Archives for June 2014

Why PiYO?

As some of you may know, last weekend I was in Las Vegas for the annual Team Beachbody Coach Summit. It was my first time attending since I signed up as a coach, almost exactly one year ago! It was an amazing experience to be among so many like-minded individuals; coming together for a common purpose. And to be completely and totally honest, I was attending to see if I still wanted to be a Beachbody Coach.

On the outside many people see that I’m currently chasing my dream of helping people lead THEIR best lives. But living it and seeing it from the outside are two completely different things, as it is with anything. I’ve been feeling a little lost with almost too many directions and paths to choose from. It is pretty paralyzing somedays. I’m in no way complaining about the good fortune and choices I have at my disposal, it merely makes the day by day less predictable, than say, for someone with set job hours. I’ve been pondering my next direction in life a lot… how badly do I want to be a mom? should I fall back on my graphic design skills, since it’s so easy and comfortable for me? do I pursue becoming a holistic nutrition coach, and solely coach people with their nutrition? do I pour my energy and efforts into becoming a Beachbody coach, which will encompass both fitness and nutrition coaching? Oh, and then there are still those part-time hours I’m putting in as a graphic designer for my “former” full-time employer.


I was hoping that by going to Summit in Vegas, I would gain some clarity. I’m happy to say that I HAVE. Being there for just 3 days, hearing the inspiring stories of those who have transformed their lives both physically and financially; learning more about myself and my personality and how I best function as a leader; I can’t quite put my finger on it all just yet. I just know I feel it.

Probably the most influential aspect of the whole event, was hearing Diana Nyad speak on the importance of never giving up. Nyad is a marathon distance swimmer, who just so happened to be the first person to swim from the shore of Cuba to the shore of Florida, oh yeah, and she’s 64 years old. Take a few minutes to watch the inspiring report below.

Hearing her speak for those 30 minutes on stage, brought tears to my eyes multiple times and she received a standing ovation when she was done. As she was describing her final, successful attempt to make that swim from Cuba to Florida, she mentioned a moment where her mind wandered to the stars above. She began pondering astrophysics and a book she had read by Stephen Hawking. The gist was this… we. are. so. insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe. The perceived problem of so many choices ahead of me, were just that, perceived. I needed to take my own advice — which I’ve said to my sister many times — PICK A PATH.

Being a coach IS that path. Whether it will always be with Beachbody or not – being a coach is my path. Not graphic design. I can’t be or do both, I need to pick one and be really good at it. We have one life, one short insignificant life it’s up to us to make it as significant as we feel it should be.

By now you mayyyyyyyy be asking yourself what on EARTH does this all have to do with PiYO?!? I’m glad you asked, because the answer is nothing really. Other than I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I finally feel like I’m back on track and not wandering aimlessly in the forest of life. I want to help the most people I can, and right now I feel the best way to do that is through the glorious internet! So without further ado, I’d like to share with you an amazing new workout released by Chalene Johnson and Beachbody called PiYO.

The very first thing Mr. Zucchini Runner and I did after checking into our Vegas hotel, was to get into this line for the live PiYO workout debuting at Coach Summit.


Yep, it wrapped around and around the whole building.


Why on earth would we wait in this line, just to workout? Well, we were so excited to try out this new, no impact workout, that we were willing to get a sunburn, sweat profusely and get dehydrated before it even began. Plus, we would be instructed by Chalene Johnson herself.

So what exactly IS PiYO?

No weights. No jumps. Just hardcore results. 

PiYO is a fusion of powerful Pilates and yoga-inspired moves with an amped-up pace, for serious cardio, strengthening, and lengthening–all in one workout. Here is a promotional video for PiYO if you are interested.

A note from the creator, Chalene Johnson:

“I wanted to create a super effective program that everyone could do–that would still deliver real results. I took the best moves from Pilates and Yoga, and turned up the pace to give you the hardcore definition, intense calorie burn, and allover strength you’d get from extreme programs–without jumps, without weights, and without destroying your body.” 

During an instructional “break”, we managed to snag a quick, sweaty pic!!


We did the workout called Drench (you can see a full description of all the workouts below) and boy did it deliver! I’m not really sure where I was looking here… I was working on 3 hours of sleep haha


Mr. Zucchini Runner after the workout – this is NOT just a workout for the ladies guys! Don’t let the ‘fusion of pilates and yoga’ fool you! We got sweaty.


