Monday, May 27, 2013

Workout Pyramid: 20-1

Ready for an awesome workout but you're unsure of what to do? Take these 3 standard moves and repeat them.... over and over again :) Thank you to Jeff Butterworth of RX Strength Training for giving me (and you!) this awesome workout to do on your own or with a workout buddy! As Miss Boston, I was lucky enough to have Miss Cambridge to push me through it- grab a friend for some motivation!

20-1 Pyramid
Jump Squats
Kettlebell Swings

Begin your circuit with 20 jump squats, 20 push ups, and 20 KB swings with the weight of your choice. I've worked my way up to 20kg; the bell should be heavy enough to get a good 'burn' going, and not light enough that it flies in the air. Taking as few breaks as you can, continue this circuit doing 19 of each, then 18 of each, then 17 of each.... until you are down to 1 rep of each exercise! All in all, you'll tackle 210 TOTAL!
Miss Boston (me!) and Miss Cambridge demonstrate :)
A few tips I'm always reminded of: when performing your jump squats, get as low as you can before using every ounce of energy to propel yourself into the air. Sit deeper each time! With push ups, aim to touch your chest to the floor- not your chin! And lastly, with the KB swings, ensure proper form with each swing. Your hips should be your main source of power that drives the KB into the air (not using your shoulders to bring it up).

And afterwards, indulge in my new favorite Whey Protein... Swole Sports Nutrition. I recently became obsessed with their Cookies n Cream Whey Protein! Let me tell you.. it has BITS of COOKIE in it. For a girl that has a raging sweet tooth, this is my cure. Already ordered another tub of it and I'm not even half way through my first one... Had to share! Even simply mixing it with water is perfectly delicious to me... and typically I blend everything! This doesn't need the extra effort.
best whey protein
So, there you have it! Tackle your 20-1 workouts and satisfy your muscle's protein craving afterwards! Have a great day and GET HEALTHY!
<3 Morgan

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Protein "Ice Cream"

As you know, I sure love my sweet tooth! While I have to admit that my chocolate and sweets cravings have drastically declined over the last several months, I can't deny that I love a little treat :)

So, as I was daydreaming about what I would eat for a snack yesterday afternoon, I came up with a creative little idea. I knew I needed protein, I was studying pediatric heart defects so I needed a 'pick-me-up', and as I glanced up to my Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Ice Cream Whey Protein... My idea sparked. Why not make my vanilla 'ice cream' flavored protein seem like REAL ice cream?
Protein Ice Cream
And my new favorite healthy treat was born. (With only 155 CALORIES and 30g PROTEIN!) All you need are 3 simple ingredients:
Protein "Ice Cream"
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 scoop whey protein
(choose your favorite flavor)
1/2 t. Truvia
Simply mix 1/2 scoop of your whey protein (mine was the Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream flavor, found at my local grocery store Shaw's!) into a plan nonfat Greek yogurt and add in truvia for taste. Freeze it for 40 minutes-1 hour and it has an ice-cream consistency texture AND flavor! I was so excited to eat mine (I considered not even freezing it, it was so good) that I only left mine in for 30 minutes. It just depends how you will enjoy it!
Now I'm curious to try this with my chocolate whey, my cookies n cream whey.. The possibilities are endless and your sweet tooth will be SO satisfied! If you find a good combo, leave me a comment below!

Calories: 155
Fat: 0.5g
Carbs: 8g
Sugar: 7.5g
Protein: 30g
honestly delicious!
Enjoy this guilt-free treat after a workout, for a good filling snack, or whenever your dessert craving hits! Lets get healthy!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Miss Boston's Dumbbell Blast" Workout Tutorial with RX Strength Training

As you may have read in my previous post, I am lucky enough to have RX Strength Training as my Miss Boston sponsor this year! They are partnered with Energy Bits, and I got to participate in an Energy Bits Workout of the Day (WOD)... This one was specially named "Miss Boston's Dumbbell Blast" and it sure to give you a great workout with hardly any supplies!
(check out RX Strength Training on Facebook!)

