Paleo Protein Bars and a Killer Stair Stepper Interval Workout

It’s Friday!!! Almost time for the weekend! To start your weekend off right I have a great protein bar recipe for you! I can’t actually take credit for this recipe, it comes from Mark Sisson, writer of Mark’s Daily Apple. It’s a paloe/primal blog with lots of great recipes and ideas to help with a paleo lifestyle. While I’m not totally paleo, I do tend to eat very similar to what would be considered paleo. They tend to eat lower carb, higher fat and protein. They encourage eating lots of veggies and fruits, as well as healthy fats like nuts, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil etc. To find out more about paleo you can check out his site! Anyways….onto this awesome recipe! I like these protein bars because besides the obvious, which is that they contain a good amount of protein, they are also low in carbs and sugar and full of healthy fats! They are also very easy to make, although if you aren’t used to cooking paleo you may not have a lot of the ingredients just lying around your house so an initial shopping trip may be necessary.

Chocolate Chip Paleo Protein Bars

Ingredients: (I did adapt this recipe a little based off of what I had on hand and what I feel works best)

-1/4 cup raw almonds

-1/4 cup raw walnuts

-1/4 cup raw pecans

-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-1/4 cup almond butter (or any other nut butter would work just make sure it’s natural)

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-1/4 cup almond meal

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 tsp raw honey

-1/2 cup unsweetened plain whey protein isolate

-1 egg

-a pinch sea salt

-1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for sprinkling on top of the bars

Directions:

On a baking sheet spread out the nuts and coconut and place under the boiler on high until the coconut starts to get golden colored. This part can happen very quickly and if you don’t watch them carefully they will burn!!!

Once they are toasted place the nut/coconut mixture in a food processor and blend until you get a bread crumb like consistency.

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In a medium sized mixing bowl add the coconut oil and almond butter. Throw the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the almond butter and coconut oil. Once this is done add in the honey, vanilla and salt. Next mix in the nut mixture, protein powder and almond meal.

ImageOnce you’ve mixed the dry ingredients in add in the whole egg and mix thoroughly.

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Finally go ahead and add in the dark chocolate chips. I like to use Ghirardelli 60% but you could also use semi sweet, I am just trying to cut down on the sugar as much as possible. When you fold in the chocolate chips they might melt a little because the mixture will be a bit warm, but that’s ok!

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After everything’s mixed together transfer the mixture into an 8 in by 8 in baking pan. You will have to get your hands a little dirty here and smush the mixture into the pan and at first it won’t seem like it’s going to be enough but just keep smushing it around until the whole pan is covered.

ImageNow pop the pan into a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. When you take it out it will be bubbling and liquidy on top, that’s okay it’s just the oils!

ImageNow go ahead and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the shredded coconut on top and throw it under the broiler on high.

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You will only need to leave it in the oven for a few minutes just until the coconut is golden brown. This can happen pretty fast so make sure to keep your eyes on it!! You don’t want to burn it and have your hard work go to waste!

ImageAnd Voila! There you have it, your own homemade protein bars that are LOW in carbs and high in protein and healthy fats.

The nutritional breakdown based off of my fitness pal is:

Calories=188

Fat=16 grams

Carbs=4.7 grams( 2.1 grams from fiber, 2.1 grams from sugar)

Protein=8.1 grams

So there you have it! I personally LOVE this recipe and try to make it often so I always have some around to grab for a snack. Try it out and let me know what you think!

In other news…I have been keeping up with my cardio challenge and so far it’s going well.

Yesterday I did an upper body workout plus 45 minutes on the spin bike followed by about 30 minutes on the ARC trainer.

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So in total I burned about 700 calories from my cardio! I also strapped my heart rate monitor and my garmin on during my upper body strength training circuit just to see how many calories I burn during a workout like that and….

ImageDuring my warm up alone I burned 73 calories..not too shabby!

ImageDuring my actual strength training it turns out I burned about 336 calories. Now I will say my strength routines aren’t like a normal lifting routine. I do circuit work so I don’t take any breaks and often incorporate cardio type moves into my routine. This causes my heart rate to get pretty high which equals some major calorie burning!

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As you can see my average heart rate during my strength training workout was 161 and my max was 182. This is pretty good considering my estimated max heart rate is 197ish. This means I was working right above about 80% of my max HR, which is great! It means I was working pretty hard!! 🙂

It’s nice to get an idea of how much I am burning during a certain workout which is why I like having this watch. HOWEVER, I am currently in the market for a new heart rate watch because my garmin is made more for running. This means the features are more geared toward running stuff, like my pace, elevation, etc. It can do lots of fancy things but one thing it doesn’t do is show my current calories burned. To see how many calories I burned in a workout I have to wait until I can plug my watch into my computer and then I see the results. This isn’t so handy if I want to know in the moment where I’m at so I know how much more to do! So now I am looking for a heart rate monitor that will tell me my current calories burned plus my heart rate. Nice and simple. I know Polar makes one but I want to shop around a little bit before I make my decision. It’s nice to have a tool like this because the machines at the gym aren’t always super accurate both with what your heart rate is at and also with the calories burned. I would feel better having a more accurate reading tailored to my specific body! So anyway let me know if you have a certain HR monitor you like or would recommend!

Today for my workout I did a lower body routine (those one legged squats were back to kick my butt-literally!) plus 60 killer minutes on the stair stepper. I did an awesome interval workout that really worked me hard and had me sweating BUCKETS. It looked like this:

Stair Stepper Interval Workout:

Minutes         Level

0-2                50

2-5               70

5-8               80

8-10             100

Repeat this whole thing 5 more times for a total of 60 minutes. *Note this routine is set up for a stair stepper that starts at 0 and goes past 100. If your stair stepper goes only to 10 or 20, you will have to adjust accordingly. Start the first few minutes pretty slow and keep increasing the intensity until your last few minutes are killer hard. Trust me you will really feel this workout in your whole lower body and get a great cardio workout as well!

ImageI was able to knock out 700 calories with this workout today! I am going strong with my cardio challenge! I have to say so far I am really liking it and didn’t realized how much I missed doing cardio! I have more energy and feel lighter!

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This is me after my killer stair stepper workout! This shirt was originally much lighter….lol

I definitely think this should help me lean out and give me an idea of what muscles need more work and what areas are doing okay. It’s hard to know what muscle you have gained until you remove the fat that’s covering it! That’s why cardio is very important to help you lean out!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! What have the rest of you guys been doing for your exercise routines?

Questions for you:

-Do you have a protein bar recipe you like? If so, please share!

-How do you feel about wearing heart rate monitors while you work out? If so what is your favorite brand?

I love wearing heart rate monitors because I think they give you a better idea of how hard your working. I like garmin for my runs but I’m not sure what brand is best just for heart rate and calories burned.

-What do you prefer, interval training or steady state cardio?

I prefer intervals because they make me work harder and really get my heart rate up to increase the calorie burn.

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One thought on “Paleo Protein Bars and a Killer Stair Stepper Interval Workout

  1. Pingback: United Barbell 30 Day Paleo Challenge

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