Saturday, January 28, 2012

Update: S'mores Night

If you know me or have been reading my blog, you know that I love Winter.

Unfortunately, the South has decided not to give me a real Winter season this year....sure, everyone else loves it...Me? Not so much.

I want to be able to wear coats, jackets, scarves, sweaters and boots. Heaven forbid we actually need to wear gloves.

I want to actually have to turn my heat on and cuddle while drinking a cup of hot tea. In actuality, I haven't had my heat on at all since last Winter...when we actually this white stuff called snow.

However, I am going to make the best of it and do fun 'Winter-y' things anyway.

We decided to have S'mores Night last night. I have always wanted an indoor s'mores maker. I could never find one though...a friend my sophomore year of college (round 1) had one and that was the first time I had a s'more.

Luckily, I found one recently!

That's what I'm talkin' bout.
It was such a nice little fun 'date' night! We ordered food from our favorite restaurant, De Palmas and stayed in. Then we made s'mores together.

It's love

Sometimes it's nice to 'indulge' a bit. I only had 2 s'mores which totaled about 250 calories. Which fit in fine with my calorie intake for the day. It's all about moderation!

Some other fun eats that have been going on include a cinnamon version of my French Toast:

Cinnamon French Toast with half coffee/half almond milk

Tonight we had Spinach Tortellini that I got from Trader Joe's with a side salad:

Last, but not least, I got 5 INCHES cut off of my hair last week! It feels soooo good now! It was literally down to my waist since I haven't had any length cut off of it in over 3 years. Now, hopefully it won't get in my way when I am teaching!

iPhone photo...
Speaking of teaching...during my RIPPED class Thursday night, my iPod stopped working and all 4,000 songs just disappeared....I was a little upset...I used my phone, but I didn't have one of the songs so I tried to improvise...I recovered and played it off...but, it was a bit embarrassing. You just have to keep going and smile!

What do you do when you are faced with a situation like this and you need to improvise?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIAW Official #6: Featuring Tuesday

I cannot believe it is already Wednesday again! I feel like I just did WIAW...I guess that's a good thing..time flies when you're having fun?

This semester is going well so far. I really like all of my classes and I'm trying to stay on top of things since we have a lot of papers and projects. I still can't wait to graduate and have my degree in Dietetics!

I taught Cycle & Sculpt and Totally Fit again on Sunday. Then on Monday, I took Katie's awesome BodyPump class. I left early because I hate lunges I needed to work on a paper that is due this week. Last night I taught a 30 minute Abs class and 65 minutes of RIPPED. We had 30 people in RIPPED again last night! Sooooo awesome!!

I have also signed up to help an organization on campus called FLY: For Loving Yourself. They have events to help promote a healthy and positive body image. They also host events during Eating Disorder Awareness week that I have volunteered to help with. I am really excited about it because this is something that I am obviously passionate about. I can't wait to get started!

Moving on to the real reason you guys are here.

I had a smoothie with:
-1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk,
-1/2 Frozen Banana,
-Frozen Mango,
-Milled Flax Seed and
-1 Tbsp Skippy Natural PB.

I forgot to take a here is a picture of a random smoothie:

That's about right.

For lunch, I decided to try out one of the Quorn products I bought the other day. The label claims that their products are soy free and meatless. I was curious to know what exactly they were made of....

Mycoprotein (28%), rehydrated egg white, enriched wheat flour (niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), canola oil, onions, textured wheat protein (wheat protein, wheat starch). Contains 2% or less of whey protein concentrate, salt, buttermilk powder, rice flour, dextrose, yeast, garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, tapioca starch, pectin, natural flavors from non-meat sources, sunflower oil, ascorbic acid, black and white pepper, citric acid, onion powder, gum arabic, celery seed, calcium lactate, paprika extract, lemon oil 

Made from natural ingredients.

Interesting. What is Mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein is the main ingredient in all Quorn products. It's made from a member of the fungi family, which includes mushrooms and truffles, and is a high-quality meat-free protein that's naturally low in fat with very few calories. Mycoprotein also is high in dietary fibre, which is important for your digestive system, and has the essential amino acids your body needs, with no cholesterol or trans fats.  This means that Quorn products tend to be lower in saturated fats and calories than similar foods made with meat - and they taste great too!  Our expert chefs really know how to get the best out of mycoprotein, allowing them to create our wide range of meals, grills and burgers, as well as cooking ingredients like grounds and pieces. To find out more please visit

Well, that definitely adds some variety to my diet.

