Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why I Run

I have a dear friend that I love like a sister, she got me thinking about all the reasons we run the other day. There are those that run in order to fit in those skinny jeans hanging in the store window or hidden in the back of the closet. Those people are not runners, at least not in my mind. Those are the people that look at their training schedule and see that on Monday there is 30 minutes of cardio, so why not make it a run. These are not the people I think about when I think of runners.

I started running in my mid 20s. I decided to complete my first half marathon when I was 28, that was my first time really training for a race and dedicating time to running. I was at a point in my life where I just couldn't seem to focus. I had started to have anxiety issues and panic attacks. I decided to run a half marathon, not because I thought running would help me, but because I needed a goal and something to focus on. As I trained for that first half marathon I discovered how much my heart, brain, and body loved to run.

I found that on the road my mind cleared and my heart felt free of everything else. My body focused on my feet moving forward. When I would finish I would walk away feeling lighter. My anxiety decreased immediately. I found myself able to focus on the world around me once again.

Running still has this effect on me. Many people joke that running is therapy, it is one of those jokes that also holds true to many individuals. Reminds me of a quote I heard a lot growing up, "Many a true words are spoken in jest."

Along my running journey I have had the opportunity to hear many others share their own stories and express what running has done for them. One group of people that immediately come to mind is a group here called Addicts to Athletes. My husband and I ran into this group during a relay race years ago. Shortly after we found out that it was a group close to home and started by a friend's brother-in-law. My husband loved what this group represented and immediately got involved. Unfortunately we have crazy lives and have not been able to stay very active with this group. Addict to Athlete (AIIA) has your standard weekly meetings where addicts and their families come together to learn, grow, and talk. But at the end of that meeting there is no coffee and doughnuts, instead everyone heads out for a group run or walk. Throughout the year these individuals will run races together. They will run as individuals, as a group, and often in proxy for someone who couldn't find their way out of addiction. This is a group that understands there is so much more to running than putting on your shoes in hopes of fitting into those skinny jeans.

As I ran today I found myself smiling, a happy soul moving forward one step at time.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fit Friday - From Breakfast to Bed

Happy Fit Friday! This we are talking breakfast and sleep, both two very important parts of any healthy lifestyle. Ruthie is here with a great way to start the day day. After that I am talking about the importance of ending the day with a solid night of sleep.

Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal are an overnight oats recipe that make a quick and easy nutritious breakfast!  Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oats are overnight oats and a nutricious breakfast! www.cookingwithruthie.com
Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal are soaked overnight in coconut milk and sweetened with pure Maple Syrup, then add on the toppings of your choice!  I added in Fuji apple slices, raw walnuts and almonds, plus some dried cranberries and currents too.  It's amazing and so simple to make!  Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oats are overnight oats and a nutricious breakfast! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 Steel Cut Oats have a little different texture that normal oats, they are chewier and taste a bit nuttier to me.  I love overnight oats if you'd like some additional recipe ideas then check out my Lemon Coconut Overnight Oats, Swiss Muesli, Apple, Orange, and Cranberry Overnight Oats too!  Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oats are overnight oats and a nutricious breakfast! www.cookingwithruthie.com   Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oats are overnight oats and a nutricious breakfast! www.cookingwithruthie.com

Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal

Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • toppings of choice- apple slices, nuts, dried fruit
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl with an air tight lid combine coconut milk, oats, maple syrup, salt, vanilla; mix.
  2. Place in fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.
  3. Divide into serving bowls, top with fruit and nuts, and serve.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. ( for my toppings I used fuji apple slices, raw walnuts and almonds, dried currents and cranberries)

Fruit and Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast that'll keep you full all morning long!


  My beautiful baby girl is now 10 months old....and still doesn't sleep through the night. I am tired. Along with being normal tired I have noticed a few other things lately. The biggest problem I am having right now is that I have suddenly become very forgetful. Last week I got to a spin class I have taught for a while and realized I forgot my spin bag, the bag that had my music, my shoes, etc. Thankfully Pandora came through for me. Two days after that I took 3 of my kiddos swimming. I forgot towels and baby's swim diaper. For those that know me you know that this is not like me. I am not the flakey one of the group, at least not normally.


