I <3 my foam roller!

Seriously tho…does any else foam roll? A foam roller is an amazing little tool that I have just started using over the past year.

foamroll

Some of you may be thinking…what is foam rolling?

It’s a form of stretching used by athletes or anyone needing relief from tight muscles. It’s technically referred to as self myofascial release, and it’s a little bit like giving yourself a deep tissue massage to release knots and ease tight areas.

Releasing tight muscles is essential, not only because you’ll feel awesome afterwards, but also because it helps prevent injuries, improves posture and increases range of motion.

How do you roll?

It’s best to foam roll after a workout when your muscles are warmed up. Place the roller behind soft tissue like your calves or thighs, avoiding joints, and slowly start rolling. When you find a tight spot, hold it for 30 – 60 seconds until it releases. It might feel a little uncomfortable or tender, but go at your own pace and follow your comfort level.

Some Tips from Tone it up:

  • Foam rolling is great for anyone, but it’s especially important if you’re active to help with muscle recovery, circulation and even performance. Tightness can occur from regular workouts – or even from sitting at the computer for long periods of time.
  • Always listen to your body! Foam rolling may hurt, but it should also feel good, like a deep tissue massage. Never force or continue to foam roll in an area where there’s sharp pain.
  • We love to foam roll a few times a week! Start with shorter sessions and work your way up to longer ones.
  • Remember to always stretch after foam rolling and just like with a massage, to drink PLENTY of water afterwards!

I used to run half marathons and a lot of 10k’s and 5k’s and always had really tight hip flexors and hips as well as my IT band. If you are unsure where you IT band is here is quick breakdown:

Your IT bands mediacal name is: The Iliotibial Band (ITB). It is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of your leg from your pelvis to your knee. Some of the buttock and hip muscles attach to it, and the ITB co-ordinates how these muscles work and stabilises the leg.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the leading causes of pain on the outer (lateral) side of the knee, which can radiate up the thigh.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is when the ITB gets irritated and inflamed due to friction. This most commonly happens on the outer side of the knee. As the leg bends and straightens, the Iliotibial Band glides over a bony lump on the side of the knee that sticks out slightly, the lateral epicondyle.

Ok….so enough about the IT Band…this post is really about Foam Rolling!! So, here are some of the benefits, streches and types of foam rollers in a nifty little diagram I found:

foamroll2So, if you don’t have a foam roller I suggest you invest if you are a runner or active at all…it can dramatically increase your performance, decrease injury, and relieve tension!

If you are looking for a great foam rolling video I suggest this one by my favourite tone it up girls: http://toneitup.com/2014/09/frisky-fall-foam-roller/

Skinny Turkey Chili Recipe

Summer seems to be on hiatus here in Ontario unfortunately! It has been freezing over the past week, so I have been craving soup and chili – one of my favourite fall/winter meals!

This turkey chili is delicious and really easy and quick to make – plus its full of nutrition!! It contains beans which are full of protein, antioxidents and fiber as well as low in fat. Black beans are specifically rich is cancer fighting antioxidants called anthocyanins (found in cranberries in grapes as well). Kidney beans have vitamin B12 which helps memory and brain function and Pinto beans which are full of fiber that helps to stabilize blood sugar.

Skinny Turkey Chili

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Ingredients: IMG_3442

1.5 lbs lean ground turkey
2 Medium chopped red onions
1 medium chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder (add extra if you like lots of spice!)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 can whole tomatoes
4 cups of water
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans (you can use chickpeas if you prefer)

Directions:

Cook the onions in the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Add peppers, cook 2-3 minutes.  Add turkey and cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Add seasonings, beans and water (I added a little bit less than 4 cups as I found there was enough water already).  Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour. I like to let mine simmer for a couple of hours to really soak up the flavour! I like to serve mine with sliced avocado on top as pictured! YUM!

*Makes 8-10 servings (I like to wait for the chili to cool and then split it into small ziplock bags and put it into 1 large ziplock bag to ensure freshness)

HIIT – Try it today – YOU won’t regret it!

