DIY: Workout Journal

Several of you sent requests asking what my workout journal looked like, and how to make one.

Let me warn you…it’s nothing fancy. I’m not a crafty gal. However, my workout journal is something that I always have accessible and as I try new workouts and add them to my journal I always have a great sweat session at my finger tips.

Now let’s work together to make yours! 🙂

What you need:
A notebook (choose whatever size and style you like best. If you want to keep it in your gym bag you may want a smaller notebook, if you will only be using it at home you may choose something larger)
A pencil (I prefer using a pencil to make corrections, or to change up my workouts whenever I want)
Inspiration, motivation, creativity

I like these five star notebooks. They have a spot for you pencil in front, and inside have pockets to file new ideas, recipes, work inspiration, etc.

I like these five star notebooks. They have a spot for your pencil in front, and inside have pockets to file new ideas, recipes, work inspiration, etc.

– A glue stick
– Picture clippings from magazines or books, inspirational quotes, favorite Bible verses, etc.
(These are for if you are one of those crafty type of people. You can decorate the front and back of your notebook, or put inspirational quotes inside next to your favorite workouts.)

This quote would be great for decorating your journal.

Once you have your notebook decide how you want to organize it.
Personally, I like the notebooks that have tabs separating each section. I can then organize my workouts either a) by muscle group, b) by intensity level (easy, moderate, hard), c) by type of workout (i.e. circuit, pure cardio, pure weights, yoga, etc.) or however you prefer to organize yours is fine.

Here is an example of how one might organize a workout journal by muscle group.
Tab 1: Shoulders/Arms
In the pages following document your favorite arm workouts. For example:

Quick Shoulder Burn *Complete all 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next. Rest 30 sec. between sets, and 1 min. between exercises.
Exercise Set Rep Weight
Alternating Shoulder Press


15,12,10 Use a challenging weight, the last 2 or 3 reps should be difficult. Increase weight for the 2nd set, and then increase again for the final set.
Front lateral raise


Shoulder row


Side lateral raise




Tab 2: Cardio

Heart Pumping Plyometric workout Complete one full set of each exercise and then rest for 1 min. Repeat 3 more times for a heart pumping 22 min. cardio workout.
Exercise Set Rep Weight
Jumping lunges


30sec. Use only your bodyweight.
Air squats




High Knee Run


Lateral jumps


180 degree Squat Jump


1 min.


Tab 3: Legs

Lean Legs Workout Complete one full set of each exercise with no rest in between. Then rest for one minute. Complete the entire workout 2 more times. Finish with some cardio like 10 minutes of jumping rope.
Exercise Set Reps Weight
Walking lunges 3 20 (10 each leg) 10-20lbs.
Goblet squats 3 15 10-20 lbs.
Stair jumps 3 45 sec. bodyweight, jump for 45 sec. straight
Glute bridges 3 15 (w/3sec. Hold) bodyweight, hold at the top of the bridge for 3 sec. each rep
Lateral lunges 3 20 (10 each leg) 10-15lbs.


Kind of get the idea?

A circuit workout from my workout journal.

A circuit workout from my workout journal. Don’t mind the sweat stain on the page.

The internet, magazines like Oxygen, your fitness loving friends, and fitness and health related blogs are all great places to get workout ideas and inspiration for your workout journal.
Also, I have an arsenal of workouts that I have yet to share here on Fitnessinthekitchen. The blog is still new, and still a work in progress, however I hope in the future to be a source of new workout ideas and encouragement for you.

So get to it! I can’t think of a better weekend project than to create your fitness journal.

If you make one, can you please email me some pictures of your journal, or ideas that you came up with while making it?! I’d love to hear how it went for you, and get some new inspiration for my journal as well.

Have a great weekend!


Finally Home

There is just something about sleeping in your own bed. Even if that bed is in a house in the middle of the mountains of Mexico. Ah…to be home.

