Friday, June 24, 2016

Fit Friday - Smoothies and Traveling

Another beautiful summer Friday! I am packing bags for a weekend trip with 2 littles, trying to squeeze in a run and thinking this smoothie from Cooking with Ruthie looks like some deliciousness I need to add to my day as well. Thanks Ruthie!

   Blackberry Coconut Smoothie is a healthy and refreshing way to recover from your morning workout and get the day started off right! Blackberry Coconut Smoothie on is a healthy and refreshing way to start your day!
 Most mornings I'm just not up for a great big breakfast, honestly. I typically have coffee or a smoothie but pretty much always something light. So, I love to create new smoothie recipes~ this one has coconut milk, greek yogurt, banana, and of course blackberries and coconut. It'll keep you full and happy for at least a few hours! If you love smoothies like I do then click here to out my Smoothie Recipes :)
  Blackberry Coconut Smoothie on is a healthy and refreshing way to start your day!
 As most of you remember Nichole's been my trainer since 2008 and let me tell you.... she's AMAZING! She totally keeps me on track and focused and I love her workouts. Fit Friday is such an awesome (and free) way for you to get her tips and tricks, y'all are soooooo lucky!!!
Blackberry Coconut Smoothie
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup vanilla fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!
Blackberry Coconut Smoothie on is a healthy and refreshing way to start your day!  

Blackberry Coconut Smoothie is packed with awesome nutrition and refreshing too!

Many of us will have fun summer plans that will take us away from home, away from routine, away from the gym, etc. I myself am going to be boarding a plane today. Everyone will know me by the  people looking at me and praying they are not sitting next to the lady with a 2 month old and a 3 year old. It's ok people, I don't blame you.

A quick weekend trip to see my family, most have yet to meet Nora. Don't get me wrong, I am excited for the visit. I am just praying my two littles travel well.

But I also know that my usual routine isn't going to work for a few days. I rearranged my marathon training schedule so that this week would be a cut-back week and I wouldn't be missing a long run. 

Overall I am not too worried about my workouts because this is a quick trip, but many of you will be lucky enough to get some longer trips this summer. So what do you do to keep it going while traveling?

1) Stuck at the airport? Use the time to sneak in a brisk walk around the terminal. 

2) Stretch when you get to your destination. We tend to get pretty tight after a stressful day of planes, trains, and automobiles reset your body with a few quick low back stretches.

3) Pack the right tools. For me this means running clothes and my GPS watch. 

4) Check out new places. I love to run when I go on vacation because it gives me the chance to see all sorts of different things. I have also been known check out the local crossfit box. Different gyms provide new classes and a chance to step outside your norm.

5) Go fast and hard with no equipment. Sneak in a circuit before you head out on daily adventures. Squats, lunges, pushups, and situps are just a few exercises you can sneak in virtually anywhere. 

New places. New things. New adventures. Get out and enjoy!

Happy Fit Friday!!
 Much Love and Peace~ Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Time Crunch Circuit

This week I have been revisiting the basics with a few clients. With so much going on a lot of my clients have been talking to me about simple workouts they can squeeze in. These workouts need to be efficient, in other words, we need to get as much done as possible in as little time as possible.
I love this idea....let's do it!

You will need a jump rope and a set of hand weights for this workout. These are essentials for home workouts. I can jump rope to get my heart rate up and moving without leaving the house or making much noise, it is great for nap workouts.

Time Crunch Circuit Workout:
Jump Rope 5 min (warm up)

15 Squats with shoulder press (think of this as a thruster with dumbbells)
15 Pushups with kickbacks
100 Jump Ropes
RPT 2x

15 Lunges with bicep curl
15 Renegade rows (each arm)
100 Jump Ropes
RPT 2x

30 sec Hollow rock
30 sec Superman
RPT 2x

I love workouts when I get my full body working and I can get my heart rate up.
Have fun!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lessons Taught On The Race Course

Today is a day for me to think about and recognize how awesome my husband is and all that he does for out family. We have tried to instill the value of work AND the importance of play to our kids. Our kids have lucked out having the ultimate example of that in their husband.

Our last name is Burke. If you ask my kids what it means to be a Burke they will repeat what their dad has told them multiple times, "Burkes are strong. Burkes are leaders."

