Greetings. It may be close to 80 degrees here in Chicago, but I’ve been in fall mode since September first. 80 degree weather and hearty fall recipes don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, which is why I tried to combine the best of both worlds into my Pumpkin Protein Smoothie!

This puppy definitely hits the spot. It satisfies that fall flavor craving that creeps up this time of year without being too heavy for a hot day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sweetener to taste (I used 1 tsp splenda)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Directions: Toss all that good stuff in the blender and mix it up!

mmm…pumpkiny

Workout Success:

Last week in a post I mentioned that I was having some extreme difficulty finding a new workout plan that worked for me. One that I could dedicate myself to without becoming bored and giving up on. Well, problem solved! I took on the challenge of constructing a complete workout plan on my own. Normally, I will find a plan created by someone else and tweak it a little. My go-to site for workouts is normally Bodybuilding.com. Unfortunately, there isn’t a very vast selection on the website this time of year.

While constructing my workout plan for the Fall, I asked myself a couple questions:

How much time do I want to spend at the gym? I am an extremely busy person. On average, I only have about an hour of “free time” each day, which is almost always spent at the gym. I can’t afford to jump into extremely time consuming workouts, no matter how effective they may be. I made sure to construct my plan so I won’t be at the gym for more than an hour to an hour and a half each day.

What types of workouts do I like? This is a huge one. If you don’t like what you’re doing at the gym, you’re probably going to give up. To solve this problem, I made a list of my favorite strength training exercises for each muscle group. I came up with 4-6 for each muscle group, and incorporated them into my plan. For cardio, I love HIIT (high intensity interval training). I made sure to incorporate a healthy amount of this type of cardio into my workout plan as well.

What are my goals? If your goal is to lose weight, you want to be sure your plan is designed for weight loss (lots of cardio, intervals, circuits, high reps with low weight). If your goal is to bulk up, you’re going to want to have a completely different type of plan (low reps with high weight, less cardio, etc.). In my case, I’m not really looking to do either. I’m looking to maintain my current weight while continuing to tone my muscles. This made me realize that I don’t need to be killing myself at the gym every day.

So, what did I come up with? A pretty basic plan involving five days of weight training and 5 days of cardio. It looks something like this:

  • Day 1: Back and 20-30 minutes of HIIT cardio
  • Day 2: Legs and Abs
  • Day 3: 20 minutes of HIIT cadio, 20 minutes moderate cardio
  • Day 4: Biceps, Triceps, Abs
  • Day 5: Chest, Shoulders, and 20 minutes HIIT cardio
  • Day 6: Abs and 20 minutes HIIT cardio, 20 minuets moderate cardio
  • Day 7: REST!

For most strength training exercises, I am doing three sets of 10-12 reps. Nothing crazy. Again, I am doing about 4-6 strength training exercises for each muscle group, and resting for about 30 seconds between exercises.

I’m not saying my workout plan is the best ever. It’s extremely simple, and works for me. The point I want to make is you need to find what works for you. Don’t ever let someone tell you one type of workout plan is right or wrong. If it’s giving you the results you’re looking for, then it’s probably right for you!

On a different note, today is going to be a great day. It’s a Saturday and I have so much catching up to do on cleaning, homework, and getting ready for the Dance Team Dinner I’m hosting tomorrow. First one of the season! Have a great Saturday!

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