Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cute MIRABrand Food Storage Ideas & Giveaway

Since I often pack my own meals, I go through tupperware like it's going out of style. Besides the fact I tend to hoard storage containers, often washing and rinsing used cottage cheese and yogurt tubs, I find it extremely helpful to organize my food this way. 

That's why I'm so excited to share with you these adorable little containers by MIRA brand. When asked to review this product, I thought to myself, Sure, I can always use more tupperware. What I didn't expect was for them to be so stinkin' cute!

Other reasons I like these containers include:
  • They are made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel
  • The lids are non-toxic, made of LDPE number 4 plastic
  • They are BPA-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free and Lead-free (Yay for free!)
  •  They are completely washable and reusable
  • They help you to control your portion sizes
To be honest, when I first saw how small the containers were, I thought, What am I going to put in here? And after that, I thought, Dang, do I eat really big portions or are these just really small?

Yes, they are small containers, but they have served me well in the past week:

  • Vitamins on-the-go
  • Protein powder
  • Pre-workout powder
  • Salad dressing
I can think of many other ways to use these little containers too, like:
  • Hummus
  • Perfectly-portioned nuts
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Small snacks for kids
Be sure to leave a comment below and/or tweet this article out with my handle in the tweet (@amberdobecka) for your chance to win your own pair of super-cute containers.

Also, I just wanted to update you on my workout plans for the next couple of months. I've started doing more lifting and even more HIIT cardio training. HIIT cardio includes high intensity interval training, of which most of you know I'm a huge fan. 

Look out for more posts on workouts and other fitness inspiration to come.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Work Your Body with Only Your Body

CC Photo by David Joyce
Who said you have to have tons of exercise equipment to get a full body workout? Some days I do not feel like going to the gym, or some days, my schedule simply does not allow me to make it there. On those days, I often do my own workout either at home or outside. I'll often cram these workouts into my schedule early in the mornings before I go to work or take a break from my office on my lunch break.

You can do this too. Focusing on a workout outside of the gym forces you to get creative, especially if you don't want to run or bike. One of my favorite ways to achieve a full body workout, including strength and cardio exercises, is to grab my weight-lifting gloves (to protect the skin on my hands), a water bottle and my iPhone (or other music).

Believe it or not, that's all you need to make sure you get a complete workout in 30-45 minutes. Okay, maybe a good attitude too.

I like to break my body-weight workouts down to 4-6 phases depending on the number of activities I do in each phase. I always include cardio in each phase, and usually a hi/lo activity in each phase, so that I can easily keep my heart rate up, working anaerobically.

Also, note that it's better to warm up with the specific exercises you'll be doing in each phase rather than static stretching (what you should do post-workout) or aerobic activities (like walking on a treadmill, which is also good post-strength-workout). 

Long-form stretching actually puts your muscles at rest, and you don't want your muscles to be in a state of rest right before you start your workouts. Aerobic cardio will actually deplete your energy levels of all the quick energy sources you have available (like carbohydrates and sugar), which are best used anaerobically through quick, fast-twitch moves (see below). That's why it's important to do your strength training before your long-form cardio, so that your body will be depleted of it's anaerobic energy sources and be prepped for fat-burning energy. It all works out!

When completing a body-weight workout, I'd suggest finding a park or even a shopping center where you have various terrain. I always look for a place that has a good spot for me to do sprints, walking lunges, a wall or bench for step-up's, etc. You may even have all these things in your back yard. Think outside of the box, and don't be afraid of what people will think.

If people watch you, and they will, it's most likely because they are thinking, "Dang, they're really working it!"


  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 25 push-ups (on knees if you need to)
  • 20 squats
  • 20 alternating lunges
  • 25 tricep dips

Phase 1:

  • walking lunges (alternating each leg) down a path
  • sprint back
  • 25 push-ups
  • 25 mountain climbers
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Phase 2: 

  • 30 alternating step-ups (find a bench or a wall or a ledge that comes to at least your knees)
  • 50 plie squats (alternate lifting heels off ground for extra burn)
  • 20 inch worms (walk hands out into a bridge, then walk feet up to meet your hands in a pike)
  • Jog a loop for 2-3 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Phase 3:

  • reverse walking lunges (alternating each leg) down a path
  • sprint back
  • 20 burpees (squat down, jump your legs out into a bridge, quickly bring them back in and jump up)
  • 50 bicycle crunches
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Phase 4:

  • 30 scissor lunges (right lunge, jump, left lunge)
  • 20 bridge-to-planks (start in a push-up position or bridge, drop to your elbows, one arm at a time, and then push back up)
  • 50 ski jumps (like jump roping but side-to-side)
  • 15 v-ups 
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Cool Down:

  • jog or walk for 5 minutes
  • stretch
  • breathe
Feel free to take this as a guide to your own workout. You can always reduce the number of reps you do, or even go through just a couple of phases. Adapt this workout to your own personal needs, and you'll be on your way to achieving your weight loss goals. Or, you'll have a new workout to spice up your exercise routine. If you're like me, I'm always looking for new ways to get movin' and groovin'. :)
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