Meatless Monday: Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash 3

I’m loving all things squash related and spaghetti squash is one of my favorites! I’d never even seen this till a few years ago and now I can’t imagine not having it on my monthly menu. In case you’ve been living under a rock, spaghetti squash is the big yellow melon looking vegetable above. Honestly it does look like a small canary melon right? Well inside this squash is delicious stringy alternative to spaghetti, hence the name!

To cook:

Preheat oven to 400°

Cut squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds

Optional: brush with oil and season.

Place the halves cut side down on a pan

Cook for 40 minutes until you can pierce squash skin with fork

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and with fork scrape the strands out from the skin and use as you would spaghetti.

spaghetti squash 1

Spaghetti Squash and meatless meatballs with marinara and vegan mozzarella

You can also cook the squash in a microwave:

Cut squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds

Place cut sides down in a shallow pan with 1/2 inch of water

Cooking time will vary according to microwave and size of squash – I find it takes at least 8 minutes in my microwave

Cook until you can pierce skin with fork

Allow to cool and scrape strands out using fork

spaghetti squash 2

Spaghetti Squash with vegan homemade chili, and vegan cheese

What’s the benefit of using spaghetti squash over regular spaghetti? It’s gluten free, low sodium, wheat free, has no cholesterol and it’s an extra vegetable on your plate! You can never have enough veggies. One cup of spaghetti squash is just 31 calories,  making it a great option for those on diets. It’s also a good source of niacin, B6, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. One cup contains almost 10% of your daily fiber.

spaghetti squash di

Yep it looks and acts like spaghetti!

While the squash looks the part and even has a similar texture, it doesn’t taste quite the same. With the marinara or chili it does act out the spaghetti portion of  the meal but it isn’t pasta. So bear that in mind, it’s a good alternative but not quite the same. I like it though. And eat it regularly to fill me up without adding too much calories, it’s unprocessed and tasty. Give it a try!


Grocery Shopping

I’ve started tracking my food in “my fitness pal” nutrition tracking app for the iPhone. I’ve noticed that some days I’m not eating nearly enough calories, or staying on my macros for carbs, protein and fats. It’s always good to get back to basics and start tracking foods to see where you  can make better choices. For me that means I’m starting to eat more beans and rice, along with healthy fats like guacamole rather than oils.

Weekly Shopping

Great week this week! I used pretty much all the fresh foods though and need to have a good look through the cabinets for dinner tonight. I also need to figure out some things for Bobs breakfast tomorrow,maybe waffles, and this week I’d like to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. So I can stock it when we get back, but full of homemade foods, not processed!


Oct 14th – Underwood Family Farms = $15.97

  • spaghetti squash
  • strawberries
  • pepper
  • spring onions
  • spinach
  • red lettuce
  • iceberg lettuce
  • zucchini

Oct 14th – Trader Joes = $57.14

  • Sweet potato fries x2
  • Breakfast tea
  • Olive Oil wrap
  • OJ
  • plain bagels
  • tofu
  • choc bar
  • sliced tofurkey
  • tofurkey sausage
  • lentils
  • soy cheddar slices
  • vegan mozzarella
  • almond milk
  • choc soy milk
  • apples x5
  • bananas x24
  • potatoes 4lb x2

That makes $73.11 the total for the week which is under budget again! The good news is that over the next couple of weeks I’ll be using up items in the cupboards as we prepare for vacation mode. That means fresh foods will be priority for the next few weeks, and using those fresh foods! 

Weekly Totals – Goal $90 week

October (4 weeks) = $   (Goal $90 week)

week 2 = $73.11

week 1 = $76.38

September (5 weeks) = $504.61 (Goal $90 week)

August (4 weeks)  = $476.77 (Goal $90 week)

July (5 weeks) = $439.10 (Goal $89.80 week)

June (4 weeks) = $349.83 (Goal $90.10 week)

May (5 weeks) = $412.96 (Goal $89.20 week)

April  (4 weeks) = $389.98 (Goal $89 week)

March  (4 weeks) = $330.97 (Goal $88.70 week)

February  (4 weeks) = $347.49  (Goal $88.70 week)

January  (4 weeks) = $395.87 (goal $88.50 week)


Are you meat free on Mondays?

