Spring Cleaning Workout

ImageSpring has SPRUNG! There’s finally springy weather around here and I am thrilled to put away my puffy coat for good. I’m also happy to open up the windows in my apartment, let in some fresh air, and get to spring cleaning!

At the same time, however, I’m busy training for a half marathon and working on getting bikini ready, obviously. So I was glad when a rep for Shana Schneider, fitness expert and founder of FITWEEK, a fitness company dedicated to helping women “turn their week into a FITWEEK,” asked that I share her “Spring Cleaning Workout.” Talk about killing two birds with one stone, am I right?

According to FITWEEK, you can follow this plan to burn nearly 1,000 calories* and get a full body workout targeting your arms, legs and abs. The more elbow grease you use, the more calories you’ll burn! Here it is -

Spring Cleaning Workout 

  1. Vacuum the carpet (<– I swear this was the only “cardio” my mom did for years and it totally works!)
  2. Change the sheets on the bed.
  3. Dust the window sills, the floor boards, and ceiling corners.
  4. Scrub the floors on your hands and knees.
  5. Put away your winter clothes.
  6. Wash your car.
  7. Weed your yard. (No yard? Find a friend who does! Or your parents’ yard?)

Can’t imagine doing this all in one day? Then tackle one activity each day for a week. My personal tip? Make sure you have some good mood-inspiring tunes on while all of this is happening.

As a bonus for dog owners, your pup could probably use a bath! Burn an additional 170 calories.

For more tips on how to turn every week into a FITWEEK, visit fitweek.com.

*Source CalorieLab.

IMPORTANT QUESTION: Do you count activities like cleaning and shopping as cardio? (I sure do!)

Treadmill Karaoke

Luckily the weather is finally warming up here in the NYC area, but aside from a few of lucky breaks, most of my shorter runs for half marathon training have taken place on the treadmill up until now.

Not fun!

When I’m not training for a race, I usually stick with an interval workout on the treadmill to make the time go faster, so sticking to a steady pace for a longer distance had me worried at first. However, I’ve discovered a fun game that helps me get through these workouts, and I’m going to share with you. I call it treadmill karaoke –

Step 1 - Make an amazing playlist of current or past pop hits. Create a cool theme. Go bananas!

Step 2 - Cover the treadmill mileage with your gym towel. DO NOT LOOK AT IT!

Step 3 - Guesstimate how long it will take you to get through a mile or so. Only check the mileage if you are completely overcome with curiosity and/or think you might almost be done! I’m usually at around a 9 or 10 minute mile pace, so I figure every three 3-minute song will get me through about a mile and change.

 Step 4 (most important step) - LIP SYNCH LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING!

Here are a couple of my favorite Spotify playlists for this delightful activity:

Millennium Dance Party Workout (Packed with hits from ’99-’02!)

 

Britney Spears Vegas Setlist (Obviously fun)

How do you entertain yourself on longer treadmill runs?

Weeknight Meals for One: Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

turkey meatballs

Back when I lived at home with my parents, I was lucky enough to have a home-cooked meal on the table every night. Now that I’m an adult living on my own, making sure I eat healthy meals throughout the week involves some planning. I try to have a few go-to recipes that I can make on Sunday or Monday night. That way, I can easily reheat dinner throughout the week so that I’m not constantly cooking or thinking about what I’m going to order from Seamless. That can get unhealthy quickly…and very expensive!

Here’s one of my go-to recipes I thought you might enjoy. It’s pretty healthy, very satisfying, AND low-carb!

 

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs Recipe (Inspired by Jenni-O’s Mini Turkey Meatballs)

Ingredients: 

1 (20-ounce) package JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey

1 small onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

¼ cup dried breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons ketchup

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 jar of your fave tomato sauce

1 medium sized spaghetti squash

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, ketchup, parsley, cheese and pepper. Shape mixture into 1 ¼-inch diameter meatballs. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and the meatballs are brown all the way through.

Cut your spaghetti squash half, gut it, sprinkle it with a little salt/pepper and roast it, gut-side down on a well-greased baking sheet for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees. Wait for it to cool a bit, and then scoop out the insides.

While all of this is happening, heat up your tomato sauce in a saucepan on low heat.

This is a great recipe to make early in the week and will last a while! I usually freeze half of the meatballs and they last a while.

 

Do you cook for yourself during the week, or do you usually order takeout? 

