Workouts, Strawberries and a Positive Body Image

Another week, another workout!  Yesterday I had the day off for the US Independence Day.  In preparation of a few extra drinks I crafted a high-intensity full-body workout.  I was really happy with this one and felt it was pretty well-balanced.  It was also the first time I tried doing double kettlebell step-ups and I was surprised how much the 50lbs slowed me down.  It was a great exercise for legs, abs and balance; probably my favorite and the hardest of the whole workout.  Want to give it a try?

7/4/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest.  I used 25lb kettlebells and a 20lb free-weight for the ab twists.

  Buy-In: 1 min high knees
  1. Sumo Jumps
  2. Double KB step-ups
  3. KB Lunge-Row
  4. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  5. Pull-Ups
  6. Weighted Seated Ab Twists 
  7. Hanging leg-lifts
  Buy-Out: 1 min high knees
 
After that brutal workout (especially in the 90ºF weather we were having) I was ready for a reward.  I found this amazing recipe for vegan, gluten free, grain free strawberry icebox pie.  I grabbed two pints of local strawberries and gave it a go!  I added some raw chocolate to the crust but other than that I used the recipe as written, it is so delicious!  And so healthy!  You have to try it:
Image
 
I was really inspired by this blog post from Marianne at myomytv.com.  As someone who follows both her and Zuzka’s workouts it was interesting to see both in the same forum.  I didn’t agree with all of Marianne’s points but I absolutely loved her sentiments about improving our bodies:
 
What do you LOVE? While achieving your strength goals, focus on what you love, not what you want to fix.”
 
THIS.  Thisthisthis.  I’ve mentioned before that I gained respect for exercise late in life, while attending school for Massage Therapy.  I spent my childhood trying to feign illnesses to get out of gym class, and saying “I only run if someone’s chasing me.”  
 
While I dabbled in sports in school, overall I had a very negative view of them.  When I look at the reason for that it really came down to my values not seeming to fit in with the values being thrown on my in gym and on teams.  For one thing, I never understood why people get so brutally invested in sporting events.  I’m all for having fun and rooting for a team, but I can’t connect with the devastation feel when “my” team doesn’t win and how even when a team does win the reaction can be expressed by rioting.  I also don’t understand the amount of corruption in sports with athletes drugging themselves up, dramatically altering their diets to either gain or lose weight, and the perpetuated idea that if you don’t win you’re worthless.  There seems to be a lot of shaming and negative reinforcement in our athletic fields.  I could write a whole entry on this but this is not what’s really goading me right now.  This is about body image.
 
The other issue that really bothers me in the athletic arena is the idea that people should exercise to lose weight, gain muscle, look like that trainer they’ve been ogling over, and basically that they have to change their body to fit some universal image of what “in shape” looks like.  Now let me say right now, I’m not dissing the idea of exercising to lose weight or gain muscle, but I don’t think it should be the predominant driving factor.  I believe that if we all took a more positive approach to diet and exercise as lifestyle choices that there would be higher success rates.
 
I work out and eat right because I love how it makes me feel.  I love the increase in energy.  I love feeling strong and flexible.  I love seeing my body change in ways I didn’t know it could.  It’s also AWESOME that weight loss and more muscle mass comes along with that but if I looked at those two as the defining factors of what makes me fit then I’d always be disappointed.
Image
 
Zuzka is gorgeous.  But, if my goal was to look like Zuzka, I would be fighting an uphill battle that I can’t win. I heard a story on VPR recently that discussed a research study done with about 100 women.  They were asked to record their daily diet in a notebook.  Half were given a notebook with a slender woman on the cover and on each page, the other half were given a notebook with just a tape-measure on the cover and each page.  The women given the notebook with the tape-measure lost weight on average.  The women with the notebook with the slender woman GAINED weight on average.  The group conducting the research study said that the women who gained weight just gave up when they realized they could never look like the slender woman.  It actually caused them to over-eat.  Body-shaming does not work.
 
I will never look like Zuzka.  I frankly don’t have the bone structure for it, let alone the genetics to get my body fat percentage that low without working out 5-6 hours per day.  And you know what?  That’s totally ok!!  I look like ME and the more I work out the more I get to discover how my body feels when it’s strong.  I get to explore what I look like when I’m in shape and I get to push my own limits to see what I can physically do.  
 
The line that I’m sure all of you have heard before is Love Your Body.  That’s really it.  If you love your body then you’re going to want to keep it in shape.  You’re going to want to exercise.  You’re going to want to eat right.  LOVE YOUR BODY.  No one else will ever look just like you.  You have the privilege of exploring what your body can do when it’s well taken care of.
 