4 Quorn 'Chicken' Nuggets, Mott's Cinnamon Applesauce and Honey Mustard.
With Broccoli and Carrots.

I had two snacks the rest of the day. 

0% Greek Yogurt, Mango, Almonds, PB & Chocolate Chips, Coconut. Amazing.

Before I taught RIPPED I had:

Whole Wheat Toast with Reduced Sugar Grape Jelly

Some Pumpkin Seeds!

After I finished teaching classes last night, my mom called and invited me and DH to dinner with her and her BFF. They wanted to go to Longhorn's. 

I ordered the Grilled Shrimp (with no butter) with Green Beans and no rice. I also had a side salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. Of course I had some of their awesome bread as well. 

Oh yeah.

Well, that's my WIAW: Featuring What I Ate Tuesday.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

What is your favorite 'go-to' snack?

Check out the whole party at Jenn's! (Apparently the image isn't working for anyone else either?)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thoughtful: Overthinking

Random Food Pic: Brussels Sprouts & Tofu

I have started two blog posts in the past week, but I haven't posted either of them. I worry too much about them being 'just right' and for my 'voice' to sound the way I want it to. Eventually, I just don't post anything because I lose the inspiration.

I just read an amazing post by Sweet Tater and it really resonated with me.

"I’m letting everyone down. 
Or… I’m doing what’s best for me."

Those two sentences sum up a lot for me. I am such a people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy, even if it is at my own expense. 

This past year that has been my focus. To stop trying to please everyone. It's not possible and you only let yourself down in the end. 

I'm not saying don't try to help others, obviously. I am saying to really think about it before you say 'yes' next time. 

Should you really teach 3 one hour fitness classes back to back in one day, just because you feel it is your responsibility to help every single person? Probably not. 

Sometimes it's just too much. 

Sometimes you need rest.

Sometimes you just need to take care of YOU. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIAW Official #5: Day Off

(This is WIAW featuring What I Ate Monday, January 16th, 2012)

I teach two classes back to back every Sunday. It's Cycle & Sculpt from 3pm to 4pm and Totally Fit from 4:15pm to 5:15pm. It'll be fine once I get back into the swing of things, but after being sick all last week and with it being the first week of class, it hit me pretty hard. I basically came home and just passed out for the rest of the night. Whew. I was thankful that we had Monday off in honor of MLK. I took that day to sleep in late (and by late I mean late) and to take care of some things. When I woke up I decided to just start with lunch:

Sauteed Kale, Onions & Bell Pepper, Organic 'Chicken' Patty w/ Honey Mustard, Butternut Squash Risotto, Cutie
My obsession with Kale continues
Since I taught for two hours the day before and I still have 4 more classes to teach this week, I opted to take Monday off. I spent the day doing errands and working on writing my teaching philosophy for my nutrition education class.

Of course, some snacking happened. I'm always really hungry the day after I work out hard.

1/2 apple with Skippy Natural Crunchy PB
I can only find the Crunchy version of Skippy Natural at Wal-Mart. I rarely go to Wal-Mart, but I needed some printer ink and paper, so I bee-lined it over to the PB section and grabbed some. I have about....5 containers of PB now...don't judge me.

0% Plain Greek Yogurt, Mango, Almonds, Coconut, Chocolate Chips

Mmmmmm, this definitely hit the sweet spot. I heart coconut.

For dinner I decide to make a version of my Jambalaya. I used plain instant brown rice, Tofurky Italian Sausage, onion, 1 can of diced tomatoes with no salt added, and don't forget the kale... Super easy.

Before adding the rice

With Brown Rice

Well, that's my WIAW: featuring What I ate Monday, January 16th. Today I am heading to class and I am teaching Kick and Sculpt tonight! I taught a 30 minute abs class and RIPPED last night, but thankfully I am not sore...yet!

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday and be sure to check out the whole party at Jenn's!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To: Tempeh

tem*peh (tem-pay) n. A high protein food of Indonesian origin made from partially cooked, fermented soybeans. (source)

How is Tempeh different from Tofu?
This website gives a really great chart explaining the differences. But, basically they are different in the way that they are created. Where tempeh is fermented soy beans, tofu is coagulated soy milk that makes a curd.

