Will Toned Legs Ever Rule the World?

This whole thigh gap thing has me perplexed. Since when is it “hot” to look emaciated? Go ahead and starve yourself and spend countless hours wasting away on the treadmill so that you can have the “thigh gap” look if that’s what you want…….
But us here at Brave Angel are going to stick with focusing on our health & wellbeing, hard work, determination, and the shorter & more enjoyable workouts that leave you feeling fulfilled, accomplished, energized & strong…and with super trim & very toned legs!

How to get super cut and toned legs for bikini season:

  1. Fuel your body with the necessary amount of calories, no starving & no binging!
  2. Follow a macro-balanced whole foods diet
  3. Exercise 4-5 days per week for at least 30-45 minutes
  4. Be consistent with #1, #2, and #3 above, consistency is key!
  5. Include below leg exercises in part of your weekly routine

Obviously, it is a little more involved than the five steps above. But each action mentioned above is a whole post in and of itself. Steps #1, #2 & #3 will be included in a complete bikini season exercise & diet plan that we are currently putting together for all of you! I will be posting the plan soon, here on my blog, for all of my followers. So stay tuned (and make sure you click “follow” on my blog)!

Until then, get active! Include the below trim & toned legs workout to uncover those sleek and sculpted legs that lie underneath any extra layers of excess weight you may have accumulated over the winter months!

Super Cut & Toned Legs Workout:

Strength: Do 2-3 rounds of the 10 exercises below w/minimal rest in between.

  1. Walking Lunges (10 reps/leg)
  2. Alternating Hip Lift Bridge [30 pulses total]
  3. Jump Squats [10 reps]
  4. Split Squats [10 reps/leg]
  5. Elevated 1-Leg Hip Lift [10 reps/leg]
  6. Fire Hydrant Side Kicks [20 reps/leg]
  7. Pike Jumps [20 jumps]
  8. Step Ups [10 reps/leg]
  9. Lunge Jumps [20 switch jumps]
  10. Plank Jacks [30 reps]

 

 

 

Cardio: Now hop on the treadmill or stair climber and do the following interval workout for eight minutes.

  • 10 seconds at a Moderately Challenging Pace (Active Rest Interval)
  • 20 seconds at your Max Pace (High Intensity Interval)
  • Alternate between the Active Rest Interval and High Intensity Interval for 8 minutes

Now cool down and congratulate yourself on completing a challenging workout. You’re one step closer to achieving your fitness goals!

Yours Truly,

Brave Angel

Push Ups & Cupcakes!

Here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., we are having a snow storm and most offices are closed! So that means a lot of people get to stay home from work and snuggle by the fire and watch movies all day….
The first thing to think about is that you now have ALL day to get in a great workout. AND you should really reward yourself by cooking up (and eating!) these amazing cupcakes. They are so delicious and perfect to pack in your lunch bag as an afternoon snack. If you’re like most people, during a workday you probably experience a dip in energy around 2:00 – 3:00 pm…right? Perfect time to eat a cupcake than, right?

So here is the plan:

  1. Do the workout routine (see below).
  2. Then eat a cupcake (recipe below).

That’s all you need to do today. Pretty simple, right?

“How Low Can You Go?” Workout:

Tone up your legs, arms and abs with this simple home workout routine! For each move, the lower you can go, the better. Challenge yourself! Visualize your goals, put on some motivational tunes and rip this workout routine a new you know what! Do 5 rounds of each circuit. Give yourself 10 seconds between each exercise move. Give yourself 30 seconds between each round & circuit. Do 10 – 15 reps per move.

Circuit A: *Do 5 rounds, 10 secs rest between moves, 30 secs rest between rounds

  1. Push Ups (on knees or toes)
  2. Prisoner Squats (add jumps to step up intensity)
  3. Knee Tucks

*30 secs rest before moving onto Circuit B.

Circuit B: *Do 5 rounds, 10 secs rest between moves, 30 secs rest between rounds

  1. Dips
  2. Walking Lunges (20 reps total)
  3. Leg Raises

*30 secs rest before moving onto Circuit C.

Circuit C: *5 rounds, 10 secs rest between moves, 30 secs rest between rounds

  1. Elbow Plank to Push Up Plank
  2. Split Squats (10 reps/leg; elevate foot to intensify)
  3. Mountain Climbers (20 switches total)

Good Job, You’re Done! Now go eat a cupcake!

