Sunday, April 29, 2012

Keeping the Beat 5k

Today I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Keeping The Beat 5k, a fundraiser for Children's Hospital Boston Pacemaker/ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) Camp! I was able to wear my crown and sash as Miss Collegiate Area and it was so much fun. A Toddler Dash, 1k fun run, and 5k race were held at the beautiful Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA. This fundraiser was for children with heart problems who require pacemakers/ICDs for them to attend an annual summer camp, which gives them the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities, just like children who don't have to live with a pacemaker. This camp provides a safe and healthy environment for these children and allows them to meet friends, have fun, and forget about their illness for a while. It was SUCH a great event to be a part of!  While at this event, I noticed so many children and parents, partnering up to run the race as a team. This inspired me to blog, because I believe parents are a CRUCIAL part of their child's health! Not only do parents typically grocery shop for their children, but they set the main example for what a healthy lifestyle should look like and are in charge of motivating their children to be active. This completely ties into my platform for Miss Collegiate Area, which is Fit for Success incase you haven't been reading :) Even if you don't have kids, our society is in dire need of health role models for all ages. We must motivate our friends, peers, and future generations to adapt to nutritious lifestyles- not only to feel better as a person, but to lead to longer, more successful lives. After speaking with a woman who was running the race with her daughter, I was so inspired to blog about it and hopefully inspire someone else out there to find a running buddy and become healthy as a TEAM! Having a workout buddy will help you to push yourself, will give you a reason not to skip a workout, and will make it more fun for you! Whether you have kids or not, a workout buddy is essential for success!  Here are some ideas! - go for a run, and take turns picking a new location each time! - instead of going out to eat, go for a walk to your favorite coffee shop! - pick up a soccer ball and go kick it around! - jump in the pool/ocean/lake and do a lap-relay-race - dust off your rollerblades - SIGN UP FOR A RACE! this has been the best motivation for me, it is a fun way to workout, give back to the community, and have a blast! Try an obstacle course! - play a good ole game of HORSE - take turns coming up with an ab routine! Each person needs to come up with 5 different sets, alternate each set until you have completed all ten! - pack up your bikes and find a new trail!  Whatever you choose to do, find a teammate, get your children involved, and most importantly- HAVE FUN! Morgan

Friday, April 27, 2012

Keep Your Diet on Track: "My Fitness Pal"

In today's society, I find it very hard to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle: Vending machines filled with candy and pop around every corner, coffee shops advertising greasy (and tempting) donuts and breakfast sandwiches, convenient pizza deliveries, chips and ice cream temptations at the grocery store, and desirable restaurants loaded with unhealthy (yet delicious) foods. America makes it pretty tough to comply with a healthy lifestyle, but if you can overcome this challenge, you will feel better than ever.

Luckily, I really enjoy cooking, but I have always wondered about the content of what I truly eat in a day. A few months ago, I was talking to a trainer who asked me how many calories/ grams of protein/ etc. I consume in a day. I had no idea! While I knew I was trying to eat healthy, I had no clue which area I needed to improve on. Cutting sugar? Increasing fiber? More protein? I was totally unaware of what I was putting in my body.... Until now!!

When I got the iPhone, I found an app called "My Fitness Pal" which gives you the tools to count all of the calories and nutrients you consume in a day. This was a great way for me to log everything I ate in order better determine what I needed to adjust in my diet! My Fitness Pal has just about EVERY food and ingredient you can imagine- from the grocery store, from restaurants, they have the nutrition information. It is SO easy to look up and log, and really helped me to understand what I was putting in my body. Best of all, it saves the "most popular" foods you eat, making your logging a quick and easy process. You can even change the "serving size" to the exact amount you consumed.
This is an example of the "diary" screen. It keeps track of everything you consumed for each meal!
another example! it saves my most popular food selections, and like i said, it contains EVERY food you can imagine!
my typical lunch selections...

I never realized how much sugar I ate, and found that I needed to greatly increase my protein intake if I wanted to "tone-up". The trainer I spoke with instructed me to try to eat 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight, and My Fitness Pal gave me a way to keep track of this.
My Fitness Pal calculates every calorie, gram of fat, etc. that you consume throughout the day! As you can see, I had too much sugar this day (however, I ALWAYS go over on sugar!) I ignore the fiber and protein limits because I am striving to eat 120 grams of protein per day!

One thing I should add is that you don't need to log your meals EVERY day! You don't want to be obsessed about it, but it is a good way to see if you're staying on track with your eating plan and goals.

Try and out and see what you think! Hope this helps to fuel your nutrition goals even further :)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Typical Day of Morgan's Eating!

