Wednesday Workout: 20 Minute Bodyweight Tabata Workout

Happy hump day, friends! As I mentioned on Monday, I did a quickie bodyweight tabata workout on Sunday morning that I wanted to share with you. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time- and didn’t want to wake up extra early to give me extra time- so I opted for a tabata workout since those tend to give me the biggest bang for my buck. No matter what I choose for exercises, I tend to be sore following a tabata workout, which was definitely the case when I woke up on Monday morning!

If you’re not familiar, tabata workouts are 8 rounds of 20 seconds on (working super hard!) followed by 10 seconds of rest, totaling 4 minutes all together. Traditional tabata workouts are generally just ONE exercise to be repeated for all 8 rounds, but I opted to do 2 exercises per tabata, so that each was done 4 times.¬† So, rather than a traditional tabata workout, it was more of a tabata theme workout.

You’ll notice that each tabata set has 1 bodyweight exercise followed by a complementary cardio exercise- gotta love that extra burn ūüėČ

20 Minute Bodyweight Tabata Workout

I think everything here is fairly straight forward- sometimes going back to the basics can be the best workouts. While I love spicing things up with “fancy” moves, it can also be nice to stick with tried and true exercises that don’t require as much brain work, haha. If you’re feeling good and want to use weights when you perform the exercises- feel free! Likewise, if you’re not feeling up to the cardio, you can modify or continue with the bodyweight exercise for all 8 rounds. Per usual, the workout can be adapted to fit whatever your need is on the day you decide to do it.

Questions for you: What workout format always leaves you sore? Do you like basic, tied and true exercises or do you like to get fancy and make up new combos?

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Just Add Cooking {literally, it’s as easy as that!}

We’re all busy. I get that! And, when we’re busy what tends to get pushed aside? I think most can agree the commonality in responses here would be working out and meal prep for most people, right? ¬†We’re too busy to workout, so we skip it in favor of choosing something else. We’re too busy to food shop or cook so we choose the convenience of ordering out or going out to dinner instead. Why? Because that’s easy… and it feels justified when we are “so busy”.

I’ve been there, maybe not so much with the working out since that’s been a constant in my life for so many years and I know how much value and happiness it adds to my days- especially the busy ones! But, with regards to food shopping and meal prep? Sure, I’ve definitely skipped the food shopping in favor of doing something with friends or suggested going out to eat rather than shopping to get stuff to make.

However, what about if the food shopping and the majority of the meal prep was already done for you? Sounds like it would be a pretty easy way to make a homemade meal, so when Just Add Cooking reached out to me to be a brand ambassador, I was totally on board! If you’ve been following me for a long time, you probably see that RM and I do a pretty good job with food shopping and meal prepping each week, but with the upcoming wedding and everything else going on, I feel like having a week each month where dinners are planned for us will be so great.

What I love about Just Add Cooking is that they are Boston’s only local meal kit company and that they source all of their ingredients locally, which means everything is fresher when it gets to you (which, btw, it was! The veggies were better looking than what I buy at the store!) AND it helps support the local food economy.¬†Knowing that everything gets hand-delivered on the same day it was packed was a huge selling point for me since I’m not too keen on the idea of food traveling for days before getting to me, which is the case with other meal kit companies.¬†I actually got a text notification on our way home from our food tasting on Sunday saying that our food delivery had arrived, which was perfect since we were just a few miles from our apartment.

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I didn’t even unpack my stuff before I ripped into the Just Add Cooking box.

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As I unpacked, I noticed that the packaging was minimal and that we could reuse or recycle most of the packaging. I especially loved the compostable cooling bag- what a great idea! And, it came with an ice pack in it that RM and I popped right back into the freezer for future use (we’re always in need of ice packs when we’re packing for the beach). It was so easy to unpack and organize everything since they don’t use a ton of unnecessary, wasted packing materials.

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As I laid everything out on the ground to review¬† what we received, I kept saying “RM, they literally gave us everything! Look at this cute little thing of white wine. And everything is measured for us! This is going to be so easy!”… he kindly goes “Yeah, Monique. I think that’s kind of the point of these meal delivery companies, right?”… Touche, RM.

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Along with the food, they give you some pieces of paper with information on what meals you chose, where the ingredients came from (they name all of the local farms and suppliers which I thought was a neat touch) and their recommended cooking order.

We ended up cooking the Kofte Kebab on Sunday night since we were craving that type of meal. What I loved is that the directions are not only step by step, but they are EASY! For people who may not be super comfortable in the kitchen, Just Add Cooking’s directions make it easy for you to follow along and produce a delicious meal. Minimal ingredients and minimal instructions- perfect for all of us “busy” people ūüėČ The only thing I wish they had little more of would be pictures to go along with various steps of the recipe process- I’m a visual person and like to make sure what I’m doing matches what they’re asking me to do.

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We seriously couldn’t believe how delicious the Kebabs were. I know I say RM raves about food all the time, but this time it was serious raving- it was so different from our normal meals and I know it will become a frequent rotation!

