• Fitness
  • Hit the Deck Workout

    hit-the-deck-3

    Hey all! Now that we’re through the holidays, I’ve been getting back to some of my more typical, longer workouts.  But, for the last couple months there was a lOT of squeezing in a quick 20-30 minute workout when I could.  Remember, your workout doesn’t have to be a whole hour to count as a workout (don’t worry, I sometimes trick myself into thinking otherwise too).  But, when I do, I try and remind myself to make the most of what I’ve got!  20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, it all adds up.  Here’s a quick workout you may have seen on my IG (make sure to follow @birdbites if you’re not already to stay up to date 🙂 )  All you need is a deck of cards and yourself!  Try it out and let me know what you think!

     

     

     

  • Fitness
  • Foam Roller Faves

    Foam roller tutorials provided by Bird Bites Blog.

    On thing I do after just about every workout is spend a few minutes with the foam roller.  What a foam roller helps with is something called myofascial release, basically it releases tightness in your muscles and the fascia surrounding them.  Think of it sort of like a self-massage.  If you don’t have a foam roller, you can find the one I am using here.   Use it after your workout but before you stretch, to break up some of the knots in your muscles.  This can help prevent muscle soreness and injury, and actually allow you to stretch a little further.  Pretty cool, huh?!



    With all of these, you want to work in about 6 inch sections or so, rocking back and forth on the targeted muscle.  If it feels too intense, press down more on your hands and/or supporting leg/foot, this will take some of the pressure off the targeted muscle.  You want to find a point where you do fill a little bit of discomfort, but never pain.  Discomfort can help you grow, but pain will only lead to injury which holds you back.  It really is like a self-massage, so you also want to drink plenty of water afterward, and you may be a little sore the next day.  There are many different ways you can use the foam roller, but these 5 are my faves:

     
    Foam Roller
    Quads

     

     

    Foam Roller Faves
    Hamstrings

     

     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    IT Band
    20161016_123353
    Calves

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Oh, and, you can do abs with the foam roller too!

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    Foam Roller

     

     

    Start lying on your back, knees up, feet on the floor. Tuck the foam roller behind your heels, pressing the roller back with your heels to keep it in place. As you draw your abs in and press your spine to the ground, lift your heels bringing your knees up toward your chest. Holding your abs strong, return to the starting position. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

     

  • Food
  • Easy Tuna Pasta Salad

    Easy Tuna Pasta Salad

    During the summer, pasta salad becomes one of my favorite ways to make lunches quick and easy.  It keeps for a few days, and I can just grab a bit, throw it in my bag, and head off to work.  That is, if Mike (the boyfriend) doesn’t get to it first!  This Easy Tuna Pasta Salad is one of our favorites for a quick lunch, and also makes for a stellar pot luck dish.Easy Tuna Pasta Salad

     

    In the past I had always made this one with whole grain shells, but for some reason since I’ve moved to the Twin Cities, I haven’t been able to find them anywhere.  If you know where they’re hiding, please hook a girl up!  Due to a lack of shells, I’ve been making this one with whole grain macaroni instead, which it turns out is pretty great as well.  




    This recipe is super simple, gives you a serving of fish, whole grains, and veggies – win, win, win, win!  Whole grains are typically pretty easy for me to get in, but I have been trying to get in more Omega-3’s in the form of fish at least twice a week.  This salad couldn’t make that easier.

    Easy Tuna Pasta Salad
    Serves 8
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 15 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 15 min
    215 calories
    30 g
    20 g
    3 g
    16 g
    1 g
    134 g
    135 g
    3 g
    0 g
    2 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    134g
    Servings
    8
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 215
    Calories from Fat 28
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 3g
    5%
    Saturated Fat 1g
    4%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 1g
    Cholesterol 20mg
    7%
    Sodium 135mg
    6%
    Total Carbohydrates 30g
    10%
    Dietary Fiber 3g
    11%
    Sugars 3g
    Protein 16g
    Vitamin A
    15%
    Vitamin C
    11%
    Calcium
    3%
    Iron
    8%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 2 cans tuna in water
    2. 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
    3. 2 stalks celery, chopped
    4. 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    5. 2 cups whole grain small shells or macaroni
    6. 2 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
    7. 2 TBSP light mayo
    8. 1 TBSP mustard
    9. Salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions
    2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until well mixed
    3. Chill for 1 hour, and it's ready to enjoy!
    beta
    calories
    215
    fat
    3g
    protein
    16g
    carbs
    30g
    more
    Bird Bites Blog http://www.birdbites.org/

     

    What’s your favorite easy summer lunch?

