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Squat Program Success+Week in Meals

Hello! I wanted to first talk about my squat program: the rundown of what I did+the progress I made. Then, we’ll go through some meals from this week. First, a quick Monday highlight: my parents, friend, and I went to a San Jose Giants (Giants’ A affiliate) to see Bumgarner pitch a rehab start, and it was a blast!

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We got watermelon wheat beers and barbecue—chicken sandwich+coleslaw for me!

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It was so much fun! I love baseball. Bumgarner did super well (1 UER), much better than last week’s start which was 9 runs in 4 innings…

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I finished the night with chocolate vanilla swirl froyo with sprinkles.

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Now, onto my squat program!

Here’s what I did, first. Listed as reps, then percentages at those reps, and then what weight I used.

1: 10-10-8 @ 70-75-80%, 135-145-155#

2. 8-8-6 @ 75-80-85%, 145-155-165#

3. 6-6-4 @ 80-85-90%, 155-165-175#

4. 4-4-2 @ 85-90-95%, 165-175-185#

I did a day of squatting with Crossfit (just whatever was programmed) plus one additional day of the above rep scheme a week. 1=week 1, 2=week 2, etc. Each week, I was building weight while decreasing reps. At the beginning of my program, at Crossfit we did max reps at 95%, which was 185# for me. I got 3, with the 3rd being a failed fail (I tried to fail but then got it up). Well, when I did the last day of my squat program last week, I shocked by how not terribly my 2 reps at 185# came up. Then, at Crossfit on Monday I had to do max reps at 185# again, but this time I got 7. What?? That’s such a big increase over the course of a month! This squat program has been a lot of fun, and seeing strength increases like that makes it even more worthwhile. I’m planning on doing another cycle of the same thing, but with 5# higher each week.

And then, as promised, I have lots of food to share! Pop back in tomorrow for a new Quick and Easy recipe as well!

Breakfasts

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Leftover red, white, and blue banana bread with milk and a nectarine post-workout, pre-work.

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Flapjacked muffin with delicious nectarine. CA summer at its finest.

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Microwave banana custard with a dab of sunbutter. I literally have not had this in years, but I was craving something protein-rich for breakfast so I went for it. Yum!

Lunches

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Nectarine, grilled chicken, and creamy goat cheese salad with a side of GF crackers.

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Grilled chicken, blueberry, and burrata salad with rice cakes.

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Date and nectarine salad with goat cheese, light champagne vinaigrette, and a side of BBQ rice cakes.

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Same thing, but with white nectarine instead of yellow!

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Catered Mexican food at my dad’s company picnic. I made a salad out of lettuce with fajita chicken, black beans, salsa, rice, tons of guac, and a tortilla.

Snacks

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Brown rice cake with creamy goat cheese and raspberry jam.

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A new to me NuGo bar. The pomegranate was actually crazy good! It was a little more interesting than just chocolate (below), but that one was good too. IMG_4339

I like these bars because they’re coated in chocolate, so naturally they’re delicious.

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The usual.

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I’m liking this new work smoothie: 2/3c milk, half a flapjacked vanilla smoothie mix, 1/2c frozen mango. Loving the vanilla mango flavor combo!

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This morning I did a treadmill workout followed by a yoga class. I did a half mile warm up, then 8 rounds of 2 min push at 7:00 pace, 1 minute recover. I only had Cheerios beforehand, so I set myself up in Starbucks with an iced decaf latte and a snack to work on stuff for school, and this blog!

Dinners

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A delicious summer dinner: leftover chicken with BBQ sauce, sautéed zucchini noodles seasoned with a sundried tomato seasoning blend, and an artichoke served with a mayo-balsamic vinaigrette dipping sauce.

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Post-yoga Wednesday night, I suggested we just pop into Whole Foods for dinner. I had an enchilada over salad, plus some rice and some grilled veggies.

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A lazy Friday night dinner at home: takeout from the counter with more zucchini noodles. My mom and I split my signature custom burger: chicken with garlic aoili, gruyere (they messed up and put goat cheese instead), tomato, mixed greens, and of course, avocado, on a GF bun.

