I think I felt love last night. Not the kind that you have someone or someone has for you. Just the emotion, the feeling — love.
Why is it so hard to drink more water?! It is such an effort – going to the cupboard. getting a glass. filling it with water. moving it to your mouth. drinking. gulping. It is almost as annoying at brushing teeth before bed, or going to the bank to deposit money.
I gotta say, last year I was a living-walking drainage system….hmm…not a good analogy…but you get it. I drank sooo much damn water – I had to refill my water bottle at least 5 or 6 times a day. I now refill my bottle once, mayyyyybeeee twice a day. I don’t know what happened – I just fell off the wagon with water drinking.
Any way, water is honestly the most vital substance for us humans. I mean, we are basically water containers – our body weight is 40-75% H2O…woah! WOAH! Is that not shocking to you??? It is everything in and surrounding our cells, and it is 90% of our blood.
And 70% of planet earth is water.
Honestly, water is the most fascinating thing in the world – it is so mystical. It has no flavour, it hydrates us, removes toxins from our body, maintains body temperature, transports nutrients, lubricates joints and cushions organs, helps digest food, metabolizes fat, and I don’t know if you have ever noticed how it gets all bubbly and foamy when boating, AND you can see your reflection in it! I love water. It’s the coolest sh*t in the world! Along with clouds and trees (duh).
SO, like I was saying, water makes up 90% of blood, and blood’s main jobs is to transport stuff around the body – so we need water in our blood, or else it will get all thick and goopy, and won’t be able to be pumped out of the heart properly, which will eventually cause problems like heart disease, blood clotting, hypertension, and high cholesterol – YIKES! no good.
I am sooooo thirsty right now btw, but I am waaay too lazy to get up and get myself a glass of water – that is the height of my laziness. It is no secret…I woke up at 3:30pm today. Not joking. And not proud either. BUT at least my thirst inspired me to post about water.
Moral of the story: LET’S DRINK MORE WATER SO WE AREN’T DEHYDRATED WITH THICK GOOPY HEART DISEASE CAUSING BLOOD.
Oh, and you know that if you are dehydrated then you can actually gain weight. Basically, when you don’t have enough water in your blood, a higher amount of glucose remains in the blood before reaching the liver; then, the glucose, instead of being used for energy is stored away as fat because the liver is bombarded with more glucose than it can use for energy. Make sense? ishhh…
Also, the liver’s job is to metabolize triglycerides (stored fat) into usable energy, and the kidney’s job is to get rid of toxins, waste products, and salts from the blood – but if you aren’t drinking enough water, and your body is dehydrated, then the kidneys are obviously not going to work optimally, and the liver is going to have to take charge and get rid of the toxins for the kidneys. By doing this, the liver has to put its job – metabolizing fat – on the side, and that my friend, is how fat is stored! So drink water, so you can decrease that waistline, and live a strong, healthy life.
And now I will get myself a glass of water.
Oh, and also, if you don’t drink enough water then more toxins are stored in the body – particularly in fat cells. So if you have been feeling kind of sluggish or just blah lately, then perhaps it is due to lack of water in your system, and a build up of toxins in your cells.
ANDDD another super duper awesome thing about water, is that it makes you feel full and prevents overeating or unnecessary eating. The latter is my nemesis – I will eat when I am not hungry, but too often my body think it is hungry, but really it is just thirsty.
Okay, now time for that water.
p.s sorry for the lack of pictures. I hate blogs without photographs. But for some reason I have become very shy…
Okay, so I know I have totally neglected my blog this past year, and I cannot say that I am proud of it – BUT, I figured it is the beginning of a new year, and WordPress just congratulated me on my 1 year anniversary, so I thought it was about time to just throw in one of those totally random posts. You know the kind that come out of the blue and then you wonder if any more will follow – I can’t make any promises. I am a total flake. I admit it okay.
