Celebrating with a Workout

This past Friday I turned 31! Do I feel 31…well when I was 21 I felt like 31 must feel like the edge of old people’s cliff, but now that I’m 31 I feel like I’m 21, really I do.

I know I’m healthier than when I was 21 and in better shape. My eating habits are better, my exercise routine more consistent, full of variety, and more effective. I’ve spent the last 6.5 years with my best friend, and I know we are exactly where God wants us to be, and letting God use our lives for His glory. 31 is so much better, than 21!

On Friday I was still getting over a cold, but put together a quick and sweaty, 31 minute workout because…that’s what I wanted to do to celebrate turning 31!

The 31 at 31 Workout  

This workout is meant to be completed “Tabata style.” “Tabata” is the name of a particular type of workout that provides similar health benefits to that of cardio workouts, but Tabata has a bit more “umph.” If you’d like to know more about Tabata you can read about it here and here.
*What you need for the workout: a timing device, light weights (5-15 lbs.)
** Set your timing device (I have one of these, I love it) for 20 rounds of 20 sec (all out work) intervals, and 10 sec (rest)


Yep, that’s my sweet birthday banner in the background. We know how to party.

Warm up (5 min.) – jumping jacks, running in place, push ups, skaters, plank (1min. of each)

Tabata #1 – Legs on Fire (all exercise completed without weights)

1.Sumo squat with row  – 20 sec (high intensity/HI) then 10 sec (rest)
2.Jumping jack to a lunge – jump your feet out to the sides and then back in swinging your arms like a jumping jack, after you complete one full jack, jump up landing in a lunge position with your right leg in front and your left to the back. Jump up from your lunge and repeat another jack followed by a left leg lunge. Complete as many reps as you can. –
20 sec (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
3.Jump Squat Switch – 20 sec. (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
4.Lateral lunge with leg lift – lunge to the right and lift, then to the left and lift, keep alternating- 20 sec. (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
5.Speed squats (3) + tuck jump – 20 sec. (HI) then 10 sec (rest)

*Repeat entire workout 3 more times for a total of 10 minutes of training. (20 rounds)
**Rest for 2 minutes before completing the next Tabata. 

Tuck jumpin'!

Tuck jumpin’!

Tabata #2 – Arms and Abs – reset your timer for 20 rounds of 20 sec (all out work) intervals, and 10 sec (rest)

1.Mountain Climbers (3) + tricep pushup – do 3 complete mountain climbers, and then pause in pushup position and do the tricep pushup. Drop to your knees to complete the pushup if you need to, and then back to your toes for 3 more mountain climbers. – 20 sec (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
2. Single Arm Clean and Press (5-15lb weight) – alternate arms with each round of the tabata-  20 sec (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
3. Low Plank Jacks – 20 sec (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
4. Half Burpee to Shoulder Press (5-10 lb. weights) –  squat down and place you hands on your weights on either side of your feet. Jump your feet back to straight arm plank position then jump you feet forward and stand bringing your weights up to your chest and pressing them over your head. Bring the weights down and complete the exercise again. – 20 sec. (HI) then 10 sec (rest)
5.Competition Burpee to tuck jump – From a stand jump to push up position dropping your belly all the way to the ground. Push up with your arms and jump to your feet at the same time, and jump into the air bringing your knees up into a tuck jump. Land softly on your feet, and jump back again to your belly down pushup position. -20 sec. (HI) then 10 sec (rest) *to modify, step up to your feet and then do a straight body jump into the air.

*Repeat entire workout 3 more times for a total of 10 minutes of training. 
**Cool down with some slow jogging in place and stretching for 4 minutes. 

Total Workout time: 31 minutes

*Note: This is a tough workout, and 20 rounds is alot, I was a sweaty mess at the end. Feel free to modify the number of rounds that you do for your fitness level. If you want repeat each tabata 2 or 3 times only instead of 4. Just remember that during your 20 sec of work, you really need to push HARD.

When you finish this workout please leave me a comment letting me know how it went, and what you thought of the workout. Or if you have questions about the workout, leave them in the comments and I will respond.

Questions: Have you done a Tabata type workout before? How often do you workout per week? How often would you like to workout per week? What’s your favorite birthday tradition?


Settling in and Nourishing Chicken Soup

Traveling is always hard, especially when you are trying to keep some resemblance of “normal” while you are on the road. What is “normal” anyways?

I feel like I’m just now settling back in. We had a month away for VISA paperwork and traveling, and upon arrival home, a house full of guests for well drilling, a visit from our language consultants, complete with examinations of our language learning progress, and a week later hosting a construction team from the U.S. Wow…I felt, at times, like I was hanging on just to make it through the ride… hence the temporary hiatus from blogging.

Now it’s just us again…and I’m drinking it in. We hadn’t been alone in our house since February 25th. That to say I am grateful and overwhelmed with the way the Lord blessed us this past month and a half with all that was accomplished and done to help us move forward in ministry, but I’m relishing the quiet moments of just being a family again, living life here.

I was planning on doing a motivating post on how I’ve jumped full swing into working out again, and cooking healthy nutritious food, but the truth is I’m run down, I’ve caught a mild cold, and I ate two cookies last night. Pete and I have both felt the need for extra sleep as we both are battling over the box of Kleenexes. Workouts have been short, light, or non- existent, and quick and easy has been the order in the kitchen. Think, toast, and smoothies.

As a little girl, whenever we came down with colds my Mom always made a giant pot of homemade chicken soup. It was amazing. I have never tasted chicken soup as good as Mom’s and even now at the age of almost 31, when the sniffles strike I want Mom to bring me a steaming mug of her soup. (don’t cry Mom, I’m good, really)

Inspired by my stuffy nose induced need for chicken soup, and the gorgeous Dutch oven I received as a gift for my 31st  birthday, I created my own version of Mom’s chicken soup. The broth has a hint of lemon from both zest and juice, and the addition of nutty brown rice makes it filling enough to be a meal its own. And the final addition of fresh parsley really brought the flavors together. This soup came together in 20 minutes, and it was delicious.

Chicken & Rice Soup with Lemon Broth 

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 large stalks celery, sliced thin

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 cups organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth would work fine too)

1 bay leaf

Zest of two lemons

Juice of one lemon

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used home-canned chicken as that is what we have)

3 cups brown rice, cooked (I had some in a ziploc in the freezer)

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes or so. Add broth, bay leaf, lemon zest and juice, and stir well. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to simmer until the carrots are cooked to your liking.

Add in the shredded chicken, and pre-cooked rice and cook for about three minutes so all the flavors meld together. Turn off heat remove bay leaf and stir in chopped parsley. Taste broth and add salt or pepper if needed.

Serve with a slice of homemade whole wheat bread, or one of my favorite recipes, millet muffins.

Mmmm, I feel better already.

What do you do to kick a cold to the curb? Do you have any favorite family remedies for colds?