Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Healthy Living On the Road

If you know me well at all, you know my full time gig is in consulting. Which means a lot of things and may one day lead to my bestseller I plan on penning titled, "Your Consultant Does Not Want To Go To Dinner With You." This has less to do with being hit on by clients - which truthfully never seems to happen to me unless they're cute, old grandpa-types innocently flirting or gay men who think I'm fabulous - and more to do with clients that seem to find it totally appropriate to plan every last detail of your time on-site with them, down to your meals. Anyway, I digress.

Traveling a lot leads to the inevitable hot mess of trying to make healthy choices on the road. It's a real trial. In fact, I was once interviewed on this topic, see here . That said, as I type I'm in an airport waiting to head to Connecticut for work for the next 2.5 days. So, my thought is if I "put it in writing" perhaps I'll do a better job of holding up to my end of the bargain to travel healthy... that said, here's the game plan:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cardio Done Smarter (Not Harder)

Let's face it, I've gotten to a place where I hate cardio. My goals have transitioned towards strength training and it's hard to find the fortitude to get my buns on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc., etc. However, it's a necessary evil that I've been avoiding far too much lately. After scoping out the July issue of my Oxygen magazine and seeing a walking workout on the treadmill I thought a couple of things: first was - "walking can't possibly be enough for me to feel I exerted myself and why even bother with this work out?" Second was, "I don't feel like doing running intervals today, walking? Let's do this!"

1 Month Pull-up Challenge: Workout #3

Monday, Monday... in so many ways all of us despise you... but then again, you give us the opportunity to start over. And this Monday, after indulging far too much all weekend, starting over felt good. Busting my ass felt great and working towards the pull-up was just what the doctor ordered.

Monday I started week 9 of a 12 week strength training program I've been toiling away at. It was also the third workout in my 1 month Pull-up Challenge (so basically I'm combining my original workout plan with some pull-up-related exercises).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Easy Asian Noodles with Chicken, Peanuts and a Kick!

The other night Jake and I took in some Asian fare at Bac in Tremont. I'd been there before and thought it was delish but Jake downright flipped his lid. All he could talk about while we downed the rest of our PBR's at the bar was how delectable his wok-seared steak tips were. As he raved, I thought about the ingredients and the prep of both our dishes - nothing super intense. I could do this.

That's how we get to to this Monday night's dinner. I didn't go with red meat because quite frankly, I consume far too much of it as it is and I was going for something lighter. However, this dish could probably be served with any protein (pork, chicken, shrimp, beef) and hold up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1 Month Pull-up Challenge: Workout #2

Workout number two was quick, simple and brutal. Wednesday could have and probably should have been my rest day, but hey, there's only 30 days to get my weak ass over that bar. So in the gym we went and to the squat rack we mosey'ed. 

Seeing that I told Jake it was his job to develop the exercises for this challenge, I did something I rarely do: listened to him as if he was indeed my master. After all, he adds extra weight to his pull-ups. I know when to shut my yap and let someone who knows what they're doing teach me something new. 

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Italian Salad

For better or worse, I am one of those people who can't bring herself to eat leftovers and never just tosses something together with what's hanging around in her fridge. If I'm going to cook it's definitely a premeditated process including a recipe and I'm focused on making something great. Not just something to get by. Today was an exception. There was some produce laying around the BF's apartment that was about to go to waste and there was chicken in my fridge that needed to get cooked or perish. That said, I broke my own rule and flew by the seat of my pants with this "everything but the kitchen sink" salad. 

Now the very spirit of this salad is counter-intuitive to giving a list of ingredients - as it was just a "use what you've got hanging around" experiment. However, it was good enough that I'll likely replicate it. So here's what I came up with: 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out Chipotle - Mexican Salad Done Right

Up until a few months ago I had never understood what the big deal with Chipotle was. I'd tried a burrito once or twice a couple of years ago and found it gut busting - and not in my favorite "oh my lord, this is so delicious I can't stop" way, but more like "ugh... now I feel like I'm having a food baby and I'm not sure I even enjoyed the foreplay" way. I finally understood what it was all about when I ordered a steak salad. Damn. That thing didn't stand a chance. That vinaigrette dressing... the softball-sized dollop of guac... really, it was heavenly. I ate every last bite and could barely pull myself off the ledge of licking the cardboard bowl.

Then, in my fuzzy post-meal glory, I remembered all the hoopla awhile back about Chipotle posing as heath food when really, it was packed with calories. I did a little nutritional info surfing. Holy delicious guacamole... that delightful vinaigrette was 260 cals for a meager 2 oz. (?!) I love you Chipotle, but we are through. I can do better on my own. And I can prove it. Oh and did I mention, I'll look better for it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sweet Sounds on a Monday

Mondays more than any other day of the week I NEED music. I imagine a lot of people feel this way to get in to their weekly grind, errrr... I mean groove. Thing is, Mondays I'm usually a little anxiety-riddled and I don't get around to putting any tunes on until well in to the day when I'm already a stress ball. Today I broke the habit and got Pandora carnking while the morning caffeine was still brewing. Today I came across this beauty:

Man am I a sucker for the girl-guy combo not to mention the synthy little flourishes and lyrics like:

Someone told me you had oceans in your eyes
Cold as shadows over European skies
Coasting out the shallow day
Leaving London in decay
To islands on the sea,
lands I’ve never seen,
things will get calmer—follow me.

