Warrior HIIT Workout+Life Lately

by fitforthesoul in ,

Oh wow, it’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a workout with you guys!  Somehow in-between recipes, life stuff, and profound writing, my fitness related posts have fallen through the cracks, but fortunately my personal devotion to fitness has been alive and well.  You see, working out is one of my passions and what I consider to be me time, so squeezing in 16 min. a day isn’t all that difficult.  I genuinely enjoy the way it makes me feel! The following routine which I dearly call the Warrior HIIT Workout looks extremely dull and mundane at first glance, but trust me on this one…it burns oh-so-good that your muscles will be begging for mercy the next day!  It’s one of the workouts that have been helping my cardio levels and muscle definition while burning fat.  I’ve been practicing it about once a week for about a month now, and since I try to perfect my form and become faster each time I do it there is nothing to be bored about.  Ever.


Demonstrations of some exercises:

Kicking Crabs

Hindu Pushups

Life Lately


Life has been awesome despite the recurrent earthquake aftershocks in the city my parents live, although it seems to have stopped altogether for the last 2 days!

This week I had another blogger meet up with Lisa from Lisa Laughs.  We first started “talking” when she found my blog and realized that we both are from the South Bay area, although she had moved away to the Caribbean and is now back in Cali.  The only downside to this is that she currently resides in Norcal so she will only be here when she visits her family.  Meeting Lisa was one of those moments that I consider completely appointed by God because of how much we were a source of encouragement to each other!  She brought her most adorable baby, Kyle, who’s only one month younger than Selah.  We walked for approximately 3 miles while talking about everything we could fit into 1.5 hours.

Check this out, guys.  Lisa single handedly flew with her 8 month old baby!  Now that’s what I call a trooper mom because the mere thought of doing that gives me a headache, hah!

Lisa is such a sweet soul and I’m thrilled that I finally have a friend in the South Bay!  Not to mention, both our kiddos will grow up being play pals.  Heck, having a mommy friend in itself is a miracle right now since it’s still a pretty new concept to me.

And my eats have been a rotation of my usual with a few twists here and there for dinner.  Lunch is still simple yet oh-so-good.  Purple cabbage and onion sauteed in sesame, water, and a little bit of soy sauce, topped with turkey, avocado, and plenty of sriracha.  Mmmm!


Did you also know that you can make fresh whipped cream in the blender?  I just thought of it last night because I was craving cake, so I decided to whip up some heavy cream with Stevia in the Magic Bullet, and voila.  It came together in 20 seconds with no mess to clean up because as much as I adore my stand mixer, there are days when even taking it out becomes too much work.  Anyone out there feel the same?


I decided to slather some of the whipped cream on my green tea éclairs and it totally satisfied my craving for cake.  Oh gosh, I’m such a cake fiend.


This is extremely random…but I’ve been finding inspiration in photographing the strangest items like this mailbox.  I don’t know, I guess there’s something intriguing about everyday objects that have recently caught my attention.  Haha!  I’m so random sometimes but I’m definitely starting to embrace that part about my personality.

What’s a recent accidental discovery you’ve made with food, as in you didn’t think it would turn out at first?

If you’ve met bloggers before, how was your experience, and were you able to stay in contact?

What results have you seen from HIIT workouts?

Tell me something random about yourself!


Lengthen & Tighten+Group Exercise

by fitforthesoul in , ,

Before I talk about exercise, I first would like to thank all of you for your amazing and encouraging comments on my last post!  It truly made my day knowing that there are plenty of people thinking about us and praying for our well-being.  Plus, knowing that you’re so excited to meet Selah makes me that much happier!  And with that being said, I’d like to share some things that entail well-being and maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Today has been a rather relaxing day for the most part, and that allowed me a chunk of free time to hang out at the gym to bust out some sweat on the elliptical machine.  As you may all know, I usually tend to lean towards the treadmill and stepmill because they’re such fun ways of getting in my cardio at a high intensity level without spending hours at the gym.  If you’d like to read my post on why I love the stepmill so much, you can click on the link right here.

This afternoon I was in and out of the gym within less than 45 minutes thanks to this challenging interval workout on the elliptical.  If you decide to give it a try, keep in mind that you can keep it as short or as long as you want.  The workout format that I’m about to show you is only a piece of what I performed today, so in actuality I went for almost 30 minutes on the elliptical.

lengthen cardio

I know that the format is a bit on the wordy side, but I didn’t know how else to make it specific enough.  Let me explain a bit of how this is supposed to work.

