Maya Fit Girl

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How to Create A Home Gym Under $100 March 24, 2015

Filed under: Exercise,Fitness — Maya Fit Girl @ 10:05 am
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Having kids, a home to manage, a job to go to and countless other things to do on a daily basis, may be just the reason to keep us from going to the gym. So why not make your own gym at home with very inexpensive equipment?

Start with a yoga mat.  Not only can you do yoga on it, but it’s also good for any exercise movements or stretches which may require you to have some type of padding or non-slip surface. Starting at about $10, this is a great investment.

Since a rack of dumbbells costs at least $300, having resistance bands are great alternatives. With resistance bands, you can do just about any type of strength training exercise, which would normally require heavy weights — chest presses, rows, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, bicep curls, squats, and more! And all starting at the low, low price of $9.95.

This next piece of equipment is the most expensive, but can be utilized for many things. The adjustable weight bench can be used for chest exercises, tricep dips, step up movements, inclined or declined movements, ab work, and lots more.  Starting at $50, you will definitely get your money’s worth after the first use.

Ready for a good cardio workout? Stroll down memory lane and pick up a jump rope.  With the ability to help you burn over 100 calories in only 10 minutes, this small piece of equipment will be one of your best kept secrets. Starting at $6, it’s a steal!

Now throw in a few workout DVDs and you’re well under $100 for a perfectly equipped home gym.  There’s nothing like saving money and saving time, all while staying within the comforts of home.  Have fun!

Be sure to check out the Fit Girl by Maya website for recipes, videos, workouts, apparel and more!

 

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How to Eat Healthy at Fast Food Restaurants September 29, 2014

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[As originally contributed to ThisFitsMe.com on 8/12/14]

We all have been through the scenario where we are pressed for time, we don’t have our prepared meals with us, running errands has taken longer than usual, and our stomach is starting to sound like a grizzly bear. We are down to our last resort—the fast food drive thru.

Here are a few healthy ways to navigate the fast food menu at various restaurants:

Subway

  • Six inch veggie sandwich on the 9 grain whole wheat with spinach and not regular lettuce, it packs more fiber and the essential vitamins needed to reenergize you. Season with a little oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Oven Roasted Chicken salad or the Double Chicken Chopped Salad has everything you need to fill you up without the guilt. You can choose all the veggies you want and add chopped chicken breast. Remember to choose spinach as your leafy green and oil and vinegar as your dressing.

Chik-Fil-A

  • Chik-Fil-A has just added Grilled Chicken Sandwich to their menu. I love that it’s on a multi-grain bun and is seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper. Sea salt is a better salt option than table salt because it is an all-natural mineral while table salt is heavily processed and contains additives.
  • The Grilled Market Salad is another one of their grilled chicken options, packed full of protein and tons of veggies, including Romaine lettuce and baby greens. The red, and green apples, strawberries, and blueberries adds the sweetness and natural sugars you need to replenish body with energy. I would suggest having this salad before noon to give you plenty of time to burn off the extra sugar.

Wendy’s

  • Try the Grilled Chicken Wrap (found on the value menu), but remove the tortilla and ask for a side of sliced apples. Both will give you the fuel you need to keep going until you get home for your next meal.
  • The Ultimate Chicken Grill sandwich can be eaten open-faced (with only one slice of bread) or with no bread at all. Ask for it without the honey mustard, which cuts the fat intake in half.

For your beverage at any fast food restaurant, choose water, unsweetened iced tea, black coffee or hot tea (no sugar). Don’t ruin your progress with sugar-filled drinks. They don’t quench your thirst and they are bad for you — diet cola, or not.

Although making your own food is the best option, you don’t have to starve or deny yourself food just because you think you don’t have options while out of the house. It is better to eat the healthy options from fast food restaurants, than to skip a meal. Just keep in mind that you can remove or order your food without the condiments or things that would be considered unhealthy.

Take your health in your own hands. You are in control, so make the right decisions that will help you reach your health and fitness goals.

 

Spring Chicken… and Spinach Salad May 10, 2014

I love a good, hearty salad. For some reason, fresh spinach salads taste best in the spring and summer time. Let’s try my favorite, filled with protein, fiber, and yummy goodness.