Blah blah blah. SO, where do I start. Ummm…I have become ridiculously chubby for one. I am proud to say that I am nicely insulated for this winter season. And I am ashamed to say that I got thrown off track, ate a lot of food (because I have a weird obsession with food apparently – and after taking a psych class last semester, I have diagnosed myself as being an orally fixated person), didn’t go to the gym, and ate a lot of food. BUT I am starting to take some serious action.
I did not step foot in the gym for a month (shocking for me because I feel debilitatingly guilty if I don’t go) – it was nice not having to obsess over my workout regime; however, it is much nicer to be back in the swing of things – back to being obsessive.
After a month of being idle I hit the weight room, and let me tell you – it was embarrassing. I could hardly do 12 reps of chest press with FIFTEEN POUND dumbbells!!! Before being idle I was up to 35 lbs chest press of 12 reps, so this was a bit shocking. Weird how fast you can lose muscle and strength. That being said, it’s even weirder how fast you can gain it back – within 2 -3 weeks I was back to lifting heavy.
I started lifting heavy, omitting cardio, and eating tons of lean meats and complex carbs. This is called bulking (apparently) and it sure is nice. I got to eat eat eat. But that meant I started gaining weight – muscle that is, but with no cardio, all resistance, and lots of nutritious food comes fat gain. It is inevitable – if you want to gain muscle, you are going to gain fat. If you want to lose fat, you are going to have to lose some muscle gained.
So, I did that for 4 weeks, and then I incorporated a little cardio – easy, boring cardio – the kind that makes you hate cardio.
And after doing all this… the word I like to use to describe what my body has morphed into is BEEFY. I am beefy. I am just one beefy looking chick.
And now, I am training like I normally do…well, may be not exactly how I normally do, because I have dropped my weights, increased my reps (rather than just lifting super heavy). But I am back to normal cardio – HIIT!!!!! Intensity is key baby. That is the only way I know how to cut fat.
Sooooooo I am hoping to shed all this yucky fat now. With the help of a carb cycling starting next week.
The point of all this jibber jabber is to tell you how freaking AWESOME plyometrics are. ….I don’t know how I got so off topic from my original thought – but I guess it has been a while, and you needed a little fitness update.
Anyway, if you want to add some serious intensity to your workouts, then I highly recommend adding some plyos to your routine.
Not only do they get you vehemently out of breath, with your heart racing faster than a boston terrier, but they recruit SOOOOO many more muscle fibres than regular weight training and cardio.
I guarantee you will be in unbelievable pain the next day. And I sadistically hope you are in pain from them.
I have been doing 100 lbs barbell squats and 270 lbs leg presses, but after just one day of plyometrics and light squats and leg press, my legs were JELLY. I couldn’t extend my leg properly for the next 2 days, and it honestly looked like I was walking around with a stick in my bum – and walking down stairs…ooooo walking down stairs is THE WORSST.
Any way, I think I have talked about plyos in the past, but I guess I will just repeat myself.
The reason they are so freaking awesome, is because they develop muscular power and endurance.
Plyometrics are essentially explosive concentric and eccentric contractions, which allow for the most amount of force generation in the shortest amount of time. It is what all our elite athletes use to improve speed and power.
Concentric contractions are those which shorten the muscle (upward motion on a bicep curl)
Eccentric contractions are those which lengthen the muscle (downward motion of a bicep curl)
It can be kind of fun manipulating these two types of contractions to achieve different results – for example, eccentric contractions are the ones that will get you BIG – so if you want a ripped and bigger chest, then go suuuuupppper slow on the way down during a flat chest press. Or if you are on the bench press, do something called negative sets – so just do the motion of going down with super heavy weights – so heavy that you can’t push the bar back up. You will obviously need a spotter for that though (reason why I avoid negative sets – I hate being spotted)
Okay, I am getting too excited and going off topic. Back to plyos…
Plyos can benefit any kind of athletes – whether you are a marathon runner or a body builder. For marathon runners, this is the kind of stuff that’ll increase your speed and get you to the finish line faster without fatiguing as fast. For body builders, this is what will lean you out without stripping away all that hard earned muscle.