Desserts

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Chocolate chip orange cranberry bread with chocolate Halo Top.

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Flax brownies (actually really tasty) with vanilla Halo Top, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

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And finally: my beer! I finally tried my chocolate milk stout that I brewed and it is absolutely amazing. REALLY amazing. Possibly better than the St. Louis version, possibly one of the best beers I’ve ever had. I am very impressed and surprised with myself!

Have a great week!

Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Ok, I know I’ve been promising this bread for forever. Ok, like a week, but still. I’m finally ready to share it today!

First, I want to catch up a little bit. On food. On fitness. Life. Etc.

First of all-my sister is engaged! How crazy is that?? I’m the maid of honor and I’m so happy for the couple! We even broke out the good champagne to celebrate!

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It happened on a hot air balloon in Napa-hwo perfect is that? They stopped by for congratulations and to partake in our grilled nectarine salad (because we got nectarines from Costco with only a few days to eat them…)

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Recipe here.

Another meal I’ve been meaning to post were these beautiful parmesan and spinach soufflés.

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Plus a delicious side salad with herbs, meyer lemon infused olive oil, and aged white balsamic vinegar.

In workout news, I messed up my shoulder today. I was weight lifting with my trainer. We did heavy snatches and I did pretty well-didn’t hit my max but made the lifts I should have made. Then, heavy deadlifts. After working my way up to heavy weights, I did a set of 5 at 210, a set of 3 at 220, and a set of 1 at 230, followed by max reps at 230 (I got 2-apparently my form was going and I wasn’t allowed to try a 3rd with my ‘cat back’). Then,I worked on behind the neck snatch grip presses and snatch balances. It was fine. So basically I spent a lot of time stabilizing heavy weights with my shoulders with no issues. Then since there was a bit of extra time, we did some core work-roll outs. You may have seen those ab wheels before, but I used a barbell with circular plates to roll out. I got a little too ambitious on the first one and roll out to far, and then got kind of stuck and ended up sort of face-planting and felt a pop in my shoulder. I was worried at first, but everything seems to be in the right place and it feels much better than it did initially. The pain is in the same area that my shoulders get creaky, especially this one, so I think it’s just a bit of a sprain/strain. I’m hoping it feels better soon!

In life news, I’m jetting off to Hawaii with my family! My dad has a conference so we’re tagging along and making a vacation of it. To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit worried about what I can eat but I’m sure we’ll make it work. Hawaii is full of nuts and coconut, and the last time I was there I ate both and ended up with a pretty bad allergic reaction to macadamia nuts (this is before I completely avoided them and was still in denial).

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It’s actually looking to be a pretty active vacation for me. I have a 10 mile run scheduled this weekend, which will feel great in the heat and humidity I’m sure…Plus some other shorter runs. I’m also hoping my shoulder is ok to visit some of the Crossfit boxes I visited last time I was there! Other excitement includes another visit to see the piggies.

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The biggest thing I’m excited about it visiting a goat dairy farm! We went many years ago and I remember trying delicious goat cheese. Plus-RUMINANTS. I think as part of the tour we get to milk them? So pumped!

In terms of my health-my stomach is mostly healed but not 100%. There are still times were I feel super dizzy and nauseous, and tums/pepto still has to come everywhere with me just in case. Luckily, at this point it seems these episodes are mostly linked to certain foods. Which can be frustrating, but I’m trying to be better about figuring out what foods and how to better avoid them The list of things that makes me sick includes dark chocolate, onions, mexican food, tortilla chips, wheat, too much sun butter, too much fatty food. The list goes on. I really do feel like some of this is temporary and won’t affect me in time when I’m fully healed, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m sticking to gluten free-all of these breads I make with gluten free flour, and you’d never know it. It seems to be even less noticeable with pumpkin bread than banana bread too.

