Month: November 2013

Crossfit: The training of warriors

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When it comes to workouts, I’m always up for trying something new. That being said, the option of Crossfit terrifies me.

Crossfit first became a workout trend in 2000 when founder Greg Glassman founded it through his company Crossfit Inc. Today, the exercise regime is practiced in over 7,000 gyms across America. The way the workouts work is that the company posts different workouts every day. The gyms then distribute the workouts to their members and they follow them.

I like the idea of getting new routines every day. Sometimes it is difficult to get creative with a workout or change up your normal exercises. But from what I’ve heard, Crossfit exercises are designed to push yourself to the limit on every exercise you do.

Call it gym intimidation but the sound of it makes me nervous. That being said, I still have the urge to try it. If you are in the Athens, OH area and are looking for a place to try Crossfit, check out Crossfit SEO (Southeast Ohio) to see their workout schedules and learn more about the most popular exercise craze of the moment.

Also, for a little inspiration, check out this video about Crossfit below.


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Healthy crock pot recipes

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If you are like me and love the idea of cutting up a few ingredients, putting them in a pot, and then not worrying about them for hours, then crock pots are for you!

I fist discovered the power of the crock pot when I got a house in college. You can make a ton of food which can last you for the week on a low budget. Not to mention, your house will smell amazing because it can simmer all day.

At first I struggled with finding healthy crock pot options because so many of the recipes I found involved using cheese and creams. But finally I found some that fit my diet and lifestyle. Check them out below!

Slow Cooker Squash Lasagna

This lasagna recipe has a seasonal and healthy twist, using squash, whole wheat noodles and a relatively small amount of mozzarella. For more traditional lasagna, replace squash and sage mixture with a 25 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce. See my recipe for slow cooker spinach lasagna for more info.

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 package of regular whole wheat lasagna noodles (I’ve used the “no boil” kind in the slow cooker too and both that and regular noodles work, so use whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 10-oz. packages of frozen pureed squash or 2 cups of fresh pureed squash*
  • ½ teaspoon of dried rubbed sage
  • 1 15-oz. container of part skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of parmesan, grated
  • ¼ – ½ cup of part skim mozzarella, shredded
  • A few handfuls of spinach (optional)
Note: you don’t have to add extra water. The slow cooker steams the noodles just fine on its own.


Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken
Serves 6
  1. 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  2. 5 large carrots, peeled and diced
  3. 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a green pepper)
  6. 1 (5 oz ) can tomato paste
  7. 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  8. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1 tbsp curry powder
  10. 1 tbsp garam masala
  11. 1 jalapeno, seeded and halved OR 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  12. 2 tbsp water
  13. 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

    Healthy Crockpot Mini Turkey Quinoa Meatballs





    1 pound 99% lean ground turkey breast
    1 pound 94% lean ground turkey
    2/3 cup cooked quinoa (preferably cooked in flavored stock)
    3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons finely grated romano cheese
    2 teaspoons dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 large sweet onion, sliced into thin rounds
    2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes


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The best YouTube Workouts

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As winter sets in the inspiration to leave your house goes out. Right now, as I watch the snow fall I can’t imagine leaving my room let along walking to the gym.

But this is no excuse! Instead of going to the gym, get your own personal trainer at home by checking out online workout tutorials. To help you out and provide a little inspiration, I’ve posted some of my favorites below.

So get off the couch and give these a shot in the comfort of your own home.

Stay warm!


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The Thanksgiving Debacle

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Possibly my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving is great for a little time off from school to relax with my family. Oh, and also to eat my weight in food.

Thanks to the fitness therapy that is writing this blog, I’ve decided to take a different approach to this years’ holiday season. Usually I approach holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas with the mindset of the foods I crave: pumpkin pie, anything with sweet potatoes in it, eggnog, peppermint hot chocolate, stuffing, etc. You see where I am going here.

This year promises to be a different one because regardless of what I’ve said every year as a joke, calories DO count on Thanksgiving. Fitness goals can be set back by forgetting to portion food properly. I’m not saying that you cannot have the mashed potatoes or the cranberry sauce, just remember that just because your eyes and brain tell you to eat all of it, does not mean that you can or should.

Some Ohio University students weighed in on their holiday struggles.

“I always eat with my eyes before my stomach during the holiday season,” Brett Carrol, OU senior said. “It’s just so easy to get caught up in all the food.”

“My family just makes so much of it (food),” Erika Martinez, OU senior said. “I don’t want to insult my family by not eating a little bit of everything because they worked so hard to prepare it.”

“I think the reason we all eat so much is because we don’t have access to home-cooked food here on campus,” Regina Donizetti, OU junior said. “Then when we go home, it’s like we’ve never seen so much food before.”

To give you a better idea of what you are dealing with during Thanksgiving, I’ve created a chart of my favorite Thanksgiving foods telling how many calories are in one serving.

Another great way to stay in shape during the holidays is to sneak in small workouts. I, like many of my fellow OU students, will not have a gym around during break so I need to find a way to stay in shape in order to pick up where I left off next semester.

Fortunately, has a great seven ways to sneak in a holiday workout page. They are as follows:

1. Do a “condensed but intense” workout: This is a great tip. Instead of spending hours at the gym, combine cardio and body-weight training into 30 minute sessions to get your heart rate going and give your muscles a wake up call.

2. Rehearse your routine: Stick with the exercises you have chosen.

3. Bring Tubes, Bands and more: Resistance bands can often pump up an otherwise boring workout and make it easier for you to stay interested.

4. Get active in airports: I will not be flying this holiday season but there is nothing wrong with taking the longer walk through the terminal if you have a long layover.

5. Get a jump rope: This is probably the most simple and effective exercise to do. Time yourself for minute sessions while jumping as much rope as you can. The best part: you don’t have to go anywhere to do this!

