This Week in Eats and Fitness 5/12 – 5/18

Hey, how’s your weekend going? Hopefully you are getting in some good R&R in between Mother’s Day festivities. My Mom lives almost 60 hours away, and in a different country, but I want to say that I love her and could never have asked for a stronger example of what a Mom should be.


She is also my most loyal friend, and I miss her very much. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

We have some guests coming in tomorrow and Tuesday so things could change quite a bit, but here’s what’s on the menu for fitness and food this week @ Fitnessinthekitchen:


Monday- run in the a.m. + core circuit

Tuesday- Lower body circuit + HIIT (high intensity intervals)

Wednesday- run in the a.m.

Thursday- Upper body circuit

Friday- run in the a.m. + core circuit

Saturday- HIIT + Total Body Ciruit

Sunday- Yoga

This week’s Dinner ideas:

Sunday – Morrocan Lentil Soup

Monday- Egg and Swiss Chard Tart

Tuesday- arrachera (type of Mexican steak),  salad, and arroz rojo (red rice) – we’ll be having guests from Guadalajara

Wednesday- Orzo Salad

Thursday- Make your Own Pizzas on homemade flatbread

Friday- not sure what’s happening this night, might be doing a team dinner of some sort

Saturday- leftovers

Breakfast – some baked steel cut oatmeal sounds pretty good, and I made a batch of oven toasted granola yesterday so that will be making an appearance with homemade yogurt.

Lunch – will be a mix of whatever leftovers happen to be in the fridge along with sandwiches, quesadillas, etc.

Question of the day: How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? What’s on the menu for fitness and eats in your casa this week?

Happy Sunday!

~ Liesl

Friday Fit Focus: The Plank

Ahh, the plank. We love to hate it. Yet for many reasons it is one of my favorite core exercises.

The plank not only requires core strength, but also incorporates your shoulders, arms, and glutes.

How to do it? – Get into pushup position on the floor or on a mat if using. (this is also a straight arm or high plank position)

Push up (up position)

Then bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders and you want to try and keep your body in a straight line from you head to your toes. (my shoulders are a smidge too far forward in the photo)

Low plank 2


We’ll call this low plank.

Planking Tips – 

1.  I would suggest when learning and practicing your plank  to only hold your plank for a short time. For example, hold your plank for 15-25 seconds, come out, and rest for a few seconds then resume your plank. Many people think that the longer you can hold your plank the better, which holding a 5 minute plank takes incredible strength, however when you are first starting out it is best to hold it only for a short amount of time  so that you can  feel your abs and core working to hold your body in a straight line, rather than using your arms or shoulders to do the work.

  • try this: Hold your plank for 15 seconds, come out, rest for 2 or 3 seconds, and then hold it for another 15 seconds. (as you get stronger repeat 2, 3, and then 4 rounds of this)

2. Also, when building up your strength to do a plank I would suggest starting out on your knees rather than feet to hold your plank. In this method you will do the same as you would to do a modified pushup, but the weight will again be on your forearms as shown in the plank picture above. (this is a modified pushup but you get the idea)

Push up modified

3. Once you are feeling strong in your plank try holding it for 1 min. If at any point you feel your belly starting to drop down and extra stress on your arms and shoulders, come of the plank and rest a few seconds, then resume.

Plank Variations

1. Plank with alternating leg lift – while holding your plank lift your right heel a few inches into the air and hold for a few seconds. When you bring it down repeat on the other leg. Keep alternating for duration of the plank.

2. Side plank (also with hip drops) – start in a straight arm plank, twist your entire body so all of the weight is on your left arm. Lift your right arm into the air and stack your feet. Hold; return to plank and then try on the other side. To do the hip drop – in the plank drop your hips to just above the floor, then bring them back up.

High Side plank

3. Plank bringing knee to elbow with a hip twist – bring your right knee to your left elbow twisting your right hip down. Return to start and repeat, left knee to right elbow. Alternate for duration of plank.

Twisting plank right

4. Plank jacks – in straight arm plank jump your legs out and in like you are doing jumping jacks. Keep your abs tight and your body straight.

Plank jacks

5. Up and Down Planks – (not pictured) start in straight arm plank then bend your right elbow dropping to your right forearm, repeat on the left side. Then push up one arm at a time to straight arm plank. Keep going up and down keeping your body straight for the duration of the plank.

