Core De Force Time

#FIGHTFORIT

Laughter is the best medicine! And this morning I was laughing, A LOT!

I chose to do this program for two reasons. #1 It’s only 30 days and #2 it’s not something I’m comfortable doing as a workout. I can do anything for 30 days even if it’s really awkward.

I’ve tried a couple different MMA style workouts and my coordination is terrible, definitely not my cup of tea… I don’t have weight to loose, actually I’m happy with my body right now but that doesn’t mean I should stop here. A friend once told me that perfection was impossible, not so much with fitness but with character and she told me she felt bad if I felt I had to live that way. I took that as a challenge, I mean, who doesn’t want to be the best they can be? The work may be hard but it feels good to master something. There will always be things I will try to grow, stamina, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination are things that will help me as I continue to age. That means I need to keep pushing, keep striving for a healthier me and trying new things.

Day 1 Core De Force

Day 1

Today’s workout was MMA Speed, there was a 7 minute video to help teach you the moves before you get started. I’m grateful for that because I needed all the help I could get.

The workout was broken down into a warm up, 6 rounds of kicking booty and then a short cool down. I really liked how each round consisted of the cross, hook or knee movement and then had a speed type drill which varied from fast jabs, jumping, burpees and a couple other movements that I could do with out feeling like I needed to be on pace with the crew. You did each set twice before moving onto the next round. Oh almost forgot you get a small break between rounds too!

I have a feeling this month is going to go by quickly because Joel and Jericho are a fun pair to listen to. Between the sound effects and the whity banter, I’m feeling right at home!

#sweatieselfie No picture means it didn’t happen!

Mind Over Matter

Every month this year I have been focused on reading a book to grow my mindset. Last month was all about pushing my intensity and not making excuses, the pain of the workout is temporary. This month I am reading The Motivation Manifesto, from what I can tell so far, it’s about conquering fears, staying motivated and enjoying the freedom that comes with it. I think this is going to be a good one because posting videos of myself trying to be a ninja master, is proving to be scary!

If you are interested in the book, let me know, I have a link that you can order it for free and all you have to pay for is shipping. Plus you get a 12 week online course to follow too.

Looking For Some Extra Accountability?

Even if you feel like you’re going to be the left footed kid in the room, I promise, we all are a little left footed! Every month we run a support group, logging our workouts and sharing about our struggles and victories, nothing but positive support from us.

Try Core De Force this month with a 30 day supply of Shakeology, and then finish out the next 11 months trying all of the other amazing workout programs Beachbody has to offer. It’s a steal of a deal at $160, the special pricing is only for a limited time. Click the link below to get started!

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Insanity: Month 2

It took 10 weeks and a day, but it is finished!

This was a HARD month. Not just because the workouts were hard but because I took a couple rough emotional hits, along with getting sick for a week. I was a little bummed out at first because I worked really hard with my workouts but didn’t put my all into nutrition until the last couple of weeks. After month 1, the game plan was to fight to eat healthy and see amazing results. All in all though, I have to remember I FINISHED! It has been at least 4 years, if not 5 since I purchased and failed this program time and again. So I am proud that even though I wasn’t perfect, part of the journey is learning where your weaknesses lie and continuing to fight for growth. #onedayatatime #celebratesmallvictories

I’m writing this month out a little differently because it was a different kind of month. I want you to understand the struggles I had, I want to show you why I might not have gotten the results I anticipated. Bare with me.

February 4, 2017:

Today I lost one of my grandpa’s to cancer. Today put in perspective how important taking care of my health now is for better health later. Today made me realize how important my Coaching job is because not only do I get to help one person get healthier, I get the chance at the compounding effect of helping their family get healthier and even possibly preventing a disease that will keep their loved ones around even longer and with a better quality of life too. Tomorrow, I will push play because I know that for my mind, I need that release, I need to know that I am doing my best for my family. I am putting my best self or best effort forward because I want to be the change.

Feb 6, 2017 – M2 D1:

I AM TOAST! Fit test and Max Interval Circuit, in one day! The fit test took about 30 minutes and the next took about 60 minutes. What on earth did I get myself into?!?m2d1.jpg

Month 2 day 1

M2 W2:

Emotional stress and the stress of new routines got me down, so I surrendered. I haven’t been really sick in such a long time, I forgot how crummy it is! This crud took me down for a whole week. I am not the lounge around and do nothing type, instead of skipping all activity I made sure to take some light walks, do some relaxing yoga from the 3 Week Yoga Retreat and it was the right choice for me. That is a victory because I tend to run 15 miles when my body is only ready for 3 of them. I  tend to let my wants lead my workouts without listening to my body. Jumping around just was not an option because my cough makes me sound like there’s a donkey in the house, seriously… Being behind schedule is not my favorite thing, but I know my body needs it. So Week 2 started a week late.

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February 21, 2017:

My other grandpa, Papa, had a debilitating stroke today. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and also dementia and before I was able to get out to visit, the stroke put him into a coma. He’s being made comfortable till it’s time for him to go. This is especially hard.

We spent 2 days at the hospital and while I would love to be able to say I stayed strong through this… I had cookies, I had jelly beans, I snacked on junk food. I missed a workout. I know none of that helped me feel better.  At least my meals were healthy. On the first day at the hospital I made an effort to snack healthy. Alas the emotional eats grabbed hold, and of course I didn’t want to document those failures.

Insanity Foods 2

M2 W3:

I’m starting to get a hold of my emotions again. I have the kind of sweet tooth that if you feed it sugar for a few days, it turns into a nasty monster. It’s a really difficult habit for me to break. For this last week I’d say I ate 85% good foods, this next week I’m aiming to do better. It’s crazy what one week can do to change your body. Please note the tasty foods above, soo good! Why don’t I do prep like this more often?!?  I’m realizing that summer is coming soonish. It’s taking longer than I’d like but I’m happy for extra prep time. I have a week of workouts left and I’m looking forward to a change in routine! Shorter workouts, yes please!

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5 Days Left!!!!

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Almost done!

