6 Tips for becoming a morning-workout person

I’ve heard it a million times… “Oh, well of course you worked out this morning, you’re a morning person”. It’s true. I am. I’m an early morning person and an early-to-bed person too. Not sure which came first, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Ask college-aged Ash what I’m doing at 5 AM, and she would say something along the lines of leaving stumbling home from a night out or shoving Taco Bell in my face before passing out. Ah, the good old days.

Now, 5 AM is much more of a wake-up time to me than a bed-time to me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Becoming a morning person isn’t natural for everyone, but below are a few things that make it easier for me to wake up early and get my butt to the gym before I start my day:

  1. Go to bed early. When you’re becoming a morning person, you’ll be tempted to just try going to bed at 9 PM rather than your normal midnight bedtime. But think about it – that’s 3 whole hours earlier than you’re used to, so what ends up happening? You lay in bed, tossing and turning until you’re so frustrated you can’t stop counting down the minutes until you have to get up. Result? You get just as much sleep as normal and try to wake up earlier. Of course you’re going to feel tired. Instead, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal the first night, another 30 minutes earlier the next night, and maybe 15 minutes earlier the next. Easing yourself into it will make it easier for your body to adjust and fall sleep faster.
  2. Sleep with your blinds open! Really, how much harder is it to get out of bed when your alarm goes off and it’s completely dark in your room? So easy to snooze once. And then snooze again.. and hey, maybe just one more time. Nothing wakes you up better than natural sunlight creeping into your room and once you see the sun, you’ll feel energized and not even consider the snooze button an option.
  3. Schedule your classes ahead of time, and if you can, pay for them ahead of time. That way, you’re losing money if you miss the class. You’ll be less tempted to skip out if you’ve already paid. (And who wants to lose $30 for missing a super-fun SoulCycle class?!)
  4. The single best piece of advice: be prepared for the morning. Nothing can slow you down more in the morning that being disorganized. What will make your morning go smoother –  rushing around to try to find a clean workout top, matching socks, some presentable yoga pants, SOMETHING to put your water in and your keys in the morning or having you workout clothes, water bottle, morning snack and keys laid out for you ready to go? Of course the latter.
  5. Pick workouts you like for the mornings. You’ll dread it less. If you absolutely hate running, don’t try to force yourself into it first thing in the morning! Pick something you do like, like pilates or yoga to start and then ease into the more aggressive workouts.
  6. OR, plan to do your morning sweat sesh with a friend. When you know your friend will be making it to class (or at least having the same morning struggles as you), it will be harder to ditch out.
  7. Stick with it. If you wake up late a few days and still get a little workout in, consider that a success. Keep trying!
  8. BONUS suggestion: Ok, say you’ve tried all of that but you’re still able to hit the snooze and sleep through your workouts. One surefire way to get yourself out of bed and to your AM workout….sleep in your workout clothes for the first few nights. It sounds silly, but think about it: you sleep in your clothes so all you have to do is jump out of bed and get moving. If you miss your workout, you have the reminder of missing your goal when you’re taking your workout clothes off in the morning – which will give you a double boost of inspiration to try again!

Anyone can become a morning workout person, trust me. Just take it little by little, try one or all of these recommendations, and you’ll be the peppy morning person post-workout in the office as fast as you can say “ew but I hate burpees!”

And if all else fails, I will call you in the morning and scream at you to wake up – out of love, of course 🙂

Advertisements

Need your help!

Happy Saturday night 🙂

After a day of cookie baking with girlfriends during my annual Cookies & Cocktails party, I’ve decided to spend some time with my couch and puppies tonight.

I’m also spending some time catching up on my IIN classes online. This week, I’m learning more about different dietary theories that people have, not to be able to coach anyone to move towards a certain type of eating, but just to understand different diets that people may have when they come to me. Super interesting stuff – did you know there is something  called a potato diet and all you eat is potatoes?! WTF. (Do fries count there?)

Now is where YOU come in. I need your help! One of my assignments starting this week is to start completing a weekly health history. A health history is just a way to learn a potential clients’ background to understand their lifestyle and their goals. Since I’m only 1/4th of the way through my coaching classes, I wouldn’t be offering any advice, I would strictly be taking information from you to learn how to ask questions. It would only take about 15 minutes and could be fun! You could be completely honest with me or exaggerate or completely lie 😉 If you would be willing to help, PLEASE email me at ashstev85@gmail.com and we can set up a quick phone chat. I’ll definitely keep you on my list of potential clients to help once I am certified. 🙂

LOVE.

New Year, New Ash

It’s been a while. Sorry. Life has been busy, as it always is for everyone during the holiday! All good things – lots of love and friends, but it’s left me with little blogging time.

However, after giving the blog a ton of thought, I’ve decided to rebrand. New year, new Ash, new blog!

