Loaded Baked Potato Soup

With the weather getting cold nothing sounds better to me than a big bowl of comforting soup. One of my favorites is Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Considering I get the pleasure of working from home on Fridays it also means that I am able to actually cook. During the week the hubby cooks most meals as I have a pretty long commute home (about 1hr 45min…sometimes 2 hrs if traffic is really bad). Plus by time I get home the last thing I want to think of is cooking dinner. I have such a short amount of time with my little man during the week that it is all about him. We play trucks or blocks or just chase him around the house. I know he won’t be small forever so I take advantage of any one-on-one time I get. Plus when he runs over just to give me a kiss it melts my heart.

Ok so now onto the recipe. I hope you enjoy this!! I also added some healthier substitution options for those that don’t want to go full out Comfort Food style. Enjoy!!

What is your favorite cold weather soup??

Loaded Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven (or large pot) cook bacon and set aside once done. Do not discard the bacon grease. Cook diced onion and celery in bacon fat. Add butter and let veggies cook until almost soft (5 - 8 minutes)
  2. Add in flour and stir continuously for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in chicken broth, half and half, potatoes, apple, salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. Using an immersion blender process about half of the soup, leaving some chunks.
  5. Take pot off burner and add in the cheese and sour cream. Stir until completely incorporated.
  6. Cut up onion and use with bacon as a garnish
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Damn Delicious

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PRO Compression Sleeve Review and Discount Code

pro-compression-logoDisclosure: As a member of the Fit Approach community, I received one pair of black PRO Compression calf sleeves in exchange for a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions regarding PRO Compression are my own.

As a runner I feel compelled to be up on all the latest and greatest products out there. I have used a couple different brands of compression sleeves and socks in the past (I won’t name names!) and they just didn’t work for me. They were either too big, too small, too tight (I guess that could be seen as too small) or just generally not comfortable. I had heard of PRO Compression in the past but never ended up trying them due to my previous experiences with compression socks. I am happy to report that I have nothing but good things to say about these calf sleeves! They are beyond amazing and super comfortable!!

So I used to have some major calf issues that actually sent me to physical therapy for a couple months. I have a hamstring that gives me issues and weak glutes. Yes, I know I have some issues but I refuse to stop running. Luckily with some added strength exercises and now my new compression sleeves I can run almost pain free. These awesome sleeves also come in multiple fun colors and socks too! And I am a total sucker for bright crazy colors so I am sure my next PRO Compression pair will be bright :)

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PRO Compression created the perfect compression sock for endurance and performance athletes of all kinds. This is a company that understands that the recovery process is a science – cramping, oxygen delivery, lactic acid, muscle fatigue, circulation, blood flow, and vibration stabilization all play an integral part in creating a product that is both practical and valuable to the everyday athlete. PRO Compression didn’t stop there, their socks are equipped with true graduated compression, arch support, have a stabilization zone through sides to mid foot, a wide cuff for added comfort, is moisture wicking and will prevent blisters.

This design requires more effort to put on than standard socks. But it’s that extra effort and much-needed compression that make all the difference. Be patient and your feet will thank you.

True graduated compression promotes circulation by pushing fluid up from your feet and ankles to toward your knees. This design also helps reduce swelling and inflamation while providing critical support to muscles and tendons.IMG_1409

I would definitely recommend this product to all my readers and my clients. They are great quality, perfect for running and recovery and made in the USA!

Discount Code: Enter code PINK2 to receive 40% off your purchase through December 15th!

Do you use compression socks or sleeves? What are your favorite brands and how do they help with your training?

 

xoxo,

Larissa

 

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Half Marathon Training – Week 1

Week 1 of Half Marathon Training is done and in the books!! It is so nice to be back running and training for an actual event. I will be running the Livermore Half Marathon on March 28, 2015, which really isn’t that far away. Somehow there are now only 17 days until Christmas and yet I feel like summer just ended (could be the crazy California weather lately). Ok…back to training! Here is what week 1 looked like!