  • Food
  • Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

    Healthy eating on a budget

    I’m pumped to announce today marks the first of a series of posts I’m trying out called Five Faves.  Five faves will be exactly that, five of my favorite well… anything.  I’m thinking they will be either tips in a certain area, or exercises or recipes of a given type.  It is my goal to keep these posts relatively short and to the point, but still provide valuable information.

    When I started this blog, a big part of what I wanted to show is how healthy eating and exercise can fit into a real lifestyle.  Part of that, of course, is budgeting.  Right now more than ever, as I am working to save for a house as well as pay off my student loans, and have a life, having and sticking to a budget is key for me.  I’ve even been using an app called Good Budget on my phone to help keep track of my expenses.  It has you create your budget and then put your money in these little pretend envelopes, then when you spend you take it out of the envelope.  It’s so simple, and I think that’s what I love about it.  Anyway, healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive.  So often I hear people say  the main reason they don’t eat healthy is because it costs too much.  So, today I’m sharing some tips for how to eat healthy while sticking to your budget!

    Healthy Eating on a budget

    1. Avoid convenience foods

    Food is just like anything else, you have to pay more for convenience.  If you’re willing to do a little more work on your own, there is a lot of money to be saved.   This means limiting things like eating out, drive thru’s, and take-out.  While these types of things can sometimes seem cheaper since you often spend less in one spot, in the long run you’re spending a LOT more than if you were to make a stop at the grocery store once a week.  This also means limiting convenience foods when you’re AT the grocery store.  Those cute little pre-washed, pre-cut, bags of salad are going to cost you more than if you bought your own head of lettuce and washed and cut it yourself.  Those pre-portioned bags of nuts are going to cost you more than buying the one large bag.  Protein bars are more expensive if you buy verses make them…  you get the idea.  Convenience has it’s fee, and if you’re willing to do a little more of the prep work on your own, it will help you save money.  Plus, you will know exactly what’s in your food since you put it there.

     
    2. Buy in bulk

    Typically, the more you buy the less the per unit cost is going to be.  You also pay more for the packaging when you buy in smaller amounts.  A way around this is to buy things you use often in bulk.  Meat is a really great example.  Even though I don’t have a large family to feed, I buy the big family packs of chicken breast and ground turkey.  Both are easy to freeze, I just portion them out into individual baggies so I can thaw what I need when I need it.  The bulk bins at the grocery store are your friend also.  For things like nuts, rice, quinoa, and oats, I’ve found is it WAY cheaper to buy them out of the bulk bins, and then keep them in my own containers at home.

    3. Pick the right produce

    Produce can be super expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  One way to save is by buying only what’s in season. Here’s a great little list that tells you what’s in season for winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Another option is using frozen fruits and veggies, they’re just as nutritious and typically a lot cheaper, even when out of season.  Stay away from the canned stuff though, that’s usually chalk full of sodium.

    4. Take advantage of sales and coupons

    Before you go to the grocery store, take a look at the weekly ad if your store has one.  Oftentimes these are even available online.  If there are items in there that you typically eat, try and plan your meals around those (just don’t fall into the trap of buying things you don’t need just because they’re on sale).  Better yet, if they’re things you can keep for a while in the freezer or pantry, stock up!  Of course this will cost you more now, but will help you save in the weeks to come.  Grocery stores usually cycle what is on sale too, so you can stock up when they’re on sale, and then do so again when they’re on sale again.  Being flexible with your food choices can help too.  Try out the store brands, a lot of the time they taste exactly the same and are a bit cheaper.  Have flexibility in your recipes as well.  For example, if your recipe calls for yellow bell peppers but the red ones are on sale, go for the red;  your recipe won’t be that different, and it will save you some money.  