6. Plank with hip drops – (not pictured) In low plank with your body tight drop your right hip down to right above the ground then lift up. Repeat on the left side and continue alternating hip drops for the duration of the plank.

7. Plank with alternating leg and arm lift – (not pictured) Like number 1 except when you lift your left heel also lift your right arm out straight in front of you. Return to plank and then lift your right heel and left arm at the same time. Alternate.

8. Plank with shoulder tap – In high plank lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then back down. Next tap your right should with your left hand, etc.

Plank Should tap side view


Plank Workout Challenge

Once you feel strong and are holding a plank for 1-2 minutes at a time try this workout:

  • Pick four of the above plank variations and set a timer for 2 min. Hold the first variation for 30 sec. moving into the second variation immediately, completing that, move into the 3rd variation, and then the 4th all without rest. Remember, keep your body straight and your abs/core tight the whole time! 

Fit Question: Have you “planked” before? How long can you hold a plank? What other fit moves would you like featured on Friday Fit Focus?

Happy Weekend!


A Body Weight Toning Workout (you can do at home)

Happy Thursday!

We are past mid-week, and I’m cheering you on in your workouts and healthy eats…so how’s it going? I slept past my morning alarm on Tuesday, but I got in my leg workout later that evening. Success!  Making time to exercise is always a choice, make sure you put it on your to do list and you’ll be more likely to get it done!

Today I thought I’d post a quick total body toning workout that you can do in your living room. You don’t need any equipment, just a chair, or something to step up on, and a mat if you are working out on a hard surface. You’ll be using just your body weight for this workout. Ready?!

Body Weight Toning Workout
Do as many repetitions of each exercise as you can for 1 min. then rest for 10 sec. before moving on to the next exercise.

1. Chair Step Ups with backwards lunge (1 min)  – Stand, in front of a chair or step, step with your left foot, and raise your right knee up to your chest. (ignore my dish mess on the counter)

Step up (start left)

Step up (left)

Step down with your right foot, and bring your left foot down stepping it back immediately into a backwards lunge. Bring your feet back together and then step up with your right foot, completing the entire exercise on the right side. Switch sides each repetition.

Backwards lunge (left)

2. 10 Squats + jump (1 min) – Stand with your feet hip width apart. Squat back like you are going to sit in a chair, go as low as you can, and push through your glutes and hamstrings back up to a stand. After completing 9 squats come down into the 10th and jump up reaching into the air. On every 10th repetition do another jump.


3. Jog in place (1 min) – Jog. Keep a brisk pace.

4. Push ups (1 min) – Get in pushup position with your back straight and butt down. You hands should be a little wide than shoulder width apart. Bending at your elbows lower your chest to the ground and push back up.

Push up (up position)

Push up down position

You can also modify the push up by going down to your knees. (My booty is popping a little in this one.)

Push up modified

5. High Plank w/ shoulder taps (1 min) – Start in pushup position, and separate your feet to about hip width. Squeezing all your muscles tight lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then back down. Next tap your right should with your left hand, etc.

Plank Should tap side view

6. Jumping Jacks (1 min) – Keep a brisk pace.

7. 10 Plie Squats + jump (1 min) – Stand with your feet wider than hip width and your feet turned out slightly. From this position squat down and back, squeeze your glutes and thighs to stand. Complete 9 plie squats on rep 10 jump as you come up. Complete another jump after each set of 10 you complete during the minute.

Plie front view close

8. Glute bridges (1 min) – Lie on your back, arms at your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push up through your heels squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower until your backside is right above the mat, then push and lift again.

Glute Bridge

9. Jog in place (1 min) – Keep a brisk pace.

10. Low plank hold (1 min) – Start in a push up position, and lower to your elbows. Hold this position for as long as you can. Concentrate on keeping your core/abs, glutes, and legs tight. If you need to rest, come out, rest a few seconds, and resume the plank.

Low plank

11. Chair tricep dips (1 min) – Start in the position below, legs out resting on your heels with your rear close to the edge of the chair and your arms extended.

Dip up position

Bend your elbows dropping your backside down close to the floor, and then push up keeping your elbows in, and using your triceps to push yourself to the starting position. Take breaks as needed during the 1 minute time.