Project life 2014 week 41 - pumpkin spice edition!

projectlife2014-week 41

Sorry couldn’t resist, everything seems to be pumpkin flavored lately. Not that I’m immune to pumpkin as I bought some pumpkin spice, and added it to my smoothies etc, and I also bought pumpkin spice tea (Delicious btw). This week was another week lacking in photo’s but not ‘stuff’. This week documents thoughts rather than things. Random stuff that happens in a random life. One thing at the forefront of that is the stress of leaving the dogs to go to England for our vacation. I’m hesitant to use the word vacation as it’s pretty stressful figuring things out and trying to figure out workout time (and places  to workout) while there. For me though it’s just the thought of leaving them. Poor babies. So thankful for our dog sitter, my girlfriend Tricia :)

projectlife2014-week 41A

We launched BodyPump 91 at Golds Gym this week and it was fun. I actually think this release is growing on me, but as always a few tracks that won’t be used again… ever, lol! Loving the chest and back track though. Those suckers are staying. Golds also has a “Press for the chest” campaign right now to raise awareness and moolah for Breast Cancer. The t-shirts are $8 which frankly is a BARGAIN, and they FINALLY got small sizes in :)

projectlife2014-week 41B


I’m tracking food again and getting back on track with healthy eating. So much so that the last two times we’ve been to Red Robin I haven’t had extra fries for my ‘bottomless fries’. Go me! Willpower is my middle name (it’s not). Seriously though I need to make a commitment to health and nutrition. I got the all clear from the Nephrologist for a full year so I need to take control of my health. This means RELAXATION. I love yoga for the body but it’s not stilling my mind. As Yitka, my Wednesday yoga instructor, says: The only concern you have on the yoga mat, is yoga. Nothing else matters. I find that tough. It’s hard for me to focus solely on the task at hand. I’m thinking I need meditation or something.


Blog posts this week:

I’m not going to say I’m back on track but things are definitely moving and progressing nicely towards the direction I want to move towards in 2015. September was a good month for blog hits and also for me figuring out my schedule. I’ve been thinking about my schedule and how to progress forward, as always I’m left with the feeling that I have so much to do and not enough time. 3 weeks till our England trip and still lots to do.

Meatless Monday – black bean lettuce wrapped tacos

Happy barkday Sky

Cardio workout chipper for time

 PKD update, good news & avoiding stress



I made an effort to get on my examiner post early in the week, and I think that was a good move. Something I really want to try and do in the future. This week I posted about the walk for PKD happening in Los Angeles in October. I’m going to get more into posting on examiner in future months, once I get back from vacation especially and moving into 2015.

Los Angeles Walks for PKD


One Little Word 2014 – Thrive

I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to include the OLW posts into project life and never got around to it, I wanted to keep it here so it was in my mind and I could reflect on my word each week and how I’d thrived.

  • Yoga – I managed to get to yoga on Saturday morning, I did some yoga Monday and again on Wednesday. Honestly I’m loving it! 
  • Tracking my food – changed aps and definitely loving the new ap. Nutrition will be key in the future.
  • Drinking more water. Occasionally falling off track, but for the most part hydrating well.
  • figuring out when I am falling into food traps. Preparation is key because I like my cooking quick and easy.
  • Realizing I need meditation or something to chill my brain out. I need to relax and unwind more.

Blog Stats

I thought it would be interesting to share some search terms that people found my blog from, so here are some interesting search stats for the last 7 days:

  • my left arm feels uncomfortable – Bob has been dealing with issues in his shoulder this week. Thinking it’s a trapped nerve or something.
  • burger restaurant menu – all are usually online, google the name of the restaurant and menu.
  • chair workout – I need to do another one of these soon! And yogalates.

And that’s the wrap up for this week! Look for more posts coming soon!

PKD update - good news, and avoiding stress

At the nephrology office, for my PKD visit

Excuse the messy look, I had the first appointment at 8.30am and got stuck in Valley rush hour traffic :(

In the continuing saga of PKD I had a follow up appointment with my nephrologist yesterday and GOOD NEWS, he’s happy with my lab results (below) and my ultrasound. Last visit he mentioned pushing our appointments to 9 months rather than 6 months, and now…. I get to go back to YEARLY check ups. Yay! Unless anything happens, in which case go see him, obviously. I’ve taken a lot of my advice from my last post about PKD and am listening to my body. I try and get vitamin D from the sun, but if I can’t I supplement Vitamin D. In winter I may also top up weekly with a tanning bed session at Golds Gym.

Listening to my body and seeing how I feel daily has been HUGE. I recently posted that I stopped teaching cxworx. I can still do most of the movements, but it varies day to day, and honestly some just aren’t comfortable. As I mentioned for me it’s lying prone spinal extensions. Sometimes that can be quite borderline painful depending on how “lumpy” is feeling on that day. Plus the tempos they want to teach to. I had to make a decision: either give the class up, or teach it half assed with the lightest resistance and not demonstrate some of the movements. If you know me, you know I don’t do half-assed, so I asked Joel if I could switch to a freestyle abs class and he thankfully said yes. I love abs classes, and now I get to do movements from cxworx, pilates, core training, and more. Honestly I feel stronger for it.