One of my main fitness philosophies is that in order to be balanced and truly in good shape isn’t to just look like an athlete or someone on the cover of Oxygen magazine—but most importantly, we need to make sure that we target all the muscles in our body—especially opposing muscle groups.  For example, if we perform 50 pushups then we need to work our backs and rear delts as well, and whether that happens on the same day or some other time during the week is up to the individual, but it is essential that we don’t neglect other muscle groups.  That’s why when I do elliptical intervals, I often try to keep my feet straight forward and then switch it up by turning them outwards because that targets a different type of muscle in my lower body.  In addition, I like to do half of the routine by pedaling forward and then pedaling backwards for the latter half.  This way we can work our quadriceps as well as our hamstrings!  Smile

Healthy Mind+Spirit

Now I’d like to touch upon the importance of having a healthy mind and a healthy spirit.  It is far too easy to fall into that trap where all we focus on is our outer appearance, physical health, choice of career, and all those things that are actually good for us.  However, we need not forget that the most important aspect of health and life in general is a sound mind and a sound spirit.

I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten busier and more “flustered” over the past few weeks over little details regarding Selah’s birth, my focus on relationships and God has been slowly dwindling as well.  Due to my lack of focus as of late, it’s been a lot harder to just let go of burdens and things that have been weighing me down.  I’m so grateful though, because without this epiphany I would have continued on that same road that leads to confusion and frustration, and I’m reminded that it’s okay to veer off the path once in a while, because if we trust in God we will always end up on the right place.  He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, after all.

Group Classes

And onto the next subject!  bodycombat

While I was doing my cool down on the treadmill today, I saw this huge group  of lively members in the group fitness room.  Supposedly they were having a “party” of some sort in honor of the company they work for, and man!  They looked like they were having a blast!  The music was blaring with crazy beats and tunes.  I recall seeing a few of those members practicing in the past, but I’ve always wondered what they were up to, and it turns out that they’re part of the Body Combat class.

Even though I’m more of a lone ranger when it comes to working out, I have to say that this class is the only that has ever sparked some curiosity about group fitness.

Have you tried Body Combat before?  What are your thoughts on group fitness?

-The only groups I’ve been to are yoga classes, and I love those.  But I’ve never done anything at the gym.

In what ways do you need to take care of your spiritual/mind’s health?


Ellie <33

Pillowy Pancakes+Ballet Body: Total Body Review

by fitforthesoul in , , ,

As silly as I feel typing out these words, I have to admit that despite the curve balls that life has thrown at us lately there’s always something to smile about--even if they are the smallest things that we usually take for granted in our daily lives.  Wouldn’t you agree? Greg and I have been preoccupied with unexpected events that transpired this past week.  Although the emotional side of it is not quite over yet because there’s still a lot more to take care of, the bright side is that we’ll have the opportunity to show love to some people who are very dear to us as they have been facing extremely difficult times.  More than anything, we’re super thankful that we have God to lean on because without His help we would be trudging along on an empty tank, and an empty tank is something we do not want in times like these!

In the midst of all the busyness, however, I’ve been learning to take care of myself and still enjoy the simple, beautiful things in life! At least to the best of my abilities.

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-20

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-22

Take for example this stack of pancakes.  They may seem like the overrated diner pancakes that you used to order as a kid (or maybe still do), but the fact of the matter is that they’re super healthy pancakes that are hearty yet pillowy-like-white-clouds.   I think that these are a great alternative for those who need gluten free cakes.  And hey…I hear that oats help in the nursing department so I’m trying to get them in my diet as much as I can.  Yeap, that’s my excuse story and I’m sticking to it.  Winking smile

Pillowy Oat Pancakes

Makes 2 servings or 1 large serving


1 C oat flour (I processed rolled oats)

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 TBSP chia seeds

1 whole banana

1 large egg

2 TBSP greek yogurt

3 TBSP milk of choice (or more to thin it out)

oil spray for skillet


  1. Add the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and chia seeds into a food processor or a Magic Bullet.  Pulse it until the chia seeds are pulverized.
  2. Add the banana, egg, yogurt, and milk to the flour mixture and pulse it while stopping a few times to scrape the sides.  Add more milk if you want a thinner batter.
  3. Immediately heat up a large skillet on medium heat and spray it with oil.  Let it sit for 30 seconds and start to pour the batter onto the skillet.  I prefer to spoon them with a 1/4 C measuring cup, but the size is up to you.
  4. Top, drizzle, and enjoy!

