Week 4 Workout Schedule

week 4 schedule

Black Book Challenge: Week 4 Workouts

  • DAY 1 – Legs For Days – Get some weight in there for this one, and really challenge your glutes, legs and core. Make sure to keep knees behind toes, and squeeze those glutes with each rep. If you don’t have a sandbag or kettlebell, you may use a dumbell. You may always substitute burpees for KB swings.
  • DAY 2 – 10 Minute Target: Abs – Today’s focus is all about abs. Use the pre-set interval timer, and push at your maximum effort for each interval. Keep your core engaged and focus on contracting the ab muscles with each rep. Go for 3 rounds if you can!
  • DAY 3 – Rest Day – Rest up, relax, recover, hydrate, nourish, stretch, etc.. Enjoy yourself!
  • DAY 4 – Cardio – Today’s focus is to get your heart rate up and keep it up for 30-45 minutes straight. Push yourself!
  • DAY 5 – Adore Your Core – Today’s workout is a 32 minute HIIT workout designed to burn fat and shape a lean strong core. Get ready to sweat! Push at your max rep for each interval, and don’t forget to breathe.
  • DAY 6 – Rest Day – Rest up, relax, recover, hydrate, nourish, stretch, etc.. Enjoy yourself!
  • DAY 7 – 10 Minute Plyo Fat Burn – Today’s workout is a short, intense cardio blast. This workout takes only 10 minutes and requires zero equipment. Try not to stop moving the whole time!

Week 2 Workout Schedule

week2workouts

Welcome to Week 2 of our Black Book #2 Challenge! This week, we have 2 rest days, 2 focus/sculpting workouts, and 2 short Interval workouts – plus 1 day of cardio. Are you ready?!

Let’s get to it. :-)

  • DAY 1: Thighs To The Sky – This workout is designed to sculpt lean strong legs and glutes, with a sprinkling of core and shoulder training. You will need some dumbells, a sandbag or a kettlebell. If you do not have access to weights, use something heavy from around your house or yard! Squeeze through the glutes, press through the heels, keep your back straight, and engage your core!
  • DAY 2: 10 Minute Target: Shoulders – This workout is a short approach to training your shoulders, back and core, while getting your heart rate up as well. Today we are doing TWO rounds of this circuit – for a 20 minute session in total. Use weights that are moderately challenging for you, as we are going for a high level of reps within each interval.
  • DAY 3: REST DAY – Use this day to nourish yourself with healthy foods, lots of water, and get enough sleep so you are well rested for tomorrow!
  • DAY 4: CARDIO – Today’s task is to complete 30 minutes of high intensity cardio. The object here is to get your heart rate up and keep it up for 30 minutes. Get it! Try setting an interval timer to take walking, and every minute, sprint for 15 seconds. Mix it up.
  • DAY 5: 20 Minute All Over Fat Blast – Today’s workout is an interval style, full body sculpting workout that is designed to burn fat at an accelerated rate. Get some weight in there and really challenge yourself to push at your MAX effort for each interval. If you do not have access to a kettlebell, you may substitute a dumbell. You may also substitute burpees for the kettlebell swings.
  • DAY 6: REST DAY – Today is your day to relax, stretch, hydrate and nourish yourself!
  • DAY 7: 10 Minute Full Body HIIT – Today’s workout takes only TEN minutes, but is definitely not for weenies… It will make you sweat!! Push hard for each interval, and go for maximum reps. If you are struggling with the elevated reptiles, leave out the push up and just bring your knees to your elbows, alternating right to left. Smile, you’re having fun! :-) :-) :-)

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

chicken salad 1

When I am traveling, camping, working, or simply just have a busy week, I always turn to this Go-To Chicken Salad recipe. It is so quick to prepare, and I love having a big batch to enjoy for a few days. I usually prepare a few pre-cooked chicken breasts every week by baking them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. You may also use canned chicken meat, but it is always a healthier option to prepare your own so they are free from added sugars, oils and preservatives.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe.

-Crystal

CHICKEN SALAD LETTUCE WRAPS

You will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 cup red grapes, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped or sliced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 head butter or Boston lettuce, cleaned

chicken salad 2

Begin by combining celery, grapes, and chopped almonds in a large mixing bowl.

chicken salad 3

Next, slice, shred or chop chicken breasts into small pieces and combine into your mixing bowl.

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Combine mixture with Greek yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper and mix well.

chicken salad 5

Serve chicken salad over your cleaned butter lettuce leaves, and enjoy!

