Work trips + guest post

I’m officially on day 2 of the new gig and I’m coming to you from Chapel Hill North Carolina. Apparently starting a new job wasn’t enough…instead, my boss wanted me to start it in NC during a 3 day offsite with people I’d never met before. While I was totally freaking out Sunday night, I’ve made it through the travel and the awkwardness of meeting everyone so hopefully the next 2 days will be smooth sailing.

I can’t wait to get home and chat more about staying healthy while traveling but for now it’s off to a meeting.

I’ll leave you with 2 things.

This is what my morning looked like: 4 miles on the hotel treadmill (PS 5:30 AM EST = 2:30 AM PST).

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And if you really miss me you can head on over to Healthy Living Blogs where I’m guest posting today.

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Hot Dog

Someone is hot.

And he’s kind of been driving my crazy since we got home.  It was about 90 F so it was too hot to walk him after work which made him extra wild (this dog knows when it’s time for his walk and for food) and he ended up running around through the house/deck…panting around.  He just finally settled down.  I mean, who can blame him?  I certainly wouldn’t want to be wearing a fur coat in weather like this.

And because it was this hot out you would think I would have been extra good about staying hydrated?  Um no.  I did good and drank 32 oz of water first thing when I woke up but that was it.  No more water until around 2 which is not normal for me.  I always drink another big jar before I work out but work was so crazy this morning that it didn’t happen.  And I paid for it.  I was so thirsty when I got done with cardio that I wanted to drink the water in my shower.  Gross.  Not my finest moment.  But in case you were wondering, I made up for it and so far I’ve had at least 150 oz today!

Remember, it’s not too late to join the #hydrateinjuly challenge.  Read about it here.

For dinner, we had one of my favorite summer dishes – Strawberry salad with Cajun chicken with lettuce from our yard.  So good!

Oh and jumping back to my workout…I’m already sore.  Not sure if it’s because it was my 1st time in a gym since last Tuesday or it pilates was just extra hard… After an hour on the reformer I decided to get a little sweaty and did 25 minutes on the elliptical, primarily at resistance level 10.  The I jumped onto the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes.  4.0 speed and starting at incline 5, increased the incline by 1 until I got to incline 15 and then gradually dropped back down.

Tomorrow is going to be a bike in the morning kind of day and leftover-from-4th-of-July burgers kind of night.  I think we’re going to hit up a movie after that to beat the heat.  I believe we’ll be seeing Ted.  Has anyone else seen it?

Oh and a couple of Monday tidbits to pass along…

  • Head over to Healthy Living Blogs and read their Monday announcements.  Lots of good challenges & contests going on.
  • There’s an article on bodybuilding.com about 15 incredible bodies you must see.  I went to college with #15. Go Rachel! Talk about some motivation to get your booty to the gym :)
  • And last but not least, scientists have created a healthy pizza that you could eat 3 times a day.  Um, sign me up.

Hope you all had a great start to your week.  Anyone taking their workouts outside?

 

 

 

Fitspiration Friday

I found this on Pinterest and want to apologize to whoever created it because as much as I linked around I couldn’t find the original source. I’d also like to tell that person “nice work” because I love the message.  If something is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

Whether it’s losing those last few pounds, traveling to a far away destination, buying a house, finding a new job or just going to the gym in the morning…if it’s important, and if you really put your mind to it, you can make it happen.  Does it mean you might have to make sacrifices?  Give up desserts? Spend less money?  Work your butt off?  And that at times, things could suck and you could be totally frustrated?  You bet.

If losing weight/becoming a millionaire/traveling the world was easy we’d all be doing it.  And for the most part, coming up with an excuse for something you don’t really want to do it always easier than just sucking it up and doing it.

I truly believe it’s mind over matter so if you really want something, go for it.  Put your mind to it, work hard, make sacrifices and get after it.

