P90X – Round 2, Day 16!

Starting the week strong!

P90X – Shoulders and Arms
P90X – Ab Ripper X
Total Time = 81 Minutes

After a beautiful, productive, and action packed weekend of work and inspiration, we came out of the gates strong this morning and ready to work.  I had to get a little work done first and then took a break to hit the workout.  I swear it is so much better for me to get my workout done in the morning.  I would like to hit it even earlier, but as long as I get it in at the start of the day, my day is always better.  It is out of the way plus I feel energized and pumped up for the rest of the day.  There is lots to do today as I plan to be working well into the night.  Therefore, hitting this big shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs workout has given me the physical and mental drive to kick it into high gear.  See… that’s the great side effect of working out for me.  It doesn’t just do my body good, but it also gives me a better mental and spiritual place from which to exist.  That is why working out is so important to me.  Plus my body is feeling great.  And for those of you reading this who may not be working out on a regular basis yet, this is why I encourage people to get on a workout program.  It strengthens your body, mind, and spirit and I hope my experiences will continue to inspire others to do so as well.

So real quick on today… I pushed it hard.  I am outgrowing our dumbbells and stretch bands on certain exercises.  On the others I am pushing to failure and burning hard.  Overall, I am improving and I can tell.  Abs are still good, but I am enjoying mixing up the Ab Ripper X workout with some of my own moves.  So, I use the cadence of the workout and some of the exercises and then I also add in some of my own to keep it fresh.

I have to run and get back to it.  I wish you all a beautiful day and leave you with today’s quote…

“Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” -Roger Staubach
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My Breakfast Quinoa Recipe!

I have been meaning to share this one for a while.  As I sit here gobbling down a big bowl of my breakfast quinoa on a Sunday afternoon with some free time on my hands, I have finally committed to sharing this recipe with you.

First, what is Quinoa?
Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.  Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. The leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives.
It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.
We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant with the scientific name Chenopodium quinoa.  Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well-balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  There are many other health benefits that quinoa offers including helping with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, and childhood asthma as well as increasing antioxidant protection.

Ok… now that we know it’s one of the good guys… how do we cook this stuff?

Well, there are many types of quinoa out there.  While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black.  Stores like Trader Joes & Whole Foods also have a tri-color quinoa consisting of yellow, red, and black.  I feel the taste of the yellow works best as a side dish with a lunch or dinner meal.  When I make the breakfast version, I prefer the red, black, or tri-color.  But you use whatever you like best.  The great thing about this recipe is that there are many variations and you can make it how you like.

Before you cook any quinoa, it is recommended to rinse it.  While the processing methods used in the commercial cultivation remove much of the soapy saponins that coats quinoa seeds, it is still a good idea to thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands.

While you may serve your quinoa however suits your fancy, the following recipe is how I make my breakfast quinoa.  I really make this a power packed breakfast by adding flax seed and hemp seed.
Flax Seed is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet and is very high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, Lignans, & Fiber.
Hemp Seed is considered to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world containing all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.
Therefore, this recipe packs a punch!

Justin’s Breakfast Quinoa Recipe:
1 cup of rinsed organic quinoa (whatever kind you like… again I prefer red, black, or tri)
2 cups filtered water
8 tablespoons of organic ground flax seed meal
4 tablespoons of organic hemp seed
Organic Cinnamon
Organic Stevia (can also use organic agave or organic maple syrup)
Organic Raisins
An organic plant-based milk such as Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Flax Milk, Hemp Milk, etc.