On Monday night I whipped up the chicken meal, which was even easier than the Kebab meal. I prepared for a much longer and more intensive kitchen experience, but was pleasantly surprised when everything came together so much quicker and easier than I expected. This is a great weeknight meal! I wasn’t sure how flavorful it would be since it seemed so simple, but the leeks really added a TON of flavor to the entire dish and made a traditional chicken breast so much better. My only suggestion would’ve been to have had more pancetta since it cooks down quite a bit and barely covered the chicken. Otherwise, this was another winner!

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Finally, I whipped up our final meal on Thursday night, since it was the next night I’d be home before 8pm.

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Just like the other meals, this one was also a big hit- what’s better than potatoes and eggs and breakfast for dinner?! This meal was quick to throw together, too, with the longest part being the time it took to cook the potatoes. I ended up using 1 extra egg since it seemed like it needed it and I also added in some of the tomato that was supposed to be served alongside the dish since I like tomatoes IN my egg dish. The salad was delicious and such an interesting combination of ingredients that I never would’ve thought to have put together. There was plenty leftover for the next night, too.

I can’t wait until our next delivery- it feels good to spice up our cooking since I feel like we’ve been in a bit of a cooking/food rut lately.

If you like the sounds of everything in this post, Just Add Cooking is offering a great deal for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to try them. With the code BUBBLY, you can get your first Just Add Cooking box for just $39. Which, btw, is 3 meals- one hell of a deal if you ask me! Click here to sign up for a free account and to pick your recipes.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but I was provided with a free week of meals in response for my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own- I really, truly think this is a wonderful company and I’m so excited that I get to work with them! As an affiliate, I do receive a credit when you sign up for the service using my code. Thanks for your support!

“Voted Boston’s Best by the Improper Bostonian, Just Add Cooking is Boston’s only LOCAL meal kit delivery company. They make home-cooked weeknight dinners fun, easy and delicious. Every week, Just Add Cooking offers seven different recipes, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. You log in, pick your recipes and they deliver all the ingredients you need, right to your door”

 

Weekending: Wedding Update & Double Easter Celebrations

Good morning! Hopefully by the time this post goes up, I will have already gotten my butt kicked by Eliza at the Watertown GymIt/EBF studio. As part of the Box FIIT certification I’m working on, I’m trying to get as much class experience as I can with other instructors to help better prepare me for when it’s time to start teaching my own classes- eek!!

This past weekend was another good one- lots of family time with both families which is always a nice treat! However, I am looking forward to this weekend since we FINALLY have a weekend with virtually no plans, which hasn’t happened in forever. I have so many general life things that I want to catch up on, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a bunch done!

After work on Friday I went to the Paper Source in Lynnfield to finalize our wedding invitations. I started them online which helped because I went into the store knowing exactly what I wanted and how it looked, but I was also able to work with a super helpful lady who helped me add more text lines and change the layout a bit. They are super simple, but classy- I love them and can’t wait until they come in! Oh, and the best part? All wedding invitations and related things were 20% off, which really helped keep them within my budget.

Once that was done, I picked up a few things at Whole Foods: pizza ingredients for dinner and quiche ingredients for Saturday brunch with my family. I made this quiche which was a big hit.

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The pizza I made for RM and me was also fantastic- the dough from Whole Foods is so good!

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Saturday started off with a sweaty kickboxing class. I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t worked out in 2 days or if it was because I hadn’t slept well the night before but the class kicked my butt!!

After class we showered up and headed into the city to go to my sister’s apartment for part 1 of our Easter celebrations. So much food, so much wedding talk, so many laughs! I also brought out my biggest of hair for the occasion ūüėČ

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Oh! And my mom washed her vail and brought it down to see if I wanted to use it for our wedding. I think it will be so special having my “something old” (and something borrowed) as her veil. I just need to find a nice comb to attach it to.

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(and yes, I am a giant next to her!}

We stopped at Branch Line for a few drinks on our way home. As good as the drinks are, we REALLY need to get back there for dinner because everything looked and smelled amazing!

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Sunday morning I kicked off the day with a quickie 20 minute bodyweight tabata workout (I’ll share it with you on Wednesday!) and then went to church. I haven’t been to church since we moved, so I figured Easter Sunday was as good a day as any to start. I hope to get back into a more regular church-going schedule.

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When church was over I went food shopping and got wine and flowers for the Easter dinner at RM’s mother’s house. I didn’t get any photos of the food, but it was quite a feast: homemade lasagna (homemade noodles and everything!), grilled lamb, salad, brussels sprouts, potatoes, peppers and so many desserts. My future SIL’s parents came and when her mom walked in with a bunny cake it made me so happy because my mom always made me a bunny cake for my birthday/Easter!

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As much as I didn’t want to food prep when we got home, I knew it would be better if I just got it over with!

And that about does it- the weekend came and went way too quickly, per usual! I hope you all had a great weekend and have a kick ass week!

Questions for you: How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? What did you do for Easter? Did you get any good workouts in? Do you go to church?

