Showing posts tagged with: Goals

1/2 Marathon Training Updates + Nutrition Tweaks

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Nutrition Recap Uncategorized Workouts

OK I might have failed on those weekly training recaps I spoke about... OOPS! Never the less I am back with a little update of how the last month of training has gone, a few nutrition changes i've made & how I am feeling overall. Let's dig in!!14330080_697935553693035_9048511778216656836_nLast we spoke, my schedule looked like:

  • 2x a week run (one long run & one speed or tempo)
  • 3x a week total body lifting (sticking with a program my coach wrote)
  • 1-2x a week cross training on the bike or swimming (triathlon future?)
  • 1-2x a week yoga (restorative)
While nothing has drastically changed, a lot actually has...
  • Running: I have upped my mileage from less than 15 miles a week to 20-25. I have felt REALLY good on the road lately & have naturally leaned towards wanting to do so a bit more frequently. I am TRYING to stick with only running twice a week BUT a 3rd day has slipped in on occasion. Physically I am feeling ok minus a recent knee flare. I'm going to take it easy from now until race day, as I am not going to get any faster 2 weeks out. The best I can do is rest the knee & see how the day goes!
  • Strength Training: *Sigh* This has me a little frustrated but as previously mentioned, I knew it would take a hit with the extra running. I am still loving lifting BUT it's changed a lot. A month ago I was doing heavier barbell movements in low rep ranges. Example my workout would start with 4 sets of 3 rep back squats or 1 rep max of bench press. With the extra running my central nervous system isn't feeling recovered enough to work on max effort lifts. Instead I am doing a lot more dumbbell & kettle bell work which is a fun change. I am also only going heavier on my legs twice a week. This stinks a bit BUT I wasn't recovering enough from those heavy days 3x a week to have a quality run. I can't have it all, sad I know. However it's still just as important for me to maintain strength training during this time, even if it looks a little different. I am doing a lot more upper body, single leg training & hips/glute work. The key to staying injury free.
  • Nutrition: Damn running! It makes me chronically hungry, which is exactly why I DON'T recommend it as an optimal option for fat loss. I run a lot & I want to eat a lot, it's that simple. The problem? It's very easy to overeat, no matter how many calories you burn through exercise. I have absolutely increased my calorie intake to maintain my weight & fuel my runs. It's not the time to undereat or diet so I am trying to include quality foods to stay more satiated. I have also upped my carbs & more importantly protein! Why protein? I want to maintain as much lean muscle mass as I can & protein is my best way to do so.
  • Body: I don't weigh myself these days so I can't say in terms of lb change. I actually feel as though I have gained a slight bit of weight but who knows OR CARES. As mentioned, I tend to get HUNGRY running & the mix of that with my body never reacting well hormonally to the stress, well it can leave me feeling puffy. Do I like it? No BUT I'm trying to be honest with myself with what I am eating, drinking & keep that balance in check. It's easy to say "I deserve to eat those fries because I ran 10 miles" but I really don't like that mindset. Instead I NEED to eat quality food because my body is recovering. I also don't have to EARN a glass of wine or dessert through exercise so I don't feel the need to justify that either.
I thought I'd give a little sample week of my workouts & day in the life of eats just for fun! This was a day's worth of eats on an upper body lifting day:Breakfast: Roasted sweet potato & broccoli topped w/ goat cheese, eggs & hot sauce. Totally digging the savory breakfast & love getting veggies in to start the day!image1

Lunch: I grabbed a salad from this awesome local shop called Good Greens. My newest addiction! This big box included baby kale, spinach, quinoa, edamame, beets, carrots, pumpkin seeds, feta & chicken. SO GOOD!

image2

Afternoon Snack: Plain greek yogurt bowl w/ pumpkin & gf pumpkin O's (yay Trader Joe's!). I usually have an afternoon snack to hold me through PM training sessions & not leave me hangry by dinner time. Nothing good comes out of hangry...

image1-1

Dinner: Steak salad bowl, which we enjoyed using leftovers that we grilled on Sunday night to make a hearty dinner salad. Steak, sautéed asparagus, onions, tomato, gorgonzola & balsamic dressing. A great way to end the day & took about 10 minutes to whip up. My fav!

image2-1

**I think I ended the evening w/ a little Halo Top Ice Cream. That sounds like me.. ;) This day felt great on the food front, as it include all my nutrition non-negotiables! Protein at every meal, lots of veggies & plenty of H20. I also like to include grassfed beef &/or salmon 2-3x a week in addition to pasture raised eggs. Yay high quality fats!

Workouts Lately:

Monday: Upper Body Lifting Day 

1. Incline Bench Press: 4x8-10

2. Pull Ups: 3x5-8

3. Incline Hybrid Flyes: 3x10

4. BB Bent Over Rows: 4x8-10

5A. Strict OH BB Press: 4x8

5B. DB Lateral Raises: 4x10

6A. Straight Bar Tricep Pressdown: 4x12-15

6B. OH Tricep Extension: 4x10

6C. Cable Bicep Curl: 4x10

6D. Cable Bicep Rvs Curl: 4x10

Tuesday: Run + Lower Body Lifting Day

AM: 6 Mile Run

PM: Leg Workout -

1. BB Back Squats: 4x12

2. Leg Press: 4x30 - 20 Wide Stance, 20 Close (OUCH!)

3. BB Front Squats: 4x8-10

4. Walking Lunges: 1:30 minutes on/45 seconds restx3

5A. Lying Leg Curls: 4x12

5B. Glute Kickbacks: 4x12

Wednesday: REST DAY! WOOHOOThursday: 45 Minute Bike Ride + Upper Body Lifting Day (Similar format to Monday but w/ flat presses & arnold presses)Friday: Lower Body Lifting Day (Similar to Tuesday but w/ straight leg deadlifts sprinkled in)Saturday: 12 Mile RunSunday: And again we rest!In total 4 strength days + 3 cardio days + 2 total rest days = 1 happy Emma! I could have squeezed in a yoga day but I didn't. No biggie!So that's a wrap as to what's been going on with me lately! With the race 2 weeks away I'm excited to accomplish a goal & see what I will be aiming for next.Are YOU in tune w/ how to adjust your diet based on your activity & top goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Wine Wednesday Words

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Uncategorized

If I were asked what 3 things would I bring with me to a deserted island, my answer would quickly be:

