Skinny Peppermint Mocha

The other day my routine was changed and I can’t believe how it caused me to experience a series of missteps.  I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say my morning was a hot mess.  I stopped to get a coffee to help me regroup.  I made sure to lock all the doors because my husband had a talk with me the night before about that.  Wouldn’t you know it, I locked my keys in the car!

15193690_1115804685205782_4856398437908955152_nWhile I waited on my hubby to come to my rescue with a spare key, I decided to try a skinny peppermint mocha. It just sounded so good to me and it did not disappoint!  I’m now hooked and ever since last week I’ve been experimenting to find an even healthier recipe to make at home.

As I sat with my skinny peppermint mocha and egg white sandwich, I decided that I was going to turn the day around!  Maybe the peppermint had a little something to do with it.  Peppermint has a calming effect on the body.  Actually there are few body, health, and mind issues that it cannot help.

Factoid: Peppermint is mentioned in Greek mythology where water nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.

All of this makes me feel even better about stumbling across my new Christmas indulgence:)  This recipe includes a skinny peppermint syrup that provides for several servings to have on hand for whenever your craving hits.  Your wallet and waistline will thank you!

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Ingredients for Skinny Chocolate Peppermint Syrup:

1 cup water
4 peppermint tea bags
1 cup sweetener (I used stevia)
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

*Once it cools off pour in a jar or bottle and store in refrigerator

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat a cup of water until it starts to a boil, then add the tea bags, cover and let steep for  5 minutes.
  2. Discard the tea bags and add the sweetener, cocoa powder and peppermint extract. Bring to a boil, and stir until everything dissolves.  Boil for a few minutes then remove from heat.

Ingredients for one Skinny Peppermint Mocha

2/3 cup dark roast coffee
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp skinny chocolate syrup
To prepare your mocha latte:

1. Brew coffee, I used the smallest cup setting on my Keurig (be sure to use a large coffee mug)
2. Heat milk until hot and pour in a blender: Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute until mixture becomes frothy and foamy
3. Add chocolate peppermint syrup to coffee
4. Gently pour in the frothy milk

Tip: If you want to make a protein peppermint mocha add in 1-2 tbsp of your favorite protein powder.💪

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4 Exercises to Target Your Lower Abs

You can keep your abs toned through the holidays with this in-home routine.  If you hate going out in the cold, then this routine will be perfect for you.

Tightening up those pesky lower abs is challenging.  Most of the exercises that target that region involve using the hip flexors, so if they are weak then you may not feel the movement.

Engaging the transverse abdominal muscles that will tighten up your core. To hit this area I’ve put together some unconventional exercises that all build upon a plank.

You will need:

  • 2 hand towels
  • mat
  • smooth surface
  • a rock solid focus

*Make sure you can master a standard plank hold before you progress to these exercises.

Plank Row

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Get into plank position with your towels under your feet.  (The naval is pulled toward the spine and your body is streamlined.) Push yourself back as far as you can while you are pressing into the towels.  Then pull your body back to the starting position.  It’s a small movement.  Keep your body tight and straight the entire time.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30 seconds.

Bear

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Get into a push up position with arms extended and hands under your shoulders.  Press down into your towels and pull your feet toward you.  Then, push back to the starting position.  This can also be done by bending your knees and pulling them toward your chest.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30+seconds.

Mountain Climber

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Holding the extended plank position, pull your right knee in toward your chest then press back while pulling your left leg in toward your chest.  Perform 16-20 reps (right & left leg is a full rep) or go for 30+ seconds.

Army Crawl

*video on Facebook page, click icon @ http://www.totalbodyandmind.net*

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Get into plank position and tighten up your abs and butt.  Crawl forward on your forearms until you hit the edge of your mat, then crawl back.  4-8 reps (one forward and back is a full rep).

