Quick Lower Body Strength

Holy Moly can you believe that it is already September and after Labor day!? I hope everyone had a great labor day weekend without too much overindulgence!! We had a pretty laid back weekend in my house and got some much needed rest time and housework done! 


Since it is a short week at work for me due to the holiday weekend on Monday and I’m going to be out on Friday for a huge certification course this weekend on manual therapy my week has been super busy so far. Therefore, I needed some super quick workouts this week (quicker than normal). I haven’t been cutting time off of my runs because I’m really working on getting a good base started to carry me through the winter to get ready for spring races. Since I wasn’t willing to cut my runs short to save time I decided to do some quick strength workouts that were timed instead of reps that way I knew exactly how much time they would take to complete!



Here is the quick lower body strength workout that I did this morning after my run! 


For this workout I like to use either my dumbbells or my T-grip barbell which you can get here. I absolutely love this for my home gym it is a multi-use bar. This is probably the once piece of equipment that I can’t live without! I plan on doing a review and more pictures of workouts with this baby in the future!


Some great workouts to round out your week:

Upper Body Blast Workout

No equipment HIIT Cardio

Full Body Workout


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Tips to Stay on Track Over the Weekend

healthy weekend

I don’t know about you all but the weekends are always the hardest for me. I do great during the week and then weekends come around and unexpected plans happen, multiple get-togethers, and all other sorts of being busy happen. There are tons of tips to stay on track over the weekend out there and I have compiled my favorite tips that I live by (or try to, we are all human). 

1. Stick to your workouts

The first thing that I do is I get my workouts in. That usually consists of a long run on Saturday and Yoga on Sunday with some walking. Keeping up with my workouts helps keep me moving and burning calories while also reminding me about my health and fitness goals.

2. Catch up on Sleep

The work week can get hectic and with busy schedules comes decreasing amount of sleep we get each night. While you can’t truly “catch up” on sleep you can get a couple of good restful nights in to help you recharge!

3. Cheat meal not cheat days

This one is definitely a challenge for me. As I said before our weekends fill up with obligations and social events and eating out which means that single planned Saturday evening dinner out cheat meal becomes lunch with the girls on Saturday too and then family meal on Sunday. The list just keeps piling on! Decide which event you want to be your cheat meal and stick to that. Then the other ones make it a point to make your healthy choices even if it isn’t your favorite item etc to get at that one place. Moderation is key!!

4. Eat before

This is one of those party and holiday tips you see everywhere. When going out or going to a party with lots of snacks eat a healthy meal prior to the event so you aren’t starving when you get there.

5. Water

Get your water intake in. During the week at work I’m really good about getting my water intake in because I carry my bottle around with me. During the weekend I tend to let this slide because I am out of my routine of work and don’t keep my water bottle with me like I should. This keeps you hydrated and prevents the mindless snacking and munching!

Tips to a Healthy Weekend

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4 Exercises for Injury Prevention In Runners

As a physical therapist who is also a runner I tend to see a lot of runners in my clinic. I love treating runners actually because running is something that I am passionate about. One of my patients asked me once what 4 exercises for injury prevention in runners I would recommend. Basically he wanted to know if there were only 4 exercises I could pick to keep runners safe and injury free what would they be. 

4 exercises for runners (1)

Injury Causes in Runners

Now I want to touch on the ways that runners get injured and why. Not all things can be solved by these 4 exercises. 

  1. Progressing too quickly
  2. Overtraining
  3. Not allowing for proper recovery
  4. Not listening to your body
  5. Strength and flexibility imbalances
  6. Weakness
  7. Inflexibility
  8. Improper or over worn shoes
  9. Poor running surface.

Now reasons 5 and 6 are the “causes” of injury that we are focusing on in this post. I definitely plan on touching base on the other points in coming posts!


4 exercises

Keep in mind that this is not an all inclusive list. This is just a list of 4 exercises that I would strongly recommend if you didn’t have time to do anything else in your training each week. 

single leg glute bridge

When we run our hips and glutes stabilize us. The are the building blocks for the rest of the lower body. If the hips/glutes are weak then strengthening the rest of the leg will have little effect because your base of support isn’t there. Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner’s knee, and iliotibial-band syndrome.