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My first week went pretty good. Of course I have been off of my regular schedule for about 2 months now and was coming off an injury right before that so needless to say I feel way sluggish. I am following the Hal Higdon Novice 1 program and will be repeating some of the weeks as my half is a little further out then 12 weeks. I figure with my past injuries it will just be better for me. I was able to complete the whole week but did have my nagging hamstring issue come back during my long run yesterday so that means it’s time to pull out the old physical therapy exercises. I already know I have a tight TFL (came about after having the little man) and weak glutes so I will be working on those quite a bit. Either way I got week 1 done and am looking forward to week 2!

Does anyone else have races already scheduled for 2015? Here is to an awesome Monday!!

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xoxo,

Larissa

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FRS Two-10 Discovery Pack and Giveaway

FRS logo

I was offered to test out the new FRS Two-10 Challenge Pack and of course I was totally psyched! I have had FRS in the past and loved it so I was interested to see how the concentrate and drinks helped with my workouts. After using the concentrate with a couple workouts I could definitely feel the difference. I felt like I had more energy during more workout, which then in turn helped me to push a little more or sprint a little longer. I am not a super fan of the chews but that is probably more because I don’t like chews in general. I am definitely a texture person and they just weren’t super enjoyable to eat. The drinks on the other hand are awesome! I love the taste and the fact that they didn’t make me feel sick. Now that you know my experience with the products I’m sure you want some more info on the products themselves!

FRS Challenge Pack

What’s inside?

The FRS formula was originally developed and tested by health scientists as an effective way to deliver natural, sustained energy to chemotherapy patients. The FRS patented Healthy Energy formula features the all-natural antioxidants quercetin (found in blueberries and apples) and green tea extract, plus seven essential vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E.)

Although FRS products contain a small amount of caffeine, it is derived from green tea extract and is a mere 20mg to 48mg, which is the equivalent to 1.5 to 4 ounces of coffee. The caffeine in FRS is not the primary source for improved energy and performance but rather acts as a metabolic enhancer to kick-start the patented FRS formula.

How it works?

The patented FRS® Healthy Energy® formula uses antioxidants and vitamins that work with the body at the cellular level, unlike traditional energy products that rely on chemicals, sugar and large doses of caffeine to create energy spikes. FRS users experience many benefits including:
•Long-lasting, natural energy
•Improved athletic performance
•Increased mental function
•Immune system support

Some statistics?

Benefits seen through scientific studies:
•30% of participants had a reduction in mental fatigue
•17.1% saw improvement in concentration
•13.2% saw an increase in endurance
•2.9% saw an increase in physical performance
•3.9% say an increase in Vo2max3 (typical measure of fitness)

Now onto the Challenge Pack!

Your 10-day Discovery Pack includes:
•1 full-sized bottle of FRS concentrate (16 servings)
•1 sample pack of FRS soft chews (2 servings)
•2 regular-sized cans of FRS drink (2 servings)
•Your choice of flavors
•53% savings including Free Shipping

Try this great product out by taking it twice a day for 10 days. The best part is you have a chance to win the Challenge Pack right here!! Enter below for your chance to show how you Own Your Workout with FRS!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of FRS.


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The Big Move

I believe that life only throws us what we can handle. Lately life has been a complete whirlwind for me! My husband and I purchased our first house and closed in 30 days, moved, had some personal health things going on and started commuting 2 1/2 hours every day. Needless to say its been beyond crazy. And with all this crazy my blogging and workouts have been pushed to the side. Believe me I would never change my life for anything and I couldn’t be happier where I am in life. But I must say it is nice that things finally slowed down a little and I am now back to writing and working out. So now for some fun personal sharing….

Our new house is amazing!! We were in a very small little duplex that definitely didn’t work for our growing family. We are now in an awesome large house with a great backyard!! And one of my favorite things is it has fruit trees and I have a garden!!! I love growing my own food and canning fruit during the summer (a secret obsession of mine!). The best part though is that my little man is so much happier and the dog has a backyard. They are both loving life right now!!

Gavin backyard

Gavin and Rusty

Then there is my awesome garden!! It actually has plants in it right now but considering the crazy rain I don’t have a new picture. But come summer this will be extended to the left more and lots of summer veggies will be planted. Now if only I could get the dang bugs under control. I did find a recipe for making a pepper concentrate to spray on the plants that keep the bugs off. We shall see if it works though!