  1. My husband
  2. My dogs
  3. Wine
Don't worry, I could use the wine bottle for bicep curls too..wineOver the years my enjoyment of a glass of wine has blossomed into a full blown love affair. I not only enjoy drinking a big glass of my favorite cabernet, I love learning about it. My husband & I have taken multiple wine classes to know more about the origins, grape varieties & regional differences between each & every bottle. Am I an expert? Haha no in the slightest. I'll be real, my husband would diligently take notes as I would be 100% on top of the taste testing portion. After a few pours I stopped caring so much about where the damn grape originated & mostly wondered when the teacher would stop talking & continue pouring. But that's not the point...From a solo glass to end a long work day, to a wine tasting with friends & of course a shared bottled in the kitchen while cooking with my husband, it is one "liquid calorie" I just refuse to give it up. Now it's lovely to hear the experts throwing around headlines touting the "health benefits of wine" & having you believe that nightly glass has no consequence on our body composition. However let's be real.
  1. Who only pours 4-5oz into their glass? Hello 8-10oz "glass"...
  2. How often do you have more than one?
  3. Does that glass of wine loosen you up to a few after dinner treats?
  4. What are your goals?
Quite frankly all of that sucks! I would personally kill to be able to have 2 nightly glasses of vino & not see an extra layer appear around my waistline. BUT my reality is my body absolutely holds onto extra body fat when I drink alcohol too frequently.Bummer..IMG_2045Life isn't fair...& many other expletives I could spout.But that's reality & I had to at some point accept that it was interfering with my goals.Another reason the nightly vino had to go? It interferes with sleep quality. Science backed, we just don't sleep as well post drinking. My sleep is crucial to my job, energy, workout performance & overall attitude. That right there is honestly more important then the extra albs I hold onto. So does that mean I had to break up with my true love Cabernet?Heck no! BUT I did have to learn the best way for ME to moderate my consumption in a way where I didn't feel deprived OR feel disappointed in my path to healthy living. How'd I do so?
  1. Know Thy Limits: in general i try not to drink more than 2 glasses at a time on any occasion. it's my line where I can get a little tipsy without feeling crappy the next day.
  2. Set Parameters: I say no Sunday-Thursday & that made the BIGGEST difference for me! Most week nights I had created the habit of throwing my stuff on the table, sighing out the long day as I pour a glass because I deserved it. I found other ways to de-stress such as taking the dog for a walk or making a hot cup of tea. It took practice & habit change but now it's no big deal.
  3. BE FLEXIBLE: if we have a weekday event I don't punish myself by saying "you can't drink on the weekdays". I stick to my no more than 2 glasses & usually go with only one. As I remind myself that work will come early tomorrow & I have a responsibility to my clients to be at my best.
  4. Don't Drink Crap: if I open a crappy bottle that doesn't please my palate, I don't drink it! Why waste the enjoyment on bad wine. Simple!
  5. Make it an Enjoyable Experience: I make sure I am in a situation where I sip the wine, not guzzle it. I also don't succumb to peer pressure to drink just because everyone else is doing it. Learned that in kindergarten right? Funny how we forget. I am a big girl & if I am not in the mood, I am not going to drink. Frankly anyone who cares I'm not drinking can buzz off.
Life is all about choices we make & prioritizing what matters. BUT be honest with yourself as to what behaviors might be getting in the way of all your hard work. I far to often find clients lying to themselves about some of these sneaky behaviors like the night "glass" (aka 2-3) of wine or just a few drinks with friends. Yes I know that trick from personal experience..This is another example of how food doesn't have to be the all or nothing diet mentality. Anytime I say "no wine", I fall into the weekend bender & repeat the cycle week after week. Feeling like a constant failure for not being able to exhibit more willpower. Who needs that? Instead I took a good look in the mirror to recognize my habits, behaviors & goals. Then found a middle ground that works for me!Any other wine lovers out there struggle with this like me? Shoot me a message to tell me how I can help!Healthy Balance LLC

5 Changes You WON’T Make That Are Limiting Your Results

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Meal Prep Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

Most people I know (myself included) have goals regarding weight, health or the physique we see staring back at us in the mirror. While I absolutely preach building goals around longterm health, strength, nutrient quality, feeling good or performance, I have NO problem with wanting to lose a little (or lot) of fat for physique purposes. Aesthetic goals are fine to have, no judgement! However my issue with this is understanding that in order to SEE changes, you have to MAKE changes....design-2---------------------------Weekly conversation with clients:Client: I really want to lose these love handles, I'll do ANYTHING you say. Just tell me what will work?ME: Looking at your food journal you are eating out a lot throughout the week, eating a low protein diet & a high quantity of processed carbs. IF your goal is to see body composition changes, these are the areas we need to work on.Client: Great, so tell me exactly what to do & I'll do it.ME: Ok let's start with one change first & build on it. How about you we up the protein in your breakfast? Could we start adding in eggs or greek yogurt?Client: I don't like breakfast & don't want to get up earlier to put together anything.ME: Ok, maybe we start somewhere else first. How about instead of eating out 4x during the week, we aim for only 2x this week?Client: I don't like to cook.ME: Ok let's look at the choices you are making out to eat. Can we focus on increasing the protein & vegetables while decreasing the carbohydrates, added fats such as cheese & creamy sauces?Client: I don't like to eat much protein & enjoy my ranch dressing.--------------------Ok you get the idea. I SO commonly am asked for help to SEE the changes clients want in their bodies. Yet I am immediately given every reason why they aren't willing to make the changes needed to get the results desired. Looking for that magic pill? Yea let me know when you find it. design-35 Common Changes You WON'T make that are limiting your results:

  • Cooking at Home: I get it, we all live busy lives, work long hours & pass a million restaurants we can eat at on the way home to our own kitchens. Frankly many people I know (myself included in the past) lack confidence to get in the kitchen because we didn't learn basic skills. Yet we also can google anything. So sorry that answer doesn't fly.
    • Reality: restaurants add more fat & additional calories to make us say YUM & to get us coming back for more. Not to mention how big the portions are. I'm not saying you can never dine out BUT the majority of your meals should be made in the kitchen. Yes that means not every dinner will be gourmet style. BUT if you want to lose fat, you can't eat out all day every day.
  • I Don't Have Time: Another common barrier I hear is "I didn't have time to eating good-guy-netflix-meme-2-vgc5pqbreakfast or lunch, then I ate EVERYTHING when I get home". I totally understand we all work busy jobs & are often on the go. Work places don't make it easy to take a leisurely lunch break or rushing kids out the door doesn't make breakfast enjoyable. BUT if this is your goal, make more effort.
    • Reality: Find foods that fit into your timeline available to get in some sustenance. Yes this may mean making a smoothie before bed & having it in the fridge ready to go in the morning. OR telling your boss I need 5 dang minutes to eat my salad in the fridge. We prioritize ours kids eating breakfast yes? Heck you feed the dog too I would guess. Yet we fall to the wayside but wonder why we can't see changes. You have to prioritize you!
  • I'm Not Hungry: This somewhat falls into the same category as not making time to eat but i'll post it separately. I have this conversation with clients every single day. What did you eat today? "I had a yogurt for breakfast, a pack of crackers for lunch & some fruit with crackers & cheese for dinner. I'm just not hungry". Yes you can totally train your body to eat less food & ignore hunger signals after many years. Yet you are working out several days a week, eating 800 calories a day & not seeing any fat loss. Weird!
    • Reality: you must make changes to see changes. Your body has reached a point it is barely getting enough fuel to function off of. So no, you aren't going to lose that excess weight while your body is in a starvation state. Like I discussed in a previous blog post here, you are causing major hormonal disregulation & your body is responding accordingly. I know you say "i'm just not hungry". Well eat more anyway. I find with these clients after an initial challenge period, suddenly they start feeling more energy, hunger signals pick back up & they start seeing changes.
  • I Don't Like Protein: This may be a surprise to newer readers BUT I was a vegetarian for almost 10 years. I became a vegetarian somewhat out of teenage rebellion but also a few food poisoning instances paired with being mentally grossed out by meat. So vegetarian I went. I did it poorly & became a carb-etarian for many years. I mean pizza & french fries are meat free?? I also gained 25lbs during this time period & lost any muscle mass on my body. Then I became educated on the important of protein & began tracking it to make sure I was getting an adequate amount at each meal. Suddenly I lost fat, gained muscle, blood markers improved & I could eat more because my metabolism sped up due to said lean muscle mass.
    • Reality: I understand not everyone wants to eat a hunk of meat 3x a day. However research has shown over & over that a moderate to high protein diet is ideal for body composition changes. You want that "toned" look? Eat protein. That can be meat, fish, eggs or even supplementing with powders. But you can't ride the carbs & fats train only while expecting to see impactful body changes. Educate yourself on WHAT an adequate amount of protein is based on your age, weight & activity level. Then work to implement that. PS 1 egg is not enough protein per meal.
  • BUT I Can't Say No To..: You eat lunch with co-workers, get invited to happy hours, it 12747615_1695775697327451_1209536706_nwas Betty's birthday at work, they brought in donuts for the lunch meeting, Friday night is date night & Sunday dinner is with the family. All of which you have to eat whatever other people are pushing on you. Because saying no is rude or makes you stand out.
    • Reality: It is YOUR body & YOUR health that YOU are responsible for & have to live with. Tired of feeling unhappy in your skin? Well I will always say first let's work on mindset. BUT stop letting others control your health & happiness. Yes it may mean having to stand your ground, say no occasionally & even explain to people WHY you are doing something different. This isn't easy I know! However the more you do it, the easier it gets. Because guess what? Most people are more self consumed with what they are doing then what you are doing. Plus what food you put in your body doesn't impact them a bit. Explain to grandma in all seriousness that you are concerned about your health & that is why you brought salad with salmon instead of lasagna with breadsticks. You don't have to make others feel guilty or get on a high horse. However if they can't respect that then maybe you need to work on who you surround yourself with or frankly develop thicker skin. Harsh I know, but you have to live in this body for life, not them. Be confident in your beliefs & know it's not your job to change others opinions.
The tone of this might come off as not sounding very compassionate or understanding. Which I can ASSURE is not the case. I absolutely understand that implementation & change is easier spouted out on the internet then put into practice in the real life. However in a world of convenience, sometimes you gotta make a little effort to step outside your comfort zone. No you can't "have your cake & eat it to" when it comes to fat loss.These are YOUR goals, not mine. In fact I am frequently tell people that there are changes I am NOT willing to make to have that perfect beach body or see that year round 6 pack staring back at me. Sacrificing my weekend wine & dinners out with friends isn't worth the results. But guess what? I'm not going to complain about not seeing changes that I am not working for. Yet I DO put in the effort to meal prep on Sunday, even when I am tired or don't feel like it. Why? Because I want to be in shape, have great workouts, practice what I preach & feel good in my skin. So I put on my big girl pants, turn off the damn TV for 2 hours & get shit done.Every individual needs to be honest with & ASK am I really interested in learning how to make changes to see results? Or am I looking for the easy way out or that magic pill to skip putting in the work. OR even more importantly, is my WHY behind this silly goal I am spending energy on not strong enough. Therefore time to drop that & move on with life? There is no right or wrong answer here. Just a little tough love to avoid wasting time & effort spinning your wheels. <3Healthy Balance LLC

Why I LOVE MY Imperfect Eating & How You Can Too!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Recap Uncategorized