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:-)

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Week 1 Food Prep – Part 2

week 2 final

FOOD PREP PART 2:

Today, we will be preparing everything we need for the next 5 days. Prep time approximately 1.5 hours.

On the menu for the next 5 days: Broccoli soup, Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Pesto Quinoa, Fruit Salad, Oats & Berries, Green Salad w/Black Beans & Chicken, Cilantro Avocado Dressing, Sweet Potato, Grilled Artichokes, Pesto Turkey w/Kale, Chocolate Bananas & Scrambled Egg Wraps.

You will need:

  • Chicken breasts (3)
  • 1 Cup Quinoa (rinsed)
  • Broccoli (3 lg. bunches)
  • Celery (3 cups, chopped)
  • Baby Carrots
  • Onion & Bell Pepper Mixture (2 cups, chopped)
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • Basil & Cilantro (1 bunch ea.)
  • Berries & Other Fruits
  • Grapes or Apples (1 cup sliced or chopped)
  • Butter Lettuce (1 head)
  • Spring Mix (half container)
  • 1 Can Low Sodium Black Beans (rinsed)
  • Pine Nuts (sm. bag)
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemons (2)
  • Sweet Potato (1)
  • Extra Lean Ground Turkey (1 lb)
  • Kale (1 lg. bunch)
  • Artichokes (2)
  • Bananas (3)
  • Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Almond or Peanut Butter
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Raw Almonds (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Seasonings

***Store turkey meat in refrigerator to thaw out, and place kale in fridge until later this week.

To begin, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a pyrex dish with 1/2 inch water, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place dish in oven along with your sweet potato, and set the timer for 35 minutes.

FOOD PREP 005Next, fill a large pot with both artichokes, and fill 3/4 with water. Cover and let boil until artichokes become soft at the base – appx. 45 minutes depending on the size.

black book and hiking 190Next, get another large pot to make broccoli soup in. Add 2 cups chopped celery, 1 cup chopped carrots, and 1 cup chopped onion, along with 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, & 5 cloves garlic (peeled.) I used the leftover mixture of bell peppers and onions from earlier in the week when we made fajitas!

044Sautee all ingredients until they become soft and fragrant. Next add chopped florets of broccoli, 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, and 1/4 bunch fresh basil (stems and all.) Add about 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until broccoli becomes fragrant and slightly soft. Set aside.

058I like to use this bullion as seasoning, but you may use whatever spices you like, or whatever you have in your cabinet! I used 3 tablespoons “Better than Bullion,” and salt and pepper to season my soup.

054While your soup simmers, and while the chicken, potato and artichokes cook, it’s time to prepare the pesto sauce, fruit salad, chicken salad fixins, and snacks.

Slice all of your fruit and mix together until you have approximately 4 cups of fruit salad. I used blueberries and strawberries. :-)

052

Next up, grab a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup sliced red grapes or apples, 1 cup chopped celery, and 1/2 cup chopped or sliced raw almonds.

049068Set mixture aside for later. Next up, gather 3 medium sized containers to pre-make salads in. Add spring mix, carrots, cabbage and cucumber. While you have the carrots handy, portion out 3 small bags for snacks.

056Add leaves from 1/2 bunch of remaining cilantro, and rinsed black beans. I chose to leave a small amount of beans off my salad to enjoy with my eggs later on in the week!

060Next up, you will need a food processor or blender. We are going to whip up that pesto before the chicken is done!

In the food processor, add remaining fresh basil, including the stems. Add small bag of pine nuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from 2 lemons, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste, approx 3 mins. Transfer mixture into a new bowl, and rinse food processor.

046Now it’s time to pull the chicken out of the oven. Leave the potato in there, and turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Set your timer for 35 more minutes.

While the potato and artichokes continue cooking, let’s move on. In a medium sauce pot, add 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 1 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to a simmer and let sit for 25-30 minutes, or until all the moisture is evaporated. This should time well with the remaining cooking time of your potato.

047

Now it’s time to whip up our soup. Using a blender and a large bowl to store, add soup mixture in batches until it is pureed nicely. I like to add a little nutritional yeast, and any last minute seasonings during this part. We will be eating this yummy soup for the next few days!

broccolisoup.jpg We are almost done! It’s time to whip up some dressing for our yummy salads.

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Using your food processor, add 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon Ms. Dash fiesta lime, 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil,) all remaining cilantro – leaves and stems, and blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.

