Healthy Fudgy Brownies – You Won’t Believe the Secret Ingredients

And the secret ingredients in these brownies are…. avocados and black beans!

Don’t leave just yet! Hear me out and you won’t regret getting in on the healthy little secret that makes these chocolatey brownies oh so tasty and good for you too. These are the perfect snack when you’re looking for a quick fix for your sweet tooth cravings, especially when you’re working hard to achieve or maintain your gorgeous muscles and/or curves. These little brownie bites can be worked into almost any diet, regardless your fitness goals. Check out my very first baking tutorial video below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large extra ripe avocado
  • 2 tbs applesauce
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or stevia or honey (your choice of sweetener)
  • dark chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to blend black beans and avocado into a puree consistency. Carefully add in the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour that black bean avocado mixture into prepared pan and fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean.

I originally found this recipe on whatkatiesbaking.com, but she appears to have migrated the recipe somewhere else. I modified my original recipe with some of these adjustments mentioned by Ambitious Kitchen. Yum! Bon Appetit 🙂

Cardio Kickboxing Workout

Hello you gorgeous gazelles! We’re kicking ass and taking names as part of today’s 6-week shred workout. Cardio kickboxing is a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work or if you just need to blow off some steam.

The continuous cycle of tear, rest, repair and repeat is exactly what our muscle fibers need to stimulate lean muscle growth, so if you are one of those people who has a set routine and like to stick with it, you may actually be setting yourself up for failure. It’s important to switch up your workout routine to constantly challenge your muscles and keep your body guessing. Whether you change up your workout style daily, weekly or monthly, it’s an essential process to overcoming plateaus.

If you go to a gym that includes free fitness classes in your membership, that’s great! Fortunately, even if your gym does not offer free classes like kickboxing, there are now hundreds, if not thousands, of cardio kickboxing routines posted online that you can do almost anywhere (except for the local antique store).

Although I went with a class offered at my local gym, here is a sample routine that you can do at home (or in the park) put together by fitness guru, Millionaire Hoy. I was biased toward this particular routine because it features the beautiful backdrop of my current hometown, Chicago! Chi-town represent! Showing some hometown love.

Do you have a favorite group exercise class? Share it in the comments! I’ve tried zumba before, but my embarrassing lack of coordination caused me to flunk out 😦 I STILL DANCE ANYWAY.

Sore Muscles Guaranteed Circuit Workout

Welcome you marvelous mariposas! That’s Spanish for butterfly, in case you didn’t know. “Otra cosa, mariposa!” was my professor’s favorite phrase when I studied abroad in Spain.

Anywho, are you ready to sweat? This workout will have you dripping after you push through these 5 moves in multiples of 10. Looking for a different workout? See more options on my gym rat workouts page. Let’s go!circuit workout imageThis was me at the end of this workout!
princess tiana falls on bed exhausted

Fab Abs and Legs Circuit

La, I’m falling behind on posting my workouts as part of the 6-week shred! Today I plan to play catch-up so here’s the most recent one I did just yesterday while the creepy old guy sat and stared the ENTIRE time while questionably stretching with a flex band. Clearly this workout brings all the boys to the yard, if the boys are 65+ year-old men.

Start with a steady-state 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster or your machine of choice. Then get ready to engage your core and bust your little bubble butt into shape.

You’ll need a kettle-bell, two elevated steps, or boxes, or benches of the same height, and a stability ball.

Fab-Ab and Booty Circuit

  • Start off with deep squats with the kettle-bell. Standing on the elevated boxes, squat while lowering the kettle-bell and your butt to knee-level/ a seated position. – 15 reps
  • Move to the stability ball and perform 12 walk-out push-ups on the ball, meaning you start with the ball below your belly and crawl forward until only your toes are on the ball, holding your core tight. You should basically be holding a plank position with your toes on the ball. Do 1 push-up and walk yourself back until your belly is on the ball. Try not to use your feet to propel you forward into the walk-out after each rep. Repeat 12 times
  • No rests in-between, hop on over to the kettle-bell and perform 15 kettle-bell swing squats!

Rest for 60 seconds and repeat the circuit 3 more times for a total of 4 sets or up to 6 times if you’re feeling up to the challenge. The focus for all of these moves is to hold your core and ab muscles tightly.

