Candy Control, Costumes Through the Years, and Halloween Friday Favorites

Morning, and Happy Halloween!

Candy Control

Since today is notoriously known as the biggest candy day of the year, I want to just take a second and throw something out there. Before you reach for that candy bar (or two… or three…) today, think about whether you truly want to eat the candy or if you are just eating it because it’s there and because it’s Halloween. Remind yourself that Halloween candy is actually available every day of the year. Sure the M&Ms might be orange, and those Reese’s might be shaped like pumpkins, but these are treats that are accessible to us all year round, are they not? Choose mindfully today, make sure that what you eat is truly a CHOICE (not just a cheat), and certainly not something you do just because today is a holiday/day to eat whatever you want. With this in mind, certainly don’t deprive yourself, but enjoy the holiday once. Have a favorite today, but not two weeks later, not in the office next week, etc. Just some thoughts!

Halloween Costumes Through the Years

I thought it would be a fun Friday post to share some Halloween costumes from years past!

2014: Yesterday as a referee at the gym

Halloween at the Gym 2014

2013: Last year I dressed up with Liz as Thing 1 and Thing 2

Halloween: Thing 1 & Thing 2

2012: Another gym Halloween. 80s style fitness!

Halloween Group Ex Classes 2012

2011: I had two Halloween parties to go to this year. I did the leotard get-up again for one of them, and for the other I tried to be Miss Scarlett from Clue along with some other fellow Clue characters. Nobody could tell who we all were, darnit.

Halloween 2011

Halloween: Clue Characters

2010: One of my favorites! Nerds!

Nerd Costume

2009: Hello, rock star and pink hair.

Halloween: Rockstar Costume

2008: I can’t believe I used to have the effort to come up with MULTIPLE costumes. Party #1 = Flinstones. Party #2 = flappers.

Halloween: Flinstones

Halloween: Flappers

2007: The other flapper costume. And a Twister board, which is my other all time favorite Halloween costume besides dressing up as a nerd with Tim.



2006: Pirate. I thought I was so cool because I wrote “argh you gonna touch my booty” on my shirt. My only excuse for that being okay ? Senior year of college. Woof.


My hard drive broke with all my other college pictures on it (still can’t handle that), but I do remember dressing up as a French maid with Shannon (I think junior year?). Sophomore year is a mystery, but look at this gem I found from freshman year:

Charlie's Angels

What? You can’t tell we are Charlie’s Angels?

I have a bunch of gems from high school too. There was that year I dressed up with my friend Baka as Cat Woman and Batman.


Then there was a time that I was going to dress up with my friend Rob as Austin Powers and the girl from Austin Powers… but then he was sick so I was sans Austin Powers.

High School Halloween

Oh, and I think I went trick or treating until I was 15 years old. As a farmer. haha!

Halloween: Farmer

Well, that was fun (and a little horrifying). Crazy how costumes change from your younger 20s to your almost 30s! I wish I could remember more from my childhood. All I can think of was cookie monster, a devil, and a MAN. My parents were probably horrified that year! Mom? Any other good ones you can share with F&F?

Moving on…

Halloween Friday Favorites

Since I didn’t have much free time for my usual blog reading this week, I decided to share some fun Halloween inspired links I stumbled upon this week instead. Enjoy!

Halloween Fitness

Halloween Food

Halloween Fun

And if you missed anything on F&F this week, check out the launch of my new newsletter, my recipe for a lightened up apple crisp, and my own themed Halloween workout that I taught yesterday in class.

–Let’s chat–
How do you practice candy control on a day like today? What was your favorite Halloween costume? Your least favorite?
Are you dressing up this year? What are your weekend plans?

Tim and I are having some friends over tonight for pumpkin and Oktoberfest inspired beers. Costumes optional. We are lame! Have a great weekend, everyone.

A Wicked Halloween Workout

This morning I taught what has become my annual Halloween themed class at the gym. I know 6am is pretty aggressive for people to get decked out, so I just encouraged my class members to wear some Halloween flair if they had it. We had some tutus, leotards, mini mouse ears, and orange and black, so I think they did a pretty good job at getting into the spirit of things.