One other thing I plan on doing in the future is some relaxation exercises. I’ve been doing more yoga since February, and now I am practicing two sometimes three times a week, but I’m feeling the need for something more. I need my brain to relax, not just my body. I get frustrated, annoyed, stressed and pissed off WAY too easily. Which in turn affects my blood pressure. So, I need to develop a coping mechanism for stress. I’ll be looking into more yoga, or some meditation skills for the future, especially moving into 2015. Suggestions welcome!

  Standard range  Oct 2014 Feb 2014 Sept 2013
BLOOD PRESSURE 120/80  128.85  108/70 124/86
PULSE    68  59  74
 Protein, Urine, QN  <=11    <6  16
 Creatinine, Urine   17.2   32.3  125.5
 MICROALBUMIN/CREATININE  <=29.9  33.1  39  20.0
 Protein/Creatine URINE <=0.19    <=0.19 <=0.19
MICROALBUMIN, UR, QN, DETECTION LIMIT  <=120  5.7  12.6  25.1
 Glucose Neg  neg Neg Neg
 Ketones Neg  neg <10 Neg <10 Neg
 Specific Gravity 1.005 -1.030 1.000  <=1.005 <=1.010
PH 5-8  6.5 7  7
Protein <30  <10 <10  <10
Nitrite Neg  Neg  Neg  Neg
UROBILINOGEN  Neg  Neg  Neg  Neg
BILIRUBIN  Neg  Neg  <0.5 Neg  <0.5 Neg
ALBUMIN 3.3-4.8  3.9 4.5  
Creatinine  <=1.10  1.0  0.9  0.97
BUN <=18  16  19  13
GFR    61  69  63
Vit D3    43  24  
Vit D2    <4  <4  
25-HYDROXYVITAMIN D  30-100  43  24  
 Sodium  135-145  138  140  137
 Potassium  3.5-5.0  4.2  4.6 4.8
 Chloride 101-111  104 106 101
 CO2 21-31  27 30 28
 PHOSPHORUS 2.7-4.5  3.4 3.8  
 CALCIUM 8.5-10.7 9.8  9.5  9.8  
 Cholesterol <=199    156  178
 Trigyceride <=149    50 45
 HDL  >=40    66 76
 LDL  <=99    80 93
 Chol/HDLP  <=4.2    2.4 2.3
 Cholesterol, non-hdl      90 102
 ALT <=54     18
 Bilirubin  <=1.0     1.4


Quick cardio workout for time

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 thumbnail

After last weeks foam rolling workout I went for something short and sweet, with a quick cardio workout for time. I like the short workouts because I get nice and sweaty in a short time and I can do multiple workouts a day. Plus these are great for busy days. The idea for this workout is to go for your best time, obviously trying to keep good technique throughout. For this workout you’ll need a jump rope, kettlebell, medicine ball, and mat. Plus a watch or timer on your phone.  Because I know I’ll get asked the shorts and hat are Champion C9 at Target, the top is Tek gear from Kohls (last year) and the shoes are Brooks pure flow.Remember if you want to get the videos straight away subscribe to my youtube channel!  The full video is below

Workout Breakdown:

We start with 100 JUMP ROPES. Nice and soft on the feet, I’m trying to jump higher so that I can work on my double unders. I’m working on some jump rope workouts too, once I get used to this new jump rope. 

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 jumprope


After the jump rope is 25 KETTLEBELL SWINGS. I am using a 20lb kettlebell for this many reps, if it were fewer reps I might use my 30lb KB. Push through the glutes to drive the kettlebell up. I’m focusing on doing CrossFit style swings ending with the kettlebell all the way overhead at the end. Easier option: Bodyweight squat.

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 kettlebell

Head down to the floor with your medicine ball for 10 WEIGHTED SIT-UPS. Lie back, with arms extended and touch the floor with ball, sit up and touch the toes with the ball. A mat is definitely recommended, unless you’re on carpet. Easier options: No weight, or crunches.

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 sit up

The cardio kicker is 25 BURPEES. Argh! Why did I write down 25? Start with a jump up, bend the knees and bring the hands down to the floor, jump the legs back. Here’s where we do things differently, come all the way down ,chest to the floor, then push up, jump the legs in and jump up. I like clapping the hands overhead… just me ;) Easier options: Step the feet back rather than jump, take out all the jumps up, and/or omit the chest to floor.

