My Personal Fitness Journey

I’ve been writing this blog for about two years and as my time at WAC is coming to an end, (I’m moving on to a new job) I decided to write a post about my fitness journey since I’ve worked here.

When I started working at WAC I was fresh out of college and was still in that college mode. So naturally I ate terribly, didn’t workout a lot and was carrying a lot of extra weight that I put on in those four years.

I thought when I got the job at a gym it would be sooo easy to get into shape and drop those pounds I added. Well I was wrong, very wrong. I actually gained weight the first couple of months because I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t doing enough and I still kinda went out and drank like a college kid. I knew that I had to make a change some how though because I wasn’t happy with myself.

I ‘tried out’ all of the personal trainers in the beginning to understand their styles and to help members choose the trainer for them. Here I was telling members and readers of this blog how to be fit and eat healthy and I wasn’t living that lifestyle at all. So I started working out with our trainer Lou in the winter of 2011 and haven’t looked back since.

But this is me before I started my journey, my last semester of college in Sping of 2010. Also this is soo hard for me to post! Eek!

Last semester of college at a fraturnity banquet I attended. Yes that is an adult beverage in my hand, one of the reasons I gained so much weight.

Phew okay now on to what I did to change my life!

Let’s just say that in the beginning it wasn’t easy. I thought I was relativily fit, I played tennis (in high school) and I went to the gym during college (mostly the first two years and then I was too ‘busy’ my last two years to make it regular.) Well I was very wrong, my first workout with Lou I got sick, then got yelled at for not eating properly before my session. I thought that a criossont and an iced coffee was an okay pre-workout meal. I was very very wrong. I got the riot act on what to eat and what not to eat. (I still get repremanded about this because sometimes I still love those bad foods! Here’s a little recap on what you should eat before!) After that first workout I realized that I can’t keep eating what I usually eat and doing what I normally do if I wanted to change.

Slowly as time went on things that were super hard the beginning got a little easier, so the weights went up and the time or speed at which I did things was longer and I started to notice small changes. I wasn’t breathing as heavy when I ran up the steps and I could do pushups with out being on my knees. I realized that maybe I could do this and reach my goals. It did take a while but the number on the scale started to drop as well!

Fall came and I had dropped a good amount of weight and I was feeling great! Then the ‘you should run the half marathon in May’ discussion came up. I always told myself I didn’t want to do it, mostly because I was scared that I couldn’t. I ran the Turkey Trot though and after that I was like ‘I can run forever I’m doing the half!!’ Well that is much easier said then done and even after I committed to the half I still thought I could do more. I talked it over with Lou and we went back and forth on what I should do and I then decided that if I’m training for 5 months then I’m not running the half I’m running the full Pittsburgh Marathon.

Fast forward to May of 2012 where I did finish that marathon and I was so happy that I did it and can’t wait to run it again this coming year. Was the training hard and were there times that I thought I couldn’t do it? Absolulty. I had to run 16 miles one day and I was by myself, but it was a beautiful day and I thought its so perfect out my run will be fantastic! That run was the worst run in my life. I was alone, running on a trail, bored and I didn’t want to do it. I texted the trainer who told me to do it anyway and to keep going, ‘it’s only 16 miles’ he said. I cried, I walked, I texted the trainer again, I told myself that I wasn’t running the full 16 that day. In the end I did push through and I did run the 16 because running that with all of the issues I was having would make me a better runner mentally. Because they do say that running a long distance or even losing weight is mostly mental.

Oh hi there it’s just Jess, finishing her first freaking full marathon!!

Sometimes it’s hard to see how far you have come and a couple months ago Lou had me put on a weighted vest for my workout. It happened to weight 40lbs which I just found out was the amount that I had lost thus far. If you ever want to realize how much you have accomplished carry around what you have lost. It was hard to believe that I had weighed as much as I had and didn’t realize how much of a mess I was. It was a real eye opening experience to do that.

I was dying at this point!