DIY Christmas Gifts

Hey everyone!  If you didn’t get all your shopping done on Black Friday or if you just need a few more gifts to finish off everyone on your list, I might be able to help!  I have a few simple ‘do it yourself’ ideas that would work great in gift baskets, as stocking stuffers or as gifts for everyone at work.  You might even want to make one of each for yourself;)  img_3937

Animal Winter Hat (aka: Toboggan or Beanie Hat)

My husband didn’t know what a toboggan was until last Winter when we were in Ohio;)  Both of us are sun lovers.☀️

This hat is so adorable, and I can’t wait to give it to my granddaughter.  I’m sure she will want to make some for her friends:)

What you need:

  • Yarn any color you like
  • Hat (spruce up your old ones, or find affordable ones at a local store)
  • Buttons
  • needle and black thread (for button eyes so they look like pupils;)
  • fabric glue
  • scissors

Step 1:  wrap any color of yarn around the palm of your hand 100x.

Step 2: tightly tie a piece of yard in the middle

Step 3: but the ends then shape them up until pretty balls

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Step 4: sew on eyes

Step 5: make an oval nose and put a 2 small dots of fabric glue to hold it in place

Step 6: make a wave for the mouth and use 5 or so small dots with fabric glue to hold in place

Step 7: admire your cute animal creation!  I hope you can tell this is a bear? LOL

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Makeup Refresher Setting Spray

I’ve tried many drugstore and expensive moisturizers, and this homemade moisturizer is my favorite.  You can also use it as a setting spray for your makeup and as a refresher spray during the day to give you a nice dewy look.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable glycerine (if your skin is dry you could use 1 tbsp)
  • a little under 3oz rosewater or purified water
  • 2 drops of vitamin e to extend the shelf life 4-6 weeks

*keep this in a cool dark space.

Make a body lotion by using equal parts glycerin & rosewater (or plain water).

img_3930Vegetable glycerine is great for any skin type; it’s a humectant meaning it helps to draw and retain moisture. It’s water-soluble, so it’s not a heavy oil, and it leaves your skin super soft.

Rose water also helps hydrate, revitalize and moisturize the skin giving it with that refreshed look. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness and acne.  Rosewater is especially good for mature skin.

Lavender Pillow Spray

Who doesn’t want to get a restful night’s sleep, so this would make a great gift for anyone:)
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Ingredients:

  • equal parts witch hazel and water
  • 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil

I wrote the recipe for each of these DIY sprays in the gift cards:

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These were so easy and fun to make.  Hope you enjoy this season of giving!

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Tips To De-clutter Your Home

d40976d70bc1349d65879f5ec45cac2bThis week I decided to use some vacation time to declutter my home.  It was an overwhelming project because our home is filled with stuff that accumulated over a lifetime, but so worthwhile. I didn’t read any books or videos about how the pros suggest doing it, I simply started.

Here are some tips that worked for me:

Tip #1  Start small

Decluttering and organizing one small space will help you overcome inertia.  This could be a kitchen drawer, your car, purse, or book shelf.  For me, I started with my makeup drawer because I was so annoyed with rummaging through it trying to find something.

img_3883-1Tip #2  Recycle items for storage

I know the first inclination you will have is to go to the Dollar Store or Target to pick up cute containers, DON’T DO IT!  You will be amazed what you already have in your own home that you can recycle and use for organizing.  I found some empty cigar and wooden boxes in our attic and used those to separate my hair ties and makeup in my bathroom drawers.

Cups, jars, and pencil containers make for great storage.

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Once you declutter areas of your home you will have all kinds of baskets, boxes and plastic containers freed up to use for items you want to keep.img_3886

Tip #3 Rediscover Treasures

I found this adorable coat rack in the attic and love using it to display some of my most worn hats:)

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I also uncovered plenty of empty notebooks, games and art supplies that were unseen and stuffed away in boxes or closets that I’ve organized for the grandkids to enjoy.

After cleaning out my bathroom drawers and cabinets I was on fire and eager to get started on my closet.  I hung my purses up so I could visually see them and will likely use them more often.  I also found some money as I was hanging up my bags!  LOL

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With a clean and organized closet, I don’t dread putting my clothes away.

Tip #4 Keep an empty bag or box for items to be donated

In the back corner, I have a bag for clothes I plan to donate.  Once it gets full I will drop it off at the Goodwill.  You could do this in every room of your home.

