not good for my kidneys so this is something I pay close attention to!

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite?

Favorite: deadlifts, seriously I love deadlifts. I just think there is something about bad ass about deadlifts, and cleans, clean and jerk/press. Deadlifts are my favorite though.
Least: swimming. I did my first triathlon in 2016 and I did learn to like it a little more, but I’ve never once in my life just thought “you know what? let’s go swimming!”. Plus the triathlon was ocean swim, double ugh!

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking?

For me the toughest times are those times when I am low energy due to hormones. But that’s when you make results, on the bad workouts, not the everyday or the good ones. On the ones that suck. I tell myself I just have to do it for 10 minutes. If I still don’t want to after 10 minutes then I can stop. After 10 minutes I’m usually really into the workout. If I’m not, then I listen to my body and see if it’s body or mind. If the body is willing I’ll hold out for 30 minutes. If it’s the body telling me to stop, then I listen.

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout?

I’m not gonna lie, this has been a struggle for me in the past. When I first began teaching group fitness classes I was actively teaching 20-25 classes a week! It doesn’t leave a lot for your own workouts. Now I focus more on being active in the day walking the dog, gardening, etc, and when I see friends we often opt for walking/hiking to catch up. As I work in both a gym and yoga studio I get free membership at both but don’t use it nearly as much as I should. Really though it’s about making an appointment and scheduling it into your day, then making a decision to do it. You wouldn’t cancel on the dentist or doctor unless you were sick, workouts should be the same!

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What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey?

  1. Just start! Now. Not on Monday, not on the first, not when the stars align and everything is “perfect” conditions but now!
  2. Start slow and find something you enjoy doing. For me it’s yoga, hiking, walking, running, and weights. For others it’s Zumba or CrossFit.
  3. Make a smart goal. So you want to “get fit”. What does that mean to you? Is it weight loss, cholesterol numbers, lowering your blood pressure, dropping body fat, or losing a dress size? You can’t shoot an arrow without a target.

Anything else you want to share?

The biggest excuses I hear all the time as a trainer are “I don’t have time” and “I can’t afford it”. Fitness doesn’t have to take a chunk out of your day or cost anything. Yes it can be 100% free. I have a free health & fitness planner on my website, and a free 31 day bootcamp (with workout videos) and I have a lot more at-home workouts you can do anywhere on my YouTube Channel.

Sara here: Di, thank you so much for joining me this week! Everyone, I hope you enjoyed this month’s Finding Fitness and getting to know Di a little better! You should definitely go check out her blog and social media!

finding-fitness-diDi is a personal trainer, wellness coach, and yoga teacher with over 20 years experience working in the fitness industry. Her passion is all things fitness, health and nutrition. When not working she can usually be found walking her dog, gardening, or out riding her dirtbike (Honda CRF230F). Due to family being spread all over the World she also loves to travel. Di is also a closet geek, she taught herself HTML, javascript and video editing, and loves Sci Fi.

Want to see more of Di? Head over to her blog WorkOut with Di, her Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube Channel and her Instagram!

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Meal Prep for my Macros – Higher Protein and Fat and Cutting the Carbs!

Hey everyone! I am SO excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! So I always tell you that meal prep should work for you. Well, this week I’m showing you the changes that I am making to my meal prep to make it work for me!

You might know that I’ve been using the If It Fits Your Macros method (IIFYM) method for the past few months to try to help my eating stay on track. While I have been loving it, it hasn’t quite been working for me as well as I had hoped. Basically? I was hungry A LOT of the time! I was feeling pretty good when I woke up and I did feel leaner, but I would get hungry between most snacks and meals. And not a little hungry either….REALLY hungry. I tried changing up snacks and meals, but nothing was really helping.

Around this same time, I had come to the realization that I needed some help if I want to get to my fitness goals. So I started looking for a personal trainer (more on that coming soon!) I checked out a lot of wonderful ladies, most of whom you have met here through my Finding Fitness series! When I ended up deciding on Jen from Burpees 4 Breakfast, I knew that I wanted to chat with her about nutrition too.

Jen helped so much and after some conversation, reworked my macros to give me something different to try! She cut down on my carbs and increased my protein and fat intake and I gotta say I’m loving it so far! It’s too soon to see if it will make much of a difference on my fitness progress, but I definitely feel more satiated than I have in quite a while.

So for now at least, my meal preps will be changing to reflect this! I loved this week’s meal prep so much and I really think you will too. Enjoy!

Satisfy your hunger with this high protein, high fat healthy meal prep!