I think it is important for the world to realize that you can still eat great food as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You could have a fabulous workout routine, but without a healthy diet to follow it, you won't see the results you desire. I also think it's important to point out that you MUST eat in order to be healthy! It is not okay to skip meals or starve yourself AT ALL!!! With that said, my goal of this blog is to show everyone a day of typical eating in my world. I am by no means a professional, a nutritionist, or a personal trainer, but I constantly strive to improve my healthy habits! Naturally, I have my cheat days, and I know I don't eat a picture-perfect diet. I'm  a firm believer that there is always room for improvement, and I live by that. With this blog post, I am hoping to give you a few new ideas on meals and snacks since I am always looking for new ideas myself! And lastly, this blog exemplifies the fact that it IS possible to eat well while on-the-go! I am a busy student with three hour classes and 12 hour clinicals- packing snacks and lunches are my best friends, and this shows that you can do so healthfully! So, here we go!

Check out what I ate today, April 24th :)
7:00am. Favorite part of the day: coffee! With an added teaspoon of sugar and a dash of milk!
8:15am. BREAKFAST! I eat 6 Tablespoons of egg whites with spinach, 2 slices of turkey breast, and a spoonful of pineapple salsa!
9:45am. My traditional morning snack: a banana!
12:00pm. Lunch time! Today, I had a PB Sandwich, made with a 100cal Sandwich Thin and 1 Tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter. Delicious :)
Grapes and Red pepper slices to accompany my sandwich!
don't forget to drink lots of water throughout the day!
1:30pm. A scrumptious apple while studying!
2:30pm. Needed a little pre-workout treat! 3/4c. Special K Fruit and Yogurt! My dessert of the day!!
4:30pm. After an awesome workout, I enjoyed a Chobani and some Edamame!
6:30pm. Dinner time! Thin-sliced Chicken Breast & Veggies!
the secret ingredient! add 1-2 Tablespoons for awesome flavor.
The Final Result: Chicken, Veggies, and 1/3c. Low Fat Cottage Cheese!
8:30pm. Needed a little before-bed treat! 100 calorie mini-bag kettle corn, yes please!
 The final verdict: What a delicious day of eating! I honestly didn't feel hungry (until it was meal-time) and my stomach felt satisfied and happy! My body feels refreshed after filling it with fresh food all day, and my workout consisted of stretching, cardio (practicing my dance routine) and lifting legs.

The numbers:
Calories: ~1500
Fat: 19 grams
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 239 grams
Dietary Fiber: 34 grams
Sugars: 128 grams
Protein: 87 grams

While this is a typical day of eating for me, I realize I still need to work on cutting back on sugar and increasing my protein. These have been my biggest challenges! But, like I said, there is always room for improvement!

That is all for today! Time for bed :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Inspiration from The Biggest Loser

Over the past few years, I've always heard about how inspirational the show The Bigger Loser is, but it wasn't until this last year that I truly understood why.

If you live on planet Earth, you know that America has an obesity problem. According to the CDC, 33% of adults and 17% of children in the United States are obese. It is my firm belief (and my platform as Miss Collegiate Area) that it is our job, as Americans, to fix this ongoing problem! We need to inspire the United States to adapt to healthy lifestyles, and I believe The Biggest Loser does such a wonderful job in motivating people across the country to get moving. Each contestant is a perfect example of the fact that it IS possible to turn your life around! With dedication and hard work, each contestant is making the switch and becoming healthy. It is INCREDIBLE to watch their transformations each week, and it makes me so happy to see them accomplish their weekly goals. Their hard work motivates me to work hard each week, and I highly recommend watching The Biggest Loser if you don't already  :)
Olivia, Season 11's Winner. HOW INSPIRING!
So incredible. YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!
The cherry on top is seeing their confidence grow throughout the season. Part of my platform, Fit For Success, is motivating kids to develop healthy lifestyles in order to be more confident about themselves! I firmly believe that more confidence leads to more self-esteem, which ultimately leads to more success! The Biggest Loser contestants are perfect examples of this. Nutritious lifestyles can truly lead to more happiness, so my goal for you is to experience this same feeling!!

Here is a "Biggest Loser" recipe I've been dying to try!
Biggest Loser Southwest Chicken Pileup


  • 1 tsp. salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 small (1/4-pound) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of visible fat
  • 1 whole-wheat pita (6 1/2" diameter)
  • 2 Tbsp. hummus, preferably red-pepper flavor
  • 2 Tbsp. no-salt-added canned black beans, drained
  • Several red onion strips
  • Several red bell pepper strips
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. finely shredded Cabot 75% Light Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 tsp. guacamole or fat-free sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the seasoning and garlic powder evenly over the chicken. Place the chicken on the grill rack. Reduce the heat to medium. (If it is not possible to reduce the heat, cook the chicken away from direct heat.) Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink and the juices run clear. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the pita on the grill rack. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until lightly toasted. Place the pita on a nonstick baking sheet. Spread evenly with the hummus. Top evenly in layers with the beans, the reserved chicken, onion, red pepper, tomato, cilantro, and cheese.
  4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Slice into 4 wedges. Top each wedge with a teaspoon of guacamole or sour cream, if desired.
Source: Devin Alexander from the Biggest Loser Cookbook
356 Calories, 38g Protein, 38g Carbohydrates, 6g Fat (1g saturated), 68mg Cholesterol, 8g Fiber, 489mg Sodium

Best part of The Biggest Loser: Bob.
Update me on your workout journeys, I love hearing everyone's stories and forms of inspiration!


