Dirt Off Your Shoulders

shoulders

This workout is designed to target your shoulders, triceps, core and more by combining dynamic, heart rate elevating movements with isolated muscle building movements. I think there is nothing more prominent, and immediately noticed that strong, round shoulders that make your arms pop in anything! Having strength in your upper body will significantly improve your day to day activities, making every task easier. The shoulders are especially susceptible to injury, specifically the rotator cuff,  due to weaknesses around the socket, tissues and tendons, but this vulnerability can easily be changed with some strength training.

I hope you will enjoy this killer workout as much as I do…it is definitely one of my favorites, and I include it in my weekly training schedule.

Cheers,

Crystal

DIRT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS

Repeat 3 times:

  • Plank Shuffle – 20 reps
  • Plank Pull Burpee – 10 reps
  • Shoulder Circles – 10 reps
  • Reptile Push Up – 10 reps
  • Standing 1 Arm Tricep Pull – 10 each side
  • Dive Bomber Push Up – 10 reps
  • Standing 1 Arm Shoulder Press – 10 each side
  • Pike Jumps – 30 reps
  • Tricep Dips – 30 reps
  • Plank Kick Through – 20 reps

Bombshell Booty Workout

Today’s workout is an all around butt kicker! I have included some high intensity movements along with a few weighted sculpting movements. Training the glutes and legs burns more calories than any other muscle in the body. Strong glutes and legs provide a foundation and support for the entire body, helping to prevent injury, and giving you more power for your day to day activities. It’s always a bonus to fill out those jeans nicely, too!

This workout is meant to be done in pairs, meaning 2 exercises at a time, for 3 rounds each set. I recommend going heavy with those weights, but if you do not have access to any, you may complete this workout with just your body weight. For the weighted portions, if you are hitting the top end of your reps with ease, it is time to increase the weight. For example, if you are going for 10 reps, and you hit 10 reps with energy to spare, increase the weight by 5-10 pounds until you are hitting a range of 8-10 at maximum effort. The idea is to challenge your muscles, so don’t be afraid to get some weight in there! If you are using your body weight only, I recommend 20 reps for each exercise.

Don’t forget to warm up properly, and enjoy this workout! It is sure to have your butt and legs feeling worked. :-)

Cheers,

Crystal

BOMBSHELL BOOTY WORKOUT
Repeat each set 3 times in a row, taking a short rest in between rounds.
SET 1:
  • Box Side Skips – 50 reps
  • Curtsy Lunge – 10 each leg

SET 2:

  • Glute Bridge – 10 reps, 3 second pause at the top
  • Side Step Ups – 10 each leg

SET 3:

  • Kettlebell Swings – 20 reps
  • Split Squat – 8 each leg

SET 4:

  • Wide Stance Squat – 20 reps
  • Box Jumps – 20

Plantain Biscuits & Cashew Gravy

There is nothing more satisfying and down home to me than deliciously creamy, rich biscuits and gravy with a nice runny egg on top! Hands down one of my favorite breakfasts of all time…but sadly most of the time, a calorie rich, fattening, basically nutritionally void meal. Until now, that is. :-) I have managed to re-create this breakfast classic, with tons of flavor, nutrition, and no guilt!!!

I am so please with the way this came out that I had to share with the world. I hope you will try my take on Biscuits and Gravy, and enjoy every last bite.

Cheers!

Crystal

biscuitsCLOSEPlantain Biscuits & Gravy

For the Biscuits:

  • 2 raw plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Wabash Farms zesty cheddar seasoning

For the Gravy:

  • 4 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 6 oz lean turkey breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic corn starch
  • paprika, chili powder, and onion powder to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a food processor, combine all ingredients for the biscuits until you have a smooth thick batter. Spoon batter into a non-stick muffin pan. Recipe makes 8 muffins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until batter sets.

To make the gravy, start by browning the turkey sausage in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Next add mushrooms , sage and bell peppers, and allow the moisture to cook mostly out, until mushrooms and peppers are softened. Add cashew milk, nutritional yeast, and spices. Bring mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Using a small cup, mix corn starch and a very small amount of water to make a thickening agent. Mixture should be thick, but runny enough to pour out of bowl easily. Slowly add the corn starch to your gravy, while stirring vigorously to thicken gravy.

Spoon gravy mixture over a hot biscuit, and add a sunny side up egg to the top. Enjoy! :-)

Nutrition information: 2 biscuits

calories
262
Total Fat
12.6g
Sat. Fat
7.6g
Cholest.
211.5mg
Sodium
76.2mg
Carb.
31.5g
Fiber
4.1g
Sugars
14.3g
Protein
11.5g

Nutrition Information: 1 cup cashew gravy

calories
180
Total Fat
7.4g
Sat. Fat
1g
Cholest.
23mg
Sodium
411.2mg
Carb.
16.7g
Fiber
5.2g
Sugars
3.2g
Protein
16.1g

Blueberry Lemon Plantain Muffins

I’m always experimenting in the kitchen. The end result isn’t always the best, but occasionally I really impress myself with delectable, healthy, sweet treats that are absolutely to die for! These plantain muffins are moist, slightly sweet, and fit into my meal plan every day of the week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did…and still am!