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 burpees

 Once the burpees are done come back to 10 WEIGHTED SIT-UPS. This is where we work back up through the exercises to the jump rope.

quick cardio workout for time 20141015 sit up



quick cardio workout for time 20141015 kettlebell


Finishing as we started with 100 JUMP ROPES.quick cardio workout for time 20141015 jumprope

My total time was 7:01 so I plan on doing this workout in two months time to see how I am progressing.

Note your time in the comments, along with weights or modifications.




Happy 12th Barkday Sky!

sky oct 2014

She looks excited huh? Honestly though you can’t blame her, she’s old. In fact for a dog of her size she’s now classed as geriatric! Although we celebrate Sky’s 12th barkday, that’s the day we adopted her from the shelter, nothing to do with her actual age, which is around 13 making her approximately 80 in human years!!! We adopted Sky and River from the Camarillo shelter 12 years ago today, and though River passed away Sky is still here and still doing pretty well for her age.


I posted last year about her bucket list (below) and what I wanted to get done for her as she was aging and we really didn’t know how much longer she had, and here she is a year later, still going strong. She’s no longer on the Deramaxx, it was totally making her a zombie, so we just manage the pain with her naturally. If she’s having a bad day we let her rest. Still no jumping, and no playing tug due to her disc degeneration but in all she’s achieved a lot this last year off her bucket list.

  • Visit the beach again (DONE)
  • Visit all the parks in Simi Valley at least once (DONE)
  • Have another trip in the RV (DONE)
  • Go hiking (DONE)
  • Spend as much time as a family as possible  (DONE)
  • Take more photo’s (DONE)
  • Barkday cupcake every month (incase she doesn’t make it to October, lol)
  • start making homemade cookies again (she LOVES these!) (DONE)

I don’t do the cupcake every month, as she had her barkday last october, then thanksgiving dinner in Nov, Xmas dinner, new year dinner (yes we include them in holiday festivities), and pixels barkday in March. Managing her weight is important to her joint junction so one treat a month is plenty. I’ll be continuing that theme throughout the upcoming months.

We took Sky to the vet recently as she’s had a persistant cough, something she’s struggled with for years on and off. She has COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a long-term inflammatory condition that affects the pulmonary or respiratory system. This condition is irreversible and is slowly progressive. This condition may also be known as “chronic bronchitis”.

For now she’s on steroids and cough suppressants and now it’s about medication management. As soon as she was on the meds the cough disappeared, then once she came off the meds within 48 hours the cough was back. So this is a long term thing now it seems. I’ve cut her down from the original dose but now it’s a necessary management issue rather than optional like before. The good news is the steroids seem to help with her joints too so that’s good news. Even though she’s around 13 she still has moments where she acts like a puppy. She pretty much flew off the couch a couple of weeks ago after we said ‘walkies’, jumping off and launching herself 5 feet! Thankfully landing perfectly. She’s not supposed to jump anymore, vets orders, but someone needs to tell HER that!

sky jan 2014

So 12 years adopted today, and around 13 years of age, she’s doing ok. Taking every day as it comes.

Meatless Monday: black bean lettuce wrapped tacos

2014-meatless taco- 1

This is more a concept than true recipe, because like most things I don’t pay much attention to quantities or amounts when cooking, I go by “eyeballing” things. I add some meatless meat, some tomatoes, black beans, stir and…. hmmmm a little dry? Add more tomatoes… then some Taco seasoning… and then hope and pray things turn out nice ;) This is the reason Bob always jokes about my following a recipe, because he’s right, I don’t. So lettuce wrapped black bean tacos ‘recipe’ coming up:

Black Bean Meatless Lettuce Wrapped Tacos

Serves 2

  • 2 serving portion of Trader Joes meatless crumbles (optional)
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes 
  • 2 cups Rice (precooked day before and reheated)
  • Lots of BIG lettuce leaves
  • Guacamole
  • Trader Joes vegan mozzarella
  • Trader Joes Taco Seasoning
  • Tapatio
  • (optional vegan sour cream – couldn’t find any locally and couldn’t be bothered to drive to get some)

2014-meatless taco- A

First you’re going to make the ‘mince’ above. That entails throwing the meatless crumbles, black beans, taco seasoning and tomatoes into a pan and heating them through. I will add that I blend the tomatoes a little as Bob hates chunks of tomato in his tacos. Yes I know, I’m the queen of cooking here ;) Seriously though this is super easy! The great thing about being vegan is cooking, it’s way easier. The crumbles are soy, so just throw this stuff together in a pan and cook it for a few minutes. While it’s cooking prep the rest of your meal. 

