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Serena Baldwin

Two Surprisingly Easy Ways to Cook Fish for Dinner

Once upon a time I was one of the many people who claim to “hate all seafood”. In reality, I had only tried a classic chain restaurant white fish: not very fresh, it had a pungent fishy smell, and was gag-worthy to any young child. After that, I rejected the idea of sea creature consumption for years. 

In my late teens, I gradually eased my way into world of fish consumption with foods like sushi, lox bagels, and poke bowls. Once I discovered that fish (other than restaurant cod) could taste AMAZING and provide my body with essential nutrients like protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, I was hooked. 

If you’re a lifelong seafood-hater you might be amazed at how great fish can taste when you put a little love into it’s preparation with these two fish dishes. 

Grilled Sockeye Salmon and Zucchini 

Time: 20 minutes 

When to eat it: For dinner after a long day at the beach 

Perks: High in protein and Omega’s 

Sh*t you need: 

1 4 oz. wild sockeye salmon filet 
1 large zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic 
Salt and pepper

Grill pan

The Recipe 

1. Heat the grill pan to medium heat on the stove with 1 tbsp olive oil and minced garlic.

2. In a medium size bowl season the salmon with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. In another bowl season the zucchini with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper.

4. Sear the salmon in the grill pan for 4-6 minutes per side or until it feels firm to the touch.

5. Sear the zucchini for 4-6 minutes per side in the same pan (convenient!) until the squash is tender but slightly crisp.

Seared Ahi Tuna and Asian Slaw 

Time: 20 minutes 

When to eat it: Dinner

Perks: High in protein and magnesium 

Sh*t you need: 

1 Ahi tuna filet 
1 bag julienne cut green and red cabbage and carrots 
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
1 Tbsp agave or honey  
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil 
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

The Recipe 

1. Mince garlic and ginger.

2. Mix garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, sesame oil and vinegar in a small bowl - save a 1/2 tbsp of garlic, ginger, and sesame oil to coat the pan for searing ahi.

3. Toss cabbage and carrots in the sauce mixture and place in the refrigerator.

4. Heat a pan on medium heat with leftover sesame oil, garlic and ginger.

5. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes per side (rare).

6. Plate your tuna atop a bed of asian slaw and devour.

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You Probably Aren’t Training This Major Muscle Group Right: Glutes

So, you want to build your booty? 

I can tell you from experience that if you don’t activate your gluteal muscles the right way, your bubble butt dreams will stay just that: dreams.

Of course, genetics play a large role in the natural shape and size of your glutes, and no two people’s bodies are going to look the same. So no, I’m not saying “do this and you’ll have a shelf for a booty”. But I am saying you’ll have a stronger booty. No matter what shape of butt you’re flaunting, you can still benefit from learning what to do to grow those glutes.

First, some basics.

Anatomy of the Booty

So what muscles are we working with?

Gluteus Maximus 

Everyone’s favorite. This is the primary glute muscle and the largest muscle in the body. It’s primary function is upper leg and thigh extension.

Gluteus Medius

This one is the upper glute muscle. It originates on the outer surface of the hip and converges on a tendon that attaches to the hip joint.

Gluteus Minimus

The deep glute muscle which originates in the front from the outer surface of the hip and in the back from the greater sciatic notch. The glute med and glute min perform the similar functions of thigh abduction, thigh internal rotation with a flexed hip, and thigh external rotation with an extended hip.

In other words, it attaches at the hip and helps move your thigh.

3 Moves for Activating the Booty

If you’re a student or if you work a desk job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting. Inactive booties are sometimes inevitable, and it can take a little push to get them into gear. But here’s how to get them working.

Firing up your glutes before training with these 5 glute-activation drills will ensure that the muscles are ready and doing the work during more advanced, compound booty-building lifts (squats, deadlifts, etc.). If your glutes aren’t warmed up, your quads or hip flexors might take over and this can result in muscular imbalances and injury.

1. Clamshells (20 reps each side)

Lie down on one side with your head resting.  Keep your bottom leg straight and your top leg bent with the foot resting on the bottom knee at a 90 degree angle. Your hips should be stacked on top of one another and should remain there throughout movement. 

Squeeze your glutes while you lift your knee up as high as possible keeping the leg bent and your top foot rested on your bottom knee. Don’t let the hips roll forward or backward: they will try!

 You should feel a burn in the upper and outer back pocket region (like where your jean pockets go).

2. Glute Bridge (3 sets, 20 reps)

Get into a bridge position by lying on your back with your feet hip distance apart, knees bent, heels close to your butt, and toes pointed slightly outward.

Press up through your heels to bring your hips into a bridge.

Important note: Keep your midline stable and core tight throughout the movement.

Take a deep breath in and brace your core as if you were bracing yourself for a punch. Keep your hips slightly tucked and maintain that position to keep your lower back from doing the work as your hips rise.

3. Banded Monster Walk (2 sets, 45 seconds each)

Put a mini ankle band around your legs 4 inches above or below the knees.