065Transfer to an airtight container. This stuff makes a great dipping sauce for those carrots, a tasty dressing for salads, or a spread for eggs!

063It should be time to take your potato out of the oven. Turn the oven onto broil HI. Take your artichokes off heat, and drain all the water. Pour cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl.

053Add 3/4 of the pesto to your quinoa, and store the remaining pesto in a small container.

061Stir quinoa thoroughly and portion into 3 containers.

062Now slice your sweet potato into rounds, sprinkle with cinnamon (optional) and store in 2 baggies or tupperwares.

FOOD PREP 022

Now slice each artichoke into halves, and using a spoon, remove the inner prickly leaves. Lay halves onto a cookie sheet, and spread a thin layer of your extra pesto sauce onto each one. Store the remaining pesto for dinner later this week. Place artichokes under the broiler for 10 minutes, or until top sides begin to brown. Remove, turn off oven, and store artichokes in a tupperware. I used little tiny baby artichokes, hence the full cookie sheet. You should be left with 4 halves of regular size chokes.

black book and hiking 193We have 2 more tasks! Great job keeping up. :-) Next up, let’s deal with that cooked chicken. Take 1 breast and store in a plastic bag for dinner in a few days. Use your remaining 2 breasts to finish the chicken salad.

067Chop chicken into small shred like pieces and add to bowl of grapes, celery and almonds. Add appx. 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. (If you have it.)

069Combine all ingredients with a spoon or fork. Transfer to an airtight container to store.

070Clean all butter lettuce leaves, dry on a paper towel, and store in a baggie for quick access.

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Our last task for today is dessert! Well done! You will need to cover a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper, and lightly spray or coat with coconut or avocado oil.

075Slice bananas and lay out on the cookie sheet. Coat each banana with a small amount of almond butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you so desire. I did. :-) Top each banana with a small piece of your dark chocolate bar. Place tray into freezer for 30 minutes, remove, and transfer bananas to a ziplock back. Store in the freezer until you are ready to eat! YUM.

077Alright, guys. I know that was a lot of work, but you have just prepared EVERYTHING you need to eat for the next 5 days straight. Think about how much more productive you can be, and more focused on your workouts too! Now everything is laid out for you, and ready to go at the exact moment you are. :-)

Don’t forget to refer to Part 1 of the food prep to see a daily meal schedule for all this delicious food you’ve prepared.

Cheers, and bon apetit!

Crystal

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Easy Chicken Fajitas

fajitas

These yummy fajitas are so easy to make, and so delicious – you will be amazed! This recipe utilizes pre-cooked chicken breasts for an incredibly fast preparation.

Serve them over a warm whole wheat or QUINOA tortilla, with a dollop of Greek yogurt, avocado, hot sauce or cabbage, and enjoy!

Crystal

You will need:

  • 1 Large chicken breast, cooked, sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 3 cups sliced white onion and bell pepper mixture
  • 2 tablespoons Ms. Dash fiesta lime spice
  • Greek yogurt (for topping)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Whole wheat or QUINOA wraps

cinco 003cinco 005Add sliced cooked chicken, bell peppers, onion, Ms. Dash, and 1/2 inch water to a large skillet. Cook all ingredients on medium/high heat until nearly all the moisture has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve mixture over a warm wrap with a dollop of Greek yogurt and your favorite hot sauce. I like fresh jalapeno and cabbage on mine as well! Enjoy. Makes enough to enjoy for 2 sittings.

If I don’t have time to prepare my own quinoa tortillas, I like to buy these low carb, high fiber whole wheat wraps:

cinco 009

Per serving:

calories
278
Total Fat
4.3g
Sat. Fat
1.2g
Cholest.
54.8mg
Sodium
212.9mg
Carb.
30.6g
Fiber
5.8g
Sugars
12.3g
Protein
28.7g

Week 1 Food Prep Instructions

week1FOODprep

I decided to share my menu for each week to inspire some of you who are looking to try some new meals, and also to help those less-kitchen-savy folks to learn how to prepare simple, healthy meals for you and your family at home. Feel free to substitute any ingredients you want if you don’t like something, or are a vegetarian, gluten or dairy free etc.. I know everybody is different and will like different things, so have fun and get creative!

This weeks food prep will happen in 2 stages:

FOOD PREP PART 1:

Today, we will be preparing everything we need for the next 2-3 days in less than one hour! Yes, it can be done.

