A healthier December

December 4, 2012

So, um – yum?  Cheesy kale, roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms with ume vinegar and a mix of lentils and baked beans…My first attempt at cheesy kale, and getting back on the whole foods, semi-macrobiotic diet train.  Oh how i’ve missed you plate full of veggies, beans and grains!image

For the month of December, i’ve decided to consciously make a healthy decision instead of the unhealthy alternative each day.  I’ve been in a bit of a workout/healthy living slump lately and I can’t exactly figure out why. 

Arguably my cardio has waned since my last few races over the summer.  And now, suddenly, I’m finding my love of Bodypump is starting to taper off also.  There are more than a few reasonable points of explanation for this, which  I found myself thinking about instead of going back to sleep yesterday morning after deciding I wasn’t going to head in to class…(sigh). 

1.  Getting up at 5 in the morning is just not appealing to me right now.  Its not enough sleep, its not enjoyable to get ready in the dark and stumble out the door and rush to the gym.  And I’ve found I missed having my (albeit short) morning with Brandon. 

2.  The benefits are no longer what they used to be.  Yes, the class did help me to tone up and yes, it provided variety and a sense of accomplishment and comraderie during a time that I didn’t have that at all when I was working.  It filled that void, but I’m finding that maintaining tone, is not the same as building muscle definition, which is something i’ve been looking for more of lately.  As for the sense of accomplishment and comraderie, well – since changing positions at work, I’m a lot more satisfied in that department these days. 

3.  Watching people do the lifts so blatantly wrong, and not be corrected for it was irking me to no end.  I realize that the instructors probably aren’t allowed to say much, but that doesn’t stop it from bothering me.

So,  my conclusion, is to take these feelings to heart and forgo the body pump class for awhile.  I’m not saying I won’t go back every now and again, but right now, I’ve found myself leaning towards the more traditional style of lifting, heavier weights, fewer reps – which I’ve always enjoyed.  I had started my own collection of weights awhile back and am looking to expand on that in the next year or so and really get back into developing lifting routines for myself that are challenging and fun. 

Which leads me to my healthy decisions thus far for December:

Over the weekend, while grocery shopping, I put the quick and easy solutions for snacks and breakfast back on the shelf and promised myself I’d get back into making my own food, instead of opening up the box sitting on the pantry shelf.  The result?  A fun and new holiday twist on some baked oatmeal i’m excited to share soon.

And now, yesterday’s healthier choice:  You already know I didn’t go to bodypump yesterday morning.  But what I did do – is come home and work my way through a solid lifting routine with my own weights at home.  Here’s what I did:

lunge w/ single arm shoulder press and leg lift combo ( 3×10 per side, I shamelessly copied this move from www.fitsugar.com)

Rolling side planks for 2 minutes (again, fitsugar.com

Squat with hammer curls (3×10)

Oblique tricep pushup (3×10 per side, fitsugar.com)

Chest fly with v-crunch (3×10, fitsugar.com – is there a pattern here??)

Single leg dead lifts (3×10)

It was tough to get through, but felt great afterwards and this morning too.  I’m not sore or achy, but can definitely tell I lifted.  With these conscious efforts to eat healthier and get back into a solid workout routine, I’m hoping to stave off any impending “MUST LOSE WEIGHT AND GET BACK TO THE GYM New Years Resolutions” 🙂

xo

 

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This weekend I am looking forward to:

Catching up on some sleep I have somehow misplaced (although I’m feeling pretty good after an early bedtime, who would’ve guessed that?).

Coffee on the couch while snuggled up in my pjs still.

Work…(what?)

The chance for a trail ride with Brandon.

A glass of wine and homemade pizza tonight.

Football.

Dinner date at the Mt. Washington Tavern (Its BACK baby!).

Some down time which will include baking, crocheting and reading. 

