HAPPY FRIDAY! I’m in an exceptional mood today, mainly because my best friend/college roommate is on her way to Austin for the weekend, and I haven’t seen her in like… 3 or 4 months. Plus, I’ll be honest: going back to work for even just a short 2-day week was ROUGH after a week and a half of vacation. I hardly wore makeup or real pants at all during my entire break. I miss that. Back to workout clothes all day this weekend. (!!!)
Let’s Get Personal: My 2014 Goals
We’re 3 days into 2014, and I’m sure several of you have vowed to either a.) eat healthier, b.) get to the gym, or c.) both during the new year. If you’ve made a commitment to improve anything about your life this year, this is my virtual pat on the back to you. Stick with it! I’m all about publicly committing to goals, so here are a few of my goals for 2014:
- UNPLUG (at least a little). Less time on my phone, more time enjoying the world. Why? I’m guilty of being consumed by it, and I realized that I’m never going to have any cool memories because of my iPhone. After all, it’s just a thing. It’s meant to connect us with others, but sometimes, it distracts me from really living my life. Ryan will appreciate this one.
- Get on top of my finances as much as I did with my nutrition/fitness in 2013. Why? Health came first (nailed it!) and many of the same principles that I use in managing that aspect of my life can carry over into managing my bank account. Having a firm grip on how I spend my money will yield a ton of benefits for my future (just like getting in control of my eating habits and exercise). NOW is the time to become great at it.
- Save up to buy a big girl house. Why? Love my apartment complex; sick of the elephant in cinderblock shoes above me. Plus, Bailey keeps telling me that she really, really wants a yard and a little brother/sister.
- More time visiting my family. They’re all within driving distance, so there’s really no excuse to not do this one. Why? They’re the most important people in my world, so that’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Help others by doing more of what I love. I want to do something great for others, and I want it to be centered around helping people become healthier. I’m obviously passionate about cooking, and I want to figure out how to turn my passion into something that changes lives. I’m thinking eBooks/cookbooks and more meal plans like the ones that I’ve just put together for my brother and his wife. (There are several bigger goals tied to this one that would probably take longer than a year to bring to life… Dream big, right?)
This definitely isn’t everything I want to focus on this year and doesn’t even go into what I want to do for my health in 2014. The list is lengthy, but having aspirations has become SUPER important to me in the last year. Gotta have goals if you want to get anywhere. :o)
HIIT: It’s EVERYWHERE
As many of you Synergy-goers may already know, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is making some pretty big waves in the fitness world. A little over a year ago, I had never heard of HIIT. I was used to taking TurboKick, cycling classes, BodyPump, and pilates at 24 Hour Fitness. (Never lost weight or got in shape through any of those classes.) People had mentioned boot camps and CrossFit here and there, but HIIT had never been brought up until I joined Synergy.
I’m guessing that the success of other people like me who started a year ago is starting to get noticed. Today, HIIT seems to be EVERYWHERE. Earlier this week, Yahoo featured an article naming HIIT as the hottest workout for 2014. Last night, I came home to a box from bodybuilding.com sitting at my door (finally got my Cellucor Cor-Fetti protein powder and it is DELISH) that included a free issue of TRAIN fitness magazine in it. The featured article?: “The Death of the Treadmill,” which dug into circuit training and HIIT, specifically stating that it was more effective than spending a ton of time on the treadmill and would be a lasting trend in the fitness world. Personally, I swear by it. If you’ve got a lot on your plate and not much spare time OR if you just hate going to the gym on your own, give HIIT a shot this year.
A few reasons why I love HIIT:
- It’s EFFICIENT. It’s much easier to find 30-45 minutes in your day to knock out a quick, intense workout. The “I don’t have an hour and a half to spend at the gym” excuse essentially becomes invalid. If you give that short period of time ALL of your effort, regardless of your fitness level, you will absolutely get in a good workout in less time than the average lunch break.
- You determine how hard you go. When I started, I couldn’t do push-ups from my toes and got winded from basically any physical activity. I was in terrible shape. I added more reps/intensity each week and continued to push myself, and I slowly got better, stronger, and faster. Now, I love push-ups. Lots can change in a year.