Last night as I was wrapping up a training session, my client randomly asked "how do you eat so perfect all the time?". I started to laugh but stopped myself realizing she was serious. She followed up with "I mean don't you ever just want to eat chocolate?". My response, "why yes I do, in fact I eat chocolate everyday!". *gasp!!* Yes I have a confession...I often practice imperfect eating. Often intentionally! Image-1-2I personally eat anything but perfectly clean. What is perfect eating anyway?? I absolutely believe that nutrition, diet & food preferences are so individual. It's why I'm not a fan of cookie cutter meal plans. One size does not fit all! While there are lots of commonalities I believe every person should use as a nutritious base, the question is who are you & what are your goals!   So I thought I'd get personal & show a few of my "less than perfect foods" I include in MY diet. And more importantly how they fit in the bigger picture of my total intake, mindset & goals. My top 5 foods I include almost weekly: IMG_29801. Wine: I LOVE wine. A juicy glass of cab is better to me than a slice of cake or any other food. No I don't mean I down bottles at a time but I do include a few glasses every weekend. But I skip Sunday-Thursday. Balance! 2. Quest Bars: yep these are prepackaged processed protein bars. They do have one of the shortest ingredients list for a high protein bar that i've seen but I don't lie to myself about them. They are a sweet treat that's not as nutrient dense as many other options. But they make me happy, satisfy my sweet tooth & keep me from overdoing other desserts. For where I am now, they can fit within my diet while not negatively affecting my progress. So they're an often daily staple. IMG_16263. Skippy's PB: this "natural" peanut butter is not the best choice available. I typically recommend ingredients that are simply peanuts + salt. This has evaporated cane syrup & a few other added sweeteners. Perfect? Nope! But it reminds me of my childhood & tastes SO much better then the organic version. I eat 1tbsp, 1-2x a week without guilt. 4. Dark Chocolate PB Cups: Obviously i'm a peanut butter lover. While candy has never been a big temptation, I do love Reese's. Then I found these trader joes dark chocolate version & fell in love. They live in my fridge & when I really have a hankering, I eat 1! They're not off limits & always available so I don't fear never having them again. Once a week or less I grab 1 & enjoy every bite! IMG_16875. Pumpkin O's: I've never had a great relationship with cereal in all honesty. It's a food I have struggled with totally overdoing & finding myself staring into the bottom of a box I just opened. It can be a cycle of overeating & guilt that I know is a trigger. So I don't eat cereal frequently. Plus I have a gluten sensitivity so I avoid for the sake of my for my digestion. But I found these gluten free pumpkin o's & fell in love. I don't want to fear cereal so it's there lurking in the back of my cabinet. Bc it's not off limits but also not the first thing I see. In fact I usually forget it's there until it's gone stale. Which I'm not eating. Yet when I want it on top of a cold yogurt banana bowl I pull that box out, sprinkle a handful on top & stash it in the back of the pantry. Once a week or so I might remember to eat it if the craving hits! Now a few things to point out. These foods make up maybe 10% of my TOTAL intake on a weekly basis. The rest of my meals are filled with tons of eggs, vegetables, fruit & meat! I make sure my daily must haves of water, a big ass salad & every meal based around a solid protein source are met first. Then I sprinkle these extras around where desired. Like the icing on the cake ;) IMG_0687Another important individual factor I consider when including more or less of my "imperfect foods" is my goals. I am NOT trying to lose fat or make major physique changes at the moment. I know SHOCKING right? A woman who's goal isn't to get skinnier! But that's not where i'm at currently, I'm in maintenance mode. IF I was trying to make body composition changes, I would reevaluate my intake of some of these foods. You can't have it all, all the time.That's a BIG reason why you shouldn't compare your plate to others. When people ask what I eat every day I preface it with this is how I eat for:~ my activity = workouts & active job ~ my goals = maintenance mode ~ what i can stick to = completely individual I also pay attention to my body. Often when I include too many foods lacking in nutrient density I find I'm not feeling my best. If my hunger &/or cravings for these foods start to drastically increase, it may be time to scale back or take a break. If my energy drops or digestion gets wonky, that's a sign I need to focus on foods that nourish me more. I'm losing strength in the gym or mental focus on work? Time to reassess. It's not punishment or deprivation & those foods will still be there. IMG_2913 This is a big aspect of how I work through balanced eating with my nutrition coaching clients. It takes time, experimentation, education & uncovering what your REAL goals are beyond the scale. As often, I have personally realized I wasn't willing to or at a place where the sacrifice to change was worth the outcome. Which was actually a relief to recognize & stop beating myself up over failing to reach a goal I didn't really want! Nutrition & fitness SHOULD enhance your life. If that's something your still struggling with message me about my personalized nutrition coaching. You are not your diet, your weight or pants size & you CAN find a way to make it all contribute to being the best YOU! emma@healthybalancewithemma.com Healthy_Balance02

Finding Your D.E.A.L. Breakers

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset

deal breakersLately I have had the topic of goal setting on the brain. Every day I chat with my training or nutrition clients about what their goals are for the week. I want to hear where their mind is at, ask what they feel they could improved on & help them determine realistic action items to get there. I'm constantly trying different methods to help them make the behavior changes needed to achieve their desired outcome.

Each person is a little different & responds to varying types of goal setting. One client may need a daily check in, specific tracking tools & a detailed program to follow. However another person may find that inflexible & become irritated by the restriction to where they rebel in the other direction. Challenging!!However I have found one awesome method that really seems to click with the majority of people. It's all about following the daily D.E.A.L. breaker principle. What do I mean? It's about determining the top 3 non-negotiable health behaviors you can at minimum accomplish every single day. These habits typically set you up for success in other choices you make throughout the day & as long as you hit them, you feel positive about staying on track. So what's the D.E.A.L.?DOABLE - behaviors within your control that can't be interfered with by schedule, job etc.ENERGY - choose actions that ADD to your life, not something else you "can't" have or do.ACCOUNTABILITY - what is track-able & specific you can hold yourself responsible for.LIFESTYLE - fit it within your lifestyle for the long term! This isn't an "until I reach X lbs".Water-DrinkingI absolutely practice what I preach & have my own D.E.A.L. breakers which I am fairly inflexible in achieving daily. Yes I said inflexible! My approach towards health is fairly laid back & I try to be patient with myself. I am not perfect in eating healthy, working out daily or keeping a positive mindset. Life is busy & being inflexible to sway with the day doesn't get me anywhere in the long run. Hence last night after meal planning, shopping & posting about it, I ended up at Jalapenos for dinner because I was too tired to cook. It happens!!! BUT what I did do was hit my DEAL:
  1. Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water. For all the reasons you've heard time & time again, it makes a difference in my day & there is no reason I can't nail this one.
  2. Eat a large serving of vegetables for at least 1 meal. I am usually on the go & guilty of occasionally eating a few too many yogurts, fruit, jerky, nuts & other travel friendly foods. But I do not feel good when my veggie consumption dips so low. A meal with a large vegetable ratio reinforces my nutritious food decisions, regulates my digestion & makes me feel like I'm taking care of my body. Which matters!
  3. Move in some way. Rain, snow, heat (more common here), busy day, tired or any other excuse that comes my way may mean I can't move in the way I planned. Some days my long walk with the dog is pre-empted by rain or time that got away from me. Does that mean I can take 10 minutes to do a body weight workout, a core crusher or ever just stretch! Regardless of the activity I feel positive I did something! It makes me feel like I didn't "fall off the wagon" & that tomorrow I can hopefully move more intensely but I DID do something today. #winning
And that's it. It's only 3 items that I have control over, can achieve & that leave me feeling positive that I am practicing daily behaviors that lead towards the healthy lifestyle I strive for. I may have several other goals I want to knock out each week, many of which I achieve & some that never get checked off the to do. These D.E.A.L. breakers are a no excuses part of my life.Need some ideas? Think about the actions you go through daily that can make or break your positive habits. What triggers your success or perceived failures. Those should be your non-negiotiables. How about being in bed by a certain time, journaling for 10 minutes, having a staple breakfast, keeping a snack on hand so you make a good decision, a 30 minute walk or a big ass salad for lunch! KNOW YOURSELF! Or at least start to learn what matters to you. :)How about you? Give me 3 actions you can & will achieve every single day to boost your healthy mind, body & soul!!Ready for more healthy tips, tricks, recipes & practical solutions to find your healthy balance? Don't miss out on my weekly newsletter, filled with helpful content geared towards your needs. Sign up here to stay up to date!