Here is a breakdown of  the 9 PiYO workouts:

  • Align: The Fundamentals (40 min.): This workout breaks down the most important and effective moves in the program to help you perfect your form and get the best results possible. (This is only watched ONCE.)
  • Define: Lower Body (25 min.): Lengthen and strengthen your entire lower body—from your glutes and hamstrings to your calves.
  • Define: Upper Body (20 min.): Help shape your arms, carve out your triceps, and define sexy, strong shoulders.
  • Sweat (35 min.): A traditional PiYo workout that incorporates effective dynamic conditioning, fast-paced cardio yoga-flows, and bodyweight resistance strength training to help work your entire body.
  • Core (30 min.): This ab-centric workout hits your powerhouse from every angle to build a strong core, sculpted abs and obliques, as well as a strong back.
  • Strength Intervals (25 min.): No weights, no equipment, and no bulk!
  • Drench (45 min.): This endurance workout maximizes fat burning while it works every muscle in your body. It will not only leave you drenched—it will kick-start your metabolism.
  • Sculpt (30 min.): This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. This generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will transform your physique.
  • Buns (30 min.): Squat, lunge, burpee and “bowl” your way to a sculpted rear! Build those power muscles and kick up the metabolism to high speed.

For the rest of the day Mr. Zucchini Runner and I both kept noticing how stretched and open our hip flexors felt after the PiYO workout. It was unlike anything I had felt before – seriously! I was smart enough to grab this quick video, where Chalene explains why PiYO is so good for you, particularly runners or anyone who LOVES cardio activities.

Needless to say after the experience we both had at the live workout, I purchased PiYO that night. 🙂 IMG_4780

On the car ride home from Vegas, I had 6 long hours to think about everything that happened at Summit – including how great I felt after the PiYO workout. It got me thinking – what if PiYO is something every runner could benefit from? I wanted to start a test group versus my typical “challenge groups” and see if I could get runners to commit to the 60 days of PiYO to test out its effectiveness. Well, I’m happy to say, I have a group of 10 willing and able participants! As a matter of fact, I got such a great response that I wanted to be sure everyone was aware of this potential opportunity to improve their running. And to be clear, it’s NOT JUST for runners, but that’s what resonates with me MOST so that’s what I’m personally excited about. Anyone can benefit from these PiYO workouts. Whether you are new to fitness or a seasoned athlete, I urge you to give it a try if you are looking for something new! If this sounds like something you are interested in you can either email me or simply visit my SHOP page to purchase PiYO, and learn more about the purchasing options.

In the end, the whole Summit experience really recentered me on my original goal of being a Health and Fitness coach. Sometimes, you just need a little reminder to never give up. 😉

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Raw Foods Class Part 1

My Whole Foods Cooking Class is complete, and right away the following Monday I started my Raw Foods class! THIS is the class I’ve been looking forward to since I signed up in Nov. 2013 for my Holistic Nutrition certificate. There were two recommended books for this class, so I bought them both from Amazon and they arrived by Wednesday and Thursday of last week. I started reading “Becoming Raw” first, and I’m already in love! If you want to incorporate more raw foods into your diet, learn about the benefits of raw foods, and get some great recipes to get you going… THIS is the book for you! I can’t wait to continue reading!


When the “Going Raw” book arrived, I flipped through all the pages and drooled over the amazing recipes – EVERYTHING looked and sounded SO GOOD. The food styling is incredible, which helps! The next month is a BUSY one in the Zucchini Runner house, so I’m not sure how many I’ll get to try, but I’m excited for when I do!

In the meantime, I want to share the first new, raw recipe I tried last week as part of my homework for my raw foods class. It was Cauliflower Tabbouleh and I can’t wait to tell you about this haha. I found the recipe in my email Inbox, sent to me by My Fitness Pal; before I got the cookbooks in the mail. So, I already had all the ingredients and didn’t want to change it up last minute or potentially waste anything.

This recipe was prepared almost exactly as the original – the biggest change was leaving out the kalamata olives. I DID find raw olives at Whole Foods, but they were $8.50 for a small jar. Now, I don’t know about you, but the tabbouleh I’ve always had, never had olives! So I felt perfectly fine leaving them out. 🙂


Here is a link to the full recipe if you are interested.

