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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How-to: Safe Squats

Squatting is an exercise that, if done right, can do amazing things for your body. It can increase your muscle strength relatively quickly, get your heart in shape (aka it is cardio-based), & increase your body’s fat burning skills to keep ya hungry. Squats are perfect for any fitness goal…. I may be slightly biased because I love squats, but not really because full body exercises (like squats) are thebomb.com. 

Squatting is primarily a leg/booty exercise, but there’s much more to it!

Quads: The general motion of a squat requires your quads to control your knee extension. The upward motion means these muscles push your body back to the start position.

Hamstrings: Your hamstrings help your quads with hip extension while doing squats. The stronger/more flexible your hamstrings are, the deeper you can get in your squat! More work is required from the hamstrings when you’re able to lower your upper thigh below parallel to the floor. 

Core: You rely significantly on your core muscles (front & back) while performing this exercise. Using your core muscles to keep your upper body in a stable position throughout the up & down motions strengthens your back & abdomen. It’s also superb for your posture!

Upper Back/Shoulders: These muscle groups are utilized more when weight is added. However, with or without weights, your back & shoulders are engaged when you perform a squat. That means they’re working & getting stronger with every rep!

When you’re getting started, the most important thing is squatting safely. I chose this exercise as my first how-to because personally I did them wrong for quite some time…I had poor form, which I currently feel in my knees if my squats get sloppy. Hopefully you can avoid that because it’s not much fun. Squats are also one of three ~power lifts~ that utilize most of your body & help you gain strength. 

Here is a little visual of how to properly squat. No fancy editing or backdrops, just a girl & her squats 🙂 

I did this without weights (body weight squats) so you can see where my legs are going in relation to my ankles/toes, my back positioning, & basically just unobstructed form.

****I do not attempt to be visually appealing while working out, nor do I claim to be visually appealing****

Start Position: Place your feet shoulder-width apart (or wider if that feels better). If your hips/hamstrings are tight, you may want to turn your feet out slightly. Keep your back in a neutral upright position with your chest open.   

 
  

End Position: You want your upper thighs to be parallel (or close to parallel) with the floor. Your knees should be in line with your ankles, not going beyond your toes. 

 

After one squat, your backside will grow to never-before-seen proportions!!!! WOW, just ONE squat!?!1?!1? 

  
YES! ONE squat! *plus the leg of a friend to create optical illusion of size*

So, there you have it- a fool proof guide to squats! (jk) But adding squats to your regular exercise routine is definitely a good starting point for building strength & power. You’ll find that there are infinite variations, all working your muscles in slightly different ways. Have fun with your workouts, get creative! 

Always remember to practice safe squats 😉