The ability of your abdominals.

Happy Monday, Everyone!

So yesterday I left you with something to contemplate: what could you (or should you) do with 20 minutes of your day, each day? Well, in case you didn’t think of anything yet I wanted to take some time today to share with you an efficient and extremely effective ab workout that will get you in the habit of working towards better time management skills, as well as short-term goal setting. My favorite part about this workout is that, not only will it set your abs ablaze, but it will also be very scalable/easy to break down into smaller steps once the number of repetitions may get daunting…and that’s important to keep in mind because I think that’s where most of us fall off the workout goal bandwagon: when things like numbers and times become daunting. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there before.

Okay, so what exactly is this ab workout that I’m talking up? It’s the 30 Day Abs Challenge, which is part of the larger 30 Day Fitness Challenges program. To give you a brief overview of the program, I’ve inserted a short challenge description from their website: “The 30 day abs challenge has 4 different exercises which you have to do each day, and the time spent doing the exercise slowly increase day by day to help you build your core body muscle strength gradually, ensuring you are able to complete the final day  of the challenge easily.”

This ab challenge, to me, less about toning up and getting beach body ready for the summer months (if it ever comes…it was snowing in Boston again today!!) and more about time management and prioritizing positive health and wellness habits into my daily life.

Anyways, check out the image below to get a better sense of the acceleration of the core workout that you’ll have the ability to complete after just 30 days…amazing, right?! That’s why I decided to call this post “The ability of your abdominals” because you will be so shocked at what your abs can do in just a quick 30 days.

What-is-the-30-Day-Ab-Challenge

Not sure what some of these terms (sit ups, crunches, leg raises, planks) are? Or, want to make sure that you are doing each exercise properly? No worries! The 30 Day Abs Challenge website includes great resources, including 30-second video tutorials on “How to do a sit up/crunch/plank/leg raise properly.”

So, back to the challenge: the first day seems like a piece of cake, right? For most of us it might be, but still, it’s a challenge just to set aside the time and set the intention to do so. That’s a real thing. That being said, I’d like to backtrack for a second and tell you that I’ve attempted this challenge once before, last fall. I saw one of my friends post about it on Facebook and thought, “Oh that would be a nice addition to my half marathon training!” So I attempted the challenge, got about halfway through, got sick, then got busy at work and fell behind. All excuses, but it happens. This time I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again; this is one challenge that I am ready to tackle and see all the way through.

To ensure that the completion of the 30 Day Abs Challenge happens I’ve decided to use the power of accountability to hold me to my word. Not only do I have all of my readers who are expecting me to to finish (and hopefully cheering me on!), but I also called upon fellow Jersey girl and a dear friend of mine from college,  Kristi, to take on the challenge with me.

Accountability is a powerful tool, especially when your lifestyle keeps you constantly on the go. Take my current situation into consideration: I am in Atlanta for a work conference (and, in general, travel pretty frequently for work), I have grad class twice a week at night, we both work 9-5, Monday-Friday, and have other obligations and responsibilities along the way. Normally, Kristi and I already live about four hours away from each other anyways so we would have to make this whole accountability thing work via text, FaceTime, Skype, etc., but the extra travel and odd scheduling makes connecting with other people more difficult. Yet still, we’re making it work.

Kristi and I decided to start our 30 Day Abs Challenge today, April 4th. To make it possible, we decided to FaceTime with each other and do the workout together. You’re always faster, stronger, better with friends…and this ab challenge is no exception to that rule.

I’ve included a snapshot of each of us doing one exercise, just for fun. I like to call the one of the left “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up!” (Sunset Boulevard, anyone?)

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Again, some of the numbers that you see on the 30 Days Abs Challenge above can seem extremely daunting. But know that you can always break the workout up throughout the day to make it scalable to your level. Of course, if you can power through and do all 70 sit ups, 95 crunches, 42 leg raises, and a 60 second plank all in one shot, then all the power to you!  But for most of us who can’t, try breaking down each in repetitions of 12 or so and rotating through the circuit until you’ve completed the designated workout for the day. Or, technically you have all day to complete the workout so you can do some in the morning, some after work, and the rest before bed…so long as you promise to not let any excuses get in the way of you finishing the workout. Maybe you, too will enlist one of your friends or family members to join you in this challenge! Kristi got her roommate and entire family to join her apparently! Who else is in?

I’ll post more on daunting fitness challenges and the power and importance of accountability on Friday, but I’m curious what works for you to keep moving through hard workouts: a solid playlist, a good TV show in the background, your favorite podcast (I’m always looking for recommendations!), a conversation with a friend? Let me know, I’d love to know what inspires you to keep moving.

Let’s see…what else is coming up this week? I guess the other big thing on my radar this week is that registration for the B.A.A. 10k opens up on Wednesday, April 6th at 10am. As you can see on the Meg in the Meantime homepage, one of my current goals is to sign up and race in the B.A.A. 10k. I’ll actually be flying back to Boston from my work conference during that exact registration time so luckily my wonderful boyfriend, Ryan, has offered his assistance in signing up for me so I don’t miss out. All B.A.A. races (5k, 10k, 13.1, distance medley, and marathon) usually sell out very quickly so cross your fingers that I get in!

In the meantime, I want to leave you with an excerpt from Tracksmith‘s “Please Keep On Moving” campaign, which they released as part of their women’s apparel launch. Even though the piece itself focuses on running, the overall message is very relatable to other aspects in our lives, both personally and professionally. Please take a minute to read through it and consider what could you do–what do you have the ability to do–if you commit to it?

