HIIT me with your best shot.

I despise going to the gym to do cardio. Even though I love some distance running outside when the weather is nice, I have yet to meet a treadmill or elliptical that I’ve liked. To still get the benefits of a cardiovascular workout I started implementing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into my routine two years ago and do it now 3-4 times a week.

A few of benefits of intervals include increased metabolism, heart function, and HIIT burns more fat and calories in 24 hours after its completed than a long steady state run. All under 20 minutes – with really only a few minutes of work. I’m sold. To be fair, HIIT is challenging. In order to do it right, the intervals should be done at maximum intensity. It’s definitely not the type of cardio that you can read People magazine at the same time. The RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) Scale below displays how much effort should be put into each part of the interval.

The following HIIT routines are what I do on the treadmill – but you can do them on a bike, elliptical, or even running outside.

Super 8s:

30 seconds all out sprint (RPE Level 10) followed by 90 seconds of Recovery/Walking (RPE Level 2-3).

Do this 8 times. (16 minute total workout)

Gradual Sprint Workout:

30 seconds walking (RPE Level 5)

30 seconds moderate (Level 7)

30 seconds sprint (Level 10)

Repeat for a total of 10 times (15 minute workout)

Advanced HIIT

(I absolutely hate this workout but I feel like a world champion when I’m finished)

1 minute of walking/recovery (Level 2-3)

30 seconds moderate (Level 5)

1 minute sprint (Level 10)

Repeat for a total of 10 times (25 minute workout)

Protein Cookie Dough Bites

Does anyone honestly make chocolate chip cookies just to make cookies? Doubt it.

I relate to Cookie Monster:

Luckily, I tried several different combinations of ingredients and created something that tastes just as good without the guilt. Enjoy!

cookiedough

  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Biotest Metabolic Drive)
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Oat Flour (I never buy oat flour, I just grind oats in a blender/processor)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs Almond Milk
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs Mini or Dark Chocolate Chips

Mix ingredients together and roll into 10 balls. Freeze for 5-10 minutes before eating. Store in the fridge.

Nutrition Stats per ball:

Cals: 80

Carbs: 8 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Fat: 4 grams

Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

I’m not a salad person with the exception of this one.  I requested this be a side at our wedding and I eat this salad so often I wonder if I could pass a drug test with my high level of poppy seed consumption. I got really excited when I saw that Red Robin had a seasonal strawberry spinach salad last summer and then found out it had 600 calories. Personally, I’d rather just eat a burger and bottomless fries for that amount. Luckily, it was super easy to make a healthy version at home. The dressing is super good and it won’t end up expiring in the back of your fridge like all the others you buy with good intentions (let’s be honest).

ChickenSpinachSalad

The dressing recipe makes enough for 5-6 salads, it keeps well bottled in the fridge.

For the salad:

  • 2 Cups of Baby Spinach
  • 5 Strawberries, Sliced
  • 4 oz Grilled Chicken Breast
  • 2 Tbs Toasted Almond Slices
  • Optional additions: Blueberries, Sliced Red Onions, Arugula, Feta Cheese

Dressing

Mix together:

  • 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 3 tsp Olive Oil
  • 5 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbs of Stevia to taste

Nutrition Stats: (for salad with 1 serving of poppy seed dressing)

Cals: 228

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Fat: 10 grams

Sugar: 4 grams

(Dressing adapted from Little B’s Healthy Habits)

50 Calorie Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

If I could sit around all day and eat brownies as big as my face, I would. Honestly. But I’ve noticed that a high brownie consumption correlates with shrinking pants.

DSC01210

I love brownies so much I was craving them at 9am when the thought occurred to me to try to make a healthier version. Luckily, these brownies are healthy enough to eat for breakfast. These are super fudgy and so good that I had to leave the room to keep from eating the entire pan. I’ve been playing around with almond meal in pancake recipes and was happy to find that its natural sweetness bodes well for brownies too. If you don’t have any on hand – you can make it yourself or just sub another part oats.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

  • 1/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Meal (if you don’t have any on hand, just sub another 1/4 cup oats)
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 5.3oz. container of Low Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt (don’t use plain non fat – the brownies will taste sour!)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 Cup Stevia (I used Stevia in the Raw)
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or skim)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 4 Tbs PB2 or Peanut Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients except for PB2 in a blender or food processor. Batter will be thin. Pour into an 8×8 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes.

To make peanut butter swirl, mix the PB2 with 3-4 Tbs of water to get a thinner consistency. If you don’t have PB2 – just sub 4 tablespoons of regular peanut butter (but warm it in the microwave first). Using a knife, swirl the peanut butter mixture into the batter.DSC01206

Bake for 10 more minutes. Wait until completely cool to cut into brownies. Then do a face dive into deliciousness. Makes 12 brownies.

Stats for one brownie:

Cals: 50

Carbs: 5 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Fat: 2 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

Low Carb Almond Joy Pancakes

Apparently, making breakfast food taste like a candy bar is my new thing. I’m completely OK with that…I can’t for the life of me understand people who like to eat plain egg whites and oatmeal every morning. The secret to the low carbs in this recipe is coconut flour – if you haven’t tried it, trust me when I say its a game changer.

Image

  • 3 Tbs of Coconut Flour
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or Skim milk)
  • 1/4 tsp Coconut Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • Stevia to taste (I use 1-2 packets of NuNaturals Stevia)
  • 1 Tbs Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbs Unsweetened Coconut

Whisk all ingredients except coconut flakes and chocolate chips in a bowl. Pour into mini pancakes on a griddle or pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top with chocolate chips and coconut.

For entire recipe:

Cals: 276

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Fat: 13 grams

Sugar: 14 garms

Chocolate Protein Waffles with Peanut Butter Syrup

I’ve been inventing new kinds of waffles lately and these are by far my favorite.  If you want to increase the protein content, just add 1/3 scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder to the recipe. Enjoy!

waffle

Waffles Ingredients:

1/2 cup oats

4 egg whites

2 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 Tbs Stevia

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp butter extract (optional)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Syrup ingredients:

2 Tbs of PB2 or peanut flour

1/4 cup Sugar Free or Low Sugar Syrup

Blend ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Pour into a waffle iron greased with cooking spray. Meanwhile, mix the PB2 with 1 Tbs of water as directed. (1 Tbs of Peanut Butter can be substituted if you don’t have any on hand). Mix with syrup and heat in the microwave or stove top.

For entire recipe (2 waffles with syrup)

Cals: 415

Protein: 38 grams

Carbs: 60 grams

Fat: 6 grams

Sugar: 8 grams