Pilates Demystified

Pilates on the reformer is my absolute favorite type of exercise to do and as long as you combine it with cardio you don’t have to do much else to stay long, lean and toned. Seriously.  I’m not pulling your leg.  It’s an amazing workout, especially for your core.  You want good abs, do pilates.

I’ve been going to classes pretty religiously at least twice a week for the past couple of years and I met Mandee during a noon session about 2 years ago.  You always chat it up with people in class and we hit it off, talking about pilates obviously but also that we were both runners, doing Hood To Coast, blogged…you know.  Important stuff.  And just recently, Mandee did something that totally inspired me – she  became a certified pilates instructor!  I’m so proud of her :)  I mean, talk about chasing your dreams.  And because I do my best to be motivating on this little blog, I wanted to bring in someone who motivates me and so I asked her to come share her story.  Read what she has to say below and then follow along with her on her site, You Say It Best. You can also find her on Twitter.

And with that, take it away Mandee…

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I’d like to tell you about an exercise that changed my life and my body. Right after college I started working for a large sports company, where everyone seems to be fitter than fit. There are several sports facilities on campus and it seemed like everyone was always working out—and not just working out, but hard-core working out. Since I had just come out of THE most unhealthy year of my life—think binge drinking, late night snacking, 4th meal and way too many ‘study snacks’ I felt like I did not fit in. I still remember one of my first time’s in the gym here. A co-worker invited me to go to spin class with her on lunch hour. I had still been working out despite my lifestyle, so I was able to keep up in spin. But afterward, we showered and started getting ready together, I remember looking in the mirror while getting dressed and noticing how lumpy and pudgy I had gotten! Something needed to change—all of these women in the dressing room looked amazing and I did not fit in. What was their secret? If it was the intense work-outs, count me out. I cannot do a Jillian style workout 7 days a week, and those are the main types of classes that are offered in this gym. It took me a while to find what worked, when a few months later I discovered reformer Pilates and it quickly changed my life and my body!

What is Pilates? Pilates is a series of exercises created by Joseph Pilates. The exercises were created with the intention to strengthen the human body and mind. They have an emphasis on a strong core, so many of the exercises will be abdominal related. The most popular type is Mat Pilates with a close second of Reformer Pilates. Whit asked me to clear up some of the questions people have (what exactly is a Pilates reformer?) so here goes.

Pilates began as a Mat routine but many of the initial clients Joseph had were sickly and in the hospital, so he began to make apparatuses to assist in the exercises out of things like mattress springs. Hence, the reformer is born.

The reformer uses springs to give resistance to the exercises. Many of them are the same as the Mat routine, but there are many more exercises you can do on the reformer that are unique due to the opportunity to add resistance and further stretch your body. For me, the reformer was the key to getting toned. I NEVER lift weights, but do Reformer Pilates twice a week. My triceps are defined and I have plenty of muscles in my legs, not to mention my core strength is pretty great. There is a huge variety of exercises you can do on the reformer and the straps and springs help lengthen and stretch as you exercise. There are also several other types of equipment such as the Chair, Barrels and Cadillac, but I won’t overwhelm you with those just yet.

Concentration is super important with Pilates. This is not one of those exercises where you can zone out and go through the motions—you must pay attention to the muscles that are working and make sure you are engaging the correct muscles, as well as always engaging your pelvic floor muscle. (read—the muscle you contract if you were to stop peeing mid flow). This muscles works together with the transverse abdominis to give you the abs you are looking for!

The combination of pretty intense cardio (running for me, spin or intervals for others) Pilates and a healthy diet is what I think is the winning combo to a fit lifestyle and body. I don’t believe you can ONLY do Pilates and have the results you want—you need to add some cardio in there as well. After 3 years of doing Pilates on the Mat & Reformer, and one year spent intensely studying to become a certified Instructor, here are my top 5 Benefits…

To be continued tomorrow :)

And it was just getting good right?  Trust me, you’ll want to come back to hear more of what Mandee has to say.  The girl knows her stuff and has the body to prove it.

