Tag Archive | Weight loss

Pure Barre Review

I’ll admit that I have fitness ADD.  I find something that tickles my fancy and I engross myself in it until I really can’t stand it any longer.  Actually – I’m that way with a lot of things.  When I was in 7th grade, I asked my mom to make me salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch EVERY DAY.  I ate the same sandwich EVERY DAY for lunch, Monday – Friday, for 7 months before I decided I was on another kick (peanut butter & fluff).  I haven’t eaten a salami and cheese sandwich since.  No lie.  Anyway, when I first moved to Indiana I didn’t have any friends and I had left my family back in Pennsylvania.  So naturally I immersed myself in the gym scene where I accidentally stumbled upon Zumba.  I instantly fell in love.  After the first class I found myself rearranging my schedule so that I could make it to every evening class that was available during the week (that also was taught by my favorite instructor).  That love turned into me pursuing my group fitness certification and eventually teaching my own classes.  This love affair with Zumba lasted for about 4 years until I decidedly became officially burnt out and it was no longer fun for me.  I was dreading going to teach class and after teaching my own class and aside from taking classes from a select few, I found it hard to be part of the class again.  So I was on to the next thing.  Enter running.

I officially began running in 2011 while I was still in the midst of my Zumba phase.  But as I was becoming more serious about running and training, Zumba began to take a back seat.  In fact, after Lifestyle Family Fitness became LifeTime Fitness and I lost all of my LesMills classes (BodyPump, BodyAttack, and CXWorx), I really stopped enjoying group fitness all together.  The classes at LifeTime Fitness (I only speak of the facility I was a member at, not the company itself) just didn’t measure up to what had been the caliber of classes and the instructors when it was Lifestyle.  So I just focused on my running and lifting weights here and there.

Now I’m 3 years into running and while I still enjoy it – I’m looking to add something else to my weekly line up.  I want something that is fun and engaging as well as promote long, lean muscles.  My friend suggested Pure Barre.  I’ve had a few friends now who have tried Pure Barre and absolutely LOVE IT.  They rave about it.  I also did some research about it and I decided to give it a shot.  A nice thing about this company is that your first class is absolutely free so there is no risk in giving it a try.  That is a major plus in my book!

I always go in to new workouts and classes with an open mind and try hard not to be biased.  After my first Pure Barre class, here are my thoughts:


  1. The facility is really nice and clean.  The front lobby area reminds me of a little boutique where you can buy accessories and Pure Barre gear.
  2. The front desk gal was super nice and welcoming.  She gave me the short tour and a welcome goodie bag.
  3. The actual workout room is large and spacious.  Everything looked clean and smelled clean (which is huge in a fitness facility).  There was plenty of equipment (mats, balls, weights, and bands) for everyone.
  4. During the actual workout – my arms felt like they were getting a good workout despite the light weights, my legs were definitely shaking from time to time during the bar workout (hello plie squats!)
  5. Although I didn’t sweat, I felt like my major muscle groups got a pretty good workout.


  1. The instructor didn’t do the workout with the class.  She walked around to check form (which I totally can appreciate), but she gave directions on the microphone which was about the same level as the music so it was sometimes difficult to hear what she was saying. Also, because she wasn’t always demonstrating, being new to the class and new to the lingo, I had NO IDEA what was going on.
  2. The lady next to me took my equipment instead of her own, so I was always 2 moves behind everyone else while scrambled to where her things were so I could also have equipment.  That lady was so clueless, she had no idea that she even took my ball in the beginning.  So that automatically threw me off from the start.  For future reference, stand next to someone who looks like they know what they are doing.
  3. It was super crowded (good for them, not for me) – so I felt like I was going to hit the person next to me during the upper body weighted segment.  Also – it was so crowded that when the instructor did do demonstrations on the bar, it was at the opposite end of the room and her back was facing the group (no mirror) so I still had no idea what she was doing.  I tried to look around but the people in the class were all doing different things so I wasn’t sure who was doing it right.
  4. If you haven’t been going for a while, some of the directions make no sense.  Her idea of a pulse and what I call a pulse are two different things.  What in the world does pulse, freeze mean?
  5. The instructor didn’t ask if anyone was new in the beginning of class so when she finally came around to inform me that I was doing it wrong (which I already knew), I had to tell her that I was new and had no clue what she was talking about.  After that she did a better job of circling around more to help when I obviously looked lost.  Actually, I felt pretty dumb in this class and who likes to feel dumb?  Not me.
  6. I checked my watch every 15 minutes – that’s not a good sign.  It seriously felt like the longest hour of my life.
  7. It just didn’t have that spark for me.  If I’m not super into the class within the first 15 minutes, I’m probably not going to come back.  I do my best not to leave class in the middle because I don’t want to offend any instructor, but I was seriously ready to go after 20 minutes.
  8. It is SUPER EXPENSIVE.  Even with my teacher discount, it is still $140 a month.  Thats a bit pricey for only 1 type of class every day.