 

Clearly I am in a good mood this morning.  I made it to the gym last night for some much needed cardio, and despite not having done anything specifically heart rate raising these past few weeks, it went well (A murder mystery on youtube via my phone didn’t hurt either 😉 )  Although, strangest thing – while at the gym, I watched a girl try to set up her laptop on the elliptical so that she could study while working out.  And while I say kudos to you for knocking two birds with one stone, print or write those notes out dear, because a gym is NO place for a laptop. 

I managed to sneak my butt out of bed and to the gym in time for a body pump class this morning after going to bed pretty early. I wasn’t too tired this morning when I woke up, so any excuse not to go was simply an outlet for laziness.  I did make a deal with myself though, since I did have things I wanted to get an early start on for work, I opted out of the last 20 minutes of the CXworx core class.  So I got to work a little early AND I still got in my strength training (which has definite elements of cardio).  I even came out with a new phrase “suck the muscle to the bone“.  Sounds so badass and yet, so inspiring.  So that’s my motto for the day.  🙂

Today I am thankful for the ladies that make it out to a 5:45 or 6 am or 7 pm class at the gym.  Because dang you are a great way to start or finish a day, despite all of the grumbling it takes for me to get there. 

Any phrases of inspiration for our readers out there to end their week with??

Time for a full day of work and home to a much earned glass o’ red.  🙂

Happy Friday and weekending my friends – I hope you have fun plans!

xo

And just like that – it happens to be Monday. 

My weekend was stellar.  Seriously a fantastic weekend.  Brandon’s parents were down and we spent Saturday at the zoo for the Okto-BEAR-fest (ha ha) and a walk around the zoo.

A face only a mother could love?

Once again, I was reminded of how little we actually need to be truly happy and this weekend’s lesson came from the Elephants. 

The little (??) guy on the right was the baby elephant and on the left was his mom.  And you would not believe the amount of fun this guy had just rolling around in the water.  I’m not saying in order to be happy we should go jump in a pond (then again, why not?)  – but just to remember that its ok to take pleasure out of the simple things. 

 The rest of our weekend was a glorious Sunday in the DC/Alexandria area.  I got to spend the morning with some of my favorite people and  get completely covered in colored corn starch (err..what?).  Early Sunday morning, we headed down to the National Harbor to participate in the 2nd D.C. Color Run.  It was untimed, it was a gorgeous route ( I mean, SERIOUSLY gorgeous) and just a lot of fun. 

Before, all clean and pumped with my accidental running buddy, Lil

 

After, not clean and STILL pumped with one of my best friends, Heather. Note the color.  See also my short hair.  GROW HAIR GROW.

Although I certainly wasn’t breaking any land speed records, I was proud that I was able to get out and run the full race having not done any serious running in the past few months.  I won’t be shy in admitting either that it was a bit of a relief to know that I could.  I was anticipating the worst, mentally and even though I breathed a little hard going up the ridiculous hill, I think everyone did.  Long story short, I don’t know if it revived my interest in running, but it certainly did more for it than anything else has done lately. 

We topped off the weekend with an afternoon in Alexandria, VA. 

Gorgeous anytime of the year.  I seriously love this place.  

With a weekend of walking, running and walking in the books.  We were BEAT last night.  Early to bed and early to rise for me this morning, where I put my tired legs through their paces with a serious squat track for the new body pump release.   A solid way to start the week after a pretty solid weekend.

How was your weekend?

xo

Good moods all around!

October 12, 2012

Warning: I am in a ridiculously awesome mood.  From a good workout last night, ruining dinner, then saving dinner by improvising (SUCH a great feeling), the O’s coming through and making this a 5 game series against the Yankees (lets go Os!) all the way through to this morning, an early morning feel good workout (Bodypump!), a bright and chipper outfit and a cup of decaf sitting in front of me. Oh.  And its FRIDAY.  No big.

That’s a lot of chipper so lets take it a few at a time shall we?