Cheers,

Crystal

muffinCLOSE

Blueberry Lemon Plantain Muffins

  • 2 raw green plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries, and combine until you have a nice smooth batter. Add the blueberries and stir with a spoon. Pour batter into a nonstick muffin pan, or use muffin liners. (My muffin pan makes 12.) Fill the muffin cups until they are almost overflowing. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until batter is no longer runny in the center. YUM!!!

Serving size: 2 muffins

calories
351
Total Fat
10.6g
Sat. Fat
5.7g
Cholest.
193mg
Sodium
352.4mg
Carb.
45.1g
Fiber
6.6g
Sugars
24.9g
Protein
21.2g

Chicken, Turkey and Black Bean Chili

chicken turkey chiliEven though summer is still lingering around these parts, the nights are becoming cooler, and I’ve definitely been feeling a bit of fall in the air! I decided to give in to the impending cool weather, and break out my crock pot for some good old fashioned, hearty, healthy chili. This stuff is packed with protein, healthy carbs, and tons of flavor. Enjoy with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, your favorite cheese, or sliced avocado.

Enjoy!

Crystal

CHICKEN, TURKEY, & BLACK BEAN CHILI

  • 1 20 oz package lean ground chicken
  • 1 20 oz package extra lean ground turkey
  • 2 large green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large sweet red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can low sodium kidney beans, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tobasco sauce (or favorite hot sauce)
  • cumin, cayenne, onion powder, cinnamon, italian seasoning & sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs of your choice (I used oregano, cilantro, and sage)

Plug in your crockpot and set to low. Using a large non stick skillet, sautee mushrooms, onions and bell peppers over medium heat until soft and fragrant. You won’t need to add oil, since the mushrooms are high in water content. Remove mixture from heat, and add to your crockpot. Using the same skillet, add ground turkey, chicken and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is lightly browned. Add mixture to crock pot. Add rinsed beans, chopped herbs, tomatoes with the liquid from the can, and all seasoning to crockpot and mix well. Close the lid to the crockpot and leave cooking on low for 4 hours. Add more seasoning if desired and serve warm with your favorite healthy garnish! I like to add avocado and nonfat greek yogurt to mine.

Serving size 2 cups.

calories
361
Total Fat
8.7g
Sat. Fat
2.6g
Cholest.
107.1mg
Sodium
492.2mg
Carb.
31.6g
Fiber
8.6g
Sugars
11.3g
Protein
42.1g

Curry Chicken Salad

CURRYchixSALAD
This bright, light and simply scrumptious recipe was inspired by my boss, Kelly. She made some absolutely delicious and inspiring curry chicken salad and brought it to work once…I was determined to make some at home! I put a few things together from my fridge and came up with this mouth watering, super nutritious version of her chicken salad. Serve it on your favorite whole grain bread, on top of cucumber slices, or eat it right out of the bowl with a fork – whichever you choose, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

-Crystal

CURRY CHICKEN SALAD

  • 5 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw (I used organic, prepared)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted, shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp sea salt (optional)

Pierce raw chicken breasts with a fork until there are several punctures in each one. This is so the coconut milk and curry mixture will saturate and season the chicken inside and out. Place chicken into large shallow saucepan, and cover with  coconut milk and half of the curry powder and salt. Bring coconut milk to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through. It helps to flip the chicken half way through cooking.

While the chicken cooks, add broccoli slaw, yogurt, scallion, almonds, raisins, coconut and remaining curry powder/salt. combine well.

Once chicken is cooked, remove from heat and cut into small chunks, or shred with a fork and knife. Add chicken and coconut milk to the vegetable/nut/yogurt mixture and combine well. Allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour to soak up all the flavors and remaining coconut milk. Serve chilled over your favorite whole grain wrap or bread, on fresh sliced cucumber, or enjoy straight from the bowl.

Serving size 1 cup:

calories
243
Total Fat
9.3g
Sat. Fat
3.8g
Cholest.
45.7mg
Sodium
72.3mg
Carb.
17.9g
Fiber
3g
Sugars
11.8g
Protein
22.5g

Week 5 Workout Schedule

week 5 workouts

Welcome to week 5 of the Black Book Challenge! Great job everyone. Here is our schedule of workouts for this week.

  • DAY 1 – Rest Day – Today, your main focus is to eat wholesome foods, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s rest. Do something you enjoy and focus on your mental clarity.
  • DAY 2 – Five Alive – This workout is a full body challenge with major focus on the booty and core! Don’t be afraid to go heavy with your weights, and push yourself to complete 3-5 full rounds.
  • DAY 3 – Core Crazy – This workout is a pretty old one from when I first started fitness blogging. You do not need any equipment for this interval challenge, but remember to push at your MAX effort for each interval to get the most out of it. Work those abs baby!
  • DAY 4 – Cardio – Today, your main focus is to get some quality cardio. I want to see 30 minutes of intense, heart rate elevating cardio of your choice.
  • DAY 5 – Rest Day – Today, your main focus is to eat wholesome foods, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s rest. Do something you enjoy and focus on your mental clarity.
  • DAY 6 – 100 Rep Quickie – This workout is 100 reps of full body shaping goodness. You will not need any equipment, but move quick, because as soon as you complete 100 reps, you’re done!
  • DAY 7 – Cardio – Today, your main focus is to get some quality cardio. I want to see 30 minutes of intense, heart rate elevating cardio of your choice.
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