Fuel for the Soul

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul

Free Fitness Friday: Intervals for the Win!

Calorie-blasting, Exercise, Fitness, Free Fitness Friday, Free Workout, Healthy Lifestyle, HIIT, TrainingkellypuryearComment

It’s finally Friday!! Once again, the week flew by and we are already approaching the weekend! I truly don’t know where the time goes, but I know how important it is to make the time to exercise – even when I am short on time! Time really is of the essence and it may be difficult to fit in a cardio workout throughout the week, but I have great news for you! You can still get the health benefits of cardiovascular exercise in a quick 25- minute workout when you incorporate Interval Training - and you will burn twice as many calories with Interval Training in the same amount of time! Now that’s a win, win situation if you ask me!

Interval Cardio

(Photo: BodyBuilding.com)

The beauty of Intervals is that you can perform any cardiovascular exercise that you wish in nearly any setting that you desire– walking, jogging, sprinting or running the stairs outdoors; walking, jogging, and sprinting on the treadmill inside; or on the stair-master, rowing machine, elliptical, or spin bike in your house or gym – and you are able to perform the exercise at a higher intensity throughout the 25-minute workout. The key is performing the exercise at intervals of low intensity (to rest and recover) and higher intensity (to get your heart-rate up and torch some serious calories).

The intensity of the exercise is based on YOUR OWN rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and it is important to rest and recover during the lower intensity and to really push it during the higher intensity intervals. Here is a table that lists and describes the RPE method for setting the intensity level for your intervals.RPE chart

(Photo: runandbehappy)

Use this chart when setting your intensity levels throughout the interval workout and be sure to warm up for the first 3 minutes at a “light activity” factor (2-3 on the RPE scale) in order to warm up the body and prepare yourself for the higher intensity work. Similarly, be sure to cool down during the last few minutes at a “light activity factor” (2-3 on the RPE scale) in order to allow your heart-rate to come back down to near resting levels and end your work out with a full body stretching session to reduce soreness and prevent injuries.

Here’s the workout! It’s only 25 minutes long (including the warm-up and cool-down) and it will be over before you know it! Trust me, you will feel the burn and will feel amazing when it’s over!

Time Intensity (RPE)
0:00-3:00 2-3 (warm-up)
3:00-5:00 7-8
5:00-7:00 4
7:00-9:00 7-8
9:00-11:00 4
11:00-13:00 9
13:00-15:00 4
15:00-17:00 7-8
17:00-19:00 4
19:00-21:00 10 (as fast as you can!)
21:00-25:00 2-3 (cool-down)

Now that you understand how to use the RPE chart and have the Interval Training workout in front of you, let’s get this workout started!

  1. Pick your cardiovascular exercise of choice
  2. Set your Ipod to your favorite workout playlist
  3. Set your first interval speed and get going!

Have a blast “blasting” some serious calories and have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Thirsty Thursday: Easy Green & Lean Smoothie

Eating Healthy, Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Recipe, Nutrition, Protein Shake, Recipe, Smoothie, Thirsty Thursday Recipekellypuryear3 Comments

There is nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold smoothie after a hard workout and there's no faster method of re-fueling post-workout than by drinking a protein-packed, antioxidant-rich "Green & Lean" smoothie! I am often asked how I make my post-workout smoothies and many clients have asked me "what are the best ingredients to put into your smoothies to replenish the body's carbohydrate stores and provide sufficient protein for muscle tissue repair and growth?" These are great questions and today I am going to answer these questions and provide you all with my recipes for an Easy Green & Lean Smoothie!

Green Matcha SmoothieNow doesn't that Green Smoothie look beautiful! This delicious smoothie was made at Village Health Market in South Tampa and, while it was packed with antioxidants, lean protein, and did not contain any added sugars, it cost me more than $6!! Now I don't know about you, but I can't justify paying a lot of money for something that I could easily make at home for less than half the price... so I decided to use this smoothie as inspiration for my homemade versions.

The main ingredients in this particular Green Smoothie are:

  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Banana
  • Spinach
  • Vegan vanilla bean protein powder
  • Matcha Green Tea powder
  • 1 Stevia packet
  • Ice cubes

See how simple it would be to buy these ingredients and make several smoothies at home! The important ingredients to include are a liquid of choice (water, unsweetened non-dairy milk or low-fat milk, and even leftover coffee or cold brew coffee), fruit (banana, berries, pineapple, peaches, mango...), super green leafy vegetables (spinach or kale), lean protein source (whey protein powder, vegan protein powder, Greek yogurt, or egg white protein), extra antioxidant boost (Match powder, Maca powder, raw cocoa powder...), a natural sweetener of choice (Stevia / Truvia, maple syrup, agave, or honey), and ice cubes to blend to desired consistency. You can add in or remove any ingredients that you'd like and you can mix match until you find your favorite blends! It really can be fun to experiment with your homemade smoothies!

