And so it goes – 2014

January 2, 2014

Ah.  The obligatory – “NEW YEAR NEW ME!” post.    In all honesty – these are some of my favorite posts to read that are written by others and some of my favorite to write.  I’m a New Years Resolution junkie and am constantly bugging my friends and family with “whatcha gonna change? How are you going to change it? Huh huh huh??”  – so here goes.

2013 was a tricky one for me, it took a lot from me and my family.  So, I’ve decided that 2014 is my year.   

In the spirit of rising to the challenge, I went to town on resolutions for myself, but since this is a lengthy post as it is – I’ve decided to break down the resolutions over the next week or so, hopefully interspersed with legit posts to get back on track.  So lets start with list number 1:  probably the easiest and most relevant to this blog.  Fitness resolutions.

Fitness:

1.  Be active each day.  Whether or not its a scheduled day of training or just getting out for a long walk, doing yoga or a hike – I want to feel like I’ve moved each day.

2.  Be committed to lifting.  This year I re-discovered my love for traditional weight training and I started to put some efforts into creating an at home gym that I could  workout in, in lieu of a gym membership.   I slacked off a bit over the holidays and worked through some confusion of how to eat and train in order to get the kind of body I want.  Its a work in progress and although I have a sneaking suspicion I used it as a coping mechanism this summer, I really do enjoy lifting and have great respect for female lifters.

3.  Run 5 miles a week – that’s 260 miles in a year.  A few years back, I opted to train for races as my goals and did fairly well.  Last year, I didn’t sign up for any races and my running dropped significantly.  This year, I’m trying a new to me tactic that I’ve seen floating around before, which is set a weekly mileage goal.  Its a concrete goal that I can work for, without having something to train for specifically.  I’ve kept my goal fairly small (cough cough: attainable and maintainable cough cough:), because I know my mind’s ability to overwhelm itself when I’m thinking about too stressful of a goal.   And  since I have a hard time admitting that a few miles and not 3-4-5 miles is worth the time, I’m trying to remember that its not how I get to the goal, but that I achieve it.   In preparation for this, I bought myself some fancy new kicks to start it off right.

4.  Put at least 20 miles on the bike a month – that’s 240 miles in a year..  We have bikes.  Mine is my baby.  We have not explored the trails nearly enough to make its purchase worthwhile.  Biking is something my husband and I both truly enjoy, both by ourselves and with friends.  So this year, in an effort to get out on the bikes more, I’ve set a monthly mileage goal.  Anyone who’s hopped on a bike, know that its definitely not a difficult goal to meet and I have big plans of crushing this mileage goal.  But at the very least it’ll get us out for a weekend ride 1-2 times a month and that’s really what is most important.

5.  Incorporate Yoga and Insanity into weekly workouts.   I have a tendency to have tunnel vision when it comes to my “training”.  If I’m weight training, then I absolutely cannot replace a lifting day with a cardio day or yoga day, etc.  I also have a really hard time saying “OK well, Wednesdays are Yoga only”, because whether I’m lifting or running, its hard for me to give up a day of training, period.   But I enjoy yoga, and damn it Insanity was expensive.  So as a tie in to goal number 1 – I’d like to include more flexibility to my fitness routine, which will go a long way for making it a lifestyle habit, rather than a training for a specific goal habit.

So far – its been only a day since yesterday, so I haven’t really gotten a chance to put these resolutions into practice, although I got a head start on a few and lifted at home on Monday and Tuesday, which while not a lot – was better than nothing.  I have plans to get in a workout tonight and am thinking that an easy little run is in order. I’ve got some shiny new Nike Frees and 5 miles to get in by Sunday, eh?

So there you have it, my fitness resolutions (give or take a few).  I tried to keep them concrete and obtainable, which I think is so incredibly important for tracking progress.    I’ve got a hefty list of other resolutions that include personal, foodie and work related ideas, but they can wait for another day.

