Back Workout + Easter Weekend

Monday: Back + Biceps + HIIT/Core

My main focus for my workout yesterday was back, but I also ended it with some tricep work and a short HIIT/core routine. Listed below is my exact workout with links on how to do the exercises. Ps. I’m all about the cut-out back shirts lately. This shirt is from Blogilates clothing line.

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Here are some snapshots from my Easter Weekend. OMG made the best protein pancakes and topped them with Mini Eggs. SO GOOD.

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Recipe:

  • 1 Scoop Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder
  • 3tbsp Soy Milk (I used Chocolate – you can use any kind of milk)
  • 1tbsp Oat Flour
  • 2tbs Egg Whites

FINALLY there was some spring weather in good old Canada, so I got to bust out some spring attire that I’ve been dying to wear 🙂 Sunshine makes me happy.

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Today my workout was over an hour of HIIT paired with my favourite ab/core exercises. I’ll post the exact workout next time! I can’t just name the exercises cause half the time I make up names for them (haha) and you won’t know what they are. So, I’ll list my workout and link you to the exercises 🙂 Post-workout snack was a Questbar. And it took me a good 15 minutes to decide which one I wanted! (LOL) I ended up broiling the Double Chocolate Chunk. SO GOOD. You can buy Questbars here. And get a free one!!

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Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

Happy Good Friday! OMG woke up so sore. My legs are killing me! It actually hurt to sleep last night! Giving myself a rest day.

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I like to train most days because I enjoy it and I want to, but giving myself rest days are just as important.  I usually rest when I literally cannot fit training into my schedule because of other priorities (aka work, school, vacation, etc.). Life isn’t revolved around working out, well kind of 😉 I also listen to my body, I know a lot of people say “half a workout is better than no workout”, but sometimes if I’m sore, and I know my body is physically not into it, I know I won’t get a good session in. So, I rest up and recover and know that tomorrow I’ll have even more energy to make progress. Also, it gives me more time to think up recipes and experiment in the kitchen because I am devoted to eating well and proving to you that you can eat healthy and balanced, while still having delicious meals!! Today I was in the mood for a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar so I created another version of a delicious mug cake.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used Chocolate Soy Milk)
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 2 tbsp oat flour (take regular oats and grind them in a Magic Bullet)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Directions

  • Cut up Quest Bar into little pieces (half go in mug cake, half go on top)
  • Spray mug with cooking spray
  • Combine all ingredients in mug (remember to keep half of the Quest pieces for topping)
  • Microwave for 1 minute and the continue for 10 second intervals making sure it doesn’t overcook
  • Add toppings!
  • I topped mine with 1tbsp of peanut butter, rest of Quest Bar & cinnamon.
  • Enjoy!photo-23

Macros (without peanut butter topping)

Calories: 245

Carbs: 29g

Fat: 7g

Protein: 26g

You can buy Quest Bars by clicking on this link.

You also get a free bar with your purchase!

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Abdominals

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“How do I get abs like this? What kind of exercises do you do for abs?”

Most common question I get. I’m not a professional, I’m not a personal trainer, but through A LOT of experimentation with exercises, and food/nutrition I found what works best for me. Abs are like any other muscle, you need to train them to build them.

PicMonkey Collage56756575The first picture was when I was mainly doing cardio and little to no weight or strength training. I would do straight cardio and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. You need to train and BUILD your muscle. The second picture is from this year doing no steady rate cardio, more strength training and HIIT.

HIIT + Ab/Core Exercises = Results:

I found a huge difference when I base my HIIT circuits around abs/core. For example, doing 1 minute of a high intensity cardio exercise and then 1 minute of an ab building exercise (I do this over and over with different exercises to make an entire workout anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes) gets my heart rate up like crazy, while also building those abdominal muscles. Abs muscles become visible when you burn the belly fat on top of them. It’s not easy. A lot of people hold their weight in their belly, and that’s normal! Also, it’s usually the last and most difficult spot for people to lose weight. BUT consistency, determination, pushing yourself, eating well and drinking lots of water will give you results!!!

Favourite High Intensity Exercises:

Burpees – these are my absolute favourite. I would rather do burpees all day every day than run a mile. Burpees are a full body exercise that burns fat and builds strength. They are hard. They suck. Sometimes I want to hurl, but I do them. They speed up your metabolism, which means you burn more calories throughout the day even when you aren’t training.