Last night:

Since I’m not actively training for a race (does the Color run count?), I’m trying to focus on workouts that I want to do rather than the workouts on my training schedule (such freedom!).  It took a few weeks to break out of the routine and the mental bashing if I didn’t get in a sweaty hard and fast run 3X a week, but now I’m in a much better place when it comes to workouts and I’m looking forward to them again.  Earlier this week I hopped on the treadmill for a hilly 30′ walk and hit up my yoga class on Wednesday night. Yesterday, coming home from work I wanted a workout, but my knee has been a little sore lately, so I started off with 20 minutes of hills and resistance on the bike before switching over to the treadmill for 10 minutes of incline walking, 5 minutes of running and a 5 minute cool down.  Was it a full 40 minutes of solid running? Nope.  Did I feel great at the end? Yup.

So.  Lets talk what else happened last night.  Dinner happened.  My original plan was to make some stuffed poblano peppers.  In theory it worked, but I left them sit in the oven a little too long (oops) and since my husband had a rough day at work, I opted to admit defeat on this one and offer to run out and pick him up a frozen pizza.  The tough thing about eating Vegan is that you’re a little limited on frozen pizza options at the smaller grocery shops.  Womp Womp.  So instead of grabbing a frozen vegan burrito loaded with salt, I opted for an improvisation of my semi-failed dinner.  What I ended up with was a delicious version of a personal pizza (vegan) and used up some of dinner (the rest for lunch today!).  Not only did I have a meal that even B said looked pretty good, I felt pretty awesome about not wasting food.

Has anyone seen or tried the foldit breads from Flatouts?  I grabbed the 5 grain flax variety which are 99 calories, deliciously soft and vegan! Perfect for sandwiches or you know…failed dinner fixes.  I just spread some tomato paste on one, chopped up one of the stuffed poblanos and threw it on top.  Into the oven to crisp up (which it did perfectly, I might add) and boom!  DIY impromptu vegan pizza. 

I finished off the night with one of these puppies.   I can and have made my own, but these are like a slightly richer version of a reeses.  And sometimes convenience just wins out.  So good. 

This morning:

I had my usual 5:45 Bodypump + CRX workout class.  It wasn’t as crowded as usual this morning, which made it nice for some more interaction with the other girls. 

Afterwards I felt so great that I thought about it long and hard and opted to indulge in a cup of decaf coffee for the morning. 

You may think this is no big deal, but here’s the thing.  Since last Tuesday, I’ve been trying to filter out the coffee and caffeine consumption, trying to learn to make the distinction between wanting the coffee and being addicted to caffeine.  Surprisingly ( to me) the detox hasn’t actually been that difficult.  I went for green tea last Tuesday and switched to herbal teas for the rest of the week.  I haven’t really missed the coffee OR caffeine (and mint tea is so envigorating anyhow!).  I indulged in a small cup on the weekend and it definitely made me a bit more jittery than usual.  So this morning, after not craving coffee at all, the weather was crisp, I was in a great mood and just felt the need for something alittle richer and cozier.  But I wasn’t tired, I was wide awake and I in no way wanted the caffeine.  So with all of that in mind, I felt great in indulging in a steamy cup of decaf (who AM I?!) with some creamy hemp milk.  Its the perfect way to jump start my weekend!  Well, that and a bright pink scarf

bright colors make me smile!

and this adorable face:

Seriously.  Kills me every time. 

Speaking of weekends, I’ve got a semi-busy one planned with an evening of kitchen goodies, baseball games and a day trip up to Lancaster on the books.  How about you??  Anyone else trying to cut back the caffeine and coffee?

xo

All smiles

September 28, 2012

Have you ever had one of those workouts, where you just get that perfect boost of endorphins and you feel like you could take on the world, if you weren’t already on top of it and you’re almost overwhelmed and may or may not almost cry (from pain or the endorphins, who knows, who cares).  Yeah.  My bodypump class was that good this morning and I am CONVINCED that this morning truly started with last night.  Because last night I set to work on listening to my body, which has had zip for energy and even less self-esteem.

