Tonight I made my version of beef stir-fry: healthy style. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe in the last 7 days because it is that good. Best of all? It’s budget friendly (just under $5 a serving) and it has little clean up (perfect)! This recipe can easily be adapted to a vegetarian recipe by simply leaving out the beef. The key to this super simple recipe is the vegetarian mushroom flavored sauce that I picked up at my local Asian Market. At just 10 calories per tablespoon, it is a great flavor booster.
Makes 4 Servings
4 cups brown rice, cooked
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons Vegetarian Mushroom Sauce
16 oz. steak (sirloin or NY strip) – optional
1. Take large piece of foil and drizzle olive oil on one half of the foil (dull side up).
2. Layer onions, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms on top of the olive oil in that order. Season with salt and pepper for taste. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of mushroom sauce over the vegetables.
3. Fold the other half of the foil on top of the vegetables, rolling up the sides to create a seal and creating a pouch. Set aside.
4. Season steak with salt and pepper. Take the remaining tablespoon of mushroom sauce and brush over the steak.
5. Grill veggie pouch for 15-20 minutes (15 min for crunchier veggies, 20 min for softer veggies). Grill steak to your cooking specifications (I prefer medium rare which is about 7 min per side for a NY strip steak).
6. Remove steak an veggies from the grill and let the meat set for a few minutes. Cut meat into small chunks. Put 1 cup of rice on each place, evenly distribute veggies on top of the rice, and top with steak. If you’d like, you can top it off with a touch more sauce.
Easy cleanup – crumple up the foil and throw away!
89 Degrees + Felt like 92 Degrees + 52% Humidity = Perfect Day for a run!
Today was the final event in the Inaugural Triple Crown Series. I had already run a street 8K and a trail 8K, today was the track 8K. The race began at 9 AM rather than an early 7:30 or 8:00 AM start time in order to give people time to travel up to Anderson who were coming from different locations. At first I thought this was awesome because I was able to sleep in a little (6:30 AM) rather than get up super early for a 7:30 AM start time. As I was running in the hot and humid sun… I began to think otherwise.
We started on the horse track (which is made up of crushed pea gravel or something of the sort – just in case you didn’t know) just after turn 2. The start line was 2 cones and a truck with a big fence/gate thing attached to it. I’m guessing they use it for the horse races at Hoosier Park, but since I’ve never actually seen a horse race, I can’t be too sure. This race was based on gun time rather than chip time, so I made sure to make my way up to the front of the start line. After all, I didn’t want to get caught up in the back traffic and lose precious seconds (if it were chip time, that would be a different story).
And we were off running down the track, around turn 3 and 4 and off to the side, through some grass, and onto the parking lot where we ran through the parking lot and out onto the street. We had just started running and the heat and humidity was simply oppressing. I was getting passed left and right! I didn’t let it bother me though because I knew it was hot, there was no shade in sight to get a reprieve from the sun, and I didn’t wear my water belt. Figures the only time I don’t wear my water belt I actually need it. I was not about to exert all of my energy in miles 1 and 2.
Around mile 1.5 there was a water station. Normally I skip the water (I usually have my belt on) because I find that trying to grab water and drink all of it takes a lot of time away from your actual run. Plus, I haven’t mastered drinking from a paper cup and running at the same time. However, today it was a necessity. So I ran with my arm stretched out, grabbed the cup from the nice water lady, and tried to drink. I got some water up my nose, a bunch down my shirt, and just a tiny swig in my mouth. Good enough. It was just enough to wet the dry spot that was forming in my throat and keep me going until mile 3.
By now people had started the run/walk/run method but I kept on trucking. I kept my pace around 8:30 minutes/mile. I usually can run faster and I have run faster but this was by far the hottest run I’ve ever raced in. I didn’t want to tire myself out too quickly. I figured slow and steady wins the race (or at least finishes the race). Soon I see mile 3 and the final water station. I have some serious cotton mouth going on so I try again to get some water. No water up the nose this time, but most of the water ended up going down my shirt instead of in my mouth. Can’t fault a girl for trying.
At this point, I’m started passing people. I looked up to see the entrance to the casino parking and new the finish line was just around the track. Running into the parking lot of the casino, I see the sign for mile marker 4. Just 1 mile to go!
