Ever feel like you need a serious brainstorming coffee session with friends to get the positive, creative, motivation ideas flowing again?  After a hell of a summer, you could even argue first half of 2013,that is definitely what I feel I need. 

I’ve mentioned it before, but there have been ups and downs these past 9 months.  Its been a roller coaster for sure, from finding, buying and moving into a house, securing a job, losing 3 people that I love to cancer this summer alone – so trying to reestablish a sense of identity and purpose at home and at work has been exhaustingly and frustratingly difficult.  Whether its coming up with new ideas for work, or even finding a workout that resonates with me, its been all ebb and very little flow it feels like.

A few weeks ago I was dreading another week of treadmill workouts or outdoor runs and as a consequence I was looking around for different cardio workouts and settled on the Insanity DVD.   I only just started it yesterday, because in addition to the Insanity DVD, I’m working my way back to a workout that I’ve always come back to since high school – weight training, heavy weight training.  Like I’ve said before, I have no ambition to become the next female hulk, but I have a lot of admiration for the aesthetic muscle physique of figure competitors.   So I’ve been working towards that as a new physical goal.  I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the point of competing, but I’d like to see where heavy lifting can take me and my body personally.  A few years back I got into what was arguably the best shape of my life running the half marathon, but I can’t deny the lack of enthusiasm I had for the majority of my runs, especially the longer ones.  There are so many more options for cardio, that my first thought was why was I forcing myself to log miles that were miserable to me?  There was no mental clarity and there was certainly no joy in it, save the few early morning easy does it runs.   Even in high school, I opted for sprints rather than distance runs.  I have nothing but the greatest respect for distance runners, but it just isn’t my thing.  But once I made the decision to turn off the treadmill and pick up my dumbbells again, workouts have been enjoyable, I’m craving them at the end of the day and HATE HATE HATE rest days.  I feel completely refreshed, I’m constantly reading up on different exercises and training techniques.  I’ve revamped my nutrition to focus on maximum muscle gain, which is especially challenging when eating a mostly Vegan diet.  A lot of body builders rely on high protein, low carb foods such as eggs, chicken and other lean meats, whereas the vegetarian and vegan alternatives, while still impressively high in protein, are still more carb heavy than lean meats.  While this isn’t a major issue now, it does affect my macronutrient ratio (Carbs, proteins and fats) and if I’m ever in a contest prep mode, carb cycling will be especially difficult.   But for now, I’m tracking my meals for the macro content mostly and to make sure I’m getting ENOUGH calories (another major mind shift from the all cardio all the time mentality I had been struggling with).   Lately I’ve been relying on veggie tofu scrambles and protein powders and have gotten creative in the kitchen with some baking (hello protein breads and homemade protein bars) and even tried my hand at making some Seitan this weekend for a high protein alternative. 

I’ve just finished week 2 of some heavy lifting and honestly , week one was a bit of a hodgepodge of workouts.  I’m taking measurements and progress pictures and logging all workouts and weights in a workout journal as well as taking appropriate weight training supplements like protein powder and BCAAs to try and promote muscle recovery and growth.  As for cardio? Long gone are the days of distance running, which can actually do less for muscle growth than HIIT and sprints.  I’m trying to incorporate at least one day of sprints into my workouts during the week and slowly make my way through the Insanity DVDs.  Its been strange, since a big part of gaining muscle mass is to gain mass overall, but the trick – is to do it in a smart way, with protein and complex carbs, rather than higher fat and sugar. 

So far its been fun and I’m grateful for the resurgence of motivation when it comes to my workouts, which has filtered into other parts of life at home. I’m happier, feel far more accomplished in the evenings and enjoy sitting down on the couch for some Football and Baseball more than ever now.   Now…if only I had the same aha moment at work…

Happy Monday ya’ll!  Thanks for listening to this hodgepodge rambling so early in the week!



Is that a loofah?

September 6, 2013


Because its Friday – and really, who doesn’t need a little bit of ghost buster/gagnam style mashup to start their weekend off right?

Also of note this week

This insightful article about Vegans and B12 supplements.

I am two days into the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 dvd and 1 day into her killer buns and thighs workouts.  Both sets had my muscles burning during the workout, but again, didn’t leave me overly fatigued afterwards.  One of the things I enjoy about the format so far is that by repeating the workouts for a set of 7-10 days at a time, I can really gauge my increase in strength and endurance for the moves.  Not to mention enjoying learning a few new moves to incorporate into my routine sans dvd workout.  I also managed to sneak in another outside run where I shaved off some time from my slower run this past weekend.  Going forward, I really want to complete all 30 days of each DVD, since I know consistency is key for any routine.  But I’ve also been morphing my goals and ideas for what I want my next personal challenge to be.  I’m hoping to maintain my running better than I have in my past, although I may not be looking at major distances right now, I firmly believe that running can be a good health maintenance workout.

