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“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~Carol Welch

Spring is a time when I crave lighter meal options. I also have more energy and motivation to exercise. Even though I exercise all year round, in the springtime the sunshine and warm weather just makes it enjoyable and less of a chore. I don’t really like running, at least not on my own. I get bored, and it hurts my knees for about a week after. The only time I actually somewhat enjoy it is when AK and I go for a run together. It’s a fun way to spend quality time together, exercise, motivate each other to run longer, and explore the area around where we live.

On my own, my two favorite forms of exercise are hot yoga (or bikram) and Zumba.

via: trueyogainc.com

I never liked yoga until I tried hot yoga. The high heat of the room makes you more flexible (which normally I am not), and suddenly able to do any of the yoga positions much more easily (like the crow pose that I could never do in a normal yoga class). The heat also makes it more of a cardio workout, instead of just laying around feeling like you are not really exercising. These classes are more expensive and not offered at typical gyms, but occasionally a Groupon will come along and it is definitely worth a try!

Zumba combines different forms of dance into a really intense, high cardio workout. Anyone can walk into a class and follow along because the moves are simple and highly repetitive. It’s basically an hour of dancing with a bunch of other people (max is 90/class at my gym and it is always full). The music is fun and moves are adapted from different latin forms of dance (i.e. salsa, cha cha, mambo, flamenco, belly dancing, bhambra, samba, reggaeton, and even hip hop). It doesn’t even feel like exercise, but depending on the instructor you can end up feeling quite sore the next day. An instructor can make or break the class, depending how into it they are. I finally just found an instructor that I love at my gym, makes the hour fly by and helps forget that we are working out.

If you haven’t tried any of these, I highly recommend them!

Now onto the food. A delicious post workout meal.

Thanks to some encouragement and reminders from my lovely readers (this blog and this blog), I have decided to take this weekend to finally make this salad from my To-Do list . It is such a great summer fresh and light but filling meal idea. The concept came from this blog, but I decided to put my own spin to it based on what I had at home. It’s difficult to really quantify the amount of each ingredient, I just kind of “eyeballed it,” as Rachel Ray would say.

But first I started with an appetizer/side dish. This is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, Lampy’s. Instead of a regular bread basket they serve bread with a deliciously addicting olive oil, balsamic, garlic-y dip. This is my interpretation of it, created with some amazing Trader Joe’s ingredients.

The bread was half baked and you finish baking it at home, so that it comes out of the oven fresh when you are ready to eat it… genius.

The dip: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute mixture (or any other Mrs. Dash type seasoning mix), and 2 pressed cloves of garlic.

Warning: The dip is amazingly addictive. Make sure to have people to share it with, otherwise your fitness track can be seriously set back after eating a whole loaf of bread alone 🙂

start with lettuce

add the gnocchi

grate the parmesan

add tomatoes

add the basil

add cucumbers and top with more cheese

Warm and Cheesey Gnocchi Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 vine tomatoes
  • chopped cucumber
  • handful fresh basil
  • grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Boil the gnocchi in salted water for about 7-10 minutes; when they pop on top it’s done. Drain and put on the side. Do not over cook!
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar salt, pepper to taste and herbs. Toss the lettuce with a little bit of olive oil and put it in the serving bowl.
  3. Pour the rest of the seasoned olive oil on the gnocchi and stir it lightly.
  4. Place the gnocchi over the salad, followed by the tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and grated cheese.
  5. Toss and enjoy!

What is your absolutely favorite workout? Do you have a favorite post workout meal?

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