Monthly Archives: August 2015

Move Your Body Monday: 20 rep Core Blast!

This morning I needed something to boost my energy and for some reason feeling the fire in my core is often the perfect remedy. Sometimes you just have to get up and MOVE! This workout sure got my blood flowing, heart rate up, and left me super sweaty.

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Give it a try if you need a little pick-me-up, or a core burner to end a session of lifting at the gym.

Repeat this sequence through 2-4 times, depending on desired length!

20 lying leg raises

20 leg in and outs: lying on the ground, extend legs out straight then pull them in folded against your torso. repeat.

20 flutterkicks

20 crunches

20 side crunches, each side

20 supermans: in plank position, bring leg in to touch your knee to your elbow. repeat, alternating sides.

20 seconds static plank

rest for 20 seconds and REPEAT!

I love quick workouts that can be done at home, so I’m thinking of doing a post like this once a week on Mondays. Let me know what you think!

xo, Sarah

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Grain-Free Italian Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs is such a comfort food. I have been craving it for so long so I knew I needed to come up with a good grain-free recipe. This one is definitely a winner! It is also egg-free and dairy-free, but full of authentic flavor.

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I paired my meatballs with one of my new favorite grain-free pastas, which has just one ingredient: red lentils. My other favorite is called Banza and is made out of chick peas. Both are delicious and very high in protein and fiber compared to most pastas. The red lentil pasta has 21 g of protein in a 3 oz serving! I think they are available on Amazon and most health food stores. They honestly have the flavor and texture of regular pasta.

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For the sauce, I wanted a sugar free and low sodium option, so I just used a jar of pureed tomatoes + 1 T tomato paste and added the same spices that are in the meatballs. You may use any sauce you like.

Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings, ~17 meatballs)

1 lb grass fed ground beef (I used 85/15)

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper if desired

1 T coconut flour or 1/4 cup almond flour (or some of each)

2-3 T water or dairy free milk

1 T olive oil

-Tomato Sauce of choice

-Pasta of choice

Directions:

Put your sauce in a pan and heat until it comes to a simmer.

In a bowl, mix all your seasonings with the flour. Add water or milk and stir until a paste forms. Add meat and using either a fork or your hands, mash it until it comes together and is well combined. Form into balls using your hands about 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter, or as desired.

Heat a skillet on medium heat with the olive oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides, then add to the sauce. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Cooking the meatballs in the sauce gives it great flavor and the meatballs don’t dry out.

Cook your pasta according to package directions, then add your sauce and meatballs. I served mine with some steamed broccoli. This recipe is also great as leftovers! I made a batch and then enjoyed for dinners throughout the week, heated up in the microwave.

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Enjoy!!

xo, Sarah

 

 

Mock-Reece’s Almond Butter Cups

Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, with a light and creamy filling.

Just like Reece’s, except they’re sugar-free, dairy free, low carb and high in healthy medium chain fatty acids from the coconut oil. According to a lot of research, medium chain fatty acids are easier for your body to use as an energy source. Those healthy fats are also great for your skin, nails, and hair. So basically these almond butter cups are like medicine 😉

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They only have 5 ingredients (not counting the water lol), so they are super quick and easy to make. Feel free to swap the almond butter for any other nut butter of choice. Cashew butter, peanut butter, coconut butter, etc will all work!

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This recipe makes 5 mini-muffin size almond butter cups.

Chocolate ingredients:

2 T raw virgin coconut oil

2 T cocoa powder

2 stevia packets (or to taste)

Filling ingredients:

1 T almond butter, or nut butter of choice (I used Barney Butter Bare Almond Butter)

1 tsp coconut flour

1 T water

Directions:

Melt your coconut oil in the microwave, then stir in cocoa and stevia until smooth. Place 5 mini muffin liners on a plate and spoon a little of the chocolate mixture into each cup to make a layer about 1/4 inch thick on the bottom of the liners. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.

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Mix coconut flour with about a tablespoon of water (or milk of choice) until a thick paste forms. Add in nut butter and a little sprinkle of stevia if desired. Mix well. Take your muffin liners out of the freezer and evenly distribute the filling among the muffin cups.

