Tag Archives: protein

Starting NROLW Stage 7 and a Zing bar review

My weekend the good:  Beautiful weather Saturday and celebrated a friends birthday with champagne with hibiscus syrup (a must-try if you like champagne!), vodka, the first night of the seaon on a rooftop bar, and a late-night diner stop that may have involved a gyro platter.

My weekend the bad:  It took me 2.5 hours to drive into NYC due to traffic, a guy spilled a drink on my head when I was out (I actually think he did it on purpose, no idea why, but no I did not punch him in the face or kick him in the balls), and Sunday I was so tired from being out late the night before that I got nothing done except for going to a bridal shower.

All in all, a good weekend, I have to enjoy my free weekends right now when I have them because I have a bunch of weekends over the next couple of months where I’m going to have to work.  No fun.  The good thing about that is that it is way easier for me to stay on track eating-wise if I’m not going out and drinking vodka and going to diners. 🙂

Today I was back to my New Rules of Lifting for Women workouts.  My lifting days last week were actually NROLW workouts but they were Stage 6 workouts which are short and not too difficult.  Stage 6 is an optional stage which focuses on working up to be able to do an unassisted chin-up.  Well I’m happy to say I can now do one unassisted chin-up!!! I will be telling the story (including pictures!) on how/when I figured out I could do this when I finally do an LA vacation re-cap post.  I promise this will be coming soon.

Because I can do an unassisted chin-up and right now I prefer to have really challenging workouts because hello summer is right around the corner, I’m skipping right to Stage 7.

That leads me to today’s workout.   Well I wanted a really hard workout and boy did I get it.  This was one of those workouts that I didn’t think would be that hard, but it was extremely tough.  Here’s how it went:

NROLW Stage 7 Workout 1

Barbell squat-3 sets 8, 1st set 95 pounds, 2nd and 3rd 115 pounds

Alternating sets (with 30 second rests between sets)

Static lunge, rear foot elevated- 4 sets 15, 30 pounds

Push-up-4 sets 20

Barbell Romanian deadlift-4 sets 20, 50 pounds

Dumbbell bent-over row-4 sets 15, 50 pounds

That’s it.  I thought I was going to do a bit of cardio afterward but I couldn’t.  I was so shaky and slightly nauseous that I called it quits.  30 seconds of rest in between sets was killer, I barely caught my breath again once it was time for the next exercise.  After doing the 4 exercises through I had to rest a good minute/minute and a half before I could start the sequence again.  Whew.

I realized, especially after doing this workout and Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones DVD, that I have to start working again on my muscle endurance.  I guess my body has gotten used to lifting heavier but with less reps but is totally not used to doing higher rep work.  I’m OK with this since I LOVE heavy (for me) lifting but I don’t want to feel like a total wimp when I do a higher rep workout.  Hopefully by the time I finish this stage I will be able to finish the workout without feeling like I’m going to die.

Since I was feeling so shaky I had a couple of bites of an almond blueberry Zing bar on the car ride home.  I picked this up while I was in California and wish I bought more flavors to try.  I’d been wanting to try them and I can’t get them around here so was excited when I found a place in LA that carries them.  I have been looking for a bar similar to a Lara bar or Raw Revolution bar which I love,  being wheat free and made with natural ingredients, but with a bit more protein.  The almond blueberry flavor has 11 grams of protein, which isn’t as much as your typical protein bar, but still more than a Lara bar.  The bar had a very sweet almond biscotti flavor but I could not really taste any blueberry.  I would love to try the other flavors so I hope a store around here carries them soon.  I may have to make a request at the health-food store I go to.

I hope this post isn’t totally boring since it has no pictures, I really need to start getting better with that!  I desperately need a new camera AND a new computer, hopefully I will be able to get them soon.

Q’s:  Do you eat nutrition/protein bars and if so what are your favorites? I love the peanut butter & jelly Lara bars and chocolate hazelnut Raw Revolution bars but because they are high-calorie but low protein I don’t eat them as regularly as I’d like to.

