No Excuses NOT to Work It Out

I don’t have time to workout.


I make time.

I know, I know… easier said than done.  But it CAN be done!


Today’s Work It Out is about beating our holiday excuses.  We all make them.  Some of them are even legitimate! During the holidays we’re traveling, over-committed, and exhausted.

Yesterday on Facebook I asked you guys for some of the excuses you have for not working out over the holidays.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“I don’t have time to workout.”

“I feel selfish taking time away from my family to go to the gym.”

“I’m too tired!”

“It’s too cold to go outside.”

“I don’t have access to a gym/weights while traveling.”




Today let’s think of ways around these barriers.

No time?

Make it a habit!  If you haven’t gotten to that point yet, start by taking some steps to plan.  I schedule the time with myself on my calendar, and I have my gym clothes in the car so I can go on my way home from work.  If things are TOO hectic, I squeeze in what I can, when I can.  Do you have 10 minutes in the morning? Do a quick rotation of jumping jacks, planks, burpees, and push-ups in your living room.  Only have 20 minutes at lunch?  Go for a brisk walk!


Feeling selfish?

#1 DON’T!  Your family is better off in the long run when you are healthy and happy.  Personally, if I don’t get to move a little bit each day (and take a little break from the relatives), I’m not as pleasant to be around.

#2 Turn exercise into a family activity.  Suggest a walk or a game of touch football after one of the many holiday meals I’m sure you’ll have.  Bring a workout video to share.  One of the best times we had last year was when my mom and sister and I all tried to do P90X Plyo together.  The laughter alone was a calorie burner!


no regrets


Too tired?

I know you don’t want to hear this… but exercise actually energizes you AND improves sleep quality at night.  Instead of dropping to the couch after a long day, put on y our gym clothes before you even sit down.  Half of the battle is getting dressed!  If that’s not enough to motivate, make a date with a friend to talk a walk or sign up for a class.  If you already spent $50 on that month of Body Pump classes, you’re more included to actually go.


Too cold?

I get it.  I hate cold weather.  When I ran regularly, I always took the coldest months off.  This is the time to dust of your P90x/Gillian Michaels/Yoga for Dummies DVDs.  Your living room is warm.  Exercise there!  Or take advantage of all of those “one week free!” fliers.  I’m willing to bet you could gym-hop for at least a month at free of charge. :)


20 min workout


No equipment?

Again, you can bust out your old DVDs.  Another idea involves Pinterest.  I love taking these “pinned” workouts and doing a few rounds at home.

A few of my favorites:

(Click images for sources.)

Great beginner AM workout

Great beginner AM workout



No Rest

This will leave you feeling like spaghetti in 30 mins.


Plus 1

Perfect for setting your own pace and then pushing a little beyond!


I Make Time

One from my trainer, with a video demo.


These best part is that these can all be adjusted based on the amount of time you have and your physical limitations (Bad knees?  Do wall sits instead of squats.)  They can also be done indoors, so you avoid the cold.  AND you can get the family to join in, eliminating the selfish-feeling factor.

So what was your excuse again?


One more Kitchen Workout check-in before the holidays!

I once again did well during the week and succumbed to sugar over the weekend.  There was a cookie swap party.  This happened:

Keeping it real.

BUT this kitchen workout is about doing what’s right for YOU.  I know myself.  If I’d sat at home or gone and watched everyone else eat cookies, I would have been annoyed and then (more than likely) done worse damage later.  So I ate cookies.  They were delicious.  So there.

As I go into and even bigger holiday-part week, I’m keeping these tipsin mind.  I’m not going to splurge on the store-bought party things, but when something is “worth it” (for me that means chocolate and homemade) I’m not going to feel deprived.

As always, feel free to post/pin/tweet the #KitchenWorkout graphic and show your clean eating pride!


In other news, I have only completed my Christmas shopping for 1 person.  Oy.  Power walking through the mall in a panicked state is great exercise!