Why should I use Tempeh and not Tofu?
Where tofu has no taste on its own and has a softer texture, tempeh is much more firm and almost has a 'nutty' taste/texture. Therefore, tempeh is much easier to make 'crispy,' where tofu can be somewhat more time consuming and challenging. However, neither is 'better' than the other. It just depends on your recipe and preferences.

How do I cook Tempeh?
My favorite way to cook tempeh is to simply saute it with a bit of soy or teriyaki sauce. You can try my Greek Gyro, a hoagie such as this one from Mellow Mushroom, sauteed tempeh with onions, etc.

Just yesterday, I made a simple stir fry with tempeh and frozen veggies. I used lite soy sauce and nutritional yeast flakes for the tempeh. Nutritional yeast offers a nice 'cheesy' taste and is vegan friendly.


What is your favorite tempeh recipe?

Do you have any other questions about tempeh?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fitness: What is RIPPED?

This has been the #1 question I have received this week. However, when I go through the acronym: Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, and Endurance, everyone's face glazes over. It's kind of long and it's too many words that most people aren't familiar with. So, what's a "better" explanation? I would say "It's a pre-choreographed, athletic based workout that incorporates weights and cardio and it's set to some awesome music!" I also like to mention that there is a kickboxing section because that seems to be most people's favorite section.

But, all that matters is how much fun you are going to have!

Let's go through the sections:

In this section we focus on the 'sexy muscles:' The biceps, triceps and shoulders. The section lasts about 8 minutes and we can either use free weights or resistance bands. Since the section is pretty long, we suggest most girls use about 5 lb. weights or less and guys can go heavier, but no more than 10 lb. weights. We do a lot of reps, so you will be surprised at how heavy that 5 lb. weight can get. The goal in this section is that after a week or two, you will know the choreography and will be able to focus on your form. Eventually, you will be able to increase your weight and/or switch to resistance bands or free weights, depending on which you have been using. The difference between these two pieces of equipment makes a world of difference.

This picture again? Yes. Will someone come by my personal paparazzi? 

In this section we focus on cardio. Again, it is athletic based, so no fancy dance moves, etc. It's typically about 5 minutes and it consists of what I would call valleys and peaks. You have the cardio burst interval, then the active recovery interval. Again, the goal in the section is for you to get used to choreography and perfect your form after a couple of weeks and then we can add small changes to increase the intensity, etc. For example, in Season 3 we do 'fast feet' and do a quarter turn. Eventually, we work up to doing half turns and then a full 360 degree turn.

I can tell this is Plyo Season 5, but let's pretend it's Intervals.

Here is a video of me teaching the Intervals section from the Fitness Expo at Virginia Tech, 2012.

Ah, the section I love to hate. This section incorporates either free weights or resistance bands and focuses on the big muscle groups: Your legs, glutes, back, etc. It typically has a lot of push-ups and squats. But, the format always varies. You may do a basic push-up or you may do an up 1 count, down 3 counts push-up like we do in Season 6. The goal in this section is still similar. It is for you to get used to the choreography, perfect your form, then push yourself further and challenge your body.

RIPPED is great for guys too!

Here is a video of me teaching the Power section at the Fitness Expo in Virginia Tech, 2012.

One of my favorite sections. The music is always hoppin' in this section and the moves are always fun. Plyometrics is defined as an "exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power" (source). For example, in Season 5 we did moves that were related with baseball and basketball.

Here are some videos of me teaching the Plyometrics section at the Fitness Expo at Virginia Tech, 2012.

Then we come to the last main part of the workout: Endurance. This section is based on mixed martial arts. If you like Turbokick or Tae Bo, then you will love this section. Kickboxing is one of my big loves so this is definitely one of my favorite sections to teach. It will not only challenge your physical endurance, but also your mental endurance. Having the correct form in kickboxing is really important in order to avoid injury.

Kickin' some booty
Bonus- Core:
RIPPED is set up to be a 50 minute class, so I typically have time to add this section at the end. Everyone loves doing the abs section!

The last part of the RIPPED acronym is Diet. For this section, participants have free access to diet tips, recipes, etc. at

However, since I am a future RD, I would highly suggest everyone to check out:

Now, moving on to some questions I got this week:

Do the moves change each class?
Not necessarily. Remember, one of the goals is for you to perfect your form and to be able to push yourself a little more each week, i.e., increase your dumbbell weight, go a little deeper in your squat, do all of the pushups and do them in top position. Once we get to this point I start changing things up...see next question.

