Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's time to get DIRRRTY...(Dirty Girl Mud Run)

I LOVE all kinds of races and physical events...endurance races, road races, mud runs, yoga workshops, zumba marathons...I love them all. One of my favorite non-competitive events is the DIRTY GIRL Mud Run. I am happy to announce that I am one of the many blog ambassadors for the Dirty Girl this year! Yay!!!! Not only does the Dirty Girl support women with cancer, but it is a fun an fulfilling event. There is no competition..just fun, sisterhood and support.  I wrote about my experience with my team last year.

I highly encourage every woman to participate.  All of the women there are encouraging and help each other through the obstacles.  If you don't want to do a certain obstacle, no problem...go around it. If you can't run, walk and enjoy it with your friends.  You will leave feeling accomplished, empowered, and loved.

I know you want to do it. What's stopping you??? To sweeten your temptation to join in the fun, I have a discount code for you!!! Sign up here and use the code: DGSANANTONIO  I really hope I see you there.  If you see me, come introduce yourself to me and give me a hug! Can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pre-Workout Energy

A big question for many people is "What do I eat before I workout"?  Each person is different...some people can barely stomach a sip of water before a workout and some people need a larger amount of food before a workout.  I fall into the latter category most of the time.

I have complied a list of pre-workout snacks and meals to fuel your workout.

One of my favorites is a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced banana. This is a great mix of simple and complex carbs that will release steady energy to your body during your workout. The bananas and the toast are easy to digest so you don't get that sick feeling.

If I only need a small snack before a workout, I will mix greek yogurt, walnuts, berries, honey, and a few chia seeds. The yogurt is easy on your digestive system while the chia seeds and and berries give you that nice steady energy. The nuts provide essential fats and keep your blood sugar levels steady while you train.

If I'm in a big hurry, I'll blend up a quick smoothie.  My favorite: spinach, berries, almond milk, a handful of uncooked oats, and a scoop of protein powder.  This typically isn't enough for a long, hard workout, but holds me through a shorter less intense training session.

A delicious treat before workout is a small sweet potato. I microwave it until soft and mix in a bit of almond butter and cinnamon.  It's almost like a sweet potato pie.  So good!

For a more savory pre-workout meal, I will make a quick egg white scramble.  Sometimes I add veggies and a tiny bit of cheese.  Other times I will add black beans, avocado, and salsa.  You really can't mess this up.  I'll have a piece of whole wheat toast with this to be sure I get enough carbs.  This meals gets me through the days I have a longer workout or heavier lifting.

Of course, you can't go wrong with the old standards like oatmeal, apple slices with almond butter,  sliced chicken breast with rice, or a turkey sandwich.  There are so many good combinations for pre-workout fuel.

A good rule of thumb is to remember that:
1) A pre-workout meal should be eaten about 2 hours before your workout.
2) A pre-workout snack can be eaten 30-60 minutes before you train.
3)You want a 5 to 1.6 gram carb to protein ratio.  That basically means eat a tiny bit more carbs than protein.
4) Hydrate

The carb thing is always controversial ...some people think that you should avoid carbs before a workout, but I think they are essential.  I'll be back soon with post-workout nutrition tips and a give away! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got Granny Flaps?

Granny Flaps. Bat Wings. English Teacher Arms. Water Wings. Whatever you want to call them, nobody wants jiggly triceps, yet they seem to be one of the most neglected body parts for many women.  I get it...they are boring to work. A tricep workout  can be difficult and painful. It's easy to skip the tricep in your workout routine because it seems like a small and unimportant muscle and tend to focus more on the bicep.
 Guess what? The tricep is made up of 3 muscles and makes up 2/3rds of your arm. 

What do you use the tricep muscles for? The triceps are 3 muscles that connect at the elbow.  They extend your elbow and also stabilize your elbow when using your hand and forearm.  Strong triceps aid in pushing. As a woman, being able to push with your arms is important. We push shopping carts, baby strollers, kids on swings, wheelbarrows. Strong triceps can help you fend off an assailant if you need to push him away. Strong triceps are important...and also sexy.

Here are some tricep exercises you can do with a link to each one:

One of my favorites is Chaturanga or Yoga Push up.

I also love Bench Dips.  You can do these at home with your heels on the floor using the bottom step, a stool, or a sturdy coffee table.  Just keep your butt close to the bench and make sure you are moving your body up and down using your triceps and not your thighs. For added resistance, you can put a weight in your lap.

Skull Crushers are a favorite of mine. You don't have to go too heavy on the weight until you get used to the movement.  You can use dumbbells or a barbell.  I prefer a barbell because I can get my hands closer together.  Remember to not let your elbows flare out to the side and don't drop the weight on your head. Ouch.