On the menu for the next 2 days: Fajitas, egg and mushroom scramble with avocado, chicken salad lettuce wraps, cottage cheese and fruit, kind bars (or raw nuts) salad with chicken breasts, Fish & sweet potatoes.

You will need:

  • Chicken breasts (3) – Place the others in the freezer, we will get them out in a couple days.
  • Spring mix
  • Bell Peppers
  • Onion (1)
  • Cucumber (1/2)
  • Cabbage (If you bought any)
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries and fruit
  • Sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Kind bars or almonds
  • Sweet potato (1)
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt, or other protein source of your choice
  • Lemons (2)
  • Tupperware/Ziplock bags

FOOD PREP 002To begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and place chicken breasts in a pyrex dish along with 1/2 inch of water, and 1 tablespoon coconut, olive or avocado oil. Once oven is pre-heated, place chicken on top rack, along with your sweet potato. Make sure to place foil or a cookie sheet underneath the potato to stop the syrups from seeping onto the bottom of your oven. Bake both for 30-35 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts.

FOOD PREP 005While the chicken is cooking, cut your lemons into large wedges, so you can have fresh and easy lemon water in the morning for the next few days. Store in small container.

                                                                                                 FOOD PREP 008

Now grab your onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Slice mushrooms and store in a small container (or you can buy the pre-sliced ones!) You’ll be using these to add to your egg scramble in the morning. Slice bell peppers and onion, and store together in a large container to use for fajitas later on.

FOOD PREP 019Next up, we have salads to prepare. Grab 2 medium tupperwares, and fill each one with a generous helping of spring mix. Grab carrots, cabbage, avocado and cucumber. Slice each topping evenly over both salads, and top with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

FOOD PREP 011While you still have the carrots out, portion out a few small baggies to have for snacks!

FOOD PREP 013By now, it should be getting close to time to pull out your chicken! Pull the chicken out of the oven, and allow to sit in its juices for 15 minutes. Leave the sweet potato in the oven, and turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Close the door and set your timer for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your potato.

FOOD PREP 016

FOOD PREP 017

While your potato is finishing cooking, it’s time to prepare a couple containers with some cottage cheese and fruit. Portion out 2-3 small containers.

FOOD PREP 020You should have some minutes left on the timer, so this next step is totally optional! I really love the Bolthouse farms yogurt dressing, but it is always nice to make a quick clean and simple dressing for your newly made salads. I made a dijon vinaigrette in just a couple minutes. You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • Salt and pepper

FOOD PREP 024Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Partition out 2 servings in small containers to accompany your salads.

FOOD PREP 025While you still have a few minutes left for your potatoes, let’s take care of that chicken. Cut one large chicken breast in half, or use 2 small ones for the salad toppings. Chop into small pieces and place into plastic bags. Store the remaining whole chicken breasts in in plastic baggies with a little of the juice from the pyrex. You’ll be using these for fajitas!

Now it’s time to take your potato out of the oven. It should be slightly soft to touch so you know it’s cooked all the way through. Slice potato into approximately 6 pieces, and sprinkle the slices with ground cinnamon. Store in 2 airtight containers.

FOOD PREP 022Congratulations! You have just successfully prepared yourself meals and snacks for the next few days! Feel free to mix and match as needed.

Low (er) Calorie Margarita!

margie1

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Since I am only human, and I like to enjoy a drink now and then, I want to share a lower calorie version of this classic cocktail!

Instead of using high calorie sugary mixes, I’ve opted for a “Crystal Light” type sugar free drink mix, in “Lemon Lime Margarita” Flavor! I left out the orange liquer, and substituted fresh citrus for an extremely simple, yet bright and falvorful cocktail without the guilt.

I think having a cocktail once in a while is completely fine, so long as it doesn’t become something you do in excess. While alcohol is high in sugar and calories inherently, it’s easy to minimize the damage, and help keep your diet on track.

Enjoy,

Crystal

margie2

Margarita, Fit Junkee Style

  • 2 oz tequila reposado (my favorite is Cazadores)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar free lemon lime drink mix
  • Juice from 1 lime and 1/2 lemon
  • 10 oz cold water
  • Ice

Using a cocktail shaker or blender combine all ingredients and shake or blend vigorously until drink mix is completely dissolved. Serve over ice with a lime wedge garnish. Enjoy! **If you are using a blender, you may blend with the ice for a frozen cocktail, or leave ice out while blending, and pour mixture over ice into a glass once blended.

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