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-21

Worth Mentioning

Lately I’ve been enjoying some foods that are truly worth mentioning—some of them being new and some of them making a comeback after a long hiatus.

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-31

Up until now I had only heard of the great benefits and taste of Hemp seeds.  These hemp seeds by Manitoba Harvest are so chewy and soft, and they taste extra nutty full of good-for-your-heart fatty goodness.  I’ve been using them as toppings on my morning oatmeal, yogurt and cottage cheese mixes along with the Kind granola that you see above.  Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of Kind snack bars because of the ingredients and amazing taste, and I have to give them some recognition for succeeding with their extra crunchy granola recipe.

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-32

Cottage cheese has made its way back into my life, and so has PB&CO's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter.  Mmmm.

Ballet Body:  Total Body Review

Another thing that is worthy mentioning is Leah Sarago’s new Ballet Body: Total Body DVD!

Ballet Body Total Body DVD review

I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  Leah definitely knows her stuff and has such a creative way of going about fitness.  I just cannot rave enough about her knowledge of the human physique because her techniques clearly rend results in building up “elongated” and graceful looking muscles.

Going back a few weeks ago when I was hosting the Ballet Body giveaway, I was pleasantly surprised when I tore open the package that contained the giveaway DVDs.  Not only had she sent me a sweet hand written note, but she also sent me her newest Total Body DVD as a little gift of appreciation.  As soon as I unwrapped it,  I popped it into the DVD player and gave the upper body segment a try.  Needless to say, I was instantly hooked and knew that this workout would be going into my weekly fitness rotation.  Here’s a brief rundown of the routine.

  • All you really need is a yoga mat, 2-5 lb. dumbbells, and a sturdy chair or a waist-high bar or stand.
  • The total routine is about 75 minutes long and each segment is broken up so that you can choose what you want if you’re in a hurry:  20 minutes of upper, core, and lower body.  There’s also a great 10 minute stretching segment.
  • The movements transition rather quickly so the workout seems shorter than it really is.
  • The upper routine is very challenging and contains a variety of push-up and plank inspired movements.  The dumbbells are used to mimic swan arm type of movements.
  • The lower routine is comprised of plies, releves, and countless of pulses.  It does a great job at working the hips, glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs, and more.
  • Instruction is not voice-over like the other DVDs.  Leah actually instructs and gives alternative modifications as she performs each exercise.
  • Great for beginners because it contains so many eclectic movements, so long as they go at their own pace and fitness level.
  • Makes you one sweaty dancer (wannabe) at the end of the workout!  It provides a good amount of cardiovascular benefits.

So there you have it!  I’ll be more than willing to answer any additional questions you may have so don’t be shy.  :)

What food or food products are new to you right now?

Do you actually like diner pancakes?

-Depends where it’s from and how hearty they are.


Ellie <33

Time for a Ballet Body Giveaway

by fitforthesoul in

April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-14 I think it’s safe to say that most of us are encouraged by sweet hand written notes—an art that has become somewhat rare in the wealthier parts of the world.  Not only is receiving a hand written note a fun little treat nowadays, but it’s that much better if it was penned by only one of your favorite fitness instructors out in the market!  And that is exactly what came in the mail today along with an awesome surprise for you guys.  Ummm hello Leah Sarago, I’m so honored to meet you!

Perhaps that was a bit too much, but my excitement just got the best of me.  Hehe.

As my token of appreciation for your wonderful friendship and constant support, I want to return that same support to you through this giveaway that I’ve been anticipating for quite a while now.  After ranting on and on about how much I love Ballet Body workouts, as well as the wonders that they’ve done for my body and health throughout my pregnancy, I figured that it’s finally time to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.  So here I am working with Ms. Sarago to further promote her amazing work by helping you reach your health and fitness goals.  Whatever your goals may be, I wholeheartedly believe that these Ballet Body DVDs will help you reap benefits in one form or another.

Now, if you haven’t read my reviews on the Upper Body and Lower Body routines, then I invite you to click on the provided links to familiarize yourself with Leah’s work.

Lucky for you, Leah sent me all three of the DVDs that I’ve been raving about:  Upper Body—Ultra Sleek Definition, Core—Ultimate Tummy Tightener, and Lower Body—Extreme Muscle Elongation.