All in all – I can see why some people really enjoy this.  My instructor was nice, she knew what she was doing, she was rehearsed, and the music was okay.  I can tell I will be sore tomorrow because I used muscles that I don’t normally use in my regular workouts, but sadly this workout just isn’t for me.  I just couldn’t get into it and for that money, I need to be addicted.


2013 A Year in Review

As I say goodbye to 2013, it’s nice to take a look down memory lane and remind myself that although there were some of the rough goes that each year brings, there were also some high points too.  It is so important to keep these high points in your memory to remind you that life isn’t that bad and when you are feeling down and out, you can always pull on your best memories to keep yourself in check.

So more as a reminder to myself when I’m feeling bad about my nutrition (or lack thereof), how I’ve fallen off the workout wagon (I will get back on soon, I promise), or how I continuously make excuses why I’m not making it to the gym (it’s freaking cold outside!) – I can take a look back at my 2013 and know that if I did it once, I can do it again, and if I stick to it I can probably do it better.

Without further ado – my top 10 2013  fitness highlights…

1. I climbed 36 flights of stairs.  That’s 780 steps and 500 feet straight up in 7 minutes and 6 seconds coming in 3rd place in my age group and 206th out of 1,068 people.  Not bad for my first try and not training.

2. I hit a new personal record for my 2nd half marathon.  I ran the OneAmerica 500 half marathon in exactly 2 hours, which of course was my goal.  I’m so proud of that number and I’m hoping to maybe hit a new PR in 2014.

3. I placed 3rd in my age division at the KeyBank 8K during the Carmel Marathon Weekend.  This put me in the running for the Triple Crown Series.

4.  I placed 3rd in my age division along with my husband at the Geist 5K this year and we ran the 5 miles back to the car in the rain.  It was definitely a memorable race.

5. I won 1st place in my age division in the Triple Crown Series 8K events (KeyBank 8K, Eagle Creek 8K, Hoosier Park 8K).  The first time I’ve ever placed 1st in anything!

6. I placed 1st in my age division at the Noblesville Fit Fest 5K.  The second time I’ve placed 1st in a race and it was in the same year!

7.  With the support of a few friends, I completed my first Whole30 program without any cheats or having to start over.  Through this program (and a lot of testing and doctor visits) I was able to determine that I have a gluten and dairy intolerance that was causing some undesirable effects on my body.  I have now since remedied those and I am feeling WAY better.

8. I was able to help a friend run in her first half marathon and ensure that she reached her goal of finishing in 2 hours and 30 minutes or less.  There were times where she wanted to stop but together we pushed through and we ended up beating her goal by a few minutes.  I am truly blessed to have been able to be a part of that experience with her.

9. I tried many new fitness activities in 2013 including CrossFit, SkyZone Skyrobics (trampoline exercises), Insanity, Hip Hop Abs, and Boxing to name a few.  Pushing myself out of my comfort zone allowed me to realize that there are some activities that I really enjoy that I never thought I would and others that just aren’t the right fit for me and that is COMPLETELY okay.

10.  I had a 2013 goal to run 12 races in 12 months and I met my goal.  I used to be that person who said, “The only way I would run is if someone was chasing me,” or “Look at those people running outside.   They look miserable.”  I never thought I would have enjoyed running as much as I do and I look forward to keeping up with this fitness adventure in 2014.  Perhaps 14 races in 2014 should be my next goal.  What do you think?

Happy New Year!


Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon was my 2nd half marathon for the 2013 running season and my last race of the running season as well.  Yes – I’ve hung up my running sneakers until the weather gets warmer again (metaphorically… we all know I still workout during the winter months, I just don’t pay to run in the cold).  I’ve never run in the Indy Monumental half before, but I’ve run two downtown races so I figured it would pretty much be the same thing.

For this last race, I ran with my friend, Alyssa.  Alyssa decided to run the half marathon (her first half marathon) to raise money for Joy’s House, an adult day service in Indianapolis for adults who need assistant and cannot provide for themselves.  She had a goal of $200 and a finish time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Where do I come into play you might be thinking?  My job was to be her running buddy, to keep her motivated when she wanted to quit, to help her with her pacing, and to let her know she was doing a good job.  I was able to run with Alyssa a few times prior to our actual race day but nothing more than 8 miles.  In fact, neither one of us ran more than 8 miles before the race.  (To be honest, I didn’t train as much as I should have for this race but I was in the middle of moving from my house into an apartment and then from an apartment to my new house… it was quite a hectic month for me).  I wasn’t too worried for myself, however, knowing I had run 13.1 miles earlier in the year and I run quite often.  I know how to pace myself for longer runs without over doing it in it the beginning.

Race day arrives and we get to the start line.  There is no race coral and no one is really pushing to be up towards the front.  I find this oddly refreshing compared to my last downtown half marathon start.  It is very relaxed.  The music starts and we are off.

We ran most of the 13.1 miles with a couple of walk breaks and lots of water breaks to ensure hydration.  In the end, not only did Alyssa exceed her $200 fundraising goal, but she also finished her very first half marathon in just 2 hours and 24 minutes (6 minutes under her goal).   I am so proud of her and I’m so glad I was a part of it!  Way to go!


Alyssa and I with our finisher medals and bananas!

My Whole30

I’ve always been one to start challenges and NEVER finish them… ViSalus 90 Day Challenge (stopped that because it gave me elevated liver enzymes, made me depressed and moody, and I was going through an extreme bout of fatigue), Insanity 60 Day Challenge (made it through the first 30 days, but at the start of month 2 I went on vacation, then I had a week left before school started back up, and I just don’t have room in my own house to jump around like a crazy fool), silly squat and abs challenges you find on Pinterest… need I go on?

However, after being diagnosed by my doctor as having a gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerant, I decided to change my eating ways for good.  This was simple because I knew the consequences of cheating.  But I was still eating soy, sugar, legumes (I LOVE peanut butter & jelly on caramel rice cakes!), corn, and candy.  I was feeling better than before, but I knew I could feel even better.  After my friend, Zanab, completed her first Whole30 program (not only did she lose 22.5 pounds in 30 days she looks and feels amazing!), I talked to her about it.  I went out and purchased my own copy of It Starts With Food and decided to read up on it before I made any decisions.  I have to say it was the best decision I had ever made.

While I had been eating relatively clean since July 1, I still had sugar-free vanilla soy lattes with 3 Splendas from Starbucks 3-4 times a week in the morning.  I was still eating potato chips, Swedish fish, popcorn, gluten-free cookies, almond, soy, and coconut ice cream (all separately), and all sorts of non-healthy items.  At this point in the summer (and even though I was exercising 5-6 days a week EVERY week), I was at my heaviest weight I’d ever been.  Now, I have just turned 30 and I hear things tend to slow down when you hit 30, but I refused to believe that was the cause.  My friends told me it was just muscle since I had been doing Crossfit (but that was back in January…) and lifting more so I was just more muscular.  However, pictures told me otherwise.  My friends didn’t think I looked any different, but I could feel it.  My clothes were just a little more snug than last summer, some dresses that I purchased in December I couldn’t even zip up by June (and I don’t think it was because my lats all of a sudden became huge).  Something had to give.