It has been one heck of a ride, almost enough bumps to make me want to quit. My mind needed to be in a better place and I know that to get there I need to read. I finished the book “Failing Forward” and it was very motivating. I started reading another book but it just wasn’t doing the trick, it was actually bogging me down. Then I found Spartan Up! and if you haven’t read it but have big fitness or life goals even, this is a MUST READ! I read the prologue and didn’t want to get off the treadmill because I felt like I could conquer the world! Mindset is everything! If you are in a rut of plugging along unsatisfied with where you are going, you have to choose to make the change. You have to choose to invest in yourself, because no one else can do the work for you! This book has been a game changer for me this week.#AROOAROOAROO

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FINISHER!!!

Please tell me you see the difference in the Fit Tests?!? I am so stoked! Between Fit Test 2&3 I wasn’t sure I was going to continue seeing any progress because I felt like I was pushing my hardest and unable to go any harder, then the next one came along and I got a little better, and a little better. There’s one part on the Fit Test video where Shaun T asks Chris how he felt during his test now vs how he felt the first time, I can’t remember the exact wording but he said that he felt just like he did the first time. Each time you are pushing yourself to do a higher number of reps, so each time you’re going to feel like you’re dying but you’re likely to keep seeing progress! #strongereveryday

I have to give a shout out to everyone in my Accountability Group this month. When I struggled they were there, seeing them continuing to fight the good fight, made me keep pushing forward. Success comes with a plan and I made sure I was ready from the beginning. Some of the things that helped me succeed:

  • Accountability- I’m just like everyone else, we love positive reinforcement. We love to do good and see good. Surround yourself with like minded or goal oriented people and it’s hard to fail because they aren’t.
  • Following a Schedule- I have had the big workout calendar sitting in my box of Insanity dvd’s since I bought it. I have never written on it because I wasn’t fully committed. I didn’t want to risk half way doing it and then have to look at my uncompleted calendar.
  • Being Realistic- Failure happens, sick days happen, sometimes you have to stop, reevaluate and be okay with taking a little longer than you planned. Be flexible but not so flexible that you lose sight of the initial goal.
  • Talking About It- It’s easy to lie to yourself, not so easy to lie to others. I blasted about Insanity for the last two months. If I would have stopped, people would have known I failed and possibly could have called me out, I’m not about awkward moments.
  • Believing In Myself- *Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right. Henry Ford* I went into this thinking I was ready because I had completed many other programs. Insanity is just another one, and I did it!
  • Rewards- Mama wants a new pair of shoes! Not only am I going to be rocking my well earned Insanity t-shirt, I am going to buy myself a new pair of running shoes because I finished. If you are struggling with the thought of 60 days, choose a shorter program to start, earn a reward every week. It doesn’t have to be big, some people do a new pair of workout pants, a fitbit, a dinner out with the hubs, something you will be excited about earning other than the long term reward of being healthier.

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Progress doesn’t have to be pounds lost, or muscles gained. I saw progress in ability and flexibility also. The first time Shaun T had us do the low lunge stretch, I couldn’t get this low. I was barely lower than a regular side lunge. Now, to continue moving forward with flexibility…

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Measurements & Pics

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I honestly didn’t see those results coming, that’s why it is important to take before and after pictures and measurements. I honestly can’t remember my waist was that small. I’m taking that non scale victory because that’s what counts to me. I was surprised I made it under 139 too, I know I lost a little bit of arm muscle so I’m not going to count that as a victory because I am going to work on building up these guns again.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel-

This was my most challenging program yet. I experienced adversity, and I prevailed! Knowing that I have finished Insanity tells me that I can finish any program I set out to try, if I want it bad enough. This tells me that I can FINISH that half marathon I am planning to run in June, and I can run the whole thing. Confidence is grown by experience, and my confidence is soaring right now.

So what’s next? I’m going to continue on my running program. I’m also going to do 3 weeks of the 21 Day Fix and the 3 Week Yoga Retreat. Strength training and flexibility done in an hour, that’s what I’m talking about! Oh, and yes, I’ve already submitted for my finisher’s shirt and I can’t wait to rock it ❤

Ready for some accountability next month?!?

Fill out the form below and tell me what your goals are, are you ready to commit to changing? Don’t worry, unless you want to, I won’t make you do Insanity. We will find you the perfect program to get started with. I will get back to you within a couple of days.

1 Month of Insanity, DONE!

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#StrongerEveryDay

When I started this round of Insanity I had a complete mental block, I have owned it for more years than I can remember and started without finishing it multiple times. So yes, I was excited to learn that day 1 was the fit test, I had it in my mind that it would be a fit test and a workout. Imagine how excited I was when I thought I only had 4 moves to do… Ended up being eight, oops the card is front and back! I was looking at the clock during move 4 and wondering how this move was going to last an extra 10 minutes. I’ve never claimed to be observant, just sayin.

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This has been one heck of a bumpy adventure but I have learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I do best on a fit test if I’m warmed up, I’ve learned that though I thought I sweat a lot before, I really do sweat more with this program than any other I’ve ever done! I thought my body had adapted to the tomato affect, but apparently I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough… (note: tomato affect in above photo)

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Every day was a struggle to want to press play. Working on my mindset has been crucial for my success so far. I finished the book “Push” by Chalene Johnson, which is about goal setting and planning to make them happen. Now I’m reading “Failing Forward,” which has proved to be my biggest motivator yet. The whole concept of the book is that if you are beat by failure, you missed the point, you missed to opportunity for growth. So many successful people are successful because they try and try again, always changing and growing towards bigger and better things. All of my failures with Insanity pushed me to do different things. I feel like though this adventure is hard, I’ve been able to grow and am ready to beat this!

Month 1 was actually 5 weeks because Shaun T was so nice as to include a “recovery week” between the first and second month. I’m not really big on recovery time because it seems like anytime someone does recovery it’s lots of looooong holds. I don’t like them Sam I Am. I prefer to bust out and get it done, but I realize that is something I am weak in and need to work on. Personally, I think if I were to do this program again, I would probably skip that week and just jump right into month two. I say that because they bump up from 35-40 minute routines to 50+ minutes each day. I’m proud of the progress I’ve seen already but would like to see a little more fat loss at the end of month 2.

