Protein Pancakes Simplified!


How much cardio should you be doing?

This is my happy level at 4:52am, annoying right? LOL. I climb on the Stairmaster to get a good 10 minute warmup, let me Spark kick in, and plan out my workout in my head. I usually start with 2 minutes walking, increase speed for the next 5 {no hands!}, then speed up for the last 3 and skip a step. This is really just to get my blood flowing and pump myself up for  a good sweat seesh. 

***I am only talking about what has worked for me, I am not an expert, I do not train people, I am not encompassing everyone - if you have injury or certain limitations that's on a one on one basis.***

I get asked every day - how much cardio do I need to do? This depends on various factors:

1. How much weight do you have to lose? The more you have the more cardio you might need.

2. How much do you love or hate doing cardio? Cardio is not bad for you, if you love it more power to you, work that heart girl! If you hate it then you need a good plan of action to get it in so you can reach your goals.

When I had over 50pds to lose I did cardio almost every single day, usually 30 to 60 minutes. If I had a longer cardio session then I cut back on the weight training that day and vice versa, leg day usually meant 0 cardio because it's a big muscle you're working and you'll be dead {or should be!} when you're done.

When I got closer to my 'happy' weight I cut back the cardio to 3x a week, usually 2 running days and 1 spin day. If I couldn't run then I used the machines at the gym to get my cardio in, doing it before or after your weight training is TOTALLY UP TO YOU. Personal preference! I like it before, I think I lift better when I have a good sweat going on, plus after my weights I'm a noodle and have zero desire to do 30 minutes of cardio. 

I would say if you do 20 to 30 minutes 3x a week you should be golden, BUT this needs to be EFFECTIVE cardio mmmmmkay? Not all cardio is created equal.

The best machines at a gym for cardio are the treadmill, the stairstepper, the rowing machine, and a stationary bike. The worst are the elliptical machines - pretty much all of them. Now don't hate me if you love the elliptical, but 45 minutes at a level less than 10 is a waste of time, but if you ENJOY it then by all means go for it. This is not about enjoyment per se, but about getting the most out of your time at the gym. 

You need variety, the more you do the same movements the stronger those same muscle become and the easier that movement gets.  You would benefit from switching up your cardio, maybe one day you do sprints on the bike and another you do plyometic moves in between your weight sessions.

Fasted vs Non Fasted Cardio.

I don't normally eat before I workout, unless I'm running more than 2 miles. This is a new development for me in the past few weeks, mostly because I am cutting {lowering calories to lose fat} and works well for me because I don't do a whole lot of cardio. I don't do it to try to lose weight, I just prefer to save my macros for my post workout meal. Y'all know I love my mug cakes. 

There is no hard evidence that cardio while fasted is more helpful for cutting fat, in fact I've heard it's only really effective if your body fat is already pretty low. Not eating can affect your performance too, so if it comes down to GOING HARD or NOT EATING then you should eat and go hard :)

Here are a few moves from my full body day, I just tried to hit every muscle group, the abs is killer and I was sore that same day, not that being sore = a good workout, probably just proves I don't work them enough.  The hammy one is tricky, but if you can get that weight to stay in between your feet it's SO GOOD. 


Food Prep with spaghetti squash

It's finally getting cool enough outside that the kids can run around while I make dinner, but that means we gotta bathe them again too. It sure is nice to have a big age gap because I can tell Madison to take her brother out back while I make dinner, she's so great about playing with him. Of course she's over him as soon an Oliver's done working, no one beats Daddy in her world. 

He just knocks on the door when he's ready to come back in, such a big boy. One more week and he starts preschool two days a week. 

Dress from OMB.
I'm excited that it's almost Fall, the best time of the year! Pumpkin pictures, Fall Festivals, and Halloween! Oh and let's not forget scarves, booties, and cardi's! I woke up extra early to go for a run, we were going to do hill, but the twinge I had behind my knee yesterday turned into a pretty significant knee pain so I skipped doing any cardio today. 

I brought an ice pack with me, icing in the car is the best way for me to get it done. Hoping if I foam roll the shit out of it then slather it with ice several times a day it will help. I'm pretty good at rolling, but was rushed this weekend and didn't do it after my run or my soccer game - lesson learned. I have a 3 game soccer tournament this weekend so I'll rest it until then. 

I found something new for lunches this week, Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese. I didn't follow the direction exactly, but there's the link if you want to try it out.

There are 3 ways to cook the squash - oven, crock-pot, or microwave. I did mine in the oven because I had to cook the chicken and bacon in there anyways.
Super easy:
1. Cut and de-seed
2. Spray with olive oil and season.  I used this one from Flavor God Seasonings
3. Place facedown and cover with foil.
4. 425 for 25 - 45 minutes depending on the size

You can tell they are done when a fork goes through easily, check every 8ish minutes so you don't over cook.