Get into a half squat position (feet hip distance with band tension) and extend the arms out in front of you like a zombie.

Perform 2 sets of 45 seconds walking forward, backward, and in each direction laterally.

Be sure to keep your weight in your heels, use your outer thighs to bring your knees outward when you step wide, and keep the hips slightly tucked to keep your core tight throughout the movement. 

Take on your leg day workout with active glutes and you’ll be on your way to a built booty!

For the rest of the “You Probably Aren’t Training This Major Muscle Group Right” series, check out this article. 

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These Super-Fudge Brownies Have Crazy Healthy Ingredients

Fudgy, healthy, moist, and rich… And no, these brownies do not taste like beans. 

I get a strong yearning for a warm fudge brownie on at least a weekly basis, but most brownie mixes are packed with refined sugar and offer few health benefits. These babies combine nutrient dense chickpeas, raw cacao powder and coconut oil to form a gluten-free low glycemic treat packed with antioxidants and fiber. I may or may not make them every weekend. 

Time: 40 minutes

When to eat it: When chocolate cravings strike 

Sh*t you need: 

One 140z. can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
2 eggs (leave off for a vegan version and double coconut oil)
1 tbsp coconut oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
2/3 cup sweetener of choice (I used organic Stevia)
1/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 

FullSizeRender 2

The Recipe

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into a powerful blender or food processor and blend until batter like consistency is achieved.

3. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Empty mixture into a pan sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. 

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until brownies pass the toothpick/fork test.

6. Allow 20 minutes to cool before cutting and devouring.

 FullSizeRender 2 copy

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You Probably Aren’t Training this Major Muscle Group Right

A well-balanced upper body isn’t complete without a developed back.

Many beginners neglect training their back muscles because they aren’t “show muscles” (chest, abs, shoulders) that can be seen when looking in the mirror. This often leads to infrequent back training or limiting exercises to working only a few of the many muscle groups in your back.

People also tend to have trouble with proper form during back training because a full contraction of the back can only occur if you are not pulling with your arms.  This is the reason many people claim they can’t “feel” their back muscles while training. 

The good news is, i’m here to help you out. Here’s a basic guide to training your back– where the muscles are, what they do, and some exercises to train the many different muscle groups you’ve got back there.


Back Training by Muscle Group

Trapezius (traps)

  • Location – inserts at the top of the neck, runs down the spine and in to the upper buttocks
  • Function – elevation, adduction, and depression of the scapula
  • Exercises – upright rows, barbell and dumbbell shrugs 

Middle Back (rhomboids)

  • Location – connects to the spinal column and scapula in the middle back
  • Function – retraction and downward rotation of the scapula 
  • Exercises – bent over rows, seated cable row, inverted row (pretty much any row) 

Latissimus Dorsi (lats)

  • Location – inserts in the middle armpit (humerous) and the lower thoracic and lumber vertebrae.
  • Function – extension, adduction, medial rotation
  • Exercises –  pull-ups, wide grip lat pull-down, high row (many more)

Lower Trapezius (lower back)

  • Location – lower portion of the spine from the scapula to the upper buttocks
  • Function – depression of the scapula
  • Exercises – hyperextensions (back extensions), deadlifts, good-mornings

Back Training Tips 

  • Stick to a moderate rep-range (8 – 12) and keep the weigh light enough not to compromise form or lose “feeling” of the contraction. 
  • Start with compound lifts (deadlifts, bent over rows, etc.) and then move on to accessory and cable work.
  • While holding the weights or bar think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and driving your elbows back and down.
  • Don’t squeeze the bar too tight engaging your biceps and forearms too much.
  • Make sure to check out perfect form for each exercise on youtube or in’s exercise database to avoid stalled progress or injury.

A well developed back will make your waist look tinier, improve your strength in compound lifts, and complete a well-rounded physique. Incorporate 1-3 exercises from each muscle group into your back day routine and you’re on your way to wings of muscle.

*Cover photo credit to David Zhou

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5 Tips For Digestive Health During the Holidays

Anyone who’s gone way overboard at Christmas dinner (who hasn’t?) knows that overeating can wreak havoc on the digestive system. As glorious as enjoying a homemade feast can be, holiday indulgences can leave many of us feeling… well, backed up. 

Good news is, you can prevent indigestion this holiday season with these 5 tips for better gut health.

1) Get healthy beforehand.

If your digestive tract is already healthy, it will be much more well equipped to deal with the onslaught of Christmas dinner. 

Probiotic supplements containing important bacteria strains can help restore gut health. Frequently consuming fermented foods like Kombucha and sauerkraut also do wonders for a leaky gut. For more info on healing an unhealthy gut, learn the “four R’s” of gut health

2) Stay hydrated.

Remembering to drink enough water is hard even on a normal day, let alone on some of the most exciting days of the year. Alcoholic beverages like wine, cocktails, and champagne dehydrate your body, and sugary beverages like sodas and ciders can throw off your stomach’s natural balance. Enjoy these beverages in moderation, and don’t forget to drink water alongside them!

