You don’t have to deprive yourself when eating healthy


healthy brownies

Eating healthy does not mean you have to feel deprived when it comes to sweets.  I often make healthier versions of sweets for my family and “disguise” the “good stuff.”  I made these Fudgy Avocado Brownies this weekend and they fooled everyone! My 8 year old was eating the batter right out of the bowl before I could get them in the oven and the rest of the family loved them. These brownies were fudgy and also gluten free for my husband. I will definitely be making these more often! Give them a try!

Fudgy Avocado Brownies
Total time: 51 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 36 minutes
Yield: 16 servings, 1 brownie each
Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. Sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly coat with spray and set aside.
3. Combine avocado, oil, egg, maple syrup, and extract in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine cocoa powder, salt, and flour in a medium bowl and mix well.
5. Add cocoa powder mixture to avocado mixture; mix well.
6. Add chocolate chips; mix until blended.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread to make even.
8. Bake for 33 to 36 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 1 hour before removing from pan. Cut into 26 squares.
Nutrition information:
1/2 yellow with 21 Day Fix
Calories 116
Total fat 7 g
Saturated fat 4 g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Sodium 77 mg
Total carbohydrate 13 g
Dietary fiber 2g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 2g
Recipe courtesy of Team Beachbody

For more healthy recipes check out Healthy Recipes or email me at debgressfitness@hotmail.com


Superbowl Ready with Healthy Recipes


Don’t let Superbowl Sunday be an excuse to ruin all the hard work you have done during the week with your exercise plan.  My son Peyton is a huge Peyton Manning and Broncos fan (no he wasn’t named after the quarterback but he likes to think he is.)  You can make lots of great party food that won’t increase your waistline.  All of the recipes are 21 Day Fix approved.

Your guests will love this refreshing margarita when they arrive. You can drink this without feeling guilty.

skinny margarita

For Appetizers, start your Super Bowl Party off with this Creamy Ranch Dip 21 Day Fix Approved dressing.  Cut up your favorite veggies to dip.  Your guests will love it.
ranch dressing

For a sweeter appetizer try these easy fruit kabobs.  You can use your favorite fruit.

Kids snack 1

 

For an easy entree I like to throw everything in the crock pot and let the Cilantro Lime Chicken cook while I get ready for guests.  I love crock pot meals because I can throw the ingredients in, let it go, and it turns out delicious.

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

Chocolate Shakeology Kisses are some my family’s favorite.  I love anything that has chocolate, these included.   These cookies are easy and do not have to be baked so can be done last minute.
Chocolate Shakeology Kisses Recipe jpg

Parties don’t have to mean lots of junk food, you can enjoy delicious food without all the empty calories.  Have a great Superbowl Sunday!

Go Broncos!

 


Living Life with No Regrets-My Decision to Enter Network Marketing


Last week I turned 39!  Thirty-nine!  It is so true as you get older time goes by faster and faster.  If you have kids, the time flies by warp speed. There are days when you little one may be throwing things in the toilet, throwing a temper tantrum when you need to get out the door for an appointment, or your teenager is rolling his eyes at you as though you are getting dumber by the minute…..it is at these times you feel they will never grow up.  All of a sudden you will look back and wonder where the time has gone!

391

My boys were so little when I made the decision to work from home.

 

Almost four years ago I took a leap of faith and joined network marketing!  This opportunity has allowed me to work from home, earn an income for my family , and share my passion for fitness!  Network marketing…A career I never pictured myself pursuing.  Being a “salesman” and pushing my products on someone was never my dream.  I went to college, pursued my love of sports medicine and health sciences and went out into the real world.  Having kids changed everything.  It gave me a reason to look for something that would help me share my love of fitness and spend more time with my kids, while supporting our family.  My career as an athletic trainer, although I loved it, didn’t have a schedule that gave me the freedom to see my boys’ special “firsts” and other events.

At first I was hesitant to join Network marketing! There are plenty of companies and salesmen that come off as pushy and just plain rude.  There are also many people who start network marketing with the misconception that it is easy money.  They figure they can sign up a few people, who know lots of other people, and “make it big.” They do not “work” at their business, so when they aren’t making any money they quit. Therefore network marketing is not a REAL OPPORTUNITY.   These kind of companies and their representatives give all network marketers a negative stigma, so with little experience with network marketing, I was skeptical.