2014-meatless taco- C

Prepping the rest of the meal means reheating the rice for 2 minutes in the microwave (tip: add a few tablespoons of water to prevent it drying out), then getting the lettuce leaves cut and washed. Honestly Bob has his in tortillas but I prefer the lettuce wraps. I get the guacamole out of the fridge and then do the one piece of measuring the whole meal: putting the cheese into small dishes so we only have ONE portion. Otherwise that stuff is GONE in two meals. When your plate is prepped with lettuce, rice, guacamole and cheese bowl, then it’s time to add a little tapatio to the black bean mix and serve it. Then the magic happens!

2014-meatless taco- B


Grab a lettuce ‘boat’ and put a little of the rice, black bean mix, and guacamole in it, top with a sprinkle of the vegan cheese, wrap it into a little bundle then shove it in your face :) You’re gonna get messy, and that’s ok! I’ve also made these without the meatless crumbles and it’s just as nice, you just need a few more beans IMO, though you could use different types of beans. I also like to smush some in the pan to give it more of a thicker consistency.


2014-meatless taco- 1


Honestly these are delicious and one of the few times I eat Iceberg lettuce. So if I get iceberg lettuce from the farm you know I’m making lettuce wrap tacos! The iceberg lettuce from the farm is the BOMB! Seriously good! No chemical taste that you get from the crap in stores. So there you have it, lettuce wrapped meatfree tacos – Simple but delicious!

Grocery Shopping

Whenever I talk about shopping on a budget I want to point out this is a self imposed budget. I like to splurge occasionally, especially if it’s an item I want to review at a later date, and especially with the holidays coming up. But more than anything it’s to make me accountable and avoid waste. I hate throwing food away, knowing so many are going without food. I try to buy organic where possible but I will hold out for good deals too. For me though it’s about flavor. I love fresh food that tastes awesome! Food from the farm has so much more flavor so I’m willing to pay more for that. Just like the dirty dozen, I buy organic where possible. It’s about compromise. I’d rather compromise other things for good food. After all let food be thy medicine.

Weekly Shopping

This week I stocked up on chili for Bob. I like my homemade chili, without meatless meat, Bob doesn’t. He likes his with ‘meat’ crumbles in. As the time goes on, the longer I’m vegan, the more I tend to veer away from the mock meat products. Not that they are bad or anything, like I said above I prefer the flavor of real whole foods. This week I went shopping with a list and came out on top!


Oct 7th – Whole Foods = $10.36

  • Canned veg chili x4

Oct 7th – Trader Joes = $66.02

  • OJ
  • peppermint tea x2
  • Bagels
  • Pop Chips x2
  • Vegan Mozzarella
  • Pumpkin Spice tea
  • beefless ground beef
  • hummus
  • tofurkey
  • guacamole
  • clif builder bar x2
  • ketchup
  • mineral water
  • peanuts
  • medjool dates
  • olive oil wrap
  • burger buns
  • mushrooms x2
  • bananas
  • apples

That makes $76.38 the total for the week which is under budget. However, I have run out of a lot of fresh foods. Which honestly should be how things go right? 


Weekly Totals – Goal $90 week

October (4 weeks) = $   (Goal $90 week)

week 1 = $76.38

September (5 weeks) = $504.61 (Goal $90 week)

August (4 weeks)  = $476.77 (Goal $90 week)

July (5 weeks) = $439.10 (Goal $89.80 week)

June (4 weeks) = $349.83 (Goal $90.10 week)

May (5 weeks) = $412.96 (Goal $89.20 week)

April  (4 weeks) = $389.98 (Goal $89 week)

March  (4 weeks) = $330.97 (Goal $88.70 week)

February  (4 weeks) = $347.49  (Goal $88.70 week)

January  (4 weeks) = $395.87 (goal $88.50 week)

How am I doing for the year? Well considering the budget should have increased to $90 a week in June I think I’m doing ok



Are you meat free on Mondays?

