Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Taking it to the Beach

Last week we took T on a trip to visit his grandparents in Florida.  We stayed on the beach, which meant lots on long barefoot walks along the shoreline.  Did you know that, aside from the obvious relaxation component, walking on the beach benefits the body in a myriad of ways?  Read on to see how fitness can, in fact, be a walk on the beach:

Build Muscle on the Beach: Have you ever noticed how much harder you have to work while walking on the beach as opposed to pavement?  It takes about double the amount of energy to move on sand.  Muscles like calves, quads, and glutes have to work harder to propel you forward.

A Little Calorie Burn with Your Sunburn: Walking on the beach burns approximately 50% more calories than walking on a firm surface.

Palm Trees and Proprioception: In the gym, I use equipment like the Bosu to improve a client’s proprioceptive skills.  Proprioception is loosely defined as “sense of self”.  Nerves in the body provide information on things like muscle length, tension, and joint position.  Proprioceptive training can improve spacial awareness, which allows for safer and more efficient movement.  The nerve endings in the feet range from 3,000-5,000 in number.  Walking barefoot on an uneven surface, such as sand, is a great way to foster awareness of hip, knee, and ankle alignment.

For more fun exercise information check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

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Squatting while walking on sand…work those little legs T!


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Gooey Berry Bars

In my non-vegan life, I was never a fan of cheesecake.  Something about it just didn’t appeal.  A few weekends ago, I set out to make a snack bar for T and to my surprise it came out very cheesecake-like.  And it was really good.  This “snack” came out more like dessert and the “bar” was more suited to be eaten with a fork but all in all it was a success.  Gooey and sweet, it would be a perfect summer recipe when berry season rolls around, but frozen berries are just as nutritious and just as good!

Gooey Berry Bars


-3 cups white beans

-3 cups Medjool dates, pitted

-4 tablespoons pumpkin seed butter (mine was seasoned like this recipe, but any nut or seed butter would do)

-1 scoop plant based vanilla protein powder (I used Pure Food brand)

-1 tablespoon vanilla extract

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

-pinch sea salt

-1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen berries of choice (depending on how berry-heavy you want your bars)

To make:

-Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

-Blend beans, dates, nut or seed butter, vanilla, and baking powder until smooth creamy.  (If mixture is not blending well after 10 or 15 minutes, add some water 1 tablespoon at a time until creamy consistency is reached.)

-Once creamy, add protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend until thoroughly mixed.

-Transfer 1/2 the batter to parchment paper lined 8×8 pan.  Spread half of berries on top.

-Cover berries with the remainder of the batter and top with remaining berries.

-Bake for 50 minutes until top and edges brown.

-Cool for 30 minutes then transfer to freezer for 1 hour.

-Store in fridge.

Recipe inspired by Zain’s Vegan Blondies

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Made from plants and berry very yummy!


To be continued....

Be Back in a Bit

Taking a break for some family time….be back with new content Tuesday 2/20!

Photo credit:
Fitness Friday

(Belated) Fitness Friday: The Scoop on Sweat

We had a bit of a family stomach flu epidemic yesterday….Posting this now that I can see straight!

Sweating is our body’s natural reaction to cool itself off.   Being active myself and in my work as a trainer, much of my life is spent either sweating or hanging out with sweaty people.  If you have ever wondered why some people sweat more than others, check out these sweet sweat statistics below:

-The amount of sweat glands varies from individual to individual but is generally between 2 and 5 million.

-Women tend to have more sweat glands than men, though the gland’s of men seem to be more active.

-Fit people don’t always sweat more than sedentary people, but do tend to sweat sooner into a workout.

-Some factors that can increase sweat during a workout are nervousness, caffeine intake, alcohol intake, higher level of intensity, excess bodyweight, and temperature.

-Hyperhydrosis is a condition in which a person’s autonomic sweat response is hyperactive.  Occurring in roughly 3 percent of the population, this condition is thought to be caused by overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system.

Want to know more about sweat or learn how to do stuff that will make you sweat?  Check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Dee, sweating it out through her tongue……



Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Cashew Peanut Hemp Seed Butter

I was super psyched to find Costco carrying huge bags of organic hemp seeds again.  I got hooked on hemp a while back and continue to add it to all kinds of recipes.  What’s so great about this little seed?  It has a great balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to promote heart health, is high in GLA which has been proven to balance hormones, and is a perfect protein containing all 20 amino acids as well as the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce.  That is one powerful plant.  Though botanically related to marijuana, hemp seeds won’t make you high.  You may, however, become high on life since they support your body oh so well.  

I’ve been into experimenting with nut and seed butter blends lately.  The following is the current family favorite:

Easy Cashew Peanut Hemp Butter


-1.5 cups raw cashew nuts

-1.5 cups dry roasted peanuts (make sure there are no added ingredients, just peanuts!)

-3 tablespoons hemp seeds

-1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt (or other good quality salt)

To make:

-Place all ingredients except salt in food processor

-Blend until creamy, occasionally scraping down sides

-Add salt and blend until combined

-Transfer to jar and store in fridge

-Enjoy in sandwiches, smoothies, or on it’s own!

Peanut, peanut butter, and hemp seeds……..

Confession: Sometimes I stir up peanut butter just so I can lick the knife…..