Archive for ‘Fitness’

August 23, 2011

It’s my birthday, and I’ll blog if I want to.

Despite the lingering food coma and the time change from the weekend’s travel, yesterday wasn’t awful. That’s surprising for a Monday! Don’t get me wrong, I was still in dire need of caffiene, but it could have been worse.

Maybe it was the kitty snuggles in the morning, or it was my good workout that helped. Maybe it was that I wore these adorable shoes.

Pretty Shoes!

Then again, maybe Monday went relatively well because I was excited about my birthday.

Flashback to My 21st Birthday

Happy Birthday to me! Yaaaaayyyyyy! Okay – that’s about enough of that. I got all the celebrating out of my system this weekend. This is more-or-less a typical Tuesday. There’s just 1 minor difference: additional self reflection.

I’m done celebrating, but I still have things to think about. It’s not like you turn a quarter-century old every day! I’ve done a lot; I’ve seen a lot. And I am pretty excited for the next quarter-century.

24 was a great year for me. In fact, it may have been my best yet… well, I’m not sure if it topped year 4. I think that was a good year too, but I guess it doesn’t count if I can’t remember most of it. I’m sad to let go of 24, but I’m happy to be moving on.

*****

Early in the post, I briefly mentioned yesterday’s good workout, and I’d like to fill you in on it. The workout included 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical trainer, along with a cool-down, and the “Monday” portion of Muscle & Fitness HersVacation Countdown” workout.

I really enjoy this circuit workout, but I may cut it a week short. I still kinda’ feel the burn, but I’m in the mood to lift heavy. Next week, be prepared for a new routine.

Today will include some pool time and yoga or pilates. Wish me luck with my laps!

I look like a bum in the gym 90% of the time.

Oh, and for those of you who read my pre-birthday post, the eye cream is working marvelously!

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August 19, 2011

I Love Friday (And Other Things…)

Hellooooo! I’m so happy that it’s Friday, I want to share some of my happy with you all. Although a video of my happy dance might make you chuckle, it wouldn’t be as enlightening as another Things-I’m-Loving post.

Here’s what I’m loving as of lately…

1. This hair color. I’m getting my hair done next weekend, so what do you think of this?tresemme model

IMAGE SOURCE

2. My new shoes! I know I already talked about them in my How to Buy Shoes post yesterday, but they make me that happy!

3. Grapes. I know, it’s a lame one, but I love ‘em. I got these organic ones free with a $5 purchase this weekend. Free grapes taste better than regular ones.

4. Target clothes. Seriously, I got the skirt, top, and shoes for under $60. Then again, I have a health/fitness blog, not a fashion blog. I know my limits.

5. My birthday weekend. Yup, I’m celebrating a couple days early. Who celebrates on a Tuesday?

What has been making you happy lately?

August 18, 2011

Running Shoes & Wands

The wand chooses the wizard… it’s not always clear why.

—Ollivander

My new running shoes! Keep reading to find out how buying running shoes is like purchasing a wand…

mizuno

First off, old shoes can lead to injury. I have Mizunos, which are cheaper than other brands, but they do not last as long. Not even the Weasleys can use hand-me-down or worn-out wands, so don’t even think about using old running shoes!

Ron Weasley

If you don’t know the style you need, or if you are just interested in changing it up, you benefit from visiting a specialty store. Harry and his buddies went to Ollivander’s. I’ve visited a number of specialty shops, including a few Fleet Feet Sports stores in various states.

The knowledgeable sales staff in any specialty store should watch you run in the shoes you try on. They view your stride and help you find the best fit. Some stores even record your feet while you run on a treadmill. I never knew how wobbly my feet looked until seeing them on camera!

Mr. Ollivander lets his patrons test their wands too. That’s important, especially if you blow things up in the store like Harry.

This weekend, I already knew I wanted a new pair of Mizuno shoes, so I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I tried on two Mizuno stability shoes. (Stability helps with wobbly feet!) I went with the more expensive pair. You can’t scrimp on wands either. I doubt phoenix tails and dragon scales come cheap!