Monday, April 9, 2012

The Power of a Great Workout

Today, I was feeling extra lazy. After a long weekend of cramming for my nursing exam, I just needed a day to myself... To do absolutely nothing. On the other hand, I have been so excited to train for Miss Massachusetts that I thought it would be the perfect day to have a great workout at the gym. Well, that only lasted 10 minutes.

So, I decided to sit on my butt for the duration of the day since I had "so much to do!" This included re-painting my toes, listening to all of my new iTunes music, wasting time on Facebook, day dreaming about chocolate, and procrastinating on the homework I have due at the end of the week. Clearly, I was "too busy" to get in a good workout.

Ummm, worst excuse EVER!

I found myself making every excuse in the book to avoid the gym, which is exactly what I am trying to inspire people NOT to do! (but, don't forget, it is always good to take a day off from the gym). With all of the awesome new music I had on my iPod and all of the thoughts running around in my head, I knew it was the perfect recipe for a great run.

So, I laced up my running shoes and had THEE best run EVER. I was truly reminded how incredible it feels to clear my mind, resolve all the stresses in my life, and get my heart pumping.... I went for 5 miles! Exercising is the most effective way to relieve stress, and it sure was the trick for me today! I only took 2 days off of running, and after my run today, I never want to stop. It amazes me how powerful a workout can be and how much better it can make you feel!

Moral of the story: if you're in a slump where you just can't get yourself to workout anymore, give it one more shot :) If you're bored, try something new, or ask a friend to go for a walk! You will be rewarded with that awesome post-workout feeling, or what some may call the "runner's high"! So what are you waiting for?

No more excuses!
Morgan :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easy & Healthy Dinner Idea!

One of my favorite parts of my day is cooking and enjoying a delicious (and healthy) meal! I love coming home after an awesome workout knowing that I'm not un-doing all of my hardwork at the gym. So, today I thought I would post an easy and delicious recipe that I had for dinner tonight!

As you know, protein and vegetables are an essential part of a well-balanced diet! I happen to love vegetables, so this meal is one of my favorites, and so incredibly easy! So many people claim that eating healthy is too time consuming, but I am here to prove you otherwise!

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
Best Post-Run Fuel :)

Whenever I buy chicken breasts (I like the "thin-sliced" breasts), I automatically trim off any excess fat and put them into individual bags and freeze them. Chicken is only good for about 4 days after you buy it (thanks, dad for pounding that into my head growing up!) so you don't want to keep it in the fridge all week. Next, I like to buy frozen assorted veggies. While I LOVE fresh veggies, I find that I never eat them quickly enough, especially since I like a wide variety of them in my stir fry! Plus, you don't have to spend time dicing and chopping up your vegetables since it's already done for you :)

In the morning (before work or class), take out a bag of chicken and let it thaw for the day. By dinner-time, your chicken breast will be ready to go! In a pan on medium heat, use a quick dash of olive oil cooking spray before putting the breast on. At the same time, put a few tablespoons of water in another pan on medium heat and toss on your favorite veggie assortment. I cover this so that my vegetables "steam" for about 5-10 minutes or until they arent frozen or cold anymore. Make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly, and dice it up. Add this to the vegetables! If you want, add a tablespoon of your favorite marinade to add some delicious flavor to your already-delicious meal!

And there you have it: a healthy and protein-packed meal! Great for after a workout! It contains around 25 grams of protein, 200 calories, and 2 grams of fat, making it an all-around nutritious meal.

So give it a try! No more excuses that cooking healthy "takes too long!"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Expand Your Horizons!!!!!

Today I tried a kickboxing class for the first time and it was SO much fun!!! Usually I feel so awkward going into a class for the first time, alone, when I have no CLUE on what to do! Of course it's intimidating, but I found that there were several first-timers (like half the class), and it is not about knowing what you're doing- it's about getting in a GREAT workout! Boy oh boy did I have fun.

First of all, it was hilarious to see myself in boxing gloves.
Second of all, it was even more hilarious to watch myself kick and punch a bag bigger than I am (and it was a blast).
Third of all, the instructor was cute. Makes you work harder!
Fourth, he told me my legs were jacked. First time I've ever heard that!!.........

But seriously, I got in such a great workout. I am SUCH a believer in workout classes because it is a great way to switch up the routine and avoid boredom. I honestly didn't even feel like I was working out tonight because my mind was so focused on learning everything! Little did I know that I was dripping sweat!

Moral of the story: switch up your same-ole gym routine and try something new! It is impossible to be a professional at everything you try, so step into that Kickboxing class or hit the pavement for your first run. I am so glad I took that hesitant step into the kickboxing class. It wasn't so bad and I found something I really enjoy!

Even if you don't have a gym membership, there are many gyms that offer classes for only $10! So check out your local gyms and have fun!!!!!!

That's all for today! Time to go rest my arms... :)