Almond Butter Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 350˚. Whip up the cupcake batter below. And bake away! These muffins are nutrient packed, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, grain-free and a perfect post or pre-workout snack! Measurements may vary according to your taste and preference, so have fun with it and tweak the recipe as you like!

Cupcake batter: Prep time is 15 minutes and recipe yields 9-12 cupcakes

  • ½ – ¾ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 -7 eggs
  • ½ – ¾ cup coconut milk (add at end)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melt in microwaveable bowl first)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 10 scoops pure stevia extract powder (taste test as you go, start with 6-8 scoops and add as you taste test batter)
  • 1 teaspoon dolloped on top of cupcake once batter added to cupcake tins *optional (before baking)
  • Almond butter ‘icing’ – once cupcakes are baked, take a tablespoon of almond butter and spread on top of cupcake as ‘icing’

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350˚, spray a cupcake tray with cooking oil, and get out your muffin tins (I use silicone tins, they’re awesome!).

  1. Combine the coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in a bowl and blend well.
  3. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Slowly add coconut milk until reaching a cupcake consistency and thickness (should be like pancake batter).
  4. Now add 6-8 scoops of pure stevia extract powder (very potent, so I mean the very tiny scooper that comes in your pure stevia extract powder bottle).
    1. Taste the batter, and if you want to increase the sweetness, add a scoop or two more.
    2. Once batter is ready, fill each of your muffin tins about 90% full with the batter.
      1. Dollop a teaspoon of almond butter on top of a few muffins for some fun and variety!
      2. Put muffins in middle rack of oven for about 20-25 minutes.
      3. Cool and frost with almond butter! Yum!

W.O.W. Week 2 – RawFitnessChallenge!

Time for a new W.O.W. (workout of the week)!
This week we will be doing a ‘Time & Rep Challenge’. Again, focus on form first, endurance & strength will follow as you improve in fitness. You will perform the below exercises in a circuit fashion, perform the given # of reps for each move, then move onto the next move until you finish the whole circuit. Then do a 2nd and/or 3rd round. Your goal is to see how many rounds you can complete in 30 – 45 minutes. You choose the how long you want to push yourself for. If you’re a beginner, aim for 20-30 minutes. If you’re advanced, go for the whole 45 minutes. Or you can even up the intensity and just do 30 minutes! It’s up to you and your goals!

‘Time & Rep Challenge’: Warm up for 5 – 10 minutes.

  1. Split Squats 30R/Leg
  2. Pike Press 30R
  3. Donkey Kicks 50R/Leg
  4. Dips (Off chair, Dip station, 1-Leg, you choose) 40R
  5. 1-Leg Deadlifts 20R/Leg
  6. Reptile Push Up 10R
  7. Plie Squat Pulse 40R
  8. Bicycle 30R (2 twists = 1Rep)
  9. Double Straight Leg Circles 10R/Way (Lie w/back on ground for beginners)
  10. Toe Touches 30R

Cardio: Do 10-20 minutes of high intensity intervals on treadmill, elliptical, arc trainer, outdoor jog, bicycle, spin bike, etc.

  • Do 30 seconds at a 6-out-of-10 exertion level. (Active Recovery Interval)
  • Do 30 seconds at a 8/9-out-of-10 exertion level. (Effort Interval)
  • Alternate between these two exertion levels for 10-20 minutes.

Cool Down and pat yourself on the back! Good Work!

Click on the exercise to be taken to a youtube video showing the exercise move if you aren’t familiar with what the exercise is. Make sure to have a nice big bottle of water nearby and write down how many reps, the weight you use, and how many rounds you get done. Then post your results on our 30 Day RawFitnessChallenge Facebook Page! Keep a journal of your workout results so you can track your progress!

M.O.W. (Meal of the Week): Perfect light meal that you can cook up on the grill! Sweet potato rounds are my ‘go-to’ when I’m hitting upGrilled Sweet Potatoes with Maple Vinaigrette a cookout. Everyone is throwing on their greasy, artery clogging burgers and hot dogs…meanwhile my sweet potato rounds are grillin’ up and are absolutely satisfying and tasty! Serve w/a side of raw vegan zucchini pasta that you can make ahead of time and bring with you to your cookouts. All the other guests will be jealous of your yummy plate of food!

