Have you ever tried Quest bars? Or Quest chips? If not, you’re missing out. Quest Nutrition is a company that makes delicious, nutritious products. Their slogan? “Cheat Clean.” They are most popular for their Quest protein bars, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough being a favorite. Quest’s products are made with whole ingredients and they’re gluten free.
I LOVE Quest Products because they give me a way to fulfill my sweet tooth without feeling like I ate something unhealthy. My favorites:
- Banana Nut Muffin
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Vanilla Almond Crunch
- Cookies and Cream
- S’mores (the newest flavor!)
I also like the protein chips and the Peanut Butter Cups.
Most Quest bars have around 20g of protein with around 4-7g net carbs!
I am super excited to announce that, starting at 12:00 pm EST today (February 7th), you can enter for a chance to win FREE Quest Nutrition Products. On Friday, February 13th, one person will be selected at random to win a sample pack of Quest Nutrition products! There will be a variety of Quest bars, some Quest Protein Chips, and some Quest Crave Peanut Butter Cups!
How can you enter? Well, there are a few ways! The first (and only required) way, is to comment on this post! Tell me what your favorite Quest Nutrition product is or what you want to try the most!
After that, you can gain more entries below! Check the box that says you commented and write the name you commented with. After that, you will be shown other ways you can gain entry! The more items you complete, the more chances you have to win!
Entries will be closed at 11:59 EST on 2/12/15. The winner will be announced the following day.
This is NOT a paid post. All opinions are my own.
This week has gone by so quickly!
I go to work later than usual on Wednesdays, so I use Wednesdays to sleep in a little and still get in a good workout. This Wednesday, I was up at 6:00 and at the gym around 6:30. I worked shoulders and triceps. I was really excited that I increased my weight for shoulder press.
After lifting, I did 25 minutes on the elliptical. I try to avoid the elliptical, but I didn’t want to run and my week-day gym doesn’t have a working stairclimber. Instead, I put the elliptical on 10/10 incline and 8/10 resistance and watched a little bit of a Lifetime movie on Netflix.
I forgot to pack a lunch Wednesday so I went to Kroger to see what I could find. Y’all, this Kroger is insane. I’m talking has a jewelry store and a shoe section insane. It’s the biggest grocery store that wasn’t a Walmart that I have ever been in. I was going to get sushi but I noticed they had a salad bar, so I got that instead!
Whenever I get a salad, I always make sure to add a good amount of protein to fill me up. On this salad, I got chicken and half a hard boiled egg-white as my protein.
On Thursday, I decided to take a rest day. I was pretty tired and I needed the extra sleep so I woke up at 6:30 and got ready for work. I went to Whole Foods for lunch. I love the salad bar at Whole Foods! It’s not too expensive either, as long as you pay attention to the weight of your salad as you go. I also picked up 2 macarons as a treat. I got one salted caramel and one raspberry.
Last night for dessert, I made an awesome little key lime pie dessert out of graham crackers and key lime greek yogurt.
I froze the greek yogurt (I used Oikos) during the day. Then I crushed up 2 graham crackers, added a teaspoon of butter and stuck it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I stirred up the butter and crackers so it got mixed together well to make a “crust.” Then I put the frozen yogurt in the bowl with the “crust” and ate it. It was SO freaking good and pretty good for you too!
After dessert and a few episodes of Friends, I did some yoga in our spare room. I want to start doing yoga more. I really like doing it, but I get stuck because I don’t know what to do! I need to go to a yoga class at the gym sometime soon.
Do you do yoga? How did you get into it?
Counting calories. So many people who are losing weight or getting fit count calories and/or macros. While calorie counting apps are incredibly useful, it is so easy to end up a hostage to counting calories. I know for me, personally, a lot of my day was spent figuring out what fit into my day and what didn’t. Another part of my day was spent worrying about whether or not my goal was set correctly. It is emotionally draining and mentally exhausting.
I lost a lot of weight counting calories. I won’t deny that. But then I gained a lot. And then I had trouble losing it again.
I learned a lot about counting calories throughout the years.
- Calorie counting can be useful
Calorie counting is a great tool to use when you are first starting your weight loss or fitness journey. Calorie counting for a month can really teach you a lot about what foods are worth snacking on and what foods are best left for “every-so-often” snacks. Calorie counting can open your eyes to how many calories are in some of your favorite foods and it can show you what you may need to moderate.
