The Technique To Burn Fat and Build Muscle Fast!

If you’ve hit a plateau with weight loss or are just bored as heck with your workouts and need something to light things up, you should give cardio accelerations a try!

What is cardio acceleration?

Cardio acceleration is when you combine high-intensity cardio with strength training.  Instead of taking a typical rest break between your lifts, you do some type of cardio, all out, for one minute.   I prefer to jump rope, however, you could do any type exercise for your cardio acceleration.  Here are some examples: running in place next to the bench, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, skaters, dumbbell cleans, step-ups, etc.

fullsizerender-1Jumping rope is hands down my favorite tool for keeping my body conditioned and agile.  Read more about the benefits for jumping rope along with training tips here: https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/jump-in-lean-out-with-jump-rope-training/

What is the benefit?

I got turned on to this training technique when I did Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Shred program.  His program did get me shredded.  Another benefit is that there is no hem hawing around waiting for the next set, which is perfect for my adult ADD;) LOL.

My hubby always teases me because if I’m not doing cardio intervals between sets, I’m stretching;)  This was him poking fun of me yesterday when I was stretching between my bench presses.  LOL

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One thing I REALLY love about this technique is that it fills in for my 20-30 minutes of cardio on the step mill or treadmill!

  • Check this out, 20-30 minutes of these high-intensity intervals burns more fat than spending that amount of time on a treadmill. Trust me, your metabolic rate will be up the entire workout and that means you are burning a lot of calories during and after your workout!

I now cycle through this program twice a year, and lately, I’ve been throwing in cardio accelerations with my leg day once a week.

After doing a set of squats, I do 100-200 revolutions jumping rope.  (BTW, I’ve been performing squats recently with a box to make sure I’m nailing my form and getting good and low).

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If you’re worried that the cardio could take away from the strength of your lifts, here is research that Stoppani shares from his Shortcut To Shred Training Overview:

A University of California, Santa Cruz, study found that when subjects did cardio between weightlifting sets, they were able to recover better because of increased blood flow. Cardio acceleration elevates your heart rate, which means more blood pumps to your working muscles throughout your workout.

Ready to HIIT it now?  Let’s go!!

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New Year Resolutions: The Ultimate Goal To Reaching Your Potential

I have a confession to make…I’m not making New Year’s goals for 2017.  I guess that’s not entirely accurate, I do have one goal and that is to do absolutely NOTHING!  I am going to be the best- don’t do a damn thing nothinger ever—for at least 30 min or hour every day;)

I’m that person that loves planners and making to-do lists for everything so not ‘goal setting’ in a traditional sense is driving me a bit bonkers.  Not to mention, the actual practice of doing nothing is difficult.

webdscf0592When I begin my ‘do nothing time’ my thoughts bombard me with all the things I could be doing, ie. folding the laundry, organizing work notes, hemming the curtains, searching the web for bootcamp ideas…and on and on the chatter goes.  I acknowledge those thoughts and tell myself, ‘you have permission.’

Rewards Of Doing Nothing

Creativity:  When the mind is given permission to wander and shift down it has this uncanny ability to get us unstuck.  Try it!  If a problem has you stumped, take a mental break and notice the difference when you return.

Productivity:  According to Scientific American, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”

Authenticity:  It’s paradoxical how this do-nothing space is impactful.  It’s here that the heart and mind can align and there is a return to authenticity.  It’s like you remember that you are not all the things you do, you are so much more.

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets, essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times

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Connectivity:  Think about when you’ve been happiest with your life.  Is it during those moments when you’ve been racing and forceful to get things done? Or has it been those moments when you feel connected and present with your work and the people around you?

As you head into the New Year consider creating space in your day to relax.  Go for a walk, listen to some music or just space out:)  What you will find is the world will keep on spinning without you and you will return the better for it. Will you join me in my quest to be the to be the best-damn-do-nothinger in the new year?

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Pumpkin Protein Muffins

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I love the Summer with the longer days of sunshine and beach trips so it’s hard for me to say goodbye. The one thing that helps to make it better is pumpkin.☺️

I especially love baking with this fruit, yes, pumpkin is technically a fruit, crazy huh?  These pumpkin protein muffins do not disappoint!  They are nutritionally packed with vitamin A, fiber, protein and natural sweetness!  What this means is that you stay fuller longer so you have the perfect healthy snack-:)  WIN!

I decided to top my muffins with a cream cheese protein icing. I’ve included that recipe for you too:)

Oh, by the way, you could totally use this same recipe to make pumpkin protein bread.

