Thank you 2013 for being an Amazing Year!

2013 is the year I decided to take my passion for health & fitness and do something with it, I chose to share it with you!  What I did not realize was the motivation this blog would spark in myself. In reviewing 2013 I realize how awesome it feels to do what you enjoy and share it with other. Here are some of my favorite Healthy Asset moments of 2013:

My goal for the year ahead, Do more of what makes me happy! I am excited to see where 2014 takes me. Where will it take you?

Do-More-Of-What-Makes-You-HappyHappy New Years!!!

Mexican Dip Cups

Happy Holidays Healthy Asset Friends! 

This past weekend was our 6th annual Nog & Hog Christmas Party. I look forward to this party every year as it really gets me in the Holiday spirit. I made a new appetizer this year that I have been meaning to try for some time now, Mexican Dip Cups, found on one of my favorite blogs, KERF. It was fun to make and a huge success. Try this recipe for your next Holiday party!!!

Mexican Dip Cups

  • Cups: Nasoya wontons
  • Dip: Black beans, diced tomatoes and corn salsa
  • Topping: Cheddar cheese
  • Extra: Avocado, Greek yogurt & cayenne pepperIMG_20131214_165014_698

Line mini cupcake tin with wontons. Add bean mixture to each cup and bake for 9 minutes on 400 degrees. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese while still hot.

PhotoGrid_1387124552925 Before serving, add dollop of avocado mixture.

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A Secret to Fresh Legs & Quick Recovery

This Fall I tried something new for my runs….. Any idea?

Compression SocksI wore compression socks. I have seen runners wear these before and never thought much of them other than maybe they kept people’s legs warm or were just trendy. Probably true but little did I know there is a lot more to these socks so once I tried them out myself, I was hooked.

Compressions socks are tighter than normal socks to enhance blood flood throughout your legs which helps in muscle recovery. They can be worn before, during or after a workout and are specifically great for runners or other endurance athletes.

I know for me, heavy legs from Body Pump squats or just not properly stretching is the first thing to impact my running. I get discouraged, uncomfortable, and feel slow. It is the worst feeling when you want to get in a good run. I have worn compression socks for my training runs and past two races and I can tell a difference for sure. My legs feel fresh and even feels like I have a spring in my step. My race recovery is a lot faster too. I was pleasantly surprised the benefits these compression socks had on my runs and I will be sticking with them throughout the season.

Check out PRO Compression if you want to learn more about these socks or buy a pair to try yourself. Please note this post is my own opinion and not sponsored so you know it is the real deal!

Backyard Burn 10 mile Trail Run

EX2 Adventures is the host to some awesome trail running series in the Washington DC area. Their Fall series, Backyard Burn, is a series of 6 trail races throughout different Northern Virginia Parks. Each race has a 5 mile and 10 mile course. Their races are unique as you hit the dirt trails full of switch backs, stream crossings, grassy fields, gravel payment, and roots obstacles. You have to be quick on your feet to navigate throughout the trails.

My husband and I have done a handful of EX2 Adventure Trail Runs in the past and have always had an awesome time. I knew I wanted to get back into it this season so we signed up for their 10 miler trail run at Wakefield Park. I wish I could do the whole series but its just not gonna happen this year, maybe next? Anyways, I was excited to get back out there.

The course was relatively flat but had a lot of switch backs and obstacles to keep your focus. The first 5 miles went fast as I ran through a single track in line with other runners. Then it seemed like most the runners dropped off to complete their 5 mile course as I headed out for my second round. Not a runner in sight in front or behind me. I just made sure I kept my pace up so anyone behind me (especially another girl) wouldn’t pass. The switch backs were pretty cool since the one time I saw another runner it was my husband (about a mile ahead). I crossed the finish line at 1:24:01 placing me 1st in my age group and 2nd female overall.

Backyard Burn

It was an awesome course and reminds me of all the Reasons Why I Love Trail Running:

  • The mental focus it takes for foot placement over obstacles along the trail, there is no need your headphones trust me you won’t even want it.
  • The intensity of the workout with lots of speed bursts & recovery, it is a heart pumping workout for sure.
  • The beauty of nature as you navigate through the woods taking in the colors of Fall and fresh air.
  • The adventure of the trail, never knowing what is to come, a stream, fallen tree, or killer hill climb, the course is always changing.
  • The softness of the dirt is so much better on your joints than the hard impact of payment in any road race.
  • The quietness of the trail, there are no fans cheering or signs to read, it is just you, the trail, and the rhythm of your foot placement.

So next time you want an adventure, try a trail run or an EX2 Adventures trail race. It may be just what you were looking for.

Marine Corp Marathon – Team Safe Kids Relay

The Marine Corp Marathon was this past weekend in DC!

