1st weekend of summer

Summer finally arrived in Portland…just like always, after the 4th of July.  And I’ve had a great time enjoying every moment of it.

I drank lots of water for the #hydrateinjuly challenge.

Enjoyed dinner downtown at Santa Fe with some friends and while we were there, watched the line at Salt & Straw (ice cream shop across the street) grow like crazy.

Did Jillian’s 30 Day Shred levels 1 & 2 and had a hearty breakfast of steel-cut oats with chia seeds, flax, almond butter and a little agave…

Before heading off on a brew cycle tour with approx 13 other people for a friend’s bday.  You ride a giant bike around Portland while stopping in at different breweries.  Awesome.

We also worked in the yard.  And by we I mean mostly Chris.  I helped him shovel some rocks but he turned them into something beautiful and finished off our retaining wall.

I also harvested some crops in my garden…we will be eating salads forever.

And went to the store to pick up some necessities.

This evening, we rode our bikes to Journey’s for a private Keg Killer party (I was good, only 1 mug and one slice of pizza).  Not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud that I have the 2nd highest kills for a girl?

And currently we’re chilling on the deck.  Chris had some fro yo while I opted for my favorite lemonade popsicle.  So good.

And we’re also enjoying a little mini fire thing that my mom bought for us a while ago.  It’s so peaceful and cozy out here I never want to go back in the house.

All in all, an excellent way to kick off summer.  We may not get a lot of it here in Portland but what we do get is spectacular.  And as much as I don’t want to go back to reality, I haven’t worked since Tuesday so it will be nice to get back into the swing of things.  Especially the a consistent gym routine.  Summer is good for my soul but not my waistline :)

Hope you all had a good weekend.  What was your favorite thing you did?  And what’s your go-to popsicle flavor?

 

 

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Peanut Butter Watermelon Smoothie

So yesterday I got a little crazy. We took Chance to happy hour at Sniff (Dogs play for free humans hang at the bar) and before we headed down I made a quick protein shake so I wouldn’t eat all their delicious snacks starve. I’d tossed some watermelon in the freezer earlier in the week and decided to play around with that and ended up mixing in peanut butter and almond milk. I was a little scared about the combo, I mean the potential for grossness was big. But turns out, it was delicious! I made Chris try it (he didn’t know what was in it) and he was like, “hmmm watermelon and peanut butter. Weird but it works.”

And I loved it so much yesterday that I had it again for breakfast while Chris opted for plain peanut butter. You seriously can’t go wrong either way.

Peanut Butter Watermelon Protein Smoothie
Serves 1. Blend everything up. Enjoy.

  • 1 cup frozen seedless watermelon
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used Justin’s Honey PB)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts (leftover from the time I made peanut butter)

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Serves 1. Blend everything up. Enjoy

  • Approx 8 ice cubes
  • Handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

I rounded out breakfast with 2 eggs + Frank’s Hot Sauce and coffee (black with a splash of almond milk).

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing for a workout today. I had a great weight session at the gym yesterday involving a bosu ball, step-ups, squats, tricep dips, single leg raises and tricep extensions and now I’m sore. Thinking some spin-bike cardio or maybe a little Jillian. I haven’t seen her crazy, smiling face in a while…

What are you doing for your workout today?

And in other news. We hosted dinner club at our house on Thursday and I never got around to uploading the pics so let’s take a little trip backwards…

We did taco bar with ground turkey breast, soft/hard shells, lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and beans. Friends brought rice, chips/salsa and the most amazing guacamole I have ever had. But because things were so delicious you only get to see my plate (and yes I put ketchup on my tacos…weird but I’ve done it my whole life).

Does anyone else do this? Or do you have weird food combos you love?

But my favorite part of dinner club was baby John. He’s grown so much since last month’s dinner club. I love his chubby little cheeks.

How cute is he asleep in his momma’s arms?

And I loved that Chance was so good with him. He’s never been around babies and he was super gentle and just wanted to lick him all over.

Alright and now we’re back to the present…Later this afternoon we’re checking out the Organic Brew Fest which is always a good time as long as the rain holds. The forecast calls for a 60% chance of showers so we’ll see.

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?

The jam plan

Do you remember the Friend’s episode where Monica breaks up with Richard and in order to feel better she makes tons and tons of jam?  I think eventually she gives up the jam plan and then decides to just have babies or something along those lines…I miss Friends.  Such a great show.