    5. Plan your meals ahead of time

    Take a few minutes before you go to the store, and pick out your recipes for the week.  Try and find ones that use similar ingredients, so you make sure you use all of what you have and aren’t leaving things to go bad.  Create a grocery list based on what you want to have for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks; glance at that coupon book to see if any of those items make sense in your plan too.  And finally, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but don’t shop when you’re hungry.  It’s a surefire way to leave with WAY more than what you planned on buying.

     

    These are just a few of the ways I have found to cut food costs while staying healthy.  How do you stick to your budget?

  • Fitness
  • Arms & Abs Featuring TRX

    2016-04-16 19.12.11

    As a personal trainer, one of the areas  I specialized in was TRX Suspension Training.  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a fantastic piece of equipment that can be found at most gyms, and actually makes a relatively inexpensive, extremely versatile addition to any home gym.  The great thing about TRX is that it’s all abs all the time.  So, whether you’re targeting your chest, back, arms, legs, doesn’t matter, your abs are working!  

    This particular workout focuses on you guessed it, arms and abs.  To get started you will need access to a TRX Suspension Trainer as well as a sand filled medicine ball (you’ll understand why the sand in a bit).  I used a 10 pound ball.  

    2016-04-23 08.41.39

    Now, for a bit of an orientation on the TRX.  During some of the exercises, I will refer to the anchor point, which is this part pictured here, where the TRX is anchored to it’s support.  My TRX was set up with the anchor point about 5 inches above my highest reach, if yours is higher you will need to lengthen the straps accordingly.  For the all exercises except the TRX plank, I use the shortest length, meaning the adjustment tabs are up as high as they can go.  Again, you may be more comfortable at a different length based on your height as well as how high up your TRX is anchored.  In general with the TRX, the exercise becomes more difficult the further you walk your feet from the anchor point.  Likewise, the closer you bring your feet to the anchor point, the easier the exercise will be. 

    I do also want to give a quick reminder that this is an example of a workout I would do and neither a personal recommendation for you, nor medical advice.  Please progress or regress exercises as appropriate, and consult your physician before beginning or modifying an exercise plan. 

    Alright enough business, on to the fun stuff!




     

    This workout is broken down into three circuits, each with three exercises.  Start off with a 3-5 minute warm up, either walking, light biking, or even an easy set through the circuits would do.  For the first circuit, complete exercises 1-3, rest, and then go back and repeat exercises 1-3 again, for a total of 2-4 sets.  Perform exercises 4-6, and 7-9 in the same way.  And, don’t forget to cool down!  Post-workout is also the best time to stretch.  Think about your muscles like rubber bands, when they’re warm, they’re far easier to stretch.  Fun fact: static stretching before a workout can actually increase injury risk, it’s basically like stretching out a cold rubber band and then hanging weights from it.  Yikes!  If I’m feeling sore before I workout, I’ll usually spend some time with the foam roller, and then make sure I get in a really great dynamic warm up.  

    Ok, seriously though, the fun stuff! 

    1[3]

    2[1]

    TRX Chest Press

    Begin facing away from the anchor point, holding the TRX handles with your palms facing backwards, and your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.  Walk your feet back a comfortable distance; the further back you go the more difficult the exercise becomes.  Working to keep your hands from moving forward, back, or side to side, lower yourself down as if to do a push-up.  Once your elbows are in line with your shoulders, press back up and return to the starting position.  If the straps rub against your arms, bring your hands forward a bit.  As I said earlier, the TRX is all abs all the time, so for this one it’s important to keep your hips forward so your abs are engaged, and you aren’t overstressing your back.

    TRX Low Row

    This time face toward the anchor point, holding the TRX handles with your palms facing inward, hands about shoulder width apart, and arms straight out from your shoulders like a zombie.  Pull the straps taught and walk your feet forward a comfortable distance; the further forward you go, the more difficult the exercise will be.  Squeezing your shoulder blades together to engage your back, bend your elbows and bring them in next to your sides, raising yourself up.  As you do, keep your hips lifted so your abs are engaged and once again not overstressing your back.  Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat.  