Have you ever had such a hard workout that you got sick? Once a couple of years ago when I had a personal trainer at the end of the workout I threw up, but made it to the bathroom thank God!


Welcome Spring!

And allergies, UGH.  Not to be a downer because I’ll take this gorgeous 70 degree weather with allergies over the hurricane-like rain of last weekend or the snow and cold of the few weekends before that any day!

I had full intentions to post last night but the Benadryl I took kicked in before I got a chance to.  I was at my wit’s end yesterday with what I suspect is a combo of allergies and my never-ending sinus issues so I stopped by the store to pick up Benadryl to hopefully stop some of the itching and inflammation and just make me sleep for awhile.  It worked and I feel a bit better today.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of this week’s workouts (2 days spin and 2 days lifting) because I was feeling so crappy that my lifting days were just not all that great.  I’m hoping that I’ll be back to my normal self on Monday and be ready to really lift some heavy weights!

So onto some food.

I’m enjoying my usual weekend breakfast of quinoa flakes with my usual combo of half banana cooked in/half scoop vanilla protein powder/tbsp. ground flax/cinnamon/almond butter, but this time topped it with some shredded coconut.

the almond butter is hiding on the bottom, getting all melty

The coconut was a yummy addition.  While I really love quinoa flakes something about it being so warm today and eating the warm quinoa just seemed off.  I think I need to find a summer weekend breakfast.  Not sure what that will be yet.  Last year it was always scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and Ezekiel toast, but since I’m not eating eggs or wheat regularly right now I’ll have to be creative.

Last night I was in the mood for some Mexican and I had some avocado that I wanted to use up.  I didn’t have any packaged taco seasoning and I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of taco seasoning packets anyway so found a recipe that I tweaked slightly based on the spices I had on hand.

The original taco seasoning recipe  can be found here.

I cooked up some ground turkey with some chopped onion and red pepper and then added 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, sprinkling salt and pepper.  I doubled the amount of crushed red pepper flakes because I didn’t have the chili powder the recipe called for and it was spicy!  A little too spicy so I probably wouldn’t add that much next time.  I topped this with some reduced fat cheddar, a dallop of Greek yogurt, and chopped avocado.

Greek yogurt disguised as sour cream

This was really good and really easy, just the way I like it!  This was my first time using Greek yogurt as sour cream and I thought I was going to hate it but I was pleasantly surprised.  I don’t think it tasted exactly like sour cream but it added a nice amount of creaminess.

I had this along with a salad tossed with olive oil and white balsamic and chopped onion, chopped red peppers, sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, and of course a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  This is one of my favorite salad combos and think I will be making it a lot more now that the weather is getting warmer.  There’s something about nice weather that makes me want salad.

I swear there are peppers in there

I hadn’t used white balsamic in awhile because I had run out and kept forgetting to get more.  This is by far my favorite vinegar to use for salads.  It’s not as tart as regular balsamic and just has a really nice flavor.

welcome back into my life

I realize the flavors of the salad don’t necessarily go with the flavors of the turkey taco bowl but I don’t mind.  I actually do that all the time, although I’m sure some people would think that’s weird.

Later on I decided to make a protein cake.  I’ve tried (and failed) in the past to make microwaved protein cakes/muffins and they never really came out all that good, but April’s always delicious looking protein concoctions inspired me to start experimenting again.

I noticed that when you leave out the egg the cake doesn’t really stick together in one piece and comes out more like a crumble, so that’s been what I’ve been having.  That’s OK because while I may not look pretty it still tastes good.  However last night I left out the egg again and it did stay in one piece this time.  Not sure why this happened but it did.

in one piece!

This was half a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. ground flax, cinnamon, and just enough milk to make it wet.  Cooked for 40 seconds and topped with raspberry jam and almond butter.  While this one stuck together it was also really dry.  So the experiments will continue!  At least these are coming out edible.  I did receive a tip from someone who told me that if you use a mix of whey and casein protein powder instead of just straight whey it will come out way better.  Sometime in the near future I plan on getting my hands on some!

Some questions!  Do you eat random food combinations or do your main dish and side dishes always go together? I eat random combos all the time.