Anyway, back to the point of my story.  Jam.  I love jam.  And lately I’ve been seeing tons of recipes for chia seed jam and it’s been intriguing me. First, a little review of what chia seeds are…they look like this:

And sometimes come in a package that looks like this.  I typically buy Bob’s Red Mill brand but I couldn’t find them this time.

The benefits of chia seeds are awesome.  They have omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and protein.  I’ve put them in my overnight oats, on peanut butter toast for a little crunch, and in my smoothies (beware they do get in your teeth).  And now I’ve made jam with them. See, once you soak the seeds in liquid they expand and turn sort of jelly like and I’m assuming that quality is what led people to start making jam with them.

I’d seen a couple different recipes floating around but I decided to try out this one from Brittany at Eating Bird Food (mostly because her pics looked amazing). The original recipe is here but I had a few more strawberries than she did so I modified it just a little.

Strawberry Chia Jam (courtesy of Eating Bird Food)

  • 1.5 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1.5 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Agave nectar to taste (you could also use stevia or honey)

Directions:  Mash up the strawberries (I tried using a fork but that took too long so eventually I just tossed them into the blender).  Add chia seeds, water and agave. Cover and store in the fridge for at least an hour.

I poured the jam from the bowl into a mason jar before storing in the fridge.  I mean, jam just belongs in a mason jar.  I really had no choice.

And then later I broke it out for a taste test.  I topped a plain rice cake with Justin’s Honey PB and then added the jam.  Verdict?  Winner!  Honestly it tasted like regular strawberry jam and I felt really good knowing there was nothing funky or artificial in it.

In fact, the jam was so good even Chance wanted some.

Well actually he probably wanted the PB but I’m sure he would have enjoyed the jam.

And in other non-jam news, I’m working from home today and even though I wanted to just sit around and watch the Today Show, I hopped on the spin bike for some sweaty cardio.  I rode for 30 minutes at a moderate resistance (while watching the final segment of the Weight of the Nation documentary) and then 15 minutes of intervals – 1 minute recovery, 30 seconds out of the saddle with hard resistance.

And then I ate this for breakfast…blueberry protein smoothie, an egg pouf with hot sauce (2 eggs microwaved for 1:30) and some coffee with almond milk.  Breakfast of champions I tell you.

And I’m out.  Off to get some work done before we go camping.  Normally I would be super excited except that in typical Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather forecast is calling for nonstop showers which ironically doesn’t phase me all that much since the last 3 times we’ve camped it’s been in the rain. Luckily I’ve got some rain pants.

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?  What are your thoughts on rain camping?  Would you still go or bag it?

Oh and I also wanted to pass this along.  The Fitnessista, my all-time favorite blogger was picked as one of the top 10 online fitness influencers.  How freaking cool is that?  She’s the one who inspired me to start blogging and start experimenting more with foods.  Love her.  And of course my fave lady ever, Jillian, took home the #1 spot – freaking rockstar.

What do you guys think about this list?  Are you influenced by anyone on there?

 

 

 

 

Strawberry oatmeal + little black dress prep

Tonight is the wedding of two very awesome people and I can’t wait to celebrate. It also concludes what we’ve been referring to as the “wedding gauntlet” (3 weddings in 3 weekends) and I’m going to be really happy when they’re all over.  I’ve absolutely loved celebrating the biggest moment in my friend’s lives but it will also be really nice to get back into a normal routine again.

Speaking of routines, on days where I’ll be wearing a dress I always try to work out the part of my body that’s getting featured.  Typically I wear strap-less dresses to special events.  My upper body and arms are my favorite part of me and I enjoy showing them off.  But today, I’m going a little crazy and my little black dress will be showing off my legs.  I’m actually pretty nervous about my outfit but Chris (and my mom who helped me pick out the dress) gave me approvals.  I think in general I’m just really self-conscious about my legs.  I’m knock-kneed which is annoying plus no matter how hard I try I have never been able to get those awesome quad and hamstring defining lines.  Life problems I tell ya…hahah. To help me feel a little better about them, I’m going to do levels 1 & 2 of Jillian Michael’s Killer Buns & Thighs and then 20 min of intervals on the spin bike.  I have no clue if it makes a difference or not but I feel like working out a specific body part the day you have to show them off makes them look better.  We shall see…

And because I know I’ve got a long wine/beer/champagne drinking night ahead of me, I’m making sure to fill up on healthy, hearty foods.  For breakfast I had a blueberry smoothie (in the car while we dropped one of the bridesmaids off downtown to get her hair done) and some strawberry oatmeal once we got back home.  And then for lunch I’ll be having some black bean, sweet potato and quoinoa salad.