- Calorie counting can cause problems
Calorie counting opens your eyes to how many calories are in food which can, for some, make eating more stressful than helpful. It also is very hard to do long term. Are you going to log into an app every day of your life? If you find yourself in a position like I was, spending a lot of time obsessing over what would fit and what wouldn’t fit, counting calories may not be the best thing for you long-term. Many people I know have become obsessed with counting calories. So much that a day they go “over” can ruin their day. Even if it’s only 50-100 calories over! That’s not a healthy way to live your life. The extra stress isn’t any less healthy for you than an extra couple of pounds.
- Calorie counting is confusing
The more weight you lose, the more your calorie goals change. You may be told to eat more or less than you currently were. Either change can make weight loss confusing. Calories in vs. calories out, they say, but it is much easier said than done. Once you lose a certain amount of weight after eating at a certain deficit, your progress stalls and your calorie goals must chance and that can cause a lot of anxiety for people. I was progressing and now the scale isn’t moving or even creeping back up: I must be a failure. Not an uncommon thought. But you are NOT a failure.
That’s great, Carrie, but how did you STOP? Quitting calorie counting is hard. Especially when it is something you’ve done for a long time. In my case, I was quitting a 4 year habit. You think you’re going to end up where you started. You may feel like you’re not in control of anything anymore. It easy, but, let me tell you something: it was SO worth it! It may seem daunting at first, but here are the 4 things that really helped me stop counting calories.
- Delete (or modify) your app
I relied heavily on a calorie counting app and, while I didn’t delete it, I use it for the community support and for the recipe builder (so I can share nutrition content with others). If you find that you can’t go into the app without logging, just delete it.
- Use common sense with your food choices
Go back to the basics! The food pyramid is a great resource. Fill your plate mostly with veggies, then protein, then starch. If you can choose between and apple and chips, choose the apple. If you really want the chips, eat the chips but choose an apple for the rest of the week. It sounds super simple because it is! Eat nutritious food all the time and junk food in moderation.
- Eat mindfully
This can take some practice after using calories to tell you when to stop, but rely on your body to tell you when you’re full and when you’re not. Before you snack, think about what you’re craving and think about why. Could you eat some carrots and be satiated? If not, you’re probably not really as hungry as you think. Make sure your snacking isn’t mindless.
- Enjoy yourself
It is 100% ok to go out and enjoy yourself every once in awhile. You don’t always have to get salads or chicken when you go out to eat and you don’t have to only hit up the veggie trays at Superbowl parties. Every once in awhile, it’s ok to indulge and you shouldn’t feel bad about it!
See that picture at the top? I was counting calories in all of those photos, except for 2- the first one and the last one. The first one was before I decided to change my life and the last one was a month ago. The photo in 2011- I weighed 115 pounds. I was following my calorie plan. But I quickly gained back a lot of that weight because it wasn’t sustainable for me. After I gained back weight in 2012, there doesn’t look like much of a difference in weight for the rest of the photos. Even when I stopped counting calories, I didn’t back track. You don’t have to be scared of what might happen if you stop counting calories.
What will happen, however, is you will feel less stressed and more confident about yourself. You don’t need to rely on an app to help you lose weight. You can use what you learned from those apps to help you live a healthy lifestyle, but you do not need to rely on them to continue that lifestyle. That part is something you can do on your own!
Everyone loves new workouts!
On Monday, I worked biceps. I’ll make sure to go into more detail about my bicep exercises another day. I don’t have very prominent bicep peaks and, while peaks are genetic, I’m trying to improve them the best I can!
Yesterday was a busy day! I started out at the gym, per usual. I worked legs (my favorite day!) and was able to increase my squat and deadlift weight (yay!). When making up a routine in the gym, I make sure to work things that I know will not just look good (ie. the booty) but also things that will help me in other areas. Sure my hamstrings will look good, but strengthening my glutes and hammies will also help me when I run. I have an IT band issue and strengthening my glutes is one of the best ways to help heal that and keep it from being a consistent bother when I run.
In order to get a good workout in in a good amount of time, I added a super set to the end of my workout to make sure my heart rate stayed up! It’s easy to get stuck sometimes at the gym. Sometimes you just kind of look around thinking “What do I do next?”
