Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!In coming up with recipes lately, my focus has been on recreating things I find myself buying constantly. Every time I go to the grocery store, I pick up some frozen veggie burgers. And every time I tell myself I should just make my own. The first attempt resulted in patties of baby food mush. Yummy baby food, but…baby food. It’s funny how with cooking, sometimes the tiniest ingredient or technique tweak can make a world of difference—I made a couple tiny changes for round two and BOOM. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

I’m so in love with these. I make a batch at the start of the week and pop ‘em in the freezer to have on hand. They can be served as a burger (duh), on top of a salad (my favorite way to eat them!) or mashed up with some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Talk about a food prepper’s dream! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

I’m not vegan or gluten-intolerant, but it was so easy to make these without eggs or gluten that I went for it.

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Yield: 10-12 patties

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet potato, coarsely mashed
  • 1 can black beans (15oz)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (I used gluten free), ground
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I probably used ½ tsp salt and a little less pepper)

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package (bring water to a boil, add rice, simmer 35-40 mins); roughly ½ cup dry with make enough for the 1 cup of cooked rice you need.
  2. While the rice is cooking, peel your potato/s (one huge potato or two medium sized will probably be enough) and chop into small pieces. Toss them lightly in extra virgin olive oil before spreading on a baking sheet and placing in the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping halfway through. When they’re done, use a fork to coarsely mash them up (you want them to be chunky; not like a puree).
  3. Grind the oats into a flour using your food processor. Next add the beans, rice and onion into the food processor and pulse a few times. You want them to retain some structure and “chunk”. Because I am severely challenged in the cutting-cilantro-and-garlic department, I also tossed those in the food processor with the previous ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the food processor contents, the sweet potato and all the remaining spices. I found it was most efficient to use my hands to do this.
  5. If the potatoes were still hot when you mixed everything together, you may want to stick the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Otherwise, get right to the patty-making. Grabbing a small handful of the mixture, roll it into a ball in your hands and then gently press it into a patty shape.
  6. To serve, heat a splash of olive oil on medium-high heat on the stove top and cook the veggie burger for 3-4 minutes, flipping midway.
  7. To store, wrap in a piece of parchment paper (so they don’t stick to each other), place into a plastic Ziploc or Tupperware container, and freeze.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/12/14/sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-vegan-gluten-free/

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week! Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!If you do Sunday food prepping for the week, add these to your list! I wrap each patty in a small piece of parchment paper and then stack 3-4 into a ziploc bag and slide ‘em in the freezer. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -- vegan, gluten-free and a great option for food prepping for the week!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Arm (+Core) Workout with Hand Weights

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight WorkoutI get tons of requests for arm workouts, and since this upper body workout using light hand weights was a big hit, I decided to do another. This time, I’m making all the arm exercises a little more dynamic so that you work your core as well. Instead of just doing a shoulder press, you do it while holding a boat pose; instead of just doing a triceps kickback, you do it while in plank. This one is quick (12-18 minutes, depending on the intervals you choose) so it’s great to pair with a cardio workout or to do on days you’re “too busy” to workout.

Arm (+Core) Workout with Hand Weights

Equipment I Used:

  • Set of 5-lb hand weights
  • Set of 8-lb hand weights

As you can see, I used two different weights (light and medium), but you could definitely get away with just using one light pair. I only used the heavier ones for one exercise.

This workout flows from right to left. You’ll start with exercises isolating the right side, move into exercises with both arms, and then end by isolating the left side. You go through that a total of 3 times, taking a 30 to 60-sec rest in between each round (try not to rest between individual exercises; push to make it through the entire sequence before shaking out those arms!).

Your fitness level and the weight of the dumbbells you’re using will determine how long you stay in each exercise. To start, do each exercise for 20 seconds. If you’re more advanced, spend 30 seconds on each exercise. To help you gauge where you should start, when I did this workout using 20-second intervals, I was able to make it through the complete sequence without breaking. When I did it with 30-second intervals, I had to cheat and put my feet down a few times during the boat pose exercises.

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight Workout

RIGHT SIDE (IN PLANK)

  • One-Arm Flys: Start in a plank position with your left hand stacked directly under left shoulder and right hand gripping a hand weight. Hips should be level—fight to keep them this way throughout the exercise (your right hip will want to open up, shifting weight towards the left—don’t let it happen!). From here, squeeze your right shoulder blade in towards your spine as you lift the hand weight up and out laterally, keeping a soft bend in the elbow. Pause at the top and then slowly return right arm down to starting position.
  • Triceps Kickbacks: In a plank position, have left hand stacked directly under left shoulder, right hand holding onto a hand weight, elbow bent. Keeping your hips level as you do this (fight your body’s natural tendency to shift all the weight into your left side), extend your right hand straight back behind you, really squeezing the back of the arm (triceps) as you do. Hinging at the elbow, bring the weight slowly back to starting position. This is the one exercise I used an 8-lb weight with instead of 5.
  • Serve the Platter: In a plank position, keep left hand stacked directly under left shoulder, right hand holding onto a hand weight, palm facing up, elbow softly bent. From here, keeping your hips level (resist your body’s tendency to lean into that left side), reach that right hand forward, getting as close to a straight arm as you can. Slowly return to starting position.
  • Push Ups: Use both arms for these! If you need to modify, drop down to your knees.