Enter Whole30

Week 1
Week 1 was surprisingly simple.  The key to week 1’s success was planning, planning, planning.  First, I purged everything that didn’t need to be in my pantry.  I didn’t have the heart to throw it all away, so I found a friend who was willing to take them in.  Goodbye: 2 bags of egg noodles, 2 boxes of lasagna noodles, a box of whole wheat penne, a bottle of vegetable oil, and I’m not exactly sure what else went into the bag.  In order to properly prep my pantry, I had to stop at 3 different grocery stores to find everything (Earth Fare, Walmart, Kroger) and even then I had some help from my friends who had already started their own Whole30 program.  But I prepped my pantry with the following: Arrowroot Powder (for a thickening agent), Coconut Aminos (a soy sauce replacement), Red Boat Fish Sauce (to replace my current fish sauce that has sugar in it), Lawhorne’s All-Purpose Seasoning, Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Sea Salt.  After I stocked my pantry with the necessary items, I headed out to get some food: 1 head of red cabbage, 1 cauliflower, green onions, 1 spaghetti squash, 1 cucumber, 3 zucchini, 1 bag of yellow onions, 3 sweet potatoes, parsley, cilantro,  2 quarts strawberries, 2 lbs grapes, 1 6-pack unsweetened applesauce, 2 lbs ground sirloin, 2 lbs ground pork, dozen eggs, 1 container egg beaters, 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, 2 lbs chicken breast, and coconut milk.

With this bounty of goodies, I headed straight to my kitchen and began prepping veggies for the week.  This meant steam-sauteeing the head of chopped cabbage for future use, chopping up the cauliflower in the food processor, roasting spaghetti squash, and browning 2 lbs of ground sirloin.  This was all on Saturday.  Sunday, I hard boiled the dozen eggs and peeled them for snacks throughout the week.  That was it.  I sat down Sunday afternoon and planned dinners for the week and decided lunch would simply be leftovers from the previous night’s dinner (this is strictly for simplicity and to keep food costs down).  Breakfast consisted of eggs with veggies tossed in and some fruit on the side.

Sunday – Grilled chicken breast & Cucumber salad
Monday – Grilled chicken thighs with Fried Cauliflower “Rice”
Tuesday – Girls Night pitch-in! Paleo Meatballs with Spice Market Kale and Cumin Roasted Carrots
Wednesday – Hot Plate: Spaghetti squash, red cabbage, onion, zucchini, and ground beef and mixed together
Thursday – Left over Grilled chicken thighs, Sauteed Zucchini, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Friday – Meatza Pie
Saturday – Grilled Chicken legs & Fruit Salad

How to Deal with Family Functions/Going to Cook Outs on Whole30
Simple: Bring your own food that you know you can eat.  Don’t assume there will be anything you can eat there.  Plan ahead and bring what you want to eat.  During my first week, we had a mini family reunion on my husband’s side of the family.  Corn bread casserole, chili, pre-mixed salad with dressing and cheese all tossed together, chick pea salad, macaroni and cheese, chips & salsa… you get the point.  I couldn’t eat anything.  Solution?  I came prepared armed with chicken legs and fruit salad.  Was this the ideal meal for Whole30?  No.  But sometimes you just got to do what you got to do.  I also brought freeze-dried fruit and a Larabar for snack.  Snacking is frowned upon during your Whole30, but when you eat breakfast at 9:00 AM and dinner isn’t served until 6:30 PM and you get there at 1 PM?  You make do.  The key to sticking to the program without cheating is always being prepared!

Week 2
I found Week 2 to be a bit more challenging than Week 1.  For the first time I was experiencing some cravings.  I don’t think it was because I was actually craving sugar, I think it was because it was 95 degrees outside and I just wanted some ice cream.  But I held strong to the program and the cravings subsided.  I branched out this week in recipes and tried making my own mayonnaise, salad dressing, and zucchini noodles all with success.  Mayo is surprisingly easy to make and I’m not sure why I never made it before.  I have found that even though I’m not eating sandwiches for the mayo, the mayo makes a great base for sauces and dressings to add some flare to my weeknight meals.  I highly suggest you try it out yourself!  I also discovered that Classico makes 2 types of spaghetti sauce: Roasted Garlic and Traditional Basil (not spicy or sweet) which are Whole 30 compliant.  This was awesome as I ate “spaghetti” and meat sauce twice for lunch and once for dinner this week.  I love meals that last a couple of days throughout the week.  It saves me time in the kitchen!