Well, here’s a workout to put in the holster for next time! There are 5 exercises to work your legs and these are the exercises I do, for the most part. I’ve really seen a difference in building my glutes, quads, and hamstrings doing these exercises!
What are your favorite leg exercises?
Disclaimer: I am not and I do not claim to be a licensed personal trainer. All exercises suggested are exercises I have performed myself and I recommend based on opinion. Please consult a physician before attempting any exercise you have not done before or are not comfortable with. Perform exercises at your own risk.
Yall. Just. I can’t. Last week, I decided to get creative in the kitchen. We buy a lot of meat in bulk and freeze it because that’s the cheapest way to do it, and we had about 5 lbs of ground turkey to use. I got some out of the freezer and thawed it and whipped together some dinner out of random ingredients we had in the house. What started as some simple meatballs ended up tasting exactly like a Greek gyro…sauce and all. It was like an episode of Chopped. And I was the champion. It turned out SO delicious, you wouldn’t even think it was healthy! I decided to make it again and share the recipe! The nutrition content does NOT include the pita bread as pita bread can vary and you really don’t even need the pita if you don’t want it. It’s that good.
Turkey Gyro with Ranch Yogurt Sauce
- 12 oz. lean ground turkey
- 1/4 c finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup lettuce
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 container plain Greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
- 1 packet ranch seasoning
- 1/2 c 2% milk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a bowl, mix together turkey, onion, panko, garlic powder, and salt.
- Form into small balls and place on a greased (I used PAM) cookie sheet.
- Flatten each meat ball a little bit and place in the oven
- Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
- While the meatballs cook, mix yogurt, milk, and ranch seasoning together until smooth.
- When the meatballs are done, plate on top of the lettuce and tomatoes, or put all inside a pita and top with the yogurt sauce.
- Stuff your face.
Here is the nutrition content (again, NO PITA).
If you make this, let me know what you think in the comments!
This weekend was a lot of fun! I was really busy Saturday and Sunday, but I had a really good time.
Friday night, my husband and I went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. We go to dinner every Friday night and usually it’s my weekly treat meal. I usually get the Sirloin salad, but I got chicken critters with a side of fries and a side salad this time. There was SO much food leftover. The leftovers fed both Mike and I the next day!
Saturday we went to the gym. I worked arms and did some cardio on the arc trainer. I’m really trying to change up my workouts so my body doesn’t get complacent. I did dumbbell curls, military presses, tricep extension, lateral raises- all kinds of arm exercises. One of my favorite supersets of the day was a tricep and bicep SS on the cable machine with the rope attachment.
Exercise 1: Overhead Tricep Extension with Rope Attachment- 10 reps
Exercise 2: Bicep Hammer Curl with Rope Attachment- 10 reps
On Saturday night, we went to a friends house to watch the UFC fights. We were supposed to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, but we ended up skipping that because the wait was going to be forever and they have this rule that your whole party has to be there before you’re seated. I get where they’re coming from, but it sucks if you’re a party of 5 and your 5th is running behind. Kind of ridiculous to me.
On Sunday, we met up with my sister for breakfast. My sister lives in the Atlanta area but she was in Savannah for a conference for school. We picked her up from the hotel and went to a local cafe called Goose Feathers. Let me tell you: if you’re ever in Savannah, you need to go to Goose Feathers for breakfast! It’s delicious, cheap, and wholesome. They have a ton of gluten free options as well. Both of my sisters avoid gluten. One of them has Celiac and I’m glad I found a place I can bring her when she comes to visit. They even ask if your gluten free products need to be prepared completely separately, which is uncommon and really awesome for those who need that.
At Goose Feathers, I got the eggs benedict which was served on a croissant. I also tried some of Mike’s breakfast burrito. I am really not a breakfast burrito fan, but this one was awesome. The eggs were seasoned well and they didn’t skimp on the meat.
Overall, I really liked this restaurant and we will definitely be going back! They also serve lunch so I want to try one of their sandwiches one day.
Sunday night was the Superbowl! We went to our friends’ house and watched the game there.
This was definitely not the healthiest of weekends, but I tried to balance out all the rich food with some healthy choices and exercise. All that said, it’s definitely ok to indulge every once in awhile as long as you get back on track the next day- which is what I’m doing today!