After running the marathon and losng 40lbs I still had more that I wanted to accomplish. Losing more weight, toning more, doing better on my next marathon and I will. Because of the support of my friends, family, my trainer Lou and the people at WAC/Galaxy I know that I’ll be able to meet my goals and most likely move past them.

So if you’re someone who has fitness or health goals and you’re scared you’ll never meet them. Don’t worry, you will. It just takes some time, some determination and the support of those you love to reach them.

There’s me now! 40lbs lighter!

I’ve had a great time writing for you all and sharing with you ways to improve to make your life healthier and more fit! I’m not sure who will be writing after me but I hope you enjoy what they write about as well and continue reading to find out information that will help you!

If you ever have questions for me or want to get in touch don’t hesitate! Friend me on Facebook, or visit my personal website!

Advertisements

Fighting Child Obesity and Keeping Your Kids Healthy

We know how important it is for children to be active and to get exercise. Most children enjoy being physically active, and the exercise they get while they play contributes to the development of strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, there are an increasing number of barriers to exercise for kids in today’s modern world. Television and video games, parents who work long hours, cuts to the physcial education programs and recess in school can make it difficult for kids to get the minimum amount of exercise they need to be healthy.

Teaching your children to develop healthy habits is important to their health and development and can benefit them well into the future. Kids who follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly are more likely than kids who are sedentary to stay active as adults. Although more research needs to be done, at-risk children who are physically active on a regular basis reduce their risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes as adults, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also, building strong bones, particularly during adolescence, may reduce your child’s risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.


Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/345254-why-is-it-important-for-children-to-exercise-regularly/#ixzz26k3Y0cDe

To help counter those difficult barriers and help teach your kids how to be healthy we have a great new program!

Kid’s After School Group Training with Charlie!

Starts September 17

Monday- Thursday 4:45-5:45

Kids ages 7-12

In this hour program 4 days a week your kids will learn:

  • Basic Martial Arts
  • Basic Self Defense
  • Flexibility
  • Core Exercises
  • Motor Skills
  • Strength and Endurance
  • Cardiovascular Conditioning
  • Basic Nutrition
  • Rockwall Wednesdays!

Charlie Pienaar is has always lived the life of health and fitness. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Korean martial arts, Sankoesi, wrestled at the state and national level and participated in judo, baseball and football. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Health and PE, a Masters of Science in Sport Management from California University of PA and he also graduated from IUP with a Masters of Education. Charlie has also served five years in the Army National Guard before Medical Discharge as a ILT. He’s also coached wrestling for six years, trained high school athletes and is a natural bodybuilding novice short champoin. ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Charlie specializes in overall health and fitness with innovative methods that keep clients motivated.

Don’t miss this fantasitc opportunity each week where your kids will be challenged, stay healthy and have fun!

Members: 10 class punch card $50 or $40 Unlimited per moth. Included in the Diamond Membership

Non Members: 10 class punch card $60

For more info contact Dia at (724)832-7050 ext 25 or Charlie at charles.pienaar@wacclub.com

60 Healthier Drinks for Your Holiday Weekend!

So it’s Friday, and a holiday weekend! It’s supposed to be a gorgeous, hot and holiday weekend and what’s better than to have a couple of drinks to cool off with? Everyone is always looking for a healthy drink to make and personally I’ve switched my usual vodka and cranberry to vodka and tonic *Tip: if you are not a fan of the little flavor this makes try it with a flavored vodka, there are tons of options and still less calories than adding juice to your booze! Here are a list of 60 Healthy Drinks for Boozing from Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Alcoholic drinks can be a sneaky source of calories, sugar, and even salt — but not when you play bartender. Try to get a few healthier alternatives under that (suddenly much looser) belt to impress friends and family and order with confidence when out at the bar.