Secondly, my friend is starting Insanity in the next few weeks and as a motivating factor, I offered up       challenge that I would complete it at the same time.   Anyone I know who has done it and based on reading about it, reviews etc say make it clear it is an intense workout, one which I’m looking forward to, but also nervous about.  It’ll be a good exercise (no pun intended) in self-motivation and pushing myself to the max.

Thirdly, watching all of the insanity videos, etc – really makes me crave the non-fitness competition esque abs and nice toned muscles.  I don’t expect to walk around looking like my stomach was chiseled out of marble, but the women in those videos are certainly something to aspire towards.  This goal will require a careful look at my eating regiment and figuring out a way to incorporate some heavier lifting alongside the bodyweight style workouts of Insanity.

And finally:

The budlight commercial from last night’s football game.  “What’s Queen-No?”

Enjoy your weekend friends! We are off to a fun little beer festival and looking forward to some time with family and friends.


Back on track: how

September 4, 2013

Last week I let on that this week would be all about getting “back on track”.  In an attempt to do so I spent a good bit of time thinking about how I wanted to do that – workouts, mentally and nutritionally.

On the workout front, I managed to finally, finally get back outside for a run.  Since moving, I developed an inexplicable aversion to running outside in my neighborhood, for the ENTIRE summer.  Thoughts like “oh, the kids will see me and what will they THINK?”  would sneak through my head.   And I am the first to admit they are perhaps some of the most ridiculous and ludicrous thoughts, ever.  When I trained for my half marathon, I’d be out in the snow and rainy winter nights in OTHER people’s neighborhoods to get in my runs, but yet, running in my own had my butt parked firmly inside.  I did get in some treadmill runs, but staring at my basement wall is oh.so.interesting. when it comes to helping those minutes crawl by.   It wasn’t a long run, persay – about 3.5 miles, but after limiting myself to mile interval runs lately, it was nice to see that my body could still run for distances more appropriate for a full length “run”.  And of course, like most things – once I got started, it was one of those “wait, why was I worried about this again?” moments.  Which we all saw coming, I’m sure.   I topped off the run with 2 hours of mowing the lawn, with a non-self propelled mower.  You never fully appreciated hills in a yard until you have to haul a lawn mower up them for 2 hours in the heat. Yikes.  Needless to say, with a run and the mowing – my legs were pretty tired by the end of my morning. 

I’ve also decided to try something fun and new with my workout routines this month to keep things interesting and frankly hold myself accountable.  I’ve never really been a fan of workout dvds, mostly because I feel pretty ridiculous marching in place while staring at ladies in pastel leotards and legwarmers (thanks mom, for that childhood memory).  Although, I would probably sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons anyday of the week.  Kidding.  Sort’ve.   Moving on.  Plus, I never stuck with a dvd long enough to see any “results”. 

I will always be an advocate of regular, no excuses exercise – hopping on a bike, getting in a walk, a run or lifting – etc etc.  But like I said, trying to keep things fresh and fun over here, plus with my legs being sore and overall just tired from the weekend of moving  – I purchased the Jillian Michaels 30 days to Ripped DVD workout series and her killer butt and thighs dvd (a constant trouble spot for me).  The Ripped is a 4 week series of workouts featuring her 3-2-1 system of 3 strength moves, 2 cardio moves and 1 set for abs for 30 minutes (including warm up and cool down), with 3 separate rounds per workout, changing it up each week for 30 days.  The purchase included a meal plan, but after giving it a brief glance over, I was pretty confident that my current eating habits, while could always do with some tweaking, don’t need a major overhaul.  Now,  I’m not kidding myself into thinking that these workouts alone will get me results that diligent cardio and weight training will ultimately do, but the goal for me is to incorporate the workouts on days that I’m not running or doing heavier lifting as a way to keep toned, gain endurance, etc.   So last night, with strict instruction to Brandon that if he dared to walk into the bedroom while I was working out he’d be toast, I went for round 1 of Ripped with Jillian Michaels.    The workout didn’t have me dripping with sweat, but my legs and arms were definitely tired by the end without feeling overly wasted from the workout.  I enjoyed that it wasn’t too “aerobic” in style and of course, I’m a big fan of working out multiple muscle groups with one strength move – which most of her moves incorporated.  There were also a good number of pushups and forced ab time, which I need – since I tend to wimp out on the abs in my own workouts (shame shame shame) and pushups are something I think are badass if you can do more than a few at a time.   I haven’t tried the butt and thighs workout yet, but may try that tonight with some cardio tacked on. 

And because being healthy isn’t just about what we eat and how we workout – I’ll leave you with some shots from our weekend, where I was determined to experience something beautiful, although the three don’t have to be mutally exclusive, which we proved this weekend – enjoying a morning of hiking in beautiful beautiful PA.   


ImageHope everyone had a relaxing labor day weekend and are starting off the “new school year” right!  🙂