Five on Friday {3.27.16}

Good morning! TGIF, right?! I’ve felt like this week has DRAGGED on, which I can only attribute to teaching late on Tuesday, which isn’t something I tend to do. Oh, and just feeling really off this week. I feel like I’ve been fighting something for a few weeks now, and finally this week I took a day to just rest… which brings me to my first Five on Friday topic…

  • Taking time to rest- If you know me, you know I’m not good at resting. Whether it’s resting from the gym or resting from work or anything else, I’m not good at it. I have one speed: fast- I’m always going-going-going, and while I can sustain that for a while, there always comes a time where I’ve just had enough. All the signs¬†were there, too: I wasn’t recover as quickly from my workouts, I felt achy, irritable, tired, yet not able to sleep well, diet was off, throat started to hurt. Basically, my body is telling me to SLOW THE EFFFF DOWN! So, yesterday I took a day for me. I felt so crappy as Wednesday wore on and pushed it too much in the class I taught so by the time I got home I was pretty miserable. I NEVER call in sick, but I did that yesterday morning and ended up sleeping soundly until after 9am, which also NEVER happens. I spent the day resting, hydrating, reading and blogging and it was glorious. Being go-go-go isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also so important to pump the breaks every once and a while and just do nothing. I needed that!

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  • Lent–¬†For my fellow Catholics out there, today is Good Friday, meaning Lent is coming to¬†an end. In years¬†past I would give something up, but over the past few years I’ve started adding something instead. I added 10 minutes of meditation a few years ago and last year I did a daily gratitude journal, which was a nice way to appreciate all of the positive things in my life. This year, I planned to do the same but lost steam about halfway through. For a second I felt like I failed, but then I remembered that it isn’t about passing or failing. It was just something that wasn’t working for me right now- and that’s ok! I have been good about not¬†eating meat on Fridays, so I’ll focus on that instead ūüėČ
  • New glasses- I finally got a pair of glasses that I really like! I ordered a pair originally that I thought I liked, but¬†when I got them home, I decided they were just not what I wanted. Luckily LensCrafters has a 30 day satisfaction guarantee so I went back and got these bad boys. While they are similar to my¬†Ray Bans in the fact that they are plastic, they¬†have a different shape and color so it makes them still seem new and fun.

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  • Wedding registry gifts– My bridal shower invites went out last week and¬†it’s been¬†so fun checking our registry to see things get¬†checked off the list! AND, we received our first gift the other morning, which was a super fun surprise.¬†Thanks¬†to my SMC girls, we now have a wine fridge and I’m SO excited about it!
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  • Meal Delivery Services- I mentioned earlier this week how I am a brand ambassador for Just Add Cooking and although I plan on recapping everything for you next week, I have to share with you now that I am SO impressed with the company and the meals we’ve received and cooked so far. It has made cooking and dinner FUN by spicing up our normal meals. Stay tuned for some discounts I’m sharing next week.

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And that does it for me! I’m hoping that by the time I wake up today I feel much better and more like myself. As for weekend plans, I’m teaching tomorrow morning and then we are heading to my sister’s apartment for an early Easter celebration with my family. We will head to RM’s mother’s house for Easter dinner with them on Sunday.

What are you guys up to this weekend? Are you celebrating Easter? Do you give anything up for Lent? How has your week been? Do you ever just take time to rest or take a mental health day?

Wednesday Workout: 3 Set Lower Body Burnout

Good morning! I hope you’re having a good week. Today I am sharing a workout I threw together on Monday that left me VERY sore yesterday. I started with a 10 minute treadmill run at a moderately fast pace and then headed downstairs to the weight room to complete this 3 set lower body focused workout.

When doing this, please think about choosing weights that are challenging (last couple of reps should be hard!), but don’t compromise your form.

3 Set Lower Body Burnout

Explanations:

  • Deadlifts– these can be trap bar deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, or whatever else you would like to do. They’re a single exercise set so that you can lift heavy and have enough recovery between rounds/sets.
  • Step ups- choose a step height that’s challenging, yet doesn’t make you feel like you need to use momentum to get up. Also, I held 15lb Kettlebells in each hand, which wasn’t quite heavy enough, but it still did the trick.
  • Pushups- If you’re struggling with doing proper chest to ground pushups on your toes, try doing incline ones, maybe on the step you used for the step ups or even against a wall.
  • Lunge -> SLDL (single leg deadlift)- Hold a KB like you would for a goblet squat and then step your right leg back into a lunge. As you come back through center, engage your core and hinge forward at the hips coming into a single leg deadlift and changing your grip on the KB¬†and hold it from the top of the handle and letting it hang towards the ground. As you lift back up to center, do a KB clean and step back into the lunge with a KB goblet grip. While doing this, focus on moving slow¬†rather than¬†rushing through the movements. Repeat on the opposite side.

The last move is definitely what killed me- I used a 25lb KB and wowzers were my hammies screaming at me yesterday!

This workout should take you about 40 minutes to complete if you do the 10 minute treadmill run- just letting you know in case you’re like me and generally on a time limit at the gym. As always, let me know if you try it!

Questions for you: When’s the last time you felt really sore after a workout?