Valentine’s Day HIIT Workout

With all the snow out there lately, I’ve been less inclined to get outside to run or drive to the gym, and more apt to workout at home.  Especially now that we have space in our new digs to workout at home, I find that it’s easy to get a good workout in first thing in the morning before work.

I’ve always been a big fan of exercise DVD’s, T25, PiYo, Turbo Fire being a handful of my go-to’s. Sometimes I hit up You Tube for some workout inspiration as well; there’s so many great ideas on there!

I’m also a huge fan of HIIT workouts.

If you aren’t familiar with HIIT, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s a great way to burn fat, in a short amount of time.  Different than steady cardio like running for thirty minutes straight or hopping on a machine at the gym that works your aerobic endurance, HIIT works both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

Both cardio and HIIT have their different benefits.  Cardio has it’s time and place- it’s easy to do, sometimes a little mindless (can be good or bad?!), can be low impact, and it’s something that can performed on a daily basis (though I wouldn’t recommend it).  Usually cardio is done at a moderate intensity, and is done for at least twenty minutes.

HIIT on the other hand, like it’s name, is an intense, shorter workout, typically no longer than twenty minutes, of all out intensity.  HIIT alternates short bursts of hard core exercise with periods of rest. Another sweet benefit of HIIT workouts is the that your body continues burning calories after your workout!  Sitting on the couch watching the Bachelor and still burning calories and fat?  How can you go wrong?  Your metabolism stays revved up for several hours post workout, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.  HIIT workouts shouldn’t be done on back to back days; I usually do about three or four a week, combined with weight training and running (steady state cardio).

HIIT is not for the faint of heart.  These workouts are supposed to be pretty grueling, and the expectation is that you go all out, giving it 110% of effort and then recover in between exercises.

Here’s a recent HIIT workout I’ve been doing, just in time for Valentine’s Day!  I don’t know about you guys, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to totally avoid the chocolate and other treats hanging around lately, and frankly I don’t really want to!

Let me know if you try this one out and tell me what you think!  If you don’t have a jump rope, just wing it and fake it.  No stairs?  No toe taps on a box or something.  Just get moving and make it intense!

ValentinesHIIT

Because, oatmeal.

It’s no secret here how much I dig oatmeal.  Oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal in my smoothies, oatmeal on the go muffins, oatmeal and wine…

(It could work, no?)

This recipe is a bit of a game changer.  Mostly because it’s so simple to make, only really two ingredients, and it feels like a treat, but it’s healthy!

And oatmeal!  More oatmeal.

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Two Ingredient “Cookies”

Ingredients:

  • Two ripe bananas (the browner the better!)
  • 1 cup of oatmeal

Additions:

Just making these cookies with two ingredients is perfect, but you can (and as seen above, I DID) add in a couple other fun things!

Some ideas:

  • Cinnamon!  I love cinnamon, and always add it into my oatmeal, so this one is good here
  • A dash of vanilla
  • Um, chocolate chips (as seen above).  Because chocolate chips and oatmeal, how can you go wrong?
  • Peanut butter, or PB2
  • Hazelnut butter
  • Raisons
  • Nuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seeds

Super Easy Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mash up the bananas really good.  Add in vanilla here if you are going to be crazy and go for that addition.  I suggest it!

3. Add in the oats!  Mmmm oats!

4. Throw in any other additions you feel like here.

5. Put these babies on a baking sheet, however big or small you’d like to make them, and bake for about 10-12 minutes until a little springy to the touch.

And enjoy!  These “cookies,” with the two ingredients are probably about 400 calories for a whole batch. One afternoon, my husband and I split a whole batch, which is a healthy afternoon snack, or could be a really easy grab and go breakfast, or just a little something to nibble on before a work out for some energy.  Adding in the chocolate chips feels decadent and it’s still something you can do and feel pretty damn good about because the base of the “cookie” is healthy and clean, with no added sugar or fat.

Try these babies out and let me know what you think!  Super easy and so yummy.  You’re going to find yourself willing your green bananas to go brown fast!, just so you can whip a batch of these up!