Sorry about the lack of posting, we have been on the road. Twenty five hours of driving to be exact from the border of Texas all the way back to Las Moras where we live.

Right now we are hosting a team from Living Waters in our home, and just down the hill from our house they are working long days drilling a well so that we can have running, clean water. We are so excited!

Drilling a well is dirty, hard work.

Drilling a well is dirty, hard work.

So, life is not quite back to normal…there have been no recipe creations as of late, and honestly working out has been sporadic, but I’m keeping up as I can. I ran 3 1/2 miles this morning, that counts for something right?

I shared some of our swiss chard growing in our herb garden with Quito.

I shared some of our swiss chard growing in our herb garden with Quito.

This afternoon I will leave you with a super, simple recipe that you can make tonight with what you have in your pantry! It tastes like indulgent comfort food, and will warm you from the inside out. This recipe is for 2 -4 people, but it is easy to double and bake in a 9×13 pan for a crowd. Enjoy! If you make it, let me know what you think.

Mexican Bake – serves 3-4

What you need:
2 cups brown rice (cooked according to package directions)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced (or you could sub green pepper)
1 Tbsp. of each cumin, paprika, chili powder
2 tsp. garlic
1 – 15oz can black beans drained (or 2 cups cooked)
1 1/2 cups canned enchilada sauce (or thin salsa)
1/2 cup skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup black olives chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings(optional): chopped avocado, salsa, hot sauce, fresh chives, or plain yogurt.

First cook rice according to package directions, set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet warm olive oil, then add onion, jalapeno, and peppers and saute until soft, around 7 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Then add the black beans and 1 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir and cook for another five minutes. Stir in rice, and black olives, then taste the mixture, and adjust salt, pepper, and other spices to your liking.
Spread 1/4 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce on the bottom of a square 8×8 baking dish. Spread the rice mixture evenly over the top. Then top the rice mixture with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and the mexican bake is bubbling a bit.

Serve a scoop of the Mexican Bake topped with chopped avocado, salsa, hot sauce, chives, or a dollop of plain yogurt!

Moroccan Spiced Hummus

One of my favorite ways to eat garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) is hummus.  I have never met a hummus that I didn’t like,  but one of my personal creations that is absolutely delish is this Moroccan Spiced Hummus. I hope you try it!

I’m traveling and didn’t have a picture of my hummus…but it looks like this one. 🙂

Moroccan Spiced Hummus

2 cups or 15oz.  garbanzo beans, cooked and drained (reserve some of the bean liquid)
2 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
2 Tbsp. morrocan seasoning (recipe below)
a handful raisins
salt & pepper to taste
a few sprigs of fresh parsley
reserved bean liquid

Put all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth. Keep adding more bean liquid until the hummus is the texture and consistency that you want. To serve sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

Moroccan Spice blend:
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
*Toast all spices together in a skillet until fragrant. Store in a glass jar.

Note: This Moroccan spice hummus is amazing as a dip for veggies, pretzels, or whole wheat pita chips, but also makes a great base spread for sandwiches in place of mayo.

Feeling Your Best While Traveling

So right now we are traveling. We have driven 870  miles in the last three weeks. It comes with the job.

Because we are Americans living in Mexico, we have the responsibility of obtaining the correct paperwork for us to stay legally in Mexico and drive our American vehicle in Mexico.

When traveling it is easy to jump off track and lose sight of your exercise and healthy eating goals. We all do it…mindless snacking in the car, leaving to early to work out,  picking up fast food, because we don’t want to plan/pack healthy snacks, stopping for a frappuccino because we’ve convinced ourselves we need an afternoon pick-me-up.


I’ve been there… arriving at my destination feeling sluggish, tired, motivationless (is that a word), and just plain crummy.

Here are some things I’ve since learned to keep myself energized and feeling good, even on long travel days.