I hope everyone had a wonderful set of holidays and that they stayed relatively healthy 🙂 and here’s to 2014.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping Motivated

August 21, 2013

When I first started running and was serious about getting back into a workout schedule, I found the motivation to be a lot easier than it is today.  I signed up for races and had a training schedule that told me when and for how long to run.   I joined a gym that had a class schedule that I followed in order to make my monthly payments worthwhile.  Since then, without a training or gym class schedule to follow, I’ve been trying to figure out different ways to get myself motivated to put in the miles.  The recent move and tough summer resulted in completely undisciplined workout schedules and basically getting it in when I could-so on top of trying to figure out a good routine,  I was also working against my lack of motivation and definite loss of endurance – i.e. the idea of putting in even a few miles on the treadmill was enough to make me want to quit before even starting.   So I started out slow, focused a bit more on lifting, which I honestly enjoy and took an active re-interest in creating fun and nutritious meals, while slowly working the cardio back into piece by piece.   

All of this to say, that even though I’m not motivated to just run 3-4 miles straight as my workout, I AM getting in my mileage.  Lately, I’ve been experimenting with running intervals and breaking them up with a lifting set.  Not only is this helping to keep me from losing focus or getting bored, its also a good way to incorporate lifting and work on endurance/speed.  It’s a lot easier for me to sprint a shorter segment than try to maintain a faster pace for a whole run.  Plus, it lets me focus on certain muscle groups on different nights.  So, I started out with running quarter mile segments between lifting sets, and tacking on a mile or so afterwards, then I upped it to half mile segments with a walk to finish.   Last night, my workout looked something like this:

Run:  1 mile

Lift:  Squats + calf raises x10

        Lunges x5 forward and rear lunges per side

         DB Bench press + butt lifts  -x10

        DB leg curls – x10

Repeat for 3 miles. 

 See?  Still getting in my mileage and still working hard.  Even though I didn’t get in a solid 4-5 mile run, (or hell, even a 3 mile run) – I sprinted the last few minutes of my final mile and enjoyed that exercise high that you can get when you push yourself pretty hard and you break that peak of endorphins.  Its moments like that, that I remember why I’m working so hard to get back into a schedule, on top of all the other benefits – sometimes it just feels good to kick some ass 🙂

 xo

Lately

October 24, 2012

I’ve been pretty  boring so far this week:

What I’ve been Reading:  This Crazy Vegan Life.  I’m usually a fiction girl, but for some reason during the fall, I tend to skew towards non-fiction books before my love of mysteries takes over during the winter.  Who says seasons only affect our clothing and food choices, eh? 

I like the book so far.  I dabbled in Vegan cooking since this past Easter and unlike the first time I’ve done something like that – this go-round it seems to have stuck. Despite fighting the label of being a Vegan, its pretty clear that my choices have been definitively Vegan.  So after reading a few different books on Vegan and more recently, Macrobiotics – I picked up this book as one that came as highly recommended based on the other books I read and enjoyed.   It is a bit more of a “weight loss” book than a “all about macrobiotics and Vegan lifestyle” book so far – but I like the reinforcement of information about veggies and whole grains, protein etc.  I never quite bought into the idea that vegetarians and vegans couldn’t get enough protein in their diet and its nice to read information that backs me up on that. 

What i’ve been Eating:   In as much as my meals these past few weeks haven’t been photo worthy (read: drag out the DSLR worthy), I feel bad, because they’ve been incredibly tasty and nourishing  – definitely influenced by the books I’ve been reading (The Kind Diet – for like, the 3rd time now, The Hipchick’s Guide to a Macrobiotic Lifestyle and now This Crazy Vegan Life).   What I find most interesting is after focusing on a whole foods based diet with a ton of whole grains and green veggies, beans etc., everything is starting to taste very very good. And the processed foods that I rarely get, are all starting to taste very very salty or rich.  And I can definitely tell when i’ve eaten something that’s heavier than my normal meal.  It really makes me wonder if I’m relearning flavors, or if I’ve always liked the foods i’m cooking now and never prepared them. 

Dinners have been combos of beans, grains and veggies mostly – some soups and chilis, salads and stirfries dabbled in.  I’m trying to listen to what my body is asking for and cook that.  So last night, that looked like some roasted Buttercup Squash, simmered together with some black beans and a side of roasted asparagus, greenbeans and Swiss chard.   The night before it was a simple dinner of spaghetti and bean balls – ala Veganomicon. 

Lunches are mostly leftovers from the night before or whatever else needs eaten up (I love the satisfying feeling of cleaning another dish out from the fridge). I try to make sure I have some whole grains added into this dish, so for today, I cooked up a combo of Millet and Farro after dinner last night to go along with the leftover beans and squash for this afternoon – yum!  As for snacks, I’m trying to get away from the premade stuff and focusing more on things like nuts, dried fruits,  seeds and fresh green beans.