Tip #5 Purging your kitchen and home can help you lose weight!

I truly believe that being overweight is not just a physical issue, it’s a lifestyle issue and that’s why I’m passionate about my work as a health and lifestyle fitness coach.

Clutter in our minds, calendars, kitchens, etc. leads to stress and weight gain.  What I discovered is that my energy was unblocked as I started cleaning out unused and expired items.   It’s like the subconscious weight of distractions was removed.  Now I feel more mindful, clear minded, and motivated.

After cleaning out and organizing my kitchen I have more joy in preparing meals and even going to the grocery store.

Tip #6 Don’t buy boxes instead ask your area bookstore or grocery store for their empty boxes

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I was lucky enough to get some from Barnes and Nobles and they worked out wonderfully with sorting  items to keep, donate and throw away.

Tip #7 Less is more

Some of the surprising gifts of decluttering:

Less stress and More PEACE

Less negativity and more JOY

Less griping and more GRATITUDE

Less mess and more TIME

Less apathy and more ENERGY

Tip #8 Bless your home

As you are decluttering envision what you want your home to be like.  What energies do you want your home to exude?  What experiences do you want to have in your home?  How do you want to feel in your home?

And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.  Proverbs 24:4

 

Bodyweight HIIT Cardio Intervals

Want to get in a quality cardio session without spending 45 minutes to and hour on a treadmill?  You can optimize your time and get better results with this 20-minute high-intensity interval workout.   This fat burning cardio session will tone your entire body and leave you feeling energized!  You can do this in your office, home or in the gym.

What you need:

  1. a couple of hand towels
  2. a mat
  3. a stopwatch or tabata timer
  4. your willingness to give your best effort.  You can do this workout in your office, home, outside or in the gym.

The Plan:

  • Get a stopwatch or download an interval/tabata timer on your phone.  There are many free apps available that are good.
  • You will exercise for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times.
  • Perform circuit 1 rest 1 minute, move into circuit 2 and then repeat the whole sequence again.  At the end of the workout, you will have done each circuit 2 times.

This will make better sense once you get into the workout. Be warned, it starts off feeling easy but the short rest breaks will challenge you!

Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up to make sure your muscles are loose and you are mentally focused.

Let’s get started! (photos of the exercises below the workout)

Circuit 1
1) Low Jacks:  20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
2) Plank Jacks: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
3) Squat Jumps: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
4) Push-up to knee tucks: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds

-repeat circuit 1 again until you’ve completed 8 cycles which will take you exactly 4 minutes.

After the 4 minute circuit, rest 1 minute then move on to the next circuit.

Circuit 2 (follow the 20 on/10 off sequence)
1) Burpees
2) Army Crawls
3) Side to side jump squats
4) Squat thrusts

-repeat circuit 2 again until you’ve completed 8 cycles which will take you exactly 4 minutes.

After the 4 minute circuit, rest 1 minute then repeat the entire workout again.

Circuit 1:

low jacks– stay low the entire time.

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Plank jacks– in a push-up position, jump your legs out wide and together.

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Squat Jumps– no photo for this one, just squat and jump as high as you can.

Push-up to knee tuck– put a wash cloth under each foot.  Using your abs, pull your knees into your chest and the push them back.

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Circuit 2

Burpees– no photos for this one either.  You will squat, jump your feet back to push up position, jump your feet back in and immediately do a squat jump.

Army crawls– on your forearms and toes, keep your hips steady as possible as your crawl forward to the end of your mat and then crawl backward.

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Side to side jump squats– roll your mat up or pick a spot to tap down with your hands.  Squat to one side, bring your feet together in the center and jump out to the other side.  You want this to be fast and fluid.

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Squat thrusts– squat down, jump your feet back, back in and stand.

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Candy Crusher Halloween Workout

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Did you eat too much candy this weekend?  Let’s crush those calories and have fun doing it!

 

 

 

This is a Halloween-themed workout I put together for my morning bootcamp class.  It is a total body workout that will burn some serious calories!

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Repeat each circuit three times.

Exercise descriptions provided at the bottom of the blog.