6. Plan to relax: Don’t overdo the workouts. The whole reason for the holiday season is to relax and see your loved ones. If you must workout, plan some of them as yoga or low-key sessions.

7. Ease back into your routine: A few weeks before returning to school, try using lighter weights and shorter distances to ease yourself back into your more intense routine so that going back to the gym doesn’t shock your body.

So don’t let the holidays be an excuse to forget your health. There are ways to enjoy and relax without putting yourself at risk of giving up your fitness goals.

For more inspiration, check out my post on Storify for some holiday workouts.

Happy holidays!


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Heart rates: more important than you think

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So often women work out to achieve fitness for appearance purposes. What we sometimes do not acknowledge is what is happening inside of our bodies as a result of little or no exercise.

Heart disease is currently the number one killer of American women according to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This disease beats others such as cancer and conditions like strokes, lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes. Heart disease also tops the charts for both Caucasian and African American women while ranking second for Asian or Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaskan Native females of all ages.

Being aware of a healthy heart rate which is appropriate for your age can help you determine the amount of exercise that is appropriate, what types of foods you should cut out of your diet and much more.

One of the best ways to determine a healthy heart rate is to measure it at rest. When you are working out, there can be a lot of fluctuation based on the type of work out you do, when you take breaks and for how long, etc. Resting allows your heart to slow to its normal speed and thus, for measuring purposes, be more accurate.

But many women are unaware of their heart rates, let alone what a healthy heart rate for their age even is.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart rate measured outside of a doctor’s office,” Sara Nealeigh, an Ohio University Senior said. “Even when they do measure it, they never say what the number means.”

Exercise and age have everything to do with heart rate. According to Top End Sports, the younger and more active you are, the lower your heart rate should be. This is due to your heart growing and becoming more accustomed to working out. Because your heart is stronger, it is able to pump blood throughout the body easier.

“I do notice that when I haven’t worked out in awhile, my heart tends to beat faster,” Ashley Overholt, OU senior said. “I try to stay on top of my heart rate because I know it is important and it can help or hurt me.”

The best way to determine if you have a irregular heart rate for your age is to consult a doctor. Telling your physician how much you exercise and how intense those work outs are will help him or her determine a healthy heart rate and then help you to work your lifestyle around it.

“I feel like it (heart rate) is just something we never think about. We just expect our hearts to keep on pumping no matter what,” Camille Davis, OU senior said.

To get a better idea of what your target at-rest heart rate should be, check out the chart I made on and stay healthy!


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Gym Insecurities (Cont…)

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Earlier last week I shot some video about gym insecurities. I was curious to find out if other people had little “isms” they noticed about themselves or other people while working out. I myself have been insecure about the way I run or my technique when I lift.

I was surprised to find that I am not the only person to have this problem. Several of the other OU women I interviewed also want to feel secure at the gym, weird running and lifting problems included. But fear not, we insecure people are not alone!

When I googled “insecurity at they gym” there were so many results. Women everywhere wonder who is looking at them while they workout, why they sweat as much as they do, what certain exercises may or may not say about them. Sometimes, the problem lies with other insecurities and weight problems. For example, on My Fitness Pal’s website, one reader spoke about her recent problems at the gym.

“I went to the gym the other day, for the first time in my entire life, with the mindset of getting fit and healthy. With almost 100 lbs to lose to get in a healthy BMI, I’m a pretty big girl. But when I got to the gym, I felt super self conscious! There were literally NO overweight people in there…everyone had a body like a God and were easing through their workouts. They gave me weird looks and I became super self aware of my every movement. I felt like everyone was looking at my red, sweaty face, listening to me being out of breath.”

Another fellow blogger, Aimee at Anxious No More, gave some great tips about avoiding your insecurities at the gym.

1. Take a friend with you. I think it is less nerve-wracking to go to the gym with a friend. You won’t be so focused on yourself and what everyone else thinks of you if you have a friend working out alongside you.

2. If you cannot bring a friend with you to the gym, bring some music to listen to while you workout. Bring an MP3, iPod, or Discman with you to the gym to listen to while you exercise. Listening to music while you exercise will energize you and help you keep focused during your workout.

3. Take a tour beforehand. When you sign up for a new gym, they will usually allow you to take a tour of the exercise room before you actually go in there to workout. Some gyms also give you a guide for your visit to show you how to work the machines and weights in the gym. If the gym you chose offers this service, I’d recommend taking advantage of it. It can be really helpful.

4. Wear something comfortable. Be sure to wear something you feel comfortable in to the gym. This will help you feel better about yourself.

5. Don’t look in the mirrors if you can help it. I was reading a study the other day that said people who go to gyms with mirrors in the workout room are less likely to keep going to the gym, so I don’t even know why they still put mirrors in there, but if you can help it, don’t look in the mirrors while you workout. Having some music might help you distract yourself from watching yourself workout in the mirror. Some gyms also have televisions you can watch while you workout.

A couple I have observed on my own:

6. Read a book while on the treadmill. I see lots of people doing that and want to try it out.

7. Hire a personal trainer. I would love this but they are too expensive for my budget. If you can, they will help you stay focused and motivated. 

So don’t let your own head get to you! The more comfortable you get with your body and your routine, the less you will care what others think.



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Circuit training; my favorite

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When I work out, I love being surrounded by others and constantly active so as to avoid boredom or an excuse to stop. Circuit training is the perfect way to fill both of those requirements.

In addition to doing circuits, it is also a good idea to warm up with some form of cardio and get your blood pumping.

I found a circuit training workout through Fitness Magazine. The workout should only take 20 minutes to complete and can burn up to 800 calories of done correctly. Check out Fitness Magazine for the complete workout and get going!


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