Here are a few of my favorite concoctions to give you some ideas :-)

Smoothie ingredients - coffee

PB and Banana Mocha Smoothie:

  • 1 cup chilled black coffee with 1/4th cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites (10g protein)
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tsp Matcha Green Tea powder
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 5 ice cubes

Smoothie ingredients - designer whey

Spinach and Banana Smoothie:

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 scoop 100% whey protein powder (vanilla) (22g protein)
  • 1 tsp Matcha Green Tea powder
  • 2 packets Truvia
  • 5 ice cubes

Smoothie ingredients - Greek yogurt

Greek PB and Banana Smoothie:

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 single-serve Oikos plain Greek yogurt (15g protein)
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 5 ice cubes

Mix all ingredients together in a blender and voila - you have the perfect post-workout smoothie that will replenish and rejuvenate :-) Have fun mixing and matching the ingredients and coming up with your own favorite smoothies!

Stay tuned for more great Smoothie recipes every Thursday!


Meal Makeover: Shrimp and Avocado Pesto "Pasta"

Eating Healthy, Gluten Free, Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Recipe, Meal Makeover, Nutrition, Recipe, Simple Mealskellypuryear2 Comments

There is nothing more comforting to me than a big ol' plate of pasta, but there are few meals more calorically dense or higher in carbohydrates! One of my favorite meals is shrimp and spaghetti with pesto sauce and Parmesan cheese, but this meal can contain upwards of 1,000 - 1,300 calories and leaves me feeling bloated, sluggish, and curled up on the couch in the fetal position (thanks GLUTEN)! This terrible combination lead me to search for a recipe for a healthier version of my beloved Pesto Pasta that would provide me with the right combination of nutrients to leave me feeling energized and still give me that "comfort food" feel I so desperately miss. After a few trial and errors with different recipes, I decided to make my own version of a Pesto Pasta that is higher in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants and lower in calories, saturated fat, and empty carbohydrates. I was quite surprised with the end result and could not believe how delicious my concoction was... not to mention it is naturally gluten-free, contains 2-3 servings of vegetables, and is surprisingly filling!

Let me introduce to you....

Shrimp and Avocado Pesto "Pasta"

Shrimp Pesto Zoodle Pasta

The big secret is I used zucchini and yellow squash for the "pasta" (also known as "zoodles") and avocado and spinach in the pesto sauce! I promise you won't miss the spaghetti and your taste buds will be blown away by the avocado pesto sauce!

So what are you waiting for!? Give this made-over recipe a try!

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

* Avocado Pesto Sauce (About 30 calories per 2 tbsp - serving)

  • 1/2 small Haas Avocado
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves (stems removed)
  • 10 Basil leaves (stems removed)

* Shrimp & Zoodles 

  • Olive oil spray
  • Old bay spice (to taste)
  • 12 oz pre-cooked, frozen shrimp (thawed)
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis
  • 2-3 medium yellow squash
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese (for topping)
  • Red Chili flakes (to taste)

* Tools needed:


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the Avocado Spinach Pesto in a food processor and blend until well combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically and add a tbsp or two of water to reach desired consistency. Once the pesto reaches your desired consistency and taste, set aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the shrimp and zoodles.
  2. Use a vegetable spiralizer or mandolin slicer to turn your zucchini and yellow squash into vegetable noodles. Once all vegetables are spiralized, set aside.
  3. Spray a large skillet / sauce pan with olive oil spray and saute the shrimp with the Old Bay (to taste) until the shrimp are heated through (about 2 minutes). Add the spiralized zucchini and yellow squash and heat for another 1-2 minutes until the vegetables are heated through and soften up a bit.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the avocado pesto sauce. Mix well!
  5. Divide the shrimp and zoodles among 4 plates and top each plate with 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, and chili flakes (to taste).

Shrimp & Zoodles(Sauteing the Shrimp and Zoodles with Old Bay :-) )

And that's all there is to it! A quick and VERY healthy meal the whole family will love, without the carb-overload and bloating! You can switch up the ingredients to your liking and be creative with your very own concoctions! Some of my favorite versions of this Pesto Pasta include grilled chicken and ground turkey with canned diced tomatoes!

Grilled chicken zoodles

(Grilled chicken breast with "Pesto Pasta")

Turkey zoodles

(Ground turkey with "Pasta" Marinara)

Go ahead, have fun with your Pesto Pasta! You can thank me later :-)

Bon appetit!