I started with addressing my energy levels, or lack thereof.  While I’m fully aware that my body is probably trying to readjust to a full time workout schedule again, I also had this nagging thought that working out wasn’t the whole problem. So I took a good hard look at what I’ve been eating this week.  I was still eating healthy meals, but I’ve been on a clean the leftovers out of the fridge kick, so my greens and salad consumption have been down a bit – problem number 1.  And even though my meals have been healthy, I wondered if there may be a lack of protein and/or carbs thrown into the mix that was getting me down.  So last night, I whipped up aVegan Bread Pudding with some leftover Jalapeno Lime Cornbread I had made earlier in the week.  Ho.ly.Yum.

The recipe was a breeze to whip up and I used this as my starting point and adjusted with what I had in the fridge.  I ended up with a (jalapeno lime) cornbread pudding filled with some sauted mushrooms, onions and spinach.  I was a little unsure of the “tofu custard” but I liked how it would incorporate more protein in my meal and in the end, it was perfection.  I scarfed down 2 pieces and definitely could’ve had more.  Clearly, my body was craving the carbs AND the protein.

One of the best parts about the bread pudding, was that in automatically incorporated a 35 minute window for workouts (which turned into 20 minutes for a workout once I got dressed and out the door).   Even though I was feeling pretty tired (remember, this was before dinner), I tried my luck at a treadmill workout.  I figured a full 20 minute run wasn’t in the cards for the night, so I incorporated two separate workouts into one, hill and speed intervals.   It looked a little something like this:

update:  all of the “mph” should have been “minute miles” and have been changed to reflect that.  Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I was running 10 mph – jeepers! Thanks to Mike for the heads up!

0-3 minutes – run  10 minute mile (6.0 mph), incline 0.0

3-5 minutes – walk, 4.3 mph, incline 7.0

5-7 minutes – run 9.5 minute mile, incline 1.5

7-10 minutes – walk, 4.3 mph, incline 7.0

10-12 minutes – run, 9.0-8.5 minute mile, incline 2.0

12-15 minutes – walk, 4.3 mph, incline 7.5

15-21 minutes – run, 8.5 -9 minute mile-8.0 minute mile

I ended up with 2  miles, a great booty busting hill workout and a great way to work my way back into some speed.  The 20 minutes was up in NO time.  Strangely, I found this to not only be a great workout, but I knocked it out with some …um…piano music, simple, relaxing piano music.  Even though I was sweating and loving every minute of it, it was 20 minutes of self-centering and relaxed focus. I felt so amazing afterwards and with the breadpudding masterpiece at home, I was one happy camper last night.  Topped it off with football, tea and some homemade biscotti.

So in case you ever feel down in the dumps, whip up some bread pudding, pop in some relaxing music and get your sweat on.  Guaranteed cure for EVERYTHING.

And as always,

cheers to Friday, friends 🙂

xo

Happy Friday, Indeed!

August 31, 2012

Its FRIDAY! 🙂 And what makes Friday even better?  A three day weekend folks – yup!  Does it seem like the week before a holiday weekend are always just a little bit harder to get through for anyone else too?  Jeepers.

After a two days of solid work in the beginning, my week settled out pretty well, so I took advantage of the extra breathing room to bring myself back up to speed on the workout routine.  Like I said yesterday, I haven’t quite kicked myself back into early am running, but I’ve managed to fill my week with a workout each day.  Here’s how it turned out:

Monday: Got my butt out of bed and to a second consecutive week of Bodypump.  I really have missed starting my day with the girls in the class and the instructor.  Even though I don’t know them personally, there’s something about the motivational comments, the mutual grimaces, sighs of relief and blood pumping music that screams “best way to start a week” to me.  This was also the morning that I realized I am sadly out of practice with green smoothie makings.  Clumpy and tasteless, but it held me over until lunch.  Yikes.  Bonus?  I could walk like a normal human being afterwards.

Tuesday:  Here’s where I almost gave in.  The idea of hitting the gym after an exhausting day of work with only myself to motivate me through a simple 30 minutes of cardio.  I gave myself until after dinner to relax a bit, get back some energy from dinner and walk out that door before I could decide to “wait until tomorrow” to get back to it.  I ended up with something closer to 35 minutes (I’m a weirdo and HAVE to finish my workout on an even time and mile).   