I enter into the horse track and let me just say that the horse track didn’t seem so daunting at 9:00 AM when we had started the race. But after running a bit over 4 miles in the blazing sun, that track seemed never ending. Still I didn’t try to speed up even though I knew it was the end. The last thing I wanted to do was slip and fall or twist my ankle on the loose gravel. I’m not exactly the most graceful person. So I kept my pace, put my head down, and headed down the last lap of the track. Turn 1, turn 2, turn 3, turn 4, and finally I headed down the last stretch of the track. Normally at this point I would start to pick it up and sprint the last .2 miles but not today. Like I said, slow and steady.
I crossed the finish line in 43 minutes and 50 seconds. Not my fastest time, but I’ll take it!
The coolest part of this Triple Crown Series (besides the awesome medal you get for participating in 2 out of the 3 events) is that there were prize categories not only for the Top 3 male and female overall finishers of all 3 events, but they had age division winners as well. After event #1 (Carmel 8K) they put up the top 5 finishers in each age division. After event #2 (Eagle Creek 8K), they updated the leader boards so you could see how you did and where you stood in the running. Then they took the time from event #3 (Hoosier Park 8K) and averaged it in for a final time and the overall age winner received a special Age Division Champion Pint glass.
Today is officially Day 10 of my Insanity 60 Day Challenge and my third time completing the Plyometric Cardio Circuit workout DVD. If I am going to be completely honest with you, which I always am, I will tell you that it was not easier than the first time I did it. The only thing that has gotten easier was the warm up and that is because Shaun T. uses the same basic warm up moves in all the DVDs I’ve used so far. Circuit 2 was still tough for me during the Level 1 drills, Ski Drills, and In-and-Outs because my shoulders can’t hold my weight that long while jumping into different plank positions and incorporating pushups as well. I will say that I’ve gotten better since the first time, but I still can’t last the full 1 minute and 30 seconds without stopping for a break. And while I’m being honest, I also did some pushups on my knees. I love the fact that even though I’m 10 days into this challenge, Shaun T.’s workouts still get me super sweaty so I know I’m getting a killer workout in. How many workouts do you know that you are sweating profusely after the warm up? Yea, me either. So for a refresher – here is what I did.
Warm up – 3X
Jog – this is no light jog. Give it what you got.
Jumping Jacks – the key is to do the full jumping jack, arms come all the way up.
Heisman’s – Make sure you get both feet up in the air as you switch from side to side.
123-123 – These are Heisman’s with three steps in between.
Butt Kicks – Make sure you are kicking your butt with your heels when you run.
High Knees – Get your knees higher than your hips if you can.
Mummy Kicks – Arms out straight like a mummy, straight leg kick your feet while criss-crossing your arms at the same time.
Circuit 1 – 3x
Suicide Drills – Suicide drills aren’t extremely difficult. If you watched basketball or played basketball, then you know what to do. All you do is run to one side, touch the floor with the opposite hand (so run to the right, touch the ground with the left) and turn around and do the same thing on the other side. Keep doing this until 30 seconds is up.
Power Squats – Power squats are like regular squats but with a small jump when you come to the top. Be sure that you are pushing your butt back like you are sitting in a chair and you keep your arms in front of you to maintain balance and proper form.
Mountain Climbers – I felt super silly doing this and I was glad my husband was out of the room. Basically you look like a person climbing a mountain, really fast, and there is no mountain. Make sure you fully extend your arm up in the air and bring your opposite knee up to 90 degrees. Switch and do the exact same thing on the other side. Now repeat, but only do it super fast.
Ski Jumps – Keeping your feet together, jump side to side like you are skiing downhill.
*After Round 3*
Switch Feet – This looks a lot like my happy dance. You are going from heel to toe keeping your legs straight and switching your feet and arms left to right. (A really bad running man, if you know that dance move)
Football Sprints – Football sprints have your feet out wide, knees are bent, you are down low with your hands out in front and you are moving your feet super fast. You face front, then right, then front, then left, then you shuffle to the right, shuffle to the left, shuffle back, and set (touch the ground), and sprint. You do this twice before you get your next water break.
Circuit 2 – 3x
Basketball Drills – To complete this exercise, all you do is face one side of the room, squat down, pick up an imaginary ball, and shoot to the front of the room or “the hoop.” Make sure you squat all the way down with your butt going back to keep proper form and really engage your legs. When you come up, really power up through your legs into an explosive jump. It’s a lower body workout for sure!
Level 1 Drill – This is a B**** because it incorporates so many moves and I don’t know who Shaun T. was counting for, but there was no way I was moving that fast! You start with 4 push-ups, move into 4 plank mountain climbers, jump your legs in by your hands, stand up reach for the sky and repeat. I couldn’t even complete one solid push up with good form before he was already counting mountain climbers. Don’t let this bother you, I figure eventually I’ll get there.