New Year, New Mantra.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Uncategorized

Happy-New-Year-Greetings-Best

NEW YEAR, NEW MANTRA:

2015 has come & gone, New Year's celebrations flew by & here I am 10 days into 2016. I can't say I have ever been a hardcore New Year's resolutioner. I have no problem setting goals, even lofty ones! It's fun to put pen to paper & kick off a new year feeling like I have a clean slate to make anything happen. The truth is, this year I had every intention of sitting down to reflect on the past year & make a lengthy list of all the kick ass action items I would accomplish this year.

Yet January 1st passed by & instead of overthinking the moment, I simply lived in it. Instead of worrying about whether I slipped up on my resolution week one, I focused on what I wanted to prioritize that day. What mattered most that day or week that would push me just a little closer to being the PERSON I want to be. While I want to work hard to check goals off my list, I also want to feel a certain way about the process. grow-upSAY WHAT?:Let's take my entire reason I took up running many years ago as an example. I didn't just want to run a marathon to cross the finish line, I wanted be the kind of person who dedicated themselves to consistently showing up to do the work. That was & still is my motivation & WHY behind the goal. Professionally I do want to grow my business to make money but it's what making a living off of training shows me that is my WHY behind the daily drive. I want to be the kind of person who is reaching people & making a difference in their quality of life. If I focus on doing the best job I can with every client who comes my way I am achieving the goal of growing my business while focusing on being the person I want to be in the process. Make sense?I connected much more with the idea of deciding what kind of person I want to be in 2016. If focus on that mantra in every action I take each day, on every to do list I make & with how I put myself out there then 2016 would be everything I wanted it to be. So I thought hard about choosing one word to be my mantra this year that was congruent with my personal, professional & lifestyle goals...23748-Be-FearlessEvery goal I had was about putting myself out there, reaching for what I wanted & not being scared to do so. It wasn't the goals in 2015 that held me back, it was the fear or failing at something I cared about. But guess what? We are all going to fail...so what! Even when I have failed at a task I've learned something valuable along the way. It wasn't a waste. So that's my mantra for 2016...FEARLESS is the way I will make my actions congruent with my goals. Instead of asking myself did I keep that resolution, I will ask if I acted fearlessly in the pursuit.Did I not write that blog, reach out to a client, take a new course, share new information, try out a new workout, avoid a new food or even skip a workout out of fear?

Fear of:

  • failure
  • missing out
  • being judged
  • being wrong
  • not following the crowd
  • having a freaking voice
  • or sharing a different outlook that people may disagree with!
Those are all honest fears I have in all areas of my life. It's not the outcome that even holds me back, it's that lingering fear of taking the leap. If I choose to act fearlessly, regardless of the outcome I can feel awesome about that.So what does that mean for Healthy Balance this year? MORE real life talk, tips, workouts, advice, struggles & putting myself out there to share all that I can to help everyone live up to their mantra. Building a community to help us all dream, act & enjoy living FEARLESSLY.

QUESTION:

I challenge you to share you one word theme! Ask the tough question & dig deep. Beyond the checklist, WHO do you want to be in 2016??

All or Nothing vs Baby Steps..Which to Choose?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

All-or-NothingThe day has come in which you've decided enough is enough, it's time to get healthy. Monday morning starts day one of the new you!You clean out the pantry, throw out the donuts, set your alarm for 5am spin class & you are ready to go! This new diet is going to be awesome & in a month you'll drop all the weight gained over the past few years.You even have your first cheat meal planned out & can't wait to dive into a juicy burger, fries & soda. You can deal with this temporary healthy eating for just a month right?.....funny-fat-pug-dog-chair-pizza-diet-starts-next-week-picsIn full disclosure I have absolutely said all those things, made the proclamations & thrown out all the junk food. I've promised to hit the gym every day until a given date, no excuses allowed! Guess what? It usually lasted until around noon on Monday when my belly started growling & I rationalized eating a greasy sandwich because "I worked out this morning". I can truly say this approach never once worked for me. Even if I did stick to a perfectly crafted plan, the second I was stuck in a social situation or unplanned circumstance, it became all or nothing. I usually went all in with the standard mindset of "well I already blew my diet, so might as well eat all the food".Either I ate the cheese dip appetizer, enchiladas & margarita or I would sip on water & politely pretend to not be hungry. Funny how there isn't an in between allowed. Well after years of feeling like a failure I decided to try something new. What could it hurt?Don't get me wrong, there are a few people that can flip the switch on bad habits & truly overhaul their lifestyle. Yet I'd say 9 out of 10 times that isn't the case & most people succeed by taking baby steps over an extended amount of time. If you have been struggling with healthy eating (whatever that definition may mean to you) or exercise for health these are a few tips to making small changes for long term results.129056345541848020_WHXyHnTv_c1. Mindset: I really believe mindset is the biggest piece to the puzzle. You can buy all the clean food, hire a trainer & check off all the boxes on the way to skinny. However if your goals aren't internally motivated by something more than skinny jeans, it's unlikely you'll sustain the change. Instead take a hard look at:

  • Why it's so important to you to make a lifestyle change: low energy, can't play with kids, getting sick often, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin or preventative health? Find what matters in the big picture of life as opposed to short term aesthetics. Write that down to remind yourself when times get hard & motivation is low.
  • How long did it take you to put on weight or lose fitness capacity: taking a look at how you got here in order to set up realistic expectations for goals along the way. If you don't deep down believe you can achieve a goal that you set too high, you will make a half-hearted attempt before giving it up.
  • What are the barriers to success you've encountered in previous attempts: so you've tried this diet thing before & tripped over the same stumbling blocks. Learn from that!! It's the best thing we can get out of our failures is to learn so we don't repeat. Figure out what keeps getting in the way of your much deserved healthy & happiness in order to work on ways to overcome.
All-or-Nothing-0082. Nutrition: Our food choices are based around a wide array of factors. From how we were raised, what we have access to, who we surround ourselves with, work schedules, personal preferences etc etc. This is why I don't give one size fits all meal plans, everyone is completely different! Instead figure out small weekly changes you can make that are upgrades. Instead of what you need to take out of your diet, look at what you can add. It's a start & much better attitude then taking all your favorites away with nothing to replace them with. Where to start? Here are a few tips I have to making small dietary changes for long term success:
  • Don't label foods as good or bad, or completely off limits for life. As soon as we give food that kind of power it consumes us. Instead decide you are CHOOSING not to eat a few foods for now, as they are not going to help you achieve your goals. Again go back to the internal reasons such as "eating this isn't going to allow me to chase my kids around the park without huffing & puffing". Not "I'm not allowed to eat this because I'm on a diet". See the difference? None of your favorite foods are being ripped off the shelves forever, take away the desperation & know they are always there for a better time in your journey.
  • Do stick to foods you already eat, enjoy & know how to prepare. I'm not saying don't try new foods! Of course you should for a multitude of reasons. However start with simplicity. Don't plan to cook a fancy kale dish with 20 ingredients when you know you don't have time or the interest in lots of cooking. Instead make simple swaps to your current diet & incorporate new methods over time. Currently eating a burger with fries every night? Try simply dropping the bun to start with. Like broccoli & eat it frequently already? Sub the fries for a vegetable you enjoy. Small changes add up! Once you start to succeed you'll feel more than capable of additional upgrade.
  • Make quantifiable goals, not general statements. For example with a client last week I asked what his nutrition goal was for an upcoming business trip? He said to drink less beer. I simply replied that's a great goal, how much beer is "less"? He was slightly disgruntled with having to give an actual number but it's really important. We can always justify "less" or i'll do "better". But what does that actually mean? As I can certainly rationalize that I drank less wine then I did at that one dinner which I don't remember much of the evening... Yea that doesn't mean I succeeded in my goal.
Start-where-you-are-1024x7163. Fitness: Obviously as a personal trainer I'm going to point out the importance of fitness in everyone's life. And yes, I have a personal & professional passion for lifting weights. I've read, seen & experienced the benefits. However I am also a big advocate of starting where you are, doing what you enjoy & just moving more in order to take advantage of the mood boosting benefits! In fact I actually have found that the extreme fitness trends are not all that beneficial to the majority of people looking for general health & happiness. Finding easy ways to get moving, build habits & boost confidence is where to begin:
  • Walk more. Yep this one is direct. I have so many people tell me walking doesn't matter much & isn't strenuous enough to make a big difference. Well that is completely wrong my friends. Daily movement can make a huge difference! If you are out of shape then that 30 minutes a day of walking is the perfect place to start.
  • Try something new! Don't like running? Stop forcing it! You may not be enthusiastic about starting a fitness routine when you are out of shape or are feeling self conscience about your body. However there are so many different ways to get fit that I encourage everyone to try new activities. Hell dance in the living room for 20 minutes a day if that makes you happy & raises your heart rate. It's a start!!
  • Schedule fitness like it's any other appointment. Again don't just say I'll exercise "more". What does that mean. Start with realistic goals of a few days a week, write it on your calendar or Google whatever & check it off when accomplished. We set aside time for work, kids, laundry, tv & so much other daily tasks yet aren't prioritizing health that allows us to do those things. Stop letting exercise be an if I have time endeavor. Your too important for that!
One of my favorite quotes is still Albert Einstein's definition of insanity being "doing the same behaviors over & over again & expecting different results". Regarding health & fitness we spend so much time trying to repeat the same styles of diets, workout programs & habit based changes. We get so stuck in the one size fits all approach that we don't slow down enough to say this isn't working for ME, why & what can I do differently to better reach my goals. Life isn't black or white, all or nothing, good or bad or fail or succeed. Find a middle ground that works for you, a years worth of small changes can lead to a lifetime of healthy habits.Do you struggle with the all or nothing approach to healthy living?

Weekly Recap – Food, Fitness & New Goals!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Recap Uncategorized

The past week has certainly been a busy one with some definite highlights & challenges. I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite weekly recipes, workouts & just daily happenings. Here is a peak into my weekly routine:Meal Plan: We always put together a weekly meal plan prior to going grocery shopping. This has become a standard part of our Sunday routine, which I kind of adore. We have fun with it looking through recipes, magazines & cookbooks. At least when we have the time & feel like doing so. We usually stick to it fairly closely but life happens so we adjust where needed.1509797_511151369038122_993562066922873960_nNotable Eats:

Sweet Potato Bowl: This is one of my favorite combinations I make on a regular basis. No matter how many times I've had it I always find myself saying "yum" with each bite. I chop & roast sweet potato in delicious coconut oil. Saute some kale, throw in a bowl w/ sweet potato & crumbled goat cheese. Then simply top it with a sunny side up egg & it's a bowl full of happiness.

sweetpotatobowlimage1Fish Tacos: We stuck to the menu on Sunday & threw together some easy but tasty tacos. We used frozen cod that we simply seasoned & tossed in the oven. I also made quick pickled red onions & jalapenos from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine. These turned out great & I used them for multiple meals throughout the week. Love that magazine! We topped the tacos w/ the pickled veg, avocado, tomato & a spicy yogurt sauce (frank's hot + plain greek). On the side we enjoyed a cabbage lime slaw which is oh so easy. Recipe to come!