Strawberry oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 6-8 chopped strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Bring water to boil, add oats and turn to low.  Simmer for approx 10-15 minutes.  Add strawberries and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.  The longer you simmer the oats the softer they’ll be.  Mix in honey and coconut oil. Enjoy.

And that, my friends, is all I have for you today.  What fun and exciting things do you have going on?  Does anyone else out there have tips/tricks  or a special routine they follow before a special event?

Bring on the heat

Apparently mother nature has decided to reward us for suffering through a crappy summer last year by giving us a bonus stint of sunshine. Seriously. It’s 80+ right now and it feels fantastic!

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Currently I’m lounging in an adirondack, sipping on a frappuccino (homemade version….more to come on that at another time) and contemplating cracking open the Hunger Games as I’m sure I’m the last person on earth who hasn’t read it. Later I’m heading to a BBQ.

And if we were to rewind my day, it would go a little something like this:

7am wakeup call from a hungry dog, small amount of reality TV watching, 2 rounds from Jillian Michael’s DVDs (level 4 of Ripped in 30 + level 2 of whatever the glutes/legs one…why can’t I remember the name if it?). Those were followed by an easy 30 min spin ride and breakfast of a protein shake, English muffin with PB & honey and a big mug of coffee (consumed while watching Thursday’s DVRd Grey’s Anatomy).

After all of that I cleaned the kitchen, planned out meals for the week, went to the grocery store and made a batch of protein bars.

And that takes me right back to here. In the sunshine. Loving life. Hope you’re doing the same.

No resting at the gym

Yesterday at the gym I saw 6 different people on the elliptical resting their arms during their workout.  6.  6 people.  Including a guy.  That’s crazy to me.  I get that some days you’re going to hop on a bike or elliptical with a trashy gossip magazine and leisurely pedal your way through 30 minutes of easy cardio but I just don’t believe that all 6 of these people were having that type of day.  I think these people we just phoning it in (Jillian Michaels’ term)  a little bit and not giving it all their all.  When you’re doing your cardio, do your cardio.  Work up a sweat.  Move your arms!  Do not rest them on the sides of the machine.  You’ll raise your heart rate and burn more calories.  And while we’re on the topic of cardio, please add some resistance.  It’s great if you’re pumping your arms and moving your legs but you need some resistance on there to make a difference.  Plus it will help you build muscle.  And that’s good.

Now that I’m done ranting, here’s what I did at the gym:

20 minute warm-up on the rowing machine
Leg Extension: 50 lbs. 3 sets of 20 reps
Leg/Chest circuit 3 times through:

  • Deadlifts – 50 lbs.  15 reps
  • Squats – 50 lbs.  15 reps
  • Squats with leg lift – 15 on each side
  • Chest flies (lying on a weight bench) – 15 lbs. 12 reps.
  • Chest press (lying on a weight bench) – 15 bs.  12 reps
  • Step ups – 20 on each leg

Tricep extension – 25lbs.  3 sets of 12.
Leg press: 160 lbs.  3 sets of 12.
20 minutes on the elliptical.  Alternating minutes of level 7 (slower) and level 4 (quick).

I got home and we had a quick protein smoothie to hold us over until dinner.

Banana Strawberry Protein smoothie (serves 2)
Blend everything and enjoy.

  • 1/2 cup frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 4 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use vitacost whey)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup non-fat organic milk

After smoothies, we headed to the driving range where I realized that all of my golf lessons from last year have been forgotten.  I was pretty bad.  More than 50% of the time I swung a club and didn’t hit a ball.  But it was still fun.  I’m going to go back this weekend.

And then after golf we headed into the village and hit up Lucky Lab where I only ate one slice of pizza.  That’s big.  I never eat just one slice.  Go me.  And then we headed to Journeys.  1st time there in 2 weeks!  I had two glasses of Rose and then we headed home.