And like I said before, you recruit the most amount of muscle fibres – and trust me you will know what I mean once you start incorporating them into your routine (if you haven’t already).
And finally, you really need NOTHING to conduct these exercises. You can just use stairs, your own body, or an old jump rope from elementary school.
To name a few that I have been incorporating: BURPEES, LONG JUMPS, squatting and then explosively jumping and going back into a squat, hopping, quick feet on stairs.
Just superset a plyo with a normal weighted exercise – easy peasy with banging results!
BUT make sure you are doing them correctly, cause these are the kinds of exercises that will injury you if done incorrectly. Also, if you have joint or knee problems, then I would advise you to stay away, or talk to a professional about it.
Any way, that is all. Just wanted to share my sore leg story with you 🙂
Class at 8am – I got the world’s worst class schedule this semester; however, I do have Mondays and Fridays off – but that only means all 5 courses are crammed into 3 days. booooo!
I had never used papaya in a smoothie before this little experiment. Turned out pretty darn good 🙂
1/4 cup Egg Beater Egg Whites
100 g Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt
2 tablespoons Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 teaspoon Honey
Xanthan gum, just a sprinkle to thicken the shake
Pretty simple – mix all ingredients in a blender and BAM – you got yourself a Coconut Papaya Smoothie 😀
I added the egg whites because I wanted a little bit of protein, and I only had peanut butter flavoured protein powder, and I don’t know how that would have turned out…… although, anything peanut butter flavoured tastes incredible….
If you think raw egg whites is gross, then go ahead and omit that ingredient.
Okay, so I am clearly not very creative in the name-your-dinner department – I like to get to the point okaaay…
This dish turned out pretty darn good in my opinion, and it is SO simple.
All you need are:
2 juicy Chicken Breasts, diced
3 small Eggplants
1/2 Large White Onion
1/3 cup Water
1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon Safflower Oil
1.5 tablespoon Dried Oregano
Salt to taste
All you gotta do is:
Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, lengthwise.
Soak the eggplant slices in a pot of water for 30 minutes.
Chop up the onion.
Next, cook the onions and chicken in 1/2 tablespoon of safflower oil, on medium heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour water and tomato sauce over the onions and chicken, and let it simmer on med-low heat until cooked. Add salt.
Next, sauté the eggplant slices in the remaining oil until they are nicely browned and then place the slices in a baking dish.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, pour the chicken and onion mixture over the eggplants in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes!
The one problem with eggplant is the bitter taste it has, and I am sure this is one of the reasons why 70% of the human population doesn’t like eggplant. I personally love eggplant…I mean it isn’t my absolute favourite, but I do like it a lot. …don’t ask me why I named my blog after the one of the world’s least favourite vegetables…fruits?…which one is it even…hmmm… well, I love yogurt, but coming up with a name with “yogurt” in it is not easy – I tried… trust me…
Any way, the key to cooking eggplant is to soak it in water for 30 minutes before cooking it. The water will turn brown, but don’t worry, you can just toss that water after 30 minutes – we’re not going to use that mucky water for cooking purposes. Or I guess you could cook it till it gets mushy, but sometimes you don’t want your eggplant mushy, and you don’t want it bitter either… ya learn something new every day…
What is UP with yoga instructors these days?!
I go to yoga to escape the world, silence my mind, breathe, and get a good stretch. I most definitely do not go to socialize with strangers, and listen to nonsense lectures. I really am not a fan of the whole “say hello to the person beside you” thing, and the whole “gather around” thing – why do I have to move from my mat and gather around in a circle??? Are we in elementary school again? I just don’t get it. And then once we all gather around and invade each others personal space, we have to listen to a lecture on “be yourself” or “don’t judge” or “love yourself” or I have to listen to some bizarre pseudo-spiritual spiel. GAH! Just stop it! We are here to do yoga! Let’s do yoga and not waste 15 minutes of valuable vinyasas!
This is my practice, let’s not get too comfortable now…
I guess you can call me a yoga snob.