    TRX Jump Squat

    Start facing the anchor point, take a shoulder-width grip on the TRX with your palms facing inward, and arms bent at about 90 degrees.  Squat down as low as you’re comfortable, I’m slightly lower than 90 degrees in this picture.  From this position, jump up as high as you can, using the TRX for balance, but not a crutch to lift you up.  You should be doing the majority of the work.  To stay low impact skip the jump and raise up to standing instead.

     

    3[1]

    Front Raise

    Begin standing straight up, gripping the medicine ball with your palms facing each other.  This exercise is a little more simple, so take a moment to make sure you’ve got good posture, meaning your shoulders are back, knees unlocked, and hips are neutral (not sticking out your booty or pushing your hips forward).  Slowly lift the ball up to shoulder height, and return to the starting point.

    TRX T Deltoid Fly

    For this one you will start in a position similar to the TRX Back Row, however I recommend starting with your feet a little further back, as we will be working primarily the posterior deltoid (back of the shoulder), which is a relatively small muscle.  Beginning with your arms straight in front of you, keep them as straight as you can and pull them arms out to either side, creating a letter “T”.  This one’s super tough, so don’t feel bad if you have to start with your feet maybe 1/2 step in front of you.  You’re still getting a great workout, I promise!

    Medicine Ball Slam

    I love this exercise, especially if you’ve got some extra tension you want to get out!  This is the one in particular that requires a sand filled medicine ball.  If your ball isn’t filled with something to weigh it down, it will bounce right back at you.  Alright now for the fun part!  Start holding the ball straight up above your head, feet shoulder width apart.  Throw the ball on the ground as hard as you can, bend your knees and get down into it. Then, squat down further to pick up the ball, and do it again! To protect your back, keep your abs strong throughout the movement, and bend at your knees rather than folding forward from your hips.

    Alright, so the next one requires a bit of an intro.  It is called the TRX plank, and it is awesome!

    2016-04-23 08.50.17

    Adjust your straps so the foot cradles are about a foot off the ground.  Now, sit down in from of the TRX with your feet out in front of you.  Cross your legs, and put your toes into the cradles.  Now, whichever leg is on top, you will flip the opposite direction to get onto your stomach and into the plank position.  My LEFT leg was is on top, so I flip to the RIGHT to get on my belly and into plank position.  So, basically you’re turning to uncross your legs and end up on your belly.  Like this:

    Arms & Abs Featuring TRX

    TRX Plank

    Once you have reached your belly with your toes in the straps, come up onto your forearm so your shoulders, hips, and feet are in a straight line. Your elbows should also be right below your shoulders.  Press your belly button back toward your spine, this helps to engage your abs and protect your back.  Hold this for 20 seconds.  I’m not gonna lie this is pretty tough to do.  If you haven’t done this one before, still set your timer for 20 seconds but drop to your knees and rest as needed.  Each time you do it, try and take 1 fewer rest break, you’ll be doing the whole 20 seconds in no time!

    Superman

    This is one of those exercises that seems like nothing but is actually pretty tough to hold.  Start lying on your belly, and lift your hands and feet up off the ground.  Squeeze your glutes and lower back.  Hold here for  1 minute, or again if that’s too much, still set your timer for 1 minute and rest as needed.

    Wood Chop

    Last one!  So, for the wood chop, start with your feet a wider than shoulder width, holding the medicine ball down in front of you.  Shift your weight to your right side, and bring the ball down toward the outside of your knee.  As you make this twisting motion, keep your abs engaged.  From here, twist the opposite direction and bring the ball up and do the left.  Keep your abs engaged throughout the movement and pop your right heel up as you reach the tip, this helps to protect your knee and spine.

     

    Whew!  I love this workout, and I hope you do too!  Do you use the TRX for your workouts?

  • Healthy Living
  • DIY Recipe Binder

    DIY Recipe Binder

    I’ll admit it, I’m a huge nerd who actually enjoys organizing.  Back in school, I was that kid who got super excited for her clean new notebooks with matching folders, labeled for each subject… However, until recently my recipe collection was anything but.  Because I realize staying organized is key to success in any area,  healthy eating should be no different.  I put together this DIY Recipe Binder to help me do just that!

