My Favorite Things: January

favorite-things-januaryAnother month, another roundup of favorites! I know it’s not technically the end of January yet, but close enough…

Favorite Products

Scarf from Stitch Fix

stitch-fix-infinity-scarfMy fix this month was kind of a bust—I sent four of the five items back. This infinity scarf, however, rocks my world. It’s ridiculously soft and I loved the oversized look. If you want to request it, it’s the Octavia Plaid Infinity Scarf ($32).

Favorite Workouts

[FROM THE BLOG] Cardio Tabata Superset Workout

Cardio Tabata Superset WorkoutI did this workout a couple times this month. It was the perfect way to work up a sweat when I was cooped up in my apartment during the blizzard Boston got. I’ve also been used the workout structure a bunch in the bootcamp class I teach.

[CLASS] Blogger Ride at Flywheel with Marshalls

flywheel-marshalls-picwith Athena & Caroline

Marshalls invited a bunch of Boston bloggers to a class at Flywheel the other Saturday and spoiled us with new workout outfits, post-class green juice and goodie bags. The class was taught by Christina Lodde and it Kicked. My. Ass. I honestly used to hate the Torq board at Flywheel because I found myself just staring at it the whole class and forgetting to enjoy myself, but now I really appreciate the extra push it gives me. My competitive side kicks in and I end up getting in a phenomenal workout.

Favorite Eats

Urban Remedy’s Mint Cacao Smoothie

mint-cacao-chip-urban-remedyAs I blogged about in this post, I got to try three days of Urban Remedy’s raw snacks, meals, juice and smoothies. It was wall delicious, but I’m still having fantasies about the Mint Cacao Smoothie. The best.

Dang Coconut Chipsdang-coconut-chip-snack

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Whole Foods was having a special on these (2 for $7) so I grabbed a couple bags at checkout–oh man. SO GOOD. My boyfriend and I ate both bags in under an hours. Oopsies. Have you tried them?

Favorite Reads

Articles/Blogs

Dumb (but Funny) Entertainment

Favorite Moments

Turning 27

btone-selfie-5I had a birthday earlier this month and for the first time in a long time (probably since turning 21), I was excited to be another digit older. I feel like I’m finally not a complete idiot, sorta-almost-kind-of have my shit together, and am feeling really good about this year. The wrinkles that keep creeping into my forehead when I move my eyebrows, however…not so pumped about those. Get outta here–nobody likes you.

I celebrated by teaching first thing in the morning, hitting up a Barry’s class, drinking a couple of glasses of wine on the couch at 2PM while watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, getting a pedicure and then going to bed at 9:30PM. I. Am. Old.

Adding Another Workout to the 100K Club

If you like the Pumps & Iron page on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the 100K Club photo album—it’s a collection of all the workouts that have been pinned to over 100,000 boards on Pinterest. It’s always exciting when another post hits that mark because I still can’t even quite wrap my head around the fact that so many people would even come across something I made. The Quick Upper Body & Core Workout joined the club this month—thank you to everyone who shared it! 10406576_928730077146227_4089232278101218255_n

And since we’re talking about this workout, I wanted to mention that I updated the post recently. Along with the workout, I reviewed the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 running shoe, and since publishing, have had to stop wearing the sneaker (you can read why in the post if you’re interested—it’s a great shoe for most runners, just apparently not me). I never want sponsored reviews or product features to feel phony or like an infomercial, and I always express my honest opinion on the blog. So when that opinion changed a couple months after putting up the review, I was like sonofaB! I just raved about the sneaker! The update has been added to the original.

Enjoy your weekend!

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australia-follow-reminder

No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsAs I mentioned when I posted that sweet potato veggie burger recipe, I’ve been on a kitchen mission lately to recreate things I regularly buy. It saves money, and it means I know exactly what is in everything I’m eating—always a nice bonus. I try to eat as little pre-packaged food as possible, but it can be tough to avoid the convenience of granola and protein bars when I’m running around in between teaching classes, getting in my own workout, and working on the blog. There are some wholesome, real-food bars out there, but for the most part, reading the ingredient labels on those things is like reading a chemistry equation. Why not just make my own? Can’t be that hard, right? Right! These are super easy. No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars 

No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

Yield: 8

No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup protein powder (I used Healthy Skoop)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almonds (I used roasted almonds but raw would be perfect, too!)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Crush the almonds into little chunks--I did this by pulsing them in the food processor a few times. Put the dates in a food processor and blend until chopped into a big gooey, sticky ball.
  2. Mix the oats, protein powder, dates, crushed almonds and dried cranberries in a bowl.
  3. Place the almond butter, vanilla and honey in a small skillet and heat over low heat until fully combined and runny. Pour it over the dry mixture and stir together. Use your hands to make sure it’s fully combined.
  4. Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper and press the mixture evenly into it.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Lift parchment paper from the pan and cut the mixture into 8 equal bars.