Do we do the same order every week?
Definitely not! You will not believe how much it changes the workout when we start changing the order! It's amazing. Imagine doing both Endurance and Plyo, THEN going into the Power section. It makes a world of difference. Some weeks I will write all of the sections on pieces of paper and let the participants draw and that determines the order. We can do some sections twice as well. I also like to mix seasons. The options are endless! Which is why it is known as a 'Plateau Proof' Workout!

How often is new choreography released?
As mentioned before, RIPPED is a pre-choreographed class. This means that I pay a monthly fee and I receive new choreography every 3 months. They are called 'Seasons' and we are already on Season 7, so that is a lot of choreography for me to mix and match. Don't worry about getting bored!

ETA: We are about to receive Season 11!!

Are there RIPPED classes in my area?
Just go to Find a Class on RIPPED's website and search in your area!

Do you guys have any other questions about RIPPED?

(Most pictures are from RIPPED's Facebook Page)

**EDITED to add: If the videos aren't showing up for you, they can be viewed on my Facebook page for my fitness classes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fitness: Free Week Spring 2012

This week has been Free Week at my gym so anyone who is a student can come and try one of our hundreds of fitness classes for free! It's such a fun week and the energy and enthusiasm is always so contagious. The gym is jam packed with people excited about working out, which is pretty awesome! We have already had over 4,000 participants!!

So far this week I have taught RIPPED twice and Kick and Sculpt once. I had about 70+ in each RIPPED class and over 112 in my Kick and Sculpt class! Such a great week! Even though my voice sounded horrible in my class last night, we still had so much fun! My throat was definitely paying the price after class though, so I opted not to speak for the rest of the night. The DH and I had an interesting evening doing our version of sign language, haha.

Leading the Resistance section in RIPPED

Working those shoulder muscles!

So much concentration on their form!

These guys are ready to get RIPPED!

I still have two more classes to teach this week. I am teaching Cycle & Sculpt and then Totally Fit on Sunday. I feel weird not going to the gym and teaching today. I was there yesterday from 4:30-9:30pm, so obviously I need them to supply me with a cot so I can become a permanent resident. It's one of my homes away from home. 

I'm going to do a few posts describing the different types of fitness classes I teach because that has been the #1 question I have gotten in classes this week. I think I have explained what RIPPED is about 28452985722 times. Which is COMPLETELY fine by me! I would much rather be explaining what RIPPED is than having no one be interested!

I asked this on the last post, but What is your favorite group fitness class and why?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIAW Official #4: Sick of Soup

I can tell you the exact day of the last time I was sick. It was January 5th, 2009. It was my first day at my new full time job after graduation (well, my first college graduation). I tried to fight it, as usual, but ended up having to go home because it was pretty hopeless. It was just another round of sinus mess that I typically get every year, but I haven't had one since then. Until now that is. However, it is Free Week and I am NOT going to miss teaching these classes. Free Week is SO much fun! Everyone is so excited to try all of the classes and the gym is packed with people. I had about 70 people in my RIPPED class yesterday, which was awesome. Then tonight in my Kick N Sculpt class I had over 112 people!!!!! So amazing!! I am frustrated with myself because I keep forgetting to take pictures of the class, but I will try to remember tomorrow!

Since I haven't been feeling great, I have been eating nothing but soups and sandwiches. I am sick of soup and sandwiches. No more please.

I took half a dose of NyQuil last night (yes, only half a dose) and was out for over 10 hours. So, needless to say, there was no 'breakfast' today. I started out with, you guessed it, some soup and a sandwich.

Pacific Foods: Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

PB&J: Nature's Own Wheat Bread, Skippy Natural with Honey, Low Sugar Jelly

Fruit Cup: Peaches with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar

After this lovely meal, I had class from 1:30-4:30pm. I headed to the gym because my Kick N Sculpt class started at 5:30pm. About an hour before teaching, I had a medium banana, half a Z Bar and this pack of almonds:

At first I was worried everyone would want to go the BodyPump or yoga classes that are also at 5:30pm, but imagine my surprise when I had 112 People!!!?? I was so happy! I love when people come to my class and get a great workout and have FUN! Naturally I was on my 'workout high' after class and now I am..crashing..