    Before this binder, my recipe collection was a hot mess.  Anytime I wanted to make something I didn’t know by heart, I would first have to think … ok, did I Pin this one, take a screen shot of it, is it folded up somewhere in my recipe box, or on some website I can’t remember the name of?  It was a serious problem.  And while Pinterest has been a great help in getting my recipes organized, I’m just more of a paper person when it comes down to it.  I love being able to write down notes on my recipes (more of this, less of this, add this, etc).  I also don’t love getting my tablet or phone all sticky when I’m cooking.  Enter my new recipe binder!  I saved my templates to make things easier in case you don’t share my love of getting organized, or even if you do!




    You will need:

    Now, this was an entire Sunday evening project for me, but it was so worth it.  I started by going through and printing off all the recipes I use regularly form the web.  All of the recipes here on my page are printer-friendly, and I’ve noticed those on many other sites are as well.  If you have recipes on actual recipe cards, just copy the front and back onto a sheet of printer paper so they fit into your binder.  I did also have a few that were torn out of magazines, these I just put into sheet protectors.  Come to think of it, you could even put all of your recipes in sheet protectors to make them more uniform if you prefer!  

    20160409_094356

    I didn’t see any tabs that went with my binder, so I made my own!  If you want to do homemade tabs like mine, start by printing off the appropriate tab template for your color scheme on card stock.  Cut them out, sandwich between two pieces of packaging tape to laminate, and then trim the excess tape from the edges.  Now your tabs are ready!

    20160409_094410

    Print the divider pages, using the same color as your tabs, or mixing it up if you like!  Now you have your pages and your tabs.  Using packaging tape, affix your tabs to the back of the divider pages, so that only the half of the circle with the writing is showing.  

    20160409_082727

    You now have all your pieces and it’s time to assemble!  Put your dividers in whatever order you like, and sort your recipes into categories.  Put them in the binder, and… there you have it, your own recipe binder is complete!  No more rummaging around like a mad person when it’s time to meal plan for the week! 

    1460214793413

    Now, I should note, I’m pretty particular about what recipes I print and put in my binder.  It doesn’t go in here until I’ve made and liked it, and it gets the Mike stamp of approval.  I definitely still use Pinterest for recipes, but for me it’s more of a think tank than a recipe book.  I’ll pin things I want to try, or even use as in idea for something else.  Once I’ve got something I love, I’ll print it off so I can make notes, or type it up if it’s my own creation.  This way, when I go to my binder for a recipe I know it will be a hit.  

    All of the recipes on my page are printer-friendly.  I’ll continue to keep posting my own recipes here on the blog, and am also going to work on sharing those I enjoy from other sites on my Instagram and Facebook pages.  Speaking of which, if you use my template I would love to see YOUR work! Share on Instagram using #birdbitesblog!

     

    How do you keep track of your favorite recipes?

     

  • Fitness
  • Treadmill Tabatas

    Treadmill Tabatas

    I love running, but… I’m what you might call a picky runner.  Let me explain.  I love to run, outside, when it’s 40 degrees or above, and sunny (see picture above).  Now, living in Minnesota that means I can run for about 1/3 of the year.  So, the rest of the year I usually just sit on the couch and watch T.V… just kidding!  That’s what treadmills are for… kidding again!  Honestly, that thing makes me feel like a hamster with ADHD more often than not.  If you know what I mean, treadmill tabatas are for you.

    One way that I’ve made treadmill training more bearable, and dare I even say fun, is through tabata interval training.  Not only does it keep my cardiovascular system guessing, but breaking the monotony of running at the same speed for an hour occupies my brain too.




