#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 3 & 4

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Hey, girl, hey! And happy Monday! What an oxymoron, right?! It’s so hard to believe we are already at the end of January! I feel like I just got back into my classroom and this semester is already flying by. For all my teacher friends in a tested grade, you know that’s both a good and bad thing! 😉 Anyway, I’ve got a TIU Challenge update for you, so maybe that will help glaze over some of the Monday blues.

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Tone It Up Challenge

This challenge is already 2/3 complete! With only two weeks left, it, like January has felt like it’s flown by. In the last two weeks, I’ve made some tweaks to the suggested training schedule, which I’ll address. But let’s get to the recap, Instagram round-up/life lately style!

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded Jillian Michaels’ new app because I’d been hearing her talk all about it on her podcast! I went through the steps of being matched with an appropriate program and it put me with her Advanced Bikini Body program. I got in a great 30-minute total body workout!

 

 

A photo posted by Jessica (@teacherfit.jess) on

The next day, I took the first steps in meeting some of my 2017 goals by registering for the 2017 runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon! When I started looking into long distance running for myself, a runDisney experience was at the top of my list (duh). I also had an old blog friend who wrote about her Wine & Dine half years ago and ever since then I’ve wanted to do that race in particular. Since it’s held during the annual food and wine festival, I knew this race would be one of the easiest to convince my husband to tag along to! When he said, “yes,” I had my credit card in hand and hit refresh as soon as the registration opened. I am so excited to start training and planning a Disney trip!

 

 

A photo posted by Jessica (@teacherfit.jess) on

Since I signed up for the race, I started looking into submitting my proof of time. I need to run in at least a 10K by August, and the only one in my area is in March! I signed up and pretty much jumped right into an expedited version of 10K training. I decided to do a Couch to 10K/Hal Higdon hybrid. Because of this, I haven’t been able to follow the Tone It Up weekly schedule exactly as its prescribed. I always feel a little bit of guilt, like I’m not really “doing the challenge” if I stray off on my own. That’s so silly and something I’m overcoming. Part of practicing balance is doing what’s right for ME and MY BODY. Right now — and probably until the 10K has wrapped — that means three runs a week with two days of total body strength and one day of stretch and strength (yoga/pilates/PiYo). I’m still adding in Tone It Up workouts, and I’m loving this one for sure.

 

 

A photo posted by Jessica (@teacherfit.jess) on

Nutritionally, I’ve been doing SO much better, even than the first two weeks of the challenge. This past week I started tracking my food, as well as my macros, and I’m down three pounds! Hahaha, that’s a sure sign that I needed to get that part in check. 😉

Anyway, I’m still loving this challenge and looking forward to the final two weeks. More than anything, the Tone It Up community is so inspiring and that’s part of what keeps me going. Click here to see for yourself!

 

 

A photo posted by Jessica (@teacherfit.jess) on

If you enjoyed this post, check out Best Workout DVDs When You’re Pressed for Time or How to Wake Up Early to Workout!

 

To read my recap of weeks 1 and 2, click here!

Follow along on Instagram by clicking here!

A Ridiculously Easy Snack Idea

Today, I have an easy, healthy snack idea for you! In fact, it’s so ridiculously easy, it can’t really be called a recipe. It’s more just a combination of foods. But in my experience, those random combinations sometimes make the best snacks!

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easy-healthy-snack

I threw this together a few weeks ago when I was in the mood for a single serving snack and it hit the spot.

Ingredients:

1 rice cake (the flavor I used was apple cinnamon)
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 c. blueberries
2 sliced strawberries

Spread peanut peanut on the rice cake and top with blueberries and sliced strawberries. Easy as that! Happy snacking. 🙂

The combination of the berries with the peanut butter give this snack an old school “PB&J” feel, but the rice cake keeps it low in calories. I guess you could call it the grown up’s peanut butter and jelly. 😉

Easy, healthy snack idea

What have you been snacking on lately?

How to Workout With Asthma

Asthma: nature’s cruel joke. Trying to workout with asthma? Nature’s even crueler joke! Am I right? (We both know I am.) Trust me, asthma is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’ve been where you are, I AM where you are, I will be where you are tomorrow, next month, and five years from now.