Today's fit tips are all about sleep. Let's start with some of the other problems that come with a lack of sleep. There are numerous health issues that arise with lack of sleep, I am just giving you five that really hit home to me.  1) Poor sleep throws hormones out of whack which can cause weight gain. 2) When you are tired snacking becomes a constant, often this is sugary treats. 3) You have a hard time concentrating. 4) Coordination and balance tend to fly right out the window when you have been missing out on necessary zzzzzs. 5) You are more likely to get sick. Your immune system drops and inflammation tends to rise throughout the body. So not worth staying up if it can be avoided.



Now let's talk the flip side....benefit of getting a solid night of sleep. I am going to keep this way overly simplified...You are a happier and healthier individual. Simple, right. It makes sense. So here is where this week's fit tips come in. Let's talk about ways to set yourself up for a good night's rest.



1) Stick to a schedule. This is what parents are told to do from the beginning, get your baby on a sleep schedule. As adults we still function best if we follow a schedule. Along with your schedule you want to have a bedtime routine to relax your body.

2) Pay attention to what you eat and when you eat it. You don't want to go to bed over full or hungry. You also don't want to be over stimulated with caffeine, sugar, or alcohol too close to bed time.

3) Get comfie. This means a comfortable bed, pillow, room temperature, clothes, etc. It all will affect your sleep so pay attention to what is most conducive to your sleeping abilities and stick with it.

4) Be sure to get in workouts. A good workout (not too late at night) has been shown to help you fall asleep faster and deeper.

5) Do what you can to manage your stress. We all have been there,trying to go to sleep with a full brain. It doesn't work. Find some good stress management skills and use them!





With that being said....find some time to relax and get some sleep this weekend!






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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Workout Wednesday - Jumping Circuit

It is Workout Wednesday and I am here with some fun! I love workouts with jump roping! I know jump roping is tough, but I love it. When I was a kid that was my favorite recess activity. I was good at it and I had fun doing it. That is pretty much my same mentality today. It is hard but I am good at it and I have fun with it.

Jump roping is also great because there are so many benefits from it. Here are the top 5:
1) It burns a ton of calories.

2) You can take a jump rope any where you go. Much easier to fit in a suitcase that a barbell and plates.

3) It helps with balance and coordination. Two things that we all need to work on.

4) It is a good stress reliever. When you jump your body releases endorphins.

5) It is good for your heart.

Get your jump rope out and let's have some fun! If you don't have a jump rope get one.

This workout is designed as a 20 minute push. The goal is to much strong and hard for 20 minutes. If you finish before that time is up then start over. Don't move slow from one ting to the next, quick transitions. And, as always, have fun!!!!



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Recovery Days

A Sunday with no long run.....what do I do with that? How does that look? Well, I decided today needed to be one of those days. I was tired  from lack of sleep, baby was up a lot last night, but also from something more. The last couple of days I have felt sluggish and just off. I can attribute it all to a baby that doesn't sleep through the night, and usually just dismiss it as so. But the last couple of days felt different, not just baby tired.

The last couple of weeks my workouts have felt pretty solid and I have been determined to get them all in. I have also been subbing a few classes on top of my normal schedule. This morning I realized that I hasn't taken a day off in a couple weeks. My body was done! I decided today needed to be a recovery day.

Why?

It's simple, working out is putting stress on your body. Your body has to be worked, the muscles ripped, the various systems pushed in order for needed adaptations to take place, muscles repaired and rebuilt and a body to come out stronger.

My over tiredness and orneriness was partly due to baby, but also could be contributed to high cortisol levels and a body that needed a day to recover.

There are other signs as well that you may notice in yourself.

1) You are always sore. Get injured frequently. Or constantly getting sick.
2) Your heart rate is abnormally high. the best way to gauge this is using your resting heart rate first thing in the morning.
3) Stiff all the time; kind of like that first one but not quite sore and definitely not injured, just tight.
4) Pee is a dark yellow. Dehydration is a sign that your body is not given the necessary recovery time it needs to take in and use that water.