Which FINALLY brings us to the recipe! I wanted to make sweet potato bread, but couldn’t find the recipe I used in the past so I figured, why not try my own hand at it? Like I’ve said before-I’ve tried very hard to screw up my basic banana bread recipe so I might was well try a little bit harder!

Sweet Potato Bread

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Ingredients

1.5 cups mashed, cooked sweet potato or yam

1 c flour

1/3 c milk

2 bananas, mashed

2 T oil (I used avocado)

1 egg

1 T vanilla

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1/4 c honey (can add more-to taste)

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

Optional: 1 T orange juice (I wanted to moisten it and in full honesty the only citrus we had was a tangerine so I just used the juice from that)

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top

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  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix wet ingredients well, then add dry ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top (this just makes it pretty!)
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.IMG_3644

This dense bread is the perfect segway between summer and fall. It’s a dense, warm bread but doesn’t quite have the kick of fall spices.

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What is your favorite quick bread? What should I experiment with next?

 

Yoga Fixed My Shoulders

Phew. Yesterday was quite the day!

I started my morning teaching a 7am spin class on campus, which was awesome. I didn’t think we’d get a big turn out because it wasn’t that well advertised and it was early, but I got a good group out, including a friend!

Then, I had a weight lifting session with my trainer. I tried to move it to not the morning I had to teach, but that didn’t work out so I had to suck it up and go in with less than fresh legs. We worked on cleans, back squats, and jerks. I PRed my clean again at 148#! That’s a 8# increase this summer, so I’ll take it! Sometimes being a little tired helps things-I don’t overthink the lift, plus I was super warmed up! I also hit 95% of my back squat max for 2 reps. This is especially good because my max is a year old, and I maxed out at my 95% when I tested it back in the spring.

As for the jerks, we didn’t go super heavy but they felt better than expected. Over the last year or so, I’ve developed very creaky shoulders, especially when I go overhead with the bar. I basically have not been able to go overhead more than once a week without stiff shoulders and pain when I press up. Earlier this week at Crossfit, we did a ton of push presses and high volume overhead work. But, the jerks yesterday felt fine! It was a night and day difference. So what changed? I started yoga about 6 years ago to help with flexibly (because I have none). I honestly think yoga was key for helping me stay injury free in my many years of softball. (I was a pitcher and never had any shoulder/arm trouble which is rare for someone doing it for 10 years!) In the past year, yoga has kind of fallen by the wayside. Last month, I finally started making it to class again, and I’ve noticed my shoulders getting stronger and looser. I felt a drastic difference from just last week’s class to this week’s class when doing low push ups-my shoulders felt strong and were losing their creak. Plus, this week I walked out of class with much less foot pain because I spent 60 minutes stretching out my tight calves. Needless to say I will be making yoga a regular thing again if possible!

After my training session, I met my sister for coffee at Bliss in Redwood City for any locals.

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Of course, I got a cappuccino and it was fantastic. It was a light roast, and had premium quality milk foam (which is clearly what matters, if you ask me!)

After coffee, we headed home for lunch. I made myself a salad with truffle goat cheese (because we didn’t have any regular goat cheese), dates, a nectarine, and deli turkey.

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Sweet potato seed crackers were on the side.

I spent the afternoon resting, and then apparently going on a baking frenzy.

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It’s 4 days into September and I’ve already make 3 loaves of pumpkin bread and a loaf of sweet potato bread. Besides the pumpkin bread, I did lots of experimenting and improvising.

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For the pumpkin bread, I baked some Noosa honey yogurt into the center for something fun.

If you take one look at my recipe page, you’ll see that most of what is up there is quick breads and salads. Those are my two claims to fame. I’ve gotten very good and making up recipes for healthy quick breads. I have one base recipe that I use, and I have yet to screw it up, surprisingly, despite how many modifications I’ve tried. (That’s actually not true-the one thing that didn’t work was coconut flour banana bread. Apparently bananas and coconut flour are not good together. It was gross.) I’ve even started making it with gluten free flour, and you would really never know. At this point, nothing contains more than 1/4 cup of sweetener, but you’d never know. Even my sister approved, and she is wary of anything “healthy.”

