Sunday, August 18, 2013

Better-than-a-Man Protein Bar

Shopping for protein bars is like meeting guys out in LA—while often pretty and enticing on the outside, the interior never quite meets my standards.  Just as there are four primary genres of bars, there are four main types of dudes.  Let’s compare:

First, you got your classic granola bar.  Or, in the case of guys, your average LA hippy.  Both the bar and guy claim to be all natural and healthy but with one quick look at what’s inside, you quickly learn it’s all s@#!…sugar.  Granola is touted as a health food, but is really fattening and sugary and does not contain enough nutrients to compensate for its caloric and sugar load—interfering with your ultimate hot-bod-plan.  Yes, I’m into your dreads, although I can’t explain why, and yes, I drive an environmentally-friendly Prius, but your lack of knowledge of politics and current events (because you don’t own a TV?!?) is going to make your whole, “I want to change the way our country is run” shtick real difficult there, buddy.

I think I’ll pass.

Onto the next…the tastes-good-but-has-no-substance bar.  Or, in my male analogy, the fluffy teddy bear.  He’s cute (quite distinct from “hot”), likes pizza and beer, will secretly watch The Notebook with you, and within 30 seconds of meeting, promises he’ll cook the most amazing dinner for you.  But, just like the sweet taste of a Luna bar, you know that when it’s time for action, this bro and bar will only fall short.  These bars may taste good and lure you in with flavors like “S’mores” or “Peanut Honey Pretzel,” but with loads of unnatural sugars and carbs, this snack is not taking you to the finish line.   

Moving on…

To…the macro/greens/vegan bar.  Or in male terminology, “the actor.”  This bar promises a healthy substitute to all of the gunk in other bars, but just like the “actor,” it is all a ruse.  There is still a ton of fat and sugar in these bars, with little to no protein to compensate.  Just because you go on auditions and call yourself an “actor,” doesn’t make your job at Starbucks any more glamorous.  In fact, informing me that you have an acting career is probably the most acting you’ve done in months.

Next! (I wish my life was like an MTV dating show…)

Finally, the big hunkin’ PROTEIN bar.  This bar means serious business: tons of protein coupled with tons of sugars and fats.  The latter two are insignificant because this bar is for the ultimate body builder, who spends up to 6 hours grunting and lifting your weight in dumbbells, and is often combined with a massive protein shake and probably half-a-cow’s worth of steak.  Likewise, this guy is clearly not from LA and seems to have missed the memo that they are indeed NOT filming the next episode of the Jersey Shore at Bungalow.  He thinks he is hot s*** and you are one lucky lady to be talking to him and in the presence of his bulging muscles.  And while most of my friends know I’m a total sucker for a great 6-pack, your lack of institutionalized education (or in the bar’s case, lack of non-modified ingredients) is not going to work with my lifestyle.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Finding my dream man and protein bar seems nearly impossible in this city of so-called angels.  And while, much to my dismay, I cannot create the perfect man, I can create the perfect bar.  So I have.

The HHH Better-than-a-Man Protein Bar

190 calories

            (Perfect for a snack between meals or right after a workout)

Over 10g protein—18% DV

(Protein is essential to refuel your body, rev up your metabolism, and keep you from becoming a low-blood sugar bitch)

5.5g fat—8% DV

            (Don’t worry, this is the good kind of fat)

1g sugar
            (Beat that!)

Also, high in fiber, iron, and magnesium.

1 tbsp Low Sodium Better’n Peanut Butter; available at Whole Food or online (you can use regular peanut or almond butter but be conscious of the added calories and fat content)

2 tbsp Raw Hemp Seeds

1 tsp Cacao Powder

Simple.  Healthy.  Efficient.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Using plastic food wrap or wax paper, mold the mixed ingredients into a ball and use the wrap or paper to further facilitate the melding of ingredients.  Place the ball onto a piece of tinfoil and shape into a rectangle (or whatever protein bar shape you may desire…feel free to get creative).  Place the bar, still on the tinfoil, in toaster oven for 2 minutes and then immediately transfer to fridge.  Leave in fridge until the bar is cool and hardened.  Enjoy!

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @happyhealthyhannah 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Panem Plyometrics

August is like the third book of the Hunger Games.  You sped through books one and two (June and July) without even taking a second to breathe.  And while you have been readily anticipating the final installment of the trilogy throughout it all, you know it will inevitably be over too soon.

So in this final installment of your summer trilogy, it’s time to slow down, smell the roses (or rosé, if you’re having that kind of summer), and make one final push to achieve your health and fitness goals.  After all, both summer and the Hunger Games have a similar objective—to get yourself your own Gale or Peeta, whichever you’re into, and take some prisoners with dat fine-a** body of yours that you’ve trained so hard for.

In an effort to help you attain your end-of-summer, Katniss-esque, bod of your dreams, I have developed a high-intensity plyometric workout—as promised in my “The HHH Bible” post.  Plyometrics are a great way to blast stubborn fat quickly and efficiently, plus, they increase performance for your other athletic activities…helping you run faster, jump higher, and dance that much longer up in the club.  This workout is intense, straight to the point, and gets the job done—just as I hope your experiences with your own Gale or Peeta have been.

Do as many reps as you can in the time allotted, making sure each movement is energetic and explosive.  During “rest” periods, make sure you don’t stop moving.  Do all of the exercises and repeat the entire routine once more for a total of two sets.  This is the best way to decrease your body fat percentage and get yourself in tip-top shape.  You’ll be looking and feeling great for whatever adventure that may come your way after this trilogy of hard work and dedication to your health.

Warm-up with a 30 second jog in place

1 min of jumping jacks (make sure your hands touch overhead every time)

15 seconds of steps side-to-side

1 min of lunge jumps (start in lunge position with your right foot forward, jump into the air and switch your left foot forward, landing softly into lunge position with your left foot forward)

15 seconds of knees-to-chest marching (make sure to use your core to pull your knees up)

1 min of frog jumps (4 forward, 4 back)

15 seconds of grapevine

1 min of skaters (start in a curtsy position with your left foot behind your right, as shown, and then hop your left foot to the side and bring your right foot behind your left in a curtsy position)

15 seconds of easy punches

1 min of squat jacks (start in a squat position, hop your legs out, staying low and bring your hands overheard to touch, hop back to squat position)

15 seconds of grapevine

1 min of shoulder-tap plank (start in plank position and bring your right hand to your left shoulder, keeping your hips level; return to plank position and repeat on the left side)

15 seconds of easy uppercuts

1 min of barrier jumps (place a small towel on the ground and be sure to keep your feet together as you jump over it, side-to-side)

15 seconds of steps side-to-side

1 min of squats with alternating leg lift (start in a squat position and come to standing, using your core to bring your right leg to hip level; return to squat position and repeat on the left side)

30 second cool-down with hands overhead