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July 2016 - Vicki Brands

Quinoa Shrimp Bowl

Quinoa was something I discovered when I was participating in a paleo challenge a couple of years ago. I still love to use it as a grain replacement! We had this delicious shrimp quinoa bowl for dinner:


1 lb. shrimp

1 cup quinoa

1 avocado

2  bunches of scallions, chopped

1/2 can of black beans

1/2 can of corn

1 medium lime

salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add 2 cups of water to 1 cup dry quinoa. Bring to a boil and simmer ~ 15 minutes.
  2. Cook shrimp in a skillet while quinoa is cooking. Add spices & lime juice to taste.
  3. When quinoa is done (water is gone), add beans, corn, and scallions to the pot and stir. Also add spices and lime juice to taste.
  4. Spoon quinoa mixture into a bowl, then add 1/2 avocado, and finally shrimp on top!

Enjoy  <3

Watching people WOD while WODing

Today’s workout was done in between with the Crossfit Games final events happening on the TV in our garage! Those people are so inspiring it’s ridiculous! This is the only time of year that we are actually excited and interested in a sporting event being broadcast. I’m guessing that this is how people who religiously follow the NFL, NHL, MLB, or any other sport feel throughout their team’s season. Luckily, this is only a few days long, not a few months long. Plus, we can be in our garage doing a WOD while watching other people WOD..how awesome and efficient is that?!

Anyway, here is what we worked on today:

A. 5 X 5 push press (I used 65#)

B. 5 X 10 each arm, alternating dumbbell front raise & lateral raise

C. Partner WOD:

     5 rounds of-

     Partner A: assault bike (me: 12 cals./ G: 18 cals)

     Partner B: Kettlebell swings (modification for me: swing to parallel to ground, @35#, I did 15 each                  round)

    *When biking partner is finished, switch stations. Repeat until each person has completed 5 rounds of             each movement.

Crossfit Games inspired “DT”

One of today’s Crossfit Games individual events is “Double DT”. This is simply double the work of the normal “DT” Hero WOD. Being inspired by all of the Crossfit Games athletes, we decided to do “DT” as our workout today. G did “DT” with the normal men’s prescribed weight of 155#. The women’s prescribed weight was 105#, which normally, would have been a great, challenging weight for me. But, going on 29 weeks preggo and the temperature hitting over 100 degrees, I didn’t even consider doing the full weight. Instead, I chose to use my 35# Rogue Bella Bar (LOVE!) with 10# weights on each side, totaling 55#. I didn’t time myself for this workout; my goals were to complete the workout, raise my heart rate, and not over heat. Mission accomplished (:


5 rounds of: 

12 deadlifts *Modification: narrow grip, sumo stance deadlifts for me 

9 power cleans

6 push jerks


“Baby Nancy”

“Baby Nancy”

(as seen on Crossfit.com after Googling “Crossfit Pregnancy Workouts”)

5 rounds of:

400 m row

15 overhead squats (35# bar)

I’ve taken out “for time” from most workouts now which has been really helpful. When you have a clock staring you in the face during a workout, you naturally want to push harder to finish. With the heat and the increasing size of my belly, that’s the last thing I need. My goal during this workout was to keep my heart rate elevated and complete the workout. Goal accomplished!

Overcoming Changes & Challenges

These past two weeks have been challenging in terms of being self-motivated. Yes, it’s still summer for teachers, and yes, I do have a lot of time to do things I don’t normally have time to do during the school year (and I’m thankful for that!). However, some days (make that many days) I feel like my own body is working against me despite having more time. I am starting to feel like, well… like I’m pregnant. I know I’ve been pregnant for going on 29 weeks now, but until late, I haven’t felt like I needed to make many accommodations to my workouts or even my every day life.

But, between finally feeling the effects of my growing belly, the average 100 degree weather come noon, having aching ribs most days, learning what acid reflux is after everything I eat, feeling exhausted after not having even worked all day, aching arches & knees after being on my feet for as much time as I normally am, and honestly, coupled with some laziness, I have been struggling to keep up my constant workout routine.

