Monday Motivation: Find your balance

Balance is not something you find. It's something you create. Fitness and health is a balancing act. Balance allows us to remain successful in our efforts towards our goals. To remain sane and happy in our pursuit. Tipping the scale too much to the fitness side can be just as unsatisfying as tipping it too far the other way. But balance also requires patience and kindness. Trying too hard and too fast to get back into our fitness routine, to change overnight, will cause burnout. You have to have patience. Drowning yourself in guilt for indulging over the weekend will push you off course. You have to be kind to yourself.

Strive each day for balance.

Everyone’s balancing act is different and no one can tell you what ratio of fitness, life, and indulgence is right for you. You have to know yourself, know what makes you happy, to ultimately find YOUR balance. Once you find it you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals and living a healthy, happy life! 💜

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Monday Motivation: Always be improving

compete with who you were yesterday_ironwomandiaries“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine

Today, reflect on how far you’ve come and imagine how far you will go. Be determined. Be focused. Always be growing and improving. You may walk the same road twice, run the same miles, bike the same hills, but always you’ll be in a different place in your life. Every day is different. Every day is a new day to give everything you have, to be your best, to improve on yesterday. You will be stronger than you were yesterday. You will reach your goals. Dare to be your best, to always be improving, and to chase your dreams one mile at a time! 💜

Run happy knees: Do this simple trick

runner on trackKnee pain. It can make for agonizing runs and even stop a runner in their tracks. I’ve talked about my own knee pain before and how wearing a compression sleeve or foam rolling may help. However, according to a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, there may be a simple trick you can do while running to help avoid this pain altogether. (Insert happy dance here! 💃)

So what is this simple trick? Lean forward.
Leaning forward can alleviate pain by reducing the load on your joints. In other words, your knees won’t absorb as much shock from you pounding the pavement (or treadmill).

Perfect the technique: A subtle tweak
To perfect this technique, bend at your hip so that your torso is 7 to 10 degrees farther forward. “When you shift the center mass of your body forward,” comments lead author of the study Dr. Christopher Powers of the University of Southern California, “it reduces the torque at your knee and instead puts the weight into your hips.” He also cautions runners to not overdo it by leaning too far forward. Enlist the help of a friend to watch or video-record you running, to see that you are bending at the hip and not leaning too far forward.

Here’s to run happy knees! 💜

Monday Motivation: Embrace the journey

difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinationsFitness is an ever evolving thing. It ebbs and flows. Some days/weeks/months training is intense and satisfying, while at other times it’s exhausting and displeasing. And, at times, we get caught up in trying to find a “quick fix”, wanting results right now. But reality is, anything worthwhile in life is achieved by hard work, determination, perseverance, sweat and tears. It takes time. It takes hard work. You will fall and you will fail. But you will get back up. You will succeed.

Part of embracing the journey is realizing how far you’ve come to this point. Acknowledge all of the obstacles that have been in your way and that you have overcome. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Avoid negativity. Focus on you and your goals. Accept that there are things you can’t control and focus on improving the ones you can. Forgive yourself and have patience. Tackle each day as it comes and give it your all. Know that you can love your body and still want to change it. Even finishing the race last is an accomplishment—remember that.

Embrace the journey. Without it there is no destination. 💜

Mango, Avocado, & Rice Spring Rolls

Mango, avocado, and shrimp spring rollsWhat’s better than delicious? Because whatever that is, describes just how amazing these spring rolls are. Seriously, I could have eaten EVERY SINGLE ONE! I think you’ll find that these are super easy to make, full of good-for-you fresh ingredients, and an easy recipe to swap or omit the ingredients you don’t like, don’t have, or can’t find.

There are three main keys to follow when making these spring rolls:

  1. Slice your ingredients thin (see image below).
  2. Don’t over-stuff. Doing so will likely cause your rice wrapper to tear, or make it rather difficult to eat.
  3. Roll tightly. Practice makes perfect and it may take you a couple of tries to really get the hang of rolling these. Good thing is, no one is judging you by how they look, just how delicious they taste!
ingredients for mango, avocado, rice spring rolls

Thinly sliced ingredients for spring rolls.

Although I’m calling these ‘mango, avocado, & spring rice rolls,’ don’t be fooled. There are a few other essential ingredients to round out this recipe into a super healthy and flavorful dish.

peanut sauce and rice wrappers

I love this peanut sauce and these spring roll wrappers were perfect, too!

Mango, Avocado, & Rice Spring Rolls
Here’s what you’ll need:

10 spring roll wrappers (approx. 9-in. rounds)
1 cup, packed, baby spinach
1 cup purple flowering kale, stems removed (You may find this particular ingredient hard to find. No worries, though, simply omit it from this recipe.)
½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced (Check out these instructions if you are unsure how best to cut a mango. Unlike these instructions, however, keep your slices thin and long, not thick and cubed.)
1 avocado, pit removed, peeled, and thinly sliced (Check out these instructions if you are unsure how best to cut an avocado.)
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
¾ cup cooked jasmine rice
Spicy peanut dipping sauce: Tsang® Bangkok Peanut Sauce (or another peanut sauce of your choice)

Makes 10 spring rolls

  1. Fill a wide-mouth bowl (or improvise and use a sauté pan!) with warm water. Take one rice paper wrapper and dip it into the water. Let it soak 10-15 seconds or until the rice paper becomes soft and pliable. Remove from water, letting the excess water drip into the bowl, and place on a clean surface or wet tea towel.
  2. Fill the bottom third of the rice paper wrapper with two spinach leaves and flowering kale leaves, one yellow and one orange pepper strip, 1-2 strips of mango and avocado, and two teaspoon sized spoonfuls of jasmine rice. Finish by generously sprinkling cilantro on top of other ingredients.
  3. Fold the bottom of the rice wrapper, up. Then fold in both sides and roll paper tightly, upwards, to form a neat roll shape. Set roll aside.
  4. Repeat process with each rice paper wrapper until you have 10 neatly rolled spring rolls.
  5. Serve immediately alongside spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Another excellent add-in is sautéed shrimp. Lightly sauté 6-7 medium-sized shrimp in olive oil over medium heat. Allow for shrimp to cool slightly before handling.

Có một bữa ăn ngon! (“Have a nice meal” translated in Vietnamese) 💜

Printable recipe

Joe rolling together the mango, avocado, and rice spring rolls

Joe, master spring roll roller.

This recipe is my own, if you repurpose or share this recipe please link to this page and give IronwomanDiaries credit. Thanks!
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.