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Cooking Faster, Sweating Slower

January 18, 2011

2011 hit me like a ton of bricks! I came back to work with about two weeks ’til our show premiered, and to say things were a little crazed is quite the understatement. But now that things have slowed down, our show premiered to RECORD numbers, and we’re winding down with production, I have a few moments to breathe (that is, until it all starts up again!).

I haven’t cooked in quite a while, though I’ve managed to keep it healthy with the help of Starbucks and the hot food bars at Gelson’s and Whole Foods. And soup. Lots of soup. I’ve kept up my workout schedule, despite the deluge of New Year’s resolutioners, too.

There are two mud runs coming up in April, and I’m trying to decide which to do: the Merrell Down ‘N Dirty Mud Run or the Warrior Dash. I did the Down ‘N Dirty Mud Run last year, and it was a ton of fun. But the Warrior Dash seems way more intense– as in jumping-over-fire-intense. Thoughts?

The Workout

Since I’m not worried about my right knee messing up anymore (I hurt it last April and had problems with it for months after), I’ve been going to kickbox cardio more often at my gym. At the end of every class, he does abs on a mat, and he does a modification of crunches that’s so simple, yet makes a huge difference.

He does them slower.

Doing 2 counts of 8 at a time (he runs the class like a dance class), he has us raise up pause, and lower back down very, very slowly. Each crunch should take at least 5 seconds. It works more ab muscles with more burn, so you don’t have to do as many. He did the same for side crunches. So I’ve been trying it on my own, and I’ve noticed a difference.

Here was today’s workout:

  • 15 minute intervals on the elliptical
  • 15 minute intervals on the treadmill
  • one-legged press machine- 2 sets 15 reps set to 15 lbs.
  • ab circuit- 2 sets
    • 20 slow crunches
    • 10 side crunches (left-center-right-center equals 1)
    • 2 reps of leg lowers- 15 seconds lowering, 15 seconds holding, rest
    • 45 second plank

Tomorrow I work with Trainer Erika, so I skipped arms.

The Eats

I’ve been wanting a bagel for a while now, but I don’t like how you can easily waste 300 calories on O-shaped bread.

Enter Western Bagels’ Alternative Bagel. All 110 calories of it. It’s like the universe really wanted me to have a bagel… so I picked up a bag of them at Ralph’s in Sweet Wheat.

Instead of slicing it and toasting it, I toasted it whole (cramming a bagel into the toaster=fire safety FAIL, but it was worth it). It kept the outside crunchy with the inside hot and doughy.

I topped it with some almond butter and a very light drizzle of honey– a combo I picked up from my college room mate.

For lunch I made a lighter version of one of my favorite picks from Whole Foods hot/salad bar: tarragon chicken salad. I toasted a sandwich thin the same way as the bagel (both sides together– crispy outside, hot and doughy inside) and piled all of the salad in between.


Tarragon Chicken Salad (adapted from Whole Foods’ recipe)

makes one serving

  • 4 oz chicken breast (about the size of your fist)
  • 1/4 c chopped red onions
  • 1/4 c fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c spinach, frozen or freshly wilted
  • 2 tablespoons dried berry blend (dried cranberries or golden raisins work, too)
  • tarragon
  • salt, pepper to taste
  1. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt, pepper, and tarragon. Cook over medium heat until fully cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Shred the chicken into small pieces and place into bowl. Mix in yogurt, spinach, onions, and dried berries.

The salad took only minutes to prepare, which reminded me of how easy it is to cook at home even when I’m busy… or just lazy. 😀

What’s your favorite healthy but FAST recipe?

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