Ok, to get started, snacks. You might notice that I didn’t take my usual photo of my snacks and salads. Well, I’m not going to be making the salads for a while! I still LOVE jar salads as a method of prepping salad for your lunch, but I was having a hard time hitting my protein goals with the salads. Plus, honestly, I’ve been eating salads for lunch almost every day for over 2 years. I think it is time for a break!

As for the snacks, well….I forgot to take my usual photo! So here is a collage shot of all of my different snacks throughout the week! I think my favorite is probably still my grapes, chicken and cheese.

healthy-high-protein-snacks

Now for our main dishes! I made 3 overall this week, 2 for Draz and I to have and one that was specifically for me to have for my work lunches. Overall, everything turned out wonderful! For the both of us: Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken and Healthy Kung Pao Chicken. For Draz’s servings, I paired it with jasmine rice. Mine I served over steamed cauliflower rice! Both of these dishes turned out wonderful, though I think my favorite for the week was the Kung Pao Chicken. The one change I would make for next time – doubling the sauce for the Kung Pao Chicken! I love things to be a little more saucy and there wasn’t nearly enough with a large serving of cauliflower rice 🙂

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For my lunch dish, a new recipe this week – One Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables. Funny thing…I actually originally intended to make this with green beans, a bit of bell pepper and sweet potato for the veggies. Only to get started with the cooking and realize that I was out of sweet potatoes! So instead, I ended up with more bell pepper and some onion. It was very good nonetheless, but next time I would definitely love to add sweet potatoes to the mix!

Here is the macros breakdown for this week’s main dishes!

if-it-fits-your-macros

Want to make this for yourself? Get your free downloadable grocery list for the main dishes here!

Do you follow a particular practice for your food, like IIFYM? Have you had to make changes to your meal prep to make it work better for you? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Easy Healthy Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! I’m back!!

I know it’s been a couple of week’s since you have really heard from me. Things have been changing a lot here and it’s kinda thrown my schedule into chaos. And if you’ve been here with me for long, you know how much I thrive on routine! But things are finally settling down here and falling into a new routine, so hopefully I won’t have any more long absences anytime soon!

Even with the chaos of the past few weeks, meal prep has been one of the main things that has helped me to keep the changes from becoming too overwhelming. I don’t always do well with rapid change, but knowing that I had our food ready and easy for us to grab helped a lot! This week’s meal prep was no different, with it’s high protein snacks and filling main dishes. Enjoy!!

Keep the chaos of your week at bay with this healthy and easy weekly meal prep!

Along with all the changes that have been going on for me personally, I made some changes to my snacks as well! With a focus on them being filling and full of protein, I added in some rotisserie chicken lunchmeat with my grapes and cheese for my first snack of the day. For my second one, celery with peanut butter!

healthy-sunday-food-prep

This is actually the second week that I have done these new snacks and I’m really liking them. Hard-boiled eggs, a couple types of protein balls finish out the snacks and I also made a big back of our breakfast burritos and some mason jar salads inspired by this recipe!

I have learned one thing though, when it came to my celery snack. All over Pinterest you can see portable snacks and one of those is celery in a small mason jar with peanut butter already at the bottom. The first week I made these I gave that a try….did NOT work well for me haha. It was very difficult to really dip the celery in the peanut butter and made for more frustration than the snack is worth.

sunday-food-prep

This week, I put the celery in the mason jars again, but just for ease of storage. I put a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in tiny containers. Then I grabbed one of those each day along with our other food. It worked so much better! So while this does create a little more dishes, it’s well worth it in my opinion.

For our main dishes this week, I decided to stick with a few ones I have made before. While I love making new dishes, when things are overwhelming I tend to stick with things I’m familiar with. Draz requested Skinny Chicken Enchiladas and I also made One-Pot Spicy Cajun Chicken & Rice and Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili. All of them are dishes we have enjoyed before and everything turned out wonderful!

sunday-food-prep-healthy-meals

Out of the 3, the Enchiladas take the most work, but the flavor makes them well worth it! If you like this one like we do, you can cut down on the time it takes in the future by making a larger batch of shredded chicken. You can then freezing it into the amounts you need for this recipe! I like seasoning mine with some cumin, paprika and chili powder and slow cooking a big batch to shred. Tastes delicious and really cuts down on the time and dishes for making it in the future.

Here is the macros breakdown for this week’s main dishes:

if-it-fits-your-macros-healthy-eating

Want to make this one for yourself? Get your free downloadable grocery list for this week’s main dishes!

How do you deal with rapid change in your life? Have you found meal prep to be extra helpful in times like that? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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