The Spartan 500 reps workout

Yesterday I didn´t want to work out… Happens to us all… So started looking for a new workout that was good, yet will take only 20 minutes or so… A quick fix…
Turns out the actors from the movie 300 (no, I haven´t seen it!) got ripped by a very simple to follow, yet difficult to perform, 300 reps workout. The original one includes gym equipment that I do not have at my house but the whole idea sounded amazing to me so I started “You Tubing” for it… And I found it! Fitness blender Spartan 500 Workout!

To be honest, it didn’t take me the 17 min it took the guy on the video. It took me 20 + another 5 walking along the living room waiting for my body to stop telling me I was gonna faint! (lol). Today I´ll go for it again, see if I can nail at least 30 secs less than yesterday. Highly recommended!! 😀

* Find the video + workout details here: http://www.fitnessblender.com/v/workout-detail/Spartan-500-Workout-500-Rep-Workout-Routine/d8/

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Vegan zuchinni pasta from the “Forgive me diet” experiment

One of the best discoveries of this diet experiment (the mango smoothie continues to be my #1!) was zuchinni pasta. I tried to follow Vegan Angela´s recipe for raw vegan alfredo sauce with zucchini noodles but that ended up been a waste of cashews, hopefully due to a lack of a proper food processor and not because I cant properly follow recipes… O_o

Since I already had the zucchinni pasta made (which takes ages but God-its-so-good-all-that-time-is-worth-it) I decided to have a modified version of Vegangela zuchinni pasta using what I had available and hoped for the best. And it worked!! 😀

Here are the main ingredients:

  • Zuchinni (1 big zuchinni per person shall be enough).
  • Garlic gloves
  • Chilli flakes
  • Tomatoes, cut in half or 1/4 (depending on the size…)
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Use a fruit peeler to prepare the zucchini pasta (yes, just peel the skin off, discard and then keep on peeling and peeling in order to make the “pasta”)
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add garlic, chili flakes and saut for a minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, saut for another minute.
  4. Add the zuchinni, a bit of pepper (to taste) and saut all together for another minute.

I promess it´s all worth it!! This is the best no-carbohidrates pasta I have ever had, and I think it might even taste better!

Bon app tout le monde! 😉

César salad with chicken from the “Forgive me” diet experiment

From the “Forgive me diet experiment”, here goes the recipe for César salad with chicken.

For the dressing*: Make your own! Nothing you buy on a bottle will be as healthy as making your own.

  • plain Greek yogurt
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • salt and pepper

As per the salad, just chop Lettuce (any kind, just choose your favorite) and Spinach. The original César salad ussually have lettuce only; nevertheless, I´ll do 50/50 since spinach has more vitamins than lettuce, it makes you feel full for longer and it adds a bit of crispy… The crispy you are looking for when adding crutons to a salad you can get from fresh spinach. Adding thin slices of red onion makes it even tastier.

For the chicken, you can either grill it or just boil it with sea salt. In any case, don´t forget to cut it on small pieces.

Put all ingredients on a Tupperware and then shake it together. Make sure you use a recipient with a lit, just tossing it will not do the trick. If you don´t have a big recipient with a lit, then make sure you whisk the dressing ingredients together before adding to the salad.

Healthy trick: always shake ingredients for salad on a bowl instead of just tossing it. You will use a smaller amount of dressing when you make sure all ingredients are well combined.

Enjoy! 😀

*I based my dressing recipe on one from Canadianliving.com; but used smaller amounts of yogurt and olive oil and don´t use any cheese.

Mango coconut smoothie from the “Forgive me” diet experiment

As promised, Im now posting the recipes from day 1 of the “Forgive me” diet experiment.

Breakfast: Mango coconut smoothie.

This is by far one of the best ways I have started a day ever!!! Inspired by Dr. Ozz Mango Peach Lassi and due to the high prices on nectarines in Switzerland (not to mention they didn´t look sweet anyways), I came up with this smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, discard skin
  • ice
  • coconut milk
  • Ginger (use a lot, otherwise the smoothie will be too sweet due to the coconut milk)
  • a bit of pineapple if you have it

Directions: Blend until creamy.