Do you eat different foods depending on the time of year? For the most part I eat a lot of the same stuff but I find I want salad more when it’s warm out.

Snow day!

Finally!  A storm that was not on a weekend!  I think it’s safe to say I’m snowed in.

snow day!

There’s only about 6 inches on the ground right now but it started to snow again and we could get up to another foot!  Luckily my job sent out an alert last night that we would be closed today so I could go to bed without wondering if I was going to have work or not.

I figure now is a good time to post about some of the food I’ve been eating lately.  I’m not good at daily food posting like a lot of bloggers are!  For breakfast today (and my newest fave breakfast) was quinoa flakes with half banana cooked in with ground flax seeds/quarter scoop vanilla protein powder/cinnamon/almond butter.  Yes almond butter instead of peanut butter.  I’m doing a little experiment this week and eliminating peanuts to see if they affect my sinus issues.  They were one of the foods that my food allergy testing showed I was mildy allergic too but my Dr. said you would just know if you had a nut allergy.  I figure I’ll try eliminating them just to make sure.  My first taste of almond butter the other day left me less than impressed but it’s growing on me-sorta like the quinoa flakes did!  That happens to me a lot so I try to give foods a shot even if I don’t LOVE it at first.  And oddly enough this taste kind of like cashews to me.

cashews are you hiding in there?

That this almond butter is sweetened with organic unrefined cane sugar but with 3g per 2 tablespoons is that so bad?  I don’t know if I will ever like un-sweetened nut butters but I’m not going to make myself crazy over it.

I just had some lunch and it was a Jennie-O Lean Savory Seasoned turkey burger and healthified creamed spinach.  The turkey burgers are a total lifesaver sometimes and what I consider a convenience food.  Sometimes I want/need some protein as part of a meal but don’t really feel like making something.  OK maybe this is more like a lot of the time. These turkey burgers are actually really good because they are already seasoned and I just eat them with a bit of ketchup, no bun required.  They’re also great to “cook” ahead of time and eat cold (which is what I did today) and because of this are good to bring to work for lunch.  With 160 calories, 0g carbs, and 18 grams of protein I think they are a great find.

find them in your grocer's freezer

Now onto the healthified creamed spinach.  For this I tweaked a recipe that someone posted on a fitness board and I’ve been eating it a lot lately because it’s so good yet so easy.

For this you will need:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      about a 1/8 of an onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (the garlic is a good addition but I’ve also made it without and it’s still yummy)

2-3 cups frozen spinach

2 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges


parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

First I saute the onion and garlic in some cooking spray while defrosting the spinach in the microwave.

onions and garlic, my favorite

Once the onions are translucent I add the thawed spinach, Laughing cow wedges, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese (I like at least a tablespoon) and a little bit of milk.

mixing everything up

I just add a little bit of milk at a time to make a creamy consistency, you do not need a lot.  Then just sort of chop up the Laughing cow to break it up into smaller pieces so it will melt and mix everything together.  Add more milk if it looks too dry.  It’s not actually going to look that creamy but don’t worry it will taste creamy.

the final product

This makes 2 side dish servings or one large serving.


I know that turkey burger doesn’t look too appetizing there but trust me it is!  That was half the spinach, but don’t be fooled, I then went back and ate the rest because I was still hungry.

must have been good!

Even my mother who is not a fan of a lot of the stuff I try out really likes this so give it a try!

Quinoa banana nut protein pancakes

This post actually has some pictures I took in it!  I’m awful at uploading pictures which is why my posts are a little sparse with the pictures.  I’ll try to work on that. To give you an idea-I took these pictures and uploaded with all my pictures from Christmas!  I’m only a little over a month late 🙂  Here’s some Christmas doggie cuteness for ya!

Brutus and Rizzo

Brutus in his pj's checking out his gifts

Doesn’t it look like Rizzo is hugging Brutus in that pic?  And yes I sometimes torture my dog by dressing him up.  Mostly just on holidays though 🙂

Now onto the pancakes.  I started experimenting with using quinoa instead of oats for my protein pancakes.  I found out recently that I’m mildly allergic to oats, among other things, so am eliminating from my diet for now.  Not quite sure yet if oats contribute to my sinus issues, so until I figure that out for sure I won’t be eating oats.