10 repetitions, 3 sets, 3 times per week

single leg bridge

With one leg bent and one leg out straight. Keep your core tight and lift you hips off the ground.


Similar to the glutes, the core helps stabilize everything on down. 

hold 20 seconds, repeat 3 times, 3 times per week




Squats are an all encompassing lower body strength exercise. They help strengthen the quads, hamstrings and glutes. 

10 repetitions, 3 sets, 3 times per week


lateral lunge

As runners we are a forward moving object and athlete. Lateral movements just don’t happen in running. The lateral lunge is here to offset the fact that everything that happens in a run is moving forward. Adding in some lateral strength with help stabilize for uneven surfaces as well as prevent injury by balancing out the forward moving muscles.

10 repetitions, 3 sets, 3 times per week

lateral lunge

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31 day Push Up Challenge

I can’t believe that it is already August! This year seems to be flying by! I thought with a new month why not start a 31 day push up challenge. I always like setting a goal to accomplish something new and challenging for me at the beginning of the month. This month I decided I wanted to improve my push up game!

Why Push Ups?

Push-ups are one of those exercises that everyone seems to struggle with but are the holy grail of exercises. The reason most people struggle so much with push ups are because they are a full body exercise. Sure the focus is on the chest and upper body or at least that’s how most view them. Honestly though they activate nearly every muscle in your body. You strengthen your core, your butt and legs to help stabilize you during the push up. Then the most obvious as I said before is the chest and arms. 


As a physical therapist one of the most common injuries and post-surgical patient I see is a rotator cuff tear and repair. Did you know that push ups have been shown to be one of the most effective exercises to safeguard your shoulder. This is due to the fact that push ups require your stabilizing muscles in your shoulder joint to activate and strengthen as well. 


The last benefit of a push up. No equipment to add to your arsenal of equipment free exercises. 


The challenge

31 days for 30 push ups. Sounds simple enough. If you are a beginner do this challenge to the best of your ability and modify the push ups as needed. 

  1. on your knees
  2. one knee down one leg straight
  3. standard push ups

If this challenge is too easy and you are a master at push ups….double the amount that you do each day. so 60 push ups in 30 days. 

30 day push up challenge

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread Protein Bars

A few of my favorite things….

Peanut butter ✔
Bananas ✔
Peanut butter and bananas ✔
banana bread ✔

When I stumbled upon this recipe for peanut butter banana bread protein bars from He and She Eat Clean I knew I had to try it out. It basically combines a bunch of my favorite things into one nice clean healthy protein bar.

Getting enough protein

With following the if it fits your macros and the carb cycling lifestyle I tend to struggle to get in enough protein throughout the day. Therefore, I’m always looking for healthy clean recipes that will help me up my protein intake for the day that isn’t a shake. These bars my friends, fit the bill in that department.


The recipe ingredients

At first glance it looks like this recipe is complicated and has a bunch of ingredients. Don’t run away yet!

It looks like there are a bunch of ingredients but since this is basically a baked good there really aren’t that many crazy ingredients and most of them you should already have in your pantry so stop making excuses for not making these right now!

peanut butter banana bread protein bars

The Recipe

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Protein Bars
Yields 16
Write a review
73 calories
11 g
0 g
2 g
3 g
0 g
51 g
92 g
5 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 73
Calories from Fat 16
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 92mg
Total Carbohydrates 11g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup gluten free oat flour (grind your own by putting oats in a food processor or blender)
  2. 2 scoops vanilla or unflavored whey protein powder (I use Isopure)
  3. 2 Tbsp nut butter (I used peanut butter)
  4. 1 banana, mashed
  5. 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 4 egg whites (or 3/4 cup liquid egg whites)
  10. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  11. 8 oz unsweetened applesauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mash banana and set aside. Melt peanut butter, if needed, and set aside.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  4. Mix wet ingredients together in a medium size bowl (including banana and peanut butter)
  5. Add the ingredients from the small bowl into the large bowl and mix together
  6. Spray 8X8 dish with non-stick spray and add batter to the dish
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes
  1. You must refrigerate these after baking!!
Adapted from He and She Eat Clean
Abby Siler Fitness http://abbysilerfitness.com/