One thing I would like to mention is that due to the length of these routines many people might shy away from even giving them a try.  Rest assured however, that the sequences are so cleverly executed that you can pause or end your Ballet Body session at any time with the click of a button.  So even though the length and uniqueness of these workouts may be a bit intimidating to most of us at first, I can guarantee that you’ll get used to them sooner than you think! Smile

And now onto the good stuff…

To enter this giveaway you can do one or all of the things listed below, and please make sure to leave a separate comment for each bullet point:

  • Leave a comment stating why you would be interested in Ballet Body, or share about any fitness/health goals you may have. [Mandatory to enter]
  • Follow @LeahSarago on Twitter.
  • Follow @fitsoulja on Twitter.
  • Tweet about this giveaway using this link http://www.fitforthesoul.com/2013/04/14/time-for-a-ballet-body-giveaway/ , and state what twitter handle you’re tweeting from.

I hope that I made the entering process as simple as possible for you guys!  I will randomly choose a winner on Tuesday 4/16/13 and I’m opening this giveaway to US and non-US residents.  Have fun and have a blessed day!  Thank you for bringing a little bit of spice into my life, and I truly mean that.


Ellie <33

Review of Ballet Body: Upper Body Ultra Sleek DVD

by fitforthesoul in , , ,


Finally, the time has come to do my first review on Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body DVDs.  Yayyyy!  I wish you guys could see me right now as I flutter with excitement to spill the truth on these workouts!  I mostly have positive things to say about Leah’s routines, but I’m trying to pick out any possible negative aspects that could be used as a word of precaution for those of you who might be beginning exercisers, or if you have weakened bones and muscles due to past injuries.  But let’s face it, it is wise to be aware your own fitness level as well as where you stand with your health in the first place, so it goes without saying that Ballet Body should be used with caution as with any other fitness DVD out in the market.  Smile

Here is my breakdown on the Upper Body DVD:

  • All you need is a yoga mat and a pair of 2-5 lb. dumbbells.
  • It is mainly comprised of ballet style exercises, the graceful and gentle moves of pilates, and the concentration and relaxation of a yoga sequence.  Let me clarify that the ballet component is not real ballet per se--but more of a ballet conditioning routine.
  • The instruction is perfectly on cue and quite precise.  It is done in a voice-over fashion rather than the instructor shouting the next cue in your face.  She’s pretty serious, but I like that style because it allows me to focus my mind on what I’m doing rather than on the instructor.
  • Leah provides modifications for certain exercises.
  • It lasts for a total of 45 minutes.  25 minutes are spent doing floor work such as variations of planks, twists, holds, etc.  16 minutes are spent doing standing positions with different dumbbell exercises, which include a deadly amount of pulses and lifts.  The last 4 minutes are for stretching and they perfectly target the muscles that have been fatigued.  Leah goes deep into the stretches instead of doing them haphazardly, which is something that I’ve noticed many fitness instructors tend to do.
  • Leah starts up with a sequence of plank variations and does NOT play around!  Within the first minute or so you will probably be sweating due to your still-cold muscles.  It’s a tough 1 minute but don’t give up and just keep going!
  • She moves on to side plank movements that require you to balance yourself, which provides a good workout for the whole body, including the abdominal muscles, glutes, and legs.  She also includes circular movements that are miniscule, yet they effectively fatigue every muscle that is being targeted.
  • The standing sequence requires light dumbbells and Leah challenges you to defy your own limits!  There are endless amounts of small lifts and pulses, which allow the thinnest and most unknown muscle fibers to be worked out.  Thus, resulting in a more “firm” and “elongated” look.
  • You will sweat regardless of your fitness level because these moves are as unconventional, yet as effective as they can get.
  • The more you practice the more fun it gets!

Things you should be aware of:

  • If you have weak wrists you may experience some discomfort, but Leah says that this issue will slowly fade away if you keep at it.  After all, the wrist is composed of muscles too, so the more you work them the stronger they will get.  If you have something like Tendonitis however, I would strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor first.
  • Weak shoulder and back muscles might become more tender at first, so make sure to use the right weight for your level of fitness.  I use a 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand.
  • Proper form is VERY important to prevent injury since the same muscles are worked to fatigue, so make sure to listen to Leah’s directions.
  • You might have to stop several times throughout the routine, but that’s okay! Don’t let that stop you because every time you practice this DVD you will get better—one little pulse at a time. Suddenly one position that was seemingly impossible is quite possible.



