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A good choice at Italian restaurants for a main course is Branzino.

Week 11 – DAOFitlife Meal and Exercise Plan

Here is my weekly update of my meal and exercise plan. First, here is a roadmap of all the documents I update. Ideally you will want to use a personal gmail account to access the google sheets. Otherwise, you can also download the documents in PDF or excel format if you don’t have that platform. I update recipes on a weekly basis, and log my food and exercise activity both on a planned and real-time basis.

The ultimate finisher: The Airdyne bike. Find out more in my exercise narrative below. Also, jump on LinkedIn and follow my story if you want to check it out live!


Customizable DAOFitlife Meal Plan and Grocery List Links– Week 11

DAOFitlife Exercise Plan – Week 10

Exercise Template Links

Meal Plan 

This weekend was Mother’s Day, which means lots of brunches. The best part of brunch for me is pancakes. Actually a toss-up between that and French toast. But it’s much easier for me to make pancakes. So I learned how to make amazing pancakes with extra protein.

My dinner out was Italian. Given that I only eat out a restaurant max once or twice a week, I usually have a “20.” For me, that’s ordering a really yummy appetizer like risotto or buffalo mozzarella. If I do that, I will order fish for the main course. Almost every decent Italian restaurant has Branzino, which is a light white fish. Usually it’s dressed in a light dusting of olive oil and lemon juice. While it can never be as healthy as the way you would usually prep fish at home, it’s a great healthy choice. If on the other hand I want a rich veal dish or a dessert, I will go light on or skip the apps.

Remember, it’s an 80-20 lifestyle, which roughlt translates to choosing lean whole foods for four of the five aspects of the meal – drink, bread, appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Just in case you were curious, this is what my husband ordered:

I honestly prefer the Branzino for its taste, but I did enjoy a few small bites of this delight, and there was an option for veggie noodles which more restaurants are starting to offer these days, or you can even just ask. I follow the Italian way of eating, which is tasting a little bit of everything but not scraping my plate clean. As we discussed in my post on portion sizes, you should aim to eat only about half of the entree. Which is what both of us did, and we had almost a full meal to eat the next night.

Do you get the Sunday Scaries? As much as I love my job Sunday evening can be anxiety-inducing. And one hack I have learned recently is having a fun ritual that’s a nice way to make the Monday landing a little smoother. Pizza is always fun, but you don’t want to wake up Monday feeling bloated and BLAH. Enter Cauliflower Pizza! We shop for the ingredients together at our local Whole Foods. Every week we decide to make the pizza a different way so we just roam around the store and see what kind of new ingredients we want to add, mainly variations of the cheese or veggies. You can get turkey pepperoni, which is leaner than regular. We get the Caulipower Pizza Crust, which is pretty decent for a low-carb pizza crust. At 1/3 of a crust it’s 170 kcal, 27 net carbs, and 5 g of fat. Once you add the toppings, it’s about 350 caloires for 1/3 of a pizza. It’s a pretty decent amount of pizza, and I usually make a side of vegetables and/or salad to complete the meal. There’s also other non-white flour options, like Banzo’s chickpea crust.

You can get both my cauliflower pizza and Greek Yogurt pancake recipes here.

Exercise plan

NEW! Playlist of the week. I definitely know good music can be really motivating. I sometimes like to watch Youtube videos or listen to podcasts while doing cardio, but I am not one of those Netflix while doing cardio people.

I do love my Netflix and have recently indulged in a 3-day binge watch of Selena, the Netflix series. Selena Quintanilla, for those of you who don’t know, was a beloved and groundbreaking Tejano singer who was at the height of her career as a crossover star when she was tragically killed by one of her employees. I remember her from when she was alive, and I must have watched the movie with Jennifer Lopez at least 50 times. And the Netflix series reviews were mixed, but I loved it, especially the showing of the family dynamics and the music, which included songs I hadn’t appreciated before, like Techno Cumbia.  The scene in Part II where Selena records it with her brother, A.B. Quintanilla, who was also her primary songwriter, is epic. So I have put together in honor of Selena a mixed playlist with her own songs and the artists that influenced her (you can find more info about the soundtrack here).

Having mentioned Jennifer Lopez, I threw in some Jennifer Lopez, in eager anticipation of a Bennifer reunion. According to the artcile, allegedly Ben Affleck comes over to Jennifer’s house in a car she sends. That’s a true lady boss if I have ever seen one. You come and go on MY schedule!!

Here is the playlist. I’ve also made it public AND collaborative on Spotify (I am under lili.kazemi). Feel free to add your faves!

  • Bidi bidi bom bom (Selena)
  • Como la fleur (Selena y los Dinos)
  • Techno Cumbia (Selena)
  • Everlasting love (Gloria Estefan)
  • Waiting for Tonight (Jennifer Lopez)
  • I’m real (Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja rule)
  • Jenny from the Bloc (Jennifer Lopez)
  • On the floor (Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull)

NEW!  I have included a second sheet in my exercise plan that outlines my workout formula for success, and a third sheet that is a more detailed template for strength training workouts. Even if you use an app like fitplan, this is really useful for tracking your workouts. You can also download google sheets in drive and look at it on your phone while you are working out, or take screenshots. This is really for people who want to have more control over their design of workout and see gains. If you don’t track the reps, load (weight), and sets, you won’t see your strength gains. For example, you will see here that for my Single Leg RDLs, I am using 10 pound weights at 8 reps. I used to be able to do it with 12s or 15s…so I am working my way up. This also makes sure you hit all of the segments of the workout – warm up or what trainers call activation, circuit training, finisher, and cool-down.

As I explained in my previous post on an exercise formula for success, HIIT is a useful form of cardio because of its “after burn” effect. This is know as EPOC, which means excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it refers to the increased level of oxygen your body consumes and calories it burns in order to recover from working out. So the harder you work out, and the more you push your heart rate to that limit, the more you burn afterwards. I give my muscles time to recover by not doing too many successive days of HIIT and strength training, as both tear down the tiny little muscles that need time to recover, I add a “finisher” to my strength training workout, which is comment. It’s basically code for a burnout move where you push yourself as hard as you can. And I mean hard. This is a picture one of my trainers tok of me after one of my finishers. Yep, you got it. Butt. kicked. 

This week my finisher was the airdyne bike. If you want to see what that looks like, check out my story on LinkedIn . I post a new one every week. It’s a very deceptive machine because it looks like you are just riding a stationary bike but when you have to push it’s REALLY intense!

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