If you have more questions, feel free to email Mandee at pilateswithmandee@gmail.com. She offers private Mat Pilates in your home or hers, and group classes in SW Portland on a beautiful rooftop terrace with 360 views of Portland!

Snacking on Strawberries

I bought Bob Harper’s, The Skinny Rules over the weekend and while I’ll admit that I haven’t really read it yet, I did skim the table of contents to see what all the rules were.  Overall, there was nothing super surprising in the book.  Just good common sense with helpful ways to actually do them.  I’ll try and talk about all the variety of rules as I get further along in the book but here are a couple that I’ll talk about today:

  • Eat apples and berries every single day
  • Eat 30-50 grams of fiber every day
  • Eat protein with every single meal

I actually try to do these 3 things every day anyway.  I have blueberries every morning in my smoothie, make sure I eat things high in fiber (whole wheat pasta, apples) and thanks to Chris, never eat a meal without protein (he’s a firm believer in eating protein to keep you full).  However, as I was looking at Bob’s list of high-fiber foods, I was surprised that strawberries are at the top of the list.  He says that 1/2 cup of strawberries have 9 grams of fiber!  That’s a lot!  And so I was thinking, “hmmm, how could I combine those 3 rules into 1 healthy snack?”  Oh wait, I know.  Strawberries and greek yogurt for my mid-morning snack.  So I chopped up a bunch of strawberries and plan on taking them to work and mixing them in with non-fat, plain greek yogurt.  An under 200 calorie snack with 15+ grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.  Pretty good, don’t you think?

Oh and this has nothing to do with strawberries but more to do with fiber…Bob included this protein/fiber/meal replacement drink. I haven’t made it yet but definitely will be trying it out. You know how I love my smoothies.

Bob Harper’s Mean, Green Drink Meal Replacement

  • 2 tablespoons protein powder
  • 1 cup chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 20 ounces water

Directions: Blend everything up in a blender.  Enjoy
14g fiber, 340 calories.

Thoughts on Bob’s rules?  Makes total sense.  Good antioxidants and fiber in the fruit plus protein to keep you full.  No brainier if you ask me.  Sometimes it just has to be spelled out in plain English to make you actually do it.

Has anyone else read The Skinny Rules?

Weight of the nation

Hi, happy Monday.  Just wanted to remind everyone that tonight at 8 on HBO is the 1st part (I believe there are 4) of the documentary series, The Weight Of The Nation. It’s all about our nation’s obesity crisis and how we can fight back.  I had Chris set the DVR this morning so we’d make sure to catch it.  I’m super excited.  Here’s the trailer:

It’s super warm here again today, should be pushing 90F.  I wanted to get out on a run during the day but I have a meeting at 11:30 which means if I wanted to run, it would have to be after that and it would be approximately 1 million degrees out.  Not quite ready for that.  Instead, I’m going to do pilates reformer and probably some cardio on the bike.  After work today we’re heading to Home Depot to get some sandpaper so Chris can work on his deck sanding project while I will be out weeding the front part of our lawn in an area I refer to as the “mini tree forest.”  I have no idea what these things are but they’re seriously like small trees that grow off the roots of two of our other trees.  I hate them. Maybe when the homeowners before us planted the trees they were excited about the prospect of a small army of saplings but not me.  I’ll take a few photos and see if anyone can identify what we have going on and the best way to handle the tree forest in the future.

For dinner we’re doing BBQ chicken breasts (with Rudy’s BBQ sauce Chris brought home from Texas!), grilled asparagus and Annie’s white cheddar mac & cheese.  seriously one of my favorite summer dinners.  Can’t wait.

Hope you all are having a great Monday so far.  Check out this pic The Fitnessista posted on Facebook this weekend.  Love it.  Great motivation to start the week.

