Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

I am always on the lookout for new recipes. I am not one of those people who can eat the same meals over and over again without changing it up. I found this AMAZING recipe and I just had to share. I love that it works with my 2B Mindset plan, and it’s a great lunch meal that should have plenty of leftovers to give you a few days worth at once.

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 lb dry whole wheat pasta (I like bow tie pasta for a pasta salad, but you can use any type you like)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes

1 tsp olive oil

3/4 cup cottage cheese

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I prefer uncured nitrate free bacon, but you can also use turkey bacon)

1/3 cup cheddar cheese

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp parsley

1 tsp fresh dill, or 1/2 tsp dried

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for a couple minutes. Add the pasta and water to skillet. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is done.

  2. Drain the pasta, rinse it and let it dry. Place the pasta and chicken back into the skillet.

  3. Blend together the cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper, parsley, and dill.

  4. Pour your blended sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions over the pasta. Mix well. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with more cheese, bacon, and green onions for garnish if desired. Serve at room temperature or cold.

    Now, I am NO chef, so this recipe is NOT something I came up with on my own, so I definitely want to give credit where credit is due! You can find the link to the original recipe here.

5 Myths About Muscle Gain

I don’t know about you, but I used to be terrified of lifting weights because I didn’t want to gain weight or be bulky. It wasn’t until I became a health and fitness coach and really started doing my research that I realized just how wrong I was about gaining muscle. So, today, I want to share with you my top 5 muscle gain myths.

1. You can’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. While a caloric deficit is needed to burn fat, a caloric surplus isn’t necessary to gain muscle. That’s because stored fat is stored energy. So essentially, your stored fat is available to use as fuel for building muscle. But don’t be confused… you cannot turn fat into muscle. You can only replace fat with muscle.

2. If you eat more protein, you’ll build more muscle. Protein promotes the muscle-building process, called protein synthesis, but this does not mean you need an excess amount of protein. If you are working out hard, you only need to consume 0.9-1.25 grams grams of protein per pound of body weight. Excess protein is either excreted or converted into carbohydrates and stored. The most important part is to consume the right balance of protein to carbohydrates. You should consume 1 part protein to 3 parts carbohydrates after a workout.

3. Never exercise a sore muscle. As long as your muscle is not sore to the touch, or the soreness doesn’t limit your range of motion, an active rest involving light aerobic activity and stretching will actually help in the repair process and can help alleviate some of the soreness. And if you’re not too sore, try lifting some light weights for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

4. Lifting weights will make you bulky. Lifting weights will actually help you burn fat and gain muscle, providing you are eating enough protein. The bottom line is, it is far healthier to be lifting weights than not, especially as we age – male or female!

5. The longer you train, the better the results. The most important thing is quality over quantity. Focus on your form, and get adequate rest. Remember, muscles are actually formed while you sleep!

Do you have any fitness “myths” you’ve heard for years and are beginning to wonder how true they are? Leave them in the comments and I will answer them to the best of my ability! As always, thanks for reading!

My 80 Day Obsession Results

I realized I haven’t written a blog about my 80 Day Obsession results, so today, I’m sharing those.

80 Days (well, technically 90 days, but 80 workouts) later and I am SO proud of what I accomplished. The workouts are intense, averaging 45 minutes to an hour in length. There are three 4 week phases, each week having 6 different workouts. I LOVE that each week is a different workout. You are doing the same moves in each phase, but the way in which you do them changes. Each phase, you have the same labeled workout, but she changes up the moves for each workout. It’s almost impossible to get bored, because you are literally doing a different workout every single day for the 80 days.
.
In the middle of January, I started this 80 day abs & booty program, and a few months ago, I checked off day 80! I have never felt so motivated and excited to stick to a plan. These results are real. These booty gains and mom abs are for real (although I still have lots of work to do)!
.
Being consistent is not easy…. life is BUSY. Whether you’re a working mom, a full time stay at home mom, maybe you’re not a mom, I’m sure I have used every excuse I’m sure you’ve told yourself, too. This isn’t E A S Y. But it’s S I M P L E. 👌
.
The formula was simple: follow the workout program, eat according to the meal plan (whole foods based), and stay accountable to yourself!
.

So, here are my 80 day results! Did I follow the meal plan as well as I should have? NO! But I did the best I could and I didn’t skip a single workout! And I’m down 6 lbs and 18”!!!!!!! YOU can get results too if you put your mind to it and stop getting in your own way! Who wants to do round 2 with me?!

Would you like to try another round with me? Check it out here, and find me on Facebook for info on my next group!

Beachbody Performance Products

If you are an athlete or train pretty religiously at the gym, you could definitely benefit from Beachbody’s Performance line. I love their products because I know all of the research that goes into making their products, and I don’t have to worry about them adding any unwanted chemicals. I’ll give you a little rundown on each of the products and what they help with.