Project Life 2014 week 40 - sick, blood tests and transplant woes

projectlife2014-week 40

Project life recap for week 40! Holy moly! That means 12 weeks left of 2014… which means 10 weeks till my birthday. Damn, can I start getting younger please? After a week of highs last week, this week was a week of lows. If you remember last week I mentioned my uncle getting his kidney transplant, well it failed :( I’ve been so pissed off since finding out that I could barely function Wednesday/Thursday. Just so disheartening and such a blow to the whole family :( He’s had the kidney removed and is recovering now, back on dialysis and back on the transplant list. Please consider being a donor, live or cadaver. There are so many people waiting for life giving surgery!

projectlife2014-week 40A

I was sick Friday and Saturday too, which really didn’t help matters. Started Friday, after spinning class. I had chills and fever, with headache, nausea and sore throat. I was tired but couldn’t sleep because I ached and was cold despite my body sweating… not good. Whatever it was I shook it off in 48 hours. Yay for good nutrition! As my nephrology visit is this week I went for my blood and urine work, and got stabbed in both arms for the blood :( The lady couldn’t get the needle into my left vein, so I ended up with matching bandaids on BOTH arms. Not a good look! I was also told my mammogram is due… seriously? Anything else? That will wait till I get back from England, as I have too much going on right now with classes, clients, training, nephrology visit, dogs and organizing UK trip.

projectlife2014-week 40B

Since Monday I’ve been feeling much better, whatever the 48 hour bug I got was, it’s gone. Thankfully. I don’t have time for that ;) Who does? Been busy with writing articles, and planning blog posts. Missed an examiner post this week, oops. I guess being sick I just forgot.


Blog posts this week:

Yeah 4 blog posts this week. I had a busy writing week last week which really put a crank in the works for me, plus being sick, and the depression of Steve’s failed transplant. I was on a real downer after that news. I kind of had a mini melt down really. This disease is bad enough without failed transplants. Anyway I pulled on my big girl pants and knuckled down to work.

Meatless Monday – butternut squash

Foam rolling workout

Spinning playlist – animal instincts

BodyPump 91 playlist 


One Little Word 2014 – Thrive

I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to include the OLW posts into project life and never got around to it, I wanted to keep it here so it was in my mind and I could reflect on my word each week and how I’d thrived.

  • Yoga – I repeated the headstand from last week, This weeks THRIVE pose was Plough. I’ve struggled for a while with it, unable to get my feet to touch the floor, but it happened Friday!
  • Tracking my food – sounds weird but it’s helping me thrive. This is an area I am really going to work on in the upcoming weeks
  • Getting organized. UK vacation is shaping up!
  • Launch bodypump 91 without a hitch!
  • Drinking more water. Had a bad day once this week which I really noticed, my energy went in the toilet, so hydration is key for me.

Blog Stats

I thought it would be interesting to share some search terms that people found my blog from, so here are some interesting search stats for the last 7 days:

  • dislike swimming – I’ve written in the past about my dislike for swimming, but since taking lessons I’ve grown to like it. It’s not my favorite workout, but I enjoy it more now.
  • fitness instructors teach class then work out? – yes we do, sometimes. I know I do.
  • spinning playlist – posted one friday, and last week. New one for Halloween coming soon!
  • zumba gives you a big butt – no, no it doesn’t
  • breast cancer spinning playlist – been trying to put one together but nothing seems to fit. I’m gonna keept trying
  • underwood farms moorpark truck goats – love those goats!

And that’s the wrap up for this week! Look for more posts coming soon!


BodyPump 91 tracklist & Why I am no longer teaching CXworx


 So it’s time to launch the newest Les Mills release at Gold’s Gym again, and that means sharing the latest BodyPump playlist for release 91. Sheesh these releases are coming FAST now. It really doesn’t seem like 3 months since the last launch, and horrifyingly I just got notification that the next releases will be available for instructors in 4 weeks! Yikes. That will be something to come back to after our vacation. 

For me the releases don’t “sink in” until I’ve taught them to classes a few times, but I can already say I LOVE some of them, dislike a few others, and a few are just blah.

Warm Up – Ten Feet Tall – Afrojacks  [iTunes / Amazon] Original versions, Les Mills remix unavailable.

Fun Song, love the addition again of the single clean and press, and the double set too. Plus this warm up has the addition of rotator raises which makes it different from the previous warm ups. Good job because you’ll need warm shoulders for this release!!!

Squats -Somebody Told Me – The Killers [iTunes / Amazon]

too quick. Tough to get full range. Honestly I’m struggling with the squats lately, almost all of the tracks are fast, which is why I use “Antidote” so much in my classes. This squat track has LOTS of singles and is gonna be a BIG calorie burner!

Chest -Goodness Gracious – Ellie Goulding [iTunes / Amazon]

goodness gracious this one is gonna be a doozy! Barbell work (option of the A-press) superset with push-ups, TWICE, makes this possibly the hardest chest track ever. At least if you have the correct barbell weight and get on the toes for push-ups ;)

Back -Beautiful life (mikkas remix) – Armin Van Buuren feat. Cindy Alma [iTunes original version / Amazon original version] Remix unavailable on either itunes or amazon!