Easy ways to add in exercise + guest posting on a new site

I’ve been part of the blogosphere for a while as a reader and only a couple of months as a writer but I’ve always been intrigued when I meet guest bloggers on my regularly read blogs.  I love getting new perspective and finding new places to visit.  So I was nothing short of thrilled when I found out about a site called The Indie Chicks... An online magazine for passionate, ambitious women craving inspiration, motivation and a community of like-minded chicks?  And they wanted me to write for them.  Seriously, sign me up.  Their site launched yesterday and you should definitely go check it out.  Plus, you can find me there :)  Nothing bad with a little self promotion right?

5 easy ways to sneak in exercise…

And for anyone coming here from The Indie Chicks, welcome!  Glad you found me.  I love new friends.  You can read more about me here.

By the way, my post couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.  Not only did I spend a weekend enjoying myself, and will be heading to Mexico in 22 days but I’m also spending the next 5 working days at a photo shoot.  Days like these make me realize how cool my job is.  I get to hang out with models, photographers, stylists… but I’ll also be in a studio all day – no lunchtime access to the gym and I’ll be surrounded with tons of treats and temptations.  I’m serious.  Doughnuts, muffins, candy, trail mix, cookies… I have a hard time avoiding everything for one day in the studio.  Five is going to take all the will power I can muster.  Wish me luck.

And because I’m not able to get my lunchtime workout in, I planned on getting up this morning and riding the spin bike but somebody (ok, me) stayed up too late last night watching TV… The Biggest Loser finale was on and while I’m super bummed Kim didn’t win I’m glad Jeremy took it over Condo.  And then after that we decided to watch a DVR’d episode of CSI Miami (Horatio is such a stud).  Instead, I’m planning to do a Jillian and 20 minutes worth of spinning when I get home.  I’m super excited because I’m having brussels sprouts with dinner tonight and those things take a while to roast so I figure I’ll get a little sweat session on and then have a healthy dinner (we’re doing stir-fry as well).

Oh and by the way, yesterday I did my best workout of the week, minus the frog kicks and crunches and it was still a killer but I’m thinking the frog kicks really pushed things over the edge because I’m not quite as sore as I was last week.  There’s always tomorrow though so you never know.

Ok that’s it.  Off to the shoot.  Have a good Wednesday and let me know what you think of The Indie Chicks. There’s a lot more fashion/lifestyle content than I find on my usual blogs and that’s not my area of expertise so hopefully I can learn some things.

Best workout of the week

I can’t wait for the hours to tick away today.  Sunday is my birthday and this afternoon we’re heading to the coast for a weekend of all my favorite things.  Tonight we’ll be enjoying my favorite pizza in the entire world, tomorrow we’ll be going to my favorite brewery for one of my favorite beers.  Tomorrow night we’ll be eating Mexican and drinking large marges, my favorite drink, and Sunday we’ll (hopefully) be grabbing breakfast at my favorite bakery and ending the night at one of my favorite restaurants.  And the best part?  We’re doing it all with some of my favorite people.  PS I may have just set the record for the number of times I could write favorite in a paragraph :)

Needless to say, I’m excited and want to get this show on the road.  But first, a recap:

Yesterday was by far my best workout of the week.  I did this legs circuit but before that I did 30 min of interval sprints on the treadmill that looked a little like this:

  • Min 1-3: walking warmup levels 3.5 – 4
  • Min 3-6: sprint at 7
  • Min 6-7: walk at 4
  • Min 7-9: sprint at 7.5
  • Min 9-10: walk at 4
  • Min 10-12: sprint at 8
  • Min 12-13: walk at 4
  • Min 13-15: sprint at 8
  • Min 15-16: walk at 4
  • Min 16-18: sprint at 8.5
  • Min 18-19: walk at 4
  • Min 19-20: sprint at 9
  • Min 20-21: walk at 4
  • Min 21-22: sprint at 9.2
  • Min 22-23: walk at 4
  • Min 23-24: sprint at 9.4
  • Min 24-25: walk at 4
  • Min 25-26: sprint at 9.6
  • Min 26-27: walk at 4
  • Min 27-28: sprint at 9.8
  • Min 28-29: walk at 4
  • Min 29-30: sprint at 10

And after the intervals and leg circuit I did 5 sets of 25 crunches alternating with 25 frog kicks all on the swiss ball. And then I stretched and hobbled out of the gym.  My legs are definitely feeling it today after all of this week’s crazy leg toning.