 Raw vegan Zucchini pasta Raw Vegan Zucchini Pasta

Grilled Sweet Potato Rounds

 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. What I write in my blogposts is simply information that I have gathered over the years from reading and researching several health related topics from credible resources as well as personal experiences. I urge you to consult with a physician before changing your diet. The purpose of my blogposts are to share my experiences and fitness knowledge with everyone I possibly can to help others in their journey to improve their state of well-being.

Tushy Toner & Strawberry Orange Mint Cream Smoothie

I tested out a recipe last night, there are some tweaks that I’ll have to make but it is actually a perfect light energy snack to have on hand during this heat wave we are experiencing here in Baltimore. It’s called socca bread and is made from chickpea flour/water/salt and what ever flavoring (sweet or savory) that you add to it is up to you. Chickpea flour is just finely ground up chickpeas (that have been soaked/sprouted/or not soaked/sprouted, this is your preference and I’ll be experimenting with the two options). So I had a ton of leftover cooked chickpea that I didn’t want to go to waste, so I used them. The original recipe for socca bread does not involve cooked chickpea, it is chickpea flour. But I figured, what the hey!
Socca Bread: My ‘Test’ which will need adjustment

  1. 1.5-2C Cooked Chickpeas
  2. 1-2 tsp salt
  3. 1-2 TBSP Agave
  4. 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp cinammon
  6. 2 tbsp almond nut cheese
  7. 2-3 tbsp water
  8. 375F for 15-30 minutes in square coconut oiled pan

Place all ingredients in blender of food processor and blend until combined. Then put in a 8X8 baking pan and throw in the oven on 375F for 20-30 minutes. Turned out light, a tad sweet and delish! I will need to tweak though because it crumbles easily and I want it to stay together. Maybe arrowroot powder or something else, I will update you when I figure it out!

On to the workout…

I woke up ready to tear up some legs and core exercises down at a park near my house with my TRX and straight up body weight moves. I tuned my bike up yesterday so I hopped on my bike, brought my backpack with my workout gear (TRX, phone for music, exercise journal, water) and hit the road for a pre-workout quick bike ride which was perfect warm-up, took me about 7 minutes to get to the park.

Then I did the fabulous workout below baking under the warm morning sun.

Tushy Toner Workout:

Do each exercise for given # of reps and sets. Then move onto next exercise. Complete workout one time through or if you’re really feelin’ it that day, go for 2 rounds!

  1. Pistol Squat (10R/Leg; 2 Sets) (Hold out 1 leg straight while you squat all the way down then back up on other leg, I used TRX for a bit of assistance on way back up)
  2. TRX Reverse Lunge (10R/Leg; 3 Sets) (Make TRX into 1 Foot Strap, place foot in foot strap, hop forward on other leg so you about 4 feet away from anchor point, squat down on leg as you reach foot that is in foot strap back OR do same motion resting one foot on stability ball) (OR do a reverse lunge)
  3. TRX Ham Curls (10 Reps; 3 Sets) (Lie on back facing TRX w/both feet in foot straps, raise hips up, curl feet into butt-back out-then lower hips down OR do same motion w/heels on stability ball) (OR Lie on back, place both heels up on edge of chair, raise hips up and down)
  4. TRX Jump Squat (10 Reps; 5 Sets) (Facing TRX holding handles lightly, feet wide and plie/toes point out, squat all the way down then power up and jump up OR do same motion without holding TRX handles)
  5. TRX Knee Tucks (10 Reps; 5 Sets) (Do plank w/feet in TRX foot straps OR on stability ball, from plank you tuck both knees up to chest and back out) (OR do plank and hop both feet up to hands and back out)
  6. Burpee minus push up (10 Reps; 3 Sets) (From standing, squat down, place hands on ground, jump feet out to plank, jump feet back in, stand up/power up/jump up, repeat)
  7. Shoulder Taps Feet Elevated (20 Taps Alternating; 3 Sets) (Get into plank w/feet in TRX foot straps, on a stability ball or elevated on chair, contract core & right arm as you tap right shoulder w/left hand, repeat w/right hand tapping left shoulder, do 20 reps)
  8. V-Up Knee Tuck Reach High (10 Reps; 2 Sets) (Lie on back, hands at sides, raise upper body up and tuck knees up to chest as you come up into V shape w/body and reach hands up to sky, lower back down)
  9. Side Plank Reach Unders (10 Reps/Side; 1 Set) (Get into side plank on left hand w/feet in TRX OR on stability ball OR elevated on chair, take right hand and twist torso as you reach under left side, do 10 Reps/side)
  10. Side Lift Splits (10 Reps/Side; 1 Set) (Lie on Left Side, split legs pressing feet up against a wall, press left hand into ground right under left shoulder and raise hips up off ground and lower back down, do 10 Reps/Side)