Kettle Bell Swings – 1 handed, 2 handed, they hit your hamstrings, glutes, core, back, while scorching calories.

Plank Jacks – These kill me so bad. So so so bad. I find them worse than burpees. You get in plank position and start jumping your legs in and out. I can hardly get through a minute of these, but they work! (Google them if you don’t know what they are) You’re working your core because you’re in plank position and you’re burning fat by getting your heart rate up.

Sprints – I hate running. More than 5 minutes, I get bored and don’t like it. But sprints, I love sprints. I’ll do 30 seconds to 1 minutes of sprints at a really fast pace (I usually do these on the treadmill anywhere from 8, 9mph +). I take a 15 second break between each sprint by jumping on the side of the treadmill. This might sound scary (lol), but it does take practice. Anyways, I’ll do anywhere from 3-10 sprints in a row depending on my workout

Favourite Ab/Core Exercises:

Bicycle Crunches – These are NOT effective unless you do them properly. This means doing them slow and controlled, keeping your elbows wide, holding your core tight and breathing. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but if you don’t perform them properly they are a waste of time. I do this in high repetition and vary the speeds. It takes practice and experimentation to figure out what gives you the best burn.

Knee Tucks with Stability Ball – Google or Youtube what these are to see how they are performed. Again you are in plank position so they strengthen your core already, but while using your abs to bring the ball in and back out KILLLLLS your muscles, in a good way of course.

Weighted Crunches – Getting in crunch position, bent knees, feet on the floor and holding a weight while you crunch up. Again, slow and controlled. Don’t use momentum. I find they give me really good definition in the center and upper abs. I use 15lbs + dumbbell or kettle bell.

Hip Twist-Butt-Ups – Or as Cassey aka Blogilates calls them “Waist Whittlers”. This is when you get in elbow plank position and twist to side to side and then do a butt-up, and back to plank position. Do these as many as you can until failure. They hit your muffin tops, oblique’s, upper, middle and lower abs. This is an absolute favourite.

 Blogilates does a 100 rep Waist Whittler challenge in this video:

Nutrition

Limiting processed, high sodium, trans fatty foods and drinking LOTS of water. That means cutting out fast-food and frozen meals and eating more fruits/vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains. You know what foods are good for you and what foods are bad for you. Limiting the crap will help you see results. Sticking with nutrient-dense foods and a combination of carbs, protein and fats to keep you feeling satisfied and full of energy. Drinking lots of water helps flush out your system and helps you from retaining water weight. I have a water bottle by my side all day to make sure I keep drinking even if I’m not thirsty.

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I cannot preach enough how important it is to stay consistent. Train hard, and push yourself. That’s what it takes. It’s not easy, and there are no quick fixes. Experiment with exercises, keep your body guessing, eat well and stay happy and I promise you will see the results you want to see.

Inside Out Quest Bar Peanut Butter Cups

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As you can tell, I love chocolate and I love peanut butter and there is nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter combined.  And what’s even better is chocolate + peanut butter + Quest Bars. Below are a few recipes of these combinations 🙂

For this recipe get your Quest Bars here

Inside-Out Quest Bar Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 1/2 Cookies & Cream Quest Bar (or any kind you like)

Directions

Mix PB2 in a bowl while adding little bits of water as you stir until it gets to a spreadable constancy.

Cut 1/2 of your Quest Bar into 4 little pieces (technically each piece will be 1/8th of a full bar)

Fill half of a muffin mold with PB2 mixture, put Quest Bar piece in center, and then cover the rest of it with Pb2.

Fill up all your cups and put it in the freezer.

*Tip adding more water when mixing PB2 makes more of a mixture and allows amount of PB2 to be used further 🙂

They turn out looking like these babies 🙂

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Macros (1 serving = 2 cups

Calories: 90

Carbs: 11g

Fat: 4g

Protein: 11g

…… And another chocolate cup idea:

Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1/8th Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar

Directions

Melt dark chocolate in the microwave and stir

Fill up bottom half of muffin mold with chocolate.

Put Quest Bar piece in center and then fill the rest of the muffin mold with leftover dark chocolate.