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I hope you take in consideration joining me in the 30 Day Abs Challenge–I’ll be sure to share my updates (the good, bad, and ugly) along the way; however, if some other kind of challenge else compels you more, I hope you go fully towards that…and keep me posted on it, of course!

More to come later this week,
-Meg

Get more from your muffins.

Good Morning!

I woke up at 4:30am in Boston and it was starting to snow and now here I am a few hours later (read: two flight delays later) in Georgia, where the temperature is slowly climbing into the 60’s and all is sunny and wonderful…spring weather sure is a wild thing! I’m down in Georgia for the next few days for a work conference, which will be a great testament to my readers how to still balance health and fitness goals while traveling, but more to come on that later, though.

Yesterday I promised that I would post my first snack recipe today and then I left you hanging with a little teaser. The “Sunday Snacks” series, as I affectionately call it, is my attempt at sharing some of my favorite healthy, quick and easy-to-make snacks to fuel your life on the go–none of these recipes will take much of your time, but I hope they leave you feeling as satisfied and energized as they do for me.

I decided to start with one of my favorite snacks: Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins. You’ll be surprised to find that most of the ingredients you may already even have in your pantry and cupboards already! These muffins are made without butter, oil, or flour and therefore make for a healthy grab-and-go breakfast item or a bite-sized snack throughout your busy day.

I originally found this recipe a year or so ago while surfing Pinterest for meals that would help fuel my half marathon training. I came across many banana oak muffin recipes, but what made this one jump out at me was the Greek Yogurt addition–it just seemed so interesting! At the time I was trying to integrate more Greek Yogurt into my diet so I figured I would give it a whirl. Now, I’m not sure if the original recipe came from this blogger or not, but I’d like to give her a shout out regardless because I felt like her directions were the easiest to follow and resulted in the most perfectly moist muffins (most likely due to the Greek Yogurt addition): Amanda, the health coach and blogger from Running With Spoons, thank you!

Okay, let’s get to it. This Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins recipe should yield 12 muffins and the total time, from start to finish, is about 25 minutes (5-7 min. for prep time, 15-20 min. for cook time)–everyone has 25 minutes to spare, right?!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need, but feel free to improvise where you feel necessary; as you’ll see, I shared my improvisations below.

Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I chose Vanilla Greek Yogurt for extra flavor)
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1&1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I chose the mixed bag of chocolate chip and peanut butter for extra flavor…and I added a little extra for good measure).


Baking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and prepare muffin tin by spraying the cavities with cooking spray (or lining them with paper liners).
  2. Mix all of the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) into a blender or food processor.
    **Note: when I first made these I did not have a blender or food processor, so I used my small NutriBullet blender and it worked just fine…just took a little while longer because I had to blend it in sections due to space constraints. I later bought myself a KitchenAid Beater and used that instead–worked just as well.**
  3. Once the batter is smooth and creamy and the oats are broken down, then stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cavity until it is about 3/4 full. Here you have the option to add a few extra chocolate chips on top of each muffin for extra sweetness.
  5. Bake for 15-20 min., or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle of the muffin and it comes out clean.
  6. Let the muffins cool for about 10 minutes before moving them into an air-tight container so that you can enjoy the moistness for up to a week.

Here’s a snapshot of how mine turned out the last time I baked them:

Muffins2

No two muffins are alike so yours might look a bit different from mine, but I guarantee that you’ll love the way they taste. What I appreciate most about these muffins is that they’re delicious as it, or with an addition of a little butter, honey, or peanut butter–whatever your preference! Plus, like I said earlier, they’re a great grab-and-go breakfast option, something to snack on post-run, or just a healthier snack option to share with friends during your next get together!

Have any of you ever tried this recipe before? Do you have any improvisations to add to it or a similar healthy muffin recipe that you love just as much? Please make sure to share it with me on Twitter: @meggielukes–I’d love to know your thoughts!

I’ll be back again tomorrow for my first “Motivational Monday” series, where I’ll share with you my first fitness goal and challenge that I am tackling as I gear up for some late spring/early summer road races. This challenge may seem daunting, but I assure that you can do it, too!

In the meantime, don’t let the snowy, windy weather get you down–set aside 20 minutes or so to do something for you: baking Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins for the week, getting in a solid stretch or meditation period, or starting to outline your own personal health and wellness goals.

Talk with you tomorrow,
-Meg

Hi there (and welcome)!

Just wanted to write a quick note to welcome you all to my blog! I’m so excited to share my story, challenges, and successes with you as I continue on my quest for finding balance and new and creative ways to incorporate health and wellness habits in my life; in the end, I can only hope it inspires and fuels your life in motion, as well.

Each week you can look forward to a wide range of health and wellness topics, from on-the-go healthy snacks, to effective, efficient, scalable workout ideas, my journey during some personal fitness challenges, and the inside scoop into Boston’s best fitness trends, which will include some reviews and shoutouts for brands and specific gears, features on studios/classes/fitness communities, as well as some more ind-depth features on local Fitfluential individuals who really inspire me and impact my own lifestyle habits.

Stop by tomorrow morning for my first “Sunday Snacks” series in which I’ll share with you one of my favorite quick, delicious, and nutritious recipes. I’ll give you a hint: this snack is bite-sized and will leave you with a dozen or so–the more to share with friends and co-workers, or just keep all to yourself!  Either way, I guarantee it’ll be easy to make (trust me, I am far from ever being featured on Chopped) and leave you running out the door to pick up ingredients to do it yourself.

In the meantime, I hope you make sure to get out there today (despite the rain) and do something that really moves you!
-Meg