I decided to do a banana nut pancake because these are one my my favorites.  Topped with peanut butter….yummmm…but the thing I like about these is that they are also good plain.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                    half cup quinoa flakes                                                                                                                                                                                                    half cup cottage cheese                                                                                                                                                                                              one scoop vanilla protein powder                                                                                                                                                                         half a ripe banana                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/4 teaspoon baking powder                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 cup almond milk (or your milk of choice)                                                                                                                                                      1 ounce chopped walnuts (optional)                                                                                                                                                         cinnamon to taste

Blend ingredients until smooth and cook like you would regular pancakes.  I use canola oil cooking spray.  I got 7 pancakes from this batch.  Nutrition stats per pancake are: 98.5 calories, 3.5 g fat, 8.9 g carb, 7.4 g protein. If you want to keep calories lower you can eliminate the walnuts which added and additional 185 calories, it’s up to you.  The nutrition facts are based on the exact products I used, so yours may differ.  I also am not 100% sure that my quinoa stats are accurate.  I used half a cup of quinoa flakes and the nutrition stats on the box are for 1/3 cup…I’m no mathematician and after about 15 minutes of being confused I think I accurately figured out the half cup stats.  I’m almost embarassed to admit this.  I think I need a fraction refresher course, it’s been a minute since I’ve been in school!

The final product:

These came out really good.  Better than my first attempt.  The first time I made quinoa protein pancakes I did a batch without the banana and walnuts for a plainer pancake.  These were good but only with toppings, I wasn’t crazy about them plain.  I also tried a batch with blueberries and for some reason those did not work at all. They weren’t really cooking and were sticking to the pan horribly.  I’ll have to train the blueberry ones again because I like blueberry pancakes a lot.

The banana pancakes are delicious as they are but even better topped with some peanut butter.  I LOVE the combo of bananas and peanut butter.  Even better bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate!  (I may have to try chocolate protein powder or cocoa powder to make chocolate banana pancakes)  Since I don’t have any PB & co. dark chocolate dreams (which I love and purposely am not buying because I will want to eat the whole jar in one sitting) I had to settle for just peanut butter.  My peanut butter of choice lately…

Confession-I do not like natural peanut butter.  I LOVE good ‘ol Skippy (super chunk to be exact) but am using this in an attempt to get more acquainted with natural peanut butter.  This isn’t as sweet as Skippy but is still a bit sweet  due to the evaporated cane juice and molasses.  Baby steps right?

What is your favorite brand of peanut butter?  Or any type of nut butter?

I still want to try almond butter and cashew butter.  For peanut butter I love Skippy super chunk and PB & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams.

Last workout stage 4 of The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Yesterday morning I was listening to the radio and a female DJ was talking about how she took 3 spin classes in the past week and she gained 4 pounds.  She insisted her eating had been the same yet she gained 4 pounds and “OMG can this be from spinning I don’t want that and I don’t want HUGE MUSCLES LIKE A MAN!!!”  Sigh.  If 3 spin classes in one week caused this girl to gain 4 pounds of muscle in her legs than I think you would start seeing some bodybuilders in spin classes.  And why are so many woman so scared of building some muscle!?!?!  The thing I love about reading some people’s blogs is that it helps spread the word in de-bunking all these fitness myths that have been spread around and so many women live by. A couple of years ago I would have never tried squats heavier than a couple of small-ish dumbbells, never mind using a squat rack, but I’ve learned so much just from other people’s advice and pointing me in the right direction in what to read both in books and online.

Yesterday’s workout just so happened to be  a 45 minute spin class.  I love spinning because it forces me to do intense cardio and it’s a lot more fun than doing cardio on my own.  I am not a huge cardio fan so spinning really helps me get the cardio in!  Yesterday’s protein intake was 114 grams.  A little under what it should be but still pretty good.  I think I made up for it with todays intake which was 160 grams!  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that high yet!