Get enough sleep – the night before a long trip make sure you plan ahead to get the amount of sleep that your body needs for the day. This will keep you alert while driving, and keep your brain sharp to make healthy decisions throughout the day.

Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast – if you don’t have much time in the morning, mix up some raw oats, milk, protein powder, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a tupperware container the night before and put in the fridge. In the morning top with fruit, or nuts and enjoy in the car. Some other quick options:  a protein smoothie with fruit, protein powder, and nut butter, plain yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts, a couple hard-boiled eggs and piece of string cheese, or even a slice of toast with nut butter and banana. All portable, and take less than 5 minutes to put together.

Pack a cooler with healthy snacks/meal options – I have a small cooler that I always bring on road trips. It is filled with veggie sticks, fruit, sandwiches, nuts and dried fruit, hummus, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, pre-cooked chicken breasts, small salads, etc. It is much easier to grab something healthy when you are hungry when it is literally right there…you don’t even have to stop the car.

Drink lots of water – I know, you’ll have to pee. But, peeing is good, it helps your body detoxify itself. Being dehydrated is not good. So even though you may make more bathroom stops, at the end of the day you will feel better.

Make healthy meal choices when eating out – When needing to grab food on the run one of the best choices you can make is stopping at a grocery store. You can pick up a few of the cooler staples from above, and instantly you have a healthy meal. If you find yourself at a restaurant choose something light so you don’t feel weighted down afterwards. Some good choices would be broth based soups, fresh green salads with protein, or veggie-full sandwiches made on whole grain breads with mustard or hummus (hold the mayo), or grilled lean meat with veggies.

Get moving– When I travel I try to do some form of exercise everyday. It could be a run or walk in the morning before you leave, or a quick strength circuit at a nearby park once you’ve reached your destination. If you have a long travel day, use your potty stops to do some energizing moves like lunges, squats, pushups, and jumping jacks in the parking lot, or walk a few laps around the gas station.

During my time at my destination I plan ahead to exercise at least 20-30 minutes everyday. To make sure I get my workout in I wake up early, and get my sweat onto start the day.  Here are some ways you can do the same:

– Look at your hotel online and check out their gym facilities, plan a few gym workouts to do.

– If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, or you are staying with family or friends, plan some workouts you can do in your hotel room, at a local park, or even in the hotel parking lot. Here’s a parking lot workout to try.

Tree in a Parking Lot

– Map out any local parks or area trails that might make good running or walking spots. Plan to visit a few of them.

– If you like working out in a gym, google local gyms in the area and see if you can purchase a week trial pass to use the facilities there.

– Maximize time with family/friends by exercising together. Lift weights with your brother,  take a fitness class with a friend, or get your chat on during a long walk with your Mom.

– When I travel I pack my workout notebook. This notebook has a collection of my favorite travel workouts that require no equipment and can be done anywhere. That way I always have a few workouts at my finger tips=no excuses. 🙂

See it’s simple. No more excuses to fall behind on your health and fitness goals while traveling.

Tomorrow check back for a few of my favorite travel workouts, and one of my favorite ways to use garbanzo beans…hummus!

Have a fabulous Friday!

Mountain Protein: Dried Beans and How to Cook Them

Because of what we do and our living situation in the mountains we travel quite a bit. We live about five hours from the nearest town (as in a place that would have a store where we can buy groceries, gas, etc).

In a perfect world we would prefer to travel to buy supplies and groceries no more than every three months, but we travel the rough mountain roads in and out of our small village more often than that. Because of the long day of travel from the grocery store or market to our home we must choose the least perishable and inexpensive sources of protein for our diet.

Our drive to and from the grocery and market is 5 hours of this.

Our drive to and from the grocery and market is five hours of this.

Bringing a cooler for frozen meats is a good idea, and something we do on occasion, however, if we were to break down on the road, calling AAA roadside assistance is not really an option. And we’d rather not lose money as we watch our frozen meat thaw and spoil in the sun. So, what do we eat for protein? Well…canned fish, tuna, salmon, and canned chicken, but also…

Lots of dried beans!

