Super Easy Protein Bars

protein bars

After quite a bit of searching for a simple but delicious protein bar recipe, I ran across this one on Pinterest. It was originally pinned from thehappyhealthfreak.com, so thank you, happy health freak. These protein bars are one of my favorite things to eat, they take 10 mins or less to prepare, and they have only 1 tablespoon of sugar (or stevia). I also added coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and walnuts to the mix so they’re a little more exciting, but do as you please.

You can find the original recipe here, but here’s what I do:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup of your favorite protein powder — I use vanilla

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (I have never put this in there, but it wouldn’t hurt)

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon powder stevia or sweetener of your choice (I use real sugar, whatever)

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter or PB2

1/4 cup egg whites, or 1 whole egg

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

1/4 cup chocolate chips if desired 🙂

Mix the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the coconut, walnuts, and chocolate chips (if desired) and mix thoroughly. The batter will be thick. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan, and be sure it is evenly distributed. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 mins or until a knife inserted will come out clean.

Nutritional info for one bar (this is for the original recipe, not necessarily for my version)
123 Calories, 16g Carbs, 2g Fat, 12g Protein, 85mg Sodium, 4g Sugar.

Enjoy! For more great healthy recipes, check these out!

 

 

Is Your Cardio Really Working?

Is Your Cardio Really Working?

Have you ever noticed the “heart rate” area of a treadmill or elliptical and wondered what that was for exactly, or why it matters? Or do you think it’s just for old people or people with health conditions? Well it’s not, and knowing your target heart rate could be your ticket to doing some serious fat-burning!

There are actually two target heart rates to consider. The first is your fat-burning zone. It’s right above the “warm-up” level, and below the heart-pounding cardio level. Depending on your age and fitness level, you can be at the fat-burning heart rate while walking briskly or lightly jogging. At this pace, your body uses its stored fat for energy.

The second is your cardio zone. At this level your body uses both fat and muscle as energy, so this will definitely slim you down if you think you look too bulky. Just be careful, because doing a lot of “cardio zone” cardio can make you appear flabby and melt away hard-earned muscle.

To calculate your target fat-burning zone heart rate, follow this formula:

220 – {your age} x .6 = fat burning zone

To calculate cardio zone:

220 – {your age} x .85 = cardio zone

Knowing your target heart rate allows you to make sure every cardio session does exactly what you want it to do. Personally, I like to do 5 minutes of fat-burning, then 5 minutes of cardio, and repeat for about half an hour. Play around with different ways to get your heart rate at the proper level, use different cardio machines, and see what works best for you!

 

 

 

 

Shoulders and Back

shoulders and back

A lot of girls (me included, at one time) don’t think they need to develop their shoulders and back because they don’t want to look manly. But trust me, a well-toned back is one of the sexiest body parts you can have! This workout will help build narrow shoulders, help get rid of “armpit fat,” love handles, and back fat. Yeah, none of that is attractive. And the benefit to having muscular shoulders is that it makes your body more proportioned and narrows your waist, giving you more of that desired V-shape.

Circuit 1: Shoulders

1. Heavy alternating dumbbell shoulder press

shoulder press (Use the heaviest weight you can for these, if you want to build some shoulder muscle and definition. If you only want to tone, use light weight. Heavy weight= a weight where your max reps is 6-10. Light weight max reps should be 15-20. I like to do these seated on a bench, especially when using heavy weight.)

2. Front raise (20)

front raise (Use a light weight)

3. Incline bench lateral raise (15)

incline bench (Use a light weight. The reason for doing it on the incline bench is to keep constant tension on the shoulder to make the exercise more effective.)

4. Rear delt flys (light weight, 15)

You can either use dumbbells while bent at the waist as in this picture:

rear delt fly

Or you can use a rear delt machine:

rear delt machine

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat for 3x total.

Circuit 2: Back

1. Chin ups (on assisted machine if necessary) (15)

assisted chin up

2. Lat pulldown (15)

lat pulldown (use a medium-wide grip as shown)

3. Bent over row (barbell or dumbbell) (15)

bent over row (Be sure to use the underhand grip as shown. This recruits your lower lats, which gives your waist a more tapered look!)

4. Seated row (15)

seated row (Be sure to keep your back straight and chest out. Feel free to use this, or any seated row machine that your gym has).

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat for 3x total.