Energize: If you’ve ever struggled with low energy or lack of focus—you need Energize pre-workout formula. If you want help to power through the hardest workouts with more energy and endurance—help to intensify your focus and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue—you need Energize pre-workout formula. Energize is formulated with key ingredients that are scientifically shown to help give you energy. Take it before workouts so its key ingredients can help:

  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Improve intense exercise performance
  • Sharpen focus and reaction time
  • Increase muscle power output
  • Delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue

Why is Energize better than other energy products?*

  • You get increased energy.
  • It’s a powerful combination of ergogenic (performance-enhancing) ingredients and phytonutrients that are scientifically shown to help improve exercise performance, sharpen focus, and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
  • It contains functional ingredients that have been scientifically shown to work. Other products include gimmicky ingredients with no evidence that they work.
  • Key ingredients are included at their clinically established effective levels.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Hydrate: When you’re not properly hydrated during workouts, you can experience a drop in power and performance. And even mild dehydration can cause a reduction in exercise performance. But surprisingly, water isn’t the best way to hydrate, because it can’t effectively maintain the body’s fluid balance or replace lost electrolytes lost through sweat during exercise. Typical sports drinks can have too much sugar and artificial ingredients don’t hydrate you effectively either. Hydrate was created with an ideal balance of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water for better fluid absorption. It’s specifically formulated to replenish sweat losses and help improve exercise performance and endurance.*

The key ingredients in Hydrate during-workout formula are scientifically shown to help:*

  • Support hydration during exercise
  • Replace electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Improve exercise performance
  • Improve endurance
  • Increase fluid absorption during exercise

Why is Hydrate better than other hydration products?*

  • It gives you the ideal balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes that, when combined with a specific amount of water, creates the optimal osmolality for better fluid absorption during exercise. Osmolality refers to the amount of solute dissolved in solution. Typical sports drinks contain too much sugar, which can raise the osmolality and makes them slower and harder to absorb. It has been reported that some sports drinks can cause gastrointestinal distress, and may be suboptimal for hydrating, which is not what you want during exercise.
  • Hydrate solution is slightly lower than the osmolality of your blood, which means your body can absorb it better, easier, and faster—for the most effective hydration possible.
  • More fluid absorption means better blood circulation to muscles and skin, which helps boost exercise performance, improve endurance, and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
  • Hydrate helps maintain the body’s fluid balance and replace important electrolytes that are lost through sweat.
  • When you’re properly hydrated, you’ll feel better, recover faster, and have more stamina.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Recover: When you’re too sore from your workouts, it’s that much harder to stick with your program consistently. But when you reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness and improve muscle strength recovery, you can recover from your workout faster—and you can hit the next one that much harder. Faster recovery helps you get faster results, and that’s why you must take in the proper nutrients after every workout. The timed-release (fast-, intermediate-, slow-release) proteins and phytonutrients in Recover help maximize that critical post-workout opportunity to help reduce muscle breakdown, support muscle protein synthesis, fight exercise-induced muscle soreness, and jump-start your body’s natural rebuilding process so you can come back stronger tomorrow.*

The key ingredients in Recover post-workout formula are scientifically shown to help:*

  • Speed muscle recovery
  • Combat exercise-induced muscle soreness
  • Reduce muscle breakdown
  • Promote muscle protein synthesis
  • Improve adaptation to exercise
  • Improve muscle strength recovery
  • Support muscle glycogen recovery

Why is Recover better than other post-workout products?*

  • Way more effective than a simple protein powder, Recover uses key ingredients scientifically shown to help speed muscle recovery, reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness, and improve muscle strength recovery. It provides your muscles with a rapid and sustained supply of nutrients when your workout is over, to help boost your recovery to get you ready to crush your next workout.
  • Key phytonutrients help muscle recovery, reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness, and speed muscle strength recovery.
  • Recover contains functional ingredients that have been scientifically shown to work. Other products include gimmicky ingredients at insignificant levels with no evidence that they work.
  • Key ingredients are included at their clinically established effective levels.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Recharge: Sleep is absolutely critical to your body’s recovery. That’s prime time for your muscles to recharge so you can keep pushing the limits day after day. Recharge nighttime recovery formula is targeted nutrition that helps promote overnight muscle recovery. It helps boost your body’s ability to fight off delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) while promoting lean-muscle growth. So you wake up feeling strong and ready to crush your next workout.*

The key ingredients in Recharge nighttime recovery formula are scientifically shown to help:*

  • Support overnight muscle recovery
  • Combat exercise-induced muscle soreness
  • Reduce muscle breakdown
  • Promote muscle protein synthesis
  • Improve adaptation to exercise

