Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hourglass Extreme - My New Workout

I have been working on writing my own lifting program for the past 4 or 5 months and it feels SO GOOD to finally be ready to tell you about it!

I love this workout, obviously, I wrote it. But I have seen some pretty amazing results in my shape and strength from it, which is probably what excites me the most. I want to shout from the rooftops, "It works, it works!" Haha! Seriously, I am stronger than I ever have been and look better than ever too.

Above photos all shared on the Venus Coaches IG page - follow us there!

About Hourglass Extreme:

  • It has 48 different workouts - written to be done 4 days a week for 12 weeks. 
  • The program is advanced, I would advise that the lifter has been in the gym for at least 6 months. If you are a Venus Index client, you will have done the basic Venus Factor 12 week program and then perhaps another 12 weeks of Venus Circuits or Final Phase. 
  • The workout uses a mix of equipment- dumbbells, barbell, bands, cable, ab wheel, and stability ball.
  • Each workout has a different focus, designed to hammer that part for optimal hypertrophy, rotating through shoulders, legs, arms, back, chest/calves, and back.
  • Each workout rotates though a personal record (PR) lift so that you can actively monitor and progress in strength gains- row, squat, shoulder press, hip thrust, chin up, and deadlift.
  • Each workout has unusual but effective ab and glute work.

So all the behind the scenes stuff if not quite done yet, guessing a few weeks out from the official launch; which, of course, you will be the first to know about. But as a gesture of my love to you, here is a preview of a workout you can try this week at the gym!

X- Liss

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tequila Lime Pork Stew

Well, here is ANOTHER way to redo leftover Crockpot Pork Butt :)

This is actually one of my sister-in-law's recipes; she happens to be a fabulous cook! I took this and redid it with what I have on hand. As I said in my last post, I do 3X the amount of pork that I need. Then I can create another meal with the pork. Check out the base recipe here -

Tequila Lime Pork Stew

Serves 8

1 onion, diced
1 can rotel
2 corn on the cobs, only kernels removed with knife
1.5 lbs  Crockpot Pork Butt, shredded
0.5 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
0.5 tsp paprika
0.5 tsp chili powder
0.5 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp red pepper flake
4 cloves garlic,
0.5 cup tequila
0.5 chicken stock
1 lime, zest and juice
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

8 small red potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
0.5 tsp pepper
pinch paprika

Directions: Heat oven to 450 *F. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread onto a cookie sheet and roast for 45 min,

In a large skillet, saucepan, or dutch oven over high heat- place onion, can of rotel, and corn kernels stirring until onions are soft and translucent. Deglaze pan with tequila. Add in chicken stock, pork, and spices. Stew over medium heat until potatoes are ready.

To serve, place quartered potato in bowl and top with pork stew. Enjoy :)

Made some BBQ chicken for lunches this week too!

Nutritional Stats per Serving

1/8 stew and 1 potato

450 cals
19.8 g fat
36.8 g carbs
24.8 g protein

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Crockpot Pork Butt and Pullovers

This recipe is the base for SO many wonderful recipes. I cannot wait to share. But first here is a new video from my YouTube channel:
A few tips on pullovers:
1) your lats (back) and abs should drive the motion
2) this exercise is for anyone who has "greyhoundish" ribs and upper abs as it works the serratus 

So now to the recipe.... This recipe is a base from which I make 3X what I need. I buy a 15 lbs pork butt from Sam's club and then I cut in half so that I am doing 7.5 lbs each batch. I freeze the other half until I need it.
  •  First meal is just meat with whatever veggies and carbs I decide on. I usually do slaw and some sort of potato.
  • Second meal is nachos made with the pulled pork and cheese in the oven until melted. I make the chips from fresh corn tortillas and bake them crisp first. I like mine with lots of extra lettuce. It would also be good with mini bell peppers halved as your "chips"! We set out salsa, avocado chunks, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), and lettuce for toppings.
  • Third meal is taquitos made with the pulled pork. I just chop down the pork finely and then roll it up in a corn tortilla and bake until crisp, 425F for 25 minutes or so. Again, I like mine with lots of lettuce when we eat. We like to dip these in salsa or sour cream.

Crockpot Pork Butt

7.5 lbs raw = Serves 30 - 4 oz servings

1 bottle marinade (I really like Red Creek Marinade right now, but I have used many others)
7.5 lbs pork butt
large 8 qt crockpot

In the crock, place the pork butt then pour half a bottle of meat marinade over the top. Cook on high 8-10 hours. Shred and enjoy!

Ugliest taquitos ever LOL they should be round! I swear the one night I take a pics, they do not cooperate!

Nutrition Facts

Per 4 oz serving of pork butt

304 cals
21.3 g fat
0 g carbs
26.7 g protein

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PHOTO Comparison- is weight the best tool to measure progress?

The photo on the left was taken in May 2012 before I started training with Venus Index and the right photo was taken yesterday. 

I weigh 155 lbs in both these pictures. Weight is not always the end all be all of fitness. 

3 years of regular weight training and consistent nutrition focus separate these pictures. Both of which I learned from Venus.

For the past year, I have been living with my maintenance range high end (1 inch up from ideal) at my "before" weight. Talk about a mental trip, I felt like I was back sliding. You see, during my initial 12 week transformation, I lost 15 pounds to get to Venus ideal metrics (about 140 lbs). Another year of training after that, I was hitting Venus ideal metrics five pounds up from there (about 145 lbs). Last year and up until now, I have been hitting Venus ideal metrics about nine pounds up from there (about 149 lbs). As a side note, I have a shoot in 8 weeks which I am cutting down to Venus ideal metrics for. I plan to compare each year of progress side by side, should be interesting!