I’ve been doing some older back tracks as I like the clean and press combo’s and this one is back to basics. But the combo is killer. Working up a sweat on this one.

Triceps – Hey Brother – Avicii [iTunes / Amazon]

Love it. I know people are gonna hate it, all the dips, all the overheads, and push ups but I LOVE those movements. They work. I’m not keen on the kickback row but it’s a short welcome break on this track.

Biceps – Bad Company – Five finger death punch [iTunes / Amazon]

boring song. Period. I get that they have to appeal to all genres but this song is blah. Plus the choreography with all the shoulder rolls, blah.

Lunges – Find You – Zedd feat Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant [iTunes / Amazon]

Initially I didn’t think I’d like it, I prefer barbell lunges, but this one is one of the better plate lunge tracks Les Mills has done. I like the squat press as something different too, we haven’t done that in the lunge track for a few releases.

Shoulders – Eat sleep Rave Repeat (calvin harris remix) – Fatboy Slim & Riva Star feat Beardyman [iTunes / Amazon]

Love hate relationship. It’s one I’m gonna have to do a few times to see if I like it. I prefer more overhead presses than upright rows. Also I don’t see the point in the rotator pec dec movement. Not functional whatsoever, no purpose to it, way better exercises they could have chosen than the pec dec. Plus we did a lot of this movement in the chest with A-press/bench press and push ups… seems redundant. 

Abs – Trumpets – Jason Derulo [iTunes / Amazon]

short and sweet. I like the movements, it’s just a blah song again. Something fun is needed after shoulders. This song just falls a bit flat after the heavy techno beat of Fatboy Slim.

Stretch – Burning Bridges – One republic [iTunes / Amazon]

This one grew on me, I like it!

BODYPUMP 91 tracklist




So to the other part of this part, no more CXworx for me. I’ve been struggling a few months with this program due to my enlarged PKD kidney but release 16 really tool a toll when I was practising. Track 6 is the major problem with the prone back extensions. That just isn’t comfortable for me…

cxworx-16-back ext


As I said I was already having some issues with the tubing rotational work, and a few other movements. I CAN do them, just not to the tempo’s they want, and somedays I can’t do them at all depending on how lumpy kidney is feeling. So I made the decision that I couldn’t teach CXworx, and as of this month I now teach freestyle abs class instead. I’m actually really happy about the change as it means I can focus on TEACHING and correcting, which I kinda feel you can’t do that well in Choreographed classes. So I won’t be posting any CXworx playlists in the future.

Spinning playlist: Animal Instincts

animal instincts spin playlist 2014


As soon as I heard the new Maroon 5 song I knew I had to do an animals inspired playlist. I’m not that fond of the video for obvious reasons (vegan) but the song is awesome and I knew it was going to be a good climbing song. So I put together some other animal related songs for a playlist that will coincidentally be kinda cool for Halloween too!


Animal – Conor Maynard [iTunes / Amazon]: I admit I got this free on iTunes ages ago. Always check out the weekly freebies and I thought I’d never use it, but it works for this playlist. Definitely a warm up or cool down but easy pace means you can spin whilst going through all your postural cues during the warm up.

Animal  – Ke$ha  [iTunes / Amazon]: I like remixes but this one I think the original works better. Just easy continuation of the warm up, adding a little resistance and going from first to second, then repeating the whole thing till you end with about 50% resistance. 

The Animal – Disturbed [iTunes / Amazon]: One of my favorite bands, so add resistance stay down and climb.

Dog Days are over – Florence and the machine [iTunes / Amazon]: After the last climb take the resistance down to around 30% and spin easy, through the verse. On the chorus add a little resistance and speed up for easy sprints, on the last one keep the tension for the climb to follow.

Animals – Maroon 5 [iTunes / Amazon]: Add some more tension then alternate between first and second.

Run with the wolves – Prodigy [iTunes / Amazon]: Ok this is one of my favorites for tempo rides. There is a break half way but let’s try and avoid that ;) Take the tension down to around 40% and spin easy  alternating all three positions. Take the break mid way if you need it, then repeat.

Eye of the Tiger – Uprising [iTunes / not available on Amazon]: SPRINTS! Fast and furious. Take some tension down if you need to, just a little, then sprint… yep straight in! After the first one either go with the chorus/verse or go for time. I know the song (From Les Mills Bodycombat) so I know when the vibe is kicking up to sprint so I go by feel,

Roar (jump smokers mix) – Katy Perry [iTunes (different remix) / not available on Amazon] – not sure where I got this one from but I like it. Add some tension, alt between saddle, 2nd and third.