Do I have abs yet?Don’t forget to checkout the gym rat workouts page for more workout and exercise ideas or to get started on the 6-week shred!

How to Bring Sexy Back – Back Workout

Welcome back, you beautiful barracudas. I know you’re wondering to yourself”, will my muscles ever not feel sore?” If you’re doing the 6-week shred properly and consistently pushing yourself to perform at peak levels, then you should feel gratifyingly sore the next morning.

muscles are made in the gym, kitchen, and bedLet’s get BACK to business with this challenging back workout.

Cardio warm-up (Super set)

Box Jumps – 1 minute

Box Toe-Taps 1 minute

Rest 30 seconds and Repeat 4X

Round 1 Super set

Pull-ups (assisted or unassisted) 8 reps

T-Bar Rows 10 reps

Rest 1 min and Repeat 3X

Round 2 Super set

Lat Pulldowns 10-12 reps

Seated Cable Rows 10-12 reps

Rest 1 min and Repeat 3X

Round 3 Super set

TRX Rows 8-10 reps

Face-pulls 12-15 reps

Round 4 Core and Abs

Back Extensions 12-15 reps

Repeat 3X

TRX Mountain Climbers 30-60 seconds

TRX Jackknives 30-60 seconds

TRX Side Crunches -perform to failure

The last 3 exercises do not need to be performed as a super set. If you are unfamiliar with proper form or how to do an exercise, check out this amazing exercise resource from Bodybuilding.com!

Legs for Days – Leg Workout

Today’s workout as part of the 6-week shred, is in old-school gym diary form: 

The one-legged lunges should be performed with one leg behind you on a bench or chair and with dumbbells in a weight range you can manage while maintaining your balance and challenging your quads.

Straight leg deadlifts can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells.

As a reminder, supersets require you to switch between exercises with no rest in-between until you’ve completed all (in this case both) exercises. Then you can take a brief rest before repeating the superset exercises.

Quick Treadmill Cardio Circuit + Sexy Shoulders & Arms

Hello honey badgers! By now you’ve completed a full week of the 6-week shred, or maybe you haven’t. But nonetheless…it continues!

Honestly, I’ve been sleeping better because I typically complete my workouts late at night. Left entirely drained, I barely have the energy to shower. Literally, I just lie down in the tub and let the shower water rinse me off and then towel roll from the bathroom to my bed. That gives me a great idea for those trending nighttime routine videos

I did this circuit on a Monday, so obviously I wasn’t in the mood for any of that twirl your leg over your head and hop up and down frivolous circuit bull$#1t. I got on the treadmill and set the speed intervals to a jog speed and a sprint speed and we’re off! I slogged through 35 seconds at a speed of 5.6 (mph?) then punched the sprint speed, 10.2 (mph) for a side-stabbing 20 seconds that left me wheezing.

Note the jog and sprint speeds vary depending on your personal preference but the sprint should be your max, a full out sprint at a challenging speed that leaves you winded. The jog should be a brief recovery. You can even walk if you aren’t ready for a light yog!
Anywho, I continued this tortuous routine for a full 12 terrible reps, approximately 15 minutes because I don’t count the ramping up seconds or the slowing down seconds as part of my sprint or jog. This about sums up how I really feel about cardio:

no cardio fat amy

But once the soul-stripping circuit was over with, I moved on to hammer out an awesome arm and shoulder workout. These pipes are about to burst with amazing muscle tone. Sexy shoulders are seriously under-appreciated until you see some of that deltoid definition peeking out at you from under your own cut off sleeve.

Superset 1

Overhead DB Press 10 reps

DB Hammer Curls 10 reps

DB Bicep Curls 10 reps

Repeat 3X

Superset 2

Triplate Raises – (Front, Lateral and Bent-Over Lateral)

Front Raises – Grag 5 lb dumbbells or plates and raise them straight armed out in front of you to shoulder level – 15 reps

Lateral Raises – Repeat the previous move with your arms straight out to the sides, perpindicular to your body – 15 reps

Bent-Over Lateral Raises – Bend your knees about 45 degrees and lean forward while keeping your back straight, raise the weight out to the sides focusing on bringing your shoulder blades together (not actually, but as if that were your intention). Hold at the top for 1 second – 15 reps

Repeat 3X

Stretch it out! You’re done for the day. Go lay in the tub while the shower head sprinkles you off.