Overhead tricep extensions and tricep kickbacks are also very effective. I like to go heavy with these.

Exercise alone won't get those arms toned.  Balanced and healthy nutrition plays a huge role in being fit.  I know I say it all the time, but you can't exercise your way out of bad nutrition.

These are some of my favorite tricep exercises that you can do at home. Now go get yourself some strong, sexy arms!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The "Packing a School Lunch" Conundrum

For 7 years, packing school lunches was daily source of stress for me.  I know #suburbanmomproblems ...whaaa!  It was taking forever, there was always a fight, and nobody would know what they wanted.  There was also the issue of running out of things for school lunches and they would end up with things like "trail mix" made up from the bits of cereal left in the bottom of each cereal bag,  the protein bars from my gym bag, or even Halloween candy. Last year I finally got smart and came up with a way that made everyone happy, gave the kids choices, and made me feel better that they had at least one healthy item in their lunch box.

For their "main course" I have them make their own sandwich.  I lay out the bread, meats, veggies, and condiments before they wake up, and they make the sandwich to their liking.  I also make a big batch of a pasta salad filled with a protein and vegetables that they can choose instead of a sandwich.

For their snacks I fill three rubbermaid type bins with lids. I fill one bin for salty foods, one for sweets, and one for fruits.  I try to make it a mix between healthy and what the kids would consider 'fun' foods. I trust them to make good choices, and they always seem to balance healthy and fun in the same lunch. I can live with that. They pick one item from each bin and put it into their lunch box.  Easy.
  Sometimes, I make a big trip to Costco and fill it with pre-packaged foods and other times I will put large containers of foods and have them fill their reusable lunchbox each morning.  Other times I have foods like popcorn, muffins, and protein bars that I made at home...but that's only when I'm feeling super motivated.  It does not happen often.

These 3 bins are only for school and only get taken out in the mornings while they pack their lunch.  They have other snacks to choose from in the pantry.  This keeps us from realizing we are out of snacks during the morning rush and prevents me from adding cereal, Halloween candy, or a candy cane for their snack...not that they would mind.  Each bin lasts about 4 weeks between my three kids.

Here is what is in the bins this month:

Fruit bin: Go-go Squeeze Apple Sauce, Crunchy Pak Organic Apple slices from Costco (the fresh fruit changes weekly), and Clif Kid Z Fruit Rope.

Salty Bin: Quaker Popped Rice Crackers (in 3 flavors), Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, and Pringles

Sweet Bin:  Annie's Chocolate Bunnies,  Annie's Graham Bunnies, , Nature Valley Trail Mix bar,  Rice Krispie Treat, Fudge Stripes.

The bins vary depending what is on sale at Costco or what is on sale in bulk at our local grocery store HEB.  It also depends on my schedule and what I have time to make.

Since starting this way of packing lunches, the kids and I are much happier in the mornings.  They get choices that they like, they learn the responsibility of packing their own lunches,  we don't run out of snacks last minute because they ate them for an after school snack, and I'm not putting random crap in their lunches anymore.  If you do something like this, I'd love to see a link to your ideas! Please post your ideas here on on my FB page :

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Home Gym {San Antonio Personal Trainer}

Hey Everyone! This year we finally had enough equipment in my home gym so that I could quit the gym.   I loved going to the gym to workout, but there were so many times that I only had time to workout from home.  I found myself working out from home more often than going to the big gym, that I decided to stop paying for the membership. Between the equipment I have at home, great running trails, and a nearby HS track I feel like I have everything I need to work out from home.  There are still things I want to add, but what we have is good enough for us.

This space is supposed to be our dining room, but our kitchen is big enough to fit a large table, so we decided to turn the dining room space into a gym instead.  It's pretty small and often I have to spill out into the hall to complete workouts, but it's great! We didn't get all of this at once. It took years to build up.
We have our elliptical, weight bench, weights, Olympic bar, EZ Bar, dumbells from 5-45 lbs (we'll add on later), plates, Bosu ball, Med balls, stability ball, and pull up bar.  The weight bench also acts as a squat rack, leg curl, and leg extension 'machine'.

Oh. Since we are friends, I left the dog hair in the photo for you.

The picture walls might be my favorite part of my gym. One wall includes photos of Josh and I in our first races, our race numbers, and some of our medals.  The other wall has pictures of our family having fun. It's motivating to me to see these while I work out.

Like I said, it has taken us years to build up our equipment. If you want to start your own home gym, the most important and useful equipment that will get you started are a heavy and light set of dumbbells , a stability ball, a jump rope, and a resistance band. With those you can work every body part and modify any gym exercise to work with that equipment.  Please feel free to share links to pictures of your home gym.  I'd love to see where you work out! You can post them on my FB page :

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lower Body Toning...without Squats

So here it first exercise video ever. I'm afraid to show it, but I will. I'm totally awkward on video and as I watched this all I could see was my bad form and 2 weeks of hot dogs, tater tots, and Starbucks I have consumed (totally worth it). ;)

I'll try to post these videos more often and we can get back in shape together!

