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

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Today was weird

October 25, 2012

Not bad, but weird. 

Nothing a self-led workout couldn’t fix. 

image

After doubling up on lifting and yoga last night, I opted for an easier cardio sesh with some plyometrics and body weight exercises.

30 minutes of high resistance hill intervals on the bike, followed by
Propulsion squats 3×10 reps
Side lunges 3×10 reps per side
Toe taps, c crunches and bicycle crunch – 10 per exercise (per leg)
Stepups -3×10 reps per leg
Plank/hover – 60 sec, 30 sec, 20 sec
Pushups – 3×10 reps

In the end, I was pretty please with the way my workout rounded out.  Even though it wasn’t an in your face sweat bonanza, I’m glad I worked in my plyometrics tonight and lifting last night.

Time to get ready for tomorrows early morning body pump and core workout.  This week kinda flew by, no?

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

Cravings and contemplations

October 2, 2012

When the husband gets a craving (that isn’t Pizza, Wings, Pizza, pizza, pizza…), enough so that he mentions it out loud, I try my best to accomodate his cravings, but keep myself happy also.

Last night, I was able to combine the two in a simple near-perfect dish.  I thoroughly enjoyed my plate and didn’t hear any complaints from the second half (as he scarfed down his plate, helped himself to some garlic toast, then a cookie…men).

What he wanted, was some pasta in a simple garlic and olive oil type sauce.  What I couldn’t give him was just pasta in a simple garlic and olive oil type sauce.  What he got, was this:

Some whole wheat Linguine tossed with peas, spinach and shredded carrots in a very lite garlic, earthbalance and smidge of olive oil sauce, topped with some portobellas that I roasted with a homemade miso vinaigrette (ume and balsamic, yum).  I finished off my plate with a side of brussel sprouts pan seared with a splash of ume vinegar. 

Heavy on the greens/veggies, lite on the heavy.  Did that make sense?

I’ve been rereading some of my favorite healthy living blogs/books and feel really motivated, rejuvenated and excited to face the fall with a renewed sense of healthy and what it means to me.  I’ve already spent some time at the gym this morning and replaced a typical breakfast with a new fall cinnamon apricot wheatberry salad and I feel great!  Bring on the whole grains 🙂

Are you taking the opportunity this fall to re-evaluate any of your lifestyle choices? 

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

Do you Detox?

September 21, 2012

There’s nothing like a scary eternity moment on one these

 

To make you head for a set of these.

 

Last Friday I had a not so pleasant experience on an elevator.  It probably serves me right, considering I work on the 3rd floor, but was just too lazy, shy, embarrassed to ask, in order to find the steps.  Needless to say I have been cured of that little quirk, right quick.  I’ve taken the steps each day this week and beyond not having to worry about the (however unlikely) doom of an elevator crashing to the ground with me in it, I am surprised at how much this small change has helped me to feel  physically.  I feel just a little slimmer, a little stronger and definitely a little more proud (ok ok, this one is a mental plus, but that counts too).

Then, in yoga on Wednesady, we did an autumn detox class in preparation for the upcoming equinox (tomorrow).  It sounds scary, but it was an extremely satisfying class of compressions and twists to help our body eliminate residual toxins.  I found a few articles while reading up on the idea of detoxing in the fall and what I found was pretty interesting. 

A lot of people consider detox to be a spring thing, to sort of help wake our bodies up from a long winter.  So why do it in the fall? From what I’ve read (here and here), from the Yoga perspective, fall is the perfect time to remind ourselves to slow down and recollect ourselves. We’re adding on to our schedules, we’re still pretty hyped up from summer and we’ve got a long and physically stressful winter coming up – so its time to prepare for that.  Another analogy that really struck with me is thinking of it in terms of a harvest.  By the end of the summer, the major fruits and veggies and flowers have run their course and its time to clean away the remnants and prepare yourself for the next growing season in the spring.     

Although I’m not sure yet how I feel about the traditional detox route for myself, personally – I do like the idea of finding ways to eliminate toxins, whether its mental/emotional, physical or nutritional.  Which comes full circle to my elevator/stairs story – a detox.   Confused yet? 

I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach to a detox and eliminate a few habits by replacing them with some better ones.  The idea being that small changes can add up to a big difference in how I feel.  So…

Instead of taking the elevator, I will take the steps – I’ve already mentioned feeling the benefits of this change.

Focus on workouts I enjoy, instead of ones I think I should do – I have been telling myself I’ll start up a spin class (6 am!) that’s offered at my gym.  The idea came to me when I was low on cardio.  For two weeks now I’ve packed my gym bag and for two weeks my body has revolted and refused to get out of bed at 5.  But come Mondays and Fridays I am out of bed and off to the gym for my early AM body pump classes – what gives? I gave it some hard and serious thought this week.  I’ve taken spin before, I know what to expect, so it wasn’t a nervousness of the “unknown”.  Then I remembered, I took spin with my friend, but it never really resonated with me.  I was never dying to get back to the next class.  So then why was I so eager to try this class?  Partially because I love the instructor and I think that kind of environment is a great way to start a morning, but if I was 100% honest with myself, the root of this decision was based in a negative habit of exercising simply to burn calories. I had been in a cardio slump and feeling the negative effects.   Once I worked myself out of that slump the right way (tweaking the diet, getting some sleep and settling back into a workout routine) I realized I wasn’t doing any of these things to burn calories, but because I enjoyed them.  Lesson learned, back burner that spin class until its something I’m in the mood to do.  Instead, I’m going to replace it with workouts I’ve been looking forward to, pump, yoga and some hiking and biking outdoors!