To date, I’ve been focused on healthy baking & baking for different dietary restrictions. While I may continue to bake every so often, I’m going to do something that will be more natural & easy for me.

As a lot of my friends know, I’m currently in a year-long course to become a health coach with Integrative Nutrition. I’ll continue my day job at Pinterest, but one day can see myself branching off to become a full time health coach.

So..what does that mean for the blog? I’m going to expand some of my ramblings to focus on health coaching & what I’m learning at Integrative Nutrition!

I’m loving my course work so far and am proud to say that I just got a 90% on my first semester exam! Go me! I can’t wait to share with you what I’m learning. More to come, people!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Cake + Maple Frosting (Low Carb, Gluten-Free)

Happy Fall! It’s pumpkin season…as if it hasn’t been all year!

I know summer is normally the craziest time of the year, but I have to say I think fall is going to be a crazy one as well. We just had our first anniversary last week, my birthday is coming up, and lots of out of town weekends & travel upcoming.

I’m definitely not making excuses here, but just setting expectations (Oh man, Sunday night and I’m already into the work jargon…eek.) that I may be a bit slower to post this fall than I will like. Sorry in advance!

Another (exciting) reason is because this week was my first week of health  coaching classes! I finally took the plunge and am doing a year-long certification course through Integrative Nutrition.  Who’s proud of me?! I am, and I’m so excited to learn more about health & wellness from some super credible sources. I’ll share progress along the way! Also, I will be looking for 6 “test subjects” in a few months, so email me if you’re interested in being a healthy guinea pig.

So, this is one of those recipes where I feel like I end up eating more than I’m actually photographing because it’s so good. When it comes to pumpkin anything, my self control = out the window!

Anyways, time for some cake cake cake cake cake.

IMG_6673.jpg

Ingredients:

  • Cake:
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree (just pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cups of almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder – I used whey in this recipe, but you could use any kind of protein
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw
  • 2 large eggs, or three smaller
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • Cashew or almond milk (Amount depends on what type of protein used)
  • Frosting: 
  • 1 cup Powdered Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cashew milk

IMG_6698.jpg

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 325 and prepare two 8×8 pans with parchment paper and coconut oil spray. Set aside.
  • Combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, protein, powder and spices).
  • In a seperate bigger bowl, beat together coconut oil, eggs and sugars until well combined.
  • Add pumpkin to the oil and egg mixture. Mix with a hand mixer.
  • Slowly mix flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture by alternating flour and then a dash of cashew milk. The coconut flour in will soak up a lot of the moisture, so the batter will be thick and heavy.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 34-36 minutes.
  • While cake is baking, use your hand mixer to mix together all glaze ingredients.
  • Once edges appear brown and a fork comes out clean, let the cakes cool on a wire rack.
  • To assemble, lay down the first slab of cake and frost. Add the second layer on top and use the remainder of the frosting to cover the cake – or just cover the top so you can see both layers.
  • Eat within 2-3 days and enjoy!

IMG_6671.jpg

Almond Butter Coconut Bars (Clean & flourless!)

Finally able to post a new recipe! I have been trying a few original recipes over the last couple of weeks and have bombed big time. Yikes. Throwing away such high quality organic ingredients makes me sad, but I don’t want to post anything here that I wouldn’t recommend making on your own.

Also, I know this blog is food related but I have to share two exciting updates on my end.

  1. Today is my FIRST anniversary with my husband! I’m officially an old married lady and couldn’t be prouder!
  2. Today is also my first day of starting a one year program to become a certified health coach. I’ll be looking for clients in about 6 months so stay tuned!

Ok, now on to the food.

IMG_6652.jpg

As you all know, I work for Pinterest, which means I am on Pinterest a LOT. I see an ad for Thrive Market frequently that advertises getting one free product and have always been a little skeptical (although, side note – our ads are highly monitored by a policy team, so I’m not sure why I was so hesitant to believe it. Just assumed it was too good to be true!) A coworker of mine came over my desk and said “Get this free Justin’s almond butter and make us something please!” So, I did. And it actually was free! Do it!

These bars have pumpkin and almond butter as the base and require no flour – healthy win!

IMG_6664.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Justin’s Almond Butter – I used the plain kind but any of the flavors would be great and give some good variety!
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin (actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 large egg or one flax egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (or less, but I personally prefer more)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes for topping
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • Nuts, walnuts, pistachios – any other nuts or dried fruit that you want! I only used chocolate but you could get creative here!

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare an 8×8 pan (I’m currently liking this) and set aside
  • In a Vitamix or blender, pulse together almond butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla
  • Add in baking soda & spice and pulse again for a few seconds
  • Once combined, hand mix in coconut flakes and chocolate chips – don’t overmix, but just allow the batter to cover the flakes
  • Pour batter into pan – sprinkle the rest of the flakes on top
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and coconut flakes are golden brown
  • Let cool or dive right in!