Garden

Now one of the best rooms in the house is our Bonus Room!! The first owners converted the garage into this bonus/party room and now it is our bonus/workout room. It is so great cause there is storage galore, a great place to host parties (like when we hosted Thanksgiving! And yes only 45 days after moving!) and a workout room. It has my new treadmill in it and I even have battle ropes, my TRX and a bunch of other fun things (you can’t tell I am a trainer and bootcamp coach at all, right?!?!).

Bonus Room

Considering things have finally calmed down and I feel pretty much 100% back to normal I have started up my training again (thank goodness!). I started training for my next half marathon this week. I am so excited to be back to running and hope that my hamstring and calf behave with me this time. There will be lots of foam rolling in my future. I have an awesome 2015 planned with 3-6 half marathons and 2-3 Spartan races! I am definitely feeling the struggle with getting back to working out after having a couple months off. I hope that I can help motivate others to know that even if you have had a long break you can still get back out there. It probably won’t be fun at first but you will feel soooo much better. I know I already do and I am only 2 runs in :)

Have you ever had life interrupt your workout schedule? Is there anything specific that helped you get back on track?

xoxo

Larissa

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New Fall Looks from Lorna Jane

This post is sponsored by Lorna Jane. I was compensated for my time. As always all opinions are my own.
 

Leaves are changing (not too much here in california), it’s getting darker and the weather is cooling down. Fall is upon us, which means time for warmer clothes and all the awesome new fall looks for workout gear. I have admitted it in the past but I will admit it again here….I have an OBESESSION with workout clothes!!! I love all the bright colors and patterns. I find that workout clothes is my one excuse to wear super bright clothes and no one can say anything (cause I don’t think neon orange would go over too well at the office ;)).

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So Lorna Jane just released some totally adorable new workout clothes for their fall line. They are a newer company for me and I am absolutely loving everything of theirs right now. One of my favorite things about the company is their mission!! “We are on a mission to empower every woman to lead her best life through Active Living” How can you not love a company with such an awesome mission?!?!

A little bit about Lorna Jane:

“At the forefront of the movement since 1989 is Founder and Active Living Advocate, Lorna Jane Clarkson. Since sewing her first one-off design in Brisbane, Australia, Lorna has transformed her fashion sensibility into a world-leading Activewear brand. What started as a passion to deliver unique and inspiring designs to fellow gym lovers, Lorna Jane has now given a whole new meaning to staying fit and healthy – it’s a lifestyle that transcends the walls of the gym.”

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This is definitely a company that I can support and am happy to share with all my readers. Please go check out the Lorna Jane website!! They are always having awesome deals and who doesn’t love to wear inspiring workout clothes. I know when I put on a tank that says “Never, Never, Never Give Up” I will be making sure that I do just that!! Here are a couple of my favorite items from their new line….

PicMonkey Collage

Do you have a specific brand of workout gear that is your favorite??

~Larissa

Live. Move. Be Fit

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Top 5 Things to Prepare for Your First Obstacle Race

Spartan PA after with text 2

I have had this weird obsession with mud races and obstacle races since I ran my first one in March of 2009. Yes I remember exactly when and where and how amazing it was. I ran the Big Sur Mud Run out in Monterey and sponsored by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Presidio of Monterey and California State University Monterey Bay. It was an amazing race, I had lots of glorious bruises to show for it and I ran it all by myself. I was supposed to have people running with me but other things came up last minute (I think they chickened out, ha!). Sadly last year was the final mud run for Big Sur! I am happy to say I participated and still have my medals hanging proud!

So after that race I was determined to run more mud/obstacle races. Then it was the Muddy Buddy and Warrior Dash. My husband and I ran the Muddy Buddy together in 2012 and had a blast!! He even agreed to do it the following year but being 8 months pregnant we decided it wasn’t the best idea. Then comes along the Spartan Race. It had been on my list for a couple years. They only offered the Beast out in California, which is 13 miles. I figured I wanted to start with something a little less crazy for my first Spartan Race. Luckily I have an awesome group of bootcampers and we got a team together and completed the Spartan Sprint San Francisco last month. You can check out all my highlights from that race HERE.

 

 

We all learned a lot about what to do to prep for our next Spartan Race, which by the way is next month (Spartan Sprint Sacramento)!! We found out where our weaknesses were and the areas to focus on! So here are my Top 5 Things to Prep for your First Obstacle Race!!