Here is my version:

Combine in a food processor for cauliflower mixture
1 med. head of cauliflower (I’d say approximately 6 cups or less. The goal is to create cauliflower rice, so you may have to process this in batches like I did, depending on the size of your food processor. Just wait until the last batch to add the below 3 ingredients. See slideshow below.)
1 c. fresh parsley
½ c. packed fresh mint leaves
3 green onions, coarsely sliced to fit into the processor

Dressing – combine in a small bowl and whisk together
3 small cloves of garlic, pressed
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. freshly grated turmeric
½ tsp. pink Himalayan salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Stir into cauliflower mixture, along with prepared dressing
1 c. tomatoes, diced (may want to add more…)
1 c. cucumber, peeled and chopped (may want to add more…)

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At first taste, I really liked the flavor and actually liked it better than traditional tabbouleh. I ate a heaping serving of it a few hours before my night trail race Saturday… which I thought might not be a great idea… but I went with it and I was ok. 🙂 I thought it would be refreshing AFTER the race too. (Well, as it turned out, I ate a bunch of junk from the after race food bar and wasn’t hungry when I got home.)

BUT yesterday morning when I woke up, I had a big bowl, topped with some almonds. This is where it gets interesting. When I walked into the kitchen, it smelled like rotting veggies. I opened the fridge and WHAM it was WAY worse. Cauliflower. Why does something that tastes so good, and is so good for you, smell SO BAD? 😐 It was pretty awful, but luckily I was familiar with the smell, and knew it wasn’t actually rotten. (I had to convince Mr. Zucchini Runner otherwise, later in the day.) But he had the same realization I did… ‘it smells so bad, but still tastes so great!’ haha I think cauliflower is the only veg that can get away with that… and maybe broccoli. 😉


As I said above, I would have preferred more tomato and cucumber and less cauliflower, but it was still really good. I thought this recipe would be really easy to make too, but the cauliflower kept getting stuck in the food processor – so definitely cut the chunks smaller than you think you should. (Unless of course you have a super awesome food processor. I think mine is pretty basic and small, so that could have been the source of my frustration.) I also thinking mixing up the dressing ingredients ahead of time in a bowl would have made the instructions for the original recipe flow better.

All in all, I’m happy with my first raw foods recipe!

Our teacher also challenged us to start a food journal, which would track how you felt before, during and after you eat each meal. I haven’t been that diligent yet, but I HAVE tried to pay more attention to what I eat and when. For instance, we have those Late July chips that are a staple in our pantry. I always seem to scarf them down mindlessly, and then catch myself halfway through thinking, “Why am I eating these… do I really like them…?” And then I keep EATING THEM.


So this week, I’ve tried to only eat them with salsa, or homemade guacamole and limit how many I eat.

I’ve also tried to pay attention to the emotions I’m feeling when I choose to eat a certain food. I think I will need to write those down, in order to see a pattern. It’s all about slow and moderate change for me! Have you ever kept a food journal? Did you find it helpful or eye opening?

Will you join me this week and try to incorporate more raw foods – specifically fresh organic produce – into your diet? In an attempt to be more consistent with juicing, we borrowed a juicer from a friend of ours. We have a centrifugal juicer, which produces juice quickly but also adds some heat to the juice and should be consumed within 20 minutes to avoid nutrient loss. The juicer we are borrowing is a masticating juicer, which is suppose to retain more of the nutrients of the fruits and veggies, can last up to 3 days AND can also do greens! Our current juicer, doesn’t do greens. 🙁

Pretty colors!


Look at all that chlorophyll! Before you curl your lip and judge… keep reading… 🙂


Did you know that chlorophyll is called the “green blood” for plants since it is so similar in structure to human hemoglobin? The only difference is the center atom of each; chlorophyll has magnesium at the center and hemoglobin has iron at the center. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that chlorophyll provides our bodies incredible health benefits. Top of the list are blood cleanser, blood builder, and an alkaline and oxygen booster. Disease-promoting bacteria cannot live in the presence of oxygen or an alkaline environment. So the more chlorophyll we consume, the higher our bodies’ alkalinity and therefore immunity. Sorry, I had to share that fun fact!! Once I stirred it all up, it was a beautiful purple!


BONUS: This morning I made an ALL GREEN JUICE. To my surprise, it tasted GREAT!


I even drank 1/4 of it before I could photograph it!


Happy (hopeful) raw adventures to you!

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