Talk about no rest!  I was go go going until 10pm.  Sheesh.  Things are almost back to normal today.  Longer than normal morning meeting but I’m going to try to get to pilates at 1:15.  Can’t wait.

Question for you – when you’re at the gym, are you guilty of not giving your all?  Do you rest your arms on the elliptical?  Or veg out and watch TV?

 

Mind over matter

That’s what Jillian told me this morning, “mind over matter.”  She said this to me as I was doing her 30 Day Shred.  The ENTIRE DVD.  That would be all 3 levels in descending order.  See normally, you’re supposed to do 1 level for a good 20 minute workout but I wanted to kick my butt so I did them all.  Am I a crazy woman?  Maybe so.  Am I going to be sore tomorrow?  You bet.

See, I just haven’t felt like I have it together this week.  Last weekend I enjoyed myself and didn’t worry about food or fitness.  And normally I’d get everything back in order during the week – eat good, work-out etc.  But this week has been super random.  I went out with some friends for a belated bday celebration Tuesday (had Mexican food and drinks) and then the rest of the week has been spent at the photo studio, totally throwing off my normal schedule.  I’ve had to squeeze workouts in at random times and I haven’t been able to push myself as much as I normally like to.  Add that to a table full of sweet temptations at the studio (which I’ve enjoyed) and larger than normal lunches and I just feel like of blah.

I did manage to eat a pretty healthy dinner last night though.  Left-over stir fry with some kale chips.  I’d made kale chips once before and they were kind of a fail but last night I followed a recipe from Kath Eats Real Food and they were fantastic.  Highly recommend them.  I actually ended up eating my whole bunch of kale so I’m going to need to pick some more up this weekend.

Kale Chips (Recipe from Kath Eats)

  • Preheat oven to about 375
  • Use about 1 OXO salad spinner’s worth of kale (which was a stuffed grocery store veggie bag). Tear the leaves off the thick stems into bite size pieces. Spread out on cookie sheets.
  • Drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago or your seasonings of choice. Plus a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Note – I added some cayanne.  I like my food spicy!
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.

After dinner, my random schedule continued when I went over to my friend’s house to drop off some dinner and visit with the most adorable 1 month old ever.  Can I just say that baby John is so cute???  Chris and I aren’t quite ready for kids but after holding this little guy for almost 2 hours the idea is certainly a little more tempting.  He just smelled so good and when he was all cuddled up, sleeping in my arms… kind of blissful :) Not to mention I was able to enjoy a mason jar of beer while holding him.  Multi-tasking at it’s finest.  I also learned some lessons from the new parents – apparently the Happiest Baby on the Block is the method to follow if you have a crying baby.  Good to know for the future.

When I got home, it was around 8:30 and I still hadn’t gotten a workout in and I was dying.  Just feeling a little gross.  So I hopped on the spin bike and rode for an hour while watching TV.  I’ll admit, not the hardest workout but I did get my heart rate up and worked up a sweat.  And I felt better doing something.  Plus Chance kept me company :)

And even though it was pushing 10pm when I finished, I made myself a protein shake.  Mostly because I wanted something sweet as opposed actually needing the protein.

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Shake:

  • 1 cup frozen dark pitted cherries
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar-free/fat-free instant cheesecake pudding mix

And then as I was crawling into bed later I told myself I was going to get up in the morning and work-out.  The shoot was probably going to go long and then I had plans to meet up with friends later so I knew that getting a workout in was going to be challenging.  Plus, at least for me, I tend to make better food choices if I know I’ve already worked out.  For example, I’m much less likely to snack on peanut M&Ms when I know I can’t work them off.  Make sense?  Yesterday for example, I kept telling myself, “I’ll workout after work and work off all of this that I’m eating.”  Basically erasing the calories I’ve consumed.  But with working out at the beginning of the morning, I won’t have the chance to erase things and I’m more motivated to keep my diet clean.