I baked the turkey bacon then cut it up, the spinach I sauteed in coconut oil, the drunken goat cheese I shredded and put in a separate container to use daily at work.

Of course I need to add a protein so I bought some mango marinated breasts and cooked enough for the week. 

Super easy and very very good! The bacon really adds a lot to the squash, it puts my lunch at 17 carbs / 18 fats / 37 protein

Everything is better with some goat cheese!


10 Mile Run + Food

Saturday I got up at 4:20 to meet up with a group for a 5am run, some split off at 6 miles, but I decided to stick with the others who were doing 10. It's been a while since I've had a long run, it rained on us for most of the run, I was unprepared for it and wish I had brought a visor to wear. 

I am SO glad I decided to wear my FlipBelt, if I had worn my arm band my phone would surely be ruined. I stopped wearing my Flip Belt a while ago, the cord coming out to my headphones was always bugging me, but now that I run with my Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones it's the perfect solution! The headphones are perfect for running, they are flexible enough that I can have one in my ear and hoot the other in my bra strap so I can hear others talking around me, which in a group is important so you're not rude hahahha. I hate running without music!

Later that morning I meet up with some friends, including Poppy Locks, and had brunch at the Fatted Calf. She was lucky enough to get to work out with Layne Norton a few weekends ago and I needed to hear every detail! So jealous, they lifted weights and talked about macros, then had lunch at Fuddruckers. Anyways, the Strawberry Mimosas were amazing, followed by the breakfast sliders, perfect Saturday brunch.

Madison had a late afternoon indoor soccer game, she scored 3 goals! The girls got a good foot on her too, we just bought a large soccer goal for the backyard, Lifetime Soccer Goal with Adjustable Height and Width, time to get some daily practice in and work on that foot work. After the game I bought her a little Dippin' Dots that was red and told her to be careful and don't spill it. OF COURSE, she gets it all over her dress and starts crying that it was her favorite pony dress, sigh. We were going to Home Goods anyways so I told her she could pick out a new dress. She obviously is a mini me, picking out 6 outfits to try on, then when I was helping her in the dressing room she told me I was like the Fairy Godmother and she was the princess. LOL.

We all decided to meet up in downtown McKinney for dinner, we wanted to try a new place called Harvest. You really need reservations to eat there, but we got there early enough and snagged some seating in the outdoor part, it's just so freaking cute there!

It's a Farm to Table concept, so the menu is full of yummy choices and I had a hard time deciding! We started with a beet salad, I had no idea that I loved beets, but it was freaking amazing!!! It had yellow beets / fried spinach / Deep Ellum blue cheese / red quinoa. I really need to recreate this at home.

Then for dinner I had the Creole Pan Seared Shrimp  - Carolina gold dirty rice / spinach / celery / baguette. Delish! If you're local you need to try, you won't be disappointed.

By the time we got home this guy was done, his little fat cheeks are just, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I could cry looking at his little baby face.

Sunday I slept in until 7:30, which annoyed me, I just feel like I can't get everything done in the day if I sleep in that late! I finally had to wake Aiden up at 8:45 so we could get to the grocery store and back home to prep food before I had soccer. I had to buy new soccer shorts this year so I went ahead and bought a new bag too, the other was pretty smelly, I may have forgotten to take out wet socks from last season. Oops.

After soccer I had to take photos for the new arrivals, this is Madison's favorite part of the weekend. She runs off and changes her outfit in between every picture, I love her leg pop and sass. Then we eat dinner and meal prep her lunches for the week before falling into bed exhausted and ready to do it again this week.

Tomorrow I'll share my meal prepping with you!


A little Dance Cardio + Triceps

I found some really cute good quality workout gear when I was at market, some came in yesterday, total gym motivation! The tanks already sold out again, I'm going to call and beg to see if I can get a few more for those of you who missed it again. My gym gave us notice that they were dropping Body Pump, so freaking upset about this! I stay at this gym for the people and Body Pump, but if they are going to cheap out on paying the license fees then I'll take my hard earned money else where, they have no plans to replace the class with anything I'd want to do. 

I found these on Pinterest, such a fun way to get in a bit of cardio either at home or at the gym! Periscopers last night requested a tricep workout so here you go! I had to make 2 separate videos because of the orientation of the camera, sorry!

Tricep kick backs to warm up, I'm using a 12 pound weight I think, but start lighter and go heavier with each set. 

Tricep push into an overhead pull - I'm using a 40 pound bar. 
Tricep skull crushers - 3 sets of increasing weight - I went 10,12,15 
Tricep Dips

I also came across this master list of popular restaurants and a listing of the very best macro friendly meals {which means high protein lower carbs/fats}. Totally pinnable for reference when you are eating out, don't blow all your fats for the day on one meal! You can find the full blog post over at The Macro Experiment!


Food I always have on Hand!

