“Finish February FIT” Challenge

SO many of you wanted me to keep the challenges going…so after five weeks of the JSJ 2014 Challenge, I’ve decided to honor your requests, and extend the challenges through the month of February!!
However, February will have a different focus, all the challenges will be directly FITNESS related!! I know…HOLLah!

January was all about building a healthy foundation to start off the year 2014. Now, that we are all in the groove with our workouts, healthy eating, and meal and fitness planning, let’s really push the envelope. You on board?image

My idea for the Finish February FIT Challenges will be to encourage you to push your current limits “fitness-wise.” If there is one thing that I know from experience it is this: it is SO easy to quit or hold ourselves back when working out before we need to. We all do it. Whether it is an issue of self-esteem, not feeling able or strong enough, or an issue of attitude, or lack of motivation. Whatever it is…lets kick it in the pants!!

This month I want to push you out of your comfort zone, inspire you to try new workout methods/moves, and encourage you to challenge your body new and exciting ways! All of this equalling, hopefully, some awesome visible changes in your body, mental changes in your attitude towards exercise and your body, and a new found energy for life!
Are you ready!!

Let’s HIIT it…that’s our first challenge!image

That’s right…this week we are going to do HIIT training 3xs on non-consecutive days. What is HIIT training?  Check out this post I wrote several months back.

HIIT training can be incorporated into a variety of different workouts and used as a technique for strength or cardio training. The idea of HIIT is to incorporate longer intervals of “all out” effort with short intervals of “recovery or rest.” This training technique will increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Which in short, will make your lower intensity cardio workouts seem easier, and you will soon find yourself lifting more weight and pushing yourself harder in your workouts!

Also an added bonus: HIIT training increases your metabolism causing you to burn more calories during your workout and for hours afterwards…which means you are going to be a fat burning machine throughout your day!

Tomorrow morning I’ll be posting a Feb Fit HIIT workout for you guys, plus links to some other great HIIT workouts that I’ve personally tested and LOVED, put together by some pretty amazing fitness bloggers, and trainers. These workouts will give you a great place to start in planning your HIIT week!

*Important stuff:
If this will be your first time trying HIIT workouts, I would recommend that you only begin this challenge if you are at a point where you can comfortably perform 4-5 days of steady state cardio per week for around 30-40 minutes. HIIT is incredibly demanding on your cardiovascular system, and it is not something that you should try as a beginning to you fitness journey.

However, if you are ready to “HIIT it” remember to honor your body, make sure you are injury free, and modify moves as necessary…while still pushing yourself.

As I mentioned above, we’ll be doing 3 days of HIIT workouts, non-consecutively. Here is an idea of what your weekly fitness schedule could look like:image

This schedule is just a suggestion, so feel free to manipulate it however works for you. If you want just one rest day, throw in an extra strength sesh, or if you want 3 rest days, take them. This challenge is for you guys, so plan your workouts so you will stick to them!

And just a reminder…HIIT training is even more effective when paired with a clean diet of lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, veg, and whole grains. So, for best results, keep it clean in the kitchen this week.

Any questions? Share them with me in the comments, I’m here for ya!

See ya tomorrow with all this week’s HIIT workout ideas!

~ Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 1/5

Happy first Sunday of 2014!!

This morning we branched out and enjoyed a Sunday breakfast of tostadas rancheros; creamy cumin spiced white beans, a fried egg, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar and few slices of avocado all layered on oven toasted, fresh ground corn tortillas made by our neighbor. Yeah, it doesn’t get much fresher than that. All washed down with a hot, steaming french press of dark roast coffee. It was lovely.

And in other exciting news the fruit and veggie truck was in town yesterday, and she brought me lots of fresh fruit.

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Mandarines, pineapple, papaya, bananas, just to name a few, and of course the “must buys”, tomatoes, and garlic.

Speaking of fresh, I haven’t shown you guys our winter crops. Pete, the hubs, planted all kinds of greens, tomatoes, peas, and we just finished harvesting the poblano peppers.

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There are definitely benefits to living in a warmer climate, even if we’ll never have a white Christmas. 🙂

So…Sundays are kind of like my “me day”. I like to meal plan, prep food for the week (kind of a calming hobby of mine), and just enjoy the things in life that I don’t get time for during a busy week. This morning I prepped a batch of quinoa, lentils, pinto beans, (I always cook from dry beans), green curry bean burgers, and a BIG batch of this Simple Tomato Soup to put in the freezer for quick lunches, or a night when I just don’t feel like cooking.

Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ll be feasting on:

Meal Ideas:
Beer Bean Tostadas w/Pico de gallo
Green Curried White Bean Burgers
Skillet Herbed Frittata w/Sun-dried Tomatoes
Quinoa Lentil & Apricot Salad
Spaghetti w/Pumpkin, Thyme & Walnuts

What are you craving this week? What is on your meal plan?

We are starting the second week of the New Year, and I don’t know about you guys, but I have kind of felt like I’m still in holiday mode. Time to get real!
If you are following the JSJ 2014 Challenge this week is all about fitness!

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I’m actually super excited about it, and can’t wait to internationally move my behind every single day this week. No excuses!

Besides the challenge here’s what I’ve got planned on the fitness front:

Tentative Fitness Plan:
Monday – Sixes Leg Burner
Tuesday – Run (HIIT intervals) + 5 min Ab Ripper (post coming)
Wednesday – light yoga
Thursday – Run steady state + sprints + 7 min. Glutes on
Friday – Chest, Back, & Core Tabata
Saturday – Christmas Cookie Burner + Pushups & Dumbbells workout
Sunday – Run steady state

Are you following the JSJ 2014 Challenge? If not, it is not too late to start. Check out this week’s challenge here.
Also, if you are looking for new workout inspiration, check out the Jumpstart January Workout calendar for ideas!

Cheers to healthy living in 2014!

~ Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 11.17

We had our pig, Otis, castrated this weekend. He squealed like I used to as the youngest girl in the family when my brothers would barge into my room unannounced. However, his life has been altered much more than mine was at the time. 🙂 He is now on his way to becoming fatter, and the most organic-ish pig in the village. We gave him extra scraps yesterday…it was hard day.

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All our Nahuatl friends want to come and help us eat him, but he may not be as delicious as the poop-eating, free range pork that they are used to. Just a day in the life of a gal living in a tribal village.

What’s going on at your place this weekend?

I also did some hair trimming. Their parents kept talking about how the girls would be walking around bald…not sure what they thought I was going to do. 🙂

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This little man just watched. Cutie pie.

We’ve again been blanketed by clouds here in the Mexican Sierra that have also brought some rain, and living off the grid with solar power as our electric source means there hasn’t been much online time for this girl this week. I usually check the web for new recipe inspiration, so I was flying solo as I menu planned for the coming week. Even though I do have some pretty amazing cookbooks that I consult often for ideas.

And in fun news: the hubby put up a new light bulb for me in the kitchen today! So excited, it’s right above where I do most of my food prep. Yeah, for men learning to be handy. 🙂

So here’s what we’ll be munching on this week:

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Main Meal Ideas:

Mexican Pie

Roasted Zucchini Stuffing

White Bean, Bacon, & Rosemary Soup w/Pumpkin cornbread

Smoked Trout Millet Burgers & Edamame (recipe will be up tomorrow)

Sundried tomato & basil omelets

Weekend prep: pressure beans (using this method), pre-cut zucchini, shell edamame, make snacks:

Gingerbread Snack Bars & Spicy Quinoa Clusters (recipes in process)
And…some Pumpkin Pie Granola! Yum!

Tentative Fitness Plan:

Monday: 6s Leg Burner Workout

Tuesday: Run + Sprints & 6 min Fab Abs

Wednesday: active rest day – walk or yoga & 6 min Fab Abs

Thursday: Run (HIIT intervals) & 6 Min Fab Abs

Friday: Total Body Workout

Saturday: Upper Body + Quick Tabata

Sunday: Run – longer run day + 10 min booty burner (stay tuned for this)

I’m mixing up my routine a little bit this week. I’ve been digging a mid-week rest day as my week days are the busiest, and I’ve been wanting to start running a little longer once a week. I’m thinking this schedule will work a lot better, but we’ll see…this week will be the test run. And Sunday is pancake day, who doesn’t love pancakes after a run?! Sounds like a match made in heaven.

What’s new on your fitness plan this week? What is working for you? Let me know I love new ideas.

And is anyone making their Thanksgiving menu yet? Can’t wait to hear what you are making! I’m experimenting with a veggie cornbread stuffing this week. Mostly because one can never have enough stuffing.