But when my alarm when off at 5 am I was just not feeling it.  I seriously laid in bed, hitting the snooze for almost 45 minutes trying to talk myself into getting up.  I kept rationalizing why it would be okay to skip my morning workout…I’ll eat good, ride the spin bike after work, skip drinks with my friend.  And finally at around 5:45 I just got up and MADE myself but on my training shoes.  And I’ll be honest.  It sucked at first.  I was cold and tired and Jillian was yelling around.  Ug.  But then something happened.  By the time I was halfway through the 1st level I had found my groove.  The cobwebs were gone, the workout endorphins were starting to kick in and I was so glad I’d made myself get up.  Mind over matter.  Jillian was right.  No excuses.  Just do it.  Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get out of that bed and work up a sweat.  You’ll thank yourself later, because I honestly can’t think of a time where you’d regret it.  And then because I was enjoying (is that the right word hahah?) I made myself do all 3 levels starting with 3 and going backwards.  I’ve only done that one other time and all I remember is being super sore the next day so I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll wake up to tomorrow.  But it will be worth it.

Allrighty, this has turned into the longest post ever and if anyone has made it this far, nice work!   Hopefully you all have some fun plans for the weekend…Until tomorrow :)

Thank you Jillian

So Tuesday night I did Jillian Michaels’ killer buns and thighs.  I’ve done that DVD a couple of times, usually level 1 so I switched it up and tried level 2.  It was definitely harder – hello 1 legged squats! and then there were a couple lunge combos I couldn’t do because of my knees so I did some squat leg lifts instead.  I finished the DVD, went about my business and thought I would be ok.  And I was until halfway through the day yesterday when I got up from my desk and could barely walk.  My buns were on fire!  It was like all the sudden that entire workout hit me.  I hobbled to the gym and struggled doing any sort of leg workout because mine were so tight.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love it when I feel sore after a workout, I just didn’t expect to be that sore after that DVD.  I was pretty jazzed. I love a good leg workout so I’m going to add that DVD to my regular mix and make sure I do at least level 2, maybe 3 if I’m feeling crazy.  If you haven’t done any of Jillian’s workout DVDs I highly recommend them.  I honestly think that if I didn’t have access to a gym I could do a couple of her DVDs a day and be in the same or better shape then I am now.  Plus they’re only around $10 a pop which is always nice.

Because my legs were on fire, yesterday’s workout was a little random.  I warmed up with 15 min on the rowing machine and then worked my way through some machines.  I was planning on doing chest/triceps but I was having so much fun on the machines that I ended up doing an overall upper body workout.

3 sets of 12 reps at a challenging weight

  • Bench Press
  • Incline bench press
  • Seated chest fly
  • Lateral raise
  • Tricep pull down
  • Lat pull down

And then I headed into the small studio to attempt some jump roping.  After what felt like a million years looking at all the ropes to try to figure out which one would work for me, I took one jump and realized the ceiling was too low  – Doh!  So that didn’t work.  The other studio has a higher ceiling so maybe one day I’ll head over there.

Instead, I jumped rope without a rope.  I alternated about a minute of “jump roping” with a minute of abs.  I ran though of couple of my favorites from here.  I did that whole thing about 5 times.  I ended with some planks and stretching and called it a day.

In the eats department, my breakfast yesterday was a smoothie with spinach from our yard.  It was the standard PB/blueberry recipe (1 cup blueberries, 2 cups spinach, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup peanut flour, 1 cup greek yogurt) but I felt like it just tasted better because the veggies were grown by me.

My pre-workout snack was cold coconut oatmeal minus the honey.  The other day I’d made oatmeal with the intention of warming it up later but didn’t have time and just ate it cold.  Turns out I love it!  Who knew?  I want to play around with the recipe and try adding in some protein powder or something to see if I can bulk it up a little bit better.  I’m excited about the prospect of this though.  I really haven’t been able to get into the whole “overnight oats” craze but apparently I’m all over cooked oatmeal cold.

Lunch was another protein smoothie…I didn’t take a picture or write down the recipe.  Sorry.  And dinner was leftover pizza and a salad.  So freaking good.

I went to the gym this morning and seriously kicked my butt.  It was by far my best workout of the week and if I thought my buns were sore before, I can only imagine the pain I’ll be in tomorrow. But alas work calls so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the recap :)

Question for today – Is anyone else out there a fan of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs?  Are there any other great at home work-outs I should be trying?

Have a great Thursday.  You only have one more day until Friday.