*Dr. Ozz recipe included protein shakes which goes against my “clean eating” diet. His recipe was great inspiration though. (http://www.doctoroz.com/recipes)

This smoothie, I insist, it´s a must try!! 😀

Cheers,

Michelle

The “Forgive me” diet experiment

I know nothing about diets. I studied nutrition as part of my programme as a fitness professional; but not dieting. The last diet I got into was called the “Anuska´s diet”, I was 9 years old and overweight. I remember been sick on my stomach from eating nothing but onion and water soup for 2 days.

Me as a kid
Me as a kid

I don´t ever recommend people getting into fast diets that just make you lose weight in order to put it back on a week after; nevertheless, some diets do have a bright side and that´s that they teach you how to eat correctly. After my partner and I spend a weekend in Dublin having burgers, Irish breakfast and, of course, a pint of Guinness; we agreed to go on a strict 3 days healthy diet (as strict as we could! We do enjoy coffee every morning!).

As any human our times will do, first thing I wanted to do was googling for that perfect healthy diet; but, at least from a personal point of view, there´s no such a thing. Detox diets won´t work because your body is smart enough to detox itself. An express diet won´t work either because we weren´t looking for losing a kilo in 3 days just to put it back in 2. So, what should I google for?? And that´s when it hit me: The “forgive me” diet! That´s what we needed, a tailor made 3 days “forgive me body ´cus I have sinned” diet. Not to detox, not to lose weight not a diet per se but an eating regime to let the body know we are sorry for all that unhealthy ingestions while eating out for days.

With a bit of thought and time for research I came out with the perfect diet for ourselves, a mix of clean eating, vegetarian raw recipes and a bit of self-indulgence (only the bit we couldn´t let go). By following these rules you can make yourself your own tailor suited regime:

My shopping list
My shopping list

1. Don´t starve! Just eat lots of the right stuff if you have to, but do not starve.

2. Vegetables and fruits are basically “free tokens” you can use any time during the day. Although if you follow rule #1, you won´t need to have anything between meals.

3. Eat 5 times a day.

4. Drink looots of water.

5. Replace your usual drinks (coffee, black teas, bubbly water) with green tea or cold water with lemon.

6. Have no red meat.

7. Reduce dairy products and carbohydrates to the minimum.

8. Have minimum amounts of sea salt and no sugar.

9. Have no alcoholic beverages and reduce coffee to one a day or none.

10. Sleep at least 8 hours a night.

The initial food plan
The initial food plan

11. MOST OF ALL: Use as many “natural” products as possible. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unprocessed raw food. If you have to cook something, try grilling it or sauté it on a non-sticking pan with no oil.

Shopping list tips:

1. Look for recipes that use the same ingredients so you have no waste at the end, especially if you are going to buy in big packs/quantities.

2. Buy lots of red onion and lemon; it makes every salad taste better. Bell pepper might also do the trick.

3. Mix raw spinach leaves with your lettuce; it makes salads crunchier, makes you feel fuller, it doesn’t mess with the taste and has far more vitamins than having just lettuce.

4. Get whatever fruits are cheaper depending on the season, having bananas instead of apples might give you more sugar but that´s ok… the goal is just to eat healthy.

At the end, I came up with this:

DAY ONE:

Breakfast: Mango coconut smoothie.

Vegan zucchini pasta
Vegan zucchini pasta

Snack: Strawberries and plain yogurt.

Lunch: Green salad with grilled chicken.

Snack: A handful of carrot sticks and a mandarine.

Dinner: Grilled turkey, brown rice and broccoli.

DAY TWO:

Breakfast: Banana strawberry smoothie.

Snack: 1 whole-grain bread slice with cheddar cheese.

Lunch: Lettuce and spinach salad with salmon and chickpeas.

Snack: Mango and apple slices.

Dinner: Raw vegan zucchini pasta with tomato.

DAY THREE:

Tuna salad wrap
Tuna salad wrap

Breakfast: Porridge with berries and almonds.

Snack: 1 hardboiled egg and carrots.

Lunch: Tuna, avocado, tomato, lettuce spinach wrap.

Snack: Apple and mandarine.

Dinner: Fish tacos (with lettuce and spinach).

All recipes and findings on this experiment to come on my next post. Bon appetite! 😀

The big question: -How do I start running?