4) Know your “no no” foods.

If you’re sensitive to gluten or dairy, or know that a particular food/ingredient doesn’t agree with your stomach, be extra careful about it this time of year. Unfortunately, those sensitivities don’t disappear on holidays. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family what’s in their dish to avoid digestion issues. 

4) Be mindful of portion sizes and variety.

At holiday meals, it’s especially tempting to load up your plate with 10 different dishes and go back for seconds and thirds. Mixing too many different foods in gargantuan portions is sure to lead to an upset stomach.

Being mindful of how full you are and strategically choosing the dishes you want most can help prevent indigestion. If you’re prone to making 2 or three plates at holiday dinners, consider making your first plate smaller, and going back for only the foods you really enjoyed on round two.

5) Keep exercising.

Maintaining your regular exercise schedule throughout the holiday season is crucial. Not only does it help keep your body’s metabolism and general health regulated, but exercise also promotes gut health by facilitating the transport of food through the digestive system. Frequent exercise also can relieve holiday stress, another prime contributor to indigestion. 

Holiday meals are meant for indulging on foods you don’t have year round. We totally endorse indulging away; but remember that if you take these steps, your digestive system will definitely thank you.

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Gym Rush Hour Survival Guide

gym survival guide

Back to school means back to your University’s Fitness Center…. that’s PACKED with people.

It’s 6:00pm. Classes are ending for the day and students all flock to the gym like it’s the hottest new nightclub. The back-to-school gym rush at Florida State is always overwhelming, masses of students matched only by the the week before spring break. As an incoming senior and avid gym-goer, I’ve developed key strategies over the years for navigating a packed gym during rush hour. A girl’s gotta keep her pump! 

Here they are:

1. Ask to work in.

I know this is easier said than done. But 99% of the time the person is going to say yes. Empathy is a powerful thing: the other students are probably just as annoyed as you are with the overcrowded gym, and most will gladly allow you to hop in during their rest periods.

Keep in mind, though, that you also have to be friendly and reasonable. If you stand around for ten minutes tapping your foot and rolling your eyes, the person using the equipment is much less likely to let you work in than if you simply approached them with a smile and a polite request. 

Keep gym etiquette in mind, too:

  • Always wait until the person using the equipment is done with their current set before asking to work in. No one, including you, wants to be distracted on that last rep to failure.
  • Be considerate of the weights that the other person is using. For example: I am not going to ask someone who is deadlifting 315 to work in because we would have to un-rack multiple plates between each set, taking up valuable time and energy.

In all honesty, it took me years to feel comfortable asking others to work in. Even now, intimidation sometimes gets the best of me. But I’ve realized that if I don’t ask, I take the risk of spending most of my workout standing around waiting. So just ask– you might even make a friend!

2. Stand your ground

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pressured to finish my sets, incessantly asked, “Are you still using that?” when I clearly am, and even blatantly lied to about another persons use of equipment.  You have as much of a right to finish your workout as anyone else. Don’t give in to gym bullies. 

3. Have a back-up plan

If you come into the gym with a workout plan that you refuse to deviate from, you’re in for a world of waiting. Be flexible. If I start with my heart set on barbell squatting but find that the squat rack line is more than 5 people long, I’ll switch to the Smith machine or hack squat. Sure, it’s not ideal, but it gets the job done and is far preferable to spending an extra hour at the gym because of wait time.

Flexibility is key. For almost every machine exercise there is an equivalent dumbbell or cable variation. If you have an arsenal of alternates for every exercise you had planned, it’s likely that at least one will be available and you will still have a killer workout without unbearably long rest periods.

4. Switch up your training split.

Everyone knows that Monday is international chest day. And don’t even bother trying to secure a squat rack on humpday.

Sticking to a conventional ‘Bro Split’, i.e., chest/tris followed by back/bis followed by legs, will leave you training those body parts on the same day as the majority of other gym-goers. By switching up the order you train each body part, not only will you be amazed at the availability of equipment, but you may even blast through a training plateau.  

5. Don’t contribute to the mayhem.

If you are serious about your workouts, then you know that time spent at the gym is not social hour.

Try not to train with more than two other people, since your group will likely be hogging a piece of equipment for an extended period of time. If you do train with a group, be sure not to stand around idly, chatting it up between sets– especially if other people are waiting.

Even more crucial: definitely don’t spend extended periods of time engrossed in your phone or taking ‘swolefies’ in the middle of a crowded gym floor. Not gonna lie– I love my swolefies as much a the next girl. But I try to be polite about it: I take them in a secluded area or snap a quick photo during my rest period. By paying attention to your phone instead of your surroundings, you are a hazard (and annoyance) to yourself and others. 

6. Always use basic gym etiquette.

Be considerate of others’ personal space, use equipment as it is meant to be used (ie. don’t curl in the squat rack), put used equipment back in it’s place, and don’t be that 1% that refuses to let others work in. 

I hope these tips help you survive the dreaded gym rush hour this coming fall!

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