Dried beans and legumes are an inexpensive and healthy way to add not only protein, but complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber to your diet. Beans have around 80 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per 1/3 cup serving. And a 1 kg (2.2lb) bag of dried beans here in Mexico costs around $1.80 – $2.20, depending on the type of bean, and will make around 10-12 cups of cooked beans!

Here’s some info on the nutritional profile of a few different types of dried beans:

1 Cup
Cooked Beans
Baby Lima Black Blackeye Cranberry
Calories 230 228 200 240
Carbohydrates 42g 40g 36g 44g
Protein 14g 16g 14g 16g
Dietary Fiber 12g 8g 12g 10g
Folate 274mcg 256mcg 358mcg 366mcg
Calcium 52mg 48mg 42mg 90mg
Iron 4mg 4mg 4mg 4mg
Fat 1g 1g 1g 1g
% Calories From Fat 6% 8% 10% 6%
Sodium 6mg 1mg 6mg 1mg
1 Cup
Cooked Beans
Garbanzo Great Northern Large Lima Navy
Calories 270 210 218 260
Carbohydrates 46g 38g 40g 48g
Protein 14g 14g 14g 16g
Dietary Fiber 6g 10g 12g 10g
Folate 282mcg 182mcg 156mcg 256mcg
Calcium 80mg 122mg 32mg 128mg
Iron 4mg 4mg 4mg 4mg
Fat 4g 1g 1g 1g
% Calories From Fat 28% 6% 6% 8%
Sodium 10mg 4mg 4mg 2mg
1 Cup
Cooked Beans
Pink Pinto Red Kidney Small Red
Calories 252 236 218 226
Carbohydrates 48g 44g 38g 40g
Protein 16g 14g 16g 16g
Dietary Fiber 8g 12g 8g 8g
Folate 284mcg 294mcg 130mcg 230mcg
Calcium 88mg 82mg 78mg 50mg
Iron 4mg 4mg 4mg 6mg
Fat 1g 1g 1g 1g
% Calories From Fat 6% 6% 2% 6%
Sodium 4mg 4mg 8mg 4mg

(Chart courtesy or American Dry Bean Board)

Uses for cooked beans:
Add them to soups for texture and protein, add a 1/2 cup to the top of your salad for a boost of protein and fiber at lunch, sautee with onions, peppers or other veggies you like, add salsa and use in tortillas as an enchilada or burrito filling, make homemade veggie burgers (these are one some of my favorites), or blend beans with olive oil and spices to make a yummy bean dip for veggies. They even make a great vegetarian Italian meal with organic marinara sauce and chopped basil served over a bed of wheat pasta. The options truly are endless.

But doesn’t cooking dried beans take forever? It can, but it doesn’t have to.

Since I cook with a lot of dried beans I thought I would share with you how to get your dried beans cooked and incorporated into your favorite recipes without wasting all day simmering them over the stove. The trick: soaking and a pressure cooker.

Steps to Cooking Dried Beans in Your Pressure Cooker

1.) Select the type of dried beans that you would like to use for your recipe. Measure out how many you will need (remember 1 cup dried makes around 2 cups of cooked beans) and sift through them, picking out any broken ones or pieces of rock that might be in with the beans. Then put the beans in a deep bowl.

2.) Fill the bowl with filtered water until the beans are covered by 3-4 inches of water. Set on your countertop for 6-8 hours or overnight. I prefer overnight, but if you’ve forgotten, even 4 hours will do; you will just have to adjust the cooking time once in the pressure cooker. The soaking process helps the beans release excess sugars which makes them more easily digestible.

3.) The next morning, take your soaked beans and drain them in a colander or strainer. You will need to rinse them a few times with clean filtered water. Then add the drained beans to your pressure cooker.

