Sunday, May 27, 2012

Benefits of Stretching

Top 5 Benefits of Stretching 

There are several benefits of stretching, and stretching needs to be a part of your fitness program.
Stretching, in its most basic form, is a natural and instinctive activity. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity.
As a form of exercise, stretching involves elongating a specific muscle or muscle group to its fullest length.
Here are the top five benefits of stretching:
1. Increases flexibility.
Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. Lack of flexibility causes your movement to become slower and less fluid and makes you more susceptible to muscle strains, ligament sprains and other soft tissue injuries. The most effective way to increase your flexibility is by stretching.
2. Improves circulation.
Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. This increased blood flow brings more nourishment to the muscles and removes more waste byproducts from the muscles. Increased blood flow can also help speed up recovery from muscle and joint injuries.
3. Improves balance and coordination.
The increased flexibility that comes from stretching improves balance and coordination. Improved balance and coordination lowers your risk for falls.
4. Helps alleviate lower back pain.
Stiff and tight muscles in the lower back, hamstrings, buttocks and hips is one of the more common causes of lower back pain. Stretching these muscles will alleviate the pain.
5. Helps improve cardiovascular health.
Recent studies have found that stretching can improve artery function and lower blood pressure.
In conclusion, don't overlook the benefits of stretching. Make sure that stretching is a regular part of your fitness program.

Homemade Chocolate Glazed Cake From Scratch

One Sunday afternoon....
I was craving something chocolaty..maybe a brownie? Chocolate chip cookies? Cupcakes? Ah-ha! That's it! The first thing that came to my mind was chocolate glazed cake. Not your ordinary chocolate cake topped with chocolate glazed made from scratch. Oh, how I love homemade goodies made from scratch :)

What you'll need for chocolate cake:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup soy or low fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Canola Oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8X8 square pan/dish, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a spoon. Make sure it is well mixed together. Add the soy or low fat milk, vanilla, and oil, and again, mix together so that it's really blended together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary
  2. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or so, or until a fork comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely until ready to spread chocolate glaze with a spatula. 
What you'll need for chocolate glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp margarine
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, margarine, milk, and cocoa to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It'll look gloppy, but it's just the bubbles! Remove from heat and stir for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla, stir, and immediately pour onto cake. Glaze dries really quickly, so spread it immediately. If you want you may add any sprinkles at this time. Let this cool for an 1 hour or so, if you can wait that long!
Out of time?
What I did was: I blended all the ingredients in a bowl and waited till the chocolate cake was ready for I can  smooth all the chocolate glaze on top of the cake with a spatula. After I did so, the glaze melted well and it was ready to eat! :)

Oh doesn't it look SO delicious?

 Yes it was...  SO DELICIOUS! Such a decadent chocolate glazed cake it was.

 Check out all that chocolate glaze...to die for!

 I couldn't handle it anymore!...I had to BITE it!

 Check it out! ^ v
 When you make it...leave a comment and tell me how it was! xo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tone It Up Peanut Butter Balls

Mmm! These were so DELICIOUS! After school, when I went home, I checked my e-mail & saw that Tone It Up had sent an e-mail of a Memorial Day dessert recipe! I watched the video on how they made it & I saw the ingredients and directions. So...What do you think was the first thing I did? Yes! You heard me...I went straight to Trador Joes and bought all the ingredients ;)

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (creamy or smooth) (you can also use almond butter!)
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup Diced Apricots
  • 1 cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1 scoop of protein powder ( I used whey protein from Robeks!)
  • Cinnamon to taste :)


  • In medium size pot, on lowest heat- warm up the Honey & Peanut Butter until texture is runny.
  • Mix in Apricots, Nuts and Oats
  • Stir until all ingredients are well coated
  • Cool in fridge for at least 45 minutes
  • Roll into small bite sized balls (about 1 tbs)
  • Enjoy!

 This is how it looked after I kept it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes

 Oh YES they came out delish! :)

 Perfectly shaped peanut butter balls...you can munch on anytime :)

 Almost done shaping them up...

 More of them...

 Of course..I shared them with friends and family! :)
Also, you can put them in your freezer, if you want to save em' for another day..just pop them in your mouth!

Source: toneitup.com

Baked Oatmeal With Berries Recipe

Hey guys! Are you always in rush in the morning for school, work, on a run, etc etc? Well, now you can have your breakfast to go filled with fiber and protein! :D Check out Blogilates.com! She has amazing recipes, food/workout tips, workout videos and everything you can ask for about working out! Anyways, this recipe is from her website and I made it last night! I kind of changed it up--my version of it :)

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup dry oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (I used whey protein powder from Robeks!)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • Small handful of blueberries (I used mixed berries with rasberries & blueberries frozen packed from Trador Joes)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Honey ( I drizzled honey on the baked oatmeal before putting it into the oven & after, on my slice!


  • Set oven to 350F.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a pan and place in oven for 30 min.

This is when I mixed all the ingredients together, then I sprinkled honey :)
All mixed :)

In the oven :)
FINALLY! It is baked :) Time to eat this delicious oatmeal baked pie!
The best thing about this healthy oatmeal baked pie for breakfast, is that it  does not contain sugar!

At last, drizzle your piece of oatmeal pie with HONEY for taste :)

credit: Blogilates.com