    One of the benefits of tabatas is that they only last 4 minutes, however they are very intense and should only be performed once you have built up a decent level of fitness.  To do this workout, start with a 3-5 minute warm-up, walking or a slow jog on the treadmill will do.  Then, you want to increase the speed on the treadmill to a comfortable sprint, I recommend straddling the treadmill while you do this.  You may have to experiment with the speed the first few times; it’s better to start off too slow than too fast. Once you have found your speed, run for 20 seconds, and then return to straddling the treadmill to rest.  You will rest here for 10 seconds.  This is one round.  Complete 8 rounds in the same way, totaling a 4 minute workout.  Finish with a 3-5 minute cool down, once again either walking or a slow jog.

    You can use the timer on your treadmill, or an app like HIIT Interval Training Timer.  I like this one because it tells you when to “Go” and when to “Rest.”  It also gives you a nice little pat on the back when you’re done, who doesn’t love that?!

    If you’re not quite up to running, don’t worry!  You can do this same workout while walking.  Instead of sprinting for 20 seconds, increase the incline on your treadmill and do a hill climb for 20 seconds, then follow the same pattern of recovery for 10 seconds, and repeating for 8 rounds.

    Now just a reminder that because this workout is so short, it is very intense. What makes this workout work is it’s intensity, so, it’s important to recover adequately.  I don’t do this workout more than 3 times per week, and leave at least 48-72 hours rest in between. Please keep in mind this is an example of what I would do for a workout, and not a personalized recommendation for you.  Listen to your body and choose your own intensity, and please take into account any medical restrictions from your doctor.  

    Are you a picky runner like me?

     

  • Food
  • The Great Potato Debate

    The Great Potato Debate

    White potato vs. sweet potato, which is better for you?

    More and more I have been hearing buzz touting the benefits superfood sweet potatoes, and bashing the regular old white ones.  Personally, I love both, and think that what makes any type of potato so bad for us is what we are putting on them (the ooodles of butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, etc.).  With that being said, I wanted to take a look at the facts and do a little comparison pitting white potatoes against sweet potatoes to see which one really came out on top!


    I used the Food-A-Pedia provided by the USDA’s choosemyplate.gov  to compare nutrition facts for a medium white vs. sweet potato, and here’s what I found:The Great Potato Debate

     

     

     

    As you can see, they really aren’t all that different.  Both are relatively low in calories and sugar, and provide good sources of various vitamins and minerals.  White potatoes are a little higher in calories and carbs, but are also slightly higher in fiber, lower in sugar, and have over twice as much potassium.  The sweet potatoes do however have about 50 fewer calories, and are an excellent source of vitamin A.

    When it comes down to it, I still think either is a good choice!  It all depends on how you prepare and dress them.  As I said, I love both and generally alternate between the two in my diet.  Healthy Oven Fries are just one of the many ways that I love to enjoy the benefits of either sweet or white potatoes!

    Healthy Oven Fries Recipe

    1455722366492

    These oven fries are a healthier twist on the All American favorite, and can be made with either white or sweet potatoes.  These pair really great with some grilled meat and veggies!  I served them with a turkey burger on a whole grain bun, yum!

    2016-01-30 20.06.53

    Healthy Oven Fries
    Serves 4
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Cook Time
    20 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Cook Time
    20 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    96 calories
    13 g
    0 g
    5 g
    1 g
    1 g
    71 g
    331 g
    3 g
    0 g
    3 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    71g
    Servings
    4
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 96
    Calories from Fat 40
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 5g
    7%
    Saturated Fat 1g
    3%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
    Monounsaturated Fat 3g
    Cholesterol 0mg
    0%
    Sodium 331mg
    14%
    Total Carbohydrates 13g
    4%
    Dietary Fiber 2g
    8%
    Sugars 3g
    Protein 1g
    Vitamin A
    184%
    Vitamin C
    3%
    Calcium
    2%
    Iron
    3%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. • 2 russett or sweet potatoes
    2. • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    3. • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    4. • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    Instructions
    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray
    2. Cut the potatoes into wedges
    3. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper
    4. Add the potato wedges to the mixture and toss to coat
    5. Lay the wedges out on the cookie sheet
    6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning once
    Notes
    1. Feel free to experiment with adding garlic powder, paprika, thyme, or whatever spices you like to make these your own!
    beta
    calories
    96
    fat
    5g
    protein
    1g
    carbs
    13g
    more
    Bird Bites Blog http://www.birdbites.org/
    If you make these leave a comment and let me know how you liked them! Better yet, post a pic on Instagram using #birdbitesblog so I can see your creation!