Wednesday: Wednesday pushed myself to get out the door and a little early so I could fit in a 20 minute elliptical session before my yoga class, which felt great.  I think when its possible, I’m going to try for this more often.  Especially with a forced 1 hour stretch session afterwards.  Yoga this week had a KILLER downward dog series that if you follow me on dailymile, you’ll know had my shoulders screaming at the end.  I am in awe of anyone who considers that a rest pose.  Yow.zas.  But the core workout was great and I felt stronger than I have in weeks. 

Thursday:  Just another simple 30 minute session on the elliptical.  I’ve focused on a cardio exercise with less impact to start back up again with this week.  I want to get my body reacquainted with endurance and cardio workouts before I start filtering back in the running.  Happily, I’m starting to feel that urge to work a little harder, so I think I may incorporate some runs next week.  This go-round though, I tried out the “reverse workout” function.  5 minutes forward and 2 minutes in reverse.  It starts out ok, but 2 minutes of reverse on an elliptical can get ROUGH, especially when you up the resistance.  Rounded out the workout with a cooldown, totaling 35 minutes and 4 miles.    I topped the night off with a big bowl of bulgur wheat, grilled veggies and tofu (FINALLY). 

Friday:  The last big test of the week, the 5:45 am Bodypump+CxWorks gym class.  45 minutes of lifting and 30 minutes of core work with resistance bands and weights, etc.  First things first – I WENT.  Secondly, I think I held a plank/hover today for the longest I have ever done (with toe/knee taps mixed in!).  I kind of wanted to throw up a little afterwards.  But I’m ridic proud  of doing it.  Oh and one more thing?

(holy bad angle, batman!)

I’m getting a lot better at those smoothies…round 2 was green and delicious.  Thank you, ripe banana, thank you.

Smoothie: Almond milk, handful of spinach, flax seeds, Maca root powder, hemp protein powder, P2B Chocolate PB, a dash of vanilla and 1 bananananananana.  Werd.   (I followed with a coffee chaser 😉 )

I am happy, I am awake and kind of excited that my abs are finally coming back out to play.  So lets start the countdown for the holiday weekend, kids!  We have lots of plans for friends, cookouts, breweries and fun. 

Since we’ll be on the go a bit, I think i’m going to whip up these little beauties tonight, so we can have something healthy to enjoy with our coffee or just grab and go for the drives.   

Who’s got fun weekend plans??

xo

ps – Check out these photos from CNN.  I think numbers 3,6, 11 and 15 are my favorites.

A thank you

August 21, 2012

This is the only evidence I have to share with you, of Sunday night’s perfect end to a great weekend.  Vegan Grilled Cheese with some spicy peanut eggplant soup, from Veganomicon  Well, sort’ve.  I adapted it a bit, the most obvious being I pureed mine with an immersion blender to make it “creamy”.  Its pretty amazing what eggplant can do for a soup without having to add any sort of milk to it.  But I digress.

The perfect ending to a great weekend.  And a tasty lunch addition for the next day 🙂

Also.  EXCITING NEWS – I finally have something to share in the world of workouts! Ready?

 

ow.

 

Profound, yes?

Seriously though.  I used the momentum of my satisfaction from this weekend and carried it into the start of my week this week.  Yesterday morning I was up and out the door in time to make it for my 6 am body pump class.  Getting up was pretty sucky, but being there was anything but.  Oh, i’m not saying I won’t pay for it – because I am.  S.O.R.E.    But its a good sore.  Its a satisfying sore.  Its accompanied by the complete contentment that comes with putting in  a great workout, starting your day and your WEEK off the right way.  Its the trade off for feeling bad ass in the morning and empowered and unapologetically happy for the rest of the day.   Don’t ever offer to take this sore away from me, it reminds me I can still work hard and it reminds me that I still have to work hard.

I’d like to say I got back to this point on my own.  I’d like to say that I never got away from this point.    What I WILL say is thank you.  Thank you for relentlessly going to the gym each day, for being proud of your workouts, for getting in those longest runs of your life.   You’ve truly been an inspiration.

xo