Take home message

I get lots of clients whose only focus is the scale. I say look then metrics trumps the scale- all day long.

Nobody looks at you and thinks "She weighs X lbs." They see a look. Which correlates better to a metric.

At the same weight now- my shoulders are 1" bigger. My waist is 2" smaller. My hips are 1.5" smaller. I dropped 3 dress sizes. My look is completely different. Same weight.

Point of the story is that I am after a LOOK which a DEXA cannot tell you... which metrics cannot tell you even exactly.... which obviously the scale cannot tell you. Focus on FRIGGIN pics!!! All along I had the right answer and I kept thinking it was in my head! So ....

LOOK > Metrics > DXA > scale

That is the deal ^^^^^^^^ never forget it. Learn from me!

X- Liss

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Microwave Protein Brownie Mugcake and Full Body Travel Workout

We are on a little weekend get away. I have always struggled with rest. It SOUNDS great, don't get me wrong. But I cannot sit still for the life of me. I am always going and doing, But, we ALL need rest. To be able to care for others, we cannot give from an empty vessel. So I took a rest day yesterday.

This morning, I had an awesome workout with nothing but a chair and a band I packed in my bag. A girl could get used to this deck, the mountains, and the pines!

Anyways, this past week or two I have been craving CHOCOLATE and BROWNIES!!! But I am trying to get ready for a beach vacation and shoot on the beach (because the other shoot never happened LOL) And this recipe has HIT the spot. It is REALLY close to a brownie, easy to make, and nutrition is ON the money!

Microwave Protein Brownie Mugcake

serves 1

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey in Extreme Milk Chocolate)
1 tbsp cocoa (I liked dark chocolate cocoa)
1 tbsp sweetener
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg white
2 tbsp nonfat milk
*optional 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips* add 70 cals, 4.5 g fat, 9.0 g carbs, 1.0 g protein (add to recipe total below)

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in a large mug sprayed with nonstick spray then mix in wet ingredients until blended. Mix in chocolate chips if desired. Microwave on high for approximately 1 minute until cooked. I like a little wet on the bottom edges still. Enjoy!

Nutritional stats per serving

1 serving

172 cals
2.3 g fat
13.7 g carbs
2.0 g fiber
26.7 g protein

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Zucchini Taco Boats

We are rolling in tomatoes and zucchini from the garden, so I was looking for some new ways to use them up! And here is this recipe to the rescue!

I made these yesterday as a test recipe on my kids and in-law's, as I was not really sure whether I would like them or not! 

I was happily surprised though, we all liked them a lot. My son ate a whole boat, and said it was good! 

I can see doing these with an Asian or Italian flare too, and maybe even little meatloaf boats?  Note to self, need to try all these ideas ;) next test time!

Zucchini Taco Boats

Serves 4

4 medium (32 ounces) zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup mild salsa
1 lb 90% lean ground beef (can sub ground turkey too)
2 tbsp taco seasoning (here is the recipe to make your own)
2 large tomatoes, diced (can sub 1/2 cup tomato sauce)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Half zucchinis, lengthwise, and microwave for 5 minutes or until tender enough to hollow easily.

Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. (Freeze or refrigerate the zucchini left for zucchini bread or pasta sauce)

Brown beef in a large skillet, breaking up while it cooks. Add the taco seasoning and diced tomatoes then mix well. Stir and cover, simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the taco meat equally, about 1/3 cup in each, pressing firmly. Top each with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. Bake 10 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through. Serve with salsa on the side.

Nutritional stats per serving

For 1/2 of recipe or 2 zucchini boats

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 362
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g29 %
Saturated Fat 8 g40 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 88 mg29 %
Sodium 533 mg22 %
Potassium 1198 mg34 %
Total Carbohydrate 18 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g23 %
Sugars 12 g
Protein 33 g65 %
Vitamin A41 %
Vitamin C125 %
Calcium18 %

*Note you can sub in 93% lean turkey meat and cut almost 100 cals per serving off! I just do not keep that stocked and the family prefers beef (Texas thing haha)! Which variation should I try next? Italian, Asian, or meatloaf boats?

X- Liss

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tips to Improve your Push Up and Stability Ball Rollout

Want to know the fastest way to improve your form in the gym? Film yourself. Yep *raises hand* I never knew I had some form issues until I started making videos for this blog LOL I looked fine to me in the mirror. But you cannot watch your way all the way through the movement on some exercises. So I am, as always, a work in progress. I have been intensely working on my push-up form as of late. Here are a few tips I have gleaned:

Push Up Form Tips

* Flex your quads, glutes, and abs so that your body will stay in a fixed plank form all the way up and down. This is harder than it sounds! I am still working on it! 

*reset from the floor each rep until your get your form perfect. Then move back to resetting after 2 reps, then 3, etc...

*keep your hands at your shoulders and tuck in those elbows. Lots of people set their hands too wide and flare out their elbows (myself formerly included!) 

(gasp! My face... and not in gym clothes ;) haha!)

3 quick tips on doing a stability ball rollout

1. Breathe (exhale as you go out, inhale as you come in)
2. Engage your abs not your back (your back likes to take over, don't let it)

3. Stop your rollout before your back starts to arch (keep a neutral spine)

Various clips of my workout the other morning! 

Back, glutes, and abs!

- prone rear delt raise
-reverse hyperextensions 
-swiss ball Crunches
-seated banded hip abductions

Prone rear delt raises are a newer exercise for me! Amazing for back and shoulder work. Go lighter so you can really squeeze!

Ignore my gym that is a hot mess, should be all done soon!

What kind of video would you like to see me do?
X- Liss