Sunday – Paleo taco salad
Monday – Grilled chicken salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Tuesday – Grilled chicken thighs with roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed zucchini, raw yellow squash with cream balsamic dressing drizzle
Wednesday – Roasted chicken tenders, roasted acorn squash, and fresh berries
Thursday – Spaghetti squash and meat sauce
Friday – Sashimi with coconut aminos
Saturday – Pan seared scallops and shrimp with zucchini and squash noodles

Week 3
Week 3 posed my first major challenge: Dining out.  Yes, up until this point I had eaten all of my meals at home (except for the sashimi).  I was venturing out into new territory and I was a bit nervous.  My mother-in-law wanted to spend the evening with us catching up and getting a bite to eat.  Being the good daughter-in-law that I am, I let her choose the restaurant, so I had to go with whatever what was picked.  Italian… awesome.  What in the world can I find at an Italian restaurant?!  I knew my safest bet at Bravo was the chicken salad.  I left off the cheese and croutons, but then I also left off the red onions and tomatoes (mainly because I strongly dislike both of those) and added some fresh avocado.  Before I had left for dinner I had whipped up a small batch of my creamy balsamic dressing and brought it with me to the restaurant.  This way I knew that as long as my salad was compliant, I could put my own compliant dressing on top.  It actually worked out pretty well.  If that wasn’t a stressful event in itself, we had to meet our realtor out the next day at Chili’s. I came geared with my dressing just in case, but to my surprise Chili’s has a lighter fare menu.  I was able to get a 5 oz. sirloin and steamed broccoli.  I made sure that they left everything plain, no parmesan cheese, no butter, no anything.  I dipped my broccoli in my dressing and I was a happy camper.  Dining out experience = success!

Sunday – Bravo Grilled Chicken Salad with sliced olives, cucumbers, avocado and my homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Monday – Grilled Ribeye, roasted Asparagus, and creamy kale
Tuesday – Grilled chicken thighs, zucchini and squash noodles, and roasted sweet potatoes
Wednesday – Meatloaf with homemade au jus, roasted sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Thursday – Leftover meatloaf, roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini and squash noodles, and green beans
Friday – Grilled chicken salad with homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Saturday – Grilled sirloin, grilled shrimp skewers, green beans, and steamed broccoli and carrots

Week 4
The biggest challenges I faced this week was work lunches.  I eat with some pretty amazing ladies (and a couple awesome guys as well).  They are my team, my rock, and my sounding board at school.  I LOVE eating with them every day.  But here’s the hard part.   When it is someone’s birthday, we order out for lunch and a teammate brings in a birthday treat.  Well this week we had a birthday and I did the ordering for everyone.  We ordered from Jimmy Johns.  And while I love an unwich from Jimmy Johns, I didn’t know what kind of preservatives were in the lunch meat or if it had sodium nitrates, sugar, or carageenan in it.  So I opted to bring my lunch from home.  Then came the birthday treat.  Rich chocolate brownies topped with a gooey peanut butter layer, and finished with a chocolate ganache.  It looked amazing and from the comments from my teammates who were eating it, I’m pretty sure it tasted incredible.  Fast forward to lunch on Thursday.  I also eat lunch with a woman who is the most talented baker I’ve ever met (who is not a professional baker). She brought in apple crisp, one of my all-time favorite desserts.  Plus there were leftover peanut butter brownies as well.  But I stuck to my guns, ate my packed lunch, and ended it with some unsweetened applesauce and grapes.  It definitely wasn’t easy, but I know how I would feel afterwards had I ate something.  In the end, throwing 25 days down the drain for a piece of apple crisp or a brownie just wasn’t worth it.

Sunday – Paleo Pot Roast
Monday – Grass-Fed Strip Steak, carmelized onions, sauteed zucchini, and a side salad with lettuce, baby spinach, 1/2 avocado, hard boiled egg, and homemade dressing
Tuesday – Leftover pot roast & Strawberry & Almond Butter in a Coconut Wrap
Wednesday – Grilled Chicken salad
Thursday – Roasted Chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and zucchini
Friday – Whole Roasted Chicken, zucchini, roasted sweet potatoes
Saturday – Grilled Ribeye, baked sweet potato, green beans

Last 3 days
The last 3 days of the Whole30 program were like habit.  I didn’t really have to think about anything because I had gotten used to packing my lunch the night before (prepping the lunch tupperware while prepping the dinner dishes), getting up earlier to make breakfast (for me and the hubby), and making sure I had the weekly meals planned out ahead of time.  I can honestly say for the first time in my life, I can actually enjoy drinking black coffee.  I don’t miss sugar, although with pumpkin season in full swing, I do miss all the pumpkin goodies that go along with it.  Being permanently gluten free has taken all those away from me (pumpkin scones, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pop-tarts…) not Whole30.  But I’m sure it’s for the best, at 480 calories per scone I’m sure my body and waistline won’t miss that.