I got a question from a reader in Arizona who wants to tone her lower body, but has bad knees. So, here we go...late at night, stuttering, tripping over my words, and looking like I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Be kind...

Please follow me on Facebook at : where I also post recipes, workouts, and random thought ;)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Healthy Shopping at Costco

Many people are under the impression that you cannot buy healthy foods at Costco. While there are a lot of less healthy choices there, I buy a majority of my healthy foods there. This is what my list consists of on most trips.

*For the past two years we have bought half of an organic cow, so I only buy beef at Costco if we run out. During spring and summer I have a lot of spinach and mixed lettuce (which is super easy to grow) in my garden, so those are things I depend on Costco for in the winter.  If you do not have some of these items in your Costco, ask the manager. They may be able to stock it if there is enough requests. It's couldn't hurt to ask. Hope this list helps!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Always Hungry?

A few friends of mine have recently kicked up their workouts a notch and now always feel hungry, even if they have just finished a meal.  I used to struggle with this myself, but I think I have got it worked out now.  I realized that it was all about eating the right foods at the right time.

I know that in order to keep myself full, healthy, energetic, and NOT cranky, I have to maintain a good balance of proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.  For me that means 40% of my calories come from protein, 40% from complex carbs, and 40% from healthy fat.  For my body, age, and activity level, that means about 150-170g of protein, 100-150g of carbs, and 35-40g of healthy fats.  My Fitness Pal can help you figure out whats right for you.I also make sure that I drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Some days its almost a gallon.

It's  very important to eat within 30 minutes after completing a workout. The  body is still burning calories and is looking for ways to restore and repair those muscles that were used during your workout.  For this meal, it is suggested that you get a good balance of complex carbs and protein. If the timing is right, this is when I usually eat my biggest meal of the day. Today it was a turkey burger (no bun), a sweet potato, raw asparagus, and yogurt dip.

Healthy fats play a very important rule in keeping you full.  When I find myself hungry, it's usually because I have not had enough fats that day. I'll grab a handful of almonds or a portion of avocado dressed with salt and lime.

The fiber from raw veggies also help keep me full, so  I like to eat a lot of raw veggies with this yogurt dip.  

Speaking of yogurt, I have found that adding a moderate amount of dairy (I don't consume a lot of dairy) keeps me full.  I like Chiobani yogurt or any low fat cottage cheese.  Be careful when eating yogurt.  Try to choose brands that do not have a lot of sugar.

I find that if I am craving sugar, I did not have enough carbs that day.  I will usually have a piece of Ezekiel toast with a natural nut butter or a sweet potato with a tablespoon of nut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Here is a list of staples I keep in my kitchen broken down into categories.  I hope you find it helpful:
*I am not a certified nutritionist. I am simply sharing what works for me.  Please consult a certified nutritionist before changing your diet.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Plastic Surgery...My thoughts

A reader wrote in to ask me a question about plastic surgery.  I answered.  This is in no way meant to offend anyone who has had plastic surgery.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Beef Coconut Curry

This recipe is a family favorite...even the kids LOVE it and somewhat 'clean' and very very easy.  A good source of protein and healthy fats.
What you need:

1 lb of lean ground beef, turkey,  or bison
1 onion chopped
1 apple chopped
1/2 bag frozen peas
2-3 TBS curry powder (I get mine at World Market)
13 oz can of LIGHT coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper ( I really like black pepper)

Brown the meat.  Add apples and onion and sautee until the onions are translucent.  Add peas and cook until thawed.  Add coconut milk.  Simmer until warm.  Serve on quinoa or brown rice.

Don't forget to follow me on FB for more recipes and workouts.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I am so blog illiterate...I do not know how to add a FB button on please, if you haven't already, follow me on FB since sometimes I am too busy lazy to post recipes or workouts here

XOXOXO and Thank you!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Addicting Veggie Dip

I made a Greek yogurt dip to eat with raw veggies and am addicted.  I cannot stop eating it and love that it helps me meet my protein needs for the day. My kids love it too.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper (because I like pepper, you can use less)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Just mix it all together and eat it with raw veggies or some whole wheat crackers.

Crappy iPhone pic:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Day of Clean Eating

I had several requests this past year to post a typical day of eating for me.  First, let me say, I am not a nutritionist, so please don't think that this way of eating will be a miracle for you.  I have done lots of reading, research, and tweaking to make this fit MY body and MY lifestyle. ( I'm actually still tweaking it every day.) It may not wok for you.

