Whirlwind Weekend

Whoa- this weekend went by fast! Perhaps it was the fact that it’s probably the only weekend since I’ve moved to Colorado that I haven’t gone hiking! I’m already having withdrawal. This weekend was too packed with other things going on to fit in a single hike- but I’m pretty sure I’ll get my fix on Wednesday (Greg and I are planning on hiking Mt. Bierstadt!).

Saturday morning started bright and early due to a super secret project that Greg and I were involved in. I can’t give many details about it right now, but I will say that it involved a photographer and crew, hair + make-up and wardrobe styling and about 6 hours of shooting in a few different locations. One of which was my backyard!

light

I hate to be so vague, but I promise that I’ll share all of the details next month when I’m allowed to. (And no, I’m not having a baby.)

When I was done with all of the morning’s activities, I raced over to the grand opening of a gym that I’ll be teaching a few classes a week at.

thicknthin

Thick N Thin Studio is a gym with a really unique concept: it’s exclusively for plus-size people! You can read more about it here (I’m quoted in that article!!). The gym itself is really an exercise studio offering a variety of different classes, and members must be at least 30 lbs. overweight (according to the BMI scale). And just an FYI- if members happen to lose weight and fall into a healthy range, they are not kicked out (the idea is “through thick and thin”).

I am teaching a class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings called “Total Body Conditioning,” which is a combination of cardio and strength training that targets every major muscle group. I am amazed that there aren’t more gyms like this around- I think the idea is brilliant! I am really excited be a part of it and am eager to see what the response is like. During the grand opening on Saturday, I led a 20-minute demo class. It was a lot of fun to finally be teaching again because I have missed it SO much! (I’m still trying to find a gym to teach Bodypump and Spinning at. It’s hard to find that during the summer because many gyms cut classes during summer months. Hopefully I’ll have more luck when school starts!)

After the long day, I was definitely wiped out. Luckily, the only other plans we had made was to have Paige and her husband over for dinner. This may be only the second time Paige and I have ever hung out where we weren’t wearing hiking or yoga clothes. 😉

dresses

We ate delicious food (like the bacon-wrapped dates that Paige brought!!), drank beer and talked until the late hour of 9:00pm. I’m glad to have other friends that appreciate getting to bed early. 🙂

The evening ended with a beautiful rainbow.

rainbow

🙂

Sunday began with an immense butt-kicking at the gym, thanks to LiveFit Trainer. I began Week 11 with a BANG:

workout

Holy crap. This workout BURNED. I did four rounds of this circuit and my quads were reminding me of it the entire day (and still are today!). I’m really excited to only have this week and next left of the LiveFit- the last phase is intense!

My friend Shayla came over a little later in the morning. We’ve been friends since my sophomore year of college and were big art nerds together.

lunch table

Shayla was in town from New York for work and had a flight back home later that day, and it was so great to hang out with her! We only get to hang out once or twice a year, but it’s always like no time has passed. We headed into Boulder for lunch, shopping and people watching on Pearl Street.

We definitely saw some of Boulder’s finest (like this guy that Shayla managed to snap a pic of):

pearl

Ahh… I love it here. 🙂

I dropped Shayla off at the airport later in the afternoon- and all of the sudden, it was Sunday night!

I’ve got a crazy week ahead (and a crazy weekend to follow), including celebrating my 2-year wedding anniversary! But, as always, that’s crazy good.

Have a great Monday!

What did you do this weekend? Do you feel like some weekends seem to go by faster than others?

PB Banana Oat Energy Balls

I’m very particular about the time of day that I like to exercise. There are some people that like to wake up early and do it first thing in the morning, and there are others that prefer to go at night.

 

And then of course, there’s people who prefer not to exercise at all…

 

I’m definitely a morning exerciser. I will get up as early as I need to in order to fit my workout in and have it done and overwith before I have to do anything else in my day. For me, exercising in the morning sets the tone for the whole day. It gives me energy to get through the whatever is on my plate for the day and I don’t it looming over my head to do in the afternoon. Back when I was living in Maryland, I taught classes as early as 5:15 am. Call me crazy, but that was definitely my time to shine! There’s something great about having a great workout already done by 7:00 am – and having to only shower once a day is an added bonus.