  • Fitness
  • Rest + Rebuild

    Rest + Rebuild

    This past week on vacation, I realized there was something important that had been missing from my workout routine for the past few months, rest! While I am always good about taking a rest day throughout the week, and leaving at least a day between working the same muscle group, I had forgotten about the rest WEEK!

    Yes, that’s right, one important component of any workout periodization is a rest WEEK.  Trainers and conditioning specialists sometimes refer to this as a back-off, or unloading week.  For me, this finally occurred naturally while on vacation last week.  While I wasn’t completely inactive, I went for runs on the strip, and did yoga on the rooftop deck, I did take a rest from my normal workouts, it was vacation after all!

    When I returned to the gym, I noticed my workouts came a little easier, any last hint of muscle soreness was gone.  I also noticed more muscle definition, whoop whoop!  The fact that I really couldn’t believe I had forgotten about one of the easiest, most important ways to see results, is what inspired me to write this post.



    A week of active rest week allows the muscles to recover and rebuild after several weeks of hard training; without a rest week, this can lead to something called overtraining, basically your body telling you you’ve pushed it too far. When this happens, and ideally before, some active rest is needed.

    With that being said, the rest week typically isn’t needed for beginners. During this time it is still important to rest throughout the week, taking at least one day off completely, and skipping a day between training the same muscle groups.  So, if you’re strength training 3 days a week, train your whole body each day, something like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday works well.  If you strength train 4 days or more per week, split your plan up into two upper body and two lower body days, rotating between the two.  For 4+ days of training, you may want to split your plan up even further.  One example would be: day 1: legs, day 2: chest, back, and shoulders, day 3: biceps, triceps, and abs, day 4: off, and repeat.  Whatever type of plan you choose, keep going with it until you find you aren’t seeing results anymore, despite increasing or changing your routine.

    Generally from here, a rest week should be implemented every 6 weeks or so.  Again, when I say rest week, I don’t mean sit on your couch all week. What I do mean is active rest, taking a break from your normal routine, maybe trying that new fitness class you’ve been thinking about, getting out and playing some beach volleyball, or even just backing off a little on your typical weights, sets, and reps.  The idea is to give your muscles some time to recover and rebuild, so have some fun this week and try something new!

    Do you implement active rest into your routine?

  • Food
  • Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

    Who Says You Have to Quit Snacking?

    Seriously though, who says you have to quit snacking to achieve a healthy weight?  I can’t tell you how important it is for me to have healthy snacks ready to go on the reg.  It helps me stay focused throughout the day, while avoiding the urge to overindulge at lunch, or make a mad dash for the pantry the second I get home.  Snacks save me from allowing hanger to get the best of me.  

    You may have heard the common weight management tip of eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day.  This idea makes sense to me in that eating every 2-3 hours helps to keep your metabolism going throughout the day, however, the reality of having that many tiny meals has always seemed strange to me.  What I have found to work, is eating smaller portions at my actual meals, and then making sure I have snacks available in between.  Now I’m not talking Little Debbie’s, chips, and cookies, I’m talking delicious, portable, healthy snacks that include carbohydrate, quality protein, healthy fat, fiber, little to no added sugar, and are around 100-300 calories.  



    Normally for my work day I pack a lunch and two snacks.  If I go out shopping, I’ll throw something non-perishable in my purse like a small bag of almonds.  On Sundays,  I like to portion things like bell pepper slices, carrots, almonds, and cookie dough bites into small bags, that way all I have to do is grab and go when packing my lunch.  These bags from Target are a lifesaver, already marked for measuring so I can leave my measuring cups in the drawer when prepping for the week.  Here are some of my favorites lately:

    • Unsalted Almonds
    • Greek yogurt (look for one low in sugar, I’ve seen some with as much as a can of pop!)
    • Bell pepper slices or baby carrots with 2 TBSP hummus
    • Apple or banana with 1 TBSP nut butter
    • String cheese with grapes

    What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?