I do not count calories or measure very carefully.  I kind of just eyeball things. The portion sizes that work for me, may not work for you and my portion sizes depend on my level of activity for that day.  Some days I have to eat a ton. I find that if I'm still hungry, I will blend up a quick smoothie with spinach and a frozen banana and that sometimes I need more fat from avocados, almonds, or nut butter.

This is my general rule of thumb for portions : protein (palm sized), carbs (1/2 cup) fats (a handful), raw veggies (unlimited).  Egg whites range between 2 and 6 egg whites per serving depending on the day.

I am pretty scatterbrained sometimes, so I have to prepare this before the week begins. This type of eating usually takes me about an hour or two of food prep on Sunday afternoon. It sounds like a lot, but it saves tons of time during the week. I boil and peel my eggs, make a container of oats, chop all of my veggies and fruits, and cook my protein for the week.  This food prep serves as my meals 1-4 for the week.  Meal 5 is dinnertime, so I eat what I am serving my family that night. Meal 6 is my fun meal where I can experiment with protein packed desserts. If I don't prep, I will just go into the pantry and grab any old junk to stuff in my face. If I prepped it, I will eat it.

I will try to do this a few more times since many of you requested daily meal ideas.  I will be posting more recipes and meal planning ideas on my FB page.  Hope this helps.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Winner!!!

Time to announce the winner of the Alyce Hattie Bea products!

I decided to do this drawing the old fashioned way.  I put every entry  from both of my blogs into a bucket and had my daughter draw it out....because I'm web savvy that way!

annnnnndddd the winner is.....

Random Reflections...please email me at before Wednesday, January 16 with your mailing address so I can get your prize out to you.

If  you all would like to order these very affordable and amazing products, check out the Alyce Hattie Bea website!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pamper Yourself (a giveaway)

This time of year I have the worst dry, itchy winter skin and chapped lips. It's so hard to find good, chemical free products.  My very close  friend Alexis and mother of two sweet babies began a business called Alyce Hattie Bea. She has been so busy creating wonderful, chemical free products that she has not gotten around to completing her web page yet...but it's coming soon. Alexis creates goats milk soaps, creams, and lotions; lip balm, natural teething necklaces, scarves, gloves, hats,  aprons, breads, cheeses, pasta, etc.  Her products are selling in shops and farmer's markets all across New York.

When I say that her products are all natural and chemical free, I am not exaggerating.   Her soaps and lotions come from the milk of her own personal goats (who eat a sweet organic diet better than mine) and are treated like family members! Her teething necklaces come from trees on her property.  Her wool comes from local sheep. She often cleans, processes, and dyes the wool herself using natural dyes and then spins it into yarn which she then crochets into her awesome creations.  I love this self sustaining chica and am so excited she is sharing her products with the rest of us.

Today I am giving away a few of her items to one lucky winner. This prize includes her lavender goats milk soap, soothing peppermint lip balm, and a really cute necklace for mom that a baby can use for teething while mom wears it. Such a clever idea!

This is her gorgeous, sweet smelling soap.  Shops across New York are starting to carry this soap and it is selling out quickly. I have been using it for over a week now and my skin has never been softer.  I gave a bar to my son to use for his eczema and it has greatly reduced his itching and inflammation. I cannot wait to order more for myself! It's adorably packaged in paper and yarn that she made herself...yes, she MADE paper and yarn. I love this girl and her products.

I am addicted to this Peppermint lip soother.  I keep one in my car, and my nightstand, and in my gym bag.  The peppermint flavor is very subtle and not at all overwhelming. It goes on smooth and offers a long lasting smoothness to your lips. She makes it with organic olive oil, beeswax, and local honey.

This last product is a bit unusual and A LOT genius.  You know how your babies love to chew on your necklaces when you are holding them..but you don't want them to choke on the beads or brake the necklace?  Alexis created a solution for this.  These cute necklaces are great for teething babies. (TO BE WORN BY MOM ONLY) The teething part is made from wood that has been shaped and smoothed by hand and dyed with fruit/vegetable based dyes. Each necklace is unique and can be ordered without stain if your baby has a fruit or veggie allergy.

So, who wants to win this? All you have to do is leave a comment here on this blog.   

Mandatory to enter: Leave a comment here telling me what organic products you buy regularly.

Extra Entries:   (leave a comment here telling me each of these things you did)

1) Like Alyce Hattie Bea on FB.

2) Like Blood, Sweat, and Minivans on FB

3) Share this give away on Twitter or FB

*Only one person per household/IP address may enter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only and can only be shipped to continental US addresses. Winner will be selected after midnight CST on Friday, January 11, 2013.  The winner will be announced the weekend of January 12 and contacted via email.  The winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.