I’ve tried the Upper Body DVD two times so far and as you can tell I am pretty stoked about it.  The picture above should tell you just how TOUGH this workout is!  Pretty much every time I exercise I end up looking sexy like this—drenched in sweat and with cheeks as rosy as a Cabbage Patch Doll.  Let me first tell you in all possible humility that I consider myself an advanced exerciser, and it’s all because I am serious when I work out.  Also, years of adopting this habit has allowed me to increase my cardiovascular health as well as muscle strength.  Even so, this is how I felt after giving this DVD a try for the first time.

I am not certain if it’s all in my head but the last time I saw myself in the mirror I noticed that my arms seemed a bit less muscular.  Rather, they looked more firm and toned in the right places.  Does that make sense at all?  I hope so.  Maybe this means that my arms will eventually look longer for this 5’1” gal? Winking smile  Haha, oh the blessings of being short and petite.

Well, I hope my thoughts on Leah Sarago’s work has helped you a bit!  Let me know if you have any questions and I will make sure to do my best and answer them.

My hope is that I will stick to these routines and give you more updates in the near future.  Next up is my first review for the Lower Body DVD.  Have a blessed weekend y’all!

Do you see changes in your physique and in your health after doing Pilates and yoga routines?

What did you think of this breakdown?  Do you need more details on it?


Ellie <33

A New Program with Leah Sarago

by fitforthesoul in , ,

Throughout this pregnancy I’m finding it easier to incorporate cardio in the form of the Stepmill—a cardio machine that I absolutely ADORE for various types of reasons, but that’s for another post. Although my love for strength training and bodyweight circuits hasn’t left me yet, I find it easier to just go with the flow and incorporate whatever my body craves on a given day.  Instead of strictly wanting to stick to the elliptical (which I find quite boring most of the time although sometimes I do crave it), I go to the gym with an open mindset.  When I get inside the gym and scout out for what looks fun and appealing at the time, I go ahead and make a plan right there and then.  I figure that doing what my body craves at the time really helps me stay motivated to keep pursuing fitness during pregnancy.  Again, what works for me may not work for somebody else, but that’s how I like to roll! Winking smile

And since I am a pretty random person and way too unstructured for my own good (I prefer to call it ‘flexible’), I like to try different things all at once.  Hey, variety makes life more fun!  You know, VIVA LA VIDA LOCA as Ricky Martin says


Thus, as soon as I started to miss Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body downloads which I had downloaded in my old deceased computer, I went ahead and reconnected myself with her website once again.  That’s when I had the sudden urge to try out her DVDs!  Smile   Fortunately, I found it at the right time because all 3 DVDs would usually cost close to $50, but with the holiday deal that she’s promoting right now it cost me approximately $30.

If you want to give them a try make sure you do so quickly because her deal is still on!  The promo code is holiday.

I find miss Sarago to be really inspiring--I mean, just look at this gal!  She looks glowy, healthy, and ultra fit!  She’s best known for her ballet/pilates/yoga/barre inspired routines, and although her workouts look easy peasy, one should NOT judge her exercises just by the looks of them because they are deceivingly tough.  They tend to leave you really sweaty and refreshed, yet trembling and surprisingly sore the next day.

Leah transformed her own body from a bulkier build due to working out at a regular gym, to a long and elongated build through her magical methods.  She basically shaped her own muscles into what she wanted, which is the defined dancer type of body shape.  That’s pretty much what I’ve been craving for lately because as I slowly see the changes in my pregnant body, I feel like I wouldn’t mind shaping it into something closer to Leah’s so that I’ll bounce back in no time. Open-mouthed smile

Another reason that I want to try the Ballet Body DVDs is that I’m in dire need of switching my fitness intensity throughout the week.  I don’t think it’s wise to solely perform high impact workouts, so something more mellow yet just as intense sounds really good right about now.

Today will be my first day trying out her DVD program and I am so excited!  I’ll be starting out with the Upper Body routine and will do the Lower Body tomorrow.  I’m not positive how often I’ll do the Core DVD since I don’t know how safe it will be for my stomach, but I’ll definitely update you guys on that one after I take a close look at it.  Hopefully I’ll stick to Ballet Body for a long time as I alternate going to the gym, which I’m sure won’t be too much of a problem.  I’ll keep you guys updated on how it all works out in case you want to join me in this journey!

I wrote about Leah’s downloads in a few blog posts in the past, and you can find them in my Exercise Tips page under ‘Tips and Motivation’.

Are there any DVDs or routines that you absolutely love?

Would you give Leah Sarago’s workouts a try?

Do you tend to be flexible or really strict with your workout regimens?

-I make sure to get a workout in at least 4 times a week, but I definitely have a harder time sticking to just ONE thing.


Ellie <33