Halloween at the gym 2014

I dressed up as a referee. It took a lot of restraint to not bust out a whistle for timing the drills (I have one).

Halloween at the Gym 2014

^^ I look tired today, huh?

In true Athena form, I brought back the Halloween workout playlist that never fails me:

Halloween Workout Playlist

And I made sure that all my moves today were Halloween inspired. I assume full responsibility for how dorky this is, but like I posted on Instagram this morning, what’s the fun in being boring? I called this one my wicked Halloween workout.

A Wicked Halloween Workout

You guys should try it! Here’s a breakdown of the moves:

Part 1: Bodyweight Circuit
I snagged this circuit from the Fall Freedom challenge I am participating in through Neghar Fonooni. It’s tomorrow’s workout in our weekly plan, but I had my class do it today. I set a timer for 15 minutes, and everyone had to see how many rounds of each exercise they could do in that amount of time while keeping good form.

  • Spooky single leg squats: Balancing on one leg, sit down to a step or bench, then stand back up. Do 10 on each leg. Holding a dumbbell for extra weight is optional.
  • Demon decline pushups: Do 8 pushups with your feet elevated on the bench and your hands on the ground.
  • Lurking lunge hops: Step backward into a lunge position, and jump (2 feet to 2 feet). Immediately after landing in the same lunge position you started in, bring your back knee forward and hop. Do 8 on each side in this pattern.

Part 2: Traveling Tabatas
I had class do two pairs of exercises. For each pair, alternate between the two exercises in a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off format. Each pair will be done for a total of four times.

Halloween at the Gym 2014

  • Zombie walks #1 + monster climbers: Holding a pair of light weights (or one heavier weight) in front of you, walk around the room while keeping your abs engaged. Try not to lean forward or back, and make sure your arms are no higher than shoulder height. Your palms will either be face down, or facing in toward each other. After 20 seconds is up, drop to the ground for mountain (monster) climbers. Your hands will be flat on the ground, and you will alternate bringing your knees one at a time into your chest. For more cardio, add speed.
  • Zombie walks #2 + spiderman planks: Hold one heavy dumbbell overhead, and walk around the room again. This is really called a dumbbell’s waiter walk, and it’s a core move because you really have to engage to not lean side to side. Keep your shoulder down, and try not to bend the elbow too much. After 20 seconds, drop back down to the ground for spiderman planks. You will alternate bringing your right knee to touch your right elbow, then your left knee to touch your left elbow. These ones should be done slowly to feel the burn!

Part 3: Partner Work

Halloween at the Gym 2014

  • Pass the pumpkin 2 ways: You will need a medicine ball for this one. First, stand back to back with a partner. Pass the ball to and from each other for 60 seconds. Then lay on the ground with your feet touching, and take turns tossing and catching the ball with each other as you do situps. Do this for 60 seconds. Then repeat the standing oblique move going in the other direction for 60 seconds, and do the situp toss and catch again for another 60.
  • Creepy crawlers: Facing your partner on all fours, crab walk backwards for four walks, then front for four walks, and clap hands (alternating one hand at a time) four times. Repeat in this pattern for 60 seconds.
  • Candy crunches: Sit side by side to your partner, but facing opposite directions. Do oblique crunches toward each other, high fiving at the top of the crunch. You will be working opposite sides for 60 seconds, then switch to finish the other side for another 60 seconds.
  • Jack o’lantern jumps: With your partner, take turns doing squat jumps (frogger style) until together you total 100 jumps.

Part 4: Floor Work

  • BOOty burners: Lying on one side with your hips and knees stacked, bring your top knee down in front of you so it touches the floor, then extend your leg back up so you press your heel into the air, aiming toward the top corner of the room. Do 3 sets of 10, then 10 reps of leg lowers and lifts, then 10 circles front, and 10 circles back. Repeat on the other side. You can get a better idea of this one here.
  • Vampire v-sits: Just do regular v-sits with 10 slow reps. Start lying on the ground, arms extended overhead. Come up to a “V” position so your legs are extended/lifted in front of you. Hold 3 seconds, then come back down to your starting point.
  • Scary supermans: Lying on your stomachs, extend your arms in front of you, keeping your neck in a neutral position. Simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Hold for 3 seconds, then come back down. Repeat for 10 reps. We actually didn’t have time for these this morning, but that’s okay.