My husband has completed multiple marathons, 3 ironmans, and 1 ultra marathon. Our oldest, Addy, was the only one of the kids at his first ironman. She was 5 years old and ready to cheer on dad. As Rory got started on the run he was struggling. I was jumping all over the course checking on him and being his personal cheerleader. Addy was with grammy camped out at one spot that would provide for multiple sightings. As we got close to the family after the first of a three loop course I ran ahead to make sure the family was ready for him. When Rory came around the corner the tears started coming, his tears. Addy was a 5 year old and shocked to see her dad crying. She ran up to him, tongue tied, and gave him a quick hug. As he headed back out Addy yelled out "Remember daddy, Burkes are strong."

 That is one of my favorite memories. It it the perfect example of Rory teaching how to be strong, how to push through, how to finish what you start. (The lesson was reinforced as he finished and then proceeded to throw up multiple times.) It is also the perfect memory showing that Addy had heard the lessons he striven to teach.

It is amazing the depth of lessons that can be taught to your family through fitness and physical activity.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fit Friday - Busy Days

Another day...another week...more chaos. At least that is how it feels at my house some days, just moving from one chaotic-busy day to the next.  Cooking with Ruthie gets it too. We all have those days. Today we are aimed at helping you survive those days.

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookies are packed with fabulous nutrition to help you get a jump start on the day!

 Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookie on is a healthy way to start the day!
 I love to make these Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookies on the weekend and then pop some in the freezer to grab on those hectic days during the week. They're packed with oats, chia seeds, nuts, and fruit so they'll keep you full and happy clear until lunch! Oh and they're also great for a healthier snack too :)
  Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookie on is a healthy way to start the day!
 Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookies are filling and delicious but don’t let their shape fool you… they’re everything you want in breakfast even though they’re shaped like a cookie! Mmmmmm hmmm.
Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookie
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 18
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sunflower or peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups whole oats
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup milled flax seed
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, snipped
  • 1/2 cup dried golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • plus coarse sea salt for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream butter and sugars for 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl with each addition.
  5. Mix 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add sunflower or peanut butter; mix well.
  7. Add vanilla; mix.
  8. Add oats, baking soda, milled flax; mix until 80% combined.
  9. Add apricots, golden raisins, almonds, chia and sunflower seeds; stir in by hand using wooden spoon.
  10. Drop using a medium sized scoop (approx 1/4 cup) onto prepared pan.
  11. Add sprinkle of coarse sea salt to top of each dough scoop.
  12. Bake 14-16 minutes until edges are golden browned.
  13. (the center still be a little puffy.)
  14. Let cool 1 minute on pan and remove to cooling rack.
  15. Enjoy!
  Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookie on is a healthy way to start the day!

Enjoy baking a batch of these Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookies this weekend!

Even on those crazy busy days you still should strive to get your heart rate up and pumping. You need to get up and get it done early on those days. I am an avid believer in morning workouts, if I don't get up and get it done it just doesn't seem to happen. And on really crazy days I have to make it quick and worth every minute of my time.

I still want to get something in just for the fact that it will make my day run smoother.  If I can get my body awake and moving I know I will be happier all day long.

My top 5 reasons for working out in the morning:
1) I know it will get done
2) Curbs cravings
3) More energy all day long
4) Jump-starts my brain
5) I will get in a better workout

Today we are all about a quick workout for those busy days. A 20 minute interval workout is guaranteed to get your heart rate up and going. 

We all have busy days, they are not an excuse to eat horribly or not workout. Make it a priority and get it done!
Happy Fit Friday!! Much Love and Peace~ Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Hills

I have a few different routes I debate over as I walk out my front door for a run. There are days when I am up for a little bit more of a challenge and I head towards the mountain, towards hills. And there are days when I want to focus on maintaining a certain speed, on those days I head towards the lake towards flat roads.  There are advantages either way, but today we are going to love our hills!

Hills are great for a few reasons. Hill running increases leg-muscle power, improves fitness, and uses the muscles of the legs, arms and core in ways that are different than running on flat surfaces. Hill workouts can also serve as an alternative to intervals on the track. 