Don’t be embarrassed trying on shoes. The last time I bought a pair of shoes, I had the sweet sales lady bring out 7 or 8 pairs, and yes, I ran around the store in most all of them.  Ollivander cant wand-fit a patron on the first try either.

shoes

Lastly, don’t buy what’s cool or cute. It’s rarely the best thing for you. Dad wouldn’t let me get anything cute for my first running shoe. After running through my first good pair, he analyzed the bottoms of my shoes to see where I wore the most tread and cushion. Then he suggested my next pair. My physical therapist later recommended the exact same shoe my dad had selected. Trust me; they weren’t cute!  I doubt it was cool to get the sibling wand of Valdemort, but you know what – Harry’s too cool to care.

Oh, I got a pair of cross trainers this weekend too. They’re sooooo awesome!

new balance

Do you have a favorite brand of runners, walkers, or cross trainers? Ever been to a specialty shop?

August 15, 2011

A Weekend of Pictures

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was too short, but it was good. I had a very relaxed Friday, but Saturday was a bit more eventful.

I worked out, baked, bought shoes, and enjoyed a date night with the mister. For my workout, I continued the Vacation Countdown plan from last week. I wish I were actually using it to count down to a vacation! I also did 45 very sweaty minutes of cardio on the stationary bike.

I felt a bit sore Sunday from all that leg work, but it wasn’t too bad. It’s good to feel the burn!

I’m glad I worked so hard at the gym, I needed to pre-burn Saturday’s snack. I know frozen yogurt is trendy right now, and while I don’t deny it’s yum-ness, I have to confess that I prefer good ole’ fashion ice cream.

This one’s got peanut butter and brownie bits inside. I couldn’t think of a better combo if I tried! Here’s a random fact about me, one of my favorite smells in the whole world is the smell of an ice cream parlor. I consider it a comfort smell; it brings back memories – and usually means I’m about to get ice cream!

Although they probably should have, the indulgences didn’t stop there. Kev and I had a great date night. With dinner, I enjoyed a Wolf Hill Brewing Co Trooper’s Alley IPA (say that five times fast) with my steak.

Sadly, the filet was over cooked and dry, but at least the beer was good! The restaurant got all their meat from local farms. Sweet.

We weren’t ready to end the night just yet, so we went for a nightcap at a different lounge/restaurant/bar/thing. I had a really awesome wine (not a great beer selection), and Kev got scotch. For the wine-o readers out there, I had a glass of Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

I detoxed a bit last night with a side salad and veggie wrap. The wrap had hummus, spinach, kalamata olives, grilled onion, and grilled red pepper.

Yes, it was as awesome as it looks! I think it even tasted better than my dry steak from Saturday, but don’t tell Kevin that. 😉

What was the best thing you did/drank/ate this weekend?

August 11, 2011

Strength Circuit & More Nom Nom Noms

I started a new workout this week, and I think you might like it. It’s easy on my “injured” feet but isn’t too easy everywhere else. I found the routine in a 2009 issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers, and they have a guide to “The Vacation Countdown” workout on their site.

This is a four day split that has you lifting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Follow this for weeks 1-4:

  • Week 1, complete the circuit on the given day 2 times, resting 60 seconds between exercises
  • Week 2, complete the circuit 2 times, but rest only 45 seconds
  • Week 3, perform 3 rounds, and rest 30 seconds between the exercises
  • Week 4, complete 3 or 4 rounds, resting 15-20 seconds

The pics in the magazine are pretty motivating, but they’re intense. Yeah, I guess M&F Hers thinks I should try to look like this…

The 1st circuit includes the first 7 exercises on the list, Dumbbell Swing to Walking Abduction. The 2nd circuit, which you perform on Wednesday, goes from the Dumbbell Squat to the Abs Circuit. I also added in weighted Leg Lifts before the Dumbbell Squat.

Friday’s circuit includes the Romanian Deadlift through the Arm Circuit. I may add something else here as well, but I’m not sure yet. The 4th circuit includes the last 5 exercises.

Even after all this sweating, I’m still happy enough to be like this… (except for the half-smile/half-tough-girl expression)

buff stuff

So far this week, I completed 25 minutes on the elliptical Monday, and I had an excellent swim Tuesday. I also completed 25 hard minutes on the stationary bike Wednesday, and will go for another swim today. Hopefully I’ll have more time Friday or Saturday for at least one long cardio session. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Oh, and last night’s dinner of eggplant, zucchini, basil, and grape tomatoes topped with sauce and feta was pretty yummy.

bake

I thought I might get away with eating one third of this so that I could have 2 nights of leftovers, but after seeing how empty my little plate looked…

half baked?