Halloween at the Gym 2014

So fun! Thanks everyone for getting into the Halloween spirit!

–Let’s chat–
Instructors, are you doing anything Halloween-ish in your classes this week? Costumes, theme rides, playlists, moves? Readers, have you gone to any Halloween inspired fitness events? What’s your favorite Halloween song to workout to?

For more Halloween inspired F&F posts, check out:

Lightened Up Apple Crisp

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC. All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago, during one of my massive Sunday food prep sessions, I had the urge to make apple crisp. Apple crisp is totally one of those perfect fall desserts that you just HAVE to make at least once a year, right? I definitely think so, but despite being made with fruit, it’s really not so great for you. Every time I’ve tried to healthify apple crisp in the past, I still ended up using butter, white flour, or granulated sugar to some extent. Either that, or I ended up with a massive kitchen fail. My desire to create the perfect lightened up apple crisp recipe came at a great time, because I was recently asked to develop a recipe using Canadian maple syrup through my relationship with FitFluential.

Lightened Up Apple Crisp: Canadian Maple Syrup

This was perfect because one of my favorite ways to sweeten a recipe without using any added sugar is with real maple syrup. It’s pure, all natural, and something we pretty much always have in stock in our kitchen — and for more than just topping pancakes or waffles with. In the past couple of weeks, aside from this apple crisp recipe, Tim and I used Canadian maple syrup in recipes like quinoa stuffed acorn squash, crockpot pumpkin oatmeal, and mashed sweet potatoes (made with only the syrup and plain Greek yogurt!). And on our meal plan later this week? Maple dijon chicken drumsticks. It’s a very versatile ingredient, and it really adds a lot of depth/complexity to our cooking.

Lightened Up Apple Crisp: Canadian Maple Syrup

Keep in mind that a recipe is not necessarily sugar free just because it doesn’t call for any added white or brown sugar. For example, maple syrup is still a source of sugar because it’s made directly from the sap of sugar maple trees (the sap is boiled down 40 times to make the syrup). It’s just a better choice in my opinion because it’s unprocessed and offers health benefits of vitamin and mineral content without losing its sweet taste. Think zinc and magnesium (necessary minerals for post workout recovery!), potassium, and 54 different antioxidant compounds (the darker the grade, the higher the antioxidant levels).

Anyways, back to the apple crisp. After poking around a little bit online, I think I was able to combine a bunch of different ideas to create a winning recipe for you guys.

Lightened Up Apple Crisp

Lightened Up Apple Crisp

Makes a 9×13 inch pan’s worth (serves a crowd!)


  • 6 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup Canadian maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsalted pecan halves/pieces
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • Coconut oil or coconut oil cooking spray

Lightened Up Apple Crisp: Ingredients


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil cooking spray, or grease with regular coconut oil.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the other ingredients together.
  4. Once combined, spread evenly into the baking dish.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown and begins to crisp up.
  6. Sprinkle some extra cinnamon on top, and enjoy!

Lightened up apple crisp

This apple crisp, despite not having the typical bad-for-you ingredients, still had an ooey gooey middle and tasted like the traditional version. The only thing I would say is that its not AS crispy as its non-healthified cousin. After Tim and I finished all our food prep that Sunday, we each enjoyed some of the apple crisp with a scoop of So Delicious almond milk frozen dessert. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth craving, without the guilt!

Lightened Up Apple Crisp

You can make this recipe for a smaller group by cutting the ingredients in half and using an 8×8 baking dish instead. Just cook for 30 minutes instead of going over. As long as the pans are the same depth, you should be okay. I’ve made both versions now, and each came out great.

–Let’s chat–
How do you make apple crisp? What’s your favorite go to fall dessert? How do you like to sweeten recipes without using any added sugar? What’s something you think you would like to make using Canadian maple syrup?

Next on my maple “to try” list is maple water! As someone who simply cannot jump on the coconut water bandwagon, I have high hopes for this one.