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How to Workout When You Have Asthma

I have had asthma for as long as I can remember. I brought my inhaler and spacer to kindergarten with me where it lived on my teacher’s desk until after recess or PE when I would most surely need a puff. However, I’ve also been active for most of my life. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and made mud pies and rode horses with my brother, played youth league sports as a youngster, and was a cheerleader and basketball player in junior high and high school. Track and cross country running is where I drew the line because my asthma was always a limitation. To me, this is funny because I’ve ran more miles, done more sprinting, and jumped higher/broader than I ever did as a teenager. In 2014 I successfully trained for and completed a half marathon — something even my most athletic peers from high school have yet to attempt.

How to Workout with Asthma

So what changed? How did I discover how to workout with asthma, and generally just enjoy life more? I did not “grow out” of my asthma, as many people tend to do. As I see it, two major things shifted in my adult life. I began to “know my body”, which definitely includes my chest and lungs, and I learned to work with my asthma, rather than against it.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. What follows are simply strategies that have worked for me throughout the last 28 years.

ESTABLISH A REGIMEN

This makes all the difference. Modern medicine is a great thing and has made great strides. I have a group of daily prescribed medications I take, as well as some OTC meds to supplement my routine. A lot of my asthma is allergy related (yay, Texas!), so I take a daily Zyrtec to help control my year-round allergies, as well as maintain my asthma. I take these medications regardless of whether it’s a workout day or a rest day, so this routine not only helps me workout with asthma, but make it through life with less attacks.

TAKE IT SLOW

As with any routine, it may not be smart go all-in right away. I used to feel so much shame for taking walk breaks during running, or extending my rest time between sets. This issue was as much mental for me as it was physical. Once I stopped shaming myself for taking the breaks my body needed, I was able to build up the endurance necessary to complete the activities I set out to tackle. When I started running, I used the Couch-to-5K program and I think the built in walk breaks provided not only helped me build up my running endurance, but helped me build up my asthmatic endurance. Remember, there is no shame in giving your body the rest it needs.

How to Workout with Asthma

TAKE A PUFF BEFORE STARTING YOUR ACTIVITY

This doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. If you start to struggle shortly after beginning your activity, try taking a puff of your emergency inhaler before starting your workout. This can sometimes help to head off symptoms before they start.

WHEN AN ATTACK HITS, TAKE YOUR TIME GETTING BACK INTO THINGS

I mentioned that a lot of my asthma symptoms are allergy related. This can mean that I struggle more at different parts of the year than others, especially depending on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing! If my allergies are exceptionally irritated, or if I’ve been suffering from a cold, it might mean taking an extra rest day. That’s something I still struggle with, but I know it’s better to take the time my body needs to heal than to stop every five minutes to catch my breath or use my inhaler.

FIND AN ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY

Whether you play pick-up basketball (like my brother, who is also asthmatic!), run miles upon miles, or gargle your heart in crossfit, finding a workout you enjoy is important. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to seek out ways to overcome your obstacles. My turning point was finding group fitness! I loved the classes I was attending and I never wanted to stop participating!

Do you have asthma? Do you have other health issues making fitness difficult? How do you overcome those obstacles?

 


I’m linking this post up for Wild Workout Wednesday with Fitful Focus and Fit Foodie Mama! (I can’t get the link-up button to show up, so links will have to do. Wah wah!)

Bi-Weekly Briefing | #2

Welcome back to Bi-Weekly Briefing! This is a round up of all the exciting (to me 😉 ) things going on at I Am Teacher Fit and other locations around the internet! Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a few minutes. We’ve got some catching up to do!

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bi-weekly-briefing

Before we get into the roundup, I have a couple of “thoughts on blogging” I want to share. In the month since I’ve been blogging again, I’ve realized a few things almost immediately. Blogging has changed SO MUCH. When I blogged in the past, it was all about connecting with other bloggers and cultivating a community. That doesn’t seem to be the case so much anymore. In my old days of blogging, I could link up a couple of days a week and always count on comments and engagement (even it that was just “blogging etiquette”). Now, the comments are few and far between, even though the page views are the same. Why is that? Just the changing trends, I guess.