Don’t get too excited, I did not run the full marathon, rather I teamed up with some great friends to run it as relay. We ran to support Safe Kids Worldwide an organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. We had many marathoners & relay teams on the course race day to support Safe Kids & our Marines. Together our teams raised over $100,000!!! Thank you to all our supporters.

MCM - Team Safe KidsOur relay team divided the course into 4 legs. I was the lucky one who got to run the last leg and cross the finish-line for our team. I felt like a fraud as I entered the course mile 19 with fresh legs. I ran the full marathon in 2009 and know how tough those last few miles can be. The runners were inspiring as I knew how far they have gone. Those last 7 miles can be killer so I hope my enthusiasm and blue cape helped push them to the end.  (Easier said than done, I know). The relay was an awesome way to support the runners on and off the course, I’d love to do it again!

Recently UpdatedAnd did I mentioned we kicked butt, finished 3:34:24 which is a qualifying Boston Marathon time!!! Now if only they allowed relay teams.

Body Pump 87 Launch Review

It’s been a busy week of Body Pump. I launched Body Pump 87 at my two gyms and I just have to say how much I like launch season, everything about it, the hype, the energy, the enthusiasm and the costumes! Here we are teamed up with Body Step decked out in our Halloween costumes.

teamThis launch was especially special since one of our instructors reached a big milestone, her 25th Body Pump Launch!  That means she’s been instructing Pump for 6.5 years! Wow, quite the accomplishment. Our team wanted to celebrate so we decorated with a banner and Georgetown minis with numbers representing each of her releases. How cute was that? CONGRATULATIONS!

HAPPY 25TH RELEASEBody Pump 87 Review

It is an awesome release throughout. The music is groovy and the moves are killer. Here is how I see it and what is unique to this release:

  • My Favorite track – Triceps
  • My Toughest track – Lunges
  • My Favorite song – Bom Bom for Biceps
  • My Favorite move – Alt. Leg Extension with Plate Crunch for Abs

Wider Squat Stance – We’ve all heard of mid & wide stance before but now there is “wider squat stance”. As the name suggest, you step out one-heel-toe out wider from your wide stance. This allows you to really target your glutes so concentrate on getting your butt down low (top of knee line), pushing your knees out, and squeezing those glues to maximize the effect of this exercise.

Hang Clean - The hang clean is back but looks a bit different than in the prior release. This time we catch the bar, STAND, and then release back down to set position. It is a great move to work on your form for the normal clean & press so focus on keeping that bar close to your body and exploding the bar up to your chest. 

Hammer Curls – We ditch the bar for the bicep track and use hand weights for hammer curls & the traditional bicep curl. The hammer curl allows us to focus on a different part of the arm, the forearm and elbow flexors.

Lunges – Nothing new in the movement other than we are lunging in isolation longer. Watch out, it stings!

Standing T-Raise – A new shoulder workout used to not only target your rear deltoids but also your upper back. Focus on expanding your chest & squeezing between the shoulder blades as those plates come to either side.

Alt. Leg Extension with Plate Crunch – I finally found an ab track that burns so good. By extending your upper body and lower body and then crunching in, this movement really targets those core muscles, top to bottom.

team2

team3Have you tried Body Pump 87? What do you think?

Group Exercise Certification – What you need to know

We hit the road again for another trainingGroup Exercise Certification.

Most gyms require fitness instructors to have Group Exercise Certification as a basic level training. This certification will teach you how to design a safe & effective fitness class. There are a lot of organizations that offer Group Exercise Certification, here are some of the most popular:

I went through AFAA since I was told a little secret – AFAA offers a special certification at a discount rate, twice a year, through a program called APEX. It is the same certification just at an affordable rate. If you are considering getting certified definitely check out the APEX training schedule.

Before you go to training…

  • You’ll need the bookFitness Theory and Practice. It is expensive so I highly suggest borrowing the book from another instructor at your gym, even if it is outdated. I borrowed a 2003 edition and it had all the same information as the latest 2010 edition, just a bit out of order.
  • You’ll receive a study guide. The study guide is great since it highlights all the important information you need to know for day of certification.
  • You’ll do some work – Complete the study guide & review it. Based on your familiarity with exercise science you may need to spend a bit of time reviewing but really just be familiar with the terms & muscle groups in the study guide.