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Month 1 Measurements & Progress

1/2 Marathon Training

In the midst of Insanity, I came up with the ingenious idea that I needed to throw in training for my half marathon too. It hasn’t been very consistent training but I’ve been managing to get at least 2 days of running in each week. The first week was rough because I added in waiting tables too and my feet had a fit. My run days are now days that I don’t work because running miles, Insanity and walking at work is too much for my little tootsies. I will do better next month, 3 days running is non-negotiable.

While my mind and lungs are good with running 3 miles at a time, I am going to be following a 10k interval training program. It starts with a 5 minute walking warm up and then does a bit of running, a bit of walking off and on for the time allowed and then another 5 minutes walking to cool down. The running times increase the further into the training program you get. I’m hoping that will give me the edge needed to minimize injury.

Changes for next month?

One thing I lagged on this month was nutrition. Abs are made in the kitchen. I didn’t do terrible but I definitely could have done better. I am a sugar addict, this sweet tooth will let me eat almost a whole cake without satisfaction. Once I get of track it’s hard to get back on. I am returning to the Saturday cheat day because I know that allowing myself a day to have goodies gives me something to look forward to and I’m a lot less likely to cheat during the week.

I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for Month 2, bring it Shaun T!

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The Core Part 3- Movement System

The more I learn about the core, the more I realize when I’m using it. Or maybe it’s just that the trainer in my current workout program is big on working the core this week? Seems to me that God likes to put all of these pieces together for us slowly so that instead of being overwhelmed, we get to grow into knowing more and having a solid foundation for success. Look below for a video with one of the moves I just learned for strengthening those weak hip flexors of mine, hardcore, yet so simple.

Movement System

We’ve already learned about the Local and Global Stabilization Systems. Now that we’ve strengthened the inner it’s time to focus on how we are moving our body with the core. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the muscles in this group, the Latissimus dorsi(lats), Hip flexors, Hamstring complex and the Quadriceps(quads.) Think armpits to knees, all these muscles help you sit, stand, and twist and turn. Working together, all the groups we have been learning about really keep us stable and functioning.

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Time To Muscle Up!

Enough blabbering, show you the moves right?!? I chose a minimum of one exercise for each of the muscle groups listed above. Plus a bonus workout that will hit multiple groups with one exercise, I’m all about multitasking, or killing two birds with one stone. Life is busy and being able to shorten up that workout means it’s more likely to happen.

However you decide to mix and match your core routines, I would try to incorporate at least one of these moves daily. Don’t skip an area because if you become weak in one zone it can affect the rest of them. We are looking for total body/core balance here.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Latissimus Dorsi

This is one area I know I’m weak in too…

Reverse Snow Angels

  • Lay face down on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down.
  • Lift your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapula together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back.
  • Keeping your head facing down, in a slow motion, raise your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your hands meet above your head.(Shown is the modified version, move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders and then return to starting position.)
  • Make sure to keep the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

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Hip Flexors

Mountain Climbers

I’ve been doing a lot of these on Insanity.  Only it is more of a running in plank movement. Here we are using a sliding on the floor motion. You will need some towels, slides, or something similar that will slide smoothly on your floor. Paper plates even work well in a pinch.

  • Put your feet on the sliders and move into a push-up position.
  • To perform the movement, simply pull one knee at a time up toward your chest, going as high as you can while keeping your foot on the slider. You can alternate legs with each rep or do sets of one leg at a time. Not only will you be working your hips but your shoulders will get in on the action too.

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This is the killer move I was telling you about, try it if you dare!!

Hamstring Complex

It’s a little more difficult to get a good hamstring workout without using weights or equipment but if you get creative, you can make it work.

Glute-ham Walks

This exercise will work both the hamstrings and the glutes.

  • With knees bent lie on your back. Lift your toes up so that only your heels are touching the ground.
  • Now lift your hips up until they are inline with your shoulders and knees. Squeeze your bottom and engage your abs. Now start slowly walking one foot at a time away from your body with small steps until you get to the point where your legs are fully extended.
  • Your hips are always extended, never let them fall. Walk your feet back into position. Do that for 5-10 reps or as many as you can get done in a few minutes.

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Flutter Kicks

Be sure to tighten your ab muscles during this workout, it will help you to avoid arching your back. A great workout for your hamstrings. I was already feeling the burn just taking the pictures for this move!

  • Start by laying flat on your stomach.
  • Lift one leg a few inches off of the ground.
  • Slowly lower that leg while you start to raise the other.
  • Repeat for 15 reps at three sets.

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Quadriceps

Lunges

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Place your hands on your hips for added balance and engage your core by drawing your navel in toward your spine.
  • Step your right foot off the floor and lunge forward, landing with with your heel first, then your toes. Drive your hips towards the floor to create a 90-degree bend at both knees.
  • Push off your right leg to return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. If you want to you can alternate legs for a total of 30 lunges each set, or until you are burning good enough that you don’t think you can do one more! Want to make it harder? Try jumping from lunge to lunge, yowza!

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A Little Bit of Everything

Burpees

I wouldn’t be Spartan if I didn’t share this move with you. Don’t worry, there are many ways to modify this move to take the intensity down a notch and also many ways to increase the intensity. This is the best whole body workout move I’ve every found, maybe there are others but this gets a little bit of everything.

  • Start in a standing position, feet shoulder width apart.
  • Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground.
  • Jump or step your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended.
  • Add in the Push-up if you are ready, from your feet or your knees if needed.
  • Return your feet to the squat position.
  • Stand up or jump up from the squat position.

 

Next?

Now that we’ve mastered the core, I asked for suggestions on what to focus on next. Interval training is the winner! Keep an eye out for an update on my Insanity progress next week and then before the end of the month we will discuss the importance of Interval Training in your workout routine.

