Traveling Healthy My Way

Over the past week and a half I will have visited Utah, back to Austin and then to Anaheim, CA.  To some that are used to a busy travel schedule this seems like nothing but since I’m not used to traveling this much and have been gone almost every weekend on September preceding this trip let’s just say things have been hard. When you go out to dinner a glass of wine can turn into a big meal and that can lead to dessert.  This isn’t always the case but a lot of times when I’m by myself it helps me feel more at ease to let loose for a second.

Now, a little bit of healthy balance isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you let go for a week and a half that can cause problems.  So what are my methods to battle this issue?

  1. Wake up early regardless and do a workout, whether it is something restorative, intense or just gets me moving at least I’m awake and doing something to reach my health goals.  This helps with getting my metabolism going for the day and now it is out of the way and not something I’ll have to do at the end of the day.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast.  This last weekend in Utah I enjoyed an amazing egg white frittata with a little bit of jack cheese, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado.  High protein content and healthy fats with greens and other fiber filled veggies.  This breakfast was somewhere around 300 calories but it lasted me several hours without food since traveling doesn’t always allow for a meal every 2-3 hours.
  3. Ask about the food at restaurants. One key thing I have to do regardless of weight loss goals is to ask how things are prepared.  Since I have celiacs disease if I make one wrong move then that could result in some very uncomfortable side effects.
  4. Eat things that are not always available where you live.  For instance, in Anaheim the super fresh seafood will be a go-to.  I love my home state of Texas but let’s be honest, fresh seafood is not very easy to come by and when you do it costs a ridiculous amount of money.  This keeps my taste buds feeling like they are experiencing something new and fresh but it allows me an opportunity to eat fresh fish with lots of healthy fats.
  5. Keep it paleo-keto ish.  This rule is primarily something for myself and is not necessarily something that works for everyone but when I’m out on the road enabling my self to eat fats makes snacking a little easier and I’m fuller longer.  It’s kind of like practicing carb-cycling, just no set pattern.  Since traveling is typically very sedentary I don’t necessarily need all the carbs to fuel my activities.
  6. Find motivation. I’ve recently started listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast and its amazing.  These two women are very intelligent and entertaining.  This information has helped me make better decisions on the road to ensure that I’m maintaining my health.  Also PaleOMG blog posts about staying on track while her book tour has been great!  Even though I know a good amount of information regarding health and fitness, its different when applying it directly to an area of your life that has events that don’t happen often.

These are all fairly simple and be applied in the most basic way, find your motivation, educate yourself, stay moving, adapt your diet to your physical needs and have fun!

Simple Fall Pumpkin Soup Recipe

I love pumpkin, pumpkin everything  Its great in pie, ravioli (believe me…if you ever eat at Palazzo Giuseppe in San Luis Obispo, CA its worth every penny!!), and even in smoothies.  One thing I have yet to try was making homemade pumpkin soup.  I’ve never been able to decide if I wanted to create a sweeter pumpkin soup or do more of a savory one.  After this halloween we had these mini cooking pumpkins left over and instead of throwing them away I decided to use it for soup.  The weather is getting rainy and cool so what better than a creamy soup?

Photo on 2014-11-04 at 13.33 #2

(just for fun lol, this is what happens when I am sick of studying)

Spicy Pumpkin Soup:

  • 1.5 cups of pumpkin (you can use canned but I really enjoyed the fresh taste of the roasted pumpkin)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (gluten free and low sodium)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of vanilla unsweetend almond milk
  • 1/2 sweet white onion (sauteed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (sauteed with onions prior to mixing)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp stevia
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

After roasting the pumpkin and sauteeing the onion and garlic I combined everything in our vitamix and blended it for 6 minutes.  You can also use an immersion blender or a food processor if you don’t have a blender.

IMG_2021

Viola!!