Taking that leap into network marketing and going “all in” was scary.  People looked at me like I was crazy and questioned the “pyramid scheme” I was getting into.  They rolled their eyes at me, and some still do.  There will always be a social stigma associated with this career.  Luckily, I found a network marketing company that cares about people! It has been such a blessing to me and my family that I have been able to match my love of fitness and helping others (something I did as a certified athletic trainer).  This company has given me the opportunity to support my family  financially and a flexible schedule to be there for all those important times in my boys’ lives.

Once I learned more about this company and the fact that coaches are there to make a difference and change lives, I was all in!  By “all in” I mean I was ready to become a network marketing professional and start my business. Like myself, there are many network marketing professionals who truly care about their clients and customers and have found a way to help them by turning their passion into a business.   I do sell products and services in my business and am not ashamed.  People pay for products and services everyday.  It is only right that professionals get paid for their time and service.  Myself and others in the network marketing profession are driven by our WHY and are PASSIONATE about HELPING others.

Design around family

I am so thankful that I am able to have a career from the comfort of my own home and work on my own time.  There is no commuting, no time clock to punch, no daycare bills, no missing out on my kid’s activities due to work commitments. I still work hard and enjoy the pleasures of life like coaching my son’s basketball team, reading in my son’s classroom, and helping at his holiday parties.  Life is good! I am living life to the fullest with no regrets!

Working from home may not be for everyone, but for me it has been a life changing decision my husband and I made 3 1/2 years ago.  It was hard at first, and I was surprised what an adjustment it was. I really thought once I started working from home it would be easy, but it was a challenge. I had to be disciplined and make my work time count as I built my business.  Not everyday is easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It was the right decision for myself and my family and we don’t regret it.

don't miss a thing

When I look back on my time at home while my kids are young, I will be happy that I didn’t miss a thing.

 

I share my crazy life, recipes, fitness and nutrition tips on Facebook and Instagram.   I would love to share more with you and hear from you. Follow me on Facebook http://bit.ly/Leanmom and Instagram @debgressfitness

 


Christmas Survival Tips


Christmas is such a special, magical time of year.  As kids, we all experience the magic. As we grow into adults with more responsibilities, gifts to buy, cards to send, meals to prepare, baking to do, this time of year can become a time of stress and anxiety.  Let’s not forget the true meaning of the season and follow these tips below to make you feel less stressed.

christmas begins

1. No matter how busy your day gets, don’t skip your daily exercise.  Take at least 30 minutes a day to break away from the hustle and bustle.  Your mind and body will thank you and you will have more energy to get more crossed off your list when you are back at it.  It is also important to stay hydrated.  I like to keep my water bottle close by when running errands, shopping, or cooking in the kitchen.

photo (10)

2.  Don’t stress too much about the condition of your house during the holidays. People are coming over to visit and ENJOY FAMILY, not inspect your home for dust on that high shelf. I bet they won’t be wearing white gloves.

photo (13)

3.  Plan your shopping and budget ahead of time.  This will keep you more calm and relaxed knowing you don’t have to finish your shopping on Christmas Eve.

4.  Shop online.  This is a great way to compare prices or find just what you are looking for before you hit the local stores and shops. Many stores have reduced or free shipping right to your door this time of year.

5.  Prepare your dishes or treats ahead of time if possible. This can help keep you organized and save you stress right before your guests arrive.

6.  Be conscious of what you eat, but don’t beat yourself up over eating a cookie (or two).  When eating dinner chew slowly, savor the food, and drink water in between bites. When choosing sweets, choose only those that you truly love and in smaller doses.  Before I go to a big meal I like to drink my Shakeology, which is a great source of protein and helps with my sweet cravings.  Eating something a couple of hours before a big meal is a great way to avoid overeating.

photo (12)

I would love to hear from you!  What are some of your family’s Christmas Traditions? How do you plan on staying on track with your fitness and nutrition this holiday season?

christmas cartoon

There are so many exciting things happening in 2016!  On January 4 I will be starting the new Master’s Hammer & Chisel workout and invite you to join my online accountability group.  Together we will choose an exercise and nutrition plan that fits your life. The group includes daily motivation, healthy recipes, fitness tips, step by step meal prep tips, and prizes!  Now is the perfect time to start planning for your New Year’s Resolutions.  I am here to help you every step of the way.  Contact me for more details on how you can get on track for a healthy 2016!