Day of training…

  • Your instructor will review EVERYTHING you need to know so pay attention. They will walk you through all the muscle groups, exercises, and even read through the study guide. You will also go through a mock practical examination.
  • Practical Examination – There is 3 parts to the practical exam with the group:
  1. Group Cardio Practical Exam - You will perform 3 minute warm up, 4 minute cardio, and 1 minute cool down exercises as if you were creating a cardio class. No talking, just moving to the music.
  2. Group Strengthen & Flexibility Training Practical Exam – The instructor will name a muscle group and you will perform 2 strength training exercises & 1 stretch that targets that muscle group. Again no talking, just moving to the music. If you teach Pump, you are well prepared!
  3. Individual Presentation – Each student will be given 2 minutes to give a presentation to the class on 1 exercise in 3 fitness levels. You will explain the muscles targeted, proper alignment, and demonstrate variations. It can be super basic, I did 3 levels of planks – 1. On knees 2. On toes 3. Walking.
  • Written Examination - 100 question multiple choice, you have 1 hour to complete. It is fairly straight forward but like any multiple choice exam there are always tricky ones. To do your best know
    • Muscle groups
    • Planes of movement
    • Terminology – anatomical, kinesiology, contraction etc.
    • FITT components of cardio, strength, and flexibility
    • Spine alignment

Training Day was a lot of fun and very interesting. I learned a lot and it will definitely help make me a better instructor. I’ll wrap this post up with some of the random/interesting facts I learned at APEX training…

  • Do you know why there is a railing by your feet at your local bar? It is for you to put your foot on so you can properly align your spine, feel more comfortable on your feet, willing to stay out longer, and consume more. Tricky!
  • Interval training (a series of high & low intensity work) is most effective and should be done when you only have a few minutes to workout.  So your next 20 minute cardio session try alternating between sprints & jogging rather than a steady pace.
  • Our stronger muscles are on the front of our body, our weaker muscles are on the back of our body. Give extra focus to the weaker muscles than their stronger opposing muscle groups. Don’t forget your triceps, hamstrings, or traps!
  • There is no such thing as upper & lower abdominal. Your abdominal muscle is one big muscle that works together.
  • The most accurate place to take your heart rate is at your wrist rather than your neck.

Best of luck at training!

Reasons Fall is Pefect for Running

A new season brings a new activity… Running!!!

I am tying up my running shoes again and hitting the pavement (and trails) this Fall. Sure I ran some over the summer but training for my first triathlon I tried to focus more on my weak events, swimming & biking. Now, it’s time to enjoy those long runs again. Fall is the perfect season to get running for many reasons:

  1. The weather is cool & refreshing, no more muggy summer days.
  2. It’s easy to enjoy after work as our daylight hours start to shorten.
  3. The scenery is beautiful as you surround yourself with Fall foliage.
  4. There are lots of Fall races in our area to help motivate.

Here is what am I training for..

Marine Corp Marathon

Ok wait… Don’t get too excited (or concerned) I have joined a relay team so I will be running somewhere between 6 – 8 miles this year. I am excited to team up with some good friends to enjoy in the high energy spirit of the MCM. It is an awesome race to be a part of no matter your distance.

Backyard Burn

Hitting the trails for a 10 mile trail run is an awesome way to enjoy the fall foliage. Ex2Adventure puts on a great trail race series each season. I used to run these all the time and have wanted to get back into it. This is the season!

Turkey Chase

What better way to start off your Thanksgiving Day than with a workout? I especially love this race since It has become a family tradition. My whole family gets moving as you can pick your course -10k run, 2 mile walk or 50m kids run. There is really a turkey to chase!

Are you running this Fall? What do you like best about Fall running?

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas a Must Try!

Are you ready for my favorite Fall dish?

Seriously, I have waited all summer long to cook this warm, veggie goodness. Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas found on Eat, Live, Run has been my go to casserole when I want something healthy & delicious. I always make two dishes hoping they will last me through the week but it seems to disappear before I know it. I hope you all try it and love it as much as I do. Let me know!

1-DSC_0031Ingredients for 1 casserole:

  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and slivered
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jar store-bought salsa/pico de gallo
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
  • 9-10 corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.

In a large bowl combine prepped red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels. Drizzle oil and sprinkle the cumin & garlic over top. Add salt and  pepper. Then mix everything together and spread evenly on cookie sheet.

Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting.  Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Prepare a 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa.

  1. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan.
  2. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa.
  3. Top with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables.
  4. Add a handful of spinach.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese.
  6. Repeat layers.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

1-Healthy AssetsEnjoy!

September Favorites Recap

October 1st, really?

September came and went with a blink of an eye. So what was going on here at Healthy Assets? In case you missed it, here is a recap of my September favorites.

Food Rules for Late Night Workouts - Your back from an awesome workout but it’s late, what should you eat? Find out here.

IMG_20130421_082126_521Health Food Secrets from the Bulk Aisle - Shhh! Find out the secret ingredients that reside in the bulk aisle. Pick some of these up on your next grocery shopping trip.

IMG_20130918_131825_747New Running Shoes – How to Choose? It’s that time again, new shoe buying time. Tips on finding the perfect shoe for you.

IMG_20130914_103521_447Pumpkin Batch of Cookies - The perfect Fall cookie to get into the season loaded with pumpkin, nuts & chocolate.

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