Freeze. Devour

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Macros

Calories: 164

Carbs: 21g

Fat: 11g

Protein 5g

Don’t forget you can order Quest Bars here! And you get a free bar with your order 🙂

 

Quest-a-licious

 Questbars. What’s the big deal? Okay, I have to hand it to Quest, they are really good at marketing. So many people rage over these bars, especially people who are into health and fitness. It’s almost like a new fad. You see them all over social media with members of the “fitfam” talking about how amazing they are. Creating recipes with Questbars that look better than any DQ Blizzard I’ve ever seen. These people are still lean and fit while consuming these delicious chocolaty bars on a daily basis. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!?!

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How can you eat these on a regular basis, and still promote a healthy lifestyle?

So, let’s do a little comparison here. If I had to choose I would probably grab a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as a choice of “candy”. Let’s compare it to my favourite Questbar at the moment, which is Double Chocolate Chunk. (Go here to buy your own Double Chocolate Chunk)

Reese’s PB Cup Double Chocolate Chunk Questbar
Calories 210 160
Fat 13g 6g
Protein 5g 20g
Carbs 24g 25g
Fibre 1g 16g
Sugar 21g 1g

 

After making these comparisons, what stands out?

First of all, the Double Chocolate Chunk has LESS calories, and over less than half the amount of fat compared to Reese’s PB Cup. Compare the 20g of protein in the Questbar to 5g in the PB Cup and that speaks for itself. Now, the carbs are basically the same in both products, but what stands out is the fibre and sugar content. Quest has 16g of fibre and 1g of sugar. Why is fibre important? A lot of people ignore its value. Fibre is good for so many reasons because it helps our digestive tract, helps us feel full longer, and it’s proven that people who consume more fibre are at lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (among a million other things).

Now in all honesty comparing a Reese PB Cup to a Ques bar is like comparing apples to oranges, but you get the point. Basically, a Questbar is a “bigger bang for your buck”. With fewer calories, more nutrient-dense value and to be completely honest, better tasting than any “candy” bar.

For more Questbar nutrition facts go here

“Let’s be honest, if you could eat candy all day and get lean, you probably would.”- Quest

Yes, Questbars are functional with their nutrient value, but my favourite thing about Quest, is that I can satisfy my sweet-tooth every day without having to indulge in other products that are full of sugar and trans-fat. I can eat these and know that they are contributing to my fitness goals. So many people think they have to deprive themselves from good-tasting food when they are trying to get fit, but you don’t have to do that with Quest!!

To give a little more perspective, below is a comparison of a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest bar to a McDonalds Chicken Snack Wrap & a Tim Horton’s tea biscuit.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Dough Quest Bar

McDonalds

Chicken Snack Wrap

Tim Horton’s

Plain Tea Biscuit

Size 60g 112g 76g
Calories 190 290 240
Fat 8g 13g 9g
Protein 21g 14g 5g
Carbs 21g 30g 35g
Fiber 17g 3g 1g
Sugar 1g 2g 5g

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The lesson here is to eat more nutrient-dense foods (whether it be Quest or not). This means eating food that has a lot of nutritious value in terms of healthy carbs, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals for fewer calories. I mean look, a tea biscuit is 240 calories and has more fat than a Questbar, and I guarantee you, you will still be hungry after eating that biscuit (not worth it). Where is the fiber and where is the protein? It’s in the Questbar.

So, moral of the story: I love Questbars, Questbars are good. They are a must try if you haven’t already!!

Click here to buy Questbars (best choice I ever made ;))

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Cookies & Cream Peanut Butter Sandwich

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest bar
  • 1/2 Cookies & Cream Quest bar
  • 1 tbsp non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp PB2

Directions

  • Microwave portions of Quest bars for 10-13 seconds
  • Form each into a circular shape
  • Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes at 400
  • Combine Greek yogurt, PB2 & a little bit of water in bowl for filling
  • Remove bars from oven & top one bar with the filling
  • Place the other bar on top
  • Devour

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Please note how incredibly deliciously amaze these look

Macros

  • Calories: 217
  • Carbs: 25g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Protein: 25g

To get Questbars to make recipes like this go here (Also get a free bar at check out!)

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