35 degrees out on the morning of my run… Of course it is! Time to revamp my costume option. So I pull out my tote of costumes from under the bed and find my polyester turtleneck body suit, think polyester cheerleading uniform, and some thick black yoga pants… yup that should do.
The Ghost & Goblin Run is probably by far my favorite race of the year. Not only is it a beautiful run through downtown Carmel, Indiana (recently voted the #1 place in the US to live) it supports a cause that is near to my heart. This race is put on by the Carmel Education Foundation and proceeds from the race goes right back into the schools in the district. This is HUGE.
To make it a little more competitively fun – the school with the most student participants within the district get to take home a trophy that they can proudly display all year long until the following year. In addition to the trophy, the race has costume prizes for the best male and female costumes as well as best group costume. To top it off, we celebrate our young athletes by awarding 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes and medals to our age group winners ages 19 and under.
I arrive at the high school about 8:00 AM and rush to the packet pick-up counter… I’m running a little behind schedule because someone did not want to get out of bed this morning…my husband. I hurry and put on my chip timer and race bib and locate my students. I wanted to snag a group photo of all my students before we ran because some were participating in the 2K and others were walking the 5K. This would assure that we were all there at the same time. So we all gather together for a quick photo op and of course all the parents want to take photos too and before I knew it, it was time to get to the start line.
I am so glad that I brought ear warmers because it was COLD! The wind was blowing just enough to send shivers through your body and stiffen up your muscles. However – what I failed to bring… gloves. When it was time to go, there was one thing on my mind: the quicker I run this, the quicker I can get back inside the warm gym. So my husband and I were off, running down Main Street to onlookers and drivers passing by. The first hill was brutal, the cold air was pressing down on my lungs making it difficult to breathe, but I pressed on determined to get a good time. I couldn’t believe how quick it seemed to get to the Mile 1 marker. Then we were soon headed down the walking path surrounded by beautiful trees with their leaves the color of fall. And before I knew it, I was running through the apartment complex and onto the Monon with only a mile to go. WOW – we must be making good time. And then as we rounded back onto the street, we blended in with the 2K runners/walkers and the finish line was in sight.
There was no sprinting to the finish line in this race because I felt like I had been sprinting the entire thing! So together, my husband and I, as much as we wanted to walk because our lungs were hurting so bad, crossed the finish line. (NO WALKING ALLOWED)
It was so fun to see all the positive energy from the proud parents who completed the race with their children and the teachers who were there for support. I love how our community pulls together to support such a fun event. I can’t wait to sign up again next year!
Each day I try to eat healthy, make good choices, and workout. I’ve logged calories, kept a food journal, religiously stepped on the scale… I’ve done it all. And you know what? It MAKES ME MISERABLE. I feel like I’ve become a slave to my nutrition/eating habits. I’m constantly feeling bad about myself if I have a small handful of candy corn at my desk during the day instead of eating the banana that I packed from home. I get depressed if I miss a workout at the gym. I become self-conscious on vacation because I didn’t workout for 4 days. When I’m at my skinniest – I’m hungry all the time and I’m grumpy. When I’m not at this point, I’m upset that I let myself be so lazy in my workouts and nutrition and begin on my strict intake of food…. and so the cycle begins again. While talking to my best friend the other day, I had a mini revelation: THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE.
Am I suggesting that I fall off the wagon and go hog wild? Absolutely not. But I do think there is a point where taking it to the extreme can have an impact on your well-being. Sometimes I wonder if I put unrealistic goals on myself. For being 29 years-old, I am by far in the best shape of my life. I have gotten down to 14% body fat which is FANTASTIC but instead of focusing on that achievement, I get hung up on the fact that I can’t see my abs. Stupid, I know. I read an article by Jen Comas Keck who talked about being careful what you wished for in terms of your body. She mentioned that some people have to get down to some seriously low body fat percentages in order for you to see abdominal muscles while others can be displayed at a higher percentage. I’m guessing I’m in that first group, lucky me. In order for me to get down that far, I need to do some serious alterations on my workouts and nutrition. I’d have to give up some of the things I really love. But here’s the thing. I’m a full-time teacher, I hold 3 side jobs, and I’m a wife who needs to hold down the home front. I don’t have time to train the way I need to in order to look like the models on Fitness Magazine or Women’s Health. And really, why do I need to? I’m not training for a fitness competition. I’m not a fitness model. I’m just me and I’m perfectly okay with that.