If you have any questions about the movements here, shoot me an email at DarcisFitKick@gmail.com

Happy sweating!

The Core Part 2

I hope you are returning for more! If you are new, please visit my Part 1 and check out the exercises I shared first. You wouldn’t jump into the ocean without first learning to swim right? Well, I want you to follow the same principles here. Hopefully after a bit of time strengthening your Local Stabilization System, you are ready to work on your Global Stabilization System.

Global Stabilization System

These muscles connect your pelvis to the spine. There are bunch of muscles that do this job, that quite honestly, I had to look up to figure out where exactly they were located. I was going to spare you the boring details but maybe you want to look up the different muscle groups and expand your expertise. The muscles included in this group are the quadratus lumborum, psoas major, external oblique, parts of the internal oblique, rectus abdominus, gluteus medius and the adductor complex(adductor magnus, adductor longus , adductor brevis, gracilis and pectineus.) I’m going to focus on one specific muscle because I know it is my weak point. That is the Psoas.

What is the Psoas?

The psoas actually has two components, the psoas major (spine to legs) and the psoas minor (spine to pelvis.) I’m going to focus on the major because working on that part will also strengthen the minor. Did you know the psoas is the ONLY muscle that connects the spine to the legs? Never really thought about that before, makes me curious to learn more about different muscles.Think of your psoas as your hip flexor. If you look at the picture below, you’ll see what I mean.

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I love my Books of Discovery, “Trail Guide to the Body Flashcards Vol. 2.” I never realized how many different muscle groups there are. In school you learn hamstrings, quads, calves and abs, nothing about how many different muscles make up those groups. Our bodies are so complex and fascinating!

 

I’m not for sure, so don’t quote me, but I imagine a lot of women are weak in this area too. While apparently I’ve been “blessed” in the area of my tush and it’s all the rage to have a big bum, I have a tendency to push out my assets. Bigger is better. I’m not alone right? I didn’t realize it until I started focusing on my posture during the Three Week Yoga Retreat. Think about your posture, do you keep your hips tucked in line with your back when you are standing? How about when you are sitting? I used to think that I had really tight hamstrings but it’s actually my hip flexors causing the problems. They aren’t naturally supporting my spine/hip/leg connection because I’ve been too focused on making my booty go pop! I found this video on YouTube that really breaks down how our hip flexors work in a simple way, plus, bonus, he reinforces my dislike of crunches!

Strengthening the Global Stabilization System

I want to share with you one of the most important keys to keeping your core/hip flexors with optimal function. It doesn’t really require “exercise,” it requires you to get up and move. There are all sorts of gadgets now that shows how active you are, your phone, Fitbit, etc. Getting your workout in is great but if all you do the rest of the day is sit on the couch or sit at a desk, you are training those flexors to be tight. Get up and walk around as often as you can. Fill up that water bottle and drink it, that will help you get in to the habit of moving by making you go to the restroom!

The exercises I’m providing below still aren’t sit ups. Can you tell those aren’t my favorite move? I’ve even given the option to do one of the exercises with a buddy because having a partner in crime makes the hard work seem a little more tolerable or maybe it’s that misery loves company? The first 3 exercises focus on the psoas. The following will be different parts of the global stabilization system.

You could try adding this into your already established Local Stabilizer System movements. Remember, if you don’t use it you lose it, you want to continue doing the previous routines. Maybe do two of those and two to four of these a day to start.  Try doing 1 exercise, resting for 30-60 seconds and doing another, repeat each circuit 2-3 times. I recommend you starting small and working your way up to they higher reps. Overexerting yourself can result in injury, even if you feel good, you could be doing more than your body is ready for. Mix and match them how you please, but remember to use your best judgement and don’t over do it.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Psoas

Standing Gate Openers

This move is more of a stretch than anything, you will be strengthening but also working on your range of motion.

  • Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Lift your left foot and flex your left knee, drawing it toward your chest. When your thigh is parallel to the floor or higher, move your knee to the right, across the middle of your body, and then to the left, opening your hip as far as possible.
  • Return to the starting position; then repeat with your right leg. Continue alternating sides for your desired number of repetitions.
  • Make this move harder by adding on some ankle weights.

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Leg Raises & Throws

Raises by yourself

  • Lie on your back with your legs above your waist.
  • Slowly lower your legs as far as you can without your lower back lifting off the floor. Remember to keep your core tight to support your spine.
  • Raise them back up and repeat.

Throws with a partner

(If you are a beginner to exercise or core work, I’d say this is more of an advanced move.)

  •  Lie on your back with your legs above your waist, toes pointed to the ceiling. Have a partner stand above your head and forcefully push your feet forward. Allow your legs to head toward the floor.
  • Slow your legs down and stop them before they touch the floor; then lift them back up so your partner can push them again.
  • Have your partner push harder to make the exercise more challenging.

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Hanging Leg Lifts

Equipment needed: Pull-up bar, monkey bars or any bar that will hold your body weight so your feet can’t touch the ground. Sorry I didn’t get a picture for this one, the weather outside is frightful! If you have any questions, just shoot me a message and I will help you as best as I can.

  • Hang from the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward and feet together.
  • While keeping your knees and hips flexed, lift your knees upward as high as possible, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Try not to swing your legs when bringing your knees up.
  • You can wear ankle weights here too.

Quadratus Lumborum & External Oblique

This move actually works more than those two muscles but they are the ones I want you to be focused on.

Side Plank

  •  Lay on the floor on your side. Place your hand on the floor under you and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground.
  • You can raise the other arm straight over you or let it sit on your hips.
  •  Just like regular plank you want to keep your legs straight, let the lower half of your body rest on the side of your bottom foot.
  • If you aren’t quite strong enough to hold a side plank, bend the bottom leg and rest it on the floor while maintaining the top leg out straight.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can and then repeat on the other side. Aim for 30 seconds and move your way up to a minute.

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Internal and External Oblique

Lying Twist

Don’t forget that you want to keep your shoulders on the ground. If you are raising them up in the twist you are taking away from the workout you could be giving your core.