Dip down position

Modify the dip by bending your knees and bringing your feet inwards.

Dip modified

12. Jumping Jacks (1 min) – Go as fast as you can, push yourself!

Beginners – repeat the complete circuit 1 more time
For more of a challenge –
repeat the complete circuit 3 or 4 times total, and push yourself. For example, the second circuit through, try to complete more of each exercise in the minute’s time than you completed the round before.
If you only have a few
minutes– pick 5 of the exercise and move through them at 1min. each as quickly as you can to get your heart rate up. Or…take a minute here and there throughout your day and pick and exercise, completing as many reps as possible.

Question: How is eating healthy and exercising going for you this week? What other kinds of workouts would you like to see here on the blog?

Have a great day!

~ Liesl

Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Good morning! Hope your Tuesday is off to a great start.

I debated posting this recipe; because to me it is still not perfection. But, the recipe is so adaptable I thought why not?

This version is full of peanut butter flavor, not too sweet, and makes a perfect grab and go snack that is fill with protein and healthy fats. Have an afternoon sweet tooth, these little morsels will melt it away! Psst…they taste a little like cookie dough, but are much better for you! I love mine with an afternoon cup of joe.


Peanut Butter Protein Bites

  • 6 T of natural peanut butter (the stir kind, if it’s super drippy, you’ll need less liquid)
  • 3 scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder of choice (I use Energyfirst, or Sunwarrior Blend)
  • 2 T of milk, (almond, rice, or soy milk would be great too)
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 3 T hemp seeds
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T raw honey (maple syrup, or agave)
  • 2 T dried fruit (I used cranberries)
  • 3-4 T water


In the bowl of your food processor add the peanut butter, protein, oat bran, hemp seeds, and nutritional yeast. Pulse until well combined.


Add the honey, and pulse again a few times. Next add the 2 T of milk, and continue to pulse as the mixture comes together.

Finally add the dried cranberries…you’re not done yet though. One tbsp at a time add the water and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. You don’t want it to be too sticky, and you don’t want it to be too dry.


Roll into 14 balls with your hands, and store in the fridge in a tupperware for future snacking!


The nutrition stats are stellar…each bite comes in at 100 calories, 5g fat, 7g carbohydrates, and a whopping 8g of protein. 

Also, you could easily adapt this recipe to make your own version:

  • use almond or sunflower butter (in place of pb)
  • 1/2 rolled oats instead of the oat bran
  • add in some ground flax seeds for some of the hemp
  • swap out the cranberries for dried cherries, or mini choc chips (Mmmm)

The options are endless. Do me a favor and make these okay? Then let me know what you thought of them!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

– Liesl

Question of the day: Do you/have you used protein powder? What is your favorite kind? What is your favorite way to incorporate protein powder into your diet?

** A short note about protein powders: Many protein powders have ALOT of junk in them, so please check the labels closely when choosing a protein powder.  Also, protein powder is not for everyone. Because of where we live and work, many common protein sources are not readily available to us (organic meats, fresh eggs, etc.). At this point the occasional consumption of protein powder has proven to be a positive addition to our diet and active lifestyle.

Weekly Eats and Fitness 5/6-5/12

Hey, how’s your weekend going? Hopefully you are getting in some good R&R in between Mother’s Day festivities. Mother’s Day doesn’t apply to me yet, so there weren’t any crazy parties over here, unless you count cleaning the house and prepping food for the week a party…

We have some guests coming in tomorrow and Tuesday so things could change quite a bit, but here’s what’s on the menu for fitness and food this week @ Fitnessinthekitchen:


Monday- am run,







This week’s Dinner ideas:

Sunday – Morrocan Lentil Soup

Monday- Egg and Swiss Chard Tart

Tuesday- arrachera (type of Mexican steak),  salad, and arroz rojo (red rice) – we’ll be having guests from Guadalajara

Wednesday- Orzo Salad

Thursday- Make your Own Pizzas on homemade flatbread

Friday- not sure what’s happening this night, might be doing a team dinner of some sort

Saturday- leftovers

Lunches will be lots of salads (Pete just brought me lettuce from town…4 hours away), leftovers, and probably a tuna or salmon melt thrown in there somewhere.
I like to add grains like quinoa, or beans to my salads to up the protein and nutrition content.