4.) Cover the beans in your pressure cooker with clean filtered water. Don’t let the water rise above the middle level line inside your pressure cooker.

The next step is a matter of opinion…I add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt to my beans before placing the lid on the pressure cooker. Some people use just salt, some just oil, some neither. You will have to experiment and see what works for you.

5.) Put the lid on the pressure cooker and seal it in place. Turn your stove burner to medium high heat, and place the rocking knob on the top of your pressure cooker. Once your pressure cooker reaches pressure the knob will begin to rock back and forth slowly. You then need to cook your beans (whichever type you have chosen) for the specified amount of time at pressure. (You should have a book that came with your pressure cooker, or here is a handy dandy chart that lists the pressure cooking times of beans.) Again, you will have to experiment with your pressure cooker and different types of beans to know exactly how you like them cooked.

6.) Once the cooking time at pressure has finished, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down on it’s own. Once the pressure is down, your beans are ready to be drained and put into whatever recipe you choose.

Cooking beans in a pressure cooker is so easy. It has become habit now that I put out my beans to soak at night before going to bed, and in the morning while I’m preparing our breakfast and morning coffee, I drain them and put them to cook in the pressure cooker. Then once it’s time for breakfast dishes, my beans are ready for me to incorporate them into lunch or dinner. You can also pressure cook a large batch of beans on the weekend and store them in the fridge or freezer to incorporate into your lunches and dinners throughout the week.

This coming week I will do a post on my “favorite bean/legume” (Is it weird that I have a favorite bean?) and a couple easy and delicious recipes you can try with them at home!

Have a great weekend!



Hi, and welcome to my blog!

Reading health and fitness blogs is something I enjoy doing in my free time, and so I thought, why not start one of my own. Even though, I have to admit it is a little daunting to begin a fitness and health blog when there are so many great ones out there already. My hope is you will find something here that motivates you daily towards a healthier lifestyle.

Here, at Fitness in the Kitchen, I will be blogging about exercise, workouts, recipes, my family, my work, my friends, fitness/health trends, sometimes controversial topics, and a smattering of things I’ve learned in my 30 years of life. To read the longer version of who I am and my fitness background, check out the “about” page on the blog.

Speaking of workouts, I thought a great post to start with would be sharing one of my all time  favorite home workouts.

I don’t know about you, but I used to dread leg workouts. My legs are the part of my body that take the longest to show definition and improvement. At 5’2″ my legs seemed to bulk up rather than build a lean muscular look. This leg workout I’m going to share with you combats the bulk with weighted exercises plus plyometrics, and because the workout is done for time it gets your heart rate soaring to.

Stance and jump of the sumo burpee.

Stance and jump of the sumo burpee.

Here’s the workout:

6s Leg Burner

Warm-up 5 minutes total
 (do each of the following for 1 min) run in place, jumping jacks, skaters, jump rope, and high knees.
*This circuit is to be completed for time. See how fast you can complete all four rounds of the six exercises without sacrificing form.
1.Dumbbell Walking lunges 20 reps with 10-25 lb weights in each hand
2.Squat jumps 20 reps, squat down low, and jump up high
3.Plank leg raise  20 reps
(Starting in plank position on your elbows, keeping your back straight and abs tight lift your right heel towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes. Return your foot to start and repeat with your left leg. This is 1 rep.
4.Sumo Burpees 20 reps
(Place hands on the floor and jump feet out into a pushup position. Then jump feet back towards hands into a wide sumo squat position and immediately jump up reaching for the ceiling)
5.Single Leg Deadlifts 20 reps each leg with a 5-10lb dumbbell in each hand
6. Jumping Lunges 20 reps each leg with an explosive jump switch
*Repeat the entire circuit another time, completing 15 reps of each exercise, then 10 reps, then 5 reps for a total of 4 times through the circuit.
Cool down, with this ab burner  or some light stretching


If you try this workout let me know how you liked it and post your time in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll visit again.