IMG_6648.jpg

Snickerdoodle Cookie Balls (Keto, Clean, Low carb)

Hi! Happy Sunday!

This is my final week of doing keto. What does this mean? Currently, less than 10% of my diet is currently carbs (it’s almost impossible for me to do NO carbs) and a huge portion of my diet is healthy fat & protein.  I have to say, I actually love it. I have been feeling way more satisfied than I normally do due to the good healthy fats and it’s much easier than I thought it would be. BYE CARBS…actually, more like “see ya later” because I’ll be back some day soon.

All of that to say this recipe is totally keto friendly (*low carb*) and clean. Going forward, most of my recipes will likely be a little less fat-heavy, so enjoy it while it lasts!

IMG_6445

Also, does anyone think it’s funny that most of my recipes end of being balls? Not sure why that happens – ha.

I can’t take full credit for these fun little balls. KetoSizeme.com has the recipe here! 

IMG_6448

Let’s jump into the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup of Stevia in the raw
  • 1.5 cups of almond flour or almond meal (Careful if you substitute with coconut flour, as it’s super absorbent and will dry these out too much)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of cream of tartar
  • Coating:
    • Another 1/4 cup of powdered Stevia in the raw + 2 tablespoons cinnamon

IMG_6467

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  • Combine all dry ingredients except for the coating ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
  • Separately, whisk egg in a small bowl
  • Add all wet ingredients to the bowl with egg
  • Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredient bowl
  • Using your hands, form the dough into balls
  • Roll balls in the “coating” until they are covered with cinnamon and sugar
  • Bake in the oven for about 12 -14 minutes
  • Note: it’s hard to tell when these are done, so if you think they *may* be close to done, they probably are – just take them out of the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes
  • Enjoy!
  • IMG_6482IMG_6460

 

Low Carb Zucchini Bread (Keto, Clean, Sugar-free)

Have you noticed a trend in my last few posts? I’ve really been experimenting with including vegetables into some of my snacks and it’s actually been working out well! I know it seems weird, but zucchini really compliments a typical carb-loaded treat.

Besides having some great veggie content, this recipe is great because it’s low carb and packed with protein – something bread typically does NOT have.

Plus, I love when you can see the veggies peeking through during the final product but can’t taste them! It make you feel better about eating 2… or 3 slices 😉

Many of my ingredients are super quick, but this one took a bit longer. And by a bit longer, I mean about 20 minutes to put together. Still super quick comparatively.

IMG_6347.jpg

I love some good crunch in bread, so I added some walnuts here to mix in some really good healthy fats – which keep you full longer and make you feel more satisfied. Nothing wrong with that!

IMG_6374.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic coconut flour – I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 cup organic Stevia
  • 2-3 tablespoons low carb protein powder, vanilla or unflavored – I used Thorne Research 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon – or more if you’re me 😉
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of himalayan sea salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium spiralized or grated organic zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of organic melted coconut oil 
  • Any mix-ins you’d like – I used 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts

IMG_6389.jpg

Check out the zucchini peeking out of there – love it!

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a bread pan with coconut oil spray
  • Wash then grate or spiralize zucchini and sprinkle with salt, set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl seperate from the zucchini, mix together
  • Add eggs and melted coconut oil to dry ingredients and use a hand mixer to blend well. Once combined, add in zucchini and mix until blended. Add in any ingredients you desire. Nuts = highly recommended
  • Pour or scoop mixture into the pan and bake
  • Cooking times will vary – mine took about 50 minutes (an eternity when you’re excited to try it!
  • After baking, remove it immediately from the pan and place on a cooling rack to ensure it doens’t keep baking even after you take it out of the oven
  • SLATER with butter (especially if you are eating a keto diet) and eat!

IMG_6405.jpg

IMG_6413.jpg

IMG_6417.jpg

Dark Chocolate Avocado Cookies (Keto + Clean eating)

Let’s keep on the train of sneaking in healthy ingredients into treats…

I currently (and always) have an obsession with avocado. It’s by far my favorite healthy addition to almost any meal. Lately, I just don’t feel like a meal is complete without a chunk of avocado of a scoop of guac. Remember when I went through my banana phase? Well, it turns out that avocados have way more potassium and fiber than bananas and way less sugar and carbs – two things I’ve been trying to limit. Bye banana, hi avo.

These barely made it to the blog because my husband couldn’t keep his hands off them. Turns out, I’ve actually run out of places to hide my baked goods so we’ve implemented this rule: JUST MAKE SURE YOU SAVE ME ONE!

IMG_6296

I know I say this a lot because I love sweet treats so much, but these really are gorgeous and full of fiber and healthy fat. (By the way, fat is a GOOD thing. Let’s talk more about this because its honestly something that was hard for me to truly believe. More to come here.)