Tonight I’m making turkey meatballs with a ranch yogurt sauce- it tastes like gyros! I’ll share the recipe later. You won’t believe that it’s good for you!
Sometimes, we look at people who are fit and think “I will never be able to live like they do!” There are a lot of misconceptions about fitness lifestyles as well. Eat clean. Do Crossfit. Do cardio. Ever wonder what the keys to staying healthy and on track are? They’re simpler than you think!
10. Plan ahead
Food prep, out-of-town gym trips, weekend hikes- planning ahead is crucial when sticking to a fitness regimen. Even the most basic healthy concepts involve planning ahead. If you know you’re going out on the weekend, don’t over indulge during the week. Balance is key!
9. Make time
Lie doesn’t always give us an hour a day at the perfect time for exercise. We don’t always have enough time to prep a weeks worth of dinners at one time. When you make health a priority, you make time to do these things. Do people love waking up before dark to exercise or cook their food for the day? Most people would say no. But it has such a great return that it’s worth it! You have to MAKE time, sometimes.
8. Sleep more
Good rest is crucial to good health. Your body cannot run on 5 hours of sleep a night. Over time, it will tire. You need to fuel your body properly and part of that is sleeping enough. Don’t skip out on the Zzz’s!
This is a given. Healthy people exercise. Whether it’s walks in the park or marathons, exercise is key to good health.
6. Stay focused
It’s easy to get off track. Sometimes it’s even a little bit necessary. But living a healthy lifestyle is easier when you have a goal and stay focused on it. You owe it to yourself and to your body to be and stay healthy!
5. Make wise food choices
Notice I didn’t say “eat clean” or “eat healthy food?” I said make WISE choices. A burger and fries is not going to be the bane of your healthy existence. Every day burger and fries will. Be smart. If you can sub chicken for ground beef, go for it! But if you’re really craving a burger, then get one. Just make sure you have something wholesome at your next meal. You don’t have to restrict yourself to “clean” foods. Just be strategic and smart about it. For example: you have a party to go to. You know there will be pizza and beer and wings and everything that is good in the world. Instead of stressing about what you can/cant have, have nutritious and wholesome food for breakfast and lunch and enjoy yourself at the party. Eat until you’re not hungry and move along.
“Isn’t this the same as exercise?” No. Staying active involves incorporating activity into daily life. Park at the back of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. All the things you hear a thousand times? You hear them because it’s true. A healthy lifestyle is a lifestyle. Not an hour a day in the gym and meals.
3. Drink water
Sodas and juices taste great, but water is the king of all drinks. Not only does it keep you hydrated, drinking water can often help regulate water weight gain. A good rule of thumb: drink half your body weight in ounces each day (ie. a 150 lb person would drink 75 oz of water a day).
2. Don’t compare
You are different than everyone else. And that is a good thing. You cannot compare yourself to anyone but yourself. You are only trying to be better than who you were last week, last month, last year. Other people’s progress has no impact on the progress you can make. Like I said before, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
1. Stay positive
Some days are most definitely better than others. Want to know how to stay in a healthy mindset? Start over fresh every day. Yesterdays workout, lack of workout, bad diet, whatever it is, happened yesterday and has nothing to do with today. The sooner you realize that each day is a fresh start, the easier it will be to stay focused and healthy. Everyday won’t be perfect, but being able to see a silver lining or make something good out of the bad days will improve your mental health dramatically. Believe it or not, mental health can have an impact on physical health. Be positive and your body will thank you for it.
If you’ve known me for a little while, you know that, before I was Keeping Carrie Fit, I ran a food blog called “A Guiltless Glutton.” I posted one of my go-to tailgate/party foods on that blog and now I want to share it with you: S’mores Bites!
The Superbowl is tomorrow and, if you’re anything like me, it’s a huge food day. Someone always throws a party and everyone is in charge of bringing something. 9/10 times, I bring theses. Here’s why:
- They may not be healthy, but they’re a hell of a lot better for you than other things that can be made. These are bite sized and portioning isn’t hard at all.
- They are so easy to make and they take no time at all.
- People love them and there are never leftovers to haunt you in your kitchen.
If you signed up to bring dessert, you’ll want to make these.
