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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fuel for Fitness

For many years, I have been just in love with exercising.  Nothing clears my head quite like a run.  Flexibility training through Yoga and Pilates just makes me excited!  Lately, really challenging workouts, such as Circuit Training or Cross Training have been my jam!  Endorphins are an absolute gift that I am so thankful for! I know I'm using a lot of exclamation marks...but there is no other appropriate punctuation for communicating how I feel about exercising!!!  Haha!

It all started with this very dated, but very effective workout video by my (vanity) hero, Cindy Crawford.
My mom purchased this on video cassette when I was in some elementary grade.  I'm not even sure which grade.  I would do the workout with her.  I'm not sure how well it adheres to current AFAA guidelines, but it's a great workout.  Also, the music is hard to beat.  I downloaded all the songs from the video onto my iPod and still run to them.  A few years ago, I ordered my own copy on DVD.  Ha!  I went through a phase of doing it 3-4 times a week, post-pregnancy.  I credit it for getting my pre-baby body back.

Recently, I've been introduced to the wonderful world of Les Mills.  It is a company based in New Zealand, that offers choreographed workouts to a unique and beautiful selection of songs.  Their "menu" includes: BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyAttack, CXWORX and Sh'Bam.  For more information, check out their website and find a gym close to you that offers it.  

It didn't take me long to realize that I wanted very much to be a BodyFlow instructor.  BodyFlow is a Yoga Fusion class...a mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates.  Aside from having just an excellent song selection for each choreographed track, it is also a wonderful and relaxing workout.  
Training for BodyFlow instructing involves a 2-day course.  It was a bit nerve-wracking because we did have to present two tracks and be assessed on our teaching performance.  However, it was a wonderful experience as well.  Along with seven other people, I was taught the ins and outs of being a Les Mills instructor.  They really have a good thing going.  We are considered a "tribe", which is a New Zealand thing and just pretty cool in my opinion.  My "classmates" and I became good friends in just two days (because we bonded over the challenges of the training) and still keep in touch.  I have two gyms that I'm currently teaching at: subbing at my home gym the Levite Jewish Community Center of Birmingham and I actually have my own class on the schedule! at Gold's Gym in Vestavia!!  
Dancer's Pose in the Balance Track.

I've realized that when you work out often (every day-ish), you need fuel!  Protein is your best friend!  Since I do have a tendency toward migraines, I have to stay on top of my water and protein intake. Caffeine, in moderate amounts, does not hurt either.  I've come up with some yummy recipes for Protein Smoothies and Protein/Coffee Smoothies.  As always, I want to share them with you.

Green Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie
In the Blender:
1 Banana
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I use Greenwise)
Handful of Spinach
1 cup Milk
1 cup Ice
Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Blueberry Vanilla Protein Shake
In the blender:
1 cup Frozen Blueberries
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Strawberry Kefir
1 cup Ice
Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Orange Dreamsicle Coffee Smoothie
In the blender:
About a cup Orange Flavored Coffee (from Fresh Market, It's called Cafe L'Orange)
*Note-don't put it in hot.  Brew some with breakfast and then about mid-morning, once it has grown cold, add to the you time to get your workout in.
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 cup Milk
1 cup Ice
Blend until smooth...and you know the drill!

If you're not a fan of exercise, let me just encourage you for a moment.  It is a process, not a competition.  Just do the workout that is right for you.  Just go for a walk.  It is so so important for our health that we do some kind of physical activity for at least 15, if not 30 minutes per day...15 minutes is the minimum.  
Just do it because Cindy says so, and then make one of my smoothies when you're done. Haha!  Love you people!