I find myself boycotting instructors left right and centre. I can only really enjoy two or three instructors – everyone else just doesn’t do it for me. They’re either too much or not enough.
In my humble opinion, finding the right instructor is so key to having a good yoga practice.
…as psuedo-spiritual as this may sound… I feel like your energy needs to be compatible with your instructors.
And as corny as this may sound…I strongly believe in energy fields – we all have one, and sometimes, someone else’s energy just seems to like your energy, and that is why you feel happy around them, or they can lift your spirits by doing virtually nothing.
Any way, on a lighter (and tastier) note, I discovered the most AMAZING greek yogurt ever made!
It is slightly higher in calories, with 190 calories per 3/4 cup, out of which 26 grams are carbs and 17 grams are protein. The reason it is higher in calories is because it is COCONUT FLAVOURED!
Holy great balls of fire this sh*t is DA BOMB! It tastes like dessert, and it tastes so darn TROPICAL! Toss in some pineapple and you might as well be sitting on Kaanapali Beach with mojito in the other hand. Epic win!
Our hearts are what keep us alive, and we should aim to keep them healthy our entire lives – this means regular exercise, clean eating, and avoiding substances that may harm us, like drugs…yes that includes smoking and alcohol.
With regular exercise, using this very scientific method to train and improve our cardiovascular fitness, we can save our hearts from disease.
This “very scientific method” I speak of is the very basic principle called, F.I.T.T.
In a nutshell, the F.I.T.T Principle is basically an exercise prescription, which one can use to create any workout routine to fit their needs.
The acronym stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.
In order to improve your Aerobic capacity – aerobic meaning WITH oxygen (so, the kind of exercise which is usually longer, rhythmic, less intense, and requires the use of large muscles – think marathon…), one needs to train (F) 3-6 days a week, at about (I) 50-90% of your maximum heart rate, for (T) 20-60 minutes.
The other cardiovascular system that our body uses is the Anaerobic system – anaerobic meaning WITHOUT oxygen.
I don’t know if you remember biology from high school, but basically this system does not use oxygen to create energy (a.k.a ATP), rather it uses creatine phosphate, and once it runs out of that, the system uses carbohydrates. When our system metabolizing these carbs it leaves behind a waste product called, lactate acid. This lactate acid is what causes us to fatigue, thus anaerobic exercise consists of short bursts of high intensity using large muscle groups.
Once we start exercising for a longer period of time, and we start breathing more, and our heart starts pumping more blood, there is more oxygen circulating, so our body will automatically switch to the aerobic system (using oxygen to convert our food to energy).
(Sorry, I felt like I needed to explain that, even though I feel like I have talked about those 2 systems far too much in the past.)
All that being said, the F.I.T.T prescription to train our Anaerobic capacity is slightly different to the Aerobic training prescription because we will need to switch between high intensity and low intensity exercise, or else our body will switch to the aerobic system and start using oxygen to create energy.
Anaerobic training should be done (F) 3-4 days a week, at about (I) 85-100% of your maximum heart rate, for about (T) 45 seconds with active rest.
So, an example of this would be sprinting for 10 seconds, and walking for 30 seconds. A good work to rest ratio would be 1:3 or 1:6.
Any way, moral of the story: cardio sux butt – just get it done.
This recipe is a) a tribute to my blog: sweatpants and EGGPLANTS and b) an acknowledgement of how cheesy my blog is. Soooo… put those 2 together and you get a cheesy eggplant 😀
The first time I made this recipe was in my tiny studio apartment in Toronto – probably one of the first things I ever cooked by myself, for myself; however, instead of using shrimp and fresh basil, I used tilapia and pureed basil.
Holy MOLY, it was DARN GOOD!
This is what you need:
1.5 Large Eggplants
1/4 cup Pureed Basil
3 Tilapia Fish, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup Partly Skimmed Shredded White Cheese (I used Weight Watchers)
1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon Pureed Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/4 cup chopped onions
Salt to taste
This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Make perpendicular slices in the flesh, and scoop out the flesh – leaving about a 1/4 inch from the shell (this was the hardest and most annoying part).