Sunday – Roasted pork chops, baked sweet potato, yellow squash
Monday – Grilled chicken salad
Tuesday – Roasted chicken thighs, sauteed kale, fresh baby carrots with guacamole

What I’ve Learned
What I’ve learned from this is that eating healthy is not overly expensive. Sure, we ate out here and there but for the most part, my husband and I ate at home 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.  I tallied up my grocery bills for the week (yes, I shop at more than 2 places) and averaged out the meals.  For 2 people, 21 meals per person, and some snacks thrown in, I averaged about $3.80 a person per meal.  You can’t eat a grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and roasted sweet potatoes at a restaurant for $3.80!  Seriously, dining-in SAVES you money and it is good for you.  Now I’m not saying you should never eat out, but my husband and I were eating out 3-4 times a week and that was money just going down the drain.

What has Changed
ALL of my GI issues are gone (I’ll spare you the disgusting details). I am sleeping through the night.  My night sweats are virtually gone.  I am not bloated.  My skin has cleared up.  My mood is more calm and even.  I am more patient with my students at school.  I’m not getting as stressed as easily as before.  And I’m just more pleasant to be around overall.

My Stats
While I was not trying to do anything dramatic to my body, just treat it better.  I had some added bonuses to my Whole30 experience.  I lost 9 lbs, 1.5 inches of my waist, and 1 inch off of my thighs.  The crazy part is that I had actually DECREASED my workouts because I was so busy with the new school year (Back-To-School Social, Meet the Teacher Night) and I’m in the process of moving (4 hour weeknight house showing anyone??).  The saying, ABS are made in the kitchen is so true!  (Of course I don’t have serious abs but I’m starting to see something rather than a pooch).

Completing the Whole30 program has been eye-opening to say the least.  I used to justify drinking lattes almost every day every morning because I was going to work out later.  I ate/baked gluten free cookies, pancakes, and all sorts of other baked goods and it was okay because I ran earlier that day.  I ate popcorn, drank diet coke, and had candy at the movie theater but I wasn’t “overweight” so it was okay to splurge.  And yes, while it is okay to splurge now and then, I was splurging EVERY DAY. These little splurges ended up with a 9 pound weight gain over the course of a school year/summer and me not fitting into my anniversary dress that was purchased months earlier (tears were shed), and just feeling like a stuffed sausage in my clothes once summer started (enter in loose fitting tanks to mask the muffin top).

I had never realized how addicted to sugar I actually was.  I put Splenda in everything: coffee, lattes, and ice teas.  I drank diet coke every day sometimes even more than once a day.  When I wasn’t drinking sugar, I was eating it in forms of baked goods, gummy candies, and fruit snacks (but it was okay because it was gluten and dairy free).  Word of wisdom: just because it is gluten free doesn’t make it healthy.  Gluten free Bisquick, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free pancake mix or baking flour, Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix etc. are not healthy!  These foods normal are not healthy and sometimes the gluten free option are less healthy and chock-full of more empty calories.  Just stay away from it in general.  Do you really need that pancake?  Probably not.  And trust me, the gluten free version (and I’ve tried many) tastes like crap.  It’s not worth it.  I also didn’t realize how many foods I was buying that had sugar already in it: rotisserie chicken, bacon, precooked frozen chicken, fish sauce, and some lunch meats!  You think you are doing well by purchasing protein but if it is convenient chances are they’ve added a bunch of stuff to it.  My advice: take the time to buy the raw stuff and cook it ahead of time and freeze it yourself if you have to.

Whole30 isn’t a 365 days a year program, in fact it says right in the book that this isn’t meant to be a complete overhaul for life.  But it has taught me a lot about my own body and how I process/handle food.  While I probably won’t be as strict as I was during the Whole30, I’ll probably adopt a lot of the eating habits I’ve gained during this time.  Knowing what I know now, it doesn’t seem worth it to me to go back to eating the way I was.  However – if I happen to fall off the wagon (which it can happen to all of us quite easily), I have the necessary tools to get myself back on track.   If you haven’t read the book It Starts With Food, I suggest you at least get the to the library, buy your own copy, or borrow one from a friend and read it.  Then form your own opinion, you won’t regret it!