  • Lie on your back with arms outstretched (T position), palms facing down.
  • Raise your knees up to a 90-degree angle. Lower knees down to one side.
  • Slowly rotate your knees to the other side through a count of 10.
  • Hold and squeeze for 2 seconds at the maximum tension point, about 1 inch from the ground or as far as you can go without your shoulders lifting off the ground. (Please note, I need to work on my flexibility here…)
  • Then rotate to the other side through a count of 10.

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Adductor Complex

You may need a chair for this move if your balance isn’t strong. Trying to hold my leg up while my son took the picture, yowza!

Swinging Leg Raise

  • Stand next to a chair, hold onto it if needed. Stand on one leg.
  • Keeping your raised leg straight, swing it as far out to the side as possible, and swing it back down, allowing it to cross in front of the standing leg.
  • Repeat this movement 5-10 times, increasing the range of motion as you go.

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Gluteus Medius

Lateral Band Walk

This is one of my favorite moves, it seems so simple but you will be feeling the burn! This was probably my most favorite move in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel. (You can see my awkward attempt at a how to video here.) This requires a resistance band. You can make the intensity harder or easier depending on how tight you hold the band.

  • Stand with your feet approximately 6″ apart. Step on your resistance band and crisscross it over your feet, holding onto the bands either at the handle or choke up on it for more resistance.
  • Take 2 steps to the right making sure after each step your feet stay approximately 6″ apart.
  • Then take 2 steps to the left.
  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds or 15 times on each side per set.

 lateral-band

Ready for more?

I’m ready to get part three done so we can start talking about another target area. Check back in a couple weeks to see even more core moves, but until then can you do me a favor? Send me a note with the area you’d like to learn about next!

My Journey FINISHING Insanity

So I haven’t finished yet. I actually just started but this goal setting stuff I’ve been doing lately has got me pumped on positives! Say it’s happening and it will. Leave no wiggle room! 

Let me give you a little back story as to why I’m FINISHING Insanity. I bought this program years ago. I was going to use it to get wedding ready. But, I quit and honestly didn’t feel as amazing in my dress as I do in it now. I’ve started this program a few times and never finished it. I am determined this round, I WANT THAT T-SHIRT! I feel like I’ve reached a point in my life where I can do this. I have conquered Insanity Max:30, which is comparably difficult. I have also conquered multiple Spartan Races

Yet, I still have an immense fear of this program. I’m tired of making excuses because I know that they don’t get me anywhere. I know that hiding behind fear in the past has made me miss out on all sorts of fun things. A few summers ago we went out on our friend’s boat. Troy is awesome at wake boarding and I was invited to try multiple times but I couldn’t muster up the courage to try. The following summer  we went out again and I decided to quit being fussy and just do it! I HAD SO MUCH FUN! I could have learned a year earlier and had more chances to play if I hadn’t been so full of fear. That and many more instances are what drives me to finish Insanity this time. I WILL BE beaming with pride come the end of February! #unstoppable 

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Insanity and Insanity Max:30 are all about pushing yourself for growth. It’s not about looking at the other guy, it’s looking in the mirror and fighting to strengthen that person! I still remember the first time I did the fit test… Everyone starts somewhere right? 

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One day down, 59 to go. I’ve got this! 

Be sure to check back and call me out if I’m slacking on giving you updates. 😘

Lets get to the CORE of the matter…

The area I hear people complain about the most is their back, and I’m not just saying that because my husband has degenerative disc disease. Second is probably the knees (my biggest struggle), but that’s a topic for another day. Did you know that approximately 31 million people in America are suffering from lower back pain at any given time! (1) That’s almost 10% of our population. What’s even crazier than that 10%, is that almost 80% experience back pain at some point in their life. I know I’ve had some back pain, nothing debilitating but enough to make me feel ouchie! If you’ve never had back pain, congrats, you probably have a strong core. So how do you get a stronger core? I’m going to be breaking down the core into a 3 part series and sharing ways to help you strengthen those muscles to support that spine.

What is the Core?

The back bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the leg bone… The core is basically the middle section of your body, think spine, abdomen and hips. I’ve been studying the different muscle structures and I just have to say our bodies are fascinating! The core is made up of approximately 35 different muscle groups, so while you are working on that six pack, there are more muscles working than the stack you’ve got peaking through. One thing to consider though, just because you have a 6 pack doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got the right support for your spine. So lets focus on working from the inside out together.

The 3 Core Systems

Your core is made up of 3 different systems, there’s the Local Stabilization System, the Global Stabilization System and the Movement System. Each has a key factor in how our cores function to keep our bodies functioning effectively. Our body parts are so in sync with each other that if one part isn’t working right, it is likely damaging another part. For instance, say you injure your foot, chances are you are going to limp, which means you’re going to be favoring one side. The opposite side may get sore from over compensating. The longer that foot is injured the more you’re going to disrupt. It can go all the way up to causing a kink in your neck! To start, we are going to talk about the Local Stabilization System.

Local Stabilization System

Just like any other exercise routine, it’s best to start from the bottom and move up in intensity. The stabilization system basically tells you in it’s name what it does, it stabilizes your core. Strengthening this muscle system helps provide support from vertebra to vertebra. It helps to reduce over extending or compression of your spine. Think about balancing on one foot, not moving, all of the little muscles surrounding your ankle and helping keep your ankle supported so it doesn’t bend and get strained, it’s keeping that joint stable so there isn’t injury. By strengthening the stabilization system you are sort of adding a restrictive cushion to keep your spine safe.

Strengthening Your Stabilization System

Guess what? No sit ups are required for this system, though some of these may be new to you, I’m sure you are familiar with the plank. So that is where we will begin. I recommend adding these moves into a morning routine, crawl out of bed drink a big glass of water, stretch and do some core work. Try doing 1 exercise, resting for 30-60 seconds and doing another, repeat each circuit 2-3 times. On some of the exercises I listed an option of 12-20 reps, I recommend you starting small and working your way up to they higher reps. Overexerting yourself can result in injury, even if you feel good, you could be doing more than your body is ready for.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Plank

Never done a plank, try this progression. Start each variation with 30 seconds and work your way up. Once you feel you’ve got a minute down, try moving on to the next variation. On the last one try holding it as long as you can, the longer you can hold the plank the higher your endurance.