Breakfasts (why’d I go out of order?) I’ve been crushing pretty hard on mixes of quinoa with bulgur wheat, oats or barley lately.  A splash of almond or hemp milk, a few berries, or sliced bananas or raisins and BOOM.  Breakfast.  So satisfying. 

ONE thing that’s been interesting has been my cutting out the caffeine and more recently excess sugar – especially white sugars, etc.  The first week or so of caffeine cutting went pretty well, but the second week (last week) I was definitely foggy all week, a little snippy and a bit headachy.  This week I seem to have surpassed that.  While I won’t say I see things with a lot more clarity yet, I will say that I no longer automatically reach for the Keurig when I wake up in the morning and whats even more interesting is that wheras last week I would immediately turn on the tea kettle, this week the reflex is a lot less “necessary” and sometimes I sit and think “do I even want tea this morning?”.  I do love the cozy feeling of coffee though, especially on a weekend morning – so I did pick up some decaf coffee for when the mood strikes!

As for sugars – its too early to tell yet, but having purposefully avoided it for the last few days, drizzling my breakfast with a touch of maple syrup this morning was almost too much sweetness to handle.  What is going on!?

How i’ve been sweating:  Workouts oh workouts.  Its been a slow and steady climb back up from the black hole I fell into after my half-marathon and 10 miler this past spring/summer.  My body and mind revolted against the idea of another training plan and after a month or so of not-working out and justifying it, I definitely couldn’t justify the feeling like crap part, both physically and about myself.   So I’ve been working hard at doing workouts I want to do and retraining myself to view workouts as part of a healthy lifestyle, not another checkmark on the calendar or training schedule.  Last week that mean 2 days of bodypump and one night of yoga, plus a lot of walking and an easy breezy 5k.  This week, it means Bodypump so far, and last night’s speed interval workout on an incline!  I went with the intentions of walking (my legs have been a tad tired the past few days) the hills, but after awhile, once I was warmed up, I upped the ante’ and sweated out the rest of the session.  It felt great!

I’ve decided to start what I (half jokingly) call “Operation Ka-donk-a-donk”.  I want a nicer butt! 🙂 Girl’s gotta fill out a swim suit somehow, right?!  Which means focusing more on workouts that will ramp up the intensity on my glutes, like incorporating some inclines to my cardio (ahem).  It also means, after squabbling a bit about it for the past 2-3 months, adding in another day of lifting. I love bodypump, but its not necessarily made for building muscle.  So if I want changes, I’ll have to make changes to my routine.  So tonight, I’m sneaking in a lifting session at home with some heavier weights, lower reps before yoga work on some increased muscle tone.

 Happy Book reading for a Blog on Wednesday! 😉

xo

The first

September 19, 2012

As threatened, promised, here is one of those apple recipes I was promising to make.

Although its my ultimate goal to be able to develop my own recipes at some point, which I’m starting to teach myself to do – I find myself relying quite a lot on recipes I’ve found online or in cookbooks, especially my favorite food bloggers.  There’s a lot of inspiration to be found out there and even though it feels like cheating sometimes, when you stumble across a recipe that just…works , suddenly where the recipe came from ceases to matter.

That was the case for this lovely piece of work.

 

I have Angela, over at Oh She Glows to thank for this.   This recipe was the perfect way for me to use up some leftover chopped apples AND satisfy my newfound need for baked goods being ever present in the apartment.  I was originally looking for a healthy oatmeal bar to take into work with me, but it quickly became apparent that these are an Apple Pie in Oat Square format.    I made a few tweaks, like replacing the earth balance with apple sauce in the oat base and used a combination of golden delicious and Mutsu apples.  I’m pretty happy with the result.

 

I managed to freeze most of the pan out of self defense, but some of these babies are stickin’ around at room temp….Good thing I’m back on track with that workout schedule!

Speaking of workout schedules – I’ve been getting a little bored lately with my usual music go -to’s.  I have my Ipod and my pandora, but sometimes Pandora just isn’t playing the music I want – I’m thinking of trying out Spotify, but hate linking things to my facebook account.  Has anyone else ever used Spotify?  And even more important who’s got running songs they want to share???

