Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fitness/Life: Challenge of the Centuries Bike Ride & Memorial Day Weekend

Last year we didn't get to do the Challenge of the Centuries bike ride and I was so bummed out about it. So, I made sure that we got to do it this year!

The Challenge of the Centuries is a two day (or one day if you want, like we did) bike ride in Hartwell, GA. You can choose from the 40 mile, 67 mile, or 100 mile rides. We opted for the 40 mile ride and it was just enough!

We spent the night with DH's parents and started our ride at 8:00 am Saturday morning in the YMCA parking lot. From there, our route took us across the Dam and all the way into South Carolina and back again.

Fine, 39 miles, but last time my bike computer counted 44!
Me with my MIL

Me and DH

The weather was absolutely perfect. When we did the ride back in 2011, it was SO hot and I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. However, this time it started out very cool in the morning and the temperature remained comfortable throughout the ride.

The scenery was beautiful to me, of course, since I am from this area and it's nice to come back to the 'country' where it is more quiet and calm. The Lake also looked great and I am so happy to see that the water levels are up this year. Instead of rushing through the ride, we took a couple of pit stops for pictures, snacks, etc. so this year was very enjoyable.

The lake was so pretty

We biked across the dam

View behind the dam

Ole country roads

Me and DH taking a pit stop past the dam

Me and my MIL
Time for a pit stop!

My new bike (Specialized Dolce) did beautifully. This ride was a million times better than the ride in 2011 when I was on my hybrid (Specialized Vita). This bike has so much more momentum and I don't feel as if I am working twice as hard as everyone else just to keep up.

Isn't she beautiful
After the ride, we shuffled our way over to Subway for lunch (you try walking after being on a bike for 3 hours, ha!). I burned 1600 calories, so it was time to refuel!

6" on honey oat, roasted chicken, lots of veggies and honey mustard

Then, I rewarded myself with my favorite, ICE CREAM!

Vanilla is the best!

After filling our tummies, we decided it was time to rest. However, I couldn't nap because I didn't feel well...later I found out it was because I was sunburned...I forgot to wear sunscreen! Definitely a big no-no for me and my pale skin.

Later that evening we headed to a music festival with DH's parents that was being held by the Lake. Again, the weather was absolutely perfect. I am normally too hot in the summer, but with the breeze coming off the water and the sun setting, it felt wonderful.

After the music festival, we headed over to my brother and sister in law's campsite and enjoyed some great family/friend time and some good food! It was so nice to just relax and hang out with people that I never get to see because of our busy schedules.

I even got to see my friend who has been living in France for the past couple of years!

All in all, I would say it was a pretty awesome weekend.

And while it's fun to get together and spend time with one another, we mustn't forget what Memorial Day is all about. Thank you to all of the men and women who have (and are still) serving their country!


What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Recipe: Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Oh look. Another smoothie post.

You bet it is.


-1/2 Banana, frozen (Peeled first, then frozen)
-1/2 cup Blueberries, frozen
-1 Handful of spinach, fresh (optional)
-1/2 to 1 Tbsp Peanut butter
-5 Tbsp Raw Organic Whey (optional)
-1/4 cup Trop50 Orange Juice (optional)
-1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
-1 tsp Cocoa powder (optional)

Blend well!

As you can see, I put a lot of ingredients as 'optional.' That's the beauty of smoothies, you can make them however YOU like them. However, I do encourage you to a) try new ingredients and b) don't be afraid of the spinach! You really cannot taste the spinach and it will add extra nutrients that you need! It's a great way to sneak in some more greens!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fitness: Quick & Simple HIIT Workout

Since DH is on day shift now and we actually get to see each other, we have been working out together in the evenings. His specialty is obviously strength training, so this is where he pushes me. But, he is not a cardio person, so this is where I have to push him. I came up with this quick and simple HIIT workout for us to do together in hopes of getting the most bang for our buck during our cardio session.

15 Squat Jumps
10 Burpees
(3 rounds)

20 Jumping Jacks
10 Speed Skaters

(3 rounds)

20 High Knees
20 Jump Rope
(3 rounds)

Let's go over some of the more 'unusual' exercises on this list.

Squat jumps:


Squat jumps are simply when you squat down and jump up. Land lightly as to avoid knee pain and be sure to keep your knees behind your toes when you squat (you should be able to look down and see your toes when squatting.) You should have your body weight in the heels of your feet during a squat and you should be able to wiggle your toes. Don't forget to keep your core tight.



Burpees are probably one of my favorite exercises. I don't know, but they just make me happy...Essentially you reach/jump up come down and place palms on the floor, jump back into a plank, jump your feet back in, stand up/jump up and do it all over again! Be extra careful to keep your core tight or you can injure your back.

Speed skaters:


Speed skaters are when you reach up to one corner and then down to the other corner while 'hopping' from one leg to other. It is a later movement, so you are simply moving from one side to the other. Again, keep your knees soft during the landing here. Core is always tight!

Let me know if you have any questions and how it goes!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How To: Pack a healthy lunch

My first (academic) year of graduate school has come to a close. I start my 40 hour/wk dietetic internship next week, so I am really excited!

One topic I get lots of questions about is how to pack a healthy lunch since most of us are in school or work (or both!) full-time. I'll admit, this is something I struggle with. I would much prefer to fix something at home than have to bring something with me. However, I suck it up and try to be somewhat creative with my lunches.

These are just some very basic combinations that have worked for me, so feel free to make your own creations!


I genuinely love and crave salads. If you want to take a salad here are some options for a basic structure:

  • Base
    • Romaine lettuce 
    • Spinach
    • Mixed greens
    • Kale
  • Protein
    • Beans (Reduced sodium or rinsed off would be best)
    • Grilled chicken
    • Tuna (packed in water)
    • Eggs (ie, boiled)
    • Quinoa
  • Additions
    • Carrots
    • Tomatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Bell peppers
    • Zucchini 
    • Olives
    • Strawberries
    • Kiwi
    • Oranges
    • Avocado
    • Sun dried tomatoes
    • Craisins/Raisins
    • Nuts and/or seeds
  • Toppings
    • Olive Oil
    • Vinegar
    • Lite dressing
    • Cheese
  • Optional grains
    • Brown Rice
    • Couscous


The trick with sandwiches is to pack the toppings that will make the bread soggy (tomatoes, pickles, etc.) in a separate container, then put them on your sandwich when you are ready to eat it.
No one likes a soggy sandwich.

  • Bread/wrap
    • Whole wheat bread
    • Whole wheat tortilla
  • Protein
    • Grilled chicken
    • Tuna (packed in water; with relish?)
    • Turkey
    • Hummus
    • Tempeh (cooked or raw)
    • Peanut butter
  • Filler options
    • Lettuce
    • Pickles
    • Cheese
    • Avocado
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Cucumbers
  • Sauce options
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard
    • Honey mustard
    • Lite mayonnaise
    • Oil and vinegar
    • Horseradish sauce

Other options:

Cottage cheese bowls
This is relatively new for me, so I can only speak for fruit-cottage cheese combinations. Since it's strawberry season, I have been loving strawberry and almonds with my cottage cheese (reduced fat). I know some people do 'non-sweet' combinations, but since I haven't tried those, I don't want to lead you astray...


  • Carrots
    • with hummus?
  • Grapes
  • Apples 
    • with peanut butter?
  • Oranges/Tangerines
  • Bananas
    • with peanut butter?
  • Almonds
  • String cheese
  • Granola bar
  • Trail mix
    • You can make your own: Nuts and Dried fruits
  • Yogurt
  • Unsweetened applesauce

What are some of your favorite things to pack for lunch/snacks?