Did anyone try last week’s Gun Show workout?  What did you think?

What are some of your excuses?  Any of these sound familiar?


Orange Cardamom TVP “Oats” + WIAW

105 lbs doesn’t seem like a ton.


Until it’s on your lap while you’re doing dips…



Normally I do legs (my least favorite) with my trainer, but last night I had a back and tri day.  It was a great reminder that – even though my upper body is more developed – I still need a “check up” every so often.  With a little help I can move SO much more weight.  I couldn’t have stacked those weights on my lap by myself… and there is no way in hell I would have turned that last set into a drop set.

I’m feeling much better with my diet after last week’s adjustments, and it’s paying off.  My trainer noticed growth.   (He also told me I make sex-like noises while doing hack squats.  Weird that hacking with 200 lbs elicits the same sort of sound…).  A couple of other people have commented recently too (on the gains, not the noises).  Never in my life did I think people telling me I look bigger would be a compliment! :)

It is a little disconcerting to have lost my abs, but I know they’ll be back and looking better than ever after bulking season.  I need to print that reminder out and tape it to my mirror.


My Kitchen Workout (have you joined?) is keeping me motivated an (mostly) on track during this month of indulgences.  Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday theme this month is also a great accountability check!


Below is a day of a figure competitor’s bulking-season eats.  Check it out, and then be sure to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons and see what everyone else is eating during the most delicious time of year.


Meal 1:

I started my day with the only thing I like to repeat: my morning cocktail (mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos), and my 2 mile incline walk.

Then it was time for a breakfast I started dreaming up on Sunday.  This is a new version of my TVP oatmeal, and it may be my favorite one yet!


Indian Spiced TVP Oats

Orange Cardamom TVP “Oatmeal”

  • 1 C water
  • 1/3 C TVP
  • 2 T oats
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 4-5 drops lemon liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
  • 3 T egg whites
  • 1/2 orange, sectioned
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes, to top
Prepare according to these instructions from the original recipe.  Top with orange sections and coconut. Demolish.



Meal 2:

Last week I rocked a chili-lime crab salad with mango for lunch.  This week I was ready for more… but needed to make it strangers for this Friday’s link up.  Being strange pays off, friends.  This one was a hit!  The sweet citrus from the orange was perfect against the tangy lime and heat of the cayenne.


Curried Chili-Orange Crab Salad

  • 3 oz crab
  • 1/2 large orange, sectioned
  • 1/2 C edamame
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Juice from 1/4 fresh lime
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro



Meal 3:

I had to get a new plate to take to work.  My zoo animal paper plates ran out.  Booooo!

On my pretty blue plats is: Chili Nutty Baked Tofu, celery sticks, a P28 protein bagel, and the last of my favorite hummus.  I get this Roots hummus at Whole Foods.  It’s from Asheville, but I’m not sure if you can get it outside of the Southeast.  If you can, the spinach is worth a try!




Meal 4:

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my new swordfish creation Monday night.  I finally tried making it a different way – I chipped it into cubes, coated it in lime juice, avocado oil, and my Mexican spice blend before cooking it under broil for ~10 mins.  It worked like a charm!

I brought the leftovers to work to be enjoyed over a kale salad massaged with coconut vinegar, fresh orange juice, and nutritional yeast.  Topped with baby bellas and red pepper.  My complex carb was a very tasty Garnet sweet potato.

And I wonder why my co-workers think I’m weird….



Meal 5:

Leftovers from yesterday… a creation that I made for this Friday’s Strange But Good link up.  Are you guys planning to participate?!  I’m so excited to see what everyone comes up with!!

Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Click here for the explanation.




Meal 6:

My trainer’s gym is pretty far away (30-45 mins… or an hour during rush hour…), so I always take a recovery shake to enjoy on the ride home.  After a killer workout, I enjoyed a favorite: Carrot Cake Batter Shake.

