7pm Celebrate Earth Day – Bake A Healthy Kale Inspired Recipe

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Happy Earth Day! As many of you have the environment in mind, I wanted to inspire you with a new green food I recently discovered at the local market: It’s fresh. It’s crunchy, and it’s all the rage with fitspo bloggers and health enthusiasts around the world – kale.

I discovered the new green when I was at the local market. A man took a heaping mound of kale and placed it in his basket when I asked how he would suggest preparing it. He suggested using it for juicing, but has seen others use it as a lettuce alternative in salads since it packs in more nutrients. I thought it was worth a try and took some home myself.

I later learned that kale was not only more nutritious, but it also had the following benefits:

  • It’s high in vitamin K – a necessity for preventing various cancers
  • It’s great for cardiovascular support and can lower cholesterol levels
  • It’s filled with fiber and sulfur and can detox your body and keep your liver healthy

And so much more!

It’s very easy to prepare and add to various dinner dishes. However, this versatile food also makes a great snacking alternative. Kale chips are growing in popularity as a healthy, low-cal alternative to potato chips and other high-carbohydrate snacks.

This Parmesan kale chip recipe from Do It Delicious is easy to make and requires ingredients you probably have sitting around at home. It requires kale, olive oil and Parmesan cheese! Simply place kale on a baking sheet and cover with olive oil, bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes until crisp, let cool, then sprinkle with salt and Parmesan!

kale chips from do it delicious blog

Have you ever made anything with kale? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear!

Jordana

12:30pm WorkOUT Of Comfort Zone (Cool workout provided)

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After venturing into many gyms, I learned they all have that one “area” typically far to the back that I like to think of as “Never Ever Land.” It’s the spot where the beefiest of men congregate to pump some iron. All of them have a spotter and grunting is heard whether you want to or not. Can you see it now? Planet Fitness may say they are showcasing “gymtimidation” but I just think of it as general “discomfort.” Who wants to pick up 15-lb weights when the guy next to you us lifting just as much as you weigh?

Last week, however, I learned that this wonderland of heavy weights is the only place where I can truly improve myself. From the smith machine, to the weight bars – If I want to improve myself, I’m going to need to get out of my comfort zone – judgement or not.

 

I found a 12 week workout program online that forced me to try something new and to be honest, I’m already feeling a difference in my body’s tone. Here’s the workout so you can try it for yourself after work! You’ll feel it in your shoulders, triceps and biceps – I promise.

Bench Press 3×8-12

Bent Over Row 3×8-12

Dumbell Shoulder Press 3×8-12

Lying Tricep Extention 3-8×12

Barbell Curl or Dumbell Curl 3×8-12

It also doesn’t hurt to rock a Deadmau5 shirt at the gym.

 

PS Reppin’ Deadmau5 at the gym…got a lot of compliments:

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7pm: Add some kickboxing plyometrics for faster calorie burn

Kickboxing

 

There’s been a lot of change on this side of town – starting with a new job! Since my last post, I’ve been busy acquainting myself with a new work environment, a new city and new workout routines. I guess you can say I’ve been re-discovering myself in a way and creating new goals for myself. WIth these new goals in mind, I’ve been trying new activities and discovering new hobbies. One of those newfound hobbies – kickboxing.

It’s my new love and my new passion. Not to mention it’s most likely the greatest stress-reliever known to mankind (in my opinion at least). Although I have to say my weight gain has been inching to new heights, I have discovered a drop in body fat percentage as well as an increase power and strength. 

Although the classes are a bit lengthy, I discovered that a large portion of these workout routines consists of plyometric exercises. Plyo consists of powerful, intense movements in a short amount of time. In between kicks and punches – plyo gives us a burst of energy – making the metabolism kick into gear. 

If you don’t have enough time to fit in a full kickboxing routine, adding the same plyometric moves from class can give you a burst of energy and result in a higher calorie burn. 

I challenge you to add the following exercises into your next 10-15 minute workout routine. Simply do one exercise between weight sets for great results!

Add them in and let me know what you think! Keep up the great work 🙂

– Jordana

6:30 am: A little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That Total Body Workout

Waking up is not easy – or at least it shouldn’t be. However after four weeks of waking up at 5:45 am for bootcamp, sleeping in isn’t easy anymore. My body has found its way into a early bird system…lucky me! Rather than hopping back into bed, I toss and turn until I find my way, restlessly, into the gym at my apartment complex. It’s weird to think that my body can itch for the opportunity to workout when so many are still asleep! Since I have to be at work at 8am, this morning’s gym session would be a quick one. With little to no time for the warm-up run I desire, I designed a personal workout that would start with quick cardio moves followed by a short and effective total body circuit. 

The Warm Up – 

  • 5 minutes on either a treadmill or elliptical
  • 2 minutes alternating jumping jacks and squats
  • 30 seconds pushups
  • 30 seconds high knees

The Circuit – 

Perform each move for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between exercises. Do three sets. 

  • 360 degree lunges – using 5-10 lb weights, lunge forward, to the right, to the back and to the left. Switch sides. 
  • Squat jumps 

Perform each move for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between exercises. Do three sets. 