When the sweet potato bread came out, I decided I am a freaking genius. It was on point.

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My third loaf was a total experiment, and I was running out of flour so I had to really improvise. The bread? Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. The appearance? Uhhhh.

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The batter was completely gray-this picture doesn’t do it justice. Anyone want to guess the secret ingredient that reacts to turn this color? I’m guessing it reacts to baking soda/powder. Because of the appearance, I’m not 100% sure I’ll share the recipe. Plus, it still needs tweaking because I think if I had more flour and didn’t have to improvise quite so much it would be better!

As for the sweet potato recipe, it’s coming this weekend-I promise!

That evening, I went to run club at Crossfit. My legs were not really up for it, but I’ve been wanting to go for a long time now and this was the only week I could really make it. Since everything is based on paces, I had to do a timed mile. Blech. I clocked in around 8:10, and with tired legs, I’ll take it. I should probably actually do a timed mile sometime with fresh legs! Back in the glory days, in another life I was actually reptty fast. I think my all time best mile is 6:53, but that’s not happening any time soon! Overall, between warm up and cool down, I covered 3 miles which is exactly what was on my half training plan for the day.

Dinner was another basic one. Stir fry veggies and cheesy polenta. The cheesy polenta was just cooked polenta with smoked gouda stirred in, and it was delicious!

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I hope everyone has a fabulous labor day weekend. I’m on puppy duty full time, so I’m trying to think of things to do with her! And check back for that recipe this weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

The Answer Should Be Yes

Well hello guys! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? My life has literally been nothing but the vet lately. Animals are taking over my life. Because then I come home to a crazy pup and a needy kitty!

I’ve had no energy or desire to pop open my computer these past few days. The first couple of days were totally exhausting, and my brain shut down before 10pm. Yesterday I started work at 7. I’m there for 9 hours a day, including lunch, and I’m on my feet the entire time. Needless to say, my feet haven’t been too happy about this! I love working at the vet though-I’m getting the hang of things much faster when I’m there 40 hours a week rather than the 4 hours a week I had been doing during school.

What else have I done this week? I went to the Farmer’s Market on Thursday-there’s one in the evenings right next to work on Thursdays. I’ve done some workouts, including teaching my spin class. One workout in particular I’d like to mention is the reason my legs are currently sore, and will only get more sore.

I mentioned it before, but I’m working with a trainer this summer. I trained with him all throughout high school, and in just the 2 weeks I’ve been with him this summer, everything is improving. My Olympic lifting technique is improving rapidly. In Crossfit, I feel like the strength/Oly portion gets glossed over on the way to the WOD, so this is really good. I still need to get a little more confident in my lifts, and my max weights should go up even more. Yesterday we did both snatches and cleans. I PRed my snatch again this week-from the power position. How crazy is that?? Then we did squats. I’m on a lifting program, and this week was sets of 10, 10, and 8. Yuck. High rep squats are the worst. My first set of 10 was 145#, my second was 155#, and my set of 8 was 165#. I can confidently say I’ve never done a set of 10 at 155# before. The thing though is, I never doubted that I wasn’t going to make these lifts. I think the mental aspect of weightlifting is incredibly important, and in high school, this is something that really shaped me in other areas of my life, which is one reason I fell in love with weight lifting. I actually wrote part of my college admissions essay about this. I can’t believe I’m actually sharing this, but I think it is really important so here’s a little excerpt:

“In weightlifting, I learned to push through mental roadblocks, launching myself into uncharted territory. With my mind, I could push my body further than with sheer strength. With difficult lifts, I found that if the thought of failure crept into my mind, I would instantly fail.”

Also note that I was a much better writer 3 years ago-being a science major does not foster the same types of skills…

I think that weightlifting has been a huge influence in shaping who I am.

Anyways, back to the workout. After squats was push presses and bent over rows. Then conditioning. My trainer asked me how my legs were. I said they were okay, to which he replied, “Oh, I thought they’d be shot.”