Beat that Beer Belly

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

I caught these scary fun stats on how much activity it will take to burn off the calories from your beer when I grabbed the Metro in the Path on my way to work this morning and thought they were worth a share.

Image

I’ve found cutting out beer for the most part seriously helps in losing or maintaining my weight, but definitely enjoy one (or two…) occasionally! If you live in Hoboken, you know that our St. Patrick’s Day has technically already passed (we just can’t wait ’till March 17th!) but if you’re still looking to party, it looks like 1 Republik and Wicked Wolf are still up for some fun.

Will you go out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tonight, or have you already had your fill of Irish fun? 

Weight Loss Tips from Maria Menounos!

There’s no doubt that Maria Menounos is in amazing shape. Remember when she lost a bet with AC Slater Extra co-host Mario Lopez and dared to bare it all after the Super Bowl?

I was shocked to hear that Maria was once 40 lbs heavier! The star covers the April issue of Ladies’ Home Journal and shares an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming book The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fiteness: How I Lost 40 Lbs and Kept It Off – and How You Can Too!

After gaining 40 pounds in college, she slimmed down, but struggled while living off a diet of junk food, but today, Maria keeps her bod strong and fit through interviewing the world’s leading diet, fitness and health experts & combining their advice to keep the excess weight off for good.

LHJ  asked me to share some of Maria’s tips as featured in its April issue. Having dropped over 20 lbs a while after college (mainly in order to shape up for my sister’s wedding) I can relate to Maria’s struggle. I definitely agree with tips #1 and #3, but in terms of #2 think it’s  helpful or hold yourself accountable by sharing your fitness goals with your friends on social media. I also like using social apps like MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal as a fun little competitive game with my fellow health-minded friends. However I agree that certain aspects of your weight loss journey – like the numbers on the scale, for instance – should be kept to yourself. 

How Maria Dropped 40 Pounds

Step 1: Set a Deadline 

You can’t just say, “I want to lose weight…someday.” It’s that kind of loose talk, without a guideline, that discourages you from getting started and undermines success. My goal was to stop overeating, make healthier choices and lose weight slowly over the course of one year. Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results. And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was.

Step 2: Keep It to Yourself

When you tell others you’re trying to lose weight, you’re just putting pressure on yourself. Weight loss is tough enough – why make it any harder?

Step 3: Tie It to an Event

If you have a specific event in mind, it gives you extra motivation. Maybe you want to get in shape for an upcoming class or family reunion. Maybe you’re going on vacation or just want to look good on the beach in the summer. My event was the Miss Massachusetts USA Beauty Pageant. I knew there was a swimsuit portion of the show and if I was going to be in a bathing suit in from of thousands of people, I wanted to be in the best possible shape. 

Which of these tips do you find most helpful? 

Choosing a Half Marathon Training Plan

Completing a half marathon is a goal I’ve had for a little while. So when one of my friends mentioned signing up for the Brooklyn Half on May 18, all he had to say was, “the course is pretty flat and we’ll have lots of beers afterwards,” I replied, “Yep, count me in!”

I figured since I run on a fairly regular basis, am comfortable with at least an occasional 5k, and most importantly – that it was the dead of winter at the time and I hate running distances on treadmills – that a 10-week training program would work out realistically for me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I often find workout ideas and inspiration on various running blogs and Pinterest. There are so many out there! Some searching lead me to the following plans:

Image

Image

Both seem pretty reasonable being that the longest runs are always on Saturdays, and each builds up mileage pretty slowly. I ended up selecting the first one because I like how specific it is with its recommendations for cross-training and rest days. Since my only goal is to cross the finish line (and drink beers afterwards), I’m not too concerned with pacing.

Have you ever trained for a long race before? How did you find your training plan? 

The Best of Puppies on Instagram

Aside from capturing old-timey looking photos of your friends’ Eggs Benedict, Instagram is good for two other things — interesting photos from celebrities, and adorable photos of puppies. Thanks to Buzzfeed, I discovered a treasure chest of a toy poodle’s account last night, and it inspired me to share with you some of my other favorite puppy accounts.

anko_miyu (via Buzzfeed)

Image

Puppies for All 

Features a variety of puppies…for us all. Recommend to me by my coworker’s 8-year-old daughter.

Image

jmarcoz (all pugs)

LOL THESE PUGS ARE HAVING A SUNDAY FUNDAY! Tell me this isn’t better than a photo of your friend’s bloody mary! Image.

Thank you, internet!

IMPORTANT QUESTION:

  • What are your favorite cute Instagram accounts?