Watch out when this one is running around with his wooden weapon, you'll be standing there minding your own business and WHACK right on the thigh. 

Also, don't grab his new favorite snack away either, don't let that sweet baby face fool you! I got a box of 12 in from Thrive, he LOVES them and so does Madison, her favorite so far is the Pineapple.
I thought I'd put together a post on my top grocery items, so here you go!

Veggies: Sweet Potato, Grape Tomatoes, Zucchini.
Must have: Paderno Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Pre Running Food: Kids Z Bars.
I don't eat protein bars much anymore, but this one is perfect for a little something before I run.
Must Order: NoGii Protein D'Lites Nutritional Bar Chocolate Caramel Bliss

Yogurts x 10: I never ever buy anything with more than 15g carbs per serving. I browse for new flavors to pair on top of pancakes or mug cakes or just to layer with fun toppings. 

Fun stuff: TruWhip and Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter 
The thing about cookie butter is that if you melt and drizzle it you won't need very much to make a big flavor impact!

 Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Cheeses: My favorite way to get in my fats! My go to's are goat cheese for veggies, Mexican shredded cheese for everything else. I also like Asiago Cheese, but only every so often.

Bread: Low Carb tortillas and Nature's Own Wheat.
Must Try: Lavash Flat Bread

Meats: 6 Chicken Breasts {3 for work lunches and 3 for dinners} Also at least 1 'oh shit I don't want to cook dinner tonight' meals. This Tinga Chicken is yummy and easy to throw on a tortilla with some veggies.

Other stuff I must have on hand:
Coconut Flour
Egg Whites - liquid
Almond Milk
Frozen chopped Broccoli 
Protein Powder in all the flavors like Select Protein (Snickerdoodle)   
Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes 
Extra Original Gum - about 5 packs for home, work, car
Spark + Arginine Extreme


Another First Day.

Friday we stopped on the way home to pick up supplies for some good ole homemade pizza, Madison insisted on carrying in the the groceries - all at once - hahahah must be something women are born with, MUST GET ALL BAGS IN ON ONE TRIP. 

Big hit with the bald one, he has a very particular palette for sure, for breakfast he prefers smoked salmon to pancakes. Only my kid would cry for 20 dollar fish, like our grocery bill is high enough, I blame his Father.

Saturday my parents came and took my children, Oliver and I used it as a day date to get some errands done in half the time, alone. We had to go to the bank, then lunched, finally the grocery store. Exciting huh?? If you have a Kroger near you I highly suggest you try the Cilantro Chicken {I heard the Mango was amazing too!} it's so delish and I used that for my lunches this week. 

Oliver took Madison to her soccer game that evening {she scored 5 goals!}, Aiden and I hung out to take some pictures for OMB. We are working on a game plan for a large office/studio space and it can't happen fast enough, my house keeps feeling smaller and smaller with all the clothing I have in the front half of it!

Finished up just as Oliver got home and we went out to dinner, good thing I had a skinny Rita because the food was terrible. When I order a side of veggies I expect a heaping pile, they literally put 3 brussel sprouts on my plate - what in the heck?!? This place isn't cheap either so it was pretty disappointing, the do have amazing breakfast though!

Sunday The Bald One woke up with a red eye - I freaked out thinking it was pink eye, I was washing my hands every 5 minutes! It seemed to get better as the day went on and no goop, guessing it's just irritated he does love to shove his fingers in the ears and eyes.

We just hung around the house doing OMB stuff and cleaning until it was time for soccer. Let me just say it's a terrible idea to start the season in August and then to make games at 3pm! I felt like death, but I was glad to play again after the rainout that was our last season.

We went to my Mom's for dinner, kabob's on the grill, so good! Our grill is broken and we need a new one, I've been missing grilling food all summer. 

After we got home I took a bath with both kids, Aiden's feet are some stinky little baby boy feet for reals! Wow. This year I told Madison she was responsible for getting her lunch together in the morning. I helped her food prep, she got to choose {within reason} what she wanted to pack and if she eats all her food Monday through Thursday she is allowed to buy her lunch {or have Daddy bring her Subway and have lunch with her} on Fridays. 

I bought her Happy Lunchboxes - Set of 4 and Insulated Lunch Bag - Candy Stripes. She packed all the boxes and I made her a special spot in the fridge to put all her items, she has to be sure to repack her lunch bag each day. I'm hoping that by letting her do it herself she'll eat what she packs, I hate when her lunch bag comes back with food still in it, I feel like she's going to starve!

All of us Mom's had to get in the gym super early, 4:30am today, so we could be home in time for the first day circus. I was pretty shocked SOME showed up that early LOL

She has a wonderful teacher this year and her class only has 13 kids in it, she's going to LOVE that, my little teacher's pet. She's going to a new school this year, the elementary is right next to the middle and high school, so drop off was a nightmare. I can't wait to hear all her stories this evening!


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