Total body strength workout exercises

These are total body exercises that focus on strength training. You can choose to do your cardio before or after these. Train now so that you are ready for swimsuit season!

  
These are some of the strength training exercises I do in my Sunday morning tried and shred class at the gym.

Do you do muscle conditioning exercises at home or at the gym or at all?

xxSerena

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Making a cheese and tomato sandwich for work

In my quest for a good work sandwich, I wondered how to make a boring cheese and tomato sandwich more exciting and up to date. How will I make this tomato and cheese sandwich modern?

First, slice the flax bread.

   
 
And then one side gets sun-dried tomato and onion chutney and the other side gets fresh rosemary mayo.

Fresh rosemary Mayo is just ordinary mayo with finely chopped rosemary spread into it.

  
Then we add the layers. Finally sliced tomato. Aged cheddar cheese. Butter lettuce. Fresh basil leaves. Pea sprouts. And cucumber.

 
  
  
  
And then pack the sandwiches up nice and tight! To eat at work the next day.

   
 
What are your favorite sandwiches to make for work?

xxSerena 

 

Beach meditations to relax and soothe your soul

I love the beach. I was born in Vancouver and for the first few years of my life I lived on the beach with my parents in peace, tranquility and calm.

  
I thought I would take some time out in today’s blog for reflections of the beach. Where I live it’s winter right now.

 

Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by John Kernick
  
Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Tulum, Mexico beach. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Just looking at the water and the sand is relaxing.

   
   
Do you love the beach as well? How often do you visit the beach?

Have a great weekend!

xxSerena

Boat pose: a yoga pose for your thyroid, core and to add balance

Paripurna Navasana, or boat pose looks like this:

Paripurna Navasana, or boat pose.
Paripurna Navasana, or boat pose.

I do this pose in my yoga for thyroid class and also use this position as the base for one of my ViPR for abdominal exercises.

The key here is to strengthen the back and the abdomen, balance equally on both left and right sit bones and open the chest as you roll your shoulders back.

Start with your knees bent, and as you progress through the years you will be able to achieve what the picture is showing, legs straight and out, body in a 45 degree angle.

There are many benefits to this pose:

Benefits
  • Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
  • Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/full-boat-pose/

Do you practice yoga? Have you done this pose?

xxSerena

Stuffed baked portobello mushrooms recipe

I love stuffed mushrooms. Mushrooms hold stuffing really well and to be honest I love stuffed fish, stuffed cabbage, stuffed pastry, the list goes on and on. I like something delicious inside  something already delicious! Anyways I’ll stop the ramble before this gets off-topic. Back to my stuffed Portobello mushrooms.

Stuffed baked Portobello mushrooms ready to enjoy, hot out of the oven. Photography by Serena Alibhai
This recipe makes two stuffed mushrooms. For a dinner of two you can serve this as the main course along with a side of salad, pasta or potatoes.

Ingredients:

2 portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the stuffing:

2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano
Half teaspoon hemp heart seeds
Half a small red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fry onion with salt and oil for five to 8 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. In a bowl combine yogurt, Parmesan, hemp seeds, salsa and cooked onions.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fill portobello mushroom caps. Place a tiny bit of olive oil under each mushroom cap before placing on cookie sheet or foil.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Portobello mushrooms. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Stuffed. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Stuffed and baked. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Tender, great flavor and delicious. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
They were delicious. And very filling. Check out this link for some nutritional facts for portobello mushrooms:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/9170/2

Do you like mushrooms? Have you ever made stuffed mushrooms? How do you make them?

xxSerena

What foods are in season? 

It’s helpful to know which food are in season, so you know what is most fresh and cheaper at the market.


Use that chart to help you at the grocery store or farmers market.

 

Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Multicolored carrots. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

When you can’t get your favourite fruits in season, you can opt for dried. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
What do you love to buy right now? Is it in season?

xxSerena

 

Post workout musings:What wins in a nutritional facts showdown, tofu or chicken? 

I love teaching my Sunday morning Tred n Shred class. Today I had 10 beautiful strong ladies who ran cardio intervals on the treadmill & then high-intensity interval training with appropriate warm-ups and cool downs. 

After class I worked out myself with the skipping rope, kettle ball and treadmill.