So lets get started! Here is a great workout that targets your core, back, arms, (and heart)! Grab two dumbbells (I used 15 lbs in each hand) and aim to complete 8 reps of each exercise. Take a one minute break, and repeat this 4-5 times. YOU CAN DO IT!
And now for the workout tutorial if you have any questions on technique or form, compliments of the incredible Jeff Butterworth who has taught me everything I know about weightlifting!
-DB Clean & Press    -DB Plank Jack Pushup    -DB Plank Row    -DB Burpee

Are you ready to accomplish your Miss Boston WOD? Pump up your music and get started....

But first, if you would like a little laugh (at least we thought it was funny), my sister Lauren and I were joking about the workout tutorial I filmed above and decided to make our own after I came home from the gym.
Introducing: The Sister Squat

That is all for today, folks! Enjoy this new workout and check out the other WODs on the EnergyBits Pintrest page! It is NEVER too late to enhance your lifestyle. Choose health NOW!

<3 Morgan

Friday, May 10, 2013

Navigating the Grocery Store!

The joys of grocery shopping. Most people find it relatively simple: walk into a superstore filled with food, stock up on everything your eyes are hungry for, and leave. Although, for any one devoted to living a healthy lifestyle, the grocery store can be a nightmare filled with comparing labels and imagining how each food you put in your cart will affect your body. Not to mention, most people associate eating healthy with being "too expensive" ... Well, I'm here to try to calm your fears :)
First of all, pat yourself on the back for even having the desire to eat well. It's not an easy task for our fast-food-filled society! Craving apples instead of kit kats takes some dedication (I promise it gets easier as time goes on and you continue your commitment!) especially when there are potential cheat meals/beverages at EVERY corner! Keep your eye on the prize. Eating well will not only make your body feel better inside & out, but it will help you combat diseases for the rest of your life. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), and high cholesterol are just a few of the morbidities you can avoid but switching those burgers, fries, chips, and soda for some nutritious and vitamin-packed fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins! YOUR BODY IS GONNA LOVE YOU.

They say a healthy diet is 70% diet and 30% exercise! You're never going to find your hidden 6-pack if you have layers of fat covering it from endless pizza and ice cream, even if you workout for 10 hours a day. And by "diet" I do not mean crash-diet/ skip meals/ starve yourself/ drink spicy lemon juice for a week. Your "diet" should be your LIFESTYLE. One healthy meal a day is not going to give you full benefits! If you're completely new to eating healthy, one meal a day is a great place to start, but overtime make changes to make that unhealthy meal happen only once a week!
So you're walking into the grocery store. Before you start shopping, realize the layout of the store: typically, everything you "should" be eating lies around the perimeter. This is where you should spend a majority of your time, picking out your favorite produce and working your way around the store to find your sources of lean proteins. And for ALL of the shelves after shelves after shelves in the middle of the store... That is ALL processed packaged foods you should try your best to avoid. Think about it: if you find it in a box, you can't find it in nature, so obviously its not ideal for your body. (Ponder this: should your food outlive you?). I do my best to stay away from the middle of the store, except to grab oatmeal, quinoa, almonds, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, whey protein, and coffee. All those granola bars, cereals, sodium-packed cans= unnecessary!
Aim for this beautiful site!!
NOT THIS! STAY AWAY (as best as you can!)
Each week I typically have the same grocery list so per request, I am sharing my list! (PS- I am always taking suggestions or requests on what you want to see on my blog! Thank you Allie for requesting this post!)

Morgan's Grocery List:

-2 different fruits to last me the week which I always alternate! Pineapple, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
-1 lb. baby carrots
-2 peppers
-large spinach bag
-3 sweet potatoes
-snap peas
-2 veggies to make with dinners each week. Cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash (and as you will see below, I use frozen vegetables just as often! Love those too!)