Yoga tonight!

xo

Helllooooo Friday

September 7, 2012

Dude.  Does anyone else feel like today would never get here?  I don’t mean to complain about something like this, since we just had a holiday.  Say it with me now , T.G.I.F.  annnnd exhale.

Yesterday my body/mind revolted and decided it needed a break.  Which is all well and good, but seriously self?  A break from what!?   But all the same, that’s exactly the conclusion I came to.  Having worked my way back into my workout schedule, I have quickly remembered why exactly I preferred morning workouts.  I MISS having my evenings to get stuff done.  And if i’m perfectly honest with myself, there really isn’t anything that’s gone wrong.  Just random unfounded stress.  I have to make a dessert for this weekend (seriously, little brother turning 21? ?? Too soon, world, too soon), which is fine – i’d much rather make a dessert that I feel good about eating than skipping out completely or nabbing a bite of the birthday cake (red velvet, if you were curious.  We DO live dead smack in the middle of PA dutch country).  Instead of adding one more thing to my mom’s plate, I offered to bring my own.

Sneak peek!

I was pretty cranky at the end of work yesterday, but was 100% determined to make the most of my night at home.  I was tired and my hips were still a little achy from my run on Tuesday.  Not “can’t walk” sore, but a little tweaky all the same.  I was pretty set on getting in a workout, but running or elliptical was still up for grabs.  I decided to trick myself into a run,  promising I could stop after 2 miles if I wasn’t feelin it, fully aware that is pretty darn hard for me to make myself stop at 2 miles (if you can do 2, then you might as well just pound out 3).  It was another slow and difficult run, but it was another run.  Its crazy how I’ve managed to forget how I felt when I first started running almost a year ago.  Its also pretty crazy how much endurance and speed i’ve lost.  It has really served to convince me how much easier it is to be fit, when you’re innately healthy.  And even more so, how truly healthy you really have to be, in order to operate at a certain level of fitness (she says with a pan of freshly baked _______ for dessert this weekend sitting at home).

It hasn’t been all bad though.  We’ve managed to keep it pretty healthy here for dinners this week – that crockpot tofu bbq had a few snags, but still turned out delicious.

I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite healthy lifestyle blogs (www.ohsheglows.com) and I think my craving for big fresh salads at dinner has her name written alllllll over it.

And I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – a gym class workout is the BEST way to start the morning.  I grumbled getting there, but once I was there it was done in a flash.  I’m tellin’ ya, starting and ending my week with the same ladies, blood pumping music, exhales of relief at the end of a hard set, and kick butt instructors that you can’t help but be inspired by – there is no other way.  This week our normal Friday instructor had a buddy with her, so she spent some time wandering through the room correcting form.  I’ve had some weight lifting training before, and I was glad to see most of my form has remained in tact.  She gave me a few pointers for tricep dips (namely how to make them harder…yeah, thanks for THAT), and made some minor adjustments on my curls and chest presses.  I know some people don’t like it, but I really appreciate when an instructor adjusts our form, in any class.  I’d rather be doing the workout correctly than risk hurting myself!

And of course, the best part (ok, one of the best parts) about an early gym class workout?  A relaxing Friday night and that GREAT first sip of coffee when you get in the car to head to work.

Hello loverrrr

Now its time to get through this Friday ladies and gents, finish strong!

xo

Working on it

August 30, 2012

Staying in shape is no joke.  Getting back in shape is no joke either.

I pride myself on being fairly healthy.  Sure I have a few swings in the opposite direction every now and then, but for the most part, I’m a healthy gal.  But that doesn’t mean I can take 1.5 months off and stay “in shape”. 

After what felt like a serious roller coaster of a ride with work, I landed myself in a temporary (for now) fix that has been one of the better decisions I’ve ever made.  Which means all those other annoying little parts of my life could promptly settle themselves back into place, right?

Ha.

I am not a patient person guys.   So naturally, I wanted everything to go back to how it was.  Waking up first thing in the morning for a 5:45-6 am gym class or run, have a day of healthy nutritious snacks, a dinner I was proud of, rinse and repeat.  I loved how I felt, how my routine was, how those little things could give me a burst of endorphins. 

Having the rest of my life fall back into routine hasn’t been easy.  Jumping right back into it isn’t reasonable.  My body fights back, demands sleep, food and comfort.  It threatens to get sick and walk in waddle format for the rest of the week after a first day back to lifting.  So I’ve resorted to slowly working myself back into it.   