Then I biked back home taking a longer route that included a BIG hill, so biking for just a total of 15 minutes but with intensity! DONE! ENJOY!

After my workout I continued to be quite active. Took my pup for a long walk, hit up the organic market for some goodies, played baseball with my boyfriend and then I needed to cool off from the 90 degree heat with a tasty and refreshing Strawberry Orange Mint Cream Smoothie (VEGAN)!

Strawberry Orange Mint Cream:

  1. 8 Frozen Strawberries
  2. 8 Sprigs Fresh Mint
  3. 6 TBSP Fresh Almond Milk
  4. 1/2 Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  5. 1 TBSP Lacuma Powder
  6. 2 Shakes Stevia/Agave/Brown Rice Syrup
  7. 1 TBSP Shredded Coconut
  8. Ice to desired thickness
  9. BLEND!

As you can see, I had already taken a big gulp of the smoothie before taking the picture! It was just too good to wait! Perfect treat to chill off and cool down from one fabulous Sunday!

Health & Happiness,

Nat

Strength & Tone, Cardio All-in-One! Time Challenge – “The 10’s”

Okay I did this workout in exactly 40 minutes. I pushed really hard and gave each and every exercise movement my best, that’s all that counts! I call it “The 10’s” because every exercise you aim to do 10 reps. It is a circuit type workout routine. Good luck!!

Part 1: Upper Body

Do 10 sets of: 10 Mountain Climber Hops + 10 Push ups…(so, you do 10R these 2 exercises 10 times)
(Each time I changed up the type of push ups, I did standard, wide fly and military push ups. Do push ups on your knees if necessary.)

Part 2: Core

Set 1- 10R Russian Twist (I did with feet elevated and with a 20 LB. KB, 1 twist each way = 1 rep) + 10R Lying Leg Raises
Set 2- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Lying Straight-leg Circles in each direction
Set 3- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Side Crunch/Side
Set 4- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Side-Side Pike Jumps (Start in downward dog position, hop both feet side-side as if you were jumping from one side of yoga mat to other (yoga mat width, not length)
Set 5- 10R Russian Twist + 10R V-Up Toes + Knees (Lying down w/hands overhead, take big breath in and bring hands overhead as you raise your upper body up and legs up straight at same time, reach to toes, than lower down a bit, than reach back up to knees, than lower all the way down to starting position)
Set 6- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Leg Raises
Set 7- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Bicycle Pedal Fwd/10R Bicycle Pedal Bkwd (1 pedal w/each leg = 1 Rep)
Set 8- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Lying Straight Leg Circles/direction
Set 9- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Side Crunch/Side
Set 10- 10R Russian Twist + 10R Side-Side Pike Jumps