A glass of water each morning (and afternoon and night…):  When I wake up I reach straight for my coffee cup and nothing makes me look forward to a morning more than that first sip.  And trust me, I’m not going to get rid of that pleasure anytime soon – but what I will do, is drink a full glass of water before I do anything else.  I’m also making it a goal to replace nothing with water.  I tend to make it through a whole day without a sip of anything except my coffee in the morning. So I will replace that drinking nothing, with drinking more water.

Nutrition:  I’ve always said that I eat a pretty healthy and balanced diet.  That being said, I don’t really feel the need to eliminate any particular food.  But what I will try to do is eliminate even more of the processed foods and try for more whole-food, homemade, etc.  Homemade desserts (I’m lookin at you apples), homemade bread (best way to control the dairy and egg consumption in store bought breads is to make.your.own.), MORE GRAINS.  I don’t eat enough whole grains (perhaps I should start labeling the jars so I know what is what…) and I’m going to try to have some every day.  Mmmm. 

So that’s my plan for a self-moderated detox this fall.  But in the spirit of traditional detox (because they tend to be for a set amount of time and a little more stringent).  I’ve set the following two goals for myself starting tomorrow for a full week:

  1.  Find time to do yoga or meditate for a few minutes each night – this will help detox any negative thoughts or stress I have lingering around.  One of my favorite yoga poses is a seated twist, so I know what I’ll be starting with tomorrow!
  2. Whole grains each day, ideally for breakfast – if I’m honest with myself, this probably won’t happen, at least for breakfast each day.  But I’d like to prepare a dish of whole grains with some greens to start my morning with (maybe with some beets or sweet potatoes?) yumm and at the very least gobble down at lunch or with dinner.

Two may sound wimpy, but I know me – and I know these won’t be easy to accomplish.  Does anyone else have some detox goals to start off the fall with??

Xo

PS:  If you’re looking for a way to get in a real fall detox Savory Simple has a giveaway going on to help make that happen.  Check it out!

Intentions vs reality

September 13, 2012

Last night, I had every intention to pack up my mat, throw on my yoga pants and Namaste my way through Wednesday night’s Yoga class.  I didn’t go.  This morning I had every intention to wake up early and head to a new (to me) gym class first thing before work.  I didn’t go. 

Part of me still feels a little guilty about not following through with my intentions last night and today, but the other part of me has decided that it’s a ridiculous way to feel.   No matter what way I spun it last night, I just was not in the mood to go to yoga.  And that’s ok.  This morning I made it as far as being out of bed at 5, reaching for my pile of gym clothes before realizing it wasn’t gonna happen and I even ended up giving myself a few extra minutes in bed past my 2nd alarm.  And that’s ok too. 

Clearly, I am not in the mental or physical mood to take on intense workouts this week.   So I am opting to listen to those cues, rather than push through them.    Instead of the intensity and sweating of hour long workouts, I’m finding ways to make sure I’m doing something each night, something that feels right for my body.  Tuesday night I ditched my initial plans for a run after work and enjoyed a walk with B through the neighborhood.  Yesterday, instead of forcing myself to an hour long class in the middle of my evening, I let myself relax and read for awhile after dinner.  At some point in the evening, when I was in the mood to, I led myself through some of my favorite poses.  So yes, I do feel guilty about missing the classes.  I like being part of those communities and groups of ladies, especially in my yoga class.  I feel a certain loyalty to them and if I don’t go, my twisted sense of guilt can lead me to think I’ve let them down in some way by not showing up.  The other part of me hates to be labeled as someone who is a quitter and not dedicated.  Slowly but surely, I’m letting those thoughts take up less space in my head.

As for the rest of me?  Clearly my body is saying “slow down” this week.  There’s a serious lack of motivation, energy and general excitement in my day to day activities, so I’m taking care of myself in other ways.

–          Finding other ways to “workout” that match my body’s desired intensity.

–          Drinking more water.  I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of my dragging is a sign of dehydration.  So guzzle up, Hebs!

–          I’m trying to eat more whole foods and green foods.  Green smoothies and salads and lots of veggies throughout.    Sometimes it doesn’t alllllways inspire, but oh well (*cough cough last night’s dinner cough cough*).

–          Take advantage of days like National Chocolate Milkshake day (which was yesterday) with a non-traditional chocolate milkshake, in the form of leftover Chocolate PB Green Smoothies for this morning’s breakfast.  Heavy on the spinach and light on the ice cream/sugar let me have my chocolate shake, in a healthier way. 

Yummy!

(In the shake: atleast 2 cups of spinach (!!), 1 frozen banana, a carrot, flax seed, maca root powder, Chocolate PB2, almond milk.  BLEND and enjoy ;))

One thing I haven’t let myself do is take a day off.  My mind is screaming for a day off to just recollect my thoughts, recenter, refocus, reorganize, regain some control (that hasn’t actually been lost).  But I also know that I’ve been traveling and visiting and basically been out of town for the past 3-4 weekends in a row.  I love visiting friends and family, but sometimes those weekends of being at home with nothing to do are so crucial for mentally and physically preparing yourself for the next few weeks.    This weekend I get to do that for the first time in what seems like for-ev-var.  I have big plans for enjoying my coffee from a real mug at my dining room table and NOT on my way to work from a travel mug, reading, cooking and apple picking!!! Getting outside in this beautiful early Fall weather with friends is something I’m really looking forward to. 

I have mental plans to go to the gym tonight and tomorrow morning’s Body pump class.  No promises though, but its on the list.  😉

xo