Sometimes You Need a Motivational Talk

Today was just one of those days.  I was sleeping so well and I didn’t want to get out of bed so I snoozed… now I’m running 10 minutes behind schedule.  I opt for my morning coffee with coconut milk and rush out the door with the plan of eating breakfast at my desk.  One thing leads to another and I’ve forgotten to eat and the kids are coming in for the day.  I’m hungry, I’m irritable… I’m HANGRY and the kids notice.  I quick eat a Lara Bar that I have stashed in my desk drawer to hold me over until lunch.  But the tone has been set for the day….  It’s an especially long day just because right after school I rush to tutor for an hour and I don’t typically get home until around 5:15 (I know that doesn’t sound like, but I leave the house at 6:25 AM).

The heat index is reading 102 degrees outside.  YUCK!  Thank goodness I’m not scheduled to run today but I’m in desperate need of lifting.  I haven’t lifted in who knows when.  But all I want to do is sit on the couch and turn on the TV.  So what do I do?  I call my trusted best friend to give me a little motivational pep talk.  She told me about her supersets, how I can get it done in 30 minutes, and be on my merry way.  That was all it took.  As soon as I got home, I put on my workout clothes so I had no excuse.  I was out the door and off the to the gym.  And you know what?  She was right.  With the use of supersets, I was in and out (warmup and stretch included) in exactly 30 minutes.

I’m so thankful for friends who not only promote healthy habits but live them as well instead of justify sitting around and being lazy.  Thanks Kimberly!

Today’s Workout: 4 sets of 8 reps per exercise

  • Stretch
  • Superset 1 – Weighted barbell squat, Dead lift
  • Superset 2 – Dumbbell step up (8 per side), 1-legged Dead lift (8 per side)
  • Superset 3 – Dumbbell Walking lunges (8 per side), Dumbbell Sumo Squats
  • 25 pushups
  • 50 abs exercises
  • 25 pushups
  • 50 abs exercises
  • Stretch


Easy Paleo Meatballs

This is a super simple meatball recipe that literally makes 50 meatballs.  They are great for spaghetti squash and meatballs or just by themselves.  Because the recipe makes so many meatballs (6 meatballs = 1 serving), it’s a great leftover take to lunch kind of meal.  Enjoy!

Served with kale and cumin roasted carrots in this picture.

Served with kale and cumin roasted carrots in this picture.

1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 TBSP salt
1 TSBP fennel seeds
1 TBSP ground black pepper
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
1 TBSP yellow mustard
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup after it’s been chopped)
1 large egg
1 pound ground pork
1 pound lean ground beef (bison, lamb, venison work well here too)


  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a large baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bow, mix the garlic, salt, fennel seeds, paprika, pepper, parsley, mustard, and egg with a fork until well combined.  With your hands, crumble the ground pork and ground beef into the bowl.  Knead until all of the ingredients are mixed together.
  3. Moisten your hands with water.  Measure a level tablespoon of meat and roll into a ball between your palms.  Line up the meatballs on your prepared baking sheet, roughly 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and cooked through.

This recipe was adapted from the Well Fed cookbook, but changed to meet my personal tastes and it is Whole30 compliant.  Enjoy!

Insanity Core Cardio and Balance Day 34


I know I haven’t been posting recently about Insanity, but I’ve been doing it faithfully every morning 5 days a week (I know the program is a 6 day a week program, but I need some time off to recoup).  I currently finished day 34 of the Insanity program which concludes my Recovery Week with Core Cardio and Balance.  Unlike month 1 where your workouts alternate between a number of options, this week I had to complete the same video every day for 6 days.  I am going to go ahead and put it out there, this was probably my least favorite video out of all the ones I have completed so far.  Even though it is roughly a 37-minute workout, I am so bored in the beginning.  I don’t start enjoying the video until the very end when we get into the super tough stuff like the hip-flexor burners and the shoulder burners.  I didn’t feel like I was getting as good of a workout in this video like I did in the others, but on the other hand I was probably working in my fat burning zone (which is difficult for me to do).  Knowing this bit of information kept me going through the entire week.  