These are just a few common signs. Most importantly, know your body and pay attention to it when it is trying to talk to you.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Fit Friday - Keeping it Simple; Roasted Root Veggies and a Basic Style Workout

Hello Fit Friday! Another week has come and gone. We love to keep life simple here at Fit Friday, there is way too much complicated already happening. Ruthie has brought us a great recipe for a simple side dish you can add to any meal. After that we will keep it simple with basic style workout. Enjoy!


Roasted Root Vegetables are a simple side dish for any meal,  grab a rotisserie chicken, a crusty loaf of bread at the store and you've got an amazing meal !  Roasted Root Vegetables are a simple side dish for any meal! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 I love this Roasted Root Vegetables recipe. . . red potato, celery root, and sweet potato toss with olive oil and fresh herbs makes such a tasty side dish.  I adore roasted vegetable!  They're so simple to make and go along with almost every meal.  Roasted Root Vegetables are a simple side dish for any meal! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 Roasted Root Vegetables will be your new favorite way to bring in healthy vegetables to your family dinners!  Here are a few more recipes to inspire healthy veggie sides:  Spiced Roasted Whole Cauliflower,  Browned Butter Broccoli and Mizithra CheeseBrowned Butter, Parmesan, and Almond Green Beans, and Roasted Butternut Squash with Gorgonzola Cheese !  Roasted Root Vegetables are a simple side dish for any meal! www.cookingwithruthie.com


Roasted Root Vegetables
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups celery root, peeled and cut
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut
  • 3-4 red potatoes, scrubbed and cut
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Toss all ingredients in large bowl and evenly spread on baking sheet.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes until softened and edges are crisp.
  5. Enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetables are a tasty and super simple way to serve with any meal!

Let's keep Fit Friday simple all the way through! Ruthie has given us a great recipe for a simple side dish. Sometimes we forget how great simple can be. Instead we start looking for complicated, unique, and different things thinking that those things are the secret. If you are one of those people I am sorry to say that you are wrong, the complicated things are not the secret. Nope, the secret lies in the power of the simple, the power of the basics. Today we are keeping it simple with our workout too.

We are sticking with basic movements that we all know. As a kid you ran, jumped, and played. Today we are going to keep on running and jumping, and if you can make it seem like play too it will be so much better!

This workout isn't complicated. It requires both speed and form though. As you get tired those squats may become more like a half squat, don't let them!
Remember; bounding is a moving squat jump. Start and end in a squat.

Work hard! Enjoy your Fit Friday of simples.


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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Workout Wednesday - Hill Work on the Treadmill

The sun is teasing me these days, it getting warmer and I am getting more and more anxious to go outside. But winter is still here and there are still days where I am running inside on a treadmill. One great way to pass sometime on the treadmill is do do hill intervals.

Hills are wonderful! Most people tend to have a love-hate relationship with hills, but there are a few weirdos out there that just straight up love them. I am one of those with a love-hate relationship. I love them because they are so good for me. Hills help build power and speed. I hate them because they are hard!

Here is a great workout for you to try out on your next treadmill session. As you hit each round keep a steady pass for the full 3 minutes of work. If you have to hold on to maintain your pass it is too hard, so slow down and find that steady hard pass.

Enjoy!!!



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Set Yourself Up For Success

As I sat down to a very quiet and very early breakfast this morning I started thinking through the 20 miles that lay ahead of me this morning and the 16 that I conquered last week. I had a route all planned out from my house this morning.  All I needed to do was lace up my shoes, step out my door, and go. I am lucky enough that I live about a mile away from a great trail and double lucky that there are plenty of other trails fairly close by.

Last Sunday I opted for the trail close to home and learned a hard lesson, I have no water sources in the winter. Every bathroom was locked up for the season and every water fountain turned off. Not a great realization for me. I run with one handheld water bottle that I refill when needed, about every 6-8 miles. At mile 8 last week I finished up my water and stopped to refill.....ahhhhhh!!!! I tried in vain to stop at every other place possible on the way home. Needless to say the last few miles were pretty tough. So this week I had planned a route that took my off trail once to a gas station where I could pee and refill my water. 