It’s a gloomy day today here in Barrie, so after walking the dog and eating breakfast I was thinking that I really need to step up my fitness game. Recently, I have been doing all the motions of my workout, but not really pushing myself as hard as I was pre-vacation. Does this happen to anyone else? It’s much easier for me to push myself when I have a goal or event to attend that I am working towards.

HIIT workouts are a form of cardiovascular exercise that are an enhanced form of interval training. Generally this consists of alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. Some HIIT workouts are as short as 4 minutes and usually stay shorter than 30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improves athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism and improved fat burning.

Benefits of HIIT:

  1. Burns more calories and continues to burn calories  (hormones released during HIIT help your body burn more calories even when you’re not working out)
  2. Burn more FAT – Not only do you burn more calories, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after, say, a steady-pace run
  3. Increase metabolism
  4. Healthier Heart – Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (that lovely place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). This helps your heart by building endurance – those who practiced HIIT for multiple weeks were able to cycle twice as long at the same speed.
  5. Efficient workouts – minimal time required
  6. No equipment required – do these workouts anywhere with only your own body weight!
  7. Lose weight, not muscle

Here are a few on my favourite HIIT Workouts:

****Remember to take short rest periods (I usually wait 10 seconds) in between sets and a 1 minute recovery period before repeating the whole series again***

THE TONE IT UP GIRLS: HIIT WORKOUT FOLLOW ALONG VIDEO

 hiit2   hiit5

 

hiit4

Healthy & Fresh Lemon Zest Blueberry Muffins

blueberriesFresh Ontario Blueberries are one of my favorite things about summertime 🙂 They just make me so happy! I find that they satisfy my sweet tooth and I don’t feel guilty since they are filled with anti-oxidants and other benefits I mentioned here.

Tonight I was doing some meal prep for the week and noticed I had wayyy too many blueberries, so I thought I would make some healthy muffins for breaky or to grab as an on the go snack.

Here they are:

IMG_3312Lemon Zest Blueberry Muffins:

1/4 cup coconut flour
1 Scoop of protein powder (I use Perfect Fit Protein
)
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 eggs (room temperature is best)
2 tbs coconut oil (make sure you melt this beforehand otherwise it will not mix properly)
3 Tbs lemon zest
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° degrees. Mix wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, lemon juice & zest) in a small bowl (I used the magic bullet to really make sure everything was mixed). In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients (protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder and salt) and mix thoroughly.

Next, combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until there are no clumps. 

Fold blueberries into batter right before pouring into sprayed muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is cooked.

Makes 6 muffins! I doubled the recipe and plan to freeze the muffins for next weekend at the cottage!

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If you make the muffins leave me a note and let me know how they were 🙂 I’d love to hear from you!

Abs on fire!

Morning!IMG_2417

Each morning I start my day by walking my fur-baby Monty….here he is:
I normally know its time to get up when he jumps up on my bed and starts pawing me in the face – no joke. So, this morning I was thinking I should get some cardio in before I work my abs.

We live 1 street away from the waterfront in Barrie so its always really nice to run along the water in the morning – most of the time it isn’t overly busy and I can let Monty run wild off leash as well which is amazing! I ran 4 km this morning, but I was feeling very sluggish – my legs were heavy like sand bags, but I kept pushing through anyways.

When I got home I was thinking of doing Day 6 of my 30 day challenge I mentioned here, but I figured I would save that for my pm work-out after I walk. Does anyone else do an am and pm workout? I feel like its good to break it up and work-out throughout the day. Normally I will walk or run the dog in the morning and do some toning and then at night I like to do a walk, hiit (high intensity interval training – I will post about this soon), or barre before doing some stretching or yoga. 

This morning I did one of the Tone it Up workouts of bikini abs, and let me tell you – this is a burner! It feels like 20 minutes even though its really only about 12! It gives you a serious burn all over your mid-section….I challenge you to do it today!! You can do the follow along video here. OR you can print out the workout below:

 

bikini abs