Last night for dinner was a re-run of a new favorite – almond crusted chicken and sweet potato fries. This time I used less olive oil on the fries and did a salad instead of asparagus.  So good.  Especially because our salad came directly from my backyard raised bed to our plates.  Talk about farm to fork.   Now I just need to grow some sweet potatoes (Chris has vetoed the chickens).

I’m heading to Zumba later this morning to get a good calorie burning sweat session in before I cram my face full of pizza tonight.  I hope you all are having a great Friday and are getting excited for the weekend.

Oh and wanted to pass along this documentary I read about yesterday.  It’s going to be on HBO May 14th.  It’s called Weight of the Nation and I guess it’s all about our nation’s obesity crisis.  I’ll be watching for sure.  Let me know if anyone else plans on checking it out.

Does sugar cause cancer?

Not to bombard you with posts today but I just read this article and had to share.   Is Sugar Toxic? – NYTimes.com.

Pretty long but basically calls out some serious research that has been done linking sugar to cancer.  Both sucrose (beet and cane sugar whether white or brown) and high fructose corn syrup.  I’m not a scientist and this is a little techy for me (feel free to chime in if you think I get any of this wrong) but basically it sounds like (in some animal testing) if fructose (what sugar is) hits the liver with enough quantity and speed, the liver will convert much of it to fat.

This creates a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered to be the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals.  It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers.

It also sounds like past research has not raised any big red flags because the average added sugar consumption was estimated to be at 40 pounds per person per year (beyond what you get in fruit and veggies) or 200 calories per day of sugar. However by the early 2000s, according to the U.S.D.A., we had increased our consumption to more than 90 pounds per person per year.

The article goes into detail around insulin resistance, diabetes, our current obesity epidemic, along with calling out other things sugar does to you including raising blood levels of triglycerides (which is a technical term for fat), increasing cholesterol, and causing heart disease.

I’ve known about all of the above (but was definitely a good reminder) but the most interesting thing to me was the potential link to cancer.

Going back to insulin resistance and that people with it are more likely to be obese and diabetic…

The connection between obesity, diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.  It is not controversial.  What it means is that you are more likely to get cancer if you’re obese or diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t

This goes along with two other observations that have led to the well-accepted idea that some large percentage of cancers are caused by our Western diets and lifestyles. This means they could actually be prevented if we could pinpoint exactly what the problem is and prevent or avoid that.

All of this is still a little over my head and I hope I’m calling out the main points correctly here but from what I can understand researchers now consider that the problem with insulin resistance is that it leads us to secrete more insulin, and insulin (as well as a related hormone known as insulin-like growth factor) actually promotes tumor growth.

So in summary, I believe this article tells me that cancer is caused by the food we eat (I have LONG believed this) and that the more sugar you eat, the more insulin you get and the more insulin you have, the more tumor growth that could happen? And again, there’s way more detail in this article than I’m putting on here.  Read it and understand it for yourself.  I was just trying to call out the parts (I think) I understood.

So what do we do about it?  Eat less sugar.  Which seems obvious but I’ll admit, I love sugar.  I love desserts, I love treats,  I love fruity ciders… Love it all.  And prior to reading this article I was of the mindset that it was clearly bad for me but I didn’t realize the link to cancer. This has been a huge wake-up call for me.  No matter how much I love brownies, I don’t love them enough to get cancer.  Am I saying I’m never going to eat cookies or have a beer?  No.  But I am saying this info is going to make me think a lot longer next time I’m craving something sweet.

You should also check out this video, Sugar: The Bitter Truth.