Animal I have become – Three Days Grace [iTunes / Amazon]: heavy tension, climb in third.

Animals – Martin Garrix [iTunes / Amazon]: Take a little tension down and climb in the saddle, add tension and come into third at the “boops”.

Hungry like the wolf (New York werewolf remix) – Steve Aoki vs Duran Duran [not available on iTunes / Amazon video] – Go to Amazon and check out the video then scour online till you find the MP3. Seriously love remixes and this one is the BOMB! LOVE LOVE LOVE this remix by Steve Aoki. Take a little tension down and spin in the saddle, in 2nd and 3rd. You could double time it with less tension and speed the legs up as another option.

She Wolf – David Guetta  feat. Sia [iTunes / Amazon]: cool down. Saddle, gradually take tension down, sometimes I come out during the Guetta instrumentals.

Animal – Neon Trees [iTunes / Amazon]: Stretch.


Let me know what you think in the comments!

Foam Rolling Workout

foam rolling workout 20141008 thumbnail

Recently I’ve been noticing a few more muscle aches and pains, and a few more injuries. Yes aside from the ones sustained by the spotty beast above, when I tripped over him running, then he headbutted my knee Monday… I swear he’s super friendly really, that’s the problem, he’s OVER friendly that he’s clumsy. Anyway I decided in August I’d spend more time foam rolling and only just got around to it. I’ve had cramp in my left calf on and off for over a day so that needs rolling out BIGTIME.

This workout isn’t really time or rep based, more a real time foam rolling workout that you can roll along with (or follow below), whilst being distracted by Pixel the clumsy Dalmatian. Roll each muscle for 30 seconds finding the hot-spot and then hold the hot-spot for 30 seconds.  Foam rollers come in all shapes and sizes, the one I used in the video is a while 36″ foam roller, great for beginners. Remember if you want to get the videos straight away subscribe to my youtube channel!  The full video is below:

Keep watching till the end for more Pixel video ;)


Workout Breakdown:

We start with CALF rolling. This is the one I spend most my time with, if I only get one muscle rolled it’s my calves. They are always tight despite having food flexibility in my ankle and knee. Assume the position below with hands behind you. For you it might be more comfortable to have your hands closer to your butt, unfortunately I have short arms and long torso so that’s not possible for me so my arms have to go further back. Roll along the calf for 30s then hold the hot spot for 30s. 

foam rolling workout 20141008 calf

Next move the roller up to the top of the thighs for the HAMSTRINGS. Same deal, roll roll roll until you find a sweet spot and hold it. My hamstrings are usually tight but I’m working on getting more flexibility there.

foam rolling workout 20141008 hamstrings

Roll over to hit the QUADS. Usually this is one I skip as I have pretty loose quads but sometimes it just feels nice. I like this one with the rumble roller for more of a massage. Just lay down in a plank over the foam roller, and glide back and forth to hit the quads.

foam rolling workout 20141008 quads

This is another one of my essentials, the PIRIFORMIS. My glutes are pretty lazy by all accounts so the tiny piriformis likes to take over for them. Not good. So I’m trying to roll out these whenever I can. Put the right foot on the left knee, then hug the right knee with the left arm and lean into the right butt cheek. I like to move around a little to find the spot but when I do YOWSER!

foam rolling workout 20141008 piriformis

There is an ongoing debate in the fitness industry as to whether foam rolling the IT BAND is useful, after all it’s fascia and not muscle but I like to imagine I’m getting down more into the abductors rather than IT band. This one I can take it or leave it. Lie with the lower hip on the roller, supported with the upper body and roll 6-8″ below the hip.

foam rolling workout 20141008 ITband

Another one I can’t skip is the LATS. I’ve noticed more and more my lats are getting tight the more time I spend at the computer :( So I try and roll the lats, piriformis and calves regularly. For me just putting the roller under my lat (below the armpit) is enough pressure lately. Some people may be able to roll down a little, or forward and back, or even lift the hips. What can I say, it’s a trouble spot!

foam rolling workout 20141008 lats

The inner thigh isn’t a problem area for me, whilst I wish I were more open for yoga my ADDUCTORS are pretty loose. Lie face down with the knee bent at 90°, place the inner thigh on the roller and support with the upper body. Roll along the inner thigh.

foam rolling workout 20141008 adductors


Enjoy the workout, and remember more workouts every Wednesday!