 

Ingredients

 6 oz chicken breast

3 cups of baby spinach

½ diced granny smith apple

¼ cup dried cranberries (not craisins)

1 tbs Feta cheese

2 tbs balsamic vinaigrette

 

Prepare chicken breast- baked or grilled in extra virgin olive oil. Put to the side. Place 3 cups of spinach in a bowl or plate. Add apple, cranberries, and Feta cheese.  Place chicken breast on top and add vinaigrette.  Enjoy!

Your vegetarian alternatives for this meal are to swap out the chicken breast for Lightlife Smart Strips Chick’n and the Feta cheese for a great tofu recipe here.

 

Suggested seasonings- fresh garlic, Mrs. Dash seasoning, lemon pepper, and sea salt

In case you missed it, click here and check out this, and my other yummy recipes in the April issue of “Health, Hair & Happiness.”

 

 

It All Starts In The Kitchen April 7, 2014

Maya gymIf you have been thinking about getting healthy and fit and don’t know where to start, try starting in the kitchen. Living healthy does not mean starving yourself, in fact, you should be eating more. Not just eating more, but having meals that are well-balanced and full of the good things our body needs to function. If you haven’t noticed, your body doesn’t function well on greasy foods, sugary beverages, and fatty snacks. Before you even begin to think about starting on a regular exercise plan, let’s get your meals together. In order to ready your mind for this new way of thinking of food, first you must use positive language. First, never use the word “diet.” That word is all of the rest of the four letter words…To continue reading, click here to view my article in the April issue of “Health, Hair & Happiness” on page 9 and 10. Be sure to check out all of the other articles in the magazine from some amazing women in this issue!

 

Tasty Thursday- Cheat Meal Options February 6, 2014

Currently, I am on a special meal plan that changes every four weeks.  It is very specific to my weight and fitness goals.  Because I am training for two upcoming fitness competitions, one being a Nationals event, I have to really stick to my meal plan in order to achieve the physique needed for me to place and/or win.  So, a cheat meal for me may look like a regular meal for you.

My coach has allowed me to have one cheat meal (not cheat day) per week, preferably on Saturdays.  Most of the time I take advantage of this luxury and try to stick to the cheat meal options that are given to me.  But if I had my way, I’d like to have the below scrumptious coconut shrimp I found on my new fave blog, So Small So Strong  and also have a side of homemade sweet potato fries I found on Muffin Topless’ website.dsc_1917

Recipe: Makes 2 servings

Preheat your over to 450 °F and line a baking sheet with foil. Be sure to coat with nonstick cooking spray.

20 – medium sized shrimp

1/4 cup coconut flour  + 1/4 cup all purpose flour – Mixed together in a shallow bowl or plate  (*you can also use just AP)

1 egg +1 egg white – Beaten into a bowl

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs + 1/4 unsweetened coconut and 1 + 1/2 TB – xylitol or sugar substitute – Combine in shallow bowl or plate

1/4 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon black pepper – Add to Panko Mixture

Take your 3 bowls/plates and prepare the DIPPING STATION! Take each shrimp and first coat in flour mixture. Next dip coated shrimp into egg and finally gently coat both sides with panko breading. Lay flat on your baking sheet and look at how adorable they are!

My little secret is that I use my toaster oven instead of my big oven. I do this with a bunch of recipes, especially when cooking just for 2. Pop these shrimp into the oven for about 12- 15 minutes until pink and crispy. I love using the broil setting for the last 3 minutes to get some extra color. But that’s totally up to you.

Let the shrimp cool for about 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and ENJOY!

I served it up with some Walden Farms Sesame Ginger Dressing, mixed with just a bit of honey. You can purchase Thai Chili sauce or any dipping sauce you like!

And now for the fries!!

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INGREDIENTS:

2 Large Yams

1/4 Cup Liquid Egg Whites (or 2 Egg Whites)

1 Tsp Chili Powder

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Tsp Oregano

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

 DIRECTIONS:

Pre-Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop yams or sweet potatoes into classic French fry shapes. Try to keep them an even thickness or they won’t cook properly (i.e. make sure some aren’t super thick while others are slender).

Mix spices in a small bowl. Put uncooked yam/sweet potato into a large bowl and add the egg whites. Toss the yam/sweet potato until it is coated in egg white.

Next, sprinkle the mixed spices on top and toss until all fries are lightly coated with spices.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and spread the fries out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes (keep an eye on them so you don’t over bake).

Flip the fries and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until they reach a desired consistency (less time = softer fries, more time = crispier fries). If you like them really crispy, turn your oven to broil for a few minutes after the full 35 minute cook time is up.