  1. Work Your Upper Body! During most obstacle races you will be pulling yourself over walls that are at least 5 feet tall, pulling ropes of heavy stuff up to hit a bell, climbing a rope, carrying a 45 lb jug of water and various other arm killing things. I strongly recommend you starting training your upper body. I know that this is generally a weaker area for women. Start using that assisted pull up machine at the gym, use free weights to work your back or even use on of those door way pull up bars. All of that will greatly help!
  2. Work on Grip Strength! I noticed that about half way through the race my hands and forearms had just about enough. They were so tired and extremely sore the next couple days. It was probably all the monkey bars, traverse wall and rope pulling. I have since been using a great grip strengthener I got off amazon. Pre warning though that the outside of the handles are rough but you can get handle covers if it bothers you.
  3. Wear Gloves! This of course is a personal preference but I felt that it helped a lot. It also makes sure that if a rope slips out of your hands you won’t end up with some gnarly rope burn, unless that is what you are going for. I used Reebok One Series Performance Gloves and they worked great. It looks like they aren’t making them anymore so no link to provide for you guys. One note though…use them in a workout before the race to make sure they are comfortable and won’t bother you.
  4. Do Not Try Anything New! Like any other race, remember not to try anything new the night before or day of. That means don’t try out the new Thai Restaurant down the street or those awesome new shoes that have been sitting in your closet. This could be a recipe for disaster and you want your first experience to be the best.
  5. Have fun!! The most important thing is you go out there and have fun!! You might not be able to complete each obstacle and that is ok!! If you can do this with a group of friends or even one other person that’s even better. Cheer others on when you see them on the course and give words of encouragement to those that look like they need it. I ran into nothing but nice people at my race that were supportive of each other and always smiling (well except during that water jug obstacle, but we just suffered together!).

I hope that my tips help you prepare for your first obstacle race!! Go out there and earn that medal!!

~Larissa

 

 

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AMRAP Nutrition Bar Review and Giveaway

So I am super super picky about what I eat and how any type of nutrition bar tastes. I have always had a sensitive stomach with things too so that seems to play a role. I  have finally found a bar that I can grab first thing in the morning and run out the door without worrying about it upsetting my stomach. Woohoo!!! I think my favorite thing about the AMRAP Bars is that they actually taste good and have clean ingredients. It seems that it is really hard to find just the simple ingredients and not have it taste like your eating a piece of cardboard. They have 2 awesome flavors for you to choose from! Honey Almond (my favorite!), Cashew Vanilla and Fig Cacao.

AMRAP bars

 

So here is some great information about these amazing bars cause I am sure you want the details!! These bars are 100% Paleo, Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative and artificial anything-free, high fat to carb ratio, high protein bar designed by experts, athletes, enthusiasts, discerning moms and health nuts. Personally I think these bars are a change in the right direction. Being a mom of a very active little boy I know that I don’t want him eating/drinking certain things when he starts doing sports. These bars are an awesome answer to my ever worrisome mom brain!!

Now here is the cool part….AMRAP Nutrition is giving me (3) AMRAP Bar 8-pack  boxes in a flavor of your choice to give away to three lucky readers. I’m telling you guys your going to love these!! Please enter below and good luck to everyone :)

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Disclaimer: I was provided AMRAP bars free of charge, all opinions are my own and 100% honest!

xoxo

Larissa

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AT&T Spartan Sprint

I can officially say that I am a SPARTAN!! I have been wanting to complete a Spartan Race for the last 2 years now but due to life being too busy (being pregnant pushed these goals back a bit ;)) it never happened. I even signed up for the Monterey Beast in 2013 but when I found out I was pregnant there was no way it was going to happen. And then it was the sleepless nights that kept me away from registering (thank goodness he has decided sleeping though the night is a good thing!! It only took 10 1/2 months lol). Luckily I have an awesome group of campers at the boot camp I teach in the mornings and we all decided we would tackle the AT&T Park Spartan Sprint as a team.

Spartan-Race4We ended up with an amazing team of 20 people and had campers that represented each of our four locations. Everyone was super excited and we were all ready to get going. Needless to say I had a huge knot in my stomach and felt like I was going to be sick (dang nerves get me every time I do something new!).

