A Snowy Workout and Shoveling Safety Tips

Greetings from the blizzard of 2015!

Blizzard of 2015: Juno

Blizzard of 2015: Juno

Juno hit us Bostonians last night, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Normally I’m not one to get psyched for snow, but we haven’t really had a significant amount yet this winter, and this week’s timing isn’t terrible. I’m just excited to be hunkered down for at least a day. Tim and I definitely have enough wine and snacks essentials to make it through a few days, so I’m not going to lie, I kind of hope this blizzard lasts that long. There’s just something about being forced to stay home, slow down, and stay put for a bit, no?

Blizzard of 2015

^^ Rockin a theme outfit, obv.

Anyways, if you are also in the middle of a blizzard today, let’s take a second to talk about shoveling because inevitably there will be a point where we have to get ourselves outside to clear our driveways and cars. Just like I a get a little nervous seeing people with incorrect form at the gym, I always get a little nervous thinking about the amount of shoveling related injuries that are likely to happen when it snows. Shoveling might not be the most traditional form of exercise, but it’s a no joke workout, and there are some things you should keep in mind before picking up that shovel:

  • Even though it might be cold out, don’t go into it cold. Do a light warmup and some dynamic stretching first to avoid muscle strain.
  • Make sure to hydrate and drink a lot of water first as well. Again, even though it’s cold outside, you will break a sweat once you start moving out there.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t rush, and take breaks as necessary. There’s no need to overdo it all at once just for the sake of getting the job done. Listen to your body if you feel tired.
  • Don’t lift too much snow at once. Only fill up half your shovel, push the snow when you can, and try not to just huck the snow over your shoulder.
  • And my personal favorite, lift with your legs, not with your back. This is functional fitness at its best, people! And why I love deadlifts so much. They teach you how to properly lift things up and put them back down. While shoveling, make sure you hinge at the hips and keep a neutral spine instead of rounding your back. If you find that your back consistently rounds as you shovel, this is a sign of a weak core, and you might want to start doing some core focused exercises that stabilize your spine throughout the week.

Blizzard Nemo - Me Shoveling

For those of you who already have a bad back, a history of heart disease, or simply don’t want to risk it, this might be a time to splurge on just paying that neighborhood kid to shovel for you.

For those of you who are able-bodied, take a second to think about who on your street might need some extra help. A nice gesture can go a long way!

And for those of you who are next level and looking for a workout to do beyond the manual labor of shoveling today, I came up with this total body beauty to try. You do it as you shovel. Please note that the only exercises that your shovel should have snow in it as you lift the shovel are the underhand rows, and that’s just optional.

snow shoveling workout

Let me know if you try it! I want to see your shoveling and/or #sweatysnowday pics on social media, mmkay? Tag me @fitnessandfeta to make sure I can see and leave you a comment!

Readers, let’s chat! Are you getting a lot of snow where you live today? Shoveling – love it or hate it? What’s your go to workout for snow days?

For those of you looking for something sweaty to do INDOORS, here are some of my favorite at home workouts:

Not seeing one you like? Browse my Fitness tab for more fitspiration. Have fun, friends! Be safe!

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Balsamic Red Quinoa with Spinach & Feta

Ok, Boston, I’m done with you and your weather.  I know it’s the last day of winter and all, but really?  Did we need more snow today?

snowing

Ha.  Seriously though, I’ve had better mornings.  With the exception of this weekend, I have pretty much been working around the clock for the past two weeks.  Next week I’m off to Atlanta (for a work trip) and there’s lots to finalize and get done before then.  There have been several late nights (my version of staying late at work is leaving at my usual time to make it to the gym and then literally working late), but it’s okay.  I got up this morning at 6am to do one last run through of the presentation I had this morning at 10:00am.  After practicing in my kitchen while doing the dishes, packing my lunch bag, etc. I went outside to shovel and long story short – my car got stuck in the driveway and my windshield wiper broke.   I ended up rescheduling my presentation and working from home today, and everything with my car and the snow is resolved, so I guess it all worked out.  Oof.  I hate when things don’t go as planned though!

Anyways, I wanted to share one of my latest favorite quinoa recipes before I head off to the gym.  If you read F&F regularly, you know I eat quinoa a LOT.  If you are new to F&F (hiiii!), well, now you know too.  Here’s the recipe I’ve made for a few weeks now during Sunday food prep – I can’t get enough of it!

Balsamic Red Quinoa with Spinach & Feta

Balsamic Red Quinoa with Spinach & Feta

Makes 6-8 servings – I only make this much if prepping for the week.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (optional)
  • 4 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Sliced mushrooms (not measured)
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Spices (not measured):  Oregano, parsley, salt, pepper
  • Crumbled feta (not measured)

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa per package directions.  Note most packages instruct on 1 cup of quinoa, for this recipe I just doubled it.  If you prefer to cook the quinoa in stock instead of water for extra flavor, do so.
  2. Once quinoa is almost done cooking (you can tell because liquid will be almost absorbed), add the sun-dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and spices.
  3. When the quinoa is done, add the spinach and balsamic vinegar and stir until spinach has wilted.
  4. Sprinkle with crumbled feta, and enjoy!

Balsamic Red Quinoa with Spinach & Feta

You can really add anything you want to this recipe.  I’ve made it with green peppers, I’ve thrown some grilled chicken or cooked shrimp on top, and I’ve also eaten this with a side of dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) from Sophia’s Greek Pantry.  I obviously like this recipe for its Mediterranean flair!  I think the balsamic really adds a lot to the dish, and I’m excited that I’m getting better at not following recipes to a T in the kitchen.  Oh, and feta.  There’s that too.

Anyone have a favorite quinoa dish lately?  Who’s ready for spring?

For some other F&F quinoa recipes of the past, check out:

Have a great night you guys!