fish tacosimage1Good Ole Turkey Sandwich: Yes I know, why is a turkey sandwich notable eats? For me, I eliminated gluten from my diet a few years ago due to digestive issues. I initially ate a good bit of gluten free replacements but soon realized they were often less healthy then the original & not very good. Therefore sandwiches don't happen much in my world. I truly don't miss them but every once in a while the craving hits. So in my post-workout window I grabbed some gf bread, applegate turkey, kerrygold cheese & lots of dijon for a much enjoyed sandwich. Plus a salad for extra veg.

image1

Workouts:

Sunday - Power Yoga Basics Class: I have been making it a priority to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine. I'll be honest, this doesn't always happen. I am hit or miss on my love for yoga & usually choose a lifting session or run over sweating it out on the mat. However I never regret going & have to remind myself how good the stretch feels afterward. Yay for making it this week, my body & brain was appreciative.2015-06-07 11.32.51Monday: Leg Day - I try to start my week off with my more challenging workouts. The reason being I have more energy early in the week as opposed to on a Thursday afternoon. I find that quite common with clients as well so I front load my workouts to leave me room for flexibility based on energy as the week wanes on. Something you might consider! This workout included movements such as barbell squats, lying leg curls, hyper extensions, leg press, bulgarian split squats & a little core. Tough!

Tuesday: Run + Upper Body - I woke up super early with time to kill so squeezed in a 2 mile run before training clients. I want to work on increasing my running endurance again but I'm starting off slow. That afternoon I took a break from work to lift some heavy weights & set them back down. My fav! This compound day included pull ups, push ups, bench press, barbell rows, farmer's walk & a few other movements thrown in the mix. I'm having shoulder issues so having to be cautious which makes me less then enthusiastic on these days. I love training shoulder..boo!runimage1

Wednesday: Cardio Intervals + Arms - I was able to hop right out of bed & hit the gym, my preferred method of training. I did 30 minutes of intervals on the step machine which I find quite boring but cardio accomplished. I then hit some bicep & tricep action via dumbbells before heading home for a long puppy walk. Nothing too strenuous, as every day doesn't need to be full throttle fitness.

Thursday: Leg Day 2 - I am working hard on my legs so today was round 2 for the week. I used some of those booty moves I posted in a previous blog along with paused squats, deadlifts, lunges & more core action. I felt a bit tired today as per usual on a Thursday so kept the weights lighter but higher rep. Love leg days even when I am tired!2015-06-11 16.21.20-6

Friday: HIIT - I did a 25 minute circuit that was quite challenging. It included sprints, dumbbells & a lot of body weight moves such as burpees & lunges. I was huffing & puffing throughout but tried to limit my rest time as much as possible. These workouts should not be done everyday & it's important to work yourself up to higher intensity levels. However they can be an awesome addition to any program & are a great way to get in a time efficient workout. Plus they keep me from getting bored which is always a plus.

Saturday: OUT OF TOWN - We went to Knoxville for a good friends wedding this weekend. I didn't worry about any formal workout but we did walk a LOT. My favorite way to stay active & see a new city while on vacation. I also knew we had rock climbing & a hike on the agenda for the next day so extra rest was just what my body needed.

Plus as always I enjoyed lots of walks with my partner in crime throughout the week. Obsessed..2015-06-17 08.41.08-2Travel + 4th of July: As mentioned we enjoyed a lovely weekend in Knoxville Tennessee to celebrate a friend's wedding. I haven't been to the Knoxville area since I was a kid but had heard great things about the food & outdoor scene. I love searching out new restaurants while traveling & seek a menu that is unique. We do our best to avoid any chain restaurants because what' the fun in that. Although yes I do fall victim to the road trip Chick-fil-a in a pinch. I like their new grilled nuggets as a dipping device for the array of tasty yet less than healthy sauces.

11054399_962367262056_5865018844922753982_nThe wedding itself was beautiful & we had a blast celebrating the occasion. I have to get better at taking a few worthy foodie photos while traveling, as we enjoyed a few notable meals. We also greatly enjoyed the dinner at the wedding which included a delicious fruit & cheese table during the cocktail hour. I loved the soft brie & could have easily enjoyed just a plate of cheese for dinner. However I did take full advantage of the delicious dinner buffet filled with colorful roasted veggies, potatoes, green salad, lime chicken & steak. Not bad options in terms of staying fairly healthy right?

2014-09-20 08.16.21The whole wedding weekend made me feel quite nostalgic & I couldn't help but reminisce about my wedding, which is coming up on a 1 year anniversary. It blows my mind how time flies as I feel like I just met this guy, much less have already been married a year. <3

Back Home + July-August Goals:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past month of travels, celebrations & special occasions. That's what summer is for right? However I  have to admit to being ready to get back to my routine. A few too many meals out, extra glasses of wine & skipped workouts leaves me feeling a little less than on top of my game. Everything goes through seasons & I am ramping up for a back on track late summer session.

Training: I'm planning on starting a new training program focused primarily on building strength in my squat. While I exercise for a wide range of reasons I like setting a goal to train for. It drives my motivation to put in the hard work & seeing results feels worth every early workout session. This months goals are specific & I am excited to check them off my weekly list to stay accountable:

- 2x per week squat focused workouts. (heavy, light, back & front squats are all tools)

- 2x per week outdoor runs. (I have missed running & want to ease back into it for fun!)

- Stretch for 10 minutes a day, my hardest habit to maintain!

you-are-what-you-eatNutrition: I have no proclamations of doing a diet, detox or any other temporary quick fix plan. I simply want to focus on being mindful, adding food back in that make me feel good & getting creative in the kitchen. Nutrition goals this month include:

- Try one new recipe based on an in season ingredient every week.

- Save wine for the weekends, aiming for 2-3 glasses total each week.

- Make 1/2 my plate non-starchy vegetables at 2 meals per day. Love those greens!

I plan to check back in next month on how I did with these goals, how I tracked them & set new ones. Anyone else care to join the monthly goal challenge?

What are your goals nutrition & fitness goals this month?

5 Tips for 4th of July Healthy Eating + Flavorful Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Mindset Nutrition Recipes

Designs-by-Serendipity-Fourth-of-July-Poster-Image-2Fireworks, sunshine & finger food galore! Time flies & somehow the 4th of July weekend is only a few days away. I personally love this holiday, as it's a wonderful time in history to celebrate & a great reason to throw a backyard bash! This means firing up the grill or bringing over a dish to mingle with friends over a large buffet of food & drinks.These types of weekends use to bring me major anxiety! Anytime I was working hard to stick to a healthy eating goal I would stress about what to eat & how I could avoid going overboard. As much self control as I thought I had acquired, there is always the table with 10 different desserts. How do you pick just one? Plus after a fruity cocktail or two my "oh well" attitude would slide in & my choices usually went downhill from there.