Keep an eye on them though so they don’t burn! Serve warm and enjoy!

As an added bonus to make these two dishes complete, I would make my own dipping sauce for my sweet potato fries. I combine a pat of melted butter, 1 tbs of brown sugar and a swirl of honey in a small sauce bowl. This make for a sweet a delicious dip for those tasty potato sticks 🙂  To have ketchup with these would be a crime, if you ask me.

What are some of your favorite cheat meals? Please share.

Follow me on Twitter @maya_fitgirl

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Tasty Thursday- 3 Awesome Smoothies January 23, 2014

This week, I’ve been in the mood for some smoothies that are not only tasty, but also healthy and quick to make. It’s good to experiment with different recipes so that you don’t get bored. Just like with the yummy oatmeal recipes I posted last week, these smoothies are sure to please.

Before you being making your smoothie, take a look at these tips from RealSimple.com on how to make the best smoothies.

ss_R117006 (2)Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 cup of unsweetened soy milk, skim milk, or coconut milk

1 medium banana

1 tbs all-natural peanut butter

1 scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

5-6 ice cubes

Put milk, banana, peanut butter, protein, and ice cubes into blender (I like to put in everything in that order). Blend well until texture is smooth.

Enjoy!green smoothie

Banana Pineapple Green Smoothie

1 cup of water or unsweetened soy milk

1 cup of Greek yogurt- adds extra protein

3 handfuls of spinach- Don’t worry you won’t taste it!

1 cup of pineapples (frozen or fresh)- I like to use frozen so my smoothie has a thicker texture

1 medium banana

1 scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

5-6 ice cubes

Don’t be afraid of having spinach in your smoothie. Check out the health benefits of spinach by clicking here.

Put the water or milk in the blender and add the Greek yogurt, spinach, pineapples, banana, and protein (in that order). Blend well until texture is smooth.

Soooo good!

This next one is my fave! If you love peanut butter and honey as much as I do, this will be your favorite too!

pb smooth

Banana Nuts ‘n Honey Smoothie

1 cup of skim or unsweetened soy milk

1 medium banana

2 tbs honey

2 tbs all-natural peanut butter

1 scoop vanilla protein (optional)

5-6 ice cubes

Pour the milk in the blender and add the banana, honey, peanut butter, protein, and ice (you guessed it…in that order!). Blend until texture is smooth.

Get ready for an awesome slice of peanut butter heaven!

Remember, it’s good to experiment, so if you want to have different kinds of milks, add another fruit, or replace any of the above items with something you’d like to try, go for it! Your food doesn’t have to be boring. Boredom could lead to getting off track and consuming things that are not good for you more often than you eating healthy.

Try not to think of eating healthy as a diet (the dreaded four letter word) of restriction, but rather a lifestyle with many tasty options.

What are some great smoothie recipes you’d like to recommend? I’d love to try some.

Follow me on Twitter @maya_fitgirl

Follow @maya_fitgirl

(Photo Sources: Fitness Magazine.com and Yummly.com)

 

Meal Prep 101 January 10, 2014

I hope you are still on track with your fitness goals as we end the first full week of the new year. One great way to stay on track is to have your meals prepared in advance. This prevents those last minute trips to the drive-thru, which can derail the commitment you made to yourself to eat healthy.

With the weekend approaching, this would be a great time to share with you how I prepare my meals for the week. If you don’t already have a meal plan prepared for you, take some time to research and determine what meals you will be eating for the week or month based upon your fitness goals, and then start your grocery list. If you are having trouble determining the right foods to incorporate into your plan, I have listed a few resources at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, you can do some research on your own by reviewing fitness magazines, website, blogs, etc.

Here are the four steps to successful meal prep:

1. Plan

In order to stick to a meal plan, well… it actually has to be planned. So, once your menu is created and  you have everything you need from the grocery store, it is time to prep. Helpful hint- It is best to buy most of your items, especially meats, in bulk. I will explain why at the end.

I usually do my grocery shopping on a Saturday and prep on Sunday, so that the prep process occurs before the work week begins. Be sure to set aside at least two hours for your weekly meal prep time. To begin, I set out everything I need and refer to my list to make sure I don’t miss anything.