ImageRunning is the simplest way to improve your cardio and burn a lot of calories (look at professional runners, they have not a gram of fat…). Most magazines say you are only ready to run if you have been doing cardio on an elliptical or stationary bike before; but, didn´t you have a first time on a stationary bike as well??

Many people have asked me the very same question lately: – How do I start running?

To be honest, as with many exercise routines, the best way to start is to give it a try. Don´t feel intimidated, if running were so difficult there wouldn´t be marathons with thousands of people all around the world, every year. Here is my best advise:

Start jogging/walking: Maybe you are looking for that feeling of freedom Forest Gump had while the leg braces broke; but, in order to get you there, we must walk and jog first. For example, if you only have 30 minutes, take the first and last 5 minutes to walk, then do 4 minutes walk/ 1 minute jog for the 20 minutes in between. Once you feel comfortable, increase the jogs to 2 min and decrease the walks to 3. In less than you think you will be able to jog for the whole 30 minutes.

Once you can jog for 30 minutes non stop, the “jump” from jogging to running is as simple as timing yourself and try to be faster. But that´s material for another blog… 😉

Prepare your knees: Whatever you do to your knees now, they will send you an invoice for… sooner or later…

If you don´t want to be part of the thousands of runners with knee pain (like myself), you MUST warm up. Warming up isnt only about elevating body temperature but, most importantly, its about your joints segregating synovial fluid. Think of synovial fluid as a tiny gel mattress that inflates and covers your bones so you have less impact on your joints. My favorite movement I actually learned while doing karate years ago: perform slow circular movements, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, until the joint seems to move smoothly. (Here´s a video that shows the movement in 30 seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ptbP5xTIdw)

Prepare your brain: After a few weeks training you can actually get an “exercise high” from the endorphins released on your blood torrent. That high is what will make people keep coming back and you can even develop a healthy addiction to it… While we wait for that to happen, follow my lead:

If you attend a gym, hit the treadmill at not busy hours (early morning or afternoon seem to be the best) so you are not annoyed by people waiting behind you. If you run outside, find a beautiful path and do take the time to look around and enjoy it. Prepare yourself a cool music playlist: having the right music can make a great difference… even one less minute per kilometer!! And last but not least, if you enjoy partnering up: do it! Find runners clubs near you and go with them; whether you enjoy a chatty “God, this hill!” partner or just want silent competition, running with others increases your chances of not giving up so easily, which is very important when you are starting.

Listen to your body: Some muscle aches and soreness are to be expected (and you should feel proud of it!), it means your workout is working and your muscles are getting stronger. Nevertheless, you should know the difference between sore calves and a bad knee pain! If a pain persists for more than 3 days or if it interferes with daily activities, then it is time to 1. rest and 2. look for professional advice from a physician/orthopedist and a fitness trainer to give you a detailed routine you can follow by yourself without getting injured.

Go shopping: Yeah! Go shopping! 😀

You don’t need fancy equipment to run but a good pair of shoes is essential. Running stores usually have professionals to help you choose the ones for you; just don´t be fooled: the right pair of runners is the one in which you feel more comfortable. Once you have found the right pair of shoes, the smartest thing to do is stick to the brand… even if they don´t have the fanciest styles, you can save lots of money sticking to what suits your body (I´ve learned this from experience, after many new shoes given to charity…)

Enjoy it! While on action, think of the many benefits of running:

  • With the exception of cross-country skiing, running burns more calories than any other physical activity!
  • By increasing your heart rate and working the heart muscles your cardiovascular health is greatly improved.
  • Running can increase HDL levels, which improves overall cholesterol levels in the body.
  • Your immune system gets a boost through running with an increase in white blood cells; the fighter cells in the body, which can combat the early stages of diseases like diabetes and cancer.
  • Running also improves bone health. Weight bearing exercises increase bone density and prevent injury and the onset of osteoporosis.
  • Running improves lung capacity. If you normally find yourself out of breath after a few flights of stairs, you will notice that as you run more, you will be able to take more flights without getting out of breath because your lungs are becoming stronger.
  • And finally, running can help boost your energy levels. Of course, it makes you healthier and this helps, but running itself gets your blood pumping and this DOES wake you up.

If you have any questions or comments, please do feel free to post here or send me an email at youvs.youfitness@gmail.com

Enjoy the run! 😉

Michelle

Because the best project you´ll ever work on is you!