 

Now I teach a few classes at 7:00 am during the week, but I’m usually at the gym around that time anyway. I definitely need some sort of fuel before working out, but can’t stomach a whole lot that early in the morning. My go-to was usually a half of a banana, but lately I’ve been enjoying these little guys. I’ve shown them on the blog before, but finally buckled down and wrote out the recipe!

 

bowl

 

 

 

 

 

I got on the whole “ball” kick thanks to my friend Lindsay and her Healthy Bites. Since I don’t have a constant supply of Healthy Bites at my disposal, I played around a bit to create something that was small, simple and had a good balance of fat and carbohydrates for fuel.

 

These are so easy to make, and you could easily swap out or add in other ingredients as you wish. I’ve added raisins before, which are an excellent addition! They are the such a delicious little bite.

 

close up

 

PB Banana Oat Energy Balls

 

1 medium (ripe) banana

 

1 T honey, agave nectar or maple syrup

 

1 T chia seeds

 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

1 C old-fashioned oats

 

1 T peanut butter

 

2 T protein powder or peanut flour

 

In a bowl, mash up banana with a fork. Add honey and stir well, followed by chia seeds and cinnamon. Stir again- mixture should be semi-thick. Stir in peanut butter. Slowly add in oats, stir well. Add in the protein powder 1 tablespoon at a a time and stir. Mixture should start to bind together. Line a small cookie sheet with wax paper. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon and drop onto the wax paper. The mixture will be sticky! You should end up with 12 rouded tablespoon-sized scoops.

 

cookie sheet

 

Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours, and then place in an air-tight container. For best results, store in the freezer.

 

While I was making this batch, I thought that these might actually be just as good if they were baked (but I haven’t tried that out yet). Perhaps that variation will be tested out with my next batch! They could easily be enjoyed as cookies. 🙂

 

red bowl

 

Nutritional stats can vary depending on your specific ingredients, but here’s what I ended up with:

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 2.28.45 PM

 

(I used rye flakes instead of oats, Nuttzo brand nut butter and peanut flour.)

 

 

 

One more thing- the winner of the white water rafting giveaway is:

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 3.18.53 PM

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 3.19.05 PM

 

Congrats, Shane! Please email me at [email protected] for further details!

 

 

 

Have a great day!

 

What time of day do you prefer to exercise? What’s your favorite pre-workout fuel?

 

 

 

 

July 16th, 2013 | Tags: Energy, Fitness, nut butter, Recipes | Category: Uncategorized

 

11 comments to PB Banana Oat Energy Balls

 

cottercrunch

July 16, 2013 at 7:15 am · Reply

 

nice touch with the nuttzo!!

Jill C.

July 16, 2013 at 7:30 am · Reply

 

I am definitely happier when I get my workout in super early. For instance, I’m up right now at 6:30am and I’ll be finished with my run by 8:00. So much better than having to come home at 6:00pm and not finish until 8:00pm!

Erin @ A Girl and Her Mutt

July 16, 2013 at 8:20 am · Reply

 

I’m an afternoon/evening worker outer. I could easily (and would prefer to) workout at around 9 or 10, but my job frowns on that. That is my time that I go on the weekend! Instead I go straight after work. I’ve tried early mornings but my body just can’t wake up as much as I would like it too.

Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon

July 16, 2013 at 10:05 am · Reply

 

I work out after work (usually around 4:30pm) and go to the group classes in the afternoons at my gym. I love that I can shower afterwards and then head home clean for the rest of the evening. Normally, I’ll have a snack around 3pm if I didn’t have a big lunch to keep me fueled- like a yogurt, fruit, or toast with peanut butter.

Becky @ Olives n Wine

July 16, 2013 at 11:19 am · Reply

 

I am a morning exerciser too! If I don’t get it done before work, it just doesn’t happen. These little energy balls look delicious. I think they’d be perfect for a little energy before a long run.

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries

July 16, 2013 at 11:33 am · Reply

 

I prefer to exercise mid morning, but these days with a baby I just get it in whenever I can! Pinned the energy balls – can’t wait to try them out!