Pumpkin is great for the digestive system because of the fiber content of this vegetable, one cup of pumpkin puree provides you with 7.1 grams of dietary fiber and also contains 10% of your daily potassium intake. Since it is getting colder more and more people are coming to work sick and you need a very strong immune system to defend your body from bacteria. A 1-cup serving of pumpkin puree supplies 3.4 grams of iron, which is a mineral that helps keep you from getting sick by supporting a strong immune system. You also get approximately 15% of your daily Vitamin E intake as well which is required for building a strong immune system as well. As a side note, pumpkin has shown signs of helping prevent any development of lung cancer, preventing heart disease, and has been shown to prevent inflammation. Inflammation can potentially lead to things like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

It’s time to step up our nutrition game ya’ll, I know its the fall and this is when everyone struggles to lose weight or even just maintain weight but through dedication and education you can learn fun new ways to still eat delicious foods that fuel your body the right way!

~Salah

Bakes=Best

Throughout the years in my personal fitness and health journey I’ve had to search for quick, easy and cheap ways to eat well without breaking the bank and spending endless hours cooking. Some Sundays I prefer to have the option of doing SUP vs. cooking all day long.

I’ve gone through several different types of diets:

From Pescatarian–> Vegetarian–> Vegan (not for long)–> Paleo–>Bodybuilding

Through them all I’ve had to do endless amounts of research and one of the main things that I’ve taken away is keep it fresh, keep it simple and just keep it clean.  My body responds better to a lower fat diet vs. low carb diet so thats what I focus on!  I love getting in lots of good lean protein and using seasonings (low sodium) and fresh herbs to keep things tasting great!

For a lot of my clients with kids, I know time is precious and it always seems like we never have enough of it but the great news is there are all kinds of ways to stay healthy on the go and preparing food ahead of time is a great way to stay on track!

One of my favorite meals is from PaleOMG, she is one of my all time favorite bloggers out there, and her meals are simple, clean and fresh.

Spaghetti Squash Bake

 

(Photo compliments of PaleOMG.com sorry, I eat my food so quickly I forget to take pictures).

Spaghetti squash is a great staple to have around the house, its super low maintenance to cook with and it has Vitamin A, Calcium (ladies its super important for us to get our calcium intake in), Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. It’s also low calorie so those of us trying to make sure we have a calorie deficit this is a great substitution for things like rice, bread, pasta, etc.

I’ve taken Juli’s Spaghetti Squash Bake and make it slightly leaner and lower in fat by substituting a full egg with 1/4 cup of egg white and instead of italian sausage I used lean turkey.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1.5 lb Lean Ground Turkey (there is Turkey sausage in the store as well)
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 bundle of kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 egg white
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth (low sodium)
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk (there are low fat versions as well, use what you need for your specific diet and goals)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds and excess threads from your squash.
  3. Place open side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until you can press into your squash and it gives a bit.
  4. While your squash bakes, heat up a large pot under medium-high heat and add your ground turkey and season how you like if you need to. Break up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Once your sausage is cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl.
  6. Keep the extra fat from the meat in the pot, add your minced garlic and add your kale, onions, and chicken broth. Combine.
  7. Then add your coconut milk and spices. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Pull your spaghetti squash out of the oven and use a fork to pull out the Squash.
  9. Once your kale is wilted and onions have begin to become translucent, remove from heat and add your spaghetti squash as well as your egg to the kale/onion mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  10. Then add your cooked lean turkey and mix together.
  11. Place the mixed ingredients into a baking dish (or same pot if it’s oven safe) and spread out evenly.
  12. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is slightly browned.
  • Calories: 317/Serving
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fat: 6g
  • Protein: 44g

**This recipe is not my own, I just substituted a few things.  Also all pictures were used from PaleOMG**

Viola, Enjoy!

~Salah

During My Days

As some of you may or may not know I am training for a half marathon (my first one ever) that happens on Dec. 6.  Since I’ve never run in a designated 5k, 10k, half or full this is all brand new to me.  I actually just never really liked running longer than a 100m sprint to be quite honest.  My entire life all of my training has been short burst and very powerful movements.  The game of volleyball is no joke:

Back to my point, I’m at a point in my life now where I’m not competing collegiately anymore and to be honest I’m kind of taking a break from athletic competition for this semester at least.  Being back in school and making straight A’s is competitive enough.

So how do I transfer all my stress and energy?

I’m running…..long distances…..I never thought I would say that….ever.

Running Meme

lol but for real ya’ll the struggle is real.

The good thing about this training is that it calls for cross training.  When you are training for a marathon or any other distance event maintaining muscle strength is extremely important in preventing injuries. This part I’m good at because I love lifting.