Today’s workout:  NROLW Stage 4, workout B4

Wide-grip deadlift -3 sets of 8, 1st set 115 pounds, 2nd and 3rd 125 pounds

Alternating sets

Bulgarian split squat- 3 sets 8, 50 pounds

Underhand-grip lat pulldown-3 sets 8, 90 pounds

Alternating sets

Reverse lunge from box with forward reach-3 sets 8, 15 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell prone Cuban snatch-3 sets 8, 12 pound dumbbells

Alternating sets

Swiss ball crunch-3 sets 10, 25 pound plate

Reverse crunch-3 sets 10

Oblique crunches on stability ball-3 sets 8

Own set-prone cobra-3 times,1st held 100 seconds, 2nd and 3rd 70 second

Reverse flies on stability ball-3 sets 8, 10 pound dumbbells  (Note-this is not part of the NROLW workout)

90 seconds rest between each set, except for the ab stuff I usually do the 3 exercises in a row and then rest and repeat.

Then it was 15 minutes HIIT:

3 minute warm-up at level 1 then 2.  Intervals were one minute at level 5, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 6, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 7, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 8, 2 minutes recovery level 1.

The lifting part of this workout was great but by the time I got to the HIIT portion my legs felt like lead.  It was a grueling 15 minutes and I’m not sure my sprint sections were fast enough to be considered true sprints.  I may have to reconsider taking spin class on my days between lifting, especially now that the lifting workouts are just getting harder.  The plan is to spin again tomorrow but I will play that by ear considering the way my legs felt today!

I didn’t up my weights much in this stage, I pretty much did the same weight for each exercise the entire stage because it was still THAT that challening.  I upped the deadlift weight 10 pounds in the 2nd two sets (from 115-125) in the last two workouts.  Today’s workout I upped the underhand-grip lat pulldown from 85 to 90 and the dumbbell prone Cuban snatch from 10 to 12 and boy did those 2 and 5 pounds make a difference!  It’s amazing how upping the weight in one exercise then makes the following exercises harder as well, without upping those weights also.  I also realized today that I had been doing an incorrect ab exercise in the ab series.  I was supposed to be doing a lateral flexion move which I did do today when I realized my mistake.  What I was doing was a hip flexion movement (pikes on a stability ball).  Don’t know how I didn’t realize tat until today MY LAST DAY OF THIS STAGE.

This was my LAST workout in Stage 4, next up Stage 5!

Raining dogs and dogs

I love coming home to my dog Brutus, I do not love coming home to pee on my bed.

The culprit:

the guilty party

How can I stay mad at that!??!!?  Not possible.

To be fair he rarely does this, this is probably maybe the 2nd or 3rd time in the 2 years I’ve had him. It’s been raining pretty much all day here and he HATES the rain.  My dog-sitter (aka mom) said he would not go out for a long time.  Well we know where he peed!  My sheets and blankets are in the wash now AGAIN, since I just washed everything YESTERDAY.  I only have one set of sheets so I have to wash/dry them before I can go to bed.  Note to self: buy more sheets.

I’m now snacking on Greek yogurt (Chobani 0%) with my new favorite toppings-shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, and honey.  YUM.  I actually like the 2% way better but the individual size 0% ones were on sale for $0.77 (!!!) so I got those.  What I really need to do is take a ride to Trader Joe’s and stock up on their Greek yogurt which is way more budget-friendly than the Chobani when it’s not on sale.

Some other eats today included quinoa protein pancakes, chicken breaded with cornflake crumbs, grapefruit, mixed greens with some black bean/avocado, Smart food cheddar popcorn, string cheese, more of the same chicken, roasted cauliflower, and roasted yams with apples.  According to fitday.com I’m at 137.8 grams of protein for today.  Not bad.