I was too tired to cook so I decided on a teriyaki rice bowl with vegetables. But as I walked up to the counter I was faced with a decision. The ponytailed cashier who took my order asked “chicken or tofu?” 

Tan. Tan. Taaaaaa! Decision-making time.

So count the stars as we have a nutrition show-down. Tofu versus chicken:

  
The results, chicken got five stars versus tofu, getting 7 stars. So I chose tofu!

  
It was a great post workout meal. Tofu, veggies and I got a combination of half white and half brown rice.

Do you eat tofu? If you had the choice, what would you choose? No judgment!

Have a great week my lovelies 🙂

xxSerena 

30 day hiit challenge workout with 30 different exercises

This is a good strength conditioning workout in the form of a challenge if you want to start slow. It only requires ONE minute a day for 30 days, except on hiit challenge days. You do one exercise for one minute every day. For 30 days. 

This will accomplish two things: familiarize yourself with strength conditioning exercises making your body stronger and …allowing your body to form the habit of regular exercise. Would four minutes make a difference? Yes. Your body will get stronger after the 30 days.

So if you want to lose fat and gain muscle, maybe try this out:

  
Have you ever participated in an exercise challenge? What benefits do you believe that regular exercise gives? 

Have a great Sunday! 

xxSerena 

A beautiful and nutritious yogurt bowl

Food should look as good as it is nutritious for your body. Choosing the beautiful ripe fruit to add to your yogurt bowl can help make breakfast, snack or any meal more enjoyable.

Yogurt is nutritious on it’s own:

  
Think about eating a rainbow of colors.

 

Eat the rainbow for breakfast. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Choose fruit instead of simple white sugar.

 

Yogurt bowl with fruit. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
The more colorful the more antioxidants, the more nutritious. And consequently, the more delicious.

 

Kiwi fruit. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
How do you make your favorite yogurt bowl?

xxSerena 

Five ways to increase the humidity in your home without a humidifier

It’s very dry where I live and especially during the winter season! Through discussions with my coworkers I’m not the only one who’s suffering from sinus congestion, hangnails, dry skin, dry mouth, chapped lips and bloody noses. Every winter I notice more people with static cling, and an increased need for lip balm and thick moisturizer. Skin gets itchy when it’s dry and lips crack up.

 

Moisturize well so that skin remains soft, especially in the winter. Photography by Serena Alibhai
Why does this happen?

Well, it’s winter where I live and that means that the air around my environment is stripped from moisture. The cold has frozen any puddles, rain turns to snow and leaves on trees are gone. Also, there is no transpiration at night. Usually green grass, leaves, vegetation in general gives off moisture at night, we see this during the summer with morning dew and higher humidity levels.

During the winter, the grass dies and lies under, dormant, a thick layer of ice or snow. So this is why our poor nasal passages, fingers, skin and hair suffers.

I’m actually going to invest in a humidifier this week, but in the meantime, here are my top tips for increasing humidity in your home without a humidifier:

1. Add a houseplant

Plants breathe at night and purify the air by releasing oxygen and using the carbon dioxide we exhale. They also create moisture and release it into the air. When the plant is watered, it releases moisture through its roots to the leaves pores, which will consequently release moisture to the room.

   

Photography by Serena Alibhai
   
Photography by Serena Alibhai
   
2. Dry clothes indoors

As your clothes evaporate, the moisture will release into the surroundings. Also, drying your clothes on a hanger, clothes line or door knob in your laundry room will reduce wear and tear on your delicates, making them last longer.

 

Photography by Rizwan Alvi
3. Use the shower

When you take a shower, if you allow your door to open immediately after, the steam will escape the bathroom and moisture levels in nearby areas will increase considerably.

 

Photography by Rizwan Alvi

4. Boil water

Boil a couple of liters of water with eucalyptus essential oil or tea tree for a pleasant humidifying moisture boost. The oils will also help to guard against colds and is helpful in killing airborne germs.


5. Place water near heat source

A radiator heat in your room can also be used to improve the moisture content in your room. Place a pot or water container near the source of your radiator heat for the water to evaporate; this becomes humidity and effectively moistens the air. Alternatively, try placing a pan containing water on the radiator. Note that you do not have to place the dish of water directly on the heat for the evaporation to occur.

 

Water near a radiator can help to increase humidity. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Do you have problems with a dry environment where you live?

xxSerena