Always start by fully cooking the quinoa on it’s own.  Add the 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a pot and cook on high flame until it starts to boil.  Then, lower flame to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, all of the water should be absorbed while you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.  Remove the lid and keep a very low flame on, but you must start adding other ingredients immediately to prevent the quiona from burning into the bottom of the pot.  Add the flax seed and hemp seed and then splash on some rice milk.  I really have no idea of what the measurements are that I use for the rice milk.  I just kind of pour it around and then stir.  As we are adding these additional ingredients, it is the rice milk that helps bind everything together as well as give the dish the extra needed moisture.  I then shake in the cinnamon.  Again, I have no idea how much… I just shake it in very generously as it is quite healthy and tastes great too.  Add as much or as little as you like.  Next, a little bit of sweetener.  This is optional and you can do to taste.  I like to add just a slight amount of the stevia… just enough to bring out the cinnamon.  Be careful not to over-sweeten though.  Lastly, I shake in some raisins.  Again this is optional.  Raisins are healthy, but they do add sugar to the overall recipe.  Therefore, depending on your dietary needs you may want to hold off on the raisins or just shake in a few for flavor.  Again at this point you’re gonna want to splash in some more of your rice milk.  Continue to do so while stirring this masterpiece all together until you reach the desired consistency.  We are basically creating a porridge here, so add rice milk, stir, and repeat until it suits your fancy.  If all looks good, you are done!  Remove from heat and serve!  Personally, I like to throw a spoon or two of organic crunchy peanut butter into mine.  I love the taste and I need the extra calories in my diet.  My wife likes to add organic unsweetened applesauce.  You can have it plain as it is quite good all alone, or add whatever you like.  I have also added walnuts and really liked that as well.  With all of the extra good stuff added to this recipe, you should have about 5 servings worth. (the 1 cup of dry quinoa = 4 servings)

Here’s how it should look.  Enjoy!!!

P90X – Round 2, Day 15!

Ahhh Happy Sunday.

P90X – Cardio X
Total Time = 49 Minutes

You know it’s gonna be a good Sunday when you can sleep in, still get in your workout before noon, and then have the rest of the day and beautiful weather to be inspired, productive, and even chill.  It’s been a very busy week and the last 48 hours had us running all over L.A. for meetings, film screenings, photo shoots, art galleries, etc.  I woke up today… or should I say our hungry cat woke me up today… and felt pretty good.  After feeding said hungry cat and having some nice mixed berries myself, I jumped into the Cardio X routine.  Again, I have been replacing the Plyometrics workout with Cardio X for the last 3 weeks to give my spine a little break from the higher impact stuff.  I will probably jump back into plyo on the next round as I have figured out what has been causing my back to hurt and have adjusted my workouts accordingly.  Really I just need to avoid rolling hard on my spine.  I guess a small percentage of us out there have this.  It is where the upper spine connects to the lower spine.  That little section in the middle of your back actually goes inwards for most people.  But a small percentage of people have it pushing outwards.  Not a big deal, but if you continuously put stress on it, it will get inflamed and cause pain.  So, today for example, instead of doing the Dreya Rolls and the Superman-Bananas, I just held a strong plank for those minutes.  Still working the core hard, but no impact on the spine.  See… all good.  And a big thank you to Dr. Paul in Santa Monica for helping me figure that out on Friday.

Anyway, today’s cardio workout was solid.  I worked up a helluva sweat and I am feeling pretty awesome right now.  I hope you are all enjoying your day as well.  Here’s a little inspirational quote to wrap it up…

“Never concentrate on your faults. By doing so you identify yourself with them. You are the one who puts the veil of delusion in front of your wisdom’s eyes. Whatsoever you think, that is what you are.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

P90X – Round 2, Day 14!

Inspired Saturday…

P90X – Chest and Back
P90X – Ab Ripper X
Total time = 74 minutes

We had an amazing day yesterday full of meetings and a film screening of one of the most inspiring films I have ever seen.  The day was jam packed from the minute we woke up until we got home after midnight.  Therefore, there was no time for a workout.  However, yesterday’s workout was the X Stretch which can also be used as the one day a week to take a rest day.  So a rest day it was.  But you know me, I will keep track and make up a stretch class somewhere along the way just as I did in the last round.

So this morning it was chest, back, and abs.  Another huge workout.  I am able to keep pushing myself further and further to failure and the burn is oh so good!  I can really now both feel and see the effects of the training and diet that I have been maintaining over the last 4 months and I am quite pleased with my achievements along this journey.

Today is actually going to be another jam packed day as we are going to do a shoot in a bit, followed by attending the Create:Fixate Photography Gallery event downtown, and follow that by meeting up with some of our good friends later on for Karaoke at Sardos. Whew! Another awesome day in progress.

