Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rise & Shine Advice & Baked Panko Chicken over Arugula

I was never one to work out in the morning before work unless I had after-work plans and needed to get my workout in. Coworkers, friends, and acquaintances always ask me "How do you get up so early!?" and then tell me how they "just can't work out in the morning".  Look, I get it... it is not easy.  Your bed is so comfy and you're half asleep.  When I first started working out in the morning... especially when I ran... my workouts were horrendous! I would have to stop a bunch of times and I felt unbelievably exhausted.   I get it!!  

Getting a workout in should be at whatever time works for you, if at lunch break or after work or when the kids are napping is what works for you - then great!  I personally had to switch up my schedule lately because I have been getting home so late from work that my night workouts started to suck.  I turned morning workouts into a habit and now I LOVE it.  I don't believe there's a 'better' time to work out than any other time - I believe it's what works best for your schedule :-)

Here's what I suggest if you want to try working out in the morning.  First, I promise you, with all of my heart, that the hardest part is when the alarm goes off.  So here's the thing.. ease into it.  I flick on my TV and my light, grab my phone and scroll through twitter... EVERY morning.  The lights need to be on.  Then, once I'm ready (usually 5 minutes, sometimes more) I just go... telling myself that once I get to the gym (or on the mat in my living room) I'll feel better.  Without fail, every time... I am right.  The BEST part about going to the gym in the morning is walking in and seeing all of the serious 'worker-outers' around me... they got up, just like me.  It's like a silent camaraderie... hard to explain but you'll get it once you do it.  You will immediately feel ready to work out.  The first few times you switch up your schedule and work out in the morning - it likely won't be easy.   Making it a habit is what finally made it easy for me - but it took a while.  The next best part of working out in the morning... is being done so early! (duh!)

Here are my tips to get started:
1-Start with just 15 minutes.  Get up, get dressed, and do an easy 15 minute workout.  It'll likely turn into longer than that, but if it doesn't, give yourself credit for doing something new. Even if it's just stretching.
2- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and then 30 minutes earlier... I know this is not easy, but it makes a HUGE difference.
3-Do your favorite exercise or WHATEVER you're in the mood for first.  Sometimes I wake up and feel like I can run but can't do anything else.  Other mornings, I feel ready to lift and only lift.  I do what my body tells me to start and then add in whatever I need.
4-Start out in your own living room.  Jumping jacks, squats, burpees, lunges, push ups, punches, kicks, crunches, stretching.  You need zero equipment for that.
5-Here's when you will feel ready: 1) When your sneakers are on your feet - seriously. 2) As soon as you walk into the gym 3) As soon as you start to move.
6-Do it just a few times a week.  Last year, my schedule was a bit more flexible so I worked out 2 or 3 mornings per week and also 2 or 3 nights per week.  It was a nice balance.

When you are done - reward yourself with a healthy bfast and AT LEAST 5 minutes of stretching.

So that's that... here's my recipe of the day that I made for dinner tonight.  By my calculations it has about 300 calories - maybe less, but I like to overestimate!

Baked Panko Chicken over Arugula with Lemon Dressing

1.  Take 2 hormone-free, boneless, skinless tenderloins or 1 breast, coat it in a littttttle bit of flour, then dip in egg white, then dip in panko (japanese bread crumbs - lighter than regular bread crumbs and super crunchy) - go light on this coating.  Season with salt, crushed red pepper and parsley.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375

2. Arrange Arugula on plate (I love arugula - it's kind of peppery in flavor and it's high in vitamins a and c - It is delicious on pizza - especially prociutto pizza! ahhh but I digress.....  if you don't like it - use spinach)

3.  Chop cherry or grape tomatoes and add to plate

4. Grill up some mushrooms (or saute with a light spray or drizzle of olive oil) season with crushed red, salt, parsley - once they are done, add to plate

5.  Add the chicken and top off with either squirts of lemon and olive oil and a little parmesan or try my dressing (I switched up my usual greek dressing to make it a better match for this salad)

Lemon/Parmesan Greek Dressing:
Mix together: 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, 2 parts nonfat greek yogurt, 1 part yellow mustard, 1 part agave nectar or honey, 1 part red wine vinegar, juice of one half lemon, tsp of parmesan, salt and pepper to taste (remember - I don't measure so make sure you taste this dressing to make sure it tastes good!)

Have an AWESOME week! And don't forget to stretch every morning... even if you don't work out... It's a great way to start the day :-)

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