Put the scooped out flesh in a bowl and set aside.
Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the empty shells.
Place the empty eggplant shells in the oven while you prep the other stuff.
In a pan heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Before the onions get brown mix in the eggplant flesh. Allow the eggplant to soften.
Add the pureed basil, oregano, and salt.
Keep mixing ingredients up in the pan.
Add cheese and breadcrumbs. Save some to sprinkle on the top.
Remove eggplant shells from the oven, and scoop cheesy fish and eggplant into the shells.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese and panko breadcrumbs.
Place in oven for about 30 minutes.
This recipe serves 3 people (in my opinion, and 6 in Amaani’s).
We placed chopped Portobello Mushrooms on top before putting them into the oven to cook – just an added touch of deliciousness!
The F.I.T.T Principle is a fundamental exercise prescription which will allow you to mould an exercise regime to your personal goals and fitness level.
The acronym stands for:
Frequency: How often you are exercising (per week).
For cardiovascular exercise we should all aim to get at least 5 days of moderate exercise (70-80% of your Maximum Heart Rate) each week, or 2-3 intense sessions a week.
For weight training we should aim to do at least 2-3 days a week with a days rest between each day.
I personally try to aim at doing some form of cardio 6 times a week, out of which 3 of those days are intense. And I like to weight train 4-5 times a week, but nothing less than 3 times.
Intensity: How strenuous your exercise is.
For cardiovascular exercise you can gauge the intensity by your heart rate.
Calculate your Maximum Heart Rate by subtracting your are from 220.
Low Intensity (Fitness Zone/Fat Burning) is 60-70% of your max heart rate
Moderate Intensity (Aerobic/Endurance Zone) is 70-80% of your max heart rate
High Intensity (Anaerobic/Performance Zone) is 80-90% of your max heart rate
Maximum Effort is 90-100% of Max Heart Rate
So, for example, my Maximum Heart Rate would be: 220 – 23 (my age) = 197 beats per minute (bpm).
If I was running at a moderate intensity, say 60% of my max heart rate: 197 X .60 = 118.2 bpm.
For weight training intensity is gauged by:
a) amount of exercises performed
b) volume/weight being used
c) sets and reps
If you want to get all precise and pro about it, you can calculate your 1 Rep Max, which is basically the maximum amount of weight you can lift in just one rep. After calculating your 1 rep max, you can figure out your weight range for the amount of reps you plan to do.
Click here to calculate your 1 rep max.
You can also refer to my article on Training Types, to better help you reach your specific goals, whether it is strength, power, endurance, or hypertrophy (increasing muscle size).
Time: How long you exercise (per day)
For cardiovascular exercise, really speaking, we should be doing at least 10 minutes a day, everyday – this is the bare minimum. However, ideally, we should be aiming for 30-60 minutes per cardio session, deepening on your fitness level.
For strength training, it varies, depending on what you are doing in the weight room; for example, if you are doing a total body workout, you may be at the gym for an hour, but if you are doing a 3-4 day split, you might only be in the gym for 10-30 minutes. Just remember, whatever you are doing, it should be beastly! Make sure all your workouts are intense (for your fitness level) and make sure to push yourself out of that comfort zone!
Type: Specific kind of exercise being performed.
For cardiovascular exercise this is basically any form of exercise or movement that gets your heart rate up, so that could be anything from running, to swimming, to Kundalini Yoga, to dancing.
For strength training, it involves form of resistance causing muscles to contract – eccentrically, concentrically, or isometrically – whether you are using dumbbells, cable machines, resistance bands, body weight, kettle bells, soup cans, etc.
The F.I.T.T Principle is a great way to create a pretty solid fitness schedule and routine. It also allows for easy modification when your body starts to adapt, thus allowing us to dodge that pesky plateau stage.
By modifying only one of the four principles, you can avoid boredom and plateauing; for example, changing the intensity of your strength training routine by increasing the amount of reps, or the number of sets, or changing the amount of days a week you train, or the types of exercises being used.