  • Tricep dips off bench
  • Shoulder raises to the front and to the side

Perform each move for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between exercises. Do three sets. 

  • Russian twists (see here)
  • Toe touches (see here

Perform each move for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between exercises. Do three sets. 

  • Deadlifts
  • Reverse dumbell fly

Finish It Off – 

  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute toe touches
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute toe touches
  • 1 minute plank

 

Sunday 4pm: Rev-Up Your Metabolism With This Healthy Chicken Recipe!

Looking at the week ahead, I can already tell cooking is NOT on the agenda. This month, my friend and I agreed to start a 28-day 6:40 am bootcamp. Despite seeing amazing results, and being able to finally do 20 pushups in a row – it’s been a long and tiresome week. While burpees, jump squats and plyo lunges provide ample energy to make it through the day, I rarely make it home before 8pm! By packing a homemade dinner to-go, I remain nourished and energized throughout the later hours of the evening. 

Power foods are one way I speed up my metabolism through the evening. Spinach, tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil are a few of my go-to ingredients for their exceptional nutritional value and added benefits. High-fiber, high nutrient spinach is a wonder food on it’s own, yet when paired with antioxidant rich tomatoes and the healthy monosaturated fats in olive oil – you have a delicious, healthy food combination! According to TheDailyBeast.com, Greeks consume more tomatoes and olive oil than anyone else and they have higher life expectancies than Americans! 

Using these ingredients, I’ve created a recipe that you can pack away and enjoy later in the workday. 

You’ll need: 

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • About 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts
  • 1/2 a bag of Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Feta (if you prefer)
  • About 1 tbs of Italian seasoning (or a combination of oregano, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • a pinch of pepper

Add about 2 tbs of olive oil to the bottom of your pan or skillet. There should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chicken with italian seasoning, pepper and salt then add to the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes on each side until it is golden brown. If you’re impatient like me, cut the chicken into chunks to save on time!

Chicken in Olive Oil

When the chicken is prepared to your desire, remove and reserve it on a plate.

Chicken on plate

Add extra olive oil to the pan and add about 1-2 cloves of garlic. Spread garlic around the pan and add tomatoes and spinach. It should start smelling delicious by now if not already! Although it may look like A LOT of spinach, it will reduce in minutes (I promise). Allow the spinach to cook until wilted and place the tomato/spinach mixture on top of the chicken. If you have feta, now is the time to add it. Yours truly forgot the ingredient while shopping at Publix during Super Bowl Sunday. 

Here’s the finished product: 

Chicken tomatoes and spinach recipe

Please comment and let me know what you think. Have a great weekend!

-Jordana

 

4pm Sunday: Prepare a healthy chicken dish the whole family (should) love

Last weekend, I made a trip back home to Tampa to visit some family and friends. It was a busy but fun weekend which included Gasparilla, 3-mile runs, car washes and tennis. By 2pm on Sunday, I felt like an 80-year-old lady! All I wanted to do was sleep. Yet with no family dinner plans in the making, I sought out to find a healthy meal.

I searched for a healthy recipe that would serve my large family of seven and eventually came across this DELICIOUS Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo dish from Eating Well. This simple recipe only took 30 minutes to make and when the recipe was doubled, there were plenty of leftovers for the beginning of the week. The directions were easy to follow – the only change I made was the cooking method for the sauce. I boiled the tomato puree in a large saucepan, then added the orzo and let it simmer. I topped the chicken with the orzo mix and sprinkled Romano cheese on top.

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This recipe was brother, sister, parents AND boyfriend approved. Even a couple of family members couldn’t believe it was “healthy.” Family members can add extra cheese if they prefer.

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You can find the recipe on the Eating Well website here:

If you prepare this dish, let me know how it turns out!

-Jordana

8pm: Try A Yoga Class. Get Back To It!

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Last week, I let my slowly deteriorating health take over my lifestyle.  Yet after close to one week of non-existent workouts, I wasn’t going to let my sickness overpower my mind and body. I wanted to get back on the grind. But how? For those of you who want to get back into workouts without the high-intensity, overpowering classes and runs – consider yoga classes on a regular basis.

After attending multiple classes at Orlando Power Yoga, I was overwhelmed with the happiness and optimism that escaped me the week prior. I learned that regardless of time off, my body was still able to perform every position called by the instructor with no rest. Not to mention the class felt ten times more rewarding after the longer break!

I’m not a yogi, but when it comes to power yoga, I know the basics. I started attending hot yoga (Bikram) about a year ago yet I fell in love with the practice. After relocating to another area in Orlando in August, I started power yoga. I assure you, anyone can participate as long as they are willing!

I’ve had my share of speed-ups and recoveries. Long runs, only to injure myself and start from scratch. We all build up endurance and strength after months or even years of training but once there’s a major life event or sickness, it’s difficult to start back up again. I didn’t want to feel that hopeless feeling of not being where I used to be. Yet with yoga it seems like something sticks in your memory, allowing you to jump right back to where you were before.

What do you think? Please comment and let me know if you’ve shared my experience or have something to add.

-Jordana