Almond Chocolate Blondies

I’ve decided to step up my baking game. & my gains game.. To accomplish both, I’m on a mission to incorporate more high-protein baked goods into my life. So here’s my first round of ~protein baking~ that doesn’t involve pancakes!!

*if you are allergic to almonds, this is not the post for you… almonds galore here, people*

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (or whatever flavor you see fit)
  • 2/3 cup crushed almonds
  • 2/3 cup cashews
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 whole eggs

Steps to Awesomeness:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350, line your baking pan/try of choice with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the coconut oil until it’s soft, or complete liquid.. I did the latter.
  3. Combine melted coconut oil with almond butter & mix away! Simultaneously (not rlly) whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Add the eggs and agave to your butter bowl. 
  5. Add almonds to the mix & fold them in until the consistency becomes thicker. Now’s your time to add protein powder if you so choose!
  6. Chop up your chocolate & cashews, mix them into your batter. Now would be a good time to add any additional fillings if you wish to. If the mixture seems too dry, pour a splash of almond milk in.   
  7. Pour your deliciousness into your baking vehicle (???) & set the oven timer to 20 mins. You may need to check them after this time & make sure the middle isn’t still totally raw.
  8. ENJOI!!!! …..once they have cooled down

  
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Macros: 

  • 260 calories
  • 20g fat- 5g saturated, 2g polyunsaturated, 5g monounsaturated
  • 12g carbs- 4g fiber, 5g sugar
  • 10g protein
  • + iron, vitamin B, vitamin E, copper, ribo~flavin~, & LOADS of other vitamins & minerals


     

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It’s Okay to Ask for Help

A few days ago I decided to attempt to squat 205lbs… 

How is this relevant to asking for help? 

Well, I had just squatted a personal best of 195 the day before, along with a lengthy set of deadlifts. My body (especially the lower end) was tired. I’d never broken 200lbs before. But I thought I was ready. 

I did one slow, slightly painful rep. I got back up from under 205 lbs! 😀 

Of course that wasn’t enough…

I stepped up to the bar ready for round two. Stared at myself in the mirror for a while, contemplated if the song I chose was the right song, stared some more… 

I was going to do this. 

‘Not so fast there, pal!’ my brain screeched…. Ok, maybe I’m not going to do this. 

I was offered a spot & hestitantly accepted the offer. Before I even started to squat this person noticed a form issue I had (I wasn’t squaring off my feet) & pointed it out… I fixed my form according to the advice I was given & got myself ready to start (again).

I got all the way parallel, started to come back up, & before I got 3/4 of the way- I panicked. I felt myself inching back down…the opposite of where I needed to go.. So. I called on the help that was there to support me. It was kind of awkward & I felt like I had failed. 

Those negative feelings quickly went away once I realized how hilarious it was that I panicked even though I knew someone was right there to catch me. I didn’t fail. I tried something new; I reached a new one-rep max & I let someone help me when I tried to take it further.

That’s the point of accepting other people’s help- none of us can do everything on our own. We need the support of others at certain moments in our life. Whether that support comes in the weight room, at work, in the grocery store, when a crisis hits; whether it comes from a close friend, or from a complete stranger…it’s never a bad thing to embrace!

There is always going to be someone to help you. You never have to panic about impending doom or failure.

Enjoy the journey my friends. & remember to let a little help in from time to time 🙂

P.S.- I wrote this post at night while trying to sleep & it relieved a significant amount of anxiety that had built up in my mind/body. Not sure why.. Maybe it has something to do with allowing all of you to help me release my thoughts?? 

Start Your New Year’s Resolution NOW

The new year is a crazy time. The world of fitness & health gets more frustrating than usual- filled with people jumping into new fitness routines, people who vowed to make this year their year

We’re all guilty of this ‘new year, new me’ mindset. We start making promises to ourselves to change all of the things we didn’t like about the previous year. We tell ourselves this year will be different- we’ll get in shape, we’ll run that marathon, we’ll finally try those healthy recipes that have been bookmarked for months..

Why do we need the number at the end of today’s date to change to allow ourselves to be better? What is the purpose of waiting? Maybe it helps us put off our own health without feeling guilty, because ‘once January comes around things will be different’…’the new year is when I’ll get serious about working out’. 