(Backyard Bliss)

(Backyard Bliss)

Now that's not to say there is anything wrong with indulging a bit on a holiday weekend. To me it's all about who are you & what are your goals! How does that type of gathering effect your psychologically?- If you enjoy 2 slices of cake are you guilt ridden the next day or do you shrug it off & get back to your green smoothie for breakfast?- Are you at a healthy weight, active & just trying to maintain? Then maybe it's not something to even worry about. As you shouldn't go around feeling stressed about food choices if you already have healthy habits 85% of the time.- However if you are working towards a goal to lose weight for health reasons or really struggle with binge eating to the point of discomfort, then it's far more important to have some strategies going in.SMART-goalsAgain it's about what unique goals you have, not one size fits all. For me personally I don't mind an extra treat or two as long as I really enjoy them. I strive to eat mindfully & I not overdue it to the point of feeling sick. As we have all had that long lasting belly ache from ignoring our hunger cues & stuffing down an extra scoop of ice cream or two...oops!4th of July

1. Have a Plan: I don't mean you need to plan ahead every bite you are going to eat. Just having some goals going into the event will give you some parameters to work within. For myself, I may have the goal of sticking with 2 drinks while having a glass of water in between. I often share that goal with my husband to help hold me accountable. This at least helps to keep me mindful of my choices, slow down & enjoy what I am actually consuming. Other great goals may be to skip the one dish you know triggers less than healthy choices, only eat one carby side dish or choose one dessert. Even if your Make a Plangoal is to simply be mindful of when you are full, that may be a victory you will feel proud of!

2. Bring a Dish: I don't enjoy being stuck at a BBQ with all fried foods, mac & cheese or mayo filled potato salads. While some of those may be enjoyed, I do prefer having a fresh salad, veggies or fruit to snack on along the day. My solution? Bring what you enjoy eating! No one is going to complain about an extra dish on the table & often times the lighter fair becomes the hit of the party on a hot day. Choose a recipe you are excited to eat & not just another bland veggie tray. This will make you more likely to fill up on the good stuff & steer clear of foods that don't fit your goals.

3. Indulge in the Homemade: This is always a factor in my decision making process when I hit an event. There is a major flavor difference between the store bought 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies & that made from scratch delicious dessert. Why waste it on the foods you can grab from the store any day of the week? I am much more likely to sample a dish I know is phenomenal which I don't get the opportunity to eat often, versus the slightly stale cookie cake that's always available. In short...be picky!!!

(Look for a local race!)

(Look for a local race!)

4. Start the Day with a Workout: The reason I recommend starting the day with a workout is not about trying to burn off the extra calories you are planning to consume. As I'm not a big fan of working out to negate overdoing the eating. Guess what..that doesn't work! However the reason I love working out on a day I have a social gathering is I typically make better decisions. After a good workout in the morning I am more likely to focus on refueling my body for recovery & getting myself ready for the next. Therefore I naturally lean towards a few less drinks & a bit more healthy protein throughout the day. Plus I typically feel a bit better in the outfit I plan to wear after a good sweat session;)

5. Relax: We often get so wrapped up being afraid we might fail, that we set ourselves up for disaster. All that pressure is giving WAY too much control to the food around us. Look at your motivation, goals, have a plan & enjoy the experience. These events are about the people, fun & memories made along the way. Let the food stress take a backseat where it belongs!

The good news? Fourth of July grilling can be both incredibly tasty & super nutritious! Why settle for one with you can have both. Check out a few of my favorite simple meal ideas plus recipes from around the web:hummus-stuffed-strawberries-Healthy-4th-of-July-Recipes-Your-Family-will-LoveCelebrate the 4th - Healthy Recipes:

Lettuce Wrap Burger: Enjoy all the goodness of a burger, just lighten it up by skipping the bun. Either grab a fork & go at it or stuff it in a crunchy lettuce wrap. Choose toppings like tomato, pickles, caramelized onions, mustard & a touch of ketchup to add tons of flavors without too much extra unhealthy fat.

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Romaine Salad: Cut a whole romaine lettuce heart in half & toss on the grill flat side down. Get a quick char & top with fresh parmesan cheese plus a light drizzle of healthy caesar, balsamic or favorite salad dressing for a fun twist on a summer salad.

Chunky Greek Salad: I love this cool salad during the hot summer month. It has tons of flavor & textures that always makes it a huge party hit. I chop up chunky cucumber, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, chunky feta, kalamata olives & an olives oil dressing with red wine vinegar. Salt & pepper to taste & you are ready to serve.

7ebd6ce55a448349f966f13016e790e7

Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

Fresh Cut Fruit + Yogurt Dip: Everyone wants a sweet treat so if you are trying to skip the heavy desserts, this is for you. Choose whatever fruit is in season (berries are my favorite) & serve with a side of vanilla greek yogurt. I love making my own dip by using plain greek yogurt & adding fun mix ins such as peanut flour, vanilla/almond extract & cocoa powder.

Lightened Up Mojito: I have a weakness for a fruity summer cocktail, especially the delicious mint mojito. The way I enjoy a lighter version is muddling mint, raspberries & stevia. Then adding club soda & vodka for a flavorful mixed drink that is a MUCH better choice than the high calorie super sugary margarita. PS mixed drinks can be anywhere from 300-800 calories PER DRINK. Don't waste all your hard work on one beverage.

From the Web:

Potato Recipes:

- Potato Salad with Herbs & Summer Squash

- Quick & Easy Mustard Potato Salad

- Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

- Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Entree Ideas:

- Simple Grilled Lemon Chicken

- Chili Lime Turkey Burgers

- Grilled Balsamic Pork Chops

- Foil Packet Grilled Fish

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

Healthy Salads, Sides & Such:

- Greek 7 Layer Dip

- Strawberry & Avocado Spinach Salad

- Coleslaw with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

- Greek Broccoli Salad

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Desserts & Beverages:

- Patriotic Parfait

- Grilled Peaches

- Norcal Margarita

- Lightened Up Mojito

Your turn! What's your favorite summer gathering dish?