Why is Recharge better than other recovery products?*

  • It targets your recovery while you sleep with ingredients scientifically shown to help support overnight muscle recovery and phytonutrients to help combat exercise-induced muscle soreness.
  • Recharge contains functional ingredients that have been scientifically shown to work. Other products include gimmicky ingredients with no evidence that they work.
  • The light, creamy vanilla flavor helps satisfy the urge to snack at night without the extra calories that can derail your fitness results. You won’t go to sleep on an empty stomach, and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to crush your next workout.
  • Key ingredients are included at their clinically established effective levels.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Creatine: Whether you’re looking to pack on extra muscle or push intense exercise to the max, Creatine can help you get there. Creatine monohydrate is one of the most scientifically effective ingredients shown to help boost strength and power, improve high-intensity performance and enhance the effects of resistance training. And when you’re able to work harder, you can reach your body-transformation goals even faster.*

Creatine Monohydrate is scientifically shown to help:*

  • Improve high-intensity exercise performance
  • Improve muscle strength and power
  • Enhance the effects of resistance training
  • Enhance muscle glycogen recovery

Why is Beachbody Performance Creatine better than other creatine products?*

  • Not all creatine is created equal. Creatine monohydrate has exceptional purity and potency. In fact, it’s the purest, most tested and effective form of creatine in the world.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Want to try some for yourself? Get some here!

Wellness Wednesday: Food Rules to Live By

I don’t know about you, but I hate the word “diet”. Why? Because a “diet” is typically something you do for a short period of time in hopes of losing weight. Here’s why I don’t like it: 1. You typically eliminate certain food groups altogether, which usually means binging on those food groups sooner or later. 2. Yes, you may lose the weight you were hoping to lose, but how many times have you just turned around and gained all of that weight back, plus some? And 3. I don’t like diets because the real problem lies in your every day choices, and what you really need is a lifestyle change. So, today, I wanted to share with you some tips on every day things you can do to make healthier choices.

Some food rules I live by:

Never label a certain food group off limits. In my experience, that generally leads to self sabotage. I have found that any time I deny myself certain foods, I tend to crave them even more. Am I saying you should go to McDonalds every day? Of course not! I’m simply saying that if you love a certain food, it’s ok to indulge in it from time to time. But how often you indulge in those foods should definitely depend on the type of food it is. I do believe we all deserve a treat now and then!

Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Water is so good for you in so many ways. Not only does it promote healthy weight management and weight loss, it also increases brain power and provides energy. It flushes out toxins, can improve your complexion and help you maintain regularity. When you are properly hydrated, all of your organs will run better and you will be more likely to feel better all around!

Eat more vegetables! Vegetables are naturally low in calories and filled with fiber that helps fill you up and keep your digestive system happy. Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that will help you feel healthy and more energized. Needless to say, eat your veggies and eat LOTS of them!

Don’t buy junk! If you know you don’t have the discipline to stay away from junk foods, do NOT bring them into your home. You can’t eat them if they aren’t there!

Pay attention to your serving sizes. Try drinking 8 oz of water before each meal. Eat your vegetables first, then your protein. If you are still hungry, eat some fiber filled carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc). If you’ve finished your plate and are still hungry, start the process over again. And do not eat until you are full… eat until you are satisfied.

One of my favorite rules to live by: Shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store. Steer clear of the middle aisles as much as possible. The edges of the store are usually where you find your meat, fish, dairy, and produce. You’re more likely to fill your cart with healthy foods if you stick to the outside aisles.

Girl, Wash Your Face

Oh man, I don’t even know where to begin with this book! Girl, Wash Your Face tackles the lies that hold us back from physical, mental, and spiritual health. The author, Rachel Hollis, share her own personal struggles, how these lies affected her, and what she did to overcome those lies. There were several chapters throughout this book that I found myself nodding along to, realizing I’ve struggled with many of these lies as well. Some so much that I was near tears by the end of the chapter! 

I love her style of writing and found it very easy to read. Most of the time, I didn’t want to put the book down, but I found it better to take each chapter on one at a time so that I could reflect on the words and how they apply to my life. Her stance on setting goals and crushing them has really lit a fire under me to go after my goals and not let ANYTHING stop me! 

Honestly, if you’re a woman, you NEED to read this! I promise you will find SOMETHING you can relate to in the book.  I actually borrowed the book from the library, but I am going to have to buy my own copy so I can read it over and over again. It will probably join my rotation once a year. 

Have you read it yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought. If not, what are you waiting for?! 

25 Fun, FREE things to do with your kids this summer!

I don’t know about you, but being a stay at home mom, I like to stay BUSY during the summer. Because boredom=fighting with my two boys. One thing I like to do is create a summer bucket list right before summer starts. It’s nothing stressful. A lot of times, it’s things I am already planning on doing with the kids. If we don’t end up doing something on the list, no harm done. I just like to use it for times that we are trying to find something to do, and can’t come up with anything on our own. I like to make it a mix of free things to do as well as some things that cost.