The answer should be yes, they were shot, because then I proceeded to do conditioning full of burpees.

6 minutes, on the minute:

1. 1 power clean (85#), 10 burpees

2.  2 power cleans, 8 burpees

3. 3 power cleans, 6 burpees

4. 4 power cleans, 4 burpees

5. 5 power cleans, 2 burpees

6. 6 power cleans, 1 burpee

I honestly surprised myself that I even finished 10 burpees in a minute!

But yes, now I’m feeling those squats. I started to get sore 2 hours later. So this should be interesting.

Foodwise?

Breakfasts

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I mashed up a ripe banana with cocoa powder and then stirred in oats. I topped all that with plain Greek yogurt and sunflower seed butter.

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Eggs+oatmeal. My berries to oatmeal ratio was 2:1 which was just about right. Oatmeal isn’t exactly my thing.

Lunch

For the first half of this week, I packed really unphotogenic sweet potatoes stuffed with black bean soup, chicken, and avocado. Plus a veggie. I’ll spare you the pictures. I finally settled on a favorite work lunch of a salad with dates, feta, chicken, nectarines, and champagne vinaigrette.

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Dinner

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Black bean soup with cheese and avocado.

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Salad with corn and avocado, topped with Trader Joe’s BBQ chicken.

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Parmesan encrusted chicken over garlic spinach, with a sweet potato on the side.

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Take out-a chicken burger with dijon and avocado on a gluten free bun.

And of course-this is necessary:

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How was your week?

 

Waddling

First I was wrong. Then I was right. Now I’m waddling.

Which is another way of saying I’ve been hitting it hard on the workout front this week!

On Sunday morning, I did a fairly heavy, high volume leg day. I did 5 sets of 8 front squats and back squats, 4 sets of 8 RDLs, and 5 sets of 5 deadlifts. My legs were so shaky by the end. They say you never regret a workout, but I had a feeling I’d regret this all week when I couldn’t walk. I definitely fueled up post workout though-soymilk, pancakes, and Southwest Eggs Benedict with turkey.

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I was expecting to not be able to walk on Monday, but I actually felt ok. Definitely sore, but not the main muscles that inhibit walking and not in the super stiff way. My quads were pretty sore, which make biking painful, but other than that I was functional. Crossfit that morning included pull ups and back squats (although not too heavy), and then the WOD was:

3 rounds:

7 thrusters

30 kettlebell swings

15 burpees

FYI: that’s a lot of kettle bell swings! My shoulders were smoked.

That evening, I took a spin class because it has been far too long, and I don’t want my quarter pass to go to waste! I also did some abs.

And then I woke up this morning. Yeah. Second day soreness is definitely worse. I also think my abs are really sore, but that’s secondary to the pain and lack of mobility in my legs.

The last time I squatted, I wasn’t that sore in my left leg because I’m in the habit of favoring my right leg so this time I really focused on staying even. Yeah, my left leg is feeling it now. Ouch.

So I’m currently rocking a little waddle-walk. It’s cool.

I need to fit in a run later today for half training so I’m hoping my legs loosen up! Builds character?

In other news, my 9am class got cancelled this morning, which was amazing news because I was looking at a late night otherwise!

In more other news, we’re doing metabolism and the endocrine system in my physiology class right now, which is my favorite thing ever. I may potentially get excited about it all over again and do a post in the future-that counts as studying for my final, right?

On the food front, I need to make use of a lot of meal plan dollars, so I bought a whole bunch of snacks and probiotic drinks.

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I actually really liked this flavor!

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Sea salt caramel apple chips?? Of course I was going to try this! The sea salt was subtle-I would have loved a little more of it, but they were still quality apple chips.

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The other day I had a salad for lunch that was without significant protein because there were no eggs in the dining hall, so I was starving mid afternoon and picked this up. It’s kind of sad how few bars out there I can actually eat because they don’t have nuts…

What makes you waddle-sore?