One of the locations I teach at sits on top of the perfect 50 yard hill, my group loves this hill (maybe not loves, but they certainly know it).  Today's workout can be done on a treadmill, but if you can find your own 50-100 yards hill that will be preferable, and that is how I am going to write up and complete this workout.

As always be sure to include a warm-up and cool-down. Take a few minutes and make sure that body is ready to go.

Start at the base of the hill:
15 squats
3x RUN to the top of the hill and walk back down 
20 squats
2x RUN to the top of the hill and walk back down
25 squats
1x RUN to the top of the hill and walk back down

15 pushups
15 plank with corner bunny hops
12 pushups
12 plank with corner bunny hops
9 pushups
9 plank with corner bunny hops
6 pushups
6 plank with corner bunny hops
3 pushups
3 plank with corner bunny hops

3x RUN to the top of the hill and walk back down 

Perfect! Now enjoy the feeling of completing an awesome workout!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Running Away?

I love to listen to books while I run. I love finding a good story that I can get lost in as my feet carry me down the road. Whether it be a mystery and I run anticipating for the next plot point, a wonderfully written story that transports me to another world, a thought provoking story, or a story that is written to inspire I love them all. Currently I am listening to a thought provoking-wonderfully written story by Fredrik Backman called my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry (I wrote that in all lower case because that is how the author wrote it.) 

This morning a line got me that I found myself thinking about for some time after, "People have to tell their story or they will suffocate." I loved this line and found my brain going in all sorts of directions with it. But what my mind really settled on is how that line could be about me directly. 

I run....this is no secret. I run for a lot of reasons, one of which is it clears my brain and is my therapy. My husband has often remarked that I can't always run, sometimes I need to actually talk. I have always just kind of laughed this off, but it came back to me today. Am I running to clear my brain and think better through life's path or am I running to avoid the path? Am I running so I don't have to tell my story or am I running so that I can tell my story better and with more understanding? 

I will be honest, it is both. What I hope is that more often it is that I am running to be able to understand my own story. I am running so that I can tell my story, whether that is to my husband or to myself. 

I know that I cannot avoid my story. I cannot avoid who I am. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Happy sunshiny Fit Friday! Ruthie from Cooking with Ruthie is here with a fantastic summer recipe. I love salads in the summer, they are perfect for a lighter lunch when I am spending days out in the heat. I can even get my middle daughter to share with me.

Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Spinach Salad with Strawberry Dressing is a favorite during the spring and summer months! Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Spinach Salad with Strawberry Dressing on is a favorite during the spring and summer months!
 I'm all kinds of crazy-in-love with strawberries right now! Oh my. They're tasting soooooo delightfully fresh and packed with amazing flavor, I just love when they're in season. **strawberry-coconut-and-chevre-spinach-salad 6
 Of course, even better than store bought is fresh from the strawberry patch but I don't currently have one of those, so I'm really happy with the picks from the store. Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Salad with Strawberry Dressing is going to be your favorite summer salad too! AND that dressing... is heavenly! Oh my. I love it so much too!! All kinds of love going on around these parts today, I guess :) **strawberry-coconut-and-chevre-spinach-salad 4
Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Salad with Strawberry Dressing
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons chevre goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
  • Strawberry Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup vanilla fat free greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Arrange mixed greens on serving plates.
  2. Evenly spread strawberries, cherve goat cheese over greens.
  3. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
  4. Strawberry Dressing:
  5. Combine all ingredients in mixer and blend until smooth.
  6. Serve with salad.
  7. Enjoy!
  Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Spinach Salad with Strawberry Dressing on is a favorite during the spring and summer months! The Strawberry Yogurt Dressing is the best part (well.... besides the chevre goat cheese!) you'll be so happy when you try it! I'm not even joking when I say tell you it's the perfect pairing. Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Spinach Salad with Strawberry Dressing on is a favorite during the spring and summer months!

Strawberry, Coconut, Chevre Spinach Salad with Strawberry Dressing is a fabulous lunch or first course for your summer entertaining.

Thanks Ruthie. Now let's talk more about great summer time things....

I don't know about you and yours, but summer time at my house means lots of time at the pool.

Between swim lessons and play time we are at the pool almost every day. I find myself wishfully looking over at the open lap lanes wishing I could jump in while swim lessons are going, but baby keeps me on dry land. I know that I am not the only one, I have had clients asking me for swim workouts as well.