From my Family to Yours-Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!


How to Get That 6 Pack


Everyone wants a six pack, right?  Many times I get the questions, “How can I get a six pack?”  “How can I lose weight around my belly or mid section?”  “What exercises can I do to tone my tummy?” Ab workouts are great for defining your tummy but you also have to get your nutrition in check to go with it. If you have the strongest, most defined abs, you won’t be able to see them if your nutrition is lacking and there is a layer of fat covering that 6 pack. Get on track with your nutrition and incorporate these ab exercises into your workout schedule 2-3 times a week. These exercises target all the muscles that will give you that six pack.

When you start out, start out slowly.  If you aren’t already exercising, take it easy at first. You can increase your reps as you get stronger.  I recommend doing these exercises 2-3 times a week with at least one rest day inbetween.  Your abs are muscles and they need rest.  These muscles should not be worked everyday.  Start out with 10 reps, 3 times each if you are a beginner. If you more fit try starting out with 20 reps 3 times each.

Abs worked with exercise

  1.  The crisscross exercise targets the entire rectus abdominus muscle from top to bottom as shown above.  This exercise is tough. If you are just starting out you will want to do this exercise with your feet a little further up in the air. If you are more advanced you will want your heals just barely above the ground.  The movement should be slow and controlled.   Be sure to pull your belly button into your spine and keep the small of your back on the floor. Be sure not to strain your neck.
  2. Crossover crunch targets the obliques (the muscles on each side of your stomach) and the upper portion of your rectus abdominus.  Once again start slow and work your way up. Keep the small of your back pressed into the floor and do not strain your neck.  You will be crunching up and touching opposite elbow to opposite knee.
  3. The traditional crunch also targets the upper portion of the rectus abdominus.  You don’t have to curl up all the way.  A partial curl is more effective.
  4. Flutter kicks. This is also targets the entire rectus adominus. It is more advanced.  Make sure to press your lower back into the floor and put your hands under your butt. Move your legs in a slow and controlled flutter motion. The more advanced the closer your feet should be to the ground.  If you are a beginner start by doing this exercise for 10 seconds, 3 times. As you get stronger I recommend increasing to 30 second, 45 second, and 60 seconds intervals.
  5. The heel touch is also designed to target the upper rectus abdominus and lower obliques. This is a partial curl up.  Once again keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine, the small of your back pushed into the floor, and don’t strain your neck.

workout fairy

Unfortunately, if you want to “lose weight in the belly or midsection” doing 100 sit ups a day is not going to do it.  If you want “slender arms,” 20 bicep curls will not help you lose weight from that area.  Your body will lose weight naturally from one area to another. For example, if you are someone who puts on more weight in the thigh region, that may be where you lose weight first with proper nutrition and exercise.  You can’t exercise one body part and expect to lose fat from that one region.  Many women tend to lose weight in the chest region when they start losing. For some of us this isn’t ideal but we don’t have any control over that.

If you need help working on your six pack sign up here and I will contact you.

 

Beachbody Photos 002

 


Find That Motivation Somewhere


Just do it

I woke up this morning feel, “Blah.”  Not a great description, but I think we have all been there.   It is a crazy time on our farm!  We just finished harvesting beans a couple days ago and have been getting calves weaned the last couple days before we start combining corn.  Last night I was going to slip in a quick 10 Minute Trainer workout, but after discovering a water leak in our hog barn, the night was shot.

So….here I am today, tired, and feeling “Blah.”  The last thing I wanted to do was press play and get my workout done, but after missing yesterday’s workout, I felt I HAD to get it done today.  Sometimes it is much worse to think about something than to just do it, so that’s what I did, I just did it!  Results….after my workout, “I felt ENERGIZED and ready to tackle the day!”

Motivation for Exercise

Getting in shape and staying in shape takes, effort, hard work, and discipline, and sometimes a nudge or two from your Coach!  (Let me know if you are in need of a nudge.)