Don’t you love when your clean-eating #kitchenworkout meals taste dirrrrty?  I added some kale (clearly not enough since it’s still orange-ish), and stirred in muesli for a chewy happy ending.


Meal 7:

I’m on a serious bender with my 150 Calorie Chocolate Microwave Protein Cake.  Tonight I topped it with a healthy scoop of Arctic Zero Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream and a drizzle of peanut flour sauce. Cherries on top.  Fo’ shizzle.



The protein count for the day: 177.2g.  I can almost feel the growth.  Bwhahaha!

It’s been a week… time for another shameless plugs!  I’d love it if you’d click here and “Like” my new Facebook page. :)

Do you have a workout partner or trainer that you “check in” with when you need to push harder?

What is the tastiest “clean” food you’ve eaten this week?  Work it out in the kitchen!


Work It Out at the Gun Show

Did you get your tickets?


Yes, I’m that predictable…

As I collected my things from the security scanner at the airport last Friday, I got a fun compliment from the TSA agent.  I was wearing a sleeveless dress and before I could put my cardigan back on the agent commented on  my guns.  I crack myself up.

In honor of that TSA man, today’s Work It Out is all about the gun show.  Anyone can have defined arms!  Biceps are especially fun to work because they are really responsive to training.  You just have to be consistent and use the proper form to ensure you are reaping all of the benefits from the time you spend in the gym.



Today’s gun show workout is demonstrated by Abdul, a trainer at my gym, House of Payne.  Abdul is a heavyweight competitor; his bicep is bigger than my thigh.  He was also my roommate at the competition I did in November, where he took first place in his class!  Side note: he likes hack squats, which makes him insane.


Today he’s walking us through 3 bicep moves, taking extra care to explain proper form.

  1. Preacher Curls – Many people complain that these hurt their elbows and wrists; I follow the form Abdul explains and no longer have an issue.  These are great for isolating the bicep muscle, as well as developing adjacent ligaments and tendons.
  2. Lying Bicep Curls – This is one you don’t see many people doing, but it is very effective as it forces you to use your arms since your back muscles can do none of the lifting when you are flat on the floor.
  3. Incline Dumbbell Curls – Performing curls on an incline bench helps you to achieve a greater range of motion, stretching out the long head of the biceps.  Why do you care?  Because the long head gives your arms better shape when viewed from the side and it forms the biceps peak that pops when you to flex.


Check out the video below for a video explanation of each move:



I do 4 sets of these at 10-12 reps.  These are just 3 moves, but they are some of the most effective ones you can do.  I credit these with helping me hit a new PR Sunday!

Typically I do biceps in combination with a chest workout.  Find what works best for you!  Some of you runners may want to do biceps alone after logging those miles.


How is everyone doing with the Kitchen Workout?  This time of year it’s all too easy to get carried away, but I have been trying to keep top-of-mind how much better I feel when I fuel my body properly.  These are guidelines that work for me.  Sit down and think about what makes sense for your lifestyle and your goals to come up with a list of your own!

Have you joined the Kitchen Workout?


Last week I did really well, despite some travel.  Weekends continue to be my downfall.  saturday night I could have done a little better than I did… but the next day I hit a new bicep curl PR.  Maybe my body just needed those extra carbs!

As always, feel free to post/pin/tweet the #KitchenWorkout graphic and show your clean eating pride!  Check out this post for tips and recipes!


Yesterday I talked about some things I want to do to make the blog more interactive…  that goes for the #workitout too!  My trainer has offered to take requests for videos!  So…

What types of workouts would you like to see more of, or get explanations for?

What is your favorite “vanity” muscle?  I’m all about the gun show.  In case you couldn’t tell. 😉


Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

Some like it hot.

My food as a child

I like it really hot.

Spicy often means a craving Mexican food.  Most people think of Mexican as being unhealthy, but it’s actually one of the easiest cuisines to lighten up.  Latin cooking is derives flavors from spices and herbs more so than fats.  A little cumin, peppers, and cilantro can go a long way!