Pretty helpful tool for the novice and the pro!
In order to create a flawless training routine, one must follow seven simple and basic training principles.
These seven principles are commonly used by the U.S Army: Overload, Progression, Specificity, Reversibility, Maintenance, Variety, and Recovery.
These rules can and should be used in all forms of physical exercise.
In order to see improvements, muscles need to be exposed to a load greater than normal. Our body has a tendency to adapt very fast; therefore, in order to improve without plateauing, one must (gradually) increase the intensity, duration, and/or volume.
The Principle of Progression refers to the rate at which Overload is applied.
You do not want to abruptly overload without easing yourself into it – you may injure yourself. And you do not want to overload too slowly, because you may not see improvements. Just listen to your body, it knows best!
Exercise must be specific to the type of strength or improvements desired by the athlete (p.s we are all athletes in my books – if you exercise with a goal or desired outcome, then you are an athlete). Click here to see Training Types.
An example of specificity is, if you are a hockey player, you would want to train anaerobically with short bouts of high intensity; perhaps training specific to lateral movements, or specific to speed and power. Certain muscles required in the sport might be trained more heavily than others; like, if you are a volleyball player, you may want to train your triceps heavily, and practice plyometric jumping.
These three training principles overlap and are very much interconnected; they are also probably the most essential training principles for all forms of fitness and exercise.
All improvements and gains can be reversed if you do not train regularly. And the worst part is that it happens pretty rapidly – 30-40% of muscular endurance is lost in about 2 months, and only 10% of strength (phew!). However, on the bright side, muscle has memory, and once training resumes, gains can be regained rapidly. This is where the Principle of Maintenance comes in.
This is probably my favourite principle. In order to maintain your gains and avoid losing everything you worked so hard at, all you have to do is train 30% of what you were doing before – commonly known as the 1/3 Rule.
Just do 1/3 of what you were doing before and you won’t lose a thing!!!! AWESOME!
Like I said earlier, our body has a tendency to adapt pretty darn fast, so making sure that you are giving a little variety to all major muscle groups will prevent plateauing and boredom.
Cross Training is something we should all practice! Do something different as often as possible – go for a swim, or a hike, or a spinning class every now and again, to prevent your muscles from getting too used to your regular routine.
If you are weight training, then make sure you change your workout routine every 4-6 weeks!
The Principle of Recovery is one which is overlooked far too often; this not only applies to rest between sets, but rest days themselves, as well as proper nutrition.
If you read my article on Training Types, then you know the importance of rest between sets in order to reach your specific training goals.
Rest days are KEY to improvements. If we do not give our bodies at least one day a week to recuperate, then when will it get time to adapt and/or get bigger, better, or stronger?
If we continuously put load on them without a break, they will over stress and either go into a state of overtraining, or just not allow us to push as hard.
Active Rest days are great too. These are days where you do not have to do heavy exercise, rather, you go for a walk in the park, or a Hatha Yoga class – something that involves movement, but nothing too intense.
Nutrition for proper recovery is possibly one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects to proper training. I am sure you have read many posts of me emphasizing this particular principle.
Make sure you get enough protein and carbohydrates post workout in order to replenish diminished glycogen stores. If you do not get enough carbohydrates after your workout, I guaranty your next workout will be weak.
In fact, if you don’t believe me then set yourself up for an experiment:
train one muscle group hard, eat a good meal within an hour of your workout, and then record your volume and reps. Next time you train that same muscle group, do not have a good meal within an hour of your workout, perhaps wait 2-3 hours before you replenish yourself with carbs, and then record your improvements the next time you train that specific muscle group.
And finally, come back here and let me know if you think I am full of bogus or if I am full of wisdom 😛
Greek Yogurt is an awesome post-workout snack if you are short on time.
Toss it into your shake, or stir in some protein powder, fruit, and/or cereal, or just eat it plain right out of the container!
I wish we got this particular brand in Canada. I LOVE OKOIS YOGURT! Especially the Key Lime flavour. Yum!