Today’s workout: NROLW Stage 4, workout A4

Front squat/push press-3 sets 8, 50 pounds  (I did these as ass to grass or “ATG” squats)

Alternating sets

Step-ups-3 sets 8, 50 pounds

Dumbbell one-point row-3 sets 8, 30 pound dumbbells

Alternating sets

Static lunge, rear foot elevated-3 sets 8, 50 pounds

Push-up-3 sets 8  (did these as “T” push ups)

Alternating sets

Planks-3 sets, 1st held for 70 seconds, 2nd and 3rd held for 60 seconds  (I’m supposed to hold for 120 seconds but have not yet been able to do that yet.  In previous stages I could hold for up to 120 seconds but have not been able to do that in this stage.   I’m assuming its because this stage is harder and my muscles are more worn out by the time I get to these.)

Horizontal wood chop-3 sets 8, 10 pounds, done on stability ball

That is the end of the new rules workout but I did a bit more on my own.  I then did 3 sets of 10 bent over reverse flies with 10 pound plates.  This is technically against the “rules” of the program but I’m finding that I’m not getting as much rear delt/tricep definition as I would like.  I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or if it will all show up in the end but I think adding one more exercise won’t hurt.

Last but not least and also not part of the NROLW workout- 20 minutes on the elliptical set on the gluteal/high incline setting.  3 minutes at levels 1, 2, 3,  followed by a steady climb at one minute each at levels 8, 9, 10, 11, then 2 minutes level 3, another steady climb one minute each levels 8, 9, 10, 11, another 2 minutes level 3, finishing with 4 minutes levels 9, 10, 11, 12.

Whew.  That was a tough workout but I felt great afterwards.  I will admit I was contemplating not lifting today and just doing some cardio because I still don’t feel all sinusy but I told myself if I started and didn’t feel good like Saturday I would stop and just do some cardio.  But I felt pretty good once I started and got into the “workout zone” right away today.  Plus if I didn’t lift today it would mess up my schedule for the week and I would only get 2 days of lifting in instead of 3.  So yay me for today!

Something is radically wrong with me

This is exactly what I thought to myself when I realized I forgot to pack pants in my gym bag today.  Then I started cracking up to myself because I haven’t used the description “radically wrong” since I used to use the word SIKE on a regular basis.  Of course this all happened in my head yet I was still laughing out loud.

But yes I forgot gym pants.  At least I realized this before I went into the gym.  It somehow popped into my head while I was still in my car…this feeling just overcame me to check my bag because I didn’t think I had pants…and I was right.  One time I went into the gym and completely changed only to realize I didn’t have sneakers with me!  So I had to change back into my work clothes because I couldn’t leave the gym wearing gym clothes and 4 inch heels!  AND last summer I forgot socks one day and also left the gym because I could not fathom working out without wearing socks.  I did it once and promised myself NEVER AGAIN because it was so gross.

I think these were all the instances I’ve ever had to leave because of forgetting something!  I’m just sooo not a morning person and should really pack my gym bag at night and not in the morning while I am still half asleep and trying to get ready for work.

I plan on making up for it with a hardcore workout tomorrow.  Full body weights (NROLW Stage 4 workout A3 and HIIT which is already part of that workout-more on that later).

I’ll share what I’m having for dinner because it’s one of the few dinners I make, and it’s easy, and delicious.  I’m trying to add more dishes to my repertoire…some work out and some don’t.  It’s a turkey zucchini skillet and the recipe can be found here:


I follow the recipe loosely and use a whole package of ground turkey or chicken (it’s usually 1.3 pounds which is not 19 ounces like I originally thought but 20.8…can you tell I suck at math?), I also use a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh, and add a fresh, chopped red peper and basil.  I’m not too precise with the measurements, I just eyeball the spices pretty much and it still comes out good.  Maybe eyeballing things is why my food doesn’t come out so good?!  Hmmm…
Like I said I love this because it’s super simple and delicious but also packed with protein and a nice serving of veggies.  Plus anything that can be cooked in one pan is great in my book.  I don’t even put it over spaghetti squash, just top it with parmesan cheese and I’m good to go.  The parmesan cheese is the icing on the cake on the dish so I highly recommend adding that!  I of course love adding parmesan cheese to a lot of things so I may be biased.