Circuit 3: Cardio

I purposely left out an abs session today so that they can recover, and so that you have plenty of energy for a good cardio sesh! Sometimes I like to do my cardio first, sometimes I feel like doing it after, so the order is up to you. Just make sure you get a solid 20-30 minutes of HIIT or 40 minutes of steady-pace.

Click here for my absolute favorite treadmill workout that doubles for a leg-slimmer too!

Spring Break Workout Plan

Spring Break Workout Plan

It’s starting to show up everywhere. In Target with the huge bikini display, the mall with all the workout clothes, and definitely Pinterest with everyone’s “get into shape” boards, showcasing motivational toned abs and a perky butt. Oh yeah, and at the gym! Did you even know that many people have a membership to your gym?? Welp, you guessed it… IT’S SPRING BREAK SEASON!!!!

And unless you’re a crazy gym-goer and have eaten nothing bad for you at all since the holidays, you might be getting a little panicky about how to lose those last few pounds and get that toned muscle that you know is hiding somewhere beneath your winter layer. Instead of frantically scouring the Internet for quick-working fad diets that you know you’ll give up by this weekend, keep calm and read on :). I’ve got you taken care of.

I’m going to share with you my meal plans and workouts that have helped me make more progress over the past 2 months than I’ve ever had, ever. We’ll be doing these together since my spring break vacay starts EXACTLY one month from today, and we can record our progress together!

The Way It Works

You’ll be following a basic 5-day program that you repeat every week until your deadline. Since our bodies quickly adapt to any workout, you can modify the workouts to get some variety week to week, and I’ll post my modifications so we can all be on the same page.

Workouts

Here is the 5-day plan to be repeated (with modification) week to week:

I will post the exercise circuits and modification ideas for each day on a separate post and link them back to that list.

Diet

The best way to lose weight, burn fat, and tone up is to have a diet high in lean protein and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates. You should only be eating carbohydrates at breakfast, if you want, and after a workout. Vegetables are free-for-all and should be consumed at every meal! Fruit is ok, but stick to the ones lowest in sugar and high in antioxidants, like grapefruit, and berries.

Proteins:

  • ground turkey
  • extra lean ground beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • salmon
  • egg whites

Fats:

  • almonds
  • mixed nuts
  • avocado
  • natural almond butter
  • natural peanut butter (I don’t recommend a lot of peanut butter though)
  • fish oil
  • egg yolks

Healthy Carbohydrates: (slow-digesting as opposed to quick-digesting)

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • sweet potatoes
  • oatmeal

Try to eat at least 4 small meals a day, so your metabolism increases and you burn through calories quicker. To help you out, here is my basic meal plan for a typical day:

  • First I have a detoxifying smoothie with spinach or kale, cucumbers, peppers, celery, lemon juice, and half a banana. You can find more recipes for delicious ones here!
  • Breakfast: Ground beef and eggs, oatmeal if you want (fats in the morning keep your energy levels up all day!)
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, veggies, and a vinaigrette dressing
  • 2nd Lunch (?) or Post-Workout Meal: Ground turkey with eggs, brown rice, steamed broccoli + mixed nuts
  • Dinner: White fish or chicken, steamed mixed veggies
  • Snack: Mixed nuts, berries, raw veggies

Other, more exciting recipes to choose from are here!

Notice that the amount of calories tapers by the end of the day, so that when you go to sleep you don’t pack on pounds by unused calories consumed too late in the day. Make sure you avoid at all costs all fast food, processed foods, sugary foods AND DRINKS (yup that means Starbucks frappuccinos are out!), especially towards the end of the day. For best results, I would also recommend cutting out most dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Tips

I don’t know why, but by bedtime my self-discipline always dwindles, and I’m very prone to breaking my rules and having ice cream at night. That’s why I make a point to drink a lot of water towards the end of the day to stay full, have some of my favorite flavored tea to sip when I have a sweet tooth (honey isn’t too bad), and go to bed as soon as I start getting tired so I avoid staying up and eating.

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you guys! It’s going to be a hard road sometimes, but when you can post those pictures on Instagram and Twitter of you looking hot next to all your friends in a bikini, you’ll be SO GLAD you did this!

Good luck and let’s get started!

Read about the Top 5 Mistakes Women Make In the Gym , 10 Fat-Loss Tips for Women, and check out the Workouts page for more exercise ideas!

How To Reach Fitness Goals

inspiration

I know from experience it’s really easy to make goals and then hope they somehow happen without having to change your behavior. Change is uncomfortable, and it’s not easy. Change requires a lot of dedication and willpower. But change also gets you results. Once you start seeing results, I can tell you it becomes addictive. It’s easier to stick to your diet and workout plan if you can actually see it working.