Spartan group beforeBut then we all started goofing around while we were waiting and I felt a lot better :)

Spartan PA before in stadium

All I have to say is STAIRS!! We went up and down so  many stairs I lost count. Someone mentioned basically covering the whole stadium, which I feel like we did. There were some awesome obstacles and some obstacles that totally kicked my butt. And one of those was the Jerry Jug, were you carried approximately 45 pounds of water down the stairs, across and then back up the stairs. Man, my forearms were burning after that one.

Jerry JugOh and then there were the crazy tall walls. No, I wasn’t able to make it up on my own. I got the help of an awesome teammate and definitely realized I need to work on my upper body strength. Oh and I recommend to work on your grip strength. That was one of the hardest parts for me and needless to say I purchased a grip strengthener (this is the one I bought and I got Level 1) on Amazon as soon as I got home from the race!

Spartan wall

We all finished smiling, proud and exhausted. Would we do it again?!?! HELL YEAH!! We are actually signed up for the Sacramento Spartan Sprint in October. We were debating on the Super but decided we wanted to get the experience of an outdoor (non-stadium) Spartan. Plus it will help us prepare for the Monterey Beast next year. Oh Yes! We are hooked :)

Finish Line 2Spartan PA after

And next year I am personally going to complete the Trifecta!! I will be racing the Monterey Beast, AT&T Park Sprint and Sacramento Super. I love a challenge and completing that definitely will be!!

Spartan medalHave you done a Spartan? Completed the Trifecta? Or just thought about it but haven’t clicked the register button yet?

~Larissa

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IDEA Summer Games with Les Mills GRIT

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Les Mills. All opinions are my own

I got the awesome opportunity to be part of the IDEA Summer Games with Les Mills GRIT. All I have to say is WOW!! What an amazing workout and there were some awesome competitors. I have taken many Les Mills Bodypump classes but never GRIT. I have always loved Bodypump so I had a strong feeling that GRIT was going to be right up my ally too. If you haven’t heard of these classes before here is a little breakdown of the idea behind Les Mills GRIT. There are three different classes offered focusing one three different areas: strength, cardio and plyometrics.These classes are all 30 minutes long and meant to push you! There are taught in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style.

Now onto the Summer Games. There were a total of 4 different games that went for the whole day. They started with Runner’s Revenge, which focused on cardio. Then there was Strength And Conditioning Match-Up, which focused on strength. And the Speed, Agility and Quickness Challenge, which focused on plyometrics. The grand finale was the Les Mills GRIT Games Competition.

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Due to a nagging hamstring issue I did not physically compete in the games but was there in the competition area catching all the action, which I now get to share with you!

Strength and Conditioning Match-up:

This section had competitors doing 3 different sets of 3 different exercises for 1 minute each. They recorded their reps and the top 3 women and top 3 men then competed for gold, silver and bronze. I really enjoy strength training so this was my favorite part of all the games. The competitors really gave it their all and kicked some major butt. Here are some of the awesome people that were out there!

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Speed, Agility and Quickness:

For this round competitors had different exercises that they had to complete for 90 seconds. They pulled an index card that gave them the order of the exercises so it was always a surprise what you had to tackle first. Everyone was in groups of 3 people, where only 1 person was going through the exercises, while the other two people counted and coached. The exercises for this one were really hard. I have a fear of box jumps (I am determined to get over that eventually) so this round would not have been a good one for me. Here are some more awesome competitors!

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Les Mill GRIT Games Competition:

This was absolutely amazing to watch. Talk about true strength, endurance and determination. These people pushed their hardest and definitely were ready to win it all. There were over 150 people that came out to compete in the final competition. These again were timed exercises where one person from each team went through all exercises and the amount of reps were recorded. Here are the competitors…

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I am so glad I was introduced to Les Mills GRIT in such an awesome and fun way. I got to meet some of the trainers and everyone was so passionate about the workout and what they do. Being a group exercise instructor it made me want to jump on the computer and see when/where the next training is. I have always enjoyed HIIT training and feel that it is a great way to train your body in a short amount of time. I am recommending this class to all my readers!! Go on the Les Mills Website and search for a class in your area. I promise you are going to love it and you will be sweating your butt off!

 

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