-frozen plain vegetables that can steam in the bag, quick and easy!
-plain nonfat Greek yogurt
-almond milk
-all natural coffee creamer
-chicken breasts
-eggs (for hard boiled egg whites)

-whey protein
-plain unsalted almonds
-Teddie unsalted natural PB
-coffee grounds
-plain oatmeal or Oat Fit
-balsamic vinegar
-olive oil & olive oil spray
-dried herbs (oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic pepper or lemon pepper)
The way I break it down into meals:
Breakfast: oatmeal, banana, coffee with 1/2 T. Low fat coffee cream and almond milk
Post-Workout: whey protein blended with plain Greek yogurt, a fruit
Lunch: salad with chicken, balsamic vinegar and vegetables on top, avocado
Snacks: almonds, snap peas, carrots and hummus, whey protein, celery and PB, hard-boiled egg whites, apple, edamame, peppers
Dinner: chicken, sweet potato or quinoa, mixed vegetables

And that is basically exactly what I eat every single day! One way to stay in track with what you need to get at the grocery store is through the iPhone app 'Shop Shop'! It allows you to make as many lists as you need, and you have the ability to cross things off as you add them into your cart! (No more frantically adding/back spacing in your 'note' app!)
ShopShop app!! Try it out!
One other thing I wanted to add. Just because something says it is "Organic" does not mean it is healthy!!! There are millions of organic foods, which simply means that none of its products were exposed to pesticides, fertilizers, or hormones. Organic products are often much more expensive (and to be honest, I do not buy organic products myself) and many of these are still found in BOXES- meaning they are processed. Just something to think about!

There you have it ladies and gentlemen! Try your best to begin/continue a healthy lifestyle. YOU CAN DO IT!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Expanding my Horizons: Strength Training

Ahhh, it feels good to be blogging again! I thought it was time to catch everyone up on what I've been up to lately as I've intensified my preparations for the Miss Massachusetts Pageant (already 56 days away!), and boy oh boy am I excited! Wait until you hear about the new workouts I've tried...
Thank you Peter Rufo Photography!
In case you aren't familiar with my blog, I am so proud to be Miss Boston 2013 in the honorable Miss America Organization and to have the opportunity to share my platform Fit for Success (hence the title of my blog). My whole life revolves around health: I am a senior nursing major currently finishing up my Pediatric course where I was lucky enough to study at Children's Hospital Boston; I can't wait to complete my nursing degree with an internship at CHB this fall! Not only is 'health' my chosen career, but it also my passion. I find I'm most happy after completing a workout, trying new exercises, or completing a food journal filled with nutritious foods each day. However, the thing that brings me the most joy is inspiring others to work towards a healthy lifestyle! That is obviously what fuels me to share this blog, and I've had many opportunities as Miss Boston to motivate my community to do this! I've talked with children about healthy food choices, presented a nutrition presentation at a health fair, and now I'm about to motivate YOU to try something new (hopefully). 
My fitness sponsor for Miss Boston!
Being Miss Boston has presented me with incredible opportunities: I am so lucky to have so many sponsors supporting me as I prepare for Miss Massachusetts! Although, I do have a favorite (not to mention I'm a little biased with my fitness obsession)... RX Strength Training! My trainer Jeff Butterworth has opened my eyes to a whole new way of training. I love it SO much I needed to share it! As you may have read, my traditional exercise routine consists of cardio every day, mostly running, then alternating strength training of arms/legs/and abs every 3 days. I aimed for low weights and high repetitions, assuming this would be the best way to "tone up". BOY OH BOY has that all changed :)
200 lb. Dead Lift... Who said pageant girls weren't tough?
Now, all of my workouts are targetted to torch my whole body. No matter the day, Jeff incorporates some sort of routine that will work my arms, core, legs... everything. I went from lifting hardly any weight, to learning how to dead lift 135lbs. on Day #1! Now, this blog is not meant to brag about all of these crazy fitness goals I've accomplished, but it is to inspire you that 
I never thought I could weight lift. The common pageant-girl thought is "weight lifting will make me look bulky." .... not true! Total-body toning occurs when you challenge your muscles: work them out, rest them, and allow them to "re-grow" as a firmer, leaner muscle. Not to mention, PROTEIN is essential in rebuilding these muscles! That is what our muscles crave, and it will NOT bulk you up! RX Strength Training is focused on proper technique, switching up heavy lifts and lower weights with every workout, incorporating creative cardio, and keeping it FUN! Don't forget, being healthy isn't just about the workouts, it also needs to include a healthy diet every day (not just one meal a day). Leading up to Miss Boston over the past 3 years, I made several changes in my lifestyle, which will only continue as I train with Jeff at RX Strength Training (and for the rest of my life- health is always a work in progress)!
2009-2013. Can't wait to see the final result at Miss Mass in June!
So, what should you try? Here is the fun part of this post :) I'm here to give you ideas. Get creative! Don't feel limited to sitting at boring machines every day at the gym. Work your body in different ways to keep it interesting.. After all, that will fuel your desire to continue your workout regimen week after week! Check out some of the new things I've tried in the last month and try some out yourself! Don't forget how important FORM is! If you don't have a trainer or teacher, research these techniques. I've done my best to briefly explain each exercise below. You don't want to hurt yourself! (Check out Kettlebell (KB) swings and Dead Lifts... these killer exercises are sure to work your whole bod!)
Barbell squats! Wide stance, Bar rests below your shoulder blades (not on your shoulders), elbows pointed back, chin up, squat as low as you can! Work those glutes/hammys/quads!
Hanging leg raises (elbows in, legs straight or bent knees), plate raises (squeeze abs!), KB goblet squats (wide squat, how low can ya go?), box jumps, KB clean & press, and TIRE FLIPS!
Slam ball! (Take anger out) 10lb. ball, slam it to the ground squeezing your core while squatting!
Bulgarian split squat (holding 2 KBs), wheel roll-out, Romanian dead lift (hammys- slight bend in knees), barbell overhead press, barbell row, slamball, KB swing!
KB Swings.. Slam your hips forward while squeezing glutes & abs, keep your chest up, it is NOT an arm movement but a HIP movement (KB should come up to shoulder-level from your hip momentum)
Can't believe I accomplished this :) 225lb. TIRE FLIP: wide squat, pick up with straight arms and lean your chest into it to flip it.
Romanian Dead Lift. Similar to a dead lift but with mostly straight legs. Using your hamstrings, glutes, and abs, stand straight with the bar. Upon bringing it back down, keep it close to your shins. Grip just outside your legs.
Have you gathered some ideas? Here are some things to think about when planning your next workout:

-Make up a circuit with 3-4 exercises that you have to repeat 3-4 times. 
-Take 90 second breaks in between!
-Justa half hour-one hour workout is PLENTY to reach your goals!
-Exert all of your energy. Don't give up!
-Find a workout buddy! Motivate each other!
-Get a great playlist!  #beastmode
-Time yourself. Or push yourself to finish an exercise before a song is over
-Incorporate one arm and one leg workout into a circuit, plus a cardio boost
-Don't be afraid to move away from the machines! Get creative!
-EAT after your workout! Load up on protein within 30 minutes after your workout and enjoy tons of healthy foods for 2 hours after!
-Eat healthy every day. Make gradual changes every week! 
-(Read up on this in my older blog posts!)
-Most of all, ENJOY! All that matter is that you are working towards a healthier lifestyle. Don't be frustrated if you can't do something. Use it as motivation to push yourself harder :)

Creative Cardio:
-burpees (try adding a dumbbell in each hand too!)      -jump squats     
-mountain climbers      -box jumps      -sprints      -ropes      -jumprope
-jumping jacks      -butt kicks      -high knees

Still stuck? Check out a workout I made up and give it a try:
I just mix-and-matched workouts to target my whole body with each circuit!
And of course, don't forget to treat yourself after your workout with a HUGE PROTEIN SHAKE (literally the highlight of every day for me).... or with some "fluff therapy" like we do at RX Strength Training!
Love from Little Foot <3
Moral of the story, try something new. Weight lifting has been a BLAST and I honestly look forward to each and every workout, because I know it will be something different! No more boring treadmill and repetitive dumbbell exercises until I'm bored. If you can dream it, you can do it. I never thought I'd be strong enough to lift. But "Strong is Sexy" as RX Strength Training says, and you can do it! I'm already seeing results and I just started with Jeff one month ago.A healthy lifestyle is possible, so lets do it together!!!
*Stay tuned for some fun ways to mix up your typical chicken breast dinner :)

<3 Morgan