BOTH ARMS (IN BOAT POSE)

All the following exercises are down while holding a boat pose. For boat pose, you balance on your tailbone, leaning back slightly, legs and upper body lifted in a “v” shape. To do this, engage your core (I think of trying to squeeze my belly button and spine together). I keep my knees bent in boat with shins parallel to the ground (except for during shapers), but if you’re more advanced, you can try keeping them straight the entire time.

  • Shoulder Press: Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. Don’t let them dip down lower than that. As you do these, be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Shoulder Shapers: Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms and hand weights together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time. As we do these, we’re going to bend and extend our legs in boat pose so that it almost feels like a crunch. When arms are out wide, legs straighten, when forearms come in together, bend the knees, pulling them in slightly towards your chest.
  • Arm Circles: Extend your arms straight out to the side, a weight in each hand. Keeping arms straight, trace small, controlled circles with your hands, not letting your hands fall below shoulder height. Each round, alternate the direction in which you trace those circles.
  • Crossbody Punches: These are pretty self-explanatory: twist and punch! With a weight in each hand, start by holding them in towards your chest. From here, punch the right hand across your body, twisting your torso to the left along with it. Alternate, doing the same thing with the left hand. These should be quick—punch, punch, punch!

LEFT SIDE (IN PLANK)

Repeat sequence you did on the right.

You will go through the entire sequence (right side, both, left side) three times. If you choose to stay in each exercise for 20 seconds, this workout will take you 12 minutes (plus a couple breaks). If you shoot for 30 seconds, it’ll take you 18 minutes + breaks.

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight Workout

WEARING | tank: Nasty Gal // leggings: c/o Puma // strappy-back sports bra: c/o Cory Vines // sneakers: Nike

Happy hump day!signature

The Indo-Row Certification Course

The Indo-Row Certification Course (how to become an instructor + my experience/review) I can’t remember if I mentioned it on the blog already or just on social media, but a few months ago, I got Indo-Row certified. The Btone Wellesley studio decided to offer Indo-Row as a cardio compliment to the megaformer classes (which do have cardio benefits as well, but are more strength/stability focused), and the current instructors were all given the opportunity to get certified. Even though I’d actually never done an Indo-Row class before (or even heard of it), I jumped at the opportunity to do the course because I love learning about anything fitness-related.

Whether you’re interested in becoming an Indo-Row instructor or just interested in trying out the workout, I wanted to put together a post explaining what Indo-Row is and sharing my experience with the certification course.

About the Workout and the WaterRower

The Indo-Row Certification Course (how to become an instructor + my experience/review) While outdoor rowing has been around for thousands of years and stationary rowing machines are no spring chicken either, Indo-Row is a relatively new workout, created in 2004. It’s a 45-minute class taught on the WaterRower that’s heavily reflective of outdoor rowing. Unlike a rowing machine most people are used to seeing in a gym, which uses a chain and fan for resistance, the WaterRower uses a tank of actual water for a smoother resistance and fuller stroke. They’re awesome!

The rowers have monitors on the center console that allow you to see distance, strokes per minute, time, miles per hour, split time and even calories burned as you workout. They’re used all throughout class in setting up timed/metered races and letting students know how hard they should be working.

Indo-Row is a total-body workout and a great option for low-impact cardio. You’re going to get a similar calorie burn to a spinning class, and will find that, also like spinning, it’s very music-driven (which is always fun!). The classes have a unique structure in that they’re very group-oriented. You’re on a team with whoever is sitting in your row of machines, or might pair up throughout class or work all together. At the start of class, you warm up by going over form and spending some time at each intensity level (called a pressure test). You then move onto waves (think interval training of some sort), and finish class with racing, which is hands-down the best part.

Indo-Row Certification Logistics

There are two ways to become an Indo-Row certified instructor: the studio you work at can become an Indo-Row facility and offer you the course there or you can attend an open training session on your own. Either way, Indo-Row will send one of their master trainers to run the course. Btone Wellesley is now an official Indo-Row provider, so I did the training there. The open training sessions are $299 and you can find out about upcoming ones in your area by getting on the Indo-Row emailing list (fill out the form on this page).

The certification course is eight hours long. A good chunk of that is spent on the rowers going over form, getting familiar with the console, and doing an actual class led by your trainer. The rest is classroom-style learning going over the manual you receive at the start of class. Bring a pen, some water, workout clothes and lunch.