Moral of the story – be healthy. Workout your body 3-5 days a week (what you can realistically fit in your schedule). If you can’t always hit your goal, that is okay. The point is, you’re going and that’s more than some people. Eat relatively clean (meaning no processed food). Does this mean you can’t indulge of that pumpkin scone from Starbucks? No, but don’t do it every day and don’t beat yourself up when you do. You only live life once, so you might as well enjoy it while you are here. If you have a banging body but your are miserable, are you really enjoying life? And the bottom line? Be positive and focus on your accomplishments. Instead of looking at what else you could improve upon, look at how far you’ve come.
For me – I ran 13.1 miles when one year ago I said I hated running. I’ve lowered by body fat percentage. I’m eating better (but with some indulgences here and there). And I am me and there is no one else in the world like me. When I am having an off day, I need to look in the mirror and remind myself of how truly amazing I am.
So next time you’re having an off day, go ahead and remind yourself of all the great things you are and all the great things you’ve done, big or small. It’s okay to give yourself a little love even if you don’t think you deserve it.
If you want to check out that article – you can read it here: Looking “Fit” Doesn’t Mean Being Healthy
I made this for dinner tonight and I must say – it was AMAZING! And it was super simple, a win-win in my book. This could easily feed a family of four or be a good dinner for two with some leftovers for lunch or tomorrow night’s dinner. My husband and I eat very generous portions but the recipe could feed up to 6 people as well (but I’d through in some rolls for a side just in case). Enjoy!
1-pound bag baby yukon gold potatoes (or redskin potatoes would work too)
1 medium sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 cup (or small pre-packaged) baby carrots
4 ribs of celery coarsely chopped
2 pounds pork butt
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Mushroom
1 1/2 cups of water
1. Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray
2. Place potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery on the bottom of your pot
3. Place pork butt on top of veggies, sprinkle with the seasoning envelope and pour water all over it
4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Before serving, gently shred the pork with some kitchen tongs.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!
I stumbled across this blog the other day while I was surfing the web. I guess it was Divine intervention because I’ve come to realize that I need to shake things up a bit. I find myself moving away from group fitness and on to the gym floor, but really have no idea what to do. I know as some of us transition from group fitness to working out alone, we might feel overwhelmed at the plethora of choices we have on the floor… Should I use machines? Free weights? Kettlebells? Barbells? Or combination of all the above? Some of us might choose to enlist the help of a personal trainer to walk us through exercises on the floor that we can use independently later on. And some of us aimlessly walk around and do exercises that we see other people doing. I’m guilty of all the above.
Luckily, my husband used to be a personal trainer back in the day and still remembers some of his favorite exercises he used to implement. However, even with his help on certain days – when I’m by myself in the gym I find myself not really focused. That is why I’m so glad I found this blog written by Nia Shanks. She is co-founder of the women’s fitness movement Girls Gone Strong. In her blog she specifically mentions two different techniques to shake up your workout. I’m really interested in trying out the Ladder technique. This technique is good for building strength,muscle, and conditioning. I’m all about that!
I’m excited to try this workout later on this week and see how I feel. Burpees/push-ups/kettlebell swings sounds like no joke to me. Read her complete blog here: 5 Training Techniques to Shake up Your Workouts Part 1
Be on the lookout for part 2 and my reaction to her training tips!
Did you know that your body is comprised mostly of water? About two-thirds to be exact. And of these two-thirds, 95% of your brain, 82% of your blood, and 90% of your lungs are made up of water! Incredible! No wonder your body needs 64 ounces of water a day. It needs it to survive. Your body cannot survive more than a couple of days without water – it is essential to life.
Your body uses water as a natural lubricant. It keeps things moving. The more hydrated you are, the easier your body moves. Proper hydrating can alleviate joint, knee, and back pains and can also reduce the risk of injuries and arthritis. The water in our saliva helps us chew and swallow, allowing our food to move down our esophagus easily. Imagine trying to swallow dry food – not very pleasant!