Do you have a recipe for a healthy sweet something, that sounds like it would be not so great for you, but actually is?

 

The Anatomy of a Funk

I think January on the whole wasn’t my favorite.  Snow on top of more snow, not very much sunlight at all, gloomy days, bitter temperatures, the whole month just wasn’t really my jam. Feeling in a bit of a funk during the best conditions (for me that might look like a crisp fall day, a sunny, patio sitting kind of afternoon, or a breezy spring day), well feeling in a bit of a funk under those conditions is bad enough, but when you’re not feeling your usual sense of calm, kind of feeling off for no real pin-pointable reason, feeling that way in the dead of winter?  Well that just feels like a double whammy, you know what I’m saying?

Something has felt a little bit off.  I don’t have a big story or reason why I’m feeling funk-ish; I don’t have a reason to pin it all down to, it just feels like a general sense of… “blah,” that was hanging around last month.

Anyone else?

I also realize that some people have some serious things going on, serious reasons for a funk, or a case of the sads, or really do have a diagnosed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Sometimes I think of this and I know my funk pales in comparison, but I guess we all are dealing with… something, right?  Big or small, we all have something on our plates, and we’re all just trying to do our best.

I think it’s important during these kind of funky times to be in the moment, remind ourselves that it’s okay to feel not awesome and not totally on point and on our game all of the time, because those are some high expectations to have and to put on ourselves!  I also try not to totally wallow in the throws of a funk for too long.  I tried to kind of wrap my mind around what I was feeling, and when I couldn’t really attribute my blank mood to anything in particular, I thought of what I could do to kind of get myself out of the funk.

  • Exercise- This one usually always helps me to feel in a good mood, gives me more energy, good endorphins and all that goodness.  Some days I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went a little easier with myself and did yoga instead of something more intense, or considered the shoveling as my workout. Holy hell, all the shoveling.
  • Reading- Getting drawn into a good book is something that helps to distract the mind, and I enjoy getting sucked into a good story.  Using our imaginations can help to get us out of our own heads for a while, and I like how reading a novel can take us to a whole new place.
  • TV- Probably not the best choice of distractions, but if I’m being real and honest I will tell you that I enjoy shutting my mind off and watching TV for a while.  My newest favorite- Love, Lust, or Run- Stacy London’s new show on TLC.  Kind of What Not to Wear-ish, but shorter and without Clinton which is a bummer for me.  I love Clinton!
  • Writing letters- Like real, handwritten notes and cards.  I’m getting back into corresponding with an old friend, snail mail style, and I just love writing and receiving notes in the mail.
  • Cleaning & organizing- For some, doing this one might not be what you’d go to when in a funk, but lately I’ve been really excited about keeping our new home clean and organized, decorating and thinking of new ways to make our home feel even more like “us.”
  • Pinterest- It helps with the decorating ideas!  And recipe planning.  And fashion inspiration.  And hair!  I could look at hairstyles for hours on end.
  • Getting a new hairdo- I’m making an appointment for next week for a little spruce up of my do’.  That always makes me feel in a good mood!
  • Helping others- This one is in the works.  I’m looking for some opportunities to do some more volunteering.  I’m part of a volunteering organization in Boston, but haven’t really delved into it all too much.  I’ve been wanting to find a local soup kitchen or food pantry to volunteer some time at, so I’m looking into that.  Back a few years ago, I used to visit with an elderly woman in my town, something setup through the Council on Aging I think, and it was something I enjoyed a lot.  I’d like to see if something similar exists in our new community, or even a local nursing home where I could go and visit with the residents there.  I have always enjoyed spending time with the elderly.

So, those are some of my get-out-the-funk go-to’s I’ve been working on lately.  I’m feeling a bit better, it being February and a shorter month, closer to some warmer weather, already seeing some more daylight. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead as I have some plans with friends that I’m looking forward to, a long weekend getaway to see some friends and my God children, and a few other exciting things in the works.

How about you?  Have you had a case of the Januaries?  What do you do to get out of a funk?

Here’s a couple good articles I found that touch on the subject..

How to correct your mind to get out of a funk

10 tips to beat the blues in winter