Here is the Protein powder that I love and use in everything!
Nature's Best Natural Isopure - 3lbs Natural Vanilla

Nature’s Best Natural Isopure – 3lbs Natural Vanilla

peanut butter banana bread proteinbars

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No equipment HIIT Cardio

no equipment cardio blast thumb


Here we go home workout party people!!! I’m a dork and I am well aware of this so just go with it. Today I have an awesome no equipment hiit cardio workout for you to get your cardio burn on! I did this one this morning and holy moly did it kick me in the rear!


Tricks up your sleeve

A few weeks ago we had a water flooding issue in our master bath from an improperly installed toilet from when we built our house 2 years… yeah not a huge fan of our builder however not the point. We finally are starting on the repair process and the sheetrock guy started yesterday. All of my workout equipment is currently covered in plastic draping for him to work on our basement ceiling to get it back together and good as new again. Therefore, I needed a good equipment free workout today since today isn’t a running day!


I think it is super important to have several equipment free workouts in your pocket for times like this or when you are traveling or just don’t want to mess with equipment. It is easy to get motivated when you know that all you need is your body to get in an effective workout!


HIIT it…

This cardio workout is based on HIIT or high intensity interval training. This means that during the 45 seconds of work you push as hard as you can and then in the 15 seconds of rest you get your breathing and heart rate back down. Keep moving during the rest but just pace or march in place etc.


The fast squats in this workout is for cardio and a little bit of a recovery exercise. You don’t have to go super deep in these squats but we want quick with good form to keep the hear rate up.


No Equpiment

I have another great equipment free workout here that you can try out too if you are looking for something different! It is more focused on strength vs the cardio. Put them together to get a great cardio and strength workout!

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Bullet Journal Weight Loss Tracking

Back in time a bit….

I first decided to start this blog for two reasons. One was to get out there and share my love of living a healthy active life with everyone. Include sharing recipes, workouts, and eventually injury prevention and recovery advice from my field of physical therapy. The second reason was to help keep me accountable on my weight loss journey.


Over the last couple of years my body has gotten away from me a little bit. I have always been athletic and active. I love sports and I love being outside. However….I also love food. I’m a self proclaimed picky foodie. Yes, that is a definition that I made up and also probably a bit of an oxymoron!


This is me on a waterfall visit a month or so ago. I’m just not loving the way I feel in my own body at this point and I’m ready for a change!


I have tried everything out there to help with my weight loss trust me. I struggle to stay on track and that is my biggest downfall. That is where this site came into play. Why not journal and blog to keep myself on track and hopefully help others out there along the way that are struggling as well?


Bullet Journal

I have recently jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon! What is a bullet journal? Head over to the original website for a short video at www.bulletjournal.com.

My point of bringing up the bullet journal isn’t to go into a detail of what it is and what it is for. Basically it is planner and brain dump for me as well as a way to track things and stay organized.


One of the things I have decided to track with my bullet journal is my weight loss journey progress. I spent way more time on Pinterest than I should have to decide how I wanted to track my weight loss in my journal. I finally decided upon the version that Productive and Pretty had. So here is what my bullet journal tracker looked like at the beginning.


Yupe that is my starting place and my goal to lose 40 pounds. Now I am being realistic with this whole approach though. While I am tracking my weight I am also fully aware that as my body is changing and I’m adding strength training back into my routine the weight goal itself might change and I might not meet that “magic goal number”. But this is my way of tracking my progress.
weight loss goals rewards
My goal is to keep posting updates on my progress to also help me stay accountable with this journey!
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Treadmill Pyramid

30 minute treadmill pyramid

So far this week hasn’t been the best of weeks for me in terms of my fitness. After the holiday weekend and getting back into the groove of things I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve gone through my workouts but they have definitely been lacking any enthusiasm. Oh well, sometimes you just have those weeks. I’ll recharge a little this weekend and start next week fresh with a good attitude! Time to get training for the half marathon this fall! I think on Monday I will start the week with this Pyramid Treadmill workout that I made to kick the week off!