Ideas for ordering at Mexican restaurants

  • Tell your server not to bring chips so the temptation isn’t even on the table
  • Chicken or veggie fajitas, soft tacos, grilled shrimp or chicken, and ceviche are usually safe bets
  • Ask them to go light on the oil and salt
  • Choose soft tacos over chips, hard tacos, or rice; also request corn tortillas if available
  • Use salsa rather than cheese or sour cream to add flavor
  • Order black or pinto beans rather than refried
  • If you must have a margarita (and you know I must), order it with fresh lime juice instead of the sugar-y, processed sour mix

In keeping with my Kitchen Workout guidelines, I decided to satisfy my Mexican craving at home rather than go out to eat.

Spicy tomato sauce and sweet potatoes will forever be a favorite combination.  Those flavors were in my head all day as I thought about how I would attack dinner.

Adding spices is a quick and easy way to make a meal something special   One of my “secrets” to a good tomato sauce is adding a bit of cinnamon.  It lifts the flavors and gives the illusion of a hunt of sweetness.

While this ingredient list may look long, it comes together very quickly.  Make substitutions based on your preferences and what you have on hand.  Just be sure to add small amounts at a time and taste as you go!

This dish makes 6 servings.  I ate 4 over the course of the week and froze the remaining two to take to work.  They have been perfect as homemade frozen lunches.

To make this vegetarian/vegan, use tempeh or TVP in place of the ground chicken.


Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 T dried cilantro
  • 1 T garlic powder
  •  1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 C chopped red pepper
  • 2/3 C chopped baby bellas
  • 2 C diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 C spinach leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown the chicken in a pot with onion and spices.

When chicken is cooked, add peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and water.  Let simmer for 10 mins.

While that mixture is simmering, peel and thinly slice the sweet potato.

Grease a 9×9 baking pan with olive oil.  Layer a quarter of the meat sauce, followed by a layer of sweet potato slices, zucchini slices, and then spinach.  Repeat until you’re out of ingredients, making sure to leave enough sauce to top the dish.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 mins.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 6 servings.


Writing this made me want a margarita.  Doh.

Do you have any secrets for eating healthy at restaurants?

Do you like food with a little heat?  I find I want it even more in the winter months.

Work It Out At Home

We’re all busy.


My calendar is nightmare-inducing.

This time of year things get hectic.  You don’t have to sacrifice your fitness due to holiday craziness though!  Today’s Work It Out is something different – a routine you can do at home with NO equipment.



This quick, full-body workout is demonstrated by Jacklyn, a trainer at my gym, House of Payne.  She started doing figure competitions in her 40s.  When I met her, I thought she was 30.  Diet and exercise pay off!

Check out the video below for a video explanation of each move:



Printable/pin-able graphic of the workout:


Make time to run through this 4x to get a quick 20 minute workout.  Or just do one round – whatever you have time for!

On days when I’m in a rush or on the road, I’ll do one round of a simple workout like this just to get the blood flowing in the morning.  You can always find 5 minutes!


Remember last week’s Kitchen Workout?  It’s about eating to fuel your body properly.  Calee (who designed the awesome logo above) created a graphic with my guidelines!  Again, these are guidelines that work for me.  Come up with a list of you own.  Calee came up with these for her “Operation Pants Fit” goals.


Have you joined the Kitchen Workout?


How are you doing with it?  I’m doing decently well.  Weekdays are easy, but this weekend I definitely slipped a bit… I blame the giant unguarded container of  peanut M&Ms.  Whoops.  The important to remember that every day, every moment is a new opportunity to get back on track.  Beating yourself up over M&Ms is silly.

Feel free to post/pin/tweet the #KitchenWorkout graphic and show your clean eating pride!  Check out last week’s post for tips and recipes!


I caved in and created a Facebook page for the blog.  Click here if you would be so kind to like my page. :)

Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Open Sky!

Do you prefer to go to a gym or workout at home?

How are have worked it out in the kitchen lately?