When I checked my mailbox I was so excited to see that my Hungry Bars from Bluebird Bakery had arrived! Jen from Peanut Butter Runner suggested them and I couldn't wait to try one. I chose the Dark Chocolate Cherry Coconut bar out of my variety pack for my post-workout snack:

Espresso Powder? Uh oh...

Oh my goodness, soooo yummy! Like the bakery says, these are the perfect cross between a granola bar and an oatmeal cookie. Yum! Now I can't decide what to fix for dinner....I kind of just want to go to bed....I definitely don't want soup.

What are some of your favorite group fitness classes?

Don't forget to check out the whole party at Jen's!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Update: Ready for a Routine

I am always grateful for holiday breaks because it gives me the time I need to recharge. But, it just isn't in my nature to sit around for 3 weeks and...'relax.' I have been trying to fill my time with doing extra hours of work at the gym and teaching at another gym in the area. Because I get to drive cool things like this:

Why yes, I can drive a 15 passenger van. Parking it may be another story.

So cool. (And yes, I am in park. The keys aren't even in the ignition.)

I got to deliver flyers for our programs all around campus. I actually enjoy doing stuff like this because a) it's a program that I am happy to be a part of and want to help with its promotion and b) I really like jobs where I can be moving and not be in the same place all the time.

I am kind of excited about next week and the fact that I will have my 'routine' back. I am teaching a good bit this semester which I am also really excited about. I've been practicing my RIPPED routines and working on new choreography for my kickboxing class. This is my teaching schedule this semester:

Tuesdays~ 4:45-5:15PM $1 Abs; 5:30-6:30PM RIPPED
Wednesdays~ (4:45-5:15PM $1 Abs [this is up in the air...]); 5:30-6:30PM Kick & Sculpt
Thursdays~ 5:30-6:30PM RIPPED
Sundays~ 3:00-4:00PM Cycle & Sculpt; 4:15-5:15PM Totally Fit

This is from last semester, but you get the picture.

Do you guys have any requests for the 'How-To' series that I am doing? It can be anything that is food or fitness related! I really want to do fitness ones on how to do a proper squat and how to do a proper triceps exercise. But, please let me know if you have any other suggestions! 

See you guys in class next week!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How To: Make the Perfect Pancake

Happy 2012 Everyone! I hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and ate lots of collards and black eyed peas today! I'm pretty sure that I am going to turn into a green leaf with the amount of kale and collard greens I've been eating this week.

I woke up yesterday craving pancakes. I used to make them every Sunday for me and DH, but that didn't happen this semester since he was working the night shift and it's not as fun to eat pancakes by yourself...

My favorite kind of pancakes are buckwheat. But, I wasn't able to find that type of pancake flour the last time I went to the store for it. So, I bought Aunt Jemima's Whole Wheat Pancake Mix. It's okay, but it's definitely not buckwheat.

For these pancakes, I used Aunt Jemima's WW Pancake Mix with 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce, 1 cup Almond Milk, 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts and 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon. This made about 8 pancakes.

Golden Deliciousness

First of all, I think the type of pan you use really matters. I started making these pancakes with a cheaper non-stick pan. After 2 pancakes turning out black on the outside and gooey on the inside, which never happens to me, I switched back to my trusty Calphalon, which I talked about in my Favorite Things Post.

Step 1:
Mix together all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

The batter should be more 'runny' compared to bread dough, etc.

Step 2:
Oil your pan (I used Pam Cooking Spray) and turn the stove top to medium heat. It works best if you wait for the pan to heat up.

Cheapo Pan.

Step 3:
You can either pour the batter straight from the bowl into the pan or you can spoon the batter out. I actually like to spoon the batter out because it helps keep the pancake a uniform shape and size. Just sayin'.

Blurry. Also, extremely hard to take pictures of yourself holding a spoonful of runny batter.

Step 4:
Wait until the pancake is browning around the edges and there are bubbles forming in the center. The key is here to not flip the pancake before it is finished on that side. You should only ever flip a pancake once. If you try to flip it and it is still sticking to the pan, then you need to let it cook longer.

Not Ready.


Step 5:
Once you flipped your pancake once, let it cook thoroughly on the new side.

Almost ready.

Step 6:
Serve with your favorite toppings! If it were summer, I would serve these topped with fresh sliced strawberries. Since it is not, I just used some sugar free Cary's syrup.


Let me know if you have any questions!

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