I decided to just go ahead and eat half of the pan anyway. Oh, and I also snacked on quite a few Kashi Pita Crisps in sea salt flavor. These things are fairly processed, but for junky snack food, they are darrrrrn goooooood! (To be honest, they aren’t thaaaaat junky.) There’s even a coupon on their site right now, so check it out if you want to save a buck.

Do you work out at home or the gym? How do you push yourself to reach the next level in your training?

August 6, 2011

She’s got SuperFeet, SuperFeet, She’s SuperFeetayyyyy

So my doctor appointments yesterday were no fun.  Nope.  No fun at all.  The podiatrist had no helpful solution for me.  He said I had good running shoes and very good inserts, so he did not have anything to recommend.  (By the way, I use the green Superfeet inserts in my running shoes.)

SuperFeet

He said the small muscles in my feet probably just get tired.  Whaaaaa?  But why are they tired all of a sudden?  I’ve been active since the age of 4.  I played soccer for 13 years.  How do I have weak feet???  (If any readers can explain this to me, please shoot me an email!)

Walking out of the appointment I learned these things.

  • Wear supportive lace-up shoes all the time – even at home.  This is bad.  I’m barefoot as much as possible!
  • Pick up things with my toes to strengthen the muscles.
  • Plyometrics (such as my Kirsch workout) are hard on my feet.  (He didn’t say not to do them though!)
  • Increasing my running by adding one more running day per week broke the renowned 10% rule of running.
So I’m going to look up stretches and strengthening exercises, ice my feet, wear shoes more often, and purchase new running shoes and supportive cross trainers.  I have been doing all my cross training in my old running shoes, but that’s probably not the best thing for me.
Enough of that.  Just thinking about  that appointment made me mad.  Moving on…
When I was trying to let my feet rest last week, I swam laps in a pool a few days, did some pilates, and worked out at home two mornings.  I wanted to share my at/home workouts with you.
stuff

I used all this...

The routine has 4 Tracy Anderson YouTube videos with supersets in-between.  Tracy and I really had a lot of bonding time!  I don’t normally like her workouts since she thinks women should never strength train with more than 3 lbs., but I guess it works for her gorgeous clients, like Jessica Simpson and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Nevertheless, the workouts are a good change from my normal style.
The Routine
  • Video 1: Warm Up – just followed video and did my own warm up with weighted punches and dynamic stretching
  • *Insert first superset here (rest 20 seconds, repeat, rest 20 seconds, and repeat one more time)
  • Video 2: Tracy Anderson Arms Webisode – It gets hard with weights!
  • Video 3: Tracy’s Standing Ab Quickie – I gave my arms a break by throwing in this clip.  The goal was to keep my heart rate up.
  • **Insert second superset here (rest 20 seconds, repeat, rest 20 seconds, and repeat one more time)
  • Video 4: Tracy Anderson’s Arms Quickie – It’s another burner, but I really like this one.
  • I finished up with this arm set to really fine-tune the muscles before stopping to stretch

 Tuesday Arm Superset #1

– 15 Push Ups,   15 Flies with 8-lb Dumbbell,   12-15 Tricep Skull Crushers with 8-lb Dumbbell

Tuesday Arm Circuit #2

– 15 Push Ups,   12 (each side) Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension

You can feel strong with 1 pounders...

Thursday Arm Circuit #1

– 15 Rows with Resistance Band,   15 Reverse Fly with Band,   15 (each side, alternating) Curls with 8-lb Dumbbell

Thursday Arm Circuit #2

– 12 (each side) Cross Pull with Band,   12 (each side) Curls with Band

Have a great weekend everyone!  Come back Monday and tell me the best thing you did!
August 2, 2011

Right to the {Bullet} Point

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Puerto Rico - 2009

Moving on… due to my foot pain, I will be doing a significant amount of pool workouts in the coming weeks, unless I get awesome news from the podiatrist on Friday. I have never been much of a swimmer, so swimming laps is a real workout for me. I plan for my week to look something like this:

  • Monday: 15 minutes of abdominal work and cardio in the pool + light evening pilates
  • Tuesday: high-rep chest/triceps/shoulders with resistance bands and 8-pound dumbbells
  • Wednesday: 15 minutes of hip/booty sculpting and cardio in the pool + light evening pilates
  • Thursday: high-rep back/biceps workout with resistance bands and 8-pound dumbbells
  • Friday: 15 minutes of abdominal work and cardio in the pool
  • Saturday + Sunday: rest and/or yoga (unless the doctor says otherwise)

Yesterday morning, I this pool workout.