Swimming is a great workout and one that you should not be afraid of. I say that because I find a lot of people get intimidated by swimming and swimmers. If you are that nervous I would encourage you to take a swim class yourself yourself or even just hire a private teacher for a couple refresher lessons.

It has been a while since I have embraced the lap lanes of the pool and lately I find myself missing them. That means it is time to get back in the water, not to play but to really swim.
Here is a great beginner swim workout to get you started if you are ready to embrace the lap lane with me.

This workout is set up with freestyle stroke in a 25m lap lane in mind.

Warm Up:
1 x 25
1 x 50
1 x 75

Main Set:
2 x 25 kick

Ladder: take a 30 sec breather in between each distance
25, 25, 75, 100, 75, 50, 25

2 x 25 kick

Cool Down:
1 x 75
1 x 50
1 x 25

Make the most out of your
time at the pool this summer. You will find that the water feels amazing as you get into a great swim workout.

Happy Fit Friday!
Much love and peace ~
Ruthie and Nichole

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Workout Wednesday - EMOMs

Tuesday and Thursday mornings I have a great little class that I love coaching. A great group of 10-15 people that come in ready to work, even if they moan and groan throughout. Often I leave that group and go do the workout I just pushed them through, today was one of those days. And I have to say, I loved it! Not just because it was my workout, but because I finished feeling like I got a great workout in for the day.

With a baby that I am hesitant to put into daycare I do most of my workouts at home. When I had my last baby my husband got me a set of weights that I can change the weight of pretty easily, I love these weights and they are perfect for my little town home. I don't have a ton of extra room for a whole slew of dumbbells, so these are perfect for all sorts of different at home workouts. Definitely something to look at for those of you that workout at home.

Now, let's get to today's workout.

5-10 min of cardio to get everything moving. I mixed it up with jump rope and running stairs today

Work Out
We are doing E.M.O.M.s today. Every Minute On the Minute. The faster you go the longer break you get it. If you are flying through pretty easily up your weight.
Round 1: 10 minute EMOM
3 Man Makers (drop down and do 1 pushup, 1 renegade row with each arm, jump up, squat, and shoulder press)

After the EMOM:
Sally Up (Flower by Moby) with situps
When the song says Sally Up you will come all the way up to sitting and catch your breath. When the song says Sally Down you go back half way and hold.

Round 2: 10 min EMOM
10 dumbbell snatches (5 each arm)

After round 2 of EMOM:
Sally Up with planks

You made it!
Stretch whatever you feel needs it and get some water!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I spent a few hours this week getting together some info for a few of my clients on carb cycling. I have done this with much hesitation, but I have come to face the fact that not everyone likes my approach to nutrition. But hey, to each their own.
My approach to nutrition is fairly simple, eat healthy. I don't believe in diets or plans, I don't track my food, and I don't only eat certain foods. Instead I try to make healthy choices most of the time. Before I get to eat treats I have to get in 5+ servings of veggies that day. I keep lots of fresh fruit in the house for sweet cravings. When I am hungry I eat, if I am not hungry I don't. It really is pretty easy and it works for me.

I don't like to track food because my brain gets way too obsessed with food. What am I going to eat next? What did I just eat? Did that put me over on my fats/carbs/proteins? What am I going to eat if I go out with my friends? As you can see, this is not a healthy balanced approach to life.

I also don't like to have no-no foods. I get fixated on certain foods and can't seem to get past that craving. Instead I can "earn" my treats by eating enough healthy stuff first.

This is the way I teach a lot of my clients. I give them healthy options for different meals and snacks. I give them general guidelines, but I don't push them into any one direction. Lately I have been asked a lot about specific diets and plans. I have been asked about macros, carb cycling, ketosis, etc. So this week I sat down and did my research. After looking up studies, plans, etc I decided that carb cycling was the one that I could most easily present to my clients. The one I could most agree with and present without a frustrated sound in my voice. 

What I have decided I need to most emphasize is that this can't be life. If you find a HEALTHY plan that helps you get your nutrition where it needs to be that is great. But don't stop living life so that you can follow a specific nutrition plan. 