Homemade pizza & The Biggest Loser

Ready for the oven

Is there any irony in the fact that our dinner last night was homemade pizza and yet right afterwards we watched Biggest Loser – a show where people are trying to lose weight and change their lives?  I’m glad Bob Harper was in my TV screen and not in my living room.  (Although I did get a little visit from Jillian last night when I did level 2 of killer buns and thighs after work).

And because we try to eat veggies around this house we ate a salad before we dug into our pie.  I have so much lettuce growing in the back yard right now that I can barely keep up.  We’re having salads with every meal this week so we don’t waste anything.

My crops

Side salad

Chris’ homemade pizza:

Pre-heat oven to 500F with pizza stone inside.

For the sauce: Simmer all of the below for about 20 minutes.  This makes a tons so we usually save a couple servings in sandwich baggies in the freezer.

  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
  • Minced garlic – to taste
  • Italian seasoning – to taste

For the crust, you’ll need a store-bought whole wheat crust (we’ve made our own before and it just takes too much time), olive oil, corn meal and granulated garlic. Liberally sprinkle corn meal on a pizza board and knead/roll-out crust on top.  Rub crust with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic, cover with sauce.  Add cheese and toppings. We make ours with turkey pepperoni.  Delish.

Bake for 12 min.  Remove, let cool and cut into slices.

YUM

The Biggest Loser definitely got me choked up. It was the final episode before the finale and while I think this season was full of way too much drama at the beginning it got great in the end and once again proved to be such an inspirational show.  I can’t wait for next week and am hoping Kim takes it all.  She’s so awesome. Look at her:

Then (Source)

Now (source)

 

Update – Stretch for 7 challenge

So Bess, over at Bess be Fit is hosting the stretch for 7 challenge. Basically for 7 days you’re challenged to stretch for at least 20 minutes.  I am bad at stretching.  I always sort of half-ass it after a workout and while I always stretch a little bit before a run it’s not as good as should be.  And what I’ve found through my physical therapy is that my lack of flexibility is a huge reason why I’m having knee issues.    My hips are apparently super tight and that is bad because tight hips make my knees roll in even more than they do naturally so it’s just compounding the problem and putting a ton of pressure on my knees.  So my homework has been stretching.  Every day.  And most of the time I do it.  But sometimes I don’t.

But in comes the challenge and I’ve been really good so far this week about making myself stretch. I even took a yoga class for the 2nd time ever on Monday.  Surprisingly I was more flexibly than I thought I was and thanks to some pilates and Jillian Michaels’ DVDs (who knew Jillian was sneaking yoga in)  I knew some of the moves so I was pretty comfortable in the class.  But by the time they go to the hip stretches, I was dying.  Clearly that’s where I’m the least flexible. These were the ones that I could feel the most:

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After class I felt great and even considered doing yoga again but the next morning my knees were killing me.  Not sure if it was yoga or something else I’d done but I decided I’m going to give them a little rest and not attempt any yoga for a while.  We’ll see how they do.

Beyond Yoga, my 20 minutes of challenge stretching has been involving the foam roller.  My must-have fitness essential.  I can’t get through the day without this thing.  I wish I had a mini one I could tote around with me all day long.  It’s so painful but the pain is so good.  See, beyond my tight hips my knee pain is also caused by a tight IT band.  You can learn more about IT bands and why a foam roller can help you here.  But basically the foam roller helps loosen up my IT band so I roll on this thing like crazy – morning and night.  And I use one at the gym.  Except most of the gym ones suck because everyone rolls on them and there is only 1 good one left so I probably look like some crazy stalker girl waiting around the stretching room for someone to be done with it.

For more on foam rolling, you should head over to Peanut Butter Powered where Lauren, who is also participating in the Stretch for 7 Challenge, posted some great examples of her favorite foam roller stretches.

Photo source - courtesy of Lauren @ Peanut Butter Powered

And while we’re at it.  Here are a couple of my other favorite stretches for tight hips and IT bands:

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So there you go.  A couple good stretch options to get your though the remaining days of the challenge.  So far I’ve gotten my 20 min in every day.  I was hoping to get to mat pilates to knock out today’s requirements but alas, I had a morning meeting that got in the way.  Guess I’ll have to fit it in later.

Hope you’re enjoying the fact that it’s Friday.  Low key night at our household… movie + grilled cheese & tomato soup or homemade pizza.  Either way, great stay-in-and-be-cozy plans for a rainy April evening.