But as I ate my breakfast this morning I realized I was not being smart, I was not setting myself up for success. I grabbed the keys and drove to a trail that I knew had open bathrooms and would have plenty of opportunities to refill my water.

Why the long story? Very simple, you can do hard things if you prepare for them and set yourself up for success. Why take a route that may or may not allow me to refill my water? Why take a route that may require some strategic potty stops when I can spend a few extra minutes driving to a trail where those what-ifs don't need to be questioned?

Don't make health, fitness, training, life harder than it has to be. You can accomplish all that you set out to do without making it harder than it has to be. A few extra minutes of thought and prep can make a hard thing so much more doable and even enjoyable. Get out, accomplish, and enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fit Friday - Delicious Smoothies and Planning Your Success

Another fit Friday is upon us and Ruthie is back working her magic! Check out more of her recipes at www.cookingwithruthie.com, and get that crazy brain working in the right direction to make your own magic happen both in the kitchen and with your health. Read on about planning and prep to see what I mean.

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a healthy, simple breakfast or snack!  Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a healthy, simple breakfast or snack! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is soooooo quick and easy to make. . . it's awesome for a healthy breakfast or snack!  I love the Dark Chocolate Almond Milk from Silk, it's only 100 calories per serving plus helps quench that chocolate-loving place in most of us.    Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a healthy, simple breakfast or snack! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 Then add fresh strawberries, add a scoop of chocolate protein powder, ice, and blend it up!  Then you've got yourself a silky, chocolaty, healthy Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie.  Yummmmmmie!!  Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a healthy, simple breakfast or snack! www.cookingwithruthie.com Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a healthy, simple breakfast or snack! www.cookingwithruthie.com


Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
Recipe Type: smoothie
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate almond milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie is a tasty delight anytime of day! 

  We love all these wonderful healthy recipes and meal ideas that Ruthie shares with us, but getting all these yummy healthy ideas onto a plate does not always unfold as one would hope. A huge part of that is planning and prep. Today we are breaking down meal planning and helping you see that it is a pretty easy process, you just need to get in the habit.


Weekend
1) Look ahead at your schedule. I need to look at what nights I will be playing taxi cab mom, what nights I will be home, and how many kids I will have home. With the 50-50 custody plan we have with our oldest girls I need to pay attention to who I will be feeding when.

2) After looking at the schedule I meal plan. On busy nights I love crock pot meals or meals I can have prepped and just need to heat up. On nights when I don't have our girls and my husband is working late I like to make sure I have yummy salad stuff on hand. My 4 year old doesn't really like dinner, or really any meal, so I don't cater to his tastes much when it comes to meal time.

3) Next step is the store, in order to make this as painless as possible I have embraced online shopping and curbside pickup. 

4) You planned it, bought it, now it is time to prep it. Make sure that snack food is easy to grab and ready to go. If you buy in bulk have the week's worth of food stored into individual servings and ready to go. 

Throughout the week you can prep in bulk. Make some extra chicken with dinner one night and use it on a salad for lunch the next day, Chop up veggies for a few meals, not just Monday nights dinner.

Again, it is all about habits. All of these steps are easily doable, you just need to get in the habit of doing them!

Have a super awesome Fit Friday! 
Much Love and Peace~ Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Workout Wednesday - Fun With Plates




It is Workout Wednesday and today we are using a weight plate. You need a full sized plate and some space preferably on carpet where the plate can easily slide when pushed.. When I do these style of workouts with my clients and in my classes most people generally stick with 10-15lbs, but feel free to go heavier! Stick with one plate though, so once you have picked a weight that is your weight for this workout.

If you haven't noticed I need variety in my workouts, I workout very similarly to the way I teach. I like a lot of variety and I like to keep my body guessing. This is the first workout we have done with just plates, it will definitely keep your body guessing.