I realize this is much easier said than done. I present it as something so easy, and it can be. Before it is easy though you need to find your motivation, make the habits, and learn to live it. That road can be a hard one for many, especially after a life time of not living it. If you need a plan to help get you in that direction, great! Use it, live it, and get there.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fit Friday - Kabobs and A Scorching Workout

It is summer and I am loving it! We are all about summer time with Fit Friday this week. Ruthie from Cooking with Ruthie is here with the perfect dinner to throw on the grill this summer.

Sirloin Steak Tips and Veggie Kabobs is healthy dinner recipe and perfect for summer grilling! **sirloin-steak-tips-and-veggie-kabobs 1
 The heat is on around our neck of the woods! Wowzers... we are supposed to be into the 90's by the weekend. It's time to pull out the grills and get the backyard gatherings under way! I love all the seasons but I always get to feeling especially happy when summer decides to show up again :) ***sirloin-steak-tips-and-veggie-kabobs 2
 So grilling is pretty simple right? Just grab some protein and vegetables and you are on your way to a fabulous dinner that keeps all the mess outside! That's a total WIN-WIN in my book!! This recipe calls for Sirloin steak tips, mini peppers, and mini tomatoes but feel free to mix and match your favorites. This marinade works deliciously well with chicken too. Feel free to go with zucchini, yellow squash, fresh pineapple, mushrooms, onions- whatever vegetables your family loves will love this recipe too!

Sirloin Steak Tips and Veggie Kabobs
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound sirloin steak tips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 12-15 mini tri-colored peppers
  • 12-15 mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 6 wooden skewers
  1. In a large zip top baggie combine steak, soy sauce, water, orange juice, oregano, thyme, sea salt, and pepper.
  2. Zip closed, gently mix in the bag, and marinade for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, generously coat grill grate with cooking spray.
  4. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  5. Alternate threading steak, peppers, and tomatoes on skewers.
  6. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until meat cooks to desired doneness.
  7. Serve hot off the grill and enjoy!
  Sirloin Steak Tips and Veggie Kabobs on is healthy and perfect for summer grilling! Make this a family event by bringing the kabob ingredients out to the grill and let each person make their own kabobs with they like best- just be sure to remember to wash all those little fingers after touching the raw meat :)

Have fun grilling up these Sirloin Steak Tips and Veggie Kabobs this weekend!

Thanks Ruthie! Now that we have the awesome summer time recipe for the week, let's talk about an awesome summer time workout!

It is up to the 90s at my house, the sun is scorching and I love it! Let's do some of our own scorching today and scorch some calories!
We are doing some plyos today. It is a great way to burn some calories and get everything working.

The Workout:
We are going to be doing 5 different moves. During the first round you are going to complete each move for 1 minute with a 30 sec breather in between  moves. While completing your minute of work count your reps. For rounds 2-5 you are no longer worried about time, instead you have to complete the same amount of reps.

The Moves:
1) Squat Jumps

2) Speed Skaters

3) Pushups with Corner Bunny Hops

4) Donkey Kicks

5) Lunge Jumps (I also call this Switch Hops)

Don't slack on your first round just to make the other rounds easier...NO SAND BAGGING! Instead push as hard as you can and make it all worth while.
If you are a beginner and not up to 5 rounds no worries. Aim for 3 rounds this time.

Happy Fit Friday!
 Much Love and Peace~
 Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Power Legs!

The sun is shining and the shorts are calling my name, what a perfect reason to get in some awesome leg workouts. As you all know by now, or as you are about to know, I am not someone that focuses a lot on weights and specific body parts. But today we are focusing on legs with some great plyo/power  moves mixed in.
I love doing plyo work, I feel strong and accomplished when I am done. And since having baby I am loving workouts that push me to that point.

Remember, plyo moves are power moves. You need to explode through the movement!

Warm Up
5 min of Jump rope; as a kid this was something fun that you did with your friends. Try to channel that and enjoy your warm up.

Work Out: 3 sets of each sequence
10 Back Squats: this is done with a barbell. Deep and slow here folks.
10 Squat Hops

10 Forward Lunges (each leg): keep that barbell for this one. The weight should challenge you, but you also need to be able to push back to that starting position.
10 Hop Switches

10 Bulgarian Split Squats (each leg): holding dumbbells
10 Bench Hops

5x50m Sprints to finish

Good luck and Enjoy!