If you haven’t seen any change yet, remember if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve gotta do something you’ve never done.

What areas of your diet or workout have you been neglecting or slacking on? How can you take that next step that will put you closer to your goal? Take the time to examine what changes you can make in your daily ritual, and plan a way to make them happen. When you see your results, you will see how every sacrifice is 100% worth it!

xoxo

Also, learn The Best Way To Set Goals and How To Stay Motivated here 🙂

3 Types Of Squats You Have Not Been Doing, But Should

We all know you gotta do squats to have a great butt. But did you know that certain variations of the squat can tone your inner thighs, build your glutes more, and slim your quads? Most people only do the traditional squat and think they’re good, when actually they’re really missing out on some other great benefits that different squats offer.

1. The Sumo Squat

how to do a sumo squatThis exercise does an amazing job toning your inner thighs while activating your glutes. This is my new favorite exercise because I’ve gotten the best results from it!

I recommend using a 20lb to 25lb dumbbell, or a 45lb barbell held with arms straight down. Remember your knees should always be lined up with your toes to prevent knee injury.  Do 3 sets of 15-20.

 

 

 

2. The Split Squat

how to do a split squat

The split squat also really engages your glutes in ways that the regular squat does not because it’s a unilateral exercise. This means it works one side at a time, making your backside proportioned and well rounded.

Go as low as you comfortably can, using a 5lb to 15lb dumbbell on each side. Do 3 sets of 15.

 

 

 

3. The Front Squat

how to do a front squathow to do a front squat The front squat is an exercise not many people know about, but it’s great for your quads. If you’re trying to build them, these are your new best friend! If you want to just tone and define your thighs, use a lighter weight (like the 10lb or 20lb barbell shown) with 3 sets of 20-25. Make sure you position the bar on your anterior deltoids as shown, and follow the tips in the picture. Remember to always keep your knees behind your toes when doing any squat!

Have fun incorporating these exercises into your workouts! Good luck, and enjoy the benefits afterwards!

For more lower body exercises that really work, check out the Workouts page and The Best Lower Body Exercise For Women!

How To Do A Tricep Dip

how to do a tricep dip

Have you ever wanted to be that girl who does those seemingly impossible tricep dips at the gym?

Wait, you thought only men had enough strength to do those?

Nope! if you’ve ever seen a girl bust out a few unassisted tricep dips, you know how it feels to go back to your tricep extension machine and feel pathetic. Nothing shows off your upper body fitness level and competency as tricep dips, chin ups or pull ups. And nothing’s more fun than being able to have something impressive to do to show all your hard work.

Not to mention having nice triceps is the key to having toned and sexy arms.

So guess what? You can be that girl. I was in your shoes for a long time until I picked up a few tips about how to do a tricep dip, and boom, after a little time I got my first one! And so can you.

Here’s the secret:

  1. Practice them every day you go to the gym
  2. At first, start on the assisted tricep/pulldown machine and do 3 sets of 5. The weight should be set so that you can barely do 5.
  3. After a week or two (depending on how often you are practicing), go to the unassisted tricep dip bars and hop yourself up to a finished position (like the girl in the picture above). Lower yourself as slowly as you can, and repeat till failure.
  4. Once you feel the strength building after a few weeks, hop as little as you can till you can do your very first dip unassisted!
  5. Comment below and let me know when you do your first one!! Good luck!

If you liked this, read about How To Get The Inner Thigh Gap and The Best Way To Burn Belly Fat!

Thanks for commenting, sharing, and liking this post!

Need Some Motivation?

Some days it’s just hard to do anything. You don’t want to even get up or do anything productive with your day, whether it’s  because you’ve been working hard for the past few days, or you’re sore from a workout, or didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before. Sometimes you should just listen to your body and rest for a day, but other times you know you can push through it, you just need a little motivation.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how much of a fan of Flavia Del Monte I am, and that I’m following her workout program and it’s been giving me amazing results. I found this video of her fitness magazine photoshoot to be really motivating, mainly because she talks about what was hard to sacrifice and how it was worth it, and you can see firsthand her amazing physique as she poses for the camera.

Most of the YouTube videos I have been posting are of her in preparation for this photoshoot, so you know you are taking the correct steps to look like her if you keep following my blog!

Hopefully this helps you keep your goal in mind and stay on track with your fitness regime! Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