  • 5 minutes walking laps in the pool
  • 5 minutes swimming
  • 2 .5 minutes walking
  • 5 minutes swimming
  • 2.5 minutes walking
  • 5 minutes swimming
  • 2.5 minutes walking and kick-boarding
  • 5 minutes of stretching at the pool steps

I know it’s not a real burner of a workout, but it worked for me. I bought my first pair of swim goggles weekend, and it made my workout much more pleasant. If I wasn’t goofy looking enough due to my poor swimming form, the goggles made me look even more like a goober.

kitty swim

Cleo

This is a long post, but I’m not done with bullet points just yet. After having already finished these books so far in 2011:

  • Last Night in Twisted River
  • Sarah’s Key
  • Three Cups of Tea
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Part of an Awful Book (I can’t recall the title or author- pretty awful)
  • The Help (my fav so far this year)
  • Chapter 1 of The First World War by Keegan (soooooo interesting!)
  • Mozart’s Women
  • The Pillars of the Earth
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (just finished it Friday)

I find myself without a book. I tried to check out these three at the library, but there are a lot of people already waiting for them.

  • Room
  • Unbroken: A WWI story of… (I forgot the rest of the title)
  • Wuthering Heights (nope, never read it)

Suggestions Encouraged! What should I read next???

July 28, 2011

Thursday Things

I’m just all about awesome alliterations these days, aren’t I?  Well, I don’t think “Thursday Things” will be a weekly type of post, but you can probably expect to see it again every once in a while.  Let’s face it, it’s too darn catchy to only do once!

Yesterday’s body pump class was good and bad.  I saw a buddy in class, which is obviously good.  However, I got an excruciating foot cramp in class.  I get these from time to time, but this is the first time I got one during a workout.  It’s official – I’m calling to find a podiatrist today.  I am no longer able to deny it – I need help.

As you can imagine, today’s 3-mile Thursday is not happening.  I’ll spend the rest of the morning enjoying my coffee with Kevin and packing for this weekend’s getaway.  Yes, I’m packing running gear.  I’m a wishful thinker.  I also hope to do pilates tonight.

Anyway… now it’s onto those Thursday Things.  Here are 5 things I’m loving right now.

1. Cherries!  They make my morning cheery.

Did you know current research shows that drinking cherry juice can combat muscle soreness?  Eating cherries after I workout sure hasn’t helped me lately, but someone did a study – it must be true...

cherries

2. This necklace I got from New York & Co.  I got it about a year ago, but I hardly wear it.  It goes so well with this shirt though, doesn’t it?

ELEVATOR

What? You haven't taken a pic of yourself in the office elevator?

3. Fish in a Cup: I love these little buggars.  I bought both tuna and salmon for my salads this week.  80 calories of easy, portable omega-3s!

Salmon Cup

4. This Pasta Sauce: It’s organic, cheap, and delicious – win, win, and win.  It’s going on my wheat gnocchi tonight!

sauce

5. These Soft Style Shoes: Yeah, they’re lame and ugly.  Due to my aforementioned foot issues, I need a low heel.  I’ll buy them later today with yesterday’s Groupon for Shoebuy.com.  I seriously need to unsubscribe from Groupon ASAP!

Soft Style Shoes
Have you had foot issues in the past?
Would you be seen in public wearing old lady shoes for the sake of comfort?
July 26, 2011

I’ve Been Kirsched

Hello! I hope Monday wasn’t too rough for all of you. I was dragging a bit, but I survived. I was also crazy hungry. I think part of that is because I started a new workout today. I found this workout on FitSugar’s site, and I’ve did it once about a year ago. You can’t take more than two weeks of it (boredom due to high reps 3 times per week), but it’ll kick your booty!