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated on your journey. Your journey is continuous and never stops, so we all have to find little motivational “tricks” to keep up on that journey.

  1.  Dig deep to find your true WHY.  Why do you want to lose weight, get in shape, or tone up?  Is it so you feel better, look better, can be a good example to your kids, or want to get off some of those meds you take? Whatever it is, it is important and you have a strong why.  Once you realize your why then you need to focus on that when the going gets tough and you don’t want to press play.
  2. Tape your WHY everywhere. If your why is to be a good example for your kids or to buy that size 10 dress for the wedding this summer, tape a picture of that everywhere to keep you motivated.  Put a picture on your mirror in your bathroom. Tape a picture to the refrigerator door so every time you open that door you will be motivated to make better choices.
  3. Find an accountability partner, workout buddy, or join my challenge group.  Research has shown that people who work out together are much more likely to stick with it.  If you have someone to answer to it won’t be as easy to skip that workout or eat that entire pie.
  4. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up over it. That is no reason to quit. Tomorrow is a new chance.  Start again!
  5. DO NOT STEP ON THE SCALE EVERYDAY!!!  This is something that people think of as a way to gauge their progress but it hurts so many people.  When people start workout programs it is common for them to gain weight at first due to the swelling of the muscles and water weight.  Once those people, who have started exercising see the weight gain, they get frustrated and quit. Everyone is different and some people may not see the scale move at all at first. I recommend limiting your “scale dates” to once a month and taking measurements and body fat readings to track your progress.  How your clothes are fitting is also a great way to determine progress.
  6. Celebrate the little victories!  If you have 50-100 pounds to lose, it will take some time. You didn’t gain all that weight in one day so you won’t lose it all in one day.  Set mini goals of 10-20 pounds as a time and celebrate when you reach your goals.  Go out and get your nails done or get a well deserved massage.  Maybe you need some new clothes after your weight loss or a new pair of shoes.
  7. When it is time to get that workout in remember how you felt after your last workout.  That will help you press play and feel better both physically and mentally once you are done.

do something today

 

 


Avocado Salad Dressing or Veggie Dip


Avocado-Dressing-2-1024x682


Summer Chicken Waldorf Salad with Avocado


chicken waldorf salad


Easy Dijon Chicken


Dijon Chicken Recipe


Taco Tuesday Recipes


Taco Tuesday is a well known saying but almost everyday may as well be Tuesday at my house.   I LOVE tacos.  I have always loved tacos but the fact that I can make them quick, easy, and healthy makes them even better.  Tacos are great for hiding veggies from your kids or husband (in some cases).   If you slice and dice the veggies up really fine they won’t even know they are in there.  Luckily my family loves tacos and will eat them often.  I make a variety of taco recipes. Here they are.

One of my favorite ways to prep my food for the week is to grill chicken breasts ahead of time.  I throw them on the grill on Sunday and have them for the entire week. I can easily use them to make tacos, fajitas, or one of my favorites, taco salad.  I throw spinach, romaine lettuce, chicken with a little taco seasoning,  fresh tomatoes, fresh peppers, onion, and cilantro and toss it.  Smashed avocado and salsa make a delicious healthy dressing.

Chicken Fajita Casserole

A very quick easy way to make a Chicken Fajita Casserole is in a Pampered Chef Stoneware.  Just slice the veggies into the casserole, set the raw, thawed chicken breasts on top, add the seasonings, and microwave for 30 minutes.  Make this casserole or the one above to your family’s liking. I actually left out the fresh onion and peppers in the recipe above.

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

This recipe for crock pot cilantro lime chicken is delicious.  I leave out the jalapeno peppers when my kids are eating but otherwise it has become a family favorite.

What about tacos when it gets really cold.  If you would like a different twist on tacos, throw together a Taco Soup. This is another one of my favorite crock pot meals in the winter.  I throw together chicken or lean cooked hamburger with tomato juice, taco seasoning, black beans, and my favorite veggies. I love onions, peppers, and tomatoes but you can make it to your family’s liking.

Tacos can be so delicious, quick, easy, and versatile. Tacos are staples in my family’s diet.