I have lowered the expectations I have for myself when it comes to workouts, which is not necessarily a good thing. However, I constantly fear that I will push myself too far; my body temperature will get too high, I will become dehydrated, and ultimately, I will cause myself to go into preterm labor. They’re all scary thoughts. I’ve always been told to “listen to your body” when it comes to workouts, but it’s tricky to do this because I don’t know what my limits are any more.

Despite these uncertainties and challenges, I start every day knowing that it’s a new day which brings new opportunities for change and choice. Just because I didn’t workout yesterday or I ate something horrible, doesn’t mean I’m doomed for the rest of my pregnancy. All it means is that I need to make different choices today to keep myself on track. I just have to remember that my goal right now is to keep myself healthy and active. An active, healthy mama makes for a happy, healthy baby. <3

Push Up Modifications for Pregnancy

The push up; I’ve never been great at them. At what I’d consider my most fit, I was able to do less than 10 “real” push ups before losing strength and form. However, I still see benefit in doing push ups from my knees. Even though knee pushups normally work well for me, they are now becoming increasingly difficult because of my growing belly. Here are a few modifications you can make if you still want to continue doing push ups!

Push Ups On Weights

Depending on how big your belly is at the time, place 1 or 2 45# rubber weights on the ground. You can use one stack for your knees and one for your hands, or you can make four stacks- one for each hand and knee (or feet if you’re super strong). When you do a push up this way, your belly won’t get squished on the ground and will allow you to have a better range of motion than you may have had when doing push ups on the ground.

Push Ups From A Rack 

If you have access to a rig, set it up to hold a barbell at about waist height. Hold on to the barbell as it remains on the rack and get into a plank/ push up position. Do push ups on the bar. Your belly is guaranteed not to touch the ground if you use this modification! If it’s too easy, lower your bar and decrease your body’s angle. The closer to the ground your bar is and the more parallel your body is to the ground, the more challenging this movement will be.

Ring Push Ups

This is the most challenging of the modifications I have found. If you have great upper body strength, this one is definitely doable. If you do not, like me, it’s a great modification to work toward. For this modification, use a set of gymnastic rings. The lower to the ground they are, the more difficult this movement will be. A ring push up is just like it sounds; hold on to the rings and do a push up. *Keep in mind, this movement requires you to have good control over your upper body and core. It’s pregnancy friendly because your are off the ground while doing a push up movement, however can be dangerous if you don’t have the strength for it. Try it with caution, you don’t want to end up on the floor on your belly!


Beach Cruising

My husband and I just celebrated our 3rd anniversary! We made a short trip to Huntington Beach for a few days to relax by the beach. Because I am pregnant, doctors (and the rest of the world) advise us to stay on the continental US to avoid any chance of contracting Zika, which limited our travel options this summer. However, our little beach get away was perfect! We went to the beach, swam in the pool, went to a nice dinner, found a few great breakfast spots, and got a whole bunch of walking and beach cruising in!

We rented beach cruisers one morning and ended up riding for hours; we rode a total of about 28 miles up and down the coast. We rode up to Sunset Beach, back to Huntington and then almost all of the way down the Newport Peninsula, and back to Huntington. It was an awesome workout and definitely doable being 26 weeks pregnant. I would not recommend riding almost 30 miles on a beach cruiser though- your butt will be sore for days after!

For the most part though,  beach cruising + pregnancy = great workout!

Shrimp Tacos- Take 2

Simple Shrimp Tacos

(with avocado salsa)


1 lb. raw shrimp

1 cucumber

1 avocado

1 large tomato

1 lemon

salt, pepper garlic to taste

corn tortillas



  1. Cook raw shrimp in a skillet, stovetop. Add seasonings to taste.
  2. While shrimp are cooking, dice cucumber, tomato, and avocado and mix in a bowl. Add lemon juice & salt. Stir well.
  3. Heat up corn tortillas.
  4. Add shrimp & avocado salsa to the corn tortillas. ENJOY!