Before I go, however, I wanted to share a bit more about the film we saw last night.  It is called People v. The State of Illusion and it will change your life.  I was very fortunate to recently befriend Betsy Chasse who brought us the film “What the Bleep Do We Know”.  Her company is distributing “People v. The State of Illusion” and she invited us to last night’s special screening featuring a Q&A with the filmmakers.  Like I said, it was a very inspiring and eye-opening film.  It is playing in Westwood for a limited time and also is or will be appearing in other cities around the country.  My wife Mary wrote a beautiful blog about the film this morning and in it, she included all of the info and links so that you can learn more about the film and where to see it.  Check out her post:  http://marylousandler.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/see-this-movie-it-will-change-your-life/

And here’s a little quote I shared today as well to leave you with positive vibrations on this beautiful Saturday.

“You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason.” -Wayne Dyer

P90X – Round 2, Day 13!

A little morning cardio to keep it going…

P90X – Kenpo X
Total Time = 64 Minutes

I had a crazy intense leg workout yesterday.  Although I felt great, as the night went on I realized that I tweaked the ligaments under my left knee a little.  Nothing I would classify as an injury, however, I could feel that they were a little strained. No biggie! I believe I know exactly which exercise caused it, that being the one-leg lunge squat with foot on chair.  I’ve never been a fan of that particular exercise and from now on, I’m going to swap in something else when they do that move.  All good though.  My legs still felt good this morning and I had some nice muscle soreness.  I wanted to still do my kenpo workout, but of course, I did not want to add any additional strain on my knee so that I can heel up quickly.  Therefore I was very conscious of my form today… which was a good thing.  I focused more on making sure my hips were rotating which allowed my legs to go with the flow.  I felt no discomfort whatsoever.  And while I sacrificed a little bit of the intensity today, I know I had great form and also no injury.  I did notice, however, that my kicks are getting much higher.  My body is changing and my flexibility and fluidity is improving.  I’m diggin’ it!

I wish you all a beautiful day, and before I go, I would like to share my morning inspiration with you.

As I was meditating this morning & giving thanks, I found myself saying “Thank you for this moment.” I paused to ponder that. It rang out to me & made so much sense. Living in the moment & being thankful for what I have right here, right now. And the beauty is, that moment is always happening. It is ALWAYS this moment. Think about that for a second. So, today I give you a quote… by me.
“Thank you for this moment.” -Justin Sandler

P90X – Round 2, Day 12!

Rocked it!

P90X – Legs and Back
P90X – Ab Ripper X
Total Time = 80 Minutes

Big legs and back workout today!  I hit it hard and brought the intensity.  The leg workout is always a killer and I stayed strong throughout.  My pullups are improving as well, as I found my numbers increasing with each set.  I dug in deep today.  By the end I was sweating all over the place, I was out of breath, and quite frankly I felt nauseous.  And that’s a good thing.  The only problem is that by the time I got to abs, I was toast.  I worked the back and legs so hard for almost an hour, that I just didn’t have much left in the tank.  But I forged ahead.  I did alter a few of the moves as well as stopped to breath a couple times as I was a little light headed.  But I finished strong and I am feeling good now.  I have lots to do plus we have a photo shoot tonight, so I must go.  Have a great day!  And here’s today’s quote:

“I failed my way to success.” -Thomas Edison

P90X – Round 2, Day 11!

Wrapping up the day with some yoga.

P90X – Yoga X
Total Time = 98 Minutes (However, I did a shortened version, time unknown)

I didn’t get much sleep last night and had to get up early this morning and head down to Hollywood.  I had to push the morning workout and as the day went on, so did my energy.  As I was getting ready to wrap up, I knew Yoga was on the plate and I was kind of dreading it. lol.  But I knew I had to still show up.  I was tired and not really in the right space for the full power yoga class that is Yoga X.  I was really more longing for something along the lines of a Hatha Yoga class this evening.  So, I improvised and began the practice with the warm up and went into the Sun Salutations.  After that, I skipped ahead to the balance postures and then finished up from there.  I took a few extra minutes to meditate at the end and feel pretty good overall right now.  I still got a good stretch in and I still worked up a little sweat.  I don’t know how long I actually practiced for.  Maybe an hour?  Yoga is a beautiful thing and sometimes it needs to be more spiritual and less ‘workout’.  That was today for me.  I hope you all had a great day.  I’m gonna make some food now and then relax this evening with my lovely wife. 🙂

I’ll leave you with today’s inspirational quote…
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher… than you think.” -Benjamin Disraeli