Friday, May 18, 2012

LiveFit

So you know how I'm always blogging about food and cooking and eating? It should come as no surprise that I like food as more than friends. Good food excites me and I can talk to you about food until I fall asleep in my bowl of queso. I can't tell you anything profound about the economy or politics but I can tell you those things that look like sticks at the farmers market are actually lemongrass. I don't know where this passion for food and thirst for knowledge of all things edible comes from, but unless you were blessed with great genetics, having a passion for food means it's probably a good idea to have (or fake) a passion for exercise every now and again too. For me, the passion to workout isn't something I came fully equipped with. I always feel great after a workout, but I need motivation to get there. Sometimes my motivation is merely the fact that I want to continue to enjoy great food and still fit in my jeans. But currently my motivation is an ivory fitted dress and all eyes on me as I walk down the aisle in it this summer.


As soon as we got engaged, Justin and I joined a gym. I somehow managed to stay out of a gym for the last few years living in LA by taking yoga and cardio classes at various studios instead. While I still prefer going to classes, the expense of them keeps me from going multiple times a week. Committing to a gym membership meant that I could make a more consistent schedule of exercising. But even still, the first few months in the gym I just wandered around aimlessly doing the workouts I remembered doing in my fitness class from college and spending half my time on the elliptical. Then I met with the gym's personal trainer who gave me one workout routine and told me I'd see results if I continued doing the same routine three times a week. The.exact.same.routine. Talk about boring! But recently, through a blog (where I was probably reading about food) I found Jamie Eason's LiveFit 12 week trainer. This program is free and focuses on exercise, nutrition and supplementation to achieve ultimate fitness. After reading through the phases and watching the video explanations, I felt compelled to add the trainer to my gym routine for consistency and guidance. I especially enjoyed how each week's workouts were laid out for you with really helpful videos to instruct you through each move. The trainer even includes printable workout logs to track your exercises and the weights you're using so you can see your strength increasing over time.


This program is teaching me not to fear the weight room. Many females worry that lifting weights will cause them to bulk up, but Jamie explains how the more muscle you build, the more fat you will burn. And who doesn't want to burn fat? The other eye-opener for me was the nutrition aspect of the program. While I'm not following the meal plans from LiveFit (way more meat than I'm used to eating) I am heeding Jamie's advice on eating every three hours and adding protein and vitamins to my diet. The philosophy behind eating every three hours is that your body will eventually learn to trust that it will be fed on schedule and won't store fat for those times when you forget to eat. This makes a lot of sense to me and has so far been easy to follow during the work week. Instead of just eating a Luna Bar and latte for breakfast and not eating again until lunch, I come to work prepared with a Luna Bar to have with my coffee, then a Greek yogurt between breakfast and lunch, a salad or sandwich at lunch, a banana or apple with peanut butter a few hours later, hummus with carrots or some almonds after work, a protein shake after the gym and then dinner and plenty of water in between. Where I do have difficulty following the eating increments is on weekends when I'm not on a set schedule. I also tend to forget to take my multivitamin on weekends, but I'm working on it. PS, why do multivitamins have to taste so bad? I mean, yuck! Every time I take one I shudder involuntarily. And that brings me to the other supplementation on the LiveFit program - the protein powder.


I was pretty skeptical about drinking chalk, I mean protein powder, at first. But I really lucked out finding one right off the bat that I actually enjoy. I found BSN Syntha-6 while browsing protein powders on Amazon.com. It came highly rated for flavor as well as mix-ability. At $30 for a 2.91 lb. jar, it sounded like a good deal too. I'm on my first jar of Vanilla Ice Cream flavor and I can't believe how yummy it is. After a workout I mix a scoop of the powder with about a cup of Trader Joe's Coconut Milk, a few cubes of ice and about half a cup of water and give it a good shake in the Blender Bottle. It tastes like dessert I tell you! I haven't branched out into drinking protein shakes throughout the day, but based on how full the one after my workouts keeps me, I definitely plan on experimenting with shakes for breakfasts or lunches on the go. I've also read that Syntha 6 is a great protein powder to cook with. Imagine if you will, protein pancakes, muffins, etc. Tasty and filling!


I'm only a few weeks into the program (almost finished with Phase One) so I don't have any results to report just yet. I wanted to talk about LiveFit though because I think it's awesome that this resource is out there for anyone who should choose to use it. We can't all afford a personal trainer, but if you have access to weights and cardio equipment, you can use this program as your guide. I like walking into the gym now knowing I have a mission and not just putzing around wondering what I should do. Although others might argue I still don't know what I'm doing...

What are your favorite workout programs? P90X, Insanity? Bueller?

***I should add the typical disclaimer info here about how I'm not a nutritionist or doctor so don't take my advice all that seriously. Mmmmk?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bacon + Avocado

Everyone knows that bacon makes anything better. Well, maybe not bacon popcorn... but it exists. So when I was at the farmers market last week and saw a sign for "bacon avocados" I just had to inquire. My imagination ran wild thinking mad scientists had somehow infused bacon flavor into my favorite fruit. I learned that they're actually just a type of avocado that is creamier and sweeter than most. Though a tad more expensive than Hass avocados, the bacon avocados at the market were MASSIVE, so I grabbed one to try.


Let's just take a moment to compare the size of that pit to a large lime. Holy smokes! I don't know if I can accurately portray to you how huge this thing was. (That's what she said?)


I had been meaning to try this recipe for Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa so I knew my avocado would be perfect for a cream sauce on top. I blackened some small chicken breasts and prepared the cilantro lime couscous (I ran out of quinoa, oops!).



This meal came together so quickly and easily, but the kicker (as Guy Fieri would say) was the avocado cream sauce.


I whipped up the sauce by mashing half of the huh-yooge avocado with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle each of salt, pepper and garlic powder.


Dinner is served!


PS, did you notice my new plates?! They're actually not the plates I registered for, but I took my mom's suggestion and purchased one plate and bowl for blog photos until I receive my wedding registry items. Thanks mom! Enough about the plates, let's get back to the bacon. Even after I used half of the delicious bacon avocado for this healthy and filling dinner, I had the other half left over to make guacamole the next day. I kept the pit in it and refrigerated so it stayed fairly fresh. Now that's an avocado that keeps on giving!

So listen here friends - If you should be so lucky to see a bacon avocado at your local market, snatch.it.up. This discovery has been way too exciting for me. It's an avocado that tastes amazing, provides double the fun and possibly scares vegans. What's not to love?