We all have an inner critic and I know it can be really hard to see past that.  But remember you have a choice.  It doesn’t have to be hard.  It can be really easy.  And it’s a choice you can continue to make.  Did you decide to have a Philly cheesesteak and now you feel like crap?  That’s ok, you can make a different choice tomorrow.  Did you skip your workout for a day?  A week?  A month?  THAT’S OK, because you can choose to work out RIGHT NOW. 😉  
 
Just do me a favor and don’t let your main motivation to be out of shame.  If you work you for YOU there’s a good chance You WILL lose weight and you WILL gain muscle but the bigger point is feeling good in your own skin and letting the pride that you take in yourself be your motivator.  If you truly want to get out of the cycle of working out for a few months and then giving up for the next six months then you need to get past the “90-Day Challenges” and the quick-fix instant-gratification crash courses and really think about the positive effects eating well and exercising have on your body.  Love your body and you won’t have to think about short-term goals, you will find yourself in a healthy long-lasting fitness routine not because society is telling you that’s what you should want, but because that’s what YOU want.
Advertisements

Day 55, 4950 Burpees, 31 Miles, PIZZA TIME!!

Wow, I’m already 10 days past the half-way point of my 90 day challenge!  That is awesome!!  I’m definitely feeling stronger and am seeing more definition in my muscles.  I have a lot more energy.  I can also admit that even though burpees still shoot my heart rate way up and cause me to lose my breath, I can do them faster and I’m recovering quicker between sets.  It definitely helps that I’m doing the ZCUT workouts on top of burpees and running because Zuzka really pushes me both in cardio and strength.  I basically had to learn to recover quickly or I couldn’t make it through her workouts.

Today’s entry is primarily about FOOD.  I’m continuing to find new recipes, along with surprising myself with safe finds from the grocery store.  I’ve even managed to go out to eat a couple times and haven’t had a problem finding foods I can eat (as long as I go to a decent place).  For example, the other night I had a tuna steak with sides of kale and broccoli, no dairy, gluten or any of the other allergens I’m avoiding.  I’ve also done well ordering spinach salads with salmon or grilled chicken and sushi has been pretty safe as long as I’m careful (speaking of which, if you like sushi check out Food Babe’s article on Sushi Secrets).  I just have to ask a few more questions before ordering but most places can accommodate my diet with only minimal substitutions.

The one junk food I really love is pizza.  I’ve struggled to make a really delicious gluten free, dairy free pizza.  Well, I think I finally found a winner and I’m excited to share it with you!  First, I have to talk about Socca (or Farinata).  An old friend recently posted a recipe for this grain-free chickpea unleavened bread.  I tried it that night and found it was an AWESOME side-dish to my dinner:

Image

Gluten/Corn free breaded chicken, steamed baby spinach and socca

 

I did have to tweak the recipe because that day my local grocer was out of garbanzo bean flour.  So the picture above is NOT grain free.  Here’s what I did instead:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (top ingredient is chickpea flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, minced
  • 1 cup lukewarm filtered water

The directions are identical to the original recipe, but I’ll post them here for convenience:

1. Heat oven to 450ºF. Put a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch pizza pan or cast-iron skillet in oven. Sift flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper; then slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours (I tried leaving it both 30 mins and 6 hours, negligible difference). Batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream.

2. Stir all herbs, onion and garlic into batter. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into heated pan, and swirl to cover pan evenly. Pour in batter, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until pancake is firm and edges set. Heat broiler, and brush top of socca with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry.

3. Set socca a few inches away from broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to brown it spottily. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot, or at least warm.

It was SO FREAKING GOOD that a few days later I found actual garbanzo bean flour and, following the same recipe above I used it to make this gluten free, dairy free, grain free (Paleo friendly) pizza:

Image

Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-friendly pizza!

This was amazing.  The one thing I’ll say is that using the garbanzo bean flour, while healthier, it definitely tasted more like falafel and less like pizza crust.  Next time I may switch back to the Gluten Free Flour since I’m not outright avoiding grains (just gluten, corn and oats).  However, BOTH bread recipes held up beautifully and the chickpea flour had no trouble holding the heaping pile of toppings I piled on it.

Speaking of toppings, here’s what I used:

  • Sugar-free pasta sauce (I need to learn to make my own pizza sauce)
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Crumbled local bacon
  • Small amounts of Daiya mozzarella and pepperjack*

*A note on using Daiya “cheeses”, be very careful not to use too much.  It’s a great cheese substitute because it melts well and gives a cheesy flavor, BUT if you use the same amount of Daiya that you’d use with traditional cheese you might find that it melts together and has the consistency and taste of mayonnaise.  I find the mozzarella particularly has this issue, and as a result it’s not my favorite Daiya cheese.

So go wild and have some healthy pizza!  I’d love to hear your variations on this recipe and other ideas!