Here are the eight key guidelines that make our drinks healthier options:

  1. Use only fresh-squeezed or 100 percent fruit juice to reduce added sugars. Fruit juice can still be a dangerfood, though, so sometimes it’s best to dilute it with water or ice to cut back on calories.
  2. Choose seltzer water over other carbonated waters to eliminate added sodium and other additives. For recipes that call for soda, skimp on portions, or opt for diet or natural (read: less added sugar) versions — though those can have their pitfalls, too.
  3. Make simple syrup with honey which, though sugary, has some added benefits, like a healthy dose of antioxidants. It also gives you better control of the sugar content. Any recipe that calls for simple syrup will use the following recipe: ½ tablespoon honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water.
  4. Use whole fruit instead of sugar or flavored syrups. The fruit itself adds fiber, natural sugars, and vitamins.
  5. Choose light alcohol over dark alcohol. The dark stuff contains more compounds known as congeners, which can worsen hangovers.
  6. Limit yourself to one shot per drink. Multi-alcohol cocktails can pack in serious calories, so we kept ours to one shot (or 1 ½ ounces) each. The shooters and shots we included actually containless than one shot each to further lessen the caloric load.
  7. Size matters — especially when it comes to consuming liquid calories. That’s why we kept all our drinks right around the 8-ounce mark.
  8. Choose nutritious ingredients. Ginger, coffee, and lemon star in several of our drinks. They’ve each got their own proven health benefits, even though they may not totally counteract the negative affects of alcohol. (Note: Too much alcohol and caffeine can both dehydrate — making hangovers even worse — so try to keep it at no more than one cup of Joe for the night.)

*We’ve tried to simplify the recipes to make them easier to understand. So we simplified all the liquid measurements to shots or cups — none of this “ounces” nonsense!  

Cocktails

1. Classic Mojito
In the bottom of a glass, muddle 12 fresh mint leaves, the juice of ½ lime, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup. Add a few ice cubes and pour in 1 ½ ounces (one shot) of light rum and ¾ cup seltzer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

2. Fruit Mojito
Prep a classic mojito, but before pouring in the rum and soda, muddle in ¼ cup fresh or thawed frozen fruit like strawberry, blueberry, mango, or kiwi in the bottom of the glass. Top with ice, rum, and seltzer and garnish as desired!

3. Bloody Mary
Scrap the mix and make a Bloody Mary from scratch! Start with ¾ cup of no sugar-added, low-sodium tomato juice and add the juice of ½ lemon, a dash each of hot sauce andWorcestershire saucefresh ground pepper to taste, and 1 shot of vodka. Garnish with a lemon wedge and celery stick. Bonus points for adding a cocktail shrimp for some extra protein!

4. Mint Julep
Muddle together 12 fresh mint leaves and 1 tablespoon of simple syrup. Pour in one shot of Kentucky bourbon and 2 shots seltzer water.

5. Sidecar
In a shaker with ice, mix together: 1 shot of cognac½ shot Cointreau (or other orange liqueur), and the juice of 1 lemon. Pour into glass with or without ice and garnish with lemon slice.

6. Cape Codder
Pour 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots cranberry juice (100 percent juice, no sugar added) over ice. Add 2 shots seltzer water, stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.

7. Sea Breeze
Pour 1 shot vodka1 shot cranberry juice (100 percent juice, no sugar added), and 1 shot fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice over ice. Add a splash of seltzer and enjoy! (Preferably in a beach chair by the water!)

8. Lime Rickey
Combine ½ a shot of fresh-squeezed lime juice1 tablespoon simple syrup, and  shot bitters. Top with 1 cup seltzer.

9. Screwdriver
In an 8-ounce glass with ice, combine 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Fill remainder of glass with seltzer.

10. Tequila Sunrise
In a glass with ice, combine 1 shot of tequila and 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Top with a splash of cranberry juice (no-sugar-added, 100 percent juice).

11. Vodka Sunset
Muddle ¼ cup blackberries in the bottom of a glass. Top with ice and add 1 shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice1 shot fresh-squeezed lime juice½ shot simple syrup, 1 shot of vodka, and a splash of sparkling wine.