Anyway, if you are reading, I would love to see your comments and engage with you! If you are not a commenter, I would be so happy if you engaged by sharing my posts or following my platforms. Now… Onto the roundup. ♥

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Some of my favorite blog posts from the last few days include Stephanie’s book recommendations list, tips for making the most of your nighttime workout by Fruition Fitness, and my old blog friend, Rachel, talking about her new sweet pup! 🙂 Also, my real life BFF, fellow teacher, and blogger, Kirstie, posted a fantastic blog about 7 Ways to Prepare for Maternity Leave! New mama teachers, check that one out for sure!

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I shared one of my go-to smoothie recipes that is super quick, easy, and of course, so yummy! It’s perfect for busy mornings with no time to sit down for breakfast.

post workout smoothie

As a card carrying member of the #5amclub, I shared my tips for waking up early for a morning workout! If you are thinking of starting up a morning workout regimen, check this one out.

how to wake up early to work out

Last Friday, I discussed work-life balance — as a teacher! Work-life balance is important in any profession, but coming from a different profession into teaching, I can see how out of balance it can be! With my word of the year being balance, I’m trying extra hard to get some practice in for 2017.

work-life balance

I reviewed the first two weeks of the Tone It Up #LookForLove Challenge! It’s been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next three weeks!

Tone It Up Challenge

Earlier this week, I linked up with Nicole at Fitful Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday and shared some of my favorite workout DVDs when short on time! Check this post out if you are needing some quick options on a busy day!

The Best Workout DVDs When You're Pressed for Time

Yesterday, I told y’all I got a spiralizer attachment for Christmas. Of course, I tacked a recipe onto it as well. 😉 Zucchini noodles are quickly becoming a staple in our house and I cannot wait to try out more recipes!

Zucchini Noodles with the Spiralizer

Well, there’s the round-up for the last couple of weeks! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and come back on Monday for some riveting conversion on fitness and asthma. 😉 (Fun stuff, I know!)

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Don’t forget! You can also follow along in any of the following locations:

Bloglovin // Instagram // Pinterest // Facebook

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Zucchini Noodle Chicken Parmesan

All right, y’all. I’ve got a recipe for you today. It features zucchini noodles made with the spiralizer! We received a spiralizer attachment for our mixer for Christmas and I’ve used  it no less than twice a week since then. Zucchini, sweet potatoes, potatoes — I’m spiralizing it all! So here it is, my recipe for zucchini noodle chicken parmesan!

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Zucchini Noodle Chicken Parmesan

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make zucchini noodles with the spiralizer. I’ve been having so much fun thinking up new dishes, and replacing pasta in some of our favorites. If you are familiar with the Tone It Up nutrition plan, you know they recommend to limit starches after your midday meal. This dish is a great way to still have “pasta” without all the carbs packed into traditional pasta. And since the chicken is breaded in quinoa flour, this meal is approved for your Meal 5 on the TIU plan! 😉

 

Ingredients: 

2 chicken breasts, 4-6 oz.
1 c. quinoa flour
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, whisked
1 c. pasta sauce
2 medium zucchini
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese
Salt, pepper, & granulated garlic to taste

Steps:

For the chicken: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix quinoa flour, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese
Dip chicken breast in egg, followed by quinoa flour mixture and arrange on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking oil
Bake chicken breast for 30 minutes, or until cooked through

For the zucchini noodles: 

Spiralize zucchini into noodle form
In a skillet over medium-high heat, combine zucchini noodles with olive oil, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic
Cook until noodles are soft and heated through
Plate zucchini noodles and top with chicken breast, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese — enjoy IMMEDIATELY! 🙂

My husband will eat just about anything, but he’s very picky when it comes to “healthy” food. In other words, he won’t really eat it. This dish, however, he devoured and went back for seconds. 🙂

Do you have a spiralizer? What new recipes are you cooking up in your kitchen?

I’m linking this post up for Food Friday with Sweet Nothings! Pop over to check out some other great recipes and foodie posts!