Annette Perkins (@FitnessPerks)

July 16, 2013 at 11:44 am · Reply

 

I love exercise in the morning too!

 

I don’t like bananas or PB, but I could sub out the PB for AB, but bananas? hmmmmm.

Corrie Anne

July 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm · Reply

 

4pm is my sweet spot! I used to do that right after school. It just does not work with our schedules now!!!!

sprint2thetable

July 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm · Reply

 

Ah, great minds. I just made a very similar batch of these and ate one pre-wokrout today. Mine are a bit gooey though. I think I needed oats rather than the brown rice crispies I used. Must try this next! I love Lindsay’s balls. 😉

thecompostcook

July 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm · Reply

 

Great recipe, I love that so many ‘fit bloggers’ have their own versions of power balls…can’t wait to try your recipe!

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchena

July 26, 2013 at 7:31 am · Reply

 

Generally, I like to work out in the morning–I am with you on it getting me energized for the day…and the whole shower thing. Seriously, who wants to feel like they need to shower AGAIN? When I started taking more classes at the gym, though, most of them only fit in after school, so I’ve embraced the variety. 🙂

 

These look great! I’ve been mulling over making a baked version of something a LITTLE like this, so this is just further inspiration…

Our Anniversary Tradition: Hiking a 14er! [Mt. Bierstadt]

Sometime in the winter or spring of 2012, Greg and I came up with the crazy idea to hike a 14er on our first wedding anniversary. By that point, we had visited Colorado numerous times and had plenty of hikes under our belts, but a 14er is entirely new territory. The challenge of hiking above 14,000′ elevation sounded incredibly appealing to both of us and we knew that it would be a cool way to celebrate one year of marriage.

 

In case you’re wondering, a “14er” is a mountain that peaks above 14,000′ from sea level. Colorado has 54 different 14ers that range from Class 1 (easiest) to Class 5 (most difficult and requiring ropes) – which is strictly for comparison (no 14er is easy).  You can read all about the 14ers in Colorado here.

 

For our first big hike, we researched a few different 14ers that were somewhat close to Breckenridge (where we would be staying). We ended up choosing Grays and Torreys because you can summit both on the same trip (since they are connected by a saddle). The hike totally kicked my butt, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Greg and I immediately decided that we should aim to hike a 14er every year on our anniversary.

 

For anniversary #2 (which was this past Wednesday- 7/17/2013), we decided to climb Mt. Bierstadt (which is considered Class 2). The number one reason that we chose this hike is that it’s one of the closest to where we live. We weren’t able to go camp out or rent a nearby hotel the night before, so a trail with a shorter driving distance was critical. It’s important to start your hike very early in the morning to avoid any early afternoon thunderstorms that roll in. You definitely don’t want to be stuck on the top of a mountain when there’s lightening in the sky!

 

Another benefit of Mt. Bierstadt was that (as 14ers go) it’s relatively easy. We plan on hiking a few other 14ers this year but with this being the first since we moved, we wanted to ease into it a bit. This particular hike is also shorter than others and we could easily summit before noon even starting as late as 8:30 am. Another thing to keep in mind is that your hiking/climbing pace is much slower than your normal running/walking pace. We’ve done hikes before that took an hour to cover one mile!

 

Get ready for a lot of photos (all from my iPhone- which is much lighter than carrying an SLR on a long hike!).

 

On Wednesday we woke up around 5:30 am, filled up our backpacks with water, snacks and extra layers of clothing and we hit the road. With a stop for coffee on the way, we ended up getting to the parking lot around 8:30 am (we had left the house around 6:30 and hit a little bit of traffic on the way). It was a sunny, clear day and the temperature was in the mid 50s (not bad for morning in the mountains!).

 

 

We were ready to tackle this 14er!

 

 

The trail started at 11,669′ elevation and was definitely easy for the first mile.

 

sign

 

We walked through a marshy area along a creek next to some small lakes and just soaked in the beautiful scenery.

 

creek

 

blue sky

 

Once the elevation started picking up I quickly shed my sweatshirt. Even though it wasn’t quite 60˚, a tank top was much more comfortable for a steep climb in the bright sunshine. We got warmed up fast at that point! Seeing Mt. Bierstadt in the distance, it definitely didn’t look too intimidating or far off. That’s definitely an illusion.