Happy Weekending!

Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 10.6

Hey friends! How’s your weekend going?

Our’s started out with a bang when some lovely friends flew into our little pueblo on Friday morning to spend a full day and evening with us. Homemade pizza was devoured, strong coffee drank, and sweet, sweet fellowship had. It was such a refreshing day for us. The only sad part…I totally forgot to snap even one picture. 😦 Oh well.

Yesterday and today have been spent cleaning the casa from top to bottom as we have family arriving this week.

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The guest room is all ready!

Tuesday my in-laws come into town, and after a few days spent in the mountains together we will all head towards the coast for a relaxing week of sun and seafood on the beach! I CAN.NOT.WAIT.

All that to say, we will be getting groceries this week. Fresh food!! I haven’t seen a spinach leaf in 3 months, and I’ve missed them so. However, we did grow some IMPRESSIVE hybrid zucchini/butternut squashes…and just in case you doubted how mature we are…

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Goofers.

With that in mind, I hope to make some yummy food for the fam, and we hope to get some use out of our grill as it doesn’t look like there’s too much rain in the forecast.

Also, I’ve been doing some baking…which will probably be making an appearance this week on the bloggy.

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Family visit = excuse to do some seasonal baking! It’s gonna be yummy!

Okay, so here’s what’s cooking this week:

Meal Ideas:

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White Chicken Chili w/Millet bread
Veggie & Margherita Pizzas
Grilled chicken tacos w/ pico de gallo
Grilled Hamburgers w/sweet potato rounds
…and we’ll be finishing some leftovers before the fam arrives.

Tentative Fitness Schedule:

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Monday – Run (w/sprints) + Upper Body Strength Circuit
Tuesday – HEAVY Legs day w/plyo
Wednesday – Run (HIIT intervals)
Thursday – Total Body Circuit
Friday – Run (steady) + 10 Minute Plank Workout
Saturday – rest day (traveling to the BEACH!!)
Sunday – Get Out & Move Workout (on the beach!! woot!)

So…what’s going on in your home this week? Any fun plans, or recipes to share?

Also, have you tried the 20 Minute Interval Challenge workout yet? Just 20 minutes…a calorie burnin’ good time! 🙂

Have an amazing week!

Liesl

Fitness & Eats – 9.30

Hey everyone! How’s your Sunday afternoon treating you?

I’m posting my weekly eats a little later this weekend as we just got back from sharing El Dia de San Miguel (Saint Michael’s day) with some friends in a nearby village about a 45 minute walk one way. It was a nice time of chatting, practicing the language we are learning, and sharing in the customary food of the day, atole and corn tortillas.

Atole is a hot drink made with water, flour, and sugar. They mix the flour in by hand (seriously…their hand is the spoon) while the water is still room temperature and then cook it over an open fire. While it is cooking they add the sugar. Sometimes instead of white sugar they use something called piloncillo, which is sort of like a brick of brown sugar. And if the family is financially able to afford it they add milk and cinnamon. It is very good, a little sweet, and thick. If it was grainy it would remind me of cream of wheat or a hot cereal.

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So, we shared in the meal, chatted and walked home. It was a nice Sunday morning.

This weekend I was thinking about meal planning and was completely uninspired. While cooking is something that I truly enjoy doing, sometimes my energy wanes and I put on my lazy pants. It’s a good thing I’m married and I know I have my man to feed…it would be scary to see what I would eat as a single gal. 🙂

Anyways, here are my uninspired eats for the week, and my fitness ideas, I’m hoping they will inspire some of you!

Meal Ideas:
Minestrone Soup  & Millet bread
Spicy Edamame Slaw & Roasted Salmon
Zucchini Quinoa Burgers
Herbed White Beans & Tuna
Pizza – we have friends flying in to see us Friday night, it should be a BIG partay! Can’t wait!!

Tentative Fitness Plan: 
Monday – Run (if it’s not raining…it’s still been pouring regularly out here) + 15 Minute Workout
Tuesday – Legs Day – workout undecided
Wednesday – Run (HIIT) + Upper Body Circuit
Thursday – Beach Shape Up Workout #2 (post comin’) 🙂
Friday – Run (steady) + 10 Minute Plank Workout
Saturday – Cardio + Strength Workout
Sunday – Yoga

It is now less than two weeks until we head down the mountain on our little beach vacay…and I am so ready! But, still two more weeks to eat healthy, exercise hard, and make the next two weeks great!