- It increases your insulin sensitivity and metabolism. This really hits (no pun intended) home for me. Increased insulin sensitivity helps reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, both of which run in the family. Preventative measures taken in my 20’s = better quality of life in my 50’s and beyond. And of course, increased metabolism means more bacon and peanut butter and FOOD. <3
- It’s fun. I used to be one of those gym-goers who hopped on the elliptical for 45 minutes and covered the timer up with my towel. I didn’t want to sit there and watch the seconds slowly crawl by. GAG. I can be a very impatient person, and I tend to get bored pretty quickly. This was my main reason for hating steady-state cardio. Plus, I never felt like I was pushing myself to my max, mainly because I hate running. With HIIT (Synergy, specifically), everything is in 25-second intervals. I can do anything for 25 seconds, and the constant rotation between exercises means it goes by SUPER fast. I never get bored, and the group setting makes working out a social thing. Quick and fun workouts? I was hooked. // Side note: next time you visit your local gym, take a look at who’s on the elliptical and compare them to whoever happens to be lifting weights. Which set of people have a more impressive physique? It won’t take you long to find evidence that cardio alone won’t result in muscle definition. Pick up some dumbbells. :o)
HIIT works. Period. I swear by it (combined with healthy eating) for weight loss.
Looking to the next year, I’m (obviously) going to stick with my boot camp/HIIT workouts, but I want to take it to the next level. Now that I’ve dropped most of the weight that I wanted to get rid of, I’m incorporating more strength training combined with my regular boot camp routine because I want to get STRONG this year. I don’t want to look scary-buff, but I DO have a ton of muscle in my body, and I need to put it to use. I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be supermodel-skinny, and I no longer WANT to be that. I’m not built to be frail, and I’m embracing it by lifting heavy shit and working out a lot. I kind of love it.
DESSERT: 10-Minute Protein Mugcake
If you haven’t attempted a mugcake before, get out from under your rock and grab a coffee mug. The concept: it’s a personal-sized cake in a coffee mug, cooked in the microwave for less than 5 minutes. I always aim to make mine macro-friendly (high in protein) and lower in calories than your average slice of store-bought cake. My 2 secret ingredients in all of my mugcake creations are flavored protein powder and fat-free sugar-free Jello pudding mix. It’s easy to get creative with these. I’d recommend letting your taste buds give you direction if you make one. By all means, don’t follow my recipe to a T if you want to mix it up. Go wild.
Time for full disclosure (sorry in advance): PMS hit me hard earlier this week, and I needed something sweet. Monday night, I really wanted a giant slice of cake and ice cream and frosting and a ton of sugary goodness. Instead, I decided to participate in a weekly Instagram contenst called #mugcakemondays and threw together a Peanut Butter Cheesecake Protein Mugcake. This baby was a runner-up. The best part? I had no idea what I was doing when I started making it.
Serves: 2 mugcakes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 scoop (50g) of whey protein powder: I used Cellucor Peanut Butter Marshmallow
- 1 tbsp PB2
- 1/4 package sugar-free fat-free Jello pudding mix (I used Cheesecake flavor)
- 1/2 tbsp oat flour (or coconut, or whole wheat… Any flour works)
- 3 drops butterscotch-flavored liquid Stevia
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1tsp vanilla
- 1tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/4c almond milk
- 1tbsp egg white
- 2tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt
- Water (enough to moisten batter)
- Mix all dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl
- Mix all wet ingredients in a separate small bowl
- Combine dry mixture into wet mixture and incorporate until smoothly combined. (The texture should match that of brownie batter. I had to add about 1-2 tbsp of water to make mine more liquidy)
- Once everything is mixed up, pour your batter into two medium-sized mugs. DO NOT FILL YOUR MUG MORE THAN HALFWAY unless you want to clean up a huge cake-splosion in your microwave.
- Zap your mugs for about 3 minutes on 80% power. The cook time will vary depending on how strong your microwave is. I let mine cool and do a toothpick test — if the toothpick comes out clean and the batter has firmed up to a cake-ish product, you’re good to go. If it’s still too batter-y, keep zapping it for 30 second increments until it’s done.
- Remove your mugs and let them cool for a minute or two. You can either tip them out onto a plate if you want to be fancy, or just eat them straight from the mug.
I topped mine with a little melted cookie butter, chocolate and peanut butter chips, and served it with Arctic Zero protein ice cream and Cool Whip. Party in my mouth.