Breakfasts consist of fresh fruit/veggie smoothies, oats, overnight oatmeal, eggs and toast, and pancakes or something special on the weekend.

Snacks – every week I make a protein loaded snack, and then either something savory or sweet. I’m thinking this week some:

PB Protein Balls (still working on perfecting my version)


And either some of these or Millet Green Chili/Cheese muffins

Prep ahead:
PB Protein balls
Millet Green Chili muffins (make extra millet for curry night)
Sprouts (I sprout my own…maybe a “how to” post sometime?)
Batch of garbanzo beans for salads, and bean burgers (I make a large batch and freeze them for quick lunches)

Question of the Day: Do you meal plan? Why or why not? What is on your menu this week for eats and work outs?

Friday Fit Focus: The Burpee

I thought it would be fun to start a series of posts on Fridays highlighting different fitness moves that you have seen or will see  here on my blog, in the gym, in fitness magazines, or on other blogs or fitness websites.

There is nothing worse than starting a workout and halfway through you see, “next do 10 monkey pushups.” You then proceed to surf youtube for the next 15 minutes deciding which variation of the monkey pushup seems like the original.
We’ve all been there. My hope is that I will be able to build an archive of simple explanations of common exercises that you can use as a resource whenever you’d like to incorporate something new into your fitness routine.

This Friday’s Fit Focus: The Burpee

The Burpee is one of my favorite full body exercises. With each burpee you perform you will be using you chest, arms, abs, legs, and shoulders. Because you are using your full body to complete a burpee, this exercise is a fantastic fat burner! Another thing I love about burpees, you can do them anywhere. As long as you have enough space to extend your body into a pushup position you can do a burpee.

How to do it? –


1.  Begin in a low squat position with you hands on the floor in front of you.

2. Jump your feet back so you are in a push up position.

3. Next jump your feet forward again to the squat position

4. And jump into the air as high as possible from the squat position

Here is the burpee in action!

Burpee Variations –

Once you’ve mastered the basic burpee, there are hundreds of burpee variations that are not only fun to learn, but will challenge your body in new ways, helping to keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Here is a non-exhaustive list of other burpee variations to experiment with.

burpee with a push up – when your body is in push up position, keeping your back and butt straight and abs tight, do a push up before jumping your feet forward.

burpee with 180 degree jump – do the basic burpee, but as you jump up spin around 180 degree to face the opposite direction, and then continue with another burpee again turning as you jump.

competition burpee – when you jump your feet back bring your body all the way down so your chest and hips are touching the ground. Then use your arms to push yourself up as you jump your feet forward and jump up into the air.

sumo burpee – do the basic burpee beginning with your feet in a wide squat stance. When you jump your feet forward, jump again into a wide squat stance and from here jump up.

one legged burpee – complete the basic burpee on one leg and after you’ve complete your number of reps, switch legs. These are tough!

weighted burpee – squat down placing your hands on a pair of dumbbells. Complete the burpee and carry the dumbbells up with you when you jump/or just come up to a stand.

Burpee Workouts

Burpees are a versatile workout move because you can use them many different ways in your workouts. For example, if you are doing a weight lifting routine, you can throw in 10 burpees for a blast of cardio in between weight sets. During a run you can throw in 10 burpees every 1/4 mile, etc.

Or, if you want a quick and sweaty home workout a burpee challenge is where it’s at! Try one of these…

100 Burpee Challenge – do 100 burpees as fast as you can.

Timed Burpee Challenge – set a time limit, for example 5 minutes, and see how many burpees you can do in 5 min.

Descending Burpee Challenge – do 10 burpees then rest for 1 min, then do 9 burpees, rest for 1 min., then 8, 7, 6 etc.

Week of Burpees Challenge – do 50 burpees every day for an entire week!  Challenge your friends, spouse, or family members to do it with you for some accountability.

Month of Burpees Challenge – challenge yourself to do 50 to 100 burpees everyday for an entire month!! Make it interesting by switching up the variations of the burpees every 4 days.

Fit Question? Have you done burpees before? Which burpee variation is your favorite one? Which exercises would you like to see feature here on the Friday Fit Focus?

Have a great weekend!