Servings: 12 (2 bites per serving)
Amount per serving: 159 calories—20g carbs—9g fat—1g protein—10g sugar
- 7 graham crackers- crushed finely ( I used a food processor)
- 6 tablespoons butter—melted
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 12 large marshmallows cut in half (hamburger style, I guess would be the way to describe it)
- 6 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips divided
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Grind your graham crackers and melt your butter
- In a bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, butter, and powdered sugar until it form a dense crumble mixture
- Separate the mixture in an ungreased mini muffin pan and mold the mixture into a crust once in the pan.**I use a teaspoon measurer because it helps make a pretty dent and it takes less time. Don’t be scare to add more to one if you think it’s too thin!
- Bake for 3-4 minutes or until the crust looks bubbly (it won’t be hard yet).
- Take 4 tablespoons of your chocolate chips and put them inside the crusts (2-3 chips per bite). Then top each bite with a halved marshmallow like this:
- Put back in the oven and back for another 3 minutes or so. Until the marshmallow looks really puffy!!
- Take out of the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the bites from the pan to a plate.
- In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the remainder (or more, if you’d like) of the chocolate chips, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
- Drizzle the chocolate over the bites until they’re covered as you desire and tad-a!
See? Easy and delicious. Pictures of the process can be found here.
I love Fridays because I can dress casually at work. Dressing casually means I don’t need as much time to get ready which means I don’t have to leave the gym until 7 which means I don’t have to get there until 6 which means I can sleep until 5:30. Fridays are awesome.
Today, I worked legs. Well, mainly glutes. It was an awesome leg workout! I did a warm up exercise on the glute kickback machine- 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg with 40 pounds. After that, I moved to the squat rack where I did the majority of my workout. My weekday gym is fairly small. It only has 1 squat rack and 1 smith machine. Lucky for me, I was the only one there, so I was able to use the barbell from the squat rack for deadlifts too.
I did 5×5 squats with 115 pounds. My PR on squat is 135. Shortly after I hit my PR, I started training for my half marathon so I stopped lifting. I’m working my way back up and it’s coming along faster than I thought. I’m working out with 20lbs less than my max which is really awesome. I think I’ll be able to do 5×5 with 135 soon.
After squats, I did 5×5 deadlifts. My weekday gym may be small, but it has everything you need- including the foam plates for deadlifts. I used to avoid deadlifts because I had access to foam plates when I started doing them. I got used to the motion of the full plate. When we moved, our new gym didn’t have foam plates so I didn’t do deadlifts because I could never find a way to do the exercise and be comfortable doing it. We moved again, and now both the gyms we go to have them so I’m back in the deadlifting game! I lifted the most I ever have on DL today! It was only 95 pounds, but I did 5 sets of 5 reps with that weight and I’m working towards getting stronger now that I have access to the equipment.
After deadlifts, I did a circuit of hip thrusts and lunges, both with a 15 pound weight. It looked like this:
3 rounds- no rest between sets
Exercise 1: Hip Thrust- 15 reps (I used a 15 pound weight)
Exercise 2: Weighted lunges- 10 reps each leg
After that, I went home and got ready for work.
I’m excited because tonight we’re going to Texas Roadhouse for dinner! It’s date night which means it’s my treat meal (where I don’t count calories or macros). I have been craving Texas Roadhouse for WEEKS!
What’s your favorite treat meal?
Make sure to follow me!
“Workin back… on a Tuesday.”
No one? Ok, nevermind.
I woke up bright and early on Tuesday morning and drove to the gym. It was SO cold. My gym is so close that my car doesn’t even warm up before I get there. First World Problems. I spent my time working back and I did some time on the bike. I tried [again] to watch The Office and I couldn’t do it. I have tried to watch it so many times but it is just never funny. I want to think it’s funny so badly, but I don’t.
Anyways, after the gym, I went home and got ready for work. I start work at 8:00 and leave my house around 7:40 which means I have to be done getting ready by 7:30. I usually get home from the gym at 6:50, so I have about 40 minutes to shower and get presentable for work. It sounds tough, but I have it down to a science. I will share all my secrets, I promise! They just get their own post.
My favorite superset of the day today was a lat pull down super set. Technically this also worked biceps, but it was killer and I felt super pumped after I finished it!
I did this 3 times:
Exercise 1: Lat Pull Down- Regular wide grip, 10 reps
Exercise 2: Lat Pull Down- Underhand wide grip, 10 reps.
What’s your favorite back exercise?