  • You will need a sturdy bench or chair. Place your hands on the bench and feet on the floor. Straighten your body out so that your body forms a line from head to toe. Hold for your desired length of time.

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  • If you’ve made it past using a bench, try doing plank from the floor in standard push up position with your knees on the floor. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line from head, to shoulders to the hip. Make sure you are flexing your stomach muscles to help keep your body straight.

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  • Next progression is to get those knees off the ground. It helps to flex your hamstrings(back of the thigh) and glutes(behind) to help keep you straightened out and take a little bit of pressure off your shoulders. Make sure you hold that straight line from head to toe. In other words, keep your behind down with out sagging. If you can’t hold in a straight line yet please go back to your knees.

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  • Final progression is to plank on your forearms instead of hands. All the same rules apply. Keep your body in a straight line, flex what your mama gave ya!

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Marching

This isn’t the marching you are probably thinking of. It’s going to be done on the floor laying on your back.

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  • Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, lay your arms by your sides.
  • Make sure you keep your stomach tucked in, pretend you are pushing your belly button to the spine to help keep your abs drawn in during the whole exercise.
  • Begin by lifting one bent leg till your calf is parallel to the ground, once you reach the that point hold it for 1 to 2 seconds and slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat for the opposite leg. Raise each leg for a total of 12-20 reps per side.

Two-Leg Floor Bridge

Do you remember doing back bends as a kid? That is what this move reminds me of. Sort of like that but not nearly as difficult, thankfully!

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  • Lay on your back again, same position as marching, with your feet hip width apart on the ground, also you are going to point your arms out to make your body look like a ‘T’ from a birds eye view.
  • Slowly lift your pelvis off the floor until your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line. Then slowly lower it back to the ground. Repeat this movement 12-20 times.

 Floor Prone Cobra

Maybe you have done yoga in the past, and recognize the term Cobra. This move is a little bit different as you can see. It has the arms extended instead of having them under your shoulders.

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  • Lie face down on the floor with you hands extended out. Flex your buns and squeeze your shoulders together.
  • Lift your chest off the floor and rotate your thumbs to point up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then lower your chest back to the ground. (Please note: My form in the floor position is a little off… Try to keep your chin tucked in, kind of like you’re holding an apple underneath. My photographer has checked out for the day so this is what I had to work with.) Repeat this move 12-20 times.

Feeling STRONGER already?

Maybe it’s time to move on to your Global Stabilization System. If you are interested in learning about the other 2 core systems, check back in a couple weeks for a new list of exercises to try!

 

(1) https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics

 

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats

Not only is my health important but so is the health of my family. My pups are included in that. I actually had to put my girls on doggie diet food because they were putting on too much weight. (Yes, I know we need to go on walks more often.) Since I’ve become a stay at home mom, they are exposed to more food droppings in the kitchen. (I’m a messy cook!) I’ve since discovered that they love broccoli as much as I do. 😍

But the whole point to this is that my girls have become a little spoiled with the boys and I being home all the time. We are going to be working on some behavior issues. They are food motivated dogs, so it shouldn’t be hard to break these bad habits. Although, keeping them out of the kitchen might mean I have to sweep more often.

I used to buy treats at the store and cut them up into small pieces for training. I don’t like buying the store bought dog treats anymore because I learned that they have a lot of unnecessary filler and stuff that isn’t necessarily good for dogs. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for treats a while back and I decided to tweak it for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, wheat doesn’t agree with my girls, it tends to make them gassy. And number two, since my diet is vegan, not saying my dogs are vegan, I just don’t keep cow milk in my fridge. So tweaking was done and my pups seem to approve. Dogs love coconut so I figured why not use coconut flour and coconut milk to give them an extra dose of love?!?

Ingredients:

  • 2 C coconut flour (you could use wheat)
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut milk (you could use cow milk)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

First step: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Mix all ingredients. Add a little more milk if mixture is too dry. Next time I’ll probably add a little more milk.


Cut into little treats for training purposes or big ones just for puppy lovins, or you could roll them into small balls and smoosh with a fork. They don’t spread out much when the baked so you can space them pretty closely together on the cookie sheet.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool. Store excess treats in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Otherwise keep in an airtight jar in a cool place for easy access. All good girls deserve treats!

Happy Tails!

I think the best part about these treats is there are only 4 ingredients and super fast and easy to make. The amount of treats I got out of this batch should last for a couple of months without having to make more. Plus my girls seem to like them. After they ate their man cookies they were licking the floor for every crumb they could find! Hope your pups like them as much as mine do. ❤

Why did I decide to go Vegan, again?

There are 3 core reasons for what made me change my mind about eating animal products. If you’ve known me for a long time, you have seen me go from vegetarian as a teenager, back to meat eater, then to vegetarian/vegan in my mid 20s, then to a farm girl who raised her own cows for slaughter and now back again to full vegan. Each change was drastic and each had it’s own reason. I decided to go vegetarian when I was a teenager because I loved animals, but I decided I missed jerky too much. Peta was a huge influence when I decided to go vegan the first time, their videos get you right in the heart if you have any kind of love for animals. Then I moved back to family property and raised baby chickens, goats and baby cows. I know I change my mind about things like my underwear but I feel this change is permanent because it’s not just a small conviction, it’s multiple large ones that have huge impact in my life.

If you have followed my health journey for the last couple of years, you may have seen how important I have made protein in my life. You may have seen me carb cycling and eating chicken or some sort of protein 6 times a day. Let me tell you, I am glad I’m done with that! But I digress…

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My 3 Reasons:

  1. I want to be healthy and disease free for as long as I possibly can.
  2. I have a HUGE love for animals and our beautiful planet.
  3. I love God and want to follow his rules, I’m pretty sure his rules are meant for my own good.