Notes

Store in a Tupperware container for a couple days. If you want them to last longer, store in the refrigerator. These are a little sticky, so I’d recommend placing a small piece of parchment paper in between them when stacking for storage.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2015/01/28/no-bake-chewy-granola-protein-bars/
No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a huge animal-product consumer. The protein powder I used in these bars was introduced to me by a BTone client—Healthy Skoop is plant-based, and I’m really liking it! I admittedly don’t supplement my diet very often, but when I do make a morning smoothie or a recipe like this, the vanilla Healthy Skoop has been great. If you want to try it out, you can use the code PUMPS15 to get 15% off any purchase through 2/28/15 (excludes the super sampler).No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars

Do you use plant-based protein powder or stick to whey? What’s your go-to brand? How about protein bars—what brands do you like?

Hope all you Northeast readers are staying warm and enjoyed the snow day yesterday!

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20-Minute Lower Body HIIT Workout + Burpee Challenge

Lower-Body HIIT Workout with a Burpee ChallengeThis is another workout that I (clearly) shot a few weeks ago–DEFINITELY not wearing a tank top outside today as we’re about to get a massive snowstorm. But speaking of that tank, I got it at the Shore Store where MTV’s Jersey Shore cast would work each summer. When I saw the shop, I just had to go in and buy something. I had to! Snooki used to work there—c’mon!

I know, I’m so basic.

20-Minute Lower Body HIIT Workout + Burpee Challenge

Equipment I Used:

Before and after the HIIT circuit, you’ll do a 60-second burpee challenge. Count how many burpees you can do in 1 minute and write the number down. When you repeat the challenge after completing the HIIT circuit, try to match or beat that rep number. It’s much harder after you’ve tired yourself out with 20 minutes of HIIT—that’s where the challenge comes in.

For the HIIT circuit, set an interval timer for 20 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. Lower-Body HIIT Workout with a Burpee Challenge

BURPEE CHALLENGE/ROUND 1 – Do as many burpees as possible in 60 seconds.

  • Burpees: Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top. If you want to add in a push up at the bottom, go for it!

HIIT CIRCUIT

  • Surrenders (leading with the right): Start standing with feet hip’s distance apart holding weights in each hand, arms straight overhead. Your hands will stay up like this the entire time. Step your right foot back behind you, planting the ball of the foot on the floor as you bend your knees, lunging down until the right knee rests on the ground. Both knees should be at opposing 90-degree angles. Step your left foot back to meet the right so that you’re kneeling on the ground. Step your right foot forward so that you’re in the same position as before, just with the opposite foot in front. Press off that front right foot as you stand up and bring the back left foot to meet the right in your starting standing position. It sounds more confusing than it is—you essentially just go from standing to kneeling to standing, leading with your right foot the whole time.
  • Surrenders (leading with the left)
  • Jumping Jack Squats: Think of a standard jumping jack, except every time you jump your feet out wide, you bend your knees and sink down into a deep squat. So one part jump squat, one part jumping jack. Hold a set of weights at your chest as you do these.
  • Side Lunge Hops (right): Hold a weight in your left hand. From a standing position, step your right foot out wide to the side (both feet still face front), bending the right knee and lunging down to bring your left hand across the body down to the floor by your right foot. Next, push off that right foot to bring yourself back up to standing, and as you do, drive the right knee up towards your chest and hop up into the air on the left foot. As you land, send that right foot immediately back out wide, sinking into your next lunge.
  • Side Lunge Hops (left)

BURPEE CHALLENGE/ROUND 21 – Do as many burpees as possible in 60 seconds.

Beat your reps from round 1.

In the pictures, I’m holding a pair of 8-lb hand weights because I forgot to bring the ones I actually used. To clarify, I actually used 15-lb weights for the surrenders and went a little lighter with 10-lb weights for the jumping jack squats and side lunge hops. Adjust according to your fitness level! If you’re a beginner, you don’t need to use hand weights at all.

I love tacking on little challenges and races to workouts like this beat-your-previous-score burpee blast. It’s especially fun in a group fitness setting! I’ve done this one with my Tone ‘N Torch class at Btone a few times, and I think (if I’m remembering correctly), the record is 22 burpees in the 60 seconds. Leave a comment with your score if you beat that!

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