12. Light & Stormy
Into a short glass with ice, pour 1 shot of light rum and 2 shots ginger ale.

13. Legend of Jack Sparrow
In an 8-ounce glass with ice, combine 1 shot coconut rum and the juice of 1 lime. Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale (about ¾ cup). Garnish with a slice of lime.

14. Berry Lemonade
In the bottom of an 8-ounce glass, muddle the juice of 1 lemon¼ cup frozen blueberries or strawberries, and ½ shot simple syrup. Pour in 1 shot of vodka and top with seltzer (about ¾ cup).

15. Minty Iced Tea
In a heatproof mug, combine 6 fresh mint leaves1 teaspoon honey1 black tea bag, and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Then, place mug in fridge or freezer until chilled. Remove tea bag and mint, and pour liquid into a glass with ice. Add 1 shot of vodka and garnish with a lemon wedge.

16. Fizzy Lemonade
In a shaker with ice, mix together 1 shot of tequila½ shot simple syrup, and the juice of 1 lemon. Transfer to an 8-ounce glass and fill rest of glass with seltzer (about ¾ cup).

17. On the Rocks
Drink it straight! Water down 1 shot of any favorite liquor by pouring over ice cubes for sipping!

18. Tom Collins
In a shaker with ice, combine 1 shot of gin and the juice of 1 small lemon. Strain into an 8-ounce glass and top with seltzer water (about ¾ cup).

19. Grapefruit Margarita
Combine 1 shot of tequila, the juice of 1 lime and ½ a grapefruit, and ¾ shot of orange liqueur. Pour over ice.

20. Light White Russian
Combine 2 shots brewed coffee (or espresso!) chilled and ¾ cup skim milk. Add 1 shot of vodka and a few ice cubes and stir.

21. Gin and Seltzer
Instead of a G&T, combine 1 shot of gin with 2 shots of seltzer water and garnish with a lime wedge (or a few!).

22. Gin Gimlet
In a glass with ice, combine 1 shot of gin, the juice of 2 small limes, and 1 shot simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wedge.

23. Vodka Soda
It almost goes without saying, but spice up 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots of seltzer with a lemon or lime wedge (or both). Works with any other liquor, too!

24. Drunken Arnold Palmer
Combine 1 black tea bag¾ cup hot water, the juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon honey. Chill. Add 1 shot vodka and garnish with a lemon wedge.

25. Pom Cosmo
In a shaker with ice, combine 1 shot pomegranate vodka1 shot orange liqueur, and the juice of 1 lime. Shake, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with a slice of lime.

26. Pear Martini
Muddle half a very ripe peeled pear in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ice½ shots fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1 shot pear vodka. (Regular vodka works, too.) Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of fresh pear.

27. Sex on the Beach
In a glass with ice, mix 1 shot peach-flavored vodka2 shots cranberry juice, and 1 ½ shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Add a dash of seltzer and enjoy!

28. Rosemary-Cucumber Lemonade
Stir together juice from 3 lemons and 1 teaspoon honey. Add 1 shot rosemary-infused vodka and ¾ cup seltzer. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lemon wedge.

29. Cinnamon Sour
In a cocktail shaker, combine: 1 shot mango vodka,  1 shot simple syrup, and 1 shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Pour over ice and garnish with a mango slice and cinnamon stick.

30. Grapefruit and Vodka
For a zesty cocktail, combine the juice of ½ a grapefruit and 1 shot of vodka topped with ½ cup seltzer.

31. Sour Apple Spritzer
Pour 1 shot sour apple vodka and ½ cup seltzer over ice and garnish with a green apple sliceand a cinnamon stick.

32. Tropical Rum Punch
Stir together ½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice½ cup pineapple juice (100 percent juice only!), and 1 shot light rum. Pour over ice and put on some shades.

33. Gin and Juice
Pour over ice: ½ cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice1 shot of gin, and ½ cup seltzer.

34. Refreshing Gin Cup
Mix together 1 shot of gin½ cup ginger ale, and 2 shots seltzer water. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lemon slice.

35. Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail
Create a ginger-infused simple syrup by mixing together 1 shot warm simple syrup and ¾ tablespoon chopped and peeled fresh ginger. Let stand 15 minutes, then strain. Mix together ginger syrup, 1 shot of cognac, and ½ cup pear juice or nectar and pour over ice.

Shots and Shooters

36. Redheaded Slut Lite
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot schnapps shot Jagermeister⅔ shot cranberry juice, and  shot water.

37. Fuzzy Navel
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot peach Schnapps shot fresh-squeezed orange juice, shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and  shot water.

38. Scooby Snacks
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot coconut rum shot banana rum shot pineapple juice, and 1 tablespoon light whipped cream. Strain into a short glass.

39. Peppermint Patty
Muddle 6 fresh mint leaves with  shot vodka. Add a splash of water and 1 teaspoon light chocolate syrup. Mix in a shaker with ice. Strain before serving.

40. Lemondrop
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot. vodka shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon honey.

Frozen Drinks

41. Pina Colada
Blend together ½ cup ice½ cup coconut milk¼ cup fresh pineapple chunks, and 1 shot white rum.

42. Frozen Lemonade
Combine 1 shot simple syrup1 shot of vodka, juice from 1 lemon, and ¾ cup of ice. Blend until smooth

43. Frozen Mudslide
Mix together 1 packet diet hot cocoa mix with 1 shot warm simple syrup and ¼ cup hot water. Blend the cocoa mixture, ¼ cup vanilla soy milk1 shot vanilla-infused vodka1 teaspoon chocolate syrup, and ½ cup ice.

44. Melon-Mint Granita
Puree 1 cup watermelon and 5 fresh mint leaves until liquefied. Freeze in an ice cube tray. Once solidified, blend with 1 shot white rum until it reaches the consistency of a slushie.

45. Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri
Combine 1 shot simple syrup1 shot white rum2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, a small handful of frozen strawberries, and ½ cup of ice. Blend.

46. Margarita
Blend 1 shot simple syrup, the juice from ½ lemon and 1 lime1 shot of tequila, and ½ cup of ice. Garnish with a slice of lime, but skip the salt.

47. Blueberry-Lime Margarita
Mix together the standard margarita but substitute ¼ cup ice for ¼ cup frozen blueberries.

48. Melon Kiwi-tini
Puree ¼ a honeydew melon and 1 kiwi (peeled), the juice from 1 lime, simple syrup (mix 1 shot honey with 2 tablespoons warm water), and ½ cup sake. Blend with ½ cup ice.

Wine Drinks

49. Mimosa
Into a Champagne flute, pour 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice2 shots sparkling wine, and¼ cup seltzer.

50. White Sangria
In a wine glass, combine two strawberries (halved)½ a fresh peach (diced)½ a pear (diced),2 shots white wine, and ¼ cup seltzer.

51. Red Sangria
Toss ½ an apple (sliced)½ an orange (sliced), and 4 grapes into a glass. Add ½ cup fruity red wine and ¼ cup seltzer.

52. Pomegranate Fizz
Into a champagne flute, pour: ½ cup pomegranate juice, the juice from 1 lime, and 2 shots sparkling wine. Garnish with a lime wedge.

53. Pear Sparkler
Puree ½ a pear until liquefied and add to a champagne flute. Pour in 2 shots sparkling wine and add three slices of pear.

 54. Sparkling Apricot Punch
In a glass, combine ½ cup diced apricots and ½ cup apricot juice (100 percent juice, please!). Add ½ cup sparkling wine and ¼ cup seltzer and stir to combine.

Hot Drinks

55. Hot Toddy
In a mug, combine 1 shot bourbon1 tablespoon honey, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Pour in¼ cup boiling water and stir to dissolve honey.

56. Irish Coffee
In a mug, combine 1 shot of whiskey1 teaspoon raw sugar, and ¾ cup hot coffee. Pour 1 tablespoon skim milk on top and don’t stir!