David Kirsch created the circuit workout, and as many of you may know, he is a renowned celebrity trainer. He has worked with Heidi Klum for years and wrote The Butt Book. Seriously, the guy knows how to tone a tush.

Heidi & David Stretch

Source: Heidi Klum on AOL

Before my wedding, I did a similar workout that David Kirsch created a long time ago. I got great results, so I totally recommend you check out this one. I started my workout with 12 minutes on an elliptical/stair climber hybrid machine, and boy am I sore today!

David Kirsch’s Boot Camp Circuit Workout

kirsch

Source: David Kirsch

Oh, and I *might* have cheated on the plyometric push ups. I totally did those on my knees.

For dinner, I tried something new. I’ve made a few Southwestern stuffed peppers, but I made Greek stuffed peppers last night. Kevin got his with a twice microwaved potato stuffed with spinach and feta.

kev's dinnerI stuffed the bell peppers with spinach, red quinoa, tomato, kalamata olives, and feta. As I always say, feta makes everything betta’.

dinnerYou might be wondering why I have an arsenal of utensils. Keep scrolling…

feta pepperIt gets even less attractive…

deconstructed

The spoon, fork, and knife all came in handy. Maybe next time I’ll just grab a shovel…

Oh, and I also followed up with a 100-calorie bag of popcorn. Salty Goodness.

Are you a fan of celebrity trainers? If so, who’s your favorite?

July 23, 2011

NuNaturals Review

Thank goodness for the weekend!  I’m so happy it’s Saturday.  Kevin and I have stated this is going to be a no-work Saturday.  Woohoo!  We’ll be boating, dining with friends, and partying it up tonight to celebrate a buddy’s birthday.  I’m pretty happy to not be wielding a paintbrush, fighting with my Swiffer, or trying not to burn things in the kitchen.  Yup – today will be a good day.  To top it off, I’m still in my pajamas.  That never happens, but I could really take a liking to it!

I was going to run today, but I’m not out sweating my butt off for three reasons.

  1. This is a no-work day, remember
  2. My back is sore from housework, spin class, and more housework
  3. My legs are actually pretty sore from spin too
I hadn’t taken a spin class since my California trip with FitSugar, and the other last time was at least a year ago.  I forgot how much I love love love it!  I was up at level 17 for quite a while, and I was totally drenched in sweat by the end of class.
bike

That's a lotta minute and a lotta miles!

Then I went home to paint, walk to TJs, bake, and cook dinner.  Whew.  No wonder my legs are tired.
**********
So let me tell you about this baking experience.  I used NuNatura’s MoreFiber Baking Blend instead of sugar to make Martha Stewart’s Vanilla Cupcakes.  I wanted to use a tried-and-true recipe for quality control.  I also chose to use 100% organic butter (instead of a subsitute) and all-purpose white flour (instead of wheat) to make sure all other constants were held equal.  (Science Nerd Alert)
mix

mix

These did not smell sweet and scrumptious while baking.  Then they came out of the oven… uh oh…
cupfails

Cupfails

As you can see, they have cracks on top.  After letting them cool, I tried one.  Bleh.  They’re not spongy and sweet.  They’re dense and bland.  They taste and feel like a mix between shortbread cookies and white cake.  I won’t bother frosting them.
I was going to give these to our friend whose birthday we’ll be celebrating tonight, but I think the garbage can will get them instead.
**********
I tried two other NuNaturals recipes – both were made up by me.  I first put the Pure Liquid Vanilla in my oats with cherries.  It was good, but I am not sure I put quite enough in to taste it.
Next, I put the Pure Liquid Cocoa Extract in a recipe I recreated.  I first tried the drink when I was in Greece.
throwback

Throwback pics are OK, right?

Mom and I kept ordering “Nescafe” on our trip.  It is essentially milk, sugar, instant coffee, ice, and more sugar.  Yum!  Today, I used milk, instant coffee, and the Cocoa Extract, hoping for a very sweet and also lightly mocha flavor.
nescafe
Nope.  Not so good.  Not very sweet.  I used about 10 more drops than the “recommended” amount, and it just wasn’t doing it for me.
Another fail.  I know others like stevia, but I can’t say I’ll ever be adding it to my food again.  At least I’m honest!
Have a good Saturday!  I’m off to go brew some real coffee…
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