The 1 Month Pull-up Challenge

Once a week I engage in the exquisite torture that is "The Pull-up." I both dread this day in the gym and look forward to it. It is the very definition of a "love-hate relationship." I love it because I picture myself as Linda Hamilton in Terminator or Demi Moore in GI Jane (I prefer Demi to be honest) as an ass-kicking, bad-ass broad. And... I hate it because I've yet to be able to get my chin above that bar unassisted and I feel like a real candy ass for that.

Last week upon lamenting to the man, "I truly don't know that I'll ever be able to do an unassisted pull-up," he very assuredly (and with a level of cockiness I'm not sure I appreciated at the time) responded: "I can get you doing a pull-up in a month." I told him to put his money where his mouth was: I put in the time, he develops the exercises and we've got exactly 30 days to make this happen.

Today was day 1.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lateral Raises With Some Oomph

While in the gym today doing some upper body work, lateral raises to be exact, I was cruising through my set. You know the feeling when you're not concentrating on your form as closely as you should be, you're not checking your breathing - basically, you're on auto-pilot? That's where I was at. I swear, half the battle in the gym is staying mentally present and not letting the rest of your life creep in. So, I checked myself and got back in to the zone and was able to do some more effective strength training.

A quick tip I picked up in Oxygen magazine that I always use now when doing lateral raises: at the top of the move, direct your thumb down to raise the back of the dumbbell ever so slightly. This helps you define your delts even faster. It also is a trick that helps force you to stay present. Happy lifting!

Throwback Thursday

Okay it's not quite a throwback... six years old isn't that long ago. However, this isn't a new tune, but it popped up on my iPod today and it brought up old memories and it sounded heavenly to my ears. Not to mention anything with bittersweet lyrics will always rise to the top with me.

If you've heard this one, take a little trip down memory lane and listen to it again. If you haven't, you're welcome.

Pre-Fall Polish Preview

So there's a brand of nail polish out of the U.K. that a best gal pal and I are OBSESSED with. I'm not going to lie to you, Rescue Beauty Lounge (or RBL as you'll see my refer to it) polish runs $18 a bottle plus shipping. It's the Bentley of the nail polish world and from my opinion as a nearly certified nail polish reviewer, it's worth every penny.

That said, today I caught a quick snippet on Facebook that RBL had previewed its "pre-fall" collection, coined - L’Oiseau de Feu - which means "The Fire Bird" and is also a famous piece by Igor Stravinsky. Yea, I'm not that cultured, I grabbed this from the article, but it intrigued me nonetheless. Evidently RBL's head honcho Ji Baek, was inspired by the color transformations that Hurricane Earl brought on while she was vacationing in St. Barts and that brings us back to the nail polish. From this quick pic I am really digging the color on the bottom right but not having my hair blown back too much by any of the others. Looking forward to the big and complete reveal coming soon!

Bitchin' Baked Apple & Cinnamon Oatmeal

By far my most favorite experiment in the kitchen thus far: baked oatmeal. Sounds unsexy, right? Oatmeal is a snooze-fest, health food that you put up with to keep your heart healthy and your waistline small, I know. Until today I was in that camp. Let's just say, I've been converted. Baked oatmeal is the new granola or if you really want to know what it tastes like, it's like apple cobbler and a gooey oatmeal cookie made love in your mouth. I can't sell it enough. Just try it, who doesn't want apple cobbler and oatmeal cookies making love in their mouth? No one I can think of.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guilty Pleasures Made Healthy

I love junk food. I love salads that pack more calories than the daily allowance. Similarly, I love chicken tenders. There were points in my younger years (okay, it wasn't that long ago) where I ate chicken tenders every single time I dined out. I also did not find it at all trashy that Britney Spears served chicken tenders at her wedding. I get it. I'll probably do the same but I'll one up her by having a dipping sauce bar.

That said, here are my "faux" fried chicken tenders accompanied with a mock cobb salad. Oh yea, and homemade healthy ranch dressing for dipping sauce.

Cobb Salad
(adapted from "Oxygen" magazine a.k.a my bible)
- 4 cups preshredded cabbage and carrot slaw
- 2 slices applewood smoked bacon (sub turkey bacon)
- 1 diced avocado
- 2/3 cup diced tomato
- 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
- Sliced green onion (as much as you like)
- Handful or two of roasted sunflower seeds