My Experience

The Indo-Row Certification Course (how to become an instructor + my experience/review) As I mentioned at the start of this post, I had actually never even heard of Indo-Row when the email was sent out to the Btone instructors about getting certified. I wanted some idea of what I was getting myself into, so I looked for classes around Boston I could try. Now to back up for a second, from the same creators as Indo-Row is a workout called ShockWave, which uses the WaterRowers as part of a circuit. For one or two of the stations you’re going all-out on the machines and then the rest are a mix of strength exercises (think goblet squats with a kettlebell, incline push ups on steppers, dumbbell exercises, etc.). Equinox (in Boston anyway—not sure about elsewhere) bought exclusivity rights, so only they can offer the workout and call it ShockWave. You can still find the workout elsewhere, it’s just probably not called ShockWave. Which brings me to my first experience on the WaterRower…

BURN Fitness Studio in the South End offers Indo-Row and Circuit Row (their version of ShockWave), and I signed up for one of their Circuit Row classes before the certification course. I LOVED IT. Seriously, if you’re in the Boston area, it is a must-try. The class broke up into groups of three and we went through a circuit of six stations three times. Two of the stations were the WaterRower and we had to do 300m the first round, 200m the second and 100m the last. No one could move onto the next station until the groups on the rowers had completed the distance, so it created a really fun group environment for the workout with everyone cheering each other on. The instructor would also write down the top times on a dry erase board which, being super competitive, I loved.

I left the class feeling beyond excited to get certified. I couldn’t believe how excellent of a cardio workout going just those couple hundred meters as fast as possible was (the class thoroughly kicked my ass!). Granted, I knew Indo-Row was different from ShockWave, but I still couldn’t wait to learn the ins and outs of the WaterRower.

I would say my overall impression of the Indo-Row certification course was that it’s very similar to the Spinning course, which I blogged about here. Just as the Spinning program is made to mimic outdoor cycling, Indo-Row is made to mimic outdoor rowing on the water. You might recall from my Spinning recap that I had an amazing master trainer who was able to make a non-outdoor cyclist like myself see the value in adhering to those same principles on stationary bikes. Yes, I still love tap backs, isolations and all that other fun—but not Spinning®-approved—stuff you do in popular indoor cycling classes today, but I still gained an appreciation for the program’s approach because my instructor’s passion and enthusiasm for it was so infectious. Plus she was a total sweetheart. Basically I had a crush on my Spinning instructor.

Clearly a good teacher whose personality jives with yours can make or break your impression of a class, subject matter, etc., and let’s just say I did…not have a crush on our Indo-Row trainer. I loved the racing component that all Indo-Row classes end with (so fun!) but I couldn’t get excited about the rest. However, while our trainer may have left me feeling underwhelmed, I still felt fully “whelmed” with my experience using the rowers at the circuit row class I took at BURN and I loved the individual and team racing at the end of Indo-Row workouts. It was quickly becoming clear to me that I’m better suited for ShockWave. If you’re not passionate about a workout, you’re not going to be good at teaching it, and you’d be doing a huge disservice to all those students and clients who are passionate about it. So ultimately, I knew teaching a 45-minute Indo-Row class wasn’t for me.

Instead, I’m teaching a class that combines my favorite part of Indo-Row (going HAM on the rowers) with a workout that, as you’ve probably noticed by now, I am obsessively passionate about: the megaformer. Tone ‘N Row is 20 minutes of core and upper body work on the megaformer followed by 30 minutes on the WaterRowers, for a perfect mix of strength training and cardio. After a warm-up song and some intervals, I pretty much get right to racing. I try to be creative with the races, mixing in some individual races with relay races and partner work. Last week I split the class into pairs and while one partner was racing to finish 300m, the other had to hold a plank. Once the 300m were completed, they’d hop off the machine into a plank while their partner took off on the rower. First pair to complete three rounds won. There were an odd number of students that night so I did the race with them and let me tell you, it was brutal (in a good way).

If you’re in the Wellesley area, I teach Tone ‘N Row Thursday nights at 7:30 (schedule/sign up here). I’m covering another instructor this month and so am also teaching it Tuesday mornings in December. I’d love to see you in class! Also, seriously don’t let my disenchantment with our master trainer stop you from trying a full Indo-Row class yourself–just because I thought the certification course was “meh” doesn’t mean this workout is as well (FAR from it). People LOVE these classes at Btone, and after the certification course I took one and enjoyed it 1,000,000x more than when we did it during instructor training.

I wanted to focus this post on the certification course, but as I continue to teach Tone ‘N Row and get better at rowing, I’d love to do a post with tips for your first class, proper rowing form, and even put together some workouts you can do on your own with your gym’s rowing machine. It’s a KILLER cardio workout!

Have you done Indo-Row or another rowing class before? What’d you think?

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