Today I had a really good cross training session at home.  I used our garage, an old yoga mat (not my nice lululemon one),a 25lb DB and a 10lb plate.

30 min AMRAP:

  • 25 DB Swings
  • 25 Mountain Climbers (R+L=1 rep)
  • 25 Situps
  • 25 Tricep Pushups
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 25 Sumo Squats w/ DB
  • 25 Russian Twists w/ Plate
  • 25 Push Press with DB
  • 25 High Knees (R+L=1)

It was beautiful.  The garage was nice and humid, sweat was dripping everywhere and I was going fast enough to keep my heart rate up but not so fast that I didn’t focus on form.

The other thing that I’m required to do in this training is “stretching”. This is one area I’ve always been bad at with any and ALL training….mobility and I have a love-hate relationship. It’s like going into a bikram yoga class, you hate it throughout the class; its hot, stuffy, people smell and all I want to do is lay down and fall asleep or go drink water, lots of it. Thankfully I have an app on our Smart TV called YogiGlow and they have runners specific yoga classes that have been helping me stay mobile. I highly suggest this app to anyone looking for multiple levels of yoga classes to do at home!  They also range in time and focus area so its great to fit into your schedule!

Now that I’m coaching at CrossFit South Lamar (Hollar!) my mornings are a lot busier on Tuesdays/Thursdays, so a good nutritional breakfast is very important.  Especially with all of the running I’m doing in conjunction with coaching online nutrition and taking 3 lectures and 3 labs this semester, I need to make sure that I am practicing what I preach.

Here is one of my favorite breakfasts that I’ve been eating lately:

BREAKFAST

I call this one “Eggs and Rice”…there’s more creativity where that came from🙂

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.09.45 PMI hope ya’ll can read that I’m new at this screen shot thing but its 1 cup of egg whites, bell pepper, sweet onion, 1/3 c brown rice and Cholula (my fav).  On the side I’ll have about 1/8c of pecans just for some sweetness and crunch.

  • Calories: 249 (minus pecans)
  • Carbs: 24g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 28g

I also had FITAID the other day after my 5 mile run and it was amazing!  It was super refreshing and to be honest I truly did feel a difference in my recovery.  This drink has lots of beneficial ingredients in it such as:

CoQ10, Glucosamine, Green Tea Extract, B Vitamins, Tumeric, Amino Acids and a few others that help with performance and recovery.  It’s got a great flavor and the entire can is only 45 calories.

FITAID

I would suggest this to anyone looking for a good recovery drink thats lower in calories and wanting to maintain good flavor!

Remember to take care of yourselves, this is the time of year that all that hard work during the summer gets lost in the mix of life’s craziness!

~Salah

Part 6: Booty Building Bootcamp

I know this is past due……extremely past due, but with school starting, moving into a new home, putting on a new Nutrition Challenge and tests on tests on tests my schedule has been INSANE!

This post isn’t going to work on just one movement but putting together several different movements to create the best BOOTY BLASTING workout!  Glutes take time to develop, so please remember that doing a workout just once won’t give you the best butt in the world after one workout.  Also, nutrition and conditioning also plays a MAJOR role in creating that ultimate physique.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a permanent EASY fix but there is a long term route you can take and that is primarily done through hard work, dedication to your goals, and making sure to keep all diet/sleep/workout factors in line.  It’s a hard balance to find but it is 100% worth it when you do get there!

Here is my most recent favorite booty workout (from bodybuilding.com):

Smith Machine Squat Smith Machine Squat
4 sets of 10 reps
Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls
4 sets of 10 reps
Kettlebell Pistol Squat Kettlebell Pistol Squat
3 sets of 10 reps per leg
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
3 sets of 10 reps
Plie Dumbbell Squat Plie Dumbbell Squat
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 20 reps
Resistance Band Glute Kickback Resistance Band Glute Kickback
3 sets of 15 reps
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)
3 sets of 10 reps
Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift
3 sets of 10 reps
Glute Kick-Up On Hamstring Curl Machine
3 sets of 10 reps
Alternative Option:
3 sets of 15 reps
Hopefully one day I will have glutes like Ashley Kaltwasser, 2x Ms. Bikini Olympia
Ashley Kaltwasser Glutes
Give it a try!
~Salah

Random Thoughts and Events

I’ve been pretty busy lately and going through a lot of changes, but they are all very very good changes.