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2. Cook

First, I start with the meats. This month, chicken breast, lean ground beef, tilapia, and ground turkey are the meats on my plan.  For the chicken breast, I put a package (five pounds) of chicken breast in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours with 2 1/2- 3 cups of water. Before I put the chicken in, I wipe the inside down with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) so that it will be easy to clean once it is done. You have the option of adding seasoning.

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Next, I pre-heat my oven at 350 degrees for the remaining meats and asparagus.  I put one package (five pounds) of lean ground beef in an aluminum foil lined meatloaf dish and poke holes in the meat with my fingers to ensure it cooks all the way through. I do the same for the ground turkey. For the tilapia and asparagus, I line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the fish side by side on two cookie sheets and one layer of asparagus  on another two cookie sheets.

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Just like the chicken breast, seasoning your meat is optional. If I were using seasoning, I would sprinkle some Mrs. Dash on the beef and turkey and drizzle EVOO on the tilapia and asparagus, along with a pinch of sea salt. As I am training, seasoning (except for sea salt), has been eliminated from my meal plan. Seasoning tends to increase my appetite and I don’t want to start snacking between meals with Nationals coming up.

The beef and turkey will cook for about an hour and a half (drain the liquid from both at about the 45 minute mark) and the asparagus will cook for about 15 minutes. Once the asparagus is done (tender), I put the tilapia in to cook for about 20 minutes (until white all the way through).

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Once everything has been cooked, I begin the separation and storage process.

3. Separation/Storage

While the chicken is still hot, the water is drained from the crock pot and shredded with a fork. To shred, stab the breasts and twist. Continue the stab and twist motion until most of the chicken is shredded, then go through the chicken with comb-like motions with the fork to completely shred all of the chicken. Shredded chicken is easier to work with than whole breasts when weighing for individual meals and when frozen.

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Once the ground beef and turkey are done and cools off a bit, I slice the meat with the spatula into loaf-like pieces. I slice them into loaves to make it easy to divide into the meals and easy to break off when frozen.

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Then, I eyeball how much meat I will need for the next three days and place that amount in a plastic container and set aside. Then, I put the remaining meat in freezer bags. Because there is so much chicken, I put it in three separate freezer bags and separate the bag in half by splitting it down the middle through the top of the bag, as shown below. This saves freezer bags and also means that I don’t have to defrost a whole bag of chicken, which will ultimately go bad. By creating the separation in the bag, I can remove a smaller amount from the bag without defrosting the whole thing.

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As you can see, buying in bulk not only saves meal prep time (I will have enough meat for at least 2-3 weeks), but it also saves money. The key is making sure you freeze what you don’t need.

4. Three Day Meal Prep

I lay out nine plastic containers (three columns of three containers) and begin to prepare enough meals for three days at work, which means that I will have three individually prepared meals for work. I distribute each food item in their respective container with each column of containers representing the same meal.

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The remaining two meals for my day will be stored in the fridge. The food for meals after Wednesday will be stored in the freezer until Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I will prepare meals for the remainder of the work week.

Helpful hints

With the exception of asparagus and sometimes spinach, I buy my veggies frozen and in bulk. This saves money, cutting and chopping time. With frozen veggies, I never have to worry about them going bad. Also, I know that they were frozen at the peak of their freshness.

I also buy most of my fruit frozen and in bulk for the same reasons as above. The blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, and pineapples I use can be purchased all year round and cheaper than fresh fruit, most of the time. I especially like to buy frozen fruit for use in my smoothies because it makes the smoothie thicker just like ice does.

Check out my previous post on how I prepare and store bananas.

I did not mention the other items that I had prepared in advance:

Chopped two sweet potatoes and stored in a plastic container in the fridge (do not freeze as it will turn black and rot)

Chopped two zucchinis and stored them in a plastic container in the fridge. I usually buy these frozen, but I was unable to find them at my grocery store this particular day.

As promised, here are a few resources you can use in planning out what you will have on your meal plan:

BodyBuilding.com

Muffin-Topless.com

Shape.com

You can also sign up to join the team I’m on- Team Bombshell! They have programs for both competitors and non-competitors just looking to get fit.  There’s a fun fitness camp coming up in a few weeks. Click here for more information.

Stay tuned for healthy meal and snack ideas!

 

 

“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.”- Bobby Knight

What are some ways you prepare you meals for the week?

**Disclaimer- Remember to consult your physician before starting any meal or exercise plan.

Follow me on Twitter @maya_fitgirl
Follow @maya_fitgirl

 

 
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