 

sawtooth

 

(Mt. Bierstadt is on the right and is connected by Sawtooth to Mt. Evans)

 

As the hike got steeper and we gained more elevation, I repeated my mantra from last year’s hike at Grays and Torreys: One step at a time, each step is one more closer to the top. We took a quick rest stop every few minutes (even just 15 seconds helps!) and then got right back to it.

 

As we got closer to the ridge that leads up to the summit, our rest stops were more like one minute apart. There were some big rocks to step onto!

 

steep

 

I made fun of Greg for his hat the whole day. I know it’s functional… but man is it dorky. 🙂

 

My heart rate was pretty high and my legs definitely felt the altitude- but my lungs felt great! I noticed a big difference in my breathing from last year’s 14er hike (which is probably due to us no longer living at sea level!).

 

We made one final push to get to the ridge and then set up the self timer (via the Camera Plus app) on my iPhone.

 

timer

 

We took some photos of each other (of course I had to bust out a tree pose).

 

tree

 

I love this guy (hat and all).

 

Greg

 

As I looked up the mountain to the final ascent, it definitely seemed intimidating. The entire last stretch requires some bouldering, in which you have to use your hands just as much as your feet.

 

snow

 

Bouldering definitely also requires a certain level of balance, skill and (more than anything!) confidence. You can’t really see much beyond this photo, but after you make it up this huge pile of rocks, it levels out and you climb across to the summit.

 

And just before noon, we made it! Someone had placed a nifty little sign next to the marker for the summit.

 

marker

 

There were a number of other people hanging out at the summit, so we got one of them to take our picture (which turns out MUCH better than using a self-timer!).

 

martins

 

We took a little break to eat some lunch and found this lovely rock to sit on and enjoy this incredible view:

 

lunch rock

 

Just like last year, we had packed PB&J sandwiches and beer (from Upslope this time!).

 

PBJ

 

upslope bierstadt

 

Best hiking food ever!

 

We also had some furry little friends try to join us for lunch:

 

hello

 

This was my first time ever seeing a marmot- and there were a ton of them!

 

marmots

 

So cute. 🙂

 

We soaked in the view as much as possible and I took a few more photos:

 

14k

 

beauty

 

brown

 

green mountains

 

summit

 

And of course, I had to do my signature wheel pose while we were up there.

 

wheel

 

After at least a half hour stop at the summit, we decided it was time to start the trek back down. It was definitely a little difficult to get back to the ridge through all of those rocks!

 

descent

 

Once we got back down the ridge, we had a series of other rocks to climb down on that portion of the trail. Many of them were wet from all of the snow melt- and I managed to slip on one and fall right on my butt. It definitely didn’t feel good- but luckily I was fine. We finally got to the less rocky section and could pretty much fly right downhill.

 

dirt trail

 

Greg and I both tested out our new trekking poles- which definitely helped ease some of the stress off our quads on the way down!

 

poles

 

I think I stopped at least twenty more times on the way down to take more pictures (just in case I missed something on the way up!). These beautiful wild flowers were everywhere!

 

flowers

 

We heard some thunder on our way down and saw dark clouds brewing over Grays and Torreys.

 

panorama

 

Don’t worry- we manaaged to make it back down to the trail head safely and swiftly without getting caught in any thunderstorms!

 

lake

 

I had my Polar on for the hike (which I hadn’t worn since before we moved!) and here are the stats:

 

polar

 

Not too shabby!

 

The total hike stats: 5 hours, 55 minutes (which included several stops- it could definitely be done in a shorter amount of time), 7 miles total distance and 2,850 feet elevation gain.

 

Needless to say, we were a bit wiped out after the hike and pretty much useless for the remainder for the day. It was totally worth it though (obviously)! I am constantly amazed by the beauty that is practically right in our backyard and wish everyone I know could see it and enjoy it as much as I do. I’m also lucky to be married to a guy that loves the outdoors as much as I do and thinks that hiking in the mountains can be every bit as romantic as any other anniversary celebration.

 

Three 14ers down… can’t wait for the next one!