The Year of Me! Great Salad from Lincoln Park's beeZzee's, Two Killer Workouts and a Grain-free Brownie

So far, The Year of Me! ismoving along great. Approaching every day with the objective of trying something new, but healthy is working out pretty well. Of course, I'm only four days into my 365 day project, so I shouldn't get too confident. If you're new to The Year of Me!, check out a brief description at the top of this post.

August 16, 2012  |  The Brick Workout

I knew that I'd have a really busy schedule on Thursday, the 16th, so working out from home was highly likely. Before I had kids, I used to do triathlons - lots of them. I love racing and don't really know why or how kids became the primary reason for me stopping for so long. Actually, I do. Triathlons are a hell of a lot of work. They require much more training than a single-discipline sport.  That much time, plus young children, plus a career...well it was too much for me at the time. In any case, triathlons fell off the map and haven't found their way back on yet. Last week, my husband and I started throwing around the idea of doing a destination triathlon this fall. We've yet to make firm plans, but taking a three or four day trip, by ourselves, to the Virgin Islands for a fun race is really appealing.  I doubt I'll be able to train at the level I had in the past, but preparing for a destination triathlon will be well worth "couple time" alone.  And that was my inspiration for the workout I did on the 16th.

Brick Workout Swim Bike Run

I'm a BIG proponent of interval training. In terms of conditioning, weight loss, cardiovascular improvement - intervals are the way to go. Thursday I did  what's called a "brick" workout - that is combining two sports (from triathlon, in my case) in one workout.  I spent 35 minutes on the bike, doing two minutes "on" with hard effort, followed by two minutes "off" riding easy. After the 35 minutes, I threw on my running shoes and ran around North Center, scaling Addison, Lincoln, Irving and Western. Because the run wasn't very long, I could afford to run a little faster - and my lungs felt it! We have a TRX at home, too (keep in mind, fitness part of what I do for a living). So I worked through a couple very challenging TRX core exercises and called it a day.

It qualified for The Year of Me! becauseIhaven'tdone a brick in quite some time. According to the "rule book" in The Year of Me!, I'm not allowed to report back on anything I've done more than once. Unless I do something unique with a brick workout, that's the last time you'll read about it!

August 17, 2012 | Turbo Kick and beeZzee's for Lunch 

When it comes to early morning workouts, I'll usually default to running, Spinning or yoga. If it's not yoga, I'll also do some strength training as well. I used to teach group fitness classes for years, but didn't really take the classes from other instructors very often. I decided to look for a class that I'd never taken before. I'd heard a lot about Turbo Kick, offered at Lakeview Athletic Club, and decided to take it. The class I took was on Friday at 6:00am. The instructor, Paul, happened to be subbing for someone else. He started the class off with a few easy warm up movements while explaining that he was more of a "traditionalkickboxing" instructor, not Turbo Kick.  I just assumed that he was trying to tell us that class was going to be all business.

There were only about ten other people in class- all women - so we had plenty of space to move around. The warm up lasted a few minutes then quickly graduated into a series of front kicks, side kicks, back kicks, roundhouse kicks, lunges, squats, jabs, hooks and upper cuts. Individually, these moves were ok. In fact, a combo of two or three was ok. Eventually, Paul started putting together six+ piece combos. I really had to pay attention to keep up. This was a great distraction because my heart rate was really starting to climb!  I've written a lot about body weight workouts, including my book 20 High Energy Workouts. This class was a perfect example of how you do not need a single piece of equipment, other than your own body, to get a killer workout.  Class wrapped up exactly 60 minutes later. My water bottle was empty. I was dripping in sweat. My legs were fatigued. Mission accomplished.

Later that day I was craving a salad. If I'm not at home, I'll usually run to Whole Foods for a salad. Not today! I wanted to try something new, so I headed over to beeZzee's at 2807 N. Sheffield. I was in the neighborhood and someone told me that the salads were good. beeZzee's has a "create your own" salad menu with about 20 different toppings to choose from. I opted for a regular grilled chicken salad with four toppings. I could have opted for the large salad with six toppings for a little more money, but was glad I didn't My salad was huge. I was happy to hear the woman who took my order call back to the kitchen to start cooking the chicken for my salad. Freshly-cooked chicken - that's a plus! I got my salad to go about five minutes later. It looked great, but had to wait until I got back home to enjoy it.

beezzee's lincoln park grilled chicken salad

beeZzee's is a cute little place with really clean, contemporary finishes. Other than salads, their menu also had fresh juices, smoothies, wraps as well as sweet and savory crepes. About ten minutes after leaving the restaurant I was sitting in my kitchen enjoying my very fresh salad. The chicken was really well seasoned. So well that I needed no dressing whatsoever. Yum!

August 18th | Picnic Fare &  Grain-Free Sugar-Free Banana Chocolate Brownies

Every August, my family has a picnic/reunion. We usually meet at a park outside of Milwaukee. This reunion has been an annual occasion since my parent started dating in the 70s. Even though everyone at the reunion is related in some way, it's impossible to keep up with knowing who's who. Kids get older. Then the kids have kids. Peoplecolortheirhair. Lose their hair. Gain weight. Lose weight. Most of us end up gravitating to the people we know and recognize. Everyone else gets the emphatic but generic, "Hi! It's so good to see you!" response.

Every year I try to think of something fairly healthy to make. This year I wanted to make a dessert. I knew I wanted to make it grain-free and with minimal sugar. I was inspired by a brownierecipeIfound of Neo Homesteading and decided to create something similar. This is definitely a treat. Even though this is grain free and mostly sugar free, it's still a dessert. A little bit goes a long way.

Grain Free Sugar Free Banana Brownies

Grain-Free Sugar-Free Banana Chocolate Brownies
serves 16

Brownie
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. milk (substitute almond milk if desired)
1 c. water
1 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 c. shredded coconut (optional)
1/3 c. apple sauce
2 1/2 tsp. stevia
1/2 tsp.baking soda

Frosting
1 c. dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp.coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.Inmedium-size bowl, combine bananas and eggs. Set aside. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Fold in egg/banana mixture. Slowly add in water,milkandapplesauce. Consistency will be somewhat thick and not runny. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 32 - 35 minutes.Allbrowniestocool completely.

Double boil chocolate chips and coconut oil until completely melted. I like to use coconut oil because when it reaches 76 degrees (or cooler), it hardens, making it easy to bake with. Note: the frosting will be more like a glaze. Allow the chocolate topping to cool completely before serving.

Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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