Here’s my advice to you (& myself): START NOW!!!

Start researching. There’s a wealth of information for anyone new to the world of fitness & health & wellness. Here are some of my favorite user-friendly places to search:

  • BodyBuilding.com Sooooo many free workout plans, informative articles, exercise how-tos, & even supplements! This is literally how I built my lifting knowledge-base. 
  • Fitness Blender I just discovered these guys. Their YouTube channel has a plethora of at-home workouts that range from interval cardio to weight training.
  • Bad Yogi Official Erin Motz is a seasoned yogi who totally gets that most people who do yoga are not experts… She has lots of free classes that make you feel good about your imperfect practice 🙂

It’s going to take some time before you find a fitness regime you really enjoy. It’s going to take even more time before your hard work is gratified with visible results.

Experiment with different types of exercise. Figure out the different things you’d like to try now.

Make small changes each day so you don’t shock your system & give up when it gets too difficult too fast. 

Get a jump start on your 2016 goals!! Have fun, try new things, & never give up on yourself! 

I hope you all have a wonderfully funky final week of 2015. 

~peace & all good~

Power Circuit

You don’t have much time. 

Your motivation to workout isn’t exactly where you hoped it’d be. 

Your period cramps are starting to kick in. 

You have things to do, people to see- the gym isn’t your only obligation.

Whatever the reason is, you need a quick & effective workout. You came to the right place!

I needed a lift that wasn’t too labor-intensive…but I wanted to sweat & feel the burn in all of my muscles. I made up a circuit workout that let me take care of those needs, but still get of the gym to do the things I had planned for the day.

All you need for this workout is a barbell & some plates (or various dumbbells) & about 20 minutes. In just 3 moves you’ll use almost every muscle in your  body, build muscle strength, & get your sweat on 🙂

*I did about 15 mins on the treadmill (walking) to warm myself up before lifting. For a video of this workout, check out my Insta: @leedle_g*

Hang Clean ~ Hang cleans are sort of a deadlift variation… Accessory work HANN. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance & your hands shoulder-distance on the bar. 
  • Bend at the waist with the bar just below your knees. Keep your back straight, stick your butt out, keep your knees loosey-goosey. 
  • Spin around 3 times. [HA! Don’t spin around, just making sure you’re paying attention.] 
  • Now, pull the bar up along your legs into a forearm curl. Move the bar back down in a controlled way.

You just worked your whole front & back body. Yay muscles!!

Bent-Over Row ~ Bent-over rows use your upper back to pull the weight ~against gravity~

  • Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-distance. Bend at the waist with your knees loosey-goosey again. 
  • Keep your chest loud & proud! 
  • Pull the bar up by bending your elbows & squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the bar back to start.

Military Press ~ Military press primarily works your shoulders & back. Everyone loves to work on their shoulder aesthetic. Back aesthetics are pretty lit too. Not to mention-you get stronger, you can hold weight over your head…it’s a terrific accessory lift.

  • Start with the bar parallel to your shoulders, either in front or in back of your head. 
  • Put your hands shoulder-distance or wider on the bar. 
  • Push the bar up using the power of your legs. Trust yourself! You got this, you can hold yourself & the weight of that bar. 
  • Slowly bring the bar back down to your shoulders. 

You’re using your shoulders, chest, upper back, & even your legs to successfully move weight through this lift!!

~ Repeat each lift 8-12 times (heavier weight, lower reps..lighter weight, higher reps) & complete the circuit for 4-6 rounds. Circuit workouts like this are great for strong, fat-burning, time restricted gym sessions. Your muscles get confused, they work during each lift, & your ticker (heart) gets a run for its money. This particular circuit also involves 3 compound moves; this means you’re utilizing multiple muscles to perform each lift. Efficiency at its best!

I went with a barbell circuit for this workout for multiple reasons. I’ve been working on my deadlifts…which means I’ve been working on my entire body’s strength & endurance. I’ve adopted some CrossFit-esque lifts (as you can see from this workout) in my efforts to add plates to my deadlift. That means more barbell-based lifts. More hang cleans, more overhead presses, more compound lifts. More sweat, more gains, more pain, more food, more sleep… Yeaaa…

Give this workout a try! You’ll feel strong, productive, & all-in-all like a badass.

Happy lifting, my friends!