57. Mojito Tea
In a mug, combine 5 fresh mint leaves1 teaspoon brown sugar1 black tea bag, and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 2 minutes. Remove tea bag and add 1shot of light rum and juice from ½ a lime. Remove mint leaves and enjoy!

58. Bitter Tea
Brew a cup of fruity black tea and stir in ½ shot bitters and 1 ½ shots pomegranate juice.

59. Mulled Wine
Over low heat, simmer ¾ cup fruity red wine, a pinch of orange zest2 whole cloves1 black peppercorn1 cinnamon stick, and a pinch of sugar. Heat for about 10 minutes, then strain and enjoy!

60. Mint Hot Chocolate
Heat 1 cup skim milk and stir in 1 packet light hot cocoa mix. Add 1 shot tequila and  shot peppermint schnapps.

And remember we are closed Monday for Memorial Day!!

Meet Your New Best Friend

Oh hi there. See that right up there? That’s your new bff and it will love you forver and ever. Let’s look at some facts about why you should have water next to you, near you and attached to your hand all day!

Did you know that 8 cups of water a day will..

  • Increase your metabolism (cold water increases this even more)
  • Fill you up (hot water helps better with this)
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Flush out toxins
  • Get you healthier skin
  • Reduce risks of certain cancers
  • Help digestions and constipation
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Improve overall health
  • All for 0 calories!

Here are some more fun facts…

  • Water comprises more than 80% of your blood, and the brain and muscles are three-fourths water
  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
  • If you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated
  • Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%
  • Losing just 1-2% of your body weight in water causes a decrease in your performance of between 10-20%
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or a printed page
  • Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue
  • On average it takes about 2 cups of water to make up for the dehydration caused by a single alcoholic drink or a cup of coffee
  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in the University of Washington study
  • Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer
  • Water fights bad breath
  • The main cause of kidney stones is dehydration
  • The best treatment for dry eyes is drinking enough water throughout the day
  • 8-10 glasses a day is recommended for a sedentary person
  • A simple way to estimate water recommendation for a person who works out would be to multiply body weight times 0.55. Example: 180 pound person — 180 times 0.55 = 99 ounces of water per day.

But what if you don’t like water and you find that drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (more if you’re exercising!) is a challenge, there are other choices you can make to get your body the fluids it needs. And hydrating your body is, after all, the bottom line!

  • Skim milk. A small glass has about 80 calories, along with respectable amounts of protein and calcium. And, of course, no fat.
  • Decaffeinated iced tea. Go without sugar and you’ve got a drink that’s as calorie-free as water.
  • Soups and broths. There are plenty of low-calorie products on the market. However, they can be very high in sodium, so be sure to check the nutrition label for salt content. (You shouldn’t have more than 2400 mg of sodium daily.)
  • Juice-water mix. You can get the flavor of juice with less sugar and calories by mixing a half glass with water and ice.
  • Add lemon, lime or orange slices to your water to give it a little more flavor.

So this month keep water by your side at all times and make sure you get your recomended amount daily! You’ll only help yourself!

Portobello Burgers with Guoda and Roasted Garlic

Hi.

Happy 2012!! Anyone else think that 2011 went super fast?

This year one of my resolutions is to eat more fruits and veggies. So far it’s been going well! I’m kinda having a love affair with fruit. Bananas, oranges, clemintines, apples, pineapple and grapes, completely head over heels for. But I’m lacking in the vegetable department. That’s where this portobello burger comes in!

Oh hello there you beautiful thing.

Now usually I am not a fan of mushrooms or making a mushroom burger, when I think of burgers it’s usually beef covered in cheddar, bbq sauce, bacon and those yummy onion strings. Mmmmm. But I don’t exactly think that those type of burgers (mostly because of the delicious topings) are that healthy for you.

Then I went out for New Year’s Eve. I went to Elements in downtown Pittsburgh and had a filet with this cheese stuffed portobello on top.

Best.Dinner.Ever.