Ski Drills – Are you ready to work your core? Starting in full plank position, jump both of your legs up to your right side. Jump your legs back to starting position and then up to your left side. Repeat as many times as you can until 30 seconds is up.
In and outs – Still in full plank position, jump your legs in to your hands, keeping your feet together. And then jump your legs out back to plank position. Make sure to keep your core tight throughout the entire exercise and take a break if you need it. I certainly did!
After round 3, Shaun T. moved right into the last 3 moves.
Jabs – throw alternating jabs for 30 seconds.
Cross Jacks – Like jumping jacks but alternating arms in the air instead of both at the same time and crossing one foot in front of the other.
Upper Cuts – Squat down low and throw as many upper cuts as you can in 30 seconds.
Attacks – Just like jabs only instead of fists, hands are open.
And there you have it – Day 10 complete and 50 more to go!
The title pretty much says it all. This workout was pure cardio. From start to finish Shaun T. has you working your butt off literally.
I really enjoyed this DVD, maybe because I’m a sucker for cardio workout, but I really liked it. By far out of all the DVDs I have done so far, this one is probably my favorite because it’s so insane. The DVD itself was about 38 minutes. Of those 38 minutes, 11 minutes were the warm-up, followed by 6 minutes of stretching, and then 15 minutes of the actual pure cardio part. That might not seem like a long time, but riddle me this, Batman… how long can you sprint for? How long can you squat jump for without taking a break? If you are anything like me, you are probably thinking maybe 30 seconds… MAX. Now try doing a bunch of different crazy cardio exercises for 15 minutes without stopping… like I said: Insane!
We started off the a typical Shaun T. warm up which consisted of his typical warm-up moves (I’m starting to see a trend here with his DVDs). As always round 1 is getting a feel for the exercise, round 2 is faster, and round 3 is as fast as you can go while keeping good form.
▪ Jog in place
▪ Jumping Jacks – Keep your arms straight and touch your hands.
▪ Heisman – Get both feet off the ground between jumps.
▪ 123-123 – Just like a Heisman but you are adding 3 steps in between.
▪ Butt Kicks – Running in place getting your heels to kick your butt
▪ High Knees
▪ Mummy Kicks – Kick straight leg with your arms straight out (like a mummy, hence the name) crossing your arms as you do it. If you aren’t sure, check out this youtube video: Mummy Kicks
Like all of these videos, I was already dripping with sweat by the time we got to the stretching portion, which has now become my favorite part of the video. After stretching, we were given our only designated water break for the entire video. I made sure to take advantage of this because as much as I was sweating (and I’m not really a big sweater), I needed to rehydrate!
Then came the workout, 1 minute of each exercise without stopping, but of course taking a break when you need so you don’t sacrifice form, and getting a drink if you need it. This was seriously no joke. I’ve linked YouTube videos to some of the exercises since some are difficult to explain.
- Suicide Drills
- Switch Kicks
- Wide Football Stance
- Stance Jacks
- Hooks and Jump Rope
- Power Jacks
- Level 2 Drills
- Frog Jumps
- Power Knees
- Mountain Climbers
- Ski Down
- Scissor Runs/Switch Feet
- Suicide Jumps
- Push Up Jacks
Finally – a water break and stretching. Phew! This was a seriously tough workout, but like I said I loved it! I also really liked the fact that the people in the video needed to take breaks in the middle of the exercises like I did. It didn’t make me feel bad about crawling to the edge of the carpet to grab my water bottle.
Recovery (noun): 1. the act of recovering 2. a return to a normal condition
If I’m recovering from cardio, which my last workout was (cardio power & resistance), I’m thinking to myself, Whew! No cardio. Hallelujah! This should be a nice break from the crazy insane cardio I did yesterday and it’s only 33 minutes long! Yes!
Well after the 3 minute warm-up and stretching break, we move into plank exercises. I have decent shoulder strength, but not enough to hold my entire body weight while doing something else simultaneously. I definitely had to take a few breaks during the first plank exercise movement. I held out okay during the plank pulses. After warming up the abdominals and legs, we moved into another stretching position. We held downward dog for a bit and then came into a flatback or hamstring stretch depending on your flexibility. After yesterday’s workout (Cardio Power & Resistance), I needed all the stretching I could get.