Today, I want to share with you 25 FREE things to do that I put on our summer bucket list.

1. Build a fort

2. Go for a hike

3. Make popsicles

4. Roast s’mores

5. Have a sleepover

6. Visit a splash park

7. Play with sidewalk chalk

8. Play a board game

9. Bake cookies from scratch

10. Go to the library

11. Blow bubbles

12. Make an obstacle course

13. Go swimming

14. Make soda floats

15. Do a puzzle

16. Make ice cream sundaes

17. Ride bikes and scooters

18. Make homemade pizza

19. Play a card game

20. Play with finger paint

21. Go on a nature hunt

22. Meet a new person

23. Play hide and seek

24. Build with Legos

25. Feed the ducks

I would love to hear from you guys, and what you think of the list. Tell me what you have planned for the summer to keep yourselves busy!

Are you an allergy sufferer?

Man, I don’t know about you, but I suffer TERRIBLY from spring allergies! Sneezing uncontrollably, itchy and watery eyes, itchy throat, and congestion. It is NO fun! That’s why I am thankful I was introduced to DoTerra essential oils!

Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils are my go to’s for allergies. Lavender is an antihistamine and helps reduce mucus. Peppermint is good to help get rid of phlegm. Lemon is a decongestant and also helps reduce mucus.

Here are a few ways I like to use this blend: First off, diffusing in the air pretty much ALL.THE.TIME is a great way to use those oils! I just put two drops of each oil into my diffuser and leave it running most of the day.

My next go to is the Tri Ease capsules. I just take 1-2 capsules a day, as needed. Simple as that!

The last thing I like to do, for just that extra support and relief is applying the oils to my skin with a roller bottle. They are so easy to make yourself! Just add 10 drops of each oil to a 10 ml roller bottle and fill the rest of the way with some fractionated coconut oil. I rub them on my temples, behind me ears, on my chest, and on the back of my neck.

What about you? Have you ever used essential oils? If you haven’t, I would suggest giving them a try! I have really tried to start using a more natural approach to treating common ailments, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the results! I’d love to hear any of your success stories, so send them over!

Summer body? How about just LOVE your body!

I don’t know about you, but I HATE the phrase “summer body”. And it’s not because I don’t want to look good in a swimsuit…. I do, trust me I do. But I feel like we should always love the body we are in and just work towards being our best self at any time of year.

With that being said, I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing to have fitness goals and maybe have that one outfit/swimsuit/bikini that we want to feel good in. So, I wanted to share some tips with you:

1. Find a partner! Having a partner to work out with and hold you accountable makes the journey much easier!

2. Make mini goals while working towards your bigger goals. For example, drink more water, or eat more veggies, or work out 3 times a week, etc.

3. Make it fun! Get creative with your meal plan and change up your workouts! You will plateau if you continue to do the same thing over and over again.

4. Stay positive. Even when you get discouraged, have a good attitude.

5. Be kind to yourself. When you slip up, or cheat, or don’t work out, forgive yourself. You can’t get the body you want without love. So give yourself some grace and pick yourself up and keep going!

6. Get your ZzZz’s. Sleep plays a vital role in your weight loss. So make sure to get an adequate amount every night!

Word of the year – Present

In this fast-paced, busy life nowadays, it’s so easy to get caught up in our to do lists and forget to just stop and spend time with those we love. And I’m not talking about taking your kids to an activity only to play on your phone the whole time (totally guilty of this). I mean actually being PRESENT with whoever it is you are choosing to spend time with at that moment. Which brings me to the word I have chosen to focus on this year: PRESENT.

I recently read a book Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. One of my favorite lines from the book says “Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairytale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.”

This year, I want to focus on getting my work done while my youngest naps and my oldest is in school, so that when they are both awake and home I can focus my time on THEM and not be so distracted by my to do list. I will put my phone away during our special times together (unless it’s to snap a cute picture or video, of course). I want to use my time more wisely and efficiently so that I’m not constantly telling my toddler “I can’t. I’m busy right now.” Or “I’ll play with you later.” My children will only be small for a short time, and I don’t want to look back and wish I had spent more time with them.

And don’t get me wrong, my husband is just as high on my list of priorities this year. As a matter of fact, his birthday is at the end of January, and instead of a tangible gift I’ve decided to gift him with 12 months of preplanned/pre-paid date nights. But on top of that, at night when it’s just the two of us, I will start focusing on him and not all of the distractions life tries to throw my way.

So, I challenge you. What do YOU want to do more of this year? Have you stopped to think about what you want to focus on this year? If you haven’t, I challenge you to do that this week! I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let me know how you want to spend your 2018!