I seriously cannot stop thinking about it! So to try and recreate at least a part of that dinner, since I cannot cook a steak to save my life, I went in search of something with mushrooms! I found this Portobello Burger with Gouda and Roasted Garlic on How Sweet It Is website (legit obsessed with this site) and decided to share it with all of you!

Portobello Burger with Gouda and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 4 English muffins (light multigrain)
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of gouda cheese
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • butter lettuce for garnish
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

for mushroom marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

Two hours before serving, combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish and add mushrooms. I let them lay on their top side in the marinade, and spoon some marinade into the bottom-up side to let it soak. Marinate for two hours.

One hour before serving, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice off the top of the heads of garlic and drizzle a bit of olive oil (1/2 tablespoon) on top. Wrap in foil and roast for 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, then turn off heat and set aside to thicken.

Slice red onion into rings and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil into a large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and let soften and caramelize for 10-12 minutes. Set aside once finished, leaving the skillet on. Add the marinated mushrooms to the skillet top side up. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 4 more. Turn back over, add a slice of gouda on top, and turn off heat.

Toast the English muffins. Using your fingers, squeeze roasted garlic out of the head into a bowl. Mash with a spoon. Spread on both sides of each English muffin.

Top English muffin with a portobello cap, onion rings, tomato, avocado, and butter lettuce.  A light sprinkle of salt and pepper on the tomato and avocado for flavor. Finish with a drizzle of syrupy balsamic and serve.

Anyone elses mouth watering?

p.s. it’s healthy!

5 Healthy Ways to Detox After the Holidays

There’s only one more week until the New Year and after this past weekend of gorging on yummy calorie laden treats you may be feeling slightly sluggish and tired. I know I am! Well here are a few ways to help fix that and get your New Year off on the right foot!

1. Break the sugar and salt habit. If you feel especially bloated, cutting out the extra sugar, refined carbs and salt you’ve been having at holiday gatherings is the first step to getting back to your usual self. Do this for at least three days to get back on track and give your system time to reset.

2. Load up on veggies. Detoxing is all about getting the bad out and the good back in. So after the holidays challenge yourself to eat seven to 12 servings of fruits and veggies a day — and make clean food the bulk of your diet. Get a variety of produce to ensure that you’re getting all those vitamins and minerals you probably skimped on over holiday break.

3. Start off easy at the gym. You’re probably gung-ho about working out right now and think a killer workout is what it will take to get you back on track, but ease back into the gym. It’s better to do a little bit every day then go to the gym, push it too hard, and then be so sore that you can’t move for days!

4. Make water your new BFF. Hydration is the name of the game when it comes to post-holiday detoxing. Guzzle that water throughout the day, trying to get at least 64 ounces. Water helps flush out toxins and helps your body eliminate waste! (A good rule of thumb is to divide your total body weight in half, and drink that many ounces. i.e. A 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water.)

5. Ignore the scale for a few days. Because of all the extra holiday goodies, which included added sugar, salt and fat, you’re probably a few pounds heavier than normal. Instead of stepping on the scale and feeling down about the number, just forgo the scale. Follow these tips and weigh yourself in a week. You’ll probably be back to your normal size!

Extreme detoxes aren’t necessary to get back on track after the holidays, nor are they any kind of healthy for your body. It’s also not healthy to beat yourself up over what you ate and those workouts you may have missed. Today is a new day and it’s soon going to be a new year — so appreciate the holidays for what they are and get back on the healthy track!

10 Tips to Staying Lean Over Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, you can almost smell all the food and baked goods already. With stuffing, pumpkin pie, turkey, cranberry sauce and so much more, how can anyone say no to all that good eating? If you worry about your waistline you will think twice and want to pay attention to this article.

The number one thing people say is simply “everything in moderation.” With that being said, that doesn’t mean on a given day you can simply open your mouth and fill it with whatever you want until your gut is ready to explode. The tips and advice below will help you “cheat” a little but also help you maintain your physique.