So, what’s your plan this week? What are you eating? Are you trying a new workout, if so what?
Tell me about it, I love hearing from you!

Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 9.15

Hey! How’s your weekend going?

Mine has been nice, lots of the usual happenings; getting the house cleaned up, laundry, food prep, new recipe experiments, a bit of relaxing.

The rain has slowed so we had a little grill out yesterday afternoon with the government doctors that come to work in the clinic in our village once a month. They brought everything, and just used my kitchen. It was grand.

I’m sure you may have noticed, but my posts have been all out of whack this week. We’ve had some internet difficulties over in our corner of the globe, so things didn’t get posted when they were supposed to. Grrr…I try not to get frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it. But still, it is a little annoyance in my life.

This only means one thing…

beware, post-bomb coming this week!!

Ok…back to today’s post…

I’ll be honest with you, it’s September 15th, and I have not been to town since June 15th…yes, 3 months since I went grocery shopping = slim pickins’ around these parts. However, I hope I can inspire you to use what you have on hand at any given time to make something delicious.

Here we go…

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Meal Ideas:

Baked Cabbage & Chive Quinoa Cakes
Chipotle Beer Beans w/Fresh Tomatoes
Smoky Maple Lentil Salad
Tofu Spring Rolls w/Tahini dipping sauce
Salmon Dill Chowder

Other recipe teasers:

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Tentative Fitness:
Monday – Cardio Steady State (35 min + 10 sprints)
Tuesday – Full Body Workout #2 + 10 min Plank Workout
Wednesday – Cardio Steady (40min.)
Thursday – Full Body Workout #2 + HIIT ME Workout
Friday – Cardio HIIT (20min of intervals, with cool down and warm up)
Saturday – Full Body Workout #2 + Stability Ball Core Circuit
Sunday: OFF/or some type of low impact recovery (yoga, walking, etc.)

Backwards lunge (left)

I’m ready to hit this week running! How about you?

Your Turn: What is your favorite grilled food? Why?
I love grilled 8-ball squash marinated in balsamic, salt, and pepper. It almost melts in your mouth.

Cheers to a healthy week!

Liesl

Fitness & Eats for the Week – 7/21

When I was a little girl my Mom used to make Dutch Apple Pancake on the weekend for our family breakfast. She made it in a big cast iron skillet in our wood burning stove. No, I did not live in a little house on the prairie…well actually…it was kind of close to that. But, I remember smelling the sweet apples browning with butter and brown sugar and sitting at the table sipping orange juice or a little coffee, (more milk and sugar than coffee) and waiting in anticipation for the big, fluffy pancake to be placed in the center of the table. We would thank Jesus, not just for the food, but for family, and for life, and then dig in!! Oh…that pancake tasted SO good.

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I haven’t had a Dutch Apple Pancake in years. So when I saw a recipe for it on Love & Lemons I knew I had to get nostalgic and enjoy it with Pete over some steaming French press coffee. And that is what we did this morning, and it was delightful.

What are you up to this Sunday? Any fun plans?

I ground wheat & spelt yesterday so I’ll be making some bread today, and hopefully doing some yoga and relaxing a little with my man before another busy week starts.

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Looks like it will be a chill day.

So, what’s on the eats and fitness menu this week??

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Meal Ideas –  

Falafel – I love it, but I’ve never made it…this is the week!

Salmon & Summer Squash on the grill

– I’m dying to try out my rice paper and make some of these Spicy Lentil Rolls 

Fresh & cool Quinoa and Hempseed Tabbouleh salad

Egg & Veggie Tart 

Spicy Fish Cakes w/stir-fried cabbage

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Fitness – 

Monday – SPRINTS! + Chest/Back/Shoulders with drop sets

Tuesday – 6s Leg Burner + Ab Circuit

Wednesday – 4 mile Run + Upper Body HIIT

Thursday –  Lean Legs w/weights + Cardio HIIT

Friday- 3.5 mile tempo run + Plank +Cardio Circuit

Saturday – Bodyweight circuit

Sunday – yoga!

In  workout rut? Try this full body circuit sometime this week:

Cardio & Strength Home Circuit

What do you have on your meal and fitness plan this week? Let me hear ya! 

Happy Sunday!!

~ Liesl