IMG_6309

Sadly, I totally forgot to take photos of these while I was making them so I only have the final version. There is nothing crazy that goes into these, though, so I think you’ll be able to figure it out by reading directions. 🙂

IMG_6306

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium super ripe avocados (they should be borderline smooshy so they’re easier to mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of sweetener of choice (Stevia or coconut sugar are recommended)
  • 1 cup of almond flour meal
  • 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of dark cocoa mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of himalayan sea salt
  • Sugar free dark chocolate chips
  • Any other additions you want to include – pistachios, walnuts, pecans!

IMG_6296

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper on a cookie sheet to prevent sticking)
  • Add all ingredients to Vitamix and blend!
    • If it looks too dry and not like a thick batter, add a dash of almond milk and blend for a few more seconds.
  • Hand mix in any other ingredients you desire
  • Scoop onto the cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes

IMG_6294

 

Let me know what you think – and save ONE for moi!

Fudgy Zucchini Brownies (Clean, Keto, Low Carb)

Dessert + Veggies = Best combo

When is the last time you had some beautiful green zucchini in your brownies? This was my first time and I’m shocked at how great they taste. I know it sounds weird but you really can’t taste the zucchini – I swear!

Plus, it looks so pretty once you spiralize it… look!

IMG_6252

I remember in high school, my friends and I discovered that you can take a box of brownie mix and mix it with a can of diet coke to make brownies. At the time, I thought there was no other way to make brownies healthy… Ohhhh… how much I’ve learned since then! (For those of you who don’t know, diet soda does NOT = diet food!)

These are made of all healthy and clean ingredients. While I wouldn’t call these a health food, you can definitely argue that these are healthier than your average brownie.

One thing you’ll notice in these is that they are not shy in butter/oil. As some of my friends know, I’m testing out a ketogenic diet, meaning I’m eating little to no carbs (other than from leafy greens), a little protein, but a LOT of fat. Seems totally counterintuitive for health, I know, but if you read a little about it there are some amazing benefits. More to come on this later.

Let’s dive in!

IMG_6258

Ingredients:

  • One medium zucchini
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil (I use Kelapo)
  • 6 tablespoons of melted salted butter
  • 1/2 cup Stevia or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew butter
  • Dash of vanilla extract (or more if you like vanilla – I am personally obsessed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • One bar of the darkest chocolate you can find

How to:

  • Use a spiralizer or a grater to dice up the zucchini into mini pieces – you can leave the skin on
  • Beat the egg and then add all ingredients except for the bar of dark chocolate into one bowl and mix! (I know, so simple)
  • Once it’s mixed well, chop up the dark chocolate and mix in

IMG_6260

(So colorful and so pretty!)

IMG_6265

  • Grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil spray and pour batter into it. It may appear a bit chunky because of the zucchini – that’s ok

IMG_6268

  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Ok, in this photo, I know they look a bit dry. But I promise you they’re not! The zucchini keeps them moist and fudgy.

IMG_6269IMG_6274

Mmmmmmaybe it’s just me, but I love a good hot brownie right out of the oven. So get yourself a glass of almond milk ready and dig in as soon as they’re done!

If you’re able to make these last for a few days, keep them in the fridge in a tightly sealed container, otherwise the zucchini in them will make them go bad quickly.

IMG_6279

Have you ever used any vegetables in your brownies or cookies? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding (Keto-friendly, clean)

 

Who’s ready for pumpkin season!?

I’m not scared to admit it. I love pumpkin, and I’m ready for pumpkin season.

I know it’s still August and I’m not saying I’m ready for fall. I’m just ready for pumpkin. Pumpkin everything (except for PSLs…those should never be considered real pumpkin!)…let’s get it going.

This is a super easy dessert to throw together. And it’s keto-approved. (More to come on keto!) The hardest part is making sure you make this ahead of time so the seeds have time to soak. After dinner, I always need one sweet bite or something and this really does the trick.

IMG_6424

Pumpkin is full of fiber and chia seeds are full of healthy fats. The two together make this a totally healthy, fun snack or dessert.

This is another one of those throw-everything-together-and-just-let-it -do-it’s-thing” type recipes.

IMG_6428

Do you guys use chia seeds? I had a weird aversion to them for a while. I didn’t like the texture and didn’t really understand why anyone would even bother. They seemed tasteless and just silly. After reading more about them, they’re now a staple for me every single day. If nothing else, I just throw them in my AM smoothie (which reminds me, I should totally do a blog post on my favorite AM smoothies!)

IMG_6431

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mixture)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1.25 cups of organic unsweetened cashew milk

How to: Combine everything in a bowl. Mixture will be watery before the seeds have time to expand. Set the mixture in the fridge for 3-4 hours, mixing every hour or so. Once they have set a bit, scoop 1/4th of the mixture into a cup. Top with whipped cream, pecans, or walnuts.

IMG_6436