We then moved onto lower body exercises with some slow squats which flowed nicely into the squat hold and pulses. If you haven’t done it in a while or ever for that matter, go ahead and sit nice and low into a squat position where your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, and you feel like you are sitting in an imaginary chair. No go ahead and hold that pose for 30 seconds before you do 16 pulses. Sucks, but in a good way.
Just like the squats, we performed some slow lunges, followed up with a lunge hold, and finished up with lunge pulses. The crappy thing about lunges is that you have to do both legs, unlike squats which knocks out both legs at the same time. The second leg is always the worst because you are kind of hurting already from the first round of lunges, now you have to complete the other side to balance things out.
Back to squats, this time just a touch faster than before, but not too fast because after all, this is a recovery workout. Again followed up with the hold and pulses. If you’re legs aren’t hurting yet, you are seriously inhuman… And of course we repeated the lunge circuit as well.
After this we did some quad strengtheners and oblique work on the floor and finished up the workout with balance poses (table top, knees to chest, knees to oblique) and more stretching.
Overall, this wasn’t really a true recovery because I was still working out, but I guess I was recovering from cardio since there wasn’t any cardio in this DVD. I thought it was a nice change of pace and I was still a dripping mess when it was all said and done. Hopefully the next time around I will be able to do more plank work!
Goodbye 20’s. Hello 30’s. As I officially said goodbye to my 20’s, I wanted to ring in my new decade of life that would take me out of my comfort zone. After all, 30 is the new 20 I hear. And so what better way to step out of my comfort zone than to slap on a pair of boxing gloves and start punching things. Now this may not sound out of your comfort zone, but if you knew me, you would know that I feel right at home shaking my groove thing or pounding the pavement. What can I say, I’m a lover not a fighter.
Anyway, my friend Sarah had recently joined Title Boxing and seriously LOVES it. With her encouragement, I showed up to class, had my hands and wrists wrapped for protection, and the bell rang. There was no turning back.
Before we even put on our boxing gloves, we warmed up like any good workout should. We stretched, did some shadow boxing, and ran laps around the perimeter of the punching bags. The instructor for the day had some punching bags roped off for this crazy course we went through where we weaved in and out and ran side to side… and that was just the warm up!
After about 15 minutes of warming up, it was time to start boxing. Gloves on, knees slightly bent, core engaged, and hands up we started to jab. Jab, jab, cross was the first series of exercises. Then we would switch sides to even it out. Then he would call out a different sequence that added on like jab, jab, cross, hook. It seemed he had has doing certain exercises for roughly 3 minutes straight before the buzzer went off and we went into some type of cardio like jumping jacks or jump rope.
Let me just say, I was feeling pretty good the first 10 minutes of the actual boxing portion but then we were doing all sorts of crazy combinations with jabs, crosses, hooks, and upper cuts. I couldn’t seem to keep them straight so I was just punching the bag hoping not to get called out. The instructor then put on this chest pad and was walking around making people punch him. Of course, I was called upon. The requirement was to get 30 good hits where he could hear it. But not only did he have to hear the hit, he was walking towards you, pushing you back as you were trying to punch, jab, whatever with all your might. This dude must have outweighed me by a good 50 pounds so after like 15 hits I was getting seriously tired. No wonder those big guys on TV look like they are hugging each other all the time… this workout is exhausting!
FINALLY – I made my punching quota and he left to go pick on somebody else. I went back to my lone punching bag, desperately wanting to hug it like I’ve seen on TV. But since the punching bag doesn’t fight back, it would look weird hugging a bag while no one else was. So I just kept on punching. I could feel the skin on my right middle knuckle start to peel away as I was working out even though my hands were wrapped and protected in a glove. There was nothing I could do. I didn’t have time to stop and unwrap and re-wrap my hands, so I pushed on through the pain. We kept this up for 35 minutes and the only breaks you got were the ones you took yourself. I tried not to take too many breaks but sometimes a girl just needs to get a drink of water!
The last 10 minutes of class consisted of abdominal exercises. We laid on the floor with the punching bag in between our ankles and with deliberate controlled movements, moved the punching bag side to side to work the obliques. After about a minute, he had us pull the punching bag in toward our chest while simultaneously lifting our backs up off the floor into a sit up, back and forth, back and forth for another minute. Brutal. Next, with our feet together and legs straight, we had to lift our legs up into the air and drop them 6 inches off the floor on the left side of the punching bag, bring them back up to center, and drop them 6 inches off the floor to the right side for another minute. By now my abs and my hip flexors are screaming at me, but no we are not done. We roll over and put our hands onto our medicine balls and hold a full plank position (no knees). He has us do a few more plank exercises with legs raised and pulsing leg raises and threw in a few side plank exercises for good measure.