Meal made in minutes: Chicken & Brown Rice Bowl

Eating Healthy, Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Recipe, Meal in Minutes, Nutrition, Quick lunch, Recipe, Simple MealskellypuryearComment

I love Sundays! For many, it is a day to rest and recover from the busy week; to spend time with family and friends; and a day to enjoy some "me time." But for some, it is a day that is full of honey-do lists and endless errands; full of catching up on the list of things you left un-done from the previous week; and a day spent trying to get ahead of the game at home or at the office. For me, Sundays consist of a little bit of both - spending time with my husband and in-laws mixed in with endless chores around the house, running errands, and prepping for the week ahead. The day passes by so quickly and before I know it, it's nearing 9:00 pm and I still need to prepare my meals for the next few days. When I am short on time (which happens more often than not) my go-to meal is some variation of a Brown Rice Bowl - a super easy way to combine your favorite foods in one bowl to take to work with you for lunch or to have ready when you come home for dinner. On the menu for this Monday is one of my favorite bowls - the Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl - full of lean protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and colorful vegetables!

chicken bowl

This meal (inspired by one of our favorite South Tampa restaurants, Ciccio's) is not only super easy to make, but it is loaded with nutrients and long-lasting energy! All you have to do is a little prep work the night before and you will have a meal made in minutes that will be sure to satisfy :-)


  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1-2 cups mixed greens
  • 4 oz cooked chicken breast meat (from a rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast)
  • 1/4 cup guacamole (1 single-serve guacamole packet)
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic & olive oil dressing


  1. Boil or steam brown rice (as instructed) I used Minute Rice and boiled 1 cup of rice for 5 minutes. I saved the rest for leftovers.
  2. While rice is cooking, remove (4 oz) chicken breast and chop into smaller pieces. I used a rotisserie chicken, but grilled or baked chicken breast is fine too). 
  3. Once rice is cooked and cooled, place 1/2 cup into a Tupperware bowl and top with mixed greens, and chopped chicken breast.
  4. Add guacamole and dressing right before serving and enjoy!

I typically eat this quick meal for lunch and take the Tupperware with me on-the-go. I recommend waiting to add the guacamole and dressing until you are ready to eat to prevent the greens from getting soggy and the guacamole from turning brown.

This is such a quick and versatile meal! You can really use any lean protein and any other vegetable your heart desires for this bowl, you just need to do a little planning and prepping the night before!

Here are some variations of the Rice Bowl for substitution ideas and inspiration:

Chicken buritto bowl

(Chicken Burrito Bowl: with brown rice, spinach, grilled chicken breast, grape tomatoes, salsa, avocado, and 1 hard-boiled egg) Chicken green bean bowl

(Lighter Chicken Bowl: with mixed greens, steamed green beans, grilled chicken breast, grape tomatoes, and balsamic dressing)

Here are some tips for the planning and prepping:

  • Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store when you do your weekly food shopping or bake a couple chicken breasts on Sunday evening for the beginning of the week.
  • Use Minute brown rice, steam-able rice bags for the microwave, or boil a batch of rice on Sundays to use as leftovers for the next few days.
  • Look for single-serve guacamole packets (such as Wholly Guacamole)  and pour your salad dressing in small Tupperware container for on-the-go convenience.

Bon appetit!


Free Fitness Friday: Workout #2

Calorie-blasting, Exercise, Fitness, Free Fitness Friday, Free Workout, Healthy Lifestyle, HIIT, Tabata Training, TrainingkellypuryearComment

Happy Friday!! I don't know about you, but this week seemed to drag on and on and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off all week! Well, it's finally Friday and time to squeeze in this week's FREE  workout! I was short on time this morning, but had an absolute blast (and blasted some serious calories) with this quick 20 minute HIIT / Tabata workout. I played around with some recordings of each exercise to demonstrate how they are done, but I am still working out the issues with editing and sharing videos! Bear with me as I learn the ropes of editing media, but at least you click the YouTube links and be able to see how each exercise is done and ensure that you have proper form!

Here we go!

Workout #2

As always, you want to start with 5-10 minutes of an easy warm-up and finish the workout with at least a 5-minute cool-down and stretch! The whole workout takes 20 minutes (30-45 minutes total with the warm-up and cool-down) and you'll be surprised with how much fun you'll have while burning some serious calories!

Complete each exercise (1-5) for 20 seconds of high-intensity work ("on") with a 10-second rest ("off") between each exercise until you complete the 5th exercise - that is one (Tabata) cycle. For example, do the burpees (with the jump) for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move onto the right leg step-ups for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move onto the left leg step-ups for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move onto the plank with tricep press for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then finish with the plank with scissor jumps for 20 seconds. Rest 10 more seconds before moving onto the next cycle. Repeat the cycle 5 more times (for a total of 6 cycles) and then cool down for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how much time you have). You can choose any form of cardiovascular exercise to cool down, but don't skimp out on the cool- down! It's important to allow your heart-rate to come back down to near-resting levels AND stretch after a high-intensity workout!

Here are the YouTube links for demonstration purposes. The first video is me performing the burpee exercise, the second video is me performing the right leg step-ups and the left leg step-ups, and the third video is me performing the plank with tricep press and the plank with scissor jumps.

Video 1: Burpees


Video 2:  Right leg step-ups and the left leg step-ups

Video 3: Plank with tricep press and the plank with scissor jumps

Have a blast (while blasting calories) and have a wonderful weekend ahead!