Here is a mini breakdown of the video:

Warm Up: Each move is for 1-minute

  • Switch Heel Kicks –  Jump rope while alternating your heels outwards, landing with soft knees
  • Mummy Kicks 
  • Football Shuffle – shuffling side to side and clapping at the end
  • Log Jumps – sprinting for 8 counts and jumping over an imaginary log
  • 8 High Knees / 8 Power Jacks 
  • 8 Fast Feet / 8 Hooks – sprinting for 8 counts and then using your core to throw eight alternating hooks

Stretching: Shaun T is really good at making sure you get a good stretch in.  Don’t skimp on your stretch and don’t forget to take the water break afterwards.  You need it even if you think you don’t!

Core Cardio: Again each move is done for 1-minute.  Keep your core tight and focus on that through the entire workout

  • Moving Ski Hops – Keep your feet together and hop 4 times to the left and 4 times to the right. Make sure you knees are together, core is engaged,  and you are using your arms.
  • Hit the Floor – We’ve done this before in other Insanity workouts.
  • Level 1 drills – drop down, jump into plank, 4 push ups, 8 floor sprints/mountain climbers (whatever you want to call them), just remember to keep your butt down.
  • Heisman – Shaun T does this is EVERY warm up it seems like, you should be very familiar with this.
  • 8 Switch Kicks/8 Hop Squats – Both of these exercises are from previous Insanity workouts but now put together in a combo move.  Keep your core tight and try to lift your legs as high as possible for your switch kicks and in your hop squats, butt is down and legs are wide.
  • High Jumps – try to jump as high as you can, feet together, squeezing your thighs together, and reaching as high as you can go.  It’s not so much about quantity as it is about quality in this exercise.
  • Wide Plank Walks – Walk your plank 4 steps to the right and 4 to the left.
  • 8 Elbows/4 Suicide Drills – Throw 8 alternating elbow punches followed by 4 suicide drills.  We’ve done suicide drills in other Insanity workouts.

Balance: Again focus on the core!  Each exercise is for a full minute.

  • 4 & 4 hops – Very easy exercise and effective exercise. All you are doing is hopping 4 times on your left leg, then alternating 4 times on your right leg for the allotted time period.
  • Jab Switch Jump Squats – Throw 8 alternating jabs while sitting in a low squat.  After your 8th jab while still in your squat position jump up and do a complete 180 degree turn in the air. Land and repeat. 
  • Hip Flexor Burners – This exercise is slightly different in that you hold each exercise for 30 seconds each without breaks!  First start with a simple knee lift, contracting your core as you lift your knee to hip height.  Arms are bent, elbows in to help keep your balance and keep things centered. Then after 30 seconds keep you knee lifted at hip height and begin small pulses lifting your knee up and down.  Finally after another 30 seconds you’re going to take the same leg, keeping it lifted, and extend your leg out (foot flexed) and back in for 30 seconds.  You may need to hold onto something to keep your balance at this point.  Once 30 seconds is finished, repeat the entire sequence on the other leg.
  • Oblique Knee Lifts –  Using your right arm and your right leg out to the side. Bring your elbow to your knee (or as close as you can get it) for 30 seconds. Repeat with left arm and leg.
  • Shoulder Burners (My favorite part!) – Get yourself into a plie squat (or regular squat if you aren’t flexible), take your arms straight out to the side (parallel to the floor) and pulse your arms for 30 seconds.  After that immediately begin bringing your straight arms front and back out to the sides contracting your core as you bring your arms forward for 30 seconds.  After that bring your arms up above your head and touch your fingertips and bring your arms back down (parallel to the floor) for 30 seconds.  Immediately go into back arm circles for 30 seconds, keeping your core tight, staying in your plie squat, and arms straight.  Finally move into forward arms circles for the last 30 seconds.

Cool Down: Stretch – don’t skip this part!

The funniest thing I found about the stretching part is that as you are stretching out your shoulders, Shaun T says don’t put your head back like him because it’s bad for you but if you are watching the video, over half of the people are doing it too.  I found that quite amusing.  I’m glad that I stuck to it and finished this week, but I’m so looking forward to what Month 2 has in store!  Stay tuned!