Part 3: Lower Body

Do 10 Jump Squats before doing each exercise below.
Set 1: 10 Jump Squats + 10 Squat Thrusts (Get into plank position, jump both feet toward hands as you tuck knees to chest, jump feet back out to plank position = 1 rep)
Set 2: 10 Jump Squats + 10 ‘Skaters’/leg (Balance on 1 leg, as you reach forward with hand, squat down on leg you are balancing on and extend other leg backward, I call it doin’ the Apollo Ohno)
Set 3: 10 Jump Squats + 10R Side Lunge Jumps (Squat down on right leg and reach hands to right foot, extend left leg out to left until it is straight. Power up on right leg and hop right leg out to right as you squat down on left leg. One hop on each leg = 1 rep.)
Set 4: 10 Jump Squats + 10R Jump Kicks/leg (‘Karate kid style’ kicks, start by raising left knee hip level as you balance on right leg, jump off right foot as you kick up right leg and land on left foot. Do this 10 times with right leg kick, then 10 with left leg kick.)
Set 5: 10 Jump Squats + 10 (1-Leg) Squat Jumps/leg (Squat down on 1-leg, tap your knee or shin, then power up and hop up.)
Set 6: 10 Jump Squats + 10 Step Ups/leg (Kneel down on right knee on mat, press left heel into floor to raise up to standing, return to kneeling on right knee, do 10 times kneeling on right knee, then 10 times with left.)
Set 7: 10 Jump Squats + 10R Side Chair Step Ups/leg (Place foot on sturdy seat of a chair standing off to side of chair and facing back of chair, press heel into chair to come all the way up to standing on top of chair, return to start, do 10R/leg.)
Set 8: 10 Jump Squats + 10R 1-Leg Hip Lifts (I did these w/my heel on chair, lie on back place right heel on edge of seat of chair, raise left leg straight up toes pointing to ceiling, raise hips up as high as possible reaching left toes to ceiling, do 10 reps/leg.)
Set 9: 10 Jump Squats + 10 1-Leg Squat – Deadlift w/Shin tap/leg (Balance on right leg, extend left leg straight out in front of you, squat down on right leg and reach to left shin, straighten out right leg to standing, then squat on right leg again with left leg bent and tap right knee, return to standing. This = 1 rep. Do 10 reps total per each leg.)
Set 10: 10 Jump Squats + 10 Donkey Kicks w/Lateral Leg Raise/Leg (On all fours on floor, kick right heel back and up until leg fully extended, then keep leg straight as you bring it around to be in line with your hip, than reverse entire movement, this = 1 rep, do 10 reps per leg.

DONE! You made it. Time yourself and challenge yourself to first of all finish the workout, but then time-after-time, finish the workout faster and with the best form possible! Good Work!!

Best, Nat:)

Beach Bod Workout

Part 1: Perform 2 rounds. “Max out” on each exercise (go until fatigued) in 45 – 60 seconds. (I put which muscle groups the exercise works next to the movement. C=Cardio, S=Strength)1. Low Hop Squats (Quads, Hams, C, S)
2. Squat Thrust, Push Up, Jump Up (Upper Body, C)
3. 1-Arm Side Hip Lift (R) (Hams, Thighs, S)
4. 1-Arm Side Hip Lift (L) (Hams, Thighs, S)
5. Elbow Plank Hops (Core, C)
6. Step Out Squats (R) (Hams, Thighs, S)
7. Step Out Squats(L) (Hams, Thighs, S)
8. Reptile Push Ups (Upper Body, Core, S)
9. Dips w/Kick Ups (Upper Body, Core, S)
10. Airplane Bike Twists (Core, S)
11. Dive Bombers (Upper Body, S)
—-
Part 2: Perform each exercise twice for 20 seconds of effort and 10 seconds of rest between exercises.
1. Mountain Climbers (Core, C)
2. Supermans (Back, C, S)
3. Sumo Jump Squats (Hams, Thighs, C)
4. V Knee-Chest Tucks (Core, C, S)

-Nat-

Body Blast Cardio 340 Rep Challenge

Get ready to burn some calories and build your strength with this body weight workout! This is a great beginner to intermediate level body weight exercise routine that you can do in a small space at home! Try to complete the given number of reps for each exercise as quickly as possible with good form and write down the time it takes you to complete this workout. Next time you do this workout, you can try to beat your previous time. This workout is great to get your heart rate up and to do in between intense resistance training days.
Perform 2 Rounds of the following circuit:
1. Burpees 10 reps
2. Rotational DL’s (right) 15 reps
3. Rotational DL’s (left) 15 reps
4. Plank Side Toe Taps 15 reps
5. Hip Raise Leg Lifts (right) 20 reps
6. Hip Raise Leg Lifts (left) 20 reps
7. Push Ups feet elevated 15 reps
8. Prisoner Twists 20 reps
9. Mountain Climbers 30 reps
10. Dynamic Jump Squats 15 reps
*Time challenge: complete workout as fast as possible w/good form!

Let me know how you do!


-Nat