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups oat flour (read below for making your own)

1/2 cup oats

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup Stevia or 30 drops of organic stevia

1 tsp cinnamon

2 medium ripe bananas

1 1/4 cup pumpkin (no sugar added)

1 whole egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash up the bananas and mix with wet ingredients.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Place batter in prepared muffin pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. If making banana bread bake for 20-25 min.

*Grind up oatmeal in a blender until it’s a fine consistency to make your own oat flour.

*I freeze these and keep some in the frig for a snack when I have craving for something sweet*

Cream cheese protein icing:

2 oz low fat cream cheese

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

10 drops of stevia (1 Tbsp for powder stevia)

2 Tbsp almond milk (or whatever milk you have)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Find A Career You Love

A couple of years ago I was doing a lot of soul-searching about the direction I wanted to take with my career.  I was a chaplain for hospice, and my minister’s license and Bible college degree wasn’t meeting new requirements.  I needed to receive a Master’s Degree to continue working in the field.  Unfortunately, after crunching the numbers, I decided to explore other options.  This would be the start of a long journey of self-discovery.

It was tough letting go of the identity I had with being “Chaplain Sunshine,” and the fulfilling work of providing spiritual comfort.  Even writing about it now brings up a soul ache.  I will always be grateful for the special bonds I was blessed to make with patients and their families during such an intimate time.  This was one of those patients and families that became so dear to my heart.

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(I received permission from his daughter to share this.) 

This photo was taken on his 91st birthday.  He spent his life empowering and equipping underprivileged youth in New Orleans with skills to enter the workforce.  His daughter, Dr. Adrian Woods, shares his passion. She is the Director of Academic Programs at Xavier University.

At the end of the day, I had to pay the bills so I was determined to find a career that would provide meaning along with a good salary.  Since I loved hospice work so much I thought nursing would be the path, the only problem was I had this awful habit of fainting at the sight of blood!

In the meantime, while I was trying to figure out if nursing was going to be a fit, I had several side jobs just hoping that I would stumble into my dream job.  I mean it happens for some people like that, right?  Psalm 37:23 does say the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord

I was a server at Movie Tavern, took a job during the holiday at UPS, was a sitter for elderly patients in their homes, kept personal training . I don’t think I’m forgetting anything.🤔 Oh, I was a Starbucks barista for a day..Yes, A Day!  LOL

woman_kneeling_prayerIt was very humbling.  I was concerned with my image and that the people would think less of me if I made another job transition.

I needed to pull myself together and get a solid direction. I did a lot of journaling.  I asked myself hard questions and tried to listen to my inner voice.

It took a good year and a half for me to finally get real with myself and admit that nursing wasn’t for me.  I knew from my soul-searching that I wanted a career where I could share my qualities of coaching, compassion and knowledge to help others.  I applied for a 2nd time, for a health coaching position and this time I received the job!

I Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Every day I wake up and thank God that I get to do something that I love and that I help people just by virtue of being me.  I might not be preaching before a physical audience, but every day I stand at my “pulpit,” aka, standing desk, and encourage others to live healthy in every area of their lives.

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As a digital health coach, I’m on my PC most of the day, so yes I get to frump mostly;)  I build a bit more activity into my life by alternating sitting and standing.  In the photo with me is Sammy, the floppy dog, and Penny Wink, the guinea in the cage;)

One thing I learned from my Bible college professor, Les Bowling, is that it’s easier to steer a car that’s moving.  I definitely followed that advice very well, but I also needed to trust God to do his part.

We all go through things that take us to the ragged edge.  It’s hard to be patient and wait for things to work out.  There is a spiritual solution for every problem.  Allow yourself the time to look within yourself, discover what makes your heart sing, then trust the process.

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This in an affirmation I used often, and it might bring you hope on your journey.

There are people looking for the exact skills and talents I have to offer, and you are being brought together on the checkerboard of life. 

-Louise L. Hay 

Pool Workout: Stay Cool While Torching Calories

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I don’t mind the Summer heat until I try to get in an outdoor workout.  The salty sweat getting in my eyes and humidity zapping my ‘umph’ has me settling for indoor cardio.  After weeks of staring at the time on the stairmaster, I’m ready for another solution.

I designed this water workout to burn tons of calories and feel like play. This is my solution to stay cool while being out in the open skies.

What you need:

kickboard
towel
Motown music (my favorite for this workout)

Circuit 1: repeat 3 times

(if you have a small pool select the time option instead of laps)

  1. Free Style Swim:  6 laps or swim for 4 minutes non-stop
  2. Water Jog:  2 laps or 2 minute
  3. Flutter kicks: 2 laps or 1 minute
  4. Push up on wall:  10-15 reps

Water Jog:  

Jog around the sides of the pool.  When you get to the deep end, tread water and keep going!