1. Never Go To A Gathering On An Empty Stomach

When you are hungry you will pretty much eat anything that is in front of you. It’s similar to the concept of not grocery shopping while you are hungry. When you go to a gathering on an empty stomach, you tend to pick at more food and over indulge in all the platters laid out on the table in front of you. Before you leave, eat something that contains protein and/or fiber. This will stunt your appetite and have you feeling full for longer than if you ate something with carbohydratesbefore going.

2. Drink Plenty Of Water

Water is definitely your friend at all times, not just during the holidays. If you feel hungry while at a gathering and there are no healthy choices, you can obtain the “full” feeling by simply drinking water. Besides curbing your appetite, it will also keep you hydrated.

3. Don’t Deprive, But Don’t Indulge

Like I said earlier, everything in moderation. If you want a piece of pumpkin pie or a scoop of stuffing with your turkey, by all means eat it. The trick is to only take a small portion of it just to curb your craving for the food. Eating things that aren’t necessarily on your list of “good healthy choices” won’t hurt you if you don’t make it a habit of continually eating that particular food. So with that being said, you can have your cake (or pie in this case) and eat it too-but don’t over do it.

4. Chew And Enjoy Your Food

When sitting down for a meal, make sure you chew and enjoy what you are eating. If you rush through it not only do you miss out on the flavors, but it will take your body longer to digest the food you ate if it is not broken down properly. Enjoying your food should be a satisfying experience and you miss out on it if you inhale your food quickly. Doing so will also lead to another point I will bring up in the next section – not allowing your brain to tell you that you are full.

5. Socialize Prior To Heading For Seconds

After eating what you had on your plate, socialize with the people at the gathering. What this does is allows time for your brain to tell your body that you are truly full. I’m sure many of you have experienced a time or two when you ate your first helping, went up for a second, ate that and afterward you literally felt like you were going to either bust at the seams or vomit. Buying time for your brain and stomach to get on the same page is crucial to preventing overeating.

6. Exercise

The best way to not pack on some extra pounds during the holiday is to not only make sure you continually work out, but to work out the day of the gathering. You will burn off many of the calories you will be eating so in the end you don’t wind up with a caloric surplus at the end of the day which could result in fat storage in the body. Maybe run or walk a Turkey Trot 5k in the morning!

7. Snack On Healthy Choices

Many gatherings will find some healthy choices to snack on before and after the main meal is on the table. Raw vegetables are something found at many gatherings which is passed by many being that there are “junk” snacks available which will fix their sweet tooth or craving. But that doesn’t have to be you. Have your fill of raw vegetables which are low in calories and healthy for you rather than a plate full of the junk you don’t need. Otherwise you will be regretting it later that night when you realize all the stuff you shouldn’t have ate.

8. Skip The Alcohol Or Limit Intake

Let’s face it, there are those that drink and those that don’t. If you don’t, you can skip right over this and go right onto the next section. If you like to drink, you have a few options. If you are at a gathering where you have pretty much an endless supply of alcohol you can either limit your intake to a few spread out over the gathering or simply skip it all together. Alcohol is full of empty calories, calories that you don’t need if you are planning on eating some food at the gathering that you normally wouldn’t ingest if you weren’t there.

9. Don’t Cave Into Peer Pressure

You will always have people at gatherings that want to brag about how good something is regardless if it will give you a heart attack from its nutritional content. Don’t give into the peer pressure and try everything that people say is amazing. If you do, you will find yourself indulging in everything that is there and piling up the calories before you even realize what you have done. If you want to splurge on a couple things, that’s fine. However, you need to pick and choose your battles.

10. Protein Is Your Friend

Protein is truly your friend at gatherings. Not only will it help build and maintain lean muscle mass, but it will also help you feel full. When the big turkey is placed on the table your eyes should light up and your mouth start to water. Get a nice size serving of turkey and add little sides as you see fit, but make sure the bulk of your calories during the meal are coming from that delicious protein source. Gobble gobble!

So there you have 10 tips to help you stay leaner during the Thanksgiving holiday season. How will you do?