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Evenly distribute the remainder of the chocolate mixture over the top of the filling. Return to the freezer until hardened. The coconut oil firms up quickly, so this doesn’t take long (thankfully!).

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Enjoy! Leave a comment below if you try 🙂

xo, Sarah

My Experience with NASM CPT (so far)

I have always dreamed of being a personal trainer. What could be better than getting to spend every day in the gym environment, helping people achieve their goals and become stronger versions of themselves? Just the possibility that I could help improve someones health and their quality of life has just always been an incredible thought to me.

About a week after I graduated from college this past May, I was ready to make that dream a reality. After researching many different certification programs, I finally chose NASM because it is very highly respected and well known throughout the country. I also read about others experiences and could tell that it was a high quality program that would provide useful information to me even if I never actually choose to be a trainer as a profession.

Since I have been so caught up with doctor’s appointments and just simply not feeling very good this summer, I am honestly not as far along with the program as I would like to be. But I wanted to share my experience so far so that maybe it will help others who are considering signing up for the program, because it really helped me to read about others experiences when I was choosing my program.

To prepare for starting the program, I got a three ring binder with some page separators. I printed out the syllabus, study planner, and exam study guide, and gave them each a section. I then put blank lined paper in the back of the binder for my notes on each chapter, and printed out the corresponding chapter guides. I think being organized with all of the study materials and having a plan is key to success with this program.

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The syllabus contains a 75 day study planner, which tells you what chapter to read and the assignments that go along with that chapter. There is an online platform that goes along with the program that has presentations to watch and quizzes to test your knowledge of the material. I have been reading the chapters, taking notes, and then doing the quizzes to make sure I have absorbed the information.

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As far as the actual content goes, I have actually found it pretty interesting. Before starting this program, most of my fitness knowledge was from my own personal experience, friends, and my own research online. It is interesting being able to tie that knowledge to the information in the NASM text book, and learning the actual terminology. It is also really helpful to learn how to strategically construct an individualized fitness plan for someone based on their age, gender, goals, and current fitness level.

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The chapters are honestly not that long and go by pretty quickly. The program covers 20 total chapters, so you could techically get it done in 20 days if you did a chapter every day, which I think is actually doable. I am currently doing 1-3 chapters per week, but this will probably increase now that I’m finally starting to feel better!

If you are thinking about biting the bullet and signing up for this program – I say do it! It feels really good to do something that will positively impact my future, and it’s awesome to be able to do this certification from home. Almost all the materials are available online except for the text book, which is mailed to you. I hope this review of my experience so far was helpful, and I’ll definitely write another post once I fully complete the program.

Happy Studying!

xo, Sarah

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

These bars are a hybrid dessert miracle. It doesn’t hurt that they only have 4.5 grams of sugar and 8 grams of carbs per bar.

During the strict 10 day diet (guided by my doctor) that I had been on this past week or so, I had the biggest craving for gooey, chocolatey brownies and chocolate chip cookie dough. Now that I am on a slightly less strict diet and can eat nuts and small amounts of natural sugars again, I knew I needed to find a way to satisfy that craving. So I decided to combine the two desserts into one delicious, grain-free, low sugar, chocolatey, doughy, indulgent bar.

They got nice and crispy on top, but remained soft and gooey inside. Perfection.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup applesauce

½ cup cashew butter (120 g)

¼ cup almond butter (60 g)

40 g coconut sugar

6 stevia packets

50 g almond flour (1/4 c + 2 T)

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

3 T chocolate chips (or more if desired – I used Enjoy Life mini)

Directions:

Mix applesauce with nut butter, and then add dry ingredients and stir in 2 T chocolate chips. Mix well. Put in greased 8×8 glass pan and sprinkle remaining tablespoon of chocolate chips over the top.

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Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before attempting to cut. Store in the refrigerator overnight before cutting for firmer bars (if you can wait that long!).

Nutrition for one bar (cut into 16 squares): 110 calories 8 F/ 8 C (4.5 sugar)/ 3 P

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Substitutions: you can use different types of nut butter if desired, and you could probably sub mashed banana or pumpkin for the applesauce. Regular brown sugar will probably work instead of coconut sugar. You could also try adding cocoa powder to the batter to make more of an authentic double chocolate brownie.

Enjoy! And leave a comment below if you try 🙂

xo, Sarah