None of those are in order of importance, they are equally important to me. That is why I feel I will continue with this lifestyle for the rest of my life. Plus, did you see the food above? So many flavors and nothing beats fresh produce ❤ When I was thinking about going vegan, all I could think about was how much I would miss cheese. I slowly started removing it, for instance, I would get a taco salad and opt for no cheese. Eventually it became second nature and I no longer crave it. There are so many food options, or alternatives to cheese that are different but flavorful and delicious too.

#1 For My Health and My Families…

Yes, I promise I am, and they are, getting enough protein. Lets skip that topic right now though. Lets talk about bacon, yes, smoky, tasty bacon and how it is related to smoking cigarettes. The World Health Organization (The WHO) released a report that processed meat has a carcinogenic effect. In case you don’t know carcinogens cause cancer. Processed meats are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, that is the same group as smoking cigarettes and asbestos exposure. Sure I dabbled and tried cigarettes when I was a teen but seeing my Grandma die because of cancer that started in her lungs, turned me off of that right away. After seeing the WHO’s report I quit processed meats too. Processed meats can be bacon or sausages, smoked, salted or even fermented meats. The WHO isn’t just a small research place, they are who all medical fields look to, in the US and throughout the world. Even the American Cancer Society is taking their claim seriously. They aren’t blasting it because they still want all the money people donate. If cancer goes away they lose their funding. But that’s a topic for another day. Besides most processed meats are loaded with fat, bacon and sausage in point, which is not healthy for you to begin with. By all means though, if just one cigarette here and there is okay, so is bacon on everything right? No, it’s really not…

Digestive wise, I had a friend ask me about my poop. I know, I know, tmi but when I was raising my own beef, I was eating it regularly. I ended up going to the hospital once thinking I had appendix issues, turned out I just needed to go. Haven’t had that problem since changing my diet. My husband used to have IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) and since we have gone to a vegan diet he no longer has issues either. Did you know that it can take up to 8 days to digest meat? It is literally rotting in your guts, gag!


And now the elusive protein. Really it isn’t as elusive as you’d think. If you are eating whole grains and meat and dairy, chances are you are getting too much. Too much protein can cause weight gain and can even be hard on your kidneys. How much do you need? I can tell you that my goal for protein intake is between 45-80 grams a day. The average woman is around 46 a day. Let me break down an average day of meals for you and show you how easy it is for me to meet my low protein goal.

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal(7g) with chia seeds(5g), walnuts(5g) and apples.
  • Lunch: Salad with veggie burger patty(7g), pumpkin seeds(5g)
  • Snack: Vegan Shakeology(16g), 1 c coconut milk(5g)
  • Dinner: Whole grain pasta(7g) with cashew sauce(5g), broccoli(4g)
  • Total = 66g protein
  • Without my Shakeology = 45g protein

I used to love omelettes, 3 eggs(18g), ham (14g) and cheese(14g), plus the toast(10g)… Crazy to think I had already met my protein goal before lunch. No wonder I had extra pounds. No wonder I always used to complain about having an upset stomach.

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan Check out this website for even more reasons why.

Another interesting read.

#2 My Love of Nature

I have always loved animals. My dream as a youngun was to become a veterinarian, but I didn’t have the drive to commit 8 years to schooling after high school. So that was left in dream land. I have had all sorts of pets, from dogs to ball pythons, to horses and turtles.

It’s kind of funny, in all the time that I spent growing up in Hood River, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the nature that surrounded me until a visit back to my parents house. I never realized how close Mt. Hood was and how big and beautiful it was until driving back up there after living in the Portland area. I got used to seeing it’s view through the city, which is pretty in it’s own way. There is just something about driving down a two lane highway and coming around a bend of fruit trees and the mountain peak taking up the whole skyline. It’s just awesome.

I was given the opportunity to move back to the country and that gave me a new appreciation for nature. Going on the trails via horseback and riding through a field of wild flowers, then finishing it with a beautiful view of 3 of the closest mountain tops is a memory I will always cherish.  You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, really is true. Living in the country gave me a new appreciation for the balance of life. The balance of nature and how the ecosystem of cats hunting mice, coyotes keeping gray digger populations under control and wild turkeys keeping the bugs at bay, all work together.

I feel that all of these experiences have brought me even more insight as to why eating dairy and large farmed animals is wrong. I raised bottle calves, from a dairy farm across the river. As much as I tried to baby my babies, things went wrong, their health was compromised because they were taken away from their mom’s so that they could sell the milk. As hard as I tried, I know that the babes I raised would have been bigger and stronger if they had been with their mom. The ones I lost probably would have made it with their mom’s too. The two farms I would buy from were pretty good about making sure babies got the first of the colostrum. Though the little babies were kept in little areas and were alone except for feeding times. The mamas were pulled from their babes and you always knew that you were close to the farm because of the smell of manure from quite a ways down the road. Dairy isn’t very humane. Dairy isn’t very environmentally friendly either. I sure loved those babies though.

Environmentally speaking, did you know that 1 pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing? Americans are projected to eat just under 56 lbs of beef this year. Last year America’s population was 322,762,018, which will be even larger this year, that equals 17,945,568,200.8 lbs of beef to be consumed?!? That means we are using 32,284,077,193,239.2 gallons of water a year just for cows! That’s in the trillions, I can’t even fathom that number. Can you imagine if that water was used for the many people who have no water? The little children in Africa? The people suffering in Syria right now?!? These numbers don’t even take into consideration how much water is used for pork or dairy or poultry… It saddens me to think about us craving a burger more than we consider the life of another human being. And we wonder why California is in a drought.