I started with my food.  Focusing on healthy again.  And slowly, but surely its been working.  I’m starting to crave bowls of whole grains, tofu and veggies again, (especially after a weekend at home).  Salads are once again an [almost] daily part of my routine and for breakfast this past Monday, I had a green smoothie that reminded me how horribly out of practice I am at making them. 

Next I worked on getting back to the gym and balancing that with some sleep.  This one took some effort, and I’m still not back to my 3 a week classes, but I’ve made it back to Monday Body Pump for the past 2 weeks.  The first week was ROUGH.  Moving hurt for a good week afterwards.  But this week, I was just a little tight – nothing I couldn’t handle.  Thankfully no movement was impaired after this session.   So I felt good about adding in Yoga last night and tomorrow night round 2 of Body Pump. 

The hardest part about all of this, has been losing a lot of my cardio endurance.  It really has reminded me how this stuff is not to be taken for granted.  Its also reminded me how much we’re programmed to enjoy not doing anything and can easily justify taking just one more day to prepare yourself.  Tuesday night I had finally had enough of the excuses and the guilt afterwards.  And pushed myself to get back to the gym, despite a long day at work.  35 minutes of elliptical later, I was satisfied – but also sad.   I used to think “35 minutes, ok a short little workout” and now I was trying to figure out how to occupy myself for that long. 

Out of all of this though, there have been some good things.  For instance, I’ve realized mentally that I don’t like how it feels to be lazy, especially after knowing how it feels to be in pretty darn good shape.  I know what I prefer and I know the kind of hard work and dedication it takes to achieve that.  For awhile, my goals were driven by successfully running races, a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon.  I even started out for running a full marathon early this summer, but just couldn’t find the motivation to do it.  Needless to say, I won’t be running it this year.  But what I did do, is find a different reason for that drive, which I think is a bit more important.  I still think I’d like to run a marathon, its still on my bucket list. But when I do it, the race won’t be my sole motivation for getting out to the gym or hitting the pavement.   I think I figured I’d get to this point eventually, I’m just glad I have.

So yeah.  Cheers to all those folks who have decided to change their life for the healthier and have found a way to keep it up.  You’re pretty darn awesome, because its pretty darn hard.

xo

ps – College Football tonight!!!!! Who else is doing a little happy dance?

Possibility

July 11, 2012

The other day I read a post (ahem:  this one ), which to me, was pretty dang inspiring.  Namely, it reminded me to get off my butt and get back out on the road – because apparently I have a marathon to train for.   It also left me with a nagging thought about the idea of a bucket list.

We all have mental ones, right?  Where we think we have a firm grasp of what we want, but the thing about keeping a mental list, is that its so much easier to weasel your way out of a goal.  In fact, I can’t even say that I’ve ever sat down and come up with one, a real one.  I’ve had goals , but I’ve never had a list.   So I thought, in the midst of my re-motivation, what better time to make one?    Some of these are goals I’ve had for awhile and have been working on without thinking about, some of them are ones that I’m just starting to realize are important to me.

Bucket List

1.  Stay cc debt free for at least a year.

2.  Go to a professional sport even for Formula 1, hockey, football, baseball and basketball.

3.  Take cooking courses or earn a culinary certificate/degree of some kind.

4.   Consistent 8 minute mile pace

5.  Run a marathon

6. Comfortably own a house, with a dream kitchen.

7.  Learn another language (i’m partial to French &/or German).

8.  Practice Yoga on the beach

9.  Become proficient in dSLR photography (this would probably involve taking a course at some point?)

10.  Run a sprint Triathlon.

 

Is this list exhaustive?  Not in the least, but it absolutely highlights some of the things I’ve been thinking about the most lately.  Sure, I have other goals too, things like, nailing a 9 minute mile pace for a 5k by Thanksgiving, training consistently, enjoying more and stressing less.  Things that aren’t final goals or tangible ones, but stepping stones, so to speak.    I’m happy to see that not all of the items on my current list are fitness related and I reserve the right to add to the list, but promise only to remove from the list once that goal has been achieved.

And because a post feels naked without a picture and this picture seems relevant, i’ll share this with you.  Snapped while walking around Lancaster waaay back in April. 🙂

 

xo