1. I finished my job at Aerotek on Aug 21

2. We moved into our new home on Aug 22

3. I started school on Aug 25

Oh yeah, and we didn’t have water our first 4 days in the home lol🙂.

I’ve also go to celebrate one of my very very very best friends birthdays, and go see a concert with the love of my life. As a side note, if you have not heard of or see the local Austin band Uncle Lucius you absolutely need to.  I can’t stop listening to them!

We have been working hard building things for this home….such as a bookshelf, that I swear was trying to kill us rather than help us!  My husband who loves Lowes requested a break from the store…..we were so ashamed of having to make so many trips we started making an effort to enter in through various entry ways vs. the same one because we didn’t want the same people to see us for the third or fourth time that day……

The good news is that we have it built finally, and its amazing!  This bookshelf will never fall apart, its stronger than anything I could think of and super cool!

Yes we built this

Panoramic view of the office

Office Panoramic

I’ve also decided that it would be fun to trigger up a disc in my back so while I’ve been taking it lightly on workouts, I’ve been brainstorming all the workouts I can’t wait to do once my Physical Therapist (aka. Dr. Brett…my hubby) releases me lol.  Check out this video from the Onnit Academy, I can’t wait to play around with this one!

Watching videos like this and playing around with different workout variations always gets me excited!  I like to do few days a week of strict isolation movements, and three days a week of power and more athletic training work.

At this time I am now taking on 15 clients to start my nutrition program in October, please let me know if you are interested!  There may be a nice prize for the person who makes the biggest change :-)!!! Email me for details (Salahgibbons44@gmail.com).

Have a wonderful weekend!

Glute Training Part 3: Explosive Movements

I have always been a fan of an athletic figure, I love how women can look strong but also feminine at the same time.  When it comes to glute training I love incorporating explosive movements so I can continue to have my athletic figure like I once did in my volleyball years. Track runners and volleyball players have similar frames which I love🙂.

track bootyMIsty May

 

As you get to know me or if you already know me well, one of my favorite exercises of all time is the box jump.  I think they are super fun, torturous, and they make me feel so powerful. I’ve never been one to be scared to jump on the highest box I possibly could, but after coaching CrossFit for a year I know that not everyone loves box jumps with the same passion as me. I’m hoping to change some minds after I talk about the benefits of box jumps.

Box Jumps 2

Benefits:

1) One of the main benefits of box jumps is that it improves the reaction of fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout the entire body.  This is extremely important for sports training, especially power sports like volleyball, football, basketball, etc.

2) This involves several muscle groups to perform this exercise so core and legs are recruited to contract very quickly so you can generate maximal force. The higher and more explosive the jump is, the more muscle tissue is activated.

3) This move is extremely beneficial in fat loss programs as plyometric training has been proven to burn 25% more calories in a circuit.

4) Box jumps aid in developing muscle fibers that extend from the quads, hamstrings and glutes.

5) There are many variations of this movement for all fitness levels (step ups, jump up-step down, Jump up-jump down).

Keep in Mind:

1. Starting off, you will bring yourself down into a squat, this will start the preparation for the explosive movement. To gain the highest jump possible you want to recruit as many muscles as possible to really generate the power required.

2. Land softly-  you will want to absorb the shock with a slight bend in the knee as you hit the platform of the box.  Landing on your toes will help with the cushioning.  Box jumps can be very beneficial but with any high reward movement there is always a risk, so be gentle on your body and pay attention to your landing (listen to see if there is a lot of sound when you land, you want this to be as silent of a move as possible).

Box Jump 1

If you really want to create a dynamic circuit you can also add some tire flips.  These are great the main things to keep in mind is your posture.  You always want to keep a straight and stable line from the top of your head to the bottom of your spine, abs always need to be engaged.  Also, get your booty down so you can utilize the power in your legs and glutes instead of solely depending on your back to move the tire, this will obviously not be good and has a lot of potential for injury.

An Example workout would be:

5 Rounds

  • 15 Box Jumps
  • 10 Tire Flips
  • 25 Situps
  • 45 second plank

**Remember** Be Safe in your movement, push yourself and recognize the benefits of what you are doing for yourself!

Salah