It’s Strength Training Sunday!
Instead of going to the Y (it’s always SUPER busy midday on Sundays), I got set up in my basement with Sex and the City 2 and my freeweights. Here’s what I accomplished:
- 12 modified pushups
- 12 backward lunges with 3lb weights
- 15 double leg stretches
- 20 bicep drops with 3lb weights
- 20 squats with 3lb weights
- 20 criss-cross
- 15 modified pushups
- 15 backward lunges w/ 5lbs
- 20 DLS w/ exercise ball
- 20 bicep drops w/ 5lbs
- 20 sqauts w/ 5lbs
- 25 crunches balancing on ball
- 10 regular pushups (YAY ME!!!!)
- 12 backward lunges at 10lbs
- 15 double leg stretches with lifts w/ ball
- 18 bicep drops with 7.5lbs
- 20 squats with 10lbs
- 2 forearm planks and 1 plank
It only took me about 35 minutes! I have a confession: I sorta hate lifting weights. But these cycles are so much less boring than doing set after set of the same exercise in a row since you are constantly changing moves. It’s (almost) fun! Plus, it helps for muscle confusion, which means you are majorly challenging your muscles as you quickly switch from muscle group to muscle group. I also make it fun by making my last move a “Core Exercise Wildcard!” since I am a nerd and actually enjoy core exercises. There are so many different fun ones!
This strength training routine is also great because you can pretty much do it anywhere. In lieu of freeweights, you can use things like cans of soup, textbooks, or other random heavy, hand-held items. Or, you can just gradually increase reps through the cycles. Or, better yet, you can make a customized weight-free routine. For the first cycle, do as many reps as you can of each exercise (challenge yourself and try to only stop on increments of 5). For cycle #2, set a number of reps that you think is challenging (around 12, give or take, is a safe bet for any exercise) and do them as quickly as you safely can. For the final set, do 5 reps of each exercise in slow-motion, as precisely as you can. You certainly don’t need all the fancy gym equipment to build up some muscle: your body weight is challenging enough!
Now for the exciting stuff….
HEALTHY NUTELLA-SMOTHERED POPCORN!!!
This recipe was inspired by my friend Beth who said she was “sitting at my desk dipping a fork into a jar of Nutella and then into a bag of popcorn…it is one of the most tasty concoctions ever, I feel that it is not good for my form.” Nutella and microwave popcorn are definitely college staples, and nothing beats the goodness of a salty-sweet study snack! I thought to myself, “I can totally healthify that!”
Start by air-popping some popcorn. Buying popcorn kernels in bulk is so much cheaper than buying the microwave bags. Plus, air-popping it is so much healthier than the buttery-salty microwavable versions. Here is how you do it:
Start by putting 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into a brown paper bag. It’s just enough to cover the bottom of the bag. It won’t look like enough, but trust me, it’ll make 4 cups of popcorn!
Fold the bag shut (I folded it 3 times, for good measure) and place it sideways in the microwave. Heat it up until it’s done! I set my microwave for 2 minutes, but it was done in about 1 minute and 40 seconds. Keep a close eye on it just in case the kernels get so excited that they escape the bag ;)
See! It really works! Air-popped popcorn costs you about 15 calories per cup. Plus, did you know it’s a whole grain? It’s true! So munch away!
But I admit, snacking it straight from the bag pretty much tastes like crunchy air with the essence of brown paper. The good news is that the possibilities for toppings are endless and delicious! Keep it light by tossing it lightly with sea salt, cinnamon, finely shredded Parmesan cheese, or even a few dashes of hot sauce! Or, of course, you could smother it in Nutella.
I don’t have any Nutella right now, so I decided to create my own. I put 1 good handful of dark chocolate chips + 1 good spoonful of almond butter into a big bowl. (If you have Nutella, for this step, just put 2 good spoonfuls, or 2tbsp, into a large bowl)
Microwave it until it was nice and melty (about 1 minute). Stir with a spoon to get a dreamily smooth texture.
I added the popcorn to the bowl, handful by handful, joyfully mixing it about. This was the end result:
Heaven =) Share it with 3 friends, and you’re getting a totally light, but totally indulgent munchie-buster.