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That just addresses the water issue. That doesn’t address the inhumane treatment of animals going to slaughter, the inhumane treatment of animals before slaughter. If you have time, I encourage you to look into where your animal products come from. I’m willing to bet that you seeing calves dragged away from their mothers as their mother screams and chases after them will sadden you too. Seeing little piglets have their tails clipped off because they are in such small quarters that when they grown they will eventually start eating each other. Even the baby chicks going into the grinder alive because they are boys and won’t produce eggs sickens me. That burger is no longer guilt free to me because I am informed. As much as I don’t wish anyone to have to see animals to suffer, I know that education is the only way people change. Even then, sadly people will watch those videos and not care but will be upset when they see a starved horse or a beaten dog. They are all animals and they all feel. And that is one reason I will not eat meat or drink milk anymore. That’s not to say I am perfect, I struggle and still sneak in a Cinnabon here and there. That just tells me I need to be stronger and get better at controlling my sweet tooth. I also need to learn how to make my own bomb cinnamon rolls at home(and not eat the whole pan.)

#3 The Bible

Last but not least, I believe God has a plan for us. He wants us to be healthy and treat our bodies like temples. I believe that by following a plant based diet, along with exercising and not drinking alcohol, I am working towards the goal of being a temple. ♥16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-7♥  There is no doubt in my mind that you are what you eat and if you are eating unhealthy foods, your body and mind will reflect that.

I believe that the diet he intended for us from the very beginning is the diet we should be sticking to.  ♥And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:29♥

Yes, I know that since Noah meat was given as food. If you read Leviticus 11 you will see that there are clean and unclean meats. Interesting to see that pigs are an unclean meat, just sayin… The one thing I think is neglected when people see that we can eat meat is that you aren’t supposed to eat the blood. ♥ 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. Genesis 9:2-4♥ (see also Leviticus 17) The Bible gives specific directions on how to cook meat so the blood is not in it anymore but to be honest it seemed like a lot of work and the blood is really what gives the meat its flavor. Plus all of the genetically modified cancer causing feeds are still used. So I’ll stick with my vegan eats.

You can choose to believe what the Bible says or not. Personally when so many things; medical studies, environmental studies, and the reduced lifespan of people from biblical times all point to eating meat as our downfall, I’m going to take that as a sign that change is needed.

Change is Hard

Like I said before, deciding to go vegan brought a lot of mental challenges. I had to battle my mind by making small changes. The very first thing we quit was pork. That was tough in the sense that gelatin is in EVERYTHING. Just last night I found some lotion that had gelatin in it.(Oh and by the way, I have found vegan marshmallows that I think are better than regular ones.) The second to go was beef, then chicken and then dairy. One step at a time is my life motto. And being able to forgive myself for slip ups, and continue to push to do better makes this lifestyle do able. I’ve gotten better at finding vegan options for EVERYTHING too. Cashews are this girls best friend!

If you’re interested in making the change and need favorite substitutes or recipes, I’d be MORE THAN happy to help!

 

 

 

DIY Pumpkin Puree

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Yes, I still am missing the pumpkin spice latte that I enjoyed at least once a week last year. So on a mission to add more pumpkin to my life I decided to quit the carving and paint our pumpkins this year. It may have helped that I had my favorite little nieces over for a visit and figured washable paint would be easier than gutting 2 extra pumpkins. That was a good decision by the way, even though they had paint all over the place! (Please note how adorable my nieces and sons are below!) It’s the second week of November and all of our pumpkins held strong long enough to be washed off and hacked up into puree. The more I dive into making things home made the more I realize how simple it is. I used to think homemade cooking meant a lot of work and I always told myself I didn’t like it. Turns out I do. Turns out there is a sort of joy that comes from throwing that baked pumpkin into the processor and seeing it come out prettier than the canned stuff!

 

Preheat the oven to 355° if you have time to let them bake for about an hour. If not you can set the temp at 400° and cook them till they are easy to poke with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.

 

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I am all about simple, the less ingredients the better. Thankfully all you need for this pumpkin puree is pumpkin. Did you know that a lot of store bought pumpkin puree is actually squash? What a rip off right?!? Any who, the best pumpkin for this puree is a sugar pumpkin. The bigger pumpkin I used was from my garden and honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether it was the jack-o-lantern or different pumpkin because I didn’t mark which plant was which. Because I wanted to see the difference in pumpkins I pureed my store bought pie pumpkins and my homegrown one separately then put them together. The homegrown pumpkin was likely the jack-o-lantern due to the fact that it had more of a watery consistency. If I was to make this out of pumpkins other than the sugar pumpkins I would probably put them into a cheese cloth and let them drain some of the water off. Just a thought.

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I’m hoping to find a good recipe for some pumpkin seeds because I tend to burn them. Or they just taste terrible… It’s a learning process and thankfully the seeds came with the pumpkins so I didn’t have to go out of my way to find them. Oh and don’t worry, James’ chickens are enjoying the rest of the guts that I’m not using for the puree.

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I placed mine on a foil lined sheet because I loathe cleaning my cookie sheets. You could use parchment paper if that’s what you prefer too.

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As you can see by the picture, it was a learning process. The first batch cooked for 55 minutes and probably could have came out earlier. The second batch cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. The size of the pumpkin is going to determine how long you cook them.

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As you can see the smaller pumpkins got a little on the dark side BUT no worries, I scraped of the dark (cough, burnt, cough) spots and it worked out just fine. I’ve never claimed to be Betty Crocker, but I’m learning and next time I make these bad boys, I’ll do better! You’re welcome for testing this out so that I can be the guinea pig and you can have these tips ahead of time! 😉

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Some people leave the pumpkin on the pan and peel the skin off, I used a spoon and scooped it out and put it in the processor. I crushed it till it was baby food consistency.

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I’m sure there are recipes out there that allow you to can your pumpkin puree but for time sake, I chose to freeze mine. Because it has no sugar or other ingredients in it, that’s the safe route anyway. I put mine into ice trays and froze it so I could easily pop some out of the bag and add it to my oatmeal, my smoothies or even my No Latte Pumpkin Hotte! In the past I’ve wanted to make a single serving of some sort of tasty pumpkin treat and have had to figure out what to do with the rest of the can. It’s easy to get burnt out on pumpkin that way. Next time I might freeze it in pumpkin pie specific measurements in Ziploc freezer bags too.

I of course had to try the puree out right away and I hate to toot my own horn but YUM!

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