Circuit 1

  • Run a couple of laps or run for 2 minutes at a fast pace.
  • Next, take it into the BOOty blast exercises.  Perform each exercise for 45 sec.

Circuit 2

  • Thriller shuffle reaction drill– Get into a squat position (pretend like you are playing defense in a basketball game).  For 45 seconds randomly shuffle right to left.  If you have a partner, have them randomly call out ‘right’ or ‘left’ commands.
  • Killer arm exercises.  Perform each exercise for 45 sec.

Circuit 3

Exercise descriptions:

Wall squat– Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet out in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart. Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Adjust your body position so that your knee joints don’t go over your ankle joints.

Sumo pulse– Get into a wide stance toes slightly turned out and squat low.  Stay at the bottom end of the movement as you do tiny pulses.

Bridges– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips of the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your body back to the floor.

Spider pushups– Place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders and get into a push-up position.
Move your left hand forward and bend your elbow while simultaneously stepping forward with your left foot and draw your knee to the elbow.

Bicep curl to an Arnold press– http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/arnold-dumbbell-press

Witches cauldron– Perform a plank with your arms on a stability ball.  Make tiny circles toward the right for 10 seconds then repeat on the left.

Reverse crunch with medicine ball– Place a medicine ball or towel between your knees.  Pull your knees in toward your chest and do a small hip lift.

Scissors–  Lying on your back with your legs extended off the floor, alternate crossing your legs.

Wall sit twist- Get into your wall squat position with a medicine ball.  Alternate tapping the medicine ball to the right and left.

 

The Muscle You Must Work To Break Through Plateaus

Working out is easy, eating healthy is tough but it’s the mind that is the hardest to train.  You can get on the Elliptical for an hour and lift weights five days a week but if you don’t get a grip on your mental fitness you will struggle every inch of the way to reach your goals.

Here are the things I’ve learned from my own life and in observing my clients that might help you conquer the mental game.

  1. Make peace with failure.  I’ve competed in about five bodybuilding competitions and never won first place.  I’ve done duathlons and powerlifting competitions where I’ve won some and lost many.

383850_243108732428192_399410553_nMy first duathlon I rode the entire race with the front brake on.  Talk about feeling like a novice!  The whole race I was so confused why everyone was passing me;) LOL  I learned from that experience and never repeated that again!

If you’re new to the gym or trying a new sport, don’t expect yourself to be an expert overnight.  Give yourself time to learn, consider getting a coach or personal trainer and don’t be afraid to fail.

2.  Your mind quits long before your body does.

This was something my triathlon coach would often say to our team during training.  He would usually say this when we were all dog tired and he would challenge us to pick up our pace.  He was right, I found that my body could go harder.  His influence helped me reach another fitness level, become a better athlete and personal trainer.

img_3708This is one of my client’s who came to me with goals that she wanted to accomplish. I would be doing her a disservice if I didn’t challenge her to push past her comfort zones.  We are always able to laugh, but we mean business;)

There is going to be discomfort, the mind will scream ‘STOP!  That’s enough!’  There can be no change if there is no challenge.

Hire a personal trainer, get a workout partner or join a fitness group that will call your bluff. Think about it – your last workout did you give yourself an out to stop?  A good personal trainer will know when you can do more and push you to achieve your best.

  • What helps me to always give my personal best is to ask myself, “can I go one more minute?  Can I do two more reps?”
  • If you’ve been doing the same 3 sets of 12 for months, make it 4 sets of 12.  If you’ve been running at the same pace on the treadmill, increase your pace or add more of an incline.

3.  When your focus stops your power stops.  The past few months my mental motivation has been slipping and I’ve had a harder time getting to the gym.  I’m realizing that because I’m always multitasking I’m mentally exhausted.

There is value in focusing on one thing at a time.  Focusing the mind helps you be more at ease in the present in the moment.  Focused attention slows the clock down and makes life more full.  My personal goal is to focus in on one task to help me regain my mojo and bust through my mental blocks.

Feel free to comment what ideas you will try.  Remember….b1ckhfziaaakezz