Speaking of keeping things moving, drinking enough water helps keep your bowel movements regular. This not only prevents constipation but it prevents toxic build up in our bodies. Staying regular also aides in weight loss. Bonus! Drinking enough water also removes toxins and waste from our bodies through urination and perspiration. So when you are feeling under the weather, it is especially important to stay hydrated.
Finally, drinking enough water helps regulate your body temperature. In hot days, your body sweats and when the sweat evaporates off of your body it produces a cooling effect. When you sweat, your body is losing fluid and it is extremely important to rehydrate so you don’t suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Not only is drinking water important for your overall function and survival, it has many added bonuses as well. Such as:
1) It promotes weight loss
2)It makes your look younger by improving your skin’s elasticity
3)It’s a natural remedy for a headache (since your brain is made mostly of water, it makes sense) 4)Makes your more productive and focused (hence your brain being mostly water… again another connection)
5) Reduces your risk of cancer
6) Gives you energy
7) Puts you in a good mood – when your body feels happy so you do you!
8) Promotes good health
My personal goal: Drink 64 ounces of water day. I’ve never been successful in this, but I’m going to do my best!
On January 10th at 38 years old I felt like I was kind of letting myself go. I had always been fairly fit and in shape and had spent 7 years as a professional wrestler so it was necessary for me to be healthy. After being out of wrestling for a couple of years I wasn’t as dedicated to my diet and gym workouts. After the holidays I decided to make some changes for 2012. I had independently researched some different ideas to help me get back into shape and I came across Body by Vi’s 90 Day Challenge and “went for it.” I know the most popular advice from any personal trainer would be “hey just get on a good eating plan and workout plan”, but that’s easier said then done. So I joined The Challenge and started drinking two shakes a day as a meal replacement. Now this challenge is not a diet, its not a starvation system and its definitely not unhealthy. What I did was had a shake for breakfast (I added almond milk, unsweetened frozen fruit, greek yogurt, natural peanut butter, etc.) then I had a Nutra Cookie (Body By Vi), almonds, raw veggies, hard boiled eggs, as snacks until my second shake for lunch. I continued snacking throughout the day until I had a sensible dinner (Meat, Veggie, Brown Rice or Sweet Potato). I had two shakes on the weekends too but I did not always have the best dinners. I did this for 90 days. I went to the gym during my challenge as well. My energy levels were up, my workouts were awesome and I even gained 20 pounds on my bench press. I took the Body By Vi’s Go as a pre workout and their Pro during my workout. So in summary during my 90 Day Challenge, I lost 20 pounds, gained 20 pounds on my bench, had increased energy levels, and felt the best I’ve felt in a long time! Plus on a side note I started getting all of my product free and saved a lot of money by not spending $8 at Subway everyday.
Products I took/take PER DAY
Body by Vi – 2 shakes, 2 Nutra Cookies, Neuro (Healthy energy drink), Go and Pro (for workouts), and the Vi-Pack (vitamin/mineral, omega, anti-oxidant, anti-aging)
Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you still can’t indulge in some good old fashioned soup and sandwich meals. Soup and sandwiches are two of my favorite things to eat for dinner in the fall and winter time (particularly grilled cheese and tomato soup). I’ve tested around some different gluten-free brands of bread and decided that for this particular recipe, I like Schar the best. Using my George Foreman grill, it was simple to assemble and easy to clean. From start to finish it took 15 minutes to make and clean up. Now that’s my kind of meal!
2 slices Schar Gluten-Free Bread
2 TBSP Dijonnaise
2 slices thinly sliced provolone cheese
3 thin slices Avocado
6 thin slices deli turkey
Plug in your George Foreman grill OR heat up a cast iron skillet OR whatever skillet you have.
Smear 1 TBSP of Dijonnaise on each slice of bread, face up.
Place 1 slice of provolone cheese on 1 slice of bread (dijonnaise side up).
Top with 6 slices of turkey and avocado pieces.
Gently place the remaining slice of cheese on top and place remaining slice of bread dijonnaise side down on top of your sandwich.
Place in your grill, gently push down to flatten your sandwich. Let cook for 5-7 minutes or until your bread is toasted.
Serve with your favorite soup. Pacific Brand Winter Squash soup is pictured.