Fitness in Central Texas


Every January, the number of 24 Hour Fitness, Lifetime Fitness and Gold’s Gym commercials skyrocket, as people make their fitness New Year’s resolutions. If you made a commitment to become healthier in 2013, or you just want to get out there and be more active, we’ve made a list of of places in Central Texas to help you to achieve these goals while enjoying the out-of-doors, and supporting local business.

Plum Creek, Texas

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife

One of the great things about living in Central Texas is the number of places for being active outside, including several nearby state parks and natural areas. One, west of Kyle, is Enchanted Rock, the enormous pink granite dome 15 miles north of Fredericksburg that is steeped in Native American mysticism and lore. The rock formation itself is surrounded by the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area which features miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, as well as spaces for picnicking and technical rock climbing. The Summit Trail is one of the most popular hiking paths, which leads to the top of the dome and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The three-quarter mile trail is relatively short, but the 800 foot climb up the structure can be strenuous – so come prepared.

Plum Creek, Texas

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Basecamp

Also located west of Kyle is the Pedernales Fall State Park. Most of Pedernales’ activities are water related – and therefore more suited to warmer weather – but the park is also a favorite for family hikes – with a duck pond, a quarter-mile nature trail to a scenic overlook of Twin Falls, and a wheelchair-friendly wildlife-viewing station. The park also features a beautiful 7-mile trail that wraps around the Tobacco and Wolf Mountains, and the small canyons created by the Mescal and Tobacco creeks, so you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hill Country while getting your workout on.

East ways, the Bastrop State Park also provides opportunities for backpacking, camping, canoeing, and viewing wildlife, as well as hiking and biking. In fact, a 12-mile scenic bike route between Bastrop and Buescher State Parks takes you along Park Road 1C, through the mesmerizing Lost Pines of East Central Texas. This winding and hilly trail is actually a part of the MS-150, too, the famed annual bike race from Houston to Austin.

Plum Creek, Texas

Photo courtesy of AustinBike.com

Other great locations for bicycling around Central Texas abound. AustinBike.com is a great resource for those interested in mountain biking, as the group travels around the area, testing out and reviewing mountain bike hot spots. Two such spots include the Madrone Trail in Canyon Lake and Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville. The Madrone Trail takes bikers on an 8.4 mile loop along the scenic areas around Canyon Lake’s, well, lake! It’s ranked a “medium” as far as difficulty goes, and there is a wide variety of trails available, making for a fast ride with lots of twists and turns. Rocky Hill Ranch offers a variety of trail options in Smithville, too. The main loop is about 16 miles long and takes you through trails to ledges, short climbs, twists, turns and bunny hops over logs and more. To top it off, the trail ends at The Rocky Hill Café, which offers burgers, fries and ice cold beer to reward you after the ride. Can’t ask for much more than that, eh?

If street riding is more your thing, there are a number of bike riding resources available from those up in Austin. Bike lanes are everywhere up there, and BicycleAustin.com even offers a route from Austin through San Marcos all the way to San Antonio.

Plum Creek, Texas

Photo courtesy of Plum Fit, located in Plum Creek

If this cooler, winter weather has deterred you from outdoor activities, indoor fitness opportunities are everywhere, too. Plum Fit is a 24-hour, key-card controlled fitness facility located in Plum Creek that provides local residents with a wide variety of fitness opportunities, including cardio and weight machines available at any hour of the day. And the City of Kyle is offering fitness programs for Kyle residents this year, contracted through Live Well personal training. These programs include indoor and outdoor bootcamps, walking and running training, as well as Pilates and Yoga classes.

So, as you’re embarking on your 2013 health and fitness agenda, keep in mind the wonderful indoor and outdoor opportunities available in Central Texas. There’s so much more out there than the big, corporate gyms, so explore the area and support local business!

Healthy Snacks When the Munchies Attack


We all hit the ground running when morning comes around but if you’re anything like us, you like simplicity and a healthy lifestyle all rolled into one. Not many can done the title of Master Chef, so we make do with a little creativity and a bit of planning.

Here are our favorite healthy snacks when you just can’t seem to keep your nose out of the fridge:

Peanut Butter and Apple Slices

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

Photo credit: Real Simple

 

Yes, it’s a classic but it has everything you need: fiber, protein and healthy fats! One medium-sized apple has around 4.4 grams of fiber. When you’re on the go, they’re easy to grab. And our peanut butter of choice? We love Laura Scudder’s Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. This all-natural peanut butter has a great consistency, is super tasty and lacks the trans-fats found in other peanut spreads.

 

Greek Yogurt and Honey

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

Photo credit: Real Simple

 

Anyone who’s tasted the yogurt of the gods knows that this stuff is highly addictive but the high-protein factor makes it healthy as long as you enjoy in moderation. And get creative with the toppings! Your favorite berry mix, homemade granola or whatever other delicious topping you can concoct is highly encouraged for this simple dish.

 

Spinach Wrap with Turkey and Hummus

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

Photo credit: Kraft

 

We work hard to get our veggies but this is a great way. Spread your favorite hummus over a toasted corn tortilla, layer turkey and fill to the brim with fresh spinach. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese or topping. We suggest a zesty and tangy mango salsa but this is where you can get creative or play it safe depending on what’s in the fridge at the moment.

 

Pineapple and Cottage Cheese

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

Photo credit: Real Simple

 

Some say cottage cheese may be an acquired taste, but we are fully on board. High in protein and low in fat, cottage cheese is the perfect way to refuel and recharge. Mixed with fruit, it serves as a filling snack when you just can’t make it to lunch or dinner. Do you like to mix the stuff with anything else?

 

Frozen Bananas 

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

Photo credit: Kraft

 

For a dessert that won’t leave you hating yourself in the morning, pop a few overripe bananas into the fridge and let sit for at least a day. It’s worth the wait. You’ll then be able to enjoy a refreshing and creamy snack for after breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s also a great way to cool off in the last stretch of summer. But be ready to join FBA; otherwise known and Frozen Bananas Anonymous.

 

What are your favorite quick and healthy recipes? Oh, and before we go too deep in frozen bananas, we want to wish everyone a Happy Labor Day Weekend!