My overall review of Title Boxing: Great workout if that is your type of thing. It engages your entire upper body (back, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and abs). Most of the instructors will throw in some squats and lunges during recovery time to ensure a full body workout. I recommend giving it a try if you are aren’t sure if you’d like it. The great thing about Title Boxing is that your first class is free. One word of warning is that the sales people can be a little pushy after class to get you to sign up on the spot. I get that it’s their job to make sales, but $213 (and that was the promo price!) is a lot of money to drop on the spot for a membership. They were trying to convince me to leave them my credit card number and then I could call later to approve the purchase… ummm no. And I’m sorry but the more you push me to sign up, the less likely I will be to come back and actually sign up. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have a pay per class or punch card system. I would definitely like to add this kind of workout to my already packed gym routine, but for $69 a month for some punching bags when I already pay $35 a month for a full gym membership with free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, and fitness classes at my disposal… $69 is hard to swallow. Hopefully they will come to their senses and offer drop-in rates for people like me. They are losing a huge market of people if they don’t.
Overall Rating 3 out of 5 stars (lost stars for pushy sales guys and price)
Check out Title Boxing Club’s Website here.
On Monday (June 10th) I decided to dust off my Insanity DVDs and give them another try. Now that I’m nannying (which has me up at 5AM), I figure I can just go ahead and get my workout done in the morning while she is still sleeping. The great thing about their house that I don’t have is a solid large place to workout in with a TV and that way I can still get my evening runs in if I need to while I train for my next race.
I looked at my Insanity calendar and realized I never made it past the second workout so I started with the next workout in the sequence which was Cardio Power and Resistance. HOLY CRAP! I know that Insanity is no joke, I mean, it’s called Insanity for crying out loud. But these exercises are for lack of a better word… insane!
The warm up is by far the best (and when I say best I mean easiest) part. We did a series of exercises 3 times. The first round was to get the move down and feel comfortable and to engage your core, the second round was a little bit fast than round 1, and round 3 was all about speed and getting your heart rate up without sacrificing form. We started with a jog, power jacks, log jumps, 123’s, butt kicks, high knees, and ended with vertical jumps. Each exercise last 30 seconds and you didn’t get a break until the entire sequence was complete. I couldn’t believe that was just the warm-up!
We then moved on to my favorite part of the workout… stretching. And everyone knows how much I hate stretching (even though I know how important it is)… so if this was my favorite part you know how bad I needed to catch my breath! I will say that Shaun T. is very thorough in moving through all of the stretches. You feel pretty good to head into the torture you are about to voluntarily put yourself through.
Once the stretching was complete, we head into the actual workout. Just like the warm-up, Shaun T. had 4 core moves he wanted you to first try in round 1, speed up in round two, and as fast as you possibly can handle in round 3. The exercises were Power jumps, Belt Kicks, Hit the Floor, and V-Push ups (You can find demos of these on youtube). By now, I was sweating profusely and trying really hard not to start at the timer that scrolls across the bottom of the screen. I mean the workout is only 40 minutes long, but dang! Those are a long 40 minutes!
Now that we were finished with the cardio power portion of the workout, it was time to work on some resistance exercises. If you want some awesome upper body exercises that don’t utilize weights, you need to check this video out. Luckily, we only had to do one round of these exercises because I don’t think my body would have handled any more than that. We did – Triceps Dips, Leg Triceps Dip, Triceps Ball Push-Ups. Again – these are really difficult to explain but I know there are some great videos out there with people who look much better than me doing them!
Back to cardio power – Hurdle jumps, Globe Jumps, Moving Push-Ups, Floor Sprints (These are just like mountain climbers, only faster and with more intensity. Try and get your legs to your chest as much as possible. Remember, these are floor sprints and not floor walks)… 3 rounds down and I was seriously hurtin’ for certain.
The last exercise we did were 4 sets of 8 hop squats into 8 Push-Ups with no break. I had to give myself a last push to give it all I had to make it through. I knew the end was in sight, stretching and chance to catch my breath were right around the corner.
I will say that this is not for the faint of heart or for someone who wants an easy at-home workout. This is real deal. Shaun T. makes you work for what you want, but I guess that’s why everyone who is on the DVD with him look awesome.
Looking forward to Cardio Recovery tomorrow, that is if I can even walk tomorrow!