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Flutter Kicks

Using your kickboard, keep your legs straight and kick with force.

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Wall Push Up

Use your upper body to lift yourself up out of the water with just a small amount of help from your legs.  Slowly lower yourself down.

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Circuit 2:  repeat 3 times

  1. Ab crunch:  10-15 reps
  2. Double leg lift:  10-15 reps
  3. Tread water:  1 minute
  4. Otter Roll:  30 seconds

Ab Crunch

I like to put my leg on my towel so they don’t get scratched.  It’s not a big movement unless you choose to go underwater with it;)

Here are a few modifications to choose from:

option 1

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option 2

*arms in front

*OR arms in front, hold your nose and go under

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Double Leg Lifts

This is challenging for the abs because you are getting resistance from the water.

A modification is to alternate leg lifts.

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Treading Water

Vigorously treading water can torch around 10 calories a minute, same as a six-mile-per-hour run.

Pretend like you are running.  Use your upper body to help you stay afloat and make circular motions with your legs.

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Otter Roll

Hugging a kickboard or a beach ball to chest, float on back, legs extended, feet together.
Roll toward the right by using the entire body — shoulders, hips, core, legs —to rock from side to side with head above water.  (like an otter spinning in the water)
Continue for 30 seconds, alternating direction of roll.

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I’m still working on perfecting this move;)  It definitely got my heart rate up and I felt my abs!

You’re breaking a sweat even though you might not realize it so make sure to drink water. Have fun torching those calories!

 

 

Just Be

My upcoming wedding has prompted me to focus in on what’s really important and what I really want.  You see it’s easy for me to get crazy excited about ideas and put my axe to the grind and go after them.  The thing is, I soon realize I’ve spread myself too thin and all those grand ideas, well, they fall to the ground.🙈  I’m sure many of you can relate to this predicament.  Passion and whimsy are beautiful but if left unchecked, they can lead to our own demise.

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So here is what is helping me to focus—

It seems as though most of my life I’ve been trying to be better, be more, and be different because I’ve felt like until I reach some elusive standard of success, I’m not good enough.  Pushing and pressing have been my MO (I am an Aries; I have the little horns for a reason;) LOL

Lately, I’ve been taking a step back and asking myself, ‘what needs to be different?’

What needs to be different about you and your life right now?

Do you find yourself wanting to be a good wife, friend, employee, dad, Christian, student, etcetera, etcetera?  All these things are good desires, but when you can’t just be you miss out on how perfect you already are right here, right now.  The key is to catch yourself ‘shoulding’ on yourself.  Then step back and ask yourself, ‘What needs to be different?’

Becoming self-aware will allow compassion and clarity to come rushing in to fill the space you’ve created in your heart.

be still

You are good enough without needing to do more good deeds, work harder, get more degrees or titles.

You are enough.

You are a child of God.

Berry Picking & Blueberry Pancake Recipe

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Last month Remi and I were lucky enough to catch the last weekend to pick blueberries at a local berry farm, Blue Harvest Farms, in southern Louisiana.  It was our first time experiencing berry picking so we got all geared up for our adventure.🤗

Hats:  √

Boots:  √

Sunscreen: √

Buckets:  √

Shades for Titi Sunshine: √

We had a blast!  We chit chatted with other berry pickers, she entertained everyone around us with singing, and I seized some teaching moments on practicing mindfulness, which for her involved savoring one or two…

IMG_3063Some veteran blueberry pickers shared with us a great tips:

  1.  Look for powder-blue berries that are firm and uniform in size.
  2. When you get them home spread them-out in a single layer on some paper towels.  If possible, store them in a moisture-proof container for up to five days.
  3. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use them.

I froze half of our batch to use for smoothies or to add in to my banana protein ice-cream.  Here is the link to that recipe:

https://www.instagram.com/healthy_justice/

The rest of the berries we shared with our family and used to make blueberry pancakes.

Now that I have little ones in my life I realize how challenging it is to get them to eat nutritious food, and this is a meal they actually request.  It’s so simple and using a food processor makes it even easier!

IMG_3136Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon organic stevia
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar (I let it soak for awhile)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Place flour, oats, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

The homemade orange juice is also simple and makes breakfast even more of a delight!  

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Ingredients

1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 medium navel oranges, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup (180 ml) ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or other sweetener, to taste (optional)

Directions

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Here is a link to Blue Harvest Farms: http://blueharvestfarms.com

If you would like to find a berry farm close to you, this link might help: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states