Pyramid workouts

The basic premise of a pyramid workout is to start small and end big. For cardio and this treadmill workout it is starting at a slower pace for a longer interval and ending with a fast pace for a short interval. The benefit of doing this is to change up the speed and duration of your workout. It is a form of interval training. Interval training has been around for a long time and is coming more and more popular in the weight loss scene. Our bodies adapt. They adapt to doing the same thing over and over. This treadmill pyramid and other interval workouts help to keep the body guessing and keep the engine burning!

30 minute treadmill pyramid

The great thing about this workout is that you can pick how long of a workout you do. 15, 30, or 45 minutes. Short on time or a beginner? Go through just once. More advanced runners do it 3x for a longer workout! Remember the speeds on there are what I do and are just a suggestion. Adjust the speeds based on your fitness level and abilities!



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Upper Body Blast Workout

Upper body blast thumbnail

Recently I have been focusing a lot on full body workouts and doing them less frequently. There for a while I was running and strength training most days of the week and I got a little worn out from that routine. This week however I decided to change it up a bit and do an upper/lower body split plan. At the end is a great upper body blast workout that I did this week and really enjoyed!

Upper/lower split

So, what is an upper and lower split?  Basically this means that 2 days this week (Monday and Thursday) I am doing an upper body strength workout along with my running and 2 days (Tuesday and Friday) I am doing a lower body workout with my usual runs.

What are the benefits of an upper/lower split? I like them because you can really focus and work on complete fatigue of your muscles with compared to a full body workout. To get the same amount of fatigue and gains with a full body workout as you get in a single upper body or lower body session you would have to do a lot longer of a workout. I try to keep my workouts as short as possible because let’s face it, I have other things to do.

Another benefit? One more day you can strength train.


As usual my equipment for this workout consist of dumbbells, body weight and my t-grip barbell. I absolutely love this barbell. It is so versatile for a home gym standpoint! I plan on doing a longer more in depth review of it in the future so stay tuned!!


t-grip barbell


Upper Body Blast Workout

This is a fairly quick workout and you can adjust how long it takes based on how many times you go through it. For beginners I recommend 1-2 times and advanced 3-4 times through! But as always do what you are capable of and have time for. Remember that a short workout is better than no workout!

Upper body blast workout


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Smoothie Prep and a Mango Margarita Green Smoothie

Mango Margarita Green Smoothie (1)

Smoothie Prep

I’m all about making my life easier during the week. Now, I know throwing together some fruit and veggies into a blender isn’t a lot of work for a lunch. BUT, having it all ready to go in a baggie in the freezer sure does make my life even simpler when I run home for lunch.


Almost every weekend I come home with some sort of produce to up my stock in my freezer. Bananas stayed well stocked as well ready to be put into a freezer bag with the rest of the ingredients for a smoothie!

Bananas heading to the freezer!

I love to buy bananas when they are overripe and on discount for 2 reasons, one they are sweeter and give the best flavor. Two, every penny counts when staying on budget!

My trusty recipe book where I adapt a lot of my recipes from. Love the Simple Green Smoothie gals!! They have a great book out! This is an adaptation of one of their recipes!

When I make my smoothie bags I don’t add in the liquid or the protein powder. But everything else goes into the bag and into the freezer!  I like to zap mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds before adding to the blender to soften things up just a bit to make it blend easier.

Mango Margarita Green Smoothie

Serves 1

1 tsp coconut oil

1 scoop Designer Whey Pure and Simple

3 oz frozen pineapple

3 oz oranges (I use frozen)

1 cup unsweetened Coconut water

6 oz frozen mango chunks

1 cup spinach

2 packets True lime (or juice of 1/2 lime)

** this works great with baby kale too**

Mango Margarita Green Smoothie (1)

This is one of my go to smoothies right now. It tastes like I’m already down in Mexico on the beach that I’m (not so) patiently waiting for November for!

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