Most of the moves are moves we have completed before and/or are pretty common in the gym or very self explanatory. A couple things though: 1) moving pushups; one hand on the floor and one on the weight. Alternate after every pushup. And 2) burpees with a plate: as you stand up out of your burpee you will pick your plate up and press it over head.

Enjoy!!!!



Friday, February 3, 2017

Fit Friday - Power Style!

Fit Friday is coming at you today with some power! Ruthie is here and brought us an awesome recipe for Power Bites, a yummy snack that is great to have an hand. After reading through that mouth watering deliciousness check out some go-to-power yoga moves we should all be practicing regularly.

Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are a healthy pick-me-up snack anytime of day!  Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are a healthy pick-me-up snack anytime of day! www.cookingwithruthie.com Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are packed with oats, flax seed, chia seeds plus gooey peanut butter and honey to keep it all held together!  Add in the dried cherries, pecans, and mini chocolate chips AND you’ve got a crunchy healthy snack!  Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are a healthy pick-me-up snack anytime of day! www.cookingwithruthie.com
What exactly is a power bite?   Oh my goodness.  These delightful little rounds of deliciousness are packed with healthy ingredients that will POWER through those middle of the day dips!  They've got protein in the chia seeds and pecans. Antioxidants in the cherries, oats, flax and chia seeds.  Plus, those oats are like little cholesterol cleaner uppers. . . they work magic on cleaning it out of our cardio systems! Awesome :)  Ummmm and can I say they are way better for your body that the usual cup of soda that most people grab for when those low energy dips hit! Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are a healthy pick-me-up snack anytime of day! www.cookingwithruthie.com
 Here’s a few more varieties for you to enjoy…  Raw Bars or Bites are simply different shapes for the same type of raw bar recipe-  Berry Medley Raw Bars, Chocolate Trail Mix Power Bites, Almond Joy Power BitesDark Chocolate Raw Bars, Healthy Power Bites, and Almond Power Bites.   Any of these recipes can be pressed into a pan to make bars or rolled into balls to make bites!  Any shape you make them just put them in an air tight container and then into the fridge… they’ll easily keep for up to week.  (if they stay around that long) Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are a healthy pick-me-up snack anytime of day! www.cookingwithruthie.com


Cherry Pecan Chocolate Power Bites
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup milled flax seed
  • 1/4 cup chai seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.
  2. Using a wooden spoon; stir until combined.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls.
  4. Store in air tight container and refrigerate uneaten bites.
  5. Enjoy!

Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Power Bites are going to be your favorite healthy go-to snack! 

  The word Power promotes an image of strength to many of us. We love the word power and seek after whatever is out there that can give us power. In my workouts I seek power in my running through distance, speed, and interval workouts. I add power through plyos and a solid strength training session. I tend to forget about the added power that flexibility can bring, having muscles that can bend and move with you versus snap because they are so tight. So today we are talking about power through yoga, 5 yoga moves every body should be practicing.

1) Pigeon: this is one move that I do regularly. It is a hip opener and I love it after I run.















2) Cobra: a great one for that low back.

3) Hindu or Third World Squats: this move promotes flexibility throughout your lower body. It is good for your hip, knees, ankles, and feet.









4) Reclined Easy Twist: This restorative pose helps ease back and neck tension, calms the mind and stretches the torso muscles.





5) Bridge: is another great one for your back and spine.









If you are already practicing yoga you are awesome, but if not I would encourage you to add these yoga poses to your workouts.

Have a beautiful Friday!
 Much Love and Peace~ Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Workout Wednesday - Tabata w/Weighted Ball

I love using the weighted ball, it is a great way to get in a fun workout. I will be honest, I am pretty uncoordinated when it comes to anything involving a ball. My husband as asked that I please avoid trying to teach the kids anything involving a ball. That being said, I can still have fun with the weighted ball!

Quick refresher and Tabata; Tabata workouts are a HIIT style workout. You go hard for, and I mean all out hard, for 20 seconds then you get to rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle for 8 rounds, 4 minutes total. Take a 1 minute break before starting the next movement. You need to push hard enough in those 20 seconds that you WANT your 10 second breather.


Work hard! Have fun! Earn that sweaty smile!